The Grey Lady weeps for Peter Gleick

So, all last week on one of my favorite mailing lists I was hearing various climate alarmists crowing about a document leak from the Heartland Institute that supposedly prooooved that it (and by extension all other anthropogenic-global-warming skeptics) was engaging in a nefarious campaign to suppress its opponents and trash the teaching of science in the U.S.

You may, therefore, imagine my amusement when it turned out that the key, incriminating document in the Heartland dump is pretty certainly a fake. Several separate lines of evidence lead to this conclusion, including both content analysis of the document and some smelly things about the PDF metadata.

My initial reaction was: ho hum, more fraud by climate alarmists, good that they got caught again, should be entertaining to watch the mainstream media trying to suppress the story just as assiduously as they were hyping it when it looked like a good score against the eeeevil Heartland Institute and the eeevil denialists. In the normal course of events I’d have let all this pass without comment; it’s not surprising, and other than some entertaining resonances with Dan Rather’s forged TANG document back in 2004 it’s not very interesting.

That is, until yesterday’s unintentional hilarity at the New York Times.

Earlier in the day, Peter Gleick, a well-known climate alarmist, had blogged on the Huffington Post an admission that he obtained the Heartland documents by fraudulent means. The Heartland Institute (which has steadfastly maintained the incriminating summary document is fake) had already said it would sue whoever snookered the documents out of one of its employees before Gleick fingered himself; now it looks pretty likely they’ll win that suit.

So, according to the NYT, how should we feel about this? The column admits it now looks likely that that Gleick outright forged the incriminating summary document. Should we be:

(a) Angry with Peter Gleick for attempting a fraud, the intent of which was to poison and muddy the AGW debate. And more skeptical in future of attempts to demonize “denialists”.

(b) Sad that Peter Gleick, wonderful human being that he is, has damaged his reputation.

Well, if you thought (a) was even possible, you don’t know your Pravda-on-the-Hudson very well. (I know, I’m dating myself. Pravda actually stopped being a hard-left propaganda rag after the Soviet Union fell, a possibility that doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone running the NYT yet.) No, the Gray Lady weeps for Peter Gleick. Poor, poor Peter Gleick.

“That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family)” says the NYT. I could, if I were so minded, now launch into an extended rant about how this is not merely personal, but yet another thread in a continuing pattern of alarmist fraud. But let’s just take that as read, shall we? Because right now, I’m not angry, I’m laughing.

I’m laughing at the weird sort of insularity exhibited in this column. It’s beyond infuriating and well into pathetic. Andrew Revkin, the particular partisan in the NYT struggle brigade who wrote this piece, clearly has no concept of how ridiculously it reads. The establishment-media bubble has become a black hole that even one of its own writers can’t see out of.

Perhaps next week the singularity around NYT headquarters will actually hive off into a pocket cosmos with several good restaurants and no Republicans. Then they could spend the rest of eternity writing mash notes to Fidel Castro and the rest of us could get on with our lives. Well…I can dream, can’t I?

235 thoughts on “The Grey Lady weeps for Peter Gleick

  1. I predict more fun to come. Gleick says that the likely-forged strategy document was sent to him anonymously, and that he attempted to confirm it by deceptively getting the others. So who sent him that first document? Did the sender write it? Or did Gleick write it, making this confession a Watergate-style “modified limited hangout”?

    I’m sure that there is also at least one pro-AGW blogger already preparing a post postulating that it was it written by a “denier” to lure Gleick into this trap.

  2. And naturally, he says that he got the fake document – which suggests that Heartland is trying to stop him personally, by name – from some anonymous emailer. But it’s totally legit. Right.

  3. Oh, I see – anonymous *mailer*. That explains the scanning.

    I suppose I’ve been living on the internet too long if “mail” no longer parses as “paper delivered to your house”.

  4. Add to this, the alarmist narrative is now that the documents may have been forged, but are ‘substantively correct’.
    Welcome to the world of post-modern science, truth and validity are less important that saying the right thing…

  5. I don’t know how ams above could attribute this to tribal loyalty. Don’t they know that progressives are too enlightened to engage in such pettiness?

  6. Reading the original blog post, it’s a lot less sympathetic than esr painted it. There are only two sympathetic sentences — the last two — and the impression I got was less “Poor Peter Gleick” and more “What a pity that our cause was damaged by this guy’s malfeasance.”

    The quote in full:
    “One way or the other, Gleick’s use of deception in pursuit of his cause after years of calling out climate deception has destroyed his credibility and harmed others. (Some of the released documents contain information about Heartland employees that has no bearing on the climate fight.) That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family).

    The broader tragedy is that his decision to go to such extremes in his fight with Heartland has greatly set back any prospects of the country having the “rational public debate” that he wrote — correctly — is so desperately needed.”

    “Dot Earth” is a New York Times blog, which means it was never intended to be straight journalism; it’s blogging, and so it contains brief news items with a dash of opinion/commentary. It’s allowed to have an environmentalist flavor, just as Paul Krugman’s column is allowed to be liberal and Ross Douthat’s to be conservative. Of course, the NYT is predominantly liberal. But you’re objecting to a comparatively mild bit of liberal commentary in a column that’s all but labeled as an environmentalist perspective.

    The big difference between the NYT and Pravda is that we can (and do) get our news elsewhere without the slightest difficulty. I agree that the NYT is fairly insular, but the rest of you *can* stop reading it and get on with your lives. You just keep reading it for rant fodder.

  7. No, Sarah, it’s not rant fodder.

    The bulk of Americans are informed either directly or indirectly by the “news” that fills the pages of the New York Times. Tearing down their wall of respectability and showing them for the partisan hacks they are is a requirement if we are to have a properly informed electorate.

    And the people who get their information from the NYT or its rebroadcasters (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, every major daily in the US, etc) don’t look at whether the info came from the front page, the society page or a blog. It was in “the paper” so it’s true.

    The progressive left have controlled the terms of debate for too long. Reality has to be forced out into the light.

  8. Who are these people so ignorant they can’t switch to the Economist or the Wall Street Journal…but are reading Armed and Dangerous?

  9. Sarah’s right about the degree of sympathy in the original article.

  10. Let me make several points.

    Revkin’s article is a blog post, not a column. I’m fairly sure it appeared only on the website.
    Revkin is much more open-minded than most “warmists” about whether catastrophic climate change is likely.
    Stephan Mosher, a frequent commentator on skeptic blogs, has been saying for days (ie., long before Gleick confessed) that it was probably Gleick who wrote that fake memo.
    Gleick has not denied writing that fake memo. (Read his words carefully, keeping in mind that he is all lawyered up.)
    Gleick is a Macarthur Award winner (2003). That’s not what anyone will remember about him now.
    I hope Gleick’s friends are keeping razors, sleeping tablets, etc away from him.

  11. I think he denied writing the original memo. “I do not know the source of that original document” is very hard to parse any other way.

    If we take this story as accurate, the metadata stops being proof that the original memo is faked, I think? From Megan McArdle’s post:

    “Heartland’s offices are in the Midwest. And Heartland’s story about the provenance of the documents–a story that is being cited as proof of authenticity by climate bloggers–is that they were emailed by a support staffer who was tricked into sending the documents to an unverified email address by someone impersonating a board member. So I don’t see how they could have obtained a hard copy, but not the original electronic file.”

    If the original memo was not part of the emailed document dump, it becomes easy to come up with a scenario in which someone had the hardcopy and scanned it. All of the metadata evidence only shows that the original memo wasn’t part of the same group of documents; it doesn’t speak to whether or not it’s authentic.

    Megan’s original analysis, however, is still pretty good. Also I have no reason to disbelieve the Heartland Institute’s statement that the original memo was faked. So it’s a fake barring further evidence, but let us as always be precise about our reasoning…

    If I was really paranoid, btw, I’d wonder what side the anonymous source was on. “Here, notable AGW believer, have a document full of wild claims that are easily disproven. It’ll discredit you very nicely if you believe it.”

  12. @Bryant -

    nah, we don’t work that way. More likely this is the AGW version of the Dan Rather TANG memos – the anonymous source had an axe to grind with Bush and figured he was smart enough to create a fake that nobody would refute, at least not before the election.

    criminal and scoundrels always think they are smarter than everyone else.

  13. I’m not sure that it matters anymore. Regardless of whether the NYT is the matrix for all formal news outlets in this country (which isn’t really true) the AGW debate seems really dead to me. It seems to be a lot like the evolution debate in the US. Lots of people don’t believe in evolution, but it doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t have any actual effect.
    So to with AGW. The days when radical action as a result of AGW were likely seem to me to have passed by. We might believe it, we might rant about it, but nobody is actually going to do anything about it.
    However, the price of liberty is still eternal vigilance.

  14. -20 points for mistaking a blog post on the Times’ site for an article that’s in any way under the editors’ control. -20 more for misidentifying Pravda as a “hard-left” propaganda rag rather than a totalitarian propaganda rag. (See here if you’re confused.)

    While I’m at it, -10 for still not having comment preview ability after all the front-end churn on this blog.

  15. syskill:

    Oh, no, a blog on the New York Times web site is in no way under the control of the Times editors! HAAAA! How could anyone actually believe such tripe? Oh, and Pravda is (was) not “hard-left”??? But at least you correctly identify the Times as both propaganda and a “rag”. But isn’t it a little contradictory to assert that a “propaganda rag” like the New York Times would let anyone put anything he thinks is worth blogging about on a blog on the New York Times website? That’s still, unfortunately, valuable online real estate. What would Gramsci say if you let it be occupied by reactionaries?

  16. >If I was really paranoid, btw, I’d wonder what side the anonymous source was on. “Here, notable AGW believer, have a document full of wild claims that are easily disproven. It’ll discredit you very nicely if you believe it.”

    I have no reason to believe a skeptic wrote the summary as a trap. And Megan McArdle’s analysis of the rhetoric, which says it reads like it was written by an alarmist who can’t stand to see the other side have a good argument even in a piece of dezinformatsiya intended to scupper them, rings true to me.

    That said, I will note that I think setting that kind of trap would have been fair play. I’m reminded of the Sokal hoax. Tripping fools up with their own preconceptions and eagerness to believe is an excellent teaching technique, whether it’s aimed at the fools themselves or at bystanders.

  17. >20 more for misidentifying Pravda as a “hard-left” propaganda rag rather than a totalitarian propaganda rag.

    While there is a theoretical possibility of difference between “hard left” and “totalitarian”, in practice there’s no daylight between these categories.

  18. -100 to SPQR, and lose a turn. (Okay, this joke’s getting old.)

    That wasn’t a “no true Scotsman;” I didn’t saying that Pravda wasn’t leftist because they disagree with me. Firstly, I’m not a leftist; secondly, I’m sure much of what Pravda printed was leftist. The point I was trying to make is that Pravda’s most salient quality wasn’t its leftward political slant as the fact that it was the official mouthpiece of the Soviet communist party.

    It’s not completely impossible that one day the NY Times will be mandatory reading (under penalty of law) for government employees and armed service members, and News Corporation will be driven underground and serve as the voice of the resistance. But until and unless that happens, any comparison between the Times and Pravda is just bad trolling.

  19. The damning memo may have been a fake. The other documents — the ones Gleick obtained deceptively after he got the memo — are accurate, and broadly reflect the goals outlined in the memo, including climate-change water-muddying in our schools’ curriculums.

    Look, we’re talking about the same outfit that attempted to discredit the research linking smoking to lung cancer on behalf of Big Tobacco, so that Big Tobacco could continue to profit off making its customer base sick. Do NOT underestimate their capacity to lie. As soon as the memo was leaked, they publicly started threatening to sue not just Gleick, but anyone who commented on it or the other documents. Censorship through barratry, a typical tactic of somebody with something to hide. Heartland wants this covered up and buried; the implications of that fact alone can’t be good.

  20. The Sokal hoax is a great teaching tool. I always like to pair it with the Bogdanov affair, since otherwise people get these weird ideas about their personal fields being immune to that kind of thing.

  21. >Heartland wants this covered up and buried;

    I don’t think so. They’ll sue now because they want Gleick’s fraud to get maximum publicity and discredit both him and his allies. It’s what I’d do, anyway.

  22. +Jeff Read Would you mind telling me what is supposed to be so devastating about the carbonbrief.org link you provided? The Koch brothers may have donated money to the Heartland Institute? I don’t check under my bed every night to see if a Koch brother might be hiding there, so why would I care?

    The Heartland Institute is providing lesson plans and trying to “rebut” warmist reports? Isn’t that what a partisan think thank is *supposed* to do?

    Face it, the only remotely interesting aspect of the document dump was the now shown to be fabricated money quote, “dissuade teachers from teaching science”. (Which of course is more evidence of fakery; it’s not a phrase that a real person in 2012 America would write.)

  23. The real Heartland Institution’s memo are so boring and non-earthshattering that Gleick have to sex it up with the fake memo. Unfortunately, he should’ve hired someone else to write it, as the contextual analysis quickly fingered him as the likely author for that document.

    Heartland will probably pursuit this to the fullest extend of their legal effort. Break out your popcorn, this will be interesting.

  24. >Unfortunately, he should’ve hired someone else to write it, as the contextual analysis quickly fingered him as the likely author for that document.

    There are several forensic statistical techniques for identifying how likely it is that two pieces of text had the same author. They rely, either explicitly or implicitly, on modeling authors as word-producing Markov chains and measuring similarity in transition probabilities. I expect they’ll be applied here.

  25. The paranoid obsession with the Koch brothers exhibited among the left in recent years is reaching disturbing levels. Indeed, it was among the clues that Gleick left to the fraud.

  26. >The paranoid obsession with the Koch brothers exhibited among the left in recent years is reaching disturbing levels.

    The Koch brothers are the left’s fantasy dark mirror of George Soros. They project what their pet Nazi collaborator actually does for them onto their worst fears about conservatives and get nightmares.

