How we avoid the truth

bb

That is the summary, but there is far more and more nuances so look at the presentation.

Comments

  1. #1 John Mashey
    2011/11/11

    WMC points me at 18:45, which mentions “Dog Astrology.”

    For the history of this, see:
    Wikpiedia discussion
    OR
    Hockey Stick Illusion : He Who Quotes Dog Astrology Journal (HWQDAJ)
    OR
    this.

    Summary:
    1) David Deming wrote a piece in Science on boreholes.

    2) Years later, Deming wrote a review of Crichton’s “State of Fear” in JSE (the “dog astrology journal”) claiming he got an email from a climate scientist. He never proved it and didn’t even name anyone when testifying for Inhofe.

    3) Richard Lindzen falsely wrote that Deming had identified Jon Overpeck as he author of the email. He didn’t, and HWQDAJ actually wrote that he didn’t.

    4) HWQDAJ falsely wrote that Lindzen had confirmed Overpeck, when Lindzen falsely claimed that Deming had identified Overpeck in his article.

    The Wikipedia discussion was amusing. That discussion was running about 20 edits/day, as HWQDAJ’s fans kept trying to add positive reviews like from paleo-knowledgable people like local business reporters and keep out negatives from anyone else.

    After my dog astrology edit was added, there was silence for a day, then people kept trying to *delete* the comment from a *discussion* page, not the main page. (a no-no, generally) They kept inventing rules, deleting the text, and WMC kept reverting (thanks!) Finally, it got archived away, but of course, it still exists. The one thing they wouldn’t do was actually address the credibility issue and the falsification issue.

    So: HWQDAJ uses a quote from an article by a petroleum geophysicist about a fiction book, published in a DAJ, then falsifies attribution to Overpeck.

  2. #2 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/11

    My overly harsh reaction to the video is that one more explanation of the irrelevant information deficit doesn’t move the bar along at all.

    It’s not that anything in the video is incorrect. Rather, it misses the real questions: a) Can the commonly proffered policies be implemented within the necessary time frame and would they be effective if they were; and, b) Is there a way to reach the desired end without reliance on politics and government?

    [There are many real questions. Asserting that only yours are real won't fly. The video is a valuable analysis of some of the obfustication -W]

  3. #3 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/11

    I think almost all the real questions could be folded (or tortured) into my two, but would be glad to hear any that clearly don’t. Whatever the questions are, they are not IMO addressed by an analysis of the obsfutication.

  4. #4 Jon
    2011/11/12

    “b) Is there a way to reach the desired end without reliance on politics and government?”

    Why, do we get some kind of special prize for solving problems without relying on politics and government? Silly me, I thought government was for dealing with collective problems.

  5. My overly harsh reaction to the video is that one more explanation of the irrelevant information deficit doesn’t move the bar along at all.

    Either you think bullshit campaigns are OK, or you don’t. Which are you?

    It’s not that anything in the video is incorrect. Rather, it misses the real questions: a) Can the commonly proffered policies be implemented within the necessary time frame and would they be effective if they were; and, b) Is there a way to reach the desired end without reliance on politics and government?

    And as long as there’s a bullshit campaign, any attempts to answer these supposed “real” questions will be complicated by bullshit.

    So yes, getting rid of bullshit is a very real question. I would even say that it’s the meta-question that underlies all other questions.

    – frank

  6. #6 Boris
    2011/11/12

    “Is there a way to reach the desired end without reliance on politics and government?”

    Who cares? The important thing is finding the best way.

  7. #7 Phil Hays
    2011/11/12

    Some problems are not solvable without reliance on politics and government.
    Classic example is the “Tragedy of the Commons”.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full

  8. #8 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/12

    Do we all agree that the surest route to mitigation is deployment of technologies and efficiencies? I would be more amenable to reliance on politics and government if I saw much hope of timely progress.

  9. Paul Kelly:

    Do you agree that bullsh*t campaigns are an impediment to sound action, both in the public and private spheres?

    Do you agree that no issue can be properly answered if the answers are always going to be tainted with bullsh*t?

    Again, either you think bullsh*t campaigns are OK, or you don’t. Which are you?

    – frank

  10. #10 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/12

    Frank,

    I do not think at all that BS campaigns are an impediment to sound action. I do not think climate is the most important – or even the third or forth – issue in energy transformation.

    Confronting the BS about climate is a dictate of the not applicable to climate information deficit model. It is yesterday’s news. A number of social science researchers have pointed out that a “shared goals arriving from a variety of reasons” model is a better fit going forward.

