Uncertainty about the Climate Uncertainty Monster

by Judith Curry

The many dimensions of the climate uncertainty monster.

Bret Stephens’ climate change op-ed of several weeks ago Climate of Complete Certainty spawned a number of articles related to uncertainty and climate change.

Andy Revkin’s article in response was titled There are lots of climate uncertainties.  Let’s acknowledge and plan for them with honesty.    Revkin even mentions the Uncertainty Monster and Jeroen van der Sluijs.

While the Uncertainty Monster (or  Mr. T) should be pleased at the mentions, there are numerous misconceptions among those that are trying to give climate uncertainty its due attention.

Let’s take a look at some of these issues.

Certainty, probabilities, uncertainty,  and ignorance

If you need a refresher on the Uncertainty Monster, see my original post

See also these additional posts.

Bret Stephens made the following statement

Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the earth since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities.

Loosely speaking, yes climate change is a matter of probabilities.  However, mathematically speaking,  ‘probability’ already implies a great deal of certainty — that we have a well-defined pdf that includes all possible results.  This is certainly not true of very much in climate science, particularly related to attribution and 21st century projections.

From my paper Reasoning About Climate Uncertainty:

Statistical uncertainty is distinguished from scenario uncertainty, whereby scenario uncertainty implies that it is not possible to formulate the probability of occurrence particular outcomes. A scenario is a plausible but unverifiable description of how the system and/or its driving forces may develop in the future. 

Stainforth et al. (2007) argue that model inadequacy and an insufficient number of simulations in the ensemble preclude producing meaningful probability distributions from the frequency of model outcomes of future climate. Stainforth et al. state: “[G]iven nonlinear models with large systematic errors under current conditions, no connection has been even remotely established for relating the distribution of model states under altered conditions to decision-relevant probability distributions. .  . Furthermore, they are liable to be misleading because the conclusions, usually in the form of PDFs, imply much greater confidence than the underlying assumptions justify.”

Insufficiently large initial condition ensembles combined with model parameter and structural uncertainty preclude forming a PDF from climate model simulations that has much meaning in terms of establishing a mean value or confidence intervals. In the presence of scenario uncertainty, which characterizes climate model simulations, attempts to produce a PDF for climate sensitivity are arguably misguided and misleading. 

Back to Brett Stephens’ statement: much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities.

While I appreciate the distinction that Stephens is trying to make regarding ‘its not certain’, our understanding of future climate change is NOT a matter of probabilities.   Climate model projections and IPCC conclusions are possible future scenarios, and the uncertainties are too great to even come close to assessing probabilities.

I am very pleased to see that Andy Revkin has been engaging with the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty and attended a recent meeting.  Revkin discusses the unknowability of future regional climate change.  However, Revkin’s acknowledgement of uncertainty extends mainly to the impacts:

Of course, no one there questioned the basic science identifying a growing human impact on climate from the buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But as is well known in the scientific community, while the climate basics have long been clear, many of the most consequential aspects of climate change remain shrouded in uncertainty.

Despite three decades of intensifying analysis using ever more sophisticated computer simulations and observing systems and vast troves of data gleaned through the passage of time, two of the most basic questions remain enduringly unclear: the pace and extent of warming from a given rise in CO2 and the resulting rate of sea-level rise as ice sheets deteriorate. Through 2100 or so, either could be disastrous or manageable.

There is some implicit acknowledgement about uncertainty in the rate of warming (associated with uncertainties in climate sensitivity to CO2); but no acknowledgement of the uncertainties about the broad range of causal mechanisms (internal and external) for climate change.

So it is good to see these acknowledgements of uncertainty in journalistic thought leaders in the climate debate.  But the Uncertainty Monster is a tricky dude, it doesn’t help to oversimplify him.

Uncertainty monster simplification

Chad Orzel has an article in Forbes:  Probability is more certain than you think:

Again, the quantitative nature of scientific uncertainty undermines this– there are no shruggies in science, but rather a range of possible outcomes, with quantitative probability estimates for each. Even if you don’t believe the worst claims for climate change, you can do way better than “Well, maybe it won’t happen…” Choosing not to make the effort to engage quantitatively is both lazy and dishonest.

Well, maybe the lazy and dishonest people are those who oversimplify deep uncertainty and ignorance by trying to quantify it.

There are most definitely ‘shruggies’ in science: the knowledge frontier and the unknown unknowns.

Understanding uncertainty associated with the complex, nonlinear and chaotic climate system, let alone managing it, is a very challenging endeavor.  Hence it is tempting for scientists and policy makers to simplify uncertainty to make it appear that the appropriate considerations have been undertaken.  For a previous post on this topic:

The IPCC oversimplifies the characterization of uncertainty by substituting ‘expert judgment’ for a thorough understanding of uncertainty.  They look at ‘evidence for’ and ‘evidence against’ (but somehow neglect a lot of the ‘evidence against’), and completely neglect to acknowledge ignorance.

Formal efforts at Uncertainty Quantification (e.g. regarding climate models) are a useful step, but are only scratching the surface of the uncertainties and neglect major aspects of structural uncertainties of the models.

The bottom line is that the climate system is too complex with myriad uncertainties for simple reductionist approaches to understanding and managing uncertainty to be useful.

Too much uncertainty?  Too much certainty?

There is a perception that uncertainty equals inaction.  The appropriate way to view the decision making under uncertainty challenge is summarized in this tweet by Silvio Funtowicz:

It’s not about certainty in probabilities, but how salient is the uncertainty in relation to a portfolio of policy options.

A recent paper found that upper midwest farmers say that there is too much uncertainty in climate change to justify changing their agricultural practices.

On the other hand, when there is too much certainty in a prediction, the results can be substantial losses:  English vineyards (planted with the expectations of warmer temperatures) were hit by frost this spring, wiping out half of the harvest [link]

Simple linear decision making can lead to decisions that do more harm than good.

Does more uncertainty increase the imperative for action?

Economists Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzmann in their book Climate Shock argue that more uncertainty increases the imperative for climate action [link to FT article]:

The challenge is “almost uniquely global, uniquely long-term, uniquely irreversible and uniquely uncertain”. The book’s big contribution is on the last point: uncertainty. Climate change is a problem of insurance. For this, it is not median outcomes that matter most, but the outliers — the “fat tails” of the probability distribution of temperature.

Framing the challenge of climate change as a problem of insurance against disaster is intellectually fruitful. It also provides the right answer to sceptics. The question is not what we know for sure. The question is rather how certain we are (or can be) that nothing bad will happen. Given the science, which is well established, it is impossible to argue that we know the risks are small. This being so, taking action is logical. It is the right way to respond to the nature and scale of possible bad outcomes.

The manufactured ‘fat tail’ comes from confusing statistical uncertainty (with a possible infinite fat tail) with scenario uncertainty, which is limited on the upper end by articulation of a plausible worst case scenario.  I have written several posts about the flaws in Wagner and Weitzmann’s argument:

Climate of unintended consequences

So for the sake of argument, lets say we buy Gernot and Weizmann’s argument, and we do something.

What if the ‘cure’ is worse than the ‘disease’?  Bret Stephens wrote a follow on op-ed entitled Climate of Unintended Consequences, where he points out the folly of biofuels/ethanol to help address the problem of climate change.  There is also the diesel fuel example.

There is a new documentary that will air on May 18 in the UK — The Uncertainty has Settled [link]. Excerpt from the advert:

After eight years of travelling through conflict and poverty zones, Marijn Poels – a left wing filmmaker/journalist – decides to take some time off. In the Austrian mountains no less. It confronts him unexpectedly with the roots of agriculture and its modern day perspective. Globalisation and climate politics are causing radical changes such as farmers becoming energy suppliers. But the green ideology raises questions. The scientific topic of climate change has now become incontrovertibly a matter of world politics. Poels faces a personal conflict. Are we doing the right thing?

By radically changing global energy policies in a top down way, are we risking continued poverty in the developing world? Risks to our food supply?

And finally, what are the opportunity costs for focusing on this problem at the expense of others?

Value clashes and opportunity costs 

One characteristic of decisions under deep uncertainty is that there are value clashes involved — cost-benefit analysis does not capture the full dimension of the concerns.

For the sake of argument, lets say that we actually believe the climate model predictions and the assessments of costs by economists.  Should we then act, i.e. spend the money to address this problem?

Well, spending money on the climate change problem has opportunity costs, i.e. the money then doesn’t get spent on other problems.

Alex Berzerow has an interesting article:  Are microbiologists climate-denying science haters?  Excerpt:

Recently, I gave a seminar on “fake news” to professors and grad students at a large public university. Early in my talk, I polled the audience: “How many of you believe climate change is the world’s #1 threat?”

Silence. Not a single person raised his or her hand. Was I speaking in front of a group of science deniers? The College Republicans? Some fringe libertarian club? No, it was a room full of microbiologists.

How could so many incredibly intelligent people overwhelmingly reject what THE SCIENCE says about climate change? Well, they don’t. They just don’t see it as big of a threat to the world as other things. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of them felt that antibiotic resistance and pandemic disease were the biggest global threats. One person thought geopolitical instability was the biggest concern.

I told them that I believed poverty was the world’s biggest threat.  If we fix poverty, we could stop easily preventable health problems, such as infectious disease and malnutrition.

What so many in the media (and apparently the climate science community) fail to understand is that people have different values and priorities. Foreign policy analysts are terrified of North Korea. Economists fear Brexit and a Eurozone collapse. Geologists, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, fear a huge earthquake. Experts across the spectrum perceive threats differently, usually magnifying those with which they are most familiar.

In his response to his inaugural NYTimes op-ed [link], Brett Stephens writes:

The human race is forced to confront multiple environmental threats with limited economic resources. We have to make hard choices about how we assess the threats and how we allocate the resources — knowing all the time that information is imperfect and economic and environmental conditions are subject to change over time. Climate change is one of those threats, but not the only one: think of malnutrition, “ordinary” pollution, land mismanagement and so on. We need a serious debate not only about how to allocate those resources, but also about whether we have the tools right now to make a switch to less carbon-intensive energy sources in a way that doesn’t impose its own set of grave and unanticipated economic and environmental problems.

In other words, to say we want to take out insurance for climate change is perfectly sensible. But whether we know we’re buying the right insurance, at the right price, is less clear, and it behooves us to look closely at the fine print before we sign on.

Decision making under deep uncertainty

So how should we deal with risks associated with human caused climate change? To say with full confidence that there are no risks is simply wrong.  We can argue until the cows come home about how likely catastrophic risks are, but there remains the possibility of catastrophic risks — I have argued that the uncertainty is too great to assign a probability to this; possibility is the appropriate likelihood.

From my post Permanent paradigm paralysis:

In their Wrong Trousers essay, Prins and Rayner argue that we have made the wrong cognitive choices in our attempts to define the problem of climate change, by relying on strategies that worked previously with ozone, sulphur emissions and nuclear bombs. While these issues may share some superficial similarities with the climate change problems, they are ‘tame’ problems (complicated, but with defined and achievable end-states), whereas climate change is ‘wicked’ (comprising open, complex and imperfectly understood systems). For wicked problems, effective policy requires profound integration of technical knowledge with understanding of social and natural systems. In a wicked problem, there is no end to causal chains in interacting open systems, and every wicked problem can be considered as a symptom of another problem; if we attempt to simplify the problem, we become risk becoming prisoners of our own assumptions.

Simply put, the current focus on CO2 emissions reductions risks having a massively expensive global solution that is more damaging to societies than the problem of climate change.

The precautionary principal is by no means the only decision analytic framework to use under conditions of deep uncertainty, see these previous posts:

The Hartwell paper has a very insightful summary

‘Muddling through’ at the local level is probably what will happen.  We can be smart about muddling through, as illustrated in this blog post at deepuncertainty.org.
 .
 JC reflections

The ‘Uncertainty Monster’ was the theme that launched this blog in 2010. There have been some very significant advances in our thinking on this topic, both in the scientific community and our thinking about decision making.

However, much of this has not trickled up into the UNFCCC/IPCC and the public debate on climate change.  Brett Stephens and Andy Revkin can play an important role on the media side of all this.

The climate Uncertainty Monster is maturing, and he is demanding that we pay attention.

425 responses to “Uncertainty about the Climate Uncertainty Monster

  1. Pingback: Uncertainty about the Climate Uncertainty Monster – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Alarmists want to make this about saving the world from the sin of carbon pollution, when in fact the real sin may be human pride and the desire to control a non-cooperating non-linear, chaotic, complex system.

    • Isn’t it more about reliably understanding what the system will do, where and when as a function CO2 changes than it is about control? If you understand what conditions will be like you can plan for what will occur.

      Currently there seems to be no reliable modelling to forecast changes in regional climate as a function of CO2 changes over time. There also seems to be no shortage of wild claims of great knowledge.

      • David Wojick

        People, including scientists, simply cannot accept that chaotic systems are intrinsically unpredictable. For that matter, there may simply be no such thing as predictable changes in regional climate as a function of CO2 changes over time. CO2 is roundoff error as far as the system is concerned.

        AGW is based on the wildly false idea that climate is naturally stable and unchanging. See my https://www.cato.org/blog/nsf-climate-denial?utm_content=buffer2695b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

      • People, including scientists, simply cannot accept that chaotic systems are intrinsically unpredictable.

        There certainly are some conditions under which CO2 could increase but global surface temperature doesn’t ( significantly increased warming aloft but zero at the surface, increased humidity near the surface, but decreased humidity aloft, and increased low cloud cover, but decreased cloud cover aloft ). However, for just about every vertical profile around the globe for all seasons, increased CO2 implies radiative surplus. i.e. warming.

        I’ve been trying to distinguish predictable versus unpredictable aspects.

        Consider a hypothetical atmosphere at rest versus in motion.
        For temperature, increased CO2 and resultant radiative forcing implies increased temperature for atmosphere at rest as well as in motion ( as indicated by GCMs ). It’s not so important that the motions be correct for annual mean temperature change.

        For precipitation, however, an atmosphere at rest produces zero precipitation, regardless of the CO2 level (or temperature, or humidity). So it’s critically important that the motions of the atmosphere be correct for valid prediction of precipitation. But, of course, the motions of the atmosphere that produce precipitation are not predictable beyond a week or so.

      • David Wojick

        TE, how about the onset of the next ice age? Or a big change in indirect solar forcing? Or a change in ocean circulation? Or just a small increase in cloudiness? The increased CO2 forcing is minuscule, easily cancelled out.

        Nor was I talking about surface temperatures. Regional and global surface temperatures are completely unknown. See my latest on this:
        http://www.cfact.org/2017/05/18/fake-temperatures/.

      • Jay Turberville

        As a lay person, what has always bothered me about this issue is that I don’t see how scientists can reliably confirm their hypothesis. There is no easy (or hard) verification test that can be set up.

        Let’s imagine that the climate models had correctly forecast the recent “pause.” Could/would/should we then conclude that the models were right and and be confident in future forecasts? I don’t think we should. Not when you consider all of the variables that aren’t included in the models – nevermind the gross simplifications and limited understanding of many of the processes that are included. For all we know, we got a correct forecast for the wrong reason(s).

      • David writes- “AGW is based on the wildly false idea that climate is naturally stable and unchanging.”

        That is a simply wrong.

        AGW is based on the concept that humans releasing mass amounts of CO2 will result is warming. That is simple science. That does not mean negative consequences result.

    • Well put.

    • Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be ruled out because the global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma and life thrived thought most of that period (Scotese, 2016, ‘Some Thoughts on Global Climate Change: The Transition for Icehouse to Hothouse Conditionhttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/275277369_Some_Thoughts_on_Global_Climate_Change_The_Transition_for_Icehouse_to_Hothouse_Conditions . We are currently in about the severest coldhouse phase since complex life began. 3C increase in in GMST would not even get us up to half average GMST for that period.

      Since the risk of catastrophe or danger due to human-caused GHG emissions is effectively ruled out, it is the economic impact of 2C or 3C warming that is relevant for policy analysists and policy makers. The estimate of economic impacts depends on inputs from the GCMs and the damage functions. The damage functions being used are highly uncertain and based on very little data. IPCC AR5 WG3 Chapter 3 mentions ‘Damage Function’ 18 times http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg3/ipcc_wg3_ar5_chapter3.pdf . Some examples:

      • “Damage functions in existing Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are of low reliability (high confidence).” [3.9, 3.12]”

      • “Our general conclusion is that the reliability of damage functions in current IAMs is low.” [p247]

      • “To develop better estimates of the social cost of carbon and to better evaluate mitigation options, it would be helpful to have more realistic estimates of the components of the damage function, more closely connected to WGII assessments of physical impacts.”

      • “As discussed in Section 3.9, the aggregate damage functions used in many IAMs are generated from a remarkable paucity of data and are thus of low reliability.”

    • The global economic impact of sea level rise is negligible compared with global GDP when adaption costs are included, Anthoff, Nichols and Tol (2010) ‘Economic impact of global sea-level risehttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11027-010-9220-7

      In fact, Tol (2013) Figure 3, ‘The economic impact of climate change in the 20th and 21st centuries
      https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-012-0613-3#page-1 (free access here: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf ), shows the main impact sectors (excluding energy consumption for space-heating and space-cooling attributable to global warming) in total would be net positive for the world to around 4C of global warming.

      The projected energy consumption looks like a ‘hockey stick’. It shows global warming gave positive economic impacts throughout the 20th century, but turned negative when empirical data ended and model projections began. The damage function for space heating and cooling warrants further investigation.

    • How can uncertainty enter into climate policy with Riyadh , Queens, and Tulsa on the same page?

      https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2017/05/trump-epa-director-welcomes-hand-of.html

  3. The biggest threat to life, liberty, and prosperity is not global climate change, it is the widespread belief in the myth of governments. The myth is that governments solve problems. The reality is that government action is predicated on the use and threatened use of force and violence, and it’s based on disrespect for the freedom of people to choose how they wish to live. Government action is based on the assumption that “the right people” will somehow be selected to control the lives of the rest of us, people who are too stupid collectively to do – or even to know – what is good for them.
    If global climate change can be controlled by soldiers with guns, and the world thereby made better for us all, and if politicians do know what’s best, then pigs will fly and government policy choices should be pursued and implemented.
    Otherwise, government actors should simply get out of the way, should stop interfering with free people using their ingenuity in adapting to changing conditions.

    • paul23

      I have recently subscribed to The Libertarian Party in the UK for that very reason. In the vain hope we can somehow rid ourselves entirely of overreaching government officials, and let them do only what we demand, protect our shores and borders, and maintain internal security.

      Nor make the mistake that the Libertarian Party is anything like Liberals who simply engage in the same old political merry go round. They are entirely different animals.

      If we want to see change, we must be prepared to vote for it.

      • Joe Crawford

        “…and let them do only what we demand…”
        Problem is there are too many idiots out there making demands on their elected officials. Early on, government officials get frustrated with all of the idiotic demands made on them, most of which they can do nothing about. When something comes along that appears easy they jump on it with both feet, happy that they’ve finally found something they can fix.

        Many years ago a little old lady in Boulder, Colorado complained to city officials that an airplane towing a banner over CU stadium during the homecoming football game was interfering with her quality of life. The officials, happy to find something they could fix, passed a law banning airplanes from flying at less that 2,000 ft above the city (i.e., less than about 7,500ft. altitude). Didn’t take long for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to correct them by threatening to close down the local airport. This just go to show how stupid both the electorate and elected officials can be in a representative democracy.

      • Joe Crawford,

        simple solution.

        Cut down the elected officials. If people don’t have someone to complain to, they’ll find their own solution.

        And make no mistake, I often feel sorry for our elected officials, they are the whipping boys of people who can’t be bothered to do anything for themselves.

        You have a problem with your neighbour? Try talking to your neighbour first before immediately threatening them with officialdom, or ignoring them altogether and expecting officialdom to sort the problem for you.

        Political ‘discourse’ is depriving us of our right to to face up to our own petty problems, and providing politicians the ability to interfere in our day to day lives.

        That’s not politics, that’s busybody activity by proxy.

    • +1

      There’s the famous quote: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. I thought of it when I ran across this tweet:

    • Most Oligarchs would just as well do away with most people.
      Government is just a front for these Oligarchs.
      And the Climate Change agenda is most just a way to get nationalist governments to cede power to internationalist monetary forces.

      • nickels,

        nice idea, but oligarchs prosper on the shoulders of the people who work for them. There is not one oligarch in the world who doesn’t recognise that fact. Could you imagine one millionaire, never mind billionaire, succeeding without paying legions of people to do his/her heavy lifting?

        The two coexist.

      • Most of these Oligarchy families are big eugenics freaks (Rockefeller, Gates, etc). Robots will do everything. 1% of the current population would be a sufficient slave force.

    • Canman,

      whilst I largely agree with you, if we stick rigidly to following historical precedents, there can be no political innovation.

    • The myth of governments? Governments are real and observable enough; what is mythical is the idea of a stable society without significant government. I’ve been looking for a good example for years. It seems to be a unicorn. Governments did not invent force, fraud, or violence. The absence of government usually involves more violence rather than less. The reality is that we interact with each other, so our decisions never occur in a vacuum and always have some overlap/interaction term in other people’s lives. How do people resolve fundamental disputes if they cannot turn to some third party with the persuasive power (read: force) to insure compliance?

      If people don’t trust (or fear) the government’s ability to arbitrate and enforce resolution, they take force into their own hands. We specialize in a variety of roles, and if the rights to life and property include the implicit right to use force in defending those rights, then those societies which collectivize and hone that capability will always have a competitive advantage over those which do not.

      Obviously, there are corrupt, authoritarian, and abusive governments which have been the vehicle for history’s worst atrocities. White blood cells also turn cancerous and sometimes kill what they’re supposed to preserve. What’s worse? Cancer or AIDS? I’d rather have neither: the metaphorical equivalent of good, functioning government.

      • Most libertarians are not anarchists but minarchists. They follow the classical liberal position which does indeed include government at all levels. Courts, police, military normally require a government (although alternate models may exist) but the government need not do everything. One should keep in mind that government actions also have unintended consequences. Drug and alcohol prohibition are good examples. The more laws that exist and the more power in the hands of government, the greater the possibilities for those in power and those able to influence those in power to get special favors. Thus attempts to “help the little guy” can often hurt the little guy instead. Think of minimum wage laws and many licensing requirements. For example, hair braiding by African Americans and fingernail shops run by Asian Americans are often put out of business in many cities by efforts to make them “safe” and require all kinds of training and licensing not really needed for such simple procedures.

      • Bill,

        I agree with your points. I’m libertarian in my preferences for what good government looks like, but I wish fewer libertarians subscribed to philosophical fairy tales about how we’d be magically rational, efficient, and free if only we didn’t have government interference.

      • “The absence of government usually involves more violence rather than less.”
        WHAT?!?!?!?!
        Every war ever was started by a government.
        There’s 10 million+ in prison world wide , mostly for victimless crimes. All got there via violence.
        Don’t pay your taxes? Violence.
        Don’t accept a piece of paper from a road pirate and keep driving? Probably death.

        Government is violence without the personal responsibility being laid on the man/woman the perpetrates it.

        The idea that your too incompetent to govern yourself but your only competent enough to appoint someone else to govern you is completely illogical.
        Especially when you consider they aren’t allowed to govern themselves either and must also choose someone else.

  4. I’ve just been reading true believer Thomas L. Friedman’s “Thank You For Being Late” in which he makes it inadvertently clear that climate catastrophism is a mode of virtue signalling.

  5. The precautionary principle as it is formulated in Wikipedia is two sided:

    The precautionary principle (or precautionary approach) to risk management states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus (that the action or policy is not harmful), the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action that may or may not be a risk.

    United Nations seem to have forgotten that the precautionary principle also applies to the ideas pushed by United Nations. United Nations is pushing both a policy and a whole range of actions on the public. A range of actions which is potentially harmful to the public. A range of action which might cause energy-cost-push inflation, general price inflation, and energy poverty. All of which will tend to hit the poor hardest.

    • qbeamus

      The point I was trying to make with the graph is that CO2 acted in a particular way for 65(?)M years, then, according to alarmists, it changed it’s physical nature and decided to do precisely the opposite to what it has been doing, over the last 1.5M years.

      It’s a simple concept, please don’t over analyse it.

      • @HotScot: Wrong address? :)

      • qbeamus,

        Nah. I just find it difficult to follow you guys when you get into scientific or intellectual detail.

        I am highly likely to have misinterpreted your post.

        My apologies, but it’s tough for thicko’s like me to understand what you guys mean sometimes.

        However, I do believe it’s the responsibility of scientists, to make scientific principles accessible to people like me. We do, after all, usually pay your wages or buy your products.

        EAOA of course.

      • @HotScot
        You replied to the wrong comment. Your reply was to:
        qbeamus | May 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm |
        to your comment below. :)

      • Science or Fiction

        I rest my case. I’m to thick to follow a simple conversational thread, far less debate serious scientific issues.

        thanks for the heads up.

        :)

      • @ HotScot. Don´t refer to yourself as thick. Your points are excellent and very well selected.

      • Science or Fiction

        Put a graph down in front of me, then you might reconsider that generous complement. :):)

    • Principle 15 of the Rio declaration states –
      ‘In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be
      widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are
      threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty
      shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.’

      So we know what it is – we are just haggling about the price.

      • That kind of demonstrates my point.
        There is no clear reference to the other side of the precautionary principle in that quote. There is a reference to cost, but there is no warning that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public … the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action that may or may not be a risk.

        United Nations intends to bring about radical changes our society to curb the emission of CO2. Changes that are potentially harmful to the public. The following quotes exemplify the radical and revolutionary thinking that is reigning the extremely powerful bureaucracy in United Nations. All quotes by Christiana Figueres, who was heading the United Nations’s Framework Convention on Climate Change:

        “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution,”

        “The tools that you design, the financial structures that you develop, the blends that you are able to put together, all of that, in the next five years, will decide the quality of certainly the energy and certainly the quality of the global economy for the next thirty-five years, and hence the quality of life for everyone else for hundreds of years.”
        The New Yorker – The Climate Summit of Money

        “I am the daughter of a revolutionary and I feel very comfortable with revolutions,”

        To «change the economic development model» has major implications for our society. I can think of a few others who intentionally brought about radical changes to a nation, or developed fancy financial structures. It often turns out bad for the public.

      • I wanted to get the language precise. I have quoted Christiana Figueres myself. Her’s is a failed paradigm

        But all over the world are ordinary people focusing on far more practical options.

        e.g. http://www.soilsforlife.org.au/who.html

      • i believe UNFCCC Rio principle is saying (if) we don’t know what it is, don’t let that hold taking action to take “cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” Implicitly it says it doesn’t matter whether or not we understand it. It has already been edicted under UNFCCC authority, of and by themselves. Questions anyone? What is the definition of environmental degradation; and what is the tradeoff vs. cost effective? So many mysteries.
        Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
        O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
        Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
        Wi’ bickerin brattle! But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,

        In proving foresight may be vain,
        The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
        Gang aft agley,
        An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
        For promis’d joy!

      • If there is a risk of severe or irreversible consequences. You shouldn’t really leave bits out if the objective is to deconstruct language with any objectivity.

        Yes there is – and the question now is what is cost effective.

      • And the other bit was a lack of scientific certainty – or in other words – uncertainty. It implies that we know enough to have informed risk assessment – but not enough to be definitive.

      • Judging by the IPCC report, the risk is anything from a walk in the park to catastrophe:
        “The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multi-century time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence)( Note 16 ).”

        Note 16 “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”
IPCC; WGI ; AR5; Summary for policymakers; Page 16

        It seems as if we will be closer to a walk in the part than a catastrophe. Is it reasonable to risk energy-cost-push inflation, general price inflation, and energy poverty to avoid a walk in the park?

        United Nations propounds radical changes to our society. Changes that will have unintended consequences. Is it worth the risk?

  6. Please correct me if I’m wrong (someone), but my understanding is that there are no credible, empirical studies over the last 40 years which demonstrate that CO2 caused global temperature rise.

    By any reasonable measure, global political decisions affecting every person on the planet, to the extent now being undertaken thanks to the Paris accord, surely needs lots of concrete evidence. There should be hundreds of these studies demonstrating the relationship, if not thousands over 40 years, but I believe there are none.

    Meanwhile, and I again stand to be corrected, the only observable effect of elevated atmospheric CO2 is that the planet has greened by 14% according to NASA, supported by at least one other study into high resolution Google Earth images (accurate down to about one square metre) which were painstakingly examined by a huge number of scientists who, I believe, almost physically counted shrubs.

    Sea level is continuing to rise at about 3mm a year(?) I believe, depending on where one is on the planet and what geological activity is/has taken place, as JC has pointed out before. So nothing extraordinary there.

    Hurricanes are declining and the effects of them in terms of deaths has dropped dramatically over the last 40 years. Which to my simple mind seems an obvious positive consequence of their being less cold air to meet warm air creating conditions that encourage hurricanes. Over simplistic, I know.

    And we know that data from ground temperature records extending back over a hundred years are notoriously unreliable. Primitive equipment measuring data that was likely recorded by the tea boy and noted to the nearest degree Centigrade/Fahrenheit when our contemporary inclination is to measure temperatures to within fractions of a degree. Stephenson screens painted, if they are maintained at all, with different kinds of white paint, not to mention the more recent development of urban heat islands.

    Water temperatures taken by the cabin boy chucking a bucket overboard or ship inlets passing water past engines before someone might accurately record the result, assuming its not the ever present cabin boy.

    Data manipulation/distortion/management being accepted as comparable when the methods by which they are compiled are likely down to barely comparable scientific standards. I cant’ claim to be knowledgeable on this at all, I would hope all data conforms to the same strict rules and is directly comparable, but somehow I doubt it.

    And again, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand this graph http://www.biocab.org/Geological_Timescale.jpg is a universally accepted, accurate description of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures. In which case, what happened to CO2 over the last million years or so? Did it somehow change its physical properties to enable it to influence global temperatures, because it sure didn’t before then?

    The only experience I can draw on to assess the truth or otherwise of the accusation of AGW is criminal law. Now, being that we’re not yet at the point of Tom Cruises’ Minority Report, the predictions of an offender, re-offending can only be assessed by past behaviour and in even the most sophisticated of legal systems, that is little more than a guess, often driven by the political imperative to keep people out of prison.

    With the current observable evidence available, and reflecting on CO2’s past history, and the, frankly, dodgy data it’s based upon, The case for AGW would, I’m certain, not even reach the steps of a court, far less be convicted of heinous crimes against humanity, and even less likely to be locked up to protect humanity from recidivism.

    The uncertainty monster is indeed, a matter of considerable concern for all of us. Sophisticated western standards of criminal justice requires a standard of proving ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ the guilt of the accused.

    Sadly for science, to my mind, AGW alarmists fall well short of this vital concept and therefore discredits all science, risking the re-emergence of religion as scientific direction. Indeed our current Pope is elbow deep in claiming the science to be settled himself, yet will not face up to the fact his own religious beliefs don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.

    • HotScot, I believe its pretty incontrovertible that CO2 causes warming. The question is how much.

      • David Wojick

        No, a CO2 increase will cause warming if nothing else happens. It is an abstraction, like the rate of fall in a vacuum. But in real cases there need be no warming at all, in fact there can be extreme cooling as CO2 increases. Just as rate of fall can be negative for a feather on a windy day.

      • In that graph, what really jumps out at me is the strong correlation between CO2 and temperature–a strong negative correlation. Apparently, the greenhouse effect is very weak, and is usually more than drowned out by other factors that tend to drive temperature in the opposite direction. Apparently the story is different over the last 400ky or so, but I still think some explanation for why that is–and why earlier conditions won’t reassert themselves–is necessary.

        For that matter, even within that 400ky window, a foundational assumption of climate models appears to be wrong. The assumption is that CO2 is an independent variable that drives temperature, rather than the other way around. But CO2 appears to move first, with temperature following. (http://news.ku.dk/all_news/2012/2012.7/rise_in_temperatures_and_co2/) This has caused some panicked efforts to explain this data away, none of which I found terribly convincing, though its been several years since I tried to study the issue carefully.

      • dpy6629,

        prove it, in the real world.

        Whilst test tube studies in a sterile environment demonstrates CO2 causes warming, there is not one single, credible study that proves it does in the wild.

        Like I said, to determine the future direction of mankind, deviating from our current norm, one should provide incontrovertible evidence it is necessary.

        There is not one single credible study that proves (theorises or otherwise) CO2 causes global warming in the wild. Not one. It’s all test tube theory that has fallen flat on it’s face in light of unpredicted global greening.

        Never mind anything else, barely any, if any at all, climate alarmist’s predicted a positive outcome of increased atmospheric CO2, yet it is the only observable outcome we have seen, in the last half century. And the outcomes are the basis of the success of a scientific theory, not its predicted outcomes, as many would have you believe.

        Following all the predictions of doom, which were worrying, I must admit, the worst outcome is zero anthropogenic effect on the planet by our CO2 emissions. The best is that we’re growing stuff, whilst doing nothing abnormal.

        Abnormal is building whacko windmills that contribute nothing other than raising tax bills. Feel good factor, that’s all they are.

