Open thread weekend

by Judith Curry

It’s your turn to introduce topics for discussion.

I’ve been exceptionally busy for the last month;  things will slow down for the next few weeks.  If you’ve sent me an email or possible guest post and I haven’t gotten back to you, pls email me again, my email traffic is so high it is easy for things to get buried.

229 responses to “Open thread weekend

  1. Researchers have developed a way to by-pass the gatekeepers of scientific research: ResearchGate

    Former students recommended it, and I find it helpful.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  2. Will shear tear that Atlantic invest apart leaving us with a two (pathetic) hurricanes this years?

  3. Breaking news: Judith Curry and Marcia Wyatt have a new paper out, a blockbuster about natural variation.

    Probably worth talking about it somewhere, because the newspapers won’t have it for awhile.

    • I agree, Kim, that paper is a breakthrough!

    • Yes, it is indeed a decent paper as it (1) isolates the natural variation, which then can be (2) applied to correct for the global temperature signal, thus (3) reducing the uncertainty of the underlying trend, and (4) removing the pause that so troubles the skeptics.

      See this post and a comment tacked on to the end.

      Put work into research and interesting findings result.

      • Web, as Judith mentions, it will take 30 years to get verification. So I think us skeptics can still be “concerned” about the pause. Some might say “vindicated,” but with you upside downers, who knows what way is up.

      • BarBar,
        I just provided 130+ years of counter evidence based on Curry’s paper on stadium waves, the type of internal variability that adds little to a long term trend.
        Who you gonna believe — the data or your lying eyes?

      • I hope your analysis is wrong Web, but I have a growing suspicion that it’s right. It is amazing how much the “it’s not CO2” argument rests on the blip in the 1940s and the earlier less reliable parts of the surface record.

      • No doubt, lolwot.

        And consider that the blip in the early 1940’s was based on huge chunks of missing geospatial data due to people having greater concerns than reading temperature records.

        see IPCC, “ Sea Surface Temperature and Marine Air Temperature – AR4 WGI Chapter 3: Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change.” [Online]. Available:

    • We should have an over/under bet on how many actually do. I will be surprised if any reference it, which is a shame.

  4. Does peer review work? There has been a lot of criticism of the process. In my experience, peer review has been constructive, pointed out weaknesses in my argument and improved the final paper. (I admit that I have wondered if reviewers are human!)

    What do you think?

  5. I’m just wondering if there is something in human nature that stops us worrying about too many things at once. For instance,those who think climate change is no big deal are often extremely worried at the thought of the US and other national debts being way too high. We are all living above our means, its an unsustainable situation, bankruptcy looms, our children and grandchildren will live impoverished lives having to pay for the present level of profligacy etc etc

    If this soundslike you, I’d invite you to answer the following questions:

    1) If the $,the £, the Euro etc are nothing more than government IOUs (they’ve not been backed by anything tangible like gold for over 40 years now) how is it possible for the any government to borrow its own currency? If you give someone an IOU then you can’t borrow it back. You’d just be swapping one IOU for another. That would make no sense,or would it?
    2) You’ve probably got a wallet containing government IOUs and a bank account of IOUs too. If the government paid off its debt, there would be no IOUs. Wouldn’t this have to mean that your wallet would be emptied and your bank account would be drained?
    3) Why are $ and Euros etc worth anything at all if they are just IOUs?
    4) Many politicians, including Obama just recently, say that a government is like a household. It can’t spend more than it earns. However, most households don’t have a currency printing press in their basement and can’t credit their own bank accounts with a few key strokes on a computer keyboard. So, is this a correct analogy?
    5) Is it possible for governments of countries like the US to actually run out of money and involuntarily default on their debt? If it isn’t why do politicians, and some economists, tell you that it is?
    6) Why did those who forecast hyperinflation a few years ago for countries like the US and Japan get it so badly wrong?

    The so-called debt isn’t really a debt at all in the normal sense of the word. It won’t ever get paid off. And if it did it would be a very bad thing. The trick for any government should be to adjust its spending and taxation to keep the economy moving and make maximum use of available resources – including human resources. Not too much spending or there would be very high inflation. But not too little spending either as that would cause deflation and depression.

    Most governments, or at least the ones who have control over their own currencies,are running their economies partially this way, except that they are probably erring too much on the side of caution. Despite what politicians may say publicly to the contrary to give themselves an alibi for not doing enough of the right things, they don’t really think that the size of their deficits is that big a problem.

    So that’s good news isn’t it? Now you know the debt issue is only a problem of misunderstanding you can sleep a bit easier, and maybe now you’ll even find a bit of psychological room for a real problem!

    • Rabelais had it; better a borrower than a lender be. As a borrower, your lenders all hope long life and prosperity for you. As a lender, the borrowers all hope you dead and the debt forgotten.

    • 2) “You’ve probably got a wallet containing government IOUs and a bank account of IOUs too. If the government paid off its debt, there would be no IOUs. Wouldn’t this have to mean that your wallet would be emptied and your bank account would be drained?”

      The government is in debt to the tune of at least 16 trillion bucks I believe. Even if they balance the budget tomorrow, it will take many, many years to pay this off.

      Also, your premise is incorrect. There are stocks to invest in, corporate and municipal bonds, also bonds from other countries. Also, banks need deposits on which they have to pay interest to keep running.

    • @Temp:

      Cash is not an IOU of the government. It is not a claim on the government at all, but rather a claim on the output of private actors (who get to choose how many of these claims to ask for for each unit of stuff they give you). Cash is a socially and legally (legal tender laws) supported medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account, not a debt instrument. Your wallet is not full of IOUs. It is full of money. Whether or not we are on a gold standard is irrelevant. In prisons, cigarettes or food parcels function as money. Nothing fundamentally changes.

      The debt problem is not about money, ultimately. It is ultimately about unkeepable promises of providing real output to people in the future. The problem would be the same if we lived in a barter system or if we priced everything against a single, arbitrary “numeraire” good (my favorite in college was the milkshake–I thought about how much things cost in terms of how many milkshakes I’d have to give up to get them).

      Our biggest debt problem in U.S. isn’t the bond obligations of the national government. It is the promises to support every retiree in the United States at levels of consumption (in both medical and non-medical forms) that the working population will not be able or willing to sustain. These promises are not legally binding but politically explosive to tamper with. And the political economy of a large retiree voting bloc that will pay attention with laser focus to this single issue is going to make it tough to fix in a democracy unless we get ahead of it now and tell people in their fifties and younger that these promises cannot and will not be kept and to make other arrangements.

      Up to a point, if you control the printing press of the monetary unit you can welsh on your promises to pay people back in claims on real output. You can create a greater pool of these claim certificates so that each one is worth less relative to the prospective supply of real output, so that more certificates are chasing the same amount of goods. This is the process of inflation. If people realize you are doing this, though, then they raise the number of certificates they ask for to give you a unit of output, so your promise is just as hard to keep. If you then accelerate certificate printing to keep ahead of their expectations, and then they accelerate their expectations, etc., you get a hyperinflation of the kind seen in Weimar Germany or Mugabic Zimbabwe.

      Forecasts of inflation to be caused by the Federal Reserve’s aggressive money creation are a bit like forecasts of the greenhouse effect from CO2. Instead of climate sensitivity, they depend on the constancy of the “velocity” of money or, stated inversely, the “demand” for money. When people are feeling more conservative and want to hoard cash or rebuild their balance sheets, you can inject more money into the system and it doesn’t bid up the prices of real output because everybody wants to hold more cash rather than spend it or invest it. (There is also a “deep-ocean sequestering the heat” story that says the inflation is going into the asset markets [real estate, stocks, bonds, etc.] that are not computed in the price indexes.)

    • Stevepostral,

      There’s quite a lot of what you say I would agree with. Particularly promises of future support for retirees. That would cause problems for any society of any political complexion. There’s not a lot that society can do about that. Individuals can seemingly save responsibly for their retirement but if every individual saved for their retirement, or society saved for them, it won’t work especially as there is a coming bulge in the demographics. There’d just be a deflcit of spending when the savings are being made, having a deflationary effect on the economy, and an excess of spending, inflationary, when the money is finally spent.

      But I think you need to think again about your prison camp analogy. Yes cigarettes.or chocolate bars can be a currency there because they have an intrinsic worth. They aren’t just pieces of paper or tokens. But say the prison authorities did issue a paper currency or tokens to the camp. The inmates initially would probably ignore them. But, say the authorities then said that they would provide educational programs or extra healthcare providing the inmates paid their dues to the authority in these tokens. They could make it compulsory for everyone to pay something and impose penalties if they didn’t comply. That would change things. That’s essentially why $ and £ are worth something but I’m not saying that the US and the UK are prison camps – although some on the libertarian right might differ on that point!

    • “We are all living above our means, its an unsustainable situation, bankruptcy looms, our children and grandchildren will live impoverished lives having to pay for the present level of profligacy etc etc.”

      So what we need to do is restrict the use of carbon base fossil fuels, enact a massive tax increase that will affect the poor and third world most of all, and…oh yeah…turn control of the world energy economy to lolwot and his friends.

      The problem isn’t that some people can’t worry about too many things, it’s the obliviousness of some people to reality.

      • Living above your means is enjoying the property of someone else without their consent. Those who have means by providing something of value that someone else is voluntarily willing to pay for using their own money is living according your ability to increase net benefits to society.

        And yet, the Left believes personal ambition, industriousness, initiative, having a dream and working to make it come true — i.e., the creation of wealth in a free enterprise system that benefits free men and women and in turn all of society — should be discouraged and repressed for the public good.

    • GaryM,

      I think you may have missed the point. To make it a bit simpler for you: I’m arguing for the opposite of what you’ve quoted. We aren’t living above our means economically. There is plenty of spare capacity and underused resources which could be used for decarbonising the energy economy.

      If there’s any living above our means it is in the environmental sense.

      • tempterrain,

        Yes, I know/ You’ve argued before that 17 trillion dollars of debt is meaningless because the government can just print more money. That is what I mean by your obliviousness to reality.

      • tt,

        Fortunately (or unfortunately for those involved), I suspect we will see all too soon with the PIIGS of Europe how unimportant massive debt combined with centralized control of the economy works out.

      • The US has control over its own currency. The PIIGS don’t. They’ve given away their independence. That’s the difference.
        The UK government was either smart enough to see the problems in advance with the Euro, or they did the right thing for the wrong reasons. (I suspect the latter )
        All the same they are much better off out of the Euro.

      • tt,

        If it were a matter of just printing more Euros, the Germans wouldn’t be so peeved about the constant bailouts. The progressives running the EU finance ministries don’t even buy into your delusion of sovereign debt as meaningless.

      • I didn’t say sovereign debt was meaningless. Its a representation of the difference between what governments spend and what they receive in taxes. In one year that’s called the deficit. If you add up everything that happened previously that’s the so-called debt. So called because its not a debt like you and I have them. They are never paid off, because they don’t have to be. That’s an observable fact!

