Friday Highlights

Woo hoo, 5 days in a row.

  1. Of sign and symptom.
  2. Data mining has defenders … a question not asked (that I’ve seen)  is how the Feds convinced those numerous corporations to provide access … what sort of perks. IRS kid gloves or Justice Department patent war favors? Hmmm?
  3. Talking legality (more here)… 51% is “reasonably sure” … Let’s see the politically neutral IRS isn’t … why are you so sure the politically neutral NSA is?
  4. Putting that and drones in a larger context here.
  5. Strange jewelry.
  6. Exists. Hmm. Regrettable perhaps?
  7. Of Scient(ology) and cinema.
  8. “Government” here is not the feds … it’s your school board. If you don’t like it, gosh, you can actually do something about it (or if you do like it … you can support it).
  9. The “science is settled” and some plots of those settled predictions. Sounds like settled doesn’t mean what they think it means.
  10. Remember the atheist meme, “religion is the opiate of the masses” … well not so much, eh?
  11. Of games and brains.
  12. Of tech and terror.
  13. Happiness fail.

39 responses to “Friday Highlights

  1. 3.Talking legality (more here)… 51% is “reasonably sure” … Let’s see the politically neutral IRS isn’t … why are you so sure the politically neutral NSA is?

    Separation of powers. A request for warrant is made to a FISA court, which reviews it and either grants or denies it.

  2. 9.The “science is settled” and some plots of those settled predictions. Sounds like settled doesn’t mean what they think it means.

    Actually rather than an ‘epic fail’ all the models predicted temp. increases and temperature observations actually did increase. That’s hardly an epic fail givent he complex nature of the system.

    As for why the models all seemed to predict more warming than actually happened…

    One potential problem I see is that the actual predictions were ignored and the models set to all intersect with the actual observation in 1979. This may sound like a good idea but many models generate a range of predictions which widen as time goes by. If a model is meant to be short term then you should run it out for a few years but constantly feed back actuals into it to recalibrate it.

    Another potential problem that was mentioned previously was that ocean warming has not been incorporated into models previously. This is clearly a problem for models but not for climate alarmists. If some of the ‘missing warming’ is being sucked up by oceans you still have a warming problem since the oceans are not a bottomless heat sponge.

    Finally perhaps biggest problem is conflating two issues, whether there’s ‘consensus on the science’ with ‘consensus on models’. The first is pretty much undeniable at this point. The second has never been claimed. Attacking the second does not establish the first.

  3. Boonton,
    I see … female/male birth ratios are 51/49 … so legally speaking all births can be “reasonably” assumed to be girls.

    The warrant covers the queries made to the database … the database contains all metadata not that in the US.

    Back when this came up in the Bush admin, I had ventured a suggestion for how to separate data to give the ability for researchers to do queries and develop their data without impacting privacy. I’ll hunt that down and we might discuss that next week.

    Or are you suggesting a FISA/independent court of the setup for IRS case review approvals?

  4. Boonton,

    Finally perhaps biggest problem is conflating two issues, whether there’s ‘consensus on the science’ with ‘consensus on models’. The first is pretty much undeniable at this point. The second has never been claimed. Attacking the second does not establish the first.

    Two problems, science is not decided by “consensus” you lay out the data and demonstrate the agreement of your theory and the data. The theory here is the model … which are all flawed. Woops. Second … “the first is undeniable” and conveniently un-falsifiable. You can claim “the consensus is undeniable”. OK. Show me how you know that. Show me by what falsifiable test you find that the consensus is undeniable.

    You missed something. All predict more warming. None predict a flattening of the warming for the last 15 years. So there is the amount and the shape of the curve which is flawed. The latter is likely more problematic than the first as it indicated something fundamental was missed.

  5. Boonton,
    In brief the data searchers would be searching data without personal identification attached. They’d be looking at networks of who talks to whom and what they look at … interesting “nodes” … you’d request a warrant to retrieve information to retrieve the “whom” for that node … at which point the FISA judge could grant or not access to the identity of a node based on the evidence gathered to support that “node x” is interesting. That would serve to allow indiscriminate searching of data … because no ID is attached … attaching an actual “who” to “what” would require warrant and cause.

