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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14912/zimbabwe-knows-how-to-create-climate-regulations/

Zimbabwe knows how to create climate regulations

December 6, 2010 by

The country that has completely demolished its own economy by employing socialism is looking to trash other world economies as well—through climate legislation. Its politicians can’t successfully run their own country, but they think they know what’s good for the world.

“Progress has been made in some areas,” Zimbabwe’s Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe said. But she said the talks were “going backwards” on important issues. “We need to redouble our efforts.”

I don’t think Mukahana-Sangarwe sees the irony—being from Zimbabwe—in her comments.

{ 162 comments }

Robert December 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I take it you are not a fan of ” climate legislation.” How would you suggest we deal with the problem of anthropogenic global warming?

Seattle December 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Property rights. When polluters are held liable for damages to the property of others you can expect them to clean up their act real quick.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm

How would you use property rights in the case of something like carbon dioxide, where one person’s output damages the property of everyone on earth to a difficult-to-calculate degree?

I’m not at all hostile to using an ownership/damages model, but how exactly would it work?

The_Orlonater December 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Either the Coase Theorem or tort law at major “polluters,” in the case of CO2 I don’t think the opinion is very much settled nor is the damage from this “pollution” visible.

AubreyHerbert December 6, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Begs the question fallacy.

Really though; let your learning begin – http://mises.org/rothbard/lawproperty.pdf

Robert December 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm

You should really learn what a logical fallacy is and how it works before you embarrass yourself; there’s a difference between begging the question (which didn’t happen here) and changing the subject (to your conspiracy theorizing and ideology-driven psuedoscience).

Not anticipating and addressing your dysfunctional thought process is not “begging the question”; you’ve simply failed to appreciate what the question is.

Richard December 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Do you mean before Kel stops beating his wife, or after?

Kel Kelly December 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

She deserved it.

Sprachethiklich December 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm

“She” renders “deserved it” redundant. Just kidding, just kidding!!

Kel Kelly December 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Nothing. (If AGW even exists.) See the section starting on p.404 in my book: http://mises.org/resources/5642/The-Case-for-Legalizing-Capitalism

Robert December 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Kel, you allude to the negative externalities associated with air pollution, and I’d like to flesh out the implications of that with regards to well-mixed greenhouse gases. What kind of a system would you propose to make polluters pay for the damage that they do when they release greenhouse gases, so as to avoid the tragedy of the commons?

Kel Kelly December 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I’m sorry, Robert, I just do not have the time. Search the Mises site for info on this. Walter Block has done work on it, I think. I’m sure others have. Also, you might want to listen to George Reisman’s 2004 lecture on the Environment.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 5:09 pm

One vote for “Sure, I COULD tell you, but — Hey, look at the time!”

Kel Kelly December 6, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Robert, you are trying to say that because I will not take time out of my day to indulge you, I don’t know what I’m talking about?

Some of us work for a living, and don’t have time to blog all day. I spent more than 5 hours out of my week last week appeasing others like you. I don’t have time this week. I was kind enough to give you a reply. I could have ignored you. You’ve got balls asking me to take time to write you up a detailed defense when I don’t need to defend myself. I wrote a whole book defending myself. Go and read it.

Additionally, you pretended not to be confrontational, yet you are. Fine, you want to fight, I’ll fight. Come back in January when I have more time: I’ll go head to head with you. (This is like high schoolers meeting in the parking lot after school. Pathetic that socialists challenge constantly, and still can’t win).

The_Orlonater December 6, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Robert, you’re being intellectually lazy if you expect Kel Kelly to be some kind of master scholar on environmental economics. Why don’t you search Mises.org, or PERC, CATO, look at Harold Demsetz’s work, Walter Block’s work?

Kel Kelly December 6, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Good point, Orlanator. I state in my book that I’m not a scientist. I referenced the work of others. I made no argument today which includes property rights on this issue, yet Robert asks me to defend that issue. I could go and reference the free-market people who are specialists on the environment and property rights, but Robert could go and do it himself.

But I don’t need that knowledge to back Robert into a corner. I only need to know economics. Come back in January, Robert. Come taunt me again!

Robert December 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Kel, I read the chapter you referred me to, and as regards both environmentalism and global warming, you do not know what you are talking about.

Be that as it may, I asked a question, you pointed me to a piece of your writing that did not answer the question, and then you fled.

You’re right, you did not have to engage when I very politely asked a specific question. But having done so, you ought to give a real answer, and not vague generalities. What do you think it would take, a couple of paragraphs? Certainly less than what you just wrote.

I have no interest in “fighting” with you. I’d like to see how you would address this very simple thought experiment. Recasting the discussion as a fight is just another way for you to avoid laying out your own ideas.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Orlonater, why would he need to be a master scholar in environmental economics to propose an approach to global warming? Is this like Scientology — no answers until you reach level O12?

He pointed me to his own work, I read it and asked a question about it. I did not ask him to defend anything, I asked him how, specifically, he would see his airy generalizations applied to the actual problem itself. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask.

You must be accustomed to a high level of sycophantic affirmation for these very simple questions to be considered confrontational.

Peter Surda December 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Robert,

your argument might be taken more seriously if you didn’t have a record of running away from debates.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Peter, the moment I post anything here I get a plethora of responses. I respond as promptly and thoroughly as I can, but eventually the thread drops from view. I’m not running away from anything and if there is a previous discussion point you’d like to revisit, feel free. But I don’t think you can really seriously think that because you managed to get the last word in somewhere, that you prevailed and I ran away. Just like Kel, I have a life and a job, and the back-and-forth is not my highest priority.

Kel Kelly December 6, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Robert, you are saying things that are in fact, not true. That means you are being dishonest.

You said:

“Be that as it may, I asked a question, you pointed me to a piece of your writing that did not answer the question, and then you fled.”

The book DID address the question. You asked what should be done about AGW. THAT, was your question. My answer was “nothing.” I referred you to my book for a fuller explanation of that answer, because I don’t have the time to write it again for you.

Your next question, about externalities, was a DIFFERENT question. It was a new point, and a new question.Since I didn’t have time go into this deeper and deeper with you, you accuse me of not answering your question.

That is untrue and dishonest.

Those are the facts, the record is here for us all to see.I did not start something I didn’t finish. You started it, I didn’t have time for it.

Am I wrong?

Richie December 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I thought “michael” disappeared? Looks like he/they has/have a new pseudonym.

Robert December 7, 2010 at 10:26 am

Actually, Kel, you do not say “nothing.” Your chapter is all over the map. You say “no problem” citing various crackpots and widely discredited denialist tripe. You abuse environmentalists, displaying a pricely ignorance of all of the market-based environmental initiates that have been embraced by them over the last thirty years. You also say “If it is a problem, there’s nothing we could do, so we should all adapt” (you don’t say how). And there is also a paragraph that says, yes, there can be negative externalities from air pollution and those have to be dealt with. But you don’t say how.Basically, the parts of your chapter that are not vague are entirely wrong, and the parts that are not wrong are entirely vague.

Kel Kelly December 7, 2010 at 11:24 am

Robert: you are dishonest and disreputable. Whether I said “nothing” or not, my previous assertions of your incorrect statements and dishonesty are 100% valid. You did not address those. Why? Because you knew that you had lied and intentionally mislead.

As for the book, it clearly explains “nothing” and what “nothing” entails. Because I don’t go into detail to show what Sally, Ted, Malcolm, and Susie will do to adjust to changing conditions I “failed to explain”? Please. The book is about economics. The chapter is about the economics of environmentalism (and did you read all my disclaimers, clarifications, and foot notes? I don’t think so). It’s not a book that intends to go into detail about how each and every individual will adjust to changing temperatures as they have for the past 40 million years.

That’s so unbelievably stupid that you would argue such an illogical position.

You are just saying stuff to say it because you have nothing to say that’s intelligent.

Robert December 8, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Kel, adding more ad hominem isn’t an argument. You can pile on as many adjectives as you like, however it isn’t going to change the fact that your chapter does not answer the question posed. Obviously you have a lot of experience drawing people into flame wars (“Whining . . . insult . . . insult . . . Am I wrong?”) which must be very helpful in distracting people from your shoddy economic theories, evasive verbiage, and scientific ignorance. Not interested.

If you prefer, we can give you a second vote, for straight denialism.

Kel Kelly December 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Robert, your lack of defense of your dishonesty confirms your dishonesty. Your economic–and scientific–ignorance is another matter.

I still invite you to come back next month. Rules of the game: you must answer all questions, in a specific manor–no evading!. In that case, where we each hold the other to the fire, you will not last very long. You must also make your real ID public for all to see, so that you have something on the line.

Robert December 12, 2010 at 11:08 am

Kel, the total failure of your confused and self-contradictory claims is underlined by your desperate flinging of ad hominem. You’ve completely failed to answer the question posed, and your hysterical insults punctuate the fragility of your ill-thought-out fanaticism.

Robert December 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Postscript: isn’t it interesting how Kel had all the time in the world to whine, and call names, badger and strut, but still maintained he didn’t have the time to explain a single paragraph of his own work?

He seems to want to end on a tone of feverish backpedaling . . . now he will be back in a month, IF I answer a series of questions, and IF I provide biographical details . . . so that “I have something on the line.” If he weren’t such an obvious hysteric and coward, I’d think he was trying to be threatening.

Horst Muhlmann December 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm

The same way we deal with the problem of the Easter Bunny. And for the same reason.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm

So we have one vote, from Horst, for “Bury head in the sand and deny the science, because my ideology leaves me no way of coping with the reality.”

Denial is a common reaction. But I hope there are some people out there on this blog that can do a little better.

The_Orlonater December 6, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Robert, now your assuming that AGW is credible science, are you positive on that?

Robert December 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Yes, I am. But rather than argue the science, which is not going to get my question answered, I have as that the people denying the science address it as a hypothetical question — what if? See below.

Horst Muhlmann December 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

If you want to bring enslave the entire world, and bring wholesale starvation to billions of people, the very first step is to PROVE your baseless assertions. Once you do that, we’ll discuss what to do about it. Name calling doesn’t count, even though that’s all you got.

Come on. Bring some proof of AGW.

So no. Basically it is one vote for “The only difference between Robert and Pol Pot is the ability to get away with it.”

Robert December 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I’m going to let Horst vote twice, second vote is for “I have no answer but the question scares me enough to rant hysterically about billions of dead and Pol Pot.”

Also a common response, but not very helpful.

Horst Muhlmann December 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

So in other words, you have no proof.

Looks like you are the one who is burying your head in the sand and denying the science.

Robert December 7, 2010 at 10:31 am

No Horst, there’s lots of proof of the science, but not a lot of proof that debating it with somebody so stupid that they rant about “billions of dead” will lead to increased understanding.

