Carbon Tax Backflips

Julia Gillard has done a backflip and agreed to introduce a budget-neutral carbon tax after last year promising not to introduce one.

In a matching backflip John Humphreys has come out against the tax, describing it as a “grab for cash” after writing a report in 2007 that favoured a carbon tax:

Our government is currently using an approach of regulation and
subsidy while considering the possibility of implementing a carbon
trading scheme. We would be better served if the government replaced
all of these options with a revenue-neutral carbon tax. A carbon tax
is preferable to a carbon trading system because it is more efficient,
effective, simple, flexible, and transparent. More importantly, a
carbon tax has the added benefit of providing revenue which can be
used to cut other taxes. Indeed, a revenue-neutral carbon tax may have
little or no economic cost.

Compare this with Humphreys’ rhetoric on his web site opposing the tax:

In a deal with the Australian Greens, Prime Minister Gillard announced a multi-million dollar tax on carbon, with no offset in other taxes.

That’s rather deceitful. They haven’t announced what other taxes will be cut, but they did say that it would be budget neutral.

This is a tax that will hurt every single Australian: electricity bills alone for the average family will go up by over $300 a year.

They haven’t even decided how much the tax will be, so how can Humphreys claim this? In any case, it’s the net cost that matters to Australian families — since the tax is budget neutral, that’s going to be zero on average.

This is simply another grab for cash by a wasteful government that will do nothing to address climate change.

“Budget neutral” does not mean the same thing as “grab for cash”

This proposal makes no economic sense, and will do nothing to address climate change. All it will do is make every Australian family suffer and cripple our economy.

Or it might have “little or no economic cost” according to Humphreys in 2007.

Humphreys tries to justify his backflip with this.

“A moderate carbon tax, with offsetting tax cuts, would be the least harmful policy for combating climate change” said Mr. Humphreys. “However, the current policy fails because it does not provide the offsetting tax cuts, and so it will increase the size of government and hurt the economy. It is also worrying that the government seems intent on switching to an emissions trading system, which is an unnecessarily complicated and inefficient response to climate change.”

The difference between revenue neutral and budget neutral doesn’t seem to be that large and insisting on revenue neutral seems to be a less flexible approach when you want to compensate low income folks for the cost of the tax. As for the switch to the ETS, surely Humphreys should oppose that, rather than the carbon tax itself.

Update: Humphreys denies that his position has changed. John Quiggin suggests Humphries is arguing like a politician rather than an economist.

Comments

  1. #1 Sab
    March 2, 2011

    @82:

    Please explain in detail the differences between growing plants in a greenhouse environment and growing plants in their ecological context. Discuss the growth effect of comparing ambient vs elevated CO2 and the differences observed when the rate of CO2 elevation changes over the experiment. Explain why plants don’t respond to elevated CO2 with increased growth after a certain point. How about tackling the response of below-ground carbon stores to elevated CO2 and temperature? Why not discuss how the balance of ecosystem respiration and assimilation changes depending on whether one considers soil organisms?

    Or were you just hoping that no one would call you on your meaningless soundbite that shows your ignorance of plant ecology?

  2. #2 Chris From Europe
    March 2, 2011

    @IM: We have some AGW denialists in Germany, but they are usually ignored.

  3. #3 Vince Whirlwind
    March 2, 2011

    @IM, & Chris from Europe,
    HSBC attitudes survey, 2007

  4. #4 Zetetic
    March 2, 2011

    @ Flying Binghi #81:

    LOL!
    So rather than go by the peer-reviewed scientific literature, you go by a book written by someone with ties to the fossil fuel industry.

    SourceWatch- Garth Paltridge

    On top of which he gives a “low-ball” estimate of CO2 sensitivity, that in your own quote shows that he’s additionally leaving out positive feedback such as increases in water vapor.

    How do we know more CO2 is causing warming?

    And yet you have the arrogance of ignorance to accuse those that side with the consensus of the climate science community of being “in a cult”.

    That’s just too funny! :D

    ===========================================================

    @ Flying Binghi #82:

    As the others have already pointed out to you, growing plants involves more than just CO2. Surely you must be aware of this, right?

    This article looks rather timely since it deals with the effects of AGW on Australian agriculture….

    Australia’s farms “particularly vulnerable” to climate change, adviser Ross Garnaut Says

    BTW F.B. any thoughts on China’s sudden change in energy policy? I noticed that you haven’t responded yet.

    ===========================================================

    @ Sab #100:

    Oh but Sab don’t be too quick to rule F.B. out just yet as an agricultural expert.
    After all his/her post at #49 clearly demonstrates that by virtue of having a windmill and some solar panels that F.B. can declare with complete authority that the world can’t use renewable energy sources to power cites, in spite of the fact that the world already is doing just that.

  5. #5 adelady
    March 2, 2011

    We’ve got it all wrong folks. The great man was on Lateline last night (I checked a few minutes ago, it’s not yet up on i-view.) Turns out the PM is all wrong. A carbon tax is proabably a good idea, but giving the money back to the punters is bad.

    Surprise, surprise, Mr B Lomborg thinks that **all** of the money should go into research. Most importantly, noone anywhere in the world should instal any wind, solar or other form of renewable power until we’ve done all the research that leads to wonderful breakthroughs showing us how silly we were ever to have a solar hot water system.

    The technology fairy dust will automagically disapparate all our problems. (And I should hope so too if it’s been eating all our money for 30 years.)

  6. #6 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    >*Surprise, surprise, Mr B Lomborg thinks that all of the money should go into research. Most importantly, noone anywhere in the world should instal any wind, solar or other form of renewable power until we’ve done all the research that leads to wonderful breakthroughs showing us how silly we were ever to have a solar hot water system.*

    Technology and capitalism will fix it but only if we get government to pick winners and keep markets out of it?

  7. #7 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    I could subscribe to the Lomborg vision paraphrased by adelady, but only if we were to address economic inequality via other avenues.

  8. #8 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    Here is an interesting quote from [MT's site](http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2011/02/press-and-climate-anti-testimonial.html)

    >*Right now we’re trying the free market solution — have commodity prices double every year or so, with spikes that triple or quadruple the costs, have the global economy shrink while the financial resources are concentrated in a small power base, rinse and repeat.*

    >*It’s certainly one mechanism to reduce overall emissions.*

  9. #9 jakerman
    March 2, 2011
  10. #10 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    BJORN LOMBERG:
    >*Any economist would say global warming, CO2 is bad, so you should tax it at its damage cost, which is by the best peer-reviewed estimates that we have about $7 per tonne of carbon dioxide right now.*

    Where does he get $7 per tonne from? anyone?

  11. #11 Sortition
    March 2, 2011

    Zetetic, Gaz,

    You seem to be repeating a discussion that has taken place here two years ago.

    Gaz – you may remember this. I am afraid your arguments haven’t become any more convincing. I have still to read (from you or anyone else) one single real advantage of a scheme which either (1) allows trading or (2) allows getting credit for existing pollution levels or (3) requires up-front estimates of the price elasticity of energy.

  12. #12 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    >*Listen, the simple point here is right now solar panels and other green energy sources cost a lot more than fossil fuels. Solar panels cost perhaps 10 times as much as fossil fuels. Now, you can get a few rich, well-meaning Westerners, put them up on their rooftops, feel good about themselves, but it’s not going to solve global warming.*

    >*But if we could innovate the price down of solar panels over the next two to four decades to be cheaper than fossil fuels, we would have solved global warming. Everyone, including the Chinese and the Indians, would switch.*

    Subsiding PV is allowing “rich, well-meaning Westerners, put them up on their rooftops” which is helping to “innovate the price down of solar panels” and is [projected to continue](http://www.iea.org/work/2007/learning/Nemet_PV.pdf) “over the next two to four decades to be cheaper than fossil fuels”.

    I suppose he’s arguing to increase the rate of learning? I’d agree.

  13. #13 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    *I suppose he’s arguing to increase the rate of learning? I’d agree.*

    I.e. the capacity factor and storage required for PV need to also be overcome by the price advantage gained via learning curves.

  14. #14 Fran Barlow
    March 2, 2011

    Where does he get $7 per tonne from? anyone?

    Not from any serious study I’ve seen. Most put the cost at closer to $80-$100 per tonne, assuming one focuses narrowly on Co2 and excludes other ciommunity costs associated with industrial scale FHC harvest and combustion.

    Of course, since we really can’t tell how the whole matter will play out over the next few decades it might be that even these estimates are light. If the period from 2050 forward asees a roiling series of unstoppable climate-driven disasters that finally set back GDP to something like that of the early 20th century and famine, disease, human displacement, and war become commonplaces, then even $500 per tonne isn’t going to fix that.

  15. #15 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    From [Lomborg Errors](http://www.lomborg-errors.dk/coolitBchap2carboncuts.htm)
    >*A key argument in Cool It is that if a carbon tax is introduced, it must not surpass the social cost of carbon. On page 36 **he cites ONE economist, Richard Tol, for his “best guess” about the costs of emitting CO2, and this guess is $2 per ton of CO2 (that is $7 per ton of carbon)**. Consequently, according to Lomborg, it will reduce the prosperity of the world society to no avail if carbon taxes are set higher than $7 per ton of C. **However, Tol himself does not recommend an estimate of $7/tC, but rather cites an average estimate of about $16/tC, and probably recommends to use a value of $23-25/tC.***

    [Dr Alex Bowen, Dr Simon Dietz, Dimitri Zenghelis and Bob Ward](http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/02/climate-change-bjorn-lomborg)

    >*Dr Lomborg last year began to call for an investment of $100bn per year on research and development for low-carbon technologies, instead of the $25bn he was advocating 18 months ago. He now proposes that this should be raised through a carbon tax of $7 per tonne of carbon dioxide, rather than the $2 per tonne for which he previously argued.*

    >*However, his strategy is alarmingly risky – invest heavily in R&D and hope that this alone will keep atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases low enough to avoid the risk of serious and damaging impacts from climate change. This might work, but it might not.*

    >*A more robust approach to managing the risks of climate change would be not only to invest in R&D, but also to use a carbon tax (or cap-and-trade) to discourage greenhouse gas emissions in the short run…*

  16. #16 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    BTW [Tol uses models that assume](http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/01/richard-tol.html) rising temperature has little impact on extinction levels. He justifies this assumption by arguing that extiction rates are already high so that we will destory speicies regardless of temperature change.

    He fails to account for the fact that climate disrutpion makes our extinction impact synergistically worse, and hence it cost more an more to protect vulnerable species as the climate is perturbed.

    That might be why Lomborg likes Tols work even if Lomborg needs to cherry pick the bits that suit his current position.

  17. #17 Gaz
    March 2, 2011

    Hi Sortition:

    I have still to read (from you or anyone else) one single real advantage of a scheme which either (1) allows trading or

    If there is a limited amount of emissions permits to go around, trading allows those who can make the most efficient economic use of them to get access to them. That’s not a new idea.

    It’s the same argument for having a market for stuff like, you know, bananas, houses, jobs, cars, oil, jobs, shares, etc. A system which creates a limited number of nontradable permits would make no sense.

    (2) allows getting credit for existing pollution levels or

    Agreed. Giving free kicks to polluters is nuts, whether it is done under cap and trade system or a carbon tax. Exemptions like that are not a logical outcome of the cap and trade model any more than they would necessarily end up as part of a carbon tax arrangement.

    (3) requires up-front estimates of the price elasticity of energy.

    Do you mean the price elasticity of demand for energy? And by “energy”, do you mean energy whose generation releases GHGs? I’m not sure what your point is. Can you explain that a bit more please.

    Just a general point. I don’t want to defend the CPRS as rejected by the Australian Senate in December 2009. The basically sound cap and trade idea got a mangling at the hands of the negotiations with the conservatives, who reneged on their agreement to pass it anyway.

    I’d just invite you to do a thought experiment and think about what a carbon tax would have loooked like after protracted negotiations between Penny Wong and Ian McFarlane in the context of frantic lobbying by the coal industry. Something like the Frankenstein’s Monster the CPRS ended up as, I’d guess.

  18. #18 Geoff Beacon
    March 2, 2011

    Have any economists worked on the employment effects of Hansen’s Carbon Fee? [morejobs.org.uk](http://www.morejobs.org.uk/?p=34) says

    [Hansen's Carbon Fee] would support the lower-paid who have lower carbon footprints than the affluent. This could allow other changes to tax regimes which could conteract the poverty trap that unemployment payments can create, mirroring some of the effects of Professor Swales proposals to make Value Added Tax employment friendly

    MoreJobs [quotes Professor Swales proposals](http://www.morejobs.org.uk/?p=3) saying “That is to say, the introduction of the new tax scheme would increase employment and reduce taxation.

