TCS Daily


The Groupthink Global Initiative

By Alvaro Vargas Llosa - October 4, 2007 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- One would expect some diversity of opinion at a gathering of heads of government, CEOs and nonprofit organizations from different sides of the political spectrum. That was not the case at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting last week, devoted mostly to climate change. From the CEO of Duke Energy Corp. to the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council to Al Gore, everyone agreed on the need for draconian limits on carbon emissions worldwide. The proposals varied from taxes on a carbon "cap and trade" system, but the assumptions on which they were all basing them were the same -- and they seem somewhat premature. No one was too concerned with the costs that a blanket limit on emissions worldwide could inflict on millions of desperate people trying to pull themselves out of poverty.

The main assumption was that most of the warming has been caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide. But scientists have not yet reached a consensus on that. The average temperature has risen a bit less than 1 degree Celsius in the last 100 years. While greenhouse gases have risen substantially since the 1950s, half of the warming took place in the early half of the 20th century -- according to professor Phil Jones of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, in a study titled "Global Temperature Record."

The second assumption is that all CO2 is poison. Actually, about 40
percent of it is reabsorbed by plants and trees, as a paper by Stephen
Pacala in the journal Science has shown. The statistics on carbon emissions
usually disregard the percentage that is reabsorbed.

The third assumption is that the climate-change models used to predict
global warming are consistent. Actually, as a recent pamphlet by the
National Center for Policy Analysis demonstrates with the use of clear
graphics, those predictions have varied widely in recent years.

Finally, everyone seemed to assume that government imposition works
better than voluntary action. They kept citing the case of the European
Union, where a cap and trade system establishes a general limit on carbon
emissions and allows companies to exchange carbon "rights." However, in the
last 10 years the rate of growth of carbon emissions has been much lower in
the United States, where there is no federal limit, than in Europe. There
was even a reduction of 1.3 percent in carbon emissions in the United
States last year.

There are those who argue that even if these assumptions turn out to
have been premature, there is no harm in protecting the environment. That,
of course, is a comfortable position to take if you happen to live in a
prosperous nation where you can afford to make costly mistakes. But
developing nations are already being hurt. According to the International
Monetary Fund, the price of food worldwide went up by an average 23
percent in the last 18 months because of the rising demand linked to
biofuels. It is true that biofuels will eventually create business
opportunities for developing countries too, but for that to happen, Europe
and the U.S. will need to scrap their protectionist policies. Brazilian
sugar cane ethanol is the obvious example. The U.S. imposes a 54 percent
tariff in order to protect corn farmers in Iowa, Kansas and other states.

Corn is a much less efficient source of ethanol than is sugar cane.
Private companies are well ahead of the politicians with regard to the
environment. They are investing in new technologies, making more efficient
use of energy and beginning to develop financial instruments that will
provide liquidity to nascent ecological markets. For instance, Jeff
Bortniker, the CEO of Equator Environmental, is creating financial assets
and carbon credits linked to reforestation in Brazil that can then be
traded internationally. "The market is by far a better solution," he tells
me, "and we are already showing that without bureaucratic interference we
can create value and at the same time protect the environment." Brazilians
will appreciate it -- they have lost nearly 150,000 square kilometers of
Atlantic forest since 2000, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of
Amazon rain forest lost in recent decades because no one felt the need to
protect land that was nobody's property.

Governments need to look at the science more closely before taking
actions that could have damaging consequences. We also must remember that,
when it comes to protecting the environment, private enterprise can be more
successful than governments.

Categories:

319 Comments

Off the cuff observation
So among a bunch of governments you can never get to agree on anything, there is unanimity of opinion over global warming? Isn't that telling us something?

Also, Mr Vargas Llosa might want to stick with nonscientific themes. The 40% figure is way off. If there are currently about 750 gigatons of carbon in the atmosphere, terrestrial plant life sequesters maybe 122 gigatons per year. Meanwhile human activities give off something like 4,000 gigs. The net result is an impressive increase in the amount of carbon in our atmosphere.

costs
the costs of carbon abatement are not harmless, even in the developed world.

It's well known that wealth equates to health. Wealthy countries can afford to invest in those things that make their populations healthier.

By wasting resources on a problem that doesn't exist, you are delaying, or even preventing the development of things that could and would save lives.

NASA says: Unusual winds are the cause of arctic melting over the last two years
http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2007/10/recent_rapid_decline_in_sea_ic.html

yes, it tells us that politicians will do anything to increase their power
especially left leaning politicians.

Irrelevent Point
"So among a bunch of governments you can never get to agree on anything, there is unanimity of opinion over global warming? Isn't that telling us something?"

It tells us absolutely nothing with regard to scientific validity. To believe that it does is to disregard a logical fallacy: The amount of people believing something to be true doesn't make it so; if the majority of inhabitants of the Earth believe the moon to be constructed of green cheese simply because they buy into a predominant volume of propaganda telling them to believe that theory doesn't validate that the moon is indeed made of green cheese. Majority opinion is not the determiner of facts -- facts remain verifiably true independent of the amount of people who happen to believe them.

speaking of not being able to do simple math
roy tells us that there is 750 gigatons of CO2 in the atmosphere and that human activity is releasing 4000 gigatons a year.

So according to roy, the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere should increase by over 400% this year.

Funny thing, the rate at which CO2 is growing is less than 1% per year.

so roy, should we add 2nd grade math to the very long list of subjects that you have no knowledge of?

"Isn't that telling us something?"
Yes, there is much money to be made and power to be gained from this movement.

Your numbers don't add up. Where do the excess 3,128 gigatons of anthropogenic CO2 go? and for how long has this been? what is the saturation point for CO2 in the atmosphere?

750 x10^9 *2000 lbs of C
What's that as a percent of the total atm?

Danish scientists find that the sun is the main driver of climate
http://www.spacecenter.dk/publications/scientific-report-series/Scient_No._3.pdf/view

I've already posted the original study, here's there response to the British group that tried to refute that study.

The already shattered hockey stick is broken into even more pieces
http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/09/25/questioning-20th-century-warmth/

Lake Baikal in Russia is the world's deepest freshwater lake and it's sediments have been undisturbed by glaciation.

Scientists have been able to reconstruct a temperature record for Lake Baikal and the region that drains into it.

This record shows that not only are current temperatures still markedly less than the Mideval warm period, but that these warm spells have been a regular occurrence for the last 800,000 years.

The claim that there is anything unusual about the times in which we live, is once again, refuted.

750 gigatons of carbon
In what form is the carbon?

Diamond dust?

Graphite?

bucky balls?

CO2?

Methane?

Other hydrocarbons?

So the majority is always wrong???
If all the experts agree, this means that the opposite is true?? All the experts are always wrong?

But wait - how do we know???

Conspiracy!!!! Adjust your tinfoil hat.
All the scientists, all the socialists, all the greenies, covering up all the facts. Sure. Don't forget the mind control machines and the UFOs out in the desert.

Quit trying to confuse roy and lemuel with facts
In their world the majority say human caused global warming is real the the only driver for this event. Facts won't change their opinion because everyone says it is the right one.

No but
You might want to consult Messr's Einstein and Pasteur about the infallibility of scientific consensus.

Some of us are intelligent,
unlike you, Muleface.

That's how some of us know. Some of us are literate and don't need the high priests to dictate our spiritual convictions to us from on high. Unlike you, Muleface.

"All the experts" is a progagandist crock of crap phrase, since it's not even close to being all the experts who agree.

What's more, you should remember the old adage, "the expert misses the obvious".

So, throw out your goofy word "expert" and replace it with "wise people". That, of course, makes your silly pronouncement absurd, where before it was merely factually wrong.

And, by the way--the majority is, indeed, nearly always wrong.

You resort to absurd extremes
to try to lend blunt force to your childish notions, Muleface.

It's not "all the scientists". There are many dissenting voices, who you simply choose not to read or to hear.

"All the greenies"? Well, besides the fact that being a greenie is a dubious distinction to begin with, you might be interested to know that one of the co-founders of Greenpeace left that organization in the mid-80s becuase it was turning purpose into dogma and intolerace...gee, and just at the time when MMGW was just being born, too. Funny thing, that.

"All the Socialists". Only those who comprise the Democratic Party of the U.S.

Ridiculousness
You're being obtuse. My statement refers to "experts" in no way whatsoever. I'm talking about FACTS. Facts -- which are presumably what scientific truth is all about -- exist completely independent (and verifiably so) of any "expert" or "majority" who chooses to either embrace or reject them. Being an "expert" in no way implies that anyone bearing that title (conferred upon them by what empiricism?) have a monopoly on facts. Again, to my original point (which the Green Cheese Moon scenario exemplifies), being in the majority doesn't necessarily mean you are factually correct. By invoking the supposed superior knowledge of "experts" you're exploiting the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority, and by doing so (if done deliberately) you're engaging in pure sophistry.

Sometimes, yes
This seems to be the case with Saddam's WMDs. We can take some comfort in knowing that extremists, like you, are usually wrong and wrong in a big way.