        Yes there’s a lot of misunderstanding everywhere, especially Germany, about the way currencies really work.

      • “So called because its not a debt like you and I have them. They are never paid off, because they don’t have to be.”

        They don’t have to be. Where do you get this stuff?

        Economic illiteracy is one thing. But flat out delusion is another. If the rest of the world ever came to believe what you think is your sophisticated analysis of sovereign debt, the global economy would come to a screeching halt.

        Yes, the U.S. could simply refuse to pay its debt. At which point every bank in the US, and most banks around the world, would become insolvent over night. Stick to predicting CO2 induced thermageddon. it’s much more coherent.

      • GaryM,

        OK, if you think Governemnts do and will have to pay off their debts, show me some examples of that ever happening. It may possibly have made some kind of sense in the pre fiat currency era but not any more.

      • ” if you think Governemnts do and will have to pay off their debts…”

        “Pay off their debts?” Nice try at moving the goal posts. You weren’t talking about reducing government debt to zero, but in defaulting on current payments.

        Governments pay their debts all the time. The US government pays interests on T-bill consistently, and redeems them at the end of their term. Always has. The talk you hear of “government default” because of the debt ceiling refers to the first ever failure to make such payments ON TIME.

        And the last time we had this discussion about your delusions, I pointed out what has happened to governments in the past that have defaulted, like Argentina.

        In modern times, the consequences of sovereign default have been harsh, hyper inflation, deep recession, bank panics and the beggaring of the populace as their bank accounts became worthless.

        These results were ameliorated because there was the US and the rest of the west through the World Bank and IMF to pour money into the failed economies. The question is what a default by the U.S. would do to all the other countries, who hold massive amounts of debt. The failure of one bank, Lehman Brothers, sent a panic throughout western economies. Maybe you missed it. The fear was not because of the financial losses, but of the assault on public confidence.

        The whole point of fiat money is that the confidence of the citizens in its value is based on their belief their government will not render it valueless. Your worship of government as an everlasting deity that cannot fail is not shared by the vast majority of the rest of us.

        The fact that something hasn’t happened in the past is not proof that it can’t or won’t happen in the future. I would think that as a true believing, Kool Aid drinking CAGW zealot, you would understand that concept at least.

      • “Nice try at moving the goal posts. You weren’t talking about reducing government debt to zero, but in defaulting on current payments.”

        Sorry if you think I’m moving the goalposts. Yes, you are right. There is currently no danger of the US government ever involuntarily defaulting, or even being late (which is the same thing), on their payments. They could do that voluntarily of course and that might happen next month!

        And the point is that it doesn’t matter how big the total deficit is, that would still be the case. No possibility whatsoever of any involuntary default. The US is not like Greece ,or like Argentina used to be, its has total control over its own currency. If Ron Paul has his way and the $ was pegged to gold then it would be different. Then there would be the possibility of involuntary default.

        So the size of the deficit doesn’t matter? Well yes it does. If its too high then inflation will increase. If its too low then unemployment will worsen and the recession will be deeper. That’s a political choice to make.

    • Japan is spending 50% of its taxes on debt service. If we did that our budget would increase by $1 Trillion per year, instantly. Our $3.7 Trillion annual budget would go to $4.7 Trillion. The issue is whether we want to spend so much of each year’s Federal budget on servicing the debt. Wait until interest rates begin to normalize and watch the budget get eaten up by paying our creditors.

      • As interest rates in Japan are close to zero I’m wondering how it is possible for debt payments to be so high. Where do the payments go? The logical step would be for the Japanese government to print money to pay for any debt interest instead of over – taxing the population and thereby deflating their economy. They’d only think about stopping if inflation started to become a problem.

      • tt,

        “As interests in Japan rates are close to zero”

        The yields are extremely low on short term bonds, and not all that high on longer term bonds. But “small” refers to the percentage, not the aggregate amount. And those low rates are something that will not continue for long.

        Japan has been trying to maintain high levels of government spending and using low interest rates to offset the harm to the economy. The problem is they have been trying it for over a decade. It hasn’t worked, and won’t.

        “The logical step would be for the Japanese government to print money to pay for any debt interest instead of over – taxing the population and thereby deflating their economy. They’d only think about stopping if inflation started to become a problem.”

        You are advising the Japanese to do what most of the failed economies of the last 100 years have done. You live your life based on appeals to authority. The financial authorities across the globe, conservative and progressive alike (and most in power are progressive) think that’s a really bad idea.

      • Dennis Adams,

        ” You live your life based on appeals to authority.” ? That seems a strange thing to say. I’m a Physicist/Engineer by background not an economist but I’ve always been interested in Economics and politics.

        Its quite noticeable that Economics is quite different from Physics. The level of disagreement is much greater. There are economists in the Austrian school who are very monetarist and would strongly disagree with what what I’m saying here. There are still a few hardline Marxists around too. Most are of the Keynesian variety but Keynes does seem quite misunderstood. All would disagree to some extent

        Keynes used to argue that budget deficits in bad times should be counter balanced by surpluses in good times. It just seems matter of simple observation that modern capitalist economies have moved on from that. Now there are large deficits in the good times and even larger deficits in the bad times!

        That seems scary at first sight. But should it be?

      • Dennis Adam,

        Sorry the previous post should have been for GaryM. He used the phrase “appeal to authority”.

    • “Wait until interest rates begin to normalize and watch the budget get eaten up by paying our creditors.”

      If the debt is created by printing money then there are no creditors.

      But I must admit I don’t quite understand just what’s going on with QE. As I understand it the Central Bank prints money,or creates it in a computer and uses it to buy back Government Bonds held by banks and other financial institutions. So the bank gets money instead of bonds which supposedly can be lent out in loans etc to boost the economy. But the bank could always sell the bonds if it wanted to anyway to raise the money. In fact bonds are effectively another form of money.

      So when the Fed gets the bonds back what does it do with them? Its like getting IOUs back. They can’t do anything – they may as well just tear them up -so I do question whether any new money has been created by buying back bonds.

      Besides bonds the Fed is also buying back dodgy mortgaged backed securities. It suspect they are paying over the odds for them and in this case they are effectively giving the banks money but of course don’t want to admit that. I suspect this is what QE is really all about.

      • The Fed is doing for Treasury Bills what DeBeers does for diamonds. Sopping up all the excess to keep the price from tanking.

        “But the bank could always sell the bonds if it wanted to anyway to raise the money.”

        No, it can’t. Not without driving up the cost of borrowing. It’s a supply and demand thing. The Fed creates false demand keeping the value of the bonds up, and therefore the interest that must be paid to buyers down. Imagine if that trillion or so in T-bills bought by the Fed were simply added to those already sold on the market.

        The Fed expects it will buy enough time for the economy to recover, at which time all that debt can slowly be retired with the new tax revenue. Plus the inflation it is causing (disguised by changes in how the govt. calculates it) will diminish the value of the debt anyway.

        The problem is that the Fed has the same faith in the continued value of US debt that AIG and Countrywide had in the value of real estate. And that didn’t work out so well.

        Not to mention the fact that the whole point is to induce banks to loan out the “new” money. Which they are loathe to do with this anorexic economy. They are better off holding on to the cash.

        The Fed is doing for the US government what Germany is doing for the PIIGS. And may very well have the same disastrous result.

      • When the Fed buys treasury bonds from the banks, it makes interest income. When it buys a MBS, the mortgage payments go to the Fed.

        If interest rates go up, the market values of their MBS will go down. But they’ve probably purchased credit default swaps to protect themselves.

      • “When the Fed buys treasury bonds from the banks, it makes interest income.”

        So all they are getting is the interest (technically coupon payments) paid by themselves to themselves. The banks must be getting the better of the deal. If not they would be complaining loudly that the process of QE was depriving them of these payments.

      • ” Not without driving up the cost of borrowing. ”

        The control of interest rates is entirely in the hands of governments. Japan has had zero,or thereabouts, rates for the last twenty years because that’s what the Japanese governments wants. Yes they do that by QE as you suggest. If they wanted to raise interest rates they’d simply issue higher yielding bonds QE has been since copied by US and UK to force down interest rates and get the higher yielding bonds out of the system. But its not really printing money as popular opinion would have it. Not when its bonds. Dodgy other assets maybe.

      • It keeps them. They are an investment.

        They do not pay interest to themselves. The taxpayer pays them interest, and will repay the principal when it is due. The Federal Reserve is not the US government.

        Banks with no cash are bad for the economy, so the economy gets the prize.

        At the end of the year the Fed pays the US Treasury a very large amount of money. It got that money by making money on treasury bonds and MBS. They’ve become capitalists.

      • JCH,

        “The Federal Reserve is not the US government.” There may well be some legal fiction in place to try to pretend otherwise, but to all intents and purposes the Fed is a key part of the US government.

        You could issue bonds if you chose to. You’d pay out the interest in instalments over the course of the life of the bond. You could choose to buy the bond back if you wanted to but you couldn’t claim the interest as a profit as you’d just be paying that to yourself.

        You’d issue a bond to maybe raise some capital for a business venture. The popular perception is that governments issue bonds for similar reasons but why bother when they can just print the money? The answer is that they issue bonds to set the level of interest rates. But, when interest rates are zero there is essentially no difference between a printed dollar bond and a printed dollar bill of course.

      • tempt-
        Here is a link to the Japan Finance Ministry Budget for 2012. Note the Tax revenue of about $42 Trillion yen and the debt service cost of $22 Trillion yen. Their debt is about 212% of GDP vs US Debt Held by the Public of 75% of GDP (vs Total Debt). Japan has been in a no growth situation for nearly 20 years with very low inflation and low interest rates supported partially until very recently by very high savings rates. I think Japan is a time bomb waiting to go off. Their population is going to decline in the next 20 years. Nearly 20 years ago they had 65 Million jobs vs 63 Million jobs now. Contrast that with US job growth from 1980 (90.8 Million jobs) to 2000 (130.8 Million jobs). Now we have 136.1 Million jobs. The Fed seems to think they can unwind their positions in QE and maybe they can, but in the meantime they are artificially supporting Treasury Bond prices and thus low interest rates.
        There are those who say “Well we had massive debt after WWii and we grew out of it.” That is true. But why is that? Our debt increased by just 1% from 1945 to 1960. The Debt Held by the Public has increased since 2000 by 260%. So the rate of growth of our debt is 260 times faster than after WWII. That is why a comparison of post WWII Debt situation to now is not valid.

      • “The control of interest rates is entirely in the hands of governments.”

        That is sheer lunacy.

        Governments control the interest rate they pay on their debt by setting the interest rate they pay on the bonds they issue. Government sets the interest rate on the funds the central bank loans to commercial banks.

        But it does not set the rate that the banks charge their customers.

