Decision strategies for uncertain, complex situations

by Judith Curry

How to gain clarity when making decisions in uncertain and complex situations.

Someone emailed me a presentation entitled Introduction to Decision Analysis.  The presentation was developed by O.J. Sanchez of Decision Strategies Inc., a company that focuses on helping  their clients gain clarity when making decisions in complex situations.  From their web site, it appears that their clients are mainly from industry, including the energy sector.   Many of these ideas relate to topics that I have touched on in previous posts, and it seems to me that this general approach is scalable to the decision dilemmas surrounding climate change.  Below are excerpts from the presentation:

So . . . what is decision analysis? Decision Analysis is a systematic methodology for facilitating high quality, logical discussion; bringing clarity to difficult decisions and leading to clear and compelling action by the decision maker.

  • Probabilistic framework
  • Incorporates consideration of risk and uncertainty
  • Focused on actions

JC comment:  For some background, see these relevant CE posts:

What makes decision making difficult?

Definition: Decision –  A conscious controllable allocation of resources; the act of making a choice between alternatives

The traditional approach to decision making is to advocate and sell a desired decision.Slide1

JC comment:  The above approach is often referred to as the ‘linear model for decision making’.

How do we recognize and differentiate between ambiguity and uncertainty?

• Ambiguity – Typically, something we don’t know, or are unsure about, but can find out – Can be resolved before the decision has to be made – Examples: Unclear or conflicting goals • Availability of resources • Stakeholder preference

Uncertainty – An unknown event that impacts the outcome of our decision – we may be able to impact the event, but we cannot control – Will not be resolved before the decision is made

JC comment: For a discussion of climate uncertainty, see my Uncertainty Monster paper.

Most decision making processes are not equipped to adequately deal with ambiguity and uncertainty

Slide1

A London Business School study found a dramatic difference in effectiveness based on decision methods

Slide1

JC comment:  The UNFCCC strategy seems well characterized by Idea Justification • Single Option • Data and Simulation • Edict or Persuasion.  Such a strategy doesn’t work well even for simpler problems

Decision analysis is a phased process:

Slide1

 

Each phase of the decision analysis process has a set of robust tools and techniques with a logical sequence that encourages open, creative dialog.

This process is scalable to apply the appropriate level of dialogue and analysis consistent with decision complexity

Slide1

Decision complexity characteristics:

Slide1

Another way to look at it:

Slide1

JC comment:  For additional context on wicked problems and messes, see this previous CE post:   Messes and super wicked problems

So . . . we have available good process and tools.  Are we guaranteed a good outcome?  Why not? What can we do about this?

In a world of uncertainty, decision quality cannot be judged by a single outcome.

• When risk or uncertainty are present, making a good decision does not guarantee a good outcome will always result.

• Conversely, a good outcome does not mean a good decision was made!

• But… when many, or a portfolio of decisions, are considered, there is a strong relationship between the number of good decisions and good outcomes.

JC comment:  The UNFCCC is seeking a ‘silver bullet’ solution in terms of CO2 emissions reductions.  A portfolio of decisions (‘silver buckshot’) seems to be a better strategy.

Things that cause poor decisions:

  • Improper Frame: Asking the wrong question; Looking at only a subset of the real problem or opportunity
  • Failure to consider alternatives
  • Lack of meaningful information
  • Competing value measures
  • Poor logic
  • Ignoring risk or taking on too much risk
  • Lack of commitment, no buy-in
  • Wrong people involved

JC comment:  How many of these factors characterize climate change policy making, particularly by the UNFCCC?  Too many, I’m afraid.

We have created the Objectives Hierarchy – now we need to frame the Decisions and Uncertainties

Slide1

Framing uses the insights developed in the Discovery stage to build unique alternatives.

The Decision Hierarchy will clarify the scope of the decision options. • Sets of decisions will need to be pulled together into clear strategic alternatives for analysis. • A qualitative analysis can be done to determine which are viable. • A relevance model for quantitative analysis can then be diagrammed.

Decision Hierarchy is the tool that enables framing of the decision options and ideas that are on the table. The decision hierarchy helps to identify the scope of the problem and to separate constraint and implementation decisions from the focus of the analysis.

Objectives decision maker’s goals and criteria to compare options

  • Decisions: Choices we can control, which sets a direction or course of action
  • Uncertainties: issues we don’t know, cannot control, and will not be resolved until the decision is made and outcomes begin to occur
  • Facts: known laws of nature, policies, or resolved ambiguities

What alternative strategies exist for maximizing value?  Developing Creative Strategies from Multiple Decisions

Strategy table tool

Slide1Each Alternative Must Have A Qualitative Assessment

Objective – key business outcomes that each alternative aims to achieve

Rationale – Positives: aspects which favor success of each alternative – Negatives:risks of failure or major resistance points for alternative –

Response: what will be the response from other key players – Hunches: intuitive feelings about the potential of each alternative

A simple influence diagram can accurately and concisely convey the essence of the problem or opportunity

Slide1JC reflections

This presentation explains why the current climate change decision strategy has left us between a rock and hard place.There are some good ideas in this presentation, and it seems that they would scale to to more complex, global climate change problem.   I have a draft post on re-framing the climate change problem; this post motivates me to try to finish that one sooner rather than later.

 

605 responses to “Decision strategies for uncertain, complex situations

  1. I like the “silver buckshot” metaphor. The best decision-makers in an environment of uncertainty are card players with bridge perhaps coming out on top. Bridge players have to select the most successful strategy for multiple scenarios and keep their options open until the very last moment. Dr. Curry how about getting some input from them?

  2. David Wojick

    After I discovered the issue tree I used issue tree diagrams to help industry executives work through complex issues. See my crude little textbook on issue trees at http://www.stemed.info/reports/Wojick_Issue_Analysis_txt.pdf.

    The rule of thumb that emerged was that for a well defined issue one had to systematically elaborate an issue tree of at least 2000 nodes. The complexity of this structure explains why we have so much trouble discussing and resolving such issues. Climate change is much bigger, involving many separate issues of this complexity.

    I have little use for analytical procedures that claim to lead to good decisions, especially probabilistic procedures. Decision ultimately comes down to personal judgement. The goal is to create understanding of the issue and its complexity, not decisions.

    • > The rule of thumb that emerged was that for a well defined issue one had to systematically elaborate an issue tree of at least 2000 nodes.

      Chess engines nowadays explore something like 10k nodes per second . Even the engine on your smarphone can do better than 2k per sec. If that’s not enough, there are techniques to flatten trees.

      Also note that it might be a better practice to distinguish issues from their representation.

      • David Wojick

        Yes, but people in discussions typically only make around a 100 nodes per hour, that fall within the top 2000 of the issue tree they are articulating.

        I have no idea what you mean by distinguish issues from their representation. It is true that different discussions of the same basic issue may look very different, covering different aspects for example. Is that it?

      • > people in discussions typically only make around a 100 nodes per hour,

        Denizens rehearse about the same 10 nodes or so every other day. There are about six types of argument:

        https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/

        It’s furiously recursive, but it ain’t that complex.

        ***

        > I have no idea what you mean by distinguish issues from their representation.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/formal-belief/

      • “Also note that it might be a better practice to distinguish issues from their representation.”

        Yup.

      • Willard: Also note that it might be a better practice to distinguish issues from their representation.

        You can try. Start perhaps with the Bohr-Einstein debates and Schroedinger’s Cat up through the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper. Read the background/elaboration of the Quine Quip: Ontology Recapitulates Philology.

        Meanwhile, we have conflicting science-based forecasts for the future, all based on incomplete knowledge represented in models of doubtful accuracy. The “warmist” decision strategy is to start by ignoring all the “warnings” (evidence etc) about the threat of cooling.

      • “Denizens rehearse about the same 10 nodes or so every other day. There are about six types of argument:”

        +100.

      • David Wojick

        Willard (and Mosher): Issue tree nodes are sentences. I think you will find more than 10 unique sentences being posted here by skeptics per day. More like several thousand. Perhaps you are thinking of generic types of arguments. In which case I would need to see your taxonomy of argument types. But in any case that is not what I am talking about. Technically my nodes are what in mathematical logic are called propositions. But sentences will do for this discussion. Count the unique sentences. This comment has 10 unique sentences and an issue tree structure.

      • > Issue tree nodes are sentences.

        Issues are not syntactic contructs, David. They carry meaning, meaning you can use (at least in principle) to build equivalence classes.

        The problem is not complexity. The main problem is that we don’t have semantic engines.

        “But complexity” is a contrarian meme, BTW. It’s one of the 10 nodes or so.

      • > Meanwhile, we have conflicting science-based forecasts for the future, all based on incomplete knowledge represented in models of doubtful accuracy. The “warmist” decision strategy is to start by ignoring all the “warnings” (evidence etc) about the threat of cooling.

        This jackpot of talking points is to be filed under the “but CAGW” node.

      • blueice2hotsea

        You are carelessly disregarding a motherlode of foolishness:

        “But contrarian meme…
        “But skeptic talking point…
        etc…
        – ™ Willard

        logical fallacy much?

      • “Denizens rehearse about the same 10 nodes or so every other day. There are about six types of argument:”

        It makes sense that the strongest arguments get repeated over time and the invalid ones loose support.

      • > skeptic talking point […]

        Don’t put words in my mouth, Blue. I would never use the word “skeptic” for contrarian memes.

        ***

        > the strongest arguments get repeated

        Then the strongest argument in the world might be the Pater Noster.

      • I’m not a skeptic, but in their defence I will ask the question–if 10 is enough why reach for 1,000?

      • > if 10 is enough

        For what: waiting for Godot while raising over and over again the same absurdist concerns?

        Ockamist Denizens may try to shoot for a meme to rule them all: “but CAGW” or “but Mr. T” or “but CG I, II (and soon III)”. But which one to choose?

        INTEGRITY ™ – Lots of Theories. No Best Practices. Do Not Panic. Do No Harm. Future is Bright. We Won, You Lost, Get Over It

      • “For what: waiting for Godot while raising over and over again the same absurdist concerns?”

        If concerns are not adequately addressed, why wouldn’t someone keep bringing them up?

        Certainly some flying the skeptic banner are obsessed over matters that are not a significant factor in potential climate change impacts. Just as some climate activists are. I would say in roughly equal percentages.

        But that shouldn’t obscure the reality that the range of possible values for sensitivity has not been narrowed in 30 years, while observation-based calculations come in with far lower values than trumpeted by the Climaterati.

        When a paper published 6 days ago trumpeting 20 feet sea level rises produces hundreds of articles in the media with the same quote from the same person, but doesn’t show that the projected sea level rises won’t occur for a minimum of 1,000 years, can you blame skeptics for thinking that the search for truth has disappeared from climate conversations?

        If you don’t want skeptics to bring up the same concerns, you might try not doing the same thing that raises those concerns.

      • > If concerns are not adequately addressed, why wouldn’t someone keep bringing them up?

        If concerns are adequately addressed, why wouldn’t contrarians keep bringing them up?

        For instance:

        The costs of reducing emissions doesn’t rise linearly with the amount of emissions to be reduced. It rises more or less exponentially. That makes your argument that we’ll be richer in the future moot, at least beyond a certain level. There are arguments made that 4% emission reduction per year is more or less the maximum achievable; beyond that the regular way of innovation and change (learning curves etc) doesn’t apply anymore. It would necessitate much stronger and much more costly and invasive measures to go beyond that. Typically the kind of measures that the “sceptics” oppose most strongly.

        Those who oppose strong control by the government, should really favor emission reductions to start sooner rather than later, to reduce the pain that the measures would otherwise cause. That point is easily overseen.

        The last point, and in addition the fact that more uncertainty should make one more, not less careful, are the key concepts that “sceptics” are missing the mark on, I think.

        https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/tom-fullers-advice-for-warmists/

        Vintage 2009.

      • willard: “The costs of reducing emissions doesn’t rise linearly with the amount of emissions to be reduced. It rises more or less exponentially.”

        It seems to me that you’re the one bringing up something that you say has been addressed–not me, not other skeptics.

        As for Bart’s point, our wealth is also expected to increase non-linearly and dramatically. As Nicholas Stern projects dealing with climate change to cost between 1% and 5% of global GDP, and GDP is variously projected to rise between $235 trillion and $500-odd trillion by the end of the century, if we don’t deal with climate change it won’t be because of its cumulative costs.

        But again, you’re the one who is bring up five-year old discussions, not me, not other skeptics.

        Typical Climateball. Yawn.

      • > It seems to me that you’re the one bringing up something that you say has been addressed–not me, not other [contrarians].

        That I recall BartV’s confutation of the same talking points GW brought to the table is quite relevant to my point, and is independent from the contrarians’ habit to furiously recurse memes. It also undermines the idea that these talking points get recursed because they haven’t been answered.

        As a bonus, we get the empty assertion that “our wealth is also expected to increase non-linearly and dramatically,” which is kinda cute considering the usual claptraps against modelling, as if economists forgot Grrrowth whence they’re more or less obsessed by it.

        Mr. T should be more stringent on how we model the human economy than how we model the climate.

      • David Springer

        This blog would be greatly improved by Willard and Mosher’s absence.

      • > If you don’t want skeptics to bring up the same concerns, you might try […]

        The “you” in that sentence is underdetermined.

        See also:

      • Willard,

        It is quite apparent that you think that CO2 is somehow harmful. It is not at all apparent what you think the result of rendering global weather conditions static would be. This, by definition, is the only way to stop the climate changing.

        Warmists, in general, tend to have only a tenuous grip on reality. Bizarre assertions about the future become facts. Historical records are revised in a vain attempt to alter the present. Denial of physics is masked by inventing new meanings for ordinary words. Even missing heat hiding from detection!

        You don’t really need solutions to non existent problems. There are plenty of real problems you might wish to contemplate. War, famine, disease, for example. No solutions that I can see, but you could no doubt suggest easy answers. How hard could it be for a clever chap like yourself?

    • “I have little use for analytical procedures that claim to lead to good decisions, especially probabilistic procedures. Decision ultimately comes down to personal judgement. The goal is to create understanding of the issue and its complexity, not decisions.”

      David,

      The last two are spot on. The first sentence is a personal opinion–I suspect reflect reflecting your own experience. I have had similar experiences. But to me the problem lies not in the tools but in the perception of the tools by other from the outside. A couple of points to keep in mind–perhaps redundant to you but worth pointing out to others.

      — A good decision does not necessarily ensure a good outcome. A bad decision does not necessarily ensure a bad outcome. The underlying 800 pound gorilla in the whole endeavor is risk.

      — Decision analysis does not mandate a probabilistic formulation. It is flexible and can be done in volumes or on the back of an envelope.

      — Building on your last sentence a bit: Decision analyses attempt to provide rational structures for decision-making. This is its big contribution to the decision-making. I am yet to see one that claims to more than that.* Nobody is selling anything. DA is a tool and not a panacea. Certainly decision analysts recognize that neither the analyses and the analyst(s) are the decision-maker. A good analyst is a coach and foremost is a team member.
      ——–
      *What I have seen is management and decision-makers having that false expectation. That can be a game killer.

      To me in your comment you come close to projecting the analyses as making the decision. Such a view is dead at the starting gate. Again the value of a successful analysis is the process. A successful process engages and works with the decision-maker and the others involved more as a coach and analyst in a fiduciary capacity.

      — Decision analysts are well aware of the ‘personal’ aspects, e.g., bias, anchoring, risk-aversion, etc., involved with decision making and attempt to deal with it. Of course it is ‘soft’ science. That why decisions are difficult–they are soft and fuzzy.

      — As you are likely aware there are a plethora of DA approaches each having their pros and cons and one is not restricted with respect to use in any circumstance which one or ones are used. My disposition is to apply a number of DA approaches for input to the decision-making regarding climate change policies–and on top of that a meta-analysis. It goes without saying that this also requires full participation of the decision-maker(s) and team. The typical consultant’s report approach is dead on arrival.

      — One of the tasks of decision analysis is to separate the chaff, that is to identify and characterize those factors that significantly drive the risks and hence confound the decision(s). Thus a final decision tree or influence/relevance diagram may not be all that big. So IMO your 1975 2000 nodes is not necessarily an issue. Still foreseeable combinatorial aspects have to be considered up-front when one looks at the scale of the effort depth of the analyses. Perhaps I weigh that less because I have found the structuring the decision(s) has great value.

      — [Opinion] IMO/experience scientists are much worse at handling risk issues than other professionals–something about the wiring :O)

      Best regards,

      mwgrant

      • mwgrant –

        ==> “— [Opinion] IMO/experience scientists are much worse at handling risk issues than other professionals–something about the wiring :O)”

        Do you have anything more concrete by way of explanation?

        I am leery of such arguments, generally, that find patterns without mechanistic explanation – even if only a speculative one.

        How do you account for any potential biases you might have in describing a pattern to your personal, anecdotal observations?

      • +100

      • David Wojick

        MW: I imagine the kind of expert DA approaches you are talking about are very useful in eliciting the kind of systematic reasoning that I am talking about. I was really referring to “crank turning” exercises like probabilistic decision trees, which generate a decision algorithmically that is claimed to be the best. There are various decision software programs that claim to do this. I doubt their utility.

        As for the 2000 nodes rule of thumb, think of these nodes as all the useful sentences that have to be written or spoken in the exercise, in order to properly articulate all the sub-issues. Keep in mind that the issue tree is always there, as it is a fundamental structure of what we say and write. Our exchange here has an issue tree structure.

        The issue tree diagram, on the other hand, is a construct made from those sentences. Sometimes a 2000 node “top of the tree” diagram is needed, while sometimes a hundred nodes does the job. Sometimes it is merely useful to know that the tree structure is there in what we are saying and writing, because that structure creates certain problems and confusions that need to be watched for.

        As for the climate debate, consider that there have been over 700,000 comments to date on this blog alone. Most include a number of sentences, so probably several million sentences in all. Some are redundant and others are not useful, but the number of relevant sentences is still very large. There are numerous sub-issues in this corpus, for which the issue tree of each easily exceeds 2000 nodes. Climate change, broadly considered as it is here, is an extremely complex issue. But it still has a specific structure.

      • Joshua
        Do you have any concrete way of explanation…?

        How do you account for any potential biases you might have in describing a pattern to your personal, anecdotal observations?

        No, I do not even attempt to explain beyond ‘been there’ — sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. But I certainly made it clear that the statement I made above is opinion. Weigh it as you wish. It doesn’t hurt. :O)

        I do not feel a need to account for biases when I clearly state an opinion is indeed an opinion.

      • David,

        MW: I imagine the kind of expert DA approaches you are talking about are very useful in eliciting the kind of systematic reasoning that I am talking about.

        That is a good way to put it. I considered my comment as an embellishment to yours.

        I was really referring to “crank turning” exercises like probabilistic decision trees, which generate a decision algorithmically that is claimed to be the best. There are various decision software programs that claim to do this. I doubt their utility.

        I agree with that. A hammer used mindlessly can do a lot of damage. In a nutshell decision software does not make decision analysts. Groundwater programs do not make geohydrologists, and so on. It is unfortunate that we live in a time where the ability to spit out numbers may be mistaken and/or substituted for expertise. This not a condemnation of computation, but just a recognition that abuse occurs. Computation still is very good thing.

      • Good comment mwg. It seems to me that good decisionmaking occurs when one “thinks slow” in the Kahneman context. There is also the problem of overconfidence of humans in situations of uncertainty.

      • mwgrant –

        I tried replying further, but Judith have a very interesting habit of not allowing me to follow up on responses.

        Suffice it to say that it would seem to me that if you’re going to speculate about “wiring,” you must have some further speculation about how that might work? For example, do you think that people with wiring that leads them to be bad at handling risk are drawn to being scientists? Do you think that something about doing science changes “wiring” to make people bad at handling risk issues?

        I think your speculation seems implausible – so I was hoping you might elaborate.

      • J-person

        Well, you have arrived. So…

        Do you have any concrete way of explanation?

        Well, no. Not concrete. One synonym for ‘opinion’ is ‘speculation’. :O) Perhaps you mean do I have example of why I have that perception? I suspect formal training and lack of exposure to concepts. There are exceptions as there always are. Hard scientist who get into management can be problematic too, but again it may be lack of exposure, job pressures and risk aversion. There is a whole lot of ”give me a number driving this world. Indirect introduction of ideas always proved more successful than a direct approach…DA, using R, scientific visualization.

        I think your speculation seems implausible – so I was hoping you might elaborate.

        That pejorative is your prerogative. :OP I am comfortable with drawing on my experiences to express an opinion–it has been caveated.

      • The problem with this situation is a lack of good data and validation of the various theories.

        The global warming theorists should be able to make some testable predictions.

        The global warming faction have to some extent:
        1. Melted sea ice
        2. Warmer temperatures
        3. More downwelling IR.
        4. Increasing atmospheric CO2 level and increasing rate of increase.
        5. Harm from warming
        6. Harm from CO2.

        They need to make specific predictions for the next decade and the claims evaluated against actual data by an independent and preferably skeptical group.

        Lets look at the CO2 increase.

        The 940 PPM RCP 8.5 2100 CO2 level would require a 6.35 PPM/y CO2 increase. That is 13.5 GT/Y of carbon into the atmosphere. Given that the current increase is 2 PPM/Y (4.26 GT/Y) with about 10 GT/Y of emission. About 6 GT/Y of carbon is absorbed by the environment and the amount is increasing.

        At the end of the century the rate would have to be a minimum emission of 30.8 GT/Y of carbon into the atmosphere. Given the 760 GT of available carbon reserves this doesn’t seem realistic.

      • Mwg, I’m not sure what is covered by “risk” here. In my experience, good decisions in government are often undermined by poor execution, sometimes because those charged with such execution aren’t on board, and may be pursuing different agendas; and because if execution is a long-term process, those involved over time may be radically different – e.g., through a change of government. Chopping and changing from the latter is a major impediment to successful implementation of good decisions in Australia. Faustino

      • gengiscunn

        Clearly the effectiveness of the implementation of an alternative has to be considered in the analyses. You describe some of the factors that can be involved. Characterization of effectiveness as an uncertainty is not an easy task and clearly entails judgements with all of their baggage, but it must be considered, at least initially.* Like all uncertainties the level of detail needed and the level detail available come into play and have to be addressed and documented.
        ———
        * I say initially because it may well be that sensitivity analyses may eliminate (we hope) some uncertainty (variables) as not significantly contributing to the risks.

      • Numbnuts (Josh),

        He said it was opinion, not fact.

      • genghiscunn – sorry about the name typo.

    • willard: “The costs of reducing emissions doesn’t rise linearly with the amount of emissions to be reduced. It rises more or less exponentially.”

      It seems to me that you’re the one bringing up something that you say has been addressed–not me, not other skeptics.

      As for Bart’s point, our wealth is also expected to increase non-linearly and dramatically. As Nicholas Stern projects dealing with climate change to cost between 1% and 5% of global GDP, and GDP is variously projected to rise between $235 trillion and $500-odd trillion by the end of the century, if we don’t deal with climate change it won’t be because of its cumulative costs.

      But again, you’re the one who is bring up five-year old discussions, not me, not other skeptics.

      • > It seems to me that you’re the one bringing up something that you say has been addressed–not me, not other [contrarians].

        This tu quoque distracts us from the fact that every contrarian memes have already been addressed many times, just like BartV has addressed all the talking points GW is rehearsing right now, many years after the fact.

        ***

        > As for Bart’s point, our wealth is also expected to increase non-linearly and dramatically.

        This appeal to ignorance ignores that BartV had more than one point, and that BartV’s point still applies, even if we’d assume infinite Grrrowth. Hint:

        Insurance is the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for money. It is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurance

    • Pretty weak, willard. Usually you are more coherent. Try again.

  3. Analysis Paralysis Solution

    “You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    No time for mister inbetween”

    Sam Cooke

  4. Craig Loehle

    Some considerations for complex decisions:
    1) Have a plan B (the military is aware that you always need to be able to retreat).
    2) Making any choice means you close the door to other choices. This is a tradeoff. Many people refuse to recognize tradeoffs, such that when A is chosen they are resentful that they can’t have B also. In the climate debate this means that $ spent on mitigation is not available for economic growth (except in rare circumstances such as natural gas!). In Greece, they are angry that those loaning them money want it back.
    3) Is there a path that will get you where you want to go?

    • richardswarthout

      Craig

      US Army doctrine identifies uncertainty as a primary element in its decision process. Combat operations, more often than not, do not go as planned, due to the smartness of the enemy, weather changes, etc.

      The US Army has dealt with this by introducing flexibility. The lower level officers have the training and authority to change tactics on the move as situations change (speed and surprise is essential). This doctrine is fairly new and has proved to be successful.

      The lesson for non-military organizations, IMO, when dealing with uncertainty, is to consider strategies that have flexibility; strategies with branches.

      Richard

      • Once you put c02 in the atmosphere there is is only one branch should that decision prove to be unwise: remove the C02. very expensive.

      • Once you put c02 in the atmosphere there is is only one branch should that decision prove to be unwise: remove the C02. very expensive.

        Nope – free, nature seems to love the stuff – who knew?:

      • TE

        check your assumption.

      • You say “the doctrine is fairly new.” Read the Viking laws. They were practicing it 1200 years ago. E.g.:

        “Be versatile and agile.
        Use varying methods of attack
        Don’t plan everything in detail”

      • TE – check your assumption.

        Are you a photosynthesis denier?

      • TE

        check your esp. its off

      • Steven Mosher: Once you put c02 in the atmosphere there is is only one branch should that decision prove to be unwise: remove the C02.

        The notion that removing CO2 is the only option requires some justification. Because you say so?

        In your formulation, lots rides on the word “unwise”. Possibly you are using it as a shorthand for “so severely damaging that only removal of CO2 can be justified as a response”. Perhaps you could clarify how the decision-makers could recognize “unwise” and “wise” outcomes, and tote up their costs and benefits. To get started, consider the evidence that more CO2 will make plants more drought-resistant: is that a good outcome (making the decision “wise”) or a bad outcome (making the decision “unwise”)? Is the evidence sufficient now for a judgment?

      • Steven, as the biosphere grows, its capacity for CO2 seems to grow. Geological evidense suggests that the suface and near surface biophere has been fantastically larger than it currently is (suggesting on pretty long time scales we are not resourse limited).

        Sure it is plausible that the rate of supply of other resourses could limit growth rate, but common sense ecology tells us that there are many types of life that fit many niches.

        Maybe we’ve been lucky and had an unusual supply of SW rad at the surface that has facilitated that growth and return to normal SW will limit it.

        But what seems to have happened is a slow ramp up of both the growth and efficiency of the biosphere (increase in production and reduction of other resource constraints, like less nitrogen and water needed).

        Anyway, the mechanisms that would limit growth would reduce SW forcing greatly.

        At the very least, the rate of consumption is likely to level off. The size of the CO2 consuming biosphere being larger than 100 years ago, the rate of decline of concentration would be much faster than the increase until CO2 concentrations get so low that die-off happens at a significant scale. This would take something like a negative cloud feedback larger than the GHG forcing.

      • “lots rides on the word “unwise”.

        precisely. glad U spotted that. please give TE lessons.

        One way of framing the issue would go like this.

        1. C02 has a long residence time.
        2. That means decisions we make today have long term consequences.
        3. Under some assumptions some level of c02 could cause catastrophic
        changes.
        4. That scenario path puts you in a horrible bind: geo engineering
        ( ie removing c02 ) would be the only way out. I suppose one could
        add other geo engineering options, but the point is the same

        So, if you value keeping your options open when dealing with wicked problems.. if you value flexibility … then you don’t want to go down
        the path of indescrimanent c02 spewing..

        Contrast that with something like Ross Mckittricks T3 tax.
        There is no PHYSICAL commitment made by the decision to impose a tax that uses observations as a feedback. True taxes may be politically difficult to remove, but that difficulty is categorically different than the physical difficulty of removing c02 or blocking the sun.

      • richardswarthout

        Peter Lang

        Very interesting. Perhaps the Vikings were more enlightened than armies that came after, that had leaders too arrogant to trust the decisions of underlings.

        Richard

      • Richard,

        First, hoooo aaahhhh!

