Denialists Against Corrections

About a week ago, the World Meteorological Organization put out a statement to correct the erroneous claims in the media that global warming had stopped (emphasis theirs):

GENEVA, 4 April 2008 (WMO) – The long-term upward trend of global warming, mostly driven by greenhouse gas emissions, is continuing. Global temperatures in 2008 are expected to be above the long-term average. The decade from 1998 to 2007 has been the warmest on record, and the global average surface temperature has risen by 0.74C since the beginning of the 20th Century.

The current La Niña event, characterized by a cooling of the sea surface in the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific, is a “climate anomaly” part of natural climate variability. This La Niña started in the third quarter of 2007 and is likely to persist through to the middle of 2008. It has influenced climate patterns during the last six months across many parts of the globe, including in the Equatorial Pacific, across the Indian Ocean, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

For detecting climate change you should not look at any particular year, but instead examine the trends over a sufficiently long period of time. The current trend of temperature globally is very much indicative of warming,” World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General, Mr Michel Jarraud said in response to media inquiries on current temperature “anomalies”.

La Niña modulates climate variability. There has always been and there will always be cooler and warmer years, but what is important for climate change in the present context is that the trend is still upwards; the global climate on an average is warming despite the temporary cooling brought about by La Niña.

Roger Harrabin at the BBC wrote a news story about the WMO statement that managed to turn the WMO’s statement that global warming had not stopped into a statement that it had stopped in 1998.

Global temperatures ‘to decrease’

Global temperatures this year will be lower than in 2007 due to the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said.

The World Meteorological Organization’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer.

This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory.

Of course this erroneous story was picked up by Drudge and was linked by Glenn Reynolds and the rest of AGW denialists.

Fortunately the WMO (and others) contacted Harrabin about the misleading article and it was corrected to read:

The World Meteorological Organization’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer.

But this year’s temperatures would still be way above the average – and we would soon exceed the record year of 1998 because of global warming induced by greenhouse gases.

And of course Glenn Reynolds and the rest of the gang corrected their posts.

Ha ha! Just kidding. No, instead of making corrections Reynolds and co accused the BBC of bias:

Under Fire: “The BBC is under fire after altering a news story about global warming as a result of activist pressure.”

Following the links we come to a post by Tim Worstall at the Adam Smith Institute:

I must say, I think this is an absolutely marvellous advance. We pay for the BBC, after all, so we really shouldn’t have any of that elitist nonsense about a factual reality or anything. No, news should be presented to show the world as “you” believe it to be, not as some impartial reporter of the facts would have it.

That, at least, was the view of one Jo Abbess, a climate activist (and a remarkably confused one at that, a little googling reveals that she worries about both global warming and Peak Oil: mutually exclusive concerns one might think. Bless.) who, as this correspondence shows, did indeed manage to have a BBC news report changed to reflect her views. We mustn’t actually talk of static temperatures, or even worse, of 1998 being the hottest so far (and thus since then we’ve had cooling) because that might make people think that the world has, umm, not been warming and might even have been cooling since 1998. Can’t let the proles know the truth now, can we?

The truth is that global warming didn’t stop in 1998 and that’s what the WMO said and that’s what the article should have said and that’s why the article needed to be corrected. Of course, the Adam Smith Institute isn’t big on corrections.

Page van der Linden has more:

Predictably, Rush Limbaugh got on the bandwagon, linking to a piece by yet another denier, and incorporated the story into his April 8th show. He adds a little more spin with the classic “there’s no consensus on global warming!” argument.

Update: Harrabin comments:

I subsequently received suggestions that the article should offer more background. The WMO wanted to emphasise M. Jarraud’s view that a slight temperature decrease in 2008 compared with 2007 should not be misinterpreted as evidence of a general cooling. Some of the feedback seemed helpful so we altered and expanded the report – improving it substantially for the general reader, in my view.

Among my e-mail exchanges was one with an environmental campaigner who published our e-mails implying that we had changed our article as a result of her threat to publicly criticise our report. We didn’t change it for that reason. We changed it to improve the piece.

The denialists have been rushing to correct their posts.

Ha ha! Just kidding. No, they accuse Harrabin of lying:

So we are asked to believe that between 10:57 am, when Roger was still arguing that the article should be left in its orginal form, and 11:28 am when he wrote to ask whether his changes were acceptable, he had suddenly changed his mind on the basis of new correspondence he had received from, among others, the WMO.

Colour me unconvinced.

I mean, Harrabin could not have received an email from the WMO during that time. It’s just impossible because all the email servers are having their morning tea at that time.

