The Dim-Post

December 9, 2009

Close Up: now with more molecules! (Updated)

Filed under: climate change,media — danylmc @ 5:36 am

Last night Close Up featured a debate between Gareth Morgan and Ian Wishart on whether climate change is real or a hoax. It’s a shame we didn’t have Mark Sainsbury around to tackle the big issues last century: we could have spent the cold war discussing whether or not the Soviet Union was real and the early 40’s would have seen heated debate on whether the Japanese drive to dominate the Pacific was a scam dreamed up by greedy geographers and political scientists to get more grant money. I’m rarely home in time to watch Sainsbury’s show: I’m assuming tonight’s episode will be about the controversy over whether drinking drain cleaner is healthy or not. ‘Make up your own minds and then call our phone in poll.’

Snark aside, I think the problem is that so few journalists have any kind of background in science: most of ‘em graduate with degrees in subjects like history or politics or literature. You wouldn’t see Sainsbury doing a serious show about whether or not the Bush government and Israel were behind 9/11 because they understand that it’s not a valid debate and that they’d look like fools if they took the conspiracy theorists seriously. But because there’s (evidently) nobody at TVNZ who knows anything about scientific issues they don’t understand that their show made them look like ignorant chumps, that Morgan and Wishart are not qualified to speak on scientific issues and that by hosting a debate about a fake controversy they’re actively misleading the public.

Update: A few people have emailed me to point out that Close Up did, in fact have serious inteview with a 9/11 truther a few weeks ago. Sorry, like I said, I don’t watch the show. I overestimated their intelligence and integrity.

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88 Comments »

  1. Danyl: Morgan and Wishart are not qualified to speak on scientific issues

    No clearly, only the high priests can speak about that. And if scientists say we must sign away our economic future, and go back to live in a cave to save the world, we should just do that. I mean, there can be no debate, if the majority of scientists say the sun revolves around the earth.

    And eh, Australia didn’t sign the ETS. Does this still mean we should do as Australia does, with there “more balanced approach”?

    Comment by Berend de Boer — December 9, 2009 @ 6:25 am

  2. Thanks Berend. You’re funny. Faced with an issue which requires to choose from either your poltical philosophy (which offers no effective solution to AGW) or reality, you’ve chosen to walk away from reality. That’s why you’re all squawking so loudly.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — December 9, 2009 @ 6:34 am

  3. @Berend: Journalists are as qualified to debate climate change as they are qualified to debate any other complex topic that requires specialised knowledge that they don’t have.

    Ian Wishart’s views on climate change are going to be as well informed as his views on (to pick a subject I have some familiarity with) software engineering. Unfortunately climate change talks about subjects that sound deceptively like something many people understand — who doesn’t know how to compare the numbers in the TV weather forecast, or notice that the weather seems to be getting warmer/cooler? Doubly unfortunately climate change has the potential to make living on this planet awfully uncomfortable if we don’t do something about it.

    So we have a subject people think they understand, and can form opinions on, that has the potential to seriously alter life as we know it for the worse. But doing something about it has costs, and if we just complained hard enough that it’s all confusing and I thought the weather last summer was warmer anyway, maybe the problem will go away and we won’t have to make inconvenient changes to the way we do things.

    Also Close Up should totally have debates about software engineering issues. Object-oriented Ownership: a millstone, productivity boon, or just a way of exploding developer’s brains? Find out tonight, and call our 0900 voting service to express your view on this topical issue!

    Comment by Donald G — December 9, 2009 @ 6:46 am

  4. I disagree the problem is not enough journos with backgrounds in science. How is a journalist supposed to know who is telling the truth when you have real qualified scientists arguing about it? Take Ian Plimer as a case in point. He knows more about science than any “journo with a background in science” and he takes the position that warming is natural and that man may or may not have an impact, I think.

    Comment by radar — December 9, 2009 @ 7:48 am

  5. Ian Wishart frankly believes global warming is a part of a wider conspiracy to deliver a one world government. He proudly admits he is a religious bigot. He edits a magazine which published bizarre allegations about the husband of the prime minister and, amongst other things, has made unsubstantiated claims Islamic terrorists are infiltrating New Zealand. One would have thought that these facts – that he is clearly a (slightly?) unhinged conspiracy theorist – would have been uppermost in Close Up’s mind when the invites for a debate on climate change were being considered.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 9, 2009 @ 7:53 am

  6. One would have thought that these facts – that he is clearly a (slightly?) unhinged conspiracy theorist – would have been uppermost in Close Up’s mind when the invites for a debate on climate change were being considered.

    I don’t doubt they were. Think of Close Up as a reality TV show: the absolute last thing the producers want is stable, well-adjusted participants who’ll take it easy and not cause anyone any problems – who’d watch that? What’s needed are highly-strung weirdos, preferably with some easily-identified personality defects so that the viewers can easily categorise them into appropriate dramatis personae. It seems likely the Close Up producers were well pleased with the outcome.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — December 9, 2009 @ 7:59 am

  7. I think the climate change scientists have created the sceptics by acting like assholes whenever anybody asks a reasonable question. I am personally convinced by the theories, data, and scientific consensus on AGW, but it took me a lot of work to get past the public logic chopping and abuse used to defend the theory.

    In sales, objections are seen as a buying signal and a useful indicator of genuine interest and engagement. In climate science, they are seen as a signal to accuse the interlocuter of being a flat-earther and a holocaust denier.

    Comment by vibenna — December 9, 2009 @ 8:00 am

  8. “Science is a good thing. News reporters are good things too. But it’s never a good idea to put them in the same room.” – Scott Adams.

    Scott Adams aside, journalists are trained to talk around a subject so that they get a full picture even if they don’t know the details of the topic they’re interviewing on. What they rely upon is talking to someone who knows the details of the topic at hand – and neither Wishart nor Morgan can be called experts when they’re, at best, interested amateurs who have done as much research as suits them.

    Close Up has done a disservice to the public by not interviewing people who actually have the necessary information – whether for or against climate change. If you’re not interviewing the experts then you’re not a news source: You’re a entertainment source, and should stop masquerading as a freaking news outlet.

    /rant.

    Comment by Ataahua — December 9, 2009 @ 8:06 am

  9. Dim, I’m guessing you haven’t watched a lot of Close Up. I don’t think there are a lot of people with backgrounds in history or politics running the show. They would certainly have 9/11 truthers on and probably have. It’s television for vegetables, by vegetables.