        Sure, we need to clean up particulate emissions, but in light of this information, CO2 isn’t the problem you are conditioned to believe it is.

      • CO2 increase will cause warming if nothing else happens.

        The radiative effect of increased CO2 implies surplus for nearly all the earth.
        Something else will happen, but it has to be more than just the one location being more like a different location in order to counter the RF of increased CO2.

      • “Whilst test tube studies in a sterile environment demonstrates CO2 causes warming, there is not one single, credible study that proves it does in the wild.”

        I don’t know what it is, that a transfer from a lab to the atmosphere does to the CO2? What is known about the CO2 molecule, how and why it absorbs IR and emits it doesn’t change. We could argue that more CO2 increases vertical circulation of air columns moving more warmth to the TOA and partially cooling in the face of warming. But CO2’s properties will not change.

      • First Direct Observation of Carbon Dioxide’s Increasing Greenhouse Effect at the Earth’s Surface
        http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/25/co2-greenhouse-effect-increase/

      • Ragnar

        “I don’t know what it is, that a transfer from a lab to the atmosphere does to the CO2?”

        You have illustrated one of my earlier points very concisely.

        “And again, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand this graph http://www.biocab.org/Geological_Timescale.jpg is a universally accepted, accurate description of the relationship between atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures. In which case, what happened to CO2 over the last million years or so? Did it somehow change its physical properties to enable it to influence global temperatures, because it sure didn’t before then?”

        It would seem either scientists seriously misunderstand the physical properties of CO2; the physical properties of CO2 have changed in the last million years or so; or there is something else either suppressing CO2’s inclination to cause warming, or something else altogether is happening that science can’t explain or haven’t discovered yet.

        Personally, I would suggest the latter two possibilities that are most likely.

        Under almost any other scientific circumstance other than perhaps micro biology, 400ppm of any non, self replicating, inert material, would be written off as statistically inconsequential.

      • rovingbroker

        “Like warming, observed greening demonstrates correlation, not causation.”

        That is simply wrong. NASA’s study of their own satellite data states, explicitly, that the planet has greened by 14% over the last 30 years. 70% of that greening is a direct consequence of increased atmospheric CO2, 9% net of any human influence. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

        That’s not correlation.

      • Ragnaar,

        I’m glad you brought that single piece of fake evidence up.

        The single element of that study which entirely discredits it, is that “The authors started in the 2000 La Nina, and ended at the 2010 El Nino – when troposphere temperatures were half a degree warmer.”

        Comprehensively illustrated here: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/why-new-paper-does-not-provide-evidence.html

      • HotScot wrote, “That is simply wrong. NASA’s study of their own satellite data states, explicitly, that the planet has greened by 14% over the last 30 years. 70% of that greening is a direct consequence of increased atmospheric CO2, 9% net of any human influence.”

        A scientific control is an experiment or observation designed to minimize the effects of variables other than the independent variable. This increases the reliability of the results, often through a comparison between control measurements and the other measurements. Scientific controls are a part of the scientific method.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_control

        Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%).
        http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n8/full/nclimate3004.html

        This was not a controlled experiment but a series of observations applied to “multiple global ecosystem models.” The cause may be as claimed by NASA but the claim is no stronger than the one that attributes “global warming” to increased atmospheric CO2 concentration.

        Goose and Gander.

      • HotScot:
        In your 4 billion year plot, a number have things have changed. Continents drifted. When did we get plants on land? 450 million years ago I think. The plants used the CO2, died and turned into oil. 4 billion years ago, cavemen physicists figured out there was CO2 and its properties have not yet changed.
        Call me gullible, I am going with Lawrence Berkeley on, The Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010 paper. This is at your link:
        “Rather, the entire 33K greenhouse effect is entirely explained by the Maxwell/Carnot/Clausius atmospheric mass/gravity/pressure theory”
        Inert material? No, it’s the basis of life.

    • HotScot wrote, “Meanwhile, and I again stand to be corrected, the only observable effect of elevated atmospheric CO2 is that the planet has greened by 14% … ”
      Like warming, observed greening demonstrates correlation, not causation.

    • Please correct me if I’m wrong (someone), but my understanding is that there are no credible, empirical studies over the last 40 years which demonstrate that CO2 caused global temperature rise.

      Well, it’s not a controlled experiment, right?
      Will there ever be such clear and confirming evidence?
      I don’t think so.

      On the other hand, the calculable effect of increased CO2 for just about every location on earth is to run a surplus of energy which implies an increase in temperature.

      • Turbulent Eddie

        Nor is estimation of global greening a controlled experiment. It’s an observational fact, as factual as it can be.

        Controlled experiments are just that, perhaps at best, educational guesses. They must be proven in the real world. We would have conquered space, and be living on the sea bed were controlled experiments believable. When real life observations, and experience applied, controlled experiments were found impossible, or Jules Verne and Gene Roddenberry would be in the annals of history as pioneering scientists instead of authors of fiction.

        Observations are not calculations on the back of a beer mat, nor that transferred to a computer to impart credibility. They are factual records of current, or past events.

        “Calculable effects” are just that, again, educated guesses by science fiction writers. So far, from the experience of the last observable 40 years, they remain embedded in the realm of science fiction.

        Science fact, on the other hand, has proven the world is greening by 14% in the last 30 years. Unprecedented is merely one term that can be genuinely applied to that.

        What meaningful term can be applied to the 40 years of failed predictions so far issued by alarmists?

        BS perhaps?

    • https://scied.ucar.edu/carbon-dioxide-absorbs-and-re-emits-infrared-radiation
      What about water vapor? What does it do?
      The insulation in your attack does the same thing as the animation. It absorbs and then re-emits in a random direction AFAIK.

    • The assumption that global average temperature is the outcome of a stochastic process leads to a satisfactory explanation of the observations, viz.: that observed variations are red noise fluctuations. There is no need for any further explanation. Uncertainty as in “Uncertainty Monster” is what we get when we seek deterministic solutions to statistical problems. Climate models are deterministic.

      http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/climate-policy/science-and-policy/john-reid-2017-1.php

      The last time the climate changed significantly was 11,000 years ago during Termination I. There is no evidence that human production of CO2 has any effect on climate. It comprises only one percent of the CO2 in the ocean atmosphere system.

  7. I prefer “a matter of possibilities“. As you say, “probabilities” suggests a known probability distribution, such as with lotto numbers.

    • By the same token, insurance is not for unpredictable events. It is for large classes of predictable events where who it will happen to is unpredictable. House fires, car crashes, illnesses, etc. Insurance can only be priced when the frequency of occurrence is relatively predictable.

      • That is a very important point that I didn´t realize before now.
        Thanks for making that so clear. :)

      • Indeed. Force Majuere clauses typically invalidate policies or contracts for those events which are unpredictable, if they are directly or indirectly the main cause of damage. Sample Force Majeure clause:

        1.1.1 act of God (such as, but not limited to, fires, explosions, earthquakes, drought, tidal waves and floods);
        1.1.2 war, hostilities (whether war be declared or not), invasion, act of foreign enemies, mobilisation, requisition, or embargo;
        1.1.3 rebellion, revolution, insurrection, or military or usurped power, or civil war;
        1.1.4 contamination by radio-activity from any nuclear fuel, or from any nuclear waste from the combustion of nuclear fuel, radio-active toxic explosive, or other hazardous properties of any explosive nuclear assembly or nuclear component of such assembly;
        1.1.5 riot, commotion, strikes, go slows, lock outs or disorder, unless solely restricted to employees of the Supplier or of his Subcontractors; or
        1.1.6 acts or threats of terrorism.

      • “Insurance can only be priced when the frequency of occurrence is relatively predictable.”

        Indeed.
        One rarely takes out insurance against an event when the cost of the insurance is greater than maximum loss – ie, I won’t pay $10k p.a. for insurance that pays out $5k for total loss, especially when I perceive the risk of total loss over one year is < 0.5.
        I certainly don't take out insurance when I have no idea of what the loss may be, what the risk of loss is and most especially when the premium is not stated up-front and once taken out, the policy is impossible to cancel – ever.

        The precautionary principle is the wrong one for climate change because it is designed for low uncertainties, not high uncertainties. For example, we know from direct observation that a particular waste product is damaging the environment – we see the destruction, it is incontrovertable. Just because we don't know exactly how toxic this waste product is, doesn't mean we shouldn't regulate its release into the environment. With CO2 (AGW), we are still struggling to see the damage rise above the noise, so the "damage" is hardly "incontrovertable" at this point – there is even some evidence anthropogenic CO2 may be beneficial to this point and even for some decades to come! Further, even if we assume that damage will eventuate, we are highly uncertain how much damage that may be. Further, even if we assume the damage will be great, we are uncertain that the mitigation will help at this point, and even if it does, we don't know how much is required to "avert disaster". Further, even if we assume that we do know these things, we are unsure of the other consequences of that mitigation – will it do more damage in other areas than it mitigates in AGW prevention? It therefore seems highly risky to persue this path – the potential consequences of acting prematurely seem to outweigh the the risks of all but the most extreme scenarios, and the most extreme scenarios appear to be reduced in likelyhood with every refinement of the science. And yet we are still going down this path – is this logical?

      • Kneel 63, in short, there is no rational basis for emissions-reduction programmes; something which I have long argued. Whatever it’s about, it’s not about climate. Power and ideology perhaps.

  8. Quite so. The probabilities assigned from ignorance are not the real probabilities of an outcome happening. And more absurd is forgetting the uncertainty (and the quite possible unintended consequences) of the result of the proposed solution, which is no less a “systemic risk” than the alleged problem.

    You don’t know the cost of “doing nothing”. It could be zero cost, even a net benefit. You don’t know the cost of the fancy solution, but you can bet it is between huge and disastrous.

    The precautionary principle should work both ways. If a solution to an uncertain problem has a suspected risk of causing more harm than good, in the absence of scientific consensus (that the solution is not harmful), the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking that solution.

  9. The reliance on models to make decisions about future actions is fraught with false steps. For instance, Great Lakes ore carriers rely upon water levels to load their ships. Higher water levels mean more tonnes of ore can be carried per trip, and, lower water levels mean more round trips are needed to transport the same tonnage.

    The Army Corps of Engineers, along with the Detroit District Office collection of water level gage inventory provides shippers a forward view of Great Lakes water levels. Using data collected from previous years as well as estimates of snow fall, ice coverage and regional precipitation these values are plugged into models that inform the prediction. The forecast for Great Lakes water levels based upon those models is then made before the next shipping season and ore shipping companies plug those numbers into their costs of shipping. Six inches higher or lower water levels can make for profit or loss for the shipping season. A foot error either way can be… devastating.

    Last year 2016, the Great Lakes water levels were substantially above chart datum. This winter was predicted to be relatively mild for the Great Lakes region and so it was. In a warmer climate, ice cover was limited, hence, in the models, the Great Lakes water levels were forecasted for this shipping season to be lower than 2016, yet still above chart datum.

    Over these last two weeks in May, while I have been out of the country and not watching closely, surprise, the forecasts have changed substantially. Namely, the forecast for 2017 is now similar to water levels of 2016. Apparently, the pre-season model had weighted ice cover much more than was warranted by a large margin. Significantly increased regional precipitation accounted for maintaining water levels as well as cooler regional weather.

    If I recall correctly, regional precipitation predictions in the current climate models is an achilles heel.

    So the pre-season model error for the ore shipping companies is like the Monopoly “Bank Error in Your Favor” card to which they will certainly adjust. I am wondering if the CO2 Greening of mother earth is another form of a Bank Error in global well-being all in our favor.

    The uncertainty we observe in the climate for earth makes a mockery of model predictions, again.

    • Until a couple of years ago, the declining water levels in the Great Lakes were being used as evidence for the certainty of AGW. That worked until the water levels were no longer dropping. They are now above the long term average going back to 1918. For some reason the newspapers no longer have articles about global warming dropping the Great Lakes water levels.

      A colleague of mine, a veteran of the Great Lakes Shorelands Program since the 1940s, explained to this brand new employee in 1972 that the water levels in the Great Lakes had a cyclical nature to them. A few years later, in 1986, I was involved in the appropriation of $6 million for mitigation of the “record high” water levels for Lake Michigan. After that the levels receded.

      For the time being, when there is doubt, I will be going with natural variability over any other cause. While I have seen many models and forecasts from the climate community proven wrong, so far, my co-worker from over 40 years ago has been spot on. Funny how experience works that way.

    • From last year …
      Lake Michigan water levels see ‘historic’ rise
      Lake Michigan water levels have risen more than four feet since January 2013, an unprecedented increase since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began keeping records in 1918, says Thomas O’Bryan, area engineer for the  US Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Michigan office.
      http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/news/

      Lake Michigan water levels are quite reliably variable. Still, people claim to be astonished when their beaches wash away or they need to dredge the marina. I know one home owner who built a very expensive sea wall when the lake was high but now has more than one hundred feet of beach in front of it.

  10. Even the only international accepted standard on uncertainty: Guide to expression of uncertainty in measurement messes up on uncertainty. It correctly distinguish uncertainty derived from a series of measurements for which a probability distribution can be established (Type A) from uncertainty established by other means (Type B):

    “2.3.2 Type A evaluation (of uncertainty)
    method of evaluation of uncertainty by the statistical analysis of series of observations”

    “2.3.3 Type B evaluation (of uncertainty)
    method of evaluation of uncertainty by means other than the statistical analysis of series of observations ”

    But the standard fails to highlight that there is a fundamental difference between measurement and belief:

    “Thus a Type A standard uncertainty is obtained from a probability density function (C.2.5) derived from an observed frequency distribution (C.2.18), while a Type B standard uncertainty is obtained from an assumed probability density function based on the degree of belief that an event will occur [often called subjective probability (C.2.1)]. Both approaches employ recognized interpretations of probability.”

    Unbelievable

    “3.3.4 The purpose of the Type A and Type B classification is to indicate the two different ways of evaluating uncertainty components and is for convenience of discussion only; the classification is not meant to indicate that there is any difference in the nature of the components resulting from the two types of evaluation. Both types of evaluation are based on probability distributions (C.2.3), and the uncertainty components resulting from either type are quantified by variances or standard deviations.”

    I´m not an expert within my field because of what I believe, but because of my ability to provide traceable data and logically valid statements about how things work.

  11. Very good post Judith. The bottom line truth you point our for me is that climate change is a chronic condition that is always happening. Coping and flourishing is not a binary choice of “doing something” vs. “denying the science.” What has really happened is that there is a vast ideological echo machine out there spearheaded by “fake news” from Green NGO’s constantly trying to create a narrative that disaster is just around the corner. Almost all these scare stories turn out to be false of exaggerated.

    In practical terms, sharp curtailment of emissions is simply not possible in a complex political world with hundreds of countries and widespread deep poverty. Without creative technical solutions for energy generation, the outcome here is already pretty certain. So Bill Gates has the right idea.

    In this context, the consensus enforcement “team” looks divorced from reality. They stupidly think that if they can discredit skeptics, effective action will follow. This shows a deep immaturity and lack of understanding of human circumstances and motivations.

    • > Unbelievable.

      Read their title again, Fiction. There’s the word “measurement” in it. Mr. T escapes any kind of measurement.

      Contrarian posts need no metrology. Just wave your arm and say that the climate is always changing. Then shrug.

      Here’s Mr. T in action: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

  12. “The manufactured ‘fat tail’ comes from confusing statistical uncertainty (with a possible infinite fat tail) with scenario uncertainty, which is limited on the upper end by articulation of a plausible worst case scenario”

    The worst case scenario is the collapse of civilization and the complete or near-complete extinction of the human race, which could come about through either nuclear war being triggered over disputes about climate impacts, or natural phenomenon such as ocean hypoxia leading to a toxic atmosphere, for example. If you want to call that a “limit”, that is technically correct. But it’s ice cold comfort.

  13. Steven Mosher

    “Simply put, the current focus on CO2 emissions reductions risks having a massively expensive global solution that is more damaging to societies than the problem of climate change.”

    Simply put. You offer no evidence that it is more damaging. You refuse to mention any uncertainty when comes to youanalysis.

    • She said “it risks having” which not an assertion that it is definitely so. The problem for you Steven is that you want Judith to “call out people who make wrong statements.” It’s a silly standard and a hypocritical one. What evidence do you have to the contrary?

    • SM

      Simply put. You offer no evidence that [GW will be net] damaging.

      You refuse to provide any evidence that negative impacts will exceed positive impacts of global of global warming. You refuse to mention any uncertainty when comes to your [beliefs].

    • Odd really if there is a ‘possibility’ of catastrophic outcomes to not consider ways of reducing risk.

    • The usual smart-ass, snide remark from guess who.

      Of course the possibilities are considered and analyzsed. it;’s been going on for many decades. It’s what the economic analyses of cost and benefits of mitigation are all about. And of Social Cost of Carbon.

      Strange you think you are so smart and don’t even know that. However, you have no expertise in policy analysis, so it’s not surprising.

      • It seems an unremarable comment. I was of course quoting Judith on the possibility.

        ‘We can argue until the cows come home about how likely catastrophic risks are, but there remains the possibility of catastrophic risks — I have argued that the uncertainty is too great to assign a probability to this; possibility is the appropriate likelihood.’ A low probability high consequence event is high risk. In an industrial environment you’d want to cost-effectively mitigate it.

        “A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol.” Oh right. I have a lot of policy experience.”

    • Steven Mosher: You offer no evidence that it is more damaging.

      There you go again, refusing to “engage quantitatively” (as Jim D put it.) Evidence for the benefits of the combination of warming and increased CO2 since the 1880s has been presented in peer-reviewed research and summarized here. Evidence for the “risk” of damage that might result from a “massively expensive global solution” has also been presented, though not today. Californians are now experimenting with a “massively expensive” local project that could do more harm to their economy than any benefit to them or the world at large.

      • Climate change has winners and losers, but “social cost skeptics” can only count the benefits to the social cost if they plan to tax the winners to pay the losers, which I expect either they don’t or they haven’t thought it through properly. The winners and losers are whole different groups of people so it is not a wash when both happen. Some whole countries will be winners while others will be losers. It is an international problem to solve.

      • Climate change has winners and losers

        Which physical principle is this?

      • Jim D:
        Climate change has winners and losers. Now figure attribution. Now use attribution to see how much the winners have taken from the losers but is that correct?

        I use no fossil fuel as I am off the grid and have a battery operated car. My earth friendly organic farm land worked with only teams of horses is worth more as rainfall has improved and the growing season is longer. I won. What did I take from the losers?

        I use a lot of fossil fuels. My farm land now has permanent drought. I lost. From who does my retribution come from as I was part of the problem?

      • TE, if you are disputing that there are winners and losers, say why. As far as I know everyone would agree with this, so your comment is peculiar.

      • Ragnaar, this is why a carbon tax based on cost, excluding benefit, makes sense. If you don’t emit, you don’t pay. If you do emit, you may be a winner or a loser, but that can’t be judged in advance, so you pay, and it is not much per person. The funds go towards mitigation, adaptation and damage repairs, unless a rebate approach is taken which net rewards low emitters.

      • Jim D:
        You got me there.

  14. John Carpenter

    “The question is rather how certain we are (or can be) that nothing bad will happen.”

    Presumably due to dumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

    It’s not the right question to ask. We know the answer to that question in the absence of elevated CO2 in the atmosphere already. Bad things (extreme weather events) happen. We are still not prepared today to handle the extreme weather of yesterday. The question is not how certain nothing bad will happen, but how certain are we bad things will become worse and if worse, how much worse?

    And don’t forget to ask what will get better.

    Our bed has been made. Nothing is permanent.

  15. “climate change is best understood as a persistent condition”

    It is only the lifeless planets that do not have this “persistent condition”.
    I should pay a tax to treat this condition?
    Is Climate Science having consensual relations with Big Pharma?

  16. Uncertainty unnoticed pulls in a context, as to what sort of doubts are in question.

    You can do a probability calculation only once you know the doubts you’re dealing with.

    You know it’s a goldfinch by its markings; then you might do probability of observed markings being obscured or changed by the optics.

    Or it might be a stuffed goldfinch; then you do probability on pranksters and eccentric old ladies living nearby.

    Climate science doesn’t know what sorts of doubts ought to be handled, as to what systems might or might not come into play, or even whether the ones considered are considered correctly.

  17. Nice current overview. Good to see your uncertainty monster/wicked problem ideas gaining some public traction.
    Ironically, there are some reasonably certain things about CAGW.
    1. Many warmunist careers have been made by creating false alarms, and that won’t change until funding is cut off. Watermelons increasingly exposing the inside color, as during the recent science and climate marches.
    2. None of the alarming predictions have come true, or are likely to ever. Children still know what snow is. West Side parkway is not under water. Tuvalu has not disappeared. There are no climate refugees. Polar bears are thriving. Models now falsified several ways.
    3. China and India won’t play along beyond lip service, even if California and the UK chose to commit economic suicide as mitigation role models.

    • Curious George

      Even modelers don’t take their task seriously. Models overestimate the energy transfer by evaporation from tropical seas by 2.5%. It is difficult to estimate a final impact of this discrepancy, so I’ll call it an uncertainty, not an error. As the CAGW argument is based on thermal radiation, the temperature must be measured as an absolute temperature (in degrees Kelvin). The average Earth surface temperature is close to 300 K, so a 2.5% uncertainty is 7.5 K, same as 7.5 C, or 13 F. And IPCC worries about a 2 C temperature rise.

  18. United Nations climate panel IPCC founded a perversion of science in the document: Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties

    That is the guidance that attempts to standardize the expression of subjective levels of confidence:

    Maybe I should ask the Secretary General of United Nations to hand over to me a lead author of the IPCC report so that I can perform some objective testing on the author´s subjective levels of confidence?

  19. Of course we must pay attention to the uncertainty in climate science:
    – Uncertainties in the estimation of global temperatures are extremely important. It is not the same to get +0.14 +/- 0.01 C/decade than to get + 0.14 +/- 0.41 C/decade. The same applies to the uncertainty estimation of the rest of climatic parameters (global sea level, concentrations of greenhouse gases, etc.).
    – The LOSU (level of scientific understanding) attached to different radiative forcings makes them impossible to be added statistically. As those probability density functions (pdfs) of the radiative forcings are not well defined: if you apply statistical techniques to these pdfs, you are just inventing the numbers instead of computing them.
    – JC: “Lets say that we actually believe the climate model predictions”: WRONG!. Climate models like CMIP5 provide only PROJECTIONS, not PREDICTIONS. Roughly speaking, a model has predictive capacity if it is related to reality (to the actual world) and if statistics are achieved properly; BUT in these climate change projections, nothing goes appropriately.
    More actual climate science at: drive.google.com/file/d/0B4r_7eooq1u2ZlIwZFcxQ2ZWaHc

  20. To me recent history provides a guide. The uncertainty monster over the possible range of climate outcomes is not too dissimilar to the geo-political situation in the Mideast at the start of this century.
    Recall the second Bush administration and their insistence on “weapons of mass destruction” and the need to remove Saddam Hussain. The result would be a better, safer world. Well, 15 years after the fact it’s pretty safe to say those projections of certainty turned out to be false. The cost of removing the problem and the resultant chaos is a concrete example of how a motivated cabal of self-claimed experts were flat out wrong. Skeptical voices were hushed or worse had their careers halted. The press was co-opted into presenting the required narrative.

    Not really too different from the current debate on climate. There is an establishment narrative and in every case the public is told about the dangers of future climate change. Again and again the public is hectored to act now and save itself before it is too late. But never are the costs of making this choice presented – is it really a good idea to turn food into fuel, convert rainforest into palm oil plantations, adding additional energy taxes on the poor, using public wealth in the form of massive subsidies for preferred energy companies. Will the world really be worse if temperatures rises 1 degree. Do we even know how to measure global temperature and to what accuracy and precision.

    Until I see a fair, disinterested analysis of all the pros and cons of future climate effects, I see the only reasonable choice of action is to only use known solutions to solve precisely defined problems. Recent history shows unquestioned following of self-appointed experts can make a bad situation worse.

    • Curious George

      You should appreciate that the Greens do their best to stop the planet from greening.

    • Curious George

      Regarding the Iraq war, we are paying the price of action (and a following inaction). In Libya and Syria we are paying the price of inaction. You are right on the spot regarding the pros and cons of future climate effects: Would a warmer world be better or worse than a colder world? Was the Ice Age really the climatic optimum?

    • I agree with this comparison, with the caveat that the certainty of calamity rises to the top (and is eventually trumpeted by authority) largely via emergent social process (and the bigger / more global the issue, the more this is so).

    • So we agree it’s uncertain – and insist it be described – fairly and with some precision certainty as the reasonable thing to do. Otherwise we risk making a mistake..

  21. Analyse this: (Lorenz 1963, Deterministic nonperiodic flow)

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0469(1963)020%3C0130:DNF%3E2.0.CO;2

    It’s not just probability as a simple number or fraction. It’s a probabilistic landscape where you need to know where the attractors are. Like glacial and interglacial. On a smaller scale, different regimes of ENSO or AMOC. Or any other of the oceanic oscillatory systems described by Wyatt and Curry:

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-013-1950-2

  22. Our knowledge concerning the sun’s impact on climate probably is like believing we know what a person is thinking by looking at their skin color.

  23. “However, mathematically speaking, ‘probability’ already implies a great deal of certainty ”

    Yes, I appreciate this sentence.
    -If we had a perfect climate model (we don’t)
    -If we have perfect numerical solutions (we don’t)
    -If we had perfect measures of the uncertainty in tuning parameters and substantive parameters of our model in the form of probability distributions.

    We could then imagine running a massive monte-carlo simulation to obtain an aposteriori probability distribution of possible climate states. This would require a massive number of simulations (probably unattainable) that would well represent the multidimensional input parameter uncertaintly.

    WE CAN’T EVEN SOLVE for ONE of these Monte Carlo points because numerical error is 100% within a few months of the simulation start.

    Insanity.

    • Did someone mention sensitivity to initial condition and structural instability?

      The thick black line is mine – I ran a massively parallel computer model with 3 calculators and the TV remote.

      • Such instability basically makes the problem intractable in several ways. Firstly, it makes the solution of even a single instance numerically impossible.
        Secondly, the resulting distribution likely has large variance and therefore requires a very large number of solutions to resolve (each solution is a massively parallel computation).

  24. There is a much more profound limitation on the predictive power of “climate science” than sheer statistical uncertainty of stochastic variations. That limitation lies in the dismal inability to specify physically the dynamics of in situ processes relevant to climate change.

  25. The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain.

    I have posted the graph below maybe a 1000 times it seems. It is based on analysis of red sediment in a South American lake. The graph comes from a cute little paper by Anastasios Tsonis on the demise of the Minoan civilisation. Higher red intensity is caused by more rainfall in El Niño/positive PDO states.

    The sediment record has continuous high resolution coverage over 12,000 years. It shows periods of high and low ENSO activity alternating with a period of about 2,000 years. There was a shift from La Niña dominance to El Niño dominance some 5,000 years ago that was a chaotic bifurcation associated with the drying of the Sahel. There is a period around 3,500 years ago of high ENSO activity associated with the demise of the Minoan civilisation. It shows ENSO variability considerably in excess of that seen in the modern period. Red intensity was over 200 in Minoan times – for comparison red intensity in the 1997/98 El Niño was 99.

    It shows the patterns of persistence and shifts – known as Hurst phenomena – seen in Nile River flow over more than a millennia. Nile River flows reflect the state of both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Ocean states shift rapidly between regimes as tremendous energies cascade through powerful sub-systems – a concise description of the stadium wave. In chaotic systems like climate – control variables change slowly until the system shifts and then settles into a new state. Changes in control variables may be too small to detect but result in a large change at a rate determined by internal mechanisms in the global spanning system.

    One control variable is the surface pressure in polar regions. High pressure pushes storm fronts into lower latitudes spinning up sub-polar gryes in all the oceans, triggering increased upwelling in the north and south Pacific and modulating north Atlantic conditions. Surface pressure changes are caused in part by solar UV/ozone interactions in the stratosphere – suggesting that the control variable in this is solar activity – providing an explanation for quasi-periodicity over decades to many millennia. The polar annular mode modulation of wind and ocean circulation is illustrated below.

    There are some things that are certain. We are changing the atmosphere of the Earth with implications for global energy dynamics, terrestrial hydrology and marine chemistry. There is an indeterminate risk of large or small – and utterly unpredictable – changes to Earth systems. Transitions between states will be fast and may be extreme. Whether natural or anthropogenic – 4 climate shifts this century are odds-on. Addressing carbon emission risks as best we can – has been an utter failure. The situation can only get worse if as I suspect the next climate shift – due in a 2018-2028 window – is to yet cooler conditions.

    https://watertechbyrie.com/2017/01/12/an-earnest-discovery-of-climate-causality/

    Gwyn Prins & Steve Rayner discussed the inevitable failure of Kyoto – and suggested oblique approaches with multiple benieits.

    The challenge of reconfiguring the interactions of these systems is difficult
    enough. To do it in time to meet the FCCC objective of avoiding dangerous
    interference with the climate is tremendous. The claim that it can be
    achieved in a couple of decades, through the top-down creation of an
    artificial global market in greenhouse gases seems extraordinary. Bear in
    mind that, as we observed at the outset, since the agreement of the FCCC
    at Rio, global carbon emissions have continued to rise inexorably, while
    national emissions targets have been repeatedly watered down, both
    directly and through “offset” credits (many of a dubious nature).
    In the case of climate change this would mean adopting a wide variety of
    climate policies—silver buckshot—and non-climate policies with climate
    effects. Each would have the potential to tackle some part of the overall
    problem, although it would not be clear which would be the most
    successful, let alone the most economically efficient.53 52 Anthropologists are especially tuned to the dangers that can come from attempts to overdetermine fragile data. See, J. Vansina, in “The Power of Systematic Doubt in Historical Enquiry”, History in Africa, 1 (1974) 139-72.
    53 Ibid. 27

    This approach is based on an analogy with market forces. It is well known
    that the chance of markets working is increased by chopping up the problem
    because there needs to be some proximity between cost and benefit for
    markets to be energised. One reason why the global trading schemes are
    unattractive is because the costs are borne now and the benefits are in an
    indeterminate future. Chopped into parts, cost and benefit are brought into
    closer proximity, allowing the hidden hand of the market to emerge through
    real price signal fluctuations.

    Rather than putting all our eggs into one policy basket’ made in Kyoto, a
    more viable climate regime would consist of a series of policies intended to
    build resilience against climate turbulence into all the day-to-day
    dimensions of society. These need not be primarily, or even solely, directed
    at climate stabilisation. Instead they would be intended to achieve that goal
    through the accumulation of contingent benefits. They would be aimed to
    work in the world as it is, rather than being predicated upon changing the
    world first so that it fits the policy.54

    This oblique and clumsy engagement with climate change is more likely to
    succeed than renewing the same costly and futile frontal assault. There are
    three leading reasons why. First, our approach is not a fragile monoculture.
    It allows a thousand flowers to bloom. It is therefore both more robust and
    more likely to avoid failure, and it commands legitimacy: it meets Adam
    Smith’s design guidance for viable social change. Secondly, it leverages
    existing powerful forces. Finally, it offers a different process with which to
    engage for those who have become institutionally and emotionally wedded
    to the Kyoto Protocol’s flawed assumptions, through their intimate
    entanglement in the minutiae of its proliferating bureaucratic
    superstructure. It provides a golden bridge across which to withdraw from
    Kyoto with dignity.”

    A multiple objective strategy has been analysed by the Copenhagen Consensus. The focused 19 sustainable development goals (SDG) are vastly different to the 169 goals of the UN. The emphasis is on global development – but each of these goals has implications for population and climate. Notably increasing agricultural productivity – which requires taking carbon from the atmosphere and putting it back into soils and vegetation.

    http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/post-2015-consensus/nobel-laureates-guide-smarter-global-targets-2030

    The global economy is worth about $100 trillion a year. To put aid and philanthropy into perspective – the total is 0.025% of the global economy. If spent on Copenhagen Consensus smart development goals such expenditure can generate a benefit to cost ratio of more than 15. If spent on the UN Sustainable Development Goals you may as well piss it up against a wall. Either way – it is nowhere near the major path to universal prosperity. Some 3.5 billion people make less than $2 a day. Changing that can only be done by doubling and tripling global production – and doing it as quickly as possible. Optimal economic growth is essential and that requires an understanding and implementation of explicit principles for effective economic governance of free markets. I apologise for the extra long comment – but not for solutions that increase economic growth.

    Returning carbon to soils and ecosystems has major benefits in addition to offsetting anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion, land use conversion, soil cultivation, continuous grazing and cement manufacturing. Restoring soil carbon stores increases agronomic productivity and enhances global food security. Increasing the soil organic content enhances water holding capacity and creates a more drought tolerant agriculture – with less downstream flooding. There is a critical level of soil carbon that is essential to maximising the effectiveness of water and nutrient inputs. Global food security, especially for countries with fragile soils and harsh climate such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, cannot be achieved without improving soil quality through an increase in soil organic content. Wildlife flourishes on restored grazing land helping to halt biodiversity loss. Reversing soil carbon loss is a new green revolution where conventional agriculture is hitting a productivity barrier with exhausted soils and increasingly expensive inputs.

