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.

      • 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.

        Click to access v70n3p27.pdf

      • 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.

    • C’mon, Eli, use the explicit link:

      Click to access ecofables.pdf

      • “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.


  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 !

      • Finally! – someone left-of-center sees that most reason and sense reside far outside their own domain.

      • tempterrain


        Not quite. There is naturally a conflict between the political left and right with both having an important part to play in a modern democracy. You can look at it in the Hegelian concept of “thesis, antithesis, synthesis” if you like where a synthesis does emerge from the conflict. If it didn’t we’d have recurring civil war.

        I’d just also make the point that traditional right of centre politics seems to be rather out of fashion in the USA at the moment. The Republican Party seems to be lurching into Libertarianism which isn’t at all the same as Conservatism. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue to gain momentum, and if it does, it also remains to be seen whether Libertarians will, if they do achieve political power, will be prepared to engage in the same political process as traditional Conservatives.

      • Yes, Left and Right being but different flavors and degrees of totalitarianism, the polar opposite of libertarianism.

      • “Yes, Left and Right being but different flavors and degrees of totalitarianism, the polar opposite of libertarianism.”

        In American context, I would say a violation of the constitution would
        something one could call totalitarianism.
        Would agree?
        Or define it differently?

      • No, totalitarianism is the idea of total state control over society – every aspect of people’s lives being taxed or coerced in some way by government. The opposite is libertarianism, where mutual consent between citizens is instead the guiding light.
        In the real world of course there is neither a pure totalitarian nor a pure libertarian system, all are mixtures of coercion and consent, the terms “totalitarian” and “libertarian” having a relative rather than an absolute connotation.

      • “In the real world of course there is neither a pure totalitarian nor a pure libertarian system”

        There are/were totalitarian states in real world- quite a few: Nazi empire, USSR, Cuba, N Korea.
        N Korea getting fairly close to a purest of totalitarian systems
        constructable- not that they are geniuses or anything.
        I think China is helping them out fair amount, and being fairly small state and colder climate makes it easier [or harder to escape]. The aspect that the land pretty boring could be helpful- though the people who are fascinated by queer cultures or large unified public performances might find it more irresistible as tourist destination.

        Whereas a libertarian state is a more elusive in the real world.

        One might point to America before the world wars.

        And if hopeful, a libertarian could wish for transition to something more like the America before the World Wars- the task of being in charged with global security is not a task sought nor desired but rather a perceived requirement.
        And I suppose, that would fit a libertarian view of foreign policy: getting to point where this is no longer this real American requirement and this should be a high priority.
        Whereas more conservative republican [or democrat] or realist or whatever could say that will never or should never happen [not be attempted].

        This might have been a reason for the establishment of UN, but I seriously doubt anyone over there at present would have such a libertarian view.

        And it should noted that purity is something which is more the belonging to the ideology of the totalitarians.

      • tempterrain

        Anarchists would say the same, about anarchism. I’d always supposed Anarchists were of the left and libertarians were of the right. But maybe you wouldn’t agree?

      • tempterrain

        The term libertarian as used in the US means something quite different from what it meant historically and still means in the rest of the world. Historically, the libertarian movement has been the anti-statist wing of the socialist movement. Socialist anarchism was libertarian socialism. In the US, which is a society much more dominated by business, the term has a different meaning. It means eliminating or reducing state controls, mainly controls over private tyrannies. Libertarians in the US don’t say let’s get rid of corporations. It is a sort of ultra-rightism.

      • “Libertarians in the US don’t say let’s get rid of corporations. It is a sort of ultra-rightism.”
        Why would anyone want to get rid of corporations?

        Wiki: “See also: Corporate law in the United States and Delaware corporation

        Several types of conventional corporations exist in the United States. Generically, any business entity that is recognized as distinct from the people who own it (i.e., is not a sole proprietorship or a partnership) is a corporation. This generic label includes entities that are known by such legal labels as ‘association’, ‘organization’ and ‘limited liability company’, as well as corporations proper.

        Only a company that has been formally incorporated according to the laws of a particular state is called ‘corporation’. A corporation was defined in the Dartmouth College case of 1819, in which Chief Justice Marshall of the United States Supreme Court stated that ” A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of the law”. A corporation is a legal entity, distinct and separate from the individuals who create and operate it. As a legal entity the corporation can acquire, own, and dispose of property in its own name like buildings, land and equipment. It can also incur liabilities and enter into contracts like franchising and leasing. American corporations can be either profit-making companies or non-profit entities. Tax-exempt non-profit corporations are often called “501(c)3 corporation”, after the section of the Internal Revenue Code that addresses the tax exemption for many of them.”

      • xx test

      • TT
        Wrong on virtually every single point.

        The term ‘libertarian’ means the same everywhere. The US is no different. (Unlike the older word ‘liberal’).

        Yes libertarianism quite anti-statist. Since it seeks to maximize liberty, and the state is the chief agent of coercion, this means the state is kept to a minimum. But not only is this not part of any socialist program, it is almost the direct opposite, since socialism seeks to eliminate a consensual society – by maximizing coercion/the state.

      • TT (cont)
        And while it is true that since corporations are a consensual institution, libertarianism does not seek to crush or hamper them, and this may find favor with some on the Right. But as previously mentioned, the soft Right is very roughly libertarian on economics, but authoritarian on social issues (eg non-hetero marriage, censorship), whereas the soft Left are economic authoritarians but civil libertarians. Extreme Left and Right are indistinguishable, being authoritarian on all issues. Libertarianism per see is neither Left nor Right, since both Left and Right are the sworn enemies of various aspects of liberty.

      • Erica,

        If you think I’m wrong on “virtually every single point” you should at least check before clicking the send button, otherwise you end up looking silly and uniformed.

        Try doing some simple research, make some quotes and cite some references. Like this:
        “Libertarianism is a term created by nineteenth-century European anarchists, not by contemporary American right-wing proprietarians.”

        ” It is only in the United States that the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative positions on economic issues and liberal positions on social issues, going by the common meanings of “conservative” and “liberal” in the United States.”
        Noam Chomsky

      • Honestly, if you cite Chomsky as your authority for any proposition (other than one from linguistic theory), you’ve lost me. Just saying.

      • tempterrain

        Well if you don’t like Chomsky how about Joseph Dejacque?
        But in any case, it doesn’t really matter if we agree with either of their political views (I largely don’t) but, rather , if they are correct in saying they are both libertarians. As JD was the first person to employ the term, at least he must have been.
        This older meaning is still prevalent in Europe, although as my first reference showed, there is a conflict between left libertarians as they understand the term and those on the right, who they term propertarians, who have tried to appropriate it recent years.
        It may , in fact be seen as dispute about intellectual property rights, or a kind of trade mark dispute, which the former certainly wouldn’t respect but the latter perhaps should.

      • That link shows Joseph Dejacque to be in the Proudhon school of thought. They are coherent civil libertarians, fair enough, but utterly confused and opposed to economic liberty, espoused as they are to state (‘communal’) ownership of property, at the same time as calling for abolition of the state.

      • Well an anarchist believes in zero government. Libertarians believe in minimal government (however much is needed to maximize liberty). So the former is a subset of the latter.

      • Many types and traditions of anarchism. I would say more ‘opposing authority and hierarchical organization in government’ than no government. There must be some kind of relations.

      • tempterrain

        Erica, If you look at the history of anarchism in Spain , which is where that political view has historically been at least as influential as Marxism, you’ll see that the idea of “zero government” is regarded as, at best, something of an ideal and that in practice you’ll find no disagreement from them in your view that there should be minimal rather than zero government.

        I suspect you also think of anarchism in connection with masked men holding spherically shaped bombs with long fizzing fuses. That’s not really quite right either! You should read up on it and try to work out why Anarchism is definitely of the left and Libertarianism is certainly of the political right.

      • tempterrain

        Of course local activity is important for many types of environmental conservation. But as Global Warming is, er, well global there has to be a global and collective ( a word that Libertarians don’t much like) response to the problem. The only alternative is to deny there is problem.

      • Yes, there have been people who think of themselves as Left and call themselves anarchists, but their ideas have been completely incoherent. The only coherent strain are the more recent anarcho-capitalists. See eg David Friedman’s The Machinery of Freedom.

        Libertarianism is about maximum freedom, ie minimal government (anarchism being an extreme example or ideal, not seen as practical by virtually all libertarians). The basic spectrum in politics is the libertarian vs totalitarian, and both Left and Right fall into the latter, as both are implicated in big government (the Left arguably more than the Right, hence the popular misconception that freedom is a rightwing notion).

      • tempterrain

        You need to add an extra dimension to your political thinking. Left and right on one axis. Authoritarian and Libertarian on the other.

      • You’re inventing non-existent whole dimensions tempterrain : the fundamental political dimension is authoritarian-libertarian. Left and Right are merely sister sub-species of authoritarian. Very roughly, the Left is relatively authoritarian on economics, but libertarian on civil matters (eg censorship), while the Right is relatively authoritarian on civil matters but libertarian on economics. Extreme Left and extreme right are pretty indistinguishable.

      • tempterrain


        I’d be happy to take the credit but it really would be quite undeserved. If you check the wikipedia reference I supplied you’ll see the two dimensional political chart is not my invention. Maybe there are more than two dimensions though and I could work on that idea?
        Mono-dimensional political thinking, either that everything is explicable on a left-right axis, or, in your case, an authoritarian-libertarian axis, is for those who are either incapable or unwilling to exercise their brains and actually think in other than the most simplistic of ways.

      • TT
        Yes sorry I didn’t mean to suggest you actually invented the old Left-Right categorization, merely that you went along with it.

        The problem here is the exact opposite of the one you suggest. It’s not one of over-simplifying, it’s over over-complicating – something insecure people and those who overrate their own acumen are prone to do. ‘Complicationists’, let’s call them – people too simple to see an overarching unity in a perhaps confusing sea of information.

        The specific point here is that the Left-Right is not a fundamental dimension in political analysis, as popular as it clearly is. It’s just a complicationist platitude. Left and Right are really just different bundles authoritarian and libertarian ideas.

      • tempterrain

        The term libertarian as used in the US means something quite different from what it meant historically and still means in the rest of the world. Historically, the libertarian movement has been the anti-statist wing of the socialist movement. Socialist anarchism was libertarian socialism. In the US, which is a society much more dominated by business, the term has a different meaning. It means eliminating or reducing state controls, mainly controls over private tyrannies. Libertarians in the US don’t say let’s get rid of corporations. It is a sort of ultra-rightism.

      • ‘To confess one’s self as an Old Whig does not mean, of course, that one wants to go back to where we were at the end of the seventeenth century. It has been one of the purposes of this book to show that the doctrines then first stated continued to grow and develop until about seventy or eighty years ago, even though they were no longer the chief aim of a distinct party. We have since learned much that should enable us to restate them in a
        more satisfactory and effective form. But, though they require restatement in the light of our present knowledge, the basic principles are still those of the Old Whigs. True, the later history of the party that bore that name has made some historians doubt where there was a distinct body of Whig principles; but I can but agree with Lord Acton that, though some of “the patriarchs of the doctrine were the most infamous of men, the notion of a higher law above municipal codes, with which Whiggism began, is the supreme
        achievement of Englishmen and their bequest to the nation”[17] – and, we may add, to the world. It is the doctrine which is at the basis of the common tradition of the Anglo-Saxon countries. It is the doctrine from which continental liberalism took what is valuable in it. It is the doctrine on which the American system of government is based. In its pure form it is represented in the United States, not by the radicalism of Jefferson, nor by the conservatism of Hamilton or even of John Adams, but by the ideas of James Madison, the “father of the Constitution.”[18] F.A. Heyak The Constitution of Liberty

      • TT
        Blinkered activist that he is, Chomsky is as ignorant of what modern libertarianism means as you are. If you think there are people around calling themselves libertarians, who have a coherent idea that is opposed to liberty, please show them to me. There is no US / Rest-of-the-World divide on this.

        Chomsky and that link you provide are from the hopelessly muddled old tradition of so-called anarchists from the 19th century – muddled because they would need an almighty state to own all property – but who I agree may very well have coined the term.

      • tempterrain

        You may disagree with Chomsky, in fact we may both disagree with him, but to label him “ignorant” just makes you look more foolish than ever.

