The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Who Framed Roger Pielke?

An interesting and sympathetic take on Roger Pielke Jr. comes to us from from Dylan Otto Krider. One of the first comments on this blog was what I took to be a sincere welcome to the fray from RP Jr, and I've been torn about how to deal with him from well before I took up blogging in earnest.

It seems to me that sometimes he adds value but sometimes he seems to be so far out in right field that he's playing in a different game. It's hard to know what to make of him in any holistic sense. But it's clear to me that dismissing him as a "right-winger" with "ties to industry" as Brad Johnson did in his otherwise elegant takedown of Revkin is excessive and off target. RP Jr. seems to want something different of the debate, and what it is I can't entirely understand, but then again, I suppose that's true of me as well! It does seem he tries so urgently to articulate his something and he fails, which is ironic given the sorts of critique he hurls at others.

On the other hand, it appears from the comments on Dot Earth that he approves of dragging Gore into the article on Will, an exercise I find inexcuseable.

Some folks are gearing up to push the Will case at the Washington Post for all its worth. That is definitely a good thing. It is time the press was forced to let go of its unearned carte blanche. So I suppose I shouldn't try to rail against Revkin too hard; it's just a distraction as long as the real action looks to be elsewhere.

Still, I don't forgive Revkin. (Update: I don't think his dragging Gore into Will's muck was a minor transgression of a fine point of propriety. I think it was palpably evil.) To the extent RP Jr had a hand in it, I don't forgive him either, even though he is something other than a corporate lackey, which is I don't know exactly what.

Update: The massive blogstorm continues with a presistent mesoscale convective complex centered over Roger Pielke Jr . David Roberts had some musings about RPJr recently, for which John Fleck took him to task (see comments), much as I was uncomfortable with Brad Johnson's stuff above. And Dylan Otto Krider is on the topic right now. ( Meta-Update: So is Backseat Driving. Brian updates: " edited to tone down a bit. Must find the right tone...." Indeed. So, what is it about RPJr that makes that so hard?)

I also have some inside information that Joe Romm intends to weigh in soon, and one guesses not in the gentlest way. ( Meta-Update: It's here. )

I should add that RPJr. did not originate any linkage between Gore and Will that I have been able to see. Although he did comment on the linkage after the fact, well, so did I.

Criticizing Gore on content is an odd sport and one which I find unsavory, but it is not in a league with finding symmetry in a comparison of Gore to Will. As far as I can tell the blame for this particular travesty rests squarely with Revkin.

I think there is little doubt that Pielke enjoys saying things that Republicans want to hear, but that is very different from being scientifically dishonest. It's not even, necessarily, malign, despite the alarming current state of the federal Republicans. He does, at least, get a voice for legitimate climate science into quarters where it might not otherwise be heard.

I'm not convinced that he is entirely sincere, though. I find myself suspecting that he gets so much pleasure from explaining how things go awry that he is disinclined for them to go reasonably.

New: Eli posits a different explanation.

Update May 6: Though I have become a fan of Kevin Kloor's (despite the obvious cause for suspicion that he was a willing participant in my railroading a couple months back), I am a bit hurt that he has sent people back to this thread without providing some needed context, by which I mean specifically this almost contemporaneous posting, wherein what hit the fan in this present posting, leading to the above-mentioned railroading, was discussed at some length.

64 comments:

Michael Tobis said...

PS - If that title isn't Eli bait I don't know what is.

Memekiller said...

I have to say, I have the same uncertainty about exactly what to make of Pielke, which you've captured rather well. I don't think he's a shill, yet, he certainly gets far more media attention BECAUSE he is so far out of left field, and after a year of arguing with him, I still have no idea what his problem is.

Dylan Otto Krider

coby said...

HaHa, I only just got it!

Personally, I think Roger's motives are entirely self serving. He is simply working towards a prominent position in the debate, playing on all the negative aspects of the dynamics that he himself continually identifies. Throw in a healthy dose of sincere resentment of RealClimate for perceived insults to himself and his father and I think we have the whole recipe, or near enough.

I do agree with you that simply yelling "right wing shill" at him is completely wrong, both for intended results and accuracy.

I have no question though that his contribution to this issue is negative in the extreme.

thingsbreak said...

I don't think what he's doing is all that terribly complicated. I'd rather not get into it in the same way that we've all done with Lomborg, but I think it goes something roughly like this-

* He isn't a 'corporate stooge/shill' in the same way that a Singer or Ball is. At the same time, like Lomborg, he is keenly aware of how receptive to if not desperate for voices like his industry interests are in the current environment and uses this to his advantage in raising his own profile.
* I think he actually believes, in a way I think is obvious Lomborg does not, that he really is an "honest broker". In my opinion he confuses pedestrian contrarianism and provocativeness with intellectual honesty and the middle ground. His opportunism and ad hominems he seems to be aware of but not unduly bothered by, and seems to justify them by attacking specifically those he believes have violated their roles as "scientists" in favor of advocacy (but is quick to claim even those he has routinely attacked who can be framed to support his larger goals, e.g. Hansen re: air capture).
* He shares, with Pielke Sr., an almost preternatural desire to get attention outside of his actual "work" to that work (which isn't to say that what they do requires no effort- on the contrary). By this I mean that while someone like Gavin Schmidt is happy to forgo attention in many cases (there are many papers he publishes and never mentions; I think it's clear that a good number of the "group" posts at RC are virtually 100% his, etc.), both Pielkes seem to go out of their way to provoke controversy for no other reason than to refer back to their already published works. One of the reasons why Prometheus seemed so unattractive a place to me was that when anyone would attempt to pin Pielke Jr. down on an answer, he would invariably refer them back to prior publications or pimp his book rather than give a direct response. At least Pielke Sr.'s cite is somewhat upfront about this behavior- it is essentially the distilled essence of those infuriating Prometheus threads: a deliberately trollish characterization of something or a wackaloon guest post that merely serves as the window dressing for Pielke Sr. to list whichever publications he feels he can tie into the discussions of the day.
* I think that Roger is personally biased against mitigation as the preferred strategy to combat climate change. I offer no speculation as to why- I don't think it's as reducible as ideology or an eye to profit. I do think that this bias is clearly evident when the balance of his efforts both in publications and in various media spheres are honestly weighed. His recent efforts to promote air capture are but the latest manifestation of this.

------

While I'm sure it's not as simple as all that (it never is), I would be honestly surprised if it turned out to be significantly more complicated...

Brad Johnson said...

It's a beautiful title.

