About That Anti-Climate Change Spike in the U.S.

On Sunday, a longish AP article appeared, with this headline:

The American ‘allergy’ to global warming: Why?

The reporter, Charles Hanley, takes stock of the hardening U.S. attitudes on climate change, including the sharp divergence between Democrats and Republicans. But Hanley seems to conflate the reasons for this state of affairs. Charlie Petit at The Tracker notices as well:

The story takes on a genuine and profound issue. It may not describe it quite correctly, however. The allergy term seems right enough. but is it one expressed by the American public overall, or primarily by elected officials? That is, the enormous surge of conservative lawmakers in Congress last year, and the deepening freeze in place on climate laws including a push by the next conservative batch of candidates to undo the ones we have, seems mainly to be a reflection of voter anger over a continuing rotten economy. The bums that got tossed were mostly Dems, and the Republicans who went in were heavily of Tea Party persuasion. Scoffing at climate science, along with  even more securely bedrock science such as evolution, is a trait of that lot. The GOP’s primaries,  heavily dominated by determined activists, compel candidates to court the Tea Party faithful. So a tail wags the dog. Yet public polls find Americans tend to say climate change is real, and a problem. Some of us have this allergy, but not most.

Second, to what degree does the USA stand out? One’s impression is that Australian and Canadian governments have somewhat similarly scaled down their intentions to curb carbon emissions, and perhaps one can include the UK. Globally, for reasons beyond this allergy, no carbon regs with teeth seem to be on the immediate agenda. I can cite no specific study but do feel that while the US stands out, it does not do so by much.

Seems about right to me.

73 Responses to “About That Anti-Climate Change Spike in the U.S.”

  1. Roddy Campbell says:

    Genuine question from a Brit: ‘hardening U.S. attitudes on climate change’.??
     
    hardening attitudes can best be observed by legislation and regulation actually changing – is there any evidence that these are being softened in the US from what they were before, or only softened against an imaginary counterfactual, say, Obama’s pre-election rhetoric?
     
    Again I recall the pre-Kyoto Congressional vote of 15 or so years ago which was pretty ‘hard’ – stating that the US would not ratify Kyoto unless the Chinese at al did so too.
     
    The UK has gone out on its own, as has the EU, but the policies will be purely redistributional (mainly of our jobs!) and will have zero impact on global emissions.

  2. JD Ohio says:

    The “allergy” described by the AP is simply rational opposition to impractical and utopian proposals to drastically limit CO2.  The plans to reduce CO2 are based on 3-rd science and grossly simplistic economic proposals.
     
    JD

  3. Keith Kloor says:

    Rational opposition? I don’t think there is anything rational about the extreme ends of this debate, and that includes the Tea Party faction that has forced otherwise rational-minded Republicans to renounce their previous positions on climate change. 

  4. jeffn says:

    “The bums that got tossed were mostly Dems, and the Republicans who went in were heavily of Tea Party persuasion. Scoffing at climate science, along with  even more securely bedrock science such as evolution, is a trait of that lot.”
    Yes, we all remember how evolution was a huge issue in the 2010 elections. And “climate science” too. By the way, how does one become so entirely enamored with their own certainty that they can consistently write essays like this- sure they threw all our guys out of office, “yet public polls find Americans tend to say climate change is real, and a problem.”
    Er, well, except the part of the public that votes. Or buys cars, or invests in energy companies, or has been asked if they support hiking energy taxes. But the “public” that attends the meetings of the sustainability collective, sure.  Shout “Tea Party” and be confident that you don’t have to examine your policies! Except nobody heard of the Tea Party before about 2009- which is still 21 years after James Hansen testified to Congress about global warming. Now, how did a public that is sold on global warming reject global warming policy for 21 years and then form the Tea Party? Could it be that the tactics, message and solutions have been less than effective? Nah.

  5. kdk33 says:

    But is it one expressed by the American public overall, or primarily by elected officials.

    Is there any reason to read beyond this. 

    The cognative dissonance is painful.

  6. NewYorkJ says:

    The original article makes the astute observation that emerging problems and consensus tends to harden attitudes and denialism. 

    Clive Hamilton: “The desire to disbelieve deepens as the scale of the threat grows”

    But I agree that it’s not entirely unique to the U.S., although it’s more prominent here.  Also, the term “threat” here has multiple meanings.  Denialists/alarmists see government action to reduce emissions as a profound threat to their freedoms/wallet/ideology, something one can observe at tea party rallies.  And as that threat is perceived to grow, so does the “desire to disbelieve”, as we saw in the U.S. when Obama was elected and the House passed the first cap and trade for greenhouse gases in history.

  7. JD Ohio says:

    KK#3  There is nothing rational about the extreme ends of the debate on either side.  Even if the climate science was first-rate (it is really 3-rd rate), the utopian solutions are non-starters.  The bulk of the increase opposition to CO2 restrictions comes from increasing recognition of the poor quality of the science as well as the incredible costs and political impossibility of reducing CO2 emissions by 95%.  The evolution argument is always throw out as a distraction to a structured, thorough debate on the merits of the science and the economics of CO2 reduction proposals.
    If you want to talk about extremists maybe you want to visit Hansen or Krugman.  (Those opposing CO2 restrictions are traitors.)
     
    JD

  8. jeffn says:

    NewYorkJ, this is called whistling past the graveyard. “The desire to disbelieve” would cut both ways, no?
    Is it not possible- just possible – that you have a “desire to disbelieve” the evidence regarding the effectiveness of policy and policy efforts over the past two decades?

  9. Keith Kloor says:

    JD, are you running for office? I notice that every comment just repeats the same thing. Doesn’t that get boring after a while?

  10. Jarmo says:

    ” Globally, for reasons beyond this allergy, no carbon regs with teeth seem to be on the immediate agenda.”

    All the reading I have done about energy has convinced me that the AGW crowd has one blind spot: the shared illusion that the only thing standing between them and a decarbonized world economy is the misinformation spread by Big Oil.

    Doing away fossil fuels is harder than they think. 

  11. JD Ohio says:

    #9  Maybe the reason I repeat my arguments is that you don’t refute them or address them and you continually come back to the same subjects.
     
    JD

  12. Keith Kloor says:

    There’s nothing to engage. Someone who continually disparages a whole science as third rate is not worth engaging. Better for you to seek engagement at WUWT. They like that kind of talk.

  13. Lewis Deane says:

    Keith,

    I think, the first thing to say, is your ‘taking note’ of  US domestic politics is really off point. The petty wranglings of Dem v Rep is that kind of hot air the ‘enviromnent’ does not need. First, because it will make no difference (and, if you know history, as much as I think you do, you should understand this) – what, a Geddes moment (I think that’s right, from Citizen Kane?!)? – the weight of government, now, is invested in their institutions, not in the ephemera of who is the President or who dominates the congress. Your (I’m supposing this for the sake of argument, so don’t take it personally!) naivety reminds me of, in my country, certain liberal libitarians who assumed that, if you changed the ‘home office’ (the ‘interior ministry’) they would change the laws for the better. Of course, every new minister, after having being ‘inducted’ (and shown a special dossier, I’m sure, which has some terrible this or that ‘threat’ to the country), became worse than the last, no matter how good their intentions. It also reminds me of poor old Mrs Clinton, during her husbands presidency, and her health reforms.
    Second, we are dealing with extremely profound historical forces here. Why all ‘Utopians’ and other ‘environmentalist’s plans fail is because they refuse the reality of history – at least, Marx (in the ‘original’) postponed his ‘paradise’ till after the collapse – and, even then, he said ‘Either communism or – barbarism’, leaving us a choice (unfortunately we got both!) – the point was, he saw that the historical forces must play themselves out – this was his great thought, his real contribution to ‘knowledge’.
    So, ‘politics’, in the narrow sense, even in a country as important (and it still is and always will be!) as the US, is just meaningless chatter – and growing emptier by the day. Keith, there is some hope in the future – but it will always be mankind getting himself out of a difficult fix by, ‘surprisingly’, creating wonders that the mind, and our imagination, cannot conceive! 

  14. JD Ohio says:

    #12 KK
    Happy to leave a blog whose purveyor doesn’t care about statistical ineptness, scientific intolerance, potential data destruction, or whitewashes of potential scientific misconduct.  Also, I would note that you have no concern about intellectual consistency.  You claim that I was repeating boring arguments and about 15 minutes later you recycle your 9/21 post from here and place it on the Yale Forum.

  15. Lewis Deane says:

    Keith, I think I commented on the wrong post but I sort of scrolled through and hit the first I thought was appropriate!  ‘Cause I’ve been thinking a lot about you (you’re a kind of ‘problem’ that I’ve been thinking about, a kind of archetype, if you like that!) so forgive the clumsiness, please!

  16. Jon P says:

    #14

    That’s because he gets paid for his posts at the Yale blog, hence the recent push to increase comments here to redirect them over there.

  17. Keith Kloor says:

    @14 & 16,

    Huh? You consider that recycled? Besides, bloggers aren’t entitled to build off/expand on previous posts?

    Anyway, me asking people to comment over there is a courtesy to Yale Forum. If a post appears on their site, I think it’s appropriate for the conversation to take place there.

    Additionally, while it’s nobody’s business how much I get paid for my writing, I can assure you that traffic is not a metric. (And does anybody have a problem with a writer getting paid for his work elsewhere?) I also don’t have a blogging style that drives an obscene amount of traffic, so nor would I want it to be a metric. 

  18. Lewis Deane says:

    Ignore them, Keith!

  19. Alexander Harvey says:

    “…have somewhat similarly scaled down their intentions to curb carbon emissions, and perhaps one can include the UK.”
     
    I am puzzled by this.
     
    For reasons that may not be entirely clear the UK government decided to move from intentions to a duty somewhile ago. As far as the UK is concerned, emission cuts are not a matter of policy but one of statute law. A particular type of legislation that is as close as they can get to constitutional strength..
     
    The UK Climate Change Act is something to die for, whichever way one looks at it.
     
    After the preamble the statute commences:
     
    “It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline.”
    It then proceeds to stipulate how this is to be achieved. The key words are “duty” and “ensure”, it is not a matter of choice.
     
    There is some wiggle room but not much so I am not sure how the act can be squared with any scaling down of intentions other than by a repeal of the Act.
     
    It can of course be repealed, but it will be a spectator sport.
     
    Alex

  20. jeffn says:

    “I also don’t have a blogging style that drives an obscene amount of traffic, so nor would I want it to be a metric. ”
    I think it’s great that you’re getting paid for writing- you’re a good writer and have a relevant POV. Do they/you want the kind of back and forth we see here or not so much? I doubt anyone measures by comment, but sometimes that sort of thing is sought and sometimes its more tolerated.

  21. Dean says:

    “I can cite no specific study but do feel that while the US stands out, it does not do so by much.”
     
    The difference seems pretty significant if you focus on the impact on politics. In none of those other countries is there a political party with an AGW position similar to the Republicans that is anything but at the far fringe. It isn’t specific to AGW either as there are plenty of other issues where Tea Party people go against well established knowledge.
     
    The example of Palin supporters trying to rewrite history on Wikipedia when she got something wrong is a perfect example of how they deal with facts that go against their ideology and is about as good an example of an ideologue as it comes.

  22. kdk33 says:

    It isn’t specific to AGW either as there are plenty of other issues where Tea Party people go against well established knowledge.

    Such as….?

    The tea party boogeyman seems to haunt the entire liberal establshment.  Which part of low taxes, limited government (much smaller than now), free markets, states rights, etc. goes against established knowledge.

    Please don’t appeal to evolution, that old saw is tired (and tiresome).

  23. Dean says:

    Why shouldn’t I mention evolution? Do they agree with it? I think it is tiresome to those who don’t want to be reminded what they are supporting.
     
    As to taxes, I looked around and found this list of the 10 most prosperous countries in the world. You don’t have to exactly agree with it, but how many are considered low tax?
     
    1 Vatican
    2 Sweden
    3 Luxembourg
    4 Monaco
    5 Gibraltar
    6 San Marino
    7 Liechtenstein
    8 UK
    9 Netherlands
    10 Ireland 
     
    I then looked up countries with no income tax. Here is some that I found:
     
    Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Aruba, Bahamas, Brunei, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, China, Colombia.
     
    I stopped after the Cs. I think you get the idea. A single-minded focus on small government and low taxes goes against facts if you want a nice place to live. If I had the time, I would look up government as a percentage of GDP, and wouldn’t be surprised if many of those prosperous countries were high in that list.
     
    You do need (reasonably) good government to be prosperous. Large government and taxes won’t get a country far without that. But the facts indicate that the focus needs to be on how well government does things, not it’s size. In Europe, the countries that tend to have the healthiest and most dynamic economies also have the largest percentage of GDP in government.

  24. kdk33 says:

    The vatican?  Are you serious?

    Look at your top 10 list again.  Then consider this:  But the facts indicate that the focus needs to be on how well government does things, not it’s size.

    With all due respect, I can’t take your top 10 list any more seriously than your appeals to evolution. 

    Methinks you also suffer Tea Party syndrome.

  25. kdk33 says:

    Ireland?

  26. Tom C says:

    kdk33 –

    But you have to admit the Tea Party is racist.  That’s why they are enthused about Herman Cain…um. oh, never mind.

  27. Eric Adler says:

    JD Ohio @2
    The source of opposition is not rational, it is motivated reasoning, where people who argue against the science ignore research results which show that AGW is really happening, and select many unscientific arguments against global warming. They do this because to believe the arguments would be painful.
    The reasons for the US allergy to to the theory of AGW are pretty clear. Per capita emission of CO2 in the US are 17 tons per year, versus 8 to 11 for Europe. The suburban lifestyle that pervades much of the US, with reliance on the automobile and single family homes is the reason. So lifestyle changes associated with reductions in emissions are much bigger in the US than Europe. In addition the ideology of individualism, and free enterprise, which opposes government regulation, is more pervasive in the US than in Europe. The best way to remain comfortable is to deny the science.
    Further evidence that it is not the understanding of science which motivates the opposition, is that people are still offering  arguments  against the theory of AGW which are clearly ridiculous based on the known science:
    *Temperature change has stopped since 2000.
    * The concentration of CO2 is too small to do anything.
    * Water vapor is the most important GHG
    * The temperature record is totally unreliable.
    * Climate is always changing.
    * Warming is due to Cosmic Rays.
    Finally when all else fails they argue that Climate Scientists are getting the results which show AGW is happening,  because it brings in more grant money.
     

  28. kdk33 says:

    “they argue that Climate Scientists are getting the results which show AGW is happening,  because it brings in more grant money”

    Motivated reasoning works both ways.

    Perhaps it is a simple cost-benefit analysis:  the uncertain cost of AGW versus the certain costs of decarbonization (setting aside, of course, the significant – insurmountable even – decarbonization political risks, a slightly different topic).

    And anyone who disagrees with me is irrational. 

  29. JD Ohio says:

    Adler  “The source of opposition is not rational, it is motivated reasoning, where people who argue against the science ignore research results which show that AGW is really happening, and select many unscientific arguments against global warming. They do this because to believe the arguments would be painful.”

    Your detailed post and fairly reasoned argument is one of the reasons that I sometimes post here.  However, my response here will be shorter than normal for reasons that will become apparent.  I agree that some people oppose the science because it is inconvenient.  My very brief post above over-simplified my argument.  However,  there are rational reasons to ignore the Hansenite science because of confirmation bias and the thorough manipulation of peer-review that the Hansen branch of climate science has been able to obtain.  (See how ridiculously quick Dessler’s repost to Spencer was approved as compared to contrarian research.)  Additionally, there were the whitewashes of the strong evidence of misbehavior at CRU.  (Oxburgh, for instance, did not even seek evidence from those with issues with the CRU.)

    The big error made by the AGW proponents is to ignore the long history of the failure of nearly all social engineering endeavors (See Prohibition ) as well as the failure of utopian endeavors.  (See treaty in about 1930 outlawing war.)  AGWers don’t even address these issues, much less seriously examine them.  They, like Hansen, assume that if CO2 will cause changes that there is a workable solution to the problem.  Most history would say that is not the case.  Also, AGWers fail to seriously address the issue of technological change and how different the world will be 100 years from now, and how difficult it is now to enact measures that will have the desired effect 100 years from now.

    Out of respect to you I answered your post in a comparatively condensed manner.

    Personally, I have had it with KK & his snark and unwillingness to address serious issues. (Particularly, what amounts to his religious faith in the accuracy of climate science as practiced by Hansen, Mann… ) So I would ask him from here on out to ban me or moderate me, so that both he and I don’t waste our time dealing with each other, and I am not tempted to post in response to commenters.  Won’t bother being here again.
    JD

  30. Keith Kloor says:

    Too funny! Show some discipline, JD. I’m sure you can muster up the willpower to avoid clicking on the blog in the first place.

  31. Jon P says:

    And Lefty Kloor loses another. Still no articles about Democrats and the stupid stuff they say, protecting the team, from Mr. “Balanced” journalist?
    I’m out to, this is now just another Open Mind or Deltoid site complete with the lefty echo chamber and the dogpiles on those that dare disagree.
     
    l8
     
     

  32. Eric Adler says:

    JD Ohio,
    The fact that Hansen gets published is because he is a good scientist. The same with Dessler.
    Spencer’s work is so flawed he couldn’t get it published in a real climate journal, and the editor of the new journal that published his work, realized he had made a serious mistake and resigned. Spencer has been claiming that clouds are a driving force in the evolution of climate. Since clouds are such a short term phenomenon, popping up and disappearing in a matter of hours or days , there is no possibility that clouds are anything other than a reaction to other more lasting drivers of climate. the problem is not corrupt peer review as you claim,  without proof. Spencer is having trouble; and Dessler is passing peer review; because Spencer’s science and methodology is incorrect; and Dessler’s is good.
    As the article linked by Keith in his opening post points out, one of the tactics of the politically driven opposition to AGW is nit picking. The work on ClimateGate is an example of how to misinterpret mined quotes to rile up the denier blogosphere. All of the official investigations have concluded that there was no real misconduct on the part of those accused. 
    The topic of the article was how the scientific opposition is based on politics, economics and ideology. In the last part of your post, you have validated the correctness of the article. You are objecting to the science because of the economic and political implications. 
     

  33. kdk33 says:

    The work on ClimateGate is an example of how to misinterpret mined quotes to rile up the denier blogosphere.

    A trick.  To hide.  The decline.  

    “When I use words, they mean what I choose”, said Humpty.

    “The question”, asked Alice, “is can you make words mean so many different things ”

    “The question”, said Humpty, “is which is to be master, that’s all”.

  34. NewYorkJ says:

    JD Ohio: Out of respect to you I answered your post in a comparatively condensed manner.

    To save everyone time, I’ve condensed JD’s argument.

    JD Ohio: Hansenite science…confirmation bias…thorough manipulation…whitewashes…misbehavior…big error…AGW proponents…social engineering…utopian endeavors…AGWers…KK & his snark…religious faith…practiced by Hansen, Mann

    Further condensed: blah blah blah

  35. Tom Fuller says:

    Come let us reason together. Our host is not as he is described by JD Ohio. However, he also neglects nuance in his characterization of several people here and other recent posts, and Keith should be a bit gentler with skeptics here. 

    New YorkJ’s final three words in #34 describe his own output perfectly, but I should be more gentle with Manniacs, so strike that. Eric Adler seems new to the game and has some catching up to do. Jon P seems to have a real chip on his shoulder, which he could profit from by discarding. 

    Let’s talk about the weather–umm, no. Horse races? 

  36. kdk33 says:

    Oh great Tom, just go and spoil all the fun.  Just when it was gettin’ interesting.

  37. NewYorkJ says:

    To be honest, the condensed versions of JD’s argument are also similar to the description of Tom Fuller’s book and various writings, which have similar personal pretentions as his rants here.  By no means should JD be singled out here as being well over the edge.

  38. Tom Fuller says:

    NewYorkJ, you have a chance to prove that you are not a prevaricating or prejuvenile prehensile presimian: Just let me know when you read the book you are criticizing.

  39. harrywr2 says:

    @kdk33,
    <i>Perhaps it is a simple cost-benefit analysis:  the uncertain cost of AGW versus the certain costs of decarbonization</i>
    The costs of decarbonization are far from certain. All the reports are  laced with ‘if solar panel prices continue to decrease’ or ‘as potential decreases in energy storage costs are realized’.
    In the face of two opposing uncertainties a quite rational action is to do nothing.
     
     

  40. NewYorkJ says:

    harrywr2: The costs of decarbonization are far from certain.

    This is true, but uncertainty swings both ways.  Some optimistic estimates yield a net economic benefit, independent of the environmental climate change mitigation benefits.  I’ve not seen any valid estimates (those from ideological “think tanks” don’t qualify) that suggest the costs of mainstream proposals on the table are prohibitive.  For a good reading on the science and policy, I recommend this book by Richard Alley (also a Republican!) where he puts the cost in context to other endeavors.

    http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Operators-Richard-B-Alley/dp/0393081095

    In the face of two opposing uncertainties a quite rational action is to do nothing.

    Not at all.  In simple terms, let’s say the mean estimate for the marginal cost of a problem taking a business-as-usual approach is 6 (range 3 to 20).  The mean net cost of addressing it is 2 (range -2 to 6).  The rational approach would be to address the problem.  Then one has to consider the small chance of something very catastrophic happening (the reason for the high end of the first range).  Best to minimize that risk.  It would not be rational to do nothing.

    TF, you are only proving to be an insatiable troll, but we already knew that.

  41. Tom Fuller says:

    Umm, NewYorkJ, can we assume that the fact that you slam things you haven’t read basically means you make everything up? Feel free to clarify…

  42. NewYorkJ says:

    TF,

    You might work on your reading comprehension.  From #37, you might note I was referring to “description of Tom Fuller’s book and various writings, which have similar personal pretentions as his rants here” all 3 of which I’ve read enough of.  Since one can logically presume your book follows from your various “ClimateGate” nonsense spouted here and elsewhere, all of which you’ve displayed and has been exposed ad nauseum,

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/06/how_to_figure_out_what_the_sto.php

    one can conclude your book is suitable only for the recycling bin, and that the cost (time and perhaps money) of reading such a book clearly exceeds any benefits (some actual knowledge gained).

    But as much as you might like it to be, this thread isn’t about you or your various preachings.  So I’ll rest my case on the subject.  Toodles.

  43. kdk33 says:

    Last week Fuller claimed a 10 year increase in life expectancy due to universal health care.  I wasn’t sure anyone would ever top that whopper.  Boy was I wrong. 

    NYJ:  Some optimistic estimates yield a net economic benefit

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!

    ps.  Tom, I liked your #38, that thing you did with the P’s, there’s a word for it that I’ve forgotten – I didn’t go to J-school.   🙂

  44. Eric Adler says:

    KDK33 @28

    “”they argue that Climate Scientists are getting the results which show AGW is happening,  because it brings in more grant money”
    Motivated reasoning works both ways.”
    Only if there is evidence. It is pretty clear that the opposition to the scientific theory of AGW is coming from political motivation. The incentives are real for conservatives, and actually history shows the opposition originated from think tanks funded by corporations and individuals opposed to regulation.
    Their is no real evidence that scientists are paid better if they get results that prove AGW is real. The theory that GHG’s make the earth warmer by reducing the outflow of infra red radiation is 162 years old. The realization that burning fossil fuels would produce global warming is 116 years old. The exact way in which the CO2, combined with water vapor,  and the reduction in temperature with height affects the global temperature was first calculated by Gilbert Plass in 1956 using a one dimensional model.  He got a value of 3C for a doubling of CO2 concentation. In the mid ’70’s 3 dimensional modeling of the entire earth showed the same results. As models became more and more sophisticated  3C due to doubling remained the nominal figure for doubling of CO2. This work was driven by scientific curiosity.
    The opposition originated from conservative think tanks ideologically opposed to regulation, first with the Marshall Institute, and spreading to other right wing organizations, like Heritage, Cato, Heartland SPPI etc., and was motivated by politics.
     

  45. kdk33 says:

    Eric #44,

    Wow.  You’re approaching Fuller & NUJ territory.  I’m not sure this warrants a serious response. 

    The US has spent billions on climate research, billions on subsidies for alternative energy (eg Soylenta), billions on renewables (ADM’s business model relies on these ).  Academics need tenure, which means publications and research funding and AGW is where it’s at.

    Also, you so blithely attribute evil motives to “conservative think tanks” and others which whom you disagree.  Are you clairvoyant?  And everyone on your side is altruistic and benevolent, no doubt.

    Yes, Eric, there really is a research funding feedback loop.  No, Eric,you really should stop attributing motives to others which you have no power to divine.

    With all due respect, of course. 

    You guys are fun.  :-).

  46. Eric Adler says:

    KDK33 @ 45,
    However much money has been spent on research, you have presented no evidence that scientists are paid to take a particular position on the theory of AGW when they do their research.  In fact there are skeptics like Spencer, Christy, Lindzen Scaffetta , West, and others who have well paid jobs at Universities, and have or have had NASA contracts. The 152 year old history of the science provides a solid basis for the overwhelming majority of climate scientists to accept the theory of AGW, as I pointed out in my previous post.
    On the other hand, we know that there are conservative think tanks, who oppose governmental regulation and want free market solutions to everything,  have paid skeptical scientists to take  positions opposed to  AGW, harm of cigarett smoke etc.  They have never employed anyone who accepts AGW. These are facts. It doesn’t require “clairvoyance” to find this out and figure out motives. It is all public.
     

  47. kdk33 says:

    Eric,

    If you would like to believe there is no fincancial incentive for scientists – academics in particular – to conform the CAGW dogma, feel free.  If you don’t think cronie capitalism is at play in the green energy areana, feel free.  I won’t respond to this silliness beyond this post.

    In addition to straight up research funding and govenment subsidies for “green, renewable stuff”.  There’s another funding stream: private companies, faced with the spector of CO2 limits, have to cover all possiblities, and they are routing research funds to academics that would otherwise not happen.  That’s a simple fact.

  48. NewYorkJ says:

    kdk33 (#43),

    It’s a factual statement.  What’s not factual are your implications of a great conspiracy among scientists in #45 and #47 to “conform to the AGW dogma”.  That’s as funny and inane as anything TF and JD Ohio have written.  Lindzen, Pielke, and other skeptic-types. have received millions in government grants, more than your average scientist.  As far as I can tell, they haven’t had to conform to “AGW dogma”.

    But your argument is compelling.  For that reason, I might as well start smoking, since those government scientists who conclude it’s harmful can’t be trusted, as they have a financial incentive to conform to “SIH (smoking is harmful) dogma”.

  49. harrywr2 says:

    NewYorkJ Says:
    September 28th, 2011 at 8:20 pm


     <i>Some optimistic estimates yield a net economic benefit, independent of the environmental climate change mitigation benefits.</i>
    And other estimates show the developed world descending into third world status.
    Scenarios and estimates aren’t facts, they are opinions.
    The US Electric Utility industry is owned by pension plans. People who answer to Pension Plan fund managers don’t get ‘bonus points’ for taking high risk decisions.
     
     

  50. kdk33 says:

    NYJ:  What’s not factual are your implications of a great conspiracy

    You are putting words in my mouth then arguing with your words that you put in my mouth.

    Whatever dude.

  51. NewYorkJ says:

    And other estimates show the developed world descending into third world status

    Sky is falling!  Source, please.

     People who answer to Pension Plan fund managers don’t get “˜bonus points’ for taking high risk decisions.

    This is why business-as-usual isn’t advisable.

  52. Tom Fuller says:

    kdk33 that’s his standard practice.

  53. NewYorkJ says:

    Re #50,

    Nice dodge, conspiracy dude.  When you have a response to #48, #46, etc., one actually supported with evidence and careful reasoning, let us know.  Else, back to the troll bridge you go.

  54. kdk33 says:

    Tom,

    On this we can agree.  I’m putting him in my Steven Sullivan box.

  55. Eric Adler says:

    KDK33,
    @47
    I think you are confused. There is a difference between funding green alternatives, and the science of climatology. Your conspiracy theory doesn’t hold up.
    As I and others have mentioned above, the few climatologists who reject AGW are still funded to do their research. You haven’t shown that there is any incentive for climatologists to favor the theory of AGW because of grant money incentives.  A lot of people would be happy to see AGW actually proven wrong, and any scientist who definitively shows this would get fame and fortune.  Unfortunately those who try have failed to convince many scientists who know their stuff.

  56. Tom Fuller says:

    Eric, please keep reading. You will be fine and an excellent commenter quite soon. But you have some catching up to do. You’re sort of rediscovering what we’ve been fighting about for a couple of years. Hang in there!

  57. kdk33 says:

    Eric,

    We can have a rational discussion only if you stop with the conspiracy theory strawman.  I never claimed a conspiracy – those are your words and NYJ’s words.

    Let me illustrate in simple terms:

    In my town there are two groceries: bobs and teds.  The ladies at the baptist church are very upset with bob.  they get together with all of their other lady friends and agreed to punish bob by not shopping at his store.  they got together, planned, and acted in concert to achieve a desired goal.  This is a conspiracy.  (Eventually, bob made a large donation to the baptist prayer gardsen fund and all was forgiven.)

    Later, ted found a distressed source for paper goods – paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, etc.  He advertised “paper goods 1/2 off”.  The ladies in town all went to teds to get paper goods, and since they were there, and since other prices were comparable, they all started shopping at teds.  bob was punished, but this is not a conspiracy Each lady acted individually to advance her own interests (ie, save money).

    Now, read that two or three times so that we are clear on what is and what is not a conspiracy.

  58. kdk33 says:

    Now,

    Evidence that government funding influences bahavior:  soylenta, corn ethanol, the price of a college education.

    The funding feedback loop works like this:  academics learn that funding agencies are keen on climate change, so they work a climate change angle into all of their proposals.  Researchers that get the desired (consensus) results (after all, it is those consensus scientists reveiwing their proposals) find it easier to get more funding, others not so much.  Moreover, researchers find consensus conforming results easier to publish (get past the gate keepers).  Npnconforming results, not so much.  Academics need tenure so need publications and funding and to be on good terms with the senior people in their department.

    So, academics (who are people just like everybody else) tend to act in their own best interests, and the consensus grows.  Those that go against the grain find it tough sledding and many move on.  A few stick it out.  But it isn’t a level playing field.

    Now, none of this refutes the findings of climate science.  It’s just an honest appraisal of how (flawed) humans behave, and rational people take this into account when they are told of the “consensus”. 

    To pretend it doesn’t exist is tantamount to putting your fingers in your ears and yelling “na na na, i can’t hear you”.

  59. NewYorkJ says:

    Call your conspiracy claim want you want, kdk (honestly, “theory” is too nice of a word since it implies there’s at least some supporting evidence).  You are suggesting that most scientists are independently engaging in scientific misconduct to support “AGW dogma”, and that funding is conditional on such support.  You have presented no evidence for this, and have in fact ignored evidence to the contrary (#45, #47).  The absurdity of the argument becomes even more apparent when applying it to academic and government research on the health-effects of smoking. 

    Lastly, going against the consensus is rewarding, both in fortune (note Lindzen’s $2K daily take from Exxon years ago, associations with industry-funded right-wing think tanks) and fame.  Going against the consensus on issues like climate change can turn a dull career, where you blend in with the crowd, into one where you are propped up as Galileo among a wide audience and given new speaking engagements across the country.  And last I checked, Lindzen still has his MIT job and Pielke Sr. his millions in government grants.

  60. harrywr2 says:

    NewYorkJ Says:
    September 29th, 2011 at 12:38 pm
    Sky is falling,  Source, please
    The point is that ‘estimates’ are just that, ‘estimates’. They aren’t ‘facts’ even if they are provided by an ‘expert’.
    10 years ago no one predicted that the worlds largest coal exporter(China) would become the worlds largest coal importer.
    Here is a study done in 2006 making the case that LNG IMPORT terminals in the US would be a profitable enterprise.
    http://www.ceadvisors.com/publications/Presentations/Market%20Assessment%20and%20Strategy%20Development_NA%20LNG%20Import%20Terminals%20Strategic%20Considerations.pdf
    The Congressional Research Service’s February 18, 2005 Report for Congress (“Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG) in U.S. Energy Policy: Infrastructure and Market Issues”) concludes that meeting forecast U.S. LNG demand would require six to ten new import terminals plus expansion of the existing terminals
    The ‘experts’ seemed to have missed that prediction.
     
    Here we have the 2006 EIA Annual Energy Outlook
    ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/forecasting/0383%282007%29.pdf

    For coal, the average minemouth price ranges between $1.08 and
    $1.18 (2005 dollars) per million British thermal units
    (Btu) over the projection period; in 2030, the price of
    coal is projected to be roughly the same as it was in
    2005, at $1.15 per million Btu ($1.85 per million Btu
    in nominal dollars).


