Conservative perspectives on climate change

by Judith Curry

Two recent articles of interest, both from a conservative perspective.

The Serpent’s Egg

A recent article in the Quadrant is entitled “The Serpent’s Egg.”  It is a hard-hitting critique of the IPCC, some excerpts (see original article for references and citations):

The newly formed IPCC rushed out its first report by 1990—in two years instead of the later reports’ five or six years—with the intention of making it a key document for the 1992 conference in Rio de Janeiro. To its credit, the 1990 report was moderate in tone. Its key tract was in the Executive Summary of the human-attribution chapter: “The fact that we are unable to reliably detect the predictive [carbon dioxide] signals today does not mean that the greenhouse theory is wrong, or that it will not be a severe problem in the decades ahead.” In Bolin’s memoir he pointed out that “The IPCC conclusions were carefully worded and did not say that a human-induced climate change was under way.”

The IPCC’s 1990 report was of course unsatisfactory to the green movement, from top level (UNEP) down. Putting the political cart before the science horse, the UN drew up its “Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC) treaty, which asserted human causation in no uncertain terms, and foreshadowed a regime of emission controls. Additionally, according to Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC charter was modified to explicitly state that it was to support the UNFCCC.

The next IPCC report, scheduled for 1995, could hardly maintain the 1990 report’s “neutral” stance, given the Rio and UNFCCC anti-carbon-dioxide politics. In the event, the 1995 all-important summary for policy makers said: “The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.” This itself was a compromise, watering down the draft’s wording of “appreciable” human influence. Bolin says he also ensured that the conclusion was qualified with a phrase, “fully recognising the uncertainty”, but media, lobbies and governments subsequently ignored it. He also complained that many other points in the summary should have been qualified for uncertainties, but were not.

Given that the 1995 summary gave an elephant stamp to the carbon dioxide pollution story, what (if anything) underpinned that summary? Frederick Seitz claimed critical caveats in the 1995 body text were deleted to permit the activist summary. Bolin denied this and said there were merely normal reviews of drafts. The deleted passages cited by Seitz included:

No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic causes …

None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases …

Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced …

Seitz, a former president of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the American Physical Society, said he had never witnessed “a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events which led to this IPCC report”.

Bolin himself let a cat out of the bag. He revealed that the chapter heads Ben Santer and Tom Wigley had claimed, after inspecting the reviewed draft, that new evidence had arrived in the literature justifying a stronger conclusion on human causation.  The chair of the science group, Sir John Houghton, thought this summary-strengthening was warranted and the bulk report was retrospectively amended. Human causation thus became scientific orthodoxy. But tangling the web that way offended some delegates, “who emphasised more the need to safeguard the credibility of the assessment process”, as Bolin put it.

Melbourne IT expert John McLean says that the “new evidence” involved was a five-page draft paper submitted to Nature but not yet reviewed, let alone published. And who co-wrote this draft article? The chapter heads Ben Santer and Tom Wigley, along with about seven authors of the IPCC chapter and five other names.

Sherlock Holmes would conclude that the chapter team, lacking evidence to back up their desired post-review rewrite, had written a paper and sent it off to Nature specifically so they could cite it for the IPCC report. The paper itself was clubby, thirty-two of its fifty-nine references involving papers by the chapter members, according to McLean. Four of the fifty-nine references were not even published work, and eight referred to IPCC documents. Of those, three were circular, referring to the impending 1995 IPCC report itself!  The Nature paper was not published till July 1996. It was of the “state-of-the-art models suggest” kind, and it concluded rather weakly, “It is likely that this [warming] trend is partially due to human activities, although many uncertainties remain, particularly relating to estimates of natural variability.”

Somehow this conclusion had justified the 1995 IPCC summary: “The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.” The saga was prolonged when several of the paper’s authors were selected as authors of the 2001 report, which in turn cited the Nature paper approvingly.

The IPCC charter has instead generated a circular process. Research funds pour into the human-attribution issue. Non-human causation has become the Cinderella of science, starved of funds and likely to kill your promotion prospects. Such research could put the IPCC out of business, and evaporate a lot of the science and technology funding (of which something like $80 billion has been spent since 1989 by the USA alone).

JC comment.   This article paints a disturbing picture.   I would like to hear a defense/critique from IPCC principals.

A conservative’s approach on combating climate change

Johnathan Adler has a guest post at the Atlantic.  Adler  is a  professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and regular contributor to the Volokh Conspiracy.  Adler characterizes his position in this way:

Though my political leanings are most definitely right-of-center, and it would be convenient to believe otherwise, I believe there is sufficient evidence that global warming is a serious environmental concern.  

But the excesses of climate activists and bad behavior by politically active scientists (and the IPCC) do not, and should not, discredit the underlying science, or justify excoriating those who reach a different conclusion.

The theme of the post is summarized by this statement:

[T]he embrace of limited government principles need not entail the denial of environmental claims and that a concern for environmental protection need not lead to an ever increasing mound of prescriptive regulation. 

Adler makes the following recommendations:

First, the federal government should support technology inducement prizes to encourage the development of commercially viable low-carbon technologies.  For reasons I explain in this paper, such prizes are likely to yield better results at lower cost than traditional government R&D funding or regulatory mandates that seek to spur innovation. 

Second, the federal government should seek to identify and reduce barriers to the development and deployment of alternative technologies.  Whatever the economic merits of the Cape Wind project, it is ridiculous that it could take over a decade for a project such as this to go through the state and federal permitting processes.  This sort of regulatory environment discourages private investment in these technologies.

Third, I believe the United States should adopt a revenue-neutral carbon tax, much like that suggested byNASA’s James Hansen.  Specifically, the federal government should impose a price on carbon that is fully rebated to taxpayers on a per capita basis.  This would, in effect, shift the incidence of federal taxes away from income and labor and onto energy consumption and offset some of the potential regressivity of a carbon tax.  For conservatives who have long supported shifting from an income tax to a sales or consumption tax, and oppose increasing the federal tax burden, this should be a no brainer.  If fully rebated, there is no need to worry about whether the government will put the resulting revenues to good use, but the tax would provide a significant incentive to reduce carbon energy use.  Further, a carbon tax would be more transparent and less vulnerable to rent-seeking and special interest mischief than equivalent cap-and-trade schemes and would also be easier to account for within the global trading system.  All this means a revenue-neutral carbon tax could be easier to enact than cap-and-trade.  And as for a broader theoretical justification, if the global atmosphere is a global commons owned by us all, why should not those who use this commons to dispose of their carbon emissions pay a user fee to compensate those who are affected.

Fourth and finally, it is important to recognize that some degree of warming is already hard-wired into the system.  This means that some degree of adaptation will be necessary.  Yet as above, recognizing the reality of global warming need not justify increased federal control over the private economy.  There are many market-oriented steps that can, and should, be taken to increase the country’s ability to adapt to climate change including, as I’ve argued here and here, increased reliance upon water markets, particularly in the western United States where the effects of climate change on water supplies are likely to be most severe.

JC comment:  So if policies related to climate change do not include increased federal control over the private economy, are they more palatable to libertarians and conservatives?  I suspect that all of these except #3 should be broadly palatable?

775 responses to “Conservative perspectives on climate change

  1. So if policies related to climate change do not include increased federal control over the private economy, are they more palatable to libertarians and conservatives?

    I guess you would need first to be convinced of a plausible problem, and of a plausible solution. Johnathan Adler is, but I bet many are not so much convinced.

    • Libertarians should just give up and emigrate to Somalia, a Libertarian haven, where government is minimal, taxes are very low, and regulations are practically non-existant. I would pay the transportation for one or two Libertarians just to get them to leave the country, providing they promised to never return. I guess coming back just for a visit would be OK.

      • Libertarians are not my problem, but they seem to be yours. I suggest taking it easy.


      • I’ll take it easy when they all emigrate to that Libertarian paradise called Somalia. Then they will be happy, and I won’t have to hear them whine anymore.

      • How intolerant.

      • Wanting Libertarians to be happy is being nice, not being intolerant.

      • OK_Max, take it easy!

        Libertarians do not plan to emigrate, but hopefully they will be tolerant enough to allow you to do so after constitutional government and the integrity of government science has been restored.

        There are encouraging indications today that the editors of Nature and NewScientist are publishing evidence for a sudden increase in high energy radiation from the Sun:

        These experimental observations will:

        a.) Unmask the Iron Sun, Earth’s heat source
        b.) End 66 years of deception (2012-1946)
        c.) Restore integrity to climate science
        d.) Reaffirm 1500-1900 discoveries
        e.) Help end tyranny in science

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

      • tempterrain

        I wouldn’t go along with Max’s suggestion that Libertarians should emigrate to Somalia anymore than I go along with suggestions that all Communists and Socialists should emigrate to North Korea. Everyone is entitled to their opinions no matter where they are born or where they choose to live.

        Max could have made his point in a different and more reasonable way. He could have pointed to a country like Equatorial Guinea which isn’t quite as war ravaged as Somalia, but also has low taxes, and is also virtually debt free. According to Libertarians, EQ should be paradise on Earth. Sweden and some other European countries should, by the same measure, be hell on Earth.

        Obviously their theory doesn’t fit the known facts. Perhaps they’d like to reflect on that the next time they start accusing climate scientists of getting things wrong in similar fashion.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        No Pressure at all, Max_OK

      • Max_OK,

        Max, what are we going to do with you? Always with your “shock” comments and needy, insecure, goofy-kid, center-of-attention demands on the hapless readers of this blog.

        Incidentally, you need to check Somalia out. Hardly a “libertarian” paradise as you apparently imagine. Rather, Somalia is a land that once harbored a complex, healthy, historic society that was torn apart by a series of post-independence, nut-ball, Stalin knock-offs, brainwashed, themselves, in their impressionable adolescence by Western, youth-master lefties (sound familiar Max_OK?), acting out “African” versions of the basic, lethal, clap-trap, Marxist lunacy. In other words, Somalia is a good example of the brave-new-gulag, green-economy, sustainable, cull-crazy, hive-helot unfriendly, commissar-philic social order your greenshirt buddies have in mind for the West–in its post-collapse phase, that is.

        Tell me, Max_OK, doesn’t it bother you that the vast majority of the young men and women your own age are, even as we speak, raising families, starting businesses, leading squads and platoons, practicing their crafts and professions, and, otherwise, engaging in productive, noble labor, while you are still hanging around with kiddie-controllers, like Fan, desperately angling for the approval of a bunch of hive-phonies who regard you as a totally uncool Okie wannabee, leeching off your inheritance, and putting on your teenie-bopper, mouth-off act in the form of non-stop, booger-eater (and, please chew with your mouth closed, O. K.?) comments on this blog?

        I know I’d think less of myself if I were coasting through life on an inherited wealth. But, then, like most everyone else, I’ve had to work for my modest, hard-earned piece-of-the-pie, so maybe I’d see things differently if I had been an over-petted, spoiled-brat rich-kid with an unearned sense of entitlement all my life.

      • Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.

      • Fred Harwood

        Kim, I despair to add to your wit.

      • Mike, I have more years behind me than you may think. If you are from the South, you may know what I mean when I say I used to pull bolls for pocket money to buy Moon Pies and RC Cola, sometimes getting mills for change. But despite being historical, I am young at heart, just like those vampires on True Blood.

        My experience with libertarians has not been positive. I have know three: a nuisance, a crackpot, and a whining loser. I don’t want to know any more.

        Are libertarians better than communists? I don’t know. I have never known a commie. But I suspect both libertarians and communists are long on ideology and short on common sense.

        Perhaps we could set aside one of our States for libertarians and the other for communists ( N. Dakota and S. Dakota ?), so these ideologues could be happy having things the way they want.

      • Max_OK,

        This is a good comment–thanks for it. And may I respectfully suggest this last comment is worthy of someone who as a lad pulled bolls for pocket money and who knows the heavenly delights of a Moon Pie washed down by an RC Cola–yeah buddy!

        Hopefully, your future comments will be of this same fine quality–provocative, partisan, a bit over-the-top, real-human-being-talking, engaging-down-home-pig-headed-unreasonablness (“I’ve known three [libertarians]…I don’t want to know any more”), and free from any booger-eater accretions. I say that, because I very much look forward to more comments like this last from you, Max_OK.

        And, Max_OK, you’re “young at heart”, are you? O. K. I’ve been there, too. And if you’re interested, I can give you some good tips on how not to handle a mid-life crisis. Just give a holler.

      • Thank you, Mike. I think I’m passed the crises, but I could relapse, so I would be interested in hearing how you handle it.

      • Max_OK,

        My offer of advice was mostly meant as a clever quip and I’m not sure that other readers want to see this blog take on a “Dear Abby” character. But I offered and you asked so I’ll share my best thoughts on the subject in an encapsulated form leave it at that.

        How to handle the deal: Keep in mind the whole mid-life crisis business is just like adolescence–crazy thoughts that seem real but are not real and will soon pass unless you take them seriously. And that others, including your nearest and dearest, depend on you to do the right thing.

        How not to handle the deal: Give in to the crazy thoughts.

        My best shot, Max_OK.

      • “Perhaps we could set aside one of our States for libertarians and the other for communists ( N. Dakota and S. Dakota ?), so these ideologues could be happy having things the way they want.”

        How about the Moon?
        Is the Moon a better bargain than N. Dakota and S. Dakota or is it asking too much?
        It seems the Moon is both useless and too precious at the same time for some people.

      • Max_OK | June 3, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply

        “Perhaps we could set aside one of our States for libertarians and the other for communists ( N. Dakota and S. Dakota ?), so these ideologues could be happy having things the way they want.”

        Perhaps if we restore the sovereignty of the states by nullifying the portion of the 14th amendment which makes federal law superior to state law that happen naturally of its own accord more than it happens now. The problem is the nanny states like New York and California which are now suffering the consequences of their myriad social engineering mistakes are able to get their policies and practices codified in federal statutes which are forced down the throats of states which don’t want it.

        Perhaps you could contribute in some way to this group:

        If Texas were to secede from the union then 25 million of the people you want gone would indeed be gone. Texas by itself would be the 15th largest economy in the world with a GDP of $1.3 trillion. Our state consitution requires a balanced budget so we’re not in the pickle that the libtards in New York, California, and other borrow & spend states have gotten themselves and the federal government into. Help us help you to get rid of us. Please.

      • Dave Springer

        Max, how about you contribute to the Republic of Texas movement. Help us secede from the union. We have a balanced budget and $1.3 trillion GDP. Alone we’d be the 15th largest economy in the world. And just think, with Texas gone you’d be instantly rid of 25 million people who loathe the nanny state politics you so adore.

        Thanks in advance for your help.

      • Phil Cartier

        Neither North Dakota or South Dakota would take either group. They have their own politics and are tough enough to re-educate and libertarian or communist emigres.

      • > My experience with libertarians has not been positive. I have know three: a nuisance, a crackpot, and a whining loser. I don’t want to know any more.

        How could it be possible?

      • Fail. Somalia is the opposite of libertarianism which is based on limited gov’t with full respect for Bill of Rights and Rule of Law. Somalia used to be a socialist state before the civil war and is now run by warlords. For a start, see wikipedia for Somalia and libertarianism and also look up classical liberalism while you’re at it. if you don’t understand the terms you are using, you will always end up looking stupid. Hong Kong before the chinese took over would be a better example.

      • Well, there are so darn many kinds of libertarians, it’s confusing. What kind are you?

        I doubt “classic liberalism” covers all the people who say they are libertarians, but if you think so please tell me why?

      • Bill,
        Discussions with Max seem to yield the same sort of outcome as wrestling with a pig.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        You might find “Jeffersonian Democracy” an interesting concept to explore. Perhaps you may find that current republicans and libertarians are closer to “Jeffersonian Democrats” than are many current democrats. The current democrats are closer to the Federalists.
        Word smiths in action: the ideology remains the same; the names change to suit political marketing strategy. :-)

      • > Somalia used to be a socialist state before the civil war […].

        And it also used to be a victim of United States’ War on Terror, or shall we say “rescue mission”:

        And just before that, let’s not forget Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, who was the worse statist one can find:

        > and is now run by warlords.

        Statists at heart, no doubt.


        History is easier to learn when all we need is a dictionary. It also provides an essential comfort, when looking at the facts might entail recognizing some responsibility for one’s country past and currect foreign policy.

      • Max_OK,
        You are starting to let that mask slip a bit.

      • Rob Starkey

        Max- what is it about people who are for individual liberty and a small efficient government that makes you so angy? Have you always been prejudiced?

      • Libertarianism is a very confusing piece of terminology for most Europeans. It patently has nothing to do with liberalism as a political concept, and is defined by what it wants to ban, rather than what it wants to liberate. For instance I understand for instance that most Libertarians want to ban gay marriage, or gays in the armed forces, or seek a greater role for the Christian religion in government, but not for Islam. That seems to indicate a tighter role in governing society, but they say they want less government. It seeks to reduce taxes, but also increase spending on armed forces. Are these idea paradoxical just for Europeans, or do citizens of the USA also find Libertarianism a contradictory concept?
        Our UK Prime minister supports universal healthcare supported by taxes, as well as a welfare state and devolution for smaller countries in the UK. Does that make him a lefty in American terms? It would be good to know as he claims to be a right wing conservative. We think Obama is far to the right of Cameron, but apparently he is thought of as left wing by libertarians. I don’t think anyone outside the US really understands just how weird American politics are and how the labels of libertarian, left and right mean something quite different there than in the rest of the world. I’m beginning to suspect that also relates to proposed actions on climate change.

      • I think you’re a little confused. Banning gay marriage is a conservative position, not a libertarian one. Banning gay marriage would be “conserving” the social institution of marriage. Libertarians, on the other hand, advocate replacing marriage with contracts. My property professor, for example, argued that couples should be able to enter whatever type of marriage they wish to contract for, including no-divorce marriage, or divorce-for-fault-only marriage.

        Support for universal healthcare supported by taxes definately puts the PM on the left side of American politics, but not necessarily the far left. Unfortunately, socialized medicine in some form is supported by only slightly less than half of the population. (It’s hard to give a solid number, because the polls are all so poorly designed–or perhaps I should say they’re well designed for a different purpose.)

        You may be right that American politics is weird, but British politics is weird, too. The UK appears to be in the process of a realignment, similar to the one that happened in the US around 1965-1975. Before then, Republicans in the US were the liberals, according to our contemporary standards, and Democrats were the conservatives, or, at least, conservatives were Democrats. (The party had two important wings–the “solid South,” conservatives who were Democrats in the one-party South, and the New England sort, who eventually morphed into New England liberals.) Today, the Torries appear to have moved to the left of Labor, or, at least, of Tony Blair. It’s not clear whether this is just a temporary, tactical situation, or whether the realignment is going to take. But I’m sure it makes the terms “left” and “right” very hard to apply to politics outside the UK for someone on the inside looking out.

      • Rob Starkey

        You perspective on libertarians in the US is largely in error.
        The libertarian philosophy regarding gays (or anything else) is that if an individual is not harming someone else, then government should not be involved. If you want to be gay be gay. Libertarians do not believe that any particular religion should be emphasized over another one. Libertarians believe in as small and efficient a government as is possible to perform the functions assigned to it by the governed. Libertarians believe in individual rights and individual responsibility. Under a libertarian philosophy, individuals would have the right to buy or not buy insurance, but then they would have the responsibility for the consequences of their decision.

        The libertarian philosophy would not really seem to have a position on the issue of climate change specifically. Libertarians would be concerned about the government getting involved in the issue and telling people how to behave if there was not strong evidence to support the actions of the government and if those actions were thought to be inefficient.

        Vaughan’s statement “If a libertarian feels threatened by a menacing figure following him, the libertarian should be at liberty to shoot the menacer” – is stupid and completely wrong regarding the philosophy.
        Vaughan’s comment – “In the US liberals want personal liberty while handcuffing corporations, conservatives want the opposite, and libertarians want both personal and corporate liberty in the form of minimal government interference in both the boardroom and the bedroom.” Is also wrong.

        At a macro level, liberals in the US generally want government to take care of people and conservatives generally want people to take care of themselves. As an example, liberals favor a role for government in health care where are citizens are guaranteed a minimum level of care. Conservatives, generally believe that choices regarding health care should be left to the individual.

      • Garethman | June 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm
        Libertarianism is a very confusing piece of terminology for most Europeans. It patently has nothing to do with liberalism as a political concept, and is defined by what it wants to ban, rather than what it wants to liberate.
        That’s as wrong as it is possible to be, it is precisely a philosophy of liberation. “Libertarianism” is just the newer word for for liberalism proper, ie an espousal of liberty (freedom from the impositions of others (especially government), coined I think by John Stuart Mill).
        The problem is, “liberalism” has often been corrupted to mean the opposite of liberty – especially in the US – hence the switch to a different word.

      • I would agree with this. If a libertarian feels threatened by a menacing figure following him, the libertarian should be at liberty to shoot the menacer. This point of view is particularly popular in Florida.

        Corollary: pay attention to your appearance when following a libertarian. Certainly don’t look menacing in any way if you plan on getting home safely.

      • Pratt, your logic… It’s something like, men would live as long as women if they would sit down to pee.

      • Vaughan,

        Over in the USA, “menacing” is also a legal term and might mean something other than what you might think it does.

      • Vaughan Pratt | June 6, 2012 at 1:16 am
        If a libertarian feels threatened by a menacing figure following him, the libertarian should be at liberty to shoot the menacer.

        Nonsense of truly staggering proportions. Any right of self-defence would need to meet basic demands of reasonableness, in libertarian thought exactly as in any commonsense approach.

      • Any right of self-defence would need to meet basic demands of reasonableness

        Quite right. The more boring way of making my point would have been to point out that this needed to be added to your definition of libertarianism as the espousal of liberty. The US Libertarian Party says this by advocating a government “limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.”

        I put it confrontationally on the theory that people don’t pay attention to boring. At least that’s my (charitable?) interpretation of the high level of confrontation on this blog, which Judy doesn’t police much. :)

        “liberalism” has often been corrupted to mean the opposite of liberty

        Yes but no more or less than “conservatism.” In the US liberals want personal liberty while handcuffing corporations, conservatives want the opposite, and libertarians want both personal and corporate liberty in the form of minimal government interference in both the boardroom and the bedroom.

      • Rob Starkey

        Stated another way, Vaughan feels it is acceptable to be dishonest if it helps to make a dramatic point???

      • Rob, I’ve been having more difficulty than usual following your logic. How have you been able to interpret “confrontational” as “dishonest?” What is dishonest about my confronting you? Calling me a liar like that is a lot more confrontational than anything I’ve done.

      • Rob Starkey


        Imo you have intentionally wrongly characterized a libertarian’s views in order to make them seem socially unacceptable. You are to smart a guy to not know that what you wrote was inaccurate and biased

      • “In the US liberals want personal liberty while handcuffing corporations, conservatives want the opposite, and libertarians want both personal and corporate liberty in the form of minimal government interference in both the boardroom and the bedroom.”

        I think a conservative might say, corporations are people.
        There is no rational reason to think there is much difference
        between corporations, and a Co-op, or a union.
        The issue or significance of corporations is it is a myth of the Left.
        It would like if one had a myth about the evils of your left foot,
        and so one is imagining your opponents [or non-believers] have some sort of opinion about the evilness or goodness of the left foot.
        What others thinks about the left foot is a measurement of
        other people’s beliefs.
        In other words, it’s irrelevant for people not involved
        in the wacky Marxist theology.

        I don’t care about handcuffing corporations [If bought the ideology you mean, big corporations].
        Being concerned about big corporations is distraction, what far more relevant is small corporation or small business- they are 90% of the economic activity of this nation.
        And the idea that dems or reps are restraining the people who lobby them and give them money for their campaigns is foolish.
        It’s as retarded as believing Warren Buffett would like to pay more taxes.
        It’s a folly, as his business is largely about a means of not paying taxes. His business has been “encouraged” by laws passed by the government.

        The game is quite simple, Big corporation mainly want limit their competition, they do this by having laws passed which could said to handcuff them. Which actually inhibits their potential competition- those not lobbying and getting the laws written the way they want them to be written.
        If law hurts the lobbist’s corporation, it’s going to hurts their competition worse- and so it’s a win.
        What terrifies them the most, isn’t not government, it’s competition of a free market.

      • Not sure I agree with all that. My impression has been that corporations have two main objections to government: regulations and taxes.

      • My impression has been that corporations have two main objections to government: regulations and taxes.

        Only those that drag themselves down. They positively welcome those that drag other businesses down – both direct and indirect competitors – since this will make them relatively more attractive to consumers.

      • They positively welcome those that drag other businesses down

        Certainly. I was referring to the other businesses. If I’m one of those rare corporations that was actually protected by some regulation I will immediately inquire (in the unlikely event that I don’t already know) as to which PAC I should be sending my Protection Assurance Contribution to. (Note to self: add this acronym to Wikipedia.)

      • one of those rare corporations that was actually protected by some regulation

        It’s far from rare. As alluded to by gbaikie, large business is inherently better able to withstand the damage from taxes and regulation than is small business. Which is why they are often found instigating and supporting such measures. Part of all this being professional licensure legislation.

      • men would live as long as women if they would sit down to pee.

        Certainly we’d all be very surprised if a study of the question showed it to be the case. We would then divide into two groups, those who looked for possible explanations (maybe sitting down has a calming influence that reduces stress) and those with a deep mistrust of studies who prefer to stick with their intuition.

        We see this with global warming. If asked which would add more heat overall to the planet, the direct thermal impact of combustion or its byproduct CO2, one only has to put one’s hand (briefly!) on one’s car engine after returning home to conclude that there’s no conceivable way an invisible trace gas could add more heat.

        But then a scientist sits down (seems to be a recurring theme here) and calculates which is more. The scientific world, along with the public, is rocked by her announcement that the CO2 adds ten times as much heat to the planet as the combustion.

        The world then divides into three groups, those who accept the result, those who check the math for themselves, and the skeptics who reject the result out of hand as obviously delusional.

        The skeptics however keep an eye on the checkers. They notice that the checkers can’t seem to agree, some of them finding it only adds eight times as much and some twelve. “Aha,” say the skeptics, “no agreement on a value, clearly these people don’t know what they’re talking about.”

      • Ah yes Vaughan Pratt, the old ‘science vs the skeptics’ pitch, the rabble setting on the noble and educated priests using pitchforks etc.
        Deftly skipping the bits about root and branch corruption of climate science via its political funding, and a lack of anything beyond and as-yet untestable hypothesis of CAGW.

      • Somalia is in anarchy. If a Libertarian wanted to go to Somalia he would be an Anarchist, not a Libertarian. This is a typical false argument that takes up a lot of space. This is why Politics is a bunch of hot air to distract us idiots while they perpetually elect themselves and all become millionaires on our backs.