        Second,

        “The lower level officers have the training and authority to change tactics on the move as situations change (speed and surprise is essential). ”

        Bullseye!

        Put the decision making in the hands of the people with the info and the skills, ala “Knowledge and Decisions” by Thomas Sowell. Another key point, those “people on the ground” have some serious skin in the game, their own. I don’t know how to do that in climate motivated decisions – certainly the elite in the IPCC have no skin in the game.

        Most excellent post!

      • richardswarthout

        Mosher

        “Once you put c02 in the atmosphere there is is only one branch should that decision prove to be unwise: remove the C02. very expensive.”

        The assumption here is that there is significant uncertainty and complexity related to the climate system. So what is the risk, for the next 20 yrs, of allowing existing coal plants to close through attrition and allowing moderate annual increases in CO2 emissions. During the 20 year period the goal could be to reduce the uncertainties. Then, at the end of the 20 years, branches would offer flexibility to the strategy.

        Also, once you close all coal mines, there is only one branch should that decision prove to be unwise. Building new power plants, very expensive.

        Richard

      • richardswarthout

        Justin

        Thank you. I needed that. Miss my days as a project engineer on the Abrams Tank. Lots of working together and listening to each other. The generals there, around the conference table, listened intently to what I said and asked appropriate questions. They obviously respected me, and I them.

        Richard

      • very expensive.

        How certain are you of that? 10 years out? 30 years?

      • blueice2hotsea

        Steven Mosher

        4. That [catastrophic changes] scenario path puts you in a horrible bind: geo engineering ( ie removing c02 ) would be the only way out. I suppose one could add other geo-ngineering options, but the point is the same

        re future technological capability to economically address problems caused by excess CO2; I think it’s best to admit to invincible incompetence.

        Further, flexibility, i think, more pertains to the desirableness of alternative adaptation and mitigation options.

      • Steven Mosher,

        Would you take advice from somebody who wrote –

        “So, if you value keeping your options open when dealing with wicked problems.. if you value flexibility … then you don’t want to go down
        the path of indescrimanent c02 spewing..”

        If you were a suitably qualified scientist, I might excuse your poor English communication skills, your seeming arrogance, and your insistence that people bend to your will.

        As I understand it, you have no formal scientific qualifications, so I cannot understand why you think others should accord your unsupported opinion any more weight than their own.

        Your obvious passion is no protection against gullibility, it would appear.

        CO2 and H2O are most excellent compounds. We need more of both. Why are you so phobic about them?

      • Steve writes– “Once you put c02 in the atmosphere there is only one branch should that decision prove to be unwise: remove the C02. very expensive.”

        My response- Untrue conclusion on your part. There are other options. 1st assess where did the change prove to be harmful? What can be done to adapt to the changing conditions? Can something be built to adapt, should people relocate? What specifically changed that was so negative?

      • Curious George

        Mosher: “Once you put c02 in the atmosphere there is is only one branch should that decision prove to be unwise: remove the C02.” True.

        We don’t know for sure whether putting CO2 in the atmosphere is wise or unwise. We know for sure that the alternative is a guaranteed poverty.

      • dougbadgero

        The best approach for a complex problem is build in resiliency. Ignore our addition of CO2 into the atmosphere and pretend we were simply learning that the climate changes. IMO what to do about it wouldn’t change….build in resiliency to what has happened in the past.

      • richardswarthout

        AK

        “very expensive.

        How certain are you of that? 10 years out? 30 years?”

        Only trying to spoof Mosher’s previous comment. However, if you are a small business owner of a electricity intensive business, and your local power company has to tear down its existing coal burning plant, “very expensive” might be the point that forces you to close shop.

        Richard

      • ‘Understanding an issue and its complexities.’

        Lots of uncertainty regarding effects of big jumps,
        not ter mention uncertainty of evidence of the
        necessity ter act grand slam.

        Where we can claim certainty is in evidence
        of the past benefits of fossil fuels fer human
        development, energy that released humans from
        slavery, made animal power, wood and wind energy
        uneconomic and created the economic miracle of
        the Industrial Revolution.

      • @richardswarthout…

        My quote was aimed at Steven Mosher’s original use of the term.

        A point I’ve been making repeatedly for years:

        •       technology growth is can be exponential,:

        •       the technology for removing CO2 is already here,:

        •       and there’s no knowing what growth rate the exponential growth of CO2 removal technology will demonstrate.

        Many technologies appear to follow an exponential growth pattern, at least during one (key) phase of their sigmoid growth curve, although the original ideas of Theodore Paul Wright have been questioned as applied to “factors influencing cost reductions in photovoltaics”.

        This offers an important opportunity: the potential for driving a very rapid growth of CO2 removal technology by stimulating a for-profit market for the product.

        Because the growth would be exponential, and could probably be made self-sustaining with proper policy choices, the actual cost of such policies could probably start our small, and stay that way. With proper policy choices.

      • Here are some more links:

        Accelerating the uptake of CCS: industrial use of captured carbon dioxide

        Commercial CO2 Market Today.

        Accelerating the uptake of CCS: Industrial use of captured carbon dioxide

        A careful reading of those references will show that the subject isn’t nearly as simplistic as it first appears. However, all of them also leave out some important opportunities: the use of captured CO2 in power→gas/liquid fuel, and the use of CO2 to replace methane in mining sea-floor methane hydrate, which could easily grow to replace the entire current fossil fuel industry. (Note that the methane mined in such a fashion would be “carbon-neutral” if the CO2 used had been extracted from the environment.)

      • David Springer

        CO2 does not have a long residence time. Half of annual anthropogenic emission is removed by natural sinks. Stop the anthropogenic emission and the sinks will continue to consume the excess at the rate it was added until a natural equilibrium point is restored. That point appears to be 280ppm during interglacial periods and 200ppm during glacial epics.

        No further thought or conclusions that depends on long CO2 residence time being true is valid. A false premise undermines everything that follows. Put that in your decision tree and smoke it.

      • CO2 does not have a long residence time.

        Depends on how you calculate it.

        Half of annual anthropogenic emission is removed by natural sinks.

        We have no idea whether/when those sinks might turn around and become sources. Including: we don’t know if there are “tipping points” where they “choke” on rising pCO2. We also don’t know how much, if any, damage the added carbon is doing in those sinks.

        Stop the anthropogenic emission and the sinks will continue to consume the excess at the rate it was added until a natural equilibrium point is restored.

        That’s not how equilibria work. The rate will decrease as it gets closer to equilibrium. If atmospheric pCO2 actually works that way.

        A false premise undermines everything that follows.

        A premise that hasn’t been proven false, or true, just adds uncertainty to everything that follows. Since decision trees based on military usage all include provision for uncertainty, so what?

      • Hehe, the answer is simply. Windmill powered CO2 scrubbers on windmill bladed. ;)

      • Capturing Carbon Dioxide From Air

        The goal of carbon sequestration is to take CO2 that would otherwise accumulate in the atmosphere and put it in safe and permanent storage. Most proposed methods would capture CO2 from concentrated sources like power plants. Indeed, on-site capture is the most sensible approach for large sources and initially offers the most cost-effective avenue to sequestration. For distributed, mobile sources like cars, on-board capture at affordable cost would not be feasible. Yet, in order to stabilize atmospheric levels of CO2, these emissions, too, will need to be curtailed.

        This paper suggests that extraction of CO2 from air could provide a viable and cost-effective alternative to changing the transportation infrastructure to non-carbonaceous fuels. Ambient CO2 in the air could be removed from natural airflow passing over absorber surfaces. The CO2 captured would compensate for CO2 emission from power generation two orders of magnitude larger than the power, which could have instead been extracted from the same airflow by a windmill of similar size. We outline several approaches, and show that the major cost is in the sorbent recovery and not in the capture process.

        Air extraction is an appealing concept, because it separates the source from disposal. One could collect CO2 after the fact and from any source. Air extraction could reduce atmospheric CO2 levels without making the existing energy or transportation infrastructure obsolete. There would be no need for a network of pipelines shipping CO2 from its source to its disposal site. The atmosphere would act as a temporary storage and transport system. We will discuss the potential impact of such a technology on the climate change debate and outline how such an approach could actually be implemented.

      • David Springer

        No AK what I described is exactly how an equilibrium system driven further and further from equilibrium work. The farther out they are driven the more work is required to drive them out even farther. Absent the driving force they return to equilibrium at the same rate they were driven out.

        It can be compared to a barrel of water with a hole in it halfway up the side. If you slowly add water at twice the rate it leaks out you have constantly increase the rate because the rising pressure causes it to leak faster and faster. Stop adding water and it will leak out level with the hole in the same period of time that water was added.

        While it’s not certain that earth’s CO2 sinks are an equivalent equilibrium system it is acting like one and is thus the simplest explanation. Occam’s Razor stipulates the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. The sink is unlikely to be vegetation as others speculated but rather ocean chemistry instead which is again the simplest explanation.

      • David Springer

        No AK what I described is exactly how an equilibrium system driven further and further from equilibrium work. The farther out they are driven the more work is required to drive them out even farther. Absent the driving force they return to equilibrium at the same rate they were driven out.

        It can be compared to a barrel of water with a hole in it halfway up the side. If you slowly add water at twice the rate it leaks out you have constantly increase the rate because the rising pressure causes it to leak faster and faster. Stop adding water and it will leak out level with the hole in the same period of time that water was added.

        While it’s not certain that earth’s CO2 sinks are an equivalent equilibrium system it is acting like one and is thus the simplest explanation. Occam’s Razor stipulates the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. The sink is unlikely to be vegetation as others speculated but rather ocean chemistry instead which is again the simplest explanation..

      • If you slowly add water at twice the rate it leaks out you have constantly increase the rate because the rising pressure causes it to leak faster and faster.

        The correlation is too rough to say what it is. In a near-equilibrium situation, “ they return to equilibrium at the same rate” proportional to the distance from equilibrium.

      • CDIACs carbon budget (emissions and absorption).

        http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/Global_Carbon_Project/Global_Carbon_Budget_2014_v1.1.xlsx

        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
        June 2015: 402.80 ppm
        June 2014: 401.15 ppm

        That is only a 1.65 PPM difference. In an El Nino year one suspects it should be worse – 1998 was.

        Looks like the CO2 rise will be less than 2.0 PPM/Y this year (IPCC predicts over 2.6 PPM/Y from 2011/2013 RCP 8.5 estimates and 3.0 PPM/Y by 2020)

        Given the over 1 GT of rainforest burning that means over 6 GT this year is getting absorbed by the environment.

        The ocean absorption is increasing steadily. The land absorption (according to CDIAC) is increasing but erratic.

        Using the greenhouse advisory as a guide:

        Land plants will continue to partner with the ocean to take up about an equal share of any CO2 increase. Given that the deserts are blooming because CO2 lowers water consumption, land plants will perform above their pay grade.

        That we are running out of rainforest to burn is just icing on the cake.

        It is very easy to remove CO2 from the air and cheap, 6 GT/Y are being removed as we speak. To stabilize the CO2 level is easy too, just stabilize emissions and wait until absorption catches up.

        And it isn’t like CO2 has a strong measured forcing anyway.

      • David Springer

        The correlation with a simple equilibrium system is nearly perfect. Better in fact than the correlation which leads us to conclude that anthropogenic CO2 is the driving force away from equilibrium in the first place! The simplest explanation is usually correct and in this case the simple explanation is that human emission is driving the system out of equilibrium and that ceasing human emission the system will return to equilibrium in the same span of time it took to drive it away. Ocean temperature is almost certainly the factor which sets the equilibrium point. Colder ocean during glacial periods sets it at 200ppm and warmer ocean during interglacial sets it at 280ppm. Occam’s Razor has spoken.

      • The simplest explanation is usually correct […]

        Not necessarily when it involves simplistic models of hyper-complex systems. But even so, that’s a good reason for limiting actions to “low-regrets”.

      • Richard,

        It may be new that the Army is teaching it as doctrine, but the flexibility has always been inherent in the US Army. Some have attributed it to the Army having been dependent on vast numbers of civilian inductees, including the majority of junior officers. So perhpas it is good the Army is not incorporating it into doctrine, as the all volunteer force is at some degree of risk of becoming isolated from the civilian population.

        One thing that has changed is the level at which an officer can directly command troops. It used to be that battalion command was seen as perhaps the most rewarding and enjoyable assignment, as above that level you become a manager. That has devolved down to company command now.

      • Will someone tell Mosher that 6 years is not that long a time.

  5. “How to gain clarity when making decisions in uncertain and complex situations.”

    I think this sentence is a little (read: a lot) silly.

    If the situation is uncertain an complex, that’s what it is. Any clarity would be in someone’s imagination.

    There are a lot of people going around imagining things in Climate Science and related fogs.

    Slow news day.

    Andrew

    • David Wojick

      One can still get clarity as to the nature of the complexity (or complexities) and the sorts of uncertainties. With issues, complexity can come in many specific forms, which vary from issue to issue. Issues have structure.

      • “Issues have structure.”

        No, you can apply structure to issues, but in an of themselves issues have no inherent structure that can be read off them.

        If you apply multiple structures to an issue and get the same answers or insights then you have better reasons to assume that your structuring of the issue has not determined the answer.

        hence Willard’s suggestion:

      • “One can still get clarity as to the nature of the complexity (or complexities) and the sorts of uncertainties.”

        Or not. If the situation is complex enough, you might end up with an incorrect impression of it.

        Gobbledy-gook.

        Andrew

      • Or, irrelevent.

      • David Springer

        I second the gobbledygook motion.

      • David Wojick

        Mosher: every issue has a unique issue tree structure.

        BA: of course you can get it wrong and we often do. It does nor follow that we cannot get it right, which we also often do.

      • David Wojick

        Conversely, there are generic issue trees which map out the basic lines of reasoning that need to be articulated for any specific issue of a given type. I call these issue tree templates. For example I once developed a 3,600 node issue tree template for the issue of designing chemical plants. So while every issue is unique there are basic structures for similar issues.

      • David Wojick

        As for the climate change issue, it is simply a huge debate over a purported environmental impact assessment, including how to avoid or respond to that impact. For any such EIA there are certain lines of reasoning that can be explored and that is the structure of the issue tree template. What is actually written and said as these lines are articulated is the issue tree.

        The basic structure is actually quite simple. Suppose a sentence elicits several responses. Each response elicits several responses. Each of these responses elicits several responses, and so it goes, a tree structure. It is more complex because sometimes we refer to what has been said, as opposed to the topic of discussion. In logic this is called going to the meta-level.

        But basically that is all there is to it. This is how everything we all say and write on a given topic fits together. But there are other structures in play, such as the system we are talking about. That too is part of the complexity.

    • I think this sentence is a little (read: a lot) silly.

      I guess you do not understand it then. It is not silly.

    • CO2 does not have a long residence time.

      Depends on how you calculate it.

      Half of annual anthropogenic emission is removed by natural sinks.

      We have no idea whether/when those sinks might turn around and become sources. Including: we don’t know if there are “tipping points” where they “choke” on rising pCO2. We also don’t know how much, if any, damage the added carbon is doing in those sinks.

      Stop the anthropogenic emission and the sinks will continue to consume the excess at the rate it was added until a natural equilibrium point is restored.

      That’s not how equilibria work. The rate will decrease as it gets closer to equilibrium. If atmospheric pCO2 actually works that way.

      A false premise undermines everything that follows.

      A premise that hasn’t been proven false, or true, just adds uncertainty to everything that follows. Since decision trees based on military usage all include provision for uncertainty, so what?

      • Wrong place.

      • We have no idea whether/when those sinks might turn around and become sources. Including: we don’t know if there are “tipping points” where they “choke” on rising pCO2. We also don’t know how much, if any, damage the added carbon is doing in those sinks.

        Gee.

        1. How much carbon is currently in the ocean? 38,000 GT.
        2. How much carbon is being added each year? About 2.7 GT and growing.
        3. Why? The driver is the difference between the partial pressure Pco2-atm and Pco2-ocean

        4. Can we do a crude check of this theory?
        Lets assume the equilibrium point is 280.
        In 2013, the absorption was 2.88 GT, the CO2 level was 315.97
        In 2000, the absorption was 2.12 GT, the CO2 level was 369.52
        In 1959, the absorption was 0.84 GT, the CO2 level was 396.48
        (396.48-280)*0.84/(315.97-280) = 2.72 GT (2013 est from 1959)
        (369.52-280)*0.84/(315.97-280) = 2.09 GT (2000 est from 1959)

        So the ocean absorption is roughly following the Pco2-atm. (plus some).

        We are adding less than 0.0001 times more carbon to the ocean each year (0.01%). The absorption rate appears to be increasing with higher CO2 (emissions increased over 45% since 2000). Where would you suggest the tipping point occurs?

        As far as the land sources:

        Given that the deserts are greening (about 1/4 of potentially arable land, ie not Antarctica), more CO2 reduces water consumption, and more warmth increases growth, it should be expected that CO2 driven growth will outperform these curves.

        It is unlikely that CO2 levels can be driven above 500 PPM (too little fuel, too little time). The tipping point discussion seems moot.

      • The tipping point discussion seems moot.

        Only to somebody who doesn’t understand non-linear dynamics.

      • AK | July 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm |
        The tipping point discussion seems moot.

        Only to somebody who doesn’t understand non-linear dynamics.

        Well, you have 5 billion years of climate history.

        You would have to demonstrate a period where CO2 led temperature and there was a significant change in the 400-600 PPM range.

        The past 2 million years haven’t been cold because CO2 is low, CO2 is low because of reduced plant growth, increased ocean absorption, and the gradual removal of CO2 by methods such as sedimentation.

        The change from 200 to 280 PPM during cycles accounts for about 1.6 W/m2.

        The insolation varies about 50 W/m2. The CO2 rises with increasing temperature and after that things are pretty unrelated and the change in CO2 forcing doesn’t even rise to the level of trivial. When insolation hits around 425 W/m2 the ice age resumes. The CO2 decreases after the ice age resumes.

        Hard to make the case that CO2 does tipping. Easy to make the case that CO2 gets tipped.

      • PA:

        You said:

        In 2013, the absorption was 2.88 GT, the CO2 level was 315.97
        In 2000, the absorption was 2.12 GT, the CO2 level was 369.52
        In 1959, the absorption was 0.84 GT, the CO2 level was 396.48

        I think you have the numbers scrambled a bit.

      • David Wojick

        AK, tipping points are not part of nonlinear dynamics. Chaotic systems do not have tipping points because they are chaotic, unless you are referring to the onset of chaos, which I would not call a tipping point. A tipping point is just a point where a graph line changes direction. Linear lines can do this so there is nothing intrinsically nonlinear about tipping points.

      • Linear lines can do this so there is nothing intrinsically nonlinear about tipping points.

        But in complex non-linear systems there can be many more “tipping points”, and they can be much harder to predict.

        Any claim that “The tipping point discussion seems moot” because [some argument based on linear considerations] is fallacious. The influence of increasing pCO2, for instance, could feed back into a “tipping point” through a large variety of unnoticed mechanisms. Thus, there’s no way of knowing whether we’re approaching, or have already passed a “tipping point”.

        This is especially true for ecosystems, where the influence of changing factors of this sort can be multiplied by follow-on micro-evolution within existing populations. Reasonably mature ecosystems are even more complex (AFAIK) than “pure” climate, and the potential for hysteresis exists in many relationships.

        The risk may be small, probably is IMO, but it can’t be set to zero, and IMO shouldn’t be ignored.

  6. This deals primarily with ambiguity and uncertainty around the “problem”. When the alternatives are also cloaked in ambiguity and uncertainty the wicked wild mess potential can go exponential.

    • dougbadgero

      +many

      See my earlier comment, your comment hits on the thought process I skipped in the comment. The number of possible outcomes are functionally infinite. The addition of CO2 may result in net positive or net negative impacts. In all cases both negative and positive local impacts will certainly occur. “Natural” climate change may result in net positive or net negative impacts. In all cases both negative and positive local impacts would certainly occur. Today, there is no compelling reason to do anything different because of AGW. If the evidence changes, change the plan.

  7. Judith Curry

    As a relative newcomer to the climate change issue, what has struck me from my own beginning: there are multiple agendas within the climate change cacophony, only one of which is articulated. It seems that the buy-in to acting on climate change brought together disparate groups which has influenced the rhetoric and justification for any action on climate change.

    Mainly, the rhetoric has been focused upon discounting other’s opinions and contributions. The decision has already been made to act, a foregone conclusion made by a few people. The only process left is to implement.

    Much as you may wish that there is a decision making process to be discussed on climate change, I believe, that for the leadership in the climate change arena, resources are allocated only to implementation. As an example of a focused implementation process, the main stream media is on board the climate change train. There is no way to redirect the main stream media from their selecting articles to publish, opinions to print and miss-stating information by an increasing naiveté journalistic cabal.

    The political process has some chance in reigning in the speed with which the implementation process develops. I doubt that politics can stop a process so much in need of a “time out”, taking a breath, and restarting the decision making process from scratch or nearly so.

    Frankly, I believe even if we were to enter into an ice age, the people at the levers of research funding control, would continue supporting those who are adjusting measurements in far away places to make it appear that the global temperature was on an upward and catastrophic course. Too many agendas, many political and sociological and ideological are at stake to let this opportunity pass in reframing a new world order. Nobel Cause Corruption.

    I agree with your present activities in providing a forum to discuss what is already happening, and selectively speaking with the political world.

  8. I am not sure how relevant the UNFCCC is to the process. I think what might happen is that countries will negotiate and agree to emission targets. And then individual countries will decide on exactly how they are going to achieve those targets. Every country has it’s own internal politics and interests to consider as well which puts a constraint on decision making.

    • David Wojick

      I doubt that any country will achieve its target because these targets are not achievable. They are political promises, made to be broken well into the future.

      • because these targets are not achievable

        Why would these countries set themselves up for failure? Why don’t they instead just argue that we don’t need targets?

      • Because it is politically popular at the moment and there is no cost to those making the commitments for failure to achieve the goals

      • Because it is politically popular at the moment.

        I don’t know about that, Rob. It’s not really politically popular in the US. In general people think we should do something about climate change but it’s not a high priority. I don’t know about other countries, but it’s hard for me to believe that is popular enough to drive politicians to commit to something they already know won’t work. And it’s hard to believe that governments of so many countries would make the same mistake.

      • Joseph, not all of us live in the USA. Many countries will submit something to please the USA and the EU. This will put them in the cafeteria line to get a piece of the $100 billion fund set up by the UN wonks.

    • I will give you this Joseph – you seem to think the best of people.

      And I would agree with you that individual countries will end up deciding what (if any) emissions targets they will try to achieve. However I will predict that whatever levels are set, they will be so insignificant as to be meaningless. They will also most likely be over taken by technological development (ex. US decrease in emissions as a result of increased NG use due to fracking).

  9. “Improper Frame: Asking the wrong question; Looking at only a subset of the real problem or opportunity”

    “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
    http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/235.Thomas_Pynchon

    We need to stop trying to implement energy policy through the backdoor via the dogma of carbophobia, CAGW.

    Our energy future needs to be addressed directly, and we certainly have some non-trivial issues to address. The CAGW dogma should be completely ignored!!

    all the best
    brent

    • ““If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

      yup.

      lots of skeptics chasing the wrong issues

      • Steven Mosher: lots of skeptics chasing the wrong issues

        Your writing is especially vacuous today.

      • example:

        “““If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

        In the first climategate investigations one panel looked at the temperature record and ignored the real questions that mcintyre raised.

        Like I have said a bunch of times.. there are some good skeptical arguments.. Like sensitivity and aerosols.

        But you all get tricked into asking questions about the Hockey Stick and other side issues.

      • Steven Mosher: In the first climategate investigations one panel looked at the temperature record and ignored the real questions that mcintyre raised.

        One panel turns into all?

        But you all get tricked into asking questions about the Hockey Stick and other side issues.

        The Hockey Stick was used to disappear the Medieval Warm Period (remember the email about getting rid of it?), part of the natural variation of climate that makes the estimation of the CO2 effect hard. Why do you call it a “side” issue? You have previously written:[ CO2 warms the climate, the only issue is how much.] The size and timing of the MWP affect the estimate of “how much”; according to you, that is not a “side” issue.

      • > remember the email about getting rid of it?

        A quote might be nice.

      • One panel turns into all?

        No. your charge was vacuity. one example should be enough to help you.
        next. I didnt claim ALL, but can clearly show how much time was wasted in ignoring the right questions.

        The Hockey Stick was used to disappear the Medieval Warm Period (remember the email about getting rid of it?), part of the natural variation of climate that makes the estimation of the CO2 effect hard.

        1. There is no such mail.. again wrong question side tracks you..
        2. The HS does not constrain ECS or TCR.. LGM does.

        Why do you call it a “side” issue? You have previously written:[ CO2 warms the climate, the only issue is how much.] The size and timing of the MWP affect the estimate of “how much”; according to you, that is not a “side” issue.

        1. No its not at all clear that the MWP will help at all in constraining
        ECS or TCR.
        2. Note how Nic Lewis advanced things without any consideration
        of the side issue.
        3. IF u think the MWP issue will provide you good evidence… Then…
        do…. your…. own…. damn… science. You’ll save the economy
        for your grand children

      • No its not at all clear that the MWP will help at all in constraining
        ECS or TCR.

        It is really clear, Natural Climate Cycles of the past are just like the modern cycle. if the modern cycle is just like the past cycles ECS and TCR is nothing that can be measured and separated from natural variability.

      • Suppose there’s no MWP, Matt. What would be the impact on climate sensitivity?

      • Willard: Suppose there’s no MWP, Matt. What would be the impact on climate sensitivity?

        Other things being equal, it would not affect my calculation of an upper bound on the amount of warming at the surface that could result from doubling the CO2 concentration. That calculation is based on recent estimates of current energy flows.

        The size and timing of the WMP affect the estimate of the magnitude of the 950 year cycle in the climate since the end of the Ice Age. With the temp record as is, and assuming that the record in the data represents a persistent process, the climate sensitivity to the CO2 increase since 1880 is close to 0 (Dr Norman Page writes that here frequently.) Disappear the WMP, and the estimate of the size of the process is much reduced, along with any confidence that the period is the result of a persistent process. From that, the sensitivity to the CO2 since 1880 goes down.

        Other answers follow from other ways of estimating climate sensitivity.

      • Steven Mosher: I didnt claim ALL,

        You started with “lots” and changed that to “all” in the line I quoted.

        do…. your…. own…. damn… science. You’ll save the economy
        for your grand children

        When are you going to share your independent calculation of the sensitivity of the surface temperature to an increase in CO2 concentration? All you have shown us up til now are the results of your computer programming under the direction of some Berkeley statisticians. Also you have written a good review of the climategate emails. Those are good works, but not “your own damn science” — or are they? Have you done any climate science of your own?

      • OOPS!

        I wrote: Disappear the WMP, and the estimate of the size of the process is much reduced, along with any confidence that the period is the result of a persistent process. From that, the sensitivity to the CO2 since 1880 goes down.

        If you disappear the MWP, the estimate of sensitivity to CO2 since 1880 goes UP.

      • Steven Mosher,

        I agree with you about “wrong issues”

        Warmists ask “What do we do about harmful global warming?” The answer is “There doesn’t seem to be any. Go away and worry about something real.”

        The Climate Catastrophists ask “How can we stop the climate changing?” The answer is “You can’t. Go away and worry about something else.”

        You can probably contribute many more, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are all equally specious.

      • > If you disappear the MWP, the estimate of sensitivity to CO2 since 1880 goes UP.

        It would have been hard to go lower than 0.

        Nevertheless, that answer conflicts with Richard Alley’s:

        If […] scientists had somehow underestimated the climate change between Medieval times and the Little Ice Age, or other natural climate changes, without corresponding errors in the estimated size of the causes of the changes, that would suggest stronger amplifying feedbacks and larger future warming from rising greenhouse gases than originally estimated. Any increase in our estimate of the natural climate responses to past forcings points to a more variable future path with larger average changes.

      • “If […] scientists had somehow underestimated the climate change between Medieval times and the Little Ice Age, or other natural climate changes,

        That would support the theory that they cannot predict the past that has already happened, there is evidence for that, and they cannot predict the present that has already happened, there is evidence for that, and they certainly cannot be trusted to predict the future that has not yet happened, the failed forecasts we already have for the most recent two decades show their forecasts were, are, terrible..

