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Monday Message Board

November 23rd, 2009

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

Categories: Economics - General Tags:
  1. Michael of Summer Hill
    November 23rd, 2009 at 20:45 | #1

    John, it seems like this week the neo-conservative illywackers have found another ‘wannabee’ Liberal Party leader within their ranks, Kevin Andrews. I wonder who will it be next week?

  2. Freelander
    November 23rd, 2009 at 23:07 | #2

    The problem with politicians is that they all think they carry a marshal’s baton in their knapsack. Unfortunately, such is politics that they are all in with a chance no matter how humble their talents.

  3. Cavitation
    November 24th, 2009 at 05:51 | #3

    What is it with the Liberal and National parties and global warming? Why are so many members obsessed with this issue? Australia is the only country in the world with a significant political representation stridently opposed to dealing with greenhouse gas pollution. Even in Britain and the US, the conservative parties support dealing with this issue. After all, its simple politics. What political party (apart from the ones in Australia) would go to its electorate with a policy that supports the end of the world? That’s essentially what the Liberal and National members are wanting to do, when they oppose the government’s greenhouse gas reduction scheme. They are saying to the public, support me and we will speed up the destruction of the planet. Why would any sensible politician take this stand?

    After all, all the government’s plan does is increase the cost of industrial processes that add to the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. It’s a variation of a tax on carbon. Political parties usually have no problem in adding to the cost of other products. Australia still increases the cost of cars and clothing to protect the local industries – cars used to have tariffs of over 100%. The extra cost planned to be added to producing electricity and so forth is not at this level. We will adjust to the cost increase involved. Life will go on. Except for some Liberal and National party politicians, who want to go to the next election with a policy that they think will get them elected – to encourage the destruction of our ecosystem. They were content in the past to double the price of our cars, but now they can’t stomach increasing the cost of coal-generated electricity by a lesser amount… People worry about the increase in their cancer risk from asbestos, but the Liberals now want to use a greater risk to our future to help them win the next election. Maybe they can reverse asbestos removal as their next policy direction…

    So, why are all these Liberal and National politicians taking such a suicidal stand?

  4. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 24th, 2009 at 05:55 | #4

    Elections select for talent but unfortunately it isn’t the right talent. I favour senators appointed by sortition so that at least one house can have a diversity of talents and some ordinary people free of party allegance^ can provide legislative oversight. A bit like a jury.

    ^ free in the sense that they don’t owe anybody for the position they hold.

  5. Donald Oats
    November 24th, 2009 at 09:46 | #5

    Two blogservations, with inference intended :-)
    i) Australia is the biggest per capita emitter of GHGs as per IPCC definition on GHGs.
    ii) Australia has the biggest per capita denialist politician fraction of industrialised countries.

    Caveats being that ii) is difficult to measure, what with Tony Abbott’s 180s on the topic :-)

    Bring on the circus today!

    PS: Terje, Today I committed the very sin I was highlighting on the weekend – I quoted the (probably illegally released) CRU email texts from Andrew Bolt’s blog in order to make a point over at Deltoid. Does my quoting thirdhand make as wrong as firsthand, I wonder? Please forgive.

    PPS: blogservation – I was trying to say “observation” but also conveying that the said observation might not actually be true, and that I don’t really care one way or the other, if it makes my argument for me. Then I thought “Hey, blogtruth is fast and loose truthiness, so why not the merging of blog and observation – blogservation. Think of all the possibilites! If it ever gets traction, you read about it here first!! :-)

  6. Donald Oats
    November 24th, 2009 at 09:46 | #6

    Heck, three smileys in one post. Too much coffee this early in the day…

  7. Robert Brown
    November 24th, 2009 at 12:57 | #7

    @Cavitation (#3)…

    I have been wondering the same thing. Presumably the Nationals represent rural/agricultural voters. These same voters will be first and arguably hardest hit by climate change (if they are not being hit already, i.e. if the spate of recent draughts turn out to be caused by global warming).

    I can’t work out why they are not fighting emissions restrictions more than anyone!

  8. Robert Brown
    November 24th, 2009 at 13:04 | #9

    Oops… I mean “fighting for emissions restrictions”…

  9. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 24th, 2009 at 13:23 | #10

    Donald – the leaked emails were clearly private, were clearly stolen but they are also now in the public domain. The genie is out of the bottle and it isn’t going back in. The egg can’t be unscrambled. I think quoting a section of the emails for the purposes of comment is fair use even if the owners want to assert copyright. Morally, as opposed to legally, I think intellectual property rights are on shakey ground anyway.

  10. iain
    November 24th, 2009 at 13:25 | #11

    “After all, all the government’s plan does is increase the cost of industrial processes that add to the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere.”

    “all” it does is this:

    1. Provides high cost administration (unnecessarily).

    2. Allocates initial permits in an ad hoc manner with no underlying sensible rationale.

    3. Excludes many relevant sellers and buyers allowing incomplete market conditions to prevail as the norm.

    4. Rewards and compensates high intensive polluters over low intensive polluters (within similar industries).

    5. Promotes an economic solution (cap and trade) that is not the most economically cost efficient method (when rate of change of MAC is greater than rate of change of MDC).

    6. Redistributes earnings in an ad hoc manner with little clear economic rationale (for example support for CCS or favourable support for the worst polluters).

    The rational basis for voting for this legislation is this – “we’ll fix it later”.

  11. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 24th, 2009 at 13:59 | #12

    The rational for voting against the ETS today is this “we’ll fix it later”.

  12. Alan
    November 24th, 2009 at 15:30 | #13

    Tony

    There is no mystery. The recent record-breaking heat in Marree is due to the heat island effect from the increased urbanisation of Marree.