  19. #19 jakerman
    March 2, 2011

    >*It’s the same argument for having a market for stuff like, you know, bananas, houses, jobs, cars, oil, jobs, shares, etc.*

    An important point is that permits are not as verifiable as such as oil, bananas etc. As such I have a different hesitation towards real world permit trading than I do towards theoretical trading.

    Making this system more complex than necessary [can lead to problems](http://www.dhf.uu.se/publications/critical-currents/carbon-trading-–-how-it-works-and-why-it-fails/).

    >*Carbon trading is a complex system which sets itself a simple goal: to make it cheaper for companies and governments to meet emissions reduction targets – although, as we will show, emissions trading is designed in such a way that the targets can generally be met without actual reductions taking place.*

    Though design is important, its possible to to make a carbon tax really bad, and possible to make an ETS good. What we are offered is another question.

    At this stage I think it harder to cover the flaws in a bad tax than it would be to make the problems in a bad ETS appear opaque.

  20. #20 Canturi
    March 3, 2011

    Jeepers Janet – you do go on – are you camped out here? Anyway back on Garnaut – why would even begin to accept CSIRO’s rainfall projections for Australia. What’s your rationale?

  21. #21 Wow
    March 3, 2011

    Why?

    Maybe this:

    “The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is Australia’s national science agency”

    would be why.

    Or do you ask your gardener what stocks to invest in?

  22. #22 John
    March 3, 2011

    The CSIRO are just part of the scam, Wow. Canturi says he believes global warming is happening, he just believes that every government agency is scamming us and some nutter with Excel can do a better job.

  23. #23 Wow
    March 3, 2011

    Nah, Canturi is part of the scam.

    After all, if AGW is accepted, then there’s no money in researching whether AGW is real!

    Canturi is just trying to make sure he can get some of that hot money being passed about for global warming.

  24. #24 chek
    March 3, 2011

    Perhaps Cartooni believes that certain key initials in CSIRO stand for “chemtrails”, “illuminati” and “rothschild”.
    Oh, and of course “scam”.

    Which isn’t any more insane than whatever it is he does seem to readily believe.

  25. #25 barry
    March 3, 2011

    Julia Gillard has avoided every opportunity and ignored all prodding to explain the about-face. This club-footed politicking is well partnered with hyperbolic terminology.

  26. #26 Flying Binghi
    March 3, 2011

    .

    via Zetetic #103; “…renewable energy sources to power cites,…. the world already is doing just that…”

    Do tell Zetetic, put forward your example of a solar/wind power city and we will have a look-see.

    .

    .

    An oh so true observation of the climate hysteria…

    “…There is a fair amount of reasonable science behind the global warming debate, but in general, and give or take a religion or two, never has quite so much rubbish been espoused by so many on so little evidence. One wonders why. We live in an age where common sense and tolerance are supposed to be the basis of our system of education, but there is very little of common sense and absolutely nothing of tolerance in the public argument about the climate change business. Perhaps it is that people simply have a basic need for fairy tales and doomsday stories.”

    via Garth Paltridge, The Climate Caper.

    .

    .

    .

  27. #27 Chris O'Neill
    March 3, 2011

    Lying dingbat quoting Paltridge:

    never has quite so much rubbish been espoused by so many on so little evidence.

    Continuing in his sole objective of spreading poop, dingbat shows us that Paltridge can’t even get his Churchill quote right. It should be “never has quite so much rubbish been espoused by so FEW on so little evidence.” That few is, of course, the 3 per cent of active Climate scientists that espouse rubbich.

  28. #28 Zetetic
    March 3, 2011

    @ Flying Binghi #125:

    Thank you for proving that you don’t actually bother to read what we post in reply to you. If you had you would have seen that I already cited some examples and provided a link to Scotland’s progress on the issue (targeting 80% renewable by 2020). We can’t help you learn if you don’t try.

    Still no reply though on China’s change in energy policy that I linked to earlier? I noticed you suddenly seem to be ignoring that.

    Maybe instead you can tell us why you believe in a book written by someone with fossil fuel industry ties over the massive body of scientific peer-reviewed works on climate? Especially when the quote you gave us earlier not only shows that he was going with a unscientifically low estimate of CO2 sensitivity, but (as noted in your own quote) he was giving a very simplistic example. So now you again quote this biased “expert” who is somehow not able to actually backup his assertion. It’s funny how often you hear the exact same rhetoric coming from all of the other types of denialists (AIDS denialists, Young Earth Creationists, Intelligent Design advocates, Geocentrists, etc.) projection truly seems to be universal in the psychology of denialism.

    So far the evidence of AGW is overwhelming with several thousands of peer reviewed scientific papers and samples of evidence from around the world, collected by thousands of independent scientists internationally.

    Yet your AGW denialist side continually relies on cherry-picking, misrepresentation, out-right fabrication, and repeating the same long-discredited falsehoods over-and-over. All while they are being represented by the same groups (and often individuals) that told us smoking was safe, and some of which also support so-called “Intelligent Design”, all while being funded by fossil fuel money.
    Do you really not see a credibility problem with your side there?

    So where is that credible positively supporting scientific evidence that supports whatever it is you think is actually causing the warming, and how do you justify it in light of the evidence that clearly shows an effect by increasing GHG’s? You’ve been asked for it repeatedly, yet for some reason it’s not forthcoming. Why is that?

  29. #29 adelady
    March 3, 2011

    Meanwhile, the fossils keep coming out of the ground and out from behind the bikeshed.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/coal-safe-come-hell-high-water-20110303-1bgl1.html

  30. #30 Sortition
    March 4, 2011

    Hi Gaz,

    > If there is a limited amount of emissions permits to go around, trading allows those who can make the most efficient economic use of them to get access to them. That’s not a new idea.

    Well, I don’t understand your position: if polluters do not get credit for existing pollution, what kind of trading will there be? All permits will be bought directly from the government – not so? Unless you are thinking about speculation in permits (buying permits from the government in order to sell them later to polluters for higher price), which sounds very likely, but doesn’t sound like it will be a positive development.

    > Do you mean the price elasticity of demand for energy?

    Yes.

    > And by “energy”, do you mean energy whose generation releases GHGs?

    No – any energy. This is returning to my main point from two years ago: The inelasticity of the demand for energy makes it impossible to predict the value of the permits because the polluters cannot predict how high the energy price will go before demand drops below the cap. This makes bidding for the permits a very risky financial instrument: bidders could easily either make a windfall profit or incur huge losses. (I would suggest that you briefly re-read our exchange from two years ago – I did. This could save re-covering a lot of old ground.)

    > Just a general point. I don’t want to defend the CPRS as rejected by the Australian Senate in December 2009.

    I agree – comparing ideal type vs. actual political plan doesn’t make sense. My point is about ideal type vs. ideal type. The best cap-and-trade – really, cap-and-permits, since no trade is involved – has polluters bidding for permits from the government. In such a situation, the only difference is that with the cap-and-permits policy the polluters need to speculate about the elasticity of demand, while with the tax policy, the elasticity is observed and drives the adjustment of the tax level, but there is no need to predict it ahead of time. (Again – see our previous discussion.)

  31. #31 jakerman
    March 4, 2011

    Excellent post [by Quiggin](http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2011/03/03/9539/):

    >*McCrann, in particular, is certainly capable of doing arithmetic when he chooses to. He correctly estimates that the revenue from a carbon tax is going to be between $10 and $12 billion a year, perhaps one quarter of the revenue raised by the GST. As McCrann wrote in 2009, ‘the carbon tax is going to arrive like a thief in the night; taking an extra $1 for every $4 plucked by the GST, which, in effect, is an increase in the GST from 10 to 12.5 per cent.’*

    >*At this point, it would be sufficient to observe that, if the GST at 10 per cent had none of the catastrophic effects predicted by Labor, a tax one-fourth the size is even less likely to have the catastrophic effects predicted by conservatives like McCrann. But we don’t need even to take that step. We can simply quote McCrann himself who, in August 2010, advocated raising the GST, not to 12.5 per cent, but to 15 per cent. Apparently, McCrann wants to destroy the economy twice over.*

  32. #32 Ken Fabos
    March 4, 2011

    Isn’t it time to give FB the attention he deserves and focus on reality? The point is Australia and Australians should be doing the most they are capable of rather than the least they can get away with. Sure, China burns a lot of coal and if they want to burn more there are plenty within Australia, from big business to government leaders who will do their best to sell it to them. No responsibility taken. I’m sure methamphetamine suppliers would be pleased to know that all harm is the responsibility of the users. And if we say we’ll continue to produce CO2 for as long as they do, surely the converse is true; if we continue to entrench further reliance on fossil fuels they will feel justified in doing so. More so given that their per capita use is still a fraction of ours and we’ve had the benefits of decades of unconstrained fossil fuel use. And the benefits of being the biggest coal exporter.

    So what will be the political and economic impacts to Australia of being a Carbon pollution pariah? Do people really think the rest of the world, especially the poorest ones that will feel the impacts hardest will fail to take note of who has been profiting most from making the situation worst? Do people think Australia could not ever be subject to trade sanctions?

  33. #33 adelady
    March 4, 2011

    My feeling is that fossil fuel incineration and selling the stuff will be seen in future years in much the same way as whale hunting. Modern people look askance, if not disgusted, at Japan’s commercial whaling and feel very uncomfortable about the allowances for indigenous and cultural exemptions to bans on whaling.

    They only take notice of our own former uses of whale products _ lamp oil, or whalebone corsets, or canned cat food with a little shiver of distaste when someone forces the nasty information under their noses. Maybe a shocked “How could you!”.

    “How could you!” will probably be the least of it in a generation or so’s time.

    That generation will be trying to speed up imitation geological carbon sequestration processes in more sophisticated ways than our crass approach to accelerating geological carbon release processes by incinerating stuff we dig up using machinery run by other stuff we dig up.

  34. #34 Flying Binghi
    March 6, 2011

    .

    via adelady #132; “…Modern people look askance, if not disgusted, at Japan’s commercial whaling and feel very uncomfortable about the allowances for indigenous and cultural exemptions to bans on whaling…”

    .

    via Tim Flannery;

    “…In terms of sustainability, you can’t be sure that the Japanese whaling is entirely unsustainable…”

    “…It’s hard to imagine that the whaling would lead to a new decline in population…”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/flannery-says-whaling-is-ok/story-e6freuy9-1111115216998

    .

    .

    .

  35. #35 Flying Binghi
    March 7, 2011

    .

    via Zetetic #127; “…post in reply to you. If you had you would have seen that I already cited some examples and provided a link to Scotland’s progress on the issue…”

    .

    Heh, Zetetic, Scotland has something like 85% of UK hydro power. Nothing like padding out the figures with a power source that’s been in use for over fifty years.

    Hydro is a very useful power source as has been demonstrated by Australia’s very own Snowy rivers scheme. IMO, we should be looking into more hydro/water supply dams in Oz.

    .

    A quick google exposes the reality of the UK wind power fiasco –

    “…Wind farms are failing to produce electricity when the temperatures drop, costing billions of pounds and potentially leading to blackouts, leading industrialists warned this week…”

    http://www.walletpop.co.uk/2011/01/10/failure-of-wind-farms-in-cold-weather-to-cost-billions/

    .

    .

    .

  36. #36 Zetetic
    March 7, 2011

    @ Flying Binghi #133:

    Way to miss adelady’s point there F.B.

    ==========================================================

    @ Flying Binghi #134:
    I noticed a few details that you conveniently left out of your post.

    You left out how in Texas during the recent unusually cold weather shut-down many of the fossil fuel powered plants, due to the cold, but the wind farm kept on producing electricity for many.

    Texas Wind Energy Comes Through in Ground Hog Storm

    You also seems to fail to consider that the placement and design of a wind generator has effect on it’s ability to perform in adverse weather.

    I also noticed that the article you cited had no links to any data or organizations to verify it’s story. Therefore, of course it makes perfect sense that you would trust it implicitly, while any thinking person would find it to be suspicious. So I did a little digging and the only thing that even came close to the story you cited was how denialists (much like you) were trying to stop further wind projects from being built. Funny that, isn’t it?

    While you are correct that Scotland has an abundance of hydro power available, you failed to note that most of it was already developed by the 1950′s and therefore most of the expansion is in other sources of renewable energy. Now why did you leave that little detail out? (Not that I expect better from someone that considers a book written by someone with fossil fuel industry ties to superseded the peer-reviewed science.) Was it for the same reason that, in the article I had earlier linked to, you failed to note that they were talking about expanding other sources of power and how they had “Scotland is blessed with abundant natural energy sources, particularly in our seas, and the figures follow a steady trend towards Scotland’s energy becoming greener and cleaner”? [emphasis added]

    So now you want to focus on wind?