        Take a careful look at this absurd conversation.

      • This is a typical false argument that takes up a lot of space.

        I hear you. It’s like the people who eat regularly at McDonalds and then sit in the window and aisle seat on each side of you and engage you in false arguments. The space it takes up!

  2. Dr. Judy
    I have been watching all thid crap for about 8 years and all I as a tax payer with a normal job have to say is the horse is ffing dead move on Even me with just my mitrek got the math was not right yaa no mwp or lia it is not.that you fools didn’t put the message right some of you fffing LIED and still are

  3. I thought the Ben Santer rewrite was common knowledge.

    just a quick google finds dozens of references.

      • Thanks, Barry Woods and lolwot for links to the controversy regarding Ben Santer. Those are enlightening documents.

        In the heat of debate, it is difficult to avoid the temptation to demonize our opponent. That would delay resolution, and society desperately needs for the debate over AGW to be resolved peacefully asap.

        I blindly accepted propaganda during the Second World War when I was in the first and second grades and believed that our opponents from Germany, Japan and Italy were evil and mean.

        With that said, based on conflicting conclusions from two respected scientists that were on opposing sides during the Second World War:

        1. Sir Fred Hoyle – British astronomer and astrophysicist
        2. Professor P. K. Kuroda – Japanese/American nuclear geochemist

        I have concluded that AGW proponents are unwittingly furthering the advancement of a fascist Orwellian society that neither they, nor the designers of this plan intended when in 1945 when it was adopted to save the world from nuclear war.

        The basis for this conclusion is posted – together with references to the papers by Hoyle and Kuroda – here:

    • The part with the Nature article was news to me

      • This issue was covered in detail by Steven McIntyre. I bet he would be happy direct you to the most relevant threads on his cite.

  4. Booker in the Telegrapgh (At the time of climategate)
    “but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC’s 1995 report;”

    • “”Well of course the Saudi’s immediately raise their hands and Al-Saban starts in: this is unacceptable to us.”

      3:15 “So Ben had the temerity, this mere scientist to say: “But, Sir your delegation made the most noise and you did not even have anyone at the group.
      And El-Saban slams his fist on the table and (exclaims): I’m a representative of a sovereign country, you’re just a scientist, you can not talk to me like that and we’re a small delegation, we didn’t have time!””

  5. “This article paints a disturbing picture. I would like to hear a defense/critique from IPCC principals.”

    Yes indeed. So would we all. Of course they don’t dare. There’s no doubt in my mind that there are a whole lot of climate scientists who no longer sleep very well. I

    • Of course they don’t dare.

      Or more likely don’t care. You policy wonks live in a world so far removed from the actual science that the scientists wouldn’t know where to begin in engaging with the policy wonks.

      • Rob Starkey

        And the theoritical science wonks are so far removed from what it takes to get policies implemented worldwide to be laughable

      • So would there be any point in getting them together to sort out their differences? Or do you feel that would be a lost cause from the outset?

  6. Oh dear- what is it with this “interest” in every anti-IPCC article by people who don’t matter? Just come out already and say how you feel.

    The Seitz slander against Ben Santer’s manipulation of the IPCC process has been refuted several times. It’s not hard stuff to find, it’s old news, and I doubt anyone involved is going to critique/defend it anymore.

    • People who don’t matter? You don’t see something askew in that characterization?

      • No, they don’t matter. Why does the IPCC need to answer “Tony Thomas” from The Quadrant? Seitz was not involved with the IPCC process, and never tried to familiarize himself with the process which is why he got confused. Anyone even vaguely familiar with how IPCC operates would know that a single-person re-write is simply not possible. If I ever criticized the inner workings of a new astrophysics report on black holes that I didn’t take part in, didn’t really bother to research, I hope those people wouldn’t take the time to respond to me either.

        But it makes for good fodder amongst the tinfoil hat crowd, and is convincing rhetoric aimed at the lay audience, so it will be said anyway.

      • Steven Mosher

        Simple; provide the orginal document with change bars.
        You know, traceability.

        For example. In Ar4 chapter 3 either Trenberth or Jones inserted a sentence that made up facts not supported in the literature.
        In Ar5 drafts this has been acknowledged and fixed. correcting the record is good.
        However, when Muir russel looked into the matter they could not determine whether jones was the author or trenberth. So they cleared Jones.
        Simply, the process of writing for the IPCC does not create a traceable document. lack of traceability means a lack of accountability.
        A system that is not accountable will only change or improve if it is forced to by a crisis. In an unaccountable system sometimes the “guilty” go free
        and the innocent get slammed. We can do better.

        The past is the past. I see no point in slamming santer or Jones. What i do see is a system that needs to be improved. we KNOW exactly how to improve it, but inertia is bitch. It would be a good thing to have a more traceable process. That would go some way toward avoiding these questions of who wrote what and why.

      • Fred Harwood

        You appear to be generous to a fault.

      • Chris Colose
        With no accountability, a few people can matter a lot.
        e.g., Ross McKitrick documents in detail:
        What is Wrong with the IPCC? Proposals for a Radical Reform

      • Why people what matters wonder why Chris Colose natters.

      • Latimer Alder

        @chris colose

        I cannot distinguish your remarks from

        ‘Trust the IPCC. They are Climate Scientists’

        But unfortunately, I don’t. Every time we look under a stone we find sharp practice and dodgy dealing.

        If you guys really wanted us to trust you, you would have a cultural fetish about openness and transparency and integrity in everything we do. Instead we see the exact opposite. A fetish for gaming the literature, groupthink, secrecy and sliminess.

        That none of you even seem to recognise that these tendencies exist and/or is wrong brings your whole field into well-deserved disrepute. People acting in such a way in reputable professions would be turfed out for gross misconduct or equivalent.

        Seems to me it is high time that IPCC did a bit of navel gazing and acknowledged its many structural, cultural and individual failings rather than insouciantly pretending that it is a blameless and perfect institution whose members are and have been whiter than white throughout.

      • “Seems to me it is high time that IPCC did a bit of navel gazing and acknowledged its many structural, cultural and individual failings rather than insouciantly pretending that it is a blameless and perfect institution whose members are and have been whiter than white throughout.”

        That would be rational.
        But these people are rats rewarded every time they hear the bell,
        and it’s ringing constantly in their ears.
        There little chance, no matter what they do, that are not going to get rewarded.
        And the only mistake they could make, and what they would regard as an “unnecessary error”, is ever publicly admitted they made any mistake in judgement of any kind what so ever- that’s is what stupid losers do, and they are much smarter than that.
        But they will toss anyone under the bus, if they have to. So you might get
        someone taking it for the team.
        But you be distracted by it if thought this was taking any responsibility.

      • Michael Hart

        Perhaps you’d like to give us a complete list of “people who don’t matter”?

        I presume you also think their money and their livelihoods don’t matter either if the IPCC enables others to ride rough-shod over what they DO think matters?

      • Latimer Alder

        I’d hazard a guess that in Chris Colose’s incestuous and closed world ‘people who don’t matter’ are ‘Anybody who doesn’t have a PhD in Radiative Physics’

        Here’s a (short) list of those who don’t matter:

        ‘Little people’
        ‘Anyone who has not been at least a Lead Author in the IPCC’
        ‘People who refuse to trust Climate Scientists’
        ‘Anthony Watts’
        ‘Steve McIntyre’
        ‘Anybody who did not come in the top 5% in the Smug and Arrogant Class (Advanced Study)’

        etc etc

        Actually its probably shorter to write the list of ones who do matter

        ‘All those nice guys I meet at IPCC conferences’
        ‘Gavin, Mikey, James and The Gang’
        ‘My Mom, my Family and My Kids’
        ‘The guy who gives me my grant’
        ‘Peter Gleick’
        ‘James Hansen’

      • Hardly any of the many thousands of attendees at geophysical conferences matter to those policy wonks who are convinced that global warming is nothing but a hoax and a scare tactic. Geophysicists are nothing but minions of The Machine who are either paid or enslaved by it. Those policy wonks believe the world would be a far better place once it has been cleansed of those evil geophysicists.

      • BatedBreath

        Vaughn = where exactly are all these policy wonks who are allegedly convinced CAGW is a hyped-up scare tactic? Everywhere I look, all the policy I see is carbon taxes, wind and solar subsidies, CO2 being labelled a pollutant, the alarmist summary for policymakers in the IPCC report, etc.

      • You come across as a policy wonk yourself when you say that.

    • The late John Daly had this to say..

      “So, did Santer et al really discover a “discernible human influence on global climate” ? Hardly. The obvious intent inherent in the paper’s title, mounting external pressures for some unambiguous sign of human climatic impact, and the choice of a time period which just happened to show a warming phase in an otherwise neutral longer-term record, indicates only that there is today “a discernible human influence on global climate change science”.

      Good article, about that paper ..

      “When the full available time period of radio sonde data is shown (Nature, vol.384, 12 Dec 96, p522) we see that the warming indicated in Santer’s version is just a product of the dates chosen. The full time period shows little change at all to the data over a longer 38-year time period extending both before Santer et al”s start year, and extending after their end year.”

      Remind me what Santer wanted to do to John Daly…..

    • Chris,
      You don’t matter. Get lost.
      Oh, never mind: you have been lost for quite awhile. Better yet, stick around and do your darndest. Every arrogant, deceptive witless post you write yields more skeptics.

    • Dave Springer

      Did Santer threaten to beat the crap out of you if you didn’t fawn over him like a schoolgirl?

      • Looks like we have a way of judging whether proposition P is true. If a supporter of P threatens to beat the crap out of someone, then P must be false.

        Bet Aristotle didn’t think of that rule of inference.

  7. The problem of a revenue neutral carbon tax is an interesting idea but one that just won’t be workable. Let’s forget the fact that anytime you pass money through the government’s fingers, you don’t get as much back as you put in. With deficits running 40% of the Federal budget, neutrality in a carbon tax is pure fantacy. However, if by some miracleyou could make a carbon tax revenue neutral on what basis would you do that. I would supect that the energy intensity of living in a bungalo in Laguna Beach, CA might be much lower than the carbon intensity of living on a working farm in Minnesota. Does each person get a standard allocation of carbon taxes to be rebated or does it take into consideration location and occupation? I don’t see any way that even if you could make a revenue neutral carbon tax that there would be some striking winners and losers in the game with a boat load of unintended consequences. Personnaly, I think the free market does a much better job of sorting this out than the government.

    • “Let’s forget the fact that anytime you pass money through the government’s fingers, you don’t get as much back as you put in.”

      That notion might seem hilarious to millions drawing Social Security.

      • I want some of what you’re on.

      • Not salt, scientists say…

        this is what we all need to do; or else?

      • Sometime in 2019, an article/opinion in New York Times.

        Global Climate, We Misjudged You

      • Global Climate, We Misjudged You

        Edim, please clarify whether your “we” is the affirmers or deniers of global warming.

      • NY Times opinion writers and consensus scientists.

        That’s deniers of global warming (and cooling) and affirmers of the Orwellian Global Warming.

      • NY Times opinion writers and consensus scientists.

        Presumably by “consensus scientist” you mean those climate scientists that don’t regularly attend conferences on geophysics. At the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December I don’t recall meeting a single scientist claiming that the contribution of CO2 to the last half century’s temperature rise was insignificant. The most extreme position in that regard seemed to be that of the small number of professional agnostics like Judy who in the spirit of Descartes (question everything) question the degree of significance.

      • Max doesn’t seem to know that the current retirees are living off my and my working peers tax money. Poor kid. If he has a job (?), he is paying for them, too. The politicians raided that piggy bank long ago and replaced the money with IOUs.

      • Ponzi to the Max. Hokey, dokey, done.

      • Max_OK

        A tip for you:

        Do a discounted cash flow on the US Social Security system taking an “average” worker who worked from age 22 or so to age 65, paying in the maximum contribution and then drawing a full retirement benefit for 15 years or so until passing away at the current US life expectancy age of around 80.

        Tell me what discount rate you come up with.


      • My God, Max_ not OK , why in hell don’t you read what I wrote before cranking up your brain.

        I said to millions DRAWING Social Security. Drawing it NOW. Millions will get more than they put in.

        Of course younger workers are subsidizing the retirement of current retirees and will be for some time, but this demographic problem obviously will eventually self-correct, unless everyone is like me and lives for ever.

        Is this fair to younger workers? I think so. After all, those retirees did pay for the schools, roads, and other public things younger people use. And some served our country in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. Moreover, the younger workers will inherit what the retirees leave.

      • Don Monfort

        You really have no clue, maxie_okie. i wonder why these people waste their on your foolishness. I guess they miss little josh.

      • Dave Springer

        I agree that contractual obligations should be honored. Social Security was supposed to be a trust fund. It was looted by the federal government as soon as they discovered they could remove cash from it and leave an IOU in its place.

        Speaking of those who served their country and keeping promises to them… I voluntarily joined the Marine Corps in the Viet Nam era at age 17, served four years, and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. The federal government renigged on a promise made to me that I’d have free access to veteran’s health care for the rest of my life if I wanted it. I’m barred from the door because veterans are now means-tested and if they earn 10% above poverty level they’er on their own and have to purchase their health care on the private market or go without. Why don’t you see if you can do something about that. Thanks in advance.

      • What is cash?

        How does it differ from government IOU?

        How can US government save large sums of money?

        The above questions may appear stupid or nit-picking, but they refer to real issues. It’s important that governments take long term economic sustainability seriously, but the choices are different from those confronting individuals or private companies.

      • “Is this fair to younger workers? I think so.” Spoken like a true Greek, Californian, Spaniard or Illinoisan.

        Why is it permissible for this generation’s lazy, greedy baby boomers to pile trillions of dollars of debt on their children and grand children?

        Why because they voted to tax other people to pay for the schooling of their own children, their bloated public service pensions and healthcare, and roads.

        Every generation in history has provided for its children. The self obsessed, ravenous materialists of the western baby boom generation are the first, however, to learn that they can finance their profligacy now with the bankruptcy of their descendants.

        The greed and obliviousness of this comment is just mind boggling.

      • I like to get libertarians talking about Social Security because it exposes their callous disregard for elderly and disabled Americans.

        It should come as no surprise that sociopaths wouldn’t hesitate to throw grandma under the bus.

      • “I like to get libertarians talking about Social Security because it exposes their callous disregard for elderly and disabled Americans. ”

        Max! I’m impressed. You are showing the sort of intelligence and creativity that makes for a great Dimowit propagandist!

      • Dave Springer

        Pekka Pirilä | June 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

        “What is cash? How does it differ from government IOU?”

        Try an experiment to determine the difference.

        Instead of paying your taxes in hard currency pay them with an IOU.

        Let us know the results.

      • Cash is nothing else than an IOU.

        Not every IOU is cash, but cash is always an IOU.

      • Max_OK, typically it takes $1.20-1.25 in taxation to provide a dollar in benefits from government. As for SS recipients “getting back what they put in,” in Australia in 2003-04 (latest formal data; worse since then), those in the lowest quintile of private income paid 5.6% of taxes and received 41.1% of benefits; the highest quintile paid 46.7%, received 9.0%.

      • Faustino, Social Security’s Administrative costs are less than 1 percent (0.9) of it’s expenditures.

      • Rob Starkey

        Max– so now you seem to be shown to be a prejudiced individual who knows little about economics. Social security in the US is little more that a pyrimid scheme and is not self funded.

      • You do understand the fact that there exist some winners does not show that the system produces net value, right? For example, you might just as well pointed out that some people win the government lotteries, right? But that wouldn’t have suggested that the government was doing something valuable, would it?

        Sure, social security looks good to those currently getting a check but not currently putting any money in. It looks a lot worse to those putting money in who don’t expect to ever get a check. (My favorite factoid: A higher percentage of 30-somethings believe in UFOs than beleive they’ll ever get a social security check.)

    • A revenue neutral tax is not a cost free tax. A carbon tax may be revenue neutral for the govt while doing massive damage to the economy. Think of how so many regulations can be ‘revenue neutral’ to the govt and yet do tremendous damage to the economy.

      • Exactly! The value of the regulation has to outweigh the transaction costs. That includes the inevitable corruption and favoritism.

        Also, while “government revenue” and “value” are two totally different ideas, you need to pay attention to the revenue currently paid by businesses that will be forced out of business. There is no reason to assume that the carbon tax would even generate any net revenue to be rebated. The laffer curve will kill you when your tax rates are no longer close to zero.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Even a “revenue neutral” carbon tax is an economic disaster; the government gets to decide who gets how much. The government’s track record is not good.

      A comparison of the various “Carbon Taxes” (including Hansen’s “Tax and Dividend”) starts here:

      The baseline method is the “Turnover Tax” used to control demand in the former Soviet Union: (et seq.)
      It did not work except for the bureaucrats.

      The resulting “Command Economy” is here:
      And confirmed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson here:
      Garrett, Major, and AP. “Administration Warns of ‘Command-and-Control’ Regulation Over Emissions.” News., December 9, 2009.

      Command regulation of fossil fuels controls about 70% of the U.S. energy supply according to input-output tables of the United States. This effectively controls the means of production.

      From Global Warming and Weather Discussion:
      Topic: The Politics of “AGW” (Read 51,173 times) (of 130)

      • Rob Starkey

        A revenue neutral carbon tax is not necessarily an economic disaster. It depends on the details of how it is implemented and where it is implemented.

        As an example, it would be possible to implement a fuel tax (I am not recommending this, but writing that it would work efficiently) while at the same time implementing a change to tax rates so that net revenue would not be impacted. This would not involve any rebates and it would therefore be an efficient method for collecting revenue.

        How much would such a tax reduce consumption of fossil fuels and thereby reduce CO2 emissions. I would estimate that such a tax would do little to reduce consumption in the US, but it might have some impact. The question is would such a tax if implemented in the US have an impact that would even be noticed in the US’s overall CO2 emissions and how much would the overall worldwide concentration of CO2 be impacted. Imo, such a tax would have a VERY minimal impact on worldwide CO2.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Rob Starkey: Agreed as to the impact on worldwide CO2 levels. However, the track record of the political/regulatory class is one of favoritism, quid-pro-quo (including authority, status and money) and punishment of “enemies”.
        The purpose of the Constitution, its enumerated powers and its prohibitions is to limit if not forestall such self-serving behavior. (The phrase “public servant” has fallen into disuse.)
        Case in point: Russell, George. “EXCLUSIVE: EPA Ponders Expanded Regulatory Power In Name of ‘Sustainable Development’.”, December 19, 2011.

      • Rob Starkey

        I agree that under the current administration that the EPA has performed poorly and become more poltical

  8. When you tax carbon, you tax energy; you price us out of the world market. Europe taxes energy, China does not. When you buy a produce, look to see if it came from Europe or China. The world says Europe must tax energy. China is still developing and it that is not required there. Europe is no longer a competitor, China is, we must be a competitor, and China knows what will win.

    • Germany priced itself out of the world market with a carbon tax, yet has a balance of payments surplus with China. We got to find out how they do that.

      • It may be that Germany exports relatively small quantities of very high value products to China, whilst in return China exports massive quantities of very low value back.
        For example, China apparently now has a rapidly increasing wealthy middle class, who wouldn’t be seen dead driving anything less than a BMW, Audi, VW etc.

      • Max_OK

        Germany’s positive balance of payments with China has nothing to do with its carbon tax, and the USA negative balance of payments with China has nothing to do with the fact that the USA does not have a carbon tax.

        Germany is selling a lot of technology to China. Germany also makes and exports products of excellent quality, which affluent Chinese want to purchase, even if they are much more expensive than locally produced copies.


      • Oh, so you are saying the Germans are smarter than us.
        If they are smarter and have a carbon tax, we should have a carbon tax to show we are smart too, a revenue neutral carbon tax.

        GO GREEN !

      • In addition, Germany’s exchange rate is far lower than it would be with an independent currency, because of being in the mostly dysfunctional euro zone.

      • Dave Springer


        China manipulates (undervalues) its currency against the dollar so that Chinese goods are always less expensive than US goods. This is what causes the perpetual trade imbalance. China never did this against the deutchmark or the euro.

    • So it has nothing to do with $2-10 a day wages for factory workers?
      China is not going to do anything that will put a brake on their industrial development so long as their living standard is 1/10 that of the West, or whatever it is, so they will use dirty coal if they have to. Similarly for India. It is a a poor excuse for the US sitting on its hands. I believe the good news is that they both are so densely populated that they won’t be able to approach the West’s living standard (which will necessitate approaching our per-capita level of carbon emission) without more terrible and deadly pollution than they already have, so they will have that incentive in time; also they can’t do it without doubling world demand, which means that as they become anywhere near per capita parity with the west, the demand for hydrocarbons will drastically increase, and between that and increasing cost-efficiency of renewables, the latter will be far more marketable, but by that time, I think we’ll have created quite a disaster.

      • Dave Springer

        Hal Morris | June 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply

        “So it has nothing to do with $2-10 a day wages for factory workers?”

        That’s correct. It has to do with China keeping its currency undervalued against the dollar. If this wasn’t done then the same Chinese juan that is worth USD $0.15 today would probably be worth USD $1.50 and that $2-10 a day would become USD $20-100 per day.

        I have a number of friends who’ve bailed out of the U.S. for countries like China where you can live like a king on U.S. poverty-level income. Island nations like the Philipines are very popular and Mexico is a good choice if you want to be closer to friends and family back home.

      • Empires come and go.

    • What Europe says and what it does are 2 different things. Additionally Germany pays no carbon tax — they took in East Germany under their wing remember? For every dirty power plant do you replace they actually get the credit and you would be paying for that credit if Bush had not said fogetaboutit

  9. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    A great deal of “heat” regarding climate-change is connected with the following all-too-human reasoning:

    If  anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is real and serious,
    Then  then severe challenges will arise for:
          • political ideology, and/or
          • economic ideology, and/or
          • religious ideology.
    Therefore  AGW is either not real or not serious.

    Back in the year 2000, in an open letter that was widely distributed, and is still hosted on NASA’s GISS website, James Hansen admirably summed-up an ethical scientific code-of-conduct toward this reality:

    The bottom line  “Our aim is to produce the most objective quantitative analysis that we can. In the end, that is likely to serve the public best. … We are already well into the planetary experiment that we are conducting. How it proceeds will be determined by actions and policies occurring on decadal time scales, and these should and will be determined by the people and their representatives. Our job is to provide information that can help them to make wise decisions.”

    Please let me say that today (twelve years later), we can appreciate that Hansen’s year-2000 open-letter policy was foresighted and ethically sound.

    A comedic afterthought: Anthony Watts’s WUWT is presently discussing the same scientific work that James Hansen described in year-2000 open letter, and yet Anthony himself is personally [snip]’ing all WUWTreferences to Hansen’s letter … in the internet era, such suppressive policies as WUWT‘s are of course utterly futile!   :)

    Conclusion: Much public discourse that purportedly concerns a skeptical review of climate-change science, has as its main motivating objective, the suppression of reasoned, comparative analysis of political, economic, and religious ideologies. These suppressive attempts are failing, and that’s good.

    • Michael Larkin

      What you mean, AFOMD (the troll formerly known as “a physicist”, apparently), is that he snipped ONE posting, namely yours, because you are the said troll. Check it out. One snip in the whole thread so far, and that’s of your post. Use your browser search facility.

      • Yup. That’s Johnny.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Michael Larkin, there’s zero factual dispute that James Hansen carefully did each of the following:

        • published a peer-reviewed article in 2000,
        • gave newspaper interviews on that article, and
        • gave public lectures on it, and
        • published open letters on it, and that
        • NASA maintains a web page on it even now.

        Moreover, Hansen’s article, titled “Global warming in the twenty-first century: an alternative scenario” has remained freely available for public viewing even to the present day.

        So the main mystery is very simple: Why are skeptical sites like WUWT suddenly headlining this decade-old article as a big-red-letter “Shocker“?

        And why are commenters like Anthony Watts asserting — with zero factual basis — that Hansen’s article has been “buried” … when more than 500 subsequent articles have cited it?   :)

        Not that there’s any objection … `cuz both the science and the ethics of Hansen’s article have held up admirably, eh?

        The more citizen who read Hansen’s article, and his open letter commenting upon it, the better!

        The only real “shocker” is that the editorial folks at WUWT (along with many other conservative websites) are so mind-bogglingly slow to assimilate twelve-year-old research results!

        WUWT, indeed!   :)

        Is there anyone here on Climate Etc. who understands these skeptical thought processes and editorial practices?

      • “So the main mystery is very simple: Why are skeptical sites like WUWT suddenly headlining this decade-old article as a big-red-letter “Shocker“?”

        Because they don’t understand the science. We see it time and time again that skeptics have an infantile grasp of climate science. Ignorance begets confusions begets “shockers” at every turn.

        Blogs like WUWT practice cargo cult science reporting. They go through the motions of science reporting, but winging it won’t make it happen. Actual science reporting requires understanding the subject, so that new information can be seen in light of the foundations of the subject. Without understanding those foundations things won’t make sense.

        On any other subject a source like that can’t exist. Readers who would be interested in the science would abandon it in droves. But there are enough dunderheads who are interested in politics not science on this subject.

      • ……Actual science reporting requires understanding the subject, so that new information can be seen in light of the foundations of the subject. Without understanding those foundations things won’t make sense…….

        WUWT is a science blog. It’s not science reporting.
        Rather it’s a blog, the person post things that he/she finds interesting.
        Anthony Watts just happens to be interested in climate science as well as other thing, hence it’s a science blog. There things like law blogs,
        or egyptian political blogs, etc.

        It seems if going to say WUWT is bad, one would at same time, have some clue of what is better.
        I like WUWT and this blog, Climate Etc.
        But I would be interested if there were better ones, got any suggestion?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        *MORE* asks: “So the main mystery is very simple: Why are skeptical sites like WUWT suddenly headlining this decade-old article as a big-red-letter “Shocker“?”

        lolwot answers: “Because they don’t understand the science.”

        Lolwot, please allow me to disagree.

        Anthony Watts is a reasonably sharp person, and there’s little doubt that he could understand climate-change science … but he has little motivation to do so, because his WUWT readers/sponsors don’t particularly want to understand the science.

        Seldom, though, has WUWT / Anthony scored an “own goal” as dramatic as the assertion that this 12-year-old paper of Hansen’s was “buried.”

        The facts have turned out to be quite the opposite: Hansen and his colleagues did all they could to publicize this work, and now WUWT / Anthony is helping to publicize it further.

        The upshot is that Hansen and his colleagues look pretty good; whereas skeptical sites like WUWT look careless and/or short-sighted (at best).

      • Fan of more BS – more BS from you, eh?

      • Your powers of comprehension could use a bit of tuning.