Try this: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

Horst Muhlmann December 7, 2010 at 11:00 am

Baseless assertions from your fellow leftists isn’t proof. Try again. Here’s a start. But since you have already shown yourself to be a science denier, I’m sure it won’t help.

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

Robert December 8, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Horst, I’m sorry you’re in denial as to the science endorsed by >95% of climatologist, along with every major scientific organization in the world, petroleum geologists excepted. If the only way you can preserve your delusions is to denounce the vast majority of the world’s scientists as “leftists,” then I can only suggest you add another layer of tinfoil to your hat . . . the leftist scientists may being trying to thought-probe you at this very moment.

Lee December 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Robert,
what “science” would that be. The “science” that was beaten to death at EAU till the desired outcome was achieved ? That the “science” you`re referring too ?
Then, when real scientist`s asked to review the data, the story from Mann, Jones and the rest was…sorry a dog ate my tree rings.
You`re right about one thing, your ideology leaves you no way of coping with the reality.

Robert December 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Lee, conditions in reality are sunny, slightly rainy, but very pleasant. Come visit anytime.

Vlad Popovic December 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm

AGW may not be real, and even if it is real, a government cure is sure to be worse than doing nothing.

The idea that the government can optimize the weather by taxing people is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm

. . . and we have one vote, from Vlad, for “I don’t know but Howdy Bob the Guvrment is bad.”

Again, looking for an actual plan, not tinfoil-hat denial, not useless generalities about markets and the government.

What is the plan? Even if you want to stick to global warming denial, you should be able to address a hypothetical question of how you would address the problem if greenhouse gas emissions were highly destructive. So for the deniers specifically, my question is, what if?

Alistair December 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I don’t think anyone particularly cares to go over this again with someone who might simply ignore everything we say and discard it as “generalities” . I’m not saying you necessarily won’t listen, except past experience tells me, and I’m assuming others, that it’s generally how it turns out.

However, aside from the tinfoil hat analogy, you’ve been reasonably polite, so I’ll take a stab at it.

You ask what if? Well I’m not a denier (which sounds a lot a like heretic when I hear it spoken), I’m fairly certain the climate is changing and will change, whether it’s as a result of humans and in regard to the scientific accuracy of the various studies and modeling, I still have some small and severe doubts respectively. But that aside, my answer to what the “the plan” might be is that I plan on taking care of my self and my family, regardless of the outcome.
Ethically, no one has any right to foist their own plans on me, or I on them, so I can’t advocate anything involving aggression, which I would think most others here would agree with. Aggression is central to everything the State does,by way of taxation and control, so that immediately colors any attempts on the part of governments to “save the day” with unacceptable criminality.

It would probably take all day, and a lot of space, for me to got through my own government’s plan, deconstructing it and explaining the various reasons why none of it can work and is totally immoral. The Australian Government plans to essentially adopt the US policy, as we are a good little imperial vassal, so it would be pertinent. So, I’m not going to bother with all that, but will just say, that if you think on cap and trade for a while and how these various pseudo market schemes are intended to work, they essentially amount to the government selling the right to pollute to the very polluters, as well as in many cases partially subsidizing the purchases the emissions credits. Now, this is important in relations to the Austrian view of what should be done (more accurately of what should always have been done. ie: Just enforcement of property rights established first through homesteading ) because in the case of a property owner seeking damages after suffering harm to assets or body because of these emissions, assuming his case is certainly justified and should be won, would then be faced with the legal argument, which would likely even render even the strongest case thrown out, that the polluter had already purchased and been granted the right to do this damage by the government when it had purchased its credits from the government or the fiat market. The implication is that cap and trade schemes or whatever they may be called where one lives, being the “worlds” leading idea on the combating of climate change (amusing, if not disturbing, language if you think about it) would in fact be granting both power and in many cases wealth to the very people responsible for pollution in the first place, leaving ordinary consumers and property owners helplessly facing unimaginably high energy costs.
And this is just one example of how insane this whole thing is.

Ultimately no one can really suggest anything more specific than the establishing property rights and just enforcement. Not likely to happen even locally let alone world over, but it’s the only thing to suggest. However, my best guess based on even the worst case scenario predictions and studies, would be for governments to forfeit control and protection of state “owned” forests to entrepreneurial homesteaders and any private settler. This would in all likelihood relatively quickly eliminate a very large percentage of the entire planets natural greenhouse emissions through a reduction in forest fires. Depending on the accuracy of some reports on exactly how much carbon we emit relative to the planets natural tendency, might in fact negate human greenhouse emissions entirely depending on how good people and businesses get at preventing and fighting fires on their doorsteps. Another idea is wholesale global legalization of cannabis and hemp, which grows quickly enough to absorb a lot of CO2, and can be used to produce cleaner fuels and textiles. (It’s been suggested that the whole problem of GW or climate change might have been completely avoided had the US not criminalized marijuana and forced the rest of the world to comply) Obviously, no government is considering either very obvious idea that would cost no one anything, which does lend a lot of credibility to the idea that they aren’t really interested in stopping a catastrophe, but in taking control of our lives. If you don’t get what we mean by property rights or homesteading, do read the suggestions Kel Kelly gave you, because, really, no one has the time to rewrite whole books in blog post for you.

After writing all that, I don’t really intend to continue doing this. I just thought I should give some explanation in the hopes you don’t go away thinking we’re all a bunch of loons simply because we’re a bit too tired of the whole thing to bother much with explaining things in comments. However, this is a really easy site to navigate. It’s a lot easier simply to go and read the books and articles than to demand answers in the comments section of a very brief blog post, that I think is probably only going to be glanced at.

Robert December 7, 2010 at 10:40 am

I don’t think its really all that demanding to ask people what positive approach they would suggest to a problem, if they are critical of approach X. What is the comments section of an article for, if not something like that?

I appreciate your effort at an answer, by far the most constructive effort. And, yes, I would imagine a libertarian solution would involve property rights, but where I am unclear is as to how you would apply those rights to the atmosphere, in which all the emitters effect all the people all the time, across national boundaries and over many years.

There’s a study on GISS’s website right now about forest fires; it might interest you. They do project increased fire fighting over time as part of their model. There’s like to be a natural limit to how effective this is, however, because forests have involved to burn and when all fires are surprised, eventually you get hotter, more destructive fires, owing to the cumulative burden of fuels.

Cannabis legalization is a very good idea for other reasons, but I doubt it would sequester enough carbon dioxide to effect net emissions, which run in the billions of tons per years.

Seattle December 6, 2010 at 8:10 pm

If the destructive emissions came from everywhere and it wouldn’t be possible to find a clear infringer (as would be the case if AGW is really happening, toward which I am doubtful but have an open mind), then the case is no different than if it were a natural disaster, though on a much larger scale. How does the market deal with earthquakes? Hurricanes? Volcanic eruptions? When the danger becomes apparent people can do whatever they can to mitigate the effects, if not outright stop it completely. People living in the low-lying areas where the sea level is riding will have to move. Species who will be extincted will simply have to be let go or be (expensively) preserved in artificial habitats. That is the free-market solution.

Robert December 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

Another constructive response, thank you. When the scope and intensity of the disaster are directly effected by our behavior, though, it’s more of a tragedy of the commons rather than a natural disaster, wouldn’t you say?

Seattle December 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm

The scope and intensity of every disaster is directly affected by our behavior, if “disaster” is taken to mean major destruction of property and human livelihoods (In this sense, a volcanic eruption that happens where no one lives isn’t a disaster because nobody was affected by it). If every building had the latest proper earthquake-proofing technology then major earthquakes wouldn’t be nearly as damaging as they are now.

Where global warming is concerned there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration: The relative risk factors involving the damage that GW may or may not bring, and the opportunity costs involved in various solutions. What’s clear is there’s no single solution that will work for everyone: Individual property owners have vastly different concerns and considerations to deal with. Is it cheaper to cut back on CO2 emissions or just to deal with the problems as they arise? This is an extremely complicated question that governments, due to the calculation problem, do not have the ability to answer.

Robert December 12, 2010 at 11:14 am

The scope and intensity of every disaster is directly affected by our behavior, if “disaster” is taken to mean major destruction of property and human livelihoods (In this sense, a volcanic eruption that happens where no one lives isn’t a disaster because nobody was affected by it).

But in that case, the decisions and the harms reside with the same agents, whereas in a “tragedy of the commons” the benefits are concentrated with the decision-makers, while the harms are more diffuse. Is that distinction clear? It is the primary problem of market failure as regards unowned resources. If it did not exist, anyone would have the correct incentives to manage a given resource, rather than just the owner.

Mechanized December 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Anthropogenic global warming is simply a myth and has been debunked on numerous occasions since climate-gate. It is amusing, if unfortunate, how so many individuals have naively accepted the idea.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

No, Mech, it isn’t and it hasn’t. But as I said, if you, as a denier, would like to participate in this thought exercise, you can simply treat it as a hypothetical question of how society should deal with any highly diffuse negative externality in which everyone’s conduct materially affects everyone else.

The_Orlonater December 6, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Yes, ClimateGate did in fact show that much of the research was construed in order to please the environmental movement, governments, and in order to scare the public. And also, even if there were a warming trend with increased CO2 emissions. We have to assess what we have to give up in order to stop CO2 emissions and to know whether those emissions are particularly harmful. You seem to have the naive ideal that the only difference from, say,today with practically no climate change measures(you know that’s not true, but I’m stating a hypothetical) and the day with measures in effect for a decent length of time is more taxes and less emissions. It’s not that simple.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm

No, it didn’t. Let me refer you to the Economist’s summary here: http://www.economist.com/node/14960149

I agree that we need to assess the cost of any intervention. How would you do that, and what sort of intervention would you recommend, if in fact it were proven to your satisfaction that CO2 emissions were in fact quite damaging?

Walt D. December 6, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Robert, you are wrong. From a logical point of view, there would have been no need to falsify any data if the warming that had been predicted to occur had actually occurred.
The market gives the right signal here. Why,when people in Europe are freezing their asses off, wouldn’t people be falling over themselves to go an all expenses paid boon-doggle in Cancun? Virtually nobody in Washington is attending. Compare this to the outrageous amount they spent last year attending the Copenhagen Conference. They seem to be adopting a “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” stance.
BTW has it started snowing in Cancun yet?

The_Orlonater December 6, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Regarding your 2nd point, I already said it. Tort law namely, parties who have had property damage and physical damage happen to them can litigate against companies and nearby CO2 emitting factories from compensation, but then again the company can bargain with the victim in order by, say, paying him off for his damages and other agreements that the two parties might agree to.This would probably be on a big scale; after all this has happened they would probably try to innovate for methods of trying to reduce CO2 emissions.