    Increased agricultural productivity, increased downstream processing and access to markets build local economies and global wealth. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food – thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions. A global program of agricultural soils restoration is the foundation for balancing the human ecology. Many countries have committed to increasing soil carbon by 0.4% per year. As a global objective and given the highest priority it is a solution to critical problems of biodiversity loss, development, food security and resilience to drought and flood.

    • Ocean states shift rapidly between regimes as tremendous energies cascade through powerful sub-systems – a concise description of the stadium wave.

      Because of their vast extent and high “thermal inertia,” rapidly shifting oceanic states are a convenient figment of imagination! It is paradigms of thought that shift rapidly in a field that has scant dynamical understanding of geophysical systems. The notion that “tremendous energies cascade through powerful sub-systems” is as empty a hand-waving explanation as the imputed “stadium wave” synchronicity of multi-decadal surface temperature variations. No experienced oceanographer can take such bald assertions seriously. But they do make good fodder for blog-lions.

      • The shifts are in oceanic and atmospheric circulation – which have climate implications. Very obvious in the data.

        Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. #8220;This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

        Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.” https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        It appears to be something recognised by oceanographers – and I have read many over the years and decades. Comes with the hydrological territory.

        Cascading energies relate to positive and negative feedback in components of complex, dynamical systems. In the case of climate – with a signal that propagates around the planet.

        But here it seems I am just correcting the misconceptions of a blog jackal.

      • But here it seems I am just correcting the misconceptions of a blog jackal. jackal.

        Ad hominems fail to conceal that the misconceptions lie on the other side. As is evident from their reference to the multi-decadal PDO, neither Patzert nor Willis embrace the notion of abrupt, truly “rapid” shifts in oceanic climate, which has never been the study domain of hydrologists. [In fact, SIO will not accept a hydrology degree as qualification for graduate studies in oceanography.] Nor do they resort to gimmicky “stadium wave” explanations, based upon nothing more than temperature indices, in dealing with bona fide oceanic physics.

      • If you don’t like the ad hom – chose another way to begin discourse.

        I began decades ago with drought and flood dominated regime in eastern Australia. It evolved from an observation that streams had changed form in the lte 1970’s. It was ultimately traced to Pacific conditions. 90% of terrestrial rainfall originates in the oceans. Both the PDO and linked changes in the frequency and intensity of ENSO events.

        Blue to 1976, red to 1998 and a bit indeterminate since.

        The temporal patter of the PDO is the same. Imagine that. The transitions between climate states is evidently abrupt.

        “We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system.” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/full

        The first is mainstream oceanography –
        and we would be hard pressed to find any person knowledgeable in fields from biology to hydrology who wasn’t familiar with these fundamental modes of climate variability. The climate shifts are quite obviously abrupt – as is the fundamental nature of complex dynamical systems.

        You wander all over the place, change ground, claim the authority of people you don’t know for erroneous notions and hand wave about discipline boundaries you seem clueless about.

        Just because you haven’t heard it in one of your blogospheric echo chambers means zilch. Try some actual science instead.

      • But they do make good fodder for blog-lions.

        Start with nonsense and then pretend to injured innocence when I respond with blog jackal? But when it is your only strategy… ya might as well try it on.

      • David Springer

        Hey John, a rapid shift in oceanic climate would require a massive amount of energy to enter the ocean in a short period of time. The TOA energy imbalance is 0.5W/m2 therefore unless that changes in a huge way it’s all the energy available for ocean warming. Th current amount of excess energy entering the ocean is enough to warm the basin top to bottom 0.2C per century.

        Please explain how your “notion” of rapid shift in oceanic climate is supposed to happen. What’s the mechanism? How does the ocean rapidly gain the energy that would require?

      • David Springer

        Nevermind that John. I see you’re actually disputing the notion of rapid shift in oceanic climate. I agree with you.

      • The energy imbalance is an assumptions that oceans move steadily from a cooler to a warmer state. Oceans in fact warm and cool annually due to north/south asymmetry and from the bottom up with heat from the mantle. If you do the math a better assumption is that instead of losing all of that heat to space – with extra CO2 some of the heat is retained and the planet warms.

        Any warming is assumed to be greenhouse gases – and the imbalance is measured in the oceans. The reality is that there is huge natural variation at TOA and that the imbalance is zero twice a year – as well as notably around 2008. The point at which oceans stopped cooling and warmed again.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2017/01/12/an-earnest-discovery-of-climate-causality/

        A previous generation of instruments suggest a temperature peak in the oceans late last century. Mostly the result of reduced cloud cover associated with warm Pacific sea surface temperatures.

        But we talking about coupled ocean/atmospere circulation modes. Specifically more or less upwelling in the eastern and equatorial Pacific – no biggie there – that are plausibly triggered by secular variation in the polar annular modes.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2017/01/12/an-earnest-discovery-of-climate-causality/

        Is Springer really wanting to wave away the PDO and ENSO?

      • This was meant to be the first link – https://watertechbyrie.com/2017/02/18/21st-century-climate-data-gives-new-insight/

        There is a wealth of data here – by all means interpret it differently – but the sort of arm waving going on here means SFA.

      • Just because you haven’t heard it in one of your blogospheric echo chambers means zilch. Try some actual science instead.

        When the claim is made that the multi-decadal PDO index shows that the “transitions between climate states is [sic!] evidently abrupt,” based merely on the polarity-indicating color change of the graph, the sheer silliness of the claim becomes apparent. By that token, ANY oscillation that goes through zero–no matter how long or gradual–is an “abrupt” transition.

        And when someone who patently fails to comprehend what scientific point is being made by experienced professionals, but displays his Wiki-expertise daily in lengthy off-the-point blog comments, the pathetic irony of his words quoted above becomes glaring.

      • Just because you haven’t heard it in one of your blogospheric echo chambers means zilch. Try some actual science instead.

        When the claim is made that the multi-decadal PDO index shows that the “transitions between climate states is [sic!] evidently abrupt,” based merely on the polarity-indicating color change of the graph, the sheer silliness of the claim becomes apparent. By that token, ANY oscillation that goes through zero–no matter how long or gradual–is an “abrupt” transition.

        And when someone who patently fails to comprehend what scientific point is being made by experienced professionals, but displays his Wiki-expertise daily in lengthy off-the-point blog comments, the pathetic irony of his words quoted above becomes glaring.

      • Please replace the 5:52pm comment by that submitted at 5:53pm.

      • Economic growth is maximised with trade and innovation. Both enhance productivity. There is of course the argument that exponential growth in a finite world is impossible – arguably not. But at this stage of global development there is a fundamental need – from both a humanitarian and ecological perspective – for as much growth as we can get as quickly as possible.

        Adding costs to energy as subsidies, taxes, caps or regulation reduces economic productivity and have achieved next to nothing in carbon abatement. It is a policy failure motivated in part by economic degrowth agendas. But there are other ways forward in both energy and agricultural science. The French 4 per 1000 initiative aims for a billion tonnes of carbon sequestration per year. The ultimate potential is for sequestration of 100 billion tonnes. But there are much broader objectives of food security, flood and drought resilience, biodiversity conservation and income growth.

        And only truly cost competitive energy sources will enable a transition to low carbon generation. The rest is all just motivated nonsense.

      • “We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system.” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/abstract

        John seems to specialise in hand waving, denying science and denigration. I find it all incomprehensible nonsense but that’s the blogosphere for you. Note that I have referenced dozens of eminent scientists – John argues his own authority as an anonymous blogger. Says it all really.

  26. Great post Judith. Maybe those journalists and others like them can help change perceptions. But there’s huge social inertia to work against. The widespread belief in the certainty of imminent (decades) climate calamity is not ultimately owed to flawed reasoning about the issues raised in this post (reasoning is theoretically still an objective process even when through lack of knowledge or missed steps it goes wrong). This belief is owed to the effect whereby in certain circumstances, such as an original strong dearth of knowledge, and iteratively within society, emotive selection can trump veracity. And once large swathes of society are emotively engaged with a belief (in this case of the *certainty* of imminent climate calamity), they will work actively to defend it. As will many scientists embedded in that society. Hence the potent reaction against Brett Stevens, who didn’t express the even more unpalatable prospect to believers, which as you point out is that CC understanding is not even a matter of probabilities. The size of this social inertia is made very obvious by the fact that, until the recent Trump administration, practically all the most influential Western leaders (and even including the Pope) for many years have trumpeted the certainty of climate catastrophe in the most emotive and critically urgent terms, along with the orgs beneath them. This is the authority narrative that ultimately drives main policy. Against this, the bravely expressed evolving reason of those such as Revkin and Stephens seems still to be a nascent perception and, comparatively, a very modest force indeed. However, social process is also non-linear and practically impossible to predict, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

    • AW, thanks for that comment. I had not thought about emotional inertia before. Explains Obama and the Pope. Does not explain Mann or Santer or Hansen.

      • Hi Rud. I think the behavior of many climate scientists, maybe these 3 included, can plausibly be explained by emotional engagement. When major new religions arise, they do not turn on like a switch. Rather they have deep roots going back in time to long before they become obvious on the world stage, within particular segments of society or geographical regions or both, where preferential selection of emotive memes in more favorable conditions leads to early expression at those spots. And belief in the certainty of climate calamity arises due to the same mechanisms as religions. So consider scientists at those hot-spots, of which indeed segments of environmentally orientated academia appear to be one of the hottest and earliest. Scientists are just people, as even Lewandowsky says: “Nonetheless, being human, scientists’ operate with the same cognitive apparatus and limitations as every other person”. So as co-evolving narratives of calamity take hold due to a high selective value that trumps veracity (selection preference being due to fear and a raft of other emotions, including +ve ones such as hope, which is very powerful too) many of the scientists embedded in those social hot-spots will both be carried along by the local tide, and as they become older and more influential, will become powerful contributors to the much stronger tide as this breaks out into the wider world (and hence ensnaring many more younger scientists too). A key enabling factor is a dearth of knowledge about how the climate works, which helps prevent the emotive memes being short-circuited back to reality.

        If you want to see the self-admission of this process you need look no further than the link below, where 43 climate and environmental scientist confess their relationship to climate change. For the great majority, this is not only dominated by a raft of powerful emotions both +ve (e.g. hope of salvation) and -ve (e.g. great fears for children / grandchildren), the posited scenarios bear little or no resemblance to the mainstream position (e.g. taking the IPCC technical papers as a benchmark), for instance being highly speculative about impacts, to say the least. Such speculation expressed as a certainty of calamity is an emotive belief and nothing to do with science, yet these personal relationships are freely volunteered and are not out of context in some pressured interview or some-such. Out of several key characteristics that spring from such a relationship with the issue, one will be a highly emotive defense of the consensus on calamity, and another is that their position is not driven primarily by dishonesty or indeed any objective considerations good or bad, but in the main from an honestly felt passion (which doesn’t rule out some, in fact sometimes a lot, of morphing to noble cause corruption). Fear and hope and anxiety and the rest are strong drivers, to the extent that they can blind people even to everyday realities or contradictions.

        Ben Santer had his degree and doctorate from the university of East Anglia. An early hot-spot if ever there was one. One of the letters at the link is from Michael Mann. It conveys the classic memes of ‘catastrophe’ plus children / grandchildren invocations and in this case the list of emotions being: concern, bemusement, frustration, disgust, anger, and hope. ‘Most of all hope’ – which derives from ‘faith’ that we (humanity) will act in time. Faith is very powerful too. The process of objective science is extremely fragile in the face of such a powerful array of emotions running so high in those who are supposed to be its detached practicioners. I think Hansen’s highly emotive comparison of AGW to the holocaust via coal ‘death train’ metaphors speaks for itself. It’s rather moot to wonder whether these scientists are more drivers than driven; they are part of an emergent social process which runs on emotive selection. Perhaps in former times they were more the latter, and latter times more the former.

        My guest post here from 2015, ‘Contradiction on emotional bias in the climate domain’, links to and categorizes further freely offered emotive expressions from climate / environmental scientists, including the ‘Scared Scientists’ and some ‘from the heart’ videos.

        http://www.isthishowyoufeel.com/this-is-how-scientists-feel.html

      • Andy, very interesting. I have many friends who are educated and well-meaning, oriented to helping others – as I am, but they are far to the left of me – who are totally resistant to the material I post which debunks the climate scare, and to my arguments that whether or not further warming might occur and might be dangerous, destroying our economy in the present (as Australia is doing) through mad energy and emissions policies will severely reduce our capacity to deal with any adverse impacts of climate change (or anything else). Their behaviour fits your analysis. FYI, I first got involved in the alleged CAGW issue (in the 1980s) because of concerns about it, as I learned more I became increasingly sceptical.

      • Yes, in the US and Oz particularly, climate culture and left wing culture are strongly allied, which makes those on the left statistically more vulnerable to the emotive CC memes of calamity. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that nevertheless, there are still (at least) 3 distinct cultures in a mapping of the domain like that below for the US.

        …and this same type of map can be drawn for other cultures, like the religious one that spawns creationism for instance. Likewise 3 cultures, but this time the stronger alliance is with the right not left (and probably because religion has been around for far longer, it is also more deeply embedded on both sides).

        It is hard to unconvince folks of *certainty* (in this case of calamity) when they are committed to this primarily through emotive engagement rather than reason. As you note, challenging reason is merely rejected. This is particularly the case when indeed calamity remains a possibility, and our knowledge of the system is so poor that as Judith notes this is still only a possibilistic thing not a probabilistic thing.

        I think there is an extra vulnerability for scientists, because for a system covering a large array of specialisms, each scientist only occupies / knows about one small cell in this array. It is in the assembling of cells to obtain a net picture that the biggest opportunity for bias and emotive influence occurs. There’s a sense in which each scientist is believing the overall bias in the result, yet the emergent consensus is more a product of social process than the science from any of the cells.

      • P.S. above was to Faustino.

      • P.P.S. red, blue and green each represent a cultural position,

      • Some more links:

        The ‘Scared Scientists’, emotion in action, from which fear will propagate.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/25/nick-bowers_n_5701202.html

        ‘Morethanscientists’ demonstrates that they are indeed all still humans, and hence vulnerable to powerful emotive responses which are freely expressed, and cannot do other than impact objectivity.
        http://morethanscientists.org/

      • The following finding indicates that the pope’s ability to judge certain types of information correctly might be questionable:
        «Furthermore, both ontological confusions and religious belief were positively correlated with BS receptivity.» (Section: 7 Results; Page 553 )
        Paper: On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound BS
        In the Journal: Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015, pp. 549–563

  27. To determine if something or nothing should be done as soon as possible the best approach is to first simplify that determinate (perhaps in steps).

    First, can we disprove that a tipping point exists (shortly) down the road. If this can be disproved then we should be able to simply wait, do nothing. If technologies come along (fusion reactors) we don’t have to spend $$$ and other resources in really silly ways to power a national grid.

    As Mark Twain commented “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

    Of course one must temper the above, coming from a proud and experienced procrastinator, such as I.

    Note: And yes, the opening line above can be read as … doing nothing … as soon as possible. Smiles.
    AL

    • “We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system.”
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/abstract

      There are likely to be 4 tipping points this century.

      • David Springer

        re; 4 tipping points

        Great. Now let’s turn that narrative (hypothesis) into some science. Attach 4 dates to those tipping points (make predictions) and then we’ll wait to see if they happen.

      • 1912, 1944. 1976, 1998 and in a window of 2018-2028. Predicting the future is hard.

  28. I would think also, about this 2 or 2.5 Degree C thing, that if we are going to use temperature rise as a guideline to when something must be done (or too late – don’t bother) the temperature rise time should start from about 2,000 years ago, which would mean we have about another 2 or 2.5 Degrees C to go.

  29. Geoff Sherrington

    There is an implicit assumption that society as a whole should spend money on those harmed by climate change. I hold the counter view derived with help from examples like these.
    Harm often hits at personal level, such as by food scarcity, loss of home, loss of energy source. These can happen from events remote from cc. A careless cigarette can destroy a home, a forest – but the remedy has long been the option of paying for personal insurance. This would seem to apply also to some cc outcomes like sea level change if indeed it has a man-made component.
    I dispute the need to create standing funds ahead of uncertain harm. In the past, there have been many an ad hoc response to large scale harm, like sending in the military. Sending in medical teams has headed off disease spread. Because large episodic cc harm is not common, it would be a waste of resources to have disaster teams sitting waiting.
    The uncertainty monster has to play a major part in planning. If that reduces knee jerk planning, so much the better. History has many examples of voluntary human kindness following harm including weather harm like hurricanes. It would be wrong to diminish kindness by replacing it with bureaucratic structures. There is a lot of planning proposing to do just that.
    In a nutshell, why should community imposts be mandatory when informal kindness and insurance can work well? And how can attribution of harm to climate be made given the unresolved uncertainty?
    The cc demands are but another example of greed by a planning minority, trying to impose cost structures on all people for easier control of them. Megalomania posing as concern.
    Geoff

    • Here’s the other red mewt from the LSE.

      “The Paper therefore proposes that the organising principle of our effort should be the raising up of human dignity via three overarching objectives: ensuring energy access for all; ensuring that we develop in a manner that does not undermine the essential functioning of the Earth system; ensuring that our societies are adequately equipped to withstand the risks and dangers that come from all the vagaries of climate, whatever their cause may be.”

      http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27939/1/HartwellPaper_English_version.pdf

      Why the hell should we plan ahead for natural disasters?

  30. There are two kinds of uncertainty. One is when dealing with a random event. So, one is uncertainty about what number will next come up on a roulette wheel. But, climate uncertainty is the other type. It’s about our ignorance. When the IPCC says it’s highly likely that equliblibrium climate sensitivity is between 1.5 and 4.5 deg C, that’s not because climate sensitivity fluctuates randomly. It’s because scientists’ knowledge is limited. Presumably ECS is a particular figure, but we don’t know what that figure is.

  31. Even if you claim complete ignorance of the warming effect, you can with a fair amount of confidence predict the CO2 level under various scenarios in 2100. These range from a BAU population and development growth with its corresponding per-capita CO2 growth giving you 700 ppm and rising rapidly at 2100, versus realistic mitigation efforts that gradually reduce per-capita emissions over the decades resulting in stabilization below 500 ppm. Given these scenarios, you can decide which you prefer and what gain there is from mitigation. That is the starting point, and there is little uncertainty with this part. Argue about what CO2 status you want at 2100. Some may say they prefer having 700 ppm and rising to having below 500 ppm and stable, and they can try to make that case. Thinking about it this way focuses the mind and puts the uncertainty in its right place which is after we have made our policy decision. Some policies or no policy at all lead to a much more uncertain state than mitigation policies that leave us closer to the current state.

    • “The final section sets down the principles that should underpin a viable engagement with climate security. In it, we take a radically different approach from the top-down command and regulatory regime of output targets that is Kyoto. Our approach is both older and simpler. It sets out to
      harness enlightened self-interest to drive a process designed to generate a range of possible solutions, which can be compared and assessed, mixed and matched, changed and refined as we pursue the goal of climate security.” http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27939/1/HartwellPaper_English_version.pdf

      Absolutely – doing the same thing over will produce a different result.

  32. Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

  33. The beauty of knowing causal laws or strong correlations is the ability to increase our knowledge of the possible future states of the world. It helps decrease the entropy of this knowledge and thus enables the extraction of more useful energy.

    Without such knowledge (deep uncertainty) it is advisable to stay with the maximum entropy state. In such cases it will be optimal to assume the world of tomorrow will be like today and adjust if necessary.

    Thats actually what insurance is about. Current policy ideas haven’t much to with taking out insurance. Insurance companies don’t try to handicap the next storm track and fortify buildings accordingly or trying to calm down the wind. They simply stay put wait how things turn out and pay the damage. The philosophy is about handicapping the damage correctly and taking precautions that there are enough resources to make quick repairs.
    They only demand that their clients don’t engage in dumb behavior.

    Avoiding dumb behavior is the other way to handle risks. But using fossil fuels isn’t dumb behavior but the precondition for the life and survival of billions of people. Preventing their use before there is a viable alternative is an attempt to kill people as a precaution to save them from the possibility to commit suicide some day. If there are viable alternatives they will spread naturally without need of special policies different from a free market.

    Fostering the development of such alternatives makes perfect sense. To a certain extent at least, you can’t force innovation when the complementary elements are simply not there. And politically motivated voluntarism isn’t a substitute for such knowledge and innovation. In the meantime keep the system efficient and people calibrated to the real world.

  34. “In Oliver Cromwell’s famous words, we plead that your officials consider, in the bowels of Christ, that they may be mistaken. No doubt in good faith, Britain led the world into legislating on the narrative of catastrophic climate emergency during its apogee years of
    2005-09 and on the flawed principles of top-down timetables, targets and trading that crashed at Copenhagen last December. If you haven’t, you should listen to Der Spiegel’s secret tape of the heads of
    state failing. (It was Nicolas Sarkozy calling the Chinese hypocrites that really did it.) So would it not be a splendid early tonic for the Con-Lib coalition if Britain could find the courage to admit error, correct that error and become one of those countries that lead the way out of the wreckage, rather than go on head-banging?” http://www.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/units/mackinder/pdf/GPStandpointJune10.pdf

  35. I think the above comment makes a massive assumption, that CO2 levels are the cause, rather than a symptom of warming, that numeric computer models can be made to fit without understanding the actual mechanisms causing the change well, sometimes not including unknown or unmeasureable variables at all, except as slack variables amenable to 4×2 mathematical empiricism. etc.

    To me all this denies the ocean circulation problem which decouples thermal change from our own activities from global warming by hundreds of years, with the majority of planetary surface energy stored and mixed in the oceans, much less in the atmosphere which is driven by the oceans. In reality models are more like neural nets, and as relaible outside their data ranges, than firmly based in proven science. They only correlate CO2 levels with temperature as a probability, they don’t prove a law, or laws, of physicical cause and effect so should not be used to predict/extrapolate other than as a guess. Only interpolation is reliable. Too many variables, non-linear stochastic system, no control planet.

    And, again, this is all largely relevant smokescreen, as the FUD this gueswork in used to promote is then used to promote the absolute science denail of renewable energy on the grid, supposedly to “mitigate” the unproven cause of human caused CO2, using guilt by association AKA circumstantial evidence from the “models” described above – that is in fact not NOT science that proves any laws or causality. These renewable snake oil remedies actually make net CO2 emissions expensively worse vs better unsubsidised solutions, for massive profit by law, and provide no long term sustainable energy solution to protect wealth and allow developed economies to defend themselves against natural or AGW related climate change after fossil energy has gone. Wholly regressive for grid supply in most temperate countries. on the science facts of energy.

    FACT: After fossil ONLY nuclear power can deliver enough energy to power a develped economy, affordably, sustainably, when needed. Renewable sources just can’t.

    Renewable energy as the mainstay of a developed economy’s grid supply is the real science denial, that physicists should deny with one voice. It’s simple, it’s not climate science no one can ever prove or disprove. It’s a fraud on the easy to enumerate science fact. Why not simply disprove the supposed solution? The maths is simple, the laws proven. The end game obvious.

    End the renewable subsidies, justified on the overtly fraudulent assertion they are a deliverable cure for CO2 emissions that may or may not cause AGW. Support solutions that work on the science fact.

    Unprovable cliamte science that brooks no scientific challenge is used to justify what makes its supposed cause worse. That is why the people behind this want the debate to stay away from provable energy physics and focus on unprovable climate model forecasts, a version of religious belief, and their supposed economic impact – determined by an additional layer of suspect economic modelling the IPCC uses to assess threat levels. See the recent Dilbert cartoon on this. Scott Adams also did a cartoon on the precautionary principle, which is equally easy to lampoon if you are rational and outside science. And not in the irrational fear for profit industries.

    Everything is done to keep the discussion away from the hard science facts of costed energy engineering, that renewable energy denies when presented as a viable way to substantively power most developed economies’ grids, saving hydro in Paraguay and Norway.. But why doesn’t anyone want to focus on the absolute science denial and the waste of subsidy money of the snake oil solutions?

    If the renewable fraud goes away we can prefer to build what works instead. This can actually maximse CO2 reduction with technically viable long term solutions, climate change science can settle into a more sensible and scientific monitoring role, and we can use the huge amount of money saved from funding an undeliverable solution to defend, adapt and eventually move the only technological civilisation the planet has ever seen, probably, out of the way of the next ice age.

    This is the next very clearly predictable event driven by forces more powerful than most atmospheric climate scientists can possibly imagine (like 30% actual gravitational variability on the Earths internal structures pa, as well as solar radiation, at Milankovitch extremes might be a clue to how the oceans suddenly warm and end the ice ages in a geological blink in time (tectonic punctures warming the ocean arising from variable stress and/or molten iron core instability of our internal nuclear reactor anyone? That’s real macro hammer blow stuff, on longish but not geological time scales, not 0.04% of low heat capacity atmosphere changing a tad, surely more probably a consequence of what the planet and solar system is up to. Not us.

    Whatever, change is gonna come, from causes we can dcoument but don’t understand and can never prove ex ante, so we had better use our knowledge and treasure wisely over 100’s of generations to engineer our own survival by preparedness. Cities and nations will have to relocate, Oceans will fall 100 metres, etc. This is a change. It is so self evidently wrong for serious scientists to angst on about what is self evidently unexceptional short term noise within the tiny range of an interglacial maximum, for the cynical profit of a few short lived human carpet baggers whose ony interests are selfish exploitation of irrational fear, while jeopardisig a response that can actually deliver through their complicity in the actual renewable science denial fraud.

    So. Never mind whether or not AGW is significant, why don’t physicists suppport what delivers the most CO2 reducing, affordable, adequate, sustainable, safest energy supply on the measured and provable science facts? Because that also best ensures our prosperity, brings developed status and stability to those who don’t yet have it to stablilise the human planet, removing rich and poor nations vested interests, and hence enabling the future ability and institutions to cope with global responses for all mankind as the climate cools and the glaciers come for many, desert blooms, etc.

    First job for real physicists. Start by ending the renewable subsidy fraud on the easy to demonstrate energy science facts. “Save the planet” by preferring proven energy science that can to the outright science denial of renewable energy sources. Not a serious solution..

    SUMMARY: Why do responsible physicists instead waste any time debating the obvious and unprovable on the facts science denial of climate change numerical models, which is mostly about providing “expert evidence” for profitable, regressive and decitful in science fact political agendas, exploiting these unprovable beliefs for easy money by law?

    To illustrate the simple and cynical process used by politicias and pressure groups to promote the climate change justified energy fraud I end with a rewrite of Goering at Nurenburg, re stated for climate change and its consequences in the energy poverty, social and economic macro level effects.

    “Naturally, the common people don’t want expensive, rationed and unreliable energy, the destruction of their farming culture and the vandalism of their environment.

    But, after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist state, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

    Voice or no voice, the people can always be bought to the bidding of the leaders.

    This is easy. All you have to do is tell them the planet is in danger of climate catastrophe, caused by CO2 emissions they are responsible for but cannot test or see, and denounce those who question this for lack of belief and exposing the country to danger.

    It works the same in very country.”

    Nothing much changes, in the method or the people who do this, and the gullible opinionated and tribal masses they exploit. Seems knowledge and education doesn’t help most understand, or want to understand. So I suggest real scientists just stick to telling people how they have been lied to for a fast buck by politicians, because that’s what happened, and climate scientists have supported the lie, that climate change = renewable enrgy that can’t, expensively.

    Caveat: I may have repeated myself :-). All peer reviewed criticism on the facts welcome. All the above energy statements are fully supported by data in relevant papers. Or you can check a grid enrgy mix and the CO2 and energy different scenarios produce. It’s not climate science. CEng, CPhys MBA

    • What are climate models made of,
      what are climate models made of?
      Clocks but not clouds or
      CO2-lagging-temperature scales,
      that’s what climate models are made of.

      • I am into researching the effects of Milankovitch extremes causing increased oceanic warming – from increased mobility of the tectonic plates, which would be cyclic and not random in terms of gloabl aactivity variation.. Jupiters gravitation causes Io to be a highly volcanic fireball in deep space, and the lack of plates cooked Venus, as they recycle the CO2 from volcanoes, apparently Venus has some serious volcanoes producing CO2 and water vapour, but new where for it to go. Sun’s gravity on Earth is a huge fore, 180 times our Moon’s. I believe the atmosphere is merely a the effects of much larger causal forces , whatever the atmosphere does to itself, it’s a second order factor in the long term climate. CLiamte scientists are simply looking in the wrong place fror the dominant casues of cliamte change.

        Work in progress.

    • Excellent, should be re-printed in the pro-warming media.

    • I pretty much know there is a CO2 effect – to which we adding 9 billion tonnes a year.

      And it is understood how it works.

      • But you don’t and cannot know whether this correlates with climate change and the significance of the effect. Tempreatures go down while CO2 is going up, etc. If you look at the actual climate cycles over various time scales we are, in fact, in a very short warm snap of an interglacial and due to return to ice age over the next 1,000, or so, probably already on the way, and no return from under the increasing ice ice until the next MIlankovitch extreme kicks off another interglacial on the currently reliable sawtooth.

        The extent of any warming from CO2, and from human related CO2, is a hypothesis AKA a guess, and the models cannot prove how much AGW there is within this, only guess, so far overestimate through overzealous parametric exaggeration and then have to correct the models for the real data afterwards. For proven science you need a control planet and the ability to determine the effect of each component of the model separately in contolled conditions, especially with non linear stochastic numeric models – that can not ever predict the relative effects beyond their ranges reliably. These are not a simple linear model with controllable variables. We already know the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere become less as the deviations increase, so Gaia AKA natural negative feedback in the system is at work, through greening, water absorption, etc. Has kept us within limits for several Billion years under much more extreme perturbations. I note we now believe Venus is a ver heated CO2 atmospheric mess because it has no plate Tectonics, which release the CO2 and water vapour from volcanoes BUT also re cycle it, which Venus does not. Our tectonics are set to end in time….

        BUT the point I make is that its likely none of this Earthly created atmospheric effect is a significant or primary cause, and some combinarion of MUCH more powerful Milankovitch cycles, combining 30% variation in gravity and solar radiation during a year, cause the oceans to warm and affects the atmosphere positively, over the hundreds of years the Oceans can store the heat (but the air cannot), and this happens very suddenly, geologically speaking, at the depth of inter glacial maximums.

        FInally, as the Greenland GISP2 and other evidence shows, we had a period on a flat line temperature peak from maybe 7K years after the last warming, after which average temperatures over a few hundred years smoothing have been falling steadilly for the last 2K years. The current uptick is relatively small and from the bottom of the range, which is why the deceivers only show it from where it started, hiding the context of the warmer long term interglacial we built out civilisation within, in fact eve the curent noise is hardly a Hockey stick in fact, and not even anomolous with the record. Just fear mongering to justify some bery bad actions that are making it owrse, for profit.

        Of course, the hockey stick was simply a bogus claim by wannabe celebrity scientists prepared to tell politicians what they wanted to hear for their own wealth and fame, not serious scientist who respect scientific method and rigorous proof and doubt and independent challenge by experts, or thery would not have made the claims in the way they did, which are false on the science fact.

        AS Lovelock pointed out, the effects of deviations in CO2 appear to decrease as the level increases.

        BUT, climate change is very real, and we need to prepare over the next few thousand years, or become Neanderthal 2.0 after the next glaciation.

        If you were to put the GISP2 graph to a student at GCSE or A level to draw a best fit for, using eye or linear regession, there would be two clear lines, and the current one is not UP, nor does the planetary cycle say it should be. DIY. Humans and the industrial revolution are noise in all this. The next ice age IS coming, the short interglacial perturbations are not sustainable, as the record shows, and the current already extended inter glacial will end, is ending, as it has done many times before, for the same massive reasons, whatever they are. The science and data of the record clearly tell us so.

        https://www.dropbox.com/s/s6tczicfryr9gt1/Last%2010K%20Years%20Interglacial%20Temps%20from%20Grennland%20Ice%20Cores.jpg?dl=0Grrenland GISP2 TemperatureSince10700 BP with CO2 from EPICA DomeC.gif

    • For brianrlcatt re yours on May 20, 2017 at 8:39 am;

      “FACT: After fossil ONLY nuclear power can deliver enough energy to power a develped economy, affordably, sustainably, when needed. Renewable sources just can’t.”

      Not so. Nuclear power as presently practiced for commercial electricity production can never, ever, be the long-term source for a developed economy. See the multiple reasons why Nuclear power is a futile, ultimately wasted effort as eloquently described in “Is Nuclear Power Globally Scalable?” Abbot, D., Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 99, No. 10, pp. 1611–1617, 2011. see link at

      http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=6021978

      Professor Abbot lists more than one dozen items against long-term dependence on nuclear power:

      1. Not enough plant sites (away from population, near cooling water, etc)
      2. Land area required per plant
      3. Embrittlement problem (metal bombarded by radiation cannot be recycled, it is forever wasted)
      4. Entropy problem
      5. Nuclear waste disposal
      6. Nuclear accident rate problem (more accidents as more reactors are built, and built in third-world countries)
      7. Proliferation (of atomic-based weapons)
      8. Energy of extraction (mining dilute ores for uranium)
      9. Uranium resource limits (more costly as cheap sources are exhausted)
      10. Seawater extraction for uranium (very costly and energy intensive)
      11. Fast Breeder Reactors
      12. Fusion Reactors
      13. Materials Resources (materials of construction, lack of rare alloy metals)
      14. Elemental diversity

      The above are the facts. Nuclear power cannot possibly overcome the enormous hurdles of reducing costs, increasing safety, obtaining adequate materials for construction, and sites for construction.