  27. Frankly, I’m *jealous* of someone rich enough to mobilize public opinion and basically make the entire world more like one he wants to live in. I think freaking out about the Kochs is perfectly natural. And I’m someone who believes the Kochs actually have made the world better by funding pro-market organizations. They’ve got what everyone wants, and that inspires frustration.

  28. Very true. And it’s quite funny that in the early ’90s, before he started spending millions on their causes, Soros was one of the left’s demonic capitalists.

  29. Distasteful and ill-considered as Gleick’s actions may be (and whether or not the summary memo is a fake) the document dump is still important.

    When your “science” is bought and paid for by a PR outfit I think we can stop pretending it is apolitical.

  30. Sarah, the Koch brothers do not do a fraction of what they are claimed to do. There is nothing rational about the left’s obsession with them.

  31. I thought it was common knowledge that they donated to conservative and libertarian think tanks — Cato, the Heritage Foundation, the Mercatus Center, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t mean they secretly control the world. But, yeah, like other rich people, they donate enough to political causes that the political scene is incrementally influenced by their efforts.

  32. Sarah, just how much of the Cato Institute’s policy proposals get adopted in the US? About zero.

  33. Fair enough. Politics is hard, especially political ideas that go counter to what’s stable public-choice-wise. They’ve still got more influence than most of us.

  34. I’ve been having an enjoyable time pointing out to my artist friends, most of whom are liberals, that David Koch is funding a $60 million renovation of the entrance plaza of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The ensuing squirming is amusing to watch.

  35. > Soros was one of the left’s demonic capitalists.

    As demonic capitalists go he may very well be due the title. After all, he pretty much single handidly send the UK into a spinning recession by exploiting political stupidity. He didn’t make anything of value, just screwed up the British pound. Of course the UK getting out of the ERM looks pretty smart today, but failed folly with serendipitous results is not the same as good planning.

    To be clear, I think guys like Soros discipline politicians for their arrogance, and in a sense do add some value. However, a lot of people in the UK paid a heavy price for that lesson, and Soros got fat and happy on a lot of people’s pain.

    One can only imagine what would be said if that was in the Koch brothers’ history.

  36. >The ensuing squirming is amusing to watch.

    Want to make ‘em squirm harder? Point out that the Koch brothers fund the ACLU – at leat $20 million, last I checked.

  37. @ syskill

    But until and unless that happens, any comparison between the Times and Pravda is just bad trolling.

    Have you ever heard of a “metaphor”?

  38. @ syskill But until and unless that happens, any comparison between the Times and Pravda is just bad trolling.

    @Brian Marshall
    Have you ever heard of a “metaphor”?

    No need to go that far. The NYT is the mouthpiece for the ruling Democrats just as surely as Pravda was. And the progressive Democrats are every bit as totalitarian and leftist as the Soviets ever were, they’re just taking a slower path to get there.

    So yes, NYT==Pravda for everyone who cares about reality rather than Slashdot-esque pedantry.

  39. You can get some really good squirming when you point out that Soros funded anti-Soviet causes in Eastern Europe, too.

  40. The reality is that Soros actually does for the left what the left falsely claims that the Koch bros do. And Soros actually has more influence in terms of policy proposals being picked up by politicians than the Koch bros do.

    However, I don’t go around demanding that the First Amendment rights of George Soros be curtailed.

  41. Tristan said: Add to this, the alarmist narrative is now that the documents may have been forged, but are ‘substantively correct’.
    Welcome to the world of post-modern science, truth and validity are less important that saying the right thing…

    Well, as far as Heartland has said, all the documents are real, except for this memo, which they always (quite correctly, by all evidence) maintained was fraudulent.

    And as Megan McArdle’s analysis (the one previous to the one ESR linked to in the post, but easily found from there) shows, there’s almost nothing in the memo that wasn’t in the other documents.

    The differences, and part of the reason it smelled funny to begin with, was the tone of the memo; as McArdle put it, “Basically, it reads like it was written from the secret villain lair in a Batman comic. By an intern.

    (Brings me back to Kaplan’s Ideological Turing Test, in a way – the author of the memo seems, evidently, to be so lacking in imagination and ability to think outside his own shell that he can’t bring himself to present the side he disagrees with as anything other than Evil, even when pretending to speak as it.

    Either the author doesn’t know enough about AGW skepticism to effectively pretend to support it, even in the context of having all that information right there to pick and choose from, or he’s simply unable to write Badthink.

    It’s hilarious.)

  42. @ Tristan, Sigivald

    > truth and validity are less important that saying the right thing

    That about sums up the Heartland approach to science, yes.

  43. Re: Soros

    The British pound wasn’t a happy currency before Soros put on his short-pound position, he could see that the central bank could not maintain its stance and he took a position on that basis.

    The effect of speculators may not always be immediately positive. They certainly can make things happen faster than they otherwise would. They make fantastic scapegoats.

    On the other hand, speculators are good for markets in general – they provide liquidity – not just liquidity now – they give people the confidence that there will be liquidity when they want to get out of a position or get out of their hedge on their herd of cattle. Many people don’t understand the role of speculators; they just see a market that is continuously liquid.

    And, hey, let’s not forget, here, that we (generally) understand and approve of the “invisible hand”.

    Or in this case, “hands” – Soros was hardly the only trader/dealer shorting pounds at that point. But because he had the single biggest position, and made the most money, and Britain went into a recession afterwards (with their high interest rates and falling prices on the commodities they export), Soros is blamed for the recession.

  44. All this tempest in a teapot is exactly what the AGW religionists / pseudoscientists want. Misdirection from the hard facts:
    1) AGW is a construct based on misuse of a fragile network of fabricated / inappropriate / questionable data
    2) only “data” from model output is touted as real-world-data for the purposes of generating bogus fears / outcomes
    3) the proponents of AGW were caught-out in their fabrications /attempts to influence / hyperbole /pseudoscience by the release of ClimateGate

    What it all boils down to is nobody trusts a weather forecasts for more than a few days ahead so why in the world would anybody trust climate forecasts decades or centuries in advance.

    The one main thing I learned getting my science degrees is how LITTLE we know, while climate pseudoscience proclaims how CERTAIN we are of ALL.

  45. the Koch brothers fund the ACLU

    This checks out.

    [Jonathan] Chait runs off a series of sums the Kochs have spent over the years on various right-wing causes. Curiously missing, however, is the $20 million donation the Kochs made to the ACLU to fight the Bush administration over the PATRIOT Act. Browsing various accounts of the Kochs political spending over the years, that $20 million appears to be substantially more than the Kochs have contributed to all political candidates combined for at least the last 15 years. (Their gifts to the arts and other non-political charities exceeds what they’ve spent on politics many times over.)

  46. Just wanted to add :

    Why all the concern for the pissant little Hearland Institute with a total budget of less than 10 million when AGW partisans spend Trillions ?

    “With tiny budgets like $310 million, $100 million, and $95 million respectively, how can lovable underdogs like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and NRDC *ever* hope to compete with mighty Heartland’s $6.5 million? ”
    http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2012/02/with-tiny-budgets-like-310-million-100.html

  47. Sigivald writes: “And as Megan McArdle’s analysis (the one previous to the one ESR linked to in the post, but easily found from there) shows, there’s almost nothing in the memo that wasn’t in the other documents.”

    Not exactly correct, either as a description of the set of documents nor of Megan’s pieces. The memo contained a lot of inflammatory language about the goals of the campaign, some complete fabrications about going after Gleick via Forbes (one of the clues to Gleick’s identity as forger) and some fabricated numbers about Koch bros donations (taking fund raising goal numbers and casting them as amounts already donated by the Koch’s specifically on AGW skepticism and spent in the previous year – when in fact, they had donated none).

  48. I don’t think so. They’ll sue now because they want Gleick’s fraud to get maximum publicity and discredit both him and his allies. It’s what I’d do, anyway.

    Then neither you nor the Heartland institute have ever heard of the Streisand effect.

    By lawyering up and threatening to sue not just Gleick but everyone who commented on the memos in question, Heartland looks like the heavy and are far more likely to discredit themselves than Gleick and his buddies.

  49. Well, Jeff, you seem to think that they can only sue “Gleick [and] everyone who commented on the memos in question”.

    But guess what. That’s not their only option. And Gleick has already admitted to actions that could be construed as the elements of a tort.

  50. >And Gleick has already admitted to actions that could be construed as the elements of a tort.

    His career should be ruined and he should die in poverty and disgrace. I say this not out of any malice towards the man himself, but because that’s the outcome that will discourage future frauds of similar kind.

  51. It would be interesting, for the purposes of discussion, to define exactly what constitutes “frauds of similar kind.” Are you talking about the social engineering he used to get the emails, the distribution of the emails, or is there something specific about the content of these particular emails?

  52. @ BioBob

    You raise an interesting point.

    The Heartland example is important because it demonstrates how a relatively small skeptic investment can be effectively leveraged, using the amplification offered by a “think tank” to gain a disproportionate percentage of political mindshare for a position which is very much in the scientific minority.

    The hoohah about whether or not the strategy memo is fake is, frankly, misdirection. [1]

    If it is true, as has been alleged, that the documents show a core of skeptical scientists effectively being paid a retainer by Heartland to generate the NIPCC reports, then the honest and transparent thing for those scientists to do is to declare that interest.

    If they don’t wish to do so, the inference must be that those scientists are concerned that the disclosure would damage their credibility.

    By the by, given that most readers here have an interest in openness and transparency, Heartland’s non-wiki site “ClimateWiki” makes for an interesting read:

    http://www.climatewiki.org/index.php/Introduction_to_Global_Warming

    Fair and balanced – just like Fox News!

    [1] If the document is fake, which seems likely, I agree that this is a problem for the integrity of the faker.

  53. It would be interesting, for the purposes of discussion, to define exactly what constitutes “frauds of similar kind.” Are you talking about the social engineering he used to get the emails, the distribution of the emails, or is there something specific about the content of these particular emails?

    No, the fake memo which is being used to attempt to influence the election of the President. This is precisely the same crime for which Bill Burkett and Dan Rather were never prosecuted. The willful use of fraudulent information for the purpose of swaying the outcome of a pending election.

  54. @ TomM strawman

    not one thing you say is accurate –well, perhaps the “the” is accurate — nor fair, nor balanced

    partisan warmist “scientists” bought and paid for by the NASA (Hansen) claimed New York will be flooded (and photoshopped an image to ‘prove’ it) because of sea level rise by 2000 – false – effect of these lies ? nothing

    partisan wamist “scientists” bought and paid for by the WWF and IPCC claim glaciers of the Himalya will be gone by 2035 – a fabrication – effect of these lies ? nothing

    partisan wamist “scientist” bought and paid for by the US Dept Interior claim Polar bears are going extinct – false – the effect of these lies ? endangered “species” status then nothing

    (yada yada yada, some buffoon actually claimed global warming would cause brains to shrink, continued x infinity) with trillions of dollars expended to support these fabrications and opinions, it matters not a whit what any human opines. The chaotic global heat engine that generates the weather forming what we pattern matching hairless monkey’s call climate, will continue to be chaotic and therefore unpredictable. Determinism has no place in this aspect of chaos theory.

    You (and ANY knave) are a fool to support any part of this pseudoscience. Virtually none of its conclusions nor predictions are based on any facts whatever.

  55. @ BioBob

    It appears I was mistaken. Sensible discussion is not, in fact, possible with you.

    My apologies for wasting everyone else’s time.

  56. The disinformation campaign in regard to AGW is no longer a laughing matter. The nonsense and fraud are easy to debunk, but that ignores a bigger picture. In particular, a Gramscian meme war is underway and the gullible members of our society are being seduced by the threat of an amorphous peril and the promise of a protective savior. This phenomenon has roots in our evolutionary development, and actives ancient and innate habitual patterns.

    In addition, our society has become extraordinarily affluent and the weakest members no longer suffer a reproductive penalty for poor decision-making. Game theory modeling suggests that this pattern can be highly destructive.

  57. @ TomA “Game theory modeling suggests that this pattern can be highly destructive.”

    False

    Nobody has a clue what is or may be an evolutionary reproductive advantage in humans, nor do we know if or how evolutionary selection in humans is currently operating or not. We barely know how to sequence our genes and have only an inking how our genetics actually works.

    All that one can say is that the broadening and increasing heterozygosity of the human gene pool currently continues without known constraint and that historically heterozygosity is of great advantage in the face of strong selective pressure on any species.

    As far as AGW goes, we do not have a clue if we are actually having an effect of any size large or small on global climate because we don’t know, can/have not measure(d) these effects, and are not likely to find out anytime soon.

  58. @ TomM
    Yes, you were mistaken. Anybody who thinks we know anything about or can predict future climate is mistaken. Anybody who thinks that a sample of 1 from an unknown population yields any viable measure of that population is mistaken. Anybody who thinks one can get a precision of .028 degrees C from devices with a limit of observation of plus or minus .5 degrees C is an charlatan.

    Temperatures of any particular place may or may NOT have a decadal trend but using non-random samples of size 1 with discontinuously observed, non-random, poorly sited and calibrated equipment generates statistical noise larger than any purported temperature trend by orders of magnitude. This is not terribly surprising in a chaotic system.

    Trying to discern atmospheric heat content from temperature without rH, etc. is a fool’s absurd errand. Claiming known aspects of determinism from chaos is also a fool’s absurd errand.

    Do you even understand what I am saying ? I think not or we would not be having this “conversation”. Climate (pseudo-)scientists at best. Frauds, crooks, and felons at worst.
    Dr. Peter Gleick is just the latest self-confessed fraud and perhaps soon to be a convicted felon.
    Sad when science suffers the stain of these scum.

  59. >It would be interesting, for the purposes of discussion, to define exactly what constitutes “frauds of similar kind.”

    I was thinking specifically of document fraud designed and intended to have large political consequences. Like the Dan Rather TANG document.

  60. >It appears I was mistaken. Sensible discussion is not, in fact, possible with you.

    The facts are not on your side, and the evidence of fraud by your allies is mile-high. Humility would become you better than this sort of snotty posturing.

  61. @ BioBob “False”

    How can you assert this? You would have to be able to prove a negative.

