Lafayette Climate Debates

by Judith Curry

Resolved: That all states have an obligation to anticipate, prevent and minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.

At the Congressional Hearing that I attended last Wednesday, one of the Congresswomen made opening remarks that said something like ‘Welcome to the Science Committee, the last place on earth where climate change is still debated.’

Lets face it, that seems sort of true.  Instead of genuine debate, we have one side shouting ‘denier’, and the other side shouting ‘green alarmist’, and reasonable people trying to have a reasonable discussion about the issue get dismissed with one of these two epithets, which acts to polarize reasonable people.

But something interesting is going on this year on at least some of the U.S. campuses: the Lafayette Debates  on climate change.  About the Lafayette Debates:

The Lafayette Debates is an academic series initiated by the Higher Education Department of the French Embassy in the United States in partnership with The George Washington University and U.S. civil society to promote intercultural understanding and relations by means of public debate on issues lying at the very heart of the Franco-American relationship. The program builds upon the central role of dissent in both the French and American intellectual traditions, as well as the prominence of competitive intercollegiate debate in the United States, to realize the possibilities for public debate as a method for education and diplomacy in a globalized world and digital era.

In 2015, The Lafayette Debates will include public debates at French consulates, an online speech competition, a national debate tournament on April 18th & 19th at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a study tour for tournament champions to Paris, France, organized by the Embassy of France. During this study tour, tournament champions will continue their exploration of our tournament topic in meetings with high-level French officials, diplomats and scholars as part of our Young Ambassadors Program.

In anticipation of the 2015 Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, France, the topic selected for the 2014-15 Lafayette Debates is:

Resolved: That all states have an obligation to anticipate, prevent and minimize the causes of climate change, and mitigate its adverse effects.

The 2015 debates will draw contributions and expertise from vast swathes of French and American intellectual, political and business circles. Participating students will benefit from a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of thinkers addressing the question of climate change and development from a Franco-American perspective.

Yesterday I was privileged to attend a Lafayette Debate sponsored by the French Consulate in Atlanta, between Emory University and Moorehouse College.  Both Peter Webster and I were among the judges.  An article on the Atlanta debate is here, excerpts:

Emory’s debate team won the 2014 Lafayette Debates held in Washington, D.C.

“The French Embassy hopes this will be the beginning of annual Emory-Morehouse debates, as do we,” says Melissa Wade, executive director of the Barkley Forum, Emory’s nationally award-winning debate team and community service organization.

The Lafayette Debates, named for the French general who fought for the United States in the American Revolution, is an academic series initiated by the Higher Education Department of the French Embassy in the United States. The goal is to promote intercultural understanding and relations by means of public debate on issues of importance to the Franco-American relationship. The program builds upon the central role of debate in both French and American intellectual traditions.

Flickr photos of the Atlanta debate are here.

The debate was exhilarating.  Each of the 4 students participating were superb; all were humanities majors.  The winner was Emory, by a narrow vote (6 to 5).

All of the debaters started from the premise that human caused climate change is dangerous; uncertainty in that conclusion did not factor in.  The main issue was the developed world, vs developing countries, vs undeveloped countries.  The debaters were better at handling the concerns of the undeveloped countries (rather than issues of concern for China and India).  The judges asked questions; my question related to adaptation versus mitigation, and the benefits NOW from adaptation versus potential future benefits from mitigation.

Emory

One of the really interesting people that I met was Ed Lee of Emory University, who is Senior Director of Debate.   One of the things we discussed was Emory’s new Quality Enhancement Plan, required for accreditation  for the Southern Associations of Colleges [link].   The topic of their QEP is “The Nature of Evidence.”  One of the main applications will be be climate change.

JC comments

I am thrilled to see the topic of climate change being debated on college campuses, particularly the Lafayette Debates.  I am of course concerned that science doesn’t seem to be a topic of debate, but perhaps through better understanding of the nature of evidence, progress can be made here.

France has a unique culture that welcomes dissent (Charlie: challenging free speech).  In the U.S., there is definitely a lot of dissent, but it devolves into nasty name calling, and is eventually resolved to some extent when we vote.

The campus culture in the US is overall evolving in some unhealthy directions, I have been collecting material for a future post on this.

But kudos to the French Consulate and the university students that are participating in these debates.

 

193 responses to “Lafayette Climate Debates

  1. I find it weird both sides accepted anthropogenic climate change is dangerous as a given. I don’t know the format used for this debate, but generally, I’d expect the Con side to at least force the Pro side to spend some time establishing the point. I’m curious what caused the two sides to avoid the issue.

    I’m especially curious because I’d expect a central issue of the debate to be the amount of damages. Even if everyone accepted anthropogenic climate change was dangerous, there could still be plenty of uncertainty/disagreement over how bad it’d be. That could easily cast doubt on the need for all states to act to prevent, minimize or mitigate adverse effects.

    Do you know if any of the contents to the debate are available? I’d be curious to see what arguments were made, especially if they shed light on why other arguments weren’t made.

    • That assumption would have seemed weird in the old days, when scientific debate was intended to improve our understanding of reality.

      Now lock-step group thinking is xdl enraged as debate.

    • I think the main competition this weekend will be recorded in some way. The arguments were focused on economics and vulnerabilities of the undeveloped countries, moral obligation arguments, etc. The 4 questions from the judges highlighted aspects of the issue that they didn’t address.

      • I’ll definitely watch it if it’s made available. I think it should be interesting.

        On the issue of economics and vulnerabilities, I’m not sure how you discuss those without at least examining the premise anthropogenic climate change is dangerous. If one accepts some states are more vulnerable than others, it stands to reason some states may not be vulnerable at all (or at least, not to any meaningful extent). Even more problematic, some states might find anthropogenic climate change beneficial overall.

        Those sort of concerns would make saying all states must take action to mitigate “minimize the causes of climate change” difficult. The Pro side would have to argue against self-interest for any states which would benefit from such climate change. That’s not just the harm of opportunity costs caused by whatever actions are taken. It’s saying states actually have to take action to intentionally harm themselves in order to help others.

        Personally, I don’t see how the Pro side would win against a well-constructed argument from the Con side if it were forced to discuss the details of how damaging anthropogenic climate change would be. I think the Pro side would pretty much have to try to hand-wave away the point and hope the audience/judges ignore the construction of the resolution. That might work, but it’s a gamble. I don’t see what the Con side has to lose from it either. I would think the Con side could easily argue against individual state responsibility while advancing its other arguments.

        But I don’t know much about the event, so I might be misjudging the situation.

      • Emory (the winner) was on the ‘pro’ side. We were to judge the debate based on their presentation, arguments, and questioning of their opponents. It was a tough call, as you can tell from the debate. If were judging based on the issue itself, i would be on the ‘con’ side

      • Was there any discussion about the second part of the resolution, namely mitigation? I thought that it was odd to include this: surely any state would wish to mitigate weather damage, whether “baseline” or climate-change-induced, at least to the extent that it makes economic sense to do so.

      • There was no discussion on what is generally referred to as adaptation (related to weather damage), this is something I asked about in the questioning period

      • Thanks. And sorry about writing “mitigation” when I meant “adaptation”, glad you responded to what I meant rather than what I wrote!

      • One of the most difficult parts of judging a debate can be picking a winner when you don’t agree with their arguments. Winning a debate isn’t about being right; it’s about making the better case. That means you should vote for the person who made the better case, even if that case is actually wrong.

        Speaking of which, I think this resolution is kind of terrible. A strict reading of it massively favors the Con side by giving them so many points. For instance, the Con side could just argue there are exceptions. Or it could argue preventing climate change is a bad goal for many states as they’d be better off just adapting. Or any number of other points the Pro side can’t hope to address in advance due to the number of them.

        But I suspect the question was framed with the intention of people not using a strict reading of it. I’d wager pre-existing biases would render many arguments ineffective.

      • Actually the judges figured the ‘pro’ side had the easier case. go figure

      • Actually the judges figured the ‘pro’ side had the easier case. go figure
        Was that because the other judges viewed climate change mitigation as a “motherhood”-type issue? That is, something like “Of course, people should mitigate climate change — the fate of the Earth is at stake!” Or a more nuanced reason?

    • There are a number of postulates to the climate debate that are dubious and don’t withstand close scrutiny:
      1. Life is a zero sum game. Energy and food you use today is stolen from your neighbors or the future.
      2. Natural Warming is good, artificial warming is bad.
      3. CO2 is bad, more CO2 is worse and it doesn’t benefit the planet in any way.
      4. Starvation levels of CO2 (280 PPM) represent the planetary optimum.
      5. We should starve plants of CO2 and cut yields drastically to make food slightly more nutritious.
      6. That plant food (CO2) doesn’t make plants grow and harms them in some way.
      7. That warming in the 20th century that lead to record yields will suddenly turn us for .
      8. That exponential increases in CO2 emissions can be achieved and supported long into the distant future with a relatively fixed amount of reserves.
      9. That environmental CO2 absorption won’t rise to equal emissions.
      10. That any food or energy consumed by humans (or indeed any human activity) harms the planet.
      11. That what squirrels and beavers do for their purposes is good and what man does is bad.
      12. That a “green” label makes something more moral and intrinsically more valuable.

      The above is an off the cuff effort.

      Revisions and suggestions are appreciated.

      • A religion a human need. Both Bolshevism and N a z i -ism, squelched formal religion in favor of filling of a new human purpose with duty to the state. The states being resolved to be the representatives of the planet is legitimate, it’s just dangerous, and has never been done free of corruption. Eugenics was sponsored by foundations in America and governments abroad. It was implemented in Germany where the state had the means to act as the representative for the “good of humanity.”

        My example was not to say climate science is eugenics. But all such causes for future civilization based on duty are fraught with bias. CFC reductions worked because it was targeted, tangible, measurable and not easily corruptible. The one ideological success story, IMO, is the drive to limit growth of centralized state power (and control of religion) as envision by Jefferson & Madison et al.

        Environmentalism is a religion any state can authoritatively control. It’s very attractive, a glittering generality that can justify any action. I always considered myself to be an environmentalist but even the Boy Scouts have a duty to be “thrifty” and Girl Scouts to “manage resources wisely.”

    • Not weird at all:

      “In anticipation of the 2015 Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, France, the topic selected for the 2014-15 Lafayette Debates is:

      Resolved: That all states have an obligation to anticipate, prevent and minimize the causes of climate change, and mitigate its adverse effects.”

      The agenda of the Chicken Little junketeers who will soon flock to Paris in private jets is not to decide if anthropogenic climate change is dangerous.

      • Any policy recommendation, Don Don?

      • Any policy recommendation

        Most of the developed nations of the world have declining emissions without a policy, so no policy seems to be working.

      • (Don’t know if I got sent to moderation or if it was a wordpress glitch, but excuse me if this turns out to be a double post).

        I agree with Don. I endorse that society at large and policy makers especially should encourage broad debates around all assumptions relating to “climate change policy issues”. But I think it it’s a fine thing to host an academic debate with a focused topic, whether the presumptions are warranted or not. First off it does chip away at the mindset that there are easy/clear ways to address “climate issues” and force the recognition that reducing CO2 will require hard decisions to be made. Secondly it can provide focus for the specific area.

        Engineering students compete in contests where they make concrete canoes. No time is wasted battling the restrictions arguing that there are much better canoe making materials. From this “unrealistic” exercise students learn a lot about design and addressing challenges. It carries over for real world benefits.

