AGW panic ending with a whimper

This is how the AGW panic ends: not with a bang, but with a whimper.

The Economist, which (despite a recent decline) remains probably the best news magazine in the English language, now admits that (a) global average temperature has been flat for 15 years even as CO2 levels have been rising rapidly, (b) surface temperatures are at the lowest edge of the range predicted by IPCC climate models, (c) on current trends, they will soon fall clean outside and below the model predictions, (c) estimates of climate sensitivity need revising downwards, and (d) something, probably multiple things, is badly wrong with AGW climate models.

Do I get to say “I told you so!” yet?

The wheels are falling off the bandwagon. The Economist has so much prestige in the journalistic establishment that it’s going to become difficult now for the mainstream media to continue averting their eyes from the evidence. Honest AGW advocates have been the victims of a massive error cascade enlisted in aid of a vast and vicious series of political and financial scams; it’s time for them to wake up and realize they’ve been had, taken, swindled, conned, and used.

I can’t but think the record cold weather in England has got something to do with this. Only a few years ago AGW panicmongers were screaming that British children would never see another snowfall – now they’re struggling with nastier winter weather than has been seen in a century. Perhaps the big chill woke somebody at The Economist up?

And if you think I’m gloating now, wait until GAT actually falls far enough below the low end of IPCC projections that the Economist has to admit that. I plan to be unseemly and insufferable about it, oh yes I do.

150 thoughts on “AGW panic ending with a whimper

  1. http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1942

    “For example, the article focused heavily on the slowed global surface warming over the past decade, and a few studies which, based on that slowed surface warming, have concluded that climate sensitivity is relatively low. However, as we have discussed on Skeptical Science, those estimates do not include the accelerated warming of the deeper oceans over the past decade, and they appear to be overly sensitive to short-term natural variability. The Economist article touched only briefly on the accelerated deep ocean warming, and oddly seemed to dismiss this data as “obscure.”

    The Economist article also referenced the circular Tung and Zhou (2013) paper we addressed here, and suggested that if equilibrium climate sensitivity is 2°C to a doubling of CO2, we might be better off adapting to rather than trying to mitigate climate change. Unfortunately, as we discussed here, even a 2°C sensitivity would set us on a path for very dangerous climate change unless we take serious steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

    Ultimately it was rather strange to see such a complex technical subject as climate sensitivity tackled in a business-related publication. While The Economist made a good effort at the topic, their lack of expertise showed. “

  2. >http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1942

    Right, pretty much the expected spin from the usual suspects.

    It’s going to be really entertaining watching various evil clowns clutching to whatever consolations they can find as the fraud goes down in flames.

  3. Hah! I already am insufferably smug and condescending toward my greeny brother-in-law. I plan to become more so as this scam unravels.

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  5. For me one of more interesting parts of article is difference between general-circulation models (GCM) and energy-balance models. GCM start from pure theory but (as described) have troubles with connecting to present and doing short-term predictions. Energy-balance are phenomenological, but there is a chance of missing some important contribution.

    Certainly we need a better climate model; I wonder if ideas from particle physics on how to connect high-energy low-distance behavior of quarks and gluons described by QCD theory with bound-states nuclear-distance described by largely phenomenological nuclear physics, can be used there.

    In similar track, in one of latest Scientific American there is an article that widely accepted idea about The Gulf Stream and its effect on climate may need revision (by Stephen C. Riser and M. Susan Lozier).

  6. I can only hope that when the last wheel falls off this wagon, the governments who used the panic to raise taxes – direct, indirect, and downright covert – will roll those changes back.
    —I can only hope it, I can’t seriously believe it. More likely they’re just keeping an eye out for the next doomsday scenario, so they can gin up a panic about that, too. If it’s endocrine disruptors in our food, maybe they’ll use it to justify government-controlled agriculture. After all, that worked /great/ in Russia!

    A side note: can you explain how come the collectivist-redistributionist state still hasn’t collapsed? I mean, it’s creaking, with the ‘sequester’ in the US Fed and the ongoing pathos of the Euro, but at this point the cracks in the paintwork are still sufficiently unobvious that most people still think that the problems are transient — or, at least, can be fixed if only they, personally, can get a bailout. If the T-Bond’s survival was a “minor miracle” in 2011, then it must now be reaching positively messianic proportions. So, from one anarchist to another I ask, Why won’t it die? What kind of earth-shattering event will it take to kill socialism?

  7. Time for me to go and collect on a few bets. I doubt they’ll pay up though.

    Certainly we need a better climate model

    Really? That strikes me a nice to have, not a need to have. This is panning out exactly as I predicted more than 10 years ago. There’s some change, maybe. Just enough for the true believers to claim some sort of victory. Not enough that we can’t adapt to it, if it ever arrives. The more lurid predictions are all getting thrown out the window.

    Reasonably accurate weather prediction a few days out had a huge effect for both farmers and fishermen. I’m struggling to see how trying to predict the general climate ten years out, let alone a century, has anywhere near the same impact. It’s long past time for climatologists to go back to the obscurity of botanists. Important work, sure. Vital for the future of the human race? Hardly.

  8. While it may be true that

    “How can you tell when a liberal / environmentalist is lying? His lips are moving.”

    is a useful heuristic, it’s fallacious to reason solely on that basis.

  9. a complex technical subject as climate sensitivity

    Lol. CO2 is rising. Temperatures aren’t. You’re right, appears to be very complex. It’s a shame that only proves you’ve been talking out of your ass for the last couple of decades.

  10. AGW is, and always has been, a memetic device designed to accomplish political goals in the guise of science-based hysteria. And the success of this meme over the past decade is a testament to the power of memetic warfare. The battlefields of the future may well be fought in the popular media.

  11. The science of global warming is dead, however the politics of global warming will live on for another twenty years. For example, the annual Quaker Gathering is struggling with ways to reduce their carbon emissions, for example holding regional gatherings so people have to travel less distance, or holding it every two years.

    In other words, they’re ruining it to the point where they probably shouldn’t bother. And …. all for nothing. I’m disgusted enough that I’m not attending for the first time in 24 years, and I’m considering renouncing my membership in the Environmental Society of Friends. Technically, they’re the Religious Society of Friends, but you’d hardly know it.

  12. hsu, Jonathon – who cares what Alan Savory thinks in this context? If global warming ceases to be an issue, then land management reverts to a local problem. The world apparently doesn’t need saving.

  13. The smug is strong in this one.

    Use the smug, Eric!

    May the smug be with you.

  14. “And if you think I’m gloating now, wait until GAT actually falls far enough below the low end of IPCC projections that the Economist has to admit that. I plan to be unseemly and insufferable about it, oh yes I do.”

    Rightly so, IMHO.

    Some will say it is pride, but I don’t think so. Actually, they were the prideful ones, not so long ago. They made very big claims. The sorts of extra-ordinary claims that would demand extra-ordinary evidence – evidence they did not have. When questioned, they resorted to hand-waving.

    After hubris, nemesis.

    It is now time, to point out that their claims have fallen short. They went “all in” with a weak hand. Credibility is a finite resource. The world needs a way to distinguish between people who only make claims they can defend, and people who make more speculative claims.

    This is a reminder of the best aspects of skepticism. Never trust. Always verify. If people raise questions you can’t answer, don’t attack them – rather, wonder: if I can’t answer this question, why then, do I continue to believe as I do?

  15. >Some will say it is pride, but I don’t think so.

    No. The intensity of my crowing will be directly proportional to the amount of lecturing about what they dimly conceived as the “science” I’ve endured from AGW panickers who don’t have a tenth of my grasp of physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, or forensic statistics.

  16. Winter, so what? So the temperature rose (minutely) for roughly a century or so. Then stopped. Most of that warming occurred before the steepest rises in atmospheric CO2 anyway. The point is, the simplistic correlation between CO2 levels and temperature appears to be very broken. Classic paradigm shift time.

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  18. Permafrost in Siberia and Alaska has been thawing rapidly. Ice sheets in Antarctica have been breaking up. Glaciers have been shrinking. Every gram of ice that melts absorbs 40 calories. That could be one reason for the (temporary) halt in the temperature rise. Don’t crow too loudly…all the returns aren’t in yet.

  19. @Ltw
    “The point is, the simplistic correlation between CO2 levels and temperature appears to be very broken. Classic paradigm shift time.”

    You have not looked at the graphs in detail I see. The size and speed of the effect is not actually “noise” on historic scales.

  20. Winter on Tuesday, April 2 2013 at 7:38 am said:
    > You have not looked at the graphs in detail I see. The size and speed of the effect is not actually “noise” on historic scales.

    Those graphs were faked up in the usual Mann fashion – read the details on Climate Audit. All Warmist graphs published from 1998 to 2012 October are fake.

  21. I never said there wasn’t a change Winter, just that it doesn’t seem to correlate well to CO2 levels. It appears to be totally independent. ‘Correlation is causation’ is a frequent fallacy, but now we’re getting into ‘correlation doesn’t matter, cos’ I said’. If the temperature is rising, but has nothing to do with AGW, where does that leave us? Tilting at windmills when it comes to a carbon tax, that’s where.

    LS, your argument is a little more noteworthy. Except that glacier mass balance isn’t changing much overall, and Antarctica is not melting appreciably. Pending some more detailed calculations – maybe. It’s a pretty good theory saver.

  22. Jonathan Abbey, I’ve also read the comments in your link about Savory. I don’t trust his “I have a great idea! There’s some evidence for it! It must be instituted immediately on a grand scale!”.

    On the other hand, some farmers are apparently getting it to work, so more investigation and experimentation is warranted.

  23. Permafrost in Siberia and Alaska has been thawing rapidly.

    I must admit, I don’t really know about this – but with most of the northern hemisphere locked in a particularly cold winter I sort of doubt it.

  24. @JAD
    ” All Warmist graphs published from 1998 to 2012 October are fake.”

    According to you, all data is fake. You consider reality itself a fake, constructed by leftist politicians.

  25. @Jonathan Abbey
    “How can you tell when a [person I don’t like] is lying? [Their] lips are moving.”
    The first correction is because it is more honest (I always preferred that quote with the word “politician”; but whatever), and the second because I don’t like the use of he/his/etc. when a gender is not explicitly stated as male.

    I’m probably what yanks would call a “liberal” (even though I’m not at all for big government), and I’m an environmentalist. And yet I manage to make it through most days without lying. Funny about that.

    —–

    Back to the topic: I’m not a climate scientist. I’m not any sort of scientist (unless you count political science or information science as a science I guess). When it comes to science I tend to think that what the majority of scientists in the field think is correct, probably is. Yes there are cases where that isn’t so (plate tectonics is an example; some of you probably lived through the change); but by and large I think it is. I don’t have the means or ability to experimentally (or even theoretically) confirm relativity, geology, etc. And yet, I believe (take on faith) that the Earth moves around the Sun (I’ve never independently verified it), that information cannot move faster than light, that in the almost-vacuum of space, particles and anti-particles are popping into existence, annihilating one another and then disappearing.

    I also believe that it is likely that humans have and are pumping out a huge quantity of greenhouse gases, and that this is likely to contribute to the global climate changing, as more heat is trapped in the atmosphere. (I can and have independently verified that the greenhouse effect is real. And you can too: just go into a greenhouse; or take a car from a garage, and then park it in the sun with the windows up and measure the temperate change.)