Comments

  1. #1 climatepatrol
    April 16, 2008

    @Bernard J.
    Thanks for elaborating. Yes, I agree as in my post. No trend in winter snow cover, but summer meltdown due to warming in the recent decades. It will be interesting to see if the record refreezing of yet thin ice this past winter in the Arctic will partly survive the next summer. Again, it is unclear whether Arctic warming has stopped or not.

    the March snow cover anomaly was around 3.5 million km2 under the 1966-2008 mean. Does this now mean that you will post another piece on your blog acknowledging the antics of the ‘cold girl’ two months previously? And will you now do a piece on the same warming trend that the March snow cover anomaly points to (according to your technique), similar to the ‘cooling’ thrust of your 12 February piece?

    This is an interesting topic indeed. Maybe you can help. I read a comment that early spring warm anomalies over Asia is typical for La Niña years. But Arctic haze along with more pollution from China has undoubtedly a regional warming affect over Siberia and Northern China as well. The (polluted?) snow in Russia melted fast. The Arctic Sea ice didn’t. The polar bears in the Hudson bay may hope for more Summer sea ice this time. The seasonal global sea ice right now is at its 1979 level according to http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/.

    But if you bring in climate models, I like to ask: Can they simulate the present sea ice extend? Did they simulate the reduction of sulfure aerosols in industrialized countries which led to less cloud albedo and contributed to a warming in the nineties? Isn’t it that this positive feedback has stopped? Has ocean warming stopped? Will CO2 level off some when ocean warming stops? This, I think are valid questions at the time, when WMO claims that the current trend is indicative of (further) warming. But then, I do not of course want to impose an answer. Because as far as I know this is all subject to further research at the moment.

  2. #2 sod
    April 16, 2008

    sod: With all due respect. But Jesus Christ would call this blindness. You are so used to focussing on the CO2 signal as grain and to ignore anything else as noise or statistical chaff that no matter how hard I try, you will not see. It’s a waste of time and OFF TOPIC. Just one thing to think about: In a global food chain, in the real world, everything is connected, not disjointed like one sentence out of context. Welcome to my topic related blog post anytime as you know.

    i don t ignore anything. the simple truth is, i haven t seen any facts supporting the claim (made by “alarmists” like you) that biofuel production is a MAJOR problem to world food at this moment.

    on the other hand everyone seems to be aware of future problems that an expansion might cause. i am unaware of any MAJOR movement among “warmists” to extend biofuel production at the cost of food production for the third world.

    on the contrary, the groups pushing for CO2 reduction are at the forefront of warning about biofuels causing food problems. (or other environmental problems, btw.)

    if you have any sources making different claims, please feel free to bring them on here on your blog…

  3. #3 sod
    April 16, 2008

    It will be interesting to see if the record refreezing of yet thin ice this past winter in the Arctic will partly survive the next summer.

    even if it does, it will not suddenly become 6 year old ice. see, things take time in climate..

    Again, it is unclear whether Arctic warming has stopped or not.

    that is nonsense. to phrase this correctly: there is NO evidence that arctic warming has stopped.
    (la Nina, one winter..)

    The seasonal global sea ice right now is at its 1979 level according to http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/.

    it is showing a needle peak above the average line. and you carefully picked GLOBAL sea ice, because the arctic isn t.
    you include the wild fluctuations of the antarctic sea ice, to cover the clear downward trend of the arctic one.

    But if you bring in climate models, I like to ask: Can they simulate the present sea ice extend?

    that is NOT their purpose. simulating a 2008 january la Nina sea ice event is completely irrelevant to a 100 year climate model.
    (most of your remaining questions on the models are nonsense as well or could be answered by simply taking a look at the models!!!!)

  4. #4 climatepatrol
    April 16, 2008

    @sod
    #103
    I see. Honestly, I didn’t want to cherry pick the Northern Hemisphere because its refreezing extent is even much larger than the shocking meltdown of last Summer.

    This exactly is my objective for accountability of scientists and fits perfectly in this thread: In my opinion, it is NOT up to the sceptical questioner to bring proof that global warming has stopped. It is up to the climate scientist to proof that it has NOT stopped.

    So I rephrase my question. Can a climate model simulate a multidecal shift from a period of ocean warming owing to more frequent El Niños to a period with more frequent La Niñas? Is the hypothesis accepted that such a multidecadal pattern (ENSO/PDO/AMO, etc.) could be driven by earth magnetism in connection with sunspots/cosmic rays? All nonsense? I know. Because a model does not predict future temperature, it is merely a sensitivity study. gristmill. But if such vague scenarios which “only illustrate the climatic effect of the specified forcing – (this is why it is called a scenario, not a forecast)” justify a claim that global warming has not stopped, has yet to be proven.

  5. #5 climatepatrol
    April 16, 2008

    the simple truth is, i haven t seen any facts supporting the claim (made by “alarmists” like you) that biofuel production is a MAJOR problem to world food at this moment.

