The Carbon Thread

massrock

Well-known member
Don't many approach this from a pragmatic risk assessment angle anyway? (sure this has been well covered in this thread already...)

That is, what's preferable:

If we do nothing and it turns out to be true.

If we do stuff / stop doing stuff and it turns out to be false.

Also I think a general application of the understanding that our actions have an effect on the environment is a good thing to have either way. Global warming isn't the only issue.
 

vimothy

yurp
The problem with economics, as with all the social sciences, is that controlled experiments are not easy. For instance, Japan is in the news a lot recently. While it endured its "lost decade" (more like two decades) Japan ran huge deficits and held interest rates down over prolonged periods. What is the relation between Japan's economic performance and its macroeconomic policy? A lot of people will tell you a lot of things about Japan. For instance, some people will tell you that the Bank of Japan got the response that it wanted, meaning it ran a tight monetary policy to prevent inflation. Others that the Japanese government caused deflation because it ran easy money and deficit spent. Or that the Japanese government actually prevented a worse contraction by keeping money loose and deficit spending. Obviously, you could think of a lot of other ways to explain the correlation between Japan's economic performance and its low rates and deficit spending regime.

The stakes are pretty high, no? With something like this, I think its very hard not to have a gut reaction. And rightly so, perhaps. But to answer this question we would need to run the following experiment:

Japan--no spending, high rates
Japan--no spending, low rates
Japan--deficit spending, high rates
Japan--deficit spending, low rates

Holding everything else constant. Since we don't have access to any spare parallel universes, we are left with models. Incredibly complicated, enormous, CPU destroying multi-sectoral models of the economy. And, yes, quelle suprise, different models give different results, depending on the assumptions made when building the model. And note that although all our hypotheses can be wrong, they can't all be right. A great help, eh!
 

vimothy

yurp
Hmm, maybe something to do with clams causing misunderstanding.

You said:

Well, it seems to me that judgement may be employed in forming a hypothesis. so judgement is not incompatible with scientific method. So i said that when you say 'scientific method' there you seem really to intend to say 'proof'...

Yes, this may be becoming a bit semantic here (?) but I mean that making a judgement based on your gut feeling or intuition (or anything) is not science and being able to point to a correlation is not science either. (By science I just mean hypothesis testing with controlled repeatable experiments, etc, etc). Not that I'm accusing you of that. At least, I don't think so. These threads
get knotty! Now, where are we...?

..or 'result', although you can have a result without proof. a result may be inconclusive.

Yes

Incidentally where is this 'your' directed? What I'm saying is that this is the reasoning, i.e. it's not simply that there is a correlation in the graphs.

Sorry, that's not aimed at you! I mean "you" rhetorically. Maybe I should have said "one", eh wot!

Who is it who are mistaking '[their] hypothesis for result'? Although now you seem to be about to not say that.

Paleoclimatologists in this instance. Climate scientists in general. But I was being a little glib.
 

vimothy

yurp
Don't many approach this from a pragmatic risk assessment angle anyway? (sure this has been well covered in this thread already...)

That is, what's preferable:

If we do nothing and it turns out to be true.

If we do stuff / stop doing stuff and it turns out to be false.

Also I think a general application of the understanding that our actions have an effect on the environment is a good thing to have either way. Global warming isn't the only issue.

Agree with your final two sentences, absolutely.

I think the proper way to think about the possible scenarios is more like this:

Do nothing, make things worse
Do something, make things worse
Do nothing, make things better
Do something, make things better

How do you pick between these?
 

vimothy

yurp
basically, Vim (and do stop me if i'm being a bit bold w my necessarily broad brush strokes, Vim :D ) was painted as a Hayekian when he first came on this board, more or less (whether that was fair or otherwise is moot for the purposes of this post).

from the bits of his blog i can understand, of late he has turned more to Keynes.

Nowadays, we take a little of both ;)
 
D

droid

Guest
All of this could be said of DSGE models you know.

No it couldn't. DSGE models are not based on fundamental physical laws. There are ultimately based on microeconomic principles which are in turn based on models of human behaviour.
 

vimothy

yurp
No it couldn't. DSGE models are not based on fundamental physical laws.

Of course they are based on fundamental physical laws. Every physical process in the universe obeys the Laws of Thermodynamics--economics is no different to climate science in this respect. What we are talking about in both cases is modelling the behaviour of highly complex dynamic systems.

For instance, the climate contains many coupled oscillating subsystems, like the ENSOs, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO, discovered twelve years ago), the North Atlantic Oscillation, etc, etc. The climate also includes atmospheric winds, the atmosphere itself, and on and on, and all these subsystems are exchanging energy between themselves, between themselves and the sea, the ice caps, changing the temperature of any of the systems without any external cause. Before humans started producing CO2, the climate of the planet changed all of its own accord. Pretty crazy, huh?

My point is that you are massively overestimating the power of these models. I don’t know why that is, but you are. Look again at the IPCC’s graph.


figure1.jpg


You posted some kind of corporate brochure from these GCM guys and it says that the models are not statistical fits, they are micro and meso founded models of the climate. Sure, just like DSGE models. And, just like DSGE models, GCMs tie down parameters in their micro and meso foundations (so-called “deep parameters” in the DSGE lit) by fitting (or calibrating) to historical data or proxies thereof. Of course, these models are hugely complicated. But, on average, all of the noise from the complex positive and negative feedback effects and dynamic mediation cancels out to give a pretty linear response to nothing more than simple greenhouse forcing, for example as described in the basic greenhouse model I gave earlier:

Global Warming = 0.36 x (33°C) x [(Total Forcing) ÷ (Base Forcing)]​

Hugely complicated, yes, in principle. In practice, not so much.
 
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Mr BoShambles

jambiguous

There is only one way to describe the findings of the Muir-Russell review: Whitewash!

Read this -- The Cimategate Emails -- long but compelling. It presents many of the leaked CRU emails, in chronological order, with a supplementary commentary.

"Climategate has shattered [a] myth. It gives us a peephole into the work of the scientists investigating arguably the most important issue ever to face mankind. Instead of seeing large collaborations of meticulous, careful, critical scientists, we instead see a small team of incompetent scientists; abusing almost every aspect of the framework of science to build a fence around themselves and their fellow activists, to prevent real scientists from seeing the shambles of their “research”. Most people find it impossible to believe that this could have happened; and it is only because “climate science” exploded from a relatively tiny corner of academia into a hugely funded industry in a matter of a few years that the perpetrators were able to get away with it for so long."

The thought that so much Government policy is based on the flawed work of these corrupted and self-serving "scientists" is alarming.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
"Climategate has shattered [a] myth. It gives us a peephole into the work of the scientists investigating arguably the most important issue ever to face mankind. Instead of seeing large collaborations of meticulous, careful, critical scientists, we instead see a small team of incompetent scientists; abusing almost every aspect of the framework of science to build a fence around themselves and their fellow activists, to prevent real scientists from seeing the shambles of their “research”. Most people find it impossible to believe that this could have happened; and it is only because “climate science” exploded from a relatively tiny corner of academia into a hugely funded industry in a matter of a few years that the perpetrators were able to get away with it for so long."

Yeah, obviously the almighty climate-science community commands wealth and power beyond the wildest dreams of the impoverished fossil-fuels lobby... :rolleyes:

That PDF document is published by the Lavoisier Group. A few seconds' browsing turned this up:

The Lavoisier Group continues to hold annual conferences, and the group has promoted a variety of theories contradicting the mainstream scientific positions on global warming, including the arguments of retired judge, amateur climatologist and astrologer Theodor Landscheidt, whose work on solar cycles was used to argue that observed warming is based on solar cycles, and hence is not anthropogenic and will soon be reversed.

Blaming climate change on solar cycles won't wash because these cycles are about 11 years in length but recent climate change has seen a decade-on-decade increase in average temperatures.
 

Mr BoShambles

jambiguous
That PDF document is published by the Lavoisier Group.

It wasn't the Lavoisier Group who wrote those emails now was it! Have you actually read them T?

Blaming climate change on solar cycles won't wash because these cycles are about 11 years in length but recent climate change has seen a decade-on-decade increase in average temperatures.

Apart from the last decade eh -- global cooling since 1998/99 right?
 

Mr BoShambles

jambiguous
Erm... :eek: so it was!

Strange that Mick Kelly - climatologist at the CRU - sent an email (pg. 126) in Oct of 2008 discussing the:

"possibility that we might be going through a longer—10-year—period of relatively stable temperatures beyond what you might expect from La Nina, etc."

