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Bubkes

Filed under: — gavin @ 26 June 2009 - (Chinese (simplified))

Some parts of the blogosphere, headed up by CEI (“CO2: They call it pollution, we call it life!“), are all a-twitter over an apparently “suppressed” document that supposedly undermines the EPA Endangerment finding about human emissions of carbon dioxide and a basket of other greenhouse gases. Well a draft of this “suppressed” document has been released and we can now all read this allegedly devastating critique of the EPA science. Let’s take a look…

First off the authors of the submission; Alan Carlin is an economist and John Davidson is an ex-member of the Carter administration Council of Environmental Quality. Neither are climate scientists. That’s not necessarily a problem – perhaps they have mastered multiple fields? – but it is likely an indication that the analysis is not going to be very technical (and so it will prove). Curiously, while the authors work for the NCEE (National Center for Environmental Economics), part of the EPA, they appear to have rather closely collaborated with one Ken Gregory (his inline comments appear at multiple points in the draft). Ken Gregory if you don’t know is a leading light of the Friends of Science – a astroturf anti-climate science lobbying group based in Alberta. Indeed, parts of the Carlin and Davidson report appear to be lifted directly from Ken’s rambling magnum opus on the FoS site. However, despite this odd pedigree, the scientific points could still be valid.

Their main points are nicely summarised thus: a) the science is so rapidly evolving that IPCC (2007) and CCSP (2009) reports are already out of date, b) the globe is cooling!, c) the consensus on hurricane/global warming connections has moved from uncertain to ambiguous, d) Greenland is not losing mass, no sirree…, e) the recession will save us!, f) water vapour feedback is negative!, and g) Scafetta and West’s statistical fit of temperature to an obsolete solar forcing curve means that all other detection and attribution work is wrong. From this “evidence”, they then claim that all variations in climate are internal variability, except for the warming trend which is caused by the sun, oh and by the way the globe is cooling.

Devastating eh?

One can see a number of basic flaws here; the complete lack of appreciation of the importance of natural variability on short time scales, the common but erroneous belief that any attribution of past climate change to solar or other forcing means that CO2 has no radiative effect, and a hopeless lack of familiarity of the basic science of detection and attribution.

But it gets worse, what solid peer reviewed science do they cite for support? A heavily-criticised blog posting showing that there are bi-decadal periods in climate data and that this proves it was the sun wot done it. The work of an award-winning astrologer (one Theodor Landscheidt, who also thought that the rise of Hitler and Stalin were due to cosmic cycles), a classic Courtillot paper we’ve discussed before, the aforementioned FoS web page, another web page run by Doug Hoyt, a paper by Garth Paltridge reporting on artifacts in the NCEP reanalysis of water vapour that are in contradiction to every other reanalysis, direct observations and satellite data, a complete reprint of another un-peer reviewed paper by William Gray, a nonsense paper by Miskolczi etc. etc. I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to compete with the four rounds of international scientific and governmental review of the IPCC or the rounds of review of the CCSP reports….

They don’t even notice the contradictions in their own cites. For instance, they show a figure that demonstrates that galactic cosmic ray and solar trends are non-existent from 1957 on, and yet cheerfully quote Scafetta and West who claim that almost all of the recent trend is solar driven! They claim that climate sensitivity is very small while failing to realise that this implies that solar variability can’t have any effect either. They claim that GCM simulations produced trends over the twentieth century of 1.6 to 3.74ºC – which is simply (and bizarrely) wrong (though with all due respect, that one seems to come directly from Mr. Gregory). Even more curious, Carlin appears to be a big fan of geo-engineering, but how this squares with his apparent belief that we know nothing about what drives climate, is puzzling. A sine qua non of geo-engineering is that we need models to be able to predict what is likely to happen, and if you think they are all wrong, how could you have any faith that you could effectively manage a geo-engineering approach?

Finally, they end up with the oddest claim in the submission: That because human welfare has increased over the twentieth century at a time when CO2 was increasing, this somehow implies that no amount of CO2 increases can ever cause a danger to human society. This is just boneheadly stupid.

So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at. Seriously, if that’s the best they can do, the EPA’s ruling is on pretty safe ground.

If I were the authors, I’d suppress this myself, and then go for a long hike on the Appalachian Trail….


801 Responses to “Bubkes”

  1. 51
    Richard H. says:

    I’m confused by all of the name calling and nastiness. Okay, you don’t like the guys opinions. You don’t like that he questions things you think shouldn’t be questioned. Is it really necessary or professional to start calling people names and trying to stain their character because you don’t agree with their opinions?

