Survivor bias

I was in a book shop a few days ago and noticed a book with authors that included Matt Ridley and Steven Pinker. It was about whether or not humankind’s best days lie ahead. I didn’t buy (I probably should read it at some stage) but I am aware that both Ridley and Pinker have argued that the world is a better place today than it’s been in the past. By many metrics, I suspect that this indeed true. However, it also seems to be one of those situations where many things can be true at the same time.

The world may indeed be, in many respects, a better place now than it’s been in the past, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t many problems worth addressing, or that there isn’t any possibility that it could start getting worse in the future. One could even argue that one of the reasons that the world is a better place today is because we’ve discovered a way to generate cheap, and plentiful, energy that – unfortunately – also has a side effect that we should probably take seriously.

Something that also doesn’t often seem to get considered is that we have to be slightly careful of survivor bias. Those of us living in this better world are the survivors, or the descendents of the survivors, of various events thst have happened in the past. Many didn’t survive to experience this better world.

I can well imagine that there will be some time in the future, when people will look back and regard their time as better than ours. However, this doesn’t mean that many can’t suffer in the process of getting from where we are now to this point in the future. In a sense, our role is to try and make decisions that optimise the manner in which the world evolves, ideally in a way that minimises suffering (in my view, at least).

My sense is that many who promote the idea that the world is better now, dislike too much direct intervention in the way the world works. I have some sympathy with this; we can certainly make decisions that end up doing more harm than good. On the other hand, we’re also a highly intelligent species that probably understands the world around us better than we’ve ever done before. I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that we should mostly leave the future to the magic of the markets and our inate ingenuity, but maybe that’s just me.

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292 Responses to Survivor bias

  1. jamesannan says:

    well surely we are all survivors in that sense, so equally biased….which rather raises the question of what the bias is defined against. doesn’t it?

  2. These are good points. Thanks. I’m thinking about the role of survivor bias in the context of conflicts over water (those that happen versus those that don’t).

  3. James,
    Yes, we’re all survivors today, but not all have survived. I guess the survivor bias is more us looking back and regarding the way in which we got to where are today as being okay. I know we don’t entirely do this (we do try to remember events from the past) but I’m not sure we completely appreciate what some have gone through, or – in many cases – not got through.

  4. Joshua says:

    On the other hand, we’re also a highly intelligent species…

    Species (and survivor) bias?

  5. lerpo says:

    both Ridley and Pinker have argued that the world is a better place today than it’s been in the past.

    In the U.S.A. there is broad agreement that things were better in the past. The golden era was either 70 or 4 years ago depending on your perspective.

  6. What surprises me is that if you look at the charts from, say, The Great Acceleration work that Will Steffen and others did, it is as plain as day that by many “human welfare” metrics, we are – globally – far, far better off than we were since (pick your starting date).

    Who is arguing otherwise? (although I allow that income inequality has gotten much worse).

    What is baffling to me is when Pinker, Ridley et ilk seemingly brush off the accompanying charts in that same work, on the basis of what? That the left-hand metrics can be used as substitutes for the right-hand ones? That the right-hand metrics are “nothing to worry about, we’re still here so far!”? “Teh techmwology are coming to the rescue!”?

    It just seems so facile.

    Seems to me that most of the environmentally/climate-concerned are kind of desperately trying to solve the right-hand side so that we can keep making progress (and hold the ground already achieved) on social/welfare issues. But the other side is just playing one side of the board and saying don’t worry, be happy.

  7. I guess if you’re living today and doing well for yourself you’re going to tend to believe that things are better now than they’ve ever been. Go back in time and (perhaps apart from during, say, the great wars) the elite in every generation has probably thought the same. And looking forward I guess things will get better and better. Until they don’t.

  8. Willard says:

    Jason countered Steven’s techno-optimism not so long ago:

    Fans of the auditing sciences might appreciate this small tidbit from a review of Steven’s latest:

    In a passage seemingly intended to embarrass those who worry about “The End of the World,” Pinker writes the following: “As the engineer Eric Zencey has observed, ‘There is seduction in apocalyptic thinking. If one lives in the Last Days, one’s actions, one’s very life, take on historical meaning and no small measure of poignance.’”

    I was intrigued by this quote, so I decided to track down its origin. The reference that Pinker provides is to none other than a Reason article written by Ronald Bailey, a libertarian and advocate of free-market solutions to climate change. […]

    After some digital sleuthing, I found Zencey’s information and sent him an email about the quote. First, it turns out that Zencey isn’t an engineer, as Pinker claims, but a political economist. […] Furthermore, Zencey was quite exasperated by the misleading way that Pinker employs his quote. As he said to me via email:

    I appreciate your effort to nail down the source, and I especially appreciate the opportunity to set the record a great deal straighter than it has been. That quotation has bedeviled me. It is accurate but taken completely out of context. … You’d be doing me a service if you set the record straight.

    https://www.salon.com/2019/01/26/steven-pinkers-fake-enlightenment-his-book-is-full-of-misleading-claims-and-false-assertions/

  9. When you get around to actually reading Pinker and Ridley (and Rosling, too), you’ll note that all three go to great pains to emphasize that the present is not without its problems, that the plight of the bottom billion is desperate indeed and that by no means have we come to terms with the damage we have caused to the environment.

    But to do that you would have to be a survivor of the Cornucopian onslaught on pessimism.

  10. dikranmarsupial says:

    While we (at least in the developed world) are better off these days, doesn’t that imply we have a duty to make sure that trend carries on, rather than selfishly consume natural and economic resources to maximise our own immediate benefit? It would seem to me a bit of a non-sequitur to argue that because things are good today we don’t need to consider the effects of our actions on others elsewhere or in the future. Running up large national debts so the wealthy can have tax cuts today, whilst running down public services is IMHO a substantial problem for society as well (however we seem to be stupid enough to keep voting for it anyway – even those that will be disadvantaged by it).

    thomasfull2 writes

    the plight of the bottom billion is desperate indeed

    It wasn’t so long ago that the bottom billion was all of us. It could be argued that we have created a lot of misery over the last 200 years.

  11. Marco says:

    “While we (at least in the developed world) are better off these days, doesn’t that imply we have a duty to make sure that trend carries on, rather than selfishly consume natural and economic resources to maximise our own immediate benefit?”

    Well, there is no doubt that essentially everyone, also in the developing world, is better off in many aspects (Rosling’s book on this is a good compilation of hard data).
    The problem is indeed in the second part of your comment, Dikran, and actually illustrated in a presentation from Hans Rosling:

  12. Marco,
    Yes, I thought that was a great presentation. He seems to highlight all the positives, but also the challenges associated with continuing as we are. I’ve never quite regarded Rosling as in the same category as Ridley and Pinker. The latter seem somewhat blindly optimistic, but Rosling seemed to highlight how much things have improved without underplaying the various risks we face in future. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ridley say something like “the high probability of climate change is real”.

  13. 24SevKev says:

    “My sense is that many who promote the idea that the world is better now, dislike too much direct intervention in the way the world works. ”

    Bingo

  14. paulski0 says:

    Generally “survivor bias” refers to analysis of the wisdom of a certain course of decision making. E.g. it’s only the music/movie stars who make it who get interviewed to talk about the power of believing in yourself, taking a chance, staying dedicated, never giving up. The millions who took similar decisions but don’t make it are never heard from. Why, yes, there is an xkcd for that.

    In poker essentially the same concept is referred to as “results-oriented thinking”, and is a big no-no. Basically, just because you won a hand or sequence of hands doesn’t mean you made good decisions.

    I’m not sure it really works applying the concept of “survivor bias” to the question of whether or not things are actually good today, or even with reference to those who didn’t make it to today – that’s a bit more literal than I think the “survivor” part is talking about.

    Where survivor bias does fit, I think, is in analysing the decision making which got us to this good place, and what that should mean for future decision making. The “rational” optimist viewpoint is that we should just plough forwards without really thinking about things, and we’ll be able to address any problems as they arise. As support for this viewpoint they point to the past few hundred years in which we could reasonably be described as having ploughed forwards without thinking and solved problems as they have arisen, and this course of action provided beneficial results. The trouble is that this is results-oriented thinking. The fact that we gambled and won in the past does not mean we were making good decisions. If we had made the same gambles and lost they wouldn’t be suggesting a repeat.

    And of course, there are different ways to plough forwards. Not sure about Pinker, but in Ridley’s case his “rational” optimism seems to involve actively trying to dismiss, or drastically minimise, the existence of problems, which is definitely not how we got to this good place today.

  15. Chubbs says:

    There is always room for improvement. We’d be better off today with lower past carbon emissions and a more sustainable energy infrastructure. That will go double (or triple) in the future.

  16. Paul,

    Where survivor bias does fit, I think, is in analysing the decision making which got us to this good place, and what that should mean for future decision making.

    Indeed, I was thinking more in terms of how we perceive the significance of various events that have taken place in the past, and the impact of these events. Our awareness of the impact of these events on those who did not survive, and on those who did, and what lead to these events could indeed inform what we might decide to do in future.

  17. Jeffh says:

    Pinker, Ridley, Lomborg, et al. all exist within a tiny bubble that completely focuses on indicators of the material economy. The natural economy doesn’t exist as far as they are concerned, or else they try – and invariably fail – to argue that human welfare is independent of any constraints imposed by nature. Two of them (Lomborg and Pinker) probably can’t tell a mole cricket from a giraffe and so can be excused for being completely ignorant in this regard, whereas Ridley is a simply a right wing idealogue.

    The crux of the matter is this. The material economy is rapidly and at an accelerating place depleting natural capital at unsustainable rates. Populations of insects, other arthropods, mammals, birds, amphibians, fish and plants are in freefall across the biosphere. Biological diversity represents the working parts of our global ecological life support systems and ut under a full scale anthropogenic assault. Mankind is living off of capital rather than income and we are spending the remaining capital with a complete disregard for the implications down the road.

    Neoliberal capitalism is ecocidal and unsustainable, yet Lomborg and Pinker love it. The only reason that the material economy has not yet collapsed is because of technologies – largely appropriated by the rich – that have acted to delay it. But we cannot expect to suck the planet dry and to destroy many of the inbuilt ecological life support systems without consequences. The debt is growing and one day the chickens are going to come home to roost. We are on a direct collision course with nature and the day of reckoning is growing closer and closer.

  18. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    Thanks for linking to this…

    What matters, rather, is the extent of global poverty vis-à-vis our capacity to end it. As I have pointed out before, our capacity to end poverty (e.g., the cost of ending poverty as a proportion of the income of the non-poor) has increased many times faster than the proportional poverty rate has decreased (to use your preferred measure again).

    Such an important argument, and in retrospect, so bleedin’ obvious. I’m embarrassed that I haven’t considered it before (well, explicitly…. I know I’ve intuited it, in a visceral way, that the Pinker-type arguments about global poverty were missing something important, but that statement puts a finger directly on the main problem).

  19. Joshua says:

    Screwed up the tags…. That first full paragraph was from…

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/02/steven-pinker-global-poverty-neoliberalism-progress

    (a very good read)

  20. “…that the plight of the bottom billion is desperate indeed…”

    ““Over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history. This is one of the greatest human achievements of our time,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. ”
    https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/09/19/decline-of-global-extreme-poverty-continues-but-has-slowed-world-bank

    Most of this happened in China, where 500 million were lifted out of extreme poverty once they loosened market restrictions and low-cost energy became available. The notion that “income inequality” was less of an issue when that billion people were on a subsistence level economy is not accurate. A world with a billion more desperately poor people is also environmentally dangerous. The world has changed. It demands reliable, low cost energy. Find ways to do that without CO2.

  21. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Most of this happened in China, where 500 million were lifted out of extreme poverty once they loosened market restrictions and low-cost energy became available.

    This eems to me to imply that you think the reason for widespread poverty during the history of China was largely because so many people lacked access to low-cost energy (due to market restrictions). Is that what you think?

  22. paulski0 says:

    There was an Intelligence Squared debate on the motion ‘We’ve never had it so good’ a few years ago. Will Self – the man for who the word ‘lugubrious’ was invented – led the speaking against that motion and the crux of his argument was a complete rejection of the whole Benthamite utilitarianist philosophy.

    Ended up winning by a landslide despite pre-debate voting being strongly against him. It’s the only one of those types of things I’ve ever seen/heard where the audience has been so completely swayed by the debate.

  23. Windchaser says:

    It demands reliable, low cost energy. Find ways to do that without CO2.

    It’s gonna be a lot easier to find reliable, low-cost energy that doesn’t use CO2 if we actually incentivize the market to do so.

  24. Dave_Geologist says:

    I’m sure the European settlers of the Americas thought it had gone swimmingly. And that their descendants think so today. They probably would think so even if they knew they’d been 50% responsible for the Little Ice Age: Earth system impacts of the European arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492. (I’ve quoted a non-Ruddiman one to show that the theory is now gaining wider traction.)

    All that vacant agricultural land more than compensated for any decline in crop yield. And their parent governments in Europe no doubt thought so too. The colonial wealth compensated for crop failures at home. And came in handy when the Portuguese rebuilt Lisbon after the 1755 Earthquake. The Marquis of Pombal is feted in Portugal for implementing emergency measures to restore order after the earthquake (conscripted labour, firebreaks, emergency food transfer, hanging looters from lampposts, that sort of thing). And for supervising reconstruction, including Europe’s first earthquake-resistant buildings. But hated in South America, because he ruthlessly sweated the colonies to pay for the reconstruction.

    What do the non-existent descendants of the natives who died of smallpox make of it all? Not much, but then they’re not survivors are they? Their surviving descendants? Again, not so pleased I should think.

    BTW Mark Maslin’s publication page is well worth a visit. He’s one who treads a third way between most scientists and the few like Hansen. Not vocally active in politics, but doing a lot of academic research on the impacts of climate change on health and society, in addition to his core areas of oceanography and climatology. Usually as third author. I’m tempted to say “to keep the social scientists, economists and medics honest”. Or at least to ensure they don’t make rookie errors.

  25. Hi Josh. China has a long history with periods of economic success and extreme poverty. In 1980, 88% of the population was in extreme poverty, by 2010 it was under 20%
    This article has a nice little chart showing Chinese CO2 emissions more than quintupled between 1980 and 2010- from 10 Gt.
    https://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/03/31/chinese-co2-emissions-really-peaked/

    What do you think happened between 1980 and 2010? The Chinese government and world economists say the change started with economic reforms beginning in 1978 with the decollectivization of agriculture and opening markets to foreign investment. Then (right about where that CO2 emissions line goes straight up) they privatized state owned businesses and removed price controls and many trade restrictions. China now wants (needs) reliable, low cost energy.

  26. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    I think we’ve been here before.

    I asked you a question. You didn’t answer it, and instead went on to make a rhetorical statement.

    Imagine us not getting into an ideological pissing match, where we each go over familiar ground, make familiar arguments in a familiar zero sum frame.

    Imagine an exchange where we share views in a non-zero sum frame.

    Perhaps one step in that direction would be to provide explication and clarification of views.

    Do you think the reason for widespread poverty during the history of China was largely because so many people lacked access to low-cost energy (due to market restrictions)?

  27. Dave_Geologist says:

    That’s why it’s investing in solar jeff. And in making PV hardware cheaper and cheaper and cheaper.

  28. Dave_Geologist says:

    It’s a bit contrived, but I have to link to this critter. I’m sure Tyrannosaurs thought the world was a better place just before the asteroid hit than it had been in the past. After all they were now the apex predator, whereas previously they’d been tiny or diminutive, hiding from carcharodontosaurs.

    Diminutive fleet-footed tyrannosauroid narrows the 70-million-year gap in the North American fossil record.

    Of course tiny is relative when it comes to dinosaurs: “The researchers estimate that Moros intrepidus was about the size of a modern mule deer, weighing about 78kg.“. So basically a leopard walking on its hind legs. Not something you’d want to meet in a dark alley. Especially if it was hungry.

  29. Willard says:

    > There was an Intelligence Squared debate on the motion ‘We’ve never had it so good’ a few years ago.

    Just watched it up to the audience’s questions, a practice we should abolish. Will Self was splendid, although to appeal to the spirit is a bit lazy. Liddle wasn’t that bad either. He really should consider throwing away his chewing gum before speaking in a microphone. To add to his point, and to connect with “but China” JeffN is currently peddling:

    Some javierology leads me to conclude that China’s unhappiness is correlated with the number of miles of high-speed rail track in operation. We can predict that if Americans switch to mass public transport, they’ll be depressed.

    ***

    Here could be a mascot for the GRRRRROWTH movement:

  30. I wonder how much of the dismissal of the Ridley/Pinker/Rosling presentation of data that shows the state of the world as improving dramatically stems from the ‘lineage’ carrying back to Lomborg / Jules Simon? Much of the commentary here doesn’t seem to be reality based–does this really go back to those halcyon days when everyone was screaming at a socialist social scientist from way up north?

  31. Tom,
    Firstly, I don’t think anyone dismissed Rosling and I don’t even think anyone is totally dismissing Ridley/Pinker (do we have to bow down to their greatness in order for you to be satisfied with the commentary?). Secondly, I don’t really understand the rest of your comment, so can’t really respond to that.

  32. BBD says:

    Liddle wasn’t that bad either.

    Just so you have the context, he’s a climate change denier and a rightwing apologist who writes for the likes of the Sunday Times and the Spectator.

  33. Willard says:

    > I don’t really understand the rest of your comment, so can’t really respond to that.

    Our luckwarm fellow always starts by testing the limits of his justified disingenuousness, AT.

    He really should beware his wishes. I may have time this evening to look at my Lomborg Collective archives. Meanwhile, he should consider that we already paid due diligence to the connection between Matt King Coal and the luckwarm playbook:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/matt-ridley-lukewarmer/

    In any event, sooner or later we can predict he’ll rip off his shirt.

  34. ATTP, I was actually thinking back to a recent post of yours where Factfulness was not exactly received with joy.

    The modern wave of optimist publications seems to originate with Julian Simon, who argued that the cumulative brainpower of humanity rendered conventional estimates (and in particular those from the Club of Rome) of resource constraints essentially irrelevant.

    Lomborg basically stole very liberally from Simon for The Skeptical Environmentalist, but because of the 66 page section on climate change much of what he wrote got lost in the shuffle.

    A few years later Ridley came out with The Rational Optimist, the focus of which was actually on the transformative power of trade, but again was dismissed by many due to his lukewarm view of climate change.

    Steven Pinker showed up more than a decade later with Better Angels of our Nature, which charted the dramatic decrease in violence over the past couple of centuries. It got a mixed reception due to just gloominess, I guess–but it got better press than its predecessors, perhaps because it didn’t deal with climate change.

    He expanded his thesis in Enlightenment Now and this included a bit about climate change, which again colored its reception.

    And then, from his deathbed, Hans Rosling collaborated with his children on Factfulness. Again, he touched (lightly) on climate change, which seemed to alienate some readers.

    Interestingly, all of these authors accept the science of climate change, but differ from the climate concerned on policy responses.

    They do refer to the same data sources and come to some of the same conclusions. Past performance is no guarantee of future results, of course, but the world today is vastly better than in recent millenia by almost any metric you’d care to name. There does seem to be a fairly straight line between Simon and Rosling–although you could extend it back to Thackeray, if you wanted to get all historical about it.

    It seems clear to me that a lot of the negative reaction to each of these writers and their themes is based on the sections of their books on climate change. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it does jump out at me.

  35. Willard says:

    > he’s a climate change denier and a rightwing apologist who writes for the likes of the Sunday Times and the Spectator.

    Yes, Boris’ sister told the audience so in his meandering intervention, a bit before she pitched Leo’s book. Rod of course did not approve. I already knew why, since I’ve got a glimpse of him when he criticized his own daughter who dared to strike, as if he never did:

    At least with deniers there was a sense that they believed that fears of climate change were nonsense. Now that denying climate change is man-made leaves you outside of grown up conversation, we get paralysing cynicism towards solutions and smug whataboutery aimed at school children. Which brings us back to Rod Liddle.

    https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/xwb48a/the-pathetic-new-tactic-of-climate-change-deniers

    That’s utterly unfair, of course, for when the Lomborg Collective pretends we should do something else than tackle AGW and criticizes Greta to ask what about WilliamN, it’s not because of some cynicism or smug whataboutery.

