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Any intelligent people want to have a serious debate? Allow me to play Devil's advocate. >;)

Every good argumentative piece needs a serious interlocutor, in order to avoid the nonsense that can stem from arguing against a hypothetical opponent—essentially someone’s construal or construction of the other side’s view. In taking the position that it is unfit, improper, and imprudent for governments to intervene with environmental regulatory policy in response to the indeterminate threat of climate change/global warming, I can derive from the world stage no better interlocutors than Sir Nicholas Stern and the Honorable Al Gore. Sir Stern advocated just such policies to Her Majesty’s Treasury, among other bodies in Her Majesty’s service, and the Hon. Gore did the same for his honorable friends and former colleagues in the United States Senate. Stern represents the more technical approach to demonstrating his arguments, while Gore represents the more public relations savvy, less-technical approach. I will respond to each to them in kind. My assumption is that the default position of the house (and the default state of government policy) is one of inaction, and that it is the proposers of the motion, so to speak, who must affirmatively prove their case that action is warranted. I respond to the distinguished gentlemen thusly:

Before evaluating the proponents of governmental responses I will outline the enabling conditions which must be met before government intervention is worthy of “merit” and then judge my interlocutors’ narratives to determine if they present sufficient argument, supported by sufficient merit to prove their cases. According to Jerry Taylor in a presentation to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, those conditions are[1]:

A continued increase in the emission of greenhouse gases will increase global temperature; 2) An increase in average temperature will generate more costs than benefits; 3) Emissions controls are the most efficient means to prevent an increase in global temperature; 4) Early measures to control emissions are superior to later measures; 5) Emissions controls can be effectively monitored and enforced; 6) Governments of the treaty countries will approve the necessary control measures; 7) Controlling emissions is compatible with a modern economy. (Taylor, 1998)

Taylor characterized the support for each of these propositions as “surprisingly weak” (ibid.).

Stern
The Stern Review for the British House of Lords was an attempt to analyze the costs and benefits of climate change policy[2]. The review was perhaps the most comprehensive report of its kind. The report serves as a sufficient introduction to a number of concepts that are important for thinking about environmental regulatory policy with respect to climate change. First, the report considers a deleterious climate event a risky but uncertain outcome, and government policy with regards to such a risk is essentially insurance against that risk; insurance for which the costs and potential benefits must surely be calculated (Stern, 2005-2006). The report also introduces what it refers to as “the uncertain science of climate change” (ibid.). So it goes: the Earth is warmed by a roughly non-variable stream solar radiation, roughly 30 percent of this radiation is reflected back into space and lost, the remainder is “re-radiated” into space, and some of this re-radiated radiation is absorbed on the way out by atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) , the principal among these gases being carbon dioxide which is emitted by burning fossil fuels[3]. There are feedback effects as absorbed energy causes further re-radiation and absorption of radiation energy at the Earth’s surface. These feedback effects are known as the “greenhouse effect.” This roughly non-variable solar radiation and greenhouse effect when acting as natural process purportedly maintain the stability of Earth’s temperature (the Earth’s average temperature is here presented as a static value of about 15°C). An enabling condition of the rapid accumulation of greenhouse gases is the natural property of the gases themselves to diffuse at a higher rate than they decay. The truth of the anthropogenic nature of climate change is supposedly evidenced by the fact that there has been observed a punctuated increase the levels of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, since the Industrial Revolution (a certain former vice president made a certain movie where the centerpiece is an akward dramatization of this finding). This punctuated increase causes an accelerated greenhouse effect, and this acceleration in the greenhouse effect causes Earth’s surface to warm. Perhaps ironically, it turns out that the evidence from all this heating comes from the ice. Scientists study trapped gases in polar ice cores to estimate concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide for millenia, and this is how they get their data.

The picture gets more complicated. The constituents of this atmospheric study are GHG emissions, concentrations, temperatures, and the effect of emissions on temperatures, called forcing (the polarity of which can be either positive or negative as some GHGs cause warming and others cause cooling). According to the report, “The exact relationships between emissions, concentrations, forcing and temperature change are not known with certainty” (ibid.). The climate system with respect to its atmospheric aspects is non-linear and exhibits time lags (and I will infer that it is dynamic since it is part of a continuous process of radiation and absorption with the physical constituent elements being gas particles in motion which constitute the atmosphere and, if this climate science is correct, define its parameters with their composition). Given all this complexity and uncertainty we are expected to believe that there is a consensus among international scientists about the nature and direction of the causal relationships involved as well as the empirical future state of the system as a whole. It seems like climate scientists are not particularly risk-averse if they are willing to go out on such a limb, or perhaps these are the effects of group think[4].

I’ll take this as a point of departure. Carter, et alia, criticize the science of the Stern Review, characterizing the conclusions as “over-confident” and note two larger scale problems with the report:

First, that it greatly understates the extent of uncertainty, for there are strict limits to what can be said with assurance about the evolution of complex systems that are not well understood. Second, that (sic) its treatment of sources and evidence is selective and biased.  (Byatt, 2006)

On the first of the larger scale weaknesses in the Stern Review, it is quite clear from the Review’s own treatment of the science that many of the asserted conclusions are based on relationships between GHG emissions and climate changes, and projections that predict further carbon emissions may lead to dramatic climate changes that the Review is straining to demonstrate. The Carter critique accuses the Stern Review of relying on computer models which dismiss the “possibility that carbon dioxide emissions may have minor or benign effects” (ibid.) The Carter critique argues that Stern failed to properly take account of the tremendous uncertainty of a non-linear dynamical system and the virtual impossibility of predicting the future states of such a system, misrepresenting a miniscule set of reliable data, and placing undue emphasis on tail-risk scenarios, as well as, to some extent, begging the question.

However, even though the science of climate change may be deeply flawed, the economic arguments for intervention may be even more tenuous. Byatt, et alia, responded to the economic facets of the Stern Review, and they admit this response is supported by the foundations laid by the scientific critique (ibid.). They noted earlier critiques which state that the mathematical modeling of the Stern Review is to some degree inscrutable to outsiders. Sacrificing some considerable specificity for brevity, the Byatt critique says that the Stern Review overstated the benefits of intervention while understating the costs replacement energy sources; has biased selectivity of economic literature upon which to support its arguments; given the structure of economic activity in industrial societies climate has muted impact on economic activity; the time horizon of effects Stern considers makes for strained applications of economic techniques of prediction, furthermore no adaptability is assumed to exist for the economic actors under study over this time horizon. There is also much controversy over the Stern Review techniques of discounting.

To be fair, the Stern Review’s authors set out to do something extremely difficult and ambitious, and mistakes in such an endeavor are to be expected. However, the Stern Review’s conclusions rest on highly uncertain science, highly unusual economics, and display a biased tendency toward stating dear costs of climate changes and dear benefits of rapid response and relatively meager costs of this response. The Review comes to the conclusions to which it is biased, in the face of questionable evidence and on a topic which by nature involves a great deal of uncertain and unreliable predictability. This is quite an indictment of the efforts of Stern and his co-contributors.