    My modeling indicates that meme subversion will diminish population size whenever weak link purging is disallowed.

  62. I do not need to assert. It is a simple observation.

    Show me any genetic study of global human populations which substantiates your claim. Good luck with that.

    In point of fact, there have been numerous interesting studies which prove the obverse of your claim. Heterozygosity has demonstrable advantages shown in insect, fungal, and bacterial populations under selective pressure. We call it insecticide / fungicide / antibiotic resistance (the last which is also laterally transmitted by promiscuous genetic exchange in unrelated bacteria taxa).

  63. “I was thinking specifically of document fraud designed and intended to have large political consequences. Like the Dan Rather TANG document.”

    But if it had been a AGW skeptic crafting a fraudulent document in an attempt to trap Peter Gleick, that’d be OK. Well, they’re your hairs; split them where you will.

  64. >But if it had been a AGW skeptic crafting a fraudulent document in an attempt to trap Peter Gleick, that’d be OK

    Yes. Think “sting operation” vs. “fraud”. Both ethics and law recognize that these are not the same.

    There’s an ethical difference that matters between trying to defraud honest people (what Peter Gleick and Dan Rather did) and setting a trap that can only blow up in the face of those who are themselves liars and fools (what Alan Sokal and Andrew Breitbart did). It’s parallel to the distinction between use of defensive force and initiation of force.

    The key difference is that if the fake Heartland summary was planted on Gleick, he had to commit an unethical act before it would damage him. Just like Breitbart’s sting of ACORN, which relied on them being willing to give tactical advice on managing a child-prostitution ring to fund a potential ally’s political campaign. Or Sokal’s sting, which relied on its victims breaching all the less tangible duties we associate with the life of the mind.

  65. TomM writes: “The hoohah about whether or not the strategy memo is fake is, frankly, misdirection.

    Utter nonsense for two reasons. First, all of the faux outrage about the Heartland Institute comes from the content of the forged memo. I’ve seen a lot of commentors who say “Oh, but even without the forged memo, Heartland Institute is doing X, Y and Z” and guess what, X, Y, and Z came from the forged memo. Proposed fund raising has been cast as money already donated, proposals to aid Watts recast as money already paid to him.

    Second, the AGW proponents have been getting away with falsely claiming that everyone who is skeptical is only skeptical because they are being paid off. The AGW proponents need to be called on their substitution of ad hominem invective for actual argument. Hansen has received millions in speaking fees but its an outrage that Anthony Watts asked for tens of thousands to build a website that would illustrate his points with NOAA data?

    The forged memo is not a distraction anymore than Dan Rather’s forged memo about George W. Bush was a distraction. Its the core of the behavior

  66. The idea that some skeptic planted a document on Gleick that would then make him go get authentic documents to mix with the fraud is just silly. Further, look at the forged memo, its unconvincing by itself, it lacks any letterhead, author names, or any other indicia of authenticity. It looks like very unconvincing until packaged with more authentic docs, and still isn’t very convincing at all.

    The conspiracy theory to try to defend Gleick is simply ludicrous, and desperate.

  67. > TomA said:You do not understand what game theory modeling is.

    Quite likely true, since you never went into any detail about your parameters, starting conditions, formulae, etc.

    But you sir, do not understand natural selection nor population genetics or sampling. “the weakest members no longer suffer a reproductive penalty for poor decision-making.” is an assertion without evidence since you have no data at all either for or against the assertion. You do not know anything about the current or future sub-population or selection parameters of those populations and therefore can not apply game theory models to that actual population but, like warmists, must run your models under assumptions about reality and employ model output data as if it were real. It could be that those who make such poor decisions actually have a statistically significant higher age of 1st reproduction or fewer children, but you would not know, since you do not sample the population. The opposite may also be true. However, I think what your real assertion is is that such persons and their offspring persist in the population, increasing the portion of the population that is to your mind defective. My point was that we are not aware of what pressures are actually providing selection on human population at present and that even if defectives are present to increase the heterozygosity totality of human genome, such variability has been shown to be evolutionarily advantageous once selective pressure is actually applied after its previous absence.

    Just as the map is not the territory, the model is not reality. Please do not join the warmist crowd in assuming model output is reality.

  68. V Pravde net izvestiy, v Izvestiyakh net pravdy. The New York Times, however, fails to contain either.

    And in climate science there is no science.

  69. Sound and Fury said: “And in climate science there is no science.”

    lol – that’s just harsh. there actually is some real science wheat among all the chaff but it IS hard to find. It is like some communicable delusional state has invaded the minds of many climate ‘scientists’ that prevents them from discerning the difference between conclusions supported by valid statistical analysis of good quality data versus suppositions supported only by opinion.

  70. >The facts are not on your side, and the evidence of fraud by your allies is mile-high. Humility would become you better than this sort of snotty posturing.

    Eric, I know you are duty-bound as a faithful contrarian to disagree, but – as at least 8 separate inquiries have found – pointing to the so-called climategate emails as evidence of fraud simply does not stack up:
    http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-archive/science-technology/s-t-cru-inquiry/
    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/SAP
    http://www.research.psu.edu/orp/documents/Findings_Mann_Inquiry.pdf
    http://live.psu.edu/pdf/Final_Investigation_Report.pdf
    http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
    http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/downloads/response-decision.pdf
    http://www.oig.doc.gov/OIGPublications/2011.02.18-IG-to-Inhofe.pdf
    http://www.nsf.gov/oig/search/A09120086.pdf

    If you have other evidence of fraud (“mile-high” or otherwise), lets see it.

    Whether Gleick behaved ethically in relation to the Heartland materials is a completely different matter.

    As I have already conceded, the “fraud” alleged there might damage Gleick’s credibility (and the credibility of the alleged forger), but this does not affect the credibiliy of other climate scientists or indeed the scientific consensus attributing most warming to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses.

    That you appear unwilling to draw the distinction should not surprise us – that is what happens when cheerleading for an ideology supplants thinking.

  71. @ SPQR

    Have Watts (or the scientists directly funded by Heartland) previously acknowledged or disclosed Heartland funding? If not, why not?

  72. @ BioBob

    > Do you even understand what I am saying ?

    To be honest, the reference to a population size of 1 was a little confusing.

    If what you meant to say is that there is uncertainty in future projections of climate, then you’d be right. You can read a good summary of the limitations and uncertainties in IPCC’s projections in IPCC’s AR4 “Summary for Policymakers” here: http://ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-projections-of.html

  73. On the Nazis being lefties, modern European lefties apparently believe in book-burning now, http://www.berlinbiennale.de/blog/en/?p=17574 .

    >And the progressive Democrats are every bit as totalitarian and leftist as the Soviets ever were, they’re just taking a slower path to get there.

    The best take on that, I read towards the end of the 1990s to early 2002, was Claire Wolfe’s description of the US government as “Stalinism Lite”. By using lesser penalties, they reduce the blowback to their tyranny. In many ways, the US is more repressive than the USSR was, it’s just sneakier and less obvious about it. The Soviets would have killed many for the US’s current collection of spy-cams everywhere, for example.

  74. @Chris Chittleborough http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/science/earth/activist-says-heartland-climate-papers-obtained-by-deceit.html?_r=1

    He said that he would not comment further on Monday, but wrote: “My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.”

    I wonder if he is similarly concerned about the lack of transparency of, say, CRU.

    One could almost feel sympathy for Mr. Gleick. If someone feels the need to fall on a grenade, it should at least be for something worthwhile. He has (hopefully) ruined his career defending a big lie.

  75. My questions about AACC
    Critics assert that much of the data supporting global warming come from locations where the surrounding environments have changed (what once was an open field is now a parking lot). These changes distort the temperature readings (readings in the open fields on either side of the parking lot remain unchanged) leading to classic GIGO.
    If this assertion is false (some data has been corrupted), would you point to a list of weather stations that is used to identify the ‘good’ weather stations (local environment unchanged) while excluding the ‘bad’ (changed environment’s micro-climate distorted data) weather stations? If no list is available then can we have a list of all the sites providing the data used to demonstrate AACC?
    CO2 is a such miniscule element of our atmosphere (less than 1%) how can if create a ‘greenhouse effect’?
    Has anyone done the math comparing the volume of the earths atmosphere to the volume of CO2 to see if there is enough extra CO2 that when distributed it changes the composition of the ‘entire’ atmosphere?
    Critics claim that the models used to predict AACC ignore the suns effect on the earth’s temperature, can anyone point to models incorporating solar output?
    Critics claim that the models predicting AACC are unable to predict the past, and only show future AACC by distorting the data.
    Can we see the models that predict AACC?
    Critics claim that AACC is largely the creation of political ideologues to generate political power.
    These are all serious questions to me, that I have not been able to find answers to and there are some more but I’m going to be late so I have to go.
    Boatdrinks
    m=)

  76. <blockquote<The key difference is that if the fake Heartland summary was planted on Gleick, he had to commit an unethical act before it would damage him.

    Ah, so it’s not the falsification of the document that’s the unethical act! It’s the next action he took.

  77. @BioBob

    There have in fact been strong selective pressures on human populations, with notable results.

    The adoption of agriculture radically changes the diet from animal protein and fat plus green leafy vegetables and roots to one high in carbohydrates. People whose ancestors were hunter-gatherers until recently suffer much higher rates of obesity and type II diabetes in adolescence. Those of us whose ancestors have been farmers for thousands of years tolerate it much better.

    Most animals stop producing lactase, needed to digest lactose fairly early on. At least three human populations have mutations which allow them to continue drinking milk into adulthood. These mutations make herding cattle a much more efficient use of the land. One of the mutations spread rapidly throughout Europe. Most Asians and many Africans are lactose intolerant.

    Beneficial mutations spread rapidly through the population when selective pressures are strong.

    10,000 Year Explosion by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending.

    It is arguable that incentives to delay and limit childbirth are also a selective pressure.

  78. >as at least 8 separate inquiries have found – pointing to the so-called climategate emails as evidence of fraud simply does not stack up:

    Political whitewashes. And even if we leave out the CRU dump – which I wouldn’t, I’ve read enough of it to know it was rife with evidence (“hide the decline”, anyone?) – there’s plenty of other fraud to go around. The last two years of comments on this blog has plenty of links to it.

  79. @BioBob “Please do not join the warmist crowd in assuming model output is reality.”

    Game theory modeling is a tool that may inform and improve decisionmaking, and is also useful for evaluating contingencies. Think war gaming as an analogy.

    The problem with climate modeling is not that it is occurring, but that it has been hijacked to serve a political end. Hijacking science in service to totalitarianism is an old (and sometimes effective) tactic. The better we understand this phenomenon, the better able we will be to defend against it.

    The old tyrants (Stalin, Mao, etc) used violence to subdue their people. The new incipient tyrants are more clever and insidious, so we must improve our game as well.

  80. >Ah, so it’s not the falsification of the document that’s the unethical act! It’s the next action he took.

    Your language is confusing. Are we considering the same hypothetical?

  81. TomM, Anthony Watts hadn’t gotten any funding yet. This is yet another example of how you are misrepresenting the Heartland documents.

  82. @TomM
    >Eric, I know you are duty-bound as a faithful contrarian to disagree, but – as at least 8 separate inquiries have found – pointing to the so-called climategate emails as evidence of fraud simply does not stack up:

    Do these inquiries also show that the CRU people were not attempting to hide data from a FOIA request?

    Because the shape of the data released in the CRU leak gave an indication that it had been gathered in response to a FOIA request, and hidden. It was also released on a timetable that put the FOIA-non-response beyond the statute of limitations.

    My supposition is that an insider knew about the attempts to hide information from a FOIA request, and that the insider gathered the emails (while redacting personal data and emails not relating directly to the study). That insider then released the data on a schedule that would keep him and his fellows from being inside the statue-of-limitations.

    There was enough internal data in the emails to show that scientists were attempting to keep findings they disagreed with from being published in scientific journals.

    Those bring me to the conclusion that the CRU wasn’t engaged in honest science, even if there wasn’t any fraud.

    Lastly, I know enough about computer modeling to know that a computer model can be twisted to produce certain results. If the models used by the CRU aren’t reproducible, and their internal logic isn’t published in a form that allows another coder to reproduce the model, then the models aren’t peer-reviewable science.

    If the input data has been lost or withheld, then even publishing the source code for the model doesn’t make the model into peer-reviewable science.

    If both happened (which appears to be the case in the models published by CRU), then there are two ways in which the models can’t be peer-reviewed.

    All around, the CRU emails appeared to show sloppy scientific work, or work which was deliberately done in a way that made it hard for other scientists to reproduce the work. Maybe not fraud, but not good science.

  83. “As far as AGW goes, we do not have a clue if we are actually having an effect of any size large or small on global climate because we don’t know, can/have not measure(d) these effects, and are not likely to find out anytime soon.”

    “This is not terribly surprising in a chaotic system.”

    @BioBob: Put those two quotes of yours together, where you admit that we don’t know what we’re doing and that a small input to the system can lead to large changes and please tell us all why we should continue doubling and tripling the CO2 content of the atmosphere.

    Don’t shit where you eat guys, don’t shit where you eat.

  84. Leftists compare global warming skepticism to Young Earth Creationism. The reason this is invalid is that if global warming alarmists are wrong, then skeptics are right. Either there is enough future warming to necessitate the repeal of the Industrial Revolution or there isn’t. In contrast, even if Darwin is incorrect about natural selection, it does not prove the literal truth of Genesis; in fact, from a scientific standpoint, that would be a rather far-fetched hypothesis (to put it mildly). Much more likely would be punctuated equilibrium or some other “catastrophist” hypothesis.

    Actually, I wonder if the Leftists have ruined evolutionary science the same way they’ve ruined climate science, simply by being so fanatic and reactionary that they won’t even consider, say, the ideas of Stephen Jay Gould.

  85. @LS “and please tell us all why we should continue doubling and tripling the CO2 content of the atmosphere.”