        This discussion may to some be somewhat academic about who has the right to use the term ‘libertarian’ and I’m pleased to see your acknowledgement that it comes from 19th century anarchists, who, even though we may both disagree with the politically, we do at least agree that they very different in their outlook from more modern so-called ‘libertarians’.

        There seems to be a strong and worrying misperception in the US that a strong state is a socialist state. In your case that there is no difference between a country such as Cuba and, say Chile, under military rule after 1973. There is no marked difference between Israel and Iran. No difference between South Africa under apartheid and Sweden. No difference between the USSR and the USA. Yes they are, or were, strong states, they aren’t all socialist.

        Even more worrying is the tendency among the New American right to distance themselves from the ideal of democracy. Just google the phrase “America is not a democracy”. Its probably going a little to far to label those who make that argument as fascist but they are heading that way, and they certainly don’t merit the term of ‘libertarian’.

      • I cannot see how anyone could logically dispute that a libertarian is one who places a high-value on liberty – which in turn means freedom from aggression by others, sometimes called negative freedom. If Chomsky and other descendants of the 19th century fake anarchists dispute it, that is a clear illustration of their ignorance and foolishness on this point. In practice it simply means a predominately consensual society, which means a minimal state.

        Yes, socialism is not the only strain of oppression/totalitarianism, as Cuba/Chile, South-Africa/Sweden show (apartheid though sometimes called racial socialism).

        And as regards a supposed rejection of democracy, are you sure this is opposition to elections, and not opposition to totalitarian democracy, tyranny of the majority (ie the basic nature of Western nations today) ?

      • tempterrain

        “Racial Socialism” ? Well I’ve never heard apartheid called that before.
        And democracy is totalitarian is it? So by that score Barack Obama is a totalitarian?

        It all sounds pretty dangerous talk to me. It sounds like you aren’t interested in liberty at all but you are interested in preserving your property rights. The key to the difference between real libertarianism and proprietarianism, a much better description for most so-called American libertarians, hinges on the question of authority vs. freedom. Proprietarians deny it–or are in denial about it–but their system is based on the same sources for authority as feudalism.

        Under feudalism there is no, or very limited, democracy. There is no way a king can be voted off his throne. He’s got the power and the wealth and there is no shifting him unless by violent revolution. How would it be any different under your system. You’d have a minority of people who would be super rich who would be, if they aren’t already, the new aristocracy with wealth and power being passed down from generation to generation.

        Of course it is desirable that there should be sufficient incentive for people to do well and achieve something by their own efforts and democracy doesn’t prevent that. However it should recognise that usually wealth is inherited just like an Earldom or a Dukedom would be. Gina Rinehart is Australia’s richest woman worth some $30 billion dollars, purely because she happens to be the daughter of Lang Hancock. We aren’t supposed to have an aristocracy in Australia, or America, but that’s not really true. Is it? But at least both countries do have a democracy to counteract that to some extent.

      • I once asked a known liar when he was drunk, the secret of his success. He told me: “It’s easy. All anyone needs to do is when someone asks you if you lied, hold the lie and never go back and admit that you lied. Just hang in there with the lie and in time, and it can be a long time, at some point they will tire of asking you, Then they just leave you alone.”

        Free men seldom have an agenda.
        Were it true for the whole world,

      • “Racial Socialism” ? Well I’ve never heard apartheid called that before.

        Heavy state control with a racial bias. Perfectly obvious if not in common usage.

        And democracy is totalitarian is it?

        It need not be, but it can be. Depends how big the democratic state is. Today’s totalitarian welfare states certainly are, Europe more so than the US. Democracy is important, but matters less and less the smaller the state is. Who cares if the King isn’t elected, if there isn’t much can do to you anyway ?

        It sounds like you aren’t interested in liberty at all but you are interested in preserving your property rights.

        Your property rights are obviously a very large part of your liberty. If only/mainly the state owns property, citizens can have little liberty. The fake libertarians are those who deny this.

        Feudalism has no bearing on this at all. Property rights that were seized rather than acquired through consent would not be recognized in a libertarian setup, and a court would revert them to the rightful owners.

      • tempterrain

        Feudalism refers to an economic and political system, just like democracy or communism or socialism or theocracy. The difference is that instead of power being held by the people, the government, or the church, power is held by those who own property and the other necessities of life. At its essential core, feudalism can be defined as of, the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.

        There is no doubt that the gap between the super rich and the majority of citizens in all western countries is higher now that ever it has been. There are all kinds of statistics to illustrate this such as ” Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country’s wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%” and the situation is really not much different in Europe either.

        So are America, or any of the western democracies, feudal societies? I would argue they aren’t, yet, but they’re moving that way. If you remove or weaken democratic controls they certainly would be. More enlightened members of the super rich classes in all countries are fully aware of the dangers of allowing that to happen. They don’t want to end up like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. They know full well that any defence of acquiring their enormous assets through “consent” wouldn’t save them even if it were true. But who’s consented anyway?

      • Feudalism is a totalitarian system sharing many of the extreme coercive/statist attributes of socialism.
        In a libertarian setup, by contrast, property owners would not have any powers of proactive coercion (political power); the reduced power in society that remained, would still be with the state. This is about as far away from feudalism as you can get.
        In such a consent-based society, people would acquire wealth in proportion to their contribution of wealth. If people made roughly the same contribution, they would end up with roughly the same wealth; and if some people made greater contributions, they would end up with greater wealth.

      • tempterrain


        Well it all sounds very reasonable to suggest that everyone should get out of the system in proportion to what they contribute. Except I would suggest that there should be exceptions for those who are either physically or mentally incapable.
        Is extreme laissez-faire capitalism going to produce that outcome? I can’t see how. Neither can I see how the super rich wouldn’t still, or even more than they do now, control the media, political lobbyists, and anything else they felt like spending their money on.
        Political power would be proportional to wealth, and even more so than it is now. Government for the rich, by the rich etc. You might not like the term feudalism but, whatever you might agree to call it, is that really what you want? What’s wrong with the concept of one person – one vote?

      • You ask : in the absence of institutional coercion and plunder, what about the physically or mentally incapable ?

        There is no reason this cannot be handled on a consensual basis, ie charity.

        “Neither can I see how the super rich wouldn’t still, or even more than they do now, control the media, political lobbyists, and anything else they felt like spending their money on.”

        With government cut to the basics, lobbying is a reduced issue, since government has then less power to hand out favors in the first place. And anyway it’s by no means only the rich who lobby and have newspapers, eg trades unions, papers like the UK Guardian (indeed most papers in the UK, and all the state-regulated radio and tv stations, are consistently far-left/totalitarian in outlook).

        What’s wrong with one person one vote?

        Nothing in itself. The question is rather – what limits there are to what issues you can vote on, ie limits on what government is allowed to do to people. Should a majority be allowed to use the state to simply steal from others (as per the welfare state), put them in gas ovens, etc.

        I have no problem with the word ‘feudalism’. It just has absolutely nothing do do with libertarianism, being as it is a totalitarian system with similar underpinnings to socialism.

      • Erica,
        So the sick have to rely on charity? If I were sick or could find a job I think I’d prefer unemployment benefit!
        Do you have a model for your society? As far as I know the only antidote, historically, to the threat of totalitarianism, or feudalism, has been democratic activity. But maybe you know something different? Or is it just wishful thinking that you can have freedom without full democracy?
        Freedom is about more than just property rights. There’s the freedom to be a member of a trade union. The freedom to set up a Swedish style social democracy if enough voters can be persuaded that its a good idea. The freedom that goes with a well paid job and freedom from worry that you might lose it for no valid reason. Or the freedom from worry that you might not be able to afford the hospital bill if you or your family fall sick.
        This are what ordinary people are most concerned about. Yes they want low taxes too, and naturally there has to be a discussion and an argument at election time of where the balance should lie. Election results don’t always please me, but if they don’t, I still accept the result.
        I don’t start whinging that people just should be allowed to vote for whatever it is that I might disapprove of. That’s called democracy.

      • Missed out a couple of negatives in above. Should be “….couldn’t find a job…. ” and ” …..shouldn’t be allowed to vote…”

      • Perhaps the best way to explain this, is that a so-called left-libertarian is an incomplete or unbalanced libertarian, since although they support civil liberty, they oppose economic liberty. And vice-versa for so-called right-libertarians.
        More or less then, left-libertarian just means leftwing, and right-libertarian just means rightwing. IOW, these flowery terms serve only to muddy the waters.

        And any divide on “libertarian” is not a US vs Europe one, but rather a (senseless & outdated) vs (coherent and up-to-date) one. Granting though that the outdated one did originate in Europe, and was discredited before it had time to reach the US.

    • The problem is you have to ask the question. If the tax reform came before the carbon tax, then it would be clear.

      This of it like this, individuals are already paying a chain of taxes on energy that appear in their monthly bill. To reduce those fees, entities were created, coops and corporations, to allow individuals to take advantage of tax breaks only allowed those entities. So if you tax those entities, the individuals pay higher costs, which they recover from a larger entity to give to a smaller entity that they created to avoid paying the larger entity to begin with. We have created a circle jerk. There is no way it will be efficient. The cost of installing, managing and enforcing the tax outweighs the advantages the tax may offer.

      Texas has older coal fired power plants that they have attempted to more efficient plants. The new plants were blocked because they did not meet some not yet established regulation. Texas was forced to continue operating the older plants longer than the individuals of Texas, the true owners of the power entity, had planned. So now they would be taxed for not doing what they wanted to do but were not allowed to do because there was no regulation in place at the time they wished to to it. They needed to have the plant, they attempted to do the right thing, but because the EPA initial regulation exceeded their estimate which they had to make because there was no clear guidance, they will have to go to court to operate a state of the art plant that exceeded all current regulations at the time of its design.

      Now because the EPA has a hard on for coal, they have imposed standards which biofuels cannot meet. Gasoline providers are being fined for not including methanol, that is not produced because of the regulations that were not in place, so the methanol plants could not be operated without using technology that is not mature.

      Efficiency is the tax and has always been the tax, everyone pays for inefficiency, in energy and in government.

      • Boy the laptop ate that post! Anywho, Texas had a reasonable plant to replace its older coal with some high tech coal, some mid tech coal and some alternate energy. As a single entity, it would have met EPA standards, but by breaking the entity into smaller components, the EPA is killing a small portion of the pollution with much greater expense to the entity created to serve the citizens of Texas. Same thing in Jacksonville which has a regional electric authority.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      It is not just about tax revenue. It is about manipulation, favoritism, allocation to favored classes and burdens placed on disfavored classes (e.g., bankrupting coal companies).
      As examples, Solyndra, General Motors bondholders :-( and General Electric :-) . Almost half the citizens pay no federal income tax; no skin in the expenditures game.
      If we keep this course, we will have to rewrite the frieze on the Supreme Court; all that will be left of the statues will be the sword.

  71. If we’re going to tax (supposedly) negative externalities such as carbon, “clean energy” can’t get off free. We are offshoring pollution — think neodymium for wind turbines mined in Mongolia, solar cells in China, etc. And don’t forget, manufacturing these clean energy components produces carbon, which would get off scot-free overseas.

    A better idea is to eliminate all energy subsidies and let economics do it’s job. Case in point, natural gas which is reducing our carbon intensity on a large scale with clean, reliable, and dispatchable power.

  72. R Gates
    For CO2 to be warming the oceans, it must of necessity first warm the atmosphere – the greenhouse effect. Since the atmosphere is now not warming, the oceans must be warming for some other reason.

    • I keep telling him that but it goes in one ear and out the other.

      Oceans warmed because cloud reduced in the moderate El Nino in the middle of the decade and reflected short wave therefore decreased.

      Reflected short wave has increased again in the large La Nina of the past couple of years.

      Longer term ENSO is immensely variable as I (er Chief Hydrologist) showed above

      Best regards
      Captain Kangaroo

      • “Longer term ENSO is immensely variable as I (er Chief Hydrologist) showed above

        Best regards
        Captain Kangaroo”

        I don’t remember a site where sockpuppets are condoned to such an extent as this one.
        Go team! (and mascots!)