    Less opinion, more scientific process.

  2. 52
    Jim Eager says:

    “Less opinion, more scientific process.”

    Gee, that would certainly be refreshing. If only the deniers & liars would give it a try.

  3. 53

    “…….there are bi-decadal periods in climate data and that this proves it was the sun wot done it.”

    Sunovagun, Here comes the Sun again. Sounds like a job for Punxatawny Phil and his brethren. This could be an misuse of Occam’s razor. The cause has been oversimplified to the point of foolishness. They don’t have to be scientists to understand that the higher energy waves of visible light from the Sun can penetrate through CO2,H2O,CH4,NOZ etal in the atmosphere, but the lower energy radiation of infra- red waves,from Earth’s surface, have problems getting back out through these molecules, and a new energy balance has to be established in the form of rising temperature. But it just falls on dear ears.

  4. 54
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Wow, the attacks against Gavin are flying thick and fast over at Fuller’s blog:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2009m6d26-The-politics-if-not-the-science-is-settled-at-the-EPA-Alan-Carlin-global-warming-and-trouble

    [Response: I love the way that a condemnation of my ad hom tactics is accompanied by a thorough psychological analysis of my insecurities and the conclusion that I must be a "jerk". Ah the irony! - gavin]

  5. 55
    SecularAnimist says:

    Michael wrote: “‘If you restrict CO2, you restrict human welfare’ may not be a totally correct hypothesis, but it is an idea that absolutely does belong in the debate.”

    It is a deliberate lie, scripted by ExxonMobil-funded propaganda mills disguised as “conservative think tanks”, that is demonstrably false and as such it does not belong in the debate about what to do about anthropogenic global warming.

    It is also utterly irrelevant to the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming.

  6. 56
    SecularAnimist says:

    Richard H. wrote: “Okay, you don’t like the guys opinions. You don’t like that he questions things you think shouldn’t be questioned. Is it really necessary or professional to start calling people names and trying to stain their character because you don’t agree with their opinions?”

    Is it really necessary for you to grossly and blatantly misrepresent what Gavin wrote, right here on a comment thread where every reader can easily see what he actually wrote and just as easily see that you are lying about it? Isn’t that a rather silly thing to do?

    Perhaps you should save your lies about what Gavin wrote for some “right wing” blog where the readers won’t bother to check what he actually wrote.

  7. 57
    Richard H. says:

    SecularAnimist, It’s interesting that you attack my statement asking why it’s necessary to name call and slander when it should be a scientific debate by calling me a liar and saying I’m misrepresenting things.

    It’s kind of my point.

    I’m not trying to start a flame war. In fact the opposite is true. People have different opinions, so what. Relax, state your opinions, listen to the other guys, debate things and call it good. There are going to be differences of opinions, it’s the way the world works. Reaching a compromise and basing decisions on those mutually agreed compromises is the way things need to get done.

    It’s also the scientific way. Look at observations, make up theories, test theories against observations and experimentation, adjust theory, test, etc etc.

    Picking up stones and throwing them at each other helps no one in the long run except maybe the rock seller.

  8. 58
    dhogaza says:

    It’s interesting that you attack my statement asking why it’s necessary to name call and slander when it should be a scientific debate

    There can only be a scientific debate when both sides are engaging in scientific arguments.

    It’s also the scientific way. Look at observations, make up theories, test theories against observations and experimentation, adjust theory, test, etc etc.

    And, after the observations have been shown to be wrong, the hypotheses rejected, etc … to move on.

    So, why do you claim denialists are engaged in a “scientific debate” if they repeat the same tired, debunked claims over and over and over again, just as creationists do regarding the fossil evidence for evolution, the geological evidence that the earth is more than 6,000 years old, etc?

    At some point, you have to accept them for what they are: liars.

  9. 59
    pjclarke says:

    I love the way that a condemnation of my ad hom tactics is accompanied by a thorough psychological analysis of my insecurities and the conclusion that I must be a “jerk”. Ah the irony!

    I note that commenters at Fuller’s reheat the leftovers of the Realclimate censorship charge. Censorship and intolerence of dissent being two accusations frequently levelled at RealClimate. It used to be said that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery, perhaps having a website dedicated to publishing the comments that didn’t make it onto your blog are the Web 2.0 equivalent?

