The Urgenda ruling in the Netherlands

by Lukas Bergkamp

The Dutch government has decided to appeal the widely publicised “Urgenda” ruling from the district court in The Hague, ordering the Netherlands to step up its climate change actions. There are good reasons why we should hope that the court of appeals will overturn the ruling — it sets a dangerous precedent for judicial activism, is inconsistent with European law and will even undermine international climate negotiations.

“Let’s lock-in this victory and change our world for good,” was Urgenda’s message on Twitter on June 24. On that day, a court in The Netherlands made headlines across the world by ordering the Dutch government to beef up the fight against climate change.

At the request of an environmental organisation by the name of Urgenda, a contraction of “urgent” and “agenda”, the court instructed the State to revise its current policies to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by at least 25% by 2020, not the 17% it currently aims at.

To produce this result, the court extended an existing tort law doctrine of “social responsibility” for avoiding “unacceptable danger creation.” The court found climate change to be an unacceptable, and, thus, unlawful danger and, ordered the government, based on its duty of care, to take action to protect against it.

The Urgenda doctrine might be the beginning a new era of climate change litigation with the Dutch courts ordering the rest of the world to step up their climate change efforts

In turning to a court to advance climate policy, Urgenda took an innovative approach. Urgenda had concluded that governments are unable to solve the climate crisis, because they are driven by short-term economic interest and locked into a “prisoners’ dilemma.” Therefore, it decided that the judiciary should act as the planet’s saviour of last resort. The courtroom, as Urgenda put it, is “the only place left where one can debate on the basis of facts.” Of course, “the facts” are those that Urgenda approves.

In bringing the law suit against the State, Urgenda was inspired by a book, written by its lawyer, Roger Cox, entitled “Revolution Through Litigation”. As Arthur Petersen notes, it seems that this revolution is now beginning. Urgenda is assisting climate action groups in other countries in Europe and elsewhere to launch similar lawsuits against their governments. Their objective is to push society away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy so as to achieve a circular, zero-carbon sustainable society.

Enormous implications

If this judgment survives appeal and becomes part of Dutch tort law, the implications for climate change litigation would be enormous. Companies emitting greenhouse gases as well as States from which emissions occur, would be exposed.

This would not be limited to Dutch companies or the Dutch State. In principle, Dutch courts have jurisdiction to hear cases against foreign companies that through their conduct create unacceptable danger in The Netherlands. If any emission of greenhouse gases creates an unacceptable danger, any company can be the target of a lawsuit in The Netherlands.

Under the doctrine of restricted sovereign immunity, the Dutch courts can also hear cases against other States for allowing their residents to create danger in The Netherlands. Climate change, the Dutch court rules, creates unacceptable danger, and any contribution to climate change, no matter how small, is enough to be on the hook.

Thus, the Urgenda doctrine might be the beginning a new era of climate change litigation with the Dutch courts ordering the rest of the world to step up their climate change efforts. In addition, the example of Urgenda will no doubt be followed by NGOs in other countries. It could have far-reaching effects.

Judicial activism

The court justified its ruling on two grounds. First, on the basis of the reports of the IPCC, the UN climate body, the court found that climate change poses a serious danger, and that from a scientific viewpoint, this danger must be averted.

Second, the court referred to the grand European principles of environmental law, such as the obligation to provide for a high level of environmental and health protection, the precautionary principle, the human rights to life and to “respect for private and family life,” and the international “no harm” principle. It used these concepts to construe the State’s duty of care with respect to the unlawful danger of climate change.

On the day the court read its judgment, it also published an English translation of the entire ruling on its website. Apparently, the court in The Hague felt that the world should know about its ruling

According to the court, society can no longer hide behind the uncertainty of the science and the cost of prevention, but must comply urgently with the average emission reduction targets agreed at the international level. Thus, a national court may enforce the IPCC reports and international commitments made by States.

Interestingly, on the day the court read its judgment, it also published an English translation of the entire ruling on its website! Surely, it is not common practice for courts in The Netherlands to translate their judgments. Apparently, the court in The Hague felt that the world should know about its ruling. Indeed, Urgenda offered the three judges an opportunity to gain both fame and respect for their courage to stand up against the body politic squandering the planet. This extreme form of judicial activism is unprecedented in the Netherlands.

Separation of powers

Let’s look at some of the problems with the court ruling and the consequences it may have.

First, there is the principle of the separation of powers and the rule of law. It is highly questionable that the judiciary would get involved in the tremendously complicated area of science-based government policy-making. It is doubtful whether such judgments are legitimate and the rulings will be sound. A courtroom is not the right place to debate climate science and the public interest in more protective policies.
Thus, while this court judgment is celebrated as a victory for the climate, it is also a threat to the rule of law and constitutional democracy. At the request of all sorts of action groups, civil law courts could make policies with respect to any risk, from immigration to genetically modified foods, and from chemicals to healthcare. This could lead to policies that are supported only by small minorities and involve high costs of compliance; consequently, it might well spark a political backlash.

Danger creation

Secondly, the legal basis for State liability in this case is questionable. The novel, expanded doctrine of “danger creation” constructed by The Hague court differs in key respects from the doctrine as it has been interpreted thus far.

Before the Urgenda judgment, the “danger creation” doctrine dealt with situations where a defendant negligently created a serious risk of certain and immediate personal injury or property damage. The landmark case is the 1965 “Cellar Hatch” (“kelderluik”) opinion of the Dutch Supreme Court, in which a Coca-Cola employee created a dangerous situation by leaving a café’s cellar hatch open as a result of which a visitor fell and injured himself. The doctrine covers acts as well as omissions for which the defendant is responsible.

The Urgenda court, however, expands this doctrine in three ways. First, it rules that the doctrine applies to States, not only to private parties. Second, it holds that the doctrine applies to omissions to address dangers created by all activities that are being conducted within Dutch territory; thus, a person (in this case, the State) may be liable for unlawful acts of other persons (in this case, any resident), based on the rationale that the liable person has control over such persons. Third, it finds that the doctrine applies not only to certain, immediate, individualised danger arising from a single cause, but, in light of the precautionary principle and the importance of environmental protection, also to uncertain, long-term, generalised, multi-causal hazards, such as climate change.

The court ignores a critical part of tort law. Causation is the link between a defendant’s act and the damage suffered. In this case, there is no direct causal link, as the court acknowledges by labeling climate change a global problem and Dutch emissions minor, but the State is found liable nevertheless

In addition, the court sets aside conventional causation requirements. It holds that it does not matter that the emissions controlled by The Netherlands are minor compared to total emissions. So, the court seems to reason, it does not matter that the additional reduction sought by Urgenda would hardly affect global emissions, because every nation has its own independent obligation to cut emissions.

According to the court, the fact that “the amount of the Dutch emissions is small compared to other countries does not affect the obligation to take precautionary measures in view of the State’s obligation to exercise care”. “After all,” the court continues, “it has been established that any anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission, no matter how minor, contributes to an increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere and therefore to hazardous climate change.” Its reasoning not only confuses duty and causality, but is also scientifically doubtful, since there is no evidence that minor increases in CO2 levels contribute to hazardous climate change.

To complete its reasoning, the court on weak grounds rejects the Dutch government’s arguments that more stringent emission reductions would cause “carbon leakage” and adversely affect the international competitiveness of carbon-intensive companies based in The Netherlands.

By setting aside conventional causation requirements, the court ignores a critical part of tort law. Causation is the link between a defendant’s act and the damage suffered. In this case, there is no direct causal link, as the court acknowledges by labelling climate change a global problem and Dutch emissions minor, but the State is found liable nevertheless.

Special regime

As noted above, this sets a worrisome precedent. The novel theory of danger creation endorsed by the The Hague court opens the door for all sorts of activists to launch lawsuits against the State in an attempt to get courts to change government policies. A plaintiff has to show only that current government policy does not adequately address a danger created either by the State or by private parties.

Interestingly, Urgenda seems to realise the problem. Urgenda’s concern, of course, is that the court of appeals will overrule the lower court and decide that the theory of “unacceptable danger creation” does not apply to government policy, or cannot be applied in the court’s manner.

By emphasising the uniqueness of climate change and climate change policy, Urgenda demonstrates why it should argue its case before the legislature, not a court of law

Thus, Urgenda had to come up with an argument as to why the judgment should stand. Marjan Minnesma, its Director, has now advanced such an argument: “The whole issue of climate change is unique and this uniqueness does not apply to [other] problems.” This would be so because there is broad consensus among 195 countries and scientists, and the court would merely be holding the State to its own prior commitments. Can this argument save the judgment? No, it cannot, as there are serious problems with the argument, which completely undermine Urgenda’s case.

The first problem is that it is simply incorrect as a matter of law. The court rejected the theory that the State had a direct legal obligation to do more. It held that the relevant obligations of the State under international law are not directly enforceable by Urgenda. This implies that Urgenda’s argument that the court merely held the State to its pre-existing commitments is bogus; the court merely referenced such commitments in construing the state’s duty of care with respect to “dangerous climate change”.

In fact, the court endorses Urgenda’s own theory of “unacceptable danger creation,” which it deems to apply generally to any government policy that fails to adequately address an unacceptable danger produced by society, whether pollution, terrorism, or immigration. Urgenda had to propose a general theory, because tort law does not provide specific regimes for specific issues, but works with generally applicable doctrines.

So, after Urgenda lured the court into endorsing its novel theory, it now attempts to mitigate the damage the theory will cause by suggesting, rather disingenuously, it is a unique special regime for climate change after all. By emphasising the uniqueness of climate change and climate change policy, Urgenda demonstrates why it should argue its case before the legislature, not a court of law.

Further, scientific or political consensus is not a sufficient basis for a court of law to impose policy. Urgenda’s argument confuses politics and law. The law also serves to protect citizens and society against the dictates of scientific or political consensus to prevent totalitarian regimes.

European law

Another concern with the ruling of the The Hague court is that it appears to be incompatible with EU law.

In the Urgenda case, Dutch policy was found to be insufficient to avert dangerous climate change, even though its policy is entirely consistent with the EU’s Effort Sharing Decision (this establishes binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States for 2013-20) . So, by finding the Dutch policy insufficient and thus unlawful, the Dutch court implicitly finds the EU Effort Sharing Decision unlawful. National courts, however, do not have authority to rule on the lawfulness of EU legislation; instead, they must seek a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice.

The supremacy of EU law is at stake. The rule of law and the separation of powers are threatened by court-made climate policies, which cannot be coordinated, nor adapted to changing circumstances

True, the European Court of Justice has created a doctrine of Member State liability, also known as “Francovich liability.” Under this doctrine, a Member State can be held liable for damages caused by a failure to implement EU legislation, if that legislation confers a right on the claimant and there is a causal link between the State’s breach and the loss suffered by the claimant. In the Dutch case, however, there was no breach of EU law, nor did the EU law concerned grant any individual right. To the contrary, the State of The Netherlands complied perfectly with the EU Effort Sharing Decision! But even if there had been a breach, the EU climate change laws do not grant any individual rights.

Then there is the EU Environmental Liability Directive (ELD), aimed at the prevention and restoration of environmental damage. The ELD, however, does not apply to diffuse, widespread damage, where it is impossible to link the damage with individual actors. In these cases, as the ELD explicitly recognises, “liability is not a suitable instrument.” Accordingly, under the ELD, Member States are not required to prevent or restore diffuse damage, or take any other measures with respect to it. There is no doubt that climate change causes widespread (in casu, global), diffuse damage, and, as a result, Member States are not required to address it. Exactly with respect to such diffuse climate-related damage, however, the court imposes liability.

Thus, there is more than one reason for the EU to be worried about climate change litigation against Member States. The supremacy of EU law is at stake. The rule of law and the separation of powers are threatened by court-made climate policies, which cannot be coordinated, nor adapted to changing circumstances. On appeal, the Dutch court will therefore likely refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

Unintended effects

The Urgenda ruling, if it is upheld, may have several other negative unintended effects.

If the Dutch government were to comply with the court order, there is a significant risk that the State will be held liable for the cost that such a sudden change in policy would impose on industry. After all, companies made investment decisions based on the current policy and have legitimate expectations that the policy will not suddenly change to their detriment. The law protects these expectations.

In addition, the State may be liable based on the doctrine of “unlawful adjudication.” This doctrine provides a cause of action against judgments that violate fundamental principles of law or reflect a serious neglect of the judiciary’s task. In the Urgenda case, the court violated the fundamental principles of the trias politica, the separation of powers. It also neglected to independently examine the relevant science, and relied entirely on what the parties agreed, while its judgment has serious implications for all citizens that amounts to serious neglect of its task.

Paris summit

Another question is what the effects of the ruling may be on the COP-21 climate summit in Paris later this year. Although Urgenda and other NGO’s have hailed the ruling as a victory for the climate, it may well impede rather than help the international climate negotiations.

For one, court judgments may influence the strategy of States at the conference. States may be reluctant to agree to legally binding commitments so as to avoid possible court judgments holding them to their commitments. Vague, aspirational statements might then be preferred.

Further, those States that have been ordered by courts to revise their climate policies, may be reluctant to do more than what their courts have ordered. This could limit their ambitions.

States that are not exposed to possible lawsuits may try to exploit the vulnerability of States that are so exposed and saddle them with disproportionate obligations. Of course, State legislatures might also proceed to adopt legislation to shield themselves against climate activists’ lawsuits.

Scientific necessity

The “single issue” activist mind typically does not appreciate the vagaries of “multi-task” government and politics. It also has a hard time dealing with the discipline imposed by law, which accommodates a wide range of concerns and interests. Under the law, the ends do not necessarily justify the means. Law is not politics.

Urgenda is right when it says that “one should be concerned, instead of angry, about this judgment”. But citizens should not be concerned about “the seriousness of the problem and the lack of action,” as Urgenda suggests, because these issues are political concerns and are addressed by the body politic. Rather, they should be concerned about the judicial activism inherent in the judgment, the court usurping the legislature’s powers, and the ruling’s many adverse effects.

There is precedent that does not bode well for Urgenda’s prospects in an appeal

The Urgenda ruling conflicts with the laws of The Netherlands, as well as European law. As demonstrated, the ruling’s consequences would be draconian for climate change litigation, other public interest litigation, and international climate negotiations. The Urgenda court’s ruling is so at odds with the existing tort law doctrines of “unacceptable danger creation,” the government’s duty of care, and causation theory, that it sets aside the rule of law.

It is very fortunate, then, that the Dutch government, on the 1st of September, announced that it has decided to appeal the ruling.

There is precedent that does not bode well for Urgenda’s prospects in an appeal. In a case brought by environmental groups, including Waterpakt, against the State of The Netherlands over its failure to implement the Nitrates Directive, the Dutch Supreme Court opined that the judiciary is not empowered to order the legislature to enact legislation.

Another case from the 1970s centered on the fluoridation of drinking water, which was deemed “scientifically necessary” by the water company to combat caries. This practice was challenged by a group of citizens before the courts on principle. The Supreme Court found that scientific necessity was an insufficient basis, and required specific legislation. Not science, but the legislature had the final word on the policy. This would appear to be logical, because science cannot prescribe laws.

Biosketch. Lucas Bergkamp, who is both a lawyer and a medical doctor, is a partner in the international law firm of Hunton & Williams. He was a professor of international environmental liability law at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and currently teaches in the Master of Laws program in Energy, Environmental and Climate Change Law offered by the Faculty of Laws of the University of Malta and the Institute for Environmental and Energy Law (IEEL) of the University of Leuven.

JC note:  This guest post was originally posted at www.energypost.eu.  As with all guest posts, keep your comments civil and relevant.

326 responses to “The Urgenda ruling in the Netherlands

  1. Pingback: The Urgenda ruling in the Netherlands | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Rather ironic that the Netherlands, with 50% of its territory being one meter or less above mean sea level, and 1/8 actually below sea level, not being all in to avert dangerous, nigh, catastrophic sea level rise by all means necessary, ever little bit helps, etc.

    • Or, ironic that the Dutch would worry about very slow anthropogenic SLR ( whatever portion that might be ) to the exclusion of worrying about what normal natural flooding will happen in the future:
      (abridged);
      838, December 26, Netherlands, more than 2,400 deaths
      1014, September 28, Netherlands, several thousands of deaths[2]
      1164, February 16, Saint Juliana flood, Netherlands and Germany, several thousands of deaths
      1170, November 1, All Saints’ Flood, Netherlands, marks beginning of creation of Zuiderzee
      1206, Netherlands, 60,000 deaths
      1219, January 16, Saint Marcellus flood, Netherlands and Germany, 36,000 deaths struck West Friesland[4]
      1287, December 13, Saint Lucia flood, Netherlands, formation of Waddenzee and Zuiderzee, 50,000 – 80,000 deaths. Major impact on Cinque Ports in England.
      1421, November 19, second Saint Elisabeth flood, Netherlands, storm tide in combination with extreme high water in rivers due to heavy rains, 10,000 to 100,000 deaths
      1477, first Cosmas- and Damianus flood, Netherlands and Germany, many thousands of deaths
      1530, November 5, St. Felix’s Flood, Belgium and Netherlands, many towns disappear, more than 100,000 deaths
      1570, November 1, All Saints flood, Belgium and Netherlands, several towns disappear, more than 20,000 deaths
      1663, December 7th The diarist Samuel Pepys noted “the greatest tide that ever was remembered in England to have been in this river, all Whitehall having been drowned.”[6]
      1717, December 24, Christmas flood 1717, Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia, more than 14,000 deaths
      1953, January 31–1, (North Sea flood of 1953) most severe in the Netherlands, leading to the Delta Works, 2533 deaths
      2013, December 5-7, On 4 December the Environment Agency released a warning to communities along the East Coast of England to prepare for the most serious tidal surge in 30 years, with a significant threat of coastal flooding, associated with Cyclone Xaver.[12]

    • The real tragedy is the public’s loss of control of government.

      Government of the people, by the people and for the people has been replaced by government-induced fear in the people:.

      https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/scientists-built-most-powerful-physics-182927605.html

  3. And if not the courts then who? Short term perspective politicians? Politicians heavily obligated to fossil fuel interests? Business leaders? A massive mobilization of citizens? So far only a few have stepped forward and it is getting very late. We are in the midst of crisis for which the usual human sociopolitical change processes are inadequate. If we do not act soon and keep the fossil fuels in the ground by the end of this century there will be no Netherlands – and no NYC, Boston, London, Hong Kong, Miami, Singapore, etc.

    • We are in the midst of crisis […]

      An imaginary “crisis”.

    • With a moniker like ‘Uncle Robot’, who can doubt your sincerity?

      Andrew

    • Yet anuther Ehrlichean doomsday prediction, tsk!

    • Here yer go Uncle Robot, not what the climate
      models predicted.

      Er … does that falsify the theory of CO2/temp
      correlation. What would Popper, or Einstein, say?
      And then there’s also the predicted troposphere
      hot spot. No smoking gun there..Seems ter be
      missing.

      http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c01bb084fa159970d-pi

    • John Carpenter

      “We are in the midst of crisis for which the usual human sociopolitical change processes are inadequate.”

      Huh, that’s interesting. Our current democratic legislative lawmaking processes just don’t cut it for tackling the climate change problem. Presumably a more direct and immediate process is needed, because “If we do not act soon and keep the fossil fuels in the ground by the end of this century there will be no Netherlands – and no NYC, Boston, London, Hong Kong, Miami, Singapore, etc.” So to speed things up, we would have to get rid of lengthy political debate and legislative processes in favor of more immediate enforced mitigation actions with no choice or say from the people. I don’t see any other alternative of what that quote means. Power, apparently, needs to get shifted away from those elected by the people to some few who know what is best for the planet.

      Interesting, because I read so often from the anti-denizens here that ‘skeptics’ wary of ‘one world rule’ or communists ideologies taking over is just fantastical hyperbole. That there is no basis for such thinking. But watermelons and the like. I sure hope one of them comes along and explains to Uncle Robot how he is ruining that argument. Or that Uncle Robot is just a kook.

      • Hey John Carpenter –

        I don’t think that it’s “kooky” to argue (ala Francis Fukuyama) that mature democracies with entrenched power elites have certain inadequacies when facing highly complex and highly polarized problems that require flexibility, adaptability, and forceful action on relatively quick time scales.

        One does not have to be “kook” or an anti-capitalist-communist-eco-nazi-poor-children-starving-energy-access-denying-one-world-government-advocate to note that if we’re going to prevent certain high damage function, low probability outcomes from BAU, then something beyond our “usual” policy implementation processes would be needed. Jumping to equate someone noting that problem to accusing them of advocating for no choice or say from “the people” seems a touch melodramatic to me.

        Perhaps rather than arguing from incredulity as to what Uncle Robot’s comment must have meant, you should ask for a bit more explanation before you start branding him with polemics. Not to say that your assumptions are necessarily wrong – just that you should beware of drawing facile conclusions.

      • David Springer

        j0sha: physician heal thyself

    • stevefitzpatrick

      That may be the funniest comment I have ever read at this blog. Thanks.

    • Stupidity annoys me, Uncle Robot. You want to know why not the courts. That immediately tells me that you think there is merit to the laughable action brought by an illegitimate organization into court that is ignorant of science. You yourself are obviously not a scientist either so let me explain the science involved in eighth grade language. We are talking of atmospheric carbon dioxide here, a greenhouse gas that is alleged to cause anthropogenic greenhouse warming. At least that is what the Urgenda folks say. Their case rests on the experts of IPCC, a UN organization. And their case in turn rests on James Hansen’s claim to the US SEnate in 1988 that he had observed the greenhouse effect. What he saw was a 100 year old forest that he thought had only a half a percent chance of developing by chance alone. This to him proved that it was not a chance because “…the earth is warming by an amount which is too large to be a chance fluctuation …the similarity of the warming to that expected from the greenhouse effect represents a very strong case.” In other words, take my word for it, and the IPCC sure did. Fortunately today there is a way to check if it is true. Undoubtedly you know that there is no warming now and there has been none for the last 18 years. How do you explain this? At rgw same timke, atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is steadily increasing but there is no parallel warming we are told to expect. And this matters because according to the Arrhenius greenhouse theory, the one used by the IPCC, atmospheric carbon dioxide should cause greenhouse warming. Since there is none the greenhouse theory has made a false prediction and must be considered invalid. There is another greenhouse theory, however, called MGT, which does not suffer from this fault. It correctly predicts our present climate and explains why carbon dioxide in the air does not cause warming. That is exactly what the climate is doing today. And guess what? This proves that the court case we are talking of now is simply invalid because it introduces the false notion that anthropogenic addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is capable of warming the atmosphere. That warming does not exist and the Urgenda people who brought it to court are guilty of lieing about the state of the climate in front of the court. Starting a lawsuit with a criminal assertion about a non-existent warming is a crime and should be prosecuted,

    • Uncle, if we focus strictly on Dutch actions, emissions regulations have to be backed by legislation. The Dutch people have a Parliament. I think the Dutch parliament will be sensible and understand enacting laws to satisfy Urgenda’s ideas will harm the Dutch economy, and won’t really solve anything.

