This got mentioned in early 2014 at Planet3.0. To be fair to mt, he wasn’t really pushing the video itself, just using it to illustrate his point (which I think is uncertainty-is-not-your-friend; I agree with that), though he did call it “excellent”. But since, as I said in the comments there I don’t think its great video; I think its terrible, I wasn’t desperately happy. But, I shrugged and turned away. Now I see that Dana Nuccitelli is giving it space in the Graun, (and DA is linking to it, though possibly only because he likes the headline and sub), so I’ll repeat myself more publically. What I said, in full, was:

I don’t think its great video; I think its terrible.

Minorly, A / True doesn’t have a happy face – it still has an appalling financial meltdown (in his scenario).

But more importantly, he makes no attempt to assess the probability of B / True. So he’s trying to short-circuit, or evade, the cost-benefit analysis that needs to be done.

That wasn’t the question you asked in this post, of course.

[You need to know that A is “we took action on GW”, B is “we didn’t”. True is “GW turns out to be real”, False is “It was all a dream”.]

mt answers starting with “I think there is a point to what you say”, which is enough for me to excuse him, but not DN. Note that the assertion of the video (see around 1 min in) is that the argument contained therein means “we don’t need to know whether its true or not”.

Note that there’s a a trick: in A / Yes, he takes the extreme, for illustration, and gets global economic meltdown. In B / False, he says “since we granted the extreme in A / Yes, we should grant the extreme here too”. But they aren’t connected, except in both being very simplistic.

At 5:15 he asserts that if you add in the subtleties and intermediate cases, his conclusion (to come) still holds.

And that conclusion is that B / True (“GW is real and we took no action”) is so bad, that the best thing to do is avoid any possibility of “being in that column”. My answer to that is above. At P3, Walter Manny said Craven’s exercise is simply Pascal’s Wager and I don’t think he got a good answer.

wager To make the comparison clearer, I’ve scribbled on a still from the video. Wittily, that makes GW “God”. We can see its not quite Pascal’s wager. Conventionally, in PW, you assign a small positive to “no God, and no Belief” and a small negative to “no God, Belief” to reflect the life of sin that good Christians can’t enjoy; in this case, “no GW, Belief-aka-action” has substantial costs, but they are assumed small compared to the “Hell” square. Similarly, in PW the “God, Belief” square is infinitely positive, whereas here its actually worse than “no God, no belief” which is the best possible outcome, though we’re not supposed to believe in it. Indeed the comparison to PW is only that “God-aka-GW, no-belief-aka-no-action” is effectively infinitely bad in both.

The useful point about comparing it to PW, though, is that no-one believes in God because of it. So if the comparison is good (I think it is) you can assert “no-one will believe in action on GW just because of this grid”.

The good atheist assigns zero probability to “God exists”, and so zero probability to Hell, so that part becomes irrelevant in the calculations. The experienced denialist assigns zero probability to “GW will be catastrophic”, and so ignores that bit. I’m not an experienced denialist, so I’m not ignoring it, but I am downplaying it. Why? Mostly because i think we want to do something more sensible, which is to attempt a reason-based cost-benefit type analysis, which this isn’t. If forced to go further, I’d say that current best-guess is that GW won’t be an utter catastrophe; indeed, in economic terms (say, those of Stern which I think is on the high side) its perhaps (from memory) 10-20% of global GDP by 2100. To make it catastrophic – somewhere close to the infinity that is implied – you need to try much harder than Stern, and I think that’s unlikely (I also think that if starting looking that way, we’d probably have time to go into emergency mode (yes, despite the inertia of the pol/econ system, and our infrastructure base); a time-dependent element is necessary in the analysis, but lacking here. He makes a small comment in this direction at 7:20 – that we’ve recently learnt that the disaster could happen quickly, within a decade, so it affects us not our grandchildren; I don’t know what he means by that).

In case you’re wondering, no, I’m not arguing that the failure of the argument in the video means we should do nothing about GW. I’m only arguing that the failure of the argument in the video means it should have no (logical) consequences.

To paraphrase Einstein, you should reduce a problem to the simplest possible, but no simpler. This square reduces the problem past the minimum degree of simplicity that is useful.

As I said near the start, mt’s main argument around this point is uncertainty-is-not-your-friend; and I agree with that. There’s an essentially-sane take on that at The Conversation: Uncertainty isn’t cause for climate complacency – quite the opposite. But then again, it doesn’t reach the same conclusions as Greg Craven.