      • Exactly! Is it that adaptation vs. prior mitigation is too controversial and polarizing for students to handle? Or, is the obvious debate assumption bias a way to state the debate is over? Are those that view there is still a debate the same as those that might claim there is still a debate about slavery or eugenics? (Both of these were seen as moral by the state and “consensus” at the time?) Did the other judges secretly think that Dr. Curry might also doubt gravity?

    • “Actually the judges figured the ‘pro’ side had the easier case. go figure”

      Possibly an example of how many people are unfamilar with the actual facts and data and therefore form their opinions/beliefs based on what they hear or read from the media.

      • If both sides already concede that it is dangerous, it does seem that the Pro side would have an advantage. Not sure that arguing for one type of energy versus another in developing countries would even count as part of the debate. If the debate was over how best to adapt and mitigate given the assumption that CAGW is true, then at least there could be a debate about methods – both technological and economic. The way this is framed makes it sound like it is a non-debate or quibbling over whether one has a moral obligation to do it.

      • Billw1984.

        Just to clarify.

        This is a simulated debate about simulated assumptions in simulated life with simulated facts.

        Not a real debate in real life with real facts..

  2. khal spencer

    “The Nature of Evidence.” That is a breath of fresh air. I’m not exactly sure how the general public can understand the intricacies of how one performs a global circulation model or calculates the uncertainties on climate forcings, but I do think the public can learn to be more careful thinkers and listeners. I fired off a short letter to the local paper the other day regarding a George Will piece. Not because I mind him being a skeptic. But because in his efforts to ridicule his opponents, he missed a few important points.

    When one thinks about the nature of evidence, perhaps we can start to discuss things like observations vs. models, the limits on our ability to test hypotheses, seeking to make sure we are asking all the right questions, and exploring the options of mitigation vs. adaptation, including cultures who live in areas of different risks. How do you calculate costs vs. benefits when you are not 100% sure of the forecasts? As a good friend of mine back at SOEST told me recently, we can’t even model clouds very well and they are a significant source of uncertainty.

    The public needs to understand that we are, to use one of my own favorite expressions, driving in a bit of a Catskill Mountains fog. The idea is to get home before the fog gets worse, but without crashing. Needless to say, I managed to do that on quite a number of occasions.

  3. “””All of the debaters started from the premise that human caused climate change is dangerous; uncertainty in that conclusion did not factor in.”””

    No point in proceeding from a false premise?

    “””Resolved: That all states have an obligation to anticipate, prevent and minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.”””

    “Mega-droughts” such as topical now and the “Dust Bowl”appear to have occurred as a result of change in atmospheric circulation unrelated to global temperature. We know that natural variation can impose differing patterns of circulation for years, decades, and centuries. “prevent and minimize the causes of climate change” means impossibly fighting nature which is ridiculous.

    • Well, the great part about picking a fictional premise is the debaters argue the merits instead of their personal convictions.

      The sponsors were wise to pick a fictional premise.

  4. Was the debate held in the Kremlin? “All of the debaters started from the premise that human caused climate change is dangerous; uncertainty in that conclusion did not factor in.

  5. 1) If there’s improvement in the monolith of opinion in academia, that is indeed encouraging.

    2) Debate is good. However, the “Resolved” statement seems a bit silly. Substitute any potentially hazardous unknown for “climate change” in the “Resolved” statement and I think the problem becomes clear. This sort of question should rightly apply to the fit (or unfit) role of government in all human endeavor. It is not particular to climate change.

  6. Judith Curry: “France has a unique culture that welcomes dissent (Charlie: challenging free speech). In the U.S., there is definitely a lot of dissent, but it devolves into nasty name calling, and is eventually resolved to some extent when we vote.”

    This is an aspect of the French culture of which I had previously been unaware; I may need to revise my opinion of it. It’s unfortunate that my French was too poor for me to appreciate how graciously they treat dissenting views.

  7. Slowly the evidence accumulates.

    Ok that to start the assumptions are dangerous but nature bats last and more snowstorms in Atlanta and along the east coast will convince some that perhaps a bit too much certainty exists in the assumptions.

    Good to see China and India going their own way to supply energy to their economies. Now we have to convince the first world to use science and logic in addressing drought, energy poverty, economic development and restrain from stopping the seas from rising.

    China going nuclear, India going coal and nucear and the rest of the world can follow. USA remains preoccupied with shutting down carbon emissions. Fighting dragons we invent cause they are easier to address than real world problems. Germany and UK can continue hamstring their energy sources. Let the two of them export manufacturing to the rising tigers. We can go forward in the USA and private enterprise fracking and let California lag the rest of the states in energy.

    New windmills and solar advance the base technology and rich states can afford to spend extra on luxuries.
    Scott

  8. Bishop Hill has a relevant post
    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/4/16/rusbridger-asks-my-question.html

    A key issue discussed in the debate was getting electric power to undeveloped countries.

  9. It would be wonderful if we can watch the debate online somehow. Here is hoping.

    I would love to see future debates on mitigation.

    What are the plans to mitigate – will they work – how much will they cost – are they realistic?

    We see people saying 1.5C would be better than 2.0C (for our target for permitted warming from pre-industrial times).

    However, what no one ever says is how we will achieve either target.

    What is the plan?

    The US plan to cut emissions 28% below 2005 levels will do nothing (and even that is not spelled out as to how to achieve that).

    Debate about these topics would be wonderful.

  10. “I am of course concerned that science doesn’t seem to be a topic of debate, but perhaps through better understanding of the nature of evidence, progress can be made here.”

    I applaud your hopeful spirit, but I found that frightening. This has been a high profile issue for over a quarter-century that depends almost totally on the the state and trend of climate science — and that was not the core of the debate.

    To use a poor analogy, that’s like discussing validity of the germ theory of disease or evolution in terms of the humanities alone — history,theology, politics, economics — without biology. It’s shows why the climate wars run in circles at Warp 10.

    As Scotty said, “And at Warp 10, we’re going nowhere mighty fast.”

    • Well, the way the question was framed, and given the perspective of the French Consul, I don’t blame this one on the students, but one might have hoped . . .

      • I agree, and would not blame the students. As one with an expensive Leftist political science education from Cornell, I perfectly understand how they can have a debate about climate change without climate science. We learned that values and ideology are the keys to understanding everything, including the physical sciences.

        In that sense these debates were a tribute to a dysfunctional aspect of our higher education system.

    • I was a debater in high school, and for two years in college. There are various formats. But in all cases the topic is given in advance, here undoubtedly by the French Embassy in view of what Paris COP21 is about (based on ‘settled’ science). Which is what these college kids have undoubtedly been taught.

  11. I wrote this about a year ago…I hope it is of use to you.

    “Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open, and that in his youth, and so try to test his ideas on reality.”
    – Albert Einstein

    That wonderful time of year when new graduates are forced to go forth into the real world is finally coming to a close. This season was marked by a rising tide of intolerance.

    Item: 40 students and three faculty members at Haverford College arrogantly demanded that the former Chancellor at the University of California (Berkeley) apologize for his handling of a protest at his university in 2011. He ultimately withdrew rather than accede to their demands.

    Item: Dozens of students and alumni protested the selection of a Democratic Colorado state senator as commencement speaker because they disagreed with his views.

    Item: A petition from a group of students and faculty at Smith College ultimately forced Christine LaGarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, to withdraw as commencement speaker.

    Item: At Rutgers, Muslim student organizations, and student and faculty activists, pressured Condoleezza Rice into declining an invitation to speak at commencement.

    Item: The President of Brandeis caved to pressure and “disinvited” a woman’s rights activist because of her controversial views on religion.

    Unfortunately, this was not confined to colleges and universities.

    Item: A liberal group delivered a petition with over 100,000 signatures calling on the Washington Post to not publish any stories that cast doubt on climate change.

    Item: In South Carolina, two state senators sought to punish two universities for putting books prominently portraying gay protagonists on suggested summer reading lists.

    Item: Within two weeks of announcing that he had agreed to be on the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Lennart Bengtsson – a prominent mainstream climate scientist – faced such withering personal attacks and harassment from within the climate science community that he felt compelled to withdraw. The GWPF has committed the unpardonable sin of trying to bring anthropogenic climate change believers and skeptics together in civil discourse.

    Each of these incidents ought to be offensive to everyone who believes in freedom of speech. But that shouldn’t blind us to the implications they have for community resilience. Ultimately, resilient communities adapt to whatever changes they face. And by its very nature, adaptation requires innovation on the part of a community – doing things differently so that it can achieve a better outcome. This means breaking down the walls of the prison of its past ideas; trying to gain new perspectives on those ideas, and new ideas to meet the challenges of a changing world.

    Long ago and far away, I lived for a while in the poorest state in our country. An economic developer I knew told me that he had an infallible test to determine whether a community was going to grow. “Look to see if it accepts new ideas and new people,” he said. “If it does, it will recognize that it’s not necessary to take someone else’s piece of the pie – you just have to make the pie bigger for everyone.”

    Thus, a community’s resilience is tied to its ability to learn. Restricting access to new ideas or different perspectives constrains a community’s resilience, imprisons it in today’s accepted wisdom so that it is less likely to be able to solve the problems it will face tomorrow. We must decry this rising intolerance not only for its offense against free speech but also because it makes us all less resilient.”

    Just as true for our nation as for our communities.

  12. John Smith (it's my real name)

    Dr. Curry
    thought provoking week in regards to free expression
    please allow a personal reflection
    In early January 1945, my father’s infantry company of 200 men entered a small French town that unknown to the them was occupied by 1500 SS mountain troops
    they did not eat or sleep for 60 hours

    in the 1980’s my father visited me in Arlington VA
    in those days some silly folk actually opened an office for the American N@zi party right on Wilson Boulevard
    they flew two huge N@zi flags out front

    I remember driving by with my father and seeing those flags
    It was a bit of a shock for both of us
    he didn’t say a word

    looking back, it’s one of my proudest moments

    please allow me to cast my vote for the mosh pit of ideas

    thanks for what you do
    the little battles in the unknown places can mean everything

    • Danny Thomas

      John,
      +1 for you and plus infinity for Papa.

    • A salute to your dad! He and his fellow soldiers suffered mightily to preserve the freedoms we enjoy, including freedom of speech. The Axis powers were not interested in free speech.

      My stepdad was a US Marine medic during WWII and was part of the battles in the Solomon Islands. One of his duties was to “process” bodies for return to the US, and there were many of them. The most amazing thing was that he re-enlisted. They paid a big price.

      • The Marine Corps does not have medics. They have US Navy corpsman. My father was US Navy corpsman who received 5 battle stars in the Solomons and a Navy Unit Commendation. In the 2nd half of the war he was attached to the 5th Marine Division and was a line corpsman with a USMC infantry unit on Iwo Jima. He served his country in combat on the sea, in the air, and on the ground, and jokingly asked his bride if she would mind terribly if he volunteered to be a submariner. She’s sitting with me watching TV. We just got back from walking at the Japanese Gardens.

      • JCH

        You are right, my stepdad was in the Navy and assigned to the Marines. I left that out deliberately, my writing is spare because I am using an old iPad. Typing is tedious.

  13. Judy: How did these undergraduate debaters compare to the Congressional “pros” you met with earlier in the week? ;)

    • much better, we were joking about how we need these kids in Congress. One (from Moorehouse) is a political science major. So maybe some day . .

      • Judy: That also was my impression. It was pretty sad to see how poorly the Representatives spoke and how weak their questions were. I am still trying to figure out how come nobody questioned Jake Schmidt’s essentially meaningless and misleading statements.
        Your handling of Rep Breyer was masterful.