I'd offer my analysis of what I think is motivating Pielke, but it would just get me in trouble (I hesitate to think what would come after being accused of McCarthyism).

Come to think of it, Pielke's record as a political actor speaks for itself.

Roger said...

Michael, Dylan, Coby, Jonathan, Brad-

While the free psychological analysis is appreciated, if any of you guys actually have questions about my views, why not just ask me directly?

Michael Tobis said...

OK. Roger, please summarize your views. I just don't get it.

Roger said...

Michael-

It'll probably be most efficient if you just ask specific questions. I am perfectly happy to answer them.

Michael Tobis said...

That seems a bit coy.

My question is simple enough. If you had a few dozen to a few hundred words to convey to the world, what would they be?

Mine are here if you'd like a model.

If it helps, perhaps you'd be willing to review my positions as expressed at that link instead. I'd especially appreciate comments on my last three paragraphs, which seem quite germane regarding the present controversy.

Roger said...

Michael-

I'm not trying to be coy. You write:

"If you had a few dozen to a few hundred words to convey to the world, what would they be?"

About what subject? Scientists in politics? Decarbonization of the economy? Natural disasters? Blogging? US Space Policy? Cap and trade vs. carbon tax? My personal politics? My philosophical orientation? . . .

If you do have specific questions, I'm happy to answer them.

Michael Tobis said...

OK, I'll try again.

1) Do you believe that the present state of public discourse about climate-related issues is based on a suitable understanding of the relevant issues?

If so, what do you think the root causes of the confusion are?

If not, what is at the root of your commonly expressed complaint about how climate scientists conduct ourselves in the public sphere?

2) Do you believe that current climate policy initiatives are commensurate with the scale and timing of anthropogenic perturbation?

If so, under what circumstances would that change?

If not, what measures would you propose?

3) I honestly have no idea what your position is on these and similar matters, which makes you unique among writers on the subject whose writings I have examined at comparable length. Are you unusually opaque on these questions?

If so, why?

If not, why are you so perceived?

Michael Tobis said...

Woop, sorry I garbled the first question.

1) Do you believe that the present state of public discourse about climate-related issues is based on a suitable understanding of the relevant issues?

If NOT, what do you think the root causes of the confusion are?

If SO, what is at the root of your commonly expressed complaint about how climate scientists conduct ourselves in the public sphere?

gravityloss said...

I think somebody (John Fleck?) put it well that RPJR is an enabler for a very sick policy.

The actual mechanism probably, overly simplified, boils down to accusing honest science of being politicized.

This is poisoning the well.

Then, since he says both sides are dishonest, that also enables him to present himself as the middle ground and an honest broker, which of course is beneficial to himself.

I guess it's a bit like extracting energy from temperature differences. Here it is science versus lies and they can be falsely presented as opinion differences.

Back in the day, I scanned the scientists' comments on Skeptical Environmentalist and I can assure you that they were not political in nature - but exposing the huge factual mistakes Lomborg had made. He for example said forest area had increased massively in a short time when actually the reason was inclusion of additional previously unincluded countries to the UN database.
Quite thick for a professionally trained statistician.

A website, lomborg-errors.dk popped up later to document these free for everyone.


Maybe in these meta-postmodern times most people don't have a scientific education or common sense so they think that facts don't exist - every disagreement can be seen as political.(Certainly journalists are often in this school.) And eventually the society slides back to the idiocratic dark middle ages, a world of superstition and religious rituals.

It was mind boggling to watch George Monbiot talk with journalists who think that glaciers are growing - and they keep disseminating this false information loudly.

Roger said...

1) Do you believe that the present state of public discourse about climate-related issues is based on a suitable understanding of the relevant issues?

REPLY: Yes.

If NOT, what do you think the root causes of the confusion are?

If SO, what is at the root of your commonly expressed complaint about how climate scientists conduct ourselves in the public sphere?

REPLY: In a nutshell, if you look at the history of action on environmental issues (e.g., Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, ESA, Montreal Protocol, CAA Amendments, TCSA, etc. etc.) all were passed with a far less degree of public support than we now see (and have seen for over a decade) for action on climate change and a similar (or lower) level of scientific understanding among the public. In such a context of public support, for action to occur on climate change requires that we devise policy options that are technically feasible, politically possible, and practically doable. We have not yet done so.

When scientists enter the debate arguing science they distract from the issue of discussing policy options, which is problematic when we need to expand discussion of options, not limit it in any way. When scientists enter the fray as advocates, either explicitly so or as stealth advocates (arguing politics through science) their actions often have the effect of limiting discussion of options or creating disincentives to questioning options that won’t work (e.g., Kyoto, cap and trade, etc.). For instance, for many years people who questioned the worth of Kyoto were lumped in with George Bush and worse. Many of these people have been proven right. To the extent that the climate issue devolves into dual positions of consensus and skeptics, the political and policy debate is seriously impoverished.

2) Do you believe that current climate policy initiatives are commensurate with the scale and timing of anthropogenic perturbation?

REPLY: No.

If so, under what circumstances would that change?

If not, what measures would you propose?

REPLY: When policy makers focus not on emissions, which is an outcome, and instead on how to make economic growth compatible with decarbonization, specifically, a rapid advance of efficiency gains coupled with a long-term goal of transitioning to carbon free energy. The right metrics are thus (a) progress on industrial efficiency (to start) following a Japanese model for efficiency gain (which in short looks at economic sectors, identifies the most efficient performers, sets a benchmark at the level of the best performers, creates incentives/regulations to compel efficiency gain, while at the same time advancing the frontier of benchmarked efficiency through a commitment to continuous technological innovation), and (b) carbon free energy supply, measured as the total energy produced from carbon neutral or negative sources. Positive progress toward efficiency gain coupled with an increasing supply of carbon-free energy will result in reduced emissions. Policy should thus focus on the factors that lead to the desired outcome, and not the outcome. It is a little like trying to advance average human life spans by focusing on average human lifespans rather than public health and treatment of specific diseases.

No developed country has decarbonized its economy at a rate of more than about 1-2% for any length of time. Thus we don’t know how fast we can decarbonize. Or what measures will actually work. To achieve 80% reductions by 2050, or a similar pace of decarbonization on different time scales requires decarbonization at 5-6% per year. Setting long term targets and creating complex policies distracts from this goal and the proper metrics. Every policy put into place will be an experiment. Some will work others won’t. Setting grandiose long-term goals with fantasies about emissions caps and specific targets and timetables is a distraction. I’ll resist pointing to a recent paper on this, as I gather that you guys don’t want such pointers.