Good grief, you’re behind the times

It turns out that the video dates from 2007, duh. And Greg Craven wrote a book about the same idea in 2009. Which I haven’t read, but judging from reviews (treehugger, Simon Singh, Grist) it says much the same as the video. mt has a review at P3 that focusses on a completely different aspect of the book – how to know, to which the answer for most people is “trust”, which is correct, though its important to know how to know who to trust. But at that time, he doesn’t address what I (and the other reviewers) are taking as the book’s central argument.

There’s a wiki page. He even had a website about it, now apparently defunct. But via the wayback machine I can read http://www.gregcraven.org/en/the-book/endorsements-and-criticisms which points me at a response by “climate skeptic” (the wiki page used to ref this, but it got rm’d as non-RS).

I rally can’t endorse “climate skeptic” in general, because he links with approval to himself at coyote blog to show that feedbacks are probably negative, which says nothing useful but points to himself again. At that points he actually starts to say things, but they’re wrong (in a traditional-septic-but-not-actually-barking way, so I’ll spare you the details). And now I read it, I can’t really endorse his crit of the video, either, except in very general terms.

Refs

* Things I thought were obvious! – ATTP
* Is Climate Risk Systematically Understated? – asks mt at P3. Likely, yes.
* Taxonomy of climate/energy policy perspectives – essentially a rip-off of the same thing; from Curry

Comments

  1. #1 mt
    ATX
    2015/01/03

    I disagree with you here.

    I consider the Newell and Smithson piece in The Conversation (to which you refer) to be the correct formalization of Craven’s correct argument. I said so here: http://planet3.org/2014/04/10/uncertainty-not-your-friend-meets-greg-craven/

    Craven is a high school science teacher and his argument is meant to appeal to high school students. The appropriate level of rigor depends on the intended audience. Not everyone can grasp Newell and Smithson’s argument.

    Craven’s is a good approximation of it; it isn’t logically complete, but (unlike the earlier version of the video) acknowledges that the strength of the argument depends on identifying appropriate authorities on the subject matter. As such I find it completely sound.

    [Yes, we clearly disagree. I regard “the Conversation” as coming to a different conclusion to GC’s; that is, its a correct-ish formulation of something different; the differences may be subtle, but they are significant -W]

  2. #2 James Picone
    2015/01/04

    Just because something looks like Pascal’s wager isn’t evidence that it’s wrong: http://lesswrong.com/lw/z0/the_pascals_wager_fallacy_fallacy/

    [Weird article. What is the probability is exponentially tiny supposed to mean? -W]

    Part of the mistake with Pascal’s wager is that P(god exists) hides the fact that there are infinity possible gods, all with different payoff matrices, and every one that rewards you infinitely for belief and punishes you for disbelief is matched by one that punishes you for belief and rewards you infinitely for disbelief.

    A good Bayesian atheist, of course, couldn’t assign P(god) == 0 for the general case of ‘a god that rewards belief and punishes disbelief’, so that’s not a sufficient reason not to accept the Wager.

  3. #3 Hank Roberts
    hankroberts.wordpress.com
    2015/01/04

    > > can’t really endorse his crit …
    which is that the video is
    “… an irrefutable argument for immediatley [sic] taking drastic action to fight global warming (presumably by handing the world economy over to the UN)…”

    Glad to hear it.

  4. #4 Russell Seitz
    2015/01/04

    This more resembles Wascals Wager, in which the wascally Bayesians insist that Zeus and Odin count as priors.

  5. […] Source: Greg Craven’s viral climate ‘decision grid’ video [Stoat] […]

  6. #6 James Picone
    2015/01/04

    > [Weird article. What is the probability is exponentially tiny supposed to mean? -W]

    Given the “(in the complexity of the Christian God)” with ‘complexity’ linking to a particular mathematical formulation of Occam’s Razor (using Solomonoff induction), I think it’s just a not-amazingly-formulated statement that the Christian god is terribly unlikely.

    LessWrong is a bit of a weird place though, yes.

  7. #7 Susan Anderson
    2015/01/04

    While I’ve always had trouble with the Craven video, I don’t agree that the arguments are wrong, though you make a good case. We live in a world where no matter where one turns, one meets arguments that come from a weird Alice in Wonderland universe where the truth is at a disadvantage. All attempts to persuade people that they are not invisible and they need to look outwards and ask questions of their assumptions meet with a polished surface constructed to allow no point of entry. The Craven argument seems to me an honest attempt to get past that and explain that being wrong has heavy costs.

    My complaint with it is aesthetic.