    Comment by Sara — December 9, 2009 @ 8:08 am

  10. Well said, Danyl. I wasted no time on filing a long and loud complaint to TVNZ, though I have no confidence that they will listen or care. It is quite something for the state broadcaster to cheapen and trivialise public debate on such a big issue. Hurrah for Radio NZ and their commitment to science, Hurrah for Kim Hill and her interest in science.

    Comment by Carol — December 9, 2009 @ 8:23 am

  11. How is a journalist supposed to know who is telling the truth when you have real qualified scientists arguing about it? Take Ian Plimer as a case in point. He knows more about science than any “journo with a background in science” and he takes the position that warming is natural and that man may or may not have an impact, I think.

    Like Tim Flannery and, to a lesser degree, Ruud Kleinpaste, much of Plimer’s public success is due to his being a personable scientist who communicates well outside of academia. While he could be described as a climate-change skeptic, he’s no friend of flat-earthers. During the Australian court case in which he unsuccessfully sued the creationist Allen Roberts, Professor Plimer was obliged to address his adversary as “Doctor”, despite Roberts’s “doctorate” being of the paid mail-order variety.

    Comment by joe W — December 9, 2009 @ 8:29 am

  12. “I think the climate change scientists have created the sceptics..”
    I think there’s an element of truth in this, Vibenna. however, it doesn’t explain the ideological basis for climate change denialism, which is strongly rooted at the far-right, free-market end of the political spectrum.

    Comment by Carol — December 9, 2009 @ 8:40 am

  13. The Science Media Centre aren’t exactly getting through to the networks are they.

    Comment by garethw — December 9, 2009 @ 9:01 am

  14. Ideological biases exist at both ends of the spectrum – the far-right free market types refuse to believe that collective action via government can fix anything, so can’t accept the need for legislation. Equally though the hard-Greens thought we’ve been destroying the planet since the development of agriculture, so are just as likely to accept ridiculous claims as the far right are to reject good ones.

    The Christians interest me the most – with a revelation of apocalypse including being “scorched by the sun” they should be preachers of Climate Change. Maybe if John had seen the seas flood instead of drying up, they’d be true Believers…

    Comment by gazzaj — December 9, 2009 @ 9:11 am

  15. You have a point, Gazza.

    Comment by Carol — December 9, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  16. gaazaj: I think the psychology of climate change denial is like the situation where the wife is always last person to find out her husband is having an affair. When she is eventually confronted with the truth, she realises she knew what was happening all along, but pretended she didn’t because it was just to much.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 9, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  17. the psychology of climate change denial is like the situation where the wife is always last person to find out her husband is having an affair

    I think it’s dumber than that. The Greens believe in climate change, the deniers don’t like the Greens, ergo they don’t believe in climate change.

    Comment by danylmc — December 9, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  18. Could have been worse. Could have been hosted by Paul Henry.

    L

    Comment by Lew — December 9, 2009 @ 9:54 am

  19. “Could have been worse. Could have been hosted by Paul Henry.”

    “So, Gareth, do you think climate change is caused by women with moustaches or is it because of retards?”

    Comment by nommopilot — December 9, 2009 @ 10:04 am

  20. “I think there’s an element of truth in this, Vibenna. however, it doesn’t explain the ideological basis for climate change denialism, which is strongly rooted at the far-right, free-market end of the political spectrum”

    That’s actually quite funny. You see, if looking at the actual bottom-line added expense that every NZ business and household will have to pay as a result of the ETS, then yes, I am the proudest climate-change denier rooted in the far-right, free-market end of the political spectrum that can be! Climate change supporters distinguish themselves by talking up the need to respond to climate change without ever mentioning who will have to pay for it.

    So let’s bring out the proverbial wolfs-bane statistics and see if you feel they are fair- PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated in their ‘Emission critical 9′ september report that based on the predicted price of carbon in the future, our wholesale electricity bills will go up between 9 and 37%, while our petrol bills will go up between 2.5 and 14%. Is that alright by you Carol? Are you happy for your monthly power bill to go up from $300 to $411 solely due to the ETS under the worst case scenario, and independent of any additional price rises that might occur for other reasons? Do you think it fair for every household in NZ to have to bear this sort of price rise in 2013 when the government subsidies are fully removed that cushion us from the effects of the ETS? You would have to be pretty ignorant to say yes considering the sad state of the science as it currently stands.

    Comment by Johnnieboy — December 9, 2009 @ 10:32 am

  21. “Morgan and Wishart are not qualified to speak on scientific issues”

    I thought that this very blog is exactly that, commentary and opinions on subjects that you are not qualified to speak on.

    A case of “Look other do as I do, the outrage!”

    Comment by cj_nza — December 9, 2009 @ 10:46 am

  22. I thought that this very blog is exactly that, commentary and opinions on subjects that you are not qualified to speak on.

    I’m an idiot on a blog, not an ‘expert’ on the nations flagship current affairs show.

    Whenever journalists do email/call me asking for comment I tell them to go ask a political scientist or some other authority.

    Comment by danylmc — December 9, 2009 @ 10:49 am

  23. “the nations flagship current affairs show”
    That is a profoundly depressing thought. What is wrong with the knowledge base of our population? Was it our education system when we were young?

    Comment by Carol — December 9, 2009 @ 11:18 am

  24. Johnnieboy – believing in climate change is not the same as supporting the ETS; just because you acknowledge a problem doesn’t mean you support any solution to it anyone suggests. Your argument seems to be that because the ETS will cost a lot of money, climate change can’t be true.

    Comment by Helen — December 9, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  25. “on the nations flagship current affairs show”

    Yes, they are not experts on a science show, they comment on current affairs with “above average” knowledge of the subject matter.

    The nature of this current affair requires some understanding of the ecosystem we live in. Laws get passed in our flagship parliament on this very subject by representatives that display even less expertise of the subject matter. Are they not qualified to vote on?

    Comment by cj_nza — December 9, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  26. Who wouldn’t have enjoyed the show?

    One bloke known for promoting unproven conspiracies up against another defending some scientists with a *proven* track record of lies, fraud, internal doubts, manipulation and shoddy science.

    Wishart “won” the debate because he produced incontestable evidence of crud in the programming, and mentioned hard numbers showing the absolute size of the money involved in producing the science and the mind boggling size of the penance that we have to make.

    Wishart didn’t have to be accurate.. only show the enormity of the money involved to an audience that probably didn’t previously understand how much it would affect them.

    JC

    Comment by JC — December 9, 2009 @ 11:30 am

  27. I’m an idiot on a blog, not an ‘expert’

    Easy tiger, them is fighting words!!