        The WUWT post concerned Watt’s finding the paper for the first time and noting the differences between its conclusions and statements by Dr Hansen since. I believe the claim of the paper being buried is yours, not Watts. He noted that Hansen does not include a link to it.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Timg, both of your statements are incorrect:

        • The lead WUWT paragraph states “published in 2000, but long since buried” (emphasis Anthony’s).

        • Hansen includes the article in his on-line publication list.

        • The article itself has been cited more than 500 times by subsequent articles.

        That’s why the WUWT / Anthony Watts obsession with this decade-old Hansen article seems inexplicable, to me and many.

        Because it’s a reasonably good article, eh?

      • More,

        I’ll go back and read it again, but I think you are picking nits. I saw Watt’s main point as saying Hansen is on record for identifying elements impacting climate more so than CO2, which does not jive with many of his more current statements. That is a worthwhile observation to me. And I think it is a valid question to ask what has since changed since 2000.

    • Steven Mosher


      If Hansen thought it was his ethical obligation to produce the most objective view of things that could be offered, they why did he

      1. Not join our fight for archiving paleo data that could hold the key
      to ansers about sensitivity?
      2. Not join our fight to get raw data released from CRU
      3. Fight the release of his own code
      4. remain silent about hide the decline

      Instead of exerting his influence on other scientists to hold them to the highest possible standards, he chose to exert his establish his influence in politics.
      That’s his right, but he has squandered a great opportunity to take a strong stand within his own community where his voice has real power. He had an opportunity to SHOW us what he meant by an ethical obligation to the highest levels of objectivity, instead he chose to tell us what he thought about economics, taxes, and politics.

      • steven mosher

        Along the way Hansen morphed from being a climate scientist to becoming a CAGW activist.

        A scientist should remain objective and always open to new ideas or challenges to the prevailing paradigm.

        An activist will do anything to support his cause and paradigm.


      • Sorry that Hansen didn’t fall in behind you.

        I’m sure he’ll get over it.

      • Steven Mosher

        I conclude that he was not serious about his ethical commitment to producing the most objective results. When faced with a clear choice to stand up for best practices or remain silent, he remained silent. He had an opportunity to do something worthwhile for his grand childrens future. Instead he squandered the opportunity.

      • Is there any chnce you are overestimating the importance of this?


      • “Is there any chance you are overestimating the importance of this?


        You mean Hansen just wanted a few million dollars and took whatever
        he considered the easiest way there?

      • Steven Mosher

        Hansen said it was important. I am holding him to HIS word.
        Am i over estimating it’s importance? no I’m using the precautionary principle. The downside for standing up more the most objective results is NIL. The upside is non nil.
        The risk in not standing up is that people will lose trust, however slight that probability is the benefits are all to the upside.
        He had nothing to lose and much to gain. However, he calculated that focusing on politics was a better use of his power. That backfired and he is responsible for the sour opinion many have of climate scientists.
        Oppenheimer himself said there was a risk in becoming political. We are stymied by polarization. Hansen didnt help matters, he increased the polarization when he had a clear choice to act otherwise

      • While Michael may not find much importance in ethical behavior, some of the rest of us do.

        Manaker has it correct – Dr Hansen is an activist. That is his right. But it is also my right to question his motivations when he enters into any scientific discourse. Particularly when environmental activists have established such an impressive track record on being loose with the science.

      • We are stymied, moshe, not from polarization, but because the policy cart got before the science horse. Our friend Jim Hansen, in concert with a few other notables, got this cart before the horse. Unless we investigate how this magic trick happened we’ll be susceptible again to the same sort of mishigas.

        So name names, and shame those who deserve it. That’s probably harder to do, though, than figure out climate. Both worth doing, for sure.

      • Hi Steven
        A bit disappointed not to see kind of your short razor sharp scrutiny of the Willis’ new analysis on WUWT, but even silence could be very telling. I got some new stuff coming soon, good for your ‘clay pidgin shoot’ practice.

    • Fan of More BS – Watt’s has made the article stay at the top of his site. How in the world do you take that as “[snip]‘ing all WUWTreferences to Hansen’s letter??” The letter is in the comments. I think you are the comedic afterthought, actually.

    • Dave Springer

      re Hansen’s older climate research being pointed out at WUWT

      Hell I wrote a long article covering that way back in 2007 when I found Hansen’s findings that black carbon contributed up to 50% of global warming had been left out of the IPCC report to policy makers.

      See here (Dave S. is me)…

      In that article you’ll also find some quaint screenshots of NASA data on global temperatures that were, very shortly after I published them, adjusted out of existence. It was plain in 2007 from NASA satellite data that global warming had halted and black carbon was causing regional heating in high northern latitudes.

      Watch this situation develop. The “back radiation” causes 33K bump in earth equilibrium temp gig is up. The emphasis will now creep away from GHGs and be assigned to carbon and other anthropogenic particulates. Why, you might ask? It’s because carbon and other particulates work not by changing how much longwave backscatter reaches the surface but rather by how much solar shortwave reaches the surface. See no one disputes the fact that the sun warms the surface so if you can blame humans for letting more sunlight reach the surface then you’re still good to go. The fly in the ointment is the world can’t blame the United States for particulate pollution. We cleaned that up starting 50 years ago. Most of the rest of the world including Europe did not especially poor countries who couldn’t afford scrubbers on smokestacks and tailpipes and who practice slash & burn agriculture or heat & cook with whatever they can find that burns. It’s not politically to dog on poor countries for air pollution and global warming and you given you can’t draw blood from a turnip you can’t extort money from poor countries either. So it had to somehow be blamed on wealthy America ergo CO2 and ginned up back radiation that can’t do enough warming to matter.

      • ceteris non paribus

        The fly in the ointment is the world can’t blame the United States for particulate pollution.

        So it had to somehow be blamed on wealthy America ergo CO2 and ginned up back radiation that can’t do enough warming to matter.

        The United States of Victimhood – Taking the world’s heat since 1945.

  10. In the context of global warming left versus right means there are those who actually provide value to society on the 1 hand and those who criticize what is being done on the other hand and expect to be paid for it.

  11. “JC comment: So if policies related to climate change do not include increased federal control over the private economy, are they more palatable to libertarians and conservatives? I suspect that all of these except #3 should be broadly palatable?”

    Well, what it is, could be called true socialism. The money is redistributed
    directly to the the citizens without “reprocessing” it thru a political machine which decides who gets the money.
    In a sense it’s poison to socialists. But they could hope that they could pass laws to re-direct the funds somehow. Which isn’t an unreasonable hope considering what politicians did with Social Security.

    And this is very similar to what is written into the Alaska constitution in regards to state resources. It’s a tax. Or royalty which goes directly to the citizens of the state, equally. And something suggested to do done with Iraq oil. And if done with oil states in general, would do a lot in terms of lower their government corruption.
    So in terms of remedy against corruption, it’s a great plan. Corruption is a serious problem.
    It’s not as serious a problem in the US, but if cap and trade were passed, US would would go off rails in terms of having any control of government corruption.
    So, as cure for an “immature political condition” it is good, or avoiding something much worse it is good.
    But there large negative to socialism- without considering the vast amount corruption that is in all socialist states- whether Europe, or USSR.
    One negative is that any socialism inhibits innovation. Because innovation
    cost a lot effort, and that effort isn’t rewarded.
    As some might have noticed the government isn’t good in terms knowing what innovation to encourage. The history of NASA is the textbook which describe this inability in great detail- and in terms government people, you aren’t going get any better than the guys at NASA.

  12. I am in favor of a carbon tax, but not in favor of a revenue one, because some of the revenue should be used for adaptation in several areas. One is ensuring the water supply and the agriculture supply via that, another is improving non-fossil energy generation (e.g. nuclear and alternatives, even coal to natural gas is an improvement), another is non-fossil transportation technology (e.g. electric cars and their batteries, more efficient production of biofuel). Some could go to rebating energy costs for those that can’t afford a minimum because a carbon tax could add $10 a month to home energy costs especially in fossil-intensive energy generation areas.

    • …not in favor of a revenue neutral one…

    • Jim D

      Lots of luck selling that to a general public who has slowly come to realize it’s being bamboozled by IPCC.

      Not a snowball’s chance in hell.


  13. Adam Gallon

    On the issue of “carbon” taxes, of one sort or another. The UK Governments, have been using cars that produce more CO2, as whipping boys. The higher the production of CO2 per km, the more tax.
    Guess what?
    The UK public’s been buying more efficient cars, thus tax-take has dropped.
    The current Government is thus looking at overhauling the system & levying tax on hybrids & the like!

  14. C’mon Judy, use the Google before passive aggressively sliming another climate scientist.

      • “This aerosol effect has turned out to be very important. Indeed, adding sulfate
        aerosols to greenhouse gas increases in the models led to a dramatic boost in the confidence that could be attached to the circumstantial evidence associated with climatic fingerprints. That is, when the models were driven by both greenhouse gases globally, and sulfate aerosols regionally, no longer did the Northern Hemisphere warm up more than the Southern Hemisphere, or all parts of the high latitudes substantially more than the low latitudes.”

        So the convincing evidence comes from asking the models the right questions with “aerosols”?

      • Steven Mosher

        Schneider. lets see what we know about him and the willingness to pervert a process to achieve his ends..

        can you say “provisionally accepted” I knew you could.

        feb 2006 is the time period you want to investigate

    • Your link doesn’t work. What climate scientist was passively aggressively slimed? I have no idea what you are talking about

      Update: I infer you refer to Ben Santer. And I am supposed to accept a paper by Steve Schneider as the last word on this issue?

      • Neither does Eli.

      • I need a new ghostbuster.

      • I sense Eli is more the jackass than jackrabbit.

      • Judith

        The “wabett” is confused, as usual – ignore him.


      • But a rant in a political journal is????


      • Sorry, that’s ‘fringe political journal’.

      • Experts tell us how they plan to make ‘3 Billion Dollars’ disappear when they convert it into a destroyer, to be powered by taxpayers.;

        We can all hardly wait for the squeal.

      • Stealth 1889…

        who would have thunk it?

      • Steven Mosher


        dont forget that schneider was the editor who tried to invent a new category ( provisionally accepted) to assist wahl and ammann in getting their paper quickly thru the process so that Briffa could refer to it in the writing of chapter 6.

        Again, if the IPCC had proper traceability none of this would be an issue.

      • Crime against humanity, for sure.

      • No, just a crime against honest science.

        It’s the immoral use of dishonest science as propaganda harming hundreds of millions that is the crime against humanity.

      • Steven Mosher

        Well, if you believe as hansen does that his obligation is to product the most objective results possible so that the planet can be saved, then I would suggest that a man who attempts to rig the publication process has some answering to do. Not according to my ethical system, but to Hansen’s.
        Further, when people refer to Schneider as a credible source for what happened, we are derelict if we don’t consider the facts.

        Was schneider the kind of person, who like Gleick, would lie to promote the cause?

        Evidence says yes. The problem is that since he was caught in one lie about the process of publication we can and should rationally reject anything he says about the production of documents. he may be a fine scientist. I agree AGW is the best theory. That agreement does not mean or logically entail that everything he says about the publication process should be trusted. Our only evidence suggests otherwise.

      • What do you think about accusing Santer of “scientific cleansing?”

        Do you need a “last word” on that to know that it happened?

        I’ve asked you about this before, but you’ve never answered, and I’ve never seen that you said whether you find it objectionable in any way. Maybe I missed it?

      • Joshua, i have no idea what you are talking about. Who has accused Santer of scientific cleansing? certainly not me. In terms of what I find objectionable, the list is very long.

      • In terms of what I find objectionable, the list is very long.

        I call BS. How long, exactly?

  15. A very good news on AR5!

    I have been exchanging emails with a top climate scientist involved in AR5 regarding the issue I had with IPCC’s 0.2 deg C warming in the next two decades claim. Here is what he wrote.

    For the next two decades a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emissions scenarios’ is misleading, because it does not take into account the natural decadal to multi-decadal variability. The next (AR5)-Report will present initialized projections and they generally show less short-term warming

    I will not disclose his identity.

    In this case, who has been the denier all along?

    So the skeptics interpretation is correct =>

    IPCC’s is incorrect =>

    • The concatenation of cooling phases of the oceanic oscillations.

      • maksimovich

        Chance ( or why we should not play dice) eg Voltaire

        Pangloss used now and then to say to Candide: ‘‘There is a concatenation of all events in the best of possible worlds; for, in short, had {many apparently unrelated and accidental events not happened} you would not have been here to eat preserved citrons and
        pistachio nuts.’’

        ‘‘Excellently observed,’’ answered Candide; ‘‘but let us cultivate our

        Or as hypothesized by Slutsky (using Kinchin’s methodology)

        The summation of random causes generates a cyclical series which
        tends to imitate for a number of cycles a harmonic series of a relatively
        small number of sine curves. After a more or less considerable number of
        periods every regime becomes disarranged, the transition to another regime occurring sometimes rather gradually, sometimes more or less abruptly, around certain critical points.

    • Girma

      Good news, indeed!

      (That is if the political hacks that act as IPCC “editors” don’t censor out these findings before AR5 goes to print.)


    • Do you believe in initialized decadal projections now? This would be quite an act of faith considering their previous record as shown in JC’s own recent paper. We have had many discussions on this site about these short-term forecasts that are subject to random internal variability more than the long-term projections. Let’s first see what the error bars are. I am quite sure they will include 0.2 degrees per decade as a distinct possibility.

    • “So the skeptics interpretation is correct”

      Ah so skeptics are one big group now and Girma speaks for them all.


    • The data says the warming has been uniform (, exactly like the sea level rise (

    • Girma – all that means is that they would move the projected warming from ‘sooner’ to ‘later’, thus allowing them to say “It may not be warming much now, but you wait until the PDO turns positive,etc…”.

  16. “This article paints a disturbing picture. I would like to hear a defense/critique from IPCC principals.” JC

    And Quadrant!!

    That’s scraping the very bottom of the barrell.

    It’s more fringe conservative, than conservative.

    • Michael, how about playing the ball instead of the man? Whatever you think of Quadrant, the issue is whether the facts asserted in the article are true. Any constructive comment on that?

      I thought not.

    • It’s got them wrong, way wrong.

      But that’s not surprisng in an ideological rag like Quadrant – it specialises in political ranting, not science.

      • Latimer Alder

        Your assertion would carry more weight if you could provide an example of their errors.

        An anonymous guy saying ‘it got them wrong, way wrong’ about anything is pretty much content free.

      • Anyone repeating that old rubbish about John Theon being James Hansen boss is just re-hashing some junk they’ve read somewhere else. Really old junk.
        An error easily checked by a quick websearch.
        The rest of it’s the same – a rehash of long-debunked nonsense.

        Fitting though, that it was printed in a rabidly ideological political rag.

        Why are the ‘skeptics’ so un-sceptical??????????

      • Latimer Alder

        OK. Let’s assume for the moment that you are right and Theon was not Hansen’s supervisor. If we delete the disputed four words, ‘Hansen’s one-time NASA supervisor’, we still end up with the relevant paragraph being:

        ‘The atmospheric scientist John S. Theon, wrote in 2009 that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarmism: NASA in 1988 knew little about any human-caused warming. Theon himself was responsible for all NASA weather and climate research, including Hansen’s’.

        which seems hardly to affect the substance of the rest of the 3,500 word, 43 paragraph article with its 37 quoted references.

        Do you have any better substantive criticism than your objection to those rather unimportant four words?

      • Add “was responsible for…..including Hansens research”

        He was as much responsible for it, as he was Hansens boss.

      • “OK. Let’s assume for the moment that you are right and Theon was not Hansen’s supervisor”

        Hansen is director NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

        Like Charles F. Bolden is Administrator of NASA.
        Both are bureaucrats- they running NASA’s organization.
        Bolden running all NASA. Hansen running a branch of NASA.

        As in:
        ““I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results. I did not have the authority to give him his annual performance evaluation”

        “As Chief of several of NASA Headquarters’ programs (1982-94), an SES position, I was responsible for all weather and climate research in the entire agency, including the research work by James Hansen, Roy Spencer, Joanne Simpson, and several hundred other scientists at NASA field centers, in academia, and in the private sector who worked on climate research,” Theon wrote of his career. “This required a thorough understanding of the state of the science. I have kept up with climate science since retiring by reading books and journal articles,” Theon added.”

        So I gather Theon was in NASA headquarters which oversees all branch operations.

      • Michael,
        You demonstrate well why trolls are so much fun. Keep running away. Your backside is your best side.

      • Come on hunter, you can do better than that……surely?

      • Latimer Alder


        Any other substantive objections to the paper from Quadrant?

        Or can we assume that – with the exception of whether John Theon could or could not be reasonably described as Hansen’s ‘supervisor’, you are in agreement with the rest of the history lesson as presented? All 43 paras of it?

      • Michael,
        You are doing a great job on little encouragment. Why should I change wwhat is working so well?

  17. This article simply reinforces, for the umpteenth time, that some core climate scientists rigged and played the system to reflect their beliefs, and their beliefs do not science make.

  18. I believe there is sufficient evidence that global warming is a serious environmental concern.

    The data says the warming has been uniform (, exactly like the sea level rise (

  19. For a conservative presentation, see Lord Monckton’s Slide Presentation to the California Assembly or direct to the PDF.

    The bottom line: No policy to abate global warming by taxing, trading, regulating, reducing, or replacing greenhouse-gas emissions will prove cost-effective solely on grounds of the welfare benefit from climate mitigation. CO2 mitigation strategies that are inexpensive enough to be affordable will be ineffective; strategies costly enough to be effective will be unaffordable. Focused adaptation to any adverse consequences of any warming that may occur is many times more cost-effective. Since the premium greatly exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure. Every red cent spent now on trying to stop global warming is a red cent wasted. Don’t mitigate: sit back, enjoy the sunshine, and adapt only if and when and to the extent necessary. That, however unfashionable, is the economically prudent and scientifically sensible course.

    (emphasis added.) The Copenhagen Consensus presents the economic case ranking projects on benefit/cost ratios. See the summary, discussion and links on the Copenhagen Consensus 2012
    Other than fear mongering, I have not seen a credible case made for spending on mitigation rather than adaptation if/when needed. This conclusion is amplified by consideration of the very high cloud uncertainties (97% of total) and the very poor performance of the mean trend (0.2 C/decade) of the IPCC models relative to the last 32 years data (0.137 C/decade). i.e., the IPCC trend is 2 sigma warmer or higher than the mean data trend – outside 95% of the evidence.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Monckton? Yikes. People have figured out that Monckton comes off as couple of aces short of a pat hand,

      The skeptical community seriously needs to find a new spokesman … some personage who projects more gravitas.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Gosh-golly, Dave, would that be, by some weird coincidence, the very same Václav Klaus who is prominently featured on the Cornwall Alliance’s “evangelical” weblog?

        Amazing!   :)

      • “A fan of more discourse”

        Your ad hom slur of Czech President, Václav Klaus, misses the point.

        Apparently you can only attack the messenger, but have nothing worthwhile to comment on his message in the Financial Post:

        To sum up my simple message: Empirical data are important; scientific discoveries are important; the disclosure of malpractices in the IPCC and other “bastions” of the global-warming debate are important; but we have to take part in the undergoing ideological battle. The subtitle of my five-year-old book is What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? There is no doubt that it is all about freedom.

        Written by a guy that knows first-hand what “endangered freedom” is all about.

        If you have issues with his message, state them. The snickering ad hom approach is a waste of words.


      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        OK. Václav Klaus’ lectures are scientifically irrelevant, morally wrong, economically short-sighted, and ideology-dominated … for reasons previously given.

        What is your next question?

      • Fan
        “scientifically irrelevant …”
        Apparently you do not understand “ad hominem”, nor the foundations of science, nor moral truth, nor economics, but you do advocate your own ideology – but with scant evidence that it is worth emulating.
        Science requires objective evaluation of the evidence, then testing a hypothesis against the evidence.
        See the actual 32 year trend of satellite measured global temperature. The IPCC’s 0.2C/decade mean projection is now at about the 2 sigma bounds. Do you understand what it means for a model to be outside 95% of the probable range of evidence?
        Klaus is an economist by profession. Your diatribe against him without evidence but exposes your ignorance of economics.
        Klaus’s his principled fight for freedom against communism exposes your lack of understanding or principle over both

        Start by reading the Cornwall Alliance’s Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming to see why Roy Spencer and Ross McKitrick signed it.
        Then see if you can understand and grapple with McKitrick’s recent paper:
        The Intrinsic Value of Nature and the Proper Stewardship of the Climate
        Can you evidence understanding of the difference between primitive, Biblical and secular viewpoints? On what basis do you value the natural world? Or value humans? Does it have intrinsic value or Infinite value?

        We wait with “bated breath” to see if you can rise to professional discourse, or will remain in the lower regions.

    • One can use ad hom attacks on Lord Monckton or question his “gravitas” as a card-carrying climatologist, but what he has said makes absolute sense.

      Attack the message if you will – but don’t fall into the illogical trap of attacking the messenger.


    • Dave Springer


    • Dave Springer

      I haven’t seen any cost/benefit study which takes into account known benefits to agriculture of longer growing seasons, a more fertile atmosphere, and lowered fresh water requirements associated with higher CO2 in the atmosphere. Unlike many other things like vacuous claims of increased frequency of severe weather events and acclerated rise in sea level the benefits to agricultural from higher CO2 level comes from experimental science not toy computer models. Even if reducing CO2 emission cost nothing I’d still see it is counter-productive. In other words if we weren’t causing atmospheric CO2 level to rise already we’d want to invent some other way to make it happen because it’s an exceedingly beneficial thing for the primary producers in the food chain.

  20. S. Mosher writes: “The past is the past. I see no point in slamming santer or Jones.”

    Yikes. We’re talking about documents that have played a key role in persuading much of the world of the validity of CAGW. Jesus. You can go to jail for 20 years in some parts of the country for smoking a joint, yet you can help lead an entire civilization to the brink of economic ruin (some may argue) with impunity?

    I think not.

    • Steven Mosher

      Like it or not Jones was cleared. I do not agree with that decision, but the decision stands. I see no point in rehashing this over and over again. As much as I like to, I see no point in it. I would rather find a way forward.

      • Mosh,

        It was not a legal matter. It has no value as precedent. The guarantee against double jeopardy does not apply. And even if it did, just as OJ was still found liable for wrongful death after his acquittal on murder charges, avenues of redress are always available.

        The most important aspect of the evidence of perfidy against Jones, Santer, Mann et al is that it permanently damages their credibility and tarnishes the findings that they and their allies trumpet. That damage is not dependent on a finding by a whitewash committee. That damage is done in the public forum in the minds of voters and citizens.

        And since that forum is always in flux, discussion of such behavior is always relevant. Getting the truth out is always part of the way forward.

  21. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Please let me agree with several comments that neither Jonathan Adler’s essay A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change, nor Tony Thomas’ The Serpent’s Egg, are genuinely conservative.

    The reason is pure common sense: entirely absent from both essays is any discussion of moral principle, arising from any foundation whatsoever, whether religious and/or natural.

    Where may conservatives turn, for a thorough-going discussion of moral considerations relating to climate-change science?

    The surprising answer — surprising for many conservatives, that is — is the article “Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature” (arXiv:1110.1365v3) provides, which provides foundations that are explicitly moral and explicitly conservative, for evaluating the implications of climate-change science. See for example in the article’s Supporting Material:

    Religions and Climate There is widespread support among religions for preserving climate and the environment. An indicative sample of religious statements follows.

    World Council of Churches  At their meeting in Geneva Switzerland on 13-20 February 2008 the World Council of Churches called urgently for the churches to strengthen their moral stand in relationship to global warming and climate change, recalling its adverse effects on poor and vulnerable communities in various parts of the world, and encouraging the churches to reinforce their advocacy towards governments, NGOs, the scientific community and the business sector to intensify cooperation in response to global warming and climate change.

    Evangelicals  Evangelical organizations are diverse, but leaders of American evangelical faiths have issued an evangelical call to action concerning climate change, recognizing a responsibility to offer biblically-based moral witness that helps shape public policy and contributes to the will-being of the.

    Jewish Faith  The Central Conference of American Rabbis adopted a resolution on climate change at their 116th annual convention in Houston Texas in March 2005, concluding that Jewish and secular moral principles imply an obligation to minimize climate change, to live within the ecological limits of Earth, and to not compromise the ecological or economic security of future generations.

    Orthodox Faith  Patriarch Bartholomew II and the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in America on 25 May 2007, in a “Global Climate Change: A Moral and Spiritual Challenge,” concluded that care of the environment is an urgent issue, and that for humans to degrade the integrity of the Earth by causing changes in its climate is a sin.

    Catholic Faith  Pope Benedict urged delegates at the United Nations climate conference to reach agreement on a responsible credible response to the the complex and disturbing effects of climate change.

    Southern Africa Religions  Religious leaders from across South Africa met in Lusaka Zambia on 5-6 May 2011 to discuss climate change, recognizing the need for religions to help people retain a moral compass with a compassion for other living beings and the principle of justice.

    Canadian Interfaith  Representatives of Canadian faith communities in 2011 stated their united conviction that the growing crisis of climate change needs to be met by solutions that draw upon the moral and spiritual resources of the world’s religious traditions.

    Conclusion  In the context of climate-change, from a conservative point of view, religion and science are natural allies … it is economics that is the odd-man-out. And here the article draws explicit parallels between slavery and climate change (slavery being another issue in which conservative moral interests clashed with economic interests):

    :The most basic matter is not one of economics. It is a matter of morality — a matter of intergenerational justice. As with the earlier great moral issue of slavery, an injustice done by one race of humans to another, so the injustice of one generation to all those to come must stir the public’s conscience to the point of action.

    Summary  (1) The conservative alliance of climate-change science and principled religious morality has strength sufficient to dominate purely economic interests. (2) Vigorous opposition from economic interests can be expected … and this economic opposition will fail.

    • It seems the ivory tower crowd agrees.
      Hardly surprising.
      Most religious conservative in US are Protestants- they have a
      habit of not heeding the establishment.

    • Jeebers, Johnny. You’re doing reruns from PJ now?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Apologies for omitting the newly formed LDS Earth Stewardship … this looks like the beginning of a broad renewal in science-religion partnerships … a partnership that is purely good news for 21st century conservatism.

    • Well then lets have more discourse!
      For a major presentation by conservative Evangelicals on the moral issues surrounding stewarding the earth and caring for the poor, see The Cornwall Alliance

      (PS The World Council of Churches is not known for its “conservative” theology!)

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        LOL … it’s true that the Cornwall Alliance runs an evangelical blog. And in the last five years, how many members of the general public have been invited to comment there? Guess.

        Zero. Precisely … zero.