3) I honestly have no idea what your position is on these and similar matters, which makes you unique among writers on the subject whose writings I have examined at comparable length. Are you unusually opaque on these questions?

REPLY: I don’t think so. What have you read?

If so, why?

If not, why are you so perceived?

REPLY: You tell me. I don’t believe any of you folks on this thread have ever contacted me directly to ask any questions about my views, though, as the comments on this thread indicate, many of you are more than ready to ascribe motives and beliefs to me that I do not hold.

Thanks for the questions. If the above is unusually opaque or indecipherable, please ask again, and I’ll try again. I’ve tried to keep it concise, more obviously can be said.

Michael Tobis said...

"I’ll resist pointing to a recent paper on this, as I gather that you guys don’t want such pointers."

(sigh)

Oh, no, by all means, please, do tell.

Roger said...

Michael-

Nice. Is that (sigh) your response in total to my replies to your questions?

Michael Tobis said...

Not necessarily. I didn't think that "you guys wouldn't be interested" comment was helpful, though.

thingsbreak said...

When you repeatedly attack someone like Jim Hansen for overreaching his position as a scientist in favor of advocating policy overly authoritatively, how do you reconcile that with your own touting of Jim Hansen as an authoritative proponent of air capture?

gravityloss said...

Roger said:"Policy should thus focus on the factors that lead to the desired outcome, and not the outcome. It is a little like trying to advance average human life spans by focusing on average human lifespans rather than public health and treatment of specific diseases."

Interesting take (I honestly mean that, not sarcastically). Maybe most of the advocates of cap and trade and carbon taxes are more private enterprise minded - if the industry sees a cost, it will optimize taking that cost into account. And they think that that would be far more efficient than the government dictating what industries should do.

I don't know if setting a price for carbon emissions is that complex necessarily.

The policy IS focusing on the cause - carbon dioxide is the cause and global warming the effect.

In my opinion your comment has some merit, but it doesn't make a convincing case against carbon taxes or cap and trade. It proposes some possible good other measures that can be done, additionally to that.

In my view both should be done - government research for less CO2 producing ways of doing things, AND the incentives to introduce improvements by setting a price for carbon emissions.

I find very little can be done with just the former. Why would a coal plant shut down if there's no price for CO2 emissions and it can sell its electricity just fine?

Practically things just don't happen voluntarily - companies would be at a competitive disadvantage if they just started reducing their CO2 emissions while their competitors wouldn't. As a result their products would be more expensive and the consumers wouldn't buy them.

gravityloss said...

Also it's fascinating to think that some facts have sufficiently effected policy decisions even when the public's opnion has been very much counterfactual.
I didn't think of that.

Roger said...

Michael-

Apologies if it offended you, however looking at the overall tone of and comments made in this thread, you might cut me a small bit of slack.

Also, it'd be nice if you policed the tone of comments in two directions, no?

EliRabett said...

Moi? Roger is really simple, and as Eli said in his debut, RPJ has a simple motivation, he wants to own the debate and will do whatever is necessary. Since he is a political scientist, the debate he wants to own is the policy debate. His dinner table training gives him the advantage of understanding more of the science than the average policy wonk, which is why Romm and increasingly Hanson threaten him.

However, both of these guys don't realize that the way of dealing with smiling Lomborgs is to ridicule them, not yell at them. Ethon is more of a danger to Pielke, especially if he starts breeding

Michael Tobis said...

Roger, you are forgiven on the small matter of your implication that I don't care about evidence. Slack is duly cut. Let's just forget it, OK?

By all means provide any references to your own work or others' you find relevant to the discussion.

My current thoughts in your direction begin with you participating along with Revkin in what I consider a grotesque and socially malign comparison between George Will and Al Gore. So I am trying to reconcile your stated beliefs with that first of all.

As I've made clear, I think any linking of the two in the mass press by any reasonably well-informed person is unethical. So we start with a problem.

Cosnistent with that unhappy event, and also given the hopelessly confused no-such-thing-as-global-warming tone of most of the current commenters on your site, there are some real concerns expressed by others, some intemperately, as to what it is you actually believe and how and why you choose which positions to advance.

Admittedly the points you raised here in response to my queries are interesting ones, though they are not entirely easy to support. That said, they are far closer to the mainstream than the opinions of those who tend to support you or quote you.

The perception is that whatever you believe, you go out of your way to provide fodder for those whose beliefs are much further from the scientific mainstream than those you propose here.

Given your concession that current greenhouse-relevant policy is inadequate, it is surely surprising how often you are quoted by procrastinators and deniers and how rarely by those proposing to take vigorous action.

Now, this certainly appears incoherent at first glance. Leaving aside why people are angry at you or dismissive toward you, can you explain this peculiar trend?

EliRabett said...

We have played this game with Roger before and if you want a more high minded and biting version of the exchange here.

Michael Tobis said...

Eli, thanks for the links.

It is certainly interesting how certain similarities between the threads have emerged from participants uncomfortable with RPJr before there was any overlap in participants aside from RPJr himself.

gravityloss said...

Do I understand right:
1) People (the voters or congress members) may not have fact based opinions - this in many cases doesn't matter.
2) Policy to mitigate may be done or not - this in many cases doesn't matter.

I actually think there is some merit to these ideas, but huge problems as well.

I think it's a bit like saying that it isn't worth doing anything since there is a possibility it won't help.

Ie the set of "doing something" certainly has a lot of cases where the doing doesn't help at all, but all the things that really do help are in the set of "doing something".


I think that's the crux of the "enabler for a very sick policy" label.

Since some mitigation policies are not very effective, one might criticize them, but actually when criticizing is done in a certain way, it is really in practice criticizing all mitigation policies and used to stall any action.

It's not that one shouldn't be able to criticize the effectiveness of different mitigation policies. One just has to have good context. And also if your words are misused, make a noise.

And RPJR's criticism has certainly enabled a lot of bad stuff, he is very often quoted to motivate non-mitigation.


On the other hand, I do agree about the foolishness of feelgood policies which are just cosmetic measures. (Though there is a logical fallacy that if those measures are not working, nothing is worth doing. Not so, we have to do more/different/better!)


I have a hunch that no meaningful policies have been possible without USA participating.


I personally probably mostly favor carbon taxes that can also be slapped on imported products coming from non-carbon-taxing countries (China!) - an idea probably gotten by many people. I have an economics minded friend who advocates it.

They only work when a significant fraction of importing countries have them. That means the EU, USA and Japan. Then they can slowly force the rest along.

Roger said...

Wow, lots to respond to ...

First, that Eli/Josh has chosen to show up everywhere on the internet that I do to "ridicule" (his words) me speaks for itself. He must think my ideas have a lot of merit to spend years in pursuit, yet decide not to engage on the merits of any of my arguments.

On the other responses ...

1. thingsbreak, you ask:

"When you repeatedly attack someone like Jim Hansen for overreaching his position as a scientist in favor of advocating policy overly authoritatively, how do you reconcile that with your own touting of Jim Hansen as an authoritative proponent of air capture?"

Hansen, like most of us, has some good ideas and some bad ideas. Where I think I differ from many of you on this thread is that I don't think that saying someone's ideas are bad ones is an "attack" on the person. Hansen is a prominent person, people will discuss his ideas.

I think his recognition that air capture is necessary is right. I think that his views of the role of scientists in the climate debate are way off. A person is not right or wrong, their ideas are..

If any of you want to criticize my ideas, I am happy to hear the criticisms. Ideas get get better that way.

Not unrelated, Michael's assertion that it was "unethical" for Revkin to compare Will's mischaracterizations with Gore's is bizarre. You might think that Revkin's comparison was poorly judged or inappropriate or many things, but "unethical"? Honestly, I do not understand this thinking. Revkin has shown for years his commitment and devotion to this issue, because you disagree with him on a single news analysis, he is now unethical???

The quick rush to pass judgment about people and their ethics by many physical scientists is something I don't see as much of in the social sciences where such things are debated all the time.

2. gravityloss . . .

I am on record supporting a carbon tax, FYI.

Here is where we might differ:

"The policy IS focusing on the cause - carbon dioxide is the cause and global warming the effect."

I don't see carbon dioxide as a cause but as a consequence ... of economic activity. To address that consequence requires going further up the cause-consequence chain to the factors within economic activity that lead to emissions. Starting with emissions won't work for reasons I've described.

You assert: "And RPJR's criticism has certainly enabled a lot of bad stuff, he is very often quoted to motivate non-mitigation."

Please show me a few examples of what you are referring to, I am curious.

Roger said...

Michael-

You ask:

"Given your concession that current greenhouse-relevant policy is inadequate, it is surely surprising how often you are quoted by procrastinators and deniers and how rarely by those proposing to take vigorous action.

Now, this certainly appears incoherent at first glance. Leaving aside why people are angry at you or dismissive toward you, can you explain this peculiar trend?"

The answer seems pretty obvious.

Almost everyone calling for action comes from one fairly narrow set of views -- that we need to put a high price on carbon to meet some long term targets and timetables for emissions reductions goals. The IPCC expresses this view and even goes so far as to say that we don't need any new technology to accomplish this task.

Most everyone who has spoken out loudly against this approach, and calling for a different approach in support of mitigation, gets viciously attacked -- consider for instance Shellenberger/Nordhaus and Prins/Rayner.

I do think that the current approaches -- Kyoto, CDM, ETS, cap and trade, British CC Act, etc. -- are doomed to failure, and I have no qualms about saying so. Now, you might feel better about me if I was a cheerleader for feel good but impossible policies (like Jim Hansen or Joe Romm). By contrast, I feel better about myself saying what I think.

Once again, the biggest obstacle to effective action on mitigation is not the skeptics, or people who want action but are critical (like me), but those who try to enforce singular thinking on this subject, more or less ensuring that no new ideas get into the debate, ensuring the dominance of the same bad ideas that are getting us no where (e.g., see JB's dismissal of air capture as "anti-mitigation. What's that? Air capture may or may not have a future, but it is not "anti-mitigation").

Paradoxically it seems that the fear that you guys have about the skeptics (or, bizarrely, their "enablers") has resulted in a complete intolerance for alternative points of view on climate policy, even ones that would work better than the mess of an approach the world is now following. If so, score another one for the skeptics who have you pinned down.

As Keynes said, it is always usually better to be conventionally wrong than unconventionally right.

David B. Benson said...

I want an Excess Carbon Dioxide Removal Fee levied on all fossil fuels.

To be used for the stated purpose only.

======================
The above seems a reasonable policy, but if I understand what RPJr is claiming, it's actually not?

Michael Tobis said...

Roger, you needn't take Eli's presence so personally.

I pretty much implicitly invited his opinion by rather childishly failing to resist the title of this thread once it occurred to me. Then I made it explicit in a postscript expressed in the first comment.

Regarding the ethics of linking Gore and Will, that is the crucial question as far as I am concerned.

Each of us acts in his or her own way, according to our own ethical principles. Many of us, though, see the fate of civilization and of much of nature as being at issue in our conversations about climate change. Actions that can reasonably be determined to increase the likelihood of catastrophe are, in that sort of ethos, evil.

Comparing Gore to Will in the public eye and from a position of authority (such as Revkin or Pielke might claim) can affect the outcome of the public debate.

If the person making such a claim is well-informed, that person understands that all else aside there is a political tug of war in which Gore is pulling in roughly the right direction, for increased policy action, and based on a fair understanding of the facts, and Will in the wrong one, and against it, based on what at best is a rather stubborn form of confusion.

This brazenly elevates Will and wantonly defames Gore, therefore pulling the rope in the wrong direction.

The press should be able to make correct judgments when the evidence is in. Their failure to do so is contagious.

The press certainly came down strongly on the side of Saddam's WMD; I and most others believed them, to our great cost and shame.

This proves that they are fallible, but note that it also proves that they can be decisive. One doesn't remember the occasions when the press steered us right, after all. That amounts just to them doing their jobs.

The press is equivocal on anthropogenic global change; most people will conclude that the evidence is equivocal. Though the confidence we have in the press is certainly waning rapidly, and surely with good reason, it remains influential if only because people like to repeat the stories they hear.

Any assertions in the press that Gore represents an extreme position miscast the evidence gruesomeley and increase the odds of a terrible outcome.

It is difficult for me to state how grave I think the transgression of ethics committed by Revkin and Pielke in this matter is.

Consider some statistical expectation of human lives that will likely be lost as a consequence of the delay due to this confusion. I think such a number could present a very grave picture indeed.

I don't blame Will that much. He is just confused, a victim of propaganda as much as a perpetrator, just as so many perpetrators of it are. The behavior of the Post, so far, is fascinating and revealing and damning. But the behavior of the Times and Revkin was a massive blow, albeit a more subtle one and harder to fight with a blogstorm.

Roger said...

Michael-

If you think that it was unethical for me to point out that Gore was misrepresenting the relationship of disasters and climate change (based on my research I should add), then I am really amazed.

What kind of scientist says that misrepresentations are OK or should be ignored if politicians with the right values are making them?

[And maybe I read you wrong, but are you really suggesting that Revkin and I are complicit in "statistical deaths"? Please do clarify that odd claim ...]

The battle for public opinion is won. You are fighting shadows. Public opinion for action on climate change is the same this week as it was two weeks ago. The challenge now is for the development of policy options that can actually work. Continuing to divide the world into good guys and bad guys will probably ensure that nothing much happens on the policy front, because as you have shown anyone who doesn't cheerlead will be branded as "evil".

And you wonder why I am critical of the actions of some scientists . . .

Michael Tobis said...

Hmm, well it may make some difference if the battle is won. My whole enterprise in blogging began with a perception that the battle was being fought to a draw, with a very large proportion of conservatives lining up behind a rather delusional model.

I think most of "us" (for some value of "us" that matches the set of politically active scientists you criticize) believe, as I say in my summary of my opinions, that:

"There is too much carbon in the active reservoirs, and too much of other perturbations as well. It's getting rapidly worse, and there isn't anything subtle or marginal about it. Consequences are inevitable, but not instantaneous. One thing many people don't understand is that what we see now is the consequence of decisions made decades ago. The consequences of our current decisions are decades in the future. We are already committed to much larger disruptions of climate and geochemistry than we are now experiencing.

"Any controversy about the point that we have committed to disrupting global scale processes too much already is partly due to malfeasance. A few private interests have actively tried to prevent a solution to this problem. Even as major industrial organizations quietly withdraw from such efforts, the efforts persist. A major strategy is to confuse the public. One way of achieving this is to paint sober facts as wooly-eyed fantasies, and serious, moderate thinkers as extremists. They think they're protecting an economic or political interest and doing their job, but they really ought to rethink on ethical grounds.

"Most people have trouble believing anybody competent would be so shortsighted as to risk the survival of the planet for a few bucks. I have trouble understanding it myself, but it's apparently true. Some journalists understand the source of the confusion, but most popular media are afraid to report it for some reason. Positions that are at odds with any reasonable interpretation of facts and any reasonable ideas of morality are not challenged in the way the press would have done in the past. As a consequence, the public debate about global change issues is dangerously skewed from the most basic and crucial facts, as currently understood and enunciated by virtually every major scientific body in existence."

Implying an equivalence between Gore, who is constantly treading a fine line between effective politics and truthful description of risks, and George Will, who is wrong from beginning to end in conception, detail and emphasis is unacceptable because it perpetuates this dangerous skew.

As for the scope of the ethical risk, let us consider the possibility that the behavior of the Times and the Post this year increases the chance of an extreme event with a premature mortality of a billion people by a mere part per million, a per cent of a per cent of a per cent. The expected mortality from this is a thousand people. Is that morally equivalent to actually killing a thousand people? It's not all that obvious to me that it isn't.

In practice one can and must excuse oneself behind all the myriad realistic uncertainties. We don't know, after all, which butterfly will cause the hurricane. Most likely if we do find our way to hell, we will have trodden on many good intentions along the way.

But the point is that we really are playing with fire here and we shouldn't be putting our own careers or our own self-worth (like a clever and easy column for the Times) ahead of the enormous scope of the problem, because mortalities on the order of a billion are by no means excluded.

Now, admittedly this presumes we are so far from coping that it is very clear which direction we should be pulling. I believe that Revkin agrees with that, which is why I am so horrified by his actions.

Roger, you say that our present policy is not commensurate with the risks. I presume this means you too accept that there are very large risks in a delayed-policy scenario. Is this so?

This in turn places a very large ethical weight on any public speech, does it not?

Roger said...

Michael-

Wow.

These sort comments give far more ammo to your political enemies than anything I could ever say or do.

Eye opening stuff.

EliRabett said...

Eli once did a post Who framed Roger, Rabett?" but it had nothing to do with the Colorado whiner. OTOH, as one of the tonstant weaders of this blog, it is a bit much to be accused of chasing a bag of wind about the net when the bunny was simply lying in wait.

coby said...

"If you think that it was unethical for me to point out that Gore was misrepresenting the relationship of disasters and climate change (based on my research I should add), then I am really amazed."

Roger,

You're a smart guy, that is why dialogue with you so often engenders distrust. You`re purposely not understanding. "Gee whiz, you think it was unethical for me to put that black kid in jail for smoking pot?" sayz the cop. The question is not such a ridiculous one, you can`t laugh it off. It certainly was unethical if he did that rather than arrest the white kid at the same scene for armed robbery.

The question we all really wonder is why you choose to chastise Al Gore but not The Washington Post? Why is it more important to you to keep RealClimate honest (my charitable description) than it is to criticise Inhofe's use of gov't resources for disinformation? Why do you criticise James Hansen more often than Bob Carter?

I think you get the idea. The reason it becomes a moral question for people like Michael is because the outcome of this debate is not an academic one, real lives are in the balance.

Then again, maybe we need to step back and ask: do you think a failure to act intelligently in the face of global climate change will likely cause millions (or even thousands) of deaths?

EliRabett said...

To "engage"

Roger says that:

"In a nutshell, if you look at the history of action on environmental issues (e.g., Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, ESA, Montreal Protocol, CAA Amendments, TCSA, etc. etc.) all were passed with a far less degree of public support than we now see (and have seen for over a decade) for action on climate change and a similar (or lower) level of scientific understanding among the public. In such a context of public support, for action to occur on climate change requires that we devise policy options that are technically feasible, politically possible, and practically doable. We have not yet done so."

Eli read this twice. It said that

a. The public has an adequate scientific understanding of climate change for there to be useful action

There are two ponies that Roger is selling here. First, there are key blocks of the public that have no understanding of the problem, others that don't really pay attention and still others that have been purposely mislead. The result is that actions we should have taken decades ago have been blocked (delayed) on specious grounds.

There is no better example of how delay is engineered than tobacco, both smoking and environmental smoke. It is an excellent example because we have the tobacco archives and many of the same characters who delayed actions on tobacco, delayed action on climate, clean air regulations, CFCs and more of Roger's list.

Only someone seeking to mislead would claim that these type of delaying actions have not cost lives.

Each of those laws/regulations that Roger lists were systematically delayed and many of them later weakened, some to the point that they became ineffective, by a small number of ideologues and industry.

Second, Roger is placing the blame for inaction on those who want action not those who have blocked the action.