      I live in Spain, and I have other concerns I feel are much more important. The last thing I need is to have the Dutch commit economic suicide and introduce a deadly precedent in European law. This means I do expect the case to fail for everybody’s good.

    • Most people don’t give a flip about global warming. From the article:

      Last modified: 08/06/2015 07:38 am

      President Obama recently told the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that denying global warming undermines U.S. national security Concern about global warming is up from recent months, but voters still aren’t totally convinced that humans are to blame.

      Sixty-five percent (65%) of Likely U.S. Voters view global warming as at least a somewhat serious problem, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. That’s up from 59% last December and is the highest level of concern over the past year. Thirty-one percent (31%) don’t consider global warming a serious problem. These findings include 38% who say global warming is a Very Serious problem and 15% who say it’s Not At All Serious. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

      http://www.rasmussenreports.com/content/search?SearchText=climate

  4. There’s the guy who decided to protect his apricots by killing all the birds, and there’s the guy who simply put a net over the tree.

    Holland can neither avert nor cause a catastrophe like the North Sea storms of 1287 AD. Nor can it stop the sea rising or falling (think Roman/medieval versus LIA levels and the present post 1700s dribble of rise). That would be like shooting all the birds.

    Holland came up with engineering. That’s like putting a net over the apricot tree. Intelligent.

    Not that one can blame Holland for saying bad things about coal and nukes. When you make such a good living funnelling all that Russian oil and gas to the world you have to have to kick the competition a bit. It’s a Pepsi versus Coke thing. Trick is to keep a straight face.

  5. “At the request of an environmental organisation by the name of Urgenda, a contraction of “urgent” and “agenda””

    How clever. But I think “alaratard” might be even better

  6. since there is no evidence that minor increases in CO2 levels contribute to hazardous climate change.
    There is no actual evidence that major increases in CO2 levels contribute to hazardous climate change.
    There is no evidence that increases in CO2 levels contribute to any climate change.
    Theory and model output is not evidence. There is no data that indicates the theory and models are anything like real climate.

    • There is no actual evidence that major increases in CO2 levels contribute to hazardous climate change.

      Tell it to the judge. :)

      (In this case even the defendant isn’t using your argument.)

      • Out of curiosity, who was the defendant in this case? And did they HAVE an argument, or was this like when Greenpeace sue’s the EPA?

      • The defendant was The Netherlands, and according to the court they had no case for reducing their earlier target of 30% to 17% because they offered neither any new scientific information about climate change nor any reduction in their earlier estimate of feasibility of achieving that target. When asked directly about the latter the State said yes, it was economically feasible for them to meet that terget.

        Oops, target. Beth’s a corrupting influence. ;)

      • Where can you find any truly scientific information about global warming? It’s all just a guess gussied up to look like it might be scientific.

      • It’s all just a guess gussied up to look like it might be scientific.

        Right, just like heliocentrism, or relativity, or quantum mechanics, or quasicrystals, or whatever theory turns you off. Just a guess gussied up to look like it might be scientific.

        Those who say this don’t have a clue how to marshall the evidence in support of what they say. Without properly managed evidence they’re just spouting words that have no bearing on reality.

        Even courts of law understand the importance of properly managed evidence. “Sure, judge, he hated her, so he must have shot her.” “What is your evidence that it was he who shot her?” “Judge, I’m telling you, he hated her, so he must have shot her. That’s my evidence; Everyone I talk to agrees with that. Get real, man.”

        A large fraction of the planet reasons like that. I don’t know exactly how large, but based on what you can find on newsstands and online it’s significant. To reassure themselves that they’re right they congregate together in order to have a shared mantra.

      • History Blitz.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/hitler-and-the-socialist-dream-1186455.html

        Dialectic at the same time. When these visions are still playing out around the world today, maybe there is something to it.

  7. Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.
    – Albert Einstein

    • From the ruling by the court:

      4.11. Well before the 1990s, there was a growing realisation among scientists that human caused (anthropogenic) greenhouse gas emissions possibly led to a global temperature rise, and that this could have catastrophic consequences for man and the environment. This realisation led to the UN Climate Change Convention in 1992, of which the objective is formulated in Article 2, referred to in 2.37, as follows: to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. As stated previously, 195 countries, including the Netherlands and the EU, have endorsed this objective.

      4.12. The UN Climate Change Convention also made provisions for the establishment of the IPCC as a global knowledge institute. The IPCC reports have bundled the knowledge of hundreds of scientists and to a great extent represent the current climate science. The IPCC is also an intergovernmental organisation. The IPCC’s findings serve as a starting point for the COP decisions, which are taken by the signatories to the UN Climate Change Convention during their climate conferences. Similarly, the Dutch and European decision-making processes pertaining to the climate policies to be pursued are also based on the climate science findings of the IPCC. The court – and also the Parties – therefore considers these findings as facts.

      The court disregards that by the PRINCIPLES GOVERNING IPCC WORK:
      – IPCC is created with a mission to support The UN Climate Change Convention ref. Paragraph 1
      – IPCC is bound to use all best endeavors to reach consensus
      REf. paragraph 10

      Both of which are in breach with modern scientific principles. By the principles IPCC is also not bound by modern scientific principles in which:

      1 A hypothesis is proposed. This is not justified and is tentative.
      2 Testable predictions are deduced from the hypothesis and previously accepted statements.
      3 We observe whether the predictions are true.
      4 If the predictions are false, we conclude the theory is false.
      5 If the predictions are true, that doesn’t show the theory is true, or even probably true. All we can say is that the theory has so far passed the tests of it.

      IPCC does not follow this method. What IPCC largely does, is to endorse inductivism and justificationism. IPCC does all the things Karl Popper warned about. Karl Popper was the master mind behind the modern scientific method in which a theory is merited by the severity of the tests it has survived. Not by the inductive reasoning in favor of it.

      More on this here.
      https://dhf66.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/does-the-intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change-endorse-a-scientific-method-from-the-renaissance/

      The court is obviously ignorant about the modern scientific method. The court is basing its ruling on false premises. The court bases its ruling on a misconception about the modern scientific method and a misconception about what can be regarded as facts.

      • The court is obviously ignorant about the modern scientific method. The court is basing its ruling on false premises.

        The only ignorance here is that of the basis for the court’s ruling, which was not a matter of deciding the truth or falsity of those particular premises because the defendant accepted that they were true.

      • Vaughan Pratt
        So the defendant actually accepted the premises, as evident from the sentence:
        “The court – and also the Parties – therefore considers these findings as facts.”
        Seems like the defendant wanted to loose the case.

      • Seems like the defendant wanted to loose the case.

        That makes no sense. Given the incentives courts always provide for a guilty plea in the interests of saving time and effort, why would a defendant that wanted to lose a case plead not guilty? If you know you’re guaranteed to be found guilty it’s far better to plead guilty (though never before extracting a commensurate quid pro quo for doing so).

      • Vaughan Pratt, so the biggest challenge is to educate politicians and judges on the scientific method and how the climate consensus tries to avoid it while pushing policy agendas that restructure the world economies.

      • Too funny. First they lose the debate.
        Now the court case.

        But they gots questions

      • the biggest challenge is to educate politicians and judges on the scientific method

        Why?

        1. Has the scientific method ever been applied to itself to answer the question of whether it is effective in any way?

        2. Out of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, how come only science needs a single fixed method?

        3. Does science need a method because science is harder, or because scientists are the only ones who can’t come up with their own method for any given problem?

        4. In the entire history of mankind, what great scientific discovery has ever been made that depended on applying the scientific method?

        I submit that the so-called “scientific method” is to the scientific brain as an abacus is to a modern computer. It’s a joke. It’s a concept useful only to non-scientists reassuring each other about the ignorance of scientists they’re convinced are wrong.

      • Thats some huge questions. However, I will give it a shot:

        By Scientific method It is here meant Popper´s empirical method.
        My perspective of this method is simply put this:
        1 A well defined idea – a hypothesis, theory or what you will – is proposed. The idea is still tentative.
        2 Testable predictions are deduced from the tentative idea and previously accepted statements.
        3 We expose the tentative idea to testing and observe whether the predictions are true within stated uncertainties
        4 If the predictions are false, we conclude that the tentative idea is false, it is not delivering what it promised
        5 If the predictions are true, that doesn’t show the theory is true, or even probably true. All we can say is that the theory has so far passed the tests of it.

        Many tend to confuse the process of making the idea, hypothesis, theory or whatever with the scientific method. However, getting to the first step is pretty much like making a baby – it can be more or less sophisticated – but it isn´t science.

        The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
        – Albert Einstein

        The invention by Karl Popper is that an idea can be falsified, it can be proven wrong. Hence it must be falsifiable, it must be testable. If not, it is not a scientific idea. He realized that an idea is merited by the conditions and the tests it has been exposed to and survived. the attempts of falsification it has been exposed to and survived. And not at all by inductive reasoning in favor of it.

        No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
        – Albert Einstein

        Karl Popper solved the problem of induction. His method does not rely on induction. His method rely on deduction and observation.

        As Karl Popper phrased it:
        “From a new idea, put up tentatively, and not yet justified in any way—an anticipation, a hypothesis, a theoretical system, or what you will— conclusions are drawn by means of logical deduction.»

        Necessary consequences of the idea are predicted. If the prediction fails, the idea is wrong. (To be more precise, If repeated experiments demonstrate that the predictions differs from the observations by more than the stated uncertainty limits. The idea is wrong.)

        Theoretically, the proponents of the idea can evade falsification. As Phrased by Popper:
        “it is still impossible, for various reasons, that any theoretical system should ever be conclusively falsified. For it is always possible to find some way of evading falsification, for example by introducing ad hoc an auxiliary hypothesis, or by changing ad hoc a definition. It is even possible without logical inconsistency to adopt the position of simply refusing to acknowledge any falsifying experience whatsoever. Admittedly, scientists do not usually proceed in this way, but logically such procedure is possible»

        Consequently, the stratagem to evade falsification by changing definitions or adding ad hoc hypothesis are prohibited by the method:
        “the empirical method shall be characterized as a method that excludes precisely those ways of evading falsification which … are logically possible. According to my proposal, what characterizes the empirical method is its manner of exposing to falsification, in every conceivable way, the system to be tested. Its aim is not to save the lives of untenable systems but … exposing them all to the fiercest struggle for survival.»

        So, can’t the theory be altered then? Of course it can, but if the theory, definitions or hypothesis are changed – previous tests are nullified. Every test will have to be reconsidered to check if it is still valid.

        To attempt an answer your questions:
        1. Has the scientific method ever been applied to itself to answer the question of whether it is effective in any way?

        I think so – I have never heard that Popper´s empirical method has been falsified.

        2. Out of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, how come only science needs a single fixed method?

        The method is in use both science, technology and engineering. (I can´t immediately tell if it is used in mathematics.)

        If a bridge falls down, the design or the construction has been falsified. And it cannot immediately be pinpointed why it fell down – but something was wrong. The theory will have to be reestablished. It is like the ladder board game. I minor falsifying experience might bring the idea down a short ladder. A significant falsifying experience bring back to start.

        3. Does science need a method because science is harder, or because scientists are the only ones who can’t come up with their own method for any given problem?

        Ref. previous point.

        4. In the entire history of mankind, what great scientific discovery has ever been made that depended on applying the scientific method?

        If I add 4.187 kJ to 1 kg of water the temperature will increase by 1 K. Not 0.9 K or 1.1 K but 1.0 K. Any other temperature increase than 1.0 K is prohibited by the theory. The predictive capabilities are exceptional. Within certain conditions it has not been falsified. That is great to know isn´t it?

      • @SoF: By Scientific method It is here meant Popper´s empirical method.

        1. Popper is a philosopher. Why would anyone expect philosophers to be better than scientists at teaching politicians and judges how to do science? Yet this seems to be what you’re advocating.

        2. Philosophers have been dictating “the scientific method” to scientists (and politicians and judges?) since the 17th century. Has Popper’s mid-20th-century innovation made any measurable difference to the impact of philosophy on real science?

        The invention by Karl Popper is that an idea can be falsified, it can be proven wrong. Hence it must be falsifiable, it must be testable. If not, it is not a scientific idea.

        How could anyone prove Popper’s idea wrong? Unless they could it is not falsifiable and therefore scientists should not accept it as a scientific idea.

        It’s not a scientific idea, it’s a philosophical idea, and moreover just one of several philosophical theories about how scientists do, or should, operate. Philosophers who aren’t scientists have even less of a claim to insight into the scientific mind than do scientists.

        No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong. – Albert Einstein

        The best drug for a treatment is chosen by experimentation. How does Einstein’s advice help the medical profession choose between two drugs? This question is equally relevant to climate science where there are competing hypotheses of what’s causing changes to global surface temperature and ocean pH. How does Einstein’s advice help climate science choose between two hypotheses? Einstein’s advice may be useful for understanding the hydrogen atom, but it’s useless in medicine and climate science, which are charged with the unenviable task of accounting for vastly more complex systems.

        Karl Popper solved the problem of induction. His method does not rely on induction. His method rely on deduction and observation.

        I’ve heard this distinction explained in terms of the difference between the inference rules of Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens. Since these rules are interderivable in standard logic I don’t see what difference Popper’s change of viewpoint makes to the logic that ordinary scientists rely on. Some philosophers are logicians, but not Popper.

        Necessary consequences of the idea are predicted. If the prediction fails, the idea is wrong. (To be more precise, If repeated experiments demonstrate that the predictions differs from the observations by more than the stated uncertainty limits. The idea is wrong.)

        Your parenthetical caveat opens a huge can of worms not accounted for either by Einstein’s “one experiment can prove me wrong” or by the naive distinction between induction and deduction. This is because as soon as you let “uncertainty limits” enter you also allow the possibility of theories that compete on the basis of certainty in each of the many dimensions in the sorts of complex systems medicine and climate science are obliged to deal with.

        As Phrased by Popper: “it is still impossible, for various reasons, that any theoretical system should ever be conclusively falsified. … Admittedly, scientists do not usually proceed in this way, but logically such procedure is possible

        Translation: Popper would like scientists to consider shifting to his recommended procedure. Interestingly he doesn’t even say that his procedure is necessary but merely that it’s possible. All this without his ever having subjected his procedure to any form of testing, rigorous or otherwise.

        (sf) To attempt an answer your questions:

        (me) 1. Has the scientific method ever been applied to itself to answer the question of whether it is effective in any way?

        (sf) I think so – I have never heard that Popper´s empirical method has been falsified.

        Answered above. (It’s never been falsified because it’s not falsifiable.)

        (me) 2. Out of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, how come only science needs a single fixed method?

        (sf) The method is in use both science, technology and engineering. (I can´t immediately tell if it is used in mathematics.)

        Personally I don’t believe Popper’s method is even used in science, but let’s accept your claim that it’s used in S, T, and E. You said it needs to be taught to politicians and judges. On what ground do you claim that that technologists and engineers use Popper’s method to any greater extent than do judges? (While politics is above my pay grade I would not contest any claim to the effect that Tea Party politicians are less likely to be using it than other politicians.)

        (sf) If a bridge falls down, the design or the construction has been falsified. And it cannot immediately be pinpointed why it fell down – but something was wrong.

        Good point. The design of NYC’s Twin Towers was badly flawed according to the engineers who analyzed their collapse after 9/11.

        But where does Popper come into this? Why wouldn’t the scientific methods of the 19th century have been adequate to draw this conclusion? Popper’s whole concept of “falsifiability” is based on the assumption that Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens are not interderivable logical laws, which simply isn’t true.

        (me) 4. In the entire history of mankind, what great scientific discovery has ever been made that depended on applying the scientific method?

        (sf) If I add 4.187 kJ to 1 kg of water the temperature will increase by 1 K. Not 0.9 K or 1.1 K but 1.0 K. Any other temperature increase than 1.0 K is prohibited by the theory. The predictive capabilities are exceptional. Within certain conditions it has not been falsified. That is great to know isn´t it?

        It is indeed great to know. But I thought it was known even before Popper was born (1902). What clarity did Popper bring to that relationship between heat and temperature that was not already perfectly clear to 19th century thermodynamicists?

        And when Archimedes ran down the street naked yelling “Eureka” several centuries before Jesus was born, what clarity did the 17th century experts on what they claimed to be the “scientific method” bring to his insight into the relationship between weight defect and displaced volume of water?

        In summary my claims would be as follows.

        (i) That which 17th century philosophers called the scientific method is more useful in turning non-scientists into scientists than in producing award-winning scientists. It’s at best a pedagogical tool.

        (ii) Popper’s variant of the scientific method depends on the premise that Modus Tollens is somehow more effective in scientific reasoning than Modus Ponens. Unless that premise is true in any effective sense, Popper’s variant cannot improve the pedagogical role of the scientific method. And since that’s been its only role for centuries it cannot impact professional science either.

        And in conclusion a parable:

        Judge (trained in the new-fangled scientific method): Archimedes, please explain to the court how you applied the scientific method to conclude that this gold crown has, as you allege, been debased with silver.

        Archimedes: Please, your honour, what is this “scientific method”?

        Judge: Case dismissed.

        One branch of philosophy is logic, a subject that makes mathematics difficult. The remaining branches make common sense difficult.

      • A great sub-thread with kudos to ScienceorFiction and VP for their thought provoking responses. IMO a classic dialogue with any hint whatever of ad hominem in their argument. I’m still thinking that VP has the more difficult argument to make but thanks for the infotainment. +100

      • > VP has the more difficult argument to make […]

        True, if we accept that VP needs to go beyond pop-Popperianism.

        However, this difficulty is mitigated by some insider trading:

        When philosophers realized that an experimentum crucis is a rare event, the falsificationnist stock plummeted.

        ***

        Speaking of which, Vaughan, the asymmetry Popper saw between falsification and verification was meant (a) to bypass any induction to universal statements, which he calls conjectures, and (b) to only accept existential claims for scientific inference, which he called refutations. Hence the name of his book.

      • Vaughan Pratt | September 12, 2015 at 12:09 am |

        While I work on an answer, which may take some time. To those who are interested, I happen to have a link to the great work by Popper where his method is put forward. The first 25 pages pretty much contains the essence. “The Logic of Scientific Discovery”, Issued in english in 1959:
        http://strangebeautiful.com/other-texts/popper-logic-scientific-discovery.pdf

        “Realism and the aim of science” From the Postscripts to “The logic of scientific discovery” were issued as late as 1983. In the book he elaborates on some fundamental principles, and responds to contemporary criticism. As far as I understand his work has stood up great up great to criticism.

      • Vaughan Pratt | September 12, 2015 at 12:09 am |

        How many may have stepped out of the bath tub with an idea that seemed great at the moment, but later turned out to be wrong. I know that I myself have got many seemingly great ideas in the shower, which later turned out to be crap.

        Popper did not invent every individual constituents of his empirical method. He combined them into a valuable method. I think the method is widely used, but I don´t think it is fully realized that it is. Similar methods must also have been in use before Karl Popper published his empirical method. The idea is simply put: I really have to test if this will work, if it don´t survive the tests it will not work. Or even simpler, the famous last words: “This should work just fine”, oops! it didn´t.

        I think a practical example about the use of Poppers empirical method can be valuable to our discussion.

        Popper´s empirical method is of great help to me. Whenever someone tries to sell me a immensely complicated device, a device which is claimed by it´s proponents to provide predictions within certain uncertainty limits. Then Popper´s empirical method both tells me what I should do and what I should not try to do.

        What I should not try to do is to dive into every bit of the device and try to induce wether it will work within it´s claims or not. I should not try to induce from my understanding of every bit of the device wether the claims by it´s proponents are correct or not. And I should not take for granted the inductive reasoning by the proponents in favor of it. In a complicated device there is an infinite amount of possible errors.

        What I have to do is to ask for it to be tested. I have to ask for it to be exposed to a relevant range of testing conditions. Some understanding of the principles the device works by, and what may influence on its performance, is crucial in order to select proper tests. If the device survives these tests – all I know is that the devices has survived those particular test. It has not yet been proved that the device does not perform in accordance with what has been claimed about the device, under these particular conditions. (Watch out for the double negation in the previous sentence, it is not the same as to say that it has been proved that the device works). I also know that if the device is applied outside the range of testing conditions it has been exposed to, there will be great uncertainty about it´s capabilities.

        I know about several devices which has ceased to exists. These were seemingly fantastic devices, based on physics, there was consensus among its proponents about it´t capabilities. Unfortunately, testing revealed that the devices could not provide reliable predictions.

        I even had a great idea myself about a device which could make predictions within certain uncertainties. However, I knew that my idea rested on the generalization of an effect I had observed. Hence, I designed a test which could falsify my idea about this effect. I went to a laboratory and did a lot of testing. It turned out that my idea survived many of my tests. Unfortunately, it did not survive all my tests. It turned out that my idea only provided reliable predictions within a very limited range of conditions. Hence, my idea was falsified. Consequently the design was falsified. Fortunately for my company I falsified the idea at a very early stage, before my flawed idea had caused much harm to my company. Soon after, we came up with another design, resting on other ideas. This new design has not yet been falsified, but we will try very hard to falsify it before the idea does any harm to my company, by making my company use a lot of resources in producing a device which in the end might turn out to not provide reliable results.

      • David Springer

        Karl Popper is considered one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. Pratt, an utter non-entity in science, disagrees with Popper on empirical falsification.