  6. I see … female/male birth ratios are 51/49 … so legally speaking all births can be “reasonably” assumed to be girls.

    The 51% figure comes not from the gov’t but from the Protect America Act of 2007. It basically says gov’t can spy without a warrant if it reasonably believes the target is foreign. The PRISM program works off the fact that a good chunck of Internet data flows through US servers, even if both parties are outside the US.

    In terms of spying, this is nothing new. If you bugged a Paris hotel where the Russian ambassador was staying, you might end up picking up some American tourists staying in the next room.

    In the 1950’s and 60’s this wasn’t a problem since Hoover had no problem spying on Americans in America. Of course such info couldn’t be used in court but Hoover had more on his agenda than just making criminal cases. Today the gov’t’s spying power is limited but limited by law. On top of that only phone calls are actually protected by law. Email, Facebook posts etc. are never to be assumed to be private. Voice over internet is a grey area but it’s not quite clear what they were intercepting, ‘metadata’ or raw data itself.

  7. The theory here is the model … which are all flawed.

    Errr no it’s not. The theory is increasing CO2 traps more heat in the atmosphere. The model attempts to predict the evolution of climate over time and space. There’s trillions of ways for the models to be wrong while the theory is 100% correct. Which is why perhaps the most important prediction to be made first is the sign of temp. change over time. All models predict increasing temps, this is confirmed by observation. The next challenge is to model climate, but that is a much more difficult challenge.

    Consider exploding a 500 kiloton atomic bomb on top of the Empire State Building and asking what will happen to buildings in lower Manhatten. Well theory says the closer they are, the more likely they will be demolished. A model might try to predict which buildings will stand or fall based on detailed data on their structure and the dynamics of nuclear explosions.

    If we ran the models a thousand times and produced a thousand predictions, I wouldn’t be surprised if many or even all of them were very biased compared to what happened if one was really set off in some multiverse version of NYC. Even if the reality was surprisingly more buildings stood than expected, that wouldn’t really challenge the theory that such a thing is to be avoided.

  8. Boonton,

    The theory is increasing CO2 traps more heat in the atmosphere.

    Except that theory is plainly too simplistic. Look, “black paint on windows blocks light” … this is true, unless your window is already painted black in which case adding more black paint will do nothing. Absorption of light by molecules are by small wavelength bands in which the molecule will interact with that wavelength (and is transparent to others). CO2 has an band in the IR wavelengths which makes it interesting as a greenhouse gas. However, that band may be saturated already at this wavelength, so at some point adding more and more CO2 will be like adding more and more black paint.

    I was somewhat amused by a link to a science teaching video answering the question “why are there no more land animals as big as the dinosaurs” the answer given was interestingly enough that when the big dinosaurs roamed CO2 levels were higher which led to more plant growth and more food energy easily available for land animals to eat. Remind me now again why higher CO2 is a bad thing? Seems to me with more CO2 we can have more animals (such as humans) which means the planet could support higher populations than if CO2 levels were lower. You still have never given any reasonable reasons which stand up to scrutiny why increased CO2 (and/or more warming) is a bad not a good thing.

    A theory is good when it predicts outcomes. If it fails (like the theory/models are failing) that points to a weakness. A failing in the theory or model. Why is so hard for you to see that.

  9. A theory is good when it predicts outcomes. If it fails (like the theory/models are failing) that points to a weakness

    But yet they aren’t failing, temps are in fact going up and total energy trapped is going up well (if you count the ocean, which of course you have too). If the window was already black, that should not be happening.

    And how could CO2 have reached its full point possible? Are you saying if the entire atmosphere was CO2 we’d see no increase in temps?

    AS for why higher CO2 might be good, sure it might but here the models inability to be highly accurate about the changes is important. We already have plenty of food or plenty of ability to make food. It’s possible more CO2 may give us easier food production on balance. But it seems there are many more things that can go wrong than go right with it therefore we should consider adding CO2 to be a cost to us. If YOU had reliable models that demonstrated good predictions were highly reliable then there’d be something to talk about.

  10. Or put more simply, a madman jumps behind the counter at a pharmacy, knocks all the pills on the grounds and takes a random one and forces your child to swallow it. Should you be hopeful that the random pill will just happen to be the one that will help her health in some way (or at least have no real impact) or fearful that it will be harmful?