    Reasons include:
    1) I find it very hard to believe that there is a huge global conspiracy to make everyone believe that AGW is real. I find it hard to believe in huge global conspiracies generally.
    2) Most of the big media that seems to be against the idea all seem to be coming from a particular position. They seem to have a vested interest in something. That something is, of course, unfettered unchained global corporatism (aka unregulated global capitalism). Capitalists generally don’t like to have to pay the costs of externalities. They like being able to pollute without consequence.
    3) Other media tends to be from the more crazy wing; lizard people, the Queen is a Nazi, and so are the Greens (because Prince Charles donates to environmental causes of course), that sort of thing.
    4) Moreover I can’t see a good reason for corporations or governments to cut down on CO2 emissions if AGW wasn’t an issue. (I could claim that the fact that nothing much effective has been done, is proof of the existence of a capitalist conspiracy. See the Ozone issue for a parallel, where the treaty against CFCs was only signed after an effective and cheaper alternative was found. But capitalism is such that there doesn’t need to be a conspiracy as such.)

    So, in conclusion, I’m trusting that there isn’t a global conspiracy (these things are hard to keep secret) to somehow go against the wishes of the powerful corporations and capitalism friendly governments (most of them, and almost all in the developed world) and bring about a lefty environmental victory. I’m also trusting that science will work it out in the end, and will tend to believe what the majority of scientists in the field believe.

  26. Here is the real kicker.

    When the measured trend finally exits the 95% confidence projection, that means there was a 5% possibility of an honest error, and a 95% possibility of some sort of misconduct.

    There should be an investigation. A very serious investigation. If they ever want their credibility back, they need to take this seriously.

    I suspect there are a few bad actors and a lot of gullible ones. But very soon there will be a 95% probability of either incompetence or fraud. Neither is acceptable.

  27. @Michael
    “So, in conclusion, I’m trusting that there isn’t a global conspiracy”

    The basic problem for Libertarians is that if AGW exists, it cannot be solved by a free market, but would require government intervention.

    Libertarians cannot live in such a world. Therefore, AGW cannot exist and all science claiming otherwise must be false.

    Then there are two schools,
    1 It is all a conspiracy by tens of thousand of low income scientists who somehow have an incentive to fatally harm society (aka, the economy) for some small personal profit or spite the benevolent super-rich

    2 It is all a horrible mistake (error cascade) by ignorant and stupid scientists propagated by a delayed *paradigm change*

  28. Your ‘drunken forest’ article is from 2008, Winter. I’m not really seeing the connection to the unlikelihood of rapid melting now. I’m not even going to bother pulling out obscure factoids anymore. You’re still missing the point. Whatever is happening, it doesn’t seem to have any linkage to CO2. One is rising steadily, the other is flatlined. The link between CO2 and temperature rise is broken.

  29. On a related note, this morning I read that James E. Hansen is retiring from NASA to continue his political efforts. The linked-to NYTimes article quotes both critics and opponents, but in general praises the man and his efforts.

    It will be curious to watch how his efforts play out in contrast to the OP’s perspective.

  30. Winter: “The basic problem for Libertarians is that if AGW exists, it cannot be solved by a free market, but would require government intervention.”

    I have seen this many times and it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Insofar as there are problems they always boil down to insufficient wealth. Poor people suffer not because of the global temperature or natural disasters but because they are not wealthy enough to mitigate the effects of these.

    The solution is for people to get richer and the way to do this is libertarianism and free markets.

  31. @Michael,

    1) Lacking evidence of malice, there isn’t a global conspiracy. But there is a systemic confirmation bias built into a large swath of global climate science. The reason the confirmation bias is occurring is because the IPCC started off from the premise that humankind is affecting our planets climate through CO2 emissions. And so, all of the funding and research and (most importantly) grants and prestige come to those who confirm just that. It’s not malevolent and it’s not a conspiracy but it does mean that all of these papers and the research, the advocacy and the agenda of organizations has suffered (potentially) from a systemic bias. And the fact that these GCM’s are being shown to be totally inadequate in the predicting future should alert you to this. The fact that it does not indicates that you too are probably suffering a similar bias.
    2) And you seem to be suffering some other bias. Capitalism is the greatest success for the environment and the humanity that the environment supports. Capitalism is not perfect but it far exceeds in virtue where all of the other alternatives are guaranteed to wreak havoc on the environment. But I get your point about global corporatism – which definitely is NOT capitalism.
    3) You clearly have not spent enough time reading, digesting and debating the skeptical materials available to you. And you clearly have not kept yourself informed regarding the large number of respected scientists, researchers, engineers, technicians, pundits, concerned citizens through to lowly laymen who have been successful at auditing the climate scientists science. Oh, and I don’t care how crazy someone is if they happen to be right about something – they’re still right. Are you biased against crazy lizards – why? Knowledge often comes from unlikely sources.
    4) Ozone hole? You mean the ozone hole that has always been there but was another one of the scary scams of recent invention. Yeah, that ozone hole. Not to say that we ought not protect our environmental assets if the threat is real. And I could still be convinced that CFC’s are damaging to the ozone but, ozone hole research suffered the same confirmation bias that much AGW science does now.

    So yes, I do consider you a progressive liberal. But I didn’t need to analyze that much to figure it out. Here’s why. You said: “I’m probably what yanks would call a “liberal” (even though I’m not at all for big government), and I’m an environmentalist. And yet I manage to make it through most days without lying. Funny about that.”

    “Yanks” – you stereotype everyone on this blog when you have no knowledge of who is who.
    “Not at all for big government” – rubbish, the rest of the tone of your blurb betrays your support of more and more regulation and taxes (to stop those greedy capitalists – yeah).
    “yet I manage to get through the day…” – it’s not lying, but it is a detachment from your own biases that allows you to think you believe in one thing while talking another.

    I would sum you up the way I sum up most liberal progressives. “You don’t know what you don’t know about yourself.”

  32. What you seem to be missing Winter, is that we’re at the tipping point. It’s no longer us trying to convince you, it’s you trying to convince us. The onus of proof has shifted, because your predictions have failed. Libertarianism has nothing to do with it (I’m very far from being a libertarian). I could equally say that the Left in general can’t accept that climate variations are nothing to do with human activities, because that would leave no role for government to fix it.

  33. Winter: “The basic problem for Libertarians is that if AGW exists, it cannot be solved by a free market, but would require government intervention.”

    What Rob just said sums it up and here is why it matters. Libertarianism requires that the individual take highest place of respect when it comes to law making. The further we depart from that basic principle of justice and liberty for all (not as a group but as singular humans), the more likely that our governments suffer from the immorality as coined by Kant “it is immoral to use another person merely as a means to an end, and that people must, under all circumstances, be treated as ends in themselves.” AGW science generally points to “solutions” that must demote the individual to the unimportant and expendable. Thus, the ONLY way that these solutions ought to be (or ought to have) been imposed upon us is if we agree to it. I DO NOT agree with a science that has failed to predict anything. Science IS the ability to postulate and then predict the future accurately. They have a long, long way to go to reaching that high standard and on appearances today, they are failing miserably.

  34. I believe (take on faith) that the Earth moves around the Sun (I’ve never independently verified it)

    So given that that’s relatively easy to verify from the motion of other planets, and that the crews of the Apollos apparently trusted theories of orbital mechanics enough to circle then land on the moon, you’re taking that on faith? That’s proof enough for me. And the rest of your argument is, quite frankly, bullshit. Mostly, what patrioticduo said.

  35. The questions I always ask the proponents of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theories:

    The ice core record is clear that temperatures have risen and fallen, and CO2 follows in the same direction, delayed by ~800y. When CO2 is at its highest level for a hundred thousand years or so, global temperatures begin a plunge into an ice age, and when it is at its lowest, they begin rising into an interglacial. If CO2 is the problem you say it is, how is that even possible? If its effects are indeed amplified by positive feedbacks, how can anything be strong enough to push back when CO2 is at its extreme values?

    No one is ever able to explain this discrepancy.

  36. abc on Monday, April 1 2013 at 6:27 pm said:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=19

    FTFA:

    …For example, the article focused heavily on the slowed global surface warming over the past decade, and a few studies which, based on that slowed surface warming, have concluded that climate sensitivity is relatively low. However, as we have discussed on Skeptical Science, those estimates do not include the accelerated warming of the deeper oceans over the past decade, and they appear to be overly sensitive to short-term natural variability. The Economist article touched only briefly on the accelerated deep ocean warming, and oddly seemed to dismiss this data as “obscure.”…

    EL-OH-EL…
    1) Where are the data sets that demonstrate accelerated deep ocean warming? WHAR BE DATA?
    2) “overly sensitive to short-term natural variability” ??? ARE YOU SERIOUS? First by believing that nonsense website you are now conceding that natural variations DO EXIST and can override the “man-made warming”.. But worst of all, with the same breath that spinster makes it now seem that short-term variability actually works against his AGW predictions, when in fact THEIR HOCKEY STICK GRAPHS OF CATASTROPHIC FUTURE WARMING ARE EXACTLY THAT, NAMELY, —-> SHORT-TERM VARIABILITY.

    LIARS, these global warming advocates are LYING TO THEMSELVES MORE THAN ANYTHING.

  37. I’ve never been formally a climate scientist, but I have been formally educated as an engineer and, to a lesser extent, general scientist. In college I managed to find time to get up to taking Modern Physics II (incl. special & general relativity and basic quantum mechanics). This seriously stretched my ability to wrap my head around abstract principles, complex math, and an understanding of scientific principles. What was interesting, though, is that even the most complicated aspects of the material could be boiled down to an expression which could be written on the back of a match-book, or at least an index card. Descriptions of the experiments used to test the particular predictions were easy to understand, and we did some as demonstrations (the Double Slit experiment will !Blow!Your!Mind!).

    Though hard to understand conceptually and to derive from first-principles, putting it into practice was reasonably easy. Questions were either reasonably easy to answer, or were in the “we don’t know and that is an area of active research” category.

    When I look at “climate science”, most of what I find is hand-wavy. It’s not exactly *wrong*. It’s that it isn’t really complete. For example, when you ask about how we know about historical temperatures, you get pointed to ice cores and tree rings and a few other data sources. I don’t doubt that they provide some amount of data, but understanding the exact margin of error is difficult. For example, (from my limited understanding), trees only grow during about half the year, and then only during the day. This means that they only reflect about 25-50% of the temperature over the year. Can we get more precision from the tree cores through analysis? Perhaps. But what is the real margin of error? Perhaps 20% long-term. This isn’t useless, of course. For a lot of purposes it is perfectly excellent (such as if you are trying to correlate known disease outbreaks with regional temperatures). When trying to address something more pressing, you need greater precision. When you start combining the margin of error from each stage bootstrapping the next stage of the argument, I find that the total level of confidence from start to finish is around the noise threshold, even though the confidence level from one level of argument to the next is actually somewhat compelling.

  38. esr> AGW panic ending with a whimper

    I notice your repeated use of the term “AGW panic“. Out of curiosity, what is your position on people who accept global warming as a fact, advocate some AGW policies, but do it in a reasoned way without panic?