Inaccurate but
Pasteur and Einstein's ideas were accepted quite quickly. But the point there is you had one scientist with experiments and actual information that had trouble convincing other people. Here you don't have this situation - you just have (mostly) non-specialists saying that the experts must be wrong. These (mostly) nonspecialists are really hard to cast as Louis Pasteur.

The surest sign of stupidity is to brag about being intelligence
>And, by the way--the majority is, indeed, nearly always wrong.
Really??? In politics, maybe. In science, that's not the way it works.

Try sticking to the issue.
Where does the annual excess CO2 that concerns Roy, go? Otherwise, your inane comment is immature and uninformed.

Ultraridiculousness
What FACTS are you talking about? the ice in the arctic melting?? Facts aren't in dispute -that's why they are called facts. Scientists don't just collect facts, they analyze and interpret them, using specialized instruments and analytical tools that take a long time to learn to use.

>By invoking the supposed superior knowledge of "experts" you're exploiting the logical fallacy of Appeal to Authority,
So when you get sick, you avoid doctors, who claim to be experts in disease, and just ask your friends?

Muleface wants experts, so let's give him some experts
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (2007) /PRNewswire-USNewswire

Since former Vice President and global warming activist Al Gore has so far refused to debate global warming skeptics, the debate has been brought to him. The public can
now watch Al Gore make his case head-to-head against expert climatologists in the first episode of the new environmental education video series, "We Debate, You Decide," launched by DemandDebate.com.

The "Al Gore Debates Global Warming" video is posted on YouTube (http://youtube.com/watch?v=XDI2NVTYRXU).

"Al Gore has refused multiple invitations to debate in-person about global warming," said Steve Milloy, executive director of DemandDebate.com. "So we've decided to let video of his previous remarks do the talking for him," Milloy explained.

In the first installment of DemandDebate's "We Debate, You Decide" series, Al Gore 'debates' expert climatologists on the central issue of whether carbon dioxide drives global warming.

Al Gore says in the video that we're witnessing an unprecedented level of atmospheric carbon dioxide that is driving global temperatures higher. But expert climatologists -- including Syun-ichi Akasofu, Tim Ball, Ian Clark, Piers Corbyn, Patrick Michaels, Nir Shaviv, and Frederick Singer -- say there is no evidence carbon dioxide drives global temperature change.

"We'll see what the public thinks after both sides make their case on a specific and narrow point," said Milloy. "Global warming alarmists didn't fare so well last time that happened," he added.

That is an extremely stupid statement on your part,
and, it only describes what you do anyway, Muleface.

I guess you mean Blix and ElBaradei
They inspected and went to look for themselves and examined the data. They got it right. The White House didn't. They got it wrong. As for "extremist" - why is saying that the National Academy of Science, hardly a fringe or kook or political body - probably knows more about this than newspaper columnists in right wing papers?

They're trying to control your mind. Pull down your foil hat
>It's not "all the scientists". There are many dissenting voices, who you simply choose not to read or to hear.
No, it's not. It's probably only about 95 percent of the specialists. It's all the major scientific organizations. Why do you think they would cover up the facts?

Ask the scientists
do you have a better source than specialists in the field?

You might do well with an education
For 2,000 years, Aristotlean biology claimed that life is spontaneously created from fire, water, wind, and earth. Might I mention eugenics - the majority view of elite social scientists of our grandparents age?

It's not me bragging about how smart I am and how dumb you are
That shoe fits you perfectly, big guy. If you want to take it off, try talking about the issues instead of about me.

Einstein said, imagination is more important than facts.
In other words, Muleface, observations are not the most important thing, but instead how one interprets them and their meanings, causes, etc.

You cite the "fact" of the melting of the Arctic Ice when I have already posted a detailed refutation of your conclusion regarding that fact over on the Al Gore thread, in which an expert ice/snow scientist as well as a half-Inupiat native who actually lives in the region, who is also a trained geologist, both refute your asinine and immature conclusion about man-made global warming.

Just shut up. You're wasting bandwidth.

Gore isn't an expert
But I'm sure that real experts can be found if these people want a debate instead of just noisemaking.

You're missing the point
Why do you think climate science is wrong, but (say) DNA theory or quantum physics or nanotechnollogy or any of thousands of other scientific disciplines are right? You can find 'sceptics' in any discipline.

How about the American Institute of Professional Geologists?
They've come out with a strong statement against global warming alarmism. Current perturbations are perfectly within normal, historical variations. Also see Akasofu, recently retired director of the Univ. of Alaska Arctic Research Station, Geophysical Institute. He says the alarmist extremists are harming science by incorporating hysterics into forecasts.

