Current Crop of Computer Models “Close to Useless”

Knobs for climate control Image: Wikipedia

Knobs for climate control Image: Wikipedia

From the Institute for Energy Research:

It is this second class of models, the economic/climate hybrids called Integrated Assessment Models, that Pindyck discusses. Pindyck’s paper is titled, “Climate Change Policy: What Do the Models Tell Us?” Here is his shocking answer, contained in the abstract: 

Very little. A plethora of integrated assessment models (IAMs) have been constructed and used to estimate the social cost of carbon (SCC) and evaluate alternative abatement policies. These models have crucial flaws that make them close to useless as tools for policy analysis: certain inputs (e.g. the discount rate) are arbitrary, but have huge effects on the SCC estimates the models produce; the models’ descriptions of the impact of climate change are completely ad hoc, with no theoretical or empirical foundation; and the models can tell us nothing about the most important driver of the SCC, the possibility of a catastrophic climate outcome.  IAM-based analyses of climate policy create a perception of knowledge and precision, but that perception is illusory and misleading. [Bold added.]

For those unfamiliar with academic prose, such inflammatory language is almost unheard-of, particularly for a politically sensitive topic such as climate change economics. Pindyck is here reaching the exact same conclusion that I gave in my recent testimony before Senator Barbara Boxer and other members of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee: The computer models used by the Obama Administration’s Working Group to estimate the so-called “social cost of carbon” should not be the basis of federal policy.

“Any Result One Desires”

In my testimony, I said the “economist can produce just about any estimate of the social cost of carbon desired.” Pindyck reaches the same conclusion in his paper when he writes:

And here we see a major problem with IAM-based climate policy analysis: The modeler has a great deal of freedom in choosing functional forms, parameter values, and other inputs, and different choices can give wildly different estimates of the SCC and the optimal amount of abatement. You might think that some input choices are more reasonable or defensible than others, but no, “reasonable” is very much in the eye of the modeler. Thus these models can be used to obtain almost any result one desires. [Pindyck p. 5, bold added.]

Full story: http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2013/08/12/scathing-mit-paper-blasts-obamas-climate-models/

The paper is here:

http://web.mit.edu/rpindyck/www/Papers/Climate-Change-Policy-What-Do-the-Models-Tell-Us.pdf

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86 thoughts on “Current Crop of Computer Models “Close to Useless”

  1. A warmer world sustains more total life and more diversity of life. Put a shoe in your egg and believe it.
    ==========

  2. ” …… but that perception is illusory and misleading.”
    So – worse than useless then.
    (A statement not a question)

  3. We knew this in the 1960s. We knew this in the 1970s. Somehow in the late 1980s, people decided that computer models were worth a damn. In the 1990s they became gospel. in the 2000s people began to be excommunicated for suggesting that computer models were not the word of god. Now in the 2010s, people are somehow re-discovering that computer models are about as useful as Microsoft Bob.

  4. The Ghost etc..
    Exactly the only way to chnage this shocking situation is to kick out Obama with all The climate C@@@ as the Australians are about to do with Rudd Gillard etc. The French never fell for it and the Germans are slowly extricating themselves… LOL

  5. GlynnMhor says:
    August 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm
    > I love the illustration, showing an analog equivalent of the model controls…
    I hate the illustration – I think it was taken in a hotel room, and hotel per-room heat pumps generally need their filters cleaned (so I do that) and whatever pathetic air exchange port opened. So I do that too. 🙂
    At least the LCD TVs don’t need as much attention as the CRTs….

  6. When your next instalment of research funding depends on your current research coming up with a politically acceptable result, guess what? It does. Constructing Delphic models is actually no different.
    Pointman

  7. Excellent. Another paper that basically says “WAKE UP!”
    I get a nice warm feeling that all the alarmists, greens, politicians and the like, are currently frozen in a gobsmacked kind of way as they realize the doors have blown inwards, the windows are busted, there are huge gaping holes in the walls, a massive storm waiting for them outside, and their insurance policy has just expired.

  8. Ric, hopefully not one of those “rented by the hour” hotel rooms where somebody’s getting screwed…
    The ratepayers and other citizens in this case.

  9. Who cares when it can be used as a political weapon. Trenberth? Schmidt? No honest bone in their bodies.

  10. I guess one could read the paper …
    “My criticism of IAMs should not be taken to imply that because we know so little,
    nothing should be done about climate change right now, and instead we should wait until
    we learn more. Quite the contrary. One can think of a GHG abatement policy as a form of
    insurance: society would be paying for a guarantee that a low-probability catastrophe will
    not occur (or is less likely). Some have argued that on precautionary grounds, there is a case
    for taking the Interagency Working Group’s $21 (or updated $33) number as a rough and
    politically acceptable starting point and imposing a carbon tax (or equivalent policy) of that
    amount. This would help to establish that there is a social cost of carbon, and that social
    cost must be internalized in the prices that consumers and firms pay. (Yes, most economists
    already understand this, but politicians and the public are a different matter.) Later, as we
    learn more about the true size of the SCC, the carbon tax could be increased or decreased
    accordingly.”
    http://web.mit.edu/rpindyck/www/Papers/Climate-Change-Policy-What-Do-the-Models-Tell-Us.pdf

  11. Eliza says:
    August 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm
    “The French never fell for it and the Germans are slowly extricating themselves… LOL”
    Germans currently pay about 20 billion Euro a year in subsidies; rising with 25% a year. So about 250 EUR per person and year. A number that is never reported by the media; they are lying by omission. The public has no say in the matter as all Bundestag parties are part of GLOBE and Bilderbergers; and on top of those parties, the unelected EU commission has its way with the protectorates (ex constitutional republics); making 70% of the laws for them.

  12. @Jeremy 2:40pm.
    Microsoft Bob!
    Ah! Happy days. What a totally awful attempt to “make life easier”, to “make computer use easier for dummies”. Thankfully it was pulled before most of the world saw it.
    No more useless than climate science though. I just wish that was pulled as well.

  13. “These models have crucial flaws that make them close to useless as tools for policy analysis”
    Delete the words “close to” and I think Pindyck has it nailed.

  14. DirkH says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm
    “Germans currently pay about 20 billion Euro a year in subsidies”
    Renewable energy (solar wind biofuel) subsidies, that is; all presumably to “save the climate”.
    As an EU citizen you are either stupid or you know you’re a slave of a bunch of malevolent assholes.

  15. @ Eliza:
    ” …. C@@@ as the Australians are about to do with Rudd …”
    Trouble is, the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan is also c@@@. Just a bit cheaper.
    Also, the Coalition has a track record for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

  16. “Mark XR says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm
    I guess one could read the paper …”
    Beat me to it.

  17. I don’t often use discounted cash flow models, for the simple reason that the last time I spent several weeks sweating over one, the honest answer it spat out was that the stock was worth somewhere between X and 2X. Which I already knew. The unknowns were massive, because timscales were long and trends over time were uncertain, and the choice of discount rate the icing on the cake,
    If you can’t figure out the value of a mining stock, how in God’s name are you going to figure out the value of something where timescales are longer and essentially everything is unknown in form as well as value? Only a swivel-eyed loon (to quote a conservative commenting his grass-roots) would set any store by such drivel. Despair isn’t the half of it….

  18. Well, of course. The models exists to justify the policies, not the other way around. If (when) the models become disagreeable, they are decisively ignored by policymakers. This is not something new and happens across the political landscape systematically.

  19. Most companies require a business plan before big money is invested in development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution. People who write business plans know well that …
    1. Profit projections are exquisitely sensitive to cost of capital (interest rate) and its relative the discount rate. Neither is knowable in advance.
    2. Expected sales volumes are best described as informed guesses with fancy graphs attached.
    So projected sales are “very much in the eye of the modeler” which is why so many new products fail and should be a lesson to those trying to spend our grandchildren’s money to prevent catastrophic global warming.
    This from HBR …

    As partners in a firm that specializes in product launches, we regularly get calls from entrepreneurs and brand managers seeking help with their “revolutionary” products. After listening politely, we ask about the research supporting their claims. The classic response? “We haven’t done the research yet, but we know anecdotally that it works and is totally safe.” We’ve been fielding these calls for so long that we can often tell from one conversation whether the launch will succeed.
    http://hbr.org/2011/04/why-most-product-launches-fail/ar/1

  20. “Saviour Machine” lyrics by David Bowie:
    President Joe once had a dream
    The world held his hand, gave their pledge
    So he told them his scheme for a Saviour Machine
    They called it the Prayer, its answer was law
    Its logic stopped war, gave them food
    How they adored till it cried in its boredom
    ‘Please don’t believe in me, please disagree with me
    Life is too easy, a plague seems quite feasible now
    or maybe a war, or I may kill you all
    Don’t let me stay, don’t let me stay
    My logic says burn so send me away
    Your minds are too green, I despise all I’ve seen
    You can’t stake your lives on a Saviour Machine

  21. Mark XR says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm
    “I guess one could read the paper …”
    Congratulations, Mark, Pindyck got you to take the bait and swallow it whole! Don’t you wonder why there was no semblance of the content of the last paragraph of his paper – which you quoted – in the Abstract?

  22. These models have crucial flaws that make them close to useless as tools for policy analysis………..IAM-based analyses of climate policy create a perception of knowledge and precision, but that perception is illusory and misleading…….

    But I thought that’s why they are used. :-p

  23. @ Eliza says.
    In Australia, the alternate to a Rudd Govt., will persue emission cuts just as avidly, but not with a CO2 tax but with money hand outs in exchange for emission reductions. It will cost us just as much or more. Meanwhile, funding that Labor has been providing for habitat restoration and protection and important ecosystem management, will be cut by a conservative Govt. We have seen this already in Qld., where that and important social services were cut. Don’t let the politics obscure what is real.

  24. I like that simple AC controller. More energy would be saved if I manually controlled the heating and cooling in my house than trying to program the non-intuitive complex array of buttons and readouts that I currently have. The digital controls are constantly getting stuck in some weird continuously heating or cooling mode without shutting down as programmed. The same is true in my remodeled office. Windows that could be opened and closed by hand, were removed, and now everyone swelters or freezes according to some digital presets.

  25. “One can think of a GHG abatement policy as a form of insurance… .”
    [Mark XR quoting from above paper at 3:10PM today]
    Except, this “insurance” would:
    1. Insure against loss that is ephemeral at best.
    2. Raise the cost of doing business (of the U.S. economy as a whole) to the point that it would create a net loss.
    [Note: This is the prima facie case, the burden of proof is, thus, on the CAGWers to refute it by proving their policies do no harm to the economy]
    3. Any “government tax refunds” or “government subsidies” are a joke. The “government” is broke — to the tune of around $17 trillion, so, where will they get the money?………. BINGO!
    Result: No more need for insurance. Whoopee.
    TAXES KILL JOBS — JUST SAY NO.

