John Stossel is his usual misleading self with a piece denying anthropogenic warming. Video here and summarized here. Tamino details the way Stossel deceives his viewers:

Probably the most irritating aspect of Stossel’s “report” is a brief clip from An Inconvenient Truth of Al Gore saying, “… sea levels will rise 20 feet.” What’s irritating is that I’ve seen AIT often enough to know that this quote is taken out of context — so much so that Stossel doesn’t even have the honesty to play Al Gore’s entire sentence. What Gore says is that IF the Greenland ice sheet, or the West Antarctic ice sheet, disintegrates, THEN we’ll have 20 feet of sea level rise.

There are a couple more things wrong with Stossel’s report. Stossel:

The media also treat the IPCC as impartial scientists, but Reiter and Christy, who were members of the IPCC, say it is not what the public thinks it is. Many of the people involved in writing its report “are not scientists at all,” Reiter says. “They were essentially activists.” Members of groups like Greenpeace were involved.

I tried to find where Reiter substantiates this, and the best I could come up with was this memorandum where he claims:

It will be interesting to see how the health chapter of the fourth report is written. Only one of the lead authors has ever been a lead author, and neither has ever published on mosquito-borne disease.

It is often stated that the IPCC represents the worlds top scientists. I copy to you the bibliographies of (the two lead authors), as downloaded from MEDLINE. You will observe that (the first) has never written a single article, and (the second) has only authored five articles

I also pointed out that one Lead Author is a “hygienist”, the other is a specialist in fossil faeces, and both have been co-authors on publications by environmental activists.

OK, if we look at the health chapter of AR4 we find that the coordinating lead authors are Ulisses Confalonieri and Bettina Menne. Google Scholar lists 113 articles for Confalonieri. This is more than the zero that Reiter claims. The very first article listed by Google Scholar (with 81 citations) is about mosquito-borne disease, and while Confalonieri has many articles on parasites in coprolites, he also has plenty on tropical diseases.

As for Bettina Menne, Google Scholar lists 105 articles, mainly on the health impacts of climate change. This is more than the five Reiter claims. Menne also has an article on mosquito-borne disease.

I don’t think that Reiter’s claim that the IPCC reports are not written by scientists is credible.

Stossel also writes:

Skeptics like Reiter, Christy, Spencer and Tim Ball, who studies the history of climate change and heads the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, are often smeared as “deniers,” lumped in with Holocaust deniers and accused of being “on the take” from energy businesses.” Gore impugns skeptical scientists by saying “the illusion of a debate has been purchased.”

But the scientists I interviewed don’t get money from business.

But that’s not true. Tim Ball was funded by oil company money that was laundered by U Calgary.

Comments

  1. #1 ben
    October 24, 2007

    Well, at least Stossel’s stuff on guns was good.

    “What Gore says is that IF the Greenland ice sheet, or the West Antarctic ice sheet, disintegrates, THEN we’ll have 20 feet of sea level rise.”

    And…. what? Gore doesn’t think that will happen? No chance? A significant chance? An inconvenient chance? If he thinks it might be likely, then Stossel is justified in mentioning it. If he doesn’t think it’s likely, then who cares and why is it even in the movie?

  2. #2 Orac
    October 24, 2007

    Re: The Al Gore “20 foot rise in sea level” canard.

    I’ve seen this one come up in friggin’ comedy routines. Even before I knew it was a distortion, I had a feeling it was bogus. When I looked into it, I found I was right.

  3. #3 Boris
    October 24, 2007

    The clue, ben, is that whenever people complain about Gore’s 20 ft. comment they ALWAYS leave out what he actually said. Or worse, they claim that he says seas will rise 20 ft. by 2100 (Pat Michaels is guilty of this lie).

    If what Gore says is wrong and alarmist, why can’t the “skeptics” honestly quote him?

  4. #4 Mark P
    October 24, 2007

    Stossel long ago lost credibility with me. His repeated distortions and outright lies make anything he says suspect, whether you agree with him or not. The sad, but unfortunately not unexpected thing is that his network news organization does not do more to make him fact check.

  5. #5 ben
    October 24, 2007

    “Stossel long ago lost credibility with me. His repeated distortions and outright lies make anything he says suspect, whether you agree with him or not.”

    Like what?

    “The sad, but unfortunately not unexpected thing is that his network news organization does not do more to make him fact check.”

    Well, duh. They don’t fact check Rather, why would they bother with Stossel?

  6. #6 B8ovin
    October 24, 2007

    Why would they bother to fact check a reporter who makes a living exposing what he calls lies, distortions, and mistakes? Could it possibly that in the case of Stossel being wrong would completely negate his whole reason for being hired, and thus be a waste of his entire salary? Or could it be they just don’t care because enough people talk about his reports, good or bad, it doesn’t really matter to them.

    Either Gore’s quote has context or it doesn’t. Either the lead authors had published previously on the subject at hand or they didn’t. It isn’t a question of how relative the truth is, it’s a question of the truth. Given Stossel’s “mission” I would think this would be not only obvious to him but to the people that pay him.

  7. #7 jre
    October 24, 2007

    Boris — you need to understand that the usual rules about honesty in attribution are suspended in the case of Al Gore. Case in point: try, some time to correct someone who says that Gore claimed to have “invented” the Internet. As everyone ought to know by now, that’s not true. An honest response would be something like “Oh, if I’m mistaken about that quote, I’m sorry. Won’t happen again.” But you won’t hear that in a thousand tries. Instead, you’ll get “Well, he implied, or suggested that he played a bigger role than he did, so it’s a fair cop.” Also not true, but that’s beside the point. On the point is that it seems to be acceptable in some circles to put any words in Al Gore’s mouth, so long as the desired effect is achieved. That’s why you will always hear the word “invented” used in connection with Gore and the Internet, and never “initiated”, “supported”, “advanced” or any other word that would serve as a more accurate paraphrasal.
    It is obvious that ben has gotten the memo. He has, in the past, waxed downright indignant about Snopes’ characterization of the Reagan redwood quote[1], but figures that it’s perfectly acceptable for Stossel to omit a critical phrase when he’s quoting Al Gore, and even makes elaborate excuses for Stossel’s lie.
    The rules are different when you’re quoting Al Gore. Get used to it.

    [1] For the record, I think Snopes is too generous to the press (or harsh on Reagan) to call it a “paraphrase.” But let it be noted that Snopes reported the whole episode and left the reader free to disagree. Stossel deliberately distorted a quote to leave a false impression. That’s the difference between an honest reviewer with an opinion and a hack.

  8. #8 Mark P
    October 24, 2007

    Ben, check the first link in the post and you can find a small sample of Stossel’s distortions and lies.

  9. #9 cce
    October 24, 2007

    What probability of rapid ice sheet disintegration in the next century or two would warrant addressing catastrophic sea level rise in a movie about global warming?