    In particular, I’m curious what you think of Yale’s economist William Nordhaus. Nordhaus estimated the costs, benefits, and timing of global warming, as compared to policies curbing it. Using this approach, right after NAFTA was proposed, he found and published that it was crazy (my choice of words, his were longer and more diplomatic). On the other hand, he also found that a slow and modest rise in world gasoline taxes would maximize the tradeoff’s net present value. (His precise value of “modest and slow” changes as new evidence comes in, but the order of magnitude is a dime per gallon per decade, starting now.) What beef, if any, do you have with people like Nordhaus?

  39. The basic problem for Libertarians is that if AGW exists, it cannot be solved by a free market, but would require government intervention.

    I don’t know that it can’t be solved by a free market. It’d just be very, very difficult and take a long time, whereas regulation is comparatively easy to implement and gets results almost as soon as the regulation is enacted. Libertarians fear that the big bad statists will pull the regulation trigger as a first resort. The problem is that environmental regulation has had such a good track record that it’s a natural first recourse:

    We banned DDT on crops and saved the peregrine falcon.

    We banned CFCs, and the ozone layer hole stopped growing; now it’s shrinking.

    We banned lead in gasoline and paint, and crime rates went down.

    Environmental regulation produces HUGE social benefits. And that just does a libertard’s head in.

  40. @Michael

    1) I find it very hard to believe that there is a huge global conspiracy to make everyone believe that AGW is real. I find it hard to believe in huge global conspiracies generally.

    That’s a reasoned approach. However, you don’t need conspiracy where incompetence and publish-or-perish corruption exist by equal measure.

    2) Most of the big media that seems to be against the idea all seem to be coming from a particular position. They seem to have a vested interest in something.

    You should probably submit evidence to that, or people will just assume you are presuming. Leaving evidence aside, most major media outlets that support the AGW hypothesis are also filled on an almost weekly basis with scientific misquotes and errors that have us believing that eating greasy bacon will kill us one day, and then be the savior of all mankind the next day. You should at least concede the terrific scientific illiteracy of the mass media before you even begin to attribute foul motives.

    4) Moreover I can’t see a good reason for corporations or governments to cut down on CO2 emissions if AGW wasn’t an issue.

    CO2 is a by-product of all of mankinds energy use. If government controls CO2 emissions, then we essentially live in a socialist state where the government plans the economy. So yes, governments which are filled with people who want power have a very good reason for wanting to control CO2, albeit a very selfish reason.

  41. @Jeff Read

    We banned DDT on crops and saved the peregrine falcon.

    DDT is in fact still used in the world, and birds have not vanished from these places. Besides which, I’m not sure saving the peregrine falcon could be considered a “huge social benefit”. It’s more of a “thank god we didn’t make ourselves look like idiots to our kids” kind of benefit.

    We banned CFCs, and the ozone layer hole stopped growing; now it’s shrinking.

    There’s no evidence that a polar ozone hole did not exist prior to our use of CFCs, and no direct evidence demonstrating that a ban on CFCs has led to it’s regrowth.

    We banned lead in gasoline and paint, and crime rates went down.

    We also had a long economic boom combined with significant government subsidies outlaid for the lower classes during that boom. And you want to attribute lower crime rates with lead in paint. I might agree with fewer crazies roaming the streets, but lower crime rate is a huge stretch.

    Environmental regulation produces HUGE social benefits. And that just does a libertard’s head in.

    citations needed.

  42. I believe you’re you’re right, Eric. The burning of fossil fuels isn’t polluting the environment, CO2 in the atmosphere isn’t making people sick. Human activity can’t “damage” the planet — it’s all just tree-hugger propaganda.

    Besides the world-renowned climatologists at The Economist, you with your own superior grasp of grasp of physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, forensic statistics and the SMTP protocol, we now need only look to the detailed, technical, confident (and of course accurate, however unattributed) atmospheric and oceanographic explanations of Europe’s cold spring and the alarmingly rapid melting of acrtic ice, to assure us that everything is all right and we can all just go back to buying and burning oil and coal for another couple hundred years:

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/29/qa-europe-freezing-easter-global-warming-and-melting-arctic-ice/

    I feel so much better now! Those tree huggin’ scientist dudes ain’t got nothin’ on a Fox news weatherman explaining how its all just caused by a new kind of nor’easter that’s just rouding Sandinavia after being caused ultimately by the *increase* in Antarctic ice! Whew, we just barely ducked that bullet, eh?

  43. > For example, (from my limited understanding), trees only grow during about half the year, and then only during the day. This means that they only reflect about 25-50% of the temperature over the year.

    It’s actually worse than that, because tree-ring widths aren’t a pure proxy for temperature but for the combination of temperature and rainfall. To use them as a proxy for temperature you have to either know from some other measure that rainfall in the area has had very low variation on annual scales or just pull that assumption out of your ass. Guess which thing the warmists have done?

  44. >Out of curiosity, what is your position on people who accept global warming as a fact, advocate some AGW policies, but do it in a reasoned way without panic?

    Ask me that again after the frauds and panickers have been hung from lampposts. Stopping them before they do more damage is my priority; they have done so much evil, and are planning to do so much more, that I’m not interested in making any concessions about the tiny minority who might happen to be reasonable for some definition of reasonable.

  45. We also had a long economic boom combined with significant government subsidies outlaid for the lower classes during that boom. And you want to attribute lower crime rates with lead in paint.

    I don’t want to attribute anything. Economic explanations have failed to predict or explain anomalous crime statistics, such as why crime remained low after the 2008 recession. Environmental lead is the only explanation that fits the data.

    In fact I’d be willing to bet that environmental lead accounts for a good chunk of the IQ differences that libertarian stealth-racists attribute to race.

  46. @Ltw I *personally* have never looked at planet movements or orbital mechanics. Why should I? It has no (direct) role in my life, in my intended career, etc. It’s about as relevant to me personally as astrology. Except that I don’t think there is any proof for astrology, whereas, I’m happy to take as truth that people have walked on the moon, and that they used complex mathematics (that I personally don’t understand — mainly because I’ve never bothered to learn them) to get there. And I hope, because your discounting my arguments based on this one comment, that you are not agreeing with patrioticduo about lizardmen.

    @patrioticduo
    On point 1. I might be suffering from bias. I am, after all, mortal and not all knowing. I do, after all, tend to be biased to believe scientists working in their field, about stuff in their field. Your point about confirmation bias in the field may be correct. However, even with grants and so on, if a scientist came up with a way to disprove a claim, it should get published, and then more money should be spent investigating that, and so on. That’s how science is meant to work.

    2. Fuck capitalism. It’s one of the worst economic systems in modern times. It encourages wealth centralisation, power centralisation, and has many other flaws I won’t go into. Now, you might be thinking I’m some sort of USSR-style (or even Cuban-style) socialist at this point. Nope. Fuck that shit too. BTW What most people mean by capitalism, incidentally, is corporatism. I don’t think there has ever been “proper” capitalism (if there was, there hasn’t been since WW2). Also, free markets can be had without capitalism (look into the difference between possession and property).

    3. I admit to spending very little time reading any material about climate science recently. I also haven’t spent very much time reading about evolution, but I still think that it’s a fact. I’m biased against the crazy people because 99% of what they say is bullshit. Why should I wade through the 99% to get to the gems in the muck?

    4. Whatever.

    Etc. a) I’m not “progressive” (at least not in the sense you are probably thinking), nor am I a “liberal” in any of the main meanings in use today. Sure you can call me that, but it’s not what I am.
    b) I didn’t call everyone on the blog a yank. I was talking about yanks in general.
    c) “Big government” I didn’t mention solutions, let alone taxes or regulation to “solve” AGW. Again, you’re reading stuff that isn’t there. I am, however, in favour of capitalists and corporations paying the whole cost of production (i.e. no externalities like pollution).
    d) Blah blah about lying.
    d) And finally, I know exactly what I am, but I’m probably of a breed you don’t have much experience with. Therefore you probably don’t know what I am. That’s why you want to put me in a box, that frankly, is the wrong box.

    Moreover, if you want to convince me (and talking about confirmation bias is not a bad start) you should also discuss why governments around the world are falling for the AGW scam, and not doing their readings of the sceptics literature.

    —-

    Finally, I think AGW could be solved by a free market. At least, one where polluters where required to pay the costs of their pollution. That’s what cap and trade is meant to be, a market solution. Of course, it’s not a free market solution, because we don’t actually have a free market. There isn’t such a thing anywhere that I know of.

  47. The so-called “science” of global warming *never* made any sense. So what difference does it make? The leftists will continue along the path of slinging mud at anyone who dares to diverge from the party line. And here in the United States we have a lame duck socialist in the white house who will push new ENERGY TAXES (that’s what “cap and trade” really translates to, of course) through the EPA without the approval of Congress.

    Reality never stopped them before; why should it stop them now?

  48. @ESR – “they have done so much evil”

    That’s a bridge too far for me. AGW fraudsters are clearly doing a great deal of damage to the integrity of science and are also willfully complicit in a deceitful political game, but they haven’t started burning non-believers at the stake yet.

    I regard them as more like a sociological disease. Most of the common folk AGW believers are soft-minded victims of memetic infection. Does a disease virus know that it is bad for the host?

  49. “Ask me that again after the frauds and panickers have been hung from lampposts. Stopping them before they do more damage is my priority; they have done so much evil, and are planning to do so much more, that I’m not interested in making any concessions about the tiny minority who might happen to be reasonable for some definition of reasonable.”

    Does this actually make sense? Suppose we’re heading into an era of bigger storms. If New York City gets drastically flooded because a sea wall wasn’t built, the fact that there were extremists pushing the idea of climate change won’t be a good excuse.

  50. esr> Ask me that again after the frauds and panickers have been hung from lampposts.

    That rhetoric, too, peddles panic. And why not? Panic-peddling can be such an effective rhetorical device. Personally, I tend to spam-filter and ignore it rather than hate the peddlers, whether they be evangelical environmentalists or evangelical libertarians. Case in point: Hayek’s panic about the Social-Democratic state in Road to Serfdom is just as utterly refuted by history as Paul Ehrlich’s 1970s offer to bet even money that England won’t even exist anymore by the year 2000. It hasn’t caused me to dismiss Hayeck as a fraud and a panicker, only to focus more on non-panicky texts such as The Use of Knowledge in Society and The Constitution of Lierty So if you’re so allergic against panic, why haven’t Hayek’s failed predictions made you discard Hayek as a fraudster and panicker? Indeed, why haven’t they turned you into Paul Krugman by now?

  51. >In fact I’d be willing to bet that environmental lead accounts for a good chunk of the IQ differences that libertarian stealth-racists attribute to race.

    I actually researched this hypothesis a few years back. It’s appealing – I’m by no means happy with implications of the data indicating statistically significant differences in mean IQ by race – but I couldn’t buy it. The problem is that the IQ-variation data shows the same pattern worldwide, including places where lead paint has seldom or never been used.

    In fact, the lowest mean-IQ populations in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa, bottoming out in Equatorial Guinea at a disturbing 59, among people who have possibly never even seen lead-based paint, much less eaten any. By comparison, the average American black at IQ 85 is a genius. (And no, this isn’t cultural loading on the tests; psychometricians figured out how to solve that problem a long time ago.)

    I’m afraid the most plausible explanation for the difference is that American blacks are seriously hybridized; many African blacks think they look like white people, allele mapping backs that up, and the increased incidence of higher IQs in mixed-race populations is well established. (A ridiculously large percentage of high-IQ outliers were kids in the tiny cohort with Korean mothers and American fathers.)