      In addition to Professor Abbot’s points, a nuclear-powered grid necessitates the nuclear plants operating at less than full load, so that electricity prices would skyrocket.

      As to your unsupported assertion that “Renewable sources just can’t,” of course they can, and they do. Renewable energy sources include, among other things,

      Biomass
      Biogas
      Hydroelectric
      Pressure recovery hydroelectric
      Geothermal
      Wind onshore (several technologies including VAWT and HAWT)
      Wind offshore (VAWT and HAWT)
      Solar thermal (power tower, trough, and dish)
      Solar photovoltaic (PV) (multiple technologies with varying conversion)
      Solar algae production
      Solar ponds
      River mouth osmosis
      Waves (ocean)
      Tides
      Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)
      Ocean current
      Run-of-river

      There are, of course, many others that are behind Non-Disclosure Agreements, being researched and developed by many teams world-wide.

      One of the most fascinating technologies, but beset with practical problems is deep ocean temperature difference Rankine power cycle placed at hot thermal vents along the ocean floor.

      — BS chemical engineering, attorney-at-law
      author https://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com

  36. Another sign that the Earth has gone from GLOBAL ICE MELTING to GOLOBAL ICE MAKING. The Arctic Ocean has turned over. This means the water on the bottom is 39 degrees and 32 degrees at the top. This means the addition of 800 ft of ice on the top has forced the edges lower into the warmer wqter. The edge is melting from the bottom up, thus the increase in icebergs. One of your readers said he has never seen so mush ice breaking off.

    Robert D. Clark

  37. JC: “So it is good to see these acknowledgements of uncertainty in journalistic thought leaders in the climate debate. But the Uncertainty Monster is a tricky dude, it doesn’t help to oversimplify him.”

    So the Uncertainty Monster is male, while Mother Nature is female. If the two get together and chemistry happens between them, how likely are their offspring to become pro-growth, pro-business capitalists as opposed to anti-growth, anti-business climate change activists?

  38. A couple of quotes to bring up. One by Orzel
    “Even if you don’t believe the worst claims for climate change, you can do way better than “Well, maybe it won’t happen…” Choosing not to make the effort to engage quantitatively is both lazy and dishonest.”
    This was just dismissed by Judith without much thought and needs another attempt.

    The other relates to the deep-seated fear among skeptics about the mitigation policy itself.
    “By radically changing global energy policies in a top down way, are we risking continued poverty in the developing world? Risks to our food supply?”
    One can substitute the words “global energy policies” with “global climate change” and get the starting point for the UN. They view climate change as a foremost problem for the developing world from their perspective of trying to reduce poverty and improve living conditions and the environment.

    • Jim D: Choosing not to make the effort to engage quantitatively is both lazy and dishonest.”

      Informatively for the rest of us, Californians are engaged in a project of expanding their solar and wind generating capacity, and expanding high speed rail transportation, while neglecting their flood control and irrigation infrastructure. We can engage quantitatively with that strategy as the results play out.

      I do not know who exactly you refer to as choosing not to make the effort to engage quantitatively. Professor Curry (!), I, Rud Istvan, Turbulent Eddy, Capt Dallas, Planning Engineer, Willis Eschenbach, Robert Ellison and plenty of others too numerous to mention engage quantitatively here all the time. The people who refuse to “engage quantitatively” are those who adopted a strong anti-CO2 position a decade and more ago and who are resistant to the quantitative information published since then in peer-reviewed journals — you, for example.

      • And how do we quantitatively engage with unknown unknowns, Matt?

        AFAIK, it’s hard to engage with unknown unknowns except with:

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Last time I checked, the Italian Flag has been reduced to handwaving.

      • I think what he means by “engaging quantitatively” means looking at the costs of raised CO2 versus the costs of mitigation. Skeptics fail to do this analysis in any quantitative way. If they did, they would see that mitigation pays off. It’s a big gap in their argument not to have numbers and just posturing or gesticulating about things.

      • David Springer

        It seems to me that raised CO2 is a net benefit in both short and long term. The earth’s measurably getting greener. Agriculture is booming. Frozen wastelands promise to become arable farmland over time. Killer frosts are less frequent. Growing seasons lengthen. Life blossoms.

        In trade the ocean gradually rises and we have to migrate inland where poor long term planning resulted in permanent structures being built very near to sea level. Humans and all other land dwellers have been moving due to changing ocean level for hundreds of millions of years. Migration is a perfectly natural thing. Just do it.

  39. One of the areas of uncertainty that is much reduced since the alarm about warming was first raised in the mid 1980s is uncertainty over the damage accrued since the mid 1880s due to warming: there has been much much less than was feared. Subsidence has proved so far to be a much bigger problem than global sea level rise; the overall effects on vegetation have been beneficial, and the the distributions of the intensities of cyclonic storms have remained about the same. Evidence that anything has worsened because of warming (in contrast to increased property damage from increased building in threatened areas) is sparse.

    Another area of uncertainty that has been much reduced since the mid 1980s is the length of time over which to expect global warming: however much is the actual response to a doubling of CO2 concentration, the doubling isn’t going to happen until about 2150, and may not happen at all (about that, there is still uncertainty regarding how much fossil fuel humans can extract and burn.)

    Overall uncertainty over the climate sensitivities, represented by the persistence of the confidence interval 1.0-4.5 C/doubling, is unchanged, but the more reasonable (and recent) estimates, those not based on broad uniform Bayesian priors (e.g. uniform on the interval 0 – 12 C/doubling) are under 2 C/doubling. (I call them “more reasonable” because they avoid the unsupported broad uniform priors.)

    For people who tout that “science is process, not facts” the irony is that an extreme anti-CO2 policy was formulated before the process of studying CO2-induced warming had gotten underway, and most of the evidence disclosed subsequently by “the process” has gone toward undermining support for the policies.

    • At current rates, doubling (560 ppm) will be reached around 2080. Anything longer builds in a mitigation assumption, and even assuming current rates is a mitigation assumption in per-capita emissions because of global population growth and development. When skeptics start building mitigation into their argument they need to be aware of that concession that they have made. Any per-capita emissions reduction is de facto mitigation, and doesn’t happen without a policy to replace fossil fuel usage or improve energy efficiency.

      • David Springer

        At current rates we’ll have undergone two or more technologic revolutions by 2080. We can science our way out of any problems caused by CO2. I’m a real believer in science. Climate catastrophists are defeatists that lack confidence in science & engineering delivering solutions to future problems. If science, practical science not narrative soft sciences like climate change, fails to deliver it’ll be the first time it failed since the enlightenment!

      • You have that backwards. It is the skeptics who don’t believe in technological solutions, even when there is a global effort on scaling down fossil fuels that has already started. It will take decades, but only needs to be gradual to succeed, which is why I am optimistic about stabilizing CO2 levels well below a doubling by 2100.

      • At current rates, it seems that we may not reach a doubling of the CO2 levels in the atmosphere at all:

        Recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 due to enhanced terrestrial carbon uptake

        “Here using global carbon budget estimates, ground, atmospheric and satellite observations, and multiple global vegetation models, we report a recent pause in the growth rate of atmospheric CO 2, and a decline in the fraction of anthropogenic emissions that remain in the atmosphere, despite increasing anthropogenic emissions. We attribute the observed decline to increases in the terrestrial sink during the past decade, associated with the effects of rising atmospheric CO 2 on vegetation and the slowdown in the rate of warming on global respiration. The pause in the atmospheric CO 2 growth rate provides further evidence of the roles of CO 2 fertilization and warming-induced respiration “

      • Yes, 2080 assumes that the growth rate stops at current values of 2.5 ppm/yr, i.e. that the pause continues. This is optimistic unless we can keep emissions from growing. Uptake is important to consider because it means that we can stabilize CO2 levels near current values even without negative emissions, but that does require a reduction of emissions by about 50% to allow natural processes to keep up. It is very attainable.

      • Can you please identify the source for your claims?

      • Be more specific. Which one do you want me to back up?

      • Sorry, The extrapolation of a 2,5 ppm yearly increase in CO2 level until 2080.

      • 400+2.5*64=560
        2080-2016=64
        CO2 in 2016=400
        560=2*280

      • I was curious about your perspective on the possible emission scenarios. According to this paper. The implications of fossil fuel supply constraints on climate change projections: A supply-side analysis IPCC´s emission scenarios seem to be wildly exaggerated.

        “Based on this analysis, we find that supply constraints on total fossil fuels production are likely to provide an upper-bound to climate change over the time horizon considered in this paper (out to the end of 2100). Specifically, based on the SD-PCU [supply-driven peak conventional & non-conventional fossil fuels’ scenario] emissions scenario, the median atmospheric CO2 concentration, and global-mean surface temperature increase, are likely to reach about 610ppm and 2.63 C respectively by 2100, even when the rapid growth in the production of the non-conventional fossil fuels (specifically, oil and gas) is considered. Note that these results are significantly lower than those projected by the IPCC under its earlier high-emission scenarios, such as SRESA1FI, or in its later high-concentration pathway of RCP8.5. Therefore, we conclude that the IPCC is likely to be overestimating the upper-bound of possible climate change over this time horizon; where this conclusion is supported by most of the ‘peak fossil fuel production’ studies published after the year 2000 that we examined.”

        Notably, the paper conclude that there will be a peak in fossil fuel emissions this century, even if nothing is done to curb the use of fossil fuels:

        “Based on the sources described above, we conclude that a very likely pathway for the total production of all fossil fuel resources in future is to keep increasing in next two decades to reach a maximum at 12.40 Gtoe/yr, and then to decline.”

        If we now take into account that the models used to estimate global temperature as a function of CO2 levels in the atmosphere also seem to overestimate the warming, we seem to meet the 2 degree target without implementing any radical policies at all.

      • > we seem to meet the 2 degree target without implementing any radical policies at all.

        Indeed, Fiction. There’s nothing very radical to envision when consider that by 2050 we’ll reach peak oil. Less and less fossil fuels in our fossil-fuel-based world: what could go wrong?

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        You might have missed that the authors results are in agreement with most climate studies.

      • “You might have missed that the authors results are in agreement with most climate studies.”

        Smoke and mirrors.

        You might have missed that by the study I linked to above:
        – “The emission scenarios used by the IPCC and by mainstream climate scientists are largely derived from the predicted demand for fossil fuels, and in our view take insufficient consideration of the constrained emissions that are likely due to the depletion of these fuels. This paper, by contrast, takes a supply- side view of CO2 emission, and generates two supply-driven emission scenarios based on a comprehensive investigation of likely long-term pathways of fossil fuel production drawn from peer-reviewed literature published since 2000.” – Ref. the abstract

        – The so-called Representative Concentration Pathway
        RCP6, and RCP8.5, in the climate study by United Nations climate panel IPCC, seem to be wildly exaggerated.
        (See figure 4 in the article.)

        – Hence: The frightening scenarios presented by IPCC in the Summary for Policymakers seem to be wildly exaggerated: “Increase of global mean surface temperatures for 2081–2100 relative to 1986–2005 is projected to likely be in the ranges derived from the concentration-driven CMIP5 model simulations, that is, 0.3°C to 1.7°C (RCP2.6), 1.1°C to 2.6°C (RCP4.5), 1.4°C to 3.1°C (RCP6.0), 2.6°C to 4.8°C (RCP8.5).”
        Ref. IPPC;AR5;WGI:SPM page 20

      • Yes, RCP8.5 is high and relies on a coal-happy scenario that most nowadays, even the skeptics, would consider plain dumb despite the coal supplies being there for such a scenario to occur. Oil and gas will run into limits of availability by 2100 and what there is becomes harder to extract, so they will naturally price themselves out of the energy market. Even more reason to look for alternatives before that happens, and that alternative is not coal.

      • @JimD
        The paper I refer to includes coal:
        “The aim of this paper, therefore, is to present a comprehensive analysis in order to understand the impacts of supply constraints of all fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal, and both conventional and non-conventional) on future climate change.”

      • Are they saying coal is running out? Most estimates I have seen before say coal can last hundreds of years unless its rate of use increases a lot, so this is new information from you. Why was everyone before so wrong if this one is right? There’s also the methane clathrates which are a large untapped methane source in the ocean coastal zones of cooler regions, plus whatever oil reserves are in the untapped Arctic Ocean. It’s great if all these sources will run out rather than having to leave them in the ground to stay below 500 ppm, but that is not the case. Either way it argues for transitioning quickly away from fossil fuels, CO2 skeptic or not.

      • @JimD
        Regarding: “Oil and gas will run into limits of availability by 2100 and what there is becomes harder to extract, so they will naturally price themselves out of the energy market. Even more reason to look for alternatives before that happens”

        The problem is that it is not within the mandate of United Nations to do that.:
        United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change UNFCCC
        “The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system . Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”

        It is not within the scope of United Nations to replace fossil fuel for the purpose of providing cost effective energy. The demand / supply mechanism called market economy is likely to take care of that:
        “A market economy is an economic system where decisions regarding investment, production, and distribution are based on the interplay of supply and demand, which determines the prices of goods and services. The major defining characteristic of a market economy is that investment decisions, or the allocation of producer good, are primarily made through capital and financial markets. This is contrasted with a planned economy, where investment and production decisions are embodied in an integrated plan of production established by a state or other organizational body that controls the factors of production.”

        That is the mechanism that United Nations intends to change:
        “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution,”
        – Chistina Figueres – Head of UNFCCC

      • The UN perspective is from that of its goals to reduce poverty and environmental problems. Stabilizing the climate is for this rather practical purpose as it is seen as a threat to a lot of vulnerable communities. The BAU (market-driven) model increasingly damages these communities with no action, and it has to be changed. If there were no victims, the UN would see no reason to change. The market economy is geared towards the wealthier nations with proportionately less concern for those that contribute less to the global GDP, which is a large part of the global population. The UN has a more balanced humanitarian perspective where numbers of people matter more than the dollars they have.

      • «The market economy is geared towards the wealthier nations with proportionately less concern for those that contribute less to the global GDP, which is a large part of the global population.»

        That is simply not how market economy works. Developed countries have promoted development in developing countries by outsourcing their industrial production to developing countries.

      • You are talking about globalization, which I support, as long as it is not just exploitation for profit. This helps but is not motivated to making the environment better in developing countries or helping with poverty in completely undeveloped countries. There is also no market force that ensures good working conditions and fair wages, quite the opposite in fact.

      • By United Nations charter:
        «Article 55
        With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:
          a. higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
          b. solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and»
         
        At least some branch of United Nations got an understanding of energy poverty:
        UNDP and Energy Access for the Poor
        «Some 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity and a billion more have access only to unreliable electricity networks. About 3 billion people rely on solid fuels (traditional biomass and coal) to meet their basic needs. Access to modern energy services for cooking and heating, lighting and communications, and mechanical power for productive uses is a vast area of unmet need.
        Every year, 2 million people – mostly women and children – die as a result of indoor air pollution from household use of solid fuels, burning dung, wood, crop waste and coal in unventilated kitchens.»

        I can not see how the efforts to: curb oil, gas, and coal production; waste energy to capture and store CO2 ; impose complex and unreliable wind and solar powered electrical network; skyrocketing electricity rates; and stop the earth from greening will promote higher standards of living.

        By the way – it has not been demonstrated that there will be more natural disasters by global warming:
        «This means that, for the foreseeable future, policies that reduce disaster losses will be those that focus on increasing disaster preparedness. Linking rising disaster losses to climate change distorts the science and points us away from the policies that can be most effective in preparing for disasters. But the false link between disasters and climate change also distracts us from the many politically pragmatic and economically sensible justifications for accelerating the transition to clean, cheap energy.»
        – Roger Pielke; The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and climate change

        I understand that the fossil fuel reserves eventually will be depleted, but there is no need for United Nations to shoot ourselves in the foot because of that.

      • In the short term, these countries are using very little CO2 per capita and are exempt from reductions. However, as technology allows, solar and wind can be viable, along with renewable biofuels, storage, biomass burning, but it is not an immediate need from Paris for these countries to act so your concern for them is unfounded.

      • > Hence: The frightening scenarios presented by IPCC in the Summary for Policymakers seem to be wildly exaggerated

        Only if by “frightening scenarios” you mean RCP8.5 alone, Fiction.

        Otherwise you’re wilding exaggerating the authors’ conclusion:

        If the contribution of the non-conventional fossil fuels is excluded, i.e. as in the SD-PC scenario developed in this paper, we find that the median atmospheric CO2 concentration, and global-mean surface temperature increase, reach about 550 ppm and 2.33 C respectively by 2100. Unfortunately, these results are significantly higher than the world’s ‘target’ values of 450 ppm and 2 C increase that are the current goals of international effort. Therefore, we conclude that the supply
        constraints of fossil fuels production may be insufficient to solve the climate change problem. Overall, we conclude that future climate change may exceed currently proposed dangerous levels in this century even considering the production limits of the fossil fuel resources
        . This agrees with the conclusions reached by many other climate scientists.

        http://web.cup.edu.cn/peakoil/docs/20170101165044105159.pdf

        Thanks for the paper, and also for wildly exaggerating its conclusion.

      • @ Willard
        I think people should consider The implications of fossil fuel supply constraints on climate change projections: A supply-side analysis Figure 4 – and consider IPCC´s summary for policymakers section: E. Future Global and Regional Climate Change – and judge for themselves who is exaggerating.

      • @JimD
        “Most estimates I have seen before say coal can last hundreds of years unless its rate of use increases a lot, so this is new information from you.”

        May I suggest that you start supporting your claims with references.
        It is really hard for me to relate to what you might have seen.

      • One recent example is here. A lot has to be left in the ground to meet a stabilization below 500 ppm. It won’t simply run out.
        http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648&type=printable

      • For the future, may I also suggest that you cite the exact statements you refer to or identify the figure you base your conclusions on. That way I can easily search it up and evaluate the context and the basis for the statements you refer to.

        That being said, I think it is important to note the following from that paper:
        «We conclude that an appropriate target is to keep global temperature within or close to the temperature range in the Holocene, the interglacial period in which civilization developed. With warming of 0.8 C in the past century, Earth is just emerging from that range, implying that we need to restore the planet’s energy balance and curb further warming. A limit of approximately 500 GtC on cumulative fossil fuel emissions, accompanied by a net storage of 100 GtC in the biosphere and soil, could keep global temperature close to the Holocene range, assuming that the net future forcing change from other factors is small. The longevity of global warming (Fig. 9) and the implausibility of removing the warming if it is once allowed to penetrate the deep ocean emphasize the urgency of slowing emissions so as to stay close to the 500 GtC target. «

        «However, our budget is that required to limit warming to about 1 C (there is a temporary maximum during this century at about 1.1–1.2 C, Fig. 9), while McKibben [255] is allowing global warming to reach 2 C, which we have concluded would be a disaster scenario! This apparently vast difference arises from three major factors.»

        In other words, the authors of that paper has a target to limit warming to about 1 DegC. While the Paris agreement is to limit the warming to 2 DegC. All statements in the paper that are related to a 1 Deg C target are therefor not valid in a discussion related to a 2 DegC or our discussion about what may happen if we do nothing to curb CO2 emissions.

      • A one degree target is near impossible because we are already at that. Even the Paris target requires leaving the majority of remaining fossil fuels, mainly coal but also some other special types, in the ground. What I cited that paper for was for their coal reserves estimate, in excess of 10k GtC. Other reading says that while that coal is there, it becomes more and more expensive to extract, and now with renewables, it would make no sense because coal energy prices will rise above those of renewables. Either way, we are going to renewables, and the only way to meet the RCP8.5 target is to make some very poor financial decisions, that I call coal-happy, to keep extracting that coal and other fossil fuels when the conventional oil and gas run out.

      • It is disappointing that you still don´t identify both the sources and cite the statements within those sources that you base your argument on. Is that a deliberate strategy to avoid scrutiny, by making it difficult for your opponent to very the premises for your arguments?

      • When I cite what I consider objective facts, you can seek them out for yourself or things to refute them. That’s how a discussion works. When you refute it with something then I will find support for my statement. Here’s something else for you to read on why coal production will stop before the US burns through its 200 year stockpile.
        https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Peak-Coal-Will-the-US-Run-Out-of-Coal-in-200-Years-Or-20-Years
        If other energy sources are cheaper, it makes no sense.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-aide-senseless-coal_us_5928e370e4b0df57cbfbd85e?kb&ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

      • Discussion works in many ways – efficient and non-efficient.

        So what´s the big problem with copying both text from your source and the link to the source into your comment?

        I consider that to be polite towards my discussion partners and an efficient way to ensure that my statements are easily verifiable.

      • If I am quoting someone, I will say so. If I am giving my own opinion, I won’t. What I write are my opinions, usually based on several sources over the years, and not directly copying any individual unless I say so. Quoting a source for every statement makes someone like a journalist redirecting other people’s opinions like a mirror.

      • Thank´s for that clarification.

      • Strictly that 10k GtC is coal resources, not reserves. This means it is there, but no one is claiming it because it is not economical.

      • > For the future, may I also suggest that you cite the exact statements you refer to or identify the figure you base your conclusions on.

        I thought handwaving to stuff and letting people decide for themselves sufficed for you, Fiction.

      • @ Willard
        «I thought handwaving to stuff and letting people decide for themselves sufficed for you, Fiction.»

        I definitely think people should decide for themselves. And I think my handwaving to stuff was rather precise. However, I´m happy to pick it up where I left.

        Regarding the quote from the article, that you highlighted in your comment: «Therefore, we conclude that the supply constraints of fossil fuels production may be insufficient to solve the climate change problem.»
        A reasonable interpretation of that statement is that the supply constraints of fossil fuels production may be sufficient to solve the climate change problem.

        Regarding the second quote that you highlighted «Overall, we conclude that future climate change may exceed currently proposed dangerous levels in this century even considering the production limits of the fossil fuel resources.»
        A reasonable interpretation of that statement is that future climate change may not exceed currently proposed dangerous levels in this century when considering the production limits of the fossil fuel resources.

        Those interpretations support the argument I have been putting forward that “we seem to meet the 2 DegC target without implementing any radical policies at all”. So I don´t think I´m exaggerating anything by my argument.

        RCP8.5 is referred to may times throughout the Summary for Policymakers. This is what IPCC has to say about the definition of Representative Concentration Pathways in the Summary for Policymakers:
        «For the Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC, the scientific community has defined a set of four new scenarios, denoted Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs, see Glossary). They are identified by their approximate total radiative forcing in year 2100 relative to 1750: 2.6 W m-2 for RCP2.6, 4.5 W m-2 for RCP4.5, 6.0 W m-2 for RCP6.0, and 8.5 W m-2 for RCP8.5. … These four RCPs include one mitigation scenario leading to a very low forcing level (RCP2.6), two stabilization scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP6), and one scenario with very high greenhouse gas emissions (RCP8.5). The RCPs can thus represent a range of 21st century climate policies»
- IPCC;AR5:WGI;SPM; Box SPM.1: Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)

        Note that a reasonable interpretation of that section, is that if no climate policy is imposed upon the people, then RCP8.5 is a likely scenario. Another reasonable interpretation is that a policy to curb CO2 emissions is required to get RCP6, that is referred to as a stabilization scenario.

        The article I linked to contains the following statement:
        «Note that these results are significantly lower than those projected by the IPCC under its earlier high-emission scenarios, such as SRESA1FI, or in its later high-concentration pathway of RCP8.5. Therefore, we conclude that the IPCC is likely to be overestimating the upper-bound of possible climate change over this time horizon; where this conclusion is supported by most of the ‘peak fossil fuel production’ studies published after the year 2000 that we examined.»

        Hence RCP(8.5) does not seem to be realistic.

        I would, of course, be happy to include figure 4 from The implications of fossil fuel supply constraints on climate change projections: A supply-side analysis in my comment. Unfortunately, I did not find it readily available in a format that I could include here.

        Anyhow, by that figure 4, it also seems clear that even RCP6 will not be reached even if no policies is implemented to curb CO2 emissions.

        Hence, by considering the supply side constraints, it does not seem to be realistic that the scenario IPCC refer to as a stabilization scenario (RCP6) will be reached even if no policies are implemented to curb or stabilize CO2 emissions.

        That is why I think IPCC the scenarios presented by IPCC to the Policymakers seem to be wildly exaggerated. Observing that RCP(8.5) is referred to too many times throughout Section E in summary for policymakers to quote here, and being well aware that «wildly» is just a qualifier that I found appropriate under the circumstances, I think that those who have any interest in this issue should judge for themselves.

      • This supply-side argument closely matches RCP4.5 and presumably requires just as effective a transition to non-fossil energy sources. Their article doesn’t present how the emissions will be replaced, but says that, from the purely economical supply perspective, things get very difficult if we don’t follow a rate similar to RCP4.5. It’s just the economic side of the coin, but comes to the same conclusion about replacement rates as that RCP scenario which has a fairly aggressive mitigation. I don’t think the skeptics will like an argument where economics forces them into mitigation, so it will be interesting to see their reaction to this.

      • I have spent the evening with IPCC´s Asessment report, trying to figure out where RCP8.5 came from. I have not succeeded so far. A lousy evening.

        “I don’t think the skeptics will like an argument where economics forces them into mitigation, so it will be interesting to see their reaction to this.”

        As far as know, Skeptics are not a group. It is impossible to know from one skeptic what the next skeptic might question.

        So I can only provide my personal (and immediate) perspective on this, and that will have to be:
        Keep calm, there is no need to panic.

      • Yes, but just waiting for fossil fuels to price themselves out of the market is not a good policy. Paris shows that the problem with that approach is realized and this knowledge already gives the impetus to find replacements as fast as possible. Emission rates are already flattening in developed countries. The supply-side economic argument for its necessity is just a bonus, and some will listen to that one more than the scientific one. The aim should be to do better than RCP4.5 which would fail to meet the stated Paris target. 600 ppm is much too high for Greenland’s glacier to persist, for example.

      • Nothing happens over night. Anyhow, the design life of the production facilities that are being constructed is quite short anyway – typically 20 – 50 years. (The design life of a crude oil tanker is typically only 20 years.)

        As it is now, tons of regulations are being established to curb CO2 emissions, put a price on CO2 and artificially increase the price of energy created from fossil fuel.

        A lot of the funding within climate science is not directed towards the development of energy sources.

        In short, the motivation and the focus might not be entirely right. And, taking into consideration the vast amount of real and present problems that are within the scope of United Nations, it could be that United Nations should not be that much concerned about climate.

        (This time without any references. These are just my opinions.) :)

      • Your suggest, based on that one study, that fossil fuels will die a natural death due to becoming uncompetitive in price before they harm the environment too much. The other part of that equation is that there is a natural successor, and environmental driven targets make the incentive for those successor industries to drive down their prices faster to benefit the world earlier. In the free market way of thinking, it is better for everyone if alternatives are encouraged by governments because fossil fuel prices are only going up anyway from now on, and the quicker the crossover comes, the better for everyone and, by the way, it is better for the environment too. Win-win.

      • Well – remember that there are lots of poor people – also in developed countries like USA:Record Number of Households on Food Stamps– 1 out of Every 5

        I just think that:
        – We should not increase the burden on poor people by policies that cause unnecessary increase of electricity rates.
        – Regulations have a cost. The regulatory regime around CO2 will be tremendous. It would be a good thing if we could avoid that regime. The costs always ends up on the customers or the citizens.
        – The climate threat propounded by United Nations takes a lot of attention and cause misallocation of resources.
        – We should not scare people by unrealistic scenarios.
        – Nations should be free to prioritize their resources. I imagine that many Nations will continue to put a significant effort into safeguarding a reliable and affordable energy supply.
        – It is not within the charter of United Nations to be concerned about future energy costs.

      • Under the Paris agreement, each nation can figure out its own way to reduce emissions, and it will be different for each. We have heard people like Steyn say that energy policy can collapse the global economy, and that type of talk is designed to scare people off. In reality, energy costs are a small part of GDP and can’t collapse the global economy. As for poor people, most countries know how to take care of those, both at home and in undeveloped countries, again as a small fraction of the GDP. The danger of a fossil fuel resource crunch is mainly a risk for the poor and undeveloped countries, because it raises prices in the market, and this is another reason to develop local alternatives and not delay. The quicker these alternatives take over in the marketplace, the better off everyone is. Footdragging helps no one.

      • I think we should leave those considerations to each country.”
        Article 21.
        (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
        (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
        (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
        Universal Declaration of Human Rights

      • > A reasonable interpretation of that statement is that future climate change may not exceed currently proposed dangerous levels in this century when considering the production limits of the fossil fuel resources.

        That’s not what implies:

        Overall, we conclude that future climate change may exceed currently proposed dangerous levels in this century even considering the production limits of the fossil fuel resources.

        It actually implies the opposite.

        Read it again, especially the part where it is said that future climate change may exceed currently proposed dangerous levels.

        ***

        > A reasonable interpretation of that statement is that the supply constraints of fossil fuels production may be sufficient to solve the climate change problem.

        I’d rather say it’s an implication of the statement, but you’re right: mitigating our fossil fuel consumption may help solve climate change.

        That’s what mitigation means.

        It may even be sufficient.

        Considering that > A reasonable interpretation of that statement is that future climate change may not exceed currently proposed dangerous levels in this century when considering the production limits of the fossil fuel resources.

        That’s not what implies:

        Overall, we conclude that future climate change may exceed currently proposed dangerous levels in this century even considering the production limits of the fossil fuel resources.

        It actually implies the opposite.

        Read it again, especially the part where it is said that future climate change may exceed currently proposed dangerous levels.

        ***

        So, putting the two statements together, we get this reasonable interpretation: considering that future climate change may exceed currently proposed dangerous levels in this century when considering the production limits of the fossil fuel resources, mitigation might very well be kinda necessary and could even be sufficient.

        Does it mean you finally reached the consensus position on AGW, Fiction?

      • @Willard
        Whenever it is stated that something may happen it is implicitly stated that it may not happen. However, I agree that implication would be a better word than interpretation for that inference.

        Regarding: «A reasonable interpretation of that statement is that the supply constraints of fossil fuels production may be sufficient to solve the climate change problem.
        I’d rather say it’s an implication of the statement, but you’re right: mitigating our fossil fuel consumption may help solve climate change.»

        The supply constraint considered in that paper does not seem to be related to mitigation, but rather to what has been regarded economically and technically feasible to produce. Many known oil, gas and coal resources are not technically and economically feasible to recover.

  40. > represented by the persistence of the confidence interval 1.0-4.5 C/doubling

    That’s more NicL’s persistence, at least as far as the lowest bound justified disingenuousness the GWPF can buy.

    • Willard: That’s more NicL’s persistence, at least as far as the lowest bound justified disingenuousness the GWPF can buy.

      Why the claim that GWPF is buying lower bounds?

      Are you claiming that NicL is wrong?

      • Thank you for your questions, Matt.

        First, because the GWPF pays for reports to be produced. They persist in peddling the lowest bound NicL is selling.

        Second, I am claiming that NicL persists in seeking the lowest bound of justified disingenuousness. That’s why I say so.

        When we take Mr. T srsly, we can’t say anything about right or wrong. It’s all so uncertain. All we can do is:

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Your turn to answer my question. See above.

      • “Second, I am claiming that NicL persists in seeking the lowest bound of justified disingenuousness. That’s why I say so. ”

        “That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula.” S. Schneider

        Your claims aren’t very persuasive given the back ground of the “science” you are defending.

      • Ah, but Schneider, “The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

        Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html#ixzz4iIP5zkZV
        Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html

      • Team disingenuous cheerleader Willard the Wonderous

      • Cap’n’s fighting for the Freedom Fighters’ FUD:

        The first person to distort Schneider’s quote seems to have been the late Julian Simon, the economist and free-market environmentalist whom Lomborg acknowledges as one of his inspirations in writing The Skeptical Environmentalist.

        […]

        Simon misquoted and edited Schneider’s remarks, inverting their meaning in the process. If he did so on at least two occasions, as Schneider said, it’s hard to believe it was just an honest mistake. And although Schneider fought to set the record straight repeatedly times thereafter, as the saying goes, “A lie races ’round the world while the truth still does up its laces.” Whether out of ignorant parroting of Simon or a more devious desire to keep the slur against him alive, people have been claiming Simon’s meaning for Schneider’s remarks ever since.

        http://blogs.plos.org/retort/2013/08/13/a-correction-on-lomborg-and-schneiders-quotation/

      • Willard, “Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

        In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said: ‘It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”

        When confronted with Schneider’s Double Ethical Bind, Dr. Lai, didn’t take the high road.

      • David “WMDs” Rose’s fabrication has been rebutted long ago, just like our Freedom Fighters’ “but Schneider” fabrication.

        Speaking of David “WMDs” Rose’s fabrication, when are we going to have the sequel to the John Bates episode that started here?