    The world you (Stoat) frequent is a rarefied one where reason can prevail. Here on my side of the pond it seems unreason has the ascendancy. It might be hard to imagine people being so obstinately ignorant. Even the religion they espouse doesn’t teach what they get from it, if they would only read the gospels with an open mind.

    It does seem that since heat-trapping is an uncontroversial idea, those watching the unpleasant unfolding of events are looking for something, anything, to get sanity into policymaking.

    For a real downer, check out Philippe Squarzoni.

  8. #8 ...and Then There's Physics
    2015/01/04

    I’m just watching the Craven video now. I’m not quite sure that I completely get your criticism, although I can see that it is remarkably simple and I do agree that the two extremes (economic collapses, climate catastrophe) aren’t related. Is it simply that we have multiple possible future pathways, each of which will require different levels of economic change (and each of which comes with a certain level of risk) and each of which will likely produce a certain range of warming (which also comes with a certain level of risk). What we should do, then, is balance the risk/cost of a certain future economic pathway with the climate risk associated with that pathway. Is that what you’re arguing?

    [I think you’re just not listening to some bits of it. Some of it is so unreasonable that you’re simply skipping over it. Its really irritating that its a video with no text, so I can’t just cut-n-paste it, but listen around the 1:00 mark. He’s asserting that with his argument you really don’t need to know what’s going on, *and* that the “most hardened skeptic” will agree. That’s utter bollocks (both bits). Probably, so much utter bollocks that your brain simply ignored it. But try listening again -W]

    To follow on, here’s a question I’ve been pondering. Let’s say we go for a carbon tax (which I think many would regard as sensible) and we give ourselves the complete freedom to adjust this according to the best estimates for the social cost of carbon. What happens if this carbon tax has little initial effect, we discover climate sensitivity is high, and we discover that we should be substantially reducing our emissions on short timescales to avoid significant climate disruption. What do we do then?

    [I think that neither the carbon tax, nor any other method, really deals well with “emergency action”, or even with time-varying rates. Putting that mostly aside, I think the answer to your question is the obvious: we raise the tax rates. Our estimate of the damages changes, so that’s the obvious response (and applies whether we discover that Cl Sens is higher, or that our societal/whatever sensitivity to Cl Ch, perhaps via Ecological stuff, turns out to be higher than we thought).

    In pure economic terms (caveat: as I understand them; IANAE), though, you’re still thinking wrong thoughts. The wrong thinking is “we discover climate sensitivity is high, and we discover that we should be substantially reducing our emissions on short timescales to avoid significant climate disruption”. You’re still thinking of carbon taxes in order to avoid the climate change, which is right wrong: they are there to externalise the costs. If you pay the costs, you can have the damage. Of course, that’s not the only viewpoint, as discussed elsewhere, including the seminal but under-appreciated Carbon Tax Now -W]

  9. #9 ...and Then There's Physics
    2015/01/04

    He’s asserting that with his argument you really don’t need to know what’s going on, *and* that the “most hardened skeptic” will agree. That’s utter bollocks (both bits).
    Well, yes, that was roughly what prompted the question part of my comment. We can estimate the risk/costs associated with various possible pathways and hence we can make informed decisions, rather than simply assuming what was assumed in the video.

    You’re still thinking of carbon taxes in order to avoid the climate change, which is right wrong: they are there to externalise the costs. If you pay the costs, you can have the damage.
    Yes, I do realise this which, again, was what motivated what I was pondering. As you say yourself, if you pay the costs, you can have the damage and hence a carbon tax does not necessarily ensure that we’ll minimise the damage. Some might regard that as fine, but it’s not obviously the case. So, yes, I realise that a carbon tax is not designed to avoid climate change but, maybe, we will get to a point where we actually do want to avoid something, rather than simply ensuring that we pay for whatever damage will be done.

    [I got “right ” and “wrong ” confuses… so easy to do. I’ve corrected my original, and your quote of me above, because I think you understood the correct sense of what I meant to say.

    a carbon tax does not necessarily ensure that we’ll minimise the damage – I *think* that’s obvious, from a maths-y function-minimisation viewpoint: something designed to minimise the damage would look entirely different (though that will depend on what you mean by “damage”, of course. If you’re thinking pure-ecological-climate-change type damage, with no reference to human welfare, then total cessation of all human activity would be optimal, so that kind of damage-minimisation isn’t an option. Do you think you do have a clearly defined meaning of “damage” that you’re trying to minimise? I bet you don’t -W]

  10. #10 ...and Then There's Physics
    2015/01/04

    Do you think you do have a clearly defined meaning of “damage” that you’re trying to minimise? I bet you don’t
    Since my question was hypothetical, I’m assuming that future me will be able to define some kind of damage we should avoid :-)

    You’re partly right, that I don’t have a specific sense of what I mean by damage. On the other hand, there are future warming scenarios in which we could (by the late 21st century or early 22nd) reach levels of warming where parts of the planet have wet-bulb temperatures where mammalian life is no longer possible without technology or without going underground. Since we’re talking human welfare, this would appear to be something that we should be aiming to avoid.

