The Hartwell Paper and Capitulation

I haven’t posted for a while. Quite frankly, I’ve been horrified over the BP disaster and have felt that arguing with septics and contrarians is not doing much good in the greater scheme of things.

However, I did stumble across the Hartwell Paper and couldn’t restrain myself.  I shuddered while I read “The Hartwell Paper: A new direction for climate policy after the crash of 2009”. I don’t know what it was — perhaps it was the past few months I’ve spent reading science papers in which empirical evidence is analysed [rather than the puffery of pomo pono types]. Perhaps it’s working in a policy job in which I see just how policy is actually made. When I thought of what the Hartwell Paper advocated, the only word that came to mind again and again was this: capitulation.

Whatever it was, I had a very hard time swallowing the dreck contained within this paper. In fact, there were several shake-the-head and face-palm moments. At one point, I put the paper down and considered if my cartooning skills were up to it for all I could think of was comedy whilst reading the paper.

Since my cartooning skills aren’t quite up to it, picture this:

A man cowers beneath an umbrella with the caption “The Hartwell Paper” written on its face.  Moving towards him from the southwest is a helluva dark storm with a huge wedge twister spewing debris in its wake. Inside the storm are the words “global warming”.

A cartoon is the appropriate response to this package of postmodern postnormal [postrational] nonsense.

I came across the reference to the Hartwell Paper over at CA. It seems that McI has done a couple of things that surprised his readership lately. One was to criticize Cuccinelli. Wow — did that have some of his supporters in a tizzy!  The other was to post a link to the Hartwell Paper.

I won’t comment on those posts except to say that I was surprised.  It doesn’t change my view of him.  When the history of this sorry era is written, McI’s name will be key among those who are judged to have contributed to the delay in responding to the threat of global warming. I hope feeding his audience is worth that future notoriety.

So, what is the Hartwell Paper? Put it simply — pomo pono rubbish.

Is there nothing good I can see in it? What about the call to take heed of the energy needs of the bottom billions in the world?  Surely a liberal bleeding heart like myself must be swayed by its call to “raising up of human dignity via … energy access for all”. How could not the very fibers of my liberal being not quiver at those words?

They don’t. I seem to recall some coal company arguing the very same thing in some greenwashing advert on the tube.

It’s what is called a “lost leader” in marketing. It’s the sleight of hand that hides the card up the sleeve in the game of chance in the back alley. It’s the wiggling lure of the angler fish drawing the unsuspecting in.

According to the authors, the three-pronged approach adopted in the paper “explains the radical and practical ways to reduce non-CO2 human forcings of climate.”

Non-CO2 human forcings of climate?

That’s like fussing over the zit on the end of your teenager’s nose whilst ignoring the huge cancer growing in their belly.  It’s so much bunk its not worth my time to do a thorough debunking. So I won’t. But I will point and laugh.

Here’s a line I like:

“The Hartwell Paper follows the advice that a good crisis should not be wasted.”

Hmmm. That reminds me of Condy Rice’s famous words about how 9/11 was an “enormous opportunity” and that America and its friends must “take advantage” of the “new opportunities” it presented — an opportunity to move in and take out Saddam, alter the balance of power to favor American interests, and it would pay for itself!

Yeah, riiight…

In a similar vein, I can’t help but see the pono pomo crowd viewing the failure of Copenhagen and the CRU emails as an opportunity to move ahead on their agendas, which don’t include, apparently, acting on the main driver of global warming — CO2.

The authors reject the head-on approach of previous climate policy to decarbonize the economy via the UNFCCC/Kyoto process.  They argue that the carbon issue has been overloaded with the baggage of other “framings and agendas” such as environmentalism and the like.

Here’s a snicker-inducing quote:

“The oblique approach which we advocate may appear at first [and second, third and thirty-fifth] glance to be no different because it adopts multiple framings and agendas as well. But that would be a mistake… Our approach is actually the opposite: multiple framings and agendas are pursued in their own right, and according to their own logics and along their own appropriate paths. Decarbonization is a contingent benefit, not an encompassing one. This is the radical difference: indeed, an inversion.” [my sarcasm]

In other words, we will fight to ensure the poor get access to energy, that non-CO2 emissions and pollution are reduced, and that we prepare for the inevitable warming.

Obama’s slogan in 2008?  YES WE CAN!

The Hartwell authors’ battlecry?  NO WE CAN’T!

It’s a total cop-out to use outmoded lingo. It’s capitulation. It’s slimy policy academic lackeys bowing to power rather than speaking truth to it. If anyone should have the freedom to speak truth to power, it should be the ivory towered crowd with tenure and nothing to stop them from telling it like it is. But I guess that’s not this crowd. Maybe I’m too idealistic. Why have ivory towers if people can’t stand atop them and pronounce against the current power structures?