    The first outcome is quite possible, yet the second is more rational to worry about. You’d rather the pharmacy make it harder for that sort of thing to happen rather than inviting the mentally ill around in the hopes a random madman might benefit your children!

  11. Boonton,

    And how could CO2 have reached its full point possible? Are you saying if the entire atmosphere was CO2 we’d see no increase in temps?

    Any gas absorbs E/M at particular wavelengths. The CO2 band is likely either saturated or close to being saturated, which means it is absorbing all light in the wavelengths it interacts with already.

    here the models inability to be highly accurate about the changes is important.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here. You are saying more CO2 might be good but … what? Because we can’t accurately predict the temperature effects of CO2 therefore the dinosaurs … did what?

    We already have plenty of food or plenty of ability to make food.

    I see. Overpopulation and scarce resource concerns (esp food) of the greens are completely bogus. Gotcha.

    If the window was already black, that should not be happening.

    If CO2 was the cause and not the effect. If the window was already black and you paint it … but it’s getting lighter in the room, you might wonder if someone turned on the lights. Or in the context of this model, you might wonder if the primary cause of temperature changes has not been carbon but something else.

    But yet they aren’t failing

    (Tiredly) … yes they are failing. They all overestimate (sometimes wildly) and fail to predict the flattening. We are told (I think wrongly) that short term weather is very hard but long term climate is easy. Those graphs demonstrate the fallacy of thinking climate is easy … and shows that the indeterminacy of the chaotic climate is on many (time) length scales not just short term.

  12. I’m not sure where this pharmacy thing is going or coming from.

  13. Any gas absorbs E/M at particular wavelengths. The CO2 band is likely either saturated or close to being saturated, which means it is absorbing all light in the wavelengths it interacts with already.

    Maybe it’s me but this doesn’t seem very plausible. Right now CO2 is about 400 ppm. It seems to me that there’s plenty opportunity for a photon to make its way from the surface of the earth into space without ever encountering a CO2 molecule. This stands in contrast to a window painted black which is already covered by so much paint that every photon that can be asorbed is already being asorbed.

    Anyway it would seem the better way to measure this would be to forget about local climate models and look at the entire earth as an input-output system. How much energy is the earth receiving, how much is it radiating and how much of what it is radiating is a the proper wavelength to be able to be asorbed by greenhouse gasses.

    I see. Overpopulation and scarce resource concerns (esp food) of the greens are completely bogus. Gotcha.

    Didn’t say that, I did say there’s little evidence that scarce resourses would be easily solveable by increasing the earth’s temp.

    I’m not sure where this pharmacy thing is going or coming from.

    Simple conservativism. You have a point that it might be nicer to be able to grow food in a few more areas. But we already have a planet that’s very well suited to growing food for us. It’s possible messing around with it’s climate may result in something better. But there’s a lot of ways to see how it could result in something worse.

    So with that in mind imagine downing a random pill from a pharmacy’s inventory that has gotten tossed around by a crazy person. Let’s say you’re more or less healthy but you may have some problems that could be improved upon (say a bit high blood pressure or sugar). It’s possible the random pill will be one that makes you even healthier by helping that problem. But you’re not going to take a random pill because your probability universe looks like this:

    A bunch of ways you can end up better.

    A lot of ways you can end up no better or worse (maybe not a lot worse, could just be a minor worse but worse nonetheless)

    A huge # of ways you can end up worse

    A few possible ways you can end up dead.

    While the first is possible, the bottom two are more likely. So you’re not going to be inclinded to take a random pill. You’re probably going to demand that before you take a pill you will assume it to be ‘guilty until proven innocent’. You will not take a pill unless at least some evidence can be presented that it will help. Otherwise you’re going to deem being forced to take a random pill to be a harm imposed on you.

    So some models of what could happen to someone like you taking a random pill lean towards the bottom two. But some real life examples of people like you who took random pills ended up around the second rather than the bottom two. That may indicate there’s something wrong with the models predictions of how bad things will be, it doesn’t demonstrate the theory that taking random pills you know nothing about is a bad idea is wrong.

  14. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    Good article on your saturation argument. Summary paragraph below but the details are worth reading IMO.