  41. Interesting reading articles and comments from distinctive scholars and academics. Having lived 40 years in forested mountain regions this statement from an article is a cynical characterization: “It’s boring, for one thing with no television, no MP3 player, no video games, no computer, no Internet, no mobile phone.”

    I witnessed mountain glaciers disappear, entire forests removed by strip mining, giant landslides of soil during rain storms, mountains removed for open pit mining of the coal beneath them, the rock pushed into the deep scars afterwards and abandoned. It took nature 200 million years to create those mountain ranges and humans 10 to destroy them. You are attempting to use words to describe the disaster facing humans. Your task is not a pleasant one. Please, excuse my intrusion into your debate, by a plebeian.

  42. Common business sense dictates that you must concentrate on the most immediate solvable problems and adapt to the unsolvable ones. Possible future developments require only awareness and a readiness to adapt. Concentrating and preparing for one possible threat is a recipe for disaster. You can tie up all your resources and get sideswiped by the unexpected.

    Preventing climate change is impossible,or an unsolvable problem, since we cannot be certain of any possible outcome, or of the consequences of any action taken. We could only introduce further or different changes with unknown consequences and at tremendous cost.

    Insurance is used to guard against catastrophic losses or what you cannot afford to lose. The degree of possibility only determines the cost of that insurance. An example would be your automobile, which is expensive, and insurance is used to ensure that you can replace it in the case of loss. If you own a fleet of widely scattered automobiles it becomes pointless to insure individual vehicles. It is cheaper to simply absorb the occasional loss. A form of adaptation.

    Attempting to prevent climate change is not insurance. Preparing to adapt to the worst possible consequences would be insurance. It seems to me that spending to strengthen seawalls, provide storm shelters, and move infrastructure, and development, to higher ground would be much better insurance than subsidizing windmills, solar farms and alternative fuels. The value is obvious even without global warming. Reducing poverty and dealing with population growth would be equally beneficial.

    “The consequences will take several centuries to be fully realized, as the Earth settles into its new state. It is probable that, as in the distant geological eras with high CO2, sea levels will be many tens of meters higher and the average global temperature will soar far above the present value: a planet grossly unlike the one to which the human species is adapted.” a quote from Spencer Weart.

    Common alarmist rhetoric with no quantifying of “the distant geological era” and using probable to describe a vanishingly small possibility. Does he mean 100 years or 100 million. What Mr. Weart misses is that many humans already live in conditions grossly unlike those in which we evolved. Without technology, houses, clothing, etc. very little of the earths population could survive the conditions in which they live. It is likely that technology will continue to save us but highly unlikely that the anti technology stance of alarmists will.

    • > Attempting to prevent climate change is not insurance.

      Of course it’s not. It’s called investment:

      Like so many other people, I see the “end game” of policy as simply correcting a negative externality, eliminating the price distortion that it created, then relying upon the combined efforts of both governments and market actors to find a technological solution to the problem, which will eliminate the underlying incentive to burn fossil fuel.

      From this perspective, the basic problem is that because fossil fuel is too cheap (due to the externality), there has been significant underinvestment in energy research. Green energy can’t compete with brown energy, because the latter is being tacitly subsidized (by the victims of climate change). If one compares the amount of technological innovation that we have seen in computing, over the course of the 20th century, and compare it to the amount of technological innovation in energy systems (which is practically zero, we still use predominantly 19th century technology), there is reason for optimism that we will be able to find zero-carbon energy sources. The world, after all, is awash with energy. At any given point in time, the earth is being struck by over 15,000 terawatts of solar energy. Total human energy usage at any given point in time is roughly 17 terawatts. Furthermore, most of that energy is not being captured directly by yhumans – it comes from solar energy captured and transformed millions of years ago by plants. We should be able to do better than that!

      http://induecourse.ca/why-are-carbon-taxes-so-low/

      Otters might prefer Mr. T’s approach:

      ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • You can call it an investment if you like and you are welcome to make that investment. I object t to you making that investment on my behalf with my resources. You can not show with any reasonable certainty that there is a chance of any return and there is a definite probability of a loss of capital.That is a accurate use of the word probable.
        I would much prefer to invest in an air conditioner or the planting of some trees for more immediate returns. Investing in the possibility of altering the climate to someones specifications in 100 years is such an optimistic approach that it borders on the ridiculous.

      • > I object t to you making that investment on my behalf with my resources.

        And I object that you consider the atmosphere as if it wasn’t a shared resource or as if dumping carbon in it like there was no tomorrow did not come with debilitating externalities.

        Investmenting in energy sectors sound less ridiculous when not caricatured by contrarians and Freedom Fighter alike. The first step could very well be to stop subsidizing an already profitable industry. There are better ways to care for the energy challenged than to transfer more wealth to the mightiest industries known to mankind.

      • “Of course it’s not. It’s called investment:”

        It would be a really bad investment. Do you make investments where you have no clue often?

      • Do you often beat hippies, RobS?

        Just about any technological field might meet your conception of a bad investment.

        Here’s an old chart:

        Source: https://about.bnef.com/blog/clean-energy-defies-fossil-fuel-price-crash-to-attract-record-329bn-global-investment-in-2015/

        $329bn sounds like a lot of bad investment, don’t you think?

      • Willard:

        Computing power advances can be described as increased density. The main frames of 40 years ago had terrible density. Fossil fuels have much greater density than wind or solar with solar deployed at 5 watts per square meter, wind at 2.5 watts and energy crops at 0.5 watts.

        That said, “Since 1993, the US federal gasoline tax has been 18.4¢/gal.”

        It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

        A nickel, let’s do this. We like roads and bridges. Look what we paid for. It’s a good road. Where did the money come from again? People buying gasoline. That’s can’t be good. They are destroying the planet. But fixing the roads too. What a great PR idea.

      • “Personally, I find that the most objectionable feature of the conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge because it dislikes some of the consequences which seem to follow from it—or to put it bluntly, its obscurantism (to obscure the facts). I will not deny that scientists as much as others are given to fads and fashions and that we have much reason to be cautious in accepting the conclusions that they draw from their latest theories. But the reasons for our reluctance must themselves be rational  and must be kept separate from our regret that the new theories upset our cherished beliefs. . .  By refusing to face the facts, the conservative only weakens his own position.  . .  Should our moral beliefs really prove to be dependent on factual assumptions shown to be incorrect, it would hardly be moral to defend them by refusing to acknowledge facts.”

        https://judithcurry.com/2013/07/15/why-libertarians-should-support-a-carbon-tax/

        I have problems with everyone, so if you prefer, substitute liberal for conservative above.

        At the link the argument is made that, a libertarian should not let their market beliefs influence their beliefs about the harms of adding CO2 to the atmosphere. And that decisions can be made with uncertainty. My nickel a gallon tax would be a decision, but admittedly not a pure decision. For instance it might be about COLA index this thing and save the roads. Social Security benefits get COLA index increases not in 2016 though. Our tax code, lots of COLAs. ACA, COLAs.

      • > Social Security benefits get COLA index increases not in 2016 though. Our tax code, lots of COLAs. ACA, COLAs.

        Then all you need is some COCAs, Ragnaar.

        My only qualms with Hayek is that most of his work is intertwined with ideological crap. During his time it was still possible to dream of economics as an generalization of morality and social reality. The theory of evolution may not be as powerful to explain cultural phenomenons as he presumed.

        You might be interested in his argument against Malthus, which were based on the intensification of work: more people means more work, more diversity, more specialization, and more wealth. When we put his argument within a physical context (he idealized One Big Science), GRRROWTH can’t be indefinite, but that’s for another time.

        Enjoy your evening,

        W

      • Saved by Ragnaar quoting Hayek. The vast majority of comments on this post confirm Hayek’s observation.

      • > The vast majority of comments on this post confirm Hayek’s observation.

        Hayek’s observation being unfalsifiable, Freedom Fighters win this fight at the expense of sealing themselves within the confines of their inner windmills.

      • Cost of Carbon Adjustment. For that I’d not be adverse to getting a participation trophy. A 5 cent gasoline tax increase cannot come to be because, No new taxes. No kumbaya either. You may take my money but you’ll never take my freedom.

        One never knows when said windmill will need to defend itself from Don Quixote.

      • > One never knows when said windmill will need to defend itself from Don Quixote.

        Nicely put.

        There are enough fossil fuel subsidies to eliminate that we could create a revenue-neutral carbon tax. This resource allocation problem is easy compared to the problem of right-wing populism, but then teh Donald could very help address it.

      • The global economy is worth about $100 trillion a year. To put aid and philanthropy into perspective – the total is 0.025% of the global economy. If spent on Copenhagen Consensus smart development goals such expenditure can generate a benefit to cost ratio of more than 15. If spent on the UN Sustainable Development Goals you may as well piss it up against a wall. Either way – it is nowhere near the major path to universal prosperity. Some 3.5 billion people make less than $2 a day. Changing that can only be done by doubling and tripling global production – and doing it as quickly as possible. Optimal economic growth is essential and that requires an understanding and implementation of explicit principles for effective economic governance of free markets. So what are these laws of capitalism?

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/03/11/all-bubbles-burst-laws-of-economics-for-the-new-millennium/

        When I think limits to growth – I think not here and not now. Markets exist – ideally – in a democratic context. Politics provides a legislative framework for consumer protection, worker and public safety, environmental conservation and a host of other things. Including for regulation of markets – banking capital requirements, anti-monopoly laws, prohibition of insider trading, laws on corporate transparency and probity, tax laws, etc. A key to stable markets – and therefore growth – is fair and transparent regulation, minimal corruption and effective democratic oversight. Markets do best where government is large enough to be an important player and small enough not to squeeze the vitality out of capitalism – government revenue of some 25% of gross domestic product. Markets can’t exist without laws – just as civil society can’t exist without police, courts and armies. Much is made of a laissez faire concept of capitalism – but this has never ever been a model of practical economics.

        I learned that from Hayek. Poor wee willie’s economics seems straight out of the socialist planning playbook.

      • Just as I was about to like Chief’s comment, he goes for the cheap and silly sideswipe based of Hayek’s strawman – much both him and Chief made of socialist central planning, it has never been a model of practical economics.

        Hayek is known for two theorical arguments central planning: no institution can know enough and institutions emerge out of some kind of spontaneous evolution. The second argument is more interesting than the first one, as the latter leads to the conclusion that no economic decision can ever be rationally justified. The former argument, however, is also problematic, as it opposes unexplained forces to idealized constructions. While an invisible show of hands might have been plausible in the 30s, contemporary computation theory might very well have vindicated some minimal form of constructivism. To that effect, my own intuition would be that bitcoins refute Hayek insofar as it is both decentralized and constructive.

        Perhaps a more direct refutation would simply be social liberalism.

      • Poor wee willie has a problem with modest government, economic growth, capitalism and democracy. It is a social illiberal disease that is incurable. The vision involves narratives of moribund western economies governed by corrupt corporations collapsing under the weight of internal contradictions – leading to less growth, less material consumption, less CO2 emissions, less habitat destruction and a last late chance to stay within the safe limits of global ecosystems. And this is just in the ‘scholarly’ journals.

        The essential premise of Hayek’s social philosophical is that individual businesses and consumers know better what their priorities are than central planners – whether or not the latter have computers or bitcoins.

        For me it starts with democracy and the rule of law – the hard won freedoms of the enlightenment. To quote from Hayek if I may. For a classic liberal there is a commitment to ‘political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force.’

        The outcome is a social contract – the rule of law – that is compromise arrived at in the cut and thrust of politics. It may be obvious that democracy is the foundation for social progress – but it is always worth restating.

        One critical freedom is economic freedom. Markets need fair, transparent and accessible laws – including on open and equal markets, labour laws, environmental conservation, consumer protection and whatever else is arrived at in the political arena. Optimal tax take is some 23% of GDP and government budgets are balanced. Interest rates are best managed through the overnight cash market to restrain inflation to a 2% to 3% target. This is the core of Hayek’s economic work. It defines the rational limits of government economic decisions. These nuts and bolts of market management are mainstream market theory and keep economies on a stable – as far as is possible – growth trajectory.

        Free people and free markets remain the ideal – despite poor wee willies picayune posturings.

      • > Poor wee willie has a problem with modest government, economic growth, capitalism and democracy.

        Chief wins again, this time by burning down another strawman. While our Freedom Fighters cry minarchist chants, the caravan moves on:

        When excluding World War II (therefore, since 1946), the average increase in government spending was 2.4% under a Democratic President and 2.2% under a Republican President.

        http://www.truthfulpolitics.com/http:/truthfulpolitics.com/comments/u-s-federal-government-size-as-measured-by-spending-by-president-political-party/

        In pictures:

      • And yes central planning has never worked.

      • > central planning has never worked.

        Of course not:

        Source: https://piie.com/research/piie-charts/size-chinas-government-growing

        The consensus on the Washington consensus (a fitting name for ideas developed by South American technocrats) may have been exagerated. Speaking of which, here’s his second key point:

        Redirection of public spending from subsidies (“especially indiscriminate subsidies”) toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;

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

        Hayek’s anti-socialist argument may not mean what Chief is suggesting.

      • … Uncertainty. The infrastructure and institutions of civil society? Freedom and enfranchisemnt and political agency? Education? Healthcare? Who needs ’em? Only a fool would think they would be indespensible for raising standards of living among the currently empoverishef. .

      • =={ And yes central planning has never worked. )==

        And yet, standards of living have grown exponentially, almost exclusively in association we centralized planning. Funny how that works. Oh, for the days we lived in caves. People were so much better off then, without that infernal centralized planning!

      • Comparisons of spending broken down by political affiliation of the presidency is yet another much abused straw man argument. The GOP has only controlled the entire congress 18 of the last 84 years, mostly with an extreme narrow margin of seats requiring even these majorities to have a great deal of bipartisanship in order for the GOP to advance any policy initiative. By contrast, the Democrats have held the house and senate 56 of those 84 years, much of the time with tremendous majorities. Congress of course controls the purse strings.

        Also, there seems to be profound confusion about knowing the difference between central planning and a centrally planned economy. Hints: the Constitution is a form of central planning, and a social democracy is not the same thing as a centrally planned economy.

      • > there seems to be profound confusion about knowing the difference between central planning and a centrally planned economy.

        Do you even Hayek, bro?

      • > The GOP has only controlled the entire congress 18 of the last 84 years, […] By contrast, the Democrats have held the house and senate 56 of those 84 years,

        Do you even arithmetic, bro?

        ***

        Furthermore:

        The budget for the Department of Education, which candidate Reagan promised to abolish along with the Department of Energy, has more than doubled to $22.7 billion, Social Security spending has risen from $179 billion in 1981 to $269 billion in 1986. The price of farm programs went from $21.4 billion in 1981 to $51.4 billion in 1987, a 140% increase. And this doesn’t count the recently signed $4 billion “drought-relief” measure. Medicare spending in 1981 was $43.5 billion; in 1987 it hit $80 billion. Federal entitlements cost $197.1 billion in 1981—and $477 billion in 1987.

        Foreign aid has also risen, from $10 billion to $22 billion. Every year, Reagan asked for more foreign-aid money than the Congress was willing to spend. He also pushed through Congress an $8.4 billion increase in the U.S. “contribution” to the International Monetary Fund.

        His budget cuts were actually cuts in projected spending, not absolute cuts in current spending levels. As Reagan put it, “We’re not attempting to cut either spending or taxing levels below that which we presently have.”

        The result has been unprecedented government debt. Reagan has tripled the Gross Federal Debt, from $900 billion to $2.7 trillion. Ford and Carter in their combined terms could only double it. It took 31 years to accomplish the first postwar debt tripling, yet Reagan did it in eight.

        https://mises.org/library/sad-legacy-ronald-reagan-0

        Please repeat “but bipartisanship” – Denizens need to be entertained.

      • Willard, centrally planned economies are economies where government either owns the means of production or centrally planned cooperative controls it; such as communism/socialism; whereas central planning can mean many things. The Constitution is a form of central planning. Government of any form on a basic intrinsic level represents some form of central planning.

        A social democracy is not socialism, for example, one of the nations first social endeavors was when the Congress officially created the U.S. military in 1789.

        Willard: > The GOP has only controlled the entire congress 18 of the last 84 years, […] By contrast, the Democrats have held the house and senate 56 of those 84 years,

        Do you even arithmetic, bro?”

        There were split congresses that I don’t count, Willard.

      • Repeating that distinction only shows you don’t Hayek, Mop. No, that’s not correct. It also shows you haven’t paid attention to what I said or shown so far in this subthread.

        Look back at PIIE’s chart. Notice how your distinction makes no difference whatsoever.

        Hayek was addressing a theorical concern that had some currency in the 30s. It now has none. It might be time for Freedom Fighters to let it go.

      • BTW, Willard, did Reagan control all congress at any time during his tenure? Who controls the purse strings? Are you aware that Jimmy Carter deregulated the S&L industry which led to its crash during the Reagan administration?

      • Another JAQing off, Mop? Isn’t that just great? You do realize that your argument amounts to say that the Democrats controlled the government spending during the last century?

        In fact, do you even realize that teh Donald will embiggens the government size even more? That Republicans never downsized the government, that their “small government” brand is a pure scam?

        I bet you do.

      • It’s simply a fact that the Dems controlled congress for 56 of the last 84 years, and when the GOP did have control, it was mostly with narrow margins. Do a little research, it will help you here. There’s no need to get into economic theory to obfuscate an issue when a simple definition suffices.

        Now, I can appreciate there may be a pathology to wearing daisies around ones head for decades, but most common sense people will arrive at a conclusion that the effects from heavier weight will tend to lean to the side of the weight. The Lefts talking points are hefty too, but air is light, even if monolithic.

      • > It’s simply a fact that the Dems controlled congress for 56 of the last 84 years

        It’s rather a cherry-picked fact. This little chart may explain why you picked 84 years.

        Here’s another fact: Republicans controlled Congress 19 of the last 23 years. And here’s another, more relevant one: most economies known to mankind are mixed. Economically speaking, China and the US of A aren’t that different as Freedom Fighters drone.

        The hippie bashing still provided a nice touch, Mop.

      • We should not suppose that the US or China are models of economic rationalism.

        There is an optimal size of government to maximise economic growth. It is about 23% of GDP – including deficits which are a future tax.

        “The assurance of a certain minimum income for everyone, or a sort of floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself, appears not only to be a wholly legitimate protection against a risk common to all, but a necessary part of the Great Society in which the individual no longer has specific claims on the members of the particular small group into which he was born.” Hayek

        Hayek is not what they imagine. Governments tax and spend on line items agreed to in a democratic process. There are no general principles that limit permissible expenditures. But if they imagine they can plan economies it is inevitably a disaster. Economics is a matter of managing not planning.

        https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/03/11/all-bubbles-burst-laws-of-economics-for-the-new-millennium/

        There are a few warning signals of crashes that make them potentially controllable – primarily hyper growth with positive feedbacks. Long before dragon-kings Friedrich Hayek and the Austrian school of economics developed principles of management of interest rates that are used to maintain price stability (low inflation) and stable economic growth. In monetary policy the Australian government instituted a consumer price inflation target of 2–3 per cent in 1993. This is managed primarily through the overnight cash rate. When the economy is at risk of overheating – the overnight cash rate is increased putting a damper of demand. Conversely – rates are decreased during downturns. Over the period of the target Australia has had uninterrupted economic growth. At the same time we had low government debt, conservative banking practices, a strong democracy, an effective legal system and low levels of official corruption. Growth and stability are as much psychological as technical and flourish during periods of moderate change.

        There a fringe of the extreme left who imagine that they can re-imagine economics. The tedium of the likes of poor wee willie and Josh is fringe and utterly incoherent – they are persistent but just picayune distractions.

      • > We should not suppose that the US or China are models of economic rationalism.

        According to Hayek, there’s no such thing as a rational economic model.

        It’s his freaking point against socialism.

        No wonder Chief wins again, this time with another “extreme left” strawman.

      • Hayek’s economics were about rational management. Markets need fair, transparent and accessible laws – including on open and equal markets, labour laws, environmental conservation, consumer protection and whatever else is arrived at in the political arena. Optimal tax take is some 23% of GDP and government budgets are balanced. Interest rates are best managed through the overnight cash market to restrain inflation to a 2% to 3% target. These nuts and bolts of market management are mainstream market theory and keep economies on a stable – as far as is possible – growth trajectory. The critical project for development is opening up markets for agricultural products. The Copenhagen Consensus found that a deal on the DOHA round of trade talks would make the world richer by $11-trillion by 2030.

        There is an extreme left – you can tell by the background noise as poor wee willie is left floundering.

      • > Hayek’s economics were about rational management.

        Or rather itslimitations::

        What is the problem we wish to solve when we try to construct a rational economic order? On certain familiar assumptions the answer is simple enough. If we possess all the relevant information, if we can start out from a given system of preferences, and if we command complete knowledge of available means, the problem which remains is purely one of logic. That is, the answer to the question of what is the best use of the available means is implicit in our assumptions. The conditions which the solution of this optimum problem must satisfy have been fully worked out and can be stated best in mathematical form: put at their briefest, they are that the marginal rates of substitution between any two commodities or factors must be the same in all their different uses.

        This, however, is emphatically not the economic problem which society faces. And the economic calculus which we have developed to solve this logical problem, though an important step toward the solution of the economic problem of society, does not yet provide an answer to it. The reason for this is that the “data” from which the economic calculus starts are never for the whole society “given” to a single mind which could work out the implications and can never be so given.

        The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resources—if “given” is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these “data.” It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.

        This character of the fundamental problem has, I am afraid, been obscured rather than illuminated by many of the recent refinements of economic theory, particularly by many of the uses made of mathematics. Though the problem with which I want primarily to deal in this paper is the problem of a rational economic organization, I shall in its course be led again and again to point to its close connections with certain methodological questions. Many of the points I wish to make are indeed conclusions toward which diverse paths of reasoning have unexpectedly converged. But, as I now see these problems, this is no accident. It seems to me that many of the current disputes with regard to both economic theory and economic policy have their common origin in a misconception about the nature of the economic problem of society. This misconception in turn is due to an erroneous transfer to social phenomena of the habits of thought we have developed in dealing with the phenomena of nature.

      • So here is established the rationale that there is no mind – not even Deep Thought – that can assimilate in one place the billion of decisions that are made every day to produce or consume. I always imagine this ‘mind’ as a dark, gaunt Mephistopheles figure in a high tower declaring that they shall produce that here and consume this here. It always ends up with a shortage of toilet paper. But this is precisely what the extreme left wan’t to try yet again. We’ll get it right this time they say. And pigs may fly.

        The work that led to Hayek’s Nobel Prize is not related despite poor wee willie’s picayune misunderstandings.

        “The Austrian business cycle theory (ABCT) is an economic theory developed by the Austrian School of economics about how business cycles occur. The theory views business cycles as the consequence of excessive growth in bank credit, due to artificially low interest rates set by a central bank or fractional reserve banks.[1] The Austrian business cycle theory originated in the work of Austrian School economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Hayek won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1974 (shared with Gunnar Myrdal) in part for his work on this theory.[2][3]
        Proponents believe that a sustained period of low interest rates and excessive credit creation result in a volatile and unstable imbalance between saving and investment.[4] According to the theory, the business cycle unfolds in the following way: low interest rates tend to stimulate borrowing from the banking system. This leads to an increase in capital spending funded by newly issued bank credit. Proponents hold that a credit-sourced boom results in widespread malinvestment. A correction or “credit crunch” – commonly called a “recession” or “bust” – occurs when the credit creation has run its course. Then the money supply contracts (or its growth slows) causing a curative recession and eventually allowing resources to be reallocated back towards their former uses. ” Wikipedia

        So what happens where the rubber hits the road?

      • > So what happens where the rubber hits the road?

        Social liberalism, which Hayek himself approves. As long as a pricing scheme drives markets, all should be for the best. This is true even for doctors’ wages in so-called socialist countries like – gasp! – Canada.

        Everything else is either negotiable (hopefully in a bipartisan way, as shown by Americans since their Foundation Fathers) or ideological crap, crap which includes for instance Lawson’s monetarism:

        http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/114501

        Hayek’s own Nobel prize should suffice to show that his reputation for being a libertarian champion weren’t mere technicalities, but the result of his constant reminders of the tyrannies he witnessed in his youth.

        http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/1974/hayek-lecture.html

        This reputation is undeserved, considering the safety nets Hayek was ready to allow states to maintain (around p. 130 if memory serves well) the amount of which would put him at the left of Obama.

      • ” This already existing confusion was made worse by the recent attempt to transplant to America the European type of conservatism, which, being alien to the American tradition, has acquired a somewhat odd character. And some time before this, American radicals and socialists began calling
        themselves “liberals”.

        An odd appropriation of Hayek by poor wee willie – it seems a complete and astonishing turn around. From complete crap to socialist hero in the space of a few comments. And I’ll take it as read because I haven’t memorised the complete (un-referenced?) work up to and including p130 at least.

        But where the rubber meets the road is a very much more modest goal of stabilising interest rates and restraining taxing and spending. On the loftier level it is much more about the ideals of democracy and classic liberal freedoms which we find lacking in both conservatives and progressives. Not everything is negotiable.

        “From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.” Friedrich A. Hayek

        Apparently Hayek was to the left of Obama. It goes without saying that this is a unique perspective. Someone less generous than me – from the right or the left – might suspect that poor wee willie has become unhinged.

      • > An odd appropriation of Hayek

        It’s the other way around: Freedom Fighters appropriated themselves Hayek’s arguments. The most obvious reason is that they embrace his ideological crap. A less obvious reason is that they don’t even Hayek:

        [T]here can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody. Indeed, for a considerable part of the population of this country this sort of security has long been achieved.

        Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance, where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks, the case for the state helping to organise
        a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong. There are many points of detail where those wishing to preserve the competitive system and those wishing to supersede it by something different will disagree on the details ofsuch schemes; and it is possible under the name ofsocial insurance to introduce measures which tend to make competition more or less ineffective. But there is no incompatibility in principle between the state providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom. To the same category belongs also the increase of security through the state rendering assistance to the victims of such “acts of God” as earthquakes and floods. Wherever communal action can mitigate disasters against which the individual can neither attempt to guard himself, nor make provision for the consequences, such communal action should undoubtedly be taken..

        Hayek may not have been the libertarian freak (or classical liberal, to borrow Chief’s winning epithet) Freedom Fighters fantasize.

      • Willard: “Republicans controlled Congress 19 of the last 23 years.”

        Your point is actually not very illuminating, Willard. While it’s true the GOP has held congress more in the last couple decades, 12 of those years were when a Democrat held the WH, there were no dynasties where one party controlled all branches of government while also controlling congress with significant margins like the Democrats did for many periods beginning with the New Deal. The most important point about the last quarter of the 20th century was that it ushered in a political impasse as citizens wrestled with the direction of the country and mounting debt.

        Debt, let’s review the Great Recession which is the primary culprit for the massive inflation of U.S. debt. A quick sketch; the genesis for this reaches all the way back to the LBJ administration. During LBJ’s administration the courts reinterpreted and liberalized Glass-Steagall to allow for expansion of certain banking activities; this set into motion roughly 40 years of lending standards erosion. It was these actions that enabled the first mortgage backed security to be created in the early 1970s, by Fannie Mae. More weakening of Glass-Steagall by the courts occurred during the Carter administration, but also legislation, the Community Reinvestment Act. Carter also deregulated the S&L industry which facilitated the S&L crash that occurred during the Reagan administration. Now, while the CRA didn’t cause the GR it played a role by facilitating low income lending practices. Clinton gave the CRA teeth. Banks were threatened with punitive actions if they didn’t meet lending quotas. The kicker: in the early 1990s due to pressures for making loan quotas, the first subprime was created. By the end of the 1990s sub-primes became a standard loan, widely popular, not for just low income loans. These actions greased the skids for the housing bubble as cheap capital became available. Sub-primes packaged with MBS combined with the housing bubble created the perfect storm. The late 1990’s to the crash was simply the end game in motion. The shenanigans on Wall Street was the metastasization from decades of eroding lending standards, a symptom of excess.

      • > While it’s true the GOP has held congress more in the last couple decades, 12 of those years were when a Democrat held the WH, there were no dynasties where one party controlled all branches of government while also controlling congress with significant margins like the Democrats did for many periods beginning with the New Deal.

        I like when Freedom Fighters use words like “dynasties,” Mop. I also like when they move the goalposts. More so when it’s to double down on their cherrypicking.

        So let’s take another look. The all-red lines goes from 1901-1910, 1921-1932, 1953-1954, 2003-2006, and 2017-. The all-blue lines are: 1933-1946, 1949-1952, 1961-1968, 1993-1994, 1977-1980, and 2009-2010. Anyone with a modicum of honesty should be able to see that we’re far from the 84 years of Democrats’ dominance alleged earlier.

        That the Whitehouse had to deal with partisanship would suit my argument just fine. Government size increased whoever was in power, and there’s no perceptible effect of “dynasties” one way or another. So while Republicans were whining about Big Gov since at least Nixon, they never did anything about it. In fairness, one can see that when Democrats are whining about Big Military, the data show otherwise – military spending % has decreased. Heck, even safety nets always increased.

        My own hypothesis is that whining is good for political speeches, while genuine governance requires more prudence.

        Sure, Mop. You can still argue by counterfactual: IF Freedom Fighters truly had a “dynasty,” THEN they would create a minarchy. But I doubt it. Here are some numbers on teh Donald’s promises:

        In the June report Promises and Price Tags, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that his original tax plan alone would cost roughly $9.25 trillion over the course of a decade, while his entire agenda would add $11.5 trillion to the national debt, including interest, by 2026.

        Based on today’s speech – which proposes individual tax rates of 12 percent, 25 percent, and 33 percent instead of 10 percent, 20 percent, and 25 percent – [Dodgy Donald]’s new tax plan is likely to cost significantly less. However, the plan is still likely to add substantially to the debt, particularly the plan to cut business taxes, which we previously estimated would cost about $2.55 trillion over a decade.

        The main lesson from past experience is that whatever party’s in the White House, you can expect the government to grow. All you can hope is that the team for which you are rooting will spend according to your own personal preferences.

      • Willard: “most economies known to mankind are mixed. Economically speaking, China and the US of A aren’t that different as Freedom Fighters drone.”

        Who do you think has had the biggest influence on China’s move towards capitalism?

        Big government loving freedom fighters and jumbo shrimp, I like a good oxymoron. “Freedom fighters” is more programming jargon, Willard, it’s a type of romanticist programming, feel good reinforcement language to buttress eco warriors. Just more manifesto jargon.

        At the heart of the völkisch temptation was a pathological response to modernity. In the face of the very real dislocations brought on by the triumph of industrial capitalism and national unification, völkisch thinkers preached a return to the land, to the simplicity and wholeness of a life attuned to nature’s purity. The mystical effusiveness of this perverted utopianism was matched by its political vulgarity. While “the Volkish movement aspired to reconstruct the society that was sanctioned by history, rooted in nature, and in communion with the cosmic life spirit,” 8 it pointedly refused to locate the sources of alienation, rootlessness and environmental destruction in social structures, laying the blame instead to rationalism, cosmopolitanism, and urban civilization.

        The chief vehicle for carrying this ideological constellation to prominence was the youth movement, an amorphous phenomenon which played a decisive but highly ambivalent role in shaping German popular culture during the first three tumultuous decades of the 20th century. Also known as the Wandervögel (which translates roughly as ‘wandering free spirits’), the youth movement was a hodge-podge of countercultural elements, blending neo- Romanticism, Eastern philosophies, nature mysticism, hostility to reason, and a strong communal impulse in a confused but no less ardent search for authentic, non-alienated social relations. Their back-to-the-land emphasis spurred a passionate sensitivity to the natural world and the damage it suffered.

        *Ernst Lehmann, Biologischer Wille. Wege und Ziele biologischer Arbeit im neuen Reich, München, 1934, pp. 10-11. Lehmann was a professor of botany who characterized National Socialism as “politically applied biology.”

        *See Raymond H. Dominick, The Environmental Movement in Germany: Prophets and Pioneers, 1871-1971, Bloomington, 1992, especially part three, “The Völkisch Temptation.”

      • > Who do you think has had the biggest influence on China’s move towards capitalism?

        It’s not a who, Mop, it’s a what:

        In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China’s economy in ways that are still reverberating today.

        http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2012/01/20/145360447/the-secret-document-that-transformed-china

        My turn to ask a question: who’s the main foreign country that helped Pinochet for his 1973 military coup?

        That should be an easy one, but I’ll give you a hint: it’s the same country that helped him stay in power until 1998.

      • Willard
        “Just about any technological field might meet your conception of a bad investment.”

        WRONG!

        Investments are made expecting a return on that investment.

        Spending on climate change has no such potential return on investment.
        Spending on CO2 mitigation today will not result in any individual or nation in having greater discretionary funds to spend in the future. Spending on CO2 mitigation today removes funds that could be spent on actions that could actually mitigate damage from adverse weather.

        Will the weather be better vs. worse at 480 ppm as compared to 550 ppm?

        By thinking you are investing by spending on CO2 mitigation you are eliminating funds that could have been spent on mitigating damage from adverse weather.