    Love the picture from ‘Idiocracy’, sums it all up well. Brawndo: the thirst mutilator -“Because it has Electrolytes”

    Comment by andy (the other one) — December 9, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  28. “I think the problem is that so few journalists have any kind of background in science”
    Yes, that what we denialists keep saying, LOL! If more were qualified IN ANYTHING other than Eng Lit, then we’d get better analysis of the news.

    “What they rely upon is talking to someone who knows the details of the topic at hand” Yep, I’d interview Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Al Gore… hang on…

    “the absolute last thing the producers want is stable, well-adjusted participants” Augie Auer!

    “Thanks Berend. You’re funny. Faced with an issue which requires to choose from either your poltical philosophy (which offers no effective solution to AGW)” WTF? If you don’t think AGW is real, then there is no problem to fix and we can all go on about our business (or other people’s business in the case of the lefties!).

    “I think it’s dumber than that. The Greens believe in climate change, the deniers don’t like the Greens, ergo they don’t believe in climate change.”
    I don’t like the Greens, but I still like personal liberty and equal rights and recognition for minorities (which I believe the Greens believe in).

    I don’t get it: if this massive increase in the greenhouse effect were real, then we’d no longer see dew after a still, clear evening.*

    (*Sometime next year, before the onset of winter, Wellington may actually enjoy a still, clear night. I shall report back after then.)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 9, 2009 @ 11:50 am

  29. If more were qualified IN ANYTHING other than Eng Lit, then we’d get better analysis of the news.

    Hey, I’ve read what journos write and on that basis cannot believe that there’s a hell of a lot of Eng Lit grads among them.

    A few people have emailed me to point out that Close Up did, in fact have serious inteview with a 9/11 truther a few weeks ago.

    Like I said, the producers want highly strung weirdos who can be easily sorted into dramatis personae, not people who can talk sensibly about an area they have expertise in. If current affairs went in for that sort of thing, people might start to wonder why the news consists of funerals and celebrity gossip – where would it all end?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — December 9, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

  30. “the absolute last thing the producers want is stable, well-adjusted participants” Augie Auer!

    I hope you’re not suggesting they should have Augie Auer on.

    I don’t get it: if this massive increase in the greenhouse effect were real, then we’d no longer see dew after a still, clear evening.

    Is joke?

    I started thinking that was merely the kind of it’s-been-chilly-lately-so-AGW-is-a-lie idiocy that should disqualify someone from the argument.

    But then it struck me it’s also exactly wrong. Are you saying that it would be less humid in a global warming scenario, or that climate change would stop it getting colder at night?

    Comment by lyndon — December 9, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  31. “I thought that this very blog is exactly that, commentary and opinions on subjects that you are not qualified to speak on.”

    Anyone is qualified to comment upon the media, it’s the minutiae of climatology which neither Wishart nor Morgan have any expertise in nor authority to debate. Danyl is as capable as anyone of pointing out that we are being shat upon by lazy and dishonest journalists who would rather spend 15 minutes hyping up a phone poll and collecting information-free soundbites from conspiracy theorists than actually try and explain the science in accessible ways.

    Comment by nommopilot — December 9, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

  32. Uh, the ETS is our principle means of dealing with climate change in NZ. The penny hasn’t dropped yet for those that support climate change that at some point in the future we will all have to get out our wallets, and pay our hard-earned cash to someone else in order to indirectly pay off our own personal climate change liability which is purely expressed in financial terms, and not in some feel-good lets all pitch in like Habitat for Humanity and build a house for a stranger for one day and then we will have done our bit!

    We will be paying this debt off from 2013 through to forever people! I haven’t had one climate change supporter come forward and say that they will be happy to take that massive hit to their wallet of at least $1000 in extra money every year indefinitely. It doesn’t matter if you support climate change or not- are you personally in a position that you will be able to afford the extra $100- $200 that will come out of your pocket every month? Will you be happy with a decreased standard of living in 2013 while knowing that someone in China has just gotten a cash handout off your hard work?

    When 2013 rolls around (and even in 2011 when part of these subsidies are removed), there will be many angry taxpayers who can no longer make ends meet, who will demand answers directly from the climate scientists and the government who promoted the ETS as our contribution to reducing global warming- is that difficult to understand Helen? Does that sound like far-right free-market extremism, or more like, ‘how the hell to pay the grocery bill’?

    Comment by Johnnieboy — December 9, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  33. “…who will demand answers directly from the climate scientists and the government who promoted the ETS as our contribution to reducing global warming-…”

    The scientists are not promoting an ETS – the science and the politics of global warming are only tangentially connected – just because you believe the scientific conclusions of AGW/CC, does not mean you agree with the ETS. Most of the opposition to the ETS amendment foisted upon us was exactly on the basis you describe and much of it came from those who accept that climate change is a grave and emmanent threat to our civilisation.

    So government yos, scientists no.

    Comment by nommopilot — December 9, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

  34. That is semantics nommopilot. When the penny drops no-one is going to care how much or little scientists disagree with the ETS- they will only care that an ETS was based on what is now seen as a field of science that has become highly politicized even by the admission of IPCC scientists. Scientists opened a door that never should have been opened- and the government just walked through it. Scientists are going to cop it for our increased power bills, and so will the government, that is for sure.

    Comment by Johnnieboy — December 9, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  35. Re: “I think the climate change scientists have created the sceptics..”

    I’m now going to permit myself to use the following phrase: That’s probably what they want you to think.

    The climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. And it’s working | George Monbiot

    Comment by lyndon — December 9, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

  36. Take Ian Plimer as a case in point. He knows more about science than any “journo with a background in science” and he takes the position that warming is natural and that man may or may not have an impact, I think.

    Okay. Ummm. The case of Ian Plimer.

    He’s a geologist, and a director of three mining companies – Keri, CBHR and Ivanhoe (who just landed a juicy contract in Mongolia and who will be huge contributors to the guaranteed minimum income project going on there) – who thinks that the ETS will destroy the mining industry in Australia and create mass unemployment. Geologist, not economist, remember. Where does his expertise stop?

    He also wrote a book on how global warming is all crap, and I presume he’s not giving it away for free, so there’s another vested interest.

    There. The case of Ian Plimer.

    Comment by Chris C — December 9, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

  37. “I hope you’re not suggesting they should have Augie Auer on.”
    Well, yes, it’s a bit late now, but he at least wasn’t a nutter.

    “I don’t get it: if this massive increase in the greenhouse effect were real, then we’d no longer see dew after a still, clear evening.”
    Is joke? I started thinking that was merely the kind of it’s-been-chilly-lately-so-AGW-is-a-lie idiocy that should disqualify someone from the argument.
    But then it struck me it’s also exactly wrong. Are you saying that it would be less humid in a global warming scenario, or that climate change would stop it getting colder at night?

