Pink flamingos versus black swans

by Judith Curry

American strategists would benefit from a longer-range view of history to better inform force design. Thinking historically about the future means dealing openly with those things we want to avoid or are in denial about. – Frank Hoffman

The military are the masters at decision making under deep uncertainty.  I recently spotted this article: On Vladimir Putin, Black Swans and Pink Flamingos. PINK FLAMINGOS — this was instant click bait for me.  The article introduces a very interesting concept, with substantial relevance for climate science.  Excerpts:

A few years back there was a popular concept in international affairs and intelligence analysis called the Black Swan Theory. The theory, popularized by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, sought to explain the prevalence in human affairs of big but highly improbable events such as financial market collapses, the outbreaks of conflicts or scientific breakthroughs. According to Taleb, a Black Swan event has three characteristics:

  • It is a surprise to governments, experts and outside observers.
  • The event has a major impact.
  • After the first instance of the event, it is rationalized by hindsight (which also is why a Black Swan event never happens the same way twice).

JC note:  Black swans were discussed in this previous CE post [link]

For a while there was an effort on the part of government agencies and experts in various fields to use the Black Swan Theory as a basis for anticipating surprises. Just come up with a list of impossible scenarios and try and work backwards to find evidence to support one versus another. Of course, Taleb never suggests any such thing. He argued that it is not possible to predict Black Swans and hence the proper strategy is to increase the resilience to negative events and create a reserve capacity to exploit positive ones.

A noted U.S. defense expert, Frank Hoffman wrote recently about U.S. military strategy and how to deal with both Black Swans and Pink Flamingoes. The new concept, the Pink Flamingo, refers to “a predictable event that is ignored due to cognitive biases of a senior leader or a group of leaders trapped by powerful institutional forces.” Hoffman’s prescription for dealing with these two different species in the military domain is similar to what Taleb proposes: be aware both of your lack of predictive ability and your biases, and build in robustness and breadth to a military that will have to deal with unanticipated or just blindly ignored threats. Taleb and Hoffman both argue for preparedness and resilience.

Hoffman’s original article:  Black swans and pink flamingos: five principles for force design. Excerpts:

What key lessons should U.S. policymakers and defense planners take away from the last 14 years of conflict? How relevant is the recent past? What does our strategic and operational performance suggest we need to retain as core competencies? Without looking critically at the past, our own wars and others, all of the arguments about AirSea Battle, disruptive technologies, and offset strategies will be largely premature, if not largely uninformed.

JC comment:  The analogy I am trying to make here with climate change is that the focus on the period since 1950 for climate change attribution allows us to fool ourselves.  Yes, there is a vigorous paleoclimate research community, but I am still waiting for a robust explanation for the substantial global warming from 1905-1945, why the globe has been warming overall for the past 400 years, and what caused the little ice age.  Failing to even try to understand climate change during these periods in the recent past is a recipe for fooling ourselves about what has caused the recent warming, and how the future climate will evolve.

Drawing upon the last several wars for insights or major principles for force design is useful, but to draw the right insights requires more than merely thinking about the recent past. We must look forward to a more complex world, one in which technological, social, and economic change produce new contexts. In his most famous essay on the abuse of history, Michael Howard noted that the military must strive to explore history to acquire lessons, but also to be able to recognize when changes in context have made doctrine and past practice obsolete.

American policymakers and strategists would benefit from a longer-range view of history to better inform defense policy and joint force design.More importantly politicians cannot dictate the terms of future conflicts. The future does not bend to our illusions or our preferences. History’s furies do not respond to presidential pronouncements about the tides of war.

JC comment:  And the climate will not change significantly as a result of the UNFCCC policies,  even if they are actually agreed upon and successfully implemented.

Recent defense policy statements suggest that the “technology optimists” are alive and well again. We must be wary of claims about disruptive breakthroughs, as a premature shift to autonomous robotic systems or unbalanced approach can generate a lot of risk without benefit. We should definitely seek advantages in all dimensions of war, and while we may be forced to consider offsets, we need not rush for silver bullets.

JC comment: The climate-relevant analogy is that all of the proposed solutions have unintended (and possibly unforeseeable) negative consequences.

As former RAND analyst Russ Glenn once noted, lessons from the past are of value only if molded to the needs of the future. A military that does not balance looking backward with constant glances at the future risks preparing only for the war last fought. We examine the past in order to illuminate the future, not to relive past success.

Richard Danzig’s widely cited CNAS paper, Driving in the Dark, recommended that the “defense community should also design processes, programs and equipment on the premise that predictions will often be incorrect. While trying better to illuminate the road, analysts should recognize that sudden twists and turns in areas of darkness demand special driving techniques.” Danzig’s driving metaphor is appropriate for steering into a future that, by its nature, is uncertain.

JC comment:  Driving in the Dark was discussed in this previous CE post [link]

From that metaphor I have derived a set of five force planning principles:

1. Force design and posture must embrace uncertainty. “The record of Americans’ ability to predict the nature of the next war, not to mention its causes, location, time, adversary, and allies, has been uniformly dismal.” This dismal record is not a criticism of American intellect as much as a realization of the persistence of uncertainty in strategic planning.

Thinking historically about the future means dealing openly with those things we want to avoid or are in denial about. These are what I call our pink flamingoes. A pink flamingo is a predictable event that is ignored due to cognitive biases of a senior leader or a group of leaders trapped by powerful institutional forces. These are the cases which are “known knowns,” often brightly lit, but remaining studiously ignored by policymakers.

JC comment:  I have heard these also referred to ‘unknown knowns’.  Intellectual fashions, and manufactured consensus, can lead us to forget what we already know:  e.g. the TAR’s hockey stick obliterated the knowledge that we had developed about climate variability over the past several millennia.

Uncertainty is a reality to force planners, as Colin Gray has noted:

We will certainly be surprised in the future, so it is our task now to try to plan against the effects of some deeply unsettling surprises. The key to victory here is not the expensive creation of new conceptual, methodological, or electro-mechanical tools of prediction. Rather it is to pursue defense and security planning on the principles of minimum regrets and considerable flexibility and adaptability.

2. Force design must be strategically driven. Thinking strategically suggests an ability to define priorities and to make hard choices that shape the future. These distinct choices should be rigorously tested, the way car manufacturers test their designs through wind tunnels and test tracks.

JC comment:  This brings to mind the attempt to usurp all of the UN millennial development  goals in favor of futile attempts to change the climate by reducing global carbon emissions.

But meeting the challenge of uncertainty mandates we think about and allocate a premium for a force design that can be applied in a wide range of scenarios, not just the ones we decide we like.

JC comment:  This is a very important point; we need a broader range of scenarios of future climate change, including possible cooling from the sun, volcanoes, and shift to the cold phase of the AMO.

3. Risk is inevitable in strategy. We would all prefer that the United States be able to cover all contingencies and still have a preponderance of power left over to deal with chance, friction, and a cunning enemy. Risk in U.S. defense planning is poorly understood, and is usually discussed rhetorically in the context of missions or capabilities we want to spend money on, or avoid allocating resources towards. Thus, when someone states, “I am buying down risk,” they mean they are simply spending more on it.

Yes, strategy is about matching ends with means, and risk and tradeoffs are fundamental to long-range planning; but the enemy does not have to respect U.S. planning assumptions and theories of victory.

Returning to the “driving in the dark” metaphor, the United States military needs to wear seat belts and buy insurance. Right now the Department of Defense is preparing to pay for a rather high deductible if there is an accident or miscalculation as we’ve not purchased enough coverage against simultaneous or protracted crises. Our country is not adequately insured. A crash in the real world is not subject to “no fault” rules; there truly are consequences to complacency and to faulty strategy.

4. Force design must emphasize versatility over adaptability. Versatility is based on a breadth of competencies, instead of a collection of specialized organizations or players.

Versatility is dependent upon adequate training resources and the time to absorb a wide array of scenarios. It is also predicated on investments in education and flexible doctrine so that leaders are mentally prepared to apply best practices and the proper techniques for the scenarios they are expected to be prepared for. Agility is a measure of how easily and how fast an organization can shift between competencies and execute them equally well.

Adaptability is based on the capacity to adjust current competencies or generate entirely new skills in reaction to an adversary or to unanticipated circumstances.

There is more to adaptation than storing or being able to share operational or tactical lessons. Adaptability can be enhanced by leadership development, extensive educational programs with detailed campaign studies of successful and failed efforts to adapt, institutional mechanisms that assist commanders in recognizing problems or gaps in performance and equally, and mechanisms that develop and refine strategic, operational or tactical solutions to those gaps. We should not depend entirely on adaptability to compensate for our limited grasp of what battles tomorrow will present.

Our forces have to cover a wide range of missions and forms of terrain; they have to be rugged and reliable, instead of exquisite and expensive. But rather than effectiveness over the long haul, defense planning since 2012 has been forced to seek near-term efficiency despite the broad uncertainty we face.

JC comment:  In context of the climate policy response, this issue was addressed in the recent post Global Climate Agreements Could be Counterproductive.

5. Force design must ensure a degree of balance. Keeping up with the driving metaphor, U.S. defense strategists should not buy cars with only three tires. One of the principal elements of a sound joint force design is a balanced force capable of generating options for decision-makers in many contexts, and at the operational level, being able to generate dilemmas for our opponents. We should avoid an unbalanced program force that attempts to sustain a large and costly structure that forces us to penny-pinch on training, readiness or even worse, education.

JC comment: The ‘car with three tires’ is a good analogy for UNFCCC emissions reductions policies, that will be lucky to reduce warming by 0.2C by the end of the 21st century, implementing current wind and solar technologies that are not up to the task and so diverting investments from developing new technologies.

Today’s force planning requirements are framed more by policy desires and fiscal constraints than a realistic view to the future. The unfamiliar and the uncomfortable do not equate to unlikely. Our force must be designed not just to respond to the most likely or those canonical scenarios that favor cherished hardware programs. U.S. force planning should hedge by providing general capabilities and organizational agility that allow adaptations to unanticipated developments.

JC comment:  Apart from different emissions scenarios, the only scenario of 21st century climate change is related to CO2 emissions. Failure to even consider the possibility of solar cooling, volcanic cooling and cooling associated multi-decadal and longer scale ocean oscillations fails the robustness test.

JC reflections

Thanks to Hubert Lamb and others, an evolving understanding of climate variability over the past millennia had evolved.  Michael Mann arguably killed the climate pink flamingo with his hockey stick — arguing for trivial natural variability over the past millennia.

This understanding of natural variability was ignored, particularly in the TAR and AR4, “due to cognitive biases of a senior leader or a group of leaders trapped by powerful institutional forces.” —  “known knowns,” often brightly lit, but remaining studiously ignored by policymakers.

Apart from the pink flamingo issue,  Hoffman reiterates important principles for decision making under deep uncertaity, or driving in the dark.

252 responses to “Pink flamingos versus black swans

  1. If we don’t know our past, we will repeat the errors.

  2. daveandrews723

    The “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” theory also seems appropriate when looking at the AGW warmists’ poor attempt to explain and predict climate.

  3. Hank Zentgraf

    The post is a good test of our current state in Climate Science. Is the “pause” a pink flamingo or a black swan? How about the warming 1905 to 1945 and the subsequent “pause”. These are past events and we still have not organized our scientific efforts to explain them! Just how do we expect to built a cogent strategy for the future?
    Then we have the political layer at the top of our society. Bring RICO forward to attack independent thinking. Blame Climate Change for every serious weather event including fires in California. There is a lot of flack to fight through!

  4. From the post –

    “The record of Americans’ ability to predict the nature of the next war, not to mention its causes, location, time, adversary, and allies, has been uniformly dismal.” This dismal record is not a criticism of American intellect as much as a realization of the persistence of uncertainty in strategic planning.”

    The record is not unique to the Americans. The majority of governments share the conviction that the future can be ascertained in some fashion or another. Unfortunately, assumptions about the future are often incorrect, and on occasion, positively fatal.

    The unforeseen is the thing that will bite you in the backside, and by definition can’t be included in your plans. Merely rushing round, thumping the table and declaring that “Failure is not an option!” In a loud voice, may not ensure success.

    I expect a bit of furious pushback from people who cannot accept the concept of the unforeseen occurence, but that’s the way it is.

    And of course, the only time you are able to respond to the unforeseen, is, of course, after it has occurred. All your cunning plans, carefully crafted to cope with every possible contingency, are worthless. The unforeseen has happened – what to do?

    Do what needs to be done to survive. And that is precisely what the human race has been doing throughout its existence. I can think of very many things that might result in my demise. I cannot possibly prepare for even the multitudinous foreseen, let alone the unforeseen.

    As the military has discovered, the past does necessarily prepare you for the future. And so it is with past weather, or earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions, or many other things. California may well do what it can to prepare for major earthquake, but how advanced is planning for say, a previously unknown disease? An unforeseen one, with the capacity to wipe out 99% of the population? Or something else, totally unforeseen?

    It seems prudent to me, not to waste all your resources on vague and unproven assumptions by fortune tellers. Best to keep something in reserve, just in case.

    But of course, to each his own.

    Cheers.

    • Curious George

      Many years ago the Communist world was running on five-year plans. It took two years to prepare the next plan, so doctors were asked what disease they would be fighting seven years from now. Planning is not always easy.

    • “What to do?” Keep calm and put kettle on. Reflect over a cuppa rather than act precipitately in panic and/or despair. Accept the reality of change, of surprises good and bad, remain equanimous; and remember, as you are dealing with the unexpected, that “This too will change.”

      Back to my tea.

    • Maginot Line

  5. “It is a surprise to governments, experts and outside observers.”