You're useless to this conversation
Go bug someone else

Besides the fact that most so-called "specialists" are narrow-minded,
the FACT remains that there are PLENTY of CLIMATE SCIENTISTS WHO WOULD LAUGH IN YOUR PITIFUL FACE, MULEFACE.

You are very simply NOT stating any "FACTS" when you say that ALL EXPERTS AGREE.

That is very simply NOT A FACT, Bonehead!

You lose. Now, STFU and go butt-f**k Beanie Baby.

So we should make things up??
YOu're not making sense. You have people who spend their lives studying this stuff. They look and give us their best opinion. You're sure they're wrong because you've read Einstein said something sometime. Again, if you have trouble breathing, do you get an x-ray or go to a sceptic who says that x-rays are just figments of majoritiarian stupidty?

Aw, no answer, eh?
Gore is one of your cited champions, Muleface.

You cannot just conveniently drop him now.

Sorry, he's the biggest catalyist behind this mess. You drop him, you're essentially dropping your whole pitiful theory.

If he could not win such a debate then he has absolutely no business opening his hypocritical mouth on the matter.

Your answer is no answer. As always, when confronted with real facts you become a wallflower.

You're such a pathetic jerk.

poor delicate ideas!!! can't stand contradiction!!!
go nurse those tiny little thoughts where no-one can disturb them with facts.

You are a fool and cannot reconcile your own statements
You use cite theories. Do you even know what a theory is? You might enlighten me as to what a "sceptic" is. I have a sceptic tank out behind my house. Is this where these "sceptics" can be found. No wonder you are so confused. You mistake sewage for expertise.

LEARN HOW TO READ
Hahahaha, what a stupid jerk you are, Lemuel. I mean, really. Your reply has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with my post. Proving that you either did not or cannot read with any real comprehension.

Everyone else here is just going to read your pitiful attempts at "responses" and just laugh at you.

Only Beanie Baby is going to take you even halfway seriously, and you can figure out, I hope, what everyone else here thinks of HIM.

Give it up, Jerk.

Capitalize some more words,why don't you
Yes, specialists tend to be narrow minded in the sense that they think they know more about their speciailtiy than non-specialists. The next time take your car in for service, see how your mechanic reacts when you tell him what he's doing wrong.

>You are very simply NOT stating any "FACTS" when you say that ALL EXPERTS AGREE.
I didn't says all experts agree. I said most, and all scientific organizations do. You want to ignore it? Do so, but it's a fact.

>ou lose. Now, STFU and go butt-f**k Beanie Baby.
That's your fantasy, not mine.

ERIC IS A JERK
There, Bonehead, happy?

Oh, wow, "that's your fantasy,not mine". Gee, you're still in high school, aren't you?

No wonder you're so damned stupid.

Now you're making no sense at all
You bring up a quote from Einstain saying imaginatin is more important than observation, and seem to think this means that we should ignore what the experts in the subject say about the observations they've made. Or maybe you meant something else. But whatever you meant, it makes no sense in terms of the subject. When called on this, you go off on your beany baby fixations. Don't worry, the Beany Baby loves you. Why not talk to hm instead of wasting our time here/

Funny thing, isn't it?
The Sargasso Sea record says much the same thing. Now, what was that stuff from the modelers about MWP being a northern hemisphere phenomenon? Oh yeah, that proven trickster Michael Mann. What was his evidence? Oh yeah, two count 'em two Bristlecone pine trees. Two trees in a world of who knows how many billions of them over the past milenium, and Mann claims to reveal the truth.

One would think that when the claimed effect is only a quarter to a half of the natural range in variation that people would be inclined to be a little cautious about claiming cause and effect. To then attribute it all to a single substance established by basic physics as not the prime source of atmospheric warming is to strain credibility beyond belief.

You might learn to spell "septic"
What I said was:
Why do you think climate science is wrong, but (say) DNA theory or quantum physics or nanotechnollogy or any of thousands of other scientific disciplines are right? You can find 'sceptics' in any discipline.

the c and k are both acceptable alternate spellings. Buy yourself a dictionary.

Thanks for making clear that all you have is personal animosity
no facts, not willingness to think, just hostility. Noted.

Blix reports to UN
Lemuel--Hans Blix' UNMOVIC reports to the UN Security Council are collected below. His conclusions, even after visiting Iraq after the initial invasion , were that (a) lots of CBR material remained unaccounted for and (b), although no stockpiles of prohibited weapons had been found, he could not conclude they did not exist.

http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/new/pages/security_council_briefings.asp

Perfectly good answer
Nobody's dropping Gore. He makes his own decision about debating, but that decision has nothing to do with the underlying issues. The debate shoud be between scientiss. Gore isn't a scientist, though he listens to them.

"You're such a pathetic jerk."

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