Conservative perspectives on climate change: Part II

by Judith Curry

Philosopher Roger Scruton agrees that the environment is the most urgent political problem of our age but argues in his new book “How to Think Seriously About the Planet” that conservatism is far better suited to tackle environmental problems than either liberalism or socialism. 

I haven’t read Scruton’s book, but seems to be receiving a lot of attention.  Earlier this week, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted an event on the topic of Scruton’s book.  A description of the event:

The environment has long been the undisputed territory of the political left, which has seen the principal threats to the planet issuing from globalization, consumerism and the overexploitation of natural resources. Philosopher Roger Scruton agrees that the environment is the most urgent political problem of our age but argues in his new book “How to Think Seriously About the Planet” that conservatism is far better suited to tackle environmental problems than either liberalism or socialism. Scruton suggests that rather than entrusting the environment to unwieldy nongovernmental and international organizations, we should assume personal responsibility and foster local sovereignty.

Scruton suggested local environmental policy solutions in the face of top-down approaches and proposed tapping into humanity’s “unexplored motive of oikophilia” — or attachment to the home — in discovering these solutions. Mark Sagoff of George Mason University applauded Scruton for highlighting the esthetic side of environmentalism, but questioned Scruton’s theory of oikophilia in the context of the American tendency toward mobility.

There was a 2nd panel, with Ken Green of AEI, Keith Kloor, and Daniel Sarewitz. Kloor has two blog posts on this [here] and [here].  I was intrigued by Ken Green‘s comments, which he has made publicly available [here].  Some excerpts:

As for the idea of compromise, I have my doubts. Environmentalists have generally resisted compromise, and in fact, tend to slander anyone who does try to compromise with them, or to use compromise as a weapon in the future.

It seems to be there’s little ground left for compromise. But, in the spirit of all interfaith conversations, I’ll take a crack at it:

What environmentalists can learn from conservatives

  • Wealthier is healthier and cleaner. Until they’re wealthy, they will consume environmental resources without much regard to aesthetics or future generations. Making people wealthier is the ultimate environmental act.
  • Societies that foster “freedom, opportunity, and enterprise” enrich themselves more quickly, and empower people to express their diverse values effectively, including environmental values. Social structures that divorce people from individual responsibility do exactly the opposite. Freeing up markets is an environmental act.
  • One should be cautious in intervening in complex economic systems, as one can easily trigger unintended consequences that do more harm than good. Ethanol. ‘Nuff said.
  • Humility should be the rule when it comes to models and forecasting of environmental trends, health damage, economic impacts, or job impacts. 
  • Markets are better than mandates. 

What conservatives can learn from environmentalists

  • There are real environmental problems that warrant action, especially in the developing world. 
  • There really is such a thing as ecosystem services that are often either unpriced or improperly priced, and we are probably wasting a lot of such services because they are unpriced. 
  • There really is a greenhouse effect, wherein greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere. But it doesn’t help to label climate change a giant hoax and refuse to discuss it. And, billboards featuring Ted Kaczynski seem like a particularly bad way to promote a conversation.
  • A large swath of the public does get psychic benefits from knowing that ecosystems are being cared for, and species are being protected. 
  • And, alas, by their behavior environmentalists can teach conservatives to be wary of compromise: the history of environmental policy has been that environmentalists have rarely ever accepted a compromise on good faith. 

JC comments:  An interesting list.  Your comments/additions?    I would love to see such a list from an environmentalist.

433 responses to “Conservative perspectives on climate change: Part II

  1. Waaahhh! I want my catastrophes.
    ============

    • There will always be catastrophes, kim, and charlatan “scientists” and/or “religionists” on hand to claim that the catastrophe proves their dogma.

      The love of money separated “scientists” from reality in 1946, as surely as it separated “religionists” from God throughout recorded history.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-105

      • After an abrupt U-turn in science in 1946, “scientists” following the trail of government research funds, then led society to George Orwell’s fascist state.

        George Orwell recognized and wrote of the dangers of fascist socialism: http://www.george-orwell.org/l_biography.html

        He died in Jan 1950, soon after “1984” was published.

        http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

        Less than four years after an abrupt U-turn in science

        a.) Disrupted 4 centuries of scientific advance (1946-1543 = 403 yrs)
        b.) Deceived the public for the next 66 years (2012-1946 = 66 yrs) !

        See: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-105

      • Copernicus the conservative is the title of Section 3.1 of the classic astronomy textbook by Michael Zeilik [ASTRONOMY: The Evolving Universe, Harper & Row, 3rd edit., 1982] pp. 44-55

        The title of Chapter 3, “The New Cosmic Order” acknowledges the impact of Copernicus’ 1543 discovery that Earth is a minor satellite orbiting a massive ‘Sol’ (333,000 times more mass than Earth), sitting at the center and emitting a stream of heat, light, fields and particles (energy) that bath the planets, sustain life, and control the entire Solar System, including Earth’s variable climate:

        http://tinyurl.com/7qx7zxs

        “The New Cosmic Order” established by Copernicus in 1543 is consistent with space-age observations of the cosmos:

        http://dingo.care2.com/cards/flash/5409/galaxy.swf

        However, Fred Hoyle’s two papers [1,2] published in 1946 twisted the truth and redirected the future of science, by effectively

        1. Reversing Copernicus’ 1543 finding the Sun controls Earth

        2. Assigning more importance to models than to observations

        3. Setting science on a path that eventually revealed its lost mooring in the Climategate emails and documents released in late Nov 2009.

        http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-105

      • sorry, I neglected to include the

        References:

        [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)

    • Propagandists use emotional events – catastrophes.

      Conservatives use detached analysis of reality, e.g.,

      1. Where did this come from; What is its future?

      http://tinyurl.com/cg7cun

      2. It is composed of chemical elements: H, He, . . .

      http://www.webelements.com/

      3. The story begins with dissociation of compact matter

      Neutron star => ~12 MeV + Neutron (half-life = 10 minutes)

      4. The first element, Hydrogen (H), then forms spontaneously

      Neutron => p+ + e- + 0.782 MeV => H + 0.782 MeV

      etc., etc., etc.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo
      http://www.omatumr.com
      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/

  2. Very interesting lists. Reminds me how much i hate labels. But, from a “Fiscal Conservative Environmentalist” (a reasonably close label of my position on these particular issues) perspective, I would have these points to these lists:

    For pure Environmentalists:
    1) There are plenty of wealthy people and corporations who want the same things you do, but your approach can often lose the game for you before you’re even out of the gate.

    For pure Conservatives:
    1) If your ultimate goal is about financial profit, then you’re as good as dead (morally) already. Charles Dickens knew what he was talking about.
    2) Real wealth isn’t measured by money, but health. Healthy people, healthy communities, healthy ecosystems and environments. What is truly healthy at any of these levels will be healthy at all of them.

    • I too am an environmentalist, R. Gates, but that noble cause was seriously damaged by manipulation of global temperature data.

      Deception for another noble cause, “saving society” from “nuclear annihilation” in 1945-46, triggered the chain of events that finally surfaced as Climategate emails and documents in Nov 2009.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-105

      A return to reality (sanity), instead of models of reality, may be the only solution to the present demise of society.

      Reality is in fact extremely benevolent for those of us at the “top of the food chain” on a ball of dirt that is “covered with water”, “bathed in a continuous flow of energy” (heat, light, low energy radiation, particles and fields), and “protected from the deadly high energy radiation” that originates from cores of heavy atoms, stars, and galaxies.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-109

      The random chance that any point in the cosmos would be so beneficial to human life is essentially zero. Good stewardship of planet Earth can best be achieved by using the basic principles of science to collect information.

    • “For pure Conservatives:
      1) If your ultimate goal is about financial profit, then you’re as good as dead (morally) already. Charles Dickens knew what he was talking about.”

      Profit is about doing something more efficiently.
      An example of profit, is one could lift 100 tons of rocket fuel to lunar surface. Or you lift 20 tonnes of stuff, and make 100 tonnes of rocket fuel
      on the Moon.
      Whether it’s profitable or not depends on many factors, but if the whole process of making rocket fuel on the Moon is cheaper than the cost of shipping rocket fuel 100 tonnes of rocket to the Moon, it something which one could call profitable.

      “2) Real wealth isn’t measured by money, but health. Healthy people, healthy communities, healthy ecosystems and environments. What is truly healthy at any of these levels will be healthy at all of them.”

      Real wealth is measured in money.
      Money is a measure of wealth.
      Money is portable and exchangeable and represents
      a quantity of wealth.
      Happiness has little to do with money or wealth.
      But generally people can be happier and healthier if not lacking money.
      Money has value in that it makes trading easier. Money without being able
      to trade services or goods lacks it’s symbolic value. The only people which create wealth are those providing some service which is exchanged with other human beings.
      Money is easy way to trade to for services- such as doctors, people who grow food, people get oil out of the ground, people who assemble cars, people giving you money with idea you will pay them back in same amount money plus interest, etc.

      • “Profit is about doing something more efficiently.”

        That’s one way to make a profit. Other ways are to collude with your competitors or have a monopoly.

      • There are ways to make a “profit” dishonestly. Many ways of limiting competition such as colluding or getting monopoly power are facilitated by government regulation, limiting entry to an industry or occupation, and subsidies and credits including through the tax code. If you go back and read The Wealth of Nations or Frederick Bastiat, they discuss this in detail from 250 years ago. We still do the exact same things today. Politics never changes. The best way to get rid of this is to have a separation of economy and state just like church and state. Don’t allow subsidies, or penalties that are directed only for/against a few companies or industries. The AMA, for example, is allowed to license medical schools and keep the supply of doctors lower than in other countries. Most people, including many economists kind of forget these simple economic truths and fall into a “command economy” way of thinking.

        How one interprets “profit” is a key difference between political parties. Progressives and the left often interpret it as “excess” profits and think of it in many cases as taking advantage of someone else, especially if it is a company or corporation. Free market folks know that profits are usually only 5% and that if they are higher they will draw competitors into that field. We know that if a company made 2% one year and the next makes 4% that they are not exploiting anyone and it is misleading to say they had a 100% increase in profits. Profit is a measure of efficiency but that is not all it measures.

      • Profit is actually about doing something or producing something that costs less to do/make then you can be paid by someone to do or make it. The difference between what it costs and what you can get paid is profit.

        Doing something more efficiently is one way to increase profits as efficiency is a way to reduce costs of production.

        By the way, an interesting notion is that of “Natural Capitalism”, which is not at odds with environmental concerns, but rather, quite aligned with it. If capitalism as an economic model is to exist into the future, it will have to be of this variety. See:

        http://www.natcap.org/

        Finally, some people seemed confused about what money represents. It is a human symbolic form of energy. Like energy, it can do work, and be converted into matter (i.e. tangible goods). Seeing Money as a human symbolic form of energy can open up quite a few interesting ideas if you consider it for a while.

      • Profit is actually about doing something or producing something that costs less to do/make then you can be paid by someone to do or make it. The difference between what it costs and what you can get paid is profit.

        How do you address the increasingly common practice, whereby huge financial gains are accrued by those who actually produce nothing, but simply make money through financially engineering the activities of others, activities that may or may not be profitable unto themselves? Such financial engineering has become a very significant segment of our GDP. It is also becoming a means of acquiring wealth that is becoming increasingly concentrated in a specific segment of our population in recent decades (in contrast to the previous decades where profits were essentially redistributed through wages to a growing segment of our population).

        Perhaps you feel that capital gains doesn’t fit your description of “profit,” but then how do you account for them in your viewpoint? I’d also be interested in reading what you say about a form of realizing profit that you may have alluded to but failed to mention specifically – squeezing profit, for short-term gain that can be realized through financial engineering – not by increasing efficiency but by unsustainably squeezing labor costs.

      • “Finally, some people seemed confused about what money represents. It is a human symbolic form of energy. Like energy, it can do work, and be converted into matter (i.e. tangible goods). Seeing Money as a human symbolic form of energy can open up quite a few interesting ideas if you consider it for a while.”

        There are 4 “things” in this universe: Matter, Energy, Space, and Time.

        You are allowing energy to be made into matter [not easy, btw].
        So this allows you to say money is energy [because energy converts into matter] it’s money equal Energy and Matter. Or money is matter [because matter can also be made into energy].
        So the only thing are missing is space and time. Once that is included then you can then say money is everything.

      • Joshua,

        You ask some excellent questions. Let’s think about the basis of getting money (human symbolic energy) or food (the biological form of energy) by various means:

        1) You can apply physical labor (i.e. work) This is the way the majority of humans have gotten food and money over the centuries. The most noble and honest of ways to “earn a living”.
        2) You can invest already gathered food (i.e. planting seeds) or make financial investments such as stocks, etc. All quite honest and all involving some risk.
        3) You can gamble and make bets. You can go to Las Vegas and place a portion of your gathered money-energy on the roulette will in the hopes of coming away with much more, though likely you won’t and very rich people will benefit from your loss. Usually, but not always riskier than the stock market.
        4) You can steal other people’s food or money. This happens at both lower blue-collar levels and higher white-collar levels. Theft is the most despicable way to “earn a living”, since you aren’t earning it, but praying on others. Also, those who live off of public assistance but are quite able-bodied and able-minded and could actually work are thieves, and those who allow them to do so are even more so as they allow the theft but also are stealing the human dignity of earning a living from the people they give assistance to.
        5) You can perform in a magic show as a magician, creating illusions, and people will pay you for this if your are good and convincing. This is also what has happened with international financial system. A huge illusion was created, and it grew in size to the point that the illusion was no longer supportable. It’s collapse (still currently ongoing) proves once more that left alone, financial institutions will eventually fall because of their own greed. It all too human, and thus we need laws to protect us from our own greed and avarice.

      • Actually gbaike,

        You can convert money/energy to and from space and time quite easily. You actually convert time to money when you get paid for working “8 hours” etc. or, you convert that energy-money back to time when you buy a one-minute massage, three-minute pony ride, 60 seconds of telephone time, etc.

        You convert money-energy into space when you buy a piece of land or even a bigger house (i.e. more money usually gets you more space in your house). When you sell your land/house, this space is converted back to money/energy.

        Money is absolutely the human symbolic form of energy (in a potential form). When you have money, you can convert it to real work (paying someone to paint your house), real energy (buying electricity), real space (buying land), real time (buying 60 seconds of telephone time), and of course real matter (buying an ipad). :)

      • In a competitive market, you gain market share by offering potential buyers an offer that they rank higher than alternatives. You make profits if you can sell above your cost of production. “Normal” profits are those which exceed your cost of capital but are not sufficiently high to attract rival suppliers who can provide a better deal, e.g. by undercutting your price. It’s possible to maintain above normal profits if you have a particularly attractive product or efficiency of production which rivals cannot match, e.g. Apple, BMW. It’s also possible to make exceptional profits by innovating, being first to market with an attractive product or service, though generally it will not be possible to sustain this for long. In some cases of innovation, particularly in high tech and software, you might get short-lived monopolies from the “first mover.” But, by and large, you can’t maintain super-normal profits in competitive markets.

        These profits are what bring people into buisness, and are major drivers of the entrepreneurial, innovative behaviour which has led to such vast improvements in human well-being since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England in the 18th Century. So let’s not knock profit-making, nor the wealth that we – many billions of us – have derived from it.

        But what if markets don’t work, what if there is market failure? Contrary to some claims, market failure is rare, and when a market is not competitive, it tends to be because of government interventions, including state-owned or protected monopolies. I’ve posted on this before, and will expand on it if necessary.

      • “Real wealth isn’t measured by money, but health. Healthy people, healthy communities, healthy ecosystems and environments. What is truly healthy at any of these levels will be healthy at all of them.”

        Two points: I think that the greatest wealth is an equanimous, peaceful, compassionate mind, which allows you to live in harmony with others. But few people aspire to or achieve that without first satisfying certain basic needs for themselves and their dependants. Even those who become monks and depend on alms require that others in society generate sufficient wealth to support them.

        As for health, there is a very close relationship between health and per capita income, or wealth. The vast improvements in human welfare over the last 60-70 years are due to increased incomes and wealth, driven by developments in so-called capitalist economies (where the state share of the economy might be 25-50 per cent, but the drivers of wealth come from the private sector). There are few instances where “healthy people, communities, ecosystems and environments” have arisen without wealth. Only beyond a certain, relatively high, level of income do people tend to let environmental considerations reduce wealth generation.

        Papua New Guinea before western intervention had an “affluent subsidence” economy – nature’s abundance was such that people could live comfortably with little effort, no need for investment, planning or productivity. But this doesn’t equate to happiness or harmony, life in most pre-industrial societies was “nasty, brutish and short,” inter-tribal warfare had death rates exceeding those of the 20th C world wars. There were no “noble savages.”

        “Real wealth”means having options, being able to make choices as to what best serves your well-being. And, by and large, wealth-producing goods and services increase your choices, as do the political systems of ” capitalist” countries, where the spreading of wealth had led to the spreading of power, compared to centrally-controlled polities.

      • Bill said on June 8, 2012 at 7:58 am
        “There are ways to make a “profit” dishonestly. Many ways of limiting competition such as colluding or getting monopoly power are facilitated by government regulation, limiting entry to an industry or occupation, and subsidies and credits including through the tax code.
        ________
        No regulation permits monopolies, child labor, hazardous working conditions, pollution, false advertising, insider trading, contaminated food, and other things anti-government ideologues think aren’t so bad. But the public disagrees with the ideologues. So we have regulations.

      • Historically and currently, most monopolies have been government-created.

    • Dickens may have been right, but are you trying to say Scrooge was a true Conservative? He favored social programs over charity, was a Mathusian, and denigrated religion. Is George Soros a pure Conservative?
      It is interesting that Conservative is so often equated with wealth and greed, when there are so many rich, tight-fisted Liberals.

      • Scrooge cared about one thing and one thing only- money. It was his “god” and sole goal in life. I don’t think you could characterize Scrooge as either a conservative or liberal, for I don’t equate either with the miser and lost soul that Scrooge was. Said another way, both conservatives and liberals can be like Scrooge.

        My point was that Money and Wealth are not the same thing, and Dickens made that point quite clearly. Scrooge had all the money he could want…but was a very poor soul indeed.

        The pursuit of money (for money’s sake) is indeed the root of all evil, if by evil you mean the loss of your human soul.

        Being Wealthy (monetarily) is not being Healthy but being Healthy is being Wealthy (as in a rich and full life), and healthy means not just physical, but the emotional and spiritual fruits to be gained by having close relationships with friends and family. This was what Scrooge learned and is the message of Dickens’ story.

      • The pursuit of money for money’s sake is not the root of all evil. Pursuit of wealth, to the exclusion of all else, is.

        “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

        It ain’t the money, it’s what you do with it.

      • Dickens and I would disagree. Scrooge (nearly) lost his Life, (meaning life in the larger sense), from the pursuit of Money. It really didn’t matter what he did with it once he got it. It was his god, and that worship nearly wasted his entire life.

  3. I would think “environmentalists” is a bit too wide a concept to describe anything meaningful.

    – People worried for the dirt we put on the environment (such as fuel or plastics on sea water).
    – People worried for “Gaia” (whatever that is).
    – People worried for the cute polar bears.
    – People using other’s worries to achieve socialism, “big government”, whatever.

    You can call all of them environmentalists, but they are very different beasts. In the first case, people rich enough to be clean. In the second, people who miss religion. In the third, people who miss Walt Disney. In the fourth, totalitarians. That’s why I find it not so useful to have a list of things to teach to and to learn from environmentalists. Not without knowing which beast I was dealing with.

    • Good explanation of your list. I liked it.

    • But note which ones gravitate to the environmental organizations. We probably wouldn’t have much controversy if Greenpeace et. al. were populated by #1.

  4. I don’t think that environmentalists have a monopoly on resisting compromise or rarely accepting a compromise on good faith. There are plenty of conservatives, and especially libertarians, for whom “compromise” is a dirty word. This universal weakness in our current political discourse.

  5. What Roger Scruton seems to be talking about is climate” in the environmental impact sense of the word. He cannot be talking about CAGW, which is what the consensus means by “climate change,” because it the hugely unlikely event the activists were right, local action would be incapable of addressing the problem. But I suppose you can forgive a philosopher for not being steeped in the activist terminology of the day.

    To the extent he is talking about adaptation to climate, rather than mitigation, he sounds like George W. Bush ranting about “compassionate conservatism.” The problem conservatives had with that vapid term was that conservatism has always been compassionate. Not only did the free market and Judeo-Christian culture of the US create the richest country in the history of the Earth, it also created the most generous. Shoot, conservatives fought a civil war to end slavery in America.

    So too with environmentalism. Conservatives contribute massively to third world relief efforts (not to mention charitable giving in general), and have no problem paying more for adaptation, where it is shown to be actually necessary. Conservative and environmentalist, in the genuine objective definitions of those terms, are not in the least mutually exclusive. It is only when progressives get all Orwellian with the dictionary that things get confused.

    • “Not only did the free market and Judeo-Christian culture of the US create the richest country in the history of the Earth, it also created the most generous.”
      ——-

      Beads for Manhattan was generous?

      Or was it Long Island? I forget.

      Anyway, those must have been some purty beads.

      • Asinine point. This was before the country even existed (1629?), the beads part is a myth. It was 66,000 Dutch guilders. They were a mercantilist country at the time. Do you ever research before you post?

        I believe what the generosity was referring to is the flowering of charities (probably in UK), but more certainly in the US in the early 20th century at precisely the time that the left likes to say we had “unbridled” capitalism and robber barons. Milton Friedman has several good descriptions of this.

      • Bill, if you believe the Judeo-Christian tradition and the free market didn’t exist in the 1600’s, what can I say?

      • I’m led to believe that some mirrors were exchanged, under the table, with the wives of certain influential natives. But his has never been proven.

      • Are you trying to sound stupid?

        If so then you are on the right track.

  6. ceteris non paribus


    I would love to see such a list from an environmentalist.

    Not every conservative is an environmentalist, but every environmentalist is a conservative.

  7. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Ken Green asserts: Environmentalists have generally resisted compromise, and in fact, tend to slander anyone who does try to compromise with them, or to use compromise as a weapon in the future.

    Ken Green’s assertion is wrong-on-the-facts. See for example, the work of leading environmentalists like E. O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, and Wendell Berry, in whose work we commonly encounter passages like the following (from Wilson’s recent Anthill: a Novel)

    Raff lived by three maxims. Fortune favors the prepared mind. People follow someone who knows where he’s going. And control the middle, because that’s where the extremes eventually have to meet.

    In Wilson’s novel, a bad end comes only to those ideologues who refuse to compromise.

    Based purely on the evidence, Ed Wilson is an environmentalist who is well-versed in conservative literature, whereas Kenneth Green is a conservative who has read very little of the environmental literature.

    At the end of the day, there is very little practical difference between leading conservatives — like Kenneth Green — who do not read, and conservatives who simply cannot read.

    • Some excerpts from Green’s piece that i did not include in the original post:

      Hence, when conservatives responded to early environmentalism with the idea of “wise use,” they were immediately branded as evil tobacco scientists.

      When they raised the notion of sound science guidelines like transparency, data access, and data quality laws, they were called “anti-science” and, evil tobacco scientists.

      When they raised the radical idea that we might be guided by things like cost/benefit analysis, they were branded as, well, evil tobacco scientists.

      When anyone criticizes climate science, even now, they’re akin to tobacco scientists (or much worse)

      When they put forward toll-roads as an answer to air pollution, they were accused of being racists in search of Lexus Lanes.

      When they put forward cap-and-trade as a good solution to a localized, single-value pollutant, the idea was perverted into the monstrosity of Waxman-Markey, and conservatives abused for “walking away from their own creation.”

      When they accept that perhaps a modest, revenue-neutral carbon tax might be acceptable, they’re shot down, and later, when a non-modest, revenue-raising carbon tax is floated, they’re accused of flip-flopping on a carbon tax.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Any hope for a “progressive perspective on climate change” thread?

      • Well, hopefully someone will write something or point me to something. As I see it, this is pretty much the UNFCCC. I would be very interested in seeing a different progressive perspective, if such a thing exists.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Roger Pielke, Jr. self-identifies as a progressive.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Try Paul Douglas’ essay Republican Meteorologist Says: Climate Change Is Real & Al Gore’s Got Nothing to Do With It:

        • Acknowledging climate change does not turn a conservative into a liberal.
        • Actions have consequences.
        • The Bible calls on us to manage God’s property.
        • Capitalism will help us fix this problem.

      • I’m just waiting for at least enough honesty to call global warming “global warming” instead of “climate change.” It isn’t fooling anyone.

      • Hunter,

        I as a libertarian, often self-identify as an uber-liberal, or more often as a classical liberal. Does Pielke Jr. like market solutions and call himself a progressive? That would be unusual.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Judith, with sincere respect, isn’t it evident that your further quotations present Ken Green’s thinking in an even worse light?

        For the following simple reason: to make worthwhile progress, it is necessary that conservatives and conservationists be scrupulously careful to critique each other’s best works … not their worst.

        In this regard senior environmentalists like Ed Wilson do exceedingly well, and for it, his works deserve our appreciation and thanks.

        Whereas Ken Green does exceedingly poorly, and for it, his works deserve our disapprobation and contempt.

        Rather than quote Ken Green, you would have done far better to quote a genuinely conservative conservationist like Wendell Berry:

        “I wish to testify that in my best moments I am not aware of the existence of the government. Though I respect and feel myself dignified by the principles of the Declaration and the Constitution, I do not remember a day when the thought of the government made me happy, and I never think of it without the wish that it might become wiser and truer and smaller than it is.”

        Aye lassies and laddies, now *that’s* a true conservative conservationist speaking for us!   :)

      • If all environmentalists were like E.O. Wilson, I wouldn’t see much of a problem with sensible discourse. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. And if all conservatives were as willing as Green to even try to understand the other side, maybe we could get somewhere.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Judith, with respect, you might better have picked an essayist who competently analyzes conservative conservationism … not someone like Ken Green who essay does not even credibly attempt it.

      • nice link, but the word “climate” isn’t mentioned. I’m trying to spark a climate-relevant dialogue on this, does this group have anything to say about climate change science/policy?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Yes, Judith, for example, please see comment linked.

        Also, sincere appreciation and many thanks are extended, for sustaining this fine forum.

      • Steven Mosher

        dear fan.
        I read the essay. garbage.
        1. He’s wrong on extreme events
        2. he’s wrong on tornados
        3. he’s wrong on drought
        4. he’s wrong on ‘death threats’ to scientists from the only evidence I’ve seen.

        For the record, C02 causes warming. Man is to blame. and the guy you linked to isnt helping the cause by mispresenting the actual science

      • Mosher, your “actual science” is not mine. Please personalize your claims. Try using I believe, I think, as I see it, etc. It will not hurt and it will be much more honest. Admitting that people disagree with you is the first step.

      • Dear fan? What hits fans?

      • I agree with Steven Mosher.

        “Mosher, your “actual science” is not mine. Please personalize your claims. Try using I believe, I think, as I see it, etc.”

        I disagree. The science Mosher raises there isn’t subjective. Science isn’t completely open to opinion. Just because someone chooses to believe the science shows the Earth is 6000 years old is not going to make me give that and credibility by pretending the matter is subjective.

