Terrify me

Inspired by Crikey‘s First Dog On The Moon, it is clearly my duty to post a thread where we can discuss all the terrifying things we’ve heard/made up about the dreaded new CARBON TAX.

Revelations we’ve already seen EXPOSED on Twitter under the #carbontax hashtag:

  • The neighbour’s cat pooping under your shrubs will cost YOUR FAMILY an extra $300 a year. But will cost your neighbour NOTHING! (exposer: First Dog)

  • And remember, though you will receive a #carbontax credit every time you inhale, you will be slammed for every exhale. Hold your breath! (exposer: Marke Pesce)
  • Did you know typos will cost Australian familiies an extra $4000 a year under the carbon tax? Now you do. (exposer: First Dog)
  • It will cost every Aussie family an extra $1000 a year in library fines EVEN IF THEY CAN’T READ. (exposer: First Dog)
  • Every cent collected by the #carbontax will be spent buying caviar and truffles for drug dealers and murderers in prison. (exposer: me)
  • Under a carbontax bread will not only cost eighteen dollars a slice, it will be made from sewage. (exposer: Ben Pobjie)

What have you heard? What would you like us to believe you’ve heard?

Don’t worry – I’m not a carbon tax sceptic.

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147 responses to “Terrify me

  1. narcoticmusing

    ■And remember, though you will receive a #carbontax credit every time you inhale, you will be slammed for every exhale. Hold your breath!

    I’ve heard you can dodge that one by simply attaching a carbon scrubber to your face – sure, you’ll look like a droid version of Dr Zoidburg, but really, but it is better than a tax right?

  2. Splatterbottom

    This tax will make a difference to atmospheric Co2.

    This tax will not hurt the Australian economy.

    It is garbage to say that this tax will not effect the way we live our lives.

    It is not the Climate Commission’s business to “sell” anything.

    Abbott was making “hysterical allegations” when he said that Labor will impose a carbon tax.

    There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.

    This is not a tax.

  3. jordanrastrick

    This tax will make a difference to atmospheric Co2.

    You really think the effect on emissions will be literally zero?

    Also SB, you’ve studiously avoided my point on the other thread about the iterated prisoner’s dilemma and setting up conditions that allow everyone to cut emissions, IIRC.

    This tax will not hurt the Australian economy.

    It will hurt it in the short run and help it in the long run. Yawn.

    It is garbage to say that this tax will not effect the way we live our lives.

    Wait, given your sarcasm, this works out to a triple negative… which means you think it won’t have any effect on our lives.

    Wow, SB, please, take your pick. Either its stupid because it changes our behaviour for no good reason, or its stupid because it won’t change anyone’s behaviour. Such inconsistency just makes you look like a demented ideologue 😛

    Reminds me of when the Tele ran a piece (by the State Political Editor no less) arguing congestion pricing on the Harbour Bridge had literally zero effect on traffic flows, and then in the very next paragraph also claimed it had increased congestion on other routes. So it somehow magically created traffic out of nowhere! Amazing.

    I’m not going to mock you for the rest, coz its a mix of tired semantic arguments and genuine broken promises by the Labor Party, neither of which says anything about the actual merits of the policy whatsoever.

  4. SB, those things aren’t terrifying at all. They all sound good.

    Honestly, is that the best you can do at scaring me about the devastating impact of the baby-eating carbon tax?

  5. narcoticmusing

    You know why you get scared sometimes when its dark? That is the carbon tax.

    You know how sometimes the little hairs on the back of your neck stand on end? That is the carbon tax creeping up on you .

    That shiver you get that some used to claim was another (in the future apparently) walking on your grave – seriously, how foolish, it is obviously the carbon tax

  6. Splatterbottom

    Jordan the triple negative didn’t quite work out. Just disregard a not.

    The point is that these statements are all terrifying because they are lies peddled by fanatics intent on screwing up the economy for no good reason. You should be very scared because the lie-peddlers also constitute the government, are incapable of telling the truth and are intent on drastically changing Australia even though doing so will have no effect on atmospheric Co2. That is very real and very scary. The ghouls are haunting the corridors of power.

    My bet is that this will never pass. Labor will hope that the independents oppose it in the House. They will also water it to make it unacceptable to the Greens in the Senate. Gillard is now electorally toxic. At the end of the day climate madness will have destroyed two prime ministers in three years.

  7. Climate madness destroyed Kevin Rudd? That’s an interesting take. I thought it was more of a mining tax kinda thing.

  8. jordanrastrick

    Screw it. I’m changing my position from pro-carbonprice to buying a bunch of Toshiba’s 4S Nuclear reactors.

    SB is one of the most reasonable “skeptics” I’ve come across when push comes to shove, and even he won’t engage seriously with the issue. He won’t admit that the situation is in fact an iterated prisoner’s dilemma and hence has an optimal superrational equilibrum strategy, where rich countries cutting their emissions (as Europe has already done) lets poor countries cut theirs so that everyone wins. He wants to employ every anti-action argument simultaneously, even when they contradict themselves, and won’t allow himself to be pinned down into any one category of objection (see https://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/i-want-to-believe/#comments).

    He is like nearly every single other “skeptic” (and hopefully my comment won’t disappear into the Aether as it did last time I raised this) commiting the imperfect estimate fallacy identified by Katja Grace:

    http://meteuphoric.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/estimation-is-the-best-we-have/

    We have an unknown quanitity, X = long term harm or gain to human welfare caused by carbon emissions. We have a very complex scientific and economic attempt to estimate X. The estimate has lots of uncertainty, but says that X is negative (so cutting emissions is good) to a pretty decent probability.

    Rather than basing our actions on the estimate, SB is arguing “the uncertainty means we should retain the status quo”, which of course implies in an awesomely devious unstated way that he magically has some better estimate of X than all the scientific and economic experts, under which doing nothing is the right strategy. This fallacy is devastatingly common (see e.g. education experts who think the problems with standardised testing mean we shouldn’t try to measure teacher performance at all) and essentially lies at the heart of all the weasling talk of every climate-denier. The linked post demolishes it in the general case for the foolishness it is.

    I don’t think I have the time, energy or patience to convince even seemingly intelligent, reasonable people (let alone the rest) that they are absolutely deluding themselves on this issue. So lets just build a bunch of those nuclear reactors, at least you can’t use the “tax” scare campaign against those.

    Grrrr.

  9. In the SB world global warming is just crap, ipso facto, no carbon tax required. “Lies peddled by fanatics ” Indeed SB indeed.

  10. narcoticmusing

    Pricing carbon was a key policy of the Old Ones – To paraphrase a long lost Lovecraft Prophesy (that may or may not have alledgely been suppressed by the US but recently leaked by traitors of freedom); if a carbon price is imposed, Cthulhu will be awakened from his deep slumber and will finally rise from the depths and again rule over us as his right and destiny.

    Way to enslave us all carbon tax. Nice.

  11. Cthulu f’tangn! Nice one, N.

    Under a carbon tax, carbonated fizzy drinks will cost $100.00 per 375ml can.

    Did you know that a carbon tax will bankrupt all farmers, forcing Australian Battler families to consume their own babies? Any methane resulting from aforesaid baby-meal will be TAXED.

    Spaghetti Carbonara will be outlawed under a carbon tax!

  12. jordanrastrick

    Spaghetti Carbonara will be outlawed under a carbon tax!

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

    Curse you, Julthulhu Gil-LIAR-d!

    Back slowly away from the Carbonara and no one gets hurt.

  13. @SB – comment 2

    Don’t you mean “It’s not a Tax, It’s a new tax system?”

  14. narcoticmusing

    If you think that is frightening, check out this (I understand Dan Brown found this lost scroll in his backside!):

    For many shall come in my name, and shall deceive many.
    And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
    For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places.
    All these are the beginning of sorrows.
    Then shall they deliver unto you a CARBON TAX, and it shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations.
    And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

    !!! OMFG IT IS THE END OF DAYS !!!
    Wars: Iraq/Afg/terror/etc.
    Pestilences: locust plague; current mosquito plague (off the back of floods no less)
    Earthquakes: Haiti; NZ; etc
    And now the carbon tax – as it was foretold!

    Nation against Nation – this carbon tax is the start of the end.

  15. jordanrastrick

    Even worse:

    And it shall come to pass that what men made shall be shattered,
    and the Carbon Tax shall lie across the Pattern of the Age,
    and the ALP shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man.
    Women shall weep and men quail as the nations of the earth are rent like rotting cloth.
    Neither shall anything stand or abide…

    Yet one shall be born to face the Carbon Tax,
    born once more as he was born before,
    and shall be born again, time without end.
    The Abbott shall be Reborn,
    and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth.
    In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people,
    and he shall break the world again by his coming,
    tearing apart all ties that bind.
    Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burn us,
    yet shall the Abbott Reborn confront the ALP at the Stupidest Election
    and his blood shall give us the Light.
    Let tears flow, O ye people of the world.
    Weep for your salvation.

    On the slopes of London shall he be born,
    born of a maiden wedded to a man, but later he will totz think he getz another type of maiden pregnant for realz.

    He will be of the ancient blood, and raised by the old blood.

    When the winds of Tarmon Gai’don scour the earth,
    he will face the ALP and bring forth Stupid Populist Conservatism again in the world

    ETC.

  16. Dread Jthulu. Eldrich Horror arisen from the depths of Wales (and/or the Western Suburbs) to force the nations of the world to… well Lovecraft said it best:

    “Then mankind would have become as the Green Old Ones; constrained and self-righteous and beyond the reach of neoclassical economics, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and progressively taxing and self-flagellating in moralism. Then the liberated Green Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and tax, self flagellate in self-righteousness, and all the earth would de-industrialise in a holocaust of backwardness and socialism…”

    What is it with the left and Things-That-Man-Was-Not-Meant-To-Know?

  17. I hope you’re all getting in a good laugh about how ‘crazy’ the scare campaign against the carbon tax is, especially since you’re all engaging in a collective strawman of epic proportions.

    “Hey, let’s invent straw-versions of arguments against the carbon tax and then laugh at how silly they are!! Ha ha – our opponents are so stupid and we’re so clever!!”

    Meanwhile the utter political poison of the carbon tax continues to seep into Federal Labor, our PM’s approval plummets historically and the two party gap blows out to six points.

    Yep our opponents are definititely stupid.

  18. Oh FFS Mondo, they’d be strawmen if we were actually trying to use them in argument.

    And it’s not poison. It’s a vaccine reaction which will pass in time.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with Tony Windsor’s take on this, though. Announcing a carbon price without specifics allows all sorts of flatulent crap to be posed by its opponents and the Government can’t accurately refute them because they haven’t got any SOLID evidence to the contrary (especially in terms of nutting out the household compensation packages).

    If it were three or six months out from an election, I’d join your apparent panic, but at this distance I’m not concerned. Given how close we are to the NSW state election, and given that O’Farrell has prominently and rather distastefully used the Carbon Tax in his State campaign, I’m even LESS concerned.

    Stagnation at these numbers would be disastrous, but I think you’re overrreacting a tad.

  19. “I hope you’re all getting in a good laugh about how ‘crazy’ the scare campaign against the carbon tax is, especially since you’re all engaging in a collective strawman of epic proportions.”

    Actually, I think the point is both legitimate and necessary. We don’t yet have the details, and the Opposition and its cheerleaders are just making shit up. We’re highlighting how absurd that is in the hope that the point will sink in that none of the devastating effects they’re promising are based on the actual policy, because the details haven’t yet been released.

    Anyone spouting the bullshit “food is going to be 20% more expensive” or whatever lines is manufacturing a strawman.

    And sometimes the best way to fight a strawman is with another strawman that exposes how silly the first one is.

  20. jordanrastrick

    Meanwhile the utter political poison of the carbon tax continues to seep into Federal Labor, our PM’s approval plummets historically and the two party gap blows out to six points.

    I think the issue will be the end of this government, Mondo. But it doesn’t make Abbott right about policy, just about politics.

    Refer to my semi-serious post @SB from 1:28.

  21. Just out of interest, Mondo – what would you do if you were Labor? Any real action on climate change is going to be easy to attack in the way Tony Abbott is doing it (it hardly takes political genius to attack a policy aimed at reducing avoidable consumption by making it more expensive); do you think our politicians should just give up and hope it works out in the end?

  22. Soy-milk-sipping Greenpeace activist warmenists are close to realising their dream of a New World Order that will turn us all into communist slaves, which as you know, was precisely Mao Tse Tungs aim in bombing Pearl Harbour.

  23. So Mondo’s actually made a strawman about our strawman mocking of strawmen?

    Now that’s meta…

  24. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “SB is arguing “the uncertainty means we should retain the status quo””

    The usual way of putting this is that the null hypothesis has not been displaced in this case.

    My argument is that there is nothing to consider until the alarmists are prepared to submit their work to critical scrutiny.

    Only after that has been done can we even start to assign probabilities as to the likelihood that the AGW hypothesis is true. Only after this phase are we in a position to estimate anything about the AGW hypothesis.

    If a particular measure is likely to cost society more a higher probability for the truth of the hypothesis is required to justify action. Less costly measures should be investigated.

    Costly measures should not be taken unless it is clear that they will have a corresponding beneficial effect.

    A significant proportion of scientific funding should be invested in geo-engineering solutions. True believers in our imminent demise through AGW should at least consider the possibility that a consensus by the major emitters will not be achieved. Given that possibility, the fact that geo-engineering is barely on their radar is puzzling to say the least.

  25. narcoticmusing

    There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to LAUGH,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance

    -Kevin Bacon, Footloose…

    oh, I totally, of course mean Ecclesiasties 3

    …or do I?

  26. Splatterbottom

    Redravens: “So Mondo’s actually made a strawman about our strawman mocking of strawmen?”

    Nah. He just stepped out of this fart-bubble for a moment of fresh air. Obviously it cleared his head, at least temporarily. Emissions trading will resume as soon as he comes back in.

  27. Perhaps he was conferring with his fellow hemp-growing Marxist fornicators about their real plan – to put us all into gay re-education camps.
    And to put swine flu into the cash supply – why else would they push for A GREAT BIG NEW TAX ON THE WHOLE OF EXISTENCE AS WE KNOW IT!!!!

  28. Just out of interest, Mondo – what would you do if you were Labor?

    I’ve gone over this in the other thread, but I would announce a series of Government measures to directly invest in promising technology, and to create a legal framework that allows R&D to be protected from predation by vested interests. These initiatives would be funded from current revenue, and would be scaled up over time – which is about all the voting population would be willing to accept right now.

    Don’t get me wrong – I understand that the politics of the moment effectively forces Labor to do what it’s doing (they’ve clearly made an iron-clad promise to the Greens), but none of that changes the fact that it’s electoral suicide. You simply can’t expect the 85% of Australians who voted for parties that promised no Carbon Tax to now accept a Carbon Tax.

    The only glimmer of hope for Labor is, as redravens has identified, the incredibly short memory of the electorate. But I fear even that isn’t going to save them – our memory isn’t that short.

    I think the issue will be the end of this government, Mondo. But it doesn’t make Abbott right about policy, just about politics.

    I wholeheartedly agree Jordan. The politics is the issue and not the policy.

  29. jordanrastrick

    The usual way of putting this is that the null hypothesis has not been displaced in this case.

    If your null hypothesis is that “Carbon does not act as a greenhouse gas”, this was falsified a few decades ago.

    “Humans emit an insignificant proportion of atmospheric carbon” is also pretty falsified.

    “Atmospheric carbon cannot act as a major forcing factor for climate” is pretty falsified by what we know of Venus if nothing else (and probably Mars, too).

    If OTOH your null hypothesis is “cutting anthropogenic emissions now won’t do anything significant to the Earth’s temperature in 2100”, well sure, you’ve defined the problem in a way that makes it unscientifically testable. Congratulations! You wanna cookie?

    So, is that your angle? In that case I would like to invite you to participate in a study I’m conducting. I’m trying to test whether Water boiled in the kettle at my house on a Tuesday afternoon at 3:30, when poured on Splatterbottom’s head, won’t (unlike other forms of boiled water poured on other people) cause any injuries.

    Seriously dude. Have you even actually read the IPCC AR4, or just crackpots refutations of it? Do you actually have any goddamnn clue about science at all or are you just faking it?

    My argument is that there is nothing to consider until the alarmists are prepared to submit their work to critical scrutiny

    You don’t get define what counts as legitimate critical scrutiny in this process, because you’re not even a scientist let alone one with a clue.

    The critical scrutiny of peer reviewed scientific literature really, really, really, doesn’t agree with you, therefore you are wrong, or the entirety of science is bascially all one giant conspiracy. In which case we’re probably really being controlled by aliens and so we’re fucked whatever we do, and who cares.

    If a particular measure is likely to cost society more a higher probability for the truth of the hypothesis is required to justify action. Less costly measures should be investigated.

    Wow. You clearly didn’t even read the Meteuphoric post about this fallacy, or else you’re just so addicted to “arguing” by reframing things that you can’t help yourself.

    Your proposed measure of “continuing to emit carbon” has a very high probability of costing a large amount, according to our best current models of reality. In fact whats scary is that the expectation on harm doesn’t have a clear upper bound – the crazy alarmist scenarios (in the real sense of that word) probably aren’t true , but its hard to say if they’re a 0.00001% Black Swan or a 0.00000000001% Black Swan, and that’s important.

    Whereas the confidence interval on the harm from a carbon price is solid. Its pretty damn clear what the worst a modest tax hike can do to the economy.

    The burden of proof is now on you in this debate, no matter how long you persist in sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming “I can’t hear you!!!!”.

    A significant proportion of scientific funding should be invested in geo-engineering solutions.

    Yeah, maybe. Have you watched the TED talk yet?

    True believers in our imminent demise through AGW should at least consider the possibility that a consensus by the major emitters will not be achieved.

    If by true belivers you mean the Christine Milne’s of this world, I’m never going to convince her that Nuclear Power is a good idea, let alone geo-engineering.

    So this means I can’t convince you an ETS is of benefit, I can’t convince her any “cheap” option is of benefit, and there’s not enough sensible people in the centre, who aren’t true believers in their respective anti-science ideologies, to vote in Labor-esque governments to fix this problem.

    So nothing’s ever going to get done, and we’re all gonna die. QED.

    Fan fucking tastic.

  30. Splatterbottom

    Jordan the null hypothesis is that changes in the climate system can be explained by natural climate variations.

    Breaking AGW down into particular propositions is useful. Judy Curry’s comments here exemplify one approach to this. Her blog is less hysterical than most in this area.

    The “peer review” excuse is beside the point. Plenty of peer reviewed work has been falsified. Besides, how can you have any confidence at all in the work of a ‘scientist’ who says: “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” In fact that is precisely what should happen.

    How good are ‘the best models of reality’? Look at all of Flannery’s scare predictions that haven’t come to pass. Now he his getting paid $700k a year to scare us into submission. It will have no effect. Gillard won’t get to implement her carbon tax. Consider it blowback from all the people she lied to.

    I watched the TED talk. It was interesting enough, but still very hypothetical. Looks to me like geo-engineering is not getting even a fraction of funding that goes into climate alarmism.

    The Black Swan book is overrated. It says little more than that “there are unknown unknowns”. Climate models can’t even deal with known unknowns, and there are lot of them, which is why Australia is not in a state of permanent drought and why English children do in fact know very well what snow looks like, contrary to alarmist predictions. As alarmist Kevin Trenberth said: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

    “we’re all gonna die”

    Oh no! The sky is falling! (again).

    Anyway I don’t know what the big deal is. We are all going to die.

  31. jordanrastrick

    Lol. The funny thing is my best friend is probably in a similar camp to you SB (he keeps oscillating, and also listens to too many mining-industry geologists), but the superiority of our channels of communication mean we find it easier to agree to agree and/or disagree.

    Breaking AGW down into particular propositions is useful. Judy Curry’s comments here exemplify one approach to this. Her blog is less hysterical than most in this area.

    That’s a very good post and it would be incredibly helpful if more debate about this issue was so clearly defined and included such hard estimates of probabilities on clear quantifiable points.

    I would LOVE to see a long term prediction market on the carbon/temperature variation, to force honest skeptics to put their money where there mouth is, and take it off them 🙂 Also as a ready source of insurance for poor countries it would be nice.

    The “peer review” excuse is beside the point. Plenty of peer reviewed work has been falsified.

    Of course. If peer reviewed work wasn’t routinely falsified, we’d be doing it wrong. “50% of what we know is wrong; the trouble is working out which 50%.”

    But peer reviewed scientific work builds a consensus on the best model of reality that we currently have. We expect parts of that model to be falsified, especially in relatively new fields like climate science. But when you’re deciding how to set public policy, its stupid to say “lets ignore the current model because it might get falsified.” Any part of the model may get falsified at any time, because that’s science. But life is about taking the best possible actions in the face of lots of uncertainty, and our decisions should always be based on what the model says now.

    “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

    As alarmist Kevin Trenberth said: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

    So your entire argument against the credibility an entire branch of science is a pretty out of quote context of one researcher and a massively out of context quote of another?

    How good are ‘the best models of reality’?

    It doesn’t matter how good they are in any absolute sense. They are the *best*, by definition.

    An Ancient who believes the sun is coming up tomorrow coz Zeus says so has a pretty bad model of reality. But as far as planning actions go, she’s going to outperform the person who thinks Hades killed Zeus in the night and the sun is never going to come up again.

    Seriously. Read the Meteuphoric post again. Try and make a serious case why my framing of the argument about the X estimate and our confidence in it and our strategy to deal with that is wrong. Why is “doing what we’re doing right now” a privileged action? If we’re standing on a boat that appears to be sinking, is the null hypothesis that “the boat isn’t sinking”, and our preferred strategy until we have very strong proof otherwise “stay on the boat”?

    I watched the TED talk. It was interesting enough, but still very hypothetical. Looks to me like geo-engineering is not getting even a fraction of funding that goes into climate alarmism.

    The guy is a “climate alarmist” advocating for more discussion of geo-engineering with a view to funding research. But he’s pointing out that there’s a good chance it will be like nuclear weapons – a very risky cat coming out of the scientific bag.

    The Black Swan book is overrated. It says little more than that “there are unknown unknowns”.

    Yeah, but its phrased more eloquently than Cheney.

    I’ve mainly read the sequel, Fooled by Randomness. There’s more to that at least than unknown unknowns. Its more like “how can we best quantify and robustly respond to the (somewhat) known unknowns that are very low probability but high expectation?”

    Oh no! The sky is falling! (again).

    If you’re talking about the likes of Ehrlich et al, I wholeheartedly agree. But populist stuff by a butterfly expert about human population growth is hardly comparable to the AR4.

    If the boy keeps crying wolf, sure ignore him. And there are lots of boys crying wolf I’ll grant you.

    But there’s also the Pentagon’s crack Anti-Wolf Special Ops team with satellite and drone reconnaissance and wolf spotter teams and the rest. And they’re crying that there actually is a wolf with 75% probability, this time.

    So who cares about the boy? He’s a dick, sure. But I don’t want to get eaten by a wolf just for the chance to prove it. Ignore him, and just listen to the Anti-Wolf patrol dudes are saying.

    Did I over-extend myself on the metaphor/analogy front in this comment, a little?

    Anyway I don’t know what the big deal is. We are all going to die.

    I was hoping for eternal life personally, but suit yourself. 😛

  32. Splatterbottom

    Jordan, it was Rumsfeld.

    At the moment no one knows whether we have a problem at all, much less what the cause is.

    In terms of your analogy: we know the sun rises every day, and we think that it is because Zeus is happy. Rumour has it that Zeus is getting unhappy. A cloud of volcanic ash gave us a year without summer (but we don’t know about volcanic ash, we just know that we had a year without summer so Zeus must be sad), the crops died and people starved. Luckily the high priests have consulted the entrails of an auspicious goat and informed us that in order to make sure Zeus is happy we must sacrifice 100 virgins to him every day. The theory works because the next year we have a normal climate and we decide, on the advice of the high priests) to keep on sacrificing virgins just in case. Metuphoric reasoning would suggest that this would produce a much better outcome than doing nothing.

    From your link “One should always be better off putting the reduced effort one is willing to contribute into what utilitarian accuracy it buys, rather than throwing it away on a strategy that is more random with regard to the goal.”

    One would not always be better off if there is a high cost in doing so. Further, if there are competing goals and a proposed action to achieve X is likely to cause detriment Y then you need to value X and Y and take into account the probability of detriment Y occurring and the probability of achieving X. The question raised by the carbon (dioxide) tax is whether we should do something that we know will not have any effect at all, other than the degradation of the economy.

  33. Tyrannical tree-huggers have dispatched their brownshirts to stop you from worshipping Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour – which is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews.

    Tonight we must ask ourselves why brainwashed Marxists are conspiring to spread their global warming hoax and helping Al Gore to carry out his Final Solution to eradicate capitalism.

  34. @ lykurgus

    The Nazi’s stopped the Jews from worshipping Jesus Christ Your Lord and Saviour?

    1. I call Godwins…
    2. I think you might wanna reread some history there, big fella…

  35. narcoticmusing

    fa·ce·tious/fəˈsēSHəs/
    Adjective: Treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.

  36. Me or him?

    If I got the wrong end of the tree on that one, my apologies…

  37. jordanrastrick

    Thalesian, I think you’ve fallen victim to the long and deceptively serious conversation SB and I had been having right before you commented.

    Most of the rest of the 30 comments here have been pretty, well, absurdist.

    @SB: Yeah, I was reading about Rumsfeld last night in some other context and did a double take on whether I’d got that attribution right. D’oh.

    I… think the Zeus analogy has been kinda stretched past its usefulness, if in fact it was ever worthwhile in the first place.

    Note that the quanity X I’m talking about in the context of the Meteuphoric argument is

    X = long term harm or gain to human welfare caused by carbon emissions.

    This is a net figure, and so by definition is inclusive of the costs of cutting emissions, in the sense that “gains to human welfare” of emitting are supposed to include the benefits of continuing to enjoy cheap energy.

    But yeah, its probably not quite the right figure to be talking about, because the harm of carbon emissions can potentially be abated by means such as geoengineernig.

    The question raised by the carbon (dioxide) tax is whether we should do something that we know will not have any effect at all, other than the degradation of the economy.

    Lets put aside for the moment the iterated prisoner’s dilemma bargaining issue you are studiously avoiding engagement with.

    The effect isn’t zero; its just small enough in the context of the global situation that you want me to round it down to zero.

    By this argument, do you litter, because “all finding a bin does is inconvenience me, and my littering makes no difference to the overall state of rubbish in the environment”?

    Do you think perhaps people should commit murders with impunity? “I really want to commit this murder – refraining from doing so imposes a large cost on my utility. And, statistically speaking, that one extra murder makes no actual difference to the overall levels of murder in the world, so I probably should just go ahead.”

    I know the parallel is starting to get a little shaky in this second example. But I am curious to know how you can possibly expect anyone to take reasoning of this form seriously.

  38. narcoticmusing

    I blame Jordan and SB for contaminating this thread with actual debate.

    I’m pretty sure one of the goals of the carbon tax is to remove any form of legitimate debate.

  39. Under a carbon tax, legitimate debate will cost $100/comment.

  40. Will I still be allowed to fart?

    Cheers.

  41. narcoticmusing

    Marek, I understand that you will be permitted to fart (unlike in other oppressive jurisdictions) however you will need to offset that with say, capturing the gas and powering you house on it for a week. If you don’t, you’ll be slugged penalty rates for each escape after the first.

  42. narcoticmusing

    Jeremy – Under a carbon tax, legitimate debate will cost $100/comment.

    I believe it also has to be offset with hysterical hyperbole that must not have any evidence or scientific basis if you want to avoid the penalty rates.

  43. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “X = long term harm or gain to human welfare caused by carbon emissions.”

    Netting costs and benefits to give an overall harm or gain scenario doesn’t help in cases of massive uncertainty. In the present case we have no way of knowing whether X is positive or negative overall, although we do no that the negatives will be immediate and very large. We do not know whether the positives will eventuate.

    As a general proposition this methodology would favour killing 2 billion humans now if someone had a theory that doing so would save the planet from ruin a decades down the track.

    Also, whether Australia now implements a carbon (dioxide) tax is not a prisoner’s dilemma at all. We are not required to make any decision now. The only possible way anyone gains is if the major emitters actually reduce their emissions by a significant amount. If they don’t everyone who actually takes measures suffers large additional detriments. Their decision makes no difference to the outcome.

    Given that the Copenhagen bum-rush failed and agreement by the major emitters is no longer on the horizon, there is no prisoner’s dilemma. There is only a dilemma if there is some upside in one of the choices. That is not the case with the carbon (dioxide) tax.

    “I really want to commit this murder – refraining from doing so imposes a large cost on my utility. And, statistically speaking, that one extra murder makes no actual difference to the overall levels of murder in the world, so I probably should just go ahead.””

    This is not analogous to the carbon (dioxide) tax at all. Applied to murder, my proposition is that you shouldn’t murder someone if you know that doing so will not increase your utility at all.

  44. Splatterbottom

    Marek, see the “Smug” episode of South Park for instruction in how to capture the full benefits of your flatulance.

  45. Don’t worry about it Thalesian – unless you’ve actually watched Glenn Becks show (or used the Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory Generator), it’s impossible to tell.

    Dammit, I’ve just blown $500 worth of carbon-comment-credits… and my dog just farted (goodbye motorbike):(

  46. jordanrastrick

    I’m glad we’re charge per comment and not per word.

    Netting costs and benefits to give an overall harm or gain scenario doesn’t help in cases of massive uncertainty. In the present case we have no way of knowing whether X is positive or negative overall,

    But it does help, and we do have some way of knowing. That is the whole damn point of what I’ve been saying and that Meteuphoric post. We have an estimate, its just very uncertain. You’re trying to pretend that because our best estimate of X is highly uncertain, we should pretend we have some better estimate of X.

    Say that we are comparing for the sake of simplicity – the status quote, and introducing a modest global ETS (to again simplyify by skipping over the Australia-as-“first”-mover part of the debate for now).

    To be generous to you from what we know of the science and the economics, say this has a expected net effect on global GDP per capita (vs the baseline scenario) in 2100 of +0%, with a range of (-10%, +10%) to 95% confidence.

    I still support the ETS in this circumstance, in part because this distribution is skew – the tail of the ETS scenario is pretty clearly bounded (civilisation has never been destroyed by a mild tax hike.) Also because I expect the distribution of the GDP growth over time to be more spread out under an ETS, and consistent slower growth is better for human welfare than cycles of fast growth and decline. See my blogpost here for this argument in more detail:

    http://musingsnotamusing.blogspot.com/2009/12/more-thoughts-on-carbon.html

    although we do no that the negatives will be immediate and very large. We do not know whether the positives will eventuate.

    OK, since you’ve played fair and debated me seriously for most of this thread, I’m going to try and not to hit you too hard over the head with the numbers 😛

    You have no idea what the carbon price will be, so you’re talking out of Tony Abbott’s arse when you say you know what negatives will be “very large.”

    Lets venture into the realm of hypothetical discussion, though.

    Lets assume a carbon price of $30 a tonne. That’s a lot more than the phase in maximum price of Rudd’s original CPRS, so its a pretty high estimate of what we’re likely to have (at least to start with) in the current environment.

    Lets further assume that a $30 price works beyond Bob Brown’s wildest dreams, and cuts 100 million tonnes per annum of emissions. Lets also assume this is of ZERO benefit, because carbon science is a complete fraud (which means that the more we’ve cut, the worse off we’ll be in the long run), and because we’re pretending coal emissions don’t have any other bad non-carbon effects like sulphur, also that none of the likely resulting investment in Solar etc will have any lasting advantage for our economy at all.

    So the tax simply damages the economy by inefficiently distorting the true price of carbon. The deadweight loss is

    0.5 x (new price – old price) x (new demand – old demand)

    = 0.5 x ($30/tonne – $0/tonne) x (100 million tonnes)

    = $1.5 billion dollars per annum lost.

    That’s about 0.5% of the federal budget, or about 0.1% of GDP.

    Oh noes! The sky is falling (again)

    Of course I’m being ridiculously generous to your side of the argument. In reality the price when announced is likely to be lower and the change in emissions smaller (as you’re always trying to argue, “effectively zero”), both of which imply a lower Deadweight Loss.

    Now $1.5bn isn’t a vanishigly tiny number. But in the context of the scope of the issue, I have no idea where you’re getting “very large” from.

  47. jordanrastrick

    P.S. I’d post a follow up comment to mention corrections for typos etc, but it costs $100….

  48. narcoticmusing

    Don’t worry jordan, you can offset your comment carbon tax fee with hysterical hyperbole without scientific basis or an anti-abortion campaign.

  49. Splatterbottom

    Jordan all you’ve done is told me the amount of tax that will be raised, and that are you are cool with spending a billion and a half dollars for no benefit.

    Your logic is as ephemeral as the soiled-panty fantasies that flit through your fenestrated frontal lobe.

  50. Splatterbottom

    Jordan your example fails. The fact that you are prepared to accept the loss for no gain demonstrates its irrationality. The quantum doesn’t matter. It is the fact that it ends in a loss shows that the argument is not compelling. And that is without even looking at the assumptions that need to be made to get there.

    Bottom line is there is no point in doing something costly when you know it is futile. After all the hypothetical numbers and equations the point you reach is that your happy to waste a notional $1.5bn. That is not rational.

    If someone believed that AGW was a serious threat it would be more rational to devote significant funding to alternative solutions that don’t require global agreement. The fact that this option is not being taken seriously in political circles shows that the carbon (dioxide) tax is mainly a political game.

  51. jordanrastrick

    Jordan all you’ve done is told me the amount of tax that will be raised, and that are you are cool with spending a billion and a half dollars for no benefit.

    Errrr… its not the amount of the tax raised. As I said, its the deadweight loss, the inefficiency caused to the economy by the distortion of the market due to the tax, assuming the current price (of $0 in this case) is the correct one, i.e. that Carbon imposes no externalities at all. I’d assumed, given your confidence in pontificating about the terrible effects of taxes on the economy, that you were familiar with the elementary concepts involved?

    And you know very well I’m not advocating spending $1.5 billion for no benefit, even though you go on to try and claim I am 3 times. I’m pointing out that even if we grant the absolutely best imaginable case scenario to your argument – cutting emissions doesn’t help us or the world in any way whatsoever, the tax is above what any observer is predicting, and distorts the economy more than anyone is expecting – then we would lose at most 0.1% of GDP per annum.

    The maximum harm to the economy of a particularly harsh carbon tax, if you’re fully correct and the idea is 100% bullshit, is 0.1% of GDP. But you seem to be implying its the end of the world; it might be fair to characterize your position on taxation as “alarmist.”

    If someone believed that AGW was a serious threat it would be more rational to devote significant funding to alternative solutions that don’t require global agreement.

    I’m all for funding research into cheaper-than-coal alternatives, carbon sequestration, and geo-engineering. And I don’t support using an ETS to cut our emissions especially drastically until we gain further scientific certainty about how much temperatures are expected to rise and what we think the effects of that are going to be.

    But a modest cut now, that costs 0.1% of GDP per annum in the absolute worst case and will benefit us in pretty much any other scenario, and puts in place a mechanism that allows more serious cuts to be made as we get more data and better predictions about where we’re headed, is clearly sensible policy. Given the uncertainties it might not turn out (after the fact) to be the absolute best way of dealing with the issue, but it has a superior expected outcome than doing nothing, a superior expected outcome than anything Abbott’s proposed (unless you want to count the Howard government’s proposed trading scheme before the liberal party decided the policy was going to cause the apocalypse), and honestly I’d really love to see you make a concrete proposal that’s better. E.g. if you just want to spend big on geo-engineering research, there’s a lot of uncertainty and risk involved in that strategy that you haven’t really addressed.

  52. A carbon ‘tax’ stole my baby!

  53. On a more serious note….jordanrastrick has it pretty right.

    The impact of a carbon ‘tax’ will be far less than the impact of the rise in oil prices due to the revolutionary sentiments sweeping the MENA.

    Of course, facts like that will do little to calm the chicken-little’s forecasting the end of civilisation from a carbon price.

  54. Meanwhile the utter political poison of the carbon tax continues to seep into Federal Labor, our PM’s approval plummets historically and the two party gap blows out to six points. ” – mondo

    It’s best not to go all weak-kneed at every lurch in the polls over a very short time span.

    There tends to be a very signifcant difference in the poll trends over the short term vs the long term.

  55. Labor’s lowest Newspoll result in history seems like more than a ‘lurch in the polls’ to me, but nonetheless you may be right that time will smooth over the rift between Gillard and the electorate.

    I guess we will have to wait and see.

  56. And it’s not as though Gillard has been consistently riding high in the polls.

    Just remember, back when Rudd was promising an ETS, his poll approval ratings were 60%+ .

  57. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “We have an estimate, its just very uncertain. You’re trying to pretend that because our best estimate of X is highly uncertain, we should pretend we have some better estimate of X.”

    1. You are assuming that you have the best estimate for X. This is highly contentious and requires careful examination of all the assumptions. In fact the model you used to estimate X doesn’t measure, for example, what happens when you make one sector of the economy uncompetitive, as Australia will become. It doesn’t measure the cost not having another Aluminium smelter built or the export of Australian industries to other jurisdictions which do not impose those costs. It won’t tell you how many people starve due to the cost of food increasing as crops are diverted to biofuel.

    2. You have provided a model which even on your hypothetical example disproves your point – how is it logical to spend money for no gain?

  58. On the general issue of costing policy, you can’t make any sensible assessment without comparing it to the cost of doing nothing.

  59. narcoticmusing

    If I dare to be serious on this thread (I fully appreciate that I will be charged penalty rates):

    What is the best method to manage the current and increasing obesity epidemic? Would it be to:
    A) promote and encourage healthy living and put disincentives in place for unhealthy living – particularly if we can identify key targets/contributors of this. Perhaps even consider acting based the social determinates of health recognised by the WHO which, based on a great deal of evidence (that is not 100% consistent but generally so) that low SES will lead you to be vulnerable to eating poorer quality food, OR
    B) Assume that everyone makes sensible economic choices so the whole obesity thing is a farce. Those trillions spent on junk food advertising is just for fun, not actually impacting people. Allow everyone to become obese, deal with the massive co-morbidity costs to the health system that creates and in use bariatric surgery to reduce the figures as required.

    It will be hard to prove A, because A’s impact is a future event. There may be some leaching into B regardless, as there would be people already in that situation or who simply get past A. But does that mean we should abandon A because we cannot 100% accurately quantify it and the impact? We have very bloody good estimates on the cost of B – which is extreme – and that A we predict, will cost a lot less. A will cost money now, there will be a delay before we are hit with B (depending on the McD to KFC ratio).

    Jordan appears to be in camp A – he recognises that we’ll still get obese people (and have them now) so acute costs won’t disappear per se, but he also recognises the benefit in decreasing hospital presentations and reducing how many people need acute assistance like bariatric surgery. Ie. prevention (spending in advance to minimise not necessarily eliminate) is cheaper than the response.

    Those who deny the carbon tax are in the B camp. They see spending money in advance as a waste because you still have to spend money on acute services anyway. They ignore how much more expensive the reactionary costs will be compared to the preventative measures. They think that we all make our own decisions and it is all self-responsibility. No intervention required, particularly not on my tax dollar.

    Camp B are ignorant of the costs of reacting to these things later but have the benefit of being able to argue, as with ALL preventative measures:
    1. It won’t completely eliminate obesity (climate change) – no it won’t, it will mitigate it though
    2. It can’t be proven that it will work – no prevention can. But then, foresight is almost uniquely human, the ability to, using evidence, predict and extrapolate a result.
    3. After the fact you can’t prove it – that will always be in the right’s benefit – it is hard to prove a prevention worked. So many things you could blame, particularly if you just have to have faith.

    For another example, consider the needle and syringes programs that have created massive cost savings to the health system due to the reduction in transmission of blood based disease (eg HIV, Hep B/C), nevertheless, there are many who are against them without considering the small cost of this intervention has)

  60. Splatterbottom

    True that Gadj. If the temperature increases by the same amount as it has for the last 10 years the cost would be nil.

  61. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic,s you have not made the correct analogy. In the absence of action by the major emitters a unilateral carbon (dioxide) tax has no present or future benefits. It is all downside.

    A better analogy is if you advertise only in places where you are sure the advertisements will have absolutely no effect, such as places where obese people will never see or hear about the ads. That would be a complete waste of money.

  62. Those who deny the carbon tax are in the B camp. They see spending money in advance as a waste because you still have to spend money on acute services anyway.

    Not just some money Narc, but exactly the same amount of money since the ‘advance’ spending is highly unlikley to do anything to mitigate any future spending requirements. Spending money now in a way that will have absolutely no impact on future expenditure is a waste. By definition.

    They ignore how much more expensive the reactionary costs will be compared to the preventative measures.

    Far from ignoring it, this actually forms the central basis of our rejection of a carbon tax. It is a bad idea as a ‘preventative measure’ precicely because it will have no impact at all on the quantum of ‘reactionary costs’. It is all pain for no gain.

  63. narcoticmusing

    I knew I should have not dared be serious. Dare I explain myself? I am a conundrum of the cynic and the idealist in one shell… lets hope it doesn’t get too confusing.

    SB – you disagree with the analogy, that doesn’t make it wrong. You are too quick to say things like ‘your example fails’ or ‘you are wrong’. You may not understand or agree with it, but it doesn’t make it wrong. Your version is an obvious, exaggerated extreme that assumes no benefit from a carbon tax (a belief you hold strongly, fair enough). The analogy I put forward, rightly or wrongly, assumes a benefit that may be difficult to prove to skeptics, particularly skeptics with an interest in B continuing. The comparison to health prevention is a reasonable one because the comparitive (at times exactly the same) arguments are used, and in both cases it is vested interests vs. the government protecting people where the govt is out-funded and out-publicized by the vested interests.

    Mondo – like SB you think there is no benefit from the carbon tax, fair enough. There are many that disagree with you, it doesn’t make them wrong because you have a different view (nor vice versa). As for costs, Mondo, I point you to the extreme weather events (although these are debated) and predictions (based on current data of rising sea levels) as examples of where some of those other costs will come from if we do nothing and simply allow the causes of climate change to exacerbate the situation.

    I, myself, am not convinced if a carbon tax, particularly one devised by the current ALP, will be effective at all. Nevertheless, I am, in general, cautiously in favour of a price mechanism to generate capital and reduce pollution.

    Unlike you, I am, however, convinced that climate change is very real (albeit global warming is a foolish title for it to be given as it is misleading). I am far from hysterical and I think intelligent debate on this has been quashed by the foolish antics of the current Lib Co. Not that I am suggesting the ALP has been terribly constructive, nor their previous CPRS any good. Just a comment on the current situation.

    We need intelligent debate on this, not just cave men declaring “science bad, man inherit earth so we can do what the hell we want” Nor foolish claims the earth is about to spontaneously combust.

    I will wait until some better detail of how the proposed carbon price (or tax) is to work is released. I will remain hopeful it isn’t just a sell out to the energy industry (which i suspect it will be) – or just some stunt that is ineffectual because all the ALP wanted was to put their stamp on what looks like action on climate change but is instead risk outsourcing at best, at worst an illusion.

    I personally would like to see us, as a nation, investing in a range of alternative energies (such as geothermal that SB mentions). However, there is a need to generate capital and mitigate further damage – I believe a carbon price can do this with a lower cost to individuals that just throwing money at it cold (for one thing, $ in R&D will give us alternatives but won’t encourage reducing current generation). For me, it isn’t just about the dint in global CO2, it is about generating capital to invest in R&D so that we create new economies and markets to generate further wealth for the nation, rather than playing catch up later.

  64. narcoticmusing

    Apologies, I attempted to reply but it was eaten by the moderation glitch (no offensive words/language were used).

    I dare say it was my own damn fault for daring to be serious on the thread and I was penalised. Fair call.

    🙂

  65. jordanrastrick

    Tell you what, SB. I’m sick of the ridiculous signal to noise ratio going on in this discussion. I’m sick of having my views on climate change conflated, intenionally or otherwise, with the likes of the lunatic wing of the Greens et al. I’m sick of trying to keep track of and refute all the points you make that AFAICT add precisely nothing new to what you’ve already said. (“You are assuming that you have the best estimate for X”= you commiting the fallacy from Meteuphoric, again.) I’m sick of you answering arguments about “This is the best strategy to adapt conditional on anthropogenic climate change being real” with “That strategy is crap, because anthropogenic climate change is a lie.”

    I don’t think you’re an unreasonable person. So I’m going to break down my position carefully, like Judith Curry, and put it on my own blog or something and post the link, and then if you’re interested we can actually try and establish where the substance of our disagreements lie when stripped of all the attendant bullcrap.

  66. narcoticmusing

    Jordan – If you put that together, can you post the link here, I’d be interested in reading it.

    ta

  67. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “Your version is an obvious, exaggerated extreme that assumes no benefit from a carbon tax”

    For the purposes of my discussion with Jordan, that was precisely the assumption he made in trying to demonstrate is proposition: “Lets further assume that a $30 price works beyond Bob Brown’s wildest dreams, and cuts 100 million tonnes per annum of emissions. Lets also assume this is of ZERO benefit” (emphasis in the original)

    Further, as a general proposition it seems obvious that the impact of Australia acting alone in this regard is so small as to be unmeasurable and irrelevant. If impacting global temperature in a meaningful way is the goal, a unilateral carbon tax without the major emitters doing likewise will not help to achieve that goal. In that regard a carbon tax is of no benefit.

    However, if you believe other benefits arising from a unilateral carbon tax, tell us what those benefits are. We can then look at whether those benefits are likely to occur, whether they can be quantified and whether a carbon tax is the most economical way of achieving them.

    Jordan my point is simple. You put forward an example which assumed a cost and also assumed that there would be no benefit. You have yet to explain how that argument entails a conclusion that we should incur the cost.

  68. jordanrastrick

    You put forward an example which assumed a cost and also assumed that there would be no benefit. You have yet to explain how that argument entails a conclusion that we should incur the cost.

    I know you’re smart enough to comprehend conditional arguments, SB, so please stop trying my patience with this routine.

    My overall argument is that “a carbon price is on net beneficial with overwhelmingly high probability.” The example I’ve given is a sub-argument of the form “If we assume there is no benefit whatsoever to cutting emissions, and consider the worst case scenario of the incurred cost of doing so (which is entirely wasted by our assumption), its actually bounded at quite a reasonable figure.” It refutes the “we’re destroying our economy” part of the “we’re destroying our economy for no reason” hyperbole. I’ve addressed the “no reason” bit in several of the above comments as well as in other threads, but since it keeps getting lost in translation – I suspect, primarily, because you fundamentally prefer baiting people to making the effort to understand required for constructive discussions – and since I haven’t fully explained my position on all aspects of it, I’ll get around to clarifying that, as well.

  69. jordanrastrick

    @narcotic – I have an Amazon EC2 server up with a wiki installed on it (I think that will work better in this case than a linear post-counterpost-etc discussion), but at the moment I’m having issues being able to consistently access it from the web. I’ll post the link here once I’ve got it sorted.

  70. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “My overall argument is that “a carbon price is on net beneficial with overwhelmingly high probability.” The example I’ve given is a sub-argument of the form “If we assume there is no benefit whatsoever to cutting emissions, and consider the worst case scenario of the incurred cost of doing so (which is entirely wasted by our assumption), its actually bounded at quite a reasonable figure.”

    What you have demonstrated is that it is only worthwhile to impose a carbon tax when there is a benefit to be had.

    Nobody doubts that rationality is better than magic (which was the point made in your link above). The issue is with the correct basis of the rational analysis to be undertaken. The first step is to get the best data and models available and understand their deficiencies. This is just not possible when climate “scientists” are playing hide and seek with the data and their treatment of it. Corrupt science is not science.

    And please note, this is not baiting you. It is a cry for reason. If you want to point to other benefits of a carbon (dioxide) tax then we should identify and quantify them and think about the best way to achieve them. It is completely irrational to rely on these subsidiary excuses for imposing carbon (dioxide) tax without also rationally analysing them.

    And if you are going to rely on predictions of climate “scientists” it is probably better to give CRU and especially Dr Viner a wide berth:

    According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

  71. jordanrastrick

    S.B, I’ll get into the details of climate benefits when I have the wiki going.

    As for your quote of Viner, it doesn’t appear that the full context of the quote exists (on the internet at least) – there’s just the one article with those words in it and then a lot of crackpots wetting their pants about them ad nauseum.

    But FWIW, there’s no direct quote marks around within a few years – who knows what actual timeline, if any, Viner gave. There’s no quantification of how rare “very rare” is. Viner is consistently on record from what I can see predicting over the medium term rarer but more extreme snowfall events in Britain, which is consistent with the data so far (and the predictions of mainstream climate science).

    And by “children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” I assume he means they won’t know in the same sense that I didn’t know what snow is as a child – its rare in most parts of Australia and I was quite old before I got to see it first hand. Again, that’s consistent with the idea of snowfall getting more extreme but rarer. There’s maybe a bit of poetic license – a concrete prediction that snowfall in the UK would be, in 10 or 20 years, as rare as Australia, would clearly be falsified. If you can point to such an actual, falsified, concrete prediction from the last decade or two by a respected climate scientist – preferably quoted in full, and if you want to be very fancy, in an actual scientific paper or the like rather than talking off the cuff in a fluffy newspaper interview – then it might actually have some bearing on the credibility of climate science.

  72. jordanrastrick

    P.S. Yes, I know all about the Himalayan Glacier melting nonsense getting past the reviewers. I consider that to have a small amount of bearing on the credibility of the IPCC and its processes for condenscing the science into its Interim Reports.

  73. As for costs, Mondo, I point you to the extreme weather events (although these are debated) and predictions (based on current data of rising sea levels) as examples of where some of those other costs will come from if we do nothing and simply allow the causes of climate change to exacerbate the situation.

    You’re missing the point of my comment narc. I’m saying that, even assuming all the costs of ‘doing nothing’ that you have identified are real, Australia’s carbon tax is very unlikely to have any impact on them at all.

    How will Australia’s carbon tax address any of the extreme weather events you identify above, especially given that the rest of the world will not be joining us? How does our carbon tax help while the rest of the world continues to pump out greenhouse gasses?

    Seriously. What’s your answer to that?

    Contrary to your suggestion I actually do believe that AGW poses a threat and that we should try to mitigate it through appropriat action. What I’m saying is that this is the wrong action. It will cost us billions and in all likelihood achieve nothing at all.

  74. jordanrastrick

    Mondo, a price will primarly achieve the following three things in Australia’s direct interest.

    It will cut total global carbon emissions by a bit. Not a lot, not enough to fix the problem, but it helps.

    It will encourage a lot of private capital to be invested in non-carbon emitting infrastructure, technologies and associated skills – solar, wind, nuclear, electric cars, etc. This will give our economy a measurable advantage (ala Krugman’s Nobel prize winning work) if all other countries eventually decide to stop emitting, as seems likely they will at some point (even if that point is 2070) in the absence of some perfect geo-engineering solution. This is good for us – we get to extract a heft Schumpeterian rent from the laggards. Its doubtful this benefit outweighs the cost to the economy now, once you take discounting into account, but it certainly is a sizeable entry on the plus side of the ledger.

    Finally and importantly, it helps get gobal emissions a lot further down, indirectly. As I keep trying to get through to SB, this isn’t a simple Prisoner Dilemma. Its an Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma. While all the countries keep saying “screw you” to one another, “screw you” remains the Nash equilibrium rational strategy. But because we keep on playing the game over and over, the superrational strategy is to unilaterally co-operate. If we do what Europe for instance is already doing, and start saying “lets be friends”, it becomes rational for the Chinas and the Indias of the world to stop going with the “screw you” move.

    This game theory mechanism, by the way, is by far one of the most plausible evolutionary explanations of why people are largely nice to each other, even when not related, despite survival of the fittest.

    So, now that I’ve explained it – and if you need more details, teh Internetz is your friend – SB or anyone else trying to claim once again that cutting our emissions is not “rational” in any sort of economic sense gets the “come back and talk about economics when you don’t have quite so much Maths Fail” hat until they can demonstrate an understanding of this point.

  75. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “It will cut total global carbon emissions by a bit. Not a lot, not enough to fix the problem, but it helps.”

    By how much will reduce global temperature? Infinitesimal doesn’t count.

    “It will encourage a lot of private capital to be invested in non-carbon emitting infrastructure, technologies and associated skills – solar, wind, nuclear, electric cars, etc. This will give our economy a measurable advantage”

    You mean that if the climate models are accurate (the ones that caused billions to be wasted on desal plants) then by 2070 there might be some advantage. I respect a country like China which isn’t prepared to betray its people to a life of poverty on the basis of pseudo-science and is still smart enough to be the largest supplier of wind turbines to those countries that are.

    And chopping your arm off and then demanding the other person chop off their arm is not prisoner’s dilemma, iterated or otherwise.

  76. Mondo,

    Your argument applies just as well to your preferred action.

    What if we invest signifcantly in reseach, but the rest of the world continues to pump out greenhouse gases? Do we only start research when everyone else does too?

    SB,
    “pseudoscience”

    Says the person who appears to be quite clueless on science, besides repeating soundbites he reads on blogs about ‘data’ and ‘models’ and ‘corrupt’ scientists.

    Bwaaahahahahahah!!

  77. jordanrastrick

    Infinitesimal doesn’t count.

    Wow, SB, I’m going to run out of Maths Fail hats! Here’s the “I don’t know enough Analysis to actually understand what the word infinitesimal means” one. Enjoy, you look smashing in it 🙂

    For the interested reader, the answer is some finite amout (technically a scalar drawn from whatever ordered field makes up physical thermodynamic variables in this universe) that is probably strictly greater than zero and strictly less than 0.1 degrees Kelvin (by 2100) , and a real climate scientist could maybe give you a confidence interval another order of magnitude or two smaller, but I suspect anyone who tries to claim to be more accurate than that is lying.

    You mean that if the climate models are accurate (the ones that caused billions to be wasted on desal plants)

    Oh yeah, those billions were surely a complete waste! I see for someone who thought the Black Swan was so uninteresting, you didn’t actually the grasp the whole “models of expectated loss/gain need to account for rare events of severe magnitude” point. But that’s statistics, not real maths, so no hat I’m afraid.

    then by 2070 there might be some advantage.

    Sorry, I don’t think they even make any “Reading Comprehension Fail” hats.

    What I actually said, interested readers, is that asssuming (like the thoroughly overwhelming majority of qualified scientists) is that the climate predictions aren’t completely useless, and assuming geo-engineering is going to turn out to be a non-perfect solution, emissions are highly likely to get cut by more or less everyone at some point, even if that point is further into the future than when we currently expect it to happen – which is probably somewhere in the 2020-2040 timeframe.

    We start to reap the advantage as soon as enough countries cut emissions to want to buy the technology that Australia (with its highly scientifically and technically skilled populace) could be making right now if there were a reasonable carbon price to create a market for it.

    And chopping your arm off and then demanding the other person chop off their arm is not prisoner’s dilemma, iterated or otherwise.

    Me, earlier:

    I’m sick of you answering arguments about “This is the best strategy to adapt conditional on anthropogenic climate change being real” with “That strategy is crap, because anthropogenic climate change is a lie.”

    SB, now: Commmits this exact bullshit fallacy, to the letter.

    Me: *head asplodes*

    Come on SB. I have at least 7 more heads where that came from. Unlike every other commenter here, I’m not fooled for a second into thinking you’re stupid rather than just a stubborn, lazy and hence close-minded ideologue; and I’m too crazy to back down in the face of your reeeeeeediculously bad arguments.

    Shall we go again? This is fun! Try to make an error that’s not economic, scientific, or logical this time. I reckon you could work a misunderstanding of Argentinian cuisine into this debate, you’re very talented 😉

  78. Splatterbottom

    Gadj: “Says the person who appears to be quite clueless on science, besides repeating soundbites he reads on blogs about ‘data’ and ‘models’ and ‘corrupt’ scientists.”

    If you want to rely on statements by people who will not allow their work to be checked by critics go right ahead.

    Jordan:

    Infinitesimal means so small it can’t be measured. There is no means to measure global temperature down to thousandths of a degree. My usage was accurate and your point that such changes are somehow relevant is clearly wrong.

    ” you didn’t actually grasp the whole “models of expectated loss/gain need to account for rare events of severe magnitude” point.”

    In fact climate models purport to predict future climate on the basis of Co2 emissions, not rare events. Your point is irrelevant.

    Your next point was to criticise me for going with your 2070 number:

    “We start to reap the advantage as soon as enough countries cut emissions to want to buy the technology that Australia (with its highly scientifically and technically skilled populace) could be making right now if there were a reasonable carbon price to create a market for it.”

    But here is what you said earlier:

    “This will give our economy a measurable advantage (ala Krugman’s Nobel prize winning work) if all other countries eventually decide to stop emitting, as seems likely they will at some point (even if that point is 2070)”

    Now given the advantage you are talking of – selling non-carbon dioxide emitting technology – will not occur until the other countries decide to stop emitting, which you say may not be until 2070, then it follows that the advantage may not arise until then. All I did was to take the number you suggested.

    Finally, you are failing to understand the point on prisoner’s dilemma. We only get into that game if there is an agreement with the major emitters to reduce Co2 emissions. There is no game going on here where we are trying to predict their behaviour. Their behaviour is known – they will not make the commitment. Further this is different to where we get to play the game over and over. At the moment there is no game going on.

    As to your earlier, and now repeated, comment:

    “I’m sick of you answering arguments about “This is the best strategy to adapt conditional on anthropogenic climate change being real” with “That strategy is crap, because anthropogenic climate change is a lie.””

    I ignored it because it is just a straw-man argument.

  79. jordanrastrick

    Now we’re getting somewhere!

    Infinitesimal means so small it can’t be measured.

    No, it doesn’t. Colloquially, it means something very small, which is of course a very vague and relative term. If you can point me to any dictionary that says anything about measurement, please do so.

    As used by scientists and mathematicians, it has a precise and well defined meaning that, again, has nothing to do with measurement.

    If you mean immeasurable, say immeasurable.

    Even substituting the word you meant for the one you used, your point is still what scientists call well-bogus. Take for example the IPCC projection of a 1.4-6.4 degree rise by 2100 in the “fast economic growth, little efforts to cut emissions” scenario. Australia’s current share of emissions is about 1%; so, very crudely, assuming that our share remains constant, we’d expect to be contributing 1% of that, or 0.01-0.06 degrees.

    Of course such a change of that order can’t be measured directly, at least by current technology. But a lack of electron microscopes to directly observe them with with didn’t stop Einstein inferring the existence and properties of atoms in his Nobel Prize winning Annus Mirablis paper on Brownian motion. We can measure the global change in temperature, we can figure out a model of what causes it, and we can infer what Australia’s contribution to those causes might be. This is Not A Difficult Piece Of Scientific Reasoning To Understand.

    In fact climate models purport to predict future climate on the basis of Co2 emissions, not rare events. Your point is irrelevant.

    My point is not directly about climate models, but about the fact that droughts not occurring in the years since we started investing in desal in Australia is little evidence for updating our Bayesian probabilistic assessment of how likely such droughts are. Hence your argument that desalination plants, which in many cases haven’t even finished the construction and testing phases, are all just a big waste of money is wrong.

    Now given the advantage you are talking of – selling non-carbon dioxide emitting technology – will not occur until the other countries decide to stop emitting, which you say may not be until 2070, then it follows that the advantage may not arise until then. All I did was to take the number you suggested.

    Did you miss the word “even” when I said “if that point is 2070”? Or do you just like taking examples I give to show how my position is pretty robust in the worst cases of further evidence going against it, and quoting them out of context to try and claim that’s my actual prediction for what will happen?

    Some economies with a binding carbon emissions mechanism right now, in 2011:

    New Zealand, California, the EU.

    That’s a fair fraction of global GDP right there, even with the loss of Christchurch.

    Of course – and this cuts both ways, as it potentially helps both of our arguments – my points two and three above tend to counterbalance each other somewhat. The later we move, the fewer people there will be to buy our technology, but the more isolated you will make the remaining holdouts and the easier you make it for them to adopt the superrational strategy.

    It seems plausible that you want to stay somewhere just under the 50% mark of “first movers” (whether measured by global population, global GDP, number of countries, emitters of carbon, all of which of course lead to different results.) Being amongst the first 10% to end up Carbon free probably has little effect politically, because its so far from anything that can be called consensus. If you’re amongst the last 10%, you’re unlikely to have much technical advantage to sell, even if you specialise in a relevant niche (we could for example build desert-friendly geo-thermal and solar that would work well for MENA when they run out of oil. Or in thorium technologies, since we’ve got the second biggest supply)

    At the moment, our especially heavy use of coal (including brown coal), and our complete absence of nuclear, puts us a fair way behind the game and certainly that nice 50% point. Even the US, despite the politics, is better equipped to go carbon-free than we are, because of their technology leadership in fields like Nuclear, Smart Grids and Electric Cars.

    Finally, you are failing to understand the point on prisoner’s dilemma. We only get into that game if there is an agreement with the major emitters to reduce Co2 emissions.

    Oh right! Now I see!

    That “you are failing to understand the point on prisoner’s dilemma” has given me a lot of insight. Namely, SB, that you’re in fact failing to understand the point on Prisoner’s dilemma. Coz, I think you didn’t actually bother to learn what the Iterated version of the dilemma is, according with my “you’re smart but lazy” theory.

    The Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma that I’m talking about is how we go about achieving consensus with major emitters, so saying we don’t get into the game until there’s consensus makes no sense.

    It is a game with many rounds over time. Its more or less actually a continuous process in this messy world but you can model it discretely, taking each round if you will to be the major climate change talks such as Kyoto, Copenhagen etc, if that makes it easier to understand.

    So each round of negotiations is a classical prisoner’s dilemma. “Cut emissions, or we won’t cut ours!” “OK, fine”. 2 years later, we all backstab one another by not actually cutting emissions very much, because its in no-one nation’s individual self-interest to do so. For failed rounds of negotiation like Copenhagen, we don’t even get to the public agreement stage; the co-operation failure occurs at the diplomats-having-backroom-meetings point.

    But the thing is, we keep going. That’s why its Iterated. We keep coming back to talk more every few years, and we all get to see who the worst backstabbers were and who was actually closer to real co-operation. And, over time, the super-optimal equilibrium strategy with any finite number of players (although the large number of players as per the UN is confounding, it makes it slower to reach the solution in reality) is for … well there isn’t one super-rational strategy, there’s no equivalent of the Nash theorem here. But unilaterally co-operating as a gesture of good faith, and then only screwing over those players who fail to also co-operate, is a known good approach to this iterated game. Its known as “evolutionarily stable”, basically because if you take Genetic Algorithms or DNA that play it, and apply time, its a strategy that tends to crop up by natural selection and once it has cropped up, it doesn’t go away.

    As a richer country with an above average share of per capita emissions, we need a larger gesture of good faith. Also, Gillard’s proposed gesture is small in this context – it’ll bring us slightly closer to the less selfish side of average per capita emissions in the OECD (never mind poor countries.)

    Note that my second point about technologies makes the super-rational strategy better in a virtuous circle kind of way – the closer we get to the optimal equilibrium, the better an investment in carbon-free technology looks, and the more the technology is invested in, the easier it is to get to equilibrium. So climate change will in fact be solved and we’re not all going to die; its just a question in this particular of how many trillions it ends up costing by 2100, and whether Australia ends up getting a better or worse deal than other countries relatively speaking.

    I ignored it because it is just a straw-man argument.

    Its not a strawman, although its possible in this instance I misinterpreted which exact error you were making. Its hard to tell because you only want to talk in analogies of arms being chopped off; its not at all obvious whether you mean in this particular context that cutting emissions has no benefits because AGW is false, or no benefits because even if AGW real a unilateral cut is a bad strategy, or no net benefits because of your absurdly exaggerated idea of how much Gillard’s tax will actually cost the economy. I have now refuted all three positions quite clearly and at length, so please pick one (or some other new one for me to refute) if you want to keep going with the cutting off your arm discussion.

    You never commit yourself on this particular issue to a clear, quantifiable position, so if in these arguments I aim for your spleen and only end up taking out your shoulder, well, you’ll forgive me if you’re too much of a slippery bastard and my main concern is just to put you on the ground. So to speak. Since you love analogies that relate to bodily injury.

  80. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: ” If you can point me to any dictionary that says anything about measurement, please do so.”

    First link on google:

    “Infinitesimals have been used to express the idea of objects so small that there is no way to see them or to measure them. The word infinitesimal comes from a 17th century Modern Latin coinage infinitesimus, which originally referred to the “infinite-th” item in a series.
    In common speech, an infinitesimal object is an object which is smaller than any feasible measurement, but not zero in size; or, so small that it cannot be distinguished from zero by any available means.”

    “If you mean immeasurable, say immeasurable.

    Even substituting the word you meant for the one you used,”

    Arrogant, stupid and wrong.

  81. Splatterbottom

    On the desal plants, it is fairly clear that they would not be built if the decision was to be taken now. They were a classic example of governments being railroaded by climate activists into wasting money.

    “So each round of negotiations is a classical prisoner’s dilemma. “Cut emissions, or we won’t cut ours!” “OK, fine”. “

    The point is we have not to “OK fine” yet. There is no dilemma at the moment, just one lot wanting to convince the others to take action. Saying “I’ve done X now you do X” is a negotiating strategy, but it is not a dilemma of any sort.

    Once you get agreement then the possibility of backstabbing arises and you have the dilemma of whether you stick to the bargain.

    “I have now refuted all three positions quite clearly and at length”

    You are right about the length though I doubt you have refuted anything.

    “You never commit yourself on this particular issue to a clear, “

    Maybe that’s because I don’t know the answer. Neither do you. It is not an easy question.

  82. jordanrastrick

    I googled too, and clicked on several links, but I was only looking at dictionary definitions and so missed the wikipedia page. My sense of the word is caught up in the (modern) mathematical concept, which has nothing to do with measurement, so I made a fool of myself by not checking more thoroughly into the vernacular sense. Yeah, lazy. Wouldn’t have happened if we were talking Lojban. But its my bad.

    Arrogant

    I’ll cop arrogant – I’m trying hard to be as arrogant possible here (Mondo and Jeremy can both testify to being on the receiving end of such an attitude at various points in the past), because you for one seem to think it persuades most of the people who read comments on this website, or at least provokes them out of complacency. And the climate-skeptic camp exudes so much arrogance in this debate, and doesn’t give two figs about scientists humbly presenting honest evidence, so maybe a different tack is called for. It’d be pointless trying to argue like this, of course, on a climate skeptic website, or indeed if many other of Jeremy’s readers were weighing in to shout you down. But as its basically mano-et-mano at the moment, I’m wondering if I might get you to eventually concede you have ever been wrong about a single thing in this debate. Like I said, I don’t think you’re stupid or unreasonable, so given enough arguing I think we could reach broad agreement or at least narrow agreement. I’d like to get a vague sense of if “enough” arguing is 10,000 words or 20 billion words.

    And I’ll admit its a nice change of pace for me, to be dismissing you as readily as you tend to dismiss others and others tend to dismiss you (when, I think its fair to say, I’m normally about the most likely regular commenter here to be defending what you say as having merit.) I don’t mean this in a nasty way. I mean I’m enjoying myself, I’m not frustrated, I’m not trying to piss you off except to the extent necessary to change your mind. My close friends and I argue all the time and often we reach these levels of condescension, but that’s never stopped us before and has only made us genuinely annoyed with one another over the short term, usually while drunk.

    If it really pisses you off SB, I’m perfectly happy to switch back to a more polite and friendly tone. But I kinda thought you enjoyed the robust niggling-at-the-opponent-as-part-of-sport-of-the-argument style.

    Wrong

    I’ll also cop wrong in this case, if that wasn’t clear from what I said above.

    Stupid

    You can call me stupid if you want. I’m secure enough in my general intelligence that I don’t give a flying fuck.

    I’m going to maintain that based on the evidence so far, you’re not remotely stupid, but mainly too intellectually lazy (or possibly emotionally invested) to abandon any pre-conceptions or be seen to concede a point on this issue. I guess you have more fun pissing off the idiots you disagree with than changing your mind about an issue. I love changing my mind, so maybe there’s no point us discussing this since we’re in it for different reasons.

    Anyway, having proved me thoroughly wrong on the absolutely least consequently plank of my previous post, can we get back to the actual substance of the debate. Cheers 🙂

  83. jordanrastrick

    On the desal plants, it is fairly clear that they would not be built if the decision was to be taken now. They were a classic example of governments being railroaded by climate activists into wasting money.

    Possibly they would not be built now, but I don’t think its at all clear.

    Politics does have inertia like this. In theory, Julia Gillard should have just delayed the surplus slightly rather than impose a flood levy. In reality, politics meant she was railroaded into an ironclad guarantee to follow through on her anti-debt scare campaign promises and noises.

    The desal plants may not have been built today if they weren’t here already. But I expect they would be built instead when La Nina ends and we go back to an El Nino drought phase, even if its not severe as climate alarmists like myself would tend to think is likely. They certainly won’t go to waste when that part of the cycle comes along.

    This whole point has everything to do with the cyclical moods of electorates and short term weather patterns, and nothing to do with long range climate predictions or what policies are actually good an electorally achievable. The desal plants were and are a good idea.

    The point is we have not to “OK fine” yet. There is no dilemma at the moment, just one lot wanting to convince the others to take action. Saying “I’ve done X now you do X” is a negotiating strategy, but it is not a dilemma of any sort.

    Iterated games are models of amongst other things how we negotiate our way to strategies that achieve better outcomes than “rational” (Nash equilibrium) behaviours.

    Negotiation is part of the game. Cutting our emissions strengthens Australia’s negotiating hand, which we need to do if we want to get China and India to cut theirs (never mind America). These countries are poor, populous and rapidly industrialising. They’ve historically created none of the damage, and have the most to lose by rapid cuts now.

    In reality, bargaining/transaction costs tend to dominate. So Australia is kinda small fry as a result – a global outcome could be multilaterally decided by the EU, India, China, the U.S., maybe Russia, and it probably will since getting anything done at the UN level is so hard.

    You are right about the length though I doubt you have refuted anything.

    I can do short, but you’ll just misinterpret it again. Its not my fault you reserve the right to be strongly opinionated whilst being too lazy to read me waffling on in response to demands to clarify myself.

    Maybe that’s because I don’t know the answer. Neither do you. It is not an easy question

    No, its an incredibly hard question, and my answer is almost certainly quite wrong.

    I’m just very confident its a lot more right than yours, again ala Meteuphoric.

    I’ve now been reasonably concrete about pretty much everything I can remember being asked to be concrete on. I’ve admitted there are nuances to the issue such as some of (my) arguments for cutting emissions countering the force of one another, to an extent.

    I’d still love to see you post an “answer” more substantial than “there should be more funding for geoengineering research.”

  84. “If you want to rely on statements by people who will not allow their work to be checked by critics go right ahead.” – SB

    More nonsense.

  85. “On the desal plants, it is fairly clear that they would not be built if the decision was to be taken now. They were a classic example of governments being railroaded by climate activists into wasting money.” – SB

    You mean now that it’s rained?

    Clueless.

  86. Splatterbottom

    Jordan, I meant that your argument was stupid, not you. And I don’t mind a lively discussion as you would be well aware. But when you combine it with being wrong it leaves you open to to attack as I’ve found out many times.

    “Negotiation is part of the game. Cutting our emissions strengthens Australia’s negotiating hand, which we need to do if we want to get China and India to cut theirs (never mind America).”

    That is a very questionable opinion. The actions of the major emitters are more likely to be determined by internal factors such as the cost of the proposed actions.

    As I said, I don’t have answers. I’m not even sure of the question. The first thing is to work out if we have a problem. Given the great rise in scepticism the sensible thing would be to have a critical look at the research that is alleged to prove AGW is dangerous.

    Just saying that there is some chance the ‘scientists’ are right on this and therefore we should do something is not rational. First the ‘something’ should be likely to have the desired effect. That would involve massive change. Half measures are useless.

    Stop with the references to Meteuphoric already. All that says (in a confused and roundabout way) is that we should proceed on the basis of a rational cost-benefit analysis.

    Clueless nonsense Nawagadj.

  87. jordanrastrick

    Jordan, I meant that your argument was stupid, not you. And I don’t mind a lively discussion as you would be well aware. But when you combine it with being wrong it leaves you open to to attack as I’ve found out many times.

    Sure, I appreciate the distinction. The point in question was an honest mistake on my part because I was too lazy to thoroughly check that my understanding of the technical sense of infinetesimal really did match the colloquial usage. If that counts as stupid, then it deserves to be called stupid.

    What do you think of my very rough argument for an expected Australian contribution to 2100 temperature rises that can be inferred from actual measurements (and is therefore not infinetesimal in any meaningful sense) of 0.01-0.06 degrees? I put an original upper bound at 0.1 to account for the possibility of our relative share of emissions going up, which seems unlikely but at least plausible if we continue to be high population growth, commodity-oriented economy when compared to other members of the OECD.

    That is a very questionable opinion. The actions of the major emitters are more likely to be determined by internal factors such as the cost of the proposed actions.

    Sure, internal politics matter more than the international stuff, especially at this stage. But the international stuff matters a lot, or else for instance Australian pundits (including yourself) wouldn’t have made such a big deal about Copenhagen, before or after, when trying to argue the merits of a carbon scheme.

    Within the big emitters, domestic politics can afford to be more parochial and usually is – America often doesn’t give much of a shit what the world thinks. But they do give some of a shit, enough to matter a lot in this debate.

    As I said, I don’t have answers. I’m not even sure of the question. The first thing is to work out if we have a problem. Given the great rise in scepticism the sensible thing would be to have a critical look at the research that is alleged to prove AGW is dangerous.

    I’ve read the condensed version of the AR4 (have you?) and a lot of the more at length parts (have you?) and some of the supporting papers. It seems pretty convincing to me.

    As a non-expert in a world of specialised knowledge, of course, I do rely heavily on relevant authorities not being completely clueless in what they say. Amongst full time professionals looking at this issue – not just scientists, but economists, bureaucrats, etc – it looks pretty clear the science has been critically reviewed (indeed if it weren’t under constant critical review, it couldn’t be characterised as science), and the consensus has gotten stronger in recent years, not weaker. Many of the formerly most prominent, scientifically credible critics of the mainstream view have switched camps so to speak.

    The increased skepticism is all in the blogosphere and the uninformed public, on the back of a few mainstream media stories that weren’t actually that scandalous if you have any understanding of the context, such as “Climategate”. Scientists are accustomed to making real predictions subject to real scrutiny in their papers and freely saying whatever the hell they like elsewhere; not to the kind of scutiny we subject politicians to, where every syllable you utter in a public interview or an email that might get leaked can and will be quoted out of context against you. Tony Abbott being heartless for saying “shit happens” or racist for calling Kiwis “family”? That’s the exact same mindset that’s applied to things a couple of vaguely questionable things a couple of scientists have said and done, and disproves climate science about as thoroughly as endless attacks on Abbott here and elsewhere have discredited the entire body of conservative political thought.

    That stuff has all maybe made action a lot harder and more uncertain, which matters for this debate. But we don’t need to urgently find out if maybe actually carbon dioxide doesn’t warm the planet and we were wrong all along about that.

    TBH I don’t mind waiting another 15 years to do anything, when the science will be even stronger. I just think its going to be a lot more expensive to act then.

    Stop with the references to Meteuphoric already. All that says (in a confused and roundabout way) is that we should proceed on the basis of a rational cost-benefit analysis.

    Sure that’s all it says. But its important because it identifies an incredibly common fallacy that most people employ when (implicitly) refusing to do a rational cost benefit analysis. Namely, there are lots of uncertainties surrounding the costs and the benefits, therefore its safest to assume we don’t know anything about them, that the status quo is of zero net cost/benefit, and we should carry on as we were. Surely you’re familiar with lefties doing this all the time in the face of attempts to apply some economic rationalism in public policy.

    I’ll stop referring to Meteuphoric, but it still seems to me like this sums up a lot of your position here. Give me reasons why you object to my 0.01-0.06 projected Australian contribution to 2100 temperature increase, or an answer to my blog points about cutting carbon reducing risk and expected volalitility in global GDP growth over the century, or point to an error calculations of a 0.1% deadweight loss to GDP per annum in the worst case to Australia from a carbon tax now, and you might persuade me that you’re serious about trying to do a the best possible rational cost/benefit analysis based on the data we have at the moment. As it is you seem to just keep saying “uncertainty, therefore your analysis is wrong, but you can’t make me do one of my own.”

  88. What if we invest signifcantly in reseach, but the rest of the world continues to pump out greenhouse gases? Do we only start research when everyone else does too?

    Nawagadj, the R&D option is fundamentally different to indirect solutions like carbon pricing. The beauty of R&D is that we don’t need the rest of the world to join in for the benefits to materialise because we’re not trying to solve the problem through (pointless) voluntary reductions.

    The R&D solution seeks to solve the problem through the development of low-emission technology that will replace coal/petroleum as the cheapest sources of energy. You don’t need China to agree to reduce emissions if you invent a cheaper way to produce electricity than coal – because China will switch to the cheaper option for economic reasons. The whole world will.

    The global economies will never voluntarily reduce their carbon emissions sufficiently to make any measurable difference – I think we all need to accept that. Thus the only solutions worth pursuing are those that don’t require the world to do so.

    Solutions that actually have a chance of working even if Australia acts alone.

  89. Mondo,

    R&D, on which your basic point is right, is even more indirect than a carbon price.

    We can invest billions and come up with a great low-carbon solution, but then maybe no one wants to use it because it costs more than the artifically low priced fossil fuel tecnologies. A carbon price will stimulate research and open opportunities for the developemnt of those technologies.

    R&D won’t work very well as a stand alone solution (our current predicament illustrates this perfectly), just as a carbon price isn’t the be all and end all of long-term solutions to AGW.

  90. jordanrastrick

    Mondo, how would you feel about the following scheme, which roughly resembles my own current effort at best policy.

    There is a carbon pricing scheme on electricity generation only (I’d deal with other sectors using other mechanisms.)

    Carbon attracts a fixed price, or perhaps a more ETS-like number of permits issued. Every cent of revenue raised from this price is used to subsidise wholesale electricity prices by a uniform amount per kWh.

    The price/supply of permits is adjusted in such a way to make non-carbon power sources come within a certain range of the cost of carbon sources. Kinda like the reserve bank’s free market operations trying to target inflation to a narrow band.

    I argue this is a better way for the Australian government to do an “R&D solution” than any other. Just set up an incentive towards reducing emissions, and let private investors decide which of eSolar, TerraPower et al are worth sinking capital into.

  91. Splatterbottom

    Jordan I am still stuck with the basic problem that it is irrational to rely on the work of people who will not subject their work to critical scrutiny. I am not moving past this issue until it is resolved.

    So far we have no evidence that global temperature is outside the range of natural variation. Last time it got a bit cold we had ‘scientists’ urging international action to avoid a new ice age.

    I am deeply cynical at the whole process. If the proponents of action on AGW were actually serious they would:

    1. Ensure that the work behind their recommendations is transparent and open to critics for checking.

    2. Stop with the hysterical bullshit – making dire predictions like Flannery or blaming the Queensland floods on coal mining like Brown.

    3. Stop trying to debase the peer review process.

    4. Invest a whole lot more on geo-engineering solutions. It is not clear that consensus among major emitters can be reached much less that they will actually stick to their agreements.

    5. Stop vilifying anyone who disagrees with them, and stop making stupid statements about suspending the democratic process so that they can have their way.

    I think point one is essential to even begin the discussion.

    You probably agree with points 2 to 5. If we are to have a rational discussion at all it would be much easier to do so without the white noise of the climate banshees.

  92. Jordan – if your approach is likely to be more effective at producing the right R&D investment then I would support it.

    At the end of the day I’m operating from the basic position that technology is what’s needed to resolve the AGW problem. This is primarily because any belief that the human race would voluntarily agree to live with less on a global scale seems borderline retarded to me.

    At the moment direct investment seems like the better solution to me. It’s cheaper and it doesn’t carry the same potential to impact the entire economy in unintended and deleterious ways. But I’m not an economist, and I’m perfectly willing to accept that there may be more effective ways to stimulate the ‘right’ investment.

  93. “1. Ensure that the work behind their recommendations is transparent and open to critics for checking.” – SB

    This is complete bollocks, so the rest that flows from it is of the same foetid stream.

    The degree of scrutiny that is available from the normal process of publishing in the peer-reviewed literature is very high, the loud screeching from the clueless notwithstanding.

    And scrutiny is one thing, politically motivated vilification something else entirely.

  94. narcoticmusing

    For all of our convenience, Dr Greg Ayers, Director of Meteorology, BoM has summarised the degree of peer review, and how extensive this has been while simultaneously debunking the climate skeptics (eg Cardinal Pell/ Prof Plimer) for public record on Hansard.

    http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S13568.pdf
    Starts on EC 102.

    eg.
    “…the point was that there was a profoundly careful review [of the climate science]. They had a 60-day consultation period for public comment, and 380,000 public comments were taken in… So there are three metadata reviews—from the IPCC, from the National Academy of Sciences and from the US EPA—that do not support the propositions that are being put [by climate skeptics, such as Plimer, attempting to debunk AGW].

  95. jordanrastrick

    1. Recommendations should only be taken seriously from someone who has at least some expertise in both economics and climate science. The Greens and co often fail on this point.

    As far as transparency, it would be nice if climate modellers would open source their code (I imagine its pretty awful) as a mandatory addendum to any publishing paper. This goes for pretty much all scientists. I think most of the rest of the process is largely transparent enough.

    2. Stop being monolithic. On any polarised debate there will always be idiots on either side. It doesn’t affect the merits of what non-idiots are saying.

    3. Peer review is imperfect and gets debased all the time in the meta-scientific context where people argue about papers outside of the context of the formal processes. Its been a little more debased than usual by the politicisation of this issue, but that doesn’t invalidate it any more than it invalidates the idea that evolution is real just because lots of Americans fight about the politics of that.

    4. I support serious investment in geo-engineering research, with a caveat that there are major risks and uncertainties that look at least as serious as the costs associated with cutting emissions at this stage.

    5. See 2.

  96. Splatterbottom

    Gadj and Narcotics, given the demands being made on the basis of this ‘science’ why is it unreasonable to expect transparency?

  97. jordan,

    On 1. it’s important to stress that much of the code is already available. For example, the GISS code is fully available and anyone who wants to can go and look at it , play with it, etc.
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

  98. narcoticmusing

    SB – I’m not debating it needs to be transparent – I agree with that. What I am debating is your assertion that it is not transparent and peer reviewed atm (probably based on a right wing smear campaign of the IPCC, which as is in the Hansard, independent reports were conducted to account for any supposed ‘bias’) – hence I provided the response from Dr Ayers in Hansard, on the public record, that demonstrates that these things (ie the science you say isn’t transparent) ARE peer reivewed and transparent.

    The realitiy is that the ‘evidence’ used by those who debunk climate change science is the stuff you should be frustrated with as it is not peer reviewed nor transparent (again read teh Hansard) The material that is peer reviewed is shown to be wrong – it is all rebutted and discredited as the guff that it is immediatedly. OTOH, the climate science is peer reviewed and confirmed and/or refined/built upon.

    I want sound debate on this, with transparent peer reviewed science. We have transparent peer reviewed science that demonstrates that AGW (including raises in CO2 concentratiosn) is not merely a natural phenomena. We have debunked, discredited non-peer reviewed ‘evidence’ suggesting that it is merely a pattern every couple hundred years.

    Again, hence, for all our benefit, I provided the Hansard where the very well respected Dr Ayers discusses this, OPENLY, for the PURPOSE OF TRANSPARENCY, so you could read for yourself the level of credibility of the evidence debunking the climate change science vis-a-vis the evidence that demonstrates it isn’t just fear mongering.

  99. narcoticmusing

    On the topic of not giving access to the raw data, i’d make two possible suggestions as to why this ins’t always done.
    1. Money. Why should climate science be a charity by pharmaceuticals be all about profit? What you are suggesting is that all code, all data be open – many would agree with you, but those that have money to be recouped wouldn’t. This doesn’t suggest that all research is invalid just because they guard it.

    2. Interpretation. Think Breen v Williams for a sec – information is owned by parties, and even when it seems fair and reasonable for another party to see it, it isn’t necessarily right because they don’t know how to interpret it properly (as demonstrated in Prof Plimer’s book).

    There are, of course, other mechanisms where this information is made public, such as, for example major reports, journal articles, metadata reviews, etc.

  100. jordanrastrick

    nawagadj, thanks for the headsup about the code.

    1. Money. Why should climate science be a charity by pharmaceuticals be all about profit? What you are suggesting is that all code, all data be open – many would agree with you, but those that have money to be recouped wouldn’t. This doesn’t suggest that all research is invalid just because they guard it.

    As a filthy capitalist, I really, really can’t stress enough how much I would love to see a well-capitalised and liquid Prediction Market on climate change. See Robin Hanson’s work on the concept.

    The Ayn Rand worshipers who tend to be the most fervent lovers of climate skepticism surely couldn’t argue with a market price backed by a billion dollars of speculator cash that predicts the IPCC is correct with 95% probability.

    The private/public information problem goes away. And I get to take money off climate skeptics, or tell them to shut up for failing to put their money where their mouth is (as I am prepared to do.)

  101. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “I’m not debating it needs to be transparent – I agree with that. What I am debating is your assertion that it is not transparent and peer reviewed atm”

    Clearly it is not transparent. Michael Mann’s hockey stick was based on bad statistical analysis. In order to extract information from Mann to examine his work he had to be subpoenaed. Unfortunately the hockey team spends far too much time working out ways to keep their critics from checking their work.

    The simple answer is that until all the data and model details are available for checking the work, and other work based on it should be ignored. If you expect the world to get on board with a program that will cost trillions transparency is the least one can expect from the ‘scientists’ leading the charge.

    Also I am not claiming that the ‘science’ is not peer reviewed. My point is that the peer review process is variable and some cases corrupt. It is certainly no guarantee of quality as the publication of Mann’s deeply flawed paper demonstrates.

    “(probably based on a right wing smear campaign of the IPCC, which as is in the Hansard, independent reports were conducted to account for any supposed ‘bias’) – hence I provided the response from Dr Ayers in Hansard, on the public record, that demonstrates that these things (ie the science you say isn’t transparent) ARE peer reivewed and transparent.

    The realitiy is that the ‘evidence’ used by those who debunk climate change science is the stuff you should be frustrated with as it is not peer reviewed nor transparent (again read teh Hansard) The material that is peer reviewed is shown to be wrong – it is all rebutted and discredited as the guff that it is immediatedly. OTOH, the climate science is peer reviewed and confirmed and/or refined/built upon.”

    This is just stupidity on a stick. Hansard is not a relevant authority. Comments from one scientist read into Hansard don’t add much to the debate. Try rational arguments instead of appeals to authority.

    ” We have debunked, discredited non-peer reviewed ‘evidence’ suggesting that it is merely a pattern every couple hundred years.”

    You certainly haven’t. Nor has anyone else.

    “Money. Why should climate science be a charity by pharmaceuticals be all about profit?”

    Most climate ‘science’ is publicly funded. Yet an inordinate amount of effort seems to go into subverting FOI applications which shouldn’t have to be made in the first place.

    Also in cases of national emergency governments can and do appropriate the intellectual property of pharmaceutical companies. If AGW is such a great international emergency it should be no big deal to require the climate ‘scientists’ to lift their skirts.

    “What you are suggesting is that all code, all data be open”

    Either that or just ignore the work of the ‘scientists’ playing hide and seek with their information.

    “This doesn’t suggest that all research is invalid just because they guard it.”

    The problem is that we don’t know whether or not it is invalid. When we finally got to look at the hockey stick it turned out that that research was deeply flawed.

    “Interpretation. Think Breen v Williams for a sec – information is owned by parties, and even when it seems fair and reasonable for another party to see it, it isn’t necessarily right because they don’t know how to interpret it properly”

    Again they should put up or shut up. Funnily enough when the information is finally winkled out of the ‘scientists’ it has been shown to be flawed in material ways.

    Jordan people shouldn’t pay again for what the government has already paid for.

  102. jordanrastrick

    Care to answer any of my other responses, SB, to your 5 point list of demands?

    As for “people shouldn’t pay again for what the government has already paid for”, I am totally in favour with governments seizing any and all intellectual property created by academics up into this point in the interest of solidifying the scientific case.

    I want a prediction market because it renders future arguments about private/public information irrelevant, and reduces many of the collective action problems you, Mondo et al are raising.

    If you have solid reasons to believe the mainstream views are wrong, fine, please feel free to bet on it.

    It also allows non-skeptics to hedge, minimising unwanted risk in either direction. If I’m the government of the Maldives, I can stop trying to fruitlessly convince rich countries not to flood my country, and just insure against the risk. If climate change really is a beat up, the market will price it at a low probability and insuring against it would be cheap. Likewise if I’m investing in solar, I don’t need Gillard’s carbon price to reduce uncertainty about whether I’ll have to keep competing with coal; I can just insure against the risk that carbon emitting sources will actually be preferred in the long run after all.

  103. narcoticmusing

    SB, you misquote what I wrote out of context. It is to your discredit to purposefully misinterpret what others say. I observed you do that for most of this thread to Jordan. For example, I didn’t suggest Hansard was an authority, I suggested that Dr Ayers, with the backing of the BoM was an authority, and that for the purpose of the very transparancy (Hansard provides the transparancy, not the authority) you say is lacking, he put himself on the line to disclose the science. I also said that it was nicely summarised there, so why would I regurigitate all that ?

    “What you are suggesting is that all code, all data be open”
    Either that or just ignore the work of the ‘scientists’ playing hide and seek with their information.
    -You do realise that you are advocating private property with significant private investment be taken and owned by the State; how very Marxist of you. I thought you believed communism to be a scourge?

    By what authority are you saying the “Funnily enough when the information is finally winkled out of the ‘scientists’ it has been shown to be flawed in material ways.” ?? I provided you an authority to suggest that this assertion is wrong, as are the assertions of climate skeptics- the leading authority for climate science in Australia, BoM. What is the basis for you arguement? Is it just speculation from what you’ve pieced together? I’m pretty sure BoM has all the stuff you do and more…

    Even when presented the very transparency you claim isn’t there, your response is not constructive but rather a distortion to try to claim what wasn’t said, just so you can call something ‘stupid’ as if it adds to the argument. That you called them ‘scientists’ (ie using the ”) betrays your obvious bias. Not that bias is bad per se, it is merely your opinion, but to state others are wrong in the face of the evdience you need to do more

    “We have debunked, discredited non-peer reviewed ‘evidence’ suggesting that it is merely a pattern every couple hundred years.”
    SB:You certainly haven’t. Nor has anyone else.
    I was merely presenting the opposite of what you said (that the climate science was dubious) but provided an authority to back my claim. Many here have already provided the argument (which was also summarised in that very useful hansard link), there was no need for me to regurgitate that. That you seem to selectively read posts so that you can just pull out bits and actively misinterpret them out of context does not mean the arguments weren’t made. Jordan’s arguements, for example, were quite sound on this. As were the ones on the link I provided you.

    “people shouldn’t pay again for what the government has already paid for.” So when we research a drug, we should then get it for free? Or, if we fund a building with tax dollars we shouldn’t have to pay to use it… or like when we buy trains we should then get to use them for nothing huh? Or perhaps when it is a dire atrocity occuring… What about say, AIDS medication? (that the US used their veto power to make sure was not given for free to 3rd world nations?) This is climate change research to identify the problem – we need to raise revenue to implement changes, to get R&D into climate change solutions.

  104. Splatterbottom

    Jordan with your comments on my points there is not much to argue about. I certainly agree that the idiots like Brown and Flannery should shut up with their hysterical nonsense. Unfortunately they are both now in positions of power and influence.

    The problem with “peer review” is that some seem to think it is an answer to all criticism. It came into its own when “the science is settled” mantra took hold. It is usually employed by people too stupid to think for themselves as a means of shutting other people up. Now that the mantra has failed the true believers have moved on to the precautionary principle.

    A market based approach would be interesting. I am a fan of the wisdom of crowds.

    Narcotic: “SB, you misquote what I wrote out of context.”

    I don’t even know how to begin to answer that charge.

    My essential point is that it is not logical to accept radical theories when the proponents won’t allow you access to the information necessary to test those theories. The bigger problem is more practical: you are not going to get people already distrustful of the IPCC process (whether rightly or wrongly) to have faith in AGW if there is not full transparency. That means opening everything up to scrutiny.

    I thought you were sincere, but I have to tell you that your pathetic arguments to justify non-disclosure seriously challenge that assumption.

    Given that it is illogical to rely on the work of these ‘scientists’ if they will not have their work subjected to critical scrutiny the answer is clear: if they won’t disclose the information then their work should not be used as a basis for massive public expenditure.

    More than anything else the great climate caper is about the debasement of science by politics.

  105. “The problem with “peer review” is that some seem to think it is an answer to all criticism. It came into its own when “the science is settled” mantra took hold. It is usually employed by people too stupid to think for themselves as a means of shutting other people up. Now that the mantra has failed the true believers have moved on to the precautionary principle.” – SB

    This is just gibberish.

    Who in hell thinks what is an answer to all of which criticism??

    Mantra? Any examples of a ‘mantra’ from scientists?

    Any chance of any sense out of you, rather than a confused hodge-podge of half-baked lunacy dredged from the dimmest corners of the the interwebs?

  106. narcoticmusing

    “I thought you were sincere, but I have to tell you that your pathetic arguments to justify non-disclosure seriously challenge that assumption.”

    I am not against full disclosure, I was merely presenting some possible reasons why it has not occurred – it is you that is advocating for communist style State intervention and siezure of private property, with no other reason than you want to test data you have no idea about, nor capacityt o understand. Is it not enough that the data IS submutted (to government organisations such as BoM) and subjected to scrutiny? Why should you, personally, have the data that someone paid a lot of money to obtain just so you can go on a fishing expedition as Prof Plimer did to misinterpret it? Do you not think the climate scientists have good reason to not trust people who, under the guise of ‘fair and balanced’ distort everything to suit their own means?

  107. narcoticmusing

    Apolgoies for constant typos, my system here is forcing me to type without any visible text – it just all unravels from the cache 30seconds later.

  108. Splatterbottom

    Gadj here are some examples of how ‘science’ has been used to avoid debate. This tactic is often coupled with abuse of sceptics as deniers.

    Barak Obama: ” The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.”

    Al Gore: “The science is settled”

    U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: “The science behind climate change is settled”

    David Miliband: “”People say there should be a debate about global warming. But I tell you the debate is over; the reckoning has begun. The truth is staring us in the face.” and “The debate is over. For many years, sceptics of the Kyoto protocol used to base their objections on the science of climate change. But when the scientific evidence became overwhelming, many shifted their ground to economic criteria.”

  109. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “it is you that is advocating for communist style State intervention and siezure of private property”

    Stop making shit up. Where have I said that? The problem here is not your ability to reason so much as your ability to read! My argument is that if the information isn’t made available, the ‘scientists’ should be ignored.

    Commiserations about the computer.

  110. Exactly, SB. The science won’t be settled until every last person affirms his or her belief in climate change, including people with absolutely no expertise in the area, rabid ideologues who will be agi’n anything the leftards are for, and total lunatics.

  111. narcoticmusing

    “My argument is that if the information isn’t made available, the ‘scientists’ should be ignored.”

    I understand your argument and I disagree on two fronts. First – we should not ignore experts in a field giving us advice about something that effects us, even if their disclosure has caveats. I’d prefer it without, but that doesn’t mean i ‘ignore it’. The bank, my doctor, hell the government, tells me stuff all the time without any disclosure as to the real reasons etc but it doesn’t mean i ignore them.

    The second front i disagree with you is that the information is available. It is often made available with caveats (welcome to science, commerce and public policy) and/or through mechnisms you disapprove of, such as the IPCC or peer reviewed reserach papers or via reports to Govt – eg data considered and interpreted by experet organisations funded by Government to consider it, such as BoM. To suggest the data should be made available to anyone, such as yourself, rather than only aurthoised bodies, is, as I indicated, advocating for the property to be taken by the State which is contrary to the concept of private property ownership. I know you disagree with this concept (ie communism etc), but I was pointing out that to arbitrarily conviscate the data as you suggest would be to undermine the rights that exist over it. I would personally prefer full discloure, but then I have been known to be a leftist pinko at times (depending on the topic/issue).

    For example, I get a test, i don’t get the result, it is interpreted by my doctor, he only tells me what i need to know. I cannot even insist on the test results. Why? Goes back to Breen v Williams – basically the information is not mine, they are his (albeit about me). He has disclosed, as is his duty, what i need to know. He doesn’t have to hand over the record itself. Now, there is debate as to if this is right of wrong (Former justice Kirby certainly disagreed with this approach; as does Canada) but it is the basis of the laws of discolsure in Australia, and is based on property rights.

    In addition, as I pointed out, the information is made available in, for example, Hansard in an interpretted form by someone we as taxpayers pay to interpret it and report on it (much like the doctor). It was scrutinised by an entire department of experts and their findings submitted to Parliament and the appropriate Parliamentary bodies for debate/consideration/etc. In my view, that is about as transparent as anything in the pulbic interest – do I think it could be better? Sure, most things could be. Should it be? sure – if you aren’t worried about proprietary interests.

    Ps, thank you for your sympathy re my computer – it is driving me to despair, so hopefully my responses do no get nuttier in proportion

  112. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “hopefully my responses do no get nuttier in proportion”

    I am not so sure about that. 🙂

    Breen v Williams has nothing to do with my argument. My point is that clowns (sorry ‘scientists’) who won’t supply the information needed to scrutinise their work should be ignored for the purposes of deciding whether to spend large amounts on carbon dioxide emission reduction. We are talking about the greatest moral issue facing mankind apparently, so we should be as rigorous as possible.

    Also, I am not asking the government to confiscate anything.

  113. narcoticmusing

    We continue to simply restate our positions SB (albiet mine done with a delay before i see it). 🙂

    I certainly see your position and to an extent agree; the information should be scrutinised to ensure it is credible. My arguement that for the hell of it I’ll restate, is that it is scrutinised by the bodies endorsed by Parliament to scrutinise it (such as BoM, parliamentary committees, the multiple IDCs and International committees). You and I only get the post-intrepreted data and the post-scrutinised reviews of that and/or the issues arising from the scrutiny.

    Is it appropriate that people with no ability to understand the data look at it, misinterpret it (innocently or maliciously) and publish their “results” and “conclusions” as if it were credible? That leads to mass confusion – as per Prof Plimer’s book.

    Dr Ayers and that Hansard are an example of the transparency you desire. He did not care about which ‘scientist’ said what, rather that the evidence had been properly testsed and scrutinsied, not just wild claims.

  114. So SB,

    No scientists with the ‘mantra’. You’ve had to resort to 3 politicians and only one of those uses your “science is settled” ‘mantra’.

    Boy, that’s some mantra.

  115. Splatterbottom

    Narcotics, the bottom line is that plenty of people with relevant qualifications aren’t allowed access to the data. Serious flaws have been identified by such people when information has been finally made available.

  116. narcoticmusing

    “people with relevant qualifications aren’t allowed access to the data”

    That is not a rationale to force hando over of private property – indeed the very concept of trade secrets and intellectual property is the converse of this. R&D is not financially viable if we let others simply take fishing expeditions through our hard work…

    “Serious flaws have been identified by such people when information has been finally made available.”

    Can you provide examples SB? You’ve said that before and I would be curious to see such examples if they are easy to find (i don’t expect you to do a thesis or anything, i am legitimately curious). I again point you to Dr Ayers statements on the Hansard for your interest as this provide examples of debunking the debunkers…

  117. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj only you were talking about scientists. I didn’t make that claim. The fact remains that influential idiots like the president of the US, his head of the EPA and the British Environment Secretary talk nonsense when they should know better.

  118. SB,

    You have managed to come up with one person saying ‘the science is settled’.

    As usual, your rhetoric far exceeds your grasp of the facts.
    Instead of talking about the science, all we get from you is some confused nonsense about process.

  119. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “Can you provide examples SB? ”

    I’ve already provided you with an example in this thread. Go back and find it and prove to us all that at least you can read.

    ‘Gadj: “You have managed to come up with one person saying ‘the science is settled’.”

    Ah yes, now I see. People saying “The science behind climate change is settled” or ” The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.” were saying something else entirely. You’ve really got me there.

    I now see the profundity of your argument: just because you are an idiot onanist doesn’t mean you are a stupid wanker.

  120. SB,

    You were claiming that the ‘science is settled’ was a ‘mantra that took hold’.

    And you can come up with one example.

    Overreach as usual.

    Given how poor your grasp of the science seems to be, it’s little wonder you clutch at talking points.

  121. Splatterbottom

    Whatever, ‘Gadj.

  122. narcoticmusing

    “I’ve already provided you with an example in this thread. Go back and find it and prove to us all that at least you can read.”

    That was an overly defensive, insulting attack to someone who was legitimately curious in your view and wanted to know more, not to be critical, but to be better informed.

    First, your 16 March 12:09 post didn’t appear for me until around 2am this morning. Second, I certainly do not think the likes of Al Gore or Obama are credible whether they support or deny climate change. I didn’t ask for examples of political figures with clear agendas – your claims were not that political figures blindly agreed, rather it was “people with relevant qualifications aren’t allowed access to the data” and that the data is falsified/flawed. Claims such as:
    “Plenty of peer reviewed work has been falsified”
    “My point is that the peer review process is variable and some cases corrupt”
    “When we finally got to look at the hockey stick [re Mann] it turned out that that research was deeply flawed.”
    “Funnily enough when the information is finally winkled out of the ‘scientists’ it has been shown to be flawed in material ways.”

    You’ve given examples of people you disagree with, calling them alarmists or whatever (eg Flannery, Trenberth, Viner, Mann) but again, that is your view. I asked for examples where suitably qualified persons/organisations have called the work into disrepute.

    The only evidence you cited was a blog (albeit a good one that I follow alreaady with a good mix of diverse views on the issue). I do not necessary agree or disagree with everything said on both sides of the argument on Curry’s blog, but a blog is not an example of evidence backing your claims, it is a blog. Anyone can post to it. So I only really care for what Curry has to say, the rest is interesting but not necessarily credible (with a few exceptions). In addition, she is overall in agreement with the idea of AGW (but not necessarily a fan of the IPCC’s ‘multiple lines of evidence’ approach nor some of the political rhetoric – but the politics is quite awful on both sides IMO).

    So lots of claims – nothing to back that up. I am not calling you out, you are free to disagree with the science and have your views. I was, however, requesting out of curiosty for the examples of such debunking/fraud for my own education. Forgive me for being interested in your view point. I stand chastised.

    I don’t disagree that the extent and end game of AGW is debatable and, very possibly, exaggerated by over-enthusiastic supporters or ‘alarmists’ but is that any less irresponsible than those who make up fantastic stories and claim them as true to deny AGW? Are we better off heading a warning and taking precautions, or, as you assert ‘ignoring’ them because like all R&D, they limit access to their intellectual property. I prefer a more balanced approach (hence the jury is still out for me re: carbon tax)

    PS, I’m not advocating limiting access to the property (data) per se, merely speculating as to a possible rationale for why it is done. (Hence Mann had to be subpoenaed, which is, however, contrary to your view that you do not advocate the government confiscate anything).

  123. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic I was a bit ticked off because the hockey stick stuff is not hard to find. The sad thing it was necessary that the committee had to subpoena Mann to find out that his work was flawed.

    Here is a summary of the committees findings:

    • Mann et al., misused certain statistical methods in their studies, which inappropriately produce hockey stick shapes in the temperature history. Wegman’s analysis concludes that Mann’s work cannot support claims that the1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium.
    Report: “Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.”

    • A social network analysis revealed that the small community of paleoclimate researchers appear to review each other’s work, and reuse many of the same data sets, which calls into question the independence of peer review and temperature reconstructions.
    Report: “It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers. It is not surprising that the papers would obtain similar results and so cannot really claim to be independent verifications.”
    • Although the researchers rely heavily on statistical methods, they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community.
    Report: “As statisticians, we were struck by the isolation of communities such as the paleoclimate community that rely heavily on statistical methods, yet do not seem to be interacting with the mainstream statistical community. The public policy implications of this debate are financially staggering and yet apparently no independent statistical expertise was sought or used.”
    • Authors of policy-related science assessments should not assess their own work.
    Report: “Especially when massive amounts of public monies and human lives are at stake, academic work should have a more intense level of scrutiny and review. It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, should not be the same people as those that constructed the academic papers.”
    • Policy-related climate science should have a more intense level of scrutiny and review involving statisticians. Federal research should involve interdisciplinary teams to avoid narrowly focused discipline research.
    Report:: “With clinical trials for drugs and devices to be approved for human use by the FDA, review and consultation with statisticians is expected. Indeed, it is standard practice to include statisticians in the application-for-approval process. We judge this to be a good policy when public health and also when substantial amounts of monies are involved, for example, when there are major policy decisions to be made based on statistical assessments. In such cases, evaluation by statisticians should be standard practice. This evaluation phase should be a mandatory part of all grant applications and funded accordingly.”

    • Federal research should emphasize fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of climate change, and should focus on interdisciplinary teams to avoid narrowly focused discipline research.
    Report:: “While the paleoclimate reconstruction has gathered much publicity because it reinforces a policy agenda, it does not provide insight and understanding of the physical mechanisms of climate change… What is needed is deeper understanding of the physical mechanisms of climate change.

    The full report is here here.

    This is the normal process of law when a parliamentary committee needs information to assess matters of national importance. Surely you don’t have a problem with that law. I certainly don’t.

  124. The Wegman Report SB??

    Oh, dear.

    I’ll put my trust in the peer-reviewed published scientific literature over a spolitcially motivated ‘committee’, anyday.

    Much of this criticism boils down to what has been amusingly described as ” statistical numerolgy” , ie, people playing with stats programs like R, until they get a different result that they like and then crying ‘fraud’ ‘wrong’ ,blah, blah, blah.

    There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of stats that fuel these kind of charges. Most of the dispute is acutally about which is the optimal technique to use in certain circumstances. That’s all. Every stats technique has its uses, its limitations and its biases and assumptions. A ‘better’ technique is usually a matter of degrees, not outright right/wrong.

