Free Markets, Free People

Here’s the government you should fear

Mostly because of its liberty stifling oppression:

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in trying to prosecute ExxonMobil for supposedly lying to its shareholders and the public about climate change, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times reported that Harris is investigating what ExxonMobil “knew about global warming and what the company told investors.”

Neither Harris nor Schneiderman recognizes the outrageousness of what they are doing—which amounts censoring or restricting speech and debate on what is a contentious scientific theory. In fact, they want not just to stop anyone who questions the global warming theory from being able to speak; they want to punish them with possible civil sanctions or even criminal penalties. As I said before about Schneiderman, Harris needs a remedial lesson in the First Amendment.

Perhaps we should investigate what Harris “knows” about global warming or climate change, which Harris (and Schneiderman) treats as if it is a proven, unassailable, incontrovertible fact.  However, as the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris has pointed out, “flaws discovered in the scientific assessment of climate change have shown that the scientific consensus is not as settled as the public had been led to believe.”

In fact, what Harris and Schneiderman are doing is treating the “contentious scientific theory” as a proven fact.  It isn’t even close to being proven and instead a very believable assembly of facts to the contrary has made the ‘theory’ seem more like a religion than a reality.  John Cleese … John Cleese for heaven sake … said it best:

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So why is government so insistent that the world is heating up?  Why does it show this bias … and bias it is.  Roy Spencer notes:

I’m not claiming our satellite dataset is necessarily the best global temperature dataset in terms of trends, even though I currently suspect it is closer to being accurate than the surface record — that will be for history to decide. The divergence in surface and satellite trends remains a mystery, and cannot (in my opinion) continue indefinitely if both happen to be largely correct.

But since the satellites generally agree with (1) radiosondes and (2) most global reanalysis datasets (which use all observations radiosondes, surface temperatures, commercial aircraft, satellites, etc. everything except the kitchen sink), I think the fact that NOAA-NASA essentially ignores it reveals an institutional bias that the public who pays the bills is becoming increasingly aware of.

Because there are large … very large … wads of taxpayers money at stake.  There is the UN’s chance to redistribute the wealth, a dream the Third-World Debating Club has harbored for decades.  So alarmism remains the way in which governments and the UN try to peddle their product.

And, as Dr. Spencer says, the public, who pays the bills, “is becoming increasingly aware of” the bias and the fact that the alarmists have yet to prove their point, to wit:

Thermometers Still Disagree with Models …that even if 2015 is the warmest on record, and NOAA has exactly the right answer, it is still well below the average forecast of the IPCC’s climate models, and something very close to that average forms the basis for global warming policy. In other words, even if every successive year is a new record, it matters quite a lot just how much warming we are talking about.

Oh, and about that 2015 being the warmest year on record, again, the data doesn’t support the claim:

We now have the official NOAA-NASA report that 2015 was the warmest year by far in the surface thermometer record. John and I predicted this would be the case fully 7 months ago, when we called 2015 as the winner.

In contrast, our satellite analysis has 2015 only third warmest which has also been widely reported for weeks now. I understand that the RSS satellite analysis has it 4th warmest.

Oh my … and El Nino was kickin’ this past year, wasn’t it?  In fact, per Spencer “El Nino …that a goodly portion of the record warmth in 2015 was naturally induced, just as it was in previous record warm years.”  Or said another way, the warmth was due to a weather event, not global warming.

But of course, the incurious press ran with the headline of the “warmest year evah!” and now governments of California and New York are on record of considering certain speech which doesn’t support the government line to be punishable under the law.

So what do we have going on in the two states?  Something we thought was dead and buried:

These investigations are reminiscent of the old Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin persecuted those who he thought had the “wrong” scientific views on everything from linguistics to physics.  Besides sending them a copy of the Constitution so they can review the First Amendment, residents of both New York and California might also want to include a copy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, “In the First Circle,” in which he outlined the Soviet government’s suppression of dissenting scientists and engineers.

And that’s precisely the problem here.  This, to us old timers, is precisely how the Soviet Union (and China) operated.  Of course it made no difference in the reality of science.  What is, is.  But it certainly made a difference in the lives of those who were persecuted by the state because they disagreed with the State’s version of science.

The bottom line is that the state attorneys general of New York and California are not acting like level-headed, objective prosecutors interested in the fair and dispassionate administration of justice. They are instead acting like Grand Inquisitors who must stamp out any heresy that doubts the legitimacy of the climate change religion. They are treating an unproven scientific theory as if it is a creed than cannot be questioned, probed, examined, or doubted.

Indeed.  Welcome to the USSA.