  11. #11 Sou
    2015/01/04

    IIRC I’ve mentioned that video in the dim distant past – way before HW was a twinkle in the eye of any denier. Looking at it again I’m with William. I cannot see it would persuade anyone. Massive global depression would be a nightmare scenario for anyone. People who doubt that climate change will bring catastrophe would discount or ignore the box on the bottom right and only focus on the top left.

    The problem is partly the logic, but mostly because people don’t use logic when making decisions. Or not only logic. (Some use no logic at all. A rare few might only use logic. Most of us are somewhere in between.)

    I see no point in raising the possibility that climate change isn’t real and global warming isn’t happening. (Yeah – I know – USA)

    Another difficulty I have is that actions are already being taken to mitigate (and adapt). Sufficient? No, not yet. However the question is not whether or not we need to take action, but how much and what mix of actions are most likely to yield the greatest benefit at least cost, and when.

    And a third difficulty I have (and this goes beyond the Craven video) is that it’s not just governments and individuals who are taking action. Businesses and industry will probably be as important or almost as important (or maybe more important), providing the renewable energy technologies and the energy efficient technologies. I keep thinking of the information/communication revolution of recent years.

  12. #12 Everett F Sargent
    United States
    2015/01/05

    There was so much that was just plain loopy in that video, that all I saw were dollar signs, more so than smiley faces.

    But as to the DN Op-Ed piece, that too needs some basic fact checking:

    “The US military views climate change as a serious threat.”

    Actually, the Energy Institute fully funded that study. No affiliation whatsoever with the US military.

    That the US military views climate change as a serious threat, may actually be very true, however, that particular study in no way supports that view (however you will find that report in the DTIC database).

    So, given the non-military funding source and a total disconnect with the actual active US military, I’m calling that one:

    Pants On Fire!

    “Even a majority of non-Tea Party Republicans agree that the planet is warming and support an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90% by the year 2050.”

    Actually no, if you look at the underlying study linked, less than 50% of non-Tea Party Republicans agreed with that statement.

    So I’m calling that one:

    Pants On Fire!

    So, as those are the only two that I’ve actually checked, I have my doubts as to what all DN said in that Op-Ed piece.

    In general, I tend to shy away from op-ed pieces, normally because they are unsourced, and almost always of the bias-with-intent hit pieces. Here we have a sourced op-ed, and it’s even worse than I thought, outright lying with links even.

  13. #13 Everett F Sargent
    United States
    2015/01/05

    Slight correction to previous post:

    “Energy Institute”

    should be

    “Energy Foundation”

  14. #14 matt
    2015/01/05

    > Actually no, if you look at the underlying study linked, less than 50% of non-Tea Party Republicans agreed with that statement [Sign an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon
    dioxide 90% by the year 2050].

    Page 14, Question 174.
    40% Somewhat support
    14% Strongly support

  15. #16 matt
    2015/01/05

    Seriously Everett?

    Now I have read up on your complaint about “The US military views climate change as a serious threat.”.

    I am not challenging who funded what report (not even sure which one you are referring to since there are more than one) but your “pants on fire” and “outright lying with links even” comments are absurd.

  16. #17 Everett F Sargent
    United States
    2015/01/05

    matt,

    See the figure on p.12 of that poll, they took a weighted average, of the raw results. In other words, they are, and I am, correct, on that one.

    This isn’t a simple yes/no poll, anytime there are more than two choices, a weighted average is ALWAYS taken.

    So I’m still calling that one:

    Exploding Pants On Fire!

    As to CNA Corporation the report is here:

    http://www.cna.org/sites/default/files/MAB_2014.pdf

    Now, I went to all the trouble of going through the CNA website, since they on the list of FFRDCs:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federally_funded_research_and_development_centers

    The Center for Naval Analyses (one of two parts of CNA) is federally funded (by, I’m assuming, mostly the US Navy). The other branch of CNA, the Institute for Public Research, is abjectly NOT funded by the US military, they even have a disclaimer that reads:

    Note to reporters and editors: CNA is not an acronym and is correctly referenced as “CNA Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis organization located in Arlington, VA.”