    Want to get rich? Simple. Buy gold when central banks are selling, sell gold when central banks are buying. If I weren’t a climate skeptic on the basis of the things I’ve learned, I’d take that position simply on the assumption that government “experts” get almost everything wrong.

    It would be funny were it not so tragic…

    (aka pokerguy)

    • I agree, the warmunistas believe the sea is going to rise. I’ll take the contrary position and buy beach property. Where’s the cheap beach property? What about land alongside the Hudson? The Potomac? ???

  6. Pingback: Pink Flamingos, versatility, and adaptability

  7. Miltary strategy is easy. No matter what you do, make sure you have the biggest army/navy/air force. Doing more with less is not a winning military strategy in the long run.

    Pro warming climate scientists are winning with numbers.

    • Having the biggest Army isn’t particularly useful if the Army isn’t being equipped properly and the troops aren’t being fed.

      A big Army creates a tax burden on the taxpayer…too big of an Army and the taxpayers themselves will revolt against the Army. The Army being paid too poorly will revolt againsts it’s own government or surrender to the other side easily.

      In politics and warfare broad and deep support for a policy is how you win.

      The Climate Change/Global Warming crowd does not have broad and deep support. If your support is built on flimsy statistics that eventually are proven wrong your support will evaporate altogether.

      The depth polling on climate change always comes back with the same answer…the American public wants to fix climate change…and they are willing to pay $10/month…basically an additional 1 cent/KW.

      • What does this mean about who we are today?

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/nation/2014/05/02/military-sexual-assault/8630871/

        I still have problems with their numbers but that only makes it worse.

      • You got it, harry. Please repeat this comment on every thread.

      • Harry said

        ‘The depth polling on climate change always comes back with the same answer…the American public wants to fix climate change…and they are willing to pay $10/month…basically an additional 1 cent/KW.’

        Unfortunately America is completely irrelevant to the climate circus as the co2 merry go round has moved on to China and India.

        US citizens can claim they will pay 10$ a month but will they squeal when fuel costs soar and home energy costs rise and businesses close down as their own energy costs make them uncompetitive?

        The chickens are coming home to roost here in the UK as the Govt has deliberately inflated energy costs with the result many people can’t afford to adequately heat their homes. Our steel industry is collapsing as we speak largely due to energy costs and our power station buffer dwindles to almost zero which will have severe repercussions if we have anything but a mild winter as renewables don’t perform as expected and these grown up fossil fuel power stations are closed down in order to meet EU co2 directives.

        Cheap and plentiful energy costs are the bedrock of a healthy economy
        Be careful what you wish for.

        tonyb

      • Tony, harry is saying that American’s concern over the alleged greatest threat to mankind boils down to the willingness of presumably a majority of households to spend an extra 1 cent for a KW of electricity. That’s next to nothing in the budget of the average American family. So yes, they will squeal if energy costs skyrocket.

      • UK as the Govt has deliberately inflated energy costs with the result many people can’t afford to adequately heat their homes.

        Tony, Why doesn’t your government give poor people a subsidy to offset the cost increases?

      • Tony will appreciate the irony of that remark, knowing today’s efforts by the Tories that are so regressive that they are not even popular among some of their own ranks.

      • Problem is that too many of our leaders are not listening to the people and are gathering like lemmings in a mad rush to spend exorbitently on “not up to the task” solutions to fix a problem that does not exist while ignoring real problems that demand attention. At this point, I fear that we are about to launch a “war on climate” that will make the money spent on our “war on poverty” appear negligable in comparison, but the failure of our climate policies will have far greater consequences than those we’ve witnessed with the WOP.

      • +10 harry.

    • when the opponent demands debates, go asymetrical and use a pen and phone instead.

    • Yep, so easy anyone can do it.

      Having the biggest is not necessarily the correct answer.

      1) there is a little thing called cost. At what cost does having the biggest entail?

      2) biggest is not necessarily a surefire bet for actually winning a conflict. The Soviet Union fielded a military force larger than that of the US and NATO combined. What did it get them? Iraq boasted the largest military in the Middle East (unless you count Egypt). North Korea has a military that dwarfs ROK and US forces combined. There is a reason they don’t come across the border. They’d get their head handed to them.

  8. Perhaps the answer is a prosperous, technologically advanced economy staffed by a highly motivated well educated and adaptable population.

    It is knowledge, not hardware that can prepare us to respond to what is unknowable.

    • Not an exact quote, but works here ,”it is not the strongest, nor the fleetest, nor the most intelligent that will survive – it is the one most adaptable to change”.

  9. There is also the inherent risk of “mission creep” and overly ambitious goals. In the military context, America moved from domestic defense to “defense of American interests” to outright invasion for the purpose of restructuring societies in non-threatening states. It’s difficult for any strategy, let alone military hardware, to keep up with such changing requirements.

    Just as America’s defense capabilities are frequently misused for the benefit of political actors one should expect that any climate strategy will attract demands for additional elements to deal with X or Y issues and directly dissipate the ability to complete the original mission.

    A prime example is American involvement in the Middle East where pre-existing (and permanent) problems prevent resolution of conflict. A climate example would be addressing the problems arising from pervasive poverty in developing countries that have nothing to do with global warming.

  10. When it comes to managing our approach for dealing with America’s carbon emissions, the single largest Black Swan / Pink Flamingo event which could possibly happen here in the United States would be for the Obama Administration or its successor to instruct the EPA to follow the same general approach in abating America’s carbon pollution emissions that it has followed with other substances identified through an EPA-authored Endangerment Finding as being an atmospheric pollutant which represents a danger to public health and the environment.

    That approach would be for the EPA to set a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and then to develop a cooperative emission reduction program with the states which directly and aggressively constrains GHG emissions and which applies with equal force to all major classes of GHG emitters.

    For those who follow the Obama Administration’s Potemkin Village approach to reducing America’s carbon footprint, otherwise known as the Clean Power Plan, a decision on the part of the EPA to set a NAAQS for carbon pollution would be the ultimate Black Swan / Pink Flamingo event, simply because the Obama Administration would stop talking and start doing, That is to say, rather than using the issue of climate change mostly as a political talking point in pushing their socio-economic agenda, they would start walking their talk of significantly reducing America’s GHG emissions.

    • Beta Blocker,

      Don’t you get tired of repeating the same old vapid pleas over and over again?

      CO2 is a blessing not a curse and certainly not a pollutant.. Demonizing it is not going to achieve your goal of a nuclear renaissance.

      • Mark,

        I believe you need to pay closer attention to what Beta is saying.

        Unless I misread him, he is saying that should Obama’s administration act as it should under current its charter and set NAAQS for CO2, that would bring on the black swan event.

        In other words, Obama talks a big game, but sits on the sidelines as a cheerleader.

    • Mark Silbert: Beta Blocker … Don’t you get tired of repeating the same old vapid pleas over and over again? CO2 is a blessing not a curse and certainly not a pollutant.. Demonizing it is not going to achieve your goal of a nuclear renaissance.

      Mark, there is a chicken-or-egg situation with reviving the stillborn nuclear renaissance here in America. The costs of building large nuclear plants can’t be substantially reduced unless we start building a lot more of them than we currently are today. But the only way we can start building those larger numbers of new plants is to reduce price competition from the emerging alliance of the natural gas interests and the subsidized wind and solar interests, thus restoring the lifecycle cost advantage nuclear power had before the price of natural gas collapsed.

      An example of the realities the nuclear industry now faces is the recent decision by its owner to close the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts. The basic driver for the owner’s decision to close the plant is that a private company whose profits depend upon selling electric energy to the power transmission and distribution markets can make more money selling peakload electricity than it can selling baseload electricity.

      Gas-fired generation is more technically flexible than is nuclear generation in supplying a combination of peakload capacity and load-following capacity. Recently developed technologies can make the large unitary nuclear plants better than the older nuclear plants for handling load-following chores, but there is still no practical way to quickly reduce the up front capital costs of the large nuclear plants sufficiently enough to restore the lifecycle cost advantage nuclear power had before the price of natural gas collapsed. Here in America, the only practical means of quickly restoring price competition between nuclear and natural gas in a way that actually does revive the stillborn nuclear renaissance is for the US Government to put a price on carbon and to directly constrain the production and distribution of fossil fuel energy resources.

      Mark, I don’t want America to end up being covered with windmills and with gas fracking wells from one side of the country to the other. As things stand today, paying a reasonable cost premium up front for going with low-impact nuclear power — as opposed to covering America from one side to the other with windmills and with gas fracking wells at a much higher economic and environmental cost — is strictly a public policy decision.

      • “Here in America, the only practical means of quickly restoring price competition between nuclear and natural gas in a way that actually does revive the stillborn nuclear renaissance is for the US Government to put a price on carbon and to directly constrain the production and distribution of fossil fuel energy resources.”

        You should be arguing for substantial subsidies for nuclear power plants and I might agree with you, but don’t use the bogus notion that CO2 is a pollutant to justify the subsidies. I think the argument for nuclear can stand on it’s own without resorting to CAGW. You seem like an above average bright guy. Do you really buy the CAGW meme and believe that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are likely to lead to catastrophe? The problem in energy today is not natural gas or nuclear, it’s the green mafia and the Goremaniacs pushing wind and solar at any cost.

        BTW gas wells, whether fracked or not, are not visual pollution like windmills and solar arrays. They also don’t kill birds, cause earthquakes or pollute groundwater.

      • Mark Silbert: You should be arguing for substantial subsidies for nuclear power plants and I might agree with you, but don’t use the bogus notion that CO2 is a pollutant to justify the subsidies. I think the argument for nuclear can stand on it’s own without resorting to CAGW. You seem like an above average bright guy. Do you really buy the CAGW meme and believe that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are likely to lead to catastrophe? The problem in energy today is not natural gas or nuclear, it’s the green mafia and the Goremaniacs pushing wind and solar at any cost. …. BTW gas wells, whether fracked or not, are not visual pollution like windmills and solar arrays. They also don’t kill birds, cause earthquakes or pollute groundwater.

        Mark, my own opinion concerning where global mean temperatures will go over the next hundred years is that GMT will rise somewhere between 1C and 3C by the year 2100, with 1C being more likely than 3C; and that the rise in GMT will be driven in some part by man’s GHG emissions.

        It is also my opinion that what specific portion of the future rise in GMT will be caused by man-made GHG’s cannot be precisely determined at the current state of climate science. Whether or not the rise in GMT will be catastrophic if it occurs is something which will not be known with any real certainty until the rise actually occurs; i.e., most all current predictions of the impacts of the future rise in GMT are mere conjecture at this point.

        This being said, the topic of Judith’s article is strategic planning for dealing with black swan / pink flamingo events. Regardless of where one stands on the need — or the lack thereof depending upon one’s position — to greatly reduce America’s and the world’s carbon emissions, there are certain realities which must be acknowledged by nuclear power advocates in making a strategic plan which either actively supports a specific public policy agenda being pushed by a specific public interest constituency, or else which actively opposes it.

        (1) It is impossible to achieve President Obama’s GHG reduction goals for the United States — 28% by 2025, 32% by 2030, and 80% by 2050 — through technical innovation alone. Stringent energy conservation measures must be imposed against all classes of GHG emitters if the goals are to be achieved in the time frames the President wants.

        (2) The only public policy approach which can successfully achieve the necessary energy conservation measures in the time frames which are required is for the EPA to develop and implement a NAASQ-based regulatory framework which directly and aggressively limits America’s GHG emissions, and which simultaneously raises the price of all carbon fuels making them less competitive in the energy marketplace.

        (3) The US Government will not subsidize nuclear construction and nuclear operations to any greater extent than it does today, simply because there is little support among politicians and among public agencies to do anything more beyond what is already being done.

        (4) It is impossible to reduce the capital costs of America’s large-scale nuclear plants to levels which would reduce their total lifecycle costs sufficiently enough to overcome the cost advantages natural gas has recently gained.

        (5) The only practical means for reducing the competitiveness of natural gas relative to nuclear is for the US Government to put a price on carbon and to directly limit the production and supply of all carbon fuels.

        The current situation with nuclear power in America is that its long-term future remains completely in the hands of public policy decision makers.

        The US Southeast has made a public policy decision to pay a premium for access to nuclear power in return for a highly reliable supply of electricity at stable, predictable prices. The US Northeast and the US West Coast oppose nuclear power and will be shuttering all of their legacy nuclear plants within a decade. The US Midwest and the US Mountain West remain ambivalent about nuclear power and will wait to see what happens in other regions of the country.

      • Beta Blocker,

        I respect your views and your advocacy. I come down about where you do on GMT and CO2. I want to see a nuclear rebirth. I fully understand your point re. cost drivers etc. I spent 30 years working the same problems on oil and gas development. My point is that if you want to tamper with energy markets, do it explicitly and don’t hide behind the CO2 boogyman.

        Disclaimer: While I spent 30 yrs.in oil and gas, my investments in energy today are hedged.

      • Fossil fuel, particularly natural gas exports.

      • David Wojick: Beta, having found that the present CO2 level of 400 ppm is a danger to health and welfare, EPA cannot set a NAAQS higher than that level. Nor can it set a level that depends on drastic global cooperation. The obvious fact is that the NAAQS mechanism does not work for CO2 because it was designed for locally controllable pollution levels. EPA understands this very well.

        David, let’s not lose sight of the recent development that President Obama has announced a goal of reducing America’s GHG emissions 28% by 2025, 32% by 2030, and 80% by 2050; and that it is impossible to achieve those reductions through technical means alone, and certainly not in the time frames the President wants them. Energy conservation measures must play a major role, if not the major role, in achieving the President’s goals.