    So, if a skeptical friend hits you with the “saturation argument” against global warming, here’s all you need to say: (a) You’d still get an increase in greenhouse warming even if the atmosphere were saturated, because it’s the absorption in the thin upper atmosphere (which is unsaturated) that counts (b) It’s not even true that the atmosphere is actually saturated with respect to absorption by CO2, (c) Water vapor doesn’t overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there’s little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2, and (d) These issues were satisfactorily addressed by physicists 50 years ago, and the necessary physics is included in all climate models.

  15. Boonton,

    … and the necessary physics is included in all climate models.

    Which alas, doesn’t explain why ever single model is failing in the same way.

  16. Don’t change the subject, you raised CO2 saturation as a possible challenge to the entire global warming theory.

  17. Boonton,

    Don’t change the subject, you raised CO2 saturation as a possible challenge to the entire global warming theory.

    And you still haven’t explained how it isn’t a problem.

    OK. Let’s look at your points.

    You’d still get an increase in greenhouse warming even if the atmosphere were saturated, because it’s the absorption in the thin upper atmosphere (which is unsaturated) that counts (b) It’s not even true that the atmosphere is actually saturated with respect to absorption by CO2, (c) Water vapor doesn’t overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there’s little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2, and (d) These issues were satisfactorily addressed by physicists 50 years ago, and the necessary physics is included in all climate models.

    a -> why? Why does upper vs lower atmo count? Is this just a dodge, if the upper atmo was saturated after all, you could just go further out to higher yet altitudes and point out that wasn’t saturated … why is higher vs lower make a difference. If you have a blanket close to your body or a few inches away … and you reach equilibrium … you’re still going to have the same delta T right?

    b -> it’s not true … really? Got graphs? Are you just making a blanket claim to authority which you can’t justify?

    c -> again why? This is point a again. Why are you repeating yourself? Or are you saying there is some interaction between water and carbon-dioxide and the light?

    d -> ooooh … betcha got references and equations. Pls to share? If it was solved 50 years ago … why was the problem then cooling not warming.

    Do you get lower CO2 concentrations in the higher atmosphere because it’s heavier?

    I seem to recall you getting grumpy about me not “giving” the argument myself but trying to explain what was argued in other sources. Seems to me I might make the same claim. You aren’t making the argument, but just saying somebody somewhere … who you can’t cite or pass on, made an argument somewhere. There is a consensus according to you, but how that consensus is established or proven is again untestable.

    Are you the same guy you complains about ID as not-science because it makes no un-testable hypothesis. Here we have predictions made by “proven science” all of which miss the mark and have no obvious features (the missing inflection) … a hypothesis made and not demonstrated seems to be problematic. Why is it not problematic for you. If this prediction was made by an field which you doubted … you’d be all over it for a month of Sunday’s.

  18. a -> why? Why does upper vs lower atmo count? Is this just a dodge, if the upper atmo was saturated after all, you could just go further out to higher yet altitudes and point out that wasn’t saturated

    Because the atmosphere is layered. If the lower atmosphere is saturated with CO2, then additional CO2 would not cause it to retain additional heat. But if the upper layers are not saturated, then adding CO2 there increases the capture. Likewise if the upper layers have less CO2, then energy has more of a ‘straight shot’ to reflect out into space.

    And no you can’t just ‘keep going up’. The atmosphere thins out to almost nothing at a certain point. If you can show for some reason CO2 is held out of the upper atmosphere, then you have an argument, but if not then you’re essentially adding another blanket.

    b – I haven’t seen any evidence cited that says we are at CO2 saturation. I’m no expert but your analogy to a window that’s already painted black doesn’t seem to follow here. CO2 is around 400 ppm. The 401th molecule of CO2 seems to have plenty of room to asorb stray photons without bumping into its brothers. For a molecule of black paint on the window, though, all the photons have already been gobbled up leaving nothing to feed the new guest.

    c – Water vapor sticks closer to the lower levels than higher levels. No doubt you have noticed that once you fly high enough in a plane, it ceases to be cloudy and rainy.

    d -> ooooh … betcha got references and equations. Pls to share? If it was solved 50 years ago … why was the problem then cooling not warming.

    Wait you want graphs or don’t? Or you only want graphs but don’t accept other references? Or references but not ‘authorities’? And no the problem 50 years ago was not ‘cooling’.

    Are you the same guy you complains about ID as not-science because it makes no un-testable hypothesis.