  14. The campus culture in the US is overall evolving in some unhealthy directions, I have been collecting material for a future post on this.

    Fingering the lying liars of the Global Warming Debate is a difficult topic to broach, especially when it originates in academia. Harder still is knowing the global warming debate is just the tip of the iceberg: our public institutions are letting the people down —e.g., the increasing irrelevancy of government-funded education (at least at the federal level). No one wants to be honest about it but it is dragging the country down.

  15. This is where the AGW part of the climate debate should focus on. Reason being the atmospheric processes this theory have called for are not taking place therefore the reason as to why needs to be explored.

    Below is where the focus needs to be natural variability factors aside which is the other part of the climate debate.

    AGW theory is flawed and it has something to do with the positive feedback it assumes between water vapor and CO2 not being correct,and the interactions water vapor has with various atmospheric gasses (ozone comes to mind) and atmospheric processes (interception of emissions of OLR)and water vapor concentration changes at various altitudes in the atmosphere which will produce the ultimate temperature profile of the atmosphere and the ultimate GHG effect.

    The dynamics of evaporation( water vapor concentrations in the lower atmosphere) and precipitation events (influencing water vapor concentrations in higher levels of the atmosphere) apparently are more positively correlated with water vapor concentrations in the atmosphere then CO2 concentrations resulting in AGW theory to have flawed assumptions and conclusions.

    It is in this area where AGW theory is off ,somewhere in this area and this is where the focus should be, rather then saying there is flat out no GHG effect.

    As they say the devil is in the details which I do not know but I think this is the general area that needs to be focused on.

    • ECS and TSR should be set by empirical measurement. The IPCC et. al. have had almost 30 years.to constrain these values and are either unwilling or incompetent since they have failed to do so.

  16. “A key issue discussed in the debate was getting electric power to undeveloped countries.”

    Please give us a hint as to some of the points brought up. Was it windmills and solar panels? Was it fossil fuels used for a regional grid? Was it hydroelectric dams supporting national grids? Was there a suggestion on how to negotiated developing electric grids that cross tribal boundaries? Was there a discussion of end-users, i.e., customers altering their traditional cultural behaviors, particularly their means of meal preparation, lighting, internet, etc.? Any debate on who would control the production, distribution and cost of these electrons?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • the key issue was coal burning or not in these undeveloped countries, and how to subsidize solar for them

    • In some of the third world they are simply burning down the rainforest to clear it for agriculture.

      If you are going to destroy the rainforest anyway it would make more sense to cut down the trees and use them to fuel generation facilities.

    • David L. Hagen

      Leverage coal in the interim to make solar thermal cheaper than coal.

      • Perhaps the point is these are poor people. The reason they don’t have power is they are poor.

        The one thing we don’t want to do is a version of the liberal fallacy where we set them up with something expensive and difficult to maintain – then go off to perform another good deed.

        They are poor. Set them up with a plant that will burn whatever they stuff in it. Let them stuff in it the cheapest stuff they can get that will burn. They have clean air and no energy. They literally have clean air to burn.

        The problem with solar cells is they are still in the early adopter stage where 10 years from now they will be twice as efficient and one third the cost. Any solar technology we give them today costs 6 times as much as it should.

  17. To me this just seems like part of the do nothing group think process. I’m sure this helps students feel good about themselves having such high moral and intellectual standards but what does it accomplish? The real debate should be how do we jump start nuclear energy to stop our dependence on fossil fuels.

    • Why not just keep using them? Especially natural gas?
      The falsehoods of the carbon crusade get emotionally repeated enough to become part of the ‘conventional wisdom’, which is usually wrong.

    • We will eventually have to go to mainly nuclear electrical generation. But not sure ‘jump start’ is the right policy. If there is no C in CAGW, and the W is only a lower case w (natural variability, new low observational 1.2-1.3 TCR), then it might be better to take the time to better research Gen 4 concepts, of which there are several, than to pile into Gen 3 (Westinghouse AP1000 and equivalents including the Chinese ‘copy’). Gen 3 still leaves a major radwaste/fuel recycling/proliferation problem, and still is high capital cost because of construction scale. See essay Going Nuclear for a flyover of the issues and opportunities.
      And, nuclear does not solve the liquid transportation fuels problem that starts pinching within the decade, despite the current quite transient glut.

      • Okay how bout: Resolved with energy demands climbing ever higher what realistic workable solutions do we have to replace fossil fuels?

      • Yeah, we have a lot of unrecycled fuel.

        We need to design and build liquid salt or liquid metal reactors to burn up the unrecycled fuel. We either have to burn it or bury it and using it as fuel is a wiser choice.

        It is pathetic that we recycle paper and plastic bags which don’t of that much residual value, and we fail to recycle nuclear fuel that is essentially free and has over 90% of the energy value of new fuel.

        We have over 70,000 metric tons of used fuel in the US alone.

        We should look at using the more efficient brayton cycle rather than the rankine cycle of current nuclear plants.

      • America today has more federal spending as a percentage to GDP than at the peak of WWII. What are the chances we could get a working clean fusion reactor design finished and producing electricity in four years if the free world depended on it?

      • Graf | April 18, 2015 at 3:15 pm |
        America today has more federal spending as a percentage to GDP than at the peak of WWII. What are the chances we could get a working clean fusion reactor design finished and producing electricity in four years if the free world depended on it?

        We have over $ 20 billion annually being flushed on climate change. How many billion do you need? (if you need more than $ 20 billion a year we need to have a talk).

        Obama is flushing so much money he must have upgraded the toilets at the White House.

      • The most expensive weapons project of WW2 was an airplane: 3 billion. In today’s dollars that’s 39 billion and up depending on assumptions.

      • “We have over $ 20 billion annually being flushed on climate change. How many billion do you need?”

        I would say post $10 billion in benchmark prizes to private research advances, fund whatever amount of that is necessary to independently prove those benchmark achievements (by a panel that includes competitors), and award current dust-covered DOE fusion projects to the highest bidder. Prize money received is in lieu of patent rights and confidentiality. Earmark 5 billion per year in few prize money bounty. Have the contest be open for any country willing to annually add to the pot in proportion to their GDP.

        We should do a mirror program for battery storage technology since storage is half the problem. If fusion research cannot break through or does only for huge regional supply sized plants then local energy storage can solve most of the problem.

  18. Let the chinese and Indians jump start nuclear energy. It will be great to move them off new coal plants. USA has a nice grid and only improves on the margins. I think Georgia is still building a nuc plant but the cost overruns may be driving it out of business. Japan has some decisions to make and France will evaluate the current 80% electricity sector dependence on nuc power. Lots of poverty stricken populace can improve while first world contemplates our fears of carbon impacts. Meanwhile improving the smog in China from coal plants is a world benefit. Somethings are first world problems, some things are third world problems. Dung fires in huts for cooking and warmth with associated asthma from particulates are third world. Second hand smoke associated with asthma from one’s dad are first world. Stopping the seas from rising is fantasy solutions to avoid facing problems.
    Scott

    • David L. Hagen

      Why should the US relinquish technology it developed to let China develop it to sell it back to the US? The perversity of green politics harming the US economy.

      • Australia’s post 2020 GHG emissions targets should be linked to the availability of cost-competitive, productivity-enhancing, economically-beneficial technologies. The USA and EU could enable this to happen. All countries, including the USA and EU, would benefit if the USA and EU removed the impediments they have imposed that are blocking progress.

        Policies that will both reduce the cost of energy and reduce emissions are achievable. However, the USA needs to lead the way. US politics and policies have inflated the cost, through regulatory ratcheting, and retarded development of low emissions energy technologies. EU is nearly as responsible as the US, but is far less capable of fixing the problem. The USA has the keys to solving the global problem.

        The current US President, Barack Obama, want’s the world to cut back on GHG emissions and is doing all he can to force other countries to make commitments that would damage their economies. Since Obama wants this, he should allow it to happen in a way that doesn’t damage other economies. The US would also benefit from the productivity increases that polices that reduce the cost of energy would delivers.

        One example that could make a substantial contribution to increasing global productivity, increasing economic growth and reducing global GHG emission would be to remove the impediments that are delaying the development of small modular nuclear power plants. The US President can lead the leading contributors and most influential members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to remove the irrational, unjustifiable impediments that are preventing the world from having low-cost nuclear power. Nuclear power is the safest way to generate electricity. It shouldn’t be restrained on the misinformed concerns about safety.

        The cost of electricity generated by nuclear power has been inflated by 50 years of irrational, unjustified, legislative and regulatory impediments to low cost nuclear power. Professor Bernard Cohen estimated regulatory ratcheting had increased the cost of nuclear power by a factor of four to 1990. I suspect it has probably increased the cost another factor of two since 1990 – i.e. a total increase of a factor of eight.

        Most people want reliable energy at lowest cost. If the US President demands poorer countries and smaller economies reduce their GHG emissions, the USA needs to allow innovation and competition to develop the technologies without progress being impeded by legislation and regulations that are grossly inflating the cost. The US is the world leader in nuclear power technology, has the greatest ability to unleash massive innovation, has the most influence on the other influential members of IAEA and is, in effect, the de facto world regulator or nuclear power designs. The USA can lead the world to make it economically viable to reduce global GHG emissions. The USA needs to make this possible instead of trying to inflict slow growth on the rest of the world while continually impeding economically viable ways to achieve it.

    • David L. Hagen

      The extreme bureaucratic “safety” conscious = extreme risk adverse nuclear “regulatory” agency (aka strangulation agency) is the major cause of the massive rise in costs. The other reason is military nuclear focus rather than starting with the thorium and inheritently safe designs.
      The recent generation of inherently safe and smaller distributed nuclear could make power cheaper and faster to deploy if politicians would allow it.

      • David L. Hagen,

        Good points.

        And this: “nuclear “regulatory” agency (aka strangulation agency)” has been referred to as the “Nuclear Rejection Commission”.

    • Plant Vogtle in GA is building new reactors. There are cost overruns but much less than for a similar-scale government funded facility just across the river (10% or so vs >100%).

      However, the US needs an improved transmission network more than we need new generation facilities. Efficiency is much less a barrier to large-scale solar than our inability to move its power from the large empty land masses it requires to large cities hundreds of miles away. Ditto wind.

      • John
        Is this the new third generation nuclear plant in GA?
        What is the schedule?

        Wind in Texas and the great plains, solar in the great desert basin all need new transmission. They kill birds but we need energy.

        Using roof solar, parking lot solar and solar in desert areas will supplement existing sources in a dense transmission area if the grid can handle the instability. Varied sources help all reliability needs.

        CA and TX are going in opposite directions for energy and the federal variations will allow competition from the regions.

        Scott

  19. > Instead of genuine debate, we have one side shouting ‘denier’, and the other side shouting ‘green alarmist’, and reasonable people trying to have a reasonable discussion about the issue get dismissed with one of these two epithets, which acts to polarize reasonable people.

    Dittoheads don’t count: they’re not reasonable people.

  20. Now class… we don’t take about scary global warming anymore; that was back in the dark ages of the late 20th century. We now believe are living in a climatic optimum. That means historically the climate was worse; and, it can get a lot worse. The Holocene Climate Optimum (wiki tells us this also goes by other names –e.g., names, including: Hypsithermal, Altithermal, Climatic Optimum, Holocene Optimum, Holocene Thermal Maximum, and Holocene Megathermal) was much like modern weather and perhaps a bit warmer

    What we are seeing really is just another interglacial phase within our big icehouse climate [and] … the climate has been changing constantly… What we should do is be more aware of the fact that it is changing and that we should be ready to adapt to the change. ~Jane Francis

  21. To follow-up on HaroldW’s question about mitigation – I want to make sure I understand the correct usage of Mitigation versus Adaptation.