    My comment was not about humidity, it was about the Greenhouse effect. It is more apparent at night: we get hotter because less heat escapes back into space, that is, it’s trapped in the greenhouse. It’s similar to closing your windows as the sun goes down to trap the day’s heat for the evening. The extra greenhouses gases (i.e. CO2 and the theoretical runaway sea evaporation that didn’t seem to occur during past warming periods) would have the same effect as shutting the windows to trap the heat. (If you believe the unproven (some would say disproven) assumption of positive feedbacks, that is.)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 9, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  38. “Geologist, not economist, remember.”
    Few board directors are economists, they still call “shit” if they smell it, though.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 9, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

  39. Lyndon links to Monbiot “You can see it in the measured temperature record, which goes back to 1850;” Gee-whiz, (leaving aside which dataset he’s referring to) what was the climate doing before that, Lyndon? Have current temperatures reached the dizzying heights of the Medieval Warming Period yet? But hang on, how did temperatures fall since then, as the positive feedbacks that AGW assume, would have kicked in to bake the planet, surely?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 9, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  40. “Few board directors are economists, they still call “shit” if they smell it, though.”

    Especially if it means that they have to change the status quo, and appear on boards as the acceptable face of science, whose interests in the maintenance of the status quo outweigh the desire for change. I’d like to see Dr. Plimer’s cost/benefit analysis on the impact of the ETS, and I’d like to see if he’s explored alternative scenarios, or if his dire predictions on the economic impact of the ETS depend on maintaining the current behaviours of businesses and the economy across the board.

    Incidentally, did you know that one of the first symptoms of schizophrenia is olfactory hallucinations?

    Comment by Chris C — December 9, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

  41. “But the warming trend is closely correlated with the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The impact of these gases can be demonstrated in the laboratory. To assert that they do not have the same effect in the atmosphere, a novel and radical theory would be required. No such theory exists.”

    Hello, is Mon saying that an incorrect, discredited or even disproven theory cannot be discarded until a new theory comes along? Phew a Journo that doesn’t do science, me thinks.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 9, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

  42. “When I use the term denial industry, I’m referring to those who are paid to say that man-made global warming isn’t happening. The great majority of people who believe this have not been paid: they have been duped. Reading Climate Cover-Up, you keep stumbling across familiar phrases and concepts which you can see every day on the comment threads. The book shows that these memes were planted by PR companies and hired experts.”

    Oh, I see: I’m a useful idiot for the oil industry.

    How is he so sure that the AGW idea isn’t an example of cascading mixed with groupthink?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 9, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  43. “I’d like to see Dr. Plimer’s cost/benefit analysis on the impact of the ETS” Sure, if the taxpayer funded it, then I’m sure you could place a Freedom of Information (or aussie equiv) request to get it. he may even release it to you, right after the CRU release the original untampered-with taxpayer-funded dataset they based their work on.

    Luckily, all those wind turbines that you want are made of the renewable resourse called wood, so they won’t rely on mined minerals for their construction.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 9, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

  44. “Oh, I see: I’m a useful idiot for the oil industry. ”

    That’s where I’ve currently got you filed.

    Comment by nommopilot — December 9, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

  45. “Hello, is Mon saying that an incorrect, discredited or even disproven theory cannot be discarded until a new theory comes along? Phew a Journo that doesn’t do science, me thinks.”

    He has an MA in Zoology, so, yeah.

    Also, he’s not saying that the theory of global warming as he puts it forward is incorrect, discredited or disproven. That’s your contention, not his. Don’t project.

    He’s saying that the experiments in laboratory conditions have mundane validity because no alternative theory as to why this behaviour happens exists, and in the best traditions of Popperian science, this theory has yet to be disproven. In fact, with all the contentions and whatifs thrown about, the theory of AGW has in fact become even more robust as it’s been tested. Which is the basis of Popperian science: testable and falsifiable, and a theory which becomes stronger as it is subject to such testing.

    He’s saying that despite the obvious theory-testing, the debate has been hijacked, debased and confused by companies who earn hundreds of billions of dollars in profit every year on practises that are in direct contradiction to the suggested causes of global warming.

    “Sure, if the taxpayer funded it, then I’m sure you could place a Freedom of Information (or aussie equiv) request to get it. he may even release it to you, right after the CRU release the original untampered-with taxpayer-funded dataset they based their work on.

    Luckily, all those wind turbines that you want are made of the renewable resourse called wood, so they won’t rely on mined minerals for their construction.”

    I’m sure that’s exactly the kind of thing that isn’t in Dr. Plimer’s cost/benefit analysis for his widely reported statements on the economic sense of the Australian ETS.

    I’m sure the taxpayer didn’t fund it. I’m also sure that you don’t know or have conveniently ignored that the CRU original, untampered-with, non-adjusted dataset – not funded entirely by the taxpayer, but a collection of readings from around the globe, from various institutions, public and private – was destroyed in the 1980s when the CRU moved into their new buildings. Space considerations.

    That’s either space considerations, or the global warming scam has been decades in the making, right down to the architects who didn’t make a big enough space available!

    And if you believe that, then JewsDidWTCOMG! And I have an interesting proposition from a Nigerian price you might be interested in…

    Comment by Chris C — December 9, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

  46. I suppose, we shouldn’t be surprised that large numbers of people inexplicably refuse to believe the objective truths of global warming. After all, large number of people apparently subscribe to the mind bogglingly stupid idea that the September 11, 2001 attacks were some sort of U.S. government conspiracy.

    Imagine how bad things would be now for rational and intelligent people if the 9/11 truthers had been also funded by Exxon-Mobil.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 9, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

  47. “objective truths of global warming”

    Or perhaps some will point out that you cannot use “objective” and “truths” and then refer to “global warming”.

    Comment by cj_nza — December 9, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  48. Nommopilot @ 31

    “Anyone is qualified to comment upon the media” in response to “commentary and opinions on subjects that you are not qualified to speak on”

    I did not say this blog entry, I said this blog. This blog covers a diverse number of topics of which media is but one.

    Further I did not comment on Danyl’s capabilities. I commented on a statement that non-scientists are not qualified to debate a “scientific issue” on a current affairs program.

    In addition to Danyl’s requirement that a commentator needs to be “qualified” you now also require them to be “have authority”. Then you make an assessment that these specific commentators have neither qualification nor authority due to a lack of understanding of the “minutiae of climatology”.