    Yes because it does. You seem to be confusing the ability to make precision forecasts with testable hypothesis.

    Failure of model predictions is not itself a huge problem IMO if one understands the cause of the failure.

  19. Boonton,

    Failure of model predictions is not itself a huge problem IMO if one understands the cause of the failure.

    I see, except it would seem that a failure to predict when your future prediction is what is causing your alarm seems problematic. What is the cause of the curve? What is the cause of all the models to over predict the amount of warming? Why do you pretend the “science” is settled if no predictions were correct?

    You seem to be confusing the ability to make precision forecasts with testable hypothesis.

    Let’s see. You’ve offered several (untestable hypothesis). “The science is settled”. How to test?

    a -> you didn’t indicate why upper atmo carbon-dioxide is more important than lower.

    b -> I see, did you look? And “stray photon” remember you mean stray photons in a very narrow wavelength band.

    c -> I asked about interactions between water vapor and CO2 … you offer “clouds” which btw are not water vapor. Water vapor is lighter than air and is invisible.

    d -> Yes. The problem 50 years ago was cooling. I was a science geek as a kid and in the late 60s early 70s the problem was that we would precipitate an early onset ice age, i.e., cooling. You can pretend otherwise, but I was there.

    What testable hypothesis is being made?

  20. going thru your letters:

    a. Upper CO2 isn’t more important but it reveals a problem with your satuation theory. CO2 added to the upper atmosphere acts to block energy seeking to escape into space. Putting a dam at the end of a river will cause water to deepen and backup before the dam. Your satuation hypothesis has to demonstrate not only is CO2 satuated at a particular level (which you haven’t done) but at all levels. Barring that you’d have to explain why additional CO2 released after satuation wouldn’t end up flowing into atmospheric levels that are below satuation.

    b. Yes, so what? A window with 440 ppm of black paint is nothing like a window painted black. The former would look as clear as day to the naked eye.

    c. Nothing was said about CO2 and H2o interacting. It was simply cited that the upper atmosphere is drier than the lower. Energy that is not asorbed by water vapor can either have a straight shot out to space or end up getting trapped by CO2 in the upper. Of course CO2 in the lower atmosphere also asorbs energy.

    d. We are in fact due for an ice age and most likely if humans never appeared on earth or if we never developed carbon heavy sources of energy we probably would be on the cusp of an ice age now. You can consider that a good side effect of global warming if you wish.

  21. Boonton,

    “my letters” they came from your quote.

    a -> except that your quoted piece claims that the upper atmo is more important, apparently they think that blocking radiation in the upper atmo is more important because it’s colder and won’t re-radiate as well.
    b-> Uhm, if the black paint saturates at 440 ppm then it saturates at ppm. It wouldn’t look black to the naked eye because your eye is sensitive across a broad spectral band not just a few frequencies. CO2 absorbs at just a narrow band.

    c -> “nothing was said about water and carbon dioxide interacting” you say. Except you quoted “and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2″ which “if it were not for the CO2” seems to indicate an interaction. …

    d -> We are in fact due for an ice age … yes and anthropomorphic triggering of said ice age was in fact the concern in the early to mid 70s. And ice age is cooling, btw.

    You can consider that a good side effect of global warming if you wish.

    Yah. I’ve noticed lots of good effects from warming. Not so much the bad ones lately … except the stupid “runaway positive feedback” of greater CO2 which is patent nonsense. Terrestrial temperatures have been stable for more than a billion years with CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases far greater and less in concentrations then now. If there were positive feedback effects leading to far greater or lower temperatures, life would have never evolved on this planet.

  22. Boonton,
    Unlike a damn, when radiation is absorbed by a molecule is subsequently emitted in a random direction. With a damn, the “re-radiation” of water is always upstream.

  23. That is a good example of what I’ll deem the fallacy of spurious analogy nitpicking.

    If molecules emit radiation in random directions then you have two things happening.

    1. YOu have radiation that was on its way out of the system getting held in for a period of time.

    2. About 50% of the emmission will go back down towards the ground while the other 50% would go out into space.

    Imagine a huge damm type complex that captures water at the end of a river, briefly stores it before sending it to a series of super high pressure hoses. Half of those hoses shoot the water back up the river and half shoot it over the dam where it continues on the path it would have normally gone.

