Warren Buffet, Climate Change and Pascal’s Wager

By Mark Hirschey - Work of Mark Hirschey, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2581999

By Mark Hirschey – Work of Mark Hirschey, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2581999

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Legendary businessman Warren Buffet has waded into the climate issue, with his latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors. Buffet seems to believe climate change is likely to be a serious issue – but he is cautious about this belief. Naturally everyone is interpreting Buffet’s words to suit their own position.

I am writing this section because we have a proxy proposal regarding climate change to consider at this year’s annual meeting. The sponsor would like us to provide a report on the dangers that this change might present to our insurance operation and explain how we are responding to these threats.

It seems highly likely to me that climate change poses a major problem for the planet. I say “highly likely” rather than “certain” because I have no scientific aptitude and remember well the dire predictions of most “experts” about Y2K. It would be foolish, however, for me or anyone to demand 100% proof of huge forthcoming damage to the world if that outcome seemed at all possible and if prompt action had even a small chance of thwarting the danger.

This issue bears a similarity to Pascal’s Wager on the Existence of God. Pascal, it may be recalled, argued that if there were only a tiny probability that God truly existed, it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery.

Likewise, if there is only a 1% chance the planet is heading toward a truly major disaster and delay means passing a point of no return, inaction now is foolhardy. Call this Noah’s Law: If an ark may be essential for survival, begin building it today, no matter how cloudless the skies appear.

It’s understandable that the sponsor of the proxy proposal believes Berkshire is especially threatened by climate change because we are a huge insurer, covering all sorts of risks. The sponsor may worry that property losses will skyrocket because of weather changes. And such worries might, in fact, be warranted if we wrote ten- or twenty-year policies at fixed prices. But insurance policies are customarily written for one year and repriced annually to reflect changing exposures. Increased possibilities of loss translate promptly into increased premiums.

Think back to 1951 when I first became enthused about GEICO. The company’s average loss-per-policy was then about $30 annually. Imagine your reaction if I had predicted then that in 2015 the loss costs would increase to about $1,000 per policy. Wouldn’t such skyrocketing losses prove disastrous, you might ask? Well, no.

Over the years, inflation has caused a huge increase in the cost of repairing both the cars and the humans involved in accidents. But these increased costs have been promptly matched by increased premiums. So, paradoxically, the upward march in loss costs has made insurance companies far more valuable. If costs had remained unchanged, Berkshire would now own an auto insurer doing $600 million of business annually rather than one doing $23 billion.

Up to now, climate change has not produced more frequent nor more costly hurricanes nor other weather- related events covered by insurance. As a consequence, U.S. super-cat rates have fallen steadily in recent years, which is why we have backed away from that business. If super-cats become costlier and more frequent, the likely – though far from certain – effect on Berkshire’s insurance business would be to make it larger and more profitable.

As a citizen, you may understandably find climate change keeping you up nights. As a homeowner in a low-lying area, you may wish to consider moving. But when you are thinking only as a shareholder of a major insurer, climate change should not be on your list of worries.

Read more: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2015ltr.pdf

If adapting to or mitigating climate change was cost free, I would be an enthusiast – embracing free protection from an unlikely risk is a no brainer. But actions advocated by climate enthusiasts all have a cost, which has frequently been admitted to be in the trillions of dollars.

Even if alarmists are right about climate sensitivity to CO2, does global warming have the potential to make the world uninhabitable? I suggest the historic record strongly indicates that the answer is no.

A 2c warmer world, even a 4c warmer world, would still be habitable, perhaps more than habitable; life would likely be far more abundant, than today’s world. Wild predictions of lonely survivors clinging to existence on the edge of Antarctica are nonsense.

We know this, because in geologically recent times, the world was that warm. The Cretaceous Period, which lasted for 80 million years, and ended 66 million years ago, had a CO2 level of around 1700ppm, and was 4c hotter than today’s world. The dinosaurs didn’t eke out an existence in a barren scorching desert – their world was a lush, tropical world of jungles, giant trees, and super abundant life. So the risk that the Earth will become uninhabitable in the next few centuries, due to anthropogenic CO2, is essentially zero.

Next we have to consider other risks, the opportunity cost of chasing the climate dragon. What do we lose, which we could have had, if we hadn’t spent a trillion dollars building wind turbines?

As the recent Chelyabinsk Meteor showed, as countless asteroid strikes throughout the Earth’s history has shown, there is a very real risk of a catastrophic encounter with a large meteor. The probability in a given year of the Earth being struck by a dangerous meteor is very low – but a really large meteor actually could end civilisation, or could even end all life on Earth.

The Cretaceous Period ended because the Earth was struck by a gigantic meteor, which blackened the skies – eventually killing 75% of all living species on Earth. What would have happened if the meteor was a little larger? Would Earth’s biosphere have been returned to a primitive primordial soup, with tough single-celled organisms clinging to life on a barren, blasted world? Or worse, could the atmosphere itself have been swept into space by the impact, leaving an unbreathable mix of volcanic sulphates and ash?

Of course, you don’t need a dinosaur killer to end civilisation. Much smaller meteors pose a significant threat. For example, the East Mediterranean Event, a nuclear scale meteoric blast which occurred in 2002, occurred during a period of heightened tension between India and Pakistan. If the meteor had struck a few hours later, over India or Pakistan, it could have been mistaken for a first strike, and triggered a nuclear war.

If we bankrupt the world by chasing climate fears, we won’t have any cash left over for a meteor defence system.

There is a long list of other problems which could use some of that trillion dollars climate cash; disease, poverty, desperation, hunger, all of which would be ignored, if the world committed every available resource to building wind turbines.

Disease should be an especial concern for Westerners. The recent Ebola epidemic came very close to spreading beyond Africa. The period between infection and symptoms is frighteningly long. While it has been claimed that such a disease couldn’t spread in the West, I’m not sure I believe such claims. Many Western cities are host to large slums, which are every bit as filthy and degraded as the run down urban slums of Africa – think the Favelas in Rio, or the run down skid row slums in some North American cities.

Ebola potentially poses a far worse threat, than has currently been realised to date. In some animals, such as pigs, Ebola is an airborne disease. In humans it isn’t airborne, though there is some question about this, it is more likely marginally airborne. Ebola might be be frighteningly close to mutating into a fully airborne strain in humans, to becoming a flu like disease which eventually kills high percentages of its victims. Diseases like Swine flu frequently make the evolutionary leap, from pigs to humans – could Ebola do the same?

If we spend all our money on wind turbines, we don’t have any cash left to fund early warning for dangerous diseases.

I could go on, but I think you see my point. As long as climate change is having no impact on our life, as long as there is serious uncertainty about whether it will ever have a significant impact on our life, there are far more urgent, immediate problems which deserve our attention.

If in 200 years, our descendants discover the weather is becoming worse, thanks to CO2 emissions in the early 21st century, as far as I’m concerned it is their problem. Manipulating the weather and climate will be child’s play, to people who will inevitably master technology, science, and planetary scale engineering capabilities which we today can only dream of. If they’re not happy with my position on this issue, they can sue me.

224 thoughts on “Warren Buffet, Climate Change and Pascal’s Wager

  1. Very valid points. I’d add another: The precautionary principle, which he is essentially invoking, never is used in conjunction with large risks of avoiding some other large risk. In addition to those raised, there are always high risks in messing with social and economic systems, which all climate change “remedies” require. Those risks certainly include mass starvation and major war. If one uses the hyperbole of the climatistas, we have to *avoid* acting now to save the earth from global thermonuclear war. Note that saving humanity doesn’t go in the equation for climatistas – only “saving the earth.”

      • Eric Worrall writes:
        “Next we have to consider other risks, the opportunity cost of chasing the climate dragon. What do we lose, which we could have had, if we hadn’t spent a trillion dollars building wind turbines?”

        Here is my Risk Assessment:
        1. I suggest there is a very low probability that increasing atmospheric CO2 will cause catastrophic global warming, because there is no credible evidence to date that supports this failed hypothesis.
        2. I suggest there is a very high probability that global warming alarmists have caused society to squander trillions of dollars of scarce global resources, and have needlessly caused widespread fear, driven up energy costs, reduced electrical grid reliability, and increased winter mortality.
        3. I suggest there is a significant risk of imminent global cooling, an event for which we are completely unprepared. History and science tell us that humanity suffers in a cooling world.

        Regards to all, Allan

      • Right. Maybe we should stop listening to ALL the forces trying to scare us senseless and just live our lives.

      • The Precautionary Principle is NOT equivalent to “first, do no harm”.

        From wiki: “The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.”

        Condensed in my words, the Precautionary Principle states ‘first, assume there is harm from not acting’, ‘second, intervene unless there is “sound evidence” for not intervening’.

        “First, do no harm” is a prudent approach to risk management which takes both sides of risk into account, whereas the Precautionary Principle does not properly weigh the costs/benefits of intervention.

        Want to ensure there is a good harvest this fall? Kill Fred. Human sacrifice was an early application of the Precautionary principle.

        Want to ensure humanity saves the planet from “climate change”? Strangle the economy and sacrifice your sovereignty.

    • John Moore:

      You say

      The precautionary principle, which he is essentially invoking, never is used in conjunction with large risks of avoiding some other large risk.

      “Never”? Really? I apply precaution to global warming response because it presents two opposing risks.

      First, there is a risk that global warming from use of fossil fuels may cause harm.

      Second, there is certainty that economic disaster would result from reduced use of fossil fuels to avoid possible global warming. The disaster would be worse than the effects of the ‘Oil Crisis’ in the 1970s because the reductions would need to be greater than occurred in the Oil Crisis, they would be permanent, and energy use has increased since then.

      The prudent response is inaction when confronted with a choice between action that would certainly cause disaster or inaction that may cause disaster.


    • Yeah, billionaires who make money off of RISK want us to tax thin air heavily just in case it might be risky to not do this. HAHAHA.

      Worse, he flies a private jet and lives in a palace and is a huge energy glutton just like the other creeps…and lectures us???

      • I’ve read a little. Still lives in the house he bought in 1958 for $31, 500, and has a base salary of $100,000. Sounds very frugal, until you learn he also owns a $4 million home in Laguna Beach, CA, and spent $6.7 million on a private jet in 1989. Wow. I couldn’t do that on $100K/year. How does he do it? Ah, yes, through his trust, which helps protect his wealth from taxes. Gave $28.5K to Obama’s campaign in 2008.
        Mind you, I don’t mind his wealth nor his tax shelters. Just don’t tell me he lives like the rest of us. I’d exchange our financial situations in a heartbeat.

  2. “1% chance the planet is”

    I stopped here.

    Either the climate sensitivity is high or it is low.

    There is no 1%. It’s 100% chance it’s high or 100% chance it’s low.

