The Public Trust – Climate

 

Guest post by William McClenney

This piece is advisory in nature to the many state Attorneys General, Eric Holder and any attorneys that may be involved in joining any of the many suits brought under the Public Trust doctrine beginning in May 2011 through the filings engendered by way of “Our Children’s Trust” (http://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/legal-action/lawsuits).

It remains unknown at this point in time if any of these many suits will be successful, but as it is a shotgun pattern, just one would set a legal precedent. For this reason I thought I would take a moment to do one of the things I do best, technical litigation support. In this case invention of an argument from whole technical cloth, which, if used adeptly, has the potential to be a gamechanger.

The entire concept hinges upon the definition of just what the public trust is. We can rest assured that the plaintiffs have given this matter quite a bit of thought given the litigation history surrounding the use of the public trust doctrine and how it could now be applied to air instead of water and land, it’s traditional application.

So the argument to be progressed here applies to the defense.

We will first build the appropriate question from which can be evolved a fairly strong argument that nimbly avoids getting into the normal “carbon weeds” type of defense:

  • What is the public trust?
  • What is the public trust climate?
  • What is the public trust climate at an end extreme interglacial?

Some of you will instantly recognize where I am going with this as bits and pieces were delivered in my first two essays here. We will be utilizing the simple to understand principle of signal to noise. And you may even recognize some of the quotations as their ultimate relevance may have just come into fine focus right here.

Because we are going to use this to define the Public Trust – Climate. I think of this as the “Big Bang Theory” as opposed to the “Steady State” one it replaced.

Crucial is the understanding that the public trust in this case may be stated as an “affirmative duty to protect and preserve the atmospheric trust”. Any such definition immediately runs afoul of just what constitutes the Public Trust Climate such that its domain may be preserved and protected.

As this derivation is intended primarily for attorneys, the prose will not be so scientifically rigorous however I will be including some choice literature quotations in the spirit of driving the point’s home at the appropriate cusps.

We all live today near what may very well be the end Holocene, the third interglacial considered an extreme interglacial in the literature. Although there are different ways to define an “extreme interglacial”, we will use an oversimplification, it is an interglacial in which either temps or sea levels have at least been found to equal or exceed our own.

It is best that we establish the whole framework for the ensuing discussion with a direct quote from the scientific literature. I have highlighted the relevant bits for the impatient, but I strongly recommend reading this until you understand it. From the conclusions:

Various lines of scientific evidence over the last decade have led to the conclusion that the last million years of the Quaternary may be viewed as consisting of two disparate halves. The early portion (1.0–0.5 Ma) was a quiescent, stable period when fluctuating sealevels were always below that of the present and this period is marked in many places by massive soil development. This was followed by a turbulent later half (0.5 Ma to present) in which the amplitude of sea-level fluctuations was much greater, resulting in several major interglacial flooding events. The point of transition is MIS 11, which has long been recognized as one of the longer and warmer Quaternary interglacial episodes (Howard, 1997; Droxler and Farrell, 2000; McManus et al., 2003; EPICA, 2004).

As we have established here and elsewhere, the MIS 11 highstand was in excess of 20 m, making this perhaps the single most important global event of the past million years, and all the more so for its potential heuristic predictive value as being the interglacial most similar to the present interglacial now in progress in terms of Milankovitchian forcing (Loutre and Berger, 2003). It thus becomes essential that the full extent and duration of the MIS 11 event be more widely recognized and acknowledged.”

From Olson and Hearty, 2009, “A sustained +21 m sea-level highstand during MIS 11 (400 ka): Direct fossil and sedimentary evidence from Bermuda”, Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 28, Issues 3-4, February 2009, Pages 271-285.

This is the most compact text I have found to lay the foundation of “when we live”, the wide-angle lens of just the past million years of which only the last “turbulent half” is relevant to the Public Trust Climate. Allow me to set the stage.

About 2.8 million years ago, as the earth continued to cool down, the first “modern” northern hemisphere glaciations began to occur. We began to experience glacials (ice ages) and interglacials or warm times, such as the most recent one, the Holocene, the one in which all of human civilization has occurred. Ice ages and interglacials occurred in couples every 41,000 years, which matches the obliquity in our orbit around the sun (the wobble on our rotational tilt axis). During the period between 1 million years and 800,000 years ago we transitioned into a 100,000 year ice age/interglacial couple, which matches the eccentricity in our orbit about the sun (as close as it gets to a circle now but cycling towards an ellipse and back to near circular every 100,000 years). But the eccentricity itself varies, a cycle on top of a cycle, such that in two cycles from now (200kyrs) we will achieve the maximum ellipse or eccentricity (a maxima), and in two cycles from then, we will experience near circular conditions like now (a minima).

This is important. Olson and Hearty above refer to MIS-11, technospeak for the Holsteinian interglacial. The latter half of the Holsteinian is considered by many to represent the closest analog to our interglacial. I say the latter half because The Holsteinian appears unique in the last million years of climate in that it may have lasted something like 30,000 years, or 1.5 to 2 precession cycles. Precession is the third orbital variable that paces climate. Five of the last six interglacials have each lasted roughly one half of a precession cycle. The precession cycle itself varies between 19,000 and 23,000 years, and we are presently at the 23,000 year part of the cycle, making the current age of the Holocene exactly half…….

Is the Holocene interglacial, our interglacial, just about kaput? Well, that’s the trillion dollar question, isn’t it? I went deep into the science on this in “The Antithesis”, you may refresh or intimate yourself with the poignant literature there. The present consensus seems to be that we will not have an extended interglacial this time, even though we are also at an eccentricity minima, just like the Holsteinian was 400kyrs ago. All things considered, our interglacial seems to match best the last half of the Holsteinian, the bit where we fall off into an ice age.

If we use the simple definition provided above for an extreme interglacial, then we are the third of three. The other two being the Holsteinian and the Eemian (MIS-5e).

The ends of those two may very well define the Public Trust Climate today. In other words, the defense.

A recent definition of the timespan involved for the Holsteinian is 428kyrs ago to 397kya. From Olson and Hearty (2009) above we have:

Four TIMS U/Th ages on flowstone directly overlying (at millimetric scale) beach deposits at +21 m in Dead End Caves yield a weighted mean of 399 ±11 ka (Hearty and Olson, 2008), confirming a correlation

with MIS 11.”

A sea level highstand of +21.3 meters, at least, was achieved right about the very end of the Holsteinian, the very first of the extreme interglaciations! We have our first benchmark of Public Trust Climate. This can happen anyway, whether by carbon or not. And if by carbon, what was the source at the end Holsteinian? What could one do about that if it was carbon, obviously natural carbon?

And it happened again, right at the very end of the second extreme interglacial, the Eemian.

So, in continuing our construction of what might reasonably constitute the “public trust climate” at an end extreme interglacial, we will look to Hearty again, this time as Hearty and Neumann (Quaternary Science Reviews 20 [2001] 1881–1895):

The geology of the Last Interglaciation (sensu stricto, marine isotope substage (MIS) 5e) in the Bahamas records the nature of sea level and climate change. After a period of quasi-stability for most of the interglaciation, during which reefs grew to +2.5 m, sea level rose rapidly at the end of the period, incising notches in older limestone. After brief stillstands at +6 and perhaps +8.5 m, sea level fell with apparent speed to the MIS 5d lowstand and much cooler climatic conditions. It was during this regression from the MIS 5e highstand that the North Atlantic suffered an oceanographic ‘‘reorganization’’ about 11873 ka ago. During this same interval, massive dune-building greatly enlarged the Bahama Islands. Giant waves reshaped exposed lowlands into chevron-shaped beach ridges, ran up on older coastal ridges, and also broke off and threw megaboulders onto and over 20 m-high cliffs. The oolitic rocks recording these features yield concordant whole-rock amino acid ratios across the archipelago. Whether or not the Last Interglaciation serves as an appropriate analog for our ‘‘greenhouse’’ world, it nonetheless reveals the intricate details of climatic transitions between warm interglaciations and near glacial conditions.

Boettger, et al (Quaternary International 207 [2009] 137–144) abstract it:

In terrestrial records from Central and Eastern Europe the end of the Last Interglacial seems to be characterized by evident climatic and environmental instabilities recorded by geochemical and vegetation indicators. The transition (MIS 5e/5d) from the Last Interglacial (Eemian, Mikulino) to the Early Last Glacial (Early Weichselian, Early Valdai) is marked by at least two warming events as observed in geochemical data on the lake sediment profiles of Central (Gro¨bern, Neumark–Nord, Klinge) and of Eastern Europe (Ples). Results of palynological studies of all these sequences indicate simultaneously a strong increase of environmental oscillations during the very end of the Last Interglacial and the beginning of the Last Glaciation. This paper discusses possible correlations of these events between regions in Central and Eastern Europe. The pronounced climate and environment instability during the interglacial/glacial transition could be consistent with the assumption that it is about a natural phenomenon, characteristic for transitional stages. Taking into consideration that currently observed ‘‘human-induced’’ global warming coincides with the natural trend to cooling, the study of such transitional stages is important for understanding the underlying processes of the climate changes.

So there we have it, end extreme interglacial climate noise laid out for us. Could this be the Pax Climatica of the plaintiffs? Or would this “Pax” be better described as “The pronounced climate and environment instability during the interglacial/glacial transition could be consistent with the assumption that it is about a natural phenomenon, characteristic for transitional stages.” The Holsteinian is four interglacials back, so not must has withstood these erasures, but the Eemian is the most recent interglacial, and we know it far better. In fact Greenland ice cores do not quite make it to the beginning of the Eemian before encountering massive shearing and then bedrock. You know what that means don’t you? The Greenland ice cap may very well have melted away during the early Eemian…….

But even so, the end of the last extreme interglacial was quite the wild climate ride! Two major migrations of plant species, documenting two thermal excursions in Europe, the second one giving rise, literally to a sea level highstand 10 times the IPCC 2007 AR4 worst case estimate of 0.59 meters anthropogenic. And that is if we use just the lower-end estimate of +6 meters for the second thermal pulse.

