It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Alarming Shortfall in Foolishness

This graph at economist Brad DeLong's caught my eye. It sure looks at first glance that we are entering a regime shift. Will the growth paradigm ever re-establish itself?

On brief reflection, I realized that I was falling into the cherry-picking trap. I note that the whole graph only represents five years. Is this really representative of the big picture? Now I get the sense that among conventional economists, DeLong is relatively smart and honest, so I'd be disappointed to find otherwise, but as we already know from the "no warming since 1998" crowd, a five year picture really isn't enough for an outsider without much context to form a sensible impression of a multidecadal process. It was surprisingly tedious to find a more extensive version of the plot, but a modest amount of diligence yielded this:

Note the logarithmic scale, which isn't really necessary on the shorter time period. Essentially we are looking at a remarkably steady growth rate, wherein the "size" of the US economy is about twenty times what it was in the mid-60s.

Now I am privileged to actually remember the mid-60s (the early 70s is another story...) and I can pretty much state that while well-being in North-America has not increased twenty-fold, it is not unreasonable to state that resource consumption has gone up on that order. Update: Apparently there is something I do not understand about the second diagram. See comments. However, my qualitative point still stands. (See also update at end of article.) Bigger and more houses and cars, more travel, more bread and circuses. Don't get me wrong. While I would trade Google and Apple for unwinding the ecosystem damage, it would be with a sense of sacrifice. But I don't think Google and Apple account for the 20-fold increase.

Now we also see from the chart why the economists are so sure that this "recession" will end. The pattern is amazingly steady, with the tiniest of kinks here and there. This one is a bigger than average kink, but now that the free-fall has been stanched (thanks almost entirely to the brilliance and good luck of the Obama administration and the good will it has overseas, I would point out) it's hard to see the huge momentum of the overall pattern breaking.

But of course, it will break. The pattern you see, steady though it may appear, is quite literally unsustainable. So it won't be sustained. What the graph shows us is why so many people are blind to the fact that a growth rate like this, in the grand scheme of things, is abnormal. They think we "neo-malthusians" WANT to stop the gravy train because we hate fun and pleasure, or crave power, or enjoy scary stories or something.

No. We want to stop the gravy train because the bridge is out ahead.

This being the case, I can only hope we never entirely recover from the current glitch. There are some (good) "bad" signs that we won't. The topsy turvy fake money trick that drove the ramp in the Bush years was perhaps sort of a last desperate play of the growth economy. Resources are running out. People are finally understanding that time is worth more than money.

One interesting question raised by the graph is how it managed to sustain such a steady pattern for so long. Was it intrinsic to capitalism under abundant resources, or was it forced by policy? Is the growth imperative built in to the system or is it grafted on by policies aimed at full employment? Either way, the behaviors it has motivated of late (for instance, far too many people own and maintain several houses due to the speculative bubble in real estate) seem simply crazy from a whole systems perspective and an individual perspective alike.

It's worth understanding why this bumpy line has the shape it does, rather than simply presuming it will go on forever. Note that it's on a semi-log scale, which means we really are looking at an exponential. Exponentials commonly reach abrupt ends in nature. (Update: I would have done better to say: positive exponentials eventually break in nature, sometimes abruptly.) Is there any reason to expect we are exempt?

Or is it simply a matter of when the pattern will break, rather than whether it will?

For what it's worth, I think the amazingly sustained growth is a consequence of the growth imperative in the policy sector, which in turn is a consequence of a deep-rooted conceptual error shared by left, right and center. This policy is only feasible in the presence of great abundance, an abundance which appears to be ending.

In short, what we need is security, comfort, purpose, and community, not "jobs". The substitute worked for historical reasons that are no longer valid. Consequently, we need to stop working for the substitute goal, just as Easter Islanders needed to stop building statues, even though the statue-building culture had served them well in their recent past. Alas, they could no longer conceive of any alternative.

Update: Despite the appearance of legitimacy, the second graph appears actually to be, simply, wrong. It doesn't match any dataset I can find. I can't figure out what it's going on about.

Official inflation-adjusted GDP via US national Bureau of Economic Analysis in chained 2005 gigadollars:

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
1 Gross domestic product2,830.92,896.93,072.43,206.73,392.33,610.13,845.33,942.54,133.44,261.84,269.94,413.34,647.74,917.04,889.94,879.55,141.35,377.75,677.65,855.05,839.05,987.25,870.96,136.26,577.16,849.37,086.57,313.37,613.97,885.98,033.98,015.18,287.18,523.48,870.79,093.79,433.99,854.310,283.510,779.811,226.011,347.211,553.011,840.712,263.812,638.412,976.213,254.113,312.212,987.4

2,830.9 2,896.9 3,072.4 3,206.7 3,392.3
3,610.1 3,845.3 3,942.5 4,133.4 4,261.8

4,269.9 4,413.3 4,647.7 4,917.0 4,889.9
4,879.5 5,141.3 5,377.7 5,677.6 5,855.0

5,839.0 5,987.2 5,870.9 6,136.2 6,577.1
6,849.3 7,086.5 7,313.3 7,613.9 7,885.9

8,033.9 8,015.1 8,287.1 8,523.4 8,870.7
9,093.7 9,433.9 9,854.3 10,283.5 10,779.8

11,226.0 11,347.2 11,553.0 11,840.7 12,263.8
12,638.4 12,976.2 13,254.1 13,312.2 12,987.4

Total growth factor 1960 - 2009 = 4.7 .


Mitchell said...

"For what it's worth, I think the amazingly sustained growth is a consequence of the growth imperative in the policy sector, which in turn is a consequence of a deep-rooted conceptual error shared by left, right and center."

I would think simple population growth has also been a causal driver of economic growth. It's the reason why the temporary abundance was *used*.

EliRabett said...

Energy was freely available at low cost.

GRLCowan said...

Why would you link an Oil Drum article? You made me go there.

The second figure, "Pre-recession (2000-2008) Global NNR Scarcity Summary", lists bromine at the top of its "Extremely Scarce" panel. Bromine is, IIRC, 65 ppm in seawater. Sparge seawater with chlorine and it oxidizes bromide ion on the way up; what comes out at the top is Br2.

The next panel, "Very Scarce", informs us that aluminum and bauxite are scarce. Both of them!

Also magnesium compounds. They're very scarce.

That, I regret to report, is quite typical of the Oil Drum's standards.

(How fire can be domesticated)

gravityloss said...

That Oil Drum article seems to have some mistakes that make me doubt it a bit... Nitrogen getting scarce? Maybe I'm missing something.

Michael Tobis said...