      • > Spending on climate change has no such potential return on investment.

        Pending clarification on what the hell “investing on climate change” might mean, of course it does.

        Please stick to engineering stuff and FUD, RobS.

  43. Increased agricultural productivity, increased downstream processing and access to markets build local economies and global wealth. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food – thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions. A global program of agricultural soils restoration is the foundation for balancing the human ecology.

    The key to productivity – to double food resources by 2050 – is restoring soil organic content with 21st century soil science. This enhances water holding capacity and creates a more drought tolerant agriculture – with less downstream flooding. There is a critical level of soil carbon that is essential to maximising the effectiveness of water and nutrient inputs. Global food security, especially for countries with fragile soils and harsh climate such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, cannot be achieved without improving soil quality through an increase in soil organic content. Wildlife flourishes on restored grazing land helping to halt biodiversity loss. Reversing soil carbon loss in agricultural soils is a new green revolution where conventional agriculture is hitting a productivity barrier with exhausted soils and increasingly expensive inputs. Restoring soil organic content has the potential to move vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.

    The alternative vision involves narratives of moribund western economies governed by corrupt corporations collapsing under the weight of internal contradictions – leading to less growth, less material consumption, less CO2 emissions, less habitat destruction and a last late chance to stay within the safe limits of global ecosystems. And this is just in the ‘scholarly’ journals.

    The future of climate can’t be predicted – and this is quantified using network math. “We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged.” Four times in the last century – it is the fundamental nature of chaotic systems.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/abstract

    Changes of 10’s of degrees locally have occurred over years to decades. A repetition would be catastrophic by any definition. It theoretically could be triggered by carbon dioxide.

    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/styles/full_page_width/public/Years-before-present-Younger-Dryas.jpg?itok=eL0wDCg-

    There are rational responses and they involve building prosperous and resilient communities with 21st century technology.

  44. That’s very interesting

  45. As I have long argued, the main thing we know about the future is that it will surprise us. We know that there are a wide range of current problems: letting fear of possible – but far from proven – negative impacts of climate change at end-century dominate current policy is neither a sensible nor rational focus for policy.

    What is sensible is to pursue policies which promote enterprise, innovation, resilience and growth of capacity, policies which make us better able to deal with whatever the future brings while also providing immediate benefits. These are fostered by free-market, free-trade, low regulatory, small government environments, but most governments are moving counter to this, including in massive interventions in energy and emissions policies. We are beginning to find out in Australia just how bad the effects of such big-government approaches are.

  46. “The IPCC oversimplifies the characterization of uncertainty by substituting ‘expert judgment’ for a thorough understanding of uncertainty.”

    This may be the key, rather than whether probability is too precise as an expression of uncertainty. There are quite rigorous theories of subjective probability which apply widely. But the key word is subjective. In effect, much of the claimed probability in climate research is subjective, passed off as ‘expert’. There have been some nice examples of this kind of ‘expert probability’ from recent politics. Bayesian poll predictors once hailed for their foresight have converted to objects of ridicule for their failed predictions. Their subjective ‘expert’ probabilities in fact clearly reflected their political preferences, rather than a rigorous self-analysis of the kind demanded by something like de Finetti probability

  47. Berényi Péter

    The bottom line is that the climate system is too complex with myriad uncertainties for simple reductionist approaches to understanding and managing uncertainty to be useful.

    Annual average incoming shortwave radiation is the same for both hemispheres due to a peculiar property of Keplerian orbits. Oddly, annual average absorbed shortwave radiation is also measured to be the same (by satellites) for both hemispheres within 0.1 watts per square meter, in spite of the fact that the Southern Hemisphere has a much lower clear sky albedo (by about 6 watts per square meter, sixty times larger than that). There is no uncertainty about it.

    No computational climate model reproduces this observed symmetry, not even close. Therefore they are falsified, all of them.

    I think this is the kind of question climate science has to focus on. It is called basic research, unfortunately (from a funding perspective) with no immediate policy consequences at all.

  48. I think this is the kind of question climate science has to focus on.

    Amen, but without manna from heaven!

  49. Timescales for detecting a significant acceleration in sea level rise
    “But it is clear that internal climate variability also needs to be taken into account to allow better assessment of any acceleration over the last century that can be attributed to the causes other than natural variability, and to allow detection of such accelerations as early as possible.”

    In the context of a recovery from the LIA, read the above again. Changes over the last century seemed to be presumed natural.

  50. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that most of you don’t get it. The fundamental mechanism of climate is known. It is like a light switch on which we are steadily pushing. It will eventually flip on – and that’s where Judith’s monster lives.

    The theory suggests that the system is pushed by greenhouse gas changes and warming – as well as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

    Climate in this theory of abrupt change is an emergent property of the shift in global energies as the system settles down into a new climate state. The traditional definition of climate sensitivity as a temperature response to changes in CO2 makes sense only in periods between climate shifts – as climate changes at shifts are internally generated. Climate evolution is discontinuous at the scale of decades and longer. Dynamic climate sensitivity implies the potential for a small push to initiate a large shift.

    The problem in a chaotic climate then becomes not one of quantifying climate sensitivity in a smoothly evolving climate but of predicting the onset of abrupt climate shifts and their implications for climate and society. The problem of abrupt climate change on multi-decadal scales is of the most immediate significance.

    • Robert,

      Do you know about this wonderful resource: –

      http://manhattanprojectvoices.org/

      There’s lots of stuff, but to give a flavour of some of the treasure contained therein, here is a particular nugget: –

      I always find your comments interesting and stimulating, but you are entirely wrong about engineers. In my experience they are the most open-minded, non-dogmatic and innovative group of people of all the various representatives of the human race that I’ve encountered. It goes without saying that they fall short of the ideal that utopians will not compromise upon (except when it comes to themselves).

      • I am an engineer. I said that engineers follow rules – it is just the nature of the game. You operate within established parameters to ensure public safety mostly – change comes up against a lot of inertia.

    • Robert I Ellison: The problem in a chaotic climate then becomes not one of quantifying climate sensitivity in a smoothly evolving climate but of predicting the onset of abrupt climate shifts and their implications for climate and society.

      It isn’t an either/or, at least not on present evidence. Which of the many scenarios from computational and experimental dynamical systems studies is the best analogy (or “are the best analogies”) for the effect of gradually doubling CO2 concentration just plain is not known. And there is no path from there to biological consequences, which require empirical studies not dynamical systems theory.

      • Ghil, 2013, explored the idea of abrupt climate change with an energy balance climate model that follows the evolution of global surface-air temperature with changes in the global energy balance. The plot below originates from work for Ghil’s Ph.D. thesis in 1975 and was reproduced in a 2013 World Scientific Review article to illustrate a dynamic definition of climate sensitivity in a climate system that exhibits abrupt change.

        This shows solutions of an energy-balance model (EBM), showing the global-mean temperature (T) vs. the fractional change of insolation (μ) at the top of the atmosphere. (Source: Ghil, 2013)

        The model has two stable states with two points of abrupt climate change – the latter at the transitions from the blue lines to the red from above and below. The two axes are normalized solar energy inputs μ (insolation) to the climate system and a global mean temperature. The current day energy input is μ = 1 with a global mean temperature of 287.7 degrees Kelvin. This is a relatively balmy 58.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

        The 1-D climate model uses physically based equations to determine changes in the climate system as a result of changes in solar intensity, ice reflectance and greenhouse gas changes. With a small decrease in radiation from the Sun – or an increase in ice cover – the system becomes unstable with runaway ice feedbacks.

        Runaway ice feedbacks drive the transitions between glacial and interglacial states seen repeatedly over the past 2.58 million years. These are warm interludes – such as the present time – of relatively short duration and longer duration cold states. The transition between climate states is characterised by a series of step changes between the limits. It caused a bit of consternation in the 1970’s when it was realized that a very small decrease in solar intensity – or an increase in albedo – is sufficient to cause a rapid transition to an icy planet in this model.

        The analogy is to a greenhouse gas finger pushing steadily on the light switch.

        Carbon dioxide changes change transpiration losses from plants – and terrestrial hydrology. Carbon dioxide changes ocean chemistry. Ecologies are chaotic.

      • Robert I Ellison: Ghil, 2013, explored the idea of abrupt climate change with an energy balance climate model that follows the evolution of global surface-air temperature with changes in the global energy balance.

        It’s a good paper, but it does not derive consequences for a gradual doubling of CO2 concentration over the next century.

        It does not, for example, resolve the unknowns about cloud cover changes.

      • It’s a 1-D model – it doesn’t resolve much at all. Simply illustrates principles using physically based equations.

        I’ll give you a hint – pick door number 3.

      • Robert I Ellison: it doesn’t resolve much at all. Simply illustrates principles using physically based equations.

        That’s close to what i wrote: it illustrates general principles but does not resolve any of the questions posed by the increase in CO2 concentration.

      • The principle is door number 3 and uncertainty. I’m not sure what your point is. But you have been wrong all along – why stop now?

      • Robert I Ellison: I’m not sure what your point is.

        You model can not predict the next 150 years any better than any other model, or tell us when and in what circumstances any of those cusps will appear in the climate evolution. It is analogous to the principle of gravity without either the gravitational constant or the inverse-square law.

      • Yes – absolutely – because we don’t know the end result of a leap in the dark – let’s do it anyway.

        I’d suggest instead a focus on practical responses. Perhaps 21st century energy and agriculture?

      • Robert I Ellison: I’d suggest instead a focus on practical responses. Perhaps 21st century energy and agriculture?

        I agree. How is Ghil’s perspective (which, you may recall, I like) practical?

        The policy debate, which enlivens this discussion more than a debate about the limits of the standard theory at far distances from the Earth, is about anthropogenic CO2: has it raised the Earth mean temperature? Is that bad? Will warming continue? Will that be bad? What can be achieved by a dramatic redirection of investment away from fossil fuels which such fuels remain abundant? Ghil’s perspective says nothing about that.

        Of more immediate interest, with reference to your figure 3. The 1997-1998 el Nino (sorry I forgot how to produce ~) produced a wide swing in Global Mean Temperature (or “was associated” with same) followed until the 2015-2016 el Nino by a plateau that was higher than the previous mean temperature. The 2015-2016 el Nino also produced (or … ) a wide swing in temperature. Does the model predict that the mean following the recent big swing will be higher than the mean of the 15 years before the swing?

        Recent reviews, linked at ClimateEtc, some published in peer-reviewed journals, show that the effects of temperature increase and CO2 increase since the late 19th century have been beneficial to vegetation, including agriculture. Do you agree with that? Will effects continue to be beneficial/harmful, on your reading of the evidence.

      • I doubt that you have grasped the true scope of uncertainty – and so your questions are the usual motivated reasoning based on unverifiable – and usually unacknowledged – assumptions.

        CO2 changes the radiative properties of the atmosphere, terrestrial hydrology and marine chemistry – without knowing the outcomes. So what then?

      • matthewrmarler: I doubt that you have grasped the true scope of uncertainty – and so your questions are the usual motivated reasoning based on unverifiable – and usually unacknowledged – assumptions.

        Motivated or not, the questions are serious, and you have the opportunity to answer them. The problem you consistently avoid is that, intelligent and insightful though they are, Ghil’s papers have nothing of practical import to say about the climate-CO2 relationship in the upcoming 150 years.

        CO2 changes the radiative properties of the atmosphere, terrestrial hydrology and marine chemistry – without knowing the outcomes.

        Only you would refer to a request for your views on outcome research as “without knowing outcomes”. I refer to research on outcomes frequently, for example my short paper on the changes in the transfer of energy from surface to atmosphere as the surface warms; I think I alerted ClimateEtc readers to the Romps et al study of changes in lightning frequency and to the Science paper on coccolithophores. And my question specifically referenced reviews of biological effects that have been published in peer-reviewed journals and discussed here at ClimateEtc.

      • oops, the quote is from Robert I Ellison: I doubt that you have grasped the true scope of uncertainty – and so your questions are the usual motivated reasoning based on unverifiable – and usually unacknowledged – assumptions.

    • The fundamental mechanism of climate is known.

      If that were the case, the charateristic equations of that mechanism operating in a complex Hamiltonian system would by now have been chiseled in stone. Instead, what we have is vigorous disagreement over mere verbal narratives and unproven Ph.D. theses.

      • ” Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation.” http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        “The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers. At present, there is no plan for improving our understanding of the issue, no research priorities have been identified, and no policy-making body is addressing the many concerns raised by the potential for abrupt climate change. Given these gaps, the US Global Change Research Program asked the National Research Council to establish the Committee on Abrupt Climate Change and charged the group to describe the current state of knowledge in the field and recommend ways to fill in the knowledge gaps.

        It is important not to be fatalistic about the threats posed by abrupt climate change. Societies have faced both gradual and abrupt climate changes for millennia and have learned to adapt through various mechanisms, such as moving indoors, developing irrigation for crops, and migrating away from inhospitable regions. Nevertheless, because climate change will likely continue in the coming decades, denying the likelihood or downplaying the relevance of past abrupt events could be costly. Societies can take steps to face the potential for abrupt climate change. The committee believes that increased knowledge is the best way to improve the effectiveness of response, and thus that research into the causes, patterns, and likelihood of abrupt climate change can help reduce vulnerabilities and increase our adaptive capabilities.” https://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/2#2

        The not so new paradigm and the evolving consensus. Scientists who are not caught up are known as dinosaurs for very good reason.

        There is research on these things – it just isn’t featured in the blogs you inhabit. And the best response is to build community resilience in a 21st century agriculture, infrastructure and energy. If we reduced the threat to wild populations – most of which comes from exploitation by impoverished people – that would be a good thing.

      • I suppose you are talking Michael Ghil’s 1973 thesis? Things have moved on considerably. And hand waving about Hamiltonian’s I have seen before.

      • There is research on these things – it just isn’t featured in the blogs you inhabit.

        Amusing! Leave it to a certified blog-denizen whose own research consists solely of Google searches to come up with a purely computational study of “sensitive dependence and structural instability” and a fund-begging “executive summary” as evidence of actual abrupt climate change–while failing to grasp the energy-preserving property of Hamiltonian systems.

        No competent geophysical researcher would make the mistake of accepting his “Door #3” example of jump resonance as having credible bearing upon the behavior of a first-order thermodynamic system devoid of resonance. But that’s what you get in a field dominated by self-promoting carpetbaggers without serious scientific qualifications. I don’t have time for such polemical postures.

      • I am not even sure who he is referring to here. There is a ‘computational study’ using network math and observed ocean and atmospheric indices, there is a review from the NAS on abrupt climate change – by a committee of luminaries in the field – and there is a commentary by James McWilliams on AOS. There are some schematics from Michael Ghil.

        And again he hand waves at Hamiltonians. Hamiltonians are essentially the sum of kinetic and potential energies of particles and energy is preserved are conserved along pathways. Distinct from classical mechanics – in the many-body problem the motion of one particle will vary chaotically due to spatial distribution of other particles in an essentially closed system. It is irrelevant to climate. We are light years away from being able to apply anything of the sort to climate.

        “Finally, Lorenz’s theory of the atmosphere (and ocean) as a chaotic system raises fundamental, but unanswered questions about how much the uncertainties in climate-change projections can be reduced. In 1969, Lorenz [30] wrote: ‘Perhaps we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers. We may believe, for example, that the motion of the unsaturated portion of the atmosphere is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations, but to use these equations properly we should have to describe each turbulent eddy—a task far beyond the capacity of the largest computer. We must therefore express the pertinent statistical properties of turbulent eddies as functions of the larger-scale motions. We do not yet know how to do this, nor have we proven that the desired functions exist’. Thirty years later, this problem remains unsolved, and may possibly be unsolvable.” http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751

        Michael Ghil is an illustrious geophysical researcher. And defining the Earth as a system devoid of resonance is ludicrous.

        I am dumbfounded – we have a clutch of seriously illustrious researchers I referenced – just in this thread – that John waves away with a seriously simplistic narrative and some routine disparagement. These people are leaders in the field – and I seriously doubt that we should defer to John instead. I seriously doubt that John has any qualification or understanding beyond that of a blogospheric climate warrior.

      • Hamiltonians are essentially the sum of kinetic and potential
        energies of particles and energy is preserved are conserved along
        pathways… It is irrelevant to climate. We are light years away from being
        able to apply anything of the sort to climate.

        Lest some readers be mislead by this incompetently narrow view of the scope of Hamiltonian systems, which I invoked for their energy-preserving
        properties that militate against abrupt changes, here is a brief overview:
        http://www.math.colostate.edu/~shipman/47/volume3b2011/M640_LaneHarvard_Schwagger.pdf
        But what is truly amazing here is the lack of any recognition that if “we
        are light years away…” then the fundamental mechanism of climate is NOT
        known. That amazement is only compounded by the invocation of Lorenz’ sage admission that we can only “visualize the day when all of the relevant
        physical principles will be perfectly known.”

        Even lay readers will have no trouble in recognizing that in referring to
        “the behavior of a first-order thermodynamic system devoid of resonance” I
        am referring only to thermodynamic processes. What is truly ludicrous is
        the claim that I’m “defining the Earth as a system devoid of resonance…”
        Mathematically adept readers, of course, will recognize that no resonance
        is possible in systems characterized by first-order differential equations.
        That is precisely the form of basic thermodynamic equations!

        While Michael Gil has indeed become a highly esteemed researcher in
        geophysics, he wrote his Ph.D. thesis at Courant Institute as a
        mathematician. It is in that limited capacity that he explains that jump resonance is possible with certain nonlinear systems. Mere mathematical possibility, however, does not make it physically actual. In fact, random fluctuations are known to quench jump resonance in physical systems.

        Decades later, it’s interesting to see how his views on certainty have evolved:
        http://research.atmos.ucla.edu/tcd//PREPRINTS/Hannart&co-Uncertain_future-2cols.pdf

      • “The global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems — atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere — each
        of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales.” Michael Ghil

        The figure from Ghil was reproduced from a much later publication – which shows the duplicity of John’s motivated arguments. The motivation remains unclear – but the routine disparagement is typical climate warrior fare.

        Hamiltonian mechanics conserve energy in a closed system along a path. The Earth system is in a dynamic energy disequilibrium. Rather than conservation of energy the objective would be to conserve momentum on fine scales as energy varies. As Julia Slingo and Time Palmer suggest – we don’t have the functions and may never have. Sunlight enters the system and is transformed in internal dynamics that feedback into the global energy balance. The climate state shifts abruptly as it it is pushed past a tipping point with multiple positive and negative feedbacks as tremendous energies cascade through powerful sub-systems. The internal climate system is dynamic and complex and has been observed to change abruptly – a defining characteristic of chaotic systems.

        “Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.” https://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/3#14

        “The concept of stochastic resonance was invented in 1981-82 in the rather exotic context of the evolution of the earth’s climate. It has long been known that the climatic system possesses a very pronounced internal variability. A striking illustration is provided by the last glaciation which reached its peak some 18,000 years ago, leading to mean global temperatures of some degrees lower than the present ones and a total ice volume more than twice its present value. Going further back in the past it is realized that glaciations have covered, in an intermittent fashion, much of the Quaternary era. Statistical data analysis shows that the glacial-interglacial transitions that have marked the last 106 years display an average periodicity of 105 years, to which is superimposed a considerable, random looking variability (see Figure 1). This is intriguing, since the only known time scale in this range is that of the changes in time of the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit around the sun, as a result of the perturbing action of the other bodies of the solar system. This perturbation modifies the total amount of solar energy received by the earth but the magnitude of this astronomical effect is exceedingly small, about 0.1% . The question therefore arises, whether one can identify in the earth-atmosphere-cryosphere system mechanisms capable of enhancing its sensitivity to such small external time-dependent forcings. The search of a response to this question led to the concept of stochastic resonance. Specifically, glaciation cycles are viewed as transitions between glacial and interglacial states that are somehow managing to capture the periodicity of the astronomical signal, even though they are actually made possible by the environmental noise rather than by the signal itself. Starting in the late 1980’s the ideas underlying stochastic resonance were taken up, elaborated and applied in a wide range of problems in physical and life sciences.” http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Stochastic_resonance

        “Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.” http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751

        John is fighting a losing battle against science and reality.

      • Once again, substantive counterarguments to the supposition of planetary temperature jumps are totally ignored here while passing off trite googled quotes as superior scientific knowledge.

        In an earlier post it was written:

        The plot below [showing MODELED temperature jumps] originates from work for Ghil’s Ph.D. thesis in 1975.

        But when I point out that Ghil’s was essentially a mathematical thesis, the
        charge is made:

        The figure from Ghil was reproduced from a much later publication – which shows the duplicity of John’s motivated arguments.

        Unequipped to comprehend and argue the key thermodynamic issues raised, blog-lions resort to illogic..

      • These are things that I have read over decades. Literally dozens of distinguished climate scientists referenced just in this thread. . The diagram from Michael Ghil comes from a much later publication – which I mentioned purely to counter the proposition that the thesis was pure mathematics rather than the anything to with the later concerns with climate. Obvious nonsense from a climate warrior with little real understanding but an overweening confidence in the inclusiveness of his climate memes.

        I frankly don’t know what he is objecting to. The are obvious regimes in ocean and atmospheric circulation and these modify the Earth’s energy budget through changes in ice, cloud, vegetation and dust.

        Despite everything he repeats the same story and never provides and citation at all. All in all it is just one of those relentlessly stupid blogospheric diatribes.

      • I frankly don’t know what he is objecting to.

        That’s root of the whole problem! Every clear reference to scientific fundamentals such as:

        1) Great thermal inertia of the oceans
        2) Utility of Hamiltonian (non-dissipative closed system) analysis of geophysical transport of heat
        3) Impossibility of jump resonance in first-order systems

        has been rejected here in favor of lengthy, often off-the-point, quotations from “distinguished climate scientists” without any consideration of the lack of compelling physical evidence. That’s a naked appeal to authority that may pass muster in a student debate, but has no place in serious scientific discussion.

        An then there asre the ad hominmes

  51. Forgetting the uncertainties in the science (which are enormous); the uncertainties in the social, political and economic spheres are unknowable. Scientists who claim that some variation in the environment will lead to disaster are selling snake oil. They have less idea than the experts in these fields whose predictive ability is marginal at best over a short time frame. 100 years hence is simple speculation. To claim catastrophe is to ignore human history and technological progress. The most likely scenario at present anyway is a mild 2 degrees rise in temperature which would almost certainly be advantageous. 2 degrees colder would be a whole lot worse. CAGW is pseudo-science at best, and a new religion at worst. The answer to a non-existent problem always seems to be to give governments more power and to transfer funds from developed countries in the West to others whilst limiting their economies. You couldn’t make this up.

    • marcif,

      This explains it very succinctly:
      http://dilbert.com/strip/2017-05-14

      [h/t someone posted this link on a thread a week or so ago]

    • I see – science is inconclusive but there is a most likely scenario and it is not a problem.

      • Sorry Robert – “inconclusive” means not known with certainty. “Most likely” implies uncertainty. Recent temperature rises of 0.1C to 0.2C per decade imply maybe a 2C rise in 100 years. This is generally accepted as being benign on the whole – if it occurs – which no one can say with certainty. I’m pretty sure future generations will find a way to mitigate most of any negative effects – a whole lot more cost effectively than our generation’s deluded, expensive and mainly inefficient attempts to head off the likely chimera of climate Armageddon. Uncertainty requires taking a balanced view of risk, cost and impact. I see no credible evidence – having followed the debate for 25 years – that the climate establishment generally does this, nor that they can predict the human and societal impact of possible outcomes based on their unreliable climate models.

        What I see is faux certainty and those expressing reasonable doubt being described as the equivalent of neo-Nazi holocaust deniers – or “flat earthers”. What may once have had some scientific basis in fact has been hijacked by those practicing a red green quasi-religion – full of certainty, original sin and the need for repentance before the end of the world. The pre-cautionary principle may be a valid argument for taking action, but from what I analyze this involves mitigation not wholesale economic, societal and government restructuring – which is now the aim of the climate zealots. The level of uncertainty in my view is simply too high for predictions 100 years hence to have any veracity.

      • Sorry – inconclusive means not scientifically conclusive and most likely is therefore a leap of faith. You are advocating actions for which the outcomes are unknown. A leap in the dark in other words.

        A steady warming is emphatically not the most likely scenario. Abrupt climate change with unknowable outcomes at 20 to 30 year intervals seems inevitable.

        “… the future evolution of the global mean temperature may hold surprises on both the warm and cold ends of the spectrum due entirely to internal variability that lie well outside the envelope of a steadily increasing global mean temperature.” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

        You lack an appreciation of just how uncertain it all is and sermonize on extraneous factors instead.

  52. This is a discussion going on above. It has to do with the basis of rational responses to building prosperous and resilient communities globally. Economic growth provides resources for solving problems – conserving and restoring ecosystems and soils, better sanitation and safer water, better health and education, updating the diesel fleet and other productive assets to emit less black carbon and reduce the health and environmental impacts, developing better and cheaper ways of producing electricity, replacing cooking with wood and dung with better ways of preparing food thus avoiding respiratory disease and again reducing black carbon emissions. The problem is that poor wee willie abjures economic growth and and mocks democratic, classical liberal freedoms on which it is based.

    It’s the other way around: Freedom Fighters appropriated themselves Hayek’s arguments. The most obvious reason is that they embrace his ideological crap. A less obvious reason is that they don’t even Hayek:

    https://judithcurry.com/2017/05/19/uncertainty-about-the-climate-uncertainty-monster/#comment-849750

    I have quoted this aspect of Hayek’s social philosophy any number of times – but poor wee willie claims that true liberals have usurped his socialist prerogative in supporting a social safety net. With poor wee willie it is all sloganeering about a social conscience – which we lack – without any concrete way of getting there. Apart from hand waving about democratically elected socialists. It seems about as relevant as libertarians.

    Hayek’s social philosophy – grounded firmly in the Scottish Enlightenment – is balanced by the fiscal and monetary responsibility that is the core of the Austrian school – and which led at least partially to his Nobel Prize. Markets provide the resources for government expenditure.

    Markets exist – ideally – in a democratic context. Politics provides a legislative framework for consumer protection, worker and public safety, environmental conservation and a host of other things. Including for regulation of markets – banking capital requirements, anti-monopoly laws, prohibition of insider trading, laws on corporate transparency and probity, tax laws, etc. A key to stable markets – and therefore growth – is fair and transparent regulation, minimal corruption and effective democratic oversight. Markets do best where government is large enough to be an important player and small enough not to squeeze the vitality out of capitalism – government revenue of some 25% of gross domestic product. Markets can’t exist without laws – just as civil society can’t exist without police, courts and armies. Much is made of a laissez faire concept of capitalism – but this has never ever been a model of practical economics.

    Hayek consists of a social contract evolving in the democratic process and some mainstream market management principles.
    It is ultimately less exciting than the revolution of transforming society and abolishing capitalism – but quite likely to better improve global welfare.

    “There are many values of the conservative which appeal to me more than those of the socialists; yet for a liberal the importance he personally attaches to specific goals is no sufficient justification for forcing others to serve them. I have little doubt that some of my conservative friends will be shocked by what they will regard as “concessions” to modern views that I have made in Part III of this book. But, though I may dislike some of the measures concerned as much as they do and might vote against them, I know of no general principles to which I could appeal to persuade those of a different view that those measures are not permissible in the general kind of society which we both desire. To live and work successfully with others requires more than faithfulness to one’s concrete aims. It requires an intellectual commitment to a type of order in which, even on issues which to one are fundamental, others are allowed to pursue different ends.” F. A. Hayek

    This is probably an unfamiliar idea to fringe progressives like poor wee willie.

      • Poor wee willie – lost in the land of sloganeering. How many actual libertarians are there anyway? Not nearly as many as the poor wee willie club I’d warrant – even if I wouldn’t join a club that would have willie as a member.

        ‘”“Compulsory charity,” that is, the threat or the use of violence to expropriate the wealth and income of some for the purposes of aiding those in need cannot be morally justified.1 First, expropriation, regardless of its beneficial end, violates the principle of negative human rights or side-constraints. Aquinas states (Summa Theologica II-II q.32 a.7) that when a thing is ill-gotten (for example, through theft), it may not be given away in alms because it must first be restored to the proper owner.”

        Government as theft is an utter nonsense. They would last 10 minutes without police, courts, prisons and armies. And you can’t really pick what you want to pay for and what you don’t in a democracy. Even Republicans love healthcare. Good governance is fairly rare however and I wouldn’t leave it to willie’s cronies for a start.

        Not a big picture sort of guy are you poor wee willie?

      • > How many actual libertarians are there anyway?

        There’s at least teh Hayek himself:

        A successful defence of freedom must therefore be dogmatic and make no concessions to expediency.

        […]

        Utopia, like ideology, is a bad word today […] But an ideal picture of a society which may not be wholly achievable, or a guiding conception of the overall order to be aimed at, is nevertheless not only the indispensable precondition of any rational policy, but also the chief contribution that science can make to the solution of the problems of practical policy.

        Interestingly, this utopian dogmatism did not prevent Hayek from supporting dictatures. In fact, he did more than support Pinochet – Chile’s Constitution bears the same name as one of his books. It also borrows many of Hayek’s ideas.

        Perhaps this too can be discounted by Chief’s more than faithfulness to one’s concrete aims.

    • “We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage. What we lack is a liberal Utopia, a programme which seems neither a mere defence of things as they are nor a diluted kind of socialism, but a truly liberal radicalism which does spare the susceptibilities of the mighty (including the trade unions), which is not too severely practical and which does not confine itself to what appears today as politically possible…Those who have concerned themselves exclusively with what seemed practicable in the existing state of opinion have constantly found that even this has rapidly become politically impossible as the result of changes in a public opinion which they have done nothing to guide. Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our livliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.”

      —Friedrich August von Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (1967)

      Hayek’s commitment to democracy and personal and economic freedom are the core principles of liberalism . Poor wee willie has never understood this as he is heir to a debauched version that embraces progressive authoritarianism.

      Hayek indeed influenced the transition of Argentina to democracy and to a high functioning economy. Too bad the Austrian school has been abandoned by Argentina for the delusions of progressive ideology.

      So where do we start to build a classic liberal utopia this century? My suggestion is to balance the human ecology and create a civilisation worthy of the name.

      https://watertechbyrie.com/2015/09/28/a-classic-liberal-utopia/

      The stark alternative is a progressive dystopia.

      • > The stark alternative is a progressive dystopia.

        Chief omits that the alternative to an utopia is the real world. He also discounts Hayek’s switch from theory to propaganda:

        [T]here was a Good Hayek and a Bad Hayek. The Good Hayek was a serious scholar who was particularly interested in the role of knowledge in the economy (and in the rest of society). Since knowledge—about technological possibilities, about citizens’ preferences, about the interconnections of these, about still more—is inevitably and thoroughly decentralized, the centralization of decisions is bound to generate errors and then fail to correct them. The consequences for society can be calamitous, as the history of central planning confirms. That is where markets come in. All economists know that a system of competitive markets is a remarkably efficient way to aggregate all that knowledge while preserving decentralization.

        But the Good Hayek also knew that unrestricted laissez-faire is unworkable. It has serious defects: successful actors reach for monopoly power, and some of them succeed in grasping it; better-informed actors can exploit the relatively ignorant, creating an inefficiency in the process; the resulting distribution of income may be grossly unequal and widely perceived as intolerably unfair; industrial market economies have been vulnerable to excessively long episodes of unemployment and underutilized capacity, not accidentally but intrinsically; environmental damage is encouraged as a way of reducing private costs—the list is long. Half of Angus Burgin’s book is about the Good Hayek’s attempts to formulate and to propagate a modified version of laissez-faire that would work better and meet his standards for a liberal society. (Hayek and his friends were never able to settle on a name for this kind of society: “liberal” in the European tradition was associated with bad old Manchester liberalism, and neither “neo-liberal” nor “libertarian” seemed to be satisfactory.)

        The Bad Hayek emerged when he aimed to convert a wider public. Then, as often happens, he tended to overreach, and to suggest more than he had legitimately argued. The Road to Serfdom was a popular success but was not a good book. Leaving aside the irrelevant extremes, or even including them, it would be perverse to read the history, as of 1944 or as of now, as suggesting that the standard regulatory interventions in the economy have any inherent tendency to snowball into “serfdom.” The correlations often run the other way. Sixty-five years later, Hayek’s implicit prediction is a failure, rather like Marx’s forecast of the coming “immiserization of the working class.”

        https://newrepublic.com/article/110196/hayek-friedman-and-the-illusions-conservative-economics

      • “From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.”

        ― Friedrich A. Hayek

        The road to serfdom has been trudged many times. The great horrors of the 20th century attest to this. To suggest that an unspecified economic intervention need not lead to disaster is about as trivial as poor wee willie gets. They usually do – but whether this spirals from economic dislocation to horror depends on luck.

        To repeat myself. When I think limits to growth – I think not here and not now. Markets exist – ideally – in a democratic context. Politics provides a legislative framework for consumer protection, worker and public safety, environmental conservation and a host of other things. Including for regulation of markets – banking capital requirements, anti-monopoly laws, prohibition of insider trading, laws on corporate transparency and probity, tax laws, etc. A key to stable markets – and therefore growth – is fair and transparent regulation, minimal corruption and effective democratic oversight. Markets do best where government is large enough to be an important player and small enough not to squeeze the vitality out of capitalism. Markets can’t exist without laws – just as civil society can’t exist without police, courts and armies. Much is made of a laissez faire concept of capitalism – but this has never ever been a model of practical economics.