    Even if you think there are confounding variables in the worldwide data, you still have to explain the IQ distribution differences among different racial/ethnic groups equally exposed to lead paint in the U.S.

  52. >So if you’re so allergic against panic, why haven’t Hayek’s failed predictions made you discard Hayek as a fraudster and panicker?

    Remind me of which of his predictions have failed? With cites, please.

    There’s an asymmetric difference between panics which invite more use of force and panics against the increased use of force. AGW panic is the first kind; Hayek’s (if he actually panicked, which I don’t consider established) is the second. The first kind is both far more dangerous than the second, and morally culpable.

  53. Remind me of which of his predictions have failed? With cites, please.

    Gordon Tullock on The Road to Serfdom: “[I]t offered predictions which turned out to be false. The steady advance of government in places such as Sweden has not led to any loss of non-economic freedoms.”

    Orig. from “Freedom, Democracy, and Economic Welfare”. Proc. of an International Symposium on Economic, Political, and Civil Freedom. Napa Valley: The Fraser Institute. p. 61 via Wikipedia

  54. If any of Hayek’s predictions have failed to come true, the fact that he wrote a book warning us “DO NOT DO THIS!” might have some reason to do with it.

    Every time someone brings up the low incidence of Y2K problems (although the Gore for President “January 1, 19100” dateline was priceless) as evidence of “hype”, I counter by asking how many lines of code were audited, how many bugs (plural; stories about “The Y2K bug” are as nonsensical as selling home-security systems to protect against “The Burglar” would be) were identified and squashed.

    The danger is no less real for having been forseen and abated.

  55. >Gordon Tullock on The Road to Serfdom:

    Deficient in two respects: First, it’s not primary – I want to see an actual quote from Hayek making a falsified prediction.

    Second, I reject the notion that “economic” and “non-economic” freedom are separable (just as Hayek did). By attempting to make that distinction central, this Tullock (whoever he is) shows himself to be a non-credible critic of Hayek right at the outset.

  56. > Permafrost in Siberia and Alaska has been thawing rapidly. Ice sheets in Antarctica have been breaking up. Glaciers have been shrinking.

    Bunkum

    The permafrost thaw is not objectively measurable. Sea ice in Antarctica is expanding, and ice sheets are always breaking up, because ice is always flowing from the interior of Antarctica.

    Glaciers have been melting since we came out of the little ice age. There is nothing unusual about current melting.

  57. @Jeremy apart from the tragic misuse of the word “socialist” (something that many people, no matter their political leanings, unless they happen to be socialist I guess), I get your point about the government wanting to control people.

    Except that it seems a bit of a stretch. You’re reaching. What’s an easier way? Well, raise taxes on fuel to “pay for roads”. Increase the amount of bureaucracy to open a new power plant (of any sort). Get rid of subsidies on solar and other “renewable” energy (actually, they seem to be doing this, in the name of saving money). Actually, that last one raises the question, why even have subsidies on solar panels if you’re trying to control people? You can’t cut off someone’s electricity for non-payment if they are independent.

    Anyway, I reckon that’s me done. I’ve said my piece(s) and explained what I think. I doubt I convinced anyone, but that’s OK. I did learn (via the thread on IQ) that ESR isn’t as worthy of respect as I had given previously. That’s OK too. At least he’s not ranting about lizardmen and that the Queen’s a Nazi!

  58. > ” The steady advance of government in places such as Sweden has not led to any loss of non-economic freedoms.”

    Talking to Swedes over the internet, I discover that not only do they have bizarre ideas about America, they also have bizarre ideas about Sweden, indicating a level of PC censorship and media uniformity considerably worse than the US.

    Further, these days the level of government in the US is similar to that in Sweden, so you have to compare the Sweden of two or three decades back, with the US of two or three decades back, which was similar.

    Obviously the growth of government in the US has been accompanied by the severe loss of non economic freedoms. It looks to me that the Sweden of a few decades back was comparably unfree, and significantly worse, than the US of today.

  59. Winter:
    > “According to you, all data is fake. You consider reality itself a fake, constructed by leftist politicians.”

    Yet strangely, you never appeal to direct evidence of reality, but only to official government statements about what reality is.

    In the climategate documents directory, we have programs for manufacturing data, and massaging real data to bring it into line with ideology – Mann made evidence of global warming.

    And you still have not managed to produce a pre crisis ad where Cypriot banks offer ponzi interest rates on deposits. Your reality is official truth. You are not interested in the reality reported by the senses.

  60. @The Monster
    > Every time someone brings up the low incidence of Y2K problems … as evidence of “hype”, I counter by asking how many lines of code were audited,

    That isn’t a good question to ask. A better question to ask is this: take two groups (countries for example) that remediated Y2K bugs at different levels of aggressiveness. Did they have different outcomes? The answer is basically no. The USA spend gazillions of dollars on this (and made a lot of Indians rich), and had almost no difference than, for example, Italy which did almost none. Mostly because there were almost no significant incidents of any long lasting effect. The only fair conclusion is that it was mostly hype.

    > The danger is no less real for having been forseen and abated.

    That is always a very dangerous argument. It demands really solid proof of causality to have any credibility.

  61. Michael:
    > “1) I find it very hard to believe that there is a huge global conspiracy to make everyone believe that AGW is real. I find it hard to believe in huge global conspiracies generally”

    Huge global conspiracies are unlikely because they will leak: Well guess what. It did leak. We have the internal emails of a huge global conspiracy to make everyone believe that global warming is real.

  62. I remember the patient care information system I first worked on back in the ’80s. It stored the year in a single digit everywhere, in all the data files…

    That was back in the days when 80MB winchester drives were large.

  63. @Michael
    > I believe (take on faith) that the Earth moves around the Sun

    Indeed. But nobody is using that fact to try to take your property or your liberty. If they were, I suspect you, or certainly I, would be more aggressive in finding out for sure. It is called rational
    ignorance.

    > I can and have independently verified that the greenhouse effect is real.

    The analogy is meant to trick you by familiar but inappropriate comparisons. CO2 is not glass.

    > 1) I find it very hard to believe that there is a huge global conspiracy to make everyone believe that AGW is real. I find it hard to believe in huge global conspiracies generally.

    I do too. But there are certain circumstances that allow mass deception to thrive. Religion thrives even though it is plainly bogus, for example. When powerful people have enough interest to commit large resources, and when the population has a susceptibility to the deception, then it works pretty well, and the inevitable leaks can readily be plugged.

    “We didn’t land on the moon” doesn’t have those attributes, “we are the government and will take care of you if you will only let us” works pretty well. “Those mean bastards you work for don’t appreciate you and are totally screwing your over” is a particularly effective one.

    > 2) Most of the big media that seems to be against the idea all seem to be coming from a particular position.

    But most of the media who are against the idea also seem to be coming from a particular position too. I find it curious that we so readily attribute mendacity to “Big Oil” or “Big Tobacco” or “Big Finance” but seem utterly unwilling to attribute that same mendacity to “Big Government”.

    Insofar as they are running as free market companies without being adjuncts to “Big Government” these other companies have to satisfy the objective needs of their customers enough to get them to part with their money. “Big Government” merely needs to get you to part with your vote, which is worth a lot less.

    AGW is very valuable to “Big Government” because it allows them to tax more, regulate more, control more, and so forth. And these things are the very currency on which governments run.

  64. esr> “Remind me of which of his predictions have failed? With cites, please.”

    How about Hayek’s contention that the welfare state, even without outright Socialism, constitutes a set “of policies that cannot in the long run be reconciled with the preservation of a free society”. In my copy of The Road to Serfdom (50th Anniversary edition, University of Chicago Press 1994), it first appears on page xxxiv, under “Preface 1956”.. But this contention really pervades the whole book, so I don’t think it would matter if your copy didn’t have this particular preface in it. The thesis is refuted by history because plenty of countries, from Scandinavia to Canada to Japan, continue to preserve free societies despite having enacted welfare states.

    To be sure, Hayek left himself openings to backtrack into if necessary. On my cursory check of the book I just did, I didn’t see him call this a prediction, nor did I see him specify a time frame for the phrase “in the long run”. But then again, Ehrlich didn’t technically predict the demise of England by the year 2000, he only offered to bet even money on it. In both cases, I don’t think the distinctions in such hedging make much of a difference.

    esr> There’s an asymmetric difference between panics which invite more use of force and panics against the increased use of force.

    Not to me there isn’t. To me, a dyed-in-the-wool Utilitarian, force is just one among many things that can cause suffering and diminish happiness. Although I consider its avoidance a good thing, I only consider it one good thing among many, to be traded off against other good things just like everything else. In particular, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over a moderate increase of the gasoline tax, which at the margin would take but a negligible increase in force to enact.

    Maybe you and I have different perspectives on force because you’re a natural-rights Libertarian at heart who only uses Utilitarian arguments for marketing purposes. In that case, I don’t know what arguments, if any, would persuade you that force is Just Another Cost rather than The Mother of All Bad Things.

  65. >How about Hayek’s contention that the welfare state, even without outright Socialism, constitutes a set “of policies that cannot in the long run be reconciled with the preservation of a free society”

    I think this prediction is true. The increasing stranglehold on individual choice justified by medical-cost arguments is exhibit A for the tendency.

  66. Thomas Blankenhorn on Tuesday, April 2 2013 at 11:43 am said:
    > Out of curiosity, what is your position on people who accept global warming as a fact, advocate some AGW policies, but do it in a reasoned way without panic?

    When the official high status line is rabid frothing at the mouth crazy panic stricken, many people suffer the delusion that frothing at the mouth uttering crazy self destructive panic stricken stuff is reasonable and moderate.

    > To me, a dyed-in-the-wool Utilitarian, force is just one among many things that can cause suffering and diminish happiness

    There are no utilitarians. Utilitarianism is not in our nature. Show me a man who would hold a child’s face in the fire to end malaria, and I will show you man who would hold a child’s face in the fire and entirely forget he was originally planning to end malaria.

  67. esr> I think this prediction is true. The increasing stranglehold on individual choice justified by medical-cost arguments is exhibit A for the tendency.

    That hasn’t been my experience from comparing my old country (Germany) to my new (USA/New Jersey). Am I correct in remembering that you used to live in Britain for a while? If so, how did the National Health Service strangle your individual choice in a worse way than American health insurers do?

  68. James Donald>There are no utilitarians. Utilitarianism is not in our nature. Show me a man who would hold a child’s face in the fire to end malaria, and I will show you man who would hold a child’s face in the fire and entirely forget he was originally planning to end malaria.

    You appear to be implying that the two men would be identical. What evidence, if any, would you accept as a refutation of that claim?

  69. TomA on Tuesday, April 2 2013 at 12:45 pm said:
    > AGW fraudsters are clearly doing a great deal of damage to the integrity of science and are also willfully complicit in a deceitful political game, but they haven’t started burning non-believers at the stake yet

    Environmentalists cause the death of millions of people every year, for example the food to fuel program, do a victory dance when they read of starving women eating mud.

    Greenies have already killed more people than the nazis, and are giving the commies a run for their money. About five million a year by the food to fuel program – pretty obviously converting food to fuel means people starve. About three million a year by banning DDT and anything likely to be actually effective against malaria. I have not seen an estimate for the cost in human lives of preserving swamps, but it has to be pretty large.