      • Steven Mosher & lolwot
        Re: “C02 causes warming. Man is to blame.”
        The “conservative” position appeals to data and the scientific method, not alarmism.
        Yes CO2 absorbs / radiates.
        However estimates of the magnitude of the warming / climate sensitivity vary by an order of magnitude – the objective sensitivity is still “Not Proven”.
        Yes “man impacts climate” – by every forest turned into a field, by every house and road built.
        BUT the IPCC model trends with “Man is to blame” are running 2 sigma warmer than the actual 32 year trend – ie > 95% of the historical temperature trend. IE Fail.
        By contrast Nicola Scafetta’s models showing primary natural cycles with modest anthropogenic shows better forecasting/hindcasting of the actual historic data. Thus to date the evidence suggests models “man is to blame” are far worse than “man contributes”.
        Until you show quantitative evidence to uphold your hypothesis, the verdict is “Not Proven” and the null hypothesis of dominant natural with minor human is the best model.

      • lolwot, read the book…

        “Just because someone chooses to believe the science shows the Earth is 6000 years old is not going to make me give that and credibility by pretending the matter is subjective.”

        it says that this ‘age’ is about 6,000 years. Not the planet Earth.

      • Let’s see a show of hands from all those conservatives who haven’t even tried to understand the other side.

        Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

        Every conservative I know can articulate the progressive/consensus/CAGW position on “climate change.” We have rejected it AFTER considering it, not before. Yet you could look for a progressive who actually understands, and can articulate, the conservative position; but you would be like Diogenes, looking for an honest endlessly man in ancient Greece.

        It is specious to engage in moral equivalency in the climate debate. It might make “moderates” and “independents” feel all fuzzy, but it is just another symptom of tribalism who have been exposed almost exclusively to progressive propaganda their entire lives..

      • Steven Mosher

        david.
        sorry. you are not entitled to ur own facts
        ghgs warm.they dont cool.
        there is no evidence that they cool the planet.
        the actual fact is that they warm the planet.
        your insistence that they cool the planet is nonsense.

      • Mosh;
        Nah. Here’s how it really slices:
        GHGs are in the business of transforming thermal (molecular kinetic) energy, which cannot escape the planet, into LW radiation, which can.
        Their net effect is thus strongly cooling.

      • Some have ideas that are aggressively stupid.

        To assert that greenhouse gases have the exact opposite effect that is generally understood by mainstream science I consider aggressively stupid.

        When humans suffer from hypothermia, one of the last stages they experience is one of delirium. They think that the extreme cold is actually extreme heat and so they shed their clothes and run around bare until they expire. That’s just the way nature operates and if they got themselves into that position because that is their right, we can only take note and try not to suffer the same fate.

        That’s my parable for today. Not much we can do for people at that stage.

      • Given that Jim DiPeso worked for Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC), ConservAmerica looks like a web site set up by warmists to influence the “conversation” about global warming. They don’t look conservative.

        There are many different sorts of skeptics. Personally, I see CO2 as a greenhouse gas and it does keep our planet warm. I don’t want to see wanton pollution of the environment, but we need to tolerate some because the complete elimination of just about any true pollutant, like mercury, becomes prohibitively expensive.

        What the warmists have failed to show that the “feedback” of water in all its forms is a net warming influence. They have not accounted for the positive inflection in sea level rise around 1850.

        On top of that, new information is coming in every day that casts doubt on the catastrophic claims. Just one example is the result that almost half of sea level rise is from pumping out of water from aquifers.

        The science is not settled by any stretch of the imagination.

        http://www.caglecartoons.com/archivecolumnist.asp?ColumnistID=BD6E387F-1201-4AE7-95D3-601373CC0F90

      • Mosher
        Your putting words in my mouth is the nonsense.
        I never said that “ghg cool the planet”.
        What is unknown is the magnitude of the climate sensitivity (varies by an order of magnitude), and of solar impacts on clouds, (albedo) (clouds = 97% of uncertainty), and of natural cycles such as the PDO (in 2000 Easterbrook PDO change resulting in lowered growth or cooler till ~ 2035.) See Nicola Scafetta, Don Easterbrook, Henrik Svensmark, Bob Carter etc.

      • “Nah. Here’s how it really slices:
        GHGs are in the business of transforming thermal (molecular kinetic) energy, which cannot escape the planet, into LW radiation, which can.
        Their net effect is thus strongly cooling.”

        Brian, that’s nicely put. At the surface/air inteface the heat/energy exchange is multi-modal and dominated by convection (dry and moist), or whichever nomenclature is used (latent, sensible, evaporative…), or in other words, non-radiative fluxes. The atmospheric energy, gained mostly by non-radiative fluxes (not counting directly absorbed solar), has to be radiated to space. Increased CO2 should increase the gas emissivity of air. What am I missing?

      • “Every conservative I know can articulate the progressive/consensus/CAGW position on “climate change.” We have rejected it AFTER considering it, not before.”

        I disagree. I see skeptics, even ones that have been on this issue for a long time, completely not understanding the issue.

        They use arguments like “CO2 used to be far higher in the past!” which clearly demonstrates they just don’t get it.

      • Wojick requested:

        “Please personalize your claims. “

        OK, Wojick, I believe, as my own personal opinion, that you are a concern troll and should stick to home school teaching.

        Edim asked:

        “Increased CO2 should increase the gas emissivity of air. What am I missing?”

        A brain.

      • Will, this count…

        http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/302031/obamas-third-party-history-stanley-kurtz

        you have to wonder? Ask a news-paper-man if you find one. Oh, did he do ‘a little blow’, toot?

      • Tom,

        Are you trying to give the progressives, moderates and independent here heart attacks? You have to ease then into reality. You can’t start out with something so straightforward and devastating to their belief in the chosen one. Their normal sources of “news” have been protecting them from this type of information their whole lives. The shock could be devastating.

      • Know problem.

      • “When they raised the notion of sound science guidelines like transparency, data access, and data quality laws, they were called “anti-science” and, evil tobacco scientists.”

        Everyone agrees on these principles.

        The negative response is to a certain “skeptics” who distort the science and flat out lie about it as part of their attack on the science and scientists.

        Take for example the example in the last thread where someone quoted a lie that Hansen had predicted an ice age in the 70s. We also see lies that Hansen has faked the temperature record and is hiding his data, etc. There is little acknowledgement from certain skeptics that Hansen’s GISTEMP source code and data are all available for download. There is little acknowledgement of the wide agreement between temperature records.

        Instead they abuse the noble goal of transparency to pretend that we can’t trust the temperature records, when really we can.

      • lolwot – Why is it that every time a temperature record is revised, the trend, prior to the latest data, it greater? The odds are against that. Roy Spencer has done enough work to show that UHI effect hasn’t been removed from the US land record. There is definitely room for doubt here.

      • “When they raised the notion of sound science guidelines like transparency, data access, and data quality laws, they were called “anti-science” and, evil tobacco scientists.”

        Would love to see actual examples rather than this paraphrasing of anecdotes.

    • Fancy meeting you here, Johnny. :lol:

      • blueice2hotsea

        Johnny? Really? And the whole time I thought fan-boy was a sock-puppet for Bart who is a sock-puppet for …

      • blueice2hotsea | June 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm |

        To simplify your life, given the number of Barts around, I have enough sense of self-worth and common decency to not sock-puppet.

        Hope that helps you with your guessing games. I can empathize with the frustration sock-puppetry is causing you.

      • blueice2hotsea

        Bart R

        Glad to read that you are still here and have not degenerated into a human stink-bomb.

        My improper prior was based on MAXENT. Sorry about that.

  8. As I said in the last thread, I think discussing climate change in context of conservative and liberal perspectives encourages a dividing line that shouldn’t exist. The more this political dividing line is talked up, the more it will be so, a self-fulfilling prophesy as many on either side will think they should follow a “party line” on a politically divisive topic.

    This is very similar to the mistake of talking about the theory of evolution in terms of theist or atheist perspectives.

    It doesn’t help of course that you have personalities like Al Gore and Richard Dawkins on respective subjects that help foster the fake division.

    There is nothing fundamentally inconsistent with reducing CO2 emissions and political conservatism anymore than there is a fundamental inconsistency between evolution and theism.

    It is only the extremists on either side that benefit from diving it that way.

    • Agree, but CO2 emissions are not reducible. Only crises or similar. Other than that, it’s just a bureaucratic verbiage. It’s a business of CO2 ‘reduction’, but no reduction occurs.

      • And there’s no need to reduce, it’s irrelevant.

      • I think CO2 emissions are reducible. A carbon tax isn’t even necessary – just a quota on annual oil and coal extraction amounts that fossil fuel companies are legally required to follow. Similar to how fishing quotas are legally imposed on the fishing industry.

      • Yeah, that worked so well for the fishing industry.

      • Rationing fossil energy? Are you rationing electricity and driving too, if not how not? And you expect conservatives to accept this? Government rationing energy? Dream on.

      • funny i didn’t know conservatives were against rationing.

        I guess you are making that up.

      • Rob Starkey

        lolwot

        I suggest you ask yourself what the probability is that nations would adhere to your proposed limits if it became inconvenient or if they had financial motives to product in greater or use in greater quantities. Your objective may be worthwhile, but without a practical plan for implementation it can be worse than doing nothing.

      • His objectives are not worthwhile, and practical plans for implementation are simply Big Government empowerment, and doing nothing is exactly the right thing to do.

        Because CO2 is a valuable resource which has been squirreled away in rocks and sequestered by stupid Gaian plants and phytoplankton which are thereby destroying their own food supply (not to mention ours), they must be opposed, and yet rescued from their own suicidal tendencies, by releasing as much sequestered CO2 from geological entrapment as possible.

      • “His objectives are not worthwhile, and practical plans for implementation are simply Big Government empowerment, and doing nothing is exactly the right thing to do.”

        And that’s why isn’t it. You’ve decided nothing should be done about CO2 because of your ideological commitment against Big Government.

        Like so many “skeptics” I bet.

        Doesn’t matter what impact it has on climate, you’ve all made up your minds based on political ideology.

        Then you all try labeling your opponents as politically motivated. A classic case of projection. Perhaps it’s because you can’t fathom people not being motivated in the slightest by politics.

    • Kent Draper

      Exactly, you are paying for something that will never happen. Why on earth would somebody oppose that? :)

    • As far as whether to or how best to address problems there is a big divide.

    • For once, I agree with you. I don’t label myself and don’t adhere to any particular group’s way of thinking; I’m not a joiner. What I do do is train the so-called subconscious mind so as to eradicate conditioning and be better able to observe phenomena with equanimity rather than through glasses coloured by conditioning.

  9. I would add that a true conservative does not like to see things wasted. A true consevative values efficiency. Efficiency doesn’t need a mandate, it often justifies itself in cost savings I think many environmentalists value these as well.
    That’s why I can get behind efficiency standards for fuel economy, insulation on a building, more efficient light bulbs, living closer to where you work, etc. etc. but have a difficult time supporting CO2 reduction methods like corn based ethanol. It’s why I don’t mind seeing very old inefficient coal plants close down but am dismayed that new higher efficiency cleaner coal fired systems are not built in their place. It’s why I look at CO2 capture technologies that will require a third of the power generated by the plant to compress CO2 and inject it into the ground as a complete waste. It’s why I like natural gas electrical plants that can be located in a city where the low grade waste heat can be put to good use. It’s why I think building wind farms that require extensive hot back-up and a new electrical grid is not such a great idea. It why I think solar instalations that follow subsidies rather than sunshine is incredibly dumb. It’s why I think the Prius with 50 mpg is a better value than a Volt that is so heavy it gets 33 mpg when the battery dies.
    Improved efficiency and reduced waste leads to improved economic competiveness. Environmentalists and conservatives should easily get behind that.

    • Kent Draper

      A great deal of the fuel efficiency we have now came from “competitive racing” which rewarded increased horsepower with winning :)

    • I didn’t see a single statement of yours that I could argue against. Well said, Sean.

    • The problem is that efficiency standards are generally highly inefficient. That’s because they focus on the fficiency with respect to a single resource, without regard for the cross-elasticity of demand.

      The free market performs the most powerful computations for the exchange of one resource for another. Pricing mechanisms send information from individual decisionmakers to all other market participants. They’re telling us right now the point at which it makes sense to cut down on our gas expenditures–the point where the alterantive costs less than about $4/gallon. Artificial “efficiency standards” harm efficiency, by changing that calculation to cause us to use alternatives that cost more than that. The hope, one supposes, is that this causes us to deploy resources to improving the efficiency of the alternatives. But those resources could otherwise have been deployed to developing the efficiency of other alternative energy sources–ones that would really improve our efficiency, rather than just offsetting the needless harm created by an arbitrary market distortion.

      • Actually, I realize that I’m mistaken. There is already such a massive tax on gasoline that the market is already distorted in favor of alternatives. I’m not sure how much the national average tax is, but the pumps in my neck of the woods indicate that at least 10% of that $4/gal is tax.

      • Far more in most industrialised countries. Fuel taxes in Australia far exceed road-related expenditure, and vehicles incur further “registration” and other taxes.

    • +1 Conservationists like myself believe that preserving biodiversity by designating biospheres, national wildlife refuges, national parks; and regulating fishing, hunting, and mining are in the public interest. There certainly is room for disagreement over the designations and regulations, but I hope conservatives would agree.
      I part with conservatives and their complete faith in the “invisible hand.”
      There are side effects and unintended consequences of economic activity that the “market” is blind to. eg. long term health effects; degradation of land, water, air; distribution of wealth. I hope that conservatives would agree with the first two. As for the third, anyone who studies history knows that the third is true- a small group become property owners and the great majority become serfs. It has happened time and time again. Read Greek history as one example.
      From my perspective, the problem is not government, but beauracracy and concentrations of power. Bureaucracy, in the public and private sector both, creates inefficiencies by promoting growth of the beauracracy over all other goals. Concentrations of power in any sector, private or public, also create inefficiencies and reduce choices: product choices, religious choices, lifestyle choices.
      Here in the U. S., Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians all seem to represent ideologies with their ideologues unwilling to find value in the other perspectives. I prefer a more pragmatic, problem solving (and compassionate) approach that doesn’t have a label to differenciate, a tribe to defend, or a bureaucracy to promote. Climate change has become just one more culture war battleground, to paraphrase Matthew Arnold, “where ignorant armies clash by night.”

  10. I think CO2 emissions are reducible. A carbon tax isn’t even necessary – just a quota on annual oil and coal extraction amounts that fossil fuel companies are legally required to follow. Similar to how fishing quotas are legally imposed on the fishing industry.

    • Kent Draper

      China won’t follow those rules. Plus if you limit the output (I’m assuming you are being fair here and will implement this rule on everybody) you forever doom emerging poorer countries from developing and advancing. Why “limit” growth? Who gave you that authority to stop others from advancing? What Sean said about the coal power plants is right on the money. How would you feel if somebody had control of “your” power? I’ve been there in Haiti when you only get 2 hours a day to do anything that is electrical. It’s like being in prison.

      • You never know what China might be willing to do.

        If fossil fuels are necessary for growth and development, humanity is doomed as fossil fuels are finite. I really don’t think fossil fuels are as necessary as people think.

        Look at France, less than 10% of it’s electrical power generation comes from fossil fuels.

      • And we all know what the “greenies” want to do with the source of France’s electrical generation.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse
      • Unfortunately Hansen is the exception on this.

        Whether or not one agrees with his science, his views or his methods, at least Dr Hansen is not the hypocrite many of his fellow travelers are when it comes to discussing alternative forms of energy.

      • Is Hansen an exception? I don’t believe so.

        I suspect the whole idea that warmists oppose nuclear is wrong.

        In fact I doubt that most warmists are even “greenies” or “environmentalists”. I’m not.

      • lolwot,

        I spent 10 years in commercial nuclear power. I have a pretty good understanding of who it is protesting against nuclear power. Try doing a search on President Obama’s decision to guarantee loans for utilities building new plants and see where the criticism came from.

      • A lot of warmists, including prominent ones, accept nuclear power as part of the path of reducing CO2 emissions. So I don’t see what your point is.

      • lolwot,

        “lots of warmists” doesn’t exactly tell us much. None of the environmental NGO’s support development of nuclear power. James Hansen is alone in the wilderness on this. Over on Real Climate they don’t even allow the topic to be mentioned.

    • Kent Draper

      Oh, and there is no fishing quota for Indians like there is for the fishing industry. The tribes “clear-cut” (catch as many as possible using all means possible) salmon because they can.

      • There aren’t going to be any tribes mining significant amounts of fossil fuels, so that’s one way fossil fuel extraction quotas will be easier to enforce than fishing ones.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Your post’s assertion “Indians have no fishing quotas” is just plain wrong-on-the-facts.

        More broadly, the assertion that unregulated fish populations are more productive than regulated fish populations is *GROSSLY* wrong-on-the-facts.

  11. Hank Zentgraf

    When you live or visit Boulder, CO you come in contact with many people who describe themselves as environmentalists, often with university graduate degrees. It is almost impossible to for them to acknowledge that their arguments lack completeness or accuracy. At a monthly book group I once presented a study that showed that the energy consumed in order to manufacture the battery pack, motor/generator, and support hardware of a hybrid automobile exceeded the return in energy saved by driving the car over its lifetime (compared to its non-hybrid model). The reaction was filled with anger and emotion. The only one who took a copy of the report handout was a self described conservative. Go figure!

    • Rob Starkey

      Excellent point- reality can be frustrating to idealists. Think how frustrated those people were who were waiting for the flying saucer to come and pick them up. They sincerely believed in their position too.

  12. Ah yes, to convince the Chinese to change their ways only takes one more Boy Scout.

    We in Canada, with a total annual emissions impact on global temperature of 0.001 degrees C (IF the IPCC has it right!), are continuously hectored about our absolutely vital duty to show “moral leadership” to the rest of the world.

    We get the “tragedy of the commons” bit but it’s tough to kill your sheep when the bigger villagers have made it clear that they will continue to add to their flocks!

  13. I think the focus of green/red environmentalism is wrong. Our common objective is biological conservation and there is little doubt that in Australia – as a example – there is pressure on natural systems and on biodiversity. These are not primarily pressures from industry and development or from global warming – but from feral species, changed fire regimes and rivers that are out equilibrium. We have the most stringent environmental laws in the world but it has not – cannot – reverse species loss. Effective solutions must involve landscape management at local and regional scale. It requires new ways of looking the systems of human organisation – polycentric, multidisciplinary, cooperative. I stress that this does not undermine markets or democracy but is indeed a theory of how corporations and cultures work in the real world.

    One of the great hopes of the world – conservation farming – is evolving globally in just this way. – http://www.cfi.org.au/ – About 15% of Australian farms are based on conservation farming principles and this is increasing rapidly because it is an absolute no brainer providing huge increases in production, envionmental gains and lower costs.

    Conservative parties have to embrace all sorts of issues that have been owned to data by the left. It is no longer sufficient to be reactive, sceptical, simply say no – we need to be much more effective and proactive managers and stewards of our planet. This is a political struggle and we need to capture the social narrative on these issues in our own way. It is too important for the future to lose this battle.

    • I think the problem is the greens think they should be the focus. They want to implement half cocksure policies without taking the time to look around.

      Eli Rabbet has a neat post on coal. He finally realized that coal can be more efficient and that capitalism tends to encourage efficiency while bureaucracy leads to waste. Big bureaucracy leads to bigger waste and NIMBY mentality may be linked to big.

      http://rabett.blogspot.com/2012/06/improving-existing-coal-plant.html

      Next thing you know he might go with shorter dumb grids and wet land restoration as a part of municipal waste water treatment. Small can be a good thing :)

      • “Eli Rabbet has a neat post”

        “Captain. That is not logical.”

        500 sheets short of a ream

        A beer short of a six pack

        A brick short of a load

        A couple of eggs shy of a dozen

        A couple of gallons short of a full tank

        A few beers short of a six-pack

        A few cards short of a deck

        A few cents short of a dollar

        A few clowns short of a circus

        A few floors short of the Penthouse

        A few sandwiches short of a picnic basket

        A few trucks short of a convoy

        A few votes shy of a quorum

        A few watts shy of a night light

        A safe distance from genius

        A sandwich short of a picnic

        About as bright as a burnt out 20 watt light bulb

        About as deep as a saucer of milk

        About as sharp as a marble

        About as useful as a chocolate fireguard

        All foam, no beer

        An intellect rivaled only by garden tools

      • I should have qualified that, a neat post for Eli :) He still has his “Mandate” mentality, but a 5% increase in efficient of the plant with a 5% increase in efficiency of the grid would be a 20% reduction in CO2. He is even open to the option of extending operation of existing plants to allow improvements. That is believe it or not, a major leap for Eli. There are still those that want zero now, but that ain’t happening. But this blurb,

        “Wolfram described what happened in the 1990s after some U.S. states began deregulating their electricity sectors. Utilities sold off their nuclear reactors to private operators. And, Wolfram found in a recent paper with Lucas Davis, electricity output at these newly privatized reactors increased 10 percent compared with those that stayed in the hands of tightly regulated utilities.”

        is acknowledging that deregulation is not always a bad thing. Frightening for a wabbit.

      • I believe there are also laws/regulations that discourage incremental increases in efficiency/pollution control. If they want to improve a plant, decrease pollution by x amount by spending 20 million, the reg.’s say no, you need to get it to such and such a level Y by spending 73 million and Y may be only 20% better than x. They don’t have 73 million and it would not be efficient at any rate so they just do nothing, maybe pay a small fine and pollution is not decreased. A friend of mine will kind of reflexively argue with me till he’s blue in the face that this is the only way to handle it. Makes no sense, does not take economics into account and relies on bureaucratic micromanaging and blindly following rules set up by idiots in congress 20 years earlier.

      • A bunny is known by the people he pisses off. Tu madre Doc =:)

      • Energy technology is a critical issue. I have little doubt that the the energy 2050 will be much different to what we have today. Cheaper energy is what is needed. I noted on Eli’s blog that taxes and caps were being touted as a market solution. Market intervention is always problematic. Be that as it may – Elinor Ostrom suggests going beyond market solutions to solve these problems. One of the ideas in the previous post was that of energy prizes. There are a few around – but they are all a bit penny ante. A billion dollars would capture attention. This is an ideal conservative project.

        http://cep.mit.edu/2012-competition/2012-winners/
        http://www.xprize.org/prize-development/energy-and-environment

      • …little doubt that the energy mix in 2050…

      • Eli tends to wander in that direction, but the impact of deregulation tends to water down that part of his argument. If he sat down and did the math on the true cost of managing cap n trade or the tax, he would lean further to free market. At least he appears to be stumbling towards realism again.

        The prize thing has always been a great motivator. Carrots work better than sticks. Seems like a wabbit would know that.

      • The beauty of prizes is that they don’t cost us anything unless and until someone produces real results. Someone might well develop a commercial nuclear fussion plant in the next 10 years even if we don’t offer a prize, in which case we’d be out a billion dollar prize. But if the technology isn’t forthcoming, we’re not out a thing. Contrast that with Solindra, ethanol subsidies, CAFE standards, etc…

        The problem, of course, is that in the real world, this “advantage” is really a disadvantage. The real goal of these projects is for politicians to launder public money into campaign contributions. If one of them happens to actually produce some value for the public, so much the better, but the vast majority of these kick-backs are bound to just disappear into the black hole of government handouts.

      • Peter Lang

        Cheaper energy is what is needed.

        Yes. This is what we must strive for. Cheap, low emissions energy solves many problems. (see my comment at the end).

        Everything man has achieved over the past 40,000 years comes from two fundamental inputs – human ingenuity and energy. (In the past 100 or 200 or so years we’ve added a third – we’ve started to draw down on the planet’s capital too).

      • “we’ve started to draw down on the planet’s capital too” — not possible. The planet doesn’t have profit-loss, or goals, or products. It is not a corporation or society. It does not have “capital”.

        What humans consider capital changes from time to time, and we may “draw down” one or another of such resources, but will always go on to a different value regimen before any shortages occur. “The Paleolithic Age did not end because we ran out of rocks.”

      • Western civilization runs on an energy economy.
        Most debt is based on the promise of cheaper energy in the future.
        Cheap energy is the carrot at the end of the stick propelling economic growth.
        Hiccups in the global energy supply puts a damper on economic growth.
        Fossil fuel energy is a finite resource.
        Rising fuel costs make it hard to pay back debts.
        Money is an infinite resource if one doesn’t care about inflation.
        Conservatives advocate austerity to relieve debt.
        Progressives advocate risk mitigation to move off of fossil fuels.
        Conservatives think we can adapt our way out of problems.
        Austerity and mitigation are similar concepts.

        Austerity or Mitigation or Adaptation

      • Peter Lang

        Brian H,

        I should havge pointed out that I was using the term “capital” more broadlu than as the simple accounting definition. What I mean is we are drawing down on the finite resources like fossil fuels, biomass, land productivity and we are poluting land, sea and atmosphere. These resources are not unlimited. I was very broadly defining that as drawing down on the planet’s capital.

      • Peter Lang

        WHT,

        Progressives advocate risk mitigation to move off of fossil fuels.

        Is your message that you think governments and bureaucrats, advised by progressives, are more capable of making the best choices than the people responding to market forces.

      • Peter, regarding your supposed drawdown, land productivity and boimass have increased in many places. Available oil and gas have recently increased enormously, with new technology. Pollution has diminished greatly in developed countries. So in practical terms none what you say is the case. Moreover we have alternative energy sources for when we need them and we are actively developing others. There is no problem here. The scare is a misconception.

      • Those are observations on my part.
        You can piece the logic together however you want.

        That is all I do is to apply logic and come to my own conclusions.

        I have no idea why Brian H traded his brains in for a paleolithic box of rocks.

      • Rob Starkey

        Web

        You are incorrect in writing:

        “Most debt is based on the promise of cheaper energy in the future.” That statement is untrue. Most national debt has been created to fund the growth soical programs that governments determined to be important. These include health care, pensions and income supplements.

        “Austerity and mitigation are similar concepts.” – That is also untrue. The two comcepts are actually not directly related. In some situations mitigation is economically efficient and in others it is completely the opposite. in terms of climate change mitigation is completely inefficient.

      • All capitalistic productivity is based on sufficient capital. If someone has a huge construction project that will take capital to procure the energy and resources necessary, the funding requires the prospect of sufficient payback and the fact that energy prices do not soar. If that happens, the company is saddled with debt that becomes harder to pay off.

        I didn’t invent the theory of energy economics.

        Next, austerity is a form of risk mitigation, you knucklehead. Everything that involves not digging yourself a deeper hole is risk mitigation. The global economy is digging itself a deeper hole because they no longer have cheap energy to obscure the growing debt that used to be hidden by the cheap and plentiful energy sources. Now that we have energy shocks, the debt is starting to reveal itself. Austerity is about spreading the pain and relieving that debt as a form of monetary risk mitigation. Energy risk mitigation is about getting off of fossil fuels so we can dig ourselves out of that hole as well. They are two sides of the same coin, and obviously intimately related.

        Adaptation is the libertarian form of risk mitigation. Do nothing and hope the individuals will adapt to the risk reactively.