    Yep, such a website exists, RC Rejects is a site where comments snuffed out by our hosts may get the oxygen of publicity. Since January it has accumulated literally about a dozen such comments, some by people other than the blog owner, Mr RCRejects himself. Here are a collection of his opening remarks to various posts which I think demonstrate a commendable modesty

    “Not a lot of activity last week – two posts only, one from us, another from herbert stencil.”
    “Quite a bit more activity last week, and that is reflected in the site stats as well – quite a few visits. 16 posts, but most of those were put up by me”
    “We had 15 posts last week – most were posted by me, copied from other blogs. However, we had posts from Herbert Stencil and Vernon as well (thanks guys!).”
    “Last week was a relatively quiet week for us. Only two independent posters (thanks guys). ”
    “Things have been pretty quiet while I have been away. ”
    “Things have been pretty quiet here.”
    “Things have been pretty quiet here. Nevertheless, I plan to keep the site open in order to fulfil its primary function – to act as a repository for comments rejected over at RC.”

    This Herbert Stencil sounds a fun guy ..

  10. 60
    Richard H. says:

    Dhogaza, I would really like to understand the science behind the different areas of debate. However, it’s kind of hard to do when all a person gets when they ask questions is, “you’re a liar”. “You’re a creationist”, “You’re a Deniar”. When in fact I’m none of them.

    I am however not going to form an opinion and treat it as dogma. I’d rather try to understand what’s happening to our planet and have the flexibility to look at other peoples opinions and give them the benefit of the doubt. Even though I don’t understand all of the science behind every piece of the climate, I hope I have enough intelligence to make an informed decision.

    I do admit I read anti AGW blogs more often than pro. That’s just because of my personal preference. In fact I don’t think I’ve been called a single name by asking questions on those blogs. Part of what I find frustrating in my attempt to learn both sides of the issues. It’s worse than debating religion at times. It’s hard to agree with a person that just says negative things about others, whether they are right or wrong.

    Sorry. Rant over.

  11. 61
    EL says:

    I just downloaded some of the publications from Alan Carlin and gave them a quick scan.

    I agree with him on some points. Solutions to global warming must be analyzed for effectiveness. For example, The Mathematical Association of America recent held a competition to analyze ethanol. http://www.maa.org/pubs/cmj47.pdf The results are contrary to what politicians would have you believe.

    I also agree that solar radiation management should be implemented to an extent, but it should be considered as a short term remedy until better solutions are found and developed.

    The best solution on the table at the present time is Nuclear power; however, many different policies would need to be changed to deal with waste. The nuclear power option should not expand to the rest of the world, but used by existing nuclear powers. More research would be needed to provide power to other countries.

  12. 62
    Gary Herstein says:

    oakwood (37) “Classic. You hate ad hominem, but…. before going into the arguments you have a whole paragraph about how the authors are ‘unqualified’. That sets the scene.”

    #44 Jim Eager beat me to the punch. Look it up at:
    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adhomine.html

    In order for an assertion to be an argumentum ad hominem it must be either false, materially irrelevant or both. Since the statements about the authors qualifications are both true and relevant — as such statements speak directly to the authors qualifications and authority to make the assertions that they do — then it could scarcely be more obvious that no ad hominem was involved or even possibly involved.

  13. 63

    #57 Richard H. Says: “I’m not trying to start a flame war. In fact the opposite is true. People have different opinions, so what. Relax, state your opinions, listen to the other guys, debate things and call it good.”

    This is going to come off sounding harsh. I am not sure what I could have done to prevent that, short of not speaking the truth.

    Richard H., “opinion” is nothing more than barnyard noise: It is the braying of the donkey, the mooing of the cow, the clucking of the chickens, the bleating of the sheep. Why should any thinking person care about infantile nonsense compounded by willfully ignorant drivel? Why should any thinking person care about animal outbursts?

    For myself, I could not possibly care less about “opinion.” I am not talking about your “opinion,” or Fred’s “opinion,” or Ginger’s “opinion,” but opinion in general. Anyone’s “opinion;” it is like wallowing excrement.

    Why is it that, in the hysterical and histrionic rush to defend people’s prescious right to their precious “opinion,” no word gets mentioned about the RESPONSIBILITY to know what one is talking about in the first place?

    I do no care about “opinions.” I care about reasoned conclusions. That means I care about logic, principles, evidence and facts (in order of increasing specificity). “Opinions” belong with their owners until and unless such time comes along as they can be grafted onto something that actually possesses cognitive content.