    The Energy Foundation has absolutely no connections or funding from DOD.

    CNA had to put that disclaimer in because the above linked report was initially widely reported as coming from the Center for Naval Analyses (which has the acronym CNA).

    See the bottom of that NYT article that DN linked to:

    “Correction: May 15, 2014
    Because of an editing error, an article on Wednesday about a report on global climate change from a leading government-funded military research organization misstated the military rank of David Titley. He is a rear admiral, not an admiral. Also because of an editing error, the article misstated the name of the research organization that released the report. It is the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board, not the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board.”

    Also, David Titley is a RETIRED rear admiral, as were ALL of the military members on that particular board.

    No active military authored or funded that report, the Energy Foundation did fully fund that report. CNA takes monies from all sources, not just the military.

    Also the primary global concerns of the military are disaster relief (as we have, by far, the largest sea based logistics capability) and global security (related to what all they call terrorism). The US military is not concerned with solving global warming itself per se (securing military bases in the coastal zone is a concern).

    So I’m calling that one:

    Exploding Pants On Fire!

    You see, I spent about half of my civilian career doing military work, had a security clearance of “Secret” and my immediate supervisor had a security clearance of “Top Secret” (in which, I was one of about three interviewed when he obtained that clearance).

    Dogbert would say “Go away.”

    So maybe, just maybe, I know several orders of magnitude more about the US military than DN ever will (and that active duty service personnel know several orders of magnitude more about the US military than I ever will).

  17. #18 matt
    2015/01/05

    Ok Everett. I’m not going to argue with you. Agree to disagree. For others I will lay out the quotes for the 1st issue which earns Dana “Exploding Pants On Fire!” in your opinion and is “outright lying”.

    Dana:

    “Even a majority of non-Tea Party Republicans agree that the planet is warming and support an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90% by the year 2050.”

    Linked material:

    “Q174. Sign an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90% by the year 2050.”

    Republicans [non-tea party]
    14% Strongly support
    40% Somewhat support
    20% Somewhat oppose
    27% Strongly oppose

    [54% strongly or somewhat support]

    http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/files/PoliticsGlobalWarming2011.pdf

  18. #19 Eli Rabett
    http://rabett.blogspot.com
    2015/01/05

    This official enough for you?

    The responsibility of the Department of Defense is the security of our country. That requires thinking ahead and planning for a wide range of contingencies.

    Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing
    precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability,
    hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and
    resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe. In our defense strategy, we refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today – from infectious disease to terrorism. We are already beginning to see some of these
    impacts.

    A changing climate will have real impacts on our military and the way it executes its missions. The military could be called upon
    more often to support civil authorities, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the face of more frequent and
    more intense natural disasters. Our coastal installations are vulnerable to rising sea levels and increased flooding, while droughts, wildfires, and more extreme temperatures could threaten many of our training activities. Our supply chains could be impacted, and we will need to ensure our critical equipment works under more extreme weather conditions. Weather has always affected military operations, and as the climate changes, the way we execute operations may be altered or constrained. While scientists are converging toward consensus on future climate projections, uncertainty remains. But this cannot be an excuse for delaying action. Every day, our military deals with global uncertainty.

    Our planners know that, as military strategist Carl von Clausewitz wrote, “all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight.”

    It is in this context that DoD is releasing a Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap. Climate change is a long-term trend, but with wise planning and risk mitigation now, we can reduce adverse impacts downrange.

  19. #20 Everett F Sargent
    United States
    2015/01/05

    matt,

    See p.12, the CNA analysis of the RAW data. Their analysis, not mine.

    It’s in graphical form even.

    The “non-Tea Party Republicans” on that graph falls BELOW the half way point, in other words, BELOW a neutral position.

    It’s called a weighted average.

    Someone here clearly does not understand this very basic simple concept.

    Also see pp.3-4 where we find:

    “For the smallest political sub-group (the Tea Party, n = 97) the margin of error is plus or minus 10 percent, with 95 percent confidence. As a result, cells in the Detailed Results tables are highlighted in red only if they are at least 10 percentage points greater than the national average.”

    So, for the “non-Tea Party Republicans” n = 197, thus that MOE (95% confidence interval) is +/- 7%. Since the breakdown is 53/47 percent (matt, the column sums to 101%, I’ve checked, so the above 53/47 breakdown are the correct numbers) we can state with 95% confidence that the majority of “non-Tea Party Republicans” do NOT support whatever matt/DN thinks they support. BTW, those numbers don’t even pass 90% confidence interval.