        This is why pump priming does not work. The Japanese have been doing it for more than a decade, and it hasn’t worked. Banks can take funds borrowed at zero interest, and buy government debt at even one percent interest or even lower, and make money – with (virtually) no risk. For them to instead loan those funds to customers, they have to believe the added profit is worth the added risk.

        Western governments have refused to learn this lesson, no matter how often they try it. When you are undermining the economy everywhere else, loaning the banks money for zero interest doesn’t make them stupid. Bankers love profits. But they are more terrified of substantial losses.

      • Gary M,

        “But it does not set the rate that the banks charge their customers”

        That’s true. Nor can it (government) control whether the banks just sit on any excess liquidity or actually make useful loans to stimulate economic activity. So I would agree that while Governments have absolute control over the underlying rates, via the interest rate the central banks lends to the commercial banks, and which certainly affects depositors, that’s of limited usefulness. The government needs to by-pass the banks and start making these loans available directly to industry and spending money directly on infrastructure. That way they’ll get a bigger bang for their buck.

      • tt,

        “The government needs to by-pass the banks and start making these loans available directly to industry and spending money directly on infrastructure. That way they’ll get a bigger bang for their buck.”

        Sorry, direct spending has been tried, and failed, repeatedly as well. Stimulus I and Stimulus II did nothing for the US economy. “Cash for clunkers” simply moved future purchases into the present. A short term sales blip, followed by a corresponding decline when the program was over.

        And direct lending? The government has socialized higher education, is in the process of socializing the healthcare economy, and is desperate to socialize the energy economy. I am not in the least surprised that you also advocate socializing the banking industry.

        But I must say, you are doing a real service here. Giving an abject lesson in why central planning is such a bad idea.

      • GaryM,

        Yes I would agree that such schemes as “Cash for clunkers” aren’t a good idea at all. That they were ever introduced shows just how much of a panic everyone was in after the GFC in 2008. There’s much better things to spend Government money on.

        I would agree with you that QE isn’t a good idea either. Its much more about rescuing the banks than about getting economies moving again. The danger of too much direct government intervention is that inflation would become too high. When that happens its time to cut back but with unemployment being so high that’s not likely any time soon.

      • Dennis Adams,

        Thanks for the link. I notice that of the 24% less than half is actually interest payments. The rest is ‘redemption payments’. What are they? Are they trying to reduce the total debt? That would be crazy.

        Even half that seems high given that interest rates in Japan are very low at present so it is possible that these payments are due to old fixed rate loans. Japan has been in a vicious downward spiral of low growth, low interest rates and low inflation for the last 20 years. So the common sense remedy would be to increase government spending, and reduce taxation until inflation hit, say, 5%. Any old fixed rate loans would be much better value for money at that level. Keep inflation at around 5% and see what happens. 5% isn’t so bad and has the effect of halving the so-called debt every 13 years even if nothing at all is paid off.

      • Tempterrain

        I don’t understand QE either.

        Mind you we were also baffled by the appeal of bit coins which seems to be a currency that is unravelling fast


      • QE is a highly effective remedy. It is not done to save the banks; it’s done to save the people’s economy. There is no way to do that without also saving the banks. Whether it’s new banks that have to be “saved” or the old ones is irrelevant. One way is relatively seamless; the other way, the creation of new banks, would be fraught with problems. And they would be at least just as bad as the old banks, and probably worse.

      • TonyB,

        QE is not that hard in principle. The government creates (prints) money then buys back bonds and other securities from banks. The idea is to inject money into the banks so they can lend it out.

        JCH seems to have accepted the official line that its all to help the economy and I do agree that is how it should work. What I’m not sure about is whether it actually does. Is QE actually leading to more availability of credit in the economy? As always, in economics, it is possible to find whatever expert opinion you happen to personally agree with.

        If the government do want to give businesses access to better lines of credit a much better way would be to by-pass the banks and use the created money to allow them to defer their corporation and payroll tax payments. They could be offered say 3-5% on these kind of loans which is more than the banks would offer but a lot less than businesses would end up paying the bank for what is essentially publicly sourced money.

    • The size of government debt is a pittance compared to the derivatives market. The reason there is no inflation in comparison to the amount of manufactured money is because it is all in a massive (mostly commercial owned) bingo stash that no one really even really knows about:

      Size of market

      To give an idea of the size of the derivative market, The Economist magazine has reported that as of June 2011, the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market amounted to approximately $700 trillion, and the size of the market traded on exchanges totaled an additional $83 trillion.[5] However, these are “notional” values, and some economists say that this value greatly exaggerates the market value and the true credit risk faced by the parties involved. For example, in 2010, while the aggregate of OTC derivatives exceeded $600 trillion, the value of the market was estimated much lower at $21 trillion. The credit risk equivalent of the derivative contracts was estimated at $3.3 trillion.[6]

      Still, even these scaled down figures represent huge amounts of money. For perspective, the budget for total expenditure of the United States Government during 2012 was $3.5 trillion,[7] and the total current value of the US stock market is an estimated $23 trillion.[8] The world annual Gross Domestic Product is about $65 trillion.[9]

      And for one type of derivative at least, Credit Default Swaps (CDS), for which the inherent risk is considered high, the higher, nominal value, remains relevant. It was this type of derivative that investment magnate Warren Buffet referred to in his famous 2002 speech in which he warned against “weapons of financial mass destruction.” CDS notional value in early 2012 amounted to $25.5 trillion,[10] down from $55 trillion in 2008.[11]

      • It should be noted that Warren Buffett is an avid investor in, and user of, derivatives. Credit default swaps are not risky. They’re not as safe as AIG thought, but AIG is its own case. Most companies handled their CDS correctly, and they netted to approximate zero. If AIG had just used CDS, they would have been unharmed. They had none. That was the problem.

      • JHC,

        AIG was the last link in the chain of providing protection for credit. The last link is the one to gain the most if the protection is not needed, and the one to loose everything, when it’s needed.

        AIG apparently underestimated the systemic risk to credit, and so did those who brought protection from AIG when it had already sold too much protection.

      • Pekka – there was nothing stopping AIG from hedging themselves. There is no last link in the chain. They simply did not.

    • Mayor of Venus

      Excellent post, Tempterrain!! Your understanding of the nature of money is similar to mine, that started with a basic college economics course. Do you have any thoughts on “bitcoin”? Gresham’s law “bad money drives out good”—could bitcoin become the next “bad money”??

      • I would argue that Bitcoins are at best a commodity currency, although I struggle to see why they have any real value, which may exist alongside conventional currencies . Lets consider what needs happen for Bitcoin to become a success in terms of its claimed intended purpose of enabling economic transactions to be performed over the internet with no additional costs which we would expect when using the more conventional banking options of direct transfer, Paypal , Credit card etc.

        There is a potential maximum number of 21 million coins and some 12 million in existence today. To facilitate even a tiny percentage of world trade each coin would have to increase enormously in value and be exchanged very rapidly. However, if the coin were to continuously increase in value, there would be no incentive at all to make any exchanges and the movement of Bitcoins would be very slow indeed. Holding Bitcoins would be a one way bet and their value would soar.

        If millions of people started using bitcoins on a regular basis, the soaring value of bitcoins would actually be disastrous. Instead of hyperinflation there would be hyperdeflation. Take a house valued at $500,000. At $100 per bitcoin, the value of that house is 5,000. If bitcoins rise in value to $500 each, and then to $5,000, and then to $50,000 , which would have to happen if the fixed number of bitcoins was being used to replace trillions of dollars in value, then the value of the house would plunge, in bitcoin terms — to just 10. The same thing would happen to all other goods and services in the world, including all wages and salaries. Everything would be constantly going down in price. There would be no incentive to buy anything except the barest of essentials as it would be cheaper to wait for a reduction in prices. Any economy, of whatever type, would grind to a halt.

        It can’t happen like this! At least I hope not.

      • Mayor of Venus

        Bitcoin “at best a commodity currency”, except there is no tangible commodity? If bitcoin becomes very popular, won’t others start similar “currencies”; what are the barriers to entry? Speaking of commodity-backed currencies, I’ve wondered why oil-rich countries that have government control of their oil production, like Saudi Arabia, don’t back their currencies with oil? Why be content to accept other countries’ fiat currencies?

      • That’s right there is nothing tangible about bitcoins. I’d personally think they should be worthless, but if even one or two people are prepared to pay for them in $ then I, and anyone else who might think the same, would be wrong! If that’s the case it would explain why the price is so volatile. I think there are already other versions of cyber currencies. Not one that is backed with anything tangible like a mixture of several currencies though.

        There’s a lot of politics involved in the oil trade of course. There was some talk, a while ago, of the Iranians upsetting the Americans by pricing their oil in Euros rather than $. The Saudi government could back their own currency with oil but the international trade in oil would still have to be in something else like the $ or the Euro or good old fashioned barter;

        Pegging any currency to a commodity, or someone else’s currency like the Euro, is a risky business – it means governments essentially lose control of it. When global interest rates and inflation levels are high there may be an argument for doing something like that as that could reduce inflationary expectations and lead to lower interest rates. With worldwide interest rates being very low it makes no sense now.

    • I’ve just discovered this guy. He explajns it slightly differently to me but I think he’s saying pretty much the same thing.

      • tempterrain

        I didn’t mean that I didn’t ‘understand’ QE, more that I didn’t comprehend how it could be thought a good idea to buy worthless assets with non existent money.

        There are an awful lot of financial instruments out there that are only understood by a few people and judging by the mess of five years ago even THEY don’t understand them!

      • There’s nothing wrong with using QE to buy back bonds. Its an exercise in swapping the Bank’s bonds for cash and does have the desired effect on interest rates. The Bank starts with nothing and finishes with nothing, effectively, so its not the money printing exercise which is claimed.
        Its a different story with other assets though which may well be worthless as you say.

  6. The hubris and pretense of Western politicians and school teachers to demand respect for an ability to foretell what the weather will be 30 to 50 into the future has become a sick joke–e.g., 99% of government climatists give the rest a bad name. The difference between climatists and weatherpersons is that the latter do not pretend to be accurate more than a few days into the future.

  7. (Another step forward the elucidates what to look for in oil shale.)

    “Excitement has been building in the oil patch in South Texas surrounding the recent Buda oil discovery by private oil company Dan A. Hughes. They discovered major natural fractures in the Buda oil formation along the Zavala and Dimmit County line in Texas. The Hughes Heitz 302 3H well has produced almost 300,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil in a little over a year and is still producing. Unlike Eagle Ford wells, Buda wells do not require fracture stimulation and the wells cost less than $4 million to drill and complete. In addition, the Heitz 3H well is producing fairly large quantities of very liquids rich natural gas.