  13. Alice
    November 24th, 2009 at 15:41 | #14

    @Donald Oats
    Don – thats funny but where are the scowlies? We definitely need more expressions in these faces.

  14. November 24th, 2009 at 16:29 | #15

    “The recent record-breaking heat in Marree …….” Ive been to the Marree Alan it is always hot there.

    If manipulate the data like the head of the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University, did here you might get a record…….

    I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.<

  15. iain
    November 24th, 2009 at 16:47 | #16

    Indeed, Terje

  16. Salient Green
    November 24th, 2009 at 17:33 | #17

    Tony G, I happen to have 5 mins to waste so here is a link which, if you bother to read it, will explain the term ‘trick’ in the context it was used, as well as how the term ‘decline’ was used in relation to the Divergence Problem.

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/11/truth-hacked-climate-email-controversy.php

    The mis-understanding of terms used in the emails, deliberately or not, must only add to the contempt climate scientists feel towards skeptics and deniers.

  17. Salient Green
    November 24th, 2009 at 18:18 | #18

    Robert #7, the trouble is that farmers and rural communities, as a group, are now way too diverse to be represented by one organisaion. It seems to me that NFF and maybe even the Nats really only represent the big agribusiness exporters.

    I know that many farmers wanted to be included in the CPRS for the opportunities it represented for growing offsets and biofuels. Many other farmers would be on the bones of their arses already as price takers in unfair markets and are going to be hurt badly whether farming is included or not.

    Then there is the conservative ideology, the age of the group who have ‘seen it all’ and ‘this is just more of what nature has been throwing at us for the last 60 years’, and a small group of us who hope for strong targets which would lead to an increase in localisation.

  18. nanks
    November 24th, 2009 at 18:35 | #19

    Also re robert at #7 The nats don’t represent rural communities, they use rural communities.
    Similarly the liblabs use urban communities.

  19. Salient Green
    November 24th, 2009 at 18:35 | #20

    Here is a short, easy to read summary titled “What is wrong with the CPRS and how to fix it”

    http://christine-milne.greensmps.org.au/webfm_send/314

    Watch the new coal power-stations being built. Breathe it in. Watch the ice melt. Watch the forests burn. Watch the sea rise and the coral bleach. What a ship of fools.

  20. nanks
    November 24th, 2009 at 18:40 | #21

    I just hope the greens get a stack of votes in the next elections. Otherwise it really is all over for democracy here for the foreseeable future.

  21. Salient Green
    November 24th, 2009 at 18:47 | #22

    Nanks # 21 agree and I think we are going to see a lot of direct action in the near future. Dec 12th in Adelaide will be my first protest march in 35 years.

  22. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 24th, 2009 at 19:13 | #23

    nanks :I just hope the greens get a stack of votes in the next elections. Otherwise it really is all over for democracy here for the foreseeable future.

    How on earth is democracy in peril?

  23. paul walter
    November 24th, 2009 at 19:37 | #24

    No Terje!
    I watched Lateline’s coverage of the emails and has a pretty clear impression by the end of it, that the stolen emails have been deliberately decontextualised by those using them emails to present a version of the conversations involved at odds with what the scientists themselves later said these converstin actually meant
    It is right to present information, but it is wrong to consciously misrepresent the comments thru manipulation of context and backgrounding apt to the given situation.

  24. nanks
    November 24th, 2009 at 19:43 | #25

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    to have a democracy – let’s not get too precious about defining that – at a minimum you need some sort of diversity of option upon which people act such that the diversity is manifest in the result of their actions.
    So a one party state – even with voting and everyone holdings hands and being happy – is not a democracy as far as I’m concerned. It’s more like a cult- and there are basic insights into ontogenesis from neuroscience and psych that support that view vis a vis environmental variability and development. That is, some sort of control system must be built into the society for that sort of result to obtain – ie diversity of option is illusory.
    If the liblabs continue to dominate Austalian politics such that there is no effective reflection of diversity at the elections then Australia is, in my view, a one party state. Therefore there is not a democracy in any effective or substantive sense.
    Personally I think that we are pretty much a one party state and have been for a while. But I still hope.
    A possible rejoinder is that people are individuals who can make up there own minds etc etc. Unfortunately for that view there is no empirical support for it and plenty against.

    Anyhow, that’s a shorthand after-I’ve-cooked-the-family-dinner version

  25. Ikonoclast
    November 24th, 2009 at 19:50 | #26

    It’s funny how disaster movies like 2012 always propound improbable catastrophes (with downright impossible physics) but nobody in Hollywood seems to want to make realistic disaster movies. I guess that’s because this real disaster (climate change and resource depletion) will take 50 years to unfold and will be horrendously protracted and gruesome. No real plot and nobody gets out alive except maybe a few hunter-gatherers again.

    Won’t it be ironic if a remnant of the aboriginal people re-inherit this continent? It would be an entirely fitting denoument to white imperialist and capitalist greed.

    Remember “Ozymandias”.

  26. Ikonoclast
    November 24th, 2009 at 20:05 | #27

    @nanks

    Nanks, you are quite right. We are essentially a one party state. Corporate capitalism has suborned both major parties so they implement policies to suit vested corporate interests, not to meet the requests and needs of the real democratic polity.

    The current perverse CO2 subsidy bill is a case in point. We are emitting too much carbon dioxide so what do we do? We subsidise thse CO2 emissions with billions of doallrs, give out bulk free permits to the worst offenders and set up a bogus trade in it so that the heavy emitters can make further billions out of their negative externality. Gee, that’ll work to bring down emissions. We go from ignoring a catastrophic neagtive externality to subsidising it. This is sheer insanity. It is indicative of the terminal maladaptive insanity of late stage corporate capitalism and its concommittant insatiable consumerism.