        The hubris is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

      • Plato may be considered the most important ever. Yet most if not all his theories have no currency today. Go figure.

        The Internet has turnined Popper into a Science Fiction character when he speaks of the Popperian method – Pop tried to reduce scientific inference to deduction. Even then, Ronald Fischer would be the closest candidate for a workable reduction.

        The very idea of a method is problematic for Popper. For instance, according to him, hypothesis formation is a creative act, and the great scientific minds are like great artists. In fact, if you push Popper’s ideas to its limits, you get Feyerabend, who was a Popperian.

        For more on Popper:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/popperforbloggers

        ***

        All this to bash teh modulz. Sad.

      • Willard | September 12, 2015 at 10:19 am |

        “The very idea of a method is problematic for Popper. For instance, according to him, hypothesis formation is a creative act, and the great scientific minds are like great artists.”

        I can´t imagine why it should be problematic to allow creative thinking in coming up with the idea, and then require methodical handling of the idea. Nothing I have seen by Popper indicates that he had the slightest problem with this. This seems to be a problem constructed from a misconception of Poppers method.

        I start to realize that even though Poppers empirical method is very simple in principle it can be misconceived in an infinite number of ways.

      • > “Realism and the aim of science” From the Postscripts to “The logic of scientific discovery” were issued as late as 1983. In the book he elaborates on some fundamental principles, and responds to contemporary criticism. As far as I understand his work has stood up great up great to criticism.

        In the 1982 introduction, Popper addresses six points.

        The first is to clarify the concept of falsifiiability, which only refers to the possibility of a refutation, which leads us to the metaphysics of empiricism.

        The second is to reiterate that his “method” is not descriptive or empirical (p. XXV):

        [I] do not regard methodology as an empirical discipline, to be tested, perhaps, by the facts of the history of science. It is rather, a philosophical — a metaphysical — discipline., perhaps partly even a normative proposal.

        The third is to counter-attack any other theory of science as not being descriptive either. The fourth is to rebut Kuhn’s caricature of him, a caricature that seems to be traced back to Lakatos – at least the expression “naive falsificationnism” seems to come from Popper’s heir.
        The fifth is to minimize the difficulties in formalizing the concept of verisimilitude, which may escape deductive logic. The sixth is to solve Goodman’s paradox, a rare section where Sir Karl tries to throw in some real derivations.

        ***

        Perhaps the most important page in that book, at least as far as the Popper for Bloggers series is concerned, is the one that contains this passage (p. XXXV):

        It so happens that the real linchpin of my thought about human knowledge is fallibilism and the critical approach; and that […] human knowledge is a very special case of animal knowledge.

        He then goes on to give a more naturalist flavour to his theory.

        ***

        Therefore, it might be more appropriate to present Popper as a fallibilist and a criticist, both understood as philosophical, quasi-metaphysical, and normative endeavours.

      • > I can´t imagine why it should be problematic to allow creative thinking in coming up with the idea, and then require methodical handling of the idea.

        I can’t imagine why Denizens would insist in imposing “methodical handling” of scientific affairs while raising concerns about government intervention, totalitarian bureaucracies, and statism in general. It’s as if the methodology they devise will be implemented through spiritualism or something. One does not simply praise methodical handling and expect Mordor to remain absolutely free.

        However one might feel about this quandary, my point was only to observe that Popper’s philosophy of science did not rest on a method. It’s not even a theory, or at least not a scientific one. It’s not a conjecture that could be refuted, as Vaughan said, just like many others did before him, including his colleague Jean-Yves Girard.

        ***

        Popper was more relevant when the DN model was in rage. It’s not anymore. The only reason to “pull him back in,” to borrow a famous line, is to promote his most reactionary streaks.

        There’s no need to hide under Popper’s robe to abide by faillibity. Everyone (including her mother) agrees about that principle. It’s when we need to put that principle in practice that it becomes more complex that we may think.

        Also note that John NG already met the falsificationnist challenge for the AGW theory:

        http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/08/roger-pielke-jr-s-inkblot/

        In the end, holism wins.

      • Willard

        I am actually using Poppers empirical method in my professional work. I might have been misled by the above quote of Einstein, which I interpreted in favor of the method. Anyhow, I am very interested in improving my methods. Any improvement would make me better at my work.

        It has never occurred to me that the method could in any way:
        – Prevent me from coming up with great scientific ideas
        – Make me susceptible to accept as falsified ideas which should not be regarded as falsified
        – Make me susceptible to accept as corroborated ideas which should not be regarded as corroborated

        Would you be so kind to pinpoint to me any flaws of Karl Poppers empirical method which might:
        – Hinder me coming up with great scientific ideas
        – Make me regard as falsified ideas which should not be regarded as falsified
        – Make me regard as corroborated ideas which should not be regarded as corroborated

        As I am middle aged, I am not very good at slang or abbreviations, so if you would be so kind to refrain from such you would make it easier for me to understand your argument. Also, I am very eager to improve my methods, so there is no need to try to influence my feelings – but please, feel free to do so if you like.

      • > I am actually using Poppers empirical method in my professional work.

        Great. Please rest assured that I am a ninja.

        ***

        > It has never occurred to me that the method could in any way: Prevent me from coming up with great scientific ideas[; m]ake me susceptible to accept as falsified ideas which should not be regarded as falsified[;m]ake me susceptible to accept as corroborated ideas which should not be regarded as corroborated.

        Your incredulity about this new squirrel is duly acknowledged.

        For the third time, there is no such a thing as a Popperian empirical method.

        For the second time, you really ought to read NG’s post, since it refutes your idea that the AGW theory does not meet scientific standards.

        For the first time, appealing to your own authority does not dispense you from paying due diligence to what Popper writes.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | September 12, 2015 at 4:52 pm |

        Thank you for your reply.
        I have no further comments and no further questions.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        1. Popper is a philosopher. Why would anyone expect philosophers to be better than scientists at teaching politicians and judges how to do science? Yet this seems to be what you’re advocating.

        Popper was educated within mathematics and physics. Einstein didn´t seem to have any problems with his method. I am educated within physics, I am a scientist – I think, I don’t have any problems with his method, I actually finds it valuable. I definitely think that both politicians and judges would benefit from Poppers empirical method.

        “How could anyone prove Popper’s idea wrong? Unless they could it is not falsifiable and therefore scientists should not accept it as a scientific idea.»

        I think Popper could be proved wrong. If you prove that a true idea has been demonstrated to be wrong by precisely following Poppers method.

        “The best drug for a treatment is chosen by experimentation. «
        It is not a competition, there ain´t no cure for all disorders – there ain´t no cure for love.
        To be allowed to sell a drug, it will have to be rigorously tested to demonstrate that it does not cause harm, and that it does not fail to treat.

        “This question is equally relevant to climate science where there are competing hypotheses of what’s causing changes to global surface temperature and ocean pH. How does Einstein’s advice help climate science choose between two hypotheses?»
        If an idea has been falsified then it has been falsified. If all ideas about an issue has been falsified than all ideas about this issue has been falsified. In that case we don’t know.
        Vaughan Pratt | September 12, 2015 at 12:09 am |

        “I’ve heard this distinction explained in terms of the difference between the inference rules of Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens. Since these rules are interderivable in standard logic I don’t see what difference Popper’s change of viewpoint makes to the logic that ordinary scientists rely on.”

        Popper did not use these terms, hence I will not depart on an argument about these terms.

        “Some philosophers are logicians, but not Popper.”

        I think Karl Popper demonstrated brilliant capabilities within logic. After all, his understanding of logic is duly demonstrated in his main work «The logic of Scientific Discovery». By the way – that´s a extremely bold title for one which is supposed to not understand logic.

        “Your parenthetical caveat opens a huge can of worms not accounted for either by Einstein’s “one experiment can prove me wrong””
        Vaughan Pratt is referring to my argument: (To be more precise, If repeated experiments demonstrate that the predictions differs from the observations by more than the stated uncertainty limits. The idea is wrong.):

        Einstein said that one experiment can prove me wrong. I don´t think he intended to exclude the repetition of a experiment to make sure the results was not spurious.

        “or by the naive distinction between induction and deduction»

        There is an enormous difference between induction and deduction. Ref. Wikipedia – for what it is still worth:
        “Inductive reasoning (as opposed to deductive reasoning or abductive reasoning) is reasoning in which the premises seek to supply strong evidence for (not absolute proof of) the truth of the conclusion. While the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.”

        “This is because as soon as you let “uncertainty limits” enter you also allow the possibility of theories that compete on the basis of certainty»

        This is a quite interesting theme. The theme has been covered properly by Karl Popper. Note that there is a distinction between the “probability of hypothesis» and the uncertainty of an estimate, a measurement.
        There are standards about the uncertainty of an estimate, a predictionref: «Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement»

        About “probability of hypothesis” Popper had the following to say ref «The logic of scientific discovery”:
        “All this glaringly contradicts the programme of expressing, in terms of a ‘probability of hypotheses’, the degree of reliability which we have to ascribe to a hypothesis in view of supporting or undermining evidence.»

        Here, it is relevant to mention that IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) even issued a guide about how to express the probability of hypothesis. Totally in breach with the works by Karl Popper. Ref. “Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties»

        «(Vaughan Pratt) 1. Has the scientific method ever been applied to itself to answer the question of whether it is effective in any way?

        (Science of Fiction) I think so – I have never heard that Popper´s empirical method has been falsified.

        Vaughan Pratt: Answered above. (It’s never been falsified because it’s not falsifiable.)»

        Isn’t it? Has the method ever falsified an idea which was proven, at the same time – by the same information – at the same conditions, to be true”
        I am probably on extremely thin ice here, but could it be that even Karl Popper underestimated the power of his own method.
        (Ref “Realism and the aim of science» Introduction section II.)
        By the way: I would love to be proven wrong on this. I would loose the ground under my feet for a while – but eventually I will hit ground again – more weathered, but wiser – or dead.

        “Personally I don’t believe Popper’s method is even used in science, but let’s accept your claim that it’s used in S, T, and E. You said it needs to be taught to politicians and judges. On what ground do you claim that that technologists and engineers use Popper’s method to any greater extent than do judges?»

        It was Danley Wolfe who indicated that the “biggest challenge is to educate politicians and judges on the scientific method” , but I fully agree with him. I do not claim that technologist and engineers use Popper´s method to any greater extent than do judges. What I will claim here, however is that: Anyone who is careful about facts should be careful about the method he uses to arrive at these facts. Popper´s empirical method is a method to arrive at statements which are corroborated by experience, statements which has not yet been falsified. Not facts, but as close to facts as you can get. I think that both scientists, technologist, engineers, judges, politicians, journalists – and every other professional group I can think of – should be very careful about the facts they present and relates to.

        “Popper’s whole concept of “falsifiability” is based on the assumption that Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens are not interderivable logical laws, which simply isn’t true.»

        Popper did not use those terms. If logic can’t distinguish between induction and deduction, then logic must be flawed or not properly applied in this case.
        Ref: «The Logic of Scientific Discovery” section 1.
        And Wikipedia:
        “Inductive reasoning (as opposed to deductive reasoning or abductive reasoning) is reasoning in which the premises seek to supply strong evidence for (not absolute proof of) the truth of the conclusion. While the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.

        Deductive reasoning, also deductive logic or logical deduction or, informally, “top-down” logic, is the process of reasoning from one or more statements (premises) to reach a logically certain conclusion. It differs from inductive reasoning or abductive reasoning.”

        “It is indeed great to know. But I thought it was known even before Popper was born (1902).»
        Did anyone ever say that no corroborated statement was ever uttered before Karl Popper published his method?

        “(i) That which 17th century philosophers called the scientific method is more useful in turning non-scientists into scientists than in producing award-winning scientists. It’s at best a pedagogical tool.»

        I have currently no comments about 17th century philosophers and whatever they might have called the scientific method.

        “(ii) Popper’s variant of the scientific method depends on the premise that Modus Tollens is somehow more effective in scientific reasoning than Modus Ponens. Unless that premise is true in any effective sense”

        Karl Poppers argument is more about the difference between inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning.

        I will again give it a shot :)

        Inductive reasoning:
        If I add 4.187 kJ to 1 kg of H2O, the temperature will increase by 1 K – as I just demonstrated with 1 kg of H2O at 300 K .
        This is inductive reasoning because:
        If I add 4.187 kJ to 1 kg of H2O at 268 K the temperature will increased by approximately 2 K.

        (The explanation is that : At 300 K, H2O will be in liquid form and have a specific heat capacity of 4.187 kJ/kgK. At 268 K, H2O will be in ice form and have a specific heat capacity; 2.027 kJ/kgK.)

        Deductive reasoning:
        If my idea is correct, this pile of crap will blow up in 10 seconds. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 – it did not blow up – my idea has been falsified.

        All the best – Science of Fiction :)

      • @DS: Karl Popper is considered one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century.

        According to one of the greatest philosophers of all time, David Hume, philosophy is BS.

        So if the philosopher Hume is to be believed, you’re claiming that Popper is one of the greatest BS-ers of the 20th century.

        I seriously doubt this. If it were true there would be all sorts of BS with Popper’s name attached to it, such as Popper ethics, Popper ontology, Popper empiricism, etc.

        How much philosophical BS actually has Popper’s name attached to it? Please list with citations.

      • David Springer

        Hilarious. You linked to an article written by climate skeptic, Duke physicist Robert G. Brown. You obviously misread the article. Hume never said philosophy is BS. Brown said it. Try again.

      • Vaughan Pratt | September 13, 2015 at 2:38 am |

        Your statement is taken out of context. It may seem like you have been played with. Great piece anyway, thanks for the link. Seems to be by rgbatduke Robert G. Brown. Hope he don´t mind me including these quotes:

        From the same section you linked to:
        “A single axiom, in isolation, cannot be right or wrong. The problem comes when Mr. Axiom is joined by Wife Axiom, their Cousin Axioms and all their little axiomlets. Then we have all sorts of possibilities for disaster. I can assert as an axiom that things fall up. Why not? It’s an arbitrary hypothesis, right? I then release something and it falls down. At this point I can:

        1) Reject my axiom as wrong because it doesn’t seem to jibe with observed reality.
        2/ Reject my reality as wrong because it is obviously inconsistent with my axiom.
        3) Add more axioms. Things fall up really, but this is a white rabbit and this is a Sunday afternoon and white rabbits can fall down on Sunday afternoons.

        We call folks who choose 1) sane, sensible humans, likely well-adjusted and reasonably happy. They are kind to children and pets. We call folks who choose 2) to be dangeous whackos, probably whackos with a very short expected lifetime. We call folks who choose 3) to be Jackasses (with a capital J). We should be even more cruel, because these individuals are often even more dangerous than 2)’s (and often people do both 2) and 3) at the same time. 2)’s are mostly a danger to themselves, not others…”

        From the last two sections in the section conclusions:
        “Ahh, but now you are wise and see the game I am playing with you. Axioms are neither true nor false, they just are. Logically there are many ways to convert one into another, adding an axiom here, altering an idea there, ultimately dividing by the zero that is their informational content and proving whatever you like. Axiom sets can be inconsistent. Axiom sets can be consistent, but they or the conclusions derived from them may not correspond to what we directly experience (and hence require special axioms to resolve the conflicts, which are then overcomplex and ugly).

        So choose your axioms wisely my friend, examine them often for leaks.
        Bail them out like a foundering float, burn the boat if it creaks.
        Challenge the cherished old words, my friend, challenge the new ones too.
        Avoid all beliefs that lead you to grief, and keep all the best ones for you.”

      • > Hume never said philosophy is BS.

        Indeed, he rather says, among other things, that it (i.e. metaphysics) comes from “the fruitless efforts of human vanity”:

        [T]his obscurity in the profound and abstract philosophy, is objected to, not only as painful and fatiguing, but as the inevitable source of uncertainty and error. Here indeed lies the justest and most plausible objection against a considerable part of metaphysics, that they are not properly a science; but arise either from the fruitless efforts of human vanity, which would penetrate into subjects utterly inaccessible to the understanding, or from the craft of popular superstitions, which, being unable to defend themselves on fair ground, raise these intangling brambles to cover and protect their weakness. Chaced from the open country, these robbers fly into the forest, and lie in wait to break in upon every unguarded avenue of the mind, and overwhelm it with religious fears and prejudices. The stoutest antagonist, if he remit his watch a moment, is oppressed. And many, through cowardice and folly, open the gates to the enemies, and willingly receive them with reverence and submission, as their legal sovereigns.

        http://www.davidhume.org/texts/ehu.html

        This passage might suffice to show that it would be quite fair to say that Hume said that the philosophy of his time was mostly BS, if the word “to say” can refer to the content of the words said, and not only the to the words.

      • > Popper did not use those terms [falsifiability, Modus Ponens, and Modus Tollens].

        He actually did, e.g. in section 6 of chapter 1:

        My proposal is based upon an asymmetry between verifiability and falsifiability; an asymmetry which results from the logical form of universal statements.* For these are never derivable from singular statements, but can be contradicted by singular statements. Consequently it is possible by means of purely deductive inferences (with the help of the modus tollens of classical logic) to argue from the truth of singular statements to the falsity of universal statements. Such an argument to the falsity of universal statements is the only strictly deductive kind of inference that proceeds, as it were, in the ‘inductive direction’; that is, from singular to universal statements.

        http://strangebeautiful.com/other-texts/popper-logic-scientific-discovery.pdf

        There are seven other occurences of “modus tollens” in LSD.

        ***

        Also note the title of the 1956 Preface, Science Fiction.

      • David Springer

        Hume was talking about the branch of philosophy called metaphysics. He said (paraphrased) that metaphysics is BS. I agree. The problem here (aside from the general problem of Pratt and Willard being habitually disingenuous) is that Philosophy of Science is NOT in the metaphysics branch of philosophy. Both Pratt and Willard, presuming they’re not ignorant beyond repair, should know that. Hence they are, as usual, being disingenuous (insincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying, mendacious; hypocritical) yet again.

      • Willard | September 13, 2015 at 11:15 am |

        Good catch. :)
        The crucial question remains, is the method somehow flawed?

      • > [I]s the method somehow flawed?

        The title of that 1956 Preface is ON THE EXISTENCE OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD, Fiction.

        In it, Sir Karl even says that Scientific Method holds a somewhat peculiar position in being even less existent than some other non existent object.

        There is more in that Preface, but why would I spoil the great chance you may have of reading it for the first time?

      • > ON THE EXISTENCE OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD

        ON THE NON-EXISTENCE OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD, that is.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | September 13, 2015 at 4:16 pm |

        It seems that you are implying that Popper spent his whole life on something he believed did not exist. I don´t buy that argument. Besides that, there is more in that essay than the title:
        “What I mean is this. The founders of the subject, Plato, Aristotle, Bacon and Decartes, as well as most of their successors, for example John Stuart Mill, believed that there existed a method of finding scientific truth. In a later an slightly more skeptical period there were methodologists who believed that there existed a method, if not of finding a true theory, then at least of ascertaining whether or not some given hypothesis was true; or (even more skeptical) whether some given hypothesis was at least probable to some ascertainable degree.

        I assert that no scientific method exists in any of these three senses. to put it in a more direct way:
        (1) There is no method of discovering a scientific theory.
        (2) There is no method of ascertaining the truth of a scientific hypothesis, that is, no method of verification.
        (3) There is no method of ascertaining wether a hypothesis is «probable», in the sense of the probability calculus.”

        And now it starts to get interesting: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approach the issue at hand exactly by the methods which
        Karl Popper assert is not a scientific method.

        IPCC is attempting to do point (2) and (3). This is exceptionally well documented by their own document:
        “Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on
        Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties”
        https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/supporting-material/uncertainty-guidance-note.pdf

        Thanks for the link.

      • > It seems that you are implying that Popper spent his whole life on something he believed did not exist.

        Popper spent all his life on epistemological questions from a criticist, fallibilist, and realist point of view. None of these imply that a scientific method exists. In fact, his own conclusion is that the very idea of a scientific method can’t cohere with his own perspective.

        You really ought to read that preface. It’s free on Amazon:

        http://www.amazon.com/Realism-Aim-Science-Postscript-Scientific/dp/0415084008

      • > IPCC is attempting to do point (2) and (3). This is exceptionally well documented by their own document: […]

        I don’t see how the claim about (2) can be substantiated, since the words “true” and “truth” don’t even appear in that document.

        Popper lost against (3) both in theory and in practice. In theory, because his inference to the best explanation beats falsification. In practice, because scientists still use statistical inference beyond the falsificationist canons. To illustrate how the difference between theory and practice is greater in practice than in theory:

        In our paper, Shalizi and I argued that Bayesian inference does not have do be performed in an inductivist mode, despite a widely-held belief to the contrary. Here I’m arguing that classical significance testing is not necessarily falsificationist, despite a widely-held belief to the contrary.

        http://andrewgelman.com/2014/09/05/confirmationist-falsificationist-paradigms-science/

      • willard (@nevaudit) | September 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm |

        I withheld that it is absurd to claim that Karl Popper spent extremely much effort to develop, publish and argue for a method he sincerely meant did not exist.

        Your quote is taken from the following section:
        “So much about the non-existence of subjects in general. But Scientific Method holds a somewhat peculiar position in being even less existed than some other non-existen subjects.”

        Karl Popper clarified exactly what he meant in the next sections. Sections which you, by unknown reasons, did not refer to, quote or draw any attention to:

        What I mean is this ….
        ( See my reply at | September 13, 2015 at 5:26 pm | for the rest of this section)

        “I assert that no scientific method exists in any of these three senses. to put it in a more direct way:
        (1) There is no method of discovering a scientific theory.
        (2) There is no method of ascertaining the truth of a scientific hypothesis, that is, no method of verification.
        (3) There is no method of ascertaining wether a hypothesis is «probable», in the sense of the probability calculus.”

        Karl Popper´s empirical method provides none of these 3 points.
        Still it is a very valuable scientific method.

      • “withheld” should have been “still mean”.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | September 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm |

        “I don’t see how the claim about (2) can be substantiated, since the words “true” and “truth” don’t even appear in that document.»

        I agree with you. I hereby withdraw that claim.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | September 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm |

        “In theory, because his inference to the best explanation beats falsification.”

