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Monday, February 05, 2007

Lies, lies and damn lies
From the WSJ, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised. They weakly attempt to "rebutt" the IPCC report. By rebuttal I mean that they make claims, without evidence, often in direct contradiction of the truth. Therefore the IPCC report is "rebutted" and also is itself a sign that climate science is "controversial" and "undecided".

The first lie:

Yet the real news in the fourth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may be how far it is backpedaling on some key issues. Beware claims that the science of global warming is settled.

The document that caused such a stir was only a short policy report, a summary of the full scientific report due in May. Written mainly by policymakers (not scientists) who have a stake in the issue, the summary was long on dire predictions.

There were those who were prepared for this criticism, as it is so typical of the global warming denialists. The problem is that the policymakers (aka evil bureaucrats) are scientists. . They make it sound like the people coming up with the policy have no scientific credentials, or worse are agents of evil foreign governments, with this cheap turn of phrase when in fact this is not the case.

Onward to the next lie:

More pertinent is the underlying scientific report. And according to people who have seen that draft, it contains startling revisions of previous U.N. predictions. For example, the Center for Science and Public Policy has just released an illuminating analysis written by Lord Christopher Monckton, a one-time adviser to Margaret Thatcher who has become a voice of sanity on global warming.

Take rising sea levels. In its 2001 report, the U.N.'s best high-end estimate of the rise in sea levels by 2100 was three feet. Lord Monckton notes that the upcoming report's high-end best estimate is 17 inches, or half the previous prediction. Similarly, the new report shows that the 2001 assessment had overestimated the human influence on climate change since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third.

Monckton is the "voice of sanity"? More like denialist-in-chief. Stoat and Deltoid have been pretty dismissive of his criticisms, which are mostly pretty pathetic nonsense. Lot's of attacking the messenger, misrepresenting what the different models represent (acting like the scientists don't know some are conservative models while others are purposeful exaggerations), followed with doses of fatalism about China, and pointless nitpicking. Of course he doesn't actually present any data or actually bother to create his own model. He just pisses on the report like having a snappy little come-back to each point is somehow scientific rebuttal. Sorry pal, you need some data, or at least present realistic alternative interpretations of the data. You can't just hand-wave and say that's science. And the sea-level change that shows the report is revising down the effects of global warming? Not that, just a revision of how they make the measurements. Every time the scientists recalibrate everything the denialists start jumping up and down and saying they were right. It's like attacking a conversion to from feet to metric as a sign climate scientists are idiots.

Anyway, next lie:

U.N. scientists have relied heavily on computer models to predict future climate change, and these crystal balls are notoriously inaccurate. According to the models, for instance, global temperatures were supposed to have risen in recent years. Yet according to the U.S. National Climate Data Center, the world in 2006 was only 0.03 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in 2001 -- in the range of measurement error and thus not statistically significant.

This is the new "global warming ended in 1998" myth. Taking advantage of a short term blip in global temperature averages they're trying to suggest a trend doesn't exist. Nexus6 takes care of it. No big deal, typical denialist bullshit, in this case, selectivity.

Next lie:

More scientists are also studying the effect of solar activity on climate, and some believe it alone is responsible for recent warming.

Ummm, solar activity is included in climate models already and specifically has been discounted as the sole source of a global warming effect. And I love the incredibly vague "more" scientists. Has it gone from two to three? Has Monckton recruited a third? Or has he become a scientist rather than a peddler of doubt?

All this appears to be resulting in a more cautious scientific approach, which is largely good news. We're told that the upcoming report is also missing any reference to the infamous "hockey stick," a study by Michael Mann that purported to show 900 years of minor fluctuations in temperature, followed by a dramatic spike over the past century. The IPCC featured the graph in 2001, but it has since been widely rebutted.

Rebutted? Maybe, if denialists shouting really loud is a rebuttal. But the facts are that Mann's report has been categorically certified by real experts, again and again and most recently by a panel in 2006.

Pathetic denialism from the WSJ as always, next they'll deny the HIV/AIDS link.

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Ted said...

Finally, something I can get behind. Generally, my view is why should I inconvenience myself for the future, spoiled kiddies? Ones that think I'm a fucked up boomer to boot. Fuck them. But Andrew says that we can exploit the unborn:

Andrew Oswald: ...I believe we could and should work out a way for the next generation to pay. This is because it is those millions of unborn citizens who will benefit from a cooler world, and because doing so will solve the problem at the crux of the Stern-Nordhaus-Dasgupta debate, which is really the question: why should the current generation pay generously and pay quickly?

This means it is necessary somehow to design a way of bringing the future, with their cheque books, to the negotiating table. Here is a suggestion.

We print a government bond called a Global Warming Bond. These have stamped on them: "I pay out 1000 indexed pounds in every year - beginning in the year 2050 and going on forever". These bonds would be given out, as a subsidy, to those people and organizations who reduce emissions today.

The bonds would have immediate value. A market in them would spring up. I shall assume that their status as government bonds would make risk of default negligible. One might object to this, but I shall leave it at that.

The attractive thing about these bonds is that (leaving aside technical issues about general equilibrium reallocations across asset classes) they would be funded essentially by future taxpaying citizens. Those earning and paying taxes in 2050 onwards would fund them. Our citizens, in 2007, would gain.

In this way, the unborn would subsidize us to cut carbon emissions.

Go Andrew, Go!

9:48 PM, February 09, 2007


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