    I’m sure we’ll be glad to answer that when you tell us why we should utterly wreck the economy of the entire world and likely plunge it into totalitarian darkness in response to something that is likely untrue?

    “Don’t shit where you eat guys, don’t shit where you eat.”
    If you seriously want to offer this as some sort of First Principles Doctrine then the only way to obey it would be to eliminate most – if not all – humans from this planet.

    “Lines form to the left for the elimination chamber. An entrance but no exit. After you, sir.”

  86. @karrde

    My supposition is that an insider knew about the attempts to hide information from a FOIA request, and that the insider gathered the emails (while redacting personal data and emails not relating directly to the study). That insider then released the data on a schedule that would keep him and his fellows from being inside the statue-of-limitations.

    It seems more likely to me that the eMail was collected and redacted in response to the FOI request before anybody decided that actually releasing them would be a bad idea. Then someone, perhaps even the low level staffer who prepared the file, leaked it.

  87. TomM said: To be honest, the reference to a population size of 1 was a little confusing.

    It is a SAMPLE SIZE of ONE, not a population size. Typically when temperatures are measured at stations, the minimum and maximum are read generally at the same time each day from one instrument. The minimum is one measure of the low range temp for that period since the last reading. Likewise for the maximum. This yields a sample size of ONE from the “population” of possible temperatures for that period, since there are almost always NO replicates of that sampling instrument or station in the area, there is no way to estimate the variance / standard error of the measurement as is generally required in scientific studies. Since the siting of the station was not random, the sample does not meet the requirements of random sampling and error is much more likely. Random sampling, replicated samples, etc., are simple field sampling procedures followed by all real scientists who wish to obtain accurate, unbiased, estimates of some population.

  88. >> BobW said: @BioBob There have in fact been strong selective pressures on human populations, with notable results.

    Yes, that’s the meme / theory. And I can not refute some theory based on conjecture nor can you prove it, either. There was no one present to sample DNA during human dietary transition and most other purported historical selection pressures on humans. No samples means no data. No data means no proof. And that’s where it sits, as a theory without data to prove or disprove.

    There HAVE been limited studies on human selective pressure. For instance, studies on the Black Death have noted the mechanism of limited immunity found in survivor populations to the bacteria which causes the plague, Yersina pestis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yersinia_pestis

  89. @ esr

    > political whitewashes

    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome through the looking glass!

  90. >> LS said:@BioBob: Put those two quotes of yours together, where you admit that we
    >don’t know what we’re doing and that a small input to the system can lead to large
    >changes and please tell
    > us all why we should continue doubling and tripling the CO2 content of the atmosphere.
    > Don’t shit where you eat guys, don’t shit where you eat.
    =====================================
    1) actually, we do NOT always know if a generalized climate input will have any effect at all — LOL , let alone a big effect or small one. But we do know something about certain climate subsystems. We DO know that water in the system acts as a NEGATIVE feedback mechanism in parts of the system, ensuring that large swings in temperature are dampened. The noted maximum surface-sea-temperature-populations around 30 C in the tropics is an example

    2) you assume CO2 is a pollutant — IT IS NOT. CO2 is a naturally occurring and REQUIRED component of most of earth’s biotic systems. No CO2 = no photosynthesis. No photosynthesis = no humans. More CO2 = MORE photosynthesis = MORE TO EAT. More CO2 is good, at least to some unknown point.

    Those who keep aquariums with plants generally try to maintain CO2 saturation to keep a healthy tank by bubbling CO2 into the tank. Think about that. There is plenty of actual field data – (wow real data) – that shows crops benefit by higher CO2 concentrations.

    3) you assume that humans are responsible for the observed increase in CO2 concentration. This is simply an unproven assertion, just as the purported increase in observed atmospheric temperature is an assertion without valid data. Both are possible or not but we do not know for sure and do not have reliable data to decide either way or know enough.

    4) you assume CO2 has some nefarious effect on climate. This is total bullshit, without one scintilla of evidence. Any “greenhouse” effect ( a total misnomer) from CO2 would be totally swamped by the Order of Magnitude larger effects of water vapor. However, it is all theoretical since we can not measure ANY OF IT on a global scale with any sort of accuracy. AGW is based on some mythical feedback mechanism induced by CO2 on water vapor, since all climate types realize that the miniscule increases in CO2 could not possible have large effects by itself.

  91. LS wrote–
    @BioBob: Put those two quotes of yours together, where you admit that we don’t know what we’re doing and that a small input to the system can lead to large changes and please tell us all why we should continue doubling and tripling the CO2 content of the atmosphere.

    Don’t shit where you eat guys, don’t shit where you eat.

    By this logic, you should kill your family and commit suicide, since you may be contributing to the extinction of the human species. I can loan ya a Glock and the requisite number of cartridges.

  92. Also, LS, nobody expects such large increases (tripling) in CO2 being remotely possible from burning ALL POSSIBLE fossil fuel deposits.

    Please give a read to Tans et al at this link which estimates a maximum CO2 concentration of 480 – 600 ppm which are not even a doubling of current levels.
    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/22-4_tans.pdf

    That will bring your hyperbole back to the merely unlikely.

  93. BobW said:
    The genes for one of the lactase mutations have been identified. It’s possible to date how old the gene is by how big the unchanged section of DNA around it is. The bigger the section the newer the gene. This mutation is only a few thousand years old.
    ———————–
    you really should pay attention to the weasel words employed by scientists like me.
    may could possibly likely etc
    Nothing in science is 100% and most are simply “possible”.

    Yes, there is an identified lactose / lactase loci. As far as this particular SNP is concerned, that’s fine but so few humans have been sequenced thus far, it is also possible that 10, 100 or 1,000 other lactose/lactase ‘active’ SNP also exist but have not yet been discovered. The assumption is also that we understand how this loci functions. Good luck with that. Why am I lactose intolerant if I stop drinking milk for a long period but lactose tolerant after repeated exposure ? Genetics is more complex than you think and we understand little.

    The assumption is that we can estimate ‘genetic age’ of a mutation but this is simply a guess in reality. You should and had better use a more skeptical eye when examining scientific conclusions. Have you learned nothing ? Do you take a politicians promises at face value ? I have a bridge to sell you !

  94. >Actually, I wonder if the Leftists have ruined evolutionary science the same way they’ve ruined climate science, simply by being so fanatic and reactionary that they won’t even consider, say, the ideas of Stephen Jay Gould.

    Stephen Jay Gould is LOVED by leftists, it is scientists that despise him for lying for his Marxist beliefs.

    The reviews of The Mismeasure of Man in the popular press were uncritically adulatory. The reviews in scholarly journals, by experts, all of whom point out that it is a mosaic of blatant lies and gross misrepresentations.

    from http://www.affirmativeactionhoax.com/pdfs/Gould.pdf

    Arthur Jensen Replies to Steven Jay Gould

  95. Of all the wierdo contrarian memes, “OMG CO2 is not a pollutant LMFAO” would have to be my favourite.

  96. TomM said: Of all the wierdo contrarian memes, “OMG CO2 is not a pollutant LMFAO” would have to be my favourite.
    ———————————————
    Mine too, until the EPA’s recent pronouncement. They really do need a 1,000,000 percent budget cut since they have morphed from merely annoying to foaming-rabid. A fine example of a government agency gone wild.

  97. @BioBob

    3) you assume that humans are responsible for the observed increase in CO2 concentration. This is simply an unproven assertion, just as the purported increase in observed atmospheric temperature is an assertion without valid data. Both are possible or not but we do not know for sure and do not have reliable data to decide either way or know enough.

    We have Carbon 12/14 ratios and use this to estimate the dates of fossils. The technique gets used in other sorts of dating.

    It turns out that we also have a fair number of sealed air samples of scientifically reputable provenance going back to about the 1820s, and we were doing carbon dating on atmospheric samples as far back as the 1940s.

    From roughly 1820 through about 1950, the ratio of Carbon-12 to Carbon-14 in atmospheric CO2 samples had not changed. From 1950 onwards – which is when the spike in CO2 ppms started becoming noticeable – the ratio of Carbon-12 to Carbon-14 did change – and changed proportionately in a method that was consistent with the release of fossil fuel carbon dioxide mixed with the prior levels of CO2.

    The provenance of the additional CO2 in the atmosphere (and in the ocean) is, as best as we can tell, consistent with human use of fossil fuels; even the tonnage of the CO2 added to the atmosphere comes to within reasonable estimates.

  98. Mea culpa! I’m sorry that I kept mistakenly writing about ‘doubling or tripling CO2 levels’. What I meant was ‘doubling or tripling the oscillation amplitude in CO2 levels’. Please view the graph of historical CO2 levels here: (scroll down)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth's_atmosphere

    You will see that, for hundreds of thousands of years, CO2 levels have swung from about 180 ppm up to about 280 ppm, a swing of about 100 ppm. Now we industrialize and it swings up to 380 ppm, which is a doubling of the amplitude. That’s the doubling I was talking about.

    Now, if anyone can say, “..you assume that humans are responsible for the observed increase in CO2 concentration. This is simply an unproven assertion..” after seeing that graph, he is not being ‘scientificly objective’. He is simply being willfully stupid.

    To those who think an admonition to not shit where they eat requires that we all commit suicide, please don’t eat where I do. You obviously have never heard of toilets and sewage treatment plants.

  99. Ken Burnside said: We have Carbon 12/14 ratios and use this to estimate the dates of fossils.
    =======================================
    Yes, all true enough. I can not rule out the possibility either. However, you REALLY need to focus on the word “estimate”.

    The planet is large, variable and very little field measurement of CO2 mass balance has been ACTUALLY been performed. The vast majority of the Carbon cycle numbers are ESTIMATES based on “educated guesses”, NOT actual data. I sat in the same room as some Carbon Cycle scientists when they came up with estimates for one particular set of numbers for a particular ecosystem. Hilarity ensued. These guys actually used dynamite to extract tree stumps from the ground so they were dead serious. None of them would have claimed the kind of accuracy required for your kind of isotope ratio conclusion.

    Ask one of these doods how much net CO2 flux change from soils and other geo-chemical weathering sources has been actually measured due to continent wide acidification of rain sometime. [Before the acidification = none. After the acidification = none that I have seen]. The number is potentially HUGE.

    The fact is that numerically, biotic cycling of Carbon//CO2 [which affect the ratios] dwarfs the fossil fuel contribution and the isotope ratio flux sources are poorly measured and known. I think there remains substantial potential for error and have no doubt that many scientists agree. It is certainly possible that human land use alterations and other human manipulation of ecosystems are more important than fossil fuel combustion in the isotope-ratios. It is also possible that changes in ocean temperature are primarily responsible. It is important that you realize the very real limits of human knowledge. The world is large and we are still amateurs.

    I simply call bullshit on any sort of righteous conclusion on the matter. It is still NO DATA = NO CONFIRMATION.

  100. @ karrde
    > Do these inquiries also show that the CRU people were not attempting to hide data from a FOIA request?

    I provided links to the reports of each inquiry so the answer to that question should not be difficult for you to find.

    (If you were interested in my view: It looks as though FOI compliance was not well managed in some cases. This is disappointing although perhaps not surprising – “Science by FOI Application” was, at the relevant time, a relatively new critter.)

    You raise other issues about transparency and access to data which have been dealt with many times here and elsewhere.

    In short, past practice is not current practice. A stack of links to data and modelling tools is maintained here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

  101. LS – you really need an education in science before you make conclusions about willful stupidity.. Go look up the difference between a proxy and actual measurement.

    Different proxies (called geocarb) from the ones you use (which appear to be ice core proxies) show that CO2 has ranged between 1200 ppm or even 2500 ppm and current levels all over the map over millions of years. So what ? We certainly can conclude that CO2 has been BOTH higher and perhaps lower in past and that no obvious temperature correlation is present in all cases.

    Anyone who claims we can infer temperature to any sort of precision from a proxy is a snake-oil-salesmen.

    Ice core gas measurements are simply problematic.

  102. And even if we leave out the CRU dump – which I wouldn’t, I’ve read enough of it to know it was rife with evidence (“hide the decline”, anyone?)

    You keep thumping this. Hardly the smoking gun you think it is.

    What you’ve found are a few molehills at best, and you’re trying to synthesize the Himalayas out of them. There’s just not enough dirt to do that with.

  103. Don’t shit where you eat

    Don’t shit where you eat…. presumably meaning don’t emit CO2…. into the air? We have to – to live, to stay alive when/where it is cold, to make things. The alternative is to die. As John Cunningham suggested, the only way that you personally can help this situation is to kill yourself and your family, those disgusting CO2 emiting beings.

  104. “It looks as though FOI compliance was not well managed in some cases.”

    Really? That’s your line? Not well managed in some cases…. the refusal of the AGW crowd to engage in the most basic of transparency of their data, their methodologies, etc. has been egregious, continuous and notorious … and the best you got is “not well managed” ?

  105. @ BioBob

    > It is still NO DATA = NO CONFIRMATION.

    The world awaits publication of your paper debunking the last century of climate science with great interest.

  106. @ SPQR

    I’m not sure who you mean by “the AGW crowd”.

    Perhaps there are allegations against each of the many thousands of scientists working in the field that I’m not aware of?

    If you meant CRU, then as I said before the various inquiries have determined that the allegations of misconduct that you seem so keen to make are unfounded.

    Eric seems to think the inquiries are whitewashes – presumably part of the Great Gramscian Watermelon Plot – but I hazard a guess that neither you nor he have read their reports.

  107. @LS

    Now, if anyone can say, “..you assume that humans are responsible for the observed increase in CO2 concentration. This is simply an unproven assertion..” after seeing that graph, he is not being ‘scientificly objective’. He is simply being willfully stupid.

    Correlation != causation. The graph by itself is insufficient to prove that human activity caused this rise in amplitude. I could similarly create a graph showing a rise in the consumption of processed foods and overlay that onto a graph that showed a rise in violent crime and even those graphs showed a similar trend, would that prove to you that the consumption of processed foods caused or contributed to the rise in violent crime?