    It is my understanding that mitigation is related to lowering the amount of GHG’s going into the atmosphere.

    It is my understanding that adaptation is related to just living with the higher levels of CO2.

    So moving a city to higher ground would be an adaptation expense.

    A carbon tax would be a mitigation expense.

    Geoengineering would be a mitigation expense.

    Building a sea wall would be an adaptation expense.

    Is my understanding correct?

    • I think so. I support a mix of the above. This global warming does yield a lot of material to write about, and the science is fascinating, but it’s so political. Maybe what’s needed is to start from scratch and separate things into adaptation and mitigation like you did, and see if some if them can be used to kill two birds with one stone?

      • The first thing to do is to define the requirements.

        Fir example for a global GHG mitigation policy to succeed and survive until the job is done it would have to meet these requirements

        1. Economically rational

        2. Nearly every sovereign state must be better off over the short and medium term

        a. Increase the rate that human well-being is improving

        b. Lift people out of poverty faster

        c. Better access to fresh water, food, energy, communications, health, education, etc.

        d. Reduce toxic pollution

        e. Reduce inequality

    • It is a grey area with the carbon tax. Its normal levels are not punitive or much of a deterrent, maybe 10% or less, so its main aim is to raise revenue, and that revenue could be used for adaptation. The idea behind the carbon tax is to assess CO2’s real cost in terms of future expenses and add that.

  22. Respectful and effective debate is a good thing that helps to sharpen one’s thinking. It should be required for a university degree.

    When I was an undergrad at UCSC, there was a protest on campus regarding disinvestment in South Africa. Some con opinions were expressed, to which one of the protest leaders replied, “let’s not turn this into a debate.” I think she was correct about the issue but wrong about debate. This troubled me. Now, 30+ years later, intolerance for dissent has only increased.

  23. Nope. I’ll just stay on my ‘side’ shouting ‘green alarmist’. Check this out:

    ‘Resolved: That all states have an obligation to anticipate, prevent and minimize the causes of climate change, and mitigate its adverse effects.’

    Note the use of the slob term ‘climate change’. As always, great care is taken to leave an implied problem ill-defined so nothing or anything can be meant depending on how the ‘debate’ is going.

    After all, humanity has spent much, if not most, of its existence dealing with changes of climate in countless ways. The klimatariat always intends something more than that when it uses the term ‘climate change’…but the last thing it will ever do is specify consistently what that ‘something more’ is. Easier to hijack a common and unchallengeable term and condition people to associate it with an agenda.

    And you can expect French ‘thinkers’ to be more than helpful in generating the intellectual fog and verbal molasses to advance that agenda. It’s what they do.

    Good try, warmies.

  24. When you consider that government climatologists already know what they should find, and also how to employ various techniques to optimize mathematical models using moving averages and mean-shift filtering for augmenting, smoothing, outlier elimination and homogenization of gap-filled data – while changing variables and running simulations thousands of times to get the correct result – is it any wonder these same climatologists also deem the validation of their resulting reconstructions to be totally unnecessary, will jealously guard the methods they use and unite to pour scorn on skeptical outsiders?

  25. I don’t think it is as explicit as that. More of an unconcious bias in the direction of support to the powers to retain access to funds for further research. Very few outside of Mann from Penn State would actually tend to falsify data Most simply provide confirmation bias in support of the desires of funding agencies. Theories are convulated to support the existing paradigm, until that changes, then no one leaves footprints to claim responsibility. Like the coming ice age in 1975 thru 1978. Now the scientists say they always knew it was a media driven fear. In fact, for those who lived through that time, that was the consensus. But very few would explicitly project climate disaster, just the weight of the models that mathemataically are responsible. Nature bats last and we shall see. It has warmed since 1979 and the long slow thaw will either continue, accelerate or the new chill will set in. All very interesting.
    Scott

    • It may be very explicit. I learned this yesterday on a blog on which I am not welcome to post. I responded to a pingback to this site and mine was the first comment, and the author of the blog responded rudely. The author responded to several other comments before moderating additional comments and simply holding back from view 2 final comments.

      Today, the few comments the author responded were replaced with, as follows:

      [Mod: This comment has been removed by the moderator. Off topic]

      I’ve seen this kind of censorship before but this was a little different: the author also erased the author’s replies to my deleted comments and I believe that was the real reason for removing my previously visible comments. Why?

      In his reply the author conceded that climate models cannot be used for purposes of prediction. The author said models are only used to see how the various factors work together.

      I think he realized later (today) how damning that simple admission really was to the science of climatology. It boils down to nothing more than –e.g., we’re right, humanity’s release of CO2 into the atmosphere is causing global warming and you’re wrong if you think it’s not a big problem.

      The author simply cannot admit further that nothing explains the level of certainty about AGW theory in the field of climatology that ultimately is not merely, cosmological. AGW theory can never be reduced to a falsifiable hypothesis and therefore it has no practical utility outside of making something that is unimaginably complex appear to be insanely simple: like modeling nature by fitting a least squares trend-line to a haze of points, tra-la.

      • I see you’re way off topic here. Can somebody please flag this? /sarc

      • Wags –

        ==> “I think he realized later (today) how damning that simple admission really was to the science of climatology. ”

        Yes. Good point. I’m sure you’re correct. Your comments and the responses were removed because of the unique and devastating impact of your unassailable arguments.

      • … but, you missed the point.

  26. David L. Hagen
  27. “Resolved: That all states have an obligation to anticipate, prevent and minimize the causes of climate change, and mitigate its adverse effects.”
    I find it appalling that so few people question the premise that states should attempt to control human progress and human industry – to select our economic and technological futures.
    That is certainly not part of the reasoning expressed in the Declaration of Independence, which states that governments are instituted to protect the rights of the governed. The Founders of this country understood that the rights of the governed included the inalienable and natural rights of individuals to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, rights which implied the right to acquire and use property. They understood that when a government went beyond protecting those rights, and, in an attempt to attain other goals, abused or sacrificed the rights and liberties of the people, that the people had the right to alter or abolish that government.
    There is no legitimate state power to attempt to regulate or control climate change. The effort cannot be pursued without violating fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property.
    Further, the nature of government precludes its moral or effective use for developing resources, and for producing the means for human survival and progress. Government is predicated on the use of force – its rules, regulations, laws, and edicts are enforced by soldiers and police with guns. Government does not rely on reason, but employs arbitrary force. Government “leaders” are appointed, anointed, elected, or self-selected, not based on their abilities to think, to understand science or technology, to figure out how to grow things or build things or make things work, but on their abilities to succeed in a political environment. The power they seek and employ, corrupts. The more power employed, the greater the corruption.
    There is no reason to expect that wise people, uncorrupted, will be the political leaders, no matter how selected, and no reason to expect that politicians and bureaucrats will understand or even care about the problems their policies produce, the liberties they curtail, the lives they empoverish, the lives they destroy.
    There are no philosopher kings available to rule the republic.
    Free people are the resource most valuable in coping with the demands of human survival. Free people will find the best means for selecting the best technologies and most efficient uses for resources to feed the world, to provide better health care, to provide for energy needs, and for shelter, safety and security, and to cope with whatever climate change nature throws at us. Creative people develop what no one anticipated, what could never have been planned and directed, in the process making the world a wealthier and healthier place for all. Harness creative people and you turn them into slaves. And you destroy their creativity.
    States have no obligation, no ability, and no legitimate authority to attempt to address the causes or the effects of climate change.

  28. Making Sense of Climate Science Denial
    Climate change is real, so why the controversy and debate? Learn to make sense of the science and to respond to climate change denial.

    You can take the course on line https://www.edx.org/course/making-sense-climate-science-denial-uqx-denial101x#!
    It is offered by edX (a collaboration of universities throughout the world)

    About this course
    In public discussions, climate change is a highly controversial topic. However, in the scientific community, there is little controversy with 97% of climate scientists concluding humans are causing global warming.

    – Why the gap between the public and scientists?
    – What are the psychological and social drivers of the rejection of the scientific consensus?
    – How has climate denial influenced public perceptions and attitudes towards climate change?

    This course examines the science of climate science denial.

    We will look at the most common climate myths from “global warming stopped in 1998” to “global warming is caused by the sun” to “climate impacts are nothing to worry about.”

    We’ll find out what lessons are to be learnt from past climate change as well as better understand how climate models predict future climate impacts. You’ll learn both the science of climate change and the techniques used to distort the science.

    With every myth we debunk, you’ll learn the critical thinking needed to identify the fallacies associated with the myth. Finally, armed with all this knowledge, you’ll learn the psychology of misinformation. This will equip you to effectively respond to climate misinformation and debunk myths.

    This isn’t just a climate MOOC; it’s a MOOC about how people think about climate change.

    What you’ll learn
    – How to recognise the social and psychological drivers of climate science denial
    – How to better understand climate change: the evidence that it is happening, that humans are causing it and the potential impacts
    – How to identify the techniques and fallacies that climate myths employ to distort climate science
    – How to effectively debunk climate misinformation

    About edX

    EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities, colleges and organizations. Online courses from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many other universities can be taken here. Topics include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more. EdX is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.

    Oh yea, BTW, the course presenter is John Cook, of Queensland University. :)

    • Danny Thomas

      Peter,

      All signed up. Oughta be an interesting course. Thanks for the link!

      • You gotta be kidding!

      • Danny Thomas

        Mark,
        Nope. Really did sign up. Did you see who the instructors are? Cook, C & W, Nuccitelli. If not, click on the link and check it out. Oughta be a hoot! Plus, I might learn something and goodness knows I could use that.

      • Danny Thomas

        Plus, maybe I can get thru the difference between denial and healthy skepticism.

      • Danny,

        You cannot get your point through to those guys. They are experts at denial.

      • Danny,

        I’ve looked at this several times before and decided that I don’t need to spend more of my time being brain washed by true believers.

        It’s one thing to be open minded, but listening to a bunch of over simplified ideological pap is beyond the pall for me.

        Maybe I am sounding like Brandon here (who by the way got a shout out from Mark Steyn today: http://www.steynonline.com/6913/the-rebel-and-the-climate ). So be it. I’ll take Lindzen, Lawson, Plimer, Darwall, Ridley, Essex, Mckittrick etc. over the crew “teaching” this course any day of the week.

        Frankly I am spending more time these days trying to understand what is going on in Iran, the ME and China than I am on climate change.

      • Danny – I would take it in a heartbeat if it was covering the evidence for climate change. I would very much like to see something that focused on the climate evidence that was being denied. (A climate equivalent to Coyne’s “Why Evolution is True, or Dawkins “The Greatest Show on Earth: the evidence for evolution”).

        I’m afraid this would just be to much of Chris Mooney type stuff, that twists social science, critical thinking and psychology to demonize non-believers. I just don’t think I could sit through that on my own right now. Good luck and report back on it please.

      • Danny Thomas

        Peter, Mark, and PE,
        One of the reasons I started my quest was to (try to) understand not just what folks think about CC, but why. Having ventured in to a more conservative realm than is my nature (and finding acceptance!) I find arguments that make much sense. There are arguments on the on the left that do also (where my thinking was less accepted). Attempting to not just step in to the waters of confirming my own biases I cannot with good conscious be fair to both sides w/o once again stepping outside a comfort zone. If it turns out to be strictly a “brainwashing” approach there is no cost and no job oriented need to obtain a certificate so one can just bail out. But the mental exercise (and goodness knows I need that) should have value of itself. Frankly, curiosity gets the best of me as I’m still amazed there is such a thing as the “Psychology of Climate Change Communication” when compared with other areas of science. All parts of my own internal debate.

