If Climate Information Were Perfect

By Keith Kloor | June 13, 2012 5:02 pm

If climate information were perfect AND unfiltered, then people would get the facts directly without having the ideological spin on it. They would know inaction is suicidal AND in fact more disruptive of individual freedom AND requiring more government intervention than action [nothing requires more government intervention than scarcity, food shortages, telling people where they can and can't live, and adaptation, etc.]. Indeed, they’d know that action is low cost with multiple co-benefits they desire (energy independence, cleaner air for their children).

If climate information were perfect and unfiltered, then people would know who is lying to them and who isn’t! Their “trusted” ideological sources would lose credibility — such is the definition of perfect information.

Can you guess who said this? It’s a gem, considering the source.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change
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  • http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/ Arthur Smith

    “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”I’m glad KK recognizes gems when he sees them. Or was that irony? On the internet it’s so hard to tell.

  • TanGeng

    I’m going to guess that is is a gem because of the irony and the stunning lack of self-awareness on the part of the ‘speaker,’ especially “Their ‘trusted’ ideological sources would lose credibility “” such is the definition of perfect information.”
    The quote has an internal contradiction on its own right because the ideal situation of total availability of quality information and the total absence of disinformation about the climate would still merely be high quality but imperfect information about the climate. Such is the state of climate science and its unknowns and uncertainties. To presume that perfect knowledge would support the conclusion that “inaction is suicidal” and the rest of that quote is quite opposite of perfect information.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #2,

    I always find this sort of stuff especially ironic because in recognising that people are influenced by ideology, they always fail to recognise that they themselves are influenced by ideology. All these scientific studies on cognitive bias…

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    The problem is that it ain’t majic, it is science, and we need it to inform the debate about what to do about climate change.  So in a real sense, Joe is right, we don;t need Judith Curry giving a platform and credibility to fools like Claes Johnson.  We don;t need Tony Watts and Roger Pielke Sr. going around for ziggtity years telling people that the surface temperature records are nonsense, we don’t need people claiming that vaccines cause autism and AIDS can be cured by beet juice.

    The problem is that we have piled up a lot of science in the last 100 years but to most people it looks like magic (ask the guy next to you how a computer works), and we are taught not to believe in magic.

  • TanGeng

    #2: I should be more precise in choice of words because I ended up guilty of making the same mistake, interchanging perfect information and perfect knowledge, that I was pointing out.Perfect information means does not equate perfect knowledge. Perfect information means perfect dissemination of available knowledge and the total available knowledge is imperfect.

  • http://www.lies.com/ John Callender

    Heh.

  • Keith Kloor

    Eli,

    Pining is never easy, I know. Have a listen.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    If #4 is going to nominate a list of websites he wishes weren’t around, I have an alternative list to propose. #4′s is on it.

  • Jack Hughes

    Continuing with NiV’s “Asteroid” theme he/she started last week. Would the mission to avert the disaster be helped by…
    A PR company starting a website called “Real-Asteroid.com” ?
    Confused claims that the asteroid had “already killed 300,000 people each year”?
    Mixing the mission in with an idea of helping the 3rd world and creating millions of “space jobs” and generally “making the solar system a better place” ?

  • Sashka

    My first thought was “crazy idiot” so it was an easy guess.

  • Steven Sullivan

    What is this ‘perfect and unfiltered information’  of which Romm writes?  I’ve never encountered it in two decades of doing science. Even raw data aren’t ‘perfect’ (always true) or ‘unfiltered’ (free of context).  

  • stan

    Does he think ‘perfect information’ includes the ability to predict the future?

  • Michael Larkin

    I’m having problems parsing this.

    He seems to be implying that climate information is imperfect and in some way filtered (imperfect *because* filtered)? So why is it imperfect, and who is filtering it? Is it imperfect because contrarians are filtering it incorrectly? And they are thereby lying, applying ideological spin?

    Duh? Contrarians don’t do the filtering of data (assuming this is what he means by information”), and don’t apply the spin, at least not any spin that the MSM most usually promulgates. Taking the first sentence of the first para and omitting the rest, and keeping the second para, this could have been written by a contrarian. But then, we do have the rest of the first para which simply doesn’t seem to tie in with the remainder. The end result is that I simply can’t compute what he is trying to say. Can anyone hazard a guess? Sorry if I’m being thick.

  • Anteros

    Poor guesswork on my part – I thought it was MT (apologies..) but in retrospect it’s pretty obvious. And you’re right Keith, it is a cracker! It’s the deficit model on steroids.

    I agree with Tom Fuller about Eli’s comment. The 

    we need it to inform the debate about what to do about climate change.

    is part of the reason there is so much opposition to the Eli’s of the world. It’s a subjective, imagination-based prejudice that there should be something done about climate change, and therefore science has nothing to say about it at all.

    And yes, I’d rather have Claes Johnson exposed and ridiculed at Judy Curry’s site than muffled by Eli’s politicking.

    Isn’t it obvious that the surface station network is vastly improved as a result of the work of Watts and Pielke etc? Is the truth not as important as the propaganda?

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    Ant, you appear to miss the point that doing nothing IS a policy choice, a bad one, given what we know, but a choice none the less.  Policy choices should be made based on knowledge.Some, not Eli to be sure, would respond to the house troll but thanks for the endorsement anyhow.

  • Anteros

    Eli – perhaps you’re right. My feeling is different when policies other than those being proposed are considered legitimate [I'll tolerate your 'bad' because I'm all growed up today] rather than an expression of evil or selfishness.

    The fact that I’m not right wing, not American, not in business and not a religious fundamentalist makes me think my views have a right to be seen as just that – views. Seems unlikely in Joe Romm’s world.

    I don’t know – do you allow legitimacy for dissenting views in your Rabbity world?

  • huxley

    …doing nothing IS a policy choice, a bad one, given what we know, but a choice none the less.

    Eli Rabett @ 15: Sure it’s a choice, but not necessarily a bad one. It’s only a bad choice when your side does all the calculations of sensitivity, uncertainty, risks, damages, mitigation, and adaptation.

    Some of us don’t trust your side for an accurate accouting of all those.

    So what is your side going to do about the rest of us? Drive Dr. Curry and Anthony Watts off the web? Continue the bunker mentality blockade of FOI requests? Shut up “denialist” speakers by any means necessary? Subvert democratic governance in favor of authoritarian regimes dedicated to your climate agenda?

    What is the strategy?

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    Ant, dissenting views are fine, dissenting illusions are not.  They tend to kill people.  You gonna defend Thabo Mbeki, Jenny McCarthy or Claes Johnson??  Have at it.

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    Hux, a long time ago, like 2007, how time flies when a bunny is having fun, Eli pointed out that Tony Watts’ Surface Station of the Month Club was turning up as many stations with bad cooling features as with warming ones, and summed it up that the net effect will be to broaden the distribution, but not change the means (by anything meaningful).  That’s what many years and sputters later they found (see link for links).

    But not, of course, before all sorts of world class sputter just like your little missive.

    Remember when BEST was going to blow GISS and CRUTEMP right out of the water, until it didn’t? Those were the days when you were telling us how you didn’t trust Phil Jones and Jim Hansen and how they were obviously bending the curve. Lots of sputter right there.

    There is a moral in there somewhere. See if you can find it

  • huxley

    Rab: So that’s your plan — fire hose snarking.

    Get back to me on how well that works in winning people over.

  • Steve E

    Eli Rabett says:”Policy choices should be made based on knowledge.”I know that keeping ketchup in my fridge keeps elephants out of my fridge. I know because I have always kept ketchup in my fridge and have yet to deal with an elephant infestation.Eli Rabett Says: ”…dissenting views are fine, dissenting illusions are not.[] You gonna defend Thabo Mbeki…”Are you going to defend Lysenko, the anti-tectonic consensus, and the anti-Galileo crowd?

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    In the case of people like Claes Johnson, Jenny McCarthy and Thabo Mbeki, the point is not to win them over but to get them to keep their heads down so you don’t have to deal with the consequences of their crazy or fight through it to what is really on deck.  And yes Steve, it’s a big internet out there and there are people defending Lysenko and the pope.

  • huxley

    In the case of people like Claes Johnson, Jenny McCarthy and Thabo Mbeki, the point is not to win them over but to get them to keep their heads down so you don’t have to deal with the consequences of their crazy or fight through it to what is really on deck.

    Eli Rabett @ 22: Thanks. That’s helpful.

    For some time I’ve been confused because I thought the climate orthodox were representing science and reason, so I expected careful, thoughtful debate from them. Instead I often found intellectual thugs enforcing their dogma with brass knuckles and blackjacks.

    I was raised Catholic and attended a parochial school run by Irish nuns and priests. I’m familiar with the authoritarian tactics of belittlement, humiliation and threats.

    “…the point is not to win them over but to get them to keep their heads down…”

    That’s beautiful. Because there is no difference, really, between anyone disagrees at all with the Holy Consensus. Heretics, all.

    Sadly you can’t burn them at the stake anymore, but you can ridicule them, brand them as heretics, harass them from behind the scenes, prevent them from being published or hired, refuse to share data with them, or censor and ban them if they raise their heads up in a blog you control.

    Again, thanks.

  • Tom Scharf

    Eli,

    The American form of government was specifically designed to prevent people like you from doing exactly what you state.  

    God Bless America

  • BBD

    What’s missing here is the entire ‘sceptic’ case. That’s why Eli and others make mock.

    What you need is a rapidly growing number of robust studies invalidating the main hypotheses underpinning the standard position.

    Do we see this with climate science? No.

    Anything every remotely like it? No.

    Is Eli correct to point out that there is no sceptical case? Yes.

    Are those who loudly argue rubbish a menace to the rest of us? Yes.

    End of story.

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    Everyone has the right to say anything they want.  No one has the right to demand that other people listen.

  • huxley

    BBD @ 25: You write as though skeptics are required to invalidate the many brilliant proofs of the church fathers as to the existence of God in order that they be allowed to be agnostic.

    No. Skepticism is not ‘a case’ but simply some position critical of the orthodoxy, including criticism of the orthodox process and including the position of not being persuaded.

    The climate orthodox case, as you know, is not a binary yes/no. It is fraught with degrees of causality, effects, uncertainties, risks and estimates.

    Taking issue with any of these degrees is skepticism, which does not mean a blanket rejection of the orthodox edifice. Likewise taking issue with the scientific misconduct in climate science is skepticism too, but does not mean rejection of all the orthodoxy.

  • huxley

    Everyone has the right to say anything they want. No one has the right to demand that other people listen.

    Eli Rabett @ 26: I quite agree, but what does that have to do with “get[ting] them to keep their heads down”? And what does the latter have to do with civil debate?

    If you don’t want to engage skeptics, then don’t. But that’s different from shouting them down, mocking them, censoring them, banning them, rigging peer review so they can’t get published, refusing to abide by FOI laws, etc.

    However, if you refuse to engage with skeptics, as far as I’m concerned you’ve forfeited the right complain about the public being misled by skeptics.

    If you uphold the behavior of abusing skeptics, you also don’t get to complain if the public is repulsed or loses confidence.

  • BBD

    huxley

    No. Skepticism is not “˜a case’ but simply some position critical of the orthodoxy, including criticism of the orthodox process and including the position of not being persuaded.

    Agreed.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    [I]f you refuse to engage with [contrarians], as far as I’m concerned you’ve forfeited the right complain about the public being misled by [contrarians].

    Contrarians might then win the right to freely mislead the public by making sure anyone who engage with them will end up refusing to engage with them.

  • huxley

    willard: Whatever.

    Skeptics have the right to speak their minds and make their cases. They don’t have to “win” any right.

    If you don’t like it, that’s your problem. If you disagree with skeptics’ cases, make your own.

    If you want to complain that it’s too icky to engage with skeptics, you can go for that too. That doesn’t impress me and I’ll bet it doesn’t impress voters, but you’re free to do so.

    Get used to the idea that we live in a constitutional republic that guarantees freedom of speech for all, however distasteful you may find that.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    One use of the word “right”:

    You’ve forfeited the right complain about the public being misled by contrarians.

    Another use of the word “right”:

    Contrarians have the right to speak their minds and make their cases. They don’t have to “win” any right.

    Having the constitutional right to profer any equivocation one fancies does not entail one is right in doing so.

  • kdk33

    What you need is a rapidly growing number of robust studies invalidating the main hypotheses underpinning the standard position

    No.  You just need to be right.

  • Steven Sullivan

    LOL.  If only.

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    And k, how do you know that you are right, well ok, from what you post here you are extremely right. . .

  • chris

    blockquote>”If you don’t want to engage skeptics, then don’t. But that’s different from shouting them down, mocking them, censoring them, banning them, rigging peer review so they can’t get published, refusing to abide by FOI laws, etc.”</blockquote>williard, the reason that aspirin bottles are labeled to warn of dangers wrt Reyes syndrome in children, or that we all understand the dangers of ciggie smoking wrt respiratory disease and lung cancer, and likewise with all the other issues that “skeptics” of previous days attempted to misrepresent in support of various tedious agendas, is because well-informed and concerned individuals chose to “engage” with misrepresenters of science. The notion that peer review is “rigged” so “skeptics” can’t get published is pretty silly. Pretty much anything can get published and I doubt there is another scientific field with more rubbish published by so-called  ”skeptics” than that of climate science (we could make a list). Happily scientists and other well-informed people also go to the effort to “engage” with this stuff by writing rebuttals in the scientific literature.  

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    > The American form of government> was specifically designed ….That’s the intelligent design argument, political version.Ain’t so, without you accept the assumptions made.The American form of government was designed based on a n assumption obvious then, and unavailable now.The American form of government assumes a nearby, huge and almost untouched natural resource, and freedom to consume it.  That was the ‘American dream’.Jefferson made that point.  Anyone unhappy could strike off west, go far enough, claim what no white male European had ever claimed, and build from there.<a href=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Hh-ZT9W2cYo/T15GNXRxhKI/AAAAAAAAAsU/uDNDmUA7tNM/s1600/031212%2Bmoral%2Bfiber-720356.jpg”> Dan O’ Neill nails it here</a>.If we get a space elevator built, that continues.  If we’re fortunate, the space environment really is available and unclaimed. Free riches, 200 miles away — that’s the American dream.Being born where you can hike off into the interior of vast free wealth and get yours by working — allows great political freedom.Being born into an overworked resource among rich people who own all of it already, not so much.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Nobody has the right to make people listen. But people still keep showing up here and responding…

    As for the disappearance of those wide open spaces that gave life and vigor to the American dream, I just flew from NY to SF last week. Ain’t buying it. The population density of Alaska is 1.26 people per square mile. North Dakota’s is 10. The U.S. average is 88, the world average is 135 (land only, excluding Antarctica) and countries we perceive as empty–like Afghanista, with 119, actually have a higher density than we do. So go dream in the great wide open spaces.

    Yep, pretty much anything can get published. And 90% of everything published by skeptics is crap. But so is 90% of everything published by committed members of the consensus team.

    How many irrelevant straw man arguments can see the light of day on a Sunday? More importantly, how many can fit on the head of a pin?

  • chris

    Tom (Fuller), it’s a reasonably interesting subject so why shouldn’t ” people still keep showing up here and responding”?!This gets back somewhat to the subject of this thread. Most of the stuff published by “skeptics” is crap – we agree. But where’s your evidence that 90% of research published by climate scientists is crap? Since it’s science, it’s possible to take a reasonably objective view of scientific information (assuming we’re at least a little bit educated and well-informed) and see that any climate science “consensus” arises from a fairly well-evidence-supported and self-consistent set of observations and interpretations. It’s all very well to assert without evidence that 90% of science you might not like is crap. But where is the science that underlies this assertion? It’s simply not there in the scientific literature (“skeptic” rubbish that finds its way into scientific journals is usually quite robustly rebutted if it’s worthwhile to do so). Why can’t the “skeptics” publish robust critiques if there’s supposedly so much rubbish out there?  

  • chris

    ummm, what does one have to do to get paragraph returns to take effect?

  • BBD

    Tom

    Yep, pretty much anything can get published. And 90% of everything published by skeptics is crap. But so is 90% of everything published by
    committed members of the consensus team.

    Oh FFS. Quantify. Provide references demonstrating and supporting this assertion. Or just admit that once again, you have slipped a rat into the soup.

  • BBD

    chris

    Type the comment, including bold and italic. Click the blue < > toolbar button to get into html view. Place the cursor after each paragraph return tag </p> and hit Enter twice. The spacing you see will come through in your published comment.

    The comment editor here is broken and has been for an age.

  • Anteros

    BBD -

    Tom rather reasonably asserted that 90% of things published on both sides of an argument are crap.

    First off, you laughable cry “quantify!!“….. Too funny.

    Secondly, the fact that you immediately and implacably assert asymmetry betokens not just fundamentalism but self-delusion.

  • BBD

    Anteros… saying stuff again. Let’s see some evidence that ‘90% of everything published by committed members of the consensus team’.

    I think that’s bollocks and I want some evidence. You’re talking (as usual) but not demonstrating* anything.

  • huxley

    Hank Roberts @ 36 reformatted. I sure wish the comment editor was fixed.
    ——————-
    The American form of government was specifically designed…

    That’s the intelligent design argument, political version.

    Ain’t so, without you accept the assumptions made.The American form of government was designed based on a n assumption obvious then, and unavailable now.

    The American form of government assumes a nearby, huge and almost untouched natural resource, and freedom to consume it. That was the “˜American dream’.Jefferson made that point. Anyone unhappy could strike off west, go far enough, claim what no white male European had ever claimed, and build from there.

    Dan O’ Neill nails it here.

    If we get a space elevator built, that continues. If we’re fortunate, the space environment really is available and unclaimed. Free riches, 200 miles away “” that’s the American dream.

    Being born where you can hike off into the interior of vast free wealth and get yours by working “” allows great political freedom.

    Being born into an overworked resource among rich people who own all of it already, not so much.

  • huxley

    Hank Roberts @ 36: Nice mindreading of the Founders with a bit o’ snark — “intelligent design version” indeed — but cites?

    Somehow I’m not satisfied with a link to an old hippie cartoonist ridiculing a conservative politician.

    What is your point? That without a vast, wealthy fronteir nearby, the American form of government and its guaranteed political freedoms are unrealistic?

    Keep in mind that we are discussing freedom of speech and civil debate. Are those unaffordable in 21st Century America?

    Perhaps you prefer the RealClimate model where skeptics are routinely ridiculed, harassed, censored and banned, and their FOI requests ignored.

    You would not be the only climate change guy arguing that democracy and political freedoms are luxuries today.

  • Jarmo

    #43,Regarding crappy studies, I just read posts at Lucia’s about screening fallacies (related to hockey sticks). Interesting stuff on the multitude of consensus proxy studies:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2012/screening-fallacy-so-whats-the-past-really-like/

     This one comment was a gem:

    Lucia,

    Thanks for your answers. I’m starting to see a high amount of recursion in the proxy reconstruction world. Hantemirov screens which trees to core, Briffa screens which trees to include in a chronology, Osborn screens which trees to include in a regional chronology, Mann screens which chronology to include in a reconstruction, and the IPCC screens which reconstruction to include in the AR. And to think that each step in the process reduces bias and uncertainty. Of course we have normal distributions! /sarc

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, “90% of everything is crap.” So wrote Theodore Sturgeon and it was so obviously universal and true that the law was named after him.But feel free to try and refute it.

  • BBD

    Tom

    All I want is some kind of evidence that nine out of ten papers published by ‘committed members of the consensus team’ are ‘crap’. 

    I’ll even let you decide who you mean by this statement. Nine out of ten, remember, or that’s a rat in my soup :-)

  • BBD

    From the Romm quote:

    nothing requires more government intervention than scarcity, food shortages, telling people where they can and can’t live, and adaptation, etc.

    Libertarians take note :-)

  • BBD

    It’s probably worth adding that dendroclimatology isn’t a proxy for climate science ;-)

    It’s just a tiny little bit of it. Let’s not accidentally stray into false equivalence.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #48,

    Prove they’re not.

    #49,

    Romm’s wrong. Unless you think he means that scarcity, food shortages, and general ordering-people-about require more government intervention to create?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Umm, BBD, you’re familiar with the term ‘heuristic’ I assume… sort of a rule of thumb that saves a lot of time dealing with a complex universe…

    Since I began following climate change seriously in 2008, I have probably read over 100 peer-reviewed papers on the subject, linked to by people like you and some stuff that actually interested me.

    After 100, I stand by my heuristic. But I’ll bet Tammy Wynette will never write a song about it. (“Slitting your wrist–ick! To save your heuristic…” Doesn’t really have the same ring to it.)

    One reason I stand by my rule of thumb is watching people like you defend to the death papers that I can see are crap.

    But BBD, I’m commenting on a weblog. I owe you nothing. I don’t care if you believe me or not, agree with the points I make or support any of my points of view. I’m not writing to people like you, who made up your mind on the subject long ago and determinedly filter out any fact that might challenge your viewpoint.

    So don’t bother telling me to find references, cite stuff and all that. This is just conversation in a pub. 

  • BBD

    Tom

    One reason I stand by my rule of thumb is watching people like you defend to the death papers that I can see are crap.

    [...]

    So don’t bother telling me to find references, cite stuff and all that. This is just conversation in a pub.

    Even pub conversations can be grounded in facts. What you need is nine out of ten, or is that a rat in my gastropub locally sourced seasonal broth?

  • BBD

    I have to admit, it’s done to perfection. The meat’s falling off the bones.

  • Dave H

    @Tom Fuller – so, just to get the gist of what you consider to be “crap” would you include MBH98 in the “crap” bucket? What about McKitrick & Michaels 2004, that Steve M was so incensed was kept out of AR4 by “gatekeeping”? http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/17/climategatekeeping-2/

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, I don’t care what you eat. Dave H, I do think MBH98 is crap. I didn’t read McKitrick & Michaels, just the conversation about it. 

  • Anteros

    BBD -

    You’re wilfully misunderstanding the point. Which is that a similar proportion of papers on both sides of an argument are crap.

    Seems reasonable – and it is a matter of opinion how bad something has to be before you call it ‘crap’. To want ‘evidence’ for this is frankly moronic.

    Your misunderstanding seems to lead you to the bizarre idea that arguments on one side are necessarily more crap than the other. For this kind of contention you’d need some proof.

    Evidence.

    Now.

    No squirming.

  • BBD

    Tom

    Not exactly nine out of ten, is it? Contrarian tourette’s.

    I wouldn’t put up with it in the pub, never mind in a public debate.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    If you don’t want to put up with it, go to bed.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Seems reasonable ““ and it is a matter of opinion how bad something has to be before you call it “˜crap’. To want “˜evidence’ for this is frankly moronic.

    Richard St.John’s definition of CRAP:

    Criticism.

    Rejection

    A*******

    Pressure

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/richard_st_john_s_8_secrets_of_success.html

  • BBD

    Anteros

    You’re wilfully misunderstanding the point. Which is that a similar proportion of papers on both sides of an argument are crap.

    Cobblers as far as climate science is concerned. Sceptical papers are universally weak. Never mind nine, can you list five that have not been shown to be flawed?