    OK, how about Denmark heading to 50% of it’s power from wind alone?

    How Denmark manages its wind variability – paper launched today

    In the mean time I’m guessing that you’re expecting lots of blizzards on Australia to prevent the wind power from working? (Regardless of the fact that as Texas showed, wind power can work in blizzard conditions.)

    ===========================================================

    How amusing though, still no word on China’s change in policy.

    Still no credible scientific evidence that supports your position.

    Do you really think we haven’t noticed how you like to change the subject?

  37. #37 Flying Binghi
    March 7, 2011

    .

    via Zetetic #135; “…While you are correct that Scotland has an abundance of hydro power available, you failed to note that most of it was already developed by the 1950′s…”

    err actually, Zetetic, in my post #134, i wrote – “…Scotland has something like 85% of UK hydro power. Nothing like padding out the figures with a power source that’s been in use for over fifty years…”

    .

    .

    via Zetetic #135; “…You left out how in Texas during the recent unusually cold weather shut-down many of the fossil fuel powered plants, due to the cold,…”

    Hmmm, and ah though we was in Scotland …Heh.

    …anyway, apparently them Texas power plants had trouble with burst pipes due to it being a bit cold. Considering coal and gas fired power plants operate successfully in far colder climates, methinks the Texas plant operators got caught out by the cold – caint blame them really with all them climate hysteric muppets running around saying that due to global warming children will never again know what winter snow looks like.

    Having a further google look-see at the Texas wind power, apparently it don’t do much in summer when its needed the most ….Hmmm, the stupidity of building a half arsed power system that needs an entire coal/gas power plant infrastructure to back it up…. dum-de-dum-de-dumb…

    .

    .

    via Zetetic #135; “…article you cited…”

    Zetetic Yer want me to google up some different links ?

    .

    .

    via Zetetic #135; “…still no word on China’s change in policy…”

    Zetetic, as far as i know China is still buying up all the coal/gas mines it can. So no change in policy that i know.

    Considering China has astute political management and gets sent money to build wind power turbines and is one of the worlds largest manufacturers of wind turbines, i guess they will tell the climate hysteric muppets just what they want to hear – meanwhile, China’s coal mine buying actions tell us the reality…

    .

    .

    .

  38. #38 Zetetic
    March 7, 2011

    @ Flying Binghi #136:

    I apologize it was late and I missed that one detail.

    Regardless you still continue to miss the essential point that you missed twice now, that Scotland is going from a current level of 27% renewable, only some of which was hydro-electric to 80% renewable by 2030. In other words, No matter how you try to rationalize it away, that is a lot of renewable power that has nothing to do with hydro-electric since Scotland has already developed most of theirs. You seem to be trying to avoid that obvious point. I wonder why?

    Hmmm, and ah though we was in Scotland …Heh.

    You’re the one that brought up the effects of cold weather with your unverifiable story. The point is to demonstrate that even in weather that is cold enough to shut down fossil fuel plants in Texas, that wind can still keep working.

    So, I take your lack of response to my earlier question to mean that you are in fact expecting lots of blizzards in Australia to shut down the wind plants? How amusing.

    Regardless, that still ignores that there are other sources of power that can be combined with wind, and the goal with wind is to have several farms scattered over a very wide area, all feeding into the grid. This is so that if one farm does stop producing power (say if the wind stops) the others can take over, that’s where we get into the smart grid to distribute the power. Texas for example doesn’t do much of this since many in political power over in Texas “don’t trust dem big gubment prawjects“. This subject (energy distribution) was also noted in my earlier cite about Denmark.

    Considering coal and gas fired power plants operate successfully in far colder climates, methinks the Texas plant operators got caught out by the cold

    Yes, the weather was unusually cold, funny how that happened what with the Arctic warming faster than the reset of the world, pushing a cold air mass down across much of the USA. Just like the global warming models predicted might happen.

    caint blame them really with all them climate hysteric muppets running around saying that due to global warming children will never again know what winter snow looks like.

    Funny how the only people that seem to say this are the denialists. While the scientists talk about a wider range of increasingly extreme weather. It’s especially funny when many in Texas take pride in ignoring AGW, not to mention laws limiting polluting the air and water.

    But, I’m sure that you’ll have no trouble at all finding a cite for climate scientists claiming “children will never again know what winter snow looks like“, right?

    Hmmm, the stupidity of building a half arsed power system that needs an entire coal/gas power plant infrastructure to back it up…. dum-de-dum-de-dumb…

    Well F.B. I do have to agree that it was awfully dumb of you to get everything backwards there, although it is to be expected from a denialist. The fact of the matter is that it the coal/gas system that was there first and the wind power has been added slowly, and still only amounts to a small amount of Texas power. So as usual you have the reality of the situation reversed to fit your dogma.

    Having a further google look-see at the Texas wind power, apparently it don’t do much in summer when its needed the most

    Do you mean like this, from last March?
    Setting Wind Power Records in Texas
    Gee, I wonder if your story is going to be another unverifiable dead end from another denialist “news” site?

    ==========================================================

    Zetetic, as far as i know China is still buying up all the coal/gas mines it can. So no change in policy that i know.

    Ah but that was then, and policy changes take time to implement. While we still have to see what China will be doing in the future, their public statements indicate that they have become very aware of the problem with relying on coal. Only the most adamant of the denialists fails to see that poisoning your own food, air, and water from coal pollution is a bad idea in the long run. This means that China is a aware of a problem that you seem to insist on ignoring.

    So then, are you still going to maintain the irrational assertion that if your neighbor is poisoning you (and themselves) that you should poison yourself more?

    Considering China has astute political management and gets sent money to build wind power turbines and is one of the worlds largest manufacturers of wind turbines

    True. Funny though how if renewable energy is going to be such a futile effort that China is pouring so much of it’s resources into developing it? I also noticed that you left out China’s own expansion of their renewable power base, yet again.

    Funny how you consistently leave out those important little details that tend to undercut your denialism, isn’t it?

    ===========================================================

    Maybe you can tell us more about these blizzards you are expecting in Australia? I’d like to hear about them.

    So F.B have you finally found any credible positively supporting scientific evidence that positively supports your denialist position yet? You know, something other than a made-up statement in a book written by someone with fossil fuel industry ties?

    We’re still waiting… It can’t be that hard for you, right?

  39. #39 Flying Binghi
    March 7, 2011

    .

    Looks like i need to repeat post #62 again -

    The United Nations body in charge of managing carbon trading has suspended approvals for dozens of Chinese wind farms amid questions over the country’s use of industrial policy to obtain money under the scheme.

    China has been by far the biggest beneficiary of the so-called Clean Development Mechanism, a carbon trading system designed to direct funds from wealthy countries to developing nations to cut greenhouse gases

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/128a52de-deaf-11de-adff-00144feab49a.html#axzz1FQFJUDu8

    .

    …meanwhile, back in the real world, China continues to buy up the worlds coal mines.

    .

    .

    .

  40. #40 Zetetic
    March 7, 2011

    @ Flying Binghi #138:
    So, as usual, you’re going to ignore the previous points again rather than address them.

    Big surprise.

  41. #41 Gaz
    March 7, 2011

    Sortition (@129).

    Well, I don’t understand your position: if polluters do not get credit for existing pollution, what kind of trading will there be?

    Why should polluters get credit for existing pollution? The logical basis for an ETS is that anyone who wants to emit should buy the right to do it.

    There is a case for government subsidy to smooth the way to lower-emissions technology, and that could take the form of emissions credits or free permits or whatever. But that’s not an essential feature of an ETS, just way of helping the transition to occur because the world does not function as it does in textbooks (ie no uncertainty, perfect knowledge etc).

    Having to buy permits and allowing anyone to buy and sell them may be anathema to many people but our society is based on markets, like it or not. The alternative is for governments to tell people what to do, like the Peter Garrett’s insulation batts scheme or whatever Tony Abbott has in mind (direct action? Oh, please. )

    Sortition, you seem to think you can eliminate risk from this process.

    The inelasticity of the demand for energy makes it impossible to predict the value of the permits because the polluters cannot predict how high the energy price will go before demand drops below the cap.

    I don’t think whether demand is elastic (responds to price changes) or inelastic (doesn’t respond to price changes) is the issue, it’s estimating the response.

    Granted, there’s uncertainty about the effect of price on demand, and that makes it difficult to predict how how the price must go to reduce demand.

    But the same uncertainty also means it’s just as difficult to predict the correct level for the tax.

    That’s because policymakers polluters cannot predict how high the tax will go before demand drops below the target.

    In other words, a *cap and trade* will involve some risk in buying and selling permits – businesses might buy too many or too few, or buy them when the price is at a high and sell when it is low, thereby losing money.

    On the other hand, under a *carbon tax*, businesses will plan their production and investment in technology, based on what they predict the effect of the rising tax will have on customer demand and profitability, and they could turn out to be wrong, thereby losing money.

    There is also the *added risk under a carbon tax* that the government will change the rate and trajectory of the tax when *it* realises it miscalculated the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the tax, meaning businesses may thereby lose money.

    But risk is a part of business. And shifting energy prices are one of the biggest risks businesses worldwide have faced *and coped with rather effectively* over the past few decades.

    You can’t make risk go away.

    The best cap-and-trade – really, cap-and-permits, since no trade is involved – has polluters bidding for permits from the government.

    But a more efficient system would enable polluters to sell surplus permits to those who underestimated their needs, or to businesses which could make better use of them. Not allowing trading means that the worse businesses are at forecasting demand, the more negative the economic impact would be. In other words, it would magnify the negative effect of the uncertainty you are so concerned about.

    In such a situation, the only difference is that with the cap-and-permits policy the polluters need to speculate about the elasticity of demand, while with the tax policy, the elasticity is observed and drives the adjustment of the tax level, but there is no need to predict it ahead of time. (Again – see our previous discussion.)

    Sortition, of course businesses needed to speculate about the price elasticity of demand – under either system.

    How many permits to buy (based on how much you intend to emit) is an important question for emitters under an ETS.
    But the question doesn’t go away under a tax.

    How much you produce and how you produce it depends on the effect of the tax, which has to be forecast based on some estimate of price elasticity of demand.

    Sure, the elasticity is observed and drives the adjustment of the tax level, but that’s not much help to a business implementing a 5 or 10 year investment program.

    Just a final point, I think it’s a mistake many people make to assume pricing carbon will drive change through the effect on consumer behaviour. The important thing is to change business investment in technology.

    Even given uncertainty about the effect on final demand, a tax or a permit price will change the profitability of different technologies. That’s what’s going to drive change.

  42. #42 jakerman
    March 7, 2011

    >*meanwhile, back in the real world, China continues to buy up the worlds coal mines.*

    Meanwhile back in the real world the emmission of rich nations like Australia is more than 4 time greater per capita than China’s. If we are going to achieve a global agreement reduce emission we to reduce this gap by taking a leadership role in slashing our emissions by transforming our energy sector. And/Or we need to compensate China etc to aid them to take an cleaner development path than the one we took.

  43. #43 Sortition
    March 8, 2011

    Gaz,

    I disagree with much of what you wrote. You still have not provided a single advantage for a permits policy (with or without trading) over a tax policy. The stories about the wonders of trade I find unconvincing, to put it mildly. They are exactly the kind of stories that we were told about the wonders of trading mortgages.

    However, I would like to move the discussion forward so how about we proceed by attempting to flesh out your proposal. Can you suggest what you think would be a reasonable emission cap schedule?

    How about a 5% a year for 20 years? That will put you at two-thirds reduction 20 years from now compared to current levels. That sounds like a relatively modest goal.

    If that sounds right, what do you think will be the price of energy 5 years from the starting point? After 5 years, the public would have to emit 22.6% less carbon than today. That would put the per-capita carbon emissions at about 1950 levels. Do you really think this can be done in the space of 5 years without decreases in energy consumption driven by dramatic increases in energy costs? Do you really think that within 5 years new technologies would emerge which would yield the desired emission reductions purely or mostly through energy efficiency and non-polluting energy production? If so, why didn’t those technologies emerge as economically viable over the last decade, in which energy prices (and particularly gasoline prices) increased significantly? Why has neither energy production technology nor energy consumption per capita changed over the last decade? Why has neither car propulsion technology nor gasoline consumption per capita changed over the last decade?

  44. #44 Gaz
    March 8, 2011

    Hi Sortition,

    I’m sorry you aren’t convinced by the “wonders of trade”.

    Presumably you would then want the government to close the following markets and give some board or committee the job of allocating:

    Jobs

    All durable consumer goods

    All non-durable consumer goods, including food

    Electricity, water, fuel, sewerage services

    All serivces including restaurant meals, holiday
    accommodiation and travel

    Motor Vehicles

    Plant and equipment

    Land, housing and other buildings

    All mineral commodities

    Finance

    And anything else which is bought and sold in a market.