        “In Free Markets and Civil Peace, we argue that economic repression and market distortions create conditions that make armed conflict feasible. Economic repression and economic mismanagement supply the means, motive, and opportunity for groups to challenge states because economic distortions spawn underground economies that form the organizational bases of insurgency that allow groups to succeed and remain sustainable in the face of superior state forces. Greater economic freedom, on the other hand, raises the opportunity costs of violence, raising the premium for maintaining order. Our empirical analyses using standard data show that greater economic freedom is indeed associated with greater civil peace, greater respect for human rights, and produces greater peace between ethnoreligious groups within countries. The results are robust to sample size and to bias from endogeneity, or reverse causality.” https://www.fraserinstitute.org/research/free-markets-and-civil-peace

        To quote again from Hayek if I may. For a classic liberal there is a commitment to ‘political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force.’ The outcome is a social contract – the rule of law – that is compromise arrived at in the cut and thrust of politics. It may be obvious that democracy is the foundation for social progress – but it is always worth restating. In the classic liberal tradition it is all based on respect for God given rights. This is the classic liberal utopia of Hayek’s ideal reality.

        One critical freedom is economic freedom. Optimal tax take is some 23% of GDP and government budgets are balanced. Interest rates are best managed through the overnight cash market to restrain inflation to a 2% to 3% target. These nuts and bolts of market management are mainstream market theory and keep economies on a stable – as far as is possible – growth trajectory.

        I have gone to lengths to contrast poor wee willies cut and paste from a superficial New Republic article on good and bad Hayek – with more defensible sources. The ‘standard economic interventions’ – whatever it is imagined they are – need not lead to tyranny but they are steps on the road to serfdom.

      • > To repeat myself.

        As if Denizens did not know about Chief’s ad nauseams.

        Hayek’s information modulz in his crappy Route to Serfdom or in his less crappy “The Use of Knowledge in Society” was dubious at best:

        Hayek’s radically subjectivist view of the social sciences is open to the objection that its constitutive category, the rational subject, is by no means obviously given. As Lawson (1992) has argued, a wealth of psychological and sociological research has revealed that human behaviour is highly routinized, and coordinated in the main by unconscious brain functions. Indeed, as Dennett (1991) relates, experiments in neuropsychology indicate that people act first and become concious of their intention to act later.

        For the more limited domain of economics, there is the problem that the `subjects’ in question are more likely to be juridical than personal. In the main, the economic actors in industrial production are firms, not human individuals. Nor can the actions of a firm be reduced to the inner subjective life of its managing director. In any large firm, the courses of action taken result from a complex set of practices, reviews, and decision-making procedures involving many people, and in which the procedures can be as important as who fills which particular positions. We would argue that the economic subject that Hayek takes as his starting point is not empirically given at all, but is rather a reification of economic theory. The rational economic subject makes sense only in terms of formalised calculating procedures, which, if they are realised in practice, are more likely to be materialised in the accounting and management practices of firms than in the brains of individuals. Economic theory then projects back these practices, rational for the enterprise as a juridical subject, onto a supposedly constitutive human subject.

        The historical conditions for this projection are clear enough. In the early stages of capitalism the distinction between personal and juridical subjects was as yet ill defined. The agent of economic practice thus appeared to be the person of the capitalist or entrepreneur rather than the firm. But from the standpoint of the current state of economic development, it can be seen that the rational calculating subject is the property-maximising juridical subject. To the extent that in a property system some of the juridical subjects are individual human animals, the reified subject of economic theory provides an account of what would be rational action on their part. But the assertion that these animals do engage in such rational action is more an act of faith than an empirical result of science. By starting out with this act of faith Hayek aimed to mark off economics as essentially a branch of moral philosophy rather than science.

        But once the category of subject is recognised for what it is, not an empirically existing property of the human animal, but something ascribed to it both by the structures of language and of juridical discourse (Althusser, 1971), then this exclusion of science from the study of society becomes untenable. It becomes just one more of the special pleas by morality to hold the encroachments of science at bay.

        Hayek’s subjectivist philosophical standpoint has an important bearing on his arguments against socialist planning, since these arguments hinge on the notion of subjective information. Despite the fact that The Counter-Revolution of Science was published after the establishment of a scientific information theory by Shannon and Weaver (1949), Hayek’s notion of information remains resolutely pre-scientific. Admittedly, it takes time for the discoveries of one discipline to percolate through to others. In the mid-1950s the idea of the objectivity of information had not yet spread far beyond the study of telecommunications. But now, when it has revolutionised biology, become the foundation of our major industries, and begun to transform our understanding of social ideologies (Dawkins, 1982), its absence vitiates Hayek’s entire argument.

        http://reality.gn.apc.org/econ/hayek.htm

        In a nutshell, Hayek’s anti-socialist argument falters as soon as we recognize that: (a) socialism doesn’t rest on absolute central planning; (b) planning is required for just about any human action; (c) his naive subjectivism led him to individualize economic agents whereas most of the big players nowadays aren’t even human.

      • “The report presents Hayek,s (sic) arguments about the use of information in economics and asseses their adequacy. They are criticised both with respect to their subjectivist philosophical foundations, and by applying the techniques of information theory. We use information theory to show that Hayek underestimates the information costs involved in the operation of the market and overestimates the information costs of detail planning.”

        I can’t really be bothered with an essay on the workability of socialism. From what poor wee willie cuts and paste – it is the usual sociological gobbledygook. Ideation without a basis in tangible realities. There is no sense that at the core of this ideation are real people with concerns, hopes, dreams and families. They are simply irrational actors removed from the objective truth as revealed by the science of socialist planning.

        Hayek’s dual concerns were the the traditions of freedoms that derive from the Scottish Enlightenment – in which the individual comes to the fore – and the mechanics of rational economic management. The former are in the great tradition of individual freedom – the latter are mainstream economics still.

        ” Indeed, modern developments in information technology open up the possibility of a planning system that could outperform the market in terms of efficiency (in meeting human needs) as well as equity. ”

        All because they deny the role of individuals in consuming and producing based on ideation abstracted from all sanity. It all inevitably ends up in a toilet paper shortage – thus I refute you. But this clearly shows where poor wee willie is coming from. It is all just so much fringe nonsense.

      • > I can’t really be bothered with an essay on the workability of socialism.

        Yet that’s exactly what Hayek’s **Road to Serfdom* and Hayek’s overall peddling are, at least as far as the immediate theme is concerned. A deeper reactionary line inhabits our Freedom Fighter:

        We can never know what serendipity of knowledge and know-how will produce the best results, which union of genius and basic ignorance will yield the greatest advance. For that reason, individuals—all individuals—must be free to pursue their ends, to exploit the wisdom of others for their own purposes. Allowing for the uncertainties of progress is the greatest guarantor of progress. Hayek’s argument for freedom rests less on what we know or want to know than on what we don’t know, less on what we are morally entitled to as individuals than on the beneficial consequences of individual freedom for society as a whole.

        In fact, Hayek continues, it is not really my freedom that I should be concerned about; nor is it the freedom of my friends and neighbors. It is the freedom of that unknown and untapped figure of invention to whose imagination and ingenuity my friends and I will later owe our greater happiness and flourishing: “What is important is not what freedom I personally would like to exercise but what freedom some person may need in order to do things beneficial to society. This freedom we can assure to the unknown person only by giving it to all.”

        Deep inside Hayek’s understanding of freedom, then, is the notion that the freedom of some is worth more than the freedom of others: “The freedom that will be used by only one man in a million may be more important to society and more beneficial to the majority than any freedom that we all use.” Hayek cites approvingly this statement of a nineteenth-century philosopher: “It may be of extreme importance that some should enjoy liberty…although such liberty may be neither possible nor desirable for the great majority.” That we don’t grant freedom only to that individual is due solely to the happenstance of our ignorance: we cannot know in advance who he might be. “If there were omniscient men, if we could know not only all that affects the attainment of our present wishes but also our future wants and desires, there would be little case for liberty.”

        * * *

        As this reference to “future wants and desires” suggests, Hayek has much more in mind than producers responding to a pre-existing market of demand; he’s talking about men who create new markets—and not just of wants or desires, but of basic tastes and beliefs. The freedom Hayek cares most about is the freedom of those legislators of value who shape and determine our ends.

        https://www.thenation.com/article/nietzsches-marginal-children-friedrich-hayek/

        No wonder then that Hayek basically invented think tanks and brown nosed Pinochet and other dictators.

      • I can’t be bothered with an essay whose thesis is that that computers save socialism. And Hayek as I said was influential in the transition of Argentina to democracy and a functioning economy. Brown nosing according to poor wee willie.

        A corporation is a system for producing widgits. The most efficient widget maker wins. The best widgit – as decided by consumers – wins. Corporations are subject to law and individuals are personally liable for malfeasance. But it is just widgits. Widgits that people want and need to buy.

        “The year is 1820. Adams and Jefferson, no longer in the pitch of
        political battle, have turned their attention to a wide range of intellectual
        matters and have begun yet another reflection on the assumptions and implications associated with the American Revolution. Within this context,
        there is nothing unusual about the two greatest leaders of American
        political sensibilities citing Reid and Stewart and even giving Reid pride
        of place in a list that includes Descartes, Locke, and Hume. By 1820 the
        debt of the Founders to Scottish moral and mental philosophy was widely
        acknowledged and repaid chiefly in the currency of admiration and discipleship.” http://www.romeroinstitute.org/docs/Week%204/The+Scottish+Enlightenment+and+the+American+Founding.pdf

        Hayek’s traces his roots back to the English Whigs and the Scottish Enlightenment – as does the American constitution.

        “Sharing the humanist and rationalist outlook of the European Enlightenment of the same time period, the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment asserted the importance of human reason combined with a rejection of any authority that could not be justified by reason. In Scotland, the Enlightenment was characterised by a thoroughgoing empiricism and practicality where the chief values were improvement, virtue, and practical benefit for the individual and society as a whole.”

        The Nietzschean ubermensch is not remotely relevant. Poor wee willies quote is from a tortuous metaphysics that has lost all connection with the sensibilities and practicalities of life.

        The bottom line on of Hayek is the devotion to the principles and practices of democracy – even to the extent of allowing socialists to vote. And to the rules of free market management that I have defined elsewhere in this thread – which are mainstream economics.

        And this seems to be the key. Poor wee willie’s link objects to rational economic management by either Demorats or Republicans. In this faux-liberal model life, liberty and happiness is not pursued by individuals but bestowed by government.

  53. Random thoughts on the CAGW

    IPCC ‘Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptationhttps://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/srex/SREX_Full_Report.pdf uses emotive adjectives (e.g., disaster, extreme events, catastrophe, danger, serious, threat) throughout the document. This is politics, not rational, objective, unbiased science. Examples of some of these and the number of times mentioned are:

    Disaster: 4,111
    Extreme: 2,555
    Extreme events: 316
    Catastrophe or catastrophic: 155
    Danger or dangerous: 34
    Serious: 34
    Threat: 96

    But these adjectives are usually applied to selected events and types of events. They are not applied to overall harm or benefit for the planet. The benefits and damages of warming are not summed. They use innuendo to imply that global warming would dangerous and catastrophic, or at a minimum, would do more harm than good. But would it? What’s the evidence?

  54. Judith,
    This is a rather lengthy post, and I’m trying to understand what your basic message is. As I understand it, you’re suggesting that there are things that could happen that we can’t really predict with any accuracy (unknowns, or very uncertain knowns). Well, yes, I think people accept that. They even accept that it’s not impossible that this very uncertain outcome could even mean that the resulting changes are benign, or even beneficial. However, it’s also possible that these unlikely (but possible) outcomes could mean that the changes lead to severely negative outcomesc(much more than we expect). So, what we have is a range of possible outcomes for which we’ve attempted to quantify the probabilities, but we also have the possibility of unlikely, but possible, outcomes that we haven’t quantified and that might be benign/beneficial, but could be severely negative. I still don’t see how this is an argument against acting to reduce our emissions. Maybe you can explain?

    On a similar note, one of your objections seems to be that we’re focussing on CO2, when there are other factors that are also important. My impression is that this is because CO2 emissions are inherently global, and reducing emissions probably requires some kind of global agreement. Other factors (like land use, dealing with sea level rise, etc) are things that can be dealt with regionally and hence don’t need to be discussed at a global level. This doesn’t mean that they’re not important, but is probably why we see less public mention of them.

    • CO2, will produce approximately 1 C of warming per doubling at the surface “as measured” “all things remaining equal.” CO2 is not a health hazard at expected concentrations. The warming should primarily be in higher, colder latitudes during winter and at night.

      Black Carbon, NOx, SO2 and other non-CO2 factors have known adverse health impacts and are larger regional issues, i.e. hemispheric instead of global. Current estimates put the non-CO2 factor forcing at 50% greater than the CO2 related forcing.

      It is remarkably easy to show that the “global” focus on CO2 mitigation has produced and will produce little impact on climate change in the next 100 years and many of the policy recommendations have resulted in more environmental damage and regional negative health effects than benefits. For example consider diesel and biodiesel vehicle use encouraged by “global” CO2 mitigation aficionados combined with “sustainable” wood stoves resulting the reduced regional air quality.. Currently western US ozone levels are increasing because of Asian over use of poorly regulated emissions from coal and biomass burning.

      Those are knowns. The unintended consequences are emerging properties for some that have been overly focused on, and stubbornly clinging to, “global” mitigation as a means to save some future world, without offending their pseudo-scientific constituents.

    • Oh, I forgot that the response is generally the super intellectual meme ABC (anything but carbon) ad hom, instead of recognizing that dealing with regional “low hanging fruit” is an application of Occam’s razor.

    • I have no objections to individual governments or utilities working to reduce CO2 emissions. The problem is the international mandate, here is why:
      1. Current plans for emissions reductions would reduce warming by 0.2C by end of 21st century, if you believe the climate models. This is rather pointless in terms of changing the climate.
      2. The cost of these emissions reductions is substantial, which slows economic progress particularly in undeveloped countries, which may make them more vulnerable to climate change
      3. This cost is an opportunity cost, money that isn’t spent on developing new technologies or dealing with other problems that may be more important or have beneficial solutions based on current technologies and understanding.
      4. Infrastructure changes to accommodate emissions reductions will be hardwired for many decades, slowing down the uptake of genuinely new technologies that could actually make a difference, should it turn out that CO2 emissions are a big problem.

      • 2. The cost of these emissions reductions is substantial, which slows economic progress particularly in undeveloped countries, which may make them more vulnerable to climate change.

        What happened to Mr. T? To be so absolutely certain, I guess you must have a reliable assessment of the positive/negative externalities associated with emissions. Please share. Not to mention, you are not doubt relying on economic models to reach your complete certainty. Irony, anyone?

        3. This cost is an opportunity cost, money that isn’t spent on developing new technologies or dealing with other problems that may be more important or have beneficial solutions based on current technologies and understanding.

        …”may be…” Looking past your dismissal of uncertainty related to “cost,” there are many other ways that the money for new technologies could be obtained, if there were the political will to do so. We could start with the money being proposed to go to massive reductions in taxes for the super rich. It is facile to suggest that any “cost” associated with emissions reductions would necessarily come at the expense of new technologies. For all you know, that “opportunity cost,” if not spent on reducing emissions, would go toward lowering taxes for the super rich even further.

      • And btw – you also completely ignored any uncertainty as to whether emissions reduction can be decoupled from economic growth.

        That link speaks mostly to OECD countries, but there is much within the power of OECD countries to foster economic growth in developing countries – given the political will to do so. There is much that holds back growth in those countries besides the cost of energy – and enriching despots who supply fossil fuels is one of them. Uncertainties all over the place. Why do you ignore them?

      • Judith

        you said;

        “3. This cost is an opportunity cost, money that isn’t spent on developing new technologies or dealing with other problems that may be more important or have beneficial solutions based on current technologies and understanding.”

        There are numerous problems I would consider more important. for example Cyber hacking-whether by individuals or hostile nations- has the facility to bring the west to its knees in days. physical terrorism could achieve the same ends over a longer and more painful time scale.

        A highly theoretical 0.2C of cooling over the next century achieved at vast cost, seems a poor choice of our time money and resources

        tonyb

      • tony –

        =={ for example Cyber hacking-whether by individuals or hostile nations- has the facility to bring the west to its knees in days. physical terrorism could achieve the same ends over a longer and more painful time scale. }==

        So do you see evidence that those problems have grown (or not been mitigated) as a direct result of the “cost” of emissions reduction? If so, can you explain further? And on what basis do you determine that future efforts on those problems will be directly hampered by the “cost” of emissions reduction (assuming, for the sake of argument, you can meaningfully determine that there is a cost if you can’t assess positive/negative externalities)?

      • Judith –

        =={ 3. This cost is an opportunity cost, money that isn’t spent on developing new technologies or dealing with other problems that may be more important or have beneficial solutions based on current technologies and understanding. }==

        Have you decided to eschew your policy of not advocating on policy issues? What caused you to change your mind about scientists activism?

      • Advocating means telling people what they should do

        I’m not telling anyone what they should do, rather I am discussing policy options

      • How about vetting immigrants from Libya or tracking chemical precursers to TATB purchases like they with cold medicines?

        Oh I forgot, the queen and T. May have plenty of guards.

        Not so little girls.

        Not counting my favorites of sewage treatment plants, electricity and clean water and cooking fuel apart from dung in unlit huts.
        Scott

      • 1. That might indicate that we should do more, rather than less.

        2. This depends on how you measure this. As a fraction of GDP it is estimated to be small (a few percent). As a reduction in GDP growth it is also estimated to be small (a fraction of a percent). On the other hand, if you actually estimate the cost, then you can make it small because a small fraction of a very large number can also be a very large number.

        3. Addressing climate change does not necessarily imply not addressing these other issues.

        4. There are almost always new technologies around the corner. If it turns out that CO2 emissions are a big problem, then delaying addressing this may well be very costly.

      • ATTP

        You seem to pretend that there are limitless financial resources. The times of countries spending more than they are generating in revenue are ending.

      • small, a few percent. 3 percent of US GDP would be $540 billion or just about the average Obama era annual budget shortfall. 3% of the UK GDP would be $84 billion or about what the US spends on SNAP per year providing food benefits to the under privileged including many who are over educated and under employed thanks to outsourcing industry.

      • Dr. Curry, I do not think that your reply addresses ATTP’s basic claim, which seems to be Pascalwager-like, namely that small risks of catastrophe call for major responses. This principle is simply false. They call for little or no response, because their number is legion.

      • Of course, if global warming, for some intermediate term, turns out to be a net positive, which observations to date tend to indicate, then efforts to avoid fossil fuels are a lose-lose. Lose by unnecessarily imposing costs, and lose the benefits of increased CO2 and increased mean temperature.

        Much of this is academic.
        Market forces in the US ( fracking for natural gas ) are leading to reduced CO2 emissions. I believe the rest of the world will catch up to US natural gas production, and will decline in CO2 emissions in a similar way.

        And of course, demographics alone point to continued decreases of CO2 emissions.

      • ATTP: ” I still don’t see how this is an argument against acting to reduce our emissions.”

        I rarely see arguments against reducing emissions per se. The opposition is to to exaggerating certainty in order to garner support for “action.” The alternative is a cool-headed management approach where resources and productivity are optimized for all enterprises. There are a dozen independent nuclear fusion projects that are funded and advancing as we speak.

        If there was not the philosophical political divide on the question of whether big business is more corrupt than big government then there would likely be very little divide of CO2 regulation. I happen to be an engineer in the private, for profit domain, that would very much like to increase the income inequality for myself and my family relative to the median income. This makes my an evil “Trumper” in Joshua’s mind. But I have to invent things and solve problems that lowers costs for products for Joshua and his family in order to achieve my aim of self-enrichment. I also pay a LOT of taxes, to help fund Joshua’s and others big government dreams.

        One point that I never see made is that innovation sprouts like magic when the need is clear and present. For example, the western Allies were unprepared for WWII. Even after 2 1/2 years of war in Europe the USA was just starting to make some movement by December of 1941. When the world was on the line decades of technological advancement were compressed into years to deal with the tangible threat. We have little ability to conceive of the technology of 2050 or 2100. I do have an idea of how to optimize the path.

      • Joshua, per NYT link: Can economies rise as emissions fall?

        The interesting thing is that the US reached peak CO2 emissions circa 2005 mostly as a result of organic technological innovations and economic efficiencies; not because industry was strong armed by the EPA or activism. The EPA only began publishing an inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 1993, and began regulating CO2 emissions in 2011. The NYT believes activism is the only thing that will work to drive emissions down to save the world, their view represents anti science and anti engineering. I’ve said it many times, the Left argues catastrophe using CO2 model extrapolations but ignores an equal amount of enthusiastic prognostications for technological advancement. The AGW problem will eventually go away without even trying unless the Left bankrupts the global economy first. Technology has a steeper hockey stick curve than CO2, with no hint of peaking. The irony Is the Left has little faith or belief in science and engineering, at least not enough to bank on it for the future.

      • Oh dear – put this in the wrong place.

        Economic growth is maximised with trade and innovation. Both enhance productivity. There is of course the argument that exponential growth in a finite world is impossible – arguably not. But at this stage of global development there is a fundamental need – from both a humanitarian and ecological perspective – for as much growth as we can get as quickly as possible.

        Adding costs to energy as subsidies, taxes, caps or regulation reduces economic productivity and have achieved next to nothing in carbon abatement. It is a policy failure motivated in part by economic degrowth agendas. But there are other ways forward in both energy and agricultural science. The French 4 per 1000 initiative aims for a billion tonnes of carbon sequestration per year. The ultimate potential is for sequestration of 100 billion tonnes. But there are much broader objectives of food security, flood and drought resilience, biodiversity conservation and income growth.

        And only truly cost competitive energy sources will enable a transition to low carbon generation. The rest is all just motivated nonsense.

      • Joshua:
        “What happened to Mr. T? To be so absolutely certain, I guess you must have a reliable assessment of the positive/negative externalities associated with emissions. Please share. Not to mention, you are not doubt relying on economic models to reach your complete certainty.”

        I don’t think the poor care about externalities. They care about more basic things like cheap reliable electricity. I have no economic model but we do have progress to date:

        So solar and wind is about 1%. It’s a bit more than 1% because of other renewables and nuclear is assumed constant, but I want to keep this simple. We are looking at something like 100 times the accomplishment to date from wind and solar as one pathway. Say all wind and solar not including batteries as by convention, that’s not wind and solars problem, lasts 25 years and then is scrapped. The replacement cost is then about four time everything paid for and in service to date, each year (It’s not quite that bad, the learning curve). There will be more costs too. Currently I assume wind and solar has priority. If it’s available it is put into the grid. Other resources may be idled and the cost of that fall not on wind and solar. With increased grid penetration, conventional generation becomes less economical. I have to buy double the gas peakers as before but my total sales are decreased, because I had to back up more than before. Conventional generation then breaks. Now who provides the back up? So we aim for 50% wind and solar and we keep conventional around to pay for stuff we don’t want to pay for. So let’s say we go for 50% wind and solar. Next year we spend enough to add everything still in service giving us 2%. 48 more years to go and don’t forget we need to keep replacing things that wear out, especially in about year 25. What about new transmission lines? Need to pay for those. Those cement pads for wind turbine, don’t worry about those. In what world is this economical? Is there money for this? It’s also true their will be some advances with wind and solar and none of what I wrote reflects this.

      • John Carpenter

        “What happened to Mr. T? To be so absolutely certain, I guess you must have a reliable assessment of the positive/negative externalities associated with emissions. Please share. Not to mention, you are not doubt relying on economic models to reach your complete certainty. Irony, anyone?”

        Joshu-a

        If you accept the idea of using the uncertainty principle to hold those who claim CO2 poses no great risk to our climate responsible to provide assessments that it there is no great risk, then likewise using the same precautionary principle it would not be up to Judy to provide assessments to show there is a great risk of economic hardship to fulfill deep mitigation of CO2, it is up to those who claim there is little risk of economic hardship from deep mitigation to provide such assessments.

        If CO2 poses some uncertain significant risk to the climate, then it incumbent of those who dismiss the uncertain significant risk to show why. If deep mitigation of CO2 emissions through significant changes in how we generate power to run our economies poses some uncertain significant hardship on our economies, then it is incumbent of those who dismiss the uncertain significant risk to show why.

        Based on an equanimity of the usage of the precautionary principle, reversing Judy’s uncertainty argument by saying she is so certain there will be economic hardships due to deep mitigation efforts is a disengenuous engagement and does not move the discussion toward a resolution, rather it appears to be an argument with the intention of creating a division by holding Judy to a standard not considered acceptable in the case of CO2 as a risk. Any thoughts?

      • John Carpenter

        Not equanimity, equality. Lol

      • Joshua:
        “And btw – you also completely ignored any uncertainty as to whether emissions reduction can be decoupled from economic growth.”

        Switched from coal to natural gas. What’s next? Mass transit, but not for the rural areas. Pipelines anyone? The hippies just don’t give up opposing new large powerlines. It can be done, with nuclear.

        “I don’t believe that an economy powered by solar and renewables can sustain the same level of economic growth. If we are serious about reducing emissions, we cannot do the wishful thinking that the economy will double every 35 years. We have to ask, can we manage without growth?”

        The guys a skeptic.

        It’s poetic. We need to return to the climate of the past, it was the apex climate. We reached the apex of civilization and to prevent it from being destroyed, that’s it. I sure don’t want those poor people in Africa destroying it either, I have done enough for at least 2 or 3 average people and I feel obligated to help those poor people, but not have reliable electricity. This is the apex, so I’ll write a monthly check out to them (scratch that, a gift card to a solar store). I am hanging for dear life to my apex. And others do not get to reach the apex, but I’ll give them solar store gift cards.

        I know others will say some of my own apex should redistributed to them, but I am not ready to go that far.

      • “The relationship between access to modern energy services and quality of life is well established. Affordable and reliable grid electricity allows factory owners to increase output and hire more workers. Electricity allows hospitals to refrigerate lifesaving vaccines and power medical equipment. It liberates children and women from manual labor. Societies that are able to meet their energy needs become wealthier, more resilient, and better able to navigate social and environmental hazards like climate change and natural disasters.

        Faced with a perceived conflict between expanding global energy access and rapidly reducing greenhouse emissions to prevent climate change, many environmental groups and donor institutions have come to rely on small-scale, decentralized, renewable energy technologies that cannot meet the energy demands of rapidly growing emerging economies and people struggling to escape extreme poverty. The UN’s flagship energy access program, for example, claims that “basic human needs” can be met with enough electricity to power a fan, a couple of light bulbs, and a radio for five hours a day.

        A reconsideration of what equitable energy access means for human development and the environment is needed. As this paper demonstrates, a massive expansion of energy systems, primarily carried out in the rapidly urbanizing global South, in combination with the rapid acceleration of clean energy innovation, is a more pragmatic, just, and morally acceptable framework for thinking about energy access. The time has come to embrace a high-energy planet.”

        https://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

        I saw Jimmy D babbling on about how the UN is pro poor people. The reality is very different – they, the greens and progressive politicians are complicit in attempting to dictate ongoing energy poverty. Including for low income earners in the developed north.

        For me the difference is demonstrated by the contrast between focused 19 goals of the Copenhagen Consensus – all of which have population, black carbon, emissions reduction or sequestration implications – as opposed to the UN’s 169 politically derived opportunities to piss it sustainably up against a wall.

      • > Advocating means telling people what they should do

        So all you need is to present alternatives.

        We should either kill the IPCC or create a red team with teh Koonin.

        When I say that, do I tell people what to do?

        No, there’s an alternative.

        Just discussin’ options.

        Clean hands.

        ***

        I hope lobbyists are paying attention to this blog.

      • Ragnaar –

        =={ I don’t think the poor care about externalities. }==

        I don’t think that I’m in a position to speak for “the poor,” and I don’t think that “the poor” speak with a uniform voice, but I would imagine that many poor people do care about things like environmental damage, particulate matter in the air, water quality, and most particularly, how the status quo of empowering and enriching autocratic and oppressive states that often are oppressing them, is not in their interest.

        =={ They care about more basic things like cheap reliable electricity. I have no economic model but we do have progress to date: }==

        The problems is that many people take a simplistic approach as to what factors affect access to energy. Here’s someone who doesn’t:

        There is far more that goes into determining the level of access that poor people have to energy than the “cost” of emissions mitigation, and that’s even accepting that the argument that the “cost” is meaningful (if you haven’t assessed the relative magnitude of positive and negative externalities, which, IMO, is accepting, for the sake of argument, an illogical argument – as how the f do you know if there is a “cost” if you haven’t accurately assessed externalities?)

        =={ There will be more costs too. }==

        You are cherry-picking “cost.” But even still, there are many ways of addressing the cost, or lack thereof, of energy access for poor people.
        Even without huge amounts of emissions mitigation currently, energy access for poor people is an issue. And we have readily available means to address their lack of access to energy, that would require relatively little sacrifice on a societal scale, and we don’t pursue those means. IMO, it doesn’t hold up logically to exploit the issue of energy access for poor people by holding it hostage to the possibility of emissions energy.
        There is no necessary causal mechanism in play there. There is only a mechanism by which people can exploit energy access to pursue ideological agendas.

    • Judith,

      Excellent response. Worth quoting in full:

      I have no objections to individual governments or utilities working to reduce CO2 emissions. The problem is the international mandate, here is why:
      1. Current plans for emissions reductions would reduce warming by 0.2C by end of 21st century, if you believe the climate models. This is rather pointless in terms of changing the climate.
      2. The cost of these emissions reductions is substantial, which slows economic progress particularly in undeveloped countries, which may make them more vulnerable to climate change
      3. This cost is an opportunity cost, money that isn’t spent on developing new technologies or dealing with other problems that may be more important or have beneficial solutions based on current technologies and understanding.
      4. Infrastructure changes to accommodate emissions reductions will be hardwired for many decades, slowing down the uptake of genuinely new technologies that could actually make a difference, should it turn out that CO2 emissions are a big problem.

  55. 3C global warming would be beneficial for the world overall – beneficial for life, for human well-being and the global economy

    True or false? Evidence?

    • Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be ruled out because the global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma and life thrived throughout most of that period (Scotese, 2016, ‘Some Thoughts on Global Climate Change: The Transition for Icehouse to Hothouse Conditionhttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/275277369_Some_Thoughts_on_Global_Climate_Change_The_Transition_for_Icehouse_to_Hothouse_Conditions . We are currently in about the severest coldhouse phase since complex life began. 3C increase in in GMST would not even get us up to half average GMST for that period.

      Since the risk of catastrophe or danger due to human-caused GHG emissions is effectively ruled out, it is the economic impact of 2C or 3C warming that is relevant for policy analysists and policy makers. The estimate of economic impacts depends on inputs from the GCMs and the damage functions. The damage functions being used are highly uncertain and based on very little data. IPCC AR5 WG3 Chapter 3 mentions ‘Damage Function’ 18 times http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg3/ipcc_wg3_ar5_chapter3.pdf . Some examples:

      • “Damage functions in existing Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are of low reliability (high confidence).” [3.9, 3.12]”

      • “Our general conclusion is that the reliability of damage functions in current IAMs is low.” [p247]

      • “To develop better estimates of the social cost of carbon and to better evaluate mitigation options, it would be helpful to have more realistic estimates of the components of the damage function, more closely connected to WGII assessments of physical impacts.”

      • “As discussed in Section 3.9, the aggregate damage functions used in many IAMs are generated from a remarkable paucity of data and are thus of low reliability.”

      • Peter,
        Just to be clear, your argument is that because life has thrived in the past, when it was warmer than it is now, there is no chance at all that anthropogenically-driven climate change could be dangerous/catastrophic? Is that about right?

      • Peter Lang

        To be clear, I’ve posted a hypothesis stating that any GW that could occur cannot be catastrophic or dangerous for life on Earth, for humanity, or for civilisation. I am asking for valid evidence to disprove the hypothesis.

        To show the hypothesis is false you’d need to provide valid evidence to validate the impact functions used in the IAMs. Temperature change is not a measure of impact (positive or negative).

        Innuendo like this: https://judithcurry.com/2017/05/19/uncertainty-about-the-climate-uncertainty-monster/#comment-849799 is meaningless.

        Previously when we have discussed this subject you have kept diverting the discussion to your pet subjects – physics and, temperatures – and anything except impacts. Your comments showed you have limited understanding of the IAMs’, impact functions and estimates of impacts, so I am not expecting that you and I can hold a constructive, rational debate on this topic.

      • and Then There’s Physics: Peter,
        Just to be clear, your argument is that because life has thrived in the past, when it was warmer than it is now, there is no chance at all that anthropogenically-driven climate change could be dangerous/catastrophic?

        Can you not quote or paraphrase anyone accurately? Clearly he has not written that “there is no chance”; he has written about the preponderance of the evidence.