        PE, you commentary on concrete canoes is a great real world view. Life just doesn’t allow for the framing premise being ideal as a starting point so learning how to work with “the cards we’re dealt” is a requirement and I’ll begin the course with that in mind.

      • Danny,

        I have been searching for the kind of “course” that PE describes for almost 2 yrs. now without any luck. I too would sign up for it in a NY minute.

        Looking forward to your report out.

      • Danny Thomas

        Mark,
        Coursera has a watch list for when these come available. I’m on a list for another provider, but can’t locate right now.
        https://www.coursera.org/course/climatechange
        https://www.coursera.org/course/ourearth
        Maybe these will help. Took one on critical thinking as it relates to CC that was pretty good if one sided, but the forum provided some interesting perspectives.

      • Danny,

        You have been a gentleman, my highest complement for anyone, and now you are approaching sainthood. :) That said, there is probably much to learn from the course. I have a strong layman’s interest in bias and behavioral economics and I suspect you will be able to glean some of that from the course.

        This one looks more interesting to me:

        https://www.edx.org/course/basics-transport-phenomena-delftx-tp101x

      • Danny Thomas

        Justinwonder,
        Thanks for the link. The prereque’s of Calc and Physics leave (once again) disadvantaged. I’ve been over my head in this all along. Of note, the certificate is only $50 for this course where it’s $100 for the “denial” course reinforcing my pathway to cannonization!
        (Still ROFL………..thanks for that!).

      • Thanks Danny, I’ll put these on my watch list.

        I’ve had mixed experience with Coursera.

      • Mark,

        I’m interested in your feedback about Coursera

      • Danny Thomas

        JustinWonder, Mark, PE,
        Finally found the other GW course info. :https://www.coursera.org/course/globalwarming
        You can put it on a watch list if you chose.

  29. Re: Climate debates, 4/115:

    Perhaps the greatest mission for academia is to promote debate. But standards do exist for selection of a topic, and when those standards are violated, the result is chaos, each side shouting names at the other.

    A frequent standard for choosing a topic is that it be relevant to empirical data, hence that it even be judged or debated. That standard, however, is itself contrary to the subject topic:

    Resolved: That all states have an obligation to anticipate, prevent and minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.

    The singular cause of climate, and hence climate change, is the Sun. And the Earth contains the most powerful feedback in all of climate, which is (a) positive with respect to the Sun to amplify its effects and (b) negative with respect to surface warming to mitigate warming from any cause. It is known as cloud albedo, a missing variable in the modern climate models that were the origin of the debate topic.

    What this debate needed was a third position. It should have been argued Pro, Con, and Undecidable.

    The article attributes the debate to a Higher Education Department. It wasn’t high enough. It should have deferred to the Highest Education Department, to the Espistemology Department, if it, too, hasn’t been too politicized.

    In Modern Science, scientific knowledge exists in models of the Real World, whether natural or manmade. These models map facts onto facts, past onto future, judged by their predictive power. MS models are devoid of the subjective.

    The debate topic became polarized when it was created under Post Modern Science, where the subjective reigns to quash the objective. In PMS, scientific knowledge is claimed for positioned peer-reviewed, published, and supported by consensus. These are Popper’s intersubjectivity criteria. Models in PMS don’t have to work at all, so long as they are tested intersubjectively. As a result PMS models are factless and feckless. And being ultimately subjective, inviting name calling.

    The models that gave birth to the debate topic are in gross failure, but only as measured under MS criteria: they have no predictive power. They missed half of the 30-year climate cycle of zero warming, and their Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity parameter, regardless that it is incompetent, is measuring well below the minimum the model set for it. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem fair.

    In closing, Dr. Curry said,

    I am of course concerned that science doesn’t seem to be a topic of debate, but perhaps through better understanding of the nature of evidence, progress can be made here.

    Excellent, on several levels! Stole the show.

  30. I like the idea of “minimizing the causes of climate change”. This is right up my alley. I’m going to sit down and write a research proposal to investigate how to make the earth’s orbit as regular as possible. That’s going to be my seminal contribution to supergeoengineering.

  31. On those conferences is never debated about the REAL CLIMATE, the one outside the door, the one in the environment, because climate is regulated buy H2O, not by CO2! For them the ”climate change” therm is a substitute for the phony global warming. For them in the desert AND forest is SAME climate; because both places have SAME amount of CO2…? TO IMPROVE THE ”REAL CLIMATE” – NEED SAVING STORM-WATER IN NEW DAMS
    The democratic west is loosing democracy and ”freedom of speech” in the name of the non-existent phony global warming – wrongly referred as: ”Climate Change”

  32. Lots of excellent ideas posted above.

    As written:

    “Resolved: That all states have an obligation to anticipate, prevent and minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.”

    A proposed alternative from an old engineer might read:

    “Resolved: That all states have an obligation to understand the causes of climate change, the timeline and impact of each resulting change, both positive and negative, and the costs/benefits/risks of the various strategies for adaptation and mitigation before appropriating and committing manpower and capital towards such ends.”

    • Why is it that engineers invariably are able to think so clearly and state what’s most important so concisely?

      • Thanks for the kind words.

        An engineer is handed a bucket of ill-defined needs and wants and wishes, and tasked with producing a design which is perfectly actionable in every detail down to the last millimeter.

        A good engineer provides exactly what the client requested. A better engineer provides exactly what the client wanted. An even better engineer provides exactly what the client’s customers will want. The best engineer will provide what the world actually needs, but he may starve in the short-run.

      • Excellent. I agree (Unfortunately, not all of us can aspire to be that good).

        I’ve just been revisiting an excellent Systems Engineering text book Systems Engineering – Coping with Complexity
        You can read the introductory chapter in preview mode here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0130950858/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

        It supports what you’ve said – it also provides insight into how to deal with ‘wicked problems’ and

        … provide what the world actually needs

      • Woops – that’s not quite right. Systems Engineering doesn’t show how to deal with wicked problems. It shows how to deal with highly complex problems by …. read Chapter 1

        I’m advocating applying Pareto principle to put 80% of our effort and resources into the 20% that matters, rather than the other way around, which is what’s been happening for the past 1/4 century or so.

      • Natural selection – those that don’t are soon fired.

      • Thanks for the link. I will take a look.

  33. Did any of the “Pro” debaters mention the inestimable advantage of turning over 80% of the world’s energy supply to global and national political management, allocation and taxation? A brave new world, indeed.

  34. I know this is tedious but bear with. From 2007 to 2013 the rate of increase in Carbon release was 18%. Carbon (number, multiply by 3.67 to get co2) was 8.37 billion metric tons in 2007. in 2013 it was 9.9 billion metric tons. Impressive! According to NOAA for the year 2010 (now let’s convert to co2) 9.5 billion metric tons of CO2 went into the land, 26%. Another 8.8 billion metric tons went into the oceans, 24%. That left 50% or 18.4 billion metric tons went into the air. What’s the big deal? Several things are. First the rate of increase is. From 2007 ( not cherry picking, just years I currently have data for) respectively years to 2014… 2.22ppm, 1.68,1.89,2.42,1.88, 2.65, 2.05, 2.13 from March 2014 to March 2015 the amount was 1.94 ppm. Did something happen in 1977 that caused the growth rate to spike at 2.10 ppm? The amount of air on the planet is not some big mystery. We know how much air is here and the percentages. Now to add a molecule of co2 ppm, for the given amount of gas, you have to release so much co2. Anybody can do the calculations. I have the amount of expected increase in co2 short by about 30% year over year. In other words, for the year 2010, there is about 5.62 billion metric tons of co2 that didn’t make it into co2 molecules or did it just up and disappeared. (things don’t just disappear) The rate of increase in any of those years should have been closer to 4 ppm. That sounds small, but it is a huge difference when talking about a planetary scale. Next, with half of the co2 from the year 2010 being absorbed by the planet, … has anybody looked at the table of co2 increase, there are no negative numbers….. so when do you think the production of co2 was half of what it is now. I picked 1959. ( I could have picked 1964, increase was 0.28 ppm,doesn’t matter) The amount of increase was 0.94 ppm. Did the planet suddenly go on a tear and decide to start consuming huge amounts of co2? How is it that half of the co2 released in 2010 was absorbed, but probably less than half that amount produced (and was not absorbed) in 1959 (or 1964) showed up as an increase? So, are you still remembering the percentage from 2007 to 2013? 18%.
    There is more. The numbers follow a pattern.( hint: look at sunspot numbers and % of cosmic rays) BTW up till now, 1998 had the largest increase of 2.93 ppm. Why would a volcanic eruption in 1992 suppress the amount of increase in co2 back to 1960 ( the actual year, 1960 was 0.54 and 1992 was 0.48) ?

    About the half being absorbed in 2010, the oceans have become not only more acidic but warmer according to NOAA, being less able to absorb co2. And huge tracts of tropical forests have been felled since 1959, lungs of the earth as they call it. So what is happening that the amount of co2 is being absorbed today in comparison to 1959? It shouldn’t be should it?

    • rishrac | April 18, 2015 at 6:07 am | Reply

      About the half being absorbed in 2010, the oceans have become not only more acidic but warmer according to NOAA, being less able to absorb co2. And huge tracts of tropical forests have been felled since 1959, lungs of the earth as they call it. So what is happening that the amount of co2 is being absorbed today in comparison to 1959? It shouldn’t be should it?

      1. Do you have empirical evidence (over the whole ocean surface) that the ocean is absorbing less CO2?
      2. Do you have empirical evidence (over the whole ocean surface) that the ocean is more acid (or at least more acid than the rise in temperature would cause)?
      3. 40 GT/year of carbon sequestration has been burned away, continued rainforest destruction causes 2 GT of emissions and 0.5 GT of sequestration loss every year.
      4. The ocean has over 38,000 GT of carbon. The 2.7GT that humans drop in (less than 1/10,000th) is literally droplet sized in the drop in the bucket comparison.

      The picture doesn’t make a lot of sense:
      40 GT/Y of sequestration has been lost, 9.8 GT/Y of fossil emissions, 2 GT of forest burning, for a total of what should be a 51,8 GT/Y increase, yet only 4.2 GT/Y of carbon added to the atmosphere per year,

      I understand why you seem somewhat confused about what is going on

      Here let the good Doctor Salby explain it all to you:

      • I’m not confused at all. I quoted directly from NOAA. Data from the year 2010, 26% of the released co2 went into the land. 24% went into the ocean. That’s half of the 38 billion metric tons. Of that amount of half that is supposedly in the atmosphere does not equal the rise of co2 levels that should be there. Next burning forest etc. has nothing to do with AGW. that would be part of the natural carbon cycle. And is, as so many arguments by the IPCC, they can tell the difference between man made co2 and natural by the isotope count. The empirical evidence is stated more than once in the literature and the debate here and on other boards as well as studies, have you heard the phrase ” the heat is hiding in the ocean”, or the alarm that studies are finding relating to fish declines resulting from both acidification of the ocean and warming. If you have heard or seen such things, you haven’t been keeping up. Finally, Why is there a steady increase in co2 over the last 165 years, when obliviously the carrying capacity of the planet is much greater than the amount released? As you stated is 1/10,000. Adds a new dimension to “hide the decline”. No, the picture the IPCC makes doesn’t make a lot of sense. This is pretty much basic chemistry with the amount of co2 released and it’s appearance somewhere. If you start at the time of the Industrial revolution, the release of co2 and it’s uptake were in balance. Since man stated burning fossil fuels it showed up as co2 in the atmosphere, when it is very plain that the uptake at that time could have easily overwhelmed any forcing. I didn’t make the list of co2 concentrations. If you look at the list it is nearly a straight line at an angle up. What I’m saying is that there should not have been any measureable increase in co2 at least up to 1959. Further that leaves the question of how before the Industrial Revolution how the co2 level was balanced if right now both the ocean and the land are sinking 18.3 billion metric tons of co2 of the made man variety. Where was the additional co2 coming from that would have continued to cause the co2 level to be level at 270 ppm ? Otherwise in a few years all of the co2 would have disappeared, or dropped to a level where plants would have died at 150 ppm.