    Alternatively, you could just take a trip to North Korea and let us know your assessment of “the wonders” of non-market economies.

    Sure, markets have to be regulated properly and we know what happens if they aren’t but by and large they work, something which you adherence to a carbon tax implies quite unambiguously.

    Unlike you I’m not a proponent of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    As for all your other questions, why are you asking me? The technical or economic viability of any given trajectory of emmissions reductions applies pretty much to tax or cap.

  45. #45 Sortition
    March 9, 2011

    The “go live in North Korea” maneuver is pathetically worn-out. Anyway, moving on.

    > As for all your other questions, why are you asking me? The technical or economic viability of any given trajectory of emmissions reductions applies pretty much to tax or cap.

    I would think this is obvious. These question try to examine your claim that emission reductions would be achieved without changing the lifestyle of the average American. If this is to happen, at least one of two things must occur – either huge efficiency gains must be made, reducing the consumption of energy without affecting the lifestyle, or cheap, non-polluting energy resources have to be developed. My point is that if either of those were technologically feasible, we should have seen them emerging during the run-up of energy prices of the last decade.

    Since neither efficiency, nor non-polluting energy made any substantial gains over the last decade, why should we believe they would suddenly appear in the near future, without dramatic increases in energy cost beyond the already increased level? If energy costs increase dramatically the consumption behavior of the average American will surely be affected.

  46. #46 Sortition
    March 9, 2011

    By the way, in typical American fashion I wrote about “American lifestyle”. This applies to other Western countries as well (although most of those start from a somewhat better baseline in varying degrees).

  47. #47 jakerman
    March 9, 2011

    Abbott (the leader of John Humphreys’ party) is proposing the same targets for emissions cuts as the ALP (5% below 2000 levels by 2020). Tony Abbott and John Humphreys need to answer these questions:

    1) How much will Abbott’s direct action plan cost the tax payer (per tonne of CO2)?

    2) How will his direct action plan lead to development of low carbon energy, as opposed to simply offsetting emissions from dirty energy?

    3) If his plan does little to promote development of low carbon energy, how will this affect Australia when fossil fuel becomes more expensive?

  48. #48 Iain Hall
    March 22, 2011

    I just want to say that the suggestion that the “Iain” who posted comments at the beginning of this thread is me are totally wrong.

    If I wished to post comemnts here I would do so under my full name and linking to my home page (as I do in this comment)
    For my views on this particular aspect of the climate change debate Warministas ore cordially invited to drop by my blog where they will be welcomed for civil debate.

  49. #49 Vince whirlwind
    March 23, 2011

    It is noted that Iain Hall does not accept expert professional advice on this matter from the properly qualified Australian scientific research organisations.

    What are the implications for good governance when politicians refuse to take proper evidence-based technical advice in favour of accepting inexpert advice for the purpose of confirming their ideological bias?

  50. #50 Chris O'Neill
    March 23, 2011

    Warministas ore cordially invited to drop by my blog where they will be welcomed for civil debate

    They’ll get civil debate allright. That’s why they’re called Warministas.

  51. #51 Iain Hall
    March 24, 2011

    Vince
    Just accepting any argument from authority as you are suggesting does not make any sense for a thinking individual, especially when those saying “trust me” are “climate scientists” who have a vested interest in there being an AGW industry that gets lots of money for “research”

    Chris O’Neill
    I may call AGW believers “Warminisitas” But how many of you insist on calling AGW sceptics “deniers”???
    Its horses for courses to give our interlocutors in this debate with our favourite labels what surely matters is that no one gets personally abusive.

  52. #52 Lotharsson
    March 24, 2011

    > …Just accepting any argument from authority as you are suggesting does not make any sense for a thinking individual…

    You’re right. They first have to think about whether they are personally qualified to assess the science themselves, and if not what kinds of bodies or groups would be the best bet to delegate that kind of assessment to – and what the chances are that an overwhelming consensus amongst the professionally qualified scientists in the field is badly wrong.

    Then the thinking individuals who don’t have their own climate science expertise will mostly figure that national scientific bodies reporting on an overwhelming professional consensus complete with masses of evidence and documentation of the procedures used to reach it are a far better bet than pretty much all of the bodies and individuals who disagree with that consensus.

    > … especially when those saying “trust me” are “climate scientists” who have a vested interest in there being an AGW industry that gets lots of money for “research”…

    When you use scare quotes around the word “research” and “climate scientists”, you are implying that they are not actually climate scientists and not actually conducting research.

    On what basis do you form that opinion, and on what basis do you assert that your opinion is accurate?

    And no, they don’t have a vested interest in AGW itself. They have a vested interest in there being money for research – no scare quotes needed – either in the climate, or in other fields which they could equally well apply themselves to if there were no important climate questions left to study. And it would be foolish to pretend that understanding the climate system is not pretty damn important even if they were to find that AGW was not a problem.

    You also seem to be unaware that the vast majority of the “lots of money for “research”" you refer to goes to satellite monitoring programs. We’d still want to do that even if AGW were not a concern.

    And one should also note that there is a lifetime of kudos, boundless professional opportunity, a Nobel Prize and widespread fame on offer for any scientist who can prove that anthropogenic factors are not significantly influencing the climate. You’d think if as you imply a whole bunch of scientists were conspiring to suppress the truth that someone would step up to claim these prizes, no? Why haven’t they?

    And if you’re going to talk about vested interests…how about them fossil fuel industries, heh?

    > “But how many of you insist on calling AGW sceptics “deniers”???”

    I only call people deniers if they deny the fairly clear facts – such as the facts that “climate scientists” are actual scientists, and there “research” is actual research, and that there is a great deal of evidence that says it’s far more likely than not that human influences are significantly contributing to ongoing warming.

    You seem to be angling to be in that category.

  53. #53 Wow
    March 24, 2011

    “Chris O’Neill I may call AGW believers “Warminisitas” But how many of you insist on calling AGW sceptics “deniers”???”

    Because Warministas means nothing. We say it’s warm outside?!?

    However, AGW skeptics are not called deniers. Because you’re not a skeptic, you’re a denier. As in you’re shown evidence and deny it is valid.

    The FACT that you state AGW skeptic as your moniker when skepticism is not skepticism ABOUT ONE THING shows that you are not a skeptic but just wish to state that AGW is not a problem.

    Funnily enough, all the self-proclaimed skeptics who deny AGW have multitudinous (well over a hundred) different explanations of what is going on, but they’re incompatible with each other, the only thing they have in common is “it’s not what the IPCC says it is”.

    Not once will one of them go and be skeptical of someone who thinks it’s not warming when they think it is but it’s due to some lensing effect they’ll discover any day now, honest.

    Most self-proclaimed skeptics actually have nothing to their mantra other than “it’s not what the IPCC says” which absolves them of this problem but does rather mean they fit the dictionary definition of denier.

    It’s horses for courses. If you don’t like “denier” then start being a skeptic.

  54. #54 Chris O'Neill
    March 24, 2011

    Iain Hall:

    Chris O’Neill I may call AGW believers “Warminisitas” But how many of you insist on calling AGW sceptics “deniers”??? Its horses for courses to give our interlocutors in this debate with our favourite labels what surely matters is that no one gets personally abusive.

    You can call people warministas if you like but it’s so obviously silly because it implies that you don’t accept that warming is occurring, regardless of the cause. Anyone who doesn’t accept that warming is occurring is in plain denial of a lot of facts.

    So call people warministas if you like but it comes with a big red flag that says “I deny that it’s warming”.

  55. #55 Bernard J.
    March 24, 2011

    Iain Hall.

    You expect to be taken seriously on the matter of objective delineation of climate science. Unfortunately for you, you have failed to convince me to sign up as a potential member of your audience by your inability to title your posts objectively: to wit – “Being Bob’s Biatch…” as a heading for your opinion on the protest against climate change science and carbon pricing. The protestor’s sign to which you refer said “BITCH”, Iain Hall, not “Biatch” – there’s no benefit in being all coy and demure about what those on the ignorant side say.

    However, that’s just a simple snark. What struck me as somewhat more incongruous with objectivity was your claim:

    Of more concern to me is the lack of an apostrophe to designate the possessive case in the word “Browns”. It is usually the left who make such basic orthographic errors and I am deeply disturbed that one of my fellow conservative/sceptics has been remiss enough to have missed the most important punctuation marks from their placard…

    In my experience in dealing with lay people on non-scientific fora, it is overwhelmingly the conservative right that harbours the ill-educated folk who have difficulty in appropriate apostrophising.

    Of course, this is simply my personal experience, but that’s the point – I predicate my observation as such. Your sweeping generalisation indicates both an inadequate assessment of the reality of who does what with apostrophies, and a preparedness to base your opinions on less than evidence.

    For these reasons I dismiss your pratings.

    Oh, and there’s the small, specific matter of your cavalier denial of the work of thousands of professional scientists. Which, in the end, is really the substantive point anyway…

  56. #56 Lotharsson
    March 24, 2011

    > Of more concern to me is the lack of an apostrophe to designate the possessive case in the word “Browns”. It is usually the left who make such basic orthographic errors…

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    It took five seconds on Iain’s website to find Iain making basic errors of grammar and punctuation:

    > To be honest I have been amazed at the rancour of the many minions of the left over the pithy signs at this rally its not as if the minions of the left have never been lacking in good taste or due respect to the leaders of the nation when the coalition have been the subject of the people’s ire in public protests, In my youth I vividly remember…

    Count the errors in that one fraction of a sentence – errors including misuse of the apostrophe – in the very post where he chides people for misusing the apostrophe.

    Perhaps he’s doing it as performance art or satire.

    Unfortunately it seems more likely that it’s merely Dunning-Kruger at work.

  57. #57 Lotharsson
    March 24, 2011

    And for those who like to keep score at home, that quote is not the only misuse of the apostrophe that Iain engages in, even when restricting consideration to merely the front page of his blog.

  58. #58 Bernard J.
    March 24, 2011

    And for those who like to keep score at home, that quote is not the only misuse of the apostrophe that Iain engages in, even when restricting consideration to merely the front page of his blog.

    Omigod! Iain Hall must be one of those lefty commie bastards wot cant spell or grammerate!

  59. #59 Eli Rabett
    March 24, 2011

    Academic smack. Eli loves that game.

    Iain Hall’s moma can’t spell his given name, but wadda u xpect she’s an adjunct

  60. #60 Iain Hall
    March 24, 2011

    Well my rather innocuous comments seem to have generated a whirlwind of response

    Lotharsson

    …Just accepting any argument from authority as you are suggesting does not make any sense for a thinking individual…

    You’re right. They first have to think about whether they are personally qualified to assess the science themselves, and if not what kinds of bodies or groups would be the best bet to delegate that kind of assessment to – and what the chances are that an overwhelming consensus amongst the professionally qualified scientists in the field is badly wrong.

    My point here is that any “argument from authority” is generally considered to be a very poor way to argue about the details of any scientific question especially in a forum that is open to the scientific laity. Further you compound the weak argument by suggesting that “consensus ” proves anything in scientific terms when it is quite clear that it does no such thing(until Copernicus demonstrated that the earth was not the centre of our solar system the consensus used to be that the sun rotated around this planet didn’t it?)

    Then the thinking individuals who don’t have their own climate science expertise will mostly figure that national scientific bodies reporting on an overwhelming professional consensus complete with masses of evidence and documentation of the procedures used to reach it are a far better bet than pretty much all of the bodies and individuals who disagree with that consensus.

    So what you are saying here is that we should all just bow down to those who are suitably anointed by the priests of the green faith and don’t dare to ask the most basic questions like “can you actually provide a proof for the AGW theory that meets the requirements of the scientific method? Or can you provide an accurate value for the climate’s sensitivity to Co2?

    … especially when those saying “trust me” are “climate scientists” who have a vested interest in there being an AGW industry that gets lots of money for “research”…

    When you use scare quotes around the word “research” and “climate scientists”, you are implying that they are not actually climate scientists and not actually conducting research.

    On what basis do you form that opinion, and on what basis do you assert that your opinion is accurate?

    No That is the implication that you are choosing to draw from my using quotation marks in that context You are making a straw-man argument here and all that I am implying here is that the cult of the “expert” to which you so obviously subscribe is not something that we should bow down to in an age when ordinary folk can have a say in the matters that will affect our lives

    And no, they don’t have a vested interest in AGW itself. They have a vested interest in there being money for research – no scare quotes needed – either in the climate, or in other fields which they could equally well apply themselves to if there were no important climate questions left to study. And it would be foolish to pretend that understanding the climate system is not pretty damn important even if they were to find that AGW was not a problem.