        The Clean Air Act (CAA) as it is now written focuses on adopting achievable technical means as the best way to produce the desired emission reductions for an identified pollutant. As the CAA is written, the interactions between the NAAQS process, as described in Section 108, and the emission-control rulemaking process as described elsewhere in the CAA, are subject to various stipulations which generally focus on managing the balance to be struck between the dangers described in the endangerment finding and the costs and practicalities of any possible emission abatement solutions which might be adopted.

        One would think that because CO2 is a well-mixed gas on a world-wide scale; and because CO2 emitting sources are everywhere ubiquitous in the American economy, and elsewhere in the world economy, a NAAQS-based regulatory approach wouldn’t be the most suitable approach as a broad-spectrum means for attacking all of America’s GHG emission sources.

        Others think differently. In December 2009, The Center for Biological Diversity and 350.org jointly proposed that because an Endangerment Finding developed under Section 202 of the CAA had been already published earlier in the year for mobile CO2 emission sources, a very similar Endangerment Finding written under Section 108 requirements could be used as a basis for setting a NAAQS of 350 ppm for CO2.

        If one is advocating for a substantial near-term reduction in America’s GHG emissions, the benefit of using a NAASQ-based approach developed under Section 108 is that it opens up greater possibilities for taking more concerted action, assuming one is of a mind to push as hard as it is legally possible to push in forcing strong regulatory action against an identified pollutant.

        How far could such action be pushed if someone in authority decided to push the regulatory envelope as far as it legally might be pushed?

        As I read the wording of Section 108, and as I read the wording of previous Executive Orders which concern environmental issues and pollution control issues, the President has the authority to unilaterally publish an Executive Order which would declare a carbon pollution emergency and which would direct that all departments and agencies of the Executive Branch work cooperatively with the EPA to achieve the President’s announced near-term goal of reducing America’s GHG emissions 28% by 2025.

        A key element in executing the emergency declaration, once it was published, would be for the EPA to then publish a NAAQS for carbon dioxide under Section 108 of the Clean Air Act, thus tying the actions being taken under the President’s emergency declaration to the EPA’s already-existing CAA regulatory framework — but without having to pass through the complicated and time-consuming process of balancing the theoretical dangers of carbon pollution against the theoretical costs and technical practicalities of adopting any specific emission reduction solution.

        Using his declaration of a carbon pollution emergency as his starting point, and by establishing a formalized regulatory process managed by the EPA to enforce the NAAQS CO2 ppm standard, whatever it was chosen to be, the President could then begin to enforce serious energy conservation measures against all classes of GHG emission sources, measures which do not necessarily depend upon technological innovations to be successful.

        In this way, the President could use coordinated actions among all departments and agencies of the Executive Branch to legally by-pass the US Congress in setting a highly aggressive GHG reduction agenda, one which is capable of achieving the President’s ambitious GHG reduction goals without requiring any new legislation from the Congress.

        timg56: Mark, I believe you need to pay closer attention to what Beta is saying. ….. Unless I misread him, he is saying that should Obama’s administration act as it should under current its charter and set NAAQS for CO2, that would bring on the black swan event. …. In other words, Obama talks a big game, but sits on the sidelines as a cheerleader.

        A decision by President Obama to declare a carbon pollution emergency, and then to use the full power of the Executive Branch in pursuing his very ambitious GHG reduction targets, would be a black swan event of immense proportions.

        It would make the unilateral actions he has taken with immigration reform, with the checkered roll-out of Obamacare, and with the Iran nuclear deal look absolutely timid in comparison.

        However, that said, I do believe that there exists a sound legal basis for the President to take this kind of unilateral action, even if doing so would cause all political hell to break loose.

        The question here is this, is President Obama willing to take those actions which walk the talk of his publicly-stated concerns about climate change, actions which can actually reduce America’s GHG emissions 28% by 2025, 32% by 2030, and 80% by 2050? Or is he going to sit on the sidelines as a cheerleader instead?

    • The US is in no position to reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2, which are global not local, so a NAAQS would simply put the entire country in permanent nonattainment status, triggering Clean Air Act penalties. This is why EPA is trying hard to work around the Clean Air Act procedures, which were designed to handle actual pollutants.

      • David, please see my latest comment directly above which addresses your latest remarks that: “Beta, having found that the present CO2 level of 400 ppm is a danger to health and welfare, EPA cannot set a NAAQS higher than that level. Nor can it set a level that depends on drastic global cooperation. The obvious fact is that the NAAQS mechanism does not work for CO2 because it was designed for locally controllable pollution levels. EPA understands this very well.”

        My very latest response to what you’ve said in your latest October 20th remarks was intended to appear at the very end of my original comment thread. But I mistakenly attached it to the wrong threadline, and so it appears ‘up there’ rather than ‘down here.’

        Anyway, my detailed response ‘up there’ describes how the EPA could invoke provisions of Section 108 in setting a NAAQS for CO2 in the event that President Obama first issued an Executive Order declaring a carbon pollution emergency and then directed all departments and agencies in the Executive Branch to work cooperatively with the EPA in pursuing a highly aggressive NAAQS-based GHG reduction plan.

      • Not possible, Beta.

    • David Wojick: The US is in no position to reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2, which are global not local, so a NAAQS would simply put the entire country in permanent nonattainment status, triggering Clean Air Act penalties. This is why EPA is trying hard to work around the Clean Air Act procedures, which were designed to handle actual pollutants.

      David, you are correct in observing that the EPA is trying very hard to work around the Clean Air Act’s normal procedures for controlling America’s emissions of an atmospheric pollutant.

      On the other hand, it is impossible to achieve President Obama’s ambitious goals for reducing America’s GHG emissions unless the EPA begins treating carbon dioxide in the same way that it treats most other atmospheric substances found through an EPA Endangerment Finding to represent a danger to public health and the environment when present in excessive concentrations.

      The approach the EPA has used historically is to set a NAAQS for the identified pollutant and then to develop a reasonably fair and reasonably effective regulatory framework for reducing emissions of that identified pollutant, doing so within some reasonably acceptable time frame as befits the stated dangers of the pollutant.

      The Clean Power Plan is neither effective in reducing America’s GHG emissions to the extent President Obama says he wants to reduce them, nor is it reasonably fair and reasonably impartial in its application. Even if the Clean Power Plan survives in the courts, the plan will not come anywhere close to achieving the President’s ambitious goals. If America’s CO2 emissions aren’t being controlled in the traditional way by using a NAASQ-based regulatory framework, those emissions won’t be controlled at all.

      Setting a NAAQS for carbon dioxide which is not theoretically attainable through a concerted worldwide effort against carbon emissions would not likely survive a court challenge, simply for the fact that it is technically impossible at this point to return the earth’s atmosphere to 350 ppm CO2 concentration, or even to 400 ppm for that matter. The NAAQS for CO2 would have to be set higher than 400 ppm — to 450 ppm, to 475 ppm, or possibly even to 500 ppm to reach what is even theoretically possible, let alone what is practically possible.

      If the EPA were to do what it needs to do in effectively controlling America’s own GHG emissions, the task of deciding upon what target NAAQS should be implemented through a series of corresponding regulatory enforcement actions must be absolutely open and transparent. The EPA must tie its choice for a CO2 NAAQS directly to the climate science referenced by the EPA’s 2009 Endangerment Finding, and it must also tie the choice to any international agreements it has made with other nations in limiting GHG emissions on a worldwide scale.

      In any case, unless President Obama directs the EPA to begin using a NAAQS-based regulatory approach for reducing America’s own GHG emissions, the President’s promises to the nation’s environmentally conscious voters will remain empty promises, for the most part.

      • Beta, having found that the present CO2 level of 400 ppm is a danger to health and welfare, EPA cannot set a NAAQS higher than that level. Nor can it set a level that depends on drastic global cooperation. The obvious fact is that the NAAQS mechanism does not work for CO2 because it was designed for locally controllable pollution levels. EPA understands this very well.

      • By the way, EPA is an independent agency so the President cannot direct it to do anything. They are independent of Presidential authority.

      • Don’t worry, D, this one is well-controlled.
        =============

      • The EPA is run by political appointees, who serve at the pleasure of the President.

      • Here you go:

        http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/LEO/AOConnell_VacantOfficesforYLS.pdf

        Top management positions at EPA filled by non-career SES political appointees listed at bottom of page 11. Administrator, Deputy Administrator, gaggle of Assistant Deputy Admins,
        CFO, Chief Counsel, Inspector General, etc. etc.

      • You are correct, Don, but that does not give Obama control of EPA, any more than Senate approval of cabinet secretaries gives the Senate control of cabinet departments. While Obama can appoint the head of EPA he cannot remove them at will, as he can a cabinet officer. The function of independent agencies is very interesting, especially because the Constitution makes no provision for them. They came into being because the Federal Reserve needs to be independent of political influence. The rest is a tangled history.

      • Senate confirmation has little to no effect on choices that Presidents make in filling administrative agency positions. The Senate almost always defers to the President. The President appoints people who will do his bidding. It is not a coincidence that the EPA administrators are doing exactly what Obama wants them to do and that the timing of their actions has suited his political requirements.

      • David Wojick: Not possible, Beta.

        Taken literally, to say that it is ‘not possible’ is not the same thing as saying it is ‘not likely.’

        My position here is that although it is not likely that President Obama will adopt a comprehensive broad-spectrum strategic plan which can actually achieve his highly ambitious GHG reduction targets, there is nothing except the prospect of severe political backlash which prevents him from unilaterally taking aggressive action against all major classes of GHG emissions being produced from all major classes of carbon emitters, doing so from within the boundaries of a creatively-interpreted regulatory envelope.

        He has done this kind of thing before in other areas of public policy decision making and has not been successfully thwarted. He or his successor could do it again if they were of a mind to push the regulatory envelope as far as it might legally be pushed in reducing America’s GHG emissions, all of the President’s existing authorities being taken into account.

        For example, the President could legally issue an Executive Order declaring a carbon pollution emergency. He could then follow up with a series of coordinated actions on the part of all departments and agencies of the Executive Branch, actions which directly or indirectly constrain the production, supply, and consumption of all carbon fuels.

        A key part of that GHG reduction strategy would be for the President or one of his designated surrogates to petition the EPA Administrator to act in concert with other US Government departments and agencies by first publishing an EPA Endangerment Finding for CO2 written under CAA Section 108; then by setting a NAAQS for CO2 based upon the conclusions of the Section 108 Endangerment Finding; and then by developing a corresponding EPA regulatory framework which takes full advantage of Section 108 provisions.

        If the President and his advisers were willing to risk the inevitable political backlash which would come from imposing what is, for all practical purposes, a fossil energy rationing program combined with what is the regulatory equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon, he could go far in achieving the ambitious GHG reduction targets he seeks — 28% by 2025, 32% by 2030, and 80% by 2050.

        Ongoing debate concerning the scientific truth of today’s mainstream climate science is a low-priority, largely backwater issue among America’s voters. Only when America’s leaders start asking the American people to accept serious personal and economic sacrifices in the name of fighting climate change will the public debate over the validity of today’s mainstream climate science reach a critical mass.

        A black swan/pink flamingo public issue criticality event, occurring in the form of a Presidential Executive Order declaring a carbon pollution emergency, would instantly transform the current political situation as it affects climate change issues, and would produce immediate fallout in the form of an intense public debate concerning the value and validity of today’s mainstream climate science.

  11. The only way to prepare for a Black Swan event is to ensure the global economy is continually growing with enough surplus to mitigate the impacts of the event.

    People who advocate for the crippling of the global economy because of climate concerns are dangerous because the consequences of their policies are potentially dire.

  12. “Failing to even try to understand climate change during these periods in the recent past…” – JC

    Really, no one has even tried???

    • Yes, this 1910-1940 period is often brought up. They fail to mention that in 1910 the sun was in a lull similar to today’s, and that period was cooler than even the previous few decades when the sun was more active. It is a cherry-picked starting point in the middle of a temporary dip. Also 1940-1950 was an active period for the sun, so that is a range that you would choose to best illustrate solar effects which may account for at least half that warming, as much as 0.2 C with the other half being the expected CO2 effect.

      • Jim D,

        Are you implying that the output from the Sun controls the temperature?

        Less active Sun overcomes any supposed CO2 effects and results in cooling? The Cult of Latter Day Warmism will probably apply extreme sanctions to anyone professing such heresy. You are courageous indeed.

        Good on you Jim! Move away from the Dark Side – you are heading in the right direction!

        Cheers.

      • It can affect temperature by plus or minus 0.1 C, so 0.2 C in a full range swing like 1910-1940. Despite their support of natural variation, “skeptics” have been slow on the uptake when it comes to what the sun can do. The “pause” is another example of a possible decline of up to 0.1 C in the solar contribution as it is timed with the descent into the present lull. Skeptics have preferred to blame the models rather than suggest natural variability of this type. In the long run, 0.2 C ups and downs are not much compared to full degrees from GHG increases, so that is the perspective I come from.

      • “.2 degrees is not much compared to PREDICTED increases in GHG emmissions”.

        Just needed some clarification with the added observation that warmists batting average when it comes to catastrophic predictions is, like the effect of additional co2 on warming, indistinguishable from zero.

      • Should be “PREDICTED increases in temps from increased GHG emmissions”

      • Jim D,

        If I understand you, you have ruled out any long lasting effect from changes in the Sun’s energy output.

        What is your simple explanation for the Earth’s apparent surface cooling of more than 5,000 C over the past years?

        Why does a white hot iron cannonball cool, even when in bright sunlight, and surrounded by CO2?