  35. Resolved: That all states have an obligation to understand the causes of climate change, the timeline and impact of each resulting change, both positive and negative, and the costs/benefits/risks of the various strategies for adaptation and mitigation before appropriating and committing manpower and capital towards such ends.”

    To me, more evidence of the level of indoctrination that has taken place in our educational system. I understand that a college level debate is not about proving one concept over another but about judging which side makes better arguments. At the same time, I can easily see how these debates could be twisted by the MSM, if they were to become interested to begin with, as yet further evidence of CAGW that requires urgent, drastic action to stop using fossil fuels.. It would be good if these debates lead to real debates re: the uncertainties, costs/benefits, the potential benefits of a warmer world and increased levels of Co2, etc., but I doubt that will happen.

    • It would also be good if they would use correct words. For example, rather than using the scary words “more acidic”, let’s use “less alkaline”. I ran across these factoids: “Neutral” is 7.0 pH; from1750 AD, an average decrease of 0.1 pH from 8.2 pH (range 8.0 to 8.3 pH).
      This appears to be basic (science).

      • Perhaps you should ask why alkaline is a less scary word than acidic.

        The basic science part is that alkaline and acidity describe the same physical property.

      • Bobdroege and Jim D: Exactly right if you prefer scientific definitions. However, in the propaganda wars over Climate Change, you primarily see “acidic” and “acidification”. It is scarier, in that it does not acknowledge that the oceans remain alkaline, and are still well within pH ranges for oceans.
        Emphasis on “acidification” and variants earn such claims as “scareware” and a place within the “Availability Cascades”.

      • Acidification is defined by an increase in H+ ions, which is what is happening whether the skeptics like it or not. It is a precise scientific term.

      • Acidification… right.

        38,000 GT of carbon and 2.7 GT carbon per year is going to turn it acid? Less than 1/10,000th?

        Right.

        We have at most 50 good years of fossil fuel burning ahead of us. A 3/1000ths change in the ocean alkalinity isn’t going to harm anything.

      • The pH scale is a log scale and the small numbers are misleading. The change corresponds to a 30% increase in H+ ions.

      • Bobdroege,

        “Perhaps you should ask why alkaline is a less scary word than acidic.”

        Human nature.

        Given two equivalent choices, such as the “the outcome of this surgery is a…

        (1) …90% chance you will live …

        or

        (2) …10% chance you will die.

        Overwhelmingly, people select (1).

      • Jim D | April 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm |
        The pH scale is a log scale and the small numbers are misleading. The change corresponds to a 30% increase in H+ ions.

        Well gee, let’s get accurate. Oooh. That might be a little tough 5.6 GT goes into the environment (at least in 2014) and about 1/2 goes into the ocean.

        We’ll just stipulate it is 2.5-2.8 GT and move on using 2.8 (worse case). We will further stipulate that the ocean PH is about 8.1.

        2.8 / 38000 is 7.3684210526315789473684210526316e-5 or 0.000074

        We’ll assume that fossil fuels will be popular for 50 years at current levels.
        50 x 0.000074 = 0.0037 or a 0.37% change in ocean carbon.

        We recompute ocean acidity and PH = 8.0983960759 or 8.1 (three sig figs).

  36. “…‘Welcome to the Science Committee, the last place on earth where climate change is still debated.’

    Lets face it, that seems sort of true. Instead of genuine debate, we have one side shouting ‘denier’, and the other side shouting ‘green alarmist’”

    Let’s try to actually think about this facile ‘both sides are just political’ comment.

    1. Do a large number of CAGW advocates call skeptics “deniers”, intending a comparison the the holocaust – the slaughter of millions?

    Absolutely.

    1a. Is it justified?

    Absolutely not.

    2. Do Most skeptics accuse the CAGW advocates of being alarmists?

    Absolutely.

    1a. Is it justified?

    Absolutely. It is the alarm they expressly raise of the potentially catastrophic results from ACO2 that is the central argument of their political movement. Read any of the ARs for examples.

    There is no equivalence. No matter how badly self-described ‘lukewarmers’ want to make everyone else seem unreasonable. CAGW advocates are pushing decarbonization, and advocate against adaptation because it will detract from the sense of urgency they desperately need to convey. Skeptics push against decarbonization (as do lukewarmers), and have no problem with adaptation ,as to sever weather events.

    This is a phenomenon I see too often in family law. An abusive husband is called abusive by his beaten wife, who has pictures of the bruises and black eyes to prove he uses violence to try to dominate her. He then makes false allegation against his wife, with no evidence, and ignoring the fact that he is 6’2″/210 pounds, and she is 5’3″/125 pounds. And you get stuck with some genius judge who says – well, this is just ‘he said – she said’, so I can’t do anything about it.

    In this case, the alarmists are even using the awesome power of the state to silence the dissenters.

    Dr. Curry,

    Pop quiz.

    How many skeptics sent out letters requesting you to identify your funding when you were a full fledged member of the alarmist tribe? How many tried to undermine your career? Or tried to ostracize you from the scientific community?

    The somewhat conservative members of congress invite you to testify, and give you a platform to state your ‘lukewarmer’ views, even though you are still in favor of increased government funding of ‘science’, and advocate government solutions in the form of adaptation.

    When did any Democrats, or other alarmists, ever ask you to voice your opinion, once you left the tribe?

    It is intellectually dishonest to try to elevate your stature in a debate by demeaning those who support you with this type of content free moral equivalence.

    • I like Rep Lamar Smith, we seem to agree on aspects of climate change. He is trying to promote debate, which I am in favor of. But we are two people in this, do you see any meaningful debate anywhere? My comments about debate were much wider than what goes on (or doesn’t) in Congress.

      • Dr. Curry, your comment was expressly about debate in congress being

        “the last place on earth where climate change is still debated.’

        Lets face it, that seems sort of true. Instead of genuine debate, we have one side shouting ‘denier’, and the other side shouting ‘green alarmist’”

        The second half of your comment can only e read as being about, well, everywhere bu the Science Committee. Not limited to congress.

        Where is there any “meaningful debate anywhere?”

        Well, here for one, all over conservative media, you seem to never read watch. The debate about the politicization of ‘climate science’, the IPCC and the ARs was in full throated roar in areas you were trained since grade school to avoid.

        The fact that you don’t see the debate because you may limit your exposure to dissent to the sources you were taught were acceptable, does not mean the debate is not, and has not been, going on since long before you ventured out from your tribe.

      • I would appreciate some specific examples of conservative media debates (presumably someone from the other ‘side’ was included in the debate). One sided questioning and criticism, yes I see that, but not debate.

        Note, on Wed I appeared on the Mark Levin show (doesn’t get more conservative than this).
        http://www.marklevinshow.com/common/page.php?pt=April+15%2C+2015&id=14131&is_corp=0

        I also appeared on Rick Santelli’s show (father of the tea party)
        http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000331769

        Both hosts were pretty clueless about climate change

      • Dr. Curry,

        More to the point, the debate coming from skeptics and conservatives regarding decarbonization is indistinguishable from the positions you now support, including not least of all the ending of the IPCC.

        I can’t think if a single argument on the politics of CAGW that you now make that wasn’t held buy those you still demean as being analagous to the warmists who attack you with regularity.

        CAGW is a political debate, as you yourself now acknowledge, because the alarmists are seeking political ends disguised as science. Skeptics respond with the same arguments you yourself now make regarding those political issues, and you demean them for what?

        The only argument that matters right now is decarbonization. And like it or not, you have after years adopted the skeptic/conservative position. That may bother you, even as you accept their invitations to testify before congress, but that is the fact of the matter. Making false arguments of equivalence between warmists and deniers may make you feel more comfortable, but it does no advance the debate.

      • Making an argument is one thing. Calling your opponents name is another. Debate is something else again.

      • “Both hosts were pretty clueless about climate change.”

        The link to Levin’s site did not go to a video or article about your interview with him, but the Santelli interview was interesting. particularly since you describe him as “pretty clueless about climate change.” I heard nothing from him that I haven’t read from you, although with less stridence.

        He asked you about “climate change” advocates skewing the science. Your answer:

        “It’s not so much the data being skewed, it’s how it’s interpreted.”

        What does that even mean? If I have data that objectively show a, b and c, and I then interpret it as showing d, e and f (when it objectively does not), and I now skewing data? Interpretation of data is what science, and particularly ‘climate science’ are all about. The ARs are not just lists of data and graphs. They are interpretations of that data by scientists, aka interpretations of data. It is in the interpretation that most (but by no means all) skewing of data occurs in ‘climate science’,.

        Also you said:

        “I’m concerned that people have oversimplified both the problem and the solutions.”

        “People” have? Which people would that be?

        And how is “oversimplif[ying]” both the problems and solutions not skewing the science and data? The entire purpose of the IPCC and its ARs is to use the appearance of science and exaggeration of certainty to suggest a simplitic ccausation between CO2 emissions and catastrophic warming.

        How is a bunch of scientists looking at all this incomplete, inaccurate and imprecise data, then claiming it gives them 95% certainty in CXAGW, not skewing the data. Do you expect Santelli to have read the supplemental information of the ARs to know that the claims of mathematical certainty are not even really data, but the subjective opinions of the scientists?

        Do you think that producing graphs that misrepresent instrumental readings as part of the paleo-climate record is not skewing data?

        Do you not think that making up data for the vast majority f the Antarctic, then representing it as representative of the whole continent is skewing data?

        Do you not think that offering “Global Average Temperature” is not skewing data, when it is not global, not an average, and not even really about temperature?

        His question: “Is carbon the real criminal that nay want to make it” is layman for is carbon the real cause of “catastrophic global warming.” Your answer for all its fudging, like your frequent comments here, was a no. In other words, you don’t like the clarity and aggressiveness of his comment, but you agree with it.

        In answer to his last question about “solutions”, you said “I would forget about

        Is Santelli clueless in ‘climate science’? Or are you clueless on how everything he has said, you have said in a different format?

        Please, identify a statement by Santelli in that interview that is ‘clueless’? The fact that skeptics/conservatives make political arguments in a poiltical debate does not mean they are not engaging in the debate. Or that they are clueless.

        You really should work on being more tolerant of those whose positions you have only recently come around to realize are correct.

      • David Wojick

        Dr. Curry, you ask “do you see any meaningful debate anywhere?” I see it quite plentiful right here on your blog, which is its strength. I also see it throughout the blogosphere. Do you not see it? It is everywhere one looks. Or perhaps you mean something by “meaningful” that is beyond human capacity. Wishing for a different world is not usually useful. The trick is to make this world work.