  27. Alice
    November 24th, 2009 at 20:06 | #28

    @nanks
    LOL Nanks – liblabs or is that lablibs ? Must admit…I cant tell the difference.

  28. Alice
    November 24th, 2009 at 20:08 | #29

    Next we will have the grablibs (now thats an idea…)

  29. Donald Oats
    November 24th, 2009 at 20:34 | #30

    Judith Curry, a climate scientist herself, writes about the CRU hack’s effect upon the perceived credibility of affected scientists, and makes the claim of identifiable tribalism among the CRU team and their closest collaborators.

    The tribalism claim – see PrQ’s take on it for the Delusorati – is interesting because if we grant its existence among said group, then the intriguing question is when did it start, and why? Afterall, in scientific circles of all shades scientists brought together for a common purpose (eg CRU’s creation) are going to be a close-knit bunch if they are both colleagues and frequent collaborators. So where does the line blur from team to tribe? When did they cross it, assuming that they did?

    Perhaps, and this is just an untested hypothesis at this point, the CRU group first felt under siege with the swingeing attack of the so-called “Hockey-Stick” from the US politicians (some with delusional beliefs, follow this link), based upon M1′s analysis. Given the international elevation of this one research article by, Michael Mann et al (see Myth vs. Fact Regarding the “Hockey Stick”, and Dummies Guide to the Latest “Hockey Stick” Controversy for further information), and the following social-network analysis done upon them by a well-known Denialist outfit, perhaps the CRU group felt isolated and this had the effect of converting their individual and somewhat divergent views into the common perspective of a group under attack. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me – I sure wouldn’t want to be hauled up in front of Congress to explain my work when it was under aggressive biased examination by certain senators.

    Once M1 allegedly unleashed a volley of FOI’s, having already campaigned for them to release more data (mostly already in the public domain, for those less feeble-minded and able to read scientific references), in at least one case for data he allegedly already had but failed to inform others on his website! My guess of that particular case (the 2004 case) is that M1 may have hoped that if Briffa et al eventually handed over the raw data, he might find discrepancies between it and his copy – or at least, he could verify the veracity of the raw data; holding on to it unannounced for 4 years or so does seem weird though. Of course, he might have had entirely different reasons for continuing to demand the data, but why would that be if he already had it? Too much heat, not enough light :-(

    So, is the CRU group suffering from tribalism, or is it collective frustration shown by talk of how to fight against the (unjustified?) demands of certain individuals?

    I’ll end with a remark from RealClimate:

    All this shows wishful thinking overcoming logic. Every time there is a similar rush to judgment that is subsequently shown to be based on nothing, it still adds to the vast array of similar ‘evidence’ that keeps getting trotted out by the ill-informed. The excuse that these are just exploratory exercises in what-if thinking wears a little thin when the ‘what if’ always leads to the same (desired) conclusion. This week’s play-by-play was quite revealing on that score.

    Good Night and Good Luck,

    Don.

  30. Donald Oats
    November 24th, 2009 at 20:40 | #31

    @Alice
    Sorry!! :-(

    Only one sorry face in the previous post. I’m off to get a refill. :-)

  31. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 24th, 2009 at 20:50 | #32

    In the course of defending the climate scientists Tim Flannery says:-

    These people (scientists) work with models, computer modelling. When the computer modelling and the real world data disagrees you have a problem. That’s when science gets engaged.

    What Kevin Trenberth, one of the most respected climate scientist in the world, is saying is, ‘We have to get on our horses and find out what we don’t know about the system, we have to understand why the cooling is occurring, because the current modelling doesn’t reflect it’.

    And that’s the way science progresses, we can’t pretend to have perfect knowledge, we don’t.

    Is this the same as saying the science is settled? Or not?

  32. Sea-bass
    November 24th, 2009 at 21:09 | #33

    @nanks
    You are quite right, this is a one party state, and the results are far from optimal. However, it is indeed wishful thinking that you believe you can keep feeding the beast and hope that it behaves i.e. placing ever more and more power in the hands of government. Eventually you will realise that you have to starve the beast.

    @Ikonoclast
    This was exactly what I was fearing regarding the ETS. I do not believe AGW is a scam, but most of the policies proposed to combat it are. What I find astonishing is that, given the nature of the political process, you hoped for a efficient, well targeted scheme and you got a monster.

    Unfortunately the consumerism and resource depletion is only being exacerbated by modes of economic thought that hold up consumption as the be all and end all of economic growth, and which believes in the virtues of redistribution of resources to those who cannot manage them effectively.

    You may accuse libertarians of being free-market fundamentalists, yet I read your posts and the phrase “democratic fundamentalist” springs to mind. What you see as a failure of democracy is simply the fact that the policies consistent with your particular version of morality are not being implemented.

  33. Ikonoclast
    November 24th, 2009 at 22:22 | #34

    @Sea-bass

    Sea_Bass, if we sweep away the state then the powers left are corporations and warlords. How much space do you reckon they will leave for libertarian idealists?

  34. iain
    November 24th, 2009 at 23:22 | #35

    Terje, wow. You can’t be serious with this question? You really need to go over to RC and ask these questions over there if you really don’t know the answer to what you are asking.

    Some possible responses RC will give you:

    Re Trenberth: “You need to read his recent paper on quantifying the current changes in the Earth’s energy budget to realise why he is concerned about our inability currently to track small year-to-year variations”

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/EnergyDiagnostics09final.pdf

    Terje, please try having a read of this paper – it is actually a pretty accessible read for a science paper.