I don't think we will run out of aluminum, but the article made no such point. It argued that we will run out of cheap aluminum.

Now as an economics skeptic, I'm not exactly sure what this means in that peculiar measure, "dollars", but as an earth system scientist, I am willing to venture that the amount of energy required to extract a unit of aluminum form the remaining bauxite is going to increase.

I happen to know that aluminum refinement is energy intensive, because when I was a child in school im Montreal, I was taught that aluminum refinery was (and for all I know still is) a major industry of Quebec. Bauxite was shipped from Venezuela (where the mineral was extracted) to Quebec (where hydroelectric power was abundant). Export of finished aluminum was one of the things we were meant to be proud of (along with the world's supply of asbestos).

Aluminum is well known to be a major component of the earth's crust. But bauxite was shipped from Venezuela to Quebec.

Michael Tobis said...

The production of nitrogen fertilizer is dominated by an industrial process that consumes natural gas.

Recently there has been a breakthrough ("fracking") and more natural gas is available, though at the cost of damage to ground water. This is a big issue here in Texas. (I am not sure whether this information propagates to the article in question.)

I am surprised that I was able to address the first two objections!

I'm really no expert on mineral extraction. I'll be amazed if I have anything to add on the next one. You'd do better to take it up on The Oil Drum and not here.

The point from my perspective is that consumables are in fact consumed. Many of these problems would be negligible in a steady-state civilization; after all mass is preserved.

Again, none of this is to say we are doomed. I still think we'll have to be especially stupid and unlucky to manage to hit a really insurmountable catastrophe. I only want to say that we are in new circumstances, wherein problems that were once distinct are now coupled. So we'd be better off not pretending that they can be solved piecemeal.

GRLCowan said...

"... bauxite was shipped from Venezuela to Quebec."

The energy requirements of shipping it any distance on Earth are small compared to the energy required to dissociate it. That is why some people, including me, have looked at aluminum as a transport fuel that might be made by nuclear stations and shipped to vehicles. They would turn it into Al2O3 of higher grade than in bauxite, and this would be shipped back.

(How fire can be domesticated)

Hank Roberts said...

> energy

Also: passenger pigeons, American chestnuts, old growth forests, Steller's sea cows, whales, codfish, salmon, topsoil without heavy metal contamination, .....

Now it's us and the orcas eating up the remains of the tattered trophic webs. Next, we'll have to fight them for the sea urchins and jellyfish.

gravityloss said...

But that's not an aluminium problem, it's more purely an energy problem.

The two are somewhat intertwined but still, this gets far further into assumptions on assumptions land - compared to some of the other mineral problems...

Noted that uranium and thorium were not on the list.

I understand resource crises and the fallacy of perpetual growth of material use on a finite planet, but I think the case could be made better.

It's a pretty big job to write an article about this though - and there's probably a lot of research to be done by various specialists in their materials. Ask a silver expert on silver, a coal expert on coal etc - and there are probably fields where such analysis has not been made, hence one just has to leave them as uncertain in a larger meta-study on all substances.

Michael Tobis said...

The point about shipping bauxite is that there must be some advantage to Venezuelan bauxite that outweighs the shipping cost, even though there is surely aluminum in the crustal rock of Quebec.

So when Venezuelan bauxite runs out, it will be even more energy intensive to get the stuff out of somebody else's rock. That is surely the point.

gravityloss said...

And the natural gas issue as well - that's again a more specific problem.

I assume everyone knows about natural gas use in nitrogen fertilizer creation - that's trivial. It's "converted" to hydrogen and then that is used to change nitrogen into NH3.

You can produce that hydrogen
from other sources as well. I don't say this is trivial, but it is a completely different thing to saying we'll be out of phosphorus, which is a far rarer element!

Michael Tobis said...

Apologies for double linking the Oil Drum article. The first link has been redirected to where I originally wanted it.

Hank Roberts said...

Deeper reference on mineral cost and availability:

that links to their website and much more. One item there:

"'As a science economics is older than ecology. At the time of the earliest economists there were no scarcities of natural resources. This is still reflected in present day economic planning. By contrast, ecology cannot accept the idea of unlimited resources. In addition, from the economic point of view a time horizon of 10 years is long while in ecology it is extremely short.'

Thus the comparison suggests that economics tends to apply short time horizons and the assumption of limitless natural resources...."

EliRabett said...

1. The cost of aluminum is an energy cost which is why aluminum refineries get built near large hydro dams

2. Aluminium refining is a major source of CO2 even if you use hydro electricity

3. It's always cheaper to use a higher grade ore

Michael Tobis said...


Point 1 is clear.

Point 2 is a bit off topic for where we have wandered. But is it true? Is this just the amortized carbon cost of the infrastructure or is it intrinsic to the refining process?

Point 3 is exactly the issue. Is the cost of declining ore quality going to outweigh the refining energy cost anytime soon? It clearly already outweighs the shipping energy cost.

guthrie said...

Off the top of my head, in the last 5,000 years we've gone from picking up lumps of native copper to having to dig huge holes in the ground to get at 0.5% copper ore. Fortunately technological development has enabled the improvement in recovery, but again a great deal of energy is required.

I expect in a few years time to see copper phone wires replaced by fibre optics simply because the copper is so valuable.
And meanwhile a billion or two people would like our standard of living which would require lots more copper for electrical wiring...

David B. Benson said...

"Exponentials in Nature..."

Depends upon the system. Sometimes one discovers that the exponential is the beginning of a logistic curve. The growth in the miles of railroad track in the USA is a good example, up to the beginning of a gradual decline.

Some systems come to an abrupt end even with subexponential growth. For example, prepare a Petri dish with a nutrient medium (agar) and place a small dollap of bacteria in the middle. Quite soon the only living bactria form an annulus around the dead bacteria (no agar left) and the living annulus grows as the square of the radius until the edge of the Petri dish is reached; the end.

GRLCowan said...

Point 2 ... Is this just the amortized carbon cost of the infrastructure or is it intrinsic to the refining process?

It's intrinsic. A carbon anode can more easily oxidize oxide anions by giving up one carbon per oxygen than by lifting the oxygen all the way to zero valency. This makes the energy stored in aluminum, as I recall, about one-third due to carbon monoxide production and two-thirds due to electricity.

There is research in inert anodes, such that aluminum energy would all originate in the electricity plant.

Word verification says "fibbings". No comments from the cheap seats, please.

(How fire can be domesticated)

John Mashey said...

Once again, I recommend Bob Ayres - Economic Growth & Cheap Oil, and if you *really* want to learn about this turf, get your library to buy Ayres & Warr - The Economic Growth Engine.