The thing is that pomo has taken over academe and they are the last group to challenge the powers that be.

Here’s a quote:

“Rather than being a discrete problem to be solved, climate change is better undertood as a persistent condition that must be coped with and can only be partially managed more — or less — well.”

It’s what the authors call a “wicked” problem. Yeah — that’s right. No slacking on the technical terminology in this work. In other words, its intractable.

What is most cringe-worthy is the use of “Capability Brown’s dictum. As I sat, dropped-jaw, reading the section discussing Capability Brown, I thought, where on Earth did they get this?

Then I read the list of authors and saw that some of them were cultural studies types. Bingo.

Lancelot “Capability” Brown was an 18th Century landscape gardener. His gardens did not take the visitor straight to the stately home via a driveway lined with trees and gardens, which would be fast and direct, but instead, they meandered, wandered, veered, through woodlands, groves, and other distractions, until the visitor arrived at the home in a relaxed state of mind.

Here’s an excerpt describing Capability Brown’s technique and its value:

“That displays a subtle skill which has manifest political value: the capacity to deliver an ambitious objective harmoniously. “Capability” Brown might be a useful tutor for designers of climate policies. His advice would be to approach the object of emissions reduction via other goals, riding with other constituencies and gathering other benefits.”

So instead of marching headlong towards emission reductions and decarbonization of the economy as existing climate policy would demand, in order, you know, to prevent dangerous warming of the climate, the Hartwell folks would have us pursue other agendas and engage other constituencies, arriving at our goal eventually but also harmoniously. I can just hear the babbling brook burbling in the background…

Cultural studies types like looking at landscapes and space for inspiration and for help in understanding society. Why not compare climate policy to landscape architecture?   In pono pomo, it’s all good.

Yanno, it’s really just a load of horse hockey.

What is it with these post-normal types? They don’t want to speak truth to power — they want to paint its toenails and sprinkle aromatherapy around it to make it more palatable. I’ve always been suspicious of post-modernism’s take on politics and I think I’ve been justified.

Put it simple: there has been no real action on climate change, not because it’s a “wicked problem” that has no “stopping rule” or is intractable, or that it’s been improperly “framed”, but because there are too many powerful interests involved who have enormous influence over the political process. FULL STOP.

None of the actions the Hartwell folks want us to take are, in themselves, bad. It would be great to reduce black carbon for it has a significant role to play in arctic warming. Reducing non-CO2 gasses would be a benefit, no doubt. Ensuring access of the world’s developing nations to affordable energy is the right thing to do from a moral and ethical standpoint.

However, what the Hartwell folks have done is capitulate. Their approach will result in further delay in action that is necessary to forestall or mitigate climate change. We will have to adapt to some degree of warming: the question is how much?

If the Hartwell group win the ear of politicians — shudder the thought — I suspect it will be more rather than less, and that is the real danger of this kind of nonsense.


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About Policy Lass

Exploring skeptic tales.

68 Responses to “The Hartwell Paper and Capitulation”

  1. This story might help explain the strangeness (and in my case, emptiness) one might have felt while reading CA lately:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8694544.stm

  2. willard :

    This story might help explain the strangeness (and in my case, emptiness) one might have felt while reading CA lately:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8694544.stm

    Wow — thanks for that link. As to McIntyres comments, I have little sympathy. My grandmother once quoted, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  3. “What about the call to take heed of the energy needs of the bottom billions in the world? Surely a liberal bleeding heart like myself must be swayed by its call to “raising up of human dignity via … energy access for all”. How could not the very fibers of my liberal being not quiver at those words?”

    Sounds familiar. Did the likes of Ball and McKitrick have anything to do with this, I wonder? It’s reminiscent of the Cornwall Alliance agenda.

  4. It may be reminiscent of the Cornwall Alliance agenda, but in fact it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Breakthrough Boys.

    I don’t have a link for it, but the Economist had a nice take-down a couple of weeks ago. On the whole I don’t see any indication that the Hartwell Paper has gotten its participants any additional traction, which is an unalloyed good thing.

  5. Steve Bloom, that is a good thing. That kind of trash needs to go directly in the bin lest it stink up the place…

  6. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8694544.stm

    Wow. No wonder we’re not hearing much about the Heartland Conference from the true believers and their friends, they’d freak out just thinking about what McI and Spencer said there! Worth following up.

  7. A relevant quote from the above article:

    There is much to like in the Hartwell analysis, but also a lot to question. While reframing the climate issue around energy and equity is undoubtedly appealing, it is not clear how effective it would be as policy. One of the reasons so much interaction and conflict between rich and poor countries now goes on within the context of climate change negotiations is that those negotiations provide the developing countries with some leverage, both moral and institutional. To go from that situation to something more like the a la carte approach of the Millennium Development Goals or the commitments to Africa made at Gleneagles would not necessarily be progress.