The_Orlonater December 6, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Thirdly , I forgot to mention that “cost” is not something that governments evaluate. It’s what individuals do.

The_Orlonater December 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Fourthly, I can point to you other articles and Steve McIntyre’s skeptic blogs if you want to play the show articles I agree with game.

Robert December 7, 2010 at 10:48 am

Walt, what data was falsified? It is a myth that “Climategate” found evidence of falsification.

Orlonater, how would you use tort law while the people affecting one another cross many different jurisdictions, and in which the number of potential suits (since everybody affects everybody else) is greater than the number of seconds since the Big Bang?

I would love to have a system based on tort law, but how would that work?

PS: Citing sources in an argument is not a “show articles I agree with game.” It’s a fundamental part of a rational discussion. You should try it.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 9:18 am

Orl slipped a description of a tort law system in with the denial:

can litigate against companies and nearby CO2 emitting factories from compensation . . .

The difficulty with this is that CO2 and methane, the two most important damaging emissions, are what is called “well-mixed” gases, meaning that their level rapidly equalizes across the atmosphere, like a thimble of ink poured into a glass of water. So the emissions of a farmer in China affect me in the US, and my emissions affect people living in Ghana, and so forth.

So unlike something like the Bhopal disaster or the recent BP spill, both the offenders and the affected are just about everyone, everywhere. It’s hard to see how to apply tort law to this situation, although the principle — that if you hurt me of my property with your emissions I’m entitled to compensation — is very sound. I discussed this further below.

nate-m December 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I take it you are not a fan of ” climate legislation.” How would you suggest we deal with the problem of anthropogenic global warming?

That’s like asking ‘What are we going to do about a supernatural being breaking into my kids bedroom and stealing his teeth from underneath their pillow’?’

Ignore it and hope people mature to the point were they start to understand why it’s so stupid to be scared about such a thing.

Sure global warming exists. The climate is changing constantly. It’s just that your wrong about the causation.

Robert December 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Another vote for denial.

Sione December 6, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Robert

Since you are positing AGW theory, it is necessary for you to prove it is correct. Go ahead. make the case and prove it.

Sione

Robert December 7, 2010 at 10:50 am

No, Sione, since you are arguing that >95% of climatologists are wrong about the climate, the burden of proof is on you to show that, just as if you wanted to argue against the theory of evolution or the law of gravity.

Sione December 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Robert

Evading again. That’s a naughty wee habit you have there.

Upon he who asserts the positive falls the burden of proof. In this case, that burden falls upon you. Since you assert AGW as factual, you bear the burden and must prove your assertion.

There is no burden to prove the negative, although in certain circumstances it may be possible to achieve a proof of the negative. Nevertheless, the burden of proof ALWAYS falls upon he who asserts the positive. There is no exception.

So, Robert, provide proof for your assertion.

Sione

Greg December 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Because clearly climatologists have no conflict in interest in stating that their services are going to be needed for a foreseeable future.

It’s like asking a bunch of geologists if we need more government funding for earthquake prediction.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 9:09 am

You think earthquakes are a conspiracy by geologists to stay in work?

Walt D. December 7, 2010 at 12:12 am

I believe that the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2007. If you don’t agree with me, that makes you a Seahawks Super Bowl denier.

Grant December 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Denial of false statement is a good thing…..Robert
see also http://www.petitionproject.org/review_article.php

Walt D. December 6, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Since the projected increase in temperature is now 1/4 of what IPCC was predicting, we don’t need to do anything.

Capt Mike December 6, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Re: Is it snowing in Cancun?
It’s 31 degrees in south Florida!!!!

Walt D. December 6, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Oh my God, Klondike and Snow, the two polar bears at SeaWorld are going to freeze! (or perhaps they will feel at home?)

Dave M December 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm

The IPCC contributes as much to meteorology as astrologers contribute to astrophysics!

Robert December 7, 2010 at 11:07 am

That’s not correct, Walt. Can you cite a source for that assertion? What the IPCC supposedly predicted, and what we’re observing?

Sione December 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Robert

So you expect Walt to provide that which you evade…. Interesting double standard you exhibit.

You need to back up your assertion of AGW by proving it. Where is you proof?

Sione

Robert December 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

No, Sione, you need to back up your assertion that >95% of the world’s climatologists are wrong about what is happening to the climate. It’s your burden of proof, do you know why? Or are you still running away from that simple question?

Bala December 12, 2010 at 11:30 am

Robert,

It is the AGW proponents who are making the assertions. Hence, the onus is on them (and you by extension) and not on people like Sione.

Robert December 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Bala, that’s your (false) assertion. Better see about proving that.

The onus is on those denying the science to make their case. Theirs is the assertion . . . an extraordinary one, requiring extraordinary evidence.

Bala December 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Robert,

That it is a science is in itself an assertion. So, the onus is still (and ultimately) on you. The one who makes a claim first is the one who has to establish it. The first claim was that of AGW proponents. Opponents are just saying that their claim does not seem justified and acceptable. So how about justifying your assertion rather than trying to slime out?

Robert December 13, 2010 at 9:36 am

Bala, the burden of proof falls on you, as it would somebody denying the earth was round(ish), or that the theory of evolution was false, or that DNA wasn’t double-stranded.

I did not make any claims at the outset; I asked a question. Those that jumped in to say the question didn’t need an answer because the theory of global warming is false made the first assertion. (However, I should also point out that the burden of proof isn’t a game of tag. You’re wrong to think the “first assertion” (which in this case belongs to the denialists anyway) determines where the burden of proof resides. If Sione ever quits bobbing and weaving and does her homework, you can learn about the actual burden of proof.)

When Arrhenius proposed the greenhouse effect in 1898, he had a burden of proof. In the ensuing hundred years, that burden has been met in spades. The onus is now on those denying that huge body of evidence to say where they find fault with the theory, why, and support their arguments with proof.

Bala December 13, 2010 at 10:49 am

Robert,

Your statements are truly hilarious. The situation is this. Proponents of AGW (and you seem to fall into that category) are making the claim that there is unprecedented global warming and that this warming is anthropogenic. This is the primary claim. Opponents of the AGW hypothesis are the ones who are refusing to accept this claim and asking for satisfactory evidence. So, the job remains that of the proponents, not of the skeptics.

Just to use your own examples, in a circumstance where the “established” and “accepted” theory is that the Earth is flat, the person making the claim that the Earth is spherical has the responsibility of justifying his claim.

You are being extremely dishonest by saying that the skeptics are making the claims. The truth is the it is the proponents of AGW who are making the claims and who need to back them up. Put in simple terms, AGW proponents are saying that the unprecedented warming is caused by human activity. Skeptics are asking for proof that it is indeed so. So am I. Would you please do that?

I don’t think I can make it any simpler than this. If you still evade the answer, I will not ask again but will stay silent with the confidence that your fundamental dishonesty stands exposed.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 11:10 am

Swing and a miss, B. You are making the assertion that I am a “proponent of AGW.” I am not; nor am I a proponent of gravity or of the theory of evolution or of the sun rising in the east. Prove your assertion.

Having place me in a made-up category, you then attribute to people in that category an assertion. So your burden, after you’ve proven that I’m in that category, is to prove every single member of that category makes the assertion you are attributing to members. Lots of work for you; better get cracking.

You introduce the made-up concept of a “primary claim” when neither logic nor rhetoric recognize. You’ve fabricated the claim of “unprecedented” global warming, which I have not claimed, and has nothing to do with the theory of AGW. Basically your comment is nothing but a whole list of new assertions you need to prove.

You have helpfully conceded one important point:

Just to use your own examples, in a circumstance where the “established” and “accepted” theory is that the Earth is flat, the person making the claim that the Earth is spherical has the responsibility of justifying his claim.

Just like any other “established” and “accepted” scientific theory, the burden falls on the people claiming the theory is false to provide evidence that this is so. But I’m a nice guy, and I will meet you more than halfway. If you will merely clearly lay out what part of the theory you disagree with and why, I’ll be happy to point you to the relevant scientific evidence.

Simply disliking the science is not an argument, nor does rejecting science that you find threatening to your belief system qualify you as a “skeptic.”

Bala December 13, 2010 at 11:38 am

Robert,

“You are making the assertion that I am a “proponent of AGW.”

No. I did not. I said “you seem to be”. Looks like you failed to comprehend.

“Just like any other “established” and “accepted” scientific theory, the burden falls on the people claiming the theory is false to provide evidence that this is so.”

To apply this principle to this discussion, you need to assume that the theory of anthropogenic global warming is established and accepted. The fact is that it is not. To establish it and get acceptance, one needs to lay out its methods, its reasoning, its data and how it uses its data to establish its conclusions. Will you please do that?

” But I’m a nice guy, and I will meet you more than halfway.”

I’m a nice guy as well (at least, so I think, though a number of other people may disagree).

” If you will merely clearly lay out what part of the theory you disagree with and why, I’ll be happy to point you to the relevant scientific evidence.’

If you will please lay out the method of the “science”, I will then point out what I am unable to agree with.

“Simply disliking the science is not an argument”

First explain why it should be considered a science at all. Once you do that, we can discuss the arguments for and against it.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm

To apply this principle to this discussion, you need to assume that the theory of anthropogenic global warming is established and accepted. The fact is that it is not.

Another assertion with no proof; you’re racking up quite a list. In point of fact, it is established and accepted, but I’ll wait for you to try and prove your assertion to the contrary to show you where you’re wrong.

If you will please lay out the method of the “science”, I will then point out what I am unable to agree with.

If you’re completely ignorant of the science, why would anyone care about your opinion as to whether it is correct or not? And if you are not completely ignorant, you do not need me to lay it out for you. You can summarize it yourself when you are explaining at which points you disagree.

Bala December 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Robert,

“In point of fact, it is established and accepted”

This is a claim as well. Unless you explain how it got established and accepted, i.e., the scrutiny its methods went through, you too are guilty of making claims.

“If you’re completely ignorant of the science, why would anyone care about your opinion as to whether it is correct or not? ”

Wait a second. Firstly, I have not expressed any opinion. Secondly, you are repeating your assertion that it is a science. Please explain first why it is a science in the first place.

Just in case you are wondering, correlation is not causation. Modelling does not establish causal relationships. So just explain how the “science” has established the causation and this discussion is over.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm

But you made your claim first, so by your logic, you need to offer an affirmative defense. I merely would predict that you will fail to make a compelling case for your assertion.

Just in case you are wondering, correlation is not causation. Modelling does not establish causal relationships.

How do these claims apply to AGW? That is what you need to elucidate.

Again, that climatology is a science is an established and accepted fact. I made no assertion to that effect; I don’t have to. You made an assertion that climatology is not a science, and it’s up to you to prove it. Remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Show your work.

Bala December 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Robert,

Let me cut a long thing short. Please explain how the “causation” bit has been established in the theory of AGW and you will have a supporter in me. My reading of the IPCC reports and key supporting studies does not show me any explanation other than modelling. I am therefore unable to buy those theories. 99% correlation does not establish a theory of causation any more than a 90% or even a 1% correlation.

Bala December 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Robert,

“Remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. ”

I agree. The claim that the present round of global warming is anthropogenic is indeed a most extraordinary claim. So please lay out the extraordinary explanation and equally extraordinary evidence.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

So let’s see if I understand what you are implying: CO2 increases are associated with temperature increases, but how do we know that the recent CO2 increases are causing the observed temperature increases and not the other way around? That’s a fair question, I’m happy to answer it, but I want to make sure I’ve represented your objection fairly.

Bala December 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Robert,

Not just that. How do we know that
1. Increasing CO2 and increasing temperatures are both not being caused by some other factor?
2. Increasing CO2 is not a minor factor compared to other as yet unknown and uninvestigated factors?

Taking all these also into account, please explain how it has been “established” that the current round of global warming (assuming there is one) is indeed anthropogenic. Once again, correlation does not establish causation.

Bala December 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Robert,

Just clarifying. I have not made any “objection”. I am just saying that the claim that the current round of global warming is indeed anthropogenic is one helluva extraordinary claim and am just asking for the extraordinary explanation and the equally, if not more, extraordinary evidence.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

So let’s take points #1 & #2 together, but point #3 first:

How do we know . . . Increasing CO2 is not a minor factor compared to other as yet unknown and uninvestigated factors?

Like what? We’ve investigated the Sun, the albedo, orbital changes, all the things we know to have brought about warming in the past. None of them are the cause here. We can predict according to radiative physics how much warming comes about as a result of the CO2 elevation, and it accounts for the observed warming nicely. We also know that CO2 has been important in the past. So you are reaching past a well-supported explanation in favor of an unknown and undefined cause. That’s not very scientific.

Another way we can identify the “fingerprint” of GHG-caused warming is by the pattern of the temperature increase. For example, nights are warming faster than days: http://www.skepticalscience.com/The-human-fingerprint-in-the-daily-cycle.html. The upper atmosphere is cooling (because less long-wave radiation is reaching it from the surface) rather than warming along with the lower atmosphere, which we would expect, for example, if increased solar output or orbital changes were causing the warming. For a nice summary of these kind of deductive strategies, see: http://www.skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html.#1 & #2: one of the reasons we know the warming is not causing the CO2 increases (at least not the vast majority of them) is the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 13 in the atmosphere. See “Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry in global climate change research” (http://www.bgc-jena.mpg.de/service/iso_gas_lab/publications/PG_WB_IJMS.pdf) for details. So we know the CO2 comes from us, not from a biospheric response to warming, because the CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels is measurably different than that released by, for example, release of CO2 from warming oceans.We know the greenhouse effect is real, because, among many other lines of evidence, we can set up a CO2-rich atmosphere and measure the effect in the lab (there’s also Venus next door.) So what we have is:
1. We know we are the source of the additional CO2.
2. We know the world is getting warmer.
3. We know CO2 causes warming.

So what you do is you take the known and measurable effect, along with other effects, and you make a calculation. Does the observed greenhouse effect, along we the observed responses (like increased water vapor) accurately predict the warming we observe? Yes, it does. Has climate science made testable predictions based on this theory? Many times. But that’s straying away from those three questions you asked.Give the sources a look, turn the evidence over in your brain a little, and let’s talk again.

Bala December 13, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Robert,

” We’ve investigated the Sun, the albedo, orbital changes, all the things we know to have brought about warming in the past. ”

You are misusing the word “know’. You never “knew”. You still do not “know”. You were shooting in the dark. You still are shooting in the dark hoping to hit a rabbit on a wide open field.

” None of them are the cause here ”

Firstly, how were they eliminated? Was that process anything other than “correlation is causation”?

” We can predict according to radiative physics how much warming comes about as a result of the CO2 elevation, and it accounts for the observed warming nicely. ”

Correlation again.

” We also know that CO2 has been important in the past. ”

This is what you need to be proving. To assume this as part of your proof would be question-begging.

” So you are reaching past a well-supported explanation in favor of an unknown and undefined cause. That’s not very scientific. ”

And you are providing little more than “correlation is causation” in support of your claim. How scientific is that?

” Another way we can identify the “fingerprint” of GHG-caused warming ……….://www.skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html. ”

Let me translate this. I’ve eliminated whatever other causes I can think of. This is the only known cause that remains. So it must be the truth. How scientific.

” #1 & #2: one of the reasons we know the warming is not causing the CO2 increases ”

You are addressing your question, not mine.

” (at least not the vast majority of them) is the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 13 in the atmosphere. ”

Still in the realm of “correlation is casation”

” 1. We know we are the source of the additional CO2.
2. We know the world is getting warmer.
3. We know CO2 causes warming.”

You know what’s missing?

4. We know what causes temperature to change

” So what you do is you take the known and measurable effect, along with other effects, and you make a calculation. ”

So this is just “Let’s make one more correlation. This will demonstrate causation”

” Does the observed greenhouse effect, along we the observed responses (like increased water vapor) accurately predict the warming we observe? Yes, it does. “Has climate science made testable predictions based on this theory? Many times. ”

Good point. However, could you please point out to the 1 model all climate scientists use for ALL their predictions. You see, if different climate scientists are using different models and making different predictions ALL of which come true, we would still have to say that they do not have a clue as to what moves the climate.

So, you need to show THE ONE MODEL that explains ALL the phenomena and HAS made ALL the testable predictions. Failing that, I have no option but to infer that point 4 that I identified above is clearly false and you have no clue what you are talking of.

” Give the sources a look, turn the evidence over in your brain a little, ”

Where in these sources has “causation” been established? I am unable to see anything other than “correlation is causation”. So you have offered nothing relevant to my question.

Robert December 17, 2010 at 10:38 am

You are misusing the word “know’. You never “knew”. You still do not “know”. You were shooting in the dark. You still are shooting in the dark hoping to hit a rabbit on a wide open field.

And your proof for this assertion is what, exactly? You can of course claim the science is wrong and the scientists’ don’t know what they’re talking about, but it is incumbent on you, then, to educate yourself on the science, understand the science, be able to explain the theory and show where you think it is faulty. “You scientists don’t know anything; you’re just guessing” is not skepticism, just willful ignorance.

This is what you need to be proving. To assume this as part of your proof would be question-begging.

Again, I don’t need to prove anything. Yours is the extraordinary claim, and yours is the burden of proof. I offered to address specific questions you might have, and rather than engage substantively with that, you are simply using your ignorance about other parts of the science (“Is it anything other than corrolation?” Yes) as though it were an argument.

Let me translate this. I’ve eliminated whatever other causes I can think of. This is the only known cause that remains. So it must be the truth. How scientific.

Let me translate your response: “I don’t know how to read the scientific papers you cited so I’m going to ignore the facts and repeat my original assertion.”

Science is following the evidence, not ignoring the evidence when you don’t like it and invoking a unknown invisible cause.

Where in these sources has “causation” been established? I am unable to see anything other than “correlation is causation”. So you have offered nothing relevant to my question.

Because you don’t understand how causation is demonstrated in science. Causation has been clearly and conclusively demonstrated, as the sources cited prove. Causation has nothing to do with whether all scientists use a single model, nor whether a magical unknown cause can be invoked (as it could be in any context. Maybe there is no gravity; God just chooses individual objects he wants to fall.)

Your response completely failed to engage with any of the facts presented; you simply put them in quotes and repeated the talking point of “correlation versus causation” a line, it is apparent, that you don’t really understand.

The problem for you remains to formulate a scientifically literate critique of AGW, meeting your burden.

Bala December 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Robert,

You are most hilarious. All that glitters is not Gold. Everything that follows the evidence is not science.

I’ll give you a link.

http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf

Go to page 5 of that report. It talks of “Causes”. Show me where out there it is mentioned that they are certain that the warming is anthropogenic. End of argument.

Robert December 20, 2010 at 5:44 am

Sorry, Bala, but you don’t wriggle away that easily.

I cited a dozen scientific papers presenting multiple lines of empirical evidence proving global warming. You’ve ignored it. Now it’s up to you to present a cogent argument as to why the settled and accepted science of AGW is wrong. This “show me where” nonsense doesn’t scan. It’s up to you to show me where you’ve hidden your argument and your evidence, especially since you’ve already shown you have no answer to mine.

Bala December 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

Robert,

Firstly, empirical evidence cannot “prove” a theory. It can only support a theory. Your theory is that the current round of global warming (whatever that is) is anthropogenic. I asked for proof. You gave empirical data. The point (at the risk of repeating myself in 1 post) is that empirical data proves nothing. Secondly, when the IPCC report, which is supposed to be the summation of all work done by climate scientists all over the world, is unable to state with certainty that the current round of warming is anthropogenic, your claim that the reports you have cited “prove” it is utterly laughable. Or are you saying that the authors of the IPCC report were a bunch of blundering fools who didn’t know climate science?

And you are still ignoring the importance of the point that you are not able to cite THE ONE model that made all the right predictions. If climate scientists really understood what influences climate, they should be able to show us THE ONE model that explains it all. If they are unable to, it means they do not understand what influences climate. If they do not understand that, they can’t claim to explain the current round of warming.

Robert December 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm

[How do we know that] 1. Increasing CO2 and increasing temperatures are both not being caused by some other factor?

Because we know the CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels, because of the isotope ratios, among other things. It’s all in the links posted. They also describe a measure fall in molecular oxygen levels, as the oxygen has been used in the combustion of CO2. Asked and answered.

2. Increasing CO2 is not a minor factor compared to other as yet unknown and uninvestigated factors?

For many reasons, a few of which are discussed in the links provided. One, we can measure the strength of the effect. Two, the pattern of warming is not consistent with any other cause we know about, but is consistent with a strengthening greenhouse effect. Three, we can directly measure the specific wavelengths that are absorbed by greenhouse gases, and observe their reduction in intensity at the top of the atmosphere, just as the theory would predict.

Your questions have been thoroughly answered. I suggest you look at the evidence with an open mind, and I would be happy to address your follow-up questions.

While you are about it, work on your honesty and consistency. You repeatedly contradict yourself. For example, you assert:

Show me where out there it is mentioned that they are certain that the warming is anthropogenic. End of argument.

Apparently you have confused science with a faith-based belief system, like Mormonism or Austrian economics. But wait, you go on to say the opposite:

Firstly, empirical evidence cannot “prove” a theory. It can only support a theory.

So, it appears that when it suits you, you can recognize that science deals in probabilities, not certainties. You should try to get your story straight, if you want to be taken seriously.

We have made progress, it seems, in term of you admitting that the source of your beliefs is blind faith, not evidence:

You gave empirical data. The point (at the risk of repeating myself in 1 post) is that empirical data proves nothing.

I’m glad you realize the empirical evidence supports global warming. You’ve helpfully admitted that you have no answer to the empirical facts, and hence, global warming is settled science.

Since your beliefs are not based in empirical fact, they are not science and have nothing to do with science. I accept your concession that you have no scientific argument. Now you are free to lay out whatever religious scheme leads you to deny global warming, and try to persuade me to abandon science and believe in it.

Feel free to start with whatever Xenu or whomever has revealed to you about this “ONE model” which your faith says must exist.

Bala December 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Ha Ha Ha! The IPCC report has let you down, has it? Causality is not a matter of probability. Either it is or it isn’t. First run along and establish the certainty and then come back for a discussion.

Dr. Acula December 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I would love more pollution if it would help lower my heating bill and also increase crop production, lowering my grocery bill. Alas, CO2, being a negligible greenhouse gas, isn’t very effective at raising the temperature. Wasn’t there 30x as much CO2 in the air in the past, and yet the temperature wasn’t one degree warmer than now?

Hmmm… perhaps instead of depending on weak CO2 we could just cover the Earth with black-colored solar panels. That would decrease the albedo of the Earth and help warm it up.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 9:44 am

Alas, CO2, being a negligible greenhouse gas, isn’t very effective at raising the temperature

Alas, that hoary denialist talking point is completely wrong: http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect-advanced.htm

Wasn’t there 30x as much CO2 in the air in the past, and yet the temperature wasn’t one degree warmer than now?

When most of the world was covered with ice, reflecting most of the incident sunlight into space. The build-up of volcanic CO2 eventually reversed the ice feedback.

You should try some straight climate science without the denialist filter, it’s interesting stuff.

HL December 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

It is only proper that Zimbabwe educate us on central banking and on climate regulation! Indeed, we should cut to the chase and just appoint Margaret the new Czar of Climate and Monetary change. There she can wrestle with the dialectic of why a rapid rise in the money supply is good but the rise of global tempratures is bad.

She’s a strong woman of African descent who has an answer. Let the nomination roll!

Walt D. December 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Apart from the inflation, most of Zimbabwe’s problems were caused by theft, particularly with respect to farms and food. The government of Zimbabwe are thieves. Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe is a thief. The Global Warming Scam is just another Nigerian Bank scam. Why should anybody surprised that she is looking for a piece of the action?

Dave M December 6, 2010 at 9:39 pm

I am surprised that anyone still believes in global warming. Do they still believe in Y2K? Or…how about the swine flu pandemic?

Hussein Hassan December 6, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Hey Robert,
to make matters a bit more simple…..i refer you to a scholarly made documentary by the very expert scientists who were supposedly added to 2500 list despite disagreeing with major parts of the IPCC report .. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5576670191369613647# . I’m talking world renowned scientists like Richard Lindzen, John Christy (Lead IPCC author), Paul Reiter, Phillip Stott, among others. Please view it and make up your own mind.

When you have renowned scientists in the field, whom we would expect to otherwise embrace the current euphoria surrounding the global warming movement, raising caution and in some cases totally speaking against the supposed gloomy facts and figures that are being carelessly thrown around on the air.

Robert, this is for you. Keep an open mind and check it out.

Hussein Hassan December 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm

i forgot to put the title in the previous posting …name of documentary is “THE GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE” . I’m sure a lot of people here have seen it. And for more info you can also youtube RICHARD LINDZEN who is a great authority on the subject and who discloses some rather dubious connections to the whole carbon trading…goldman sachs…etc. So

Gaucho December 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Hey Robert,
to make matters a bit more simple…..i refer you to a scholarly made documentary by the very expert scientists who were supposedly added to 2500 list despite disagreeing with major parts of the IPCC report .. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5576670191369613647# . (THE GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE).
I’m talking world renowned scientists like Richard Lindzen, John Christy (Lead IPCC author), Paul Reiter, Phillip Stott, among others. Please view it and make up your own mind.
When you have renowned scientists in the field, whom we would expect to otherwise embrace the current euphoria surrounding the global warming movement, raising caution and in some cases totally speaking against the supposed gloomy facts and figures that are being carelessly thrown around on the air.
And for more info you can also youtube RICHARD LINDZEN who is a great authority on the subject and who discloses some rather dubious connections to the whole carbon trading…goldman sachs…etc.
Robert, this is for you. Keep an open mind and check it out

Robert December 7, 2010 at 11:02 am

Gaucho, I’m familiar with “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” one of the most famously dishonest propaganda pieces in the entire discussion. Let me refer you to a collection of some of the debunkings of this awful flop: http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=The_great_global_warming_swindle

Greater than 95% of working climate scientists (depending on how you count, some say >98%) believe in the overwhelming body of evidence for AGW. Note also that both Christy and Lindzen believe the world is warming and greenhouse gases are the primary cause, and differ from their mainstream colleagues primarily over how much warming we can expect and how damaging it will be.

Walt D. December 8, 2010 at 8:53 pm

“Note also that both Christy and Lindzen believe the world is warming and greenhouse gases are the primary cause, and differ from their mainstream colleagues primarily over how much warming we can expect and how damaging it will be.”
Precisely! First of all, Lindzen is right – his numbers are based on actual satellite measurements. The IPCC computer model uses a guess for the parameter – it gets the wrong sign and magnitude. This is where the overestimation of increase in temperature comes from. The latest forecast for the increase in temperature is only 1/4 of that predicted from the flawed IPCC computer model. This means that we don’t need to do anything in the near future.
To answer the other question, the IPCC computer model predicts that global temperatures rise monotonically with the increase in CO2. For the past 10 years, CO2 has been rising but global temperatures have not. (This is why Jones and Mann were trying to fudge the data. If temperatures had been rising, as they predicted, there would have been no need for them to try and fudge anything.)
You can get the CO2 data from the Keck Observatory. I can give you other references. However, they are rather technical and would not be useful to you since you don’t have any background in science.

Iain December 8, 2010 at 8:58 pm
Robert December 12, 2010 at 9:44 pm

This is the second time you’ve claimed, incorrectly, that the temperature rise is 1/4 the IPCC predicted. (BTW, there is no such thing as “the IPCC computer model”; that’s another factual mistake on your part.) You need some links. ;)

Gaucho December 6, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Here is an amazing Richard Lindzen’s video that should put my mind at ease on this subject … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCrUQo3vbuc

newson December 7, 2010 at 12:27 am

another suggestion – “the cloud mystery”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-PX7gLSwX8

Rick December 7, 2010 at 10:51 am

If an alcoholic is on the verge of destroying his or her liver, who in their right mind would believe that …

a. Reducing alcohol intake by 20, 30 or even 40%
OR
B. Making that alcoholic pay more for their liquor

… solve the problem?

Also, short of attaching a gas meter-like device around every muffler, pipe, smoke stack, or cow’s rear end, you can NOT fairly assess who is responsible for what usage thus, you cannot actually believe that a sense of responsibility could be “FAIRLY” (since that is the word liberals love to use) distributed to those using CO2 emitting machines and/or devices.

If, “highly desctructive” (using your words Robert)is how we should describe AGW then the only real solution to save the human race is to revert back to the 18th century.

Robert December 7, 2010 at 11:04 am

You seem to have very little faith in human ingenuity. If the incentives are sufficient, don’t you think the market can find solutions to transition to a low-carbon economy? Why the fatalism?

Peter Surda December 7, 2010 at 11:46 am

A truly remarkable feat, a statist complains that libertarians do not believe the market can solve problems. Now it’s clear that there is no point arguing you, Robert. You engage in a huge amount of arguments, pile contradiction upon contradiction, without any coherent framework and then you run away from debates under the pretense of not having enough time.

Please guys, ignore him, it’s a waste of time.

Robert December 12, 2010 at 9:51 pm

That’s the second time you’ve made the accusation I “run away from debates,” yet when I offered to continue any debate you felt was unfinished, you couldn’t come up with a single example. You credibility meter, on this subject, reads zero.

Trying to denounce me, you have seconded my point; libertarians ought to believe in the ability of human ingenuity harnessed by markets to solve problems, yet Rick appears not to believe in this at all. I drew attention to this apparent contradiction. You seem to be confusing my ability to elucidate the ways in which you are contradicting yourself with me contradicting myself.

Beefcake the Mighty December 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

You do run away from debates, bobby-boy, here’s an example of you being called out on deliberately misquoting me, and failing to follow up on Peter’s responses:

http://blog.mises.org/14805/terminus-on-the-road-to-serfdom/comment-page-1/#comment-741955

I should second Peter’s call to ignore you, but you’re such an incredible tool, there is some entertainment value here.

Sione December 12, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Robert

They are right you know. You run away from debates. Evading is a very bad habit you have developed.

For example, I asked you for proof for your AGW assertions. You evaded.

Another example, you claimed that no-one had asked you to present your philosophy. I directly responded to that, asking you to go ahead and present a portion of it. You evaded.

You were challenged about your idea that the manufacturer of money is the real owner and can demand its return without compensation. You evaded responding to questions regarding that (and not only my ones, others also).

I asked you some very basic questions about economics several times. Again, you evaded.

In the end one concludes that you do indeed run whenever you are put on the spot with a request for you to back up one or other of your various ranom assertions. You have reduced yourself to a figure worthy only of contempt.

Sione

Robert December 13, 2010 at 9:07 am

Beefy, I didn’t ignore you, I beat you. By the end, you were helpless repeating the same thing over and over, like somebody with a concussion.

If Peter felt his questions weren’t answered in the dozens of replies I posted in that thread, I’ve invited him to repost the question. Unfortunately he seems to have run away.

Beefcake the Mighty December 13, 2010 at 9:16 am

Sure, bobby-boy, it’s easy to “win” a debate when you misrepresent what the other person is saying (as you did with me and Peter there, and mostly likely here as well). Glad you feel so good about yourself, you do seem to get awfully worked up when you don’t feel your intellect is being properly acknowledged here. Or maybe it’s your meds, I don’t know.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 9:49 am

Beefy, you’re just embarrassing yourself, dragging that whipping you took back into the limelight.

I’m glad you realize I beat you, and you’re right, it was easy, not because I misrepresented you, but because your arguments were silly and self-contradictory.

Again, Peter seems to have no interest in raising specific points that went unanswered, so the balance of evidence would say that the “runs away from debate” meme was a cheap shot and he didn’t expect me to call him on it. Since then he rather seems to be the one running away.

Peter Surda December 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

Robert,

no amount of wriggling is going to change the fact that it is you, rather than your opponents, that run from debates. I have answered all your questions, whereas you avoid answers. The words that were written are here for everyone to see. If the situation is not developing according to your plans, well, tough luck.

Robert December 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

Peter, this is the third time I’ve invited you to present any unanswered questions, which I’d be more than happy to address. Instead you keep repeating the original accusation, without backing it up and without taking me up on my offer to continue any open discussion.

My initial impression of you was of somebody attempting to make a substantive comment, unlike somebody like Beefy or Sione who are interested in the discussion only as a platform for insults and tantrums. I’m disappointed to see you take this tack. I’m still willing to answer any and all questions you have pertaining to our other discussion, and I would appreciate hearing any thoughts you have about the matter at hand.

Peter Surda December 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Robert,

this is the second time where you try to portray your unwillingness to engage in a serious debate as a deficiency of your opponent. It is not very persuasive. There are plenty of ways to make it simpler to follow debates and there is no justification per se why you should spend time on new rather than old debates.

Merely because I am relatively patient does not mean that I will let myself to be dragged into your game. Instead I am gathering data on you running away from debates.

Robert December 20, 2010 at 5:37 am

Peter, I’m glad you admit that your original accusation was baseless — you made it without any evidence, which is why you were unable to produce a single example of my supposed “running away,” and had to run away yourself, from my embarrassing request for proof. And you continue to run, even as you search frantically for something you can call evidence of your now-admittedly fabricated allegation.

If you were really interested in a productive discussion, you would have taken me up on my offer to continue any open questions you felt were unanswered. But you had to run away from that too . . .

Peter Surda December 20, 2010 at 6:16 am

Peter, I’m glad you admit that your original accusation was baseless

Nowhere did I do such a thing.

you made it without any evidence

The evidence is here. I am quoting it second time, and I referred to it even more times.

had to run away yourself, from my embarrassing request for proof

I answered all your questions and provided all the necessary information. How you come to this conclusion is a mystery to me.

And you continue to run, even as you search frantically for something you can call evidence of your now-admittedly fabricated allegation.

Please indicate any open question I have not answered. On the other hand, I provided you several times with multiple questions that you did not answer.

If you were really interested in a productive discussion, you would have taken me up on my offer to continue any open questions you felt were unanswered. But you had to run away from that too . . .

If you were really interested in a productive discussion, you would answer questions instead of making up baseless accusations.

I have time. I am not in a hurry. I am not going to participate in your games. Anyone can read the debate and make their own opinion.

Robert December 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Peter, I politely invited you to present a single unanswered question here, which you proved completely unable to do. Apparently this embarrassed you so much that you had to create an whole web page to try and redress your failure — I’m sorry, that must have been very painful for you, for you to try so desperately to come up with something post hoc.

Everyone should follow the link though, it’s hilarious: it leads to one comment, in one thread (evidently the “collecting” is not going well), in which Peter repeated a bunch of arguments I’d already demolished, and reiterated his excuses for completely failing to offer any account of property or why one should believe in its existence.

In other words, the link is an example of Peter failing to answer a question about an assertion he made with no evidence — an example of Peter running away from a simple question.

Peter, there’s nothing there for me to answer. You still haven’t provide any coherent argument for your assertions, and until you do your homework, there’s nothing for me to add. Ball’s in your court.

Peter Surda December 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Robert,

Peter, I politely invited you to present a single unanswered question here, which you proved completely unable to do.

I provided you the information you requested, several times, but for some odd reason you are unsatisfied with something (which you do not explain) and complain. There is no technical or logical obstacle preventing you from answering, your demands are incomprehensible and have nothing to do with the debate.

Everyone should follow the link though, it’s hilarious: it leads to one comment, in one thread (evidently the “collecting” is not going well), in which Peter repeated a bunch of arguments I’d already demolished, and reiterated his excuses for completely failing to offer any account of property or why one should believe in its existence.

Everyone following the link will notice that I point out logical fallacies in your arguments, and you are not willing to address them. Instead, you spend a huge amount of time on talking about completely irrelevant topics, attempting to drag the attention elsewhere.

In other words, the link is an example of Peter failing to answer a question about an assertion he made with no evidence — an example of Peter running away from a simple question.

I find your claim completely unsubstantiated, on the contrary the description fits your behaviour, not mine. There was a debate going on between you and me. Suddenly, you stopped responding and are unwilling to continue. The evidence is there for everyone to see.

Peter, there’s nothing there for me to answer.

If that is your position, then my position is that you run away from debates.

You still haven’t provide any coherent argument for your assertions, and until you do your homework, there’s nothing for me to add. Ball’s in your court.

I find it fascinating how you can ascribe your own deficiencies to other people. I can only guess that there is some sort of psychological anomaly in play.

Rick December 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Pure Capitalism is partially the result of Human ingenuity (and freedom of course). As you said, “IF the incentives are sufficient” the market will come up with a solution. The problem though is politics can sometimes get in the way of the markets just as the market will get in the way of “bad ideas”.

See Nuclear and then go look at the fiscal diaster that is… wind and solar.

Want to know how to sniff out good ideas vs. bad? Go look at what’s subsidized in today’s world.

Rick December 7, 2010 at 11:02 am

Oh and one more thing. Since the AGW scientific community never quite understood the concept of a False Cause, allow me to shed light on the matter. The reason we’re here is because of the creation of the Federal Reserve. Thats right, before 1913, our Planet and its atmosphere was perfectly healthy.

Yet another reason to get rid of the Fed!

Abe December 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm

There is no problem of anthropogenic climate change. Read the excellent book Climate of Extremes, which argues that-while climate change is real–it is not the going to lead to anything remotely apocolyptic (and will actually result in many positive effects). Because we’re humans who are drawn to drama, fear, and exaggeration, we’ve bought into the climate propoganda wholesale. Just because the climate may indeed be warming we believe all too quickly that the effects of such warming will be disasterous; we go into “throw money at it” mode and become willing to spend billions and trillions of dollars to evert catastrophe.

Did you know that many surveys of normal US citizens reveal that they associate all kinds of horrible things with the warming climate? They believe silly things like all life on earth will become extinct as a result of climate change. . . and that their great-great-grandchildren’s lives will be impoverished as a result of climate change. . . and that just in general the results of climate change will be very very very bad.

But just because the climate is warming, how does it follow that the results of the warming *must* be horrific? Surely anyone can see that the connection between the two is weak at best (truly non-existent).

And how come everyone believes the horrific predictions regarding climate change’s effects–ignorning equally plausible science which suggests that the net effect of climate change will be immensely positive?

And before you go calling me a “denier,” save that term for those who “deny” horrific historical events which *have* actually happened. To put climate skeptics in the same category with holocaust deniers is obscene and offensive.

Robert December 12, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Pat Michael’s dishonesty and shoddy science were recently dismantled by Ben Santer at a congressional hearing. Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwPnz3AJ0qQ&feature=player_embedded.

Your denialism is what it is. I personally think that people who lie, distort, and mislead to further actions resulting in harm in the present and the future are, much, much more loathsome than people who merely lie about the past, so I’m afraid I must reject your comparison as insulting to Holocaust deniers.

Abe December 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Oh good golly, someone actually made an appeal to popularity here (the “Bandwagon” logical fallacy)?! I’m looking at you Robert.

The appeal to popularity is probably among the most common defensive strategies utilized by the Knights of Climate Change. Rather than presenting convincing scientific evidence in support of their case, they opt for the bandwagon fallacy because they don’t actually know much about the science behind global warming (just that it must be true because so and so said so and if we don’t believe it will lead to VERY bad consequences).

Do us all a favor and stop attempting to legitimize the global warming propoganda (real or not, what we often hear is propoganda plain and simple) by use of logical fallacies.

The bandwagon fallacy (or appeal to popularity) is an argument made by referring to how popular a belief or idea is, and attributing that popularity to the ideas innate correctness and truth. That is, the more people (or climate scientists, in this case) who say they “believe” in global warming, the more true and real it must be–right? Wrong. Even if 99.9% of all climate scientists “believed” in global warming, all 99.9% of them could still be wrong.

Therefore, when arguing your (climate) case you don’t do yourself any favors by attributing the truth of your position to it’s popularity. Many bad ideas are popular among both lay people and scientists alike at various times.

Walt D. December 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm

The late economist Peter Bauer summed it up:
“Whether an argument is popular, has no relation to its validity”.

Robert December 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm

You should learn what a logical fallacy is and is not before waving around terms you don’t understand. You just embarrass your by invoking the “bandwagon fallacy” to dismiss the findings of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.

In terms of the science, I have no case to answer. It is the deniers who are making the extraordinary claim, and theirs (yours) is the obligation to provide the extraordinary evidence.

Once you have made some kind of a case, then we can uses of tens of thousands of scholarly works about the climate to show you the various places your conspiracy theory falls the test of the evidence. But first, you need to support your assertions.

Gaucho December 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Totally agree with you Abe !!
I think the misunderstanding that Robert has is to think that we do not care about climate period!!
The climate is a very important issue and that is the very reason we cannot just turn over and accept ridiculous apocalyptic scenarios that are totally unfounded. Richard Lindzen is speaking out against these exaggerations because he sees that the scientific community bowing down to the political might behind the movement even when the science does not jive with their story.

Imagine the outcome if we had adopted the apocalyptic solutions to the climate agenda when we had the scare about Global cooling in the 70s. Where would we be today?
Richard Lindzen is a world renowned scientist…but now all of a sudden because he disagrees with the supposed consensus… he is not an expert! His word does not matter!

Besides the facts, lets think about it for a sec, I think we fail to understand why the global warming swindle highlights a very bizarre issue that i think needs to be repeated….why would these group of renowned scientists (some of whom have been associated with IPCC) go through the trouble of fighting the consensus Al Gore views on this matter when it is in their very interest to go along with whole charade …even though they might not believe anything being proposed. Who cares….they should say…. if the funds are going to flow their way for research or whatever other project they can dream up for govt funding? Just think about for a sec.
It doesn’t make sense. And don’t cop out and say they are under the pay of oil companies as some might allege when they can’t think of a better response.
Its so easy to go with flow….

Robert December 12, 2010 at 11:03 am

“I think the misunderstanding that Robert has is to think that we do not care about climate period!!”

I’m giving you an opportunity to show you care. I am treating you like an adult and asking you to say what you are for, not just what you are against.

I’m not sure Richard Lindzen’s working for the tobacco companies denying the link between smoking and lung cancer really qualifies him as “renowned.” “Infamous” would be closer to the truth.

Gaucho December 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Whenever they don’t have a good response….they opt for ….its complicated! the people just don’t understand! It’s too complex for the average joe…..we are the experts…believe us !!!
I’ve seen this defence being used in a debate on bloomberg TV debates …. when climate change was being debated in 2007 (RIchard Lindzen and Phillip Stott were terrific ) http://vimeo.com/8572553

Sione December 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Abe, Gaucho

“Greater than 95% of working climate scientists believe etc.”

R’s approach is an example of three types of fallacious argument, namely appeal to social metaphysics, appeal to authority and hyperbole. All are invalid.

In the case of the first (social metaphysics), you guys have already discussed the weakness inherent with that approach. Just because a herd of acolytes believes in the same idea, that of itself does not make the idea correct. The herd, the majority, can be wrong (and often is).

Anyway, there was a famous quote which went something like this. “A Frenchman may be wrong, but 5 million Frenchmen can’t be.” Always worth a laugh, that.

In the case of appeal to authority, the argument goes that since an expert or an authority (such as an “esteemed” institution) has backed an idea, that idea must be correct. After all, who is an unimportant non-expert or non-authority to question the pronouncement of his betters? The weakness with this is that it is not evidence in favour of the validity of a contention. A greater weakness is evident in that just because alleged experts or VIPs promote an idea, that does not make it correct. They can be wrong.

As far as hyperbole is concerned (95%, 98%, etc.), exaggeration does nothing to validate an argument.

When you examine R’s arguments you find there isn’t substance to them. What’s most intriguing is to discover whether he realises this himself. The suspicion is that he knows at some level but can’t bring himself to admit it. Still, it can be amusing to watch him wriggling to evade direct questions and enquiry.

Enjoy!

Sione

Walt D. December 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm

“A Frenchman may be wrong, but 5 million Frenchmen can’t be.”
Eat horse manure – a billion flies can’t all be wrong ! (Unless they are all Keynesians!)

Robert December 8, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Sione, you need to learn the difference between a logical fallacy and a fallacious argument. Your confusion of the two make your whole mess of a post meaningless.

Explain to me why I should tackle your willful ignorance about basic science? I’ve already provided sources. Educate yourself, starting with the concept of “the burden of proof” and why it falls on you in this case.

Sione December 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Robert

How ’bout that, you are still evading! You do that whenever someone asks you for an explanation and validation of your position. You can’t slime your way out. No amount of your twisting lies and desperate insistences validate the self-generated bullshit you present.

As the person asserting the positive you, Robert, bear the burden of proof (it is a basic epistemological rule). Time to supply it little man. Regarding AGW, let’s have your proof please.

Sione

Robert December 12, 2010 at 10:56 am

Sorry, Sione, your point has been answered and refuted. Sorry if the words were too big for you.We can’t discuss proofs until you stop evading and do your homework. The question for you is: what is the burden of proof (you still haven’t said, and give every appearance of having no idea), and why does it fall on you in this case?Then you can see about meeting that burden, and we can discuss your theories.If you need a review of basic climate science for preparation, you can find them all over the web.

Sione December 12, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Robert

You are STILL evading. Your rhetorical tricks, arbitrary employment of jargon, fibbing, puffery & blustering, emoting and smearing don’t provide substitute for substance.

Again, you asserted the positive re AGW and so it is YOU who must provide the proof. That’s basic epistemology. Now go ahead and demonstrate the proof you were asked for.

If you do not know what proof actually is (and I would not be surprised if you didn’t), then be honest enough to admit it. No shame in that admission. Just be honest and we can deal with the issue. Similarly, if you don’t understand why it is that the burden of proof ALWAYS falls on he who asserts the positive (and not on the skeptic, the doubter, the questioner or the non-believer), then admit it. Again, there is no shame in that admission. Be honest and we can progress.

Sione

Robert December 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

Sione, your evasions and doubletalk are obvious to all. It’s sad. Your homework assignment was two things:

*Define the burden of proof
*Explain why it applies to you in this case

You haven’t done either, and apparently can’t. Meaning it’s time to crack open the books.

BTW, you also fail to understand what a “skeptic” is, and why your unthinking fanaticism is the exact opposite of skepticism. Denying facts that challenge your worldview, as you do, is a particularly naive and odious form of unquestioning belief, and resembles neither “doubt” nor “skepticism.”

J. Murray December 7, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Earth is unusually cold. Free standing ice anywhere on the planet is an oddity. The equator region, speaking in geologic timescales here, is supposed to be a steaming jungle approximately 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. The North and South poles should be a comfortable 70 Fahrenheit in the summer with agriculture possible up in the northern reaches of Canada and Russia. Prior to the very recent ice age cycle, it’s been 1.5 billion years since the last time the poles had large chunks of ice floating around.

It is the utmost of human hubris if we actually think that the weather should permanently remain as it is now just becuase we happen to like it that way. And that the inevitable elimination of ice on the planet for the next 1.5 billion years has nothing to do with geologic natural cycles and has to do with driving around automobiles.

Phinn December 7, 2010 at 4:19 pm

One extremely important and effective step that could reduce a great deal of pollution is for states to stop protecting the right to pollute.

The history of industrial pollution is kind of like the history of racial discrimination — the root of the racism problem is that it was practiced as a decree of the State. There were many companies before the Civil Rights Act that wanted to stop being forced by States to racially discriminate, because in most businesses, racial discrimination is bad for business. Bus companies, in particular. Markets tried to end the practice, but States would not let them, by employing the only tool States have — force. Then, when the political wind blew the other direction, the State decided to command forced racial integration, without ever pausing in the middle ground where States simply allowed people to freely associate or not, as they may choose. States have a habit of refusing to leave people alone, since they are generally populated and supported by people with serious mental problems.

The legal history of industrial pollution is much the same. The rules against pollution are ancient. They were old even in ancient Rome. The rule has always been that if you are a nuisance to your neighbor, you have to pay or be forced to stop. But, in the 19th century, in England and the US, the law was changed by the State’s courts, which are of course corrupt, whereby land users that were nuisances to their neighbors were allowed to continue harming their neighbors. The courts decreed that a nuisance now had to be “unreasonable” before a government court would act to stop it.

In practice, “unreasonable” meant “expensive.” And “expensive” meant “expensive from the perspective of defendants who happen to have more political power than plaintiffs.”

This new rule was applied only in one direction — to allow nuisances to continue, on the grounds that shutting them down, or requiring them to implement other changes to stop the pollution, was too costly to the polluter. The polluter, naturally, would typically be some wealthy industrialist, who was commonly a rent-seeking, corporatist crony, or otherwise a State-insider who owned the local governments and thus the judges.

The State’s “solution” to this problem was not to simply start enforcing property rights against nuisances again, but rather to implement a top-down, command-economy system of land use planning, which gave even more power to the insiders and the politically well-connected. This change ended the days when the little guy, the common man, a landowner who had very little cash, could get a court to act on his grievance that he and his land were being harmed by powerful industrialists.

Environmentalists who now seek to use the State to solve the problem of pollution typically have no clue that they are pleading to the organization that was developed to facilitate, enable and protect the polluters in the first place. In other words, they are about 150 years too late.

Robert December 8, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Political “analysis” aside, I agree with Phinn. The right of people not to be harmed, in their persons or in their property, should be much more vigorously enforced on polluters. It would do a lot of good.

It would be difficult to apply to a problem like CO2 emissions, because of the number of potential interactions is so huge. Number of potential polluters: 6,700,000,000. (The vast majority of human beings alive today are net emitters of CO2.) Number of people potentially harmed: 6,700,000,000. That’s leaving aside future generations. Number of possible tort actions (if, by way of example, that was the vehicle for protecting people’s rights): 6,700,000,000!.

My computer can’t calculate that number, but it’s very large. It also, of course, extends across many legal systems that do not necessarily recognize one another.

I think Phinn’s point leads to a clear line of reasoning of a libertarian problem that exists here . . . if the scientists are right, CO2 production is damaging people’s property as well as potentially harming their persons — it is by those lights an act of violence. All that remains is to propose a workable system by which damages would be prevented or recouped . . . which if it could be done, should perfectly capture the negative externality that causes the tragedy of the commons, because negative externality is nothing more than the some total of the harm you are doing to others using the resource.

Tim December 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

As a libertarian, I do not share the enviro-skepticism of many people here. In fact, the global outlook on the state of the natural world is as grim as is the Austrians’ outlook on the current economy. Even without global warming, the threats posed by habitat destruction and ecosystem change are very real. But the reasons why this is so, are as always unseen. Even many Austrian commentators have so far in this thread, focused on arguing the environment impact posed by human activity (and whether global warming is true or not), rather than the unseen underlying economic problem that ties it all.

There’s the politics of environment conservation and the science of environment conservation. The politics are as always very very dangerous. They imply population and social control, the wet dream of authoritarian statists everywhere who latch on to the movement. The solution to environmental problems is the exact opposite to the prescriptions proposed by the environmentalist movement. At the core of it, as always, lies the economic problem.

We have billions of people in rapidly developing countries whose living standards have risen in accordance with demand for goods and services. In light of this, the Chinese government for instance, has been relentlessly pushing for economic development above all else, because of the knowledge that if the public becomes convinced that they will become better off, this will in turn shore up the Party’s grip on power.

An important economic argument regarding the nature of modern industrial development could be made here. Is capital accumulation due to savings and careful investment of enterprising individuals or due to speculative booms fueled by legislative fiat issued by the central bank, or alternatively, by aggressive deficit spending and government subsidized industrial expansion programs? Though on that topic, much has been written here, one of the most recent, damning expositions about the nature of our monetary system has been written by Kel Kelly. In it he pointed out that high profits, and desire to increase short term marginal revenue indicate there’s something gravely wrong with the economy. It shows that companies have abandoned long term capital investments due to unsure future expectations and are instead focusing on short term marginal gains. In other words, the rates of time preference have been raised.

One of the things that implies is, surprise surprise, markets today are severely misallocating or underusing capital resources. But the reasons for that go far deeper than the standard trope of “capitalist greed” and lack of regulation. The very nature of that is the fact that we have an economy of externalized costs, where the prospect of an industry facing an across the boards loss, has become politically untenable. What’s best for GM is after all what’s best for the country. Standard capital accumulation has been superceded by a financial system relying entirely on the activities of the central bank. In such an environment, where artificially low interest rates and credit expansion replace savings as being the chief sources of economic investment, the time preference of both individuals and industries have been accordingly raised. People see little utility in storing funds in accounts they know will be severely taxed or devalued over time, so they spend as much of their disposable income as possible into buying houses or cars or some other objects that either satisfy their imminent needs or which they believe will appreciate over time, thus promoting a culture of debt and consumerism.

Companies in turn, bereft of incentives for long term strategic planning, focus on the production of consumer goods. As a result of increased time preferences favoring present production and consumption to investment in capital resources which may yield a return in the future, (in addition to the highly pernicious role played by patents and copyrights), innovation and capital development suffers. Industries dependent on the above factors are harmed as well. It’s no wonder that the US outsourced much of its manufacturing overseas. But countries like China are hardly better. The Chinese boom is as pointed above, an artificially fueled boom, where once again, the rule of law and property rights take second place to the Party’s geopolitical objectives to make their country most economically powerful in the region at the expense of everything and everyone else.