      • Except this is wrong in both concept and observation. The consistent rise in ocean heat content over multiple ENSO cycles of the past 40 years indicates a longer term forcing that is keeping more heat in the oceans…exactly as shown to happen in every global climate model when factoring in the effects of increasing greenhouse gases.

      • Rob Starkey

        I believe you are incorrect. I do not believe there is a model that predicted the observed changes in ocean heat while at the same time accurately predicting the observed changes in the air temp over the last decade

      • Rob Starkey

        except if the modeller gave themselves a huge margin or error in their near term forecast accuracy which would have meant that anything could have happened and still be within the models margin of error

      • Tell that to NASA. Data is a whole heap better than models. Indeed the models need to satisfy the data.

        Comrade Webby – please to go … yourself.

      • Indeed – I am not sure really that something treated as something of a joke can be considered as anything of a problem. But thanks for your concern, troll.

        CH is obviously a distinguised and scholarly natural philoshoper whereas Captain Kangaroo is a reluctant man of action and climate warrior dealing harshly with the recalcitrant an ignorant. Categories that you exemplify.

      • er…philosopher..

      • philoshoper – someone who hopes to one day have a philosophy
        philoshopper – someone who hops from philosophy to philosophy

        Is the Chief either of these ?

      • “Diogenes | June 6, 2012 at 12:41 am |

        Indeed – I am not sure really that something treated as something of a joke can be considered as anything of a problem. But thanks for your concern, troll.

        CH is obviously a distinguised and scholarly natural philoshoper whereas Captain Kangaroo is a reluctant man of action and climate warrior dealing harshly with the recalcitrant an ignorant. Categories that you exemplify.

        Skippy treats everyone on this commenting site with contempt and disdain. Lookee here, as he dons another sockpuppet and is too brain-dead lazy to remove the URL link in his handle that is the same as Captain Kangaroo.

        Poseur sockpuppet rates much worse than troll on the internet scale.

      • You are typically an idiot Webby – the same URL link is just coincidence. LOL at you

      • Erica,

        I derive all of my philosophies from the learned and worthy François Rabelais. I begin with my Diogenic tub and end with the two-backed beast.


      • Please! not on a family blog like this, fellow-sophist.

      • Skippy wrote:

        “You are typically an idiot Webby – the same URL link is just coincidence. LOL at you”

        Billions of links available, and its just coincidence. Yea, sure.
        I’m of the opinion that all you skeptics have the same creativity as your average fire hydrant.

    • Fantastic! – so the earth IS warming, but NOT because of CO2.
      Multiple-cats-and-pigeons springs to mind.
      Let the Games commence!

      • Just the facts – Ma’am – I am just a lonesome cowboy on a blue horse – – lonesome is part of the iconic nature of being a cowboy.

        The oceans appear to have warmed in the ARGO period but this seems clearly associated with cloud in the CERES record

        Even before then ERBS data suggests that cloud was the cause of recent ocean warming - – note the ocean warming in the 1997/1998 El Nino and the cooling in the 1999/2000 La Nina.

        ERBS is clearly consistent with ISCCP-FD data. This is clearly understood by the IPCC – – but is clearly beyond the intellect of the typical AGW space cadet.

        AGW only works if one ignores the data, stands on one leg with fingers in ears saying la la la and squints.

        Best regards
        Captain Kangaroo

    • Not true at all. For a jacket to keep your body warm on a cold day, does it first have to warm itself? The main effect of greenhouse gases is to slow the rate of cooling of the surface by altering thermal gradients, one of which is at the ocean-atmosphere boundary.

    • No R Gates, greenhouse warming is *not* like your jacket, which is a heat insulator. It is about absorption of longwave radiation by greenhouse gasses. Additional CO2 means more absorption, not more insulation.
      So if the atmosphere is not warming, then either no significant greenhouse warming is occurring, or it is being cancelled out by some other factor – eg changes in cloud cover.
      All of which means the current heating of the oceans cannot be due to CO2 increases.

      • Regarding a jacket that you wear and the jacket of greenhouse gases surrounding the planet, there are important differences, such as the fact that the source of heat for the Earth is mostly external from the sun whereas you are the source of heat that is trapped by wearing a jacket. Also, difference energy exchange processes are in place (conductive versus radiative), but the result is the same– to slow the flow of heat away from the body/planet. The atmosphere does not have to warm up before the oceans, but instead it acts as a governor controlling the rate of heat flowing out of the oceans. Both effects- the physical jacket you wear, and the jacket of greenhouse gases surrounding the Earth alter thermal gradients, simply by different processes.

      • This really is very simple Greybeard. CO2 slows the rate of flow of LW radiation out of the atmosphere. Anything that slows the rate of flow will alter the thermal gradient. If the thermal gradient is altered, the surface and oceans warm. Easy to understand for most.

      • R. Gates,
        How much does CO2 slow LWR?
        10%? 20%?

      • Gates
        Yes, CO2 slows the rate of flow of LW radiation out of the atmosphere – BY ABSORBING HEAT – ie, by a warming of the atmosphere (which is what alters the thermal gradient).

      • Well don’t worry because the atmosphere is warming

      • BatedBreath

        No, the atmosphere has not warmed significantly for ~14 years now. (Hence the ‘need’ to focus on ocean warming).

      • And that is exactly what a jacket does…absorb heat and alter the thermal gradient between your skin and the cold air.

      • Your jacket warms you by being an insulator, ie being resistant to conduction.
        CO2 warms us by absorbing LW radiation.
        Not the same.
        The atmosphere may also work as an insulator, but this is not something that is thought to vary with CO2 content.

        The evidence being that the atmosphere is not warming but the oceans are, it is clear that the atmosphere is not implicated in the warming of the oceans. This applies to both LW absorbed by CO2, and the jacket idea.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Yes, CO2 slows the rate of flow of LW radiation out of the atmosphere – BY ABSORBING HEAT – ie, by a warming of the atmosphere (which is what alters the thermal gradient).”

        actually, it more like this. Adding GHGs raises the altitude at which the earth radiates to space ( known as the ERL). since earth has a lapse rate such that higher = colder, raising the ERL means the earth is radiating to space from a colder regime. Colder objects radiate less rapidly than warmer objects. By raising the ERL GHGS slow the rate of loss at the TOA. That means the surface will lose heat less rapidly.. eg it will be warmer than it would be otherwise..

      • Steven Mosher | June 10, 2012 at 12:01 am |
        Adding GHGs raises the altitude at which the earth radiates to space ( known as the ERL)…

        But why?

      • @R. Gates

        Your model is wrong because, . . .

        Earth’s heat source is not constant.

        Earth’s place in the stream of energy (heat, light, particles and fields) that sustains life and controls Earths environment was purposefully distorted by publication of two papers [1,2] in 1946 with false information about energy in the core of the Sun and other stars:

        [1] Fred Hoyle, “The chemical composition of the stars,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 255-59 (1946)

        [2] Fred Hoyle, “The synthesis of the elements from hydrogen,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 343-83 (1946)

        Here’s the rest of the story:

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo
        Emeritus Professor of
        Nuclear/Space Science

      • The variable nature of the sun does not in any way negate the warming action of greenhouse gases. Put a jacket on and stand still for 5 minutes then try doing 5 minutes of jumping jacks. A variable amount of heat be generated and trapped by the jacket. Earth is different in that the jacket density changes based on different forcings and we have a variable star as our main energy source that also varies somewhat in output.

      • CO2 slows the rate of cooling by warming and decreasing the net IR loss from the oceans. Say the atmosphere warms a little and the oceans accumulate heat. The question is how much heat will accumulate in the ocean before the ocean energy losses increase to compensate – that is until ‘max. entropy’ is restored? The process is dominated by convection – warm water rises buoyantly to the surface – so I think it is a relatively rapid process as demonstrated by the temperature (not energy) equilibrium that is used to justify substituting water temperature for surface temperature over oceans in the temperature records. That is – the surface air temperature is equal to the ocean surface temperature over short periods.

      • “CO2 slows the rate of cooling by warming and decreasing the net IR loss from the oceans.”

        Quite so – for the increasingly CO2-laden atmosphere to slow the rate of ocean cooling, it must necessarily itself first warm. Hence if the oceans are warming but the atmosphere is not, the culprit is something other than increasing CO2 levels.

    • Back in the old days the atmosphere must have been denser for things like this to fly…

      but what a gas.

      • Steven Mosher

        hmm, except the estimated weight of dinosaurs just dropped dramatically.
        interesting problem

    • R Gates
      You continue to ignore the fundamental physics of increased greenhouse warming. It is by means of the radiative absorption properties of increased quantities of CO2, on longwave REFLECTED back up from the surface. This NECESSARILY means it acts by warming the atmosphere (and not by any other way). If the atmosphere isn’t warming, then CO2 warming isn’t happening, or is being swamped by cooling forces. This inter alia completely nullifies your comments about temperature gradients, since if the atmosphere temp isn’t changing, then nor is the ocean-atmosphere gradient.
      And since the atmosphere is not warming, this means the current ocean warming cannot be related to increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

      • Well, your entire argument of course falls quite off the rails as the atmosphere most certainly is warming. It just seems skeptics want to take advantage of short-term natural fluctuations such as La Ninas or the cool phase of the PDO to cherry pick data and claim no warming is occurring. Now, 2011 was the warmest La Nina year on record. This is important, because we expect short-term fluctuations in a longer-term forcing signal such as we get from gradually increasing greenhouse gases. 9 of the 10 warmest years on temperature record have occurred since the year 2000. How can you possible say the atmosphere is not warming. 2011 was the warmest La NIna year. How can you possibly say the atmosphere isn’t warming.

        Really, this isn’t skepticism…but something else.

      • You (Gates) seem to have made a tactical switch of position here.

        I recall from various earlier blogs of Judiths you said the skeptic focus on the flatlining _atmospheric_ temperatures (which you accepted) was misguided – because the oceans are warming, and they are of course a much bigger heat sink.

        The idea was raised that the ocean warming in the presence of atmospheric non-warming, means the ocean warming cannot be a consequence of what is happening in the atmosphere (including increased co2 greenhouse warming). Heat cannot jump the gap it was said. You challenged this with the “jacket” analogy.

        But now that that the jacket idea seems to have been refuted, without admitting as much you suddenly switch to saying now that the atmosphere _is_ warming. Interesting timing, shall we say? Well, by how much is the atmosphere warming – like it was after 1960, or by a trivial (statistically insignificant) amount ? (And yes I do realise we don’t look for a lockstep increase due to co2, owing to our poor grasp of natural forcings).

      • Sony,

        No “tactical” switch at all. If you slow down the rate at which energy leaves the Earth system by adding greenhouse gases, then the energy in the system’s biggest heat sink, the ocean, must increase, and will continue to do so until some new equilibirum is reached. Of course, that equilibirum will not and can not be reached so long as there is a continual change to the forcing in the system from the continual addition of anthopogenic greenhouse gases.

      • R. Gates, did the Global Mean Temp. go up on Halloween, 1961?…

        50 Mega-tons of Soviet Super heat, does it help or hurt? Surprise!

  73. BatedBreath

    A carbon text would make sense if both
    (1) we actually knew CO2 was a serious issue
    (2) there was some way of preventing its revenue-neutrality being compromised

    (1) is at least conceivable.
    (2) is not.

  74. BatedBreath

    Why is WUWT’s policy of publishing emails such an issue? Anyone who doesn’t like it can simply not go there.

  75. BatedBreath

    It being a racing certainty that a revenue-neutral carbon tax will very soon just be another (revenue) tax, the way to ensure its effect remain revenue neutral is to reduce or abolish some other tax – say income tax. This will also avoid the administrative overhead of making all those refunds.

  76. “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.”

    Seems like more important question is why [and how] do need a federal government spending such a high level of GDP.
    And you missing an element of taxation- it’s a system of control of government.

    Why tax anything, just let government print money- that is a tax on money and is extremely efficient, but it’s tax which also doesn’t require citizens to be aware of the wealth being given to government.

    Though the federal has taken this license of borrowing money [meant for an emergency] which essentially the government printing money. But at least does require someone to buy the debt- at least in theory.
    In theory, it’s like a company issuing more shares. The difference being a company can go bankrupt- and there is generally not much murder and mayhem involved.