    The effect of this complex would be to block the water trying to leave causing it to build up. Yes a full dam would be more effective but the water would deepen more than if there was no obstructions placed to it exiting the mouth of the river.

  24. Boonton,
    No. Look. The claim was “higher atmo blocking matters more” … and apparently what we care about is the lower atmosphere. Radiation blocked in the upper atmo slows re-radiation back to space because it is colder, but if that is a low intensity re-radiation it shouldn’t matter, because less gets re-radiated down and it just doesn’t matter, … yes it slows re-radiation back to space but has little to no effect (because it’s colder) on re-radation back to the lower atmo. So it seems just as likely to me that for the lower atmo temps, absorption in the higher atmo doesn’t matter very much. Yes, it will warm the upper atmo a little, but that doesn’t affect the temps where it matters.

    The more serious problem is your source’s citing of positive feedback mechanisms, which is, frankly, silly talk.

  25. Boonton,
    The point is, if you are back with your dam analogy … it seems like holding water up in the “pump” area (upper atmo which pumps very little .. (it’s cold)) then changing how much is pumped and such in that region won’t actually make the water deeper fall back from the damn. It will cause a little more water total to be held, but so what?

  26. I’m not sure what ‘matters more’ but it does seem pretty clear that the upper atmosphere is not at CO2 satiation (nor have you presented evidence that the lower atmosphere is) and if the upper atmosphere is altered to absorb and re-emit more radiation downwards you will see increased temperatures.

    The more serious problem is your source’s citing of positive feedback mechanisms, which is, frankly, silly talk.

    Given how chaotic the data is it would be pretty hard to believe there aren’t numerous feedback systems at play. That doesn’t challenge the theory, though.

  27. Boonton,
    Feedback doesn’t cause chaos. Non-linearity does.

    Interesting how you need exact quotes and data in certain situations, but if I ask for the same … you can’t provide them. You’d think if you thought we weren’t at low atmo CO2 absorption saturation then you’d be able to show data indicating what is saturation, how much is absorbed, and how far/close we are from said saturation.

    And actually that (feedback) is one of the big problems with the skary part of the theory. Warming is allegedly (cite your oft noting the “unknown” effects) vary vary skary because we are told there is a strong positive feedback which will kick the warming into an irreversible non-survivable warming trend. Except the terrestrial temperature has been both far warmer for long periods and stable for billion(s) of years. If there were positive feedback elements pushing to a far warmer regime, then it would have happened already long long ago and life would not have evolved or survived. The only long term stable patterns in the temperature have been far colder, i.e., ice ages. It looks like the main feedback mechanisms have two points of stability, not three … one where we are and one somewhat colder.

  28. You’d think if you thought we weren’t at low atmo CO2 absorption saturation then you’d be able to show data indicating what is saturation, how much is absorbed, and how far/close we are from said saturation.

    Why is this burden on me? If your hypothesis is that we don’t have to worry about CO2 causing warming anymore because we’ve already saturated the atmosphere with CO2 shouldn’t you be collecting this data and presenting it?

    Warming is allegedly (cite your oft noting the “unknown” effects) vary vary skary because we are told there is a strong positive feedback which will kick the warming into an irreversible non-survivable warming trend….If there were positive feedback elements pushing to a far warmer regime, then it would have happened already long long ago and life would not have evolved or survived.

    Except this is not what is alleged. No one that I’m aware of is alleging that CO2 released thru industrial processes is going to turn earth into Venus. Instead the danger is a probability function. The runaway sceneraro that causes the extinction of human life is most likely a very slim probability. But other more likely dangers include the fact that a rapid and dramatic increase in temps is likely to impose large burdens on humanity. Granted if your metric is the # of life forms on earth this is unlikely to matter, but then bacteria outnumber mammels on earth probably by a factor of at least 1,000 to 1 so that’s not quite the popularity contest to focus your attention on.

    Other possibilities include no burdens at all or very slight positive beneifts (I think the idea of huge benefits are about as slim as the ‘Venus possibility’ of extinction of all life, unlikely enought to be considered zero and dropped from analysis).

