This Week’s Mtg on Cap and Trade (12/10/9)

Norm will be giving the presentation.   With the conference in Copenhagen, this is a very big week for this critical topic.  Yet, like every subject, the media has done a lousy job of explaining even the rudiments of it, much less any nuance.

So, here’s some background on this much confused and abused topic, by subject.  Keep checking this post, as I will add links as I find clear, basic ones.

Climate Change Basics

1.  For total beginners.
2.  Simpler for total beginners.
3.  Expected Impacts.
4.  Denialist arguments debunked. (one of many such sites)

Cap and Trade Basics

1.  Good, simple:  The basics of cap and trade
2.  A much more lengthy but more thorough description (pdf)

This Week’s Big Copenhagen Conference

1.  Copenhagen 101 Primer.
2.  NYT’s daily coverage of the ongoing conference.
3.  NEW:  Prospects of a successful agreement

Since it will come up anyway — The Recent Hacked Email “Controversy:” 

1.  Time Magazine’s take on it
2.  Rebuttal to these bizarre claims.
3.  Pithier Rebuttal.
4.  NEW:  Why the US public seems to be turnig against global warming.

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15 responses

  1. Just wanted to let people know that Amnesty
    International is getting up to speed on climate change. I just received two background documents (which I haven’t read yet).
    We are expecting to see “climate refugees” in the not too distant future.

  2. At the meeting last night, one speaker contended that the Earth’s mean temperature
    has remained stable for the past five years.

    Please consult the following:

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

    1. My “bad”: Earth has been cooling for about 7 years (not just 5): http://icecap.us/images/uploads/monckton-global_warming_has_stopped.pdf

      But who really knows because it now appears (YES… from hack into CRU) that original data has both been altered and destroyed.

      Comment: I was surprised by how much certitude there was Thursday about such a hugely complex subject. Why ?

      One speaker asserted the “evidence is overwhelming” but I challenge our group to provide this “evidence” [that man is causing global warming] or, better still, the raw data.

      Simple question: Do you – or anyone you know – have access to:
      – raw data that drove the graphs in IPCC4 ?
      – models that processed this raw data ?

      Answer “No” – because both have been subject of repeated “Freedom of Information” requests valid under UK law for years but nothing delivered.

      How can this be ? How can we respect such an obscure process ? How come IPCC4 doesn’t mention the sun (as a source of variable heat) ?

      Other questions:
      What about the MASSIVE amount of water vapor as another “greenhouse” “gas” ? (never mentioned in IPCC4)
      What % of the CO2 in the atmosphere comes from burning of fossil fuels (never mentioned in IPCC4) ?
      What PROOF is there that temperature rise was caused by CO2 increase ? (never mentioned in IPCC4) ?
      Is is possible CO2 concentrations rose BECAUSE of temperature rise ? (never discussed or mentioned in IPCC4) ?

      I am not saying I have the answers – I have almost NONE – but I am hugely HUGELY disappointed by the nonscence (now there’s another new word I can add to “cognostheist”) in this whole process. Surely we should DEMAND better !

      Seems to me this “global” NOT “warming” discussion (rubbish?) can be reduced to a simple geometry-like proof:

      Given: Global Warming
      To Prove: Man is causing it
      Construction: Bury any contrary evidence
      Proof: So….. Man IS causing it !
      QED

      Even a cursory look at temperature data will inform you that any “warming” is certainly not “global”: many vast areas have experienced their coldest ever times (like Antartica as one for instance while the defunct media only focuses on melting glaciers in the Artic.)

      Does anyone have evidence for rising sea levels ? If so, please forward a link that doesn’t include wikipedia.

      Personal opinion: I think we’ve been had and BIG time by 15-20 years of lies that based on a global warming that is:

      (a) Occurring LIE
      (b) Bad LIE
      (c) Caused ONLY by CO2 increase Massive LIE
      (d) Caused ONLY by man’s burning of fossil fuels Massive LIE.

      How can so many people have been fooled for so long ?

      PS: Last night I was called a “Climate Denier”, the kind of trite name-calling I feel this great group should be above and that the moderator should have punished.

  3. We know that the changes in climate are causing certain effects. For example, sea
    ice in the summer in the Arctic is at a record low. This is, I think, an incontrovertible fact.

    If this continues, then surely we are justified in concluding that the mean temperature of the planet, at least in the
    Arctic regions, is rising. How else account for it? How account for the melting of the Greenland icepack and other glaciers?

    We will have the answer quite soon, I think; we have merely to keep our eyes open.

    1. What if temperatures in the Artic have been rising for 10 or 300 years ?

      No one is denying a temperature rise ?

      Crucial isuee what impact there was (if any) from man’s burning of fossil fuels.

      Why is no one concerned about the UNCONTESTED Email extract “hacked” from CRU:

      “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” Dr. Trenberth wrote.

