carbon-tax-now I largely ignored Copenhagen (the conference, not the city, I hasten to add: very nice place I’m sure and I mean no disrespect) and chose instead to push for Carbon Tax Now, though I felt obliged to read a little bit of what they had to say. But now we have Cancun. What to say about that, other than rather unoriginal puns?

Nothing but the obvious really: it was a total failure and it would have been better if it had never occurred. Cancun was the triumph of the negotiator-class: the parasites encouraged by all the process: yet another waste-of-time conference designed purely to generate paper (you can get a feel for this by reading some of the stuff that the otherwise sane Ben Hale blogged. The aura of “why did I bother turn up” is palpable. Probably, someone gave him a grant). HT has quite a nice article which attempts to smile through the gloom:

Although it’s not everything we need, the agreement on the table puts the UN negotiations back on track after the shambles of Copenhagen last year. Expectations were lowered in the run-up to Cancun and completing the final agreement was never a possibility… when it became obvious that a deal had been crafted, there was such a palpable feeling of relief… the Bolivian Climate Change Ambassador complained that governments had not gone far enough in agreeing emissions cuts. He is right, but for almost all the governments, the deal on the table is a good step forward, and all that could be achieved…. The emissions reduction pledges in the Copenhagen Accord were merely noted in this Cancun agreement. They fall woefully short of the level of ambition required to avoid dangerous climate change… the good news is that, for the first time in the agreement, there is recognition of the inadequacy of the pledges…

The main touted success appears to be the establishment of a $100 bn Green Climate Fund, which has a lot of people licking their lips over a nice big barrel of pork. Lots of well-paid Western Negotiating Types are going to get a pile of very well paid jobs out of it, and if there is any money left over a number of Developing Country types may get some Pork (for some odd reason Turkey gets its very own special Pork: para 142). But given the real amounts in play, and the rather slim chances that the $100 bn will ever materialise (This headline-grabbing promise, however, is not part of the UN process and is merely an aspiration of rich countries), the West gets off cheaply and is happy.

You can read Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention, though I’d bet you probably won’t. But who could fail to agree when they affirm that enhanced action on adaptation should be undertaken in accordance with the Convention; follow a country-driven, gender-sensitive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems; and be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional and indigenous knowledge; with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions, where appropriate?

Around para 50 I started skipping heavily. Around paras 80-100 I thought I was losing the will to live, but then up came para 102:

Decides that the Green Climate Fund shall be designed by a Transitional Committee… shall have 40 members, with 15 members from developed country Parties and 25 members from developing country Parties, with: (a) Seven members from Africa;
(b) Seven members from Asia; (c) Seven members from Group of Latin American and Caribbean States; (d) Two members from small island developing States; (e) Two members from least developed countries;

No pretence that membership will be decided on merit then. Incidentally, the $100 bn is written in, as

98. Recognizes that developed country Parties commit, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries

But that certainly doesn’t sound very binding. After that the text seemed to rather fizzle out and I found nothing worth quoting or mocking. If you find any good stuff in there, please leave a comment.

So I think it has now become perfectly clear that the entire giant international process has stopped being a way to negotiate meaningful cuts in CO2 emissions and has become – well, has been for years, I’m not sure when this first happened, it was a gradual process I suppose – subject to capture by the negotiators, as these things so often are. Far too many people now have far too much of their energy wrapped up and invested in lobbying this bloated zombie process. It needs to die.

Where to go from here?

First off, recognise that it (the current process) has failed and needs to be thrown away. It was a nice try, but gets no cigar. Saying “but it is the only game in town” won’t work. The reason all these long years of negotiations have failed to produce anything meaningful is because there is no real heart available from the politicians to do so – which in turn means lack of heart from the public, since politicians on the whole aren’t the sort who stand up for Principle above Votes, and those who do tend to become Ex Politicians and Lessons. Trying to negotiate a global deal is just too difficult, the only way forward is more local agreement. And as far as I can see the best option is revenue-neutral carbon taxes, honestly applied (which means stuff like no dumping on nukes just cos you don’t like them – or if you must, don’t do it under the guise of a carbon tax. Of course, stopping subsidising the coal mining industry would be a thing to do first, if at all possible). As far as I know, this isn’t a change of heart by me. If you can find me an earlier quote from me contradicting any of this, I’d be interested and you might well win a Valuable Prize of up to $100 bn.

So I shall start my Carbon Tax Now! campaign (in a token attempt to do some research I found this but didn’t of course read the associated pdf). I’ve done the first essential step – I’ve made a logo. I hope you like it. Feel free to “join” me. yes, I know there are Vast Insurmountable Policital Hurdles to overcome. Fear not – I have no interest in them. I’m not a practical politician, you may have noticed. Anyway, this is but the post about Cancun – the post about Carbon Taxes vs Cap-n-Trade is still to come.

This is all The Politics, of course. It doesn’t affect The Science in the least.


* France unveils carbon tax?
* mt – “You don’t run a ship with six big captains, a dozen less influential captains, and a hundred and forty minor captains”
* Yes, agreed, carbon tax now!
* Nature, unable to admit the truth
* Cancun: A reason for optimism? – no, but worth reading anyway.

Can the party of Reagan accept the science of climate change?

I was going to blog about what bunch of ponces the Police were in the video for Wrapped around your finger (great music though; speaking of which Nice legs, Shame about the face applies today. King of Pain is better, but they don’t look so stupid).

Anyway, what I decided to talk about today is Sherwood Boehlert’s op-ed in the WaPo (as I believe the hip dudes call it). Which I’ll quote in near-entirety (truncated a little for brevity and for bits I find not wrong but detracting from the otherwise excellent message):

Watching the raft of newly elected GOP lawmakers converge on Washington, I couldn’t help thinking about an issue I hope our party will better address. I call on my fellow Republicans to open their minds to rethinking what has largely become our party’s line: denying that climate change and global warming are occurring and that they are largely due to human activities.