The basis for establishment of reasonable doubt………

But the Public Trust Climate might be worse than we thought. If we stick with Hearty (Quaternary Science Reviews 26 [2007] 2090–2112) we come of the second order noise, anthropogenic interpretation noise:

image

A global aggregation of Eemian sea levels from 12 studies. The range is roughly +4 to +40 meters for the end-Eemian highstand. There’s a fair bit of litigative mileage to be had by the appropriately acquisitive attorney.

Follow this logic. From THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE IN NATURAL RESOURCE LAW: EFFECTIVE JUDICIAL INTERVENTION, Joseph L. Sax (1970) we have the following:

Three types of restrictions on governmental authority are often thought to be imposed by the public trust: first, the property subject to the trust must not only be used for a public purpose, but it must be held available for use by the general public; second, the property may not be sold, even for a fair cash equivalent; and third, the property must be maintained for particular types of uses. The last claim is expressed in two ways. Either it is urged that the resource must be held available for certain traditional uses, such as navigation, recreation, or fishery, or it is said that the uses which are made of the property must be in some sense related to the natural uses peculiar to that resource.”

Allow me to interpret all of this from the perspective of establishing the “Public Trust Climate” at end extreme interglacials:

  1. In terms of Pleistocene climate, the Holsteinian establishes the beginning of the “turbulent later half (0.5 Ma to present) in which the amplitude of sea-level fluctuations was much greater, resulting in several major interglacial flooding events.” Meaning that MIS-11, spanning the period from about 428kya to 397kya, was the first extreme interglacial. The latter half of MIS-11 is considered to be the better analogue to the present interglacial in terms of orbital dynamics.

  2. At 399 ± 11ka, the +21.3 meter lagoonal deposits suggest that the grand highstand also occurred very close to the end of the first extreme interglacial, just as it did at the end of the next extreme interglacial, MIS-5e, the Eemian.

  3. This establishes that 2 out of the 3 late Pleistocene extreme interglacials suffered their grand highstands just as they were ending, and the third, ours, the Holocene, is at its probable end right now. This presents a rather wide envelope of natural climate noise as the “public trust climate” at the end extreme interglacials as this would appear to represent the “…natural uses peculiar to that resource.

There are actually two arguments in favor of the defense to be exploited here. The first is the aforesaid redefinition of the “Public Trust Climate” with respect to its rather wide range of climate noise at the end extreme interglacials from which we must somehow discern the anthropogenic signal as distinct in order to assess what, if any, harm has been done. And second, there is the problem of academic paleoclimate noise, which can be re-stated that even on things which actually have happened, the science is not that particularly well settled, which makes consideration of the science being settled on things which have not yet happened a bit unsettling at best.

In other words two distinct caches of reasonable doubt………

And you don’t even have to get anywhere near the “carbon weeds”………….

William

About these ads
This entry was posted in Climate cash and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

98 Responses to The Public Trust – Climate

  1. Doug Proctor says:

    I think that herein is an example of why lawyers, not laymen, interpret what other lawyers, and not other laymen, conclude about laws set up in principle by laymen but in detail by still other lawyers. At least I think so.

  2. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:

    Again, it’s natural. And the desire to ‘clamp’ sea level and climate to some static condition is at most, desperate. Destroy that stasis, and all the arguments collapse.

  3. Steeptown says:

    An excellent essay. It needs a bit tidying up with typos corrected.

  4. Drave Robber says:

    Slightly off-topic – if the property subject to public trust cannot be sold, “even for a fair cash equivalent” (whatever that is), then are carbon indulgences allowances legal?

  5. a jones says:

    I am often fascinated by the differences between UK and US law both in procedure and implementation although both spring from a common root.

    For example in the UK despite attempts to do so in tort there is effectually no such thing as a class action: similarly in UK criminal law there is no equivalent of Miranda: evidence is evidence however it is obtained and it is for the court to decide whether it is admissable.

    Indeed in England the powers of the police under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act [PCEA] better known as PACE would amaze US citizens let alone their police forces.

    But here I am bemused.

    The definition of Public Trust above by the judge’s ruling seems fairly clear given the vasty spaces of the the USA: in the UK these would be , more or less, local actions for nuisance.

    But given the atmosphere is global I cannot see how it can be treated on any kind of national scale such as across the USA: which is not to say you could not argue for nuisance on a strictly local matter. The smoke from an industrial plant for example.

    To try to extend this to the climate seems even more problematic because there is no way to tell what effect, if there is one, is caused by actions within the USA or by countries outwith the US legal system.

    It is an interesting piece of work mind but perhaps too clever for its own good. As are the actions it seeks to defend against.

    Which is not say that US lawyers cannot invent imaginary torts and pursue them to their profit, they have done so in the past and no doubt will do so again.

    Kindest Regards

  6. crosspatch says:

    One minor nit that irritates me a little. The improper use of the words maxima and minima. Those are plural, not singular. There is no such thing as “a maxima” it is “a maximum”, a series of them over time are maxima. So you can say we are nearing solar maximum and in your life you have probably experienced several solar maxima. Same with minimum and minima. Too bad they no longer teach latin in high school.

    Ok, I’ll go back to my reading now :)

  7. Peter Miller says:

    Heresy!

    How dare you suggest there are natural climate cycles and then provide a perfectly reasonable and logical explanation for them.

    There are thousands of climate scientists who could lose their jobs if their political masters thought there were natural climate cycles – have you no thought for these honourable people and their families? What will happen to them? Times are hard and there is nothing else they could do with their skills.

    Wake up – it’s carbon dioxide levels and nothing else which changes climate! Don’t you understand this – how possibly could great men like Al Gore, James Hansen, Michael Mann, Phil Jones and the brilliant, incorruptible Rajenda Pachauri be wrong?

    A pox on your climate record and how dare you use the geological record to prove your point. Only climate scientists understand our planet’s climate history, not geologists, don’t you understand that?

    Public trust – what’s that? The public need to be told what to believe, you don’t want to confuse them with the facts. That’s why climate climate scientists don’t like releasing data, as it only confuses people – and if the people are confused, then our political masters might become confused as well and cut off funding for the climate scientists – that would be a terrible trajedy, don’t you understand that?

  8. TFN JOHNSON says:

    I recently heard, in a public lecture by an academic expert on ice cores, that were Milankovich to return to Earth today he would disown his eponymous theory. Because when he proposed it early in the 20th century the available data on the Earth’s orbit were, in part, wrong.
    So we realy have no idea what causes ice-ages, although Milankovich’s cycles are probably part of the explanation.
    Hey ho…..

  9. Gary Hladik says:

    If I may attempt a layman’s summary: current climate falls well within the “noise” found in recent interglacials, making it impossible to prove a human influence on current climate, therefore the government has no power to regulate or legislate its citizens’ behavior based on any prospective harm they might cause the climate (and therefore any secondary harm the climate might cause, e,g. flooding from sea level rise; you can’t sue the local coal-fired electric plant if a storm washes away your beach house).

    Am I even close?

  10. Pete H says:

    Way to deep in legal stuff for me but they do seem to be a touchy feely bunch!

    The Board of Governors is overflowing with scientific knowledge! <sarc
    http://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/about/oct-board-members

    as are the staff members.
    http://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/about-us/staff

    I will not even go into who their "Partners" are but what the heck is Child Honouring?

  11. J.H. says:

    Public trust?… well maybe……. But I don’t trust the Government…… ;-)

  12. Peter Dunford says:

    If a judge concludes that man through industrial society is causing the planet to warm, I think the judge should also place that warming in the context of helping to delay or prevent the imminent glaciation. Watch the climate refugees migrate when that starts happening.

  13. KenB says:

    Peter Miller Nice summing up for the plaintiff’s!! The Pandora’s box of litigation!!

  14. Frank White says:

    Two comments: First, you cite Berger and Loutre, but their paper contains the projected duration for this interglacial at 50,000 years. Why did you reject this in favour of a imminent end to the Holocene?

    Second, there was a hypsithermal seal level high stand between 8,000 and 4,000 years ago. Would this not be relevant to your argument?

  15. wayne Job says:

    Warm is good the other option not so good. The only saving grace of an ice age would be a common purpose of mankind to advance in remarkable ways that come forth with inventiveness when confronted with a problem. Our next ice age maybe mankinds next leap forward.

  16. Rhys Jaggar says:

    And at the end of all that, is the question to the answer:

    ‘Is there a legal basis for a class action suit against IPCC, EPA and Barack Obama to sue their asses into the next ice age??’

  17. Darren Parker says:

    Could you rephrase this sentence –

    “The Holsteinian is four interglacials back, so not must has withstood these erasures, but the Eemian is the most recent interglacial, and we know it far better”

  18. Tom in Florida says:

    If seas levels rise naturally to their highest levels at the end of interglacials, as stated, then would it not be be a violation of Public Trust to do anything to prevent the sea levels from rising now?

    However, ocean circulation patterns were different during the previous interglacials and I do not see that addressed here. So equating the current sea level rises with previous ones may not be accurate.

  19. naturalclimate says:

    Do you need to prove there is a mechanism to remedy the issue, i.e, that taxation has a direct impact on climate? That would be fun to watch.

  20. beng says:

    Fascinating. MIS11 had very similar Milankovitch conditions as today. That interglacial (IG) was different, in that the temp curve at the beginning reached quick peak, dropping slowly for ~10k yrs (just like most IGs including the current one), but then going slowly back up to the same high-temps over the next ~20k yrs before rapidly dropping off into the next glacial. That IG lasted over 30k yrs. Over such long times, the Greenland & Antarctic ice sheets’ slow melting added up, resulting in the unusually high sea-levels at the end, compared to other IGs.

    It’s entirely plausible that the current IG has bottomed out & will slowly warm up instead of ending in the near (couple thousand yrs) future, just like EIS 11. Lets hope so.

  21. Eric Tremblay says:

    This demonstrates just how much of a shameless charlatan Watts has become.
    This dishonest attempt to dismiss the BEST study shows that Watts is a merely a writer of science fiction.

  22. Mike McMillan says:

    Excellent job of putting things in time perspective. Very clarifying. Are you really a lawyer?

  23. ShrNfr says:

    The basic question here is one of the nature of the trust. You can state with some certainty that a river or a piece of land within the confines of the US is part of the US. You cannot state that the atmosphere over the US is part of the US although the airspace is. Here in Boston, we receive the air from Canada early and often during winter. Pictures of the air over China demonstrate that the air there makes its way into other countries rather easily.

  24. Roger Sowell says:

    Mr. McClenney,

    Excellent observations, and thank you from a fellow member of the bar and practioner in the climate arena. This topic, the Atmosphere as a Public Trust, was also the subject of an earlier post on WUWT, see

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/04/desperate-measures-indeed/

    Regarding precedent setting, any successful lawsuit in one state is not a binding precedent on another state. In cases of first impression, a state may look to cases from other states for guidance but is under no obligation to follow those cases. This is one of the principles of Federalism, with each state having the right to establish its own laws, subject to certain Constitutional limitations.

    From the comments on my earlier post referenced above, an excellent point was made: since a State would be the defendant in these lawsuits, why would they want to vigorously defend? One could expect the oil-rich states to defend, perhaps Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and North Dakota, but the oil-deficient states with pro-AGW mindsets would likely welcome the opportunity to have the court order them to protect the atmosphere and pass laws to do so.

  25. commieBob says:

    KenB says:
    October 22, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Peter Miller Nice summing up for the plaintiff’s!! The Pandora’s box of litigation!!

    Litigation is a crap shoot. The right side doesn’t always win. IMHO the warmists are taking a stupid gamble here (unless, of course, the fix is already in).

    Mike McMillan says:
    October 22, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Excellent job of putting things in time perspective. Very clarifying. Are you really a lawyer?

    A good lawyer trying to prove a strong case will be crystal clear. She wants the truth to shine through. A bad lawyer with a weak case will resort to bafflegab and try to confuse the judge or jury.

  26. polistra says:

    Thanks, Gary Hladik! I read the whole thing but couldn’t begin to discern what the author was trying to accomplish or say. You seem to have found the core of the matter.

  27. ChE says:

    All well and good, but the offense … err … plaintiff can and will bring carbon into the picture. And also “consensus”. I’m no lawyer, but I have to believe that courts will be disinclined to try the science, and instead will defer to expert witnesses.

    Let the circus begin.

  28. Doug in Seattle says:

    Is it just me or is this piece an interesting, but weak argument wrapped up in confused jargon. Even a lawyer would have difficulty following this.

    The problem with McClenney’s argument is that the other side will have “eminent climate scientists” from the IPCC and the NSF supporting their interpretation of the role of government in controlling climate, while this side will have some obscure unknown quaternary geologists and palynologists.

    It won’t matter who is right. All that matters in court is who is believable (to lawyers and judges).

  29. ferd berple says:

    “Drave Robber says:
    October 22, 2011 at 1:45 am
    Slightly off-topic – if the property subject to public trust cannot be sold, “even for a fair cash equivalent” (whatever that is), then are carbon indulgences allowances legal?”

    That seems to me an excellent questions. Can the government or anyone else for example, sell permits to pollute lakes or rivers?

    If CO2 is a dangerous pollutant, harmful to the public, then how can it be legal for the government or anyone else to be in the business of selling permits to do something harmful to the public?

    Say you lived by a lake. Would you take kindly to the government selling someone a permit to pollute the lake you live by, simply because they agreed to stop polluting a different lake?

    Isn’t that what Kyoto, cap and trade, and carbon credits are doing? They are giving some countries the right to pollute the air, in return for other countries agreeing not to pollute the air, with money exchanged in the process.

  30. sunworks2day says:

    Interesting to see how deniers huddle together, confirming false beliefs then feeling superior because of the company they keep.

    Anthony Watts is no more a recognized climate expert than I am a moon-walker. Mr. Watts is the ultimate arcade Whack_A_Mole, after getting refuted, he simply bounces back via another false or misinterpreted topic.

    The future will detest such ignorance Mr. Watts, and you will be in the focus of that future as they curse the anti-science, pro-pollution, greed-first culture that sustains you.

    REPLY:
    Always a pleasure dealing with somebody who talks big insults, but is such a coward they have to hide behind anonymity, right Clinton? Check back in a couple of months – Anthony

  31. observa says:

    Personally I wouldn’t worry about the children putting their trust in these adults because I reckon they’ll work them out eventually. Here kiddies, go enjoy-
    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/all_we_are_saying_is_give_police_a_chance/
    Yes children, all Western countries have them and they simply refuse to grow up and become intelligent responsible adults. We’re not sure if it’s herditary or environmental just yet but as you can tell we’re working on the problem.

  32. Scott Brim says:

    Lawsuits like these are simply another means of keeping the directors of various environmental advocacy groups, plus their lawyers, gainfully employed.

    If a quick reduction in the rate of growth of US greenhouse gas emissions is to be accomplished — let alone a rollback to some previous emission level — the only realistic approach to achieving that objective is to place massive, direct taxes on carbon fuels.

    Are any of the climate change advocacy groups lobbying the Congress and the various state legislatures to place massive, direct taxes on carbon fuels?

    If these groups are not doing just that, then they are simply playing the game of AGW alarmism, using the courts as their playing field, for their own personal benefit, not the public’s.

  33. Roger Sowell says:

    @ferd berple,

    “Can the government or anyone else for example, sell permits to pollute lakes or rivers?”

    The answer is Yes. Governments’ environmental agencies routinely issue permits to pollute, and there is a fee for each permit. This is known as “pay-to-play.” In some areas, such as California where I live and practice, one must purchase pollution credits, that is, the right to emit pollutants into the environment. Here, one such program for air pollution is known as RECLAIM (see http://www.aqmd.gov/reclaim/index.htm)

    The government also has a different form of pay-to-play, in which the polluting entity is required to spend money to environmentally enhance one location in order to emit pollutants at another location. These sometimes are on a 2-for-1 basis.

    This kind of thing happens all the time, for air, water, and soil.

  34. Roger Sowell says:

    @Scot Brim

    “Are any of the climate change advocacy groups lobbying the Congress and the various state legislatures to place massive, direct taxes on carbon fuels?”

    Yes, here’s what ExxonMobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson had to say on this almost exactly two years ago:

    “Benefits of a Carbon Tax

    These costs and consequences inherent to cap-and-trade schemes have led many policy experts and economists to prefer another course of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That other option is a revenue-neutral carbon tax. I know that’s hard for a politician to say, so we have given it a new name. We call it a “refundable greenhouse gas emissions fee.”

    As a businessman, I have to take a deep breath every time I speak about this, because it’s hard for me to speak favorably about any new tax. I hope you see it shows how serious we are about this issue. A revenue-neutral carbon tax has the advantage of being well focused for achieving our society’s shared goal of reducing emissions over the long term. It can be predictable, transparent, and comparatively simple to understand and implement. ”

    http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/news_speeches_20091001_rwt.aspx

  35. Volker Doormann says:

    The Public Trust – Climate
    Posted on October 22, 2011 by Anthony Watts

    Guest post by William McClenney

    „About 2.8 million years ago, as the earth continued to cool down, the first “modern” northern hemisphere glaciations began to occur. We began to experience glacials (ice ages) and interglacials or warm times, such as the most recent one, the Holocene, the one in which all of human civilization has occurred. Ice ages and interglacials occurred in couples every 41,000 years, which matches the obliquity in our orbit around the sun (the wobble on our rotational tilt axis). During the period between 1 million years and 800,000 years ago we transitioned into a 100,000 year ice age/interglacial couple, which matches the eccentricity in our orbit about the sun (as close as it gets to a circle now but cycling towards an ellipse and back to near circular every 100,000 years). But the eccentricity itself varies, a cycle on top of a cycle, such that in two cycles from now (200kyrs) we will achieve the maximum ellipse or eccentricity (a maxima), and in two cycles from then, we will experience near circular conditions like now (a minima).
    This is important. Olson and Hearty above refer to MIS-11, technospeak for the Holsteinian interglacial. The latter half of the Holsteinian is considered by many to represent the closest analog to our interglacial. I say the latter half because The Holsteinian appears unique in the last million years of climate in that it may have lasted something like 30,000 years, or 1.5 to 2 precession cycles. Precession is the third orbital variable that paces climate. Five of the last six interglacials have each lasted roughly one half of a precession cycle. The precession cycle itself varies between 19,000 and 23,000 years, and we are presently at the 23,000 year part of the cycle, making the current age of the Holocene exactly half. „

    Mr. William McClenney,

    Shams ad-Din i Tabriz says, „The easiest of science is the science of purification rituals and the branches of jurisprudence. More difficult than that are the principles of jurisprudence. Still more difficult are the principles of theology, and even more difficult is the science of philosophy and metaphysics.”

    While physics deals with forces, metaphysics deals with the order of the immaterial nature, like the essence of the recognized laws of nature, logic, algebra, or music. One can measure thee effect of forces, but no one can measure truth or love, because it has no existence in the outer world.

    There is a general different in the basics of morality between the codex of Hammurabi and the codex of the Northern tribes in Scandinavia; while Hammurabi has said ‘An eye for an eye.’ The idea of the Northern codex was ever to guide people of lack in moral back to the community.

    As Epictet has written, not all things are in out power. I have written a song for Neil Young called: “No One Can Govern The Sun”. You can find it on this page:

    http://www.neilyoung.com/lwwtoday/lwwvideospage.html

    Prof. Ehrlich has suggested that the saw tooth like pattern for million of years of terrestrial climate fits well with resonance modes in the Sun.

    http://volker-doormann.org/images/bentic_f_graph.gif
    http://volker-doormann.org/images/bolshakov_2003.jpg

    While this played music is beyond the laws of any terrestrial nation, it seems to be recognizable also for lawyers, that there is no one on this earth, who is responsible for this behavior.

    Just some time ago I have found that the pattern of about 1800 years and it’s halve time interval corresponds to a couple of plutinos and it synodic tide.

    http://volker-doormann.org/images/bond99_a.jpg

    And again this pattern has a heliocentric nature and is so beyond the laws of any terrestrial nation.

    http://volker-doormann.org/images/solar_fig_3.gif

    Since a long time this pattern of the solar system of warm times and little Ice ages on our Earth modulates recognizable also for lawyers the terrestrial climate and the other planets like Neptune or Uranus or Pluto.

    OK, in general it is necessary to talk about science. But the object is science, truth and logic and not politics and not jurisprudence and not logical fallacies.

    Example: “I did not murder my mother and father with an axe! Please don’t find me guilty; I’m suffering enough through being an orphan.”

    It is not really possible to tell truth: Truth of arguments must be recognized in each present in the very own consciousness. There is only one nature to recognize.

    Thanks for reading.

    V.

  36. ChE says:

    commieBob says: October 22, 2011 at 8:02 am
    [...]
    Litigation is a crap shoot. The right side doesn’t always win. IMHO the warmists are taking a stupid gamble here (unless, of course, the fix is already in).

    What’s the downside? They can keep sending up trial balloons forever. There’s nothing “stupid” about taking a gamble where there’s no risk of being worse off than when you started. This is the inherent agitator’s advantage.

  37. rw says:

    It seems to me that an important question is whether it is possible to ensure that plantiffs that bring lawsuits of this nature are forced to pay a price if and when this whole AGW thing turns out to be a ‘hoax’. In other words, if and when this occurs they are not simply able to snigger (and say, “Never mind”) and shuffle off the stage. Because pretty soon this craziness is going to start killing people. (It probably has already in the 3rd world.) Moreover, the people initiating actions such as these seem always to operate with a certain attitude of inviolability – as if they were directors and not actors in this play.

  38. crosspatch says:

    There was another paper in the past couple of years in Quaternary Research that caught my eye (that is, by the way, my favorite scientific journal). What they found were some islands in the Pacific ocean that were in very stable crust. This crust is not rising or subsiding as far as they can tell. They are “flat-topped” and just barely protrude from the surface of the water. They also have active colonies of coral growing on them. They are interesting because as water levels rise and fall, the coral growth changes along the slopes of the island. So if the sea rises a meter, the top of the coral growth rises a meter, if the sea drops a meter, the top of the coral growth falls. These changes in coral growth can be dated. What they discovered was that about 5000 years ago, sea levels in the Pacific were about 2 meters higher than they are today. They also discovered that sea level can change quite rapidly, dramatic changes on a century timescale.

  39. Ken Harvey says:

    sunworks2day says:
    October 22, 2011 at 9:41 am

    “Anthony Watts is no more a recognized climate expert than I am a moon-walker.”

    The word ‘expert’ when related to climate is probably an oxymoron. Can anyone be an expert in a subject which is so full of unknowns? That said, if I were on trial and needed an expert witness on climate, I, and, no doubt at all, many others, would opt to engage Anthony Watts, were he willing to oblige.

  40. Mac the Knife says:

    William,

    Thank you very much, for this excellent legal brief and argument! You accept that the government and related agencies have ‘standing’ to protect the ‘public trust climate’ but effectively argue that their claimed AGW contribution, justifying the exceptional government regulations now being enforced, is well below the threshold of documented interglacial climate variability. As such, no regulatory intervention is justified to protect the ‘public trust climate’. Have I stated that accurately?

    How can this argument be pressed forward through the courts? Can you provide an outline? Can you tell us laymen how we might help and effectively participate?

  41. Mac the Knife says:

    crosspatch says:
    October 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm
    “There was another paper in the past couple of years in Quaternary Research that caught my eye (that is, by the way, my favorite scientific journal). What they found were some islands in the Pacific ocean that were in very stable crust. This crust is not rising or subsiding as far as they can tell. They are “flat-topped” and just barely protrude from the surface of the water. They also have active colonies of coral growing on them. They are interesting because as water levels rise and fall, the coral growth changes along the slopes of the island. So if the sea rises a meter, the top of the coral growth rises a meter, if the sea drops a meter, the top of the coral growth falls. These changes in coral growth can be dated. What they discovered was that about 5000 years ago, sea levels in the Pacific were about 2 meters higher than they are today. They also discovered that seal level can change quite rapidly, dramatic changes on a century timescale.”

    Crosspatch,
    Can you provide a reference, please? Thanks!

  42. Dan in California says:

    I have a postulate and a question. As a famous example, a judge in California ordered the end of pumping irrigation water to north central California, which devastated thousands of square miles of agriculture and the people who lived there. This was done in response to a suit to lower the number of fish killed by the pumps. I understand the option of better inlet screens was never proposed. To me, this is a clear example of the bigger picture not being presented to the judge. The plaintiffs won because they chose a sympathetic venue and outspent the defense.

    My question is, is Mr McClenney’s post about forcing courts and regulatory agencies to look at the bigger picture?

  43. JDN says:

    Terrible writing. Try rewriting in an essay format, not a conversation among friends that can read your mind. Example: “A recent definition of the timespan involved for the Holsteinian is 428kyrs ago to 397kya.” Who cares whether the definition is recent. Also, try “428 – 397 kyrs” instead. Rewritten: “The Holsteinian era took place 428 -397 kyrs ago.” and then footnote it if you think this might be contested.

    Another example: “We all live today near what may very well be the end Holocene, the third interglacial considered an extreme interglacial in the literature. Although there are different ways to define an “extreme interglacial”, we will use an oversimplification, it is an interglacial in which either temps or sea levels have at least been found to equal or exceed our own. ”

    Try: “There is evidence that we are living at the end of the Holocene era, an extreme interglacial period. There are many ways to define an “extreme interglacial”, however, everyone can agree that an era with temperatures or an ocean level equal or greater than our own qualifies as extreme.

    In addition to poor construction, your essay is full of misdirection and statements without foundation, such as launching into sea level fluctuations during interglacials without proper introduction of the topic and placing it into your ultimate argument relating to public trust. After pondering over your article, I really have no idea whether you have a point or not.

  44. Mac the Knife says:

    Is there a summary list available of States/Attorney Generals that are currently pressing court cases against the federal government and related agencies, for unnecessary regulations and adverse economic impacts based on AGW theory?

  45. @Roger Sowell, re ferd.

    No argument that the Government DOES issue permits to pollute. Ferd’s question is that under the Public Trust Doctrine, where does the Government get the AUTHORITY to sell public assets (clean air, land, water (in theory)) to private entities to despoil them? I think because the Government does this, the Public Trust Doctrine in regard to the ban on selling assets is insubstantial.

    @Roger Sowell, re Exxon:

    A revenue-neutral carbon tax has the advantage of being well focused for achieving our society’s shared goal of reducing emissions over the long term. It can be predictable, transparent, and comparatively simple to understand and implement.

    Any free-market economist should agree with this as well as any business man. The TAXING part is not at issue. The objections and debate fall around two points:
    1. What happens to the money after it is received by the Tax Collector? Does it fairly, predictably, transparently, and simply go to the producers of non-carbon, non-GHG energy sources as incentive to replace the polluting carbon rich sources? Or does it find its way into the General Fund, with bits of it pulled off, opaquely, obtusely (and politically predictably) into the pockets of the politically well connected? Personally, I would favor a carbon tax, if I believed the tax money would do good. However, when I follow the money I do not care to support its destinations nor its middle-men.

    2. Our Society’s shared goal seems to be reducing CO2 and CH4 emissions over the long term. The argument is, “Should we care about reducing CO2?” and if so, “what is it really worth to us?” A CO2-driven warmer earth (if that is what will happen) is not necessarily a bad thing. There will be winners and losers. With a carbon tax, the money will be efficiently, transparently, and predictably siphoned from the public insuring many more losers and a few big winners.

  46. Smokey says:

    JDN,

    Why don’t you write an article in Italian? That way folks whose first language is Italian can nitpick your sentence structure.

  47. crosspatch says:

    Here is the paper I referenced in my previous comment, Mac the Knife.

    Microatoll record for large century-scale sea-level fluctuations in the mid-Holocene
    by: Ke-Fu Yu, Jian-Xin Zhao, Terry Done, Te-Gu Chen
    Quaternary Research, Vol. 71, No. 3. (May 2009), pp. 354-360. doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2009.02.003 Key: citeulike:5294156

  48. Green Sand says:

    IMHO “spin” is the major reason for the now entrenched public mistrust of the establishment politicians.

    The same fate awaits the scientific community if it continues with its head long dive into “the world of spin”. Time to stand up against the hype, especially if it claims to represent your “side of the spectrum.”

  49. crosspatch says:

    And it appears that I mis-remembered the timing according to the abstract it was 7050–6600 yr bp

    Coral microatolls have been long used as precise indicators of past sea level, but their use for precise definition of detailed sea-level fluctuations is still rare. Here we report twelve high-precision thermal ionization mass spectrometric 230 Th ages for twelve rims of five mid-Holocene microatolls from an emerged reef terrace at Leizhou Peninsula, northern South China Sea. This is a tectonically stable area, enabling us to reconstruct both the timing and trajectory of local sea-level fluctuations accurately. The elevations of these microatoll rims and cores were accurately determined relative to the surface of modern living microatolls at the same site. The results indicate that the sea level during the period of 7050–6600 yr bp (years before AD 1950) was about 171 to 219 cm above the present, with at least four cycles of fluctuations. Over this 450 yr interval, sea level fluctuated by 20–40 cm on century scales.

  50. Myrrh says:

    “Our Children’s Trust” should include the fictional science taught in support of AGW, the deliberate sleight of hand ‘experiments’ taught in classrooms with erroneous explanations of the physics, and as promoted by Gore in his recent heating carbon dioxide ‘experiment that you can all replicate’ which Anthony has deconstructed. And should include the fear generated in children by calling it a toxic, etc. and omitting all real teaching about the Carbon Life Cycle. We are carbon life forms, they’re calling our basic building block food a poison contrary to traditional physics designations of what gases are toxic.

    The public should be able to trust our children are not being indoctrinated with quasi-religious beliefs in place of science knowledge facts.

  51. Mr. McClenney, my take away from your piece is that the Public Trust must preserve the natural uses peculiar to that resource.

    So in that sense, people do not as much own property in Florida, but are renting it temporarily. The ocean will one day demand much of Florida be returned to one of its other temporary natural uses as a live reef. The logical extention is that the Public Trust Doctrine should if anything be used to block attempts to prevent a rising sea level. It’s worth a try.

    The end result will be to show that the Public Trust Doctrine is a sham in any case. The government routinely sells rights to visit, fish, graze, log, mine, drill, discharge, bury, and even pollute with in legal limits. No one doubts that this is a proper excercise of a government to manage resourses and assets owned by the public. Therefore if the selling of such rights are contrary to the Public Trust Doctrine, it is the Doctrine that must be rewritten to be less absolute.

  52. commieBob says:

    ChE says:
    October 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

    What’s the downside? They can keep sending up trial balloons forever. There’s nothing “stupid” about taking a gamble where there’s no risk of being worse off than when you started. This is the inherent agitator’s advantage.

    Judges don’t just say win/lose or guilty/not_guilty. They issue long learned opinions saying why they decided the way they did. I would love to see what the Supremes would do with the AGW fraud. The mainstream media pays a lot of attention to SCOTUS. It could be a turning point,

    Supreme court judges say that evidence does not support the theory that carbon dioxide emissions cause catastrophic global warming.

    OTOH, litigation is a crap shoot.

  53. crosspatch says:

    The ocean will one day demand much of Florida be returned to one of its other temporary natural uses as a live reef.

    True, but probably not for another 100,000 years or so at the end of the next glaciation. It is more likely as we slide out of this interglacial into the next glacial period that we will see Florida just about double in size and reach all the way to the continental shelf in both the Gulf and the Atlantic. Florida and Cuba will be separated by a narrow strait narrower than the English Channel is today. The English Channel, North Sea, and Irish Sea will disappear and you will be able to walk from Dublin to Paris if you so have a mind to.

    Maybe after the end of that glacial period we would see a flooding of Florida for a short period (in a relative geological time sense) but Florida spends most of its time much larger than it is today.

  54. Brian H says:

    Since it is normal to have extreme fluctuations at the boundaries of interglacials, it follows that anything that interferes with such fluctuations is an abuse of a Public Trust. So mitigation is illegal.
    ;p

  55. TimC says:

    Thanks for the interesting analysis in this article, as a scientific brief.

    I am, though, more interested in the legal principles – though I hasten to add that my expertise is in English law rather that any of the laws applicable within the United States. However, my understanding is that the “public trust” doctrine is essentially that some resources should preserved and made available for public use – so it is generally applied in the positive sense of allowing the public use of (in England) such things as public common land, highways and sea foreshores.

    The main legal hurdle facing these suits in the US, as I understand it, is that the public trust doctrine has not been used before in the negative sense of seeking to restrict activities (emissions of CO2) in a “resource” (the atmosphere) that is by its nature available to everyone – not only within the jurisdiction of the US federal or state courts, but everyone worldwide.

    There is already a developed legal doctrine (the federal common law of nuisance) allowing federal court to abate out-of-state nuisances and pollution. However in American Electric Power v Connecticut the Supreme Court unanimously held that this judicial power had already been displaced by the EPA’s rule-making power; that the legislative branch (so long as it acted by framing these rule-making powers) was the proper branch of government to handle the issue – and that practically it would be very difficult for federal court to handle all the issues involved a judicial nuisance claim.

    I think we will find that the “public trust” doctrine, applied in the negative sense of restricting activities, will be held to be no more than another instance of the federal common law of nuisance –therefore also displaced by the EPA’s rule-making power as in AEP v Connecticut. I therefore doubt that any scientific brief will be needed in the “Our Children’s Trust” suits – it will more be needed in the Texas et al challenge to the EPA’s endangerment finding.

  56. ChE says:

    commieBob says: October 22, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I understand, but what’s their alternative? They gotta **** or get off the pot some time.

  57. Roger Sowell says:

    @ Stephen Rasey, re

    “No argument that the Government DOES issue permits to pollute. Ferd’s question is that under the Public Trust Doctrine, where does the Government get the AUTHORITY to sell public assets (clean air, land, water (in theory)) to private entities to despoil them? I think because the Government does this, the Public Trust Doctrine in regard to the ban on selling assets is insubstantial.”

    Government’s authority for Public Trust doctrine is the authority of the Trustee, and almost any Trust. The Trustee has the authority and responsibility to manage the Trust for the benefit of the Beneficiaries, according to the terms of the Trust and applicable laws. An example is a country’s coastal area (or State, as the case may be). The Government as Trustee assigns where a port can be built, how large it shall be, and various other restrictions on the port and the waters. Another area is rivers and streams, where California, for example, manages the waters as Trustee of a Public Trust. I’m not greatly familiar with the Great Lakes Region, but I suspect that the various states that border those huge lakes also act as Trustees in a Public Trust doctrine.

    The idea is not to allow private entities to despoil the assets, but to protect them from indiscriminate over-use, and to ensure they are available to all persons (the Beneficiaries) for all-time.

    For more reading on the history of Public Trust Doctrine, see

    http://www.uvm.edu/~gflomenh/PA395-CMN-ASSTS/articles/sax.pdf

  58. William McClenney says:

    First I suffered a cpu meltdown a few months back, and I am not getting into WordPress yet, so the much needed typo fixes may not happen for a while…..Sorry.

    Geologist, not a lawyer. But I have been doing environmental litigation support for over 20 years, and even though most of my time is spent cleaning up hazardous waste sites (my calling), I prefer litigation support because of the intensity of the technical challenges. And that is just a layer or so in highly complex litigations.

    For those that queried why I did not include any discussion regarding the Holocene hypsithermal, or climate optimum, it was not all that relevant to the argument. The Holocene Climate Optimum (hypsithermal) occurred not that long after the “8.2k event”, a strong cold snap that immediately preceded it. Closer to the initiation of the interglacial than the end.

    In terms of Loutre and Berger’s 2003 paper the 50,000 year prediction was based on modeling. It was soon refuted by Lisecki and Raymo (http://www.geology.utoronto.ca/Members/jhennison/Lisiecki%20-%20Raymo%202005.pdf):

    “Recent research has focused on MIS 11 as a possible analog for the present interglacial [e.g., Loutre and Berger, 2003; EPICA community members, 2004] because both occur during times of low eccentricity. The LR04 age model establishes that MIS 11 spans two precession cycles, with 18O values below 3.6h for 20 kyr, from 398-418 ka. In comparison, stages 9 and 5 remained below 3.6h for 13 and 12 kyr, respectively, and the Holocene interglacial has lasted 11 kyr so far. In the LR04 age model, the average LSR of 29 sites is the same from 398-418 ka as from 250-650 ka; consequently, stage 11 is unlikely to be artificially stretched. However, the June 21 insolation minimum at 65N during MIS 11 is only 489 W/m2, much less pronounced than the present minimum of 474 W/m2. In addition, current insolation values are not predicted to return to the high values of late MIS 11 for another 65 kyr. We propose that this effectively precludes a “double precession-cycle” interglacial [e.g., Raymo, 1997] in the Holocene without human influence.

    The last sentence summed up an intense discussion on about 5 million years of globally distributed ocean sediment cores, widely cited as the “LR-04 stack”. As far as I can tell, that more or less ended it. I cover this in http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/30/the-antithesis/

    Again, this was intended primarily for attorneys. As difficult to understand as it may be for some, this is actually the 30,000 foot view zoomed into focus to the very ends of each previous extreme interglacial. The previous two appear to have gotten a bit uber-wobbly at their ends, and by what mechanism is this distinguishable from the Public Trust Climate at an end extreme interglacial?

  59. LazyTeenager says:

    Peter Miller says:
    October 22, 2011 at 2:18 am
    Heresy!

    How dare you suggest there are natural climate cycles and then provide a perfectly reasonable and logical explanation for them.
    ———-
    Your interpretation of the article may be based on a misunderstanding. That’s not your fault as it seems to be someone trying to be clever rather than clear.

    The whole natural cycles argument is a logical fallacy. in other words: —X happened for such a reason in the past must mean that X is happening for the same reason—- now is just bad reasoning.

    Since new causes have arisen the same effect can be produced in a different way.

  60. LazyTeenager says:

    Let’s have a bit more fun with the legal metaphor. Let William McClenney assume the role of a lawyer for the defense.

    Here is the story:——
    A woman is found dead in her apartment. She has a history of epilepsy. Her husband is arrested for murder.

    Many of you murder skeptics are friends of the husband and claim that the only possible way she could have died is due to a fall arising from an epileptic episode.

    This logic is bogus. William McClenney on the other hand uses a more sophisticated argument: that the husband cannot be proven to be guilty and there are plausible alternative reasons for the death apart from the husband’s possible actions. This logic is correct.

    But being a good lawyer he has told the jury to ignore all the other evidence. These include:—
    1. The woman had a bullet hole in her head,
    2. The bullet plucked from her brain had rifling marks matching a pistol owned by the husband
    3. The gun had the husband’s fingerprints on it
    4. The husband’s hands had propellant on them
    5. The footprint in a pool of blood matched the husband’s shoe.

    The murder skeptics have explain-aways for all of these things, including suicide by the woman and incompetence and corruption by the police.

    The take away message is: that was then this is now. Just because cycles accounted for climate change in the past IS NOT PROOF they are responsible for climate change now.

  61. LazyTeenager says:

    Myrrh says:
    October 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    sleight of hand ‘experiments’ taught in classrooms

    they’re calling our basic building block food a poison contrary to traditional physics designations of what gases are toxic.

    ———
    Speaking of “sleight of hand” no one is calling carbon a poison and no one is calling CO2 in its atmospheric concentrations a poison. It seems you make stuff up.

  62. rbateman says:

    I am most interested in why the concensus is that the Holocene Interglacial is spent and about to plunge into the realm of Ice Age. Is this the best pattern match, or is it the best educated guess?

  63. Mac the Knife says:

    crosspatch says:
    October 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Thank You very much, Crosspatch!

  64. Mike McMillan says:

    Mike McMillan says:
    Excellent job of putting things in time perspective. Very clarifying. Are you really a lawyer?

    William McClenney says:
    . . . Geologist, not a lawyer. But I have been doing environmental litigation support . . .

    Profound apologies. Insult not intended.

  65. Mike McMillan says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    Let’s have a bit more fun with the legal metaphor. Let William McClenney assume the role of a lawyer for the defense.
    Here is the story:——
    A woman is found dead in her apartment. She has a history of epilepsy. Her husband is arrested for murder.

    Let’s revise to a more appropriate metaphor.
    The woman is not dead. She’s been that way for several billion years. The police want to tax the husband as punishment.

  66. Peter Miller says:

    Lazyteenager

    Geologists (not those working for government, as they have their opinions decided for them – or they lose their jobs) are the most sceptical of all for good reason – they have studied the past and understand the concept of natural cycles, which include climate cycles.

    I, like most sceptics, detest the ‘climate science’ scare industry of grant-addicted individuals who need to distort their science’s data and findings in order to continue their comfortable lifestyles. These people are totally conflicted in that if they do not produce a continuous stream of scare stories, they would soon be out of a job – and they know it! So, they act accordingly.

    The world has been warming (the last decade is an exception) for the past century – this is part of a natural cycle and almost none of it has anything to do with rising carbon dioxide levels.

    A few months ago Anthony produced an article comparing the current warming cycle with other ones in this inter-glacial period. It was no surprise to see it was about average and nothing to get excited about.

    My comments were obviously meant to be sarcastic, ridiculing the purveyors of ‘climate science’. They generally deserve only ridicule for practices that would not be acceptable in any real field of science.

  67. William McClenney says:

    rbateman:

    The rather complicated issue of the Holocene relative MIS-11 and MIS-19 is discussed in http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/30/the-antithesis/

  68. Bill Hunter says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    October 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm
    “The take away message is: that was then this is now. Just because cycles accounted for climate change in the past IS NOT PROOF they are responsible for climate change now.”

    AR4 fingers anthropogenic causes for climate change on the basis of no other known cause. Here the historic record shows “But even so, the end of the last extreme interglacial was quite the wild climate ride!”, with no known cause.

    I think what it suggests is not knowing the cause is a problem for the prosecution. The second issue goes to prospective harm. If we are at the end of the interglacial can we know that harm will be caused when we aren’t even certain of what has caused the recent warming?

  69. Scott Brim says:

    @Roger Sowell, re Exxon:
    A revenue-neutral carbon tax has the advantage of being well focused for achieving our society’s shared goal of reducing emissions over the long term. It can be predictable, transparent, and comparatively simple to understand and implement.

    For a direct carbon tax to have its desired effect of reducing energy consumption, it must inflict pain on energy consumers in a sufficiently broad variety of ways, and in a sufficiently large total magnitude, so as ensure they respond with the desired behavior.

    A direct carbon tax also has to have immediate consequences for everyone who pays it, and that means it has to be a simple tax on consumption with no relief for anyone affected.

    A revenue-neutral type of carbon taxation scheme is not likely to inflict enough pain on enough people, or with a sufficiently broad distribution of social and economic impacts, so as to achieve its desired effect of quickly reducing energy consumption.

  70. rbateman says:

    William McClenney says:
    October 23, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Read through that again. What I get out of it is a very high potential to make a mess of things, should man decide to embark on climate alteration. That CO2 has ample evidence as an insulation against cooling, but so far has little to no evidence to initiate/accelerate warming. The link for fig 34 is broken and only the smaller jpg is available.

  71. Volker Doormann says:

    William McClenney says:
    October 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm.

    For those that queried why I did not include any discussion regarding the Holocene hypsithermal, or climate optimum, it was not all that relevant to the argument. …
    … Again, this was intended primarily for attorneys.

    Hi William,
    I do not really understand what your point or intension here is.

    There are a lot of data available about the terrestrial climate history, but there are only a very few logical conclusions or valid arguments from that data by scientists which explain the terrestrial climate history as understandable physically processes. If this is true, then I do not see any necessity to speak to attorneys.

    Physics deals with natural forces and processes in which energy will be moved. From the history of terrestrial climate in a time span of some million years it is well known that the global Earth surface temperature has increased often by approx. 8°Cel. in some few years. And this temperature has relaxed often down approx. 8°Cel. in 94.5ky. This saw tooth profile was found many times in a time range of 1000 ky, but also other periods of 150 ky, 126 ky, 75.5 ky, 41.2 ky, 23.6 ky and 19 ky cycle length were found with the same saw tooth profile, but minor temperature amplitude. These times are from Bassinot et al, (1994) [MD 900963].

    This behaviour looks like a geometric multimode saw tooth oscillator and if we assume that the mode number 1 (n=1) is related to a time of 377.134 ky, then other modes of n=1.5 has 150ky, n=1.75 has 126 ky, n=2 has 94.5 ky, n=2.25 has 75.5 ky, n=3 has 41.2 ky, n=4 has 23.6 ky, and n=4.5 has 19 ky cycle length using the formula

    tn [ky] = pow(n,-2.0) * 377.134 ky

    Such multimode oscillator must have a geometry of a big size, and it seems that this oscillator cannot be found on our little Earth. But in solar physics it is known that because of the big size of the sun and the density a single photon takes about ~190 ky from one atom in the centre of the sun to other atoms until it reaches the surface of the sun.

    A resonance of a mode n=1 takes then ~380 ky.

    Taking the relative power of the named modes and a simple geometric saw tooth profile it is very easy to simulate a temperature spectrum of about 1000 ky.

    Because the absolute time calibration neither for the diffusion time of the solar photons are known nor the absolute time calibration for the sample of Lisieki et al. (2005), it is remarkable – if I scale down the time calibration of the Silieki et al. (2005) data by a factor of 1.225 – that here is a good correlation to recognize.

    The idea of this diffusion resonance modes in the sun is suggested by Prof. Ehrlich: [http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0701117] “Solar Resonant Diffusion Waves as Driver of Terrestrial Climate Change”.

    This graph shows both functions:

    http://www.volker-doormann.org/images/bentic_f_graph.gif

    It is visible that only about 9 events of an increasing temperatur sstem of about ~8°Cel. in 1000 ky are happened and today the last big step was about 20 ky ago.

    Because it is clear that with such big step in the global temperature from an Ice Age a lot of melting water from the land is streaming in the oceans, it explains the time coherent increase of the sea level. And because the Earth has still this high sea level, this water has to be filled the land again first with snow out o the oceans before the sea level will rise again.

    And this means simple that we have a linear decreasing sea level for the next ~50 to ~70ky.

    s. more

    V.

  72. ferd berple says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    October 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm
    1. The woman had a bullet hole in her head,
    2. The bullet plucked from her brain had rifling marks matching a pistol owned by the husband
    3. The gun had the husband’s fingerprints on it
    4. The husband’s hands had propellant on them
    5. The footprint in a pool of blood matched the husband’s shoe.

    6. The neighbor had a $90 billion dollar insurance policy on the woman’s life.
    7. Her husband had nothing to gain.

    Most likely: The neighbor shot the woman and doctored the evidence.

  73. ferd berple says:

    Motive, means and opportunity are the key ingredients in establishing guilt.

    Motive – $$
    Means – Pal Reviewed Science
    Opportunity – IPCC

  74. William McClenney says:

    rbateman:

    The head of the geology department came up to me in Geology 101 lab and what I remember of that discussion is that he said they had really two main groups of folk that come through there, splitters and lumpers. Splitters were those with a keen eye for detail, able to see things right down the the gnat’s a$$. Lumpers were the rapid arm movement, big picture types, detail more or less anathema to them. But every once in a while one would come along who could see things right down to the gnat’s a$$ and recognize how that just changed the big picture. He asked me if I knew what they were called. I did not. He said they called those geologists.

    So what I am attempting to do here is by looking at the details of what we see has happened at the end of the other recent extreme interglacials for a pattern. We already know the big picture of the post-MPT ice ages and interglacials. We know the big picture is now 100kyr ice age/interglacial couples, those pesky little ~400 foot swings in sea level that happen that regularly enough that you can set your geologic watch by them. But as we get into the messier, less well preserved detail packages that still remain around the world (not erased by the next and the next interglacial) the pixels begin to populate the big picture. And change it.

    The debate over which came first, the chicken or the egg, was more or less put to rest several years before “An Inconvenient Truth” aired. On the major transitions, the ice age terminations, Mudelsee (Quaternary Science Reviews 20 (2001) 583-589) states it best in his abstract:

    “Over the full 420 ka of the Vostok record, CO2 variations lag behind atmospheric temperature changes in the Southern Hemisphere by 1.3 +/-1.0 ka, and lead over global ice-volume variations by 2.7 +/-1.3 ka. However, significant short-term changes in the lag of CO2 relative to temperature, subsequent to Terminations II and III, are also detected.”

    Therefore CO2 not the agent provocateur at the largest climate changes. Continue down the rabbit hole of detail and you will soon come to what are known as millenial variations, or the D-O oscillations. Same problem. CO2 not the agent provocateur on all that we have detail for from the Greenland ice cores. In fact it seems to function, assuming of course that it does actually have a climate function, as more of a climate security blanket.

    In fact it may only be coincidence, nothing more.

    But agent provocateur? Well, there is indeed evidence available from significant counterintelligence activities. No, not counterespionage, intelligence operating in reverse, but naturally. We have the new math (matheMANNics) from which algorEithms may be constructed capable of using even red noise to produce the desired counterintelligence. I first encountered an early primitive form of this agent provocateur 20 years ago in a toxic tort in Australia. In this case the opposition had produced a report in which they stated that “although significant levels of total chromium were found at the site, the more dangerous to human health hexavalent chromium was not identified in any sample.” This, at it turned out, was true. All one needed to do to verify it was to flip back to the raw data (nearing extinction) to see that they had never sent even a single sample for hex chrome analysis. So guess what? They didn’t even look for it, no wonder they didn’t find it! The attorneys here may wish to chime in on whether or not this constituted fraud.

    So keeping one’s eyes firmly on the pea is just about the only defense any of us really has against the primitive and more evolved counterintelligence of this sort. But the chances are rather poor that more than just a small number of us will succeed in this. Numerically it is about 11.1% based on the Nine Times Rule. The 9TR was the result of a study I read as an assignment in a graduate course in psychology: the human being is nine times more susceptible to rumor than it is to fact. With 88.9% of us more permeable to rumor than to fact, “Houston, we have a problem…..” Counterintelligence activitists have a lot of fertile ground to plant……..and they know it.

    “The Antithesis” was both a reminder and a warning that the mind is like a parachute, it must be open in order to function. A reminder that the big picture is always a compilation of the details which can actually result in the exact opposite conclusion than the one anticipated. The warning I will caricature from one of my favorite character comedians, “Mr. T”.

