107 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. @Ikonoclast
    John Quiggin isnt alone in being a victim of Bolt lies and distortion in the climate area. A few years back the ABC did a program which was largely about climate change and focused around JQ’s colleague Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.


    For some reason the editor (may they rot in a Venusian Hell) saw fit to ‘balance’ the story with bilge from Bolt. I hadnt encountered Ove before but he came across as the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights – a creature to pity.

    A couple of years later I was lucky enough to hear him present a plenary symposium to about 2000 specialists in the US – and counter to the ABC hatchet job I was stunned by a really erudite larger than life character. I subsequently grabbed Ove and confirmed over a 90 minute beer and chat session that this 4th generation Ozzie is the sort of academic throwback this country now produces too few of – eminent dedicated passionate smart and a great example I expect to his students. Oh and he is now also coordinating lead author for the forthcoming IPCC assessment report section on the oceans.

    And that fraud Bolt has the nerve to pose as an expert against the likes of him? I can only conclude the mainstream media, even the ABC, is predominantly not about truth any more in any form. Rather its about Bendable Learnings (see Weaselwords), tabloid entertainment and disseminating the excrement of a very ugly public relations propaganda community who have stolen the social discourse for third pieces of silver.

  2. Well folks, every now and again I broaden my horizons and try to see things from other people’s points of view. So, towards that end, I visited Catallaxy….

    There was one thing that really troubled me. On several occasions they unironically called out the Gillard government as being a totalitarian dictatorship and an unmitigated economic disaster in every aspect. The idea that the current government is in any way similar to those authoritarian regimes that murdered tens of millions of people is absolutely disgusting and is the lowest degree of ignorance in trying to pander to the lowest common denominator.

    And as for the imminent economic collapse spiel – let’s look at the biggest economic health measurements. Debt measures are fine. Debt:GDP ratio = 27% and deficit <1% GDP (spectacular especially when the rest of the world suffers in terrible conditions). Unemployment – 5.5% (around the natural rate). Inflation – 2% (very much in line with targets).

    The only conclusion is that those folk live in another reality and nothing useful can be gained from their "insights".

  3. @TerjeP
    I’m not interested in responding to Dawson’s silliness. However, since you’ve linked to it, and since you previously cited Bolt’s wrong number (or a similarly silly one) would you care to take a position one way or the other? I have a prediction about this.

  4. My gut suggests the orthodox view has over estimated CO2 sensitivity. I think Roger Jones probably represents the orthodox view at 0.0038 degrees but I haven’t read the paper in which he presented his logic.

    My position is that a cost benefit approach should be central to the political debate on this policy issue but that it has been largely absent.

  5. TerjeP, while your gut says the orthodox view has over estimated CO2 sensitivity, the hard, unadulterated science says the IPCC consensus view has underestimated it and also the knock-on effects and tipping points. I’ll back the brains of 1000s of top climate scientists against your gut any day.

    I hope all you denialists are consistent and don’t use doctors and hospitals. After all, hard science, statistics, probability modelling and medical consensus views are used to treat people. Gee, you can’t trust that can you? You would be better off going to non-scientific quacks and using snake oil wouldn’t you? (<– Sarcasm!)

    I mean if you were consistent you would do that.

  6. @Ikonoclast if you read the wiki as a whole, you would have noticed that Bolt left university to take up a cadetship at The Age. he worked there for many years including as their asian correspondent.

    the degree to which societies should rely on experts in democratic decisionmaking is an important issue.

    the environment movement has a long history of emotional reactions to risk, a status quo bias, and a focus on worst cases.

    the environmental movement is: unwilling to base policy on the best-available science; unwilling to engage in deliberation and compromise to balance environmental protection against other compelling social and economic interests; and unwilling to consider alternative regulatory strategies that can deliver environmental protection at least-cost.

    The very purpose of the precutionary principle is to put off basing policy on the best-available science and replacing it with fear: shoot first and ask questions later.

    cass sunstein argued that the principle is literally paralyzing – forbidding inaction, stringent regulation, and everything in between. in every case, every step, including inaction, creates a risk.

    precautionary regulation stops major benefits, and produces new risks and deaths that would otherwise not occur. the drug lag produced by a precautionary approach to the introduction of new drugs onto the market is the best example. the dead are many.

  7. you can’t have a cost benefit approach to climate change policy debate with people who deny the premise. -a.v.