      • blueice2hotsea

        (Satirical paraphrasing)

        Richard Alley: Assuming that we have not erred in the monstrously non-trivial problem of attributing magnitudes for various components of natural forcing over a millennia, and have only erred in the comparatively simple task of estimating the net magnitude of the response, then blah, blah…

        Willard: then blah, blah…

      • > (Satirical paraphrasing)

        Another empty node from Blue.

      • Mosher,

        The only questions I ask are about impacts.

        Have yet to get evidence based answers.

      • > Have yet to get evidence based answers.

        Evidence is about the past, impacts are in the future.

        No wonder you have yet to get evidence based answers, timg.

        However, you can scratch your own itch and RTFR:

        A full consideration of observed climate change is provided in the Working Group I Fourth Assessment. This part of the Working Group II Summary concerns the relationship between observed climate change and recent observed changes in the natural and human environment.

        The statements presented here are based largely on data sets that cover the period since 1970. The number of studies of observed trends in the physical and biological environment and their relationship to regional climate changes has increased greatly since the Third Assessment in 2001. The quality of the data sets has also improved. There is, however, a notable lack of geographical balance in the data and literature on observed changes, with marked scarcity in developing countries.

        Recent studies have allowed a broader and more confident assessment of the relationship between observed warming and impacts than was made in the Third Assessment. That Assessment concluded that “there is high confidence[3] that recent regional changes in temperature have had discernible impacts on many physical and biological systems”.

        From the current Assessment we conclude the following.

        Observational evidence from all continents and most oceans shows that many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases.

        https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/spmsspm-b.html

        All these years without having RTFR is quite a feat.

    • blueice2hotsea

      Mathew Marler is right Steven Mosher
      But you all get tricked into asking questions about the Hockey Stick and other side issues. – SM

      You are again having fun teasing people. But yupping it up with willard? C’mon man. If you followed mtobis you know that TCO (PolyIsTCOIsBanned) disapproved of willard’s plan to infest judithcurry.com

      Not that i agree with TCO. Take willard for what he is.

    • @Mosher
      Sometimes even the Warmers slip up and a glimmer approaching truth is revealed such as James Hansen’s utterance below :

      Hansen and the “Destruction of Creation”
      Re-Energize Iowa: An Opportunity to Lead the Nation in Stewardship of the Earth and Creation
      Jim Hansen, 5 August 2007
      A price on carbon emissions is needed to stretch oil and gas supplies as we develop technologies needed for the world ‘beyond petroleum’. The carbon price will drive efficiency and low-carbon or no-carbon energy sources. If instead we continue business-as-usual, addicted to more and more fossil fuel use, as oil begins to run out we will be unprepared
      https://judithcurry.com/2013/09/09/laframboises-new-book-on-the-ipcc/#comment-378223

      While I don’t agree with “running out” as appropriate terminology, the issue of HC depletion is quite real and the underlying issue.

      Also it’s pertinent to follow the utterances of the of the most important actors in the CAGW scam, of which Maurice Strong is one:

      Maurice Strong was one of the principle Godfathers of the CAGW scam. The carbophobia, CAGW agenda is being used as a “proxy” for HC Depletion (which TPTB don’t want to address directly)
      Maurice Strong: Our Man in Rio (and San Francisco, too)
      April 30, 2005
      https://judithcurry.com/2014/02/12/uk-us-workshop-part-ii-perspectives-from-the-private-sector-on-climate-adaptation/#comment-453822

      The bottom line is this. If one wants to use an environmental Hoax as a PROXY for HC Depletion, there is no option in the limit but to demonize C as CO2, principally because we have quite good technical options for real pollution issues!

      all the best
      brent

      • One problem with the emissions focus is that we see silly things like CC and far worse CCS, which effectively reduce our supply considerably.

        CCS is commonly thought to reduce coal efficiency 15%. Rud Istvan puts the number closer to 30%

  10. This seems to be standard operations research.

  11. Excellent post. Long overdue. I hope mwgrant contributes to this thread. He is an expert on decision analysis method, advising and facilitating at the highest levels. I’d love to be able to participate too, but cannot. I’m travelling in the land’s of the Vikings.

  12. “Why has Earth’s temperature stayed so stable? Global temperature has stayed within a narrow band for at least the last half billion years. During that time the planet has seen meteor strikes, and millennia long widespread volcanic eruptions, and huge forest fires, and oceans disappearing as continents were lifted out of the sea, and huge changes in the land cover, and all manner of good, bad, and ugly events. Each of these events had a large effect on the forcings. Despite all of that, despite all of the variation in the forcings and the changes in the losses during all of that geological time, the earth’s temperature hasn’t moved around much at all. A few percent. And the variation over the last 10,000 years has been less than ±1%. For a system as complex as the climate, this is amazing stability.” ~Willis Eschenbach [Sic]

    Come on people, there has been a regular climate cycle with temperature inside the same bounds for ten thousand years. Study this natural cycle and understand it before doing anything else. A cycle that repeats is a cycle that can be understood. A regular repeating cycle is not a wicked problem. The thousand year cycle has repeated in the same bounds for ten thousand years and it is still inside the same bounds and not headed out. Few, on the different sides are studying the natural variability. Those who are studying the natural variability, pick the theory they think most likely and do not study other possible theories. Study all the theories that differ from Green House Gas Theory and figure out which of them make the most sense. Figure out which of them are reasonable, considering actual real data. We are getting more and more data, measured on land, measured on and in the oceans, measured from the air, measured from space and measured from the Moon.

    Which theories are consistent with past and new data?

    I do repeat, a repeating cycle is not a wicked problem!
    What is wicked, is not discussing and debating all the Theories.
    That is what is wonderful, Climate Etc does discuss and debate more of the theories. Look at Pope’s Climate Theory, latest pages and tell me why that must be wrong. Look at Willie Soon’s Sun Theory and tell us why that must be wrong.

  13. “it seems to me that this general approach is scalable to the decision dilemmas surrounding climate change.”

    I strongly agree with this. An particular decision analysis technique carries its strengths and weaknesses. IMO the scalability of the techniques is a real asset. However, I may be coming at this from a different perspective that most here–I move toward simplification. A well run process should as suggested by David Wojick “create understanding of the issue and its complexity”, but should as a result give indications as to which complexities have to be addressed and which can be ignored in the decision. Seek parsimony gradually adding complexity as simple decision models are scale-up. Anyway that is my two cents.

    • Why are we in such a hurry to make a decision?

    • Why are we in such a hurry to make a decision?

      Time is a credible factor in the risk considerations.

      Also note that it is not necessarily a matter a single decision:

      Seek parsimony gradually adding complexity as simple decision models are scale[d]-up.

      Nothing precludes revisiting and updating over time. As a matter of fact one would expect that.

      • Is there something we can do to remove (some of) the urgency?

      • mwgrant “Time is a credible factor in the risk considerations.”

        True and rash decisions increase risk. Lumping a lot of potential problems into one vague category with some assumed silver bullet is just about guaranteed to lead to rash, poor decisions.

        The first step should be to look at the problems individually and stop looking for a panacea.

        The second step is to remember that no matter what you do it can fail. If you are into big failures think big. If not manage your failure risk.

        Then look for “solutions” that can help without adding too much downside.

        Remember that many of the people screaming for mitigation now opposed increasing nuclear power, cleaner more efficient coal and fracking which are now looking pretty good.

      • “Time is a credible factor in the risk considerations.”

        True–it is also used as a device to try to force others into poor decisions. We MUST do this now or terrible things will happen

      • captdallas2 0.8 +/- 0.3 , AK , Rob Starkey

        True and rash decisions increase risk.. AK asks about the the reducing the urgency. Rob Starkey bemoans ‘time’ being used as a device to try to force others into poor decisions.

        Sure I can see all of that that and it bothers me. I also note that delaying a decision can increase risks. In addition, not making a decision is effectively executing a ‘no action’ but without any assessment of the risks/costs/benefits. It entails going future blind on a hope and a prayer. It is difficult thinking that that approach offers a consistent road to success.

        I am simply advocating initiating at present a structured process with re-evaluation and updating. It should not threaten either camp–or at least those elements in each that claim they want to be rationa. At this point such a process does not advocate a particular course of action or preclude any.

      • mwgrant, “I am simply advocating initiating at present a structured process with re-evaluation and updating. It should not threaten either camp–or at least those elements in each that claim they want to be rationa. At this point such a process does not advocate a particular course of action or preclude any.”

        I agree, but the “process” is to ignore positive aspects and to toss in more speculative crisis. With no “heroic” actions, CO2 might reach 560 PPM which would be about 0.8 C above today’s temperatures. That is about 1.6-2.0 C from some arbitrary “ideal” baseline. 350 PPM is guesstimated to be “THE” limit, which is unlikely to be obtainable with current “solutions”. Since simplifying the problem holds no political advantage for the advocates, all that is really considered is an increasing improbable fat tail, catastrophe.

        Now what is catastrophe?

        The proper course for “rational” decisions is no action until some rational discussion is possible. That might actually require some debate.

        Transitioning to a minimal carbon energy society is most likely unavoidable in any case. If coal is required, look for cost effective or affordable pollution control, increases efficiency and then carbon sequestration or recycling. Attempting to “kill” coal when there is already a huge commitment to coal does nothing but reduce options and stimulate more risky alternatives. If you are really concerned, promote nuclear or other viable alternatives meaning “civilization” can remain civilized.

      • Many years ago I found our unit in a difficult spot (we were forecasting our business would be marginal in a very short period of time). We had to make a move, but we lacked all the information needed to move ahead in the grand style used by the corporation. So we came up with a “Centipede Strategy”. It worked.

      • captdallas wrote:

        agree, but the “process” is to ignore positive aspects and to toss in more speculative crisis.

        The current “process” or generic foil, but really not mine.

        The proper course for “rational” decisions is no action until some rational discussion is possible. That might actually require some debate

        1.) Your ‘course’ is actually a decision and you are putting no effort into it.

        2.) Do what you want but that forfeits some control on all other alternatives and the scenarios that may unfold under them–both bad outcomes and good outcomes.

        3.) One could use “rational decision tools” in trying to push things in that direction. My point is that while the purpose of decision analyses is to inform decision makers it does not preclude other uses, e.g., informing the public and the scientific communities. That may well be it greatest value at this time. After all, decision tools model decisions and that is pretty nice but inexpensive thing to do–warts and all.

        I really do not like giving examples because people here just love to argue over anything and the items here are just examples. But out of a sense of obligation…

        — Application in educational/instructive material –impartial or partisan — is one area where it could help communication.

        — At a more sophisticated level one might use decision simulations [note the plural] to ‘wargame’ the ‘debate’ as part of characterizing the problem. After-all people play ‘Diplomacy’. :O)

        — Good props for promoting discussion. People are visual and DA has a lot of visuals.

        — Use it to con both friend and foe. [preemptive sub-comment]

        Cheers as always Captn

        mwg

  14. We aren’t sure we have a real climate problem to mitigate. Before we make any decisions regarding mitigation of ill-defined Problems, we need more detailed specification of the specific Problem(s) we want to avoid in terms of What? Where? When? and How Much? Only then can true root cause(s) or attribution of specific problems (such as threatening sea level rise) be determined to guide selection of mitigation options. As far as AGW forecasts are concerned, we need more certainty in definition of two quantities that I believe focused, high-priority research can provide in a couple of years:

    (1) A more certain US government “official” value for Transient Climate Response (TCR) as determined by a specific government agency and Project Leader/Decision Maker with assigned responsibility and accountability for making this determination. The team led by such an accountable Project Leader would be subjected to independent, scientific reviews conducted by a broad spectrum of US scientists, engineers, mathematicians, etc. (I’m thinking along the lines of the kind of formal review conducted after the Space Shuttle Challenger accident where Richard Feynman was selected to head-up the science aspect of this investigation / review.) The factor of 3 uncertainty in the less certain Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) metric 1.5 < ECS < 4.5C that is unchanged in 35 years of "study" since the 1979 Charney Report, is unacceptable and needs a new approach for timely resolution of this critical parameter. I recommend TCR for initial AGW forecasts because it has many fewer sources of uncertainty.

    (2) Also under the leadership of the same Project Leader, develop a more certain probabilistic forecast of atmospheric CO2 and other Greenhouse Gas and aerosol concentrations using rigorous scientific/economic methods for a scenario without assumptions of world-wide emission controls. Mainstream Climate Science reliance on RCP8.5 as the only "business as usual" scenario published by the IPCC is an intellectual "cop-out" for achieving accuracy and realism in such AGW forecasts.

    With these two issues stripped of their current unnecessary uncertainty for official US Public Policy decisions, a much better understanding and forecast of the nature and timing of the realistic climate issues we face will result, so that better public policy decisions can be made. We can afford to wait for a couple of years to have these two high-priority studies completed under the leadership of designated qualified, responsible leaders (like military theater Generals….I'm thinking the type of technical leadership we had for NASA's Apollo Program) before we try to make critical decisions.

    • “before we try to make critical decisions.”

      We already ARE making critical decisions when we spew c02 into the atmosphere.

      See how framing works?

      • We already ARE making critical decisions when we spew c02 into the atmosphere.

        Yes, we are making the Earth greener and giving the green plants the ability to grow and produce better with less water and this critical decision is only for the good.

        On the other side, temperature and sea level are behaving just like they have for ten thousand years.

        If you ever do reduce CO2 in the atmosphere you will do real damage to life on Earth.

      • We already ARE making critical decisions when we spew c02 into the atmosphere.

        We are using fossil fuels to make life better for billions of people and this critical decision is only for the good. .

      • We have been spewing CO2 into the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Age, amounting to a small fraction of naturally occurring emissions, to the great net benefit (to date) for billions of humans on this planet. It is your hypothesis that continuing to do this will cause irreparable harm and that by deciding to continue to do this for the time being, until the hypothesized Problem is more clearly understood, is a critical decision. Prove your hypothesis using The Scientific Method, that is the accepted great arbiter of scientific debates, before pushing for mitigation of hypothesized, ill-defined problems with dubious high impact “solutions” having great potential for serious unintended consequences.

      • Mosher,

        Your choice of the verb “spew” is interesting. I would prefer “are emitting”, it’s much less pejorative and confrontational. Ah, but then again you enjoy being pejorative and confrontational don’t you?

        Harold Doiron,

        +100

      • ” It is your hypothesis that continuing to do this will cause irreparable harm and that by deciding to continue to do this for the time being, until the hypothesized Problem is more clearly understood, is a critical decision.

        1. No that is not my hypothesis.
        2. It is clear that c02 MAY cause a significant problem.
        3. It is clear that IF it may cause a problem, then
        the decision to continue may be critical.

        “Prove your hypothesis using The Scientific Method, that is the accepted great arbiter of scientific debates, before pushing for mitigation of hypothesized, ill-defined problems with dubious high impact “solutions” having great potential for serious unintended consequences.”

        1. Prove the scientific method is the great arbiter.
        2. Prove that there is one and only one method.
        3. prove that all decisions must be proven before being taken
        4. Prove that proof is possible using the scientific method.

        Since you cant do any of that I will for the purposes of arguing accept that there is a thing called “The” scientific method.

        The hypothesis is this. If we continue to emit carbon, then by 2100
        civilzation will be damaged.
        To prove this is simple: wait until 2100 and then observe the destruction.
        proved.
        But then its too late.

        Look an asteroid may hit the planet. We have no controlled experiments that PROVE this will be a disaster. Therefore, lets wait for the proof.
        maybe unicorns will save us.. fancy ones with laser beams in their horns.

      • “Your choice of the verb “spew” is interesting. I would prefer “are emitting”, it’s much less pejorative and confrontational. Ah, but then again you enjoy being pejorative and confrontational don’t you?”

        I enjoy offering people an easy way to avoid a argument they will lose.

        thank you for taking the easy way out.

        You missed the debate.. we had it, game over, thank you for not playing

      • Mosher,

        “I enjoy offering people an easy way to avoid a argument they will lose.

        thank you for taking the easy way out.

        You missed the debate.. we had it, game over, thank you for not playing”

        More meaningless pap from the papmeister.

      • Steve writes–“The hypothesis is this. If we continue to emit carbon, then by 2100 civilization will be damaged. To prove this is simple: wait until 2100 and then observe the destruction proved.
        But then its too late.”

        My response- I agree it would be to late to stop the accumulated “destruction” that had occurred as of 2100.

        A question. What is the agreed upon measurement system to evaluate where the weather/environment has improved vs. worsened over time? The metrics would seem to vary greatly by region.

        When the net harms are not clear the case for action is weak. It would be interesting to come up with a set of metrics for several hundred world regions and then to track how the situation had changed over time.

      • Steve – I am interested in your opinion as to what levels of spewing CO2 actually achieve the presumed desired result of reducing significantly the risk that you are concerned with?

        Tad.

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | July 15, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Reply

        “We already ARE making critical decisions when we spew c02 into the atmosphere.”

        No we are not. The critical decision is in using fossil fuels to power an industrial civilization which has raised lifespans and living standards immensely everywhere it has been embraced. Production of CO2 is a serendipitous side effect that fertilizes the atmosphere for agriculture and generally makes the earth a bit warmer and a lot greener.

      • Steven,

        We already ARE making critical decisions when we spew exhaust CO2 into the atmosphere.

        There, fixed it for you.

      • I don’t agree. We aren’t deciding to put CO2 in the air. We are using the optimum energy source as established by the existing price signals. As far as an energy user is concerned co2 doesn’t exist other than as a noise factor. Decisions would be made if the energy consumer did have an option. Most consumers aren’t hoitty toitty upper middle class Americans purchasing luxurious electric vehicles.

        Some governments made decisions to subsidize renewables and cut emissions driven by the misinformation campaign built upon the RCP8.5, but others are cynical and just want to get the green vote. However, even using the fraudulent RCP 8.5, the “movement” isn’t getting that much traction. And I think the lack of traction is caused in part by a Syriza level lack of credibility.

      • +1000 Fernando

      • Mosher,

        What Harold says.

      • Isn’t use of the term “spew” an example of framing?

      • Mosher says: “It is clear that c02 MAY cause a significant problem.”
        No, it is not clear. What is clear is that we have people claiming it may cause significant problems (though many leave the may part out completely and claim it is certain we will experience problems, of the civilization destroying type) without offering much in the way of evidence.

      • “Mosher says: “It is clear that c02 MAY cause a significant problem.”
        No, it is not clear. ”

        try logic: If you could prove that it was IMPOSSIBLE for C02 to cause a problem, then you have a point.

        It’s possible that it may cause a significant problem.

        That is the path you have to explore.

      • It’s possible that it may cause a significant problem.

        That is the path you have to explore.

        Saying something is possible is not the same as it being clear. But rather than argue semantics, how far down the path do we explore?

        And are we even bothering to explore down that path? Much of what might be called exploration appears more like sitting around the pool playing computer games than boarding ship and seeing what is over the horizon.

    • Mosher,

      To quote you from above: “The hypothesis is this. If we continue to emit carbon, then by 2100 civilization will be damaged. To prove this is simple: wait until 2100 and then observe the destruction. proved. But then its too late.”

      If you took only two years to perform the reasonable research I recommended in my post, to which you responded with your “spewing” comment regarding removing uncertainty from (1) climate sensitivity and (2) projections of CO2 and other GHG in the atmosphere, you wouldn’t have to wait until 2100 to prove or disprove your hypothesis based on rigorous analysis of empirical data (a recommended approach from The Scientific Method). I’m recommending that we first do the work required to remove the uncertainty from the decisions to be made, as the more rational path to good decision-making. In effect, this is my critical decision to be made today because I am confident that waiting two years to make the next decision will not cause any problem at all.

      I recommend this course of action because I have already performed the analysis of data that convinces me we won’t have a climate problem due to CO2 emissions by 2100. A growing body of peer-reviewed research papers, also based on empirical data analysis and not un-validated climate simulation models, are all arriving at similar conclusions as mine regarding much lower climate sensitivity, with much less uncertainty, than claimed by the IPCC, including our gracious host in Lewis and Curry (2014). Performing a better forecast of atmospheric concentrations of GHG by 2100 for a “business as usual” scenario than offered by RCP8.5 will also remove uncertainty and provide a less alarming AGW forecast for 2100. I believe a “business as usual” RCP6.0 scenario is much closer to reality and will not cause more than 1K additional AGW by 2100. My recommendation was to take two years for responsible, qualified, and accountable leaders in our government to get comfortable with the correctness of similar analyses a number of scientists have already performed and published since the cut-off date for research included in IPCC AR5.

      Then, we wouldn’t be taking such a big risk with the decision you think needs to be made now. Yours is not a rational decision-making approach. My suggestion is based on a proven model for decision-making used in our manned space program. We never expect that our initial decision for the initial propulsive maneuver to insert us on a trajectory to the moon for landing at a precise point, will be the absolutely correct decision. But, we plan to take data along our journey towards our final destination and perform mid-course corrections as needed. We don’t wait until arriving at the lunar surface to prove that our initial orbit insertion propulsive maneuver wasn’t precisely correct. I think this is a good top level decision model approach to consider for decisions that need to be made regarding CO2 emissions.

      • ” recommend this course of action because I have already performed the analysis of data that convinces me we won’t have a climate problem due to CO2 emissions by 2100. ”

        wrong.

  15. I don’t see here the most serious barriers to good decision making – plain old fashioned stupidity and ignorance. No amount of formal process can defeat these.

  16. Having spent half a career advising corporations on decisions under uncertainty, and the other half being a decider, certainly the tools and frameworks of this post are familiar. And there are other tools and methods to acheive ringiko ( japanese for a consensus on a specific ‘best’ decision). But a corporation or equivalent organization (a law firm, a theater group, Red Cross) are cohesive. By which is meant some small set of clear objectives that all stakeholders understand. That provides a firm foundation for any decision process accounting for inevitable uncertainty and ambiguity..
    UNFCC, COP21, or more narrowly a region (Europe) or country’s climate interests are not cohesive. For example, Germany is irrationally afraid of nuclear power, while France is not. The AOSIS block is using global warming as an excuse to extort foreign aid via the GCF. The renewables industries are using CAGW to further their interests in perpetual subsidies. Environmentalists are using CAGW to attempt to halt development (frcking in New York and the UK). Agencies that should apply rigourous decisionmaking under uncertainty methods don’t, as SCOTUS just told the EPA. That is because agencies like the EPA or DECC in the UK have become onviously politicized.
    So, Climate actions will be decided not rationally via methods and tools like in the post, but via messy emotionally charged political processes applied to the ‘wicked mess’. (couldn’t resist spiffing up the 2×2 characterization above). And the results, whatever they are whereever applied, will likely be very suboptimal. The intermittency ‘cost’ of solar and wind is but one example. Intergenerational and intraregional inequities are others.

    • Again the purpose of the analysis is not to make the decision but to inform the decision. Why can’t people understand that?

      • I think Rud’s point is that the policy makers in the climate arena (at least in the current U.S. administration) don’t want to be “informed” by the rational methods and tools discussed in this post. Their minds are made up and they don’t want to be bogged down in “needless” complexity and ambiguity which just confuses the masses who are too unsophisticated to understand anyway.

      • like i said.. Pen and phone.

        I know hold a parade of skeptics..

        wheel chair accessable of course

      • So, to heck with it. Its all politics. No point to attempt to deflect things to to an informed process. Harumph! It is better just to complain or better hold out breath until out face turns blue. Yeah, that might work, Mark.

      • Thank you Mark. That is what I meant, but did not say clearly.

      • mwgrant,

        I’m not holding my breath either the way you meant it or for the day that the political overlay goes away. I’m all for using a solid process to inform decision making. I would support it and use it if I were in a position to do so.

        Since Peter Lang says you are an expert maybe you can put something together with Judith that can be tabled with Lamar Smith and see if you can get his attention/buyin.

      • Mark,

        Then you must read my candid responses to Peter. I am confident Judith has access to talent–current talent. (I would be more comfortable if Judith removed Peter’s remark, even though I appreciate his friendship and enthusiasm.)

    • “By which is meant some small set of clear objectives that all stakeholders understand. That provides a firm foundation for any decision process accounting for inevitable uncertainty and ambiguity..”

      +1

      • David Springer

        Scientists are very poor policy makers. Engineers are much better at it. Mosher is neither so he wouldn’t know.

    • Ristvan, I think the principles can be applied to strategy analysis by groups of nations. I’ve used it together with partners. The key is to create joint expert teams and make sure all participants have similar objectives. The objectives don’t have to be identical (the nuclear plant issue has workarounds).

      • One can try. But unless the ‘cohesion’ constraint is met, IMO cannot succeed. I spent decades just getting corporate managements to be ‘cohesive’. Defined above. Informed decisions usually followed.
        The deeper one digs, the less cohesion one usually finds. Corporate examples: Max stock price. No, max net assets. No, max public image. No, max my income. No, max ‘100 best corporations to work for’. No, max takeover proof. No, max ‘good corporate governance’. Has to be the same in other organizations, for example the universities Judith habits.
        So, far more than getting everybody on the same informational page (informed decisions) is agreement about what they were trying to accomplish in the first place. Based on my admittedly somewhat limited experiences concerning big strategic directional decisions. Whether to explore a conventional oil prospect is different than a decision to go downstream, different than a decision to expand into renewables. (Exaggerated only to make the distinctions clearer.) Highest regards.

      • David Springer

        We were pretty cohesive at Dell while I was there, Istvan. Maximize ROIC. It went from 1 billion in revenue to 40 billion during my 7 year tenure. Wh

      • Ristvan, cohesion is indeed the key. I don’t see a cohesive well organized effort which includes all nations. However, I can see enough cultural and strategic need affinities to start with the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Israel. I don’t think Israel really has the same culture at a government level, but they do have very good insights when it comes to science and engineering.

    • The renewables industries are using CAGW to further their interests in perpetual subsidies.

      I don’t know how much influence the fledgling and relatively small renewables industries, but don’t you think this would also apply to the very large and dominant fossil fuel industries?

      • The Surprising Reason That Oil Subsidies Persist: Even Liberals Love Them

        “Should we fund programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) that help low-income families with their heating bills?”

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2012/04/25/the-surprising-reason-that-oil-subsidies-persist-even-liberals-love-them/

        Between 2009 and 2013 we have shelled out $14 billion in cash payments to solar, wind and other renewable energy project developers.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/07/07/its-time-to-sequester-green-energy-subsidies-not-mythical-oil-and-gas-tax-breaks/2/

        [published 2012 — “Lies, And Green Statistics, Daniel Wetzel]

        In Germany green electricity levy was promised to cost just one Euro

        The leader of the Green Party, Jürgen Trittin, proclaimed in 2004 that Germany’s green electricity law (EEG) would cost each household “only about one Euro per month – as much as a scoop of ice cream.”
        In reality, the monthly EEG costs per household have increased almost twenty-fold compared to the amount proclaimed by Trittin.

      • We shelled out that money because they want to do something about climate change not because the renewable industries are powerful.

      • What you say about alternative subsidy is accurate, Joseph, but that’s also, ironically, what most of the approximate yearly $4 billion of subsidies to the oil and gas industry represents; “government wanting to do something”. It’s a subsidy because there’s a benefit for the government; i.e., strategic petroleum reserves; low income subsidy; farm subsidy; and subsidies that every other large corporations receive as incentives for keeping jobs in the U.S. That’s the bulk of the $4 billion. These are some of the reasons for the headline that ties to liberals love oil subsidies. I recommend you read the article, I would guess it to be an epiphany to many on the left about what they’re really railing against.

      • Jungle trunks the influence of oil companies extends beyond just getting subsidies.

      • dougbadgero

        “Fledgling renewable energy industries………”

        Like Siemens and GE………

      • I am talking overall influence as an industry. And GE’s interests go way beyond renewables.

      • Take a look at the amount of campaign contributions given US politicians by fossil fuel industry versus those given by the renewables industry. It’s not even close. That’s what I mean by influence.

      • “Like Seimens and GE…”

        True, there’s plenty of greased palms to go around. Immelt has probably made as many trips to visit the administration as Goldman Sachs.