  36. anoilman says:

    Oh oh oh! Joshua… I can answer your question with a video;

    Communism generated, famine, poverty, and of course political persecution. I think that they would have been happier with food.

    In short, China imposed massive centralized controls, which if you read Jeff’s link… doesn’t work;
    https://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/03/31/chinese-co2-emissions-really-peaked/

    Also, The Grand Tour, just released their Chinese episode, and of course… you can see all the benefits of badly centralized controls with tons of gas stations, and no gas. Apparently access to fossil fuels is still a problem in China.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Grand_Tour_episodes#Series_3_(2019)

    Now if you couldn’t get gas for your car, what would you do? Electric;

  37. Joshua says:

    In any event, sooner or later we can predict he’ll rip off his shirt.

    My impression is that as per usual, he entered the thread shirtless. You know, he has to fight the good fight against all that non-reality-based commentary.

  38. Tom,

    ATTP, I was actually thinking back to a recent post of yours where Factfulness was not exactly received with joy.

    Still not quite sure what you’re talking about. Are you referring to another shirt-ripper?

  39. anoilman says:

    Lomborg is a political scientist with a career as a lobbyist who’s studied how to manipulate how people vote.
    https://archive.is/MJ8ND

    And years later.. he’s picked up a few more money making issues to get paid for. He represents who ever pays him;
    https://www.desmogblog.com/2015/07/21/bjorn-lomborg-brings-profit-protective-policies-back-to-denmark

    Lomborg can not and should not ever be lumped in with anything other than other lobbyists.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/20/no-cranks-allowed-at-abbotts-climate-consensus-centre

  40. Joshua says:

    Oilman –
    I can answer your question with a video;

    I don’t see how that video answers my question…

    First off, I was asking for Jeff’s viewpoint, and so no video can really provide the answer.

    But 2nd, I often see (what appears to me to be) an argument presented in the “skept-o-sphere” that access to cheap energy plays a discrete. and causal role in reducing poverty. I was hoping to find out if that is Jeff’s view, and if it is, to get a bit more of an explanation. Such an argument seems rather simplistic to me, and linked to a couple of fallacies, but maybe I’m missing something and Jeff could help me to see that. Problem is, I seem to have a hard time getting him to answer questions. .

  41. Joshua: Do you think the reason for widespread poverty during the history of China was largely because so many people lacked access to low-cost energy (due to market restrictions)?

    I did answer the question, but will do so with more detail. Yes. Chinese had limited access to energy at any cost in the failure period (pre-1980) due to extreme poverty and government restriction. They required access to low-cost energy once collectivization and market restrictions were lifted in order to lift 500 million people out of poverty.
    This is why they made massive investments in reliable low-cost energy from 1980 on and invested little prior to 1980.

    I think that giant curve upward curve in CO2 emissions was an stunning lost opportunity to do something different. Why do you think something different happen? China spent a lot of money on wind and solar in the ’90s and 2000s and 2010s- western governments helped and encouraged the spending- any lessons to be learned?

  42. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    It seems clear to me that a lot of the negative reaction to each of these writers and their themes is based on the sections of their books on climate change.

    Really? Consider that arguing from incredulity is fallacious. Consider, instead, the phenomena of apophenia and pareidolia.

    Perhaps there are other reasons why people are critical of their arguments.

    Also, consider patterns in how you respond to criticism against arguments you support…

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/climate-scepticism-in-the-uk/#comment-141765

    Perhaps shirt-ripping and bad faith characterizations of those you disagree with better explains what becomes “clear to [you]?”

    Or maybe I’m seeing patterns that don’t exist?

  43. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Yes. Chinese had limited access to energy at any cost in the failure period (pre-1980) due to extreme poverty and government restriction.

    I want to clarify that a bit further, because you syntax seems a bit non-sequiturish to me. . So what you’re saying is that a lack of access to cheap energy in China (due to market restrictions) is what caused poverty pre-1980?

  44. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Perhaps I can be a bit clearer myself. You said:

    Yes. Chinese had limited access to energy at any cost in the failure period (pre-1980) due to extreme poverty

    My question was, “Do you think the reason for widespread poverty during the history of China was largely because so many people lacked access to low-cost energy (due to market restrictions)?

    It looks to me like you’re saying that poverty caused a lack of access to cheap energy, and not the other way around. That’s confusing as an answer when what I asked you was related to the causal mechanism behind the existence of the poverty (was a lack of access to cheap energy what caused the massive poverty). I think that the mechanisms are likely to be bi-directional to some extent, but as near as I can tell you are simultaneously arguing for diametric and simplistic causal mechanisms.

  45. anoilman says:

    Joshua… I understood where you were coming from and that’s why I pointed out what the problems were in China. No it wasn’t access to energy that made life bad in China. Starving under street lights would hardly make their lives any better. “Oh look, father is emaciated.”

    If anyone wants to know how cheap energy is, and how it affects an economy…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_pricing

    Yeah… Germany… $0.35 per kwh. So they MUST be starving in the streets because they don’t have access to cheap fossil fuels. 🙂 Heck they are even selling their soul to Russia for it. Or perhaps the issue is more complicated than that.

  46. Hi Joshua-
    Extremely poor people do not need and cannot afford energy. People who work in successful farms and factories need energy. Once China was freed to have successful farms and factories, it needed and built a large amount of energy.
    But I think you’re dodging. Once the decision was made to power up China, the only thing that prevented the green new deal from working there was the ability of renewables to do the job. China has no deniers, no merchants of doubt, no internet access to Judith Curry, no Republicans, and a government purpose built to put millions on the energy jobs payroll. Why did they build coal?

  47. Willard says:

    > [StevenP] showed up more than a decade later with Better Angels of our Nature, which charted the dramatic decrease in violence over the past couple of centuries. It got a mixed reception due to just gloominess, I guess […]

    Why guess when we can pay due diligence to those who appeal to factualness:

    The picture of declining violence presented by this new orthodoxy is not all it seems to be. As some critics, notably John Arquilla, have pointed out, it’s a mistake to focus too heavily on declining fatalities on the battlefield. If these deaths have been falling, one reason is the balance of terror: nuclear weapons have so far prevented industrial-style warfare between great powers. Pinker dismisses the role of nuclear weapons on the grounds that the use of other weapons of mass destruction such as poison gas has not prevented war in the past; but nuclear bombs are incomparably more destructive. No serious military historian doubts that fear of their use has been a major factor in preventing conflict between great powers. Moreover deaths of non-combatants have been steadily rising. Around a million of the 10 million deaths due to the first world war were of non‑combatants, whereas around half of the more than 50 million casualties of the second world war and over 90% of the millions who have perished in the violence that has wracked the Congo for decades belong in that category.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/13/john-gray-steven-pinker-wrong-violence-war-declining

    StevenP’s commitment to factualness is well illustrated by his reply to PhilT’s audit of his claims:

    The rest of Torres’s complaint consists of showing that some of the quotations I weave into the text come from people who don’t agree with me. OK, but so what? Either Torres misunderstands the nature of quotation or he’s desperate for ways of discrediting the book.

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2019/01/29/a-response-from-steve-pinker-to-salons-hit-piece-on-enlightenment-now/

    Such piercing diagnosis from our Harvard psychologist might be more apt if he himself understood the nature of academic quotation.

  48. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    It would help this discussion if you didn’t use pretty much every comment as a jumping off point for expressing your feelings about renewables – if only because in not doing so, you’d keep Willard at bay with his interest in preventing peddling.

    I still don’t think you’ve answered my question. A yes (without immediately following it with non-sequiturs and contradictory statements) or no to my question would be a place to start answering my question.

    Extremely poor people do not need and cannot afford energy.

    Should I interpret that to be an answer that: “No, the history of poverty in China was not caused by a lack of access to cheap energy?

    People who work in successful farms and factories need energy. Once China was freed to have successful farms and factories, it needed and built a large amount of energy.

    Did you watch the video Oil Man’s linked? One of the main points there was that a reduction in extreme poverty in China (with the caveats mentioned in the Jason Hickel piece) was contemporaneous with an extreme shift away from an agrarian economy.

    But I think you’re dodging. Once the decision was made to power up China, the only thing that prevented the green new deal from working there was the ability of renewables to do the job.

    Do you think I’m “dodging” the lack of a green new deal in China as the result of the limitations of renewable? What gives you the impression that I’m “dodging” that? Keep in mind, just because you might be interested iin tribal p*ss*ng matches, where we throw insults back and forth about Inhofe and AOC, respectively, doesn’t mean that I’m “dodging” a tribal p*ssi*g match. It could just be that I’m not interested in a tribal piss*ng patch with you.

    China has no deniers, no merchants of doubt, no internet access to Judith Curry, no Republicans, and a government purpose built to put millions on the energy jobs payroll. Why did they build coal?

    (1) I fail to see why you go from my comments and questions to you, to comments like that and, (2) I think that’s the kind of stuff Willard is referring to when he talks about peddling. I would think that since you come here to engage in discussion, it would make sense for you to avoid shit that looks like what Willard calls peddling.

  49. Joshua says:

    Oil Man –

    No it wasn’t access to energy that made life bad in China.

    Yes, that seems rather obvious to me. So I’m interested in knowing whether or not Jeff rejects that line of thinking. Although I’ve asked him a question as to his thinking about that a number of times now, I’m still not clear what his answer is.

    Part of the reason that I’m interested is because I think I’ve seen a simplistic argument, that access to cheap energy is what has caused a widespread improvement in the quality of life across the globe. While I can see a certain logic in that argument, and I certainly don’t think that access to cheap energy is in any way irrelevant to poverty reduction, I think the simplistic form of that argument is quite problematic in a number of ways. Soi I’m interested in knowing how someone like Jeff, if he is indeed promoting that argument (I can’t actually tell yet whether he is or isn’t), might address some thoughts I have about why it’s problematic.

    It seems that it’s exceedingly difficult for me to have that discussion with “skeptics.” I can think of a number or reasons why that’s the case, and why there would be some obstacles that prevent a good faith discussion on that topic, but I like to think that the obstacles aren’t insurmountable.

    Thanks for that link to the Wikipedia article listing the cross-national comparative price of electricity.

    It would seem that chart offers quite a bit of data that make a simplistic argument that cheap energy = poverty reduction rather problematic.

  50. Ken Fabian says:

    Misinterpreting part of an S-curve as exponential? (Or some other kind of non-continuous ‘trend’ for unbounded and continuous). Seeing a trend and expecting it to continue but not examining the physical and economic limitations of the underpinnings of the components of that larger, collective trend? Technological and economic progress does not look like a natural physical law we can rely on to fix our problems – fixing our problems fixes our problems.

    I’m no mathematician but I do understand that limited use of fossil fuels allowed the climate externalities to be diluted to effective insignificance – the direct benefits to limited populations being large but with the indirect climate consequences spread across the whole world. But at very large scale (currently about 5 tonnes of CO2 waste per person per year) the externalities will not be sufficiently diluted and the accumulating burden of externalised costs grow in relative significance compared to the benefits.

  51. izen says:

    @-jeff
    “Extremely poor people do not need and cannot afford energy.”

    As far as I am aware, extreme poverty does not alter needs, just the means to meat them.Your calorie requirement does not drop when your wage is low.

    The problem with survivor bias is that it leads the survivor to construct a narrative about what actions taken, or avoided led to this survival.
    This story is unlikely to be correct. There are too many contingent and arbitrary factors in the life of an individual, or a society, to accurately attribute the successes and failures.

    One powerful effect of survivor bias is the belief that intentional actions taken in the past are responsible for survival, so continuing the same actions in the future is the wise thing to do.
    Hence conservatism.

    Lomberg, Pinker and Ridley are examples of cherry-picking the elements of the social structure of which they ideologically approve, and telling a story that those are the key traits we must continue to pursue for future survival.
    Because they worked in the past.
    This is why there is such reluctance to accept that significant climate change is possible or dangerous. It would mean a past survival strategy that was successful may fail, and even be the cause of future harm.
    Bit like slavery.

  52. Steven Mosher says:

    you guys are funny when you talk about china

  53. anoilman says:

    Steven… Educate us. I’m interested. I only get what I find in the news.. like its currency has been degraded to junk… but if you think there’s something more complete to see… lemme know.

  54. As someone who lived in China, I can tell you that China would love to use clean energy. They’re building a ton of it. 3 Gorges was a point of pride for China for a decade. They put up wind and solar everywhere they can. They hate the pollution that comes with fossil fuel energy–go watch Under The Dome.

    But their official policy was to double energy consumption between 2010 and 2020. They did so. That meant that coal was what they had to work with. But hey, they made a ton of money for Indonesia and Australia.

  55. Dave_Geologist says:

    Late to the party but I presume Tom thinks Lomborg is a socialist because (a) he’s Scandinavian and all Scandinavians are socialists and (b) he’s a social scientist and all social scientists are socialists (except for Steven Pinker because he’s American or at least Americanised, so has an innate or herd immunity to socialism). Whereas all the actual evidence indicates that Lomborg is about as socialist as Mike Pence (but without the End Times baggage because Scandinavians have an innate or herd immunity to religious fundamentalism).

    To contrive myself back to survivor bias, since the Scandinavian countries rank high in GDP per head and in happiness surveys, and since they’ve historically been socialist in Tom’s eyes (we’d say social democratic on this side of the pond, but the US Overton Window is in a different place), if we deny survivor bias I guess we have to conclude that Socialism Works.

  56. Jeffh says:

    Bjorn Lomborg is an economist – urm – no – statistician – – um… You see, when I visited Denmark to speak in 2002 after co-reviewing his book for Nature (with Stuart Pimm) I was told that Lomborg is ‘not one of us’ by the statisticians and economists I met there. Lomborg is no socialist. He is devoted to the neoliberal economic system that is neither new nor liberal. It bears all of the hallmarks of the monetarist doctrine of the Chicago Boys: deregulation, privatization, and the evisceration of government agencies and bodies aimed at limiting the rapacious nature of the corporate sector. Neoliberalism is predatory for-profit capitalism under any guise.

    Lomborg is Julian Simon redux, and he believes all of the same things that the late Simon, a business economist, did. They both adhere to the neoclassical view of economics that, if not extinct, should be, given what we now know about the dependence of the material economy on the natural economy. The major tenets of neoclassical economics are unlimited substitution, efficiency and human ingenuity. All have been deconstructed many times and there is no need for me to do it here.

    Steven Pinker is essentially another Julian Simon. Like Lomborg, he has no grounding whatsoever in the environmental sciences, he clearly knows very little about them, and therefore he dismisses them flippantly or considers constraints imposed on human well-being by nature to be superficial. He is clearly taken seriously by economists, social scientists and unfortunately many in the political classes, but not at all by environmental scientists and ecologists. We are the ones studying the importance of natural systems in sustaining human civilization, and we collectively cringe when we read the stuff Lomborg, Pinker and their ilk write. The reason their views are promoted and end up in the ‘mainstream’ is simply because they conform strongly with those with wealth and power. The recent Bioscience paper by William J. Ripple et al. (World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A second Notice [2017]) makes grim reading. As the paper states, ” Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these [eight other] foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse”.

    https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/67/12/1026/4605229

    The paper received immense media coverage, but somehow its central message has eluded Pinker and Lomborg.

  57. Joshua: “I want to clarify that a bit further, because you syntax seems a bit non-sequiturish to me. . So what you’re saying is that a lack of access to cheap energy in China (due to market restrictions) is what caused poverty pre-1980?”

    No. I’ve said China suffered a combination of artificial restrictions on economic growth imposed by their government and extreme poverty (people don’t supply a product that its users cannot afford to use, even in communist countries). Once those restrictions were lifted demand for economic growth grew and so did income, that resulted in a rapid increase in demand for more energy. Restrictions caused poverty, exiting poverty required energy.
    Look at it this way- once allowed to produce something, they wanted the juice to produce stuff, and once they sold it, they suddenly had the money to able to buy stuff that runs on electricity (including the electric cars Oilman is so enamored with) and as a result they needed more juice. You can actually see the demand curve straight up.

    Why did I comment on renewables? China basically built out a modern industrial economy’s energy supply network almost from scratch over the last 30 years. Throughout this 30-year period China was at the table for a series of international summits on AGW (beginning in 1992 in Rio) in which they were urged and incentivized to build low emissions energy with a preference for renewables- which they were told was cheap, scalable and reliable. They spent a ton of money – billions – on renewables including as Tom notes the Three Gorges dam and wind and solar. There was no opposition to that effort, the only impediment was engineering and cost-efficiency. Yet to pull 500 million people out of poverty they needed a huge amount of coal- quintupling CO2 emissions. They also built a lot of nuclear- 44 plants since 1991 and 13 more under construction according to Wikipedia (with some doubt as to whether all those 13 will actually be built).
    What lessons did the world learn from this experience? IMO, some are: we have a ways to go before we can meet the energy demand of modern economies with wind and solar. A reliable, low-cost base of energy production is critical.

    And the big one:

    Governments, even those with no concern about deniers or voters, will ignore pleas to use renewables if they conflict with the goal of supplying energy demand cost-effectively.

  58. Jeffh says:

    Jeffnails850, excellent post. You write, “Yet to pull 500 million people out of poverty they needed a huge amount of coal- quintupling CO2 emissions”.

    I can see your point. But what ecologists like me are saying is that 500 milion people in China (and more) will be plunged back into poverty and worse when nature comes calling for the increasing debt to be paid. More than half of Chinese rivers are biologically dead. The great aqufier underlying the Chinese plain is literally being sucked dry to support Chinese agriculture or else it is seriously polluted. The Three Gorges Dam has caused some enormous environmental problems. The Chinese are being forced to make inroads into less developed nations to acquire the natural capital it needs to sustain its economy and population. This brings it into direct conflict with western countries that have been looting the south for decades.

    The biggest problem with the cornucopians is not only their inability or refusal to link the welfare of humanity to the state of the natural environment (which, as the Ripple et al. paper in Bioscience shows is getting far worse in most respects), but their failure to project ahead. Heck, for many of them, tomorrow is too distant in the future to think about, let alone years or decades. Instead, they celebrate the present as if there is no tomorrow. Mankind is unable to face threats we perceive as being gradual but which in ecological or evolutionary terms represent the blink of an eye. Instead, we can only deal with threats that we assume are instantaneous: a major storm, an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, and even then generally after the fact. I recall when Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 some of the victims were those who refused to move from their homes at the base of the volcano despite being repeatedly warned by geologists that a major eruption was imminent and inevitable. The same is true for some of the victims of hurricanes that are barreling towards them with attendant storm surges. They are warmed of the consequences and yet they stay behind to face them, almost in denial that there will be serious consequences.

    We are unprepared as a species to deal with threats like climate change that appear to be occurring in slow motion and almost existential but which are actually occurring with amazing speed if we place them in the context of previous events in the Earth’s history. Our failure to reconcile the destructive effects of the material economy on nature will have serious consequences in the future. Not only for the Chinese, of course, but for all of us. We are heading for a cliff, and it is getting closer and closer.

  59. Willard says:

    > Governments, even those with no concern about deniers or voters, will ignore pleas to use renewables if they conflict with the goal of supplying energy demand cost-effectively.

    That’s a big if, an if with an antecedent that may not cohere with factualness:

    https://cleanenergyfinanceforum.com/2019/01/28/china-is-leading-the-clean-energy-revolution

  60. anoilman says:

    jeffnsails850: You do understand that in 1990… renewables were an expensive bad thing to buy? And you do understand why fossil fuels are cheaper (?) then, and why renewables are cheaper now? Let me give you hint… VOLUME. Heck, if you want to recycle solar panels today, you’ll first need to build a space shuttle to go collect the panels you want to recycle. In 1990… fossil fuels were all we had. (Oh look WIllard’s graph shows that, thanks Willard.)