    So we should not be very interested finding the most efficient ways of taxing- that is easy- and crazy.
    In perfect world, it would be better that everyone pays his fair share of taxes and would tend to be more interested in the amount money the government spends. It’s quite simple, it you buy something, you tend to be more interested in what you are buying.

    The trend in US tax system is having fewer people [the rich] which are paying most of taxes to government.
    The rich are essentially being tax collectors they sell stuff and consumer are paying a portion of the taxes which the tax collectors then pay to the government.
    This is a more efficient way of getting taxes.
    And it’s not good. As it makes fewer people who are involved [or having skin in the game] in the political process.

  77. Beth Cooper

    Careful there, Chief Kangaroo @ 2.42 am, got a bit confused did yer … case of identity crisis?

    • Darlin’ Beth,

      The mask slipped for a moment – but I have since recovered my aplomb.

      They proclaimed the twilight of Gods –
      but t’was merely the transit of Venus

      Best regards
      Captain Kangaroo

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Mr. Goklany finds it convenient to forget — as ideologues of the far-left and far-right always find it convenient to forget — the wise words of Judge Learned Hand:

      “Justice is the tolerable accomodation of the conflicting interests of society, and I don’t believe there is any royal road to attain such accommodations concretely.”

      In flagrant disregard of Judge Hand’s common-sense principle, skeptical denialist fervently believe that:

      • unrestricted economic markets are inherently efficient and just, and

      • human activities cannot alter the earth’s climate of planetary ecology.

      Needless to say, modern mathematics has established the former belief is not true, and modern science has established that the latter belief is not true.

      That is why skeptical denialists feel anxious whenever these matters are discussed, and prefer to learn as little as possible about ongoing advances mathematics and science, and  — most of all — strive to structure the public discourse relating to climate-change as faith-based, not science-based.

      • You are truly too glib for words. In the sentiments of F A Hayek – accommodation with those you may not agree with is sometimes the price of democracy, the rule of law exists to protect the weak from the strong and brutally ruthless and government exists to provide services the market cannot or will not provide. Nonetheless – we believe in free markets and free peoples.

        You are clearly an AGW space cadet – not a mathematician, economist, natural philospher or scientist. Merely a pissant progressive with a line in bombastic rhetoric and no inclination at all to real discourse.

      • “A physicist” in new clothes. Same blather.

      • Markets are more efficient that centralized government control, that is the main point.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Jim2, as soon as one appreciates that regulated markets reasonably unite the creative vigor of market enterprises with the checks-and-balances of elected governance … well … that viewpoint is pretty much the same viewpoint as economic centrists like James Hansen!  :)

        `Cuz c’mon … the guy’s a huge fan of nuclear energy!   :)

      • Until greed takes command and and collapses the whole thing, causing pain to millions.

      • Even worse is when greed is favored by the system. It’s about quality, not quantity of regulation.

      • I never said there should be zero regulation, but at this point, the markets are WAY over-regulated.

      • Fan,
        The next time you do not use straw man arguments will be your first.

      • Discourse Fan has one thing right – as skeptics note, CAGW belief is without question faith-based.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Free markets stem from the natural right of Liberty (the right of the individual to make decisions). That natural right is conditioned upon not harming others, hence law and some regulation.
        CAGW (harm) depends upon how much warming. Catastrophe proceeds from Arrhenius (science) multiplied by feedbacks (consensus).
        Further, free markets are inherently self-correcting. Bureaucratic regulation is not. (Peter, Parkinson).

        Arrhenius, Svante. “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air Upon the Temperature of the Ground.” Philosophical Magazine and Journal Of Science Series 5, Vol 41 (April 1896): 237 – 276.

        Peter, Laurence J., and Raymond Hull. The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong. 1st edition assumed. HarperBusiness, 2009.

        Parkinson, Cyril Northcote. Parkinson’s Law. Buccaneer Books, 1993.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Captain and Jos [and others], it’s plain that no thoughtful person disputes the sobering realities that modern mathematics and science show us &realities that can stated affirmatively as follows:

      • human activities *can* greatly alter the earth’s planetary climate and ecology, and

      • unrestricted economic markets *are* unstable with respect to inefficiency and injustice.

      And really, in light of what ordinary citizens see plainly in their everday lives, both of these realities have nowadays become plain common-sense, right Captain?

      With regard for the challenges to liberty, security, and governance that these realities pose to us, perhaps Climate Etc readers will enjoy yet another meaty quotation from the estimable Judge Learned Hand:

      A judge’s life [or a mathematician’s / scientist’s / engineer’ss / writer’s / physician’s life] like any others has in it much drudgery, senseless bickering, stupid obstinacies, all disguising and obstructing the only sane purpose which can justify the whole endeavor. If that were all, his life would be mere misery and he a distracted arbiter between irreconcilable extremes.

      But there is something else that makes it—anyway to those curious creatures who persist in it—a delectable calling. For when the case is all in and the turmoil stops and after he is left alone, things begin to take form. From his pen or in his head, slowly or swiftly as his capacities admit the pattern emerges, his pattern, the expression of what he has seen and what he has therefore made, the impress of his self upon the hitherto formless material of which he was once but a part and over which he has now become the master.

      That is a pleasure, which nobody who has felt it will be likely to underrate.

      We can hope that climate-change scientists like James Hansen are experiencing Judge Learned Hand’s pleasure-from-struggle.  :)

      • Fan,

        • human activities *can* greatly alter the earth’s planetary climate and ecology,

        Of course, they have and they will, The questions are the degree and the consequences. Most of the climate impact has been positive, but there are a variety of pollutants that need to be handled, mainly on a regional basis. CO2s impact has been less than .5 C with black carbon, aerosols and land use nearly the same.

        • unrestricted economic markets *are* unstable with respect to inefficiency and injustice. Overly regulated markets are inefficient and unjust as well. In fact, greater regulation leads to larger corporations which are typically more of a problem.

        You don’t have solutions, just different problems.

  78. Beth Cooper

    Captain Kangaroo, aplomb is yer middle name )
    You say, ‘Just ‘ the transit of Venus … hey, what brought that other captain half way across the globe to look at the heavens on 3 June,1769?
    Where would you and I be if he had stayed home? Hmm, probably not here wherever ‘here’ is.

  79. Beth Cooper

    They proclaimed the twilight of Gods-
    but t’was merely the transit of Venus.

    Good lines, i haven’t heard them before. Can you tell me where they come from, ?

  80. check this out, just published this week:

    Roger Scruton: How to think seriously about the planet: the case for an environmental conservatism

    In How to Think Seriously About the Planet, Roger Scruton rejects this view and offers a fresh approach to tackling the most important political problem of our time. The environmental movement, he contends, is philosophically confused and has unrealistic agendas. Its sights are directed at the largescale events and the confrontation between international politics and multinational business. But Scruton argues that no large-scale environmental project, however well-intentioned, will succeed if it is not rooted in small-scale practical reasoning. Seeing things on a large scale promotes top-down solutions, managed by unaccountable bureaucracies that fail to assess local conditions and are rife with unintended consequences. Scruton argues for the greater efficacy of local initiatives over global schemes, civil association over political activism, and small-scale institutions of friendship over regulatory hyper-vigilance. And he suggests that conservatism is far better suited to solving environmental problems than either liberalism or socialism. Rather than entrusting the environment to unwieldy NGOs and international committees, we must assume personal responsibility and foster local control. People must be empowered to take charge of their environment, to care for it as they would a home, and to involve themselves through the kind of local associations that have been the traditional goal of conservative politics.

    • “Seeing things on a large scale promotes top-down solutions, managed by unaccountable bureaucracies that fail to assess local conditions and are rife with unintended consequences.” Quote of the Week

    • The problem is, since the atmosphere is global, so is atmospheric pollution or abuse of it. Local doesn’t address a tragedy of the commons.
      (Whether we actually have any such abuse or tragedy is of course still very much open to debate, government propaganda notwithstanding).

      • Rob Starkey

        If your neighbor is dumping garbage out in the street or posion into the sewer system does it require a global solution or is it more effective to have the neighborhood deal with the issue?

      • A related Gedankenexperiment:

        > If a Canadian manufacturer of garbage cans emitted toxic chemicals that migrated across the US border and killed Americans and harmed the environment and this company at the same time tried to convince Canadians that: (a) the chemicals were not toxic when there was strong scientific evidence that the chemicals would kill humans and harm the environment, and, (b) tried to convince Canadian citizens to oppose proposed Canadian government actions to prevent emissions of the toxics only because of adverse impacts on the Canadian economy, Americans would likely easily see the

      • Rob Starkey

        A lot of “ifs” and no actual facts in your example of a harm.

      • The “actual facts” as you put it are that some combination of influences drove the temperature up quite dramatically since 1970. The CO2 went up dramatically in that period, and we’ve known for a century that increasing CO2 drives up the temperature, and moreover we understand the mechanism by which it does so in considerable detail.

        Hence to rule out CO2 as the culprit you would need to propose an alternative cause with a comparably plausible mechanism. Your candidate?

      • Vaughan,

        In your response, you use the adverb “dramatically”.

        Doesn’t it sound alarming?

        What are your justifications for using such alarming adverb?

        Marny thanks!


        Oh, and I took the liberty to post your last response:

        Keeping these answers will help build an issue tree, no doubt.

      • Issue trees and it is not even Xmas…

        BP sought the e-mails from the scientists, Chris Reddy and Richard Camilli of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, to help prepare its defense in a lawsuit brought by the federal government. In an op-ed article in The Boston Globe, the scientists said they had given the company more than 50,000 pages of documents and data before the company also demanded the e-mails. They said they worried that BP would use the e-mails to falsely cast doubt on their conclusions. “Our concern is not simply invasion of privacy, but the erosion of the scientific deliberative process,” the scientists wrote.

        do words still count? We need to wait to see just what they, say…

      • You can’t have a tragedy of the commons until there is real evidence of a tragedy. Right now the only tragedy is the perception of tragedy. There is a very small chance of a tragedy associated with CO2 and an equal chance of a tragedy trying to overt a CO2 tragedy.

        That is HADSST2 from 1900, the slope for the satellite era is virtually the same as the natural slope of recovery from the little ice age.

        That is GISS with 10,20,30 and 40 year regressions, there is no significant change in slope from 1900. and there are nearly 5 billion more anthropoids anthropoiding.

        It has been warming, but most of than warming has a reason, it was colder than normal since 1816. Should normal be a little Ice age?

      • “It has been warming, but most of than warming has a reason, it was colder than normal since 1816. Should normal be a little Ice age?”

        Your argument is not falsifiable. You put no upper limit on when the “recovery” ends. We could have 3C more warming and you could still, as your argument stands today, claim that it’s just part of a recovery from the little ice age.

      • It will be falsifiable, but not until a lot of data issues are resolved. The uncertainty in the older SST data will be larger than the uncertainty in the BEST land data, which will be larger than the temperature rise since 1816. About 5 to 10 more years of satellite with ARGO and the solar minimum should tighten up the range. In any case, it is nutz to go nutz now when less expensive and likely more effect mitigation is available that will deal with more than just one issue. Join Ducks Unlimited and local water shed reconstruction projects, that is the first logical step :)

      • This peremptory claim to stewardship of the globe’s atmosphere is just another twist on the claim to manage the world’s economies. Since virtually every human activity depends on or affects the air, it must all be controlled, and “saved for the grandchildren”! Power for its own sake, as Orwell explained in 1984.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      This is a great catch; I wish that I could afford another book just now (money & time).
      I would suggest one additional factor to the precis above: scope. I can think of nothing a person can do that does not have some impact upon the environment. (I am open to suggestions.)
      Hand over open-ended environmental regulation (e.g., CAA) to a bureaucracy, and one has guaranteed “scope creep”.

    • Dr. Curry and others, I haven’t read Scruton’s book but the blurb you posted sounds very much like what Elinor Ostrom argues for in this World Bank paper, “A polycentric approach to coping with climate change:”

    • John from CA

      I wish we could thumbs up on your site. You’ve finally found the True and very Real Scope for Solutions.