    If by your own criteria, an understanding of the “minutiae of climatology” is required, then this disqualifies the media as commentators and educators on this subject, not only the lazy ones but even the hardworking ones. By your own criteria not only do you now require a science correspondent to understand science, but she is now required to understand the “minutiae of climatology”.

    You either accept the position that a general understanding rather than an understanding of the “minutiae of climatology” is required in which case these speakers are qualified or you suggest that understanding of the subject matter is beyond the grasp of all but a very small subset of scientists.

    If such fine detail is required it also disqualifies the general populace from ever understanding it. This means that your requirement that the media should educate is moot.

    Comment by cj_nza — December 9, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  49. Johnnieboy@12:37

    “I haven’t had one climate change supporter come forward and say that they will be happy to take that massive hit to their wallet of at least $1000 in extra money every year indefinitely. It doesn’t matter if you support climate change or not- are you personally in a position that you will be able to afford the extra $100- $200 that will come out of your pocket every month? Will you be happy with a decreased standard of living in 2013 while knowing that someone in China has just gotten a cash handout off your hard work?”

    Let me pop your cherry – I am a “climate change supporter” (surely “believer”?) who will be “happy” to take that “massive hit” of at least $1000 in extra money every year indefinitely. Because NOT adopting measures like the ETS to combat AGW will result in far, far greater material hardship in the future … see http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/Executive_Summary.pdf (and actually read it before responding, please).

    Point is – you can’t throw up the immediate cost of measures like the ETS against a hypothetical future without such costs, because science is telling us that our future without such measures in place is going to be radically different to today’s world. And those radical differences will impose far, far higher costs on us collectively and individually. Or, to put it another way … obviously, paying income protection insurance sucks money out of my pocket today. But if I don’t pay that insurance, and then contract a debilitating disease, I will be materially far worse off in the future. So it is entirely rational to adopt that cost today to avoid the greater cost in the future. Where the analogy breaks down, of course, is that the risk of future climate change is far, far, far more greater than me as an individual contracting such a disease. But the general point still applies.

    Oh – and cj_nza – perhaps you can give us an example of where you can use “objective” and “truths” in relation to a subject, and then explain why that usage differs from that of Sanctuary?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 9, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

  50. cj. Thanks for telling me what you think I said but you’ve misunderstood and/or misrepresented me somewhat.

    I think journalists can and should have a very important role in the discussion of climate change, but that the information they present must come from credible sources.

    My point is that when there are thousands of scientists on one side of the debate and at least a couple on the other, why they would choose these two people to ‘debate’ the topic.

    If you needed your car fixed would you go to an economist who specialises in the auto industry or a journalist who reviews cars? I would go to somebody who has some kind of authority in the specific area of the automotive industry that deals with fixing cars.

    What is your problem with expecting journalists to go to the people with in-depth training and knowledge of a subject in order to help the public understand the issue?

    Comment by nommopilot — December 9, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  51. Danyl, your writing style is brillant and I find you genuinely amusing, particularly about Mark Sainsbury….

    However, the fact that nobody at TVNZ is qualified (or intelligent) enough to seriously discuss ‘climate change’ is a big contributing factor as to why the public believes that there is a problem in the first place. This also goes for most of the other mainstream media. They are driven more by the need for cataclysmic shock-horror predictions than by actual common sense and fact. Thus, the idiotic herd ‘believes’ in AGW or even the Climate Change is real and a problem in the first place.

    At least TVNZ is finally willing to actually present some sort of ‘debate’ on the question. You, for all your good humour and snappy presentation, would by the sound of it wish to continue to shut down discussion in favour of your ‘the science is settled’ quasi-religious belief system.

    Comment by Dave Mann — December 9, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  52. “shut down discussion in favour of your ‘the science is settled’ quasi-religious belief system”

    where all waiting for the denialists to bring some science but all we get is trolls barking on about hacked email conspiracies and hockey sticks. by all means bring the scientific debate. especially some actual science.

    while we wait, let’s move on to the “AGW seems likely, what shall we do about it?” debates.

    Comment by nommopilot — December 9, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  53. “32.Uh, the ETS is our principle means of dealing with climate change in NZ”
    The ETS loads ZERO cost on NZ. Zero. Signing Kyoto loaded the cost on us. An ETS (well, a normal ETS unlike National’s corporate handout) would actually reduce costs on NZ. No ETS? Bigger cost on the taxpayer come Kyoto payment time (given that no polluters would have been paying and therefore no mitigation at all).

    I can’t believe how many people who claim to be “really well researched on this maaan” still get this basic fact wrong.

    Comment by garethw — December 9, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  54. No, nommopilot, thats the whole point. AGW doesn’t seem likely. It doesn’t even seem rational. The whole idea that human beings are somehow fucking with the planet’s climate – given the historic and prehistoric huge swings from warmer to cooler, ice ages etc – is counter intuitive, actually.

    There is no rational basis to think that we are stuffing up the planet’s climate whatsoever. If you want to indulge yourself in guilt, fear and delusion, then please feel free to practise your religious beliefs in the privacy of your own mind…. but don’t shove them down the developed world’s throat please, and don’t try to impose your crazy beliefs on everybody else.

    Comment by Dave Mann — December 9, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  55. Everyone of you is in denial.

    NZ needs to get ahead of the curve.

    These seem like the go.

    AGM-84 Harpoon
    SLAM [Stand-Off Land Attack Missile]

    http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/agm-84.htm

    Comment by Simon — December 9, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  56. “don’t try to impose your crazy beliefs on everybody else.”
    Aaaahhhahahahahahahhaa.
    Science. What a crazy belief.

    Comment by garethw — December 9, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  57. Dave Mann,

    “The whole idea that human beings are somehow fucking with the planet’s climate – given the historic and prehistoric huge swings from warmer to cooler, ice ages etc – is counter intuitive, actually.”

    If your starting position is “this theory cannot be true”, then you ain’t doing science. You just ain’t. So either you have to accept that humans CAN change the Earth’s environment and then examine the evidence for that proposition (which means engaging in detail with the IPCC reports, etc), or you can state that humans cannot change the Earth’s environment and accept you aren’t a part of the scientific debate. Which is fine. You can have some other system of truth to live by if you want. Just please stop using airplanes, cars and electricity. ‘Cause they are ours – the science-based world’s.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 9, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  58. If your starting position is “this theory cannot be true”, then you ain’t doing science.

    Yes, you are. You are presenting a hypothesis, i.e. that “this theory cannot be true” and then testing that hypothesis against all available evidence to reach a conclusion. As I understood it, the scientific method was to test hypotheses. And most scientific positions start with a hypothesis that either confirms or rejects a particular problem – I want to find out if x is true, so I test it against y and z and hope I get a significant correlation.

