Archive for the ‘IPCC’ Category

"Heroic" contrarians, proven wrong on AGW, make another slick cry for relevance at Bali

December 14th, 2007 No comments

On the main blog, Sean Corrigan posts the latest missive of what he considers the brave dissenting voices on climate science.

The letter nods briefly at the concerns summarized by the IPCC reports about warming and the role of human economic activity, and raises good issues about how global society should react, including the respective merits of public policy and private measures directed towards mitigation and adaptation.

But Sean does not examine any of these issues, but simply (i) touts the supposed “heroism” of the dissenters, (ii) complains about the supposed unfairness of the Bali conference sponsors (the 180+ states that are party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) for not providing them a soapbox, (iii) cries about the supposed hysteria of the UN Secretary General (Mr. “Barking-at-the” Moon”!) [okay, points for being clever, anyway] and (iv) finally, for good measure, tries to sweep away the undeniable and rapid climate change in the Arctic with a link that tells us about a possible localized factor but nothing about the wider scale changes, which just MIGHT be due to the fact that air temperatures over the Greenland ice sheet have increased by about seven degrees Fahrenheit since 1991

Interestingly, while Corrigan seems to think his ongoing rants on “carbolic socialism” helps to clarify the issues and the interests of all parties, he constantly fails to note how a large and powerful group of rent-seekers packages the items that he swallows whole. In this case, only a modicum of research shows that these brave dissenters have been smoothly packaged by yet another new “grassroots” organization established to influence policy for the benefit of energy interests.

The whole issue deserves much better discussion, but it seems that many Miseseans are fundamentally not interested, either in conducting a serious analysis or even in being taken seriously.  Instead, they would rather be taken in, either by one group of rent-seekers or by themselves, by swallowing all manner of uninformed science (see my preceding post;  This kind of cantankerous self-delusion and naivete is hardly the best way to show the strengths of Austrian analysis to the world.

I`m getting tired of what I see as the Mises blog fundamentally counterproductive approach to this and related problems – which surely will NOT go away until some sort of management regimes are extended to important global and regional open-access “commons”.

Below is a copy of my initial response on Wrong-Way Corrigan`s thread: [snark on]

Heroes, Sean? Really?

This is an eclectic group (weighted towards social sciences and others outside of climate science) but still more like a bunch of grumpy emerituses who have been wrong time and again over the past thirty years (and don`t even agree with each other) but now wish to assert relevance by reluctantly conceding that change is in the cards and arguing that, given our long delay, sunk costs in current infrastructure and long lead times to change changes, our best course is to simply start getting ready for the ride.

Well, if even these folks think we need to start getting ready, then perhaps even the most skeptical should admit some slight concern. (I note that climate science “skeptics” John Christy and Pat Michaels didn`t sign on; can you guess why?)

 – Our most respected scientific bodies have been stating unequivocally that global warming is occurring, and that human economic activity is a significant factor. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which in 2005 the White House called “the gold standard of objective scientific assessment,” issued a joint statement with 10 other National Academies of Science saying “the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.” (Joint Statement of Science Academies: Global Response to Climate Change [PDF], 2005);

I know; they and all of the other scientists who participated in the IPCC process are all hysterical misanthropes, whom freedom-loving rationalists can sweep away, in favor of this hero`s lot, who are now clearly changing tactics to argue adaptation instead of mitigation. (The lack of stomach in this second group is enough to make one wonder whether we might be better off without ALL scientists, isn`t it?)

– You and others are good at pointing out evil and rent-seeking motives on the part of everyone you disagree with – practically everyone now, it seems – but do you ever to trouble to notice how you`re being played by this letter? Like a string of others (this is the fourth in the past five years), it was started in Canada, organized and pushed by smooth PR professionals via a sophisticated vehicle (that are designed to provide “balance” while conducting “grassroots” campaigns) that clearly has significant backing from energy interests; this campaign differs in that it was perhaps more polished – for example, though the core signers remain the same over all four letters, this one was “by invitation only”:;;;

While energy firms have entirely legitimate interests, they too are rent-seekers and it behooves one to note that when they speak they certainly have their own interests in mind. Even more so when they try to hide who they are and pretend to be impartial, grassroots groups concerned only about the pubic interest.