    90% probable?
    66% probable?
    10% probable?
    5% probable?

    Now that everyone has settled on a number, what probability of getting in a car accident in the next year or two would warrant purchasing car insurance?

    90% probable?
    66% probable?
    10% probable?
    5% probable?

    I’ve been driving for 16 years, and I’ve been involved in one accident. I have purchased car insurance every year, and I support laws forcing people to buy liability insurance. Due to this low probability, I must be “clearly alarmist” and the laws that force motorists to buy insurance must be an anti-American plot to rob people of freedom and cause starvation amongst the poor. Just think of all the food, medicine, and pesticide my insurance premiums could buy for peasants in Africa.

    That is the kind of insane rationalization that is going here. This is a serious threat that need to be taken seriously.

  10. #10 Lance
    October 24, 2007

    cce,

    I will gladly sell you asteroid impact insurance for $100.00/gigaton since you seem willing to spend money on possible but wildly improbable events.

    I am somewhat less sanguine on politicians spending a significant fraction of US GDP on CO2 abatement schemes to avoid a melting event this century with a probability approaching zero.

    Let me know on that asteroid impact insurance. Operators are standing by.

  11. #11 daenku32
    October 24, 2007

    Well, duh. They don’t fact check Rather, why would they bother with Stossel?

    Actually, they did do fact checking for Rather. In the infamous case, they just did it poorly.

    On the other hand, Stossel is intentionally fabricating his show. He doesn’t think it’s correct, he knows it’s wrong.

  12. #12 Nick Barnes
    October 24, 2007

    It seems very clear that Stossel is deliberately misleading (quote-mining Gore). He also misrepresents the UK court case (which does not oblige teachers to “explain nine errors in the movie”). And he’s running the long-discredited “warming precedes CO2″ line, preceded by the following totally unintelligible sentence: “And while man’s greenhouse gasses may increase warming, it’s not certain that man caused it”. And he does solar, currents, polar bears, “7 to 24 inches“, and the rest.

    Reiter, meanwhile, is worse. Stossel’s just a media cipher, a talking head. Reiter is supposed to be better than that. He obviously has an axe to grind.

    What I wonder is: to whom is Stossel preaching? He knows he’s misleading. We know he’s misleading. Even the kids in his video know that he’s full of it – they’re hilarious. So is there anybody with the slightest interest in the subject who doesn’t know this? Who is there left to mislead, and to where?

    These denialists become more and more shrill and unlikely as time passes. They start sounding like a tiny squeaking Fred Phelps caricature. One can readily imagine them parading outside the Nobel ceremony with hand-daubed placards reading “God hates Greens”. The pitch of their rhetoric is rapidly rising out of the audible range – soon only dogs and bats will be listening to them.

    Just as well, given graphs like this. How’s that for a hockey stick?

  13. #13 cce
    October 24, 2007

    Icesheet disintegration is not a “wildly improbable event.” Winning the lottery is a “wildly improbable event.”

    I bought my asteroid impact insurance when I paid my taxes, a small portion of which went to NASA, and a small portion of that went toward detecting near earth asteroids and developing the countermeasures for deflecting them. I don’t mind spending this money given that the odds of dying from an asteroid (assuming no countermeasures in put in place) are about the same as dying in an airplane crash.

  14. #14 Boris
    October 24, 2007

    “Let me know on that asteroid impact insurance. Operators are standing by.”

    Would you like to buy some terrorist insurance? There are sleeper cells all over the place, you know.

  15. #15 Chip Block
    October 24, 2007

    No reference to John Stossel is truly complete without viewing this video clip of his early efforts as a reporter:

    John Stossel, probing journalist

    I can see why he’s given up on legitimate journalism.

  16. #16 Majorajam
    October 24, 2007

    There are myriad reasons for being concerned about a significant sea rise. The first is that during the last interglacial, with temperatures between one and two degrees higher than what we have at present, the sea level was 6m higher than it is now. One would think that might set off alarm bells, but then one may not be familiar with the Pollyanna right wing that brought us Iraq. This just in, risk matters. Uncertainty matters more.

    It is true, we do not know plenty about dynamics of ice sheets and glaciers, but we have strong reason to suspect that global average temperatures correlate. By coincidence of the fact that, though we can bound climate sensitivity to CO2 with some probability on the high and low side, the high side implies practically catastrophic levels of increase, and a concomitantly increased concern about the potential of the release of that water onto the world’s oceans.

    Putting it together, if one believes that the world will work itself out because it can and because we want it to, and by consequence that we shouldn’t worry about risk or uncertainty (unknown unknowns to you right wingers), then, well, Gore shouldn’t have discussed the potential for a 6m increase in sea level at all, and the US was right on with its invasion of Iraq and forecasts of success. Back here in the reality based community, Gore’s presentation of this catastrophic scenario doesn’t seem peculiar at all.

  17. #17 nanny_govt_sucks
    October 24, 2007

    Under your “usual misleading self” link is an article that claims Stossel was wrong about his AIDS vs Parkinson’s related deaths, but it appears that if you use the CDC numbers then Stossel is correct. While I think it’s OK to dispute the CDC numbers, Stossel shouldn’t be blamed for “misleading” for reporting what appear to be the official numbers.

  18. #18 Lurker
    October 25, 2007

    Stossel also says on the video that we all know the earth is warming, yet Tim Ball didn’t object. Timmy’s been telling us for years that the earth is cooling – he just can’t remember if it started in 1930, 1940 or 1998 (which might explain why he finds it difficult to establish how long he was a professor).

  19. #19 Sortition
    October 25, 2007

    I just can’t figure why Stossel and people like him don’t just move to the Congo where there is very little government to put obstacles on the path of progress taken by free enterprise. I am sure someone as hardworking and as skilled as he is would be very much in demand over there.

  20. #20 Robert
    October 25, 2007

    NGS wrote:

    but it appears that if you use the CDC numbers then Stossel is correct [that there are more Parkinson’s deaths than AIDS/HIV

    In the most recent years, HIV/AIDS deaths have decreased relative to Parkinson’s deaths. In the US in 2004, around 18,000 deaths US were attributed to Parkinson’s while around 17,000 were attributed to HIV/AIDS. However, in the mid-1990′s, HIV/AIDS deaths peaked at around 45,000 per year. I don’t know what the exact totals were when Stossel made his claim so perhaps the comparison in that particular year was literally correct. Nonetheless, even if it were literally correct, it was pretty misleading. I don’t thik there’s ever been a year in the US when Parkinson’s mortality was close to 45,000. HIV is infectious and for a while it looked like it was going to be an epidemic. Parkinson’s isn’t, and didn’t.