It would, however, be interesting to know what sources back the idea that the CAA, Montreal, etc had less support when passed than carbon control today.

b. Roger's conclusion that there have been no useful solutions because there have been no useful regulations/changes is simply screwy indcution. First, it requires a complete solution be put in place de novo. That is childish. Second it says that because there have been no global solutions they were not proposed.

There are places (California for example) where the opposition was overcome, and useful regulations and laws have limited emissions, not perfectly, but better than the status quo. To say that there have been no solutions, when the reason that there has been no solution is systematic opposition to solutions is disengenuous at best.

Oh yes, what does Roger say about Jim:

"Here Hansen swerves from scientific authoritarianism to megalomania"

Whatever

Brian said...

I'd like to correct something said by Thingsbreak and left uncorrected by Roger - that Hansen in no way that I'm aware of supports open-air capture of the type that Roger supports.

The summary is that Hansen supports sequestration of CO2 from biomass power generation, a different thing from what Roger's talking about.

Details here:

http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2009/02/tierney-and-pielke-jrs-wild.html

ourchangingclimate said...

Roger,

You correctly stated that “a person is not right or wrong; their ideas are”. Consequently, Revkin is not unethical, but him equating Will and Gore is (according to Michael). Perhaps you disagree with the use of the word “unethical”, but the point is that equating those two gives a very wrong impression of the issues at hand. Rather than attacking the choice of words, it would be more helpful to discuss the ideas put forward.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that Gore was misrepresenting the relation between disasters and climate change. What is wrong, is equating that transgression (minor in the grand scheme of presenting a fair picture of the scientific understanding) with Will’s spouting of utter nonsense.

I have no animosity towards you, and often (though not always) find your contributions to the debate insightful. But your evasiveness in discussions, of which I gave two examples here, is not always helpful.

Bart

Arthur said...

Michael, Roger Jr. was pretty accurately assessed by Joe Romm here:

http://climateprogress.org/2008/12/22/finally-roger-pielke-admits-he-supports-policies-that-will-take-us-to-5-7%C2%B0c-warming-or-more/

Pielke in his comments to this post claims he supports a carbon tax - but clearly not a significant one capable of either (a) covering the full costs of dealing with the CO2 problem or (b) triggering actual market-based abandonment of fossil fuels.

In his comments here he seems perfectly sanguine about CO2 levels hitting 1000 ppm or more. "Honest broker" indeed! Pielke's the Bernie Madoff of climate. Don't look too closely, there's nothin' there.

Carl C said...

I think what ultimately makes me laugh at Pielke Jr (and I'm not saying these are valid reasons) is:

1) can you really trust a guy who agrees with his dad on everything?

and

2) who died and appointed him "ethics czar of science" or whatever; it's just as insipid as the Republican "morality czar" (and known crooked gambler) William Bennett.

thingsbreak said...

@Roger:

Hansen, like most of us, has some good ideas and some bad ideas. Where I think I differ from many of you on this thread is that I don't think that saying someone's ideas are bad ones is an "attack" on the person. Hansen is a prominent person, people will discuss his ideas.

I think his recognition that air capture is necessary is right. I think that his views of the role of scientists in the climate debate are way off. A person is not right or wrong, their ideas are..


Except we're not talking about whether Jim Hansen "thinks pie + ice cream = tasty treat" and you happen to agree. You have gone out of your way to attack scientists (and yes, "attack" is the right word for what you do- accusations of "megalomania" and "stealing" fit that bill nicely) for overstepping their role and unduly using their authority to advocating desired policy, Hansen chief among them.

Yet when this very behavior can be cop-opted to support your desired policy outcome (whatever your latest argument against significant emissions reductions happens to be this week: adaptation, air capture, wealth redistribution, etc.) you not only give that behavior a pass, you go out of your way to cite Hansen as a scientific authority in support of it.

The hypocrisy would be stunning if it wasn't merely par for the course.

thingsbreak said...

Roger also says, "The battle for public opinion is won. You are fighting shadows. Public opinion for action on climate change is the same this week as it was two weeks ago."

As has been pointed out numerous times, while this may be true for those who self-identify as Democrats and Independents in the US, it is manifestly not the case for those who self-identify as Republicans.

Action on climate change is and will continue to be a political concern. One that has clear partisan divisions between what is and is not reality- as this Will nonsense illustrates. If the economy continues to tank and there is an ensuing political backlash in 2010 and 2012, I don't think it would be unduly pessimistic to say that a meaningful US policy would then be off the table and this would in effect scuttle Kyoto II.

The consequences of getting this wrong are potentially huge. Many people seem to get that. I wonder whether or not you count yourself among them.

EliRabett said...

Eli gets serious

David B. Benson said...

I've looked into air capture of CO2. Some, via photosynthesis, is possible, but enough enough to capture all of the excess carbon added yearly. Even CCS from biomass is too limited, depending upon some assumptions.

Artificial air capture fights against entropy; it will require considerable energy.

Far better, methinks, to simply avoid using the atmosphere as an "airfill".

David B. Benson said...

For example, using aneobic digestion of algae, detuned to produce as much carbon dioxide as possible and so as little methane, followed by amine treatment to separate the methane from the acid gas, to concentrate the excess 37 GtCO2 added in 2007 CE for sequestration would require about 40 million square kilometers of sunny land.

Doable. Very expensive, since it would knock the bottom out of the price of natural gas. Might have to just flare some of the separated methane.

Michael Tobis said...

Well, Roger must have a lot to deal with right now, but I'd sure like to know how I "gave ammunition to my enemies".

Now just today, I saw an argument at a market libertarian site associated with the CEI that "Raising energy costs kills. According to a Johns Hopkins study, replacing ¾ of US coal-based energy with higher priced energy would lead to 150,000 extra premature deaths annually in the US alone."

In my view, this is yet another case which reduces to the relative credibility of econometric studies versus those based in actual, you know, physical reality. But here it's being presented without any sense of what the uncertainties are. In Roger's view, is this 150 times "worse" as a polemical tactic than mine was?

I wonder.

Nosmo said...

I thought Revkin's article was unethical strictly from a journalistic stand point. I think your (MT) argument about the dangers/effects of that one article give a lot more power to Revkin's article then it has.
Overall he has been far more responsible then most journalists so I'm willing to cut him some slack.
I'm not sure what RPJ's motives. Whether they are entirely self serving as Coby said or something entirely different I have no idea. Solving the climate change problems certainly does not seem to be a high priority for him.

At one point I read most everything he was writing but have long since lost interest.