    If, on the other hand, your starting position is “this theory cannot be true” and then you don’t actually test that theory, instead you just set out to collect evidence that this theory cannot be true, then you’re not doing science. You’re doing Wishart.

    Comment by Chris C — December 9, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  59. “How about you read it before responding please”

    Andrew, how about you remember that you actually live in NZ, not in the UK. Our fiscal impact statement is here: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/ris/pdfs/ris-mfe-ccrmet-sep09.pdf

    The Stern report is a piece of propaganda. It states that the impact to the UK economy of climate change policies will be 1% of their GDP, and that honestly is the only thing it says- no business impact or household impact statements. That 1% is a joke when you look at our fiscal impact statement. Nick Smith in parliament said that the ETS will cost our economy up to 8% of GDP- and treasury publicly stated that the government had underestimated NZ’s liability by at least half at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-treasury/news/article.cfm?o_id=358&objectid=10609616

    While the treasury statement references the Stern report in its conclusion, it also points to the huge risks we are taking- we are also jeopardising a $500million to $1.25 billion trade relationship with Australia that may see an unknown proportion of our exporters moving to Australia permanently.

    Also, Andrew, are you an NZer earning close to the median income of $538 weekly in the last quarter? What if you are earning that and have to pay an extra $50 a week solely due to the ETS? Would you have any disposable income left-over? Did you see the article in the paper about Meridian also jacking up their gas prices by 5% today in the herald for over 65000 customers, in anticipation of further rises due to the ETS next year? Why don’t you get your head around the severity of the hardship that is about to be inflicted on the average NZ household in 2013?

    Comment by Johnnieboy — December 9, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  60. Why didn’t we just tell the Kyoto band-wagoners to fuck off, so that the real scientists can solve Global Warming for nickles and dimes?

    http://intellectualventureslab.com/

    Comment by Phil — December 9, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

  61. Nick Smith in parliament said that the ETS will cost our economy up to 8% of GDP- and treasury publicly stated that the government had underestimated NZ’s liability by at least half

    That’s the fiscal impact of National’s changes to the ETS. The cost to Tresury.

    It’s the amount that industry/consumers aren’t paying, that they would have done under labour’s ETS (with taxpayers either forgoing that income or paying that money, depending on how you look at it). I’d have thought that would seem relatively good to you.

    Our Kyoto debt, FWIW, will be of the ordor of one billion dollars.

    Funny, when I left we were talking about the reality of anthropogenic global warming.

    @ Chris C
    I think the point is ‘this theory cannot be true’ isn’t a useful hypothesis; ‘this theory isn’t true’ would be more like it.

    Comment by lyndon — December 9, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  62. This isn’t about science so non-scientists on the show is perfectly acceptable.

    Comment by Gooner — December 9, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  63. Johnnieboy,

    So I assume you have an alternative ETS mechanism/carbon tax proposal that better spreads the cost of combating AGW amongst the entire population? If so, I’m genuinely open to it … especially if it leads to higher income earners paying more of the costs. (I’m all in favour of progressive taxation models.) But remember, the basic principle of any anti-AGW response has to be increasing the cost of using carbon. So your alternative scheme has to ensure that enough of an economic disincentive exists amongst the entire population to stop the problem … which means even comparatively poor people will have to pay something … because there’s going to be no entirely pain free way out of this mess.

    Oh – and my point re the Stern Report simply is that the immediate costs of responding to climate change are dwarfed by the long term costs of not doing so. Which is the only relative metric of comparison here.

    Chris C,

    No, you cannot use the term “cannot” in a scientific hypothesis. If you want to do science, you must seek to validate a hypothesis that something is/is not true through evidence. But to start from the position that because the climate has altered through non-human causes in the past, it CANNOT be being altered by human processes today is not only logically flawed as a statement, it is not science. And so what Wishart did wasn’t science. It was seizing on any possible confirmation of his somewhat odd world view that as only God can do big things, mankind can’t possibly be changing the climate, and then only presenting that confirmation as the only relevant data for consideration. Hence … only God can wipe out an entire species of his own creation. Thus humans cannot have been responsible for the extinction of the Dodo. And since there is no evidence that accounts for humans killing every single last Dodo, it proves that humans weren’t responsible. Or some such malarky.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 9, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

  64. You cannot use the term cannot? :D I hope you realise what semantic bog you’re dragging me into here…

    I would not use cannot in a hypothesis. I would use terms such as “unlikely” and “insignificant impact”. But even if you avoid using that word, the point about method remains: Wishart doesn’t have one, and validating a hypothesis – even one with the word “cannot” in there – would require some kind of scientific method.

    What Wishart does is compile studies and interpretations of studies that don’t constitute anything but preaching to the converted. Very good collation, very little actual investigation. He’s not even on the Lomborg scale of plausible.

    Comment by Chris C — December 9, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

  65. Lyndon, true about the fiscal impact, but that still doesn’t look good to me as it won’t change the fact that the increase in our power and petrol bill each week in 2013 after treasury stops absorbing our liability may still be unaffordable for most.

    Treasury had to answer if NZ could afford the ETS, and was unable to do so. They wound up just formulating an opinion on the least risky option, and in doing so essentially succumbed to the politically expedient argument that whatever horrible, unknown mess we are getting ourselves in to with the ETS, it can’t be worse than any other alternative (none of which have been properly investigated). That is plainly a dumb, uninformed way to set long-term economic policy for any given issue, and the majority of NZers will never swallow that in our lifetime- it makes sense that we have this forced on us by those in government and the media who didn’t have the stones to tell us each what these decisions would cost us on a daily basis as the backlash would have been too unpalatable. We had to be told the impact by the accountants who are already profiting from helping businesses comply with the ETS legislation. Talk about passing the buck.

    The government has put the planet first, but do they realise that come election time it is still only about the economy? Has that attitude changed lately? Um, no. The only solution for those who can’t afford or want to avoid our ETS liability is to leave the country and start up somewhere else- Auz or Canada. You know that many will now consider this option seriously in the years to come.

    Comment by Johnnieboy — December 9, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  66. Johnnieboy wrote: “When 2013 rolls around (and even in 2011 when part of these subsidies are removed), there will be many angry taxpayers who can no longer make ends meet,”

    Johynnieboy, you’ve got that completely back-to-front. Taxpayers pay the subsidies now. If the subsidies were removed, the cost would stop falling on taxpayers.