    Here is a link summarizing the cost in human lives of the food to fuel program: “food to fuel” – the name alone tells us it is going to kill millions.

    Here is a link summarizing the cost in human lives of the ban on DDT and other cheap effective highly persistent insecticides.

  70. esr> this Tullock (whoever he is)

    Gordon Tullock is one of the pioneers of Public-Choice theory — similar to Buchanan, except that Tullock never got a Nobel prize.

  71. esr — You don’t mention in your original post that Marcott et al. have been forced to, in effect, recant the most widely cited portion of their much-hyped paper in Science with the correction posted just this past weekend:

    “20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions.”

    That “20th century portion” was, of course, what all the fear-mongering coverage was about just a month ago. Their retraction was due largely to the hard-nosed data analysis by (surprise) Steve McIntyre, the bête noire of bad climate science.

    I personally aman AGW skeptic precisely because of my background in large simulation systems, as well as the time I’ve spent examining the actual “data” on which so much of the more dramatic conclusions are based. Once you pull the covers back, the data and methods being used are in many cases pretty appalling. Also, as noted above, many of the more hysterical anecdotes cited in support of AGW are irrelevant or just plain wrong (e.g., the “more extreme weather” trope — every actual historical analysis shows that just isn’t true).

    So, yeah, the Economist article represents I think a turning of the tide. But the sheer amount of money behind AGW (much, ironically, from the maligned oil & gas firms) guarantees it will live on for years to come. ..bruce..

  72. >Am I correct in remembering that you used to live in Britain for a while? If so, how did the National Health Service strangle your individual choice in a worse way than American health insurers do?

    You are, but I can’t answer your specific question because I was a minor child then and never had to deal with the NHS.

  73. About three million a year by banning DDT and anything likely to be actually effective against malaria.

    Funny, DDT is still on the WHO list of approved insecticides (at least for indoor spraying) and used in some countries. That mosquitoes in some DDT using countries have developed immunity has resulted in less effectiveness and a switch to other insecticides. Especially where DDT has been used for agriculture and not just malaria control.

    If there are 3M a year dead from malaria in the developed nations that have banned DDT (like the US) that would be news to everyone.

    South Africa, India and others still DDT as well as replacement pesticides for DDT resistant mosquitoes.

  74. >Did you take into account leaded gasoline and atmospheric lead?

    No. But then, the question that started this subthread was about lead paint.

    All claims of the form “The mean IQ of black populations is lower because of environmental cause X” have to deal with a lot of experience of black and other populations exposed to the same causes. When we had leaded gas in the U.S., the nonwhite population’s average IQ wasn’t 85. Today, if all blacks were to magically vanish from the U.S., mean IQ would probably rise to around Hong Kong’s – 107.

    I’m not James Donald. Race differences in IQ aren’t emotionally loaded for me and aren’t central to my world-view. I would prefer an environmentarian explanation, because then we could maybe fix the goddamn problem. (Maybe. Lots of those are intractable, too.) Unfortunately, genetic explanations remain both predictive and parsimonious.

  75. Nigel on Tuesday, April 2 2013 at 8:01 pm said:
    > Funny, DDT is still on the WHO list of approved insecticides (at least for indoor spraying) and used in some countries.

    Which countries find themselves struggling against huge international pressure.

  76. No. But then, the question that started this subthread was about lead paint.

    All claims of the form “The mean IQ of black populations is lower because of environmental cause X” have to deal with a lot of experience of black and other populations exposed to the same causes. When we had leaded gas in the U.S., the nonwhite population’s average IQ wasn’t 85. Today, if all blacks were to magically vanish from the U.S., mean IQ would probably rise to around Hong Kong’s – 107.

    This isn’t an area that I’ve read much past a couple of papers but the follow up paper in 2007 and an article that suggests urban centers (aka where minorities clustered) had the highest lead concentrations during the lead gas period as well as the most lead in the soil from the exhaust which is now still being reintroduced into food of urban children as lead dust.

    http://pic.plover.com/Nevin/Nevin2007.pdf

    http://urbanleadpoisoning.com/

    With no bandwidth nor great desire to hunt down the numbers myself all I can say is it looks plausible. Perhaps that’s in line with the desire to believe that it isn’t genetics but environmental.

    /shrug

  77. How about Hayek’s contention that the welfare state, even without outright Socialism, constitutes a set “of policies that cannot in the long run be reconciled with the preservation of a free society”.

    Have you been paying any attention to the United States over the last fifteen years? The DMCA, of all things, may be the first major move in favor of direct societal lockdown; then the blasphemously-named Patriot Act, the cowardly Supreme Court rulings in New London and the collection of catch-22 wiretapping cases, the demands for gun restrictions that the proponents freely acknowledge have nothing to do with the incidents they’re milking…

    That hasn’t been my experience from comparing my old country (Germany) to my new (USA/New Jersey). Am I correct in remembering that you used to live in Britain for a while? If so, how did the National Health Service strangle your individual choice in a worse way than American health insurers do?

    I believe Eric’s comment was directed more toward moves like Bloomberg’s unilateral anti-some-arbitrary-large-drink ban, as initiatives that use medical costs (which, now socialized, are a public concern) to restrict “unhealthy” choices, but as a clear and personally-relevant example of the restriction of actual medical choice, see sublingual immunotherapy, an effective, inexpensive, and long-lasting allergy treatment. It’s used in most of the world, but since it’s not FDA approved, it’s illegal for US residents to use even with their own private means.

  78. “Finally, I think AGW could be solved by a free market. At least, one where polluters where required to pay the costs of their pollution. That’s what cap and trade is meant to be, a market solution. Of course, it’s not a free market solution, because we don’t actually have a free market. There isn’t such a thing anywhere that I know of.”

    Whenever you or I or anyone else execute a voluntary transaction between ourselves and no third party Government is involved – then there is your free market. True, you don’t see a whole lot of macro level free market anymore. But that does not make null the fact that a massive micro free market is and always will exist even if it were driven completely into the black market. Or, into the GULAG, which is where the free market still existed in the most darkest days of the USSR. Free markets exist because humans voluntarily engage in activities together. The GULAG’s proved that no amount of regulation/oppression can EVER completely end free markets. Humans are just far too creative.

  79. @Thomas:
    You missed the point of ESR’s comment earlier I think. I believe he was referring various government actions undertaken through the justification that we all pay for the cost of allowing certain behaviors. See various smoking bans for instance. Regarding your comment about insurers, they can’t restrict choice in the same way that government can. All they can do is not pay for treatment. Government can and has opted to make it a crime to engage in various self destructive behaviors. Conflating persuasion and coercion is incredibly common, especially on the left (YMMV with this), and is mostly used as justification for coercion.

  80. @ esr Now that you have trumpeted the mendacity of [strike]AGW Thermageddon Climate Chage [/strike] Climate Disruption, all we need to do is convince you that the increase in atmospheric CO2 may not be the result of burning of fossil fuel.

    See geophysicist Murray Salby explain why here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YrI03ts–9I

    @ truth seekers – yes, there is a correlation / relationship between temperature and CO2 – higher temperature equals an increased respiration rate ( mostly by bacteria as they decompose nearly 100% of earth’s photosynthetic production) – simple. Small changes in decomposition rates make small changes in atmospheric CO2. Recall we are talking about ~ 320 changing to ~385 CO2 molecules in 1,000,000 OTHER gas molecules. The emphasis needs to be clearly on SMALL.

  81. Speaking of Canada:

    Try opening up your own hospital there (accepting cash-only). Try starting a medical insurance company there to provide access to said hospitals. Or for routine access to hospitals in the US.
    Hell, just try *advocating* for private medical care in Canada and see what happens.
    Try donating your savings account to a politician for their campaign. Try spending your savings account on advertising on behalf (or against) a politician you choose. Oh, and look at the taxes associated with alcohol and cigarettes. And mandatory seat-belt and helmet laws.
    Here in the US, try and run an ER which accepts Medicare but which requires some form of payment for service. Eric already touched on the softdrink bans, etc.

    Just about anywhere: try and obtain heroin for recreational use.

  82. Try donating your savings account to a politician for their campaign.

    Uh, that’s part of the reason why the Canadian government does a much better job of representing the will of the people than the American government does. Private contributions to public officials’ campaign funds is a huge, and largely tolerated, source of corruption in the American system. This is one “freedom” we’re probably better off not having.

  83. Mostly because there were almost no significant incidents of any long lasting effect. The only fair conclusion is that it was mostly hype.

    The primary hype machine that I remember was the media scare mongers who were trying to get you to believe that your fridge(!) and TV(!!) would explode(!!!) because of Y2K. I kid you not… that is what the ad depicted.

  84. Most of the big media that seems to be against the idea…

    What “big media that seems to be against the idea…”?

    As near as I can tell, the “global warming” litany has been repeated uncritically by just about all “big media” entities. Especially state-owned Big Media like the BBC. (And the Australian Broadcasting Company, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, PBS/NPR, Radio France, France Télévisions, ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Welle, Radiotelevisione italiana…)

    Private-sector media, too. For instance, this Sports Illustrated cover, which was such a blatant piece of panic-peddling that it convinced me AGW was a scam.

    …all seem to be coming from a particular position. They seem to have a vested interest in something. That something is, of course, unfettered unchained global corporatism (aka unregulated global capitalism).

    There’s certainly evidence that corporations which have billions of $ at stake control big media entities which have taken sides on this issue. For example, General Electric owned NBC from 1986 to 2011 (when GE sold 51% to Comcast; the remainder was sold to Comcast last week). From 2004, NBC also owned Universal. And GE is a very “green” company, with a huge business in CFL bulbs.

    Whoops! It seems that by promoting the AGW story (which NBC has done continuously), NBC serves the financial interests of its corporate master.

    In fact the list of ways in which Big Corporations stand to profit (or have profited) from the anti-AGW program is quite long. We could start with the billions of $ in subsidies for “alternative energy”. Then there are “carbon credits” and “cap-and-trade” – both ways for well-connected corporations to collect billions of $. Now add in the billions of $ (I’m getting tired of typing that phrase) for electric cars and other “green” technology.

    Conspiracy? Not in the “organized and conscious deception and covert action” sense.

    Consider the situation in the U.S. in the 1850s. There was a very visible pro-slavery faction. Anti-slavery speech was suppressed in half the country. Legislation and court decisions expanded the areas open to slavery. Many Americans feared that what they called “the Slave Power” would spread slavery to the whole country. Even Lincoln suggested (in his Cooper Union speech) that there was secret cooperation to bring about the recent changes and perhaps more.

    But we know now that there was no cabal, only a lot of people with similar beliefs and common interests, which they held openly and sincerely.

    The AGW herd is somewhat different. It includes scientists who discovered the benefits of making certain findings (increased funding and prestige for “climate science”). It includes left-wing activists who were delighted to find a new reason for policies they had been advocating for decades. It includes bureaucrats whose power has been greatly increased. It includes “green” activists who found a new and potent fund-raising tool. And it includes businesses that collect subsidies or use the regulations to squash competition and fix prices.

    The claim that all AGW skepticism is a sham paid for by Big Energy is easily exploded by looking to see what Big Energy actually wants and where its money is actually going. For instance, in the U.S., “cap and trade” was first proposed by BP, Enron, and several big utilities in 1997. Ask Chris Horner; he was in the room. Since then, BP has given tens of millions to “green” advocates to push “cap-and-trade” and the Kyoto Accord.

