Global cooling and spooks, again

With great excitement, WUWT has discovered some old news: The CIA documents the global cooling research of the 1970’s. But, being WUWT, it gets it wrong. Because the CIA didn’t document the research of the time. The document they are citing isn’t competent.

Nor is any of this new; see A study of climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems for the details. I’ll repeat my conclusion from there:

Conclusion: this report says more about the CIA, and the dangers of a report being hijacked by a small group of people when not put out for proper review, than it does about the state of climatology at the time.

I’d tell this this myself, but they can’t cope with too much reality.


* The ’70s Cooling Meme vs. Knowledge – DA ref’ing me.

Strange days indeed

Congratulations to SpaceX, who have connected their Dragon to the ISS.


[That’s a screen-grab, BTW, not a clickable video. Go to msnbc for video.]

That isn’t what I find so strange, though it is potentially the start of a big exciting Newe Worlde.

What was so strange, so bizarre, was the mixture of the real-time video from the ISS with the Dragon capsule on the end of the robot arm with the world turning underneath it oh so beautiful and delicate, and all flung carelessly out onto the web for anyone who wanted to watch; with the stupid irritating Pringles advert I was forced to sit though for ten seconds before watching the video.


* The Lesson of SpaceX’s Dragon by David Appell

Things I'm glad other people have said

So I don’t have to bother saying them myself.

* SpaceX Dragon on its way to the ISS! (and watch more of it – though I’d skip the first ~40 mins of talk if I were you). Note: I’m a bit behind the times here; see the next post.
* The Magistrate’s blog – more down to earth: pointing out the stupidity of the press complaining about “unelected European judges” when we don’t elect our own either.
* More about the facebook IPO from Timmy.
* Peter Gleick cleared of forging documents in Heartland expose – actually this one doesn’t fit my title. Its interesting, but so vague on detail as to be not much use. I would not have written it. [Update: DA actually asked them and they said they aren’t finished.]

Costs of adaption

Someone’s PR folk mailed me CARE and climate change Into Unknown Territory: The limits to adaptation and reality of loss and damage from climate impacts, and the report itself. You know what its like: the first big pic is a poor person with a baby in a dry landscape with a dead cow skeleton; the next is a poor person up to her neck in water (although… there are some green shoots in the dry landscape, and green on the horizon. Never mind; you see what they are aiming at).

But I didn’t get far before the language became odd: The World Bank estimates that even in a 2°C world, adaptation costs for developing countries will amount to a minimum of US$70 billion by 2020 and to up to 100 billion a year by 2050. What does that mean? What is a “2 oC world”? One in which GW has reached +2 oC by 2050? One in which the trajectory is to +2 by 2100, say, and we’ve got half way there by 2050? +2 above pre-industrial, or present? I don’t know. And I couldn’t be bothered to read in enough detail to find out if they ever resolve this mystery. There is far too much dodgy language in there to make it worth shredding; where they get +6 oC (on page 6) from I don’t know. Or why (same page) they think China is going to overtake the US in per capita emissions by 2017.

However, their ref for the world bank is The Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change (EACC) study which was a bit interesting, and contained this figure:


Look closely: the costs are mostly ~0.1% of GDP (except sub-Saharan Africa, which is very poor). More importantly: notice that the cost of adaption, as a percentage of GDP, goes down over time, not up. This is because the countries are growing, economically, faster than damages [*] are increasing in absolute terms.

Well, I’m sure you see the point.

[*] RJ, in the comments, eventually makes me understand that I’ve mis-spoked here. I mean “costs”, as in costs of adaption, not damages. And as we end up agreeing in the comments, the costs of adaption should be less than the damages (else why bother).

O brave new world

So, we’ve transitioned to the new platform. Jolly good.

However, the last couple of posts (Facebook, and von S) didn’t make it across; I’ve fixed that up, from backup and cache.

I believe that, in theory, comments have come across (except on those two posts). If you think you can see some of yours that haven’t, please use this post to note that. Indeed, if you have any comments on the new format, do let me know.