    BTW, there’s a new estimate out that MRSA, the iatrogenic infection passed around in hospitals and health care facilities, killed around 19000 in 2005, i.e., more than either HIV/AIDS or Parkinson’s. And we actually know exactly what we need to do in order to prevent it.

  21. #21 Tim Lambert
    October 25, 2007

    Stossel’s HIV/AIDS vs Parkinsons comparison was made in 1999. In 1998 CDC figures put Parkisons deaths at 13,000, less than those from AIDS.

  22. #22 Robert
    October 25, 2007

    I wrote:

    around 18,000 [Parkinson's] deaths in 2004

    to which Tim L. replied

    In 1998 [...] 13,000

    Yeah, I think the trend in overall Parkinson’s mortality is rising since there is a strong age effect to it. Even if age-specific rates remain exactly unchanged, we’d expect total mortality to rise as the baby boom generation reaches senior ages. OTOH, HIV/AIDS peaked at 45,000 and is around 17,000 now. A fair-sized component of that peak mortality was infants born HIV+. At least in the US, we don’t see that nearly as much now because of perinatal therapies that were made possible, in part, by all that research money into HIV/AIDS that Stossel was whining about. And those therapies can (and I hope, will) be transferred to places where HIV/AIDS mortality is still high.

    Stossel is a hack.

  23. #23 Pop Trot
    October 25, 2007

    Stossel:

    >Gore also talks about drowning polar bears. He doesn’t mention that the World Conservation Union and the U.S. Geological Survey say that today most populations of polar bears are stable or increasing.

    From the World Conservation Union website:

    >The meeting concluded that the IUCN Red List classification of the polar bear should be upgraded from Lower Risk (i.e., Least Concern) to Vulnerable based on the suspected likelihood of an overall decline in the size of the total population of more than 30% within the next 45 years. The principal cause for this decline was given as climatic warming and its consequent negative affects on the sea ice habitat of polar bears. But it was also recognized that in some areas, contaminants might have an additional negative influence.

    http://iucn.org/places/usa/webdocs/news/news_archive2007.htm

  24. #24 Jc
    October 25, 2007

    Isn’t the polar bear thing a little obverblown? Genetically they’re pretty similar to the black (or is it Brown bear?). If the population falls off can’t we just simply catch some that hang around the New jersey and Penn burbs, spray paint them a nice white color and transport them into colder climes?

  25. #25 Brian Schmidt
    October 25, 2007

    Lance, if you’re willing to put money down on your position that human-caused global warming isn’t happening, let me know:

    http://backseatdriving.blogspot.com/2005_05_01_backseatdriving_archive.html#111700433898143899

    Operators are standing by.

  26. #26 Robert
    October 25, 2007

    Jc opined:

    Isn’t the polar bear thing a little obverblown? Genetically they’re pretty similar to the black (or is it Brown bear?). If the population falls off can’t we just simply catch some that hang around the New jersey and Penn burbs, spray paint them a nice white color and transport them into colder climes?

    Hmmm. Interesting idea. Genetically, humans are pretty similar to the great apes. Should something happen to Jc, we could simply catch a chimpanzee, shave his back (or maybe not?), and plop him down in front of a keyboard. The quality of Jc’s posts mightn’t change much at all.

  27. #27 ben
    October 25, 2007

    Tim, that Peter Hart piece is nearly as much garbage as Stossel. His look into Stossel isn’t remotely unbiased, and his own ideology shines through. For example:

    When Stossel did a one-hour special on government regulation and waste (1/27/01), topics then in the headlines like California’s deregulation-induced energy crisis were off-limits. While private energy companies extracted billions from the state’s residents, citizens in California towns with publicly owned utilities were largely unaffected by the rolling blackouts and soaring rates that had crippled the rest of the state. …

    Even when free market capitalism appears to fail…

    Calling what California did to its energy markets “deregulation” is a joke. California’s RE-regulation of its energy market was the primary cause of the energy-crisis that followed. It also put Enron in a position to manipulate the market, and they did. Among many dubious parts of the law, the one that prevented the utilities from entering into long term contracts with suppliers, forcing the utilities to only buy on the spot market, was probably the worst.

    As bad as conservatives can be on global warming, liberals can be on economics. They LOVE to bring out California’s “deregulation” debacle as an example of how less government regulation is bad for the economy, but this is actually an example of how government interference can make things worse. Naming government regulation “deregulation” in order to win arguments is pretty lame.

  28. #28 Pop Trot
    October 25, 2007

    From the U.S. Geological Survey:

    >Projected changes in future sea ice conditions, if realized, will result in loss of approximately 2/3 of the world’s current polar bear population by the mid 21st century. Because the observed trajectory of Arctic sea ice decline appears to be underestimated by currently available models, this assessment of future polar bear status may be conservative.

    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/polar_bears/

    We may need a new Stossel Rule: Whatever he claims, the opposite must be true.

  29. #29 Mark P
    October 25, 2007

    Even if the critics are biased, their criticisms are valid.

  30. #30 Sortition
    October 25, 2007

    > Calling what California did to its energy markets “deregulation” is a joke.
    > [...] RE-regulation [...] many dubious parts [...] the spot market [...]

    Ah… It’s that damn spot market. “Out, damn’d spot! out, I say!”

    I always thought it had more to do with the color of Gray Davis’s underpants. Anyway, it’s clear it had nothing to do with companies trying to make some money.

  31. #31 ben
    October 25, 2007

    Sortition, the point is that it was not “deregulation” by any measure, and it was NOT a failure of free markets, since there was no free market present.

  32. #32 elspi
    October 25, 2007

    Ben

    Suppose that there was electricity grid that required 100 units of electricity to operate (without blackout). Suppose that you have 12 producers, each of which can produce 9 units. How does a producer maximize his profit? You might think that he should sell as soon as he can in order to insure that he could sell all 9 units (if you were as clueless as ben for instance). But the winning strategy is to wait until all the other producers have sold their 9 units to the grid.

    BUT WAIT you say. Doesn’t that mean that I’ll only be able to sell one unit.
    Yes it does, but since the grid needs that unit to function it is worth at least as much as the 99 units which have already been purchased.

    What would happen if the EVIL government stepped in and capped the price of a unit at twice fair market value. Then waiting would be the losing strategy since you would receive at most 2 instead of the 9 you could receive if you sold at once.

    And what was it that happened in California when the priced was capped?
    QED

    You were right about one thing though. The energy market in California was not free.
    Not because of government interference of course, but for the same reason that most markets are not free. One of the players in the market could (and did) affect the price.
    (The very definition of a free market is one where this is impossible)

  33. #33 Sortition
    October 25, 2007

    > it was NOT a failure of free markets, since there was no free market present.

    Next time we are offered a “deregulation” scheme, I will make sure to ask you (or Stossel, or some other High Priest of Free Markets) whether we are heading toward a TRULY free market or will there be spots left.

    I wonder, though, why the fine points about “spots” do not make it into Stossel’s hymns to free markets.

  34. #34 ben
    October 25, 2007

    Sorry, elspi, but your argument fails. You presume that the market is static, and won’t change to meet increasing demand.

    Many/most utilities can or do buy some of their supply via long-term contracts. While this might prevent them from getting the short-term optimal price for electricity, it does hedge against future increases in price, and against scenarios like the one you alluded to. California was specifically PROHIBITED from this sort of action.

    In many/most states, public utilities can produce their own power, so that the price to themselves is simply the cost of operating their power plants. If they have extra power, they can sell it, and if they need more, then they can buy it. in California, the were specifically PROHIBITED from doing this. The utilities that supplied power to the end consumers were not allowed to own any power plants.

    Briliant! The problem with this “deregulation” that wasn’t, was that the architects were trying to enforce “perfect” competition. They did not think of the unintended consequences of their actions. They didn’t consider that outside sources who were unconstrained by their laws would use California’s laws to their own advantage.

    Lastly, California does not produce enough power to keep up with its own demand. Some blame the greens for making it to hard to produce power in Cal. Some blame other things. Whatever the case, TOUGH SHIT FOR CALIFORNIA, they are their own worst enemy in their power problems.

    On a side note, for those in favor of government regulation to save power and avoid global warming, I propose sweeping government regulations that will help right away: Fat Tax. Yes, fat people are a huge burden on the environment. They burn more fuel lugging their heavy bodies around. They require that more fuel be burned to lug all that food around that they eat. And they produce more waste that must be dealt with. If you are over-fat, then you should have to pay a tax. I’m not kidding. An exception should be made for any obese person who can demonstrate that they are taking steps and actively losing weight.

  35. #35 elspi
    October 25, 2007

    “You presume that the market is static, and won’t change to meet increasing demand.”

    Why would the generating companies kill the goose that laid the golden eggs?
    Why when they are making obscene profits would they rock the boat?
    Rather than increasing their generating capacity, the generating companies were taking power plants off-line in order to worsen the crisis.
    Why would some new company come in and undercut these companies, when the very act would case the price to fall to point where there was no profit in it for the new company?

    And the proof of all of this is in the pudding. That is if as you lie “TOUGH SHIT FOR CALIFORNIA, they are their own worst enemy in their power problems”, then capping the price of electricity would have made the electricity crisis much worse. Instead it made it disappear. That is how we know that you are a lying sack of shit.

  36. #36 nanny_govt_sucks
    October 25, 2007

    Next time we are offered a “deregulation” scheme, I will make sure to ask you (or Stossel, or some other High Priest of Free Markets) whether we are heading toward a TRULY free market or will there be spots left.

    Are you serious? Try starting out with the definition of “free”, as in are you “free” to do something like trade with whomever you want? If you’re not, then it’s not a free market. Or are you free to negotiate and make long-term contracts for power, or are you not? Is there a 5lb manual of regulations telling you what you can and can’t do, or is there not?

  37. #37 ben
    October 25, 2007

    Why would some new company come in and undercut these companies, when the very act would case the price to fall to point where there was no profit in it for the new company?

    Of course, if that were true, they would not. However, if there was a profit to be made in a free market, then someone will move in to fill the void.

    …then capping the price of electricity would have made the electricity crisis much worse. Instead it made it disappear. That is how we know that you are a lying sack of shit.

    Thanks for the kinds words. Why should it have made the crisis worse? If the cap is above the market cost of electricity, then it won’t have any effect, except to prevent too much manipulation, if the system is open to manipulation (such as it was under “deregulation”). If the cap was below market rates, then it would probably lead to an energy shortage.

    On the other hand, a proper free market should be able to achieve a better results than a regulated market. That’s all I’m arguing. That, and that whatever you call it, California’s energy market “deregulation” wasn’t.

    Every criticism I’ve given of situation is repeated clearly here.

  38. #38 guthrie
    October 25, 2007

    I thought the California electricity crisis was a really good example of what happens when you let companies own the gvt, as happens here in the UK. In fact, I understand that we are pioneers in the modern era of this.

  39. #39 elspi
    October 25, 2007

    First you force California into your free market wet dream and then you have the gall to say “TOUGH SHIT FOR CALIFORNIA” as they are robbed blind in the dark. Fuck off and die you treasonous troll.

  40. #40 ben
    October 25, 2007

    First you force California into your free market wet dream…

    Er, um, like, what are you talking about? Beside the fact that I didn’t force anyone into anything, what California undertook was hardly a free market wet dream. Not by any measure.

    How much pounding will it take to get the nail into your skull that what California did to it’s energy sector was not deregulation, much as it has been called that, and a proper free market was not present. Therefor, neither the free market, nor deregulation can be blamed for what happened. I know you like to do that, but it is wrong.

    And I’m the one who gets accused of frothing here! elspi, remember to take your rabies shots next time you see the doctor.

  41. #41 Mark P
    October 25, 2007

    I can’t believe people fall for the free market fairy tale. Some idiots even talk about a free market and competition in health care, as if you could shop for an ambulance operator and emergency room after your car wreck. There has never been an unregulated market that actually functioned like the fanboys fantasize for public consumption. Unregulated (or free as some say) markets have always naturally tended towards monopoly or producer cooperation (otherwise known as restraint of trade). Unregulated markets benefit the producers, not the consumers.

    And besides, the electric power market can’t be considered a free market because it is impossible for companies to respond to demand by producing more energy than they can produce at a given time by constructing new power plants. The generation capacity is essentially fixed. The only way it can be changed is by artificially restricting supply, not by the “market”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. And, since each power company operates as a defacto monopoly in each market, in what sense can it be called “free” in any case? How is an electricity consumer supposed to shop for a power company. In my state, at least, even though there are several power companies, you get your power from whoever strung the lines to your house. Even in the natural gas market, in which various suppliers can now use the lines of the former monopoly supplier, competition resulted from regulation, not deregulation.

  42. #42 ben
    October 25, 2007

    One thing, Mark P, I was not arguing in favor of free markets or deregulation. I was only saying that California’s energy woes could not be justifiably blamed on them.

    I disagree with what you claim above, though. For example:

    And besides, the electric power market can’t be considered a free market because it is impossible for companies to respond to demand by producing more energy than they can produce at a given time by constructing new power plants. The generation capacity is essentially fixed.

    How is this true? Generation capacity is fixed? They certainly can respond to demand, it’s simply that the time scales are larger than with, say, electric fans in the summer.

  43. #43 Jc
    October 25, 2007

    MarkP says:

    I can’t believe people fall for the free market fairy tale.

    I can’t believe people fall for the swill you’re about to dish out, Marky.

    Some idiots even talk about a free market and competition in health care, as if you could shop for an ambulance operator and emergency room after your car wreck.

