4 Responses to Mother Earth Strikes Back

What Virtue In False Promises?

Wednesday, December 30, AD 2009

One of the things that strikes me repeatedly watching the global warming debate (especially in the lead-up to and in the wake of the Copenhagen conference) is the incredible amount of excitement people have about trying to get countries to make commitments in regards to CO2 emissions which they obviously are not going to keep.

For instance, in discussing their hopes for Copenhagen, a number of environmentalists expressed hope that there would not be another “do nothing” commitment such as the Kyoto Accord — despite the fact that even those countries which did agree to Kyoto had not managed to keep those very modest commitments. The goals that environmentalists did very much want to see committed to (generally a 80-90% global drop in CO2 emissions within somewhere between 10 and 40 years) are far more aggressive, and thus far more unrealistic.

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7 Responses to What Virtue In False Promises?

  • Fantastic post, Darwin. And so true!

  • If committed environmentalists are only finding ways to decrease their household CO2 emissions by 25%, how in the world do they expect a whole country to drop its emissions by 80%?

    Households can reduce consumption but have to, more or less, accept the type of energy they consume. Governments can turn coal-fired plants into wind farms.

    Those who claim that carbon pricing will ruin our economy, overestimate the costs. They have the tendency to think of carbon emissions reductions as cuts in consumption alone. If we had to reduce our consumption 80%, we’d be in trouble. But most of the reductions would come from switching to alternative energy and make more efficient use of it. It’s possible to cut emissions by more than half without any change to our lifestyle.

  • The reason that none of these leaders are making firm commitments to reduce carbon emissions is because they don’t want their peoples to live in poverty. It’s well-established that the prosperity of a society is strongly correlated with its energy consumption. It so happens that presently the most effcient energy sources also produce a lot of carbon dioxide. Reducing carbon emissions therefore necessarily reduces one’s energy use, which necessarily reduces one’s propsperity. Their rhetoric otherwise, these leaders know this, which is why, for the time being, their talk about emissions cuts will remain a bunch of, uh, hot air.

  • Households can reduce consumption but have to, more or less, accept the type of energy they consume.

    Actually, households are in the same position as power producers and governments: they can reduce consumption, or they can make massive capital outlays in order to use the same amount of energy from some other source. I could, if I wanted to spend 20-40k on it, cover my roof with solar panels and massively reduce my carbon footprint. I don’t do so because I’m hesitant to turn a monthly bill of around $100 into an immediate outlay of 300x that amount, especially when that wouldn’t even totally cut my dependence on carbon-based electricity as I’d still need to get electricity from the power company on cloudy days (like the whole last week).

    If individuals are hesitant to make this kind of massive capital outlay for questionable benefits (the idea of powering most of the US by wind and solar is massively unrealistic — at best one could do so through lots more nuclear power), I don’t know why they should be surprised if the government is unwilling to make the same sacrifices on a larger scale.

  • Like you said, solar won’t eliminate your dependence on the grid. The vast majority of us need to use electricity generated from coal. Transitioning to wind and nuclear over the next few decades is not unrealistic. 80% by 2020 may be too optimistic but 2050 is doable.

  • Nuclear moreso than wind. Wind is good for supplementing whereas nuke power would be a solid backbone. Two problems: wind requires much real estate and has the “not in my backyard” issue to contend with. Nuke is a PR nightmare that also brings its “not in my backyard” issue.

  • I can see the concerns about promises that aren’t going to be kept, particularly as international law is so weak at holding anyone accountable to their commitment.

    However, I do want to say that your comment about activists reducing their emissions is a straw man argument. They are reducing their emissions 25% over the next year or two. They are asking the government to reduce emissions 80% by 2050, 40 years from now.

    McKinsey Consulting said that we can slash our emissions in half at net zero cost and in fact the first 40% of emissions reductions will make us money, more efficient, and more competitive internationally.

Climate Gate Complete Database

Tuesday, December 1, AD 2009

Pajamas Media has put together a complete database for the Climategate documents here.  The docs make for fascinating reading.  On a whim I did a search using the term Hitler.  The e-mail that came up is from February 21, 2005:

“From: Phil Jones <p.jones@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>
To: mann@xxxxxxxxx.xxx
Subject: Fwd: CCNet: PRESSURE GROWING ON CONTROVERSIAL RESEARCHER TO DISCLOSE SECRET DATA
Date: Mon Feb 21 16:28:32 2005
Cc: “raymond s. bradley” , “Malcolm Hughes”

“Mike, Ray and Malcolm, The skeptics seem to be building up a head of steam here !