        Sorry. That’s two questions, and Warmists have difficulty avoiding answering just one, usually. Don’t mean to overload or confuse you.

        Cheers.

      • Why does a white hot iron cannonball cool, even when in bright sunlight, and surrounded by CO2?

        Because it’s a dud?

      • Jim D,

        Sorry to have overloaded your mental capacity.

        It is obvious you know what a cannon ball is. Probably too technical for you. I apologise for assuming you had an average level of knowledge, or even that you were capable of looking things up somewhere.

        Overestimating the intellectual ability of Warmists yet again. My bad.

        Cheers.

      • Jim D,

        Apologies if you do, indeed, know what a cannonball is. Obviously, in my last post, when I wrote that “it is obvious you know what a cannon ball is”, I really intended to write “it is obvious you DON’T know . . . ”

        Sorry for any misunderstanding. I don’t want to give the impression that I think you are brighter than you really are.

        Cheers.

      • In fact, it was JCH, not me, that answered your question. I am not going to be dragged into your CO2 denial arguments.

      • I was talking about the question, not the cannonball.

      • Jim,

        You say the sun can affect temperatures “by plus or minus 0.1 C”. Do you have a reference for that? I’m intrigued.

      • Wow, is that some kind of exrta-weird sky dragon nonsense from Mike?

      • Michael,

        I’m told that temperatures on Mercury’s surface can reach 430 degrees C. Nighttime temperatures on the surface can drop to -170 degrees C.

        Just thought you’d like to know.

        Oh, by the way. The deepest part of the ocean is the Mariana Trench – some 10,900 m deep. Pretty deep, eh?

        Cheers.

  13. Failing to even try to understand climate change during these periods in the recent past is a recipe for fooling ourselves about what has caused the recent warming, and how the future climate will evolve.

    During the Little Ice Age, Polar Oceans were frozen and Snowfall was not enough to replace the ice on earth that melted every year. The ice on earth has been decreasing for 400 years. It has naturally warmed for 400 years. There are short term cycles that prevent this from being a continuous transition. There are bumps in the data but we have mostly warmed for 400 years. Before that it mostly cooled for hundreds of years.
    We are warm now and the ice is being replaced more than gets replaced every year. We will be warm and will continue to replenish the ice for several hundred years. This warm period will proceed much like the Roman and Medieval Warm periods and then we will have the ice volume we need to proceed into the next Little Ice Age.
    Look at the past data in the ice cores for the past ten thousand years. Every warm period has faster ice accumulation and every cold period has slower ice accumulation.

    Study and try to understand the data from the past, not just the data from thermometers, it does not go back far enough. If you extrapolate only the data during a warm period, you will end up outside the bounds of what really is going to happen.

  14. Surprise: it’s going to start raining (or snowing) this year sometime around late November and it’ll keep raining (or snowing) ’til March, 2017.

    • Unless you live in the Antipodes, of course!

      Only joking.

      Cheers.

      • Did you know that the Eskimos have over two hundred different words for snow… Thin snow and thick snow, light snow and heavy snow, sludgy snow, brittle snow, snow that comes in flurries, snow that comes in drifts, snow that comes in on the bottom or your neighbor’s boots all over your nice clean igloo floor, the snows of winter, the snows of spring, the snows you remembered from your childhood that were so much better than any of your modern snow, fine snow, feathery snow, hill snow, valley snow, snow that falls in the morning, snow that falls at night, snow that falls all of a sudden just when you’re going out fishing, and even though you’ve trained them not to, [yellow] snow your huskies have… ~Rob McKenna (Rain God in Douglas Adams’ book, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish)

      • Liberals have over two hundred words (and phrases) for taking someone’s money and giving it to someone else who votes to increase their power.

  15. “JC comment: This brings to mind the attempt to usurp all of the UN millennial development goals in favor of futile attempts to change the climate by reducing global carbon emissions.”

    Ahh, but this is why the argument about the time it takes for the CO2 to abate from the atmosphere has been hypothesised. If we were to actually bring about the banning of burning carbon based fuels, and the temps keep climbing, well it is because of the sins of our fathers.

  16. Murphy’s law in a new dress, but I do like pink flamingos.

    • Capt’nDallas

      The mass killing of the one legged stick in the ground pink flamingos didn’t fool me a bit. No bird flu virus, just poisonous gas killed them all, yeh, that’s what it was, poisonous CO2.

      • Gas? Possible. Unfortunately the Obamacare approved alternative medicine practitioners didn’t arrive in time.

      • Alternative medicine practitioners were awaiting approval from FDA and a lesser known agency: the Special Licensing Bureau for Those Who Wannabe and Can’t just like the Keystone Pipeline is awaiting approval from EPA, Energy and a lesser known agency: The Select Agency for Current Political Correctness on All Energy Matters.

        Good news is hard to come by I am afraid. Wait, wait and wait your turn.

      • RiHo08

        Good, bad no big deal as long as it is entertaining. The Seralini GMO study for example was funded by a French Homeopathy and health supplement firm. That bit wasn’t disclosed in the paper they retracted but is mentioned in the new paper published online. If I had a ton of money I would use Spranug-Dawley rats for a two year trial of a few of their top sellers, a 100% vegan diet and red wine, just to mess with them.

    • Capt’nDallas,

      You know of course, that the SPCA is watching every move you make. That is from feeding inhuman homeopathic diets to Sprang-Dawley rats to harvesting natural in the wild fighting Sailfish.

  17. As an engineer I am amazed that there are folks who consider “climate change” to be mankind’s largest challenge, equivalent to a war, and are prepared to march into battle against an entity not yet proven to be an enemy, a hypothetical black swan, using weapons which are socially expensive and largely ineffective.

    The political aspect of climate change has all of the characteristics of a religious call to war. In that vein I am reminded of these words from Mark Twain’s “The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories”.

    “There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one–on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful–as usual–will shout for the war. The pulpit will–warily and cautiously–object–at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, ‘It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it.’ Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers–as earlier–but do not dare say so. And now the whole nation–pulpit and all–will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

    • David L. Hagen

      Dangerous Cold
      A glaciers grinding through Chicago and London will cause greater harm than 1 foot higher ocean in New York.

    • davideisenstadt

      Mark Twain loved kittens, but was less fond of cats, so his staff made sure that his house was stocked with kittens, which they disposed of when older, and then replaced the displaced cats with new kittens.
      just saying.

    • Oh, look outside the window
      There’s a woman being grabbed
      They’ve dragged her to the bushes
      And now she’s being stabbed

      Maybe we should call the cops
      And try to stop the pain
      But Monopoly is so much fun
      I’d hate to blow the game

      And I’m sure
      It wouldn’t interest anybody
      Outside of a small circle of friends

      Phil Ochs

    • “As an engineer I am amazed that there are folks who consider “climate change” to be mankind’s largest challenge, equivalent to a war, and are prepared to march into battle against an entity not yet proven to be an enemy, a hypothetical black swan, using weapons which are socially expensive and largely ineffective. ”

      Follow the money

  18. Willis Eschenbach

    As usual, Dr. Judith, another fascinating paper. I do like your use of insights from different fields to illuminate climate science.

    I particularly liked your comment:

    I am still waiting for a robust explanation for the substantial global warming from 1905-1945, why the globe has been warming overall for the past 400 years, and what caused the little ice age. Failing to even try to understand climate change during these periods in the recent past is a recipe for fooling ourselves about what has caused the recent warming, and how the future climate will evolve.

    Indeed. I have been beating this drum for a while now. We don’t know what caused the Medieval Warming. We don’t know why it slid into the Little Ice Age. And we don’t know why it has gradually warmed for a few centuries since then.

    And in my book at least, until we understand the climate changes of the past, the idea that we can predict the changes of the future is hubristic nonsense.

    Keep up the good work, your blog is an unending source of wonderment.

    w.

  19. Canadian Climate Guy

    Reblogged this on Canadian Climate Guy and commented:
    A must read article by Judith Curry, well worth your time!

  20. I am still waiting for a robust explanation for the substantial global warming from 1905-1945, why the globe has been warming overall for the past 400 years,

    Has it been established that it has warmed for the past 400 years? And wouldn’t you characterize recent warming as being substantially different from warming in that may have started 4 centuries ago?

    And where does that leave the Little Ice Age, if you accept that this is a period of gradual warming? I got this is from Wikipedia:

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

    It has been conventionally defined as a period extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries,[3][4][5] or alternatively, from about 1300[6] to about 1850,[7][8][9] although climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming.[5].

  21. Can anyone please link to the information that leads them to believe that additional human released CO2 will result in a worse climate overall for humanity. Yes, it is more likely to warm slightly, but that does not equate to a climate worse for humanity.

    If science cannot reliably conclude that additional CO2 will make the climate better or worse for a particular nation or the world overall, how can rational people defend spending significant amounts of limited financial resources to reduce CO2 emissions?

    Isn’t it more sensible to use our limited resources on things more likely to have a benefit?

    • Because we can make you.

      • Jim D.

        Thanks for the link. Is the linked data what you really believe shows that a world with more CO2 will have a worse overall climate for humanity?

      • It gathers the data in one place for you. It is a good starting point, because once you decide which parts you don’t believe you can probably find references for it.

      • Jim D: https://www.coursera.org/course/warmerworld

        2C by 2040, 4C by 2100? I was wrong about you making that up on your own. Sorry. About the changes since 1880 or thereabouts: what damages? How would an 1880-style climate be an improvement over what we have now?

      • Jim D

        Your link states–

        “This course also offers projections for the 21st century for droughts, heat waves and sea-level rise in different parts of the world, with implications for food and water security, as well as possible impacts on agriculture, water availability, ecosystems and human health.”

        If it was shown that the links “projections” were not based on remotely reliable models would it impact how much you believed these projections?

      • Are you saying you don’t remotely believe the projections, or whether, given a 4 C warmer world, droughts, forest fires, etc., would be worse. You need to disentangle these two issues in your mind.

      • were not based on remotely reliable models

        Who says they are not “remotely reliable models?”

      • Curious George

        All projections. Not a single prediction. Can a projection ever turn to be false?

      • Take the projections as “pink flamingos” (read the post for definition). Things that are warned about, but some choose to not allow for based on what they describe aptly as ‘cognitive biases’.

      • All projections. Not a single prediction. Can a projection ever turn to be false?

        yes.

        because they are predictions not projections.. the difference is semantic

      • Curious George

        Steven – warmists use projections, not predictions, because a projection can not be falsified. They are misusing semantics. Good marketing, though.

      • “Steven – warmists use projections, not predictions, because a projection can not be falsified. They are misusing semantics. Good marketing, though.”

        They use the word. but as I said its purely semantic.

      • Nice.

        Learn through the playing of computer games.

        Somehow I don’t think it will outsell EASports NFL 2016 for xbox and playstation.

    • What happens if things turn out bad and more in line with what most climate scientists think? Are we supposed to say “told you so?” If shifting to low carbon energy sources is too difficult at some point or the evidence for a high climate sensitivity weakens then we can always slow down. But if climate change turns out bad, we are going to be stuck with it for a long time whether we like it or not. Credit to ATTP for that last part.

      • How do we shift to low carbon energy?

      • If laws are enacted to mandate alternative energy, coal plants are shut down, and the economy wrecked, we “are going to be stuck with it for a long time whether we like it or not”. See how that works?

      • If laws are enacted to mandate alternative energy, coal plants are shut down, and the economy wrecked.

        It’s hard for me to believe the economy would all of sudden wreck when the transition is going to occur over decades. I think we would see signs before that the plan wasn’t working. And of course the effects of the transition will vary by country.

      • Joseph writes- “What happens if things turn out bad and more in line with what most climate scientists think? ”

        LOL–You claim that most climate scientists think that more CO2 will result in a worse climate for humans. What is you evidence to support that claim? I would agree that most would think the system will get warmer, but not that they claim to know it will have worse overall climate. Also, people’s beliefs about what will happen in the future is less important than the reliability of the information upon which those beliefs are based.

        If you don’t know if additional CO2 will result in better or worse weather, does it makes sense to spend lots of resources in reducing CO2 emissions? If you are worried about worsening weather it would make sense to do things that have the highest probability to minimize that damage. That is the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure designed to meet the needs of specific areas

      • So are you saying that scientists are making claims that climate change has negative risks based on no evidence? Are they making it up? Why do I find that hard to believe

      • Joseph asks–“So are you saying that scientists are making claims that climate change has negative risks based on no evidence?”

        My answer- NO I did not say or write that. I have written that there is no reliable data to support the claims that higher CO2 levels WILL result in a worse climate. I do not have reliable data to show that the climate will be better either.

      • The only positives I have seen are slightly warmer winters and CO2 fertilization effect with the latter being offset by the effect of rising temperatures on agriculture. Even the food industry is worried about climate change..

        http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/10/01/3708023/food-industry-climate-change-congress/

      • Joseph,

        I was wondering if you had come into possession of the clue which Steven Mosher doesn’t appear to currently possess.

        It doesn’t seem so. Sorry if you thought I was accusing you of actually having a clue. I apologise.

        Cheers.

      • First off Joseph you have no idea what “most climate scientists” think when it comes to “how bad it will be”. From what I have sensed, the majority keep their opinions to themselves. There is a vocal subset who likes to claim consensus and 97%, but they make sure never to actually state what that consensus is on. And they go to an awful lot of effort to make sure everyone is aware that a consensus does in fact exist.

        Secondly, what any percentage of climate scientists believe is not what is relevant. What is relevant is evidence which supports their beliefs and the claims they make for “how bad” it will be. And unless you are deep into the camp of the tipping point crowd, many, if not most of the bad things will start to show themselves before they hit their max impact. Things like 50 million climate refugees. Or the first islands being swallowed by rising seas. Or increasing numbers of species approaching extinction. Or increasing cases of disease in areas previously free of them. Or increasing numbers of extreme weather events.

