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Who knows climate science? The Mises Blog!

[Snark alert; See update at bottom]

The Mises “Daily Article” for December 11 presents “Are Carbon Emissions the Cause of Global Warming?” a brief, unfootnoted post by David Evans, a self-acknowledged non-expert (who has once previously graced the LvMI blog) offering a “very much needed” “correction” to the popular understanding of “whether global warming is actually occurring, and, if so, what its cause is”. 

Given the popular reception on the blog, one wonders if the LvMI has not found a productive niche in providing a soap box, not for economists or libertarians to analyze policy (or to discuss what von Mises intended when he discussed external effects), but for updates on climate science.  On the comment thread for this post, I posted the following (tongue firmly in cheek) comment to Jeffrey Tucker, blog administrator: http://blog.mises.org/archives/007529.asp

Jeff, allow me to commend you and LvMI, a bastion of rational economic thinking, liberty and human welfare, on its decision to expand its influence on (and help its supporters to gird their loins for) the important and complex battle over domestic and international climate change-related policy by turning away from its strengths -economic analysis – in favor of providing a soap box for short and simple “exposes” on climate science by self-made and self-confident experts.

This is clearly just what the doctor ordered, given the warm reception and acclaim – as well as piercing and cogent questions and observations – that David Evans has earned here. As this post propagates through the intertubes, I can positvely FEEL the serious policy world turning toward LvMI and sensing that an important voice of reason, judgment, gravitas and, above all, clear scientific thinking, has just arrived on the scene.

By all means, keep these “scientific” posts coming!



PS: I am not troubled in the least that:

– David Evans has himself previously said that “my only relevant qualification in this debate is that I saw the interaction of science and politics first hand, and that I was on the global warming gravy train” and, when pointed out that Sen. Inhofe staffer Marc Morano had referred to Evans as “a prominent scientist,” forthrightly said “It never occurred to me that he could be referring to me!” and “Morano is exaggerating both my prominence and agenda, and assuming my motivations for his own ends. A typical political approach, if I might point out.” http://blog.mises.org/archives/006581.asp This forthrightness, even though in little evidence on Evan`s current post, is admirable and certainly doesn`t disqualify him from trying explain his understanding of the science. In fact, it increases his credibility vis-a-vis all of those scientists who publish their work in “scientific journals” or hide behind thousands of pages of publicly-available reports and summaries, or brazenly trumpet their ideology on accessible blogs, and all of their deluded, misanthropic, self-seeking and/or struthious KoolAid swallowers throughout wide swathes of the business world and the rest of the “establishment”.

– Or that Evans, while observing that atmospheric CO2 trails rising temperatures in the paleo record, fails to note that the rising CO2 levels today are due to man, what the link between warming oceans and further releases of oceanic CO2 may imply for future warming, or to note obvious ongoing warming or to suggest alternate mechanisms.

– Or the neat way in which he tries to discredit imperfect climate models by assuming the reliability of their results, without referring to the papers he is relying on (by authors previously criticized and subsequently addressed by notorious AGW warmers here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/#more-509 ).

– Or that, while focussing on possible flaws in climate models, ignores the actual abundant and startling evidence for ongoing climate change.

Heaven forbid that the Mises blog pollute readers’ minds on this or other scientific views by sending them off to read the IPCC reports, scientific reports by various national academies of science, other blogs by climate scientists and analysts (on various sides) or the like.  It’s clearly better to directly bring in “informed” views of people like David Evans, who haven’t prostituted themselves by actually conducting or publishing climate science, but still manage to keep their finger on the pulse of the scientific developments.


Somewhat disappointingly, there actually IS a good discussion of issues raised by the David Evans piece (and the Mises’ blog posting of it), but over at Arnold Kling’s and Byan Caplan’s EconLog: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2007/12/global_warming_10.html#comments.

Those who are interested in links for where the scientific issues are discussed should look there (adults only; I also do not want to contribute to the delinquency of innocents and innocent wannabes!).

  1. TokyoTom
    December 15th, 2007 at 06:56 | #1

    Many thanks, Jeff. I have responded to you directly by email.

  2. jtucker
    December 14th, 2007 at 18:53 | #2

    Tom, the first time I read this post, I had a hard time seeing your point through the heavy fog of sarcasm. Writers of think that sarcasm makes their writing more biting in some way, but it really doesn’t work. I don’t know if it is the venue of the web or if it is a general principle. In case case, it is bad form if your goal is to be understood.

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