Gore
In 2009, the Honorable Mr. Al Gore gave a testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which he gave an assessment of the clear and present danger of climate change. His predictions were quite dire, “Our home – Earth – is in grave danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings” (Gore, 2009). His diagnosis for all that ails the nation: “dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels” (ibid.). His prescription: 1) pass President Obama’s economic recovery package, which included investments in energy efficiency, renewable sources of energy, reforming the electric grid, and “clean” cars; 2) putting a price tag on carbon through a cap-and-trade system; 3) immediately become a party to the Copenhagen treaty.

A response to the testimony of Gore from the Science and Public Policy Institute stated Gore’s testimony “contained no scientific information” (Monckton, 2009). The response also says that Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie contained “35 serious scientific errors.”The response goes on to state that global surface temperatures have fallen since the release of Gore’s movie; that Gore falsely labels CO2 as a pollutant, and that additional atmospheric CO2 has spurred growth in U.S. florae; that contrary to Gore, even the IPCC only projects moderate increases in the sea level over the next century; that “the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has been increasing at a rate well below the IPCC’s range of official projections;” that Senator Gore initially voted against the Kyoto Protocol, and that the Copenhagen treaty was a one-sided economic disaster-in-waiting for the West. This has the makings of a devastating critique. However, devastation is superfluous here. Gore’s error-ridden public communications fail to make sufficient reference to or produce generation of valid arguments based on empirical data informed by scientific theory. Therefore, Gore’s dire predictions do not appear to be warranted by the force of these arguments. Full stop. Economic concerns in relation to his solution framework are rendered trivial (though as stated above they do exist).

Motion
Not one of Taylor’s seven necessary conditions has been demonstrated by Stern and Gore at present. I do not say that because counter-arguments of skeptics merely render them in controversy or equipoise (though the critiques cited here are among a larger body of work which is to say the least countervailing). I do not find the material of their arguments to be persuasive on the established grounds and I make a motion that they be rejected on the merits. I believe it is true that positive action may be warranted in response to risks in issues of great complexity where there exists consequent uncertainty. But I also believe, and I think Taylor’s conditions call for this, that a basic decision rule should be that there must exist in these instances evidence of a risk which could be characterized as “plausible” rather than merely “speculative”. This is to prevent alarmism. I do not see such evidence here. An alternative explanation for not finding sufficient evidence is that either I have not surveyed a sufficient sample of these authors’ works or that these authors do not represent a sufficient sample of climate change theory proponents. Failure on either of these grounds is capable of being demonstrated, probably even in isolation from the other, and would falsify the conclusions presented here by the present author. Thanks for reading.

Selected References  
Byatt, I. et al. (2006). The Stern Review: A Dual Critique. World Economics , 165-232.

Gore, A. (2009). Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, As Prepared, Hon. Al Gore. Washington, D.C.: Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Monckton, C. (2009, February 13). A Response to Al Gore’s Senate Testimony of January 28, 2009. Science & Public Policy Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2011, from ScienceandPublicPolicy.org: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/...

Stern, N. et al. (2005-2006). The Economic Effects of Climate Change. London: The House of Lords Select Committe on Economic Affairs.

Taylor, J. (1998, January 19). Cato Institute. Retrieved April 13, 2011, from www.cato.org: http://www.cato.org/...

Footnotes:

[1] To be fair, what Taylor intended these conditions to be necessary for was merit worthy international action—that is the coordinated international actions of governments. That is a particular species of government intervention. However, I can say by exercising a modicum of judgment that both Stern and Gore believe that international governmental action is needed in order to address the problem in a manner timely enough to prevent serious consequences. If it seems improper to use a skeptic’s conditions to set the terms of the debate, let me be clear, my judgment does not lead me to believe that these conditions represent an insurmountable hurdle. Furthermore, I will stipulate that if some set of them were to be clearly satisfied, merely suggestive evidence for the complement may be sufficient for justifying action. It should also be noted that Taylor is quoted in this piece with formatting.

[2] The title of the report was “The Economic Effects of Climate Change” by the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic affairs but has come to be known as the Stern Review or the Stern Report, as its principal author was London School of Economics economist Sir Nicholas Stern. Apparently part of the motivation for the review was the not inconsiderable distrust of politicized climate scenarios and reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as skepticism of the enforcement mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, and the potential effectiveness of such existing international efforts. It is essentially the work of legislators--draw whatever conclusions are deemed appropriate.

[3] IPCC research from the following year also characterized carbon dioxide as “the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas” and used a similar vocabulary as the Stern Review when talking about these issues. However, to the IPCC climate change refers to natural or anthropogenic variability in the climate, whereas for the Framework Convention on Climate Change—the promulgator of the Kyoto Protocol—only anthropogenic changes in the climate are referred to as climate change. I do not know where Stern stands on this very essential matter of nomenclature. After all, no one would want to make disingenuous statements about “climate change” due to a problem of equivocation. Alley, R. e. (2007). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis: Summary for Policymakers. Geneva: IPCC Secretariat World Meteorological Organization.

[4] The report even suggests a “radical” target of 550 ppm by 2100. Other scientists say, “The upper safety limit for atmospheric CO2 is 350 parts per million (ppm)” (http://co2now.org/).

Poll

Anthropogenic global warming is

2%3 votes
7%11 votes
81%116 votes
5%8 votes
3%5 votes

| 143 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Don't feed the trolls (33+ / 0-)

    Unless, of course, you are feeding them this!

    GLOBAL WARMING HOT APPLE PIE!

    Ingredients

    Crust:
    2 1/2 cups white flour
    2 tbsp. sugar 
1
    4 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup cold butter broken into small pieces
    5 tbsp. cold vegetable shortening
    8 tbsp. ice water

    Filling:
    1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Pinch of salt
    8 medium sized apples
    2 tablespoons margarine

    Directions

    Crust:
    Measure the flour, sugar and salt together and combine. Add the chilled butter pieces (cut them with a knife) and shortening to the bowl, but don’t over mix. Add the ice water. Mix until the dough holds together (add a more water if you need to.) Put the dough on a lightly floured surface, knead it together, then cut it in half. Flatten each half into a disk, wrap in saran wrap and chill for 30 min. Roll out a disk on a floured surface until it’s about 12 inches in diameter. Put the circle in a 9″ pie plate, trimming any extra dough from the edges. Return it to the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the pie. Add filling (see below.) Roll out the second ball of dough and cover top. Use your fingers to pinch the edges together. Cut slits in the top.

    Filling:
    Heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, core and slice the apples. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl. Stir in apples. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with margarine. Cover with top crust and seal the edges. Cut slits in the top. Bake for 40 minutes — ample time to scour your house for a pool floatie.

    Blind Faith in Empty Language is Not Patriotism

    by ColdFusion04 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:09:53 PM PST

  •  A set piece with licensed premises (25+ / 0-)

    Given the Cato and market-based rationale, and the presumptive stance, no, I don't think any actually intelligent people wish to get tangled up with a Cato rehash. (You have an impressive number of parliamentary terms, but the premise of your argument shifts every few lines from 'sufficient evidence' to 'cost benefit.' Such a debate is irrelevant at best and deceptive at worst. "Sufficient" will be measured by the skeptic to be an impossible bar, and yet it works only one way. There is never enough proof that there is anthropogenic change, never enough understanding of all the complexities of climate, and yet there is plenty enough understanding of climate to rule that the costs of increasing warming will be less than the costs of reducing human carbon inputs.)

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:13:29 PM PST

    •  Yeah, I think you misunderstand. (0+ / 0-)

      My argument is based on the sufficient evidence standard of proof. This is not one of the commonly accepted legal standards of proof. It is a lower threshold. But you're right it is unclear. I think preponderance of evidence and reasonable doubt are somewhat unclear also. I discussed cost benefit in regards to arguing against the Stern Review. But I don't think the argument was incoherent on that basis.

      Eventually, after before any C-B analysis you have to make a difficult judgment about what discount rate to use. Every C-B analysis could probably be accused of having a questionable discount rate. And this was the primary criticism of the Stern Review. It's not an extraordinarily powerful criticism.

      There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

      by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:40:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the simple version. There's a huge, huge (25+ / 0-)

        amount of carbon that has been buried for hundreds of millions of years, and we are now releasing that to the environment. If you make a four way grid:

                              Climate crisis real              Climate crisis not real
        Do something            A                                          B
        Do nothing                 C                                           D

        You'll see that it is a no-lose proposition to do the things that are needed if the climate crisis is real, because they are valuable in their own right.

        The climate crisis is real. I can tell you as a biologist that no organism can live in a medium of its own products.

        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:47:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that I basically agree with the grid you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          penguins4peace

          have sketched. But let me support it with a bit of a clarification, though not an argument.  A person could reject the premise that you have properly assigned values to the outcomes in order to reject the conclusion that doing something strictly dominates doing nothing.

          If climate crisis is real and we do nothing, that is like a false negative. The climate crisis was a fact and we falsely discovered it to be a falsehood, and thereby didn't act on a phenomenon that would affect us is serious ways.

          If climate crisis is not real and we do something, then that is like a false positive. The climate crisis was not fact and we falsely believe it to be fact. We acted when we shouldn't

          I think a solid case could be made that this is a situation  we are better off with acting on a false positive than a false negative. Thus the expected value of the outcome associated with the block you have assigned a B would be greater than the expected value of the block you assigned a C.  

          I say this is a clarification and not an argument because I am basically begging the question.

          There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

          by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:03:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Those aren't letter grades, just labels (0+ / 0-)

            Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

            by Wee Mama on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:51:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Indeed, you are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nowhere Man

            "Cost"

            "Cost of emissions reductions" -> money spent by either collective or profit-driven groups in monetary exchange.

            "Cost of warming" -> NOT MONEY but deaths through starvation, spread of disease, flooding, resource wars.

            To put a market based analysis on these is ridiculous, especially since the underlying argument on inertia is "carbon fuels are the status quo, and the status quo has an inherent advantage." Well, it has an inherent status, not an inherent advantage when we get our terms straight and disallow the mismatching of premises.

            For example, could there be any other advantage or disadvantage to the reduction of petrochemical and fossil fuel use? Well, James Woolsey thinks so, from a hawkish point of view. People concerned with toxicity think so. People worried about economic stability seem to think so. Independently of this particular debate, we have an inherent status quo that is burdened with multiple disadvantages, and we're asking that it be preserved simply because we cannot satisfactorily (to whom?) demonstrate the future of monetary loss from death and disease to particular private parties?

            This is why the question isn't a question at all.

            Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

            by The Geogre on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 06:09:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Everywhere you look in the world where we have (0+ / 0-)

              famine, pestilence, war, etc. you will see a multinational oil corporation at work.
              In the 10 years since 911 we've lost an average of 40,000 people a year on our highways because of our petro-centric transportation system. We have actually been encouraged over the years to waste energy on the highways.
              Oil speculation was the spike that burst the "mortgage backed securities bubble" and created the most recent recession. During this recession millions have been made jobless, thousands have been made homeless, and thousands have been made more vulnerable to the effects of catastrophic climate change. Our social safety net is straining to the point of total exhaustion as a result.
              Then we start calculating the other costs of fossil fuel addiction, wars, cancer, etc.
              Climate change denialism is a product of the oil and coal industry.
              I don't want to deny the wonks and the geeks their opportunity to crunch some numbers and create some models, etc., but we just need to get on with it.
              We need to rebuild the middle class economy, with a 21st century infrastructure, and investments in the education, R&D and engineering it will take. We need to move on with transportation,  energy efficiency and small scale solar power on every building where it's viable. This will create millions of middle and working class jobs.  

  •  Man will never fly ! (20+ / 0-)

    Any intelligent people want to have a serious debate? Allow me to play Devil's advocate.

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:17:02 PM PST

    •  The fact that man can fly is a lot easier to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan, erush1345

      establish clearly than anthropogenic global warming. Saying 'man will never fly' is a universal statement. You only need one counter-example to disprove it. And anyone with sight can make a sensory observation that man can fly.

      You cannot just say that global climate changed caused by increased atmospheric carbon which results from human activities is evident from the data. You need expertise to evaluate the data. You need predicates to discuss the phenomena under study, and the framework of relationships among them. Those predicates refer to concepts, many of which are probably fairly abstract and understanding them is contingent upon achieving a certain level of mathematical and scientific sophistication. But eventually those concepts can be clarified, and the arguments can be distilled down to a more accessible form. And then the science will be easier to evaluate by the intelligent layman. It's my hope that this will happen in the area of climate change so the public can be reasonably convinced in the truth of an established scientific fact.

      There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

      by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:46:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  People may never be convinced. (6+ / 0-)

        I have not seen evidence that smoking causes cancer. I know many people with cancer who didn't smoke and many smokers without cancer.

        The only reason I believe smoking is dangerous is because I trust these guys in white coats. I would never make the connection on my own, with my own limited anecdotal evidence.

        Climate Deniers often don't trust the white coats. I don't know how to get around this.

        •  That's exactly what motivated me to write this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          penguins4peace

          diary. I wanted to try to get supporters to admit that what this ultimately comes down to is whether or not we trust people with expertise. The way to win the public over from the incorrigible deniers is to argue successfully that expertise counts in making expert opinion better than lay opinion on matters of empirical science or historical fact. You don't have to trust the white coats on matters of morality, religion, or politics, but you must consider their opinions on matters of hard fact. That's not being oppressive, that's just being sensible.

          There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

          by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:51:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  What is an intelligent layman? (9+ / 0-)

        I'm an economist and I understand the concepts pretty well. The evidence for anthropogenic global warming is pretty clear, There are a number of datasets involving satellite observations, sea surface temperatures, and ground based measurements that show that the earth is getting warmer and that the warming has been accelerating.
         So: Global warming is real.
         The second question is whether it is anthropogenic. There are a number of forces that can affect climate. In this case, we are talking about the earth, on average, getting warmer. Something must be adding heat. Of the possible culprits, only carbon dioxide is rising consistently. Solar cycles, eg, are cyclical. The correlation between CO2 and temperature strongly implies that CO2 is causing the warming by radiative forcing, IOW, CO2 molecules absorb infrared being radiated from the earth. They reemit the infrared in random directions. Some is re-radiated to the earth.
           The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more heat gets re-radiated downward.
           You would expect, if that is the case, that the troposphere would be warming and the stratosphere would receive less heat and would therefore be cooling. Indeed, that is happening.
           You would also expect nighttime temperatures to rise because heat is being trapped. That is happening.
            Conclusion: The earth is getting progressively warmer and radiative forcing is the cause. The certainty of this is very high.
            Cost benefit wise: Personally, I don't know what the net cost of controlling emissions would be. The cost would become income for somebody. I don't know if the societal cost would outweigh the benefit of the economic stimulus the program would provide.
           I do know that the fossil record contains evidence that a similar warming episode occurred in the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum. That episode took thousands of years and was an extinction event. The current episode is happening much faster.
           IMHO, the Stern Report and other attempts at cost benefit analysis fail because we do not know the effects and the time horizon. It is very likely that within a generation or two, large areas of the earth will no longer support agriculture. It is also very possible that the earth will heat to 6 deg C or more over the next century and trigger a release of methane from ocean clathrates, resulting in much of the earth becoming uninhabitable.
          I don't know how to price that.

        •  Establishing the global warming is real is quite a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          penguins4peace

          bit easier than establishing that it is anthropogenic. You establish causality in the clearest way be controlling conditions to systematically rule out alternatives. I agree that radiative forcing fits the conditions where noted alternative causes do not. It certainly establishes the relation between carbon and warming.

          As for cost benefit, it's a questionable discipline, frankly. It works well in limited instances. I don't think it is the appropriate standard under the circumstances. Climate change, as an issue, seems to be unprecedented. It must be addressed seriously, and immediately.

          There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

          by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:56:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No - that's not true (10+ / 0-)

        Anthropogenic global warming rests on a firm scientific foundation. It doesn't matter what Stern or Gore say or don't say, or how much bullshit you fling - there are well-established facts:

        1. Atmospheric physics establishes clearly the role of CO2 and other GHG concentration in the average thermodynamic behavior of the planet. Despite all of your handwaving, it isn't necessary to predict the weather next century, much less next week, to understand how the thermodynamics of the planet are changing.

        2. Empirical data on atmospheric CO2 and other GHG concentrations, atmospheric and oceanic temperature trends, glacier retreat, arctic and antarctic ice, and other observations confirm (1) within reasonable limits. Other empirical data is available to refute other speculations, for example changes in solar output or other suggested factors.

        3. The sources of CO2 and other GHGs are known with sufficient accuracy to state with a high degree of certainty that the causes are anthropogenic.

        4. The sum of (1) through (3) is sufficient to make 2 deductions:
            a. The planet is warming
            b. Climate will change in most locations

        and a third deduction, given that (1) through (3) imply a long-term increase in the energy operating the climate system, is that
            c. More severe weather events will occur

        5. Since major segments of the economy and ecosystems depend on climate and sea level and supplies of potable water, and severe weather has substantial economic impacts, it is virtually certain that significant changes, with significant economic and human costs, will occur in proportion to and concurrent with changes in atmospheric GHG levels.

        The certainty of all of that is extremely high, because it's already happening, and has been happening small-scale since quite a while back in the previous century, if not earlier.

        It isn't necessary to look at ice core or tree ring data (although that also largely confirms points (1) through (3)) or look at the absolute accuracy of weather stations (it's the dynamics that are significant), or even look at climate prediction models, which are of limited accuracy.

        You can argue it, but that makes you an ignorant putz, because you have no substantive rebuttals beyond mere speculation. If points (1) through (5) turn out to be wrong, it will not be for any reason that you or any other climate denier is presently aware of, and the probability of that happening is quite small.

        It's never too late to have a happy childhood - Tom Robbins

        by badger on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:52:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and it all has predictive powers... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nowhere Man, badger

          Science is strongest when a "Theory" has predictive powers.
          We keep seeing more of what is expected from continued increases in CO2... from bubbling of Methane hydrates faster and faster decrease in glaciers... too many things all at the same time to be a coincidence. And we have enough data about CO2 levels in the atmosphere in different geological epochs to see that this kind of ramping up never happened before in the way it is now. The only difference is that earth never had a CO2 releasing technological species like us before.

          As mentioned above... all the CO2 in the coal beds and other fossil fuel types and the carbon locked up in limestone, held in the colder parts of the deep oceans as methane hydrates and all the methane CO2 locked up in frozen tundra were all laid down over hundreds of millions of years during many different climate eras and geologic conditions... and we are directly freeing up huge amounts of it all in a mere couple of centuries and continuing to do so at an increasing rate. That on the face of it is asking for trouble.

          AND the hottest decade recorded in human history has been NOW during a time when the sun has been unusually quiet. The last few time it was in a quiet phase we had unusually cold winters and those were not fluctuations that brought more cold further south while the arctic and antarctic were getting warmer... the "little ice age" a couple of centuries back was not like this... the world WAS colder on average... unlike now when the world is getting steadily warmer regardless of locally harder winter weather during a period of reduced solar radiation.

          A quiet sun should mean a cooler earth... instead we have a quiet sun and a warmer earth... when the sun gets back to its active phase all bets are off. We will have frittered away an amazing opportunity... a grace period before a runaway warming phase begins. The methane releases across thousands and thousands of miles of Arctic waters will ramp up even more and the CO2 and methane releases from the thawing permafrost will become huge.

          There will be no way out of worst case heating scenarios short of a mega volcano eruption which will be just as devastating to the climate and humanity. An accidental natural cure like that will be even worse in a short time than the disease but it would shut down a lot of carbon release since a lot of humans won't be around to release it.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 03:49:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Pays the doctors, boyee, yeah! -Aflac pigeon (9+ / 0-)

    SHIP FAIL

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:19:16 PM PST

  •  Oh I see , (5+ / 0-)
    Any intelligent people want to have a serious debate?
    that's two doors down on the right , only silly people in here .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:22:01 PM PST

  •  I made two pumpkin pies. (9+ / 0-)

    Both with roasted fresh pumpkin.  The most recent was good, but not much better than using canned.  But the first one, using a different variety, was w a  y  y  better than canned, as it was obviously going to be because of the fragrances emanating from the roasting oven.   Hope I can get another next year from the same farmer's market vendor!

  •  Whenever I read this: (16+ / 0-)
    Any intelligent people want to have a serious debate?

    I know that I will need to look elsewhere to find someone intelligent to debate.

    I was Rambo in the disco/ I was shootin' to the beat/ When they burned me in effigy My vacation was complete. Neil Young

    by Mike S on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:26:36 PM PST

  •  tl;dr (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, John Crapper

    Global warming is the inconvenient truth, nuclear power is the inconvenient alternative.

    by eigenlambda on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:27:21 PM PST

    •  I agree that global warming is the inconvenient (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alguien, dewley notid, penguins4peace

      truth. But I'm not sure that I agree that nuclear power is a serious alternative. That both are capable of causing catastrophic environmental effects.

      There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

      by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:49:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is not the best alternative... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        penguins4peace

        ...but it is one that we can get through Congress.

        100 Nuke plants are better than 0 Windmills.

      •  Nuclear power: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        penguins4peace, houyhnhnm

        It's odd that so many conservatives support nuclear power. It requires a "socialist" infrastructure to make it work. There has to be govt financing, govt acceptance of liability, govt responsibility for waste disposal and security, etc. A free market would never produce a nuclear power station.

        But global warming could make nuclear power, at least of the sort with which we're familiar, obsolete. You might recall the water tussle among Florida, Alabama, and the City of Atlanta over water from Lake Calhoun, which sources the Chatahoochee River. The threat was that the drawdown of the Lake would force the shutdown of an Alabam nuclear power plant because of lack of water.
          During a recent heat wave a Pennsylvania reactor had to shut down because the river water coming into the plant was already hotter than the allowable temp for water exhausted from the plant.
          If major waterways don't reliably contain water, nuclear power is not feasible.

        •  It's not odd at all. (0+ / 0-)

          Conservatives are for socialism for big business.

          Political jabs at the other side aside, I honestly had no idea that global warming was affecting the integrity of the nuclear power system. It doesn't sound like something that nuclear engineers would fail to adapt to, though. I'm sure they are working on some kind of innovation to deal with it.

          There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

          by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:39:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  These same exact problems exist for all (0+ / 0-)

          power plants which use steam to drive a turbine.  If major waterways don't reliably contain water then all turbine-based electrical production is not feasible, including coal and oil.  There are nuclear plant designs which do not require water as a cooling medium because they operate at a high enough temperature for ambient air cooling to provide for efficient operation.

          Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

          by kbman on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 10:03:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  citing monckton? really? (10+ / 0-)

    uh huh..... ok fine.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:33:29 PM PST

  •  Let me clarify. (3+ / 0-)

    This diary was my attempt to play Devil's advocate. I was trying to make the most intelligent case for climate denial that I could. This diary does not reflect my beliefs.  I think it's nonsense. I am a card-carrying member of Greenpeace. I just wanted to try to spark a thoughtful debate so we could stimulate some ideas to better combat the climate deniers' arguments.

    There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

    by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:35:43 PM PST

    •  you might want to consider (8+ / 0-)

      having your disclaimer be a tad more prominent.  i know it was right there under the title but it was still kind of insignificantly placed.

      or maybe you could couch it a little differently-say as an exercise for conservatives on how to form a cogent argument.

      hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

      by alguien on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:40:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I didn't think it needed to be more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ManhattanMan, penguins4peace

        prominent. Shows what I know, doesn't it?

        Anyway, conservatives can form cogent arguments. I think conservatives tend to be better at math than progressives. They are could at simplifying and making building a logical edifice on a foundations of simplified assumptions. They can distill it down and present it in a way that makes it compelling to much of the mass public, because they make clear, somewhat intuitive, and accessible arguments.

        The problem with them is that their simplifying assumptions fail to capture all the complexity that exists in reality. They are convincing, but they are built on a foundation of weak premises. We are better than they are in this respect. We just need to get better at showing it.

        There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

        by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:10:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Conservatives better at math? (4+ / 0-)

          Do you actually know any conservatives?

          •  they tend to be good a math (0+ / 0-)

            when it's focused on dollars & cents.  then they manage to come up with some pretty complex formulas that indicate how much money is going into their off-shore bank accounts.

            hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

            by alguien on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:07:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. Most of the conservatives I knew in college (0+ / 0-)

            were in the economics, mathematics, and engineering departments. Everyone else was a godless, hippy, tree-hugging liberal communist. Maybe that's where that impression comes from.

            You know, I noticed how liberals made vitriolic criticisms of Dubya's difficulties with subjective-verb agreement, while lauding Obama's carefully crafted rhetoric and articulate speech. Liberals seem to really like natural language. However, George W.'s grammatical weaknesses aside, the man was clearly a clever manipulator who had a flair for strategic thinking. In school, the only class where I ever saw a lot of strategic thinking was in differential game theory, and the professor was a conservative.

            Forgive me if I am drawing conclusions too hastily based on limited personal observation. But I do have some sort of intuition that conservatives excel at strategic thinking, which is congenial to mathematical reasoning in many respects. Their sophistication in other areas of reasoning really isn't on parity with their flair for strategy, and as alguien points out, financial wizardry.

            There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

            by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:45:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't confuse being successful at fucking people (0+ / 0-)

              over as simply being better with numbers.

              The disproven "game theory" was developed by a schizophrenic.

              Now... who are you calling smarter? Or better with numbers?

              Those with tangible facts... or those that are better at manipulating the facts?  

              •  Well, the dark art of manipulating facts has (0+ / 0-)

                gotten Americans to tend to vote against their own socio-economic self-interests since the 1980s with the "Reagan revolution". I'm not saying it's laudable but it is notable. I don't know who is actually smarter, but I do think progressives are better. It is hard to measure who has superior intellectual capacity, but in terms of intellectual capability and demeanor, those who act based on considerations of tangible facts seem superior.  

                There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

                by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:06:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  there are two types of conservatives (0+ / 0-)

              just as there are two types of liberals--the smart ones and the dumb ones.  The smart conservatives already know that global warming is caused by man.  They also know that well-funded Big Oil and Coal think tanks will pay them lots of money to confuse the dumb conservatives.  So they do.

              These denier "arguments" only have enough fake science to sound plausible to the dumb conservatives who have been brainwashed into believing anything FOX News tells them is true.

              But if you are serious about boning up on how to take on the quixotic task of arguing with the brainwashed, this diary is superfluous.  The work has already been done by actual climate scientists.  Here:

              http://www.realclimate.org/

    •  If that's true, the diary is a failure. (9+ / 0-)

      I suggest you delete it, unless you want to collect recipes.