  11. #11 deconvoluter
    2011/11/12

    Prior to this presentation, Barry Bickmore (BB) had
    written a superb critique of Spencer’s contrarian climate model * .

    Also he prepared an informative but non-technical CV for Christopher Monckton.

    Having also been impressed with the quotation chosen by WC ,I was slightly disappointed with the talk. BB’s problem was that he was talking to a different audience and he had rather a lot of points. So the examples had to suffer.

    In spite of BB’s expertise , the discussion of Spencer, was not as strong as it might have been, and the coverage of Monckton was restricted to his CV. So some people might go away without glimpsing the nature of the nonsense involved. Finally he used the Galileo story to make a good point about consensus, but at the expense of simplifying the history.

    I look forward to further talks by BB.

    —————-
    * Adding to Tamino’s earlier articles and Arthur Smith’s more recent ones.

  12. #12 J Bowers
    2011/11/12

    “Can the commonly proffered policies be implemented within the necessary time frame and would they be effective if they were;”

    We’re not Ents. 1961: Kennedy announces a goal to put a man on the Moon. 1969: Armstrong’s on the Moon. 1972: The public’s bored of it all. Where there’s a will…

  13. #13 David B. Benson
    2011/11/12

    See no truth; hear no truth; speak no truth.

  14. Paul Kelly:

    I do not think at all that BS campaigns are an impediment to sound action.

    Then which ones are, and which ones aren’t?

    I do not think climate is the most important – or even the third or forth – issue in energy transformation.

    And how can you tell that your opinions aren’t clouded by bullshit? Since you have no problem with bullshit campaigns in general, I have to assume that you also have no problem with repeating bullshit if it suits you.

    Either you think bullshit campaigns are OK, or you don’t. Sometimes one has to pick a side, and this is one of the times.

    – frank

  15. #15 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/13

    Frank,

    I try to avoid the bullshit by bringing all my climate science questions here, where William can be counted on for straight answers.

    And I have picked a side, the side that favors replacing fossil fuels. My main reasons are economic and environmental concerns. I recognize that others with the same goal put other reasons like climate, national security or the march of human progress at the top of their list.

    I hope this answers your questions. If not, I’ll be happy to try again. In the meantime, perhaps you could answer mine. Do you agree that the surest route to mitigation is deployment of technologies and efficiencies? Then we could move on to how to deal with externalities and the tragedy of the commons.

  16. #16 izen
    2011/11/13

    @-Paul Kelly
    “Do you agree that the surest route to mitigation is deployment of technologies and efficiencies? ”

    No, the deployment of technologies and efficiencies is probably not even in the top three means of reducing fossil fuel use. For instance you would get an immediate and enduring reduction of around 50% with dirty nukes at the following sites:-

    Straits of Malacca.
    Abqaiq.
    Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline.
    Bab El-Mandeb .
    Straits of Bosporus+ BTC Pipeline + CPC Pipelines.
    Mina Al-Ahmadi Terminal, Kuwait .
    Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) .
    The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) .
    Druzhba Pipeline, Russia .

    Of course turning these localities to radioactive glass would not be an optimal reduction/mitigation strategy, but it would be considerably more effective in a shorter time-frame than deployment of technologies and efficiencies.

  17. #17 adelady
    2011/11/13

    PK “Do you agree that the surest route to mitigation is deployment of technologies and efficiencies? Then we could move on to how to deal with externalities …”

    So how come bringing them together by using a price on externalities to enhance, or even drive, deploying technologies seems such a bad idea to you?

    Is it just because it runs climate in together with your other concerns and you want to keep them separate or first or untainted by association? For my part, I’ll do my individual bit on various fronts and be grateful for whatever I can get as social or political support that advances my various ideas on economic, environmental or climate issues.

  18. #18 Michael Hauber
    2011/11/13

    My attempt at two ‘real’ questions on climate change:

    1) What is happening to our climate?
    2) What should we do about it?

  19. #19 Steve Bloom
    2011/11/14

    Please DNFTT, Frank (or anyone else).

    [I would phrase that as "please, recognise when you have reached an impasse; resist the urge to have the last word" -W]

  20. #20 adelady
    2011/11/14

    Serendipity rules! Just spotted this at Science Daily.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111113142747.htm All about approaching environment, climate and pollution in an interlinked way and getting better outcomes overall.

    I realise this is more for pk to consider than the OP, but I thought it worth mentioning.

  21. Steve Bloom:

    Please DNFTT, Frank (or anyone else).

    OK, but I still want to talk about bullshit campaigns, not least because that’s actually the original topic of this thread…

    The thing is, when someone keeps blaring out “2 + 2 = 6!!! 2 + 2 = 6!!! 2 + 2 = 6!!!” with a huge network of powerful megaphones, and this message somehow appeals to people, then what are we going to do about it?