        “The Cornwall Alliance appears to be a creation of a group called the James Partnership, a nonprofit run by Chris Rogers and Peter Stein, according to documents filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Rogers, who heads a media and public relations firm called CDR Communications, collaborates with longtime oil front group operative David Rothbard, the founder and President of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and Jacques Villarreal, a lower level staffer at CFACT, for his James Partnership group. In the past, Rogers’ firm has worked for the Bush administration and for the secretive conservative planning group, the Council for National Policy.

        According to public records, the following entities are all registered to the same address, 9302-C Old Keene Mill Road Burke, VA 22015, an office park in suburban Virginia:

        – Rogers’ consulting firm, CDR Communications
        – Rogers’ nonprofit hub, the James Partnership
        – The Cornwall Alliance
        – The new “Resisting the Green Dragon” website

        Ye shall know them by their fruit“” … and a considerable portion of the Cornall Alliance’s fruit turns out to be shilling for Monckton and Heartland.

        David, maybe we’d all better consider that the Cornwall Alliance might possibly be fronting, not for the Lord, but for … how might we say it delicately … “the other guys.”

      • How much *MORE*,…

        when is it going to stop? You trusted them too.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Tom, from the first mention of Pope Benedict and climate change, it took more than three hours before the first skeptical smear of the Pope was posted … and when that smear finally came, it was an almighty feeble one … a smear of the Pope’s butler.

        Gee, can’t skeptics manage Papal smears stronger than *that*?   :)

      • You have to love the intertubes.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Tom, regarding your “Pope Benedict’s butler” smear, it bizarrely turns out that posters on WUWT have *ALSO* started smearing Pope Benedict’s butler!

        WUWT? Maybe this inexplicable yet well-organized butler-smearing campaign getting its talking points from … uhh  … the Pope’s traditional opposition? Who are attacking (for some unknowable reason) through the Pope’s butler   :)   :)

      • Well I am no fan of the pope, I regard religion as a collection of old wives tales. But the butler story has no relevance to climate other than stolen documents.

    • Fan,
      You are living in a world that intersects reality only accidentally.

    • Conservatives should look to an article by James “death trains” Hansen for discussion of the moral considerations of the attempted progressive takeover of the global energy economy.

      Yeah, and if I want to understand the workings of a free market economy, I think I’ll do some research on the writings of Saul Alinsky.

  22. Dr. Curry–
    The link that Willard refers to above contains a first-person account after all. I realize that we can’t cross examine the late Steve Schneider, but it certainly corroborates Santer’s own account. Or shall we talk about ozone and CFCs with Dr. Fred?
    And in reading the Quadrant article, did it not raise a hint of how Tony Thomas (author of the piece) would treat the “facts” when he repeated the fable that John Theon was ever Jim’s Hansen’s supervisor? In the words of Casey Stengel, “…and you can look it up.”

  23. Judith Curry has commented on the first part of this post:

    This article paints a disturbing picture. I would like to hear a defense/critique from IPCC principals.

    I’ve seen several comments from Climate Etc. “denizens”, but none so far from IPCC principals directly involved.

    The second part gets more into the politics of taxing carbon, IMO a meaningless discussion until we know that there is a valid reason to do so.

    Even if we were to determine that there really were a valid reason to do so (and we are a long way from being at this point today), we should then a) first determine whether or not taxing carbon would have any perceptible positive impact on our climate and b) fully evaluate what the unintended negative consequences of taxing carbon might be.

    Adler has gotten way ahead of himself in his rationalization. It’s still way too early to try to “sell” carbon mitigation proposals (i.e. taxes) to “conservatives”, “libertarians” or the general public at large – let’s get the science straightened out first before we get the lawyers involved.


    • “Even if we were to determine that there really were a valid reason to do so (and we are a long way from being at this point today)”

      Not really, you are just one vote away from it. You don’t speak for everyone and it only requires a majority, at best, to agree to it.

    • Agreed, well put.

  24. It seems almost human nature, even amongst scientists, to expect some sort of linearity in complex problems, such as the climate’s response to carbon dioxide. That this is not so is shown in my paper “An alternative theory of climate change” at: .

  25. Hey Jude
    The only defence you will get is the same that all crIminals offer.
    It wasn’t me guv..

  26. I am getting a little confused reading all this wordiness. It seems to me the fundamental assumption is the validity of the trace gas radiative transfer model: i.e., CO2 drives climate and man is the primary culprit in producing CO2. The blessings of a carbon tax, the deployment of alternative energy technologies, the negative impact of some global warming all are implicit in the IPCC’s mitigation recommendations; all model projected, none scientifically identified. We need to hold the activist’s feet to the fire for precise date and time for catastrophic events to occur, and, if projected way out into the future, then have them put up a bond to ensure their availability and accountability for their words. Otherwise, it is all talk, and as everyone knows, talk is cheap.

    • “With the major uncertainties on how fast earth is warming, how much humans contribute, and with no rational basis for what temperatures we “should” have, it is hard to make the case for a global commons and a carbon tax.”

      I like the climate where I live the way it is, and I don’t want it to change. If a revenue carbon tax will help keep my climate, I’m all for it. Don’t mess with my climate.

      • Well, you are SOL, Max. The climate has changed, is changing, and will always change. FYI, BTW.

      • Yep.

        Once upon a time sea-levels were 80m higher, and another time the earth was a virtual snowball – so that would be just fine for modern civilisation..

        Go Team!!

      • Not where I live. The climate here has been pretty much the same as long as I can remember. It may be slightly warmer than 50 years ago, but there has been no change in the kinds of crops that grow well in the area.

        If you have seen the climate change where you live, I would like to hear about what happened.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Max_OK, your question is very reasonable. My own spouse is an Audubon Society certified master birder, and so I can attest with considerable confidence that if you personally visit a meeting of your local Audubon Chapter (these folks are very friendly), and ask whether never-before-seen species are migrating north into your own state, the answer likely will be “yes, definitely”. And you will receive similar answers if you ask your state’s wilderness hikers about glacier-melting, or your state’s sea-kayakers about accelerating beach erosion (where applicable!).

        Good question … because nowadays it’s not only scientists and satellites that can see the climate changing … pretty much any observant nature-lover nowadays can see it plainly.

      • The only problem you have here, Fan of More BS, is you have to prove the extra 100 parts per million or so of man-converted CO2 caused the birds to move. The fact the birds moved means nothing, zip, zero, nada. You don’t know if they have EVER moved before, do you? Say 200 years ago? You don’t know a lot more than you think y0u know.

      • This ‘fan’ apparently hasn’t had enough discourse to understand that the question is ‘attribution’. Is the putative warming, and the ongoing everpresent climate change anthropogenic or not, and if so, how much?

        So keep discoursing, ‘Fan’. But please don’t be quite so boring.

      • Max,

        In one sense you have hit on what some consider a key point – that in 50 years of “warming” or “changing” climate, little decernable change has occured where you reside. If the impacts are so negligable, what justifies significant government action?

      • k scott denison

        FOMD says:
        “…never-before-seen species are migrating north into your own state…”

        Wow, NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN over the ENTIRE < 150 yr history of the Audubon Society!!

        Well that settles it for me!! We must act now!!

        /sarc off

      • Max_OK,
        The funny thing is that when you go anywhere in the world, you get the same response, if the person answering is honest.

      • Based on the main stream view of the strength of the AGW that has occurred so far and on the variability of local weather at any single location, I would say that it’s not yet possible to tell anywhere that AGW has had an influence. The influence can be seen only in averages over a wider area and from many points of observation.

        There are effects that are observable and that are consistent with the influence of AGW like the melting of glaciers, but glaciers have been melting much longer. Thus it’s not possible to conclude, what the role of AGW is.

      • Rob Starkey

        LOL–Do you really believe that a revenue neutral carbon tax will effect the climate to any amount that you would notice???? Do you believe you would notice the difference in the weather if CO2 levels were at 450 ppm vs 451 ppm in 2050? That is the amount of change in play.

    • Kent Draper

      It used to be “tar and feathers”…. boy, I miss the good ole days :)

  27. Johnathan Adler holds:

    Third, I believe the United States should adopt a revenue-neutral carbon tax, . . .Specifically, the federal government should impose a price on carbon that is fully rebated to taxpayers on a per capita basis. . . . if the global atmosphere is a global commons owned by us all, why should not those who use this commons to dispose of their carbon emissions pay a user fee to compensate those who are affected.

    Does CO2 harm the atmospheric “commons”?
    Adler presumes CO2 is harming the global atmospheric commons. That case is still “Not Proven.” e.g. CO2 is plant food and the biosphere thrives on more CO2. Plant life was much more abundant with 5 to 20 times more CO2 than present. Rather a case can be made that with the current very low CO2 plants are close to CO2 starvation. See The Resilient Earth. has collected studies on the benefits of CO2 enrichment. e.g. wheat grows 50% more with 600 ppm CO2 enrichment. With a growing global population, why should we not want to provide this natural enhancement to plant growth?

    Why control climate?
    I have not read any rational basis for selecting a given global temperature – especially considering the global temperature has naturally ranged between 12C and 22 C. The current 14.5C is relatively frigid in context of this natural temperature range. Humans live in the Kalahari desert and north of the Arctic circle covering a very wide range of temperatures. Why should we not adapt to temperatures within earth’s natural climate range?

    If anything, the approaching glaciation would have far greater catastrophic famines from lower agriculture than the small amount of warming posited under catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.
    Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe observed:

    The problem for the present swollen human species is of a drift back into an ice-age, not away from an ice-age. Manifestly, we need all the greenhouse we can get, even to the extent of the British Isles becoming good for the growing of vines….

    Why then would we not enhance warming rather than reduce warming?

    Should we tax carbon?
    With the major uncertainties on how fast earth is warming, how much humans contribute, and with no rational basis for what temperatures we “should” have, it is hard to make the case for a global commons and a carbon tax.
    Suppose, for arguments sake, a decision is made to tax carbon (rather than the less expensive option to adapt to change). A carbon tax is a one way tax presuming catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and may be difficult to roll back. (While “economically efficient”, politicians will find it hard to impose a revenue-neutral tax. E.g., the USA now has the highest corporate taxes globally. )
    Global warming models predict a strong enhanced tropospheric temperature – but evidence of such warming is lacking. Why should we pay if the actual warming rates are much lower than the IPCC’s 2C/century? What if we have global cooling, as an increasing number of scientists are warning about?
    Then the T3 tax proposed by Ross McKitrick appears to make more sense than a carbon tax. McKitrick scales the tax based on the difference from the change in the tropospheric temperature. The T3 tax will rise and fall according to the actual temperature difference. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!

    For further “conservative” published science (ignored by the IPCC), see the NIPCC reviews.

    In the long run fossil fuels are being depleted and becoming more expensive. We need to be weaned off of fossil fuels to less expensive sustainable solar fuels and energy. Thus the importance of Adler’s recommendations to facilitate serious research and development for such transitions and alternatives.

    • Peter Lang

      David L Hagen,

      All good until you said this:

      “We need to be weaned off of fossil fuels to less expensive sustainable solar fuels and energy.”

      Solar power and other non hydro renewable sources are hugely expensive, cannot produce power on demand and use far more resources than rational alternatives. When people make statements like, this, I wonder where they’ve been for the past 20 years or so.

      • Peter Lang and Faustino
        See Miriam -Webster:

        Definition of WEAN
        1: to accustom (as a child) to take food otherwise than by nursing
        2: to detach usually gradually from a cause of dependence or form of treatment

        Part of weaning is growing up and learning to chew – it takes work.
        Thus it will take work to make sustainable fuels cheaper than fossil fuels. It can be done. It will have to be done. Time to grow up and do it. Use cheap fossil fuels to sustain our economies while we do the R&D especially to make liquid fuels cheaper than petroleum.
        The Copenhagen Consensus 2012 / Fix the Climate also recommend funding R&D into cheaper sustainable fuels.
        PS Re the last 20 years – been working out how to do it.

      • Solar : how Green is it anyway ?

        Solar Cells Linked to Greenhouse Gases Over 23,000 Times Worse than Carbon Dioxide According to New Book, Green Illusions
        “Solar cells do not offset greenhouse gases or curb fossil fuel use”

      • David Hagen: “Thus it will take work to make sustainable fuels cheaper than fossil fuels. It can be done.”

        Conditional on ceasing all work to make fossil fuels even cheaper than they already are?

      • Solar power and other non hydro renewable sources are hugely expensive,

        That would be a reasonable statement if solar panels cost the same from year to year. If in a single decade they can plunge in price by a factor of four or more, as they’ve done recently, then you’re talking through your hat.

      • The critical issue is replacing liquid FUELS or converting transportation to electric vehicles.
        Richard York evaluated: “Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?” Nature Climate Change Vol 2 June 2012 p 441

        each unit of electricity generated by non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-tenth of a unit of fossil-fuel generated electricity.

      • BatedBreath

        That solar panels are less expensive than before, does not mean they are not still expensive compared to fossil etc. The fact is they are still hugely expensive, as evidenced by their slow uptake.

      • Three years ago solar panels paid for themselves after six years. If the price drops by a factor of four that means they pay for themselves after 18 months, and that number is continuing to decrease. Installation costs however have not kept pace with panel costs, in part due to the inefficient installation methods that could be justified for the old panel prices but not the new. Once installation costs have been brought back into line with panel costs it becomes illogical to argue that solar is more expensive than fossil fuel.

        Solar cost is a one-time purchase while fossil fuel is a treadmill you can’t get off and which continues to rise while solar panel costs continue to fall.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Vaughn: What you write is generally credible ifyou have included the installation and maintenance costs of transmission and backup reserves. The sun hides behind clouds (sometimes), over snow cover (from time-to-time) and behind the earth (daily). Backup reserves could include batteries for structures and spinning reserves for utilities.
        This assumes, of course, that some benevolent entity is willing to build, operate and maintain an underutilized infrastructure providing the reserves. On the other hand, one could assume rationing.

      • Vaughan Pratt: “Three years ago solar panels paid for themselves after six years……….Solar cost is a one-time purchase while fossil fuel is a treadmill you can’t get off….”

        Free electricity for ever after six years…..either this is a no-brainer or you’re missing something. Why hasn’t everyone switched their homes over? Have you, for example?

      • Oh and about solar panels paying for themselves after six years – ignoring subsidies I take it ?

      • Free electricity for ever after six years…..either this is a no-brainer or you’re missing something.

        It’s a no-brainer if you have the cash.

        Why hasn’t everyone switched their homes over?

        Either no brain or no money. It’s like buying a house, if you don’t have the downpayment you’re stuck on the rent treadmill. And with panels 4x cheaper than three years ago it’s even more of a no-brainer.

        Have you, for example?

        Yes, I put a 7.5 KW system on my roof three years ago. We feed much of that back into the grid and are paid 29 c for each KWH in the summer, though only to the point where our bill is zero, they currently don’t let us get a positive rebate. (Winter rates are less, and so is the Sun, so winter doesn’t count for much.) Our meter claims we’ve reduced PG&E’s CO2 emissions 40 tons in that period.

        Oh and about solar panels paying for themselves after six years – ignoring subsidies I take it ?

        That was with subsidies. Without them it’s only a year or two more since they’re only a fraction of the total cost. But the panel prices are decreasing much faster than the subsidies, to the point where subsidies shouldn’t be needed these days.

      • BatedBreath

        If the total cost and convenience of solar (or wind etc) energy ever gets even vaguely competitive with conventional technologies, people will start using it of their own accord.
        That they have not done so, could be for one of two reasons
        (a) Widespread, enduring public ignorance of how cheap solar is
        (b) Solar is in fact still very expensive.
        Vaughn guesses (a), I guess (b).

      • Vaughan guesses (a), I guess (b).

        This seems like a fair analysis. :)

      • BatedBreath

        Then Vaughn, you should put your money where your guess is. Mortgage your house, and buy as much solar stock as you can. Because sooner or later – everyone is going to twig just how cheap solar is.
        Or do you maintain all the people can be fooled all the time (advertising campaign by the evil fossils in the fossil industry, or suchlike) ?

      • Mortgage your house, and buy as much solar stock as you can.

        I take it you don’t do much investing. ;)

        Normally one invests in industries whose products are expected to go up in price. Investing in an industry whose prices are dropping rapidly is a well-known way of losing your shirt. Our next door neighbor went bankrupt that way investing in the printing industry, whose prices were dropping fast even before he invested.

      • Vaughan
        I’ll take your avoidance of my question as a tacit acceptance of my point shall I ?
        – ie that all the people will be fooled all the time as to how cheap solar actually is. In their perpetual ignorance, everyone will just needlessly keep buying something that is more expensive.

        And as regards setup costs, if solar was actually cheaper, borrowing money to finance it would be on the cards.

      • BatedBreath: “I’ll take your avoidance of my question as a tacit acceptance of my point shall I ?”

        Touché, I neglected to answer your question, “Do you maintain all the people can be fooled all the time.”

        Very challenging question, that, I had to think for at least 1.5 seconds before coming up with the answer “No.” I gather a lot of the people you hang out with would answer “Yes” without hesitation, yes?

      • Vaughan
        Well since you believe
        – solar is already competitive and getting more so
        – all the people can NOT be fooled all the time
        do you not by implication believe solar is a good investment ?
        And are you actually investing accordingly ?

      • Dr. Pratt,
        If solar is so good there should be some great investments. You say the share prices are low. Well the first rule of investing is to buy low and sell high.
        Buy it up.
        come on- you want the tax payers to comit to trillions to deal with AGW issues. Certainly a clever person can find a way to make a buck in companies responding to this great booty call.

    • David, if “less expensive sustainable solar fuels and energy” were available, no “weaning” would be needed – common sense/market forces would lead to their adoption. But they aren’t available, and could not replace fossil fuels/nuclear for base-load power over the next several decades. Part of Adler’s rationale for seeking to promote more innovation.

  28. This is the latest perspective from a Buckley Jr-style conservative :

    “Gosh! When did I end up in bed with Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber? Could it be because I did specialize in blowing things up while serving my country for four years as an airborne combat engineer? I also watched human beings blown up. I had friends and Navy SEALs I was in battle with blown up. My own intestines exploded on the first of my four combat embeds, three in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Took seven operations to fix the plumbing. I later suffered other permanent injuries.

    Yet now I find myself linked not only with the Unabomber, but also Charles Manson and Fidel Castro. Or so says the Chicago-based think tank the Heartland Institute, for which I’ve done work. Heartland erected billboards depicting the above three declaring: “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” Climate scientists now, evidently, share something in common with dictators and mass murderers. Reportedly bin Laden was scheduled to make such an appearance, too.

    You see, I’ve published articles saying I do “believe in global warming.” Yes, I’ve also questioned the extent to which man-made gases have contributed to that warming and concluded that expenditures to reduce those emissions would be as worthless as they’d be horrifically expensive. No matter; just call me “Ted.” Or “Charlie.” Or “Fidel.”

    This is nuts! Literally. As in “mass hysteria.” That’s a phenomenon I wrote about for a quarter-century, from the heterosexual AIDS “epidemic” to the swine flu “pandemic” that killed vastly fewer people than seasonal flu, to “runaway Toyotas.” Mass hysteria is when a large segment of society loses touch with reality, or goes bonkers, if you will, on a given issue – like believing that an incredibly mild strain of flu could kill eight times as many Americans as normal seasonal flu. (It killed about a third as many.)”

    It keeps going.

    • Web,
      It is disappointing but not surprising to find you gobbling up strawman arguments as if they were of any substance at all.

      • Fumento is the classic skeptic investigator. He studies topics in depth and reports after he has confidence that he will make the right call. Something really set him off.
        You guys like the anecdotal stories so I thought I would oblige.

      • @hunter It is disappointing but not surprising to find you gobbling up strawman arguments as if they were of any substance at all.

        Hunter on the other hand has only steelman arguments. We should all study his methods to see how he does it.

  29. Sherlock Holmes would conclude that…

    If you are part of an army of conformists hoping to create change for the better (like e.g., public schoolteachers for less CO2, SUVs, hamburgers and capitalism) you really need to think about what global warming alarmism is all about. And, it’s not about global warming.

    Sartre Would Piss on the Legs of Today’s Secular Socialists

  30. Mike Keller

    The “science” of climate-change has been hi-jacked by the left, with logic and carefully study substituted by “consensus”. Worse yet, the perceived solution to the alleged problem is just plain dumb from an engineering perspective.

    If you believe that CO2 is a problem, then attack the issue directly at the point when and where most of the CO2 is being produced. The obvious solution is better efficiency in energy production and use. Yet, we find the truly bizarre expenditures of trillions of dollars on the grossly premature deployment of “green” energy.

    Logic quickly concludes that something else is driving the agenda besides actually effectively reducing CO2 emissions by mankind. To be blunt, the left continues attempts to gain ever more control and dictate how the rest of us live out our lives.

    • David Wojick

      Excess efficiency is even more expensive than green energy.

    • Peter Lang

      Mike Keller,

      I agree with most of your comment. Hiwever, energy efficency can make only a small dent. You have to replace the source of the emissions with a non emissions supplier of energy (end energy carriers). And renewable energy is not a realistic option either.

  31. David Wojick

    Regarding “impose a price on carbon that is fully rebated to taxpayers”, what I do not understand is why will they use less carbon energy? If you raise the price but rebate me the difference the real price has not gone up.

    • David, that’s a good question. I can only speak for myself, but if my fuel bills rose enough for me to take notice, I probably would try to find ways to use less fuel. I could install more insulation, wear warmer clothing indoors in cold weather, buy a hybrid car next time, etc. I could invest my rebate or spend it on something pleasurable to reward my conservation.

      It’s an incentive to change old wasteful habits, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      • David, Max: if carbon is taxed and compensation paid (as in the Australian scheme) then (leaving aside transaction costs) real incomes will remain unchanged, but relative prices will change, depending on the carbon-intensity of goods and services.

        However, there is evidence that demand for domestic energy and transport fuel is inelastic – that is, people’s consumption will not be significantly changed by the relatively small changes in fuel prices from a carbon tax – the rise in Australia will be much less than fluctuations in price which have occurred frequently over the years. The scheme in Oz will be economically very costly, and is very unlikely to have a commensurate impact on CO2 emissions. The main impact is that the CT legislation and generally uncertainty re government measures have made it almost impossible to raise finance to refurbish or expand coal-fired power stations or to build new ones. We are very likely to have costly power shortages, with the main impact on emissions coming from this impact on coal-fired plant rather than changes in industry and consumer choices.

        Re fuel for cars, the total cost of car-use includes lost income on the capital invested, depreciation, insurance, government charges, maintenance, replacement and repairs, which together far outweigh fuel costs. Price increases for fuel are unlikely to significantly change usage.

      • David Wojick

        Tachnically, if you raise the price and rebate the raise then there is no price change.

      • David, that’s not the case here. Note I said “compensation will be paid,” not “the raise will be rebated.” In Australia, that means cash payments (already made) or increased welfare payments. So those compensated face higher prices, the rise being relative to the CT impact on a particular good or service, and have higher nominal incomes. So if people are price-responsive, they will see changed relative prices and consume less of those most impacted by the CT. Your comment is true only if the rebate applies directly to a CT-affected item, e.g energy or petrol (gas), which is not the case in Oz and seems unlikely to be elsewhere – it’s much easier (and more vote-buying) to hand out cash and increase welfare payments.

      • David Wojick

        But if you get a check back called fuel bill rebate where is the incentive? This scheme only works if one assumes that people are stupid.

      • David,
        I believe you are saying that to show I’m not stupid, I must spend the entire rebate on fuel.

        If instead, I use the rebate to buy my wife something expensive from Tiffany’s, I’m stupid?

        Dave, I’m inclined not to agree with you on what’s stupid.

      • David Wojick

        If you change your behavior due to the price increase and spend the rebate money on gifts then yes you are stupid, because you failed to understand the connection between the price increase and thecrebate. You could have changed your behavior and bought the gifts without the scheme.

        If you have an economic model wherein a fully rebated price increase changes behavior I would like to see it. The rebate cancels the price increase. But then you cannot fully rebate the price increase because of the admin cost of the rebate program.

      • k scott denison


        I would say: a) stupid and, b) naive beyond belief.

      • David Wojick.

        A “revenue neutral” carbon tax is a stupid idea, regardless of what people intend to do with their “rebate” check. But the reality is that such taxes would be collected at the time of purchase, and the rebate checks from the government will presumably be sent out annually. So for millions of people on a budget, there might well be an impact on consumption, even if they later spend their rebate checks on something else. (As for bigger consumers, large corporations, there would likely not be such an effect.)

        This is part of the real intent of the progressives who favor the tax, and why it is so pernicious. Government gets to coerce people into changing their behavior. And then that same government gets to play Santa Clause by sending some of those people back some of their own money. Once they get used to paying the tax, Uncle Santa can both slowly increase the tax, and spend the money elsewhere.

        Money is fungible. Once you have budgeted for the increased price, what you do with the rebate at the end of the year depends on your needs and wants at the time. Nothing stupid about it. Yes, you could change your behavior, put the money in a piggy bank, and break it at the end of the year to achieve the same result, but not doing so is hardly stupid either.

        Whether buying a gift for the wife would be stupid depends on what you have done wrong in the recent past.

      • David, I understand the connection between the price increase and the rebate.perfectly. What I don’t understand is why you think it would be stupid for me to use the rebate to buy my wife something nice from Tiffany’s rather than set it aside for future fuel purchases. I asked my wife about this and she said you are the one who’s stupid and muttered something about a head being up a rut.

      • David Wojick

        MaxOK, did you explain the part about the price induced behavior change to your wife? It is central to the model. The whole point of the tax is to change behavior. So she gets the present but you both have to drive, let us say, 50% less. Ask her again, in those terms. You can use the rebate to avoid the behavior change or change behavior and buy the present. Those are the only options.

      • Please don’t stop him, David, at the risk of ruining my amusement. He thought he had a damned clever remark, and he had me rolling in the aisle.

      • David Wojick said in his post on June 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm

        “You can use the rebate to avoid the behavior change or change behavior and buy the present. Those are the only options.”
        David, of course those are the only options. I’m puzzled why you think my wife and I would believe otherwise.

        A change in behavior can be a good thing, but some people are too lazy to try. That’s why so many people are overweight and out of shape.

      • David Wojick

        MaxOK, I myself am not wasteful, nor is anyone I know. Yours is the rhetoric of what I affectionately call the efficiency nut.

      • David Wojick

        To put it technically, when you optimize a multi objective system, none of the objectives is optimized. Efficiency competes with objectives like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Optimum efficiency is not the goal.

      • Kent Draper

        If my fuel bills rose I would find out why and see if I was being gouged. The rebate is the first step. What’s to keep the folks that so magnanimously give you a rebate to stop giving it to you? Of course because everybody wasn’t doing their fair share. You are giving other folks control over you and gladly letting it happen. You obviously trust the folks taxing you. Wow, that is astonishing.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        And who decides what is a wasteful habit? A subway rider in NYC’s subsidized tube system?