Ayres is a physicist turned economist, and they have done a lot of studies of economies (like US, Japan, Germany) over the last century, and finding that economic growth is rather strongly related to:

work = energy * efficiency

Folks: it doesn't take that much study to get way up the learning curve on this. I'm no economist, but Ayres&Warr make a lot more sense to me than "Total Factor Productivity" and other vague terms in neoclassical econ models.

David B. Benson said...

My bacteria in the Petri dish is wrongly stated; the correct answer is left as ...

A better example is a rectangular Petri dish seeded with a line of bacteria along one side. The line of living bacteria then moves to the opposite side, with no population growth along the way as there is no extra room which still has agar except to the fore. So no growth at all, just resource depletion with the end at the opposide side.

William T said...

Those of us who have played around with log graphs know that "looking like a straight line" doesn't mean all that much. There's a lot that can be hidden in those "minor" wiggles. Nonetheless, drawing a few straight lines on that growth curve makes a mockery of the usual econometric (linear) models and their predictions of future costs and benefits of various policies.

Apropos ecological limits, Krugman makes an interesting point in his recent NYT magazine article - in effect there is an ecological limit to "using up" the CO2-absorbing sinks that is essentially equivalent to the limits of finite resources. The usual (free-market) economist's answer to such limits is that once they're approached the economy will automatically adjust to use other resources or to extract the remaining reserves of that resource more efficiently (eg better mining technology / more efficient energy use). So arguments about the costs of climate mitigation crippling the economy shouldn't be coming from the free-market end of the political spectrum - in fact setting up cap-and-trade effectively privatises the "rights to use" the CO2 sink and thus fits right into their economic philosophy. Of course, there is the annoying factor that it is the government that is setting those resource limits, rather than some "act of nature".

Horatio Algeranon said...

"I'm no economist, but Ayres&Warr make a lot more sense to me than "Total Factor Productivity" and other vague terms in neoclassical econ models."

Perhaps that is because Ayres is a "physicist turned economist" -- as opposed to an "economist turned physicist" (eg, McKitrick, Tol, etc), for example.

You are far more likely to make contact with reality (and good sense) when you apply physical assumptions (laws) -- eg, logistic as opposed to exponential growth under limiting conditions -- to economic systems than you are when you apply economic assumptions (laws??) -- eg, limitless growth -- to physical systems.

Hank Roberts said...

> an ecological limit to "using up"
> the CO2-absorbing sinks that is
> essentially equivalent to the
> limits of finite resources

Yep. When I was a kid, in the rural South, people who were civic-minded dumped their garbage in a wire bin behind the house. The critters ate the big food scraps and we burned the rest in a sanitary way.

The metal and fragments of glass just got buried, or built up a mound. Those who were lazy drove to the end of some rural road and dumped their trash.

Through the 1940s there were few plastics, so most trash rotted or rusted, aside from the old car batteries, stoves, TVs, refrigerators and such. Nobody had that much stuff anyhow, through the 1940s! But after that we got rich, and noticed how burning plastic trash stinks, and how we had lots of it. People even stopped saving their own bacon fat to cook with and had to dispose of that. More stink.

Eventually we got modern organized garbage collection, taxes for landfills; eventually landfills got pricey and we got recycling, and composting.

Now we know landfills pollute groundwater; pricier and pricier.

CO2 is, in excess, the same problem-- running out of places to dump it, the cost going up, the end in sight.

"You can't have everything! Where would you put it?"

Michael Tobis said...

Growth in economics is not a law, it is a presumption. The whole intellectual edifice becomes mathematically pathological in sustained economic decline. Under a negative discount rate the cost of any action becomes infinite and no conclusions are possible.

The solution economists take is to assume long term growth is nonnegative. This is like a fluid dynamicist assuming low Reynolds number because they don't like turbulence. But some situations are actually turbulent.

And that is what I mean when I say that economists don't understand regimes (in the fluid dynamicist's sense of "regime"). A regime where they are particularly hopeless is a negative discount rate.

manuelg said...

This is a novel and important economic article and sustainability article. I hope it is widely read.

I agree with everything, but...

Prosaic criticism: I think economic geometric growth has at least two more future drivers: replacement body tissue, and totally immersive human sensory simulated fantasy worlds. Nothing currently obtainable on the market can be considered of the same class. I can imagine people selling homes and cars to purchase these type of things.

Leading to more fundamental criticism: one definition of good commercial design is that you add value to a product faster than you add cost. Using this definition, there is no *natural* limit on economic growth. I have the taste to surround myself with inexpensive products that have personal value far greater than their monetary cost to me (...and a few expensive products, likewise).

The argument can be made that the geometric _economic_ growth curve will continue as long as human populations don't crash, but it is not necessary that geometric consumption of *natural* resources will be required to support that economic growth.

[That is why the *economic* peak sweet crude oil curve is shifted to the right of the *natural resource* peak sweet crude oil curve, because we will get more economic value from the penultimate billion barrels than we did the first billion barrels. (I was careful to use the word "penultimate", because it is pointless to talk about the economic value of the very last representatives of a kind)]

Your argument still stands, because the "deep-rooted conceptual error" that you speak about compels the entire economies of nations to hold sacred historical unsustainable rates of consumption of natural resources even to the point of colossal valueless waste. And to ignore the question of how to provide value to thousands of future generations and limit ourselves to sustainable rates of consumption of natural resources.

[Consider Orwell's _Down and Out in Paris and London_ where rich London businessmen would pay high prices to eat meals at expensive London hotels - meals that were soiled by human filth and nutritionally empty and debilitating to the human constitution. It was a economic machine to *destroy* value and resources, at a high rate. Orwell's skill at reporting means that we can laugh at it now, but how many things of contemporary economic life will future generations laugh at as well.]

Michael Tobis said...

"it is not necessary that geometric consumption of *natural* resources will be required to support that economic growth"

Indeed, that is the hope that some like to hold out. Unfortunately, it implies that the growth rates we are used to have to be accompanied by inverse growth (retreat) rates of the same magnitude in impact per unit of wealth. This is not strictly speaking impossible but it is not something that will happen of its own accord on the required time scale.




here . said...


I don't think the U.S. economy has grown "twenty-fold" since the mid 1960s. Are you sure that's a log 10 scale?

Then again, it's not as if you are trying to be taken seriously as an economist. So little harm done. (And I do think you make some valid points).

Now if only economists would stop trying to do climate science.

Michael Tobis said...

I consider myself an economics auditor.

Michael Tobis said...

GDP (1965)
United States: $712,082,000,000.00

GDP (2006)
United States: $13,201,820,000,000.00

"Data are in current U.S. dollars."