    Now… your notion that we have a ways to go before supplying renewables for energy looks silly if you even bother to examine your own time line. If you examine actual government policies around the world, you’ll see that most are trying to expand their grid capacity AND renewable use. So, they are expanding use of fossil fuels AND renewables, while growing their economies. Just like China.

    Currently, the real challenge before much of the world is how to get past grid base load capacity (30-40%) in renewables. That’s when storage and grid (wires) expansion actually becomes a problem. (That’s because over base load is all dispatchable right now.) Going over baseload starts to make sense with nuclear because of the carbon footprint you’ll generate with massive renewable outlays and grid expansions. Germany is here now.

    “Governments, even those with no concern about deniers or voters, will ignore pleas to use renewables if they conflict with the goal of supplying energy demand cost-effectively.”
    LOL… Nope. Germany… Did you see what they pay?!?!? One of the highest prices in the world, and its Europe’s economic power house.

  61. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Ridley and Pinker shared stage-right for the 2015 Munk Debate in Toronto.

    They argued the “pro” side of:
    “Be it resolved, humankind’s best days lie ahead…”

    Their opponents on the “con” side were Malcolm Gladwell and philospoher Alain de Botton.

    https://www.munkdebates.com/The-Debates/Progress

    Harvard psychologist on climate change: “Economists agree: it’s a solvable problem.”

  62. The Very,
    That sounds like it’s the origin of the book.

  63. anoilman says:

    6 Killer Apps for Progress

    This talk gets the point across that cheap fossil fuels do not make for progress. Its politics.

    I like it because it has an excellent comparison between dirty Eastern Germany, to cleaner Western Germany. Starting from the same background and conditions, politics in Germany caused a great divergence in products.

    Eastern Germany produced the Trabant;
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant

    Western Germany produced BMW, Mercedes, and VW;
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen

  64. Willard says:

    > This talk gets the point across that cheap fossil fuels do not make for progress. Its politics.

    Beware that Niall has a dog in a fight that may not be quite factful:

    [Niall] must know that his is only one way of looking at modern world history, idiosyncratic in many ways, far to the right – or one of the rights – of the political spectrum, and consequently highly unsuited to be taught to children as their only “big story”, for “identity” purposes. It reads like propaganda. The book’s subtitle is highly problematical (just as Empire’s was: “How Britain Made the Modern World”, for goodness sake). “The West and the Rest” sets up a dichotomy that is profoundly false in many ways, and of course patronising to the people he lumps together as (his word) “resterners”. That’s quite apart from his appropriation – in his main title – of the word “civilization” to cover only the (mainly) capitalist world and the materialist values associated with it. And – lastly, so far as these big issues are concerned – there’s his claim, repeated throughout the book, that “western” predominance in the world has lasted 500 years, no less. Readers, and viewers of the TV series, must be warned that this is emphatically not what most imperial historians believe. A mere 150-200 years is their usual estimate. (See, for example, John Darwin’s excellent After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405.) But even if they’re all wrong, this at least shows that there can be no agreement about the “facts” of even the grandest narrative. That’s why schoolchildren need to be taught to be critical, before anything else.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/mar/25/civilization-west-rest-niall-ferguson-review

    Just as energy alone can’t explain politics, politics alone won’t help in distinguishing the development of China, Russia, and Angola.

    (I mention Angola not to attract Fernandesque peddling.)

    The structure of the argument is similar to StevenP’s. Find some success story. Find something that you liked in that success story. Say that this thing you liked is responsible for the success.

    It’s hard to argue against sucesss on the public sphere. Harder than in Poker, as PaulS reminded earlier. While there surely must be something that explains the success we observe, setting up a narrative of heroism bypasses the contingencies of specific circumstances. Yet if there’s one thing we should take away from Darwin, it’s that sometimes we just get lucky.

    In a way, JeffN’s storification proceeds the same way. Start with the fact that we needed fossil fuels. Add in the belief that nukes are a very Good Thing. Proceed to bulldoze everything you perceive as standing in the way of these two things. (Then wonder why these two things can be plugged in every single comment.) No need to dispute that these two things obey some some kind of iron law (although I do) to observe that this argument structure abides by some kind of ClimateBall law.

  65. Hi Willard
    That’s a fascinating graph. Was the downturn in 2011 simply driven by the recession? That would make sense.
    According to Wikipedia, 5% of Chinese power produced came from wind and solar. The capacity is 13%, but production is less. 19% comes from big dams and ~70% is from coal, natural gas and oil. The remaining ~5% is nuclear, biomass and pumped hydro.

    Hi Oilman,
    “LOL… Nope. Germany… Did you see what they pay?!?!? One of the highest prices in the world, and its Europe’s economic power house.”

    Germany has long exempted it’s biggest industries (those that use the most energy) from energiewende mandates and high prices. Mostly because the biggest industries have their own power plants.
    You are correct, as long as countries avoid applying your preferred policies to their economies, they remain economic powerhouses.
    Large manufacturers in Germany are investing in cleaner energy. They are building natural gas power plants.

  66. anoilman says:

    Willard… I prefer videos to explain broad ideas. I do truly get that you need to look further if you want real understanding.

    For instance.. in all this talk about China.. the order of events is being side stepped. The people started modernizing before central policies were crafted because life sucked. In many respects, China’s growth is driven by its people, not authoritarian policy. That and coming from nothing would make a huge difference in how its growth is fueled.

    But two Germanys from relatively similar start points diverged over politics. I think that energy sources were hardly the driver in those differences, and the associated differences in quality of life. (That’s why I like that video.)

    By the way, if you’re looking for a new business friendly dictatorships to talk about… check out Rwanda. After you get past the icky bits.. I’m sure even Mosher would like the place;
    https://www.forbesafrica.com/economy/2018/12/05/rwanda-the-emerging-economy-to-watch/

  67. As Pinker, Ridley and Rosling pretty convincingly demonstrate, any other era of human history would describe the present as some utopian dream, in terms of longevity, human health, infant and maternal mortality, lack of violence, food availability, availability of potable water, availability of affordable energy, etc.

    JeffN perhaps missed a few intermediate steps in his argumentation. But the fact is that energy availability and development are so closely linked that it’s difficult to separate the two in terms of cause and effect. Humans need access to energy to develop. As they develop, they immediately use some of their new wealth to increase energy use. This spirals upward until they reach somewhere near the $22,000 USD GDP level at which point something close to saturation occurs in energy consumption per capita. Then begins a sort of ‘pause’ where energy consumption varies slightly around a robust level–but with wide variation between cultures. Where the US has declined from about 327 mbtu per person per year to about 308, countries like The Netherlands or Denmark are stable at around 160 mbtu per capita annually. Germany is at about 250.

    Isolating energy from the rest of the development story, to the extent that one would want to do it, shows fairly clearly that cultures are fairly indiscriminate about their fuel portfolio and consumption as they develop. Faster better cheaper is what matters. When they reach a plateau, they do begin to discriminate, much to the benefit of the environment.

    Our task is to make alternatives available to developing countries that fit into the faster better cheaper narrative. We’re not doing a very good job of that at present.

    Western climate policy is essentially subtractive, taking fuels and technologies out of the picture for various reasons, like hydroelectricity and nuclear power as well as fossil fuels. And we’re rich enough to afford this if this is what we want to do.

    A better strategy for those not as rich as us would be additive–making better alternatives available, including hydroelectricity (although China is doing this for us even before they get rich), nuclear (although South Korea is working on this already) and, sadly, natural gas as a bridge fuel, which is where the US could play a role if it chose to.

    As I have been known to write elsewhere, the key is to replace coal.

    Human emissions of greenhouse gases are a global issue. However, the solution is not. By 2050 the top 5 emitters will account for 40% of emissions. The second five will be responsible for 11%. If we can get fuel portfolio change in China, the US, Russia, Japan and India we can conceivably halve emissions within a few decades. The strategies for each country will be different–but all involve getting coal out of the picture.

  68. anoilman says:

    jeffnsails850: Natural Gas in Germany you say… maybe.

    That would be a bad idea on all fronts, and even the Germans know it.
    Why do you think Germany is wining and dining Azerbaijan? Its not because they like them.

    And then there’s the competition. Renewables;
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-06/germany-may-never-get-a-natural-gas-boom-even-with-coal-exit

    To be sure.. they will hedge their bets against Russia;
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2018/11/13/germanys-first-lng-terminal-is-the-right-move-for-europes-energy-security/

  69. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    As Pinker, Ridley and Rosling pretty convincingly demonstrate, any other era of human history would describe the present as some utopian dream, in terms of longevity, human health, infant and maternal mortality, lack of violence, food availability, availability of potable water, availability of affordable energy, etc.

    I suggest you watch the Intelligence (2) debate posted above.

    You don’t have to go so far in your speculation, to mind read and draw 100% certain conclusions about what people whose life experiences you can barely even imagine might think about the unassailability of the conclusions of Pinker et al.

    Just watch the debate, and you’ll see that a contemporary western audience seems to draw conclusions quite different than your own, and those you foist onto others in an massive exercise of projection and confirmation bias.

    Note, that the proponents of “we’re better off than we ever were” may not be as adept in arguing the case as Pinker and Ridley, but they do make specific reference to arguments of both.

    Of course, maybe if the audience were as clear-eyed, unprejudiced, knowledgeable, and intelligent as yourself, they would have aligned with your view, but their response to the debate shows that in the real world, with the real limitations of the unenlightened masses in place, there is direct evidence you’re flat out wrong.

  70. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Our task is to make alternatives available to developing countries that fit into the faster better cheaper narrative.

    A better strategy for those not as rich as us…

    21st Century White-Man’s narrative, and better strategy-for-the-poor, acknowledged.

    I’m already feeling more hopeful.

    The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.

  71. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Let me see if I understand your perspective.

    No. I’ve said China suffered a combination of artificial restrictions on economic growth imposed by their government and extreme poverty (people don’t supply a product that its users cannot afford to use, even in communist countries). Once those restrictions were lifted demand for economic growth grew and so did income, that resulted in a rapid increase in demand for more energy.

    From reading what you wrote, it seems to me that you’re effectively arguing that economic growth and progress are rather like a force of nature, As such, what governments need to do is remove “artificial restrictions,” and growth will take place, which in turn will require energy in the cheapest form it can be made available, (and I wonder if it would be accurate to add, independent of any external considerations or any government actions that might be undertaken to ensure low cost).

    Well, I guess my main questions about that are: (1) how do you define “artificial,” (2) how do you account for the various external pressures placed upon China pre-1980, that might not accurately be described as “artificial restrictions and (3), (as a kind of extension of question #1) by what criteria do you determine that the vast governmental actions and restrictions in China post-1980 wouldn’t fall under the umbrella of “artificial restrictions?”

    PS –

    I still don’t get why you inevitably link any previous element of discussion to expressing your feelings about renewables. Simply repeating that form of action doesn’t actually explain the reasons why you do it. I was hoping that you would address the question directly, rather than effectively saying, “I do it because I do it – here, let me show you how I do it.”

  72. Willard says:

    > The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.

    Alternatively:

    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/future-is-bright/

    ***

    > That’s a fascinating graph.

    Hi JeffN. I wonder if that fascination implies you’ve never looked and that you’re punching hippies without any factfulness. Or if now that you’ve baited us with “but China” you’ll just say “hi X” and then switch to your usual “but nukes” or its contraposition, i.e. “renewables suck.” Whatever is the case, I thought that the limits of justified disingenuousness have been established earlier, i.e.:

    Much of the commentary here doesn’t seem to be reality based–does this really go back to those halcyon days when everyone was screaming at a socialist social scientist from way up north?

    That’s the lowest you can afford right now. Please try not to push it further with your future comments.

    Thank you for your concerns.

  73. Reverend Jeb, my strategy to provide monetary aid and technology transfer to developing nations to replace coal seems preferable to the Westsplaining alternative, which seems to be ‘you heathen can’t develop because we spewed all the allowable CO2.” Perhaps your impression is different.

  74. Willard says:

    > Human emissions of greenhouse gases are a global issue. However, the solution is not. By 2050 the top 5 emitters will account for 40% of emissions. The second five will be responsible for 11%.

    Accounting for only 51% of the GHGs may not be the best way to argue for a non-global solution.

    ***

    > But two Germanys from relatively similar start points diverged over politics.

    I would dispute the similarity of the starting points, e.g::

    With a Produced National Income (PNI) of 270 billion marks and a population of 16.6 million people, the German Democratic Republic is generally credited with the highest standard of living in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA). In 1984, one source estimated per capita income at $9,800, although the fact that the GDR mark is not convertible makes this estimate somewhat speculative when comparing it with the calculation of per capita income of western economics. Furthermore, the GDR has had a history of sustained economic growth. Since 1971, the GDR has had an average annual growth rate of more than 4.6 percent in its PNI. Many western analysts discount these figures by 2 percent per annum when recording GDR actual growth. Despite the fact that this net material product type measure does not properly account for services and inflation, this is a fairly impressive performance. The GDR generally is ranked among the ten top industrial nations of the world.

    For a country with a worthless money, it did relatively well.

  75. Joshua- Tom said it better than I: “But the fact is that energy availability and development are so closely linked that it’s difficult to separate the two in terms of cause and effect. Humans need access to energy to develop. As they develop, they immediately use some of their new wealth to increase energy use.”
    I would probably have used “economic growth” instead of “develop” but essentially the same.
    China’s limits were “artificial” in that they had regulations restricting the economy, when they lifted those regulations many, many things happened. Primarily rapid GDP and income growth concurrent with rapid emissions growth. The Chinese government states this- they set a new policy of economic reform, they said it was “new,” said it was “reform” and said the purpose was to loosen restrictions (on foreign investment, profit, private ownership of land and businesses), and they got what they expected from the reform.

    Forget the words “renewables” or “nukes” for a minute- a massive nation built a brand new energy grid almost from scratch. The world desperately needed that to happen without coal being the main supplier of power, but coal was the main supplier and emissions quintupled. Tom, again, said it better than I- “Our task is to make alternatives available to developing countries that fit into the faster better cheaper narrative. We’re not doing a very good job of that at present.”
    Otherwise they won’t use them just like China didn’t. Do you think it’s important to fit into the faster, better, cheaper model? If not, how’s that working out? If so, what does that mean?

    Willard- Chill. I knew Europe dialed way back on its investment in renewables, but I confess I did not know it was that bad until I saw your graph. No hippies involved. It’s probably because I subscribe to the Washington Post, which assures me that every nation except Donald Trump’s ‘Merica is humming right along with the switch to windmills and solar panels. (That would be Koch Brothers-punching). I knew that wasn’t entirely true but.. wow.

  76. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    Reverend Jeb, my strategy to provide monetary aid and technology transfer to developing nations to replace coal

    Nice. Common ground

    seems preferable to the Westsplaining alternative, which seems to be ‘you heathen can’t develop because we spewed all the allowable CO2.” Perhaps your impression is different.

    Too bad you seem compelled to follow up with such juvenile bullshit.

  77. anoilman says:

    Willard… I’m talking about post WWII, and not about Pre-Wall-Tear-Down. By the time you reach German reunification, they have diverged significantly.

  78. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Tom said it better than I:

    I said something similar as well. Which hopefully means that maybe we’ve put to bed the idea that you would line up with the many “skeptics” who (from what I can see) leverage and exploit “cheap fossil fuels” to virtue signal their concern about da poorz. Not sure why that took so long, but maybe we finally got there?

    China’s limits were “artificial” in that they had regulations restricting the economy,

    China continued to have many regulations restricting the economy, and still do to this day. And now I guess we’re stuck in another recursive loop – because what I’m asking you is whether you singularly and arbitrarily assign responsibility to the lifting of (as of yet unspecified) “artificial restrictions” or whether you place them into some larger context (along with other influences, along with any variety of restrictions, etc.)

    The Chinese government states this- they set a new policy of economic reform, they said it was “new,” said it was “reform” and said the purpose was to loosen restrictions (on foreign investment, profit, private ownership of land and businesses), and they got what they expected from the reform.

    There were a series of “new” “reforms,” of course, over a period of many years, both pre- and post-1980.

    Forget the words “renewables” or “nukes” for a minute-

    You gotta admit, it’s pretty funny for you to be telling me to forget about renewables and nukes, right?

    “Our task is to make alternatives available to developing countries that fit into the faster better cheaper narrative. We’re not doing a very good job of that at present.”

    For just this minute, I’ll chase down what you’re peddling. I agree that the “better” is key, but the “cheaper” is far more problematic, as it’s wide open. Having it be “cheaper” for them, without subsidization, will not, IMO, be sufficient – particularly if proponents of the “cheaper” sales pitch ignore externalities, those that are climate change related and otherwise.

    Do you think it’s important to fit into the faster, better, cheaper model? If not, how’s that working out? If so, what does that mean?

    Tom spoke to one, (probably relatively small) component above: provide monetary aid and technology transfer to developing nations to replace coal

  79. Willard says:

    > I knew Europe dialed way back on its investment in renewables, but I confess I did not know it was that bad until I saw your graph.

    Just when I thought you were onto “but China,” JeffN. I momentarily forgot that you prioritize renewables bashing.

    The graph I showed earlier was about investment size. Less investment money does not always translate in less returns: the share of renewables doubled between 2004 and 2016 in the EU.

    That should tell you something about the renewables’ price.

  80. paulski0 says:

    As an interlude, Derren Brown’s The System was quite a nice illustration of survivor bias, though that’s kind of a spoiler.

  81. Willard says:

    Is that a spoiler. That is a spoiler:

    I surmise we could rumsfeldize winning.

  82. Steven Mosher says:

    “LOL… Nope. Germany… Did you see what they pay?!?!? One of the highest prices in the world, and its Europe’s economic power house.”

    EU .. rolls eyes..

    And for FFS the chart you looked at does not represent industrial scale purchases
    If you looked at the 2016 prices for 70-150 GWhours there are more expensive places than
    germany: UK, Lithiania, Slovakia, Italy. For industrial scale purchasing the differentials between say germany and even ERCOT are not that huge. they are big enough to impair some industry or
    rather force it to move to other locations. Go shopping for GWs and get back to me.
    luv them renewables, especially the excess!

    In the end governments will make sure that key industry pays rate small enough to be competitive.
    consumers will just have to suck it up

    and smart governments keep food shelter and fuel priced low enough to avoid riots.
    and if they can hide dispartities in wealth, all the better.

  83. Residential rates in the poorer parts of the world are usually a lot more expensive. Last time I looked, in Madagascar electricity was twice as expensive as in California.

  84. I’ve just listened to most of the Intelligence2 debate and just it all pretty vague. None of the arguments were terribly convincing, and all the speakers seemed to just be going for laughs, than actually trying to construct some kind of coherent argument.

  85. Greg Robie says:

    Isn’t “…a side effect that we probably should be taking seriously” a phrasing that discounts our scientific knowledge and represent a good example of very poor scientific communication?

    Tim Garrett’s papers on civilization as a heat engine have argued effectively that the cause of this best-of-times-and-better-days-ahead pablum, and concerning our economic meme, is the heating is a feature, not a side effect. Isn’t any capacity to think of this as a side effect a thanksNOT! to motivated reasoning? Kevin Anderson, who needs no introduction here, has astutely pointed out the ‘feature’ of our pretending to care about about climate change as emissions continue to rise (~60%) for the past quarter of a century [and counting] of saying otherwise. How long has he been saying that economist trumps physics? Last year’s Nobel Laureate in Economics, William Nordhaus, who gifted politicians with an economic model to reason away the constraints of the scientific 1°C upper boundary and keep the destructive forcings alive and well, now is on the record at COP 24 (as he updates and extends his model’s time frame) that a 2.5°C of warming is the lowest that can be achieved. And though not explicitly stated in what I read in the 2016 paper about his updates), probably with the same caveats regarding the likelihood of 2°C being other than game theory propaganda.