  32. James Hansen and Johnathan Adler advocate “a revenue neutral carbon tax”.

    How can it be revenue neutral given the loss to compliance costs.

    What would be the compliance cost of a CO2 measuring and reporting system that is sufficiently accurate, precise and captures all emissions?

    This might give some clues:

    How much of the countries productivity would be wasted on compliance?

    • All taxes have compliance costs. Money spent on compliance costs doesn’t vanish into thin air. It circulates through the economy.

      “Revenue neutral” means no loss of tax revenue. Compliance costs don’t have to reduce tax revenue.

      I don’t know why a carbon tax would necessitate emission reporting on a regular basis for different kinds of fuels. Isn’t the tax based on the carbon content of each kind of fuel ? Does the carbon content of a fuel undergo long-term change ( e.g., as time passes a particular type of coal has more and more carbon)?

      • Max_OK,

        The money spent on compliance is unproductive. So it does damage the economy.

        Regarding your comment “I don’t know why a carbon tax would necessitate emission reporting on a regular basis“, clearly you didn’t read the link I provided not the embedded links to the EPA regulations.

      • Peter,

        Peter, I may be misinterpreting your meaning, but if you actually believe money spent “damages the economy,” you have some explaining to do.

        British Columbia has a revenue neutral carbon tax. If the B.C. tax requires what you refer to as “a CO2 measuring and reporting system that is sufficiently accurate, precise and captures all emissions,” perhaps you can find out about the compliance costs.

      • Rob Starkey


        Taxes that have high compliance cost involve having a larger number of government workers to administer the collection of the tax. This means that there are less net revenues available for the government to use for the intended purposes. A program like cap and trade has an extremely high administrative cost. Government workers are a burden to a nation’s economy. Sometimes a necessary burden, but a burden none the less.

      • David Wojick

        MaxOK, the carbon tax is not revenue neutral if you merely cut somebody’s taxes by an equal amount. You have to accurately rebate carbon expenditures. BC does not do this, as I understand it. So you have winners and losers, which is far from neutral.

      • David Wojick

        Regarding “Money spent on compliance costs doesn’t vanish into thin air. It circulates through the economy.” This is one of my favorite regulatory fallacies. It basically says that there is no adverse effect because somebody gets the money. “Job creation” is a politically popular variant. Both miss the point.

        Both the tax and the rebate require detailed accounting, which is very burdensome, therefore expensive. The US income tax system consumes several billion person hours a year.

      • David,

        Of course taxes have compliance costs. So do laws. But why not address the compliance costs of a revenue neutral carbon tax, which is the subject here, rather than the income tax. If you believe the compliance costs of the carbon tax are greater than the benefits, make your case.

      • David Wojick

        Easily done MaxOK. Carbon taxes have no benefits. But that was not my point. Carbon taxes, like income taxes, have high compliance costs. Carbon taxes have potentially much higher compliance costs because most people have only one income but many carbon sources, so the accounting is much more compllex.

      • David, if I were a pollution advocate, or wanted the world’s fossil fuel reserves consumed inefficiently ASAP, I would agree with you that a revenue neutral carbon tax has no benefits. But since I dislike pollution and waste, I will have to disagree with you.

      • David Wojick

        MaxOK, Atmospheric CO2 is not pollution, in fact it is the global food supply. Using fossil fuels is not waste, it is fire, still the basis of our civilization. You are playing well known green semantic games.

      • David, you can’t pull that “CO2 is the global food supply” crap on an old farm boy. Aside from CO2 as a warming influence, you can’t burn fuel without polluting the air with nasties.

      • BatedBreath

        If and when fossil fuel seems likely to run low, the price will rise to limit use of it. Taxing carbon on top of this will just force us to needlessly and/or prematurely switch to something more expensive.

        And only if and when we know co2 is the serious issue IPCC fraud and dogma says it is, would limiting it on pollution grounds make any sense.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Max_OK: ‘Tell you what. Let’s try a real solution. Let’s repeal the Clean Air Act, at least that portion which forced the Supreme Court to rule that CO2 is a “pollutant” under that law.

        Page 04, 05 (Syllabus): #3. “Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Act’s capacious definition of ‘air pollutant,’ EPA has statutory authority to regulate emission of such gases from new motor vehicles. That definition— which includes “any air pollution agent . . . , including any physical,chemical, . . . substance . . . emitted into . . . the ambient air . . . ,” §7602(g) (emphasis added)—embraces all airborne compounds of whatever stripe.”


        Max_OK, CO2 is not a pollutant except by “Act of Congress”. When you insist that it is, consider the source.

      • ceteris non paribus

        All those person-years aren’t “consumed” – They’re very carefully re-allocated to re-election campaigns, Lockheed-Martin, Bechtel, and Academi. Some of the loot even ends up at Heartland through die-hard corporate donors – and then in your pocket! See? Everyone’s a winner with taxes!

      • David Wojick

        Sorry CP, but I find you comment incoherent. Try again, in English if possible. People spend several billion person hours each year doing their income tax accounting. What does this have to do with me?

      • “Money spent on compliance costs doesn’t vanish into thin air. It circulates through the economy.”

        You appear to be confusing money with the real resources that get wasted. The money is just how we keep score. The time and effort we spend on compliance is gone–no way to get it back. That’s time we could have spent doing research, or painting houses, or hanging out with our families.

        Also, “revenue neutral” means no loss OR GAIN in revenue. Theoretically, the government would pay out all the revenue in per capita checks, perhaps with the cost to the government of collecting and paying first taken out (in which case we’ll get back maybe a quarter on the dollar.)

      • Robbing the productive to pay for more filing cabinets full of junk science is not a sound economic formula for success.

        a title=”The MYTH of ECONOMIC GROWTH in the Age of BIG Government” href=””>The MYTH of ECONOMIC GROWTH in the Age of BIG Government

  33. Dr. Curry,
    Great post.
    The first article is simply a history of what happened, and is based on documentary evidence.
    I am afraid that Adler is not what he claims. It does not take a conservative to link the corruption of the AGW movement and the lack of a climate crisis.
    The rational point of view, regardless of politics, is to demand that those making an extraordinary claim provide extraordinary evidence. For the AGW movement, “extraordinary evidence” has been synonymous with “fabricated hype”.
    We do not deny anything of any significance to hold the AGW movement to the same standards we would hold any other movement demanding public treasure and making policy demands.

  34. JC asked:

    So if policies related to climate change do not include increased federal control over the private economy, are they more palatable to libertarians and conservatives? I suspect that all of these except #3 should be broadly palatable?

    Yes. I’d agree with that. It’s only recommendation #3 I’d object to.

    However, I’d be a bit concerned about how the “prizes” would be awarded and what biases might be involved in “seek to identify and reduce barriers to the development and deployment of alternative technologies. Even in Adler’s recommendation #2 he is showing a lack of objectivity by using renewable energy (i.e. wind farms) as his example of what he’d like to see favoured by the federal government.

  35. Beth Cooper

    Tom and Fan:

    Hmm, human frailty, – evangelists, alarmists, skeptics,…
    dogmatists of all persuasions, tsk.tsk. they’re all flawed.

    Dante’s Inferno.
    Abandon all hope!
    Looks like everyone’s down here.
    Omigod – the Pope!

    (Bader translation)

  36. We have lots of taxes already, and many of them are “distortive” in the economist’s sense of that term. That is, these existing taxes cause producers and consumers to use too much of one input relative to another.

    My own guess is that, in the US economy and many others, taxes on labor are way too high relative to taxes on other inputs. We have the payroll (social security) taxes in addition to income taxes which, when combined, place a total tax on labor income that is quite high relative to taxes on capital. The incidence of corporate income taxes is probably mostly on labor in a globalized economy, since capital tends to be more mobile than labor. It is just like the old joke “Good girls go to heaven but bad girls go everywhere:” Labor goes to heaven but capital goes everywhere. Because of that the corporate tax is probably mostly borne by labor. The capital gains tax is probably pretty low relative to total taxes on labor and the incidence of corporate taxes that fall on labor. Incidentally, the payroll (social security) tax is pretty regressive since you stop paying it at all above an income of about $100K nowadays.

    Let us stipulate that carbon-based energy has external costs other than those associated with AGW. I know, I know: It also problably generates external benefits because of its reliable production of electricity and the spillovers that reliable generation cause for everyone. I have argued that here in past posts. But let’s suppose that the external costs sans AGW are large enough so that the overal external carbon effect is costly.

    Under all those observations and assumptions, a carbon tax isn’t such a bad idea IF IF IF we make it revenue-neutral through corresponding reductions in labor taxes and other taxes mainly borne by labor and people at the lower end of the income distribution. The most obvious way to do that is to lower the payroll (social security) tax paid by both the worker and the hiring firms by an amount designed to match the revenue raised by a carbon tax. This would be relatively fair and would also offset the hit on production associated with carbon tax, since it would lower the cost of labor to firms. Remember that about two-thirds of national income is the wage bill. Therefore, lowering the cost of labor by reducing both workers’ and firms’ share of the payroll (social security) tax would largely offset the harm caused by an increase in the cost of fossil energy. It would not only encourage substitution of non-carbon energy for carbon energy, but also labor for carbon energy.

    If I were king of the forest, I would do this in a very gradual way, phased in over (say) 20 years. A lot of the economic disruptions of policy change come from sudden discrete changes. A relatively slow and continuous phase-in is much less disruptive to established patterns of work and entrepreneurship.

    I would not, however, do any of this without a world-wide agreement for roughly similar measures.

    • Peter Lang


      Under all those observations and assumptions, a carbon tax isn’t such a bad idea IF IF IF we make it revenue-neutral through corresponding reductions in labor taxes and other taxes mainly borne by labor and people at the lower end of the income distribution.

      Can you tax something you cannot measure accurately and precisely?

      Won’t the corporations, who are responsible to their share holders to not waste money and not pay anymore tax than they need to, do all they can to minimise their tax. How can the tax be applied, accurately, if it cannot be measured?

      This will highlight some of the issues and costs involved in what will eventually be required for measuring CO2 emissions.

      I suggest, the matter of how CO2 emissions are to be measured, accurately and precisely from all sources, is not an issue that can be ignored.

      • Peter,

        I understand and appreciate the worry. It’s a perennial worry associated with all taxation. If you tax an activity (e.g. labor, emissions), then actors (workers, firms) will have an incentive to hide the activity. But as my choice of examples makes plain, the worry is not unique to emissions. If you cut payroll taxes paid by workers and firms in the US, the incentive to hide work from the taxman declines; just as when you raise a tax on emissions, you create an incentive to hide emissions. My guess is that the complaince costs are better than a wash, since the current marginal incentive to hide labor income and/or expenses is very great, whereas the current marginal incentive to hide emissions is zero. Somewhere in-between is a happy medium, assuming convex compliance costs.

      • Peter Lang

        NW, Thank you for your response. I responded below (mistakenly did not respond here)

    • Pooh, Dixie

      NW “I would do this in a very gradual way,….”
      Have you ever watched a snake swallow a frog?

  37. First, the federal government should support technology inducement prizes to encourage the development of commercially viable low-carbon technologies.
    make that alternative energy sources and storage technologies

    Second, the federal government should seek to identify and reduce barriers to the development and deployment of alternative technologies.

    Third, I believe the United States should adopt a revenue-neutral carbon tax
    The revenue-neutral part won’t ever happen, just like ‘temporary’ taxes aren’t. If it is meant to discourage use, and not raise money, it is a sin tax… which will end up raising money. The left should propose taxing recreational drugs.

    Fourth and finally, it is important to recognize that some degree of warming is already hard-wired into the system.
    Some degree of warming would be a good thing. How about some research into the positive benefits of some degree of GW?

    • I think that the whole discussion on the revenue neutral tax is a red herring.

      Any government and any parliament must consider the balance of public accounts. They make decisions on that every year. There’re always pressures both to get additional funding and to keep taxes low. Nothing in that changes when a new form of tax is introduced. It’ll in every case affect the balance and it’ll in every case affect other choices leading to a revenue neutrality in some sense.

      • tempterrain


        You write “I think that the whole discussion on the revenue neutral tax is a red herring.” Scientifically and economically you’re possibly right but politically, you’re definitely not.

        What ‘revenue neutral’ means is that if more revenue is raised on carbon taxes then an equal and lesser amount can be raised from other sources like, say , income taxes.

        Climate deniers like to give the impression that revenue raised from carbon taxes, or cap and trade, is revenue lost to everyone. That the money may as well be transported to Mars and so everyone, except the Martians, end up poorer.

        It may be a statement of the obvious to point out that this isn’t true but it’s still worth saying anyway, and its still worth pointing out that the introduction of carbon taxation doesn’t have to mean more taxation generally.

      • “Climate deniers like to give the impression that revenue raised from carbon taxes, or cap and trade, is revenue lost to everyone. That the money may as well be transported to Mars and so everyone, except the Martians, end up poorer. ”

        It’s not lost to everyone if everyone gets a share. But it’s not gained either, but one could consider it something that counteract taxation. Though of course, there nothing stopping a further increase of taxation.
        One advantage of normal taxation [income or sales tax] is people can choose to pay less taxes [make less money, and buy less]. Such taxation
        actually gives a degree of political power. People who are taxed have political power because they can make choices which affect how much wealth the government gets. So people paying less taxing have less involvement in political process and those who *could* pay more taxes
        are more important [politically].
        This is demonstrated in terms of States providing incentives for companies to locate in a State.

        But giving more money to the state is in the same sense, disempowering people in terms influence upon the government. So that is addition to the increased power given to the state. Power that allows politicians to get rich and power to control the lives of all citizens.
        So if big fan of totalitarian states and simply want government job, there is no downside. Some might think that if government would get more money they then do something about the huge debt the politicians have caused us to have- this is fantasy.

      • Tempterrain,

        What I wanted to say and also explained is that the ultimate revenue neutrality does not depend on, whether the tax is explicitly formulated as revenue neutral or not. The ultimate outcome will be determined by other fiscal policies, which will be the same in both cases.

        I agree that those who think that rising one tax would not be largely neutralized by other decisions are in error.

        Spending inefficiently is another matter. That leads to real economic losses.

      • “Spending inefficiently is another matter. That leads to real economic losses.”
        Why is spending inefficiently any different then forcing people to do
        what is unnecessary.
        To start off without any objective standard, unnecessary is subjective.

        If one is being paid to dig a hole and fill it in again- one is being provided a job. And getting more money for that job could regarded as necessary. And sitting in air conditioned office, yakking all day, that could considered far more necessary than digging a hole.
        So, you have the EPA that considers forcing companies to hire more people to comply with EPA rules as job creation. So EPA by making people struggle trying understand and comply with their numerous and conflicting rules, and this regarded as a good thing.

      • TT, the 2007+ Australian government has greatly increased government spending as a share of GDP and has run up massive deficits through unnecessary, allegedly counter-cyclical, spending. Its revenue projections are highly implausible, and it continues to splash money on vote-buying measures for households rather than on wealth-generating measures. Politically, the prospect of revenue neutral measures under this government is not a red herring but pie in the sky. The Opposition is not as pro smaller government as I would wish, and will be constrained by the Gillard’s attempt to make bad policies irreversible (by exposing an incoming government to compensation claims).

      • tt,
        Now you true believers have deluded yourselves that that your faith wil lead to the development of a tax that works like no other tax ever has. That the vast money rolling in from your breathing tax will be distributed fairly and equitably directly back to those paying it. That governments – which even now are demonstrating dramatically their inability to raise, collect or distribute taxes fairly or rationally will suddenly do the it correctly today.
        Whatever you are smoking is really strong stuff, dude.

  38. Peter Lang


    I think there is an fundamental difference between taxing CO2 emissions and taxing anything that is accounted in the financial accounting system. Everything that is accounted in the financial accounting system is measured to the accuracy of cents. But we cannot measure emissions to within thousands of dollars. We have no way of doing it.

    The EPA regulations [1], [2] show what is required to measure emissions from fossil fuel power plants. Those requirements would have to be extended to all emissions sources eventually. The cost will be huge. EPA estimated their costs alone would be $21 billion per year [3] if they had to apply what the legislation requires. But even those requirements will not be sufficient eventually.

    The $21 billion per years is just the EPA’s costs. The cost to businesses, I guess, would be at least ten times the EPA’s costs. There are tens of thousands of businesses that will eventually have to comply and measure emissions. The EPA requires that the measurements be taken every 15 minutes and the instruments must be calibrated before each reading. The EPA has also been changing the requirements every few years for about the past 20 years or so (for the other gasses). The cost of changing the instruments, the legacy systems and the data must be huge. And all the downstream users of the data also have to change their legacy systems.

    Please tell me how these costs will be avoided in the system that will ultimately be required to measure all emissions from all sources.




    • Determining all emissions at the source is very difficult and cannot be done accurately. It can be done accurately enough for practical purposes but that takes a lot of effort. Most of the emissions considered are CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and for that part the whole effort is useless as the emissions are known equally well from the fuel consumption and as it’s really much easier to tax the fuels. (Other GHGs and changes in land use must be handled differently, but they require the same extra effort in all approaches.)

      Fuels have been taxed in many countries for long. That’s easy and takes little effort. It’s really difficult to understand, why the choice of estimating the emissions at the source has ever been taken in Europe and proposed elsewhere. There were political reasons for avoiding CO2 tax. For some perverse reasons it was easier to sell the idea of emission trading. That avoided the ugly word “tax”, but in almost all other ways it was worse.

      Even in the case that the cap and trade solution is chosen it would be possible to implement that at the level of fuel markets, but the choice was not that easy one but creating the complex system to estimate and collect data at the emission sources. Some of the complexities have also opened opportunities for criminals and huge frauds.

      It’s unfortunate that in real world the most efficient and objectively best solutions often fail to reach acceptance. Some other solutions are chosen instead as they may give an erroneous impression of being good for the environment.

      Many policy issues of environmental significance are complex. What may appear as best for the environment is often not at all so good. Environmentalists think very often that the two (and exactly two) alternatives are better environment and that kind of economic interests that they consider to be of little real value or even bad. In reality the damage from misdirected environmentalism will, however, often affect other things that they value highly themselves not some bad interests.

      The fight is not only between conflicting interests, it’s also about getting the real interdependences understood, i.e. about facts. For the climate issue the IPCC WG2 and WG3 are supposed to help on these problems but have largely failed on that, because there are so large direct conflicts of interest in these areas (like the economic interests of the renewable energy industry) and too much power on some interest groups in their preparation. On these reports the political control of IPCC has a really serious effect trough the selection of one-sided lead authors and other persons that determine the outcome.

      • Joe's World


        No matter the outcome of policy changes or tax laws changes or even new technological changes implemented, the public will always have to pay for it in the end. Making programs of massive subsidies only helps a companies bottomline and still will effect many in the public who have to pay for it in the end with no actual benefit but wasting money on bad technology that they are contracted to pay for years.

      • Peter Lang

        Pekka Pirila,

        Thank you for your reply. I genuinely want to understanding this issue. I want to know if I am wrong. But, if I am wrong, I need to understand why. Therefore, please bear with me while I play devils advocate.

        You made a brief comment in your first paragraph about the issue I want to discuss; i.e. how to measure emissions sufficiently accurately and precisely for tax purposes – i.e. charging an organisation a tax on its emissions. You then moved on to discuss which method is better for pricing carbon – tax or trading. I’ve been following the tax versus ETS debate for 20 years so have some understanding of the pros and cons of each. What I would like to focus on is the issue of measuring emissions accurately and precisely enough for either a tax or an ETS.

        You said:

        Most of the emissions considered are CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and for that part the whole effort is useless as the emissions are known equally well from the fuel consumption and as it’s really much easier to tax the fuels.

        I am not persuaded that statement is correct. If we proceed with a CO2 tax or ETS, eventually every enterprise that emits CO2 (or the other Kyoto gasses) will be taxed on its emissions. But the emissions cannot be determined well. The USA has legislation and regulations requiring that emissions be measured and reported. The EU does not. The EU estimates the emissions; e.g.:

        EirGrid, with the support of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, has together developed the following methodology for calculating CO2 emissions. The rate of carbon emissions is calculated in real time by using the generators MW output, the individual heat rate curves for each power station and the calorific values for each type of fuel used. The heat rate curves are used to determine the efficiency at which a generator burns fuel at any given time. The fuel calorific values are then used to calculate the rate of carbon emissions for the fuel being burned by the generator.

        However, the calculation does not properly account for the change in efficiency as the unit ramps up and down to follow load changes (and to back up for wind turbines for example). The result is that the calculated emissions are not sufficiently accurate to allow us to properly calculate the emissions avoided by wind generation. Since the calculated emissions are not good enough for that purpose, they are certainly not good enough to defend a court challenge by a company against the tax office about the amount of tax payable.

        In Australia, many of our power stations do not even weigh the coal they use, let alone measure the calorific value and fuel consumption at about 5 to 15 minute intervals, which is what would be needed for an accurate calculation of emissions.

        Furthermore, fossil fuel generating plants are the easiest source to measure. There are many other sources of fossil fuel derived CO2 emissions, fugitive emissions, waste dumps; and all the other (nonCO2) Kyoto gasses. These will all have to be measured too if they are to be taxed or traded. It will not be sustainable, over the long term, to have some sources taxed while others are not taxed.

        Briefly, on the other matters you raised, I agree with may of the other points you make. I especially agree with this:

        For the climate issue the IPCC WG2 and WG3 are supposed to help on these problems but have largely failed on that, because there are so large direct conflicts of interest in these areas (like the economic interests of the renewable energy industry) and too much power on some interest groups in their preparation. On these reports the political control of IPCC has a really serious effect trough the selection of one-sided lead authors and other persons that determine the outcome.

        The damage function (damage cost per degree of warming) is possibly the least well understood and about the most important parameter.

        Regarding my main question about the measurement to CO2-eq emissions, I wonder if you would have time to consider this article: and my comments within it.

        As an aside, I posted a comment on your web site “What could be done?” article a few days ago: . It’s a different topic so not important unless you are interested.

      • Joe's World


        Considering temperature is the fear factor…
        Why does creating CO2 though NOT the heat to create CO2 in consideration?
        Just the measurement of the CO2 gases…other factors that WILL increase planetary temperature are water loss to space, atmospheric density changes and suns energy changes. But these are NOT temperature data???

      • Peter Lang

        Joe’s World,

        There is much background missed. I am making assumptions (many) and accepting IPCC and other assumptions for the purpose of making a point. My point may or may not be correct, so I am testing it here by asking other people to find holes in it.

        My thesis is that even if CO2-eq emissions cause warming as projected by IPCC, and even if warming is as bad as climate researchers say (and as assumed in the Nordhaus RICE & DICE models), then pricing CO2-eq is not the best way to reduce CO2-eq emissions. And one reason pricing CO2-eq emissions is not the best way is because it will be almost impossible to implement an economically efficient CO2-eq pricing system. And one reason we cannot implement an economically efficient system is because of the compliance cost. If we can’t implement an accurate and precise emissions measurement system in the developed countries, we can only imagine how much bigger an issue it will be in the developing and underdeveloped countries. The developed and underdeveloped countries will provide most of the emissions over the coming decades unless we can provide a low emissions alternative for them at a price competitive with fossil fuels. So, the correct way to reduce emissions, IMO, is to focus on the source (as someone else said in an earlier comment on this thread today). That is, IMO, remove the impediments to low cost nuclear power and low cost energy carriers (for transport fuels)

        Therefore, IMO, it is very important that we understand what will be the compliance cost of pricing emissions when world CO2 taxing or trading is fully implemented.

      • Peter,

        I’m still rather busy with other matter. Therefore I write mainly such comments that don’t take much time to prepare. Therefore I haven’t reacted to your post on my site.

        Concerning determination of CO2 emissions my view is that absolute perfection is not needed. When fossil fuels are burned very little carbon is left in ash. Almost all of the carbon ends up as CO2 either immediately or with little delay. Efficiency affects the amount of useful energy that’s produced relative to CO2 emissions but not much the amount of CO2 released from the fuel. Relatively straightforward fuel analysis tells the total amount of carbon in the fuel with sufficient accuracy.

        Whatever way the CO2 releases are estimated it’s important that the number cannot be easily manipulated but it’s not so important that it’s really precise. The situation can be described saying that taxation or emission rights do not apply exactly to real CO2, they apply to a well defined number that’s not too different from the real releases. This is good enough for practical purposes as long as it does not lead to cheating or put competitors unfairly to significantly different position.

      • Rob Starkey

        There is no agreement for the tracking of emissions or on the tax of CO2 emissions by the majority of countries on the planet. Many of these countries wish to get personal transportation and electricity as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Are you suggesting that the US should burden its citizens with a tax that that would make goods produced here more expensive and thereby less competitively on the world market?

      • Rob,

        I haven’t suggested anything so far in this thread.

        Whether introducing a carbon tax will ultimately be good or bad for the U.S. economy depends on the future development. It’s near therm effect would be making energy consuming activities more expensive relative to other activities. If these other activities will be of greater value in the future speeding up the transition is likely to be beneficial for the economy. That’s a very possible future for U.S. but cannot claim that it’s true with certainty.

        A very high carbon tax would almost certainly cause damaging distortions to the economy, but a modest one might be a good idea even on purely selfish ground.

      • Rob Starkey

        Pekka- It near term impact in the US would be to have fewer funds available for spending on other activities and thereby it would have an immediate negative impact on the US economy.
        Now if there was some grand invention that allowed for energy to be produced more efficiently than fossil fuels there would be a positive economic impact as activities expanded around that new technology. Unfortunately, there is no such alternative today.

      • Rob

        I didn’t propose that the funds collected should be sent out from US. Why do you think that there were less funds available?

      • “It’s near term effect would be making energy consuming activities more expensive relative to other activities. If these other activities will be of greater value in the future speeding up the transition is likely to be beneficial for the economy.”

        How can increasing price sooner make higher prices later, better?

        If so, why not do more of this?
        And has it ever been done before and been beneficial?

        It seems such a sooner increase will in addition increase prices in the future at higher price than they would be otherwise.

      • Rob Starkey


        There would be less funds available for the consumer to spend on other things if they had to spend more on energy. This is especially true of lower income consumers.

      • Rob and Pekka

        Have been “lurking” on your exchange of posts.

        I’d agree that a carbon tax (large or small) makes absolutely no sense today.

        We do not even know for sure that increased CO2 has been the principal cause for the late 20th century warming or that further increases will result in dangerous warming levels (see our host’s paper and posts on “uncertainty”).