    2011 –
    http://205.254.135.24/steo/

    U.S. Coal Prices.  Average delivered coal prices to the electric power sector have risen steadily over the last 10 years, with an average annual increase of 6.7 percent.  EIA expects that this trend will continue in 2011, with a significant portion of the increase attributed to a sharp rise in transportation costs.  The projected average delivered coal price to the electric power sector, which averaged $2.26 per MMBtu in 2010, averages $2.37 per MMBtu for 2011 and $2.36 per MMBtu for 2012.
    The best ‘experts’ in the world(US EIA) on future energy prices can’t even manage to get the sign correct. If the experts on energy prices can’t get the sign right then economists that predict this/that or the other will happen if we pursue X energy policy don’t have a clue either. Garbage In – Garbage Out
     
     

  61. kdk33 says:

    Now, to the notion that fame and fortune awaits he who goes against the grain.  It’s a favorite canard of the RC crowd – I’ve heard it from Gavin before.  It’s not true.

    At some times, in some fields there are seminal papers that overturn the consensus.  In a field of uncertainty such as climate science, we can be farily certain no such paper will appear.  Rather, as is generally the case, the science will move in a herky-jerky incremental process. 

    The stalwarts of climate science (who probably genuinely believe in what they are doing ) can make it very difficult for contrarians.  They are editors and reviewers for important journals, they review research proposals, they organize important symposiums, they choose who gets hired, they have a say on who does and who does not get tenure.  They train the next batch of newly minted PhD’s.

    Papers appear that challenge a bit of the consensus here and a little bit over there and it’s fairly easy to keep them out of the literature or to ignore what does get published.  If you need evidence of this, take a look at the climategate e-mails.

    Young contrarians either stay away from the field in the first place, switch disciplines when they can’t find an advisor, or move along when the sledding gets tough.  But not all.

    Finally, for those who learn slowly.  Both sides of the debate agree that money influences behavior.  Warmists will claim that “big oil” money motivates certain contrarians, and that corporate profits motivate political donations, hence politicians, but when told that government research funding begets certain research findngs which begets more funding, they suddenly go dumb and would offer that government funds are in some way pristine or that climate scientists are a superhuman race immune to the incentives that afflict normal people.  It isn’t true, of course.

    To reiterate, none of this refutes the findings of climate science, but it is something to consider when weighing the “consensus”. 

    It is also something to consider when confronted by those who would claim no such thing exists.

  62. NewYorkJ says:

    So as kdk dodges the points made and continues to perpetually fail to support assertions made (simply claiming “it’s not true” does not make it so), for the fun of it, in kdk’s rant, replace “climate science” with “heliocentrism”.

    The stalwarts of heliocentrism (who probably genuinely believe in what they are doing ) can make it very difficult for contrarians. 

    Indeed.  And they genuinely believe the Sun doesn’t revolve around the Earth.  Go figure!

    Deniers contend that when a contrarian paper gets rejected, it’s because of the evil “warmist” establishment stopping an otherwise unassailable paper.  They never seem to consider (and probably genuinely have no technical ability to assess) that maybe the papers are of poor quality, and the contentions made in the paper are not supported by the evidence.  

    Conspiracy nuts are abundant among the WUWT crowd.  There’s appeal to the “Galileos fighting the establishment” meme.  How do we know they are not Galileos?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Modern-scientists-following-in-Galileo-footsteps.html

  63. Tom Fuller says:

    Gee NewYorkJ, your tactics are getting a bit threadbare. kdk33 makes cogent points–you tapdance, handwave and sing Here Comes the Sun. kdk33 wins this round hands down.

  64. NewYorkJ says:

    So it’s been established that government funding is not contingent on “AGW dogma” (#46, #47) and that government funding of scientists has not lead to scientific misconduct.  kdk can scream otherwise endlessly, but repetition is not  a substitute for evidence.

    This is not to say politicians have never had any effect, as there have been a few cases where government scientists like James Hansen have been muzzled from speaking publicly, but such cases are a rare exception.

    This brings us to the question of industry funding.  I believe Eric has covered this well in #44 and #46.  Fossil fuel industries oppose the findings of climate science because the political implications are a clear threat to profitability, which is ultimately the goal of corporations.  Right-wing think tanks (Heartland, AEI, CEI, etc.), in contrast, have more ideological goals (although sometimes overlapping with industry).  What unites these groups is the requirement to present information that global warming is not a serious problem, and thus, no government action needs to be taken that might weaken entrenched industries.  Thus we never see anything coming from these groups that deviate from such requirements.  This doesn’t automatically invalidate it, but where it becomes suspect is when the “research” is confined to self-published propaganda.  They know their stuff is bunk and will thus not submit it to peer-reviewed journals for critical review among experts (although they are absolutely free to do so).  But to these groups, that doesn’t really matter.  What matters to them is convincing the public, not scientists, very similar to tobacco companies funding scientists to indicate smoking is not harmful, or ozone skeptics funded to dispute problems with CFCs.

  65. NewYorkJ says:

    TF (#62),

    You come across as a mindless cheerleader, typical wuwt stuff.  As for #56, from my observations, Eric is already an excellent contributor.  I would suggest you work on making yourself a “fine and excellent commentator”, as your posts continue to indicate that you fall well short of far lower standards.

  66. Tom Fuller says:

    Gee NewYorkJ, thanks for the helpful advice. I would probably be more inclined to take it seriously if there were any evidence at all that you practiced what you preached.

    But, sadly for you, I’m pretty happy with what I write. Feel free to skip over and on to the next comment. I can tell you it works well–I do it with you quite often. 

  67. NewYorkJ says:

    TF: I would probably be more inclined to take it seriously if there were any evidence at all that you practiced what you preached.