    Even just read the first page of it.

  35. SJ
    November 24th, 2009 at 23:53 | #36

    Is this the same as saying the science is settled? Or not?

    This would have to be one of the stupidest comments I’ve ever read, and believe me, in all the time I’ve spent on teh internets, I’ve read a lot of stupid comments.

    Terje, you claim to have a degree in engineering, and if you actually do, then presumably you’d be aware that people discover stuff, and that scientific knowledge changes over time. The science is never settled.

    But it’s still useful even though it can’t ever be settled. If you were transported back to the 17th century and you said to Newton, “Hey, drop a 16 ton weight on my head, I don’t care, Einstein’s going to show that you were slightly wrong in 200 years time”, well, the 16 ton weight would still kill you, and Newton’s approximation would still be right.

  36. Robert Brown
    November 24th, 2009 at 23:56 | #37

    Salient #18 and Nanks #19…
    “…farmers and rural communities, as a group, are now way too diverse to be represented by one organisaion…”

    “The nats don’t represent rural communities, they use rural communities….”

    So who voted for them (National Party)?

  37. Donald Oats
    November 25th, 2009 at 04:10 | #38

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    I’m not sure which drongo from the 2007 IPCC coorroboree came out and said it, ie “The science is settled”, but someone should’ve clipped him/her around the ears quick smart. What a terribly stupid thing to say at the moment that journos were descending upon anyone or anything quoteworthy. But once the horse has bolted…

    This CRU hacking event may prove similar at the political level. However, the science caravan continues on.

    One thing that has surprised me over the last few years is just how many people outside the disciplines central to climate science are demanding the whole kit and boodle of code, data, and articles – even help files :-) – so that they can duplicate (or not, as the agenda may be) the results. They want a simple recipe even Bozo the clown could follow. In the past it was accepted that the description of method needed only to be clear enough for another expert of the discipline to follow, but not a layperson, not even an educated layperson, could have expected their wishes to be catered for. Now they are catered for, apparently.

    I wonder what architects will feel if people off the street start asking to see the plans for some new public building or bridge. Claim that the architect is hiding the evidence, if he tells you to take a flying jump.

  38. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 05:36 | #39

    SJ- “The science is never settled”.

    Actually for a lot of things the science is settled. Not proven and not perfect but settled. We still teach kids Newtonian mechanics in spite of Einstein. Newtonian mechanics is still fantastic for making predictions within a vast class of problems. It is settled because it’s predictive powers have been demonstrated again and again for centuries. And it is taught in science classes in spite of being inacurrate simply because the inacurracy is subtle and in most day to day applications insignificant. Professional scientists still use Newtonian mechanics in spite of knowing about Einstein. Newtonian mechanics is settled science.

    When we have a computer model encapsulated in a piece of software that anybody with the appropriate hardware budget can download and run, and where it has for decades been pumping out acurate climate forecasts (rather than hindcasts) without any code modification I’ll be regarding the science of climate science as pretty much settled.

    However I suspect that this debate is a bit futile. The word “settled” which AGW proponents have been using for some time now to mean “we know enough to reliably predict future climate” is now been getting some spin (by the likes of you and Tim) so as to say that it means “not perfect or exact”. However it is quite clear from the context of the leaked email that it was not being used like this. It was being used to say something to the effect of “hey something is happening which we didn’t predict and it suggests a fundamental gap in our model. I’m concerned”.

    And if we wish to characterise climate science as like Newtonian mechanics in it’s maturity then I’m inclined towards the view that it is working on a problem that entails some special relativity. Metaphorically speaking.

    Regards,
    Terje.

    p.s. Perhaps there is a chance we will be cooked before the science is settled. Which is why I’m quite friendly towards the notion of removing nuclear prohibition and happy to argue the case for a narrowly applied, revenue neutral carbon tax that replaces payroll tax.

    p.p.s. We had best not debate the science in any depth here lest JQ bans us. However it’s open slather at the ALS blog if you’re keen.

  39. November 25th, 2009 at 09:15 | #40

    Don, the difference between a climate scientist and an architect is large. The architect says I am going to build you a house of 300m2 of x quality at this price and he does it. Where as climate scientists are not agreed on what is going to happen, they predict sea levels could rise or fall by up to a metre and the temperature is or could be rising or falling and that it could rise or fall between x and y in the future years.

    Regardless of my Sh** stirring rhetoric and views on AGW, I am for carbon reduction, but not the in the form of the schemes being put forward at the moment. Unlike Terje I am against nuclear as the leak last week at the 3 mile plant demonstrates its problems.

    Now is a good opportunity to implement lasting economic reforms that at the same time could dramatically reduce carbon emissions (something along the lines of Observers carbon reduction taxation amendments). Unfortunately, Turnbull by rolling over to the ALP is not doing his job which is putting out viable alternate policies on carbon reduction. The proposed ETS is a joke as it will cost the economy a lot and not reduce carbon emissions by much. The ETS should be rejected by the senate and if Turnbull can’t see that he should move on.

  40. Uncle Milton
    November 25th, 2009 at 09:21 | #41

    @Tony G
    The proposed ETS will reduce emissions exactly according to how many permits are issued by the government, no more and no less. The handouts to industry have no bearing on this at all.

  41. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 09:30 | #42

    Tony G – why does the radiation leak at three mile island cause you such concern? Even when 3 mile island was host to the worst nuclear accident in US history (1979 partial core meltdown) the health impact was insignificant compared to all manner of other industrial accidents that occur frequently but don’t make headlines. If such things cause you to oppose nuclear power then you might as well oppose all industrial activity, motor vehicles and airplane travel. Based on history nuclear power is far safer per kWh than our existing fossil fuel energy systems. Allowing people to own BBQs is a bigger threat to life and property.