        Instead what we are seeing is an increase in attempts to spin what are otherwise naturally occuring events or processes into something that looks like the start of the great catastrophy.


      • From what I have sensed, the majority keep their opinions to themselves. There is a vocal subset who likes to claim consensus and 97%, but they make sure never to actually state what that consensus is on.

        I am not sure why you bringing up a consensus. I have seen a lot stories reported on in the media that find negative impacts from climate. You have the IPCC reports which are comprehensive reviews of the science. You have almost every major scientific organization with statements that reflect that climate that is an issue that should be dealt with. I would think that if scientist felt that climate change was being over hyped you have more push back. But all I see is small few who don’t seem to have much of an impact except as mouth pieces in conservative circles, not the in actual science.

        What is relevant is evidence which supports their beliefs and the claims they make for “how bad” it will be.

        Exactly, and the IPCC reviewed that evidence. I guess you don’t have much confidence in the IPCC, so what satisfy you when it comes to “evidence?” You obviously have no background in climate science, so how you can make an independent judgement. I certainly can’t.

      • RE: “I would think that …”

        Actually Joseph the problem is you don’t think. You heard stories in the media and you believe them without an iota of critical thinking. I bet you still believe the one about South Carolina’s recent flooding being a 1000 year flood event. Even when the “scientists” (i.e. USGS – who I interned with back in grad school) come out and correct the misinformation being reported.

        As to your regular reference to IPCC. Exactly where in their reports do they actually document the “bad” impacts or quantify how “bad” they will be? If you truly were capable of doing your own thinking Joseph the first thing you should have noticed is whether or not any particular prediction or projection is based on modeled output or empirical observations and data. If you can’t then perhaps you should think twice about commenting on a subject you are not capable of comprehending. Hell you admit to not being able to understand it. Since you don’t, why are you trying to convince people that something needs to be done? Would you offer advice to a surgeon removing an organ? Tell Bill Bellichik how to run a football team?

        You state that I am obviously not a climate scientist. Leaving aside just what the specific definition of one is, I can acknowledge that I do not work as a research scientist in climate or any other field. However I do have a couple of graduate science degrees and have studied atmospheric physics and chemistry. Some of my professors are or were very active in the field of climate science. In otherwords I have a sufficient enough basis to recognize what is traditionally thought of as good scientific method and what is basically crap.

      • I can acknowledge that I do not work as a research scientist in climate or any other field. However I do have a couple of graduate science degrees and have studied atmospheric physics and chemistry. Some of my professors are or were very active in the field of climate science. In otherwords I have a sufficient enough basis to recognize what is traditionally thought of as good scientific method and what is basically crap.

        So you can recognize it, but those who actually understand the science in-depth, can’t see it for what it is? Are they making it up? I am trying understand why your opinion should trump their more informed opinion.

      • Joseph: So you can recognize it, but those who actually understand the science in-depth, can’t see it for what it is? Are they making it up?

        That is a good pair of questions. Why are some of the experts spreading “alarm” (a call to immediate and profound redirection of the energy economy), when the evidence is slim to none that much bad will happen, and there is no evidence that anything bad has happened because of increased CO2? And why do they continue unabated when so many of their dire forecasts to date have been so inaccurate?

      • when the evidence is slim to none that much bad will happen, and there is no evidence that anything bad has happened because of increased CO2

        Why do you say “some experts?” What makes you think that most scientist don’t consider climate change to have negative risks? How do you know there slim evidence? Another you just another non-expert pontificating about the science you really don’t know that well?

    • Jim D./Joseph

      “Are you saying you don’t remotely believe the projections, or whether, given a 4 C warmer world, droughts, forest fires, etc., would be worse.”

      I am saying that the “projections” were based on reviewing potential conditions based on the outputs of different models. I would have higher confidence if the model(s) used had demonstrated a history of reasonable accuracy.

      In order to evaluate the probability that the “projections” will be accurate, it is necessary to evaluate the relative accuracy of the models upon which the “projections” were based.

      Have models linking an increase in the rate of sea level rise to atmospheric CO2 content been accurate to date? Answer- not that I have been able to find. Anyone offering one???

      Have models linking changes in annual rainfall in any particular area to atmospheric CO2 content been accurate to date? Answer- NO. Anyone offering one???

      The AGW is terrible crowd seems to like to make claims but I challenge you to show the reliable model(s) that support your projections. Then try showing an analysis that includes an assessment that includes where areas of the globe benefit. Gee, do you believe that everywhere only will get droughts or floods?

      • So, you say that even though the models can capture the first 0.8 C of warming that we have already had using standard physics, you are not going to say they are much good. I would say that this is a sufficient test of their usefulness and does not disprove it. What other test would you do to prove it for yourself? Things could be worse or better, but they represent a middle. Take the CO2 increase out of the models, and you can’t explain the observed warming and remaining energy imbalance on top of it with known physics.

      • If this article tells you anything, it should be that these projections are the “skeptics” very own “pink flamingos”: predictions that are ignored because of “cognitive biases”. They need to be taken into account.

      • Claiming that the models comprehensively account for all the possible variables that affect climate to a degree where we can simply tune the models by changing the value of the one variable we claim to be the control knob, is a good example of pink flamingo thinking.

      • Jim D

        Read more about what GCM’s have been designed to simulate and then read about have well they have performed in accurately forecasting future conditions. They are designed to be able to simulate more than temperature.

        Jim–Warming does NOT equal a worse climate for humanity overall. That is only true in the beliefs of zealots.

  22. Co-opting Chaos: The Role of Complexity Discourse in the War on Terror
    What is new however, is the acceptance that chaos may not be so easily crushed and may in fact be creative.

    Almost 7 years before the invasion Saperstein stated quite bluntly: “One of the prime reasons for our failure to deal successfully with Iraq – a sovereign element in the Newtonian system – is that we fear to deal with its possible break-up” (Saperstein 1997). Even more bluntly Stephen Mann argued:
    “that we need to be open to ways to accelerate and exploit criticality if it serves our national interest, for example, by destroying the Iraqi militaryand the Saddam state” (Mann 1997).
    The question raised by chaos theorists such as Saperstein and Mann is that, in a global environment where the permanence of nation states can no longer be taken for granted, and where sub-and trans-state social forces are bubbling out of control, is the stability and integrity of nation states always an achievable, or even desirable objective?
    snip
    In order to understand US foreign policy in the 21st Century we should become familiar with the strategic use of chaos, and with the political role of cultural narratives of American “exceptionalism”. However, we also need to increase our scepticism towards outdated assumptions that the defence of American interests – via adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq and possibly Iran –is even intended to be compatible with the security and stability of the rest of the world. For, as Mann (1997) suggests, America’s role in a chaotic world is to defend the “national interest, not international stability”.
    https://fortyninthparalleljournal.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/7-okane-coopting-chaos.pdf

    In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/faith-certainty-and-the-presidency-of-george-w-bush.html

    Tomgram: LeVine on Playing the Chaos Card in the Middle East

    The problem with this narrative is that the neoconservatives, who were primarily responsible for launching the war on terror as well as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, have by and large not viewed chaos in this manner. For them, chaos has been not just an inevitable consequence of globalization, but a phenomenon that might be well used to further their long-term agenda of remaking the Middle East in America’s image. Indeed, as they saw it, it was only natural for the world’s first true hyperpower to adopt a historically well-tested policy of “creative destruction.” Their goal, as explained in the now famous comment of an anonymous administration official, was to “create our own reality” wherever we tread. (“We’re history’s actors,” he continued, “and all of you will be left to just study what we do.”)

    Such a comment might seem the height of Bush administration hubris alone, if it hadn’t also reflected the avant-garde of American business thinking of the previous decade or more. In his 1988 book Thriving on Chaos, for instance, business guru Tom Peters argued that Americans must “take the chaos as given and learn to thrive on it. The winners of tomorrow will deal proactively with chaos Chaos and uncertainty are market opportunities for the wise.”

    The advice of Peters and of the Pentagon was taken to heart by scholars and policymakers like Paul Wolfowitz, Samuel Huntington, and Robert Kaplan, who in the mid-1990s began writing of a “new cold war” or “clash of civilizations” between Islamism and neoliberalism across an “arc of instability” stretching from sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia. Specifically, post-Cold War experiences in Bosnia, Haiti, Rwanda, and elsewhere in Africa called for an organized effort to figure out how the United States could best “manage the chaos” that the coming global “anarchy” was certain to bring.

    Similarly, the World Bank argued in a 1995 report that modernizing the Middle East might well necessitate a “shake-down period” before the region could even begin adapting to the new global economic order. Some neocon intellectuals believed that the best way to manage such a moment was to bring it on, to provoke a level of chaos that would be but the prologue to a new, American-style world order. (In keeping with that spirit, “Shock and Awe” made its debut in Iraq in March 2003, a level of force whose very intention was to create chaos, however short-lived it may have been expected to be.)
    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/30881/

    • Curious George

      “Iraq – a sovereign element in the Newtonian system.” Why read any further?

    • @Jim D
      “Take the CO2 increase out of the models, and you can’t explain the observed warming and remaining energy imbalance on top of it with known physics.”

      Can someone here tell me if Jim D has this right. All we need to know is the ‘known physics’ and we’re good to go. Contained within the ‘known physics’ is everything we need to know about the atmosphere and how it works, how it cools and how it heats and how it moves energy around? It tells us all we need to know about feedback mechanisms? Within it’s knowledge base is everything we need to know about carbon sinks, what heats the ocean? We have accounted for every source of heat in the ocean (counted all the sources of heat from the mantle), all the aerosols there are, all the physics of clouds.
      So, two questions: Is the discipline of physics sufficient, ever, by itself, to tell us all we need to know about the atmosphere and climate?
      Is our current state of known physics sufficient to answer the questions we might ask in order to understand and predict climate?

    • Good comment.

      For some reason most people ignore what was really driving our policy and actions in Iraq. Might even have had a chance at working if not for the ineptness of the guy they put in charge (Bremer) or the guy heading the next administration (Obama).

  23. Also, I would take issue with this statement “policies, that will be lucky to reduce warming by 0.2C”. Policies can make a difference of 2-4 W/m2 in forcing by 2100 (see the RCPs). Not even the most skeptical sensitivity estimates would say that the impact of that is as small as 0.2 C. There is something numerically wrong with that calculation.

    • Not even the most skeptical sensitivity estimates would say that the impact of that is as small as 0.2 C.

      That is because all CO2 sensitivity estimates are wrong. CO2 sensitivity is so small it cannot be measured and separated from natural variability.

      Manmade CO2 did not cause the Roman or Medieval Warm Periods.
      Natural Cycles have again made the Earth Warm, always limited by about the same amount, many times, in the past ten thousand years.

      This is just one more Natural Warm Cycle just like the others.
      The data is showing that this cycle is just like the previous cycles.

      Whatever caused warm cycles in the past has not stopped.
      Name one climate driver that stopped.

  24. “It is a surprise to governments, experts and outside observers.
    The event has a major impact.
    After the first instance of the event, it is rationalized by hindsight (which also is why a Black Swan event never happens the same way twice).”

    Donald Trump is a Black Swan?

  25. Judith said

    ‘Thanks to Hubert Lamb and others, an evolving understanding of climate variability over the past millennia had evolved.  Michael Mann arguably killed the climate pink flamingo with his hockey stick — arguing for trivial natural variability over the past millennia.’

    No, the pink flamingo was merely stunned. Some of us are trying to revive her. Phil jones and the met office now believe in greater natural variability than they did just a few years ago and the met office were persuaded to remove the paragraph on their web site which cited limited natural variability.

    Tonyb

  26. “This brings to mind the attempt to usurp all of the UN millennial development goals in favor of futile attempts to change the climate by reducing global carbon emissions.”

    Bingo!

    A long time ago in a galaxy far removed from reality (Real Climate), I argued the opportunity lost cost when investing in climate model output. Spending money on an ephemeral future scenario now and not having the resources to provide for the cost of adapting in the future.

    In this case, the UN millennium goals for developing countries regarding disease mitigation, energy development, economic development have been subserved to prevent coal fired power plants from being constructed because of the climate elites’ fright of CO2 and Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    So Obama along with his East & West Coast, & Venture Capitalists money have made the conscious decision to condemn 2 billion people living on <$2/day to continue to live in desperate poverty. (Recently, a little ploy was instituted to use < $1.85/day to get the number under 1 billion people. See, there is less poverty in the world today than yesteryear). Tricks of the trade I guess.

    Obama can not walk in these people's shoes, nor would he want to. Community organizing is about getting others to walk in the shoes of people who are being disadvantaged; i.e., manipulating others. See how that feels.

    • No, read here. The UN has 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) for 2030 of which only #7 Affordable and Clean Energy, and #13 Climate Action, relate to climate. The primary ones, #1 and #2, are related to poverty and hunger. This is just the usual anti-UN rhetoric.
      http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/mdgoverview/post-2015-development-agenda.html

      • Jim D

        Thank you for the link.

        Maybe you could help me out.

        1. How much of the 2000 projected monies to implement the Sustainable Development Goals was actually allocated over the last 15 years?

        2. How much monies were increased over the 2000 budget projections when the costs increased?

        3. How much progress has been made in altering the cooking energy needs of the developing world?

        4. How much progress has been made in emancipating women through education, limiting their daily routine of firewood, dung, and/or charcoal gathering to cook the daily meal?