  108. Sorry TomM

    I gave up that bag for better paying and less politically toxic climes than Academia; it’s a snakepit now and I feel sorry for all those abused slaves erm i mean grad students. I do database programming now.

  109. @ Morgan Greywolf

    > Correlation != causation

    I wonder whether this has occurred to the IPCC before?

  110. TomM writes: “If you meant CRU, then as I said before the various inquiries have determined that the allegations of misconduct that you seem so keen to make are unfounded.

    That’s not the first time you’ve made that false claim. The UK investigation did conclude that the failure to release the emails under FOIA was criminal but that prosecution could not proceed because of the statute of limitations.

    So what are the odds you’ll stop claiming that the UK investigations were complete exonerations of wrongdoing? Oh, about zero, I’m sure.

  111. Morgan Greywolf said:

    It is not only Correlation != causation but which correlation did you have in mind as well.

    There are plenty of ice cores that purport to show increases in CO2 100 to 500 years following proxy increases in temperature.

    Really the whole ice core proxy thing is worth less than many think it is since depending on which cores and which periods, what is inferred depends on your agenda. Sad

  112. @Michael Hipp “I’m sure we’ll be glad to answer that when you tell us why we should utterly wreck the economy of the entire world and likely plunge it into totalitarian darkness in response to something that is likely untrue?”

    Of course we shouldn’t do that. What we should do is build lots and lots of nuclear power plants, electric cars and infrastructure to fuel them, etc. I’m somewhat convinced that the reason this isn’t happening is regulation pressure against building nuclear plants. (there are other reasons to reduce CO2 output, anyway – ESR has mentioned ocean acidification. I’m personally unconvinced that even the AGW people’s models imply that we’ll get a runaway effect or cause enough warming to be a serious problem for humanity before we run out of fossil fuels).

    As ESR has mentioned, there are elements within the environmentalism movement that are irrationally opposed to nuclear power. I haven’t seen evidence that these are the same people that are saying CO2 emissions are a huge problem, but I admit I haven’t been looking.

  113. @BioBob:

    It is not only Correlation != causation but which correlation did you have in mind as well.

    Also, you have this rise in CO2, which you correlate with human activity and a rise in temperatures. If your correlation actually does show causation, then you should be able to use your correlation and scientific theory to mathematically predict the rise in temperature over some future time period of many years.

    So far, climate “scientists” have utterly failed to produce reliable predictions. This failure is evidence enough that their theory is simply wrong. Data hiding (“hide the decline”) to cover up this fact is actually what the whole CRU thing was about.

  114. “Really the whole ice core proxy thing is worth less than many think it is since depending on which cores and which periods, what is inferred depends on your agenda. Sad”

    No, the ice core data is the result of careful work by a number of scientists who cross-checked and reconciled their data from both Greenland and Antarctica. The agenda is BioBob’s.
    I thought that maybe I was too strong on my ‘willfull stupidity’ crack, but I see I was too generous. The ice core data show a consistent picture for 900,000 years, then, all of a sudden, during the 19th century, things swing upward and upward beyond anything seen during the previous 9000 centuries and you’re screwing around with ‘It’s only a correlation.’ When I was in high school back in 1963, I did a term paper on smoking and health, and saw the same sort of dumbshit arguments from the tobacco industry. You guys are simply kicking the can down the road on this issue, while on other threads loudly complaining how our politicians are not dealing with the financial mess because they are such ninnies….

    We still have time to deal with this, but we have to start. It’s going to cost everyone but we have to pay. We can start by building more nuclear plants.

  115. > Morgan Greywolf said: @BioBob: you have this rise in CO2, which you correlate with human activity and a rise in temperatures.

    LoL – not me doing the correlation and not me who views correlation as anything but a coincidence and not me who thinks there is any sort of confirmed global rise in temps.

    I say NO correlation,
    could be a coincidence if it was observed and
    no data good enough to confirm a rise in temp separable from the noise in the system.

    In other words, we agree 100%

  116. LOL at LS

    ALL of the most fastidious analysis of ice cores demonstrates temperature rises preceded CO2 concentration rises. Over and over ad nauseum.

    quote:
    Petit et al. (1999) reconstructed histories of surface air temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration from data obtained from a Vostok ice core that covered the prior 420,000 years, determining that during glacial inception “the CO2 decrease lags the temperature decrease by several thousand years” and that “the same sequence of climate forcing operated during each termination.” Likewise, working with sections of ice core records from around the times of the last three glacial terminations, Fischer et al. (1999) found that “the time lag of the rise in CO2 concentrations with respect to temperature change is on the order of 400 to 1000 years during all three glacial-interglacial transitions.”

    On the basis of atmospheric CO2 data obtained from the Antarctic Taylor Dome ice core and temperature data obtained from the Vostok ice core, Indermuhle et al. (2000) studied the relationship between these two parameters over the period 60,000-20,000 years BP (Before Present). One statistical test performed on the data suggested that shifts in the air’s CO2 content lagged shifts in air temperature by approximately 900 years, while a second statistical test yielded a mean lag-time of 1200 years. Similarly, in a study of air temperature and CO2 data obtained from Dome Concordia, Antarctica for the period 22,000-9,000 BP — which time interval includes the most recent glacial-to-interglacial transition — Monnin et al. (2001) found that the start of the CO2 increase lagged the start of the temperature increase by 800 years. Then, in another study of the 420,000-year Vostok ice-core record, Mudelsee (2001) concluded that variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration lagged variations in air temperature by 1,300 to 5,000 years.

    In a somewhat different type of study, Yokoyama et al. (2000) analyzed sediment facies in the tectonically stable Bonaparte Gulf of Australia to determine the timing of the initial melting phase of the last great ice age. In commenting on the results of that study, Clark and Mix (2000) note that the rapid rise in sea level caused by the melting of land-based ice that began approximately 19,000 years ago preceded the post-glacial rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration by about 3,000 years.

    So what’s the latest on the issue? To our knowledge, the most recent study to broach the subject is that of Caillon et al. (2003), who measured the isotopic composition of argon — specifically, ð40Ar, which they argue “can be taken as a climate proxy, thus providing constraints about the timing of CO2 and climate change” — in air bubbles in the Vostok ice core over the period that comprises what is called Glacial Termination III, which occurred about 240,000 years BP. The results of their tedious but meticulous analysis led them to ultimately conclude that “the CO2 increase lagged Antarctic deglacial warming by 800 ± 200 years.”

    This finding, in the words of Caillon et al., “confirms that CO2 is not the forcing that initially drives the climatic system during a deglaciation.” Nevertheless, they and many others continue to hold to the view that the subsequent increase in atmospheric CO2 — which is believed to be due to warming-induced CO2 outgassing from the world’s oceans — serves to amplify the warming that is caused by whatever prompts the temperature to rise in the first place. This belief, however, is founded on unproven assumptions about the strength of CO2-induced warming and is applied without any regard for biologically-induced negative climate feedbacks that may occur in response to atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Also, there is no way to objectively determine the strength of the proposed amplification from the ice core data.

    Read them and weep.

  117. @BioBob: No doubt. I was simply expanding your point and filling in the blanks we each left. The mistake of equating correlation with causation is a very common one and LS knows it.

    @LS So 95% of all convicted criminals eat sliced bread. Obviously you’re just kicking the can down the road if you don’t believe that sliced bread causes people to exhibit criminal behavior. Ban teh eeeevil sliced bread!!!!!!

  118. >So what are the odds you’ll stop claiming that the UK investigations were complete exonerations of wrongdoing? Oh, about zero, I’m sure.

    I dunno why we should expect TomM to be any more honest than Peter Gleick. It seems to be fraud all the way down with these people.

  119. > esr said: I dunno why we should expect TomM to be any more honest than Peter Gleick. It seems to be fraud all the way down with these people

    Did you expect anything different from religious zealots ? They certainly are not scientists, nor are they even rational for the most part, with notable exceptions.

  120. Will you guys just LOOK AT THE GRAPH fer chrissakes! It DOESN’T MATTER whether the CO2 concentration lags or leads the temperature. We are bringing the amplitude of the oscillation way beyond its normal range. There’s no telling whether we are going beyond the range of any restoring forces that might bring the climate system back to ‘normal’. Everyone’s been arguing that the climate sytem is chaotic, and the nobody has a model that can predict what will happen, so why are you all so gung-ho about a large change with unpredictable consequences?

    The world has not had such a large concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere in more than 900,000 years. How do you know that it’s all OK? Don’t you think you ought to be a little worried?

  121. Eric, that was beneath you.

    SPQR: The initial UK inquiry did make reference to a possible breach of applicable FOI
    legislation, but this was not investigated and as
    far as I’m aware, no prosecution was initiated.

    If you insist on this being equivalent to a finding that any scientist involved fabricated data or acted fraudulently, then nothing I can say will change your mind.

  122. @LS Don’t you think you ought to be a little worried?

    In a word: No.

    If there exists a single unbiased and untainted source that thinks this is a genuine problem, they have yet to surface. A great many of us aren’t worried about it because it is a *very* safe assumption that the zealots that are trying to ruin us all with this socio-political nonscience are wrong and are doing it for the most malicious of purposes.

    And even if there exists somewhere a trifle of science that does point toward AGW, it is still buried behind so many chains of causality ifs as to virtually guarantee it is a non-issue.

    For anyone who has spent any time reading and studying this, it shouldn’t even be in the top 10,000 things they’re worried about.

    The organization of my sock drawer worries me more.

  123. LS,
    I am more worried about a meteor hitting earth.
    I am more worried that a car will smash into my house.
    I am more worried that I will fall in the shower.
    I am more worried that the sun will flame-out in a fit of pique at the IPCC ignoring its contribution to global warming.

    Actually, I am not terribly worried about any of those things but they all rank higher than some snake-oil-salesmans wet dream and specious claims about the last 900 millenia as if some one was around taking measurements for the period.

  124. @ Michael Hipp, BioBob

    Does your perspective shift if you think about consequences of warming that extend beyond immediate negative impacts on yourselves?

  125. what warming ? did you see any warming ? The sun comes out and it warms kind of warms ? the summer comes and it warms ?

    nope. its just plain weather to me since I am just passing thru this mortal coil. Climate is a fantasy wet dream of some aggregator and not something that is actually real. Tell me the length of a climate. Is it 10 years or 30 ? 100 or 1,000 ? 15,000 years perhaps ? Now we have something sticky and messy that we can not even define.

  126. Thanks, TomM, I thought it was a good one too. ;D The point is climate is a concept without a set definition and therefore meaningless in the particular.

    I have another one for you also with a philosophical dimension as well. Suppose it is about 17,000 BC and you note that the weather is changing – it is getting warmer by quite alot in fact. The ice is melting, the birds are singing, the sea level is rising, you know, stuff !

    Is this good “climate change” or bad ? Is CO2 responsible for this sudden warming ? Are we all going to die with this sudden and massive change ? Is it without precedent ?

  127. The whole global warming debate has become laughable now that proponents of AGW have changed the name for their position, for propaganda purposes, as “climate change”. Really? Climate “change” is what you’re arguing? Wow, who would have thought that the climate will change. Sure, climate changed for billions of years, but I really thought all of that stuff would have stopped when the anerobes went away.

    Arguing for climate change is like arguing “OMG the color of the sky changes color! If we don’t stop what we’re doing RIGHT NOW, by evening the sky will no longer be blue and all the light in the world will be gone! Forever!”

    Next week at the Improv, we’ll have progressives who changed their name to liberals who later changed their name back to progressives when the real world got in the way. Obviously utopia is just around the corner if only they could choose the right name for their ideology. Of course the inability to choose the right name does not mean they are wrong about anything else. They are absolutely correct on every other projection of human behavior except for how society will react to their name. Don’t forget to tip your bartender.

    P.S. Nothing in this comment should be construed to mean that AGW is not in fact a problem. Anaerobic Global Warming is a serious issue. We must all work together to reverse it.

  128. @Morgan Greywolf

    “So far, climate “scientists” have utterly failed to produce reliable predictions. This failure is evidence enough that their theory is simply wrong. Data hiding (“hide the decline”) to cover up this fact is actually what the whole CRU thing was about.”

    Models also have to be able to predict the past. Given what we know about the present, can this model tell us about conditions at a given point in time previous to our own. From what I understand when I grew up with atmospheric physicists, the climate models failed this test all the way back in the mid ’80s. I haven’t heard anything to indicate that has changed.

  129. @TomM

    @ Michael Hipp, BioBob
    Does your perspective shift if you think about consequences of warming that extend beyond immediate negative impacts on yourselves?

    You’re making an unsubstantiated accusation that our positions are entirely determined by narcissistic self centeredness. But ignoring that bit of hate speech for the moment…

    No, it doesn’t because your question is meaningless given that there is *no* reason whatsoever to think the warming is AG. Why spend time pondering something that simply isn’t true? I don’t spend time worrying if all the ships are going to sail off the edge of the earth. Yes, I am drawing a direct comparison between those two false beliefs.

    Nice slight of hand there in only talking about “warming” and not the real issue of “man-caused or man-fixable warming”.

  130. >From what I understand when I grew up with atmospheric physicists, the climate models failed this test all the way back in the mid ’80s. I haven’t heard anything to indicate that has changed.

    You are correct, it hasn’t changed.

  131. “Climate is a fantasy wet dream of some aggregator and not something that is actually real. Tell me the length of a climate. Is it 10 years or 30 ? 100 or 1,000 ? 15,000 years perhaps ? Now we have something sticky and messy that we can not even define.”

    “climate: the average course or condition of the weather at a place over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation”

    @BioBob: Just because you can’t do something, doesn’t mean others can’t. Next time you can’t define a word, try the dictionary.

    Oh…and just because the climate does change naturally is no reason for us to take a hand in it. If you don’t know what you are doing, you shouldn’t do it.

  132. @LS “If you don’t know what you are doing, you shouldn’t do it.”

    Bravo. Well said, LS. Well said.

  133. @ Michael Hipp

    From what you’ve written here I think it is safe to assume you haven’t read IPCC AR4.