  42. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 09:49 | #43

    @Ikonoclast
    Good question Ikono – my thoughts exactly!

  43. November 25th, 2009 at 09:59 | #44

    Uncle, if you exempt agriculture which is say 10% (I don’t know the exact amount) then that is 10% of Australian emissions that will not reduce, further more agriculture emissions are increasing each year.. Also coal fire power stations are the other 70% and no one is proposing turning them off, so I fail to see how issuing permits will greatly reduce emissions.

    Terje, I am not a big fan of ionising radiation and its effects on human tissue. You can kid yourself it is a minimal risk, but I am sure you would not want to be exposed to it for any length of time. The by-product of a nuclear power station remains radio active for many many years so, it is a BIG risk to have the stuff around. I will get drunk next to my BBQ all the time but, I would move to NZ if Australia goes nuclear.

  44. Uncle Milton
    November 25th, 2009 at 10:08 | #45

    @Tony G

    Because if you don’t have a permit, you can’t emit.

  45. November 25th, 2009 at 10:10 | #46

    You can if you are a farmer

  46. Uncle Milton
    November 25th, 2009 at 10:14 | #47

    @Tony G

    That’s true, but the total emission targets have not been changed by exempting agriculture.

  47. iain
    November 25th, 2009 at 10:35 | #48

    UM, the emissions target is 5% of 2000 levels by 2020 for scope 1 and 2 emissions that are included in the scheme.

    There is no target restriction for emissions not included in the scheme, there is no emissions target for scope 3 emissions.

    The, most likely, result of the CPRS will be for the total of all emissions across all scopes to increase. Refer EU ETS for precedent.

  48. Uncle Milton
    November 25th, 2009 at 10:41 | #49

    @iain

    But agricultural emissions were never in the scheme. The original CPRS had an aspirational goal to include ag emissions in 2013, if the measurement issues could be sorted out. Now ag emissions are out indefinitely. It’s not much different.

  49. iain
    November 25th, 2009 at 10:52 | #50

    Yes UM. The likely amount of total emissions across all scopes by 2020 will not be much different with the CPRS.

  50. Uncle Milton
    November 25th, 2009 at 11:05 | #51

    @iain

    It will be if it’s a 20% reduction, even with ag emissions not counted. We’re not going to get a lot more cows and sheep in the next ten years.

  51. Fran Barlow
    November 25th, 2009 at 11:06 | #52

    comment50

  52. iain
    November 25th, 2009 at 11:10 | #53

    UM,

    No, it very likely won’t. Reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions will be replaced by an increase in scope 3 emissions. Refer EU ETS for precedent.

    A 20% reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions included in the CPRS, may, quite likely, still mean that total emissions across all scopes will increase.

  53. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 11:15 | #54

    Tony – I don’t want to be exposed to ionising radiation from nuclear fuel. However I don’t want to be exposed to chlorine gas or any number of other industrial hazards either. The fact is that some things are hazardous. What matters is how you manage the hazards. The recent leak at three mile island does not seem to have had any public safety implications. Even including the impact of the Chernoble disaster the nuclear power industry has a long and good overall safety record.

  54. Chris O’Neill
    November 25th, 2009 at 11:36 | #55
    And that’s the way science progresses, we can’t pretend to have perfect knowledge, we don’t.

    TerjeP:

    Is this the same as saying the science is settled? Or not?

    Trenberth was talking about modelling for weather, not climate. As regards climate, we could say that important parts of it are 90% settled, as the IPCC say about human cause of climatic warming.

    BTW, climate science denialists appear to be deliberately dense when it comes to understanding the difference between weather and climate.

  55. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 12:34 | #56

    No he wasn’t Chris. He made explicit reference to climate systems and the fact that they did not have a good grip on what was happening. Nowhere did he mention weather or weather models. Are you ignorant or just telling fibs for the fun of it? Either way it’s a bad look and you should stop.

  56. November 25th, 2009 at 13:48 | #57

    Terje;
    “However I don’t want to be exposed to chlorine gas or any number of other industrial hazards either”

    The difference between nuclear waste and other industrial waste is that the nuclear waste stays highly toxic in the environment for many years, where as the hazards associated with other industrial waste dissipate over a shorter time frame relative to nuclear waste.
    The long term risks associated with nuclear waste are too great and we should not bequeath those risks on future generations if we do not have to.

  57. Gaz
    November 25th, 2009 at 14:27 | #58

    TerjeP, how about you read Trenberth’s paper as Chris O’N suggests?.

    If you did, you might understand why has says at one point “global warming is unequivocally happening” but elsewhere argues that more detailed understanding is needed of short term fluctuations in the global surface temperature, like the cooling in 2008 (currently being reversed big time by El Nino), and why the two are perfectly consistent.

    It really is a mark of the intellectual bankruptcy of the denial movement that Trenberth’s comments (and Flannery’s admittedly clumsy attempt to put them in context) can be seen as some sort of admission that a global cooling trend is under way and can’t be explained, or that the climate system is so poorly understnad none has a clue what’s going on.

    This is from the intro to Trenberth’s paper:

    “While a long-term trend is for global warming, short-term periods of cooling can occur and have physical causes associated with natural variability.”

    This is what he wants to explain and Chris was right in describe it as weather. Weather is what happens in a climate system over short periods of time. Is that so hard?

    Oh, and by the way, all you people rabbiting on about how someone is supposed to have said “the science is settled”, why don’t you first check to see if a climate scientist actually said it?