    Here is the fact

  6. #6 Chris O'Neill
    April 16, 2008

    me:

    I wasn’t aware that land previously used for rice was now being used for biofuels. Could you tell us where this is happening?

    cp:

    Neither did I. Worldtribune explains the new food chain.

    I read right through that article and found nothing that answered my question apart from an implication in the title that has a punctuation error. Can you answer my question and not waste my time feeding me non-sequiturs. We already know the impact of biofuels on other food supplies. There is no need to trash your credibility by implying you’re answering my question but only giving a non-sequitur.

  7. #7 climatepatrol
    April 16, 2008

    @Chris
    #106
    I gather you insist on discussing it off topic. I hope Tim doesn’t mind. There are reports that the production area of rice is in the decline worldwide. This particular report

    “The growing production of ethanol is another factor affecting California’s rice growers. With more farmland given over to corn to turn into biofuels, less is available for rice cultivation, so forcing prices up.”

    confirms how rice fields are directly given up to produce ethanol.

    Another possibility here.:

    Domestically-grown rice could become one of the main drivers of Japan’s ethanol output, Hiroyuki Suematsu, who heads the farm ministry’s environmental policy division, told Reuters

    Do I really need to say more?

  8. #8 Chris O'Neill
    April 16, 2008

    cp:

    It is up to the climate scientist to proof that it has NOT stopped.

    The 14 year average has increased every year since the 14 year period 1963-1976. Mother nature doesn’t allow proof of anything over a shorter period. The denialists’ attitude is a bit like the old man from Arkansas who wouldn’t fix his roof when it was fine weather. Why do I need a good roof in fine weather? Why do I need to worry about global warming in cool weather?

  9. #9 Betula
    April 16, 2008

    “The denialists’ attitude is a bit like the old man from Arkansas who wouldn’t fix his roof when it was fine weather. Why do I need a good roof in fine weather?”

    The alarmists attitude is a bit like saying there is rain in the forcast, so we had better build an Ark.

  10. #10 Bernard J.
    April 17, 2008

    Betula.

    Do you understand the comparative logical inconsistency between your statement:

    The alarmists [sic] attitude is a bit like saying there is rain in the forcast, so we had better build an Ark.

    and Chris O’Neill’s

    The denialists’ attitude is a bit like the old man from Arkansas who wouldn’t fix his roof when it was fine weather. Why do I need a good roof in fine weather? Why do I need to worry about global warming in cool weather?

    I think that you might not have the slightest clue…

  11. #11 Chris O'Neill
    April 17, 2008

    cp:

    I gather you insist on discussing it off topic.

    You started it.

    I hope Tim doesn’t mind.

    I couldn’t find any such hope when you started it. Maybe it’s one rule for you and another one for me.

    This particular report..

    So you’re no longer suggesting that your previous response was an answer to my question. Do you treat everyone with this sort of contempt?

    “The growing production of ethanol is another factor affecting California’s rice growers. With more farmland given over to corn to turn into biofuels, less is available for rice cultivation, so forcing prices up.”

    That’s nice but where does it come from? And does it necessarily mean that less is being used for rice because of biofuels? I would like to be able to check the facts.

    Domestically-grown rice could become one of the main drivers of Japan’s ethanol output, Hiroyuki Suematsu, who heads the farm ministry’s environmental policy division, told Reuters

    So “could become” means the same as “is happening”, does it?

    BTW, I think biofuels were always a very dubious idea. Whether they are or are not affecting rice prices does not alter the fact that they are having an impact on the crops that are used to produce them.

  12. #12 Betula
    April 17, 2008

    Bernard;
    It’ difficult to have a comparative logical response to Chris’s illogical statement…….but of course I will try.

    Of course the denialist from Arkansas should fix his roof…. I would go fix it myself if I knew where he lived. But he should also quit smoking,have his house checked for Radon and UFFI,get flood insurance,make a Will,stop eating trans fats,wear his seatbelt and lighten up on the alcohol…especially if he’s driving. He is a stupid man who does not heed warnings.

    Now, how many scientists, perhaps on the IPCC, smoke cigarettes despite the known risks? Are they Cancer deniers? And how many scientists, perhaps from Arkansas, are using cell phones… despite the speculation that they may cause brain tumors 10 years down the road? Are they tumor deniers?
    And how many scientists, perhaps on this site, are burning fossil fuels on vacations, leisure, recreation and hobbies, despite the speculation of future catastrophies, cataclysmic events and disasters. Are they AGW deniers?

    Which leads me to conclude that any smoking addicted scientist from Arkansas who is using his cell phone while vacationing overseas is stupid.

    And that is why I think Chris O’Neill’s statement is illogical..

  13. #13 guthrie
    April 17, 2008

    Small difference between smoking and global warming- the smoker primarily kills himself. The CO2 producer can kill other people on the other side of the world.