    **The Economist** uses an interesting expression, which they should learn to write: “à la carte” sounds more positive than “divide and conquer”. One can almost predict an increase in promotion of “à la carte” policies…

  8. Hank Roberts :
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8694544.stm
    Wow. No wonder we’re not hearing much about the Heartland Conference from the true believers and their friends, they’d freak out just thinking about what McI and Spencer said there! Worth following up.

    I knew McI wdidn’t go down well, but there are some cracking quotes there. Thanks!

    Spencer on Phil Jones:

    “He says he’s not very organised. I’m not very organised myself,” said Professor Spencer. “If you asked me to find original data from 20 years ago I’d have great difficulty too.

    “We just didn’t realise in those days how important and controversial this would all become – now it would just all be stored on computer. Phil Jones has been looking at climate records for a very long time. Frankly our data set agrees with his, so unless we are all making the same mistake we’re not likely to find out anything new from the data anyway.

    Professor Spencer admits that he is regarded by orthodox climate scientists as a renegade. But as a very conservative Christian he is at home here, and his views carry weight at this meeting.

    Like most climate sceptic scientists, he accepts that CO2 is a warming gas – this is basic physics, he says, and very hard to dispute.

    On McI:

    The quiet man said he thought that the work of his climate-statistical website was probably done.

  9. Compare and contrast the Hartwell paper with this presentation by Esther Duflo:

    In both cases, policy matters are discussed. Or is it really the case?

  10. “… arguing with septics and contrarians is not doing much good in the greater scheme of things.”

    Ah, yes, the greater scheme of things. Hold that thought!

    “When the history of this sorry era is written, McI’s name will be key among those who are judged to have contributed to the delay in responding to the threat of global warming.”

    Don’t you mean catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW)? I.e. the coming apocalypse prophesied by the GCMs and caused by the gluttonous sins of capitalist western economies after our fall from grace and our subsequent banishment from the pre-Industrial Garden of Eden. No doubt we shall burn in hell for our sins, eh? The science is settled? Or just the mythopoeia?

    Have you ever consciously examined the metacognitive assumptions underlying your rage? You know, really looked at “the greater scheme of things?”

    Some of us are living in a secular age in which the only form of “truth” must be derived empirically from a strict adherence to observation. Yet you seem to cling to fantastic projections of guilt, sin, fear of apocalypse, wrath of angry gods and visions of paradise lost as the memetic subconscious cornerstone for all your later assumptions. It’s the same foundation the Creationists build their fantasy upon. Just a coincidence?

    Like intelligent design theory, your primordial dread, as it is logically extrapolated higher into refined and specific arguments is cloaked in – ay, has appropriated – the jargon of science but ultimately is truly reactionary sedition against the meaning and lessons of The Enlightenment and modernity.

    It’s as if you cannot bear to live with the chronic existential doubt that lies at the heart of the Scientific Method. That unbearable lightness of being, where every known thing hinges on its temporal usefulness in explaining observed data. Where no hypothesis is greater than its weakest implication. Where the world has no transcendent meaning other than empirical literalism. It simply coldly just “is” regardless of “how it should be.” Imagine that there is no heaven, above us only sky and no hell below us. But you can’t.

    Instead, in your vain search for meaning and authority you subconsciously cling to a secular version of the great mythological themes of the Abrahamic tradition and play dress up with scientific jargon to present, yes, a truly post-modern narrative that has as a feature no testable implications. But moral order and outrage abound.

    Thus the CAGW mythology answers for you all the questions that old time religion does. Who are we? Where do we come from? How did we get here? …with that the science is settled, answering the final question, which is one of policy.

    What should we do?

    ‘Tis true, we will stand in judgment before history.

  11. Anyone else noticed how denialists have become so bereft of science they resort to painting the other side with their own brush? Previous post is a case in point.

    In fact, their woo and astrology is clearly so blatantly obvious to themselves that they get all angwy and have started throwing out ad homs like confetti. Steven Goddard did it only yesterday on Deltoid, so I gues his accolytes are simply following suit like good little sheeple.

  12. J Bowers, you are so right., It’s called reversal or transference – it’s a sleight of hand intended for their unsuspecting audience. It’s the game children play – “Are too!” “Am Not!” “No you are!” “No YOU ARE!” The denialiati and their followers have created this straw man “CAGW” and use it as a convenient foil to avoid dealing with the real issues. They repeat it as a litany to ward off having to actually debate the science. They don’t really know what the hell they’re talking about, make horrible mistakes, but because their followers don’t understand the science or politics either, it’s this big comedy of errors. It would be funny if it weren’t serious business.