        I would happy if you could provide a precise reference for that claim.

      • > Karl Popper´s empirical method provides none of these 3 points.
        Still it is a very valuable scientific method.

        So far, we I have provided textual evidence that according to Popper, there’s no such thing as a scientific method and that his falsificationism was more a normative proposal (Big Dave ought to note that he even says metaphysical) than a descriptive claim. In other words, Popper states an epistemological condition more than a procedure scientists can follow. Condions a method does not a method make.

        ***

        > I would happy if you could provide a precise reference for that claim [inference to the best explanation beats falsification].

        Start here:

        A physicist decides to demonstrate the inaccuracy of a proposition; in order to deduce from this proposition the prediction of a phenomenon and institute the experiment which is to show whether this phenomenon is or is not produced, in order to interpret the results of this experiment and establish that the predicted phenomenon is not produced, he does not confine himself to making use of the proposition in question; he makes use also of a whole group of theories accepted by him as beyond dispute. The prediction of the phenomenon, whose nonproduction is to cut off debate, does not derive from the proposition challenged if taken by itself, but from the proposition at issue joined to that whole group of theories; if the predicted phenomenon is not produced, the only thing the experiment teaches us is that among the propositions used to predict the phenomenon and to establish whether it would be produced, there is at least one error; but where this error lies is just what it does not tell us. ([1914] 1954, 185)

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-underdetermination/

        In the end, holism wins.

      • > Condions a method does not a method make.

        That should be rewritten as A condition does not a method make.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | September 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm |

        Thank you for the link to the following paper, which seems to support my view. This time in support for the hypothetico-deductive method. The methodology proposed by Popper is commonly known as the hypothetico-deductive method.

        Philosophy and the practice of Bayesian statistics Andrew Gelman∗ and Cosma Rohilla Shalizi

        “A substantial school in the philosophy of science identifies Bayesian inference with inductive inference and even rationality as such, and seems to be strengthened by the rise and practical success of Bayesian statistics. We argue that the most successful forms of Bayesian statistics do not actually support that particular philosophy but rather accord much better with sophisticated forms of hypothetico-deductivism. We examine the actual role played by prior distributions in Bayesian models, and the crucial aspects of model checking and model revision, which fall outside the scope of Bayesian confirmation theory. We draw on the literature on the consistency of Bayesian updating and also on our experience of applied work in social science. Clarity about these matters should benefit not just philosophy of science, but also statistical practice. At best, the inductivist view has encouraged researchers to fit and compare models without checking them; at worst, theorists have actively discouraged practitioners from performing model checking because it does not fit into their framework.”
        —-
        “We fear that a philosophy of Bayesian statistics as subjective, inductive inference can encourage a complacency about picking or averaging over existing models rather than trying to falsify and go further. Likelihood and Bayesian inference are powerful, and with great power comes great responsibility. Complex models can and should be checked and falsified. This is how we can learn from our mistakes.»

        Regarding holism vs Poppers method Wikipedia summarize this pretty well:

        “Evidence contrary to a hypothesis is itself philosophically problematic. Such evidence is called a falsification of the hypothesis. However, under the theory of confirmation holism it is always possible to save a given hypothesis from falsification. This is so because any falsifying observation is embedded in a theoretical background, which can be modified in order to save the hypothesis. Popper acknowledged this but maintained that a critical approach respecting methodological rules that avoided such immunizing stratagems is conducive to the progress of science.”

        Despite the philosophical questions raised, the hypothetico-deductive model remains perhaps the best understood theory of scientific method.»

        So regarding your statement “In the end, holism wins.” –
        I don´t think so. I think that a scientist should be very determined to track down and get rid of all flaws, errors and false assumptions. To try to save untenable system by appeal to confirmation holism is a loosing strategy.

      • > Thank you for the link to the following paper, which seems to support my view.

        Spoken like a true falsificationnist.

      • > The methodology proposed by Popper is commonly known as the hypothetico-deductive method.

        That’s not a method, but only a model of scientific explanations. If you prefer, you can call it a rational reconstruction like Carnap did. Besides, that Gelman roots for it doesn’t mean it’s all rosy:

        One important issue raised by the DN model concerns the explanatory status of the so-called special sciences—biology, psychology, economics and so on. These sciences are full of generalizations that appear to play an explanatory role and yet fail to satisfy many of the standard criteria for lawfulness.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-explanation

        Hempel’s the guy who worked the most on that model, and he’s a holist.

        ***

        Also beware that Gelman also had this to say about Popper:

        Popper’s specific ideas about testing require, at the least, substantial modification. His idea of a test comes down to the rule of deduction which says that if p implies q, and q is false, then p must be false, with the roles of p and q being played by hypotheses and data, respectively. This is plainly inadequate for statistical hypotheses, yet, as critics have noted since Braithwaite (1953) at least, he oddly ignored the theory of statistical hypothesis testing.

        http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/philosophy.pdf

        You really ought to read all this as a falsificationnist, Fiction.

        At the very least, you ought to to really read this.

      • willard (@nevaudit) | September 14, 2015 at 7:56 pm |

        I think you do a good job in the role as falsificationist. I think I should stick to trying to avoid that Karl Popper´s method is thrown over board on wrong premises. Besides, we can´t both take the same role. Because then it would be no fun, and we would also be susceptible to group think.

        I have no comments regarding the so-called special sciences – biology, psychology, economics and so on. Unless you insists that climate science belongs among these. I think Climate science is closer to physics than to these special sciences listed above.

        Karl Popper expressed quite clearly that a probabilistic hypothesis could be tested. He also expressed clearly that the test ought to indicate clearly whether or not the conjectured propensity should be regarded as refuted or corroborated:
        Realism and the aims of science (1983) Part II is called: The propensity interpretation of probability.
        here is one example, among several, From section 4 (*37) Experimental tests and their Repetition: Independence
        “Tests of the simplest probabilistic hypotheses involve such sequences of repeated and therefore independent experiments – as do all tests of causal hypotheses. And the hypothetically estimated probability or propensity will be tested by the frequency distributions in these independent test sequences. ( The frequency distribution of an independent test sequence ought to be «normal» or «Gaussian»; and as a consequence it ought to indicate clearly whether or not the conjectured propensity should be regarded as refuted or corroborated by the statistical test.»)

        Popper covered this very thoroughly in Part II.
        Based on this I am not sure how to interpret the claim that he ignored statistical hypothesis testing.

      • > I think Climate science is closer to physics than to these special sciences listed above.

        Name one Climate Science law, Fiction.

        ***

        > Karl Popper expressed quite clearly that a probabilistic hypothesis could be tested.

        A quote might be nice.

        On note 28, Gelman & Shalizi had to say on Pop’s stats chops:

        Popper tried to work out notions of ‘corroboration’ and increasing truth content, or ‘verisimilitude’, to fit with these stances, but these are generally regarded as failures.

        Here’s note 29

        We have generally found Popper’s ideas on probability and statistics to be of little use and will not discuss them here.

        ***

        Gelman & Shalizi liked the falsification idea because it’s something that helps them promote their model checking idea. Model checking has little to do with Popperianism. Popper was more into theories than in models anyway, theories that look more like those involved into the great revolutions in physics.

        I don’t think nobody would disapprove of climate model checking, including Bayesians.

      • The quote starts a bit down, in the middle of the same section.

      • There are no climate science laws.

        Without considering the empirical content or the falsifiability – here is a climate science hypothesis:
        “The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multi-century time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence).” (Ref. WGI;AR5;D.2)

      • No proper laws implies special science, Fiction.

        I’m asking for the quote because it would make you see how Popper’s philosophy does not square very well to the kind of statistical inference we’re dealing with in the special sciences.

        ***

        Here would be an hypothesis:

        The rate of increase of such gases [Tyndall’s] is sufficient to cause global temperatures to rise by a couple of degrees by the middle of the next 21st century.

        http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/08/roger-pielke-jr-s-inkblot/

      • Ref. reply above:
        The quote starts a bit down, in the middle of the same section.
        By the way, I am impressed with your clairvoyance as you knew what the quote would make me see before you had seen it yourself.

        Here is the quote again, for simplicity:
        “Tests of the simplest probabilistic hypotheses involve such sequences of repeated and therefore independent experiments – as do all tests of causal hypotheses. And the hypothetically estimated probability or propensity will be tested by the frequency distributions in these independent test sequences. The frequency distribution of an independent test sequence ought to be «normal» or «Gaussian»; and as a consequence it ought to indicate clearly whether or not the conjectured propensity should be regarded as refuted or corroborated by the statistical test.»

        Note that Popper was concerned with testing of hypothesis. He was not at all concerned with any kind of sophisticated or obscure statistical inference, the various kinds of inductive tools used in the making the hypotheses (or the model if you will).

      • If I understand your position correctly it can, at partly, be described along the following lines:
        If a theory is not based on proper laws, it should be regarded as a so-called special science. Then you propose that climate science belongs among these special sciences. Further, you seem to indicate that these special sciences are characterized by underdetermination. If this is your position I feel tempted to accept your position. From the link you provided, and urged me to read, a theory characterized by underdetermination has two possible characteristics:

        “But neither Duhem nor Quine was careful to systematically distinguish a number of fundamentally distinct lines of thinking about underdetermination that may be discerned in their works. Perhaps the most important division is between what we might call holist and contrastive forms of underdetermination.

        Holist underdetermination … arises whenever our inability to test hypotheses in isolation leaves us underdetermined in our response to a failed prediction or some other piece of disconfirming evidence. That is, because hypotheses have empirical implications or consequences only when conjoined with other hypotheses and/or background beliefs about the world, a failed prediction or falsified empirical consequence typically leaves open to us the possibility of blaming and abandoning one of these background beliefs and/or ‘auxiliary’ hypotheses rather than the hypothesis we set out to test in the first place.

        But contrastive underdetermination … involves the quite different possibility that for any body of evidence confirming a theory, there might well be other theories that are also well confirmed by that very same body of evidence.»

        “in some recently influential discussions of science it has become commonplace for scholars in a wide variety of academic disciplines to make casual appeal to claims of underdetermination (especially of the holist variety) to support the idea that something besides evidence must step in to do the further work of determining beliefs and/or changes of belief in scientific contexts: perhaps most prominent among these are adherents of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) movement and some feminist science critics who have argued that it is typically the sociopolitical interests and/or pursuit of power and influence by scientists themselves which play a crucial and even decisive role in determining which beliefs are actually abandoned or retained in response to conflicting evidence.”
        ref: http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/philosophy.pdf

        (This is the position I deduced from your statements above, and the link you provided, please bear with me if I am putting up a straw man – that is not my intention.)

        I think it is worth noting that the possibilities, which failed prediction leaves open, are exactly the stratagems to evade falsification which Karl Popper warned about, and ruled out, from his empirical method:
        “it is still impossible, for various reasons, that any theoretical system should ever be conclusively falsified. For it is always possible to find some way of evading falsification, for example by introducing ad hoc an auxiliary hypothesis, or by changing ad hoc a definition. It is even possible without logical inconsistency to adopt the position of simply refusing to acknowledge any falsifying experience whatsoever. Admittedly, scientists do not usually proceed in this way, but logically such procedure is possible»

        Also note that the challenge related to contrastive underdetermination is clearly recognized by Karl Popper:
        “But through a finite number of points we can always draw an unlimited number of curves of the most diverse form. Since therefore the law is not uniquely determined by the observations, inductive logic is confronted with the problem of deciding which curve, among all these possible curves, is to be chosen.”

        I think it is fair to say that while Karl Popper provided a method to increase knowledge, the works of Duhem and Quine on underdetermination is about unknowledge.

        Regarding climate science, I have a few other possible descriptions which also fits observations about climate science – however on a tentative basis – I am not able to resist the temptation to accept the description of climate science as a so-called special science.

    • “First they lose the debate”

      Mosher,

      Who is “they”?

      Which “debate”?

      Andrew

    • Every generation gets the Constitution that it deserves. As the central preoccupations of an era make their way into the legal system, the Supreme Court eventually weighs in, and nine lawyers in robes become oracles of our national identity.

      – Noah Feldman

    • He will not be alone at the end.

      http://www.mrctv.org/blog/university-california-seeks-create-right-be-free-acts-and-expressions-tolerance#.wgkxno:tTWN

      Some people insist on no bias since their view must be correct. It is not just old behavior but one that also grows rather tedious with time.

  8. People who aren’t comfortable with numbers might not realize that Holland’s proposed CO2 reduction would have so miniscule an impact on global warming as to be meaningless (even assuming the catastrophic models turn out to be correct.)

    • Correct. Tragedy of the commons.

      With your assumption, what would you recommend? Finding a solution, e.g. along the lines of Garrett Hardin, letting the tragedy play out, or disowning your assumption? (Hint: go for the easiest.)

      • Let’s let the (non) tragedy play out.

      • In 1833, the English economist William Forster Lloyd published a pamphlet which included an example of herders sharing a common parcel of land on which they are each entitled to let their cows graze. In English villages, shepherds had sometimes grazed their sheep in common areas, and sheep ate grass more severely than cows. He suggested overgrazing could result because for each additional sheep, a herder could receive benefits, while the group shared damage to the commons. If all herders made this individually rational economic decision, the common could be depleted or even destroyed, to the detriment of all.[2]

        After a fairly extensive investigation of the literature, my best impression is that grazing rights on the “commons” were normally privatized. If the village communally determined that the “commons” could support, say, 20 cattle and 50 geese, then the right to graze each of those 20 cattle, and each of those 50 geese, would belong to someone.

        AFAIK they were usually alienable (capable of being sold), although they sometimes were tied to cottage rights (the right to build a cottage in the village) or other such. I could be wrong, the evidence is sparse enough compared to the number of actual “commons” to be plausibly deprecated as “anecdotal”. But that’s my impression.

        Things were probably different in the immediate wake of the great Plagues. And, after Enclosure, it was easy for propagandists to paint a much more negative picture of conditions ante. But that seems to have been the general pattern.

      • Thanks, AK, I like it.

        Now we just need to generalize from 50 geese in a field to a planetary value of 1000 ppmv of CO2.

        If the latter impacts 10 billion people, does the math support the analogy?

      • I would recommend they study how to beef up their sea defenses for X meter sea level rise 85 years from now, and beef up their global climate expertise to be able to judge the probability that x sea level rise will happen.

      • Now we just need to generalize from 50 geese in a field to a planetary value of 1000 ppmv of CO2.

        The first thing to consider is that it was only after Enclosure that the Industrial Revolution happened. (Including its early stages using cottage industry, although there was an earlier stage, prior to the Plagues, involving windmills and waterwheels (especially on the Seine.)

        Enclosure involved a major redefinition of property rights. Most of the “commons” were divided up and re-distributed as individual plots, usually fenced. This allowed the owner to make many types of investment in land improvement and new crops or agricultural methods that couldn’t be done under the older 3-field/commons system.

        My point is that prior to Enclosure, there was no “Tragedy of the commons”, except in exceptional cases, most of which failed. But “progress” (at that time defined as the Industrial Revolution) required a redefinition of property, not any sort of imposition of “private property” on some fantasy “primitive communism”.

        I’m not saying that something doesn’t need to be done about the dumping of fossil CO2 into the atmosphere, just that the analogy is invalid: traditional “commons” were privatized, just differently.

        So some level of redefinition of property may be necessary to deal with global “commons” such as the atmosphere’s ability to absorb fossil CO2. And it may well be that some analog of privatization would be a workable answer. But I don’t see Keynesian or “Pigouvian” taxes as a workable answer, any more than “cap-and-trade”.

      • AK

        I lived near here for many years

        http://www.townandmanor.co.uk/html/the_common.html

        Commons belonged to someone and the rights to graze them would normally be bought or rented from the owner or trustees.

        I guess in the instance of CAGW it is the IPCC who are assuming commoners rights and selling off the right to graze carbon through various taxes they insist are levied through, in the past, the Kyoto protocol

        tonyb

      • If something is unproven as an extraordinary problem (eg the sea level rise which is but a dribble, has been going on since the 1700s, and is perfectly explicable in yet another warmish phase of an inter-glacial) then I rightly refuse to discuss the details. Consideration of responsive schemes or plans should come only after the problem is defined and proven, at least in potential.

        Since sea level rise is such an obvious and easily dismissed beat-up, go no further.

  9. The article stated, “Thus, while this court judgment is celebrated as a victory for the climate, it is also a threat to the rule of law and constitutional democracy.”

    Folks, this is what the AGW crowd at IPCC, UN, EPA , for openers, want.

    George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

    • It certainly appears so with Obama and the EPA. Mass. v. EPA, sue and settle strategy. Scotus unable to review fact findings (CO2 a pollutant) unless there were unlawful process violations along the way (thereby overturning the new EPA mercury rules earlier this year).

      • Revolution by litigation has been the favored strategy of the Left in the US for over half a century. It is an undemocratic, anti-liberty tactic. It has become an epidemic.

  10. Thanks for this thorough explanation. Lets hope Dutch appelate courts have more common legal sense than some in the US.

  11. Urgenda is assisting climate action groups in other countries in Europe and elsewhere to launch similar lawsuits against their governments.

    I look forward to reading about their efforts in Russia, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe — to pick a few quickly. Everywhere that civil torts are recognized.

  12. In principle, Dutch courts have jurisdiction to hear cases against foreign companies that through their conduct create unacceptable danger in The Netherlands. If any emission of greenhouse gases creates an unacceptable danger, any company can be the target of a lawsuit in The Netherlands.

    That should be entertaining. They are going to go after the companies that supply fossil fuels to the companies that supply Phillips with electricity?

    Perhaps I am being too literal. Perhaps nothing will come of this but millions of words and tons of stacks of paper.

    • Oh dear, Matthew. Just as I’d evened the score with Lukas Bergkamp (one against then one for), you’ve forced me to two against. Someone else (besides RiH008), please say something mean about Bergkamp so I can defend him.

      I’ve seen little in my few but unfortunate contacts with the law that distinguishes sound legal arguments from sound scientific arguments, which tend to be based on principles (theory) and precedents (experiments). What did you find of either kind in Bergkamp’s rant about “Enormous implications”? Didn’t “enormous” tip you off there?

      The court’s ruling was about as narrow as a typical SCOTUS ruling, i.e. very. Bergkamp’s medical background may have diluted his legal intuitions there—maybe he’s worried the patient’s about to die and there’ll be an enormous malpractice suit.

      Absent any mention of either legal principles or principles in that section besides Bergkamp’s wishful appeal to a version of the ancient international law doctrine of sovereign immunity that he seems to believe applies here, I think you can safely toss it.

      • Absent any mention of either legal principles or principles

        Sorry, principles or precedents.

      • Vaughan Pratt: What did you find of either kind in Bergkamp’s rant about “Enormous implications”? Didn’t “enormous” tip you off there?

        Are you saying that you know that the lines I quoted are a technically deficient analysis? Why don’t you just say so? My mockery was intended to signal my disbelief that any important changes would eventuate from this decision. This ends, I suggest, when somebody loses a job at Phillips or one of the storage and distribution facilities in Rotterdam.

      • “I’ve seen little in my few but unfortunate contacts with the law that distinguishes sound legal arguments from sound scientific arguments, which tend to be based on principles (theory) and precedents (experiments).”

        That is good to see. Call me naive, but I would expect a court to be careful about facts. That´s why courts exists – courts are supposed to be careful about facts. Whenever courts becomes careless about facts – what should we keep them for? If a court becomes careless about facts – the court should cease to exists.

        “According to William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, a court is constituted by a minimum of three parties: the actor or plaintiff, who complains of an injury done; the reus or defendant, who is called upon to make satisfaction for it, and the judex or judicial power, which is to examine the truth of the fact, to determine the law arising upon that fact, and, if any injury appears to have been done, to ascertain and by its officers to apply a legal remedy.” (Wikipedia)

        How can a court possibly be careful about facts if it is careless about the scientific method?

        And that is what really disturbs me about this case. The court is careless about the scientific method. The court is careless about facts. If an insane person admits murder – without having committed any murder. Should the insane person then be sentenced to jail for the rest of his life?

    • Geoff Sherrington

      Matthew,
      I am concerned by this division into companies and non-companies. Government agencies, for example, are just as capable as companies to provide atmospheric emissions. They drive cars, they use electricity, etc.
      It would be a further concern if the people involver were positioning themselves to pick on companies but not other entities.

  13.  

    How difficult it is to live when one feels that the judgment of many millenniums is around one and against one. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

  14. Even I would say that the ruling for Urgenda seems a little harsh. 17% by 2020 is already a reasonable target. The government should just bypass this and make a 2025 or 2030 target instead. I think most of the INDCs are going to be at longer ranges anyway.

    • IMO the real urgency stems from the fact that technology is almost there: solar PV is doubling its install base every two years, it’s cutting its price (cells/panels at the factory gate) by 1/2 every 4-5 years, it’s already cost-competitive with fossil under certain circumstances, and it’s fully scalable for providing the entire 100 teraWatts average (3000 Quads/year) that Tom Fuller thinks will be needed by 2075.

      Some subsidies and unfair policies have been involved in nurturing its maturation, but at this point subsidies can start to be phased out — it will stand on its own two feet.

      And this is entirely contrary to what the real advocates behind the “global warming” thing want. They want, have always wanted, to use the issue as a stalking horse for their anti-capitalist, Industrial-Counterrevolutionary agenda.

      For the large mass of people who oppose capitalism and also care about fossil carbon, it’s time to fish or cut bait: is it worth working with the existing “Capitalist” system, and supporting policies that will both allow full-speed economic growth and nurture the transition away from fossil fuels?

      Or is it more important to oppose “Capitalism” than to unite behind policies that might get general support?

      • solar can be as cheap as chips, but with only 1600 hours of sun per year and proportionately less when needed, during the winter, and none at all during the cold winter nights, solar is not an effective central plank in holland if only renewables are to be used, as per urgenda’s dictum.

        tonyb

      • Not without storage, or long-distance transmission from solar investments in more sunny climes.

        I wasn’t talking about rooftop solar.

      • So the idea is to ship electricity back and forth from the southern to the northern hemisphere?

      • So the idea is to ship electricity back and forth from the southern to the northern hemisphere?