    You keep circling back to those last two, but your thinking here seems to be dominated by selective focus rather than acknowledging the costs of incurring uncertainity and risk. Since CO2 imposes a cost on us by increasing risks we should charge more for CO2, it’s that simple. Yet your arguments revolve around a lot of binary thinking where the only possibility is either CO2 will kill us all, in which case any cost is worth paying to get rid of all CO2 generation, or CO2 is harmless so getting rid of all CO2 generation is needlessly imposing a huge burden on us.

  29. Boonton,

    Why is this burden on me?

    Because it is your thesis that CO2 is a problem, not mine. It is my thesis that this is poorly understood, which alas is well supported by the failure of any of the models to actually make good predictions (which means their theories are flawed).

    But other more likely dangers include the fact that a rapid and dramatic increase in temps is likely to impose large burdens on humanity

    Except feedback mechs have kept temps in two survivable regimes.

    You keep circling back to those last two, but your thinking here seems to be dominated by selective focus rather than acknowledging the costs of incurring uncertainity and risk.

    What risks. I see benefits, little risk.

  30. Boonton,

    ou keep circling back to those last two, but your thinking here seems to be dominated by selective focus rather than acknowledging the costs of incurring uncertainity and risk. Since CO2 imposes a cost on us by increasing risks we should charge more for CO2, it’s that simple. Yet your arguments revolve around a lot of binary thinking where the only possibility is either CO2 will kill us all, in which case any cost is worth paying to get rid of all CO2 generation, or CO2 is harmless so getting rid of all CO2 generation is needlessly imposing a huge burden on us.

    You forgot the “or it is beneficial” which drops off your calculus entirely. Why do you think it increases risk? Risk of what … oh wait … would that be runaway warming due to positive feedback?

  31. Because it is your thesis that CO2 is a problem, not mine. It is my thesis that this is poorly understood, which alas is well supported by the failure of any of the models to actually make good predictions (which means their theories are flawed).

    OK so suppose you are telling me that CO2 is not a problem because the Starship Enterprise has arrived here via time warp and, while cloaked, is using its deflectors to counteract the impact of CO2…therefore CO2 isn’t a problem. I would not be inclined to feel obligated to make much of an effort to prove this isn’t the case, esp. if you felt no obligation to provide any evidence in support of your hypothesis.

    Except feedback mechs have kept temps in two survivable regimes.

    You’re measuring success here as anything that doesn’t cause a mass extinction of life on earth?

    You forgot the “or it is beneficial” which drops off your calculus entirely.

    No I included it but the potential benefit is likely slim. Even doubling our capacity to grow food is unlikely to benefit humanity as a whole much or ourselves as developed nation(s) much. We just don’t spend much our GDP growing food so cutting that cost even more only helps a little. On the other hand if the cost to produce food suddenly consumers a huge portion of GDP (perhaps because fertile areas become empty requiring either massive irrigation or moving production to areas that were previously not very fertile). You still have ‘slight benefit’ to ‘no harm’ to compare to the potential for very serious harm.

  32. Boonton,

    You’re measuring success here as anything that doesn’t cause a mass extinction of life on earth?

    Huh? No. Success is the temperature staying in historical regimes.

    I would not be inclined to feel obligated to make much of an effort to prove this isn’t the case, esp. if you felt no obligation to provide any evidence in support of your hypothesis.

    Ok. My hypothesis is that climate theories are too early to make dependable predictions … and for evidence the 10 or so models published all fail to predict the current global temp trends. No Starships here. You say CO2 is a big skary problem and is a high risk. You need to support your hypothesis. You have not.

    Even doubling our capacity to grow food is unlikely to benefit humanity as a whole much or ourselves as developed nation(s) much.

    Bull. Top “Millenium Goal” was hunger. Seems to me increasing global crop productivity would be a thing that would help said goal.

    On the other hand if the cost to produce food suddenly consumers a huge portion of GDP …

    Is this a low or high CO2 regime. ’cause more plant growth seems to me not a thing raising the cost of plants. Oh wait, you raise the “Starship Enterprise” specter, to whit “perhaps because fertile areas become empty requiring either massive irrigation or moving production to areas that were previously not very fertile”.

  33. Ok. My hypothesis is that climate theories are too early to make dependable predictions

    So’s mine. Except I’m capable of working with undependable predictions as well. For example, by asking yourself how many ways can things go bad and comparing to possible ways they could get better, you can be guided even if your models cannot be depended upon for certainity.