    No Markey, it wouldn’t mean any of that. You would still be getting to the hospital. By the way, doofus, have you noticed that most ambulance services these days are actually privately owned or run by charities?

    There has never been an unregulated market that actually functioned like the fanboys fantasize for public consumption.

    No evidence here, markey, just more swill.

    Unregulated (or free as some say) markets have always naturally tended towards monopoly or producer cooperation (otherwise known as restraint of trade). Unregulated markets benefit the producers, not the consumers.

    Markey, Walmarts could not survive for a minute if customers didn’t walk through the door. Customers make the decision where they shop, genius.

    This passes for economics in leftist circles. How sweet.

    Now how many of you actaully agree with mark….. Come on get out from under the desk and own up. It’s not funny any more.

  44. #44 Ian Gould
    October 26, 2007

    “Genetically, humans are pretty similar to the great apes. Should something happen to Jc, we could simply catch a chimpanzee, shave his back (or maybe not?), and plop him down in front of a keyboard. The quality of Jc’s posts mightn’t change much at all.”

    Better yet, we could boost Gorilla numbers with JC and his fellow free-market crack-pots.

  45. #45 Ian Gould
    October 26, 2007

    “Stossel also says on the video that we all know the earth is warming, yet Tim Ball didn’t object. Timmy’s been telling us for years that the earth is cooling – he just can’t remember if it started in 1930, 1940 or 1998 (which might explain why he finds it difficult to establish how long he was a professor).”

    Next you’ll be asking why people who claim warming stopped in 1998, pointing enthusiastically to supposed evidence of warming going on on Mars at present.

    Or citing the Martian warming as supporting theories that warming is caused by the action of cosmic rays on rain clouds (despitye the absence of rainclouds on Mars).

  46. #46 Ian Gould
    October 26, 2007

    “I just can’t figure why Stossel and people like him don’t just move to the Congo where there is very little government to put obstacles on the path of progress taken by free enterprise. I am sure someone as hardworking and as skilled as he is would be very much in demand over there.”

    Well i’m sure JC will explain its because of the innate low IQ of the locals who’d drag the few noble white pioneers down to their level.

    Personally, I think it’d be wholly consistent with libertarians’ adoration of Hayek, that fan of “liberal dictatorships” ala Pinochet and their adoration of the Confederacy to introduce slavery.

    That way, you’d establish property rights over the poor dumb locals and their genetically more advanced masters would have an economic incentive to see that they were gainfully employed at whatever menial tasks they were suited to.

    Arbeit macht frei,y’all.

  47. #47 Ian Gould
    October 26, 2007

    “Sortition, the point is that it was not “deregulation” by any measure, and it was NOT a failure of free markets, since there was no free market present.”

    Well obviously since freedom is good and markets are good, free markets must be doubly good.

    Something bad happened therefore logically free markets couldn’t be involved.

    Tell you what, Ben, give us a working definition of a free market and then tell us in detail how the Californian energy market deviated from it.

  48. #48 Sam-Hec
    October 26, 2007

    “Tell you what, Ben, give us a working definition of a free market and then tell us in detail how the Californian energy market deviated from it.”

    I am not normally one to stick up for Ben and friends, but…I am a Californian, and I actually paid attention tot he energy ‘deregegulation’ thing back in the 90′s. I noticed first that the deals were made behind closed doors without the council of consumer activists groups, despite protests. Reading the details of the deals led me to beleive that they were designed to fail from the start.

    The disasterous ‘deregulation’ of the California energy market was not the fault of the ‘Free Market’™. It was the fault of what happens when government supported monopolists (utilities) decide to screw with everyone by pretending to deregulate, deliberately fail, and thus hope to prevent future real de-regulated market. We are still seeing FUD ballot measures trying to prevent further real derugulation, or measures to increase the presence and power of the traditional utility companies based on the fear of a return of the 90′s style deregulation.

    Government force used to protect entrenched private interests is NOT a free market. Without that force in place, the utilities could not exist…and ther’d be a lot less CO2 in the atmosphere to boot, as the power companies would have been much more efficient.

  49. #49 Mark P
    October 26, 2007

    Jc, I would just like to point out that Wal-Mart does not operate in an unregulated market. Just to name a few, there are zoning regulations, wage and hour regulations, workplace health and safety regulations, product safety regulations, and laws against certain types of restraint of trade. So just what “free market” are you talking about?

    Also, you didn’t tell us how a free market operates in the health care area. And what does the fact that most ambulance services are private have to do with anything? Are you sure we’re talking about the same thing here? Or living on the same planet?

  50. #50 elspi
    October 26, 2007

    “Well obviously since freedom is good and markets are good, free markets must be doubly good. Something bad happened therefore logically free markets couldn’t be involved.”

    I am so stealing that.

    Sam-Hec why don’t you google “Yorkshire water” for more on how this deregulation magic has worked in other places.

  51. #51 ben
    October 26, 2007

    Sam is right, guys.

    Second:

    “Sortition, the point is that it was not “deregulation” by any measure, and it was NOT a failure of free markets, since there was no free market present.”

    Well obviously since freedom is good and markets are good, free markets must be doubly good.

    Something bad happened therefore logically free markets couldn’t be involved.

    Ian, elspi, that’s your stupid argument. I never argued anything of the kind. To be more clear: the market wasn’t any more free after “deregulation” than it was before. Ian, you’re usually pleasant to argue with, but right now you’re just being a dick.

    And Sam has it dead on. Whether or not free markets are good, at least for energy, nobody knows. But the California utilities can point to deregulation as bad because of what happened in the 90′s. Even though it was deregulation in name only, helped along by the willing liberals of the press. Nice.

  52. #52 ben
    October 26, 2007

    You know, I remember once listening to a radio show with a guest Economist from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. She was talking about how bad the “deregulation” was, and then said, with a straight face, when talking about how it would be bad for a particular
    American energy company to buy a BC power plant:

    “They will raise prices and do nothing to encourage conservation.”

    OMG! A professor of economics said that! If it wasn’t Canada, they would have revoked her professorship on the spot. Kinda like a physics professor saying that an asteroid passing the earth would make the earth spin faster.

  53. #53 cce
    October 26, 2007

    “Next you’ll be asking why people who claim warming stopped in 1998, pointing enthusiastically to supposed evidence of warming going on on Mars at present. Or citing the Martian warming as supporting theories that warming is caused by the action of cosmic rays on rain clouds (despitye the absence of rainclouds on Mars).”

    Don’t forget the Urban Heat Island effect on Mars, or the argument “we can’t trust the instrumental record, only the satellites (therefore the UHI effect must have ended in 1978).” It would really be funny to get all of the skeptics in the same room. Anything and everything is causing the warming (assuming it exists) . . . except for increasing GHG concentrations.