      • Judith is basically correct on the debate thang. Notice Gary didn’t provide the examples she asked for. Judith is right that Levin and Santelli are clueless. I have listened to both of them. I like those two characters and they have good instincts, but they don’t know anything about the greenhouse effect.

        I peruse mostly conservative leaning sources for news and information and don’t recall seeing much in the way of knowledge of radiative physics. Mostly conservatives are against AGW alarmism, because that is the conservative position. On the other side same story. You won’t find any scientific geniuses on huffpo, MSNBC, and the so-called mainstream media. They line up with the progressive position that is largely determined and promoted by the environmental establishment.

        And this carries over into politics. I couldn’t name one politician who I have seen show a basic understanding of the science of atmospheric physics.

        Judith may be oversimplifying, but the debate is largely characterized by a lot of hollering from the scientific ignorants on both sides. That is not meaningful debate, in Judith’s learned opinion.

        This is rather tacky:”Wishing for a different world is not usually useful. The trick is to make this world work.”

        Judith put her career at risk by starting and maintaining this blog. Where would you guys be spouting off without the opportunity provided by Judith for you to spout off?

      • The problem is that the intellectuals that should be leading the debate are products of a university system that discourages debate. Debate was already dead, and cold, when I was an undergrad in the early 80’s. That generation is now running the country.

      • I didn’t provide examples of debate on globalclimatewarmingchange because I did not think she was serious. The debate is everywhere. Here, WUWT, Climate Audit., Jeff Id, Lucia, the Congress, Heritage, Cato, GWPF, Bishop Hill, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, US elections.

        I thought she was just being a bit hyperbolic, not really meaning that the “real” debate is limited to herself and a few others in a single congressional hearing. Because if she really meant that, it would be hubris on a scale I have not seen from her.

        My concern was her false equivalence between the two sides of the debate. But if she seriously means she is the only one making a reasoned debate against the consensus, well, I would be happy to post some links to many others who have made the same arguments she does, and who made them long before she did. But I would prefer she make such a claim directly, rather than as an off handed remark in a blog comment before investing the time.

      • I cannot imagine how you infer that I think that I am the only person making ‘reasoned debate’. The issue is our apparently different definitions of ‘debate’. My notion of debate does not really include monologues that express opinion; rather the word ‘interactive’ is a defining element of my definition of debate, i.e. interacting with the people that you disagree with. It is this interaction that is largely missing. Instead of real interactive debate, there are one sided expressions of opinion and name calling. The venues that you cite express opposing opinions, I don’t see much interactive debate between people that disagree

      • “Judith is right that Levin and Santelli are clueless. I have listened to both of them. I like those two characters and they have good instincts, but they don’t know anything about the greenhouse effect.”

        Newsflash, the ‘climate debate’ isn’t about the greenhouse effect. Radiative physics is irrelevant to the drive toward centralization of the energy economy. Which is, of course, an argument Dr. Curry makes with regularity when she calls for ending the IPCC.

        Anyone who thinks that the ‘climate debate’ is about science it the one who is clueless. But it sure feels good to demean others.

        By the way, Santelli and Levin have had more real impact on the general political debate than all the commenters on this blog, including its hostess, taken together.

      • Which part of this is not serious?:

        Judith:”I would appreciate some specific examples of conservative media debates (presumably someone from the other ‘side’ was included in the debate). One sided questioning and criticism, yes I see that, but not debate.”

        Gary:”The debate is everywhere.”

        That doesn’t cut it, Gary. She asked for “specific examples of conservative media debates…” I would guess that I watch as much conservative media as you do and I don’t recall seeing such a debate. Nor do I see a debate on all those other venues you listed that rises much above the level of two entrenched sides yammering at each other. That includes CE.

        Gary:”… I would be happy to post some links to many others who have made the same arguments she does, and who made them long before she did.”

        You seem to have an emotional problem with the inconvenience that Judith wasn’t born thinking the way you do. The difference between you and your friends who viscerally make arguments and Judith, is that her arguments are informed by her growing understanding of the science.

      • “By the way, Santelli and Levin have had more real impact on the general political debate than all the commenters on this blog, including its hostess, taken together.”

        That may well be true, but the fact remains that they are clueless on the science.

        “Anyone who thinks that the ‘climate debate’ is about science it the one who is clueless.”

        This discussion is about a meaningful debate. If you think that the science has no place in the political debate, then that explains the majority of your foolishness.

        Do you think the science is settled in favor of taking no action to reduce CO2? That would be a really ignorant and dangerous position. Did you get that from Rush Limbaugh?

      • > Making an argument is one thing. Calling your opponents name is another. Debate is something else again.

        Dialogue models are normative frameworks and are used to describe and evaluate everyday dialogical interactions. Real dialogues are much more complex and articulated than the six typologies presented. Often they present characteristics belonging to different dialogue types. In (Walton 1990) debate is for instance analysed as a persuasion dialogue having some features of an eristic confrontation. The participants’ goal is to persuade a third party, but in this process of persuasion the rules are quite permissive and direct attack and moves similar to a quarrel. However, debate has rules, unlike a quarrel. These rules can be more or less strict, depending on the institutional context in which the debate takes place. For instance, in a university debate certain kinds of personal attack allowed in a political debate are not permitted. Debate is one of the three mixed dialogues analysed in (Walton and Krabbe 1995, pp. 83-85).

        http://www.dougwalton.ca/papers%20in%20pdf/Cohesionv4.pdf

        ClimateBall is a quarrel where the players pretend they’re having a debate. This pretense is useful to blame rivals for not wanting to debate.

      • “I cannot imagine how you infer that I think that I am the only person making ‘reasoned debate’.”

        I don’t, and didn’t say so. What I wrote in response to Don Monfort was that if you actually meant what you wrote, rather than it being an instance of hyperbole, that would be the implication.

        Here, again, is your comment to which I responded.

        “…‘Welcome to the Science Committee, the last place on earth where climate change is still debated.’

        Lets face it, that seems sort of true.”

        Now I don’t think that you actually believe what you wrote: that the committee hearing room in which you were one of the few witnesses, was the last place on Earth that ‘climate change’ is still debated.” As I said, that just seems a bit of hyperbole, and so I did not initially address it.

        You latest comments suggest that you are only referring to ‘debate’ in the sense of a format, ie. and engagement by opposing sides with back and forth and questioning of one side by the other.

        If that is the case, testifying before Congress, even with the limited questioning by congressmen afterward, cannot by any reasonable definition be considered a “debate” in the sense you use it in your latter comments.

        Remember, my comment was a criticism of your continued attempts to show a moral/intellectual equivalence between warmists and deniers/skeptics/conservatives in terms of the lack of any ‘debate’.. So let’s take your position now, decrying the lack of formal debates, as a starting point.

        Do both sides in the debate refuse to engage in formalized debate?

        Seriously?

        Do both sides in the debate prevent free discussions by opposing views on their blogs?

        Again, seriously?

        Are both sides in the debate trying to silence the opposition both legislatively and, like the BBC, through adoption of ‘rules’ precluding even the airing of opposing views?

        There is no equivalence between the progressives you used to agree with on decarbonization, and the deniers/skeptics/conservatives with whom you now agree on that issue. That was and is my point, and it is so far unrebutted by a single comment from anyone here.

        There are no debates in climate science because your progressive former tribe refuses to do so, because they cannot win the debate and they know it.

        How about answering my question for identifying a statement by Santelli that showed he was clueless? A quote, not a generalized impression.

      • Judith –

        ==>”I cannot imagine how you infer that I think that I am the only person making ‘reasoned debate’.”

        This does raise the interesting question of who, besides yourself, you do think is making reasoned debate?

        Do you think that only people that agree with you on the science are making reasoned debate? If not, then I’m wondering if you could name some folks that disagree with you on the science that you think are making reasoned debate. John N-G? Pekka? Mojib Latif? Gavin!?!?!?!?!

        How about GaryM, when he declares that some 90% of the American public (that he calls “progressives”) who don’t share his political views are incapable of critical reasoning? Is that a standard of reasoned debate? How about so many of the “skeptics” here, who like yourself, use pejoratives like “alarmist” (or “denier”) to describe everyone who is more concerned than they about the risk posed by BAU in ACO2 emissions? Is that a standard of reasoned debate?

        Do tell. Where do you see reasoned debate? Who do you see making reasoned debate?

    • The quote from Ms. Lofgren (D-CA) was “Welcome to the Science Committee, the last place on the planet where we question whether climate change is being caused by human activity”. It was said with a sense of frustration that they were still talking about this. The Democrats had a minority presence and very few participated compared to Republicans whi just threw softball questions. Lamar Smith seemed to often get percent mixed up with Celsius, which as chair of the Science Committee, makes you wonder what the qualification is for that position.

      • Danny Thomas

        Jim D,
        “makes you wonder what the qualification is for that position.”
        Think that could be said about most of the chairs could it not? After all, most of those folks are salepeople first and foremost.

      • David Wojick

        Lofgren is a calculating fool. The debate is alive and well.

    • I think Gary the keeper of purity in rock-solid conservatism wants to call you a RINO, Judith. But he knows you are not a Republican.

      • Gary can actually say exactly what he wants to say. What he is saying is that Dr. Curry may be a ‘lukewarmer’ as she says, but her position on decarbonization, whether she likes it or not, is identical to the skeptics/conservatives she looks down on with such regularity. And maybe she should be a little less dismissive of those with whom she finally agrees, and who are in fact giving her a platform to voice her opinions that her former progressive tribe never did, and that the same tribe would deny her today.

      • What’s your point, Gary? So Judith’s position of decarbonization lines up with blah..blah…blah. That should make you happy. Does she also have to kiss the a$$$es of you people, and completely emrace your ideology? There are a lot of screwballs on your team who don’t know science from Shinola. You are lucky to have Judith making the case that you, in particular, are incapable of making. Nobody would pay any attention to you if you could, Do you think Judith’s testimony before Congress benefits her more, or does it benefit more your cause and the cause of your ideological brethren?

      • Don,

        I have to admit that I was somewhat put off by Judith’s snide remark that all 3 of the women who testified were invited by the Republicans.

        I enjoy CE and admire Judith for all she does, but she seems to struggle with moving out of her paradigm. I can identify with her difficulties as it took me most of my 68 yrs. to get away from the leftist one I grew up with.

      • Why is this a snide remark? I think it is rather remarkable.

      • “I have to admit that I was somewhat put off by Judith’s snide remark that all 3 of the women who testified were invited by the Republicans.”

        Please explain why you think that was a snide remark, Mark.

      • Most of the Democrats with statements and questions on the Committee were also women, by the way.

      • Don, it seemed to me she was implying that it was unusual for Republicans (as opposed to Democrats) to take women seriously.

      • I’m implying that I have never come across a congressional hearing where the majority of witnesses were female, and certainly not in a hearing on climate change.

      • Don’t think so, Mark.

        “Three of the witnesses are invited by the Republicans – the three females (!!!)”

        Looks to me like she was happy that the Republicans had invited three females and she was giving them three Yeahs! I haven’t noticed Judith engaging in much sarcasm or snideness. All indications are that Judith appreciates being invited by the Republicans. Maybe she will clarify, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

      • I like Rep Smith and his staffers, and very much appreciate the opportunity to testify.

      • You could be right Don. Two guys who grew up in the Projects (Brooklyn vs. Detroit) don’t have to agree on everything.

      • Thanks for the clarification.

        You, Harbert and Thorning did very well. Schmidt was a waste of space.

      • You see how easy that was, Mark:)

      • “I have to admit that I was somewhat put off by Judith’s snide remark that all 3 of the women who testified were invited by the Republicans.”