~McQ

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62 Responses to Here’s the government you should fear

  • Lysenko lives!

  • As I said before about Schneiderman, Harris needs a remedial lesson in the First Amendment.

    >>>> Wrong ammendment.

  • Next time somebody warns you of the dangers of carbon dioxide, ask them if they can cite the definitive peer-reviewed study that incontrovertibly ties man to current climate warming.
    Al Gore’s books and movies don’t qualify, neither do IPCC reports which are mostly put together by politicians, but any peer-reviewed study that was used to produced them is fair game.
    This should be fun … because there is no such definitive peer-reviewed study.

  • I fully support the criminalizing of dissent…

    It can only hasten the inevitable violent revolution…

    • And could be useful when the wind shifts 180 degrees if the stupids ever remember that by now, 2016, we’re supposed to be boiling and/or under water in most of the cities bordering the 7 seas across the face of the globe.

      Might be fun to trot out the climate predictions that came out in the years following the world ending Y2K disaster that gave us a 15 year deadline.

  • Based on the chime-in by Professor Polywobble on the other thread, there are plenty of people who don’t understand what the word “fact” means.

    A fair chunk of political scientists, lawyers, and politicians also often struggle with math, and it appears that Harris and Schneiderman are part of that group. Such people also seem to be afflicted with binary decision making, in which everything is so black and white that they can make grand, sweeping pronunciations without any fear that the real answer might be far too complex to answer with a simple binary option. In this case, yeah, there’s been some warming from a few decades ago, but it doesn’t look out of the band for what we know from the past. CO2 is up, but we don’t really know what that does because we don’t have a good feedback model, and the models that theorized certain feedback models made bad predictions, so it’s still something to figure out.

    Plus, there has been very little analysis of whether there’s really any net bad effect of the current warming at all. We know that past warm periods are loosely associated historically with “good times” for the human race.

    This all adds up to a lot of variables and a lot of uncertainty. The amount of warming is in dispute. The net effect by CO2 is in dispute. So the amount of warming caused by humanity is uncertain. And we don’t even know with any kind of confidence what the bad effects of warming might be. The stuff the alarmists come up with is tentative and often hokey.

    Nevertheless, idiots in the political class love to jump to the binary option of “humans have totally hosed the planet, and it’s got a horrible fever, so SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT IT!” Not least, of course, because it is a great rationalization for why they need to boss the rest of us around.

    (I had to post this comment through the control panel. Is anyone else seeing timeouts when posting comments longer than a paragraph or two?)

    • No timeouts. Type faster! 😉

    • You have a valid point, there is uncertainty – a lot of it. The argument comes down to whether or not people want to risk the consequences of being wrong. Let’s say we do nothing, betting that the scientists were wrong. If we lose that bet then we’re dealing with some pretty bad consequences, perhaps even economic collapse, famines, changing agricultural patterns and wars. Let’s say we decide to bet the scientists are right and move towards clean energy and it turns out the scientists were wrong. That kind of move might harm the economy – but it could also provide a boost with new technologies, especially since China’s scientists are warning of what climate change means for them. So it’s a gamble – do you bet the warnings are wrong and risk the consequences? I look at my kids and see this issue as one that shouldn’t be a political football, we’re gambling with the future. I also see how the EU has had economic benefits from their move towards lower green house gas emissions.

      • Predictions by alarmists and politicians have a near-zero level of accuracy, both for negative consequences from warming (huricanes, sea level, glaciers, polar ice, “climate refugees”, etc.) and for technological saviors (wind, solar, “green jobs”, etc.).

        Your prediction of economic disaster wihout big government intervention continues that trend. Warming will create a boom in agriculture and other areas, which likely would offset economic trouble. Dismissing the economic cost of big government intervention, on the other hand, is obviously the most dangerous element in this whole discussion. Tying the hands of coal, oil, and gas producers while developing nations continue their use is economic suicide.

        If the new technology will produce economic benefits, big government will not need to force the use.

        • Anyone who objectively looks at the behavior of politicians touting AGW alarmism should quickly see through the propaganda. This is a huge power grab by politicians. If they can control your behavior and what you’re allowed to consume, that gives them enormous leverage.

          The result of massive intervention will be similar to communism in the 20th century, if people ever permitted such ra rash takeover.

          • I ignore the politicians. I never saw or wanted to see Al Gore’s movie, for instance. The focus is on what scientists are saying (even the Pentagon sees this as a security threat). I do think the EU has shown that changes can be made that don’t harm the economy – and in fact may give them a one up in the Chinese market since China is now getting serious about this. I promise you, I’ll oppose any massive intervention that is anywhere akin to communism. Our differences may hide the fact that I share a distrust of big government.