    “FOOL!! What you doin? Takin’ the climate security blanket OUT of the atmosphere at the probable end of an interglacial? Did you bump your head?”

    Step back, take in the bigger picture once again, and populate it with Boettger et al’s “Results of palynological studies of all these sequences indicate simultaneously a strong increase of environmental oscillations during the very end of the Last Interglacial and the beginning of the Last Glaciation.”, and the whole thing begins to take on the character of Crocodile Dundee’s two fleas arguing over who owns the dog they are riding on.

    In the final analysis this is all a rather simple signal to noise ratio problem. Take AR4’s worst case estimates, those that still survive, and look at them in relation to what might happen for the third time, naturally, at an end extreme interglacial, and it isn’t just a simple signal to noise ratio problem anymore, it’s a pathetic one.

    The defense rests (for now :-).

  75. William McClenney says:

    ferd berple says:
    October 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Motive, means and opportunity are the key ingredients in establishing guilt.

    Motive – $$
    Means – Pal Reviewed Science
    Opportunity – IPCC

    Very good Fred. Hadn’t thought of that…..

  76. William McClenney says:

    Volker Doormann:

    The need to speak with attorneys on the Public Trust Climate began in May of this year with the filings of the public trust suits, of which there are many. As another stated above, we can rest assured that IPCC luminaries and Nobel laureates will be put on the stand and the court will here things like “if we assume that the mode number 1 (n=1) is related to a time of 377.134 ky, then other modes of n=1.5 has……” which is where my eyes glazed over. You may have a point or points, but the same thing happened to me as happened to you. You lost me.

    The argument I presented is an attempt to give attorneys a much simpler, though still necessarily scientific, defense posture based on things recognizable with basic common sense.

    Think of this as “I see your 2007 IPCC AR4 worst case scenario of +0.59 meters and I raise you one Hearty and Newmann natural +6 meters, put that in your pipe and smoke it” defense. Of course, in my pile of chips I have studies with highstands not only up to +40 at the end Eemian, but one that went as high as +52 meters! So I can stay at the poker table with you for a while, even back to the Holsteinian. If you want to win against this defense you have to both up your game and deal with the natural variation peculiar to the Public Climate Trust at an end interglacial.

    Here’s the sort of thing a good attorney might gin up to make things blatantly clear to the court:

    “So, let’s assume for the moment, that we do implement whatever is necessary to bring CO2 levels to the prescribed 350 ppm. For the purposes of discussion we will even say we are certain this prevented the AR4’s worst case scenario of +0.59 meters by 2100. While we are celebrating our success in 2125, with non-carbonated champagne of course, sea levels suddenly shoot up +6 or +21.3 meters anyway. Really, your honor, isn’t this just a silly bugger’s game?”

    And it’s an uphill battle from there because the public trust climate bar has just been set where it should be, encompassing when we live, at the latest end extreme interglacial. Where literally anything and everything climate does indeed occur (shark jumping sea level excursions and an ice age lurking at the end).

    If you are going to prove harm against the public trust climate, then it must either be defined as steady state, and the predicted effects obviously a problem, or you must confront nature itself, in all it’s apparent furies at an end extreme interglacial. I was communicating to the attorneys just how easy that would be. Simple, easy to understand, and communicate, signal to noise ratio.

  77. rbateman says:

    William McClenney says:
    October 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    But as we get into the messier, less well preserved detail packages that still remain around the world (not erased by the next and the next interglacial) the pixels begin to populate the big picture. And change it.

    If that is true, no single formula will describe the Grand Detail, but the minutiae might drive the large-scale formula.
    Something else in nature comes to mind: When a river floods, and transports rocks, it does not always pick up the load all the way to the bottom, but may cause it to roll along anyway at a relatively reduced speed.
    In this latter case, the strength of the grand scheme may alter the minutiae by changing the strata upon which it has to operate..

  78. William McClenney says:

    More or less dependent on the magnitude.

  79. @Roger Sowell, October 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm to Rasey

    Mr, Sowell, your reply to me was completely off the point. The key sentence in your replay was

    The Trustee has the authority and responsibility to manage the Trust for the benefit of the Beneficiaries, according to the terms of the Trust and applicable laws.

    But you negleted to address the terms of the Public Trust Doctrine. The point of the parent essay by McClenny is that the Public Trust Doctrine boils down to

    Either it is urged that the resource must be held available for certain traditional uses, such as navigation, recreation, or fishery, or it is said that the uses which are made of the property must be in some sense related to the natural uses peculiar to that resource.

    Do you significantly disagree with any part of that summary? Personally, I think the Doctrine is far too inflexible and presumptuous, but I’m just a voter. If you disagree, this is an issue between Bar members.

    McClenny’s point is that a natural use of a resource includes a higher sea-level than today, but a sea-level that is repeatedly seen in the geologic record. As a Trustee, would it be more right or more wrong to prevent a periodic natural rise in sea-level to return Florida once again to a living reef as it has been in the past?

  80. Peter Miller says:

    Ferd Berple says:

    Motive – $$
    Means – Pal Reviewed Science
    Opportunity – IPCC

    Brilliant – ‘climate science’ in a nutshell.

  81. Volker Doormann says:

    William McClenney says:
    October 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Volker Doormann:
    The need to speak with attorneys on the Public Trust Climate began in May of this year with the filings of the public trust suits, of which there are many. As another stated above, we can rest assured that IPCC luminaries and Nobel laureates will be put on the stand and the court will here things like “if we assume that the mode number 1 (n=1) is related to a time of 377.134 ky, then other modes of n=1.5 has……” which is where my eyes glazed over. You may have a point or points, but the same thing happened to me as happened to you. You lost me.

    The argument I presented is an attempt to give attorneys a much simpler, though still necessarily scientific, defense posture based on things recognizable with basic common sense.”

    Hi William,

    it may be that in the end we both – and some more people – are agree on something what is recognizable as truth. But I think different about the necessary level of communication.

    The problem which has been established in the social community is that the object science is occupied by people who are interested in magic to deceive the crowd taking the good name science have. With that science and scientists have become slaves of the social community and its speakers from politics, magazines, publishers, Nobel committee, bloggers, governments, TV punches, school teachers, and world concerns with its media wars.

    The simple point is that all this is not science. Science is alike philosophy something of esoteric nature, not to be thought for the crowd or attorneys. In science ever it is a good job to argue scientific arguments. Science never do argue on what is not, and do never create sayings without valid arguments, because only with this method there is a way down to the basics of philosophy, logic and truth: Nothing can at the same time be true and untrue.

    Indeed in the science community itself there are lacks on this method. This is an important point, because if science is confronted with a possible connection of terrestrial climate and the solar system as a system of angular momenta, with dimension of [V A s^2] (That is the identical dimension as the Planck constant h. A multiplication of the angular momentum of Jupiter and the frequency (Hz = 1/sec) of Jupiter (f = 2.67209 nHz), results in an energy! in [eV).

    I do point this here, because it is well known that an angular momentum cannot be destroyed. If there are processes in the Earth/Moon system, which decrease the angular momentum from the Earth it will increase the angular momentum of the Moon. But no scientist ever has explained how, which carrier, how fast, angular momentum, but also gravition, is transferred. If science would like to understand in an easy way the interaction of celestial bodies for the terrestrial climate, these questions first have to answered by the science community.

    I think there is no right of the social community on science, because science and research are free, and free means the freedom to perform. Logic and valid arguments are not owned by kings or the public crowd or consumers. Neither science nor scientist have to follow the morality of any social community, but each individual has the freedom to follow the method of science, because these method only exist in the consciousness of a living Being. It reminds me on that what Plato has told from Socrates. No one of the consumers is interested in seeing the light of the Sun; they are waiting that a servant put the Sun into the cave.

    If attorneys are not able to follow science, than it is the problem of them, not the problem of science.

    Truth do not need attorneys. Truth itself IS.

    No One Can Govern the Sun

    ”No one can govern the sun
    No sun takes orders from no one
    No one can command you: Be free!
    No one can command you: Be thee!
    No one can tell you the truth
    No one can get yourself loose
    No one can govern the moon
    No one can undo a tune
    Be no ones master, be no ones slave
    Sing songs of love and stay

    Each tree grows without a king
    No king gives planets their swing
    Doing is moving a stone
    Not doing lets you for your own
    Masters can’t move stones alone
    Slaves doing move many more stones
    Love needs no master nor slave
    Be love and be yourself brave
    Be no ones master be no ones slave
    Sing songs of love and stay”

    Thanks for reading.

    V.

  82. Myrrh says:

    This should include the missing paragraphs taken out of the IPCC report way back at the beginning of the big push to scam which was followed by the hockyschtick as the IPCC got totally in the grips of the scammers and real science ousted, the mosquito claims contrary to the mosquito expert and so on. The original conclusion was that there was no indication of human cause to global warming. After that the lies kept coming thick and fast and pal review made certain that dissenting science voices were excluded by lying that they were the consensus.

  83. LosAngelista says:

    Hey McBill,

    Your analysis leaves out the fact that those natural changes in orbitals also changed the CO2 levels, which added to the feedback mechanisms, which in turn influenced the climate and subsequent changes in sea level. So even if direct CO2 emissions from, say, volcanos, didn’t initiate the climate change, CO2 acts as a thermostat on what the climate becomes. So what you’re really demonstrating is just how powerful the link between orbitals and CO2 really is.

  84. Scott Brim says:

    William McClenney says:
    October 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm
    More or less dependent on the magnitude.

    My speculative guess is that the immediate imposition of a 100% tax on energy consumption, collected at the point of production, could reduce overall energy consumption in this country to roughly 80% of current levels, possibly within two years or less.

  85. William McClenney says:

    LosAngelista says:
    October 24, 2011 at 6:55 am

    “which added feedback mechanisms, which in turn influenced the climate”

    There is evidence for and against CO2 as a feedback mechanism so that at present it remains a hypothesis. It does not yet qualify as a fact.

    I was hoping this would come up. From the opening of the Executive Summary (ISBN: 0-309-51284-0, 244 pages, 6×9, (2002), Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, National Research Council, Richard B. Alley, Chair):

    “Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age.”