  58. November 25th, 2009 at 14:57 | #59

    Its depressing for a number of reasons to see the LP riven with conflict over the ETS. On the whole it is a good party which provides much needed political balance and ballast to the anthropological delusionism of Left-wing cultural elites. But it is not doing much of a service to the nation by catering to ecological delusionism in its own Right-wing rural and regional base.

    Worse, even contemplating a move to make Kevin Andrews as leader is a case of self-harm. He was not such a bad Minister for Immigration, he showed considerable courage in the face of Left-wing thought police to voice reservations about taking in more difficult to assimilate refugees. And the Haneef kerfuffle was a storm in a tea-cup. Evans, by contrast, is a disaster, pushing immigration way beyond the carrying capacity of the land. But Andrews drew up Work Choices which makes him Public Enemy No 1 for working people.

    And from the nation’s point of view the spectacle of the LP being riven by delusionists is not a pretty one, even if reason and sanity prevailed at the end. Especially when it happens on the same day as a report predicting 4 deg C warming by 2065 with a BAU scenario. That would cause havoc for the children and grand-children of the current LP party room.

    I am pleased for myself because Turnbull’s victory in the LP caucus confirms my prediction first published around 16 months ago, that the LP would sign onto the ALP’s ETS. On 05 JUL 2008 I predicted:

    The LN/P will fall into line with ETS. More so than the ALP did with the GST.

    [snip]

    This is because the vast majority of the AUS populace are fair, reasonable and well-informed. And our political system reflects this.

    The failure of the LP Right in this stoush further strengthens to my major party convergence theory. So far as I am aware no other commentator or blogger got this prediction correct so far in advance.

    I was right. [ragged cheer rising from thinning ranks]

  59. Fran Barlow
    November 25th, 2009 at 15:08 | #60

    The LN/P will fall into line with ETS. More so than the ALP did with the GST.[...] This is because the vast majority of the AUS populace are fair, reasonable and well-informed. And our political system reflects this.

    Actually, they did it because the government made them an offer too good for the advocates of the big polluters to refuse. Who is going to knock back compensation starting at $7 billion and which will lead to practically no fall in emissions?

    Hearing Tony Abbott compalin about a the government using the ETS to hand out large gobs of money after they negotiated an increase in the handouts was most amusing.

  60. Donald Oats
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:21 | #61

    Newsflash! The Competitive Enterprise Institute is suing Gavin Schmidt. Deltoid gives the story at the end of the link.

    This is a classic strategy employed by bullies and thugs. If anyone is still thinking that the “sceptics” are merely some people who are a bit unsure about the science, think again. There is a hardcore group that are ideology driven; quite a few of them are also Intelligent Design wedgers. Sick bloody sick.

    Which brings me to a question: just because some research is taxpayer funded – more properly government funded, as governments can generate income from there operations – why should the lay public be expecting to access all and sundry research data/code/docs? What good is intermediate data, eg statistical preprocessing attempts to extract the strongest signal, for joe public? Face it, so few people have the expertise to understand the scientific principles that go into climate science (and other sciences, eg laser optics) that the code/data whatever is utterly meaningless to them. That is, until they start thinking they know what the scientists are doing better than the scientists themselves know.

    Don’t get me wrong; I believe the scientific glasnost, in which public websites, outreach programs, public lectures, and online open access research articles + supp data/code is fantastic. But we are on the cusp of sinking the ship with too much cargo. As far as I can see from the most recent excrable behaviour of data theft, the vast majority of casual commentators about the CRU emails don’t have a clue what they are talking about.

    I’ll give a couple of examples after dinner :-)

  61. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:30 | #62

    Regulatory compliance is such a burden isn’t it.

  62. paul walter
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:34 | #63

    Youve waited for that one for quite a few years, haven’t you, Terje?

  63. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:35 | #64

    @Donald Oats
    Well Don, Malcolm in the middle had a win against the lunatics in his own party. There is hope yet…mind you I am still mighty ticked off at the concessions they had to give the big polluters to get Malcolm in the middle to agree. Still, any teensy advance where the liberals get a hold of the fractured fruit loop denialist machinery in their own party is a positive advance. I actually feel sorry for MiM having to deal with them.

    Keep stepping to the left Malcolm. In about five years time you might get the current lunacy a la Tuckey, Minchin, Joyce etc out of the liberal national party. As for Rudd, in some ways any legislation on this is better than no legislation when you need a bunch of fruit loop denialist skeptics to get behind it. It hasnt proved easy has it? Now cut those benefits for big polluters next, after Malcolm in the middle has cleaned the sharp nutty edges out of that party ie labour two steps more to the left and liberals three steps to the left, given where they are, and its about time we got some balance back in both parties so the parties can actually connect with the electorate again.

  64. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:37 | #65

    @paul walter
    No he hasnt beein waithing that long Paul Walter – just mention the word government or regulation and Terje is in like Flynn.

  65. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 19:06 | #66

    Paul – I’m a patient man.

  66. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 19:43 | #67

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Patiently waiting for the world to change Terje?

  67. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 19:47 | #68

    Very patiently waiting for the world to change Alice.

  68. SJ
    November 25th, 2009 at 22:03 | #69

    Terje Says:

    When we have a computer model encapsulated in a piece of software that anybody with the appropriate hardware budget can download and run, and where it has for decades been pumping out acurate climate forecasts (rather than hindcasts) without any code modification I’ll be regarding the science of climate science as pretty much settled.

    For some reason, I’m picturing a bunch of moronic slobs sitting in a bar arguing against the national broadband network on the basis that they can’t find software that proves, in terms the morons can understand, that optical waveguides work.