    The real secret to unveiling Buda sweet-spots is unlocked in the hearing when Dan A. Hughes Company testifies that “faulting is present near the eastern boundary of the Zavala and Dimmit County line. Hughes seeks to drill wells near fault lines which create natural fractures due to faulting.” Basically, the reason natural fractures occur in the Buda oil formation is because ancient earthquakes split the rocks and allow oil to flow naturally. The way to find natural fractures is to find fault lines. The bigger the better.

    What they should be doing is shooting 3D Seismic like Dan Hughes and Matador and looking for the fault lines. Finding the fault lines is the secret to a good Buda well. Because naturally fractured Buda wells recover their EUR’s so quickly, Contango should put out a second full time rig and turn the Buda discovery into a windfall rather than an annuity.”

  8. Dr. Elliott Althouse

    It is still baffling to me how an addition of one molecule per ten thousand in the atmosphere (300 ppm to 400 ppm) can raise the temperature of the entire planet significantly. Equally baffling is how those who say it certainly does do not believe that great fusion reaction in the sky cannot.

    • Doc, you have to remember, we have the bestest and brightest minds in the world diligently trying to determine if the end in near or not. They will leave no statistical method UN-manipulated on their quest for global salvation.

      The stadium wave approach should be a bonus for weather prediction though, so nice job Drs Marcia and Judy :)

      • Dr. Elliott Althouse

        The stadium wave diagram sort of reminded me of a MJO diagram with a much longer timespan.

    • It is still baffling to me how an addition of one molecule per ten thousand in the atmosphere (300 ppm to 400 ppm) can raise the temperature of the entire planet significantly

      Try using the analogy of a couple of drops of a strong dye in a large tank of water. That changes the colour of the water very noticeably meaning that radiation at certain wavelengths which previously would have passed straight through is now absorbed.

    • Dr. Elliott Althouse, don’t accept tempterrain’s words without carefully checking it out yourself what he is saying (and also what I am going to say).

      I say no tempterrain, adding more co2 at these levels is like adding a drop of pure black dye to a bathtub already totally black. No emission/absorption lines in co2 reach space from the surface or even within the troposphere, only at or very near and above the tropopause. I said ‘totally’ and ‘no’ and that is not exactly correct (see the per line optical depths of co2’s lines) but the difference is not enough to be measurably meaningful.

      • If you compress the atmosphere to 2 metres , 0.2 mm would be solid CO2. That 0.2 mm could become quite hot. It ‘s not the temperature of the whole planet, just the atmosphere, ie if the the air is 35 degrees centigrade the sea is still quite cool. The CO2 does have a heating effect in the atmosphere but there are other feedbacks ie hotter air, more clouds, heat goes back out before it hits the bulk of the CO2 so the greenhouse effect of CO2 might be averted.

      • Wayne,

        What you describe would be a good analogy for the Venusian atmosphere – but thankfully the Earth is nothing like that. At least not yet it isn’t.

      • tempterrain, I have the opinion you are mistaken.

        Don’t know if you know who Dr. Robert Brown is, a physicist. Quite a while ago he confirmed what I had long held as to what you actually see as you look at an IR spectrum, 20km nadir. I thank him for that. Look at the divot about 15 microns, see the rather wide flat bottom, see that flat bottom is always sitting on the equivalent ~215K Planck level, plus minus a bit depending on the latitude, basically always the tropopause. Why? If co2 radiation that the satellite instrument records high above was coming from deeper into the troposphere you would see lines of radiation above that 215K level, but you don’t. That is because co2 is such a strong absorber but yet is a very slow emitter being about 0.6/sec (per the Ecoeff A12 transition mean time). That is all co2 radiation deeper into the troposphere is all absorbed and the radations there has no function but to equalize all temperature variances within the troposhere, by radiation transfer within, not just convection and conduction.

        This really needs to be duscussed at a more line-by-line basis but I’m sorry that I have little spare time right now. Just dropped in for a quick read and thought that a queue for him to dig a bit deeper might help him.

        But sorry, I think I’ll hold onto my current opinion on that matter till I see proper evidence (not just more words, I have read many millions in last few years and they could never do more than get me to step one a long ago), but thanks for the reply and your thoughts.

        (ps: seems to me most in both camps remain incomple on these finer details, the deeper I go the more I find myself wrong led by those many millions of words from both sides!)

      • Wayne,
        There was a to and fro shift of scientific opinion, during the course of the 20th century, on whether the IR effect of CO2 in the atmosphere was saturated

        At the start of the century it was thought it wasn’t. Arrhenius produced CO2 sensitivity calculations which fit in surprisingly well with current thinking. Later Angstrom did some empirical lab tests which seemed to indicate Arrhenius was wrong. Afterwards it was realised that Angstrom’s testing wasn’t representative of the atmosphere as a whole and opinion swung back again.

        This paper here shows that the addition of CO2 has had a measurable effect over a 27 year period.:

      • Thank you, I would read but that science seems to be pay-walled.

  9. Dr. Elliott Althouse

    Absent other factors, the logical expectation would be a sine wave superimposed over a positively sloped line. The positive slope is the recovery from the LIA and the sine wave the stadium wave, solar effect, or AMO/PDO effects. The AMO is still positive and the pause should become a drop once it becomes negative in a few years. This also fits with the stadium wave diagram. When the PDO flips back the trend will again be flat, and then the trend will be positive when the AMO goes positive. Hopefully, many of us will be around in 2035 when the verdict is in.

  10. Dr. Elliott Althouse

    It is nice when someone has a theory which can actually be validated or disproved.

  11. Retrograde Orbit

    That’s wishful thinking.
    Don’t go there – unless you are already in deep denial.

    • I find it amazing that after all this time people still think in reductionist black and white terms such as denier/believer right wing/left wing completely right/utterly wrong. How long will it take for people to understand that a population of 200 millions probably has 200 million subjective views? It may confuse the issue, but there are lefties who criticise climate change theory and republicans who support it. There are left wing governments who oppose action, and right wing governments who take the lead. There are tendencies, but we should be very very careful about pigeon holing beliefs or scientific results into black or white boxes. It’s the curse of climate science.

  12. A fan of *MORE* discourse


    WUWT’s lead story is full of interest

    Climate change is real and denial is not about the science
    (by Andrew E. Dressler and Gerald R. North,)

    A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirms what we already know.

    First, the climate system is definitely warming.

    Second, humans are now a dominant driver of the climate and are very likely to be responsible for most of the recent warming we have experienced.

    And future warming over the 21st century will likely be several degrees.

    Of the dozens of atmospheric scientists in our state at Texas A&M, University of Texas, Rice, Texas Tech, University of Houston, etc., approximately zero of them are skeptical of this mainstream view of climate science.

    So why is there such a disconnect between what scientists think and the public debate?

    Recent cognitive research helps us understand this. Researchers find that beliefs on climate change science strongly correlate with other policy preferences.

    For example, if you are skeptical of the science of climate change, then you almost certainly oppose the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and support gun rights.

    Those who support action to reduce greenhouse gases very likely hold the opposite views.

    If arguments about the science of climate change were actually about the science, then this result would make no sense. Whether climate change is true or not is a scientific matter, and it should be uncorrelated with philosophical views on the role of government in health care or the constitutional right to own a firearm.

    But they are correlated. And this tells us that the arguments about the science of climate change are not actually about science.

    So what is the argument about? The answer is policy.

    If climate change is true and we decide to reduce emissions, then it will almost certainly require intervention by the government into the energy market. For some, that idea is so repugnant that the only conclusion is that the problem must not exist.

    It is also about being part of the tribe. Climate change has achieved such an elevated status in the policy debate that it has become a litmus test. To be a Republican, for example, you must reject the science.

    As proud Texans, we are sympathetic to those who worry about out-of-control eco-totalitarianism. And we both love cheap and abundant energy and the lifestyle it allows us to lead. But, like most people, Republican and Democrat alike, we also want to protect the environment. Thus, we both support balanced action to address the clear and present danger of climate change.

    Throughout history, American ingenuity has overwhelmed every problem we’ve faced. Along the way, we have found cost-effective ways to clean up the air and switch off ozone-depleting substances. This not only led to a cleaner environment but to economic growth. And we are confident that the same thing will happen here.

    If we put our minds to it, we can solve the climate problem and prosper along the way.

    Only someone profoundly pessimistic would bet against American ingenuity.

    Well said, Drs. Dressler and North!

    Whoops, I accidentally quoted what Drs. Dressler and North *actually* said, not the predigested ideology-first pap-smear that Anthony Watts/WUWT has provided (as usual).

    Oh well. Verbatim in-context quotes of scientitsts *own* carefully chosen words are better, eh Climate Etc folks?

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    • Fan is soporific. Oops, I mean terrific.

    • Unfortunately, we have the likes of birthers, deathers, creationists, climate and default deniers. We have Tea Party ideologues attempting to take over the rational functioning of government by holding the nation hostage to their political agenda. We have climate deniers sowing deliberate disinformation about climate change for no other reason than to confuse and bamboozle the public.

      I have no doubt that most of our government officials are rational people, and that government will again be functioning. I also have no doubt that the vast majority of the public is open minded on the topic of climate change, and that most public officials are aware that global warming is an impending problem.

      All along, it has been quite clear that there is a strong correlation between conservative right-wingers and climate deniers. But now, thanks to Tea Party ideologues, the concept of “conservative” is becoming more and more synonymous with crazy-clueless fanaticism.

      • somebody’s on furlough?

      • And we have agenda driven ideologues dressing up as climate scientists.

      • Matthew R Marler

        A Lacis, you have never addressed the technical points and questions that I have raised. What will an increase in downwelling long-wave IR radiation actually change on the 70% of the Earth surface that is water? Where is the evidence than a calculation based on a hypothetical equilibrium is an accurate representation of anything on the actual Earth?

        In his book “Principles of Planetary Climate”, Raymond T Pierrehumbert addresses the issue of accuracy of approximations head-on, in various places. Withing the limits of approximation, the “equilibrium” calculation is equally accurate whether the slight increase in the absorptive capacity of the atmosphere increases or decreases surface/lower_troposphere temperature by up to 1K; and equally accurate whether any change occurs in the lower or upper troposphere.

        In short, in order to know the development of the climate in the upcoming century in response to an increase in CO2, what we need to know are all the transient responses; if an equilibrium is even possible, or a consistent change in stationary distribution, it will come much later.

        These issues don’t have anything to do with the TeaParty or MoveOn. They are detailed technical questions.

      • R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

        Andy said:

        “I have no doubt that most of our government officials are rational people, and that government will again be functioning.”
        A few years ago I would have had little doubt on this as well, but now my doubt has risen to much higher levels. In listening to the rhetoric that is both extreme and unchallenged by moderates, I have a growing suspicion a period of great tension and even outright hostility is settling in for an extended period in the U.S., and other places in the world, Sociological studies such as this one:

        Give me no cause for optimism of a whole functioning government for some time to come.