The 2006 - 1965 ratio is 18. For 2006 vs 1960 it is 25.

Do you think economists have actually heard of natural logarithms? said...


The chart in your post shows real GDP (chained 2000 dollars), not nominal GDP. This is the more appropriate measure for long term growth.

Your latest figures appear to be unadjusted (nominal) GDP, in current (not constant) dollars, which is less meaningful in the long term, and not what your original graph shows in any case.

This graph shows real GDP from 1960 to 2008 (chained 2000 $, w/o log). It appears to go from about $3.7T in mid-60s to about $12T now. So a bit over three-fold.

Tony Lee said...

Sorry to butt in and hijack the thread, but here's something from Jonathan Chait at The New Republic, writing about how the reason conservatives often don't deal with policy in an reality focussed manner is that they're trapped inside a misinformation loop. He's talking about health care policy, but segues into climate change near the end:

"Real budget wonks who circulate among genuine experts often fail to understand the degree to which the public debate is driven by pure hacks. [...] Very few conservatives follow health care reform in any detail. They have a general hostility to government and proposals formulated by Democrats, and since they reject the overwhelming majority of actual health care experts on ideological grounds, they have relied on a tiny handful of self-styled conservative pseudo-wonks to fill in the details for them.

"[But such figures] are simply not up to the job. And once some factual misapprehension has made its way into the right-wing echo chamber, it's nearly impossible to dislodge. The same basic phenomenon can be seen is debates over climate change, supply-side economics, and other issues. You have a whole ideological movement that, to a substantial degree, relies upon the pseudo-expertise of cranks and hacks."

Read the whole thing here:

Tom said...

In 1965, the U.S. used 70 quads. In 1975, that had risen to 80. In 1985, it was 85 and in 1995, it had risen to 99. It is now 100 quads, 15 years later. Energy consumption peaked per person peaked in 1978, at 359 billion BTUs per person. It is now 327 billion BTUs per person.

Energy consmption per unit of GDP has fallen by over 50% since 1970.

manuelg said...

Michael Tobis, original post:

> "In short, what we need is security, comfort, purpose, and community, not "jobs". The substitute worked for historical reasons that are no longer valid. Consequently, we need to stop working for the substitute goal..."

Michael Tobis, comment:

> "Unfortunately, it implies that the growth rates we are used to have to be accompanied by inverse growth (retreat) rates of the same magnitude in impact per unit of wealth. This is not strictly speaking impossible but it is not something that will happen of its own accord on the required time scale."

I had not yet read "The Tautology and Its Weaknesses" and "The Cruel Hoax: Growth and Equity Cannot be Sustained". Thank you for the pointer.

Putting your two quotes together we get:

"Security, comfort, purpose, and community - using human ingenuity to gain these for all of humanity with a total impact on natural resources that is sustainable for thousands of generations. And frantic consumption and other economic intermediary fictions be damned!"

[I would, personally, wish for "purpose, fulfilment, community... and a _reasonable amount_ of security and comfort". Otherwise I have a vision of a bed-wetting Islamophobic Rudy Giuliani the Seventeenth eating buckets of fried chicken. Security, comfort, and soap are overrated.]

Michael Tobis, re-quoted for emphasis:

> "This is not strictly speaking impossible but it is not something that will happen of its own accord on the required time scale."

But, surely, if there was any constraint on the supply of human habitable planets, the price would go up as you went past "Peak Earths", so people would have an incentive to use Earths more efficiently. The free marketplace for Earths, supply versus demand, make environmental disaster impossible.

I bet it wouldn't take more than a few dozen Earths for the expected efficiencies to materialize, just as long nobody has the stupid idea to bog the whole process down with regulation and market interference. ;-)

All kidding aside, I think your idea of dispensing with the economic substitutions, and speaking directly of things of true human value, puts the task at hand into focus. If a group of people started talking about "Security, comfort, purpose, and community for all; supplied at a sustainable rate of use of natural resources", and refused to humor distracting chatter about historical economic intermediary concepts, real work could be accomplished.

Thank you for this whole series of posts.

Michael Tobis said...

DC, please explain the difference between nominal and real GDP in constant dollars, if you could find the time.

It is news to me.

The 20-fold amounts to an annual growth rate of a bit over 7%, which on reflection does seem too high.

Tom, reference, please? I am not under the impression that US carbon emissions have been near-constant for the past half century.

Michael Tobis said...

Hmm, yeah, it didn't seem implausible to me at first but it amounts to 7% annual growth rate, which sounds (I would guess) about double what it should be.

This looks relevant.

If we have roughly a fourfold increase in economic activity, a halving of carbon intensity, and a doubling of emissions, everything seems to balance.

So the twenty-fold looks wrong. Thanks for the corrections, DC and Tom.

I'd still like to know what I am actually looking at in the second graph. Can anyone help?

Michael Tobis said...

Manuel, thanks so much!

I blather on so much I sometimes forget to take note of my better moments. Since my readers are (like me) mostly somewhere on a line between scientists and sophists, they like to talk about my worst moments.

A kudos or two is much appreciated, and it is, after all, a very good line.

Michael Tobis said...

Manuel, on second thought, actually I am not sure whether you merely said what I have been saying more clearly than I ever have, or whether indeed you had the thought itself formulated more clearly than I ever did. In any case, well said to both of us!

Tom said...

Michael, they came from the DOE's Energy Information Agency here:

Tom said...

Er, um, Michael, there seems to be a post missing here. Would you care to explain?

Tim McDermott said...

According to the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the GDP was $832 billion (2005 dollars) in 1967 and $14.4 trillion in 2008.
So a factor of 17 or so. I have no idea what the y axis is. It certainly isn't a log10 scale.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, I am rethinking my position on the post in question. I did not take it down, though. Given the limitations of Blogger, I just backdated it to Jan 29 to take it off the front page.

The URL is unchanged:

Michael Tobis said...

Fuller answers this article here.

While he remains deeply wrong about CRU, I can hold out some hope he is right and I am wrong in the current matter. He acknowledges the trainwreck in question but puts it a century out, and suggests we continue not to worry about it for awhile.

Even if he is right we have an obligation to think about what a steady state economy would look like, even if we have the luxury of waiting for some time.

And that economy would necessarily have a zero discount rate, which it seems to me is pathological for the academic discipline of economics.

Tom said...

Thanks, Michael. And drat! I had my next article about your nefarious behaviour already half-written ;)

Steve Bloom said...

Given the history, I don't suppose we should have expected Fuller's parting "I'm done with you" to last long.