  26. “these models can be used to obtain almost any result one desires…The computer models used by the Obama Administration’s Working Group to estimate the so-called “social cost of carbon” should not be the basis of federal policy.”
    Do you think Obama cares? ITTS (Its the tax stupid)
    Tax his land, tax his wage,
    Tax his bed in which he lays.
    Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
    Teach him taxes are the rule.
    Tax his cow, tax his goat,
    Tax his pants, tax his coat.
    Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
    Tax his work, tax his dirt.
    Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
    Teach him taxes are no joke.
    Tax his car, tax his grass,
    Tax the roads he must pass.
    Tax his food, tax his drink,
    Tax him if he tries to think.
    Tax his sodas, tax his beers,
    If he cries, tax his tears.
    Tax his water, tax his air
    Tax his donkey, tax his mare
    Tax his hammer and his nail
    Tax him if he dares exhale
    Tax his bills, tax his gas,
    Tax his notes, tax his cash.
    Tax him good and let him know
    That after taxes, he has no dough.
    If he hollers, tax him more,
    Tax him until he’s good and sore.
    Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
    Tax the sod in which he lays.
    Put these words upon his tomb,
    “Taxes drove me to my doom!”
    And when he’s gone, we won’t relax,
    We’ll still be after the inheritance tax.

  27. One reason that us meteorologists are so skeptical of global climate models is that we use models every day.
    The so called “butterfly effect” “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wing in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas”.
    What this means is that slight changes in initial conditions can amplify greatly with time and turn into horrendous errors.
    Any operational meteorologist with experience has busted hundreds of forecasts…….even the best. We are limited by weather models to use for guidance. Forecasts going out several days obviously show more skill but since there is a need for weather forecasts going out as far as any skill can be shown, we try to push the time frame out to 2 weeks and beyond in some cases.
    Models like the GFS that go out to 384 hours, every 6 hours are what we use to analyze pressure, moisture, temperature and other key elements going out during that period.
    So lets say we have one of the best meteorologists forecasting out 2 weeks, every single day starting on January 1st 1990. How many forecasts will he or others like him/her have made starting out on that date and ending 25 years later? This includes forecasts made and also, with the 2 week time frame each time, a skill level that can be assessed by comparing with actual results and an extremely high confidence level of skill because of the many forecasts(of both the forecaster and the models).
    25 years X 365 forecasts/year – 14 days(the results of his last 14 forecasts will not be complete)==9,111 forecasts with verified results using computer weather models.
    Let’s take a climate scientist who in that same year, 1990 uses global climate models to forecast the next 50 years(which is a time frame that they are using to predict our future climate and base governmental policies on). In 25 years, which is 2015, how many of his forecasts and the model forecasts will have been completed in order to ascertain a skill level?
    Answer-0(zero) In fact, their first forecast will have only be halfway from the end point in 2015.
    This is the entire problem and complete detachment from reality that climate scientists are having with the every increasing divergence between their models and the real world.
    There are clearly many differences in the equations and physics between weather and climate models but the point is, they are both models and the meteorologist has had 9,111 opportunities to understand the flaws of his type of model(some of which are inherent in most models, including climate models) and the climate scientist is still waiting around to get a full assessment of his first model/forecast score.
    The global climate models have already busted badly. This has been blatantly obvious for quite some time to those comparing with the real world. Climate scientists seem to be the last to see it.
    Ego, bias, agenda and lack of recognizing the “butterfly effect” in climate modeling when you pick the wrong math equations to represent the physics and are off by a little are some reasons for this.
    I knew some meteorologists who were slow to change their forecast when it was falling apart, hoping and justifying what they wanted to happen. In the weather biz, everyone is wrong sometimes but we have an opportunity to learn from it every day. In fact, people will often tell weatherman jokes related to the meteorologist being wrong.
    The joke right now is not only how wrong the climate models are but that there are so many still using them…………..and even worse, all the people that still believe the ones using them.

  28. There is no “social cost of carbon”. It an imaginary “cost” so it follows that any means to calculate SCC will be phony as well.

  29. J. Peden (4:25PM),
    The only Mark who posted above you was Mark XR who was clearly NOT taken in by Pindyck. Some of the rest of us were, but, not Mark. Why do you say that Mark XR took “the bait and swallowed it whole?”
    Janice

  30. These guys know from whence their grant money comes….
    IN the first they present to the realists who see science and the lie of CAGW for what it is. In the next breath they say, even though the tools we us as predictors are crap, we should do it anyway…
    Politicians to the end..

  31. Mark XR says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I guess one could read the paper …

    I do hope you aren’t taking the author’s flawed attempt keeping with The Cause as some sort of refutation of his actual conclusions. Seriously, that would be a shame.
    From the quote you provided:

    My criticism of IAMs should not be taken to imply that because we know so little,
    nothing should be done about climate change right now, and instead we should wait until
    we learn more. Quite the contrary. One can think of a GHG abatement policy as a form of
    insurance: society would be paying for a guarantee that a low-probability catastrophe will
    not occur (or is less likely).

    In other words, “let’s gamble with our future based on tools we just got done demonstrating are useless.” Yeah, such a good policy. Plan for everything we think could go wrong, then ask forgiveness when we are all impoverished and unable to adapt to everything that does go wrong.
    and then the ultimate in ignorance:

    Later, as we learn more about the true size of the SCC, the carbon tax could be increased or decreased accordingly.

    When has any government willingly given up power it has forcefully taken from the people it serves? Seriously, when?
    .
    Mark

  32. Those who boast about modelling will never wake up. They are rocking themselves to sleep in their own egos. Of course money helps to numb their ‘science.’