      The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

      by raboof on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:41:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right. The diary is a failure. (2+ / 0-)

        I was disappointed in the progressives here. I thought that is one of the things that made us better than conservatives. When people try to engage us in serious debate and present logical arguments, however deeply flawed the premises may be, we engage them. We are more than just rational, we are reasonable people. We balance a number of considerations after carefully weighing them. We accept the nuance and complexity of reality, including the fact that the balances we strike in these considerations are rarely static. But I think I have attracted a pitiful bunch of progressives who are not a representative sample. I hope that I have and the failure is my own.

        There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

        by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:07:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't blame others for YOU making a lame argument (7+ / 0-)

          or even a lame attempt at snark.

        •  There are some people here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          penguins4peace

          who appreciate nuance and complexity, though I have the impression that there are fewer than there used to be.

          Sites are communities, the discussions evolve into certain patterns.  Some things work here that won't work elsewhere, and some things I'd take for perfectly reasonable in other contexts, I'd never try out here.  It's just a matter of figuring out your audience and learning what works.  I've found that blogging here has improved the clarity of my writing a lot, because the slightest misstep can seriously derail things.

          If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

          by dirkster42 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:15:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think a lot of people here are contrarians who (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Spaghetti Western

            would rather criticize than focus on substance of the argument. A lot of them seem quite uninspired.

            There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

            by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:32:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  See my comment above. (4+ / 0-)

          I think I laid out the AGW issues pretty well. I don't think that there's anything wrong with the progressives here, but many people don't see any point in continually "engaging" with the same lame right wing talking point. It's just a distraction.
            Frankly, your diary was way to long for its stated purpose.

        •  the time to argue intelligently with skeptics (6+ / 0-)

          was five years ago.  Anybody who still believes that global warming isn't caused by man is a fucking imbecile who only believes that FOX News tells the truth.  Arguing with the modern global warming denier asshat is like arguing with a Christian fundamentalist about the fossil record.

          "It happened during the Flood!"

          "You mean Noah?"  facepalm

          "Yes, all those bones were laid out in precise layers during the Flood and all the dinosaurs sank to the bottom."

          The window for intelligent debate is closed.  It's time for war.  If I didn't have kids I'd be chaining myself to a fucking coal plant.

        •  You wanted serious debate? Then don't insult. (10+ / 0-)
          But I think I have attracted a pitiful bunch of progressives who are not a representative sample.

          Don't blame "progressives" if your approach flopped.

          You lost me at the shouting in all caps and the serious debate/devil's advocate part.

          Mere passive citizenship is not enough. Men must be aggressive for what is right if government is to be saved from men who are aggressive for what is wrong. - Robert M. LaFollette

          by stcroix cheesehead on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:04:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right. So you clearly delved deep into the (0+ / 0-)

            material before drawing any conclusions.

            There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

            by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:47:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why should I? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm just one of those pitiful bunch of progressives who are not worth your time.

              Mere passive citizenship is not enough. Men must be aggressive for what is right if government is to be saved from men who are aggressive for what is wrong. - Robert M. LaFollette

              by stcroix cheesehead on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:07:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think there is any progressive person who (0+ / 0-)

                is not worth my time, especially one who quotes LaFollette. But I'm clearly not worth yours. Isn't that right?

                There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

                by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:10:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps you haven't seen some very good work (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jethrock, Prairie D

          along these lines (providing and analyzing denier claims). I understood what you wanted to do, but the format is a failure. Unless you find someone with the expertise to take apart your summary, you are left with a big matzo ball out there and hurt feelings I guess. Blaming others for a lack of response or not taking the time to read your diary thoroughly isn't helpful.

          “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

          by the fan man on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:24:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You got more intelligent responses (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          too many people, tytalus

          than you deserved.

          here and here and here.

          Light is seen through a small hole.

          by houyhnhnm on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:16:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's indeed a failure, but not for why u think (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nowhere Man

          Instead of taking any suggestions at all about what's wrong with your approach, you're busy running around to a hundred people in the comments telling each of them they've misunderstood the diary

          What's wrong with that picture?

    •  I learned (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pat208, RonV, kurious, Lost and Found, badger

      early in my sojourn here at the Great Orange Satan that discussions work most smoothly when you bring your own argument to the diary, and make sure you're bringing your A-game.  It really is a culture of straight-forward argument.

      It's generally not a good place to solicit information, though occasionally that works, but I'd try to look at several diaries that take that approach to see what works and what doesn't.

      If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

      by dirkster42 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:43:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good advice. I love your signature line! n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dirkster42

        "There is nothing new in human affairs. It is only history with ignorance in between." - Harry Truman

        by John Crapper on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:58:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Your advice is well-taken. I suppose I am just an (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dirkster42, penguins4peace

        amateur at this. But I really did construct a carefully thought out diary. I had to write things that I thought were particularly odious. Maybe I wasn't very convincing, but I'm surprised at the sophomoric reception.

        There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

        by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:12:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You'll see (0+ / 0-)

          below that I jumped in with the sophomoric approach.  It used to be that these kind of unpopular diaries had the absolute best, most hilarious off-topic threads.  People tell me that still happens, but I used to be able to find at least three such parties in the comments a week.  There've been some ugly fights that have made some, not all, of the playfulness go away.  

          If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

          by dirkster42 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:19:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  LOL I think you're BS-ing (5+ / 0-)

          An ALL_CAPS EMERGENCY DIARY TITLE designed to be provocative - and you're surprised at the 'sophomoric reception?'

          In the comments you've made claims such as that conservatives are better at math?

          And you want to be taken seriously? REally?

          •  The all caps title was an accident. (0+ / 0-)

            I wrote it in a word document and copied and pasted. I forgot to edit. I wasn't thinking about all caps being interpreted as shouting. I do accept that that is a breach of netiquette and I apologize for it. Still, people could have just read that damn diary and responded respectfully anyway.

            There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

            by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:51:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Also, (12+ / 0-)

      ALL CAPS in a diary title is usually asking for trouble.

      If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

      by dirkster42 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:46:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You must be an uncover agent in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger

      Greenpeace!  This debate is over.  You sound like Trump on the birther issue.  

      "There is nothing new in human affairs. It is only history with ignorance in between." - Harry Truman

      by John Crapper on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:48:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  just as a bit of (7+ / 0-)

      stylistic fixing, next time don't have your entire multi-line title all in caps. Hard on the eyes and very off-putting. It's also much favored by creatures who live under bridges and growl at passersby.

      And on the screen, the eye wants more white space than on a printed page. Five, maybe six lines of type, tops, then a paragraph break.

      Which also serves to concentrate the mind in writing prose that's tighter and more efficient.

      Set it up like that and a lot more people will likely read it.