      • bill_c
        Actually, I am finding it distressing that the whole nation is being held hostage by the mindless, led by the gutless, egged on by the clueless, and orchestrated by those who lack scruples, ethics, and morals, but who nevertheless have the necessary greed and money to exercise their total disregard for rational civilized behavior.

      • “bill_c
        Actually, I am finding it distressing that the whole nation is being held hostage by the mindless, led by the gutless, egged on by the clueless, and orchestrated by those who lack scruples, ethics, and morals, but who nevertheless have the necessary greed and money to exercise their total disregard for rational civilized behavior.”

        Ok, but, do you have anything positive to say about Obama?

      • Andy

        A week ago you kindly said you would provide a link to Hansens work on the co2 logarithmic curve but couldn’t because of the Govt shut down.

        Here we are still in the same position and as well as the budget the debt ceiling also needs to be confronted.

        It seems to me that American politics are polarised in a manner I have not seen in my lifetime with Obama passing for a mild socialist and the Republicans becoming increasingly right wing.

        Obama care has surely been passed through all stages of law AND was upheld in the Supreme court? How can it be a negotiating point?

        Like it or not it is a democratically agree law.

        It is very undemocratic to horse trade obamacare for agreement on budgets/debt ceiling. What on earth are you guys playing at over there. The antics of the Republicans are threatening financial collapse and its all very well for some to say its happened before.

        What realistically are the Republicans likely to get as a sop to agreeing to do what is necessary to move forward, for Obama cant possibly concede Obamacare else democracy and the rule of law has broken down at the highest political levels of the US.

        I have no time for Obama but the right are behaving like spoilt children


      • A Lacis,

        Actually, I am finding it distressing that the whole nation is being held hostage by the mindless, led by the gutless, egged on by the clueless, and orchestrated by those who lack scruples, ethics, and morals, but who nevertheless have the necessary greed and money to exercise their total disregard for rational civilized behavior.

        You are starting to sound like a mad scientist. You still have not answered my question about the damage function. So you arguing that GHG emissions are dangerous but cannot provide any basis for your belies. On that basis, all that vitriol you are addressing to those who do not accept your beliefs actually should be taken on board by yourself.

      • Tony,
        Stay tuned. Like they say – we live in interesting times.

      • The Republicans were suddenly very concerned about the debt and deficit when Obama wanted to spend any money, when they had let Bush raise the debt and deficits for eight years with barely a peep. Here’s the odd (perhaps not surprising) inconsistency. The main danger of growing debts and deficits, they would have argued, would be a default on payments or higher interest rates for borrowing and reduced power of the US in the global economy, so what do they do now? They threaten to do this deliberately! The exact danger they argued about with the debt is now what they propose to do themselves by accelerating that outcome. They have put their previous carefully crafted concerns into reverse. Who can keep up?

      • JImD

        I am astonished and dismayed that the political and economic leader of the western world is behaving in such an irrational and childish manner.


      • It is little consolation that the polling shows them to be very unpopular, because enough of the most extreme ones are in safe seats and can pretty much do their demagoguing to their small very richly supported and vocal constituencies, forgetting what the rest of the country thinks. Even with this unpopularity, many could get re-elected.

      • Sorry wrong nesting again! Wot! more alarmism?

      • Republicans have the numbers. How undemocratic. Obama did but doesn’t, how unfair. In a democracy whoever has the numbers wins.
        Usually. The Republicans have said no Obama care and cut spending. Their prerogative right or wrong. Obama should back down and leave it to the next Democratic president to put through when he actually has the numbers. Biggest fear is human pride and stupidity.
        Not that this applies to the denizens here.

      • For the debt ceiling vote, it is likely they don’t have the numbers because there would be enough defectors, but the House Speaker doesn’t have to bring it to a vote, according to his own Republican rules. Therefore undemocratically a minority can hold it up, if they want to. It is a very odd situation for such an important vote that they might not get to take it, and it is up to one person whether they do.

    • It is obvious to the rest of the world that the ‘Dressler and North’ study was limited to people in the USA, and maybe even just limited to some people in the state of Texas! .. Is there a statistical justification for making the conclusions described in the article? Also, was there a reference included that refers readers to the “recent cognitive research”? … Maybe similar studies could be made in other USA states and other countries.

      • Dr. Roy Spencer

        Dessler & North Demonstrate Why Scientists Appear Clueless

        That should help.

        And BTW Dr. Spencer also says “I would remind folks that the NASA AIRS instrument on the Aqua satellite has actually measured the small decrease in IR emission in the infrared bands affected by CO2 absorption, which they use to “retrieve” CO2 concentration from the data. Less energy leaving the climate system means warming under almost any scenario you can think of. Conservation of energy, folks. It’s the law.”

      • Matthew R Marler

        M. Hastings: Less energy leaving the climate system means warming under almost any scenario you can think of.

        That depends on the exact difference: some energy is stored by plants and animals in high density carbon and other bonds in enzymes, bone, amines, carbohydrates and other materials. And there is not a lot of information in the difference about where the temperature is rising (lower/upper troposphere; poles vs Equator; etc). TOA imbalances vary across time (day/night, seasons) and geographic region, and the errors in the estimates are substantial. They are not worthless, but neither do they support strong, confident assertions.

    • Matthew R Marler

      fan of *MORE* discourse: nowhere do you show how D&N have been misrepresented by WUWT. In fact, you document the main claim of WUWT that the editorial is a rehash of old points adequately summarized by WUWT.

      Since CO2 is neither tobacco nor ozone, those stuffs are no more pertinent to the discussion than aspartame, acrilonitrile, sugar or mercury.

  13. Retrograde Orbit

    It was very predictable that the paper would get the skeptic wishful thinkers going. Judy has a way to feed into their sentiments without openly taking a position. A bit sneaky.

  14. Dr. Elliott Althouse

    Again, show me scientists that buy pal reviewed lousy science with unusable proxys and failed models who have no financial stake in their position. I have yet to meet one.

  15. Dr. Elliott Althouse

    Skeptics are individuals who wish to better understand how the climate system works, pure and simple. A description of a multivariate chaotic system based on a trace and lousy atmospheric gas is the illogical position. Also our position does not starve, freeze or cook people.

  16. Retrograde Orbit

    Yes paranoid conspiracy theories are also very common among climate change skeptics.
    Don’t go there either.

    • Which ones?

      How about JFK was murdered by a Communist
      Allende was a KGB agent
      The IRS Is specifically targeting conservative organizations
      The vast majority of academics are on the political left
      Fox news was the least biased US broadcast news channel in their coverage of the 2008 and 2012 elections

  17. Retrograde Orbit

    Yea well …
    Science is at times beyond common sense. Long before you even get to quantum mechanics. Second guessing the work of professionals based on nothing but ignorance is not likely to yield anything good.

  18. Retrograde Orbit

    Nevertheless to go back to Dressler and North:
    I would even go further than that. I think it is perfectly rational to do nothing about climate change. Just leave it to our children and grandchildren to deal with it. Though.
    It’s a bit cold-hearted, but at least it’s rational.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Retrograde Orbit advocates “Just leave it [climate change] to our children and grandchildren to deal with.”

      Grandpa! Is that you? Something tells me you won’t much like this analysis, grandpa!

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      • This is a favorite of the staggeringly callow Max_Ok. That AGW skeptics, especially the old ones…which I’m sure to him includes anyone over the age of 40…you know, real creakers, somehow don’t care about what happens to the next generation. I’ve got grandkids. I care every bit as much as all you holier than thou alarmists. That said, It’s been my experience that when you start hearing pious handwringing about the next generation, there’s something more than altruism at play.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        pokerguy avers “It’s been my experience that when you start hearing pious handwringing about the next generation, there’s something more than altruism at play.”

        Yeah! D*mn the progressives!

        “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

        Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

        But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

        What Lincoln *should* have said was “Let’s cut taxes & allow slavery in the territories to stimulate the economy; the next generation can handle any problems that arise.”

        “The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.”

        If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?

        Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

        Look, couldn’t Lincoln just have said: “Good news! We’ve cut a slavery-extension deal! It means peace in our time!”

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      • Maybe I should start quoting Marx, Lenin and Mao, to show how they were really free market, fiscal conservatives.

        No, that would be sophomoric and idiotic. And we’ve already got that covered.

      • I’m glad to see you’re back to your normal incoherent self, Fanny. You were making some sense in the last thread. I was worried about you.

      • Fan this is how the popular press reported his speech

        Chicago Times “The cheeks of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances.”

        Harrisburg Patriot and Union: “We pass over the silly remarks of the President; for the credit of the Nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall no more be repeated or thought of.”

    • Dear Fan,
      Lincoln’s my favorite historical figure. I’m as sure as one can be about such a thing, that he’d be a global warming skeptics if he were alive today.

    • What you hear at every school board meeting anywhere in the USA, no matter what the topic: “It’s all about the children”. Occasionally, very occasionally, it actually is…..

      • After hearing that same utterance for over 60 years I can conclude that it has nothing to do with the children and everything to do with money. After all our education system is much better than before right? Isn’t that the metric to consider?

  19. This post presents reasons why those concerned about climate change should support nuclear power. It does a reasonable job of explaining the reasons and addressing the major myths. It is directed to an Australian audience but is relevant for other countries too.

    Pro-nuclear greenies? Thinking outside the box with Pandora’s Promise

  20. Retrograde Orbit

    I am un-enthused.
    The authors leave out the most important drawback of nuclear power: The nuclear waste we leave behind – again as a burden to future generations. Much like the CO2 from burning fossil fuels.
    The ‘once-through’ technology we commonly use in nuclear power is particularly wasteful. If we would use breeder technology it would be a different story. Then again that promotes nuclear proliferation.
    There is no silver bullet. The best bet is still renewable energy.

    • There is no problem with nuclear waste per say, we know how to handle it, store it or even burn it in fast neutron reactors.
      I am more worried about persistent organic pollutants in the biosphere than nuclear waste.

      • I’m not much of an ice-age, it’s cooling folks for how long even….skeptic type, but I figure we should keep developing nuclear power just in case, even if renewables work out.

    • If it was simply a matter of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% or so then the renewables would be the way to go. But, requirement is more like an 80 reduction

      There’s only nuclear that offers that possibility. The technology of 4th generation reactors is so much superior and safer that it has to be the way to go.

    • “I am un-enthused.
      The authors leave out the most important drawback of nuclear power: The nuclear waste we leave behind – again as a burden to future generations.”

      It’s possible to remove nuclear waste so it’s not a burden to future generation.
      One has ask how much is it worth to do this.
      Main problem is agreeing on the price of doing this.
      Would pay now, to store anything for a thousand year?
      Whether what being stored, it’s a chair or gold brick, or dangerous radioactive material?

      What available is storing for decades, centuries, thousands of year, millions of years, or forever.
      Is completely getting rid of radioactive waste worth much more than storing it safely for a decade?