  33. Mark T,
    Re: Mark XR (and others who pointed out Pindyck’s pro-CAGW views)
    Good point. I assumed that Mark XR was simply disregarding but not disputing Pindyck’s well-reasoned exposure of the above models as flawed. Perhaps, Mark XR did throw the baby out with the bath water. Only Mr. XR knows!
    My main reason for commenting (again!), here, is not to defend XR, but, given that I supported XR above, to make it clear that I AGREE with Pindyck’s analysis of the models (but NOT with his CAGW views).
    [Note: vis a vis Peden’s scoffing above, it doesn’t logically follow from XR’s neglecting to say he approved of Pindyck’s analysis that XR was fooled into rejecting that analysis simply because Pindyck is a government boot licker.]
    Janice

  34. Who says that any ACTUAL computer code was written and run to generate their charts? They could just as easily have put numbers into Excel, which according to the “accuracy” of their prognostications, they did.
    Jail time for all of them in their precious “melting” Arctic, as it’s the only place big enough to accommodate all the liars until they freeze to death, with a complimentary sand-castle bucket and swim togs in hand!

  35. Current Crop of Computer Models “Close to Useless”

    Then they must have improved a lot recently 🙂

  36. RERT says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm: “…If you can’t figure out the value of a mining stock, how in God’s name are you going to figure out the value of something where timescales are longer and essentially everything is unknown in form as well as value?…”
    Discounted cash flow modeling works great when one knows – or can estimate a reasonable probability spread for – the key elements of a project. When, for example, one can estimate the capital cost and duration of construction; the cost to strip a given quantity of overburden; the tonnage mined, grade, and metallurgical recovery of metal; etc., etc. And all this is compared to investing a like amount of money in T-bills or some such (or another project). When one starts waving his arms, then anything can come out of one’s DCF model. I doubt “climate projections” or SCC come anywhere near the certainty of a mining or oil project that is being evaluated on the eve of financial commitment.

  37. I think the perfect update to this story would be an illustration by example. I’m sure it would be possible to create a model whose output almost exactly duplicates the IPCC predictions. But instead of using the parameters hand picked by the CAGW crowd to produce the desired results, use a set of similarly hand picked but completely nonsensical parameters (i.e. dog/cat ratio in US, average Sumo wrestler weight, CAGW researcher salary, etc.) to illustrate the absurdity of hand picking the parameters in the first place.

  38. Steven, no they’re not climate models, but they necessarily take the dubious projections of the climate models as their inputs, and multiplying the error of those by their own error factor.

  39. My criticism of IAMs should not be taken to imply that because we know so little,
    nothing should be done about climate change right now, and instead we should wait until
    we learn more. Quite the contrary. One can think of a GHG abatement policy as a form of
    insurance: society would be paying for a guarantee that a low-probability catastrophe will
    not occur (or is less likely).

    This is the Precautionary Principle as espoused by Jerome Ravetz. It is one of those things that sounds reasonable on the surface. The stakes are high, the decisive information uncertain, therefor it is most logical to pursue the “safe” path, just in case. The problem with this sort of reasoning is that it falls flat on its face the moment we attempt to apply it to all situations instead of just one situation. Examples:
    1. We could be descending into an ice age. The facts being uncertain and the stakes high, we should be producing as much CO2 as possible to fend it off.
    2. The earth could be hit by a planet killer asteroid at any moment. The facts being uncertain and the stakes high, we should be putting every possible resource into the construction of underground bunkers deep enough that humanity can live there until the surface becomes habitable again.
    3. There could be a nuclear war at any moment, the facts being uncertain and the stakes high….
    4. A virus mutation could wipe out (insert crop of choice here) at any moment….
    5. Aliens might invade…
    6. Zombies might be real….
    7. A giant dormant volcano might blow its stack, resulting in global cooling….
    8. A giant dormant volcano might blow its stack, resulting in global warming…
    I’m sure people can come up with a very long list of things that are very possibly going to happen, many of which have a higher chance of happening than CAGW. To which do we apply the Precautionary Principle given that they are ALL high stakes, facts uncertain? Not to mention that against each we must weight the results of our actions. Energy poverty kills, and does so with a great deal of certainty. Who would buy a home insurance policy which requires that you burn down 1/4 of your house every 5 years and only pays off if some other cause burns it down entirely?
    The Precautionary Principle is a ruse to make the nonsensical appear logical. It is a mind trick, nothing more, and should be read in the context of this study as just that. A mind trick added to the end of an otherwise factual paper.

  40. Mike Maguire on August 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm
    The “Butterfly effect” is linked to the Chaos theory. Apparently, no “scientist” (snake oil dealer) in the AGW camp have any knowledge regarding this! (or even heard of it …?)

  41. ” hand picked but completely nonsensical parameters”
    Like the decline of piracy correlated to the rise of temperature, as postulated by the Pastafarian Church of the flying Spaghetti Monster,
    Under that paradigm, the rise in Somalian piracy would account for the recent slump in warming…

  42. “” But mine goes to 11. ” – Sorry but a Spinal Tap reference just seems so appropriate :)”
    Arghh — TRM beat me to it! 🙂
    My line was going to be: “But THESE models go to 11.”

  43. Janice Moore says:
    August 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm
    “Why do you say that Mark XR took ‘the bait and swallowed it whole?’”
    “Mark XR says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm”
    Mark XR quoted the ‘throwaway’ last paragraph of Pindyck’s paper which seems to support the alleged CO2CAGW threat. So I thought Mark was chastising us for not reading the paper – when he said, “I guess one could read the paper” – which concluded with a pro-CO2CAGW paragraph despite the paper’s substance as summarized in the Abstract.
    Maybe I took it incorrectly because Mark XR has decidedly not supported the AGW ‘threat’ in other posts which I just haven’t seen? Otherwise, I see it as a pro-AGW “out of context”/pro-“consensus” tactic.