Tom said...

Actually, Michael, I don't really see it as an oncoming trainwreck. I honestly believe that innovation will continue to lower the carbon intensity of our economy, that we will (at the very worst) replace this generation of coal-fired plants with natural gas over the course of the next 30 years, that small scale improvements such as ground source heat pumps will be adopted by increasing numbers of people, that LEED and other building programs will make both commercial and residential structures more energy efficient, and that continued research will bring down the price of alternative energy generation sources, accelerating their use.

In other words, I think Barack Obama's plan is not only right, but that it will work.

I'm really an optimist about the future.

Sorry about my continued existence, Bloom. said...

Just to be clear, real GDP is inflation-adjusted. Nominal isn't, so it greatly exaggerates growth, since you are comparing say 1960s GDP in 1960s dollars to 2008 GDP in 2008 dollars.

As to the graph - it says it's log 2000 chained dollars. So definitely real GDP.

To figure out the logarithmic base, you'd take 2000 GDP and find the base that gives you the right number on that second chart. You also have to figure out if it's GDP in thousands or millions or whatever.

Sounds like too much trouble? It is.

Just use the chart I gave you. It's the same - real GDP in chained 2000 (constant) dollars, except it just shows the actual numbers in trillions.

As I mentioned, it gives a little more than three-fold increase since the mid-1960s. That's the important point.

David B. Benson said...

Here are the first differences in the natural logarithms of the decadal average CO2 atmospheric concentrations

1880s 0.014
1890s 0.007
1900s 0.009
1910s 0.013
1920s 0.012
1930s 0.014
1940s 0.004
1950s 0.009
1960s 0.022
1970s 0.033
1980s 0.043
1990s 0.042
2000s 0.050

The forcing from CO2 is proportional to these and not the (approximately) doubled forcing from 1960s on as opposed to the first 8 decades of measurements.

Tom said...

From my article of today: "It does seem like an appropriate time to put feelers out and see if there are any areas of common ground between camps. In a struggle like this, channels of communication are more, not less, important, especially when the eventual winner has yet to be determined.

I'm doing my part--gritting my teeth and trying to engage with Michael Tobis at his weblog. So far, he's been more gracious than I, although I think the home field advantage helps him. I'll try and do better."

So, sir, how can we usefully engage?

Tom said...

For example, a tidbit picked up in my research today: Michael Northrop of the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation says that the clean energy market is worth $500 billion worldwide today, and is expected to grow to $2 trillion by 2030.

Is this not a message that you would want put before people looking for opportunities? Perhaps I have had my blinders on, but I haven't seen those figures bruited about...

Michael Tobis said...


1) Not if the coal companies have anything to say about it, it won't.

2) You have been spending a lot fo time saying and doing exactly what the coal companies would want you to say, whether you are getting handsomely paid or not, so in effect, not if you have anything to say about it either.

3) $300 per capita... is that enough?

4) People will still make a profit and occasionally individual businesses, especially innovative ones, will still grow, even in the steady state economy. So your point seems pretty much off topic to me.

Tom said...

Michael, again you either do not read what I write or are using funny sunglasses. What on earth makes you think I have said anything in support of coal? I support poor people getting access to energy, sure. But if we could do it with natural gas, solar, wind or atomic I'd be just as happy.

And I don't for one moment think that coal has as much potential political power as other energy generating sources. What they have is a sunk investment that came with a certain amount of insurance. They are legacy operators, and they do have 50,000 plants worldwide.

Maybe if people started reading Julius Caesar instead of Hugo Chavez they would figure out that coal could be separated out from other developers instead of lumped in with them.

And per capita expenditure means nothing in a world with such a strange gini coefficient and purchasing power parity. We should be measuring by percentage of GDP, although a better GDP would please me as well.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, you wrote a book claiming that an important branch of climate science is fraudulent, and you post articles on sites like "Climate Change Fraud", and in the clear face of Climate Depot and such you claim "I don't believe ... a climate denial machine exists".

This is exactly what the coal companies want you to say. If on top of everything else you are or seem a sincere liberal, so much the better for them, and so much the worse for the market for clean energy.

I suspect you yourself mean well, but I think you are doing harm. I can't say I am impressed by the quality of your investigations.

Either you know what you are doing or you don't, but either way you are sadly wrong on substance.

Now there's not that much wrong with being wrong; I was wrong in this very article. (Science without error makes little progress.) But being stubbornly wrong is another matter.

You have made your mind up about things that matter very much to me in exactly the way that is most problematic to me; by giving weight to opinions that are mostly fabricated and by ignoring key evidence that is substantive. That is bad enough. Now you are seeking fame, and perhaps ultimately fortune, in propagating these mistakes, in the name of political moderation. But moderation based on error can have the same result as extremism.

The search for common ground with you is therefore problematic. Your previous effort at outreach was a survey of opinion that, if it was not intended as push polling, sure came out that way.

It's unfortunate because I think we are not in terrible disagreement on what a good outcome would look like.

And it's unfortunate in that I don't dislike you. But I cannot discuss matters with you about which you have been public and adamant without saying things about your abilities that you will not like. What's more, these will be things that will make it easy for you to cast me as closed-minded, arrogant, rude and tribal.

I wish I knew how to pursue common ground with you because (it seems to me) your heart is in the right place. But I think it's too late for me to be entirely civil. I believe that your friends and allies are doing far more damage than good.

I believe members of your group have worked yourselves into a world view that has little to do with what is actually good and what is actually bad about scientific practice.

What is worse, that results in a very skewed view about matters of consequence. In my view, this skew is obviously not coincidental, but is the result of an economic defense of fossil fuel interests, especially coal interests, that is very interested in actively distorting public opinion.

Given that I think you are a victim of clever but malicious propaganda as well as a perpetrator of it, however unwilling and well-intentioned, how do you propose we can find a middle ground?

You write clearly and succinctly, but it's clearly and succinctly wrong.

I don't want to be your arch-enemy, though I suppose you can force the issue. I don't even want you to feel bad about what you've already done. Since I think it's unlikely that you will see the light anytime soon, I mostly want you to find another beat, but I can't really see how to convince you to do that.

So my question is, what's in it for me to continue the dialog?

Michael Tobis said...

DC, in practice I would venture nobody outside a first year calculus class uses log bases other than e (mathematicians), 2 (computer scientists and information theorists) and 10 (everybody else). None of them account for the second graph, even though the source appears perfectly serious and unideological. I can't figure out what that means but it's definitely my mistake.

Tom said...

Well, Michael, I would think it of some value to you to be able to communicate with those who don't agree with you.