      • Joseph, the USA ethanol industry is King Kong. My perception is that wind turbine and solar kit fabricators and installers are building huge muscle in states like California.

      • I haven’t heard anyone calling for more ethanol to mitigate against global warming. So how is that relevant? And solar in terms of the country as a whole is really insignificant.

      • And the other thing to consider is that ethanol is so powerful because so many senators and Congressman come from farm states. It’s not really the ‘ renewable industry’ that is the driving force.

      • Yes, Joseph, oil and gas spent about $140 million on lobbying in 2014 of which some fraction of that amount went to fight climate change. The alternative energy lobby spent $21 million. But it’s really not apples to apples, the alternative industry doesn’t have to work all that hard; the government virtually seeks it out to throw money at. Does the Federal government fund biased research? https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/06/is-federal-funding-biasing-climate-research/ If you believe it does like I do (doubtful) then it in effect is lobbying; does anyone else have deeper pockets?

        The EPA funded near $50 million towards Harvard’s published paper trying to quantify the costs of climate change relative to health. So that single Harvard research paper equaled about 1/3 of the total oil & gas lobbying budget in 2014.

      • Well Jungletrunks if politicians think that climate change is a problem, then why wouldn’t they fund it. I don’t see the problem.

      • And thus; here we are debating AGW, the veracity of the science and the depiction of the problem in general and how it should be planned for. As a republic our representatives are charged with fulfilling the will of the people. Something happened. Our government entities, EPA et al, wield ever more punitive power. Those in charge are insulated within layers of bureaucracy, thus the question of government bias and through consequence how RFP’s are awarded. Is the future head of NAS, McNutt, nonpartisan you believe? Congress can’t even get emails in a timely fashion these days, so not saying there’s bias in government, if not foolish, is partisan at the least. But granted, you’re not going to see a problem if you’re on the left.

    • Rud,

      “…Climate actions will be decided not rationally via methods and tools like in the post, but via messy emotionally charged political processes …”

      Brilliant!

      You are absolutely correct, it cannot be stated better. Of course, that is not necessarily true for non-democratic nations, but certainly true for Western Europe, Great Britain, Japan, North America, and Australia.

      To inform the voters, there has to be an effective narrative communicated with images. Most of the voting public is innumerate. It would be unthinkable to consider an illiterate person educated and yet it is perfectly ok to confer degrees upon people who are innumerate, so forget about stats and graphs – think “An Inconvenient Truth”. That guy was a hanging chad away from being POTUS.

  17. “… facilitating high quality, logical discussion; bringing clarity to difficult decisions … The traditional approach to decision making is to advocate and sell a desired decision.”

    The traditional approach is certainly true for the AGW policy body that’s overseeing the decision process; but the quality of decision resulting from the systematic methodology behind decision analysis is directly influenced by the quality of input. Since skeptical argument is waved off out of hand one is left with the entirety of input for “decision review” coming from bias.

    The debate about AGW policy resolution is predisposed to being circular because of the “settled” meme; AGW bias remains the starting point for situation analysis. Uncertainty is brushed under the rug to in order to facilitate an overarching desired decision. However; from a skeptic viewpoint, ambiguity by the current bodies directing the discussion has been resolved to favor a political POV first versus on honest decision review.

    “a logical sequence that encourages open, creative dialog”

    So while we have available a good process and tools for decision analysis that certainly works for most business applications where being honest brokers of data facilitates good business strategy, this process breaks down when heavy politics are involved. Political stigmatization precludes the logic of “Decision Analysis” because “Decision Review” is preordained.

    To break the impasse requires a more solid understanding of climate, irrefutable observation. Or a decision review that facilitates a “no sweat off my back” response that most parties can accommodate. “Silver buckshot” seems to be a practical approach to minimize the no sweat off back quotient, it recognizes politics.

    I personally believe technology evolution is faster than climate and that our resources are better placed in funding all the basic sciences, this would facilitate a quicker outcome to alternatives. Let capitalism solve alternative issues; the biggest enemy of a capitalist is another capitalist; looking down a tube at big oil has left half the population myopic with no peripheral vision, impasse is the just reward under such conditions.

  18. Study and understand Natural Variability in Climate, FIRST, and then proceed from there.

    You cannot measure temperature and/or sea level and separate the man-made part if you do not know the natural part.

    We went to the moon and came back in a decade.
    Consensus Climate Science has not made any progress in a half century.

    Take away their funding and Start a “NEW” organization to determine if there is a problem that needs fixing. Old organizations cease to work.

  19. JC reflections: This presentation explains why the current climate change decision strategy has left us between a rock and hard place.

    For people who have not seen this sort of thing before, it’s a nice presentation.

    But why do you say that we are between a rock and a hard place, and how did choice of a decision strategy put us here? What got us here is better called an “unsubstantiated alarm” than a “decision strategy”, in my opinion. Even suggesting that we study the alleged problem and formulate a decision strategy is treated with derision and insult.

    • Exactly. The process was taken over by individuals who lacked the training to do this kind of work.

      • Someone gave them computers. No one taught them how to build proper simulations and models. They programed flawed theory into flawed models and they believed the output from the flawed computer models and they ceased to think. They now go back and revise actual data to match the computer output. When they are done, they will have all the distorted data they need to prove anything.

        Mother nature is not in on the plot and Mother Nature keeps pumping out real data that does disagree with the Extreme Alarmist Consensus.

      • I guess you guys were planning a parade and missed becoming a part of the process.

        Here is a thought. If you do your own science you are a part of the process.

      • Don Monfort

        ” If you do your own science you are a part of the process.”

        Now there’s a thought. Big Oil is funding all sorts of skeptic research. So money ain’t an issue. The science journal editors are hungry for stuff that pokes holes in the consensus. That’s what science is all about.

        It’s that simple. Get yo money from Big Oil, do yo little data juggling thang , write up yo little story and take it to the journals. Save yoself a little time and embarrassment by going to a pay for play journal of last resort, first. Get yo box checked. Then hand in yo stuff to the IPCC. Then fugget about it.

      • Don Monfort,

        ??????????????????

        Have you Od’ed on Jerk Chicken?

      • Steven Mosher

        Yes Don,, Nic Lewis shows you how, anthony, troy masters, Odonnel, heck willis, briggs, jeff condon.. here is the question: what would have if more skeptics followed Their example?

        simple question.

      • Don Monfort

        When did you start with the “you got to do your own science” lecturing, Steven? I think it was after you got mixed up with that BEST crowd. Let’s ask willy. He keeps track of all this crap.

        “…Nic Lewis shows you how, anthony, troy masters, Odonnel, heck willis, briggs, jeff condon.. here is the question: what would have if more skeptics followed Their example?”

        I would say that more skeptics doing science on their own would have just about as much influence on the process as those half-dozen that you have mentioned.

      • David Springer

        According to Mosher we are all making a decision to emit more CO2. Therefore it follows that we are all deciding to take part in a huge experiment to see what happens as atmospheric CO2 level rises. Taking part in the experiment means we’re all “doing science”. ROFL

        QED

        You lose again Mosher. Apply logic harder.

      • Mosher, this isn’t solely a science problem. The inability to understand this point is what leads to such a poorly structured risk and option analysis process. Most of the people involved are in diapers when it comes to this topic.

        When I think of it, what you need is a generic 120 hour course with some exercises so you can get some hands on experience in a simulated environment.

  20. First step, stop calling it a problem.

  21. iiequalsexpipi

    To deal with the issue of uncertainty, as well as the issue of inequality of impact, one ultimately needs to define a social welfare function to determine a best course of action.

    Now how does one find a reasonable social welfare function that others will hopefully accept? One approach is to slowly introduce accepted axioms or empirical data and slowly reduce the set of acceptable social welfare functions until only a unique social welfare function (up to affine transformation) remains.

    Personally, I would argue that the anonymity principle + separability axiom + Pareto Principle + Pigou-Dalton Principle + Occam’s Razor + empirical measures of the coefficient of relative risk aversion is sufficient to obtain a unique social welfare function up to affine transformation. Let me explain:

    The anonymity principle (also known as the symmetry principle, basically you treat everyone equally and assume that everyone has roughly the same utility function) plus the separability axiom reduces the problem of finding a social welfare function to the problem of finding the utility function of a representative individual in society (since the social welfare function becomes the sum of everyone’s utility). Now an individual’s utility function will depend on many factors (consumption, leisure time, physical health, etc.) but for the sake of simplicity of analysis it may be reasonable to assume that an individuals utility function is a function of their consumption.

    But if U(C) is the individuals utility as a function of consumption, what functional form should it take? I think most people could be convinced that U(C) should satisfy both the Pareto Principle and the Pigou-Dalton principle, which reduces the set of acceptable utility functions. They might even be able to be convinced that it should accept other axioms such as the principle of positional transfer sensitivity (or maybe even be a function that satisfies the stochastic dominance axioms up to infinite order), but that is still not enough to get a unique functional form. By Occam’s Razor, you probably want the functional form to remain relatively simple if you do not have any reason to make it unnecessarily complicated, which suggests that a functional form with constant relative risk aversion is reasonable (since it satisfies all these axioms, and reduces the problem of finding U(C) to finding the coefficient of relative risk aversion).

    What should the coefficient of relative risk aversion be? The relative risk aversion is defined as -C*(d^2U/dC^2)/(dU/dC), and one should expect it to be somewhere between 0 and infinity. A coefficient of 0 would imply that people are risk neutral and don’t put much weight on inequality, so the problem of maximizing social welfare reduces to a problem of performing a traditional cost benefit analysis. A coefficient of infinity would imply that people are infinitely risk averse and put infinite weight on inequality, so the problem of maximizing social welfare reduces to a problem of applying the precautionary principle to the poorest in society (so you would only look at worst case scenarios). Likely, a value somewhere between these two extremes makes sense.

    If one accepts the anonymity principle and a constant relative risk aversion utility function as being reasonable, then it should be possible to obtain the coefficient of relative risk aversion empirically by looking at how humans make decisions under uncertainty. So arguably one can reduce the problem of normative economics into a question of empiricism. Empirically, it is found that the coefficient of relative risk aversion is approximately 1 (http://obs.rc.fas.harvard.edu/chetty/files/curvature_aer.pdf), which suggests we can use ln(C) as our utility function. Not only that but a roughly logarithmic utility function is expected under evolutionary theory (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4273387/) and Kennith Arrow has argued that U(C) should be approximately logarithmic since 1965. Also, a logarithmic utility function makes calculations easier than other constant relative risk aversion utility functions. So there is a strong basis to define the social welfare function as the sum of everyone’s logarithm of consumption.

    In many cases it is easier to measure GDP per capita and consumption is roughly proportional to GDP per capita, so it might make sense to define the social welfare function as the sum of the logarithm of GDP per capita over all individuals in society. If one uses a Ricardian approach to look at the impacts of climate change on economic output (example: http://www.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/homepage/gridded_data_ia.pdf) then one can easily determine social welfare as a function of climate. A Ricardian approach also has an advantage of avoiding the bias of overemphasis of costs of climate change in the literature. From there, one can look at the cost of mitigation and the impact of mitigation to determine the optimal amount of mitigation that maximizes social welfare. The only other parameter that is needed is the discount rate, which can be determined empirically.

    So by empirically measuring the discount rate and the coefficient of relative risk aversion, one can obtain a relatively straightforward decision rule about how to rank the outcomes of different policy responses to climate change in order to obtain the optimal policy response. If the economic impact of climate is roughly a parabolic function of climate (http://aida.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/homepage/documents/Tol_impacts_JEP_2009.pdf) and the economic cost of mitigation is roughly parabolic (one can see this by looking at the SSP2 results under various RCPs https://secure.iiasa.ac.at/web-apps/ene/SspDb/dsd?Action=htmlpage&page=about) then a unique level of optimal mitigation should exist.

    As a rough calculation, if I interpret the -1.44% loss of the sum of ln of income due to 3C warming from the Nordhaus 2008 paper to be roughly the loss of social welfare due to 3C warming, I assume that social welfare as a function of climate follows roughly the same parabolic shape as suggested by Tol 2009, and I assume that the economic cost as a function of mitigation roughly follows the SSP2 results, then I find that social welfare is roughly optimized under an RCP 6.0 scenario. This suggests that implementing a global Pigouvian tax of roughly $22/ton of CO2 (US 2005 dollars) is optimal. This is roughly what Richard Tol suggests ($20/ton of CO2) according to his wiki page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Tol).

    Interestingly, many developed countries already have carbon dioxide emission taxes in line with this value (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax), although some countries have insanely high taxes such as Norway and Sweden.

    Anyway, these are just some thoughts I’ve accumulated over the past couple weeks. I hope others find them interesting.

    JC COMMENT: yes i find this very interesting, I would be interested in a guest post on this

    • May I call you pipi? My spell checker insists on shifting to Inuit.

      Your long post sure merits being set up in a paper, so we can visualize the graphs. In addition, I would add a slight twist:.the real cost of fossil fuels will increase over time. This applies in particular to real crude oil and condensate, which is definitely running out and requires much higher prices over time. The increasing cost means oil is gradually losing its price advantage.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        “May I call you pipi? My spell checker insists on shifting to Inuit.”

        You can call me whatever you want. Although since my user name is the Euler identity, I’m not sure if pipi makes sense.

        On the paper, maybe. I have some good ideas on what kind of models I would like to use if I did write one.

        On oil prices, yes they will increase over time, and any reasonable economic model would have to take into account technological change in different sources of energy production.

      • bedeverethewise

        May i call you i equal sex pipi?

      • iiequalsexpipi

        “i equal sex pipi”

        Wow, I didn’t even notice that. You guys have lewd minds.

      • bedeverethewise

        I treat all sex pipis equally

      • I could only use numbers and letters for my username, but apparently I can change my display name. How is this?

      • Apparently, I can use greek letters as well.

      • Why not i^2 on the left as a literal translation?

      • bedeverethewise

        you’re no fun any more

      • Pipi: I write in different languages with different keyboards, when they see an odd sequence they insist on changing it. Sexpipi seems to work fine.

    • Steven Mosher

      Yup.

      very interesting.

      Worthy of a post I think.

    • The biggest problem I see with a tax of this sort involves relative currency fluctuations: If each nation/polity/ecozone applies the tax in its own currency, then the relative charge for “externalities” will vary as the relative currency values do. IMO this would lead to demands for some sort of regulatory bureaucracy to “manage” the issues, which would be a bigger risk than climate.

      I’ve been playing with some (very simplistic versions of) a method that might avoid the problems of relative currency values: a generally agreed percentage of fuel being required to use environmentally derived carbon (“carbon-neutral”). Suppose the required fraction starts at 0.1% (1/1000) and increases by ~25% each year. After 31 years the required fraction would be 100%.

      This would have several advantages over a tax: the market in “carbon-neutral” fuels would be world-wide, allowing currency fluctuations to be worked around, as well as hedged. Like a constantly increasing tax, it would be a (somewhat) reliable guide to demand and required amounts.

      Unlike artificial “carbon credits” that tend to be nothing but “monopoly money”, such “carbon-neutral fuel” would be real fuel, needing to be created in some way, and actually fed into combustion somewhere.

      I can see a variety of modifications that might streamline the system without ruining it: coal dug out of the ground could be “blessed” into “carbon-neutral” status by crediting it with the real sequestering of carbon. The most obvious candidate (for sequestration) would be bio-waste which could often be more expensive to make useful as fuel than its value: just dump it into an anoxic ocean trench and exchange the “credits” for real coal, oil, or gas.

      Similarly, the “carbon-neutral” status of some fuel could be alienated from the fuel itself, so that, perhaps, 1000 tons of “carbon-neutral” coal (or whatever) loses its “carbon-neutral” status while 1000 tons of previously “un-blessed” somewhere else (maybe across the world) becomes “carbon-neutral in exchange.

      Unlike “cap-and-trade”, this system would involve actual sequestration of carbon from the very beginning. However, its effect would be moderated by the fact that only a small fraction of the fuel used in any power generation would have to have “carbon-neutral” status. At first. But, since real carbon has to be sequestered in exchange, or extracted from the air or ocean surface, it would eliminate most of the potential for abuse and market manipulation by “issuers” of the “funny money” carbon credits tried so far.

      Seems to me that system would tend to solve some of the problems involved in either carbon taxes, or “cap-and-trade”. Of course, that’s not to say it wouldn’t create problems of its own. But IMO it’s worth thinking about.

      • I’m skeptical that this would be preferable to a pigouvian tax because it is less flexible in rewarding innovations that reduce CO2 emissions. Using carbon-neutral fuels instead of fossil fuels is one way, but there is also using more efficient motors, using nuclear instead of fossil fuels, switching to renewables, etc. With a pigouvian tax, everything that reduces emissions by 1 ton would be rewarded equally so it gives you the most CO2 emission reduction for a given cost to your economy (your suggestion would primarily reward biofuel).

        I’m not sure if the fact that different countries have different currencies is much of a problem since purchasing price parity is easily calculated and the taxes in each country can be adjusted each year so that the real value of the pigouvian tax is equal everywhere.

      • I agree with mister negative one.

        A simply tax is much preferred. A revenue neutral tax could be done by any government independently.

        I don’t think we should work on actual removal until natural sinks stop growing for a significant time.

        Taxes to simply encourage more economical use of fuels and developement of economical alternative seems best to me for now.

        Personally, I don’t even want to discourage emissions right now. Just waste. I’d like to see developement of less fossil intensive fuel use here and where pollution is high, but I’d like to see production of fuels continue to increase but see them used by developing countries where they are likely to produce more value (I think our financial system can at times–probably now, think income/wealth inequallity–encourage wasteful use). Perhaps moving away from coal and toward nuclear here is good, so long as we continue to produce coal and just export it.

        But that raises a question, is significant nuclear politically feasible in the US and many other developed nations? Is it plausible we can clean up the mess we’ve made of the nuclear industry? Perhaps it makes more sense to build nukes in developing countries that haven’t waged regulatory war against them for 50 years.

      • I don’t think we should work on actual removal until natural sinks stop growing for a significant time and temperatures concurrently rise at an alarming rate.

      • […]your suggestion would primarily reward biofuel […]

        I don’t see how that is. Methane extracted from sea-floor clathrate through replacement by ambient CO2 would also be rewarded. So would sequestration of bio-waste: you wouldn’t need to burn it. Fuel made through reacting ambient CO2 with hydrogen from solar-powered electrolysis would also count. So would direct CO2 sequestration, either ambient or captured from stacks or other enriched streams.

        I agree that the “playing field wouldn’t be level” comparing such methods to “more efficient motors”, etc. That’s actually a major advantage in my view: there are limits to how far efficiency can be improved, so it’s actually only a short-term approach.

        […] purchasing price parity is easily calculated and the taxes in each country can be adjusted each year so that the real value of the pigouvian tax is equal everywhere.

        This is what I’m most skeptical about. I suspect various polities would want to game the process, and the regulatory bureaucracy needed to “manage” it would be a bigger risk (IMO existential to humanity) than anything plausible from fossil CO2.

        Personally, I’m also skeptical of complex systems of rules like the one I’m proposing, but I see it as the lesser of two evils compared to raising the price of energy sufficiently to incent the rapid development of the needed technology. By requiring a small fraction of the fuel used in every nation’s power generation to be “carbon-neutral”, a high-value market can be produced to incent R&D and maturation of the technology, without significantly raising the cost of energy overall.

        Nuclear is an issue, but frankly, considering its risks and low popularity, I doubt it matters. Perhaps any specific nation could be allowed to use nuclear power to offset part of its “carbon-neutral” requirement while pooling its entire fixed power generation.

        An alternative would be to use nuclear-generated power to extract ambient CO2, and produce electrolytic hydrogen, which could be combined to create “carbon-neutral” fuel which could then be sold into the high-value market. Or the CO2 could be sold into the market for sea-floor methane hydrate (which would require CO2 from non-fossil sources to qualify for the “carbon-neutral” market).

        Because the original power did not come from fossil carbon, it could be used in producing “carbon-neutral” fuel where fossil-derived power would be prohibited. Or at least, the amount of fossil carbon used in generating the power would have to be set against the carbon in the “fossil-neutral” fuel created. Perhaps even at a multiple equivalent to the (inverse of) the fraction of “fossil-neutral” fuel required for regular power generation.

        This would involve setting up a separate market for “non-carbon derived” energy, similar to the market for “carbon-neutral” fuel. But in addition to actually providing nuclear with a higher-priced market for its product, it would also support “renewables” such as solar and wind. In fact, that’s the primary advantage, in my view:

        Solar and wind power are intermittent, the exact opposite of “dispatchable”. If they are to have an exponentially increasing market, past a certain penetration level, it would have to be something that could economically use “on-supply” energy.

        CO2 extraction and electrolysis are two major potential markets: with continual R&D, learning curve, and economies of scale it’s likely that the capital cost of the technology can be brought down sufficiently to make them economical to run at the 15-30% “on-supply” capacity factor available with solar and wind. (Note that this would also be true of unneeded nuclear power during low-demand periods, depending on the penetration and make-up of the remainder of the grid supply.)

        By creating an immediate small high-value market for “carbon-neutral” fuels using CO2 extracted from ambient conditions, with built-in exponential growth (as the fraction required by otherwise fossil power generation increases), the tendency for exponential growth of technologies like CO2 extraction, sea-floor methane-hydrate mining, and power→fuel can be nurtured, providing in turn a growing market for solar and wind power that can work with their intermittent nature.

        CO2 extraction would be temporary in this scenario, as extracted CO2 would be returned to the environment, while the deployment and market would grow exponentially and mature. Later, perhaps 2-5 decades from now, when the volumes already extracted are large and there’s been time for more research into impacts, it could be turned to sequestration if necessary.

      • wuwt points to undersea co2 lakes. I wonder if there are similar bio sourced lakes all over the ocean floor.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/17/one-more-thing-for-greece-to-worry-about-undersea-pools-of-carbon-dioxide/

        “We’ve seen pools within the ocean before, but they’ve always been brine pools where dissolved salt released from geologic formations below the seafloor creates the extra density and separates the brine pool from the surrounding seawater,” said Camilli. “In this case, the pools’ increased density isn’t driven by salt – we believe it may be the CO2 itself that makes the water denser and causes it to pool.”

      • AK Try your method on Jamaica and Pakistan, see if it’s feasible without killing half the population.

      • AK Try your method on Jamaica and Pakistan, see if it’s feasible without killing half the population.

        I looked at Pakistan a little: they have plenty of bio-waste (for instance):

        Wheat straw, rice husk, rice straw, cane trash, bagasse, cotton sticks are some of the major crop residues in Pakistan. Sugar cane is a major crop in the country and grown on a wide scale throughout Pakistan. During 2010-2011, the area under sugarcane cultivation was 1,029,000 hectares which is 4% of the total cropped area. Cane trash which constitutes 10% of the sugar cane is currently burned in the fields. During the year 2010-11, around 63,920,000 metric tons of sugarcane was grown in Pakistan which resulted in trash generation of around 5,752,800 metric tons. As per conservation estimates, the bioenergy potential of cane trash is around 9,475 GWh per year.

        Now, according to the initial proposal I outlined, 1/1000 worth of energy must come from “carbon-neutral” fuel. Assuming that (roughly) 1/2 the energy potential is used to offset coal energy, this could work out to 5,000 GWh/year. Multiply that by 1000, we get 5,000,000 GWh/year. Even 9 years later, when exponential increase of the required fraction means that the multiplier is only 100, that yields 500,000 GWh/year. All for the price of transporting 64 million tons of waste and dumping it into the sea at an appropriate place.

        For comparison, according to Wiki, the 2014 demand was around 150,000 GWh/year. Let’s suppose, to start, that coal capacity is added to meet a 300,000 GWh/year demand. The proposal I suggested would require, the first year, transporting about 4 million tons of ‘Negative’ cost agricultural waste to some trench, perhaps the Java Trench and dumping it.

        How does the cost of that compare to the cost a $20/ton pigovian tax?

      • AK,

        “Increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have helped boost green foliage across the world’s arid regions over the past 30 years through a process called CO2 fertilisation, according to CSIRO research.”

        CSIRO is an acronym for Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Wi-fi was one result of CSIRO research, as you may know. Scientific enough for you?

        You may not support more vegetation in arid regions, or increased global food production, but I certainly do. The Warmist fixation with the evils of carbon probably stems from James Hansens’s anti-coal crusading activities.

        CO2 is good. Water is good. Warmist doomsayers, not so good.

        Here’s a quote from a Warmist (James Hansen, in fact) –

        “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

        Good scientific stuff, that! Objective, soundly reasoned, supported by reproducible experiment . . .

        Bah! Humbug!

      • >i>AK | July 17, 2015 at 6:53 pm |
        AK Try your method on Jamaica and Pakistan, see if it’s feasible without killing half the population.

        I looked at Pakistan a little: they have plenty of bio-waste (for instance):

        Well, anytime you get into a field waste issue some questions arise:
        1. Why are they burning the waste?
        2. What is the shipping cost per BTU to get the waste where it is needed?
        3. What does moving the waste instead of burning it mean to field nutrients?

        Sugar cane is grown for sugar. Sugar has virtually no nutrients. All the nutrients are in the trash.

        In the US they are going to no till in this situation. Leaving field trash in the field to decay reduces erosion more so than burning it. Burning the trash offsite would be expected to cause a nutrient problem in the fields..

      • What does moving the waste instead of burning it mean to field nutrients?

        Probably very little. Even if it does, the cost of shipping the ash back to the field would be minimal.

        But at least I see some thinking about the notion. True, shipping the agricultural waste to an ocean trench and dumping it might not be the best option. Burning it, along with the three times as much from the processing plant, might be a better option. Then, return the ash from all of it to the field.

        Whatever, a requirement that some (initially very small) fraction of the fuel burned for energy must derive its carbon from the atmosphere would help develop the market for it.

      • AK:
        I have my reservations about the use of agricultural waste. Take a dried harvested corn stalk. Return it to the soil and it has some of the required materials to make new corn stalks.
        http://www.agriview.com/news/crop/corn-stover-anything-but-trash/article_90ce08e0-465a-5412-bb8c-10803e02bd9a.html
        I do like the idea of dumping it in the oceans which is low tech and something we can at least look at. Perhaps not to the trenches. Could be the base of a new ocean food chain. I see bales of corn trash drifting along the Gulf Stream, better yet rafts, teaming with life. However, still not happy about the soil depletion aspects.

      • @Ragnaar..

        I do like the idea of dumping it in the oceans which is low tech and something we can at least look at. Perhaps not to the trenches. Could be the base of a new ocean food chain.

        To do that, most of the carbon would have to oxidize. Which would defeat most of the purpose.

        Of course, dumping it unprotected into an anoxic trench would actually allow it to “be the base of a new ocean food chain.” There are forms of anaerobic decay (usually based on sulfur, AFAIK) that take place even under anoxic conditions. (The Black Sea is a prime example.)

        Between the long time-frame(s), and the fact that most of the released CO2 would enter the oceans at the bottom of the aerobic layer, I suspect the results would tend to have little impact on us at the surface. And it could, indeed, result in the creation of an entire new large-scale ecosystem, resulting in genetic/species diversity that never existed before.

      • @ AK – I agree that your policy could be a good way of dealing with the issue of climate change, but good isn’t necessarily best. Oil from oil sands has higher emissions than conventional oil, yet your system wouldn’t take this into account since both conventional oil and oil sands oil aren’t carbon neutral. Pigouvian taxes have a strong economic basis so it will be difficult to convince me of a mitigation policy preferable to a Pigouvian tax. If you aren’t penalizing all sources of CO2 emissions equally (or rewarding efforts to reduce CO2 emissions equally) then why would your proposal result in the greatest emission reduction for a given reduction in economic output?

        The other advantage of the Pigouvian tax is that it is just 1 parameter to argue about, which means it is easier to get international agreement and there will likely be less rent seeking activity to reduce the potential gains from implementing a mitigation policy.

      • @-1=e^iπ…

        I agree that your policy could be a good way of dealing with the issue of climate change, but good isn’t necessarily best.

        I wasn’t trying to prove it best (although IMO it’s superior to a Pigouvian tax). Just to get it on the table. After all, there’s no reason to assume the final outcome will be either/or.