Not sure what's going on there.
 

vimothy

yurp
That PDF document is published by the Lavoisier Group. A few seconds' browsing turned this up…

Blaming climate change on solar cycles won't wash because these cycles are about 11 years in length but recent climate change has seen a decade-on-decade increase in average temperatures.

So far we have heard from authority—that voice of wisdom, the academic consensus, which is infallible, yea, like the Pope.

Then the argument that predicting the climate is possible, and since it is possible, it has actually happened.

Now, the argument tu quoque, eh? ‘Twas ever thus.

The Lavoisier Group could be screaming Nazi Satanist paedophiles and it wouldn’t make the activities of the “Hockey Team” any more palatable.

Of course, the full irony of your implication is only available to you if you have actually read the emails.

Yeah, obviously the almighty climate-science community commands wealth and power beyond the wildest dreams of the impoverished fossil-fuels lobby... :rolleyes:

I’ve noticed a funny thing about the awesome power of the fossil-fuels lobby—it doesn’t seem to be very effective. In fact, one needs only to link a critic of the global warming lobby to it to totally discredit them in the eyes of all right thinking people. Furthermore, they don’t actually seem to be winning, do they?

Not that the environmentalists have received any money from oil companies. Okay, okay, so maybe they have received money from oil companies, but the environmentalists are morally superior in any case, so the fact that they take the oil men’s’ coin makes them not corrupt but clever. At least, it’s certainly no reflection on their character.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
God, that's a 180-page document...I might have a look at it at some point. Even then, it has to be borne in mind that these emails have been cherry-picked from years of correspondence, right?

It's interesting that you seem to think the enviros are "winning" because the GW sceptics get bashed in the media and public opinion is against them. Thing is, public opinion means jack shit in terms of fossill fuel use and GHG emissions if it isn't reflected in government policy, doesn't it? If everything is so rosy for mainstream climate scientists, how come we're all burning FFs like never before?

Edit: MrB, "stable" doesn't preclude "hot", does it?
 
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
all respect as always, but that's some shoddy work man. it's one thing to question the CC models - fair enough - but some of this other stuff, I mean...

I’ve noticed a funny thing about the awesome power of the fossil-fuels lobby—it doesn’t seem to be very effective. In fact, one needs only to link a critic of the global warming lobby to it to totally discredit them in the eyes of all right thinking people. Furthermore, they don’t actually seem to be winning, do they?

yes, the fossil fuels lobby is so ineffective that the United States still hasn't passed - and likely won't - any kind of major energy reform bill, so ineffective that up to the BP spill even a (relatively) liberal Dem president was calling for more off-shore drilling, so ineffective that fossil fuels still account for the ENORMOUS MAJORITY of energy use. meanwhile, their opponents have gotten, a scratchy patchwork of solar & wind subsidies, and um, the lameduck Kyoto Protocols, and...and...but BP and Shell have full-page ads in magazines about how much they care about the environment so I guess everything's cool yunno?

I could go on about the way in which coal, oil, etc lobbies & their pr firms go on about setting up invidious front-group climate "think tanks" and the like to foster a false sense of debate (tho, granted, not all scientists who question CC are in someone's pocket. just a whole bunch of them), but I won't.

Not that the environmentalists have received any money from oil companies...

first off, don't lump all "the environmentalists" in together. if I was to make a blanket statement referring to "the economists" as a single group you'd rightly jump all over it for being ridiculous, no? second, there are many, many environmentalists who've never taken a red cent from oil etc and never will, so you can get down off that high horse pretty quick, bro. actually, which "environmentalists" are you referring to, and in what context? come on, then.
 

vimothy

yurp
God, that's a 180-page document...I might have a look at it at some point. Even then, it has to be borne in mind that these emails have been cherry-picked from years of correspondence, right?

I do not think it is possible to discuss they content of the emails until you have read them.

I do not know if the emails were “cherry picked” (though as D'Arrigo observed to the NAS panel, “you have to pick cherries if you want to make cherry pie” (!!!)), but I submit that if they were, there is going to have to be some pretty astounding context missing if it is to throw some positive light on these guys. Again, you really need to read the emails to properly appreciate this.

Most of that doc is ignorable at no great loss. The context provided is helpful, and the author’s tone is appropriate, but since the scale of abuse is so large, eventually his interjections become monotonous, until they finally blur out into a drone of generic disapproval. Blah, blah, blah—these are bad, untrustworthy guys and this is an abuse of scientific method and the peer-review process. We geddit—it’s obvious just from reading the emails. So read ‘em.