  54. #54 Sam-Hec
    October 26, 2007

    “Sam-Hec why don’t you google “Yorkshire water” for more on how this deregulation magic has worked in other places.”

    I shall, but I would like to remind you that not all regulations/deregulations are created equally. ‘Deregulation’ does not automagically mean ‘Free-Market™’.

  55. #55 Pinko Punko
    October 26, 2007

    I love that in ben’s world there is no such thing as a market that has a prohibitive cost for entry. It’s all free. Remember when Microsoft was run out of the OS market because of their bloaty, glitchy Windows?

  56. #56 Dano
    October 26, 2007

    ‘Deregulation’ does not automagically mean ‘Free-Market™’.

    Yes, there’s a spectrum, esp. wrt public goods and the wondrous magic of Free Markets™. Bechtel comes immediately to mind.

    Best,

    D

  57. #57 elspi
    October 26, 2007

    ben
    If you don’t like Ian’s argument, you need to go think up your own.
    Hint: if you want to see what such an argument would look like, try
    #32. Since I am not sure you can count that high, I’ll repost it

    Ben
    Suppose that there was electricity grid that required 100 units of electricity to operate (without blackout). Suppose that you have 12 producers, each of which can produce 9 units. How does a producer maximize his profit? You might think that he should sell as soon as he can in order to insure that he could sell all 9 units (if you were as clueless as ben for instance). But the winning strategy is to wait until all the other producers have sold their 9 units to the grid.
    BUT WAIT you say. Doesn’t that mean that I’ll only be able to sell one unit.
    Yes it does, but since the grid needs that unit to function it is worth at least as much as the 99 units which have already been purchased.
    What would happen if the EVIL government stepped in and capped the price of a unit at twice fair market value. Then waiting would be the losing strategy since you would receive at most 2 instead of the 9 you could receive if you sold at once.
    And what was it that happened in California when the priced was capped? QED

    This is an argument for why ANY unregulated generating market would eventually become perverse (because that is where the maximum profit is).

  58. #58 ben
    October 26, 2007

    I love that in ben’s world there is no such thing as a market that has a prohibitive cost for entry. It’s all free. Remember when Microsoft was run out of the OS market because of their bloaty, glitchy Windows?

    There were alternatives. Mac’s priced themselves out of the market, and linux is too difficult to use for your average person. I use linux myself, but I’m very happy with Vista, which I use for all my multi-media and Powerpoint. Otherwise I use Gentoo.

    Elspi, optimization is not so straight-forward as you might think. Plus you are looking at a “market in a vacuum,” which isn’t really indicative of much. Your scenario works, at best, only if the situation is EXACTLY as described. But why wouldn’t the other producers all do that? Heck, they should just all hold back until the consumers hand over their first-born, and then give out only the minimum necessary. But again, there are alternatives. The consumers can go and buy solar panels, and even add energy to the grid. They can use less energy, which does not help to maximize the profit of the energy companies. You act as if the consumer cannot react to different inputs, as if it is an entirely open-loop system, which it is not.

    QED, my ass.

  59. #59 nanny_govt_sucks
    October 26, 2007

    Tell you what, Ben, give us a working definition of a free market and then tell us in detail how the Californian energy market deviated from it

    Ian, if there are more regulations AFTER the “deregulation” than before, it was not a deregulation at all. That was the case in the California energy market.

    If there are regulations, then it is not a truly free market. Of course, the fewer regulations you have, the freer the market is.

  60. #60 Sam-Hec
    October 26, 2007

    “The consumers can go and buy solar panels, and even add energy to the grid. They can use less energy, which does not help to maximize the profit of the energy companies”

    Prior to the deregulation mess I read a book advocating as much (can’t remember the name). One story therein described a barrier to entry to self-produced energy put up by the power companies. A tennis court had installed solar panels for the court lights, but wanted to sell back enrgy to the grid. The power company wanted to charge thousands of dollars to flip a single switch once to connect the panels to the grid.

    The policies advocated in the book were mirroring those in England and Pennsylvania. And ultimateley these were not the policies adopted by California’s ‘deregulation’.

    I recall there being much focus on technology improvements decreasing the physical size of the optimum Efficiency of Scale powerplant, especially co-generated combined cycle methane plants. Ie one could power individual medium buildings or a block of homes with a quiet built in generator while providing steam for heating and AC. That is if deregulation could kick the monopolistic utilities of the Corporate Welfare line.

    “This is an argument for why ANY unregulated generating market would eventually become perverse (because that is where the maximum profit is).”

    again, California’s ‘deregulation’ was not an ‘UNregulation’. There were still regulations; one’s that any economist would have spotted as being stupid if any were asked to look.

  61. #61 sam-Hec
    October 26, 2007

    some thoughts on dergulation in pennsylvania at sciencefriday:
    http://tinyurl.com/2gta5b

  62. #62 Jc
    October 26, 2007

    Jc, I would just like to point out that Wal-Mart does not operate in an unregulated market.

    Ok genius, role this argument out for us. I’m waiting.

    Just to name a few, there are zoning regulations, wage and hour regulations, workplace health and safety regulations, product safety regulations, and laws against certain types of restraint of trade.

    Just as I thought. I have a right to be cynical. No one tell s the firm how much it ought to price an electric drill. That’s what i was talking about, sunshine. That’s what you were referring to, not all the ancillaries.

    So just what “free market” are you talking about?

    See above.

    Also, you didn’t tell us how a free market operates in the health care area.

    Why would I , when you the one saying we couldn’t have one. I was simply highlighting your stupid comment.

    And what does the fact that most ambulance services are private have to do with anything?

    This dopey comment from you.

    as if you could shop for an ambulance operator

    Are you sure we’re talking about the same thing here?

    We were until you tried to change the subject attempting to cover up your brain explosion.

    Or living on the same planet?

    It’s a parallel universe it seems, with you living in it.

  63. #63 ben
    October 26, 2007

    Sam-Hec, from that bit on Pennsylvania, it doesn’t look like “deregulation” in the form of lifting price caps in the presence of a monopoly works out too well. I wonder what other short and long term alternatives there might have been for the region?

  64. #64 Lurker
    October 27, 2007

    “Anything and everything is causing the warming (assuming it exists) . . . except for increasing GHG concentrations.”

    You think they agree on increasing GHG concentrations? Not Timmy Ball. He doesn’t trust the CO2 measurements either (but he has no trouble with the old ‘CO2 follows warming’ dreck).

  65. #65 Ian Gould
    October 28, 2007

    “Don’t forget the Urban Heat Island effect on Mars, or the argument “we can’t trust the instrumental record, only the satellites (therefore the UHI effect must have ended in 1978).” It would really be funny to get all of the skeptics in the same room. Anything and everything is causing the warming (assuming it exists) . . . except for increasing GHG concentrations.”