  13. It’s not only the CAGW tag, but the increasing and even more vitriolic use of the religion meme. It’s so stunningly phony and dead wrong that I hope for their sakes the theory that, in the near future, there will be no anonimity on the web, and individuals will be traceable if someone wants to find out their real identity, doesn’t happen. Historians will be having a field day with all this stuff. “Granddad, what did you do during…?”

    The other thing they completely won’t face up to is that all of the climate scientists, and people like yourself and myself who denialists ding-dong with, hope that it’s all wrong, and that Lindzen and Spencer are right! Unfortunately,…

    BTW, as CAGW has been mentioned, have you read this?:
    http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/5/2401/2008/bgd-5-2401-2008.pdf
    http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/5/2401/2008/bgd-5-2401-2008.html
    It’s publication was interrupted for some reason, but if the tests go ahead and it’s found to be a robust hypothesis, there migh not be any gerat-grandkids to ask any awkward questions.

  14. My view of McIntyre’s comments from the BBC article:

    – Climate scientists shouldn’t be jailed and no need for this fraud talk. They should just apologize and admit the hockey stick was wrong. That’s why I’ve been slandering and misrepresenting them all of these years.

    – My work is mostly done. My efforts to hurt the reputations of scientists and climate science in general, along with key help from others more willing to do the dirty work, has been fairly successful. Significant legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is on hold indefinitely, so I can ease up a bit.

    I don’t find that McIntyre’s comments are surprising in that light. I think he’s always wanted to fill a niche that makes him appear more objective and not as fanatical as the Watts crowd. However, his actions speak differently.

    Spencer’s acknowledement regarding the reliability of the temperature record and Phil Jones is somewhat more surprising. It’s in contrast to his nutty blog and status of being Rush Limbaugh’s official climate scientist.

    I think the two of them are like Pat Robertson in a room of Jerry Falwells. Pretty fanatical compared to the norm, but appearing almost sane compared with the rest.

  15. MarkB :
    Spencer’s acknowledement regarding the reliability of the temperature record and Phil Jones is somewhat more surprising. It’s in contrast to his nutty blog and status of being Rush Limbaugh’s official climate scientist.

    In all fairness to Spencer, he’s actually one of the HadCRUT verifiers and said a while back, on his blog, that his Northern Hemisphere work matches Jones’ version. I cite him a lot along with the eleven others who have independently done so, including Air Vent’s Jeff Id.

    I still don’t trust his impartiality because of the Cornwall Alliance pledge he took along with McKitrick and others, but on this detail it’s not actually backtracking.

  16. My view of Spencer is probably similar to that of RC’s, which gave him the 2008 award for:

    “Climate scientist with biggest disconnect between his peer-reviewed papers and his online discussions”

    The Heartland Institute conference is probably not a place one would expect him to make reasonable statements supported by his work. I would expect something closer to his typical blogging material.

  17. Policy lass:
    What is your proposal? The high moral ground stance has not apparently yielded fruit.

  18. Gavin's Pussycat Reply May 27, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Shub Niggurath :
    Policy lass:
    What is your proposal? The high moral ground stance has not apparently yielded fruit.

    Shub, what’s your proposal? To do nothing (above and beyond what little you would do anyway for other reasons)? Just say so, you would at least be honest about it. This paper isn’t.

  19. The Hartwell Paper won’t get anywhere, any more than Heartland’s fake conferences ever do. They don’t offer any plausible policy alternatives, and they bring no new science. They don’t have what it takes to command the sustained attention of policy makers.

    Already the language of Hartwell, crafted three months ago, looks outdated. It paints an extremely pessimistic picture of the events of 2009, and one that bears no resemblance to the facts on the ground as we emerge from the phony “Climategate” fuss. As the dust clears, the landscape hasn’t changed, and the same policy objectives are still uppermost in the minds of politicians.

  20. J Bowers, the discussion page will tell you why it didn’t get published. Basically it was implausible on multiple grounds.

  21. Steve, I saw the discussion and figured it was due to a need to test the hypothesis. But Ari at AGW Observer didn’t see any reason for it to not be published. You might want to go there and tell him.
    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/papers-on-ecosystem-response-to-past-climate/#comment-1120

  22. As the dust clears, the landscape hasn’t changed, and the same policy objectives are still uppermost in the minds of politicians.

    It is not the politicians that matter – it is public and even before climategate the public has made it clear that they support feel good gestures as long as it does not actually require them to sacrifice anything. The Hartwell paper is an attempt to address that political reality.