    I think that you will find that I said that they had a vested interest in the AGW Industry and that is certainly true because without the ongoing scare campaign many of those involved in climate research would be unemployed.

    You also seem to be unaware that the vast majority of the “lots of money for “research”" you refer to goes to satellite monitoring programs. We’d still want to do that even if AGW were not a concern.

    The majority? Oh please provide some proof for this assertion because it sounds like you just made that up.

    And one should also note that there is a lifetime of kudos, boundless professional opportunity, a Nobel Prize and widespread fame on offer for any scientist who can prove that anthropogenic factors are not significantly influencing the climate. You’d think if as you imply a whole bunch of scientists were conspiring to suppress the truth that someone would step up to claim these prizes, no? Why haven’t they?

    The other side of that same coin is obviously “Why has no scientist definitely proven that anthropogenic factors ARE significantly influencing the climate?” because for all of the words and papers uttered in favour of the AGW theory no one has quite managed to do this now have they?

    And if you’re going to talk about vested interests…how about them fossil fuel industries, heh?

    How much has been spent by the “fossil fuel industries” to argue against the AGW theory and how much money has been extracted from government and industry for AGW research?

    I only call people deniers if they deny the fairly clear facts – such as the facts that “climate scientists” are actual scientists, and there “research” is actual research, and that there is a great deal of evidence that says it’s far more likely than not that human influences are significantly contributing to ongoing warming.

    You seem to be angling to be in that category.

    As I suggested earlier you are fighting your own straw man here rather than addressing my actual argument but that is not unusual for you is it Lothorsson?

    Wow

    “Chris O’Neill I may call AGW believers “Warminisitas” But how many of you insist on calling AGW sceptics “deniers”???”

    Because Warministas means nothing. We say it’s warm outside?!?

    However, AGW skeptics are not called deniers. Because you’re not a skeptic, you’re a denier. As in you’re shown evidence and deny it is valid.

    The FACT that you state AGW skeptic as your moniker when skepticism is not skepticism ABOUT ONE THING shows that you are not a skeptic but just wish to state that AGW is not a problem.

    So I make it clear that my scepticism is on this occasion specifically about the theory of AGW , which is absolutely accurate in this context, for you to suggest that my scepticism is not broad enough is just ludicrous because only an idiot would think that being specific about one issue means that it is the only thing that I am sceptical about.

    Funnily enough, all the self-proclaimed skeptics who deny AGW have multitudinous (well over a hundred) different explanations of what is going on, but they’re incompatible with each other, the only thing they have in common is “it’s not what the IPCC says it is”.

    Isn’t it the responsibility of those who are proposing a theory (like AGW) to prove their theory? Well it was when I learned about science…

    Not once will one of them go and be skeptical of someone who thinks it’s not warming when they think it is but it’s due to some lensing effect they’ll discover any day now, honest.

    But where you fall down is to assume that being an AGW sceptic means that someone has to doubt that it is warming (or that the climate may be changing) neither is necessary (or accurate in my case) all that one has to be is doubtful that the argument for human responsibility for any observed changes has been proven.

    Most self-proclaimed skeptics actually have nothing to their mantra other than “it’s not what the IPCC says” which absolves them of this problem but does rather mean they fit the dictionary definition of denier.

    It’s horses for courses. If you don’t like “denier” then start being a skeptic.

    Well I speak for no one but myself and my argument is simply that the AGW theory is unproven and those who claim otherwise have the onus of proof and they have failed to provide it.

    Posted by: Chris O’Neill | March 24, 2011 7:13 AM

    You can call people warministas if you like but it’s so obviously silly because it implies that you don’t accept that warming is occurring, regardless of the cause. Anyone who doesn’t accept that warming is occurring is in plain denial of a lot of facts.

    So call people warministas if you like but it comes with a big red flag that says “I deny that it’s warming”.

    Sorry to disappoint you Chris but that is an incorrect implication , I call AGW enthusiasts Warministas because it is making an oblique reference to the left-wing guerillas from Nicaragua ( the Sandinistas) as I said a little earlier in this response its not the warming or climate change that I dispute, its the amount of human responsibility for that change that is the real issue isn’t it?

    Lotharsson

    You expect to be taken seriously on the matter of objective delineation of climate science. Unfortunately for you, you have failed to convince me to sign up as a potential member of your audience by your inability to title your posts objectively: to wit – “Being Bob’s Biatch…” as a heading for your opinion on the protest against climate change science and carbon pricing. The protestor’s sign to which you refer said “BITCH”, Iain Hall, not “Biatch” – there’s no benefit in being all coy and demure about what those on the ignorant side say.

    The title of my post is a Rap culture reference if you really need to know and since when does any writer of a blog have an obligation to meet any standard of “objectivity” when writing about politics? Because despite your suggestion to the contrary that is what my post is about, the politics of protest and the ridiculous faux outrage about a couple of signs at a rally.

    However, that’s just a simple snark. What struck me as somewhat more incongruous with objectivity was your claim:

    [...]In my experience in dealing with lay people on non-scientific fora, it is overwhelmingly the conservative right that harbours the ill-educated folk who have difficulty in appropriate apostrophising.

    Of course, this is simply my personal experience, but that’s the point – I predicate my observation as such. Your sweeping generalisation indicates both an inadequate assessment of the reality of who does what with apostrophies(sic), and a preparedness to base your opinions on less than evidence.

    Well my experience has been contrary to yours, especially when it comes to the younger generation who are forever texting or putting their thoughts out on twitter, they seem to be entirely oblivious when it comes to the use of the apostrophe to designate the possessive case. We will just have to agree to disagree on this.

    For these reasons I dismiss your partings(sic).

    Oh, and there’s the small, specific matter of your cavalier denial of the work of thousands of professional scientists. Which, in the end, is really the substantive point anyway…

    I have never denied that thousands of scientists who are paid for their work do research, what I have said is that they have a way to go when it comes to proving the AGW theory and that those who suggest otherwise are at best being elastic with the concept of scientific proof or don’t understand it in the first place.

    Lothorsson

    Pot. Kettle. Black. (ect)

    Wearing your Subbie’s hat are you ?

    Count the errors in that one fraction of a sentence – errors including misuse of the apostrophe – in the very post where he chides people for misusing the apostrophe.

    Perhaps he’s doing it as performance art or satire.

    Unfortunately it seems more likely that it’s merely Dunning-Kruger at work.

    I am absolutely humble about my abilities and understanding of science, you on the other hand are deluded enough to think that if you genuflect to authority with enough sincerity then any argument that you put forward will be definitive and beyond challenge, sadly for you your foray into debate here proves otherwise.

    156And for those who like to keep score at home, that quote is not the only misuse of the apostrophe that Iain engages in, even when restricting consideration to merely the front page of his blog.

    Really?

    Like who cares? Its a personal blog and I make no claims for spelling perfection and I am not a professional word smith like you are. How is the Book coming BTW? Care to send me a copy for review?

    Cheers

    Iain Hall

  61. #61 adelady
    March 24, 2011

    Iain, first things first.

    Theré isn’t any “AGW theory”. There’s ‘climate science’ which examines and explains the past and present climate. AGW is merely a sub-set of the general science because, at present, that is the major observable event in climate.

    If the major influence on climate of the last 60+ years were a warming/ cooling sun or an upsurge/decline in volcanic activity, that would most likely be the focus of more research. As it happens, those things are researched anyway, to examine whether they could explain all or most of the climate phenomena that we see.

    “AGW theory” is just the outcome of careful research showing that those other factors are minor or, in the case of the sun, actually providing a cooling effect over the last 20+ years. The research also shows that the predicted effects of gases having certain properties are borne out by the evidence.

  62. #62 Iain Hall
    March 24, 2011

    Adelady

    AGW is a theory that suggests that the extra emissions from human activity is the major driver of the observed climate change but there is no definitive proof of this assertion.

  63. #63 jakerman
    March 24, 2011

    Iain Hall has some explaining to do, I’ll list [some of his arguments](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/carbon_tax_back_flips.php#comment-3515070) as examples:

    >*you compound the weak argument by suggesting that “consensus ” proves anything in scientific terms*
    Is that true Iain, did someone here really suggest that suggesting that *”consensus ” proves anything in scientific terms*? Can you show us who made such a claim?

    Iain continues:
    >* So what you are saying here is that we should all just bow down to those who are suitably anointed by the priests of the green faith and don’t dare to ask the most basic questions like “can you actually provide a proof for the AGW theory that meets the requirements of the scientific method? Or can you provide an accurate value for the climate’s sensitivity to Co2?*

    Is that really what was said or this just the straw that you’d prefer to argue rather than address the really issues? If you are actually interested in climate sensitivity we [can discuss that](http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-sensitivity-advanced.htm).
    BTW, Last time I looked proof was not how science operated, science is based on the preponderance of evidence. Maths is based on proofs.

    >*”Why has no scientist definitely proven that anthropogenic factors ARE significantly influencing the climate?” because for all of the words and papers uttered in favour of the AGW theory no one has quite managed to do this now have they?*

    Would you like a pink unicorn to go with your impossible standard Iain. You seem very attached to this not scientific standard call proof. Let me redirect your interest to the actual scientific standard of preponderance of available evidence.

    I counted (roughly) eleven times were you made your argument about the proof or lack of re AGW. I hope you now realize this is a pink unicorn strawman argument relying on an non-scientific impossible standard. I suggest if you are interested in a scientific argument, that you move to the scientific standard of evidence.

    (make that 12 bogus times with your response to Adelady.)

  64. #64 jakerman
    March 24, 2011

    Iain Hall writes:

    >I think that you will find that I said that [climate researchers] had a vested interest in the AGW Industry and that is certainly true because without the ongoing scare campaign many of those involved in climate research would be unemployed.*

    Mmm, and same for those cancer reserchers. And the Alzheimer’s reserchers. I guess we can expect the Medical association to begin advancing laxer public health standards so they can increase their customer base and employment opportunities?

  65. #65 Vince whirlwind
    March 24, 2011

    Clearly, Iain Hall is a denier. He does not accept authoritative expert scientific opinions, but he does give credence to the ideas of fringe-living cranks.
    He can’t explain why all the properly-qualified are wrong, and seems to think the science is something that’s up for “debate” by people who don’t have the skills, training or knowledge to contribute to it. The sole justification he supplies is a vague and laughable accusation of corruption against scientists. The fact that none of them drive Ferraris doesn’t seem to register with him.

    Ultimately, Iain will take his place in history alongside Tony Abbott and the rest of the deluded and ideological anti-science kooks.

    If he were willing to accept any advice, I would offer this: think of your reputation and discard ideology before bringing proper analytic skills to this issue. It’s not just your own career that is on the line, the credibility of the Liberal Party itself is at stake, and things are not looking too good so far. Get Malcolm to explain it to you if you’re having trouble – not everybody in the Liberal Party has allowed itself to be fooled by the cranks and kooks who agitate on this issue.

  66. #66 Iain Hall
    March 24, 2011

    jakerman

    Iain Hall has some explaining to do, I’ll list some of his arguments as examples:

    {…}

    Iain continues:

    {…}

    Is that really what was said or this just the straw that you’d prefer to argue rather than address the really issues? If you are actually interested in climate sensitivity we can discuss that. BTW, Last time I looked proof was not how science operated, science is based on the preponderance of evidence. Maths is based on proofs.

    {…}

    Would you like a pink unicorn to go with your impossible standard Iain. You seem very attached to this not scientific standard call proof. Let me redirect your interest to the actual scientific standard of preponderance of available evidence.

    I counted (roughly) eleven times were you made your argument about the proof or lack of re AGW. I hope you now realize this is a pink unicorn strawman argument relying on an non-scientific impossible standard. I suggest if you are interested in a scientific argument, that you move to the scientific standard of evidence.

    (make that 12 bogus times with your response to Adelady.)

    What is so wrong with wanting a high standard of proof for a theory that is the foundation for calls to change every aspect of our economy and our lives? Frankly if you are happy to have every aspect of human life and culture on this planet changed on the basis of such weak evidence doesn’t that suggest that you are working on the basis of faith rather than empirical science?

    Further your link to the article about climate sensitivity just demonstrates the problem in that aspect of the theory, namely there is not even a consensus of just what the climate sensitivity is

     

    Mmm, and same for those cancer reserchers. And the Alzheimer’s reserchers. I guess we can expect the Medical association to begin advancing laxer public health standards so they can increase their customer base and employment opportunities?

    Actually that is a rather poor analogy because it is pretty well known how both of those diseases work (which does not mean a cure or a treatment is pending) but there is some rather blatant examples of researchers manipulating research to make more money while the results for patients are at best questionable.