        Perhaps I should have said “storage, or and long-distance transmission from solar investments in more sunny climes.” But for immediate needs, I suspect investments in large-scale utility PV in central Spain might not only meet the imposed requirements, but provide welcome injections of commercial activity. You’d probably know more about that than I.

        The distance is perhaps around 3 times that from Hoover Dam to Los Angeles, so I’d guess it would be a challenge, but doable with modern transmission technology.

        Note first of all, though, that the thrust of my argument is that there isn’t really any hurry, because technology is solving the problem. What the people behind this decision are really after is to break technological capitalism by imposing too great a rush on it.

        Longer term, solar investments could probably be cost-effective floating on the Atlantic, west of Spain or North Africa. (IMO the cost of sea-borne floating PV will become lower than land-based within a decade, obviously if you don’t agree you don’t.)

        In the short term, both Norway and Sweden have huge potential for pumped hydro storage, especially if the ocean is used for the lower reservoir. Longer term, as the technology matures, deep-sea pumped hydro will probably become cost-effective, as manufactured lower reservoirs 500-700 meters under the surface could probably be mass-produced more cheaply than building dams, with learning curve and economies of scale.

        Battery storage of some sort might become cheap enough to compete, but I doubt it.

        Even longer term, the power→gas/liquid fuel conversion option would allow today’s investments in gas- (and oil-) fired power generation to run off carbon-neutral fuel. Granted current projections of efficiency are around 30% for the round trip, which would probably never be pushed above 50%, but as the cost of PV continues its exponential decline, it will probably be cost-effective.

        Point is, with investments now in R&D pointing to the right technology, a large-scale transition away from fossil carbon could almost certainly be achieved by, say, 2050. Along with mature, high-volume, technology for capturing ambient CO2 which could, if necessary then be deployed for capture and sequestration to remove the excess currently being dumped into the environment. All without impacting the current roll-out of cheap energy to the less-developed world.

        Thus, there’s no need for the huge expensive “urgency” except for those with a primarily anti-capitalist agenda.

      • Ak

        The European Union have been studying pan European renewable energy generation and transmission for around a decade.

        Originally the intention was to include north African Mediterranean countries on the basis of their potential for solar. For obvious reasons that was shelved which has set the programme back a bit but the Intention is still to have some sort of system in place by 2020 as part of the pledge to cut carbon by that date

        This 2009 document gives a good background and the eu website has updates.

        http://www.easac.eu/fileadmin/PDF_s/reports_statements/Transforming.pdf

        Tonyb

    • “Revolution through litigation” is not an idea that will catch on. Whether it is litigation for the government to do more as in this case, or less as in the case of attempts against EPA and Obamacare in the US, it is just not a way to run a country. The government bases its policy on its studies and priorities, and that is how to govern. If you have different priorities, make sure you get elected on those policies into government to implement them instead of trying to enforce them against an elected government in a court.

  15. For some reason Nature, which I thought was a science magazine, also carried the story.

    Holland is part of the EU emissions scheme that has set a European wide target for co2 emissions. It is difficult to see how this ruling could stand up as the EU rulings will have primacy.

    I note that Urgendas aim is to rely entirely on renewables. That should work well with solar power in famously sunny holland.

    Tonyb

    • If you are rich enough through exporting (Russian) fossil fuels you can afford a few years and many billions of euros on playing at green. As with green Norway, the trick is to sell the fossil fuels for somebody else to emit. (Norway can keep it up for longer because their hydro actually doesn’t suck.) And, as with California, if any of the electricity you buy in is from fossil fuels – don’t look at moi, somebody else emitted! One is reminded of Richelieu’s sly policy of killing the local protestants while funding the foreign ones.

      It’s all a bit like belching soundlessly in a lift, isn’t it? Not my emission!

      Funny times.

  16. Perhaps it’s just my aging brain but I’m confused by this post. It seems to be objecting to courts making policy. This is a fine objection. But what policy has the court made here? As far as I can tell all it has done is instruct the state to make whatever policy the state wants so long as it is sufficient to achieve a 25% reduction over 1990 levels.

    Earlier the state agreed to achieve a 30% reduction over 1990 levels, but has not stuck to that agreement and now is letting it slide to 17%. Surely the courts are the right place to go to get the state to stick to its agreement. In fact the court is generously letting them off 5% of that agreement, which I suppose could be considered a compromise between urgency (which the court has taken as a given whether others like it or not) and practicality.

    • The agreement to achieve a reduction in emissions is not worth anything because if not achieved, it just becomes another broken promise by the government of the day. I rather doubt that it would be legally enforceable as there seems no binding contract in place and any court would therefore seem incapable of enforcing anything. If the above ruling were not taken notice of by the Dutch Government what penalties would be applicable and to whom would these penalties be imposed?

      • I rather doubt that it would be legally enforceable as there seems no binding contract in place and any court would therefore seem incapable of enforcing anything.

        Peter, the court judged that the Dutch government had made a commitment it was obligated to keep (to within 5% anyway). Based on your understanding of the Dutch constitution, whose responsibility would you say it was to enforce the court’s judgment?

        If your point is that the Netherlands’ judicial arm has no enforcement powers then it’s certainly a good one. If true. Is it in fact true? How do these things work in a democracy? Could Nixon have governed for three more terms on the basis of his statement “I am not a crook”? I’m sure he could have in certain countries. But in the US, or the Netherlands?

      • In Australia the bailiff is responsible to enforce civil court judgments. So the bailiff needs to serve a notice to the PM in our jurisdiction. Dunno about the Dutch but reckon they would have similar laws. The problem here is a perceived lack of separation of the powers of the legislature from that of the judiciary.

      • Beats me, mate. It’s all Dutch to me. ;)

      • The problem here is a perceived lack of separation of the powers of the legislature from that of the judiciary.

        On further reflection, Peter, I’d say this perception was confined to those whose ox had been gored by the court’s decision.

        Seems to me that the judiciary was merely insisting that the state stick to its earlier agreement while giving the state a little slack, which is entirely within the remit of the courts. I’m unable to see any of the claimed legislative activism.

        With such an attitude I’d probably be treated rather harshly in Pakistan, where judges get little sympathy from the state.

      • Pakistan is where the legislature is telling the judiciary what to do? This is far more common, especially in eastern European, middle eastern and Asian countries. Its the same problem of separation of powers and it is compounded by the presence of a strong military as well. Nothing to do with what the ruling is about Vaughan, honest! ;)

      • If your law is a lemon, why not make lemonade? Dutch citizens could form an organisation called TossOut. It could request the court – basing argument on an existing tort law doctrine of “social responsibility” for avoiding “unacceptable danger creation”, of course – to ban the EU in Holland on the grounds that its citizens should not be subjected to the dictates of unspeakable tossers in Brussels and Strasbourg.

    • Dr. Pratt,

      Is there currently a commitment to reduce by 30% (I have been unable to find confirmation of that commitment but did find this: http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2015:7196&keyword=urgenda)? Everything I find states differently, such as: “To cheers and hoots from climate campaigners in court, three judges ruled that government plans to cut emissions by just 14-17% compared to 1990 levels by 2020 were unlawful, given the scale of the threat posed by climate change.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/24/dutch-government-ordered-cut-carbon-emissions-landmark-ruling
      and
      “The Dutch government’s current approach, expected to cut emissions by only 17 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, was seen by the court as falling short of the necessary effort. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/06/24/netherlands_emissions_ruling_court_orders_dutch_government_to_reduce_carbon.html

      So it almost appears that the court is making law not interpreting. Admittedly not familiar with Dutch law in the least, but I find the approach interesting. Especially this, sort of, disclaimer:”With this order, the court has not entered the domain of politics. The court must provide legal protection, also in cases against the government, while respecting the government’s scope for policymaking. For these reasons, the court should exercise restraint and has limited therefore the reduction order to 25%, the lower limit of the 25%-40% norm.” (from the first link above).
      Wondering who decides ‘norm’, and on what basis.

      • As a follow up I find this: “Netherlands, 6% below 1990, 16% below 2005 level.
        From here: http://www.c2es.org/international/history-international-negotiations/2020-targets

      • So it almost appears that the court is making law not interpreting.

        Whenever there are two intepretations of a law and a court picks one, Danny, has it made law or interpreted law?

        And in either case is there a substantive difference in practice?

      • Dr. Pratt,
        I’m not sure that’s a fair evaluation which is why I asked if there was a standing 30% reduction commitment in place. If so, then the ruling makes more sense but I’ve not yet been able to find one. If not, then it appears the court has ‘applied’ a level of commitment which was not in place prior.

        In your earlier comment you indicated the 30% reduction commitment was in place. Can you provide a source? What I find is in the link provided above from C2ES which indicates 6% from 1990 and 16% from 2005, but it’s dated from 2011 so there could be more current and I may have missed more up to date information.

        The answer will help to determine if there is “a substantive difference in practice”. Imposition is seemingly substantially different than that which is volunteered. If they volunteered, then reneged, that would be a different story. If they volunteered, adjusted (legally), then were subjected to imposition, yet another story.

        Thanks.

      • Dr. Pratt,
        From the post: “At the request of an environmental organisation by the name of Urgenda, a contraction of “urgent” and “agenda”, the court instructed the State to revise its current policies to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by at least 25% by 2020, not the 17% it currently aims at.

        To produce this result, the court extended an existing tort law doctrine of “social responsibility” for avoiding “unacceptable danger creation.” The court found climate change to be an unacceptable, and, thus, unlawful danger and, ordered the government, based on its duty of care, to take action to protect against it.” (3rd and 4th para).

      • @DT: In your earlier comment you indicated the 30% reduction commitment was in place. Can you provide a source?

        It’s in the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment’s Fifth Netherlands’ National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, dated December 2009, in the section on Policy and Measures on page 7:

        In 2007, the new government coalition agreement stipulated firm targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing both energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in the ambitious working programme, entitled: ‘New Energy for Climate Policy: The Clean and Efficient Programme (Nieuwe energie voor het klimaat: Werkprogramma Schoon en Zuinig). This programme is aimed at setting a trend change. The policy target for GHG is reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, especially CO2, by 30% in 2020, compared to the 1990 level. In March 2009 the Dutch government coalition negotiated an additional policy agreement for energy and climate measures. An important element is a long-term policy agenda for sustainability and energy.

        @DT: What I find is in the link provided above from C2ES which indicates 6% from 1990 and 16% from 2005

        The latter is essentially 1% a year, consistent with the above Clean & Efficient Programme’s target of 30% for the 30 years 1990-2020.

  17. “Lucas Bergkamp, who is both a lawyer and a medical doctor, is a partner in the international law firm of Hunton & Williams.”

    Since he could not make a living nor making a social impact as a medical doctor helping people, he chose to become a lawyer, who badgers people to death. The mantel of respectability he carries necessitates the impounding of a global population into a life of desperation.

    Its better being really really bad and noticed than being kind and gentle living in obscurity. Nice work if you can get it I say. Better than “Queen for a Day”, at least in making a nuisance of yourself.

    • Since he could not make a living nor making a social impact as a medical doctor helping people, he chose to become a lawyer, who badgers people to death.

      If you ever rear-end someone through no fault of your own and they sue you for their alleged whiplash injury, you may see the benefit of defending yourself with a lawyer who is not completely ignorant about medicine.

      With increasingly complex civilizations comes an increasing need for multidisciplinary specialists, an oxym-or-on whose time has come. (The dashes are a talisman against moderation.)

  18. Better keep the courts away from this one …
    From the article:

    In a just world, the United States would pay back the $4 trillion dollars it owes for trashing the climate.

    Global warming wasn’t created equal. Rich, industrialized nations have contributed the lion’s share of the carbon pollution to our currently-unfolding catastrophe—the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the hotter it gets, of course—while smaller, poorer, and more agrarian countries are little to blame. The subsequent warming from our carbon-stuffed skies will, naturally, impact everyone, often hitting the poorer countries harder. So, since the rich fueled the crisis that’s about to soak the poor, they might help chip in to soften the blow.

    That, in super-basic terms, is the concept of climate debt, which guides current emissions negotiations and efforts to distribute funds for adaptation to nations most affected by climate change. If you acknowledge, as the UN does, that there’s a carbon budget—an amount of greenhouse gas pollution the world can collectively churn out before we land in dangerous warming territory, currently figured at a 2˚C threshold—then it follows that nations that have overstepped theirs should pay back those who haven’t.

    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-us-owes-the-world-4-trillion-for-trashing-the-climate

  19. moderation

      • Well, then you knew yesterday my comment – what do you say of it?

      • Actually my “clairvoyance” comment was before you were released from moderation, jim2, which allowed it to juxtapose two occurrences of “moderation”. But now that I see what was moderated I’m fine with it.

        I bet Peter Lang isn’t going to touch Brian Merchant’s article with a ten-foot pool. So far Lang been taking refuge in William Nordhaus’s impenetrably dense jungle of discount-dependent economic theory in the (quite reasonable) expectation that nobody will be able to pin him down there. Brian Merchant’s article by contrast is a masterpiece of clarity that the Peter Langs of this world will find much harder to hide in.

        Merchant analyzes who owes what to whom in sufficiently simple terms as to allow those who disagree to respond in equally simple terms that everyone can understand.

        This is a much better way to play climateball, if that’s what we’re playing here (Willard?).

  20. The adage remains: the Law is an Ass. Silly laws made up by people who are not competent to deal with matters of policy are just as silly as legislation made up by parliaments who are not competent to deal with whatever the underlying issue happens to be. At least in the case of the latter the electorate can invoke a change for the better by voting silly parliaments out but we’re all stuck with silly jurists until they are compulsorily retired when they turn 70.

    • Silly laws made up by people who are not competent to deal with matters of policy are just as silly as legislation made up by parliaments who are not competent to deal with whatever the underlying issue happens to be.

      What distinction did you have in mind between “laws made up by people” and “legislation made up by parliaments”? By “people” did you mean dictators, or what?

      • Not one of my better worded comments VP. The distinction I had in mind were laws made by individual members of the jurisprudence and laws made through legislation. The community can dismiss the parliamentarians but not the judges!

      • Your point is an excellent one, Peter, and will never go away, not even after the Singularity. Judges will forever be faced with the question of WTF did those legislators have in mind. Answering it is almost always a lose-lose proposition, since they’ll be attacked for their answer by whomever’s ox has been gored by it.

        That said, I wouldn’t mind being a judge because I’d rather be attacked for taking sides on such a question than for robbing a bank or murdering someone. Only in countries like Pakistan can being a judge be more than typically miserable.

        Few judges are unreasonable (though they certainly exist), and fewer still in such high profile cases.

  21. So presumably a Dutch citizen could use this ruling to sue the Justices who made the ruling for failing to moderate their own CO2 output to the required levels as a personal responsibility to ensure they are not creating a danger to others?

    • The ruling requires no more than that the state stick to its agreement (or within 5% of it anyway). How would that ruling apply to the court? Did they make such an agreement too?

  22. The same expansion of tort law would seem applicable to jet-setting climate scientists. Someone should seek an injunction to prohibit them from emitting any carbon (directly or indirectly) in order to attend Paris. Stop them before they waste energy yet again.

    As we all agree, every little bit helps.

    • Someone should seek an injunction to prohibit [climate scientists] from emitting any carbon

      Fat chance of that if they hadn’t previously agreed to limit their carbon emissions.

      It seems to me that people are seriously ignorant about what the Dutch court actually ruled. As a side effect of my aging addled brain I’m finding it really hard to distinguish between those who merely lack insight into law in typical Western countries (understandable, only 2% of the population are born lawyers) or are mentally challenged in some more fundamental way. Very sorry about that, I feel I could have done better drawing that distinction 30 years ago.

      • I’m finding it really hard to distinguish between those who merely lack insight into law in typical Western countries (understandable, only 2% of the population are born lawyers) or are mentally challenged in some more fundamental way.

        Fundamentalist regimes such as the US subscribe to the rule of lawyers and not the rule of law, a significant difference.

        Exhibit 1
        http://www.niallferguson.com/journalism/journalism/how-america-lost-its-way

        Exhibit 2

      • @maksimovich1: Fundamentalist regimes such as the US subscribe to the rule of lawyers and not the rule of law, a significant difference.

        I’m very sorry, m, but the x-axis of your graph consists not of degrees of fundamentalism of regimes but of calendar years. It therefore distinguishes not between regimes but between years. For all we know know the number of lines in the ISIS dhimmi (infidel compensation) tax code has grown at the same or faster rate over the same period, in proportion.

      • The x-axis of your Exhibit 2 is years, maksimovich. What dependency would you wish us to infer from this?

      • VP:

        I have no idea what you were attempting to say. But I recommend you turn up the dial on your sarcasm detector.

  23. This bypassing of the representatives of the people, wherever it occurs, is a recipe for war.

    • The war against CO2 has turned into a war against humanity by conservationist catastrophists, radical environmentalists and fundamentalist global warming alarmists, all facilitated by socialist Western academia.

  24. stevefitzpatrick

    Let’s see, the population of the Netherlands is about 16.8 million. The population of the State of Florida is 19.9 million. The Netherlands represents somewhere under 0.3% of the world’s population. The suggestion that those 16.8 million have the right to impose their policy choices, regardless of subject, on a larger population in Florida, not to mention upon the rest of the world, is risible on its face. Nobody much cares what Dutch Courts say about global warming. Their rulings will be (and should be!) ignored outside the Netherlands. Much ado about nothing.

    • The suggestion that those 16.8 million have the right to impose their policy choices, regardless of subject, on a larger population in Florida, not to mention upon the rest of the world, is risible on its face.

      Only cowards conceive of suggestions they find themselves unable to put in the suggestion box. Go for it. :)

  25. How to achieve emissions reductions of 25%?
    1) Define emissions.
    2) Apply to: industry, personal, civil
    3) Provide proof of level of emissions at time point A vs. time point B.
    4) Implement punishment for missed targets of collective(?) vs. industry vs. individual companies vs. individuals vs. governmental entities. Must decide to punish base on goal achieved vs. goal missed, or sliding scale depending on size of miss.

    Hmmm. Here, can I get someone to take a hold of this bag of cats?

  26. If I only had confidence in the IPCC’s conclusions, I would have fully supported the Urgenda ruling. It’s good for courts to step in if governments mess up.
    It’s just that from information from, among others this blog, I came to the conclusion that it is highly uncertain whether humans are causing the climate to change.
    My main point though is that governments are not above the law and it’s good that the courts can hold them accountable.

    • The courts are only accountable to themselves! The governments of many eastern European, middle eastern and Asian countries hold far different views of what influence heir judiciaries may hold over their policies.

      • IMO an independent judiciary can add to a society functioning well.
        I’m from South Africa and the current government seems sometimes to consider themselves above the law and the constitution. With an independent judiciary they don’t really get away with it – when they make laws that’s unconstitutional, the courts reject those laws and they have to amend; when they act unlawfully the courts again hold them accountable.
        I’m not saying that the world should look at South Africa because we do it so well. All I’m saying is that we would have been worse off without an independent judiciary – not “even though” but “because” the the courts are only accountable to themselves.
        To come back to the Urgenda issue. IMO it’s a good thing that an independent judiciary can hold government accountable for their actions.
        The problem is that the world’s scientific community act like a group of sheep – nobody (well, of course I’m exaggerating, fortunately there are the Judith Curry’s and others supporting this blog, but this blog is not representative of the scientific communities views) wants to challenge the mainstream scientific group-think that humans are causing catastrophic climate change.
        I support a system where a court can hold a government accountable if their actions are causing real harm to the environment.
        I do not support the mainstream scientific community’s group-think on AGW – that’s where the problem is, not with the courts.

      • @PS: this blog is not representative of the scientific communities views

        With what definition of “representative”?

        This blog makes arguments both for and against whatever it is that you consider the views of the “scientific community”, however you’re defining that.

        Are you claiming there is a single monolithic worldwide scientific community, or what?

      • @Vaughen: No, I do not claim there is a single monolithic worldwide scientific community? I merely claim that there is strong majority view that humans actions emitting CO2 is causing real harm to the environment.
        For example, I quote from an official statement by the world’s largest general scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science: “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.” “http://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/migrate/uploads/aaas_climate_statement1.pdf”.
        Please understand my point point: I do not claim that because the AAAS, or the majority of scientists for that matter, say something it is necessarily true. I support the general views of Judith Curry on climate change and that is that there is a high degree of uncertainty about it.
        What I do say is that I support a society where a court of law can hold a government accountable if their actions are causing real harm to the environment.

    • David Springer

      Actually governments ARE above the law. It’s called sovereign immunity.

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

      The Dutch court hasn’t a leg to stand on.

      • @David: in the Western tradition there is a social contract between government and the people, with it’s roots in the Magna Carta, that limited the power of the King. It developed into various systems we have today where the powers of governments are limited and you have independent judiciaries.
        The Dutch government is appealing against the Urgenda ruling by the district court in The Hague, so by implication it seems that they accept that the they are not above the law. They are working within the system where a court has the power to rule against actions of the government.
        In my humble opinion an independent judiciary that can rule against actions of the government makes a positive contribution to society. It’s good if government plays by the rules too and an independent judiciary helps with this.
        Just to repeat my main point – I don’t agree with the Urgenda ruling, but I agree with the system where a court can rule against the government.

      • David Springer

        I’m speaking from recent experience. I’m a city council member and just received advice from the city attorney that the city does not have to obey its own laws.

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

      • Pieter – you seem to be saying that the judiciary branch of government can order the legislative branch to enact a law. It might work that way in Holland but that’s not how it works in the U.S. In the U.S. the judiciary may nullify a law but it cannot craft new laws. Likewise the legislative branch cannot order the court to reach a certain verdict. This is referred to as “separation of powers” and/or “checks and balances” which prevent any one branch of government from becoming too powerful. Police powers are granted to a third branch, the executive, which has discretion over which laws it chooses to enforce which is yet another of the checks and balances.