      • Rob Starkey

        Web
        When you write-
        “All capitalistic productivity is based on sufficient capital. If someone has a huge construction project that will take capital to procure the energy and resources necessary, the funding requires the prospect of sufficient payback and the fact that energy prices do not soar. If that happens, the company is saddled with debt that becomes harder to pay off.”

        That is a true but completely different statement than your prior inaccurate claim that “Most debt is based on the promise of cheaper energy in the future.”

        I am simply pointing out that you frequently write things that are simply wrong.

        Things such as -“Adaptation is the libertarian form of risk mitigation. Do nothing and hope the individuals will adapt to the risk reactively”. Once again factually wrong. Libertarians would have a wide variety of views regarding whether it was more cost effective to take mitigating actions or whether it would make more sense to adapt to the changing conditions, or a combination of both. To the libertarian it would depend upon how they evaluated the various risks and costs.

      • Most of what you say is wrong. Economics is not a science and all I am doing is making observations as to the general gaming strategies that override all human decision making. People always try to make money with whatever leverage is at their disposal. Cheap energy is huge leverage.
        The various factions align based on what kind of rules are most fairly applied, which is clearly subjective criteria.

        My interest was in oil depletion which is objectively evaluated and now climate which is also objectively evaluated.

        I find it humorous that you question definitions of what energy economics and risk mitigation entail. Those are human decision making processes, not laws of nature!

      • David Wajorick,

        You says we are not drawing down on resources because we are finding an extracting more of what is a limited resources. You are most definitely wrong on this.

      • Although some of the things she touts as not being “market” such as cooperatives and other associations of free individuals I would say are free market.

      • WebHubTelescope | June 8, 2012 at 6:08 am |
        “Money is an infinite resource”

        Money may be an infinite resource, but the value money represents is not. That is why inflation occurs – the value increases a little bit or stays constant, but the amount of money increases more. Value is created by the production of goods and services. People not working represent negative value. That is why a negative income tax, fair tax, or some similar tax that preserves the incentive to work is necessary.

      • “Money may be an infinite resource, but the value money represents is not. That is why inflation occurs – the value increases a little bit or stays constant, but the amount of money increases more. “

        And of course you paraphrased my quote where I say “Money is an infinite resource if one doesn’t care about inflation.” Inflation can act as a flat regressive tax. The government can print money to pay off debts and level the playing field. In the case of the USA, they could easily do this if it wouldn’t get China upset. Theoretically one can print enough money that everyone can start from the same baseline.
        Some of the European countries may have made a mistake to join the EU and tie their currency to the euro. Because they can’t do the disguised haircut of printing their own currency, they have to put other austerity measures in place, such as cutting benefits across the board.

  14. I think the major problem with ‘sides’ is what do people think the environment is and what is it for. Unless people understand what ‘natural’ is, as compared with ‘artificial. then we are going to get nowhere.
    The is almost nowhere in the developed world where we have a ‘natural’ environment.
    Basically everything you see around you is artificial, and I am in favor of the world becoming much more artificial.
    In the US I would hand huge swaths of Federal land to sports fishermen, hunters and off-road bikers. I like big cats, I would hand land over to trophy bow hunters, who would enter a lottery to take on the older males. You want pristine rivers? Give them to the fishermen and boat enthusiasts.

    Hate coal mining and slag heaps?
    Build nuclear power stations.
    Want non-oil based liquid fuels?
    Build nuclear power stations and hydrogenate what ever carbon you have around.
    Worried about depleted aquifers and salination of top soils?
    Build nuclear power stations, desalination plants, pumping plants.

    There is a common thread here. Cheap electricity means less environmental damage. The higher the energy density the smaller the ecological footprint. .

    • “DocMartyn | June 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Reply

      I think the major problem with ‘sides’ is what do people think the environment is and what is it for. Unless people understand what ‘natural’ is, as compared with ‘artificial. then we are going to get nowhere.
      The is almost nowhere in the developed world where we have a ‘natural’ environment.
      Basically everything you see around you is artificial, and I am in favor of the world becoming much more artificial.”

      Well, man is nature.
      Hmm. I favor reserves. I favor reserves to keep primitive people. I just don’t think primitive people are a racial type.
      I favor keeping the wild because the wild is [like] data and knowledge. “Nature” and human is complex.
      I like idea of making more “wild places” but some of them should be on other planets. I think off world could huge growth potential in natural environments which created by a natural creature, called human.

    • It is sort of ironic that a 60 year old solution continues to get ignored or demonized.

      • It doesn’t…at least in the circles that really matter.

        To build an AP1000 nuclear power plant one needs a 14,000 ton press to make the reactor pressure vessel forgings. In 2009 only 3 such presses existed…1 in japan and 2 in China. By next year 9 such presses will exist. 2 in Japan, 3 in China, 2 in India, 1 in South Korea and 1 in Russia.

        India just announced plans a few days ago to break ground on 16 more nuclear plants by 2017. The Chinese have just finished their post Fukushima safety review and will be announcing plans ‘soon’. The Turkish Energy minister stated at a World Economic Forum meeting a day or two ago that they will have 23 nuclear plants by the year 2023.

        Obviously if the backlog on reactor pressure vessels is 10 years then developing countries that need energy ‘soon’ are going to just go with coal. As the regulatory infrastructure in individual countries matures and the reactor forging backlogs shorten we should see a substantial acceleration of nuclear builds .

      • You could knock out CANDU reactors $1.5 billion for the D2O and capital costs of $5 billion, so $650 billion buys you 100 plants. running at 900 MWe, that are refueled without shutdown.
        Not only can you run them on natural uranium, but on Mox, and as Thorium breeders.
        You can build them using standard industrial sized machines as you don’t need a high pressure vessel.
        So for a stimulus package you get 25% of current US electrical base load, for 60+ years, and the ability to burn up all your stored fuel rods and your DU stores.

      • It’s hard to make a cost case in an unregulated energy market for capital intensive generating technologies.

        I.E. A 30 year old plant that is ‘paid for’ can drop it’s bid to operating costs and any new plant has to make ‘payments’ plus operating costs.

        If the government were to subsidize new builds to the point they could compete with existing capacity then the owners of the existing plants would scream that the government was deliberately destroying their capital investments.

        So in the developed world…which has plenty of existing capacity the economic viability of new capital intensive generating technologies ends up being dependent on a retirement schedule of old generating technology.

        In the US the retirement ‘wave’ doesn’t occur until the mid 2020’s.

        The case in the developing world can be made much easier because demand is greater then supply and both India and China are net coal importers.

        Half of India’s new build nuclear plants will be Heavy Water reactors derived from Candu.

        The forgings issue is just one of the industrial infrastructure issues. With design life cycles of 60 years the quality of the piping needs to be pretty close to flawless. In any metal exposed to thermal expansion and contraction eventually small flaws in manufacturing will grow into big flaws. The longer the ‘expected life cycle’ the more rigorous the quality control has to be at time of manufacture.

        Some of the piping for Okiluto in Finland had to be redone and there was a 13 month delay in the manufacturing of some of the piping for VC Summer as well. There just isn’t a lot of experience in manufacturing extremely high quality industrial sized piping.

  15. “What conservatives can learn from environmentalists

    There are real environmental problems that warrant action, especially in the developing world. ”

    Yeah but developing world needs to develop.
    Best thing we can do is encourage democracy and trade- can’t have one or other. Could call it one thing: free trade.

    ” There really is such a thing as ecosystem services that are often either unpriced or improperly priced, and we are probably wasting a lot of such services because they are unpriced. ”

    Of course, it’s called eco-tourism. Or simply tourism.
    Also sport fishing and hunting. Camping. Hiking. mountain climbing. White water rafting. Though not sure what market is meant which being unpriced or improperly priced.

    “There really is a greenhouse effect, wherein greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere. But it doesn’t help to label climate change a giant hoax and refuse to discuss it. And, billboards featuring Ted Kaczynski seem like a particularly bad way to promote a conversation.”

    The greenhouse effect is inadequately defined. And radiant properties of gases [called greenhouse gases] is not only or even significant element which retains heat from the sun.

    “A large swath of the public does get psychic benefits from knowing that ecosystems are being cared for, and species are being protected. ”

    It better if public visit these ecosystems to gain such “psychic benefits”.
    But wildlife program without as much preaching of religious views can also be useful for such psychic benefits.

    “And, alas, by their behavior environmentalists can teach conservatives to be wary of compromise: the history of environmental policy has been that environmentalists have rarely ever accepted a compromise on good faith. ”

    Hmm. Don’t know about this point. I think it has more to with government and politics rather than environmentalists. Environmentist should wary of politicians who say they favor environmental policy. Simple rule, politicians lips moving = lying.

    • “Yeah but developing world needs to develop.
      Best thing we can do is encourage democracy and trade- can’t have one or other. Could call it one thing: free trade.”
      ——–

      China loves free trade. It lets their State directed capitalism capture more and more global market share.

      We tell developing countries to be like us, but they may prefer the Chinese model.

      • “[China’s] State directed capitalism capture[s] more and more global market share.”

        Does it? Do you have any data showing that the State-directed parts of the Chinese economy are capturing more global market share, as opposed to the non-State-directed parts? Just curious.

      • State-directed parts? Hell, it’s almost all State directed. You must be thinking about the difference between State owned, privately owned, and hybrid State/privately owned. China has all three. As I recall Lenovo is an example of the latter.

      • “Hell, it’s alomst all State directed.”

        What do you mean by that? Just curious. Especially when the central government doesn’t even seem able to direct local and provincial governments…

      • To take a specific case, Max, Foxconn is headquartered in Taiwan but has a large number of factories in mainland China. When Apple negotiates with Foxconn over labor conditions on the mainland, do you think Beijing is some kind of Svengali in all that, and why? If not, in what sense do you say that this business is “State-directed?” Just curious.

      • NW, earlier this year The Economist had an article titled “The rise of state capitalism”. I will quote from the article and provide a link.

        “With the West in a funk and emerging markets flourishing, the Chinese no longer see state-directed firms as a way-station on the road to liberal capitalism; rather, they see it as a sustainable model. They think they have redesigned capitalism to make it work better, and a growing number of emerging-world leaders agree with them.”
        http://www.economist.com/node/21543160

      • NW, re Foxconn
        As long Foxconn is serving China’s export-driven industrialization policy, I doubt the government sees any need to give this company direction. If Foxconn is doing what the government wants, it is in effect government directed.

      • Max,

        First of all, I cancelled my subscription to the economist several years ago because it has become progressively sillier.

        Second, you didn’t read the whole article. The last third is pessimistic.

        Third, you didn’t answer either of my questions, and neither does the Economist article, to wit: What does “State-directed” mean here? What exactly would we mean by “the State” in China anyway, since local autonomy and provincial autonomy have become so strong, and the “center cannot hold?” Indeed the Chinese hinterland is the economic wild west, animated by corruption and theft of property for the benefit of local entrepreneurs.

        Citing trade magazines isn’t going to get you very far with me. Try again. Think about the issues and the actual data one would need to resolve them. Who makes the decisions, and for whom? What role does the State (such as it is) play in those decisions? Is the State simply throwing dollars at (whatever)? Does China have a private capital market? Do you know? If it does, what kinds of businesses get their cash there?

        The economist says: “And they are on the offensive. Look at almost any new industry and a giant is emerging: China Mobile, for example, has 600m customers. State-backed firms accounted for a third of the emerging world’s foreign direct investment in 2003-10.” That’s nice. Does that mean that China Mobile is gaining more and more world market share, or that it is manufacturing more and more in Vietnam and Malaysia? Those are not the same thing: Manufacturing is not world market share. It could be, but it also might be domestic expansion.

        But the more general point is this. What exactly does State-directed capitalism mean, in terms of actual decision making at the entrepreneurial and corporate level? Do you know? Just asking.

      • “As long Foxconn is serving China’s export-driven industrialization policy, I doubt the government sees any need to give this company direction. If Foxconn is doing what the government wants, it is in effect government directed.”

        Oh I see. So the empirical test for “state-directed” is this:

        1. If the state is not involved, then the firm is state-directed, and
        2. If the state is involved, then the firm is state-directed.

        So, all firms in all states are state directed. Makes sense to me, Max. As theology.

      • From NW post on June 8, 2012 at 1:05 am |

        1. NW says: “First of all, I cancelled my subscription to the economist several years ago because it has become progressively sillier.”

        Max_OK replies: I haven’t noticed a change in The Economist. Perhaps it was you who became progressively sillier. You could have slipped into libertarianism or laissez-faire fantasy. That would explain it.

        2. NW says: “Second, you didn’t read the whole article. The last third is pessimistic.”

        Max_OK replies: I don’t follow your logic. I read the whole article, and some parts I even read twice. Anyway, isn’t it silly for you to bring up pessimism about something you believe doesn’t exist in the first place?

        3. Third, you didn’t answer either of my questions, and neither does the Economist article, to wit: What does “State-directed” mean here?

        Max_OK replies: I’m not going to compose a definition of “Chinese state-directed economy” for you. If you want to know what it means, Google “China state directed economy.”

      • NW, I was just having fun with you, but if you are interested in China, there’s lots of info here

        http://www.uscc.gov/researchpapers/research_archive.php

        The report co-authored by Cole Kyle might be of particular interest.

      • A physicist;
        Of course you wouldn’t notice the change in The Economist, as it became sillierly Progressive; it fit in with your mental modus seamlessly.

      • Heh, it’s pretty easy to define ‘state directed capitalism’. It’s Fascism. A rose by any other name.
        ==============

      • Just on The Economist issue. I was one of three short-listed for a job there in 1964, I’ve read it off and on since 1961. Over the last decade at least, many, many long-term readers and commenters have bemoaned the loss of rigour in the newspaper, and a leftward shift from a pro-free trade, anti-intervention, CBA approach. There’s even more of interest now, with the many online blogs, but it has long lost its status in terms of quality economic analysis and commentary.

      • “We tell developing countries to be like us, but they may prefer the Chinese model.”

        Why should we tell other countries to be just like us?
        Other countries are not going to like being told this. For example Canada
        would tell you to stick it your ear.
        If these countries are getting 9% growth for decades, what is the problem?
        Another words if the clawing themselves out dirt poverty, do you see some problem with this?

      • We have been trying to get lots (but not all) countries to be like us for a long time, because we think our form of government, our values, and our kind of economy are good for people.

      • “We have been trying to get lots (but not all) countries to be like us for a long time, because we think our form of government, our values, and our kind of economy are good for people.”

        Could you name any country like us?
        If that was US foreign policy, it’s safe to say US foreign policy has failed.
        I know two countries that tried copying the US: Philippines and Liberia.
        And despite their effort, they quite dissimilar to the US.

        Whereas if look at US influence in the world, it’s remarkable, but this has more to do with American people, rather it’s government effort.
        We distinguish between a nation’s government and it’s people, as does
        other people distinguish between US people and it’s government.
        Take Iranians, they have good opinion of Americans. But US relations between Iran and US isn’t good.
        It’s kinda stupid to blame the US government for this poor relationship. Iranian government is doing stuff which is hostile to US interests.
        But if US government was more competent, there no doubt we would have better relations with the Iranian government.
        The main advantage of having better US relation with Iran, is not that Iran would do things we agree with, but rather to avoid Iran getting into military conflict with the US.
        One can see that if Iran government wants a conflict with the US, it’s hard to have a good relation.
        So Iranian imperialism, is in conflict with US interests. It’s possible for sane and rational Iranians to think that such Iranian imperialism is good solution. Or Iran is right in middle of bad neighborhood [which they are to some degree responsible for] and one could expect they hope to change that. Though vision and tactics of doing that, seem to me, to be missing some key ingredients.

      • So China’s state-directed trade is really free trade? War is Peace, etc. State directed capitalism does not and can not work well and not in the long run. Many statists said the same of Japan 20 years ago even though they only partially planned a few industrial policies. But even that did not end well. Has the US become more and more free market over the last 40 years? No. China has become slightly freer on their economic system and prospered by moving away from total control. The US, esp. under Bush II, has moved toward state interference and is mired in the worst recession since 1929. Ignorance is Strength for you I guess.

      • “So China’s state-directed trade is really free trade? War is Peace, etc. State directed capitalism does not and can not work well and not in the long run.”
        Someone should tell that to US federal government.

        “Many statists said the same of Japan 20 years ago even though they only partially planned a few industrial policies. But even that did not end well.”
        Economically is Japan currently worse off than France, Italy, UK?
        Ok, so Japan didn’t become the world’s economic superpower.
        Nor will China.

        America will remain the world’s superpower, both economically and militarily- it simply doesn’t tend to screw up as badly. And if US does go all to hell, it recovers fast.
        Bet against US, you will lose.

        “Has the US become more and more free market over the last 40 years? No. China has become slightly freer on their economic system and prospered by moving away from total control.”

        And so the problem in regard to China is what?
        As far as US becoming “more and more free market” over last 40 years.
        Well, it’s traded a lot with Japan and China, so that on the plus side.
        It’s hard to quantity.
        Is US still the most free market. Yes. Are we being outlawed from selling 16 oz soda in some parts of the country, yes. Is that completely crazy? Yes.
        Has the US government done anything to make a “more and more free market”, not really or no. Have US citizens made a “more and more free market”, yeah definitely a case for that.

        ” The US, esp. under Bush II, has moved toward state interference and is mired in the worst recession since 1929. Ignorance is Strength for you I guess.”

        So, Obama doing a good job, and Bush II is to blame.
        Yeah, that works, keep believing in that hope and change stuff.

      • Bill, my point was China’s state-directed capitalism benefits from a world market that has free trade.

  16. The CO2 environmentalists have distorted the conversation to being monosyllabic. Resources, money and intellectual capital have been diverted from learning what is “natural.” I wouldn’t know a conservative environmentalist if he/she flew into me and set me afire. Do conservative environmentalists want clean water, air, eliminate hunger, opportunity for all? I know that when one focuses on developing the technology to address clean water, air, eliminate hunger, opportunity for all that is a very different conversation than whether CO2 will increase global mean temperature 2 or 4 C in a hundred years. Both environmental issues require money. I see that the CO2 environmental expenditures is an opportunity lost cost; so, I support clean water, air, eliminate hunger and create the conditions for opportunity for all to the detriment of the CO2 environmentalists. Call me…conservative?

    • “I wouldn’t know a conservative environmentalist if he/she flew into me and set me afire.”

      WEIRD ! I hope that never happens.

  17. tempterrain

    It might be worth asking Conservatives and Libertarians to try to bring themselves to accept, even if its just the possibility, and for the sake of arguiment, that the consensus position on AGW might be correct.

    What measures to address the problem fit in best with your political viewpoint?

    PS I suspect that this is just too much to ask of most right-wing contributors on this blog. They’ll probably liken it to being asked to assume that the USSR was a workers paradise! Which will show that their argument is not with the actual science, but rather that their perception that their politics just doesn’t have an answer to such a problem and therefore it can’t possibly exist.

    • AGW is wrong and I have discussed the WHOI, the NAS committee on abrupt climate change and many others numerous times. It is a different paradigm – and one that suggests that dynamical complexity drives climate shifts at interannual to millenial timescales. This is what science says. That you can’t understand this is not my problem. Dynamical complexity in climate suggests that there is a reasonable presumption that climate will shift several times this century with unpredictable outcomes.

      What has been proposed are a range of solutions including economic development, investments in health, education and energy, conservation of environments and agricultural lands. The emphasis is on pragmatic solutions that address mutiple development objectives and away from ideologically driven green/red nonsense.

      • Skippy is sloppy. Greenhouse gases are responsible for the 33 degree warming above the non-spectral specific radiative balance. With an excess of CO2, almost all caused by humans, the effect of AGW has to be there, however small or large it may turn out.

      • I have certainly not suggested that CO2 is not a control variable . Yet the new paradigm is something that confounds simple causality and creates the very real potential for CO2 to result in cooling in a dynamically complex – i.e. chaotic – system. ‘Thinking is centered around slow changes to our climate and how they will affect humans and the habitability of our planet. Yet this thinking is flawed: It ignores the well-established fact that Earth’s climate has changed rapidly in the past and could change rapidly in the future. The issue centers around the paradox that global warming could instigate a new Little Ice Age in the northern hemisphere. http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=83339&tid=3622&cid=10046

        Albedo changes from 25% to 50% from blue-green planet to snowball earth. About 85 W/m2. So while the Earth may be warmer with then without greenhouse gases – most of which are perfectly natural – there are other shifts in factors involving ice, snow, clouds, oceans, biology and vegetation that modulate climate as multiple negative and positive feedbacks that go well beyond simple radiative physics.

    • They may mention crazy stuff like FutureGen, small modular nuclear, Fracking, domestic oil exploration, energy efficiency, electrical infrastructure unpgrades, wetlands restoration and water shed management which would all serve more than one purpose including stimulating the economy, improving energy security and protecting water resources.

      • Black carbon and tropospheric ozone, carbon sequestration in agricultural soils which at the same time builds fertility, conserving ecosystems just for the hell of it, educating girls, providing models of democracy and economic governance, etc. I would suggest Australia as the model for the latter. Almost balanced budgets, low debt, 5.2% annualised growth, 25 points interest rate reduction the other day and still room to move, $500 billion investment pipeline, 60,000 new jobs announced yesterday – low taxes, great health and education systems, great environment, friendly people.

      • tempterrain

        Do you have any scientific evidence to show that all human CO2 emissions can be offset by carbon sequestration in soils? Australians may on the whole be friendly and healthy, girls are well educated, we have low debt levels, but does this make much difference to the climate?

      • There are multiple pathways possible. Soil sequestration is important as much for other benefits and is starting to happen globally. 15% of farms in Australia practice conservation farming and that figure is growing rapidly and globally. Not only does productivity increase by some 70% but chemical and fuel use decreases substantially. There are especially great gains to be made on grazing lands with some very simple principles.

        Carbon has been lost from Australian soils over the past 200 years – soil organic matter may have been twice the current range of 1.6 to 4.6%. A 1% gain in soil organic matter is about 100 tonnes of carbon taken from the air per hectare – 43 billion tonnes on Australian grazing land compared to our annual emissions of 400 million tonnes. 500 billion tonnes on a global scale compared to 29 billion tonnes of emissions.

        http://soilsequestration.otmamto.com/

        Black carbon and tropospheric ozone are substantial forcing with health and ecosystem benefits.

        http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-02/ecjr-nao021111.php

        Political stability, economic growth, health and education directly and humanely influence population growth and allow ecological conservation and improved environmental standards.

        Technology is the longer term key and I have suggested that a billion dollar prize pool would greatly focus attention.

        Worth doing rather than argue caps and taxes for the next 20 years? Can you provide evidence that caps and taxes have achieved anything much at all? Are you one of the vast majority of Australians who think that the carbon tax will achieve nothing much at all? Perhaps that it is the highest tax in the world but still not at meaningful levels and needs to be complemented by lots of other actions? Oh well.

      • Chief, not economic governance, our economy wouyd be much better if the government had sat on its hands since 2007. But that’s not the issue on CE, I won’t expand on it.

      • A $105 billion dollar Keynesian glitch? A mere bagatelle in the scheme of things. It could be worse. We could be America or Europe.

      • Ooh, twist the knife.
        Dangling, dangling slowly.
        ==========

    • Temp check this out”Federal laws applicable to public lands and related resources will be updated and a public land-use policy formulated. We will manage such lands to ensure their multiple use as economic resources and recreational areas. Additionally, we will work in cooperation with cities and states in acquiring and developing green space—convenient outdoor recreation and conservation areas. We support the creation of additional national parks, wilderness areas, monuments and outdoor recreation areas at appropriate sites, as well as their continuing improvement, to make them of maximum utility and enjoyment to the public.

      Improved forestry practices, including protection and improvement of watershed lands, will have our vigorous support. We will also improve water resource information, including an acceleration of river basin commission inventory studies. The reclaiming of land by irrigation and the development of flood control programs will have high priority in these studies. We will support additional multi-purpose water projects for reclamation, flood control, and recreation based on accurate cost-benefit estimates.

      We also support efforts to increase our total fresh water supply by further research in weather modification, and in better methods of desalinization of salt and brackish waters.

      The United States has dropped to sixth among the fishing nations of the world. We pledge a reversal of present policies and the adoption of a progressive national fisheries policy, which will make it possible for the first time to utilize fully the vast ocean reservoir of protein. We pledge a more energetic control of pollution, encouragement of an increase in fishery resources, and will also press for international agreements assuring multi-national conservation.

      Read more at the American Presidency Project: Republican Party Platforms: Republican Party Platform of 1968 http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=25841#ixzz1x9obnfbK

    • “tempterrain | June 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Reply

      It might be worth asking Conservatives and Libertarians to try to bring themselves to accept, even if its just the possibility, and for the sake of arguiment, that the consensus position on AGW might be correct.”

      Is this the consensus position on AGW:
      “human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

      Or you thinking that “CO2 is significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”
      Is the consensus position on AGW.

    • “It might be worth asking Conservatives and Libertarians to try to bring themselves to accept, even if its just the possibility, and for the sake of arguiment, that the consensus position on AGW might be correct.”
      _____

      That would be like asking them to consider their ideology is seriously flawed, maybe even fatally flawed.

      T

      • I keep that as a possibility. A worst case possibility with low probability. I need to see evidence that we are tracking the worst case projections first. Same reason I am practically an atheist/agnostic.

    • tempterrain

      The replies are pretty much as expected. None of the right wing contributors to this blog can suppose, not even for just for a moment, not even for the sake of argument, not even in the interests of coming up with a contingency plan, that, at some stage, GH gas emissions may have to be curtailed. All they can say is that there is no problem and never will be.

      I seem to remember the words “political bankruptcy” being being bandied around far too freely when I was at student demos in my younger days.

      But I’d say that was a good description of the “conservative (/ libertarian) perspective on climate cahnge”.

      • See above. Stop putting anyone who disagrees with you in the same basket.

      • Temp,

        I fear your fired-up paroxysms of self-righteousness leave you at a considerable risk of spontaneous combustion. So let me douse the flame just a bit and suggest a useful employment of all your ardor.

        I, for one, have always entertained the notion that a carbon peril might exist and that GHG reductions might be required to avert catastrophe. And, in that regard, I’ve urged those most out-spoken and claiming the CAGW moral high-ground to shuck the high-carbon lifestyle and, right now, urgently adopt the low-carbon life they urge on others. I mean, like, that would, you know, remove from us “little people” any doubts about the matter we might harbor and prompt us “little guys” to do likewise through emulation of our betters’ inspiring leadership from the front and by example.

        But what sort of response has my appeal met with? The top-tier CAGW scare-mongers obstinately continue tooling around in their private jets, yachts, and bullet-proof limo convoys. And, otherwise, persist in enjoying the high-carbon piggie good life of rambling palatial mansions and castles, luxury hotel accomodations, and good-times in the poshest of the world’s flesh-pots. And, of course, their courtier, carbon-sucking enablers–certainly not you, Temp–wallow in a privileged high-carbon lifestyle that would be the envy of the vast majority of us inconsequential “little people.” And don’t even get me started on the non-stop carbon-spew given off by the interminable carbon-reduction conferences that afflict our modern era–like that upcoming Rio+20 abomination.