    TF: But, sadly for you, I’m pretty happy with what I write.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    Textbook case, I’d say.

  68. Sashka says:

    Tom, I really don’t know what sort of pleasure you derive from feeding a troll.

  69. Tom Fuller says:

    I dunno, Sashka. He just wanders around with a sign on his back saying ‘kick me.’ Sometimes I can’t resist.

  70. NewYorkJ says:

    Sashka,
    Thanks for the drive-by.

    Troll: a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response

    TF all but admits to that in #69.  Thanks for (inadvertently) helping to bring that out.

    But more relevant, do you have any response to our previous discussion?  I’m afraid you kind of bowed out of that one, after being presented with some evidence contrary to your impressions.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2011/09/27/about-that-anti-climate-change-spike-in-the-u-s/comment-page-2/#comment-79052

  71. Tom Fuller says:

    NYJ, you forgot to mention that next to that definition is your photograph. 

    As for your previous discussion, did you at some point attempt to make a point? If so, try again and I will respond as substantively as I can. 

  72. harrywr2 says:

    NewYorkJ Says:
    September 28th, 2011 at 8:20 pm
    <i> In simple terms, let’s say the mean estimate for the marginal cost of a problem taking a business-as-usual approach</i>
    I’ve run a business for 25 years. My business plan today looks nothing like it did 25 years ago. I seriously doubt any business plan that is 25 years old is still intact.
    “Business as Usual” is a imaginary concept put together by the climate community. There is no such thing in the real world.
    In real world of ‘Business’ one adapts to changing circumstances as the evidence presents itself.
    IBM doesn’t make typewriters anymore. Minnesota Mining and Minerals(3M) primary product line no longer involves mining.
    Intel, Apple, Microsoft and Walmart didn’t exist 50 years ago.
    Standard practice 20 years ago in the telephone industry was to lay 4 pairs of phone wire into every new home to accomadate Phone 1, Phone 2, Fax, and Modem.
     
    AS far as to the orignal premise of this thread. Why does ‘climate action’ seem to have disappeared?
    As I excerpted in my EIA links above.
    Even in the US, which has the cheapest and most plentiful coal on the planet, the delivered price of coal has been trending upward at an average rate of 6.7% per year for 10 years. There is no need to send the electric utilities market a ‘price’ signal by passing a ‘Cap and Tax’ bill.
    A 10 year upward trend line in the price of coal is a signal in itself.
    Coal fired electricity generation in the US peaked 4 years ago.
    http://205.254.135.24/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_5.pdf
     
    From the 2011 Energy Outlook execustive summary -(Yes…EIA isn’t very good at ‘predicting the future’)
    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/chapter_executive_summary.cfm
    Assuming no changes in policy related to greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide emissions grow slowly and do not return to 2005 levels until 2027
    So what’s the point of ‘capping’ something now that appears to have capped itself until 2027?
    What will be different in the 5,10 or 15 years?
    Will we have solved the storage problem? Will we have affordable electric cars? Will we know with certainty how much a nuclear power plant costs? How much will solar panels cost ? What will be the SEER rating on Air Conditioners? What will be the price difference between an Air Conditioner with a SEER rating of 13 and one with a rating of 24(SEER 24 air conditioners didn’t exist 3 years ago)? What is going to happen to peak summer energy demand if everyone with a 1990’s SEER 6 air conditioner runs out and replaces it with a SEER 24 air conditioner?
     
     
     
     
     

  73. NewYorkJ says:

    harrywr2: In real world of “˜Business’ one adapts to changing circumstances as the evidence presents itself.

    The evidence indicates we should reduce emissions.  In the real-world, short-term individual and business interests often trump long-term ones, however.  It’s the classic Tragedy of the Commons.

    There’s nothing “imaginary” about business-as-usual, nor is it applied specifically to GHG emissions.  It’s basically “avoid anything for the common good and let the market” handle it, and hope that it takes care of itself.  It can also apply to CFCs and other collective concerns.

    You are correct to note that coal consumption peaked several years ago in the United States.  But this didn’t happen by magic.  Note that wind power and natural gas have taken up the slack.  Wind power has enjoyed generous incentives, which has helped to ramp up production and advance technology.

    http://www.grist.org/article/huge-huge-victory-in-the-coal-fight

    There are many alarmists on your side that have in fact acknowledge the drop in coal, blaming the environmental assault on coal for the loss, with screaming headlines like “Sierra Club’s War on Coal Blamed for 53k Lost Jobs in Michigan”

    Whether or not coal will continue its decline here depends on both government action and supply.  Coal is not in short supply, and the tar sands are an additionally huge environmental threat.  Coal is also being increasingly exported to China.  While progress has been made here, overall business-as-usual rules the day. 

    harrywr2: There is no need to send the electric utilities market a “˜price’ signal by passing a “˜Cap and Tax’ bill.

    Solutions like tax and dividend or cap and trade help ensure that such emissions goals are met, and provide additional incentives to redirect resources (financial and human) towards low carbon technological advancement.  If they prove not to be necessary, then costs will be very limited as well.  Any such mechanism should have carbon price adjustment based on market conditions.

    eia: Assuming no changes in policy related to greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide emissions grow slowly and do not return to 2005 levels until 2027

    harrywr2: So what’s the point of “˜capping’ something now that appears to have capped itself until 2027?

    The goal is to reduce emissions, not to simply have it grow slowly, which will not reduce atmospheric GHG concentrations.

    harrywr2: Will we have solved the storage problem?

    I’m not sure how necessary that is.  As I’ve detailed here previously, intermittency can be solved in a variety of ways.  Intermittent sources can get very good market penetration without storage.

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