        But let’s assume that empirical scientific data do, indeed, show us some day in the future that human GHG emissions, principally CO2, have truly been the cause of most of the past warming without any doubt, and that they will represent a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment unless these emissions are curtailed.

        Even then we would not know how in the world a carbon tax of any magnitude would have any perceptible impact on out planet’s future climate.

        Nor do we have a mechanism by which a global carbon tax could be imposed on all emitters of CO2 (administered and policed) – nor do we know who would have the authority to do such a thing.

        And we have not fully explored the unintended negative consequences, which a carbon tax would have if imposed.

        So we are a loooooong way from imposing any kind of global carbon tax (even if some overenthusiastic but misguided European politicians have started to move in this direction).

        We haven’t even gathered the scientific evidence to show with certainty that such a tax is even needed or desirable.

        This is step one. Let’s make sure we’ve done this step before we talk about moving to the implementation phase.


      • Decisions on one type of tax are never done in void. They do always affect other taxes and tariffs. Thus the net effect on consumers would be very small. There would be some redistribution of income but it’s immediate effect may go in either direction for a modest tax.

        As I wrote, a high carbon tax would certainly have negative effects on the economy, but a modest would have a very small effect to unknown direction.

      • Rob Starkey

        It may seem odd, but I am not opposed to a fuel tax in the US. Imo, such a tax would need to be a part of a comprehensive plan to balance the US budget deficit in order for it to make sense. Such a tax would reduce the disposal income of lower income Americans, but it may make sense to increase revenues at a time when such an increase is ultimately going to be required in order to balance the budget.

      • Rob Starkey

        I can’t comment on whether or not a fuel tax in the USA would be a good step for decreasing the rate of increase of US indebtedness (a federal sales tax might accomplish the same thing).

        Another plan would be to cut all discretionary federal spending across the board by 10% or 20%, to increase the social security retirement age to 68, to make a concerted effort to eliminate all waste and fraud in Medicare, Medicaid and the food stamp program, etc.

        I think you have had a budget proposal from US Congressman Paul Ryan, which addresses many of these points.

        But these are separate issues from Pekka’s carbon tax. This is a total boondoggle that has neither a convincing reason to exist nor a plausible method of being implemented on the global scale, which would be required if it is to reduce human CO2 emissions and impact our future climate (which, in itself, is doubtful, as well).


      • Peter Lang

        Pekka Pitila,

        Thank you for your reply. I understand you are busy and don’t normally reply to comments on your web site. No problem.

        Concerning determination of CO2 emissions my view is that absolute perfection is not needed.

        I’d suggest we use the words “accuracy and precision” instead of “perfection”. I agree precision and accuracy are not required from the perspective of those who want to impose a carbon price to cut CO2 emissions. However, from the point of view of the person or organisation paying the tax, or affected by the tax, it will be a big issue.

        When fossil fuels are burned very little carbon is left in ash. Almost all of the carbon ends up as CO2 either immediately or with little delay. Efficiency affects the amount of useful energy that’s produced relative to CO2 emissions but not much the amount of CO2 released from the fuel. Relatively straightforward fuel analysis tells the total amount of carbon in the fuel with sufficient accuracy.

        This assumes we have an accurate measurement of the quantity of fuel used. We don’t. As I said, many of our power stations don’t weigh the amount of coal used at all, let alone at a sufficiently close time scale (like 5, 10 or 15 minutes). And the assays for coal vary considerably over time. But there is no mechanism to measure to carbon content of the fuel being burned.

        Following are some reasons why I believe accuracy and precision of measuring of CO2 emissions will become a major concern of consumers:

        For reasons I will not go into here, I believe Australia’s emissions factors may be grossly in error. The emissions factors being used were stated to the UNFCCC some years ago and I suspect the emissions factors that organisations have to use for their calculations (prescribed by the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) have been adjusted to agree with those stated to the UNFCCC. If they are too low other countries will complain that Australia is understating its emissions and, therefore, is cheating. If they are too high, Australians will complain we are paying too much tax compared with other countries.

        From the perspective of the shareholders in the company they do not want the company they’ve invested in to pay any more tax than is necessary. It is the company directors’ duty to ensure the company does not pay any more tax than is necessary. So they will challenge the Tax office, in court, to demonstrate they are being required to pay too much tax.

        To illustrate how sensitive we are to being ripped off by the government consider this comment I posted on another web site (although this refereed to ETS, it is just as relevant for CO2 tax):

        What level of precision and accuracy will ultimately be required for measuring CO2-eq emissions? Will we need to measure all emissions caused by man to a level of precision of 1 t or 1 kg? If not, what level will be required? And to what level of accuracy, e.g. +/- 1%, 5%, 10%? At 10% accuracy the total amount readily available for fraud would be 10% of 600 Mt/a @ $50/t = $3 billion per year.

        I am influenced by recollection of many inquiries into the petrol retailing industry. Petrol station owners and consumer groups were both concerned they were being ‘ripped off’. For example, there was concern that the petrol delivered at the petrol bowser was less dense (and therefore contained less energy per litre) than when it was loaded into the petrol tanker because it would warm up along the way. So people reckoned they were getting less than they were paying for. There were many inquiries over the years.

        This suggests to me people will become concerned about the accuracy of measuring CO2-eq emissions once trading is well established. That implies we will be forever having to tighten the regulations on emissions monitoring. That suggests ever increasing cost of compliance at a rate well above inflation.

        It strains credulity to believe some sources will have to participate in emissions trading while other sources of emissions will not. We can foresee the fuss if that situation is allowed. “Why me, but not him?” Eventually, emissions measurement and reporting will have to apply to all sources, even down to cow farts. How can this be done sufficiently accurately from all emissions sources? What will be the total cost of compliance ultimately?

        What will happen when the emissions factors that companies have been told to use are found to be in error and they have paid too much tax. Will they be able to claim compensation from the Tax Office> Will they be able to claim compensation for past years? How many years back? Can the companies that have gone broke in the meantime claim for their tax overpayments?

        At the moment I believe accuracy and precision will be required for pricing carbon, whether the pricing is by tax or ETS or any other mechanism. Am I wrong? If so can you provide a convincing argument so I can understand I am wrong?

      • Peter Lang

        Pekka Pirila

        Decisions on one type of tax are never done in void. They do always affect other taxes and tariffs. Thus the net effect on consumers would be very small. There would be some redistribution of income but it’s immediate effect may go in either direction for a modest tax.

        That is not the situation for the Australian tax and ETS. Using Treasury estimates the net cost will be about $400 billion (discounted) cumulative to 2050. The benefit is about zero. Converting this to per person, the discounted cost is about $20,000 per person, or about $40,000 per working person.

  39. Good points, Pekka. The simple and easy option is usually the best. I don’t support anti-CO2 emissions measures, but I’ve argued for 20+ years that if we were to act, it should be done in such a way as to minimise costs. This not only makes economic sense, you’re more likely to get public support (or acceptance) when unnecessary costs are avoided. But the argument is obviously not about costs and benefits, or we’d have nuclear and hydro (where possible) rather than windmills and solar, and would, as you suggest, tax CO2-producing inputs rather than have hugely expensive regulation, bureaucracy and emissions measurement. This disconnect between the alleged problem and the choice of “solutions” is a major reason for CAGW scepticism.

    • Joe's World


      Blaming just CO2 just does not make any sense except to the consensus scientists.
      Many, many areas have been ignored for this single minded approach.

      Our current scientists cannot even understand what our planet was like 4.5 billion years ago and the changes it has had to today. Just only interested in the last 150 years of heat data to the exclusion of all other factors including what generates it. Averaging an orb was a massive error just to generate a terrible climate model that utterly fails in a few days just for following temperature data.
      We still are not even certain what gravity is yet the velocity at your feet is less than at your head in this atmosphere where you are a different density.

      • Joe,

        What makes you think that the earth is 4.5 billion yrs old??

        Wouldn’t be those dang scientist would it?

        Like those ones doing all that ‘paleoclimate’ malarkey about what past cimate was like?

      • Peter Lang

        No. Not the same ones. Real scientists have been determing the age of the Earth for the past century or so. It’s reals science, not social science.

      • “like”

        Like the scientists who told us that past climates were very different, when the orthodox view was of climate stability.

        Like the scientists who are telling us that human activity is now on such a scale that we are altering the composition of the atmosphere, which is highly likely to alter the climate, when the orthodox view was that climate was something beyond human influence.

      • Black Holes & The speed of light is constant…
        What is wrong with this picture?
        Gravity, got some?
        Tell Time

      • “What makes you think that the earth is 4.5 billion yrs old??”

        Michael, what was the speed of light, way back then? What does the paley-o show? The same, faster or slower… please show your work.
        If it was faster back then, what time is it now?

      • All you need to do is take all the speed of light measurements in their proper order and establish the trend line. There is one.

      • It’s 4000 yrs old…… the bible says so!

        Go Team Skeptic!!

      • Bingo!

      • You have been playing the right game it seems.

      • Rob Starkey

        Michael- if the earth is 4.5 billion years old or 5.4 billion years old is of almost no importance to 99.9 percent of humanity. The scientific estimate being right or wrong is of no consequence.

        The same can’t be said of Hansen’s and other’s claims regarding what CO2 is doing

      • JW, I’m not blaming CO2 for anything, it is vital to our existence and well-being. And I’m not prone to single-minded approaches in any field.

  40. Adler, having swallowed the possibility of AGW and the Precautionary Principle in one ginormous gulp, powers ahead to force-marched “alternative technology” and carbon taxing.

    Neither are worth a farthing. He’s way out of his depth in the science and economics.

    Hear me, Johnathan: the only climate prospect worth fearing is fuel poverty and global cooling. Every “mitigation” cent spent on anything else is not only wasted, but counter-productive.

    • Joe's World


      Scientists are slowly losing the war THEY created on blaming greenhouse gases as the cause of excess heat.
      Many, many areas of science are ignored as temperature data became the issue of choice to defend(even though anything that generates or changes temperature is ignored).
      I have yet to get a good reason why the research I have done is incorrect except for the few hardheads who quote bad references that are easily shot down.
      The imbecile who started averaging an orb should have been shot for strictly stupidity reasons.

      • Except of course that increased “greenhouse” gases are in fact warming the planet, and the only war to be lost is if this warming does turn out to be “worse than we thought” and we ended up doing nothing about it when we could have. That would be a big war to lose.

      • Not just the warming. There are a whole host of potential negative impacts apart from the direct temperature changes themselves.

      • Rob Starkey

        And there are a whole host of potential benefits.

  41. I like the idea of energy prizes. A pool of a billion dollars in prizes would certainly capture attention and seems likely to be a more open and transparent process than others one may think of. We in Australia – for instance – have a pool of $10 billion that seems more a process of picking losers and not winners. I will email the Leader of the Opposition to see if we might not siphon a bit off the top.

    There are a few ideas around that are of lesser worth. One of these is letting neo-socialist’s capture the language and call themselves liberals. To everyone else I commend Hayek’s ‘The Constitution of Liberty’ and in particular the essay on ‘Why I Am Not a Conservative’.

    We should insist that we are liberals in the enlightenment tradition and that the American liberal is a perverse type of socialist.

    There are odd ideas about how atmospheric physics work. Consider a photon entering the Earth’s atmosphere from the sun. It is at once a particle and a wave – just one of the mysteries of science seen in wave like interference and in the discrtete particle like packet of energy that is the definition of photon. Literally a packet of energy and the energy is related to the frequency in the quantum idea where the energy equals the frequency times a constant. The frequency is determined by the heat of the emitting body. Thus a photon from the sun is high frequency and high energy. The photon from the sun enters the ocean and transfers the energy to a molecle of water adding to the internal energy of the molecule in the form of kinetic or potential energy. The kinetic energy is the translations, rotations and vibrations of the molecule and the potential energy is in bonds between atoms and in orbits of electrons. When electrons move to a lower orbit a photon is emitted. As the ocean is a lot cooler than the sun the frequency (and energy) of a photon from the ocean is lot less. This photon can interact with carbon dioxide and water vapour in the atmosphere transferring heat. The atmospheric molecule both bounces around transferring heat to oxygen and nitrogen and absorbs and emits photons exponentially faster as the atmosphere warms. Most of these photons bouncing around eventually find their way to the top of atmosphere and thence the cosmos. If there are more greenhouse molecules – there are more photons bouncing around and then the atmosphere warms and spits them out faster. It is just more energetic out there.

    The problem with a carbon tax is threefold. The first is that it seems an especially unpopular idea. Not merely in the west but everywhere else as it might apply to any one but the west. That is to say that the strictly limited application of a tax seems likely to continue – for very good reason in the developing world – into the future limiting effectiveness.

    There are two possibilities with a cap and fee. The first is that the tax is set at a level where substitution doesn’t occur. The tax might therefore result in a reduction in consumption although it must be said that the evidence for a major reduction in consumption where prices for energy and fuels have increased markedly – isn’t obvious.

    The second possibility is that the tax (and fee) is increased to a level where substitution occurs. At which stage the revenue stops presumably along with tax rebates – or else we would have a government budget blowout which of course is an unheard of and preposterous outcome.

  42. Alexej Buergin

    Switzerland has introduced a carbondioxide tax (on heating costs); the politicians promised that people would get all of it back (by lowering health insurance costs).
    Since swiss politicians are politicians, and politicians are the same everywhere, the people now get back about half.
    The tax has no influence on CO2 emissions and is considered a great success.

    • Alex,
      That is a typical AGW driven policy: Deceptive, ineffective and costly.

    • Agree wsith Alexej Buergin that he Swiss CO2 tax is both silly and totally ineffective.

      The politicians’ promise is worthless – health insurance costs continue to rise.

      CO2 emissions continue to increase.

      However, Switzerland continues to be the world leader in GDP generated per ton of CO2 emitted (at over $8,000 compared to a world average of $1,500, a US average of around $2,200 ,an EU average of $3,200 and a China/Russia average of around $500).

      But this is because it has a high population density and generates essentially all of its electrical power needs from hydroelectric or nuclear plants and essentially none from fossil fuels (Switzerland has no fossil fuel reserves, either).

      The politicians (in a post-Fukushima panic reaction) agreed to phase out nuclear power (but do not as yet have any concept of what will replace it).

      Moral of the story: keep the politicians out of energy planning


  43. Yes well, a conservative perspective can be smart or stupid.

    The first article is very repetitive of Tim Ball. :-(

    The crucial approach of looking at the role of science in democratic decision-making and the involvement of various groups is smart but requires the capacity to recognize transparent spin from analysis with insights. Try Sheila Jasanoff, or Siebenhuner.

    The broad participation by various groups at various levels in the shaping of the IPCC, especially the participation and transparency of the past decade, is essentially the counter-argument; however, there is plenty of ongoing disagreement over where the role of some individual nation states is either advanced or limited or balanced, by any international decision-making framework.

    Of course, some things DO develop in a circular fashion e.g. the interaction of sustainability, development and climate change science. Such a process IS circular, and is designed to be so, and no on is trying to hide it. It goes like this: science to policymakers to governments and back again to science. Please stop confusing process with reasoning. And don’t confuse the inability to understand this conceptualization and process with something “disturbing” or nefarious.

    The assessments of international bodies are a process of public, science and political decision-making.

    The need to understand the nature of this new type of dialogue process has been evident for over a decade – and resistance is understandable and a direct reflection of concerns about the boundary of national influence on international issues.

    It’s also indirectly but importantly a reflection of the fact that the U.S. economy is now in a slow or no growth period because of the spiralling cost of fossil fuel in a fossil fuel addicted culture and economy.

    • Martha,
      The question is not whose perspective it may or may not be: The question is it is factually correct.
      The evidence indicates strongly that the criticism of the IPCC is more than justified. Dissembling on about which wicked skeptic is like another wicked skeptic is simple cowardice on your part.

    • Martha,

      The slow growth of the U.S. economy has many factors, with the cost of energy not being the most important. Shifts in manufacturing, and general decline in the numbers of engineering students and other technical fields (China had more technical patents last year than the U.S. for the first time), and demographic shifts. There are thousands of well-paying jobs that U.S companies would love to fill but can’t fill the position because they can’t find qualified technical people to hire. This has nothing to do with the cost of energy, but everything to do with the general dumbing down of the American population. We should be turing out the highest percentage of top engineers and scientists in the world, but that honor is now going to China.

      America has fallen behind most of the industrialized world in math and science, and that fact alone is hurting our economy a great deal, and is further indication of the shift in world economic power to Asia.

      • “This has nothing to do with the cost of energy, but everything to do with the general dumbing down of the American population.”

        Sadly due to the kind of anti-intellectualism that climate deniers promote

      • It took dumbing down America to get AGW sold.

      • Rob Starkey


        Imo, you are correct that the slow growth in the US economy currently is not primarily due to high energy costs, but you are mistaken to believe that it is due to the education of workers.

        The slow growth is largely due to industry fearing the long term situation related to the US and European fundamental budget deficits. It is one thing to have a deficit that is for funding infrastructure construction and quite another when a country has to have a deficit to pay for entitlement programs where the future costs will be higher than today. Either this situation will be corrected or there will be a fundamental economic collapse before 2020.

      • Sorry, but men like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are my kind of heros, and didn’t let fear rule their decision making. Also, I don’t see Apple Computer or Google letting fear rule their decision making.

        Create something, try something, do something. Always forward, onward looking. Fear has no place in the heart of a true entrepreneur. Prudence yes…fear never. If that is truly what is ruling in the hearts of the CEO’s of many corporations in the U.S., the U.S. truly has seen its better days. Move over U.S….enter China.

      • Rob Starkey


        The current budgetary situation in the US is unique in its history. If you are unable to understand or believe that US businesses FEAR the long term worldwide financial situation and as a result are maintaining larger than normal cash reserves, then you need to read more economics.

        As evidence of the concern over the long term economic situation please look at the yield on US 30 year notes. They are currently well under 3%. This indicates that major investors are buying these bonds knowing they will achieve less than 3% return for 30 years. This is happening at a time when the US and EU governments are printing money at a high rate and continue to have to borrow to meet their current obligations.

        In normal conditions, you would expect bond yields to be rapidly rising as sophisticated investors prepared for inflationary conditions. The fact that this is NOT happening is a very strong indication that these major investors FEAR deflationary conditions (also called a depression). The situation is really troubling and I wish both parties would be practical in addressing the situation.

      • Rob,

        I can understand how fear is paralyzing, and if that is the motivation behind many CEO’s and others who could make certain decisions but are not because of fear, then they will go he way of the do-do bird America will become as Great Britain and France now are…a once upon a time empire. Again, Thomas Edison did not stop moving forward and had plenty of things to fear, but his passion and vision kept him moving forward. The future belongs to the next generation of Edisons out there who will take nano technology and other new sciences to new levels in industrial uses. If these visionaries don’t happen to be American because Americans are too fearful, then I guess they’ll have to be Chinese, or Korean, or Indian.

      • Rob Starkey

        Gates- It is not just US business executives that are making “conservative” decisions today with their cash due to the budgetary conditions worldwide. The Chinese and the Koreans are doing exactly the same thing because it makes economic sense until you know how governments are going to take action. If we can get a US government that would actually address the issue, there could be a significant economic expansion.

        Simple answer- massive cuts to entitlement programs growth rates while starting very significant investment in the improvement of infrastructure.

      • BatedBreath

        “Fear has no place in the heart of a true entrepreneur”

        Bold – yes. Blind or stupid – no. Of course rational fear has a place. As an example, unstable/discretionary monetary or other government policy is certainly to be rationally feared, and so inhibits action.

        PS R Gates – some time ago you posted some links to the radiation budget. Can you please repost them? Tks.

      • BatedBreath,

        The future belongs to those with courage and vision, but of course not those who would blindly jump off a cliff. The most successful men and women that I’ve met have learned to balance courage with prudence in the right mix at the right time. I definitely believe that many are being paralyzed by too much fear right now. There are SO MANY opportunities right now for any large or even small companies with some serious cash to invest and the willingness to work hard. Opportunities abound…but courage and vision are the only real commodities in short supplies apparently for American businesses. Sad what paralyzing fear will do…

        In regards to the “radiation budget” links I posted. Can you be more specific, as that is a pretty broad subject.

      • Actually Rob,

        Much of what you say does make a lot of sense. There are macro-economic factors that must be considered in the mix of even a normally aggressive entrepreneurial spirit.

        As to entitlements, I agree that they should be trimmed down to the minimum needed…taking care of those in true need. And both corporate and personal entitlements need to be looked at, as well as excessive military spending and a whole host of other ways our government wastes money. Entitlements weaken both individuals and corporations…stunts their growth and potentials.

      • R Gates,

        I’d argue we still are turning out the top engineers and scientists. Many of them come from China and India these days, but they are still being educated in US schools.

        With regard to US companies not finding qualified workers for open positions – there was a opiece on NPR this morning about the very subject. The theory is t this is due to several factors.

        1) Employers are looking for the “perfect” match, as they believe they can be picky with higher unemployment.

        2) Employers are not willing to pay as much.

        3) HR software programs are having an effect of screening out potentially qualified workers.

        4) Employers have become more reluctant to train employees for a position, as there is no longer much sense of loyalty. IE they are concerned about training someone who then seeks employment elsewhere.

        (Comment on this last – during my MBA days I found that an attribute of successful companies was looking for people with skill sets, with the understanding that they could be trained for a specific position, but acquiring of skill sets was often an unreasonable expectation. Guess that philosophy is going by the wayside.)

        With regard to slow US economic growth – I’d argue it has more to do with instability in the EU over the Euro and an overall slow world economy. The US economy has become so integrated with that of the world we can’t help be be impacted by slowdowns elsewhere.

        Personal aside – while on JeJu Island (S. Korea) our tourguide was describing the large numbers of Chinese tourists visiting the island and how department stores would set up special hours where only they were allowed in to shop. He stated that in 5 years the Chinese currency would over take that of the dollar. I would have placed a wager on that, but I don’t speak Korean and economics is not exactly a subject of great interest for my wife, making it tough to get her interested in translating for me.

    • “It’s also indirectly but importantly a reflection of the fact that the U.S. economy is now in a slow or no growth period because of the spiralling cost of fossil fuel in a fossil fuel addicted culture and economy.”

      Spoken like a true believer in the church of progressivism.

      The addition of 5 trillion in debt, the EPA’s and other regulatory agencies’ strangulation of the energy economy, the intentional closing off of vast areas to fossil fuel extraction, the killing of the Keystone pipeline, none of these have anything to do with slow economic growth and the rising (except now it’s falling) cost of fossil fuels.

      It’s our refusal to invest in more Solyndras and enact massive redistributive taxes on energy. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

      Is Economic Illiteracy 101 a required course at Progressive U?

    • Martha, “spiralling cost of fossil fuel?” The US has begun tapping huge reserves of gas, and prices have crashed. The Australian notes today that “Making the rise in Asian LNG spot prices all the more extraordinary are the stunningly low gas prices in the US. The rapid development of previously untapped shale-gas resources in the US has unlocked a vast new source of supply that has driven prices down in North America. LNG prices in Japan have reached as high as $US18 a unit at the same time as they sunk as low as $US2 a unit in the US.

      “That startling disparity between gas markets on either side of the Pacific, coupled with the broader sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the increased anxiety over China, means these are particularly interesting times for the global oil and gas industry.”

      So the US price is 11 per cent of the Asian spot price. The US can access further vast reserves of cheap fossil fuel if Obama OKs the proposed pipeline from Canada

  44. As for a hoped for reply, you have already received it, in the form of demonization. Don’t expect anything else.

  45. Is there data for the relationship between CO2 concentrations in the SEA with time?

    Thanks in advance.

  46. The good news is that the world leaders whose effectiveness has created what is almost certainly going to be a worldwide financial catastrophe are going to be too pre-occupied for the next decade or so to further indulge AGW. Just as WWI stopped the craziest parts of eugenics in most countries, so the debacle developing in Europe (again, Europe) will end the idiocratic obsessions of the AGW true believers. Think of it as AGW being defeated by clouds with silver linings.

    • Couldn’t agree more hunter. It would take the credulity of a CAGW believer to think the exploding debt bubble isn’t going to leave the financial world in ruins, and the global warming hypothesis along with it…Even without that, we’ve got a cold sun and a cooling planet which by itself will do the trick.

      • We’ve got a cooling planet? Based on what data over what time frame? Are you looking at the whole planet or just your backyard between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on June 4th 2012? i.e. how small of cherries are you picking this time?

      • Gates: Planet not currently cooling. Sorry for the imprecise language. I meant to say it soon will be cooling…based on well established natural cycles along with low solar activity.

      • Thanks for the clarification. I’ll await to see the outcome of your prognostication. Of course, it may cool, for a year or two or even ten from natural variability or short-term negative forcings, but the longer-term trend and longer term forcing from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations isn’t going to just go away.


        Rollercoaster! 4th order polynomial fit! Roll-on the next La Nina! Sorry.

      • John from CA

        “The official forecast calls for ENSO-neutral conditions through JAS, followed by approximately equal chances of Neutral or El Niño conditions for the remainder of the year”

        Personally, I’m pulling for El Niño, Texas and the Southwest could use the rainfall.

      • I guess La Nina periods are all that skeptics have to hold onto to try and believe that AGW is not happening. I even suppose they can hope for a large volcanic eruption or two and cherry pick the data around that to prove there is no AGW. They of course must stay focused on the troposphere during the La Nina periods, as the oceans continue to store more energy in vastly larger quantities than the troposphere could ever hold.

      • Heh, in vastly smaller spaces impossible to find.

      • That oceans are warming but the troposphere not, means he culprit cannot be CO2.

      • The troposphere is warming

        3-year running mean

      • BTW, should we get even a moderate El Nino later this year into 2013, we’d have a very good chance of smashing all global temperature records as this would occur approximately around the time of Solar Max 24 (weak as it might be). That extra heat released during the El Nino, plus the extra push from Solar Max 24 combined with the underlying forcing from increased greenhouse gases would be enough to push the world higher to new temperature records.

        How would AGW skeptics explain this new record (should it occur):

        1) Natural Variability
        2) LIA recovery
        3) Modification of the data by Hansen, et. al.
        4) Residual heat left over from the 1998 El Nino
        5) Urban Heat Islands
        6) Etc., etc., etc.

      • lolwot,

        Long-term of course it is, but the cherry pickers can find easy pickings with the more variable nature of the troposphere versus the oceans.


        Sorry, but the oceans are the biggest heat sink on the planet, and if the Planet’s energy system is gaining heat, the oceans would be where most of it would go. It’s great thermal capacity and thermal inertia make it the most reliable measurement for long-term energy imbalance in the system– plus, the troposphere doesn’t have to warm first, and in fact, a great deal of the energy in the troposphere comes from the ocean, and they often move in opposite directions, such as during a La Nina, where the oceans can be gaining energy while the troposphere cools.