  14. #14 climatepatrol
    April 17, 2008

    @Chris
    #111
    Please stop power tripping. You started it because I answered somebody elses question and kindly invited him to discuss the offtopic in my blog. Your question was a tricky one and I was right to question its motive. I took it for granted that you understand the economics of the food chain and soaring staple food demands and skirocketing biofuel demands which will result in farmers giving up the low income rice production towards more lucrative crops. When I finally found a very pricise answer you were still not satisfied. You ask a bit much. I am not your student or something. Let’s agree to disagree or welcome to my blog. Sincerely, Climatepatrol

  15. #15 Chris O'Neill
    April 17, 2008

    When I finally found a very pricise answer

    Sure if you say it was. I asked direct questions and expected direct answers. When I pointed out that your answers weren’t really answers to my question, all you can come up with is:

    You ask a bit much.

    Sorry, I should remember not to ask for answers that actually answer my questions.

  16. #16 climatepatrol
    April 18, 2008

    @chris
    Fair enough. Apologies. The following is actually a good question which can be connected with the topic of this thread. Yet in order to document it, I kindly ask you to give me some time.

    That’s nice but where does it come from? And does it necessarily mean that less is being used for rice because of biofuels? I would like to be able to check the facts.

    The European Union and the green forrunner Germany has now recognized that “carbon-neutral” biofuels as an implementation of the Kyoto Protocol does not work out as mitigation of the carbon output.

    Domestically-grown rice could become one of the main drivers of Japan’s ethanol output, Hiroyuki Suematsu, who heads the farm ministry’s environmental policy division, told Reuters

    So “could become” means the same as “is happening”, does it?

    .

    Here comes my may point. It all depends on whether the negative impacts of the Kyoto Protocoll and AR4 are recognized (there are positive ones such as an innovation boom in alternative energy sources). If we continue to regard burning food as “carbon neutral”, governements who want to meet their Kyoto goals will continue to exploit this option.

    Statements such as “[...] The current trend of temperature globally is very much indicative of warming” push the price of carbon further and with it the price of food.

  17. #17 Jeff Harvey
    April 18, 2008

    Betula writes,

    “Now, how many scientists, perhaps on the IPCC, smoke cigarettes despite the known risks? Are they Cancer deniers? And how many scientists, perhaps from Arkansas, are using cell phones… despite the speculation that they may cause brain tumors 10 years down the road? Are they tumor deniers? And how many scientists, perhaps on this site, are burning fossil fuels on vacations, leisure, recreation and hobbies, despite the speculation of future catastrophies, cataclysmic events and disasters. Are they AGW deniers?”.

    What Betuala’s done is create the ultimate 5-piece strawman that Eli so nicely alludes to on his web site. Its all here in bucket loads. Its the same old nonsense packaged and delivered: “The environmentalists want us to live in caves”. This kind of argument has been demolished so many times I won’t even try. The fact that Betula wheels it out says it all. I am sure that the next discredited chestnut he/she will dig out is the “In the 1970′s scientists were all warning of global cooling”.

    *Sigh*

  18. #18 Betula
    April 18, 2008

    Jeff Harvey;
    Is this going to be the new mantra…everytime someone disagrees they pull out one of Eli’s 5 types of strawmen?…next you will be telling me I should be clothed in “sackcloth and ashes”
    You state….”This kind of argument has been demolished so many times I won’t even try.”
    I’m not sure what type of argument you are refering to,but maybe you should try….without hanging on to Eli’s coattails.
    And by the way,I can’t find where I said anything about environmentalists and caves….I’ll go back and look again.

  19. #19 sod
    April 18, 2008

    climate patrol, correcting the stuff you post makes for a full time job. so i ll stick to the most important points:

    you started the “rice shortage” point in comment #94 with these words:

    Discussion fits best under the topic of reports of rice shortages which at first were apparently banned by the western media when a couple of not yet globally controlled Asian newspapers wrote about it last February: Worldwide Shortiage of Rice – Prices Soaring. Only now in April it has been in all the news worldwide. Maybe I was the first one who connected the problem with climate alarmism. Now, in April, the German mainstream media did just the same here: firstly the butter, secondly the bread.

    your thesis obviously is: biofuel production is CAUSING the CURRENT price increase on rice.

    you did NOT bring up a single source, supporting this idea.

    instead, all your sources (and me, and most likely most people posting here) are worried about the FUTURE effect of biofuels on food production.

    so yes, you might have been one of the first who made that FALSE connection!

    the sources you brought up, did NOT present any facts about the devlopments in food and biofuel production, implicating a shift between the two things, causing a food shortage at this TIME.

    in a most typical way, in both your sources used in #107, you failed to notice the MOST IMPORTANT parts of the message:

    in your california example you missed this important piece of information:

    That’s because California grows short- and medium-grain rice, … When people talk of global shortages of rice, they usually mean shortages of long-grain rice.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7342146.stm

    while your Japan example missed this part:

    t will also allow Japan to utilize the 380,000 hectares of farmland — some 10 percent of the total in 2005 — that have been abandoned as cheaper imports have driven Japanese farmers out of business and into the cities.

    the subject is a complcated one. obviously market mechanisms COMPLETELY FAIL on the subject of food productionm. (those starving make horrible customers…)

    biofuel production sufferrs from the same problems, that most modern agriculture shows: monocultures, pesticides, labor intensive (subsidies in first world) and a competition between needed local food and “luxury” production for the first world.
    your analysis doesn t only fall short, but simply is false.