    Here’s a link to the “Summary for Policymakers” from the Synthesis Report:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_synthesis_report.htm

    You are not alone in arriving at your conclusions before you consider the evidence – Eric confessed on another thread that he hadn’t read AR4 but didn’t need to because (I may be paraphrasing here) he knows it to be fraudulent.

    Robust debate about the policy implications of climate science is one thing – smearing scientists to discredit them and avoid the policy debate altogether is quite another.

  134. @TomM “From what you’ve written here I think it is safe to assume you haven’t read IPCC AR4.”
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_synthesis_report.htm

    A dubious suggestion given that the authors are not even sufficiently competent to grasp the meaning of the word “Summary”. Why should we expect they can get anything else correct either? But leaving that odd problem aside …

    Since you seem convinced that reading it would lead everyone to certain obvious conclusions, why don’t you state those obvious conclusions for the edification of us all. Since they are so obviously obvious.

    “You are not alone in arriving at your conclusions before you consider the evidence”
    You sure like tossing around accusations which you cannot substantiate.

    But to answer you directly, I have most assuredly examined the evidence. The problem may be that we are referring to different things when we use the word “evidence”.

  135. @ Michael Hipp

    > I have most assuredly examined the evidence. The problem may be that we are referring to different things when we use the word “evidence”.

    When I use the word evidence here I am referring to the published, peer reviewed science. Perhaps you meant something else?

    (Out of sheer morbid curiosity, what is it about the use of “Summary” that offends you? Is the document too long?)

  136. @LS

    “climate: the average course or condition of the weather at a place over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation”

    The point BioBob was making is that climate is not a well defined concept. If we use your definition, then it’s blindingly obvious that “climate” is not well defined because the number of years over which the average is whatever you want it. That’s not a bad thing because sometimes we need words to cover things that are not well defined. BioBob’s statement was a simple “the map is not the road” argument.

    The problem is that people misuse the concept of “climate” and treat it as if it has a concrete, objective meaning. When fuzzy logic and handwaving, rhetoricical terms such as “settled science” are repeatedly used to push for centralized control by a small group of people even after the supposed lovers of science are shown to be wrong, you start thinking that the pushers are not as stupid as they appear and actually have ulterior motives.

    Oh…and just because the climate does change naturally is no reason for us to take a hand in it. If you don’t know what you are doing, you shouldn’t do it.

    By that logic, we should all just stop doing anything. Any action we take could lead to our doom. Not taking action could lead to our doom. Given how little we actually know about climate, any proposal to engineer it (which is what proposing solutions to AGW are) is likely to backfire because of unintended consequences.

  137. @TomM “When I use the word evidence here I am referring to the published, peer reviewed science. Perhaps you meant something else?”

    In which case you are using a very weak definition of “examining the evidence”.

    “(Out of sheer morbid curiosity, what is it about the use of “Summary” that offends you? Is the document too long?)”

    Because it (like so many of its authors/sources) is not what it claims to be. It is not a “Summary for Policymakers”. They know quite well that no real policymaker is going to read (or understand) a report of this length and detail. The authors know this and make good use of that fact as a way to increase their leverage over these powerful but easily manipulated policymakers. “I’m busy Joline, just give me the upshot!”

    And as another example of its built-in dishonesty … does there anywhere in the SPM exist a credible and truthful section on “Uncertainties”? I don’t see it, while such figures prominently in the full report. Instead, we see some half the length devoted to “Adaptation and mitigation options”. In other words, it is the same old tired “We Must Act Now, It’s For The Children!” that we always get from totalitarian progressives. Is not essentially everything in it designed to that end?

    Here’s the actual SPM:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf

  138. @ LS
    Your definition fails to define the acceptable period of climate. Is 3 years long enough? How about 10 ?

    If ten is long enough, why are you so worried about warming — by the HadCRU numbers, temperatures are actually falling by a large and significant amount for the last 10 -13 years. If it is 15,000 years, we have seen many hotter years and many colder years; why would you be so upset at the recent pissant point 8 degrees C small changes ?

    This is a pissing contest you can not win, since nebulous concepts which are constructs of a certain point of view depend only on that point of view and bear no relationship to reality.
    “Chaos refers to the issue of whether or not it is possible to make accurate long-term predictions about the behavior of the system”. Climate, by definition, is an attempt to predict the unpredictable.

    please do yourself and me the favor of doing this quick little interactive course and actually learn something useful to yourself instead of simply trying to reassure yourself that you are virtuous and a good boy who knows and does not need to know any more. Think about the concept of climate as you read.

    http://order.ph.utexas.edu/chaos/introduction.html

  139. Joe Presley said:

    Thanks, Joe, for your effort there.

    Actually, my point is even more basic. Climate is an attempt to apply determinism to a chaotic system. This is analogous to throwing water on the ocean, popping a child’s balloon in Jupiter’s atmosphere and other wastes of effort. Prediction is to Chaos as AGW is to reality, LOL

    I really can not believe that people are so ignorant but that’s the way it is. I have been crying in the wilderness about AGW for over two decades now and nothing has changed.

    Why is it so hard for people to know their limitations ?

  140. “By that logic, we should all just stop doing anything. Any action we take could lead to our doom.”

    @Joe Presley: Don’t be silly. We know the consequences of building a highway or a ship, and so we build them. We don’t know the consequences of pouring more CO2 into the atmosphere, so we shouldn’t do it. Got it?

    @BioBob: You keep throwing chaos theory at me like you know what it’s about. I’ve repeatedly told you that since the atmosphere is a chaotic system, where any small input is likely to produce large (and deleterious) consequences, our inputs to the system should be as small as possible. What is it about this elementary point that you find so hard to understand?

  141. “There are several forensic statistical techniques for identifying how likely it is that two pieces of text had the same author. They rely, either explicitly or implicitly, on modeling authors as word-producing Markov chains and measuring similarity in transition probabilities.”

    Does software for this analysis exist in open-source form somewhere, and can it be applied to eBooks purchased from, say, Amazon or Google? I can think of a few comparisons that would be fun to make…

  142. LS said:
    @BioBob: You keep throwing chaos theory at me like you know what it’s about. I’ve repeatedly told you that since the atmosphere is a chaotic system, where any small input is likely to produce large (and deleterious) consequences, our inputs to the system should be as small as possible. What is it about this elementary point that you find so hard to understand?
    ———————————
    Sigh. This is the last time I will respond to you so no need to answer.

    The point in that no matter how LARGE or SMALL the input into a chaotic system is,
    YOU
    WILL
    NEVER
    KNOW
    know what the long term output will be. Got it yet ? Small = large or vice versa.
    You continue to think of a chaotic system as if it behaves in a deterministic matter. Go learn something – go thru the simple introduction to Chaos at the link I posted or by all means continue to be an ignoramous.

  143. >Eric confessed on another thread that he hadn’t read AR4 but didn’t need to because (I may be paraphrasing here) he knows it to be fraudulent.

    Yes, my dismissal at that time was based on the leaked fact that the policy and recommendations summary was written before the “scientific” body of the report – suggesting that the “scientific” content was a fraud designed to support conclusions predetermined by the political agenda.

    I have since read most of AR4. My judgment of it is unchanged.

  144. “Of all the wierdo contrarian memes, “OMG CO2 is not a pollutant LMFAO” would have to be my favourite.”

    It’s not a pollutant. It’s fertilizer.

    Sure, at concentrations higher than about 12x ambient, CO2 can kill you. But that goes for O2 and N2, as well. Heck, enough water in your lungs, and you’re dead. But all of these are also necessary for life.

  145. “(If you were interested in my view: It looks as though FOI compliance was not well managed in some cases. This is disappointing although perhaps not surprising – “Science by FOI Application” was, at the relevant time, a relatively new critter.)”

    As was science by “the dog ate my homework”. The reason FOIA applications had to be made is the warmists were hiding their data and their methods.

  146. Never mind the definition of “climate”: what does it mean to measure the “average” temperature of the Earth? Wouldn’t measuring even the average temperature of a single house be problematic? The upper parts of the rooms are warmer than the lower parts, and near a south-facing window warmer than near a north-facing window, so where do you measure? The attic is likely warmer, and the basement cooler: so even though you spend little time there, do those get averaged in (and how)? “The average human has one breast and one testicle.” —Des McHale

    And when you are getting measurement from sites like those pictured below, how much weight do you want to put on slight variations in readings? These are from Anthony Watts’ old blog, but it handily groups pictures of weather stations sited in questionable ways: http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/weather_stations/

  147. @ PapayaSF

    Station siting issues were reviewed in the BEST work, and the preliminary findings are essentially that Watts is wrong:
    http://berkeleyearth.org/study/

    (Watts was involved in this work and is on record as saying he said he would accept the results of the studies – until he decided he didn’t like the preliminary findings)

  148. Watts is wrong to think that weather stations sited next to air conditioners, or airport runways, or a barrel used for burning trash, might not be providing an accurate measurement of local temperature?

  149. Watts is wrong to think that siting issues materially alter the average temperature record.

    You can read the BEST findings for yourself – the linked site is easy to navigate.

  150. “You continue to think of a chaotic system as if it behaves in a deterministic matter. Go learn something – go thru the simple introduction to Chaos at the link I posted or by all means continue to be an ignoramous.”

    For those who don’t want to bother studying up on chaos, I’ll point out that BioBob seems to think it doesn’t matter what you do to a chaotic system. He’s wrong. It does. You put an input into a chaotic system like the weather and you *do* get a change. Just because you can’t predict *what* the change will be ahead of time doesn’t mean that you can’t change the system.

    Chaotic systems have ‘attractors’. These are groups of states that the system goes into for large amounts of its time. In the case of climate, attractors would be warming periods and ice ages, for example – patterns of similar states that we recognize and give names to. We should not be pushing the system into one of these with our CO2 production. We might not like the results.

    Another point that I should have raised earlier is that climate and weather is NOT completely chaotic. The very fact that the weatherman on TV these days is more often right than wrong should show you that. We can’t reliably predict beyond a week, but it’s entirely reasonable to expect better models in the future.

  151. @SPQR

    >First, all of the faux outrage about the Heartland Institute comes from the content of the forged memo. I’ve seen a lot of commentors who say “Oh, but even without the forged memo, Heartland Institute is doing X, Y and Z” and guess what, X, Y, and Z came from the forged memo. Proposed fund raising has been cast as money already donated, proposals to aid Watts recast as money already paid to him.

    Just to clear this up . ..

    The $88K for Watts new website is clearly set out in one of the documents that Heartland can’t quite bring itself to confirm is genuine – the Fundraising Plan – with half pledged by Secret Squirrel and half to be raised by Heartland.

    It’s not clear from the document whether or not any amount has been paid yet.

  152. @ Rob Crawford

    > The reason FOIA applications had to be made is the warmists were hiding their data and their methods.

    I’m not sure that calling someone a “warmist” is a very good way of encouraging him or her to share their data or methods with you.

    However, I agree that greater transparency would have been better during the 90′s and in the early part of this century, when the requests for access to data that you seem to be concerned about were made.

    Still, past practice is not current practice.

    It is telling that the contrarian ideological warriors who so keenly clamoured for data then now have it but have been unable (or unwilling?) to undertake any analysis that justifies their position.

  153. > TomM said: Still, past practice is not current practice.

    True enough but PAST DATA still hangs around like a particularly persistent smelly fart. They trimmed down the station count in a panic to try to fix the issue once Anthony pointed out just how bad the data was.

    However, crap non-random data from crap instruments taken generally once a day is still garbage and almost NONE of the surface station data is collected properly even today. Not random, not replicated, not always calibrated properly, etc. I wouldn’t use that data to line my parrots cage, so sorry. Even the best data is a sorry mess but most excellent when compared with the REAL trash provided by the rest of the world.

    You DO like to twist the facts don’t you ? LOL

  154. @Joe Presley: Don’t be silly. We know the consequences of building a highway or a ship, and so we build them. We don’t know the consequences of pouring more CO2 into the atmosphere, so we shouldn’t do it. Got it?

    I understand your point. You’re swinging wildly at a strawman. No one advocates pushing CO2 into the atmosphere just for the sake of it. My point is that your argument is flawed. Your argument is, because we don’t know the consequences of X, we should -X.

    The problem with that argument is that if we don’t know the consequence of X, then that also means we don’t know the consequence of -X. Thus if we accept your argument, we don’t know the consequences of -X, we should X.

    To put this into perspective of the argument, would you agree that if small changes produce large outcomes with climate that we should not decrease the CO2 we pump into the atmosphere because that small change could lead to unforeseen consequences?

    The other problem is that there is another system which we don’t fully understand which is the economy. Not many people talk about the economy’s effect on the environment, but inefficiency in the economy can lead to environmental damage. After all pollutants are waste from product for which someone paid and ends up not using. If we place the controls advocated to control CO2 output, we won’t produce the economic output that we need to fund development of cleaner technology.

  155. “The problem with that argument is that if we don’t know the consequence of X, then that also means we don’t know the consequence of -X. Thus if we accept your argument, we don’t know the consequences of -X, we should X.”

    @Joe Presley: But we *do* know the consequences of -X. We know what things were like before we started pouring CO2 into the atmosphere, and we *do* know what things are like now, so to avoid making trouble, we should stop Xing (because we *don’t* know the consequences of X).

    Logic is a really wonderful thing…but you’ve got to be, er…. logical about it.

  156. @LS “But we *do* know the consequences of -X.

    No. We don’t.

    We have some scattered data points about how things are “now”. We have some even more scattered data points about how things were “then”. We cannot be sure what effect, if any, X had on any of them or or how things would have looked if we had done -X or even if the data is good enough to tell us any of that.

    Nor do we know what effect additional X will cause, if anything (“past performance is not a guarantee of future results…”, non-linearity, etc.). We also don’t know whether the things caused by X, if any, fall more into the category of detrimental or beneficial.

    But we must act now!!!!!!!!!

  157. TomM writes: “I’m not sure that calling someone a “warmist” is a very good way of encouraging him or her to share their data or methods with you.”