    So I’m still calling this one:

    Creation Of The Universe Pants On Fire!

  20. #21 Everett F Sargent
    2015/01/05

    Eli,

    Of course, I know what DOD has stated, still does not change the (very brief) essence of what I have said above.

    Solving global warming is abjectly NOT in DOD’s mission statement.

    Securing military bases in the face of sea level rise is in DOD’s mission statement, under the “national security” rubric. The DOD will move their bases if need be, or provide coastal defense structures as necessary.

    Disaster relief has also been in the DOD mission statement, for obvious reasons, given there historic logistics capabilities, specifically with regards to (Joint) Logistics-Over-The-Shore (my core military works).

    Everything DOD does falls under the rubric of “national security.”

  21. #22 JBL
    2015/01/05

    “So I’m still calling this one…” Your belief that this sort of repetition is sensible or convincing, rather than childish and irritating, is fascinating.

  22. #23 Everett F Sargent
    United States
    2015/01/05

    [Dana Nuccitell]’s belief that this sort of repetition is sensible or convincing, rather than childish and irritating, is fascinating.

    [I’d like to encourage people not to give people belittling nicknames when referring to them in comments. Except for me, of course. Its part of the conversation of civility and hypocrisy -W]

  23. #24 matt
    2015/01/06

    Everett,

    You think you need to perform a weighted average to determine what the majority supports, I disagree and so do the authors. They seem to believe that graph does not measure what you think it measures.

    “Their analysis” states (exec summary):

    “majorities of Democrats, Independents and [non-Tea Party] Republicans support an international treaty to cut carbon dioxide emissions”

    (and the only question which asks about international treaties is the one I refer to above, Q174).

    Questions,

    50% of ppl slightly prefer weasels over rabbits,
    50% of ppl strongly prefer rabbits over weasels.

    What percentage of ppl slightly prefer weasels over rabbits?
    What percentage of ppl prefer weasels over rabbits?

    It is possible that this (slim) majority of [non-TP] Republicans may not support this action due to error, but errors go both ways.

    Back to my main point. You disagree, thats fine, but instead of accusing someone of “outright lying”, perhaps saying something like “Dana got it wrong” is sufficient. I’m guessing you disagree with this too. So, agree to disagree.

    You can have the last word on this. I’m not looking to make this into an ATTP comment thread.

  24. #25 Everett F Sargent
    United States
    2015/01/06

    matt,

    Everything you say is true.

    However, that does not change the fact that the same data is portrayed as a weighted average figure as shown on p.12.

    Nor does it change the fact that, for the Republicans (n = 197 with a 53/47 percentile split), the significance level is only 65% (a full 30% below the most used level of significance (i. e. 95% confidence band)). 65% is not a very encouraging level of significance IMHO.

    Finally, DN states:

    “Even a majority of non-Tea Party Republicans agree that the planet is warming and support an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90% by the year 2050.”

    I would rephrase that as:

    “Even a majority of Republicans agree that the planet is warming and support signing an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90% by the year 2050.”

    (1) Because if you state “non-Tea Party Republicans” than there were also “non-Tea Party Democrats and “non-Tea Party Independents” (see p.34). As the survey separated “Tea Party” from all groups, IMHO the construed misnomer being implied or assumed or dog whistled is that the Tea Party would otherwise be 100% Republican (which is not true, at least with respect to the table as shown on p.34).

    (2) Anyone being somewhat knowledgeable in US civics, would know that signing a treaty is certainly not the same thing as ratification of said treaty as is (in its original sighed form), that the process requires a two thirds majority of the Senate. AFAIK, the Kyoto Protocol has never even been submitted to the Senate (mostly for political reasons (i. e. the makeup of the Senate)).. Someone can certainly support a signing, knowing full well that it would have virtually zero chance of being passed in today’s Senate.

    Finally, we get into the subject of “cherry picking” a singular survey that most supports your own particular prejudices or bias (the bias-with-intent that I referred to earlier). There are many other more recent surveys, of the type that asks the level of support for no action, minor action, moderate action and major action on mitigation of climate change (these surveys suggest a somewhat broader rejection of major action for all but Democrats, and 90% reductions IMHO would definitely be major action).

    In closing, my Pants On Fire was indeed going overboard, but I also think that “Mostly False” or “Half True” is about the highest I would be willing to go on the polling question, while the best I can do on the US military question is “Mostly False.”

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.