  23. > Ari at AGW Observer

    What Ari said was that something went wrong with the paper’s review.
    You can read the reviews, they’re right there at the page.
    It’s pretty clear what the reviewers thought.
    The idea wasn’t supported in the paper.
    They could come back and try again.

  24. Politicians are leaders, or at least, they are *supposed* to be. We cede our power to them and expect them to make the best decisions in our interest. That’s idealistic of course — but a good politician does not merely go where the winds of voter opinion might take them but leads the way.

    The Hartwell Paper does nothing to address the real problems. It is not the public who has no taste for addressing climate change — it’s the politicians and those who pull the marionette strings. The public have shown that they are ready and willing, but there has to be a concerted all out effort and the public can’t do it alone.

    For ex, it wasn’t the public who allowed BP to drill a mile underneath the ocean surface without adequate contingency plans or the proper safety backups. Blame that on the politicians who didn’t do their part and ensure the industry was properly regulated and the regulations enforced. It was the industry’s fault for doing bogus research and cutting corners for the sake of even more profits. In the matter of BP’s Gulf Catastrophe, you can’t blame the public for the failures of politicians and industry.

    I’m afraid the same must be said about climate policy.

  25. The public have shown that they are ready and willing, but there has to be a concerted all out effort and the public can’t do it alone.

    As I said. The public ready and willing to participate in any number of feel good gestures that accomplish nothing. The public is NOT willing to make sacrifices – especially if individuals feel they are being asked to bear a disproportionate share of the burden. That is why politicians prevaricate. They say the words that people want to hear while they do nothing because that is also what people want too.

    I bet every poster on this board would reject any anti-CO2 policy if they thought such a policy would hurt them personally or if they felt it was ‘unfair’ for some reason.

  26. Hank Roberts :> Ari at AGW Observer
    What Ari said was that something went wrong with the paper’s review.

    I meant that what I saw in the some of the referee comments I looked weren’t that bad that they couldn’t have been fixed. I didn’t see any referee comment saying that they suggest the paper to be rejected so I was just wondering why they just didn’t make the necessary corrections. I just now browsed the referee comments and Woolridge’s own comments again and I still can’t find the reason for the rejection or for interruption of the review process. Referees suggested corrections and Woolridge seemed very keen on publishing the paper so no indication of rejection from referees and no indication that Woolridge would have had second thoughts about the paper. This is not important though, the paper will not be published at any case, but I was just curious about the actual rejection reason. Perhaps something went on “behind the curtains” (or then I missed something again… 🙂 ).

    Anyway… about this Hartwell paper. One of the authors, Atte Korhola, is Finnish and was advertising the paper in a Finnish blog (here is the link but it’s in Finnish language) and I confronted him about their mention of the CRU-mails in the light of recently published two reports that painted a different picture about the situation than the Hartwell paper did. Korhola claimed that the CRU-mail authors had violated some of the accepted practices in science. I thought this was odd as the reports had specifically stated that there weren’t any foul play when science was considered so I asked him what these violated science practices were. He didn’t answer but just kept insisting that they had violated some practices.

  27. Tim :The public is NOT willing to make sacrifices – especially if individuals feel they are being asked to bear a disproportionate share of the burden. That is why politicians prevaricate. They say the words that people want to hear while they do nothing because that is also what people want too.
    I bet every poster on this board would reject any anti-CO2 policy if they thought such a policy would hurt them personally or if they felt it was ‘unfair’ for some reason.

    That’s not held up by history, Tim. As examples, never would a Labour government have ever been voted in in the UK, nor would the NHS have ever been set up. I think you take far too jaded a view of human nature.

  28. Tim. As examples, never would a Labour government have ever been voted in in the UK, nor would the NHS have ever been set up.

    This does not make any sense. Reducing CO2 will require that people give up many things that they feel entitled to have now. Voting for Labour and NHS is an example of people asking to increase their entitlements (i.e. the exact opposite of what is required to reduce CO2).

  29. Tim, the NHS is an example of the majority sacrificing their tax pounds to help those who couldn’t afford and receive good and adequate healthcare. Have a read of A J Cronin’s ‘The Citadel’.

  30. the NHS is an example of the majority sacrificing their tax pounds to help those who couldn’t afford and receive

    Nonsense. People support government funded healthcare because they expect to benefit from it personally. There is no altruism involved although altruism is used as an excuse. Most people have nothing to gain by supporting CO2 reductions and a lot of lose. A better comparison is the 0.7% of GDP pledge for foreign aid that never seems to get filled because there is a limit to what people are willing to pay for stuff that brings them no personal benefits.

