"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Monday, August 20, 2007

How Do They Sleep?

I mean seriously. How the hell do these people manage to sleep at night? It's hard to imagine they don't know what they're doing.

What good is money in the diminished world they are creating anyway?

I can't fathom it sometimes. My best theory is that they watched superhero cartoons as children and decided to be the bad guy.

Update: Bloggers need to quote directly. The link is still live but the article is vastly less egregious than it was. Interesting.


mz said...

I guess they just make money by telling lies.
There are numerous outright false claims there.

It'd be nice to see a graph on which medias use that "organization" as a source.

David Duff said...

More bad news, I'm afraid, Michael. The layman's version is here:

The mathematics are here:

The report by Belgium's Royal Meteorological Society in which they conclude that the effects of CO2 are grossly exaggerated is here, but it's in Flemish so it's all Dutch to me:

I expect 'MZ' above will tell us it's all lies.

Michael Tobis said...

"Niet CO2 maar waterdamp is het belangrijkste broeikasgas. Dat is verantwoordelijk voor ruim 75 procent van het broeikaseffect. Dat zijn louter wetenschappelijke feiten, maar door de film van Al Gore is de invloed van CO2 zo gehypet dat niemand die feiten nog in rekening neemt", aldus Debontridder.

Gehypet indeed.

It's Dutch to me too, but since it mentions Al Gore, it's explicitly not science.

As for the article that started this thread, it mentions an actual scientist, Jim Hansen, but not in a civilized or fair way. It is also beyond the pale, but admittedly someone who doesn't speak English might not be able to tell.

As for Tsonis' work, I've been unable to get the paper downloaded so I don't know for sure. I suspect that it is purely statistical and so, like any purely statistical (non-physical) model, doesn't actually have a greenhouse effect in it and so will fail to predict the 21st century trends.

Heiko said...


He says he's been misquoted.

Ondertussen heeft klimatoloog Luc Debontridder van het KMI expliciet gesteld dat het hier om een ongelukkig misverstand gaat. Het KMI-rapport dat eind deze maand gepubliceerd wordt zal een overzicht bevatten van de evolutie van zonneschijn, temperatuur en neerslag in Belgiƫ waaruit zal blijken dat ook in Belgiƫ het klimaat verandert. Voor het overige sluit het KMI zich aan bij de conclusies van het IPCC.

I speak Dutch, so here my translation of what Michael Tobis quoted:

Not CO2, but water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas. It is responsible for around 75 percent of the greenhouse effect, but the influence of CO2 has been hyped so much through Al Gore's movie that nobody still properly considers the facts.

And now for the correction:

In the mean time climatologist Luc Debontridder has clarified that there must have been an unfortunate misunderstanding. The KMI report that's due to be published at the end of this month will contain an overview of the evolution of sunshine, temperature and precipitation in Belgium, which will indicate that the climate is also changing in Belgium. Moreover, KMI is in agreement with the conclusions reached by the IPCC.

There's also this sentence though

"Het kan niet verder zoals het nu bezig is, maar we moeten de mensen ook niet de daver op het lijf jagen. Het is niet zo dat Brugge binnen vijftig jaar aan het strand ligt."

We can't continue with business as usual, but it's also no good to needlessly frighten people. It's not the case that Brugge (Bruges) will be on our coast in fifty years.

Heiko said...

Incidentally, what's your opinion on the scientific importance of NASA's error?

I don't think it's directly policy relevant, but it does raise questions about how good our surface temperature records are. Considering that the US is not occupied or in civil war, have a huge number of stations, and there's great interest in measuring climate trends now,

I find a 0.15 C average error between 2000 and 2006 pretty shocking. Yes, it's only 2% of the world's surface and it's only 6 years and so only directly affects the world trend by 0.001C and is inconsequential in that respect.

But if such an error can occur in the US between 2000 and 2006, my suspicion that huge errors for the rest of the world before 1940 are a rather distinct possibility is rather strengthened.

I sort of brushed the topic over on global change, but my opinion is now that +/-0.2 C may not be wide enough an error range (presumably it's an expert judgment with a roughly 95% likelihood). I've been spending some time now trying to get information on sea ice (before 1950) and bore holes and I think they are actually quite poor in narrowing down the range.

David Duff said...

Thanks, 'Heiko', for the translations and I think this sentence is close to my tentative conclusion on the whole subject of global warming: "We can't continue with business as usual, but it's also no good to needlessly frighten people."

Of course, it begs the question of exactly which business must we change or give up. I do not expect the human race to be wiped out in some cataclysm, but from time to time the equivalent of this year's shocking floods in the south of England will cause us in the UK to change building preactices and improve flood defences. In other words, on a localised basis, we will re-act to events, which is much to be preferred to taking the diktats of the Al Gores of this world.

Steve Bloom said...

Re the Tsonis paper, it's an attack on AGW theory only in Lubos' demented mind. Basically what Tsonis tries to do is model the interaction between the large-scale regional climate cycles like the PDO and ENSO so as to predict their future course. He explicitly points out that these cycles are overlaid on AGW, which in terms of global temperatures means that the climate cycles will either add to or subtract from the anthropogenic signal. The magnitudes he proposes for the natural cycles are on the order of .2C, so even now they're smaller than anthro.