    1% is a “prior”. It’s a SUBJECTIVE “probability”. It’s a PLAUSIBILITY. And it’s based on exactly zero evidence. It’s a wild guess. From the rear end.

    We might as well say, there is 1% chance giant guinea pigs attacks.

    • Excellent point! E. T. Jaynes’ Max Ent maximizing entropy shows that the proper naive subjective prior is 0.5 admitting one’s ignorance rather than painting one self into the corner of false certainty and prejudice.

      Disposal of the application here of Pascal’s Wager is spot on, it is not the precautionary principle.

    • or invisible elephants- because once the money has been spent, the proof of success is there for all to see

      • It was, in the ’50’s. The Attack of the Krell, I think, co-staring Ann Frances, I know!,. (Old timers help me out w/ the title)

      • BACullen February 29, 2016 at 4:59 am

        “It was, in the ’50’s. The Attack of the Krell, I think, co-staring Ann Frances, I know!,. (Old timers help me out w/ the title)”

        Forbidden Planet. Starring Leslie Nielsen

      • BACullen February 29, 2016 at 4:59 am

        “It was, in the ’50’s. The Attack of the Krell, I think, co-staring Ann Frances, I know!,. (Old timers help me out w/ the title)”

        Forbidden Planet. Starring Leslie Nielsen

        And the “invisible elephants” were the product of their own minds.
        Sounds familiar.

    • You are missing the meaning of the “1%”. Remember that he said he doesn’t know the technical details of climate science. He is acting like a gambler. For example, insurance bets on the chances a person die this year is 1% base on previous statistics then they would price the premium based on that.
      Since he knows nothing about climate, he gives a hypothetical figure of 1%. That’s not even a guess but a precondition that no matter how small the chances are, it is better to go to the side of caution.
      However, Buffet made a good reasoning why an insurance companies need not worry about climate change and in fact should welcome it. He explained fully well that the insurance businesses actually thrive on disasters.

    • Buffet is very familiar with the insurer’s game. Beyond about 3 to 1, odds become meaningless for most people. Therefore you can sell much of the public insurance to make them whole in the event of extremely unlikely occurrences. And you can sell them that insurance at incredibly low rates. Who could pass up such a good deal? Raising the horribleness of the insured event sweetens the pot. We might not buy insurance against giant guinea pig attacks, but what about insurance against giant, scabrous, louse infected, suppurating guinea pigs. Who would pass up a chance of insurance against that? The warmista campaign has been all about raising the horribleness of the imagined consequences to offset the extremely low probability that they will occur. This is Charlatanism 101. Balancing risk with horribleness is not a logical way to proceed, especially when the horribleness is only imagined and not based on any empirical evidence. Wait until Scientific American publishes the definitive model linking cancerous eyeball tumors to global warming. We will clearly have to act then.

  3. I love Blaise Pascal and his famous wager is great. In Science however, I prefer Poppers falsifiable hypothesis and an actual scientific method.

    The wager is valid for the unknowable.

    When risk is calculable, as is the climate problem, I refer to Bjorn Lomborg’s advice. Spend what money you have on other things, like zika, malaria, malnutrition.

    • it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery.
      Pascal’s wager only works because of the assumption that the cost-benefit is certain. What if God is actually the worst kind of Practical Joker, and the reward for a life of Piety is in fact eternal damnation? What if the reward for a life of sin was external bliss? How does that change the equation? Does Pascal’s wager hold in that case? I submit that it does not.

      • Pascal’s wager is invalid in any case. The presumption of believing when one does not believe would not hold true for an omnipotent god. God cannot be fooled by definition. The contrary position of not believing, assuming god exists, can be explained by (after death) explaining to god that there were so many accepted possibilities that one could not decide and that it is better to not believe than to make the wrong choice. Further it can be claimed that any god that requires to be worshiped would not give so many choices but only the correct one.

      • That’s Berple’s god and wager, not Pascal’s, a man of faith. One can’t get it until one gets it.

      • “Pascal’s wager is invalid in any case.”

        Pascal’s wager is invalid in every any case.

        An unknown doesn’t have regular probability, it is assigned a probability by a decision maker, based on “expert opinion” (another name of personal bias and feelings).

        The true regular probability of an unknown is 1 or 0, depending on whether is unknown is true or false.

        If the true probability is 0, times infinity it is still 0.

      • You folks have scientific blinders on. Richard of NZ is close. An omnipotent God is the only rational choice for belief- a God that created the universe. Science can’t even formulate an approach to something that is encompasses the universe. So Pascal’s wager is entirely rational. I can only begin to see the universe which is immensely complex from the little bit I know. It’s not random, but has many levels of complexity in interacts within. That it formed from some unpredictable happenstance is futile to explain the complexity. It only takes a little bit of rational thinking to decide to believe in God because the risk on not believing is nothing- “if you gain, you gain all, if you lose you lose nothing”.

      • @Richard of NZ
        You misstate the case slightly. Pascal’s wager is directed at the condition of not knowing, not actively disbelieving. How to choose a moral course of action if one is agnostic? His suggestion is that the personal cost of behaving as if one were a believer is trivially small in any event, so the best way to “hedge your bet” is to act in that manner. Your cost is zero (or nearly so) and the reward is either zero (little if any harm done) to infinite.

        As a personal illustration, I carry a block of magnesium with a striker embedded in it. Since I also always carry a knife or multi-tool with me, if I were ever stranded and needed to build a fire I can always do so. Cost: approximately US$8.00. How likely am I to need it? I think, “not ever”, but it was a trivial cost so why not be prepared?

        Clearly in the climate case, costs are not anywhere near “trivial” so this is not a proper application of the principle.

      • It seems to me that many people fail to take into account the potential that is presented in the Christian Book, of a God that is more than willing to provide whatever “proofs” of His existence one might need to believe in Him.

        I didn’t believe for most of my life, but eventually asked the God I didn’t believe in to change that, if it was His will, for I could not it seemed to me. To my utter amazement He responded (I eventually became unable to rationally deny) with a barrage of strange happenings that clearly revolved around that Book.

        I suggest folks put the matter to a test (be scientific minded about it) . . for that will surely cost one very little.

      • As JohnKnight said, God isn’t hiding. “Human nature” is not to be willing to meet Him on His terms. “He’s God and I’m not. I don’t deserve it but He loves me anyway. He made His move in John 3:16. Now it’s my move.”

    • the logical answer is to ridicule the fool for his towering pile of steaming superstition.
      if somebody told you there was a chance to save elvis on mars, would you take him seriously?
      so why should should any other patent absurdity get a pass?
      fear to repudiate stupid when it’s wearing red shoes is cowardice all the same.
      pascal’s wager is idiotic. just say it.
      if you can’t- then by all means- bet the farm. extinction is entirely appropriate for stupid.

      • I suppose you have 100% scientific proof that God does not exist?
        Or is that just a religious statement on your part?

      • MarkW,

        Where to begin?

        Science doesn’t deal in proof. That’s math. Science deals in confirmation or falsification. An hypothesis can be confirmed a million times without being “proven”, but a single falsification can invalidate it.

        The god hypothesis is not scientific, because it’s not falsifiable. Please make a prediction which could show the existence of a “god” of some kind or another false. Please be specific about the kind of “god” you have in mind. Is it a creator god, who just sets the universe running according to certain rules? Or a sustainer god, whose actions are needed to keep things running? Or an active, ongoing intervener in human history and lives god, grading people’s performance on this planet, while counting the hairs of their heads and the fall of sparrows? Omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent?


      • MarkW February 29, 2016 at 9:33 am
        “I suppose you have 100% scientific proof that God does not exist?”

        of course!
        but now i suppose you’ll tell me that anything true must be provable and importune me to reveal it, right?
        to which i say ‘if you don’t consider yourself worth making the effort, how could you expect me to do your work for you?’
        i don’t want to shatter anybody’s bliss- i totally respect the right of the individual to exclusive control of his own thoughts.
        so for all your preaching needs – seek the frothing, fapping fervent gurus in paroxysms of priapist punditry.
        they love acolytes and catamites and minions and know how to monetize the ‘benefit of the doubt’.
        they are darwin’s little gremlins :)

      • gloateus-
        if science is not concerned with proof, it can’t be logical.
        if it’s not logical, it’s unreasonable.
        that’s the meaning of what you just said.
        and i’ll challenge you to prove it…lol
        your axiom is that you can’t, yet you assert something as proven truth – reconcile that for me, please.
        oh- by golly it’s a self contradiction, isn’t it? and any self contradiction is a lie. oh my.

      • Gnomish,

        Science isn’t about proof. It’s about making predictions which are testable, i.e. which can be shown valid or false. Proof requires certainty. Science requires doubt.

      • sorry, but no.
        first, you need to understand what is the definition of ‘definition’
        for the nonce, it is the set of distinguishing characteristics the entity must possess to be included in the set.
        doubt is not part of any definition of science, period.
        the definition of science, provisionally, is the systematic abstraction of truth by means of experiment.
        you are merely regurgitating previously digested and simperingly fatuous nonsense.
        now, if you wish to use words as cognitive tools rather than mere semiotic signals, you must perform logic.
        if you aren’t up to that task, then why should anybody credit your babble with any more meaning than grunts or squeals?
        your particular error is that you can’t define truth. it doesn’t stop you from holding forth as if you do, though.
        that’s gonna get you embarassed and defensive – but if you like to live that way, it’s your call.
        if you wish to correct the error, here’s a big clue:
        truth exists in context. you have to define the context to make a logical proposition that can be proven.
        if you fail to do so, it’s not the logic or the science that has failed, ok? it’s you.
        you’re just out of your depth when it comes to epistemology. your dress up game is ridiculous fakery on par with caitlin’s femininity.

      • fun science facts! these discoveries were once unknown.
        parasitic protozoans of genus Plasmodium cause malaria. PROVEN SCIENCE
        a critical mass of fissionable materials causes a chain reaction. PROVEN SCIENCE
        normal diploid human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes. PROVEN SCIENCE

        will you say you doubt any of this?
        will you say it’s not science?
        didn’t think so.
        this is the part where you say ‘oh, thank you for saving me from digging a very deep hole and entrenching myself in stupidity’
        and i say ‘you’re quite welcome. reason is your best friend.’

      • Gnomish,

        In science, nothing is ever “proven”. Everything is either confirmed or showed false. Perhaps you’re unaware that attributions of disease causation by specific pathogens have been shown false.

        Some observations have been repeatedly made and confirmed without ever having been shown false. For all intents and purposes, these observations, such as that the earth goes around the sun, are objectively “true”, but that is not the same as “proven”.

        I would urge you take a class in the philosophy of science. Or at least read a book on the subject.

  4. I also think Warren declared the US economy to be in tip top condition…so I’m not sure his opinion can be taken that seriously any more.

    • Warren Buffet WOULD make such a declaration…having scored the pretty-much sole contract to move oil around the west, awarded, crony fashion, by his foil in the White House. Now, If he can just create a situation where “climate insurance” can experience a BIG premium jump (with no attributable claims) now he can enrich himself with scientific rigor mortis. A tax on the word “might”. in other words. Nothing to see here!

      • Nah, super wealthy people don’t think in such dastardly ways as taking control of an argument for their own enrichment do they? They would never dream of manipulating markets for personal gain, after all, they want you and I to follow their lead. Oh, but wait–that’s the key. They want us to FOLLOW!

    • Well, the opinion of an ignoramus who thinks Y2K was an unfounded scare, ignoring all the code refitting and testing and expenditures over several years (some of which as a business man he should have known about), probably isn’t worth much anyway.

      • In ’98 and ’99, I lurked on a forum by/for mainframe programmers. I couldn’t read the posts about code, but there were posts about job openings, job conditions, and of course speculations. Most of the members had had all leave cancelled for those two years, and they were putting in 50-, 60-, 80-hour weeks and occasionally more.

        In February of ’99, the wife of one of the regulars posted to say he had died of a heart attack. By August the forum had lost four more, the same way. I made a Y2K prediction then, and it was, “If their work pays off and this goes by with barely a blip, then instead of getting the Congressional Medal of Honor or something (for fixing the metaphorical dike), people will laugh and say it was all hype.”

        I’m sorry to say my prediction came true in spades. The kids of some of those guys are teenagers now. I would like Y2K scoffers to go tell them how daddy didn’t need to die because it was just “hype” after all.

      • I was fortunate. I spent 3 months in early ’99 patching code in our companies main product.
        We had to get the new code out early so that our customers could use it to patch up their products that were based on it.
        We sent out letters to our customers describing the changes we planned to make so that they could also start planning their changes early.
        For us there was no panic or death marches, thank God, but had we done nothing, a lot of checks could have started bouncing on Jan 1, 2000.

      • It could have been worse. I was the only one left on the team who actually understood the code that needed patching. Anyone else would have needed a lot more time.

      • No offense to all those that worked hard in 1999. However, there is a huge gap between a “intensive but solvable problem” and the nightmare that we were told to expect.

      • My experience with the Y2K issue was anti- climatic. We fixed our Y2K issue computers very easily. We just changed the date on the various computers to 1984 and they were good to go. Some of them chugged away for another 5 or 6 years before they were upgraded.

      • We didn’t have too much trouble with Y2K. We just reset the effected computers to Jan 1983 instead of Jan 2000 and they quite happily started up and worked fine. Some were still in use six years later. Of course most of these were process computers so they didn’t have to interact any other units outside of the process.

  5. Paul, you beat me to it.
    His mentioning of the 1% chance made be think of Lomborg as well.
    If we have limited resources, where should be expend our captial.
    On the problem that is a 1% maybe, or on the ones that are 100% definite?

  6. “remember well the dire predictions of most “experts” about Y2K”

    A ridiculous example. Yes, some predictions were ridiculous, but there was a REAL problem and it was solved by actual work.

    A good example is the vaccine against the “pig” or “H1N1” flu.

    But some people here aren’t very good at vaccine skepticism. The CDC and Doctors are God for them.

    • “simple-touriste

      February 28, 2016 at 8:35 pm”

      There was no real problem at all. None what so ever. The “problem” was for banks and institutions dealing money and debt. The other problem was scaremongering. Many “consultancies” made millions off of the back of the scare. Heck! Even I made money out of it!

      Many countries around the world could not afford to “work on the problem”, Romania was one, Ethiopia was another. Those countries were still there 12:01am Jan 1st 2000 and they are still here.

      • There was a real problem, how can you think there wasn’t? The problem was that many thousands of computer programs would have failed at the change of century if they used a 2 digit field for the year and performed arithmetic using this number to work out a length of time (for instance). To fix things all these programs had to be rewritten. They were and the century changeover was relatively smooth.

      • Well, that is your opinion. My opinion stands having actually been at the coal face during the farce. As I said, there were many countries who could not afford this “rework”, some with nuclear power stations too, like Romania, and suffered no ill effects at the cutover date.

        Like the climate change debate, Y2K was all hot air!

      • BS. Plenty of systems needed fixing, and some unimportant systems are still not fixed.

        I heard that the UK credit card system froze.

        It just wasn’t the end of the world. Maybe there was media BS, but not that much.

        Also, some fixes involved moving the start of 1900 to 19xx, so the problem will happen again.

      • Y2K Credit Card Bug Hits UK

        A Y2K-related failure in credit card machines caused frustrating delays for thousands of retailers and customers trying to ring up purchases across Britain on Wednesday.

        The machines, manufactured by Racal Electronics and supplied by HSBC, one of Britain’s largest banks, improperly rejected credit cards because of a failure to recognize the year 2000.

        Merchants who tried to swipe MasterCard and Visa cards through some 20,000 machines beginning on Tuesday found they were improperly rejected, said HSBC spokeswoman Nicolette Dawson.

        Lines grew as retailers were forced to telephone for further authorization.

        The failure, characterized by Dawson as minor, comes just days before the New Year when most Y2K glitches are expected to be felt. Experts say the seriousness of disruptions will depend on the quality of Y2K remediation.


        Not hard to find. You could easily have checked!

      • “Also, some fixes involved moving the start of 1900 to 19xx, so the problem will happen again.”

        For example this:

        German bank cards hit by ‘2010’ bug

        A “Year 2010” software problem triggered by the change of decade has affected 30m German debit and credit cards and left bank customers unable to make purchases or make cash withdrawals.

        The fault, which has been encountered throughout Germany’s banking sector, recalls the concern a decade ago over the so-called “millennium bug”, which many experts predicted would cause widespread disruption to computer systems when the year changed from 1999 to 2000.

        In the event the change of millennium brought little disruption.

        But German banks appear to have been unprepared this month for the emergence of the fault, which has been attributed to a software glitch in the microchips embedded into many “chip and pin” cards and has meant they have not coped with the change to 2010.

        In what has given the notoriously thrifty consumers of Europe’s largest economy another reason to curb their spending, Germany’s savings bank association admitted on Tuesday that a “belated year 2000 problem” had affected more than 20m of 45m debit cards issued by the public-sector banks.
        A further 3.5m of 8m credit cards were also affected, according to the association, which represents the small institutions that hold the greatest share of the country’s retail savings.


        They don’t say that it’s a Y2K bug fix bug, but it’s a reasonable guess.

      • “many countries who could not afford this “rework””

        Countries didn’t need fixing for the Y2K bug, computer system did.

      • “Many countries around the world could not afford to “work on the problem”, Romania was one, Ethiopia was another”

        I am sure Ethiopia has a bunch of complex computer systems with parts from different contractors and different eras, writing in different languages which control essential systems.

      • This isn’t a case of the “UK credit card system” freezing. That would require MasterCard, Visa, Amex and other networks to be non-operable. This was a case of HSBC merchant system failing. The card networks worked becaues they had been fixed before 1/1/2000. And if anybody here thinks Y2K was not a problem they don’t know what they’re talking about.

      • Most of the countries that could not “afford” to make changes, never had much in the way of computer infrastructure in the first place.
        Beyond that there was a simple temporary fix that was widely published. Reset your clocks so that they never hit Jan. 1 2000.

      • I recently ran across a “fix” in code that my group is in the process of replacing.
        The code will continue to work until 2030, and then it will fail if not updated.
        Fortunately, it will be replaced with new code long before then.
        Due to some really weird date calculations, the code that I am working on will work until sometime after 2500, and then start having issues. We have thoroughly documented this.

      • “simple-touriste

        February 29, 2016 at 3:31 am”

        Sheesh! It was a hardware problem for a start.

      • “simple-touriste

        February 29, 2016 at 3:59 am”

        Ethiopia? Yes, they did have extensive computer systems, so did Romania, as well as nuclear power stations. Did you know Ethiopian Airways was the first airline to purchase and operate Boeing 767’s commercially?

      • “chris moffatt

        February 29, 2016 at 6:13 am”

        Having been there and done that, with “T” shirt and video in hand, I would have to disagree with you. And I am not talking about mickey mouse OS’s and applications like that that ran under OS/2 (Yes! Banks down under were OS/2 sites at one time) and Windows. I am talking about the systems banks use for real data, typically IBM CICS under MVS/ESA, or later in my experience. (ANZ, Australia and New Zealand Bank. BNZ, Bank of New Zealand. CBA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. BoQ, Bank of Queensland).

      • “simple-touriste

        February 29, 2016 at 3:16 am”

        The difference between media reports and reality. Here is an example I can call on;


        Classic example of media reporting on what they do not know (I am sure legal issues were involved too). Now, can you detect my posts? It was not a patch at all, rather an OSD deployment of an XP SOE image to “All Systems” in SCCM, triggered by mistake.

      • “chris moffatt

        February 29, 2016 at 6:13 am”

        It’s my suggestion you have never worked for a large scale, global, bank at all.

      • @Patrick MJD
        Does a Boeing 767 even knows the year? Are they even networked?

        Nuclear reactors need to measure their anti-reactivity precisely, their burnup… but the date?

        “There was no real problem at all.”

        I have no idea what a REAL problem means here. Some people not able to use the credit card in the normal way is a problem for me.

        Also, I don’t know what counts as a hardware problem or a software problem. Many pieces of hardware come with software that is rarely (if even) updated, is difficult to update, and in some case is so difficult to update that replacing the hardware is preferred over fixing the software.

    • I’m an IT expert who was intimately involved in Y2K work, and I still can’t make up my mind whether there was a real problem which we all fixed, or whether the problem was overblown.

      I personally believed at the time that it was a big issue, which hadn’t been fixed. I was wrong.

      In retrospect, I suspect many of the COBOL systems used in the 90s which contained the Y2K bug were simply replaced with new technology (though don’t mention the 2038 problem ;-) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem ).

      • I spent 5 years working on Y2K remedial work. An example of a problem is as follows;
        An annual Standing Order is paid and the program moves to setting the next payment date. The field for the year part of the date is 2 digits and the program recognises that the next payment will be next year and so adds one to the year. This causes a ‘fixed overflow’ condition as 99+1=100 but 100 cannot go into a 2 digit field. So the program fails.

      • It seems to me “the proof was in the pudding”. During the Y2K countdown, while the U.S. and others spent like drunken sailors “proving a negative” to the satisfaction of government and bond rating agencies, a great portion of the world did very little (taking a position of “get up on the morning of January 1, 2000 and fix whatever doesn’t work). In the weeks following Y2K, our news hounds scoured the earth looking for ugly Y2K induced calamities. They found ZIP!