        So, Temp, the problem with the little CAGW scare you’re pushing is not the lack of “imagination” on the part of “right-wingers” telling you to stuff it–rather, it is response of us peon-helots who can spot a hustle and hypocrite a mile away. I mean, there might be something to the CAGW peril business, but, let’s be honest, Temp, the organized efforts to do something about your ostensible CAGW peril have all been hi-jacked by make-a-buck/make-a-gulag scamsters. So that sours us “little people” on the whole deal and makes us doubt even sincere, good people like you, Temp.

        But I don’t want to pose a problem without a solution. So, Temp, maybe this will make a difference. Why don’t you out, by name, if you would be so kind, all those CAGW worry-wart phonies you know who, unlike you, are carbon pig-out hypocrites. Just shame and humiliate, publicly, those monsters who don’t care about the kids. And, at the same time, wow us with a recital of your own inspirational, low-carbon lifestyle. And, finally, join me in urging a boycott of all “green” conferences that are not held as low-carbon “video-conferences”.

        Sound like a deal?

      • tempterrain

        Mike,
        So you’re saying there may be a “carbon peril”, as you put it, but the hypocrisy of people like Al Gore makes it unlikely? Even if we accept that Al Gore is really as bad as you say he is, I’m still not sure how that can have the slightest effect on the physics of the atmosphere.
        Furthermore, you seem to be suggesting that the problem can be tackled by voluntary action. Has that principle ever been tested? Maybe you could try it out on your favourite local park. You could suggest that those who don’t like the idea of everyone dumping their rubbish and litter there shouldn’t of course do it. But, on the other hand, if anyone disagrees then they’d be free to do what they like.
        I’m just wondering if you’ve thought this through properly?

      • Tempterrain,

        What I am suggesting, my dear loves-to-play-dumb Temp, is leadership–from the front and by example. LEADERSHIP FROM THE FRONT AND BY EXAMPLE!–the most effective, proven ingredient for solving problems requiring a motivated, self-sacrificing, group action. See George Washington for a starter. And, in the meantime, I’ll hold off on the GHG reduction, myself, until I see all the smarty-pants with the scare-stories go first.

        “Leadership?”, I hear you say, Tempterrain. Yes, Temp, there is such a word in the English language–look it up.

        And, yes, Temp, the physics of the climate are independent of Al Gore, but the credibility of those claiming to really know the score, in that regard, and urging mass action on others requires that “enlightened” ones, like you, Temp, set the example. But, then, Temp, you know perfectly well what I’m talking about, and you’re really just using high-sounding, self-righteous language and bogey-man scam-science to protect your little rip-off, gravy-train, eco-booger, good deal. Right, Temp? Thought you fooled us, huh, guy?

        You know, Temp, I love how you greenshirt phonies always get the “willies” when one of the hoi-polloi suggests that their betters should practice what they preach. I mean, Temp, let’s be honest, if you and your two-faced crowd ever adopted a “do as I say AND as I do” philosophy it would shatter your whole world of in-your-face exemption from the sacrifices you demand of others; your lofty sense of entitlement to play the lefty, big-bopper shot-caller; and your show-off access to the flunkie-grade trough, reserved for those lickspittle sell-outs who have made themselves useful to one or another green-washed hustle. And we can’t have that, can we, Temp? I mean, like, without those privileged-white-dork perks, life wouldn’t be worth living for your ilk, right, Temp?

        And, oh by the way, Temp, Al Gore is every bit as bad as I say. But you are the big surprise and disappointment, Temp. I expected so much better of you. BOO HOO!

      • tempterrain

        Mike,
        Overuse of the uppercase indicates some frustration on your part I would think.
        I’m not sure how this “leadership-from-the-front” of yours would work exactly. For instance, say we took up James Hansen’s suggestion of replacing all coal fired power stations with fourth generation nuclear power plants. I have to say that I don’t have the know-how to build one, but even if I did I’m not sure I’d be allowed to build one in my back yard. Maybe the planning regulations are more lenient in the USA :-)
        There’s lots of uranium in Australia and the only way to get one built would be to somehow reduce the power of the coal lobby, then persuade the general public that James Hansen is right and it needs to be done. That looks to be a lot of work and a large amount of collective action would be involved.

      • temp, yo’ve misunderstood mike’s really excellent point;
        If Al Gore doesn’t dump garbage in his local park, and then no one else will.

      • Tempterrain,

        Let’s take things in order:

        Yr: “Overuse of the uppercase indicates some frustration on your part I would think.”

        You think so, Temp? Well, ol’ buddy, you can appreciate, I’m sure, that I take your phoney-baloney Dr. Freud act about as seriously as I take your little, self-serving, CAGW, scare-mongering lectures–which, in case you haven’t caught my drift, is not at all. And, besides, Sigmund, your two-bit psych-eval missed that I did not “overuse” the uppercase in my last comment. That is, I neither over-used nor under-used the uppercase, but rather I used the uppercase in exactly the right proportion–no more and no less. And if you can’t get something as simple as that right, temp, my good friend, then we can pretty much dismiss the rest of your greenshirt, chicken-little, B. S. schtick, too, right, Temp? And with it your precious taxpayer rip-off gravy-train, as well–again, right, Temp?

        Now to the second part of your last. You know, that part where you, Temp, everyone’s favorite, alpha know-it-all, suddenly make like you don’t know nuttin’ ’bout ‘tomic rahkturs ‘n ahll. C’mon, Temp. Give me a break, will yah, guy? I mean, like, talk about the ultimate in pig-headed, perverse, totally-off-the-wall distractors! But don’t get me wrong, Temp, I mean, like, that last, little, lame-brain bit of flim-flam of yours is in there with those really great, goof-ball, weasel-boogers that Bart used to come up with that were so bad they were really, really good–in a “laughing at you, not with you” sort of way, I mean. Jeez!

        And since you can’t figure things out, here’s a start–just a start, but it’ll get you moving on the LEADERSHIP FROM THE FRONT! business:

        -Refuse to attend all “green” conferences unless they are held, exclusively, in a low-carbon, video-conference format.

        -Refuse to attend all academic conferences unless they are held, exclusively, in a low-carbon, video-conference format.

        -Denounce, on this blog, the carbon pig-out life style of Al Gore and other eco-hypocrite biggies and out the lesser, carbon-piglet hypocrites in your circle by name–again, on this blog–with an itemized list of their traffickings in demon-carbon.

        -Boycott, yourself, and demand that others boycott the obscene, carbon-fiend, Rio+20, blow-out Sabbath, scheduled for this month.

        -Tell your buddy, Hansen, to lay off the CO2-spewing flights he is always taking to pick-up his pay-off prize monies. Remind him that electronic transfers of dough are the low-carbon option.

        And after you’ve got the above under you belt, Temp, get back with me and I’ll expand the list. And don’t worry, temp, I’ll go slow and keep it simple. And when we’re through, Temp, you’ll be the only little CAGW doom-butt in the world that is not also a discredited, creep-out hypocrite. And, then, we’ll all give you a respectful listen when you pitch your little scam.

      • Good Lord! Now Michael shows up and we have ourselves a tag-team! Yep, the “Doom and Doomer” duo, at your service! Please excuse me while I devote some quality time to the vomatorium. BARF!

      • Good news, looks like we’ve seen peak-hyphen with mike.

      • tempterrain

        Yes, I think we’ve rattled Mike’s cage for long enough, and its time to leave him alone to go back to sleep.
        I must admit that I do wonder if Judith goal of building bridges between people like Mike, and other more sensible people, is really working out as she might have hoped.

    • Odd because as the pissant left stumbles from failure to shambles organisations such as the LSE, the Copenhagen Consensus anf the Breakthrough Institute offer pragmatic solutions.

      It does demonstrate the point on failure to compromise.

    • Ok, here you go. Speaking as a slightly-right-of-Attila-the-Hun conservative, I admit the metaphysical possibility that the consensus position on AGW might be right. The problem is, that is completely irrelevant to the question at hand, namely, what we ought to do, because the precautionary principle is demonstrable nonsense.

      Look, I want us to develop good climate science, because I would like us to start terraforming other planets. We could do that quite cheaply; and the dividends would be astronomical. But we can’t do it until we actually understand climate. So I’m furious with the junk science that makes up the “concensus” not just because it’s ammunition for the watermelons, but because it’s also holding up my plans for Mars.

      So the measures that “address the problem” that fit best with my political viewpoint are exactly those of the Steve McIntyres and Judith Currys of the world (who I understand have very different politics from mine). Namely, get the junk science out, so we can start learning again. Break the control of pal review, and make room for genuine debate again. Bring back reproducibility, rather than concensus, as the standard of proof. Require the science to actually make successful, verifiable predictions, before trying to rely on it for predicting.

      Until then, it makes no sense to implement CO2 taxes, because we simply do not have enough information to conclude that CO2 has the substantial negative externalities that would justify such action. Once the science can make successful, verifiable predictions, perhaps we will (depending on the predictions that get verified). But that hasn’t happened yet.

      • Golly, how delusional.

        “Look, I want us to develop good climate science, because I would like us to start terraforming other planets.”

        “So I’m furious with the junk science that makes up the “concensus” not just because it’s ammunition for the watermelons, but because it’s also holding up my plans for Mars. ”

        “QBeamus” Up Scotty

      • Since your post is otherwise content-free, I’m not sure what part you think is delusional–the idea that we might someday terraform other planets, or the fact that today’s climate science is too poluted with junk science for us to get started. Get back to me when you’ve made up your mind.

      • “Look, I want us to develop good climate science, because I would like us to start terraforming other planets. We could do that quite cheaply; and the dividends would be astronomical. But we can’t do it until we actually understand climate. So I’m furious with the junk science that makes up the “concensus” not just because it’s ammunition for the watermelons, but because it’s also holding up my plans for Mars. ”

        I think the junk science has given you false hopes regarding the feasibility of terraforming Mars.
        I say forget about it idea of doing this, and live with what you got in regards to Mars.
        A good thing about Mars is it lacks atmosphere. There number of reasons.
        First you probably aware that Mars receives less solar energy at Mars distance. You may be aware that Mars actually in comparison to Earth could as much or more solar energy at it’s surface as Earth has at it’s surface. If add atmosphere you much worse than Earth in regards to solar energy. Which addition to solar panels, is useful for growing plants.

        Thin atmosphere is also good in regard to transportation. Unless one limits oneself to balloons or concerned about land space capsules and wanting use less rocket fuel by more use of areobraking/parachutes. I would say conserving rocket fuel in that respect or needing easier ballooning, is not very important in long term.

        But of course the biggest problem with terraforming Mars is the costs.
        Basically you planet which worth say trillion dollars, and terraforming would expensive in terms of entire value of the planet. So simply put trillion dollars investing in teraforming would not enhance value more than the costs of doing it. Assuming one could even do it.
        Though doing something like providing solar reflector to give more light, or add light when dark, could said to be terraforming, but could more direct benefit- providing the light for some use.

        Another minor element is if want to terraform, it delays immediate use.
        And if plan is live there while terraforming, you essentially opting to live in world in has CAGW [again assuming it works].

        So generally better to terraform on local scale rather than global. Greenhouses. Big ones, maybe. Making a huge greenhouse, would cheaper than terraforming, and going to Mars might prefer to live in it, and be willing to pay extra money as compared to somewhere else on Mars. You are increasing real estate value. Among or things [making city out of wildness].

        Another aspect, is Mars might a good place to drop impactors. Something not viewed favorably by people Earth in regarding dropping rocks on Earth.
        Mars with it’s thinner atmosphere will generate less large area effects from dropping, say 100 meter diameter rock on the surface. So with mars on have something like size Australia in which space rocks are dropped. Mars is near to the Main Asteroid Belt and has more “NEOs” or I suppose, NMOs than Earth does.

  18. Scruton agrees that the environment is the most urgent political problem of our age

    A problem is when something changes.

    There has been no change in the uniform warming of the globe as shown => http://bit.ly/L5FSBg

    Or the uniform sea level rise as shown => http://bit.ly/KBBlN9

    The real “political problem” is for the chattering class to fail to distinguish a problem from a non-problem.

  19. The environment goes well beyond greenhouse gases and sea level. But you are clearly wrong as well Girma and it stems from a failure to understand the dynamical mechanism of climate change. Dynamical systems are characterised by control variables and non-linear response. Think bridges, wind and resonant frequencies.

    Still – it seems unlikely that a growth in emmissions from 4% to 12% or higher of background emissions can be entirely without ramifcations. Technologly as I said above is critical – cheaper and carbon free energy good.

    • The “ramfications” [sic] are that at last a Power has arisen on the planet possibly able to pull the planetary flora back from CO2-famine suicide.

      • Plants are able to change the rate of gas exchange through stomatal control. There is no chance that CO2 can be a limiting factor in plant growth. That is an amazing and very stupid statement. If it weren’t for human CO2 all plants would commit ‘suicide’? You are as bad as any warmist troll. Why don’t you try thinking before posting for a change?

      • “There is no chance that CO2 can be a limiting factor in plant growth”
        You have no idea what you are talking about. You make a sweeping statement about biology and do not appear to understand what your words actually mean.
        The terms ‘limiting factor’ and ‘plant growth’ are meaningless without context.
        Now if a plant contains ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase, RubisCO, then we can make a guess as to the importance of CO2 in a plants acquisition of biomass.
        RuBisCO is the most abundant protein in plant leaves, approximately 50% of soluble leaf protein in C3 plants and about 30% of soluble leaf protein in C4 plants.

        The Km(CO2) of RubisCO is about 9 uM and the pH of its environment is between 8.5 and 9.
        The equilibrium solubility of CO2 at pH 8.5-9.0 and at 15 degrees C is between 10^-4.2 and 10^4.8 M. However, the steady state level of CO2 in the stroma of the chloroplast is a function of fluxes; flux via fixation being the major efflux and influx dependent on water availability and diffusion of local atmospheric CO2.
        Now the central importance of the Km(CO2) of RubisCO, the levels of RubisCO and atmospheric [CO2] is present in the DNA record of surface water organisms. There is a good correlation between the atmospheric [CO2] and level of [CO2]aq; assuming no huge changes in pH.

        The gene-jockeys have examined the evolution of RubisCO in marine Red and Chromista algae and show that RubisCO has undergone evolution to lower its Km(CO2), at the expense of Vmax, in response to the change in atmospheric CO2. The change in RubisCO from a high Vmax and high Km(CO2) enzyme into a low Vmax and low Km(CO2) enzyme has meant that RubisCO has become a greater % of cell mass as atmospheric CO2 has plummeted.

        Click to access 483.full.pdf

        Each RubisCO synthesized by a plant represents an opportunity cost; every amino acid in this enzyme could be in another protein. The need to maintain very high levels of RubisCO indicates that CO2 is a nutrient with a high elasticity coefficient, or in pre-Kacser and Burns language; is rate limiting.
        This has been proven experimentally many times over the last four decades, many scientists have grown plats in atmospheres which are enriched in CO2. Prior to enrichment, plant biomass increases are controlled by CO2 levels, and so the levels of RubisCO (or the RubisCO mass/total mass) fraction. After CO2 enrichment photosynthesis is limited by either electron transport capacity or inorganic phosphate. However, Rubisco is ALWAYS substantially down‐regulated when pCO2 is high.
        Sage,Sharkey and Seemann did the definitive study in C3 plants about a quarter of a century ago.
        http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/89/2/590.full.pdf+html

        Table II shows you all you need to know.

        Finally, we also know that when plants are grown in higher levels of atmospheric CO2 we find a shit in the C:N ratio, plants ‘appear’ to be less dependent on nitrogen for the production of biomass. As the rate of mineralization of carbon is dependent on the carbon, rather than bio, mass of the plant. High CO2 gives one high sequestration via mineralization.

      • Plants grown in greenhouses cannot be compared to the real world where there are growth limitations involving sunlight, water and nutrients.

        I am scratching my head to see how Rubisco levels responding to decreasing CO2 concentration imply anything about carbon limitations. It seems an adaptation to low levels of CO2 – that is to take full advantage of whatever levels of carbon remained in the atmosphere.

        The adaptation to elevated CO2 includes stomatal size, density and aperture. Again this argues against carbon as a limiting factor. Photosynthesis is not limited by CO2. Gas exchange can be increased or decreased with a water loss tradeoff.

        http://www.biology.duke.edu/jackson/post1.html

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111624.htm

        So we have minimal growth effects in the real world and – in the study below – no effect on C in soils.

        http://www.pnas.org/content/103/17/6571.full

        I have spent 30 years studying biogeochemical cycling. Certainly there are many pathways – trophic and otherwise involving carbon that are beyond my ken but I haven’t started yesterday and do not lightly make statements. It sounds like you have a pet theory but seriously – you need to think it through a little more.

  20. “Scruton agrees that the environment is the most urgent political problem of our age …”

    Like many philosophers, Scruton is not very fussed about the fate of individual humans. I can think of many political problems that are more pressing, such as poverty, disease, people being imprisoned, tortured and murdered because of their views or religion, old folks in rich countries shivering through winter because of stupid ‘green’ policies, etc.

    As others have mentioned, the best way to fix the environment is to improve people’s material circumstances, which includes a mixture of private and public wealth. While there is a role for small scale projects, clean water and reliable power in large cities is not a small scale project, or a series of them. Reliable food supplies in good seasons and bad ditto.

    The ‘small is beautiful’ focus of the green movement in impoverished countries has contributed to the continuing misery of their inhabitants. Frankly, the locals in a malaria prone district are not going to give high priority to saving their local wetlands in the way that rich Westerners in malaria free countries do, and nor should they. Better crop strains for subsistence farmers are no use during a drought or flood.

    Scruton is just perpetuating the rather ivory tower views that rich do-gooders wish to impose on the less fortunate because it accords with their personal circumstances and prejudices, while ignoring the history of how they got to the point of being able to be so self-indulgent. Hint – it wasn’t by preserving malaria infested wetlands or using better seeds for subsistence agriculture.

    • “Scruton agrees claims and opines that the environment is the most urgent political problem of our age …”

      There, fixed it for you/him/us.

  21. With the looming demise of this past period of progressive ascendancy in the U.S., look for lots more articles on “how can we get conservatives to compromise.”

    The problem with compromise in this context is that, like “climate change:” and “denier” and “fairness,” what the word means to a progressive depends on what he wants to achieve at the time. To progressives, compromise is when conservatives shut up and allow leviathan to grow unimpeded.

    If the November election goes as it seems it will, the influence of the Hansen’s, Mann’s, Pachauri’s, and Romm’s et al. will evaporate, along with their budgets. Any “moderates” and “independents” who hope to influence the policy debate, might want to consider learning what conservatives really believe directly.

    Stop relying on the filters of the Democrat Party PR firm called the NewYorkTimesWashingtonPostHuffingtonPostABCNBCCBSMSNBCCNN. Start actually reading at sites like National Review (which should be quite comfortable for you middle-of-the-roaders, but includes at least some genuine conservatives), Front Page Magazine, the Weekly Standard, Newsmax, etc. You might have to hold your nose, but you won’t have to be so constantly musing “but what do conservatives think?”

    You could even risk your immortal soul and watch Fox News (I know, I know – here’s some smelling salts you poor dears. Sorry, what was I thinking?)

    • As Haidt shows, progressives and liberals have two overriding values: caring, and harm-prevention. Conservatives expand that list to include liberty, authority, group survival, and the Sacred. So conservatives can “narrow down” their focus to envisage and predict liberal responses, but liberals are utterly blind to conservative priorities, and their depictions are caricatures, wildly off the mark. They can only apply their own 2 filters and standards, and thus dismiss as meaningless most of what conservatives say, out of hand.

      So reading/watching conservative sources will only work occasionally, when individuals experience an explosive expansion of their own value systems. As one who experienced that, it’s dizzying and disorienting for a while. Interestingly, it’s also a one-way process; it will never again be possible to constrict my thinking to the little liberal patch.

  22. Beth Cooper

    Thx, Chief, for Prof Armstrong video re complex systems requiring multiple problem solving approaches, not just top down. People talking across disciplines like they do here on Judith’s site. The bit on sustainable forests, (IFR) resonates as I have a bit of forest to look after. The Professor’s talk connects for me with Matt Ridley’s TED talk ‘When ideas have sex,’ about trade and cultural exchange.

  23. Beth Cooper

    Judith I have a post discussing Prof Armstrong video ‘on comlex systems ‘ in moderation . This ihas never happened to my comments before and I’m wondering why (

    • Happens to me all the time, Beth. Sometimes they just get stuck in the despamerizer machine. Doc C. will fish it out for you, I’m sure…

  24. NiV has an interesting comment at collide-a-scape:
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/comment-page-4/#comment-111714

    Nullius in Verba Says:
    June 6th, 2012 at 7:07 pm
    #131,

    Keith is asking the question, seeking the conservative perspective. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the precise form he wants to represent progress, and a way forward.

    What I’m doing is telling him exactly what needs to be done to make progress, and get conservatives on board. Isn’t that what he wants? Or is doing it only a certain way more important? What’s the point in asking conservatives, if you require that they be exactly the same as liberals?

    And what I’m asking for is what they should have done anyway, and what any serious liberal faced with global apocalypse should already be demanding! If you think it is serious, then act like you think it is serious! If the asteroid was headed for Earth, you wouldn’t be settling for vague, absent-minded amateurish astronomers losing the numbers and making bits up, calculating orbits with buggy software and refusing to reveal data and code because they want to get a few more papers out of it! No, you’d have every telescope in the world working on it, you’d have professional teams of software engineers and statisticians and a rigorous validation regime in place, as many eyes on the problem as you can get, every digit triple-checked, because that sort of stuff is necessary when it is the end of the world we’re talking about. Far from dismissing it, we want you to take this a lot more seriously.

    There should be a level of scientific quality in place that does not tolerate any error, any fudging, any manipulation or hiding adverse results. Nothing should get past without being checked in depth, and anything that fails to measure up should be ruthlessly pruned out. The evidence and reasoning should be bulletproof. Because this is too important. It’s more important than human drug trials, it’s more important than passenger jet avionics code, or life support machine software, or nuclear reactor safety measures. We do it every day for all those applications. So why the hell aren’t we doing it for climate change?!

    And the same goes for the impact assessments and the economics and the energy sector engineering and adaptation.

    So I want to ask you, do you liberals think there is a sufficient environmental concern to be doing all that? You want the conservative perspective? Well this is how conservatives who use science to make hundred million dollar decisions would approach the problem. Is our contribution of any use to you? Or would you prefer to keep doing this on your own?

    • Add fossil fuel depletion as an enduring problem and then it makes sense that massive attention needs to be applied.

      • Again people who REALLY believe that CAGW is a problem should be leading the way. Get rid of your cars and big houses, show us by example. If we saw that you were that convinced, we might get serious. As it is. I ride a bike because I like to and my progressive friends drive gas guzzlers, live in big houses, keep the A/C at 70 while I keep mine at 80, and they buy every gagdet as soon as they can.

      • So your progressive friends are liars, but they are cool, dude.

      • I have bicycle commuted for my entire career, save for one year.

        Yet, in admitting to that fact, you will turn around and accuse me of foisting my apparently austere lifestyle on people that believe in freedom and liberty.

        I know the type.

      • The EIA have postponed peak oil to 2050.

        I paid my water and electricity bills last week. My electricity use is 40% less and the water usage is 60% less than the regional averages. Ain’t I good.

        Massive attention really means technology innovation. I have suggested a billion dollar energy prize for bright young things and others.

    • Excellent observation – global warming alarmists are not serious in quantifying the problem compared to addressing the life changing consequences of an asteroid impact.
      Avoiding Asteroids:
      Asteroids are a known threat that have previously killed 75% of all species on earth. Further asteroid strikes are highly probable, the magnitudes are unknown, and the timings are unknown. e.g., the 250 m wide Apophis’ asteriod could hit earth in 2029 or 2036. Applying the “global warming” “Precautionary Principle”, we should redirect almost ALL global warming funding to better predict and avoid this greater threat with its greater uncertainty.

      e.g., The B612 Foundation is working to quantify the near earth objects, and to develop methods that can divert problem asteroids. See TED talk: Phil Plait: How to defend Earth from asteroids “65 million years ago, the dinosours had a bad day.” = 1 million x all nuclear weapons.

      Oil depletion
      The depletion rate of crude oil is being quantified and is reasonably well known. Large quantities of heavy hydrocarbons exist – but it is not clear how we can achieve commercial returns in sufficient volume to replace current depletion rates plus future economic growth – at costs low enough to restore economic growth.

      The Association for Peak Oil (ASPO) is studying and publicizing this issue. e.g. see Mikael Höök
      Depletion and Decline Curve Analysis in Crude Oil Production
      Fantazzini, Dean; Höök, Mikael; Angelantoni, André ”Global oil risks in the early 21st century” Energy Policy, 2011, Vol. 39, Issue 12: 7865-7873 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2011.09.035 Preprint

      obtaining the oil remaining in currently producing reservoirs requires additional equipment and technology that comes at a higher price in both capital and energy. In this regard, the physical limitations on producing ever-increasing quantities of oil are highlighted as well as the possibility of the peak of production occurring this decade. The economics of oil supply and demand are also briefly discussed showing why the available supply is basically fixed in the short to medium term. Also, an alarm bell for economic recessions is shown to be when energy takes a disproportionate amount of total consumer expenditures. In this context, risk mitigation practices in government and business are called for. As for the former, early education of the citizenry of the risk of economic contraction is a prudent policy to minimize potential future social discord. As for the latter, all business operations should be examined with the aim of building in resilience and preparing for a scenario in which capital and energy are much more expensive than in the business-as-usual one. . . .
      Currently around 60 countries have passed “peak oil”

      E. Nygren Aviation fuels and Peak Oil

      Traffic is predicted to grow by 5 per cent per year to 2026, fuel demand by about 3 per cent per year. At the same time aviation fuel production is predicted to decrease by several per cent a year after the crude oil production peak is reached. This scenario envisages a substantial lack of jet fuel by the year 2026.

      Again there is higher danger from depleting oil impacting the economy than liberal fear mongering. Economic solutions are highly uncertain. Thus again, from a conservative perspective, we need to focus mitigation on transport fuels, not CO2.

  25. Beth Cooper

    Thx Judith, it was the name of the talk, I’ll avoid using it in future :-)

  26. Beth Cooper

    ‘Elinor Ostrom.’ (Hearing check required.)

  27. Those are all strange ideas about what environmentalists can learn from conservatives. Just taking the first two
    – they claim wealthy people use less resources (huh?). The US carbon footprint is five times the global average, oil consumption is somewhat high too. If all the countries became like the US, the climate would not get any better.
    – they claim individual responsibility is better than relying on the government. OK, so a future farmer has to build his own irrigation channels, dams and reservoirs to prepare for dwindling water under greater demand? That might eat into his profits a little, but maybe he can do it cheap by not having any government regulations on how to build them safely.

    • Weathier contries can afford better environmental standards. This is so obvious it would seem to require little explanation. Compare the US or Australia to Mexico, Venezuaela, China or India.

      Governments can do it better, cheaper and safer? How did that work out in New Orleans? Governments exist to provide services that the market can’t or wont. As a water professional I am conscious that costs should be recovered – or else it leads to water waste which is a sin in my book of sacred hydrological verities.

      • Wealthier countries can afford spell checks as well…

      • Everyone should be in favor of better environmental standards, but conservatives see that goal as anti-business, at least in the US.