    Isn’t it interesting too how computer models are innately unreliable – unless say they predict an increase in air pollution and related lung disease in the US from increased use of biofuels in which case they’re accpeted as gospel.

  66. #66 IM
    October 29, 2007

    On markets for energy distribution and generation:
    “If there are regulations, then it is not a truly free market. Of course, the fewer regulations you have, the freer the market is.”

    Contrariwise. You need more and much more intrusive regulation to enforce competition. A real market is possible if you separate distribution and generating and regulate distribution heavily to enforce transpareny, equal treatment of all providers and so on. Then you can perhaps generate a situation there several generators can use the same net to compete to sell energy to consumers.

    Without regulation you just have a lot of regional monopolies.

    So in this case, more regulation is needed to enable competition, or in other words a free market. Even then I’m skeptical.

  67. #67 nanny_govt_sucks
    October 29, 2007

    So in this case, more regulation is needed to enable competition,

    I think that was exactly the fallacy behind the law that crippled the CA energy market. A free market doesn’t mean that everyone competes on a level playing field, nor that providers are treated equally. It means the absence of force. Where you have government force stepping in to hand out favors to certain providers or distributors, to cap prices, or to control when and where and how deals can be made, you don’t have freedom. Where you don’t have freedom, you don’t have a free market.

  68. #68 Dano
    October 29, 2007

    Public goods, Free MarketsTM, and reality, here: Farley and Daly 2001. The Failure of the Free Market on a Full Planet.

    Takeaway: Free MarketsTM don’t solve environmental problems, and Pareto optima can’t be calculated in systems with unequal power relations. IOW: not on earth.

    Best,

    D

  69. #69 nanny_govt_sucks
    October 29, 2007

    Dano, from your link:

    We cannot even conceive of a workable institution that could
    give someone exclusive ownership of the benefits of the ozone layer, climate regulation, water
    regulation, pollination, or a host of other ecosystem services.

    Then the authors are simply unimaginative and uninformed. Have they never heard of beekeepers offering polination services? Airspace property rights already exist. Private ownership and distribution of water would certainly work better than government wastefulness.

    It is often possible to establish
    exclusive property rights to ecosystem structure (e.g. trees in a forest) while at the same time
    impossible to establish such rights to the services that structure provides (e.g. regional climate
    regulation).

    That sounds like “giving up” to me. Certainly you can measure or estimate the different climactic aspects of a given tree or forest and make an estimate of what effect you think that has on the climate. Then convince others that it is in their interests to support your “climate stabilizer” and you’ve got a market.

    Sorry, but the paper makes some assertions that are simply not valid.

  70. #70 Dano
    October 30, 2007

    Sounds like fantasy wish fulfillment to me, na_gs. Simple! Convince 2.2 million people to pay you to not cut down your tree because it’s in their interest!!!!! -heart-!

    Suuuuuure. Tinky-winky supports your plan, why not your neighbor?

    Best,

    D

  71. #71 dhogaza
    October 30, 2007

    Then the authors are simply unimaginative and uninformed. Have they never heard of beekeepers offering polination services?

    Commercial pollination is just a tiny, tiny fraction of the ecosystem service of pollination they’re referring to. A wide variety of animals provide this service.

    Do you really believe there were no flowering plants that were pollinated by animals in North America until Europeans introduced the European bee?

    You’re the one who’s uninformed…

  72. #72 nanny_govt_sucks
    October 30, 2007

    Dano, what’s wrong? Don’t you think you’ve got a good case for convincing people that climate change is a serious issue? Anyway, I never said it would be easy. Was it easy to sell oil back before there were any cars? If climate change turns out to be as bad as you all say it’s going to be, then saving the forest as a “climate stabilizer” will be easy.

  73. #73 Dano
    October 30, 2007

    na_gs, the paper is quite clear why wish fulfillment doesn’t work on the ground. Only the incredibly ignorant would call Daly unimaginative and uninformed, so we’ll just say your fetishization clouds your reading comprehension, ‘kay?

    It’s nice to wish for things, and I wish for a cute blue pony for my birthday, but that doesn’t mean that one will magically appear in my garage tomorrow morning.

    Best,

    D

  74. #74 nanny_govt_sucks
    October 30, 2007

    Dano, you can have your blue pony if you want, you just have to buy a pony and paint it (with ecologically sensitive paint, of course).

    We’re currently PREVENTED from having a free market in water property rights and distribution (and other eco services) by politicians, bureaucrats and big-industry lobbyists through their use of force that drives out free society entrepeneurs. Remove the use of force and a free market will return. It takes repealing legislation, removing corrupt politicians, and respecting the rule of law and then you’ll have your blue pony.

  75. #75 Dano
    October 30, 2007

    Public goods. Asymmetrical information. Pareto optima. Reality-based communities. The paper details why this doesn’t work on pp 9-11.

    Best,

    D

  76. #76 Sortition
    October 30, 2007

    To: Deltoid commenters
    Subject: Property rights infringement – cease and desist

    This is to inform you that you are currently infringing upon my property rights. By driving cars, using carbon sourced electricity and carrying out other activities you are producing emissions that are polluting my share of the atmosphere. You are hereby required to cease, desist, stop, and abandon all such activities immediately until a mechanism for proper compensation has been agreed to and set in place.

    Sincerely,
    Sortition

  77. #77 guthrie
    October 30, 2007

    Dear Sortition,
    I would be enirely willing to comply, if you could just supply me with a GPS reference or similar to the precise volume of atmosphere that is yours, so that I can check if my activities are in any way affecting it.
    regards
    Guthrie

  78. #78 Sortition
    October 30, 2007

    Dear Guthrie,

    Thank you for your prompt response.

    My part of the atmosphere is not localized. It is broken into parts, each occupying about 0.1 nano-cubic-centimeter within every cubic centimeter of the atmosphere.

    (By the way, I consider regular inhaling and exhaling activity and uses for the purposes of sweat evaporation to be “fair use” of my part of the air. All other activities need to approved beforehand in writing by me.)

    Sincerely,
    Sortition

  79. #79 Dano
    October 30, 2007

    I like this sort of thing: smokers invade my property rights, and therefore they should all cease and desist.

    Loud motorcycles invade my auditory property envelope and they should all cease and desist.

    Ann Coulter invades the property of my visual cortex. She should cease and desist herself immediately.

    Best,

    D

  80. #80 frankis
    October 30, 2007

    Nags the Rule of Law depends upon recourse to force itself. Until that sunny day dawns when all mankind will think like you, act like you, and foreswear recourse to violence as you do, those with more force backing them will trump those of us with less. Wishing it were otherwise won’t make it so!