    ========

    The European Union and the green forrunner Germany has now recognized that “carbon-neutral” biofuels as an implementation of the Kyoto Protocol does not work out as mitigation of the carbon output.

    this is total nonsense. i m curious to see your source1

  20. #20 Jeff Harvey
    April 18, 2008

    Betula,

    You will have to try better than this. You produce a feeble argument, get plastered for it, and then cry foul. Well done!

    If you want a rational debate, stick to science, or at least avoid strawmen. I am sure I am not the only scientist that has to deal with the kind of dumb comment you made (that I quoted from you, if you bothered to read my last post), but its both inane and lame. Want me to repeat it?

    You said, “Now, how many scientists, perhaps on the IPCC, smoke cigarettes despite the known risks? Are they Cancer deniers? And how many scientists, perhaps from Arkansas, are using cell phones… despite the speculation that they may cause brain tumors 10 years down the road? Are they tumor deniers? And how many scientists, perhaps on this site, are burning fossil fuels on vacations, leisure, recreation and hobbies, despite the speculation of future catastrophies, cataclysmic events and disasters. Are they AGW deniers?”.

    Then you replied to my post, “I can’t find where I said anything about environmentalists and caves”. No, you didn’t, but what else could one be intimating from your comment about scientists using cell phones (I don’t have one), smoking (which I don’t) and driving a car and going on leisure vacations (yeh, I am guilty on both counts, although living in Holland I do my fair share of cycling). But what is the point? Are you saying that scientists who alert society as the the problems associated with excessive consumption amongst people in the rich nations and the effects of this on the environment should shut up if they partake in any of these activities? That, in order for our words to have any meaning, we should live a ‘rustic’ existence? What else could your statement mean? How else can it be interpreted? Please fill me in, if you will.

    If my retort was rude, I am sorry, but the anti-environmental lobby have become task masters at this kind of jibe. The fact is that we, in the developed world, do take more than our fair share of the planet’s natural capital. Like it or not, our planet’s ecological life support systems are in decline because of this, and we in the west are living (cumulatively) with an ecological deficit. But there are ways of creating sustainability, equity and social justice that do not necessarily entail a calamitous shift in our lifestyle. One of the best books on the subject is Brian Czech’s ‘Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train’. Before making any more off-the-cuff remarks, I suggest that you read it.

  21. #21 Ian Gould
    April 18, 2008

    ” think it would be manifestly unfair, to the point of unethical, to make major shifts in human activity to head off gloabl warming if those shifts will make it more difficult for poor people and poor countries to build their economies and achieve a decent standard of living.”

    But the developing world are likely to suffer most FROM global warming – which is primarily the result of the actions of the developed world.

  22. #22 Betula
    April 18, 2008

    JH;
    Let me first say, that I also apologize for coming across as rude.

    As far as my comments on cigarettes and cell phones etc….that was in reply to Chris O’Neill’s analogy about a man who ignores fixing his roof when the weather is fine, thus, why worry about AGW when the weather is cool?

    The point I was making…was that just because people don’t act the way we think they should,or want them to…. or follow common sense practices despite the warnings ie; cigarettes, cell phones etc., does not mean that they are stupid, or deniers or anti-environment.That incudes scientists.

    A good friend of mine last year was talking about the horrors of AGW and then went out on the front step to have a cigarette…that didn’t make sense to me.

    I happen to be an Arborist, with a degree in Forestry from Colorado State University….I am far from anti-environment and don’t deny the earth is warming, however, I think the alarmism is out of contol.

    In addition, my science background is limited to trees, however, I think I can be rational without pure science. It seems most people on this site are always trying to prove themselves right………the American physicist Richard Feynman once said that “the finest scientists were always trying to prove themselves wrong”

  23. #23 climatepatrol
    April 18, 2008

    @sod

    your thesis obviously is: biofuel production is CAUSING the CURRENT price increase on rice.
    Huh? Uh no! Just a carbon neutral global player that could have a runnaway effect as long as there are people with priorities like you.

    you did NOT bring up a single source, supporting this idea.

    This is a bold faced lie!

    MOST IMPORTANT parts of the message:

    in your california example you missed this important piece of information:

    That’s because California grows short- and medium-grain rice, … When people talk of global shortages of rice, they usually mean shortages of long-grain rice.

    ????????

    You know when reading your twisted denialing rambling and then looking at the top of this post, I suddenly spotted this God denying post claiming that “science has proven that God does not exist”.

    So I guess the best thing is to shake off the dust and to move on.

    But ever so helpful, I will inform you once I have finished a blogpost supporting my claim that as long as burning food is considered carbon neutral and is thus considered a letigimate means by governments to meet the Kyoto Protocol, this will EFFECT all food prices. Short-grain rice, medium-grain rice, corn, wheet, tropical palm oil for jumbo jets of the virgin green airline, soi beans, clean water, beer, everything. It’s complicated but not as complicated as climate science.

  24. #24 climatepatrol
    April 18, 2008

    Basmati rice, Thai perfume rice, sticky rice…chinese long grained rice, Uncle Ben’s vitamine rice….everything, Sod.

    Sorry, I forgot your long grained rice in my previous comment.

    sincerely,
    CP

  25. #25 Phil Boncer
    April 18, 2008

    sod wrote: “obviously market mechanisms COMPLETELY FAIL on the subject of food productionm. (those starving make horrible customers…)”

    This isn’t obvious at all, and in fact is entirely false. Market mechanisms work very well on food, which is why starvation is a far smaller problem in the world today that it was before capitalism became widespread. You are confusing imperfection with complete failure; no the market isn’t going to be perfect at providing everyone with everything all the time. But it works far better than any other mechanism we’ve seen, especially better than the top-down socialist-type systems which have been responsible for the largest food shortages and starvation incidents worldwide in the last couple centuries. With modern technologies and markets, food shortages are almost always failures of governments, not failures of markets.
    ==========
    I wrote: “… think it would be manifestly unfair, to the point of unethical, to make major shifts in human activity to head off gloabl warming if those shifts will make it more difficult for poor people and poor countries to build their economies and achieve a decent standard of living.”

    Ian Gould wrote: “But the developing world are likely to suffer most FROM global warming – which is primarily the result of the actions of the developed world.”

    Exactly my point. They are most likely to suffer BECAUSE they are poor, not yet developed, and thus retarding their economic growth is the path to MORE suffering, not less. I agree that rich countries should work to conserve, to avoid waste, to develop more sustainable technologies for energy. But I do not think this should be our main focus, while so much of the world still doesn’t have basic needs met. And the most direct path for poorer countries to achieve prosperity is a need for them to obtain affordable energy with which to accomplish, well, everything. Which means that they will need to be ramping up the use of fossil fuels, in large amounts, because those are the most affordable forms of energy with current and near-future technology. Which means that there is a direct conflict between (a) the process of increasing the standard of living and the prosperity of the world’s poor, and (b) the process of reducing or eliminating the anthropogenic components of global warming.

    I think actually that the most ethical large scale trend of modern times is economic globalism and “outsourcing”. This is exactly the process that is most helping the world’s poor to develop functioning economies, and it should continue to be encouraged.

    PhilB

  26. #26 sod
    April 18, 2008

    Huh? Uh no! Just a carbon neutral global player that could have a runnaway effect as long as there are people with priorities like you.

    what do you know about my priorities?

    again, your claim was NOT about the future price of rice, but about the price increase we are seeing NOW:

    Discussion fits best under the topic of reports of rice shortages which at first were apparently banned by the western media when a couple of not yet globally controlled Asian newspapers wrote about it last February: Worldwide Shortiage of Rice – Prices Soaring. Only now in April it has been in all the news worldwide. Maybe I was the first one who connected the problem with climate alarmism. Now, in April, the German mainstream media did just the same here: firstly the butter, secondly the bread.

    i am still waiting on any data, supporting this connection!

  27. #27 sod
    April 18, 2008

    You are confusing imperfection with complete failure; no the market isn’t going to be perfect at providing everyone with everything all the time.

    thanks for helping me out of my confusion.

    the fact that the market will not supply food to starving people of course is not a complete failure, but just some imperfection!

    all this eductaion for free! bless the internet!

  28. #28 Chris O'Neill
    April 19, 2008

    again, your claim was NOT about the future price of rice, but about the price increase we are seeing NOW

    I now realize that cp was not interested in answering my question about his original implication. He was only interested in supporting his hypothesis about the effect of biofuel production on future rice prices. We’re dealing with someone pretty arrogant here.