      Why has Dr. Trenberth not been immediately put under oath and asked to explain his comments on perjury penalty of a long, long jail term (much deserved)?

      If we continue to be conned by nonscence, we are doomed.

  4. It seems unlikely that Arctic temperatures have been rising for 300 years, because if they had been, the sea ice, Greenland icecap
    etc. would have been melting for that long.
    In fact, it’s only recently they’ve been visibly melting.
    Fact: Carbon in the atmosphere has vastly increased.
    Fact: Arctic sea ice is melting.

    The exact connection between these two, the “cause,” may be unclear (as is, philosophically, always the case). But the
    probability is that the two are connected.

    Therefore, my personal view, we should do
    what we need to do anyway for other reasons, restrict the carbon and other emissions. How long do we think we can continue to use fossil fuel anyway?

    But, personal view also, I think whatever we do will be too little, too late, and
    may not have much effect. What guarantee is there anyway that we can reverse the changes? We just don’t know.

    So I think we shall have to deal with the effects of climate change, whatever they may be, whenever they occur.

    I agree the U. of E. Anglia incident was deplorable and legal sanctions might be appropriate.

  5. You may be interested in these remarks by an Amnesty friend:

    http://outragesandmusings.blogspot.com/

  6. For me the link between temperature and CO2 concentration is crucial. First: Is there a link other than a correlation ? If there is a link, does increasing CO2 concentration cause temperature to rise or is it POSSIBLE that increasing temperature causes CO2 concentration to increase.

    Anyway, I think it is time the data and models were laid bare to public scrutiny.

    Doing something may also be near impossible. Developing countries will soon dominate world CO2 production and even if we turned of ALL power in the US the world impact will soonn be negligible, exactly as the Australians concluded recently.

    See this recent WSJ piece.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514404574588673072577680.html

  7. The article is interesting, and I think quite persuasive.
    We are in uncharted seas, without a pilot.
    I wonder what the effects of the predicted warming on Chinese ecology, already a disaster–in fact, it’s been a disaster for centuries–might be? They might be so great, that drastic measures will be taken.
    But by then it will be too late.
    It seems that the great game of economic growth trumps everything else.

  8. Thanks for your comments. I was hoping we’d sometimes do this on this website.

    None of us is a climate scientist, and I can’t add anything to that debate. I’ll just go with the overwhelming consensus of 95% of the global scientific community and not assume a vast conspiracy. Quibbles with the data aside, assuming the existence of such a conspiracy is the core of the case against global warming. So, let’s examine that, rather than play the conservatives’ game of pretending to debate abstruse matters that, since we can’t understand them, can’t be settled among us.

    Denialists love to attack the motives of climate scientists. It’s all a conspiracy: somehow a huge number of people all over the world are coordinating a giant con game–in secret. What’s always left deliberately vague is WHY on earth, anyone would do this (much less how). Warming is bad news for everybody! It gums up every other global negotiation; will raise energy, food, and insurance costs; and generally will be a gigantic headache for decades. And, because the solutions to this problem will be disruptive and merely avert a crisis from happening, the people who solve it will get little or no political credit for it, making it that much harder to implement the rest of the Liberal agenda. Do you think the world’s scientists and Liberals could not have thought of an easier way to make money and take over the world than inventing an imaginary global environmental crisis? Why would scientists do this? And don’t give me the “to get grant money” stuff. By that analysis, all scientists everywhere could be faking everything. If it’s a conspiracy, it’s the stupidest one I’ve ever heard of.

    What makes a conspiracy theory so durable and pernicious is that, once adopted, it cannot be disproven. Once you accept that a reality is being falsified or manufactured, you can dismiss any evidence to the contrary as merely further proof of the hidden power of the conspirators.

    Much of the conservative agenda is like this these days. Take health care. No matter how moderate and incremental the Democrats bills are, no matter how watered down or industry-friendly they get, it’s just further proof of a hidden plan to do exactly the opposite of what Democrats say it’s going to do. The stimulus bill isn’t designed to save us from a depression; it’s just to shovel money to the AFL-CIO. And on and on, on issue after issue.

    I don’t know what to do about this. It’s very disturbing.

  9. The CRU hack shows us that many of the supposed experts have been deceiving us or just plain lying to us for years. Their input is devalued enormously and rather than continuing to treat global warming as axiomatic, the “warmists” must now re-make their case or shut up. None of this would matter much if there weren’t policy proposals being seriously considered all of which will be destructive to economic activity and so to individual prosperity. As usual the impact of the proposed taxes will be hardest on the poor (just like the subsidies for “bio-fuels” caused big price rises across the food chain).

    I agree this is not just “to get grant money”. The serious money is elsewhere with huge numbers of salaries and whole institutions feeding off the alarm. Al Gore is just one big example of someone who has made millions of $$ by being a “warmist”. Even though he refuses to debate informed opponents, he still enjoys huge standing. My daughter has just been made to watch An Inconvenient Truth for a second time in a High School science class even though a UK High Court judge determined there were 9 errors of fact in his film. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/7037671.stm

    Not to change the topic, but since you bring up health care, the legislation being considered will be enormously damaging to almost everyone involved including of course the patients. How can over 4,000 pages of legislation be considered “moderate and incremental” ? Views of Republicans are simply not being asked for. Rushed debates ? Votes on Saturday nights ? Arm twisting and pork promises to “buy” crucial votes ? That is what Democrat leaders are doing right now. How should Republicans react other than by voting No ? The latest bombshell never once mentioned by the mainstream media is the cost of Long Term Care which I previously missed when I skipped through the House Bill. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703499404574562240508080098.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    I agree it’s all VERY disturbing, but with the help of the internet, truth will win out on all these big issues.

    1. Just a quick note on the length of the Bill – I don’t know if any of us have ever tried to actually WRITE a law – writing exactly what you want to have happen is very difficult. And writing something that gets altered by a 300+ committee (U.S. Legislature) guarantees inefficiency and excess wordiness.

      Just some quick facts about the Bill

      HOUSE BILL
      as proposed – approx 176,000 words
      as amended – approx 380,000 words
      as brought b4 the house – approx 314,000 words

      you can see the amendments more than doubled up the size of the bill –

      of the top 10 bills in the last decade – they range from 176,000 to 314,000 words – 1/2 Demo, 1/2 Rep – the big ones are Appropriations bills (laws passed every year) and the No Child Left Behind Bill (R) (Law).

      I think we could put the length-of-bill question to rest. Who wants to pass a short, vague law with unintended consequences? The longer the law, the more people had a say in its drafting (obvious from the above – see amendments) The longer a law, the easier to see the original intent of the framers of the law.

      Links:
      http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text
      http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/1375-For-Bills-in-Congress-How-Long-is-Long-

  10. I think a great deal of the Global Warming controversy is a failure to define terms. You can (unfortunately) communicate in 2 ways: one – to provide facts, two – to influence behavior. Who among us would argue that the amazingly complex problems of global climate would retain any vestige of reality when reduced to a political slogan (on BOTH sides of the issue of Global Warming)?

    Chris makes a point that the extreme environmentalists skim over – in order to make such a complicated scientific problem accessible to the masses, it has been turned into a black and white cartoon. Real science is a messy, approximate proposition at best. But real science does not motivate people to conserve, recycle, go-green, etc – so embarrassing generalizations are used to change the public’s behavior, and environmentalists get livid when their black and white “facts” are challenged. When science is used for propaganda, to influence behavior more than transmit information it ought to be challenged. The more we defend false certainty, the more we lose credibility.

    That said (that the facts are murky – after all climate is the archetypal chaotic system – one which CANNOT be modeled by definition), it is obvious something is going on.

    1. All should agree that NOISE in the data prevents any meaningful conclusions that aren’t spread out over decades – even centuries.

    2. There is no such thing as climate change – climate is ALWAYS changing – the odd thing is climate STABILITY. We’ve only been gathering temperatures for a little over a century now – not long enough to really get past the noise yet.

    3. Climate has been changing radically within human history – grapes were growing in Northern Great Britain in Roman times, N. Africa was the Kansas of the Mediterranean basin – In Queen Elizabeth’s time in England, people were skating on the Thames in winter (the Little Ice Age) – temperatures left the LIttle Ice Age around the beginning of the industrial revolution (early 1700’s). These kind of “soft” historical examples show the immense changes just in the last 1000 years. Why do we think for some reason the planetal state as of the 2nd half of the 20th century (coastlines, rain, desertification, etc) will be/should be the permanent state of the earth for the rest of recorded history? Reacting that way, we are reacting like children, not adults.

    My own opinion is we are WARMING ourselves OUT of the next Ice Age (which began around 1300, and if it had followed the pattern of previous Ice Ages would have taken a couple of thousand years to gear up into a full-on glacial advance) (so if we’re causing Global Warming, we did a GOOD thing, for the planet and our species). The last couple of Inter-Glacial Warm Periods were only about 6000-10000 years long – we are currently at the 7000 year mark. We’re due for a change.

    The trick will be to be able to adjust our own BENEFICENT affect on the planet ( i.e. determining what direction we want the climate to go in, and making it go that way) – I think, for me, the question is NOT “how do we get the planet to be stable” (because it never was stable to begin with), but “what do we want the planet to look like” – we are in control now – we control the horizontal, we control the vertical.

    Action is unavoidable – even inaction is action. But we can try and influence the chaotic system in a rational way, realizing that we, and the climate, are all moving targets.

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