      • Well that’s just dumb. Unless by “better environmental standards” you mean the same as your typical progressive, ie. whatever big government program is popular among your friends and colleagues at the moment. .

      • Yes, not just clean coal, but things like mercury and arsenic, and they oppose it. Too expensive. Cuts into their profits. Etc. They think clean air, safe food and water is a progressive plot of some kind.

      • As I said, that’s just dumb. It amazes me how ridiculous some people’s love of propaganda is. Some troll of a progressive puts out a commercial showing an actor pretending to be a conservative pushing an old lady off a cliff, and we get people believing conservatives want arsenic and mercury in the water/food supply, and another rocket scientist bleating about how the Pilgrims stole Manhattan using some beads.

        There is no point arguing with such blind, gullible stupidity I suppose. Some of you ought to demand your money back from the progressives who taught you in school. Good grief.

  28. Beth Cooper

    Checks and balances,spelling and hearing checks as well. Guess we’re brave but fragile humans in a complex world. Simple as that. :-)

  29. What is their problem. I have a difficult time understanding why the global warming alarmists do not believe the Sun matters. Their science is deplorable–e.g., they practice numerology instead of instead of the numeracy of science. At then they seem to lack even a basic understanding of nature on a fundemental human level when it comes to the primacy of the Sun, which is the only truly independent variable. Nominally, it is the Sun, stupid; and, who in their right mind — what stange cult — would substitute the science of Al Gore or any feckless Western government bureaucrat like Hansen for that. It’s like the global warming alarmists prefer the philosophy of Cliff Clavin to that of Socrates.

    • It’s not so hard to understand. They take the Sun as a fixed, constant background input, and attribute all variation on the planet to their preferred “forcing”. It’s their preferred forcing because it happens to intersect every human activity they want to control.

      I personally suspect they are secretly aware that said “forcing” actually does bupkis, so they are quite safe in demanding any sort of alteration of it without having to worry that it might actually change anything–meanwhile using it to establish a chokehold on human survival and economics.

      Nice work if you can get it!

  30. To me, the most interesting omission is consideration of scale. Brian Walker has considered this in great detail – and, I think, developed a good answer. The liberals, progressives…seem to want everything “solved” at the federal level; the conservative view presented here seems to imply that all problems environmental problems should be tackled at the local level. Walker points out that the best solution would involve matching the scale of the solver to the scale of the problem. He also adds a cautionary note – a solution at one scale may produce new problems at both the higher and lower levels. Practically speaking in the US, this would generally mean that in most instances environmental problems would be solved at the state level (most local jurisdictions don’t have the resources to address). In this context, while CAGW might be considered a global problem, the solutions will have to be developed at a nation-state level. In the developed world, we have several flawed policy options (most of which would contravene the Precautionary Principle). In the developing world, I think Green hit it on the head – wealthier is healthier, for a host of reasons – there the emphasis must be providing opportunities to advance.

  31. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, as someone who describes himself as “true green”, I think you have highlighted a very important perspective and issue. Having worked as a commercial salmon fisherman for a good chuck of my life, it would be great if my grand-kids could have the same opportunity. The only way to do that is to conserve, maintain. and manage the health of the fish, of the rivers they spawn in, and of the ocean itself. That’s what true green means to me, in the ocean as in the other spheres of nature.

    Migratory deep-sea fish species represent one area where the “love of home” doesn’t work so well. Actually, not much works well out on the high seas. Managing coastal fisheries is much easier, the deep-water is a spiny critter no matter where you grasp it.

    In any case, I did like quote you gave about the two main things the sides can learn from each other.

    For the environmentalists, it is that wealthier is healthier and is better for the environment. Nobody pollutes and damages the environment like the poor, be they poor countries, poor cities, or poor individuals. In Costa Rica I met a man selling firewood for cooking, and I asked him where he cut it. “In the National Forest Park”, he said. “Isn’t that illegal?”, I asked. I’ve never forgotten his answer. “Tengo seis hijos, cuando tienen hambre, que puedo hacer?” … meaning “I have six children, when they are hungry, what can I do?”.

    For that reason alone, taxing or increasing the cost of energy in any way is a very, very foolish and shortsighted environmental policy. It takes energy to keep the environment clean, as well as to generate the wealth to be able to afford to keep it clean.

    For the conservatives, it is that there are real environmental problems out there, and not everything is an EPA fantasy. Lots of things are EPA fantasies, to be sure, but by no means all of them, and some of them are very nasty and dangerous things indeed.

    So, a great discussion of an important topic. Your blog is a marvelously constant source of wonder and irritation, Judith, what more could a man want? My congratulations to you.

    w.

    • Obviously global warming is all political or it wouldn’t be a Left vs. right issue but that those who are not Leftists are not concerned about the environment is a red herring. The solution to

      pollution is not dilution. So surfer wants society’s waste water dumped into the surfline. And, sewage treatment takes energy. Patrick Moore had it right: he saw it all from the belly of the beast. Trees — just for example — are a renewable resource. It’s good that humanity wants to cut down trees — they’ll plant more because humanity likes trees.

    • “wealthier is healthier ”

      It takes about a millisecond to think of quite a few counter-examples which demonstrate that this is more wishful thinking than sober analysis.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Michael | June 8, 2012 at 12:05 am

        “wealthier is healthier ”

        It takes about a millisecond to think of quite a few counter-examples which demonstrate that this is more wishful thinking than sober analysis.

        Michael, I fear you misunderstand the meaning behind the saying. The point is that a society has to be wealthy to provide health care, either for the individuals in that society or for the environment. Remediation costs money. Doctors and environmental scientists cost money. Smoke-stack scrubbers cost money. Hospitals cost money. Not dumping your industrial waste in the nearest river costs money.

        Finally, you are correct that wealth doesn’t inexorably lead to health, for individuals or for the environment … but poverty inexorably leads to illness. So your counter-examples merely show that the wealth has to be used wisely. The examples do not show that the underlying meaning is incorrect. It takes money to take care of the environment, and as a result, wealthier societies do a better job of it in general than poor societies. That’s the meaning of “wealthier is healthier”.

        w.

      • the problem is the assumption that one, health, simply follows on from the other, wealth.

        If that was so, the US would have the best health profile in the world. It doesn’t, it’s waaaay down the scale with regard to health outcomes.

        The other issue is the use of the relative term “wealthoier”. While it is clear that deprivation is determental to your health, “wealthier” as an not necessarily true.

      • This applies more to environmental health. 3rd world and the old communist bloc have horrible records. As far as health, there is a down side to being too wealthy. We have so much food, so cheap, that when we succumb to our evolutionary habits and eat in case food is short later, we put on a few pounds each year. And we tend to like sweet and fatty foods which makes weight gain easier. Most of the reasons we are ~10th in the world and not first have to do with being overweight.

      • And it took considerable longer than that to type your remark, yet not one example.

    • Excellent post Willis. More I agree with than disagree.

  32. Part of the confusion is the terminology.

    The core meaning of the word conservative no longer applies all that well to the political ‘conservatives’, whose territory has been progressively taken over by radicals of the political right – dogmatic free-marketers and ideological libertarians.

    When it comes to the issue at hand – AGW – the evil conservationists are true conservatives. They want to keep that planet roughly as it is. The political ‘conservatives’, mostly hold to the highly radical position that this uncontrolled experiment on the atmosphere should continue in the hope that it will be of little consequence, or might even be good.

    • No one is more dogmatic, more ideological, and less informed than the true progressive. Conservatism is a conflicting mish-mash of this and that with appeals to mystic authority and too often a desire to control others social behaviors while the progressive only wants to control a few social behaivors and most economic ones. And both are less introspective or critical of the results of their own policy outcomes. A libertarian is simply a classical liberal in the original (and current) european use of the word. Please forgive me for being consistent and wanting to limit the use of force to the greatest extent possible.

  33. The correct sequencing of the phrase is healthier is wealthier.

    Cancer rates are set to soar in developing countries as they “improve” their standards of living:

    http://www.snspost.com/cancer-cases-to-surge-dramatically-by-2030/

    So everything is a trade off. So how much money would you pay not to get cancer?

    The point being: healthier is wealthier, and not the other way around. And most importantly, what is truly healthy for the person is healthy for the planet.

  34. Willis Eschenbach

    R. Gates | June 8, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply

    The correct sequencing of the phrase is healthier is wealthier.

    Cancer rates are set to soar in developing countries as they “improve” their standards of living:

    Cancer is a disease of those wealthy enough to live long enough to get cancer … in poor societies where the life expectancy is 35 or 40 years, you won’t see much cancer. But that low cancer rate is not because those poor folks are living exemplary lives and eating healthy foods and taking care of themselves … it’s because they die before they have time to develop cancer.

    w.

    • Willis,

      I think you are seriously discounting some important etiology of diseases in advanced countries that goes well beyond the fact that people are simply living longer. Diet and lifestyle play a huge role. And of course there are other environmental issues at play. Autism rates are soaring in the U.S. and these are real rates…not just because it is diagnostic bias. Something in the environment is causing it.

      • I agree. ‘Primitive’ people can live long. Some actually enjoy long life spans, longer than civilised people. And they don’t get as much diseases of modern civilisation. It’s a bit of a myth.

      • I strongly recommend this book:
        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0879838167/

        First published in 1939!

      • Willis Eschenbach

        R. Gates | June 8, 2012 at 1:19 am | Reply

        Willis,

        I think you are seriously discounting some important etiology of diseases in advanced countries that goes well beyond the fact that people are simply living longer. Diet and lifestyle play a huge role.

        Thanks, R. I was not talking about “diseases in advanced countries”, I was talking about cancer in poor countries. Certainly, there are other factors at play, diet and lifestyle, but you have to live long enough for those factors to make a difference.

        Because if people only live to 35, you’re not going to see much cancer no matter what they eat, drink, or smoke … if cancer worked that fast, we’d see millions of smokers around the planet getting lung cancer at 28, and we just don’t see that in any significant numbers.

        w.

      • R. Gates said:
        “Autism rates are soaring in the U.S. and these are real rates…not just because it is diagnostic bias. Something in the environment is causing it.”
        ——————————————————-
        Here we go again. There seems to be a persistent belief in some sections of the human race, from earliest times, that disease is a result of someone being naughty. Evil spirits, bad lifestyles – call it what you will, it must have some moral connotation.

        Given that the most important discoveries about eliminating diseases in the last few decades point to bacterial or virological causes (e.g. stomach ulcers, cervical cancer, both of which were previously blamed on ‘bad lifestyles’), why do you assume that increases in Type 2 diabetes or autism must be due to something in the Western environment or lifestyle? The evidence – as opposed to correlation within certain populations – is just not there.

        Willis is correct in saying that most deaths from cancer are in elderly people – those aged over 70, in rich countries. The age profile for most deaths from entirely preventible diseases like malaria and gastro-intestinal infections is the opposite – babies and children in poor countries predominate. These problems are fixable, which is why First World angst about ‘the environment’ as displayed by Scruton and his disciples comes across as so breathtakingly callous, closely followed by rich Westerners who whine about how affluence is making us sick.

      • johanna,

        Most of us don’t believe that evil spirits have caused the autism rate in this country to soar by 100% in just over a decade. Rather we can use science to investigate the likely environmental factors at work. Very possibly something like BPA or some other nasty compound is at work here. But of course, for some reason, certain conservatives don’t even want to admit that their blessed unbridled and unregulated capitalism can poison people. Thus, they’d do away with the EPA entirely.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Well, let’s see. Here’s a discussion of the new CDC report

        The report said the U.S. rate of autism spectrum disorder rose to about 1 in 88 children. The previous rate was 1 in 110. The new figure, which is from 2008 data, means autism is nearly twice as common as officials said it was five years ago. It indicates a 23-percent rise over a two-year period.

        So your claim is that a jump of 23% in two years is due to something in the environment, rather than the fact that autism seems to be the disease du jour?

        I’d say autism used to be under-reported and is now over-reported, because there is nothing in the environment of the entire USA that has changed that much in two year.

        Of course unbridled capitalism can poison people … but believing that some unknown poison has caused a 23% nationwide increase in autism is witch-doctoring … nor is this the first ultra-rapid change in the autism prevalence. Between 1989 and 1992, autism rates rose from 7.58 to 15.21 per 10,000. Again, do you truly believe that changes in the environment caused autism rates to double in three years?

        Highly unlikely … what we are looking at is a change in diagnosis, not a change in disease levels. When I was a kid they would have been diagnosed with “mild mental retardation”.

        w.

      • Willis – same with ADHD. We used to identify the clear cases. Now we have teachers telling parents to take junior to the family doctor to get Ritalin.

        Remember all the PSA’s back in the ’80s about suicide shortly after Prozac hit the market? There was an increase in diagnosis of depression about then, too. Cui bono?

      • Even if autism rates have increased to the extent that you claim (and there is plenty of ground for dispute in that regard) it doesn’t detract from my point. You have said that “very likely something like BPA or some other nasty compound is at work here”, just like the CO2 alarmists argument runs – first something bad without precedent is happening (disputable) and second, we know what the cause is (a massive leap of faith). Claiming to know how to fix it puts us all into unicorn territory.

        The commonality is that it is all allegedly due to human evildoing, and that if only we all lived right these bad things would not happen. So, in your post you casually claim that ‘very possibly something like BPA or some other nasty compound is at work here’, which just about sums up the insulation from logic and superstitious thinking of most environmentalists from wealthy countries.

  35. Peter Lang

    Comment posted on the thread JC linked to http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/06/05/conservatives-who-think-seriously-about-the-planet/comment-page-4/#comment-111744

    “There is an inexcusable silence from the political right about how to provide energy for 10 times as many people as we do today (almost all in China and India), without quadrupling CO2 for thousands of years to come.”

    The answer is clear (IMO). It’s nuclear generated electricity. Cheap electricity provides water and produces liquid fuels for energy carriers for transport fuels.

    I suspect the mention of ‘cheap’ nuclear has stopped most people in their tracks. Why?

    Regulatory ratcheting has increased the cost of nuclear by a factor of four to 1990 (according to Bernard Cohen) and probably double again since. Nuclear has been regulated to its high price. If not for the excessive regulation it has suffered for the past 50 odd years, it would be far cheaper. It would also be safer. It would have progressed through the development stages like other technologies have progressed through, but which have been prevented for nuclear.

    The commercial airline industry is a good parallel. It is also a complex system which has accidents and kills people. It has accidents and kills hundreds of people at a time, thousands per year. But it is continually improving. Air travel costs have been coming down and safety increasing for the past 50 years. We accept the small risk of being involved in an accident because of the enormous benefit of low cost air travel. If we had regulated more stringently over the past 50 years, air travel would be more expensive now, there would be less air travel, the world would have lower GDP (because of less face to face communication and less commerce) and we’d be worse off. Importantly, air travel would be less safe than it is now because it would have had less development.

    Development of the nuclear industry has been choked and constrained. So nuclear generation is not as safe and it is more expensive than it would have been if it had been allowed to compete and develop on an equal footing with other electricity generation technologies.

    Nuclear fuel is 20,000 times more energy dense than coal and oil in the Gen III reactors and potentially up to 2 million times more energy dense in Gen IV reactors. That means many things: nuclear fuel is virtually unlimited in the Earth’s crust so can power all our energy needs indefinitely. A golf-ball size piece of uranium can provide all the energy needs of the average American for their whole life (that is all the energy needs for all the products, services and direct energy a person usesd for their whole life). Secondly, high energy density means negligible mining, negligible transport of fuels, negligible storage space. Negligible storage space and cost means the energy security problem is solved; i.e. countries can hold effectively unlimited energy in storage for as long as they want.

    In WWII, the US was building aircraft carriers in 100 days (from the start to fully equipped and fully loaded with aircraft and weapons). If USA could do that 70 years ago, the industrial countries could certainly produce small modular nuclear power plants at whatever rate the world needs them. They’d be built in factories, shipped to site and returned to factory for refuelling (similar to submarines refuelling cycle).

    How could we do this?

    Remove all the impediments we’ve imposed, over the past 50 years, that are preventing nuclear electricity generation from being cost competitive with fossil fuels. This included the distortions we’ve imposed on our energy markets, such as tax breaks, subsidies, feed in tariffs, and masses of regulations to favour one technology or another.

    No other intervention in markets is needed. All we have to do is remove the impediments we’ve imposed by 50 years of wrong-headed interventions.

    Once we have cheap electricity, then we’ll be able to produce water and energy carriers for transport fuels to meet our needs.

  36. Peter Lang

    “There is an inexcusable silence from the political right about how to provide energy for 10 times as many people as we do today (almost all in China and India), without quadrupling CO2 for thousands of years to come.”

    The answer is clear (IMO). It’s nuclear generated electricity. Cheap electricity provides water and produces liquid fuels for energy carriers for transport fuels.

    I suspect the mention of ‘cheap’ nuclear has stopped most people in their tracks. Why?

    Regulatory ratcheting has increased the cost of nuclear by a factor of four to 1990 (according to Bernard Cohen) and probably double again since. Nuclear has been regulated to its high price. If not for the excessive regulation it has suffered for the past 50 odd years, it would be far cheaper. It would also be safer. It would have progressed through the development stages like other technologies have progressed through, but which have been prevented for nuclear.

    The commercial airline industry is a good parallel. It is also a complex system which has accidents and kills people. It has accidents and kills hundreds of people at a time, thousands per year. But it is continually improving. Air travel costs have been coming down and safety increasing for the past 50 years. We accept the small risk of being involved in an accident because of the enormous benefit of low cost air travel. If we had regulated more stringently over the past 50 years, air travel would be more expensive now, there would be less air travel, the world would have lower GDP (because of less face to face communication and less commerce) and we’d be worse off. Importantly, air travel would be less safe than it is now because it would have had less development.

    Development of the nuclear industry has been choked and constrained. So nuclear generation is not as safe and it is more expensive than it would have been if it had been allowed to compete and develop on an equal footing with other electricity generation technologies.

    Nuclear fuel is 20,000 times more energy dense than coal and oil in the Gen III reactors and potentially up to 2 million times more energy dense in Gen IV reactors. That means many things: nuclear fuel is virtually unlimited in the Earth’s crust so can power all our energy needs indefinitely. A golf-ball size piece of uranium can provide all the energy needs of the average American for their whole life (that is all the energy needs for all the products, services and direct energy a person usesd for their whole life). Secondly, high energy density means negligible mining, negligible transport of fuels, negligible storage space. Negligible storage space and cost means the energy security problem is solved; i.e. countries can hold effectively unlimited energy in storage for as long as they want.

    In WWII, the US was building aircraft carriers in 100 days (from the start to fully equipped and fully loaded with aircraft and weapons). If USA could do that 70 years ago, the industrial countries could certainly produce small modular nuclear power plants at whatever rate the world needs them. They’d be built in factories, shipped to site and returned to factory for refuelling (similar to submarines refuelling cycle).

    How could we do this?

    Remove all the impediments we’ve imposed, over the past 50 years, that are preventing nuclear electricity generation from being cost competitive with fossil fuels. This included the distortions we’ve imposed on our energy markets, such as tax breaks, subsidies, feed in tariffs, and masses of regulations to favour one technology or another.

    No other intervention in markets is needed. All we have to do is remove the impediments we’ve imposed by 50 years of wrong-headed interventions.

    Once we have cheap electricity, then we’ll be able to produce water and energy carriers for transport fuels to meet our needs.

    • Rob Starkey

      I did a little research a few years ago on nuclear energy when I wondered why it had not become more readily adopted for use on things like powering large cargo vessels. The economics would seem to make it a technology that should have been widely adopted.

      The issues that drove government regulators to their decision to tightly control and effectively limit the proliferation of the technology seems to have been centered on the desire to prevent widespread access to nuclear waste products that could be used by those with malicious intent. Interesting is that this was a position developed in the 1960’s.

      If you think about it, that is still a key issue today. If there were hundreds or even thousands more nuclear power plants, isn’t there a significantly higher probability that some of the material from these facilities could or would be used by people wanting to perform terrorist activities? It seems to be one of the reasons why larger nuclear plants are constructed. It is easier to keep control of the same amount of waste material. Of course, the counter point is that there is more energy loss due to transmission over longer distances.

      • Rob Starkey,

        The anti-nuke argument that once-used-nuclear-fuel (‘nuclear waste’ to some) can be readily stolen and transformed into nuclear bombs is BS. Hasn’t been done yet and is near impossible.

        Besides which, the Gen III reactors we use now – which produce the once-used-nuclear-fuel you are concerned about – are just a transition phase to Gen IV. Most of my article was directed at arguing for removing the impediments to low cost Gen IV. We need a ne regulator for Gen IV. It cannot be a spin off from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, because its entrenched culture of excessive focus on safety and insufficient concern about cost of electricity cannot be changed.

  37. Joe's World

    Judith,

    Interesting shows “Dragon’s Den” and “Shark Tank” which show how greed is the factor in the market place. The wealthy get wealthier and has no care for anyone else.
    Another side effect of wealth is hording wealth takes away capital in the marketplace that would be used for companies and factories and jobs.
    The poor get the added burden from government incentives to entice the rich to invest.
    What a crappy system!!!

    • “Another side effect of wealth is hording wealth takes away capital in the marketplace that would be used for companies and factories and jobs.
      The poor get the added burden from government incentives to entice the rich to invest.
      What a crappy system!!!”

      You say it’s bad to hoard, and it’s “natural” to do it. Yet despair of government policy of incentives. Quite a contradiction.

      Generally the idea of framers of this nation, was not so much limit power, but have balance of power of government [Congress, Executive, Judicial- and others. Others include federation of States with sovereignty, and a voting public and markets]. The idea was the powers would check each other.
      One should not worry too much about the rich and their greed.
      There greed is your friend. Better they be greedy that form some alliance- some “big happy sharing family”. Not that this is a worry.

      So you say it’s a crappy system. I am all ears, what is a better system?
      Please don’t tell me it’s some idiotic redistribution plan.

      • Who hoards wealth? Gold bars under the bed? Wealth is held in banks, securities, investments, whatever, all available for growth-producing activities, not shut away in a cave. Gina Reinhart, whose wealth has increased so much in the last 2-3 years of the mining boom that she’s now the world’s richest woman, is pouring that wealth into new projects, the latest being a $A7 billion investment. Only madmen hoard.

  38. Harold Pierce Jr

    What climate change? After watching weather reports on the TV for about 60 years and reading about weather and climate in pop mags (Nat Geo, Sci Am, etc) and more recently on the blogs. I have concluded there has been no “climate change” nor will there ever be any climate change…

    That is to say, the patterns of weather in the various regions of the earth has been and still is more of less the same. There are many regions of the earth where climate has not changed for centuries e.g. Death Valley, the Atacama Desert, Antarctica, the Gobi Desert, etc.

    I said this many times before here and elsewhere, and I say this one more time here: Go out to remote rural areas and ask the elders what they about climate change. Go to Oklahoma or the Northern Great Plains and ask the really old folks (>80 yrs of ago) what they know.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Harold, please note that biologist Ed Wilson is 82 years old, anthropologist Jane Goodall is 78, and farmer/essayist/curmudgeon Wendell Berry is 78.

      All three have spent their lives observing Nature … and what they have seen leads all three to say that skeptical denialism is just plain wrong.

      See for example, Ed Wilson’s “Letter to a Southern Baptist Pastor“, which is the lead essay in Wilson’s The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth (2006).

      And yes, Ed Wilson is himself from Southern Baptist roots (as his essay heart-feelingly tells).

      Summary: Strictly on the evidence, workers like Ed Wilson, Jane Goodall, and Wendell Berry are each of them far more truly and deeply life-long conservatives, than any of the faux-conservative talking heads whose deeply stupid, willfully ignorant, and self-serving essays Judith Curry quoted.

      • Harold Pierce Jr

        What I am saying is that you into these areas and interview a great many people, like many hundreds.

        What does Jane G really know about “the enviroment”? Absolutely nothing!
        She spends her whole life in a remote jungle watching hairy apes. What waste of time. This lady should get a life and go help the homeless.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Harold Pierce Jr, your comment demonstrates the worst aspects of skepticism, in that the comment shows:

        • you know nothing about Goodall’s life & work, and

        • you’re satisfied to know nothing.

        Displays of willful, self-satisfied, abusive ignorance are characteristic of the feeblest forms of skepticism.

        Nonetheless, thanks for the opportunity to point Climate Etc folks toward the The Jane Goodall Institute.   :)

        Comparisons with (say) The Heartland Institute are invited. Which best represents the best and truest ideals of 21st century conservatism?

  39. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    David L. Hagen “The null hypothesis of dominant natural [variation] with minor human is the best model.”

    David Hagen’s skeptical assertion is commonly applied to ecosystems at all scales, from local to planetary. The problem is, this skeptical faith is just plain wrong on the facts.

    Willis Eschenbach can testify to a well-documented counterexample: unregulated fisheries commonly are fished to commercial extinction. Without regulation, fisheries die. That’s a fact. Why do skeptics imagine that exploiting the earth’s atmospheric resources is any different?

    • “Why do skeptics imagine that exploiting the earth’s atmospheric resources is any different?”

      Because the ‘skeptics’ put ideology before science?

      • Speaking of putting science first…can anyone present any conclusive evidence than humans are making the globe warmer? I’ve been asking for it for years and no one seems to have any.

        Andrew

      • Well, there is that small matter of 30 or so gigatonnes of CO2 put into the atmosphere by man evey year.

        But of course, the flat-earthers deny that GHGs cause warming…….

      • Michael, I note your response points to no evidence. Just claims.

        Andrew

      • Yeah, that burning hydrocarbons realeases CO2 is just a claim. GHGs are just a ‘claim’ too……

        Calling them ‘flat-earthers’ is an insult to flat-earthers.

    • Rob Starkey

      Why do alarmists promote the idea that because one environmental issue makes sense, that all other environmental issues MUST therefore make sense. Reasonable people deal with the specific facts of a specific situation. In the case of cAGW, mitigation is simplly not a cost effective solution.

    • ferd berple

      In point of fact, regulated fisheries are fished to commercial extinction, by driving operators to resort to ever larger boats to compete within ever decreasing catch windows. The economics of larger vessels and smaller windows require ever larger catches to satisfy the capital costs.

      The problem is that regulators cannot see the problem for what it is, an economic problem, not a fish management problem. Instead, regulators continue to focus on the failed policies of “opening days”, ignoring the economic effects that result in extinction of fish stock.

      A million ton boat can catch a huge amount of fish in just a few hours a year. A one ton boat cannot catch that amount in a lifetime of fishing. However, a one ton boat cannot catch enough fish in a few hours a year to pay the cost of operations, while a million ton boat can.

      Thus, by regulating the length of the fishing season, rather than vessel size, fisheries are fished to extinction.

      • King crab is regulated by the pound, not time. I’m not sure about the others.

      • ferd berple

        Most fisheries are based on “pounds”. From this they calculate the length of the opening to be allowed. Which drives fishermen to buy ever larger boats to compete within ever smaller windows. It is a nonsense approach.

    • Fan
      Re: “Without regulation, fisheries die.”
      True – because high volume commercial fishing can deplete bio populations faster than maximum growth rates. See the problem especially with tuna. The greater problem is that fisheries are dying WITH regulations – because the regulations are not being implemented.