    Several years ago, energy magnate T. Boone Pickens became a huge advocate of wind power. Why? Well, at the time there were big profits to be made from wind power thanks to big government subsidies and mandates. But those subsidies and mandates weren’t expanded as he hoped, and he wound up losing a lot of money.

    As the saying goes, “follow the money”. The amount going from “Big Energy” to AGW skeptics is trivial. The amounts going from governments (and unwilling consumers) to Big Energy and other Big Business, from government to climate scientists and “green activists”, and from a multitude of sources to “Big Green” are much larger.

  85. It seems to me that when mathematically/statistically literate people look at the data rationally they tend to become “lukewarmers”.

    In general a lukewarmer agrees that the current global average temperature is about 1degC warmer than it was a century or so ago and that some of that increase is likely to be human caused. This should be no surprise; humans are using ~150 PetaWatt hrs of energy annually and eventually all that energy shows up as heat.

    But the lukewarmer position tends to gag at all the Chicken Little stories. Climate sensitivity to CO2 (as noted by the Economist) now looks like it is in the 1-2deg C range rather than the 2-4 range claimed by the last IPCC report and the 6+ degree range that alarmists fret about. Also lukewarmers can go look at the source data for things like hurricane stats or melting ice and note that in the case of hurricanes and related wind events, the trend is flat to down, while in the case of ice, the arctic is not notably worse than it was in the 1930s/1940s (and is demonstrably colder than it was ~1000 years ago) while the antarctic ice sheets are gradually increasing. And so on. Essentially when you actually look at the raw data (if you can look at it, which is a whole different kettle of fish) the claims of imminent disaster pretty much all fail to be anywhere close to proven and frequently look like someone twisting data to match the desired hypthesis rather than the other way around

    Moreover lukewarmers, being mathematically literate, can follow Bjorn Lomborg’s (and others) arguments that the best way to both conserve the environment and mitigate any effects of climate change is to make poor people richer and that the best way to do that is to increase their energy consumption not limit the energy consumption of rich people.

    The fact that, on the whole, various statists and bansturbators seem to be enamored with AGW because it allows them another excuse to raise taxes and ban things and generally keep the plebs poor and dependent on the benevolent state is not a reason for libertarians to reject AGW but it certainly makes sense to ask “cui bono?”

  86. FrancisT: Hear, hear! And to elaborate on your last point: progressives and reformers used to claim to be saving the world from poverty and oppression by building government coal plants, and now they want to save the world from heat death by having the government shut down coal plants. (Similarly, in the early 20th century they insisted on animal testing of medicines and cosmetics, and now they campaign against it.) There’s always something the government must do.

  87. >If so, how did the National Health Service strangle your individual choice in a worse way than American health insurers do?

    As somebody who lives in Britian I can tell you that the NHS absolutely strangles individual choice simply as a consequence of constituting a state-imposed monopoly over a huge segment of the healthcare industry in the UK. This has the effect of completely demolishing the potential for competition and choice within that segment and also means that all related industries (pharmaceuticals, medical equipment etc) are warped by the fact that their main customer must be the NHS.

    Furthermore it completely distorts heathcare training, because almost every doctor and nurse in the country is in some way connected with the NHS and must be accredited by it. Even those who work in the private sector almost always also work for the state because there just isn’t enough business left for them to make a living from.

    Finally, I shouldn’t have to point out that the mere existence of a huge and expensive government project of any kind means that everybody is forced (with threats backed by the promise of violence) to hand over their money to pay for it, whether they consent to it or not.

  88. esr> I’m not interested in making any concessions about the tiny minority who might happen to be reasonable for some definition of reasonable.

    As coincidence would have it, David Friedman has weighed in on the importance of distinguishing reasonable from unreasonable people on both sides of the global-warming issue. Apparently he disagrees with you about reasonable AGW people being a negligible minority. I thought I’d give you a heads-up because I know you’re interested in Friedman (as am I).

  89. FrancisT said > It seems to me that when mathematically/statistically literate people look at the data rationally they tend to become “lukewarmers”.

    I completely disagree. When statistically literate people look at the data, they should realize that non-random, non-replicated samples of size 1 (n=1) per day as is the case for virtually ALL data prior to the 1970’s equals an INFINITE variance and error. There may be a signal in all that noise but you can not discern it with statistical validity – period.

    So, we all we can say is garbage in, garbage out as far as probability theory is concerned. All historical data is essentially anecdotal.

    Even the best data current collection network (USHCN) has merely 3 temp recording replicates per site (none for sites themselves) and are not randomly located, when many more random replicates are needed.

  90. I agree that non-instrumental (and even some) historical data has to be understood as approximate and limited. People are doing good statistical work on the reconstructions (and if they don’t, fellows like Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick will point it out, thankfully), and they are at the very least suggestive.

    Qualitiative claims about ‘this is the warmest year in 500,000 years’ or whatever certainly cannot be justified by the historical data, but then that’s not what climate scientists are saying from my reading.

    In any case, however valid or invalid such reconstructions are, the underlying physics behind AGW is quite solid, and the instrumental data we’re getting now (land, ocean, and sat-based), taken on their own, do support the theory sufficiently to be very concerned.

    It’s possible that there remain important unidentified dynamics that are affecting the climate, but unless longshot hypotheses like those of Henrik Svensmark are demonstrated to be correct, it’s hard to see how the climate record that we’ve put together could be so far wrong as to leave room for unknown factors that outweigh the known Milankovitch cycles / greenhouse gas / volcanic factors that are independently verified.

  91. >In any case, however valid or invalid such reconstructions are, the underlying physics behind AGW is quite solid

    Nonsense.

    The “physics” behind the panic scenarios relies on assumptions about positive feedback between atmospheric CO2 and H20 concentration with coupling coefficients that aren’t physically grounded; in other words, they were pulled out of someone’s ass.

    Straight-up CO2 greenhousing can’t produce high “climate sensitivity” because CO2 only thermalizes on two narrow wavebands, so the modellers invented a mechanism in which increased tropical cloud formation from CO2 greenhousing causes a self-reinforcing H20 greenhouse – never mind that not only has this not been observed to occur in the real atmosphere, some studies indicate that the increased albedo of the clouds reflects away enough insolation for cloud formation to produce a net temperature decrease. Oopsie!

  92. >The “physics” behind the panic scenarios relies on assumptions about positive feedback between atmospheric CO2 and H20 concentration with coupling coefficients that aren’t physically grounded; in other words, they were pulled out of someone’s ass.

    Ah, that’s an interesting objection. I don’t know enough about the physics of that to speak to that (and I have wondered about the mechanism), but I do know that understanding goes back to Arrhenius. It’s not something that is a matter of modern contention as far as I know, unlike the cloud feedbacks that you mention below.

    >Straight-up CO2 greenhousing can’t produce high “climate sensitivity” because CO2 only thermalizes on two narrow wavebands, so the modellers invented a mechanism in which increased tropical cloud formation from CO2 greenhousing causes a self-reinforcing H20 greenhouse – never mind that not only has this not been observed to occur in the real atmosphere, some studies indicate that the increased albedo of the clouds reflects away enough insolation for cloud formation to produce a net temperature decrease. Oopsie!

    Agreed, we’re not talking about straight-up CO2 greenhousing.

  93. It appears the argument is that water’s ability to increase the temperature through the greenhouse effect is more powerful than CO2, but it is fighting with its tendency to saturate and rain out.

    CO2 concentration warms the atmosphere without contributing to the partial pressure of water vapor, so it raises the top end water vapor capacity of the atmosphere.

    It seems pretty straightforward that CO2 would have to have a predictable positive feedback with water vapor, given the known relationship between temperature and the water vapor capacity of the atmosphere.

    Unless CO2 concentrations somehow interfere with the ability of the atmosphere to hold water vapor?

  94. >Ah, that’s an interesting objection. I don’t know enough about the physics of that to speak to that (and I have wondered about the mechanism), but I do know that understanding goes back to Arrhenius.

    Right. The scam depends on systematically confusing people about the difference in confirmation status between Arrhenius’s linear greenhousing mechanism (quite well established, very simple physics, hard to argue with) and a complicated self-reinforcing H20 greenhouse effect that is supposed to occur when CO2 greenhousing reaches a magic threshold value that is conveniently just a little higher than today’s.

    Here’s how it’s supposed to work: linear greenhousing from CO2 increases the temperature in the tropical troposphere. At higher temperatures the atmosphere can accept more water vapor without it precipitating out, so cloud formation increases. The increased cloud deck greenhouses through purely H20-centered thermalization, heating the atmosphere below it. Lather, rinse, repeat. CO2 is just the fuse on the bomb; in the regime we’re supposedly about to enter, H20 does all the heavy lifting. CO2 will have maxed out its capacity because it’s really pretty bad at the job; there’s only a limited amount of insolation available at the specific two frequencies it eats, so above a certain ppm it simply can’t make the planet warmer. H20, on the other hand, can thermalize a fairly wide swathe of total spectral energy.

    One … minor … problem with this is that there’s evidence that CO2 levels have been far higher in Earth’s past without actually turning the planet into a cloud-locked Venusian hothouse. Another is that the energy-budget effect of cloud formation may actually be negative, and most probably is. H20 cloudtops (unlike the sulfur clouds on Venus) are pretty good reflectors. Incident radiation they reflect off into space doesn’t heat the troposphere. Most probably one of the reasons Earth hasn’t run away into a greenhouse-dominated regime is that the coupling between temperature and cloud formation is actually a negative-feedback loop on the system rather than a positive feedback.

  95. Notice that they never mention those positive feedback loops when they dismiss solar influence as insufficient to account for observed warming. Skeptical science focuses on TSI when discussing solar effect. TSI is not the only way the sun can warm the earth, and from what I can find sunspot activity has a much larger variance than TSI even though there is a strong correlation between them. As the following link suggests (just an example of the point) TSI can’t be used to rule out solar influence. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/solact.html

    Has anyone seen a calculation of how much energy the earth gains from the particles being deflected by our magnetosphere? It doesn’t seem like something that could be easily measured, but a quick google search didn’t even turn up any estimates. I highly doubt I’m the first person to ever wonder about it though.

  96. >Unless CO2 concentrations somehow interfere with the ability of the atmosphere to hold water vapor?

    See my previous comment. CO2 isn’t antagonistic to H20, but the ability of added CO2 to drive more thermal uptake of H20 tops out pretty fast. That’s why talk of “climate sensitivity” as though it’s a linear effect with X more PPM of CO2 driving Y more degrees of increased GAT is bogus. In this sense “climate sensitivity” is actually a diminishing function of CO2 ppm already present.

    We can’t have this basic physics enter the discussion, though – it would interfere with careerist and political objectives that are far more important than mundane things like the truth.

  97. It is probably worth reminding folk that, while there is disagreement about water vapor feedbacks and all sorts of other related atmospheric warming/cooling mechanisms, (pretty much*) everyone agrees that the CO2 climate sensitivity function is logarithmic.

    i.e. deltaT = K.log(conc(CO2))

    The question is the value of K. If K is large then even though there is a limit to how much CO2 the global economy can emit it might be enough to cause bad things(TM) happening because the temperature rises say 5 or 10 degree above current day temps.