      • @David: Maybe you’re right in that there’s an implied meaning in what I say that the judiciary branch of government can order the legislative branch to enact a law, but that’s not my point.
        I’m looking at the bigger picture where the judiciary branch of government is independent and I support that concept.
        The case under discussion is not what the courts in the US can or cannot do, but what a Dutch court did do and it seems that although the Dutch government opposes the ruling of the court, they do accept the right of the court to rule on this matter.
        I just like to repeat my point: I support the general views of Judith Curry on climate change and that is that there is a high degree of uncertainty about it and I support a system where a court of law can hold a government accountable if their actions are causing real harm to the environment. Although not every scientist support it, in general there is very strong support in the world scientific community that human actions are causing real harm to the environment and humanity by the rate of emitting greenhouse gases and it is good for the courts to listen to what scientists say. With all due to Judith Curry, she is a part of a very small minority of prominent scientists who publicly disagree with the IPCC findings. And I repeat, I do support her view – I don’t believe in science by majority vote.

      • David Springer

        A court that can both create and negate laws usurps the legitimate powers of the legislature. Why have elected lawmakers if a court can make laws too? The court you describe is essentially a dictator who can tell lawmakers what laws to make. Makes no sense to me and likely not to anyone else who’s taken a university level political science class.

      • @David: The court I describe is the district court in The Hague that ordered the Netherlands to step up its climate change actions – it’s referred to as the “Urgenda” ruling. I am only an engineer and know very little about legal stuff, that’s exactly why I refrain from commenting on the legal details. In this case I look at the bigger picture as it affects society.

        I disagree with the ruling because I don’t support the conclusions of the IPCC that it’s urgent for humans to reduce CO2 emissions. As part of my day job as an engineer I do modeling and I have gone into some of the details of the IPCC publications and IMO they have it wrong.

        I support Judith Curry’s views that the scientists just don’t know enough about the climate to take such a strong view on what to do about it.

        But I do agree with a system where a court of law can order the government to take action if it’s urgently required in the interest of the world.

        There are exceptions, like Judith Curry, but a very strong majority of the world’s scientific community support the IPCC.

        I further also support the district court of The Hague to be influenced by the strong majority of the world’s scientists.

        In my humble opinion (and I can just imagine David thinking – yest Pieter has so much to be humble about) the problem in the court ordering the government to step up its climate change actions is not in the power of the court to do it, but rather in the scientific community supporting the IPCC’s reports.

      • David Springer

        @Pieter

        I’m no law expert but the author certainly is.

        EDUCATION
        LLM, Yale University, 1989
        PhD, University of Amsterdam, 1988
        MD, University of Amsterdam, 1988
        JD, University of Amsterdam, 1985

        I agree with him on the points where I have some basic understanding especially separation of powers.

        I believe this is a vanity ruling by an irresponsible Dutch district court and it won’t survive appeal. A district court is the lowest possible court where this action could be undertaken. There are 11 district courts in Holland each serving approximately 1.5 million people. It’s nothing short of laughable that a small district court in a backwater country is going to set a landmark precedent upending separation of powers in the entire western world.

        Global warming science is moribund and dying as we speak. This is a classic case of clutching at straws.

      • @David

        I agree with everything you said in your latest reply.

        The qualifications of the author is impressive and I agree with what he writes. Well, it’s rather a case of believing what he says as I’m not really qualify to follow his detailed legal arguments

        I also agree with you that global warming science is not very good science.

        You don’t seem to address my main point, let me repeat it:
        My point is merely that I prefer to live in a society where the judiciary is independent and the government is not above the law. I just read in reuters that Bejing says the governor of Hong Kong is above the law (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/13/us-hongkong-politics-china-idUSKCN0RD04920150913). I don’t like that.
        I also like a system where a court of law can order the government to take action if it’s urgently required in the interest of the world. I don’t read in Lukas Bergkamp’s post where he criticized the system – he criticizes the details of the case and I sincerely hope he is right.

        In the Urgenda case, my criticism is against the science community for ostracizing those who goes against the majority view. The result is that they can rely on an impressive line-up of mainstream scientists that will support the view that humans emitting CO2 are causing serious harm to humanity.
        For example Jennifer Marohasi from Australia is a well-known critic of the IPCC-type modeling and I quote her “My adjunct research position with Central Queensland University was terminated recently, specifically because my work was apparently, “not well integrated into emerging research clusters”” . (I subscribed at http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/ to her email updates and the quote is from her latest email news update).

        I would really like to agree with you that “Global warming science is moribund and dying as we speak. This is a classic case of clutching at straws.”, but IMO they are still very much alive and kicking.

  27. “As with all guest posts, keep your comments civil and relevant.”
    For a post entitled “The Urgenda ruling in the Netherlands”???
    Apparently a subscription to the English Private Eye Magazine is needed.
    They have had long and fruitful discussions on the Ugandan situation for 40 years.
    “Ugandan discussions”, or a variation thereof (such as “discussing Ugandan affairs”), is often used as a euphemism for sex, usually while carrying out a supposedly official duty.”
    Be that as it may,
    The best way of exposing hypocrisy or drivel is to let it take it’s cause until a large number of people are affected and offended by it and a counter push, judicial or otherwise occurs.
    Good luck to the Dutch who are more morally correct and bound by convention to behave properly than most other people.
    It is no surprise that a court in that country could come up with such an impressive decision.
    Let them live with the consequences of their action, I say.
    Ugandan discussions occurring world wide?
    I’d like to see that.

    • Wake up call: It is not about Uganda. It’s Urgenda: from Urgent and Agenda.

      • Hans,

        You missed the joke. Google Mary Kenny, James Fenton, or “Ugandan discussions” as a euphemism.

        Besides that, Uganda was a heinous dictatorship run by a murderous megalomaniac cannibal by the name of Idi Amin. The Uganda/Urgenda linkage is appropriate, if a bit overstated. :)

  28. And so through the precautionary principle, democracy gets ‘professionalized’ out of existence. Technocrats determine what or what isn’t safe and therefore what an individual, an organization or the state can, cannot or must do. The legal system then defers to the same technocrats and effectively embodies the technocratic view in law, overruling any semblance of democratic decision-making to the contrary.

    The technocrats sidestep the need to persuade or bring the people (and so the legislative and electoral bodies) with them through open discussion and fair debate, particularly about the real level of risk involved.

    This is despite evidence that the technocrats (scientists and public servants) are poor at estimating and dealing with risk (eg BSE/CJD), can lack reproducibility or transparency in their work (eg Psychology), are liable as a group to be support plausible but unproven theories (dangers of saturated fats, WMD), or to over-promote their findings or claims of efficacy while down-playing side-effects (disease-mongering, statins, tamoxifen), or carry political agendas into their work (eg Ehrlich). And then blackball anyone who disagrees with them as a conspiracy theorist for railing against ‘the consensus’ clique.


  29. Urgenda was inspired by a book, written by its lawyer, Roger Cox, entitled “Revolution Through Litigation”

    This is merely a recent manifestation of a now well-worn methodology. Since the late 1950s the left has been fully engaged in a policy of obstruct and desconstruct, using the courts to obstruct progress and then destroy agents of progress.

    The Alinskyites among us have long realized that it is not so difficult for a half-dozen lawyers to influence a dozen judges and impose their will upon a nation. One day western society will sadly re-learn an old warning that absolute power corrupts absolutely.Until then we seem to be hell-bent to hand over control of every aspect of our lives to agents pulling levers furiously behind curtains hidden behind yet another curtain.

    • Made the same point under a different comment. As the Justice Dept spokesman made clear today, look for the revolution to put more and more people in jail. The leftist have made it impossible to obey the law — professionals are estimated to commit 3 felonies a day without knowing it. When the govt can throw you in jail for trumped up reasons any time they want, there isn’t much difference between the US and the old USSR. Ask the poor guy who got jailed because Obama wanted to lie about his youtube video.

      Interestingly, when the govt commits crimes, no one gets punished. No job losses, no fines, nothing. See VA killing vets, EPA polluting rivers, etc.

  30. Here are the slippery slope logical traps of this.

    Can developing nations, and even developed nations sue the Netherlands for limiting economic growth which causes harm and death?

    How about population? Since CO2 emissions are not going to zero any time soon, why not fine or deport Dutch people that are having children? Or force sterilization?

    Why stop with carbon? People around the world are using groundwater which is also raising sea level?

    The Netherlands are at risk because, just like New Orleans is also below sea level, and California is on massive faults, they are naturally at risk. All those deadly floods in the Netherlands will recur, as will floods in New Orleans, and the BIG ONES in California.

    The background risk is not zero, nature will harm us and exaggerating CO2 doesn’t help understand this.

    • Can developed nations which have zero-to-negative internal population growth sue nations with growing populations, given the certainty that head count is a present and future impediment to earthly “natural order” and directly relates to the consumption of resources?

      Can inhabitants of pacific atolls sue the Netherlands for building dykes, pumping out wetlands and constraining rising seas to a smaller surface area? Demand the “restoration” of artificially drained areas?

      Can anyone with a smaller-than-average personal carbon footprint sue anyone with a larger-than-average personal carbon footprint?

  31. Urgenda word association exercise: urgenda, Uganda, fascism, big brother, Orwellian, oh well, powerlessness, learned powerlessness, unintended consequences, Pandora’s box, boxed in, box out, punch out, pugnacious, pusillanimous, let’s not put up with this…

  32. Your honor.
    May we approach the bench?
    Recent discovery has led to further findings which had not yet been put in to evidence and may impact the decisions of the court:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150910144049.htm
    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/09/southern-ocean-carbon-sink-bounces-back-with-renewed-vigour/

    May it please the court?

    • Yes, putting science for judgement in front of courts is ridiculous. Steyn, take note.

      • Jim,

        Shouldn’t say dumb things. It was Mann who filed suit.

      • Somehow Steyn’s supporters have it in their heads that this is about science rather than Steyn’s credibility on it, but this court will not be judging the science, as it couldn’t and shouldn’t. This is why it is pertinent. Courts don’t judge the science. It is not their job in either case.

      • Jim D,
        Tangental, but really? http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/11/business/energy-environment/big-win-for-beekeepers-as-court-voids-insecticide.html?_r=0

        Beekeepers happy. Dow and E.P.A. not so much.

        “but this court will not be judging the science, as it couldn’t and shouldn’t.”
        (Jim D, 9/10/15)
        Well maybe someone should. From the article: “In its ruling, the court found that the E.P.A. relied on “flawed and limited data” to approve the unconditional registration of sulfoxaflor, and that approval was not supported by “substantial evidence.””

      • Hmmm, maybe the courts can err on the side of caution then when making these types of judgements. They would not lift a ban, but maybe they can impose one pending more science.

      • Jim D,
        But might this also be applied in other areas of ‘unsettled science”?

        It’s a conundrum.

      • Erring on the side of caution is always good, right?

      • Is that what the EPA did in allowing the Dow application to pass? By appearance, it took a court to intervene in this particular case of unsettled (or incomplete) science. And it does not bode well for the EPA’s review process or standing.

        Like I said, it’s a conundrum.

      • Like all these situations, the bees were an unexpected side effect of the approved chemical. When these unexpected side effects are discovered, it is best to just stop use pending more science, I would say.

      • Jim D,

        One might say that it does take two to tango, eh?

      • Erring on the side of caution is always good, right?

        No.
        Driving across town to go to work is dangerous – you could die in a wreck.
        But declining to go (erring on the side of caution) deprives you of benefit.

      • So you would say, good to go, about these types of chemicals until proven harmful in a rigorous way. I can see a parallel pattern in thinking here.

      • Jim D,
        Where’s J0shua when you need an irony comment?
        Here, it seems you’re all for the court stepping in after the ‘horse has left the barn’ (showing your skeptical side?) and yet historically you’re all for ‘approving the application’ w/r/t mitigation when ‘enough’ of the science is in but much of it’s unsettled.

        What’s it going to be like when the courts act as they’ve done in the Urgenda’s case by creating law and not interpreting?

        Conundrum?

      • Danny, I think the court should always be open to making endangerment findings, chemical or otherwise, which would then imply a ban or risk from suit from further knowing use of that chemical. Imagine what kind of world it would be without emergency recalls. This also happens with drugs. I still think Urgenda is different because it is splitting hairs to say 17% versus 25% targets.

      • JimD,
        Is endangerment collective or individual? Ban from further use of that chemical? How ridiculous this might become (but it is a legal issue).

        Ex.
        You have 5 kids who emit CO2 and methane and I only have one. Over time, the disparity is substantial so I’m just gonna have to see ya in court I guess.

        Your drugs example is a great secondary issue. Say you take a certain lifesaving drug which I don’t and your waste is processed thru a treatment plant which of course is ineffective in removal of that drug. Then that drug enters the water system. All the pieces are there: endangerment, chemical, potential for further use………..so legally you can no longer have access to your needed medication should you lose your lawsuit.

        Big old giant bag o’ worms, this one. Once the attorney’s get a hold of it……….(with apologies)………….yuck.

      • That’s a tangled one. Do you sue (a) the water treatment plant, (b) the drug company, (c) me, (d) all of the above? Anyway, that is what the court is there for, to find out where the law stands on all this. It’s rarely simple and you would do better with a bunch of co-victims in a class action, I guess.

      • Jim D,
        The answer would obviously be D).

        Now replace that drug with ’emissions’ and an equal or greater entanglement ensues. More……yuck.

        And we’ve not yet delved in to the punishment/reimbursement side.

      • My answer would be (a) because they are the ones putting it in the public environment. Same with emissions. Tragedy of the commons.

      • Jim D,
        The treatment plant is ‘putting it in the environment’? Not the manufacturer? Not the consumer?

        Boy, do we disagree here. The treatment plant’s job is to remove all that which folks put in to the system? Hmmm. So if I have this here container of say radioactive waste and dump it in the water it’s the treatment plants fault for not removing it? Interesting.

        But either way, the attorney’s will cast the broadest net and most assuredly will involve D (all of the above).

      • You would sue the coal miners for soot pollution then, or uranium miners for radioactive problems at reactors? Where does the blame stop?

      • Jim D,
        It’s not who I’d sue, but it’s the tendency of the legal system to toss out the widest possible net (and see what ya catch).
        “Where does the blame stop?” Exactly! The heart of the question and why skeptics are skeptics IMO. After all, the ’cause’ of the emissions of GHG’s is man. Right?

      • Jim D: Somehow Steyn’s supporters have it in their heads that this is about science rather than Steyn’s credibility on it

        By “Steyn’s supporters”, are you referring to the authors of the amicus curiae briefs that were filed in Steyn v Mann? They are the most prominent of Steyn’s supporters. If you mean someone else, could you provide an exact quote?

      • Steyn tried to get the case thrown out on the grounds that he was just a non-expert exaggerating. I still think he could win that way. It depends whether any reasonable person would believe his scientific judgement taking his phrase literally. I think not, in which case Mann loses because that makes it akin to satire.

      • Jim D: Somehow Steyn’s supporters have it in their heads that this is about science rather than Steyn’s credibility on it

        Even though Mann bears the burden of proof – truth is an affirmative defence in a defamation case. So Steyn can show that the hockey stick graph is fraudulent he will win.

        That is kind of putting the science on trial.

      • See my reply to MM. I think Mann could lose, but the case is not about science, but about what can be said by whom and whether it is taken seriously or not (satire versus libel).

      • Fumble fingers.

        I meant “if” Steyn can show . . .

      • @Jim D: Courts don’t judge the science.

        What are they expected to do with expert testimony then?

        Although the science wasn’t on trial in this case, it could have been, in which case Danny’s last sentence in

        @DT: Your honor. May we approach the bench? Recent discovery has led to further findings which had not yet been put in to evidence and may impact the decisions of the court:

        might well be admissible as evidence (though I would imagine not via a sidebar discussion with the judge).

        Not that it’s much use as evidence. The article’s implication is that the increased absorption of CO2 by the southern oceans since 2002 should reduce atmospheric CO2.

        Did it?

        Based on the changes in slope it looks to me like whatever variation is going on in southern ocean absorption of CO2 isn’t enough to have any significant impact on steadily rising atmospheric CO2.

      • VP,
        “Did it?”

        Good question, which requires greater discovery. Cross might ask what would the level be had the southern ocean not reacted as it has, and might ask the follow as to what the levels will be in the next 5/10 years or so.

        From the article: “From the year 2005, however, scientists pointed out that the Southern Ocean carbon sink might have begun to “saturate.” Based on model results, they suggested that it had not increased since the late 1980s. This was unexpected as one had assumed that a direct relationship existed between the magnitude of the carbon sink and the concentration of atmospheric CO2: the higher the concentration of CO2 in the air, the greater the amount of CO2 absorbed by the sea.

        Now the tables have turned. Since the beginning of the millennium the Southern Ocean carbon sink has become much stronger, thereby regaining its expected strength.”

        Ugh. Where might this all end up should it indeed ever get to court, and how might the Netherlands benefit from this info? Should they receive credit?

        (I still haven’t found that 30% figure suggested as Netherland’s commitment upthread and wondering if you’ve had a chance to look?)

      • A court is not going to aim to overturn the results of a paper. The best it can do is deal with its own evidence and say whether it is reasonable to assume a cause and effect of some specific harm to a person or the ecology. This may take scientific testimony for sure to establish a link, and science could be used on both sides of such arguments.

      • The science will never be “in”.

      • From the linked (above) NYT story:

        Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, first sought approval for sulfoxaflor in 2010 for use in three different products. Brand names include Transform and Closer.

        Now, from an article I found: Honey Bee Population Decline in Michigan: Causes, Consequences, and Responses to Protect the State’s Agriculture and Food System by Michael Bianco, Jenny Cooper, and Michelle Fournier, in the Michigan Journal of Public Affairs, Volume 11 | Spring 2014:

        Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are currently in a state of rapid decline in many places around the world. Since 2005, colony collapse disorder (CCD) and other causes of honey bee mortality have resulted in the loss of about 30 percent of all managed honey bee colonies in the United States annually, about twice the expected mortality rate (Smith et al. 2014; VanEngelsdorp et al. 2012). CCD is characterized by the mysterious disappearance of honey bees from their hive, except for the queen and brood, without evidence of a hive invader or dead bees remaining in the hive (Smith et al. 2014). However, while CCD has been one of the most visible and perplexing manifestations of honey bee losses over the past nine years, particularly in the United States, it appears to be a relatively minor component of a much broader decline in managed honey bee populations and health. As some researchers have pointed out, “we must be careful to not synonymize CCD with all honey bee losses” (Williams et al. 2010). In this paper we consider honey bee population declines in general, including from colony collapse disorder and other causes.

        Statistics regarding the magnitude of honey bee colony losses are shocking. The Bee Informed Partnership, coordinated by the International Bee Research Association, began conducting an annual survey in 2006 of thousands of beekeepers across the United States about colony mortality rates and perceived causes of mortality (VanEngelsdorp et al. 2012). In total surveyed beekeepers have hundreds of thousands of honey bee colonies. Even with a net purchase of tens of thousands of colonies each year among those surveyed, the average honey bee colony losses over the last seven years are about 30 percent per year, roughly double the expected rate (see Table 1)..Beekeepers consider acceptable colony losses to be around 13 percent, and researchers consider a normal (before the advent of CCD) annual mortality rate to be about 15 percent (Rucker et al. 2011).


        What’s wrong with this picture?

      • @DT: (I still haven’t found that 30% figure suggested as Netherland’s commitment upthread and wondering if you’ve had a chance to look?)

        Try this.

        “In The Netherlands, the recent national government plans, announced by the Dutch cabinet for 2007-2011, contain many elements similar to those presented by the European Council (Dutch government, 2007). Following the lead of the EU council, the Dutch government wants to achieve a 20% RES share of primary energy supply by 2020, a 30% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 1990 and 2020, and yearly energy savings of 2%.”

        The EU council wanted to make the 30% conditional on non-EU countries doing likewise. I don’t know whether the Dutch cabinet included that proviso.

      • Thanks VP. Wants to and committed don’t seem quite the same to me, and I can’t imagine that would hold up in court. What I found before was C2ES dated 2011. The publication your link took me took was titled “Energy Policy Instruments and Technical Change in the Residential Building Sector” and was dated 2007.

        Ah, well. Either way, this court case opens up an entirely new ‘bag o’ worms’. Who’s the responsible party (gov’t, corporations, individuals) and how will enforcement occur? Likely gonna be a mess. Goals are one thing, treaties another, and rule of law yet another.

      • @DT: Wants to and committed don’t seem quite the same to me

        Certainly true for individuals, but I’m not sure whether that distinction holds for states: what does it mean for a state to “want” to do something? Anyway this is clarified in section 4.70 of the (translated) text of the actual ruling itself made on June 24:

        4.70. Assuming – as has been considered above – that in its foreign policy the State for a long time has started from a required reduction of 25-40% in 2020 for Annex I countries, compared to 1990 and consequently has committed to the EU’s aim to formulate a 30% reduction target for 2020. Up to about 2010, the Netherlands had had a national reduction target of 30% for 2020 (compared to 1990).

        The rest of this section points out that the State gave no reason for reducing its target to below 30%. It advanced no new scientific information justifying such a reduction, nor any change in the State’s earlier estimate of the economic feasibility of the 30% target, in fact it even told the court it could meet it “provided that the condition for that target was met in the short term”.

        Reading further, it would seem that the 5% slack cut by the court in requiring only 25% came from Urgenda’s claim that the State’s duty of care would be met at 25%, which the court accepted at its face value. Had Urgenda asked for the original 30% target, I found nothing in the court’s reasoning that would justify lowering the target to 30%, which would lay the blame for this 5% reduction squarely on Urgenda’s shoulders. Urgenda appears to have taken the 25% lower limit from the 2007 Bali Climate Change Conference which set a 25-40% reduction range for industrialised nations. In fact Urgenda asked for the 25-40% range, perhaps reasoning that the mean of the range, 32.5%, was even stronger than 30% yet without committing the State to 32.5%. Not surprisingly the court handed them 25%, leaving it up to the State whether to try for anything more.

      • VP,

        I still find no evidence that the Netherlands had committed to that kind of range of reduction, but do find numerous mandates being imposed on them.