    There are times when I think you have spent some time in Australia developing an immunity to irony. The AGW proponents call skeptics “Deniers” to invoke the spector of Holocaust Denial and you write that? Meanwhile, you just skip over the fact that transparency in data, code, methodology etc. is how science is verified, that at times, the AGW proponents failed to archive off data and such as required by the policies of the very journals they published in.

    Instead, we get “talk nice to us if you want data”.

    Bizarre.

  158. Oh, and TomM, I enjoy how you “clear up” an issue by saying nothing that contradicts what I wrote. Similarly to the “correction” you provide upon being corrected on whether or not the UK investigation “exonerated” East Anglia.

  159. “Nor do we know what effect additional X will cause, if anything”

    @Michael Hipp: That’s right. All the AGW skeptics can come up with is, “We don’t know.” So if we (including *myself*) DON’T KNOW, how can we justify a grand experiment with the atmosphere that 7,000,000,000 people depend on for their lives? I know it’s going to be very expensive, but life throws these things at you; we have been fouling our nest and we have to pay for the cleanup.

  160. @LS … ‘We don’t know.” So if we (including *myself*) DON’T KNOW, how can we justify a grand experiment with the atmosphere…’

    But the Alarmists are willing to wreck the entire world economy based on an ‘I DON’T KNOW’. How rational is that?

    “… we have been fouling our nest and we have to pay for the cleanup.”

    Once again, you DON’T KNOW any of that, as you admitted in the previous sentence.

    Does it just come down to our need to repent that we have sinned against Mother Gaia? That’s what it sounds like you are advocating.

    I find your faith impressive. Please forgive if some of us don’t share it.

  161. “Does it just come down to our need to repent that we have sinned against Mother Gaia? That’s what it sounds like you are advocating.”

    Don’t hand me any of that crap. The Earth is NOT our mother. Mothers love and care for their children; the Earth does NOT. (Any of the econinnies out there that don’t believe me are invited to stand under a lone tree in a thunderstorm so they can feel the love.) Which means that good old Mother Earth will not do anything to save us if we fuck things up. Changing the composition of the atmosphere is fucking things up.

  162. @LS
    Don’t hand me any of that crap. … Changing the composition of the atmosphere is fucking things up.

    My, my but aren’t we emotional. And you’re still claiming as fact things that are not known.

  163. @Those Who Might Be Curious: I do NOT live in a log cabin. I use mostly ordinary incandescent light bulbs. I drive a regular gas car that gets mediocre mileage and I do NOT go around my house unplugging all those ‘wall wart’ transformers. My thermostats are set at 74 degrees (I’m a geezer – 68 is too cold), so please don’t think I’m one of those hairshirt types.

    What I DO advocate is more nuclear power. It’s not much more expensive than burning coal; we can afford it. Don’t tell me that cutting fossil fuel consumption will send the whole planet into a depression. France did it years ago. (Don’t tell me about their bond ratings; nukes have nothing to do with that.)

    Oh…and we (US) need a national network of DC electric transmission lines. Not only will such a network come in handy if solar and wind ever get really big, but they’ll allow us to site nuclear plants in sparsely populated areas away from the antinuclear nuts.

  164. “My, my but aren’t we emotional. And you’re still claiming as fact things that are not known.”

    Yeah….it’s something I just don’t get about some of the commenters here. “We don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re going to do it anyway.”

    1. The Earth got along fine with less CO2 in the atmosphere. This is past history and a known fact.
    2. The excess CO2 in the atmosphere is there due to human activities. This is a known fact. (Please don’t argue with this. If the graph I linked to earlier doesn’t make this obvious to you, know that the isotopic composition of the air samples proves it.)
    3. What will happen if we continue to pour CO2 into the air is unknown.

    So, what we have is a choice between a known, safe state (reverting to the previous CO2 levels, or at least maintaining the present level) or blundering on into the unknown. Everyone here seems to want the unknown. You guys got rocks in your heads?

  165. @LS

    @Joe Presley: But we *do* know the consequences of -X. We know what things were like before we started pouring CO2 into the atmosphere, and we *do* know what things are like now, so to avoid making trouble, we should stop Xing (because we *don’t* know the consequences of X).

    Logic is a really wonderful thing…but you’ve got to be, er…. logical about it.

    You can’t have it both ways. We can’t not know the consequences of pumping CO2 in the atmosphere and also know the consequences of not pumping CO2 in the atmosphere. So which is it? What we do know is that in order to enforce -X, we have to derail our economy, and grant unlimited power to a group of centralized decision makers. We also know that one of the consequences of central planning is that it will take us longer to develop more efficient technologies, that it will cause undue hardship to the impoverished, and we’ll enjoy all the usual criminality that results from centralized planning. So you ask us to ensure catastrophic consequences of derailing our economy in exchange for avoiding something that we don’t know will happen.

    The problem with AGW is even worse than what I described. The models that assumed that CO2 warming is amplified by water vapor are wrong. This has been clear since the 1990s when their predictions of specific measurable artifacts, e.g. hot spots high in the atmosphere above the tropics, came up empty. The models have been so wrong that we’re now promised that in exchange for decarbonization of the economy, we can now expect changes in temperature of less than 1/100 degree celsius by 2050.. Now normally if scientific models make predictions that are false, we throw them out. For some reason climate science doesn’t do that.

    Given how hard it is for us to measure global weather, it could be that AGW is correct and we just have completely messed up all the data and therefore don’t see it. But if we’re going to impose centralized control over the economy, then the burden of proof is on the AGW supporters to explain why their predictions were incorrect but will be correct in the future.

    I understand you don’t advocate that we do away with fire because it causes all those nasty pollutants. I agree with you that if we really want to do something about fossil fuels, we should promote nuclear power. I don’t think you’ll find a lot of people you’re arguing with to be against free market of fuels, including nuclear power. The fact that most environmentalists are hysterical about AGW, but are also against nuclear power is a huge tell that their agenda is more about control than about the environment.

  166. “We can’t not know the consequences of pumping CO2 in the atmosphere and also know the consequences of not pumping CO2 in the atmosphere. So which is it?”

    @Joe Presley: Please reread what you just quoted and my last comment (with the numbered list). We *do* know the consequences of not emitting more CO2 because it’s the world we have now. We don’t know the consequences of emitting more because that’s the world of the future. There”s no dichotomy.

    Also, please don’t go on about how ignorant those scientists and their theories are. It doesn’t matter. If they don’t know what will happen, certainly *you* don’t know – take the safer course and stop belching out the CO2…it’s the 21st century fer chrissakes – why are we still burning stuff?

  167. @LS …it’s the 21st century fer chrissakes – why are we still burning stuff?

    Because there are no economically and ecologically viable alternatives to liquid fossil fuels for most transportation use.

    I wish it weren’t so.

  168. @LS

    @Joe Presley: Please reread what you just quoted and my last comment (with the numbered list). We *do* know the consequences of not emitting more CO2 because it’s the world we have now. We don’t know the consequences of emitting more because that’s the world of the future. There”s no dichotomy.

    There is a dichotomy. The world even without us filthy humans burning stuff goes through drastic climate change. If it’s truly unknown what will happen if we pump all that CO2 into the air, then for all we know we’re preventing climactic catastrophe by doing so. Not to mention the environmental catastrophe that we know will if we decarbonize the economy. Remember, poor economies are dirty economies.

  169. “Because there are no economically and ecologically viable alternatives to liquid fossil fuels for most transportation use.”

    Then there’s not a moment to lose…start building the nuclear plants. Put up the long-distance transmission lines. Not long ago, ‘they’ would produce electric cars, but then they would take them away. Now the cars are out there, and you can actually buy them and keep them. You all can see the way things can go, are going, will go. There will NOT be an economic catastrophe if we decarbonize, just a different grouping of winners and losers.

  170. “If it’s truly unknown what will happen if we pump all that CO2 into the air, then for all we know we’re preventing climactic catastrophe by doing so.”

    Of all the excuses I’ve ever heard from the “drill, baby, drill!” crowd. That has to be the dumbest.

  171. @LS Then there’s not a moment to lose…start building the nuclear plants.

    Sigh. What does any of your nonsensical rant have to do with liquid fossil fuel alternatives?

    Electric cars, at best, are just a way to nibble at the edges. No electric 747 is ever going to carry your jet-set CC/AGW friends to a Kyoto conference in Australia. Ever.

    And yes, there will be an economic catastrophe if we decarbonize because every alternative is far more expensive and less useful. The build-out cost is ruinous, and then you get to the operational costs which bury it further. You can’t run a 1st-world economy without cheap and abundant energy. In the 21st century you probably can’t run a 3rd-world economy without it.

    And I’m all for building the nuke plants. Lots of them. Yesterday.

    But your CC/AGW bedfellows, whose political handmaidens rule most of the world, won’t hear of it. So we can whine here all we want. They want to destroy the world economy and every trifle of liberty along with it. That’s their objective. And you seem delighted to support them in their evil plan.

    So which are you: a builder or a destroyer? Hint: there are no builders among the Alarmists.

  172. “Electric cars, at best, are just a way to nibble at the edges. No electric 747 is ever going to carry your jet-set CC/AGW friends to a Kyoto conference in Australia. Ever.”

    1. I don’t have any jet-set friends. I’m not an alarmist. I just know that changes made now will be cheaper and easier than those we might be forced into later.

    2. Electric cars are just starting to be practical. They will get better. Gasoline cars will not.

    3. Don’t be so down on electric airplanes. Right now they are only models, flown by hobbyists. You don’t know what might come to be in that field. In any event, aircraft are only a very small part of transportation. All those cars and trucks out there are ripe for replacement. (It will be a long time for the really big trucks.)

    4. I’m not an anti-AGW activist, either. I don’t know if the EVIL CO2 will cause warming, or another ice age. I don’t think we can afford to find out. I linked to a page with a graph of CO2 level history earlier. I look at that graph and the electronic engineer in me sees system problems ahead.

    5. Part of my anti-CO2 stance has to do with the notion that we Americans are too vulnerable to economic strangulation because of our dependence on oil for transportation. We need to stop burning stuff….it’s the 21st century.

  173. @LS

    Of all the excuses I’ve ever heard from the “drill, baby, drill!” crowd. That has to be the dumbest.

    It is the logical conclusion to your premise, “We don’t know what will happen, so we must do something now!” Ergo, you need a better argument. Maybe you’re right, but that line of argument isn’t the way to go.

  174. “We don’t know what will happen, so we must do something now!”

    Uh, no. We don’t know what will happen, so we must STOP doing what we are doing now (pouring CO2 into the atmosphere). All that stuff about electrical infrastructure is needed so we can STOP doing what we are doing.

  175. @LS

    “We don’t know what will happen, so we must do something now!”

    We don’t know what will happen, so we must STOP doing what we are doing now (pouring CO2 into the atmosphere)

    “stop doing” is still a “do something.” We agree on the goal: minimal environmental damage. We don’t agree on ensuring known economic catastrophe (which will lead to known environmental damage and tremendous human suffering) because of unknown environmental damage predicted by scientific models which have not held up.

    So which would you rather have, an unknown danger that has no more evidence than any other myth or a known catostrophe in trying to prevent the mythical danger? And since we’re talking about unknowns, we may as well postulate that all of our CO2 is preventing the next ice age and is saving countless species from extinction. After all, it’s all unknown, right?

  176. “known catastrophe in trying to prevent the mythical danger?”

    Building more nuke plants and transmission lines is not a catastrophe…it’s more like useful infrastructure improvements with great economic benefits.

  177. >2. Electric cars are just starting to be practical. They will get better. Gasoline cars will not.

    Why do you assume that gasoline cars will not continue to improve as they have for the last century?

  178. @ Michael Hipp

    Your assumption that emissions abatement = economy-wrecking costs is flawed.

    Certainly, the need to find low-emissions solutions to meet our energy needs presents challenges. You may (or may not) be surprised to hear that I think the market can meet those challenges.

    One of the reasons that a market-based carbon pricing mechanism helps to reduce the costs of abatement is by providing near-term economic benefit to first-movers and so help drive innovation.

    There are many promising emissions-abatement technologies that the market is already developing. As those technologies improve, the costs of abatement decline.

    On the other hand, LS is quite correct that in the absence of emission abatement in the short to medium term, the cost of abatement (as well as the costs of adaptation) will only increase.

  179. @LS

    Building more nuke plants and transmission lines is not a catastrophe…it’s more like useful infrastructure improvements with great economic benefits.

    The enforcement of decarbonization is what causes the catastrophe. The process by which government chooses which technologies should thrive will cause an economy that would either slowdown or at the very least not expand as quickly. The slower the economy develops or the more it slows down, the more environmental harm is caused by poverty and by inefficient technology. You don’t think people clear the Amazon or pollute the air because they want to, do you? They do it because there aren’t reasonable alternatives at this time. Improved economy provides those alternatives. It’s no coincidence that countries with central planning, such as China, cause tremendous environmental damage.

    A reasonable policy would be to let the free market do it’s job. Let nuclear power thrive. Allow the continued burning of fossil fuels to fund the development of new technology.Stop the NIMBYism. Stop wasting taxpayer dollars on technology that’s not ready for prime time. Nobody wants to pour CO2 into the atmosphere because they like to. Pollutants and CO2 are waste products that are a sign that someone spent money on something they didn’t use.

    @TomM

    One of the reasons that a market-based carbon pricing mechanism helps to reduce the costs of abatement is by providing near-term economic benefit to first-movers and so help drive innovation.

    The problem with the so called market-based carbon pricing mechanisms is that they lead to a system based on fraud. I used to think that was a good idea too but in practice it’s just an excuse for corporations and their buddies in government to write their own checks. Turns out you need a a better price discovery mechanism than someone waving their hand to determine how much CO2 you saved.

  180. @ Michael Hipp
    > The problem with the so called market-based carbon pricing mechanisms is that they lead to a system based on fraud.

    I think you need to check your assumptions here.