  31. Tim :

    the NHS is an example of the majority sacrificing their tax pounds to help those who couldn’t afford and receive

    Nonsense. People support government funded healthcare because they expect to benefit from it personally. There is no altruism involved although altruism is used as an excuse. Most people have nothing to gain by supporting CO2 reductions and a lot of lose. A better comparison is the 0.7% of GDP pledge for foreign aid that never seems to get filled because there is a limit to what people are willing to pay for stuff that brings them no personal benefits.

    I stand by what I said even more now.

  32. I stand by what I said even more now.

    Why? Your claim that public healthcare respresents a ‘sacrifice’ by the majority is clearly nonsense.

    I will turn it on you. What are YOU willing to sacrifice in the name of CO2 control. Would you give up your job? Your healthcare or any other government service that you benefit from? If you offer excuses about how it is up to others to make sacrifices to placate your obsessions then you prove my point – i.e. nobody is willing to make real sacrifices to solve a hypothetical problem that may not even exist.

  33. Tim :

    I stand by what I said even more now.

    Why? Your claim that public healthcare respresents a ‘sacrifice’ by the majority is clearly nonsense.
    I will turn it on you. What are YOU willing to sacrifice in the name of CO2 control. Would you give up your job? Your healthcare or any other government service that you benefit from?

    Yes.

    Wouldn’t you?

  34. Yes

    Really? Then how will you feed yourself? Depend on the charity of others? Or did you assume that another job would be waiting for you in a economy strangled by anti-CO2 policies?

  35. Well, the thing is that you’re spouting paranoid alarmist nonsense. Not mitigating soon will cost far more jobs and livelihoods in the long term. Look on it as a good investment.

  36. Not mitigating soon will cost far more jobs and livelihoods in the long term.

    Well a lot depends on which economists you choose to listen to. The peer reviewed economic literature on the topic (which excludes the Stern report) suggests that the “harms” of climate change will be around one year of economic growth by the end of the century – i.e. a mild recession. The same literature suggests that the cost of mitigating will be large and will exceed the potential harms. That makes mitigation a really bad investment.

  37. Tim :

    Not mitigating soon will cost far more jobs and livelihoods in the long term.

    The same literature suggests that the cost of mitigating will be large and will exceed the potential harms. That makes mitigation a really bad investment.

    That would be based on now older estimates of climate sensitivity.

  38. That would be based on now older estimates of climate sensitivity.

    The consensus estimates of climate sensitivity have not changed since the 70s (1.5-4.5 with 3.0 as a most likely value).

  39. Tim :

    That would be based on now older estimates of climate sensitivity.

    The consensus estimates of climate sensitivity have not changed since the 70s (1.5-4.5 with 3.0 as a most likely value).

    Umm, firstly, thanks for using the word ‘consensus’ in relation to science. Comical Anth’ny would cast you out of the fold for that one. But I guess it’s a useful term when it suits your purpose in true denier fashion.

    Secondly, read the latest paleoclimate literature from the past year.

  40. Blockquote messed up above, but you get the idea.

  41. Umm, firstly, thanks for using the word ‘consensus’ in relation to science

    Economists have to start with assumptions. If they don’t use the ‘consensus’ they will be accused of cherry picking in order to support their desired conclusions. The important point is even if they start with the consensus estimates they still find that mitigation is bad investment. That says a lot about how dubious the case for mitigation is.

    Secondly, read the latest paleoclimate literature from the past year.

    And why would these studies be any more interesting than studies by Pielke, Spencer or Linden that show much lower sensitivity based on measurements made today? Do you take the position that claims which go against the ‘consensus’ are automatically accepted as truth if they happen it support the climate panic narrative?

  42. Tim :
    Do you take the position that claims which go against the ‘consensus’ are automatically accepted as truth if they happen it support the climate panic narrative?

    Not at all. I’m just pointing out that the latest research is indicating a higher sensitivity in the paleo record. I guess we’ll see what AR5 turns up with, but I suspect the denialati ain’t gonna like it one little bit.

  43. Reality does not care much for what economists believe or what they take as assumptions, unless we can argue from self-prophecy.

  44. I guess we’ll see what AR5 turns up with

    The IPCC is irrelevant. Nothing it says will change anyone’s mind nor will it motivate politicians to do more than they would do otherwise. The Hartwell report is right when it says the only policies that will work will be policies that deliver emission free energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels. Policies that seek to outlaw fossil fuels before cheaper alternatives exist will fail.

  45. Reality does not care much for what economists believe or what they take as assumptions, unless we can argue from self-prophecy.

    Reality does care much for what climate modellers believe or what they take as assumptions.

    But you do touch one of the key failures of the AGW alarmism: the inability to distinguish between an economic and a scientific issue. It may be a fact that the planet will warm a few degrees but the question of whether that is a bad thing for humans is NOT a scientific question. It is economic question. Climate scientists who insist on CO2 reductions are no more credible than “joe the plumber” because they have no qualifications in economics.