      Re: “wrong on the facts”
      You are the one wrong on facts. I gave you facts on why Scafetta’s models are superior with more accurate forecasting/hindcasting. while IPCC models are now at 2 sigma higher than 32 year actual data.
      By the scientific method, you have the burden of proof to show anthropogenic impacts are greater than the null hypothesis. Currently that fails.
      You further equivocate by changing the subject to species extinction.
      Even there, the facts are that natural asteroid impacts have caused far greater species deaths (75%) than humans, and you have not incorporated those probabilities.
      You further have not shown that global warming is more serious than either asteroid impacts or ongoing oil depletion with impending serious global declines of available crude oil.
      Until you grapple with these issues, you have little to say that is worth paying attention to.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        David, just like ferd berple (below), yah oughtta check yer facts before posting yer claims: US fish stocks rebound.

        As for the increasingly common skeptical argument that long-term AGW isn’t serious because short-term oil depletion is serious … look up the latin phrase non sequitor, why don’cha? Duh … mebbe they’re both serious?

        Yah think?

      • “As for the increasingly common skeptical argument that long-term AGW isn’t serious because short-term oil depletion is serious … look up the latin phrase non sequitor, why don’cha? Duh … mebbe they’re both serious?”

        I am of the mind that oil depletion and AGW are both serious topics. The discrepancy is in the signal-to-noise ratio. For oil depletion, the signal of oil depletion is an order of magnitude above the noise, while for AGW the signal is just starting to come out of the noise. Low signal-to-noise ratio makes the uncertainty analysis a critical component and that’s what makes this blog site worthwhile. Crude oil depletion is an absolute certainty, and I have been there and done that, written a book, end of story. The complete story behind AGW hasn’t been written yet.

        A good analogy and one that I have personal experience with is with the cancer of leukemia. When acute leukemia first starts it shows as a few malignant white cells in a sea of healthy ones. It’s almost impossible to determine whether a patient has leukemia until the white cell count starts to diverge from average (often it is much higher count, but sometimes it is less). With atmospheric CO2, the excess CO2 is like the excess white blood cells. Fortunately, we have adequate ways of measuring that we have excess CO2, yet we don’t have a complete handle on their malignancy. We also have a scientific theory that these are the precursor states that could turn nasty, just like there exist pre-cancerous indicators.

        So what we do is put a watch on the count (CO2) and the symptoms (possible fever).

        What I can’t take are these fake skeptics who say that the CO2 has no effect, while also saying that even if it did, there is nothing we can do about or that they will welcome the resulting warming. What kind of scientific crapola is that?

      • Fan
        Illogical.
        Tuna abundance in some areas does not override tuna overfishing in other areas. See: ISSF STOCK STATUS RATINGS – 2012 Status of the World Fisheries for Tuna
        See

        Globally, 52% of the stocks are at a healthy level of abundance, 39% are overfished and 9% are at an intermediate
        level. In terms of exploitation, 35% of the stocks are experiencing a low fishing mortality rate, 17% are being over-exploited,

        Danger of Oil Depletion>> catastrophic global warming.
        Danger of asteroid impact >> catastrophic global warming.
        Cost of mitigation >> damage from global warming.
        See Why mitigating CO2 emissions is cost-ineffective

        less than one-thousandth of a Fahrenheit degree of global warming prevented, at a cost of $410 billion even after discounting to present value. . . .
        The cost of abating the one-third of a Fahrenheit degree of warming that the IPCC imagines will happen over the decade of the scheme, if everyone worldwide were crazy enough to adopt measures as laughably cost-ineffective as these, would be $25,000 per head of the world population, or one-third of global GDP over a decade. This would be 26 times the cost enduring the welfare loss that might arise from the global warming we fail to prevent if we do nothing.

        Consequently don’t mitigate.
        (I trust you have had enough high school math to understand these calculations.)
        Focus on priorities, not foolish burying our wealth in the biggest hole ever conceived.

      • Steven Mosher

        Scafettas model is unfortunately
        1. unreplicatable
        2. based on innaccurate data
        3. without credible error bars
        4. incapable of hindcasting properly
        5. not dimensionally correct
        6. incomplete
        A) incapable of forecasting related metrics
        B) incapable of forecasting sub metrics ( SST, average over land,
        continental scale forecasts etc)
        Basically its not a model. It explains nothing.

      • maksimovich

        Leans models in their various incantations, does not predict the solar cycles,hence having little scientific status,yet it is widely used in climate studies,there is a difference ?.

      • Lean’s various models are are pretty educational. The early models matched temperature very well but were wrong because a mere 1Wm-2 of solar variation could not possibly cause temperature swings of that magnitude. Solar variation of only 1Wm-2 though combined with aerosols could produce the 1910 to 1940 warming. Volcanoes now are responsible for the LIA, since solar variation couldn’t cause the LIA. Now Vaughan Pratt has a theory that volcanic and geothermal activity contribute to climate change. Nichola Scafela has a theory that solar cycles cause climate change. We have run a loop in less than two decades :) Nothing makes life interesting more than 95% confidence levels.

      • maksimovich

        Volcanic activity is not a get out of jailcard for the LIA eg Krakatoa,the inability to successfully explain singularities that are temporally identifiable is a significant constraint in the averaging community.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      A fan of *MORE* discourse | June 8, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply

      … Willis Eschenbach can testify to a well-documented counterexample: unregulated fisheries commonly are fished to commercial extinction. Without regulation, fisheries die. That’s a fact. Why do skeptics imagine that exploiting the earth’s atmospheric resources is any different?

      A bit of clarity on your part would help here. If you are talking about atmospheric CO2 concentration going from three hundredths of one percent to four hundredths of one percent, I’d say that is as significant as if the fish catch were changing by a hundredth of a percent … neither one can possibly be described as “exploitation”.

      Now, pumping poison into the air, I think almost all skeptics are as much against that as almost all AGW supporters … but then CO2 isn’t a poison.

      w.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Willis, it distresses those who respect you, that you would post such a manifestly nonsensical argument as the above.

        Climate Etc. readers can consider for example the parallel argument:

        • The element potassium is essential to normal human metabolism.

        • Normal blood potassium levels are tiny: about 0.02% (by mass fraction).

        • Therefore, halving-or-doubling potassium levels will have negligible effect.

        This potassium argument precisely parallels your CO2 argument, doesn’t it Willis?

        And yet, it’s a well-established medical fact, that patients with halved-or-doubled potassium levels are critically ill, aren’t they Willis?

        And so arguments of the form you posted are utterly fallacious, aren’t they Willis?

        Willis, your post was among the most grossly, foolishly, ideologically-comforting, yet utterly wrong-on-the facts posts, that I ever remember you making.

      • I have heard that too about potassium, and also calcium. It has something to do with the ionic concentrations necessary to regulate your heart rate. Whatever the reason, these small concentrations have to be within process control parameter tolerances.

        Here is another one: The entire semiconductor industry is based on precise process control of very small concentrations of dopants.

        So we totally screw with the earth’s process control parameters and naively expect everything to be OK. That is the fake skeptic way. Go team skeptic!

      • Willis Eschenbach

        A fan of *MORE* discourse | June 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

        Willis, it distresses those who respect you, that you would post such a manifestly nonsensical argument as the above.

        Climate Etc. readers can consider for example the parallel argument:

        • The element potassium is essential to normal human metabolism.

        • Normal blood potassium levels are tiny: about 0.02% (by mass fraction).

        Thanks, fan. Normal potassium levels in the blood range from about 3.5 to 5 milliEquivalents per liter (mEq/ L). A change in potassium from 4 to 5 mEq/l makes no difference at all … so you’ve chosen a very poor counter-example.

        More to the point, however, what you have not considered is not the size of the change, but the size of the claimed effect of the change. The global 24/7 average total downwelling radiation at the surface is about half a kilowatt per square metre. The IPCC says that a change from 0.03% to 0.04% CO2 will give a change of ~ 1.5 W/m2. This is a change in the total forcing of 1.5 / 500 W/m2, or three-tenths of a percent change in forcing.

        Now, you are free to believe that the climate is so delicately balanced that a change in total forcing of 0.3% in a highly chaotic system will make a detectable difference … but even AGW supporters are now saying that CO2 has gone way up and down in the past without corresponding changes in temperature:

        However, in this week’s issue of the journal Nature, paleoclimate researchers reveal that about 12-5 million years ago climate was decoupled from atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. New evidence of this comes from deep-sea sediment cores dated to the late Miocene period of Earth’s history.

        During that time, temperatures across a broad swath of the North Pacific were 9-14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today, while atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations remained low–near values prior to the Industrial Revolution.

        Gosh … imagine that … we have no evidence that CO2 and temperature are “coupled” today but we do have evidence that they were “decoupled” in the past. And yet the AGW supporters insist over and over that temperature is a linear function of forcing …

        So I still hold that an increase of a hundredth of a percent in CO2 is meaningless. You are free to believe otherwise, but me, I need this funny stuff called “evidence” to get me to think your claims are true.

        w.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Willis, those who respect your writing on WUWT will be distressed by your (above) comment’s evident logical fallacies, cherry-picked facts, and feeble understanding of science.

        Willis Eschenbach claims: “I need this funny stuff called “evidence” to get me to think your claims are true.”

        Willis, medical scientists reliably foresee catastrophic effects for patients from potassium-level doubling, for precisely similar reasons that climate scientists reliably foresee catastrophic effects for our planet from CO2-level doubling.

        Physicians commonly see patients whose potassium levels are rising inexorably, but have not yet reached health-threatening levels, yet foreseeably are approaching those levels.

        It is shockingly common that even well-educated patients will illogically deny that a serious medical problem exists … why do you think this happens, Willis?

        In both medicine and climate science, the denial of unpleasant realities commonly arises from a toxic blend of fear, sloth, ignorance, cherry-picking, corporate disinformation, and most-of-all, personal irresponsibility. And Willis, your recent writings on WUWT are showing stronger-and-stronger evidence of all of these traits.

        As examples of well-posed questions that are likely to elicit a denialist response that flies directly in the face of clear scientific evidence, try this problem-set, Willis:

        • Starting at age 20, if an 130-point patient sustains a 5% energy surplus in daily caloric intake, what will be that patient’s weight upon the patient’s early death at age 50? Answer: 520 pounds.

        • Starting in 1980, if a civilization doubles-or-triples the CO2 levels of the atmosphere, what will be the sea-levels of that planet at the new equilibrium temperature? Answer: 200+ feet higher.

        Willis, if you would like to learn more about denialist thought patterns in a medical context, consult for example “Nothing is wrong, doctor: understanding and managing denial in patients with cancer.

        Then please let me respectfully suggest, Willis, that you apply your new understanding, in more scrupulously avoiding the similar denial mechanisms and illogicalities, that are becoming steadily more prevalent in the essays that you write for WUWT.

      • So, Fan of More BS, the Dr.’s determined that elevated potassium levels are bad by observation. In turn, we need to run up CO2 levels and see what happens. Then, and only then, will we know. What we do know is that climate models do not model climate correctly, so we can’t rely on them to tell us what will happen when CO2 doubles.

      • Fan of More BS, the government has killed a teenager. Will you be a hypocrite or will you go after them?

        http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/09/teenager-falls-to-death-on-first-day-yellowstone-national-park-job/?test=latestnews

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Why is more-and-more climate-change skepticism being expressed as bizarre non sequiturs?

      • Fan
        Try to be serious for a change instead of wasting our time with foolishness.
        Biochemical systems are well regulated.
        Earth’s climate is also bounded between about 12 to 22 C, currently ~ 14C.
        Why get shook over variations within the natural range?
        Better to focus on what is needed to avoid the next glaciation.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        David, it is evident to any thinking person that Willis Eschenbach’s CO2 argument was utterly devoid of logical force and rational scientific foundations.

        And the same weakness is evident in your argument, eh?

        David L. Hagen asks: Why get shook over variations within the natural range?

        Uhhh … because billions of people presently live on lands that, within “natural range” of variation, have been submerged? Or perhaps because these issues engage the deepest moral principle of mankind?

        As with Willis, so you with you, David — your admirers find it hard to understand your seeming display of willful ignorance in these matters.

      • More,

        Perhaps your time would be better spent looking for some of those 50 million climate refugees, seeing as how you are so convinced billions of people are threatened by submergence.

      • “Earth’s climate is also bounded between about 12 to 22 C, currently ~ 14C.”

        Really, you think that is the range?
        Only 2 C cooler in the glacial periods?

        I think we should think earth is in terms of it’s average temperature, particular if one going to start off some theory with it’s 33 degree warmer than earth’s average temperature would be without the “greenhouse effect”.
        According ice core records. Hmm, this graph gives temperature in Antarctic ranging from -84 F to -60 F and then going off scale with modern temperatures:
        http://www.southwestclimatechange.org/climate/global/past-present
        strange.
        Wiki does the normal anomaly difference of about 10 C:

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

        Both are only for period of 500K years. And this:
        “Earth’s polar temperature has swung wildly—by as much as 15 degrees Celsius (27 degrees Fahrenheit)—over the last 800,000 years, an Antarctic ice core has revealed. ”
        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070705-antarctica-ice.html
        Then got the last 5.5 million staying the same range:

        but the 65 million graph showing, the last 5.5 million being coldest
        part of the latest 65 million with higher temperatures going peaking at 12 C. So in terms of anomaly it’s -8 C to +12 C. Or difference 20 C.

        So I suppose current temperature on anomaly is present temperature- about 14 C, which set a zero. So roughly going -8 C cooler and 12 C
        warmer than current temperatures. Or range of 4 C to 26 C.

        Now point going to make [despite first above] is they use anomaly instead some actual temperature and translate into average global temperature.
        Supposing first link is right about Antarctic being as cold as -84 F [-64.44 °C]. If Antarctic is 20 degrees colder than today, does that mean average global are 20 degrees colder. Or 10 degrees, or have no relation to average global temperature.

        Now if Antarctic was at any point having average of minus -65 C, it means it’s less warmer during summer, or longer colder periods. Or really friggin cold during the winter.
        And if the average temperature was colder [in which ever way] that suggest to me that ice could stack even higher in the Antarctic.
        If ice could stack say 1 mile higher [it that is possible] that having higher stacked ice makes the average temperature about 10-15 C cooler. Which also means if it simply snowed a LOT more than it does today, Antarctic would have lower average temperature. And conversely if there much less stacked up ice it would have lower average temperature [neither having any to do with average global temperature].

    • “Willis Eschenbach can testify to a well-documented counterexample: unregulated fisheries commonly are fished to commercial extinction. Without regulation, fisheries die. That’s a fact.”

      What exactly do you mean by ‘unregulated?’ Who or what is the regulator you have in mind, without which all fisheries are fished to extinction?

  40. ferd berple

    What the opening does guarantee is that most of the year fish are in short supply, while during the opening there is a huge surplus of supply which drives the prices paid to the fishermen down to near zero.

    It would be much better to have the fishery operating year round at much lower intensity, thus providing much higher average returns to the fishermen. This would allow for smaller boats and smaller catches to generate more money from less fish.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Ferd, yah oughtta check yer facts before posting yer claims: US fish stocks rebound. In particular, the Bering Sea crab-season “opening-day rush” was mitigated years ago. Duh.

  41. What environmentalists can learn from conservatives:
    .Wealthier is healthier and cleaner. Until they’re wealthy, they will consume environmental resources without much regard to aesthetics or future generations. Making people wealthier is the ultimate environmental act.
    >Environmentalists do not want people to be poor. It is a false dichotomy: A very bad start to the argument. A far better question may be is top down (conservative) or bottom up (liberal) poverty reduction the way to go? There are arguements both ways depending on the circumstances.

    .Societies that foster “freedom, opportunity, and enterprise” enrich themselves more quickly, and empower people to express their diverse values effectively, including environmental values.
    >Total BS. Cuba has the cleanest coral in the world. Compare it to Florida just across the water. Also comparing freedom and anterprise is also a false dichotomy. Many US enterprises make the local market less free, The Monsanto seed domination has done nothing but harm for Indian farmers. What is good is competition – but too often what we see is a private monopoly.

    Social structures that divorce people from individual responsibility do exactly the opposite. Freeing up markets is an environmental act.
    >Pure dogma. Freeing up markets may have a variety of consequences dependent on the situation. Some have been very bad for the environment and for the wealth of the local population that conservatives so care about (barf). The conservative-inspired privatisation of water in Bolivia was a disgrace and Enron was at the heart of it.

    One should be cautious in intervening in complex economic systems, as one can easily trigger unintended consequences that do more harm than good. Ethanol. ‘Nuff said.
    >Ethanol from corn was a subsidy to support conservative midwest states. Conservatives are no strangers to intervening in complex economic systems; often for the worse.

    Humility should be the rule when it comes to models and forecasting of environmental trends, health damage, economic impacts, or job impacts.
    >And that applies to both sides, not environmentalists exclusively

    Markets are better than mandates.
    >More pure dogma with no basis in fact and many contradictory examples. The nuclear power plants in France were mandated by government for just one glaring example.

    In summary this is no more than self-serving, dogmatic claptrap!

    • This is a classic example of the thick headedness of those who purport to criticize “conservatism” without having a clue of what it is:

      “>Ethanol from corn was a subsidy to support conservative midwest states. Conservatives are no strangers to intervening in complex economic systems; often for the worse.”

      OK, I’ll type this real slow so you can follow:

      “Republican” is not the same as conservative.

      Conservatism is belief in governance by a set of principles. When someone proposes a government program to pick winners and losers in the economy, he is not acting as a conservative. The Republican Party has been filled with progressives, including the founder of the Progressive Party, Teddy Roosevelt.

      The following were not conservatives: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, either of the Bushes, John McCain, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Robert Dole and Mitt Romney.

      The Republican House that has caved in to massive increases in government spending is led not by conservatives, but by “moderate” Republicans. John “Is it time to cry now?” Boehner being a case in point.

      There has never been a time in my lifetime that the U.S. was governed by conservatives. The only conservative president we ever had was Ronald Reagan, and for his entire 8 years he was hamstrung by a progressive/Democrat House led by Tip O’Neill.

      Even if there is a massive conservative landslide in 2012 (which we can only hope will be the case), we will still have the moderate Mitt “I’m a severe conservative” Romney in the White House. (No, Obamacare is nothing like Romneycare. No, seriously, I mean it. It’s not. Stop laughing!!!) And even if the GOP takes the Senate, there are way too many progressive Republicans still there for conservatives to run the show. If conservatives can take control of the House leadership, they may be able to drive policy; otherwise the presidency and both houses of congress will be in the grasp of confirmed moderates (which is an oxymoron, but never mind).

      So 2012 could be a sea change away from the progressive economic abyss(al), but we don’t even have a chance for real conservative governance until 2016.

      You may now return to your regularly scheduled regurgitation of all the progressive propaganda about conservatives that you have been ingesting since kindergarten.

      • In case anyone missed it, on an earlier thread God him/herself descended from the heavens and announced that Gary will hereby determine who is and isn’t a “conservative” according to what he feels best serves his ideology.

      • er…heretofore?

      • conservative: adj \kən-ˈsər-və-tiv\
        Pronunciation: /kənˈsəːvətɪv/
        adjective

        2(in a political context) favouring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.

        Who knew God wrote the Oxford English Dictionary?

      • Gary M,
        As much as I hate to point this out, Joshua is right. You are not in charge of what ‘conservative’ means. In fact one of the strengths of the conservative movement is that it is not tied to a fixed set of rules.

      • See above. To real conservatives, words have actual objective meanings.

      • Hunter,

        I would have thought you knew. The Orwellian undermining of language is one of the principle weapons of progressivism. If they can deprive words of their objective definitional meaning, the debate is lost. If climate change, denier, conservative, etc. lose their objective meaning, you end up debating terminology ad infinitum, ad nauseum. This is a tactic that Joshua used to specialize in when he papered this blog with 40 and 50 comments a day.

        Fighting to maintain the actual objective meaning of words is a key battle ground in the political/economic/social war progressives have been waging on western culture for decades. Don’t surrender it to them.

      • “…If they can deprive words of their objective definitional meaning,”

        In other words, no matter whether people self-describe as “conservatives,” and no matter the myriad ways that an “objective” dictionary definitions can be interpreted, and no matter the myriad ways than an “objective” dictionary definition can be manifest in the complexities of the real world, Gary is the one who determines what “objective definitional meaning” is.

        Only those dirty, Orwellian, progressives, using their weapons of mass destruction, (and of course their self-deluded minions, dupes and lackeys – self-described “conservatives” aren’t actually “conservatives”), would dare to question “objective definitional meaning” as Gary has decreed.

        It’s a good thing that god him/herself visited that previous thread to certify Gary’s authority on these matters, otherwise I would be laughing my head off right now.

        Sometimes a death panel is just a death panel.

      • “Hunter,

        I would have thought you knew. The Orwellian undermining of language is one of the principle weapons of progressivism. ”

        Here I thought their principle weapons were lying, a disbelief in morality, and closely resembling a whiny deranged creature chattering endless nonsense.

      • See, Joshua is determined to claim the “conservative” has no objective meaning. And this after writing elsewhere that “I hold on to the belief that there does exist well-reasoned conservative ideology.”

        Joshua said something there that was actually honest and accurate. There does exist a well reasoned conservative ideology. But that makes his usual rambling attacks on conservatives and conservatism rather meaningless.

        D’Oh!

      • Sorry, Gary. That battle was lost in 1984. “Conservative” doesn’t mean conservative any more than “liberal” means liberal. In reality, environmentalists are extreme reactionaries, and the Heartland Institute are true liberals.

        You need a post-1984 dictionary.

      • OK, the more I read your brief comment, the more trouble I have with it.

        “In fact one of the strengths of the conservative movement is that it is not tied to a fixed set of rules.”

        Are you serious? The WHOLE POINT of conservatism is defense of of the free market and Judeo-Christian principles that made the U.S. the richest, most powerful, most generous country in the history of the planet.

        Think of the major accomplishments of conservatism in the U.S. The end of slavery wasn’t a change in conservative principles, it was the victory, through a horrible war, of the conservative principle of equality over the progressive principle of elitism in its worst form, the out right ownership of their inferior.

        The ending of progressive Jim Crow, and the defeat through the use of arms of the progressive Klu Klux Klan, another victory by conservatives over the elitists who thought they should still dominate the freed slaves.

        Welfare reform, the freeing of millions of poor descendants of slaves from the progressive welfare rules and bribes that kept them subject to the control of their elitist progressive “betters.”

        The failures of conservatism are the failures to follow conservative principles. Abdicating responsibility for educating the descendants of victims of slavery and Jim Crow; allowing progressives in every major city in the country to divert hundreds of billions of dollars from educating those children, to the bloated benefits, and camp contributions, of Democrat subsidiary public unions. Run by those same self proclaimed elitist progressives.

        Abdicating the inner cities to the control of progressive elitists who keep their constituents uneducated, poor, and dependent on government, as a base of their political power.

    • James G,
      Many self-declared environmentalists do in fact want people to be poor, living in a low-tech society and vulnerable to the vagaries of nature.
      Many of the same people also want the violent destruction of technological society.
      Some, including people like Hansen, want criminal charges brought against people who disagree with them.

  42. Dave Springer

    “Scruton suggests that rather than entrusting the environment to unwieldy nongovernmental and international organizations, we should assume personal responsibility and foster local sovereignty.”

    A million children making sneakers in China demonstrate how well that works. If it only it were that easy. There’d be no more wars, no hunger, just one big happy global village. Doesn’t sound very “conservative” to me.

    “But it doesn’t help to label climate change a giant hoax settled science and refuse to discuss it.”

    Fixed that for ya!

  43. It seems like some things will take a long time to change.

    One of those things is Judith throwing red meat out for feeding sessions.

    Let’s just take one of the many dubious statements from Green, that Judith seems to think is a statement of a reasonable person seeking a middle ground between extremists:

    Markets are better than mandates.

    Really? So markets that allow for the production/sale of toxic substances that disproportionately affect those who are politically disempowered “are better” than reasonably constructed and controlled mandates implemented via legislative processes carried out by democratically-elected representatives?

    Of course a well-reasoned middle ground between extreme positions is a reasonable goal (not to say that it necessarily going to derive the best outcome), but you can’t approach such a goal when people refuse to acknowledge extremism and agenda-driven rationale that pervades on both sides of the debate. Are all mandates reasonably constructed and controlled? Of course not. And some market-derived solutions are harmful to many for the benefit of a few.

    Presenting Green’s list as anything other than what it is, will serve no purpose other than to perpetuate the junior high school cafeteria food fight. I think it is entirely reasonable to argue that some environmentalist extremism has has some counterproductive manifestations – but to present such obviously partisan and weakly-reasoned “analysis” such as that from Green that Judith presents here, and to pretend that it is something to build on when seeking well-reasoned compromise, is, well, sad.

    • And I’ll add that it is also questionable as to whether such garbage that Judith has presented here is a reasonable example of “conservativism.”

      I hold on to the belief that there does exist well-reasoned conservative ideology. It is certainly difficult to find amidst the jello-mold and mashed potatoes flying around in the junior high school cafeteria food fight also known as the “climate debate.” But I find it hard to believe that everyone who self-describes as a “conservative” subscribes to such facile reasoning. “Conservatism,” like “libertarianism,” (and “liberalism, for that matter) is founded on reasonable ideological principles. The problems of negotiating those reasonable ideologies are inherent, but they are only exacerbated when people start mixing in straw men, false dichotomies, and facile reasoning born out of tribalism and partisanship.

      • “’Conservatism,’ like ‘libertarianism,’ (and ‘liberalism, for that matter) is founded on reasonable ideological principles.”

        Sounds reasonable, cogent and well thought out, unless you read it in the context of the rabidly ignorant recitation of progressive propaganda that immediately precedes it.

        “So markets that allow for the production/sale of toxic substances that disproportionately affect those who are politically disempowered ‘are better’ than reasonably constructed and controlled mandates implemented via legislative processes carried out by democratically-elected representatives?”

        What precisely are these “toxic substances that disproportionately affect those who are politically disempowered,” and what precisely are the reasoned conservative principles that give rise to such a policy? Who are these conservatives who are fighting this heinous battle to kill people? I want names so I can go demonstrate at their doors. What’s Green’s address? If he wants to poison people something has to be done! We have to save our phony baloney jobs gentleman! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!

        “Markets are better than mandates” as a general rule is just fine. No one, not a single person, accepts the Joshua definition of free markets as the absence of all rules and laws. Not even Joshua I expect. But it sure makes for entertaining reading.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        GaryM asks: “What precisely are these “toxic substances that disproportionately affect those who are politically disempowered,” and what precisely are the reasoned conservative principles that give rise to such a policy?”

        The precise answers: The toxic substance is second-hand tobacco smoke. The politically disempowered are restaurant service workers. The faux-conservative principles disinformation is astroturfed by the likes of Joe Bast / Heartland Institute / RJ Reynolds Inc.

        What is your next question, GaryM?

      • Who disempowered the restaurant workers? Oh wait, that would be the politicians soaking up the revenue stream that is the regressive tax on tobacco products.
        And if marijauna were legal, nobody would suffer any health effects because it would be taxed and regulated.
        Wait, what?