Maybe we can use this to our advantage to get the series updated !

Odd idea to update the proxies with satellite estimates of the lower troposphere rather than surface data !

Odder still that they don’t realise that Moberg et al used the Jones and Moberg updated series!

Francis Zwiers is till onside. He said that PC1s produce hockey sticks.

He stressed that the late 20th century is the warmest of the millennium, but Regaldo didn’t bother with that.

Also ignored Francis’ comment about all the other series looking similar to MBH.

The IPCC comes in for a lot of stick.

Leave it to you to delete as appropriate!

Cheers
Phil

PS I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data.
Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act
!”

Italics added by me.  It seems that the reluctance to release supporting data by these scientists has been going on for years.  These documents give us an astonishing look inside a group that has been spearheading the global warming movement.

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17 Responses to Climate Gate Complete Database

  • Ugh! That’s abysmal science if you make your supporting information difficult/impossible for others to see. I am a scientist (chemist) and have found that the quality of the research seems to correlate with the quality of the reported supporting information. Articles that do not provide an SI section are not to be trusted…

  • Folks, it’s worse than what’s in the e-mails.

    I’m a software coder, and let me tell you, it’s their modeling software and the data upon which it depends — the duo that’s supposed to produce the results they published to the world — which is the bigger scandal.

    The data is largely missing, and the parts that are present are largely unintelligible.

    The software is largely non-functional, and the parts that work, when executed against any of the few data sets that are both extant and usable, don’t produce the same conclusions as the original “peer-reviewed” conclusions previously published.

    Let me say that again, so it’s crystal-clear.

    Some of the data is missing; a large amount of what’s left isn’t meaningful or intelligible.

    Of the remaining data that [i]can[/i] be fed into the software models used to produce the original results and to justify the original conclusions, [i]when[/i] it is fed into the software models, they often fail to run, collapsing with error messages or producing meaningless output.

    And when they [i]do[/i] run, they don’t reproduce the original results.

    This is NOT a situation of Research Group X conducting research and publishing conclusions based on certain results, and Research Group Y conducting research the same way but not being able to reproduce the same results, and thus support X’s conclusions.

    No, this is a situation of Group X conducting research behind a wall where they don’t let anyone see quite what they’re doing, with data that they don’t share with anyone except by vague description, using modeling software they don’t let anyone review.

    They then publish a set of results, announce their conclusions on the basis of those results, make policy recommendations on the basis of those conclusions, call the whole thing “settled science,” and label anyone who expresses skepticism as the moral equivalent of a holocaust denier, and do their best to destroy their academic reputations and deny them access to influential journals and groups.

    And when Group Y manages to get access to their original data and software, not only can Group Y not replicate the results…but they find a paper trail of e-mails and software-development comments and notes which indicate that, for years now, Group X [i]couldn’t replicate their own results, either![/i]

    It’s not just other folks who can’t confirm the findings that support Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    Its that the folks whose work makes up the bulk and core of the evidence for Anthropogenic Global Warming can’t replicate their [i]own[/i] results a second time, because their [i]own[/i] data is missing or unusable, and their [i]own[/i] software doesn’t actually run.

    It doesn’t actually run.

    Which makes you kinda wonder whether it [i]ever[/i] ran, doesn’t it?

    And if it did run, it might not matter: A lot of the data has gone missing. Makes you wonder what was in the missing data, doesn’t it?

    People talk about Piltdown Man as the scientific scandal that rocked the world. Piltdown Man was smaller than this: One hoaxer and a lot of credulous folk who wanted to believe.

    [i]This[/i] is a [i]larger[/i] scandal: A too-trusting scientific community relying on an inner ring of a few dozen climate research insiders, marching in lockstep banality like Good Germans, collectively steering the world towards increased poverty for little reason other than to maintain their own consensual delusion of certainty long after they should have come to their senses and realized their climate predictions amounted to little more than unprovable hunches.

    Thank God for Information Freedom, the hackers, and the unnamed Deep Throats who probably helped the hackers get this stuff out.