      The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it is difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine. -- Abraham Lincoln

      by Mnemosyne on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:51:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice try... (3+ / 0-)

      ...but you see what you get. Recipes and ridicule. Then we wonder why people say we're "elitist".

      This Diary is a good exercise. Assuming that you are dealing with a climate denier who is not totally brainwashed, here are some lines of argument to consider:

      1) Burden of proof. Since Total World Destruction is (no joke) a possibility, those who want to emit CO2 must prove it will be safe. Not vice-versa.

      2) Fuzzy-ass cost/benefit numbers. Typically the cost of reducing carbon is over-estimated or just plain lied about. Liberals do a piss poor job of defending this front. Ask your Denier if he distrusts Chemists, Astronomers, Physicists, and Climatologists...how the frack is gonna believe an Economist? If he believes that scientists lie to get grants, why does he not believe that Economists also lie?

      2a) Note that any purported "benefit" to burning fossil fuels must be followed with the question, "What will we do when the fuels are gone?" Also, the oil and coal aren't going anywhere. If Climatologists turn out to be wrong, we can always burn them later.

      3) Demand a standard of proof. Ask your Denier what physical evidence would convince him that the AGW hypothesis is true. Physical evidence means, how hot must it get, how many hurricanes must he see, how much ice must melt. Demand numbers. When you do this you will often find that the Denier doesn't understand any of the science or (most scary) that he'd be unwilling to take action even if half of Florida were underwater.

      Fighting Denial is very hard, but it must be done.

      •  One of the first things litigators are taught is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ManhattanMan, penguins4peace

        to try to shift the burden of proof to the other party. The subject matter of evidence law contains a lot about the distribution of the burden of proof. I think people don't draw that issue out enough. I also believe there is an implicit burden of proof in a lot arguments that may not be most appropriate.

        2) Cost-benefit numbers can always be a little fuzzy. Reading the Zeckhauser text on analytic methods taught me that choosing a discount rate can really be quite a philosophical debate. Economics is really more art than science. Sometimes it's just outright propaganda.

        2a) This is an interesting point. I didn't think of it. But it's actually a pretty common sense notion and relatively easy to present to a less sophisticated audience.

        3) I think a lot of people who are deniers would struggle to respond. I have to say though, that establishing a hard number as evidentiary proof of a phenomenon distributed through a dynamic system may be asking for too much. But discussing physical evidence is right on point. It's straightforward to assert that each marginal increase in the amount of physical evidence to support a condition should lead one closer to the position of acceptance. And additional physical evidence is mounting up. It would be hard to be taken seriously if a denier was unwilling to accept this.

        There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

        by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:44:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  here's the issues: (4+ / 0-)

      1. your 5 digit user ID suggests that you've been on DK long enough to know some of the basic rules.  Yet your post has a title in all caps, a premise that's sure to be a hot button issue among the climate folk here, an argument that's flimsy, and a reliance on well known climate zombies such as Monckton.

      2. What's the purpose of the diary? When I post, it's usually because I want to shape public discourse, I want to get a meme into the blogosphere, and/or I want to influence a public figure. This one comes across as concern trolling.

      3. While I appreciate your points re combating the deniers' arguments, it's been done (and, no offense, done better) at  sites such as Skeptical Science. I don't have time to go through this diary line by line to point out its flaws. If someone was presenting this cr*p to me in real life, I would tell him about the Koch-funded BEST study, then tell him to spend a couple of hours at Skeptical Science, Climate Crocks, and similar sites, but I would not engage directly w/ a denier that far gone in an alternate reality.

      4. Accusing us of being a pitiful bunch of progressives isn't helping matters.

      "At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like." - Tim DeChristopher @RL_Miller

      by RLMiller on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:30:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Instructions for when you awake. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, houyhnhnm

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:37:07 PM PST

  •  Check your premises! (11+ / 0-)
    "I will outline the enabling conditions which must be met before government intervention is worthy..."

    Your premise is wrong.

    1) We have a working climate system on earth that supports human life.

    2) You are proposing to change this system by adding CO2 in return for unidentified, unquantified "economic" benefits.

    3) The burden of proof is therefore on you, sir Diarist. You must prove to the world which you would put at risk that additional emissions are safe.  

    You have presented no calculation of any benefits. You have not shown how (or if) these benefits will be fairly distributed among all who will be placed at risk. You have presented no plan for dealing with unintended consequences.

    Please explain why the people of Earth should have their Private Property and Private Lives placed at risk so that you can drive an SUV. What compensation do you offer the world for the risk you place them in? By what right do you do risk the lives of others?

    Taking things from other people without their consent -- especially the air they breathe -- is being a Looter. A Looter of the worst sort.

    Are you a Looter?


    "Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."
      - Ayn Rand

  •  2011 wasn't my best year. (7+ / 0-)

    I finished my dissertation in 2010, and spent 2011 looking for work.  I also spent most of the year in therapy, dealing with some childhood abuse.  I suppose the therapy was a good move, though it still angers me that I need to spend so much of my energy working through shit that a couple of sadistic choir directors dumped on me and others.

    The highlight of my year was getting a book submitted to a publisher.  I can't wait to see it in print.  I'll need to go through the proofs before I do, though.

    I hope 2012 has some better memories in store.

    If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:40:05 PM PST

  •  Do You Have Any Idea What Expertise is For? (8+ / 0-)

    Why don't you develop arguments we can use with, say, our neighbors who think we don't need an appendectomy some time when our doctor says we do?

    Citizens have NO BUSINESS debating climate change. It's totally outside our competence, just as it's totally outside the competence of almost all the deniers.

    The role of the citizen is to take the facts reported by expertise and participate in policy discussions about them.

    As soon as you decided to respond to an argument about the veracity of climate change you've definitionally lost.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:46:48 PM PST

  •  You combine wordy with dry a bit much. (6+ / 0-)

    Let's see,  Jerry Taylor.  Oh yeah: WSJ, Cato Institute, Fox News.

    I might have time to work through this tomorrow. Or, possibly on the weekend.

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 05:58:28 PM PST

  •  Good Lord (Monckton) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, Siri, tytalus, Paulie200

    Can't believe you quoted that idiot

  •  Monckton Bunkum Part 2 - Sensitivity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, Siri, Paulie200

  •  Monckton Bunkum Part 3 - Correlations and Himalaya (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, Paulie200

  •  Monckton Bunkum Part 4 -- Quotes and misquotes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, Paulie200

  •  Monckton bunkum Part 5 -What, MORE errors, my lord (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, Paulie200

  •  Funny on how righties handle risk (12+ / 0-)

    Sometimes even a tiny risk leads to major action.  Take shoes off before boarding a plane?  What risk is that dealing with?  If we label it "terr'ism" or "national security", then even a tiny risk is met with huge, costly action.