  14. 64
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Judging from the tone of the hysterical rush to defend the Examiner’s journalistic scoop of dog s__t, Gavin has wounded some feelings by being insufficiently circumspect in his response.

    Guess what? Contrary to popular stereotypes, a successful scientific career not only requires purely intellectual skills but is also more likely when accompanied by social skills typically described as “alpha” in character. If you’re going to succeed in a competitive environment it really helps to be assertive, self-confident, combative when necessary and unwilling to compromise with incompetence.

    Wading voluntarily into a fight and then crying when you get adroitly smacked down because you’re inherently weak and can’t really land a punch is pathetic.

    I believe the term “panty-waist” is a bit anachronistic and probably not socially acceptable these days, but I’m of an age where that’s what springs to mind when I read some of the wrist-flapping appearing on this thread.

    Hey, “skeptics”, next time remember your box of tissues so we don’t have to hear all this blubbering and snot-sucking when you’re corrected without cosmetics or attention to your sensitivities.

  15. 65

    Since I don’t know what Bubkes means, though it seems to get science guys going, perhaps I could ask for help understanding the radiative process and its implications.

    Referring back to 24 November 2005, raypierre describes the overall assumption of the radiative process analysis that concludes with a surface temperature output, saying that the radiating temperature “has to stay the same, since the planet still has to get rid of the same amount of energy absorbed from incident sunlight.” He also makes this the condition at equilibrium, which seems consistent with the balanced condition.

    However, when there is a lot of ice melting is it possible to reach equilibrium? Since the surface temperature would not be allowed to keep up, it seems like there would be a continuing deficit, and the energy of the planet would be increasing. But since the surface temperature is lagging, would not that surface temperature fail to indicate the increased energy of the planet?

    On this basis, it seems like a mistake to expect measurable surface temperature increases that relate to the actual problem. When much of the ice is gone, then there should be a catch up process.

    Ok, now the next problem seems to be that the deep ocean would come into the act, and as the surface temperature began to catch up, as with ocean surface temperature, we should then expect significant hurricane activity, and otherwise increased storm conditions. Though the deep ocean is slow to respond, it would seem that on a long term basis, that would ultimately come into action due to vertical mixing. As the deep ocean keeps surface temperatures from rising, the equilibrium would still be unattained. And the deficit continues. Of course, as the deep ocean takes up the heat, the sea level would rise. And that would seem to be a more rapid rise than we have seen or should expect to see with ice melting.

    So it seems like it might be a mistake to get into a box by predicting imminent surface temperature increase, or even ocean surface temperature increase. These expectations are already getting challenged. On the other hand, actual ice “reserves” would be more meaningful. If the case can be made that present sea level rise is due to ice melting, that would seem like a good indicator of where things were going and how fast. Deep ocean temperature might also be worth measuring very carefully. Is it?

    If anyone has the time to discuss this, I would appreciate it.

  16. 66
    David B. Benson says:

    Richard H. (60) — There are not two sides; the scientific “debate” was over long ago. You can read about it in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    Andy Revkin’s review of above

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04E7DF153DF936A35753C1A9659C8B63

  17. 67
    Jim Bouldin says:

    Gary Herstein says:

    I do not care about “opinions.” I care about reasoned conclusions. That means I care about logic, principles, evidence and facts (in order of increasing specificity). “Opinions” belong with their owners until and unless such time comes along as they can be grafted onto something that actually possesses cognitive content.

    Could not possibly have been stated any better Gary. The Fullers of the world will never get it however.

  18. 68
    dhogaza says:

    However, it’s kind of hard to do when all a person gets when they ask questions is, “you’re a liar”. “You’re a creationist”, “You’re a Deniar”. When in fact I’m none of them.

    Re-read my post, I wasn’t referring to you as a liar.

    I was referring to those whose sites you seem to read more often than science sites.

    You may or may not want to believe that they’re lying to you, but the fact is – they are. And most of them *know* they are. They’re ideologically driven and the truth is unimportant to them.

  19. 69
    dhogaza says:

    Nor did I claim that you are a creationist, nor that those who run the sites you seem to prefer to science sites as being creationists (though some are, in particular Roy Spencer).

    I said the *techniques* used are the same as those used by creationists. Right down to one card you played yourself – “I’ve never been called a name on a denialist site”, as though that has any pertinence whatsoever to climate science.

    I will call you a denialist, though. Seems pretty clear at this point.

  20. 70
    James says:

    Michael Says (26 June 2009 at 2:43 PM)

    “James, are you arguing against the fact that cheep energy (and the CO2 it causes) and quality of life are linked?”

    Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am :-) I’ll be the first to point out that it’s by no means a simple or one-to-one relationship, but if tempted too far I might respond with a long list of ways in which cheap energy reduces quality of life. As for instance the Hummer, or power boats & personal watercraft, where the (subjective) increase in quality of life for the people that use them is more than outweighed by the decrease for those who have to live with their effects.

    But to take the specific point I mentioned, what was the average* air quality through 20th century? I would bet that it was highest in 1900 (and increasingly better the futher in the past we look), declined to the mid-70s (when emissions-control laws started taking effect, then the gradual improvement shown.

    *Spatially. Of course you can find locations – New York in 1900, or Mexico City in 2000, that are much worse.

    “‘If you restrict CO2, you restrict human welfare’ may not be a totally correct hypothesis, but it is an idea that absolutely does belong in the debate.”

    Only until it is disproven. Which is easy enough to do, as you may have noticed if you’ve followed recent threads. Energy is not the same as CO2: it’s perfectly possible to get all the energy we really need without burning fossil fuels, the arguments have been about which technologies to use, how much they’ll cost, and how soon they might be brought on line.

  21. 71

    “Since I don’t know what Bubkes means”

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bubkes

    Main Entry:bub·kes
    Variant(s):also bup·kes or bup·kus \ˈbəp-kəs, ˈbu̇p-\
    Function:noun plural but singular in construction
    Etymology:Yiddish (probably short for kozebubkes, literally, goat droppings), plural of bubke, bobke, diminutive of bub, bob bean, of Slavic origin; akin to Polish bób bean.

  22. 72
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jim, is there something in particular you don’t understand at Spencer Weart’s link? He invites questions from readers. Your questions are so basic that if you haven’t read the Start Here links you’ll just be asking people to do a whole lot of recreational retyping on the questions you ask. No offense meant, but the very basic stuff is well covered. Few of us can retype from memory any better than what’s here.
    Try: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/index/

  23. 73
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oh, for Jim also, a handy search tool for word definitions — type
    define: followed by the word (no space) into Google.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Abubkes

  24. 74
    cougar_w says:

    Okay, I’m calling it on Tom Fuller of the SF Examiner:

    Dunning-Kruger Effect

    “The Dunning-Kruger effect is an example of cognitive bias in which “people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it”. They therefore suffer an illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average… ” — Wikipedia

    DK Hypotheses:
    1) Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
    2) Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
    3) Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.
    4) If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.

    ref: Dunning-Kruger Effect

    IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Hypothesis #4 is why we all keep doing this.

    [PS: I read the SF Examiner rarely, and then only for laughs. Total joke.]

    cougar_W

  25. 75
    Richard H. says:

    dhogaza,

    I am hoist by my own petard as it were. You’re right. You didn’t call me those specifically. I just took it that way, which is my error. My apologies.

    As for being a Denialist. I think of myself as being open minded. Guess it’s a choice of semantics and points of view.

    Cheers.

  26. 76
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 65

    Hey Jim,

    If you would like to entertain a casual discussion UKWW Forums:
    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/forum-view.asp?fid=46 “Climate and Earth Science Chat” are available for informal subject matter discussions. Though not at the quality of expertise found here in realclimate.org, there is also a “Climatic Discussion and Analysis” group for more technical discussions: http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/forum-view.asp?fid=30

    Sorry to say very few experts come to play anymore. However, a good ruckus will sometimes attract those with a strong technical ability. At worst case we may get a few graduate students that attempt to flatter us with their new found abilities…

    We do not take anything away from realclimate.org. (Rather then bollixing up the threads here with laymen looking to share insights, UKWW offers the opportunity for the average person to explore climate affecting subjects.) As most participants are not professionals there, we try to provide a moderated learning opportunity without the normal, “go get educated then come back to the discussion”. As Dr. Schmidt has suggested elsewhere, sometimes the road gets well worn; yet, UKWW makes for a good stepping stone for when you decide to return to technical discussions here.

    Cheers!
    Dave Cooke

  27. 77
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Fresh: “House Passes Bill to Address Threat of Climate Change”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/27/us/politics/27climate.html?hp

    This bill is a bit of a punching bag for everybody, not always diagnostic of useful political compromise. All the same, the fact of the vote is historically significant. I’m repeating myself but here’s a moment in time signifying acknowledgment of climate change by U.S. legislators. Late, lacking, possibly misguided, yet I’m still appreciative.