A couple of changes. It looks like the new comment system might be more sane. From my point of view nice changes are:

* I can now close comments on old posts, and have (argh, that hasn’t taken effect. I can guess why).
* I’ve set the auto-approve setting to “those who have already had a comment approved”.
* The server seems to be faster – updating posts and comments is quicker.

Irritatingly, at the moment wp isn’t emailing me when comments show up needing moderation. I need to fix that. I think it was just slow to wind up. Now its working.

Other stuff: I turned off the Gravatars. I could turn them back on, if anyone cares. Vote in the comments.

There doesn’t seem to be a convenient way for you to permalink to your comments. They do have permalinks, its just hard for you to know what they are.

von S jumps the shark

Many thanks to commentor Bam who alerted me to A comment by Alex Harvey: CLIMATE CHANGE ARBITRATION BIAS AT WIKIPEDIA by Hans von Storch CLIMATE CHANGE ARBITRATION BIAS AT WIKIPEDIA complete with big shouty letters.

[This is a copy from back-up of a post that was on the old mt site, and didn’t get auto-moved to the new wp site. It will have lost any comments made then, sorry.]

Before you read that, you probably need to at least see Junk from von S (especially if you’re a von S reader, because he has previously censored links to that post). If you read the comments there, its clear that von S is clueless about wikipedia. And what do you do if you’re clueless? That’s right: you publish twaddle from a septic who is pretending to be neutral, which is von S’s most recent post. In the comments, von S uses the “Curry defence”: that he hasn’t got a clue what is going on, but is publishing this out of interest. Or something like that.

Probably the most important point to make is that anyone trying to understand what is going on from what AH is saying to von S will not succeed. Just about everything written by AH is either lies or deliberate misrepresentation. Please don’t expect me to correct it all. My own view of the original case is here, if you’re interested. You might also want to read my rather disorganised on-wiki page.

von S’s post relies heavily on Lawrence Solomon. As any fule kno, Solomon didn’t and doesn’t understand how wiki works, so pretty well everything he posted, and AH regurgitated, was wrong. I say “so”, but that is being generous: Solomon is not accidentally getting things wrong, or perhaps better has taken no trouble to get things right. By contrast AH does know how wiki works (well, a bit); he is deliberately lying to von S. See for example a child’s garden of wikipedia.

On the substantive point, which is the odd suggestion that arbcomm is biased pro-science, it is interesting to read the actual ban appeals. AH doesn’t provide you with convenient links to those, preferring to provide his own inaccurate gloss. Mine is here. The basic point is, I know what I’m talking about wrt GW and have something to contribute, and have a very long history of contributing worthwhile content. Cla68’s is here. The basic point is that he doesn’t know what he is talking about and has nothing to contribute except disruption (that’s my gloss, BTW). Don’t miss the “statement by MastCell” on that page. Its not a one-off; that is typical Cla. Taken together, this suffices to explain the difference in our treatment.

Update: its nice to see that not everyone is convinced by von S, see e.g. this comment which makes an explicit connection with one of von S’s hopes, the “honest broker” stuff: In my opinion giving Alex Harvey a platform for charactar assassination was a bad idea, far away from any honest broker ideals.


* Curry jumps the shark
* Jumping the shark?
* Webcite of Storch’s post as of writing
* Morano madness
* The IPCC May Have Outlived its Usefulness?

That Facebook IPO, in full

I’m not the first to say the obvious, but the FT appears to have misunderstood the world:

Some investors accused Facebook of taking advantage of enormous demand to sell at an inflated price it says, commenting on the way FB’s shareprice dropped from $38-ish to $34-ish. To which the answer is… WTF do you think FB is, a charity? If you’re overwhelmed by people desperate to hand over cash in exchange for your shares, then of course you raise the price.

Back in the dotcom bubble era it was fashionable to IPO at well below what you hoped the shares would trade up to. But, that was a bad thing, not a good one. Not just because the companies weren’t getting their money’s worth, but more because it was a sign of bubbliness and, effectively, dishonesty: people who knew (not me, I hasten to add; I fell for the hype too; I was much younger then), knew the kind of valuations being posed were meaningless, and they knew that no-one knew how to value them, and they knew that the best guarantee of the shares going up, was for the shares to go up, because people had no other measure of value than a relative one.

[BTW, we’re very close to the great switch-over to WP, this post may oscillate, who knows…]


* Explaining Facebook’s IPO: The Greenshoe – from Timmy, in the old comments. Fascinating bit of detail. Basically the backing banks shorted the IPO, and this is commonplace, and there is a good reason for it. Finance can be almost as complex as interrupt-driven code sometimes.
* Facebook and the sad case of ethical investment bankers – Bronte agrees with me 😉 but has a probably more astute take on the ’90s IPOs.
* TED is very rude about Bronte, but he is wrong, as Bronte patiently explains.

Lack of caution

I finally decided to write this after reading Oregon County Decides to Go Native by DA. My thesis is: we’re too confident of our ability to survive changes, and are too inclined to make risky changes, or fail to invest is safety.

This might surprise some of you who misread Economics and Climatology? or On getting out more. In some senses, “economics” is the full-throttle never-mind-the-dangers end of the spectrum, though you could argue that, at least in theory, it builds in some caution. But, as usual, it isn’t the economics, its the politics that is the problem. Which inevitably comes round to “its the electorate that is the problem” as DA’s story nicely shows.

What I was thinking was that in the “Goode Olde Dayes” of grinding rural poverty on the land for 80% of the population, anyone or any region who got too carried away trying out exciting new ideas without a decent backstop stood a fair chance of starving to death when their new crop failed. We’ve pretty well lost that caution: few people think we’re in any danger of starving to death, and those who do are generally treated as wild-eyed wackos. I don’t think its particularly likely myself, at least not any time in the near future. The danger is more that we have an apparently resilient society, but perhaps it isn’t as resilient as we think. There is a finance analogue to this too, in that people have somehow come to believe that the Euro mess will have a happy ending, possibly if everyone keeps insisting that All Will Be Well. But it might not be.

But there is safety in diversity. The residents of Josephine County (pop: 83,000), in southwestern Oregon are safe (in the long term, as a bloc; possibly not in the short term as individuals). If their experiment goes horribly wrong they can leave, or the Feds will step in. And it will be an interesting experiment, for good or ill.

A Dear John Letter From The Heartland Institute's Joe Bast?

From BigCityLib comes this gem from Bast: Joe Bast’s Response to Scholars Feeling Pressure After Attacks on Heartland.

Since this is denial-world, everything is appropriately topsy-turvey. The “attacks” he is talking about are not plural but singular, and is the disastrous billboard campaign, which even Heartland has admitted was a mistake – though not very sincerely, and Bast clearly doesn’t agree; he is still defending them here.

Bast is writing to his pet scholars, and begins

For 28 years, The Heartland Institute has tried to stay “above the fray,” producing high-quality research and commentary and staying focused on the issues, even as the political dialogue became more and more polarized and corrosive. Almost alone among think tanks, we focus on communicating with people who do not already agree with us. We rely on research and reason, not rhetoric and emotion, and still do.

It is pretty hard to reconcile those claims about reason and research rather than rhetoric and emotion with the billboard campaign. Bast doesn’t even try to; he just says the billboards were “punching back”, errrm, i.e. using emotion and rhetoric. Never mind; his job depends on him being able to believe incompatible things.

There are also (in another fine display of rhetoric and emotion) a couple of paragraphs of attacks on Peter Gleick, then some ranting about the mainstream media, then the obligatory attack on Michael Mann.

It doesn’t look convincing to me. But Lindzen and Landsea [*] are still onboard (current URL here, webcited here in case that changes). Pielke is gone, though, so belated credit to him.

[*} See comments. BCL thinks this is Heartland’s fault, not Landsea’s. Looking again 6h after first posting, Landsea is now gone entirely.