      • John from CA

        footnote: the presentation is fantastic for an overview but the DOE target and this solution at $300/kW is absurd. Nat Gas = 3.9 – 4.4 Cents/kW-h, Coal = 4.8 – 5.5 Cents/kW-h, and Nuclear = 11.1 – 14.5 Cents/kW-h.

        The Personalized Energy idea is fantastic but it needs to be perfected.

        However, its tough to argue with a holistic approach that addresses energy, waste treatment, and potable water for developing nations.

        Can we please get beyond the ignorant notion that Climate Science is necessary to resolve obvious problems?

    • That sounds very interesting.
      But if what it means is local mob rule, instead of orderly civil society, the outcome will not be better- and may be worse- than the status quo.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        “mob rule”. Curious. Sounds more like the “Occupy” movement and the demonstrations at the Wisconsin state capital than the Tea Party movement (of which I am not a member).

    • The quote from Amazon would have made more sense if the first paragraph had not been left out. Conservation is conservative at heart. The environmental movement is now mainstream and has cross-party appeal. It has been enormously successful. Recently it has managed to radicalize itself and mostly abandon conservation and concentrate on fear of catastrophes. Scruton is reinventing “think global act local”.

      “a fresh approach to tackling the most important political problem of our time”. Scruton is wrong here. Either it is an environmental problem or it is not a problem. The politicization of this problem is the worst thing that could have possibly happened to it.

      • John from CA

        “The environmental movement is now mainstream and has cross-party appeal.”

        You have to be in complete denial. The environmental movement is a perfect definition of Ignorance. Its nothing more than a juvenile playground of unresolved nonsense.

        70 Billion since 2008 to accomplish nothing is more than enough to bury it forever.

      • Its nothing more than a juvenile playground of unresolved nonsense.

        More or less so than the deep insights of the contributors to this blog?

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Diag | June 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm:

        “Either it is an environmental problem or it is not a problem.” Since there is scant scientific evidence that it is a problem, it is not demonstrated to be an environmental problem .

        “The politicization of this problem is the worst thing that could have possibly happened to it.”
        – The philosophy of Post Normal Science embraces politicization, under the banner of “Democracy”.
        – The philosophy of the Precautionary Principle requires action by policy makers (read politicians and bureaucrats) even if there is no significant problem.

        The omitted variables problem: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet, Act 1, Scene V.

    • tempterrain

      Of course local activity is important for many types of environmental conservation. But as Global Warming is, er, well global there has to be a global and collective ( a word that Libertarians don’t much like) response to the problem. The only alternative is to deny there is problem.

      • that seems to be the alternative many pick, then scrabbling to try and fit science to what they want to believe to justify it

      • Libertarians do not oppose collective action. They oppose coercive (ie government) action, unless consent clearly cannot deal with the situation.

        CAGW, if true, would fall into that category, ie require coercion. But with all the hiding of data and other corruption in government climate science’s effort to fit the science to show CAGW, this is still very far from established.

  81. Beth Cooper

    lol i git it , Chief, er CK, transit’s today.

  82. You want a conservative perspective on climate change? One of the most liberal states in the U.S. just retained Scott Walker as its governor. The real importance is that is continues a series of conservative (not just Republican) electoral victories since 2010.

    CAGW may not be dead, but it just got put on life support. If Obama loses in 2012, and conservatives gain control of Congress, leviathan will be stopped in its tracks. As the U.S. goes, so goes the global progressive movement to seize control of the energy economy.

    • @GaryM: One of the most liberal states in the U.S.

      You have to be joking. Even back in 2010 people were saying things like this. Look where Wisconsin has gone since.

      If your understanding of AGW is as reliable as it is of political leanings of states we can pretty much ignore you. In Congress AGW has everything to do with the politics and nothing at all to do with what AGW is actually going to do to the planet. It’s becoming all politics and no science in Washington, just like on this blog.

    • @GaryM and conservatives gain control of Congress

      Seems we have a Rip van Winkle among us. Welcome to the second decade of the millennium, a lot happened while you were asleep. :)

      • Seems someone doesn’t understand the difference between conservatives and Republicans. Rip Van Winkle – meet the Headless Horseman.

      • What, conservatives have not yet gained control of Congress? Why isn’t this startling fact more widely known?

      • Rob Starkey

        Perhaps you stop making silly comments.

      • If I could take control of Congress away from any interest group, liberal or conservative, by stopping my silly comments I would so in an instant. Meanwhile please bear with them.

  83. Beth Cooper

    Bonjour, Descartes, comment ca va?

    Vous dites: (2.21am,) ‘It’s becoming all politics and no science in Washington, just like this blog.’

    Appropos the science of climate change, a poster on Climate Etc, David Springer, 03/06/12 @1.12pm, ‘Gamesmanship ‘ thread, cites a comment by you:

    ‘I’d like to propose a skeptic theory, the skeptic theory that downward long wave radiation or DLR, popularly called back radiation, cannot be held responsible for warming the surface of the Earth.’

    Descartes, as you carried out your own empiric experiment on back radiation and promised to publish the data in due course, is that paper now available? … ‘Science rules!’ (comme on dites en anglais.)

    • fwiw, over at Realclimate some weeks back, one of their official responders (Gavin?) dismissed DLR as a significant factor.

  84. Two questions with a common answer: ça va lentement, mon chou.

    Though I’m not sure which experiment you had in mind, as I have a couple in the pipeline.

    Anyway what warms the surface of the Earth is, surprise, surprise, the Sun. The idea that DLR is doing the warming doesn’t make much sense given that DLR is on average in equilibrium with ULR, the upward kind, and the two cancel in terms of net flux. The second sentence of the Wikipedia article on the greenhouse effect says “Since part of this re-radiation is back towards the surface and the lower atmosphere, it results in an elevation of the average surface temperature above what it would be in the absence of the gases” but this is illogical because it neglects the fact that radiation is largely in equilibrium at all altitudes. Hopefully some future release of the IPCC report will get this detail right, but as it stands they have it wrong.

    But this DLR-ULR equilibrium is only on average. When clouds hide the Sun during the day the DLR is much stronger than for a clear night sky. The DLR variation is much greater than for the ULR which is relatively steady, a little less at night but not to the same extent as the DLR.

    However this considerable variation in DLR-ULR equilibrium has been going on for millions of years: it is no different today than in preindustrial times, and is unrelated to the warming effect of increasing CO2.

    The reason greenhouse gases like water vapor and CO2 can add 33 °C to the surface temperature is not because of DLR but because they reduce the amount of heat able to radiate directly to space from the ground and low altitude aerosols (clouds and soot) and greenhouse gases, all of which are relatively warm and therefore are strong radiators. Greenhouse gases do this by intercepting that strong radiation.

    One might imagine that the intercepted radiation is then reradiated, but that’s not really what’s going on. Instead the neighborhood where it was intercepted radiates because of its temperature, which does not change noticeably as a result of intercepting radiation from lower down. If somehow you shut off all the radiation from below, that neighborhood would continue to radiate pretty much exactly the same amount. The “reradiation” concept is a non-starter, it does not exist as a measurable physical phenomenon in any way distinct from ordinary radiation by a body at a given temperature.

    The radiation to space from a high altitude is much less than from a low altitude because of the lapse rate of 5-10 °C/km. That radiation is not as strong as radiation from lower altitudes, Whereas an airless Earth would be radiating from a 255 K surface, radiation from an altitude ten km or so up, at say 200 or 180 K, is considerably less (remember that radiation is proportional to the fourth power of temperature).

    A similar effect is had with a parka in Antarctica, whose outer surface is much colder than its inner surface, so the parka radiates much less of your valuable warmth than if you were to expose your skin to the air. Greenhouse gases constitute a parka for Earth.

    To repeat, the only radiation capable of actually cooling the Earth is that radiated directly to space. Contrary to what you will read in Wikipedia etc, the alleged warming effect of radiation captured by the atmosphere at altitude is essentially negligible, and contributes nothing of any significance to global warming. The warming effect comes instead from Earth’s difficulty in radiating heat to space from its colder regions high up.

    The effect of increasing greenhouse gases is to raise the average altitude to a colder level, decreasing the effectiveness of the radiation.

    In this way raising the level of greenhouse gases gradually raises the temperature of the whole planet, by close to the same amount at all altitudes (at least in the troposphere), more so when the increase is slower. (The stratosphere experiences a reverse greenhouse effect due to ozone trapping incoming ultraviolet, but that’s another story that does not bear much on this one.)

    But only up to a point. Eventually equilibrium is restored: the surface becomes hot enough that the heat from the whole planet including the surface and low altitudes once again equals the incoming heat from the Sun. The observer outside the atmosphere then once again sees a planet at an effective temperature of 255 K. This is a blend of high energy radiation from a hotter surface punching through a reduced “atmospheric window” as it’s called, combined with lower energy radiation from higher altitudes. When the total radiation to space from the whole planet equals the radiation from a uniformly warm 255 K airless planet (which in turn equals the absorbed, i.e. non-reflected, insolation), equilibrium is restored.

    At that point the surface is hotter in order to punch through the reduced window, the effect we call global warming.

    Ça va aller?

    • Vaughan, good explanation. It is an important point to make that the troposphere’s temperature is governed by the surface temperature via convective effects rather than any capturing of surface radiation. The atmosphere radiates those photons consistent with its temperature and constituent GHGs anyway, not because it absorbed them from the surface radiation, but you often see these processes inextricably linked together in explanations as though the former depended on the latter. Good physics, thanks for that.

    • DLR is on average in equilibrium with ULR, the upward kind, and the two cancel in terms of net flux

      Oops, my bad, that’s only true at night. During the day one must include the incoming absorbed shortwave radiation (ISR) along with the DLR when speaking of equilibrium. Or if one drops “absorbed” then one should add to the ULR the outgoing shortwave radiation that is reflected, which like the ISR is a daytime-only phenomenon.

      Since equilibrium really only makes sense over a period of enough days to average out fluctuations due to clouds, one may as well work with the average ISR over the planet over a long enough period, which in theory is a quarter of the ISR at the point on Earth where the Sun is directly overhead at that instant.

    • It is an important point to make that the troposphere’s temperature is governed by the surface temperature via convective effects rather than any capturing of surface radiation.

      Quite right, thanks for pointing this out. The alleged increases in temperature from capturing ULR are so tiny that they are completely swamped by the rapid exchange of heat between altitudes due to convection.

      Convection modifies air temperature in two ways, the obvious one of mixing air at different temperatures, and the more subtle one of cooling rising air as a result of expansion as the pressure decreases, which is where lapse rate comes from. (And conversely of warming falling air.) Both effects are orders of magnitude greater than any impact of captured ULR on temperature, making the latter a physically meaningless figment of the imagination.

      Hopefully this point of view will become more widely understood so that we won’t have to fight the illogic of Gerlich and Tscheuschner with the illogic of reradiation. G&T recognized the latter illogic, but instead of fixing it they amplified it in order to disprove global warming. Though why they needed more than 100 pages to do so is anyone’s guess.

    • Vaughan old buddy,

      I saw your long post with dismay but settled in for a read anyways. But I am afraid you lost me with ULR = DLR. It is physically impossible for this to be the case unless you wish to suspend the 1st law of thermodynamics along with the 3rd law of motion. If you keep this up you will soon have abolished all of physics on the grounds of inconvenience. I suggest with all good wishes that you stop before it is too late.

      In reality we have the simple global energy budget.

      d(S)/dt = Energy in – Energy out

      Where d(S)/dt = the change in global energy content. On land the net energy up (IR and convection) is equal to the SW down. Over oceans the net energy up (IR plus convection plus evaporation) is equal to the short wave down. Accounting for, of course, warming oceans and enthalpy and other minor factors.

      In the atmosphere with more greenhouse gases there is a larger number of free photons interacting with and changing the internal and kinetic energies of molecules resulting in a warmer atmosphere. They don’t so much punch through as accidentally encounter a path to the stars. As there are more free photons in a warmer atmosphere – to approximately a power of 4 – more are more likely to escape the planet.

      • Little Skippy can’t even get math dimensionality correct. He says:

        “d(S)/dt = Energy in – Energy out

        Where d(S)/dt = the change in global energy content.”

        This isn’t even correct calculus. dS/dt has the units of power whereas “Energy in” and “Energy in” is obviously in units of energy.