      • Yeah, that second hand smoke thing. The science is settled there, based on the same kind of objective, verified computer models used to settle the science of CAGW.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        GaryM, you are right that it is indeed shocking — and to any conservative, morally indefensible — that commercial interests, and their hired agents, continue to obfuscate and deny the clear scientific evidence that second-hand tobacco smoke is toxic.

        It is telling that many of the same corporations, the same institutions, and even many of the same individual people, similarly obfuscate and deny the scientific evidence of AGW.

        Why this striking commonality, do you think, GaryM?

      • Yep, tobacco smoke is toxic. Any smoke is toxic. Marijuana smoke it toxic, charcoal smoke is toxic, incense smoke is toxic, and smoke from a wood fire is toxic. So what?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Jim2, to answer your question plainly, it is morally wrong — and to thoughtful conservatives, deeply shocking and unacceptable — that commercial interests and their hired agents continue to obfuscate and deny the clear scientific evidence that second-hand tobacco smoke is toxic.

        And for the same reason, it is morally wrong — and to thoughtful conservatives, deeply shocking and unacceptable — that corporations, the same institutions, and even many of the same individual people, similarly obfuscate and deny the scientific evidence of AGW.

        What is your next question, Jim2?

      • Even though I know charcoal smoke is toxic, I continue to bathe my food in it and even breathe it in. The point is, it’s not a huge problem for me. Maybe someone who lives with a chain smoker and both refuse to go outside, it might be a problem. Don’t you “get” that some things are problematic, but not to the point that we need the government, with it’s big (literal) guns, to come in with with the Swat team?

      • Actually, Fan of More BS, your appear to me to be some sort of Drama Queen.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        It’s not complicated, Jim2.

        • Science tells us that forcing our kids to breath toxic smoke is just plain wrong.

        • When corporations and institutions deny and obfuscate this science, that’s wrong too.

        • When we mess-up the planet that our kids will inherit, that’s wrong too.

        There’s no drama … and it’s not complicated … these things are just plain wrong.

      • Fan of More BS – It is wrong to impoverish an otherwise thriving population due to a concept that isn’t well-proven. I’m speaking now of global warming due to man-generated CO2. That is way wronger :) than allowing second-hand smoke.

      • I wonder if those pushing the discussion on second hand smoke are as immoral as those pushing the anti GM-food movement, or the anti-vaccine movement?
        I wonder why pontificating troll AGW believers like A physicist like to pose as some sort of moral authority to tell conservatives what they should be upset about?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        GaryM, Jim2 and Hunter: so as the scientific evidence for AGW gains strength, your skepticism will wane? That’s mighty good to know.

        On the other hand, the scientific evidence for harm from second-hand smoke has gained strength too — and yet somehow, the smoke-skeptical corporations, institutions, and individuals have been mighty slow to relax their skepticism.

        How does this work, exactly? Do skeptics ever change their views?

      • A physicist,
        The evidence for AGW is not increasing. Will your faith in it decline?
        I know that you need to distract by way of red herrings and unrelated arguments, but this is a blog about climate. I never paid attention to second hand smoke either way, and do not care to let you try and use it as a way to avoid your failures with AGW.

      • Fan of More BS – Your microscopic focus on second-hand smoke marginalizes the truly serious issues faced by the US, Europe, and the rest of the world. We need first to focus on the huge negative externalities that come with socialism in the US. Costs like the rich leaving the country, the poor choosing to stay on welfare because if they make a little money they lose it. That leave poor sods in the middle trying to pay for it all while chiseling out a living for themselves. Hopefully, this problem will be addressed in the near future. Once we have a thriving economy again, then we will have the economic bullets to do some good.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        So here’s the tune this forum’s climate-change skeptics are singing:

        • skepticism stands on weakening ground morally, and
        • skepticism stands on weakening ground scientifically, and so
        • skepticism’s last stand will be on economic grounds.

        But yah know, those economic grounds are looking weaker-and-weaker too … because of the folks who are sitting on trillions of American petro-dollars.

        Tell the truth, skeptics: Are climate-change skeptics glad to be these folks’ natural allies?

      • Dave Springer

        @ a flame of more discord

        Disenfranchised restaurant workers are also damaging their bodies being on their feet for so long, damaging their vision by working in subdued lighting, damaging their hearing by all the noise, and made sick by all the airborne germs and viruses in a crowded indoor space.

        What’s an imbecile like you going to do about that?

      • Zinger!

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Dave Springer hectors us: “Restaurant workers are also damaging their bodies being on their feet for so long … What’s an imbecile like you going to do about that?

        Hmmmm … climate-change skepticism that consists entirely of abusive non sequiturs … well, that brand of skepticism speaks for itself, Dave!   :)

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      It is striking that not even one Climage Etc commenter has defended Ken Green’s writings, for the simple reason that conservationists have articulated the fundamental principles of conservatism far more clearly and eloquently than Ken Green ever has.

      It’s not clear whether Ken Green is simply too young as to be adequately experienced, too unread as to be adequately informed, or too ideology-blinded as to be adequately wise. Very plausibly, his writings are deficient in all three respects.

      • Ken Green is doing just fine. His list, when contrasted with, say, your typical post is if anything too kind to you and your fellow extremists.

    • @johanna | June 8, 2012 at 11:26 am
      You are so full of it johanna. Millions of people owe there job which allows them to make a living to the rich. Your narrow, blinkered socialist vision will be the ruin of us all due to your greed and envy.

      On top of that:
      “”While the exact number is not known, it is reasonable to assume that there were approximately 10,000 Microsoft millionaires created by the year 2000,” said Richard S. Conway Jr., a Seattle economist whom Microsoft hired to study its impact on Washington State. “The wealth that has come to this area is staggering.” ”
      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/29/business/yourmoney/29millionaire.html?pagewanted=all

      “To put that in perspective, Apple now has 60,400 employees. 36,000 of those work in the retail segment; we can assume they don’t get options or RSUs. So excluding retail, Apple has about 24,400 employees. Let’s double that number, to include all the employees who have left over the years — call it 50,000 in all. $172 billion divided by 50,000 employees is $3.4 million per employee.”
      http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2012/01/19/how-much-do-apple-employees-earn/

      n the 1990s, we loved to tally up the number of Microsoft millionaires. Now, it’s Google’s turn. The New York Times cites estimates that there are 1,000 Google employees whose stock grants and options are worth more than $5 million. So there are more than 1,000 Google millionaires, including Google’s former masseuse, Bonnie Brown.
      http://techcrunch.com/2007/11/12/counting-the-google-millionaires/

      Status update: I’m rich! Facebook flotation to create 1,000 millionaires among company’s rank and file

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2072204/Facebook-IPO-create-1-000-millionaires-companys-rank-file.html

      • johanna – apologies to you!! I see you were defending capitalism. You! The one she was talking to, read my response!!

  44. Interesting shows “Dragon’s Den” and “Shark Tank” which show how greed is the factor in the market place. The wealthy get wealthier and has no care for anyone else.
    Another side effect of wealth is hording wealth takes away capital in the marketplace that would be used for companies and factories and jobs
    —————————————————
    I think the word you are looking for is ‘hoarding’.

    If hoarding wealth is the problem, how do you explain how the world economy works? According to you, anyone with a pile of money just sits on it like a dragon in a cave, rather than invests it for a return. Do you really think that this is how people with money stay rich? In the real world, the hoard would be consumed by the dragon just to stay alive, not to mention rises and falls in the price of rubies and emeralds.

    Go to Mali or some of the other poorest countries in the world, and you will soon see is that it is not the capital is being ‘hoarded’, but that there is none. The fact that some people in wealthy countries are not spending in the way you would prefer is not the issue.

  45. Hey Judith! Thanks for the coverage!

  46. Beth Cooper

    Jim D and some others re ‘progressives’ and ‘conservatives’:
    I’ve commented here before on how parties advocating big government have taken over the term ‘liberal’ which earlier denoted British and American whig free traders and small government advocates. ‘Liberal’ in most countries, not Australia, has come to mean’ progressive, green party big government, a bit like Plato using Socrates after Socrates’ death, as his mouthpiece to speak for the freedom of Plato’s hierarchy as ‘freedom’ when it was its opposite.

    Progressive ‘liberals’ like to call today’s upholders of free trade and small government, ‘conservatives,’ denoting rigid, hang on for the sake of it, reactionaries. Many so called conservatives, here on Judith’s site, while advocating rule of law, contractual obligation and global markets, would not fit the progressives’ narrow, ‘conservative, resisting all change, definition. We advocate an open society, free exchange of ideas and free flow of goods, flexibility to adapt to problems and challenges and keep goddam government from taking over our lives )

    Say, its the progressives who are conservative, in their embracing of authority and the divine right of the state, and in their wish to go back to a greener golden age, sans modern technology, technology that has raised living standards and increased life expectancy in our modern world. Amen.

  47. Beth Cooper

    Mike, note the second para of comment where I emulated yer prose style. )

    • Beth,

      Your “emulation”, if one may call it that, is a vast improvement, Beth, as one would rightly expect. Otherwise, I am humbled that a giant, like you, might choose to stand on the shoulders of a pygmy, like me.

  48. Beth Cooper

    Vice versa Mike )

  49. Beth Cooper

    Am i the last person on Climate Etc to be reading Nassim Taleb’s ‘The Black Swan.’ Guess not! There’s a fan of *More* discourse here, 08/06 9.15 am, who thinks the science on ‘Climate Change’. (AGW?) is certain. Citing Jane Goodall, Ed Wilson and Wendell Berry, fan can confidently inform us that ‘Skeptical Science is just plain wrong.”
    Say, Joy, why don’t yer read ‘The Black Swan,’ it’s nearly as gripping as ‘The Hunger Games?’

  50. Michael Hart

    The pigeon-hole labels of “Conservatives” and “Environmentalists” often strikes me as slightly bizarre. I frequently perceive attributes common to both among people who publicly self-identify as belonging to one group or the other [occasionally both].

    Having said that, I can think of one thing that many such Environmentalists and Conservatives will probably NOT learn much of from each other, and that thing is science.

  51. Dave Springer

    A fan of *MORE* discourse | June 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm |

    “• Science tells us that forcing our kids to breath toxic smoke is just plain wrong.”

    Teh stupid. It BURNS!

    Science doesn’t give us moral judgements. Statistics not science tells us that secondhand smoke is harmful.

    What’s certainly more harmful to children than second-hand smoke is forcing large numbers of them to cluster together in tiny indoor spaces called classrooms which is a practice that spreads disease. No one is more politically disenfranchised than a minor. I’d rather be in the same room with a healthy smoker than with a non-smoker who has tuberculosis, for example. Shouldn’t we then have some sort of law banning sick people from entering public places? In your stupid opinion of course.

    .

    • Burns it does!….for someone who can’t distinguish the difference between a voluntary act like smoking and the transmission of air-borne illnesses.

      • Dave Springer

        A restaurant patron with a cold or flu (or worse) presumably entered the restaurant in a knowing and voluntary manner. This is no different in kind or effect from a patron voluntary lighting up a cigarette except there’s a lot more evidence of people dying from contagious diseases contracted in public places than people dying from second-hand smoke in public places. Teh stupid burns a little more now that you’ve added your thoughts. There ought to be a law against people like you polluting the internet with it.

      • You gave TB as your example. Clueless much?

        And re:cold/flu – it is impossible to avoid air-borne viruses unless you plan to live life in a bubble – they are part of the natural environment.

        Bonfire.

      • Dave Springer

        Hey look maybe you’re not concerned with breathing second-hand air so long as it doesn’t smell like cigarette smoke but colds and flu that turn into pneumonia kill a lot of people.

        Any community or mega-metropolis as the case may be willing to, beyond making smoking in public a crime, regulate the size of soda cups and bottles, limit the amount of salt a restaurant can add to the food, can better regulate food service establishments to limit spread of disease including colds and flu. Laws requiring disposable latex gloves and surgical masks for all restuarant workers would be a good place to start. If they get protection from customer’s second hand smoke why shouldn’t customers get protection from their colds and flu and whatever else they might be spreading around?

        Can at we at least agree that regulating these things should be state laws not federal so if you just can’t stand one particular state you can move to another more to your liking without giving up being a US citizen?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Dave Springer: Can at we at least agree that regulating these things should be state laws?

        Dave, that you would even ask such a short-sighted question displays a level of ignorance regarding tobacco industry racketeering practices that is comparably deplorable to the toxity of tobacco smoke.

        Summary: Tobacco industry criminal activity provably crosses state lines; therefore so must executive action against these criminal practices.

        What is your next question, Dave Springer?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Non sequitur, Dave?   :) “Second-hand smoke is OK for kids to breath, because other things are bad for children’s health too!”

        You’re right. YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!

        What we need is a LAW to block scientists who inconveniently speak up!

        Just like skeptical denialists fantasize about!

        Or at a minimum, let’s start creating Nixon-style “enemy lists”, so we can track and/or suppress these scientists!

        `Cuz obviously, scientists have formed an international conspiracy to “sap and impurify” all of our precious skeptical essence, eh?  :)   :)   :)

      • It’s up to parents to take care of their kids. The government needs to stay out of it except for extreme cases. The government is making tons of money on tobacco taxes. Why aren’t you going after the government???

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Jim2, tobacco companies make more profits, when kids breath more toxic smoke. That’s a plain scientific fact.

        And that’s the plain and simple reason why obfuscation, ignorance, and denial from tobacco companies and the institutions that tobacco companies support are concerning.

        What is your next question, Jim2?

      • Again, the government allows it. The government makes money on it. Yet, you have nothing to say about the government.

      • Dave Springer

        I never defended exposure to second hand smoke for those who can’t choose to avoid it. Those that have no choice would include children. I don’t think they should be forced to share the air they breathe with hundreds or thousands of others in public schools for that matter. Between spreading colds and flu at school and bringing it home to their parents who then lose time at work I shudder to think of the economic and human of not making laws requiring school children and school teachers to wear disposable latex gloves and surgical masks. And don’t forget school buses and school bus drivers. Maybe we can except crossing guards.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Dave Springer, your continued defense of the global tobacco industry’s denial and obfuscation amounting to criminal racketeering is inexplicable. Because this *is* partly a states-right issue, right?

        Behind the scenes in the racketeering case against the tobacco industry

        “In the story of the landmark tobacco case, you give much credit to states for getting the legal ball rolling by suing tobacco companies to recover Medicaid costs spent to treat ill smokers.”

        WUWT, Dave Springer?

    • If you want to follow that line of reasoning, what’s REALLY “wrong” is trying to force the public into those disease-spreading crime-infested contraptions collectively referred to as “public transportation”.

  52. Dave Springer

    I wish everyone would stop dogging on ethanol from corn. There is a clear and present danger for the US that foreign oil supplies can be disrupted and large vulnerable refineries in the US crippled as well. In that case we’d be very grateful for a decentralized means of ethanol production and E85 vehicles to use it. Ethanol from corn gives us a potentially vital and secure means of producing a modest percentage of critically needed transporation fuel for local consumption while our domestic production of gasoline and diesel would be largely diverted for military use. I wasn’t alive during WWII but I know people who were and who recall what it’s like to be in an all-out war where everything that can aid the war effort is scarce and rationed for non-critical consumer use.

    • “I wish everyone would stop dogging on ethanol from corn. There is a clear and present danger for the US that foreign oil supplies can be disrupted and large vulnerable refineries in the US crippled as well.”

      Ethanol costs energy to make. Ethanol can work if 10% of gasoline. And of course in terms quantity one talking about 10%. The US has a domestic oil production, one the biggest oil production in the world. That alone should be enough to point out the folly of what you are suggesting.
      But we have what is called a strategic oil supply:
      “The current inventory is displayed on the SPR’s website. As of February 29, 2012, the inventory was 695.9 million barrels (110,640,000 m3). This equates to 36 days of oil at current daily US consumption levels of 19.5 million barrels per day (3,100,000 m3/d).”
      Crude oil is a good way to store gasoline- you get something like 2 barrels of gasoline for every barrel of crude oil- plus kerosene for airplanes.
      So idea of storing Ethanol when you have crude oil, is dumb. And making more than you need of Ethanol, has somehow managed to be even more stupid than idea making any Ethanol in the first place.
      So current production of Ethanol is 10% and should used as quickly as it’s made. And if the concern disruption of oil, you should increase SPR reserve. It seems the only advantage of Ethanol in emergency, is you stop wasting resources on making Ethanol and therefore waste less energy and have more food supply- except the US is biggest exporter food supply- so to save food, it needs to helpful in terms having enough global supply of food.

  53. Pooh, Dixie

    Further to qbeamus, David L. Hagen and John Plodinec above:

    Starting March 28, 2012, I posted a review of the Precautionary Principle as applied to “Global Warming”. The bottom line is that one should not invoke the Precautionary Principle for “Global Warming” unless one simultaneously invokes it for “Global Cooling”. Both situations meet the same criteria.

    The manuscript was posted to a forum supporting downloads. That post contains supporting analysis and linked references. The gist of it is here: Precaution, Post Normal Science & Possible Cooling
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=1948&page=1

    The European Union, the UN and the IPCC accept and employ the Precautionary Principle for governance. The U.S. administration and its EPA have done the same. The IPCC an UNFCCC have guided their efforts by the philosophy of Post Normal Science.

    The Precautionary Principle (PP) and Post Normal Science (PNS) are intertwined. Post Normal Science justifies abnormal methods; the Precautionary Principle justifies implementing policy based upon the results of abnormal methods. The result leads to a dilemma of their own making.
    This post addresses the nature of the dilemma, including some of the main concepts of Precautionary Principle and Post Normal Science.

    Cass Sunstein (now Regulatory Czar) wrote: “Precautions, in other words, themselves create risks – and hence the principle bans what it simultaneously requires” (Sunstein, 2008). The current situation is a case in point.

    — Multiple current observations suggest we could be entering a cold spell capable of reversing warming and introducing a cold period. Some suggest that period could last 30-50 years. We may find we zigged when we should have zagged.

    — Under the Precautionary Principle (PP) and Post Normal Science (PNS), “Global Warming” policy action is contradicted by precursors and observations of steady or cooling trends. Historically, cooling adversely affects both environment and the human population. PNS and the PP principles would have governments act to prevent global warming and global cooling simultaneously. However, EPA carbon regulations will cripple the U.S. economy and its citizens, reducing our means to adapt to either.

    — Applying PNS and PP criteria, the correct (“no regrets”) policies are to abandon regulatory mandates for fossil fuel reductions and encourage unbiased, more comprehensive climate research. Citizens, on the other hand, are at liberty to choose adaptive actions such as more efficient automobiles, insulation, sealing and heating and cooling systems when and if they find it desirable.

    Note that the “rules” of the Precautionary Principle do not require that either cooling or warming scenarios be “scientifically proven”. Indeed, each scenario requires opposite policy actions under the Precautionary Principle and Post Normal Science.

    A link to a downloadable PDF of the manuscript is here: http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=gotopost&board=globalwarming&thread=1948&post=80698

  54. One way I have found to look at this, and this did not dawn on my until I was over 50 years old, is that “conservative” liberty and a free market economy is actually the ultimate socialism. Rather than having everything centrally planned with everyone working toward some goal or according to some plan laid out by a group of “priests” at the top which can march an entire nation off a cliff if a mistake is made, you have a system where millions of people can try different approaches making it more likely that some will find a successful solution that others can emulate.

    While some might make fun of that as “a Darwinian, survival of the fittest” form of of economics in an attempt to make people afraid of what might happen if they are on the other side of the “the fittest” (implying that government management can make everyone into survivors), they ignore the fact that people can quite rapidly adapt. When they see something that works, they can individually drop the way they have been doing things and adopt the working method quite readily. It takes much longer to move a central economy as there is a lot of inertia. It is like the difference in having 10,000 people in one huge ship vs. having 2,000 smaller boats, each with 5 people aboard. If one of the small boats strikes an iceberg and sinks, the others can see what is happening and steer clear rather quickly and only 5 people are lost. If the large ship strikes the iceberg, the entire thing is lost. This gets particularly true if the ship is steered by committee and arguments break out about which course should be steered. By allowing each small boat to steer its own course, disaster is avoided.

    What the American model does is to take the same principles we see in nature in adaptation to changing conditions and apply them to human behavior with one important difference. Rather than having species go extinct except for those with a certain adaptation, we see ideas and behaviors go extinct as those notions are no longer conducive to success and people adopt new ideas and behaviors that do lead to success. In this way we are able to quickly adapt to and capitalize as a whole on rapidly changing conditions which might be too fleeting for a centrally planned and orchestrated society to benefit from. All it takes is one person to find a better way and soon people are abandoning the old way and switching to the new way. Criticism of this notion relies on the flawed notion that once a person decides on a course of action or a business policy, that it cannot change. Real life isn’t like that, only large, lumbering governments with policies that might take years of debate and negotiation behave that way and projecting that sort of behavior onto people probably isn’t valid.

    • “they ignore the fact that people can quite rapidly adapt.” This adaptability, entrepreneurialism and innovation, is one of the major strengths and distinguishing characteristics of humans. It has led to an amazing rate of development and advance in living standards since the Industrial revolution, yet is constantly ignored by doom-sayers, whatever their particular form of doom-mongering.

  55. There is an optimal role for government in a modern society. This is at about 25% of GDP. This is a level that provides those services that the market can’t or won’t provide – and seems to enhance private sector activity rather than otherwise. It is essential that governments balance budgets over the business cycle and manage interest rates to prevent asset bubbles. These are things that governments have more recently neglected to our great peril.

    Within that framework Governments exists more generally to protect the weak from the brutal and ruthless amongst us. Law and order, defence, provision of health and education, courts, market rules, laws on pollution and those on child labour are all examples of reasonable actions to protect and advance the citizenry. On a practical level these are things to be negotiated in a democracy. What won’t negotiated away is freedom and democracy.

    • I see the difference in approaches as a matter of “control” If all are on one big ship in the socialist model, then one party or one group or one commission rules the entire thing rather easily. If you have 2000 boats, then you might have several different people vying for control attempting to get other boats to follow their lead. Some will follow one, some will follow another, others yet another, and to my mind that is the way it should be. It should be like herding cats with the direction that benefits the greatest number of cats being the one that succeeds. But in the socialist model, benefit has no real value, it is about control.

  56. Beth Cooper

    Trial and error technical innovation and exchange are a beneficial characteristic of our human species.

    http://blog.ted.com/2010/07/14/when_ideas_have/

  57. Bob Ludwick

    So, after we have hashed out the ‘conservative perspectives on Climate Change’, can we expect follow on essays on:

    Conservative perspectives on physics?
    Conservative perspectives on chemistry?
    Conservative perspectives on mathematics?’
    Conservative perspectives on mechanical engineering?
    Conservative perspectives on astronomy?
    Conservative perspectives on brain surgery?
    Conservative perspectives on rocket engine design?
    ad infinitum

    Or is Climate Science the ONLY ‘science’ for which an essay title ‘Conservative Perspectives on (insert name of science here)’ is NOT non-sensical?

    • “Or is Climate Science the ONLY ‘science’ for which an essay title ‘Conservative Perspectives on (insert name of science here)’ is NOT non-sensical?”

      Well I think you need it to be a post-normal science and hundreds of billions of tax dollars spent on it with trillion of dollars being wasted complying with numerous idiotic decrees.

    • Bob Ludwick | June 10, 2012 at 9:47 am |

      A very astute reductio ad absurdum; Most people are naturally adept in systems of motivated reasoning, or reasoning from the conclusion (ie, “non-sensical” reasoning): given a ‘gut-reaction’ or first impression of any claim, it is easy for most people to reason their way to support the conclusion.

      1. I hear a trusted authority make a well-formed, well-worded, brief statement using two or three commonly known observations — I can follow her reasoning or where she left out the reasoning fill in the blanks for myself.
      2. I hear an infamous agitator make a poorly-framed, ungrammatical (and badly spelled) diatribe with some flimsy handwaving — I can demonlish her opinions quite soundly.

      (Both 1 & 2 may indeed be the same case.)

      That is what passes for “reasoning” in most of America (and I imagine the rest of the world). And it is not reasoning.

      Introduce people to a topic in a neutral and unbiased-seeming manner (like raising the temperature of the water slowly in the proverbial frog’s cooking pot) and ask them to prove whether the case is #1 or #2 above, and people are lost. Test yourself. Test others. Experiment with this premise. You will find that it is so. It is the principle weakness of all systems of ‘pure reason’, and it is the motivation for the arduous and difficult methods of Science, perhaps best reflected in the General Scholium (I feign no hypotheses) and Philosophy sections of Book 3 of Newton’s Principia (1713):

      Rule 1: We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.

      Rule 2: Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

      Rule 3: The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

      Rule 4: In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, not withstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

      So all this crap people spew about Science not being about certainty, when what we call scientific certainty is founded on Newton’s 4th rule of the philosophy of science is pure ignorance, or fabulism of the worst sort. Science is certain until such time as other phenomena are observed and new propositions made necessary as a result of inferrences from such observations. We can and do settle Science all the time, until such time as observation and inferrence unsettle it again.

      Let’s look at “Wealthier is healthier and cleaner” from Ken Green’s comments about what anyone can learn from Conservatives.

      Observationally, wealth correlates fairly well with healthy and hygiene, however wealth is a funny thing that correlates well with a great many benefits, not all causal and some quite biased conclusions from grey propositions. Education correlates far better with health and hygiene than does wealth. Full employment, too, beats wealth by a long shot. Self-determination in democratic voice in the Market and in civic and national matters is far stronger still. We know stable family contributes to longevity and quality of life. The peak of health seen in trainees in boot camp and athletes developing their bodies for significant events (some of the poorest people in America included) beggars the health of any billionaire. The hygiene of a low-paid scrub nurse in the rural backwaters of some remote clinic in the most deprived places in the world exceeds by far the intoxicant-strewn nightlife vomitus of pampered celebutantes.

      So I’d have to argue Ken Green starts out badly on any rules of propositional inference, and faulty premise precludes sound conclusion in this case. First you must make people free to determine their own way, make education and family a priority of any economic or policital system, and remember the power of the Market kept fair and free from abuse to fully employ a population.

    • There is a political debate surrounding climate science and the proposed policies. There is no political debate that I am aware of surrounding mathematics, astronomy, etc.

      • There are, however, other political debates surrounding scientific questions, such as, “are Gays born that way?”. The political nature of these kinds of questions, just like with climate science, make open and objective science next to impossible. No matter what the conclusion, it will immediately be controversial, and there are powerful forces with axes to grind that will come to bear on anyone investigating the question.

        I’m not a supporter of Richard Shockley’s theories, but they didn’t exactly get a fair scientific hearing, either.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Judith, please let me say that I (along with many scientists) *wish* that you were right.

        Regrettably, Anthony Watts / WUWT has just headlined a grossly imbecilic WUWT column that criticizes (of all things) the following strictly astrophysical assertion:

        X-ray emission from high-redshift miniquasars: self-regulating
        the population of massive black holes through global warming

        Takamitsu Tanaka, Rosalba Perna, and Zoltán Haiman
        (arXiv:1205.6467v1 [astro-ph.CO], 2012)

        Conclusion We show that the X-rays emitted by the earliest accreting black holes (BM) can heat the intergalactic medium (IGM), and suppress the formation and growth of subsequent generations of BHs in low-mass halos. In this “global warming” scenario, the BHs originally responsible for the warming are largely unaffected by it, because they reside in the most massive halos, well above the Jeans mass, and frequently merge with other massive halos with cold gas, facilitating BH growth.