    There are no tephras (volcanic dust layers) populating any of the post-MPT ice age terminations. As provided in the quote above from Manfred Mudelsee CO2 excursions lag the termination temperature spikes by about 1.3 +/- 1ka, so no CO2 contribution to causation at the terminations. If we take the transition period from the Bolling-Allerod stadial to full interglacial conditions, we have to contend with at least 4 very rapid negative thermal excursions which occurred after both the initial termination and after the Bolling-Allerod: the Older and Younger Dryas stadials, the pre-Boreal cold snap and the “8.2k event”. And again, we see that CO2 concentrations responded but with distinct lags.

    If CO2 is such a powerful climate agent, its post termination concentrations soaring (presumably due to ocean outgassing in response to warmer temps, how did these 4 abrupt strong cooling events even occur?

    Methinks this may be a case of getting the cart before the horse.

  86. William McClenney says:

    Oops, sorry, meant to say the Bolling-Allerod interstadial.

  87. William McClenney says:

    Scott Brim says:
    October 24, 2011 at 8:17 am

    William McClenney says:
    October 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm
    More or less dependent on the magnitude.

    My speculative guess is that the immediate imposition of a 100% tax on energy consumption, collected at the point of production, could reduce overall energy consumption in this country to roughly 80% of current levels, possibly within two years or less.

    And the point of this would be what, exactly? That we should all be forced to “bump our heads?”

  88. Scott Brim says:

    William McClenney says:
    October 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm
    And the point of this would be what, exactly? That we should all be forced to “bump our heads?”

    Precisely …. If the stated goal is to quickly reduce energy consumption — regardless of the substantial economic and social dislocations involved — what other approach would work?

  89. rbateman says:

    William:
    From your knowledge of geologic records, how fast can sea levels drop should the Interglacial decide to roll over and plunge down to colder climes?

  90. William McClenney says:

    Scott Brim:

    I’m afraid you lost me Scott. I wasn’t previously aware that I had in any way suggested that I supported a “stated goal to quickly reduce energy consumption”. I presume this is your goal?

  91. William McClenney says:

    rbateman:

    Well, in general, sea level falls at the end interglacials are generally slower than the ice age termination rises. But that is a very general statement. It really depends on (1) the detail of the particular record or study one might be looking at and (2) how far back one is looking. Finding much of anything related to MIS-7 and MIS-9 detail sea level studies is quite difficult as sea levels during MIS-5e were much higher, therefore a greater chance that (a) evidence may literally have been washed away by now or (b) still be under water because of present sea level.

    So the best preserved one is MIS-5d, because we must go back to MIS-11, ~400,000 years ago to literally be able to “see” what might still be available after so long (probably ~100 D-O events and 3 intervening interglacials). From the previously cited Hearty et al 2007 we have this:

    SLI#5—The end of MIS 5e is characterized by multiple
    sharp rises of sea level around 121–119 ka. This interval
    was characterised by upward shifts and halts of sea level
    between +6 and +9m. One to three bioerosional
    notches have been observed, along with rubble benches,
    algal rims, and minimal coral growth at these elevations.
    SLI#6—Sea level appears to have retreated rapidly
    from the SLI#5 peak elevations between 120 and 118 ka,
    marking the onset of MIS 5d. Rapid fall is supported by
    the preservation of delicate coral heads and morphological
    features formed earlier in the period (Neumann
    and Hearty, 1996). A slow retreat of the sea would have
    eroded and destroyed these features.

    SLI stands for Sea Level Intervals.

  92. Scott Brim says:

    William McClenney says:
    October 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm
    I’m afraid you lost me Scott. I wasn’t previously aware that I had in any way suggested that I supported a “stated goal to quickly reduce energy consumption”. I presume this is your goal?

    As I thought was obvious, quickly reducing energy consumption is the litigant’s goal, not yours. I am merely pointing out that if the litigants truly want the kinds of quick reductions they are demanding, a direct and deliberately burdensome carbon tax is the only practical means of quickly achieving those reductions, short of a government-imposed program of mandatory and strictly-enforced energy rationing. If the litigants accept something less, this would be proof they are in it for the money, not for the supposed environmental benefits of their stated agenda.

  93. William McClenney says:

    Scott Brim says:
    October 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Scott, my apologies. I was at a loss on where you were going. You raise an interesting point, one I may need to ponder a bit. We may need some legal help on this one. Any attorneys still checking in please feel to opine.

    On initial consideration I think it might be how the case has been filed and will be argued in each jurisdiction. Again, we need some legal assistance here. Depending on whatever latitude exists within each possibly applicable judicial domain some sort of precedent might be set.

    I am really not sure if that means all that much towards the money. It appears to be a chiseling strategy. Chisel whatever and however many toe-holds you judicially can and advance from there.

    Just my initial thoughts.

  94. Gail Combs says:

    Scott Brim says:
    October 24, 2011 at 8:17 am

    William McClenney says:
    October 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm
    More or less dependent on the magnitude.

    My speculative guess is that the immediate imposition of a 100% tax on energy consumption, collected at the point of production, could reduce overall energy consumption in this country to roughly 80% of current levels, possibly within two years or less.
    _____________________________________________

    Well then Scott I sure hope you know how to ride a horse and drive a team of oxen!

    If you reduce energy consumption to 20% of current levels what is that actually going to mean???

    The U.S. energy use per person stands 335.9 million Btu. 20% of that is 45 million Btu.

    Scrounging around the internet I found that at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution the U.S. in 1800 had a per-capita energy consumption of about 90 million. Renewable energy accounted for 14.3 percent of the domestically produced electricity in the United States in the first six months of 2011. That means we can all run a few light bulbs and maybe the refrigerator and that is about it.

    So let us saw we scale back to the 1800’s energy use.
    In 1830 about 250-300 labor-hours was required to produce 100 bushels (5 acres) of wheat with walking plow, brush harrow, hand broadcast of seed, sickle, and flail. It was not until the 1840’s that we saw a growing use of factory-made agricultural machinery.

    HOWEVER factories are energy intensive and if you want to cut back to HALF the energy use of 1800 you can not have factories producing goods. Nor can you have commercially made chemical fertilizers (1849) Since in 1840 farmers made up 69% of labor force, you can expect that it will take the same number of people to produce food since you are back to using horses, mules and oxen and not tractors…. REMEMBER NO FACTORIES ALLOWED!

    As I sad I sure hope you can drive a team. I can! I have GOT that team and the plow and the disc….

  95. William McClenney says:

    I must intercede Gail. Scott refined his query to a rather specific possibility, that the litigants might negate their claim in accepting something less than they are suing for. In the end game, all such questions should indeed be asked and discussed. We are looking into the veracity of a legal argument. There will be all sorts of fringes. Scott just alluded to one.

  96. Scott Brim says:

    Gail, my sentence reads “to 80%” of current levels; i.e., the reduction totals 20%.

    My speculative guess is that reducing the nation’s energy consumption by 20% over a period of two years to 80% of current levels would require a direct tax as high as 100% applied at the point of production, with no means of relief as would be employed in a revenue-neutral type of taxing approach.

    However, even a total reduction of 20% over as short a period as two years would have very significant social and economic impacts — not unexpected given that the only way to reduce the nation’s energy consumption in that short a time frame would be to constrain the social and economic activity which drives that energy consumption.

    What I am saying is this: if one doesn’t like the outcome of a particular economic or social activity — energy consumption in this case — the surest way to constrain that activity is to tax it directly and severely, targeting energy consumption itself as the fairest means of applying the tax.

    Short of enforced rationing, I cannot see any other alternative approach that would actually achieve the litigant’s goals for reducing the nation’s energy consumption within the time frame they are apparently demanding.

  97. TimC says:

    Scott Brim said “I am merely pointing out that if the litigants truly want the kinds of quick reductions they are demanding, a direct and deliberately burdensome carbon tax is the only practical means of quickly achieving those reductions, short of a government-imposed program of mandatory and strictly-enforced energy rationing.”

    Unfortunately this isn’t a legal remedy that the plaintiffs (the children) can obtain in these actions as of right, or one that they can ever realistically expect to achieve.

    The children’s lawsuits are against, variously (a) selected (sovereign) states of the USA, (b) the heads (Secretaries or Administrators) of the EPA and the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy and Defense and (c) an action in the Kiev court by (don’t snigger please) the “international charitable organisation” Environment People Law against the Cabinet Ministers of Ukraine and two individual Ministries of the Ukraine government. (This is the government that has just sentenced its former prime minister Julia Tymoshenko to 7 years imprisonment under what the EU sees as “justice being applied selectively under political motivation” – so any outcome is possible including, probably, that the action by foreign plaintiffs against Ukrainian government officials will never actually see the light of day).

    In the case of actions against the sovereign states of the USA, the best legal analysis I have seen to date is that of “wws” in the WUWT thread as follows: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/04/desperate-measures-indeed/#comment-653600

    As will be seen, the Supreme Court’s ruling in AEP v Connecticut sets binding precedent – all the plaintiffs can ensure is that the EPA properly exercises its regulatory power, under the displacement doctrine. The same must apply to the actions against the Secretaries or Administrators of the executive Departments.

    Only the US congress has power to impose a carbon tax, if congress has the political will to do so. These childrens’ suits can’t result in a carbon tax without that political will. And, similarly, only congress has power to impose “mandatory and strictly-enforced energy rationing”, by law.

    I agree with wws that these childrens’ suits are just a worthless (adults’) stunt, solely aimed at attracting publicity.

  98. Scott Brim says:

    TimC: I agree with wws that these childrens’ suits are just a worthless (adults’) stunt, solely aimed at attracting publicity.

    TimC, yes, as you say, it is difficult to see how a direct and highly burdensome carbon tax, or else a program of enforced energy rationing, could possibly be imposed at any governmental level except at the national level by an act of the US Congress.

    Nevertheless, a direct and highly burdensome carbon tax is the only pathway that could achieve the litigant’s energy consumption reduction goals in the time frame they are demanding.

    If they have any intelligence at all, the litigants must understand that reality just as well as anyone else does, which of course makes their true motivations highly suspect.

Comments are closed.