        That’s why I don’t like these run-of-the-mill skeptics. One can keep on bringing these rather obvious points up over and over again, yet they never seem to listen. And moreover they seemingly don’t want to learn anything new.

        This is their pattern:
        1. Copy & paste.
        2. Produce errors.
        3. … repeat

      • Oh God – not the idiot savant again. The change in energy content is obviously in joules. How the hell would ocean heat content – the biggest part of the heat storage – be in Watts?

        Let’s use the 1st order differential equation of hydrological strorage as a metaphor.

        d(S)/dt = I – Q

        By mass conservation the change in water stored in a reach in a period is equal to the inflow less the outflow. One way or another – I have made a career out of this formula.

        Similarly by conservation of energy –

        d(S)/dt = energy in less energy out at TOA.

        It is a very simple global energy formula but you are obviously even more simple minded than that. If more energy leaves the planet than enters in a period the planet cools and vice versa.

        Really you should try to get the little things right and, I would earnestly advise, not be such a pig about things. If neccessity is the mother of invention – then humility is the progenitor of learning.

      • Are you really that dense? Do you really want to get served up by Prof Pratt?

        What you did is basically the same thing if I were to be a bonehead and say that
        Energy = Voltage * Current

        That is not dimensionally correct. You just don’t get the most basic rules for mathematical problem solving. That’s probably why everything you say devolves into rubbish.

      • Webby – you are a clueless nincompoop. Apart from the point that Vaughan self corrected before I posted to do with daylight – what I said was exactly the same merely put in a different form of words. As someone who is intensely interested in the power of language to convey sense and imagery – as someone who thinks visually – I like to try to use language to convey technical information in almost poetic imagery. This is of course a technique in literature – such as this one you could try –

        Einstein in physics was a practitioner par excellence. Is this a reason people find it so difficult. I have experienced the special theory of relativity to be a gorgeous flower unfolding in my mind for nearly 40 years.

        “The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The psychical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images which can be ‘voluntarily’ reproduced and combined. …. This combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of signs which can be communicated to others”. Albert Einstein in a letter to Jacques Hadamard.

        The change in energy content in the Earth’s climate system is equal to incoming energy less outgoing energy. It is simple energy conservation – and I’m so scared of Vaughan.

      • Skippy said:

        “As someone who is intensely interested in the power of language”

        Or is that the energy of language? Ha ha ha.

        It’s like hitting softballs against you. I guess I don’t need Pratt’s arsenal of logic.

      • That’s very mature Webby – you add so much to the tone of the discourse.

    • BatedBreath

      Vaughn, let me see if I get this, er, outburst of yours:
      Increased CO2 traps ULW at an altitude too low for it to be re-radiated out into space to, thus preventing some cooling. This must then presumably raise the air temperature at whatever altitude this is most significant. So does it?

      And as regards CO2 acting like a parka. A parka works by being a heat insulator – what does this have to do with the greenhouse effect ?

      • And as regards CO2 acting like a parka. A parka works by being a heat insulator – what does this have to do with the greenhouse effect ?

        Everything. That’s one valid way of characterizing the greenhouse effect. It doesn’t tell all details, but it’s valid.

      • And everyone knows how dangerous parkas are, with them roasting people to a crisp and even setting them on fire.

      • One gets the feeling hunter’s keyboard is hooked up to one of those old-fashioned pianola rolls, with canned responses to climate comments in place of Beethoven.

      • This must then presumably raise the air temperature at whatever altitude this is most significant. So does it?

        No it doesn’t, because the 0.16 C/decade temperature change is far too slow compared to the rate at which heat is convected up and down in the atmosphere by wind etc. It is impossible for trapped ULR to heat the atmosphere in any measurable sense.

        The planet gradually warms because the increased GHGs slow down the overall rate of radiation of heat from Earth as a whole to space. The process is so gradual that the warming cannot be isolated to any one region, it is a completely global phenomenon.

      • BatedBreath

        Pekka: The “parka effect” in the atmosphere is related to insulation against radiative heat transfer and to the change in the thickness of the insulating troposphere. The effect is as real, but a little different than in case of real parka as the radiative heat transfer has usually no role in case of real parka.

        A “little” different? I’d say conduction and radiation are more than a “little” different, wouldn’t you? The “parka” analogy seems completely without merit to me.

      • Radiative heat transfer is one form of heat transfer. For the effect that’s the only important thing. In that sense it’s not different at all.

        For the “parka effect” the only interesting issue is the total change in the insulation that atmosphere provides for the total heat transfer including all forms that contribute. Radiative heat transfer is important part of that. To get correct answers the ways various heat transfer mechanisms affect each other must be taken into account, most importantly the interaction between radiative and convective components of heat transfer. This is understood well enough by atmospheric scientists as long as changes in cloudiness and other more indirect effects are not included. When those are considered as well we enter the domain on less well known feedbacks.

      • Pekka, what’s the effect of increased CO2 on atmospheric radiation to space?

      • BatedBreath

        Are we agreed though that greenhouse warming is about radiative heat transfer, and not about reduced conductive transfer (ie higher heat insulation)? That is to say, the increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere are changing the radiative absorption properties of the atmosphere, but are not changing the conductive properties (as per the “parka effect”) ?

        And then as regards interaction with conductive/convective effects, the increased radiatively warmed CO2-boosted atmosphere (at some or other significant altitude) then presents a reduced thermal gradient to lower altitudes ?

        And your/Vaughn’s? kicker is the claim that this inter-altitude mixing happens so fast, we can’t measure the initial radiative warming ? Which seems to make the whole idea impervious to empirical validation …..

      • CO2 affects directly the radiative heat transfer but the understanding of GH effect does not stop there. Another point must be included to make the picture consistent. That’s the change in the height of the troposphere (or altitude of tropopause). That has the same effect as making the parka thicker, and that’s part of the effect. Insulation is increased both against radiative heat loss and against convective heat transfer to the top of troposphere from where part of it is radiated to space.

        The altitude of the tropopause is determined by the relative strengths of radiative heat transfer and convection and adding CO2 leads to higher altitude for the tropopause.

      • BatedBreath

        So …
        (a) The major radiative cooling of the earth occurs from the tropopause

        (b) Adding CO2 pushes the tropopause higher, due to it warming due to LW absorption, and so rising .

        (c) a higher tropopause means a warmer earth due to reduced radiative cooling from it out to space, owing to the greater distance and difficulty in convecting heat to to the now higher tropopause.


      • There’s radiative cooling from all altitudes up to the tropopause (stratosphere higher up is of lesser importance and very different). With more CO2 less and less radiation can escape directly to the space from the surface and lowest troposphere and a larger share originates at high altitudes. One part of this change is the increase in the altitude of tropopause. All these changes contribute and work in the same direction.

        Pushing tropopause higher is important, because the lapse rate remains high and essentially constant throughout the troposphere. Higher tropopause means therefore that the temperature difference between the surface and the tropopause is larger. Therefore the Earth looks colder from the space and radiates less to the space until the temperature of the Earth has risen enough to compensate that effect.

        Assuming that CO2 is added over a short period, the rapid response is reducing the radiation from earth to space. That leads to warming and the final response is warmer Earth surface. At that point the effective temperature of Earth as seen from the space has returned back to the earlier level, but the new effective temperature is a combination of colder tropopause and warmer Earth surface (and also warmer lower troposphere at fixed altitude).

      • Which seems to make the whole idea impervious to empirical validation …..

        Indeed! No thermal phenomenon changing faster than on a decade time scale can be correlated with global warming. Only the month-to-month changes in the level of CO2 itself can be measured, not its immediate impact of global temperature.

        It is however possible to observe the long-term thermal impact of CO2. One way that gives quite a clean picture, in excellent accord with the Arrhenius logarithmic model, is to subtract the expected long-term ocean oscillations of periods 30 years and longer from a temperature record such as HADCRUT3VGL (global land-sea temperature since 1850) then filter out the 11-year sunspot cycle and all faster phenomena such as El Nino. You’ll then see just two things: a 21-year oscillation of amplitude around 0.04 C beautifully correlated with the Sun’s oscillating magnetic field or Hale cycle, superimposed on a smooth rise in temperature that in 1950 was increasing at 0.055 C/decade and by 2000 had reached 0.16 C/decade.

        For the purpose of subtracting all the long-term ocean oscillations, it is convenient to model them collectively as a single inverse sawtooth wave of period 151 years stepping straight up by 0.23 C in 1925, with its fundamental or first harmonic (a sine wave of amplitude pi/4*0.23 = 0.18 C and period 151 years) deleted, and the 4th and 5th harmonics both delayed by 3.75 years and attenuated respectively to a tenth and a half of their expected values, and higher harmonics neglected, i.e. set to zero like the fundamental.

        There is therefore a total of four sine waves, namely harmonics 2-5. The second harmonic has an amplitude of 0.18/2 = 0.09 C and a period of 151/2 = 75.5 years while the third is 0.18/3 = 0.06 C and a period of 151/3 = 50.3 years, showing none of the delay or attenuation of the higher harmonics.

        This model is newer than my December AGU presentation, which was cruder and gave only the second and third harmonics as separate phenomena without noticing that they were harmonically related in the ratio 2:3 in both frequency and amplitude. I’m getting this new model ready for publication.

        The ocean oscillations have no generally agreed-on physical basis. My own guess is that at least the ones modeled above are the result of the Earth’s iron core oscillating slightly in place thereby pumping hot magma up and down to vary the temperature below the crust on which the oceans rest, but that’s nothing more than just a guess. No guesses as to where the sawtooth structure comes from.

        The ocean oscillations thus modeled should be subtracted before any filtering. If you filter first then subtract, the oscillations as modeled above should be subjected to the same filter before subtraction to avoid ending up with a less accurate picture of what’s going on. Assuming a perfectly linear filter (one satisfying filt(A+B) = filt(A) + filt(B), the usual case for most filters encountered in practice) the results will be completely identical when this precaution is taken as a consequence of this definition of linearity.

      • Hi Vaughan, at some point you were going to do a guest post on this?

      • So carbon taxes etc are being justified on the basis of a notion of cagw that is “impervious to empirical validation” ….
        iow, divorced from science, a secular religion if ever there was one.
        May the ‘good lord’ help us ….

      • Dr. Pratt,
        Please clarify the point about what can and cannot be correlated empirically.

      • at some point you were going to do a guest post on this?

        A funny thing happened on the way to the guest post. I thought I’d make up a little spreadsheet so readers of my post could check every bit of my data and calculations for themselves. But then the spreadsheet took on a life of its own and became the means by which I obtained a much more accurate model than in my December AGU presentation. By the time it was done I had decided to make a Nature archive submission my first priority, on which I would then base a guest post. Still in the works (it’s not the only project on my plate just now, several things are diluting the time available for each).

      • I look forward to it :)

      • Vaughan Pratt said, “The ocean oscillations have no generally agreed-on physical basis.”

        The core modulation is interesting and would help explain some of the volcanic/earthquake correlations. I noticed that sea ice fluctuations could also have a similar period, 60.9 years that would tend to vary with the rate of down welling. Faster down welling would be less laminar than slower changing the distribution of cold water, not necessarily the volume of the thermohaline current.

        I look forward to the paper.

      • Vaughn Pratt said:

        “The planet gradually warms because the increased GHGs slow down the overall rate of radiation of heat from Earth as a whole to space. ”

        Precisely, and the sticking point for many is to realize that at the bottom of the entire reservoir on non-tectonic energy on the planet is the ocean. As you slow down that rate of overall radiation of heat to space, the entire chain of that flow “backs up” with high thermal capacity and thermal inertia of the oceans being at the bottom.

        I would love to see the presentation you did at the December AGU, plus the one you’re working on now. Do you have any links to the earlier one?

        Also, I hope you can do a guest post here on Climate etc. Very interesting material…thanks!

      • R Gates

        It would be good for someone like Vaughan to produce an article that concentrates on the physics, instead of continually arguing that everything these days is unprecedeted as regards weather/climate when it clearly isn’t. Lets have more of the justification of the greenhouse theory instead of the justification of tree rings.