        • You’re rejecting science via argumentum ad hominem (‘alarmists’) and without any evidence supporting your point. Sure, scientists can be wrong, but if I have to make a call, I’ll go with science – and very few phenomena have been as studied and analyzed as this, because people world wide are concerned. I’m not making a prediction of “diaster without big government.’ That’s a superfluous charge that muddies discussion rather than advancing any kind of valid point. Your claim of economic suicide or “tying the hands” is an unsubstantiated assertion that could be labeled “alarmist.” Historically it is NOT true that without government new technologies get developed by the market. Indeed, some of the most impressive scientific developments came from government programs (wars, the space program, etc.) . That’s because the economic benefits are often not known in advance, so market incentives don’t exist. But you’re obfuscating the real point: there is uncertainty, and whatever you choose is a gamble. You want to gamble that the scientists are wrong because you seem to think their predictions are always wrong. OK, that’s your choice.

          • It was fact a while ago – you said.
            Now there’s uncertainty – about fact?
            and it’s a theory – fact?

            Which are we to believe since you can’t maintain a consistent belief yourself?

          • It is a fact that there is a scientific consensus about global warming, and that world wide conservatives as well as people on the left believe it and are working on it. I have always said that there is uncertainty because in science any accepted theory remains open to alternatives and could sometimes be falsified. This has been a consistent position of mine, there is no change in belief.

          • And the Mayans had consensus about the end of time.

            The Roman Catholic church and everyone who mattered had consensus the world was the center of the solar system, heck, the center of the universe even.

            You beginning to see the pattern in how the consensus thingie vs actual science works yet Sir Bedivere?

          • Are you really saying we shouldn’t trust science any more than we would trust the Mayans or the Roman Catholic Church? Because the scientists might be wrong, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with anything they say?

      • ” If we lose that bet then we’re dealing with some pretty bad consequences,”

        I don’t know… when the Mayan calendar ended, which all Mayan experts agreed (there was no doubt consensus) was the end of an epoch, did YOU do any preparing, because, you know, there might have been some pretty bad consequences, perhaps even economic collapse, famines, changing agricultural patterns and wars.

        I’ll bet you gambled with the future didn’t ya sparky, you didn’t do anything to prep for the end of the Mayan Calendar, did you.

        Well, after 20 years of listening to the warmists and watching their predictions fall flat on their noses, I’m more than willing to gamble they’re wrong then turn the United States into an even bigger Piggy Bank for the various idiot third world regimes around the globe trying to pick our pockets in their Global Warming fraud.

        It should have been obvious to even you that when the solution suggested by Kyoto was for the first world to dial back their emissions while the developing world of India and China dialed theirs UP the whole thing was a giant crock of crap and lies to transfer control and wealth and ensure we all lived in the same crappy economic hell no matter where you are on the planet.

        • Last I checked no scientist was thinking the Mayan calendar predicted doom. That was a bunch of new age folk who made some irrational conclusions. I’m talking about respecting science and taking it seriously. You’re dead wrong about the predictions not coming true – that’s one reason I went from skepticism in the 90s to now thinking the risk is real – the predictions have been coming true, faster than many expected. You do know that the EU met the Kyoto targets and it helped their economy. That falsified the claim that Kyoto would do economic harm – those who made THAT claim have been shown wrong. China and India were still considered “developing” – now any new agreement would have to include them. Chinese scientists are now saying China faces severe consequences if things go like they have been, and that’s one reason China is shifting its position – though it’ll be difficult for them. The EU sees potential economic benefits in the green technology they developed – China could be a big market. Abiding by the Kyoto targets may have been the best thing for the economies of the EU states!

          • Uh, no, they have not. Tipping point and all.

            Weather is not climate change. A couple feet of snow is not Ragnarok despite the current generation of media Francines trying to make it so (and would be counter to the warming theory anyway).

          • And oh, yeah, the world economy is just super right now. We have record employment, for example.

          • ” the predictions have been coming true, faster than many expected.”

            Which predictions? More and more violent hurricanes?

      • “perhaps even economic collapse, famines, changing agricultural patterns and wars.”

        Yeah. So unlike our current history.

  • There is only grounds for a law suit if the companies through their own resources and analysis concluded that global warming is real and human caused, but hide that (the results of their own studies/analyses) from shareholders. There is no basis for a suit just on the scientific consensus. A scientific fact, by the way, is in observation that is objective and verifiable. Human caused global warming is more like evolution – a theory that enjoys considerable support, but could be wrong. I’d say human caused global warming is similar to the big bang theory of the universe in terms of the breadth of support evidence gives. But there are still scientists who believe the big bang theory is wrong. There is inherent uncertainty. Those concerned about global warming do so usually because the consequences of the current hypothesis being correct are very troubling.