      The problem isn’t storing it, the problem is determining what the costs should be, and what exactly must be stored. Can we assume if it has less radioactivity than a banana or bloc of granite, it doesn’t need to be stored?

      This is more a political problem than technical problem. And the political problem is mostly to do with poorly educated and brainwashed people.
      You can’t truly solve a germaphobe “problem”. His gut and 90% of him is
      microbial life. Earth and people on it are full microbial life.

      And the universe is radioactive- it’s the nature of this universe.
      Your yard is has uranium in it, uranium is fairly abundance on Earth and in the universe. Depleted uranium is uranium which is less radioactive than “normal” uranium- yet crazies are worried about depleted uranium.
      Other than medicate the nut jobs, what should be done in regard to them?
      And that they are “self medicated” could be a part of the problem.

      All I am saying is it is possible to get rid of radioactive material- it’s more doable than getting rid of the germs.

      In terms of being reasonable:
      “External costs

      External costs are not included in the building and operation of any power plant, and are not paid by the electricity consumer, but by the community generally. The external costs are defined as those actually incurred in relation to health and the environment, and which are quantifiable but not built into the cost of the electricity.

      The report of a major European study of the external costs of various fuel cycles, focusing on coal and nuclear, was released in mid 2001 – ExternE. It shows that in clear cash terms nuclear energy incurs about one tenth of the costs of coal. If these costs were in fact included, the EU price of electricity from coal would double and that from gas would increase 30%. These are without attempting to include the external costs of global warming.”

      If US were to get all it’s electrical needs from nuclear power:
      “Finally, we divide grams/J by J/yr/person to nd grams/yr/person. This evaluates to 39.5 g/yr/person. That means each person would produce about 40 grams of nuclear waste each year if we used only nuclear power”

      So 100 years is 4 kg per soul. So everyone making 4 kg of nuclear waste in their lifetime, how much should be spent dealing with the waste in terms cost per kg?
      What would like the minimal amount money paid, and what maximum length of time you would like to store it for?
      These are competing factor- if you want to pay now for a million years of shortage with zero cost to future generations, it could be pricy.
      If you store for 1000 years and assume their will be some cost for future generation in the storage your waste, it’s cheaper.
      But just saying it’s useful if one decide how much you want and how much you think it should cost [what price is paid now for least acceptable
      bother for future generation].

      • Chuck it all in Sydney Harbor, but make sure the subduction trench there is in good operating condition.

  21. If we plot the global temperature vs Log(CO2) and take the slope from 1985 to the end of 1997, and also take the slope from 2001 to present, do the two slopes give us the upper and lower measured bounds of ‘climate sensitivity’ to CO2?

    If they don’t, why don’t they?

    • ‘If they don’t why don’t they?’

      A cynic might suggest that the true answer is ‘

      ‘Because a numerate first year undergraduate could do that (as did Arrhenius 100 years ago) and one wouldn’t need vast hordes of academics ‘working on the problem’ for 30 years burning $100,000,000,000 in the process’.

      BTW – have we made any actual progress on determining this number in the century since old Svante’s day? There seems to be no subject on earth that academics can’t over-complicate in their never-ending quest to find something obscure to write papers about. And so to ‘justify’ their existence to other academics and continue to occupy their sinecures at public expense.

    • Doc, You have to take the natural variability out first. That will “de-fluctuate” the data enough that you can draw some conclusions from the global temperature vs Log(CO2) regression fit.

      Like I do here:

      It’s essentially cookbook at that point.

      If you don’t do this, you run the risk of riding the noise and coming up with misleading results. You can see what happens with the following chart:

      • A nice analysis that describes the observed climate variability and global warming trend in terms of simple, direct, and straightforward components. If only the denizens would take the time to improve their understanding.

      • A. Lacis, “A nice analysis that describes the observed climate variability and global warming trend in terms of simple, direct, and straightforward components.”

        That is a nice endorsement he can stick in a highlight box on his blog. Based on his analysis, 1880 to 1900 was the optimum global temperature, solar trickle charges the deep ocean, and the 1940 peak to to 1945 valley was the result of a super ENSO cycle. If he allows for the century scale solar trickle charging, climate “sensitivity” to atmospheric forcing is ~1C per doubling and sensitivity to solar forcing is about twice originally estimated since solar tends to power the SOI/ENSO cycles.

        Nice to see you have joined the lukewarmer club :)

      • …you can draw some conclusions from the global temperature vs Log(CO2) regression fit.

        Has it escaped your notice that your “de-noised” trend (figure 4) more closely resembles the function: Exp(CO2)?

      • “Has it escaped your notice that your “de-noised” trend (figure 4) more closely resembles the function: Exp(CO2)?”

        It could be, but then again it could just as easily be log(1 + t^n) ~ t^n + ..
        by Taylor’s series expansion.

        An exponential is a combination of power laws, and distinguishing between an exponential and a power law is fine to do, bu they both show acceleration.

        The current evidence is that emissions growth is a power law, which is much weaker at long times. Exponential growth can not be sustained.

  22. It is almost fun to watch people talking past each other here, as they do it so well. I have a new blog on trying to understand horses, but if you substitute skeptics and warmers for people and horses you get the same result.

    • “watch people talking past each other here”

      Wojick has finally figured out what constitutes the affliction known as “crackpot-itis”. Delusional thinking exists in a vacuum, solely residing in that person’s head. Group conspiracy thinking is a game, based on finding like-minded people that can push a crazy meme while ignoring contrary evidence.

      If the typical denier could learn how to collaborate with others on moving the science forward, they wouldn’t be considered kranks or conspiracists.

      • I think the skeptics have made very clear what the outstanding research issues are. The warmers who control the research funding do not see it that way. Kuhn pointed out fifty years ago that talking past like this is a common feature of scientific debates. I did my Ph.D. thesis on the logic of why this happens. In the climate case money maintains an outdated paradigm.

  23. Just over 2600 comments to go to hit 400,000. And yet people claim there is no scientific debate. Go team!

    • Well, if you think that comparing people to Lysenko is “scientific debate,” that is.

      • Even if just ten percent of the comments are scientific that is 40,000 scientific comments. A complex scientific issue indeed.

      • The Lysenko issue is not part of the scientific sub-debate. It is part of the meta-level sub-debate, which is the debate over why there is a debate, which accounts for a good fraction of the comments. Lysenko is offered as a precedent for a scientific community being captured by a movement. There is also the energy policy sub-debate, plus several others. The overall climate change issue tree is very large, hence the 400,000 comments and that is just one blog.

  24. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Is scientific debate over?. Are IPCC’s main claims scientifically supported?
    Please, read my pdf:

  25. Nuclear fusion is the only hope now

    • Recently some water leaked out of the Fukushima plant. It contained a very small amount of radioactive dust. The news media quoted the radiation activity in the physics measure of miliSieverts. The public don’t know what a Sievert or a milliSievert is. As it happens a milliSievert is a very small measure.

      Doubling a very small amount is still inconsequential. It is like saying: “Yesterday there was a matchstick on the football field; today there are two matchsticks on the football field. Matchstick pollution has increased by a massive 100% in only 24 hours.”

      The statement is mathematically correct but silly and misleading…

    • There’s a perfectly good fusion reactor right overhead.

  26. Interesting:

    Whatever lolwot is, it’s reasonable to infer that he’d never undergone an undergraduate education in any of the “hard” sciences,…It’s no wonder that mention of the results should get out of lolwot a response like that of any other weasel hit with a sufficient galvanic charge.

    So tucci “infers” about lolwot’s education, and compares him to a “weasel,” and when I point to the facile nature of tucci’s reasoning, my comment gets deleted – presumably because Judith considers it “flame warring,” but tucci’s comments get described as “fun.”

    It’s your blog, Judith – so you get to define the rules and all is fair in love and (flame) war.

    But I have to tell you, your bias is showing. tucci commented on lolwot’s reasoning and lolwot personally, complete with insults. I commented on Tucci’s reasoning only, minus insults.

    • Tucci provided an argument of relevance to the thread, you pick up on some ancillary statement about an individual, and then make it all personal. Stuff designed to start a flame war here, and add nothing of substance.

      • ” and add nothing of substance.”

        opps! that is going to raise the bar :)

      • Tucci provided an argument that was based on facile and insulting reasoning.

        I criticized his reasoning, w/o insults. My comments point to a common pattern of facile reasoning among some “skeptics.” tucci started out with an “inference” that had no basis on evidence, and went on to build his “argument” from that obviously weak foundation. That he would do so is relevant to his reasoning.

        This is certainly a pattern that repeats; “skeptics” make facile arguments. I respond by pointing out how facile those arguments are, which then generates further insults towards me. You leave in the original facile arguments, delete my comments pointing out the weakness of their arguments, and sometimes even then leave in the follow-on insults lobbed my way.

        It’s your blog, Judith, and you get to do what you want. But your moderation policies speak to the selectivity of your viewpoint.

      • Joshua, “This is certainly a pattern that repeats; “skeptics” make facile arguments.”

        And you think lolwot’s argument wasn’t facile? One of the largest findings of the project was that changing the paint type and general weathering of shelters, cotton screen and the bee hives, produces a warming bias. Since the catastrophic portion of the “Global” warming appears to be severely limited to the global land as measured by thermometers inclosed in aging shelters, there just might be a correlation. Since “global” land diurnal temperature range trend shifted about the time that digital surface station instrumentation was installed there might be a correlation. Even the thermally conductive posts used to mount the new surface stations can produce a warming bias. The material was so desirable that it was stolen by team members for use in a preemptive paper.

        Stolen is the correct term by the way. Since the surfacestation,org data was a “unique” data base as determined by the Supreme Court is was protected intellectual property unlike a common data base you can download in a CSV format.

        So lolwot belittles the crowd sourced science effort as he has a tendency to do and got a creatively insulting reply. Nothing but good clean blogging fun. :) Your determination of “facile” appears to be some what biased :) You should get that checked.

      • And you think lolwot’s argument wasn’t facile?

        I didn’t speak to lolwot’s argument. I spoke to tucci’s, and how it was obviously facile, not to mention filled with insults. His entire “argument,” such as it was, rested on a weak foundation. And when I pointed that out, Judith saw fit to delete my comment.

        It is an interesting pattern. I criticize her reasoning, or that of one of my much beloved “skeptics.” In response, other of my much beloved “skeptics” line up to attack me. (This is easily seen in the thread upstairs because I dared to criticize Pierre’s reasoning).

        And then to prevent “flame wars” Judith deletes my comments that are critical of the reasoning of others.

        So criticizing someone’s reasoning unacceptable for “skeptics,” and in fact, should be targeted through “gatekeeping.” And attacks and insults directed at those who are being critical of someone else’s reasoning is what passes through the “gatekeeping.”

        Kind of ironic, doncha think?