        BTW you do realise that your link in the last thread, which was supposed to prove the sudden onset of the LIA in 1250 was due to volcanoes, was based on tree rings, and the ice cores ‘proof’was likely due to high sulfur emissions rather than a cataclysmic volume of them?
        Ps About time you did an article

      • As you slow down that rate of overall radiation of heat to space, the entire chain of that flow “backs up” with high thermal capacity and thermal inertia of the oceans being at the bottom.

        Quite right. Warming the oceans delays the surface warming, by an amount I claim to be 14-15 years. One needs to play with the spreadsheet to get a feeling for the accuracy with which this can be inferred from nothing more than the 162 annual global temperature values. Each of those values is the average of a great many individual day-to-day and location-to-location readings, and hence will be more accurate than the individual readings by a factor of sqrt(n) where n is the number of such readings around the planet throughout the year.

      • Really – it is the warming atmosphere that changes the energy gradient across the ‘skin’ causing heat to ‘back up’ warming the oceans which proceeds until the conditional balance is restored. How long does that take? It is a dynamiclly coupled system. The decrease in net IR up cools the atmosphere and I suggest that the systems tends to conditional equilibrium fairly quickly. As indeed is suggested by temperature equilibrium between oceans and the atmosphere.

        It is the surface flux from the oceans that matter as these determine the change in heat content and in principle entropy always tends to maximum. Absolute heat capacity calculated from absolute zero means very little.

      • R Gates
        “…As you slow down that rate of overall radiation of heat to space, the entire chain of that flow “backs up” with high thermal capacity and thermal inertia of the oceans being at the bottom.”

        But you still haven’t explained how the extra heat captured by the extra CO2 in the atmosphere, can be warming the oceans without first warming the atmosphere itself. That the oceans are a bigger heatsink is certainly no explanation. And in the absence of an explanation, we must surely grant that something other than CO2 AGW is warming the oceans.

      • BatedBreath

        Pekka :
        With more CO2, less and less radiation can escape directly to the space from the surface and lowest troposphere

        So what happens to the proportion of radiation prevented from escaping to space, captured by CO2 molecules? Does it bounce around indefinitely from one CO2 to another (and backradiating to the surface?), or does the non-escaped proportion of it warm the troposphere? If the latter, this would be measurable surely.

        And do I read/interpolate you correctly you as saying
        (1) a large proportion of cooling radiation out to space is from the tropopause
        (2) CO2-induced heating makes the troposphere expand
        (3) which pushes the tropopause higher
        (4) which then cools it, since temperature lapses with altitude, since less and less LW makes it up to higher levels
        (5) which, given (1), means there is less total cooling radiation ?

      • Essentially all energy absorbed by CO2 molecules in troposphere is very rapidly released as heat of atmosphere. Conversely heat of atmosphere maintains continuously so many CO2 molecules in excited state that these molecules emit approximately as energy as CO2 absorbs. The small difference between absorbed and emitted energy heats or cools atmosphere at that point. Throughout the troposphere the emitted energy is slightly higher than the absorbed energy, because convection provides part of the incoming energy.

        The difference between emitted and absorbed energy is highest at low altitudes and goes down to zero at tropopause. This condition determines the altitude of the troposphere.

        Answering your questions:

        (1) most of radiation out to space is from troposphere and a large part of that is from the uppermost part of troposphere not far from tropopause.
        (2) no, if you refer to thermal expansion of air. The main change is that a larger part of air will be part of troposphere rather than stratosphere.
        (3) the above answers that as well
        (4) here we come back to the issues discussed in the first and second paragraph above. More CO2 makes the difference between emitted and absorbed radiation larger at low altitudes. Therefore a larger vertical distance is needed to reach zero difference. The temperature is lower there, because the altitude is higher and the lapse rate has a longer distance to make temperature lower.
        (5) that means, indeed, that there’s less cooling radiation until the surface and the atmosphere has warmed up enough to compensate for nearly effect, which continues for several decades and even longer at some level. (After this warming the total amount is the same as before, but it’s composition is different.)

      • Pekka – I really liked the way you explained the lapse rate without saying lapse rate.

      • BatedBreath

        So the greenhouse effect is mainly the parka effect? All that talk about CO2 absorbing LW is largely irrelevant ? CO2 and water vapour etc are just better heat insulators than nitrogen and oxygen ?

      • Yes, in a sense.

      • When you take off your parka, your body is cooled by both convection and radiation. Convection cools you by carrying away the air close to your skin that you have warmed up, as well as the evaporated sweat. Radiation cools you in the same way that it cools Earth: there is no equally warm surface near you to give you back as much radiation as you’re gviing off.

        What the parka and Earth’s atmosphere have in common is that they both block radiation. It is also reasonable to say that Earth’s atmosphere blocks convection, albeit by a different mechanism from your parka, which traps air in its fibers. The atmosphere differs from a parka in that it lets heat convect freely throughout the atmosphere. However only the heat actually leaving the planet can cool it, and essentially no atmosphere leaves the Earth. So in that sense Earth’s atmosphere also blocks convection.

      • BatedBreath

        So it is “impossible for trapped ULR to heat the atmosphere in any measurable sense”, yet this unmeasureable heat is heating us ?

      • One day you’ll understand what others are trying to tell, if you really wish.

        We don’t have many conflicting theories for the basic understanding of the atmosphere. The same theory can be explained in several different ways, which are all correct and equivalent although they may sound different.

        Having all those different ways of formulating the theory may be helpful as some people understand one way better and other another way. Having all those different ways may also be a problem, because picking a few words from one and a few words from another leads to apparent conflicts. That’s, however, only illusionary, but that’s taken advantage by skeptics who make their best to confuse and mislead those whose knowledge is not sufficient for understanding what really is going on in the atmosphere.

        The above discussion of “parka effect” is a good example of confusion. The “parka effect” in the atmosphere is related to insulation against radiative heat transfer and to the change in the thickness of the insulating troposphere. The effect is as real, but a little different than in case of real parka as the radiative heat transfer has usually no role in case of real parka.

    • Vaughan Pratt | June 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

      Impressive. I look forward to reading in more detail. (I will of course be skeptical of a model with such extraordinary claims, but I don’t pretend to expect to find new issues.)

      “radiation is proportional to the fourth power of temperature”

      I’d considered this issue with latitude, but the obvious application to altitude completely escaped me.

      So as the altitude of radiation to space rises (as measured by temperature, not distance), the GHE then increases as a cube?

      And the difference of concentration of CO2 (and other GHEs) with altitude.. does that matter at all?

      • So as the altitude of radiation to space rises (as measured by temperature, not distance), the GHE then increases as a cube?

        Radiation to space from altitude h is impacted by two phenomena: lower temperature at higher altitude (linear with h), and less atmosphere, hence fewer CO2 molecules, blocking the path. At 10 km the temperature is down to around 220 K vs 290 K at sea level, whence radiation is reduced to (220/290)^4 = 33% of what it is at sea level.

        However a cubic meter of air weighs only 30% of what that volume weighs at sea level, whence whatever attenuation A the CO2 above sea level creates for a given frequency of radiation, at 10 km it is reduced to A^0.3.

        For example if CO2 at a given frequency is attenuated 2x (i.e. halved) at sea level, at 10 km it is attenuated only 2^0.3 = 1.23x. Since the greenhouse effect is highly dependent on frequency of thermal radiation, which is spread out over more than an octave, it is not straightforward to come up with a simple law governing the impact of altitude on attenuation by CO2 on radiation.

        And the difference of concentration of CO2 (and other GHEs) with altitude.. does that matter at all?

        Not in the troposphere, which is almost all that matters. CO2 mixes very uniformly there independently of altitude.

  85. Beth Cooper

    Merci, Descartes. Vous dites: ”When clouds hide the Sun during the day, DLR is much stronger than for a clear night sky. Ah, des nuages coquins! But isn’t DSR, love those acronyms, weaker on cloudy days? Think of clouds like the janus masks of greek tragedy, mon chou :-) the dark face turned towards Earth, the gleaming other face of the mask radiating reflected light back into space.

    • Mon chou, le temps est arrivé
      To talk of many things:
      Why the sea is boiling hot (so Hansen says),
      And cabbages like you, and kings.

      Granted clouds are real cool, all those shapes one can see in them and so on. However without clouds the only DLR is from whatever greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere. If there were no GHGs at all there would be essentially no DLR at all, since oxygen and nitrogen radiate a neglible amount of DLR.

      With clouds you have a massive amount of water itself (not mere water vapour) hovering 1-2 km overhead in the form of small water droplets. This might be a few degrees colder than the ground, but still plenty warm enough to radiate lots of DLR down to you.

      Think of clouds as warm blankets. If you find this difficult to visualize, borrow or buy ($45 from Amazon) an infrared thermometer and compare the temperature of the sky with and without clouds. You will be amazed at how much hotter the thermometer says a cloudy sky is than a clear sky! On a cold winter night clouds can make a 30 C difference!

  86. Beth Cooper

    I do believe i am able to visualize clouds as insulating blankets keeping heat in, or slowing its escape. But a query, mon professeur, do not the absence of low clouds during an el nino event increase SWR warming as in 1998?
    Hmm … as jest an escapee from the humanities, daresay i’m missing the gist, better go and buy a thermometer…

    • do not the absence of low clouds during an el nino event increase SWR warming as in 1998?

      Yes. Clouds impede SWR during the day, which is why cloudy skies are not as warm as clear ones during the day.

      At night however there is no SWR and cloudy skies increase warming (though not SWR warming since there is no SWR). Haven’t you noticed that the evening is particularly cold on clear nights?

      By all means get a thermometer, but not as an escape from the humanities, which were important long before thermometers came along.

      • Beth is I belive perfectly correct and was suggesting a cloud and ENSO connection. She is far from the first. ‘Most reduction in low cloud amount related to the 1997–1998 El Niño occurs in the eastern tropical Pacific associated with an upward large-scale motion and a weak atmospheric stability measured by the 500 hPa vertical velocity and the potential temperature difference between 700 hPa and the surface, and is negatively correlated to the local SST anomaly. In addition to the other mechanisms suggested by the previous studies, our analyses based on the ISCCP observations indicate that the change in atmospheric convective activities in these regions is one of the reasons responsible for the change in low cloud amount.’

        There is this from Wong et al 2006 –

        Note the 1998 and 1999 net ERBS changes which are of course dominated by changes in SW flux.

      • Dr. Pratt,
        Not to quibble, but I think there is a very important dstinction: At night, cannot clouds merely slow down cooling? Warming requires new sources of energy. That is absent at night.

      • Good catch, hunter. Instead of saying “cloudy skies increase warming” I should have said they decrease cooling.

        Likewise many people interpret “Nature abhors a vacuum” as meaning she thinks vacuums suck. But most of the universe is a vacuum so if vacuums really did suck we’d have all been sucked up ages ago. I get that, you get it, but I fear that the rest of the world is just going to go on believing that vacuums suck. Might as well give up and go with the flow before they come for us with torches and pitchforks.

  87. Beth Cooper

    Yes, its very cold in the desert at night, I go there on my camel to look at bright stars in a clear sky ). But what happened during the grand El Nino when energy in , (day) didn’t match energy out, (night) ? It’s mysterious …

    • Darlin’ Beth,

      A camel is just the thing for the desert on a cool, clear night.
      In the watery realms there are dragon kings in coral palaces
      – guarded by crab generals and shrimp soldiers – causing
      cloud and crashing thunder in our brave and fragile lives.

      Best regards

  88. Beth Cooper

    … If I could wait like a stone on the shore,
    fast dissolution in the storms of time.
    If I could break the barrier of light
    to freeze the instant, it would still
    be unfolding to infinity…

    • If you could unfold the stone on the shore to infinity,
      the storm would break in an instant, and time
      would come back to haunt you with things
      forgotten until now. Not a pretty picture,
      I need to work on it some more.

      • It is my poetry – and I was fooling with the ideas of time and mass dilation. You make the next intuitive leap to the idea that we are all time travellers and the space/time continuum unfolds around us.

        “…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” Albert

        Truly a horrible realisation. Every moment of horror, torture and murder preserved as eternal moments like mutilated insects in amber. That very day I made the next feasible leap – into irrationality – to believe that the universe is perfectable. That the universe is a Manichean struggle of light and dark across all space and time. ‘There is light within a man of light, and he lights up all of the world. If he is not alight there is darkness.’ Like Star Wars but in four dimensions. If asked, I give my religion as Jedi.