    However the point of the economist article (and other similar things) is that it looks like K is not so big. We’re now seeing all sorts of different calculations and analyses that put K in the range of 1-2 degrees per doubling of CO2 concentration. Very few of the bad things (TM) are predicted to happen if the temperature increases 1-2 degrees from current temps and it seems likely that even if we burn all the coal and other fossil fuels we can find we won’t get to quadruple CO2 levels from current ones. Hence CO2 induced climate change isn’t a problem. Hence no need for wind farms, biofuels and other greeny boondoggles and no need to limit fossil fuel consumption to save the environment**.

    Unfortunately this is an inconvenient truth for numerous crony capitalists, statists and bansturbators

    *There are probably a few people who disagree, but this statement is about as non-controversial as the fundamental existence of evolution
    ** There may be other reasons to limit fossil fuel use (e.g. pollution, price …)

  98. > See my previous comment. CO2 isn’t antagonistic to H20, but the ability of added CO2 to drive more thermal uptake of H20 tops out pretty fast. That’s why talk of “climate sensitivity” as though it’s a linear effect with X more PPM of CO2 driving Y more degrees of increased GAT is bogus. In this sense “climate sensitivity” is actually a diminishing function of CO2 ppm already present.

    Yes, that’s why it’s a logarithmic function, as Francis said. The IR absorption bands for CO2 and H20 only partially overlap, and those bands get more opaque with the ln2 of the CO2 concentration, though there are complications such as pressure broadening of the bands, and the vertical layering of the atmosphere. The CO2 is supposed to be well distributed throughout the atmosphere, unlike water vapor, and so provides heat insulation on top of the layers where the water vapor plays a role. Those dry, upper layers are where there’s more room for additional CO2 to have the most effect on the heat retention as I understand it.

    >We can’t have this basic physics enter the discussion, though – it would interfere with careerist and political objectives that are far more important than mundane things like the truth.

    Wow, that’s insulting. What’s up with that?

  99. >Wow, that’s insulting. What’s up with that?

    I do appreciate the previous discussion of your understanding of the physics and I understand you were venting at bad guys as you see them, but unless you’re convinced that no one working in the field knows this stuff as well as you and that anyone who questions you on the matter is a bad guy, I don’t think I need to be lumped in with them.

  100. esr on Friday, April 5 2013 at 6:57 pm said:
    > > We can’t have this basic physics enter the discussion, though – it would interfere with careerist and political objectives that are far more important than mundane things like the truth.

    Jonathan Abbey on Friday, April 5 2013 at 9:39 pm said:
    > Wow, that’s insulting. What’s up with that?
    >
    > but unless you’re convinced that no one working in the field knows this stuff as well as you and that anyone who questions you on the matter is a bad guy,

    Your assertion that water vapor must induce positive feedback is pretty typical of the ignorance of warmists

    I know this stuff at least as well as esr, and possibly a good deal better, and observe on the the Real Climate (the official internet voice of the warmists) a clear hostility to science and the scientific method. If they know this stuff as well as esr does (and Mann, for one, does not) they don’t care and don’t want to know.

    Water vapor has both warming effects through the greenhouse effect, and cooling effect through low level cloud formation. Most of the world is ocean, and (oversimplifying) there is more low level cloud over warm ocean.

    Low level clouds exert cooling effect. This is obvious in that cloudy days are generally substantially cooler than sunny days. The physical cause of this is that clouds are black in the infrared, but white in the visible.

  101. Jonathan Abbey on Friday, April 5 2013 at 3:22 pm said:
    > I agree that non-instrumental (and even some) historical data has to be understood as approximate and limited.

    I attempted to reconstruct past temperatures from the instrumental record, and rapidly came to the conclusion that it was nowhere near sufficiently accurate. Stations move, stations get shut down, the environment around stations changes.

    These induce systematic errors of order of a degree or two, generally in the direction of warming. For example, there has been a long term trend to shutting down weather stations in cold areas, or failing to record or collect their data.. To estimate temperatures from the instrumental record, you need to identify those stations that have remained in an unchanging environment over the whole period, and cast out 99.9% of the data.

    On that basis, 1950s were probably warmer than the present, but if you are throwing out 99.9% of the data, there is danger of unconscious cherry picking, in that you may scrutinize stations that give the wrong result more heavily than stations that give the right result.

  102. The instrumental record is worthless: The data provided by weather stations has massive problems, justifying huge corrections, which corrections must be made by the seat of one’s pants.

    The corrections made by the warmists are at best unreasonable, see for example http://www.climategate.com/australiagate-now-nasa-caught-in-trick-over-aussie-climate-data and at worst flagrantly fraudulent, see for example http://australianclimatemadness.com/2009/12/08/wuwt-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/

    When we discovered that the instrumental record had been massively falsified, we attempted to generate an honest record – and could not do so. One really did need to correct the data, and there is no objective way of telling a consciously or subconsciously cooked correction, from a genuinely reasonable correction.

    My opinion, after analyzing the data as best I could, is that the warmest period in the past several centuries was the 1950s, but I concluded that the instrumental record could plausibly support any result one wanted.

  103. >Wow, that’s insulting. What’s up with that?

    Not aimed at you but at the legions of dishonest AGW panickers out there.

  104. My opinion, after analyzing the data as best I could, is that the warmest period in the past several centuries was the 1950s, but I concluded that the instrumental record could plausibly support any result one wanted.

    Really? When I played with the Met Office / John Graham Cumming’s code I found that the warmest period was the 1930s /1940s and that it started to cool off in the 50s. Certainly that’s the case for a number of reliable northern lattitude long term temp trends. The trick to this (and I’d have to go through a bunch of old backups to find the actual records used) was to find long term rural locations that
    a) hadn’t moved and
    2) were actually really rural throughout

    Sadly long term unmoved stations in rural areas are few and far between whereas there are hundreds of stations that have either moved or suffered from encroaching urbanization (or both). I’ve been awaiting the official publicaion of Anthony Watts’ Surface Stations survey and some free time to go back and revisit this.

  105. Eric, the Economist has no credibility. I plotted the Earth’s average annual global tropospheric temperature anomalies between 1979 and 2011. This data was obtained from NASA’s channel 5 Advanced Microwave Sounding Units aboard satellites. I used the linear regression technique to fit a 0.0137266 degrees Celsius per year trend line through the data plot. Over the 32 year period the conditional mean temperature increased 0.4392512 degrees C. The standard error of the estimate was 0.1450068 degrees C. The estimated standard error of the conditional means was 0.0493586 degrees C. The t test for statistical difference between the 1979 and 2011 conditional mean temperatures was 8.8991827. The level of attained significance for t equals 4 is 0.99997. Therefore you can’t say the earth’s air temperature increase is not statistically significant in order to refute the AGW Scheme. Just because the temperature trend is statistically significant does not means the increase is quantitatively substantial. The average annual temperature at which the earth’s total global air radiates to space is 250 degrees K, but this temperature varies in a very narrow range of 0.78 degrees C. The level of statistical significance does not signify that the temperature increase is of any practical consequence. It does not say anything about what caused the increase or whether it will continue in the future. Because the increase is less than the range it was still possible for the temperature in 2008 to be lower than the temperature in 1980. If carbon dioxide increases at the current rate, in 600 years the concentration will be 1460 ppm. Using the applicable laws of Physics correctly I have calculated that it could only add 0.28 degrees Celsius to the earth’s air temperature. The only rational explanation is that something other than carbon dioxide has caused the increase. This concludes my proper presentation of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Scheme to Plunder the World’s Wealth using the pretext that using fossil fuels is an immoral negative economic externality.

    Eric, I will limit myself to three observations: (1) that the IPCC scientists know that the earth’s average annual global air temperature will never reach their lowest 2100 prediction of 1.4 degrees C and are making a sneaky retraction in 2013, (2) in 2001 they changed from talking about Global Warming to Climate Change because it implicitly contained a prediction metric that would discredit their theory when it fails to come true, (3) in 2001 they secretly in plain sight changed the definition of “Climate Change” so their scientists can honestly say the change is natural (the 2001 definition) but the uninformed listener hears that the change is caused exclusively by human activity (the 1992 definition).

    From the IPCC Third Assessment Report on Climate Change 2001 1st footnote from page 5 Summary for Policy Makers 1… “Climate change in IPCC usage refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This usage differs from that in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, where climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

    In the IPCC Third Assessment Report 2001 they predicted that carbon dioxide concentration would double from 365 ppm in January 1998 to 730 ppm in 2100. The predicted increases in the temperature ranged from + 1.4 degrees Celsius to + 5.8 degrees Celsius. They also said the + 1.4 degrees Celsius prediction assumed no feedbacks. Now the Economist reports, “A rise in the concentrations from preindustrial levels of 280 parts per million (ppm) to 560 ppm would thus warm the Earth by 1 degrees C.” Let’s calculate just how much the IPCC has backed off in a very sneaky indirect manner from their original prediction. Notice that they have changed the time scale from 102 years to 350 years, the predicted increase in carbon dioxide from 365 ppm to 195 ppm and lying about not assuming feedbacks. According to the IPCC TAR 2001 Table 6.1 the increase in radiative forcing due to man-made carbon dioxide between 1750 and 1998 was 1.46 watts per square meter. Notice how small man-made carbon dioxide is as a forcing agent compare to the other 219 wpsm necessary to heat the earth’s air up to 250 degrees Kelvin. Their new predicted increase of 195 ppm between 1998 and 2100 is 2.29 wpsm. I differentiated the Stefan-Boltzmann equation at 287 degrees Kelvin to obtain dT/dR = 0.1862 degrees Kelvin per wpsm. 1.46 wpsm * (0.1862 K/wpsm) = 0.272 degrees Celsius. 2.29 wpsm * (0.1862 K/wpsm) = 0.426 degrees C. The answer is from 1.4 degrees Celsius to 0.426 degrees Celsius. There lowest predicted increase for 2100 is 3.3 times lower in 2013 than it was in 2001.

  106. Actually, there is little convincing evidence that CO2 has ANY effect whatever on atmospheric energy balance, and the order of magnitude higher content atmospheric gas H20 absorbs infrared radiation in much the same wavelengths as CO2. Furthermore, the “greenhouse effect” is clearly a misnomer since convection is the major mode of heat engine action in our atmosphere, whereby what possible thermodynamic equilibrium is achieved. CO2 may just be too minor a factor to generally a significant factor in climate. But the science is just not there at this point. We need a few solar systems to play with to test this.

    Modeling chaotic systems like climate is a fool’s game without any possible winner’s.
    Climate is what you expect but weather is what you get.

    In any particular year, some particular location effectively has a 1% chance of breaking some particular 100 year record. Think about that…..there is no spoon…. climate is a human construct with probability boundaries defined by the stated time period.

    Additionally, Venus’ surface may be hot not because of some bullcrap runaway greenhouse effect due to high CO2 concentration in it’s atmosphere but merely because that is the equilibrium temperature resulting from higher solar input, adiabatic effects of its very dense atmosphere, cloud cover, the lack of water as a mitigating / stabilizing factor in temperature regulation and the black body radiation loses. Again we would need to experiment to see.

  107. I think it is important that everyone realize that a gaseous atmosphere merely acts as a temperature buffer but that earth’s temperature’s temperatures is strictly the result of thermodynamics. Heat comes in from solar radiation, mass gain, and isotope degradation and leaves the planet via re-radiation (black body radiation) & mass loss.