– The letter itself argues that we’d be better off adapting to/managing the effects of climate change rather than trying to prevent it. This is no slam dunk, but clearly there are more iummediate returns from investments in adaptation than in trying to mitigate future climate change. But serious standard cost-benefit analysis has clearly shifted in the past two years to the conclusion that investments in mitigation also make sense:


Marty Weitzman/Harvard: “On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change”, December 5, 2007;

Richard Tol: “THE SOCIAL COST OF CARBON: TRENDS, OUTLIERS AND CATASTROPHES”, August 9, 2007;; Yohe, G.W. and R.S.J. Tol (2007), Precaution and a Dismal Theorem: Implications for Climate Policy and Climate Research,

These are the papers that the policy crowd is reading.

Who knows climate science? The Mises Blog!

December 13th, 2007 2 comments

[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:

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.” 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: ).

– 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:

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!).

Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize speech quotes Churchill in slamming those “decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”

December 12th, 2007 No comments

[Update below – Roy Spencer’s band plays “Earth Has a Fever”!]

The speech is worth listening to, especially by those who are inclined to reject Gore’s views on our changing climate, the challenges posed by human activities that affect the climate and his suggestions for political, social and private action, both to mitigate effects and to adapt to them.

CNN video of the speech is here: (Gore’s website), and the released text is here:

The policy core of Gore’s speech was the following:

This week, I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty that establishes a universal global cap on emissions and uses the market in emissions trading to efficiently allocate resources to the most effective opportunities for speedy reductions. This treaty should be ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world by the beginning of 2010 – two years sooner than presently contemplated. The pace of our response must be accelerated to match the accelerating pace of the crisis itself.

Heads of state should meet early next year to review what was accomplished in Bali and take personal responsibility for addressing this crisis. It is not unreasonable to ask, given the gravity of our circumstances, that these heads of state meet every three months until the treaty is completed.

We also need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide.

And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon — with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of each nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate solutions to this crisis.

The world needs an alliance – especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where earth is in the balance. I salute Europe and Japan for the steps they’ve taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new government in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first priority.

But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters – most of all, my own country – that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.

Both countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.

– Al Gore December 10, 2007 

[Anyone familiar with this issue may note Gore DID argue that, as a result of human actions, “the earth has a fever”.  (He went on to say “And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.”)  SOMEWHERE I ran across a great spoof of that by Roy Spencer’s band.  I’ll post it once I dig it up.]

Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); the speech by R. K. Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC,  Oslo, 10 December 2007.  Pachauri’s speech is here:


Flash Update!

Roy Spencer, a prominent climate scientist/skeptic and lead guitarist in a contemporary Christian rock band at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Huntsville, Alabama, has kindly emailed me the link to two songs that his band done, mocking Al Gore and climate change.  And so, without further ado – since I don’t mind a little mockin’, here’s Roy and the rockin’ EcoFreako Commune with:

“Earth Has A Fever”; and

“I Want To Mock Al Gore All Night”

More on Roy here:

And since one good turn deserves another, I’m sure the good doctor will not object to a little ribbing as well.  His conservative views reflect his upbringing and religious faith, which are evident in his praise for “Intelligent Design”

But that doesn’t mean that there is any reason to suspect that the same religious faith and conservative views might leak into his climate science — which has proven sufficiently wrong to drive libertarian Ron Bailey at Reason Magazine (editor of “Global Warming and Other Eco Myths How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death”) and others (such as libertarian law prof Jon Adler; Skeptic Mag’s Mchael Schermer and Gregg Easterbrook) into announcing over two years ago that “We’re All Global Warmers Now; Reconciling temperature trends that are all over the place“,, “Betting on Climate Change It’s time to put up or shut up“,, “Global Warming Data Sets Reconciled“,, and “Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore; Actually no one paid me to be wrong about global warming“,


Categories: AGW, climate, gore, IPCC, Nobel, Ron Bailey, roy spencer Tags: