Thursday, May 31, 2012

How To and Not To Debate an Issue

With the Euro's death spiral and the Greek tragedy, Paul Krugman has been a hot interview.  Whatever bunnies may think about those issues, the two videos from BBC Newsnight below clearly show the difference between is and ought in modern policy debates.

Is


Ought (w. Ken Rogoff @ 18:21 also @ 6:22 with Giorgos Papakonstantinou)

 

More please

Eli Is Aware of All Internet Traditions

Eli Rabett says:

As Eli pointed out a few days ago they will not have the last word because there are the issues of insurance and bonds. Anything built under the NC-20 standard that does not meet the one meter standard is going to have problems with the financial and insurance industries which already have this on its radar.
Erik Loomis says:
Did you just refer to yourself in the third person?
Hob says:
You haven’t read Eli’s blog much, have you?

Ms. Rabett recommends WBGO, the best jazz station in the world, live streaming while reading Rabett Run


Allocate emissions to those who emit them (except electricity)

I got sidetracked as I often do, reading the Climate Progress thread that Eli referenced, into looking at a discussion about whether GHG emissions embodied in the production of imported products should go into the sinner's file of the importing nation.

The question is a truly exciting one of cost accounting.  In theory it doesn't really matter who you allocate the carbon cost to, as long as you allocate it to someone, you don't double count or undercount, and you keep the method consistent.  That's Coase Theorem for you - whoever's responsible for fixing the problem will be forced to put up the money to fix it.  So maybe you could choose to say the nation where the end user is gets the full freight.

Except it has some problems, especially when it concerns trade between sovereign nations.  For one thing, definition of end product could be hard.  A factory built to manufacture widgets for export - is the factory an end product or added to the emission of widgets?  An American reads a newspaper and then tosses it into a bin, where it gets shipped off to China for recycling.  Who's responsible for which or all emissions? It's easier to avoid these games and just count emissions where they become airborne.  More importantly, it could be a lot harder to track emissions in someone else's country and use legal force to ensure that country undertakes the conservation techniques/renewable energy/carbon sequestration that you're paying them to do.

The exporting country is getting paid for the product they export - if they internalize the externalized carbon cost of production that's an appropriate charge to bear.  Most countries prefer to be exporters rather than importers, so let the exporters pay for their pollution costs.

None of this denies the reality that China's emissions are (partly) why developed countries aren't even worse.  And Americans should fight coal exports to China just because it's a really bad idea, not because of carbon accounting.


UPDATE:  I forgot to add why electricity is different - it's such a close connection between buyer and seller that I think it's fair and practicable to allocate emissions to the buyer as much as the seller, and give the buyer incentive to buy from somewhere else.  Electricity doesn't have to be an exception, but it could be an exception.

Also see comments below, they're good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Very Modest Proposal

Jonathan Adler, who usually blogs at the Volokh Conspiracy, has a guest post at Megan McArdles Atlantic blog.  Now McArdle is your usual run of the mill lunatarian who think nothing through and knows really less but thinks she knows more.  Glib is a good one word description.  Adler is more constrained by the world.

In his post, Adler describes what he calls a conservatives approach to climate change.  The construction is interesting.  He starts by accepting the usual suspects case, praising Pat Michaels and friends analysis, but then does the reverse English
The position espoused by Michaels, Balling and most (but not all) skeptics is that anthropogenic global warming is occurring, but it is more of a nuisance than a catastrophe.  Some even argue that the net effect of climate change on the world will be positive, due to increased growing seasons, less severe winters and the like.  Were I a utilitarian, and if I placed substantial faith in such cost-benefit studies, I might find these arguments convincing, but I'm not and I don't.  Even if these skeptics are correct that global warming will not be catastrophic and that the net effects in the near-to-medium term might be positive, there are still reasons to act.
Accepting, for the sake of argument, that the skeptics' assessment of the science is correct, global warming will produce effects that should be of concern. 
and he has suggestions for fixes
First, the federal government should support technology inducement prizes to encourage the development of commercially viable low-carbon technologies.  For reasons I explain in this paper, such prizes are likely to yield better results at lower cost than traditional government R&D funding or regulatory mandates that seek to spur innovation.

Second, the federal government should seek to identify and reduce barriers to the development and deployment of alternative technologies.  Whatever the economic merits of the Cape Wind project, it is ridiculous that it could take over a decade for a project such as this to go through the state and federal permitting processes.  This sort of regulatory environment discourages private investment in these technologies.

Third, I believe the United States should adopt a revenue-neutral carbon tax, much like that suggested by NASA's James Hansen.  Specifically, the federal government should impose a price on carbon that is fully rebated to taxpayers on a per capita basis. . 
Fourth and finally, it is important to recognize that some degree of warming is already hard-wired into the system.  This means that some degree of adaptation will be necessary.
Yet as above, recognizing the reality of global warming need not justify increased federal control over the private economy.  There are many market-oriented steps that can, and should, be taken to increase the country's ability to adapt to climate change including, as I've argued here and here, increased reliance upon water markets, particularly in the western United States where the effects of climate change on water supplies are likely to be most severe.
Eli does not agree with much of Adler's background material, and personally thinks that regulation can be both more efficient and less expensive, but those are things that can be debated.  If nothing else the Bunny would like to see Barry Bickmore discuss this with Adler.

Axe Grinding

A recent rather scary example of the speed of blogs and how even small mistakes can be amplified in service of serial axe grinding.  It is also a story of how news organizations and reporters can behave ethically in timely correction of mistakes.  

It may come as a surprise to many bunnies, but Joe Romm is really despised by many out there in Blogland.  The obvious come to mind, Tony Watts, Hans v. Storch, Keith Kloor, Roger Jr, etc., but in this particular case, David Appell (here, here and now here), and also many of the Kool Kids (that's you Weasel and James).  The latter class think that one should be, well, cerebral about the threats of major global warming, and well, Joe is hot.  Eli was holding off on this little tale to give it a chance to settle after the original  small burn, but it has gone thermonuclear and needs to be discussed immediately. 

Recently an article appeared in Reuters which quoted the Chief Economist of the IEA, Fatih Birol, as saying

 "When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet,"
Joe Romm picked this up but omitted the (2050) which turns out to be correct.  David Appell on the other hand, went into full attack mode on Romm for predicting a 6C change by 2050.  As the subsequent comments show, Romm did no such thing.

In fact, after reading the Appell post, Eli asked a question at ThinkProgress
  1. Eli Rabett says:
    In the Reuters piece it says 6 C by 2050 which makes no sense. What did Birol really say?? any idea

    • Martin Vermeer says:
      Good question Eli. I only find 2050 in the Reuters piece,
      “When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet,” Fatih Birol, IEA’s chief economist told Reuters.
      It’s not in Birol’s slides, and not in his transcript. And it doesn’t make sense.

      • Joe Romm says:
        I meant to post that 2050 is obviously a mistake by the reporter.

        • Steve Bloom says:
          If the 2050 figure did get mentioned, it could perhaps refer to a commitment to 6C by then given a continuation of current emissions trends.
Now one of the annoyances of blogs is that people would rather discuss endlessly what they thought somebunny said, rather than ask that bunny. Eli and others finally got Appell to write to Birol, but Birol is a big cheese, and no reply yet.  It occurred to the Rabett to write to the person whose byline appeared on the Reuters piece. So he did (much more background below in the letter)
Dear Sir

In a recent article published with your byline in Reuters

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/24/co2-iea-idUKL5E8GO6B520120524

Fatih Birol is quoted as follows

"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet," Fatih Birol, IEA's chief economist told Reuters.

To be frank 6C by 2050 is risible, and there are good reasons to think that Birol simply said 6 degrees Celsius without a date including the IEA 2011 World Energy Report and a recent panel discussion in which he participated, where he said “the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius [11°F], which would have devastating consequences for the planet.”

http://carnegieendowment.org/files/112811_transcript_energyoutlook1.pdf

This has been picked up in several places, particularly by David Appell

http://davidappell.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/11-f-warming-by-2050-no-way.html

who explains why 2050 is not reasonable by going through some of the numbers. Joe Romm while using the 6 C figure did not quote the date and, indeed there is some published work out there that there really is a chance of 6 C by 2100, though they predict a median of 5.1 C (not much of a difference).

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/climate-change-1002.html
http://globalchange.mit.edu/research/publications/1989
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/roulette-0519.html
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2009JCLI2863.1

The question is what is the source for the 2050 date?

Thanks for your attention to what may on the surface appear to be a minor matter, but which, given the politicization of climate issues is likely to spread and to be used badly

E  
and received this useful reply from the reporter, Michael Rose
Dear Eli,

Thank you for your email. As you said in your message, Birol did not specify a date for that 6°C increase, and that’s why “by 2050” was between brackets in the story, to show that this was added by Reuters for context. Considering the target for a 2°C trajectory is 2050 and this is the timeframe always referred to in climate change discussions, we thought Birol was comparing like for like, or else why give a number and no date. After reading what you sent me, I’ll certainly check that with him and issue a correction if need be.

Cheers,
 It is so bad to be proven right.  Eli had hoped that with a quick resolution this would go away and was waiting for Reuters to catch up with Fatih Birol and get this straightened out, with perhaps a note on the original article, but alas, Hans von Storch put the boot in
A forth [sic] interesting issue is that climate science has become irrelevant; it shows up in passing, when "limit devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting glaciers" is mentioned, and the quote "the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050)" is made.This is a pretty bold prediction, given that we have so far less than 1 degree warming since pre-industrial times, so that the warming must be more than 5 degrees/38 years, i.e., about 0.7-0.8 deg/decade. I consider this pure alarmism, which is related to the timing, and a misuse of scientific analysis for creating some unsustainable short term drama for the Bonn-negotiations. I wonder if this 6-degrees claim is really from IEA, or just an addition by Fatih Birol, because is no not mentioned in the IEA's announcement
Eli got there a bit late in the comments
This attack on Joe Romm and Fatih Birol is an argument in bad faith which originated in David Appell's dislike of Joe Romm and which you are amplifying for similar reasons. The 2050 is an insertion by Reuters based on a misunderstanding.

On Appell's blog, Eli pointed this out and suggested that Appell ask Birol. In the discussion there scientific sources were found by others for the 6C claim in 2100. Eli himself has asked Reuters and received a response

Tony Watts has now leveraged your bad faith posting into an attack on Joe Romm.

Be proud
It had already bled over from the Pielkesphere into the Blogs of Denial and from there, but a short hop to the Capital, Wattsville
This is sad. Joe Romm promotes another overt fabrication, and some poor kid writes in despair, hoping all the “oil/coal people” here die “a horrible death, preferably caused by climate disasters”. If that were sent to somebody at ANU, it would by the Appell/Stokes rule, be declared a “death threat”. Since it’s on Romm’s site, the poster gets sympathy and counseling instead of admonishment. See below.
and they are off!!!  and how.  But Reuters has issued a correction
11:41 30May12 RTRS-CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Global CO2 emissions hit record in 2011 led by China-IEA
(Corrects MAY 24 story to fix timeframe reference in fourth paragraph) 
  * CO2 emissions rose by 3.2 pct last year
  * China the biggest contributor to the global rise
  * Trend could have "devastating consequences" -IEA's Birol
  By Michel Rose 
  PARIS, May 24 (Reuters) - China spurred a jump in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to their highest ever recorded level in 2011, offsetting falls in the United States and Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday. 
  CO2 emissions rose by 3.2 percent last year to 31.6 billion tonnes, preliminary estimates from the Paris-based IEA showed.   
China, the world's biggest emitter of CO2, made the largest contribution to the global rise, its emissions increasing by 9.3 percent, the body said, driven mainly by higher coal use. 
  "When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (towards the end of this century), which would have devastating consequences for the planet," Fatih Birol, IEA's chief economist told Reuters. 

Scientists say ensuring global average temperatures this century do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is needed to limit devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting glaciers.
They believe that is only possible if emission levels are kept to around 44 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2020.
Negotiators from over 180 nations are meeting in Bonn, Germany, until Friday to work towards getting a new global climate pact signed by 2015.
The aim is to ensure ambitious emissions cuts are made after the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of this year.
Procedural wrangling and a reluctance to raise ambitions to cut emissions due to economic constraints is threatening progress, however. (ID:nL5E8GLCRU]
"I think it would be unrealistic to think that there will be major breakthroughs very soon," Birol said.
"Climate change is sliding down in the international policy agenda, which is definitely a worrying trend."
 There are several morals here, certainly Reuters and Michael Rose, the journalist, behaved responsibly when informed of the issue, investigating and then issuing the correction.  Similar action may limit the damage that Appell and v. Storch are doing to their reputation.  In Watts' case the Bunnies strongly suspect what the answer will be. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A day late for Memorial Day

Remembering the sacrifices of those who served will hopefully make us less likely to rush into unnecessary wars.

Another way to share the sacrifice is to spread the risk around.  I'm somewhat sympathetic to calls for a renewed draft as a way to make sure every class and social group is represented, but the military doesn't need that many people.  Below I'm copying a 2007 post from my old blog, on how in the absence of prior national service - either military or volunteer work - virtually anyone of any working age could be subject to a lottery for draft military service.  I'm not expecting it to happen, but it would be a fairer way to go about things, and likely have more peaceful results.


Making mandatory national service a choice

My idea for national service is to give young people a choice:

Alternative #1. Before they turn 25, begin serving for a shorter period of time than Alternative 2 would require. I don't know how long; it would depend on the need and could be somewhere between 12 to 24 months.

or

Alternative #2. Do no mandatory service before 25, but if the national need arises at any age before their retirement, based on a proclaimed national emergency like Bush's War on Terror, those who did not serve earlier and are chosen by lottery will be required to serve twice as long a time period as Alternative 1. Almost no one who failed to serve earlier would be exempt from the lottery.

That's the basic idea, although improvements are possible - you can adjust the incentives so that right number of people sign up for military versus nonmilitary national service, or sign up right away versus taking a chance on the lottery. I recognize that you probably can't make a worthwhile modern soldier out of someone for a useful period out of a total period of 12 months, but special support roles that require less training could be developed.

The key issue is that almost no one who skips the initial service gets out of the lottery. No, a sedentary 55 year-old won't be fighting door to door under this system, but he could very well help with paperwork in Baghdad or Kabul and take his chances along with everyone else. And no exemptions at all based on the person being more valuable doing whatever she happens to be doing currently when her number's called. This is a new social compact we're talking about, and economic efficiency arguments get trumped.

The economic efficiency of not fighting Bush's Iraq War, or ending it much sooner than will otherwise happen, is pretty obvious and a likely benefit if the general and older population had a much closer connection to people being sent involuntarily to Iraq.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Empathy First

RSAnimate brings a discussion of what we need to survive in the twenty first century


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Canute Sets π = 3

Ethon was scanning the law books for the strangest laws when the Birdie came across a new one that has been proposed in North Carolina.  It seems that some are concerned with a new expert report prepared for the Coastal Resources Commission that forecast a one meter rise by 20102100.

A one meter (39 inch rise) is considered likely in that it only requires that the linear relationship between temperature and sea level that was noted in the 20th century remains valid for the 21st century (Rahmstorf, 2007). This level of rise is consistently encapsulated within all of the projections reviewed, and is not located at the upper or lower extremes of the projections. Given the range of possible rise scenarios and their associated levels of plausibility, the Science Panel recommends that a rise of 1 meter (39 inches) be adopted as the amount of anticipated rise by 20102100, for policy development and planning purposes.
Firetree has a mapping tool which allows bunnies to visualize what a 1 meter rise would do and more


A coastal economic development group, NC-20, was not exactly happy with this and located a tame physicist associated with the American Traditions Institute to dump upon it, John Droz, whose main thing appears to be dumping on wind power, but as is usual with these types can be relied upon to provide the needed cover.  Just like some of Eli's friends, Lomborg, Pielke, Kloor to name a few Droz advertises himself as a former environmentalist.  Droz has a Masters Degree in condensed matter physics from Syracuse and worked as an industrial physicist years ago, but has never published in the literature on climate.  He was happy to oblige.

They managed to get the Coastal Resources Commission to ignore its own science panel.  Eli would like to ask the members of the science panel why they are still members, but that is not the end of it.  A member of the NC legislature has introduced a bill 
These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise. Rates of sea-level rise shall not be one rate for the entire coast but, rather, the Division shall consider separately oceanfront and estuarine shorelines.
 It is important to recognize that building codes and regulations are  arbitrary. It would be prudent to base them on the best science as recommended by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission's Science Panel on  Coastal Hazards but if local and state legislators decide to spin the  climate dice that is their right. If they are wrong it will be much  more expensive than dealing with the problem now, but they can do it and builders can always exceed the state minimums and advertise based on that.

However, they will not have the last word because there are the issues of insurance and bonds.  Anything built under the NC-20 standard that does not meet the one meter standard is going to have problems with the financial and insurance industries which already have this on its radar.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

FEV2Gen to support V2G

To translate, corporate Fleet Electric Vehicles could add power To backup Generators and push Vehicle-To-Grid technologies along.

V2G involves drawing power from electric vehicle batteries to supplement the power grid, instead of connecting the EVs to the grid solely for the purpose of charging up the EV to drive around (great info at University of Delaware).  This could have a lot of economic value by timing when you charge and release power from the batteries, and go a long way to support renewable power by providing power storage.  A related idea would take old EV batteries when they're no longer reliable enough for vehicles, but still have significant storage capacity, and using them as power backup.

For decades, people in developing countries have used regular car batteries for power supply.  In recent years, hobbyists have modified hybrid cars to power homes, and EV carmakers are finally starting to make that option available to individual buyers.  V2G experiments are happening, but we've got miles to go.

The water district that I help direct is considering spending $700,000 to $1 million to buy/upgrade two generators (100kw and 650kw) for our buildings.  We have to have power 24/7, especially when the Big One hits or if a major storm takes out power at the same time that it causes a flood.  We have a significant vehicle fleet of our own, and 700 employees who mostly drive to work.

If much of our vehicle fleet were to be converted to EV and networked to add to the power we'd receive from our generators, then we could either use less-powerful generators or extend the time that we can operate without system power.  As an additional step, we would also have a financial incentive to work out deals with our employees, providing them with financial incentives if the EVs they drive to work could be used to supplement generator power while they're there.

This is a miniature version of the V2G solution for broader society, operating in a situation where having the power would be extremely important and otherwise hard to obtain.  Other government agencies could be in a similar situation - they own a substantial vehicle fleet and need generator power.  Other places like hospitals may not have much of a fleet but would have employees there 24/7.  I think using your own fleet may be simpler at first, but working with employees is the next logical step.

Another advantage this system might have would be for transitory blackouts.  Backup generators are inefficient and polluting, while most blackouts are short.  Maybe we could have enough EVs attached so that for an initial period of 30 minutes or so, they provide all the backup power, and only if the power is still off does the generator kick in to stop battery depletion from happening too fast.  With luck, the generators would never be used at all except for testing and maintenance, something that California's air quality regulators might appreciate.

Having these systems might be good practice for and help acceptance of larger scale V2G, as well as being an additional incentive to just get more EVs on the market.

Just an idea at this point though....

Friday, May 25, 2012

Judith Curry Thinks Plans to Kill Her Colleagues Are Amusing

Judith Curry has endorsed plans for intimidating, beating, killing and maiming climate scientists as amusing but she probably would not do it herself.

In the comments over the Curry House, one Tucci 78 recommends

On the the contrary. When the “labels” fit, when they point out just how loathsome, just how evil, just how rotten these AGW fraudsters are and have always been, there should be no holding back, no restraint, no respite.
When the popular perception of these “Never let a crisis go to waste” leftist pseudoscientists is such that they find themselves at risk of physical assault whenever and wherever they show themselves in public, we can slack off. 
and
Figurative speaking (heavens, we don’t want to be censored, do we?), the recipe goes: Knock them down. Kick them until they quit moving. Check for breathing. Repeat.
and what does the Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology say to all this:
Well Tucci78 is regarded as high entertainment by many of the regulars here. Not so much accepting his sentiments, as being entertained by his presentation of them.
 Now some speculate that this might be a Poe, but just in case it is not, Prof. Judith Curry who holds a responsible leadership position at Georgia Tech,  clearly believes that it would be amusing.

Eli eagerly awaits the reaction from Keith Kloor, Roger Pielke Jr., Richard Tol and Marc Morano.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scrotum Returns


Run, do not walk, over to Hot Topic, where Scotum, Mycroft and Ethon save the Laird from the Chicago Mob
High up on the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster a huge golden eagle stretched its wings and preened an out of place feather. Below its razor sharp talons the clock chimed the quarter hour. Aethon was ready for action.

Latest update on our friends at Heartland

Guardian has a brief rundown.  I misunderstood previously what I think was John Mashey's point in the comments a while back, about the importance of a coal association showing up to support Heartland financially.  I thought that wasn't very surprising, but it seems that HI had been trying to maintain a facade of independence from that economic interest.  Not anymore, and maybe not even enough time to funnel the dollars through a masking fund.

Also interesting that Heritage Foundation, a right wing "think tank" hack job, would pitch in financial support for HI as a potential competitor.  Maybe the competition isn't all that fierce, or that Heritage prefers someone who's even more ridiculous than they are to provide a contrast.

Guardian also says HI lost board members, but no name.  Inquiring minds want to know.  UPDATE: ask and ye shall receive.

UPDATE 2:  As to Heritage being so generous, maybe they're not the ones making the call on that decision.  Page 93 of Crescendo to ClimateGate Cacophony shows lots of overlapping denialist donors.  Perhaps the donors decided the funding allocations were off due to a series of unfortunate events and prodded Heritage along.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Petroleum and Propaganda

In his important new book, James Lawrence Powell poses a remarkable paradox: climate scientists have a near-unanimous consensus that global warming is occurring now, is largely human-made, and will cause very severe environmental problems if humanity continues business as usual. However, among the lay public, the picture is much more mixed: only about half of the US public agrees with the climate scientists. 

Why the enormous discrepancy?

James Lawrence Powell answers in an important new book, The Inquisition of Climate Science. Powell describes the corporate funding of a vicious and successful attack on science. 

In a review/essay, Petroleum and Propaganda: The Anatomy of the Global Warming Denial Industry , I discuss Powell's book. Corporate funders (e.g., ExxonMobil) support a network of think tanks, of which Powell discussed four in detail: the now-defunct Global Climate Coalition, the Heartland Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  The think-tanks put out a steady stream of propaganda that denies global warming. Powell also describes briefly some individual popularizers and propagandists, mostly non-scientists but with a few scientists as well, typically with little knowledge of climate change.

The mass media typically gives equal weight to a handful of climate change deniers and to the vast majority of climate scientists. The fossil-fuels industry does not have to win a debate. They will gladly settle for a draw, because it gives the impression that the scientific community is deeply divided about whether or not global warming is real. "Doubt is our product", as a tobacco industry executive proclaimed while the tobacco industry pursued the same strategy that the fossil fuel industry is pursuing today.

Lowell briefly summarizes "Climategate," which he justifiably dismisses as much ado about nothing.

Inquisition is an indispensable book: anyone who cares about global warming should have a copy.

My essay appeared in the May 2012 issue of Monthly Review. The editors of the magazine have written an introduction, Notes from the Editors in which they say that my review essay "raises critical questions with respect to science, corporate propaganda, and the future of humanity."










Hide the Bunnies

The Australian Broadcasting Company Corporations Media Watch has followed up on the reports about abusive Email being sent to climate scientists in Australia.  There has been a lot of back and forth on this set off by a narrow FOIA request for examples of such sent to six scientists at the Australian National University.  A search turned up a few Emails which were at best vaguely threatening and were, after toing and froing were made public by the Privacy Commissioner.


Nick Stokes and Tony Watts were drawn into this on opposite sides and you can find lots of links here and there.  Watts and Co reported this as evidence of scare tactics.

Wanna be scared bunnies, Media Watch has just updated and Tim Lambert is on it.  Media Watch went back to the original article in the Canberra Times which reported threats to Australia scientists and had a few choice quotes among which were the generic "Die you lying bastard!", but Media Watch went further and asked two scientists that they suspected had received those letters and got an earful.

YOU  ARE A FUCKING LYING PIECE OF SHIT COMMUNIST !!!!!!!!!!!!
GO FUCK YOURSELF AND DIE YOU CUNT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EAT SHIT AND DIE TO LYING COMMUNIST ASSHOLE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
FUCKING TRAITOR TO YOUR FELLOW AUSTRALIANS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are nothing but a Traitorous Lying Asshole !!
The quicker that Cunts like you and your kind Die the better !!!!!!!!!!!!

GLOBAL WARMING IS THE BIGGEST FRAUD IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND !!!
PEOPLE THAT PROMOTE IT NEED TO BE PUT DOWN!
The names of the people who sent this trash have been redacted, however there is a lesson that is now being learned by George Tierney of Greenville South Carolina (corrected) and before that by  Paul Christoforo with a company called Ocean Marketing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Natural Variability Is Not the Lukewarmers Friend

There have been a number of posts and comments about James Hansen's op ed in the NYTimes, featured here at Rabett Run, and of course, many other places.  As Eli predicted, the key graph for those in disagreement was

The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change. 
As he said then Eli's POV on this is rather simple.  If you have natural variability on top of a rising base, then the hotter extremes are going to get hotter and you don't need a degree in meteorology or statistics to figure that out, so the Bunny is with Hansen.  If you want to argue that it is going to cool like crazy Roy in the next decade, well, good luck with that, but Eli has a slightly used Sky Dragon to sell you. 

Andy Revkin, in particular was keen to go out and find disagreeers, in particular Martin Hoerling from NOAA, and Marty did disagree
This is patently false. Take temperature over the U.S. as an example. The variability of daily temperature over the U.S. is much larger than the anthropogenic warming signal at the time scales of local weather. Depending on season and location, the disparity is at least a factor of 5 to 10.
I think that a more scientifically justifiable statement, at least for the U.S. and extratropical land areas is that daily weather noise continues to drum out the siren call of climate change on local, weather scales.
Dot Earth arranged a further, more formal exchange of position papers between Hoerling and Dan Miller who worked with Hansen on the op ed.  As usual, Eli encourages all to RTFRs, but here he wants to call attention to Hansen's brief comment
I have several papers well along in the publication process that make clear your characterizations are far off the mark. The editors prefer, indeed are insistent, that I not discuss these in blogs. Some scientists may be able to spend their time blogging and e-mailing without a significant impact on their scientific productivity — I’m not one of them — but I do make an effort to make my papers understandable to a wide audience.
Dan Miller's paper at Dot Earth and Kate, over at Climate Sight, drew Eli's attention to Public Perception of Climate Change and the New Climate Dice by Hansen, Sato and Ruedy which was posted to arXiv April 5, so perhaps this is not one of the papers Hansen was specifically referring to, but phrases in the abstract show that it clearly bears.
"Climate dice", describing the chance of unusually warm or cool seasons relative to climatology, have become progressively "loaded" in the past 30 years, coincident with rapid global warming. The distribution of seasonal mean temperature anomalies has shifted toward higher temperatures and the range of anomalies has increased. An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (3{\sigma}) warmer than climatology. This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth's surface in the period of climatology, now typically covers about 10% of the land area. It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming, because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small. We discuss practical implications of this substantial, growing, climate change.
 The manuscript is there to be read, off you go little bunnies, but Eli wants to look at a key figure.


The authors examined the distribution of local anomalies using the 1951-1980 base period using local standard distributions.  This was also done for the Northern Hemisphere alone, and for other base periods.  The areas under each curve are normalized.  The black curve is a Gaussian and it should be noted that the 1951-61and 1961-71 distributions are slightly more peaked, with slightly less area in the cold and hot wings, in other words there are fewer extremes.

On the other hand (kenw that was coming didn't ja) with time after 1971, the distributions shift to hotter temperatures, and the shift increases with time, good additional evidence that global warming is continuing, but more importantly, the distributions noticeably broaden and the wings grow significantly.  Whereas before 1971 the probability of a 3 σ event was zilch, today it is well above the base line.

But wait, there is more.  Eli as an old curve eyeballer thought there were something funny about the purple curve and tried to fit it to a gaussian.
and sure enough, the fit is fine up to the peak, but on the hot side the blue Gassian is much lower than the observed frequency of hot anomalies beyond about 1 σ  This shift from symmetric Gaussian to skewed hot anomalies is as, if not more important for addressing the issue of whether extreme hot spells are meteorology or climatology.

Although Hansen, Sato and Ruedy have not discussed the skew, they have looked simply at the implications of the anomaly distributions and this explains their confidence about the source of the extreme summer anomalies
Seasonal-mean temperatures in the category defined as "cold" in 1951-1980 climatology (mean temperature below -0.43σ), which occurred about one-third of the time in 1951-1980, still occur with a probability about 10% over land areas. Thus an occasional unusually cool winter is not evidence against global warming. Temperature is less "noisy" in the summer than winter. The chance of summer falling in the "hot" category of 1951-1980 is now about 80% (Fig. 7). The climate dice are now loaded to a degree that the perceptive person (old enough to remember the climate of 1951-1980) should recognize the existence of climate change. 
The most important change of the climate dice is the appearance of a new category of extremely hot summer anomalies, with mean temperature at least three standard deviations greater than climatology. These extreme temperatures were practically absent in the period of climatology, covering only a few tenths of one percent of the land area, but they have occurred over about 10% of land area in recent years. The increased frequency of these extreme anomalies, by more than an order of magnitude, implies that we can say with a high degree of confidence that events such as the extreme summer heat in the Moscow region in 2010 and Texas in 2011 were a consequence of global warming. Rahmstorf and Coumou (23), using a more elegant mathematical analysis, reached a similar conclusion for the Moscow anomaly. 
It is not uncommon for meteorologists to reject global warming as a cause of these extreme events, offering instead a meteorological explanation. For example, it is said that the Moscow heat wave was caused by an atmospheric "blocking" situation, or the Texas heat wave was caused by La Nina ocean temperature patterns. Certainly the locations of the extreme anomalies in any given case are related to specific weather patterns. However, blocking patterns and La Ninas have always been common, yet the large areas of extreme warming have come into existence only with large global warming. Today's extreme anomalies occur because of simultaneous contributions of specific weather patterns and global warming.
Martin Hoerling has a hard walk back.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

California climate offsets and additionality

I spent two days last week at the Association of California Water Agencies' spring conference.  What is that?  Yes, I am an exciting person always seeking thrills and experiences.  Why do you ask?

The conference had an interesting-to-me panel on the financial aspects of California's cap-and-trade auctions.  Entities subject to the cap are allowed to get up to 8% of their carbon allowances through offsets.  The 8% max isn't for total allowances, it's for each emitter - one rich emitter can't satisfy all the obligation through offsets.

All offsets have to be certified through the California Climate Action Reserve - you have to do more than just say "I paid JimBob to add solar panels to his roof, so I'm done now."  The Reserve's protocols then has to be accepted by the California Air Resources Board, and only a few have so made it so far. The key idea is that offsets are going to be like wetland mitigation banks - people will be financing new actions that reduce emissions, certify them, and then sell the allowances that result from the decreased emissions.  This could assist in establishing a distance between buyer and sellers of offsets.

Additionality has some interesting twists - to the Reserve, satisfying additionality must go beyond legal requirements, must be initated in a timely manner (no backdating old projects to claim they deserve credit as offsets) and must exceed standard business practices.  Last one's the trickiest, of course.

I did a write-up for my water district about the conference:

 3.    AB32 and tidal wetland restoration
One panel focused on cap-and-trade.  Afterwards I talked to panelist Joel Levin of the California Climate Action Reserve, a state-created nonprofit that certifies third party carbon offsets that can be sold to entities that have to comply with greenhouse gas reductions.  I asked him if they have done any work with tidal wetland restoration as a carbon offset.  He said they had and believe the technique could be used as a carbon offset and therefore a financial benefit to those who are certified as creating the offset.  However, they presently do not have an accurate estimate of how much carbon is sequestered in order to certify an offset.  It is an ongoing area of scientific analysis. 
 There are two other barriers to Water District benefits from tidal wetland restoration as a carbon offset.  First, we don’t own the baylands that are being restored – the federal government does.  However, we are helping restore them, so we might be able to reach an agreement to share in any offsets created.  Second, the Reserve does not now accept offsets created on federal land, but it is working on eliminating that restriction. 
We have some big plans to do tidal wetland restoration of 16,000 acres in South San Francisco Bay.  This has potentially huge carbon offsets that could help tremendously with financing this project.  My understanding is that tidal wetlands have as much or more carbon sequestration benefit as freshwater wetlands, with none of the counterbalancing methane emissions.

OTOH, selling offsets eliminates the carbon benefit from restoration, at least to the extent you sell offsets.  Still there are countless other benefits from getting back wetlands, including other climate benefits.  Tidally-influenced areas can catch sediment that otherwise sweeps out to sea, making it at least somewhat more likely that the marsh areas can keep pace with sea level rise.


I'll just add a tangent from the memo about another topic that might interest people, putting solar panels on canals and reservoirs:
 1.    Solar power on canals and reservoirs
I talked to two solar power exhibitors, SunPower and SolarCity.  I asked both of them if anyone had used canals or reservoirs as areas to place solar panels.  Both brought up the potential advantage of reducing evaporation and the “free” space you wouldn’t have to rent or buy.  Both also mentioned an experiment by a winery that set up panels over a small reservoir/pond using a series of pontoons.  Neither company was the contractor in that case and the experiment has not been repeated.  They believe maintenance would be expensive.  SolarCity said something like it has been discussed for the State Water Project. 
 I mentioned to both of them that there might be advantages in many districts in reducing algae growth in reservoirs, and that our District in particular might benefit from reduced mercury methylation.  They hadn’t considered those potential benefits.  I told them this was just speculation on my part, and both said that if the District is interested, they’d be happy to talk to us.  My impression is that both thought this would be difficult. 
Not impossible, but not easy.

The Weasel Gets To Get His Fix



 Through Bob Grumbine news that Japan has successfully launched their Global Change Observation Mission Shizuku, with lots of video showing the launch separation and more.  Carrying the AMSR-2 this should soon (in time for watching ice melt) be giving us the detailed Arctic maps we all crave.  Sea ice concentrations will be reported on a 15 km grid but other important products will include integrated soil moisture and snow cover.

Mad Crowd Sourcing Climate Science Experiments for Kids

Eli is looking for some climate science experiments that you can do with kids, K-12 roughly although also maybe first year of university.  One quick one he came up with is have them record the temperature and altitude shown on the monitors on the seat in front of you when you get bored with the movie.  Since many people fly with their kids (or dad or mom can be given an assignment), this might be an interesting way to teach the lapse rate.

If there was a high enough hill in the neighborhood, standing kids at different levels with calibrated thermometers and cell phones (assuming there was a nearby tower) might also be a way of doing this.

Also, such things as plotting ozone levels as a function of time of day an winds in urban areas might be something that could work.

These are but simple getting started ideas.  Eli appeals to the madness of crowds of bunnies for other suggestions.  Given the low budgets of most schools, yes, you cannot afford an IR spectrometer, but you might be able to handle a Spencer box or an IR thermometer level of expense and pretty much everyschool has a Weather Bug these days.

Steve Napalms Another Tree

In the comments at Climate Audit as relayed to Eli by Stoopit.
Steve, I’m horrified by your slipshod work. You did not define what you compare, what dataset used in each case, how data were processed, and what was the reason for that, what limitation there are, what kind of additional information you need to know. Why didn’t you ask me for all the details? You even aren’t ashamed of using information from stolen letters.

Do carelessness, grubbiness, dishonourableness are the necessary concomitants of your job?

With disrespect…

Rashit Hantimirov
UPDATE:  To follow this up a bit, part of Steve's game is splitting, and his target after Michael Mann has been Keith Briffa.  To split the Yamal Russians off from Briffa would have been a major accomplishment, and the beginning of the letter is a strong hint that there has been an ongoing correspondence.  However, this letter is in the last straw category.  Eli suspects that Hantimirov has been trying to tell McIntyre for a while that Steve's card forcing act sucks, but in a constructive way.  He now recognizes the futility of that, coupled with another baseless attack on his colleagues Keith Briffa.

One further point.  McIntyre hauled out the old bleat that
As to the CRU emails, I do not know that they were “stolen”. Many people believe that they were released by someone within the University. Nor was any disrespect shown to you in the quotation from the email, which showed you in a professional light.
which, of course, neglects the fact that employee theft is the largest source of loss in most stores.  Whoever stole the Emails, whether inside or outside the University, stole them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Even Evil Has Standards

The rightous flee Heartland, the lukewarmers the sky dragons



Eli has discovered a blog with much to say about the usual evasions that one finds in the comment, and in the posts at other blogs than Rabett Run, among other things, the ultimate in Godwin.  Blogs have been awash commenting on the Heartland Institute seppuku act and its possible effects

TV Tropes gets the recent walk back by the insurance companies and others from Heartland pretty well right, but this equally applies to some of the lukewarmers and coolers to some of the Kramm like pap that is out there.

Eli is particularly fond of the description of Australia
Australia
That's right, Australia. Australia isn't a very important country (thanks a lot, mate), but is still an enormous piece of real estate, so the Big Bad can make it look like an impressive gift while keeping his mitts on the more important countries like the US, the UK, Russia, China, etc. Also, it has 25% of the uranium in the world and is the largest exporter of beef by... quite a large margin. Not to mention most of the capital cities are naturally defended by terrain, which is very useful for a supervillain. (Take Melbourne: the only way in by sea, Port Phillip Bay, requires a map or you hit rocks in the shallows; by air you have to travel a few thousand kilometers from anywhere; and by land you have to put up with lots of forests and distant homes.) Plus, they have great beaches. 
Add to that the fact that the first British settlements in Australia were penal colonies, and that Australia's greatest national hero was a criminal, and you can see where the Australian people could be inclined to welcome most supervillains with open arms. Funnily enough there are reports stating the Australian army is the second best trained in the world, and there's 75,000 ADF (Australian Defence Force) members to boot. 
On the other hand, it's the single most infertile continent save for Antarctica, precisely because Australia has had little tectonic activity during the past 30 million years, its soils are amongst the oldest in the world, and rainfalls are scarce except in the cyclone-ridden tropical northern parts and in coastal areas, which are subject to heavy floods. Oh, and there are a lot of thunderstorms and lightning (very very frightening), 
And bushfires. Don't forget the bushfires, especially since they can lead to exploding trees. Eucalyptus trees have very hard wood and highly flammable oil. Add extreme heat to them and they tend to pop like giant popcorn kernels. And spiders so big, they have health bars. In fact, why stop at spiders? A huge percentage of Australian animals are venomous and/or homicidal, and a ridiculously huge percentage of deadly animals are Australian (last count was six of the top ten deadliest of the world enjoy warm Decembers and frigid Augusts). 
The entire continent can be certifiably considered a deathtrap. So it's the perfect place to set up a lab if you're a Mad Scientist and need a thunderstorm to zap your Frankenstein's Monster with lightning or to power your flux capacitor. Not so much if your plans include an active volcano Supervillain Lair with Lava Pit. But at least you can get the Shark Pool filled with sharp-toothed predators even on a low budget. Note that any opinions actual Australians may have on this plan are irrelevant (Oi!) - except in more realistic works that take their military capabilities into account. 
 * Eli wishes to point out to Roger, Andy, Lucia and Fred, that the above cartoon falls under the heading of ironic exaggeration.  In this he is with Micha Tomkiewicz.  YMMV

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Used To Be Called a Heartland Expert


Interesting developments in Postergate (TM Eli Rabett).  Big City Lib has been writing to all of those Heartland Experts and has turned up at least one, Chris Landsea, who was listed as such and now, in view of the recent faux up, has asked to be removed.  Among other things Landsea writes
I recall that several years ago that Heartland had asked if i could be listed as an expert in the issue of hurricanes and climate variability and change. I haven't had any direct interaction with Heartland in any other capacity.
Now as bunnies with far too little to do know, there has been a somewhat ill tempered dust up between Eli's friend Roger Pielke Jr, and Eli's friend Joe Romm whether Roger was simply an expert acknowledged on its web page by Heartland without Roger having any other connection with Heartland or a Heartland Expert.  Albatross, to give due credit, set it off.  This is, indeed, one of those Schleswig Holstein Succession problems which will be debated long after those involved are buried and the continuing cause of wars.

But wait, there is more, somebunny whispers in Eli's ear that the archived 2009 version of the Heartland blurb for Heartland Expert Roger Pielke Jr. had the same text, clearly about RP Jr, but had a picture of RP Sr.  Is it possible that dad got the letter from Heartland, and that Heartland mixed up the RPs??  Is Heartland the gang that couldn't get its Pielkes straight? If the Lord has a sense of humor, please, oh please. . . .

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dems reforming filibusters, Repubs abandoning no new tax pledges

Two undercovered items:

1.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has finally backed the reformers in his own party calling on limitations of the filibuster.  Critically, he agrees that the change in Senate rules at the beginning of the legislative session, per the US Constitution, are not themselves subject to a filibuster.  So this can only happen starting next year.

Reid finally got fed up with the Rs.  I sure wish this happened in 2009, then we could've had cap-and-trade in place for two years by now, as well as other critical legislation.  The problem with our democracy is that it's not a democracy.  California is a perfect example of that, with two-third's vote needed to raise taxes.

I'm guessing the Rs will say very little about this for now.  If they stay as the minority party in 2013, they'll fight "Democrat tyranny", but if they win control of the Senate, they'll adopt the cause themselves and say the Dems have no right to complain.

The constitutional option has been threatened in the past to get compromises, so that may be how it plays out next year.

2.  Matt Yglesias scores with the realization that Congressional Republican attempts to reduce deficit and increase military spending via reduced child tax credit puts tax-cutting promises in a new light:

It's interesting that the child tax credit is considered fair game in this context. Instead of a "no tax hikes" pledge it now seems to be "no tax hikes except on low-income working parents."
More info here on the cuts, although not a whole lot more.  I'd be interested in some details.

I'd describe what happened a little differently from Matt.  The Grover Norquist Americans for Tax Reform Pledge the Rs signed is pretty clear:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and
TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
(Emphasis added.)  What the Rs did is to violate and abandon the pledge.  Time to acknowledge who's doing some class warfare.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A New Blog on the Blogspot

Micha Tomkiewicz is a professor of physics at Brooklyn College who has a story to tell.  As a child he survived Bergen Belsen, grew up and was educated in Israel and made his way to the US where he got involved in catalytic water splitting and better battery research.  This lead him into energy and energy policy issues which are his current interests.  Micha founded and directs the Environmental Studies Program at Brooklyn College.

He has started a blog, Climate Change Fork, with something to say
But I’ve taken up this challenge - today, on the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day – because I simply couldn’t stand by and watch while climate change “deniers” continue to try to take center stage and to keep all of us from doing what’s necessary to head off the impending climate change disaster.
As a professor, a scientist, a Holocaust survivor and someone who has just written a book on climate change, I think I am uniquely positioned to tell the climate change story.  I know that once people really grasp the science behind climate change and how each person really can help us reverse course, they take action and feel hopeful.  I’ve seen it happen.  Despite everything, I feel hopeful too.
So please, read on, leave comments and let’s start a discussion.
Some friends are already there, so let us hence

On Economics

A direct steal from Brad de Long who stole it from John Emerson, but right on target to what Eli, MT, Ankh and others have been trying to tell the Weasel and apologies to John Quiggin, Paul Krugman, NoahAngry Bear, and even Brad de Long
=================

John Emerson:
Brad DeLong: Luke Lea Gets It Wrong, I Think: Assessing John Cochrane's "Can't I Let Sleeping Dogs Lie?" Department: Brad's argument would make sense if none of his bullshit artists had been awarded Nobel Prizes for economics, or if most of them did not outrank DeLong in the profession. As it is, laymen can have no trust in the economics profession as such or professional economists as such. There are no internal standards, and any credentialed PhD can say anything he wants with no worries about sanctions. My understanding is that economics has all the right answers sitting there on shelf, mixed in with all the wrong answers. Every once in awhile someone like Minsky or Veblen or Kalecki or Pigou is moved forward on the shelf to patch the failed consensus.
For the last 30-40 years I've been fighting a losing battle with well-regarded Chicago School and neoliberal economists and watching the society I live in being degraded in front of my eyes. During that time the economics profession was doing harm. As long as thing were going well by their standards, there was nothing I could say; I was a laughable crank, fanatic, and slave of archaic ideology. Only now when they've caused a disaster have I become marginally respectable. I don't think that the profession can self-correct fast enough to make it useful in the world it lives in. Maybe by 2050 the profession will have remediated itself enough to become capable of understanding the world of 2012, but that's not soon enough. There needs to be a serious pruning and thinning, but that's not institutionally possible using normal methods. The tumbril and guillotine method is precluded too. A parallel discipline needs to be developed.
Brad:
I used to--six years ago--be certain that people like Emerson were wrong.

It seemed to me that economics had a powerful technocratic core and a powerful set of analytical tools that helped to make sense of the world.

But the treatment that the world has gotten from the Lucases, Cochranes, Famas, Kocherlakotas, and many others, not to mention the Prescotts--none of whom seems to have made any effort to mark their prejudices to reality--has shaken my confidence to the core. They seemed to me and seem to me to have simply not done their homework, and not be trying to do their homework.
=====================

Oh yes, J. P. Morgan lost $2 Billion today on a wise guy bet.

Galileo or Bozo, a binary choice

More from LATimes on Heartland's disarray.

John should use his blogauthor key, but this was too good to leave in the comments:


John said... 
As recently as the fall of 2009, the Heartland Institute's website featured a banner that flashed portraits of famous thinkers, including: 
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson
John Locke
James Madison
Thomas Paine
Joseph L. Bast 
Dear bunnies, which of these names doesn't belong in a list of famous thinkers? 
Sometime in fall 2009, Heartland removed Bast as a famous thinker. Joseph L. Bast founded the Heartland Institute, with the help of Big Tobacco money. Bast's most noteworthy publication is Please Don't Poop In My Salad, which is a collection of essays about freedom. Needless to say, one of the most precious freedoms (according to Bast) is the freedom to smoke, at a low tax rate per pack.
Source: The Inquisition of Climate Science, James Lawrence Powell (Columbia University Press, 2011).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

James Hansen Doubles Down

In an op ed in today's New York Times, James Hansen doubles down.  Pointing out that the amount of carbon in Canada's tar sands, if completely exploited are the CO2 equivalent of twice what has been burnt to date Hansen tries to help Barack Obama evolve (Eli knows, this is today's INTERNET tradition) on climate change.  Hansen sees the world on a path to Pliocene conditions

That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.
and getting there will be no fun
That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.
If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically.
  The paragraph where the usual suspects are going to try and wedge out an attack is about recent heat waves
The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.
Eli's POV on this is rather simple.  If you have natural variability on top of a rising base, then the hotter extremes are going to get hotter and you don't need a degree in meteorology or statistics to figure that out, so the Bunny is with Hansen.  If you want to argue that it is going to cool like crazy Roy in the next decade, well, good luck with that, but Eli has a slightly used Sky Dragon to sell you complete with its own play time lawyer. 

Hansen's policy recommendation with a bit of economic analysis thrown in is
We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

Grandpa Jumps the Curve

How could Eli have forgotten the longest running shark jump of them all, the Heatland Expert good Dr. Roy Spencer, over at Heartland Expert Anthony Watts' blog,

 The 3rd order polynomial fit to the data (courtesy of Excel) is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as having any predictive value whatsoever.
 What could be better.  Ready for those sub-zero (Celsius of course,  no ethical scientist uses Rankin) summers in thirty or so years bunnies.  According to Mom Rabett, 1910 was a very hot year.


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Jumping the Hockey Stick Doesn't Break It

Eli was innocently tip typing away when Ethon flew in.  After some liver tarts, the big guy started to giggle.  You know Eli, he said (well Eli has always assumed he, but to tell the truth, bird sexing ain't a Rabett's thing), remember when Fonzi jumped the shark, well, our friend Roger, jumped the hockey stick and all he broke was his cover.


 What do you mean the Bunny asked, munching on a carrot.  Well, you know how PJ likes to kind of smarm about, about a week ago he put up a post on 
A new research paper just out in the journal Psychological Science by John et al. seeks to quantify the incidence of what are called "questionable research practices" in psychological research.
which, of course, was about practices in psychology papers.  None to complementary it was, and down at the bottom he just, by accident slipped an image and a few words in
 The authors suggest that the prevalence of questionable research practices may help to explain the finding the many studies cannot be replicated:
QRPs can waste researchers’ time and stall scientific progress, as researchers fruitlessly pursue extensions of effects that are not real and hence cannot be replicated. More generally, the prevalence of QRPs raises questions about the credibility of research findings and threatens research integrity by producing unrealistically elegant results that may be difficult to match without engaging in such practices oneself. This can lead to a “race to the bottom,” with questionable research begetting even more questionable research. If reforms would effectively reduce the prevalence of QRPs, they not only would bolster scientific integrity but also could reduce the pressure on researchers to produce unrealistically elegant results.
I think I am on safe ground when I say that the problem of questionable research practices goes well beyond the discipline of psychology.
Eli was shocked.