What does this all have to do with the environment? Well, everything. You have enterprises which are severely burdened by regulations, unions, patents, politically favored competitors and so on. Are they going to go along with politicians’ desire to create a perfect welfare state? No, they’re going to go overseas and do everything to take advantage of lack of property rights in resource rich, economically poor parts of the world, in other words, capitalist exploitation. Normally this is equated with “neoliberal” policies like free trade and free market introduced into third world countries. Nothing is further from the truth. The most oppressive dictators with the most planned economies benefited greatly from the patronage of wealthy overseas enterprises, whom they in turn gave preferential privileges in excavation of natural resources. A the same time enterprises with legitimate interests in local financial investment were turned away due to uncertainty in conducting business there due to lack of property rights and oppressive economic climate.

In such an environment, no incentive to improve owned property, to search for new methods and tools of mineral prospection and extraction, and to develop new technologies to improve manufacturing processes exists. Environmental and local exploitation is encouraged when a company faces little prospects of a financial loss due to mismanagement of its property which it expects only to have the privilege of owning for the duration of the current dictator’s rule. Resources and territory become nothing but temporal grants with no limitation which need to be employed as fast as possible. The same case is in any economy where the cost of owning property and putting its resources to productive uses are externalized and where the expectations of future return on long term planning are made uncertain by political factors. Therefore, it is foolish to argue that we need to propertize NO2, CO2, CFC gases emitted by industries without looking at the root problem itself. This root forms of the criticism of the political economy commonly known today as “Austrian economics”.

Tim December 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Few words I forgot to add to the above post as a conclusion. It is beyond doubt that the environment poses an indispensable element in the human economy. But the solution to environmental problems faced today, cannot be found in the legislative rooms of Congress, or the UN or any other political body for that matter, nor can they be found in the radical prescriptions of some environmentalists to severely curb our consumption and introduce severe methods of population control. In fact, some of the latter seem to take a very ominous view of humanity’s role in the world in general, viewing it as some sort of pest or vermin infringing on nature’s pristine beauty.

The solution lies in human ingenuity and innovation. As Prof. Reisman pointed out, there is no shortage of natural minerals contained within our Earth’s crust. Ample supplies of uranium and thorium can provide for our energy needs for a nearly indefinite time. The world’s oceans, as of yet an untapped trove of resources, have a huge potential to house a sustainable economy. Whether they will do so depends on whether we can actually devise methods to utilize them. Yet we have been excruciatingly slow in developing technology to that extent. It is my earnest wish that people better schooled in economics than myself (I admit my analysis of the issue is based on my personal opinions and is thus highly flawed and shouldn’t be taken as representative of ABCT or Austrian economics in general), including the usual set of commentators here, devote some of their attention to this issue.

Robert December 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Thank you, Tim, for your interesting and substantive comments. There can be no question that many forms of regulation and state policy accelerate environmental degradation, for example, the $300 billion dollars governments spend yearly to subsidize the production and sale of fossil fuels (http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2010/11/idiot-policy-of-week.html).

Reversing those policies would do a lot of good.

I also think it is unquestionable that technological innovation (along with broad implantation of the best technology) is the key to any transition to a low-carbon economy. The key question, I think, is how to avoid the tragedy of the commons: someone who reduces their carbon emissions bears the full cost of the improvement, but captures only a tiny fraction of the benefit (if they are of average age and wealth . . . about 1/6,700,000,000th of the benefit). So the incentives to develop, purchase, and use those technologies is far, far weaker than the negative externality of the emissions. This is the problem. As you as a libertarian surely realize, the best way to drive innovation is the profit incentive. But when you have an unowned resource, which allows people to get a small profit exclusively for themselves whilst inflicting a large harm on the resource (which harm is diffused among the group) the normal profit incentive to stop this destructive behavior is not there.

J. Murray December 8, 2010 at 7:28 am

Just look at tree farming as an example as to why the market approach is the answer to the problem. There was a point in this country where people were worried every ounce of forest land would vanish. Then tree farmers came into play, doing what was thought impossible, property rights over lumber. Large scale slash and burn became prohibitively expensive and tree farmers, who replanted after logging, quickly undercut the competitors in cost. Now large areas that were devoid of trees have fully recovered. A prime example are California Redwood forests, which in 1930 were nearly gone. The forests had recovered decades before the environmental movement got any laws passed.

The same with whaling. Whaling is prohibitively expensive compared to natural gas, thus is mostly ended long before legislation banning it ever made its way through government bodies.

Agricultural sustainability was proven in New Zealand when they nearly eliminated the government farming sector.

We have plenty of real-world evidence to point to to support the Austrian angle.

Ultimately, pollution is expensive. Pollution is essentially throwing away a part of the materials purchased to produce the product. Most pollution-cutting measures came around through the desire to use as much of the raw material as possible, not throw it away.

Robert December 8, 2010 at 6:54 pm

“Just look at tree farming as an example as to why the market approach is the answer to the problem.”

But what is the free market approach, specifically, in this instance? I’m not asking about the general virtues of markets . . . I believe in those to a great extent. I’m asking you to suggest how those principles might be the basis of a plan.

Robert December 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Obviously you can remove the unowned resource/tragedy of the commons problem if your resource stays put. Shellfish, for example; portions of the seabed get auctioned off and farmed. Fish proper are harder to propertize, because they move around. Well-mixed greenhouse gases, where almost everyone contributes to the levels which in turn affect everyone on earth for many generations, would have to be the ultimate challenge in terms of effective privatization. If you could privatize that, you could privatize anything.

Bala December 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Robert,

“I’m asking you to suggest how those principles might be the basis of a plan.”

Whose plan?

Bala December 8, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Robert,

I need to add “for whom?” to my previous question.

Walt D. December 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

Snowing in Cancun? Not quite.
http://theweek.com/article/index/210181/irony-alert-the-unusually-chilly-global-warming-summit
It seems that God has a good sense of humor!

Sione December 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Robert

Your attempts at evasion do not work. Surely even you must realise that by now.

Way back on the 6th December, right at the early stages of this thread, I wrote to you thus,

“Since you are positing AGW theory, it is necessary for you to prove it is correct. Go ahead. make the case and prove it.”

Today is the 14th December. In all the posts you’ve made since then you have not answered the simple, basic challenge put to you. What you have attempted is to evade. Twisting and turning like a worm on a hook only serves to demonstrate the intellectual weakness of your position and method. It also demonstrates a base dishonesty (which does nothing to compensate for your intellectual shortcomings). That is about all you have succeeded in showing.

If you are incapable of providing proof for AGW, then admit it. We can deal with matters from that point and progress from there. By continuing to evade you fool no-one- not even yourself.

Sione

Robert December 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Sione, why are you unable to do your homework and answer the very simple questions I gave you to solve?

By now, it is evident to anyone reading this thread that constructive questions and ideas win extensive replies, while baseless tantrums like yours get only the bare minimum necessary to show how they fail.

The two questions you are ducking are:

* What is the burden of proof?
* Why does it fall on you in this case?

Get off your butt and get to work.

Sione December 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Robert

Let’s see what has occurred here. Way back in the early days of this thread I asked you for your proof for AGW. You evaded. I subsequently pointed out that the burden of providing proof for AGW falls upon you, as you are in the position of asserting the positive. Your response has been a continuing refusal to provide a proof or anything like it. You’ve wriggled around evading, employing increasingly illogical outbursts to evade facing up to the now obvious fact that you can’t provide any proof for your position whatsoever. Your desperation to evade this fact is palpable.

What was being asked of you was to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that your notion of AGW corresponds with reality. In other words you were being asked to show AGW is factual, that it is real and exsistent. That would be a proof. Instead of that evidence, what you have provided on this thread is evidence that you, Robert, can’t show AGW is factual, real and existent. You are not up to the challenge. If you were you’d have accomplished it or, at the least, made an honest attempt to do so.

What makes you contemptible is that the comments you presented on this thread are clearly intended to evade facing the fact that you can’t provide any proof at all. You have been dishonest (especially to yourself). All you needed to admit was that you couldn’t provide proof for AGW theory and provide the reasons (assuming you knew what they were).

Note that this approach of asserting, evading and then pretending not to have evaded is a behavioual pattern you’ve displayed to readers of the VMI site for some time. You fool no-one at all.

Reading back on your various contributions to several threads over the last few weeks, the evidence you have provided on each occasion is that your position in politics, economics, morality, individual rights, private property, the whole of your epistemological system, is a collection of random assertions and bromides. None of it inter-relates into a non-self-contradictory coherent system of thought. It is all arbitrary and quite unsupportable. That it is so is revealed whenever you face the enquiry of direct questioning or the challenge to provide evidence or proof for what you assert. The responses you provide are inevitably degenerate- false argument, concept & topic substitutions, hypocracy, mindless repetitions & insistences, false objection, pretence, emotion, smears and the like- all of it deliberately evasive and hence, dishonest.

Assert, evade, then pretend you haven’t- that’s been your approach. Well, it don’t work.

Sione

Robert December 17, 2010 at 10:41 am

Sione again offers many excuses, but still hasn’t done her homework:

*Define the burden of proof
*Explain why to applies to her in this case

How long can she squirm away when these basic questions? How much fear do they inspire that she must continue to perseverate and evade?

Sione December 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Robert

You can wriggle and twist all you like, but dishonest evasions (this time a cheap attempt at smearing) do not provide you a way out. Either you can provide proof for your position or you must admit you are incapable of doing so, in which case your position is no more than an arbitrary blind belief. It is invalid to attempt to shore up your position by demanding someone else prove the negative to your contentions. You can’t pretend a “burden of disproof” falls upon someone who does not accept your position.

The situation remains that back on the 6th December you were asked to provide your proof for AGW. What was required of you (then and now) was to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that your notion of AGW corresponds with reality. You needed to show AGW was factual, that it was real and exsistent. It remains you who bear the burden of providing this proof since you are the one promoting AGW as real and factual. That is, you are in the position of promoting a claim to the positive so you must prove it corresponds with reality.

In all the time that’s passed since that simple request on the 6th December you have failed to even make an honest attempt at presenting any proof at all to support your position. The fact is that you can’t and you know it.

Sione

Robert December 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Sione, in the time you’ve taken to whine and make excuses, you could have done your homework, and we could be having a productive discussion right now, instead of of your endlessly reiterated non sequiturs and futile attempts to change the subject. You need to get serious and hit the books:

*Define the burden of proof
*Explain why to applies to you in this case

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