      • Well you could always have done what we did which was (in 1995) to restart systems with a system date of 1/1/2000 or later and see what happened. What happened was almost everything crashed. If we had left four plus years of remediation to 2/1/2000 we’d have been out of business.

      • I’m currently working on a project to replace a COBOL system, I’ve found numerous patches in the code to get around the problem with 2-digit years.

      • Can it not be both? It was a significant issue that was averted with hard work, but it would never have been a civilization-ending catastrophe to begin with.

        I think the best comparison environmentally would be acid rain. It was a real issue, but it would never kill off everything, and it was fixed with the Sulfur cap-and-trade scheme.

      • I contracted for the Bank of New Zealand sometime after Y2K. They had a “demo” licenced copy of RightFax. Every year, they had to reset the ToD clock on the “server” so that they could receive faxes for another year. A bank!!! Laughable! I managed to persuade them to get a proper server and a license. Sheesh, cowboys!

  7. If there were only a 1% chance that increasing CO2 concentration would save millions of lives and the cost of such increase were actually negative, wouldn’t you do it?

    • You and I would, and do, just that.

      Warren however says “So, paradoxically, the upward march in loss costs has made insurance companies far more valuable.”

      Guess which one he would like to see.

  8. Insurance is it?? Got to get premiums up just in case there are increases in claims due to climate. Sounds very self serving.

    • Actually, I read it as very sensible, feet on the ground stuff. He is saying that even if the downside is as bad as claimed with a finite chance of it happening, there is no need for an insurance company to do anything at all. Not yet. If and when the disaster comes (he says) it will come at a pace that is totally within an insurance company’s normal reaction time, and thus if and when it does happen it will be very profitable for Berkshire Hathaway. So it’s not a threat at all, it’s a massive opportunity (if it happens). He has a reputation for being smart, and this illustrates it.

  9. “This issue bears a similarity to Pascal’s Wager on the Existence of God. Pascal, it may be recalled, argued that if there were only a tiny probability that God truly existed, it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery.”


    This whole wager has always struck me as absurd.
    The down-side requires not merely the existence of god, but it also requires that this god be unbelievably mean-spirited and vindictive, in that he punishes mere disbelief with eternal misery. Skeptic lover? Not!
    This version of god is a good deal less plausible than a benign creator who neglected to make it clear to all his creations what the deal is.

    • And, it requires a God that is too unseeing to realize that some of his/her followers never really had faith but were actually just hedging their bets? In other words, a God who can’t tell when people are faking their sincerity?

      • “In other words, a God who can’t tell when people are faking their sincerity?”

        Maybe God is a bureaucrat and only checks that the right form is filled in the right way?

      • “a God that is too unseeing to realize that some of his/her followers never really had faith”

        Actually Jesus will have no problem distinguishing the pretenders from those who were genuinely committed. He said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Matthew 7:21-23

      • “Maybe God is a bureaucrat and only checks that the right form is filled in the right way?”

        I mean in “quality control” way: if you have all the box checked, you pass.

    • I’ve always been fascinated by the way that atheists declare that God can’t possibly exist because God doesn’t live up to the standards that they have personally set for him.

      • So, humans have the ability to understand that there are many gods all of which are vindictive and cruel. I, a human, confess I do not have that ability. Please tell me why. By the way, I do not accept priests as the legitimate carriers of God’s water.

  10. That Buffet is quite cunning, but he doesn’t fool me.

    He is mis-using “Pascal’s wager” to raise the precautionary fallacy. The devil masquerading as an angel of light.

    I’d like to believe that Buffet is just innocently dumb, but, I think he is more likely disgustingly crafty, here.

    “Pascal’s wager” is about faith in God where there is no conclusive evidence possible. Yes, Intelligent Design theory makes disbelief in God almost nonsensical now, but there is still that “leap of faith” which must be made to believe in Yahweh.

    The precautionary fallacy, on the other hand, is JUNK thinking. It can be used to argue for (or against) doing ANYTHING. “Oh, there is a chance that you might die in a plane crash, don’t fly!” or “There is a chance that you will get cancer in that leg, cut it off!”

    @ Buffet: There’s a chance you’ll get a deadly virus from a food handler — stop eating.

    There is not ONE piece of evidence making it even LIKELY that CO2 (much less human CO2 emissions) causes climate change in the open system called “earth.” More than that, there is ANTI-evidence (CO2 UP. WARMING STOPPED.) to the AGW conjecture.

    To act “in case” based on nothing is just to be BULLIED BY AN ENVIROPROFITEER’S BALONEY.

    Follow –> the –> money.

    Oooo, that scoundrel makes me angry. (could you tell?)

    Meh, I changed my mind. I’m just going to laugh at his MAKING A FOOL OF HIMSELF — that was REALLY a DUMB thing to say…. . Yeah, he is rich and I am not — I’d rather be wise … and honest.

    • Have you every heard of the aphorism: damned by faint praise?

      I detect the inverse of that in Buffets remarks. That is, not 100%, but a more believable 99% so lets get on board with 99% since getting on board with 100% is “absurd”. still he is getting on board despite his faint argument against the 100% certainty. He does have fiduciary responsibilities to Berkshire Hathaway, so he does have to abide by… what is “commonly” known. Otherwise his adversaries will move against him.

      also re:precautionary fallacy… have I approached that idea?

      • Hi, Paul,

        I’m not getting your reply (99% v. 100% thing) very well, kinda tired. So, I won’t try to respond (and going to bed, now — not ignoring you).

        I did plus 1 you at 9:11pm above re: precautionary fallacy, etc… .

        Oh, and yes, I’m familiar with “damned by faint praise.” Heh, heh. Concert attender to soloist: “You remembered all the words! And …. your dress was lovely!” (often, “faint” praise needs an amp boost with an exclamation point (or two)).


        Your ally for logic and science truth,


      • Correction: I plus 1’d you, Paul W., not for precautionary fallacy but for scientific method, etc… — no, I don’t see how your comment/reply addressed the precautionary fallacy (but, I’m tired, so just ignore me). Bye!

    • Janice,

      Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. It’s not even an hypothesis, but merely an unsupported, anti-scientific assertion without a shred of evidence in its favor, nor any means of testing predictions made upon its basis, if any.

      • Intelligent Design is about logic and math, mainly. It has more data supporting it than Darwin’s theory about the origin of species.

      • I could say the same regarding the claim that evolution is the result of random chance and only random chance.

      • Intelligent design is most certainly not scientific. ID could in theory be right in its conclusion, but it does not arrive at it via science.

        By definition, science does not include unnatural causes. That’s why science is also known as “natural philosophy” – it is about nature. Most of the processes of science and its natural philosophy focus started with Catholic academics in medieval times, whose job was to discover the secrets of God’s creation, not to prove that God had a hand in every detail.

        Science does not usually start with a desired conclusion and then go data mine for evidence. That’s one of the critiques of a lot of climate catastrophism.

        ID relies on statistical arguments, but the ones I have seen are riddled with assumptions. They generally assume that evolution only proceeds by mutation. They assume that the path from A to B must be linear, and since on that linear path there is a non-survivability region, you can’t get from A to B.

        Evolution, except of the very simplest organisms, operates far more efficiently via gene swapping, whether it is through sexual reproduction or other mechanisms such as bacterial exchange of plasmids.

      • Janice,

        There is zero support for ID and all the evidence in the world against it.

        If you imagine it to be scientific, please state clearly you suppose what ID says, provide instances of it having been observed and of the logic and math which you believe supports this baseless conjecture. Then kindly state what predictions the assertion has made that have been found valid by subsequent experiment or observation.


        No you couldn’t say that about evolution because that cartoonish mischaracterization of the processes is not how evolution works. Some of the mutations which contribute to the genetic diversity with which evolution works do result from individually random events, but in the aggregate the separate random events are predictable.

        For instance, I can’t say when a passing cosmic ray might create the point mutation that turns a sugar-eating microbe into a nylon-eating bacterium, but I can recreate the event in the lab and have observed that it has happened repeatedly since the entry of nylon into the environment, in different microbial lines.

        Evolution is a consequence of reproduction. It’s a scientific fact that has repeatedly been observed, makes predictions subsequently confirmed and explains developments not directly observed. The “fossils” in which I have observed and inferred the fact of evolution are the genomes of a host of organisms, but the same conclusions are inescapable from every other line of evidence, with no evidence against it.

      • John,

        I assume that by their references to “math” and “random”, Janice likely and Mark possibly are under the baleful influence of Dembski, who is either a biological ignoramus, a liar or both. He either doesn’t know or pretends not to know how the genetic code works.

        If there is a designer, then it is as far from intelligent as is superhumanly possible. It would have to be intensely stupid, yet how also devilishly evil and deceptive.

      • “By definition, science does not include unnatural causes. That’s why science is also known as “natural philosophy” – it is about nature.”

        If God made nature, then your argument is just wordplay. It amazes me that otherwise intelligent people fall for such (to me) obvious circular reasoning.

      • JohnKnight,

        But there is no evidence that God did make Nature. Thus introducing the concept of gods or spirits into a scientific discussion is not science but metaphysics at best.

        The concept is at best metaphysical, not physical. It has no scientific utility, since asserting without evidence that “a creator being made the universe” has no more explanatory power than saying “the universe emerges from the properties of space-time”. Indeed, less.

    • But Janice,
      He is saying that BH does not need to do anything now because there will be plenty of time to react , if and when the bad stuff actually happen.

    • “Yes, Intelligent Design theory makes disbelief in God almost nonsensical now”

      And that, folks, is what a Kool-Aid IV does.

      • Kreation-Aid causes neurons to short circuit in the cerebral cortex of its gullible users.

  11. Buffet made it clear that he has no expertise in global climate matters. He further explained that he has no need for such expertise because whatever effects may ensue, they are beyond the one-year window in which most casualty writers must calculate risk and price their coverage accordingly. His “it seems highly likely to me” offering was the equivalent of “your guess is as good as mine”.

    I was especially pleased to see him note the Y2K debacle as a reminder that authorities do not always know what they claim to know. I was also pleased to see him note there has been no increase in weather related casualty losses in recent years (the fact is that they have actually declined).

    In all this, Buffet managed to defuse a shareholder climate bomb without really delving into the truth or fiction of AGW theory and without embroiling himself or his organization in the white-hot climate wars. I’d call that a pretty deft piece of work.

    • I’d call it trying to fool people with the precautionary fallacy. Yeah, pretty deft, all right.

      What kind of FINANCIALLY SAAVY person will fall for it? None. It is designed to shore up the “base” which is aimed ultimately at gov’t. regulators/corporate directors will nervously think that they need to appease the masses whom they think are likely to be fooled by Buffet’s sly remarks. Get a spine, O Corporate World (and government officials) — don’t spend a DIME on Buffet, et. al.’s schemes.