    Additionally, and relative to the Inuit hunter observation shared in comments here, Chris Hall sent me a paper by Magnar the other day that announces that the lower stratosphere in the Arctic has gone from cooling to warming. Some of this is reasoned to be a consequence of the ‘Ozone Hole’ healing. According to this paper, the models currently assume the stratosphere will continue to cool. And, this shift from cooling to warming has not yet started in the Antarctic. In addition, his SOUSY data, as well as the radiosonde data from Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, which Chris also sent me, demonstrates a seasonal variation in the Arctic tropopause and that it is changing.

    Doesn’t the latter validate the Inuit hunter’s generational observation concerning this season shift elevation of the tropopause (regardless of the dynamics involved in the measured rise of the tropopause)? Have the Inuit hunter’s observations, from at least a decade ago, been too easily dismissed? Doesn’t the treatment they received in the comments here during the one time there as some consideration of them, demonstrate an observer bias; a lack of curiosity relative to a known unknown: A significant “why” concerning the divergence between observes Arctic sea ice loss and the models’ predictions?

    If so, isn’t “probably should”, even discounting any British cultural proclivity for understatement, scientifically, a falsehood? It may be a brilliant blogging style, but …& then there’s physics!?!

    😉

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  86. Chubbs says:

    Poor review for the recently published “The Uninhabitable Earth”.

    “It dawned on me that the meaning of the term Uninhabitable Earth in his title only relates to its fitness to support humans – an astonishingly reductive view of a planet”

    https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/the-uninhabitable-earth-review-astonishingly-reductive-view-of-impending-disaster-1.3791418

  87. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    None of the arguments were terribly convincing, and all the speakers seemed to just be going for laughs, than actually trying to construct some kind of coherent argument.

    I mostly agree (I thought Little made some decent case), but I did find the outcome of the audience voting surprising. I world have thought that the audience would be solidly in the “we’ve never had it so good camp” and find arguments from that side quite convincing. Maybe the rather dramatic failure of that side was just a reflection of inept debaters. Or maybe the political and “spiritual” themes of the other side resonate with people strongly.

  88. Joshua says:

    I’m struck that so much of this discussion looks like a miniaturized version of the debate about neoliberalism:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

  89. Joshua says:

    Discussion here about neoliberalism, and reduction in extreme poverty in China,… At about 27 minutes in:

    A New Progressive Foreign Policy (Robert Wright & Samuel Moyn)

  90. Mark M says:

    Hullo from nosegoblin, blocked on twitter.

    “It was about whether or not humankind’s best days lie ahead.”

    How green is your coal?

    Germany replaces domestic coal with imported coal

    https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/02/18/germany-to-import-45-million-tonnes-of-hard-coal-this-year/

    With only 12 years until doomsday, according to your ‘science’, it’s the worst apocalypse. Ever.

  91. Mark,
    I don’t think that you’re blocked on Twitter, but that’s probably an oversight on my part.

    With only 12 years until doomsday, according to your ‘science’, it’s the worst apocalypse. Ever.

    No, that’s not what the science says. You really should try to be better informed.

  92. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Maybe if you ran some ads or something you could get better quality contrarians?

  93. Or, there’d be some benefit to having the current ones 😉

  94. izen says:

    @-Mark M
    “How green is your coal?
    Germany replaces domestic coal with imported coal”

    It also replaces imported coal with renewable generation. There is a link in the article to a report that at least 3 millions tons less used last year because of new renewable sources.

    But it is unclear from your post whether you think this a good thing or bad thing ?

    Do you:-

    1) Think that it is a good thing that Germany continues to use coal in the face of mainstream science warning of the dangers of AGW because these concerns are over-estimated and using coal supports a traditional industry and worker who is at the top of the noble pantheon of working class heroes ?

    2)Think it is a bad thing that Germany continues to burn coal (although less of it) when it is an AGW risk. That they should face down the objections from business and labour trying to defend the rump of the coal industry. ?

    3)Think that because Germany has failed to abandon coal as fast as might be possible, any improvement/reduction in CO2 emissions, anywhere is rendered pointless !

  95. Willard says:

    You may not have met Nosy, izen. Nosy’s into #ButCAGW. He’s harder to meet these days since his @climatefrauds account has been suspended.

    To return to more recent crap by StevenP:

    Almost entirely absent from the 576 pages of Enlightenment Now are the social movements that for centuries fought for equal rights, an end to slavery, improved working conditions, a minimum wage, the right to organize, basic social protections, a cleaner environment, and a host of other progressive causes. The arc bending toward justice is no mystery: It bends because people force it to bend.

    […]

    [StevenP] fails to acknowledge how very closely his own radical optimism echoes some of the wilder—and more misguided—pronouncements about the human future from the Enlightenment itself. “The human species…is capable of…unbounded improvement…mankind in a later age are greatly superior to mankind in a former age.” This is not [StevenP], but Joseph Priestley, writing in 1771. “No bounds have been fixed to the improvement of the human faculties…the perfectibility of man is absolutely indefinite.” This time, the words come from the Marquis de Condorcet, in 1793–94. Even as Rousseau denounced progress, and Diderot and Voltaire cast a skeptical eye toward it, many other philosophes confidently predicted the end of war, the eradication of disease, and the worldwide spread of liberty. That few of these things have been fully realized after more than two centuries should, perhaps, have given [StevenP] pause. So, too, should the enormous spread of imperialism, the exploitation of indigenous peoples around the globe, the slaughter of world wars, the Holocaust, atomic weapons, and anthropogenic climate change, all of which followed the Enlightenment. A few months after writing his paean to human perfectibility, Condorcet committed suicide in prison during the Reign of Terror.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/waiting-for-steven-pinkers-enlightenment/

    For every Cassandra there’s a Pangloss.

  96. Joshua says:

    Pinker might not have intended the book to do so, but it will bolster the claims of populist politicians against intellectuals and movements for social justice while justifying misguided, coldhearted policy choices in the name of supposedly irrefutable scientific rationality.

    Well, maybe, but no one could have predicted THAT!?!? Any suggestion of accountability on Pinker’s part would be terribly unfair, and just another example of how harmful hippies are.

  97. David B. Benson says:

    This is comment #101 and the only reason for posting it is to point out that 101 is a prime number.

  98. Joshua says:

    I wonder if the following comment is destined to wind up in Judith’s moderation trash can?

    –snip–

    Joshua | February 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    So Judith –

    Would the Trump administration selecting scientists for participation on an ad hoc committee to review the evidence on climate change, specifically on the basis of their previously expressed conclusions about the evidence, be an example of some of that harmful scientific advocacy, and politicization of science, that concerns you?

  99. Willard says:

    One way to indirectly answer your question is simply to suggest that the last bastion of denial is in the White House:

    I wonder who could replace BruceH.

  100. JCH says:

    But only in some ways.

  101. Mark M says:

    Apologies to attp, twitter calls me a bot and suspended my account.

    [Etc. Twitter may not be that wrong, Nosy. You still peddle “But CAGW”. – W]

  102. Joshua says:

    That’s funny.

    So she’ll participate on a committee that is (no doubt going to be) constituted disproportionately of people who interpret the data in a particular way, but only if they’re to shed preconceptions.

    That should work out great!

    And be totally non-political!

  103. Joshua says:

    Then again. Everything is relative.

  104. Joshua says:

    Btw – if anyone comes across any outrage, outrage I sayin the “skepto-sphere” over Judith’s use of the D-word, please drop me a link.

    Its so offensive that she’d compare “skeptics” to holocaust deniers, I’m sure there will be flood of critical response.

    Interesting that she uses that term after having expressed her own deep offense at having it used to describe her.

  105. JCH says:

    When I revealed the source of the quote, it died.

  106. anoilman says:

    Joshua… Thanks for that article on the rise of China. I thought it was really interesting. The bit about replicating previous industrial revolutions was interesting. (I felt as though that explained why they had steam trains in the 1990s, long after they were abandoned in the developed world.)
    https://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/regional-economist/april-2016/chinas-rapid-rise-from-backward-agrarian-society-to-industrial-powerhouse-in-just-35-years

    It does give be pause for thought over what’s going on in Africa. China has been busy doing business there, and its jump starting their economies like the West never did. But how does that compare with the ‘controlled industrial revolution’ method?

  107. Steven Mosher says:

    Dudes should not be in fear of a Happer led cluster fuck.

  108. izen says:

    Happer is not the only AGW contrarian recruited by the Trump administration.
    Here is how regulatory capture happens.
    Someone who made over $2 million from lobbying for the coal and energy industry against environmental regulation gets appointed to the EPA and removes and blocks all the regulations that he had been opposing of delaying for the last few years.
    It is not quite a ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ situation…

    https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/20/epa-air-pollution-regulations-wehrum-1191258

    “The nation’s biggest coal-burning power companies paid a top lobbying firm millions of dollars to fight a wide range of Obama-era environmental rules, documents obtained by POLITICO reveal — shortly before one of the firm’s partners became President Donald Trump’s top air pollution regulator.
    Now that ex-partner, Bill Wehrum, is aggressively working to undo many of those same regulations at the EPA, where he is an assistant administrator in charge of issues including climate change, smog and power plants’ mercury pollution.”

  109. Joshua says:

    Yeah. All those dudes who are fearful shouldn’t be afraid. All of’em. And they shouldn’t make any comments at all, in fact, ‘Cause that would indicate fear. Dudes aren’t afraid, unlike sissies and hippies who get scared

    I see that it’s going to be an ad hoc committee, which means no reporting requirements, as opposed to an independent advisory committee.

    I wonder if that will work for judoth’s standards of transparency.

    Maybe no reporting requirement will help to ensure that only those who are not slaves to their preconceptions will join.

    I wonder if only “skeptics” will join? Wouldn’t that, by definition, mean that only those who are willing to let go of preconceptions have joined? Isn’t it true (as Judith’s logic goes) that not being a “skeptic, ” by definition, means you’re clinging to preconceptions (or, as the only other option, ignorant of the science)?

  110. Joshua says:

    There’s agem of a thread up and running at WUWT. Quite a few comments already taking great offense (offense I say) at the use of D-word…oh wait…. by the WAPO…

    Here’s a good comment…

    UNGN February 25, 2019 at 4:26 am
    Someone needs to compile a list of Journalists that call actual scientists “deniers”.

    Then we need to check on the journalist’s scientific credentials, backgrounds and their grades in the physics/chemistry classes they took in J-school.

    I wonder what Judith’s graded were? I imagine quite high.

    Nothing quite like a bit of selective outrage to shed light on an issue.

  111. The Washington Post is starting a series on climate change editorials with this lengthy, serious and direct editorial:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/want-a-green-new-deal-heres-a-better-one/2019/02/24/2d7e491c-36d2-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html

  112. Willard says:

    Looking back at Judy’s “denier” posts, I stumbled upon this video in a 2017-05 thread where JCH was advertising BillH’s demise:

    An intriguing bit from that thread:

    I applaud you, Willard, for one thing at least- you aren’t spending all your time reading folks like Joe Romm and posting the usual comments you see at sites like his: “gosh, I absolutely agree, Joe, Florida will be entirely underwater by October and Faux News just calls us alarmists! We need to switch to 100% hamster power by Friday and you’ve proven it can be done with the right tax policy!”

    https://judithcurry.com/2017/05/02/nyes-quadrant/#comment-848020

    Peddling “but CAGW” will never get old.

  113. anoilman says:

    Willard: Colbert explains it with SWAGGER! Happer, an expert in something entirely different from Climate Science.

    Mosher: I don’t agree that we shouldn’t be concerned about a Happer lead cluster truck. The issue is that Trump is giving a big podium to the ignorati, and that may have real world consequences. My only hope is that it seriously screws up, and results in them slinking away.

    The other question is ‘Why’? Why now? Why do this? Is it because fossil fuel interests want to deaden the Green New Deal? Who pulled those strings?

    And more seriously… Who’s paying Happer today? Who has his leash? Its unfortunate, but I have to ask.
    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2642410-Email-Chain-Happer-O-Keefe-and-Donors-Trust.html

  114. I remember that almost 2-year-old thread!
    Tom Fuller had good advice on that string of comments.

    “https://judithcurry.com/2017/05/02/nyes-quadrant/#comment-848054
    thomaswfuller2 | May 2, 2017 at 7:44 pm |
    Don’t play willard’s game, people. He’s just having fun.

  115. verytallguy says:

    Don’t play willard’s game, people. He’s just having fun.

    Fun? Fun????!!!!!

    How very dare he.

    Not taking “sceptics” seriously? Dreadful behaviour. Given how serious their concerns are.

  116. Willard says:

    > I remember that almost 2-year-old thread!

    Perhaps you remember that other one too, JeffN:

    Hey Keith. Naomi Klein’s column was “much discussed” because she agreed with the Heartland claims about the AGW – socialism. Remember, her writing was found to be… unhelpful to the cause.

    […]

    Nobody has ever needed a global treaty, a carbon tax or a cap-n-trade scheme to build a nuke plant in the US. Ever.

    http://www.keithkloor.com/?p=8488#comment-60433

    Vintage 2012-04.

  117. Willard says:

    > Not taking [contrarians] seriously? Dreadful behaviour. Given how serious their concerns are.

    In fairness, Denizens (among them JeffN) were not exactly winning by trying to reply to me in that thread, Very Tall. Paying due diligence to BretS’ crap is like shooting fish in a barrel. Also, not taking oneself too srsly is Very Important:

  118. verytallguy says:

    More than just Denizens made revealing comments on that thread.

    https://judithcurry.com/2017/05/02/nyes-quadrant/#comment-848115

    It’s the under-shelf volcanoes wot did it.

  119. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    Re a better caliber of freedom fighters…. I found this pretty interesting, you might also.

    https://megaphone.link/VMP4096663198

  120. JCH says:

    The amazing thing, and probably nobody will believe this, but somebody saying the same stewpudd stuff Happer says in a seminar for the employees of a major oil company would never be invited back. That lunacy is pretty much verboten.

  121. [Playing the ref. -W]

  122. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    That Wapo editorial was interesting. Thanks for the link. I think it could be a good meeting place for a discussion of common ground.

  123. anoilman says:

    Good news.. countries that craft policies to reduce CO2 emissions actually reduce CO2 emissions;
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/climate-change-co2-emissions-cut-in-18-countries-with-strong-policies-study-finds-1.5032468

  124. izen says:

    @-JCH
    “That lunacy is pretty much verboten.”

    Perhaps because if you are in business extracting, refining and providing a material product you have (at least to some extent) to deal with material reality.
    If you are in politics, ideological purity divorced from reality is more important.
    So while Happer’s comments may be lunacy in one context, it is a valuable contribution in the political sphere.

  125. Chubbs says:

    Any debate between JC, Lindzen, Christy and Happer will be off the record.

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/02/trump-climate-advisory-panel-structured-to-avoid-public-records/

  126. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    …will be off the record.

    Of course.

    How else would they be able to
    Speak-Truthiness-to-Power?

    Why – If these sorts of ‘debates’ were a matter of public record, why we might even be able to
    follow the money.

  127. Home team caught using the “D” word again:

    “Let’s have conservatives have a discussion instead of being in denial that this is a problem. You can’t just be a science denier.”
    — John Kasich, former Ohio governor

  128. Who knew that “denial” and “denier” were actually just accurate ways to describe the phenomenon?

    It’s just amazing to me how we got played on this. Same thing as carefully couching every scientific advance that lead to bad news with language – or a facile aside about “we have the solutions!” to balance with some optimism – to avoid being charged with being alarming about some truly alarming knowledge.

    The other policing of that was from the sci-comm folks who said that alarming people would shut them down.

    I think that the reception to David Wallace-Wells new book (and his 2017 NYMag article) and the more energized and focussed initiatives like Extinction Rebellion and Sunrise are taking those fallacies out to the curb as well.

  129. Joshua- I don’t think I’ve ever seen a major newspaper take that comprehensive and in-depth a review with their editorial board. I thought it was very well done. I’m a bit surprised it didn’t get more of a reaction but I imagine people are chewing on it. I hope they follow up and invite people to submit op-eds addressing what they wrote from all angles. That could be an interesting debate.

  130. Willard says:

    Some things never change:

  131. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Stunning consistency since then…

    Obviously, there must be some sort of conspiracy.

    Hell – If I didn’t know all about Mr T., and stealth advocacy, and the consensus police, I might have to admit that the laws of physics have not changed much since Duran Duran.

  132. Willard says:

    Such a shame, Rev, to believe in escape, a life on every face, and that’s a change:

  133. izen says:

    @-W
    “Some things never change:”

    But the political climate has.
    An EPA that produced a report on AGW was acceptable under a GOP president like Reagan.
    There is no chance it would see the light of day under the present administration.

    It is almost as if as the temperature has risen since 1983 the denail has got stronger.

  134. izen says:

    Survivor bias ??

  135. Willard says:

    I guess “some things never change” implies that some things do change:

  136. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    I see you got a response at Judith’s.

    Not to make to much of one response….but no amount of hippie-punching and AOC-hating will make the obstacle of the imbedded, reflexive, tribalistic, knee-jerk reaction on your side of the ideological divide, to anything that contains the sequence of the letters t, a, and x in that sequence.

    Let’s conduct an experiment. Why don’t you weigh in at Judith’s to discuss how to finance a massive build up of nuclear energy?

    I’ll supply popcorn for anyone who’s hungry

  137. Here’s a link to that 1983 EPA doc Willard references. It’s a good read.
    https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi/9101HEAX.PDF?Dockey=9101HEAX.PDF

    Hi Josh- I replied to that reply. There is a conservative argument for carbon taxes (as long as we permit alternatives). I’ll refrain from the nuke thing mostly because it’s misunderstood- as the 1983 doc above notes: low cost, plentiful electricity alternatives are the only things that reduce demand for oil and coal. I certainly have my opinions on what provides low cost plentiful electricity. Yours differ, it’s a free country.
    Though interestingly, the EPA thought coal would not be replaced and we’d be using synthetic oil and gas today made from coal. They anticipated the shale oil and gas booms but placed them after 2025. The assumed China and the USSR and Eastern Europe would basically always be poor and communist.
    Very interestingly, they argue that high taxes (even really, really high taxes) on carbon wouldn’t solve the issue- a outright ban on fossil fuels is necessary. They also note that whether you go with bans or high taxes, it’s basically pointless unless those are applied globally.
    They projected fewer emissions from high solar scenarios than high nuclear scenarios (I guess they assume storage or low use at night maybe I missed that part. I did a speed read). I didn’t see wind at all in the report, but biomass gets a nod.
    The several surprising assumptions say nothing about the quality of the report- only that it is very hard to predict the future.

  138. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Remember when you said I was ducking?

  139. josh- what am I ducking? I propose we finance the next massive buildup of nuclear the same way we financed the last one. I don’t think that will generate much popcorn eating.
    Not specific enough (or not enough government involvement)? Okay. The feds should at a minimum invest in R&D for next gen nuclear – this includes incentivizing university programs to produce nuclear engineers, pre-approve sites and designs, open the waste storage facility (if it’s even still necessary).
    I don’t think it will do much in the short term- low natural gas prices are preventing nuclear right now. That’s fine with me, gas reduces emissions and provides low-cost, reliable energy.

    What are some of your thoughts on the specifics in the Washington Post editorial?

  140. Joshua says:

    rust –

    It’s just amazing to me how we got played on this.

    FWIW, Looks to me like the public discussion on climate change policy might, and I say might, be shifting a bit.

    Yes, we have someone as president who will never address climate change in any fashion, and yes, over the last decade or so the Pub side of the aisle have moved more or less lockstep in that same direction.

    On the other hand, we have far more Demz in office who look at climate change as a serious issue, and it will likely be a larger part of the presidential primary candidates’ platforms than ever before.

    In the longer term, I have no idea what that means. Does it mean that Demz are all that much more likely to be shut out from policy-making power, because climate change is an issue that negatively affects their electoral prospects?