  28. 78
    Deep Climate says:

    I have had a chance to review some of Carlin’s previous work. What appears at first glance to be an exploration of geo-engineering alternatives to GHG emission reductions turns out to contain a lot of the same anti-AGW pseudo-scientific nonsense featured in his review document.

    http://carlineconomics.googlepages.com/whyadifferent

    Some samples from the above article:

    Introduction Section C: Underlying Theme—Climate Change Science
    is at Best Uncertain

    Although the IPCC claims near unanimity for its conclusions,11 there remain a significant number of skeptics who do not agree.
    [cites Heartland Institute]

    The most prominent alternative to the GHG explanation for GW
    during the Holocene primarily attributes much more significance to solar variability.Advocates argue that changes in the sun’s eruptional activity, solar wind, and magnetic field, among other characteristics, have been major determinants of global temperature here on Earth. Since this has not been taken into account in the IPCC models to date, these models may need to be changed if they are to more accurately reflect reality.

    [cites include: Svensmark, Scafetta. Landscheit in Energy and Environment]

    No wonder his “research” has been “suppressed” by the EPA for six years (as Tom Fuller complains); he is completely clueless.

    By the way, this stuff is right up my alley (I’m the one who wrote most of the above cited SourceWatch article on Friends of Science, and badgered the University of Calgary into investigating FoS’s dubious status as a recipient of “research” funding).

    From where I sit, the fact that an FoS director had major input into a draft EPA document review is very disturbing. I’ll be blogging on this very soon. (Oh, and by the way, I’ve created a searchable version of the Carlin/Davidson document – I’ll be posting that too).

    Big thanks to Gavin and RC for bringing this to our attention.

  29. 79

    Re #70 James,

    I guess it depends on one’s perspective, but to me you proved Michael’s point and more. He only says that the relationship between CO2 and energy belongs in the debate. From my perspective, there is a major economic crisis shaping up and this is going to tend to exclude the forms of energy production that require high capital expenditures. Shifting to natural gas sounds good, but there is a good chance this will drive the price of natural gas from a currently non-competitive level to a completely unaffordable level. With these thoughts in mind, the available source of energy, namely coal, very much will tie quality of life to CO2.

    But another approach is to find ways to use a lot less of the fossil fuels that we are now using wastefully.

  30. 80
    tamino says:

    bubkes (also spelled “bupkis”): of Yiddish origin, meaning emphatically nothing, as in “He isn’t worth bubkes” (literally ‘goat droppings’, possibly of Slavic origin; cf. Polish bobki ‘animal droppings’)

    recaptcha: “Reporter scheming”

  31. 81
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Deep Climate: I’ll be blogging on this very soon. (Oh, and by the way, I’ve created a searchable version of the Carlin/Davidson document – I’ll be posting that too).

    Oh goody, please give us the link when you post!

  32. 82
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Cougar notes the Dunning-Kruger effect:

    4) If they can be trained to substantially improve their own skill level, these individuals can recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill.”

    This is what’s driving me with Tom Fuller. “If he could be turned, he would be a powerful ally.” — Darth Vader, to Emperor Palpatine

  33. 83
    dhogaza says:

    As for being a Denialist. I think of myself as being open minded.

    Richard H, are you “open minded” about all science, or just AGW? If you believe the (literally) ‘goat droppings’ of denialist climate science liars, why don’t you believe those who do the same regarding creationism and biology, or medicine and HIV denial, or any number of topics that fit into the set of antiscience?

    Have you asked yourself *why* you’re “open-minded” about some aspects of science, and not others?

    There’s no room for ideology in science. For the application of knowledge gained by science, sure – the view that we should do nothing even though science is right because a 3C rise in global temps by 2100 is less harmful than the expansion of government regulation to reduce CO2 emissions would be entirely consistent with science, and *openly* ideological, for instance. It would be honest, at least, even if it would be immoral as judged by my own moral framework.

  34. 84

    I’m sorry, was this a late April Fool’s post?

  35. 85
    dhogaza says:

    This is what’s driving me with Tom Fuller. “If he could be turned, he would be a powerful ally.” — Darth Vader, to Emperor Palpatine

    Sorry, I think Fuller is essentially a scam. “Liberal skeptic” on the surface is idiocy. Either you accept science, or you don’t. Without having done research on him, he’s old enough to fit into the traditional big-city liberal that’s been anti-science regarding issues like natural resources conservation, automobile safety (seatbelts, etc). etc. There was a fairly long period in our political history where big-city liberals opposed all such scientifically-backed issues simply because they looked at the world narrowly – we must increase wages for workers and we must maximize the number of workers. Side-effects, be damned.