      • Joshua, Judith just removed your comment from a guest post. On a guest post there should a reasonable number of on topic comments before the flame wars starts. Tucci made a comment, lolwot jumped in to marginalize the comment then you jumped in to critique a mild and creative, at least for Saturday on Climate Etc. insult. Now you are trying to weasel out of your pursuit of off topicness on a guest post :)

        There is a time and a thread for everything, just not early in a weekend guest post, unless you know Judith is going out of town.

      • Cap’n –

        tucci’s comment was about lolwot’s reasoning, and filled with insults.

        my comment about tucci’s reasoning, and insult free.

        Judith thought that tucci’s comment was “fun.”

        And she deleted mine for intending to start a “flame war.”

        Now look at that sequence of events again. Interesting, isn’t it?

      • Joshua, “my comment about tucci’s reasoning, and insult free” and totally off topic for a guest post. You could have made a relevant comment, one related to the guest post, not the class of the comments, and included a snappy insult or two of your own. You actually get points for creativity.

      • Tucci provided an argument of relevance to the thread,

        Tucci’s comment, that I responded to, was off-topic as well as being filled with insulsts. But Judith thinks he’s “fun.”

        So tucci’s off-topic comment was “relevant to the thread.” But my comment about the reasoning in his comment is not relevant to the thread? Interesting logic.

        You actually get points for creativity.

        That was my point. Apparently, (at least part of the reason) my comment got deleted because it lacked creative insults. Or perhaps because it lacked creative insults directed towards one side in the climate wars.

      • Joshua, ” Or perhaps because it lacked creative insults directed towards one side in the climate wars.” No, it just lacked creativity in general. You have just about beat that horse to death doncha know. The surfacestations comments were relevant even with optional creative insults.

        Heck, even Mosher chimed in with a correct but irrelevant point explaining how the station siting only produces about a 0.1C error in anomaly. That doesn’t much matter when the absolute temperature is off by 2 degrees and is used to produce new records though.

      • Why bother with the little twit?

    Climate puzzle over origins of life on Earth
    ” One explanation for the puzzle was that greenhouse gas levels – one of the regulators of the Earth’s climate – were significantly higher during the Archean than they are today.

    “To counter the effect of the weaker Sun, carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere would need to have been 1,000 times higher than present,” said lead author Professor Bernard Marty, from the CRPG-CNRS University of Lorraine.

    “However, ancient fossil soils – the best indicators of ancient carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere – suggest only modest levels during the Archean. ”
    “But another climate-warming theory – one the team wanted to test – is that the amount of nitrogen could have been higher in the ancient atmosphere, which would amplify the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide and allow the Earth to remain ice-free.”

    I don’t more CO2 or more nitrogen is the way to make Earth warmer.

    I think if put present Earth further from the Sun, and thereby get 25% less sunlight, Earth doesn’t freeze over. And I think if put Earth at Mars distance [60% less sun] it’s possible Earth doesn’t freeze over.
    And I think if Earth had significantly less nitrogen [less than 1/2] there would
    a better chance Earth wouldn’t freeze over at Mars distance.

    If you put pool of water on current Mars, it may or may freeze into ice, the main factor which may cause it to freeze is water would evaporate because Mars is very dry planet.
    Warm water on Mars, boils- it’s lacks atmospheric pressure lowers the boiling point to somewhere around 5 to 10 C. And 5 C water would not boil on Mars, but it would evaporate quicker on Mars then it does on Earth- because no where on Earth is drier than Mars [due to changing temperatures, frost does form on the Mars surface at equator and at nite- this requires the thin Mars air to become saturated- but generally very dry.

    So if Mars had large amount of water, or it you to seal the water so it doesn’t evaporate, it seems one could liquid water on Mars.

  28. Reiner Grundman has published a devastating review of Oreskes/Conway Merchants of Doubt

    I agree 100% with Grundman on this

    • Near the end, while discussing ‘Mike’s Nature Trick’ he says ‘temperature records’ when it should be ‘temperature proxies’. So, I’m in 99 & 37/100ths per cent agreement.

    • Here is the comment I made at the Bishop’s about Grundman’s review, where he says:

      “The social science literature relevant to the understanding of policymaking in the face of uncertainty is largely absent.”
      Why do people keep repeating this canard?

      All policymaking is done in the face of uncertainty, and there is a vast literature about it. I’m not just talking about academic studies, but also about history – for example, think of all the books that have been written about how decisions were made in the World Wars.

      This myth, perpetuated by the post-normal science crowd, is just an attempt to claim that their issue is “special”, and therefore the usual rules and accumulated wisdom don’t apply to them. FGS, if there’s no uncertainty then effectively there’s no need to make a decision. The path ahead is clear and unambiguous.

      The real dishonesty is that they try to have it both ways. On one hand, we’re all gonna fry and the path to avoiding it is clear. On the other, there are high uncertainties of the catastrophic kind, so the path ahead is clear.

      I have never understood how they have gottten away with this sophistry for so long.

  29. Here is something that is quite interesting, Warren Pearce has a post Do online comments provide a space for deliberative democracy?

  30. Now here’s a rally cry for “skeptics.”

    • Beth – you should like this in particular. Lot’s o’ tyranny talk. Right up your alley.

      • Deathcare will be a boon for the transplant industry. If you smoke you have an automatic DNR but now smoker lungs and hearts are eligible for transplant. I was hoping for a barter system where you could swap a kidney for a knee replacement :)

      • BTW –

        Did you catch the comparison between police state and constitutional republic rather than between police state and democracy?

        Thanks god Michelle’s standing up.

      • Joshua, the police state was on her left your right and the constitutional republic on her right your left. The line in the sand appears to be her cleavage which may be a democracy.

      • Your obviously biased by your cleavage “motivations.” . The line in the sand was clearly in front of the podium, running parallel with her body.

    • As a skeptic with a libertarian bent, Bachmann doesn’t speak for me. If I were to do you what you did to skeptics, Joshua, I would put up a speech from Hitler.

  31. Yeah. Deathcare.

    And according to Judith’s politician/correspondant, Obamacare will decrease the life-expectancy of his children by ten years.

    And progressive are fear-mongers, doncha know.

  32. Pretty scary forecast from a number of outlets, including UKMET
    “Worst winter in decades” forecast for the U.K. Pensioner likely be forced to decide between “eating and heating” with energy prices increasing 10 percent this year..

  33. *pensioners”

    • Don’t think Bastardi is buying either.

    • Pokerguy

      The default position of the Daily Express these days is doom and gloom. If their dire predictions always came true Britain would be a sun blasted, frozen, drought ridden country whose buildings have been flattened by giant storms.

    This explains the warmist mindset very well: when a political ideology is at stake, how one does math and science changes….

  35. Talk about denial. The Australian Labor Party (‘progressive’) has just elected a new leader, having been beaten in the recent election in a landslide. One of the main issues in the election campaign was repeal of the carbon tax and ETS legislation. The electors voted overwhelmingly to have it repealed. But the new Labor leader has just announced Labor in opposition will oppose repeal of their dud signature policy, the carbon tax. Labor and the Greens can combine in the Senate to block repeal of the legislation. Talk about denial.

    Labor have returned to their usual tactics in opposition of ‘relentless negativity’, something they excell at.

  36. New madness:

    So now we have “climate departure” to add to the silly scary words list. Plus forecasts for specific years and locations ten to fifty years into the future and Nature publishes it. This is not science.

    • I’ve repeatedly asked Chris Mooney when he is going to write ‘Calm World’ and ‘The Democrats’ War on Science’.

    • A nice comment from WUWT Archives. :)
      Beth the serf.

      RACookPE1978 says:
      August 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Hi! I’m a climate scientist. Nothing I have done or studied or forecasted or hindcasted the past 24 years has come true, and everything I have projected and extrapolated the past 24 years has been falsified by real data, or proven to have come from bad programs, post-hoc edits, and exaggerated sources of no reasonable validity. I have published nothing but what has been pal-reviewed by my fellow climate scientists, all of whom are sharing my government grants and research money and bureaucracies to join in future promotions and more government grants – as long as I continue to require new government taxes on other people and other incomes other than my climate research grants.

      Trust me. I want to take your money, ruin your future, and kill millions with my stated intentions of raising energy costs and starving innocents.

      Do not listen to others who are more skilled than I in their fields, for “I” am a climate scientist.

  37. When will we see some US arctic data sites back? I,m in withdrawal.
    The few working sites elsewhere suggest a massive re freeze is underway this year. R GAtes will explain why.

  38. The topic of pensions and who’s going to pay for people’s old age is quite prominent in countries like the UK. Every agrees there is a looming problem. I did get into a discussion about this recently with a friend of mine and the outcome was that I ended up changing my mind on the best solution to it!

    It can all seem hopelessly complicated when you think about it in its entirety so we decided to conduct a thought experiment and consider the following scenarios and consider what will happen in the next 50 years or so.

    We start off with a society of 1000 25 year olds, male and female, who are living on fictional island of Islan. Islan is well run by a benevolent king who some years ago introduced a currency called the Isla which has been a success. That could be a prequel to be told at a later date. Islan has all the natural resources necessary to support the population. Fisheries, agriculture, forests etc. Lets consider the options:

    A) The king decides to discourage the population having children, by imposing taxation penalties, and doesn’t introduce any social security system for peoples’ old age. Savings are actually discouraged and the population are happy to spend all they earn.

    B) As above ie Very few chidren except there is a state funded SS system. The population pay contributions in the Isla currency by way of extra taxes and the State saves in a bank account. Savings also encouraged.

    C) As above.Very few children. Except there is a private SS system. The population pay SS contributions in Isla by way of a forced savings scheme. A private company saves the contributions in stocks and shares etc

    D) .The population are encouraged to have 2-3 children per couple. Just about the number required as a natural replacement.Their education is provided by the State funded by taxation. However there is no SS system. When people reach the age of 65 they receive a State pension funded out of taxation. Savings are actually discouraged as in A.

    E) As above. ie 2-3 children. SS via taxes which are saved in a bank as in B.

    F) As above. 2-3 children. Private SS system as in C.

    So, the question is which of these scenarios is most successful in the long term? Its pretty obvious that D, E and F will be better than A, B, and C. Except when pensions are discussed in the real world the importance of children is surprisingly hardly ever mentioned. So that’s the first lesson to be learned from the thought experiment.

    But which is really the best? D, E or F?
    And which is the worst A, B or C?

  39. Somewhere on a previous thread there was discussion regarding whether climate sensitivity was dependent on initial conditions. Which gave rise to a question I asked, that went unanswered. Is climate sensitivity a metric input into the computer models that have been used to predict future global average temperatures as a justification for CAGW policy initiatives.

    Apparently they are, but I still have the second question – Why?

    From the AR4:

    “Climate sensitivity is a metric used to characterise the response of the global climate system to a given forcing. It is broadly defined as the equilibrium global mean surface temperature change following a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration (see Box 10.2). Spread in model climate sensitivity is a major factor contributing to the range in projections of future climate changes (see Chapter 10) along with uncertainties in future emission scenarios and rates of oceanic heat uptake. Consequently, differences in climate sensitivity between models have received close scrutiny in all four IPCC reports.”