    I think Prof. Bickmore has just given us part of the answer: Try to strengthen the message that 2 + 2 = 4 using whatever means are at our disposal. Give people the mental tools to work out for themselves why 2 + 2 = 4. Detail the political and rhetorical machinations of those who claim 2 + 2 = 6 or that the value of 2 + 2 isn’t important.

    – frank

  22. #22 Phil Hays
    2011/11/14

    “Do you agree that the surest route to mitigation is deployment of technologies and efficiencies?”

    For economic reasons I doubt that “deployment of technologies and efficiencies” is likely. Carbon free energy and low carbon energy are more expensive and less convenient than fossil fuels. I don’t see how this is likely to change. Why are no-carbon energy sources going to be adapted? Not economics. Politics? Probably not, especially with no shortage of bullshit artists, and the worst of them believe their own bullshit.

    “how to deal with externalities”

    Climate _is_ an externality. Just like any other commons. It is in your advantage to use the cheapest and easiest to use energy sources, fossil fuels. If few enough use fossil fuels, no problem. It is the ruin of the future climate if enough people use enough fossil fuel. How to manage the commons of the atmosphere is an interesting question, for which I’ve yet to see a convincing answer, other than those answers worse than the problem. Ruling out government and politics makes the problem even harder.

  23. #23 Steve Bloom
    2011/11/14

    Re #19 reply: That’s one interpretation. But having seen the aame interaction play itself out here and elsewhere on multiple occasions, I lean toward a less charitable one. In any event, continued interaction is pointless.

  24. #24 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/14

    adelady,

    “Is it just because it runs climate in together with your other concerns and you want to keep them separate or first or untainted by association?”

    No. I want those who see the necessity of energy transformation to accept the validity of all the various reasons for it. I want us to not get distracted in arguing whether one reason is better than another or requiring agreement on anything other than the shared goal.

    “So how come bringing them together by using a price on externalities to enhance, or even drive, deploying technologies seems such a bad idea to you?”

    In practice, artificially pricing externalities imposes a regressive (a rather cruel one IMO) tax on the people. It does not bring down the cost of alternatives and could easily make both fossil and alternatives unaffordable. Proposals to make the pricing revenue neutral, to me, remove much of the economic incentive for change.

    The other question is can a pricing scheme be enacted in a timely manner, Here in the US, cap trade was so badly botched that pricing will be off the table for some time. I don’t see China, India or Russia moving in that direction either. Now Australia has passed a carbon tax, so we’ll have something real world to assess for effectiveness and ability to withstand changes in political power.

  25. #25 dhogaza
    2011/11/14

    Paul Kelly:

    In practice, artificially pricing externalities imposes a regressive (a rather cruel one IMO) tax on the people.

    What’s artificial is pricing externalities at zero.

  26. #26 adelady
    2011/11/14

    pk “I want those who see the necessity of energy transformation to accept the validity of all the various reasons for it.”

    So you think all the don’t knows, doubters and do-nothings have to be persuaded before _any_ action is implemented. I doubt there’s enough time in the world for all of them to see Barry Bickmore’s lecture, let alone to think through what he says, before physics crashes through and lets everyone know it doesn’t matter at all what anyone thinks. Regardless of how many videos they’ve seen and (dis)agreed with.

    I’m perfectly happy that my mother, a nay-sayer if ever there was one, has installed solar panels and proudly checks her accumulating kwh on the nifty electronic gadget beside the back door. She needn’t change her views for the rest of her life, but she’s just one of many thousands who’s going for renewable because it’s sensible. Not because they’re convinced by science or committed to sustainability, just because it works.

  27. #27 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/14

    dhogaza,

    You may be right about that, but let’s acknowledge that carbon is already taxed, rather heavily in some countries. It would help to have examples of other products whose externalities are priced.

    [An odd thing to say. Can you point to any country in the world where C-from-coal-burning is taxed as an externality? Let alone, as you appear to assert, in general -W]

  28. #28 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/14

    Took me only a minute to find the externality (black lung disease) specific Coal Excise Tax
    The taxes collected on the sales of coal are deposited to the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to finance payments of black lung benefits to afflicted miners.
    In addition, coal producing states like West Virginia and New Mexico have a variety of coal taxes, some of which are dedicated to externalities. Note that these taxes are are for extraction rather than burning, but they are carbon taxes nonetheless.

    [I find it hard to believe you've missed the point so badly, which is addressing climate change externalities -W]

  29. #29 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/14

    adelady,

    “So you think all the don’t knows, doubters and do-nothings have to be persuaded before any action is implemented.”