    Or does it mean that Demz are more likely to have the political power to implement policies to address climate change, and are clearly more likely to affectuate such policies if they do get elected,

    Well, it looks to me like we won’t have too long to wait to find out…. but for the life of me, I don’t see why anyone would think that we have been, let alone worry about having been, “played” w/r/t to the use of the D-word. I can see no evidence that the use of that term has had any material impact one way or the other, except among a relatively tiny subset of the public who have been perpetually focused on the use of that term despite the lack of evidence that it has had any material. Impact on the larger societal impact of viewpoints on climate change.

    Maybe just let it go?

  141. Steven Mosher says:

    “Any debate between JC, Lindzen, Christy and Happer will be off the record.”

    hmm.

    hardly seems logical given that the NCA had to follow the data quality act.

    wonder if Judith will agree to join a secret society.

    wonder if Koonin buys into that type of thing.

  142. Steven Mosher says:

    “Yeah. All those dudes who are fearful shouldn’t be afraid. All of’em. And they shouldn’t make any comments at all, in fact, ‘Cause that would indicate fear. Dudes aren’t afraid, unlike sissies and hippies who get scared”

    maybe you dont get it. Anytime you can get skeptics together in a room to actually commit in ink to what they believe or what they find questionable is a bonus and should be encouraged.

    The lack of transparency of course bothers me, but the comeback is pretty fucking simple climateball 101. Didnt you notice? after climategate the white hats started sharing data and code
    and the only people refusing to share code and data have been skeptics.

    You see here is the thing. Somewhere in the core of every skeptic is a logical contradiction or inconsistency. To build a science to actually explain shit you have to strive for consistency between all your beliefs. But skeptics dont need to do this. They just act like a defense lawyer attacking every piece of evidence without having to offer their own coherent view of evidence.
    So on tuesday they will question the temperature record and on thursday will use it to support
    some stupid solar hypothesis.

    Any time you can get them together to produce a document you can almost assure yourself that these contradictions will bubble up.. in one place.

    So I think we should encourage them to red team, heck democrats in congress should insist
    that it go forward but under rules requiring transparency and openness
    and democrats should insist that the public be involved.

    Tony heller needs to be on the team. Ned, Anthony, tallbloke, Sky dragons. Rud.
    willis. Big ole red team!
    Its not an offical red team unless the reddest of the red are on it and Its not
    true science unless its open and transparent.

    Give them exactly what the ask for, plus a couple things extra..

    Funny story: at Lisbon Judith and skeptics were moaning about GCM time never being devoted
    to natural variability.

    Wise fucker Hans Von Storch offered up GCM time and they all shut up.

    Give them what they ask for with a slight twist. More skeptics, and open records.

  143. Steven Mosher says:

    “:Very interestingly, they argue that high taxes (even really, really high taxes) on carbon wouldn’t solve the issue- a outright ban on fossil fuels is necessary. ”

    Buy all the coal.

    Lets see, in the US you could buy all the coal sold for around 30B.

    Hillary 65 Million voters:

    Cheap.

    worldwide coal. ~75Billion.

    take one for team hippy!

  144. Steven Mosher says:

    “An EPA that produced a report on AGW was acceptable under a GOP president like Reagan.”

    the skeptical line on this is that Teller had it out for the coal industry and wanted to push nukes.

  145. izen says:

    @-SM
    “the skeptical line on this is that Teller had it out for the coal industry and wanted to push nukes.”

    An argument difficult to reconcile with;-
    “Though interestingly, the EPA thought coal would not be replaced and we’d be using synthetic oil and gas today made from coal.”

  146. Marco says:

    “the skeptical line on this is that Teller had it out for the coal industry and wanted to push nukes.”

    Thanks for confirming the conspiration ideation among “skeptics” :-).

  147. Jeffh says:

    …and in other news President Trump has assembled his team of experts including Daniel Shenton and John Davis of the Flat Earth Society, rapper BoB, former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and music entrepeneur Thomas Dolby to re-assess scientific evidence that the world is round. This team of renowned experts will invariably prove that the Earth is, indeed, flat, thus debunking the views of 99.999999% of the scientific community. Any debate’s between Trump’s hand-picked team will, of course, be off the record.

  148. Marco says:

    Heh. Steven Mosher wrote “the only people refusing to share code and data have been skeptics.”

    Case-in-point:
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/34269B14670E738F57DC96C4D846E6

  149. Izen: “An argument difficult to reconcile with;-
    “Though interestingly, the EPA thought coal would not be replaced and we’d be using synthetic oil and gas today made from coal.”

    Not really. They thought coal would be used to make synthetic oil for transportation instead of electricity, which would come from solar and nuclear. The synthetic oil would be necessary because of the energy value in liquid fuels (according to their projection) plus peak conventional oil and the projection of late development of unconventional oil. The key to replacing synthetic oil in transportation with electricity, according to the report, would be low cost plentiful electricity presumably along with improvements – from 1983 standards – in battery technology.

  150. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Tony heller needs to be on the team. Ned, Anthony, tallbloke, Sky dragons. Rud.
    willis. Big ole red team!
    Its not an offical red team unless the reddest of the red are on it and Its not
    true science unless its open and transparent.
    Give them exactly what the ask for, plus a couple things extra..

    Yeah – Sure – Great idea, Mosh.

    The bigger and redder, the better.

    We have all the time in the world to go ’round the table for a few thousand more hands of pseudo-scientific “Go Fish”, and run a few hundred more pointless audits of da data and da code. Let’s have a Federal Commission of Inquiry. And maybe another UN Panel. Bring it on, Happer, Christy, and Curry. Let’s throw in Ridley, Rose and, what the hell, a Delingpole. Peterson is prolly available for the right price. Can I get a Monckton?

    As a mutual acquaintance might say: “and then there’s physics”.


    Funny story: at Lisbon Judith and skeptics were moaning about GCM time never being devoted
    to natural variability.
    Wise fucker Hans Von Storch offered up GCM time and they all shut up.

    So, THAT’s why we never hear from contrarians anymore about da modulz or natural variability.

    That is funny.

  151. JCH says:

    I don’t think Curry will be invited.

  152. anoilman says:

    Mosher… what the Pseudo Skeptics and Luckwarmers want is to prevent\delay doing anything.

    Giving them a podium to quibble stupidly isn’t useful especially when the vast number are unqualified.

    Where is Willard’s WW2 army manual on how to gum up the works… its so insightful.

  153. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    maybe you dont get it. Anytime you can get skeptics together in a room to actually commit in ink to what they believe or what they find questionable is a bonus and should be encouraged.

    I think you missed my point.

    You seemed to be characterizing people as being “afraid.” And you seemed to be misinterpreting criticism, of the White House formulating a committee, specifically for the purpose of providing scientific cover for the political decisions they intend to make, as a sign of “fear.”

    My point is that criticism of the politicization of science isn’t an indication of “fear.” Such macho posturing, IMO, is counterproductive.

    but the comeback is pretty fucking simple climateball 101. …

    Sure. But there’s more to life than climateball. And, IMO, climateball is pretty irrelevant. Climateball is a function of the larger forces in play, IMO, not the driver. It’s a symptom of the underlying disease. The formation of this committee won’t change anything, IMO. It is merely yet another indication of the Trump administration’s intent to roll carry out it’s industry-driven agenda w/r/t energy policies. The committee will merely function to rubber stamp what’s already in the pipeline. It’s an part of the ongoing efforts, on the part of Pubz and the Trump administration, to mitigate the impact of the “consensus” communicating its view w/r/t the risks of ACO2 emissions.

    It is amusing to me, however, to read when apologists suggest that the committee is somehow going to represent an open look at the data from people who are willing to overturn their preconceptions. It seems pretty obvious to me that the formation of this committee is, specifically, an attempt to enlarge efforts to rationalize and promote existing preconceptions.

  154. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    I think you missed my point.

    Perhaps he did, Josh.
    But then Mosh has been fairly busy with taking credit for transparency in climate science:

    Didnt you notice? after climategate the white hats started sharing data and code

    Think about it…
    In the absence of the ethical compass that Steve and Tom generously gave to the climate-concerned world, those bad-guys in the white hats might still be getting away with… all those… evil… secret… thingies.

    How could you not notice the paradigm change?

    It’s kinda like when Berkeley Earth totally confounded the science behind the consensus-approved temperature records.

    OTOH – Maybe we just don’t get it.

  155. Joshua says:


    Didnt you notice?

    You know, if only Steven would toot his own horn a bit, the unsuspecting public might have a better chance of learning about his noble contributions and stunning brilliance. But alas, asking Steven to be just a smidgen self-promotional would be as futile as asking a leapord to change his spots, or asking hippies to be more macho like dudes and not be so afraid of their own shadows.

  156. Willard says:

    > IMO, climateball is pretty irrelevant.

    Irrelevant for what?

    IMO, that opinion may make Cambridge Analytica sad.

  157. Rob Ryan says:

    I know I’m late to this post and its comments and so someone may have already said this (I didn’t have time to read every comment) but I would quibble with “On the other hand, we’re also a highly intelligent species that probably understands the world around us better than we’ve ever done before.” There is much we do know more about in terms of physics, chemistry, and life sciences but complexity of the economic/technical global network has grown so that, in my opinion, we know much less about the potential unintended consequences of that network.

  158. Joshua says:

    Willard –


    Irrelevant for what?

    I guess to answer the question, we’d have to agree upon a definition of climateball. As such, it’s a mistake for me to say what I said, because I can’t really evaluate the relevancy of an ambiguous term.

    I think that in general, the back and forth over rhetorical strategies and tactics is a symptom rather than a driver in the public’s formation of views on climate change.

    I don’t know how the polarization started, exactly, but once the pattern of polarization became a prominent feature of climate change policy development, developments like the formation of a committee, or responses to that formation, IMO, which might seem critical within a “climate-o-spheric” window, are irrelevant for determining which policies will be implemented.

    IMO, this committee will be a cover for the policies that the Trump administration has already determined to pursue. It will not meaningfully detemine which policies will be implemented. And reactions to the committee won’t meaningfully alter the course of policy development either

    Do you disagree?

  159. Rob,

    complexity of the economic/technical global network has grown so that, in my opinion, we know much less about the potential unintended consequences of that network.

    Sure, and I think it is reasonable to be concerned about unintended consequences. However, I also think that we have sufficient understanding to take action in some circumstances. I don’t think that we should assume that some magic of the marketplace, or our inate ingenuity, will somehow – by themselves – lead to us solving the problems we face.

  160. izen says:

    @-Joshua
    “I think that in general, the back and forth over rhetorical strategies and tactics is a symptom rather than a driver in the public’s formation of views on climate change.”

    Or perhaps Climateball(tm) is a feedback rather than a forcing.

    The public’s formation of views on climate change is largely determined by what ‘opinion formers’ say, and how they say it. (usually public/political figures or media a person is tribally allied to)

    At one point in the past there was little polarisation over the reality and risk of AGW and the need to respond.
    There is documentary evidence that the shift was the result an orchestrated, intentional campaign, the manufacture of doubt.
    The Frank Luntz memo is the clearest example of how careful attention to word use, climate change not global warming, is a core Climateball feature, not a post hoc classification.

  161. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

    With regards to unintended consequences:
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/27/firefighters-tackle-huge-blaze-on-saddleworth-moor

    Who would have thought we would have to consider moorland fire risk in the UK in February?

  162. Steven Mosher says:

    “Giving them a podium to quibble stupidly isn’t useful especially when the vast number are unqualified.”

    you are not giving them a podium. They are taking one. The best you can do is try to influence the conditions under which they speak. But you probably cannot stop them from doing what they want to do.

    Assuming there is an audience of undecideds, I’d opt for trying to shape or limit what they do,
    rather than fighting fruitlessly against them being able to do it.

    Like when GWPF wanted to run their temperature review.
    I said bring it. they could not.

    As for delay? The biggest cause of delay in the end will be hippy infighting.

  163. Steven Mosher says:

    “We have all the time in the world to go ’round the table for a few thousand more hands of pseudo-scientific “Go Fish”, and run a few hundred more pointless audits of da data and da code. Let’s have a Federal Commission of Inquiry. And maybe another UN Panel. Bring it on, Happer, Christy, and Curry. Let’s throw in Ridley, Rose and, what the hell, a Delingpole. Peterson is prolly available for the right price. Can I get a Monckton?”

    so your hypothesis is that but for this joke red team, action would happen sooner?
    but for this red team we would have the NGD next week?
    thats funny.

    Like I said a few times here. you all fight amongst yourselves for a few years and get back to us when you have a proposal. Or sideline the idiots with their lame red team and work with pragmatic folks to get started with what can be accomplished until the next power change.

  164. Steven Mosher says:

    “You seemed to be characterizing people as being “afraid.”

    err no. you seem to be over reading a phrase. Literally I dont think anyone is in fear of the red team. they act like it sometimes, maybe they fear the possible delay ( a couple have hinted at that).

    But hey, go ahead and list the problems in letting idiots get together to do what they already do?
    numbered list will be fine

  165. Joshua says:

    izen –

    Or perhaps Climateball(tm) is a feedback rather than a forcing.

    Sure, could be. That’s a useful way to frame it, IMO.

    The public’s formation of views on climate change is largely determined by what ‘opinion formers’ say, and how they say it. (usually public/political figures or media a person is tribally allied to)…

    […]

    …There is documentary evidence that the shift was the result an orchestrated, intentional campaign, the manufacture of doubt.
    The Frank Luntz memo is the clearest example of how careful attention to word use, climate change not global warming, is a core Climateball feature, not a post hoc classification.

    That isn’t really quite how I see it. I’m not sure how we’d compare the different possibilities analytically…

    One of the climate chance “skeptics” that I have had reasonable discussions with, named John Pittman, once discussed with me his views on where the polarization started. IIRC, his argument was that it started with an inherently political component of the IPCC mandate.

    Now I don’t buy that argument, and I don’t doubt the obvious reality of the “merchants of doubt” component or the reality of the Luntz memo, but I do think that the precise origins of the politicization are pretty murky, and I do think that regardless of how it originated, pretty early on the issue became inextricably linked to ideological orientation. There does seem to be a rather straight line from certain intrinsic, structural attributes of the policy implications of climate change, to preexisting ideological triggers.

    So again, my view is that those underlying mechanics better explain how views on policy form, and that the words used or strategies employed are more an function of the ideological forcings than forcings in and of themselves.

  166. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    err no. you seem to be over reading a phrase.

    Ok, sorry for over-reading. Next time you tell people not to be afraid, I’ll realize that you aren’t really implying that they’re afraid and that instead you mean….well…something other than …well….that.

    maybe they fear the possible delay

    Ah. Okay, so you weren’t implying that they’re afraid, you’re only implying that they’re…um…afraid. Got it.

    But hey, go ahead and list the problems in letting idiots get together to do what they already do?But hey, go ahead and list the problems in letting idiots get together to do what they already do?

    I think maybe you misunderstood what I wrote. You see, when I said that I thought that the formation of the committee was pretty much irrelevant (thus, not something that would merit generating a list of problems)…I meant that I thought the formation of the committee is pretty much….um…irrelevant. Sorry for not being clearer about that.

  167. Willard says:

    > I guess to answer the question, we’d have to agree upon a definition of climateball.

    I rather think you need to say what you believe is irrelevant, and irrelevant to what – I don’t even need to exist for that to obtain.

    ***

    > As such, it’s a mistake for me to say what I said, because I can’t really evaluate the relevancy of an ambiguous term.

    It’s not the term you evaluate but to what it refers.

    ***

    > I think that in general, the back and forth over rhetorical strategies and tactics is a symptom rather than a driver in the public’s formation of views on climate change.

    We should not conflate ClimateBall and ClimateBall about ClimateBall.

    ***

    > I don’t know how the polarization started, exactly, but once the pattern of polarization became a prominent feature of climate change policy development, developments like the formation of a committee, or responses to that formation, IMO, which might seem critical within a “climate-o-spheric” window, are irrelevant for determining which policies will be implemented.

    That looks like an answer to “relevant for what,” i.e. for determining which policies will be implemented.

    ***

    > IMO, this committee will be a cover for the policies that the Trump administration has already determined to pursue.

    You just said that, and we can extend that conclusion to committees in general.

    ***

    > It will not meaningfully detemine which policies will be implemented.

    You just said that, but it will justify them, which ain’t nothing.

    ***

    > And reactions to the committee won’t meaningfully alter the course of policy development either

    You already said that.

    I don’t see why we should expect otherwise, so I don’t see why we should expect otters to have that expectation when reacting to the committee.

  168. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Mosher:

    so your hypothesis is that but for this joke red team, action would happen sooner?

    Err. No. You may be over-reading me, Steven.
    My hypothesis is that your ego needs constant self-fluffing.
    You pop by here like an itinerant, self-appointed baseball coach to tell dudes not to live in fear and warn the dim masses about hippy in-fighting.
    That’s cool. I get it. You just can’t help giving the kiddies free expert advice from your mountain top.
    Personally, I’ve quite enjoyed the dad-joke aspect of your commentary ever since you played Judy’s White Knight.


    Like I said a few times here. you all fight amongst yourselves for a few years and get back to us when you have a proposal.

    Us?
    That would be the Official Membership of the Club-House for all the Gifted Men-of-Action.

    I have a proposal, Mr. Mosher:
    Write another book about stolen e-mails.
    Your first one didn’t quite have the intended effect of stopping all the fighting so that we could get on with proposing things in peace and harmony.

  169. Willard says:

    Speaking of peace and harmony:

  170. The world of honest knowledge was done a huge disservice by the climategate hack and cherrypicked extracts published just before the Copenhagen COP. People who think they’re better than other people and are sure they’re right should take a good hard look at the facts on the ground today. Please!

    We need action yesterday, four decades ago of yesterdays, and tomorrow. Anyone attacking general knowledge is not helping.

  171. Ms. Anderson, your characerization of what Steven Mosher (and I) did is mistaken. And I can assure you that Steven does not think he is ‘better than other people.’ He often thinks he knows certain things better than many others. I haven’t seen much evidence to the contrary.

    We cannot act yesterday, sadly. We can act today. What my definition of not helping is includes what you (and others on this thread) are doing.

  172. Ken Fabian says:

    Susan, earlier than that surely. When people in positions of trust and responsibility chose to turn aside from the mainstream expert advice we were all done a huge disservice. Asking for more advice, again, to be sure before taking significant actions, stopped being legitimate “due diligence” and became deliberately obstruction a long, long time ago.

    I suspect the climate problem is still within our capabilities to manage – not easily, but not so wicked as to be impossible – but only if large parts of our combined capabilities are not turned to obstructing effective action.

  173. Tom,
    FWIW, I agree with Susan. Climategate has been blown out of proportion and used in many ways to undermine any kind of meaningful action on climate change. To be fair, it’s one of many things that have been used to undermine any kind of meaningful action, but it is quite prominent.

  174. verytallguy says:

    What my definition of not helping is includes what you (and others on this thread) are doing.

    Yeah. The damn hippies *made* those guys punch them. Obviously.

  175. Joshua says:

    You just said that, and we can extend that conclusion to committees in general.

    Well… I watched part of the oversight committee hearings yesterday. The Pubz on the committee said we shouldn’t believe Cohen’s testimony about Trump, because Cohen’s a liar.

    Now will Pub voters dismiss testimony about Trump being a conman, a racist, and a crook because the Pub committee members argued that Cohen is a liar? Or will Pub voters use the arguments put forward by Pub committee members to rationalize their desire to dismiss Cohen’s testimony about the man they voted to be president being a conman, a racist, and a crook?

    Will Pub voters dismiss concerns about ACO2 emissions because of the arguments made by a committee stacked with “skeptics” appointed by an administration stacked with climate “skeptics?”

    Hmmm.

  176. Joshua says:

    Susan –

    What my definition of not helping is includes what you (and others on this thread) are doing.

    Get with the program and start helping, like Tom and Steven.

  177. izen says:

    @-Joshua
    “One of the climate chance “skeptics” that I have had reasonable discussions with, named John Pittman, once discussed with me his views on where the polarization started. IIRC, his argument was that it started with an inherently political component of the IPCC mandate.”