    Of ocurse there is a real stats issue in the paleo community. One that they are very aware of, and have been actively involved in trying to address.

    That of course has a flip side, one recognised by the ASA and, naturally, completely ignored (in a rather spectacular irony) by Wegman et al; that statiticians should not blunder into specialised areas eg paleo-climate, without first developing a good knowledge of the area in conjunction with the relevant experts.

    Epic Fail.

  125. narcoticmusing

    Thank you for the link to the full report. Its recommendations are more than reasonable – including that they concede intellectual property boundaries which for me is pretty interesting as I was only speculating that these were barriers to disclosure – nice to see the report you link to backs my view – am I now being too cheeky? 😉 I think you would find Dr Ayers statement to the senate an interesting addition, in many ways building on this report. He too advocates for transparency.

    I certainly believe information should be provided to a parliamentary committee to assess such matters. I have not once said I have an issue with that, indeed I have clarified several times that I am pro-disclosure to a far greater extreme than those who place property ownership above that of public interest (although i note this can become a slippery slope). The report you linked to was tamer than this, conceding property rights should not be curtailed for the sake of ‘transparency’. Perhaps they are realistic that the costs of words thrown about in the political sphere like ‘accountability’ and ‘transparency’ often have expensieve, undesired outcomes (not that they aren’t laudable goals) but I digress that is not the issue here; certainly if you want public funds you should have a sound, well backed rationale open to scrutiny. One should note (thankfully) that the government response, in Australia at least, is not based purely on Mann’s papers, nor IPCC’s, nor his opponents.

    I would again suggest that, despite the poor quality of the politicis on both sides, this information IS being provided to our parliament, and, as I suggested earlier, the Hansard link i gave is one such example of the Senate being proivded this information (Dr Ayers discusses papers analysed as alternative, independent sutdies from the IPCCs stuff). If the stats aren’t getting the appropriate scrutiny from appropriate bodies such as BoM prior to submission to parliament then they should be, but I get the sense from Dr Ayers submission to the senate that they are.

    What was concerning, in the Hansard, was the climate skeptic constanstly attempting to silence Dr Ayers. I’d like to see transparency on both sides and willingness for sound debate/discussion. Both sides are at fault here.

  126. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj, my point is simple – this episode demonstrates the benefits of making data freely available. Methodological errors can be identified and corrected. It also enables greater confidence in the work. On the other hand playing hide and seek with the data naturally enough leads to scepticism.

  127. On the other hand playing hide and seek with the data naturally enough leads to scepticism.

    Does it lead to skepticism generally, though, or only among the small minority of people who already regarded AGW as a massive conspiracy involving all authors of peer-reviewed science and major scientific organisations and virtually all governments worldwide?

  128. Splatterbottom

    Mainly among those who think for themselves, buns.

  129. No, mainly among AGW-denying sheep.

  130. narcoticmusing

    I err on being skeptical of anything without a logical rationale and a basis I can consider for myself (albiet I respect the authority of those with expertise I do not). I think for myself and am willing to consider all views before drawing my own conclusion – if I don’t agree with you it doesn’t mean i haven’t thought for myself – quite the contrary.

    SB, you are entitled to your views but claiming people don’t think for themselves because they don’t agree with you is not only naive but an oxymoron as it suggests to think for oneself is to agree with you. I’d hope, in the name of thinking for yourself rather than accepting the skeptic view without question, you consider papers like the US National Academy of Science independent review. The 2006 report, ‘Surface temperature reconstructions for the last 2,000 years’, confirmed much of Mann’s conclusions and was conducted without any reference to Manns’ work or the IPCC due to the doubts on the IPCCs credibility at the time.

    Nawagadj – the Wegman report had its issues I agree, but its recommendtaions relating to what governments should consider/do before dipping into the public purse are relatively sensible. That being said, there have been independent studies that did not use Mann’s papers or methodolgy at all and still come up with the same overall conclusion, albeit with slightly different values. I would suggest this is the reason some, as SB point out, say the science is settled. As a person with a science background (albeit not in this field) I find statements like that inherently naive but at the same time an attempt to say ‘the evidence points to’ in a not so perfect way.

    I must again apologise for my stupid system here that is making me type blind – i try to pick up the typos but it is quite maddening.

  131. narcoticmusing

    On the other hand playing hide and seek with the data naturally enough leads to scepticism.

    I would argue that people who WERE given access to the information and purposefully disroted it and twisted it to suit the agenda of denying climate change, like Prof Plimer, are what leads to confusion and thus scepticism. It would also lead to people being quite protective of their data, once burned twice shy and all that.

  132. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, it’s not a case of once burned twice shy with Plimer. He wasn’t given access to any such information.

  133. “‘Gadj, my point is simple – this episode demonstrates the benefits of making data freely available. Methodological errors can be identified and corrected. It also enables greater confidence in the work. On the other hand playing hide and seek with the data naturally enough leads to scepticism.” – SB

    Repeatedly making the unsupported claim about ‘hide and seek’ with data, dos not make it true.

    Publication in the relevant journals, has been, and is the primary, and most productive method of making scientific progress.

    Mann, in fact, is a pretty good example of the two approaches.

    The scientific approach has taken Mann’s work and added to it – differeent data, new approaches, consolidating Mann’s innovations and adding to them. The result – Mann’s initial techniques improved, and his findings confirmed with the added strength of doing so with a different approach( far more important than the ‘skeptics’ obsession with repeatability).

    The other approach – still banging on about this old paper, saying the same things in the same way, crying ‘fraud’ etc, 13 years on. Contribution to progress and scientific understanding – NIL.

  134. narcoticmusing

    My understanding* of some of Plimer’s work was that he was given access to such data and combined it with data that was either not comparable (apples with oranges sort of thing) or with debunked data – he seemed to attempt multiple comparisons until he got the outcome he wanted – which is why reviews of his work are so scathing.

    *I could be wrong, I haven’t investigated Plimer’s data myself, only what he claims and what others have said of it in review.

  135. Splatterbottom

    Shorter ‘Gadj – “nothing to see here just hold your nose and walk on by.”

    I read your recycled talking points regularly on Deltoid and Stoat. Why not try thinking for yourself for a change? Next thing you’ll tell me there is nothing wrong with hiding the decline.

    I have to admit that it is unlikely I am going to get past the non-disclosure issue until people understand that it is in everyone’s interest to open up with the relevant information. Any prima donna that claims confidentiality should just be ignored.

    Narcotic, I’ve read Plimer and Enting’s critique (it seems to have disappeared from the internet, but see here if you want a jaundiced view of him). I don’t recall Plimer having published any papers on AGW, or him having any special access to information. He does comment a lot on papers of others in his book. Some of the criticisms of him were quite valid, but his book is interesting if only for of the less controversial stuff. He rehashes a lot of his earlier book attacking creationism. One of his worst mistakes was to adopt a nutjob interpretation of the internal mechanics of the sun. He also latched on to some bad work of others. I certainly wouldn’t rely on Plimer, but I enjoyed his book.

    Also Narcotic have you tried typing your comments on a word processor like Word or Open Office and then cutting and pasting into the comments field? You should be able to edit them before you copy them across to the reply field of the blog.

    Also this site has some tips on using bold and italics and blockquote in wordpress. You make a smile like this. 🙂

  136. SB,

    What is it exactly that you find so hard to understand about subsequent research demonstrating that Mann got it right?

    Though to be fair to you, I shouldn’t expect a sensible answer. In my experience, most of the ‘skeptics’ who babble on about Mann, have never even read the paper. They have no idea what it’s about (except, of course, that it’s a “FRAUD!!!” – quick SB, go and read it now, so you can say you have!)

    The many different analyses aren’t showing the same thing because there is a world-wide conspiracy, but because the data reflects the underlying physical reality of warming.

    You need to let go of the ‘non-disclosure’ furphy. All the major climate models have their data and code freely available. All the research is published, according to the relevant publications disclosure standards. The degree of accessibility to information is extremely high. Constant repitition that it isn’t, does not make reality go away.

  137. Splatterbottom

    Add Ross Guano to the ‘settled’ meme list:

    If everyone knows that the science is not settled, I wonder what the fuss is about?

    TONY JONES: “Well, I mean, in the past week, in fact on Monday, he told a community forum the science is not settled, it’s not proven that carbon dioxide is not quite the environmental villain that some people make it out to be.

    So, first of all, your response to those points.”

    GARNAUT: “Oh, well, he was on the ignorant side on Monday night”

  138. Splatterbottom

    Are you serious, ‘Gadj?

    Surely you remember the Yamal dendro controversy? The new spaghetti graphs have their defects too. Up until 1991 even the IPCC accepted MWP. Then the alarmists decided that it had to go. The Hockey Team sprang into action. Enter the discredited Hockey Stick and the highly questionable sons of HS.

    Then ‘hide the decline’ problem (which was really about hiding the divergence). No respectable scientist could support that methodology. Of course the alarmists did in droves, and you wonder why I’m sceptical about the whole charade?

    If you want to understand how peer review works in this field look at the way the flaws in Steig’s 2009 Nature paper on Antarctic warming were handled. O’Donnell pointed out the errors. Nature allowed Steig to be part of the review team which put the rebuttal through a tortuous review process in which Steig was a reviewer. Ultimately Nature agreed with the criticisms but then refused to publish the rebuttal on the ground that too much time had passed and it was no longer relevant. That’s real science in action isn’t it??? O’Donnell was eventually published in the ‘Journal of Climate’. You wonder why I am sceptical about peer review in this field? Supporting this view are the comments in the Climategate emails about making sure a paper didn’t get through peer review so it wouldn’t have to be included in the IPCC report, or the attempt to have a journal editor removed for publishing contrary papers. The editor was in fact removed.

    The Hockey team aren’t scientists so much as political activists. Unless this mess is cleaned up by some genuinely independent inquiry, I’m having none of it. My bullshit detector is red hot when it comes to the Hockey Team, just as it was when scientists assured us that nuclear reactors were so safe or that Swine flu was a serious threat which could kill millions. Scepticism is healthy and indeed necessary when the stakes are high.

  139. SB,

    So Abbott is your go-to-guy for a summary of the state of cliamte science?

    How not surprising that you’d pick an example of someone making a purely political statement. Naturally, Abbott was backpeddling all of 24 hrs later.

    There are some things that are just know are true – gravitational force, a heliocentric solar system…..and CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    If it offends you that people get called out for denying the reality of any of this……good.

  140. jordanrastrick

    SB, nuclear reactors are safe, compared to fossil fuels – as I believe I’ve said on another thread, deaths caused by nuclear per kWh of electricity produced are far lower (even ignoring climate change). Some people have lied about how safe reactors are, especially old ones like Chernobyl or Fukishima Daicii; just as some people have exaggerated the threat of climate change. That doesn’t change the actual facts.

    Swine flu was a serious threat. It turned out not to kill millions, but it was worth being concerned about given what we know of historical flu pandemics. Again, protecting yourself against a dangerous occurence that doesn’t eventuate isn’t a sign that you were wrong about the likelihood or servereity of the danger.

    Your bullshit detector sounds to me more like “no one who calls themselves an expert and disagrees with me can actually be right.”

  141. Splatterbottom

    Jordan it should sound like “I have an obligation to think for myself taking into account all relevant factors (including the expertise of proponents of particular views).

    My main concern about nuclear reactors is their capacity for proliferation, which is why I would consider other types of reactor. However, the earlier claims of safety underestimated the potential problems and demonstrated the excessive zeal of people like Titterton.

    The swine flu scare (and demands by scientists for extra funding) continued long after it became apparent that it was no more deadly than the common flu. I don’t begrudge the additional funding in that case as it was relatively trivial, but it does exemplify the capacity for scientists and the willing media to whip up hysterical fear campaigns.

  142. “Surely you remember the Yamal dendro controversy? The new spaghetti graphs have their defects too. Up until 1991 even the IPCC accepted MWP. Then the alarmists decided that it had to go. The Hockey Team sprang into action. Enter the discredited Hockey Stick and the highly questionable sons of HS…..” – SB

    Poor SB, into every half-baked idea going around. What about 9/11, it was an ‘inside job’ huh?

    Your list is a cornucopia of drivel, hogwash and bollocks, each one a smaller storm in a bigger teacup than the one before.

    Steig is the most recent and excellent example of the confusion and paranoia running amok through the ranks of the ‘skeptics’, with predictably dire results. It was, apparently, ‘corrupt’ that steig was a reviewer. BS. Completely normal pratice, no, good practice, in peer-reviewed science journals. Steig, from the onset, made it clear that the article was good and should be published. Mutliple reviews and rewrites are, again, perfectly normal in the peer-reviewed literature. Reviews are meant to be tough and crtiical, the idea being that the final product appearing in the journal is the best it can be.
    The ‘skeptics’ though were having a pink fit, and the stupidily ill-informed tirades were symbolic of everything wrong with the approach and the output of the purported skeptics.

    I think you might find that your bullshit detector is ‘red hot’ becuae you’re holding it around the wrong way – you’ve got it pointing at yourself!

  143. Splatterbottom

    Ah ‘Gadj at least your last comment was funny. As was the ‘cornucopia of drivel’ remark. Sadly the rest is somewhat lacking.

    Steig, from the onset, made it clear that the article was good and should be published.”

    Not quite. Steig engaged in a protracted back and forth arguing against O’Donnell in the review process. In the end he did agree with the editor and the “knuckleheaded reviewers” (his words). Then he had a mental breakdown going ballistic in blogophere despite his previously stated view against criticism of published papers on blogs, making him appear a tad hypocritical as well as a little unhinged.

  144. Again, a ‘skeptic’ bases their criticisms on near complete ignorance of the subject.

    This was a perfectly normal review process (except for one thing, which I’ll get to). The “back and forth” -that’s perfectly normal too. That is the review process!! It’s very common for multiple rewrites to be requested. Even the best scientists get critical reviews, have to rewrite their papers and get rejectected for publication. It happens to everyone!
    Steig’s first review was that the paper was worth publishing, once certain issues were addressed. Again, perfectly normal. That is a supportive review. Negative reviews say – this is crap, don’t bother.

    The tsunami of stupidity unleashed by the ‘skeptics’ over this is symptomatic of the supremecy of ignorant opinion over fact amongst ‘skeptics’, and completely drowns out whatever tiny and genuine contributions they may have to make to the science.

    And what was unusual in this process is that certain people wanted to publicly identify the, at the time, anonymous reviewer, even after the journal editor advised them that this was unethical.

    I think that’s a good overall summary of the ‘skeptics’ conduct – unethical.

  145. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj overall the episode demonstrated:

    1. Steig used an inferior technique that suited the alarmist agenda.

    2. Nature didn’t publish the correction, claiming that it was no longer timely, after its reviewers dragged out the review process.

    3. Steig is completely crackers:

    After advising O’Donnell in his review comments:

    Perhaps, as the authors suggest, kgnd should not be used at all, but the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead.

    He then said:

    I did not, repeat not, repeat not, forget “that this amounted to his own insistence on iridge as a reviewer.” I did NOT recommend iridge in the first place. I did NOT bring it up. I SIMPLY DID NOT THINK I COULD ARGUE WITH THE EDITOR OR THE KNUCKLE-HEADED REVIEWERS that is should not be used.

  146. narcoticmusing

    “Also this site has some tips on using bold and italics and blockquote in wordpress.”

    SB, are you suggesting my super suave no format format is not high tech enough for this lofty forum? 😉

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