    • I’d say human caused global warming is similar to the big bang theory of the universe in terms of the breadth of support evidence gives.

      You’d say that because you don’t mind writing abject lies.

    • “A scientific fact, by the way, is in observation that is objective and verifiable. ”

      And the pause is evidence of….what? Objectively, evidence of what scientific facts?
      Remember the world has done, effectively, not a lot to dial back emissions. No indeed. In fact, we’ve continued to increase them.
      And Carbon Dioxide is the magic gas we keep hearing about. If we just reduce the CO2 output, we’ll get it under control.

      CO2 emissions increased 1.2% per year from 1980 to 2002 and 3% from 2003 to 2011. NO REDUCTIONS.

      ….yet….a pause….. Eh, uh, what?

      It would be ‘scientific’ if, even with no growth that warming would increase (because nothing magic happened) and allegedly emissions BEFORE we started to pay attention were causing warming.
      So if they remained at current rate, we would CONTINUE to warm because it was the trend to warm when we were outputing at the current rates.

      But instead, we increased emissions, and the warming….paused…..
      Eh?
      What?

      Could it be we don’t understand the inputs and outputs Mr. Science? Could it be that human emitted Carbon Dioxide is not the single magic gas that makes it all go round?

      • By the way that hard math stuff may not register to you, but if you continue to increase at 1.2% over time (and then bump it to 3% for a bit….) you start getting bigger numbers on the output side every year cuz it does this weird compounding thing that financial and sciency people get all excitilated about.

        Sorta like if you do that constant acceleration thingy in your quantum spaceship you end up going wicked fast after a bit of time has passed (time relative to where you are of course, not where you came from because it’s passing at different rates and all, what with all the quantum stuff whipping around you out there in science space).

        • By the way – if you have any links to scientifically valid skepticism of the climate scientists’ consensus, I will check it out and dig through before I next teach that section of my World Politics course. I am committed to giving as complete information as possible, including the best arguments of the skeptics. I would love the skeptics to be right, for the sake of my kids. Alas, every time I look into these claims, they end up being dubious at best. But I promise, I’ll examine through any legitimate study or claim. Only an idiot thinks they have the right answer and refuses to consider the possibility they are wrong. I try to always remember I might be wrong – and listen to opposing arguments.

          • Simple explain the pause.
            I gave you valid reasons why given the data a pause on it’s face value should not occur if their warming arguments and horror stories from a decade ago were correct.
            Good Lord, they bought credits to meet their goals with 3.6 percent of their 8 percent target coming not from reductions but by buying up the credits they invented to help the wealth transfers take place out of tax payer sight.

          • Again, I gave a link – the pause myth has been debunked. I could shower you with links from many sources, but should be able to investigate this on your own, with an open, critical mind.

          • A link.
            But of course, if I gave links that were contrary to your links – the grand hand waving away would occur right?

            Never mind what your eyes see and your body feels every day, you go with the ‘scientists’, like Al Gore.

          • The link provided (and there is a lot of info out there) is just one of many that debunks the pause myth. Here’s what I do in class to assess this. I show a graph of global temperatures. The first thing people see is that it’s spiky. That’s because many factors influence temperature. Yet there is a clear trend – very clear. 1998 was an extremely warm year, the graph spiked way up – much higher than the trend line. Then it went back down, but the trend upward continued. The pause claim is that since there it took a long time to reach the 1998 level again, global warming had ceased. But that is debunked by looking at what an outlier 1998 was, to see that the trend continued as it had before (if you simply removed 1998, the trend is consistent). And of course, we’ve now surpassed 1998 and the trend continues. The Wikipedia article on “global warming hiatus” gives a good discussion of the evidence. Again, look at the graph, see how much of an outlier 1998 was, and then examine the trends. There was no pause.

          • “By the way – if you have any links to scientifically valid skepticism of the climate scientists’ consensus, I will check it out and dig through before I next teach that section of my World Politics course….”

            Great jumping jeepers. You actually admit that you have been teaching stuff that is outside your alleged field of expertise without doing even minimal research? And you have the gall to ask others (the disbelieving “scum” who threaten your children’s futures as I recall) to do what you should have done years ago?

            Hmmmm. Dissociative personality disorder or complete stupidity and dishonesty. Tough call, though I lean towards the latter.

          • “Again, I gave a link”

            .Where?

          • “The first thing people see is that it’s spiky. That’s because many factors influence temperature.”