  46. Tim :

    I guess we’ll see what AR5 turns up with

    The IPCC is irrelevant. Nothing it says will change anyone’s mind nor will it motivate politicians to do more than they would do otherwise. The Hartwell report is right when it says the only policies that will work will be policies that deliver emission free energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels. Policies that seek to outlaw fossil fuels before cheaper alternatives exist will fail.

    Anyone ever seen those old Soviet propaganda films?

  47. Anyone ever seen those old Soviet propaganda films?

    I saw “Inconvenient Truth”. Same message better cinematography.

  48. “It is not the politicians that matter – it is public and even before climategate the
    public has made it clear that they support feel good gestures as long as it does not actually require them to sacrifice anything.”

    Which planet are we talking about here? Politicians who propose realistic programs to deal with global warming tend to win elections. Those who do not, and particularly those who try to deny the facts, tend to fail. There are local anomalies here and there, but That’s the reality we have to live with. Denialism as a political strategy has a short and diminishing half-life. The public wants this sorted out.

  49. Politicians who propose realistic programs to deal with global warming tend to win elections.

    I can’t think of any politician that has promised ‘realistic programs’. All they do is make bogus promises about emission targets that will never be met and dole out pork to politically connected companies and groups. We they start to talk about real legislation their political support evaporates and they backtrack.

    This state of affairs is not going to change anytime soon and that was the message of the Hartwell report.

  50. Tim :And why would these studies be any more interesting than studies by Pielke, Spencer or Linden that show much lower sensitivity based on measurements made today?

    Spencer and Lindzen study only very short term feedback which recent study by Lin et al. (2010) didn’t think was a very good thing. And besides, previous study by Lin et al. found a positive feedback in a similar setting but using more realistic scenario. Furthermore, Lindzen’s work has been shown to have lot of embarrasing flaws so I don’t see what could be interesting there.

  51. Spencer and Lindzen study only very short term feedback

    And paleo-studies are largely exercises in data mining that produce whatever result the researcher is looking for. There is also no rational reason to assume that CO2 sensitivity is constant. i.e. it could be 4.5 coming out of an ice age but only 1.5 now because the bio-feedbacks are completely different.

    Lindzen’s work has been shown to have lot of embarrasing flaws

    Mann has shown that “embarrasing flaws” are not a problem if one produces stuff that supports the catastrophe narrative. In any case, Lindzen has a paper coming out that appearently addresses these criticisms so we will have to see if it does.

    Ultimately, I am not that interested in modelling results, paleostudies or any other hypothetical exercises based on unverifiable data. I am interested in seeing who does a better job of predicting the future. At this time I think the low sensitivity folks have done a better job but it is a challenge because the high sensitivity folks keep ‘adjusting’ any data that does not conform. The recent OHC adjustment by Lyman is a good illustration: it produces the ‘correct’ long term trend by introducing a huge jump in 2003 which happens to coincide with a change of measurement device. In other fields such a discontinuity would be presumed to be a splicing problem but not in climate science where ‘agreement with the models’ is the standard that is used justifies any adjustment – no matter how dubious.

  52. Tim :

    Reality does not care much for what economists believe or what they take as assumptions, unless we can argue from self-prophecy.

    Reality does care much for what climate modellers believe or what they take as assumptions.

    But Anthony Watts and Steve Goddard use models to make their case.

  53. Tim :

    And paleo-studies are largely exercises in data mining that produce whatever result the researcher is looking for.

    Where is your evidence to support this claim? Give us one example of a study that has done this data mining, show how the data was mined and what was the end result the researcher was looking for. Kindly provide proofs for these also, not just additional unsupported claims.

  54. Tim,

    If you agree that reality does not care about economics, it me why you replied:

    > Well a lot depends on which economists you choose to listen to.

    to

    > Not mitigating soon will cost far more jobs and livelihoods in the long term.

    For it is reality that will answer that question, not economists, no?

  55. Tim :

    Not mitigating soon will cost far more jobs and livelihoods in the long term.

    Well a lot depends on which economists you choose to listen to. The peer reviewed economic literature on the topic (which excludes the Stern report) suggests that the “harms” of climate change will be around one year of economic growth by the end of the century – i.e. a mild recession. The same literature suggests that the cost of mitigating will be large and will exceed the potential harms. That makes mitigation a really bad investment.