        There are a few other questions I have you may be able to answer regarding the millennial project and its funding, especially the diverting of resources from priorities of millennium goals to the herculean task of stopping CO2 emissions.

      • I think their last report will answer your questions about how they have done so far, and I don’t think anyone went bankrupt in trying to achieve this.
        http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/hdr/2014-human-development-report/

      • Typical U.N. BS:

        “World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity this year to shift the world onto a path
        of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development” – Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.

        What is unprecedented about the opportunity this year? Will the opportunity next year be even more unprecedented?

        Number 1 on the list should have been the elimination of corrupt, despotic governments. But that won’t get U.N. approval. Too many despots get to vote.

      • Jim D

        Thank you for this next link.

        “South Asia has the largest multidimensionally poor population, with more than 800 million poor and over 270 million near-poor – that is, more than 71 percent of its population.”

        May I quote myself:

        (Recently, a little ploy was instituted to use < $1.85/day to get the number under 1 billion people. See, there is less poverty in the world today than yesteryear). Tricks of the trade I guess.

        Its all in the definition of what is poverty.

        From this link I did not see the answers to my questions: about money. Now, my memory says that money was diverted from millennium sustainable goals to fighting CO2 CAGW. That is, more money was spent on getting airline tickets to exotic places for a conference on what to do about CO2 CAGW than say educating women. I am reminded that there are a number of charities that spend $0.05 of every dollar raised via fundraising on the actual needs of the cause. Stick a picture of a starving developing country child on the cover of your brochure with a setting of dust and dry sticks, and, you've improved your income stream. No need to be cynical, just good business practice. Your needs first; then, what is left over reverts to "trickle down" theory. Saving the earth is much more important than saving the children or women or ….

      • As I have said somewhere else, it is the concern for increased poverty and hunger that drives climate action when you look at the UN’s priorities. Those are #1 and #2 on their list in the 2030 goals, and they will have failed if those rates do not continue to decrease.

      • Jim D

        Why is it that UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 priorities #1 & #2 gets less than 5 cents on the dollar? I’m still looking for the hard dollar allocations to be posted.

      • Good luck with your search on how the UN does its budget. I am not particularly interested in that area, more on what they achieve with their goals. Are their results not good enough for you?

      • Jim D

        A million kids < 5 yrs old die every year from preventable infectious diseases. No, their (UN Sustainable Development Goals) results are not good enough for me, particularly since the scope of the problem has been known and their solutions cost about the same as COP conferences (taking into account the first class airline tickets and private jet rides for some of the delegates and distinguished guests), in round numbers that is.

      • OK, maybe you can contribute to the Gates or Clinton Foundations, if you think more help is needed there. There are ways to help, and some of these organizations are doing what you ask, probably with UN involvement too.

      • Jim D

        Indeed, NGO’s, at least those that share > 95% of their proceeds like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation do the heavy lifting with regards to in-the-field work to alter ingrained poverty. It is the behind the scenes manipulation like the International Monetary Fund that won’t lend money to build coal fired power plants that trouble me most.

        Energy, mostly in the form of cheap electricity is needed by developing nations for social and economic development.

        The UN and its focus on preventing one more molecule of CO2 from entering the atmosphere that has doomed these developing nation’s people. It is such policy that is all wrong because the money then follows the policy.

  27. Can someone point me to the United Nations document that says we must not allow a 2 degree change to occur by X date, and the only way to achieve this is that effective immediately, all new electricity generation (thought out the World) must come from non fossil fuel sources.

  28. It is claimed that global warming is an unforseen consequence of fossil fuel use, but that the proposed remedies (solar, wind, punishing taxes, etc) will have no unforseen consequences. heh
    Example of a pink flamingo: the French defenses on the lead up to WWII simply could not imagine an attack via Belgium or a rapid assault.

  29. since the global temperature doesn’t exist, what does it even mean to speak about the LIA or the “warming” in the early 20th century.

    There is nothing extra ordinary about the LIA.. it’s been cold before. Therefore, there is nothing to explain.

    • davideisenstadt

      This is true…
      However, many support themselves and the ones they love through grants awarded to reify global temperature indexes…
      Some make their living adjusting the data bases those indexes are derived from, in order to eliminate all sorts of perceived problems…like time of observation, land use change around the stations, a paucity of actual observed data and the like.
      I dare say that some people earn their keep from this enterprise…some people who comment extensively as the public face of institutions that appear to be but in fact aren’t, associated with fine state supported universities in the west of the US.
      Anyone come to mind mosh?
      In a grander sense, since the earth has experienced glaciation, as well as ice free periods during the last billion of so years, nothing is really that exceptional.
      Unless you get covered by a mudslide, then its exceptional, to you.

      • Anyone come to mind mosh? Nope.

        “However, many support themselves and the ones they love through grants awarded to reify global temperature indexes…
        1. I dont know of anyone who has gotten a grant to reify the index.
        2. Most of our donations are undirected

        “Some make their living adjusting the data bases those indexes are derived from, in order to eliminate all sorts of perceived problems…like time of observation, land use change around the stations, a paucity of actual observed data and the like.”

        1. Not aware of anyone who makes a living doing what you describe.
        certainly not me.
        2. Land use change? one of the best critcisms that skeptics make
        if that we DONT adjust for land use change.
        3. Paucity of data? 100 stations is all you need.. you can actually
        do pretty good with one small area.. ask tonyb.

        I dare say that some people earn their keep from this enterprise…some people who comment extensively as the public face of institutions that appear to be but in fact aren’t, associated with fine state supported universities in the west of the US.

        Still havent learned you lesson about asking questions…

      • davideisenstadt

        Mosh:
        Simply put…youre an equivocating BS artist..
        If you only need 100 stations, why bother krigging?
        You really should decide just what line of thought you wish to defend.
        If you and your colleagues at BEST dont make a living adjusting data, why do you spend your time here defending the practice?
        If none of this is part of BEST’s portfolio, then why does BEST create its own time series, containing both adjusted and unadjusted data?
        Whats with the defense of your algorithm for adjusting data then?
        Still haven’t learned to stop equivocating, eh mosh?
        The lesson I’ve learned from you is there is no end to the sloppy dishonest and misleading use of english, when youre at your keyboard or touch screen.
        You disappoint me…
        Of course, when you tire of this line of work, you can always open “Oxford University Dry Cleaners”….

      • davideisenstadt

        As for “learning my lesson”….
        Your lack of self awareness is astounding.
        stop flattering yourself….theres not a whole bunch to learn from your comments …except maybe the snarky use of fallacies that have been noted and whose use has been derided for millennia now.

      • “Mosh:
        Simply put…youre an equivocating BS artist..
        If you only need 100 stations, why bother krigging?”

        1. Because with more stations your standard error of prediction decreases. With 100 stations ( or 2 or 3) you can still do a prediction
        the issue is you have poor local detail and your errors are higher.
        so the more stations, generally speaking, the lower the uncertainty due to spatial sampling, Why Krigging? simple. There are a few standard, tested, methods of interpolation. Krigging is BLUE given the assumptions hold. In our tests on snythetic data it ouperformed both the GISS homegrown method and the CRU homegrown method. Given a choice of methods.. it makes sense to pick the one that performs best in theory
        and best when excericised on synthetic data.
        #################################

        “You really should decide just what line of thought you wish to defend.
        If you and your colleagues at BEST dont make a living adjusting data, why do you spend your time here defending the practice?”

        1. I dont make a living off it
        2. no one I know makes a living off it.
        3. somebody has to correct the under educated.
        4. i defended the practice from 2007 to 2012 before I ever joined BEST
        5. I see no reason to stop something I enjoy,
        6. any more stupid questions

        “If none of this is part of BEST’s portfolio, then why does BEST create its own time series, containing both adjusted and unadjusted data?”

        1. I never claimed it wasnt part of our portfolio.
        2. the claim you made was that people make a living off it. they dont.
        3..We create our own time series, because it’s interesting and researchers want to use the data.
        4. we include raw data because some people want that.
        5. We also provide a series that shows you our best estimate
        of what the data would have looked like if error and bias are removed. you are free to ignore it.
        ########################
        Whats with the defense of your algorithm for adjusting data then?

        1. Simple. if you construct a field using raw data and hold out
        50% of the data, and then use the feild to predict the held out data
        you get one error. next, if you take that raw data and remove bias and error and predict the held out data.. you get smaller errors. Your error
        of prediction decreases.

        you cannot argue by asking questions.

    • Mosh

      The LIA was typified by a more variable climate tHan existed previously during the MWP or subsequently during the modern warm period.

      http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/shared/articles/littleiceage.pdf

      This growing variability Can be observed from the 13th century but became especially pronounced in the late 1500’s following probably the warmest period of the last 500 years around 1540.

      This growing variability was why I chose the characteristics as the title for my new article which I know you will be very eager to read.

      It is called ‘tranquility, transition and turbulence’ and covers climatic events from the 12th century.

      Surely you must be curious as to why the previously generally settled climate became more volatile?

      Tonyb

      • The LIA was typified by a more variable climate tHan existed previously during the MWP or subsequently during the modern warm period.

        1. I havent seen ANY rigorously documented evidence of this
        2. I havent seen any rigorous tests of these claims.

        This is a puff piece about europe

        http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/shared/articles/littleiceage.pdf

        “This growing variability Can be observed from the 13th century but became especially pronounced in the late 1500’s following probably the warmest period of the last 500 years around 1540.”

        Variability is an objective measure. I dont see any rigorous treatment of this.

        Surely you must be curious as to why the previously generally settled climate became more volatile?

        1. I havent seen any evidence ( real hard numbers– blinded studies,
        data and code etc ) that the climate (global) was in any way
        “settled” and became more unsettled.
        2. I don’t expect any good numbers or analysis from anyone who works in the field.

      • Mosh

        Love it that you dismiss MIchael Mann’s work about the LIA as being a puff piece. Who Am I to disagree? Mind you I cited some 50 renowned authors in my article about it including Ladurie, Groves, Lamb. Fagan Kington, Jones. We also have multiple records of crops, famines, destruction of buildings, observations, archaeological remains.

        Is this the first time in the climate debate that a sceptic has quoted Mann and been told by a lukewarmer that his work-the basis of countless scares around the world-is a piece of puffery?

        His work, like the curates egg is good in parts.

        tonyb

      • Steven Mosher

        I don’t care who said what. Only a fool counts citations. 50 authors..Doesn’t matter one whit.
        What matters is the actual data. And the nethod.
        And once again I expect that you have nothing on those accounts.

      • Mosh

        You don’t think Tha those 50 authors looked at the data ? Or that the hundreds of academics that research history over the past thousand years just sit around playing crossword? . Are all those accounts from the past a hoax?

        You have been cited historicAl data innumerable times but just choose to handwave it away,as it doesnt suit your computer drven agenda, so perhaps this is the right time to ask what your definition of data is?

        Tonyb

      • Tony and Steven
        The CET’s winters show greatest trend increase since 1659. January as the coldest month gives a clear indication that the LIA may have ended in the early 1770s.

    • Explain those and you’ll stand a better chance of predicting natural variability, and have a better idea of how much of the last 60 years warming is nat var rather than from increased CO2.

    • Steven Mosher,

      Strangely enough I agree with you. It is impossible to accurately measure the “global temperature” due to the chimerical nature of the beast. Therefore when you say the ” . . . global temperature doesn’t exist . . . “, you are speaking no more or less than than the truth, if anyone claims that a figure can be reasonably assigned to such a temperature.

      Unless you misspoke, and were merely trying to be really, really, clever, by pointing that “global temperature” and “global temperature” have two different meanings to a Warmist, so you’ll never be able correct a statement made by a Warmist about “global temperature”.

      You wouldn’t indulge yourself in such pointless exercises, would you?

      The only reasonably certain thing is that the surface is no longer molten, by and large. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that, if the Earth was created in a molten state, it has since cooled.

      Whatever the influence of so called “greenhouse gases”, it seems that the Earth has cooled, surface and all.

      Maybe you can measure it warmer, if you fill in enough blanks, and rub out any inconvenient facts and figures. Go for it!

      Cheers.

      • Steven Mosher

        I see no observation that prove it was molten. Theory maybe. It’s all uncertain

      • @Mike Flynn ” It is impossible to accurately measure the “global temperature” due to the chimerical nature of the beast. ”

        Whoa! Wait. When did this happen? I read Christopher Essex’s book, Taken By Storm, last year, which was published in 2008.

        That is the argument of his book…the impossibility of measuring an average temperature to which someone said to me (sniff) ‘It’s not an avg temperature dolt. It’s a temperature index.’

        It seemed like a pretty compelling argument, but today is the first day I’ve seen anyone acknowledge any difficulty in measuring an average global temperature!

        If one accepts this argument then what does it mean to attempt to hold global average temperature to 2C?

      • Steven Mosher,

        You wrote “I see no observation that prove it was molten. Theory maybe. It’s all uncertain.”

        You have precisely zero alternative theories that accord with the present knowledge of the Earth. Possibly your brain has become addled with the immense difficulty of creating a non existent global surface temperature data base composed in large part of wishful thinking.

        It doesn’t really matter. The era of the Great Climate Scare is coming to an end, by the look of things. The majority of the world doesn’t really give a rat’s **se about what the ravings of a handful of second rate wannabes, or the US (and some other) politicians who are gullible enough to believe them.

        Here’s your chance – tell me your theory about the creation of the Earth. Did God create it in seven days? How do you know? Maybe your friends from BEST can help you out. Or are they embarrassed to be associated with your strange ideas?

        Maybe you should spend more time with your important scientific work.

        Cheers.

      • Mike

        ‘You have precisely zero alternative theories that accord with the present knowledge of the Earth.”