        Oil from oil sands has higher emissions than conventional oil, yet your system wouldn’t take this into account since both conventional oil and oil sands oil aren’t carbon neutral.

        I suspect it would if the extra energy generated and used in extraction was counted in the fraction requirements for “carbon-neutral”.

        If you aren’t penalizing all sources of CO2 emissions equally (or rewarding efforts to reduce CO2 emissions equally) then why would your proposal result in the greatest emission reduction for a given reduction in economic output?

        Because of the timing. Seems to me the logic you’re using doesn’t really distinguish between value now, and value at some future point.

        The primary difference I see is that a Pigouvian tax would create a large, optional, low-value market for “carbon-neutral” energy and/or fuel. The proposal I’m suggesting is pointed at creating a small, mandatory, high-value market. This would provide immediate rewards for implementing immature technology, along with both funding and incentives for pushing development and maturity.

        The carbon tax proposal would, AFAIK, just provide a small unit return on current production, because the price it could get would be no more than the difference produced by the tax; which would have to be small because the technology isn’t there to feed the demand a large tax would create.

        Thus, investors would have to put up all the development money for quite a while, until economies of scale and/or the rising tax rate make their investment worthwhile.

        The other advantage of the Pigouvian tax is that it is just 1 parameter to argue about, […]

        Er… I can’t agree with that. Each national (or otherwise) currency would involve its own parameter, along with continuing arguments and rent-seeking around relative exchange rates.

        True, means could be set up to work those out, but that’s precisely what I’m trying to avoid with my alternative. And I suspect, even disregarding the risk from the managerial bureaucracy, that it would end up being more complicated than the necessary adjustments around a simple fractional rate with a simple exponential growth rate.

      • AK:
        My view is that the oceans are actually not teaming with life. Call corn trash to oceans a kind of fish feeding program.

      • @ AK

        “Because of the timing. Seems to me the logic you’re using doesn’t really distinguish between value now, and value at some future point.”

        I did mention using an reasonable discount rate when determining the optical level of Pigouvian tax, did I not?

        Also, I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘high-value’ vs ‘low-value’ markets. Could you elaborate?

      • @-1=e^iπ…

        Also, I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘high-value’ vs ‘low-value’ markets.

        Let me start with a very interesting paper: Beyond the learning curve: factors influencing cost reductions in photovoltaics by Gregory F. Nemet, Energy Policy 34 (2006) 3218–3232. (I linked to it above, but IMO it’s interesting enough to deserve another.)

        Among the points Nemet suggests is that the beginning of the PV market was nurtured by a very high-return market, where the buyer pretty much had no choice about buying, and price was little object.

        As time went on, and prices came down, other markets grew, and the industry expanded to fill them. Although the growth curve was very similar to those dominated by original learning curve theories, Nemet’s analysis suggests the actual (major) causes were different:

        Experience curves are based on the theory that experience creates opportunities for firms to reduce costs and that as a result costs decline in logarithmic proportion to increases in cumulative capacity. Indeed, in the case of PV, cumulative capacity is a strong predictor of cost.[14]However, the mechanistic basis for this apparently strong statistical relationship is rather weak. In this section, the influence of increasing cumulative capacity in driving change in the most important cost-reducing factors is assessed. The results indicate that the most important factors are only weakly explained by cumulative capacity (Table 3). Overall, the ‘‘learning’’ and ‘‘experience’’ aspects of cumulative production do not appear to have been major factors in enabling firms to reduce the cost of PV, which is the assumption underlying the experience curve model.

        A key driver would appear to have been externally funded R&D:

        Learning-by-doing is only one of several reasons behind the doubling in commercial module efficiency. Data on the highest laboratory cell efficiencies over time show that of the 16 advances in efficiency since 1980 (Surek, 2003),[15] only six were accomplished by firms that manufacture commercial cells. Most of the improvements were accomplished by universities, none of which would have learned from experience with large-scale production. That government and university R&D programs produced 10 of the 16 breakthroughs in cell efficiency while producing a trivial amount of the industry’s cumulative capacity suggests that the effect of learning-by-doing on improving module efficiency is weak. Further, the rapid rise in laboratory cell efficiency from 1983 to 1990 (Fig. 6 ) immediately followed the unprecedented $1.5b investment in worldwide PV R&D in the previous 5 years (IEA, 2004).

        What I’m looking at here is how to apply these sorts of lessons in stimulating the development of, specifically, plug-in replacements for existing power technology. The advantage of this is that it will allow immediate investments in whatever technology supports the immediate roll-out of low-cost energy to developing societies, without either immediate constraints to use more expensive technology, or the threat of sunk costs.

        When I used the term “high-value”, I meant that the market should be structured that products with “carbon-neutral” carbon sources should command a much higher price than those with fossil carbon. By requiring all power generation to use such products, the market is created. By requiring only a small fraction of such products to be used, the cost of power generation is only minimally impacted, while a host of technologies, currently unable to provide the total volumes needed, and requiring an (often much) higher price for what they can provide, can be nurtured.

        All this without “picking winners”, or shutting out any innovative technology anybody comes up with. Thus taking full advantage of human ingenuity, and the ability of free-market capitalism to foster and use it. The deliberately exponential expansion of the required market replicates the typically exponential growth curves of the desired technology categories, while minimizing the immediate impact to energy prices and allowing time for the technology to mature.

        Thus, sequestration of easily obtained environmental carbon to offset coal usage, along with replacement by carbon products based on ambient carbon, would allow current investments in coal generation to provide the expected return for their entire useful life.

        Gas and oil-fired power are much easier. IMO solar PV technology is on an exponential cost-reduction curve that will last to the point that, despite intermittency, it will be able to support a robust (once mature) power→fuel (gas & liquid) market within a decade or so. But making sure the market exists will certainly improve the chances.

        With available CO2 cheaply extracted from ambient sources, the technology for mining sea-floor methane hydrate by replacing the methane with CO2, appears a very likely candidate for the same sort of development curve as PV. Several policy decisions would have to be made and implemented for this to happen, but, again, an immediate market for the product will be a major help.

        Another paper I linked above, Accelerating the Uptake of CCS: Industrial use of Captured Carbon Dioxideprepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff in collaboration with the Global CCS Institute for the benefit of the Global CCS Institute”, makes some important points regarding industrial CO2, among them that the cost of transporting CO2 for more than a few dozen kilometers reaches the same price range as its cost, or the price that can economically be paid for it.

        This means that improvements in ambient CO2 capture could easily become economical when installed close to the place or use: ocean surface above sea-floor methane hydrate extraction, near to sources of intermittent energy for power→fuel bio-conversion, near to large greenhouse installations for high-intensity agriculture, etc.

        In the future, when and if proper science shows the desirability of capturing ambient carbon and sequestering it to provide net negative emissions, the same technology, then mature, can be turned to the purpose at very little (relative) cost.

      • @ AK – I’m not that familiar with the literature on experience curves, so I’ll have to read up on it at some point. Thank you for the information.

    • Measuring losses only in GDP terms is inconsiderate of the impacts on the world’s low-wealth livelihoods that also may be hit hardest by climate change. The optimal solution when considering the whole picture is to minimize climate change.

      • Jim, that is why I suggested using a coefficient of relative risk aversion greater than zero. As long as you are doing this, you are satisfying the Pigou-Dalton principle, so you are saying that the value of a dollar to a poor person is worth more than the value of a dollar to a rich person.

        I’m not sure I follow how you get that the optimal solution is to minimize climate change. There are economic costs associated with mitigation, and they have to be compared with the benefits of mitigation. Are you suggesting that all countries should cease all CO2 emissions starting tomorrow?

      • The problem is just framing it as economic cost-benefit in the first place. The cost is more than proportional to economic loss. You need measures that take into account numbers of lives impacted. Weighting the cost regionally by inverse GDP per capita would do it. These costs go up sharply with climate change because the lowest GDP regions feel the impact quickly, having little defense or recourse to overseas markets to counter climate change damage or its effects on food production for example. If the cost goes up sharply with climate change the optimal solution tends towards as little climate change as possible. Economists, being money-centric, don’t think about the people perspective at all.

      • JimD

        Hi Jim. Still hoping for a reply to this in which you seem to believe the media never discuss climate change. Thanks

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/07/13/the-siddhartha-heuristic/#comment-718014

        tonyb

      • @ Jim D –

        “You need measures that take into account numbers of lives impacted.”

        Yes, which is why I suggested using a coefficient of relative risk aversion greater than zero.

        “Weighting the cost regionally by inverse GDP per capita would do it.”

        That is exactly what you get with a coefficient of relative risk aversion of 1, which is that value I suggested in my earlier post.

        “If the cost goes up sharply with climate change the optimal solution tends towards as little climate change as possible.”

        I don’t see how this implication holds, since there are costs associated with mitigation as well.

      • According to WG3, the mitigation for a 2 C cap is 0.06% of global GDP when annualized. This is about 10% of the noise level in GDP growth. By 2100, the global GDP growth could be 300-900%, and the mitigation cost is 5%. It is hardly a major factor in the global economy or even in its uncertainty. The main limit for the speed of mitigation is technology advancement that determines how quickly we can replace fossil fuels. There has been a lot of exaggeration about mitigation costs that doesn’t stand scrutiny.

      • Don Monfort

        It’s really a shame that our ancestors didn’t know about the evils of CO2, before we got hooked on steam and then the internal combustion engine. We could have preserved our bucolic, pastoral lifestyle with all the benefits of fresh air and death before rheumatism set in. And we wouldn’t have had to feel guilty about the polar bears.

      • The annualized mitigation costs from WG3 amount to only about $1 per tonne emitted, so most of the social cost of carbon that people estimate, which is in the tens of dollars per tonne, must be damage/adaptation. If strong mitigation is only 5% of adaptation/damage, it seems like a sensible investment to mitigate as strongly as technologically possible. It might be that for each dollar towards mitigation you are saving $20 in damage/adaptation at the end of the century. Bottom line: A stable climate is worth a lot, and not expensive to buy.

      • Further to the above. In terms of the economics, mitigation is equivalent to plugging the hole in a boat. You can keep spending money just bailing out the water (adaptation), or spend a little money to plug the hole for good (mitigation).

      • Or you can make a down payment on a bilge pump.

      • JimD, “Further to the above. In terms of the economics, mitigation is equivalent to plugging the hole in a boat.”

        I thought mitigation would be more like building the unsinkable boat. Plugging a hole would still be adapting to the situation, discovery of a hole that should not be there.

      • A changing climate is a continuous cost/loss, while a stable climate is not. Mitigation leads to a stable climate. It has taken on water, but that is stabilized. Nothing short of mitigation is plugging the hole.

      • Mitigation leads to a stable climate.

        No it doesn’t. It might lead to a less unstable climate, but even that’s uncertain, much less how much less. If any.

      • In this case your pump is a continuous money drain, so the analogy of a down payment doesn’t work, or is that your carbon tax.

      • In this case your pump is a continuous money drain, […]

        A small one. How do you know all the water’s coming through the hole? It might be coming between the planks. How much gets splashed over the side in natural storms?

        so the analogy of a down payment doesn’t work, […]

        Usually, a down payment is a lump sum equivalent to a fairly long sequence of payments.

        or is that your carbon tax.

        Not mine! I’ve proposed alternatives.

      • That is the what skeptics are doing. They say don’t look at the hole, just man the pumps.

      • It’ll be a lot easier to patch the hole once the pumps have drained enough of the bilge that it’s (the hole’s) above waterline. Lot cheaper too.

      • Patching the hole is a long-term process. Some are still saying that the hole is not the problem, just the rising water, so let’s get rid of that before even thinking about the hole.

      • Some are still saying that the hole is not the problem, just the rising water, so let’s get rid of that before even thinking about the hole.

        I’m not. I’m saying “let’s get rid of the rising water in a way that helps patch the hole. But also leaves us able to get rid of water that didn’t come through the hole. If necessary.”

      • As I mentioned, the numbers from WG3 show that mitigation is a fraction of the cost of adaptation/damage and a good investment from that perspective.

      • JimD, “Mitigation leads to a stable climate.”

        nope, Mitigation as you use the term may lead to a more knowable/predictable unstable climate. Increasing CO2 should actually produce a more stable climate, warmer but more stable. Just like increasing insulation on your home should lead to a more stable temperature range.

        According the FEMA, mitigation is any effort to reduce loss of life and property “before” disaster happens. Improved construction codes are mitigation. If it is done before hand it is mitigation and after the fact it is adaption. If you boat gets a hole in it you are adapting.

        Mitigation doesn’t require eliminating a potential problem, just lessening the potential negative impact.

      • Mitigation in the usual climate sense is how WG3 defines it, which is as a stabilized reasonably low CO2 level. There is only one way to get there, and it is not adaptation, because adaptation has no effect on CO2 growth rates.

      • JimD, “Mitigation in the usual climate sense is how WG3 defines it, which is as a stabilized reasonably low CO2 level.”

        Right, imagine that, a semantic issue associated with AGW/Climate Change/Climate Disruption/Carbon Pollution. .

      • I think stabilization would have been a better word for it. Many are confused like you about what mitigation means in this context.

      • Don Monfort

        You are making real progress here, yimmy. You just about got them where you want them. They can’t resist succumbing to your preaching much longer. What will you do after you save our planet, yimmy?

      • @ Jim D –

        “The annualized mitigation costs from WG3 amount to only about $1 per tonne emitted”

        But why would mitigation costs be constant? Shouldn’t they increase with the amount of mitigation? It is a lot easier to reduce global emissions by 1 GtC/year when total emissions are 10 GtC/year than when they are 5 GtC/year.

      • There are mechanisms like bonds or savings for spreading costs over longer time frames making the projects affordable even if their expenses are not fixed in time. The annualized cost is the most even way to spread the cost over time, and says if you start now it has less impact than if you focused the cost into a smaller time window later. Full mitigation of emissions won’t happen tomorrow even if you had a lot of money for it already. It would be a 50-100 year project, so annualizing over that length of time makes the most sense.

      • Jim,
        If mitigation costs were really that low, a very low price for carbon would solve the problem, but no one seems to believe in that. All estimates tell of required rates very much higher than that, perhaps even by a factor of 100.

        WG3 is seriously misleading on the expected costs.

      • The social costs are much higher because they include adaptation and damage. This was the point. If you just had a $1 per tonne carbon tax for mitigation, it would recover $40 billion per year, which turns out to equal the annualized 0.06% of global GDP estimated for the 450 ppm mitigation scenario. It may have to increase later as emissions go down to maintain the income, but if emissions have dropped 50%, we would not mind paying $2 per tonne. The IPCC number has some uncertainty in both directions (Table SPM 2) and it could require as much as $2 per tonne to meet the annualized cost.

      • Jim,

        I’m not discussing 1$ vs. 2$, but rather 40$/ton(CO2) or even 200$/ton(CO2).

        The highest numbers are surely not net costs in an optimally operating economic system, but rather marginal incentives needed to get changes done. High incentives lead, however, almost unavoidably to action that has a net cost comparable to the level of incentive even in situations where some other action would have the same net effect with a much lower net cost. This is one of the reasons that makes me extremely doubtful of the estimates presented in WG3, but not the only one as also some other assumptions made there are highly suspect.

      • Pekka, the Sunstein article linked today is relevant here. I believe these numbers are actual values for just adaptation and damage, and maybe transitioning the energy. Even if no transition occurred, this cost would pay for the damage by scaling with the emissions. In this sense, it is not used as an incentive in itself, but only in so far as other energy forms become cheaper than the fossil fuel’s real cost. Typical values of $40/tonne would raise energy and fuel prices by about 20%, and this would also encourage energy efficiency to offset the cost increase. Presumably if such a tax was applied, it would be phased in slowly to make the adjustment easier and no faster than regular fluctuations in these prices that have been faced in the past.

    • V. interesting, I am in interested in a guest post on this, send me an email

    • Pipi,

      Is your suggested method for calculating the social welfare the same as used by nordhaus in DICE and RICE? If not, how much difference does it make to the SCC and optimal carbon tax calculated by Nordhaus?

      DICE-2013R results,using his default inputs, shows that optimal carbon tax would be a net negative to global economy for all this century. Costs would exceed benefits throughout this century. Using more realistic inputs than Nordhaus used, such as for participation rates, costs would greatly exceed benefits for all this century. The analyses normally quoted showing benefits greater than costs are achieved by accumulating net benefits to year 2300.

      • Hi Peter Lang,

        I’m not very familiar with DICE and RICE models, but I did decide to read the 2013 manual this afternoon (http://www.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/homepage/documents/DICE_Manual_100413r1.pdf). From what I can tell, the social welfare function is very similar, although the one used in DICE/RICE is a rough approximation for the one I am suggesting. They are identical if all individuals in society have the same level of consumption.

        The one I suggest takes sum of the utility of each individual’s consumption, where as the Nordhaus social welfare function takes the utility of the average level of consumption and multiplies it by the number of people. Given that poorer people generally live in more equatorial regions, so might be more adversely affected by climate change than someone living in a polar region, I would expect that the difference in the social welfare function would result in a slightly higher carbon tax than calculated by Nordhaus. On the other hand, the 2013 models use an ECS of 2.9 C (which might be on the high end based on recent results) and don’t take into account the CO2 fertilization effect, so I have no reason to believe that the DICE/RICE results are biased in any particular direction.

      • Although the consumption elasticity used in DICE is 1.45. Which results in more risk aversion than using a value of 1 (which gives utility as a logarithmic function of utility).

        Personally, I’ve very skeptical if the coefficient of relative risk aversion is 1 or greater. Because if this is the case, how do you explain the fact that some people do activities such as skydiving, smoking, or driving recklessly?

      • Sorry there was a typo in my last comment. “I’ve very skeptical” should read “I’m very skeptical”.

      • Pipi,

        That’s an excellent explanation. Thank you.

        That’s one more concern to add to my list of what I believe are biases in the selection of default input values in DICE2013R. Others are:
        ECS (I think ecs = 3.2 in the Excel download)
        RCP= 8.5
        Discount rate
        Participation rate
        Others I can’t recall now

        I’d like to come back to discuss your suggested method some more when I return from travelling (mid August). I like simple where it can be justified and your method seems to be simple and elegant. Is it possible to estimate the consumption per person for the whole world?

        It’s aw

      • “Is it possible to estimate the consumption per person for the whole world?”

        You can try. There is a lot of information out there you just have to compile it. As a first order approximation, you might be able to get away with assuming that the income distribution in different regions is roughly log normal (which means average level of consumption and the gini coefficient might be sufficient to get your income distributions).

        I also want to clarify what I mean when I say that I am skeptical of a coefficient of relative risk aversion greater or equal to 1. Suppose that a person has a constant relative risk aversion (U = C^(1-α)) is indifferent between the status quo and doing an activity that gives the person a probability μ of dying (consumption = 0) to get an additional level of consumption ΔC, where μ << 1 and ΔC < 1 = (1-μ)*(1+ΔC/C)^(1-α)
        Performing a Taylor approximation gives:
        1 = (1-μ)*(1+(1-α)*ΔC/C) = 1 – μ + (1-α)*ΔC/C
        => μ = (1-α)*ΔC/C

        Since μ, ΔC, and C are positive, (1-α) must be positive => α = 1, then there is no finite statistical value of life.

        The fact that there is a statistical value of life and people do activities that increase their changes of dying for pleasure suggests that either α < 1 or α is non-constant.

      • “Since μ, ΔC, and C are positive, (1-α) must be positive => α = 1, then there is no finite statistical value of life.”

        Sorry, this should read:
        Since μ, ΔC, and C are positive, (1-α) must be positive => α = 1 would imply that there is no finite statistical value of life.

      • For some reason I’m getting cut off.

        Since μ, ΔC, and C are positive, (1-α) must be positive => α = 1 would imply that there is no finite statistical value of life.

      • 3 times, the middle line is cut out.

        Since μ, ΔC, and C are positive, (1-α) must be positive => α < 1.

        DeltaC/mu is the statistical value of life. Thus alpha greater or equal to 1 would imply that there is no finite statistical value of life.

      • -1=e^iπ,

        Empirical studies have found very often that the results contradict every known model of risk perception. More specifically I do not believe that the popularity of risky free time activities is consistent with typical risk attitudes that apply to other decision making. Choosing a model that explains the popularity of risky activities within a significant, but small, subgroup of people is likely to lead to wrong conclusions in other applications.

        The ubiquity of failures of models of attitudes towards risks tells probably that the whole approach has serious problems. All the models have actually been chosen more based on practical reasons (they have some nice analytical properties and they allow for deriving some quantitative results) rather than understanding that supports their validity. Using such models may still be the best we can do, but we should be aware of the great arbitrariness that’s always involved in such calculations.

      • @-1=e^iπ…

        You need to be very careful using the “less than” symbol when entering comments. The processor in WordPress allows commenters to enter HTML, which uses that symbol to mark the beginning of an HTML tag.

        If you need to communicate a “less than” symbol, you can tell the HTML processor what you mean with the HTML string for it: and ampersand, followed by the letters “lt”, followed by a semicolon. Thus: &lt;

      • More specifically I do not believe that the popularity of risky free time activities is consistent with typical risk attitudes that apply to other decision making.

        Very true! Risk perception is mediated by hormonal/emotional states, and the overall perceived value applies to the entire experience: the risk isn’t calculated separately. Extreme examples of this are often called adrenaline junkies.

      • “All the models have actually been chosen more based on practical reasons (they have some nice analytical properties and they allow for deriving some quantitative results) rather than understanding that supports their validity. Using such models may still be the best we can do, but we should be aware of the great arbitrariness that’s always involved in such calculations.”

        Fair enough. It has limitations, although it might be the best we can do. In any case, even though there is large uncertainty about the coefficient of relative risk aversion (and whether or not it is constant), pretty much all estimates are closer to 1 than they are to 0 or infinity. Which suggests a logarithmic utility function yields something closer to the truth than either a simple cost-benefit analysis or application of the precautionary principle. The logarithmic utility function has nice analytical properties, so it makes calculations easier.

      • Pipi,

        Thank you . Your comments here have given me a much better understanding of this critically important input to the IAMs, to estimates of SCC and optimal carbon price.

        Pekka Pirila,

        What coefficient of relative risk aversion value do you think should be used in IAMs like DICE if not 1?

      • “Is it possible to estimate the consumption per person for the whole world?”

        Peter, are you thinking in terms of aggregates, as in GDP? If so, nominal GDP would not equate well to differences in consumption in richer and poorer countries, I think you’ld need to use purchasing power data. The differing quality of both economic and population data might mean that any resultant figure would have significant margins of error.

        I haven’t followed the whole exchange, so can’t add to that. Faustino

      • Faustino, you asked

        “Peter, are you thinking in terms of aggregates, as in GDP?”

        I was referring to Pipi’s comment here: https://judithcurry.com/2015/07/15/decision-strategies-for-uncertain-complex-situations/#comment-718964. Pipi said:

        The one I suggest takes sum of the utility of each individual’s consumption, where as the Nordhaus social welfare function takes the utility of the average level of consumption and multiplies it by the number of people.

        My questions was so I could understand whether or not Pipi’s method can be applied in practice -i.e., is the required data available to allow “sum of the utility of each individual’s consumption” to be estimated?

    • Hi Pipi, how might one compensate for, or even formally isolate / recognize, systemic cultural bias in the chain of calculations for risk and relative costs? Especially when academia and governments themselves, and hence many of the bodies involved in the calculations, may be heavily influenced by a climate culture that stresses a certainty of imminent danger (on decadal timescales). In some cases dangers that do not even appear to be supported by the IPCC technical papers, let alone anything more climate skeptical. For instance the link you give regarding the evolutionary origin of risk aversion quite rightly states: ‘However, our results also highlight the potential dangers of sustained government intervention, which can become a source of systematic risk in its own right.’ How do we know that the chain of calculations is not systemically biased in favor of one risk (ACO2), which could then de-emphasize other and potentially greater risks, or at the least seriously skew perception of the relative costs?

      • Steve Mosher writes- “There was a science debate. it was settled. But today there is no real science debate on climate change.”

        Is there a not scientific debate about CO2 sensitivity as a function of warming and what climatic conditions will change where (and when) as a result???

      • I hope I’m not misinterpreting you, but I’ll assume that you are referring to the bias in the literature that overemphasizes the costs of climate change and overlooks the benefits. I think doing a Richardian approach to estimate the impacts of climate change is a good way of doing this since it is simple, doesn’t require a giant meta-analysis, and directly yields the climate impacts (basically, you have climate variables in your production function, try to estimate the production function based on empirical data and then use climate predictions to estimate the impacts of climate change on production).

      • “but I’ll assume that you are referring to the bias in the literature that overemphasizes the costs of climate change and overlooks the benefits. ”

        Although I agree with your basic point, I was trying to show that:

        1. Steve Mosher’s point that “the science debate is settled” is factually incorrect. Several large scientific debates continue.
        a. Regarding the sensitivity of the planet to warming from additional CO2
        b. Regarding as a result of any warming that does occur, how the climate will change (positively and negatively), where these changes are likely to occur, and when they are likely to occur.

        Until there is an accurate enough understanding of point “a” it is close to impossible to have any type of useful/reliable analysis per point “b”. If you do not have reliable information to determine that something is harmful but you do know that it also has tangible benefits, there will be very limited support to do much if it costs much. (correctly so imo)

      • My larger point is that the points “a” & “b” were always the basic issues of scientific interest and some seem to have decided for political policies reasons that they will declare that the scientific debate is over and we know the right policy path for the planet.

      • I think doing a Richardian approach […]

        I think the best thing to do is go through all of “economic theory” looking for any trace of “Richardiananything and throw it out and start over.

      • “I think the best thing to do is go through all of “economic theory” looking for any trace of “Richardian” anything and throw it out and start over.”

        Call it ‘have climate variables in the production function approach’ if you prefer.

      • @-1=e^iπ…

        Call it ‘have climate variables in the production function approach’ if you prefer.

        Wow! I looked at Wiki’s article on Classical theory of growth and stagnation and realized that Adam Smith’s work is more obsolete than I thought. I’ve always respected his work, because it took account of the interests of nation-states in ways that Marx, for instance, didn’t. But I never fooled myself that he understood things that require modern non-linear dynamics to evaluate.

        Anyway, all three of the theorists Wiki mentions: Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Thomas Malthus, were working from a completely (now) obsolete model of technology and its growth and effect on economic growth.

        IMO the entire “production function” should be thrown out and re-evaluated.

        First, the idea that “value” is determined by primarily by labor is, IMO, wrong. The actual production of “value” is primarily determined by management. Good management produces far more value than bad. Thus, any good analysis of how “Capitalism” has produced the modern world should involve something we might reasonably call the “management theory of value”. (This point can be applied to agriculture by splitting the individual farmer’s activity into both labor and (self-)management. The farmer manages his own, and his assistants’, labor. Good farmers succeed, bad fail.)

        Second, per Wiki:

        Most classical economists believe that the main constraint to technological progress is Capital Accumulation. According to them, technological progress could not be assumed to be completely independent factor. In their opinion, technological progress is a capital absorbing and therefore, capital accumulation is a pre-requisite for a steady advance of technology. For this Capital Accumulation they stressed on savings and Investment as a primary factor.[5] Putting this in equation form,

        S = S(I)………..(2)

        Obviously, when national (or other polity) governments invest in research (&development), this simplistic approach becomes invalid.

        At this point, the importance of proper management of national (or other polities’) subsidy of R&D becomes crucial. Plugging any sort of “production function” that doesn’t take account of all the above into an equation is an almost classic case of “Garbage in: Garbage out”.

        IMO.

      • -1=e^iπ | July 19, 2015 at 1:49 pm

        I know very little about economic theory; maybe a Ricardian approach compensates for systemic bias in the cost / benefit analysis stage itself. But if you are plugging ‘climate variables’ and ‘climate predictions’ into your production function, I don’t see how there is any compensation for systemic bias in the earlier process that produced those variables and predictions. Given that understanding the climate system (with or without ACO2) is a wicked problem upon which our progress to date appears modest, there is plenty of room for systemic bias to occur. And plenty of evidence from social and psychology theory that cultural and emotional bias is endemic in orthodox climate science. This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t do a risk analysis, but it does mean that the quality (inclusive of the true nature of uncertainties) of the climate prediction and attribution data etc is key. If this input data suffers from systemic bias, presumably the whole risk analysis cannot be anything but seriously skewed?