And I think that if this turns into a real struggle with real stakes (I think what's happened so far is a phony war conducted for the media and political parties) a channel of communication is often valuable.

Again you get some very basic things wrong about me. I got my 'opinions' not by listening to others but by reading science papers. Don't tell anyone I said so, but I spent my first 10 days on the job over at Real Climate, reading their basics. I've read a lot of scientific papers, Michael, and I've learned a lot. It doesn't make me a scientist, but if you think I've been influenced by malicious propaganda, it was in papers that I've read. I've read all of TAR and AR4, including the SPMs. Have you? I've read all of the Stern Report--have you?

And you continue with two very wrong characterizations. The poll you refer to as a 'push poll' was nothing of the sort. It was written in accordance with market research guidelines that I have followed for 15 years. It is because you don't understand market research fundamentals that you think of it this way. The survey was written knowing in advance that most of the respondents would come from the skeptic community. The purpose of the survey was to find out what green initiatives skeptics would support. I was up front about all of that before, during and after the survey was conducted. The fact that you even call it a poll is very revealing. It was not.

And again, as I remarked in the post that you have placed in purdah, you are incorrect about the book I wrote with Steven Mosher. Here's the money quote from page 2:

"We have taken sides in this analysis. Our critics will say that we took sides before we started, and although we are confident we have approached this objectively, there may be a little truth to that.
But—and it’s a big but—although we are harsh in our criticism of the actions of this group of climate scientists and paleoclimatologists known as The Team, readers need to understand two things:
1. Our criticism does not extend to criticism of the theory of global warming. Both your authors believe global warming exists, is a problem and needs to be addressed. We just don’t think it poses a catastrophic threat to civilization. We explain in detail below.
2. Our criticism should not be construed as criticism of the majority of scientists investigating our climate, its effects and possible changes to it in the future. We have communicated with a large number of climate scientists, and they are not at all like The Team in either attitude or behavior.

The fact of the matter is we disagree on a serious issue. But what is the nature of our disagreement? I doubt if we disagree very much on what the science has shown. You say you don't want to get into policy. You say you don't want to be a communicator. On what do you base your blanket condemnation of me?

That I use 'repatriate' as opposed to re-radiate for describing energy balance at the top of the atmosphere? (Remember you mentioned not cribbing in describing what I could discuss--it's hard to find synonyms in science...) Is it because Republicans are piling on to this issue?

Or perhaps is it because you stay away from the dirty dishes? Are you aware of the central issues involved in Climategate, and what has been shown to date? Are you aware of the core assumptions driving Nick Stern's report? Do you understand that there is a real difference between the Lukewarmer and the Skeptic positions--and does that have any relevance to you?

Up to you, Michael. I've said goodbye here so many times that I even begin to feel sympathy for poor Mr. Bloom. But there ain't much news happening these days, and it won't ever get easier to try and understand each other.

dhogaza said...

Watching Michael Tobis and Tom Fuller engage in discussion reminds me a *lot* of watching earnest scientists Allen McNeil engage Slimey Sal Cordova regarding evolutionary biology.

I'm sorry, Michael. Having read Tom Fuller's rantings over a period of months when he first began, my judgement is that he's inherently dishonest and, much like RPJr poses as an "honest broker" without any intention of being such.

And, Mr. Fuller, the book you wrote with Stephen "Piltdown Mann" Mosher puts you outside the pale of decent humanity.

Sorry. That's the way I see it.

Frank Bi said...


"I'm sorry, Michael. Having read Tom Fuller's rantings over a period of months when he first began, my judgement is that he's inherently dishonest"

Aye, here's the message I'm getting: that climate scientists and institutions are simply unwilling to defend themselves or their work to the fullest extent possible. They're -- in a way -- perfectly willing to let the inactivists mess trash the landscape while they keep whinging about how they're being treated.

How many cease-and-desist letters has UEA sent out to people hosting the SwiftHack material? How many police investigations have been started to look at the ripping of Makiko Sato's data from the NASA servers?


If climate scientists and climate institutions won't defend themselves, then why should the rest of us even bother?

I'm on the verge of giving up. Maybe I'll just vent about it in a blog post, cough blood, and then give up. Unless someone gives me a darn good reason not to.

-- bi

Tom said...

Frank Bi makes one valid point, although I hope he doesn't cough any blood. When I got the files (quite a bit ahead of the major media) I didn't publish any emails for (I think) 10 days. The reason was I wanted the intellectual property owners (more of the attached documents than the emails) to have a chance to reclaim their property.

Nobody asked for their return or destruction. Nobody asked for them to remain private.

After 10 days, when even Real Climate was publishing the contents, the Univerity had acknowledged that they were genuine and had not been altered, and everybody else was publishing it, I began to publish the contents of the emails as well. I still have not published the contents of any of the documents--while emails are presumed to be communications and government regulations regarding them allow for what we have seen come forth, the attached files seem to me to be work product and I think belong to the originators.

Nobody ever said 'Hey, that's mine--give it back.' It wouldn't have stopped the leak--but it would have established a legal claim to the property as non-public. I was surprised at the time. Now it just seems like everybody got blindsided and reacted too quickly.

Tom said...

dhogaza: Have you read the book?

Steve Bloom said...

Frank, I don't think it's unreasonable in principle for Michael to have wanted to put some effort into understanding and attempting to persuade Fuller. The thing is that the kind of thing that Fuller says he is isn't the kind of thing that he really is.

In the larger scheme of things, as a relatively long-time close observer (~10 years) of climate politics, I think the scientists are slowly getting their act together.

Paul said...

In the Fullerene thread that was, Fuller references McKitrick's latest whine and says in no uncertain terms that it supports everything Fuller thinks is wrong with climate scientists and their institutions.

He challenged mt and us camp followers to read the thing and tell him why he shouldn't feel the way he does. No one took him up on this in that thread.

Deep Climate has provided a pretty comprehensive analysis of McKitrick's latest and finds that there is no there there.

I think this is very germane to the current discussion. Fuller's whole point seems to be that the basic science is fine but no one should believe a 3 degree temperature sensitivity or that anything really bad has happened or will happen that could be laid at the feet of anthropogenic carbon. Scientists and their institutions who promote these ideas are politically motivated and are using tactics that justify his and Mosher's claims of fraud, deliberate obfuscation and gatekeeping.

So, Mr. Fuller, has Deep Climate given you any reason to question your apparently strong reliance on McKitrick as an impeccable source and impartial guide to the sociology of the climate science community?

Paul Middents

Tom said...