        Here’s one quote (from the ruling): “For its part, the State argues that the Netherlands – also based on European agreements – pursues an adequate climate policy. Therefore, and for many other reasons, the State believes Urgenda’s claims cannot succeed. The key motivation is that the State cannot be forced at law to pursue another climate policy. The terms “the State” and “the Netherlands” will be used interchangeably below, depending on the context. The term “the State” refers to the legal person that is party to these proceedings, while the term “the Netherlands” refers to the same entity in an international context. The government is the State’s executive body.”(4.2)
        Then in 4.26: “In the period 2007-2009, the Netherlands initially focused its climate policy on a reduction target of 30% in 2020 compared to 1990, which was therefore higher than the EU’s target of 20%. However, this reduction target deviated at a later stage. In these proceedings, the State has stated that the Dutch climate policy is based on a minimum reduction target of 16% in 2020 (compared to 2005) for the non-ETS sectors and 21% in 2020 (compared to 2005) for the ETS sectors. At the hearing, the State confirmed that the combined reduction for both sectors is expected to be 14 to 17% in 2020 compared to 1990.”

        In your offering w/r/t 4.70, it begins with a very large word ‘assuming’. Again, having the ‘want’ to achieve a higher goal is different from having committed to that goal.

        The ruling is an interesting read, but the ruling is more than a bit scary. But I guess ‘The State’s’ contention that it cannot be forced to follow ‘another climate policy’ (4.2 above) than one of it’s own choosing has so far turned out to be in error. Even the decision to ‘allow’ 25% seems arbitrary if the belief was they’d committed to 30%.

      • @me: Had Urgenda asked for the original 30% target, I found nothing in the court’s reasoning that would justify lowering the target to 30%

        Oops, insert “below” between “to” and “30%”.

      • Jim D said “Steyn tried to get the case thrown out . . .”

        This is not correct.

        Steyn didn’t try to get the case thrown out at all.

        He is not a party to the motion to dismiss or the appeal of its denial.

        He is the only party who is wanting the case to move forward to discovery of Mann and his deposition.

        Mann got all discovery stayed pending the appeal – which is why nothing is happening now.

        So you have your facts incorrect.

      • How do you interpret his anti-SLAPP attempt?

      • Jim D: See my reply to MM.

        You evaded my question: Whom did you refer to as “Steyn’s supporters”; and based on whatever any of them have said did you attribute what you said about them? The amicus curiae briefs filed by some of Steyn’s supporters (ACLU, Washington Post) are very clear that this is a freedom of speech pair of cases. It isn’t about “science”, but about Steyn’s use of the phrase “fraudulent hockeystick” with respect to one particular fraudulent hockeystick, in a social milieu in which dozens of scientists had already criticized the fraudulence of that selfsame hockeystick.

      • No scientist has used the word “fraudulent” because they know that within the academic community it is a serious accusation. Steyn as a theater critic and commentator may get away with it as a frivolous remark, and that is what they are going for. A lot of people within the skeptosphere think the HS is being judged scientifically, but it is not. It’s just words and Steyn’s usage.

      • Jim D: A lot of people within the skeptosphere think the HS is being judged scientifically, but it is not.

        You still can not quote anyone in particular saying anything in particular. How about “These researchers are guilty of brazen fraud.” Is that close enough to “fraudulent” for you? It’s in “A Disgrace to the Profession”, where “disgrace” might not indeed be close enough to “fraudulent” for you.

        FWIW “the HS” you do not identify. “The hockeystick” with the flat handle that lopped off the Medieval Warm Period, has been supplanted scientifically by “the hockeystick” with the tilted handle that preserves the Medieval Warm Period. “The HS” with the flat handle that lopped off the Medieval Warm Period is the one referred to in the phrase “fraudulent hockeystick.”

        Is it that you do not know the details of this or anything else? do not understand the details of this or anything else? or just plain don’t care about the details of this or anything else?

      • MM, who is that quote from? If it was from someone in climate science, it would be surprising. For the HS, you can look at the ocean2k as a new global sea-surface reconstruction also without an MWP, more just a pause in cooling around 1000AD. The original HS was not far off for a first attempt at this 15 years ago. It even had the hint of the cooling rate still seen in the last millennium in later reconstructions.

      • Jim D: MM, who is that quote from?

        that’s what I have been asking you — except that you have not even provided quotes..

        This quote is easy enough to find in the book I cited. How about “I don’t think they are scientifically inadequate or stupid. I think they are dishonest.”

      • I found that the quote was from an 84-year-old NIPCC contributor who died in 2011 that was also convinced this was part of a Malthusian plot. So that is who Steyn wants to use as an example of people criticizing Mann. It’s his choice. This last quote is also by an 84-year-old physicist who prefers the sun as the cause, but is talking way outside his expertise to judge tree rings.

      • matthewrmarler:

        This quote is easy enough to find in the book I cited.

        What kind of response is that? You quote a specific person, from a specific source, but instead of providing the person’s name or source, you tell people to look up both in a 300+ page book?

        How about “I don’t think they are scientifically inadequate or stupid. I think they are dishonest.”

        Well first, that would be what we call a misquotation. Mark Steyn has an annoying tendency to use those. I get people may not care much about things like this, but you can’t just cut off part of a person’s sentence and put a period there like that was the end of it.*

        Second, the guy that quote is from (whose name you chose not to provide, for some inexplicable reason) is a conspiracy nut who never contributed anything to the global warming debate other than rambling on and on about his hobby horse and vague conspiratorial accusations. He may have had a PhD, but other than that, there is nothing which makes his opinion remotely relevant.

        *I’ve counted something like 50 of these such misquotations thus far in my ongoing review of Steyn’s book. Some misquotations are even more serious.

      • Jim D: I found that the quote was from an 84-year-old NIPCC contributor who died in 2011 that was also convinced this was part of a Malthusian plot.

        that’s more than you provided in response to multiple requests by me. Who are those Steyn supporters that you referred to, and what did any of them actually write?

        Brandon S?: Well first, that would be what we call a misquotation. Mark Steyn has an annoying tendency to use those.

        The full accurate quote follows. Have you found one where the meaning was changed by its being thus abbreviated and removed from context? Have you found any of the Steyn supporters whom Jim D referred to, and quotes that support his claim of them? I think he made up his claim from whole cloth, or maybe it’s a factitious memory. The people who wrote the amicus curiae briefs in Steyn’s support are clear that it is a first amendment case; the book compiled by Steyn merely shows the large number of criticisms of the mbh98 hockeystick that were public before Steyn wrote “fraudulent hockeystick”. Such as “We had much the same misgivings about his work” — Steyn quotes a Mann rebuttal and then a rebuttal of the Mann rebuttal: “At the core of the controversy is an incorrect use by Mann et al of principal components.” The section heading puts a “.” where there ought to be a continuation: “that was documented at much greater length by Dr Wegman”; that truncation has little importance.

        Contrary to Jim D’s assertion, Steyn’s supporters understand that the court case is about the substantial amount of criticism of the “fraudulent hockeystick” that was public in the scientific community before Mann used the phrase “fraudulent hockeystick.” I am one of Steyn’s supporters (granted, buying the book isn’t much support), and so is the ACLU.

      • matthewrmarler:

        The full accurate quote follows.

        Uh… no, it doesn’t. You misquoted a person. I pointed that out. No “full accurate quote” followed your misquotation.

        As for it following Mark Steyn’s misquotation, which wasn’t the primary issue at hand, providing an accurate quote after misquoting a person doesn’t excuse misquoting the person. This is well-demonstrated by the fact him misquoting the person led to you misquoting the person as well. Clearly, him providing the “full accurate quote” after his misquotation didn’t solve the problems created by him providing a miquotation.

        Have you found one where the meaning was changed by its being thus abbreviated and removed from context?

        Yes, actually. The very first quote of the book has its meaning grossly distorted by Steyn, as do a number of other quotes in it. Steyn also appears to have completely fabricated at least one quote, which he does while attributing it to an announcement regarding an action that never happened (neither the announcement nor action). He also completely misattributes a quote to a person to include that person in his book despite having no actual words from that person.

        I’ve been writing about problems like these as I read through the book on my site. After I finish the book, I’ll probably go back and combine my notes into a single summary, which is how I came up with my original reviews of Michael Mann’s book. It’s taking me a lot longer to get through this book though. I’m actually finding more problems in it than Mann’s book. And anyone who’s read my responses to Mann’s book should know how remarkable a statement that is.

        Have you found any of the Steyn supporters whom Jim D referred to, and quotes that support his claim of them? I think he made up his claim from whole cloth, or maybe it’s a factitious memory.

        I haven’t discussed Jim D’s claims, so I’m not entirely certain why you’re asking me this question, but I’d be willing to answer anyway. The only problem is I don’t know just what you’re asking me. Could you be more specific? There seems to be some context not present in the current thread I’m missing.

      • I would appreciate identification of specific problems with quotes, or links to your web page where this is discussed further.

        The quotes of me were accurate

      • matthewrmarler
        Please use quotes properly
        “Brandon sometimes writes drivel at length”
        Taken out of context or quoted selectively you might say
        “Brandon writes drivel at length”
        or more politely
        “Brandon sometimes writes at length”
        Please feel free not to quote me.

        BrandonS?

        “*I’ve counted something like 50 of these such misquotations thus far in my ongoing review of Steyn’s book. Some misquotations are even more serious.”
        Misquotations heh, As defined by Brandon.
        This is a book which has been highly proofread and checked out. There are very few if any misquotations in the common or accepted sense of the word, after all Steyn does not want to be sued.
        There are misquotations in the Brandon “sense” of misquotation, which unfortunately very few other people are gifted enough to see.
        A quote, as generally accepted is a line of words attributed to a person by means of verbal or visual recording.
        It is not a misquote if it is a partial quote, it is still a quote. You are quite right that taking a partial quote can totally alter the meaning intended but that does not make it a misquote, only a selective quote and all quotes need to be considered in totality if available, but can still be used partially without them ever being a misquote.

      • angech2014

        there is a style manual for quoting .Steyn abuses it

      • JimD:
        “Erring on the side of caution is always good right?”

        Me:
        Audacity, audacity, always audacity.

        Those who dare win.

        Seize the day (or moment).

        Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead.

        Yeah, caution is always the preferred option.

      • Brandon S: I haven’t discussed Jim D’s claims, so I’m not entirely certain why you’re asking me this question, but I’d be willing to answer anyway.

        My involvement began when I read this by Jim D: Somehow Steyn’s supporters have it in their heads that this is about science rather than Steyn’s credibility on it,

        My response was this: By “Steyn’s supporters”, are you referring to the authors of the amicus curiae briefs that were filed in Steyn v Mann? They are the most prominent of Steyn’s supporters. If you mean someone else, could you provide an exact quote?

        I think that you and I could probably have a colloquy with hundreds of exchanges without establishing anything that Jim D wrote. He made it up. Steyn’s supporters, at least those who have written anything, understand that the two lawsuits are about libel and freedom of the press.

        “Disgrace to the profession” attempts to establish that Steyn carried out neither “actual malice” nor “reckless disregard for truth.” If you can show that his book does illustrate either or both of those, I am sure that you can write an amicus curiae brief of your own. Your claim that a quoted person has the wrong associations or is too old probably won’t establish either of those (but I could be wrong.) You jumped in with a claim that a quote was inaccurate, but without providing the exact quote. If the exact quotes show that Steyn’s use of “fraudulent hockeystick” with respect to MBH98 was actual malice or reckless disregard for truth, I am sure that your document would have impact. No one has yet filed an amicus brief on Mann’s side in Steyn v Mann. On my reading of some of “Disgrace to the profession”, I don’t think you can show that. But as I wrote, I have been wrong before.

        Jim D was wrong. Steyn’s supporters understand that these are libel/freedom of press suits.

      • The reason I think a lot of Steyn supporters think this is about the hockey stick is Steyn’s own logo of him breaking a hockey stick. It’s sold to his donors as, if he wins, the hockey stick is broken. What actually happens if he wins is that the court recognizes his comments on science would not be taken seriously by a reasonable person. Many would not be behind him so much if the realized what a win means. Mann’s case is that a lot of people are taking Steyn seriously so the damage is done. The free-speech issue is whether the comments are taken seriously or not, which is a tough one, because it hangs on what a reasonable person would think of Steyn’s fraudulence remarks.

      • all quotes need to be considered in totality if available, but can still be used partially without them ever being a misquote.

        License to quote out of context. Gotta love this redefinition of honesty.

      • Vaughan Pratt | September 12, 2015 at 1:36 am |
        all quotes need to be considered in totality if available, but can still be used partially without them ever being a misquote.

        “License to quote out of context. Gotta love this redefinition of honesty.”

        Sorry Vaughan, why did you decide to bring honesty into the definition of a quote? Touched a nerve?
        I did not redefine honesty.
        Neither did I give license to quote out of context.
        You can use a quote many ways, honestly, dishonestly, liberally, conservatively or flippantly being a few.
        A partial quote is still a quote. Using it dishonestly or in any way she/he chooses is the prerogative of the quotee.
        I was emphasizing the difference between a quote and a misquote, not the honesty or otherwise of the person using the quote or misquote.

      • Steven Mosher | September 11, 2015 at 10:01 pm |
        “angech2014 there is a style manual for quoting .Steyn abuses it”
        Steyn was very rude to Mann initially, no doubt about it.
        We both agree on that.
        The law in USA seems to say that public figures have to wear it.
        Shame.
        Steyn is trying very hard to show with quotes from reputable people, Curry, Muller, Way, Pielke jun and sen that Mann’s science is bad.
        He may not follow a style manual that you approve of but the quotes are telling. He is putting out a Volume 2. I believe you have form against Mann’s science. I would hope that he puts in a couple of your quotes in the next issue as you have done a very good job in this regard.

      • Oops. I honestly thought I had provided a link to my on-going review in my first comment. I must have forgotten to add it in before I submitted my comment. Here it is. I’ve largely stalled out on it because I’ve found the book so difficult to get through with how many misrepresentations it has.

      • matthewrmarler:

        My involvement began when I read this by Jim D: Somehow Steyn’s supporters have it in their heads that this is about science rather than Steyn’s credibility on it,

        My response was this: By “Steyn’s supporters”, are you referring to the authors of the amicus curiae briefs that were filed in Steyn v Mann? They are the most prominent of Steyn’s supporters. If you mean someone else, could you provide an exact quote?

        I think that you and I could probably have a colloquy with hundreds of exchanges without establishing anything that Jim D wrote. He made it up. Steyn’s supporters, at least those who have written anything, understand that the two lawsuits are about libel and freedom of the press.

        I’d say there are plenty of people cheering Mark Steyn on who certainly fit Jim D’s description. They might not include the ones writing legal documents, but I’ve seen quite a few comments/posts on blogs talking about how Steyn’s book speaks to Mann’s science. That doesn’t make what Jim D said true (as people can believe something is about more than one thing), but it makes it not completely made up.

        “Disgrace to the profession” attempts to establish that Steyn carried out neither “actual malice” nor “reckless disregard for truth.” If you can show that his book does illustrate either or both of those, I am sure that you can write an amicus curiae brief of your own. Your claim that a quoted person has the wrong associations or is too old probably won’t establish either of those (but I could be wrong.)

        I didn’t claim a person had wrong associations or was too old. Please don’t make things up about what I said. The closest to any of this is I said a person was cited as saying something he hadn’t said, having another person’s words attributed to him, which is nothing like what you say. As for too old… I didn’t say anything like that. Maybe you’re thinking of something Jim D said?

        You jumped in with a claim that a quote was inaccurate, but without providing the exact quote.

        You misquoted a person without providing any form of meaningful reference for the quote, but you want to call me out on not providing the full quote…? Seriously? What kind of backwards world do you live in? You still haven’t even provided the name of the person you quoted or the source of the quotation. It’s hardly my responsibility to track down your quotations and provide them because you won’t.

        If the exact quotes show that Steyn’s use of “fraudulent hockeystick” with respect to MBH98 was actual malice or reckless disregard for truth, I am sure that your document would have impact.

        I think a willingness to tolerate misquotations on a regular basis shows a disdain for things like accuracy. The more serious problems in Steyn’s book certainly show a disdain for things like the truth. Whether or not that has any bearing on the legal matters for Steyn’s case is something I can’t say with any certainty due to not having the legal knowledge, but it should certainly have bearing on how people view Steyn as a person.

        And really, if Steyn prepares for articles anything like he does his book, I’d say it wouldn’t be surprising if he acts with reckless disregard for the truth when writing them. Because honestly, I think he acted with it for this book. Because that’s the only way I can see him fabricating some of the claims he came up with in this book.

      • Jim D: The reason I think a lot of Steyn supporters think this is about the hockey stick is Steyn’s own logo of him breaking a hockey stick.

        OK, now you have switched from the “science” to “the hockey stick”. But again you avoid naming or quoting any Steyn supporters, and without specifying which of “the’ hockeysticks. The suits are about Steyn’s use of the phrase “fraudulent hockeystick”, not about “science” or about any arbitrarily chosen other hockey stick.

      • Yes, the suit is about that phrase being used for defamation. If Steyn wins, it means he did not damage Mann’s reputation with this phrase, and I think he will win because the same people who didn’t like Mann before Steyn’s article didn’t like him after. Mann has a tough burden to show that Steyn’s phrase swayed anyone else. As for who thinks it is a trial about the hockey stick being fraudulent, I think a lot of people still do, unless they are following closely.

      • Brandon S? I honestly thought I had provided a link to my on-going review in my first comment. I must have forgotten to add it in before I submitted my comment. Here it is.

        Please let us know when you have finished, and I’ll read it then. Steyn is working on vol 2. I expect I’ll buy that one as well.

      • matthewrmarler:

        Please let us know when you have finished, and I’ll read it then. Steyn is working on vol 2. I expect I’ll buy that one as well.

        I probably will, but I hope you’ll understand if I have very low expectations from you now given you’ve done nothing to address the fact you misquoted a person. You still haven’t even provided a name or reference for the misquotation.

        There are some very basic standards for discussions, and if people won’t even try to meet them, I can’t expect much else from them.

      • Brandon S? I probably will, but I hope you’ll understand if I have very low expectations from you now given you’ve done nothing to address the fact you misquoted a person.

        One step at a time. We can cover thoroughly who is misquoting whom some other time. I jumped into this asking a different commentator to justify something he wrote that was completely without a foundation. If you have shown that Steyn’s claim of multiple scientific disparagements of the “fraudulent hockey stick” (i.e. mbh98) antedating his use of the phrase “fraudulent hockey stick”, then I want to read it. In the meantime, what Jim D wrote that I challenged and asked him about is false. Steyn’s supporters understand that this is a libel / freedom of the press issue, and that the hockey stick at issue was the mbh98.

    • Oops. I honestly thought I had provided a link to my on-going review in my first comment. I must have forgotten to add it in before I submitted my comment. Here it is. I’ve largely stalled out on it because I’ve found the book so difficult to get through with how many misrepresentations it has.

  33. In short, it is a shortcircuit of democracy more or less, and on very shaky grounds. Large climate changes are real dangers, but the smoking gun pointing on CO2 is missing.

  34. ”There is no indication whatever in the experimental data that an abrupt or remarkable change in any of the ordinary natural climate variables is beginning or will begin to take place.” ~Robinson AB, et al. [Environmental effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. JPANDS (2007) 12; 79-90]

  35. The case shall be quashed, ipso facto (see above)

  36. RE Dutch courts being able to try anybody – to quote King Arthur to the black knight, “What are you going to do? Bleed all over me?”

  37. Here is a collection of some jaw-dropping sentences from the reading out of the summary of the verdict. I think they speak for themselves:

    Urgenda’s claims raise difficult and all-encompassing climate-technical questions. The court does not have its own expertise in this field. It is relying on the facts, regarding which both parties are in agreement. This is includes the current scientific consensus, as well as other facts that the State has acknowledged, or considers to be true.

    It is also not decisive that reduced emissions in the Netherlands have only a small effect on global emissions. After all, all emissions contribute to the total increase of CO2 concentration, and not a single country, small or large, can hide behind the argument, that their efforts alone, will not determine whether dangerous climate change is to be averted. In addition, the Netherlands, as an Annex 1 country, is one of the countries that should be leading the way.

    From the debates held in this case, and the scientific reports endorsed by the State in a general sense, the court has deduced that a reduction target of 25-40% by the end of 2020, compared to 1990, are from a cost perspective, not impossible nor reasonably unacceptable. It is also not at all certain, that stricter climate policies will seriously harm our competitive position, or to companies leaving, or that it would have an insufficient effect in a European or international context, supposed dangers that the State put forward in its defense.

    For many, the question will arise whether this matter is suited to be decided by a non-elected judge. The state has argued that this is essentially a political matter that, in this form, does not belong in the court room. The court’s consideration is the following: Dutch law doesn’t know an absolute separation of powers, in this case between the executive branch and the judicial branch. It is an important characteristic of a state governed by the rule of law that even independent, democratically legitimated and controlled political institutions, can, and sometimes even must, be judged by an independent judiciary.

    The court is ordering the State, in response to Urgenda’s claim insofar as it is representing itself, to reduce the collective volume of the annual Dutch greenhouse gas emissions, or have them reduced, in such a way that by the end of 2020, this volume will be reduced by at least 25%, compared to 1990 levels.

    The trial costs will be covered by the State. In budgeting these costs, the court has deviated from the usual rate for legal fees. The court is doing this, because this is a complicated case, in which large social and financial interests were covered. The court will apply the maximum lump sum fee. The court is demanding that State to cover the trial costs of Urgenda, representing itself, and has budgeted these costs at 13.521 euros and 82 cents

    This verdict is enforceable from the day of its publication.

    • russellseitz | September 10, 2015 at 8:28 pm
      “The Dutch sense of urgency is understandable, as sea levels in North America rose ten feet last week relative to the highest point on the continent”

      Since water is “equilevel”
      I guess this means the sea level rose 10 feet all over the world, Russell??
      Must have drowned all the newspapers and telecommunication stations as I have not heard any complaints.

      Or, in case you have not heard of tides, The sea level in Darwin can easily rise 20 foot twice a day beating your miserable North American 10 feet in a week hoopla.

      Bye the way was this you?
      Russell S.on August 11, 2015

      “Cabaret artiste Mark Steyn and the unfunniest cartoonist in England’s grim north have combined forces to show how little thay have learned as PR-flacks in the Climate Wars.”
      Current Ranking 505 which is darn good and helped no end by your constructive criticism. Made me want to buy it but I already had. Arrived 2 days ago. Would you like a copy to read so you can do a proper review?