        Plugging in uncertain variables, even highly uncertain, about a complex system is part of the game of risk analysis, and that seems fine. Plugging in uncertain yet systemically biased variables about a complex system, would surely break the game?

      • @ AndyWest –

        If you have biased inputs of climate sensitivity, then this will bias your result for determining the best policy. So making sure you have a good pdf for climate sensitivity is important.

        @ AK –

        Maybe I shouldn’t have called it a Ricardian approach since now you are dwelling on the flaws of Classical Economics. I called it a Ricardian approach, because that has been used in the literature (https://ideas.repec.org/p/cwl/cwldpp/1010.html) to describe similar methods.

        Basically, you want to explain why different places on Earth have different levels of economic output. So using empirical data, you want to try to estimate the effect on economic output due to climate, physical capital, human capital, technology, demographics, population density, etc. (anything that you think is relevant, throw it in as an explanatory factor). Given that many different explanatory factors are roughly log-linear with GDP per capita, this makes estimating the impact of climate on social welfare relatively easy with a logarithmic utility function.

      • @-1=e^iπ…

        I called it a Ricardian approach, because that has been used in the literature (https://ideas.repec.org/p/cwl/cwldpp/1010.html) to describe similar methods.

        The article you linked is only concerned with agricultural productivity. Typical of Ricardo, who didn’t really understand the Industrial Revolution, much less technology and its effect on same.

        Basically, you want to explain why different places on Earth have different levels of economic output. So using empirical data, you want to try to estimate the effect on economic output due to climate, physical capital, human capital, technology, demographics, population density, etc. (anything that you think is relevant, throw it in as an explanatory factor).

        Color me skeptical. In fact, very very skeptical. The approach you’re outlining includes some highly unwarranted assumptions.

        What about the effect of climate and other geography on political factors? What about the fact that the Industrial Revolution was invented in a cool-temperate climate, and its spread to other climates may have been delayed or otherwise impacted due to climate-mediated cultural differences? (An example might be the full work-day, unbroken by the “siesta” common in Mediterranean climates.)

        Given that many different explanatory factors are roughly log-linear with GDP per capita, this makes estimating the impact of climate on social welfare relatively easy with a logarithmic utility function.

        Relatively easy but likely incorrect. How do you justify your assumption that it is correct, other than argument by flawed analogy?

      • “The article you linked is only concerned with agricultural productivity.”

        Yes. One merely needs to change the dependent variable to GDP per capita and add more explanatory variables.

        “What about the effect of climate and other geography on political factors? (An example might be the full work-day, unbroken by the “siesta” common in Mediterranean climates.)”

        If climate affects political or cultural factors, which in turn affect economic output, then if you try to explain differences in economic output across the globe and you have climate variables as explanatory factors, then the indirect affects will show up in the estimates of the impacts of climate on economic output.

        “Relatively easy but likely incorrect.”

        Probably, but what is a better alternative?

    • David Wojick

      I do not see how this theoretical treatment deals with the fundamental uncertainty, which is whether or not human emissions have any effect on climate. You seem to be assuming CAGW, which is very wrong to do.

      • There’s a huge difference between assuming CAGW and assuming a possibility (perhaps small) of CAGW. The latter is enough to justify a risk analysis.

      • David Wojick

        It is not enough to justify a carbon tax. Is the nature of this so-called risk analysis a hypothetical of the form “if CAGW then this is the appropriate tax”? If so the who cares, because the fundamental uncertainty makes it moot. But Tol is cited and his IAM is used in the absurd 300 year SCC computation. Are we now in that fantasy realm of risk analysis?

        The assumption that everyone has the same utility function seems very strange to me, but then I do not know what a utility function is. How does the fact that some people want serious action while others think not play into the utility function aspect of the model? How is bipolarity of belief handled?

      • David Wojick

        Pekka, if the risk is negligible how does the analysis handle this?

      • As I stated already the logic is not of the form if CAGW then this is the appropriate tax, but rather of the form:

        It’s not possible to tell now what the actual damage from AGW will be, but the risk of serious damage is real enough for being taken seriously. Because it may, due to the dynamics of the changes, be too late to act, when we know much more, we should immediately decide to …

        (What the ellipsis refer to in the above varies from analysis to analysis.)

        The analysis must at some level include estimating likelihoods of various outcomes. Different people, who have attempted such analysis have estimated these inputs differently, but in all cases that I know about have concluded that the risks are not negligible, and that some significant action is justified. On more quantitative level the conclusions may, however, differ strongly.

        People, who tell that no action is justified have in no case that I know about done any proper risk analysis.

        To me the logic of the approach is clear, the final policy conclusions much less so, because even agreeing that something should be done does not tell, what that something is.

      • David Wojick

        In other words, Pekka, the analysis assumes that the risk is not negligible, to the (great) extent that serious action is justified. Whether that is true or not is precisely the issue in the climate debate. Thus this analysis is one sided and therefore worthless.

      • ==> “You seem to be assuming CAGW, which is very wrong to do.”

        It is very wrong is to assume that discussing policy options to address low probability high damage function risk over long time horizons.is an assumption of CAGW.

      • > It is not enough to justify a carbon tax

        What would be enough?.

      • What would be enough?

        Nothing.

      • > if the risk is negligible how does the analysis handle this?

        The CAGW meme assumes that the risk is negligible.

      • Very good comments here, Pekka. I am an advocate of using DA/RA even in the light of limitations, perhaps the biggest being the impatience wired into humans. But that is precisely why we need those sorts of tools isn’t it? Early in this post Peter Davies referenced Kahneman’s ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’…on target.

      • There is nothing as difficult to persuade as an impatient Vulcan. :O)

      • Making decisions under (deep) uncertainty is familiar to political decision makers, but their experience on that is really useful only as long as the issues are similar enough to earlier cases that have developed their intuition. When the nature of uncertainties is different, and when the time horizon is too long for anybody to have experience from both the decisions and the consequences all the problems of intuition that Kahneman discusses start to dominate. Under such conditions explicit (systems) analysis is needed to set various arguments even roughly on the same scale.

        One of the best known examples of that approach is presented by William Nordhaus in his books (the most recent one The Climate Casino is written for a wider audience, the earlier A Question of Balance contains more technical details). Reading critically these books reveals – unfortunately – that it’s not possible to avoid subjective choices that affect strongly the outcome. Comparing with the work of others (Chris Hope, Richard Tol, ..) tells that different scientists disagree also on further points not discussed fully by one author.

        All these scientists agree on some very basic points, including the need of such analysis, but the range of quantitative conclusions remains really wide. When we add to that the lacking understanding of the consequences of alternative policy options we cannot conclude that systems analysis can presently give much concrete advice for policy – even if it probably can tell more than any other existing approach can.

      • David Wojick

        Joshua, there are no policy options to address low (to no) probability, high damage risks, because there number is legion.

      • David Wojick

        Pekka, the political decision system (also known as democracy) does not operate on the basis of systems analysis, or theoretical economic models, or probabilistic risk assessments. Whatever decision model you choose to use must include the fact that roughly half the people do not believe there is a problem. That is your starting point.

      • David,

        Political decision system is free to choose the extent it’s basing the decisions on analysis. If the issue is such that intuition and other sources of information cannot tell much, analysis should have more influence, but the arguments that analysis should have more influence get easily ignored.

      • > Whatever decision model you choose to use must include the fact that roughly half the people do not believe there is a problem.

        So we go from “but uncertainty” to “but CAGW” to “we won, you lost, get over it”.

        Three nodes.

      • David Wojick

        No Pekka, I am saying that decision analysis should not take a side in the debate. A proper DA will start with the fact that the existence of a problem is debatable, because it is being debated.

        Willard, you are being unrealistic (to put it politely). You clearly have no concept as to what an issue tree node looks like.

      • What I’m discussing is systems analysis of a techno-economic(-ecologic) system. Such an analysis produces quantitative results that the decision makers may use as supporting input in their decision making process.

        Your argument is totally irrelevant in that connection.

      • David Wojick

        No Pekka, you are discussing a systems analysis that assumes a position in a scientific debate. This renders the conclusion hypothetical, as I said originally.

      • Steven Mosher

        “No Pekka, I am saying that decision analysis should not take a side in the debate. A proper DA will start with the fact that the existence of a problem is debatable, because it is being debated.”

        We can debate that man landed on the moon. that doesnt make it debatable. Nothing follows LOGICALLY from the mere existence of disagreement between humans.

      • Steven Mosher

        “fundamental uncertainty, which is whether or not human emissions have any effect on climate. ”

        The notion that c02 would have NO EFFECT whatsoever is just academic skepticism. That would entail that you could remove all the c02 and have zero effect or drive concentrations through the roof and have zero effect.

      • Steven Mosher

        “There’s a huge difference between assuming CAGW and assuming a possibility (perhaps small) of CAGW. The latter is enough to justify a risk analysis.”

        Yes U dont need to assume CAGW to justify a risk analysis.

      • > You clearly have no concept as to what an issue tree node looks like.

        Here’s where we find tree nodes, DavidW:

        In computer science, a tree is a widely used abstract data type (ADT) or data structure implementing this ADT that simulates a hierarchical tree structure, with a root value and subtrees of children with a parent node, represented as a set of linked nodes.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_(data_structure)

        For issues, start here:

        http://www.jstor.org/stable/23961030

        A PhD from decades ago does not a logician make, DavidW.

        Welcome to the Internet.

      • David Wojick

        Unlike the moon landing, the climate change debate is real. False analogies are bogus arguments. As for “justify a risk analysis” I do not know what is being claimed, except that the risk is worth acting on, which claim I deny, as do many others.

      • > you are discussing a systems analysis that assumes a position in a scientific debate.

        What position would that be?

        Which scientific debate?

        ***

        > This renders the conclusion hypothetical, as I said originally.

        Now assuming a position makes a conclusion hypothetical.

        This is becoming ludicrous.

      • David,

        You may consider analysis that can only describe debate, not influence if. From the (possible) fact that your method cannot help in decision making does not follow that others have not been capable of developing more useful methods.

      • > As for “justify a risk analysis” I do not know what is being claimed, except that the risk is worth acting on [0], which claim I deny [1], as do many others [2].

        [0] At least DavidW gets that part right.

        [1] No need for any stinkin’ analysis to deny anything.

        [2] Join the bandwagon!

      • Steven Mosher

        “Unlike the moon landing, the climate change debate is real. ”

        Your claim was that the climate was in fact debated, therefore it was debateable.

        But, I dont see the climate debate as being real in any sense but one.
        There was a science debate. it was settled. But today there is no real science debate on climate change.

        There are people who think they are debating, just as there are people who disbelieve evolution and the moon landing

      • David

        Human emissions virtually must have an impact, the issue is quantifying the impact and then determining what to do in response.

        Joshua writes:
        “It is very wrong is to assume that discussing policy options to address low probability high damage function risk over long time horizons is an assumption of CAGW.”

        My response- I agree. It also seems very wrong to assume that implementation of CO2 mitigation activities will reduce the probability of high damage function risks over time.

      • Steven Mosher

        the silly thin willard is that david doesnt even know that trees can be represented in a structurally different way. In fact they have to be when implemented on a computer.

        issue and representation..

      • > Unlike the moon landing, the climate change debate is real.

        False:

        Was the 1969 moon landing faked?

        […]

        41% Say No

        http://www.debate.org/opinions/was-the-1969-moon-landing-faked?ysort=2&nsort=5

        That’s almost as much as the number of people DavidW claims disbelieve some undefined node regarding AGW.

      • Steven Mosher

        “When we add to that the lacking understanding of the consequences of alternative policy options we cannot conclude that systems analysis can presently give much concrete advice for policy – even if it probably can tell more than any other existing approach can.”

        My sense is that the best SA is going to give you is options that are ruled OUT.

      • “I do not see how this theoretical treatment deals with the fundamental uncertainty, which is whether or not human emissions have any effect on climate.”

        I suggest maximizing the expected value of social welfare. So if for example there is a 50% chance of 0 ECS and a 50% chance of 3 C ECS, then your expected value is 0.5 times the social welfare at 0 ECS plus 0.5 times the social welfare at 3 C ECS.

        “The assumption that everyone has the same utility function seems very strange to me”

        It’s a simplifying assumption used that makes the social welfare function relatively easy to estimate and optimize. If you want to justify a more complicated functional form, I’m open to that, but I follow Occam’s Razor in that if there is no good reason to overcomplicate the model, then it makes no sense to do so.

      • The basic straw man we can see in this subthread pretty much sums of one side of the identity-related behaviors that characterize most of the discussions in these threads:

        If someone disagrees with the “skeptical” position, they are labeled as “assuming CAGW.”

        Saying that the consideration should be given to addressing the risk of ACO2 emissions is branded as “alarmist.”

        The other side, of course, goes something like: If someone disagrees with the “realist” position, they are “denying AGW.”

        It’s interesting how the same two basic fallacious arguments can assume so many forms.

        But it isn’t surprising if you think of just how difficult it is for people to address decision-making in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty – particularly in contexts that become politically polarized, particularly within long-term time frames.

        Instead of tackling the real issues at hand, people seek ways to fit what they see into familiar and self-reinforcing patterns.

      • Steven,

        The power of SA in helping to choose between climate policy options is, indeed, very limited, but even very limited power is significant when other approaches are even less informative on that question.

        My preference is to make the SA as simple and transparent as possible even if that requires excluding some factors from the consideration. That means probably that very long term effects must be handled in some indirect way, because a direct calculation of the net present value of those effects is likely to be too dependent on really uncertain guesses and choices.

      • …even very limited power is significant when other approaches are even less informative on that question.

        My preference is to make the SA as simple and transparent as possible even if that requires excluding some factors from the consideration. That means probably that very long term effects must be handled in some indirect way, because a direct calculation of the net present value of those effects is likely to be too dependent on really uncertain guesses and choices.

        OK, folks. Listen to Pekka. Reread Pekka. He is getting near the core of the matter. And remember that there are no guarantees and never were.

      • David Wojick

        Mosher, you say : “The notion that c02 would have NO EFFECT whatsoever is just academic skepticism.”

        First of all we are talking about increasing CO2, which may well have no effect, due to negative feedbacks and/or natural variability. It seems to have had no effect for the last two decades. Second, it might have a beneficial effect, which is the lukewarmer position. In either case a risk analysis is mistaken, as there is no risk.

        The case in question claims to derive a carbon tax of $22/ton which implies a great deal of risk indeed. Thus the analysis is either hypothetical or it prejudges the debate.

        Willard: you might want to at least glance at my issue analysis textbook.
        http://www.stemed.info/reports/Wojick_Issue_Analysis_txt.pdf. I discovered the issue tree and then studied it for many years, so I know what it looks like. You apparently do not.

        Note that the issue tree diagram is rather different from the pre-existing issue tree, which occurs whenever we speak or write, because one will take various simplifying measures when drawing the diagram, depending on the case. Here is an example from an auto loan note that actually goes into the sentences. Many of the nodes are not sentences, although they could be.
        http://www.stemed.info/Repo_Tree.pdf

      • David Wojick

        Euler-pie, you say “I suggest maximizing the expected value of social welfare. So if for example there is a 50% chance of 0 ECS and a 50% chance of 3 C ECS, then your expected value is 0.5 times the social welfare at 0 ECS plus 0.5 times the social welfare at 3 C ECS.”

        The problem is that there are no such objective probabilities. There may be subjective probabilities but they vary widely depending on one’s place in the debate. For example, people who do not believe humans are changing the climate, like me and many others, give a zero probability to the occurrence of a 3 C ECS being caused by human emissions. How do you factor that into your model.

      • My sense is that the best SA is going to give you is options that are ruled OUT.

        Garbage in, garbage out.

        AFAIK all SA can do is provide relative benefit/cost ratios of already defined options, based on a number of assumptions. The most egregious one, usually tacit, being that the options on the table are all there are.

        Maybe you need more options? Maybe you need to do a search for more options? Maybe you need to go back an examine all your assumptions, looking for some that are unwarranted? Especially tacit assumptions nobody made explicit, so nobody thought to question?

      • AK,

        Policy choices must also be made by choosing one of the defined options.

        If SA results are used as essential input to the decision making process, they must be up-to-date. Options that are more difficult to analyze should not be dismissed for that reason alone. A properly done SA does not restrict the freedom of choice. (All tools can be misused, and that applies to SA as well.)

      • Policy choices must also be made by choosing one of the defined options.

        No, Pekka, they don’t have to be. Policymakers have the option of telling the people presenting options: go back and find more options. I’ve seen it happen. Granted, this was in a for-profit company. But still…

      • AK,

        Of course they can during the process, and they can make requests to the people doing the SA. At the moment decisions are made the alternative chosen must be well defined to the extent the decision is final.

      • At the moment decisions are made […]

        Which moment was that again? Last I looked, the only real decision that had been made was not to decide. Not in any firm way. But since they weren’t willing to admit they weren’t deciding, they couldn’t even demand more options. Thus, no real action.

      • > [Y]ou might want to at least glance at my issue analysis textbook.

        Semantic networks are things of the past, DavidW. Try description logics instead:

        From their humble origins in the late 1970’s as a remedy for logical and semantic problems in frame and semantic network representations, Description Logics have grown to be a unique and important keystone in the history of Knowledge Representation. DL formalisms certainly evoked interest in their earliest days, with the invention and application of the Kl-One system, but international attention and research was given a significant boost in 1984 when Brachman and Levesque used the simple and intuitive structure of Description Logics as the basis for their observation about the tradeoff between knowledge representation language expressiveness and computational complexity of reasoning. The way Description Logics were able to separate out the structure of concepts and roles into simple term-forming operators opened the door to extensive analysis of a broad family of languages. One could add and subtract these operators from the language and explore both the computational ramifications and the relationship of the resulting language to other formal languages in Computer Science, such as modal logics and data models for database systems. As a result, the family of Description Logic languages is probably the most thoroughly understood set of formalisms in all of knowledge representation. The computational space has been thoroughly mapped out, and a wide variety of systems have been built, testing out different styles of inference computation and being used in many applications

        http://www.inf.unibz.it/~franconi/dl/course/dlhb/dlhb-01.pdf

        Just like your K-12 program, your posturing self-seals itself into spurious armwaving on intractability. Start here to see how false you can be:

        http://www.inf.unibz.it/~franconi/dl/course/

      • Semantic networks are things of the past, DavidW

        If an approach informs it has a potential value. I do not jump at “…are things of the past” dismissals. All models are wrong, somewhere, sometime.

      • “The problem is that there are no such objective probabilities.”

        You can get reasonably objective pdfs of ECS based on empirical data. Nick Lewis does a good job at doing this (although effective climate sensitivity is likely smaller than equilibrium climate sensitivity). Personally I like the approach by Van Hateren.

        “like me and many others, give a zero probability to the occurrence of a 3 C ECS being caused by human emissions.”

        Well given that your position is completely inconsistent with the empirical data and would greatly question our basic understanding of physics, such as conservation of energy, I would not put weight on your position.

        “The case in question claims to derive a carbon tax of $22/ton which implies a great deal of risk indeed.”

        That’s a really rough estimate. Although I have tried to roughly quantify the benefit of the CO2 fertilization effect (by looking at the increase in crop yields for C3 and C4 plants and the percentage of global GDP in agriculture), which came out to ~$7/ton. Though don’t put much weight on my numbers because the methodology is very crude.

      • > I do not jump at “…are things of the past” dismissals.

        Don’t then.

        I expect your next comments written in Old English and Roman numbers.

      • David Wojick

        Euler pie (since you give us no name),

        You say “Well given that your position is completely inconsistent with the empirical data and would greatly question our basic understanding of physics, such as conservation of energy, I would not put weight on your position.”

        You are merely asserting the consensus movement position as fact, which it is not.

      • richardswarthout

        Mosher

        “There was a science debate. it was settled. But today there is no real science debate on climate change.”

        The debate that was settled; was it related to the shuning of Dr Christy’s opinions at the IPCC?

        Richard

      • Rob –

        =>> “It also seems very wrong to assume that implementation of CO2 mitigation activities will reduce the probability of high damage function risks over time.”

        And I agree with that, also.

        It’s always informative, in these discussions, what people assume, and what people assume that other people assume.

      • David –

        ==> “Joshua, there are no policy options to address low (to no) probability, high damage risks, because there number is legion.”

        ???

        Home fire insurance. Airport screening. Burglar alarms. Star wars defense initiative. Medical tests. Vaccines.

        People consider the wisdom of such policy options as a matter of daily life.

  22. I used the J-word. Does that get me into moderation? LOL

  23. human1ty1st

    Look I dont know the relevance to this discussion but I heard this on a podcast on a long car trip yesterday and it made everybody chortle. It seems in part relevant.

    It came from a BBC radio podcast call “More or Less”, a pop. sci show about the use and mis-use of stats. The programme was discussing some claims made around the Millenial Development Goals. The one of interest comes around 18:18 when they are discussing goal 7 about access to clean drinking water. A UN report in 2012 had announced that the goal had been reached to halve the number of people with no access to clean water. As the reporter says page 3 of the 60 page document contained the major caveat that it is likely the number of people using clean water has been over-estimated.The bizarre and funny part comes when the reporter interviews a spokesperson for WHO (they collected the data). Paraphasing he says
    1) Its true the target may not have been met.
    2) Given for years theyve been report an improvement they couldnt suddenly start saying it might not be true
    3) “its absolutely true its (the report) not entirely true …… but we should not diminish the enormous effort thats gone into it”

    And as the report continues the UN continues to report the goal has been met.

    Clearly a worthy goal, clearly an effort worth applauding but not worth misrepresenting the data for the sake of a good news story.

    I think its all worth a listen
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02vmb62

  24. Judith,

    DO finish that draft on climate and decision-making process. We need it.

    Having worked for part of my career as a geological consultant to the petroleum industry, I have been exposed earlier to decision theory in making and implementing recommendations. A probablistic approach was key to good outcomes.

    George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

  25. I searched this post, then I searched the presentation. I found no instances of “critical path”.

    I’ve made my share of decisions, under extreme time crunch, such as when a failed system had to be analysed so a business decision could be made whether to back out a whole week-end’s software installs (including dozens of other projects besides the failed one), or commit to going forward with the failed install and fix the specific items that had failed, and correct the data.

    The entire process included research, testing, a continual decision-making process where to commit available resources next, all under a time crunch.

    I see key parallels here. Especially given the “urgency” that, AFAIK, derives entirely from the notion that once the fossil carbon has been put into the air/system, it’s a difficult and/or expensive proposition to get it out again.

    It would seem to me that research into that issue is at the front of the critical path. Is that assumption warranted? An analysis of the USNavy’s CO2 capture methodology says this:

    Not everyone has the Navy’s interest in manufacturing at sea. What if the process were operated from a land based site? The largest capital component in the Navy costing is the floating platform, which adds a huge $650m to a 200 MWe power plant. If the platform cost were taken out, the fuel cost drops to a bargain basement $0.79 per litre, and the carbon capture cost drops to $37 per tonne!

    This appears to be based on using a land-based nuclear reactor for the energy, and current technology for all capitalized components.

    How far could the cost be brought down by economies of scale, and learning curve, if a very large market could be established to drive the process?

    Seems to me, this is research that’s in front of the critical path, as the answers to this and related questions could be strong drivers regarding further decisions.

    • I see the continued release of c02 to be critical path.
      and it puts carbon capture at the top of the “fund this research” list

      • I can’t tell if we’re getting to the same answer by different paths, or just saying the same thing different ways. But when it comes to making decisions about how severely to attack actual emissions, the more we know about how much it’ll cost to remediate (capture ambient CO2), the better position we’re in to make those decisions.

        Therefore, carbon capture R&D should be funded while the debate is going on about other options. We’ll probably need it no matter what, and if we quickly establish that it’ll be cheap and easy, more sever options will come off the table.

      • richardswarthout

        Given that this thread is about decision making under conditions of uncertainty and complexity, shouldn’t a key first step be a push to reduce the uncertainty? Dr Curry has, recently, stated that little has been done in the last few years to understand cloud dynamics. Why?

        Richard

      • Steven Mosher,

        You may be referring to “critical path analysis”.

        If you are, you may not know what you are talking about. I may be wrong, in which case you may care to provide a properly researched and documented critical path analysis including “continued release of CO2” as a network node.

        Or are you just wildly guessing?

      • Steven Mosher

        “You may be referring to “critical path analysis”.”

        Nope.

        Your prediction is wrong. try again

      • Steven Mosher

        “I can’t tell if we’re getting to the same answer by different paths, or just saying the same thing different ways. But when it comes to making decisions about how severely to attack actual emissions, the more we know about how much it’ll cost to remediate (capture ambient CO2), the better position we’re in to make those decisions.”

        yup

      • Steven Mosher,

        No prediction, merely a question. I’m not sure what you think I need to “try again”, so I will try to get an answer to your apparent incomprehensible statement. Maybe your comprehension of the English language is not very good.

        You wrote –

        “I see the continued release of c02 to be critical path.” It’s no wonder you abandoned your PhD degree – if indeed you ever attempted one.

        Could you let me know what your proposed area of research was, and which educational establishment accepted your PhD application, if any.

        I normally trust people’s academic claims, but in your case, I am wondering whether you are claiming achievements you don’t actually have, in an endeavour to appear superior and scientific.

        It might help to clear the air.

      • @Mike Flynn…

        My own observations, admittedly anecdotal, would suggest a low correlation between PhD’s and understanding Critical Path Analysis. MBA’s now…

        Perhaps you have a citation for your (tacitly assumed) high correlation?

    • iiequalsexpipi

      Wow, $37/tonne, that is quite cheap. If you factor in the discount rate, the cost of carbon capture starts to become comparable to the social cost of carbon dioxide emissions.

    • AK, that’s a critical path to get to a gadget. The critical path depends on what one wants to do. In this case we may not wish to specify ANY gadgets. In this cases the critical path may involve soft items like achieving cohesion and setting up very broad common objectives.

      • Actually, Fernando, I used critical path analysis as part of finding software issues in a full core business system (mortgage processing for a 600,000 loan portfolio). Sometimes, including the case I referenced, the decision whether to back out a coordinated install (with associated and long-planned business changes dependent on it), or fix and go forwards depended on the severity of the software failure.

        Since the failure had made it through testing undiscovered, this usually required a good deal of code review and special-case testing. Which tests to run when, which modules to review for failures first, all worked into a decision tree where a combination of dependencies and probabilities (that one or more failing components would be found where I was looking) determined the time required.

        A military equivalent might be a reconnaissance in force over complicated terrain, under a time constraint to bring the enemy to battle.

        The parallel with the fossil-carbon issue is that there’s much about the risk, and the cost of mitigating it (risk not CO2), that we don’t know, and thus don’t know the urgency.

        Finding the critical path means, among other things, finding the paths through research tasks and decisions, many of the latter depending on the former. In this case, one of the key sources of urgency is the notion that once the CO2 is put into the air/system, it will take a long time to leave.

        Research, development, and market maturation for technology to invalidate this notion, if successful, would allow a longer time for transition to “carbon-neutral” energy, without producing the long-term risk from lingering CO2. This, in turn, would reduce the urgency, especially to make decisions around near-term coal power.

        There’s probably other research that should be undertaken on a similarly urgent basis, that could be identified through examining the critical path leading to actual policy decisions: what information is needed before each decision can (reasonably) be made? What actions can be taken as a result of each decision? What research can only be undertaken once specific actions are taken? etc.

  26. Judith Collect up the essay “the secret to victory” by a fellow little known then outside military circles G. S. Patton. A fun read and cuts right through this “systems analysis” junk pretty decisively.

  27. In many cases we might be better off with no decisions.
    Often (as in climate) the decisions are based on self invented problems, with self invented immidiate needed solutions.
    A good approach is to wait a bit, and see what really is happening.
    No matter what happens with the climate, it will happen over a very long time, longer that any politician live.