    The cost would then fall on consumers, which sounds like it would cost us just as much (as most people are both consumers and taxpayers), but it’s different for two reasons. One is that a large proportion of New Zealand’s emissions are associated with producing food for foreigners, so transferring the cost to consumers would mean New Zealand taxpayers would stop subsidising foreign consumers of New Zealand’s exports. The other difference is that there would finally be an economic incentive to reduce emissions, which there isn’t for as long as the costs continue to be borne by taxpayers.

    Comment by kahikatea — December 9, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  67. Kahikatea, nope. See Dr Muriel Newman’s “A threat to freedom and prosperity”

    http://www.nzcpr.com/weekly200.htm

    “No-one will escape the cost of the ETS as it not only forces up the price of fuel and electricity, but of all other goods and services as well. And while National claims to have reduced the estimated cost to households, the fine print reveals that costs are only contained as a result of subsidies. Once the transition period ends in 2013, consumers will face a massive price shock.

    In light of the major impact that this policy will have on households, businesses and the economy as a whole, it would be reasonable to expect the National Party to provide a full cost-benefit analysis to the public. In fact, they promised to do just that when they signed their post-election agreement with the ACT Party. This information was to take the form of a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), a tool that is supposed to provide a high-level summary of the problem being addressed, the options being considered, and their associated costs and benefits. If the proposal is deemed to have a ‘significant impact on economic growth’, then Treasury’s Regulatory Impact Analysis Team will examine the RIS to see whether it is adequate.

    In spite of National’s promise, a “high quality” RIS was never produced. While the Ministry for the Environment’s analysis in the Bill is called an RIS, Treasury has stated, “the level and quality of analysis presented is not commensurate with the significance of the proposals” and “the RIS does not provide an adequate basis for informed decision-making.”

    Comment by Johnnieboy — December 9, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  68. “Kahikatea, nope. See Dr Muriel Newman’s “A threat to freedom and prosperity”

    http://www.nzcpr.com/weekly200.htm

    “No-one will escape the cost of the ETS as it not only forces up the price of fuel and electricity, but of all other goods and services as well.”

    pay attention Johnnyboy, that doesn’t contradict what I said at all.

    Eventually, when the subisides are removed, the cost will go onto all goods and services, but some of that will go on things that are consumed by foreigners. Until then, ALL the cost will be paid by New Zealand taxpayers, the same as it would if we had no ETS.

    Comment by kahikatea — December 9, 2009 @ 7:21 pm

  69. Kahikatea, yep I didn’t pay attention there sorry. However I still your point as being counter-intuitive. If NZ taxpayers cease to subsidize foreign consumption of our exports, does that in some way mitigate the fact that wages remain constant, expenses decrease and your average wage-earner has less disposable income after 2013? I don’t see your point.

    Also, if we stop ‘subsidising’ foreign consumption of our exports (another way of saying that the exporter’s production costs have increased?), we effectively have to supply our export goods at a higher sale price, don’t we? This usually results in these buyers buying less of our goods which is bad for the economy, I would have thought, especially for our squeezed export market.

    Comment by Johnnieboy — December 9, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

  70. LOL. Can I put my hand up as a climate change “supporter”? After all I live in Wellington.

    Lyndon @ 61: “8% of GDP is the fiscal impact” remind me where the gummint gets its money from? So we will have an impact on prices AND tax rises. Great, looking forward to that. Not sure if beneficiaries are, though (although I imagine that’s where some of that 8% will go of course: WFF and benefit increases).

    “Deniers” like me are just shaking our heads at the way folk like you dismiss the costs. You dismiss the undeniably MASSIVE costs of doing something, with no crdible knowledge of the costs of doing nothing and living with a warmer planet*. The polar bears survived the last warming, I’m confident they can moult a bit again.

    *BS

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 10, 2009 @ 6:52 am

  71. “no crdible knowledge”

    which is something you’re also blessed with clunker. I have to put my trust somewhere so I’m going with the thousands of trained scientists studying it rather than thousands of right wing blog commenters parroting every denialist meme that comes along long after they’ve been debunked.

    the costs of changing may be MASSIVE but they are by all credible accounts far less than carrying on with our industrial climate experiment…

    Comment by nommopilot — December 10, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  72. Has anyone else noticed the change in tactics from the deniers? All of a sudden they’ve stopped talking about climate change and starting screaming TAX! TAX! TAX!

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 10, 2009 @ 8:00 am

  73. So we will have an impact on prices AND tax rises.

    (assuming it continues as planned)

    Compared to Labour’s ETS, we have (after the first few years) much less impact on prices and much less money to treasury.

    Compared to no ETS, it’s hard to tell. National said they were aiming to make the scheme as a whole fiscally neutral, but they probably overshot.

    It (both the ETS, and Nats changes to it) is an enormous shuffling of money, but that’s not the same as the economy losing that money.

    Now, I don’t think it will reduce carbon output – it doesn’t seem designed to – which does indeed make the whole thing pointlessly destructive, but in a different sense than you might mean it.

    although I imagine that’s where some of that 8% will go of course: WFF and benefit increases

    What an imagination. It goes to free credit allocations to agriculture and industry.

    Comment by lyndon — December 10, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  74. Johnnyboy wrote: “Also, if we stop ’subsidising’ foreign consumption of our exports (another way of saying that the exporter’s production costs have increased?), we effectively have to supply our export goods at a higher sale price, don’t we? This usually results in these buyers buying less of our goods which is bad for the economy, I would have thought, especially for our squeezed export market.”

    It could be bad for the economy, but the same argument could be made for getting rid of any subsidy for exports. Economists have mostly concluded that subsidising exports is worse for the economy than not subsidising exports.

    Comment by kahikatea — December 10, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  75. The cost would then fall on consumers, which sounds like it would cost us just as much (as most people are both consumers and taxpayers), but it’s different for two reasons. One is that a large proportion of New Zealand’s emissions are associated with producing food for foreigners, so transferring the cost to consumers would mean New Zealand taxpayers would stop subsidising foreign consumers of New Zealand’s exports.

    It’s not really different for costs, because although we’d transfer costs to foreigners who buy our stuff, we buy a lot of their stuff in return and they’ll be busy transferring costs to us. In fact, National’s ETS over the next few years could put us in the not-so-attractive position of subsidising NZ’s ETS through our taxes, and funding other countries’ ETSs through higher import prices. Worst of both worlds – excellent governance, John.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — December 10, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  76. excellent governance, John

    We’re not blaming Key – it’s all the fault of those greedy Maaris.