    It’s laughable. The only conceivable reason they’d be having an argument like that is that someone else recognises their stupudity, and is exploiting them.

    Creationism, scientology, climate denialism, Amway, are all ways of collecting money or power by exploiting stupid people. The question you need to ask yourself, Terje, is whether you’re an exploiter or an exploitee, or importantly, just a wannabee exploiter who doesn’t have enough smarts to realise that you’re never gonna get what’s been promised to you by those higher up in the organisation?

  69. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 22:27 | #70

    For some reason, I’m picturing a bunch of moronic slobs sitting in a bar arguing against the national broadband network on the basis that they can’t find software that proves, in terms the morons can understand, that optical waveguides work.

    What an unusual imagination you have. Are the morons dribbling?

    It’s laughable. The only conceivable reason they’d be having an argument like that is that someone else recognises their stupudity, and is exploiting them.

    It is very hard to say for sure given that it’s your head producing the pictures.

    Creationism, scientology, climate denialism, Amway, are all ways of collecting money or power by exploiting stupid people.

    You forgot socialism.

    The question you need to ask yourself, Terje, is whether you’re an exploiter or an exploitee, or importantly, just a wannabee exploiter who doesn’t have enough smarts to realise that you’re never gonna get what’s been promised to you by those higher up in the organisation?

    Next time I’m at the bar looking for software that simulates an optical wave guide I’ll give your question some thought.

  70. SJ
    November 25th, 2009 at 22:37 | #71

    Those are all dodges, Terje, and don’t do you any credit.

  71. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 22:49 | #72

    SJ – you only asked one question. I assumed it was rhetorical.

  72. SJ
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:12 | #73

    OK, so you knew you were dodging. That’s OK. And you obviously know that the question wasn’t rhetorical, and that you’re still dodging. That’s OK too. Just so it’s all out in the open.

    Teh stupid… it burns.

  73. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:25 | #74

    You said it was a question that I need to ask myself. I generally take that to mean that it is something I should go away and reflect on not something that I should immediately deliver an answer to. In any case the question is clearly contrived and stupid. It seems to be based on some form of Marxist class issue. Given that you’re smarter than me you try and answer it.

    What am you?

    a) an exploiter
    b) exploitee
    c) a wannabee exploiter

  74. SJ
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:33 | #75

    Terje Says:

    It seems to be based on some form of Marxist class issue.

    I’m afraid that I’m going to have to repeat myself.

    Teh stupid… it burns.

  75. Ubiquity
    November 25th, 2009 at 23:44 | #76

    As far as science is concerned, political ideologies should be completely irrelevant. Those scientist at East Anglia forgot to apply this principle into their practice when communicating with their fellow colleagues.

    This corruption of science by the ideologies and their ideologues goes on all the time no matter what ideology you aspire to. I would expect same on all sides, when the pressure is on from the pollies to provide scientific evidence and consensus it is hard not to overstep the mark out of the of the world of science and into politics and its associated ideologies. Removal of rewards for such behaviour by parties who don’t understand that science is its own master, can minimise the problem, but it is the emotional connection with ones ideology which is the greatest polluter and contributor to politically corrupted science.

    Politicians should be passive observers, not pollute science by sheer force, for their own ends. Leave the scientist to do there job without a compulsion to deliver for their paymaster but rather to deliver results for benefit of society.

    To blame Libertarians is to completely miss the point, you should be blaming the scientists and politicians who forgot were science finished and politics begins. The Libertarians will always be skeptical of the sheer force with which a political system imposes itself on all aspects of our society including “the science”.

  76. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 00:08 | #77

    “as far as science is concerned, political ideologies should be completely irrelevant”

    “you should be blaming the scientists and politicians who forgot were science finished and politics begins”

    Everything is political and subjective, even the hard sciences. What you choose to research, who funds the research, who determines research agenda, how you deal with uncertainty in data and results (and all hard science contains uncertainty), how you present your results etc. There isn’t a black and white line. Society just needs to manage this reality appropriately.

    Ignoring this reality is a sociology 101 fail.

  77. Donald Oats
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:26 | #78

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Yeah, funny how it was Bush that slipped through the “Data Quality Act”. Have a read of Chris Mooney’s opinion of the act and its intended consequences. Meanwhile, of course, Bush was deregulating the pre-GFCers who ran with it all the way to the bank – and nearly cost the bank(s) because of their actions. Na, I’m not in the mood to discuss politically motivated regulation as though it is prudent regulation.

    On the issue of RealClimate and the lawsuit against Gavin Schmidt: Chucking lawsuits at AGW-friendly websites in order to shut them down is distasteful in the extreme. In any case though, I cannot understand one of their points of contention – they go on about RealClimate being moderated by Gavin during his workhours, as though that is a problem.

    I don’t know about the USA, but in several of my jobs in the Australian science scene my work conditions had notional hours of work with flexible conditions, but the overall amount per week should at least match the notional. Usually it is way over and that is the case for many scientists – Pr Q has himself admitted to overcommitment on the workfront – so it is hardly exceptional for scientists to work beyond any notional working week. Furthermore, for senior roles my experience is that activities such as public education and outreach are part of the organisational goals, and they form part of annual performance objectives. Finally, senior staff are typically on contracts that have 24×7 requirements; eg, I was under the constraint that any invention, patent, etc that I wish to pursue outside of work is actually by default the IP of the organisation, unless they have explicitly granted me an exclusion. In other words, the work contract has no “off period”.

    Surely in the US senior scientists would have similar work contracts, in which case the contention about whether Gavin does website moderation during notional work hours or some other time, is really a moot point. Outreach and education are an expected part of the senior scientist’s role I would have thought.