    • +100

      There are indeed many times when it is better to not make a poorly informed decision, in fact a “no decision” is just a valid outcome as any other in a decision making process. There are occasions when that is distinctly different than a yes or a no answer.

      Tad.

    • Steven Mosher

      we are making a decision to put C02 into the air.
      U are always making a decision.
      there is no “no decision” path

      • “We” made a decision 18 years (&9.5 days) ago: dump Kyoto.

      • Your logic only holds true if you frame the question in terms of “not significantly changing course” means doing nothing and that is highly debatable. There are a lot of things improving, things like LED lights, so perhaps it is not fast enough for you, but it is not nothing. Whilst you might be certain of your facts and your logic, there are many of us that would like more evidence. And the urgency to make a decision now, versus 6 months from now, versus a year from now, and how much we need to reduce has absolutely not been agreed. Further, I have never seen a meaningful proposal that does more than “slightly reduce the rate of ‘spewing co2’ into the atmosphere”. How does slightly reducing the rate (akin to a Washington DC spending cut – aka reducing the rate not actually reducing anything) actually solve our problem with climate change? In the face of pure speculation versus a fairly well established economic cost of such policies, it is a hard sell for the common everyday folks that would bear the brunt.

        As this article originally suggests, I think it would be useful to examine the solutions that you propose, Steve. Exactly how much of a cut in the rate of growth do you propose and what evidence do you have that would suggest that cut would be effective in solving the problem?

        I am truly interested, because most of the time all I hear is “we have to do something!!!!!” with no evidence that it will solve the problem or is even likely to do so. I am an engineer, so “doing something” that doesn’t lead to a solution doesn’t have much value.

        T.

      • Steven Mosher

        Tad

        “. Whilst you might be certain of your facts and your logic, there are many of us that would like more evidence. ”

        That is universally true about any decision. There will always be people who want more evidence. The fact is you dont get to set the rules about
        how much evidence is required. Policy makers decide.

        Look at the Figures Judith provided.

        see analysis paralysis? that is what you want
        See Power play “just do it” That is what is happening.

        Right now power play is winning.

        Analysis paralysis, the skeptics approach, is losing

        Suggest you try a different approach

      • Steven Mosher

        Tad

        “As this article originally suggests, I think it would be useful to examine the solutions that you propose, Steve. ”

        The article suggests a process.

      • Steven Mosher,

        Policy makers can decide anything they like. Nature doesn’t care. She has her own set of laws, and you ignore them at your peril.

        We are part of Nature, no more and no less than the smallest microbe.

        Good luck with trying to bend Nature to your will. As with entropy, you might engineer a temporary reversal of the natural order, but it probably won’t last. We need more CO2, that much is clear. Nature has provided the means, in the form of fossil fuels. We can decide to help ourselves, or, in our hubris, believe we can do quite nicely without CO2, because Steven Mosher has looked into the future.

        Me, I’m not quite so sure. Nature has been around for four and a half billion years. I think I’ll just go along with Nature, while you do a little more science. Real science, not playing with computers and historical records of dubious veracity.

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | July 15, 2015 at 9:38 pm | Reply

        “we are making a decision to put C02 into the air”

        Wrong. A decision is a conscious action. When my air conditioner kicks on or I drive to the store the thought never crosses my mind that I’m putting CO2 in the air.

        While it’s possible that every jot of energy YOU use involves clutching your purse and thinking “I’m putting CO2 in the air” it’s safe to say that most people don’t give it any consideration at all.

      • David Springer

        Actually the skeptics are winning handily. The US pays little more than lip service to CO2 “pollution”. No carbon tax. No cap & trade. The only acts the US takes with any significant cost to the public are ones that make economic sense regardless. Frack baby frack. Natural gas is the cheapest way to generate electricity. Drill baby drill. Gasoline and diesel are the most cost effective means for transportation.

        Sometimes I wonder if you live on the same planet that I do, Mosher. I’m certain at this point we don’t speak the same language.

      • David Springer

        “Exactly how much of a cut in the rate of growth do you propose and what evidence do you have that would suggest that cut would be effective in solving the problem?”

        That’s exactly what an engineer would say. Mosher is a wordsmith at best and not a very good one at that. He won’t respond in any meaningful way to the question you posed. None of the warmists (luke or otherwise) will because they know the facts weigh heavily against them. No feasible reduction in CO2 emission will make any significant difference at all in so-called “climate change”. That’s an excuse used to drive a general anti-humanist agenda held largely by academics, misguided college students, and people with anxiety issues needing to take up cause that makes them feel like they’re doing something good. They should try working at a soup kitchen instead or providing foster care for lost dogs instead of being a bunch of holier than though assh0les acting out in counterproductive ways.

      • Mosher,

        “Right now power play is winning.

        Analysis paralysis, the skeptics approach, is losing”

        Wrong!

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/17/despite-the-urgency-of-paris-a-u-n-sponsored-global-poll-rates-climate-change-dead-last/

      • “Right now power play is winning.

        Analysis paralysis, the skeptics approach, is losing”

        Mosher’s phone and pen story, again. The Obama EPA’s actions that they admit will do virtually nothing to prevent warming, other than hopey-changey providing inspiration for other countries to act:

        http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=559_1437054944

        And the EPA can’t reveal the science on which they based their sciency decisions, because of privacy issues:

        http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c2a_1437084833

        Bizarre.

      • Springer,

        +10000 for this:

        “No feasible reduction in CO2 emission will make any significant difference at all in so-called “climate change”. ”

        Which is why I repeatly state that one doesn’t have to understand physics to evaluate a lot of what gets proposed in the name of climate change. Simple arthimatic will do it.

    • Svend, in that case the decision is to wait.

  28. All a bit stilted and mechanistic, maybe? The chicken just needs to get across the road. You don’t want him puzzling over a manual where common thought processes are represented as whacking great lumps of abstraction. (Watch the bloody traffic, chook!)

    Can we also dispense with the surveys which prove that 97% of chickens cross better with Decision Analysis from Decision Strategies Inc?

  29. It is quite simple.
    Adding CO2 causes climate change.
    More climate change causes more uncertainty.
    Therefore to reduce uncertainty, reduce climate change.
    And to reduce climate change, reduce emissions.

    CO2 is at the heart of the whole problem, and is therefore, not surprisingly, at the heart of the solution. There is a lot of overthinking going on here with this type of post. It is not that complicated.

    • It is good not to over-complicate…and not to over-simplify.

    • There is a lot of overthinking going on here with this type of post. It is not that complicated.

      Yup: The sky is falling! No time to think! The climate con “Hurrah”.

    • bedeverethewise

      You are completely wrong Jim D.
      Fossil fuels have made our human lives much better and easier than ever before. They have enabled us to make extraordinary technological advances. There are about 7 billion people on the planet, about 3 billion enjoy this fantastic standard of living. The others desperately want it. And there is no easy or obvious replacement for fossil fuels.

      The extraordinary benefit provided by fossil fuels is at the heart of the whole problem. You think people are overthinking, I think way to many are under-thinking by making ridiculous statements like “we need to act now” or “we need to do something” or “the solutions are simple”

      Saying the solution is simple, we just need to cut CO2 emissions by 80% or some fantasy number, is a dullard’s answer. We need to spend the next hundred years or more inventing, engineering and building new efficient ways of generating and distributing energy. No need to panic, no need to protest and demand that other people do the hard work, no need to pass laws that require someone else to invent something new by a certain date, no need to give tax money away to “green” start-ups. If you are not able to contribute, just sit back and watch it happen, because it needs to happen with or without AGW.

      • I had noticed the odd squirt or lump of fossil fuel supporting the odd civilisation. In fact, I’d noticed that the alternatives to fossil fuels and even protests against fossil fuels were fuelled by fossil fuels. Along with just about everything else.

        I’ve also noticed what participants do immediately AFTER Earth Hour.

        I can understand whining about capitalism where you don’t get much for what you shell out: Coca Cola (but you get some caffeine and sugar at least), re-christened tap water (I hate that one), energy drinks, health food, the cheap fertiliser the organic people want to sell me at a rip-off price so I can get a classification from them, De Beers shiny rocks (Shiny Rocks Are Forever), consultancy from the likes of Decision Strategies Inc…and carbon credits, of course.

        But a whole bloody industrial civilisation? I call that a good deal.

    • I’m sorry, but we just aren’t sure that your first two points are true as stated, so the rest of your conclusions are questionable.

      We do not know for sure that adding CO2 causes climate change to an extent that it is distinguishable from that natural variations that are already occurring.

      All we have is the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. And we know that without the greenhouse effect, and our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for us to live here. That does not prove that CO2 determines climate at the resolution we are discussing. Further underscoring that, all the records we have show that CO2 follows temp changes, and does not lead them.

      I also don’t follow the claim that a changing climate, increases uncertainty in and of itself. Climate has always changed, first off, and second off, we have a pretty good idea that there is a pattern of ice ages and deglaciations, and we know roughly where we are in those patterns.

      So, the warming we are experiencing is well within normal bounds, and is entirely predictable, so I don’t see it as being a source of uncertainty. The large CO2 increases don’t seem to be having much of an effect on our climate, and certainly not the effects that our best science had predicted, so I must question the assumption that CO2 is the main force driving the climate – natural variations and known patterns seem to be still firmly in the drivers seat, as always.

      • David Springer

        tomdesabla | July 15, 2015 at 10:30 pm | Reply

        “All we have is the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. And we know that without the greenhouse effect, and our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for us to live here.”

        No, even that is conjecture. In past geological ages greenhouse gases were in far, far higher concentrations. It never became too hot to live here as a result. The reverse implies that at no level does it become too cold for us to live here. But since there is no geological age absent an ocean and hence no age without the theoretical GHG effect from water vapor there is no means of demonstrating what happens without it. CO2 in any case is a bit player on a water world. My contention is that the global ocean is the heat reservoir that raises the surface temperature to something friendly to life. Solar shortwave penetrates deep into the ocean warming it at depth and the only way for that heat to migrate to the surface is mechanically which is a slower process. The result is a layer of warm water hundreds of meters deep floating on top of a very cold ocean thousands of meters deep. There’s your big “greenhouse” effect IMO. It’s the ocean not the atmosphere that does the heavy lifting. That too is conjecture but it’s less conjecture than a vanishingly thin film of air doing the same thing.

      • “We do not know for sure that adding CO2 causes climate change to an extent that it is distinguishable from that natural variations that are already occurring.”

        We dont know you are a human being typing for sure..

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | July 16, 2015 at 7:03 pm |

        “We dont know you are a human being typing for sure.”

        We know you’re an english major not a scientist or engineer. Distinguishing a human from a non-human by written language produced therefrom should be well aligned with your very narrow range of professional expertise. While you are technically correct due to a pedant’s epistemology which I won’t lower myself to engage there exists in the real world a working concept called “beyond any reasonable doubt”. In the unlikely situation you somehow become reasonable you might come to appreciate it.

        http://www.populartechnology.net/2014/06/who-is-steven-mosher.html

    • Jim D,

      First you might have to establish what a reduction in “climate change” would look like. A reduction of what, precisely?

      Then you might have to indicate why more “certainty” of the California drought continuing for 1000 years, is a benefit.

      There is no CO2 “problem”, and therefore no need to reduce it. I note you might also need to define “emissions”, in terms of both “climate change” and CO2. You might like to tell everyone what happens if you manage to stop the climate from “changing”.

      Is your fervour overcoming your common sense?

    • These targets are about a 2% cut in global CO2 emissions per year, and extend multiple decades into the future. This is not difficult. Many countries are already planning paths to decarbonization at those kinds of rates. People still saying don’t even try may have other motives or just underestimate what human ingenuity can do in that timeframe. It won’t happen tomorrow, but 2% per year is just incremental. It is not a complex situation at all, because there is a well known direct and doable solution. This is also a decision strategy that everyone can just get on with rather than going through the one-step-removed diversion of talking about how to make decisions before even starting any planning process.

      • Curious George

        Decrease your income by 2% a year. This is not difficult. Many countries are already doing it. (It is called a depression.)

      • For energy consumption you can personally get more than this by changing your light bulbs or going to a more fuel efficient car, and even save money in the process. It is not much. Let’s just call it a no regrets solution: a slow reduction until we have convinced the remaining few skeptics that this is right.

      • Jim D: Many countries are already planning paths to decarbonization at those kinds of rates.

        The US cut CO2 emissions without planning to. Germany, China, India, Japan, and most countries that can have increased their coal consumption. Pakistan is undertaking a large increase with financing from China. Do be sure to tell us when the “planned” 2% per year decarbonization starts happening, and where.

    • David Springer

      Jim D | July 15, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Reply

      “Adding CO2 causes climate change.”

      No it does not.

    • Jim D,

      Are you a secret advisor to Obama?

      You can’t be serious.

    • Jim D: Adding CO2 causes climate change.

      The evidence for that gets reviewed here and elsewhere in detail, and on the whole it is pretty poor.

      It is quite simple

      There is no evidence for that at all.

      • no evidence?

        No evidence of things being “quite simple”.

        Pretty good evidence that enhanced CO2 likely causes some warming.

        But not much evidence that extent is great nor that the impacts are clearly negative on balance.

      • In fact, those assessing enhanced CO2 before a lot of political stir, wrote this of climate change:

        “The reduction of the meridional temperature gradient appears to reduce not only the eddy kinetic energy, but also the variance of temperature in the lower model troposphere.”

      • the evidence is quite simple.

        Theory in the 1890s said that adding c02 would cause warming.
        the guess at how much was pretty high.
        Since that time we have added c02.

        The evidence that we have added c02 is simple
        The theory predicted warming
        We observe warming.

        That is evidence FOR the theory being right.
        If it had cooled that would be evidence Against.

        Now, that evidence may be weak, it may come under question,
        it does not prove the matter. it may be inconclusive.

        But it is Evidence.

        It is consistent with the theory
        It is not inconsistent with the theory.

        If I thought you shot a gun, gun residue on your hands would be evidence FOR my belief. It would not prove my belief. lack of gun residue would
        be evidence against my belief but it would not prove U hadnt shot a gun.

        there is evidence for.. it is simple evidence.
        It doesnt settled the matter, its not proof positive.
        but is evidence nonetheless.

        The color of my hair would not be evidence for or against the theory.

      • Yep.

        The evidence is quite simple.

        But, things are very complicated.

      • David Springer

        The past 18 years where the rate of adding aCO2 to the atmosphere has been higher than any other time has resulted in no significant warming. That is not consistent with the theory.

      • http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/25/co2-greenhouse-effect-increase/
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v519/n7543/full/nature14240.html

        “Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010”

        Two sites. Top and bottom of the temperate zone. 0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM. That is 1.05 W/m2 since 1900.

        1.05 W/m2 or about 0.28°C of the post 1900 warming is due to CO2.

        The advocates of a strong CO2 effect had 35+ years to go out and actually measure it. If they really believed in strong CO2 forcing they would have gone out and measured it long ago. The IPCC has used the same 1.5°C to 4.5°C range established because of Hansen’s 4°C model in 1979. AR5 stated it is “unlikely” the ECS is below 2°C.

        There is no evidence for a greater CO2 effect. There is no evidence the IPCC is correct. Their estimate came from adding err bounds to the combination of two model estimates (one at 2°C and one at 4°C with a 0.5°C error bound). To claim it is unlikely to be below 2°C is silly – that just means Hansen’s model was wrong.

        0.2 W/m2 for 22 PPM implies a TCR of 2.4 W/m2 (0.64°C) and an ECS of about 1°C.

        No evidence for a high TCR or ECS. None.

      • “The past 18 years where the rate of adding aCO2 to the atmosphere has been higher than any other time has resulted in no significant warming. That is not consistent with the theory.”

        wrong.

        The theory is that IF you hold other things equal, then adding c02 will over time result in increased temps. and the effect is log.

        NOTES:

        1. It doesnt say monotonic
        2. It doesnt say other factors cant drive the temperature in other directions.

        So, it’s not at all clear that a pause is inconsistent with the theory.

      • Mosher, “The theory is that IF you hold other things equal, then adding c02 will over time result in increased temps. and the effect is log.”

        The theory “was” all things remaining equal a doubling of CO2 would increase the atmosphere’s heat retention by about 4 Wm-2 which would raise the “surface” temperature by approximately 1.6 C (2.1C with water vapor). That has been revised to approximately 3.7 Wm-2 with a “surface” temperature increase of about 1 C. That is it.

      • “The past 18 years where the rate of adding aCO2 to the atmosphere has been higher than any other time has resulted in no significant warming. That is not consistent with the theory.”

        wrong.

        The advocates of strong forcing publicly appeared to expect the 21st century to look like a repeat of the 1990s.

        That didn’t happen. Greenland net melt was little to none last year and looks to be little to none this year. Sea Ice is increasing at both ends of the planet. If you remove CGAGW (computer generated anthropomorphic global warming) the 21st century temperature trend is basically flat and the US is cooling.

        The advocates of strong forcing had a chance to predict the 21st century would be kind of dull and either didn’t know (because CAGW theory didn’t predict it) or chose not to tell us for political reasons.

        Either way the 21st century temperatures are not the ringing endorsement of CAGW that a repeat of the 90s would have been.

      • davideisenstadt

        Mosh:
        The relationship between CO2 levels and temperature is called “logarithmic”; I think thats the term of art used these days.
        So, if CO2 levels increase from now (around 400ppm to 530 ppm) it will have about the same impact as going from 300 to 400 ppm had.
        ….and If I remember my physics correctly there is a point where the atmosphere becomes saturated with CO2, that is, there is enough CO2 in the atmsophere to absorb all radiative energy in the range of wavelengths that CO2 can absorb, and at this point, additional increases of CO2 have no effect.
        Whats your take on this?

      • Case closed, CO2 is a WMD. We must invade now.

      • David Springer

        You’ve now restated the theory upon which you based your argument by adding the phrase “if all other things remain equal”. The evidence is no longer simple under that revision. You lose either way.

        You can’t argue your way out of a paper bag, Mosher. Stop trying.

      • Mosher,

        “The theory is that IF you hold other things equal, then adding c02 will over time result in increased temps. and the effect is log.”

        But we know that all other things do not remain equal. Therefore saying the theory that increasing the concentration of CO2 will lead to increasing temperatures has significant gaps. What if feedback mechanisms place boundries on how much temperature can change?

    • Adding CO2 causes influences climate change.

  30. You don’t go solving a non-problem Jim D. You are a long way from clearly establishing that a problem even exists. We don’t even know for sure that getting a few degrees warmer with higher CO2 levels isn’t a good thing. There is certainly evidence that it is a good thing. All the evidence we have been supplied that it is a bad thing is highly questionable, because those who supply that evidence are highly politicized, biased people who have placed their agenda above all else. Their evidence reeks of incompetence, and fraud.

    I gotta say…I’m very skeptical, and getting more so all the time.

  31. This is not a mature science right now – and it is being driven by a predetermined belief system, not a unbiased search for knowledge

  32. Danny Thomas

    It seems we can do all we can w/r/t reduction of emissions, carbon capture, geo-engineering, and good old mother nature decides to turn down the sun. Decision making under uncertainty? How do we plan for that and what do we need to do? Emit more CO2 via FF or re-emit that which we spent billions to re-capture?

  33. ‘Decision analysis requires accurate and predictive knowledge of the situation, and does not work in uncertainties, with unknown or hazy outcomes. When the decision maker has no knowledge of what would “most likely” happen or the probability of a course or action happening, it becomes impossible to make a reasonable and defensible call. This limits the application of the analysis in a big way.’

    http://www.brighthubpm.com/project-planning/118418-when-not-to-use-decision-analysis-in-order-to-make-a-good-decision/

    • Quatsch. No uncertainties, no decisions. Also

      “Decision analysis requires accurate and predictive knowledge of the situation, and does not work in uncertainties, with unknown or hazy outcomes.

      Either that is quoted out of context or the author is like Paul Revere’s ride…a little light in the belfry. :o) Seriously he needs to read the preface to his DA books. The quote is almost an opposite to a description of decision analysis. Or maybe he is tweaking some folks. Strange.

    • Whenever I see a fly I grab a cannon.

  34. Nope. Forget “systematic methodology for facilitating high quality, logical discussion”. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of that in Paris as our Green Betters chatter civilly and logically about more quality ways to flush (and skim) trillions.

    Stay combative.

    Australia’s present cold snaps are being described variously as “Antarctic Vortex”, a manifestation of “global weirding” and anything that avoids the conclusion that it’s just bloody cold. (Expect “one-in-100-year-event” if Sydney cops a cold lashing tomorrow. “Unprecedented” has worn threadbare through over-use.)

    Someone tell the warmies that none of this cold wave has to spoil their yearned-for Nino. Here in my region it’s cold like we got in the 90s, with or without El Nino (but especially with). Their Nino is looking safe, and Australia may get some nasty spring heat and bushfires in the buildup for Paris (like every few years in NSW – but why live in the past?).

    What’s the decision analysis filter for junk information, bent stats, push-polling, bratty sensationalism…and what should be called plastering for Paris?

    I’ll stay adversarial.

    • David Springer

      Cool wet summer in Texas. Perfect. If this is the new El Nino give me more please. It very well may be with the Atlantic MDO on the cold side that El Nino warmth is moderated but we still get the moisture.

    • Moso,

      Do you follow Quadrant Online? I just read this essay:

      http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2015/07/apostate-pope/

      Some really interesting stuff at Quadrant. Beats the cr-p out of reading inane comments by some of the denizens.

      • Interesting take, Mark, though I’m not sure how seriously one should take his semi-literate green-left gabble.

        I get the feeling that Francis is a sly and ambitious man, not very bright but supremely cunning, who has a fascist past to live down. Mitterand without the grey cells, maybe.

        When the conservative Archbishop Romero was putting his life on the line, Bergoglio was looking on the bright side of right-wing thuggery. Even now he seems to think it would have been a good idea for Falklanders to get with the program of the Argie killers and torturers.

        Everything about Francis is rehearsed, but not very well rehearsed. I think his appeal will wear quickly. The real worry is that someone just as ambitious but far more intelligent and malevolent could leap into the throne of St Peter.

        Thanks for the tip. Worth a read.

  35. The weather is in Texas is large; as in, largely irrelevant. The El Nino is barely getting started, and could fizzle. Even so, global temperatures are cooking.

    June 2015 tied with June 1998 as the hottest June in the GISS record.

    • davideisenstadt

      way to be a prat.

    • GISS cooks the books before they get the hottest June record.

      Maybe the LIA 2 caused by solar sun spot variations and heat transfers to currents and wind will cool the rhetoric.

      El Nino 15-16 should break the California drought which at 4 years is way below the 100 year long droughts in the 900-1200 era.

      But it will cause a real temperature spike unless overcome by the cooling from the solar variables and ocean currents.
      Scott

      • Prove it. You won’t. Mosher has it pegged, so he gets belittled. You guys got nothun.

      • JCH,

        CO2 + H2O > H2CO3.

        Evil stuff. Contains CO2. Why aren’t you complaining about H2O? Are you just following the dimwitted crowd, and can’t be bothered thinking for yourself?

        Burning hydrocarbons also produces H2O, but you seem totally unconcerned about this. Why? H2O is proven to be corrosive, causes great economic loss through gradual delignification, and greatly increases the costs to society when hydrophilic compounds are involved. For example, adding ethanol to motor fuel.

        Raise your banner! Join the fight against that evil pollutant, dihydrogen oxide!

        Or you can just continue to take your marching orders from a Bachelor of Arts. Dance and sing your way to success! Yay!

      • You’re the one who does not think for yourself. You’ve been replaced with a personality disorder. This is apparently epidemic.

      • JCH: says “You guys got nothun”

        Which at worst puts us in the same boat you are. Difference is some of us know how to swim.

      • And some of us know what it actually means to think for oneself.

      • I have no doubt JCH thinks for himself.

        It is his capacity to think clearly that is in doubt.

  36. Craig Loehle

    There are limits to decision-making in complex environments. This is one of the reasons that top-down economic control (e.g., Venezuela, Stalinist Russia) always fails and even big companies full of smart guys sometimes vanish (Xerox). The complexity overwhelms our decision-making capacity. This is why in economics the best system consists of lots of independent agents making individual decisions–many of the decisions are wrong and they are filtered out by bankruptcy, change of management, loss of market share, etc.

    • This is a good comment to consider. We repeatedly confront complexity and simplify, and there are various filtering mechanisms that we unconsciously and consciously use. We are wired as individuals and as Craig notes there are mechanisms at the group level. One can not ignore the extra-rational aspects and a goal of rational decision-making is just that–a goal.

      This is why to me the value in formulating one or more rational approaches or attempting to do so has value–we need all of the crutches we can get to characterize and structure the decision. We need to communicate our understanding. One way or another we model complex decisions and all models are approximations. In addition if one looks at decision analysis literature one will see that the ‘softer’ aspects of human reasoning is given a lot of attention, e.g., bias, anchoring, eliciting expert judgement, ignorance, etc. This provides valuable context and language for discussions…not perfect, but valuable.

      • mwgrant, ” We are wired as individuals and as Craig notes there are mechanisms at the group level.”

        I believe that is business as usual, “there are no problems only opportunities.” There will always be millions of people looking for solutions for any “problem”. Most fail but a few do come up with something some will consider a “solution”. That “solution” most often leads to new opportunities. So there is an endless cycle of innovation and refinement.

        Just mentioning AGW, Climate Change or whatever stimulates a huge number of entrepreneurs to “solve” the problem and also a large number to evaluate the problem with there likely to be a very small number that will be successful at either.

        What is great how well solutions to non-problems can pay.

      • maksimovich1

        We repeatedly confront complexity and simplify, and there are various filtering mechanisms that we unconsciously and consciously use. We are wired as individuals

        Indeed,this was noted by Gilovich 1993,and used as an analogy on statistical phantoms in Godfrey 2003.

        It is a recognized characteristic of human psychology that people will find patterns in the world around them, whether or not those patterns result from coherent underlying causes. “The tendency to impute order to ambiguous stimuli is simply built into the cognitive machinery we use to apprehend the world. It may have been bred into us through evolution because of its general adaptiveness. . .” (Gilovich 1993, chapter 2). While this powerful human capacity to
        find order in nature has served and continues to serve
        us extremely well, it also sometimes leads us to falsely
        impute meaning to chance events. Gilovich nicely illustrates
        this problem using the statistics of consecutive hit or missed shots in basketball (the “hot hand”), where statistical independence can reasonably be assumed. When dealing with the nonindependent statistics of the atmosphere, the problem of “detecting” spurious patterns is amplified by the statistical relatedness of data that are nearby in time or space or both (see Livezey and Chen 1983, for a good example), and here the instinctive tendency to read too much into apparent patterns must be guarded against especially strongly.

      • captdallas2

        There will always be millions of people looking for solutions for any “problem”.

        Yes, curiosity and tinkering are also wired into the species [just like fishing]. Justification follows. :O)

        What is great how well solutions to non-problems can pay.

        I do not know how to respond to this comment. I will just experience the moment.

      • maksimovich1,

        Patterns, independence, correlation andscale* succinctly in one place. Nice quote. Thanks.

        * Implicit in the idea of neighborhood.

    • Information Overload is Killing our Ability to Make Decisions

      “…while we’d like to think our decisions are rational, in fact many are driven by gut feel and intuition.”

      • Seems that way though gotta try. Nice link.

      • My father’s Admiral refused to shoot. He almost got everybody killed. His name wasn’t Admiral Curry, but it could have been.

      • … and deep-seated mental conditionings. So called rational decisions are very often rationalisations of decisions formed in the so-called sub-conscious, the conscious mind is not aware of what actually led to the decision. Faustino

      • > So called rational decisions are very often rationalisations of decisions formed in the so-called sub-conscious, the conscious mind is not aware of what actually led to the decision.

        Hence genghiscunn’s recurrent pro laissez-faire letter (singular – it’s the same node over and over again) to various Aussie editors over the years.

      • Willard,

        Is there a point to your relentlessly pointless recurrent comments about others’ comments?

        Have you an opinion on climate change, or are you just suffering from a lack of self esteem?

        I can spare you some of mine, if you are feeling a little undervalued, or your sense of self worth needs a boost. Do you need help? Let me know.