  67. #67 Chris O'Neill
    March 24, 2011

    Iain Hall:

    Sorry to disappoint you Chris but that is an incorrect implication , I call AGW enthusiasts Warministas because it is making an oblique reference to the left-wing guerillas from Nicaragua ( the Sandinistas) as I said a little earlier in this response its not the warming or climate change that I dispute, its the amount of human responsibility for that change that is the real issue isn’t it?

    You still don’t get the point. Since you accept that it’s warming it makes as much sense to call you a warminista too. What do you think the word “warm” means? Don’t you think it’s a bit silly everyone calling everyone else warmininistas? (Apart from the people who are completely in denial of warming).

  68. #68 Lotharsson
    March 24, 2011

    > My point here is that any “argument from authority” is …a very poor way to argue about the details of any scientific question especially in a forum that is open to the scientific laity.

    Er, disregarding the illogic of implying that argument from authority has no place in a forum frequented by people who don’t have any scientific expertise of their own…

    …you missed my point.

    See my comments after the next quote:

    > …by suggesting that “consensus ” proves anything in scientific terms…

    No, no, no. This is not my argument at all. Nuances matter.

    I argue that if one is incompetent to assess the science oneself, as you seem to acknowledge that you are:

    > I am absolutely humble about my abilities and understanding of science…

    …then one needs to move on to a different method of determining one’s belief about what is most likely true.

    A reasonable method is to accept that while it is possible that an overwhelming consensus amongst qualified scientists will turn out to be wrong, (a) it is rather unlikely, and (b) until such time as evidence turns up to lend significant support to the idea that it might be wrong it’s wise to assume that it’s right, and (c) clinging to arguments as to why the consensus is wrong that sound good to amateurs in the pub but don’t hold any sway with scientists who know their stuff is idiotic.

    I’m more than happy to hear arguments as to why the consensus is wrong, but they have to pass scientific muster! Point (c) is especially important for those who aren’t scientifically competent themselves, and it’s the one that’s most often violated.

    And none of this applies to those competent to assess the science, which reinforces that I’m not arguing that scientific consensus is always correct.

    > So what you are saying here is that we should all just bow down to those who are suitably anointed by the priests of the green faith…

    Er, no. I see comprehension is not your strong point, and you’ve somehow determined that the scientists are en masse making … what, fraudulent claims on behalf of an ideology other than a search for scientific truth?

    So…once more with feeling – if you aren’t scientifically capable yourself, then making an argument that “I don’t believe the science” without backing it up in terms that pass scientific muster with those who are actually competent in the appropriate scientific field is … well, Dunning-Krugeresque, for starters.

    And your assertion that somehow the national science bodies are captive to “high priests of the green faith” is … interesting, and apparently unsupported by any evidence. How did you come to this belief? Do you assert that you think you understand the science deeply enough to make this conclusion? Or are you … appealing to some authority?

    > …don’t dare to ask the most basic questions like “can you actually provide a proof for the AGW theory that meets the requirements of the scientific method?”

    Please! That question is asked all the time!

    What the heck do you think climate scientists studying AGW – and creating IPCC reports – have been working on? Perhaps your misapprehension is due to a flawed understanding of “the scientific method”. (There is a common denialist meme that operates just like this…)

    > Or can you provide an accurate value for the climate’s sensitivity to Co2?

    Don’t be obtuse.

    Can you provide an accurate value for how deeply the front end of my car will be crushed if I drive it off this cliff? Should the lack of an accurate value mean that I should not be worried for my safety if I start driving towards it? Or does the reasonable uncertainty bounds for that value imply that I really don’t want to do so?

    > That is the implication that you are choosing to draw from my using quotation marks in that context

    Indeed, because that is what “scare quotes” mean, making it hard to draw any other implication. If you don’t realise this, then you probably shouldn’t use them.

    > The majority? Oh please provide some proof for this assertion because it sounds like you just made that up.

    Google is a remedy for your ignorance.

    > …because without the ongoing scare campaign many of those involved in climate research would be unemployed.

    On what basis do you make this claim? Please provide some proof for this assertion because it sounds like you just made that up. And on the other hand, we have actual working scientists commenting on this blog asserting otherwise.

    > The other side of that same coin is obviously “Why has no scientist definitely proven that anthropogenic factors ARE significantly influencing the climate?” because for all of the words and papers uttered in favour of the AGW theory no one has quite managed to do this now have they?

    No, it’s not the other side of the coin. You reveal your lack of understanding of science by claiming that it is.

    Science operates with uncertainty and likelihood bounds, and within reasonable bounds scientists have proven what you claim they have not. You can assert that they have not done so, but so far your assertions on that point are merely unsupported and non-scientific bluster. You seem to be echoing classic “high-proofer” or Popperian fundamentalist memers – stances that I’m betting you don’t apply to other scientific results that you leverage in daily life.

    > The title of my post is a Rap culture reference…

    I didn’t write the quote to which you were responding there, and yes, I got the rap culture reference.

    > Wearing your Subbie’s hat are you ?

    I don’t know what a Subbie is or why it should be capitalised. I do know something about stones and glass houses though.

    > …you … are deluded enough to think that if you genuflect to authority with enough sincerity then any argument that you put forward will be definitive and beyond challenge…

    Not at all! I’m more than happy to have my arguments challenged – it’s how errors in my thinking are corrected. But I also know there are questions I’m not competent to answer, and in those cases I try to look for those who are. I note that this is not a universal practice.

    And I merely insist that the merit of any scientific argument cannot be reliably assessed … unfortunately rather tautologically, but apparently it’s necessary … by those who aren’t equipped to assess the science. Being suitably equipped includes a reasonably broad knowledge of the particular field in question so that one can weigh all the evidence, not just a subset that someone would like you to focus on.

    And I also note that many of the “skeptics” and “deniers” are (a) clearly not equipped to assess the science, if only because they insist on scientific “facts” that scientists have clearly refuted, and (b) clearly make assertions such as “the scientists haven’t proved AGW” that either (i) rely on the assumption that they are so equipped, or (ii) rely on appeal to some perceived authority – which wouldn’t be very smart if they were also arguing that appeal to authority in arguments about science on blogs is not useful or valid.

  69. #69 Lotharsson
    March 24, 2011

    > Frankly if you are happy to have every aspect of human life and culture on this planet changed on the basis of such weak evidence doesn’t that suggest that you are working on the basis of faith rather than empirical science?

    Good god. Really?

    The evidence is quite strong. Saying it’s weak doesn’t make it so. You have to provide a reasonable argument for that assertion.

    So feel free to explain why you assert that the evidence is weak, without resorting to argument from authority. References would be really helpful. You’ll find copious references to evidence and logic in the sections of the IPCC reports that deal with the case for AGW – you should probably go through the vast majority of those and show how they are outweighed by other evidence and logic. And if you want any credibility you should check your arguments and evidence before you publish to make sure climate scientists haven’t already assessed and dismissed them as bogus or irrelevant.

    I look forward to reading your argument.

    But really, “every aspect of human life and culture”? Remind me who’s supposedly running a scare campaign here?

  70. #70 jakerman
    March 24, 2011

    Iain Hall writes:
    >*What is so wrong with wanting a high standard of proof*

    I’ve explained what is wrong with it. “Proof’ is not a scientist standard. You may has well ask for a pink unicorn. Your continued adherence to this pink unicorn standard is denial of how science operates.

    Iain reverts to his strawman fallacious tactic:

    >* Frankly if you are happy to have every aspect of human life and culture on this planet changed on the basis of such weak evidence*

    You haven’t debated, let along establish, the strength of the evidence, so how do you know the evidence is weak?

    Iain continues:

    >*Actually [cancer & Alzheimer's research] is a rather poor analogy because it is pretty well known how both of those diseases work (which does not mean a cure or a treatment is pending)*

    You should be more precise, we understand some important parts of how these diseases work. And thus it’s a fair analogy as there is much that is understood of how the climate works.

    >*but there is some rather blatant examples of researchers manipulating research to make more money while the results for patients are at best questionable.*

    Which distinguishes climate researchers as a higher standard, as despite unprecedented scrutiny know scientific fraud has been found in climate science.

    >*Further your link to the article about climate sensitivity just demonstrates the problem in that aspect of the theory, namely there is not even a consensus of just what the climate sensitivity is*

    Your arguing for a purple unicorn to match your pink one. You don’t need consensus on a specific climate sensitively. We have multiple lines of evidence used to determine probability density function of climate sensitivity. This is diverse and strong evidence that the climate sensitivity is between 2 and 4.5 degrees C per doubling of CO2.

  71. #71 Iain Hall
    March 24, 2011

    Chris @167

    You still don’t get the point. Since you accept that it’s warming it makes as much sense to call you a warminista too.

    No sorry but to be a Warminista you a have to believe that it is both warming and that the warming is the fault of modern industrial society.

    What do you think the word “warm” means? Don’t you think it’s a bit silly everyone calling everyone else Warministas? (Apart from the people who are completely in denial of warming).

    As I have said before in this thread the point of contention is not the climate warming or failing to do so, but the amount of any perceived warming that can be attributed to human activity. You clearly think that most of the perceived warming is due to human activity where as I don’t think there is enough proof to make such a claim, I’m willing to be convinced though so please try.

  72. #72 jakerman
    March 24, 2011

    Iain writes:
    >*What is so wrong with wanting a high standard of proof*

    I’ve explained what is wrong with it. “Proof’ is not a scientist standard. You may has well ask for a pink unicorn. Your continued adherence to this pink unicorn standard is denial of how science operates.

    Iain reverts to his strawman fallacious tactic:

    >* Frankly if you are happy to have every aspect of human life and culture on this planet changed on the basis of such weak evidence*

    You haven’t debated, let along establish, the strength of the evidence, so how do you know the evidence is weak?

    Iain continues:

    >*Actually [cancer & Alzheimer's research] is a rather poor analogy because it is pretty well known how both of those diseases work (which does not mean a cure or a treatment is pending)*

    You should be more precise, we understand some important parts of how these diseases work. And thus it’s a fair analogy as there is much that is understood of how the climate works.

    >*but there is some rather blatant examples of researchers manipulating research to make more money while the results for patients are at best questionable.*

    Which distinguishes climate researchers as a higher standard, as despite unprecedented scrutiny know scientific fraud has been found in climate science.

    >*Further your link to the article about climate sensitivity just demonstrates the problem in that aspect of the theory, namely there is not even a consensus of just what the climate sensitivity is*

    Your arguing for a purple unicorn to match your pink one. You don’t need consensus on a specific climate sensitively. We have multiple lines of evidence used to determine probability density function of climate sensitivity. This is diverse and strong evidence that the climate sensitivity is between 2 and 4.5 degrees C per doubling of CO2.

  73. #73 Iain Hall
    March 24, 2011

    Sorry that should have been Chris @168

  74. #74 jakerman
    March 24, 2011

    Iain Hall writes:
    >*What is so wrong with wanting a high standard of proof*

    I’ve explained what is wrong with it. “Proof’ is not a scientist standard. You may has well ask for a pink unicorn. Your continued adherence to this pink unicorn standard is denial of how science operates.

    Iain reverts to his strawman fallacious tactic:

    >* Frankly if you are happy to have every aspect of human life and culture on this planet changed on the basis of such weak evidence*

    You haven’t debated, let along establish, the strength of the evidence, so how do you know the evidence is weak?

  75. #75 jakerman
    March 24, 2011

    Iain continues:

    >*Actually [cancer & Alzheimer's research] is a rather poor analogy because it is pretty well known how both of those diseases work (which does not mean a cure or a treatment is pending)*

    You should be more precise, we understand some important parts of how these diseases work. And thus it’s a fair analogy as there is much that is understood of how the climate works.

    >*but there is some rather blatant examples of researchers manipulating research to make more money while the results for patients are at best questionable.*

    Which distinguishes climate researchers as a higher standard, as despite unprecedented scrutiny know scientific fraud has been found in climate science.

    >*Further your link to the article about climate sensitivity just demonstrates the problem in that aspect of the theory, namely there is not even a consensus of just what the climate sensitivity is*

    Your arguing for a purple unicorn to match your pink one. You don’t need consensus on a specific climate sensitively. We have multiple lines of evidence used to determine probability density function of climate sensitivity. This is diverse and strong evidence that the climate sensitivity is between 2 and 4.5 degrees C per doubling of CO2.

  76. #76 jakerman
    March 24, 2011

    Iain continues:

    >*Actually [cancer & Alzheimer's research] is a rather poor analogy because it is pretty well known how both of those diseases work (which does not mean a cure or a treatment is pending)*

    You should be more precise, we understand some important parts of how these diseases work. And thus it’s a fair analogy as there is much that is understood of how the climate works.