Sorry guys, I'm not interested in comment wars. Steve Bloom says I'm not what I say I am, dhogaza tells outright lies about me and Paul demands I comment on something Deep Climate wrote. Seen this too many times, not into it.

What I'm interested in discussing is overcoming the barrier that keeps you all saying that lukewarmers are 'delayers' at best and 'deniers' at worst.

People like our host just automatically assume that we don't understand the science (without reading what I have written) because we don't agree with them.

It's not the case, and you keep throwing people to the wolves in the sake of purity--e.g., Andrew Revkin who is now basically being treated like Viscount Monckton.

Message discipline is a useful tool but a terrible master--will any of you be able to learn it in time, or will you keep sitting around the campfire wailing about the terrible state of communicating about the science?

Rather than criticize our host, let's take Deltoid as an example. Every post--every one of them--on Lambert's front page right now is media criticism. Not one is about science. Look around--it's not that much different elsewhere.

Look at what you're doing to yourselves, letting dhogaza stamp out any vestige of communications with his attacks and untruths. Just go over to Real Climate and Bart Verheggen's site and see what he does--to the point where blog owners are finally telling him to shut the heck up.

We can defer the ultimate calculations of atmospheric sensitivity and still have constructive discussions about ice mass and extent. We can leave discussions about cloud cover aside for the moment and still push for REDD or good CAFE standards.

Michael Tobis said...

Actually this is becoming a very interesting conversation. I think this really gets down to the nub of the quandary.

I remain uncertain position on how to handle people like Fuller, not to mention more or less recognized academics like RP Jr or Lomborg, who are persistently wrong about some things, baffling on others, and interesting on others.

But I think I'm making progress on stating the problem.

I think and have thought that lumping them in with counterscience advocates like Singer and Monckton is not conceptually right. These are people who misconstrue the balance of evidence, and try to form reasonable conclusions from that point.

How to cope with the brand of skepticism at hand, which I will say is not especially interested in the underlying science, never mind adept at it, is interesting. I agree that there is a Dunning-Kruger thread running through this gang.

The problem is that they mean well, but have staked out a position on a weak foundation. And what they want is that we engage them on the matters that interest them, not on the prerequisistes.

None of them really wants to hear "look, you don't seem to understand". It's understandable that they misconstrue it. I don't really know how to go around it.

I am sure that telling them they are willfully dishonest won't work. I'm not sure anything will.

Michael Tobis said...

Frank, we don't have time to "defend" ourselves from others. We are too busy defending ourselves from people whose opinions we respect.

The ways in which science manages the tension between collaboration and cooperation are so different from the ways that the rest of the world does it that it's almost as if science were a whole separate culture.

And while science underestimates what it has to learn from the world outside the cloister, it does have a good idea how much it has to lose. You simply can't expect UEA to behave like a company or a private nonprofit or a political body. It doesn't defend itself for the same reason a tree doesn't counterattack when you chop it down. It's not designed for that purpose; it lacks the DNA to do it.

I don't know whether one should go on defending scientists' One should definitely not expect their institutions to do so. The main thing to expect is that the climate problem will not go away once you throw up your hands and give up on it.

dhogaza said...

"dhogaza: Have you read the book?"

No, Tom Fuller, I have not. However, I've read enough of you and Mosher online that I wouldn't trust you if you told me the time of day. I've read enough of what you two have written about the stolen e-mails around the net to know that you're not telling the truth.

"Steve Bloom says I'm not what I say I am"

He's right.

"dhogaza tells outright lies"

Hardly. Outside WUWT and CA and other similar venues populated by the rabid denialist crowd, you're unlikely to find anyone familiar with your writing who disagrees with either Bloom or I.

dhogaza said...

"People like our host just automatically assume that we don't understand the science (without reading what I have written) because we don't agree with them.

It's not the case"

And, Tom, I'm sorry, but your writings make it clear that either 1) you really don't understand the science (in which case your ignorance is unfortunate yet curable) or 2) you do and you simply don't tell the truth.

I'd put a week's wages on #2.

dhogaza said...

"The problem is that they mean well, but have staked out a position on a weak foundation.


I am sure that telling them they are willfully dishonest won't work. I'm not sure anything will."

Well, of course telling them that they're willfully dishonest won't work. If the general public realizes that they're being willfully dishonest, then their credibility will be lost except among the most desperate of those who will sacrifice truth and knowledge in the name of ideology. Obviously admitting to being willfully dishonest is the equivalent of cutting their own throat, in terms of winning the ideological battle they're committed to.

Having said this, what is your basis for stating that "they mean well"? Is this some sort of moral relativism applied to individual belief systems? Southerners "meant well", or claimed to, when they argued that the bible supported slavery and that slavery was the natural state of the black race, and that Africans - much more than their poor owners burdened with the costs of their care and feeding -benefited from the institution. We reject the notion that they "meant well". I reject the notion that people like Lomberg and Fuller "mean well".

dhogaza said...

"Rather than criticize our host, let's take Deltoid as an example. Every post--every one of them--on Lambert's front page right now is media criticism. Not one is about science. Look around--it's not that much different elsewhere."

Tom Fuller *could* learn from this observation, i.e. that the so-called "debate" isn't about science, but about politics. The media has no prominence within the world of science per se, but does, of course, have a tremendous impact on politics.

A media battle is all that denialists like Tom Fuller have to offer, and lo and behold, Tom Fuller criticizes bloggers like Lambert over at Deltoid for entering the fight head-on.

This whining about "no science, just talk about the media!" from someone whose written a book misrepresenting the meaning and significance of stolen e-mails. Talk about the ultimate non-scientific argument. Writing about stolen e-mail and then criticizing others for engaging such calumny head-on. Oh my, the hypocrisy makes my head hurt.

"Look at what you're doing to yourselves, letting dhogaza stamp out any vestige of communications with his attacks and untruths."

Again, the hypocrisy from one whose book helps feed the frenzy that has led to death threats against Jones and other climate scientists. That have led to the temporary stepping down of Phil Jones as head of CRU. Have led to calls for the *execution* of climate scientists.

And those poor denialists calling for heads to roll ... being surpressed and not allowed to communicate by little 'ole me.

Such unknown power I wield ...

" Just go over to Real Climate and Bart Verheggen's site and see what he does--to the point where blog owners are finally telling him to shut the heck up."

Yes, it turns out that one denialist by the name of Jim Steele is a personal friend of the latest moderator to be added to the roll at RC, and this one moderator won't tolerate Jim Steele's being called on out due to their friendship.

So it goes. Bart and I get along fine, and no other moderator at RC has ever told me "to shut the heck up".