  29. #29 climatepatrol
    April 19, 2008

    @Chris
    I said: “Maybe I was the first one who connected the problem with climate alarmism. Now, in April, the German mainstream media did just the same (followed by a link in German)
    You said:
    I wasn’t aware that land previously used for rice was now being used for biofuels.
    I said “neither did I”.Knowing that I didn’t have a source for this happening now. Turning staple food rice directly into biofuel would be so absurd that there would be an international uproar. No, of course things happen in a much more subtle way. Governments have to keep up appearences. So your question that followed was a trick question and had little to do with my invitation to discuss the issue: “you tell us where this is happening?” I was game enough to google that for you although it was not part of my claim that converting staple food rice into biofuel is happening right now.

    As I said I will inform you as soon as I update my blog in this respect. You may always comment there as well. Critical comments are also welcome as long as they are honest.

  30. #30 Chris O'Neill
    April 20, 2008

    Quoting more of cp than he did above:

    Discussion fits best under the topic of reports of rice shortages which at first were apparently banned by the western media when a couple of not yet globally controlled Asian newspapers wrote about it last February: Worldwide Shortiage of Rice – Prices Soaring. Only now in April it has been in all the news worldwide. Maybe I was the first one who connected the problem with climate alarmism.

    And what would “the problem” be and what would “climate alarmism” be referring to in this case? The only problem I saw mentioned was an existing shortage of rice. What existing activity are you implying is helping to cause this existing problem?

  31. #31 Chris O'Neill
    April 20, 2008

    B:

    Which leads me to conclude that any smoking addicted scientist from Arkansas who is using his cell phone while vacationing overseas is stupid

    and he would also be stupid to pretend global warming doesn’t exist while the weather is cool.

  32. #32 stewart
    April 20, 2008

    Off-topic from the post, but going to climatepatrol’s connection of biofuels and rice prices. Uh-uh. Nope. Sorry. Wrong. Try Australian drought, linked to climate change (and signing over water rights to more profitable grape production – possible market failure?), and a plant disease in Vietnam.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/17/business/worldbusiness/
    Thanks for the thought, though.

  33. #33 Betula
    April 20, 2008

    Chris O’Neil:
    My point will never get across, you are locked in your own world.

    The sentence was meant to be ridiculous. I could find something stupid in everyone, using citeria for what I think is stupid…..including the most brilliant scientists in the world. The person who invented the MRI or the bullet proof vest may not believe what you believe or act as you would so you insinuate they are stupid.

    Because you call someone a denier or an inactivist or insinuate they are stupid….simply because they don’t agree with you…… is ridiculous.

    Let’s take a closer look at the man from Arkansas….let’s say that he was on a quest to find a cure for Cancer ….he is in the process of using Hybridoma derived monoclonal antibodies to determine the electophoretic mobility of Japanese Encephalitis protiens, yet, he hasn’t bought a hybrid car because he doesn’t believe in 30 years we will all be cannibals…is he a stupid man in your eyes Chris? A denier?

    So my point Chris, which I deny you will get, is that everyone is a denier…..why worry about cigarettes when my lungs feel great? Why worry about cell phones when my brain feels good? why worry about changing the oil when the engine runs great? Why worry about radon when I can’t smell a thing? Why worry about a will when I feel great? Why worry about flood insurance when my basement is dry? Why worry about a seat belt when I’m not flying through the windshield? I could come up with a million of them….and one of them would fit you…..do you deny it?

  34. #34 climatepatrol
    April 21, 2008

    @steward
    Sorry, I don’t seem to have access to the NYTimes article you linked. But you have are interesting thoughts too. I was aware of the drought in Australia and plant deseases. I believe it takes a thorough paper to describe what is really going on, connecting weather events, attributing anthropogenic influences to the environment, market correlations of crops, market failures and market interventions by governments (with or without Kyoto).

    @chris
    One example is Nestle boss Brabeck who sees the rising demand for processed food from developping nations. To keep production costs low in the event of the soaring crop prices (partly owing to biofuel production), he switches to rice. It just all falls together at about the same time…

  35. #35 Chris O'Neill
    April 21, 2008

    Because you call someone a denier or an inactivist or insinuate they are stupid….simply because they don’t agree with you

    No, it’s not because they don’t agree with me, it’s because they confuse weather with climate.

    BTW, Betula, you are locked in your own world.

  36. #36 Chris O'Neill
    April 21, 2008

    To keep production costs low in the event of the soaring crop prices (partly owing to biofuel production), he switches to rice.

    Fair enough but I just wonder why you singled out rice when there are other crop markets that are far more obviously affected by biofuel production.

  37. #37 Betula
    April 21, 2008

    Chris O’Neil:

    Thanks for clarifying that….I thought it was because they confuse attitude with climate.

  38. #38 Phil Boncer
    April 21, 2008

    I wrote: “You are confusing imperfection with complete failure; no the market isn’t going to be perfect at providing everyone with everything all the time.”

    sod wrote: “thanks for helping me out of my confusion.

    the fact that the market will not supply food to starving people of course is not a complete failure, but just some imperfection!

    all this eductaion for free! bless the internet!”