  78. Ubiquity
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:46 | #79

    Iain, all you need to acknowledge is that those emails have implications far greater than the interest of adding to research in climate science. I also added this is something that I expect happens quiet often when politicians try to push the scientific agenda. This applies equally to scientist who have a political agenda. You clearly have failed to understand my point. You can disagree, but failure lies with the one who feels the most insecure and your defensive blogging only highlights this.

  79. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:11 | #80

    lol, I’m pointing out a reality to you. You can ignore reality if you so chose.

    Go to Pielke and McIntyre and sprout your nonsense about politics and science being two completely separate spheres. thanks.

  80. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:23 | #81

    @iain

    Iain … Go to Pielke and McIntyre and sprout [spout] … sprouting is for plants…

    [/schoolteacher]

  81. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:26 | #82

    heh

  82. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:26 | #83

    @Alice

    Well Don, Malcolm in the middle had a win against the lunatics in his own party.

    Actually he sold them on accepting less than what they would ultimately have been forced to accept if Rudd had had a modicum of spine and more political acumen …

  83. Ubiquity
    November 26th, 2009 at 09:33 | #84

    Iain you make a good preacher standing on a podium (with ear muffs). Now thats a funny look.

  84. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 12:44 | #85

    Ubiquity,

    Politics and science aren’t completely separate. No amount of wishing on your behalf will change that reality.

    “you should be blaming the scientists and politicians who forgot were science finished and politics begins”

    There isn’t a black and white line. Society just needs to manage the reality that scientists are human beings appropriately.

    Ignoring that this reality exists (or wishing that it didn’t exist) isn’t productive.

  85. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 12:48 | #86

    Alternatively, just point out where (you think) the line is and where (exactly) you believe it was crossed.

    Also, don’t forget to slander and “blame” scientists based on your interpretation of stolen emails whilst you are at it.

  86. Chris O’Neill
    November 26th, 2009 at 12:49 | #87
    Trenberth was talking about modelling for weather, not climate.

    TerjeP:

    No he wasn’t Chris. He made explicit reference to climate systems and the fact that they did not have a good grip on what was happening. Nowhere did he mention weather or weather models.

    You are still failing to understand the difference between climate and weather. Climate is the statistics of weather. So a climate model is something that produces statistics of weather since climate is statistics of weather. Anything that produces more than statistics, such as a forecast of actual events like El Niños, is doing more than climate modelling and is producing a weather forecast. This is one point where climate science denialists are being deliberately dense: El Niño etc. are weather events, not climate events.

    Are you ignorant or just telling fibs for the fun of it?

    No, but you’re being deliberately dense.

    Either way it’s a bad look and you should stop.

    Your look is absolutely appalling, like the look of the conservative parties.

  87. Fran Barlow
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:11 | #88

    @Chris O’Neill

    And if you look at the Trenberth quote, it refers explicitly to CERES in the lead up to his observation about “travesty”. This is an important piece of qualifying context which many journos missed.

  88. Donald Oats
    November 26th, 2009 at 13:46 | #89

    @Fran Barlow -
    Yes, that is one of the examples I have had in mind as a complete misrepresentation of what Trenberth meant. This scouring through emails by the denserati, looking for signs of dark intent, is crazy when they don’t even know enough to understand the scientific meaning – or English meaning – to make an accurate call. The ones who do know better, and who for example are perfectly aware of CERES, should not have clipped the quote so as to miss that. Furthermore, as far as I can see Trenberth is saying that in spite of the radiative imbalance over the last few years, since the temperatures have almost plateaued – albeit at higher than long term average global temperatures – the energy must be going somewhere into the system yet they don’t have adequate tracking of that currently. If the energy was primarily going into melting ice then that would be one explanation as why temperatures are not rising as rapidly now. Trenberth wants to improve the tracking so that questions like this are immediately answerable from the observational record or simulation, if I have understood the point correctly.

  89. Ubiquity
    November 26th, 2009 at 16:51 | #90

    Iain, A voluntary code of ethics that has wide consensus in the profession and those who depend on the profession is a good start such as,

    National Association of Science Writers

    @ http://www.nasw.org/about/ethics.htm

    or

    “The British government’s chief scientific advisor has set out a universal
    ethical code for scientists.
    Professor Sir David King has outlined seven principles aimed at building
    trust between scientists and society”

    “Code endorsed

    The scientific profession generally has high standards of integrity, and many scientists have a social conscience, according to Professor King. But there is no formal code of ethics.”

    “THE CODE
    Act with skill and care, keep skills up to date
    Prevent corrupt practice and declare conflicts of interest
    Respect and acknowledge the work of other scientists
    Ensure that research is justified and lawful
    Minimise impacts on people, animals and the environment
    Discuss issues science raises for society
    Do not mislead; present evidence honestly”

    http://blog.worldinfo.org/?p=4

    A brief google search for a political code of ethics didn’t bring up much but I guess I didn’t expect much.

    Also in your reply you addressed the following to me:

    “Also, don’t forget to slander and “blame” scientists based on your interpretation of stolen emails whilst you are at”

    your comments are slanderous and presumptious.

    At no point did I suggest a “black line’ a grey line is fine but I can see why it would make a consequentialist bitter, but rest assured I am a existential libertarian at heart.

  90. iain
    November 26th, 2009 at 17:19 | #91

    Ubiquity,

    Why are you saying we should blame the scientists? What are you blaming them for?

    On what basis? Please clearly outline why they should be blamed?

    It is slanderous for you to lay blame at the scientists based on the evidence so far. Or do you have evidence that no one else has?

Comments are closed.