    He has a point.
    One motive, (as reported by an adviser involved), for setting up the IPCC was the classic government response to a inconvenient issue.
    Send it to a large committee, with as many disparate members/interests as possible, dilute the experts with ‘political advisers’ and sit back with the expectation that in the unlikely event they do manage to agree a report it will be diluted to the blandest pablum possible.
    And limit reports to once every 5 years….

    To some extent it worked.
    Although I think that some interests have been alarmed at just how explicit about the problem the IPCC reports have been.
    Which is why we see the push-back on 95% certainty estimates, and lower limit on the ECS

  178. Willard says:

    FWIW, JohnP’s the one who sent me our dynamic duo’s hit job, and speaking of definitions:

    Under the Warring Factions heading of Groundskeeper’s political hit job:

    While there is no accepted categorization of positions, several camps or tribes have evolved and it is instructive to have some general understanding of the beliefs of these “tribes.” At one end of the spectrum is a group of people who are pejoratively referred to as “alarmists.” […] The next faction is “warmers.” […] The next faction is referred to the “Lukewarmers,” a term coined at [the Auditor’s] and perpetuated with the founding of [Lucia’s].

    […]

    Finally, the last faction is the “[contrarians].” […]

    Both of your authors consider themselves to be Lukewarmers […]

    That’s on page 30.

    Not too hot like the alarmists.

    Not too cold like the contrarians.

    But at least the founding branders recognize that the lukewarm playbook wasn’t the absolute middle ground. Just the middle ground between Warmists and Contrarians.

    Stretching just a tiny bit the Overton Window.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/the-middle-ground/#comment-86976

  179. Willard says:

    Alright, I think I found the way to be helping:

  180. If it weren’t so real, that would be worth a few chortles. So I’ll continue to be unhelpful with a giggle or two. As far as I’m concerned, unskeptical “skeptics” and those who assist them (and all hate promoters) are out in the nude in public, and it’s not an attractive sight.

    Nobody is exempt, however, whatever their beliefs, from looking around and not contributing to toxic waste. A little reflection goes a long way. It is easier to destroy than to build, and we’re all lazy.

  181. As I said, out in the nude in public in the most unappealing way. (sorry to insult nudes …) Hope this comes through, an oldie but a goodie:

  182. Oops, that’s the wrong one. They’re all good, and it is related, but this is the right one:

  183. Steven Mosher says:

    “FWIW, I agree with Susan. Climategate has been blown out of proportion and used in many ways to undermine any kind of meaningful action on climate change. To be fair, it’s one of many things that have been used to undermine any kind of meaningful action, but it is quite prominent.

    I’m surprised Joshua did not object to this.

  184. Steven,
    That’s why I added the bit at the end. There are many things that have been used to argue against climate action, or to argue that we shouldn’t trust climate science. Climstegate is just one of them. It may even be that if we didn’t have Climategate, something else would have been used. That doesn’t change, though, that it has been used in this way.

  185. dikranmarsupial says:

    Tom Wrote “We cannot act yesterday, sadly. We can act today.”

    Well one action you could take today is to stop selling the book online at Amazon and elsewhere so that “skeptics” are no longer misled by it (and perhaps, just perhaps, try and have a civil discussion about the science rather than engage in partisan accusations of dishonesty).

    The “trick” thing being the most prominent quote on the cover (just under the title) is obviously a adversarial misrepresentation as “trick” is widely used in academia to mean a clever method to do something, with no implication of dishonesty whatsoever. I’ve even used it in the title of one of my papers (but then again I do work at UEA ;o). IMHO it reflects very badly on its authors that it is still for sale, given the many reviews of CRU that have taken place, and the misrepresentations (such as the above) have been pointed out.

  186. dikranmarsupial says:

    For full disclosure, I’ve also worked with Phil Jones and consider him to be a thoroughly good egg; very helpful and always willing to listen. If others have found otherwise, perhaps it results from a problem with their behaviour, rather than his?

  187. Steven Mosher says:

    “Get with the program and start helping, like Tom and Steven.”

    first Joshua do no harm.
    I notice everytime Judith claims Climategate is a big deal, you seem to raise doubts.
    whatever.

    Observation. I suggested that people share data and code. 1 because you should, and 2
    because unintended consequences.

    somebody hacked CRU.

    They stopped their collecting of mails and attachment immediately after getting one particular file.
    wanna guess what it was? no you dont.

    so I am not sure whether climategate was something or nothing. tried to tell the story. meh.

  188. dhogaza says:

    Mosher:

    “first Joshua do no harm.”

    You’re an operator, but you’re no doctor …

    “I am not sure whether climategate was something or nothing. tried to tell the story. meh.”

    Sell, not tell … with a lurid cover pasted with out-of-context snippets … an implication that graphic showing warming on the cover is based on fraud …

    Right … honest Mosher, honest Fuller. Who, first and foremost, do no harm.

  189. Dave_Geologist says:

    Who would have thought we would have to consider moorland fire risk in the UK in February?

    Controlled burning is done before it’s hot enough or dry enough for the fire to get out of control. Guess they’ll have to start doing it in January.

  190. Willard says:

    > tried to tell the story. meh.

    Indeed:

    In Climategate: The Crutape letters we tried to avoid accusing [PhilJ] of outright fraud. […] But [PhilJ] makes it hard to defend him anymore.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/02/the-final-straw/

    In the depth of winter, we finally learned that within our dynamic duo there lay an invincible Miracle Worker.

  191. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    I notice everytime Judith claims Climategate is a big deal, you seem to raise doubts.
    whatever.

    Sorry for my lack of diligence (my phone crapped out yesterday, I haven’t gotten a replacement yet…don’t sit at my computer very often).

    But sure, I’ll perform my “climate-o-spheric” duty, lest anyone who hangs in the “climate-o-sphere” hang on to what I consider to be) a distorted perspective.

    I don’t remember the precise numbers, but a minority of Americans even knew what Climategate was (back in the day, I’d guess likely fewer now).

    And a minority of that minority followed in closely at all.

    Of that minority of a minority, only a minority CLAIMED that Climategate affected their views about the risks of ACO2 emissions.

    Of that minority of a minority of a minority, some SAID it undermined their trust in the climate scientists who warn of the risks of ACO2 emissions. Others (a smaller % of the minority of the minority of the minority) SAID that it increased their trust in the climate scientists who warn of the risks of ACO2 (I presume because they felt that exposing private emails revealed no significant malfeasance).

    Not surprisingly, in the majority of cases, we could use the ideological orientation of that minority of a minority of a minority to predict whether or not Climategate undermined (or increased) their trust in climate scientists. Not surprisingly, people who tend to vote Republican (a group which already largely rejected the views of climate scientists who warn of the risks of ACO2 emissions) were the ones who SAID that Climategate undermined their trust in climate scientists (who they already didn’t trust).

    Keep in mind, self-report data on issues such as this is quite unreliable.

    I think it’s reasonable to speculate that actually, rather than undermining (or increasing) trust in climate scientists, in the majority of cases, that minority of a minority of a minority mostly just SAID that Climategate affected their views as a way of rationalizing and justifying and reinforcing their existing beliefs.

  192. Bi-partisanship. This brief and reasonable resolution passed the US Senate by a vote of 95-0 in July 1997. This is not what the IPCC pressed forward with in subsequent COPs. Every US administration over the 22 years since this resolution passed unanimously has followed it to the letter- no commitment to mandatory reductions unless global, all costs and regulations must be thoroughly documented and debated.

    “Declares that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997 or thereafter which would: (1) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex 1 Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period; or (2) result in serious harm to the U.S. economy.

    Calls for any such protocol or other agreement which would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification to be accompanied by: (1) a detailed explanation of any legislation or regulatory actions that may be required to implement it; and (2) an analysis of the detailed financial costs which would be incurred by, and other impacts on, the U.S. economy.”

  193. Joshua says:

    izen –

    Send it to a large committee, with as many disparate members/interests as possible, dilute the experts with ‘political advisers’ and sit back with the expectation that in the unlikely event they do manage to agree a report it will be diluted to the blandest pablum possible.

    I’m guessing you realize that wasn’t quite John’s view on how the IPCC was pivotal in politicizing the topic of climate change…but I’m not sure that difference is important to my overall point.

  194. Joshua says:

    This is cute:

    While there is no accepted categorization of positions, several camps or tribes have evolved and it is instructive to have some general understanding of the beliefs of these “tribes.”

    So there is no accepted categorization of positions, and indeed there are all kinds of vagaries and cross-overs and logical inconsistencies in how people express their views .. but we’ll tell you what the categories should be (since we’re smart and get to dictate this kind of stuff) and we’ll be so magnanimous as to break it down and share our insight so the uneducated masses can understand.

    Hmmm. I wonder if, we did a textual analysis, we might be able to determine if one of the authors or the other was primarily responsible for that passage?

  195. Joshua says:

    https://theconversation.com/the-green-new-deal-is-already-changing-the-terms-of-the-climate-action-debate-112144

    What a splendid irony it would be if the enduring legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency was the Green New Deal – a radical, government-directed plan to transition the US to a socially just society with a zero-carbon economy.

    […]

    Some Members of Parliament even told me that they deliberately avoid mentioning climate change in speeches to the House of Commons or in their constituency, fearing it could backfire. One worried that he would be branded a “zealot”, and marginalised by his colleagues if he argued too vociferously in favour of climate action.

    Wait, what?

    Don’t we all know that poor “skeptics” are the victims in the crusade to crush free speech and increase self-censorship?

    There must be a mistake.

  196. Jeffh says:

    Jeffnsails talks about ‘bi-partisanship’ as if the Republicans and Democrats really oppose each other on most policies. That’s a joke. The US is governed by a single Property Party with two right wings, both in thrall to the banks and corporations. Sheldon Wolin referred to the US political system as ‘inverted totalitarian’. In other words, a plutocracy. Corporations control every lever of government and both parties. There are a few politicians outside of the elite class, but most are millionaires beholden to the corporate state. Elections hardly cover policies because both parties are virtually identical, so they instead focus on piffle like personality.

    When they write risible nonsense about ‘impacts to the US economy’ in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. A bit of both, actually. It’s as if the US economy is impervious to ecological collapse. The US resolution that passed the Senate vote is simply aimed at ensuring that power and wealth remains in the hands of the privileged few. It is a load of gobbledegook.

  197. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Speaking of victim cards, unfair marginalization, zealot-branding, and loads of gobbledegook…

    You may want to check out the schedule for CPAC 2019:
    http://cpac.conservative.org/agenda/

    They’ve got it all, man:
    – former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
    – Oliver North, gun-runner
    – Dr. Sebastian Gorka. who is definitely not a Nazi
    – Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens
    – Diamond and Silk. Really.
    – Dr. Pat Michaels
    – Kellyanne Conway
    – Mike Pence
    – Don Jr.
    – Sen. Lindsey Graham
    – Rep. Matt Gaetz of recent Twitter fame
    – Someone from Breitbart – to speak on saving journalism
    – and another someone from The Daily Caller – to speak on saving journalism
    – Rep. Devin Nunes, who is not crazy
    – Jerry Falwell Jr., CEO of the Ayn Rand sect of Christianity
    – Michelle Malkin, who is totally not crazy
    – Someone flogging a book called “Reagan Rising”
    – Bunch of people from “Save the Persecuted Christians”
    – speakers a-plenty comparing the US under the Dems to Venezuela under Maduro
    – CO2 Coalition speakers – to speak about how climate science is a Marxist plot.

    This incredible collection of leading conservative minds is meeting right now!

    TL:DR?:
    Guns are fucking cool, and the USA really needs millions more of them.
    Europe is the new Somalia – except for the UK, which was saved from immanent doom by Brexit
    China is the new Iran.
    And the Green New Deal is the new Red Menace.

    Lindsey Graham might even get angry and yell.

  198. As we wrote in our book, Climategate did not undermine climate science. It harshly criticized a handful of climate scientists for working to advance a theory they obviously believed in strongly, but a theory that was obviously useful to them in terms of recognition and advancement. When I made that point to Pajamas Media in an interview shortly after its publication, they pretty much cut the interview in seconds and walked away with my fleeting chance at fame and glory. As I detest Pajamas Media I was not sorry.
    I think measuring the book’s success would depend on goals–we didn’t get the movie deal for the musical version, so I’m a bit disappointed. It didn’t stop alarmist hysteria, although the names have changed to people like Guy McPherson and David Wallace-Wells. It didn’t make us rich and it didn’t popularize the lukewarmer stance on anthropogenic contributions to climate change. It sold a lot of copies and seemed to inform some elements of the discussion in the period directly after the release of the emails, including on the floor of the British Parliament, and IIRC the conversations between Steve and myself, to the extent that we had a goal, I think that was it.
    Perhaps Joshua was right in his minimization of the book and its effects. Perhaps dikranmarsupials plea to us to take the book off the market is evidence against Joshua’s theory. It strikes me that both are probably not simultaneously accurate.
    I’ll just say that, with all its flaws and the three (rather minor) mistakes that were pointed out immediately upon publication, it’s an honest book. I rather doubt if many readers of this blog like or agree with it, but I’m a bit surprised that after a decade it can still stir such a reaction. Unless of course it’s just the nearest club at hand with which to beat Steve or myself over the head.

  199. Willard says:

    > Someone flogging a book called “Reagan Rising”

    Mr. Shirley:

    Now, where have I heard “but socialism” and “but crazy left” recently.

  200. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    This is not a book:
    https://www.reaganrising.com/
    Although there may be some flogging – and much “radical chic”.

    N.B.: This comment may be at risk of being included in Tom Fuller’s definition of not helping.

  201. “Corporations control every lever of government and both parties. ”

    You guys have been saying that since the early ’60s and have never been less correct than today. Most Americans had never heard of two of the top 10 corporations in the US just 40 years ago. WalMart as you know it didn’t exist before 1988 and you were terrified of the massive monopoly power of IBM until the early 1980s. Today IBM is a consulting firm and Apple (born in 1979) is in the top 10 with plenty of competitors.
    Of the top five corporations in the world, three are state owned by a communist nation.
    I’m 53 years old, when I went to college the behemoths who ruled the world were IBM, Sears, Bell Telephone, JC Penny, the three television networks, my local newspaper held a complete (and very valuable) monopoly on text-based news, HBO and Blockbuster Video controlled movies, and there were three grocery stores to choose from in my large county and everyone knew GM could never go bankrupt.
    And, of course, we all remember how AOL controlled everything internet related starting in the 1990s.

    It has, literally, never been easier to displace corporate power than today- you’ve never had as broad a number of choices.

  202. izen says:

    @-jeffnsails850

    The policy you cite in which the US rejects any communal agreement that fails to precisely cost a climate policy and has as its basic principle this clause :-

    “Declares that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997 or thereafter which would: … result in serious harm to the U.S. economy.. ”

    Reveals that strange paranoia that the US has about mutually beneficial agreements. There seems to be a suspicion that it is always a zero-sum game and if the ‘Poors’ are gaining some benefit, then the rich/middle class must be losing something… Is minor harm acceptable for long term gains ? Probably not, the resistance to global cooperative actions and policy in the US seems strong.
    In fact it seems unacceptable for the Poors to gain if the rich are not also making the same or preferably greater gains.

    But with weather disasters at their most expensive last year, and no prospect of any amelioration in those conditions unless you belong to the ‘Ice Age commeth’ fringe, perhaps this balancing clause could be added ?

    “Declares that the United States SHOULD be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997 or thereafter which would: … result in AVOIDING serious harm to the U.S. economy.. “

  203. izen- let me translate the resolution into plain English- they don’t accept moving manufacturing to China (especially given that doing so simply increased global emissions). To limit partisan games and fantasy solutions, anything you submit to Congress has to have the price tag and details attached. Policy has been failing for 22 years because it ignores those two mandates.
    This isn’t just in the US- for all the arm waving about Republicans, every developed nation has prioritized economic competitiveness.
    And the really short version- global warming is a technological problem, we’ve had the scope of work for over two decades.

  204. izen says:

    @-jeffnsails850
    “It has, literally, never been easier to displace corporate power than today- you’ve never had as broad a number of choices.”

    Although the examples you give all belong to the new information and communication industries.

    There has been somewhat less turnover in major corporate players in the established fields of energy production, the oil and power utility business has had some consolidation, but the major players from WW2 are still there. The military industrial sector still has the same names. The top food company globally, ADM, was founded in 1902, and the top ten are of similar vintage.

    The situation in the engine room of the global economy is rather more complex. Many of the big banking and financial institutions are long established. But the recession reduced their ranks. And the vast levels of individual wealth accrued by the beneficiaries of the soviet collapse, along with the Asian plutocracies and sovereign wealth funds has expanded the range of financial institutions and allowed new entrants as it has in the communications and computing field.
    Perhaps because both are aspects, or highly dependent on the information revolution.

    There is a chance that while we are all admiring the shiny new electronic gadgets it produces, the bio-gene revolution will exploit the growing ability to modify and manufacture biological systems (CRISPR-) that will have unintended consequences that will be considerably more significant.

  205. Joshua says:

    but I’m a bit surprised that after a decade it can still stir such a reaction.

    It’s the Climate-o-sphere, Tom.

  206. Exporting our pollution and climate destruction to those who are ruthless enough about victim neighborhoods or poor enough to accept it is not an argument against doing our best. China, thanks to Trump, is pushing back. Recycling is tanking as an excuse not to address our waste at source. Using hundreds of times more stuff and claiming “but we recycle” has always been dishonest and/or lame (due to not taking time to look at the bigger picture). Those of you who care about “the poor” should look at climate injustice. It’s a thing.

  207. Jeffh says:

    Jeffnsails, we ‘guys’ have not been saying this since the 1960s. The ruling elites have always loathed real democracy because it puts power into the hands of the general population. James Madison famously said that power should be in the hands of ‘a better set of men’, meaning the rich. However, the 1970s were the critical decade in which the US democracy began morphing into a plutocracy. The 1960s saw the US electorate become more aware of the political landscape through catalyzing events such as the growth of the civil rights and environmental movements and the Viet Nam war. The media was much more democratic then than it is now. US elites viewed these developments with alarm, because in their view democracy was always intended to prioritize their interests. It was during the 70s that opposition to participatory democracy grew among the elites on both sides of the political spectrum. A read of the Trilateral Commission’s “The threat of Democracy” is truly eye-opening.

    Have you ever heard of Walter Lippman? Edward Bernays? Both were PR practitoners who knew that corporate public relations is an invisible arm of government. PR has always worked to dumb-down the population. The US isn’t even a plutocracy anymore, its morphed into more of a kleptocracy. John Perkins refers to it as a ‘corporatocracy’. Corporate power is not at all easy to displace when corporations are legally considrered as people and invest billions of dollars in lobbying, election campaigns and other forms of influence. Ralph Nader was completely right when he said that both parties are in thrall to corporations (and banks). They run the government, and the truth is that the general public is well to the left of both parties – but again, their views are irrelevant. Democracy Inc. is how Sheldon Wolin refers to it. Government and industry are revolving doors in the US. Trump’s domestic cabinet is full of ex-corporate lobbyists.

    You can say what you like but actually none of this is remotely controversial. There’s abundant information available to support what I say.

  208. jeffH says:

    “Corporations control every lever of government and both parties.”

    True, with the caveat that some of the corporations appear to follow the law, while others are a completely criminal element, such as the Trump organization. As you say, it has now turned into a kleptocracy.

    As far as the USA goes, government-funded scientific research is hopeless, IMO.
    We likely received the last pure research contract from the Dept of the Interior before that was completely taken over by thieves.

  209. Willard says:

    > You guys have been saying that [corporations control every lever of government and both parties] since the early ’60s and have never been less correct than today.

    Damn hippies.

    ***

    ­­> Most Americans had never heard of two of the top 10 corporations in the US just 40 years ago.

    As if it mattered for the price of tea.