    Clearly I failed to help you out of your confusion. A perfect world is not possible; we must just do the best we can. And markets are the best and most effective solution by far to food production and distribution (as well as for just about everything else). That’s why, in the rich countries today, most poor people have higher standards of living by many measures then the well-off did a century ago.

    You can yelp about every market imperfection, but unless and until you (a) hold each other alternative to the same standard, or (b) come up with a genuinely superior method, you’re not helping anyone. And if you’re running around promoting alternatives that have repeatedly been shown to fail in far worse and more widespread ways, then you are actively working toward an increase in starvation and misery, not a decrease.

    If you are still thinking that removing market forces from the food supply and distribution is a good solution to anything, then you are still sorely confused. Look at, well, every attempt to do so in the last couple centuries and see how they’ve turned out. See how the USSR had to institute small markets to avoid complete collapse of their food supply before the end. See how non-market “solutions” led to the most massively lethal famines in history in China, and how now they are also learning the lesson (slowly) and creating food markets there to increase production and prosperity. Etc. Etc.

    All this free education on the internet is only a blessing if you make use of it. Learning from history is good. Try it sometime.

    PhilB

  39. #39 climatepatrol
    April 22, 2008

    @sod #126

    what do you know about my priorities?

    To answer your question, you obviously defend strongly first generation biofuel production in comment #119, whereas

    (1)New Scientist first supports most people’s concern who post here:

    “The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) made tentative predictions of major emissions savings from biofuel expansion by 2030, but failed to warn that such “savings” could be negated by emissions from converting more land to monocultures. Additional environmental effects of such biofuel expansion plans, such as negative impacts on the resilience of an ecosystem, biodiversity or vital ecosystem services, were also not properly taken into account.”

    (2)(again according to New Scientist), there are about 1% of crops used for Biofuels in 2007 [expanding fast, note CP]. “…But a slew of new studies question the logic behind expanding biofuel production. For a start, there may not be enough land to grow the crops”…

    This is only the start of biofuel production. Staple food was already beginning to become a commodity for speculation worldwide, thus artificially increasing the feeling of a rice and wheat shortage (with prices in wheet more than doubling and rice increasing in places by 50%).

    In spite of all these concerns by specialists, both AGW proponents and skeptics, you chose to hastily call my claims FALSE.

  40. #40 climatepatrol
    April 23, 2008

    Hello again. And here is finally the new post with articles, off-topic but as promised, supporting the hypothesis of the link between biofuels and the present food crisis with its tidal waves affecting staple food rice for the poor.

  41. #41 luminous beauty
    April 23, 2008

    PhilB,

    You seem to be arguing there are no alternatives but unregulated free markets or monopolist state corporatism.

    The fallacy of the excluded middle.

    In the real world, policies based on pragmatic trade-offs are the rule. Usually, markets won’t expand where there are no ready profits to be made. Hence, government subsidies of things like basic scientific research, highways, air travel, electronic communication, rural electrification, irrigation, and, yes, agricultural production and food relief that expand economies where private investors deign not go.

    Transforming energy infrastructure is just such a case.

  42. #42 Eli Rabett
    April 23, 2008

    Phils been drinking with the free market fairy. In reality all markets are regulated. Successes claimed for free markets are really the successes of regulated markets.

    A useful general rule is the freer the market the worse the damage after the bubble bursts. You can go to far on the other side and over-regulate also which limits growth, so it is a balancing act.

  43. #43 Phil Boncer
    April 23, 2008

    luminous beauty wrote: “PhilB,

    You seem to be arguing there are no alternatives but unregulated free markets or monopolist state corporatism.

    The fallacy of the excluded middle.”

    I have never said that markets should be unregulated. But a regulated market is very different from a “managed” market or a subsidized or highly taxed or otherwise distorted market. Government has a legitimate (and critical) role in regulating markets to prevent or punish coercion, fraud, theft, or abuse of monopoly power. It does not have a a legitimate role in running the market or picking favorites.

    Most of those you list above would still happen (and happen better and with far less waste) if left to happen freely. And “transforming energy structure” is definitely one of those areas. No one could possibly argue that there is no money to be made, no profitability, in energy. There are few things that there are bigger and more robust markets for. So let people and companies figure out how to serve that market, and you’ll get far better answers than putting any of that in the hands and direction of a bunch of bureaucrats and lobbyists.

    Eli Rabett wrote: “Phils been drinking with the free market fairy. In reality all markets are regulated. Successes claimed for free markets are really the successes of regulated markets.”

    See above. I haven’t been arguing for unregulated markets at all. I’ve been arguing for open competition undistorted by subsidies, cronyism, favoritism and corruption.

    You both jump to the conclusion of “the fallacy of the excluded middle”, and attribute to me an argument that I wasn’t making.

    PhilB