      • Just to be clear, your argument is that because life has thrived in the past, when it was warmer than it is now, there is no chance at all that anthropogenically-driven climate change could be dangerous/catastrophic?

        ATTP, post industrial greenhouse gas forcing to date has been about 3W/m^2. Can you explain why this has not been dangerous or catastrophic?

    • Nice dodge of ATTP’s straw man.

      I don’t think many of the AGW mitigation advocates have spent time looking at damage functions, and most especially the assumptions. Some violate known factors of ecological geography and the reproductive response of biota. Others ignore what over a hundreds years of study on phenotypical and genotypical response has shown. You can see examples of this in a study iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ listed by our host in this weeks reveiw on optimum air temperature.

      • Peter Lang

        jfpittman,

        Thank you. I am very interested in this subject and would welcome a constructive, rational debate.

        At the moment I am most interested in the impact function for energy in FUND3.9 (Documentation, pp9-10 http://www.fund-model.org/versions ). I suspect the energy projection for the period 2000 to 2100 in Tol (2013) Figure 3 http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf is substantially overestimating the negative impacts of global warming (I suspect these impacts may be positive, not negative). If I am correct, and if Tol (2013) Figure 3 projections for the other impact sectors are correct, it suggests up to 4C increase in GMST would be net positive for the global economy.

      • > Nice dodge of ATTP’s straw man.

        I agree about the dodge, but not the strawman, JP.

        There’s an implicit argument behind this dual claim:

        Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be ruled out because the global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma and life thrived throughout most of that period

        Here’s how I read it:

        [P1] Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming implies that life could never thrive through any longish period of time

        [P2] The global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma and life thrived throughout most of that period

        [C] Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be ruled out

        The first premise is implicit. AT’s question is thus quite relevant. PeterL should clarify it instead of waving his arms about damage functions. So there’s no strawman there, and PeterL’s armwaving is indeed a dodge.

        There are at least two problems with PeterL’s premise.

        First, his “hypothesis” begs the question of CAGW. As an aside, saying that it can be “ruled out” and that it’s only a hypothesis is a bit rich.

        Second, his argument doesn’t even follow. PeterL’s simply affirming the consequent. Compare and contrast:

        [P1] If someone is a classical liberal, then he should support Pinochet’s dictature.

        [P2] Hayek supported Pinochet’s dictature.

        [C] Therefore, Hayek is a classical liberal.

        There are other problems with PeterL’s argument (e.g. “most of that period”), but these should be enough to evidence why I don’t think many contrarians have spent time looking at syllogisms.

        Hope this helps.

      • From the link about Figure 3.: The impact of global warming on energy consumption is positive during the 20th century. While the demand for cooling in summer increased, this is more than offset by the reduction in the demand for heating in winter. Towards the end of the 20th century, the annual savings on energy amount to almost 0.4% of GDP. The national impacts are mixed, with losses and gains in different places and times, qualitatively corresponding to the literature surveyed above. After 2010, however, the demand for cooling starts to rise rapidly while the reduction in demand for heating levels off. The result is a large negative impact, reaching -1.9% of GDP by 2100.

        I just don’t know if this is the case. It is past 2010. The information to date on temperature increases is not that the majority occur at the hottest times, but other times. The area and time covered by temperature increases that would yield heating reduction have not peaked from what I have read. It does support your contention that higher temperature C for breakpoint impact than those considered would still be net positive. However, with the damage function so poorly known, I would not be adamant about what the actual higher temperature C for breakpoint is. It could be lower.

      • Willard, I am use to the methodology of his argument. I would express it different.

        P1’s problem is the phrase “any GW.” This is a false statement if taken literal. He expressed it better above with “Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be ruled out because the global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma and life thrived throughout most of that period ”

        P1: the global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma

        P2: Life is known to exist in myriad forms at 7C higher than today.

        C: Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be totally ruled out.

        I just don’t agree with can be Totally ruled out.

        I would say just as one can say ATTP’s question should be answered. So should Peter’s about damage functions. Without a damage function, the arguments on both sides lack definition for me.

        Looking at what Peter stated, I can understand why he and others would think it is a distinction to be made. It does not make a difference to my interest about damage functions and their lack of explanatory power. From my POV, discerning that Peter spoke incorrectly with using “all” and other forms of logic did not impact my interest.

        Thank you for correcting me about the strawman. Maybe both Peter and I will benefit from your help at better logical construction.

        Again my POV, if life existed well at 7C above today’s temperatures, does this lend credence to the statement that 2C or higher could be beneficial. Yes, it does. Do I believe it? Not really. Because of lack of specificity of knowledge of the damage function, my opinion is that no one knows enough to settle the argument one way or the other. This is not to say policy cannot be decided. It is enough to say that persons claiming that their opinions are morally superior is more than a little suspect. Or that the science says what the policy should be.

        I disagree with his statement “To show the hypothesis is false you’d need to provide valid evidence to validate the impact functions used in the IAMs” in that if the damage function is unknown, how can I say it is one thing or the other.

        I agree with Peter that a discussion of damage function is needed. Not because it is needed for policy, but because the claim is that the damage function tells us what policy to implement. Making the argument about what policy is to be implemented.

      • You might very well be used to the methodology of PeterL’s argument, but I don’t think you’re used to formulating an argument. The logical form in your:

        P1: the global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma

        P2: Life is known to exist in myriad forms at 7C higher than today.

        C: Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be totally ruled out.

        is totally unrecognizable.

        If there’s no mention of “Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming” in your premises, how the hell can you conclude anything about it?

        Come on.

      • Willard: because it was stated by Peter, and like most of my species, I take liberties, make assumptions, and in general am more interested in sharing an idea and discussing it, than making sure that the logic is correct.

        I also do this in spare time for run, not to write a good logical construct.

        Did I mention sometimes I am lazy, and have found I can depend on you to show me where I mess up such constructs? True. That is why I thanked you. I do appreciate it.

      • I get that one needs expediency, JP, but sometimes making explicit arguments can save many man-hours.

        In PeterL’s case, the rates are totally omitted. BrettS did the same nit long ago. It’s a commonplace in the Contrarian Matrix.

        Why focus on breakpoints in 2100 with so basic quantification fails?

      • WIllard:Why focus on breakpoints in 2100 w(hen)ith so basic quantification fails?

        Typically humans do this to make a contrast. Part of that shorthand we use. It can give a good simple estimate.

        Take current rates of warming, a simple extrapolation using AR4 assumptions and methodology would indicate that the time to change from mainly adaptation to mitigation would be about 2100, rather than about 2050. Using the same approach for economics would indicate, that we should be encouraging fossil fuel use till about 2050. A nice argument for some, but is it the best policy? So this indicates to me getting the rate correct would be desirable, or using a simple construct to estimate what different rates mean would be as well.

        Policy can be made despite lack of specific knowledge. The problem of buy in is what I see is the main problem. My view is that the public has spoken. There are willing to pay a little and suffer a little about CC, but not much. Some countries more than others. Some people more than others. Somewhere you had a good link where the author linked some other posts made. The author talked about incentivizing as a means to accomplish policy changes. I could not help but be a little disappointed since what was said I think is correct, but that the author did not realize that the Paris Agreement incentivizes failure to meet 2C goal by China, India, and other nations.

        So my question is Why focus on 2C goals or even argue of rates when the basic policy incentivises the goal’s failure?

      • Peter Lang

        Willard,

        Thank you for pointing out my comments contains errors of my logic. It would be helpful if you could suggest how I should have stated my point and my hypothesis (which I recognize you do not agree with).

        You say:

        Here’s how I read it:
        [P1] Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming implies that life could never thrive through any longish period of time
        [P2] The global mean surface temperature averaged 7C warmer than now for the past 650 Ma and life thrived throughout most of that period
        [C] Dangerous and catastrophic impacts of global warming can be ruled out

        [P1] is not what I meant. What I meant is because:
        – GMST has been up to 13C higher than now and life survived, and
        – GMST averaged 7C higher than now since complex life began 650 Ma ago, and
        – life thrived at these temperatures and higher, therefore 3C or 4C increase in GMST in itself is not a threat to life on Earth;
        – Therefore, any global warming that human caused GHG emissions may cause, does not pose a threat of catastrophe or danger
        – Therefore, the assessment of the overall positive and negative impacts of human caused GHG emissions for the world should be analysed using economic analyses, expected value decision analysis, risk analysis (i.e., consequence and probability of the consequence occurring, summed to the level of the global economy – but also disaggregated at the regional and country level to inform assessment of how to balance winners and losers).

        As for the rest of your comment, it is the usual nonsense you preach. Just rubbish. For example: saying

        his “hypothesis” begs the question of CAGW. As an aside, saying that it can be “ruled out” and that it’s only a hypothesis is a bit rich.

        While the alarmists like Willard accept without question the CAGW meme (hypothesis) that 2C warming is dangerous.

        So much for Willard’s logic (and hypocrisy).

        However, I am interested in discussing the evidence of the overall global impacts of GW global warming, not pedantic debates about wording.

      • > Why focus on 2C goals or even argue of rates when the basic policy incentivises the goal’s failure?

        Because it doesn’t.

        Bear in mind that this subthread started about dodges and strawmen, JP.

        Come back when you or PeterL have an argument.

      • PeterL,

        The wall of words you say about GMST still doesn’t include anything about “a threat of catastrophe or danger.”

        This is a pretty straigthfoward point.

        That evolved could survive temperature changes doesn’t imply that there wasn’t any “catastrophe or danger” unless by catastrophe or danger you mean the eradication of all evolved life on the planet. So your argument amounts to say that the Ordovician–Silurian extinction event was A-OK for corals because corals resurfaced 25 million years later.

        Also, your premises still fail to clarify that your time frame is at a very scale than the AGW we’re experiencing. If you want to get an idea of what fast warming can do, you might need to pay due diligence to the PETM. But even if corals experience another PETM-like event, it’s no big deal because they’ll be back in millyuns of years, right?

        Anywho, all this is quite irrelevant of your usual crap about CBA. That is, the risks of AGW need to be addressed with economic modulz whatever you might think about paleo stuff.

        Finally, there is indeed presented an hypothesis that you ruled out based on your own ignorance. Deal with it.

      • jfpittman,

        After 2010, however, the demand for cooling starts to rise rapidly while the reduction in demand for heating levels off. The result is a large negative impact, reaching -1.9% of GDP by 2100.

        Yes. However, starting from 2000, Tol (2016) Figure 3 projects -2.8% GDP impact from increased cost of energy consumption attributable to 3C global warming by 2100.

        I just don’t know if this is the case. It is past 2010. The information to date on temperature increases is not that the majority occur at the hottest times, but other times. The area and time covered by temperature increases that would yield heating reduction have not peaked from what I have read.

        True. Heating reduction would not peak until people living at the poles would need no heating at night in winter – i.e. never. Therefore, as the planet warms, energy consumption for heating will continue to decline (all else equal).

        What is relevant is the difference between the total cost of increasing cooling less decreasing heating energy consumption. My preliminary analysis of US space-heating and space-cooling per capita cost versus latitude (converted to change in average annual temperature per latitude) shows that heating costs decline faster than cooling costs increase as average annual temperature increases.

        This conclusion is contrary to what NOAA says ‘U.S. energy savings due to global warming? Not so fast…https://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/us-energy-savings-due-global-warming-not-so-fast: However, the NOAA article does not present the evidence and some of the language in the article suggests a lack of objectivity.

        EU article ‘Heating and cooling degree-dayshttps://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/heating-degree-days/assessment says (edited):

        “Key messages

        • The number of population-weighted heating degree days (HDD) decreased by 9.9 HDDs per year on average between 1980 and 2014. The largest absolute decrease occurred in northern and north-western Europe.

        • The number of population-weighted cooling degree days (CDD) increased by 1.2 HDDs per year on average between 1980 and 2014. The largest absolute increase occurred in southern Europe.

        • The projected decrease in HDDs as a result of future climate change during the 21st century is somewhat larger than the projected increase in CDDs in absolute terms. However, in economic terms, these two effects are almost equal in Europe, because cooling is generally more expensive than heating.”

      • Jfpittman @ May 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

        P1’s problem is the phrase “any GW.” This is a false statement if taken literal.

        Yes, I said it better the first time. However, I’ll improve it further (for the pedants (not referring to you)).

        “I’ve posted a hypothesis stating that any GW that could occur as a consequence of human caused GHG emissions cannot be catastrophic or dangerous for life on Earth, for humanity, or for civilisation. I am asking for valid evidence to disprove the hypothesis.” One reason for this is that the planet cannot get out of its current cold house phase until the continents realign so that the cold ocean currents circulating Antarctica are blocked. This will take tens of millions of years.

        Your final paragraph says:

        I agree with Peter that a discussion of damage function is needed. Not because it is needed for policy, but because the claim is that the damage function tells us what policy to implement.

        My reason for arguing it is really important that the damage functions are validated (or well calibrated) and become widely accepted, is that they are being used to justify the belief that 2C warming would be dangerous, that any GW causes negative impacts, that human caused GHG emissions could be catastrophic, and thence to justify hugely costly and economically damaging climate policies, large funds transfers from high income countries to corrupt agencies in low and middle income countries. The media, the public and hence the politicians believe this unsubstantiated nonsense.

      • [repost with corrected format]

        Jfpittman @ May 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

        P1’s problem is the phrase “any GW.” This is a false statement if taken literal.

        Yes, I said it better the first time. However, I’ll improve it further (for the pedants (not referring to you)).

        “I’ve posted a hypothesis stating that any GW that could occur as a consequence of human caused GHG emissions cannot be catastrophic or dangerous for life on Earth, for humanity, or for civilisation. I am asking for valid evidence to disprove the hypothesis.” One reason for this is that the planet cannot get out of its current cold house phase until the continents realign so that the cold ocean currents circulating Antarctica are blocked. This will not happen for at least tens of millions of years.

        Your final paragraph says:

        I agree with Peter that a discussion of damage function is needed. Not because it is needed for policy, but because the claim is that the damage function tells us what policy to implement.

        My reason for arguing it is really important that the damage functions are validated (or well calibrated) and become widely accepted, is that they are being used to justify the belief that 2C warming would be dangerous, that any GW causes negative impacts, that human caused GHG emissions could be catastrophic, and thence to justify hugely costly and economically damaging climate policies, large funds transfers from high income countries to corrupt agencies in low and middle income countries. The media, the public and hence the politicians believe this unsubstantiated nonsense.

      • [3rd attempt]

        Jfpittman @ May 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

        P1’s problem is the phrase “any GW.” This is a false statement if taken literal.

        Yes, I said it better the first time. However, I’ll improve it further (for the pedants (not referring to you)).

        “I’ve posted a hypothesis stating that any GW that could occur as a consequence of human caused GHG emissions cannot be catastrophic or dangerous for life on Earth, for humanity, or for civilisation. I am asking for valid evidence to disprove the hypothesis.” One reason for this is that the planet cannot get out of its current cold house phase until the continents realign so that the cold ocean currents circulating Antarctica are blocked. This will take tens of millions of years.

        Your final paragraph says:

        I agree with Peter that a discussion of damage function is needed. Not because it is needed for policy, but because the claim is that the damage function tells us what policy to implement.

        My reason for arguing it is really important that the damage functions are validated (or well calibrated) and become widely accepted, is that they are being used to justify the belief that 2C warming would be dangerous, that any GW causes negative impacts, that human caused GHG emissions could be catastrophic, and thence to justify hugely costly and economically damaging climate policies, large funds transfers from high income countries to corrupt agencies in low and middle income countries. The media, the public and hence the politicians believe this unsubstantiated nonsense.

      • Peter Lang

        jfpittman,

        For the period 1950 to 2016, US heating degree-days decreased more than cooling degree-days increased (-1,490 HDD, +687 CDD) https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/index.php#summary (1.7 and 1.8)

      • johnfpittman

        Peter, It makes sense that it could about break even in some areas but not others. But you have to get real costs. One of the assumptions that occur in the setup of models is that there is a prediction that the costs of RE energy goes down while the (policy forced) demand is increasing exponentially. I remember reading this was a complaint of the Stern work. I do not know about Tol.

        A more realistic estimation would be to incorporate what we have seen, which is as penetration of demand goes above 15%, RE energy causes about a doubling of costs. Above 25%, the costs have been hidden as tolls, taxes, and other items such that getting a baseline is problematic. But it would not be unreasonable to estimate it would increase to 4 times if cost of load shedding, load sharing, and loss of revenue from curtailment were included. In Australia, the power costs increased by 4700% during a system failure, which did not include economic losses.

        Because of the PETM and other events, making a case of absolutely no risk cannot be justified. However, making a case that the risk is small or unrelated to current events is easy.

        I assumed what you are asking is more like what is below:

        “I’ve posted a hypothesis stating that the ANTICIPATED WARMING that could occur as a consequence of human caused GHG emissions cannot be catastrophic or dangerous for MOST life on Earth, for humanity, or for civilisation DURING THE TIMELINE CONSIDERED BY THE IPCC FOR THE 2C TO 4C SCENARIOS . I am SEEKING CRITIQUE OF THE METHODOLOGY.” EXAMPLE: One ASSUMPTION is that the planet cannot get out of its current cold house phase until the continents realign so that the cold ocean currents circulating Antarctica are blocked. This IS PROJECTED TO take tens of millions of years (1), well past the timeline consideration of the IPCC.”

      • Peter Lang

        Johnfpittman

        Thank you. This is helpful. A few initial comments and questions:

        I am nowhere near to being able to conduct modelling on this. It’s massive. It’s taken Tol ~30 years and Nordhause ~40 years to get their IAMs and damage functions to where they are now. I am just trying to do a high-level reality check of the projected space-heating and space-cooling energy costs shown in Tol (2013) Figure 3. I cannot run FUND and I don’t know anyone who can. I’ve attempted to reproduce the energy projection (from 2000 to 2100) by region using a spreadsheet. However, although the sign is correct, there is a large discrepancy in the magnitudes I calculate. There are many possible reasons: different version of FUND, different base years, I don’t have all the initial input data, etc.

        I’d appreciate you review of what I’ve done so far. Would you be interested? If so, how can I contact you?

        Energy costs are not included in the FUND impact function. It is very much higher level than this. See Equations E.1 and E.2, FUND3.9 Documentation, pp9-10 here: http://www.fund-model.org/versions

        PETM began when the GMST was around 10C higher than now. It is totally irrelevant. Far more relevant is how life flourished through very rapid warming events 14,600 and 11,600 years ago.

        Thank you for the rephrased hypothesis. It’s constructive, helpful and much appreciated. I’ll think about it for a while. I do want to state a hypothesis along the lines I stated. It is intentionally the opposite of what the alarmists and the IPCC consensus crowd want the null hypothesis to be: i.e.:
        2C warming is dangerous. No one has falsified this hypothesis. Therefore we must spend $ squillions to save the planet, just in case. Don’t be distracted by the much greater risks. Just believe us.

      • Dust Bowl:

        We aren’t in Kansas anymore.
        “When Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion are marching into the Wicked Witch’s castle after taking the guards’ uniforms, all three of them are shown holding the same types of spears as the guards, so when they go rescue Dorothy out of the locked room and Tin Man chops through the door with his axe, where did the axe come from?”

    • Lack of evidence. I’d say just about any complex economic model is of limited use. I’d say simpler models can out perform complex ones. An example of a simple one is a supply and a demand curve. Probably the most traction is found looking at sea level rise. I for one model that the rate is steady for let’s say 67 years. It may be that it is accelerating. What I have read is that some component may have doubled. (With that AR5 used to 2005 – 2010 to hint at acceleration from Greenland) Steric SLR trades with GMST. We’ll get some of both, but we could get less of one and more of the other. One may conclude that the policy rate under the two middle scenarios is 2.2 inches per decade. And I am sorry, I don’t feel I needed to pay for that. Zoning changes could be made locally but that could be up to those fortunate enough to live by the sea. Tailoring local solutions is going to be more efficient. Watershed management in hurricane vulnerable locations can help with storm surges and I think that’s a local responsibility. I pay for my own watershed management through taxes and fees and am happy to do so as it helps protect a great resource, Lake Minnetonka. I don’t consider future SLR catastrophic. There is a long tail whose attributes are not well defined. There’s and old saying. The money is in the middle of the bell curve distribution.

  56. “… as the future evolution of the global mean temperature may hold surprises on both the warm and cold ends of the spectrum due entirely to internal variability that lie well outside the envelope of a steadily increasing global mean temperature.” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

    Not sure that the true scope of uncertainty has been grasped.

    • Demonstrably, whether a given year is an El Niño or La Niña is more significant than the global warming to date.

      However, Manabe and others have pointed out that increasing mean temperature should also lead to decreasing variability of temperature.

      There is some observational support for this idea:

  57. “I don’t think that I’m in a position to speak for “the poor,” and I don’t think that “the poor” speak with a uniform voice, but I would imagine that many poor people do care about things like environmental damage, particulate matter in the air, water quality, and most particularly, how the status quo of empowering and enriching autocratic and oppressive states that often are oppressing them, is not in their interest.”

    But then again he goes on to speak for the poor. I don’t pretend to talk for anyone but it is fundamental reality that costs limit availability of energy to the marginalised on top of lowering productivity and economic growth. All things being equal. In Australia the gas market is strangled by greenies and rather than expanding production the local market is starved while the country is poised to become the world’s leading exporter. This far more than renewables puts pressure on domestic costs. Equally the vast quantities of Queensland coal destined for Indian power plants is stymied by serial, frivolous litigation funded by a foundation associated with Hilary Clinton.

    I am a hydrologist by training, profession and (much more) through a deep fascination with water in all its power and beauty. Given the importance of water to us practically and symbolically, there is more than an element of the sacred. I went on to study Environmental Science – one of the more fun things I have ever done. I combined the two in biogeochemical cycling – the movement of nutrients and pollutants through biota, soils and water. I have spent decades reducing the impact of cities, farms and mines on waterways and the life it contains.

    As a relatively young environmental scientist – it was apparent that only rich economies can afford environments. The data compiled by the World Wildlife Fund seems to confirm that we in the west are at least holding the line on the abundance of key populations.

    Environmental damage is for the most part over-exploitation, particulates aren’t emitted from modern HELE power plants, air and water quality are much better in the west.

    Just one example.

    https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/forcing-by-region-copy.png?w=601&h=656

    And oppression is pretty much in the job description for oppressive states. But I wonder just which is the oppressive government upheld and enriched y by the status quo? The US? Australia?

  58. I heard recently the UK bee population has declined 30% over the past few years (I don’t know if this is valid or not). What would happen to world food supply if the insects that pollinate plants are decimated by pollution? What would happen if a virulent bird flu type virus spreads rapidly across the world? What happens if …. ??? Unlimited hypotheses of human caused problems that could be far more devastating and rapid than impacts of GHG emissions.

  59. Shouldn’t the first evidence of AGW be discovering a fact that somewhere, sometime, CO2 has risen first_followed_ by surface warming? ….as, for example, after volcanic activity? This must be shown to have occurred. We can’t be expected to do all this risky, expensive work of lowering CO2 just on the basis of infrared spectroscopy, Planck and Stefen-Boltzmann…can we? ….because the laboratory experiments and our scientific imaginations, by necessity, ignore dozens of independent variables… such as the height of the WVEL, minute changes in albedo or OLR.

    In lieu of finding an example of carbon dioxide increasing first, followed by increasing surface temperature we should at least be able to show that downwind of large sources of CO2, eg cities, that surface temps are increasing and that this coorelates with cycles of economic activity in that citiy. Eg temps are higher on weekdays than weekends. Something like this. We need some real world basis for believing carbon dioxide increases surface tenperatures other than the explanations in IR spectroscopy texts.

    • Paleoclimate is full of such examples. Geological processes change the CO2 amount and the temperature follows.

  60. Jim, I thought when these were carefully dated that temperature increases came first, then followed by carbon dioxide increases (from increasing fermentation of bio-debris.)

    • You thought correct, snora.

    • That was for the case of the Ice Ages for which it is correct because there the forcing did not come from CO2 and no one says it did. But if you trace the CO2 changes over the past few hundred million years you get changes in CO2 from the geological processes that I mentioned, which is volcanoes adding CO2 and mountain-building/weathering reducing it on long time scales with corresponding temperature changes on the same time scales. What we are doing now, by extracting deep carbon and putting it back in the atmosphere, mimics what volcanoes did in the Permian-Triassic transition, but on a much faster time scale.

      • catweazle666

        Alarmist, scientifically iliterate rubbish.
        Stop making stuff up.

      • Skeptics have dismissed the whole field of paleoclimate but it just adds to the list of things they can’t make any sense of. Why was the hothouse Triassic so much warmer than the icy Permian? Just another mystery, right? Read about the Permian, Triassic, Eocene, how Antarctica froze over 35 million years ago, why we didn’t have the Ice Ages until the last few million years. There’s a lot there.

      • No, Jim D, what skeptics dismiss is you. There are numerous skeptical arguments based on paleoclimate stuff. Your pronouncements on skepticism, which you clearly do not understand, are simply ridiculous.

      • I have yet to see a skeptic explain why it is warmer every time the CO2 level is higher in the last billion years. They usually avoid this whole area because they see it as a losing battleground.

      • catweazle666

        “I have yet to see a skeptic explain why it is warmer every time the CO2 level is higher in the last billion years. “

        That’s because it isn’t actually true, so it is unlikely any sceptics would try to explain it.

        Here is a graph of temperature vs. CO2 back to the pre-Cambrian.

        As usual, you are posting drivel.

      • You probably don’t realize that your graph originates from someone’s hand-drawn guess. In the 15 years since, there are many better products for both temperature and CO2, but the skeptics stick with that one, and I say fine, that is to be expected, because they are not talking to paleoclimate scientists these days. It’s a disconnect that can’t be remedied.

      • Jim D: “I have yet to see a skeptic explain why it is warmer every time the CO2 level is higher in the last billion years.”

        Every time? The late ordovician ice age, around 450 million years ago, had CO2 levels at roughly 4200 ppm., albeit with lower levels of solar radiation, but an example of not every time.

      • Yes, the lower solar radiation is the key. You have to combine the forcings. The sun is important too even though it is only strengthening slowly. If the sun was 4% weaker back then, it counteracts the high CO2 level. Good item on this here.
        http://descentintotheicehouse.org.uk/tag/carbon-dioxide/

      • catweazle666

        “Yes, the lower solar radiation is the key.”

        Yet further scientifically illiterate drivel.

        Do you never tire of embarrassing yourself?

      • Peter Lang

        Yes, the lower solar radiation is the key.

        If solar radiation was the key, why was GMST much higher than now immediately before and after the Ordovician ice age.

        Jim D, you talk utter rubbish continually. You are a classic example of a denier.

      • Variations in CO2 are much faster and larger than the solar variation in paleoclimate (I linked an item). The whole point is that the larger variations between geological periods are from GHGs and those respond to plate tectonics, while there is a slow secular background change from the sun.

      • > There are numerous skeptical arguments based on paleoclimate stuff.

        Cite five.

      • > If solar radiation was the key, why was GMST much higher than now immediately before and after the Ordovician ice age.

        Even SkS suffices for that one, PeterL:

        https://www.skepticalscience.com/CO2-was-higher-in-late-Ordovician.htm

  61. “Now imagine that you have never seen the device and that it is hidden in a box in a dark room. You have no knowledge of the hand that occasionally sets things in motion, and you are trying to figure out the system’s behavior on the basis of some old 78-rpm recordings of the muffled sounds made by the device. Plus, the recordings are badly scratched, so some of what was recorded is lost or garbled beyond recognition. If you can imagine this, you have some appreciation of the difficulties of paleoclimate research and of predicting the results of abrupt changes in the climate system.”
    https://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/3#13

    Given the uncertainty of the recent past and the unpredictability of future conditions – I take paleoclimatic data with a grain of salt. It provides broad brush strokes rather than fine detail. interesting to speculate on but far from definitive in making parallels to modern climate – or indeed to modern biology. Life is adaptable – but some fail the challenge of change. Comparing past temperature to projected warming has very little probative value – especially given that temperature projections are moot.

    Holocene data is an order of magnitude more reliable.

    This compares the stomatal CO2 record to an ice core record. The finer detail of the stomatal record shows more variability in CO2 associated with changes in atmospheric temperature. There is an obvious increase in CO2 respiration with warmer conditions.
    In the 21st century a lack of warming and greening with the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is sufficient to result in appreciable declines in the rate of CO2 accumulation..

    The ultrafine detail of modern records allow progress in understanding – but even then I’d put broad error bounds on data such as the surface temperature record. Thermometers are inherently limited to measuring sensible heat and not the total energy flux at the surface. Only a God’s eye view reveals the system as a whole.

    This one shows increased photon scattering in the atmosphere as a result of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is a direct observation of the predicted radiative effects. Other satellites show secular changes in clouds that are significant effects in climate but of course leave no physical record.

  62. “2C warming is dangerous. No one has falsified this hypothesis. Therefore we must spend $ squillions to save the planet, just in case. Don’t be distracted by the much greater risks. Just believe us.”

    2 degrees C is one possible outcome – a are other possibilities including other more extreme potentials.

    And huge cost is an all or nothing fallacy.

    “The crash of 2009 presents an immense opportunity to set climate policy free to fly at last. The principal motivation and purpose of this Paper is to explain and to advance this opportunity. To do so involves understanding and accepting a startling proposition. It is now plain that it is not possible to have a ‘climate policy’ that has emissions reductions as the all encompassing goal. However, there are many other
    reasons why the decarbonisation of the global economy is highly desirable. Therefore, the Paper advocates a radical reframing – an inverting – of approach: accepting that decarbonisation will only be achieved successfully as a benefit contingent upon other goals which are politically attractive and relentlessly pragmatic. The Paper therefore proposes that the organising principle of our effort should be the
    raising up of human dignity via three overarching objectives: ensuring energy access for all; ensuring that we develop in a manner that does not undermine the essential functioning of the Earth system; ensuring that our societies are adequately equipped to
    withstand the risks and dangers that come from all the vagaries of climate, whatever their cause may be. ”

    http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27939/1/HartwellPaper_English_version.pdf

  63. The other essential fact of climate is albedo. Cold and arid conditions at the last glacial max created ice sheets and deserts. The change in albedo was from some 0.37 to 0.3 today. It gives very roughly about an additional 25W/m2 in the system. The CO2 change gives about 2W/m2 change. Albedo is the tail that wags the dog.

    It implies a very small temperature sensitivity to additional energy in the system of some 0.2 degrees C/W/m2. Or about 0.4 degrees C for greenhouse gas forcing last century. Which is as well what remains after subtracting internal variability. It suggests a sensitivity to CO2 doubling of 0.7 degrees C – consistent with the lower end of the literature range. Of course what remains in future depends very much on the direction and extent of natural variability this century.

  64. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #271 | Watts Up With That?

  65. The reason microbiologists worry most about pandemics is because of their knowledge of history.

    The same holds true for others who worry most about authoritarian government.

    An accurate review of history demonstrates without question that the biggest killers and threats to humans have come from these two sources, with the possible exception being the Toba eruption.

    Authoritarian governments are the main thing we can prevent through vigilance, and they have also been the biggest killers.

    Unfortunately, the primary promoters of CAGW support, witttingly or unwittingly, an authoritarian world regime. For me, its a simple empirical choice: Do I choose the known biggest killer of history (an authoritarian regime), or do I take my chances with a limited power regime that will likely result in continued carbon emissions and the associated probabilistic consequences to the “climate”?

    I will take uncertainty over certain death/oppression/misery; my chances are better with that choice if I statistically extrapolate the historical data sets.

    That’s just math and logic bros.

  66. Articles linked Benny Peiser’s GWPF weekly Newsletter:
    http://mailchi.mp/thegwpf/east-european-states-mount-revolt-against-paris-agreement?e=d3ab024ae2

    1) East European States Mount Revolt Against Paris Agreement
    Climate Home, 29 May 2017

    2) EU Climate Policy Threatens To Destroy What Is Left Of Europe’s Steel Industry
    Reuters, 29 May 2017

    3) EU Economists Say Carbon Price Needs To Rise 10 – 20 Fold To Meet Paris Pledges
    Jo Nova, 30 May 2017

    4) UK Government ‘Sought Weaker Climate Rule’
    renews, 29 May 2017

    5) Cliff Forrest: The ‘Business Case’ For Paris Is Bunk
    The Wall Street Journal, 30 May 2017

    6) A Reduction in US Drought Over the Period 1901-2014
    CO2 Science, 25 May 2017

    7) John Constable: Producers Not Consumers Now Control The UK Electricity System
    GWPF Energy, 29 May 2017

  67. “‘Muddling through’ at the local level is probably what will happen.”

    That’s very encouraging, for muddling through at the local level is how evolution brought us to this position. Local optimization is accomplished by applying intelligent decision making at the local level. This permits the multiplication of local options so that when fat tails occur, they only wipe out a portion of the population.

    Bilderburg, should they succeed in establishing their global state, will put us in far more danger than muddling through ever has.

    • “Local optimization is accomplished by applying intelligent decision making at the local level.”
      Very nice.
      We are trying to solve world problems with mitigation.

  68. Pingback: Adapt to climate change. | Accountable Chaos

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