    >*but there is some rather blatant examples of researchers manipulating research to make more money while the results for patients are at best questionable.*

    Which distinguishes climate researchers as a high standard, as despite unprecedented scrutiny no scientific fr@ud has been found in climate science.

    >*Further your link to the article about climate sensitivity just demonstrates the problem in that aspect of the theory, namely there is not even a consensus of just what the climate sensitivity is*

    Your arguing for a purple unicorn to match your pink one. You don’t need consensus on a specific climate sensitively. We have multiple lines of evidence used to determine probability density function of climate sensitivity. This is diverse and strong evidence that the climate sensitivity is between 2 and 4.5 degrees C per doubling of CO2.

  77. #77 jakerman
    March 24, 2011

    Iain, can you explain why doctors and mediacal associates campaing for high public health standards that reduce the demand for medical services? Why do they act against what you might have us believe is (in your critique of climate researchers) their self interest for employment?

  78. #78 zoot
    March 24, 2011

    Frankly if you are happy to have every aspect of human life and culture on this planet changed on the basis of such weak evidence doesn’t that suggest that you are working on the basis of faith rather than empirical science?

    That’s the question for the deniers to answer.

    Climate change is going to affect every aspect of our lives. So far no denier has produced strong evidence supporting their case.

  79. #79 Iain Hall
    March 25, 2011

    Lothersson

    My point here is that any “argument from authority” is …a very poor way to argue about the details of any scientific question especially in a forum that is open to the scientific laity.

    Er, disregarding the illogic of implying that argument from authority has no place in a forum frequented by people who don’t have any scientific expertise of their own…

    I did not say that it has NO place in a forum discussing this topic only, that it is a fundamentally weak way to argue

    …you missed my point.

    See my comments after the next quote:

    …by suggesting that “consensus ” proves anything in scientific terms…

    No, no, no. This is not my argument at all. Nuances matter.

    I argue that if one is incompetent to assess the science oneself, as you seem to acknowledge that you are:

    I am absolutely humble about my abilities and understanding of science…

    And you mistake my humility for an admission that I know nothing about science, which is not the case.

    r…then one needs to move on to a different method of determining one’s belief about what is most likely true.

    A reasonable method is to accept that while it is possible that an overwhelming consensus amongst qualified scientists will turn out to be wrong, (a) it is rather unlikely, and (b) until such time as evidence turns up to lend significant support to the idea that it might be wrong it’s wise to assume that it’s right, and (c) clinging to arguments as to why the consensus is wrong that sound good to amateurs in the pub but don’t hold any sway with scientists who know their stuff is idiotic.

    Lets agree that there being a “consensus” may lend some weight to an argument but it is never wise (as my earlier referencing Copernicus shows) to suggest , as you do, that it is in any way definitive or substantial when it comes to making a scientific argument.

    I’m more than happy to hear arguments as to why the consensus is wrong, but they have to pass scientific muster! Point (c) is especially important for those who aren’t scientifically competent themselves, and it’s the one that’s most often violated.

    Would any scientist worth their salt make the argument that their ideas are consistent with the consensus therefore they are scientifically correct? Being consistent with some broad consensus proves nothing.

    And none of this applies to those competent to assess the science, which reinforces that I’m not arguing that scientific consensus is always correct.

    Its funny that you should say this now because earlier you were suggesting that the consensus is of great import and that we should accept it as a proof of the AGW theory.

    So what you are saying here is that we should all just bow down to those who are suitably anointed by the priests of the green faith…

    Er, no. I see comprehension is not your strong point, and you’ve somehow determined that the scientists are en masse making … what, fraudulent claims on behalf of an ideology other than a search for scientific truth?

    I see that you don’t do metaphors very well and if I was going to allege a conspiracy then I would just come straight out and say so, My comment actually addresses your excessive zeal for suggesting that all we need to see is the qualifications of someone talking about AGW to know how true their claims are. That is fundamentally unscientific.

    So…once more with feeling – if you aren’t scientifically capable yourself, then making an argument that “I don’t believe the science” without backing it up in terms that pass scientific muster with those who are actually competent in the appropriate scientific field is … well, Dunning-Krugeresque, for starters.

    You have no idea how scientifically capable I am, I am a modest man but I do appreciate the basics pretty well.

    And your assertion that somehow the national science bodies are captive to “high priests of the green faith” is … interesting, and apparently unsupported by any evidence. How did you come to this belief? Do you assert that you think you understand the science deeply enough to make this conclusion? Or are you … appealing to some authority?

    No I am suggesting that You are en the thrall of those high priests not the “national science bodies” which I did not invoke at all.

    …don’t dare to ask the most basic questions like “can you actually provide a proof for the AGW theory that meets the requirements of the scientific method?”

    Please! That question is asked all the time!

    What the heck do you think climate scientists studying AGW – and creating IPCC reports – have been working on? Perhaps your misapprehension is due to a flawed understanding of “the scientific method”. (There is a common denialist meme that operates just like this…)

    They may have been working on it but they don’t have an unequivocal answer now do they? as for the scientific method I under stand it well enough to appreciate that there is no way of testing the AGW theory that would validate it by way of a repeatable experiment .

    Or can you provide an accurate value for the climate’s sensitivity to Co2?

    Don’t be obtuse.

    Can you provide an accurate value for how deeply the front end of my car will be crushed if I drive it off this cliff? Should the lack of an accurate value mean that I should not be worried for my safety if I start driving towards it? Or does the reasonable uncertainty bounds for that value imply that I really don’t want to do so?

    Yes I could actually, as I have built a car myself and I understand a fair bit about automotive design But your analogy does not really work as it makes a faulty assumption that in terms of the future climate we are heading over a cliff and there is no great certainty tah thais will actaully be where we are heading.

    That is the implication that you are choosing to draw from my using quotation marks in that context

    Indeed, because that is what “scare quotes” mean, making it hard to draw any other implication. If you don’t realise this, then you probably shouldn’t use them.

    The majority? Oh please provide some proof for this assertion because it sounds like you just made that up.

    Google is a remedy for your ignorance.

    You made the assertion so you have the onus of proof, this is just a cop out.

    …because without the ongoing scare campaign many of those involved in climate research would be unemployed.

    On what basis do you make this claim? Please provide some proof for this assertion because it sounds like you just made that up. And on the other hand, we have actual working scientists commenting on this blog asserting otherwise.

    How much money is being pumped into research about climate compared to say thirty years ago?

    Would those “working scientists ” be working without the funding from government to consider the future of the climate?

    They would not be working without the funding QED.

    The other side of that same coin is obviously “Why has no scientist definitely proven that anthropogenic factors ARE significantly influencing the climate?” because for all of the words and papers uttered in favour of the AGW theory no one has quite managed to do this now have they?

    No, it’s not the other side of the coin. You reveal your lack of understanding of science by claiming that it is.

    Another cop out! It is entirely appropriate to counter your suggestion that those who doubt the AGW theory have to prove a negative (to win great accolades) by reminding you that those making the AGW argument don’t have a high standard of proof either.

    Science operates with uncertainty and likelihood bounds, and within reasonable bounds scientists have proven what you claim they have not. You can assert that they have not done so, but so far your assertions on that point are merely unsupported and non-scientific bluster. You seem to be echoing classic “high-proofer” or Popperian fundamentalist memers – stances that I’m betting you don’t apply to other scientific results that you leverage in daily life.

    Well I would argue that the higher the stakes are the higher standard of proof we should require before we act, AGW enthusiasts like yourself want to see our entire society remade into a low energy low environmental impact society without substantiating your underlying reasons for doing so.

    Not at all! I’m more than happy to have my arguments challenged – it’s how errors in my thinking are corrected. But I also know there are questions I’m not competent to answer, and in those cases I try to look for those who are. I note that this is not a universal practice.

    So how precisely do you decide who to turn to is such circumstances?

    On what basis do you respect an authority?

    And I merely insist that the merit of any scientific argument cannot be reliably assessed … unfortunately rather tautologically, but apparently it’s necessary … by those who aren’t equipped to assess the science. Being suitably equipped includes a reasonably broad knowledge of the particular field in question so that one can weigh all the evidence, not just a subset that someone would like you to focus on.

    If a scientific argument is so dense and obscure that the gist of it can not be understood by a layman then it is open to the reasonable suspicion that it contains too much bovine excrement.

    And I also note that many of the “skeptics” and “deniers” are (a) clearly not equipped to assess the science, if only because they insist on scientific “facts” that scientists have clearly refuted, and (b) clearly make assertions such as “the scientists haven’t proved AGW” that either (i) rely on the assumption that they are so equipped, or (ii) rely on appeal to some perceived authority – which wouldn’t be very smart if they were also arguing that appeal to authority in arguments about science on blogs is not useful or valid.

    You are currently arguing with me rather than the nebulous straw sceptics that invoke here, and If my suggestion that AGW is unproven is wrong then kindly show me where it has been definitively demonstrated to be correct , heck I’ll even be happy with the civil litigation standard of proof here. But by the way It is you who keeps making appeals to authority here, not I.

    The evidence is quite strong. Saying it’s weak doesn’t make it so. You have to provide a reasonable argument for that assertion.

    Hmm shall we start with the paucity of the data for the planets climate the further into the past that we go?

    How about the weakness of climate proxies for the reconstruction of paleo climates?

    So feel free to explain why you assert that the evidence is weak, without resorting to argument from authority. References would be really helpful. You’ll find copious references to evidence and logic in the sections of the IPCC reports that deal with the case for AGW – you should probably go through the vast majority of those and show how they are outweighed by other evidence and logic. And if you want any credibility you should check your arguments and evidence before you publish to make sure climate scientists haven’t already assessed and dismissed them as bogus or irrelevant.

    Like a lot of god-bothers that I used to argue with in days gone by you insist on trying to make the argument all about the tenants of your faith, and cite your prophets pronouncements, go instead to the fundamentals, of accurate data and sound reasoning

    I look forward to reading your argument.

    Well please try to address what I say rather than your men of straw and we will have a lovely time ;)

    But really, “every aspect of human life and culture”? Remind me who’s supposedly running a scare campaign here?

    So are you suggesting that for your cure to the “AGW problem” that there doesn’t have to be huge changes to the way our society functions?

  80. #80 Iain Hall
    March 25, 2011

    Zoot

    Climate change is going to affect every aspect of our lives. So far no denier has produced strong evidence supporting their case.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that you are right (and to get this thread a bit closer to the original topic of Carbon tax backflips ) don’t you think that it is unwise to create a huge money churn that will achieve nothing of substance (for nearly a thousand years according to Tim Flannery) rather than to put our efforts into practical adaptation as the climate changes?

  81. #81 Dylan
    March 25, 2011

    Iain: tl; dr.

    Please come back when you can make a concise argument. I suggest you spend a little time at skepticalScience or similar before engaging here.

    Why do deniers flood the web with such lengthy but ultimately empty writing? (Don’t answer that, I think I already know the answer to this one, and I don’t want anyone bursting my bubble.)

  82. #82 jakerman
    March 25, 2011

    Iain:
    >>*can you provide an accurate value for the climate’s sensitivity to Co2?*

    Loth:
    >Don’t be obtuse. Can you provide an accurate value for how deeply the front end of my car will be crushed if I drive it off this cliff?

    Iain:
    >*Yes I could actually, as I have built a car myself and I understand a fair bit about automotive design*

    Are you being truthful Iain? If so, then please give your answer (and confidence interval) for how deeply the front end of your car will be deformed if driven off a cliff?. Lets start with a modest 5 metre cliff.

  83. #83 Dylan
    March 25, 2011

    Zoot:
    I think the phrase is “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

    This is not a one-or-the-other scenario. We will be spending a lot of money on adaptation (practical and otherwise.) When we have to eat into our prevention budget in order to fund our adaptation budget (as was proposed after the recent Qld wet season) then we are not thinking with our heads.

  84. #84 jakerman
    March 25, 2011

    >*don’t you think that it is unwise to create a huge money churn that will achieve nothing of substance (for nearly a thousand years according to Tim Flannery) rather than to put our efforts into practical adaptation as the climate changes?*

    Yes I agree with that.

    But instead of discussing Iain’s unspecified thing that “will achieve nothing of substance “, let us instead get back to the topic of a carbon tax, which if desinged correctly will send a market signal to price part of the damage of excessive CO2 and rightful aid growth in low carbon alternatives.

  85. #85 Iain Hall
    March 25, 2011

    Jakerman

    For the fall from your five meter cliff does the car have any forward momentum or is it just a nose first dead drop to the ground?

    How hard is the ground in question? is it solid rock, soil, sand or mud?