  44. Alas, poor Yorek. Great minds! #[:)]
    *************************
    Nicely stated about the Precautionary Principle fallacy, David M. Hoffer. A favorite of con artist marketers around the world.
    Hm. That reminds me….. [wink] I own some shares in Acme App, Corp.. I think I’ll write a little “research” piece about how apps can save the planet. See if I can get the Guardian or Reader’s Digest to publish it……. Let’s see now, AAC has a “Best Latte Stand” app…. I’ll tell people they’ll save gas, thus, CO2, thus the planet, by not having to drive all over the place looking for a deal…. aaaand there’s the “How Cool Am I” app that takes the temperature of your pocket……… LOL.

  45. Hi, J. Peden,
    Good for you to be willing to stand corrected. Well, only Mark XR knows! Here you and I stand, talking politely about it. Well, he could have used a “cough” or a [;)] and prevented this whole mess. Men! Why can’t they learn to communicate! JUST KIDDING. Some women are terrible communicators and many men are great at it. Yes, yes, I know. Men have better things to do with their time. [:)]
    Vive la difference! (and, really, there ARE some trends, I think…..)
    Your (very talkative) Truth in Science Ally,
    Janice
    Waaaait, just one minute! LOL, I assumed you are a man!! Sorry (if you are not). No, I’m not going to rewrite this post, and here I go to click on “Post Comment”………………

  46. Steven Mosher says:
    August 14, 2013 at 6:37 pm
    these are not climate models.
    just so you know.
    _———————————-
    True,,, but the effective level of accuracy is no different.
    The question would be,,, how do the policy imacts of such differ?
    Think about it>

  47. davidmhoffer says:
    August 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm
    “The Precautionary Principle is a ruse to make the nonsensical appear logical.”
    Amen. That’s why its proponents intentionally don’t mention a good old “cost-benefit” analysis, or an analysis comparing the effects of an alleged disease to the effects of its alleged cure. The “mainstream” Climate Scientists haven’t even proven yet that GW/AGW would produce a net disease-state.
    According to the PP, each of the precautions would also have to be subjected to the PP, and so on unto infinity; and as Michael Crichton pointed out, the PP has to be subjected to itself. No one would be able to figure out if they should get out of bed in the morning, or not.

  48. @Janice Moore:
    “Waaaait, just one minute! LOL, I assumed you are a man!! Sorry (if you are not)”
    I’d be sorry, too. But lately I have indeed been made aware by Pres. Obama , along with the bad service I get at restaurants, that I am almost certainly a Black Man, not a White one as I had previously thought.
    The only thing that doesn’t fit, according to Obama’s criteria, is his allegation that women hold their breath whenever a black male gets on an elevator with them. But maybe he meant “breasts”? Because I’ve certainly seen that one!

  49. What a foul despicable mob.
    I have nothing but contempt for anyone that works in a university or knowledge college anywhere in the world.

  50. Oh, brother, J. Peden. lol, Well, your post certainly made clear beyond a doubt that you are male.

  51. Unfortunately, Pindyck is only halfway there – if that far. He may have the economics right (maybe, though I’m not entirely convinced that he really gets it), and the value of the models right, but he obviously still doesn’t get it that CO2 isn’t a problem. And his continuing to buy into the CO2 meme will be the only part of his comments that gets attention. It will be more of, “See? They DO agree with AGW!!”
    @J Peden – If you think about it, the alarmies violate the PP because they haven’t taken the necessary precautions to be sure that they are correct in their mantra. Violating the PP is inherent in it.

  52. As an aside to your earlier remark, Miss Moore, I will remind you that “being talkative” IS a survival trait that has very real “evolutionary” reasoning. For some portions of the population that is.
    Lettuce take two types of people, for example.
    Arbitrarily and randomly, I will assign one group a child-caring mode, requiring intensive and near-constant ability to be able to see, and be seen by!, young human-type people of both groups. Further, lettuce image such a group being frequently employed in food-gathering of – say – fruits, nuts, berries, and the like. Such fruit, nuts, and berries and things are also a favored food of larger predators – meat-eaters such as cave bears and other dangerous herbivores such as moose, deer, elk, and rams, etc. Note that those types of animals (both predators and all very large and dangerous when trapped or themselves threatened) are frightened by irregular and near-constant noise and commotion. Further, notice that small children, knowing that “noise = safety” themselves are safer when the surrounding “group” of constant noisemakers frighten off dangerous threats. Hence, the noisy-but-safer group tends to get more food, have more children survive to become breeding adults, and are themselves able to have more future children.
    The silent, non-communicative, brooding solitaire member of a “gathering group ” isolated off by itself trying to grab berries or fruit will simply get eaten by an unseen predator. Or fall into a hole and break a leg. Or not see a bee/wasp/snake/scorpion and get bitten. Or strain an ankle become less able to gather food. Or lose the child who cannot find the “silent isolated one” when the child needs help. Or food. Or water. Or whatever.
    Lettuce invent a second “group” of people, and charge them with a task of “hunter” or “protector” of the (larger talkative) group. THAT group of people, regardless of race or gender, MUST be self-controlled and self-sufficient and QUIET for long periods of time. Does a sentry need to be loud and talking to a fellow sentry? No. Rather a sentry or hunter MUST be quiet and observing things, but NOT talking about what has happened now or in the future. That sentry or hunter, however WILL attack and silence even a fellow member of the “hunting group” who is making unnecesay noise and commotion or distractions and movement.
    Survival, then, promotes self-sufficiency and silence and controlled but accurate and violent aggression. No aggression, no controlled violence, no food. No food, no life for the hunter or the family of the hunter.
    However, notice also that, ONCE AWAY from the hunt itself, that same self-sufficiency and silence MUST be discarded and the successes of the hunt MUST be advertised so to say in public and very visibly. If the hunting group were to be silent then – at the camp fire or supper table – the family and mates and POTENTIAL mates of the “hunting group” will not know WHO did the right thing and who DID control their violence and aggression and who brought home food, and who screwed up and scared away game.
    So, being talkative and preferring “group social modes”, or being quiet and isolated but aggressive, are only two simple means of survival.

  53. Thus these models can be used to obtain almost any result one desires.
    A manager is hiring for a position in the home office for which he is interviewing three candidates.
    The first applicant is an accountant. The manager asks, “What does 2+2 equal?”
    The accountant replies, “With arithmetic certainty I can tell you that 2+2 equals 4.”
    The second applicant is a statistician. Again the manager asks, “What does 2+2 equal?”
    The statistician replies, “I can state with 95% confidence that 2+2 equals 4.”
    The third applicant is an economist. The manager asks the same question.
    The economist leans in close to the manager, glances over both shoulders and asks, “What do you want it to equal?”

  54. “Eliza says:
    August 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm”
    I am not so sure it’s as clear cut as that. Rudd and Abbott have both stated that they will not negotiate with minority parties. And simply because they have said that you know they will try to strike deals with minority parties if they want to secure power. A re-run of 2010 under Gillard. While Abbott promises to abolish the price on carbon (CT) to “reduce the costs of living”, Rudd(erless) also has promised to do the same with the CT and move to an ETS earlier than planed to “reduce the costs of living”.
    Abbott has what they call a “direct action” plan, the cost of this plan is not fully known as far as I can tell. It’s equally flawed as the CT and ETS and a blatant waste of energy, effort and tax. There is currently an AU$10bil “green fund”. I don’t see many green projects happening in Australia at the moment. Here in Sydney the region needs another airport ideally located in the west. The cost of this much needed infrastructure would be about AU$3bil…and we’re wasting taxes on windmills and solar panels. Roll on September 7th.

  55. Well, R. A. Cook, while I have yet to see any evidence that we evolved from another species, I think your ideas are fairly sound.
    I’ve commented to girlfriends on hikes in the mountains (where black bear or mountain lions live), almost exactly what you said: “You know, it’s good we women talk a lot. Bears and cougars would rather not confront people if they can help it and our talking lets them know we’re here. I’ll bet more men are killed in the woods because they just walk along not talking and bears attack them because they feel cornered.” Or something like that. LOL.
    Thanks for the fun discussion!
    BTW, if I recall correctly, a couple of months ago you were bummed out because it was raining on a camping trip with your grandchildren in Georgia. I’ll bet ya’ll had a great time indoors laughing and playing games (and eating fun food) anyway. How’d that trip turn out?
    And I hope it will not lower me in your estimation (how could it?? LOL, now, now) that (whisper: I really prefer Ms. Moore). Why did you not think it was Mrs.? Hm? Too goofy for any man to not run for the hills after 10 minutes, eh? #[:)]

  56. @NoFixedAddress
    I work at a couple of universities… What is your point exactly?
    We have reviewed so many papers that we have developed a strong sense of smell – powerful it is I assure you. We have read the clever clichés and endured the weasel words and rebuffed the purveyors of snake oil time and again.
    Let’s do the math. Thirty $ a ton. How many gigatons? It’s about thirty, actually. So it comes to an unwarranted tax of roughly one trillion dollars a year if we all buy into the precaution, sorry, “insurance”. I am wondering how the global economy can generate that much additional value just to service what amounts to an insurance scheme.
    Large organizations like municipalities don’t get much insurance, say, for vehicles because it is cheaper to act as their own insurance schemes. I think the planet should tell the salesmen with the carpet bags to try their luck with the next planet ’cause we’re not interested.

  57. DirkH says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm
    ////////////////////////
    The British pay more, but it is not well known and has not been properly examined by the MSM.
    Some months ago, the head of Scottish & Southern Energy (one of the 6 big energy suppliers in the UK) was interviewed on Hardtalk by the BBC. He clearly stated that the cost of supplying electricity only accounted for about 50% of the electricity bill, the other 50% being made up of subsidies for renewables and government policy incentives such as subsidies for loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, helping those in fuel poverty.
    I do not know what the average UK electricity bill is, but if it is circa £500, people in the UK are already needlessly paying about £250 pa because of the present energy policy.
    Gas is slightly different. It does not presently include the same costs associated with renewables (eg., subsidies given to windfarms, solar, additional feed in tarrififs subsidies for solar, subsidies given to operators of diesel standby generators), however probably about 20% of the bill relates to government policy for assistance with modern energy efficient boiler replacements, loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and assistance for those in fuel poverty.
    The average dual use bill is said to be about £1450, so if average electricity usage is £500, then average gas will be about £950. So if about 20% of this bill is made up with government policy charges (as detailed above) then up to about £200 of the gas bill represents the costs of subsidies given to other people to upgrade their boilers, insulate their houses and help those in fuel poverty.
    This means that already in the UK, the average consumer is paying about £450 more than they need to, and more than would be the case but for government energy policy decisions implemented these past 10 years or so. In passing, I would pointout that there would be far less people in fuel poverty but for this needless expense and therefore there would be far less need to help people in fuel poverty.
    The amount people will be paying is due to radically increase. First because the UK has introduced a carbon tax presently set at £16 per tonne (but scheduled to quickly escalate to 350 per tonne) and second because all the additional costs incidental to unreliable wind and additional costs of connecting wind to the grid are about to kick in big time, and third, if the UK goes nuclear since suppliers of nuclear are intent on screwing the government because the government has distorted the energy market and has desimated the capacity to supply reliable base load energy, and the nuclear suppliers are intent on milking this situation for all they can such that going nuclear will now be very expensive.
    The government has distorted the energy market so badly that no one will build any kind of power generator without being paid some form of subsidy. This applies accross the board, whether it is wind, biomass, gas, nuclear, or standby diesel generator. Utter madness.
    All of this means that bills will escalate rapidly in the future and are likely to nearly double by 2020 unless this madness is reigned in and/or unless there is a push for shale (with no carbon usage tax) and the UK gets a glut of gas (unlikely within the next 7 to 10 years).
    Increasing fuel poverty looks a dead certainty for those living in the UK.

