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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10939/physicist-howard-haydens-one-letter-disproof-of-global-warming-claims/

Physicist Howard Hayden’s one-letter disproof of global warming claims

October 29, 2009 by

Physicist Howard Hayden, a staunch advocate of sound energy policy, sent me a copy of his letter to the EPA about global warming. The text is also appended below, with permission.

As noted in my post Access to Energy, Hayden helped the late, great Petr Beckmann found the dissident physics journal Galilean Electrodynamics (brochures and further Beckmann info here; further dissident physics links). Hayden later began to publish his own pro-energy newsletter, The Energy Advocate, following in the footsteps of Beckmann’s own journal Access to EnergyI love Hayden’s email sign-off, “People will do anything to save the world … except take a course in science.” Here’s the letter:

***

Howard C. Hayden
785 S. McCoy Drive
Pueblo West, CO 81007

October 27, 2009

The Honorable Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator Jackson:

I write in regard to the Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, Proposed Rule, 74 Fed. Reg. 18,886 (Apr. 24, 2009), the so-called “Endangerment Finding.”

It has been often said that the “science is settled” on the issue of CO2 and climate. Let me put this claim to rest with a simple one-letter proof that it is false.

The letter is s, the one that changes model into models. If the science were settled, there would be precisely one model, and it would be in agreement with measurements.

Alternatively, one may ask which one of the twenty-some models settled the science so that all the rest could be discarded along with the research funds that have kept those models alive.

We can take this further. Not a single climate model predicted the current cooling phase. If the science were settled, the model (singular) would have predicted it.

Let me next address the horror story that we are approaching (or have passed) a “tipping point.” Anybody who has worked with amplifiers knows about tipping points. The output “goes to the rail.” Not only that, but it stays there. That’s the official worry coming from the likes of James Hansen (of NASA­GISS) and Al Gore.

But therein lies the proof that we are nowhere near a tipping point. The earth, it seems, has seen times when the CO2 concentration was up to 8,000 ppm, and that did not lead to a tipping point. If it did, we would not be here talking about it. In fact, seen on the long scale, the CO2 concentration in the present cycle of glacials (ca. 200 ppm) and interglacials (ca. 300-400 ppm) is lower than it has been for the last 300 million years.

Global-warming alarmists tell us that the rising CO2 concentration is (A) anthropogenic and (B) leading to global warming.

(A) CO2 concentration has risen and fallen in the past with no help from mankind. The present rise began in the 1700s, long before humans could have made a meaningful contribution. Alarmists have failed to ask, let alone answer, what the CO2 level would be today if we had never burned any fuels. They simply assume that it would be the “pre-industrial” value.

  • The solubility of CO2 in water decreases as water warms, and increases as water cools. The warming of the earth since the Little Ice Age has thus caused the oceans to emit CO2 into the atmosphere.

(B) The first principle of causality is that the cause has to come before the effect. The historical record shows that climate changes precede CO2 changes. How, then, can one conclude that CO2 is responsible for the current warming?

Nobody doubts that CO2 has some greenhouse effect, and nobody doubts that CO2 concentration is increasing. But what would we have to fear if CO2 and temperature actually increased?

  • A warmer world is a better world. Look at weather-related death rates in winter and in summer, and the case is overwhelming that warmer is better.
  • The higher the CO2 levels, the more vibrant is the biosphere, as numerous experiments in greenhouses have shown. But a quick trip to the museum can make that case in spades. Those huge dinosaurs could not exist anywhere on the earth today because the land is not productive enough. CO2 is plant food, pure and simple.
  • CO2 is not pollution by any reasonable definition.
  • A warmer world begets more precipitation.
  • All computer models predict a smaller temperature gradient between the poles and the equator. Necessarily, this would mean fewer and less violent storms.
  • The melting point of ice is 0 ºC in Antarctica, just as it is everywhere else. The highest recorded temperature at the South Pole is -14 ºC, and the lowest is -117 ºC. How, pray, will a putative few degrees of warming melt all the ice and inundate Florida, as is claimed by the warming alarmists?

Consider the change in vocabulary that has occurred. The term global warming has given way to the term climate change, because the former is not supported by the data. The latter term, climate change, admits of all kinds of illogical attributions. If it warms up, that’s climate change. If it cools down, ditto. Any change whatsoever can be said by alarmists to be proof of climate change.

In a way, we have been here before. Lord Kelvin “proved” that the earth could not possibly be as old as the geologists said. He “proved” it using the conservation of energy. What he didn’t know was that nuclear energy, not gravitation, provides the internal heat of the sun and the earth.

Similarly, the global-warming alarmists have “proved” that CO2 causes global warming.

Except when it doesn’t.

To put it fairly but bluntly, the global-warming alarmists have relied on a pathetic version of science in which computer models take precedence over data, and numerical averages of computer outputs are believed to be able to predict the future climate. It would be a travesty if the EPA were to countenance such nonsense.

Best Regards,

Howard C. Hayden
Professor Emeritus of Physics, UConn

Update: Global warming, false science, and one-world government

{ 251 comments }

Stephan Kinsella November 3, 2009 at 10:42 am

“kristine”: “I do believe government can and does do a lot of good for people.”

Why do you believe this? Are you aware of how many people were murdered in the last 100 years by governments? Are you aware governments are purely parasitical and criminal and produce nothing, and do nothing well except kill, impede, and destroy?

“Governments aren’t perfect, but they’re better than the alternative.”

How do you know this?

kristine N November 3, 2009 at 11:00 am

How do you know this?

Africa.

Bala November 3, 2009 at 11:10 am

kristine N,

” So, because the government’s out to get you, you’ll choose to ignore science? ”

Wrong!! I choose to ignore science that drags the iron hand of government into my house and to direct how I live my life. Rather, I will fight it, especially if it is a probabilistic science that could be as wrong as my current notions of that science could be.

” but I do believe government can and does do a lot of good for people. ”

Fat lot of good they have done all these centuries. Could you please list out the “good” they have actually done apart from wars that killed millions and economic depressions that destroyed lives of many millions more?

” given you’re attempting to ‘convert’ me from my heretical belief in global warming ”

Selective reading and context dropping. That’s what you are engaging in. My next sentence (which too you have reproduced next) was an explanation of why I would not fall for it.

” Or, because they see a profit can be made from ignoring the needs of others ”

Oh!!! There you go… I am a selfish pig. I care only for myself and not for the needs of anyone else except when satisfying those needs can give me a benefit I desire.

mpolzkill November 3, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Yeah, there’s never been much government activity in Africa. (deep sigh)

matt November 3, 2009 at 1:09 pm

@bala: so how do you propose solving the global problems of GW and pollution? Asking people to voluntarily drive less and voluntarily stop eating meat? I’m interested in hearing your solutions.

“This shows you fighting a straw-man because I never spoke of dumping toxic waste in a river. You did. In any case, I hope you realise that there is a world of difference between dangers of CO2 emission and the dumping of (known) toxic waste in a river. The problems cause by one are a probability and while those caused by the other are a certainty.”

I’m not fighting a straw man. Pumping CO2 in the air, burning fossil fuels and polluting the air with the toxic gases, buying consumer goods made in factories that dump waste, etc are all the same thing. They are all things that if I do them it’s for my own benefit but has a negative effect on you and other people. That is fact. If there were only a few people living on this planet the planet might cope. But it can’t.

“You have a problem. You are talking to a guy who treats your “accusation” as a badge of honour :)”

Absolutely no problem, as I don’t care about your personality, I’m just discussing the concepts here. There are some global problems and somehow they need to be solved. The notion that somehow in a world in which anyone just does what he wants these global problems will be solved is ridiculous. Most humans are selfish. If you don’t agree together to all do something, it will not happen. It’s as simple as that.

DixieFlatline November 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Gil,

That’s bland reasoning Dixie, a government stopping people from dumping toxic waste is more beneficial than people dumping toxic waste willy-nilly.

And that is a false dichotomy. Order comes from the market, not from the state. Law can also come from the market. All the state does, is establish monopoly and dole out privilege.

There is nothing to stop private actors from protecting property by buying it and enforcing their own rights via contract, defense or social pressure.

Besides I was talking current ‘commons’ such someone dumping waste in international waters and lawyers might well argue that the atmosphere is ‘international’ therefore outside the realm of sovereign rule and anyone can dump whatever they like there.

Lawyers are irrelevant (NOK). I suggest you check out Walter Block’s scholarship on the topic of environment. Your inability to conceive solutions outside the statist paradigm don’t preclude the possibility of those solutions.

You might as well say “government can’t regulate or ban anything because of calculation problems”.

That is exactly what I said.

Mill Town November 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm

@Mike,

“Agreed, Ribald. I think ethics is mostly the elevation of one’s personal preferences to the level of some grand cosmic principle.”

I sincerely think that Bio-Ethics is the killing of life.

A couple should be allowed to clone their child or choose what traits or advantages their child will have.

An individual should have the right to use genetics, proteomics and gene doping to improve his body and mental performances if he chooses so.

Those who oppose such bio-improvements do so on the basis of inequalities it would create against those who do not or cannot pay for such improvements.

So Bio-Ethics isn’t about Bio, it’s about socialism and collectivism once again.

It’s about preventing individuals and couples from getting ahead of the masses by using bio-technologies.

But humanity would benefit from the works of super-humans if such could be created.

We should level-up, not level-down.

I absolutely frown upon bio-ethics because it robs people from their body in the name of “equality”.

Bio-Ethics is communism in duisguise.

Mill Town November 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Matt,

I know this is off topic, but somehow your post has crossed with mine in the comments form. There seems to be a serious security breach on mises.org.

Do you live in the USA or Canada ?

Mill Town November 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Baxter,

“”The earth’s heat content is 10^31 Joules. This heat naturally flows to the surface by conduction at a rate of 44.2 TW and is replenished by radioactive decay at a rate of 30 TW” ”

How can 30 TW “conduct” to produce 44.2 TW ? Has earth found the perpetual motion machine ?

How can there be more energy at the surface of the earth after all that conduction than there is at it’s core ?

Mill Town November 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm

@Baxter,

Oh, I get it, the 10^31 Joules radiates 44.2 TW while the earth’s radioactive core generates 30 TW.

30 TW is a very little amount of power if you consider the huge mass of the earth.

Also, how could 10^31 Joules have ever been accumulated if the surface dissipates more energy than is being produced at the core ?

Mill Town November 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm

@Baxter,

30 TW is like exploding a hiroshima bomb at the center of the earth every second.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light November 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm
S.M. Oliva November 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Mr. Norman —

You should at least have the decency to disclose you’re on the FTC payroll before you start spreading their lies.

matt November 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

@bala: so how do you propose takling the global problems of GW and pollution? Asking people to voluntarily drive less and voluntarily stop eating meat? I’m interested in hearing your solutions.

“This shows you fighting a straw-man because I never spoke of dumping toxic waste in a river. You did. In any case, I hope you realise that there is a world of difference between dangers of CO2 emission and the dumping of (known) toxic waste in a river. The problems cause by one are a probability and while those caused by the other are a certainty.”

I’m not fighting a straw man. Pumping CO2 in the air, burning fossil fuels and polluting the air with the toxic gases, buying consumer goods made in factories that dump waste, etc are all the same thing. They are all things that if I do them it’s for my own benefit but has a negative effect on you and other people. That is fact. If there were only a few people living on this planet the planet might cope. But it can’t.

“You have a problem. You are talking to a guy who treats your “accusation” as a badge of honour :)”

Absolutely no problem, as I don’t care about your personality, I’m just discussing the concepts here. There are some global problems and somehow they need to be solved. The notion that somehow in a world in which anyone just does what he wants these global problems will be solved is ridiculous. Most humans are selfish. If you don’t agree together to all do something, it will not happen. It’s as simple as that.

matt November 3, 2009 at 2:54 pm

My, I’m the fancy homosexual today, aren’t I? You people believe in the right to engage in pseudo-procreational activities, don’t you? .

matt November 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Since I’ve thought it over, you’re all right. We need to preserve personal freedom and let the markets decide on this one.

ken macpherson November 3, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Bastiat would be happy:
In modern times just over in France there is:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3237329.stm

It is neither very wide nor very deep, but it has provided an opportunity for France to launch another costly and bold “Grand Project”.

Here in the USA, Mises folks say we spend $96K per job created if there were 2Million created (my math yields million dollars per job.) At least in France there’s the world highest bridge or Hoover damn supplying electricity to Las Vegas.

David K. Meller November 3, 2009 at 3:22 pm

A thoughtful and intelligent answer to many of the critics of “capitalism”. Of course, it is the case that the so-called “free market” that most of these critics claim to oppose is really a manifestation of the bad consequences of previous intervetentions (often advocated by the same types of people) and once more, a “free market” or “laissez faire” is blamed, NOT the interventions which either created or greatly worsened the problems in the first place!

I believe that Joseph Schumpeter observed in his book “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy” that capitalism stands forever on trial before judges who have the sentence of death in their pockets. The most an effective defence can achieve is a change in the wording of the indictment.

I don’t think that the free market, and its advocates are quite as isolated and marginalized today, as that statement (written in 1942) would indicate. It certainly describes a central aspect of the mentality that we are dealing with, especially when such critics never subject their alternatives and quite frankly, utopias, to anywhere nearly the same degree or kind of criticisms, e.g. Is pollution inherent in the absence of private property rights and its attendent socio-economic order? How is Capitalism, or its underlying profit motive, related to expressions of racism, especially when reinforced with State power, and might racism be MORE virulent under socialism than under a (much maligned) free market and why? How great were the disparities of wealth in a largely free market economy and society, e.g. the Northern USA, before the war for Southern Independence, compared with disparities of wealth in twentieth century Marxist dictatorships, where members of the Central Committee, and their favored writers, scientists, and generals, had enormous privileges and wealth, and workers and peasants had almost nothing, and lived lives of utter misery? I don’t know what this tells us about socialism per se, but it certainly suggest that any injustices inherent in economic inequality which socialists rant about have nothing to do with capitalism!

PEACE AND FREEDOM!!
David K.Meller

sean November 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm

there seem to be an awful lot of poorly thought out arguments on this comments page. In particular, Wildberry mentions anecdotally an occurance of unfortunate decisions causing transportation issues. Unfortunately for Wildberry, it is very likely that hidden within the context of his point is vital information that that completely annihilates his argument. A little bit of research led me to the following: http://scplweb.santacruzpl.org/history/trans/railrd2.shtml
http://www.rattenne.com/nrhs/santacruz/Santa_Cruz_line.html

It seems like Wildberry’s assertion was a bit of an untruth. Apparently, the rail route in question was very difficult to maintain, and after a particularly severe storm event caused mud slides and wash outs. Following this event the business determination was made that it was too costly to rebuild this route, particularly given that rail transit providers could not compete with bus service, given that the bus services were much cheaper to provide because they were in fact subsidized by public road building and maintenance, which in that case was for Highway 17. Thus, the rail route in question was not reopened because the private rail line could not compete with bus services BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN BUILDING THE ROADS!!! Thus the private rail service did not sell the right of way, as claimed by Wildberry, but instead abandoned it and give up the rail right of way. Therefore, Mr. Wildberry, you in fact have government planning to blame for altering the market structure that thus resulted in the limited transportation options that have prevailed for about the last 70 years and currently cause the transportation headaches you complained of.

Daniel November 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Are those talks going to be published somewhere?

matt November 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm

@bala: so how do you propose takling the global problems of GW and pollution? Asking people to voluntarily drive less and voluntarily stop eating meat? I’m interested in hearing your solutions.

“This shows you fighting a straw-man because I never spoke of dumping toxic waste in a river. You did. In any case, I hope you realise that there is a world of difference between dangers of CO2 emission and the dumping of (known) toxic waste in a river. The problems cause by one are a probability and while those caused by the other are a certainty.”

I’m not fighting a straw man. Pumping CO2 in the air, burning fossil fuels and polluting the air with the toxic gases, buying consumer goods made in factories that dump waste, etc are all the same thing. They are all things that if I do them it’s for my own benefit but has a negative effect on you and other people. That is fact. If there were only a few people living on this planet the planet might cope. But it can’t.

“You have a problem. You are talking to a guy who treats your “accusation” as a badge of honour :)”

Absolutely no problem, as I don’t care about your personality, I’m just discussing the concepts here. There are some global problems and somehow they need to be solved. The notion that somehow in a world in which anyone just does what he wants these global problems will be solved is ridiculous. Most humans are selfish. If you don’t agree together to all do something, it will not happen. It’s as simple as that.

newson November 3, 2009 at 6:58 pm

buzungulus:
i generally prefer to watch women mud or jelly wrestling rather than academics.

i’m not acquainted with palmer (except for one of his ip papers which i liked). on business cycles, i’ve got to say that hülsmann’s article on garrisonomics was insightful. but then, maybe i already was wary of garrison’s free-banking predilection.

http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae4_3_4.pdf

Bala November 3, 2009 at 7:05 pm

matt,

The real problem is your idea of a “global problem” that “needs to be solved”. IMO, all problems are faced by individuals and it is the individuals concerned who have a need to solve them.

Further, I have nothing against private non-coercive initiatives to tackle atmospheric CO2 levels or Climate Change. Who knows!! There could be a million good business opportunities out there. My opposition is to the involvement of Government in the process.

On CO2 vs toxic waste, please note the point I made about probability of harm caused by CO2 and certainty of harm caused by toxic waste. That’s why I think you are wrong in equating them.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light November 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Newson,

That is indeed a great article by Huelsmann, yet another example of important revisions he has made to conventional Austrian theory that has gone unremarked upon by the GMUers.

BTW, if I’m not mistaken, you’re not overly convinced by Huelsmann’s article on error cycles, is that correct?

newson November 3, 2009 at 7:21 pm

buzungulus:
wrong. it’s the definitive article on business cycles, in my view. in fact, it was that article that got me into reading anything hülsmann writes. his book on money production doesn’t seem to have got anywhere near the emphasis that it deserves.

newson November 3, 2009 at 7:26 pm

africa…the land that government forgot! wow, that throwaway line from kristine n. was worth all the tedious reading that preceded it.

Lord Buzungulus, Bringer of the Purple Light November 3, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Sorry newson, I must have confused you with someone else. But I fully agree with you on the importance of Huelsmann’s work, truly a visionary in many regards.

newson November 3, 2009 at 8:05 pm

well, i am no bearer of light and liable to be mistaken for another.

method fan November 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm

There is something strange going on here.

I had the message user matt posted before in my comments-field and also his user-name in my name-field.

Is this some sort of database-error?

Jake November 3, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I had the same thing too, method fan.

kelvin November 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I am a scientist that actually works on global heat loss of the solid earth, and thought I should correct some of the mis-statements made earlier by Baxter and Mill Town.

Radioactive decay contributes a significant to a significant fraction of the Earth’s heat loss (specifically uranium, thorium and potassium). However, they are not concentrated in the core as suggested, in fact very little radioactive material is located in the core. Radiogenic elements are in highest concentration in the crust, accounting for ~7 TW of heat loss. The upper and lower mantle add another 2 and 11 TW, respectively. The remainder of the heat loss results from radiogenic elements that have already decayed and “primordial heat.” Primordial heat refers to heat generated by gravitational accretion as the Earth was created from dust and rocks in the solar nebula. Some additional heat is generated as a result of tidal friction, but it is very small (~0.4 TW). If you are interested, a paper discussing this can be found here:
es.ucsc.edu/~thorne/TL.pdfs/LHB_cmbheat_naturegeo_07.pdf

The 40-44 TW estimate is quite well known and is determined from > 60,000 measurements of heat loss in boreholes located all over the planet.

Because the Earth started with a significant quantity of heat, lots of heat has accumulated due to radioactive decay, and the time scale for heat to be transported from the core to the surface is greater than a billion years, the heat loss can be significantly greater than the heat currently generated due to radioactive decay.

TokyoTom November 3, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Stephan:

- Yes, but not only “ending counterproductive public utility monopolies” libertarianism 101, but it` s highly relevant to one of the key perceived problems, namely gross inefficiency and lack of consumer choice in the power sector. Why do libertarian commenters, instead of pounding this and other points at every opportunity -and possibly find allies in increasing consumer choice – instead prefer to question the sanity and motives of frustrated consumers?

- “If you are proposing that the state should in effect increase its taxation of corporations, all true libertarians disagree. First, corporations should not be taxed at all; this is just double taxation of shareholders and others. Second, no one should be taxed. Third, taxes should never be increased, even if only indirectly by means of eliminating a deduction.”

Thanks for schooling me again on libertarian principles, though I`m a bit disappointed that your lack of comprehension of my point here leads you to question my understanding of basic libertarian views (even as I do appreciate the response). If you`d just have bothered to read my first comment to you on this thread, I think you might have caught my drift, which was PRECISELY about ending or paring back corporate income taxes: “* accelerate cleaner power investments by eliminating corporate income taxes or allowing immediate amortization of capital investment”.

- What`s “AGW”? You show that you are posting outside your usual reading, but I`m surprised no one offered to clarify that is short for Anthropogenic Global Warming.

- “you have to realize that if you are in fact pro-nuclear you are unlike most of your global warming ilk. Most of them are either too misanthropic or scientifically illiterate to favor nuclear power: they either do not understand why it would be superior in every way to other forms of energy production, or they do understand and and for this reason want to oppose it. None of your comrades are genuine environmentalists if they do not actively push for nuclear power. Instead they are rotten watermelons.”

Yes, I have always preferred nuclear over much dirtier coal, and you and I have had this conversation before.

As for my “comrades”, they keep telling me, on this very blog thread, that I don` belong here. I`m thinking of calling them “coconuts” – you know the kind of nut that is hard on the outside but empty on the inside. Would that be helpful?

But this railing against anti-nuclear folks misunderstands them, and that their opposition has had its roots in an abusive big government (think of Hanoi Jane and China Syndrome), as is of a kind with that simply NIMBYism that arises because government has decided that it gets to license energy projects of every kind. If governments got out of the business of giving corporations licenses to do what locals oppose (and simply strictly enforced property rights instead – my separate point about limited owner liability related to this), we`d have none of this continuing fight over the wheel of government.

While I prefer nuclear power, I think we need to get the federal government out of the way and not shower it with more subsidies. Jerry Taylor of Cato and others likewise argue for “tough love” for nuclear power: http://reason.org/blog/show/reason-roundtable-nuclear-powe

“We can debate policy, talk theory, mix it up, ponder, and criticize those we think err.”

You mean we don`t HAVE to spend ALL of our time trying hard to dismiss climate science, and trying to fend off looming federal policy changes with incantations about “watermelons”? Welcome news!

Tokyo (I`m excising the rest of my name for purposes of this thread; like you I agree that I should be kept at several arms` lengths)

Stephan Kinsella November 3, 2009 at 10:43 pm

TokyoTom:

- Yes, but not only “ending counterproductive public utility monopolies” libertarianism 101, but it` s highly relevant to one of the key perceived problems, namely gross inefficiency and lack of consumer choice in the power sector. Why do libertarian commenters, instead of pounding this and other points at every opportunity -and possibly find allies in increasing consumer choice – instead prefer to question the sanity and motives of frustrated consumers?

Dunno dude. But I don’t blame the victims or the few people on the right side for not finding the magic words to stop the statists from hurting us. And as for those who want “increased consumer choice,” I dunno, maybe b/c they are just socialists who are not our allies.

- “If you are proposing that the state should in effect increase its taxation of corporations, all true libertarians disagree. First, corporations should not be taxed at all; this is just double taxation of shareholders and others. Second, no one should be taxed. Third, taxes should never be increased, even if only indirectly by means of eliminating a deduction.”

Thanks for schooling me again on libertarian principles, though I`m a bit disappointed that your lack of comprehension of my point here leads you to question my understanding of basic libertarian views

Wehter you understand or not is not my concern. I am stating my view of what the libertarian view is. If you agree, fine. If not, we disagree.

- What`s “AGW”? You show that you are posting outside your usual reading, but I`m surprised no one offered to clarify that is short for Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Oh, I thought you were talking about some spam acronym. Anyway as for my own backgroung it’s a BS and MS in electrical engineering, not the typical math-phobic English lit background most lawyers have.

- “you have to realize that if you are in fact pro-nuclear you are unlike most of your global warming ilk. Most of them are either too misanthropic or scientifically illiterate to favor nuclear power: they either do not understand why it would be superior in every way to other forms of energy production, or they do understand and and for this reason want to oppose it. None of your comrades are genuine environmentalists if they do not actively push for nuclear power. Instead they are rotten watermelons.”

Yes, I have always preferred nuclear over much dirtier coal, and you and I have had this conversation before.

good man!

But this railing against anti-nuclear folks misunderstands them, and that their opposition has had its roots in an abusive big government (think of Hanoi Jane and China Syndrome),

Except that these people are for big government.

as is of a kind with that simply NIMBYism that arises because government has decided that it gets to license energy projects of every kind.

the anti-nuclear types are in favor of the state having the right to license these things.

If governments got out of the business of giving corporations licenses to do what locals oppose (and simply strictly enforced property rights instead – my separate point about limited owner liability related to this), we`d have none of this continuing fight over the wheel of government.

Okay. Sounds reasonable.

While I prefer nuclear power, I think we need to get the federal government out of the way and not shower it with more subsidies.

of course.

Tokyo (I`m excising the rest of my name for purposes of this thread; like you I agree that I should be kept at several arms` lengths)

no idea waht you are talking about

TokyoTom November 3, 2009 at 11:33 pm

sean: “there seem to be an awful lot of poorly thought out arguments on this comments page.”

I`m inclined to agree; some comments seem entirely misplaced!

mpolzkill: “does it bother you, comfort and aid you’ve provided to this particularly nasty Statist with the cartoonish depiction you’ve drawn of us all because Mr. Kinsella posted a letter?”

Alot of things bother me, including the way that libertarians act in shallow and highly partisan ways that practically forces “cartoonish” pictures of themselves on others. Why does this bother me? Because it represents libertarians doing their best to blunt their own potential effectiveness, and because I care about the way we are destroying commons around the world:
http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2007/09/28/too-many-or-too-few-people-does-the-market-provide-an-answer.aspx

Quiggin has long experience with libertarians in his own neck of the woods; if I`ve influenced him at all it has been to show him that some libertarians can talk about practical climate politics, without reflexively discounting science or resorting to ad homs. If you think I`ve done anything unfair I`m all ears, but I think your focus is better directed at others here.

- “incredulity that you think you can positively influence this gang (unless it’s the gang at the Hague you have in sight; same deal at any rate) and the teeming masses of infantile Americans. That would be the same gang who emits more carbon in stupidly policing the world than scores of entire countries emit in all activities.”

Most recently, the gang that wants to police the world has been the “conservatives”.

But as to influencing “this gang”, isn`t influencing others precisely what any libertarianism worth its salt is all about? If it`s a fool`s errand, then again, why does anyone here – or anywhere else, for that matter – bother?

Aren`t there signs of hope, when the Nobel is given to people like Elinor Ostrom, precisely for pointing out how damaging centrally-led “development” efforts have been to community-managed open-access resources? http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/10/16/elinor-ostrom-austrian-praise-for-the-nobel-laureate-and-a-reprise-of-my-posts-on-her-thoughts-on-how-human-communities-successly-manage-commons.aspx

I realize I may be lost; that`s why it shows up in my blog title. Thank you for trying to guide me.

Tokyo
Tom

matt November 4, 2009 at 1:46 am

Bala: “The real problem is your idea of a “global problem” that “needs to be solved”. IMO, all problems are faced by individuals and it is the individuals concerned who have a need to solve them.”
Ok instead of calling it a “global problem” let’s call it a problem that all individuals on this planet face, fine with me. The question remains, how are you going to solve that problem?

“There could be a million good business opportunities out there. My opposition is to the involvement of Government in the process”.
The problem is that the only business interest is making money. And dealing with waste as a sideproduct of production only costs money and diminishes their profits. That’s why there’s so much illegal dumping of waste, because that’s cheaper then having it recycled. And there is no cost to the company in pumping CO2 in the air. That’s the whole problem. If it were a closed system the complete free market would work. If the costs of end waste products would have to be dealt with by each company and each individual the system would work perfectly. But the costs are not included.

“On CO2 vs toxic waste, please note the point I made about probability of harm caused by CO2 and certainty of harm caused by toxic waste. That’s why I think you are wrong in equating them.”
Your “probability” point doesn’t make sense. Almost everything is a probability. If we cross a highway blindfolded the chances of dying are not absolute. They are very likely. That’s why I say let’s not do that. But you say: “you can not be sure we die when we cross the road blind folded, so let’s still do it”. Or the weather. If my weatherman says “there’s a 90% chance of rain tomorrow” I decide to take my rain coat with me, just to be sure. You seem to say “there’s still a 10% chance it stays dry so no need to take any precautions”
Now, to get back to the CO2: the fact is that it’s very likely it’s causing global warming. Much smarter people then us, thousands of scientists around the world have discovered that in many decades of work.

But it seems you don’t believe them. So let’s not discuss this any further. If you want, just answer my first question about how a system with no rules or regulation is going to solve the climate/pollution problem. As I see it, somehow, someone must set some simple rules, to steer the direction of the system. So as a simple example: at the gas station: tax the dirty gas with 25% and directly deduce that 25% from the cleanest gas (or clean electricity in the near future). It’s too bad such a rule is needed, but it’s the only way to steer the system in to a cleaner one. The involvement of government is minimal in this case. people are stll free to buy the dirty gas. But the incentives to choose the clean one are such that more people will choose that one. And then companies will jump on the opportunity to create clean vehicles that use that green energy. Etc

newson November 4, 2009 at 3:33 am

so matt, you believe the un is an effective organ?

TokyoTom November 4, 2009 at 4:02 am

Stephan, thanks for your response.

- “I don’t blame the victims or the few people on the right side for not finding the magic words to stop the statists from hurting us.”

Sure you do; we are all “victims” of public utility monopolies and their investors and regulators. You just like to bash those victims who want to do something about it, and who think that they have to be wrestling for control over the regulators (probably because they don`t understand the source of the problem or consider it worthwhile to pursue that angle). Are you really suggesting that consumers should just be quiescent, or are you not willing to think up libertarian-acceptable ways for them to change the situation?

- “And as for those who want “increased consumer choice,” I dunno, maybe b/c they are just socialists who are not our allies.”

My own view is that corporate statism, particularly in the power sector, virtually compels those want to see change to fight over government. I don`t see why libertarians can`t be sympathetic about the problem, while being resolute about the direction of change. Kinda like how Lew Rockwell was, here:
http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/04/23/in-which-i-applaud-another-balanced-productive-post-by-dr-reisman.aspx

- Of course I agree on corporate taxes, as was evident from my initial comment. It`s funny that your lack of reading (and assumption that I`m a comrade of rotten watermelons) leads you presume I think otherwise.

- My background isn`t “the typical math-phobic English lit background” either; I had a full year of pre-med at Georgetown, and continued with physics, two years of economics, psych & more biology.

- Yes, “the anti-nuclear types are in favor of the state having the right to license these things.” My point is just that libertarians should not forget that the reason they are that way is the heavy role of government in the sector.

- BTW, your comment on a “libertarian” approach to the open-air use of atom bombs intrigues me. You might recall that we discussed it at my blog on the above-linked Rockwell post. To move the discussion along, I think I`ll pull it out into a separate post.

To mpolzkill & others: you might note my two comments to John Quiggin, here:

http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/11/04/john-quiggin-plays-pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey-with-quot-libertarians-and-delusionism-quot.aspx

http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/11/04/a-few-more-comments-to-john-quiggin-on-climate-and-libertarian-principles.aspx

TT

Bala November 4, 2009 at 4:39 am

matt,

” The question remains, how are you going to solve that problem? ”

So you are asking me how I am going to solve that problem. Which problem? I don’t see any. I still haven’t bought into what I call the hysteria. I’ll worry about that if and when the problem hits me. Until then, I’ll hedge my bets.

” thousands of scientists around the world have discovered that in many decades of work. ”

And what have they discovered other than a truckload of probabilities and no certain answers? Ans what about all those bureaucrats on the IPCC? I guess they are engaged in scientific research as well.

” If my weatherman says “there’s a 90% chance of rain tomorrow” I decide to take my rain coat with me, just to be sure. ”

How would you like it if the government decreed that everytime the weatherman announces that there’s a 90% chance of rain tomorrow, you will have to necessarily take your raincoat with you, failing which you are liable to pay a fine or, worse, face a jail sentence?

Notice how your own example is one of very private action? That’s exactly how it should be even if the GW & CC scare were real.

” If you want, just answer my first question about how a system with no rules or regulation is going to solve the climate/pollution problem. ”

I am not the free market. I am just an individual leading my life. I am incapable of offering any solutions. So, what now? Is coercing me justified?

” someone must set some simple rules, …. tax the dirty gas with 25% ….. It’s too bad such a rule is needed, but it’s the only way to steer the system in to a cleaner one. ”

Ah!!! There come your taxes. How do you plan to counter my fundamental opposition to taxes of all kinds as nothing more than robbery?

And I guess, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right?

This is the heart of the problem. I am saying that even if there is a problem, leave it to to market and get the government out of it. You are insisting that the market cannot and will not handle it and hence the “benevolent” hand of government is necessary to “gently” coerce people along the “right” path.

I think the divisions are now clear and we may stop this discussion with this. Thanks for pulling along.

matt November 4, 2009 at 5:21 am

“I am incapable of offering any solutions. So, what now? Is coercing me justified?.”

So indeed it is clear now. There are serious problems and you don’t have any solutions. The only thing you do is reject the only solution – even if it’s not perfect – that is available. That is very weak, to say the least.

You have a problem with coercing. Well I have a problem with you polluting the clean air I breath and destroying the possibility of our children to live their lives as well. The whole issue you still fail to see is that your “freedom” is causing problems for me and others. I would be fine with you having unlimited freedom if you were living on a remote planet of your own. But you’re not.

Shay November 4, 2009 at 6:40 am

matt wrote, “So indeed it is clear now. [some people believe] There are serious problems and you don’t have any solutions [to these problems some people believe in]. The only thing you do is reject the only solution [to what you see as a non-problem] – even if it’s not perfect [and assumes many unproven things and will exert huge costs on everyone] – that is available. That is very weak, to say the least.”

There, fixed that for you.

BTW, there is a huge problem I believe exists, and I believe the only viable solution is for you to send me $10 a day for the next year. Contact me privately and I’ll give you the address to send to. Thanks.

TokyoTom November 4, 2009 at 7:18 am

Bala:

- “I am not the free market. I am just an individual leading my life. I am incapable of offering any solutions. So, what now? Is coercing me justified?”

- “This is the heart of the problem. I am saying that even if there is a problem, leave it to to market and get the government out of it. You are insisting that the market cannot and will not handle it and hence the “benevolent” hand of government is necessary to “gently” coerce people along the “right” path.”

These questions are indeed the heart of the problem for any freedom-lover.

Let me just point that in this case we are dealing with a true open access commons. Empircal research by Nobel Prize-winner Elinor Ostrom on many examples of the management of open-access (as well as your own common sense) tells us that these resources can be managed effectively only if there are usage rules and sanctions if the rules are broken. Even if we faced a perfect an-cap situation and there were no governments, our society would eventually evolve rules and sanctions to deal with the atmospheric commons, and to the individual, those rules and sanctions still look like coercion.

Libertarians can say they prefer the rules that we would evolve in such a society, but they should realize that coercion will always be there.

TT

Shay November 4, 2009 at 7:54 am

TokyoTom, I think the issue here is whether releasing CO2 into the atmosphere even poses a problem. If it’s a problem, then it should be treated like dumping trash on someone else’s property without permission. If it’s not a problem, then it should be treated like releasing water vapor into the air.

mpolzkill November 4, 2009 at 8:33 am

Thanks for your reply to parts of my reply, Tom. I’ll try tonight to read your replies to this Quiggin propagandist. Sorry, but it looks like his distortions pack a lot more punch than your reasoning. A lie can circle the globe before the truth can put its boots on, after all.

In that vein, “I…smell a big, fat commie rat” (General Buck Turgidson):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/6491195/Al-Gore-could-become-worlds-first-carbon-billionaire.html

mpolzkill November 4, 2009 at 8:45 am

Time for one quick response, Tom, you said, “Most recently, the gang that wants to police the world has been the ‘conservatives’.”

I don’t understand the relevance. At any rate, you mean the Republican party I take it. “Most recent” is today, and it is now the Dem wing’s turn to run the gang’s perpetual war for perpetual peace, and that is what they are doing and will continue to do until they run us all into the ground. I can’t see how anything is more important than withdrawing our consent and assistance in their crimes and convincing others to join us in ending this empire, however impossible you think that is.

matt November 4, 2009 at 9:05 am

me: how are you going to solve problem X?
you: there is no problem X.
me: if there were a problem X, how would you solve it?
you: there is no problem X.

Lol, that’s one way to deal with problems. I’m still waiting for an answer.. guess I shouldn’t expect one

newson November 4, 2009 at 9:29 am

let’s call in team america, world police, they’ll punch out a global solution to problem X.

Stephan Kinsella November 4, 2009 at 9:46 am

TT:

- “I don’t blame the victims or the few people on the right side for not finding the magic words to stop the statists from hurting us.”

Sure you do; we are all “victims” of public utility monopolies and their investors and regulators.

Those who do the regulating, and cause it–and support it–are not victims.

You just like to bash those victims who want to do something about it, and who think that they have to be wrestling for control over the regulators (probably because they don`t understand the source of the problem or consider it worthwhile to pursue that angle).

I fail to see the relevance of your theories about who I like to “bash”, whatever that means. The question is what actions and policies are just.

Are you really suggesting that consumers should just be quiescent, or are you not willing to think up libertarian-acceptable ways for them to change the situation?

Your query is incoherent and/or makes too many assumptions. Why would I have a view on what consumers “should” do. What do you mean, “quiescent”? What situation? Why should consumers, qua consumers, try to change “the situation”?

My own view is that corporate statism, particularly in the power sector, virtually compels those want to see change to fight over government.

Sure. And vice-versa: the statism of people makes corporatism inevitable.

I don`t see why libertarians can`t be sympathetic about the problem, while being resolute about the direction of change.

we can, but what does “being sympathetic” have ot do with anything? You environuts often get all liberal arts emotional on us.

- Of course I agree on corporate taxes, as was evident from my initial comment. It`s funny that your lack of reading (and assumption that I`m a comrade of rotten watermelons) leads you presume I think otherwise.

I don’t see the relevance of your observation that something seems “funny” to you. And you are implicitly a comrade of rotten watermelons, are you not? They, like you, accept the state’s line and are happy to cede power to the state to “make things better.”

- My background isn`t “the typical math-phobic English lit background” either; I had a full year of pre-med at Georgetown, and continued with physics, two years of economics, psych & more biology.

Good, now that we have irrelevant credentials out of the way, let’s stick to substance.

- Yes, “the anti-nuclear types are in favor of the state having the right to license these things.” My point is just that libertarians should not forget that the reason they are that way is the heavy role of government in the sector.

the reason for this is the populace’s false views about the legitimacy of the state. The people are to blame.

Gil November 4, 2009 at 10:02 am

Isn’t that the point Shay – no one ‘owns’ the atmosphere? Hence a Libertarian lawyer in a ‘natural law court’ would argue anyone can dump whatever they like in the atmosphere. An example comes from The Simpsons Movie – Homer disposing of a bee’s nest in Ned Flanders mailbox is in violation of private property whereas Homer disposing the manure silo in the lake didn’t violate any rights as per Libertarianism because no one owns the lake.

Bala November 4, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Matt,

Here’s my version of our conversation.

You: I think I have a problem
Me: What makes you so sure you have one?
You: Now that you ask, I am quite sure I have a problem
Me: Once again, what makes you quite sure?
You: A lot of people who I think know a lot more than I do think I have a problem
Me:And what is the problem?
You: I think it is A
Me: What makes you so sure it is A?
You: The same lot of people who I think know a lot more than I do say my problem is A
Me: OK!! So what?
You: I think it is because of you
Me: Me??? What did I do?
You: You did B
Me: What’s the connection?
You: I think there is a pretty strong connection. So strong that I think B causes A
Me: What makes you think so?
You: The same lot of people who I think know a lot more than I do say they think B causes A
Me: But do you know why they think so?
You: I don’t know. But they say they think they are quite sure. 90% sure at that. I’m sure it can’t get better than that.
Me: OK! So what?
You: You have to stop doing B. At least you need to do less of B. You can do X quantity of B
Me: But then I do B with what is my property. Who are you to tell me what I can do with it?
You: What do I care? See all the data gathered by the same lot of people who I think know a lot more than I do. It establishes with 90% certainty that B causes A
Me: How does that make you so sure?
You: 98% of all such people say they think they are quite certain. So, I think I am certain.
Me: But then doing B is an integral part of my business.
You: Oh!! Is that so? I thought it was a pastime. Rather, I thought you were an evil person out to make it impossible for me to live. OK. I’ll grant a small concession. You could do more B provided you spend money doing C
Me: But why C?
You: Because I think it diminishes the problem A.
Me: What makes you think so?
You: the same lot of people who I think know a lot more than I do say they think so
Me: What if I can’t because I have just about enough time to run my business
You: You are making life difficult for yourself. OK! You could buy extra permits to do B from P. He does a lot of C to earn permits which he can then sell to nasty people like you who insist on doing B
Me: What if I do B without doing C or buying B-permits from P?
You: Too bad. I’ll have to call in the 800 pound Gorilla on my side. He’s called Government. He’ll beat the daylights out of you if you do not.
Me: But then that’s wrong because I would have done no wrong.
You: So what? 99% of the people in this country think like me. The Gorilla is literally ours now. Or so we think.
Me: ????

TokyoTom November 4, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Stephan:

- “They, like you, accept the state’s line and are happy to cede power to the state to “make things better.”"

Except I DON`T “accept the state`s line”, nor am I “happy to cede power to the state”, which is precisely why I bother to interrupt your fantasies here.

This, in fact, represents the fallacy that is at work in climate change discussions here – and that almost completely vitiates the libertarian message – namely, that if one concurs that we`ve got a potential problem, then they must then agree to the statist agenda.

So instead of any effort to engage ON the libertarian agenda, we get guys like you pandering – with demonstrable nonsense from guys like Harvey – to libertarians who hope the statists and the purported problem will just kindly go away.

What a great way for libertarians to muzzle themselves, and to stand by helplessly instead of weighing in.

Trying to reassure yourself and your buddies that the man with a gun is either deluded or trying to take over the world is hardly either reassuring, or a step on the way to getting him to put the gun down.

Nor is calling those who thinks conversation may be more efficiacious a “comrade to rotten watermelons” in any way helpful, unless the goal is simply to reinforce the echo chamber.

Watermelons, ahh, watermelons! How helpful, and so much fun to bandy about this little bit of ad hom! Is it getting time for Austrians once more to gather `roun the fire, and roast some watermelons? Holiday joy: roasting “watermelons” on an open pyre! A little eliminationist fantasy is not that far away ….

As I noted in my post:explaining the use of the “watermelon” ad hom:

“watermelon” is a venerable ad hominem here, useful for Miseseans to put fingers in their ears and dismiss what practically everyone who disagrees with them on climate change – from our national academies of science on down – has to say.

The trick is to first dismiss the evil “enviros” – you know, that class of rent-seekers that Rothbard and others tell us were created when statist corporations managed to subvert common law protections against polution damage to property – by focussing on their efforts to use the state to control corprations, while resolutely ignoring not only corporate statism but what Austrian economics tells us about how markets and private transaction are inefficient with respect to resources that are not clear owned or protected by enforceable property rights.

Then, having dismissed those wacky “watermelons”, we can simply ignore everyone else, by jeering at the enviros and thereby implicitly imputing to the whole scientific, economic, business and government community the same malevolent and stupid misanthropism.

Neat trick, isn`t it?

I

OW, enviros should be burned at the stake for the heresy of trying to use the state to solve a possible problem, and everyone else, who have gullibly been corrupted by them, ignored. In this way, we can cleanse the body politic and avoid serious mistakes. See?

Serious people know that only irreproachable commentators like Dr. Reisman get to suggest that we use the state to address possible climate change:

“there is a case for considering the possible detonation, on uninhabited land north of 70° latitude, say, of a limited number of hydrogen bombs. … This is certainly something that should be seriously considered by everyone who is concerned with global warming and who also desires to preserve modern industrial civilization and retain and increase its amenities. If there really is any possibility of global warming so great as to cause major disturbances, this kind of solution should be studied and perfected. Atomic testing should be resumed for the purpose of empirically testing its feasibility.”

We can distinguish you from Dr. Reisman, Stephan, since you helpfully insist that the state should not engage in this testing, so that we must first e the holding of nuclear weapons, so the firms and individuals, unhindered by the state can engage in such experimentation. Such clear-mindedness is commendable, since freedom-loving commenters here or elsewhere seldom consider the difficult statist elements implicit in most discussions of active “geo-engineering” to dampen or reverse any climate change problem.

But while we`re on the subject of criticizing “watermelons” and their supposed “comrades”-in-arms, one wonders when aloof purists like you will ever deign to criticize fellow libertarians like Rob Bradley and Bob Murphy, who are also – actively engaged in this statist discussion shame! – but on behalf of the fossil fuel firms and utilities that until now have been the most successful rent-seekers.

So far, all we see to with regard to the way libertarians actively defend successful rent-seeking is a studied indifference.

- “now that we have irrelevant credentials out of the way, let’s stick to substance.”

Absolutely; I was just concerned not to leave you hanging out there on the “irrelevant” limb all by yourself.

Best,

TT

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