            No. The TEMPERATURE graph is spiky because the TEMPERATURE changes. The number of factors causing the TEMPERATURE changes is a different matter. If the graph was smooth there could still be a number of factors influencing TEMP.

            Leave the math., statistics, and science to those who have actually studied it and know something about it.

          • Timactual, I daresay I understand math and science pretty well. Your attempt to claim your superiority is irrelevant – you are certainly free to believe you’re superior if you want,. Your attempt to ridicule by saying my claim that the graph was spiky was to the multiple variables (you said ‘no it’s due to temperature changes, it could be smooth and still have multiple variables) is a bit silly. But if you need me to spell it out for you, I will: there are so many variables affecting yearly average temperatures in different ways that average temperatures don’t rise at a consistent rate. The result is a spiky graph, albeit one with a clear trend. Perhaps you should try less to ridicule (I’m too old for those kinds of games – flamewars and the like were fun in the 90s, but I see them as pointless now) and more to just converse.

      • “Pause? What pause?”

        That’s the most recent tactic to explain the “pause”. Others have suggested the oceans ate the heat, like the dog eating the homework.

        • There has been no pause. There are studies and articles all over debunking the pause myth. Here’s just one: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/nov/24/study-drives-a-sixth-nail-in-the-global-warming-pause-myth Simply, that myth has been debunked. I actually use that as example in class about having to be skeptical about arguments made that global warming is a myth. Even conservative students take this issue seriously – it’s their future.

          • Ah, here’s the link. The Guardian, of course. Again. That well-respected world renowned scientific journal. At least you could have disguised your ignorance by linking directly to the study instead of stopping at that hack left-wing rag. Obviously you have not actually looked at the study (or any study, for that matter) yourself. Add laziness to your list of shortcomings.

          • I wrote a response last night, but the comment didn’t post. Basically, the “what pause?” gambit is a tactic adopted by some alarmists, though others seek to explain the pause by arguing that the oceans ate the heat. It comes down to math and the Guardian article has no charts or tables, just assertions.

            I’ve read some articles by skeptics debunking the denial of the pause. From memory, I believe their argument is that the alarmists are pulling a bait-and-switch, changing the timelines, cherry picking which data sets to use, and even relying on suspicious “adjustments” to raw data, when the amount of adjustment essentially changes the slope of the curve.

            There has been a pause in the rate of warming, from a steep slope in the 1990s to a minuscule glide path for the past decade and a half. Asserting that last year was the “hottest on record” doesn’t refute that, as a +0.00001 C increase, while technically positive, has a first order derivative (slope) which is close to zero.

        • Yes, but when the ocean surprises them and does that we’re supposed to ignore their surprise and pretend they still understand it all well enough to keep opening our wallets to them.

      • You need to re-read what I said. I said global warming was NOT in the realm of scientific fact, but rather was a scientific theory, which is a different sort of thing. If you read what’s out there – with an open mind – you will see that yes, there is uncertainty, but the theories and models match with reality very well, and that’s why scientists are concerned. I’d challenge you to ask yourself if your disbelief in the science here is because of your political perspective, or really because you analyzed the data with an open mind. I suspect a lot of people are driven to their position by their political perspective, which is really a shame.

        • And no, the models are crap because to model a system you have to understand it thoroughly, and they don’t.

          Every year they discover currents and atmospheric effects that affect the climate, things they didn’t even know about the previous year. You can’t mathematically model unknowns.

          • Models are always simplifications of reality. You do not need to thoroughly understand a system to model it. You’re simply pointing out what I already said – there is uncertainty. However, the evidence is extremely convincing and that’s why scientists are concerned. It’s a gamble – you want to bet the scientists missed something and are wrong. Others think the consquences too dire to take that chance, and the benefits from moving towards clean energy are worth it. Given my kids will inherit the world we leave them, I don’t want to gamble that the scientists are wrong.

          • Nope Scott, you are not talking about modelling now. You are taking a variation of Pascal’s wager (which assumes zero downside) and assuming an enormously high downside and virtually zero upside. The problem is defined in a way to ensure you choose the desired outcome. Do you believe in the Lord God because of Pascal’s wager? I’m betting you don’t because it is faulty and neither should you be deciding that “do nothing” is not an option in the face of a poorly formulated climate “gamble”. You cannot gamble on the basis of exceedingly poor modelling, it is unscientific and downright irresponsible. Refusing to play the game is always an option when the game is clearly rigged. Bringing children into it is just an immoral way to try and guilt those you are debating. For the record, my children will be better off without any massive interventions based on this modelling, so there.