  58. I have not read all those posts, but I would point out that the policy of so called mitigation is not at all akin to an insurance policy, either for the insurer nor for the insured.
    A policy of insurance does not seek to mitigate risk. It pays out compensation if and only if an insured event takes place and that event causes loss to the insured. In those limited circumstances, the actual loss (or some part of it) can be reccovered by the insured.
    The reality is that no one knows the following:
    1. Whether manmade CO2 emissions causes warming, and if so is this to any significant extent;
    2. Whether further and future warming will be harmful, and if so to what significant extent
    3. Whether the steps taken to mitigate will limit the amount of future and further warming, and if so whether this will be to any significant extent.
    4. Whether the steps taken to mitigate will limit the harmful effects of any future and further warming, and if so whether this will be to any significant extent.
    Coupled to this, it appears that global warming is not a global event. It appears that it is a local or regional phenomena, the effects of which are felt locally, or regionally and not globally. The data suggests that:
    (i) Not all countries are warming at the same rate, indeed, it appears that whilst some areas are warming, other areas are not noticeably warming, or are even cooling.
    (ii) Warming will be very beneficial for many countries. Those in far northern climes (such as Canada, Skandinavia, parts of Russia etc) would greatly benefit from several degrees of warming. For example Canada could replace the States as the wheat/grain basket of the world.
    (iii) Many countries would not be adversely effected by sea level rise such as Switzerland and others that have limited exposure to rise in levels of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian oceans and/or those by virtue of their topography can accomade many metres of sea level rise without undue hardship (e., Norway with its Fjord coast line with cliffs rising up many 100s of metres)
    (iv) Food production is on the up, whether due to increased temperatures, extended growing seasons, more CO2 in the atmosphere or a combination of all the foregoing.
    Insurance is more akin to adaption than to mitigation, and if the insurance analogy held true it would pay out only if there was future warming which was harmful and which required action to deal with the harm that was resluting.
    The sensible policy is adaption not mitigation since adaption works in all scenarios and is targetted.
    Mitigation only works if CO2 is the temperature control knob, and if climate sensitivity is high, and if the majority of the recent rise in CO2 is due to manmade emissions, and if policies to mitigate actually result in meaningful reductions in manmade CO2 emissions. Even then it is a failure, if such future warming that would otherwise have occurred would not in fact have been harmful. It is counter productive in circumstances where such future warming that would otherwise have occurred would in practice have been a net beneficial event.
    The problem with the precautionary principle is that it fails to identify the real catastrophic event, neamely that we spend trillions of dollars on mitigation measures only to find out that the steps we take to mitigate are in effective because say CO2 does not control temperature, and there is future unabated warming (whether due to natural variation or due to other manmade activities such as change of land use) and this future warming is harmful such that we now need to spend trillions of dollars on adaption but we are unable to do so since (i) we have bankrupted the developed nations so they no longer have the financuial capital to spend, and (ii) we have desimated their industrial capacity so that they can no longer mobilise the industrial might required to carry out adaption, and (iii) the undeveloped nations remain n their present backwaters because we prevented themn from properly developing because of our insistence that they should not be allowed to use coal etc to generate electricity and industrialise.
    What will we do in that scenario. We think that we hold the ace (and playing that is the precautionary principle) but the ace can be struck down by the lowly 2 of trumps.
    Adaption is the sensible policy since one sees the cards before making a decision of what and how to play. .

  59. @ Mark XR says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm,
    The problem is this: The paper’s conclusion, that we should spend money we don’t have for a low probability problem that we cannot quantify, is not supported by the paper’s findings. It is simply an editorial post hoc assertion.

  60. Oh, how exciting, another free markets advocacy group (right wing think tank, if you prefer) with research in its name whose only research is copious jibber-jabber misconstruing science misconstrues a scientific (or anyway, economic) paper. One wonders why climate “skeptics” are increasingly fringe. It’s a mystery!

  61. Actually, reading the caption for the image “Knobs for climate control” made me chuckle a bit. Knob(s) is a slang word used as an insult typically in English speaking countries meaning anything from uncool person to, well you can use your imagination (Or Google). I can think of a few people who wish to control climate via energy poverty policy, in particular politicians, who’d easily be considered “Knobs”.