    Let’s review the bidding. Some argue that the US is an oligarchy. For instance:

    Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

    The current Secretary of Treasury is Steven Mnuchin.

    The current Secretary of Commerce is Wilbur Ross.

    The current Secretary of Education is Betsy DeVos.

    The current Chair of the Federal Trade Commission is Joseph Simon:

    IN A RARE party-line vote, the Federal Trade Commission appointed a corporate lawyer who has represented Uber, Equifax, Facebook, and a jailed payday lender to run its Bureau of Consumer Protection. The appointment was one of the first moves of the new five-member panel, all of whom were confirmed by the Senate last month.

    https://theintercept.com/2018/05/17/ftc-bureau-of-consumer-protection-director-andrew-smith/

    Need I go on?

  210. izen says:

    Once upon a time it was ‘One Man, One Vote’.
    Eventually they passed the 19th.

    The suspicion given the exuberant funding of elections by business, along with lobbying and regulatory capture, became that it is more like, $1=1 vote.
    Although recently the cost of votes seems to be inflating.

    https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/cost.php

    Why is it worth some of the world’s richest institutions to spend ~$1000 per vote ?!

  211. izen “The top food company globally, ADM, was founded in 1902, and the top ten are of similar vintage.”
    WalMart has more say over what you pay and get for food than ADM. It was the thing that made WalMart- they told suppliers what the price would be in their stores and it would be low.

    Exxon’s stock price is down because it was late to the American oil party and other companies ate their lunch. They’re trying to get back in the game by buying companies you never heard of that had no problem stealing their business in the US despite the argument that Exxon wholly owns the United States of America so it would be unpossible.
    It’s not as bad, but similar to what Amazon is doing to giant corporations. Exxon and all the oil companies put together have as much impact on Tesla’s success as Sears and Borders Books had on Amazon.
    How is it that in the “plutocracy” (no, I’m sorry, the “kleptocracy”) the world’s largest companies with all their bought politicians are getting killed off by people who decided to compete with them out their parent’s garage?

    That is the very definition (write this down JeffH) of a democratic economy. That would be as opposed to three of the world’s biggest corporations- owners of which really are the politicians, the people really don’t have any say in who the politicians are, and the owners of the corporations have nuclear weapons and a Navy. That would be the definition of a plutocracy and it would refer to one of only a handful of nations the IPCC COP meetings have exempted from emissions reductions. But hey, they have shiny little stars on their lapels, dress like Fidel and have read Marx, so that kind of plutocracy is good, yah?

  212. Willard says:

    > dress like Fidel and have read Marx, so that kind of plutocracy is good, yah?

    You’re red baiting again, JeffN. We already have Fernando for that:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/peddling/

    Thank you for your concerns.

  213. Willard. Is Uber an example of plutocracy in action? Or an upstart overturning a government protected Taxi racket?
    Thanks for your concerns.

  214. Willard says:

    Do you realize you’re Just Asking Questions and that you’re a bit old to be parroting, JeffN?

  215. Joshua says:

    I think it’s more of a kakocracy.

  216. Tom writes:

    (Our book) didn’t stop alarmist hysteria, although the names have changed to people like Guy McPherson and David Wallace-Wells. It didn’t… popularize the lukewarmer stance on anthropogenic contributions to climate change.

    It is almost a bit touching and definitely amusing how confused you remain about where you and others fit in along the spectrum running from one end of crackpotism ===>> to mainstream, consensus science and policy ===>> and back to another end of crackpotism.

    David Wallace-Wells is pretty much right up the middle, accepting the mainstream science, etc. His most recent book – unlike his 2017 article which expressly was aimed at exploring worst case scenarios – primarily focusses on most-likely cases (i.e. heading well above 2C, etc.), which are often pretty alarming. Heavily referenced, he also worked closely with mainstream scientists, economists and others in developing it:

    I am personally indebted to those scientists, climate writers, and activists who were especially generous to me, over the last several years, with their time and insights—helping me understand their own research and pointing me to the findings of others, indulging my requests for rambling interviews or discussing the state of the planet with me in other public settings, corresponding with me over time, and, in many cases, reviewing my writing, including portions of the text of this book, before publication. They are Richard Alley, David Archer, Craig Baker-Austin, David Battisti, Peter Brannen, Wallace Smith Broecker, Marshall Burke, Ethan D. Coffel, Aiguo Dai, Peter Gleick, Jeff Goodell, Al Gore, James Hansen, Katherine Hayhoe, Geoffrey Heal, Solomon Hsiang, Matthew Huber, Nancy Knowlton, Robert Kopp, Lee Kump, Irakli Loladze, Charles Mann, Geoff Mann, Michael Mann, Kate Marvel, Bill McKibben, Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Andrew Revkin, Joseph Romm, Lynn Scarlett, Steven Sherwood, Joel Wainwright, Peter D. Ward, and Elizabeth Wolkovich.

    Meanwhile, it is receiving praise from such generally non-hysteric people and outlets like Elizabeth Kolbert, Fred Pearce, The New York Times, The Economist, Nature, Slate, WaPo, on and on.

    Although Wallace-Wells’ own crackpottery detection kit clearly operates perfectly well – here he is discussing some of MacPherson’s claims, amongst others way out at that fringe – :

    Throughout, there are misleading characterizations of serious research, and links to hysterical, uncredentialed blog posts presented as references to solid science. There are simple misunderstandings of things like climate feedback loops, which can worryingly add up but are not “multiplicative,” as McPherson says they are; attacks on merely moderate climate groups as politically compromised; and, in the spirit of a kitchen-sink data dump, endorsements of a few observations that have been proven to be bunk

    … so although Wallace-Wells clearly recognizes fringe and unsupported thinking, he doesn’t waste any time with the sky-dragon-to-lukewarmist end of the spectrum, which is about what it is due, frankly. And indeed a welcome break from a by now tedious discussion.

    By the way, speaking of misleading characterizations of serious research, misunderstandings, attacks on… groups as politically compromised, endorsements of a few observations that have been proven as bunk, etc… It’s like a trip down memory lane! Remember back in the day when you would bravely, confidently rush in to helpfully pooh-pooh whatever the emerging science was, like the early GRACE science suggesting large ice mass loss from Antarctica?

    … according to some scientists working with GRACE measurements, Antarctica is losing ice. … And sure enough, the ‘apocaholics’ are all over this, using it to reinforce their unrelenting drumbeat of doom-laden predictions of disastrous sea level rises… Instead of using this as proof of global warming, these people should be either wondering about the measurements or re-examining their theories…

    My guess (I’m not a scientist and do not claim to know) is that there are still a few bugs to work out in how they are doing this.

    Now those were the days!

    Oh, wait, they still are the days, only you’ve switched over to bravely pooh-poohing the climate sensitivity experts and science. Carry on, then!

  217. Joshua says:

    Wow –

    Imagine my embarrassment that I responded to Tom’s statement above:

    What my definition of not helping is includes what you (and others on this thread) are doing.

    with cynicism. Imagine how much worse off we’d all be without Tom “helping” with his post at WUWT, complete with his creative pejorative labeling of people as “apocaholics.”

    I’m ashamed. I feel honored to even have appeared in the same blog comment thread of a dedicated helper, like Tom.

  218. sails says:

    “Exxon’s stock price is down because it was late to the American oil party and other companies ate their lunch.”

    Again, the “American oil party” you refer to is a blip, since fracking for oil is a short term boom-and-bust cycle. What comes after that will burn us out of existence if it’s exploited, due to a low EROEI.

  219. Everett F Sargent says:

    So, which one is the correct title, this …

    or this …

    Personally, I’d have preferred the subtitle “Death After Warming”

  220. dikranmarsupial says:

    Thomas wrote

    It sold a lot of copies and seemed to inform some elements of the discussion in the period directly after the release of the emails, including on the floor of the British Parliament, and IIRC the conversations between Steve and myself, to the extent that we had a goal, I think that was it.

    The problem is that much of it was nonsense (e.g. trick, “redefine peer review” etc), and the many inquests into the matter largely exonerated CRU. Thus the book wasted quite a bit of tax-payers money and the time and energy of academics, stopping them from getting on with their research.

    Perhaps Joshua was right in his minimization of the book and its effects. Perhaps dikranmarsupials plea to us to take the book off the market is evidence against Joshua’s theory.

    It isn’t a plea, it is a suggestion that if you were really interested in progress on the public debate on climate, then withdrawing a book from sale that mostly just fuels the lunatic fringe (as I think Joshua implies – however I think it is not quite the same situation in the U.K.) would probably be a good idea.

    I’ll just say that, with all its flaws and the three (rather minor) mistakes that were pointed out immediately upon publication, it’s an honest book.

    That doesn’t mean that it isn’t largely bullshit. I note that I have mentioned a couple of the most egregious nonsensical bits and you have not responded. That suggests the honesty might not be quite as evident as you seem to think.

    I rather doubt if many readers of this blog like or agree with it, but I’m a bit surprised that after a decade it can still stir such a reaction.

    Well, wasn’t that the intent?

  221. dikranmarsupial says:

    Actually, Tom misrepresenting

    “Well one action you could take today is to stop selling the book online at Amazon and elsewhere so that “skeptics” are no longer misled by it (and perhaps, just perhaps, try and have a civil discussion about the science rather than engage in partisan accusations of dishonesty).”

    and

    IMHO it reflects very badly on its authors that it is still for sale, given the many reviews of CRU that have taken place, and the misrepresentations (such as the above) have been pointed out.

    as a “plea” speaks volumes for his “honesty”!

    Rashomon…

  222. izen says:

    “Is Uber an example of plutocracy in action? Or an upstart overturning a government protected Taxi racket?”

    More the latter than the former. But it is mainly another episode in an ongoing pattern in the Taxi business.
    Historically as soon as society became rich enough to make a taxi service viable, governments discovered that it had to be regulated. Minimum standards of vehicle, horse and driver, and a requirement to provide a comprehensive service, not just cater for the most profitable routes, became necessary to ensure a safe and viable taxi system.
    In a free-for-all market, there was a race to the bottom in vehicles, drivers and service coverage, often with ‘taxi wars’ breaking out. No stable service economy can emerge without a common set of rules.

    Of course as soon as a business is subject to regulation it tries to capture the process for its own interest, so to some extent it does become a government protected racket.

    Uber is not the first example of an attempt to circumvent the regulatory system that government and taxi businesses have concocted. Removing minimum standards for drivers, vehicles, avoiding employment laws and tax by denying the people are workers for the business, and ignoring the rules of service coverage, all makes for a ‘Taxi service’ that is more profitable for the business, but provides a worse service. It often leads to ‘dirty tricks’ where the new firm manipulates the prices and services to undercut and eliminate regulated competition and other unregulated entrants. Or just burns their competitors vehicles.Take a look at the Taxi Wars in Glasgow back in the ’90s.

    What inevitably happens in these episodes is that sooner or later the regulatory regime has to be extended to the new entrants, at least in some form. The loopholes that allowed them to run unsafe vehicles and avoid the responsibilities of being and employer are eventually closed and the new entrant becomes another player on a stable if slightly modified and evolving playing field.

    At present Uber is in transition. In some Nations it has been banned outright. In others it is reluctantly adopting the rules on standards of vehicle and driver as well as employment law to be able to stay in the market. While in some ‘free market’ economies it has captured the regulatory process enough to evade it, but finds itself in wars with other, transient, pirate Taxi services exploiting the same loopholes.

    There is much that is specific to the Taxi trade in this, with patterns of unregulated invasion and consolidation that predate the horse-drawn Hackney carriage. But it also has many common features with other instances where new entrants to a market initially try to undermine the existing oligopoly by avoiding regulations. It is part of the historical pattern of how markets, and their regulation and participants evolve over time. Sometimes this is in response to new technology, Uber was facilitated by the phone app, but as with Uber, the underlying process is not one of market innovation, but consolidation.
    It rarely reduces the degree of regulatory capture a field of business has established for the governance of its markets.

    Its like a sports team. They get ‘innovative’ new players occasionally, but the rules of the game stay the same.

  223. Joshua says:

    Actually, Tom misrepresenting […] and […] as a “plea”…

    Well, you know, those “scared” people “plea” a lot, and the burden of pointing that out is the duty of people who “help.”

  224. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Since you aren’t likely to start ducking anytime soon…and since you like Dave…re: common ground:

    One “moderate” critique of the GND, from Jason Grumet of the Bipartisan Policy Center, is that it overreaches, threatening bipartisan cooperation. But none of these allegedly moderate critics ever explains why, after more than a decade of openly stated, unapologetic, total opposition to anything Democrats propose, the GOP would allow their opponents a victory on one of the most polarizing issues in public life.

    For more than a decade, “bipartisan cooperation” has, with very few exceptions, meant inaction on climate change (and much else). And with every passing year, the Republican Party descends further into ethnonationalism and plutocracy. Why are prospects better now?

    There is nothing in 21st century American politics to suggest that Republicans will join with Democrats in a dramatic transformation of the economy along more sustainable lines. At this point, it is those who propose bipartisanship as an alternative who bear the burden of proof.

    There are those who believe that the structure of US politics is such that bipartisanship is the only route to substantial progress. There’s plenty of evidence and a good-faith argument to be made for that position.

    But those who believe it should squarely grapple with the implications. Bipartisanship on any appreciable scale, at least based on reason and persuasion, is currently impossible in US federal politics. Republicans have made it so. If real progress is impossible without bipartisanship, then real progress is impossible, the US political system is doomed, and we will suffer the ravages of unabated climate change..

    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/2/23/18228142/green-new-deal-critics

  225. My sense is that many who promote the idea that the world is better now, dislike too much direct intervention in the way the world works.

    I promote the idea to make clear that being honest in your assessment of reality and fighting the main solvable problems of the status quo in the long run brings results even if the situation in the moment looks hopeless and the powerful unmovable.

  226. I hope on behalf of myself, the global environment and American domestic politics that it is possible to support the Green New Deal as a set of aspirational goals without abandoning my support for the IPPC’s contradiction of End of Days hysteria.

    I am reluctant to use the ‘D’ word on my opponents, for obvious reasons. But their consistent blanket rejection of IPCC findings on the impacts of global warming is… interesting.

    The economic empowerment inherent in the GND is inspiring. The gearing up for an assault on emissions equally so. Realignment of the tax structure in the US is seriously overdue. Hooray!

    Done rightly it is the right thing to do.

  227. Tom,
    I realise that this is been pointed out to you before, but the IPCC’s neither directly suggests catastrophe, nor that there is no chance of chance of catastrophe. How people choose to describe the potential impacts is essentially up to them. You can, of course, choose to describe the impacts as non catastrophic, but it would be interesting to know what sort of impact you would describe in that way.

  228. Willard says:

    ­> I am reluctant to use the ‘D’ word on my opponents, for obvious reasons.

    Of course not:

    My father met Jim Jones briefly before he moved to Guyana with his flock, and described him as intelligent and persuasive, able to talk reasonably about a multitude of subjects. We don’t need more smooth talkers preaching the language of despair. We can now see the results. In their zeal to communicate their fears of the effects of global warming that go far beyond the predictions of mainstream science, those who Anthony called ‘warmistas’ in his blog title and who I call alarmists and sometimes hysterics have created a library of disturbing words and images that can influence the vulnerable.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/02/stop-the-hysteria/

  229. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    > I am reluctant to use the ‘D’ word on my opponents, for obvious reasons.

    Yeah, the D-word is much worse than “apocaholics.” Or comparing people to Jim Jones.

    People who, like you, use pejoratives like “apocaholic” and compare people to Jim Jones are helping, obviously.

    And prolly, you don’t like using those descriptors anyway, but the need to save the planet compels you to be accurate and honest.

  230. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I’m curious if you read that Vox article I linked above, and if so, your reaction?

    but the IPCC’s neither directly suggests catastrophe,

    Part of my reaction is that Roberts is inconsistent with his approach to the likelihood of catastrophe.

  231. Joshua,
    I haven’t yet, but will try to do so.

  232. ATTP, there are plenty of alarmed descriptions of catastrophe, ranging from collapse of the WAIS and the resultant sea level rise (or analogue occurrences in the Greenland or East Arctic ice sheets), to severe impacts on agricultural productivity, to dramatic increases in temperature in specific regions, to the increased spread of tropical diseases. There are also many descriptions of impacts that don’t rise to the level of catastrophe with regards to human health and safety but would nonetheless constitute a tragic loss–death of coral reefs, loss of habitat to sea level rise, contributions to the endangerment of many species, etc. Then there are some outlandish fears expressed, such as the dissolution of methane clathrates, sudden melting of very large portions of permafrost, etc.

    I would say some combination of the above would constitute catastrophe. And it’s possible that this thumbnail description leaves out others equally as ominous. But a decade of reading on the issue leaves me convinced, rightly or wrongly, that the impacts described above are not even outliers in terms of possible occurrences.

    Island nations are gaining, not losing surface. Agricultural productivity is increasing, not decreasing. Scientists repeatedly state that it would require 3000 years of monotonic warming to decrease the Greenland ice sheet by 50%. Coral reefs have proven remarkably resilient. Sea level rise is predicted to remove 0.25% of coastal land if mid-range IPCC sea level rise occur, and a fifth of the way through the century the rate of sea level rise has not changed. Malaria is retreating into an ever smaller range of impoverished nations. The charismatic megafauna chosen as icon for the threat of global warming is increasing its population to such an extent that polar bears are invading villages in search of food. And on and on.

    It leaves me convinced that climate change, with its attendant human contributions, really is a problem that we can and should address with commitment of time, energy (green, of course) and resources. But also that its impacts will not be catastrophic.

  233. verytallguy says:

    their consistent blanket rejection of IPCC findings on the impacts of global warming is… interesting.

    As you flat out refuse to even acknowledge IPPC findings inconvenient to your position, you might want to address the beam in your own eye before moving on to motes elsewhere.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/fact-mongering/#comment-136391

  234. Tom,

    It leaves me convinced that climate change, with its attendant human contributions, really is a problem that we can and should address with commitment of time, energy (green, of course) and resources. But also that its impacts will not be catastrophic.

    As I may have also said to you before, it’s becoming more and more likely that we’re going to find out. I hope you’re right. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that you’re not. There are a few things to bear in mind. The longer we take to reduce emissions, the less likely it becomes that you will be right (the outcome depends both on how our climate responds to perturbations *and* how much we ultimately emit). Also, the changes are probably irreversible on human timescales. We’re certainly committing future generations to a changed climate. I’m hoping that it’s one they can adapt to without too much suffering. My concern is that it won’t be.

    I will also suggest that maybe you should consider that your certainty that it won’t be catastrophic is essentially equivalent to the certainty of those who think that it will be.

  235. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    But also that its impacts will not be catastrophic.

    I’ve asked you before to explain what you mean by “catastrophic” and you haven’t answered. I guess you prefer to be ambiguous, but I figured I’d ask again: What do you mean by “catastrophic.”

    Also, after you’ve explained that, could you add some reference to the time frame over which you’re limiting the extent of impact?

  236. ATTP, you write that changes to our climate ‘are probably irreversible on human timescales.’ And yet if memory serves you yourself wrote that halving emissions would have a beneficial impact on climate change. Did I remember correctly?

  237. Tom,
    I don’t recall quite saying that. Even if I have said something like that, why would you regard those are somehow inconsistent? The changes that have already occurred are likely irreversible on human timescales (without some kind of – as yet undeveloped – negative emissions technology).

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying there’s nothing we can do to stop future climate change. I’m suggesting that the changes that have already taken place are essentially irreversible (on human timescales).

  238. As far as your last comment, ATTP, obviously I don’t agree. First, although I am confident that the impacts will not be catastrophic, I am not certain. Although I believe atmospheric sensitivity is much lower than 3C, I might be wrong. Certainly many scientists think that it is around 3C and possibly higher. As that to me is the key parameter, and as my assessment is based on decidedly lower math, I admit to uncertainty.