          • I was wondering when your tykes would be trotted out for the ragged clothes and dirty faces picture that is the globally warmed world.

            For the children!!!!

            Go ahead, I’m a monster, that kinda carp no longer works on me because I understand the difference made for them in the future by resisting the BS today.

          • Docd: The big difference with Pascal’s models is that we have data and evidence upon which to make a conclusion – it’s not just a leap of faith. Most models predict serious outcomes threatening our way of life. So in this case you have to make a choice – you can choose to do nothing, and hope that the small number of models predicting a happy outcome are right, or you can do something to try to prevent that result. It is NOT immoral to bring children into this! One of the reasons people like me are so concerned is that I know my children are going to have to live in the world we leave them, and I feel a moral responsibility to try to do what I can to avoid problems that I see as probable, if not certain. And I don’t know what you mean by “massive interventions.” It appears to me your ideology is guiding you – you don’t like government, so you want to deny something is happening that would require government intervention to forestall. OK, that’s your right. You might want to consider the possibility you’re wrong. You might be wrong, I might be wrong. The uncertainty cuts both ways.

          • A more threatening disaster is that the Yellowstone Caldera supervolcano might blow and take the better part of North America with it.
            “The upward movement of the Yellowstone caldera floor between 2004 and 2008 — almost 3 inches (7.6 cm) each year — was more than three times greater than ever observed since such measurements began in 1923. From mid-summer 2004 through mid-summer 2008, the land surface within the caldera moved upward as much as 8 inches (20 cm) at the White Lake GPS station.”

            Documented, already happened in the past, could happen again in the future. SUPER VOL-CANE-O
            It’s a real danger, and once we see it’s occurring, it will unquestionably be TOO LATE to do anything except try to survive.
            Not like warming where if we’d just stop driving our SUV’s and burning coal we can ‘fix it’, see?
            And it’s all sciency too, documented, facts, and so forth.

            What about your children? Do you want them to die in the resultant famine, or be caught in the toxic volcanic clouds?
            Why aren’t you demanding we start building shelters for the whole country? Why aren’t you demanding government DO SOMETHING about it?
            It will affect world climate, why isn’t the UN taking action, why aren’t the third world countries contributing to the fund to try and fix it, it will impact them too.

          • Alan: There is little we can do about the possibility of a super volcano eruption – we don’t even know if it’s going to happen. We can do something to mitigate the threat of global warming, and it will have positive side effects like getting us off what President Bush called our addiction to oil, plus technological advances. The argument that “we shouldn’t prevent one set of bad consequences because there are other bad things that can happen” is weak. That’s like a smoker saying “I don’t need to stop smoking because I also drink, and drinking is bad for me – if I don’t stop both, I shouldn’t stop either.” To me it’s a pragmatic choice based on the likelihood and scope of the consequences and the cost of acting. I suspect you estimate the cost of acting as much higher than I do. That’s fine – disagreement over what to do is good. I totally respect an argument that says “yeah, there is a lot of evidence that says humans are causing global warming, but I think government action in response is wrong and counter productive.”

          • “We can do something to mitigate the threat of global warming, and it will have positive side effects like getting us off what President Bush called our addiction to oil, plus technological advances.”

            Uh, no, there is no proof that any of the things we have done have had ANY net effect on the actual temperature or that any of the things we have done or do are actually driving factors in the overall global temperature. If we understood the system well enough to determine that, we wouldn’t be flailing around with various schemes, we’d be using the one that actually demonstrated results.
            So, no, we may sequester or reduce CO2 for the next hundred years and factors that are completely outside the scope of what we do, understand, or control, may either continue to heat, or cool, the atmospheric temperature of the planet regardless of anything we’ve done.

            When ANY part of your plan for reducing CO2 emissions actually consists of handing out coupons created from whole cloth which allow you to produce more CO2 but which you can then conveniently TRADE with other countries, or purchase from them, using actual wealth so you can go over your limit which was randomly assigned by bureaucrats in the UN…you should instantly understand you’re participating in a giant fraud. Nay, not participating, you are one of the many victims.

            You don’t reduce emissions by creating trading stamps and continuing to increase emissions.
            You reduce them by reducing them.
            Not by participating in a farcical scheme to move wealth from one country to another by means of a fiat currency/cap & trade CO2 market created by governments who have suddenly decided they are the actual owners and licensors of a gas that we exhale as a function of life.

            The globe isn’t going to cool down if America buys unused permits from Funafuti that allows us to increase our CO2 output above the random limit assigned for the next 20 years. Things don’t get cooler because we use carbon fuels to harvest raw materials and make solar panels and windmills at factories that use carbon fuels for power and then install them on our houses so we can get some of our money back from the government in the form of a tax break.