    I must apologize for the lack of clarity in my writing, because that is the exact opposite of what I’m trying to say. I’m saying that the climate don’t knows, doubters and do-nothings are not an impediment to energy transformation because so many of them favor transformation for other reasons. Your mother, bless her heart, is a shining example of why that is true.

  30. Paul Kelly:

    I try to avoid the bullshit by bringing all my climate science questions here, where William can be counted on for straight answers.

    Straight answers which you then brush aside.

    [There are many real questions. Asserting that only yours are real won't fly. The video is a valuable analysis of some of the obfustication -W]

    I think almost all the real questions could be folded (or tortured) into my two,

    If your only guard against bullshit is Stoat, and you ignore Stoat, then what are you left with?

    Bullshit.

    – frank

  31. #31 Anonymous
    2011/11/14

    Paul Kelly,

    The pricing (at least in Australia) isn’t artificial after the first three years. The price will vary according to demand for CO2 permits.

    “It would help to have examples of other products whose externalities are priced. ”
    That’s an oxymoron, as once the externality is priced it stops being an externality.

    Think about any environmental constraint on production and you have an example of costs internalised for an externality. The cost borne by the producer to reduce environmental impacts. For example, in Australia mining companies must offer a substantial bond that is used to remediate mining sites post-production (typically it’s not enough to restore the site, but it’s better than nothing). That’s a cost to internalise an externality.

  32. #32 Phil Hays
    2011/11/14

    PK:”In practice, artificially pricing externalities imposes a regressive (a rather cruel one IMO) tax on the people.”

    If we could measure the costs of externalities, or price the access to the externalities in a marketplace, would it be any different?

    [I don't really understand the point PK was trying to make. Obviously, correctly pricing externalities is correct; for CO2, that means carbon taxes as the obvious solution, with anything else judged by how closely it approximates that ideal. "artificially pricing externalities" might mean over-pricing them; there are arguments that the current UK fuel taxes are at this level. But the complaints about regressiveness are known, and are solvable -W]

  33. #33 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/16

    William, et al,

    Many points well taken. So, limiting externalities to those involving climate, is it possible to account for carbon burning eternalities without government imposed pricing? It seems to me we should hope the answer is yes.

    [I think by their very nature externalities require some external authority to impose the pricing. And that authority is going to be a "government" even if you don't choose to call it such -W]

    If the answer is no, what is the probable time frame for the major emitting countries to attain and maintain the political majorities and will for such pricing? What is the probability that any of them will ever impose pricing? How long are we willing to wait to find out? According to the precautionary principle it’s time to explore plan B.

    [We now have the example of Australia. Probably, that will all Just Work and all the hysteria will be shown to be baseless. So perhaps that will encourage others, in a few years time -W]

  34. #34 Paul Kelly
    2011/11/16

    I’d like to know more about the structure of Australia’s effort. From anonymous, it seems more cap/trade than tax. Are there compensations to deal with regressiveness? It is good to have a real world example.

  35. #35 adelady
    2011/11/17

    Paul, the Oz scheme is pretty simple. The carbon price is set for the first 3 years.

    At introduction there’s a one-off reduction in income tax and an increase in pensions. The calculation is that low to middle income households will be marginally better off when you balance expected household cost increases with the compensation/ reduced tax.

    The balance of the price/tax collected will be used to support clean/new energy R&D and deployment as well as buying out a couple of the worst, among the worst in the world, coal fired power stations. “Trade exposed” industries with high emissions, eg aluminium, also get compensation/exemption.

    After the first 3 years, it becomes a carbon trading system, but with a minimum floor price. Personally, I’d like to see it stay as a fee and dividend system, but half a loaf is better than none.

    [I'd missed the change after 3 years. What a silly thing to do. Ah well -W]

  36. #36 blueshift
    2011/11/17

    “Can you point to any country in the world where C-from-coal-burning is taxed as an externality?”

    Why doesn’t India count?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax#India

    [I didn't know about it. But $1/tonne is tiny -W]

  37. #37 blueshift
    2011/11/17

    [I didn't know about it. But $1/tonne is tiny -W]

    Agreed, but I think the key now is implementing the framework. Once that’s done, the price can be scaled as appropriate.

    It also amazes me how little attention this and China’s proposal to institute a C tax in the next year or two. They are supposed to be a big impediment for us (American here) getting our act together, but they are light years ahead on this issue.

    [I'd be prepared to accept "implementing a framework" as a good first step, true, regardless of the amount. And yes, the lack of attention is curious -W]