    Second, my confidence, such as it is, is rooted in what the science says. You describe the IPCC’s language regarding impacts as being essentially ambiguous. I think it is not. I think they carefully describe clear predictions of impacts through the end of the century and even attempt to break impacts down to the regional level. And as I have been repeating, their predicted impacts do not include any of the scenarios I described above.

  239. Tom,
    Your exact words were

    It leaves me convinced that climate change, with its attendant human contributions, really is a problem that we can and should address with commitment of time, energy (green, of course) and resources. But also that its impacts will not be catastrophic.

  240. Hi ATTP

    I am convinced as far as I can be while admitting to rational uncertainty. I believe what the IPCC writes. I believe what I have written in the literature. I believe I have seen enough of the behavior of some of the most committed advocates that their pronouncements seem unrooted in reality.

    But I am not a scientists and my conviction is that of a layman. I can work the relevant equations, but I will never be certain what values to put in as inputs. Lower math seems very much to support me. But no, I am not 100% certain I am correct.

    Which is one reason I have tried to champion efforts like the Green New Deal and its predecessors.

  241. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    First, although I am confident that the impacts will not be catastrophic, I am not certain.

    Could you define what you mean by “catastrophic?”

    How would you measure the difference between a catastrophic impact and a non-catastrophic impact?

  242. Tom,
    Well, as I said, we’re probably going to find out if you’re convinction has merit, or not. I do wonder why you seem to ignore that it’s not just climate sensitivity, it’s also how much we emit.

  243. verytallguy says:

    Tom,

    I believe what the IPCC writes.

    No you don’t.

    You believe the parts which align with your chosen narrative.

    When presented with parts inconvenient to your narrative, you simply refuse to acknowledge them.

    As linked above.

  244. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    Also, is there a time period over which you’re confident that any impacts from continued ACO2 emissions won’t be catastrophic? 100 years? 200 years? 50 years?

  245. Willard says:

    > my confidence, such as it is, is rooted in what the science says.

    Sooner or later the gaslighting got to stop:

    The IPCC gives a range of 2.1-5.8 degC for end of century temperature rise under RCP6. [WG3 table SPM.1]

    Are you seriously suggesting a six degree temperature rise is not catastrophic?

    Seriously?

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/fact-mongering/#comment-136316

    No more rope-a-dope, this time.

  246. Joshua says:

    Anders,

    Since Tom clearly doesn’t want to answer questions that I ask him, but does respond to your comments/questions, I’m hoping you could ask him to explain what attributes he would use to distinguish “catastrophic” impacts from non-catastrophic impacts, and over what time period he’s confident that no ACO2 emission impacts would be what he’d call catastrophic.

    Maybe he’ll answer those questions if you ask him?

  247. Tom,
    Maybe you could answer this question?

  248. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    In addition to VTG’s question that Willard just linked to, I asked you the following question in that same thread. As I recall, you never answered.

    Does the upper range of the projected estimates of the vast majority of scientists studying in the field eliminate “catastrophic” climate change as a concern?

  249. verytallguy says:

    Tom does not merely ignore questions inconvenient to him, he ignores facts inconvenient to him. Like the one Willard just quoted above.

  250. izen says:

    @-thomaswfuller2
    ” And as I have been repeating, their predicted impacts do not include any of the scenarios I described above.”

    It appears your judgement on this may not be regarded as definitive.

    But there are many other, and more recent assessments of the risks fro AGW. Clinging to the supposed benign assessments of the IPCC with its known bias for the bland may not be a credible position.

    The key factor is not climate sensitivity, (a model metric) but how much CO2 we add to the atmosphere. A factor over which we have some control. The most recent climate assessment report by the US NAS states the position explicitly;-

    https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/
    “With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states.”

    Do you count (avoidable) gross financial loss as catastrophic ?

  251. Joshua says:

    VTG –

    Tom does not merely ignore questions inconvenient to him,

    Hmmm. Kind of depends on which definition of “ignore” you’re going with.

    Ignoring them, or selectively answering some questions and not answering others even after they’ve been repeated, and pointed to numerous times? Effectively the same thing, but I don’t get the impression that he ignores them.

    In fact, he even fails to respond to comments that ask him to respond to other comments:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/fact-mongering/#comment-136319

    But do notice this…

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/fact-mongering/#comment-136333

    Evidence that Tom isn’t exactly “ignoring” the questions?

  252. ATTP, perhaps a more succinct characterization of my earlier comment would be that I can be very confident in the wrongness of catastrophic claims without being 100% certain that my own vision of our climate’s future is dead solid perfect.

    As to your link, there was no question there. Very Tall Guy wrote, “Thomasfuller

    there are so very few arguing that cliimate change be addressed with 100% adaptation.

    I really don’t think this is remotely true.

    Here’s Judith Curry, for instance:

    Curry: ‘Reducing CO2 emissions will do little or nothing to change the climate.”

    I suppose I could state the obvious–that Judith Curry is one person. Is that what you want me to write? Shall I restate that I actually don’t know one person anywhere who has written that climate change can be addressed with 100% adaptation. Now, I’m certain that a search would probably reveal even more than one. But I submit that it’s a very rare opinion.

  253. Tom,
    The question is:

    Thomasfuller

    Because the IPCC does not project catastrophic outcomes…

    The IPCC gives a range of 2.1-5.8 degC for end of century temperature rise under RCP6. [WG3 table SPM.1]

    Are you seriously suggesting a six degree temperature rise is not catastrophic?

    Seriously?

  254. [Playing the ref. Your next comment needs to meet AT’s request. -W]

  255. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    Leave a comment at Lucia’s to answer my questions.

  256. I do not want to play the ref, but I feel it would be a good idea to stop the debate with Tom until he explains what he means with catastrophic. How many dead bodies are acceptable, how many children not growing up with their parents, how much economic damage, how many lives uprooted, how many species extinct? Or however he would like to define it.

  257. Willard says:

    ­> I do not want to play the ref

    In case I wasn’t clear – Groundskeeper will either answer the question once and for all or go rip off his shirt elsewhere.

  258. verytallguy says:

    I’m shocked, *shocked* I tell you, that Thomas Fuller still refuses to acknowledge the parts of IPPC output that don’t align with his narrative.

    I would never have expected this.

  259. izen says:

    What historical events in human history can be described as ‘catastrophic’?
    This last century has seen a number of wars, famines, local depopulation and societal collapse.
    Do any of these qualify as a catastrophe?
    Perhaps we can help TF by delineating just what is a catastrophe and why AGW might initiate them.

  260. a revisit of the historical “debate” which I found interesting, partly because I really enjoy listing to Sean Carroll

    https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2019/02/04/episode-33-naomi-oreskes-on-climate-change-and-the-distortion-of-scientific-facts/

  261. Jeffh says:

    I don’t know where to begin debunking Tom’s arguments. Coral reefs have proven to be remarkably resilient? Is he serious? The mass bleaching events observed around the biosphere over the past decade proves that they are resilient? On what temporal scales is he intimating? His argument is the standard ‘so far, so good’ one, and let’s keep our fingers crossed. It hasn’t been very appropriate for huge numbers of species in freefall. Since 1970 the planet has lost almost 60% of genetic diversity. Insect populations are in freefall across many biomes, including species that perform vital ecoligical services (pollinators). Ditto vascular plants, amphibians, birds, fish etc. Because of warming, many diseases and pathogens previously restricted to tropical or semi-tropical ecosystems are moving polewards. Moose calves are becoming the victims of tick infestations because of warmer winters that enable juvenile ticks to survive. Pests once killed by colder winters – like the diamondback moth – are now overwintering in more northerly and southerly locations, meaning outbreaks occur earlier in spring.

    The only thing I wonder is why people on here pay so much attention to Tom’s views, given that he doesn’t have a background in environmental science or climate science. Has he stacks of peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals? NO. So who cares what he believes. His opinions are just that – his opinions. And they aren’t worth much.

  262. jacksmith4tx says:

    A timely definition of a man-made catastrophe would be the new book “Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”, by Adam Higginbotham.

    Humans will make mistakes and we are really bad at understanding long term consequences. Just ask the survivors of Chernobyl, if you can find one.

    Read a excerpt here:
    https://www.sciencefriday.com/articles/the-moments-after-chernobyl-blew/

  263. thomaswfuller2 says:

    [Deleted at the author’s request. -W]

  264. thomaswfuller2 says:

    Remove your edits, or remove the post, or ATTP will be banned from several site where he occasionally comments.

  265. Willard says:

    ­> Remove your edits, or remove the post, or ATTP will be banned from several site where he occasionally comments.

    Done.

    I still note your

    To VTG’s direct question, do I think that temperature rises of 5.8C would be or cause a catastrophe, I would suspect so […]

    which gives the point to Very Tall.

  266. Hyperactive Hydrologist says:

    Under worsecase scenarios the south of Europe will effectively become uninhabitable due to drought, may cities will see heatwave temperatures increase by 10-14 degrees and Q10 peak flows will increase in pretty much all European cities. I don’t know about others but I would consider that outcome catastrophic. Remember most of southern Europe is already well adapted to drought conditions but there is a limit to their adaptive capacity and infrastructure is designed for our current climate.

    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aaaad3/meta

  267. verytallguy says:

    I would suspect so…

    Blimey, this accepting reality business sure is tough.

    Anyway, kudos for, however grudgingly, acknowledging you don’t actually agree with the IPCC.

    And seeing as we seem perhaps to be in conciliatory territory, I’ll note that in my opinion, catastrophic impacts are probably unlikely until late this century, or perhaps next century. What we may do, however, in a short number of decades or even years, is de facto commit future generations to suffering those impacts, unless we act. This, I hasten to add, is merely my own opinion, not AFAIK, directly supported by IPPC texts.

  268. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    It’s not just 5.8. What about 4? 4.5? 3.5?

    Please read this from Hyper:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/survivor-bias/#comment-146072

    My question is how do you define “catastrophe?” Is there some cut-off of deaths? Some cut off-of economic damage?

    Arguing about the consistency of what you’ve written about accepting the IPCC is one topic. Another general topic is your rhetorical approach to who is or isn’t a “help,” or how you (and others who employ a similar rhetorical strategy) approach sharing views about climate change with those who have views different than your own.

    You spend a good % of your energy in these discussions ridiculing people for being concerned about catastrophe, arguing that their concern about catastrophe is counterproductive, and complaining about the rhetorical approach of others, but you still haven’t defined what you consider to be a catastrophe. That seems, to me at least, to be sub-optimal, not helpful, not an ingredient for a productive discussion.

  269. Joshua says:

    Atul Gawande discusses something (that I consider to be) important w/r/t addressing climate change (and makes that direct connection):

    Starts at around 22:10 in:

    http://freakonomics.com/podcast/season-8-episode-26/

    I think we’d be better off if people stopped focusing so much on moral superiority, and more on what we know about the mechanics in how people adapt to risk/address reasons to change – as Gawande discusses.

  270. John Hartz says:

    Joshua: Seems to me that Fuller is intent on playing climateball while you are intent on engaging in constructive dialogue. The two approaches have very little in common.

  271. Willard says:

    > The two approaches [ClimateBall and constructive dialogue] have very little in common.

    I don’t see why ClimateBall could not be constructive, and as soon as comments become “meta” (e.g. they address behavior) it stops being a dialogue. The very idea of having a dialogue in a comment thread makes little sense to me. Addressing one’s comment to someone is first and foremost a rhetorical device. Like in a seminar or a plenary discussion, comments should be made in the interest of everyone. We are not having conversations. Neither are we dialoguing. These are just exchanges.

    ***

    Very Tall’s impression that catastrophic impacts are probably unlikely until late this century, or perhaps next century seems to be shared by mt and Richard Alley:

    Here’s a slide of Alley’s that I think presented nothing new to climate scientists, but that the public seems not to understand. The climate disruptions we are seeing now are very small compared to the ones we are worrying about. The importance of the past record is in confirming our understanding, but our expectation in business-as-usual scenarios is very much worse than a linear extrapolation.

    Please also note that so far, we have been exceeding the steepest of the standard scenarios. Also note that as Dr Alley points out, the fact that the graphs traditionally end in 2100 doesn’t mean the temperatures don’t keep going up after that.

    https://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2007/12/world-doesnt-end-in-2100.html

    Here’s the slide:

    The world does not end in 2100. Vintage 2007.

  272. Joshua says:

    Let me try again:

    Willard –

    The very idea of having a dialogue in a comment thread makes little sense to me. Addressing one’s comment to someone is first and foremost a rhetorical device.

    You’ve constructed a tautology. If you decide that there’s not intent for engagement, then of course, addressing one’s comment to someone is a rhetorical device.

  273. Joshua says:

    JH –

    What I try to remember about that is that Tom seem quite convinced that I’m a nefarious tr*ll, with no intent towards constructive dialog. And it’s a view that he shares with more than few of his compares who hang out in a few corners of the “skept-o-sphere.”

    It can be difficult to judge intent in these engagements.

    But, regardless of course, he could still answer the questions.

  274. Willard says:

    > If you decide that there’s not intent for engagement, then of course, addressing one’s comment to someone is a rhetorical device.

    What I’m saying works whatever the intent for engagement, and seems to follow from the observations that we’re communicating in an open channel, with many interlocutors, on an adversarial topic, where the audience matters. Even if I stipulate that you truly wish to have a constructive dialogue in good faith with some groundskeeper G, what I’m saying applies. This is not a private conversation between you and G, G has no reason to consider you as a friend, others can interject, and in the end you and G are showcasing your selves to otters.

    What I’m saying is as old as rhetoric itself:

    All rhetorically oriented discourse is composed in light of those who will hear or read that discourse. Or, in other words, rhetorical analysis always takes into account how an audience shapes the composition of a text or responds to it.

    In classical times, the audience had to do with the settings or occasions in which genres of oratory were practiced (See branches of oratory). Later theorists have taken into account the multiple audiences to which discourse is presented, intentionally or not (for example, the secondary audiences that the printed version of a speech reaches across place and time, or the multiple audiences present in the theater: those onstage who hear a given character’s speech, and those in the public audience observing all of this).

    http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Encompassing%20Terms/audience.htm

    This kind of theory is ordinarily opposed to philosophy, which is in principle above all that. But it’s impossible to only be seeking truth in a philosophy class. One needs to learn to address everyone, and not just the teacher.

    Can’t find this article by a professor who encountered that problem when trying to make his classes more interactional. I’m with Jonathan Gilligan now. Laters.

  275. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    What I’m saying works whatever the intent for engagement, and seems to follow from the observations that we’re communicating in an open channel, with many interlocutors, on an adversarial topic, where the audience matters. Even if I stipulate that you truly wish to have a constructive dialogue in good faith with some groundskeeper G, what I’m saying applies

    I think we have some agreement.

    I think that it’s multifactorial. IMO, first and foremost, prolly, is the dopamine factor in Internet discussions. And along with that, there can be relative amounts of serious intent for dialog and serious intent to score rhetorical points. The measures of those factors are likely to differ by context and individual. And both, I would imagine, interact with the dopamine factor.

    Internet discussions magnify the public forum aspect by virtue of enlarging the audience (if for no other reason), with both indirect (passive) and direct (active) roles beilng played by observers or people who interject. And certainly interplay on adversarial topics heightens components outside the domain of direct dialog. But they don’t negate any intent or interest in the dialog aspect, nor any benefit that might be gained from the dialog component (as we might expect with any dialog). My baseline assumption is that in all of these engagements there is some aspect of learning and testing and justifying and rationalizing and otherizing and compulsion going on, in varying degrees – but we might say that would be true for any dialog between two people, or among a group of people.

    This is not a private conversation between you and G, G has no reason to consider you as a friend, others can interject, and in the end you and G will end up showcasing your selves to otters.

    I don’t see how the “friend” aspect comes into play. Certainly we don’t limit our dialogues to friends, or to only circumstances where no one else can interject, or only to environments where showcasing might not be a factor.

    But the bottom line, for me anyway, is that at least part of the reason I engage in these exchanges, at least sometimes, is to have a dialog – along with the realization that (1) there are other factors in play, to varying degrees depending on interlocutor and context and (2) the types of direct benefits one usually expects to get from dialog are rare in these exchanges.

    The key for me personally is to try to reflect on the non-dialog aspects, lest they overwhelm any dialog intent. I’m clearly not always successful at that, of course.

  276. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Remove your edits, or remove the post, or ATTP will be banned from several site where he occasionally comments.”

    That really is rather petty!

  277. dikranmarsupial says:

    I don’t think productive discussion is likely (especially a scientific discussion) if one or more sides are unwilling to give straight answers to direct questions (IMHO).

  278. Willard says:

    Answering direct questions is a good thing, Dikran, until they become greenline tests that are both irrelevant to the matter being debated and for which the participants made no commitment.

    I appreciate your efforts to nurture dialogues, Joshua, but in the actual case I submit that your line of questioning baits someone who has extended the limits of justified disingenuousness beyond its breaking point. Your remark about the dopamine factor would be a perfect fit for the post next door:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/marios-room/

    While we may be critical of dopamine infused ClimateBall, I argue that a non-dopamine world would spark no joy.

  279. dikranmarsupial says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you mean by “greenline test”. Obviously questions and answers in a constructive discussion ought to be about communicating and exploring positions rather than “winning”.

  280. Willard says:

    Here’s one example of a greenline test:

    Sort of a Rorschach test here [sic.], obviously. Let me ask you this. Do you think Rajendra Pachauri should step down from his position at the IPCC, specifically for bidding on a contract to study Himalayan glaciers while suppressing information given to him by an IPCC scientist that data published by the IPCC was incorrect and exaggerated?

    https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/to-publish-bs-or-not-thats-the-question-judith-curry-vs-richard-tol/#comment-14793

    There are two big problems with this. The first is that squirreling Rajendra would not be relevant for our discussion. The second is that it may introduce an infelicitous dynamic between the opponents. There are other problems too. The “but CAGW” meme is being peddled. The question begs some kind of alarmism. Et cetera – that should be enough to make myself clear.

    Accordingly, greenline tests differ from (say) Very Tall’s request that the C in “but CAGW” gets clarified by the very ClimateBall player who peddles “but CAGW” in yet another thread.

  281. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    Joshua, but in the actual case I submit that your line of questioning baits someone who has extended the limits of justified disingenuousness beyond its breaking point.

    Certainly it has that potential, and more than likely was received that way (if past occurrences are predictive). But there’s always the possibility of a different outcome, no matter how small, and I don’t see any loss if old patterns play out one more time after so many repetitions.

  282. Jeffh says:

    Catastrophic effects are already here. Wake up. Mass dying of white spectacled bats during a single heat wave in Australia late last year; mass bleaching of coral reefs across much of the world; collapsing insect populations, almost certainly linked with climate warming in tropical regions where species are adapted to only a very narrow thermal range of temperatures; the NOAA Arctic report card, which describes rapid recent declines in species like caribou.

    This is where the deniers and lukewarmers are clueless. They focus on mean temperature changes, which on the face of it assume that a 2 or 3 degree rise across the biosphere in the coming decades is uniform and unimportant. Little attention is paid to extreme events that punctuate extended periods of normal temperatures and other abiotic conditions. This is where the focus of my research and other ecologists is now concentrated: extreme, sudden conditions such as brutal heatwaves, extended droughts and torrential downpours that are occurring with increasing frequency under anthropogenic global warming. Concomitant with these events are phenomena like fire, that have huge ecological consequences, especially for biomes not used to experiencing it.

    Extreme events are embedded in a warming world, and a growing body of research is reporting significant consequences of these events on the biology, behaviour, ecology and demographics of a wide range of biota. Droughts and fires leave ecological legacies; heatwaves that are unprecedented exceed critical physiological thresholds that drive spikes in species mortality or lead to phenological changes that unravel food webs.

    People who argue that catastrophic effects of warming are some ways ahead are therefore wrong. They are here, now. These effects on complex adaptive systems may not yet be directly impacting the material economy, but it is just a matter of time.

  283. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    I doubt you’ll be seeing this…butbin case you do, I know you’ll just love it:

  284. Joshua says:

    Here’s a challenge for you. How would you reach common ground?

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