    • I’d call that a pretty deft piece of work.

      And in the meantime, with that new seed planted…

      Keystone pipeline is blocked by his bud in the WH, and Buffet’s trains keep movin’ that oil.

      • That was one of my first thoughts when I read his letter. Why piss off progressive and green CAGW believers who have been his best allies in keeping Keystone on hold? Buffet looks far enough down the road to figure out what to do next but for now he’ll protect his profitable BNSF crude transport monopoly.

        I know Boulder progressives who told me they hate tar sands but that it’s much safer to move that crude by train than by pipeline and that Buffet is doing the right thing. He’s probably the only “Big Oil” guy to get that kind of dumb leftist love.

      • @ Boulder Skeptic, 9:34 pm, Key stone and Buffet! Oh why oh why did you have to say that, as a Canadian you ( and just before I am going to bed) really woke me up. between Buffett, the White House and now a very young “Drama Teacher” as a prime minister in Canada who is more to the left than his PaPa , add a Montreal mayor that is refusing to let a pipeline go through Quebec ( which btw he has no say over it is a federal issue not a municipal one) to our refineries on our East Coast, the shutting down of the oil sands, the rejection of the NG projects to get NG exported to Asia through British Columbia proposed brand new harbors and the loss of tens of thousands of real jobs in those industries, then add in the side effects. The housing markets, grocery stores/apartment, house rentals/hotel/motels/ welding shops and so on . One car per family instead of two when you both have a job and now just one car (hopefully there is ONE job these days), the tourism industry is going to take a hit.
        And our Canadian government has the adicity to say ” the economy is improving”
        Thanks, I guess I’ll have to take 2 sleeping pills tonight.

        (Sorry for the rant folks but today I had to spend time dealing with a broken TV and a warranty that the company tried to deny so I was a little ticked to begin with). But hey the sun will shine ( somewhere) tomorrow!

  12. I’ve often posited that identifying all meteors/comets and their orbits, along with developing a solution to avoid a meteor (of size) strike on earth should pre-empt all other work by NASA. Once accomplished, they can then play with space. Priorities are important.

    The actual priorities affecting humanity, identified in the article, obviously supercede the ‘Highly Unlikely’ event of CAGW.

    That is testimonial to politics, not science.

    • all climate apocalypse claims are long range, insurance is short term by comparison.

      If he were honest he would have said risk is managed as time progresses. No different from lifting rates after a major storm/earthquake etc. which is actually dishonest as they are supposedly meant to have the future covered by the premiums of the past.

      • You leave out the requirement for insurance companies to have a certain amount of liquid assets to cover a certain percentage of insured losses. When those assets fall below the required minimum rates must be increased to make up the difference or the insurance company becomes insolvent. So it is post disaster that these rates increase. Never forget that insurance companies reinvest portions of premiums which provides needed capital for others to use and the returns help keep premiums lower than they would be otherwise. People feel that same about insurance companies and lawyers, most hate them until they are needed.

    • A lot of people propose a program to identify the orbits of all the meteorites in space. I think it rather a waste of effort, when it would be so easy to miss one in an eccentric orbit until it is too late. Too late being the time it would take to build an anti-meteorite defence system. Without that, stage 1 is just a bunch of useless data gathering.

      My own preference is to spread the risk. In other words, put humans on more than one planet. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky said “The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever”.

      A very insurance-like approach. Buffet should try it.

      • “A lot of people propose a program to identify the orbits of all the meteorites in space.”

        Failed concept. There are no meteorites in space.

  13. ~20 years of nothing happening, I’d say those sleepless people should give over worrying, it doesn’t do their health any good.

    Actually it’s longer than that – I grew up with dire predictions about how humans were destroying the planet and how we were at peak-everything. I’m going back to 1970 when I was not yet in my teens, but I know it started way before then. I guess each new generation has to go through it and grow out of it. Shame on the very deliberate fear-mongers, and pity those who remain victims all their lives.

    I wonder sometimes is humanity will ever “grow up”. We currently seems stuck at around age 14 (when we love to scare ourselves silly).

      • Good point ferdberple. I was a youngster during the nuclear war scare. My dad said that I shouldn’t worry because there were very bad chemical weapons that were put away after ww1 and not unleashed (except in Etheopia) during ww2.

      • Yep, I spent sleepless nights about that (no joke, I was terrified about nuclear war, I was sure we would all perish). We were also promised we would run out of oil, out of food and out of room. There was the ozone scare and acid rain and pollution. Our “sins” were everywhere, in everything we touched and everything we did. “Evil humanity” – oh yeah.

        CAGW, though, takes the cake. They have made this one so big and so believed (for a time), taken so much money and destroyed so much – this time I’m hopeful they can’t just walk away. This time EVERYBODY is watching them. They are not just some fringe group anymore and I hope humanity learns something vital and realizes that those selling such global deception should pay the price for it.

      • Sadly Catastrophic Anthropomorphic Global Warming is the least believable of the long list of catastrophes I could rattle off. I think the only reason this one has legs is because the UN took hold of it for their own ends, else it would have been long dead by now.

        Nuclear war and a Russian invasion were real threats. Just because they didn’t happen doesn’t mean the thread wasn’t real. Most of the rest was either bluster or media headlines for headlines sakes; ie: not a real threat.

  14. Is Buffet responding to the same shareholder proposal which Exxon just rejected? It seems the Exxon proposal was instigated in some way by the New York AG office. Is this part of an organized campaign to put a Global Warming proposal up to every publicly owned corporation? What next, an SEC action when the quarterly/annual statements do not adequately “divulge risk”?
    Something is going on here.

    • That was my first thought, but Buffet’s response seems to be more of a voluntary discussion of the issue, rather than a bureaucratic SEC imposed red tape nightmare.

  15. Buffet is at the head of a huge business. Be assured, if he makes a stand as a skeptic, the Activists, the Money Men behind them, many State Governors and State Governments, members of Congress, the Senate and the President himself will come gunning for Berkshire Hathaway.
    Better to stay quiet, move a little to the warmists side to not upset them, and continue to be successful rather than be destroyed. He his re-insurance assessors watching climate trends for him.
    When he starts investing in the Vesta’s, Tesla’s and Solindra’s of the modern world, then worry.

  16. Berkshire Hathaway owns MidAmerican Energy which, amongst other things, owns the thickest coal seam in the US, at Sheridan in Wyoming. Buffet bought Burlington Northern because of the coal it was going to haul.

    • MidAmerican Energy (a majority-owned Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary) does not own any coal reserves in the Powder River Basin.

  17. So first up , why don’t they tell us how to mitigate their so called CAGW? OECD countries emissions will be nearly flat-lining until 2040 while the non OECD co2 emissions will be soaring.
    The EIA data tells us that at least 90% of new emissions will come from India, China etc and they aren’t listening. Mitigation is a fraud and a con and even Jim Hansen knows that COP 21 is a joke.

  18. “But when you are thinking only as a shareholder of a major insurer, climate change should not be on your list of worries.” In other words don’t put your money with climate change. For someone that “…It seems highly likely…that climate change poses a major problem for the planet…” he sure downplayed AGW. His “Noah’s Law” claim does not take into account what downside the 1% possibility could be to humanity. What if everyone listened to Noah and used all the remaining trees on earth to build arks and it didn’t flood? Or even if it did flood where would humanity be once the water receded and there were no trees? Disgusting, AGW is being forced into every aspect of our lives.

  19. And Pascal doesn’t take into account the misery created throughout history (and now) by believing in god.Nor the happiness thrown away. He never takes responsibility for his enabling it either.

    Nor does he consider the problem of which god to believe in. If god or or the gods are so petty, insecure, and vindictively ego-centric as to murder and torture people who don’t worship him/her/it/them then it’s imperative you choose the right god.

    It reminds me too of the terrorist who went to heaven after blowing-up a busload of children.
    “Where are my virgins?” he asked.
    “Just come with me big boy, ooh you are a muscly one aren’t you!” said Mustapha squeezingly.

    Better get your theology right if you’re going to sacrifice the present for it..

    It’s amazing that someone as smart as Pascal could make such an error in reasoning. It shows what happens when you’re trapped in a belief.

    Real science (not the blog!) is better than blind belief any day.

  20. “Wars are not won by [retreats].”
    Sir Winston Churchill


    Buffet just backed off from his former, much stronger, pro-AGW stand.

    Now, it’s, “Well, just in case,… SUBSIDIZE (with taxes and power rate surcharges) MY WINDMILLS!”

    Next: “Buffet sells his windmill holdings.”

    AGW is OVER.

  21. If in 200 years, our descendants discover the weather is becoming worse, thanks to CO2 emissions in the early 21st century, as far as I’m concerned it is their problem.

    At least you are honest enough to admit this. But if you really believe it, why invent all sorts of excuses not to believe climate science? If you really have good moral or economic arguments for not caring about future generations, those argument should stand on their own, irrespective of the real risk of future climate change.
    BTW its not so much the absolute mean temperature that is dangerous, it’s the rate of change. The earth is warming at an unprecedented rate: it is that rapid rate of warming that poses such high risks.

    • ….” it is that rapid rate of warming that poses such high risks.” ?? Where ?? ,,,What planet do you live on, Venus ??

    • What climate science?
      There is no evidence that the earth is warming faster or more than it has ever done?
      In fact the earth has warmed faster, to higher levels many times in the last 10,000 years or so.

      Why do you insist on these programs which have already killed thousands, in order to solve a problem that never existed?

    • @ jim: Assuming, ONLY ad arguendo, that warming is increasing at an “unprecedented rate,” there is no evidence, not one measurement, proving that CO2, much less human CO2 emissions, CAUSED it.

      A little late, but, here’s your copy of the memo that’s been around the office for quite some time (I had to fish it out of the “Memos — 2008” file:


      • IOW: We can do nothing to cause or to stop it. Bwah, ha, ha, ha, haaaa! Scary, huh? LOL. Well, Mr. “Ooo, this is getting vewwwy wisky….:”

        From: Margot Channing
        To: Jim

        “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

        Meh, not really. What lies ahead is, with slight cooling likely, just MOS. You can uncover your eyes, now…


        FYI: If YOU knew anything about “climate science,” you would just shake your head at Buffett and go on with business as usual. I suppose, though, you have an investment or two in windmills….. what else would motivate you to make all the “Jim’s” of the world (except one Hansen) cringe at what you wrote. You are, almost certainly, just a common Cowardly Climate Bully. Well, better try another bunch of kids. We’re not buying your junk. We are not intimidated. We are laughing at you. Okay, some pity you, but, most are just laughing.

      • Hi Janice,
        I’ve been getting those memos from ‘skeptics’ for many years. But I prefer to look at actual data and see for myself. I’m sorry, but there is simply zero evidence in any global temperature data set that warming has stopped. At best the rate of warming slowed slightly over the past decade, but even if it did, that is a very different thing to “stopped”. I’m sorry if you think me telling you that is a form bullying.