    Comment by danylmc — December 10, 2009 @ 11:44 am

  77. Nommopilot @ 71 says “the costs of changing may be MASSIVE but they are by all credible accounts far less than carrying on with our industrial climate experiment…”

    Let’s say there’s a chance each of the “facts” about AGW is:
    90% chance that CO2 is a material greenhouse gas when free in the atmo
    60% chance that man’s co2 output is higher than rotting leaf litter + volcanoes, etc
    20% chance that the assumption of positive feedbacks via water vapour is correct (and this is the BIG assumption that has scientists arguing, not that YOU can hear it with your hands over my wallet, I mean your ears)
    40% chance that warming causes catastrophic weather/climate events than animals can’t cope with (cos I believe humans CAN)
    EQUALS 4.32% chance that we need to fcuk our economy up the orse with a broken bottle.

    Sanctuary @ 72 builds a strawman “All of a sudden [deniers] stopped talking about climate change and starting screaming TAX! TAX! TAX!”
    Well, you won’t listen to the argument that the science isn’t settled, so we try other arguments. In conversations I even play devil’s advocate and say “assume it’s true” and then focus on the costs v benefits of doing nothing. One of the costs of doing nothing would include having to compete with wine produced in the north of England. Oh, and presumably seal cubs’ pelts won’t fetch as much as they do now.

    Lyndon @ 73: it’s no use arguing the merits of NatLab’s scheme vs. LabNat’s scheme as they are both equally pointless. Once all industry (and a lot of farming) has moved to non-protocol countries, we will truly experience “the greatest recession since the Great Depression”.
    Whether the science of AGW is correct or not, freeloaders and cheats will ensure that our action to avoid AGW is rendered pointless.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 10, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  78. it’s no use arguing the merits of NatLab’s scheme vs. LabNat’s scheme

    I only brought it up because you were throwing around numbers that only relate to comparisons of the schemes.

    Comment by lyndon — December 10, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

  79. My apology. So NatLAb’s ETS will cost taxpayers $8 billion more than LabNat’s scheme, but LabNat’s scheme will (give or take) cost consumers/producers $8 billion more than NatLab’s scheme. Can you see why I am not jumping for joy over either scheme?

    A million dollars is what you’d get earning the average wage for twenty years. A billion dollars is what you’d get if you won Lotto every week for twenty years
    Once $ numbers get bigger than twice my mortgage, I can no longer comprehend them. Evidently, neither can our Parliamentarians.

    That $8 billion DIFFERENCE is $2000 per person per annum, $38/week. What will you have to give up in order to pay your share, Lyndon?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 10, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

  80. “EQUALS 4.32% chance that we need to fcuk our economy up the orse with a broken bottle.”

    that’s some impressive mathematics. and you got these numbers from where? oh you made them up. are you seriously hoping to change my mind about this by just making stuff up?

    oh and look on the very next line you complain about someone else’s strawman, which you attack using the curious tactic of admitting that it is a perfectly accurate description of your behavior before drifting off into some incoherent reference to the price of seal-cub pelts.

    you are either a genius ninja of climate science or a curmudgeonly buffoon. let’s say there is a .002% chance of the former…

    Comment by nommopilot — December 10, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  81. ClunkingFist:

    “40% chance that warming causes catastrophic weather/climate events than animals can’t cope with (cos I believe humans CAN)”

    Of course (some) humans can “cope” with such catastrophic weather/climate events. The question is, at what cost? And is that future cost significantly higher than the present cost of avoiding such events? In other words, I could “cope” with having my income slashed by 75% in the future … I’d just have to live off rice and beans. But it is rational for me to take out income protection insurance at a lower cost now, so as to avoid that future situation. Same goes for measures to combat AGW today … you can’t compare the cost of adopting them with the costs of not adopting them and having the world remain the same in the future. You have to compare the costs of adopting them with the costs of not adopting them and having the world more-than-likely become a far more expensive place to exist (which is what the science tells us, no matter that you invent figures to try and deny that reality).

    Of course, by then you may well be dead. So it’ll be your kids who pay. And their kids. And their kids.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 10, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  82. The point of putting a price on carbon is to put a price on carbon. I would incline to be giving everyone any profit back in cash, but as I say there’s not *supposed* to be any. If it was all on carbon, I could take the hint and buy less carbon-intensive stuff, but obviously if it goes on the national tab I won’t have that option.

    But anyway, considering there are two sides, it is a emissions ‘trading’ scheme, I’m distrustful of your calculations. Nor do I recognise you $8 billion from anywhere, which does not help my impression.

    Comment by lyndon — December 10, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  83. “I would incline to be giving everyone any profit back in cash”
    Or 100% revenue recycle and put it all towards MoE emission reduction programmes.

    Comment by garethw — December 10, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

  84. “60% chance that man’s co2 output is higher than rotting leaf litter + volcanoes, etc”

    I don’t see why that’s got fuck all to do with anything. The point is surely that man’s emissions are in addition to all those other non human type background emmissions. It’s the total that counts right? Whether they come from volcanoes or exhaust pipes doesn’t matter. Except that we can control the exhaust pipes.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — December 10, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

  85. Just FYI – the sum total of all CO2 out-gassed by active volcanoes amounts to about 1/150th of anthropogenic emissions. So please, STFU with the volcano crap, you’re just embarrassing yourself.

    Interesting interview here on Wired about the head-in-the-sand nature of psychological denial of climate change: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/climate-psychology/
    Full paper here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1407958 (of course that is from that bastion of communist propaganda the World Bank)

    Comment by garethw — December 10, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  86. Sorry to make you all so angry, chaps. Yes, I did make the %ages up, but just to make a point.

    What about the “positive feedback” thing? None of you have repsonded to that.

    Garethw, thanks for the volcano data, can you link please? Does it include a year with a major eruption? What about other natural sources, such as a warm sea or a forest fire?

    As soon as I heard scientists say that co2 levels rise AFTER temperatures, 800 to 1000 years later, I knew I didn’t have to worry about AGW. My ease was only reinforced by the fact that after last warming episodes (far warmer than now), negative feedbacks kicked in to ensure the planet didn’t cook the polar bears.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 12, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

  87. CF – I was over the top there, must have had a bad day, so apologies…

    But the fact remains, human co2 emissions are two orders of magnitude bigger than those of volcanoes, it’s not even a close run thing. Link at the Geological Survey is here: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/index.php#CO2
    It’s based on a Gerlach, 1991 paper in the American Geophysical Union that I can’t find an online copy of sorry.

    Comment by garethw — December 13, 2009 @ 10:08 am

  88. no worries!

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 15, 2009 @ 12:07 pm


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