  81. #81 guthrie
    October 31, 2007

    Dear Sortition,
    I am afraid I do not find your statement compelling. Therefore, a state of war will exist between us if you continue to press your case.
    regards
    guthrie

  82. #82 sod
    October 31, 2007

    My part of the atmosphere is not localized. It is broken into parts, each occupying about 0.1 nano-cubic-centimeter within every cubic centimeter of the atmosphere.

    i will NOT tolerate my nano-cubic-centimeter to be next to yours! please keep it in the opposit corner of the cubic-centimeter.

    isn t there someone with some knowledge on bees around, to figure this out?

  83. #83 Lance
    October 31, 2007

    Sortition, I’ll play along. What damages have you incurred as a result of my using my Toyota to get to work and the electricity and natural gas I use heating and cooling my shelter?

    Please be specific as to a direct harm that has personally been suffered by said plaintif.

  84. #84 dhogaza
    October 31, 2007

    What damages have you incurred as a result of my using my Toyota to get to work and the electricity and natural gas I use heating and cooling my shelter?

    Pain and suffering … hard to quantify, but easy to recognize when it happens to you!

  85. #85 Sortition
    October 31, 2007

    > Please be specific as to a direct harm that has personally been suffered by said plaintif.

    Property rights are of primary and intrinsic value. My right to my property (i.e., my right to exclude you from use of my property) is absolute and is not dependent on demonstration of specific harm.

    If we accept your way of thinking, trespassing would not be a crime unless some specific damage was caused – clearly an unacceptable notion, only one step removed from full blown Socialism.

    I reiterate my demand that you stop your criminal and immoral activity immediately.

  86. #86 Sortition
    October 31, 2007

    > Dear Sortition, I am afraid I do not find your statement compelling.

    It is people like you, who have no respect for private property, that are root of all evil in our society. Viewing the atmosphere as a public resource that is available to all, hoping that government regulation will somehow protect it is the kind of Stalinist thinking that keeps Free Markets from turning the world into a meritocratic paradise.

  87. #87 Lance
    October 31, 2007

    Sortition,

    The atmosphere is not your private property. Hence trespass does not apply. To claim damages from misuse of a common resource you must demonstrate how my use of said common resource interferes with your use, i.e. pissing in a river up stream of your drinking water.

    I challenge you to even detect the tiny fraction of the air around you that comprises the CO2 partial pressure and then to show that my CO2 emissions have measurably changed that partial pressure and then demonstrate some material injury you have suffered as a result.

    Good luck.

  88. #88 Sortition
    October 31, 2007

    > The atmosphere is not your private property.

    Not all of it – only one ten-billionth of it. As far as I am concerned, you can do whatever you want with the rest of it (as long as you get permission from the owners), but don’t touch my part.

    I know some Socialists advocate public ownership of the atmosphere, but any liberty-seeking person clearly sees that private atmosphere is clearly superior to the current scheme in which the government controls the atmosphere.

  89. #89 Eli Rabett
    November 1, 2007

    Eli himself owns several used carbon molecules that belonged in previous lives to Moses, Jesus and Mohammad. He proposes to sell them on EBay.

  90. #90 sleepy
    November 1, 2007

    Bidder for the Mohammad and Jesus molecules here! Over here!! Will trade for barely used Reagan and Dubya ones, over here!!!

  91. #91 sod
    November 1, 2007

    Lance you said:

    The atmosphere is not your private property. Hence trespass does not apply. To claim damages from misuse of a common resource you must demonstrate how my use of said common resource interferes with your use, i.e. pissing in a river up stream of your drinking water.

    and:

    I challenge you to even detect the tiny fraction of the air around you that comprises the CO2 partial pressure and then to show that my CO2 emissions have measurably changed that partial pressure and then demonstrate some material injury you have suffered as a result.

    you do notice that your two examples DIRECTLY contradict each other?
    because i do NOT have to show, in what way the pissing into the water will damage me!

    in the very same way, your garlic smelling breath is NOT wanted in my breathing air. nor a fumes from your SUV. face it!

    btw, you do not understand what Sortition is telling you!
    according to your philosophy, PRIVATISATION of the air should FIX all problems immediatetly!

    hint: it does not.

  92. #92 jc.
    November 1, 2007

    Eli

    The third person thing is really creepy dude. You didn’t get that off Seinfeld , did you?

  93. #93 Dano
    November 1, 2007

    I’m going to market my breath as Christmas presents to kids on Ebay. See, I’ve got some carbon in my body that a T-Rex used. Kids love dinosaurs as gifts.

    Best,

    D

  94. #94 Lance
    November 1, 2007

    Sod,

    I ignored the satirical anti-private property nonsense. Such crude reducto ad absurdium appeals are baseless since no one is advocating privatizing the atmosphere.

    I certainly made no such argument. Free market advocates do not claim that all objects in the universe should be privately owned. This sort of argument is often used to claim that libertarians are anarchists and progressives are communists.

    But don’t let me spoil your fun. Keep cackling amongst yourselves.

  95. #95 Sortition
    November 1, 2007

    > Such crude reducto ad absurdium appeals are baseless since no one is advocating privatizing the atmosphere.

    Ten thousand years ago no one was advocating privatizing land either. Today’s “absurdium” is tomorrow’s ideology and next week’s reality.

    > Free market advocates do not claim that all objects in the universe should be privately owned.

    Of course not: the things that should be privately owned are exactly those things that are convenient for the advocates to be privately owned.

    You did however miss the deeper point that “privately owned” is an ambiguous concept which is interpreted according to the convenience of the privatizer. I defined “private atmosphere” in a way that was convenient to me. Polluters can define “privatized atmosphere” in such a way that allows them to pollute cheaply. “Privatization” is really nothing but a way of saying “I’ll do what I want and you can do nothing about it”.

    > But don’t let me spoil your fun. Keep cackling amongst yourselves.

    How fast “playing along” becomes tiresome.

  96. #96 Hans Erren
    November 1, 2007

    Eli himself owns several used carbon molecules that belonged in previous lives to Moses, Jesus and Mohammad. He proposes to sell them on EBay.

    He sounds more like Julius Ceasar. Is he a reincarnation perhaps?

    Am I talking to you? No to him.

  97. #97 Hans Erren
    November 1, 2007

    Eli himself owns several used carbon molecules that belonged in previous lives to Moses, Jesus and Mohammad. He proposes to sell them on EBay.

    He sounds more like Julius Caesar. Is he a reincarnation perhaps?

    Am I talking to you? No to him.

  98. #98 Eli Rabett
    November 2, 2007

    To repeat myself . . . remember there are 6E23 molecules in 12 gms of carbon so not only is Eli talking to you, part of him was probably you sometime.

  99. #99 Jc
    November 2, 2007

    Eli,

    Why the turd person? Sorry typo ….

    Why the third person?

  100. #100 Jc
    November 2, 2007

    Sorry , Tim

    Didn’t see your comment on the previous thread.