    As I said above, I don’t know if he’s “like that” or not, but he looks old enough in his photo to have that old-fashioned, labor-über-alles (including science), point of view.

    And … he acts like it.

  36. 86
    veritas36 says:

    Tom Fuller (#18):
    Watch where you put your money: “Madoff made sure he presented an image of impeccable integrity”.
    Perhaps Carlin himself is sincere and honest and intelligent, and has simply fallen for a pack of lies. Some of the financiers who directed clients’ money into Madoff’s funds were taken in themselves.
    Much of the arguments used –over and over again — by bloggers to refute global warming are obvious hokum. Anyone can post anything on a blog — anonymously. Some bloggers repeat discredited lies created by phony astroturf organizations funded by unlisted entities.
    The ‘suppressed’ document has no ‘new’ data that I could see. Some of the references are far from credible. The real scientists who write this page have seen this nonsense before.
    If you don’t believe me — hey, I’ve got a great fund you can get in on. Put your money in it and you’ll never have to worry about it again.

  37. 87
    Fran Barlow says:

    Re: #70 and the question of ‘restricting CO2′ ‘restricting human welfare’

    The specious reasoning apart the claim is also spurious because as a matter of practice the current debate is less about “restricting” atmospheric CO2 — as has been noted many times here, even an aggressive program that cuts *growth* in emissions will take some time to stabilise atmospheric CO2.

    It will be a long time, if ever, before atmospheric CO2 is as low as it was when IPCC’s 2007 Assessment Report was published.

    The broader composition error persists though. It’s clear that without insolation on the Earth’s surface, life as we know it would be impossible. That’s not entail arguing that every increment in insolation serves us as well as the previous one and that some increments won’t leave us worse off.

    The biosphere is a complex and dynamic system which, in the configuration of the last 13000 years has permitted and fostered human life and development. Seeing what would happen if we start dicking about with one of its important components amounts to a massive uncontrolled experiment in which there is no clear upside and a downside that though imprecisely specified, could be disastrous oir even worse.

    Attempting to stabilise atmospheric CO2 as soon as possible is therefore rational and prudent, especially since mucyh of what one would do to achieve that also carries with it other tangible public benefits that a business as usual scenario would forfeit.

    It’s hard to escape the conclusion that much of the contrarian position simply reflects the desire to fight what they see as a culture war against anything that smacks of human (as opposed to ‘market’) control over policy.

    Fran

  38. 88
    Chris Colose says:

    Tenney (#84),

    Unfortunately it is no joke. Based on the report and the people I am engaging with at Tom Fuller’s blog, I am seriously very concerned about the current state of the communication medium between scientists and the public. If regular people can now just make up their own facts about physics and what is happening with the current climate change, there’s some major issues.

    I cannot offhand think of a more obvious, yet such a successful disinformation campaign as climate change denial. The arguments used have the same intellectual quality as flat earth arguments, yet somehow that has no effect on how they are believed, or the illogical connections drawn from them.

  39. 89
    MarkB says:

    Re: #77

    “here’s a moment in time signifying acknowledgment of climate change by U.S. legislators. Late, lacking, possibly misguided, yet I’m still appreciative.”

    This captures the moment for me pretty well…there’s still a long way to go in the stubborn Senate. Stumbling its way through political deals and compromises among politicians guided by local interests and large entrenched industries, in an environment where most detractors erroneously proclaim profound economic gloom and doom in an effort to frighten the public into submission, the legislation somehow made it past the House. For all of it’s weakness, it’s nice to note that for the first in history, U.S. lawmakers at one part of the national level have made a fairly significant move directly (or indirectly depending on how you view it) addressing carbon emissions.

  40. 90
    Mark says:

    James says: “Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am :-) I’ll be the first to point out that it’s by no means a simple or one-to-one relationship, but if tempted too far I might respond with a long list of ways in which cheap energy reduces quality of life.”

    Like:

    Money spent on fuel isn’t spent on fun.

    Cooling/warming your house because you have made it inefficient isn’t increasing your quality of life, it’s undoing the reduction in quality of life your badly made house is giving you.

    Money spent on external sources isn’t spent in your home economy.

    Pentium 4. cf CoreDuo.