    The atmosphere and it’s constituents neither add nor take away heat in the system but instead simply rearrange the thermodynamic deck chairs.

  108. @BioBob: Our gaseous atmosphere has clouds in it. Clouds can reflect sunlight back out into space, thus reducing solar input. They also can reflect the ground’s re-radiation (this is part of ‘the greenhouse effect’). It’s all very complicated and ‘a mere temperature buffer’ doesn’t begin to cover it. If the AGW climate scientists’ theories don’t describe what’s really going on in our atmosphere as they struggle to understand all this, I don’t think ‘mere temperature buffer’ is going to be helpful.

  109. The other thing about the “Water vapor produces positive feedbacks” hypothesis is that it ignores the way thunderstorms use water vapor as the working fluid in a heat pump to move heat from near the ground to the cloud tops, in the process getting past much of the “greenhouse”.

  110. @ LS correct, albedo is a valid consideration in the thermodynamics of earth but 380 particles of CO2 per 1,000,000 are quite unlikely to have much to do with albedo.

    The fact remains that the atmosphere adds zero net energy to earth’s thermodynamics but merely moderates / buffers temperature exchanges from other sources.

  111. One more thing I would like to contribute. We are told that about 21 % of our atmosphere (Oxygen) results from biological activity, namely photosynthesis, and I am inclined to agree. Why are we straining at gnats to explain the .035% CO2 which remains as the signal of another biological process, namely respiration?

    The CO2 will be consumed by photosynthesis as soon as plants catch up with that tiny bit of “fuel” remaining from the lag. Photosynthesis essentially shuts down after 120 more molecules of CO2 are removed from the atmosphere (as a percentage of the whole). It is clear that the plants of earth had no problem removing the previous CO2 molecules to make that gas less abundant than Argon. Only geologic processes on a massive scale are essentially able to perform the mass changes required to alter the current balance.

    We are so full of ourselves to think we have much of anything at all to do with the temperature of earth or much of anything at all to do with the composition of earth’s atmosphere.

    The current short term (both seasonal and year to year) changes in Earth’s atmosphere are virtually all plants and bacteria with the sauce provided by insects. We humans are still simply along for the ride.

  112. We can’t have this basic physics enter the discussion, though – it would interfere with careerist and political objectives that are far more important than mundane things like the truth.

    (#?%^$#%$&!! unclosed tag! Preview, please?)

    Don’t forget
    the financial objectives.
    In that particular case, 1.5 billion euros were seized from a wind-power scammer tied to the Sicilian Mafia.

    That much money in a single case of outright criminal fraud. Ex pede Herculem, the total loss to climate-driven criminal fraud is probably about 100 billion $.

    Even larger sums have been collected through legal methods: those who actually manufacture and operate alternative-energy equipment, trade “carbon credits”, sell CFL bulbs, manufacture biofuels, and so on. The total cost of the AGW panic is probably on the order of $1 trillion, at this point, of which a large share has gone into somebody’s pockets.

    (To be fair, a lot of the AGW-driven activity has produced actual value, just not as much it cost. Overpriced alternative energy is still usable energy; the loss is in the over-pricing, and in collateral market distortions such as food shortages.)

    AGW is now the rice bowl for thousands of people – investors, managers, scientists, activists, and officials. They will defend it fanatically. (Don’t forget criminals. And petrocrats. “Green” activists do a lot more to suppress fossil-fuel production than fossil-fuel demand, thereby maintainng the price of petrostate oil.)

  113. “We are so full of ourselves to think we have much of anything at all to do with the temperature of earth or much of anything at all to do with the composition of earth’s atmosphere.”

    Uh, we are DOUBLING the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. We do seem to have something to do with this…

  114. > Uh, we are DOUBLING the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    From a level that represents a rounding error in the amount of N2 or O2 in the atmosphere to… what is still a rounding error. And we aren’t even arguing about the direct effects of that CO2 (well within the margin of error of the thermometers used to record much of the temperature record), just the alleged positive feedbacks from H2O.

  115. @ LS Wrong ! You ASSUME that humans are responsible for increasing CO2, but nobody actually knows why CO2 is increasing. Watch the video link I posted and see that scientists disagree with your assumption. In any case, going from 320 to 390 ppm is hardly a doubling and a doubling of essentially nothing is still essentially nothing.

    There is SO MUCH MORE water vapor in the atmosphere, that WATER is much more important than CO2 in atmospheric thermodynamics, as you (and I) previously mentioned. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is clearly controlled by plant and bacterial processes, NOT human ones as is quite obvious from the daily and seasonal signals in concentration. Go and look and stop ignoring the obvious. If human combustion was so damn important, why is there no massive decrease in free OXYGEN to match it ? We know little about water balance and activity in our atmosphere as well, and our temperature data is essentially worthless. After getting my PhD my conclusion is that we don’t KNOW shit. Man up and realize you don’t actually know either.

    Go back and start with the obvious and reconsider just how important we actually are to anybody but ourselves. We will live out our probable million years life expectancy and likely be snuffed out like the millions of species the preceded and will follow us and earth and the universe will not notice.

  116. BioBob on Sunday, April 7 2013 at 1:26 pm said:
    > @ LS Wrong ! You ASSUME that humans are responsible for increasing CO2, but nobody actually knows why CO2 is increasing

    If the atmosphere was in an isolated box, with nothing else happening to it, anthropogenic CO2 would have big effect.

    However atmospheric CO2 equilibriates with some very large reservoirs, large enough to render humans insignificant, thus it is, I think, more plausible that CO2 is rising because temperatures rose two hundred years ago.

  117. Ya think, James ? You have any actual data ? I wouldn’t argue much but we don’t have any actual numbers for anything other than what CO2 we humans produce.

    We don’t even know what the global natural annual CO2 production IS. The estimates of natural annual CO2 production (which is all we actually have), indicate a measly 2% human contribution from combustion. We measure a CO2 exchange in few instances of a few non-random, non-replicated plots of a few square meters and extrapolate to the globe. That’s just bound to be accurate, what could possibly go wrong ? There is NO actual data for relative contribution of natural CO2 for the globe, merely estimates drawn from some ass.

    The observed increase could be caused by squirrel farts for all we know. And yes, not only do the CO2 reservoirs dwarf the tiny amount in the atmosphere, but the amount consumed by plants can easily suck down all CO2 humans produce and ask for seconds & thirds.

    Can’t we just be satisfied with “we don’t know – let’s find out more” as an answer and move along about our business ? Apparently not.

  118. James A. Donald on Sunday, April 7 2013 at 5:08 pm said:
    > > However atmospheric CO2 equilibriates with some very large reservoirs, large enough to render humans insignificant, thus it is, I think, more plausible that CO2 is rising because temperatures rose two hundred years ago.

    BioBob on Monday, April 8 2013 at 5:27 am said:
    > Ya think, James ? You have any actual data ?

    http://blog.jim.com/global-warming/anthropogenic-co2.html

  119. “The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is clearly controlled by plant and bacterial processes, NOT human ones as is quite obvious from the daily and seasonal signals in concentration.”

    – Not any more, it ain’t. The ice core data clearly show CO2 concentration swinging between the same old limits for hundreds of thousands of years…then, all of a sudden, just when the human population starts to really increase, and fossil fuel burning with it, the amount takes a big swing upward, way beyond any of its previous maxima. It’s not the plants that did this. You should also note that the isotopic concentration of the CO2 in the sample has changed, due to fuel burning, rather than respiration processes. That CO2 is there because WE put it there.

    “If human combustion was so damn important, why is there no massive decrease in free OXYGEN to match it ?”

    Massive? Oxygen makes up what? 30% of the atmosphere! Burning all that carbon is not going to put a significant dent in that.

  120. >It’s not the plants that did this [change in isotopic concentration].

    Until a couple of days ago I would have agreed with this part of the AGW story. Then one of our commenters posted video of a talk giving very detailed statistics about the CO2 rise and the change in isotopic concentration…

    …and it turns out this is yet another error cascade. Not fraud in this case, as there’s no indication anybody has been screwing with the primary datasets and there hasn’t been any attempt to substitute physically-ungrounded models for reality.

    The video link is somewhere in the previous comments. Go find it.

  121. @esr: I saw the thing. The learned professor never explains why natural sources of C13 just happened to change just when we started to burn coal and oil. After 900,000 years of steady state?

  122. LS
    > The learned professor never explains why natural sources of C13 just happened to change just when we started to burn coal and oil. After 900,000 years of steady state?

    Relatively small effect of anthropogenic carbon on C13 levels indicates that atmospheric carbon equilibrates with a much larger reservoir over a period of ten years or so (from memory, I would have to look up the exact number)

    Assuming the change in C13 levels is entirely the result of burning coal and oil, there is less than a decade’s worth of burned coal and oil in the atmosphere. The rest has mysteriously vanished.

  123. Assuming the change in C13 levels is entirely the result of burning coal and oil, there is less than a decade’s worth of burned coal and oil in the atmosphere. The rest has mysteriously vanished.

    As I pointed out way upthread, the Earth does seem to be getting greener. Do the warmist models really take full account of the ways all plants take up CO2? This is one reason why my gut sense tells me that the alarmists are wrong: a warmer Earth with more CO2 means increased plant life, which means more of a cooling effect.

  124. LS
    > The ice core data clearly show CO2 concentration swinging between the same old limits for hundreds of thousands of years…then, all of a sudden, just when the human population starts to really increase, and fossil fuel burning with it, the amount takes a big swing upward, way beyond any of its previous maxima.

    Mann made data.

    I exaggerate. It is not Mann made data, but cherry picked data. For a wider range of sources, see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/26/co2-ice-cores-vs-plant-stomata/

  125. “Assuming the change in C13 levels is entirely the result of burning coal and oil, there is less than a decade’s worth of burned coal and oil in the atmosphere. The rest has mysteriously vanished.”

    No mystery. The change is in the relative abundance of C12/C13. The C13 gets shuffled around the various carbon sinks just like C12; it doesn’t build up in the atmosphere and hang around.

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  128. I will say it AGAIN.

    There is NO ACTUAL GLOBAL or even REGIONAL DATA for natural CO2 flux, sinks, or ANYTHING. All of the numbers you have seen and will see for the near future are estimates. Estimates equal pulling data from your ass. Plain and simple. Even the data for fossil fuel CO2 has some error bars to it, if small — but since combustion CO2 accounts for less than 2% of estimated global flux, it hardly matters.

    Furthermore, there is absolutely NO ACTUAL DATA for ratios of isotopes of carbon contributions in natural flux – period – what we have is data pulled from the asshole of data pulled from that data’s asshole. Bound to be accurate ! Tell me all about how acidic precipitation / oceanic carbonate flux due to photosynthesis / benthic churning from burrowing animals, bacteria, plant roots, etc. changes isotope contributions from bedrock, ocean, and soil on a global basis, why don’t you ? Nobody. has. a. clue.

    But since it has been warmer in the past than today and the long term proxy data shows temperatures rise and sometime later CO2 rises after, it makes no difference in any case.

    Plants, bacteria in conjunction with long term sinks & sources & basic physics will equilibrate global temperature and CO2 without any real deflection from human farts, hotair, and whimpers.

    “A man has got to know his limitations….”

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