  62. Pedantic Old Fart @ 14 Aug 4.33 pm replying to Eliza.
    Seems POF is a flag waver for the current incompetent mob whose Carbon Tax is costing about 20 to 27 billion dollars whereas the Coalition will cost 7 billion. Importantly the Coalition plan can be abandoned with little upset as the opposition leader stated he will move as the world moves. An out clause. As for the reduction in expenditure it has to happen if we are to avoid long term indebtedness. POF and his ALP know tax and spend but have no concept of growing an economy. Sounds like Obama’s economic disasters doesn’t it? This lot forecast a ridiculous level of profit, spend it before its realised then borrow to make up the shortfall. Sound familiar. All leftist governments do the same. None have experience in the real world of business.

  63. ali baba says:
    August 15, 2013 at 1:03 am
    “Oh, how exciting, another free markets advocacy group (right wing think tank, if you prefer) with research in its name whose only research is copious jibber-jabber misconstruing science misconstrues a scientific (or anyway, economic) paper. One wonders why climate “skeptics” are increasingly fringe. It’s a mystery!”
    It’s not a mystery why we are a disenfranchised minority.
    http://www.globeinternational.org/
    There’s simply too much taxpayer money to be squandered on a lavish lifestyle by going with the flow and pretending the globe is heating up; or cooling down; whatever; doesn’t matter; just pretend you SAVE it.
    The next GLOBE legislative summit in 2014 will be in MEXICO! Ariba Ariba!

  64. “Oh, how exciting, ali baba and his forty thieves mainstream Climate Scientists says”
    August 15, 2013 at 1:03 am

  65. Mark XR says:
    August 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm
    One can think of a GHG abatement policy as a form of insurance:
    =========
    No. Insurance invests the premiums and pays out in the case of a loss. Who will get paid out if temperatures rise? No one. The insurance premiums will have already been spent, not invested.
    GHG abatement is similar to preventing traffic accidents by making driving expensive. Since there is a social cost of traffic accidents, we should tax traffic drivers and thereby reduce the number of people able to afford to drive. As we reduce the number of drivers, this will reduce the number of accidents.
    Or, rather than a tax, we could limit the number of miles each person could drive, and people could trade their limits, in an mileage trading scheme. this would also reduce traffic accidents. people could then get credits for mileage they had planned to drive, but didn’t. For example, say you drove to work each day, but instead carpooled or took the bus. You could then get mileage credits for not driving, which could be sold to other people who wanted to drive extra miles.
    people that had planned to drive a lot of miles but didn’t could make a rather good income. this would allow a great many people to retire early, based on miles they had planned to drive while working, but had didn’t driven after they lost their jobs.

  66. richard verney says:
    August 15, 2013 at 12:27 am
    Coupled to this, it appears that global warming is not a global event. It appears that it is a local or regional phenomena
    ============
    Global warming is mostly confined to the Arctic. The Tropics are not warming, neither is Antarctica. Global averaging hides this fact.
    This pattern of warming, mostly confined to the Northern Hemisphere, is inconsistent with GHG theory. It is however consistent with a reversal of the cooling of the Little Ice Age, which Climate Science says was mostly limited to the Norther Hemisphere.
    Climate Science argues that warming since the Little Ice Age stopped 150 years ago. However, warming of 1 hemisphere and not the other argues that the warming since the LIA has not stopped. It continues to this day, approximately 0.7C per century when averaged globally. On top of this warming is an ocean oscillation that gives us warming and cooling scares every 30 years.
    It is the 30 year alternating pattern of warming and cooling that has created the climate scare, because it is artificially magnified by the Climate Science definition of climate as weather averaged over 30 years. Change the definition of climate to weather averaged over 60 years, and global warming/cooling disappears.

  67. davidmhoffer says:
    This is the Precautionary Principle as espoused by Jerome Ravetz. It is one of those things that sounds reasonable on the surface. The stakes are high, the decisive information uncertain, therefor it is most logical to pursue the “safe” path, just in case. The problem with this sort of reasoning is that it falls flat on its face the moment we attempt to apply it to all situations instead of just one situation.
    Assuming that the “safe path” actually is safe and will even address the specific issue(s) in question. There are plenty of examples where supposed “experts” have made claims about what is “safe” (and or “healthy”) which have turned out to be the exact opposite. With plenty of damage and suffering happening over decades even without the endorsement of governments.

  68. It is important to note that Pindyck’s discussion implies a positive discount rate in the 3-6% range, far in excess of Stern and much closer to the position of Tol. The cost-benefit analysis that would therefore ensue justifies at best a very low CO2 tax for those that believe that CO2 is to be avoided – essentially the position of Pielke Jr. It does not justify huge investments in costly non-fossil energy sources, or any other “transformation” of the economy.

  69. alibaba, instead of dealing with the issues raised simply dismisses the findings by way of political label. As do most true believers. AGW true beleivers will do most anything to avoid actually thinking about findings that challenge their chosen faith.

  70. Modelers make something Governments want to buy.Governments world wide are exhausting traditional revenue sources and need huge increases to service themselves first ,expanding programs next and debt servicing to keep a float.The models will say what governments want and right now they want scary warm stories. We are actually all responsible for this mess and throwing rocks back and forth at each other is a waste of time. Special interests ,lobby groups and other rent seekers should be shown the door. Our democracies need to revisit principles that people can value and respect. Global warming won’t even be remembered when the S hits the fan.

  71. The Precautionary Princple is modern rebranding for Let’s Just Burn People We Don’t Like…They Might Be Witches. If someone uses that Precautionary Principle BS line they are out of runway and hope you are as dumb as they think you are.

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