    • I am sorry but you can’t call a warming of 0.79 degrees C in 150 years a “high rate of change”.

  22. All he is telling shareholders is that the insurance business will thrive either way, so don’t lose any sleep about climate changed, and let your B.H. ride. His other musings on the topic are, by his own admission, virtually worthless. Nothing to see here, folks, moooove along!

  23. The Noah & The Ark analogy is quite apt.

    The biblical Noah didn’t use his resources to try to stop the rain or the flood. God (or Nature, if you prefer) wouldn’t have been persuaded to alter its wrath in exchange for just a few humanly trinkets and baubles as sacrificial offerrings.

    Noah used his resources to be prepared for a great flood.

    In today’s case, the climate change witch doctors like Al Gore ask for billions of dollars and a few virgins to avert catastrophe. We recognize them as charlatans.

    • great point. Noah didn’t try and stop the flood by stamping out sin with a sin tax. He adapted and built a boat.

      Al Gore’s solution is to ignore Noah and go for the sin tax. If Noah had paid Gore’s sin tax, he wouldn’t have had enough money to build the Ark and Gore would never have been born.

  24. The other day Buffet said that presidential candidates shouldn’t speak badly of the economy since it might cause damage just by the saying. Happy, happy, economy, folks!

  25. Oh dear, oh dear. Buffet appears to rely on the precautionary principle at an evidence setting of speculative in the short term and well, absent in the long term. Unable to separate out the AGW signal from random noise, and after a nineteen year unpredicted hiatus increasing enclosed by a declining value for climate sensitivity, he would still bet on the possibility that we’ll tip into uncontrolled positive feedback and wind-up like feeling Venus?

    I doubt very much anywhere, anytime, he has evahhh chanced his financial empire and future on such ridiculous odds in the context of the known evidence as opposed to the modeled histrionics. He knows, we know he knows. He’s hedging, pure and simple. His last line makes his position transparently clear:
    “But when you are thinking only as a shareholder of a major insurer, climate change should not be on your list of worries.”
    Not even on the list! No where. Consigned to irrelevance.

  26. Please pay attention to Buffett’s advantage – one not available to tax payers and governments. He can pass the cost on to his customers, and if they don’t care for the cost they can find other vendors for their insurance needs. Buffett assumes no risk save that subset of customers who choose to go elsewhere.

  27. When you consider the opportunity costs of AGW, the middle east, Africa in general, and defence arms races, you have to wonder what kind of world we might have achieved by now. But that is not our nature so on we go.

  28. Buffett keeps his customers happy with low electricity prices…

    “In Iowa, BHE’s average retail rate is
    6.8¢ per KWH. Alliant, the other major electric utility in the state, averages 9.5¢. Here are the comparable industry
    figures for adjacent states: Nebraska 9.0¢, Missouri 9.3¢, Illinois 9.3¢, Minnesota 9.7¢. The national average is
    10.4¢. Our rock-bottom prices add up to real money for paycheck-strapped customers.”

    I pay 26c/KWh, all government run in QLD, enough to make a grown man cry.

    • Yep US 26.5c/KWh peak rate in South Australia at current exchange rate but we have all those expensive subsidized windmills remember and even one of the TV current affairs shows stated again we have the highest power prices in the world. Any higher rate payers out there?

      • observa commented: “…US 26.5c/KWh peak rate in South Australia…..Any higher rate payers out there?..”

        Spain = 30c, Germany = 35c, and Denmark = 41c

  29. “… Pascal’s Wager on the Existence of God. Pascal, it may be recalled, argued that if there were only a tiny probability that God truly existed, it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery …”

    However, one should point out that the perceived advantage is a purely personal one: the reward is only paid out to the believer. Nobody else, even another “believer”, does partake in it. As an example consider the religious fanatics who decides to become a suicide bomber in order to go to paradise. For himself the wager is a winning bet. Everybody else loses.

    Could it be that those infected with the green virus do live under a similar delusion: that being green makes themselves feel the warm glow of being good, but imposing their views on the rest of us leaves the others literally in the cold.

  30. Turn the issue around.
    Get companies to estimate in their annual reports the anticipated cost to them of climate hysteria.

    I of course don’t mean that.

    It will be a miracle in 10 years if there are any companies left in Britain.
    Already they are smothered in red tape.
    Can you see China and India implementing these mad green proposals.

  31. Warren Buffet would have done wonderfully well as the Oracle at Delphi – his statements can be interpreted whichever way you like.

  32. Warren Buffet is basing his argument on

    “This issue bears a similarity to Pascal’s Wager on the Existence of God. Pascal, it may be recalled, argued that if there were only a tiny probability that God truly existed, it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery.”

    Actually, Pascal’s Wager is now accepted to be a false argument. Blaise Pascal’s misconception is understandable because when he lived, the common assumption was that there can be only one true religion and therefore only One True God, that is, the one of the Roman Catholic Church.

    However, we now regard this as incorrect: there are a multitude of religions we accept as equal, and the one thing most of them agree upon is that false believers face the same punishment as atheists. Therefore, in effect, there are a multitude of gods and behaving as if a specific one existed (i.e., adopting one specific religion) has the same effect as disbelief. Since humanity has invented on the order of 100,000 religions, the probability of behaving as if one specific god existed (i.e., one specific religion is true) carries the probability of success of 0,00001 which completely negates Pascal’s original argument.

    If the premise is false …

    • Miso- you’re missing a couple encyclopedias worth of arguments vs. yours. The point is that people cannot understand God, they can only believe in it. How they behave depends on their own thinking, not God. By definition there can only be One omnipotent God. That people have invented thousands of different beliefs systems is a fact about humanity, not God.

      • No, he’s exactly right. Each of these belief system’s is different and typically exclusionary. Tell me what Catholics believe happen to Protestants even with the “same” God. It isn’t a 2×2 grid but an infinite by 2 grid which conveniently cancels out the infinite benefits.

        If Pascal’s Wager hadn’t been falsified, there’d be a whole lot fewer philosophers around.

  33. More intriguing is who “sponsored” the request. Perhaps the green criminals are now buying shares in companies and forcing them into this position. Buffet only ever does something for gain.

  34. The sage of Omaha should do a little homework/research concerning the problems the developed countries do or do not face in the near future.

    This is surreal. The entire scientific basis of the IPCC reports is incorrect based on observations (See 22 truths). There is no CAGW problem, observations do not support AGW yet there is a continual chorus of idiots asking us to spending trillions of dollars on green scams that do not work to address a non existing problem.

    There is no CAGW problem to solve but regardless the developed countries have run out of money to spend on everything. There is a hard limit as to how much a country can borrow and there are real unavoidable problems when a country exceeds that maximum. We do not have tens of trillions of dollars to spend on green scams that do not work.

    The US has a debt crisis. Graph US national debt in percentage of GDP by year.

    Quantitative easing (printing money to purchase government bonds) is a Ponzi schemes. Ponzi schemes do not work.

    The US accumulated debt is now 104% of GDP $18.4 trillion dollars increasing from 70% 0f GDP during the Obama term.

    The same group of financial specialists who correctly predicted the collapse of bank mortgage bundle market are now predicting a US currency collapse. US QE1 and QE2 (Quantitative Easing (QE) is the deceptive name the Obama administration created for the practice of printing trillions of dollars to purchase US bonds.) have flood the world with US dollars. The US Ponzi scheme is print more money to buy treasure bonds. The US Ponzi scheme falls apart if those holding US dollars all try to convert their US dollars to another currency or try to purchase hard assets.

    Ponzi scheme
    ˈpänzē ˌskēm/
    1. a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors.


    As bad as these numbers sound, they actually understate the problem. That is because they don’t include the unfunded liabilities of programs like Social Security and Medicare. While those liabilities don’t show up on the country’s official balance sheet, they nonetheless represent legal obligations of the US government. Including the expected shortfall from those programs brings are true debt to an unfathomable $90.6 trillion.

    Yet, neither Democrats nor Republicans seem willing to face up to this problem. Democrats either deny that there is a problem or insist that the problem could be solved if only the wealthy paid higher taxes. But even if one thought that tax increases were a good idea, and could be implemented without killing jobs or slowing economic growth, it is simply impossible to increase taxes enough to close the budget gap. In particular, raising taxes on the wealthy falls far short of what would be required to pay for our current and future obligations.


    The 22 Inconvenient Truths
    1. The Mean Global Temperature has been stable since 1997, despite a continuous increase of the CO2 content of the air: how could one say that the increase of the CO2 content of the air is the cause of the increase of the temperature? (discussion: p. 4)
    2. 57% of the cumulative anthropic emissions since the beginning of the Industrial revolution have been emitted since 1997, but the temperature has been stable. How to uphold that anthropic CO2 emissions (or anthropic cumulative emissions) cause an increase of the Mean Global Temperature?
    [Note 1: since 1880 the only one period where Global Mean Temperature and CO2 content of the air increased simultaneously has been 1978-1997. From 1910 to 1940, the Global Mean Temperature increased at about the same rate as over 1978-1997, while CO2 anthropic emissions were almost negligible. Over 1950-1978 while CO2 anthropic emissions increased rapidly the Global Mean Temperature dropped. From Vostok and other ice cores we know that it’s the increase of the temperature that drives the subsequent increase of the CO2 content of the air, thanks to ocean out-gassing, and not the opposite. The same process is still at work nowadays] (discussion: p. 7)
    3. The amount of CO2 of the air from anthropic emissions is today no more than 6% of the total CO2 in the air (as shown by the isotopic ratios 13C/12C) instead of the 25% to 30% said by IPCC. (discussion: p. 9)
    4. The lifetime of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere is about 5 years instead of the 100 years said by IPCC. (discussion: p. 10)
    5. The changes of the Mean Global Temperature are more or less sinusoidal with a well defined 60 year period. We are at a maximum of the sinusoid(s) and hence the next years should be cooler as has been observed after 1950. (discussion: p. 12)
    6. The absorption of the radiation from the surface by the CO2 of the air is nearly saturated. Measuring with a spectrometer what is left from the radiation of a broadband infrared source (say a black body heated at 1000°C) after crossing the equivalent of some tens or hundreds of meters of the air, shows that the main CO2 bands (4.3 µm and 15 µm) have been replaced by the emission spectrum of the CO2 which is radiated at the temperature of the trace-gas. (discussion: p. 14)
    7. In some geological periods the CO2 content of the air has been up to 20 times today’s content, and there has been no runaway temperature increase! Why would our CO2 emissions have a cataclysmic impact? The laws of Nature are the same whatever the place and the time. (discussion: p. 17)
    8. The sea level is increasing by about 1.3 mm/year according to the data of the tide-gauges (after correction of the emergence or subsidence of the rock to which the tide gauge is attached, nowadays precisely known thanks to high precision GPS instrumentation); no acceleration has been observed during the last decades; the raw measurements at Brest since 1846 and at Marseille since the 1880s are slightly less than 1.3 mm/year. (discussion: p. 18)
    9. The “hot spot” in the inter-tropical high troposphere is, according to all “models” and to the IPCC reports, the indubitable proof of the water vapour feedback amplification of the warming: it has not been observed and does not exist. (discussion: p. 20)
    10. The water vapour content of the air has been roughly constant since more than 50 years but the humidity of the upper layers of the troposphere has been decreasing: the IPCC foretold the opposite to assert its “positive water vapour feedback” with increasing CO2. The observed “feedback” is negative. (discussion: p.22)
    11. The maximum surface of the Antarctic ice-pack has been increasing every year since we have satellite observations. (discussion: p. 24) (William: Until 2015, the record sea ice will now return in the Antarctic and there will be significant sea ice recovery in the Arctic.)