    But a mere 90-98% chance of anthropogenic global warming's being an existential threat to human life on earth itself is not sufficient to get these same people off the dime.  The inconsistency is stunning.

    •  It just doesn't develop the same (0+ / 0-)

      sense of dread that has been packed into the thought of terrorism.

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:36:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You know there are a lot of biases which lead to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguins4peace, IreGyre

      really unanswerable inconsistencies in how people manage risk. I hate to say it, but how often have we had terrorist attacks like 9/11? And how many people died that day? It certainly wasn't a trivial event, but was the response really measured?

      There seem to be a lot of people suggesting relatively measured responses to what could potentially be an existential threat to our civilization. Al Gore for one.

      There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

      by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:47:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  they fear terrorism, and nature's complexity (0+ / 0-)

      the phych profiling shows cons need certainty, avoid uncertainty- which turns into fear.

       their fears require them to learn denial to create certainty where it does not exist. they can't be rational about this stuff...
      there's a point where if there's any uncertainty they can reject it.

      and they're getting played by the powers depend on the artificial uncertainty/certainty dynamic.

      the fear is consistent- fear of terrorism and denial of complexity/uncertainty that stimulates fear.

      the need to avoid uncertainty drives them to deny complexity and reduce it to simple dualities that allows them to apply certainty. it drives them to embrace the order and fascism that reduces uncertainty.

      nature is completely uncertain- a complex mystery that they basically have to avoid and deny or reduce to life and death.

      just rambling....

      US universities contradict their mission statements and endorse climate denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

      by certainot on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:56:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  no money made if they die now via terror (0+ / 0-)

      BUT... lots of money to be made now if you can get into or are already in one of the Carbon release energy monopolies... and the size of the great lifestyle (and power) that represents would be under threat if actual steps were taken to change to different energy sources and wind down most of the economic models based on massive carbon release energy systems....

      so yes... spend loads of other people's money to remove that small chance of being blown up (by people whose countries are run by dictators because that suits those whose wealth is based on various forms of carbon releasing) .... rather than spend money to save hundreds of millions of lives, species and whole ecologies.... why?  that will not benefit the Carbon billionaires now... they will not live to see the full set of results of their shallow greed and ignorance.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 04:04:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar...... (0+ / 0-)

    what_a_waste_of_time_184495

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:36:37 PM PST

  •  the devil is data free (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, houyhnhnm

    The hypothetical devils advocate you posed as here offers us a remarkably data free argument. Despite this failing--or perhaps because of it--what has been written looks like an acceptable political argument but poor science.  

    Where are the statements of fact upon which to build a model of climate change such as increases in water vapor and carbon dioxide levels?  What principle is there to confirm water vapor or carbon dioxide areeven green hous gases?  Why is the earth's surface able to be so much warmer than the moon's surface? (read: some greenhouse effect is beneficial?)  

    Is there an observed relationship between rise in concentration of a greenhouse gas and rise in heat, be that correlation linear or nonlinear, on even a small scale?   Are there local effects that have been observed (urban areas, volcanos?) to give some estimate of how much more heat is being held in the atmosphere each year by  anyincreased green house gases? Are there past events that can give credence to the idea of buffers (are oceanic algae reabsorbing more carbon ioxide?) How common is it for New England to see a 47 degrees morning in Winter?

    The history (long history) of arguments for climate change have been in evolution.  A good (not too long winded) summary is here:
    http://www.aip.org/...

  •  comeback when (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prairie D, Brown Thrasher, Paulie200

    you can get the basic description right. Mishmash sentences like this:"The picture gets more complicated. The constituents of this atmospheric study are GHG emissions, concentrations, temperatures, and the effect of emissions on temperatures, called forcing (the polarity of which can be either positive or negative as some GHGs cause warming and others cause cooling)" indicate a lack of real understanding.

    Also your later line:"Given all this complexity and uncertainty we are expected to believe that there is a consensus among international scientists about the nature and direction of the causal relationships involved as well as the empirical future state of the system as a whole?" Talk about begging the question.  Have you got any idea of how much complexity is involved in designing even a simple computer chip or the level of detail behind organic or quantum or biochemistry? Earth climate is complex primarily because the earth has a particular distribution of terrain and ocean. The biggest uncertainty is not what the climate will do but what man will do - how much CO2 will we release? Will we collapse into financial and political chaos from our other problems before we manage to burn it all?

    •  "The biggest uncertainty is not what the climate (0+ / 0-)

      will do but what man will do - how much CO2 will we release?" I think that's a very interesting point. One that is worth trying to put out there. This really is a game of controlling the growth and volatility of man-made GHG emissions.

      There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

      by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:58:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here is the bottom line (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, jethrock, Brown Thrasher

    Let's all stop the games and start healing our planet.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:09:50 PM PST

  •  Recc'd for a diary with footnotes and (0+ / 0-)

    bibliography.

    "...be still, and cry not aloud; for it is an unholy thing to boast over slain men." Odysseus, in Homer's Odyssey

    by Wildthumb on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:28:21 PM PST

  •  How did this diary get into (0+ / 0-)

    MY FEED!!!!

    I feel so violated.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:33:02 PM PST

  •  First rule of teh internets (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    houyhnhnm, juliesie, Paulie200

    Do not cite 1998 opinion pieces by "director of the Cato Institute's Natural Resource Studies" as a characterization of "Science" in 2011.

    Jerry Taylor:
    He attended the University of Iowa as a political science major.
    He is also a board game designer who has released three wargames, Hammer of the Scots, Crusader Rex, and Richard III.
    Now he sucks on the titties of the Koch brothers, and therefore may be with 100% accuracy predicted to say what he said.

    Yep, sounds qualified to me.

    Be off, numbskull! Hide rated because you deserve it thoroughly.

  •  ???????????? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cacamp, Paulie200

    Too bad you took a cut-'n-paste attitude and just ripped off stuff from some right wing web site without truly understanding the issue.
    Your diary is confusing, wordy, incoherent, and, well, banal.
    Go play with the trills at redstate, LGF, or on the Fox News comment section.
    Geez Louise.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by MA Liberal on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:05:30 PM PST

    •  Thank you for your insightful response. (0+ / 0-)

      I've read your comments on other diaries before. I would expect better from you.

      There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things. -Vannevar Bush 1945

      by Nathan Jaco on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:12:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  you got this right.... (0+ / 0-)
      Your diary is confusing, wordy, incoherent, and, well, banal.
      plus it adds zero to the discussion and worse the diarist is impressed with himself over it. :)

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:29:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If they're not (0+ / 0-)

    Granny Smith apples, it won't be tart enough.

    Without heroes we are all losers with nothing to aspire to.

    by qua on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 04:51:48 AM PST

    •  global warming... (0+ / 0-)

      of the cookie sheet under the pie tin is important to get a crisp crust.

      devils advocate:
      Oranoke whole wheat is as good as most home made.

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