      The review seems to go hand in hand with the quality of your current comment.

      • @angech2014: I guess this means the sea level rose 10 feet all over the world

        Lucky guess. GPS survey data this month set the height of The Mountain Formerly Known As Mt. McKinley, Seitz’s benchmark for his claim, at 20,310′, ten feet lower than Bradford Washburn’s 1953 estimate of 20,320′.

        Russell’s point seems to be the relativistic one that when the height of anything solid like a mountain changes with respect to sea level, it is more likely that the sea level changed than the mountain.

        AI programs should take note of such creative lines of reasoning, lest they be used in some roundabout way to trigger a nuclear war, render humans redundant, or (the ultimate catastrophe) show that Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory is inconsistent.

      • Vaughan

        If a mountain that doesn’t tend to move can’t be measured accurately after many years of trying, what hope is there of measuring a moving target such as sea level.? Further complicated as both the water and land levels are moving relative to each other at different rates according to region.

        tonyb

      • Not to mention that, at any point in time, levels are moving up by varying amounts and at varying rates in some parts of the world, and moving down by varying amounts and at varying rates in some other parts of the world, and usually asynchronously as well – making any assessment of global average very iffy.

      • Vaughan Pratt | September 11, 2015 at 2:25 am |
        “@angech2014: I guess this means the sea level rose 10 feet all over the world
        Lucky guess. ”
        perfect comment.
        +10.
        1 per foot of sea level rise.

      • @tonyb: If a mountain that doesn’t tend to move can’t be measured accurately after many years of trying, what hope is there of measuring a moving target such as sea level.?

        Tony, the area of the top of The Mountain Formerly Known As Mt. McKinley is way less than that of the sea.

        If you know the weight of 537 bison and 537 million cows, elementary statistics tells you that you know the expected weight of a cow a thousand times more accurately than that of of a bison.

        Measuring sea level at a great many points gives you a much more accurate idea of the distance of the sea from the centre of the Earth than the distance of said Alaskan mountain from said centre.

      • A further thought, tony: how do you know whether the distance to the Earth’s centre is changing faster for the sea or the land? You need to take isostatic rebound into consideration before answering that.

      • VP, you just displayed ignorance of the GIA correction. It is for the supposed volume of the ocean basins. It is thought needed for the closure problem. It does NOT affect tide guage measured SLR at all, which is a combination of sea water volume and sea edge land motion due to isostatic rebound, tectonics, decreased saturation subsidence in places like Louisiana, and sediment compaction in places like Bangaladesh, or both like the New Orleans and Bangkok. For catastrophist purposes, SLR is a purely local issue.

      • @ristvan: [isostatic rebound] does NOT affect tide guage measured SLR at all

        Indeed, Rud, but averaging a great many levels around the oceans has nothing to do with local tide gauge measurements, it estimates global mean sea level.

        You are however right about my ignorance. What I was ignorant of was the numerical value of the impact of isostatic rebound, or I would not have needed to ask Tony “how do you know whether the distance to the Earth’s centre is changing faster for the sea or the land?”

        Since you didn’t supply it I had to look it up—it turns out to be about 1/10. That is, for every centimeter of SLR estimated solely on the basis of transfer of land ice to the ocean, isostatic rebound requires subtracting about a millimeter.

        So obviously global mean sea level increases faster than does global mean land level. (Note that both are rising, provided one does not include the land ice in the definition of “land level”.)

        One might jump to the conclusion that it does so 10-1 = 9 times as fast. But this neglects that the land area is about 3/7 that of the sea. So assuming the increased volume of the land equals the increased volume of the ocean basin the sea rises only 3/7*9 or about 4 times as fast as the land.

        Had the numerical value of the impact been 1/3 instead of 1/10, the land would rise faster than the sea, by a factor of (7/3)/2 = 7/6. So my question to Tony was not one I could have answered myself at the time.

  38. So much depends on the IPCC. Who they are and
    how they operate … Laframboise and McKitrick on
    the IPCC.

    http://ecofascism.com/review27.html

    We know it was set up ‘to understand the scientific
    basis of human-induced climate.’ Despite its’s claim to
    transparency, few people know how the IPCC operates.
    Operationally it has 3 levels, a Panel of delegates from
    195 States that ‘oversees a 31 member Bureau,
    (Pachauri’s ex domain) and accompanying Secretariat.

    The supreme Panel is really a disfunctional body, (ref p2,)
    the Bureau rules.The Bureau does not reveal the names
    of nominees for lead and contributing authors nor explain
    its selection criteria.

    While supposedly policy neutral the Bureau insider’s
    club involves an overflow of performing multiple roles
    including the role of reviewer.(P11.)

    As shown by personel the Bureau recruits scientist
    based on criteria disconnected from expertise. Ideology
    is a criteria, enviro-organizations are profoundly over-
    represented. eg, Richard Klein, Masters Degree in
    1992, GreenPeace campaigner, by 1994 was a 3 time
    Lead Author for the IPCC. Bill Hare, Greenpeace chief
    negotiator in 2007, was a Lead Author and member of
    the elite Synthesis Repot Team and AR 2014. Other
    Greenpeace contributors, Malte.Meeinshausen, Ove
    Hoegh-Guldberg and SvennTeske. (pp13, 14.)

    75 WWF Climate Advisers participated in AR 2007 and
    /or 2014 among them David Karoly lead Author and 5
    other functions and Zbigniew Kundzewics, Review
    Editor for AR2014 and 4 functions for AR2007. ( p16.)

    On the basis of their decisions rest the fate of
    world economies and democratic traditions …???

    • Thanks for the link and your summary Beth.

      It’s bad enough that these ideologues have been successfully perpetuating a hoax for years, but they even have made the notion of calling it a hoax politically incorrect.

      Where does this all lead? How does it end? Why is this so difficult?

      Lots of questions but only skeptical cynical answers.

      • “A foolish consistency be da hobgoblin of little minds. Fo shizzle ma nizzle.”——-Snoop Doggy Dog

      • “How does it end?”

        An election could be the beginning of the end.

      • CAGW is a political movement with millions of adherents. It will not end anytime soon. It may never end, but it may stabilize as an endless special advocacy, about which little is done.

      • The interesting question is whether the CAGW movement is peaking? It may be. Pickett charging Paris.

      • Maybe, hopefully there is hope. Even the looney toon Californians seem to be getting the message:

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/californias-climate-change-revolt-1442014369

      • The interesting question is whether the CAGW movement is peaking?

        Your point being that the question of whether global mean surface temperature will be way higher in 2100 than today is completely uninteresting?

        If you believe that then I submit that you’re the sort of person that would find it perfectly reasonable to barrel down highways at 150 mph. The question of whether that might cause any problem would be completely uninteresting to you, right? No danger there because according to you you’d be in complete control of your car at that and even higher speeds.

        You may well be fine there. Likewise climate in 2100 may well be fine there.

      • David Springer

        150mph… a number pulled straight out of his ass.

      • Even the looney toon Californians seem to be getting the message:

        Yep. Oil industries pointed their multimillion-dollar gun and the Democrats in the California assembly got the message.

        What more effective message than money?

        From the point of view of those outside the US, adding an amendment to the US Constitution preventing this sort of influence, which might reduce CO2 emissions, would surely be preferable to deleting the second amendment, which could only increase the US population with no impact on the populations of the other 192 countries of the world.

      • CAGW is a political movement with millions of adherents. It will not end anytime soon. It may never end, but it may stabilize as an endless special advocacy, about which little is done.

        The interesting question is whether the CAGW movement is peaking? It may be. Pickett charging Paris.

        IMO the “CAGW” phenomenon is in many ways like the “Reagan Coalition”: a temporary alliance among several groups with a variety of agendas, and considerable overlap.

        •     There are the “watermelons”: socialists and similar for whom the “environmental” movement is nothing but a cover for their own ideological agenda.

        •     There are many who vaguely oppose “Capitalism”, probably out of post-educational inertia, and are also concerned about the climate (and/or other aspects of fossil carbon)

        •     There are those who are primarily concerned about about the climate, etc., and don’t really care about political/economic ideologies.

        •     There are those who are concerned about the climate, etc., and have generally libertarian and/or conservative political preferences.

        As long as it looked as though major social surgery would be needed to reposition “society” to solve the fossil carbon problem, they were all on roughly the same page. But the first cracks in the wall evidently stimulated a response from the watermelons: anybody who disagreed with any part of their agenda was a “denier”. A “murderer” of everybody’s grandchildren. Etc.

        But things have changed. Due at least in part to concerns over “climate change”, and various policy actions and threats of policy actions to address those concerns, the cost of solar power has been declining exponentially, and the install base growing so. Solar is coming into parity with traditional fossil fuels.

        At this point, it seem likely that our current “Capitalist” system, with perhaps some minor tweaks, will be able to effect a transition away from fossil fuels within the time-frame proposed as reasonable: say by 2050-2070.

        Like the Reagan Coalition after the Bush election, I’m guessing the “CAGW” phenomenon will fall apart as the majority goes for pragmatic effect:

        •     work within the current “Capitalist” system,

        •     find solutions that don’t impact energy prices or availability, especially to “developing” parts of the world, and

        •     accept the fact that many of the current powerful players, including many oil companies, utilities, most of the natural gas transport, storage, and generating infrastructure, will retain most of their position.

        This is anathema to the watermelons, and presumably distasteful to the second group I mentioned above: who vaguely oppose “Capitalism” […] and are also concerned about the climate. But my guess is that most of the latter will go along with the major party, and support solutions that work for everybody but the socialists.

        Looks to me like we’re at a tipping point.

      • V Pratt, that is not my point at all, not even close. Political movements come and go, ebb and flow. My impression is that the CAGW movement may be peaking. It is an interesting scientific question, the science being political science. As an issue analyst I study these things.

        But as a skeptic I find your reference to surface temperatures and 150 mph driving very strange. I do not believe in AGW so the driving metaphor is misplaced, to say the least. For that matter, I think the supposed GHG driven global surface warming shown by the surface statistical models probably never happened. It is an artifact.

      • @DJW: I do not believe in AGW … I think the supposed GHG driven global surface warming shown by the surface statistical models probably never happened. It is an artifact.

        While I don’t know about statistical models, David, what about actual temperature increases observed around the world using actual thermometers. Do you think those also never happened?

        The raw temperature data becomes easier to read the more it is smoothed. (At least up to a point—a 160-year running average of 160 years of temperature data gives only one datapoint!) Here’s the 60-year running average of each of CRUTEM4 (land, red curve) and HADSST3 (sea, green curve) temperature anomalies (differences from the 1960-1990 mean temperature at or near a great many locations around the world), based on data since 1855.

        (An anomaly at any given thermometer is the difference between the temperature it is currently showing and the average reading of that thermometer over a specified period. For CRUTEM4 and HadSST3 the period is specified as 1961-1990, other datasets may use slightly different periods.)

        The red (land) curve starts by averaging the anomalies over the 60 years 1855-1915, the center of which is 1885. This averaging is then repeated for 1856-1916, 1857-1917, and so on up to 1955-2015 centered at 1985.

        That’s a full century of datapoints. It shows that the average land thermometer, averaged over 30 years on either side, rose by 0.7 °C during the 100 years from 1885 to 1985. Some will have risen more, some less, this is just the average rise for all land thermometers.

        That’s a rise of 0.7 °C per century. However the rise over the last 20 years of the red curve is clearly much steeper than that, about 1.3 °C per century. (This is essentially the trend of the unsmoothed data for the period 1935-2015. For 1965-2015 the trend is 2.5 °C/century.) So whatever is causing the rise is getting more intense, whatever it may be.

        The green (sea) curve shows a less impressive rise over the same period, about 0.43 °C, hence 0.43 °C per century. But it too gets steeper, about 0.55 °C per century after 1940. (The trend of the unsmoothed data for 1965-2015 is 1.15 °C/century.) This slower sea surface response is consistent with the observation that sea breezes are cool even in summer while inland valleys that are at the same latitude and altitude tend to get very hot in summer. The oceans make a great heat sink.

        Do you believe that all this warming, with its increasing slope at both land and sea, is merely an artifact? And if so, an artifact of what?

      • DJW –> DW (sorry, no idea where I got the J from)

      • Another interesting comparison is between CRUTEM4 (from England) with BEST (from Berkeley, California), both land temperatures.

        Since BEST stops at 2010 I plotted 1880-1980 instead of 1885-1985. And since BEST seems to be defining their anomalies for a period centered on 1950 (year zero in the definition of BP, Before Present) it is necessary to subtract an eighth of a degree from BEST to align recent temperatures.

        The curves are indistinguishable from 1950 onwards, whence both show the same increasing slope over that period. BEST is steeper than CRUTEM4 during 1935-1950 but noticeably less steep during 1920-1935, and a little less steep before then.

        I’d have compared with other land temperature datasets but WoodForTrees doesn’t have any others with sufficient data to make this comparison. And BEST only has land temperatures, so HadSST is all there is to go on for sea surface temperatures at WoodForTrees.

      • “While I don’t know about statistical models, …”

        VP, what you are calling raw temperature data are actually outputs of a statistical model that takes as inputs a multitude of thermometer readings measured at discrete points in time and space around the globe.

      • Vaughan

        Yes, I agree with your point that all the graphs plus pages plus boreholes all show the temperature started to increase around 1700 . But why?

        Tonyb

      • I think the supposed GHG driven global surface warming shown by the surface statistical models probably never happened.

        David, I am wondering how you think the IPCC and all of the other scientific organization much less the actual science being done, fit it into this “CAGW movement” that seems to have taken hold throughout the world? How do they fit it into the conspiracy to hide the “truth” as you see it?

      • And I was also wondering whether the parties that are going to discuss a global agreement on climate change action a part of this CAGW movement?

      • @cr: Yes, I agree with your point that all the graphs plus pages plus boreholes all show the temperature started to increase around 1700. But why?

        Soot.

        To quote from

        http://climate.nasa.gov/news/215/

        “There is only one aerosol — soot, also known as black carbon — that actually helps contribute to global warming by boosting the warming effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

        What temperature readings were available from the Southern Hemisphere in 1700? The regions in the Northern Hemisphere sufficiently advanced to collect temperature data would presumably be the ones that had burnt most of Europe’s forests for the early factories, producing low-altitude dark aerosols, i.e. soot, that would have warmed those regions.

        Had they also increased CO2 significantly, both hemispheres would have seen warming, because CO2 becomes well-mixed around the planet within 18 months. However the Law Dome ice cores show no sign of significant CO2 increase during the 18th century.

        So in answer to your question, I’d bet a dime to a shilling that at least 80% of whatever sustained warming you’re seeing during the 18th century in whatever you’re calling “all graphs” was caused by soot.

        If you want more than a mere bet, Mark Jacobson would be a more appropriate authority than me on that question.

      • VP, what you are calling raw temperature data are actually outputs of a statistical model that takes as inputs a multitude of thermometer readings measured at discrete points in time and space around the globe.

        David Wojick, is averaging temperature readings what you meant by “statistical models”?

      • Mark

        Thanks for the wsj link regarding California’s green revolt. From the article:

        “California’s cap-and-trade program has also hurt manufacturers, power plants and oil refiners, which are required to purchase permits to emit carbon. Between 2011 and 2014, California’s manufacturing employment increased by 2% compared to 6% nationwide, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

        Cap and trade has also raised fuel costs, though its effect is hard to isolate from other environmental mandates. The Western States Petroleum Association last year projected that cap and trade would add 16 to 76 cents per gallon to the retail price of gas based on data from the Air Resources Board.

        In 2006 Californians paid about 23 cents more per gallon than the national average due to higher gas taxes and the state’s reformulated fuel regulations. The price premium increased to 41 cents last year and spiked to $1.14 in May after several in-state refineries experienced problems. The average gas price in California is now $3.22 and $3.41 in the Los Angeles metro region (where a couple of refineries are undergoing maintenance) compared to $2.36 nationwide.

        California’s low-carbon fuel standard will jack up gas prices even more. This anticarbon policy requires refiners to cut their fuel’s “lifecycle” carbon emissions including transport to market by 10% by 2020. The goal is to boost California biofuels. However, there aren’t enough commercially available “advanced” biofuels to meet the targets, so fuel blenders will have to buy regulatory credits.

        The chief beneficiaries of the Golden State’s green government have been the well-to-do, while low- and middle-income Californians have borne most of the regulatory costs. The Bay Area and Los Angeles regions account for 80% of the state’s electric car rebates compared to the San Joaquin Valley’s 2%.”

      • Vaughan Pratt, is this what you mean by your use of the expression ‘averaging temperature readings’?:

        “The gridded data [CRUTEM4 dataset] are based on an archive of monthly mean temperatures provided by more than 5500 weather stations distributed around the world. Each station temperature is converted to an anomaly from the 1961-90 average temperature for that station, and each grid-box value is the mean of all the station anomalies within that grid box. As well as the mean anomaly, estimates are made of the uncertainties arising from thermometer accuracy, homogenisation, sampling grid boxes with a finite number of measurements available, large-scale biases such as urbanisation and estimation of regional averages with non-complete global measurement coverage.”

        Are you using a regional idiom for the above expression? David may not be familiar with that idiom. Whereabouts are you from?

      • @willb01: is this what you mean by your use of the expression ‘averaging temperature readings’?:

        Yes, exactly, excluding the part about uncertainties, biases, etc. which aren’t part of the graphs I was asking DW about. Note that global temperatures involve one additional averaging step, namely over the grid cells. The result is invariant under change of cell size, and could be obtained instead simply by averaging over all thermometers.

        I was assuming those following this thread had seen my explanation (about nine comments earlier) of how temperatures were standardly organized as anomalies, perhaps you missed it. However even if they weren’t the temperature curves would be identical up to an additive constant; in particular their shapes (slopes, extrema, etc.) would be identical. Only the means would change, not the higher central moments.

      • Are you using a regional idiom for the above expression? David may not be familiar with that idiom. Whereabouts are you from?

        I might ask you the same question. What statistics courses have you taken? You seem unfamiliar with the equivalences between minor variations in definitions that anyone taking Statistics 101 would be expected to have at their fingertips. These basics are invariant under change of region.

      • @Vaughan Pratt:
        “Note that global temperatures involve one additional averaging step, namely over the grid cells. The result is invariant under change of cell size, and could be obtained instead simply by averaging over all thermometers.”

        Does each grid cell have the same weight? Does each grid cell have the same number of thermometers? If the answer to the first question is Yes and to the second is No, then the weightings for all of the individual thermometer readings are not equal. Averaging over all thermometer readings will not give you the same result as averaging over all grid cells.

        Besides that, the thermometer readings have been homogenized, so that you are no longer working with raw temperature data.

    • Also, Pachauri was fond of brown suits. Face hair with brown suits. Says it all for me.

  39. Alinsky’s rules fer radicals rule, Mark. (

  40. Geoff Sherrington

    Other countries have the option of running a friendly court case to decide if their country should adopt the IPCC as the only source for facts. If it is judged that the IPCC is not a sole expert, potential trouble stirrers might think twice.
    In the Dutch case, it is hardly credible that all parties agree that the IPCC was the factual source of data. You simply need to look at its stipulated raison d’etre to show that it is not neutral.

    • Geoff Sherrington

      “…it is hardly credible that all parties agree that the IPCC was the factual source of data”

      Have you considered that the advocates and the opposition were on the same side; i.e., there was no discussion, just an agreement amongst parties?

    • @GS: You simply need to look at its stipulated raison d’etre to show that it is not neutral.

      In what way would a neutral raison d’etre differ from that of the IPCC?

  41. All the US has to do is tell anyone demanding ACO2 money to go pound sand. And that’s exactly what should happen.

  42. Perhaps the Left will someday discover that individual liberty is a virtuous step towards the liberation of humanity and refrain from engaging in the banality of fetishized universalities.

    • And perhaps not, if history is a guide.

    • Official.

      Unbelievable, it reminds me of Coke.

    • Perhaps the Left will someday discover that individual liberty is a virtuous step towards the liberation of humanity and refrain from engaging in the banality of fetishized universalities.

      What happens when liberty for some means encroaching on the liberty of others, including the liberty of those not born yet? Let’s accept that increased CO2 emissions lead to growing risks of adverse consequences. If you accept that, wouldn’t you want the government to protect you from those risks like they do with any other pollutant? Liberty can be a two edged sword when it can harm others.

      • You’d have to believe plants breath in pollutants to survive and humans breath out pollutants. Obviously, some do believe that but some people will believe anything or at least pretend to if it serves their interest in pushing the global warming alarmism industry.

      • But if you did believe it, for whatever reason, you would want to the government to do something about it, right?

      • “As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical. I think that’s what’s happening here. Think about it. You’ve led an unpleasant life, you haven’t led a very virtuous life, but now you’re told, you get absolution if you watch your carbon footprint. It’s salvation!” ~Richard Lindzen (See–e.g., …Global Warming Believers a ‘Cult’)

      • You’d have to believe plants breath in pollutants to survive and humans breath out pollutants.

        Even plants need oxygen to survive, Wag, they would quickly die in pure CO2, which would make CO2 at that level a pollutant. And if humans breathe in what they breath out, they’d be dead of their polluted air in minutes.

        The point you’re missing is that it is not the chemical composition of any gas that makes it a pollutant but the level. Any gas becomes a pollutant when its level poses a significant threat.

        Everything in moderation.

      • David Springer

        Demonstrate that atmospheric CO2 @ 1000ppm is a greater threat than boon.

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  44. Don Aitkin has an interesting post on the Urgenda ruling and whether similar court cases would have a chance of succeeding in Australia. I expect what he concludes would also apply in UK, Canada, US, New Zealand.

    However, I think he missed something important in his second last paragraph:

    “I don’t rule out some sort of action. It would need to be based on a claim about negligence on the part of the Government, argued to have something like a duty of care to the plaintiffs. Then the plaintiffs would need to show, I think, that the harm of global warming was known, and that the Government should have acted to do something about it, and that what it had done was not enough.”

    I think Don missed an most important point. I think the plaintiffs would also need to show that if “the Government [had] acted to do something about it” the action taken would have reduced the harm done. The plaintiffs would have to demonstrate and quantify by how much the harm would have been reduced if the government had taken the actions.

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