      • John from CA

        R. Gates,
        How can we end up with “a very good chance of smashing all global temperature records” due to the ENSO shift and simply because of a minor shift in the Polar Jet Stream during late Fall 2012 and the Winter of 2013?

        Wouldn’t this increase Northern Hemisphere snowfall as well as cold from the Arctic due to the change in jet stream?

      • John from CA,

        The additional heat released from the oceans, averaged over the entire globe is exactly what is required to raise the global temperature average. The shifts in the jet stream, while having regional impacts, do not negate the large amount of additional energy released to the troposphere during an El Nino.

      • John from CA

        Interesting R. Gates,
        It should be fun to watch this develop over the next 9 months. So far, the La Nina blocking high is still in place the Northern Pacific SST is well below normal.

      • Big La Nina tend to take a break over the SH winter – a 3 year La Nina is entriely possible but so is an El Nino. The SH winter is better understood as a ‘predictability barrier’. Prediction at this time of year is notoriously difficult.

        In the longer term this ‘study uses proxy climate records derived from paleoclimate data to investigate the long-term behaviour of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During the past 400 years, climate shifts associated with changes in the PDO are shown to have occurred with a similar frequency to those documented in the 20th Century. Importantly, phase changes in the PDO have a propensity to coincide with changes in the relative frequency of ENSO events, where the positive phase of the PDO is associated with an enhanced frequency of El Niño events, while the negative phase is shown to be more favourable for the development of La Niña events.’

        There are ecadal changes in ENSO frequency and intensity – as can be seen in Claus Wolter’s MEI index. More frequent and intense La Nina to 1976, more frequent El Nino to 1998 and La Nina dominant since.

        See for yourself –

        The shifting patterns of ENSO events are clearly associated with low level marine stratoculuous in the equatorial and sub-equatorial Pacific anti-correlated with sea surface temperature. Both ocean and atmosphere cool in La Nina and warm in El Nino.

        1976/77 is an ENSO extreme and presaged the ‘Great Pacific Climate Shift’. 1998/2001 was likewise an ENSO extreme. These are better understod as ENSO ‘dragon-kings’ that are associated with tipping points in climate. ‘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 present a generic phase diagram to explain the generation of dragon-kings and document their presence in six different examples (distribution of city sizes, distribution of acoustic emissions associated with material failure, distribution of velocity increments in hydrodynamic turbulence, distribution of financial drawdowns, distribution of the energies of epileptic seizures in humans and in model animals, distribution of the earthquake energies). 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.’

        With decadal variability it is insufficient to look at even 50 years of data on hydrology, temperature, cyclones, etc. – hundred of years to thousands of data is neccessary and there is no doubt that ENSO varies on centennial to millenial time scales.

        In the 11,000 thousand year ENSO proxy can be seen the drying of the Sahel starting 5000 years ago, the demise of the Minoan civilisation starting around 3,500 thousand years ago, hundreds of years of intense drought and long periods of major flooding such as we have not seen in the instrumental record.

        Climate has seen major shifts that occur within a decade – the only certainty that climate science has brought to the table is that there will be surprises.

      • John from CA

        Thanks Chief Hydrologist, I’ll take a look.

      • Chief said:

        “Both ocean and atmosphere cool in La Nina and warm in El Nino.”

        This is not true on a broad level. I know we’ve had this conversation before, but I think it’s important to indicate which part of the ocean and which part of the atmosphere is warming during an El niño and cooling during a La Nina. The higher SST’s in the equatorial eastern Pacific during an El niño set up the higher temps oa few months later on in the troposphere as that is energy on the way out of the ocean. But during a La Nina, less heat is transferred on average from ocean to atmosphere, and hence SST’s tend to be lower, but ocean heat content tends to increase during La Ninas (measuring not the surface SST’s but ocean heat content dozen to 2000 meters).

      • You are not looking at data – merely repeating a narrative. I have shown this before. It shows both ERBS and ocean heat content based on water levels – the latter of course integrates heat content all the way down.

        See both ERBS net and ocean heat content increase in 1998 and decrease in 1999. El Nino and La NIna. Why does this happen? It is to do with low level marine stratocumulous in the Pacific responding to cold water upwelling – or not – in the eastern Pacific. Data and not narrative.

    • What a pair of alarmists.

    • Few people think eugenics caused WW1.
      Not many think AGW caused a worldwide financial catastrophe.
      But few have clue how much money was spent on AGW.
      AGW was connected with everything, it increased energy costs,
      it’s related to ethanol production. Why lightbulbs were outlaw.
      Etc. Etc. It produced nothing of value. It didn’t save one life or polar bear.
      It didn’t lower CO2 emission. The governments involved
      were debt spending. So if they didn’t spend nickle more on it tomorrow,
      we still be paying for it. It suck up political capital and public
      attention, that one could imagine might have done something of
      So perhaps a stretch to say AGW cause worldwide financial catastrophe
      but it’s hard to see how couldn’t have a significant or major effect.
      The only mitigating factor, is people could possible found some other
      fad, that could cost more [though it’s hard to imagine what that could have been].

      • gbaikie,
        When decision makers are so out of touch as to waste time on bad policies and frivolous things like eugencis or AGW policy demands, they are doing this at the cost of thinking about realistic solutions to real problems. They may be so distracted by the non-problems of eugenics or AGW as to completely over look real problems.
        Do our leaders seem to be looking at realistic solutions to world issues or are they wasting huge amounts of time and effort on stupid ideas?

  47. I think the better term for the “CO2 tax” is “tax on living”.
    Our governing classes are so far off base that they have deluded themselves into thinking that basically taxing breathing itself is the only thing that can save the day. This makes tax avoidance much more ominous.

  48. I was disappointed to see the comment on the Cape Wind project. The price for electricity from the Cape Wind project came in at 100% above current generation. The state Attorney General took the bull by the horns, and got them to knock off 5%(!). But then what power provider would pay that much? The state used the desire for the major provider to expand to extort the purchase of Cape Wind power out of them. The cost of that extortion, of course, will be passed on to rate-payers (like me).

    And a conservative thinks this is a good idea that should have been sped up? Good God!

    • MarkB,
      Supporting the Rube Goldberg solutions that the AGW community is pushing requires one to leave conservative thinking behind.

  49. Well, some, not Eli to be sure, perhaps Roger Pielke Jr., would point out that Judith already has done the Sgt. Schultz with respect to what happened at the 1995 meeting.

    I do not have any knowledge of this situation beyond what is reported in the standard sources. This issue has been widely discussed and disputed. There is no particular reason to rehash it here, i brought it up as a key issue in the history of the IPCC and the debate surrounding it.

    Perhaps she has forgotten. Eli certainly did.

    • Eli, you are fixated on Santer (I am not). I am mainly interested in what Houghton and Bolin were up to back then. This is where the real story lies, IMO.

    • It’s a long time since 1995. People cannot recreate in their mind all the background for what happened then. People have also forgotten what was said about those issues soon after they occurred. Because of that it’s now easy to raise some issues again in a very misleading way. Short articles and comments do almost invariably just that at least when they are written to further some cause.

      It’s certainly possible to to study carefully what happened in the past using methodology of historians, which include collecting widely information from a variety of sources and applying source criticism. That’s hardly the approach behind the Quadrant article.

      • Well we might as well speculate anyway and rewrite history in the process.

        When James Hansen’s old boss at NASA, Ted Kaczynski, got up in front of the panel for the 1990 IPCC report, why didn’t anyone say anything?

      • ceteris non paribus

        When Svante Arrhenius’ old boss at the Royal Institute of Technology, Adolf Hitler, stood up and yelled “Es ist die Sonne, dumm-Kopf”, why didn’t anyone say anything?

      • indeed the silence was deafening. I notice Al Gore hasn’t posted a comment on here yet giving his side of the story. Rather telling.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Perhaps Al Gore is too busy still inventing the internet.

        Surely Lord Monckton will drop by and clear up everything.

      • cnp
        Re: “why didn’t anyone say anything?”
        They did, especially the Social Democratic Party and the Communists. However, most were arrested, prevented from voting, or beaten up:

        General Election – 5 March 1933
        Hitler held a general election, appealing to the German people to give him a clear mandate. Only 44% of the people voted Nazi, which did not give him a majority in the Reichstag, so Hitler arrested the 81 Communist deputies (which did give him a majority).
        3 Enabling Act – 23 March 1933
        The Reichstag voted to give Hitler the power to make his own laws. Nazi stormtroopers stopped opposition deputies going in, and beat up anyone who dared to speak against it.
        The Enabling Act made Hitler the dictator of Germany, with power to do anything he liked – legally.

        The Social Democratic Party opposed Hitler’s Enabling Act. After the Enabling Act, Hitler banned the Social Democrats and confiscated its assets and incarcerated its leaders.
        Such tactics are being increasingly advocated and practiced by “climate change” activists (aka global warming alarmists.) Today, can we still prevent “climate change” legislation being imposed with its economically draconian consequences?

      • The magnitude of the social and political error is such that it mandates better understanding in order to forestall another such error.

      • Perhaps there should first be some consensus that there was an error and on the direction and nature of that error.

      • Inventing catastrophes, and hanging human guilt on them was an error. A warmer world, with more CO2, would increase the globe’s carrying capacity for life and increase diversity of life.

        Plus, the globe is cooling, Pekka; for how long even kim doesn’t know.

      • Kim,

        Do you claim that you know what you are telling?

        Or are you just hoping so?

      • Rob Starkey


        Wouldn’t you agree that it was an to claim to be so sure about what conditions would be like as a result of rising CO2 levels? There were multiple claims made that “we know” that a long list of environment disasters will come about in a few decades as a result of human CO2 emissions. Wasn’t that an error regarding the rate of change as a minimum?

      • What am I supposed to hope for, Pekka? A cooling globe is a catastrophe against which any warming pales in comparison.

        What do you hope for?

      • Rob,

        I agree that certain scientists have made statements in a way that does not follow the practices of science but rather that of advocacy. Most notably Hansen who has confirmed that himself as far as I have understood correctly what he has said afterwards.

        Stephen Schneider has written about the problems that scientists who have chosen to be also politically active face.

        These are issues where my views on the best way of acting differs from those of many activist scientists, but I’m not going to condemn them as guilty of wrongdoing or immoral. Rather I would say that they have misjudged their situation and the right way of acting when the values of science and their other legitimate values conflict.

        My view is that they have damaged their own cause if they are correct and they have erred even more, if they are wrong in their personal judgments on the future of climate.

      • Those paying the bill for this ‘misjudgement’ may have harsher criteria by which to judge.

      • Do you mean that they should have been wiser and more effective in getting their advice accepted?

        They may have been totally correct in warning about very serious consequences of the global warming process that is currently going on. I certainly hope that that’s not the case, but i don’t know – do you really know?

      • So here we are, Pekka. Global warming is a good thing, but isn’t happening. Climate change is always happening, and you know it. Climate ‘Weirding’ is as transparent a bodge as the aerosol(unintended) monkey business, and you know that, too. Where are the catastrophes attributable to man, other than that done to science, and policy?

        So what more do you need to know? Future climate? Sorry, can’t help there.

      • Peter Lang

        Isn’t the key issue that the IPCC process are not satisfactory and they still have not been fixed. The Inter Academy Council (IAC) review of the IPCC’ s processes for AR4 make it clear:

        • Political interference
        • Bias
        • Uncertainty
        • Conflict of interest
        • Management

        See short summary with IAC’s statements summarised under the above categories:

  50. Dr. Curry,
    Will we ba able to look forward to a post on “Leftist Perspectives on Climate Change”?

    • A link to realclimate?

    • Good point. The trouble is that the left does not seem to be so obsessed with linking politics and climate change so Judith may have to look a bit harder for the info.

      • Garethman,
        I would suggest that lefties in general and AGW believers especially are completely obsessed with connecting political motives to skeptics.

      • That’s because you do have political motives. You make that clear in your comments. It’s skeptics who bring up politics time and time again.

    • Leftist perspective:

      Global warming is opium of the people.

    • hunter,

      Unfortunately, this is the question that makes Liberals who normally have diarrhea of the mouth put on leak-resistant Depends.


      • It is clear that our leftis friends have little ability/interest in putting shoes on other’s feet.

    • ceteris non paribus

      It’s really cool that people can take a concept from Revolutionary French history that has nothing to do with climate science, mix in a remark from a famous 19th-century political philosopher about religion, add a reference to diarrhea and adult diapers, and still come up with comments that are even more inconsequential than those in the original post.

      • cnp,
        And with you 1:06pm post you dowin, ironically, the award for most meaningless post of the day.

      • ceteris non paribus

        MMPotD? Me? Here on Climate Etc.?

        What with the competition being what it is – I shall cherish my award forever…

      • cnp,

        I take it you are a Liberal.


      • ceteris non paribus

        No – just someone who thinks that the vacuous over-use easy political labels is stupid.

      • Agreed.

      • cnp,

        You may think it’s stupid but lotsa people do use them to identify groups. That’s just the nature of politics. And like it or not, Climate Science has politicized itself.


      • Only progressives (including those of the “moderate” and “independent” varieties) object to “political labels.” Though it is not labeling itself they object to. They label their opponents without hesitation. It is only being labelled themselves that really bothers them.

        This phenomenon came about in the 70s when the label “liberal” started to poll negatively, due to the efforts of that Inspector Clouseau of progressivism, Jimmy Carter.

        It is fun watching Obama, Pelosi and Reid do for “progressive” what Carter, Kennedy and Tip O’Neill did for “liberal.”

      • To believe in political labels is like to believe in AGW. You have to be indoctrinated and naive.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Identity politics and histrionic label-affixing brought to a new level.

        More proof positive that US political culture is to rational debate as Rachel Ray is to gourmet cuisine.

      • “To believe in political labels is like to believe in AGW. You have to be indoctrinated and naive.”

        You know what a synonym for label is? Noun. That’s just what we need. Let’s get rid of all those nasty nouns. Just think how much shorter our sentences will be.

        You want to pretend that the people leading the CAGW movement, and the general movement toward centralization of the economy, have nothing in common? That they just happen to keep pushing for the same policies, in concert, using the same tactics, and all just by happy coincidence? Go for it.

        In the words of the inimitable P.T. Barnum, there’s one born every minute.

      • Sometimes you have to get rid of rotten stuff. To me they’re either ignorant or corrupt, people leading the AGW movement. We’re distracted by false dichotomies.

    • Peter Lang


      I think you are making a serious error of judgement if you want the host to become an advocate for one side of the other. I think she does an excellent job attempting to be as unbiased as possible and providing a site that both sides of the argument are willing to continue to contribute to. Do you really want another blog site where only one side of the arguments is engaged?

  51. John from CA

    Related to the The Serpent’s Egg article:
    If one looks at the formation of the IPCC, we discover the intent to resolve a problem that had yet to be properly defined. The solution work groups were defined at the same time as the scientific effort to define potential impact.

    It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s wrong with this picture.

    Despite the rushed effort for the first IPCC report, the report was utilized to justify the creation on the UNFCCC.

    The really interesting question I’m seeing, who authorized the UN to extend its efforts into solutions and where in its Charter do we find justification for these programs?

    Another interesting aspect, if you look at the official organizational chart for the UN, you will not be able to find any of the Climate related groups listed.

    Where’s Waldo ; )

    • John from CA

      JC comment. This article paints a disturbing picture. I would like to hear a defense/critique from IPCC principals.

      My pet peeve from day one, the UN Failed to properly Govern an issue we all share and the complete lack of proper due-diligence speaks volumes about President Clinton who ushered in programs, under Soft Legislation, that any 5 year old would have rejected.

      There is absolutely no way to move forward until this UN mess is properly defined and fixed.

  52. John from CA

    Related to A conservative’s approach on combating climate change

    Big chuckle here, I frequent numerous international sites and the one thing that became obvious from day one is how little we (I) understand the terms used to describe personal beliefs in the various political systems.

    There seems to be some disfunction on the Net that mistakenly implies these terms are universal when they clearly are not.

    On the other hand, the definition of terms related to Hard Science transcend our cultural differences. Its tragic, the UN prefers confusion to fact and negates our common language.

    Political terms like liberal, conservative, moderate, left, right have no meaning in a mutually beneficial debate over Science.

    If you wish to move the buoy into fresh waters and propose needed and insightful solutions that simply redress the climate nonsense by virtue of insightful engineering and design, you’ll discover what the UN failed to properly define as they ushered us into their Worldwide sandbox.

    Take the toys from the UN kiddies and lets move forward.

  53. The title to this post is wrong. It should read “One Conservative perspective on climate change, and another liberaltarian attempt to dress up progressive policies with a conservative gloss”

    OK, that’s a little long, but at least it’s more accurate.

    Libertarians are not conservatives. They are also not entirely progressives. Libertarians are just another species of “moderate” or “independent” – diners at the chinese restaurant of politics – some from column A (conservatism), some from column B (progressivism).

    On climate change, Adler is a progressive.

    But at least there is one article on a conservative perspective by an actual conservative. For this tribal reservation, that is refreshing.

    There is no way to enact a “conservative” massive, redistributive energy tax. No tax in the real world will ever be truly revenue neutral, even in the bastardized sense used here. It does not matter who enacts the tax, or who writes the original tax code, even under a nominally conservative government.

    One of two things will happen. Either the voters will later elect another progressive government, or the conservatives who enact this “conservative” tax will move left, as the exercise of massive power does to virtually everyone (Look at the GOP conservatives elected to Congress in 1994 – whose slide into progressivism lead us directly to Obama and Obama care.)

    Either way, eventually even a nominally revenue neutral tax will become just another honey pot from which politicians will ensure their reelection by rewarding their constituents with government largesse.

    Can you say Social Security? I knew that you could.

    • John from CA

      Interesting comment — for the shake of clarification, let’s discuss this in terms of USA conservatives. There is a cornucopia of conservative groups in our Republic.

      USA conservatives generally believe in small government, reduced taxation, the Rule of Law, and complete support for the Rights of our States and our Rights for self-determination under the Constitution of the USA and the Constitution and Bill of Rights in our various States.

      Conservatives are Not in favor of rediculous nonsense from the Federal Government related to Cap-and-Tax and the absurd EPA intrusion on land owner rights.

      Here’s the interesting aspect of all this, Liberals also share many of the aforementioned objectives. They don’t want to pay more taxes for usless programs and they are not willing to give up their Rights. There’s a fundamental foundation for the conservative vs liberal debate — we are first and for most Americans.

      I live in the most Liberal State in our Nation; California. A recent Poll by the AB32 Implementation Group indicates that 2/3rds of Californians do Not support the proposed Cap-and-Trade program, are not willing to pay more taxes, and feel California is seriously on the Wrong Track.

      Here’s another example:
      80% of the US electorate supports restrictions on eminent domain abuse including:
      – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
      – League of United Latin American Citizens
      – National Federation of Independent Business
      – the Farm Bureau
      – Democrats Against UN Agenda 21
      – The National Republican Committee
      – The Tea Party

      • John from CA,

        Can’t say I agree with your second point – “Liberals also share many of the aforementioned objectives.” (And I would delete “complete” from your comment on conservative support for state’s rights. It depends on what the state is claiming its right is: run its own schools, yes; Democrat imposed Jim Crow, no.)

        Progressives don’t want to pay more taxes themselves, but they do want to increase taxes on everybody else. The same with rights. They don’t want to give up their rights, but have no problem restricting the rights of others.

        It’s not that progressives share conservatives’ principles, they are just hypocritical in advocating one thing for everyone else, while exempting themselves.

        As for California, I lived there in the early 80s, before dementia became the dominant political philosophy. All I can say about California is that there is one state in the Union with dumber public policy and more corrupt politicians (of both parties). Unfortunately it is my own state of Illinois. (I rank New York a close third.)

      • John from CA

        Excellent points GaryM,
        By State’s Rights I intended to imply Powers reserved to the States as opposed to Congress sticking their noses into State issues they have no right to legislate. But I agree with you, there are any number of issues conservatives would find difficult to completely agree on so it does depend on the issue.

        LOL, “before dementia became the dominant political philosophy”; so true.

        Interesting take on Progressives, I tend to agree but honestly think they’d benefit from a solid understanding of Civics in the USA.

      • Regarding: It’s not that progressives share conservatives’ principles, they are just hypocritical in advocating one thing for everyone else, while exempting themselves.

        I’m reminded of the folks calling for strict gun control laws in places like DC who, it turns out either own a firearm or have armed security protecting them.

    • Gary M,
      Exactly correct.
      A telecommunications tax enacted for the Spanish American War, in 1898, was able to last until 2006:
      Its long life saw it used for many things besides enhancing communications for the duration of the Spanish American War.
      Taxation of breathing, aka “a CO2 tax” will never go away, and will, like each and every other AGW pushed program, do nothing for the climate.

  54. As a BC resident I can tell you there is no such thing as a revenue neutral Tax. This simply sucked millions out of the school and city budgets to fund the Pacific Carbon Trust. Guess who has to pay or get services cut.

  55. BatedBreath

    Prof Adler is arguing from a “the science is settled” perspective, and may thus be summarily dismissed as a nitwit.
    The Sepent’s Egg has it about right – the IPCC is constitutionally bound to find for CAGW no matter what.

  56. Talking about climate change in context of “conservatives” and “liberals” encourages an incorrect dividing line. I think many climate skeptics approach the subject with a political bias and to legitimize that they are trying to paint the issue as political for everyone else.

    Much like how creationists try to make the issue religious for everyone else by creating a false dividing line of “theist” vs “atheist” on the subject.

    In both cases science dares to intrude on people’s cherished worldviews. The theory of evolution dared to intrude on the worldviews of those who read the Bible or Koran literally, while climate change has dared intrude on the worldviews of those who worship individualism.

    The response is predictable: the science must be being pushed by their political/religious enemies.

    There are plenty of comments pushing individualism on this blog, but I haven’t seen a single “liberal” coming onto this blog arguing for climate change as a means to raise taxes. The climate skeptic excuse for this is of course that these mythical “liberals” are hiding their conspiracy well. Creationists argue the same thing that evolution is pushed by atheists who only accept evolution because they hate god, who are similarly noticeable by their absence.

    Climate skeptics want to push the idea that the other side that accepts AGW is just as passionate about politics as themselves, but i think that just isn’t so.

    • Rob Starkey

      An overly large generalization don’t you think?

    • Read a bit of “Time’s Up” and talk to us about who is radical.

    • BatedBreath

      Lolwot has it completely back-to-front. The initial injection of politics into the CAGW issue of course came from the totalitarian end of the political spectrum – it was government-funded science, for starters – hence the ready embracing of an opportunity to increase taxes and controls. This requires no “conspiracy”, merely the common delusion of dressing one’s own desires up as the ‘common good’. (Some) skeptics merely point this underlying political motive.
      (Oh, and while the science is so unsettled, it is the CAGW truthers like lolwot who actually resemble creationists btw)

    • lolwot,

      “Talking about climate change in context of ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’ encourages an incorrect dividing line.”

      The divide is not uniform politically. But it is as close as any other issue.

      Conservatives believe in reliance on principle, letting those principles constrain our options. When we have a tough decision to make, we appeal to free market principles and the Judeo-Christian ethic. Humility drives us to question those who seek additional authority and to fundamentally change our system of government. Our decisions are informed by history, including the history of progressivism.

      Progressives believe in reliance on “elites,” of which they count themselves as members of course. Hence the slavish devotion to appeals to authority – science by poll. So when movement progressives take control of something like CAGW, the masses of default progressives (including many moderates and independents) follow meekly along. Belief in their own superiority leads progressives to follow their leaders without sufficient evidence, and even when they see the yawning abyss right in front of them. (Think Greece, Spain, shoot, most of Europe right now.) They are essentially oblivious of history, except the revisionist version they learned in school.

      Virtually all conservatives are skeptics as to CAGW.

      The vast majority of progressives are proponents of CAGW (even when they try to re-label it as “climate change.)

      Most “moderates” and “independents” seem to fall in the AGW/lukewarmer category because, well, frankly, the whole benefit of being a moderate or independent is the conceit that “both sides” are wrong, and the middle is where the truth always lies. You get to be smarter than 80% of the people, without ever having to actually decide anything of real importance.

      There are a surprising number of progressives and moderates who are skeptics, but that is only because the skeptical position is so clearly correct that it pierces the veil of progressive cognitive dissonance for some.

      • Gary “… the whole benefit of being a moderate or independent is the conceit that “both sides” are wrong, and the middle is where the truth always lies.” It is more of a truism, the truth is generally in the middle. It is also more like all sides are wrong, so go with the one that has the best exit strategy :)

      • capt. dallas,

        Conservatives prefer the free market. Progressives prefer socialism. There were those who chose the “middle” way in the 30s. Private ownership, combined with government control through powerful bureaucracies. Guess what they were called?

        Hint, they were really popular for a time in Germany, Italy and Japan.

        Oh, and an only slightly modified version of their economic system is on open display in Europe now, with the all too predictable results coming at them like a freight train. It looks like their exit strategy right now is to just let it hit them.

      • Conservatives prefer a free market, true. Progressives prefer socialism, not so true, They just prefer something different since they have no clue what they want :) The true middle doesn’t like pigeon holes, so libertarians are not truly in the middle.

        A lot of the true middle have to deal with being called something or the other because people like to use labels. Ever heard of the Monty Hall statistics problem? That is the logic of the true middle.

  57. The idea is that by finding a pattern in the observed data that matches the predicted data, a causal connection can be claimed. Following publication of IPCC 1995 and in the wake of mounting criticism of the “discernible evidence” claim, a paper by Santer et al.(1996) was published in Nature (Michaels and Knappenberger, 1996). It showed that the research on which the IPCC “discernible influence” statement is based had used only a portion of the available atmospheric temperature data, with no scientifically defensible reason for not using the entire data set. When the full data set was used, the previously identified warming trend disappeared. ~Chris de Freitas

  58. John from CA

    hunter says | June 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Dr. Curry,
    Will we ba able to look forward to a post on “Leftist Perspectives on Climate Change”?
    This should be more than amusing if it happens. I asked for some help to understand the Australian Party system and got this great response from brc. Try to find the left ; )

    brc says:
    February 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm
    I know it’s already been covered, but the Liberal party in Australia is supposed to be in the ‘classic liberal’ tradition.

    What this is supposed to mean is small government, free markets, personal freedom – the original meaning of the word.