        Trying to view it from Judith’s perspective, it must have felt amazing testifying before a congressional committee. Give that she graduated from a university in 1974 when women were very poorly represented in STEM careers. From 1979-86 I had only three women professors – one each in math, CS, and physics. In 1972 I read a career guide in a high school guidance office that recommended that women not attempt a career in architecture as the math was too difficult. Those were some pretty stiff headwinds.

      • OK, I retract the adjective “snide” and in fact I was more perplexed than “put off” by the remark re. Republicans.

        All is clear now.

      • Does she also have to kiss the a$$$es of you people, and completely “emrace your ideology?”

        Try actually reading my comments with just a modicum of thought, OK? I actually write what I think all the time, and it is tiresome reading your inept rewrites.

        My criticism of Dr. Curry is her repeated attempts at claiming moral equivalence in the politicization, lack of debate, tenor of the debate, attempts to silence critics, etc. There is no such equivalence. The progressives try, through government and any other means available to silence dissent. They refuse to debate in any format worthy of the name. Yes there were one or two a number of years ago, but none since.

        Here’s a suggestion:

        Ask Lindzen, either Pielke, Watts, Morano, or Inhofe to engage in a climate debate with a warmist. I suspect not a one would decline.

        Then ask Hansen, Schmidt, Mann, Cook, Gore or Reid to do so. It is almost certain that not a one would agree. Most have already refused, some even walking off a stage when a skeptic showed up.

        At some point, Dr. Curry should put a halt to her reflexive demeaning of those with whom she now agrees on the issue of decarbonization. She doesn’t need to open up her eyes on any other issue. It would just be nice if she would stop being so dismissive of those who were right for so long, about the central issue in her profession, about which she was wrong for so long.

        Humility is a strength, not a weakness. She normally shows an ample supply, but sometimes her old thought patterns from her prior tribe re-emerge, as here. This is a blog after all, so I think my mild disagreement with her here is not terribly objectionable.

      • The best place for science debates is on blogs. That way, between rounds, you can check facts and sources and respond with your own references. A live debate is hindered by no live verifiability of statements made. Someone can say anything on a technical topic to a live audience and they would be none the wiser as to whether it is true or false. Live debates on science have a big problem with this. Same with questions to scientists from a live audience unless the topic is very focused on their interest area, such as after they have given a talk, and this happens because some scientists are willing to go out and give public lectures. A type of debate that does work is when scientists give opening statements and the questions are just focused on what they have talked about, but it really needs for the scientists to see the other presentations in advance to prepare their case, rather than being hit cold with a fact that they had never heard before and can’t judge without background checking.

      • I hope the quality of your arguments in court is much higher than what you display here, Gary.

        Gary:”My criticism of Dr. Curry is her repeated attempts at claiming moral equivalence in the politicization, lack of debate, tenor of the debate, attempts to silence critics, etc.”

        That’s BS. Do you seriously believe that Judith believes or is claiming that the skeptic side is equally responsible with the 97% consensus goons for the “debate is over” meme? Why don’t you show us some clear examples of Judith’s repeated at claiming moral equivalence in the politicization…blah..blah…blah. While you are at it, show us some examples of Judith demeaning Lindzen, Pielke and so on. Play like you are a competent lawyer and dig up some freaking evidence, before you make such slimy accusations.

        Judith has stood up to the consensus goons and it has cost her. Remember, she is not some little anonymous blog character who doesn’t need any guts or science chops to shoot his mouth off in safety and obscurity. Are you catching my drift, Gary M.? Mark Levin would call you a lightweight. Carry on. But be very cautious, could be a progressive hiding under every bedstead. Booooo!

      • So let’s look at this from Don:

        ==> “I think Gary the keeper of purity in rock-solid conservatism wants to call you a RINO, Judith”

        and this from GaryM:

        ==> ” She normally shows an ample supply, but sometimes her old thought patterns from her prior tribe re-emerge, as here.

        So we can see how Don makes a mistake in interpreting GaryM. (It must be such a burden for him to see so much ineptness, poor fella).

        This has nothing to do with being a Republican or not being a Republican. GaryM doesn’t care about that.

        GaryM has explained this many times. If you disagree with him about any number of issues, you are therefore a “progressive” – and “progressives” are incapable of critical thinking. Most Republicans are “progressive” just like Demz. In fact, some 90%? of the American public are “progressives” and thus incapable of critical thinking.

        In Judith’s case, she used to be a “progressive” and was thus incapable of critical thinking – until she came to agree with GaryM about climate change. She was then no longer a “progressive” because if she agreed with GaryM on climate change, then obviously she’s capable of critical thinking, and if she’s capable of critical thinking she could not be a “progressive.”

        But every now and then, she slips back into her old habits, and disagrees with GaryM about something – which means that she is then a “progressive” and her disagreement with him about something is all the evidence we need to confirm a lack of ability for critical thinking.

        But don’t worry – in the next post Judith will agree with GaryM about something – and then she will no longer be a “progressive” and she will no longer be incapable of critical thinking.

        And all will be right again here at Climate Etc.

      • little joshie raises his little pointed head above the parapet:

        “Most Republicans are “progressive”

        Those are RINOs, joshie. Does that help you?

        Gary M. is your chiral image. Google it, joshie.

    • This is a phenomenon I see too often in family law. An abusive husband is called abusive by his beaten wife, who has pictures of the bruises and black eyes to prove he uses violence to try to dominate her. He then makes false allegation against his wife, with no evidence, and ignoring the fact that he is 6’2″/210 pounds, and she is 5’3″/125 pounds. And you get stuck with some genius judge who says – well, this is just ‘he said – she said’, so I can’t do anything about it.

      When you have time to collect data and accurately access a situation a wise man collects data and accesses the situation. Rash decisions to make extremely costly investments that will have some significant negative consequences to prevent a “problem” that might be fantasy, are unwise. Only fools make unforced rash decisions on the basis of incomplete, unreliable, and badly understood data.

      The performance of the models visa vis reality indicates two things:
      1. Global warmers don’t have a clue what is going to happen next.
      2. We have much more time than they say they do (we actually don’t know how much time we have – we just know they are wrong – so if they say it is urgent it really isn’t).

      Abusive husband analogy eh? I can do better than that.

      I would hate to be married to a global warmer.

      The when he hears gossip about his wife, he doesn’t use common sense and try to find out is going on (collect real data, instead of modeling and guessing), or ask her, or have faith things will work out.

      No he is a global warmer and applies the precautionary principle. He kills her and buries her in the backyard.

      .

      • When I was a little kid my Dad’s hired man married this young girl who basically looked like Miss America, She was beautiful. My Mom says he was very jealous. One night the hired man’s beautiful wife brained him with a window weight. Dead as a door nail. She got seven years.

      • Every rose has its thorns.

    • GaryM really does make an excellent argument:

      1. Do a large number of CAGW advocates call skeptics “deniers”, intending a comparison the the holocaust – the slaughter of millions?

      Absolutely.

      1a. Is it justified?

      Absolutely not.

      2. Do Most skeptics accuse the CAGW advocates of being alarmists?

      Absolutely.

      1a. Is it justified?

      Absolutely

      The problem is that those poopyheads call us poopyheads, when everyone knows that we’re not poopyheads but they are poopyheads.

      And of course, they along with some 90%? of the American public are incapable of critical reasoning, so we certainly can’t expect them to figure out that they’re poopyheads..

    • I will give GaryM credit for getting one things right, however.

      The distinction that Judith tries to draw between her advocacy and that other other “skeptics” doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, including in the use of pejoratives.

  37. And I’m sorry.

    “France has a unique culture that welcomes dissent.”

    Even if you limit your reading to progressive media, this is a hard one to swallow.

    “The greatest threat to liberty in France has come not from the terrorists who committed such horrific acts this past week but from the French themselves, who have been leading the Western world in a crackdown on free speech.

    Indeed, if the French want to memorialize those killed at Charlie Hebdo, they could start by rescinding their laws criminalizing speech that insults, defames or incites hatred, discrimination or violence on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sex or sexual orientation.”

    Who said that? Ted Cruz? Rush Limbaugh? Some other racist, sexist, homopohobic, insane, evil conservative, on Fox News?

    Nope, Jonathan Turley, leftist law professor from George Washington University, in the pages of that conservative hate rag, the Washington Post.

    • “Nope, Jonathan Turley, leftist law professor…”

      Well, that’s how it works. Get and keep your own tribe in line so they submit to be part of the larger enforcement mob.

      Andrew

    • A critical difference between how hate speech and dissent is treated in france (from WaPo article
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/01/18/french-hate-speech-laws-are-less-simplistic-than-you-think/

      Perhaps the most important legal aspect is the focus on real-world people and groups, rather than on ideas or doctrines. French citizens are perfectly free to challenge or blaspheme religious ideas, symbols, practices, and even leaders. Obnoxious, insulting, highly offensive speech is protected speech. Charlie Hebdo has been sued not only for its depictions of Muhammad, but also for caricatures of the pope. In fact, Catholic groups have sued it for anti-religious speech more often than Muslim ones. Charlie Hebdo prevailed in all of these cases, except for one (which was initiated by the Catholics).

      • Dr Curry please…

        So somehow Catholics are the bad guys? I can’t believe you went there. Wait… yes I can.

        Andrew

      • Dr. Curry,

        There is a fundamental difference between libel suits by private individuals, and laws enforced by the state to silence speech. And yes, religious bigotry against Catholics and Jews is not just tolerated in France, it is almost a national pass time.

        But from the article you cite:

        ‘To give another example, former French cinema star Brigitte Bardot is now an avid animal rights activist who has passionately denounced the Islamic practice of ritual slaughter without prior stunning. She has been convicted for hate speech for her statements related to this issue. At first glance, this may seem a ridiculous restriction of free speech. Yet courts have not penalized her for deriding Islamic practices, but for defaming and for provoking hatred against Muslims themselves. In one case, she was convicted for saying “They slit the throats of women, children, our monks, our administrators, our tourists and our sheep, they will slit our throats one day and we will have earned it.”’

        And this description of reality is a crime in France. I am sorry, but this does not help your case. Have you seen any of the ISIS videos? Of course this was before the Charlie Hebdo massacre, after which, for a period of a few weeks, the French suddenly discovered the importance of free speech. But it didn’t last.

      • Here’s a good example of progressive acceptance of anti-Christian speech, combined with its cowardly avoidance of anti-Muslim speech.

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/blackwhiteandgray/2015/01/charlie-hebdos-cartoons-piss-christ-and-the-associated-press/

        There is no moral equivalence in this debate either.

      • Gary is pretty much right, on this one.

    • GaryM,

      I agree with you. Free speech means free speech. As soon as you start to descriminate between the various forms of free speech, you need to designate an arbiter of the nature speech, an inherently political process subject to all the usual problems of corruption, political patronage, and power.

      The Charlie Hebdo incident was the inevitable outcome of the speech policy – France prohibited debate on an important but politically incorrect issue for decades.

      More on Brigdet Bardot here:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7434193.stm

  38. Pingback: Between a Debate and a Quarrel | ClimateBall (tm)

  39. I will believe nothing of the “pro” AGW’s “evidence” until they clearly state what the recommended/ideal mean temperature of the earth is “supposed” to be. Without that number, skeptics are supposed to believe any variable, defended by hogwash, while they usurp billions of tax dollars in “research” the latter being the catalyst for this hoax. It’s called “snake oil” and it’s been around for centuries.