    • As bad as these numbers sound, they actually understate the problem. That is because they don’t include the unfunded liabilities of programs like Social Security and Medicare. While those liabilities don’t show up on the country’s official balance sheet, they nonetheless represent legal obligations of the US government. Including the expected shortfall from those programs brings are true debt to an unfathomable $90.6 trillion.

      In 1974 or 1975 I attended a symposium at the University of Chicago where one of the featured speakers was newly-minted Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman (Economics). There was another speaker who had formerly worked for HEW (Health, Education & Welfare department); I think his name was Brown. Brown related that economists at HEW would sometimes amuse themselves by calculating the unfunded liability for Social Security. Depending on assumptions, at the time they got figures in the range of 800 billion (10E9) dollars. What makes me remember that is Brown also said there was a word for numbers that large: MEGO, for My Eyes Glaze Over.

      The unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and now Obamacare have gotten even more MEGO-ish in the last forty years. And such things as pensions for State and Municipal governments also have increasingly large unfunded liabilities which are absent from official ledgers.

      I’ve seen some estimates as large as $128 Trillion (10E12) dollars for everything.

      It is amazing (and depressing) to me that so many people get worked up over the chance that the world might be 1 degree warmer in 50 years and this might cause some problems, while they can completely ignore the absolute certainty that we are digging ourselves ever deeper into a pit of obligations we have no reasonable expectation to meet.

      • This is one reason why I don’t care that much who wins the next couple of presidential elections.
        Economic collapse is already built into the system.
        The only thing left is to apportion the blame.

  35. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/9c690e44-c1d2-11e4-abb3-00144feab7de.html#slide0

    March 4, 2015 1:52 pm
    The $62bn secret of Warren Buffett’s success
    Stephen Foley

    DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 18: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett speaks at an event called, “Detroit Homecoming” September 18, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The purpose of the invitation-only event of Detroit expatriats is to give the group a chance to reconnect, reinvest and reinvent with their hometown. The topic of Buffet’s conversation was, “Why I’m Bullish on Detroit.” (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway has been able to defer $61.9bn of corporate taxes©GettyBerkshire profited by $4bn when it swapped P&G stock for Duracell, but will not pay capital gains tax until it sells the battery makerBerkshire profited by $4bn when it swapped P&G stock for Duracell, but will not pay capital gains tax unless it sells the battery maker©BloombergBerkshire’s energy unit also receives tax credits for renewable power generation — reporting $258m of wind energy tax credits in 2014©BloombergThe US tax code encourages capital investment through the way it treats depreciation of assets, such as Berkshire’s rail holding©BloombergWarren Buffett exchanged a minority stake in Graham Holdings for a TV station. Such asset swaps avoid triggering capital gains payments
    Next Thumbnails
    Warren Buffett is one of the most famous, and certainly the richest, proponents of raising taxes. What is less often remarked upon is that he is also a leading proponent of delaying tax payments as long as possible.
    In the latest and largest example, Mr Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has been able to defer $61.9bn of corporate taxes, the company revealed in its annual report.

    • So Buffett uses current tax law to his advantage. Who doesn’t? If you don’t like the tax laws then blame the government. But in your haste be sure you are not going to be throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    • One of the biggest products of Buffet’s insurance group is selling life insurance to the aged.
      If you leave your fortune to your heirs directly, you have to pay taxes on it.
      However if you make them the beneficiaries of a life insurance policy, they get the money tax free.
      The higher taxes go, the more people buy Buffet’s product.

      • One of the benefits of life insurance. But as usual, the government put in some restrictions on older people buying single premium life. God forbid they remove their own money from their estate before they die and have to pay estate taxes.

  36. I’m glad the boy Buffet remembers the past failures of “experts”. He should also remind himself that many of them went along with Pascal’s Wager because they themselves were surrounded by peers, who in turn trusted the judgement of other “experts”…

    I recall, just before Y2K, being told by a bunch programmers that they had a few other potential disasters up their sleeve that they might be used to the same effect if they could get them to ‘go viral’.

  37. Given the track record of ‘climate change’ forecasts – right or wrong – it appears Buffet is the kind of man who would bet his paycheck on a horse that has never finished a race.

  38. As a German, I have different thoughts about dealing with climate change. Okay, CO2 et al do not influence the climate in a dangerous way.

    So the Energiewende is not necessary, but we do it. And as we are one of the wealthiest nation and with the highest social standards, we can play around, pretending that it is necessary.

    The cost of energy is not causing harm to the poor in our country as the even get a heating subsidy if they have no money. BTW, according to our income, our family is considered as threatend by poverty – but we don’t feel like that. If a nation is rich they have some money, which they can choose to invest here or there.

    So what we are doing? We try to increase the amount of renewables in the energy mix – and the goal is a high one. We are trying to find technical solutions especially with the storage problem. And we have to handle social matters – how people react to that.

    So what will be the outcome? We will learn a lot. Mostly we will learn what will not work, We will find some small solutions for storage problems or energy conversion. And maybe we will find solutions which are needed later, when we really have a fossil fuel peak.

    But at the moment, we are dealing with other problems like the refugees. Yes we can, because we have enough means. But even here we will learn a more realistic view on a noble cause.

    Regarding renewables, the conservavtive CSU has asked to reduce them to a realistic and manageable level. In Bavaria, Windpower expansion has com to a halt, because of building laws. New solar arrays are erected only sparsely because of sinking subsidies. Biogas plants cause environmental problems and no subsidies for new ones are planned. There are some pilot projects in geothermal plants, but not really efficient. Only few offshore plants in the north get in gear, and the energy price is two times higher than o land. Soon we will run out of plots for windpower and investors and communities who will bear them.

    So the reality has already caused a strong learning curve. It will be interesting what will happen whe they close down the last atomic power plants. I guess, CO2 output will rise again, because renewables cannot replace the basic load which is needed.

    In short. there are interesting times and we can be curious what will happen next.

    • Germany’s great strength, but sometimes also her blind spot, is the overwhelming desire of the German people to do good, to sacrifice their personal wellbeing for the welfare of others.

      I have fond memories of staying in a hotel near Lake Titisee, the lady who owned the hotel woke up at 4am to drive us to the train station.

    • I quote: “…the reality has already caused a strong learning curve.” Yes indeed. But don’t think you know it all. There is much more to learn and the price of education is going up. The first thing you should tackle, and the hardest of all, is the fact that all those trillions spent on do-good things are for nothing. They were all devised with the thought in mind that reducing emissions or replacing fossil fuels with renewables is a good thing because it will prevent the dangerous warming that is guaranteed to destroy us if we don\t pay up. This guaranteed destruction that is on the way makes you willingly accept hardships in the name of preventing much worse hardship in the future. Unfortunately this story is a lie, held up only by pseudo-scientific nonsense from warming advocates. Real science does not support this fairy tale. To start off, the so-called greenhouse warming has never been proven by any scientific experiment. James Hansen was well aware of this when he spoke of warming to the U.S. Senate in 1988. He said he had observed a hundred year warning curve that proved the existence of the greenhouse effect. That was enough for warming advocates in the IPCC to start talking of the greenhouse effect as a fact. Fortunately the Congressional Record retained a copy of that hundred year warming curve. I looked at it and saw that it was nothing but a global temperature curve of that era. Hansen claimed it was all warming but in fact twenty percent of it was cooling or temperature stasis. This is not proof of greenhouse warming in the name of which you are asked to sacrifice your lifestyle. Another false claim involves the existence of a hiatus – a stand-still of warming in the twenty-first century. It is known from global temperature curves going back to 1997, a good eighteen years by now. During a hiatus atmospheric carbon dioxide keeps increasing but global temperature does not. The problem the warmists have with that is that according to the Arrhenius greenhouse theory warming must also increase when carbon dioxide goes up, The fact that there is no warming invalidates the Arrhenius greenhouse theory which puts it into the waste basket of science. The real greenhouse theory that explains this observation accurately is the Miskolczi greenhouse theory or MGT. Hungarian scientist Ferenc Miskolczi brought it out in 2007 but it was immediately blacklisted because of its predictions. According to MGT, carbon dioxide and water vapor, a greenhouse gas, establish a joint optimal absorption window in the infrared. If you now add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere it will start to absorb in the infrared, just as Arrhenius predicts. But as soon as this happens, water vapor begins to diminish, rain out, and the original absorptivity of the window is restored. The added carbon dioxide will of course keep absorbing but its ability to do so is handicapped by the loss of water vapor that has taken place. This has reduced the absorptivity to original background levels and will keep doing so because there are several orders of magnitude more water vapor in the atmosphere than there is of carbon dioxide. The Arrhenius greenhouse theory does not see water vapor and is incapable of explaining all this. And this is why the hiatus exists. Attempts have been made to disprove it but science is on the side of the hiatus as the latest paper by Fyfe et al. proves.

  39. Warren Buffett is a master manipulator of the media and public opinion,

    Berkshire Hathaway owns a railroad that hauls an enormous amount of coal out of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. That railroad also transports a huge amount of oil derived from both frakking and the Athabaskan oil sands. Hmmm? Maybe we should build the Keystone XL pipeline? Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries also transport enormous amounts of natural gas.

    If you don’t know otherwise, you’d think it was a Koch Industries operation.

    Then, there’s this:
    “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”
    -Warren E. Buffett

  40. “It seems highly likely to me that climate change poses a major problem for the planet.”
    Since I live in the heart of Buffetland and we regularly see gush pieces on Buffet on the nightly news, I am puzzled. Last night’s gush piece quoted Buffet as saying that Climate Change is no big deal and unlikely to cause problems.