    When I crashed the car into an embankment at 60kph (in the rain) the damage was restricted to the destruction of the fibreglass nose-cone and radiator and some superficial damage to the engine cover the chassis was in fact undamaged I quite reasonably expect that the damage would be in the same ball park in your 5m drop hypothetical
    Iain

  86. #86 Iain Hall
    March 25, 2011

    Jakerman

    Yes I agree with that.

    Hooray! a small patch of common ground!!!

    But instead of discussing Iain’s unspecified thing that “will achieve nothing of substance “, let us instead get back to the topic of a carbon tax, which if designed correctly will send a market signal to price part of the damage of excessive CO2 and rightful aid growth in low carbon alternatives.

    But will it do what you hope it will is the most pertinent question when it comes to a Carbon tax and the whole idea of a carbon tax seems to be predicated on wishful thinking and a wrong headed assumption that making existing sources of energy more expensive will be enough to make up for the greater expense and lower efficiency of the alternatives. Surely that is approaching the problem from the wrong direction and It makes more sense to make the alternatives more efficient and less expensive?
    How for instance are you going to “design it correctly” so that it sends an effective “market signal” and still make it acceptable to the people in our democracy?

  87. #87 jakerman
    March 25, 2011

    Iain, 2008 Camry Altise moving at at 10km/hr horizontally, falling on dry soil (80% clay, 10% sand, 10% river loam) with the ocassional stainless steel bollard (150mm dia, 20m thick 304 Stainless tube) extending 1 metere in the air, spaced radomly at 1 bollard per 20 m2.

    Please provided your answer with your confidence intervals.

  88. #88 jakerman
    March 25, 2011

    >* Hooray! a small patch of common ground!!!*

    ‘A’ for comedy, ‘F’ for comprehension.

    >*whole idea of a carbon tax seems to be predicated on wishful thinking and a wrong headed assumption that making existing sources of energy more expensive will be enough to make up for the greater expense and lower efficiency of the alternatives. *

    Your argument seems to be predicated on a wrong headed assumption that a carbon tax simply makes existing sources of energy more expensive. A carbon tax not only internalises part of the cost of fossil fuels, but it increases demand and production of low carbon energy sources which [decrease in cost with rising production]( http://www.iea.org/work/2007/learning/Nemet_PV.pdf).

    And you have left out how the revenue from the tax can be used to furthr accelerate the development of low carbon alternatives.

    Not sure which alternatives you believe are lower efficiency than fossil fuel. As fossil fuel comes form photosynthesis (approx 1% efficient) and requires high temperature and pressure cooking, then mining, extraction or pumping, before being burned to create heat which is turned to kinetic energy then electricity (less than 30% efficiency) giving an overall efficiency of less than 0.3%.

  89. #89 jakerman
    March 25, 2011

    Correction [that](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/carbon_tax_back_flips.php#comment-3516224) should read: 150mm dia, 20mm thick 304 Stainless tube

  90. #90 Lotharsson
    March 25, 2011

    I’ve [responded to Iain Hall's long comment above](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/carbon_tax_back_flips.php#comment-3516002) on the Open Thread [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/03/open_thread_60.php#comment-3516386), because it’s getting seriously off-topic here (not to mention more than a bit FTT-ish)…

  91. #91 Iain Hall
    March 25, 2011

    Jakerman

    A’ for comedy, ‘F’ for comprehension.

    Although I am rather fond of sarcasm I was not in fact being sarcastic when I suggested that it is good for us to find something to agree on. So am I to take it that You are retreating from your previous claim to agree with me about Flannery’s statement?

    >

    Your argument seems to be predicated on a wrong headed assumption that a carbon tax simply makes existing sources of energy more expensive. A carbon tax not only internalises part of the cost of fossil fuels, but it increases demand and production of low carbon energy sources which decrease in cost with rising production.

    Will it do this is the real question here isn’t it? and there is considerable doubt that something as amorphous as our economy will dance to the same tune that economists are playing here surely that is wishful thinking that assumes too much about the behaviour of business

    And you have left out how the revenue from the tax can be used to furthr(sic) accelerate the development of low carbon alternatives.

    Will it really? the example of all of those wind turbines in China come to mind, they were required to build them by the government but have no obligation to connect them to the grid so they are touted as an example of China going green but in reality they don’t do anything to reduce their burning of coal.

    Not sure which alternatives you believe are lower efficiency than fossil fuel. As fossil fuel comes form photosynthesis (approx 1% efficient) and requires high temperature and pressure cooking, then mining, extraction or pumping, before being burned to create heat which is turned to kinetic energy then electricity (less than 30% efficiency) giving an overall efficiency of less than 0.3%.

    By efficiency I mean the delivery of the energy when it is actually required, wind turbines produce substantially less than their rated output and can not be relied upon in most circumstances, Photovoltaics produce no energy at night Geo thermal has not been made workable despite a large

    As for your ever more ridiculous car falling of a cliff hypothetical you can’t be serious!
    look in a 5m fall you can’t just say that the car would be travelling at an arbitrary 10kmh it would never reach that velocity in 5m and if the bollards are only occurring at a rate of one per 20 sq m then with a frontal area (of the engine compartment) of less than 2 sq m there is only a one in ten chance that the bollard would even come into the equation at all.
    You asked me if I could say what the deformation of the front of my car would be in a 5m fall now as I have experienced an analogous impact in an actual crash I think that I have made may point and shown you that I understand what is involved here.

  92. #92 Iain Hall
    March 25, 2011

    Lost a bit of my penultimate paragraph which should read:

    By efficiency I mean the delivery of the energy when it is actually required, wind turbines produce substantially less than their rated output and can not be relied upon in most circumstances, Photovoltaics produce no energy at night Geo thermal has not been made workable despite a large investments, nuclear has been ruled out for Oz so it is not just price for the hardware that is in play here but also just how well the technology will actually work for business that matters.

  93. #93 Lotharsson
    March 25, 2011

    > look in a 5m fall you can’t just say that the car would be travelling at an arbitrary 10kmh it would never reach that velocity in 5m…

    Basic high school physics that should be recalled by anyone claiming to “[appreciate the basics pretty well](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/carbon_tax_back_flips.php#comment-3516002)”.

    Free-fall under the influence of gravity, dealing only with the vertical component of motion via decomposition, ignoring air resistance which is relatively small until approaching significant fractions of terminal velocity:

    d = 0.5 * g * t^2

    => 5m = 0.5 * 9.8 * t^2

    => t = about 1s

    v = g * t

    => v = about 10m/s = about 36km/h.

    Checking assumptions: this is not even close to terminal velocity, so ignoring air resistance was reasonable.

    So you’re still making claims that (a) you can’t substantiate and (b) would be really easy to check before you made them and (c) turn out to be flat wrong and (d) demonstrate that your self-assessment of your scientific capabilities is probably wildly inaccurate.

  94. #94 jakerman
    March 25, 2011

    Loth, not mention Iain mixes up horizontal with vertical.

    Running ouf the door, but I’ll be back later to discuss the rest of Iain’s post. More fun to be had with his latest gem!

  95. #95 jakerman
    March 25, 2011

    >*So am I to take it that You are retreating from your previous claim to agree with me about Flannery’s statement?*

    Given that you gave no specific statement from Flannary, there is nothing for me to retreat from. The point I agreed to was that I do not support steps that make no difference, which is why I on the contrary support a carbon tax (if designed well).

    >*By efficiency I mean the delivery of the energy when it is actually required*

    So you are using the well understood term of efficiency incorrectly. But thanks for telling us what you actually mean.

    >*wind turbines produce substantially less than their rated output and can not be relied upon in most circumstances*

    Again you use inaccurate language. Wind turbines produce on average less than that rated maximum. Yet this is factored into their cost per unit of energy delivered. When connected up over large distances (across different wind regimes) they are very reliable. There is nothing to prevent a 100% renewables grid where wind, solar, PV, hydro all support eachother with grind balancing capacity provided by flywheels, gas turbines, pumped storage and thermal storage.

    >*Photovoltaics produce no energy at night*

    Highest energy demand is during the day. PV is also well balanced by well distributed wind. And when we get closer to 100% renewables we can be interconnected with high voltage DC intercontinental linkages- Its always day somewhere.

    >*Geo thermal has not been made workable despite a large investments*

    Geo thermal is workable and is already [a going concern of 9 GW](http://www.geo-energy.org/pdf/reports/GEA_International_Market_Report_Final_May_2010.pdf)

    >*nuclear has been ruled out for Oz*

    Nuclear can still play a significant role in geologically stable regions with lower renewable capacity.

  96. #96 jakerman
    March 25, 2011

    Iain:
    >>>>*can you provide an accurate value for the climate’s sensitivity to Co2?*
    Loth:
    >>>>Don’t be obtuse. Can you provide an accurate value for how deeply the front end of my car will be crushed if I drive it off this cliff?
    Iain:
    >>>*Yes I could actually, as I have built a car myself and I understand a fair bit about automotive design*

    Jakerman:
    >>Are you being truthful Iain? If so, then please give your answer (and confidence interval) for how deeply the front end of your car will be deformed if driven off a cliff?. Lets start with a modest 5 metre cliff.

    Iain:
    >>*For the fall from your five meter cliff does the car have any forward momentum or is it just a nose first dead drop to the ground?*

    Jakerman:

    >moving at 10km/hr horizontally…with the occasional stainless steel bollard …spaced randomly at 1 bollard per 20 m2.
    Please provide your answer with your confidence intervals.

    Ian:

    >*As for your ever more ridiculous car falling of a cliff hypothetical you can’t be serious! look in a 5m fall you can’t just say that the car would be travelling at an arbitrary 10kmh it would never reach that velocity in 5m*
    Iain not only mixed up horizontal velocity with vertical acceleration, but his assumptions about acceleration [are way off]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/carbon_tax_back_flips.php#comment-3516723)

    Iain:

    > You asked me if I could say what the deformation of the front of my car would be in a 5m fall*

    Incorrect Iain, [I asked you for]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/carbon_tax_back_flips.php#comment-3516084) “an accurate value for how deeply the front end of Lotharsson’s] car will be crushed if I drive it off this cliff? That is the question to which you replied “*Yes I could actually*”

    I suspected that when you did the real calculations you’d find that a range of probable deformation would be more realistic (given the chaotic factors in play and the low probability yet high impact resulting from the odd bollard)

    Iain
    >* now as I have experienced an analogous impact in an actual crash I think that I have made may point and shown you that I understand what is involved here.*

    No Iain, you’ve shown me the opposite. I overestimated your ability to calculate a realistic answer.

  97. #97 Chris O'Neill
    March 25, 2011

    Iain Hall:

    No sorry but to be a Warminista you a have to believe that it is both warming and that the warming is the fault of modern industrial society.

    Says who? You? I can’t quite find the phrase “fault of modern industrial society” in definitions of the word “warm”. I’ll call you a Warminista or warmist from now on.

    You clearly think that most of the perceived warming is due to human activity where as I don’t think there is enough proof to make such a claim, I’m willing to be convinced though so please try.

    It’s straightforward, though complicated, to use so called line-by-line calculations (meaning one frequency at a time) to prove that CO2 on its own will produce 1.2 deg C of warming from a doubling. It’s also an observed fact that the warmer the global atmosphere, the more water vapor it is holding which our denialist friends keep reminding us is a strong greenhouse gas. So direct warming caused by CO2 will cause more water vapor to sit in the atmosphere which itself will cause further warming (and so on, fortunately to a finite sum). I believe the water vapor feedback approximately doubles the climate sensitivity (to approximately 2.4 deg C/CO2 doubling), although this feedback is usually computed by climate models that incorporate all feedbacks together. Cloud feedbacks bring the expected climate sensitivity to around 3 deg C/CO2 doubling. However cloud feedbacks greatly increase the uncertainty to a 95% confidence interval of 2-4.5 deg C/CO2 doubling.

    What you’re saying is that we should pray that cloud feedback turns out to be far more negative than we expect and just take the risk that it won’t turn out the way we expect. You obviously have a different attitude to risk but this is not a risk I’m prepared to take.

  98. #98 Danny of Adelaide
    May 1, 2011

    What the questions that no one is asking is.

    Who has really called for this tax on the whole world?
    Who asked for it to be introduced here in Australia?

    The money is not to be used for cleaning up polluters, no they can go on their merry way and just pay a tax. In the meantime the average bloke gets to pay for increased energy, food, fuel etc.
    Global Warming, sorry I mean climate change numbers are like the USD, manipulated to suit those who want to control us all.

  99. #99 Chris O'Neill
    May 2, 2011

    sorry I mean climate change numbers are like the USD, manipulated to suit those who want to control us all.

    Yes Danny boy, it’s a giant conspiracy, the biggest of all time.