  8. I hope all you denialists are consistent and don’t use doctors and hospitals.

    I reject the denialist label.

  9. The temperature effect of an increase in atmospheric CO2 is well described by basic physics. The temperature sensitivity is quite low. The orthodox opinion is that there are natural positive feedback processes that amplify the effect. The size of the amplification is inferred. There is nothing wrong with this approach but to carry on like the inferred value for sensitivity is a rock solid fact is daft. It’s a prediction based on a historical trend. It is highly likely to be revised one way or another.

  10. TerjeP :
    It’s a prediction based on a historical trend.

    What utter garbage. The theory of global warming and early estimates of climate were theoretically estimated long before the historical record was known.

    Also, to deny that there is an amplification means to deny some pretty basic chemistry – such as warm air holds more moisture.

  11. Ken – where did I deny an amplification effect. I actually said it was a reasonable approach. However the size of the application effect is inferred from the historical temperature trend.

  12. As a South Australian I’d say the name Kenny is a redolent one. Tabloid in spirit and and in deed.
    I see our host has just had a birthday. It’s a good site, let’s offer a pat on the back for the man.

  13. Yes PrQ … best wishes on the anniversary of your birth. May you have many more with each more rewarding and promising than its predecessor.

  14. I was watching an interview with Bill Clinton. He is much more interesting than Obama to interview because he is both more extroverted and more introspective.

    Clinton took great pride in his roles in peace in Bosnia and in northern island. Clinton did not get a peace prize for helping Bosnians to sign a peace treaty.

    The Drone Commander in Chief got a peace prize for making speeches.

  15. The political media are indeed a joke and the Latham article, which is part of that same political media, is yet one more example. I agree completely that the failure of media reform was the big event in last week’s parliament. Why then, did it fail? Latham manages to avoid this question and manages to avoid examining the bills.

    Media reform failed because it was the product of a very poor process. As the Greens noted in their additional comments to the Senate Committee report:

    The Greens are on the record condemning the decision made by the government to impose an arbitrary timeframe for examining these bills. The Greens depart strongly from the Committee’s comment that the debate through the Convergence and Finkelstein reviews on media reform issues can be applied to this package which represents slim pickings indeed from those comprehensive reports and detailed recommendations. It is extraordinary for such important bills to be rushed, for witnesses to be given virtually no notice but expected to produce submissions and provide evidence, and for the good will and expertise of Committee secretariats to be abused quite as they have in this case.

    Bad process and lack of consultation is most of the reason for the defects in the package. The original bills had the PIMA appointed solely by the minister. That would be alarming even if Stephen Conroy was not the minister in question.

    The Brits managed to pass a media reform, over the initial opposition of their prime minister, that incorporates actual defined standards, that has an arms-length body dealing with mergers, and that incorporates a fit and proper person test.

    Tying to declare such a major reform non-negotiable and imposing a ridiculously tight deadline ensured the package was never going to pass. I think it’s known as tough as fails legislating.

  16. Alan #48, the current limit on the number of TV stations has unusual effects on media slant and the supply of muckraking. see http://mruniversity.com/courses/economics-media/does-competitiveness-lower-bias showing that more media competition by itself is not a powerful force toward news accuracy.

    In the traditional conception of the demand for news, audiences read, watch, and listen to the news in order to get information. The quality of news is its accuracy.

    But when there are many media outlets, competition results in a common slanting of news towards reader biases in the audience nice they are serving.

    on topics where reader beliefs diverge such politically divisive issues, media outlets profit from segmenting the market and slanting reports to the biases of their niche audiences.

    there is less bland truth-telling and more of the polemics that each market niche wants. this means that left-wing and right-wing media outlets will hound the political enemies of their their audience niche.

    when there are only a few media networks, they instead go for the median viewer/reader and offer a more sedate and less scandal driven coverage. politician enjoy this quiet life.

    more media competition increases the chances of the muckraking that brings down ministers and governments. a clear illustration of the power of infotainment is the Lewinsky affair. The left wing press presented information designed to excuse Clinton’s sins; the right wing press dug out details pointing to his culpability.

    politicians perfer the current restricted level of competition in the media because there will be less muckraking at their expense.

    Little wonder that the media barons were honoured supplicants to whomever is in power in Canberra. Labor’s business mates emerge whenever Labor was in power.

    Threatening to allow cable TV was the big stick in every governments hand until the mid-1990s to extract support or at least subservience from the media.

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