  41. It seems that Warren Buffet is saying this to counteract that proxy proposal they want the shareholders to vote on. It is part of the new warmist technique to bring corporations into the fold. Most have knuckled under and ExxonMobile is so far the only one to resist. If anyone else can can do that I vote for Warren Buffet to be the man.

  42. “The dinosaurs didn’t eke out an existence in a barren scorching desert – their world was a lush, tropical world of jungles, giant trees, and super abundant life. So the risk that the Earth will become uninhabitable in the next few centuries, due to anthropogenic CO2, is essentially zero.”

    The geologic record is a major target of the clime syndicate. They have been busy flattening all the trends and cataloguing the disasters of CO2 throughout time, especially of the past few millennia. They’ve had to move the beginning date of the CAGW march from 1950 to 1750 so they can say we already are halfway to 2C. They’ve been adding epicycles to inconvenient CO2 following temperature in ice cores. They successfully buried numerous scam ending events, like the discovery that the ice cap on Mars also shrunk in unison with those of earth (why we don’t resuscitate killer facts like this is beyond me). They will rewrite the Cretaceous if necessary and it will be new evidence that 1700ppm CO2 killed off the dinosaurs – don’t forget this virus is spread through university geology departments and the USGS is on board for whatever.

  43. Let’s look at Green Energy vsWarren Buffet as an investment. Here’s a 10 year chart of BRK-A vs QCLN, the “Clean Energy Green Energy Index Fund”


    BRK-A is up 84%
    QCLN is down 31%

    Looks like the market falls in Buffet’s camp & not the proxy sponsor’s camp.

  44. As fact checkers, we have no place in this climate change debate. This much is clear. There should be a term for less than serious high school debates where fact checking is generally not welcome and used only selectively for leverage in a debate not centered on facts. I’ve used the term win-the-day courtroom tactics but there must be other, more formal terms.

  45. Innit wunnerful how people in positions of power and influence feel the need to weigh in on a subject they are completely ignorant about? It just gives one a warm fuzzy feeling.

  46. “Up to now, climate change has not produced more frequent nor more costly hurricanes nor other weather- related events covered by insurance.”

    It deserves particular notice that this independent measure of real world impact of “climate change” directly conflicts with narrow-focus “observations” by the chorus of climate cranks who breathlessly promote evidence all around that calamitous damage is already underway.

    Unlike “climate scientists”, underwriters are paid to measure the real world rather than a fictitious one concocted in a dreamworks laboratory. Different rewards tend to produce different results.

    If, indeed, the entire climate-change premise is correct, how is it even POSSIBLE that its impact on insurance underwriting at this late date has been immeasurable?

    Buffet may have deftly delivered hard evidence that climate change, to date, remains a baseless superstition which is cleverly marketed to an ignorant public by charlatans. And he may very well have done so with that very purpose in mind.

  47. Well I should take an insurance salesman’s word for it?
    Sorry but Mr Buffet is motivated by money.
    That is his lives work and he is very successful.
    Except his actions of the last decade seem to indicate the use of government force to protect his financial interests.
    Follow the money.
    Especially with people who obsess over it.

    Course what about the bet, that CAGW is a scheme to rob the many for the enrichment of the well connected few?
    Would that be another 97% certainty?

    • If you do not know the difference between insurance sales and insurance underwriting, you really should inform yourself. Sales has to do with promotion. Underwriting has to do with loss forecasting based on measured experience.

      Underwriters who engage in bs assumptions will make losses for the business and be fired. Unlike scientists and insurance salesmen who may perpetually misrepresent reality, perpetually without consequences.

  48. Buffet knows that it’s a 100% scam.
    Like any billionaire he looking at wringing a few more million dollars out of the wash up.
    They are billionaires because they think more money 24/7.

    Money is power.

    When this gravy train pulls up at the end of the line he will look for another money spinner.

    About having little knowledge of the science he is one phone call away from the worlds best minds on the subject.

    The problem is if the scientist isn’t corrupt he will get the data that does not suit the business.

  49. I like what Warren Buffet is saying He has common sense, is not a person who would become alarmed or hysterical about anything, can assess threats himself, and is cautious about believing so-called experts who think they can predict the outcomes of complex systems. You make some good points Eric, but making alarmist, incorrect suggestions that ebola could be a threat in the developed world (nope), or the threat of asteroids, is doing exactly what AGW promoters do.

  50. Warren Buffet seems to be making a mistake with the comparison to Pascal’s wager. Believing in God does not require massive sacrifice, whereas climate action does. So if they both have a 1% chance of happening. you should believe in God, but climate will require a corresponding cost vs. benefit analysis. And if he thinks there’s anywhere close to 1% chance of climate catastrophe, then the cost side of that equation will have to be pretty low to justify it.

  51. In reference to “Pascal’s Wager”, Pascal was an idiot. He never considered the ever compounding losses as each generation drains resources on minuscule probabilities.

  52. Warren Buffet is certainly stating the obvious IE “if, ifs and ands were pots and pans”
    The main thing to remember about insurance companies ,is that they are competing against other insurance companies. Those companies that which to invoke Pascals Wager costs will lose out to those who do not. This is capitalism at work and not pseudo science.
    Quite simply , as has been stated , Insurance is an annual event not a multi decade event ,therefore any company which raised its rates to encompass a threat 10 ,15,20 years down the line would lose out to those that simply waited until the next years premiums were due and make their assessment on an annual basis.
    Put simply, if any Insurance company had believed on the advice of Al Gore that by ,2005/2010/2015 that New York would be underwater ,there would be no insurance on New York property.
    Insurance companies are highly intelligent, ,they do not take risks , they price according to risk and on that basis they do not believe in CAGW ,or if they do to even a small extent , they do not consider any catastrophic outcomes.
    The day an Insurance company refuses to provide insurance to a seafront property in Miami is the day I start building an Ark!

  53. There are really two aspects to the bet on God.

    Everyone overlooks the fact that one has to also believe that the rewards postulated by clerics are real. If not, then there is no pay-off to believing in God.

    And, remember: These clerics are the ones who decide (in every religion) what “God permits” (sins) and only they can forgive them. Nice work if you can get it. Kind of reminds me of politicians and lawmakers – including those who are ramming AGW down our civilization’s collective throat.

    • Since Pascal was far from stupid, obviously his wager included the probabilities of the rewards and punishments.

      As to the clerics and the definitions of the details… At least in the Catholic Church, while the clerics may announce the doctrine, they don’t get to just make it up. The basis of the doctrine is completely public and is based on the ancient founding texts.

      • That’s quite an assumption. Like assuming that Mann is far from stupid so he obviously took all the factors into account when he created his hockey stick graph.

      • Quite an assumption? The alternative is very low probability – that this brilliant man (far, far more brilliant than Mann) failed to take into account the obvious.

    • It really fascinates me how those who know nothing at all about how religion works, see themselves as fit to comment on how religion works.

      • Actually religion acts exactly like AGW. Scare tactics to control the population. So we have right wingers using religious scare tactics and left wingers using environmental scare tactics. My oh my what is a low information voter to do.

    • gmak,

      “And, remember: These clerics are the ones who decide (in every religion) what “God permits” (sins) and only they can forgive them.”

      Say what? That is utterly untrue (indeed heretical) in my religion (Christianity). Clerics have zero power to either decide what God permits or forgive any sins. Nor did they among the Jews . . Jesus was strongly condemned by the Jewish “clerics” for telling people they were forgiven. Somebody has grossly mislead you, it seems to me.

  54. One issue here is that a lot of weather-related damage, such as from large tornadoes, is derived mainly from the temperature gradient between the Arctic and the tropics. (This does not apply to hurricanes except ones that reach northern areas and wierd-out like Hazel of 1954 and Sandy did.) Since the Arctic is warming more than the tropics, most storms would get less windy as the world warms. Indeed, tornadoes of all classes F2/EF2 and stronger have had a slight decreasing trend after good records started with 1950.

  55. Part of Pascal’s wager was that the cost of believing in God was trivial.
    That can’t be said of the CAGW nonsense.

    • ..In my very humble opinion about the possible existence of God, I go by the saying my Grandfather always used when teaching me about nature and life…..” If God truly exists and he created all of the universe, then God is far beyond the Human ability to comprehend him ! “

      • ..And, I might note, he was just a simple farmer in the Great White Frozen North ! ( by coincidence, his last name was….Farmer, weird I know )…

  56. Not to go tangential but that was the worst most false synopsis of Pascal’s wager I ever read. You can do better. Stick to alarmist debunking.

  57. According to Shroedinger, maybe exists and doesn’t exist, at the same time? We won’t know until we discover (measure) the supreme being – if there is one?

    • ” maybe exists and doesn’t exist, ..” Are you talking about that silly thought experiment with the cat ?

  58. Translating Buffet’s climate change comments into his better known value investing expertise, he is saying to invest in the climate change line as a long run “likely threat” even though Al Gore’s hurricane prediction implications for insurance industry investing was dead wrong. Since the long run prediction and the short run fail are linked, a prudent investor would take the time to examine all of the prediction errors and be honest about them. They do teach ethics in business schools. I’m just not sure if other academic colleges considered ethics necessary for themselves.

  59. Let me get this straight. If, as an insurer, he decides to raise premiums because of the possibility of climate change, and climate change (whatever that is supposed to mean) happens, he pays out (and of course raises his premiums again because that’s what insurance companies do when bad things happen). If climate change doesn’t happen, he makes a massive score.

    It looks as if the sage of Omaha has just figured out how to make a few more billions, doesn’t it?

  60. This guy has an interesting take on the precautionary principle:

    …the precautionary principle is a tool used to manipulate policy – one that can be twisted to fit whatever an activist campaign requires. This blog will consider how precaution, as a “principle” has been perverted during the two great activist campaigns of the social media information era: climate change and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It is intriguing how precaution can allow for contradictions, incongruities and complete absence of logic and rationality.

    Precaution as the triple negative or as reversing the burden of proof

    …. In 1992, the precautionary principle was articulated in Article 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development as a triple negative – roughly (when applied to climate change): because we are not certain whether the world is warming or not, this is not a reason to not act (given that the consequences would be so great). The onus was on the sceptics to prove climate change was not a risk (something hard to do even after the IPCC had got their forecasts so badly wrong over the last decade).

    Precaution on GMOs has not been framed in the triple negative context, but rather defined by the European Environment Agency’s reversal of the burden of proof: until proponents of GMOs could prove to the sceptics that biotech was safe (with certainty … something hard to do as safety is a relative concept), precaution must be taken. The onus is on the scientists to prove to the sceptics that the technology is safe, and, it should come as no surprise, the GMO sceptics can make that a burden.

    He goes on to consider the consequences of switching the two approaches for climate change and GMOs.

  61. Was Pascal’s wager tipped by political pressures in the decision process? So that a small probability is magnified by unseen factors not included in the decision making process.

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