      • Willard, I’ve never written a laissez-faire letter in my life. Faustino

      • > I’ve never written a laissez-faire letter in my life.

        Good grief.

    • Trying to formalize a complex decision making process seldom works. Successful corporations that deal with this issue have open and often confrontational interactions that challenge the major decision steps and processes. A culture emerges that supports confrontation as well as respect for opposing views. There is an agreed to framework of functional architecture, quality, and cost. Trade-offs are allowed in the early stages but diminish as end schedules and market actualization goals are the main focus. Those that were mistaken in their early judgement will either admit their error, or at least reshape their efforts to contribute to the final success.
      Climate Science wil never adopt such an open and respectful process. Otherwise we would have seen 30 years of vigorous study of the natural forces and adaptive processes. Those will only be understood after decades of failure and a new generation of decision makers appear.

      • Those will only be understood after decades of failure and a new generation of decision makers appear.

        Likely the problem(s) will have morphed. Useful summary in the comment–underscores importance of time is a very general way.

      • Setting up a formal process can help put a very diverse group of people on the same page. This can be kept very simple, or it can get extremely complicated. In this case I would say simple is better. However, participants will need cultural training. Learning to listen, realizing there are other worlds, understanding there are other personality types. Scientists who have been kept in isolation need time to adapt.

    • Craig,

      “…the best system consists of lots of independent agents making individual decisions…”

      Ye old “Law of Requisite Variety”. However, oligarchs, dictators, and Peronists think top down works just fine for them.

      Warmunistas are hoping they can use the power of the Feds to wrest control of the climate agenda and have their way with everyone. It’s like catching a giant rattlesnake with your hands. Once you have it, how do you toss it without getting bit?

  37. At least some people think that climate change exaggerations are satire worthy:

  38. One way to improve decision making, especially in the context of climate, is to better understand nonlinear and chaotic systems. Here is an opportunity to do that for free at edX! This class is taught by Professor Paul Blanchard at Boston University, an expert in differential equations and leader of the Differential Equations Project.

    https://www.edx.org/course/nonlinear-differential-equations-order-bux-math226-3xB

    This is the third in a series of three classes in differential equations taught via edX by Professor Blanchard. I just completed the second class in the series – Systems of Linear Differential Equations – and it was the best treatment of the subject I have ever seen, and I have taken similar classes several times. Also, his class is the best online presentation I have seen so far, and I have signed up for 8 classes via both edX and Cousera. Thankfully, there are no “talking heads” in this class, but lots of short, focused whiteboard explanations and challenging but relevant exercises. It is really well done!

    Dr. Blanchard is coauthor, along with his colleague professor Robert L. Devaney – also at BU – of the excellent textbook “Differential Equations”. Professor Devaney is the coauthor, along with Hirsch and Smale, of “Differential Equations, Dynamical Systems, and Chaos”. These people are credible.

    I am forever indebted to Cook et al. If it hadn’t been for their laughable course on edX about climate dee nye al I never would have noticed this opportunity.

  39. The suspicion is in the air nowadays that the superiority of one of our formulas to another may not consist so much in its literal ‘objectivity,’ as in subjective qualities like its usefulness, its ‘elegance,’ or its congruity with our residual beliefs. ~William James

  40. Whoops, caught in moderation again. This time I used the C-word, C*ptn

  41. New post on THE INTERNET POST

    Australia Getting Slammed With Cold And Snow
    by ajfloyd

    In case you were wondering why alarmists aren’t talking about Australia any more. Temperatures are running well below normal, with lots of snow in the mountains. 10-Day Temperature Outlook https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/australia-getting-slammed-with-cold-and-snow/
    Read more of this post ajfloyd | July 16, 2015 at 10:05 AM | Tags: Australia | Categories: climate change, enviroment, global warming | URL: http://wp.me/pj0ir-gt1

  42. IBM has jumped in to the weather prediction game.

    IBM has developed a computer system that can learn about weather from thousands of data points and predict days — even weeks — in advance how much power from solar and wind farms will be available for the U.S. power grid.
    The new system is as much as 30% more accurate than today’s state-of-the-art weather prediction systems used by organizations such as the National Weather Service, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
    http://www.computerworld.com/article/2948987/sustainable-it/ibms-machine-learning-crystal-ball-can-foresee-renewable-energy-availability.html

    FYI to Prof. Curry – You could loose most of your weather clients if IBM can beat the current suite of models by 30%

  43. The real question should be, why do you trust government?

    {begin excerpt}

    …the president of the United States found himself negotiating with He Yafei, a Chinese deputy foreign minister well known for his exceptional command of English and his willingness to use it to advance his country’s worldview—with sometimes provocative arguments. German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy pressed China and India to commit to binding targets on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. China and India announced they could not support a document that imposed specific numerical targets, even on the Americans and Europeans. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg asked Indian officials how they could renounce the very plan they had proposed just a few hours earlier. President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, an island chain that lies in the Indian Ocean about seven feet above sea level, demanded that the Chinese delegation explain how it could ask his country to “go extinct.” Sarkozy accused the Chinese of “hypocrisy,” He Yafei lectured the group on environmental damage from the Industrial Revolution, several NGOs accused Western officials of blocking a deal, and a few journalists accused Obama of selling out Europe by letting China off the hook. Not to be ignored, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called Obama the devil. A gathering that then – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had hyped as “the most important conference since the Second World War” ended in acrimony and conflicting accounts of what had happened, and with no progress toward any meaningful agreement.

    But here’s the key takeaway: The summit didn’t collapse because China was snubbed, India is irresolute, the Europeans a … (Ian Bremmer, Every Nation for Itself: What Happens When No One Leads the World, 2012)

    {end excerpt}

  44. “Our employee handbook is a single card that says ‘Use good judgment in all situations,’” Nordstrom spokesperson Dan Evans told Business Insider.

    Pretty much sums it up. Uncertain, complex, situation? Use your best judgement. With luck, you’ll come up smelling like roses. Or you might wind up being on the nose, but that’s life.

    Sometimes doing nothing is the best decision. Time will tell. Agonising over a decision has not been shown to improve the ability to make a “correct” decision, which, after all may be “incorrect” according to others.

    You might as well just toss a coin and move on.

    • You know if you got drunk on the job you might fall unconscious and really avoid any bad decisions…well except one :O)

    • Our employee handbook is a single card that says ‘Use good judgment in all situations’

      I’ll bet there’s a huge amount of precedent and case law.

  45. One final observation from over the years as a technical analyst at DOE facilities, beltway bandits working USACE, EPA, etc…

    • oops…OK, I’ll do it this way…ready or not…
      One final observation from over the years as a technical analyst at DOE facilities, beltway bandits working USACE, EPA, etc…

      Many years ago an established decision analyst teaching a bunch of us duPont DA newbies made the following observation regarding the initial efforts and direction of organizations looking at a major decision (my words):

      A team of experts in disciplines thought to be relevant to the problem at hand is assembled, soon after the there is a meeting of the group, there is some discussion to ‘bring everybody onboard’, some more discussion, assignments are made and everybody goes off and starts doing what they know how to do as specialists [and dutifully consistent with the assignments]…instead of what needs to be done [to solve the problem].

      The point that he was getting at — and that we would learn in due course — was that with the technical experts initially proceeding to do what they know how to do the problem/decision(s) do not get properly characterized. I could not say that failure ensued but more often that not the process was late, quality suffered to varying degrees, and the financial and personnel costs were too much.*
      ——
      I note that at duPont a particular project was formulated around using DA in developing a research strategy and well, the ‘Oval’ did it right. :O)

      Over the years I remembered the instructor’s comment and as time went on and I worked a various places as an environmental consultant I was on my share of ‘crisis’ teams–much more often than not in a non-DA technical capacity. I observed and it is amazing how often the instructors observation rang true.

      The beat goes on…at all levels…

    • Climate alarmism is a spigot of funding – the unscrewable pooch of our time. However, we may be one election away from shutting it down. Then, we can allocate more funds to all areas of scientific research. How many post docs running models do we need? Jeesh!

      • justinwonder

        You have no way of knowing it, but my comment is incomplete with the gist of its content missing. I prematurely hit the the post button. I subsequently finished the completed comment as a response last night–but it has been hung up in moderation for hours. I can see it starting with “Your comment is awaiting moderation” and I can only presume others can not. I’ll shortened and re-post… maybe.

        I was not going in the direction of the unscrewable pooch, but I can see why one might given what can be read in the comment.

      • mwgrant,

        That’s ok, every time I see any comment I go do what I do and essentially post the same comment – kinda like those tech experts you describe. My response is actually the answer to what is life, the universe, and everything.

    • justinwonder

      mwgrant | July 16, 2015 at 10:26 pm | Reply

      Above–rest of comment out of moderation. out of moderation.

      Thanks Judith.

      • apologies for slow turnover on releasing moderated comments – happens when I’m on travel

      • No apologies are necessary Judith. I really do appreciate just being here. Squeak are more meant as a courtesy/warning to inform interested parties (friend or foe). Moderation is necessary, I hope to squeak in an entertaining manner. Travel well.

      • thx, greatly appreciate your participation here

  46. Since 2009 it has been efficacious to assume that most everyone in the Western government-education complex likely believes in AGW, proof or no proof.

  47. Geewhillikers! I keep winding up in moderation and I am out of mulligans. There is always tomorrow.

    • I sometimes hit ctrl-a, ctrl-c before I submit a comment.

      • Aaron,

        What does that do? fix? clear? Is it documented?

      • > What does that do? fix? clear? Is it documented?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cut,_copy,_and_paste

      • mig,

        Windows – Select all, copy all.
        For Mac users – Cmd-a, cmd-c – same thing.
        i devices – select all, copy.

        If comment vanishes, or gremlins attack, all is not lost. The saviour of fat fingered fools!

        Working from memory, hope I’m right!

      • Ha! Brain cramps, big time! So frustrated with the WP moderation mechanism that I did not see the obvious meaning of the key strokes. I typically C&P. For longer comments I draft in a text editor. No, I am focusing on finding the magic bullet for moderation. That is why I saw but did not read–mea culpa. In any case rarely is text lost. The moderation side-trips are frustrating because of timing. It is a shame that moderation is needed–but it is.

        Re-submittal of the text saved will likely just go into moderation again and further muck things up. I usually do not do that because it piles on the moderation. I appreciate being here.

      • Copies the content to the clip board so it can be pasted back into a comment box again if it’s lost by wordpress.

  48. An oldie but goodie decision process is outlined here:
    http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/perform/delphi_process.html

    There is a rule in law that applies to climate science and should be an explicit part of any decision process: When it isn’t important to make a decision, it is important to not make a decision.

    • And is it important to make any decisions on climate science now? Yes or no? Undecided? To me your text leaves it the reader to infer your position. Is that what you want at this time?

      I guess interesting questions to me are how does one determine whether it is important to make a decision or perhaps it is important not to make a decision? My inference from your text is the latter. If so how did you arrive at that point? or the opposite? Just curious.

      • The importance of making “a decisions” now depends mainly (AFAIK) on the issue of how long the excess carbon will remain in the “system”. Thus, the building and maturation of ambient CO2 extraction technology allows most other decisions to be deferred pending better scientific understanding. If any.

      • AK,

        I notice that there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much outrage about excessive amounts of H2O in the “system”. Where is the H2O “extraction technology”, I ask?

        H2O apparently has far more greenhouse effect than CO2. There is far more of it, at the very least. So where are the demonstrations demanding a reduction in H2O levels? How about a hydrogen tax?

        Seriously, what’s so special about CO2? Why discriminate against H2O?

        H2O comes from burning fossil fuels, and probably kills more people than CO2. Demonstrate against evil dihydrogen oxide! Demand more research! Declare dihydrogen oxide a pollutant, and demand an end to its production!

        Bah! Humbug! Hydrogen tax? Complete and utter nonsense, I’m sure you would agree.

        I’m joking, of course.

        I think.

      • Seriously, what’s so special about CO2? Why discriminate against H2O?

        Why should I waste time explaining to a nut?

        Seriously, I’ve considered the effects of space solar power when/if the surface delivery reaches the 10,000 terawatt stage: thermal pollution? Evaporative pollution? It’s not an immediate question, and in any event, I suspect by then most industry, perhaps most agriculture, will have been moved to cis-lunar orbit, so it’ll never be an issue.

        Anyway, like the issue of H2O greenhouse effect(s), it’s not something anybody serious on this site wants to spend time on, nor do I.

      • AK,

        According to NASA’s JPL. –

        “Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas.”

        Of course, I understand why you don’t want to spend your time considering inconvenenient greenhouse gases on this site.

        Concentrate on the much less important greenhouse gas, on which the continued existence of mankind equally depends. Get rid of it. Yeah, really clever move. And I’m the nut? Really?

      • Of course, I understand why you don’t want to spend your time considering inconvenenient greenhouse gases on this site.

        What you don’t understand is why Science ignores water vapor while looking at CO2. If somebody understands but wants to question some aspect of that science, it’s different. But the fact that water is a more powerful greenhouse gas in part of the atmosphere doesn’t matter. There are good scientific reasons for that, but I’m not going to waste time discussing them with somebody who thinks the Earth’s been cooling down from its initial creation for 5GY. Learn some science.

      • AK,

        I can do no more than quote Richard Feynman –

        “Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation…. As a matter of fact I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

        It appears that I understand science. I may even be a scientist, according to that definition. He also said –

        ” What is understanding? “Test it this way: You say, ‘Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language.’ [If] you cannot [then] you learned nothing except the definition…. To learn a mystic formula for answering questions is very bad.”

        Warmists take the opposite approach. They create new words to replace perfectly satisfactory scientific words. After a Warmist has bumbled and fumbled trying to explain the “greenhouse effect” by employing a series of irrelevant and incorrect analogies, you realise that he doesn’t really have a clue. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been so silly as to call the mad theory the “greenhouse effect”.

        And so it goes.

        A few questions for you – how many GHG monitoring stations are there in the world? How many are located in arid desert areas? Is CO2 really well mixed in the atmosphere? If so, why do satellite images indicate otherwise?

        Of course, a Warmist would just dismiss questions such as these out of hand, as being “irrelevant”, and “doesn’t matter”. No wonder real scientists laugh at these poseurs. Have fun.

      • I can do no more than quote Richard Feynman –

        Even a nut can quote Feynman.

        Is CO2 really well mixed in the atmosphere? If so, why do satellite images indicate otherwise?


        Looks pretty well-mixed to me. You don’t have to be a scientist to check the scale on a color graph, but anyone who “understand[s] science” does know how to check the scale on a color graph.

      • AK,

        You might want to recheck what you think you are looking at.

        From NASA JPL –

        “AIRS has shown that carbon dioxide is not evenly distributed over the globe; it is patchy with high concentrations in some places and lower concentrations in others. The gas’s transport and distribution through the atmosphere is controlled by the jet stream, by large weather systems, and by other large-scale atmospheric circulations. The findings from AIRS have raised new questions about how carbon dioxide is transported from one place to another—both horizontally and vertically—through the atmosphere.”

        Colourful graphics are often a simplified representation, for people of a particular level of understanding. The level of detail is often smoothed to the point where information is lost.

        If you want to believe that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are something to worry about, be my guest. You have lots of company, all equally deluded, in my opinion, unscientific though it might be.

        Have fun.

      • mwgrant says:
        I guess interesting questions to me are how does one determine whether it is important to make a decision or perhaps it is important not to make a decision? My inference from your text is the latter. If so how did you arrive at that point? or the opposite? Just curious.

        How I would leave to others, but should include factors such as certainty of the need, certainty of the decision consequence, certainty that the decision cannot be postponed, and certainty of engineering factors if any.

        Given the old saying, “decide in haste, regret at leisure” and how prone some are to make dire predictions that fail, it seems to me that a formal effort is needed for more than the “science” behind a decision to include the timing of a decision and the factors above.

    • Philip Lee

      Thanks for your response.

      How I would leave to others, but should include factors such as certainty of the need, certainty of the decision consequence, certainty that the decision cannot be postponed, and certainty of engineering factors if any.

      To me that and more–I would put things in terms of plurals here and use some different language but you are basically commenting on the sort of things needed the ‘formal’ approach you mention below.

      …it seems to me that a formal effort is needed for more than the “science” behind a decision to include the timing of a decision and the factors above.

      Yes…uncertainty in timelines for events or landmarks that appear in the different alternative-outcome combinations, time-ordering of events and dependencies impacted, etc. All of this is not trivial, there are and will be gaps in knowledge, there are uncertainties, etc., but there is profit in looking at it, at least IMO. To me the objective would be a good process (vetting?) before the product. It is the journey that counts. Also every effort by all parties has to be made to make it an open, inclusive process.

      Just as a matter of completeness: Do I think it is possible to start on this path now after so much has poisoned the atmosphere? Well what I think or anyone else thinks about that is not relevant to solving the real problem. Of course, how people act is another matter.

      mw

  49. Can we make a good decision under ignorance? Say,
    what’s behind the green door?
    https://web.viu.ca/conwayg/ZNOTE/Engl067_LadyorTiger.pdf

    • So…we’re supposed to know about the big messy physical world, plus all that human nature and bias stuff, before losing ourselves in the intricacies of calculation, determination and decision? Our info has to be complete and more or less right?

      If everyone thought that way there’d be no bloody climate science!

    • Back up. What is a good decision? :O)

      • richardswarthout

        mwgrant

        Does it not make sense, in any climate decision analysis, to evaluate the timeline? Under various assumptions, how much time is available before each possible mitigation action is needed. Basically, how much time is available for a research and development project, the purpose being to reduce the uncertainties in climate dynamics, energy alternatives, and carbon capture.

        Richard

      • richardswarthout,

        Does it not make sense, in any climate decision analysis, to evaluate the timeline?

        It makes sense, but I would say timelines. Time appears to be a crucial factor for many components of analyses and in particular uncertainties in times for different events, etc., are likely significant. Then there is the business of discounting (or not) various entities. I am glad you in effect raise the specter of the ‘ordering of events’ in your comment. That is a very controlling factor.

      • richardswarthout

        mwgrant

        Thank you. Count me as a disciple.

        Now. From reading various comments on this thread, it appears that the effectiveness of DA is dependent on the people involved. The people must be organized into a cohesive group/team with a clear and driving goal, sort of like a team driven to win the World Cup or Olympic Gold Medal (that was an example given in a US Army leadership course on successful team dynamics). It appears also that the group/team, to be successfu!l must include people with diverse experience/biases/opinions.

        So, to have and implement a successful DA, there must be a group or team that is cohesive and whose members have diverse opinions, etc.

        Where, in the climate arena, can that group be found? Perhaps, as previously suggested, a quadripartite arrangement?

        Richard

      • richardswarthout

        It is a tool or a diverse set of tools to use to inform decision-making and to me there is no doubt that using it will be difficult, but realistically that is to be expected.

        BTW I really like the way you summarized things. Nice job. I wish could’ve written that.

        mw

      • richardswarthout

        mwgrant

        Thank you for the compliment. I used the term “quadripartite” out of character; as an elitists may use words knowingly unfamiliar with the audience. Sorry for doing that. I am familiar with the term because it is used by NATO when referring to agreements between the UK, USA, Australia, and Canada. I think such an agreement may be possible because they have the funds and perhaps the inclination to select people with divergent opinions.

        Richard

      • Gee, I like “quadripartite”.

      • MWG, hail, )

        Serfs do not know what is a good decision but when
        ignorant of the “facts’ think trial and error is better
        than leap in dark unless immediate crisis, (tornado,
        shark, enemyarmy over the hill is comin’ up fast,
        yikes, do somethin’ ! )

        Herewith:

        ‘Not only sands and gravels
        Were once more n their travels
        But gulping muddy gallons
        Great boulders off their balance
        Bumped heads together dully
        And started down the gully
        While capes caked off in slices.
        I felt my standpoint shaken
        In the universal crisis
        But with one step backward taken
        I saved myself from going,
        A world torn lose went by me
        Then the rain stopped and the blowing
        And the sun came out to dry me.’

        Robert Frost.

      • Oh the mysteries of WordPress moderation, responding
        ter mwgrant with an on-topic pome by Robert Frost – sigh.

      • Oh the mysteries of WordPress, they are not departed or gone.
        They were waiting for me and I think that I just can’t go on.
        Yes they brought me moderation, as if I didn’t belong.
        Oh I hope my post’s up soon, I have been waiting so long.

        Faustino with apologies to Leonard Cohen

      • bts,

        In my opinion it is a very good thin[g/k] to be adaptable. Your style is frosting on the cake.

        Faustino,

        Very good cover. Cohen of the realm is always accepted in these parts.

        My day starts on a good note.

        mwg

    • I say the tiger …

      • The princess chooses the tiger, but I think the lover, knowing the princess, knows the choice of the princess, chooses the maiden.

        You don’t survive the king’s court that long unless you are clever and Machiavellian.

    • I say the tiger but hope for the lady…

      • Oh I am synical here, agree with Justin, lover understands
        the nature of the princess and chooses door on left. No
        Socrates situation this.

  50. A question for the 99% of the vocal Commentors in this blog post —

    Being consistent with everything you’ve said on the subject of complex and uncertain situations:

    (1) Do you agree or disagree that the science of ozone depletion (that won a Nobel Price) was/is sufficient to justify the Montreal Protocol?

    (2) In the 1980’s, did you agree or disagree with the “Catastrophic Messaging” by Industry on the economic costs of ozone depletion regulations?

    • Stephen

      It took 18 months from the discovery of the ozone hole in 1985 to the introduction of he Montreal protocol.

      This suggests the agreed science on ozone was somewhat more certain by several orders of magnitude than that on c02, despite vastly more money having been spent on research over an extended period on the latter

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol

      The costs of complying with the ozone hole regulations and it’s implications we’re also far less Than that of co2

      Tonyb

      • Danny Thomas

        If I may join in. I don’t recall a discussion by any quasi-governmental entity (or it’s leaders) stating the need to rearrange the world’s economy in order to address the ozone hole related issues. CFC’s are not interlaced to the extent which fossil fuels are in functionality of much of the world’s society.

        Apples/Oranges.

      • richardswarthout

        Tony and Danny,

        +1

        I worked on the US Army program to eliminate the use of ozone depleting chemicals. In almost every use there were alternatives and replacement easy, requiring only minor changes in contract language. The only complication was with a halon replacement; it required a redesign of the fire extinguishing systems used on combat vehicles. The redesign was minor and was implemented over several years during our normal overhaul/upgrade process at minimal cost.

        Richard

      • So here is a side argument where the real point of contention is hardly mentioned.

      • One big difference is that AC and refrigerators still work at no noticeable increase in cost. Of course, solar works too, especially for the wealthy people that get a nice fat tax credit and are able to then use that to sell electricity to lower income people at the highest rate. Nobel prize winning economists call that rent seeking. Then there’s that whole other gaggle of vampires that get subsidies for bogus biofuels and other nonsense, including bird shredders. Every time I buy one gallon of gasoline here in CA I pay approximately $0.60 for a carbon tax on fuels that is then used to fund the Alice in Wonderland “sustainable” energy “market”. I consider that money as stolen from my children.

        The greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich is taking place right here right now under cover of the CAWG scare. Some people have no shame.

    • I’m aware of all the triumphalism over the Montreal Protocol. In fact, MP can’t really fail. If the Antarctic Hole goes shrinky (2002) it proves the Protocol is working. If the Hole expands a lot (2003, 2006) that proves the ozone layer is “healing”. Any later contradictions can be blamed on volcanoes, which can always be found when needed and ignored when not. And I’m sure there are plenty of non-Kardash models to prove ozone has been stabilised after being on the verge of a death spiral.

      (Am I a vocal 99 percenter? I responded just in case.)

    • Stephen, I haven’t given it much thought lately. I have been more interested in how increases in deep convection tend to reduce the tropical ozone concentration and how there appears to be a hole in the OH cleansing layer of the atmosphere in the western Pacific likely due to increased deep convection associated with the higher SST.

      If I remember correctly, stable compounds containing Bromine or Chlorine are supposed to penetrate the OH cleansing layer over time and then be gradually broken down by UV in the ozone layer over a period of 50 to 100 years where they can then start having an impact on the ozone reduction rate. If they break down too late the Cl and Br would just join the organic Cl in the upper stratosphere/mesosphere and not have much impact on the ozone layer.

      Do you have a link to any “surface” UV intensity changes over time so we can check or do you just go by the Antarctic Ozone “hole” data?

    • 1) Not necessarily, as the science didn’t explain why the the “hole” was over Antartica and not where it was predicted to be (NH) or that the hole hasn’t changed all that much (though admittedly CFC’s have long residence times).

      2) I thought industry was over hyping the catastrophic part. (Though I would note that the DoD made a concerted effort to stockpile Halon.) On the cost part they simply passed those on to consumers. The cost may not be in the form of higher product cost, but in shorter operating lifes.

      I do believe that the MP may have ended up having a significant effect on GHG warming, as CFC’s had the potential to significantly increase the effect.

  51. Ozone, smozone… “At the extreme,” says Adler, “regulations that impose substantial costs can even increase overall mortality.” How many lives have been destroyed by Western academia’s facilitation of the politics of fear?

    Pseudoscience has been used to fuel irrational alarmism in areas from global warming and tropospheric ozone to biotechnology and population growth. More people, says the bumper sticker, were killed at Chappaquiddick than at Three Mile Island.

  52. Here’s a DoD definition of Actionable Intelligence

    “Intelligence information that is directly useful to customers for immediate exploitation without having to go through the full intelligence production process.

    I can’t see that there is climate Actionable Intelligence.

  53. The seas have been rising ever so slowly ever since I was born and ever so slowly before too so I apparently am not the cause of that… right?

  54. sorry for the above… couldn’t get my AGW decision model to print…

  55. Could the Einsstellung Effect be at work in the context of the climate problem?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstellung_effect

  56. Green door policies based on doomsday fear of the future
    so let’s retreat ter golden age technology. Oh man …
    https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

    • Impressive…inspiring even.

      But what about the miracle tech breakthrough on display at the MCG? English curators have found a way to recycle yesterday’s sticky oat porridge as a playing surface. Tonyb and Faustino, afflicted by uncertainty monsters, are now working on a coin which will always flip for England, so they never again have to bat second on the porridge.

      But seriously, seeing those New Horizons photos makes me want to live another hundred years, just to check out what’s round the corner.

      • moso, just before the start of the Cardiff test, I said to my wife: “33-4.” Well, at 43-3, Haddin dropped Root. Close. Just before the start at Lords, I said “England would hope for 260, Australia for 200 more; Australia’s aim is far more likely.” My end-of-play summary? “Normal service has been resumed.” If the MCC did deliberately prepare that wicket, it’s a disgrace, after the NZ series and the Cardiff test, there was a long-absent buzz around English cricket, the pitch should have fostered a tight contest and promised a result. As for yesterday’s porridge, it’s often better than fresh. But not as a playing surface.

      • Latest news from Lords from our reporter who used to be a climate statistician. He tells us the figures are robust but won’t release his data as he says Beth and Mosomoso will just try to disprove them.

        Adjusting for the high levels of co2 found over Lords, Australia scored 107 all out. This co2 adjusted score fits all known parameters and has been smoothed and homogenised.

        In reply England has scored a magnificent 676 for 1.

        Our models predict a shattering defeat for Australia. If you dispute this you are anti science.

        tonyb

  57. Check out the interview session.

  58. tony b, it is the fate of a serf ter question philosopher
    kings, et Al, who say ‘ Trust me!’ U yerself, historical
    heretic, sayeth that in cli-sci there are known knowns,
    known unknowns ‘n, (gasp) unknown unknowns!
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/23/little-ice-age-thermometers-%E2%80%93-history-and-reliability-2/

  59. Stuck in moderation for no good reason

  60. People here jumping into details of their pet calculations underscore the difficulty in getting around some of our basic wiring. This is not intended to be a criticism but simply an observation…and none of us can consistently avoid it.

  61. David Wojick

    Steve Mosher writes- “There was a science debate. it was settled. But today there is no real science debate on climate change.”

    I would ask when it was settled and what it was settled on, but the claim is simply false. If anything the scientific debate as deepened. For example, thanks to Karl et al it is now debatable whether the hiatus exists or not. That is as deep as it gets.