        Skeptics dont need alternative theories. we have doubt.

        but… I like snowball earth. its been warming ever since

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

      • Another bad weather week from only 15,000 years ago.

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

        It was probably sunny; nothing about CO2.

      • Steven Mosher,

        As I said, you have no alternative theory. You don’t even bother to read the theory that you say you like.

        Your reference reads in part – “The initiation of a snowball Earth event would involve some initial cooling mechanism, which would result in an increase in the Earth’s coverage of snow and ice.”

        I leave it to you to reread your reference. If you can find anything in it which contradicts my assumption that the Earth’s surface was originally molten, you might care to point it out.

        But of course you can’t. The usual Warmist tactics are failing you. Time to try something new, perhaps? You might consider actually reading the material you provide in support of your bizarre attempts to avoid facing reality.

        If it doesn’t support you, others might think you are flailing about, looking for the clue which you don’t appear to have. You say as a skeptic, you have doubt.

        Except, apparently about such things as the warming powers of CO2, and your ability to measure the global surface temperature, even though thermometers are not distributed globally, nor are they situated on the surface.

        I say again, if the Earth was created in a molten state, (and you have no alternative cogent theory not involving an omnipotent Creator), then the long term average of the Earth’s surface temperature is obviously one of cooling. That is, molten to solid equals cooling. Not warming. Doubt all you like. It doesn’t make any difference to the facts, whatever they may be.

        Cheers.

      • John Carpenter

        “That is, molten to solid equals cooling. Not warming. Doubt all you like. It doesn’t make any difference to the facts, whatever they may be.” – Mike

        This argument bears no relevance to what is causing recent measured warming. Mosher is playing you like a violin. Think role reversal.

      • Mike:

        I will concede that the Earth has cooled from a molten state to a cooler state over the last 4 or 5 billion years or so.

        I agree with you.

        But wasn’t there a snowball Earth about 1.8 billion years ago or so?

        For the earth to be covered by snow and ice, wouldn’t the crust have had to cool to sold from molten?

        Therefore, hasn’t the Earth warmed from snowball earth to the present?

        Just curious about what your thought is on this issue.

      • Mike:

        Sorry – not “sold” but solid.

      • Richard Arrett,

        People argue about cherry picking. “But if you include 1998 . . . “, “But it has cooled – somewhere , maybe – between 1910 and 1940 . . . “, and so on.

        If the Earth was created in a molten state (and neither I, nor anybody else, has personal knowledge), then it is indisputable that the longest term average we have is one of cooling.

        I have no doubt that particular areas of the Earth are at times warmer or cooler than at other times, for clear physical reasons. It is even conceivable that a chaotic bifurcation resulted in complete coverage of the surface of the Earth and oceans with ice, for a time. Not likely, in my view, but conceivable nonetheless.

        However, wrapping a molten body such as the Earth, even with a congealed crust of 20 km thickness, will not allow ice to stay solid for long. You will note that glaciers are warmer at the base than the surface, in general, due to geothermal heat being unable to quickly radiate away at the surface. The abyssal ocean depths are generally well above freezing, even when the surface ice temperature may be -50 C. It is too hot for ice at the bottom of even a moderately deep body of water.

        An ice covered Earth cannot endure, while the crust is thin in relation to the heat beneath, from mantle to core.

        So once again, yes, a period of time after a glaciation will be perceived as warming, and it is for that purpose. Or vice versa, which seems to get less emphasis. However, in principle this is no different for noting cooling when a cloud passes over, or warming when it has passed.

        But on average, over the life of the Earth, the surface has definitely and demonstrably cooled, in spite of changes in composition in the atmosphere, aquasphere or lithosphere. Regardless of continental drift, magnetic pole flipping, volcanism, or anything else at all. The Earth has cooled and is still cooling. Geophysicists argue about the precise quantum, and rightly so, but I tend to give more credence to geophysicists about such things, rather than a ragtag bunch of mainly second raters, appointing themselves as climatologists.

        So, colour me a Coolist, or an unbeliever if you prefer. I believe my unbelief is justified by fact, rather than blind faith.

        Cheers.

      • John Carpenter –

        This argument [the Earth is cooling from a molten state] bears no relevance to what is causing recent measured warming.

        Indeed. The temperature of the atmosphere (and the surface of the Earth) is essentially unaffected by the geothermal heat flux, whether going up, down or sideways. Mike (the Earth is cooling) Flynn probably knows this, despite his contrary assertions.

        Mike (the Earth is cooling) Flynn –

        The abyssal ocean depths are generally well above freezing…

        You probably didn’t mean to say that.

    • Steven Mosher: There is nothing extra ordinary about the LIA.. it’s been cold before. Therefore, there is nothing to explain.

      How does it happen that there are alternations between warmer and cooler epochs, and why do the warmings have an apparent period of about 1000 years? You object to having questions put to you, but it would be good to have an explanation, as good perhaps as knowing how clouds form and rains fall.

      Newton offered a partial explanation of why the moon does not fall but apples do fall, even though there was nothing extraordinary about either observation. There is nothing to explain about birds flying, because there is nothing extraordinary in the fact that they do fly; yet a good explanation proved useful.

  30. The debate has long since moved from a scientific one, to a political one. Since the IPCC was set up, indeed prior to that, as the IPCC is a political construct.
    Its role is purely to produce evidence to support adverse effects of “Human caused climate change”.
    “Today the IPCC’s role is as defined in Principles Governing IPCC Work, “…to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”
    https://www.ipcc.ch/organization/organization_history.shtml
    I’ve no doubt, that some of the early scientists involved in this arena, had real concerns that we were having a potentially adverse effect on the atmosphere, the real corruption became apparent when the SAR failed to fabricate the necessary “evidence”, thus Santer’s alteration of the report from “no evidence” to “evidence”, the quiet dropping of the Hot Spot in favour of the fraudulent Hockey Stick. The changes from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change” to “Future Climate Disruption”
    The hand of Goldman Sachs has been shown to be involved, with the idea of Carbon Trading.
    One fraud to another.
    It will only die, with a sustained period of cold.

  31. Let me ask you, do you think Presidents Obama, Hollande, etc, can define their strategy to improve the climate of the future in one short paragraph?

    Somebody who backs Obama could help me with this

    • You only need one word: decarbonization.

      • Jim D,

        “decarbonization”

        would you espouse silicon-base, Earth creatures, like the aliens that are the tour-de-farce of many science fictions that have been printed over the many past decades. There would be lots of jagged “cutting” edge fractals out there – perpetual chips on the shoulders – do you like that perpetual stance? I prefer the current carbon-based world of human handshakes, if not always genuine.

        You may espouse “decarbonization”, but I do not favor decarbonizing mother earth!! Where would you stop your “decarbonizing” of Earth? (I am sure there must be some problem for somebody having a tree anywhere!) Mankind IS carbon-based! It is Earth’s water AND oxygen (created by vegetation that grows with carbon dioxide) that makes us what we are – MANKIND.

        Better you and others like yourself should start thinking about how to sustain a technologically advanced population of a few million surrounding the equator 75K years from now when the next super ice age is in full swing than about what the doom-and-gloom being “sold” as the awful dreaded events, like a few feet of ocean rise, that “might” occur in the next 50 years, if the earth stays warm a bit longer! We are nearly at the end of the current, cosmic-dictated, 12,000 year warm spell! What will “modern mankind” be when this next event rolls around? Part of the “NU-O-MAN”.

        BTW: what will happen to Mars when Earth goes through its next ICE AGE? Warm enough to send stored spaceships back to Earth as “ancient astronaut theorist” have postulated for the last Earth’s Ice Age? Up and back. Up and back. Gotta sustain those astronauts for 75K years. Where would they wander off to? Of course, all of that is more than 5 to 25-year planning. No problem. Future generations will learn to handle all that stuff. In your wildest dreams. Many wars and many unknown unknowns will fill the void.

  32. I don’t know what you would call the enormous amounts of money that the US spends on the military, but a hedge against unlikely but possible scenarios.

    • US military spending should and is openly debated

    • And has nothing to do with spending to reduce CO2 emissions

    • Some climate skeptics see the bloated US military budget as a cautionary example of what happens when you over-emphasize the precautionary principle.

      • The military budget may be bloated but lets put it into perspective. Out of the FY16 Total budget of $4 Trillion, $600 Billion goes to military spending while $2.9 Trillion is for Social Programs. Since FY 2000 the military budget has increased by $300 Billion while the budget for Social Programs has increased by $1.8 Trillion. As a % of the total budget, military spending has gone down since the late 50s early 60s from 50% to 15%.
        The growth in spending on Social Programs since that period is 5000% more than the growth in spending on the military.
        Of course for our Liberal friends, they could always look at military spending as just another social program for a different constituency. I remember making $139 per month in the Army, less than minimum wage at the time. I wonder how many of the enlisted personnel would be on the street without military pay. Kind of a Bernie Sanders initiative with rank.

      • cerescokid:

        Interesting factoids but irrelevant to the fact that the military budget is bloated. And it is bloated, IMO, because you can always scare up another billion in spending by seeing new risks around every corner. Risk is an infinitely renewable resource.

        Also, your $600 billion in direct “military” spending leaves out veterans’ benefits and the debt service on a few trillion spent on wars starting with Viet Nam.

        Just compare America’s defense-related expenditures (don’t forget the NSA and friends) to the rest of world either as an absolute amount or as a percentage of GDP. It’s the very definition of bloat-by-fear mongering.

      • The Pros’ dumped the draft and got US into the business…

        http://www.rand.org/pubs/periodicals/rand-review/issues/spring2005/nation.html

        of working to fulfill the wants of the corporation as a hole.

    • Rob, there are some risks from climate change that are low probability, but high impact. The US government is spending hundreds of billions more each year on the military than any other country to address these low probability high impact risks

    • Right, Opluso, yes the military budget is most likely bloated, but I do think the US should attempt be the global hegemonic military power to keep us safe and the globe safe from these risks. But we could probably do that with significantly less and the Congress doesn’t help much with cutting military spending..

      • I see that there is no limit on the number of topics Joseph is comfortable commenting on, even though he knows nothing about them or shows any capacity to understand them.

        “yes the military budget is most likely bloated …”

        How would you know Joseph? Either you know it is or it isn’t. From studying it. Warning Joseph! It’s a pretty complicated issue. For example, with no other single nation currently capable of defeating us in head to head military confrontation, why are we spending hundreds of billions on the next generation of war fighting systems (F-35, improved Virginia class SSN, Ohio class SSBN replacement, etc)? There are some good arguments for not doing so. But cut those programs and guess what happens? Electric Boat and Newport News shut down plants and lay off workers. Highly skilled workers. All one has to do is look at what happened to the commercial nuclear power industry in this country. We can’t manufacture any of the key components needed to build new plants. We are even going to China to learn how they are building the same model plants we are.

        “could probably do that with significantly less ” More opinion with zero knowledge or understanding backing it up. Let me try to simplify it down to a level you might understand. You give someone less resources to a job or perform a mission and you may get the same level of performance due to improving processes and becoming more efficient. But that takes you only so far. You prabably have forgotten all about sequestration, but trust me, the DoD hasn’t. The US military has gotten pretty good at running lean. But if cuts keep coming at some point it is muscle not fat that disappears. US strategy currently calls for 11 carriers to support reasonable deployment scheduling. That’s down from 13 just a few years ago. Know how many we have operational right now? 9. I trust you can handle simple arithmatic Joseph. What happens when the President wants to send a carrier to the latest hot spot and they are already deployed or back in port undergoing refit from their last deployment or working up (training) to rotate in for the ships currently on station?

        You really shouldn’t comment about stuff you are clueless on.

      • You really shouldn’t comment about stuff you are clueless on.

        I it is probably bloated. Now you come along and seem certain it is not bloated. So maybe you can explain why we must be spending the amount we are spending for national defense. I didn’t say we shouldn’t be spending far more than our closest competitor to maintain our industrial base. But what is exactly the right amount to do that? That’s my question.

      • What happens when the President wants to send a carrier to the latest hot spot and they are already deployed or back in port

        What “hot spot” did you have in mind? Can outline a current plausible scenario for this “hot spot?”

      • The Clown in Chief is too busy figuring out how to defeat the Republican Congress so he can close down Gitmo, tim. He would just send SoS Lurch Kerry to surrender. It’s much cheaper and less stressful than another humiliating military confrontation with pretend red lines and all that crap.

    • Joseph,

      You wrote –

      “I don’t know what you would call the enormous amounts of money that the US spends on the military, but a hedge against unlikely but possible scenarios.”

      Might I suggest “an almost complete waste”?

      How about the amount spent on the War against Terror? The War against Drugs? War against Poverty (that should have been easy)?

      Cheers.

      • From the article:

        In the same research report, Kendall said that both buyers and sellers in the defense industry are becoming overly cautious. “In my view, our new-product pipeline is not as robust as it should be at a time when our technological superiority is being seriously challenged by potential adversaries,” he wrote. “Not all cost growth is bad; we need to respond to changing and emerging threats.”

        He reiterated that opinion in a wide-ranging interview with CNBC at the Pentagon. “We need to be taking more risk if we’re going to be the No. 1 military power on the planet,” Kendall said. “If we’re going to have cutting-edge technology in the hands of our warfighters that is generations ahead of everybody else’s out there, we have to take risks.”

        http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/19/defense-spending-pentagon-gravy-train-has-less-gravy.html

  33. Can anyone prove that natural variability is fully internal?

  34. >We have an example of this phenomenon. Vladimir Putin has undertaken a series of political-military actions in various parts of the world, none of which were anticipated by Western observers and intelligence officials and each of which have had significant consequences. (*)There was the occupation and then annexation of Crimea, the fomenting of a civil war in Ukraine

    I think that this, together with the whole ‘black swan’ concept, demonstrates the real problem with ‘Western’ academic thinking.

    Anyone that read the actual wording of the proposed agreement between The EU and Ukraine could see how this would ‘progress’. Russia has had much the same policy regarding matters Crimean for hundreds of years. Is the predictable reaction of Russia to a threat to its long standing interest in the region now somehow a ‘black swan event’?

    Anyone looking dispassionately at the derivative market has long ago recognised the potential time bomb ticking away there. It hasn’t been ‘defused’ (financial market collapse and subsequent bale out) and so is it really going to be a ‘black swan event’ when next it goes off in our faces?

    […] none of which were anticipated by Western observers and intelligence officials and each of which have had significant consequences.[…]

    If our ‘Western observers and intelligence officials’ couldn’t see these two examples coming then I suggest that we employ new people.

    I vote to employ my Dog, even he knows when it’s about to rain and he never even passed first grade.

    (*) What is it with Americans and their requirement for historical figures that wear either black or white hats? Russia has ‘owned’ the Crimea for longer than The US has been an independent nation. They have not ‘occupied’ or ‘annexed’ anything.

    • It’s pretty sad when the likes of Putin is doing more to protect Christians than Obumbles.

      • I’m not sure that I want to get involved in a religious debate. Complete minefield as far as I’m concerned,

      • I’m not religious. So, no worries. It’s just that with Putin in the ring, the ISIS boys are shaving their beards, dressing up like the little girls they are, and running with their tail between their legs back to wherever they came from. It highlight the utter failure that is Obumbles.

      • Moderation …

      • Moderation …
        In all things my friend.

    • 3×2,

      Unfortunately, all the “intelligence officials”, and similar Grand Panjandrums, have all turned away from you, put their fingers in their ears, and are chanting “Nah na nah na” to block you out.

      I’ll vote for the dog. At least he won’t demand ever increasing funds to stop the climate from changing. Or maybe he would – would that then comprise an unforeseen event, or merely a flamingo?

      Cheers.

      • I’ll vote for the dog. At least he won’t demand ever increasing funds

        You’ve obviously never met my Dog. He owns a gun and makes me type until he goes to sleep.

      • 3×2,

        I intended no offence to Dog! A thousand pardons! I grovel in mortification!

        May the Celestial Teapot pour Multitudinous Ineffable Blessings upon the Head of Dog. May the Power of Dog endure for ever!

        Cheers.

      • Or maybe he would – would that then comprise an unforeseen event, or merely a flamingo?

        I’m also not that sure that he hasn’t been compromising flamingo’s or is that comprising a flamingo, hard to think when he has a gun pointed at your head.

    • “…is it really going to be a ‘black swan event’ when next it goes off in our faces?” Yep. ignoring a known known – Pink Flamingo. Not knowing a known known – black swan. Responsibility is not an option.

      • But at the time, many considered the ‘financial problems’ to be a ‘black swan’ event however a minority, at the time, considered them to be an inevitability. (and with good reason, not just betting on every horse in the race)

        I think that the point I was trying to make is that many, so called, ‘black swan’ events are no such thing. The ones outlined in JC’s link are perfect examples. One could accept that scientific breakthroughs are often ‘black swan’ events but the author (and Taleb) should have stayed well away from financial meltdowns and Russian politics. IMHO.

        (I saw those two coming from miles away – no black swans if you ask me)

    • There is a statue of St Vladimir at the University of Queensland, presented by the local Russian community in 1988 to commemorate the Australian Bicentenary, 25 years of Russian studies at UQ – and the millennium of Christian culture in Russia.

      Vladimir the Great became prince of Novgorod in 970, and after his father’s death in 972 he seized Kiev from his brother. He consolidated the Kievan realm from Ukraine to the Baltic Sea by 980 and fortified its frontiers against Baltic and Eastern nomads. Originally a pagan, Vladimir made a pact (987) with Basil II, providing him with military aid in exchange for marriage to Basil’s sister and promising to convert to Christianity. He adopted the Byzantine rite for his realm, forcibly converting Kiev and Novgorod and ordering pagan idols cast into the Dnieper River.

      With this history, Kiev is, I believe, considered to be of great significance to Russians, the birthplace of the nation. Russia was never going to quietly acquiesce in the Westernisation of Kiev or Crimea and their absorption into the Western bloc. I don’t condone Putin’s actions, but they were hardly unpredictable. Unless you somehow assumed that Russians, and Putin in particular, would accept a US-Western European view of the world.

    • 3×2

      “…Putin…Crimea…”
      “If our ‘Western observers and intelligence officials’ couldn’t see these two examples coming then I suggest that we employ new people.”

      But we had Hillary at the helm for that 3am call! How could that happen? She’s looking for work again…

  35. Judith: section 4, fourth para: “institutional mechanisms that assist commanders in recognizing problems or gaps in performance and equally” The last word is an error, I can’t work out what it should be. Quality, perhaps.

    Great post, echoes some of what I’ve argued for years.

  36. Geoff Sherrington

    The black swan is quite common in West Australia, where it appears on the State Emblem. As Wiki notes, “They are monogamous breeders that share incubation duties and cygnet rearing between the sex … ” So nothing unusual there.
    For “flamingo” we have an expression like “Give the woman a flamin’ go. Often heard, again common.
    ………………..
    To more serious matters. Last evening there was a meeting of 6 people with the ruling Environment Committee. Present were –
    7.30 pm – Regular Committee Meeting/General Business
    7.50 pm – Dr. John Church
    8.00 pm – Dr. B Carter
    8.10 pm – Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg,
    8.20 pm – Dr. J Marohasy
    8.30 pm – Professor Mark Howden
    8.40 ­pm – Mr. B Hogan
    8.50 pm – Discussion with Members & Senators
    Speakers in order of this list start with alarmist (Dr John Church) then alternate with sceptics Carter, Marohasy and Hogan.
    There were elements of both black swan and pink flamingo events at times.
    There are no formal notes yet available, but I have read a summary by Dr Jennifer Marohasy (global warming sceptic).
    I shall try to get proceedings into order in case people want a recent exposition on the State of the Environment, Australia.

    • The first black swan I came across was in the terrible UK winter of 1962-63, when in London piles of cleared snow around 5-6 feet high remained at the sides of the roads from Christmas for many weeks, I think there was still significant old snow in March. The lake in my local park remained frozen until May; and that is where the black swan was domiciled throughout this period, far from the warmth of its natural habitat.

      Sadly, it didn’t occur to me to coin a phrase or write a book based on this occurrence.

      I know Carter and Marohasy, I think that Bob presents more convincing arguments (or perhaps is better at presentation), but Jennifer covers issues of interest to many parliamentarians. Counterweights to the too-green environment minister, I hope that the committee includes those with broader concerns.

  37. Judith, thanks. We could also call the financial crisis of 2008 a pink flamingo….

  38. ‘The important message,” according to KTLA News, “is to be prepared.”

    For example, what El Niño has in store for Southern California may be something, it may be nothing, but we’ve been down this road before. The comparative year is looking back to the winter of 1982/83 –e.g., for the coming winter, the heavies rain months — Jan thru April — may see triple the precipitation: KTLA says, “we could see 35 inches of rain.”

    The development of a “Pineapple Connection” would also signify a weather pattern related to El Niño. The most obvious sign of extreme El Niño-driven weather will come in the physical damage it leaves behind… “

    Captain Future says, Maybe I’m Full Of It… But — We’ll See!

  39. Yes, there is a vigorous paleoclimate research community, but I am still waiting for a robust explanation for the substantial global warming from 1905-1945, why the globe has been warming overall for the past 400 years, and what caused the little ice age. …

    It appears the warming that took place before WW2 was caused by natural variation in the Pacific – ENSO and a ramp up of the PDO. When the PDO index changes direction, the GMST is usually changing in the same direction soon after.

    JC comment: This is a very important point; we need a broader range of scenarios of future climate change, including possible cooling from the sun, volcanoes, and shift to the cold phase of the AMO. …

    How can people gloss over the near complete disconnection between the collapse of the AMO (roughly 1960 to late 1970s) and its apparent zero effect on the GMST? Look at the purple trent. It’s sky high for most of the mid-century cooling/hiatus. When the AMO has its spectacular collapse, the GMST shows no response.

    The PDO begins a negative trend starting in 1985, and for the first time the GMST appears to ignore it… until after 2000, when the PDO enters negative index numbers and causes a brief pause in the upward trend of the GMST. At the moment the PDO went up in 2014, the GMST shot up with it. The connection between the GMST and the PDO is very strong. The exception being the 1985 collapse, which is when ACO2 showed itself to be more than up to knocking off the former champ, so the GMST continued trending upward despite the drag of a declining PDO.

  40. Big El Nino in 1862 flooded Sacramento valley from mountain foothills in Sierra to SF Bay. Basically filled entire city of Sacramento with 10 ft of water depth. We shall see what unprecedented means this El Nino.

    Bigger floods in the deeper past.

    Quote, info West without Water.
    Scott

  41. That is one reason they built it.

    we shall see.
    Scott

    • Hopefully… but to compare, when the moment comes, should it, you have to add back to the modern flood the net water held back by the infrastructure built since 1862.

  42. And then, there were the rains of 1916 that broke the five year drought. It’s not just a legend: you can can read about in wiki –e.g., Google, “Charles M. Hatfield the rainmaker.”

    The San Diego City Council badly wanted water: the people needed Hatfield. Their recently finished reservoir had lain bone dry for three years; and, they agreed to pay Hatfield $10,000 to fill it up — no rain, no pay, no risk: what could go wrong? Hatfield took the job. If successful the fee would’ve been like receiving $230,000 today. With his little brother’s help he built a 20-foot tower where he mixed and burned a secret mixture of chemicals, shot off bombs into the skies and lo, Hatfield caused it to rain…

    It was the worst rain ever — worst flood in the county’s history. Rivers rose, water topped and broke through dams, communities became islands, roads, bridges, rails and farm animals were washed away, houses floated down the river and out to sea, settlements disappeared and many people died in the Hatfield Flood. Murder charges against Hatfield were considered. Lynching was threatened. Rather than receiving a fee — that he walked 60 miles over broken roads to collect — the ex-sewing machine salesman turned moisture enhancer, Hatfield was forced to flee for his life.

  43. JCH
    nice map. MBK does lots of water engr in CA. Is that from the CA water plan update in 2013?
    Scott

    • Yes, I believe so. When the Brisbane flood happened people were trying to minimize its significance by pointing to floods in the 19th century, which were huge. Once the mitigation was added back, the Wivenhoe-Brisbane flood rivaled the 19th-century floods. It was huge flood event.

  44. JC comment: This is a very important point; we need a broader range of scenarios of future climate change, including possible cooling from the sun, volcanoes, and shift to the cold phase of the AMO. …

    The cold phase of the AMO, the green trend, is having no apparent effect on the the GMST, the red trend.

    Why do people expect that it will with the next cold phase… should there ever be a next cold phase of the AMO?

  45. John Costigane

    Judith,

    The Pink Flamingos concept is all too apparent in the climate consensus. This is characterized by a closed-mindedness against all negative evidence eg the pause, natural variability and previous decade sized warming. phases, and against opponents in the debate.

    This requires a two-fold campaign. Firstly, provide a scientific challenge which shows a better correlation with observations. Secondly, challenge the political basis, by undermining that consensus, making it an election issue.

    The RICO affair is a particular joint scientific-political feature where both scientists and politicians on the alarmist side have left themselves open to counter charges.

    .

  46. Regarding “build in robustness and breadth to a military that will have to deal with unanticipated or just blindly ignored threats.” I see no way to budget for this, other than what is already being done. For example, how many additional aircraft carriers does it require, if any? Or fewer? The concept is empty, meaningless.

  47. Fright night flyby: Skyscraper-sized asteroid will pass Earth on Halloween

    A skyscraper-sized asteroid will fly by Earth on Halloween, according to scientists, who say that the object was only discovered 10 days ago. [my bold]

    […]

    EarthSky reports that the asteroid will pass Earth at a safe distance of 310,000 miles, travelling at a speed of 78,000 mph. 2015 TB145 is about 1,542 feet in diameter, according to EarthSky, which notes that estimates range between 689 to 2,133 feet. Amateur astronomers, it added, may be able to see the asteroid using telescopes of 8-inch diameter and larger on the night of Oct. 30, and before dawn on Oct. 31.

    […]

    The fact that astronomers only discovered 2015 TB145 three weeks before its Earth flyby, however, highlights the risks that asteroids pose. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program works with astronomers and scientists around the world to look for asteroids that could harm Earth. NASA also has an ambitious plan to capture and redirect an asteroid.

    Given their cataclysmic potential it’s hardly surprising that asteroids remain a source of fascination for many people. In August NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory nixed rumors swirling around the Internet of an asteroid impact between sometime between Sept. 15 and 28, 2015.

    So if an asteroid, even a small one, does impact the Earth, with 10 days or so warning, would that be a black dragon? Or a pink flamingo?

  48. Freeman Dyson is clear about who’s wrong-headed when it comes to the right side:

    “It’s very sad that in this country, political opinion parted,” he said, in an interview with The Register. “I’m 100 percent Democrat myself, and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on this [climate change] issue, and the Republicans took the right side.”

  49. Explaining the term pink flamingo to my son, I called it something right in front of you, you cannot see. He says, like global warming? Natural variability I replied. I think a question worth considering is, What is it that lukewarmers cannot see?

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