    Sure, fraudulent operators given sufficient incentive can game any market – hence the regulation of publicly traded securities for example.

    But that is not an argument against the operation of the market itself.

  181. @ Michael Hipp, Joe Presley
    Apologes – my @ above should have been to Joe Presley

  182. @TomM One of the reasons that a market-based carbon pricing mechanism

    Where, exactly, does such a thing exist?

    Surely, dear friend, you’re not referring to the various carbon-trading and cap-and-trade schemes as “market based”?

  183. @ Michael Hipp

    Why is a regulated market in fungible commodities not a “market-based” scheme?

  184. @TomM Why is a regulated market in fungible commodities not a “market-based” scheme?

    Tom, with no offense intended, I’m really not motivated to take anyone back and teach them what they should have learned in Kindergarten. But here are a few hints that might help:

    For a *real* market to exist …
    - it must come into existence organically, with no outside coercion.
    - the participation (or not) of any given actor must be entirely voluntary.
    - the prices offered and paid must be entirely voluntary.
    - the services offered and accepted must be entirely voluntary.
    - there must be transparency of information on market operation.

    I’m sure others here can do better if they’re feeling pedagogical. But the above is more than sufficient for the stated task.

  185. @ Michael Hipp

    Ah, so you were just running the usual faux-libertarian “all regulation is bad” line. Thought so.

  186. @TomM Ah, so you were just running the usual faux-libertarian “all regulation is bad” line. Thought so.

    Care to actually respond to any points? Care to defend that the government-contrived enforcement schemes are somehow market-based? Didn’t think so.

    Your education is deficient.

  187. Why is a regulated market in fungible commodities not a “market-based” scheme?

    Oh, if only it were such.

    Cap-and-trade is a colossal joke. So much so that whoever devised it must have been wearing a shit-eating trollface. You’re not trading a “fungible commodity”, you’re trading carbon NOT emitted. This makes fraud laughably trivial, since you can draw up plans for factories or coal-fired plants and then get carbon creds for not building them. The “commodity” being traded is good intentions, valuable only for paving roads to hell.

    Cap-and-trade is NOT a solution, it is a sop to the rich financiers. It has not helped the EU get its carbon shit in one sock.

    Real solutions would involve something like Pigovian taxation or the carbon allowance scheme advocated by George Monbiot in Heat.

  188. @Jeff Read “The psychological mechanism of Republican reality-denial, dissected.”

    Well, I’m glad we finally know what’s wrong with Eric’s Republican brain.

    That piece surely is either satire or some odd attempt at comedy, right? I read the first page only but it’s so full of errors and howlers that it can’t possibly be serious.

    If not, then it is written by either an ideologue or an idiot (but I repeat myself).

  189. >Well, I’m glad we finally know what’s wrong with Eric’s Republican brain.

    I hope this was sarcasm directed at Jeff Read. I am not and have never been a Republican.

  190. Well, I’m glad we finally know what’s wrong with Eric’s Republican brain.

    Eric’s party affiliation or lack thereof has nothing to do with the fact that he’s a pretty good cognitive match for the “hierarchical-individualist” type described in the article.

  191. @esr “I hope this was sarcasm directed at Jeff Read. I am not and have never been a Republican.”

    Most assuredly. But Jeff Read and the idiot that wrote that article evidently equate anyone skeptical of the CC/AGW statist political agenda as being a clone of Rick Santromneygritch.

  192. >That piece surely is either satire or some odd attempt at comedy, right?

    No, it isn’t. Ironically, it’s an example of exactly the kind of tribalistic self-delusion the author ascribes to “conservatives”.

  193. >a pretty good cognitive match for the “hierarchical-individualist” type described in the article

    Anybody who can use the term “hierarchical-individualist” non-ironically is so fundamentally confused that the rest of their writing can be interpreted only as a form of unintentional humor.

  194. “Why do you assume that gasoline cars will not continue to improve as they have for the last century?”

    Because gasoline cars are a mature technology. Gas engines reached their peak of development during World War II. Right now, we’re just piling on a lot of effort to get really small incremental improvements to them.

  195. I was sympathetic until esb made the Soros-was-a-Nazi slur. Soros was a teenage Jew in hiding under Nazi rule, and he didn’t have a choice in friends. He is not culpable in any way. To claim otherwise is wrong, and will always be so. It’s also a designed attack to distract from Soros’s rather extensive portfolio of Open Society resisting oppressive regimes. Gross.

  196. @LS “Because gasoline cars are a mature technology. ”

    This is generally true. But note that even this mature technology has seen some pretty significant disruptors in the last 30 years (e.g. EFI, hybrids).

    But it’s irrelevant to the discussion here because there is nothing on the horizon to replace this mature technology. We’re stuck with them. Pity.

  197. I’ve said for some time that if the greens really cared about the environment they would personally invest in the development of technologies without the side effects that they dislike.

    In reality, the Environmental Movement is more focused on status-seeking within their ingroup. Unfortunately, they get status by counting coup on the rest of us.

  198. @ Michael Hipp

    > a clone of Rick Santromneygritch

    And the difference between your position on climate change and, say, Santorum’s position on climate change is … ?

  199. @TomM And the difference between your position on climate change and, say, Santorum’s position on climate change is … ?

    I truly can’t imagine why you or anyone else would care about the answer to this question. Is this the day for snowflaking?

    But to humor you … I have no idea of Santorum’s position on CC or anything else. It would be a waste of my very precious snowflake time to find out since I wouldn’t vote for him or any of the other corrupt statist politicians that will be on the ballot.

    How is yours different from Obama’s … except it’s an equally uninteresting and irrelevant question.

  200. @ Michael Hipp

    Santorum is on record singing from the “climate science is a fraud perpetuated by communists intent on World Government” songbook.

    In other words, he sounds (on that issue at least) pretty much exactly like the “libertarian” lockstep groupthink sold by Delingpole et al and which we suffer through on this blog.

  201. @ Jeff Read
    > cap-and-trade is not a solution

    I am less pessimistic, although robust scheme design does present some real challenges.

    Still, maybe you’re right that direct taxation is a better policy lever to pull – it is probably easier to implement from a regulatory perspective, for a start.

  202. @TomM “Santorum is on record …”

    Again. I don’t care.

    I don’t want that particular idiot in the Whitehouse any more than I want the current idiot.

  203. Anybody who can use the term “hierarchical-individualist” non-ironically is so fundamentally confused that the rest of their writing can be interpreted only as a form of unintentional humor.

    Don’t kid yourself. If capital is power, then capitalists by definition favor a society in which the bulk of the power is concentrated in the hands of an elite few. If that ain’t hierarchical I don’t know what is.

  204. Most assuredly. But Jeff Read and the idiot that wrote that article evidently equate anyone skeptical of the CC/AGW statist political agenda as being a clone of Rick Santromneygritch.

    I’ve been reading Eric’s stuff for some time to not be that naïve. American-style libertarians and Goldwater conservatives are kindred spirits, however, and both fall prey to the cognitive trap of dismissing any facts which contradict their political axioms as being deliberate fabrications by eeeeevil Soviet agents provocateurs.

    I used to run with a few John Bircher types. I can spot the characteristics in an instant.

  205. @Jeff Read …and both fall prey to the cognitive trap of dismissing any facts which contradict their political axioms as being deliberate fabrications .

    Congrats, you just described lefty Progressives exactly.

  206. Pingback: Heartland From A Security Perspective « 36 Chambers – The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

  207. If capital is power

    Pick a definition of power. Perhaps the defining rhetorical characteristic of self-described “anti-capitalists” is the equivocation of “the means to carry out one’s own plans” and “the means to prevent another from carrying out his plans”.

    Phrases such as “control of the market” intentionally handwave the fact that in a free market, the fact that one company offers me a great deal on $PRODUCT doesn’t mean they have “power” over me in the sense that they can force me to purchase their product. On the other hand, a 300-pound linebacker doesn’t need any “capital” in the traditional sense to have an undisputed power over the small woman whose purse he’s snatching.

  208. No, it isn’t. Ironically, it’s an example of exactly the kind of tribalistic self-delusion the author ascribes to “conservatives”.

    The really amusing thing about this sentence is that Eric’s explaining how you convince people by appeals to tribal identity and emotion a handful of posts up the blog.

  209. >The really amusing thing about this sentence is that Eric’s explaining how you convince people by appeals to tribal identity and emotion a handful of posts up the blog.

    Of course. Effective propaganda has exactly the same emotional mechanisms no matter what cause you employ it in.

    There is a distinction, which I think is important, between propaganda that widens and propaganda that narrows. Propaganda that widens gives people new concepts and adds to their toolkit for understanding. Propaganda that narrows just hardens the walls of the reality-tunnel that its audience lives inside. I try to write only the widening kind.

  210. Pick a definition of power. Perhaps the defining rhetorical characteristic of self-described “anti-capitalists” is the equivocation of “the means to carry out one’s own plans” and “the means to prevent another from carrying out his plans”.

    As Nitzan and Bichler (the originators of the capital-as-power theory) point out, in a society based on private ownership, you can’t have the one without the other. It’s intrinsic to the definition of private property (from Latin privatus, meaning restricted).

  211. >Nitzan and Bichler (the originators of the capital-as-power theory)

    Doubtless they’re Marxists, or idiots – but I repeat myself.

  212. Doubtless they’re Marxists, or idiots – but I repeat myself.

    Stephen Colbert couldn’t do a more dead-on parody of the kind of knee-jerk reaction conservatives regularly engage in.

    Particularly egregious from you since I know you’ve read Marx and are conversant with e.g., his labor theory of value.

    A value theory which Nitzan and Bichler go to great lengths to critique and point out as fatally flawed.

    As for whether they are idiots… well, their power theory of capital, along with the related concept of differential accumulation, enabled them to predict the first and second Gulf Wars as natural consequences of the oil companies exercising their vast political and economic power in order to beat the averages in the power-accumulation game. That’s a fair shot more predictive than a straightforward Marxist or neoclassical interpretation of economics

  213. >Stephen Colbert couldn’t do a more dead-on parody of the kind of knee-jerk reaction conservatives regularly engage in.

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    >Particularly egregious from you since I know you’ve read Marx and are conversant with e.g., his labor theory of value.

    Yes, you are correct, I’m pretty intimately familiar with Marxist theory. That’s how I know that Marxists can be divided into two classes: the blithering idiots and the deeply evil. Because I’m basically a generous person, I assume idiocy until evil is proven.

  214. Ah, nothing makes my day like having Jeff Read tell me who I’m “kindred spirits” with.

  215. As Nitzan and Bichler (the originators of the capital-as-power theory) point out, in a society based on private ownership, you can’t have the one without the other.

    In a limiting case, they’re trivially correct. In the real world, competing interests exist, and in a market economy they are harnessed to eliminate maximize the amount of definition (a) while minimizing the amount of definition (b). There are always going to be clashes of wills, but a market provides incentives to enable other people’s desires. Marxists tend to disregard the value of most people’s definition (a) in pursuit of an unobtainable utopia, whose value is such that it’s worth stomping on anyone’s choices or even life–thus deliberately concentrating both definition (a) and definition (b) in the hands of a few aristocrats.

  216. In a limiting case, they’re trivially correct. In the real world, competing interests exist, and in a market economy they are harnessed to eliminate maximize the amount of definition (a) while minimizing the amount of definition (b).

    Nitzan and Bichler address this too, with their theory of differential accumulation. In capitalism, the goal isn’t absolute accumulation, making as much money as possible by producing as much as possible — it’s differential accumulation, i.e., making more money than the other guys. I don’t need to outrun the bear; I just need to outrun you. Hence, there is almost as much incentive in sabotaging everyone else’s production capability as there is in producing. A pretty good example of this is the company that may be capitalism’s greatest success story — Apple. Producing innovative products while suing everyone else for doing the same over trivial UI bits which they claim to own.

    Marxists tend to disregard the value of most people’s definition (a) in pursuit of an unobtainable utopia, whose value is such that it’s worth stomping on anyone’s choices or even life–thus deliberately concentrating both definition (a) and definition (b) in the hands of a few aristocrats.

    True. Marxism is practically a religion. Marx handwaved a lot away in order to get people pissed off and ready to revolt. Thankfully Nitzan and Bichler are a lot more empirical.

    Oil companies caused Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait in 1990? LOL

    No. But invading Kuwait was hardly the first atrocity that Saddam committed. For us it was the tipping point that led to war; for him it was Thursday.

    But oil companies were lagging behind the accumulation curve before the First Gulf War, and were further threatened by Saddam’s intention to appropriate Kuwaiti — and later Saudi — oil. So “American interests” were threatened. TPTB deciding to go to war had little to do with the oppression of the poor Kuwaitis. That was just a convenient act of belligerence that could be synthesized into a casus belli with a little help, including a few convenient lies, from the PR firm Hill & Knowlton.

  217. In capitalism, the goal isn’t absolute accumulation, making as much money as possible by producing as much as possible — it’s differential accumulation, i.e., making more money than the other guys.

    That sounds more like academia than business to me. Speaking as an entrepreneur myself, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if my competitor are making more or less than I do. They’re not the people I get my money from. My money comes from customers, and my task is to convince enough customers to buy my services that I’m able to make a profit.

    Don’t look to Marxists for analysis of capitalism, or anything else for that matter. To a man, they’re fucking idiots.

  218. @Some Guy: That bit about “differential accumulation” does not apply to you, or to many who are in business simply so they can support themselves and their families. There are others, though, who have more than enough for that, and look to pile on more millions as a way to keep score. A case in point would be the Hunt brothers. They were already wealthy. In the 1970s, they put together a cartel to try to corner the silver market. They had no good reason to do it; they just tried to do it as a ‘financial hacker prank’. (They failed miserably, but not until they caused a lot of silver market chaos in the process.)

  219. Here is a great review of Mann’s recent book which also constitutes a great summary of the hockey stick controversy. The review includes a focus on the misrepresentations that are rife in the work of the MBH et al crowd and explains just why skeptics don’t trust the work that these people produce.

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