  • BBD

    Night night Tom.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    as the great Dano would say “they ain’t got nothin’”

    so the ‘debate’ gets reduced to ‘they must be hiding something or else they wouldn’t be so rude’.

    yawn.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You can go to bed too. Or just keep drinking. We owe trolls nothing.

  • huxley

    They would know inaction is suicidal AND in fact more disruptive of individual freedom AND requiring more government intervention than action [nothing requires more government intervention than scarcity, food shortages, telling people where they can and can't live, and adaptation, etc.].

    – Joe Romm

    I’m a lukewarmer, so I’m open to the possibility that mitigation may be preferable to adaptation. Work up the scenarios, the technologies, and the numbers and we can talk.

    However, it’s still not quite that simple. Even without a climate crisis, the predatory incompetence of the current liberal/left has pushed Europe to the brink of economic ruin with the US not far behind.

    I find it difficult to imagine a coalition of leaders from the IPCC, the UN, the EU, and the US Democratic Party managing mitigation without completely breaking the world economy, while installing draconian measures that greatly reduce freedom, and failing to mitigate climate change. In other words, the worst of all worlds.

    We have only to look at Europe under the Eurocrats and the US under Obama Democrats to know which way that wind blows.

    So I tend to favor adaptation as the least worst solution.

  • huxley

    In the meantime, what could be done without the orthodox and skeptics banging heads over every jot and tittle, as we see in this blog and everywhere, is build nukes.

    Build nukes, steadily and abundantly all over the world, while improving designs and bringing down costs. Check out thorium and keep working on fusion.

    Solar may be feasible later in the century but I don’t want to count on it until then. Forget wind except in the most favorable circumstances.

    Yes, I know that fossil fuel plants are cheaper, at least for now, but they emit carbon and pollution, and I’d prefer to save fossil fuels for feedstocks.

    The left can explain the nukes as mitigation. The right can explain them as energy independence.

    Sounds like a solution. But who’s against nukes? With some exceptions, such as Stewart Brand and our own BBD, the climate orthodox.

    It’s enough to make you weep. It certainly makes me wonder how serious the climate change movement is about solving the problem versus indulging wishful fantasies about how the world should be.

  • Jarmo

    #51,

    It’s probably worth adding that dendroclimatology isn’t a proxy for climate science 

    I just wonder why do they keep on defending hockey sticks and creating more of them? 

  • BBD

    Marlowe @ 64

    Yup. No smoke is just evidence that the fire is extremely well hidden (by a global conspiracy of leftie-pinko climatologists bent on killing the poor, no less).

    Praise the Lord and pass the tinfoil :-)

    Reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ further remark on having no evidence:

    A belief in invisible cats cannot be logically disproved”¦[although it does] tell us a good deal about those who hold it.

  • BBD

    Jarmo

    There are plenty of non-dendro hockey sticks. That’s why dendroclimatology

    1/. Is not a proxy for the entire field of climate science

    2/. Doesn’t matter (see #1)

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @BBD

    That Lewis quote about invisible cats is all the more interesting when you consider that he became a pretty devout born again christian later in life…

  • BBD

    But he wasn’t talking about God, was he ;-)

    Anyway, he’s dead, so it doesn’t matter. Now, did you bring the tinfoil?

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    I’ve been trying to refine an expression of ‘sceptical logic’ and this is my best shot:

    Look! An invisible cat.

    Can you beat that?
    :-)

  • Marlowe Johnson

    hmm….will have to get back to you…

  • Nullius in Verba

    #73,

    How about:

    Sceptic logic – “Taking 26/65 and cancelling the 6′s top and bottom to get 2/5 is wrong.”

    It’s not as pithy, but better captures the different perspective.

  • BBD

    Where’s me tinfoil? Had it a minute ago…

  • J Bowers

    “Dave H, I do think MBH98 is crap.”The National Academy of Sciences disagree. So, in a similar vein, I do think that opinion is 90% crap. And the irony of using heuristics is; heuristics inform us that climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere is ~3C.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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