Not that I care. My shutting up or not has nothing to do with the science, and your whining about me while you continue to blog about scientists being guilty of professional misconduct, fraud, and dishonesty is the height of hypocrisy.

Michael Tobis said...

dhogaza, on the principle of being harder on my friends than on my enemies, a couple of your postings are in the queue as I ponder whether they are actually constructive. You have already made it quite clear that you do not trust Fuller's motivations. You needn't go on about it.

Essentially I agree more than I disagree; my position is more sorrow than anger, though.

Your analogy to slaveholders who had deluded themselves into believing that there was an ethical basis to their acts is good. At the risk of Godwining the conversation beyond repair, I suppose even the guys who gassed my grandfather for his Jew blood had some crazy way of thinking it was a good idea.

The fact nevertheless remains that pure sociopaths, people who will simply lie without convincing themselves there is a higher cause, are rare.

I am reasonably convinced Lomborg thinks he's doing the right thing, and simply has trouble weighing inconvenient evidence. I'm nearly as confident in Fuller's case. There is nothing especially unusual
in that; climate scientists are not immune to bias either.

It's simply the case that when a person, A, is an expert about X, and someone else, B, who is interested in related topic Y is openly and volubly biased and confused about X, it is very easy for A to get very angry at B for being irresponsible about X. B is likely to get quite defensive about it, and make counter-accusations in the direction of A, generally about "closed-mindedness" and "arrogance" and "gate-keeping" and the like. So here we are.


Michael Tobis said...


Somehow in the inoffensive and frankly relatively inconsequential backwaters of the CRU people see a massive worldwide socialist windmill conspiracy, worthy of writing nasty books about.

They are not lying; they are not, that is, aware of the falseness of their position. It is a matter of real interest how they manage to work themselves into such a frenzy about absolutely nothing, a frenzy which is incidentally so immensely convenient to the coal interests.

And while I appreciate the investigative work that some people have been doing into the origins of the Heartland Institute and its involvement in this issue, I think it's of secondary interest. To me, the most interesting aspect of all this is how and why these errors become so attractive; how and why the alternative ideological histories come into existence.

One sees similar things in cases where two nations are at war. Each has a very selective history of events. Sometimes there is a clear aggressor, but its members will be working from a tortured and bizarre version of history.

I really cannot imagine the picture of Phil Jones that these guys believe in. I'm pretty sure they're the ones who have it wrong, since, though I don't know Prof. Jones, I know people who know him, and I know lots of people like him, by which I mean, the version of him that I find believable.

I don't know how to explain that to Fuller's readers. It seems that it is too late to explain it to Fuller.

Fuller says he wants to engage, and I believe him. He fails to see how he has participated in exacerbating the problem so deeply that it's impossible, hopelessly unworkable.

Until the facts are sufficiently well-understood it makes little sense to argue strategies or principles. So it seems fruitless to engage with someone who is committed to important non-facts.

Which leaves the question - is CRU important? Frankly, I think not, and so I could proceed to discuss matters with someone who got the purloined email story terribly wrong, enough to read a book and find it agreeable. But of someone who wrote such a book, one has to say it is another matter.

Someone who wrote such a book, who contributes to a site called "climate fraud", who actively contributes to the unjustified and vicious attacks on Dr. Jones, has pretty much staked out territory far beyond the pale. Unless he renounces that territory he is not someone we should or even can deal with.

This is unfortunate, I suppose, for Fuller, who likes to think himself a moderate, but it's not as unfortunate as it is for Jones, who is a victim of a vicious and random attack.

Tom said...

Michael, I am glad to see you've grasped the extremely obvious, that there is a difference between Pielke and Monckton. Segmentation is not just a market research term--read your Julius Caesar.

Ignoring your ignorance about 'our' ignorance and your repetition of DK nonsense, we can get to the point--you don't have to 'handle us.' We are a part of the landscape of the debate. There are areas where we can make common cause. There are probably areas where we cannot. I believe the technical term for this is 'adulthood.'

I will tell you this in all honesty--you have very cordial relations with Lucia Liljegren (who could not?). You could do the same with people you now consider arch enemies of yours. You really could. You haven't poisoned the well the way some of your fellow bloggers have, and you make sense (except when you write about yours truly). You actually are respected by those you consider your enemies. There are worse places to start from.

You could be a bridge, instead of the grumpy curmudgeon sitting under it.

Tom said...

Well, once again, Michael, you obviously haven't read the book you are using to compare me to Nazi guards gassing Jews. That's better even than dhogaza did. It's actually a first--and a last.

Maybe you wouldn't make such a good bridge.

Paul said...

Mr. Fuller,

It's not "message discipline" that motivates our resistance to your lukewarmer position, it is a reading of the peer reviewed scientific evidence that is at variance with your understanding.

You won't engage Deep Climate, a highly knowledgeable and civil student of the the climate wars. He takes on one of your primary sources of understanding, MdKitrick. You said McKitrick provides everything anyone needs to know about what is wrong with climate scientists and their institutions. I read McKitrick and I read DC and I have studied the IPCC reports and lots of the peer reviewed literature. DC makes a good case that your main man is a pretty empty vessel.

I think that it would be worth your while to engage DC. You might even demonstrate some of that knowledge of the science you keep claiming.

Paul Middents

Tim Lambert said...

Fuller is not being truthful about what is on my blog. He falsely claims that all the posts on the front page are media criticism. There are a couple of those but most are not. In fact the third post is about Ross McKitrick's latest paper which Fuller touted as proof that there is some sort of climate science cabal. Notice how uninterested Fuller is in discussing the real reason why McKitrick's paper was rejected by so many journals.

Fuller is like Monckton on the science -- neither understand it but are convinced that they know it better than the experts and it is impossible to persuade them on their errors. Look at how Fuller is still going on about Stern despite it being shown that Fuller cherry picked from the UN population report.

Neven said...

On topic: Michael Tobis, you are one of the few climate bloggers who grasp the cocktail-nature of the global crisis emanating from the dominant economic neoclassical concept of infinite growth that has completely brainwashed culture and society. All of these problems (the peaking of resources, top soil loss, overfishing, financial bubbles, declining health, ocean acidification, global warming) are all more or less interrelated, not distinct problems that all need a solution of their own. None of these problems will be solved as long as the neoclassical paradigm of infinite economic growth remains beyond dispute.

Off topic: Mr Fuller, would you mind sharing your thoughts on this quote by mt:

"Someone who wrote such a book, who contributes to a site called "climate fraud", who actively contributes to the unjustified and vicious attacks on Dr. Jones, has pretty much staked out territory far beyond the pale. Unless he renounces that territory he is not someone we should or even can deal with."