    Forget the dodge that the models are just academic exercises useful for learning about climate. The models predictions of unceasing, accelerating global temps are the foundation of the entire CAGW policy argument.

    But the climate sensitivity (that is the combined product of initial conditions, forcings and feed backs) is programmed as a metric in the climate models.

    To me it is the same as if someone programmed a diagnostic model to diagnose cancer, with all the patient symptoms and physical condition as input. But the programmer also included as a metric the fact that the patient had cancer.

    If the CS estimates in the models are correct, their predictions of temperatures are arguably more correct. But the whole point of the models, for policy purposes, is to discover how the climate reacts to additional CO2. At least, that is how they are marketed to the public.

    Imagine the IPCC including in the AR% the following statement:

    “All of our models were programmed to show a certain rise in temperature based on a doubling of CO2. Their results show that a doubling of CO2 will cause a rise in temperature that is the same as they were programmed to show. They vary in their output in part because we programmed different climate sensitivities into the different models.”

    Who would care? All that shows is that the programmers got their programs to produce the result they pre-programmed.

    I have to believe I am missing something, this seems too obvious a contradiction. But I’m damned if I can figure out what it is.

    • The mistake you’re making is believing that climate sensitivity is a fundamental physical variable. It isn’t. It’s a parameter that you get when you put the Arrhenius relationship (itself somewhat loosy-goosy) together with a completely contrived forcing-feedback model. Physically, it’s not real. It’s a combination of a bunch of other things, at best.

      If climate followed a strict forcing-feedback model, CS would have a single value, but it doesn’t. So the result is that it can depend on a bunch of things. This isn’t because it’s inherently so, it’s because it’s not a real physical variable in the first place. It’s more of an index.

      • Don’t tell me, tell the IPCC.

      • Unphysical variables are not necessarily wrong or useless. They’re just limited in scope. The IPCC crowd thinks CS is useful. Maybe it is. But it’s really a fictional stand-in for a more complicated picture.

        Is electrical resistible a useful physical variable? Not in a transistor.

      • *resistivity

    • No, climate sensitivity is an output, not an input of models. Write that down.

      • That was my understanding, until the discussion with Mosher. And the section from the AR4 I quoted suggests both.

        “Climate sensitivity is a metric used to characterise the response of the global climate system to a given forcing” and “”Spread in model climate sensitivity is a major factor contributing to the range in projections of future climate changes” both suggest to me that CS is an input.

      • Climate sensitivity being a metric does not mean it’s an output.

      • *the section does not say or suggest CS is an input

      • The forcing is the input, the response is the output, the climate sensitivity is a ratio derived from both.

      • lolwot,

        As I understand the term in reference to programming, a metric is a diagnostic tool. Something against which the output is measured to determine whether the model is working properly. Which is not an input, but would suggest a tuning function.

        But the sentence reading “Spread in model climate sensitivity is a major factor contributing to the range in projections of future climate changes,” strongly suggests it is an input.

        If CS is a result, or output of the models, or even a diagnostic metric, how could it “contribute” to anything in their results?

      • The spread in results for a given forcing is a major factor contributing.

      • Jim D,

        How does a ratio between input and output, affect the output? And that’s a rhetorical question.

      • “The spread in results for a given forcing is a major factor contributing” to the spread in results. Yeah, that’s a much better reading.

  40. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Anthony Watts/WUWT Affirm
    Dressler/North predictions

    Climate change is real
    and denial is not about the science

    by Andrew E. Dressler and Gerald R. North

    Researchers find that beliefs on climate change science strongly correlate with other policy preferences.

    For example, if you are skeptical of the science of climate change, then you almost certainly oppose the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, and support gun rights.

    As predicted by Dressler and North, Anthony Watts/WUWT have just headlined WUWT opposition to ObamaCare.

    What do the political/economic/moral realities of ObamaCare have to do with the scientific realities of climate change? Absolutely nothing. Except in the minds of denialists, that is!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Fanny, that’s pretty classless of you to call Watts “anti-Obamacare” because he factually points out some rather severe deficiencies in the website that the entire MSM has been talking about.

      Really. This is low even by your standards.

      You want to talk about a website that sends people to urls with bad/no SSL certificates? Huh? Huh? Let’s talk about that. Shall we?

    • And what exactly is wrong with being against Obamacare? It is a hot steam pile of you know what. It’s an overly complicated, burdensome, bureaucracy-overloaded, lawyer’s dream. It would be difficult to screw up healthcare worse than Obamacare.

  41. Koch brothers ramp up oil production in the Middle East (wink wink)

    “Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar set aggregate production records in each of the last three months, according to fresh estimates from the International Energy Agency. In September they accounted for 18 per cent of global demand – a level only matched twice in IEA data stretching back to the 1980s.”

  42. “I’ve been quiet here at Seeking Alpha lately and for good reason: the market appears overheated. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of great “margin of safety” investments in the US right now. The market is not yet in a full “bubble,” but the risks for a significant pullback are nevertheless sizable.

    There are several problems ahead. Valuations are high with the S&P P/E ratio now at over 19. The economy is still in dismal shape, with true unemployment close to 30-year highs. Meanwhile, terrible policy decisions (e.g. Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, higher taxes), coupled with large budget deficits and increasingly loose Fed policy have created significant risks moving forward.

    Stock Market Bubbles are Rare; Earnings Crashes are Not

    Let’s start off taking a look at the overall market valuation. The chart below shows the P/E ratio of the S&P 500 (SPY) from 1900 – 2013, excluding 10 months of data in the last recession (Dec 2008 – Sep 2009). I cut that data out to make the chart more readable, as the P/E ratio briefly spiked over 120 in 2009, due to plunging earnings.”

  43. (Jim2:Ethanol was nothing but politicians pandering to farmers anyway. I know ethanol killed my weed eater.)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering scaling back legal requirements on the use of ethanol next year amid complaints from refiners that statutory mandates would exceed their ability to blend it into fuels without putting engines at risk.

    Oil industry proponents have said that the escalating requirements of ethanol to be added would force them to sell fuel blends exceeding 10 percent or export gasoline, a phenomenon known as “hitting the blend wall.”

    Blending in ethanol at greater than 10 percent can cause problems with engine materials breaking down and the operation of emission-control systems, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Older vehicles can’t handle blends of 15 percent ethanol, the Washington-based trade group said.

    • Jerks come in all sizes, colors, and genders. This, I assume, guy is a jerk. Here’s some speculation on his identity.

      “Douglas Moran (@dougom) | October 12, 2013 at 8:29 am |

      I’m trying to decide if this pisses me off more because I’m: a science person, a friend of many sex workers, a freelance writer myself, Jewish (“Ofek” is a Hebrew name), or simply because *I’m a human being*. How effin’ obnoxious can you get? What an ass-clown.

      A little research on the name “Ofek”; he (you have to assume it is a “he”) is listed only once on He is included as an author for a paper: “Zhu P, Liu J, Bess J Jr, Chertova E, Lifson JD, Grise H, Ofek GA, Taylor KA, Roux KH: Distribution and three-dimensional structure of AIDS virus envelope spikes. Nature 2006, 441:847-852.” Googling “Ofek” brings up a few entries, but the most likely is “Gilad Ofek”, which gives us this entry: If “Ofek” is Dr. Gilad Ofek, employee at the NIH (blogging on the side, one assumes), this kind of thing could get him in serious trouble. *IF* that’s the correct “Ofek”; evidence is circumstantial.”

  44. North Dakota’s oil drillers pumped out more than 900,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in August for the first time ever, and set another new record for the state’s monthly crude oil production at an average of 911,500 barrels per day (bpd), according to oil production data released today by North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources (see top chart above). The Peace Garden state also set a new record in August for monthly natural gas production at just over 31 million cubic feet (see bottom chart). Here are some other highlights of North Dakota’s record-setting oil and gas output in August:

    1) The state’s average daily oil production increased by 29.4% in August compared to a year ago, following an annual increase of 29.3% in July.

    2) In dollar terms, the oil produced in North Dakota in August had a daily market value of almost $100 million at the average oil price of $106.57 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil during the month of August.

    3) The Bakken region in western North Dakota produced more than 800,000 bpd in August for the second straight month, and established a new all-time monthly output record of 847,150 bpd, which represented a new record-high 92.9% of the state’s monthly oil production.

    4) North Dakota’s natural gas output in August increased 31.3% from a year earlier to exceed 30 million cubic feet of production for the second month in a row, and established a new monthly record high of just over 31 million cubic feet.

  45. “This means nothing of course. Just weather. (No, actually I do mean that, though I expect those who look for excuses to complain will say I’m not allowed to discuss weather conditions. It’s a “dog-whistle”, or something.) For balance I’ll point out it’s been record hot on the East Coast of Australia. (Sydney’s “third hottest October day since records began 154 years ago.”)

    But seriously, it’s interesting (and sad) that snow in Dakota killed 100,000 head of cattle, that early heavy snow has fallen in Europe (nearly a meter in Switzerland), it’s been called the worst start to “winter for 200 years”. The snowfall in Germany was the largest at the start of winter since records started in 1800.

    Probably most interesting of all is that long range forecasters are issuing catastrophic warnings (they are quite extreme) but the UK Met says that’s “irresponsible”, and that trying to predict the weather that far in advance is “crystal ball” gazing. (Oh really?) They didn’t seem so concerned about predicting hot horrors on longer timeframes…”

  46. “Cold weather seems to raise the risk of stroke, heart attacks and sudden cardiac death, some research shows. Heart-attack risk rose 7% for every 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) drop in temperature, according to a study of nearly 16,000 patients in Belgium, presented at the European Society of Cardiology last month. British researchers studying years of data on implanted defibrillators found that the risk of ventricular arrhythmia—an abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to sudden death—rose 1.2% for every 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit drop, according to a study in the International Journal of Biometerology last month.

    Once blamed on physically demanding tasks like shoveling snow, the increased heart risk due to cold may be due to thickening blood and constricting blood vessels, researchers think. ”

  47. “Craig Idso, an expert on the fertilization effects of elevated CO2 levels on various plant species, has done a new study of the positive externality (unintended economic consequence) of increasing CO2. In the 50 year period, 1961-2011, he estimates that there has been a $3.5trillion benefit resulting from increased agricultural productivity. The projected benefits in the coming decades are even larger. Egad! How could any by-product of human activity possibly be good? That sure wasn’t what I was taught in school!” –Roy W. Spencer, 18 October 2013

    “Until we get an unbiased accounting of BOTH costs AND benefits of using fossil fuels, there is little hope in getting rational public policy that won’t do more harm than good.” –Roy W. Spencer, 18 October 2013