            Things don’t cool down that way, wealth just moves from place to place.
            And rest assured you will not be the final repository for the wealth, but you will be a forced contributor.

          • “That’s fine – disagreement over what to do is good.”

            Not what to do – there’s not a damn thing we can do that will have any appreciable effect – any more than we could stop an ice age from occurring, a hurricane from forming, or Yellowstone from erupting.

            You think there’s a meter on every source of CO2? – it’s all estimated.
            For example – THIS….
            Where was this discovery, made in 2015, factored into the equations for the climate models of 2000, or the Kyoto assignments and targets for CO2 output?

            Make sure you read the last paragraph – My emphasis here.
            “The researchers developed the idea of the current study at the Max Planck Institute, as some years ago, they had found out that cryptogamic covers absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide and nitrogen from the atmosphere. Lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria bind about as much carbon dioxide as the burning of biomass or fossil fuel releases annually.

            See that? our CO2 outputs are covered by lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria….and we didn’t even KNOW it until 2015.
            Right there, a scientist said it – bind about as much carbon dioxide as the burning of biomass or fossil fuel releases, annually.

            But, heh, turns out that’s one of those estimate thingies too, ain’t it.

            Good lord, we can’t even predict the weather 4 days in advance accurately, and you think we can predict the global temperature 40 years from now, and control it, by farting around with CO2?

          • Alan: True, there is no proof about the future – we have to make the best bet on the evidence. However, I think you underestimate the incentives caused by a trading system. Wealthy countries won’t want to buy credits from other countries, they’ll have incentives to produce cleaner energy. Still, I’m not convinced that’s the way to go. That leaves the realm of science and enters the realm of politics. What to do is a different question than whether or not humans are causing climate change. And you’re certainly right that we are making new discoveries all the time – that’s the beauty of science. We’ll never know everything, there will always be new discoveries. But we have to act on the knowledge we have now – I’m not satisfied saying “well, maybe something we don’t know will come along and this won’t be a problem.” Maybe. Maybe not.

          • And do you think the wealth used to buy CO2 credits comes from the air, like the CO2 exhaust permission slips of flim-flam government agencies do?

            that will be real, honest to god wealth that will exchange hands on an item that neither party has any actual license to control or issue credits for, except for the fact they say they do (and they have guns).

            If Don Angelo Spamoni came to your house with Guido and Joey Bag-o-donuts and told you he was going to put a meter on your car and you had to pay him for the exhaust to cover the expense of having his greenhouse windows cleaned you’d justifiably have a screaming fit (after Don Angelo left, if you’re sane). I doubt you’d go back to using a horse and buggy (which Don Spamoni might decide he could also charge you for using) because it was cleaner.

            But some faceless pencil pushers elected or appointed by people across the sea, or in Washington, tells you the same thing and you smile happily because you think it’s all sciencey and it will mean a better, free life for your kids.
            Your problem is you willingly accept that someone else has the authority and right to charge YOU for emissions.
            because make no mistake, you and your kids (and the rest of us) will be footing the bill for your happy moment of green goodness, for something they just decided they should have control over, because it’s another way to grow government, grow control and make them wealthy and powerful.

            You go girl.

          • Alan: You’ve shifted the discussion. I’m not in a position to defend carbon trading schemes. I’m skeptical of them myself. I was limiting my comments only to the question of whether or not there is evidence enough to do something. What that something is, well, I’ve seen lots of ideas and I still am not certain what I’d support.

          • And, heh, good on you for ignoring the prediction that the recent discovery covers (assume an exclusive “or” out of generosity) either CO2 released by the burning of biomass, or the burning of fossil fuel and how that obviously can’t have been factored into ANY model produced up until about August of 2015 – you know, the models that predict the global warming thingie PRIOR to the discovery in July of 2015.

            Don’t trouble yourself and think about the implications that the discovery, if correct, kinda making hash out of pretty much all the predictions by completely factoring out one, or the other, of the primary sources of man-made CO2 (and possibly both if you treat the “or” in his statement inclusively) in the climate models.

          • But the carbon trading schemes WERE a big part of the answer to solving the problem you pointed out how the EU had met their Kyoto goals – and they did some of that using carbon trading.

            If carbon trading and tracking aren’t the answer then what is, fines for exceeding a limit?
            Comes down to wealth transfer, no matter how you slice it, unless of course you are suggesting the punishment for exceeding the assigned quota of carbon dioxide consists of sending in Conan the Barbarian and a host of Cimmerians and annihilating the members of the offending country.