Anonymous said...

I can't read your comments in Moe-ziller, Michael. Anyone else?

Best,

D

coby said...

Your enemy have spoken, Michael.
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/a-conversation-with-a-climate-scientist-5019

Brian Schmidt said...

Well, I didn't pay enough attention to the fact that Roger has in this very thread (Mar. 1 at 2:10 p.m.) continued to misuse and mislead regarding Hansen's support for a very limited form of air capture that has little to do with Roger's fantasy.

I think it's an excellent example of how Roger has been a negative influence on climate policy.

I sometimes wonder why I look for a more moderate tone in what I write.

kT said...

Re : Carbon capture.

If anyone is interested, my working group has decided to take a look at industrial carbon capture via CO2 fractionation from air using solar power in the desert, and then direct conversion to things like sugars, cellulose, limestone, cement, high carbon soil (compost and worm castings) even methane, anything that can be done in bulk. The general idea is that excess heat can be radiated directly back into space at the site. I'm not promising anything will come of this, we're just gonna look at it, thermodynamics, energy and materials pathways, stuff like that. It might take a while, so don't hold your breath.

Ideally, solar panels using some of that carbon would be in the mix.

Anonymous said...

You want to know how you are giving ammunition to your enemies.

I found this because you are being ridiculed on a political chat board elsewhere. I'm sure its not the only spot.

Seriously, by equating disclosing the lies and exaggerations that Al Gore is using to enrich himself as the moral equivalent of mass murder is the kind of fanatical hyperbole that most normal people don't want to be associated with.

Whatever happened to "Question Authority"?

Whenever Global Warming is debated, the motives of those that are skeptical of some or all of the dogma is always questioned. What this says to others is that "we are right, anyone that disagrees is a bad person."

VangelV said...

"Well, Roger must have a lot to deal with right now, but I'd sure like to know how I "gave ammunition to my enemies"."

You give people ammunition because you lose any credibility that you may have had by suggesting that it is OK to lie to promote a good cause. By doing so you show yourself to be a political activist instead of a scientist and lose support from people that may have been on the fence.

While I may not agree with everything that Dr. Pielke writes I do not question the fact that he puts truth before politics. you can learn a lot from him.

Brian said...

"I do not question the fact that he [Pielke] puts truth before politics."

Considering that Roger is misleading people, right now, with something he added to this comment thread, that statement doesn't come off as very convincing.

Gerard said...

"Despite what is being said about me, I do not believe that criticizing Al Gore is the moral equivalent of murder."

While I agree that your statement is literally true, I think it is also clear that you feel that "the behavior of the Times and the Post this year " clearly is.

Hence I don't think you've defused the issue but only side-stepped it in a highly sophist manner.

Soil Creep said...

VangelV - the truth before politics thing is laughable. So it is the climate scientists such as Tobis or those at Real Climate that misrepresent the truth about global warming, as evidenced by the fact that they deeply care about the subject, whereas the fair and balanced Pielke is the honest broker and "truth" teller. So even if I point you to RC or another climate site that proves that Pielke distorts the truth - well that distortion itself must be a lie - because the source was a climate scientist, whereas Pielke's "truth" is the one above the fray of politics. He would never, never ever, lie, Saint Pielke!

You have learned a lot from Pielke.

I find it ironic that deniers hold a view that climate scientists by definition are politicized and tend to lie or exaggerate; but a policy "expert" who by definition is a political animal is the final aribitor of scientific truth (above politics).

How perfectly circular and pathological. You have my sympathy.

Michael Tobis said...

Gerard;

You have a point, but that isn't what I stand accused of in most of the media that is having fun with me.

As to your point, I do indeed think the behavior of the Times and the Post was unethical because it was both negligent and consequential. Does it rise to the level of more conventional sorts of negligence causing many deaths? Well, all I actually said was maybe, and that's all I'm going to say.

VangelV said...

"Soil Creep said...

VangelV - the truth before politics thing is laughable. So it is the climate scientists such as Tobis or those at Real Climate that misrepresent the truth about global warming, as evidenced by the fact that they deeply care about the subject, whereas the fair and balanced Pielke is the honest broker and "truth" teller."

No, the Real Climate guys misrepresent the truth because they engage in data manipulation and use inappropriate statistical methods to try to hide the historical record. Whether you like it or not, Mann and company got caught cherry picking proxies, using an algorithm that created hockey stick shapes out of random red noise and spliced together different data sets to come up with a predetermined shape. They were caught by M&M and were slapped down by the NAS study that accused them of not understanding statistics very well and of not conducting independent reviews.

"So even if I point you to RC or another climate site that proves that Pielke distorts the truth - well that distortion itself must be a lie - because the source was a climate scientist, whereas Pielke's "truth" is the one above the fray of politics. He would never, never ever, lie, Saint Pielke!"

RC has attacked plenty of people without actually being able to show that they really understood the science. It is mainly made up of palaeoclimatology folks who have already shown to be incapable of handling statistics very well and not beyond data mining for specific results while throwing out others that do not support their conclusions. They have zero credibility and seem to be more interested in politics than in science. Of course, given their limited skills that makes a great deal of sense.

"You have learned a lot from Pielke."

Not really. We simply happen to hold similar views and share a distaste for charlatans and hypocrites.

"I find it ironic that deniers hold a view that climate scientists by definition are politicized and tend to lie or exaggerate; but a policy "expert" who by definition is a political animal is the final aribitor of scientific truth (above politics)."

First, the climate scientists that you have brought up have already been exposed as frauds and/or incompetents. (You are free to pick either but I suspect both.) Second, I don't see what Pielke has written that you and Michael Tobis find objectionable. Pielke simply pointed out that Gore had misrepresented the science in front of an audience of scientists that understood that he was full of crap. Let me point out that Pielke didn't simply state an opinion. He supported it with actual excerpts from the organization that produced the data that Al Gore was using. That is totally legitimate yet Michael Tobis accuses the act of being morally equivalent to killing 1,000 people. Sorry but that seems to be over the top even for the typical AGW cultist.

"How perfectly circular and pathological. You have my sympathy."

Sorry but you must be very confused. Pielke has every right to point out that Gore used data that the organization that produced it says can't be used to make the argument that Gore did. There is nothing circular or pathological about it. I suggest using logic rather than emotion when dealing with the issue.

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks of a sort to VangeIV for the opportunity to point out that I am being systematically misrepresented.

"Let me point out that Pielke didn't simply state an opinion. He supported it with actual excerpts from the organization that produced the data that Al Gore was using. That is totally legitimate yet Michael Tobis accuses the act of being morally equivalent to killing 1,000 people."