It's interesting that you seem to think the enviros are "winning" because the GW sceptics get bashed in the media and public opinion is against them. Thing is, public opinion means jack shit in terms of fossill fuel use and GHG emissions if it isn't reflected in government policy, doesn't it? If everything is so rosy for mainstream climate scientists, how come we're all burning FFs like never before?

I think it’s quite obvious that the enviros are winning. Consider how the debate has moved forward since the ‘70s. Would you say that the green lobby or the oil lobby has made the most progress in that time? You’ve already basically agreed that it’s the green lobby. But what about policy? It’s not like these guys have been ignored by policy makers. And how would you influence policy anyway? You influence all the important people whose opinions count, and you wait for it to trickle down. I score all the points for the enviros so far.

And the amount of fossil-fuels we’re burning? The problem is that human society needs a lot of energy. It’s very difficult to replace fossil-fuels with anything else—but this isn’t because of anything the oil lobby has or hasn’t done.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Granted, the green lobby has made a lot of progress given that it has basically grown from nothing in the interval of a few decades. And it has had *some* effect on policy, such as emissions trading as you mention - but I'm really not sure how effective this is in reducing overall emissions, I mean it just means the big fossil fuel consumers pay for the right to pollute and carry on as normal, doesn't it? This is not a problem that can be tackled just by attaching a nominal levy to certain kinds of industrial activity.

If the green lobby is 'winning', how come America's CO2-equivalent emissions look like this:

trends-ghg-emissions_021307_092819.gif


?
 
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vimothy

yurp
Come on dude, deep breaths…

all respect as always, but that's some shoddy work man. it's one thing to question the CC models - fair enough - but some of this other stuff, I mean...

What other stuff? So far I’ve questioned the GCMs and nothing else. There are also some serious problems with paleoclimatology, namely, that you can hardly inductively prove AGW from stochastic time series, and that the guys at the top of this field are patently corrupt.

yes, the fossil fuels lobby is so ineffective that the United States still hasn't passed - and likely won't - any kind of major energy reform bill, so ineffective that up to the BP spill even a (relatively) liberal Dem president was calling for more off-shore drilling, so ineffective that fossil fuels still account for the ENORMOUS MAJORITY of energy use. meanwhile, their opponents have gotten, a scratchy patchwork of solar & wind subsidies, and um, the lameduck Kyoto Protocols, and...and...but BP and Shell have full-page ads in magazines about how much they care about the environment so I guess everything's cool yunno?

Again, when you look back over the last forty years, what do you see? The relentless march of the oil lobby, crushing all in its path and reducing the theory of man made global warming to a laughing stock, comparable to holocaust denial among the fashionable, clever and well off people who run the civil service, the newspapers, the universities, etc, etc? I’m not saying that Gavin Schmidt rules the world, you know.

That fossil fuels account for the majority for energy use doesn’t prove that the enviros were unsuccessful, or that they were unsuccessful. It just proves that replacing fossil fuels with something else is hard.

The fact that BP and Shell have full page ads about how much they care about the environment just means that they are not complete idiots and can at least tell which way the wind is blowing.

I could go on about the way in which coal, oil, etc lobbies & their pr firms go on about setting up invidious front-group climate "think tanks" and the like to foster a false sense of debate (tho, granted, not all scientists who question CC are in someone's pocket. just a whole bunch of them), but I won't.

Funny how you should say that and then in the next sentence say,

first off, don't lump all "the environmentalists" in together.

My bad! Though is we’re talking about two distinct groups occupying opposing sides of a debate, lumping together is unavoidable. But I digress..

second, there are many, many environmentalists who've never taken a red cent from oil etc and never will

Of course.

actually, which "environmentalists" are you referring to, and in what context?

You really ought to read the emails. Don’t you think that Shell is capable of giving money to some of the CRU crowd? I thought you were more Machiavellian than this.
 

vimothy

yurp
If the green lobby is 'winning', how come America's CO2-equivalent emissions look like this

Well, let me answer that by asking you—why do you assume that this represents the victory of the fossil fuel lobby? Are you basically saying that if there was no fossil fuel lobby, that the US would have already cut its emissions? Don’t you think that there may be a few more relevant factors explaining fossil fuel use than a lobby?
 
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