          • Alan: I’ll follow where the science goes with any new discoveries. But I rather doubt you found a deus ex macchina that will suddenly make the problem disappear. You’ve been all over the place – Mayan calendar, Roman Catholic church, new discoveries, trading schemes, etc. All that is fine, but my point was much more basic: the science has to be taken seriously. One shouldn’t pick and choose what science to believe based on political preferences. The political question comes after one deals with the scientific question. True, there is uncertainty and things we don’t know – but that’s never been a good reason to deny science.

          • IF it were, you know, actual science, I’d take it seriously.

            But from what I can see it’s up there with Roman Catholic churches view of the solar system before Copernicus, and the Mayan ‘end of the world’ calendar.
            Which is why I tossed those out.
            THOSE were the accepted views of the ‘majority’ of ‘scientists’ of the Roman Catholic and Mayan worlds.

            “The political question comes after one deals with the scientific question. True, there is uncertainty and things we don’t know – but that’s never been a good reason to deny science.”

            I’m not the one who’s denying science, I’m denying something that is pretty damn far FROM science.
            Facts don’t require ‘consensus’ to be true, and ‘science’ isn’t consensus, as demonstrated by the Catholic and Mayan dogma.

            For example – you hand wave away what in theory is a tremendously large carbon sequestration dump that they admitted they have been unaware of – all the while worried about the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere based on ‘science’ models, that also ignored the sequestration because they couldn’t possibly have accounted for it, yet predict a coming doom if we don’t all swap to solar power and wind mills and hamsters on exercise wheels instead of carbon fuels right the heck now (and the 1st world should pay for it, evil colonial bastards!)

            This is but one of many more recent studies that continue to reveal how little we DO know about the atmosphere and the causes of warming and cooling, and factually, measurably, DID NOT KNOW when the models of doom you want to use to set our course were created.

            You talk of science when the government schemes for fixing the ‘problem’ can ONLY result in wealth transfer either in the form of reward for compliance/research, or punishment for non-compliance.
            There is no magic fount of wealth that will appear to cover the costs of ‘fixing’ the problem, especially since they don’t know what they’re fixing. That wealth will come from the populace who can be fleeced for it, sot the third world will be exempt. This means – you will pay for it in many ways, shapes, sizes and forms.

            And then you top it off by suggesting we’d be better spending billions for no reason because it’s better to be safe than sorry. And – hence – my discussion of the Yellowstone Caldera – same theory – better safe than sorry.

            I didn’t deny science, I’m demanding it actually be used, instead of happily assenting to a world class Humbug designed to frighten the world and fleece the developed nations for the benefit of a chosen few.

          • There are climate scientists who will analyze the implications of new discoveries far better than you or I can speculate. But given your dismissal of the experts – you seem to think that climate scientists aren’t doing what their specialization is, and that somehow you can judge that – I have to wonder if you’re not really playing a different game here. Perhaps because you dislike what governments might do to combat global warming, you’re making a strategic decision to deny it’s happening since that would be an easier fight to win than accepting the science and then arguing against government action. Is that the case? Because it’s a bit of hubris for someone to say “I know this what these guys are trained to understand and they’ve spent their lives doing it, but I proclaim it wrong.” Unless, perhaps, you know they are probably right but just don’t want to admit it? I guess in a Machiavellian ends justifies the means sense that strategy makes sense.

        • A bit more of an explanation: In complex systems models are meant to be parsimonious attempts to take the data we have access to and create an explanation/prediction. In social science models are used for war and other phenomena. These are almost always systems that have extreme complexity and which we do not understand completely. The goal of a model is to take the variables we do understand so we can correctly interpret the data. There are always (whether war or climate change) variables that are unknown, or known but left out because they are not seen as necessary for the model (again, wanting parsimony). With climate science a variety of models have been explored, looking at different variable mixes. That’s why the results show a range of possibilities. That’s simply how modeling works.

          • By the way, I see I did use the term ‘scientific fact’ in the last thread. I was careless, and you were right to call me on it. I apologize, that was wrong. It’s a theory which means there is uncertainty. I was thinking of it being generally accepted but I did not put it that way. My bad.

        • .” I suspect a lot of people are driven to their position by their political perspective”

          Mirror, mirror on the wall….

          • I make a point of looking at the science. Whether or not global warming is occurring or if it is caused by humans is a scientific question, not a political question. If the answer is “yes, very likely it is,” then a political question arises: What should we do about it? My approach and your approach to that question will of course be driven by political perspective. But the question of “is it happening” should be approached without regard for politics. It is a question to be addressed scientifically.