Of course I did no such thing.

Some of your other points had merit but I'm not about to respond to them now. Please have the kindness not to repeat untruths about me.

VangelV said...

gravityloss wrote:

"Maybe most of the advocates of cap and trade and carbon taxes are more private enterprise minded - if the industry sees a cost, it will optimize taking that cost into account. And they think that that would be far more efficient than the government dictating what industries should do."

I see many of the most vocal advocates as self serving and being able to benefit from carbon trading. Of course, Europe has proven that carbon trading will not much to reduce emissions but it will do a lot to cut the standard of living of those that have to pay the carbon taxes.

"I don't know if setting a price for carbon emissions is that complex necessarily."

It will be much more complicated than a system where voluntary transactions are not regulated by government.

"The policy IS focusing on the cause - carbon dioxide is the cause and global warming the effect."

But it isn't the cause. We have had cooling for a few years yet CO2 emissions have gone up. We had cooling from 1945 to 1975 while emissions exploded. At the end of that period scientists were being quoted in the media about the next ice age.

The evidence is overwhelming that factors such as solar activity are much greater drivers of climate change than CO2 emissions could ever be.

"In my opinion your comment has some merit, but it doesn't make a convincing case against carbon taxes or cap and trade. It proposes some possible good other measures that can be done, additionally to that."

RP can speak for himself but I think that the case has been made that cap and trade won't work. Of course, we do not need to limit CO2 emissions because there is no evidence to suggest that CO2 is a driver of temperature trend changes. Keep in mind that the first smoking gun in the AGW arsenal turned out to prove the opposite; that it was the change in the temperature trend that led to changes in CO2 concentrations. Also keep in mind that the mid-tropospheric warming that is supposed to be observed (look at Section 9 of the IPCC report) is missing from the satellite and balloon data.

"In my view both should be done - government research for less CO2 producing ways of doing things, AND the incentives to introduce improvements by setting a price for carbon emissions."

Government should not be wasting limited resources when we have real problems that need to be solved. In fact, government should stick to protecting individuals against fraud or the initiation of force as it is supposed to.

"I find very little can be done with just the former. Why would a coal plant shut down if there's no price for CO2 emissions and it can sell its electricity just fine?"

A coal plant provides the energy that we need to produce goods and services and to keep our houses operating as they are designed to. It should not be shut down just because it emits CO2 because CO2 emissions are not a problem.

"Practically things just don't happen voluntarily - companies would be at a competitive disadvantage if they just started reducing their CO2 emissions while their competitors wouldn't. As a result their products would be more expensive and the consumers wouldn't buy them."

You can't justify the use of force to get people to do things that governments want them to do to meet various political goals. In the 1970s I was hearing arguments how governments should use their power to fight global cooling. What makes you so certain that they are right this time around?

VangelV said...

"EliRabett said...

Moi? Roger is really simple, and as Eli said in his debut, RPJ has a simple motivation, he wants to own the debate and will do whatever is necessary. Since he is a political scientist, the debate he wants to own is the policy debate. His dinner table training gives him the advantage of understanding more of the science than the average policy wonk, which is why Romm and increasingly Hanson threaten him."

You are grasping here. The advantage of this debate from the political perspective is with the AGW side because that is where the power and money resides. RP seems to have ignored that fact and has gone with the science, which is overwhelmingly against the AGW side.

"However, both of these guys don't realize that the way of dealing with smiling Lomborgs is to ridicule them, not yell at them. Ethon is more of a danger to Pielke, especially if he starts breeding"

It seems to me that the ridicule card is against the AGW crowd as well. After all, it is hard to argue global warming when you keep getting snowed out every time you hold those silly protest rallies. How long will it take you guys to recognize that the satellite data is telling you that we have had a cooling trend for a while now and that a bigger danger than warming is cooling?

VangelV said...

In response to RP, Michael Tobis wrote:

" Cosnistent with that unhappy event, and also given the hopelessly confused no-such-thing-as-global-warming tone of most of the current commenters on your site, there are some real concerns expressed by others, some intemperately, as to what it is you actually believe and how and why you choose which positions to advance."

Belief has nothing to do with anything. The satellite data tells us that the warming stopped when solar activity peaked and the PDO went into a cool phase. The ice core data tells us that the temperature trends lead CO2 concentrations by about 800 years. Historical evidence tells us that Greenland was warmer 800 years ago when the Vikings were farming land that is now under permafrost. It tells us that England and Europe were warmer and that the warmer climate brought the prosperity necessary to build those great cathedrals. It tells us that China was much warmer as were most areas around the globe. We also know that there was a warming trend that began when we came out of the Little Ice Age that is still in place. Of course, logic tells us that when you come out of a period that has the words 'ice age' in its name one would expect warming. But the warming was not constant even though CO2 emissions have been steadily increasing. We experienced a cooling trend right after WWII, when CO2 emissions took off. That trend lasted three decades and by the time it ended scientists were warning of an upcoming ice age. We also know that solar activity explains temperature changes much better than CO2 emissions could. In fact, we know that man's CO2 emissions can't account for climate change.

"Admittedly the points you raised here in response to my queries are interesting ones, though they are not entirely easy to support. That said, they are far closer to the mainstream than the opinions of those who tend to support you or quote you."

I find this laughable. You buy into the AGW argument, which cannot be supported by the data yet accuse RP of providing responses that he can't support. Actually, I have no trouble finding plenty of support for his position but no support other than narrative for yours. As I said, we are now in a cooling phase just as we were from 1945-1975 yet you guys are still arguing about global warming. (Of course, the smarter set in the AGW community has tried to avoid the term global warming and to stick with the safer 'climate change,' term.)

I also have to tell you that I am beginning to have questions about the critical thinking abilities of the AGW crowd. After all, if my ten-year old can spot errors in Gore's film why can't you guys?

"The perception is that whatever you believe, you go out of your way to provide fodder for those whose beliefs are much further from the scientific mainstream than those you propose here."

You need a reality check. Belief should have little to do with this argument. It should be about science and morality. From what I see the AGW crowd loses out on both.

Michael Tobis said...

"The advantage of this debate from the political perspective is with the AGW side because that is where the power and money resides."

Read the title bar way up at the top. This idea is flatly ridiculous as far as climate science is concerned. The big money is in energy, has been, should be, and will be. The only question is which energy, but all the money is on the energy side.

Michael Tobis said...

That will do for comments on this thread. Thanks for playing.