    Don’t tell Al Gore: His worldview just died, and it was his “invention,” the Internet, which killed it. (He’ll probably have to gain a lot of weight and grow a beard again. Perhaps he’ll show up in a hot tub with the Nobel Committee?)

    Ding dong, the hoax is dead.

  • (Aw, fiddlesticks. That was a good post, and here I ruined it by doing the italics all wrong.)

  • R.C.

    Still a great post!

  • Exactly, RC. Another good post on Climategate from a medicinal chemist’s point of view can be found here and here.

  • Sorry – the second link is from Clive Crook, an editor at The Atlantic Monthly.

  • Looks like the Aussie parliament is not going to get an ETS for Kevin Rudd to present to Copenhagen. The Lib/Nat. party coalition, in opposition , has had a leadership spill, and the new leader of the opposition is pulling out all sorts of exposees to discredit AGW, which may well sink the Aussie ETS.

    The MSM down here is no better – all falling into line behind AGW, and not reporting all the data that conflicts with the AGW world view.

    I still think http://www.oism.org has the goods with their petition project – at least their data is produced in an understandable way, and makes sense to this layman, and other, I’m sure.

  • Don, I have seen some rejoicing on Aussie conservative blogs over the new leader, Tony Abbott. I was interested to see that the man is a pro-life practicing Catholic and that as such, is “a hate figure for feminists and militant secularists.” Hmmmm, that sure sounds familiar. I confess, it sounds like Abbott has all the right enemies.

    I realize that Oz is not your country, but do you know much about the new Liberal Party leader? (It seems odd to type that, since “liberal,” of course, has the exact opposite meaning here in the States.)

  • Another guy whose onto all this is Ian Wishart, and his site breifingroom.typepad,com. He wrote a book recently called “Air Con”, debunking much of AGW. I understand its a good read, although I haven’t bought it yet.

  • Hi Donna.
    No I don’t know a lot about him other than what you mention – he was a member of the last Lib/Nat govt. under John Howard.
    Its interesting that the NZ National Party – tending to be centre right and conservative, started in the late 1800’s as the NZ Liberal Party.
    I think “Liberal” may have morphed over time, but I’m not really sure.

  • Also, the student newspaper at Penn State has reported that Mann, he of the Hockey Stick graph, is now under investigation by the university. Telling, isn’t it, that this news is brought to us by the student paper and not say, the NY Times. The Times crack reporters must be busy elsewhere – fact-checking Palin’s book for errors, interviewing Levi Johnson, etc.

    Although I suspect the university investigation will be less than thorough, I can’t help wondering:
    Will Penn State’s Mann end up in the state pen?

    (Sorry.)

  • “Its interesting that the NZ National Party – tending to be centre right and conservative, started in the late 1800’s as the NZ Liberal Party.
    I think “Liberal” may have morphed over time, but I’m not really sure.”

    You are correct Don! Nineteenth century liberals are now Twenty-first century conservatives, while Twenty-first century liberals are often socialists and, usually, social libertarians, if not libertines.

  • “Will Penn State’s Mann end up in the state pen?”

    Ha! Some of those e-mails, especially those exchanging tips on how to foil Freedom of Information requests, could serve as the basis for a prosecution on criminal conspiracy. I don’t expect such prosecutions to be undertaken, but an enterprising prosecutor would have more than enough there to have search warrants issued.

  • Well its happened.
    Tony Abbott, now leader of the Lib/Nat coalition in opposition in the Australian Federal Govt, having changed the party policy on an ETS for Oz, have successfully torpedoed the Labour govt. proposed ETS. Kevin Rudd has nothing to rake to Copenhagen.

    The NZ National Govt. amended an ETS passed by the Labour Govt. in 2008 to make it less drastic, to take to Copenhagen, but there is still much opposition to it here, particularly in view of the recent revelations. I think, however, the govt. is really more interested in protecting our trade and tourism, and the ETS may well turn out to be a damp squib. Certainly, much of the AGW “evidence” is being debunked more and more.

  • Further, Kevin Rudd will probably call a snap election in the next month or so, with an ETS being a prime election issue.

    That’ll be interesting, particularly the way the Aussies get really down and dirty in a situation like this.

    I’m salivating at the thought 😉

  • I will watch those election results with keen interest Don.