  41. 91
    Deep Climate says:

    Hello again,

    I’ve had a chance to look a little more. I’m not sure about this characterization:

    “Curiously, while the authors work for the NCEE (National Center for Environmental Economics), part of the EPA, they appear to have rather closely collaborated with one Ken Gregory (his inline comments appear at multiple points in the draft).”

    When I looked at a couple of the “inline” comments, they appeared to be lifted from Gregory’s comments at various blogs (e.g. Niche Modeling), so the idea that Carlin collaborated with Gregory probably needs to be reconsidered.

    But certainly Carlin seems to have looked at and bookmarked everything he could find by Gregory, even blog comments. I guess that was the only way to get the most recent science …

  42. 92
    pete best says:

    Dear RC, None of you here who have written excellent and informative pieices and responses need to justify yourselves to the WUWT and other blogs of dubious intent. You give up your valuable time and hae put a lot of effort into this site. You have convinced many people who have read the articles and followed the path of the threads responses.

    Simply brilliant work, can’t thank you enough for your patience and email replies too at the contrib address. I have managed to convincingly argue with many a dissenter and ignore their erratic scientific nonsense due to RC (and climate progress to be fair).

    Thanks and as the first climate change bill has just past the house of representatives you can all have a beer on me.

  43. 93

    Jay Lehr says:

    Carbon dioxide is no more than 4 percent of the total atmosphere—with water vapor being more than 90 percent, followed by methane and sulfur and nitrous oxides. Of that 4 percent, man contributes a little more than 3 percent. Three percent of 4 percent is .12 percent, and for that we are sentencing people to numerous damaging economic impacts.

    Wow, the atmosphere is 90% water vapor and 4% carbon dioxide! Um… is it Earth he’s talking about?

  44. 94

    Richard H. writes:

    I do admit I read anti AGW blogs more often than pro. That’s just because of my personal preference. In fact I don’t think I’ve been called a single name by asking questions on those blogs. Part of what I find frustrating in my attempt to learn both sides of the issues.

    Why are you trying to learn about a scientific issue by reading internet blogs?

    Why not crack a book? Preferably an introductory climatology book? Try Hartmann’s Global Physical Climatology or Henderson-Sellers and Robinson’s Introductory Climatology.

  45. 95

    Calling someone an economist is a real insult … given that the economists failed to predict the Housing Bubble and the recession/depression which followed. Seeking scientific advice from an economist is about as rational as consulting an astrologer.

    http://www.flickr.com/dmathew1

  46. 96
    Monica Hughes says:

    No ad hominem here. Lots of argument from authority, though. Just as much of a logical fallacy.

    [Response: Unfortunately, you are confused. The fallacy would be thinking something was true purely on the basis of who said it. It is not a fallacy to think something is true because you have other reasons to think that the source is credible (you do this every time you read the news). Thinking that people who study something are more likely to know something about it is perfectly logical. Do you get medical advice from your postman? - gavin]

  47. 97
    Jimmy Haigh says:

    Re: 93. Pete Best. 27 June 2009 at 5:41 AM

    Thanks and as the first climate change bill has just past [sic] the house of representatives you can all have a beer on me.

    I hope that the beer isn’t carbonated.

  48. 98
    Michael Stefan says:

    Jimmy Haigh Says:
    27 June 2009 at 7:49 AM

    I hope that the beer isn’t carbonated.

    I assume that means that we all should stop breathing as well (I’m pretty sure that the CO2 in beer comes from fermentation, just as exhaled CO2 comes from digested food; i.e. from plants that took it from the air). Not so sure about carbonated water/soda.

  49. 99
    Fran Barlow says:

    #93 Barton

    Nice catch. It just underlines how careless they are with the science. I have to confess I don’t pay as much attention when they start running those silly claims.

    They read like those jokes that finish up proving by a series of specious steps that all the work of the country is done by one person who is too busy to talk.

  50. 100
    caerbannog says:

    This is a little off-topic, but is something that might help folks here demonstrate to their less technically-oriented friends just how clueless Watts is.

    We all (well, most of us) know that Anthony Watts is a serial blunderer. Many of the blunders require some level of scientific/technical knowledge to appreciate. But some of the blunders are at the high-school/college-freshman (non-major) level. Watts’ attempted explanation of the differences between histograms generated from NASA GISS surface temperature data vs. those generated from HadCRUT, RSS, and UAH data is a particularly entertaining example.

    Just go to http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/02/28/a-look-at-4-globaltemperature-anomalies/ , scroll down to the histogram discussion, and be prepared to be entertained.

    Just one quick caveat, though: remember that hot beverages and nasal passages don’t mix!


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