    “perhaps because fertile areas become empty requiring either massive irrigation or moving production to areas that were previously not very fertile”.

    If tomorrow Antartica became twice as fertile as America’s bread basket, but America’s farming regions became infertile the likely result would be a generation long famine. Your are vastly overestimating how much the problem of ‘hunger’ is rooted to raw food production. You are also vastly underestimating how much of food production is about capital more than fertile land or agreeable climate.

  34. Boonton,

    If tomorrow Antartica became twice as fertile as America’s bread basket, but America’s farming regions became infertile the likely result would be a generation long famine.

    Yah, and if Alien warships devastated the planet then we’d all starving or killed too. “More fertile” means more plants more growth. It doesn’t broad swaths of places where plants don’t grow. Duh.

    So’s mine. Except I’m capable of working with undependable predictions as well.

    No. Yours allows you to included incredibly unlikely unrealistic bad events which lead you to recommend unreasonable actions.

  35. “More fertile” means more plants more growth.

    Fertile means the ability to grow. If this happened new plants would quickly start spreading around Antartica but it would still take generation(s) to see forests spring up.

    But in terms of food you aren’t growing plants, you’re growing crops. If tomorrow Antartica’s ice was replaced with the most fertile soil in the world it would still require a massive importation of capital and people to ramp up food production there to exploit that positive. If, on the other hand, the most fertile soil in America was lost as part of that bargain, the destruction of capital and declien in output would be immediate and devestating.

  36. BTw, you may want to check out
    http://www.slate.com/articles/business/project_syndicate/2013/06/climate_panic_ecological_collapse_is_not_upon_us_and_we_haven_t_run_out.html?wpisrc=flyouts

    The Limits of Growth got it so wrong because its authors overlooked the greatest resource of all: our own resourcefulness. Population growth has been slowing since the late 1960s. Food supply has not collapsed (1.5 billion hectares of arable land are being used, but another 2.7 billion hectares are in reserve). Malnourishment has dropped by more than half, from 35 percent of the world’s population to under 16 percent.

    For every square foot of land being used to make food, we have nearly 2 square feet of land in reserve. This means a sudden increase in arable land or prolonged growing seasons is unlikely to do much of anything for malnutrition in the world. If the problem was really lack of food grown, we could just tap the nearly 2 to 1 ratio of unused arable land we have right now.

  37. Boonton,

    The Limits of Growth got it so wrong because its authors overlooked the greatest resource of all: our own resourcefulness.

    So … climate problem is no problem … good argument for that you’ve just offered. I’m not getting why you think there is any problem then.

    If, on the other hand, the most fertile soil in America was lost as part of that bargain, the destruction of capital and declien in output would be immediate and devestating.

    Yes and if Ice 9 was released by accidentally discovered by chemists and released we’d all die too. You need to worry about things that aren’t so out of the realm of possibility.

  38. In regards to the first, part of our resourcefullness involves taking action to head off problems before they get bad, such as pollution.

    You need to worry about things that aren’t so out of the realm of possibility.

    Missing the point, I take extreme illustrations to test the limits of your assertions. The swaping US farmland for super farmland in Antartica is not meant to be something that’s likely to happen soon but a test of your assertion that it’s good to lose fertile land in exchange or a greater amount of fertile land (either quantity or quality). I also suspect you get that but are just fighting the hypothetical to generate noise to keep your argument going.

  39. Boonton,

    The swaping US farmland for super farmland in Antartica is not meant to be something that’s likely to happen soon but a test of your assertion that it’s good to lose fertile land in exchange or a greater amount of fertile land (either quantity or quality)

    No. swapping more farmland for less is however not very emblematic of increased fertility. You cited lots of arable land so therefore lack of food is not a problem on this planet. However, it actually in point of fact … is a problem. If a subsistence (or just-below-subsistence) farmer exists in numbers (and they do) you could let me know how greater productivity is going to be harmful to him.

    In regards to the first, part of our resourcefullness involves taking action to head off problems before they get bad, such as pollution.

    Typically, however, we wait until the problems actually appear before engineering fixes.

    And if the farmlands in the US became less viable (how? … your space aliens?) … that engineering would likely fix the problem.

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