Climate: We Can ALL Agree On Two Things → Washingtons Blog
Climate: We Can ALL Agree On Two Things - Washingtons Blog

Monday, November 30, 2009

Climate: We Can ALL Agree On Two Things

Whatever you think about the leaked emails showing that "tricks" were used to "hide the decline" in the climate data, and the fact that the original source data showing historical climate information was destroyed, you should agree on two things.

The Carbon Footprint of War

First, as Harvey Wasserman notes, continuing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will more than wipe out any reduction in carbon from the government's proposed climate measures. Writing about the escalation in the Afghanistan war, Wasserman says:

The war would also come with a carbon burst. How will the massive emissions created by 100,000-plus soldiers in wartime be counted in the 17% reduction rubric? Will the HumVees be converted to hybrids? What is the carbon impact of Predator bombs that destroy Afghan families and villages?

The continuance of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars completely and thoroughly undermines the government's claims that there is a global warming emergency and that reducing carbon output through cap and trade is needed to save the planet.

I can't take anything the government says about carbon footprints seriously until the government ends the unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. For evidence that the Iraq war is unnecessary, see this. Read this for evidence that the U.S. could have taken Bin Laden out years ago and avoided a decades long war in Afghanistan. And for proof that the entire war on Muslim extremists is unnecessary for our national security, see this.

War is also very harmful to the economy. See this, this and this.

Carbon Trading

Second, the proposed solution to global warming - cap and trade - is a scam. Specifically:

  • The economists who invented cap-and-trade say that it won't work for global warming
  • Many environmentalists say that carbon trading won't effectively reduce carbon emissions
  • Our bailout buddies over at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and the other Wall Street behemoths are buying heavily into carbon trading (see this, this, this, this, this and this). As University of Maryland professor economics professor and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission Peter Morici writes:
    Obama must ensure that the banks use the trillions of dollars in federal bailout assistance to renegotiate mortgages and make new loans to worthy homebuyers and businesses. Obama must make certain that banks do not continue to squander federal largess by padding executive bonuses, acquiring other banks and pursuing new high-return, high-risk lines of businesses in merger activity, carbon trading and complex derivatives. Industry leaders like Citigroup have announced plans to move in those directions. Many of these bankers enjoyed influence in and contributed generously to the Obama campaign. Now it remains to be seen if a President Obama can stand up to these same bankers and persuade or compel them to act responsibly.
    In other words, the same companies that made billions off of derivatives and other scams and are now getting bailed out on your dime are going to make billions from carbon trading.


Everyone should read the leaked emails and rationally think through what they mean. But whatever one believes about climategate (the leaked emails showing that "tricks" were used to "hide the decline" in the climate data and the destruction of the original source data), we should all be able to agree that:

(1) We should end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; and

(2) We should not let the financial giants who caused the financial crisis to profit off of cap and trade schemes.


  1. If the assertions of the climate-change advocacy groups were spot-on correct, it would be a heartening acknowledgment of the much more than questionable realization -that humanity could rise to such an occasion, -even if too late as these advocates have claimed.

    There is no such substantiating evidence anywhere in our human history to support such a theory of human competence however.

    Look at all these economists, each vying to be correct with their widely contradictory predictions.

    And if the climate-change advocacy groups are acting like every other scientific group, as we all now suspect, advocating for a change that will put more money into their pockets for the sake of that money, -it is merely a reaffirmation of the long history of human nature's hideous ignorance playing itself out as the byproduct of scientific hubris.

    History is replete with ample evidence of this possibility.

    What we all should take from the news of the day is that there is inherent to everyone's perspective a blind spot, -larger than- and even perhaps totally eclipsing, our greatly exaggerated ability to know anything meaningful at all, AND, the willingness of experts to be wrong for some small reward or advantage -for their lies about some supposed competence in such matters.

    We do not turn lead into gold.

    We can note all this mocking our own profound ignorance, -but true to our human form and nature, we will all too quickly forget it too.

    The biggest problem facing humanity is clearly that so few recognize how profoundly ignorant we all are, and how profoundly ignorant we will remain.

    The Romans had lead -water pipes-. But no Roman noticed -generations of Romans becoming increasingly feeble due to the resultant lead poisoning.

    More recently -if it weren't for so many children being born with deformed legs, arms and bodies, no one likely would have ever discovered that Thalidomide was the cause, a drug being prescribed to women for -morning sickness- common to pregnancy.

    When the patient is the earth, what ignorant, lying fool has the moral authority to tinker and gamble?

    If those human beings coming in the future had -the right to vote-, those advocating taking the gamble with earth would easily out-vote the foolish proponents of this common incompetence.

  2. What is the Carbon Tax (based on fraudulent science), but taxation without representation? America! Why do you put up with this outrage? The New World Order is a fascist world order that presumes the power to end the sovereignty of the US and every other government. Without sovereignty we are slaves. Our ersatz President seems content to sell out American citizens to a global tyranny. Should he sign on to the Copenhagen Accords, is this not treason? Where is the resistance?

  3. I have seen proponents of AGW try to discredit critics by using Occam's Razor to describe how the simplest explanation given what we know of the recent and extensive climate research is that there really is a consensus among scientists that AGW is real whereas the more complex explanation, that all of these scientists are conspiring to lie is too complex, unlikely, if not totally absurd.

    And yet we find that the more complex explanation turned out to be the truth. The more complex explanation turned out to be the truth in the Catholic abuse conspiracy as well, the simplest explanation being that kids are imaginative little liars and that to believe otherwise would mean that these respected men of God were not only perverts, but that the church itself would have to be conspiring to cover up these hideous crimes by shuffling the perverts off to the next town while smearing, shunning and ridiculing the alleged victims. So complex. Too complex. It couldn't possibly be true. Someone would talk they say. And yet, no one ever did. They still don't. There were no sickened insiders who spoke up. Zero.

    People, unless they are incredibly stupid, do not risk entering into conspiracies unless the simplest explanation points away from them. Who in their right mind would get into a conspiracy in which the simplest explanation was that they were guilty?


  4. I'm not sure how 100,000 soldiers are going to have much of a significant effect on the environment, really. Even if we assume they are burning fuel at a rate 10 times that of the average American, that is still only equivalent to the usage of 1 million people. Since we are a nation of over 300 million, this is far less than 1% of total usage.

    I agree, however, that (a) war is bad for the environment and those who live in it, and (b) we should end both of those now-pointless wars. It's possible that our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq could have been a good thing, but apparently we still have all the wrong people making the big decisions about what we are trying to do there -- and now is not the time to continue massively investing in what was a dubious proposition from the very start.

  5. I have seen the incredible amounts of money being spent to discredit AGW. I have seen the catalogs of anti-AGW claims, and the corresponding reasons why those arguments don't hold water -- but anti-AGW people keep bringing up those same claims as if they were perfectly valid, never even mentioning the counter-arguments.

    I'm totally on board with the idea that conspiracies do happen, and that this could be one of them -- but the evidence I see points the other way. The anti-AGW people who are not dishonest have been taken in by those who are.

    Would you like a few links?

  6. AGW "Deniers" were smeared as venal kooks.

    Those who said there was a Catholic abuse conspiracy were smeared as venal kooks.

    Truthers are smeared as venal kooks.

    That's what happens to people who try to expose the truth about entrenched conspiracies within the establishment.

    Liars don't get treated with that kind of contempt.

  7. There's a difference between smearing someone and legitimately criticizing them. The difference is in the evidence.

    There is strong evidence behind the criticisms of the official story of 9/11.

    There was evidence that Catholic priests were abusing boys in their care, which later proved to be true.

    What is the evidence that AGW is wrong?

    How is it "smearing" anyone to say "I think you are wrong, and many of the people who agree with your point of view are dishonest, and I can show you why I think this"? (I do have links, and will post them on request.)

    Replying to this criticism (and its offer of evidence) by ignoring its substance and instead claiming you've been smeared -- again without any evidence -- is intellectual dishonesty at best, and does not help support your case.

    "Liars don't get treated with that kind of contempt."

    Why on earth not?

  8. Woozle, AGW suporters using the term "denier" to attack their critics are smearing them because that word conjurs up that whole Holocaust denier kind of thing. It puts you back on your feet until you realize the person is being abusive. The church shut people up by discrediting them, making them out to be kooks, unstable, not to be believed or full of irrational hatred for the church. That tactic of shutting people down, smeaing them is usually used when people try to tell the truth, because when they lie, you don't have to smear them to make them shut up, not if you have power. Climate scientists who refute that AGW is real have experienced harsh smear campaigns to make them out to be kooks ("flat earthers") and have even lost jobs as a result of contrary views. Yet, when 31,000 scientists agree that the science is far from settled, then to bully people by proclaiming that the "science is settled" is intellectually dishonest.

  9. Ok, "denier" is arguably a guilt-by-word-association term.

    On issuepedia, I have a page for "global warming denial", and another one called "global warming skepticism".

    I define an anti-GW piece as "denial" if the arguments it raises have already been soundly refuted; anything else should, generally speaking, be treated as honest skepticism until shown otherwise.

    I agree that the media like to use this tool -- lumping "Truthers" and "climate change deniers" in with "Flat-Earthers" and "moon-landing hoaxers" -- but in this case, what I see is the media giving too much credence to the "debate" over GW; the scientists and others smeared as "deniers" are generally raising points which don't stand up under scrutiny -- scrutiny which they seem to be doing their best to pretend out of existence, along with GW. The "lumping together" seems at least somewhat justified.

    There is no real scientific debate over the essential facts of GW. Ice sheets are melting, temperatures and carbon levels are rising sharply, and the finger of evidence points pretty clearly to us.

    There may, however, be debates about the solution: Will cap-and-trading work, or is it just another way to curry favor? How about buying carbon offsets at the grocery store, which many liberals seem to take seriously? Do hybrids really have a lower carbon footprint, if you take into account the entire lifecycle?

    31,000 scientists disagree? Really? Where is that list? And who has lost their job because of an anti-GW view?

  10. 52% of this country's oil consumption is going toward the war "effort". Harvey is exactely right on...

  11. When core samples from the North pole contain remnants of ancient tropical plants are we to believe that the animals living in the warm North lived some Hellish existence. Did the cavemen who hunted Mastadons up there in sweater weather, were they thriving, but for the Hellish global warming problem.

    Siberia could some day grow wheat and corn that could feed billions. We don't know anything yet about the result of climate change, and by climate change I mean the fact that the sun burns hotter and not so hot in huge cycles that effect us here. Consider that everything you fear about things getting warmer may not be a bad thing, but a good thing. You don't know yet. The polluters have fouled our environment, poisoning us in unspeakable ways. They need to be stopped... but they can't be stopped by something that is not true or something that speculates too much.

  12. Anon: that's the "Earth has been this warm before, so who cares if it happens again" argument. By the same token, who cares if another dinosaur-killer meteorite hits the earth? Life went on...

    Yes, it makes sense to ask exactly how life would be affected -- both positively and negatively -- by the changes GW would bring, but it seems foolish not to take action to slow it down before we are reasonably certain that those effects would be benign.

    From here, they do not look at all benign. A few silver linings would do very little to offset the global famine and epidemics which would be the likely result of any significant climate change on our highly-interconnected and currently rather fragile global economy.

    (...which brings up another thing we should be looking at, and aren't: how to make the global economy less fragile.)

    Does this mean you're accepting the reality of AGW? Or do you still disbelieve it despite not having any real evidence against it?

  13. Woozle,

    From your tone, I have to admit I kind of like you, even though I don't agree with you. I am reminded of a scene in Breaking Away where the bike racing son of the auto dealership owner breaks down and tells his father that he has realized that "everyone lies", and the father, says something like, "it is better that you know."

    I don't think you're grasping what is happening here. This scandal may be the worst scienctific scandal of our time. The peer review process was subverted by what appears to be a devious and cynical little collective, a mutual appreciation society of AGW insiders. I think people may go to prison over this. Your consensus evidence that man is warming the planet and we face doom is looking ginned up. I am very sorry the environmental movement has been cynically exploited by politicians. I'm sure what you wanted was a clean environment, but what the big money wanted was to tax the air we breath, to tax our existence the way they did in the good old days of feudalism. They are not on your side, it's better that you know that.

  14. I acknowledge the possibility that the scientific process has been subverted. Actually, I know it has to some extent; my father is a (retired) scientist, and I've seen what has happened to his department over the past few decades.

    I even will concede the point that there are probably some non-benevolent interests on the side of promoting AGW.

    What I don't see is:

    (1) the evidence for the sheer universality of corruption that would be necessary (note that I'm not saying "there would have to be too many people involved -- how could you possibly keep it secret?"; I just don't see the evidence for the scale of corruption you're describing)

    (2) any real evidence against GW -- just a lot of scientific-sounding stuff that might convince someone who didn't bother to either look at it or find counter-evidence

    (3) a level of malice anywhere on the pro-AGW side which comes anywhere near the maliciousness and dishonesty on the (A)GW-denial side (the malice you attribute to the pro-AGW side sounds to me much more like what I have seen from the denialists)

    (4) why the focus is on proving GW wrong, if the problem is really much larger than that (i.e. the scientific peer-review process being subverted). This fact in particular stinks of an agenda.

    The overwhelming majority of the evidence I have seen against AGW is, as you say, "ginned up" -- and the rest of it, possibly legitimate though it may be, is detail-checking, not thesis-destroying.

    Show me the evidence for your case. (This is my third or fourth request for evidence, depending on what you include.)

  15. Woozle, this isn't the Law of Gravity I am skeptical about. It is a dire extrapolation of the future of AGW that I doubt. All climate changes until now have been made by the sun and man, as long as he's been around, has coasted through them all. This new one is apparently driven by man and I am to believe that it will be total Hell and that billions of dollars in additional taxes may stem it, but only if I act fast.

    Sorry, but the burden of evidence is not on me to prove someone else's vision of the future is false. You have adopted an attitude that the science is settled, that there is a consensus. But it is not settled, it requires rigorous, transparent study where the raw data is available to everyone so they can see if they replicate the findings.

    As for agendas, they are on both sides of this. I am sure the oil industry would love to see the AGW supporters utterly fail. And yet the Carbon Credit trading scheme is the ghost ship of Ken Lay and Enron. That was their brain child. And overstating, overselling fearful apocalyptic visions of the future is not science. It is politics.

    Woozle, people are not asked to believe in AGW, we're asked to believe that AGW is coming to get us. There is no proof it is going to be a big deal even if it is true. People are tired of being scared into everything.

  16. "All climate changes until now have been made by the sun and man, as long as he's been around, has coasted through them all."

    It has never happened before, so it will never happen?

    We've never had a civilization anything remotely like what we have now... and we would not be the first civilization to fall, but we might well be the last -- if weather conditions become severe enough. Mankind's survival is not guaranteed by holy edict, no matter what the fundies may think.

    Even if we do survive as a species, we are both the first and last civilization to have access to unimaginable amounts of free, portable energy pouring out of the ground. The easy pickings -- the oil gushers -- are gone, for at least the next few million years; if the climate stabilizes at a habitable level and we survive as a species, our successors will have to come up with some other energy source to run their civilization, because they won't have the technology to access the oil reserves we currently depend on. Think about that for a bit. We'll need to develop electric cars anyway, and reduce carbon emissions anyway -- and millions or billions will die in the meantime.

    And even if climate change never gets severe enough to have any direct effect on civilization (crop failures, permanent flooding of low-lying areas, etc.), we will still be running out of oil in the next few decades. If we are not ready for that, there will be famine (and other hardship) unless we become less dependent on fossil fuels for food transportation and storage.

    All the AGW people are saying, really, is we could save a lot of time, trouble, and human suffering if we develop those energy sources NOW and switch over to them BEFORE civilization falls, BEFORE the effects become too horrible to deal with cleanly. Before the NC Outer Banks are underwater, for instance. Before we have to build a dyke around New York City, and New Orleans goes bubbling down for the last time. Before we run out of cheap gas and most of us have to buy local or not at all.

    You speak of the burden of evidence, but you have yet to present yours -- despite my asking repeatedly. (This is my fourth request, at a minimum.) As the minority position, yes -- the burden of evidence is on you, especially since you haven't shown any interest in mine.

    Your lack of interest in discussing the evidence itself (pro or con) speaks louder than any accusation I could make.

    Just because people are tired of being scared doesn't mean there aren't legitimate reasons to be scared. Many people dismiss the 9/11 truth movement on that same logic -- are you going to argue that we should just let that issue go because people are tired of being scared?

  17. You paint the picture of a crusader fighting for a just cause, but working from a place where the ends justify the means. You want to save the world, I believe it, even if you have to raise a theory as if it was a known. I think this would have worked too if the elitists in the fossil fuel world hadn't exerted media influence. My hunch is that elitists in the AGW side will find retribution in future revelations about 9/11.

  18. Crusader? Heck no; I just think it makes sense to get off fossil fuels, and it ticks me off when I see people fighting against that because they have fallen for propaganda.

    Ok, since you don't want to bring up your evidence, I'd at least like to know specifically where you stand so I can see where I actually disagree with you -- please answer the following according to your own views:

    1. Is there any evidence that global temperatures have begun rising sharply since the beginning of the industrial age?
    1a. If there is evidence, is it fairly strong/conclusive?
    2. By approximately how many degrees Celsius would global temperatures need to rise in order to cause severe consequences? (severe enough that it would be worth putting forth global-scale effort towards reducing the rise before it happens)
    3. Approximately what level of oil prices (expressed as a factor of current prices) would it take to cause a food crisis in the US?
    4. In what time frame (a decade? a generation? a century? never?) is this level of increase likely to happen?
    5. Is there any reason to think that accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached unprecedented levels?
    6. Is there any reason to think that unusually high levels of carbon dioxide would cause serious ecological problems?

    I guess that will do for starters.

  19. I was being nice. Okay, here are my answers

    1. No. The raw temperature data was deleted and is in dispute.

    2. We do not know. Humans lived through much warmer times. Could be an untold paradise of food production.

    3. We do not know. The market is awash in oil while the oil industry creates an impression of scaricity while also financially backing cap and trade and carbon credits/taxes...yep, the oil and coal industry want that, just like Enron did who came up with it. Even the leaked emails discuss getting oil money.

    4. We don'tknow. Might never happen. We know there is methane without life on other planets and moons and so some suspect the earth produces oil through a process not understood and that it isn't old dinosaurs or necessarily finite.

    5. No nor that it matters except to make plants greener and produce more food.

    6. None.

  20. (Sorry for the delay in responding... other things had my attention and I didn't think to keep checking for your answers.)

    Your assertion about #1 is incorrect as I understand it. I believe it arises from the recent "climategate" email manufactroversy, and is a complete distortion of what was said in one of the emails. No raw data of any scientific significance has been deleted.

    #2: If you don't know, then how can you possibly know whether even the smallest overall temperature rise might not pose a serious risk?

    What "warmer times" have humans lived through?

    New question 2a: Do you agree that rising temperatures will cause ocean levels to rise?

    #3: If the market is "awash in oil", why does it now cost $40 to fill my gas tank when it barely took $10 just a few years ago?

    And why would the oil industry want to create an impression of scarcity when that would turn people towards alternative energy?

    New question 3a: Would you at least agree that if gas prices rose by a factor of $10 (~$25/gallon), this would cause some serious problems in the trucking industry, and food prices would probably skyrocket?

    #4 obviously doesn't matter if you don't believe it would ever be a problem... but are you suggesting that the earth might be replenishing its supply of fossil fuels as fast as we are using it?

    #5: The official story is that the carbon dioxide concentration has increased by 31% Since 1750, is still rising steadily, and that this is unprecedented in the past 400 thousand years. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

    6. Wrong. It kills coral reefs, which are major breeding grounds for fish (including many that people like to eat). No more coral reefs = fish scarcity. [a recent article, I'm sure I could find much more if I spent some time on it.]

    The effects of ocean acidification will probably be swamped by the temperature effects, however.


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