        For unfathomable reasons, Anthony publicly abuses the above Tanaka/Perna/Haiman astronomical analysis as “weapons grade stupidity” … it’s unclear whether Anthony appreciates that his own WUWT column is the nexus of that stupidity!   :)

        More seriously, there’s a growing predilection among climate-change skeptics, that is strikingly evident in recent WUWT columns by Anthony Watts, and also by Willis Eschenbach, to promulgate bizarre non sequiturs as a substitute for rational climate-change debate.

        It is immensely regrettable that, in recent months, more-and-more climate-change skepticism consists largely or even wholly of abusively phrased and/or scientifically irrelevant non-sequiturs.

        WUWT?   we are well-justified to ask.

      • Johnny, did you actually … like … read that? It may have been an editorial error, but the article in Science said that the paper attributed this galactic phenomenon to AGW on earth. That’s what’s called risible. It may not be scientifically significant, but it does have entertainment value, and in case you haven’t noticed, WUWT features these bloopers weekly as a form of entertainment.

        It’s a joke, son. A joke (as Foghorn Leghorn said to the humorless scientific prodigy).

        And it does illustrate a serious issue with quality control at publications like Science. How does something this preposterous get past the editors? Mistake or not, it just shows how poor the editorial control is that something this ludicrous makes it to print, simply because it fits the narrative that they’re steeped in.

        But what the heck. It’s only science, huh?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        PE, the New Scientist article is perfectly clear:

        Cosmic climate change may have stunted black holes

        A WARMING of the early universe caused by the greediest of black holes could have stunted the growth of the rest.

        Anyone who has read the New Scientist summary and/or read the free-as-in-freedom parent article ” X-ray emission from high-redshift miniquasars ” will appreciate that the Anthony Watts / WUWT misreading of it is pointlessly abusive and even willfully imbecilic.

        Ain’t that plain-as-day? As has been said before, skeptics who do not read are pretty much identical to skeptics who cannot read.

      • Oh, I see. Invent a new term; “cosmic climate change”. All fixed. I got another one for you: comic climate change.

      • Which part of global warming did you not get? It’s even in the title! Or are you so steeped in the narrative that you also failed to notice?

      • fan,

        People have been talking behind your back, fan, which I don’t think is fair to you. So I’m going to open up to you just what’s been going on in the e-salon.

        Unfortunately, your earlier comments on this blog have, frankly, spoiled everyone around here. I mean, now when one of your comments appears on this blog, the “denizens” just drop everything else and all eager-beaver like jump right on it with an unnerving, mono-maniac glee that can only be compared to that of an impulsive child ripping into a gotta-have-it!, new toy. You know what I mean, fan?

        But, here’s the truly sad part, fan. I mean, like, instead of savoring all the really, really fine thought you put into your comments, fan, your “fan-club” is oblivious to all that and is just exclusively focused–again like over-excited, over-indulged tykes–on your comments’ superficial “good stuff”–you know, the link-boogers and the smiley-faces on which your distinctive fame and vulgar appeal as a commenter rest.

        And, I hate to say it, fan, but if folks don’t immediately spot, in one of your comments, at least one link-goober AND at least one grinning, yellow disc, then they, like, just skip right over it and all. And then they also, like, feel all cheated and disappointed and all and they sulk and get all cranky and everything. Pretty juvenile behavior, I’m sure you agree, fan.

        Not fair, I know, but there it is. And I say that because your last is missing a smiley-face. Just thought you’d like to know.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        MIke, our family includes pretty much every religion, every political belief, every gender, and every age  from multi-tour combat-veteran Marines to hard-core Nature-loving greens.

        And there’s one thing that unites us (aside from family loyalty, that is): Whenever and wherever ideologues are putting together an Enemy List, then we’re one-and-all hoping to be on that list, and we’re disappointed if we’re left off it!   :)

      • fan,

        Sounds like you have a great family!–not so different than my own, in fact. My regards and a “Semper Fi” to the fan-clan. And thanks for the link-booger and the smiley-face in your last; the bratty kid in me is all smiles.

      • Mathematics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill

        Astronomy http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_20823182/astronomy-students-host-car-wash-oppose-nasa-cuts?source=most_viewed

        Physics http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2012/0608/Iran-s-nuclear-program-4-things-you-probably-didn-t-know/President-Mahmoud-Ahmadinejad-never-said-that-Israel-should-be-wiped-off-the-map.

        Climatology is neither unique nor special nor even very extreme in the position of a science surrounded on all sides by politics and policy.

        There will always be interests seeking specific support and outcomes from research into the Unknown, because they have faith the Unknown contains their answer.

        There will always be just as much people active in any field influenced by such questions as “What can I do for the Department of Defense?”

        This applies as much to Newton as to Nash.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS_d0Ayjw4o

        And to me. And to you.

        Science is the hard process of banishing those concerns from the work by adherence to its principles.

    • Your comments are quite silly, since it’s clear that what we were talking about was climate policy, not strictly climate science. (I didn’t name the event, btw, I was just asked to provide comments).

      But, let’s see if I understand you. You don’t think that conservatives might express any values about how physics is funded, and whether it would be better funded privately, or through prizes, rather than publicly through over-priced universities?

      And you don’t think conservatives might express any thoughts about whether or not we’re teaching mathematics well in our public schools, or producing a sufficiently high level of numeracy to advance our society?

      You don’t think conservatives might offer thoughts about whether or not we’ll have enough brain surgeons under ObamaCare, or whether the time lag involved in getting treatment will be longer than under a more free-market healthcare system?

      You don’t think conservatives might have ideas on whether we’re spending too much money on say, civilian space flight programs, and not enough on upgrading out increasingly antiquated military hardware?

      You don’t think, perhaps, that conservatives might have views about the funding/incentivization/teaching of mechanical engineering, astronomy, etc.?

      • Kenneth P. Green | June 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

        I’m going to veer around the edges of a “No True Scotsman” proposition, to differentiate what

        A) Conservative principles, ideas, ideals, values and virtues may contribute to the funding/incentivization/teaching or speak to balancing a budget between defense and research, or health policy or the education system or means of supporting development of science vital to the national interest

        from

        B) Conservative party baggage burdens all policy decisions with.

        In a well-compartmentalized decision tree, once the “amount of funding” question for science is decided, that ought end the involvement of politics in the science itself, as Science has its own apolitical founding principles which work independently of political philosophies. Intermix further down the tree than that point, and you have bias and motivated reasoning, which are death to valid inference.

        Likewise, in education of science, once the premise of our national ambition to satisfy the vital national interest in science teaching is established with Conservative (or Liberal, or Republican or Democratic, or whatever) influences in the budget process, all political interests ought be considered criminal embezzlers if they seek to interfere in the efficiency and effectiveness of that education itself.

      • “Science has its own apolitical founding principles which work independently of political philosophies”

        I’m calling this sentence out, because the first three times I read it I read “founding” and “funding.” And I was going to ask what color the sky was in your world.

        As it is, your argument seems to accept as premise that every political belief is counterfactual. I confess to a certain sympathy with this proposition. My recent disgust with my own party’s conduct has persuaded me that its real goal is using the irrational support of its outsiders to line the pockets of its insiders. (I’ve long been of the opinion that that was true of my adversaries’ party.) But whatever the virtue of cynicism about political *parties*, it seems odd to suggest that no political *philosophy* is any better than another.

      • qbeamus | June 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

        “As it is, your argument seems to accept as premise that every political belief is counterfactual.”

        I too confess a certain sympathy for those who might see this proposition where it is not implied.

        I don’t find music contrafactual, and I don’t mind if a surgeon listens to music while operating, but I’m pretty certain I don’t want them to be following the lyrics of the song as directions, either.

        I don’t think sculpture untrue, but if a safety engineer designs a vehicle to be safe for Venus di Milo, but not for a living human being, they’ve done something wrong.

        The principles of any political philosophy, however stirring or true, are only relevant in the domains of politics. There may be separate and parallel precepts that do hold to what seems a common truth, tempting the adherent of one or another system to apply it inappropriately in other pursuits, but Aristotle’s Organon teaches that this is the fallacy of irrelevant conclusion.

        In Scientific pursuits, from the first principles of Science, tested and debated and criticised and used and proven for centuries are the precepts of Science. They may be phrased similarly to the philosophies of other systems, and a good deal of borrowing may have taken place over the years, but when applying an idea plucked out of one system to another it is wise to test it as if new and unproven from first principles rather than admit it fully formed and use it fully formed.

        I think the US Constitution perhaps the finest document yet created, and I think Science the finest pursuit of the mind, but I think abhorrent the idea of mixing either into the other. Don’t you?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Kenneth Green claims: “Your comments are quite silly, since it’s clear that what we were talking about was climate policy, not strictly climate science.”

        Kenneth, anyone can verify that your claim is bogus. Because your essay, the same essay that Judith Curry linked-to, uses the word “policy” precisely once:

        “The history of environmental policy has been that environmentalists have rarely ever accepted a compromise on good faith.”

        Kenneth, your essay asserts a claim that is unsupported even by a cherry-picked citation, and that worse, is grossly wrong-on-the-facts.

        Prominent counterexamples that have been endorsed by liberals and conservatives alike (including Ronald Reagan) include the Montreal Accords limiting ozone-destroying emissions, and the hugely succcesful market-based solutions for regulating sulphate-particle emissions from coal-fired power-plants.

        Kenneth the manifest deficiencies of faux-conservative essays like yours inflict great harm upon the cause of thoughtful conservatism, and in particular are the reason that climate-change skepticism is nowadays earning a deserved reputation for illogical non sequiturs, and/or willful ignorance, and/or corporate-subsidized disinformation, and/or pointless abuse.

        Either remedy these deficiencies, or else, be conscious that you are irresponsibly inflicting great harm upon conservatism and upon the polity whose health and vigor conservatism properly sustains.

      • 1) These were comments for a relatively informal book-discussion. One does not normally provide citations in such speeches. In fact, I’m quite certain that I didn’t read the comments verbatim, but rather, paraphrased from them at the event. I have a rather extensive body of more formal publications, everything from formal policy analyses, to magazine articles, encyclopedia entries, book chapters, congressional testimony, and curricular materials for both middle-school and college students. You’re welcome to google them up and read them if you wish.

        2) Neither ozone-depletion nor acid-deposition are remotely comparable to climate change in a policy context.

        3) I will leave it to conservatives to decide whether or not I’m “inflicting great harm upon conservatism,” as they have ample mechanisms to express themselves on that point. I’m sure that if the masses of conservatives start ringing up AEI to condemn my work, I’ll hear about it quite quickly.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        LOL, Kenneth, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is 100% a talking-head facade … the AEI provides no venues for citizen input.

        Isn’t that correct?

        And so it’s unsurprising that you and your fellow AEI pundits have fallen prey to flabby thinking and flabbier writing.

      • “…the AEI provides no venues for citizen input.”

        The AEI home page has a contact link that provides one click access to its address and telephone numbers. Plus it has a link to the AEI facebook page that allows comments. Not to mention that you can leave comments on the Enterprise Blog.

        None of which I knew, until I took about 15 seconds to check.

        Flabby reading, flabby thinking, flabby writing, just an all in all flabby comment. You should change your nom de blog to A fan of MORE flabby discourse

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        GaryM asserts: “You can leave comments on the Enterprise Blog.”

          :)   :)   :)

        LOL … GaryM, which of the following is true?

        • The AIE’s Enterprise Blog is a vibrant public agora, full of diverse voices and strikingly original public comment!
        • The AIE’s Enterprise Blog is a zero-comment wasteland.

        Answer: check for yourself!   :)   :)   :)

        It’s puzzling that the AEI continues to host a zero-comment Potemkin Village of a conservative weblog, eh?

      • Fan,

        Interesting exchange between you and GaryM.

        I’m callin’ it a tie:

        Initially, things were lookin’ pretty grim for you, fan, I gotta say. I mean, like, Gary, big-time caught you out in a Michael-wannabe, lead-with-your-chin, doofus, screw-up claim, “….the AEI has no venues for cititzen input” and deftly handed you your butt.

        .And Gary’s above win also gave him the clear victory in the contest’s hectoring, “flabby”-themed exchange of insults.

        So, in sum, fan, GaryM pretty much left you, after the first round, looking the doofus, screw-up flab-bot with flub-butt in hand. So what’s new, right? But, then,–outta nowhere!–you fire-off a hail-mary, non-sequitur link-booger and score with the “gotcha” good point that there are no comments on the AEI blog! Wow!–did you see that?!! Add in, as well, the style-points you snagged with your six–SIX!–smiley-faces and, I’d say, fan, you’ve pulled off an unconventional, world-class, come-from-behind, surprise “tie” in your last little joust.

        This is you, fan, at your inimitable best. Keep up the good work, guy.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Mike, them young kids don’t remember rope-a-dope!  ;)

        Kenneth Green and GaryM walked right into it.

      • mike,

        What A fan of MORE flabby discourse wrote was that “AEI provides no venues for citizen input,” not that “citizens” didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

        His comment was much more dope on a rope, than rope a dope.

        But I would agree with you on one thing. Fan being flat out wrong is him at his very best.

      • GaryM,

        Gary, I got that you nailed fan on his original claim about AEI. That’s why I described fan’s “rope-a-dope” come-back as a “non-sequitur.”

        But, Gary, I did get a kick out of the flim-flam aplomb of fan’s slicko, end-game counter-move. I mean, like, fan actually came up with a good one for once!–even if it was totally off-the-wall. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that fan’s never-miss-a-beat fast-one was the very best, slip-and-slide pivot in the history of this blog–and we’ve seen more than one high-powered weasel try his hand at that sort of thing on this blog.

        And, let me add, Gary, that fan’s parting, opportunistic, obviously contrived, gaudy promotion of himself to the “rope-a-dope”, mastermind-intriguer ranks only adds to my good-fun wonderment at fan’s minor-genius for doofus impudence.

        Regardless, Gary, let me emphasize that by all conventional criteria, you clearly trounced poor fan. But, on the other hand, I was so taken by fan’s goofball “grace under pressure”–that, and I’m a sucker for smiley-faces–that I scored the exchange a “tie”. Not fair to you, Gary, I know, but there it is.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        For most of this week, astrophysicist Takamitsu Tanaka’s blend of wit and literary style has been effortlessly dominating Anthony Watts’ / WUWT humorless conspiracy-obsessed weblog.

        It’s been like watching Ali in his prime … Anthony and the WUWT regulars never saw the punch that floored them.

      • Who needs AEI when we have Linda Green (beautiful money), working for BAC, …?

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2010/09/22/GR2010092206765.html

        http://english.capital.gr/News.asp?id=1525641

        They need Green to get the Gold. Let’s ask China, they know everything now.

      • So the skeptics are going to tire themselves out pointing out that Hansen and gang are wrong, and then, like cavalry coming over the hill just-in-time, slr and warming storms for his grandkids are suddenly going to come true and blast those wicked denialist scum back to where they belong.
        lol. Just like a true believer to continue to avoid the issue by way of a cheesy western b movie plot.

      • Fan, you keep asserting a conjecture as though it were a fact. If everything depends on what happens in the next ten to twenty years, you have nothing to say until then.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        David Wojick asserts: “If everything depends on what happens in the next ten to twenty years, [we] have nothing to say until then.”

        David, that depends entirely on how much confidence one reposes in the predictions of physical science.

        Scientists possess considerable confidence; skeptics very little.

        So far, the predictive track-record of science is far better than the track-record of skeptics.

        Thus, if it happens that sea-level rise and ice-melt accelerate in the coming decade — as Hansen and his scientific colleagues predict — this will land a hay-making knock-out punch on climate-change skepticism.

        So brace yourself.   :)

      • “Scientists possess considerable confidence”

        And yet Climate Science is a joke.

        Stuff to ponder… ;)

        Andrew

    • There should not be a conservative or liberal perspective on the science. Science is science. Perhaps there should be a conservative perspective on the solution to global warming, but we haven’t seen it yet, because they don’t believe it is happening, so all we see is the liberal perspective. Last year Scott Denning tried to offer a conservative view on the solution at Heartland, but was given a cool response, with it not being politically correct to even accept global warming is happening there.

  58. “You don’t think conservatives might have ideas on whether we’re spending too much money on say, civilian space flight programs, and not enough on upgrading out increasingly antiquated military hardware?”

    We could get a few more Raptors, but why take out of Space program?
    Especial when got a useless EPA and Dept of Education.
    Dept education:
    “Budget
    For 2006, the ED discretionary budget was $56 billion and the mandatory budget contained $23.4 billion. As of 2011, the discretionary budget is $69.9 billion.”
    EPA: EPA budget of $8.344 billion
    NASA: 17.77 billion

    The cost of International Space Program is about 3 billion.
    Total for human flight about 6 billion [making a rocket mostly] and includes
    ISS.
    So EPA cost more than NASA manned human space flight- human spaceflight other than perhaps some years of Apollo never exceeded
    EPA budget of 8 billion.
    Dept of Education obviously is 4 times larger than NASA. And in terms of education, I say reasonable the NASA does more than the Dept of Education does. NASA is actually involved with teaching children. Not to mention inspiring them and they actually like what NASA is doing.

    • Especially when one could implement a negative income tax, fair tax, or some variant, consolidate all the welfare agencies into one, then fire a good number of Federal workers. That would save enough money to keep up space research and the military.

      • Oh yeah, the states could also fire workers due to the simplified welfare system. More savings.

  59. On the previous thread Adler offered “conservative” solutions including revenue neutral carbon tax, which many disagreed with. Here I mentioned Denning at Heartland whose conservative solution consisted of two words “free markets”. So, let’s say that global warming is finally accepted as real by the conservatives, what would they do? We know what they are against, which is government involvement, revenue specific to solutions, alternative energy, electric vehicles and fuel efficiency, helping poorer nations, carbon trading and offsets. What are they for? It doesn’t leave much. How does the free market solve this when it is geared towards the individual profiteer? I can see how construction of dams, solar panels, or wind turbines would be good businesses to be in, but who would buy these, if not government or venturous (green-leaning) power companies.

    • Once they accept that CAGW is reality, they’ll be for it being too late to do anything about it.

    • Jim D | June 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm |

      The classic conservative Free Market solution is privatization of the resource once it is determined to be:
      1. Rivalrous – once you read a book, another person can read it too, so information is not a rivalrous resource; not so in the case of a hamburger.. no one wants to be the second person to eat the same burger, and once the same burden of CO2 is imposed on the Carbon Cycle no one else can use that former capacity to process waste CO2 emission.
      2. Excludable – Try as I might, I can’t keep people from catching a glimpse of that big shiny thing that’s overhead during the day; I know if I could, I’d be able to corner the market. As there are now ‘good enough’ mechanisms for pricing the CO2E of fuels and processes, it’s possible to exclude lucrative use of the Carbon Cycle by exclusions on those fuels and processes in terms of fees.
      3. Administratively viable – speaks for itself. If the government can make the playing field of the Market more level, then it should.

      The classic method of fixing a price for privatized resource is the Law of Supply and Demand. For mobile bandwidth, this came about as auctions by governments. In the case of CO2E, a simple expedient of fees on lucrative fuels and processes based on GHG-equivalent emission administered by piggybacking on the retail tax system with dividends paid out per capita to every citizen piggybacking the payouts on the income tax system through payroll adjustments is the simplest method I can find.

      Let the Market determing the price of these fees by seeking the rate that delivers the maximum returns (dividends) to citizens.

      Since this new revenue pays the owners (citizens) of the Carbon Cycle resource of the nation, it is not a subsidy, and it actively counters the redistribution of wealth from all to the few Free Riders who now profit from the inefficiency of the system.

      Once all the price signals have worked their way through the Economy, then the most efficient fuels and processes will be sought by private decisions of individual choice of buyer and seller in the Free Market made so by the role of government in ensuring a stable and level playing field.

      • Isn’t the free market solution to identify a critical need and to make a profit from it? They would only need to ask how can we profit from climate change? They just need to be forward thinking. Patent GM crops that get better yields in dry, high-CO2 climates, buy up water rights in places where it will become scarce, etc. There may be ways to get rich without it being for the common good, which is perfect for a “conservative” approach.

      • Jim D | June 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |

        You’re describing the Seller’s role in the Market. There are other roles: in a Perfect Market, there are Buyers, and Competitors. In an imperfect world, there is Government.

        Government’s role is to level the playing field, to properly define Market parameters and structures for efficiency, fairness, etc.

        If the Market is improperly defined or inefficient, then the seller will be constrained in responses to critical needs.

        For example, in a Market without a government-backed currency system (apologies to the Gold Standard) is bound to be inefficient, so many critical needs will go unmet due lack of profit incentive.

        While “they just need to be forward thinking” does describe some sellers, it doesn’t employ the full vigor of a well-structured Market. Also, it lets the Free Riders sap the democracy of the Market, which is just plain anti-Capitalist.

      • “Government’s role is to level the playing field, to properly define Market parameters and structures for efficiency, fairness, etc.”

        I don’t know what you talking about.
        Are talking the Fed [supposedly independent of government].
        Or talking about politicans passing specific laws.
        Or something else or all the above. Or what?

      • gbaikie | June 11, 2012 at 2:26 am |

        *sigh*

        I suppose it would have been simpler to say that any action of or failure to act by Government in any form that unlevels the Market is an anti-Capitalist measure.

        As Capitalism is the exercise of democracy in the allocation of rivalrous, excludable resources, Government that trades democracy for any short-term goal, however noble-seeming, is exercising tyranny.

        You wouldn’t support changing the election date to give a President even one extra day in office, would you?

      • This is a no-brainer. If, say, New York city begins to look certain to be flooded; new buildings will be needed and the free market will supply them. Ditto for “migrating” farm land – farming will be done where viable.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Jim D | June 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Reply

      … So, let’s say that global warming is finally accepted as real by the conservatives, what would they do?

      Well … depends on what you are calling “global warming”, doesn’t it? Until you define that term, your question has no meaning. It’s like the question “is the globe warming”?

      The bad news is that that question has no answer until you specify a time frame. For example, the globe generally cooled (in fits and starts to be sure) from 10,000 years ago to the present, but it warmed from 1900 to the present, and cooled from 1945 to 1975, and … I’m sure you see the problem.

      You need to define your terms and be more clear about what you are discussing, Jim.

      I greatly doubt that I am a “conservative”, whatever that might be to you. But for me, the appropriate response to the climate issue is the “no-regrets solution”, which means to do things that will be of value whether or not the globe is warming. I discuss this in more detail in “Climate Caution and Precaution“.

      w.

      • As mentioned in other sustainability discussions, the “no-regrets solution” is to adopt alternative and renewable energy strategies to perform risk mitigation against fossil fuel depletion. It really is a no-brainer.

      • WHT – you are free to adapt any solution you please, within limits of the law.

      • E.g. for the US, 3-4 degree temperature rises in the 21st century, diminishing rainfall where the crops are, increasing droughts, less fresh water, higher peak power needs for summer cooling. Imagine if these could be proved before they start to happen, maybe with a decade’s notice. Would conservatives consider it every man for himself, or some kind of profit-making corporate effort. I really don’t know what conservatives would want to do in this situation given their usual penchant for not considering the general welfare to be important.

  60. Willis Eschenbach

    Jim, you have the strangest definition I’ve heard of for “global warming”, it involves a host of things that may or may not happen IF the earth warms. The problem is that you can make up all the fantasies you want … but nature may not agree. For example, droughts are more common in colder times, not warmer time, because warmer leads to greater evaporation and thus greater rain. So they’re not likely to be any part of “global warming” … but it’s psychologically fascinating that you are convinced that they will be.

    The real issue, however, is that until any of that can be “proved before they start to happen”, it’s just an alarmist’s wet dream. I don’t know what “conservatives” would do if they were caught in an alarmist’s wet dream, but me, I’d be screaming “Wake up! Wake up! This is not reality! This is a fantasy!”

    Which is why I recommend the “no-regrets” option, because in fact we can’t prove any of that stuff you’ve listed before it starts to happen, and the ugly reality is that given the chaotic nature of weather we may never be able to prove it. In such a situation, the “no-regrets” option is the only rational response.

    Or alternately, you could sit around and speculate endlessly about what some vaguely defined group you call “conservatives” might possibly do if something might possibly happen that nobody can currently predict …

    Your choice,

    w.

    PS—Your speculation reminds me of another, much more ancient example dealing with the same issue, a Sufi story. As the story goes, the Mullah Nasruddin fell of the roof of a high building. But with his usual luck, he landed on a man walking by below. The Mullah was only slightly injured, but the man was killed.

    When the Mullah’s students came to the hospital to see him, they asked “Mullah, what can we learn from this incident?” He replied, “ Shun reliance on theoretical questions, like ‘If I fall off a roof will I be killed?’”

    In a similar manner, I’d suggest that you shun reliance on theoretical questions, like “what would the people I call “conservatives” do if we could predict a drought ten years ahead”?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Willis Eschenbach advocates: “Shun reliance on theoretical questions.”

      Willis, the know-nothing policy that you advocate is one of the dumbest tenets of the skeptical denialist faith.

      The plain fact is, in doubling-or-more CO2 levels, we humans are jumping-off-the-roof of climate change. Skeptical denialists cling to the magical faith that “with our usual luck” (your phrase), the world we are creating for our children will be (somehow) just fine.

      But skeptical denialism has little-or-no rational basis, does it? Because in the real world, folks who jump off buildings *do* die — almost always. And in the real world, civilizations that scr*w-up their ecology *also* die — almost always.

      In recent months, as the science of AGW has been getting steadily stronger-and-stronger, it seems (to me) that skeptical denialism has been getting steadily dumber-and-dumber.

      Mullah fables, Willis? Is this the best that skepticism has to offer?

      • “The plain fact is…”

        When a Warmer’s Lips Are Moving. hahaha!

        Andrew

      • Fan,
        You may become the bestest troll ever. Please keep smoking and doping whatever you are smoking and doping. You write the most amazing seaming pile of fact free ramblings ever.

  61. Beth Cooper

    GM comments @10.25 pm:
    Fan being flat out is him at his very best.’
    Say, isn’t a fan of *More* discourse Joy Black?

  62. Why is one put in mind of Ghandi’s reply when asked what he thought about western civilization: “It would be a good thing”

  63. The question Roger raises, of a conservative consensus on climate change<a href="http://takimag.com/article/climate_of_here#axzz1xnu2HPBs&quot;, was raised four years ago, and not in The Spectator, National Review or the egregiously mis-titled American Thinker.

  64. Wow, another progressive screed on how stoopid conservatives are. My how enlightening.

    False caricatures of conservatives and conservative principles. Now why ever wouldn The Spectator or National Review not choose to run this?

    Thanks for this link to yet another run of the mill regurgitation of the left’s talking points. Even if it is four years old, it’s always worth while to engage in some more confirmation of one’s closely held, fact free, beliefs.

  65. “why ever wouldn The Spectator or National Review not choose to run this?” asks GaryM.

    Because neither has a science editor, and both serve as outlets for raw PR feeds from K-Street and elsewhere.

    The web magazine he imagines “progressive ” is published by The Spectator‘s longest running columnist, palaeoconservative John Theodorocopulos.