But anyway, if he's correct then it sounds like the real importance of the paper will be to allow the prediction of ENSO etc.

Michael, by now the modeling community must have opinions about this, and if you hear anything I'd be really curious to know what they are.

It's amusing but sad that people like David Duff are only interested in passing along whatever scientific distortions that bolster their preconceived views rather than trying to learn something about climate by reading the papers for themselves.

Michael Tobis said...

Aha, Lubos was serving up copies of the paper since he thinks it says something it doesn't. That explains the .cz and its nonresponsiveness.

I'll have a look sometime. I'm unexpectedly in proposal hell all of a sudden and may be scarce the rest of this week.

David Duff said...

Steve, I couldn't read either paper because I don't speak the languages which in one case was Flemish and in the other, mathematics! You, on the other hand, appear to have difficulty with English, as in: "my tentative conclusion on the whole subject of global warming: "We can't continue with business as usual, but it's also no good to needlessly frighten people."" If you have an argument with that, by all means let me hear it.

I should add what I have never attempted to hide, that I am a non-scientific layman who has only recently become interested in this climate change. As a 'civilian' I freely admit to a 'gut feeling' of suspicion against *anyone* who seeks to raise my taxes, but on the other hand, I want my family to enjoy as tranquil a life as is possible in an ever troubled world. Over the last 18 months I have read and tried to understand the technicals of this complex subject. As a mature (oh alright then, old) observer of human nature I have noted the human responses of each side to the attacks of the other side, and I have tried to assess the merits or otherwise of the sort of non-scientific people who are supporting each side.

I have to say that more and more I have come to doubt the AGW case, and not the least of the causes of my reluctance to accept the proposition is the behaviour of the AGW supporters themselves. I have no wish to insult you, or our host, when I say that *in general* there is a streak of fanaticism that runs through the AGW movement, such that, their supporters give an appearance of eye-ball swivelling Jehovah's Witnesses which is severely off-putting. Put simply, many AGW supporters will simply brook no argument, not even a hint of criticism. It leads them into bad manners, bad practices and bad science.

Michael Tobis said...

My long answer to David's misguided but probably honest assessment is this entire blog. My short answer is Galileo's:

E pur si muove.

mz said...

David says:
" they conclude that the effects of CO2 are grossly exaggerated"

The report says:
"my tentative conclusion on the whole subject of global warming: "We can't continue with business as usual, but it's also no good to needlessly frighten people.""

It's not the same thing.

Do you also really think the link in Michael's blog post was entirely truthful?
I quote again,

"NASA's ground based temperature records for the past 120 years, which have been the basis for most of the claims that global warming is happening at an unprecedented rate, almost entirely due to human actions, have now been corrected to show that much of the warming occurred before CO2 emissions and concentrations began to rise significantly."

Do you think that is true?

David Duff said...

Hardly a very convincing disguise, Michael, not least because Galileo at the time was in a tiny minority, where-as AGW exponents are far and away in the ascendency today. You are, so to speak, the Curia 'de nos jours' (as we seem to be slipping into foreign lingos!)

'MZ', I am happy to take 'Heiko's' translation ("We can't continue with business as usual, but it's also no good to needlessly frighten people") in the spirit in which it is offered, as I already indicated above. However, the 'Daily Tech' (who they?)summarises it as follows: "A new study by Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute seems to think so. Its conclusion is that, while CO2 does have some effect, that "it can never play the decisive role attributed to it" in global warming, and that its effects have been grossly overstated."

Let that simple and not particularly important item stand as an example of the war between each side and remind us of what is usually reckoned to be the first casualty in any war!

As to NASA's ground station statistics, I'm afraid that so long as Anthony Watts continues to publish photos of the actual sites, and Dr. Hansen refuses to disclose the codes he employs to adjust those weather station reports, then I, personally, would not bet the deeds of my house on their accuracy - would you?

Michael Tobis said...

It's not a social analogy, it's an intellectual one.

Sound science produces substantive answers. The substantive answers are true whether or not you choose to believe them.

It is not arrogance to insist that what is known to be true is true. That may be perceived as a "streak of fanaticism".

There is no doubt that there are some fanatics who tend to believe us based on as little understanding as some other fanatics who disbelieve us. Which group opf fanatics is closer to the truth is a matter of coincidence.

The question of how the general public, which cannot actually look through Galileo's telescope, is to decide whom to believe is the crux of the issue.

Nevertheless, the IPCC position is substantially correct. This is not a matter of faith, but of evidence.

James Annan said...

I briefly mentioned the Tsonis work here. To be fair to Lubos for once, the author has been pushing a slightly sceptical stance on the back of his results - more than I thought justified. But I did find his work interesting in terms of plausibly characterising the (relatively small) natural variability component of global temp change.

EliRabett said...

To get back on topic, in the words of Louis XIV, after me the deluge and why should I care?