  89. Vaughan Pratt | June 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

    So is the gist of what you’re saying this :
    You’ve modelled known effects of components such as ocean oscillations (without necessarily having underlying explanations of their causes), and what you’ve ended up with is a net correlation to all the components’ wiggles, except a decade-scale upward drift since about 1950 which by consensus is assumed to be AGW ?

    • Tha’s about it, BatedBreath, with two caveats.

      First, the “drift” as you call it is modeled starting long before 1950, in fact centuries ago, with the numbers since 1750 based on the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC)’s data for fossil fuel consumption. Back then the drift was really tiny, not reaching 0.1 °C/century (1/16 of the present drift) until 1880.

      One might imagine that such a small drift would be drowned in the noise, which would be the case for essentially all previous models. The remarkable thing about this particular model is that it agrees with the model to better than a millikelvin, making this tiny drift quite visible even as far back as 1880!

      Second, the drift models both CO2 growth and its thermal impact on the surface. The former, CO2 growth, rejects “consensus” (whatever that is) in favor of a little-known model first proposed by David Hofmann in 2009, presented at an American Meteorological Union meeting. Hofmann models CO2 as a natural background level plus an exponentially growing anthropogenic component. Hofmann’s model turns out to correlate remarkably well with the CDIAC data for fossil fuel consumption and the other main anthropogenic contributors to CO2 since 1750, as well as with the Mauna Loa CO2 measurements.

      The latter, thermal impact on the surface, is separated into Arrhenius’s well-known logarithmic relation between CO2 and surface temperature proposed in 1896, and an assumed delay in that impact on the order of a small number of decades.

      The Arrhenius law appears to have stood the test of time. Furthermore it can be verified by counting the number of additional absorption lines that are blocked with increasing greenhouse gases and observing that this number remains the same with each doubling. (This does not however give any clue as to climate sensitivity.)

      The delay in impact appears to be 14-15 years. One explanation for the delay would be that for the most part, instead of heating the surface the greenhouse gases heat the interior of the oceans. This raises their overall temperature, which eventually gets around to heating the surface of the planet, much as what happens after a CPU’s heatsink has heated up. Since the oceans have much more thermal capacity than the atmosphere it takes time for the surface to feel the heating impact of greenhouse gases, which my model puts in the middle of the range 14-15 years. The electrical counterpart would be increasing voltage at the near end of a resistor the far end of which is connected to ground through a parallel-connected capacitor-and-resistor: the capacitor slows down the rate at which the far end of the first resistor can track the near end.

      So I wouldn’t call this the “consensus” view at all, on the following grounds.

      1. There isn’t one consensus view but rather a wide range of views none of which is anywhere near as good a fit to the data as my model, which captures it to within a millikelvin.

      2. I don’t know of any other model that uses the Hofmann model to extrapolate the Mauna Loa data well before 1958 in order to estimate global warming’s impact in the 19th century.

      3. I don’t know any model that brackets the delay in impact as narrowly as 14-15 years (though I’d love to hear of any if they exist). The delay is what Hansen calls the “pipeline,” and is presumably modeled in any general circulation model that takes the ocean’s thermal capacity into account. So far however I haven’t heard of any model that claims to be able to see this source of delay in the HADCRUT3 data at all, let alone with such a small error bar (on the order of months) as mine.

      The key to all this is what you call “wiggles” and which I call a single filtered sawtooth, where the filtering (plausibly done largely by the crust) acts linearly on the sawtooth. The sum of the delayed-Arrhenius-Hofmann law and the filtered sawtooth fits the data to within a millikelvin, except for a period centered on 1970 where the error rises to several millikelvins, possible due to low-altitude brown-cloud aerosols prior to the adoption of emission controls aimed at reducing urban brown cloud or smog.

      • This is exactly what us non-climate-scientists seek — a mixed statistical and physics-based model that can explain the effects to first-order.

        I would say milliKelvin agreement over the entire range is remarkable, and the information criteria metric would probably be very good if you don’t have many parameters to tweak.

      • I would say milliKelvin agreement over the entire range is remarkable,

        When I first saw the agreement It completely blew me away. I had not been expecting remotely near that good a fit.

        Just to be clear, the agreement is flat to within around a millikelvin except for the 1970 “bump” I mentioned, which exceeds 5 mK from 1958 to 1977 and peaks at 13 mK. It could be various things, though postwar-boom smog remains my favourite.

        Parameters: 9, namely 3 to model the “drift” (climate sensitivity 2.83 °C/doubling, 28.6 years for anthropogenic CO2 to double, with the impact of doubling the natural background level felt in 2067), 3 for the sawtooth itself (period τ = 151 years triggering upwards 0.23 °C in 1925), and 3 for the filtering of it (elimination of harmonics 1 and 6+ and distortion of the 4th and 5th harmonics, respectively 0.1X and 0.5x amplitude, and +τ/40 = +3.8 years of phase distortion for both).

        That’s the raw model. Correlating it with CO2 emissions uses the CDIAC and Mauna Loa databases in conjunction with a modeled impact delay of 14.5 years.

        The one-millikelvin accuracy is only possible with these parameters. Very small changes to any of them rapidly increases the discrepancy between the model and the data.

        Note that the unit of ppmv for CO2 does not appear in the parameters for modeling “drift.” This is because the choice of unit for CO2 makes only an additive difference to temperature on account of Arrhenius’s logarithmic law, and temperature data is always given as anomalies making additive differences irrelevant. “Impact felt in” incorporates “Hansen’s pipeline” by adding 14.5 years to when the CO2 itself had reached twice the natural background or preindustrial level.

      • Vaughan Pratt | June 11, 2012 at 1:21 am |

        Ordinary wisdom, when I was a wee lad, taught that too good agreement is far more suspect than too poor agreement.

        It’s the bumps that aren’t accounted for that tend to make this account more persuasive.

        Then again, as you’re far cleverer than I, I’ll remain ploddingly skeptical for some long weeks after quicker others accept it.

    • BatedBreath

      Thanks Vaughan, am busy digesting (also Pekka’s stuff).

      One thing that immediately jumped out though, is this idea that the heat from greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere somehow leapfrogs both the atmosphere itself and the ocean surface, and goes directly to the “interior” ocean. How might that happen ?

      • To put heating effects in perspective, BatedBreath, bear in mind that today’s global warming rate of 0.16 °C/decade equals 44 microkelvins per day. The atmosphere’s dry adiabatic lapse rate is 10 °C/km (quite close to Venus’s incidentally). This means that CO2 warms the surface of the planet (starting out by warming the atmosphere) in the course of a day by the same amount that a radiosonde balloon would observe by descending 44/10 = 4.4 mm during that day.

        This should make it clear that any attempt to track temperature changes resulting from increased CO2 is doomed to failure, as it will be drowned in the fluctuations of temperature and pressure in the atmosphere as well as the effect of movement of air in the form of breezes, thermals, etc.

        The situation is not remotely like Tyndall’s lab in the 1850s where he could confine CO2 at a level 1000x that in the atmosphere in a space with no such fluctuations while subjecting it to 1000x the amount of radiation passing from Earth to space. He was therefore working with a million times the signal and perhaps one-millionth the noise, so his signal-to-noise ratio would have been 10^12 or 120 dB better than someone trying to measure the direct thermal impact of Earth’s ULR on the atmosphere.

        So ULR has an unmeasurably small heating effect on atmospheric CO2. But unmeasurably small isn’t zero, and this tiny amount, masked by the enormous fluctuations everywhere, finds its way from the CO2 to the atmosphere and thence by a combination mainly of convection and radiation (and a negligible amount of conduction) to the surface, both land and ocean. The surface everywhere heats up by this tiny amount. The surface of the land retains it, whereas the surface of the sea quickly pulls it down to lower levels by convection, and it heads for the interior of the ocean.

        One might think that the land surface would end up warmer than the ocean surface on this account. However any such tiny difference is completely masked by the diurnal heating of the land by the Sun. In the meantime the atmosphere carries these heat fluctuations back and forth between land and sea, and the sea ends up sucking any long-term (say a month or more) temperature gains by the land down into the interior of the oceans, whose considerable thermal capacity acts to regulate global temperature. (The latent heat of fusion of the polar ice caps performs a similar function but trading off the higher thermal capacity of the oceans for the more precise 0 °C regulation of melting ice.)

        In order to measure these thermal effects with any reliability, one must therefore do so on a decadal time frame, long enough to see the 0.16 °C/decade global increase. But this time scale is orders of magnitude too slow to observe causality in thermal transport. All one can see at this rate is a gradually warming ocean whose rising surface temperature, rising in concert with the rest of the ocean, then raises the temperature of the lower troposphere which in turn raises the temperature of the land.

        One way to think about this is to start with four-dimensional space-time, but to Fourier-transform the time axis so as to make it frequency in Hz instead of time in seconds. At high frequencies, relevant to the physics, one sees heat flowing from the atmosphere to the land to the sea surface to the ocean depths. At low frequencies, relevant to multidecadal climate prediction, the flow is more or less opposite. There should be some elegant way of modeling this with RC (resistor-capacitor) networks with no L (inductance) but I don’t know right now what it would be.

  90. -And democracy is totalitarian is it?

    “It need not be, but it can be. Depends how big the democratic state is. Today’s totalitarian welfare states certainly are, Europe more so than the US. Democracy is important, but matters less and less the smaller the state is. Who cares if the King isn’t elected, if there isn’t much can do to you anyway ?”

    It seems to me to have totalitarian democracy if the people are herd like- or dominated by groupthink. I would not say we do not have any democracy which are totalitarian, because one needs more control over mass media. Of course totalitarian democracy is extremely unstable and dangerous. For one to have totalitarian democracy, one need something like MSM, but people would have to trust it. And that has never happened.
    Europe and State controlled Media, is effort in this direction, but the media has been too incompetent. And the Europeans have been all watching America media which makes the whole task more difficult.
    But the socialist/nanny state is pretty close to the brink, and not being concerned about it, is perhaps wishful thinking.
    Athens during the Peloponnesian war reached a totalitarian democracy- as did Nazi Germany- and flips to a military totalitarian or simply non-democratic totalitarian state or totalitarian state very quickly.

    -It sounds like you aren’t interested in liberty at all but you are interested in preserving your property rights.

    “Your property rights are obviously a very large part of your liberty. If only/mainly the state owns property, citizens can have little liberty. The fake libertarians are those who deny this. ”

    One property is your life or person. A test of any property is can you sell or rent it.
    Or for person, can you leave a country. Though if can’t enter another country, it’s problematic in terms of leaving any country.

  91. Beth Cooper

    Diogenes @ 06/06 3.25am. Thx for the time lapse images of the transit of Venus. Sublime.

  92. TT
    So the sick have to rely on charity? If I were sick or could [not] find a job I think I’d prefer unemployment benefit!?

    Sure. But much of this could be covered by insurance. Or, what amounts to the same thing, everyone who felt the same, could enter into a voluntary unemployment pooling plan.

    Do you have a model for your society?

    Just the common idea of a constitutional limitation of state power.

    As far as I know the only antidote, historically, to the threat of totalitarianism, or feudalism, has been democratic activity.

    Not all all. Right now, democracy is perhaps the biggest promoter of totalitarianism – witness the typical Western country of today, where taxes and controls have been rising for 100+ years, with a big jump in and after WW2.

    But maybe you know something different? Or is it just wishful thinking that you can have freedom without full democracy?

    It is not my objective to abolish democracy, merely to limit what it is allowed to do to (other) people.

    Freedom is about more than just property rights. There’s the freedom to be a member of a trade union.

    Yes. These are often termed civil liberties, to distinguish them from economic ones. They do though rather depend on property rights, eg it’s easier to have a trade union meeting on property you own than on property you don’t.

    The freedom to set up a Swedish style social democracy if enough voters can be persuaded that its a good idea.

    As long as anyone who wanted to opt out (of both the payments and benefits) could do so, yes. This could be handled contractually, no need for coercion (ie politics, the state).

    In a nutshell, a basic minimum-government scheme, both coherent and true to the ideal of liberty and (something as close as achievable to) anarchy. Libertarianism.