    I’m not sure that this represents the reality of what Economists are saying on the issue of climate change. This survey for instance suggests that Economists consider there to be significant economic risks associated with climate change and support actions to mitigate these risks:
    http://policyintegrity.org/publications/documents/EconomistsandClimateChange.pdf
    “The survey found consensus on several key questions:
     Climate change poses risks to the U.S. and global economies;
     Several domestic economic sectors, most notably agriculture,
    will be negatively affected;
     Uncertainty about climate change increases the value of
    action;
     The United States should adopt market‐based mechanisms
    for reducing emissions, those mechanisms will create
    incentives for efficiency and clean energy, and allowances
    should be auctioned rather than given away; and
     The United States should join a global regime to reduce
    emissions, with a majority of economists saying the United
    States should commit to emissions reductions regardless of
    other countries’ actions.”

  56. This survey for instance suggests that Economists consider there to be significant economic risks associated with climate change and support actions to mitigate these risks

    The survey says many things and contradicts itself in a few places. For example, the survey says the mean social cost of carbon os $50/tC which works out to 14cent/gallon gas tax or a 0.5 cent/kwh coal electricity tax. An amount which is too small to actually trigger any change in behavoir. That kind of calculation tells me there is no compelling case for action despite the fact that many people feel obligated to say that we have to “do something” even if it make not economic sense.

  57. For it is reality that will answer that question, not economists, no?

    I am fine waiting and seeing what reality brings.

  58. Give us one example of a study that has done this data mining

    Pick any study by Mann and you have a data mining excercise. I know that the people doing these studies have deluded themselves into believing that they are ‘extracting the signal’ from noisy data but that does not make their results more meaningful.

    Here is a good reference for math on how these paleo studies are problematic:
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/hockey-stick-posts/

    The longer term studies have different flaws. For example, the more recent studies use temp proxies which are ‘adjusted’ for ‘biases’ introduced by changing CO2 levels. This forces the data to conform to the CO2-is-a-driver hypothesis even if it is not true – classic data mining.

  59. There is also no rational reason to assume that CO2 sensitivity is constant. i.e. it could be 4.5 coming out of an ice age but only 1.5 now because the bio-feedbacks are completely different.

    This gem demonstrates astonishing ignorance on Tim’s part. Tim, do us a favor and go away until you understand why my statement’s true, because if you do, at least when you return we’ll know you know *something*.

  60. > I am fine waiting and seeing what reality brings.

    One could be fine seeing something done and seeing what reality brings too.

    And while waiting, one could also admit that the cost of mitigation does not depend on which economists one chooses to listen to.

  61. Tim :
    Pick any study by Mann and you have a data mining excercise. …

    I asked:

    “Give us one example of a study that has done this data mining, show how the data was mined and what was the end result the researcher was looking for. Kindly provide proofs for these also, not just additional unsupported claims.”

    I don’t see you providing, or even trying to provide, any proofs, just additional unsupported claims.

  62. Tim’s an ignorant noise-maker whose nonsense might have been effective in the early 1990s but strikes the wrong chord here and now.

    Very few countries do not have plans being actively pursued to deal with global warming–even people fixated with the specific example of the USA have to be extremely selective if they’re to find only pessimism. The paralysis that often seems to afflict the US Congress does not stop actions at state and regional levels.

  63. luminous beauty Reply June 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Tim,

    Pick any of JeffId’s hockeystick nonsense and you’ll have a data mining exercise.

  64. Tim :
    For example, the more recent studies use temp proxies which are ‘adjusted’ for ‘biases’ introduced by changing CO2 levels. This forces the data to conform to the CO2-is-a-driver hypothesis even if it is not true – classic data mining.

    Please show how this new paper just published in Science “data mines”:

    Ventilation of the Deep Southern Ocean and Deglacial CO2 Rise. Skinner et al (2010)
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/328/5982/1147

    Article:
    Scientists detect huge carbon ‘burp’ that helped end last ice age
    http://esciencenews.com/articles/2010/05/27/scientists.detect.huge.carbon.burp.helped.end.last.ice.age

    Scientists think more CO2 was locked up in the deep ocean during ice ages, and that pulses or ‘burps’ of CO2 from the deep Southern Ocean helped trigger a global thaw every 100,000 years or so. The size of these pulses was roughly equivalent to the change in CO2 experienced since the start of the industrial revolution.

    Oh dear, could this end up being the denialist’s worst nightmare?: Evidence that CO2 at industrial levels can cause major climate change… even end ice ages.

  65. Catching up on this rather late, two points:

    1. People will sacrifice IF they are convinced there are no free riders, which, among other things is the reason that libertarianism, the religion of free riders, fails miserably.

    2. Hansen suggested in ~ 1999 that the controlling methane and black carbon would be useful steps for buying time to decarbonize energy generation.

  66. アルマーニ マフラー アディダス レディース http://www.shoessregardless.info/

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