    The main difference between the Liberal Party in Australia and the Republican party in the USA (from my observation) is a total lack of religious related policy. Hence you will never hear a debate in Australia about things like evolution or abortions like the ones that seem to dominate republican positions. So while both parties align with the conservative side, the Liberal party is (supposed) to be a bit closer to a libertarian view on many issues. Of course, it never works out like that, because of the individual personalities involved. The Liberal party is quite new – it has only existed for about 70 years or so. The other conservative party is the National party, which is much older, and is primarily a rural-based conservative party. Together, the Liberal and National parties act together and don’t contest elections against each other, deciding on who gets to contend in what seat. They are generally referred to as ‘the coalition’. The National party only gets a small part of the portfolio, however.

    The Labor party is descended from the British Labour party – and is purely trade unionist in makeup and outlook. However, due to declining union membership (below 20% of the workforce) they have increasingly turned to ‘progressive’ policies and increasingly are made up of academic characters.

    The Greens are a party full of useful idiots, ex-communists and starry eyed dreamers. They haven’t got a clue except for ‘capitalism bad’. They don’t actually say ‘socialism good’ but somehow pretend you can run a modern economy on moonbeams and rainbows. They are far-left, and have policies on everything from closing down power stations to throwing open the welcome mat to anyone who really wants to live in the country, reserving the biggest welcome for those from countries with the lowest standards of living and education.

    Australia doesn’t have a popularly elected leader like a President. You vote for your local representative and your state senate representatives. Once all the representatives and senators are in parliament, they elect the leader of the party, who in turn becomes the Prime Minister. The Cabinet positions are the heads of the various ministries (finance, defense, health, etc), and the party/PM appoints all of those from the various members of parliament. Of course, in practice, the party already has the leader nominated before an election, so you know in advance who the PM is going to be, but of course they can change their mind at any time, which is what they did to depose Kevin Rudd and install Julia Gillard. And now they are thinking about changing back. And of course, the nominated leader has to win their ‘seat’ before they can become PM – in practice, they all come from ‘safe’ seats which never change hands, but it has happened a couple of times in history.

    Kevin Rudd is a policy wonk who came up via the public service and diplomatic circles, while Julia Gillard is a former student radical who was a member of all the internationalist socialist groups until about 10 years ago. She is hard-core trade union background and pure socialist, but pretends not to be because she knows such views aren’t accepted by voters today.

    The leader of the opposition (Tony Abbott) is very much a student of the former PM John Howard, and while he is a conservative Catholic, he doesn’t actually have any religion oriented policies.

    Tony Abbotts big claim to fame was that he was the first mainstream Australian politician to start pushing back against carbon taxes and pricing. That’s how he rolled the prior leader of the Liberal party, and that’s how he destroyed the popularity of Kevin Rudd to the point where Gillard successfully challenged for the leadership of the party (and hence the PM role). Gillard was actually instrumental in getting Kevin Rudd to dump his carbon pricing scheme, and she didn’t want to have any part of it, hence the ‘there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead’ line. But she ended up having to deal with the Greens – a position the socialist within her liked anyway, so she went with a carbon tax and broke her own promise. From there on, all Abbott has had to do is keep reminding people of the broken promises, and Gillards’ own incompetence has pretty much taken care of the rest.

    Still, the issue of carbon taxing is the overriding one in Australian politics, and it’s already clear that the politician who drives the silver spike through it’s heart and kills it forever is going to be the one who wins the spoils. So far, this looks like Tony Abbott, but he could easily fluff it between now and then.

    • John from CA

      Here’s where it gets interesting:
      “Those of you who believe that the Australian Labor Party is communist, socialist, or left-wing should bear in mind that the party has long been dominated by its right wing faction. The largest unions are on the right, so effectively the right runs the Labor Party. The Right appoints nearly all top party officials and dominates the committees that have the most power.”

      So the terms left, liberal, etc. not only do not mean the same thing in various countries but do not reflect the actual underlying bent.

      Well maybe all but the Green Party where “a party full of useful idiots” seems to fit universally.

      • While I realise that the term “useful idiots” has a particular meaning, I’d still prefer “useless.” As for Rudd (I worked for him and he’s my local MP), he stands for Kevin Rudd’s ego-gratification, a lot of his “policy-wonking” reflected his pet hobby-horses rather than good analysis. In 1992 he backed my “market-enhancing” economic development strategy for Queensland, more recently he proclaimed the ascendancy of democratic socialism (cf Europe, some ascendancy).

      • John from CA

        To be honest, I think “useless” is a bit harsh. Like a battery, we need a negative to support a positive and there have been a few Green ideas that have some merit. Decentralized power generation and decentralized manufacture are fascinating opportunities to reduce pollution, address clean water, and free the individual from tyranny.

        Your “market-enhancing” economic development strategy for Queensland sounds fascinating. If you’ve got a link I’d really like to read it.

        Regards and I hope Australia can free itself from the Carbon Tax nonsense in the coming elections.

      • John from CA

        ROFLOL, I decided to click the “Faustino” link in the hope of finding the strategy you referred to. Here’s the response I got.

        “This blog was created accidentally after some confusion with logging on to post at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc site (, I’ll close the blog down as soon as I work out how to do so!”

        You’re too funny!

    • If things keep going downhill who knows… perhaps someday it won’t be politically incorrect to support someone who would otherwise be the perfect candidate execpt that they don’t believe abortion no big deal.

  59. UAH is in at +0.29C. Looks like the fabled global cooling is failing to materialize.

  60. Global warming has become the scapegoat for climate variability and natural climate change. (Ibid.)

  61. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Even more bizarrely, WUWT has begun a practice of unilaterally releasing the private email addresses and/or personal identities of posters. While at the same time, Anthony now absolutely forbids the use of proxy servers.

    Bottom Line: Anthony Watts now insists that WUWT posters supply personal information … information that WUWT then does not scruple to publish unilaterally. WUWT?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Most bizarrely of all, of 260 WUWT comments, precisely zero have dissented. Incredible.

      Conclusion If the prevailing WUWT values represent the future of climate-change conservatism, then WUWT‘s brand of climate-change conservatism has no future.

      • consenseus

      • What is to dissent? The convincing 11th hour proof needed to “find” a significant anthropogenic CO2 connection required fiddling with aerosols to adjust the models.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        To be clear, precisely zero WUWT posters have dissented with regard to the new Anthony Watts /WUWT policy of unilaterally releasing private information.

        This seems (to me) like no form of conservatism that should ever be entrusted with the responsibilities of governance.

      • Oh that, bloggers will be bloggers. Steven Mosher is no longer using Moshpit, quite a few pseudonyms have been dropped in favor of transparency after unveilings. WUWT regulars are aware of the history.

      • It’s a little amusing watching ‘Not enough discourse, yet’ get more worked up about it than the Bunny himself. Halpern’s real name and academic position have been well known for a loooong time.

      • Watts does not guarantee privacy. What you don’t seem to get is that it’s HIS BLOG. You, a fan of more BS, are a whiner.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        It is striking and very peculiar that the ideology-driven, unilateral release of private information is enthusiastically endorsed by skeptical weblogs like WUWT … and yet this same practice never (AFAICT) is seen on science-oriented weblogs.

        Why is there such a striking difference, one wonders?

      • what other skeptic blogs do that though?

      • Should add: if you want a laugh try posting something critical (but polite) to WUWT from an academic domain using an anonymous handle. Wait for the lols as they suspect you of being a climate scientist hiding your identity.

        For bonus points post from somewhere climate-sensitive. I was once near UAE in the UK and seriously considered visiting the library just so I could post to WUWT with a UEA IP address. I don’t mean impersonate anyone, but you wouldn’t have to, paranoid minds would make assumptions.

      • Lolwot, I’ve done that (posted criticism to WUWT from an academic domain) with no apparent problem, other than some light banter.

      • Dear fan of more bs,
        You are apparently a troll that has worn out your welcome at WUWT.
        A physicist, and now a fan of more bs.
        What other little And I do mean little) games are up your sleeve.
        Perhaps you should think about what is happening to you at WUWT as what happens at a party if you are rude.

    • “While at the same time, Anthony now absolutely forbids the use of proxy servers.”

      Well I’ve been banned from plenty of places, maybe even there, doesn’t have any effect really. If you have dynamic IP address it should change fairly often so IP bans wear out after time. If it’s static you can try to get the ISP to change it for you – you are paying after-all.

      Biggest thing of all – don’t supply the same id or email…dead giveaway.

      Additionally there are also mobile devices, internet cafes, hotel connections, even on occasion free wifi that people just leave unsecured if you need a different IP address.

      Short of banning ranges and blocking other people there is no way to reliably ban.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        To see everything about yourself that Anthony Watts / WUWT / Heartland’s lawyers see, simply visit any browser-checking website (like ““, for example).

        Highly informative!  :)

    • So is David Springer, et al., one of your identities?

    • Steven Mosher

      To be accurate early on Anthony required that people supply a valid email.
      WRT to Eli, we ( err probably me ) identified Eli long ago on other blogs before it became apparent to Anthony. And not by looking at email addresses but just by doing some very rudimentary detective work.

  62. You know what they say: To err is consensus. Individual liberty works — literally; going Greek don’t.

  63. Beth Cooper

    Stop Press! New Paper in Nature, July 1996.
    “Manufacturing Confidence in Claims of Global Warming Trend is Partly Due to Human Activities.” by Ben Santer, Tom Wigley et amis (of the IPCC.)

    …sometimes it is necessary to do what is necessary.

  64. Interesting poll of Australian public opinion released today.

    On dealing with global warming the proportion wanting aggressive action has dropped from 68% in 2006 to 36% now.

    On the carbon tax and ETS, 63% are opposed (45% strongly against) with just 35% in favour.

    There is more and charts here:

    • But aren’t some of those who oppose the legislation opposing it because they don’t think it goes far enough?

      “The 63% of Australians who say they are against the legislation were presented with three statements and asked ‘whether you agree or disagree it is a reason why you personally are against the legislation’. Half the population (52%) oppose the legislation and agree it ‘it will result in job losses’. Thirty-eight per cent say ‘it is not necessary to act before other countries’. However, a third of the population oppose the legislation and say it does not go far enough, with 33% agreeing ‘the measures are not strict enough to result in substantial emissions reductions’.

      • Max_OK, Yes. Amazing, isn’t it, there are still 33% who believe the government’s propaganda? Amazing eh?

      • Question: Of the 63% of Australians who oppose the legislation, what proportion said they oppose it because it does not go far enough?

        Observation: The legislation was favored by 58% of Australians who had a bachelors degree or higher education.

        Observation: For the 2012 U.S. election, Obama was the choice of 80% of Australians, while only 9 percent favored Romney.

      • Max_OK,

        Yep. It sure shows how effective progressive and socialist propaganda is, eh? And the higher support amongst those with degrees clearly demonstrates how the education system has been taken over the progressives and socialists. This was discussed in a previous thread.

      • Peter, do you know the answer to my question? For your convenience, I’ll repeat it.

        Of the 63% of Australians who oppose the legislation, what proportion said they oppose it because it does not go far enough?

        It’s not a “gotcha” question. I don’t already know the answer.

    • Just 60% say that democracy is the best form of government. There is a storm coming.

      • Would it be fair to assume that the 40% who do not want democracy are mostly the same people who want to impose irrational solutions to fix their feared “catastrophic climate change”?

      • To be fair – this is Australia and 17% are too busy partying to give a rat’s arse and only 23% are socialist demagogues intent on usurping hard won democratic freedoms.

        “From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.” F. A. Hayek

        I will see you in the trenches and on the barricades should it come to that.

        Best regards
        Captain Kangaroo

  65. Beth Cooper

    There is a crack in evertthing.
    That’s how the light gets in.

  66. Beth Cooper

    Grr, slow down…’everything’

  67. I think it could summarized as Glenn Reynolds did. [He claims he is libertarian blogs well known, Instapundit]:
    “SO YESTERDAY, I took exception to Mark Steyn’s gloom. That occasioned this email from Sarah Hoyt:

    With all due respect to Mark Steyn whose writing I adore, I MUST disagree with him:

    a) (Galaxy Quest) Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

    b) I’ve been thinking about this and have been meaning to write on it. Strangely we’re in a MUCH better position than in the seventies. Look, the thing is the type of brain bug the OWSers seem to have was “mainstream” in the seventies. Now we look at them like they’re nuts. (They are.) The Reagan Revolution is permanent. That he took the commies down and exposed them for what they are, didn’t hurt either. Obama might be “purge or cure” for the remaining “soft communism”. It will hurt. Revolutions always do. But I think in the end we’ll survive and thrive because

    c) I’m bullish on America. Our leaders are screwy and we let them run with idiot schemes too long, but man on man (and woman on woman, though that makes it start to sound like a really odd x rated thing) the American people still have what it takes. I think once the hobbles are taken off the economy it will rocket forward. So

    d) let’s get it done.

    Preach it, sister. ”
    “UPDATE: Then again, Kevin Menard writes: “And on the other hand, I think Steyn is an optimist. Personally, I’m burying ammo and canned goods…”

    So, whatever version of carbon tax can summed up as “screwy and idiot schemes” which probably continue to be discussed for period into the future. But it doubtful whether the US will ever pass such a law. If they did, they good news is the law’s only significant result is getting rid of the representatives that voted for it. The carbon tax, is about the same as Obamacare, but with much less political support. Implementing a carbon tax would similar in it’s slowness of Obamacare, and the results would the same or worse. Significant results of Obamacare: Dems getting hammered in 2010 elections, and probably hammered again in 2012 election. And the Supreme Court trying to decide whether Obamacare is even constitutional.
    For someone who liked the idea of being compared to Reagan, Obama faces at best an uncertain re-election. If Obama gets re-elected it is doubtful he could get a carbon tax on his desk to sign. If Dems get Obama re-elected, they certainly could feel confident, and rightly feel the the public actually supports their policies. But that doesn’t means they would be over eager to jump off another cliff. Rather it indicate to they want to consolidate their position so as do really well in the election in 2014. And if a carbon tax was an election winner, why isn’t Obama running on it? If carbon tax is what dems think is *the secret plan* that going to cause them to win this election, I think safe to say, Carter’s
    beating on his re-election attempt, will be a lot better than Obama’s re-election effort- it be the worse defeat by any president seeking re-election.
    So that leaves the possibility of reps and Romney enacting a carbon tax.
    It is possible for reps to be this stupid- I would have given even odds that McCain could done something this dumb.
    It does seems possible as deal to lower taxes in general- but would dems
    want a carbon tax so bad, that they reduce taxes in other areas. Say wipe out the IRS, and use low flat tax? Wild stuff.
    That would quite radical and not something Romney would choose, Romney will probably cut government spending [not have increase as much]. He has no other priority other get the US back to decent economic growth- stop the bureaucrats from inhibiting economic growth.

    So last thing Romney wants is something radical, but the congress could drive him in that direction and part of compromise being something resembling a carbon tax. But problem with that scenario is dems wouldn’t have much or any desire for such compromise. And none this will have anything with whether the rest of world has a carbon tax.

  68. tempterrain

    There has been an awful lot of discussion on this blog on conservative perspectives on climate change. I think we all know what they are now. They tell us often enough given the slightest oportunity.

    But what about liberal and socialist perspectives? Why not a discussion on those too?

    • Tempterrain,

      Surely, the progressive’s and socialist’s perspective inundates most of the webs site about climate change and global warming: e.g. RealClimate, SkepticalScience to name just two. If it wasn’t for the progressives and socialists, the AGW issue would have been dealt with in a rational and apolitical way. But they used their techniques of exaggeration, scaremongering and fear to politicise the issue.

  69. Chad Wozniak

    Garethman –
    You’re right that the meanings of terms like “liberal” or “rightwing” have become utterly confounded.

    Here’s something to think about: In the US, leftists and salf-proclaimed “liberals” are anything but liberal, in the classical sense of the word. They are not liberal because they proceed from dictatorial impulses, and they also are not progressive because they cling to inhumane ideas long since discredited. Wgat they are is REACTIONARY.

    As for “right-wing,” consider this: doesn’t the term mean expecting that the hoi polloi shall bow and scrape before his highness, old money, making rules for others that don’t apply to himself, and, and again clinging to those inhumane ideas long since discredited? Guess who I am describing here: Al Gore.

  70. Being center-right myself, there’s still one thing I really don’t get about much of the discussion here by other center-right (or out-and-out right) denizens here. What, exactly, is so much worse about a tax on carbon than a tax on labor, or capital, or whatever?

    As far as I can see, most of the arguments here against a carbon tax are essentially slippery-slope arguments. “Ah, once they tax carbon they’ll never stop.” “If you think the introduction of a carbon tax will be accompanied by a reduction in other taxes, you’re naive.” Undsoweider.

    Frankly, this is all a load of horsehockey. Historically speaking, the US has managed to rearrange tax rates on different inputs regularly, almost contnuously. Marginal rates of tax on income have plummeted over the last sixty years. Capital taxes and capital gains taxes have gone up and down. What we know from experience in the US is that total federal revenue can be (in fact has been, historically) quite constant in the long run, at a long run average of about 19 to 20 percent of national income, even with quite remarkable changes in the taxation of different inputs.

    Many of you question the notion of “revenue neutrality” but, in fact, as an aggregate matter over the postwar period, as a fraction of national income, total federal US tax revenue have been remarkably constant, that is revenue neutral (as a fraction of national income).

    BTW this also gives the lie to a lot of the center-left talk on this blog and many others. That talk frequently assumes that a decrease in some tax rates always results in a decrease in tax revenues. But historically in the US, that is painfully false. Marginal tax rates on income plummeted over the postwar period, but tax revenue as a fraction of national income never did in the long run.

    Let’s just say there’s a lot of historically uninformed talk floating around here, on both sides of the political spectrum.

    We’ll always have taxes of some sort. The question is, if you have to have taxes in order to finance government spending G, what is the most efficient way to do it? The idea that the most efficient way to do this is to tax only labor income (directly and indirectly), capital income (directly and indirectly) and consumption spending (sales taxes) has no scientific or philosophical or moral basis that I am aware of. Thus the apparent allergy to taxing some resource (land, carbon energy, whatever) has no basis whatsover in any economics OR politics as I understand those things–relative to the currently taxed alternatives.

    Sure, to tax any activity, there are better and worse ways of doing it. But this is not really the most important point here. Historically speaking, the US government is well capable of tax reforms that simultaneously raise taxes on some things, lower them on others, eliminate exceptions and add new ones. Historically, this has happened frequently. So don’t give me this BS about a one-way slippery-slope to tax armageddon. And also, don’t give me this BS about the impossibiliy of approximate revenue neutrality (when in fact, the entire revenue history of the postwar US federal revenue scheme has been approximately revenue neutral as a fraction of national income).

    The question is entirely this: Are we taxing some things (I have in mind labor) too heavily while we are taxing other things (I have in mind carbon energy) too lightly? If so, then there is room for an approximately revenue-neutral reform that will enhance economic efficiency. That is the end of the story.

    Expecting to make lots of new friends! :)

    • 19 to 20%… The self employment tax alone is 15.3%. We already have a flat tax and then some. And, the unfunded liabilities that the childredn of Americans face who work in the free enterprise sector to actually provide value to society are in debt for over a million dollars before they are even born.

      • Wag, look at the data:

        You are forgetting that payroll tax ends at a relatively low level of income (I mean relative to the poeple who pay most of the taxes, the top percentile people) so that in terms of total federal revenues the payroll tax is relatively trifling (though of course not for the people who pay it).

        Try again, Wag.

      • At over 80K it is not low — it is higher earners that are a relatively low number… and, a portion of the rate is unlimited. Consider too that compared to earlier times there are far fewer deductions–some of which phase out to the extent that many “high” earners now pay alternative minimum income tax — the “millionair’s tax — that earn less than a quarter of million dollars.

      • Wag,

        See here:\\

        The first column shows the breakdown of federal taxes paid by income quintiles. At the top are the shares of total federal taxes. At the bottom are the payments as a percentage of mean income in each quintile. By either measure, the top two quintiles are paying the lion’s share of the taxes. The bottom quintiles actually pay less than the 15% social security tax, mostly because the Earned Income Credit is refundable so they get back a great deal of that. You have to be in the third quintile before you actually pay more than the 15% social security tax, and that is only about 2% more on average.

      • People who pay no federal income tax generally have no idea how much they actually do pay in taxes. People like that are the sort of California voter who vote for bonds because they think the bond money is free.

        There are exceptions of course–e.g., a business student taking an introductory econmics class in the ’70s undertood that social security was a ponzi scheme, back thien. It also is easily accessible knowledge that raising the minimum wage actually hurts the lowest wage-earners. But, it helps hypocritical anti-business Democrat politicians stayin office… for decades.

        And, it’s common sense that a bullet to nowhere is not really productive of anything except the most ineffecient income disstribution imaginable and a gift ot insiders. Going Greek means –>don’t go to work, literally.

      • I mean bullet train and that is what the EPA is trying to do for America with its attempts to assert hegemony over CO2: build a bullet-RxR to nowhere.

    • Peter Lang


      What, exactly, is so much worse about a tax on carbon than a tax on labor, or capital, or whatever?

      However, you did not mention the issue of the compliance cost of measuring and monitoring CO2 emissions. It seems to me, to tax a commodity you need to be able to measure the quantities accurately. But that is virtually impossible with emissions of CO2-eq. See my comment to Pekka Pirila here:

      Have you done a rough estimate of what the compliance cost would be for the USA? Could it be $230 billion per year (or more) ($21 billion per year admitted by the EPA, and at least ten times that figure for the costs to business)?

      • I said “Sure, to tax any activity, there are better and worse ways of doing it.”

        See earlier comments by Pekka and Faustino. I am willing to go along with a carbon content (fuel-based) tax to avoid the emissions-monitoring problem though that misses some prospective efficiencies that could be gained.

      • We have in Australia a 20% by 2020 renewable energy target, fuel tax at $0.38/litre and from next month the world’s biggest ‘revenue neutral’ carbon tax. The economy is going gang busters – best in the OECD by a long shot to second place. We are going to meet the Kyoto target – 108% of 1990 (lol) although only by absurd land clearing legislation that causes more environmental harm than it cures. And we are set to pull in another haul of gold at the Olympics next month.

        The carbon tax is an odd and entirely new animal. It is not a Pigovian tax intended to correct externalities, it is not like a tax on tobacco intended to reduce consumption on a specific product. Ultimately to be at all effective it needs to be at a level that makes alternative sources of energy economically competitive. So if works at all we are left with no tax revenues, no recompense and production inputs that are more expensive than they would otherwise be. Alternatively, the tax is not high enough to do anything at all and we buy cheap carbon credits on super-critical coal fired power plants in China and India. Seriously. And then there is no tax revenue etc, etc.

        We are likely to lose 30% of our aluminium smelting industry because we are losing our cheap coal based energy but as a country with 22% of the world’s bauxite deposits, etc, etc. Well who gives a rat’s arse? We can always sell coal and gas to China and India to refine our bauxite.

        The developing world is sensibly opting for low cost productive inputs and maximum economic growth. Efficiencies? Efficient madness with no hope of being widely adopted and no hope of being at all effective if it were in other than buying and selling of credits and in reducing world economic growth to the detriment of economically marginal peoples everywhere. It is quite simply monstrous idiocy.

        Quite simply we need better technology. One of the best ways to encourage this is with a global energy prize. Why are all the good solutions being ignored in favour of nonsense?

        Best regards
        Captain Kangaroo

      • “We have in Australia a 20% by 2020 renewable energy target, fuel tax at $0.38/litre and from next month the world’s biggest ‘revenue neutral’ carbon tax.”

        California pays $.68 per gallon so less than 20% and BC Canada pays
        about 1/3 of price in taxes. Here:
        “British Columbia 36.567¢ GST + Includes carbon tax of 5.56 ¢/L as of July 1, 2011 (scheduled to rise to 6.95 ¢/L on July 1, 2012).”
        Per litre, So BC paying higher. They also call it ‘revenue neutral’ .
        Of course Europe is higher. Should google it:
        “The sale of fuels in the Netherlands is levied with an excise tax. The 2007 fuel tax was per litre or $ 3.5 per gallon. On top of that is 19% VAT over the entire fuel price, making the Dutch taxes one of the highest in the world. In total, taxes account for 68.84% of the total price of petrol and 56.55% of the total price of diesel”
        I don’t think the European apply label ‘revenue neutral’ .

      • Peter,

        Another point. For some reason I have a different conception of the cost of raising tax revenue from most of you. While I can and do think about the direct out-of-pocket monitoring costs to the government, and can be easily reminded that I’m not attending to them carefully, I also think of the tax-avoidance costs–people and businesses spending real resources to hide the activity.

        In many economies, including developed economies, vast resources are spent evading taxes by hiding profits, wages and so forth. This is a double cost because (a) real resources are flushed down the toilet by the evasion activity, and (b) potential tax revenue is lost in the process.

        Take an economy like that of the US and guess that 3% of economic activity is grey market (to avoid labor taxation). Multiply the reported GNP of the US by .03, and then by .15 for the social security tax. That is your estimate of lost tax revenue due to grey market activity. Also, some proportion or the .03 times GNP is going to be real resource expenditures toward remaining grey, that is, outside the view of the taxman. This is going to be a large number.

      • Peter Lang


        I think what you are saying is there is a large avoidance of tax due on labour, and the avoidance on CO2 emissions (or directly on fuel) would be no more, perhaps less.

        That may be so. However, I was trying to get a handle on the compliance cost rather than the tax avoidance.

        I have not managed to get you or Pekka Pirila or Faustino to engage with me on the compliance cost issue with taxing or trading in CO2-eq emissions. The fact each of you has dismissed the issue as not important could be because it really is only a trivial matter, or it could be because you haven’t considered it seriously.

        I believe I understand the argument each of you has made that we could tax fuel instead of emissions. While that is true, I don’t believe it is relevant to my point:

        1. Firstly, directly taxing fuel instead of emissions is not what is being proposed by any government; they are all considering either tax or ETS (Cap and Trade); so there is not much point in proposing a different scheme that is not being considered seriously by governments;

        2. Secondly, we have high taxes on liquid fuels already; these have not stopped CO2 emissions; furthermore, the price of coal has risen by a factor of five in Australia over about the past decade, but that has not stopped us using electricity, nor forced us to switch from burning coal to gas, nuclear or ‘unreliables’

        While I recognise your point about tax avoidance, that is a different point from the point I am making about compliance cost. To help me to make my point clearly, humour me and assume that the compliance cost would be $230 billion per year for the USA. Isn’t that a productivity destroying policy? Doesn’t it mean companies have to spend money on compliance rather than other improvements that would help to make US businesses more internationally competitive? Isn’t it bad policy for governments to force large compliance costs on the enterprises that provide our energy?

        Another way of looking at it is that all the money spent on compliance is not revenue. So it is not available to be spent on, for example, research into low emissions technologies.

    • tempterrain


      Friends? Yes sure. Its good to see that someone of declared ‘right-of -center’ opinions can actually make a sensible and reasoned argument !