National Journal reported last month that 19 of the 20 serious GOP Senate challengers declared that the science of climate change is either inconclusive or flat-out wrong. Many newly elected Republican House members take that position. It is a stance that defies the findings of our country’s National Academy of Sciences, national scientific academies from around the world and 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists.

Why do so many Republican senators and representatives think they are right and the world’s top scientific academies and scientists are wrong? I would like to be able to chalk it up to lack of information or misinformation.

I can understand arguments over proposed policy approaches to climate change. I served in Congress for 24 years. I know these are legitimate areas for debate. What I find incomprehensible is the dogged determination by some to discredit distinguished scientists and their findings.

In a trio of reports released in May, the prestigious and nonpartisan National Academy concluded that “a strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.” Our nation’s most authoritative and respected scientific body couldn’t make it any clearer or more conclusive…

There is a natural aversion to more government regulation. But that should be included in the debate about how to respond to climate change, not as an excuse to deny the problem’s existence…

The new Congress should have a policy debate to address facts rather than a debate featuring unsubstantiated attacks on science. We shouldn’t stand by while the reputations of scientists are dragged through the mud in order to win a political argument. And no member of any party should look the other way when the basic operating parameters of scientific inquiry – the need to question, express doubt, replicate research and encourage curiosity – are exploited for the sake of political expediency. My fellow Republicans should understand that wholesale, ideologically based or special-interest-driven rejection of science is bad policy. And that in the long run, it’s also bad politics.

What is happening to the party of Ronald Reagan? He embraced scientific understanding of the environment and pollution and was proud of his role in helping to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals [*]. That was smart policy and smart politics. Most important, unlike many who profess to be his followers, Reagan didn’t deny the existence of global environmental problems but instead found ways to address them.

The National Academy reports concluded that “scientific evidence that the Earth is warming is now overwhelming.” Party affiliation does not change that fact.

This is what I (and many others, perhaps most notably mt), have been saying for ages.

[* Update: the description of Reagan is far too simplistic, and probably wrong – see the comments. I’d say it is allowable as political rhetoric as an effort to convince Republican-type folks that they don’t have to be the enemies of the environment; but maybe it would be better omitted, or re-phrased to refer only to ozone.]

[Update: Russel Seitz points out that he said pretty well the same thing back in 2008. And more: RP in the comments points out that “the original Senate vote for the
Montreal Protocol was 83-0” – can you imagine that, nowadays?]

Gongos and Bongos

People have been trying to make me read Merchants of Doot for some time, but I still haven’t (go on, someone, send me a copy for Christmas, me c/o CSR St Johns House will reach me :-). But WTD (in the midst of “turning serious”) has a post on a particular tobacco-industry document apparently inspired by the GCC. Anyway, what *I* wanted to pick out(in some sort of law of conservation of silliness effect) was not the substance (off you go to WTD for that) but the wonderful terminology: see the doc, its page 17 for some wonderful acronyms, like Gongo and Bongo (Business-Orientated NGO, if you were wondering).

As far as I can see, they didn’t actually take up the offer to construct such an NGO, presumably for the obvious reason: it would too obviously be a transparent creature of the tobacco folks. And indeed the rather bland tone of the document itself supports that: they obviously don’t dare write what they really think down about how it would have to be funded and controlled, for fear of exposure.


DSC_4358 Well, just one politician really. And an American one, and Republican at that, so I suppose we can hope his stupidity isn’t truely representative. David Appell provides a wonderful quote from Chris Christie and Global Warming, from which I excerpt:

…that’s probably one of the reason’s why I became a lawyer, and not a doctor, or an engineer, or a scientist, because I can’t figure this stuff out.

Yes, that’s right all you lawyers out there: the Law is for people too dumb to figure stuff out :-). And politics, presumably, is for those too dumb even for the Law.

[I apologise for the lack of actual substance here. It is cold and wet outside right now, if that helps. The picture is totally irrelevant; it is Stanage, Black Hawk area: ah, memories of Spring]

Mann cleared, again

RC has said this already, but perhaps you want to talk about it here. Not great surprise I think; see the press release or the final report.

The Investigatory Committee, after careful review of all available evidence, determined
that there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann, Professor, Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University. More specifically, the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities. The decision of the Investigatory Committee was unanimous.

Just to prove I’ve read, or at least skimmed, it: Lindzen’s bit is jolly.

[Update: that was a bit of a boring post (JA doesn’t manage any better) so how about some more Tiljander? I only mention it because someone manages to say William Connolley’s position is too subtle, nuanced, and complex for me to summarize – isn’t that just what you’d like *your* position to be? Anyway, I don’t think anyone has managed better than me, in this post. AGW Observer has a go, and while I’m happy to quote his “Looking at McIntyre’s claims on this and the real situation descibed above shows that McIntyre’s claims are false” I didn’t read carefully enough to work out what McI’s claims might be. Unfortunately Ari seems to have missed a very fundamental point – the sign-invariance one even though I hammered that several times. Oh well. APS also has a post with loadsa comments (I’m sure I left him one too but I see it not, never mind, it was only to point to my post and explain, yet again, why the Tiljander series don’t matter much in the reconstruction). Apart from that it looks like cue the go-round-in-circles-again kind of stuff we’ve come to know and move on these kinds of issues]

Dumb America

Screen-Shot-2015-02-20-at-16.38.44 An unfair headline; but I think it is a known phrase: the “Dumb America” phenomenon, wherein the public has the hubris to believe that they really have something valuable to contribute to discussions that they can hardly begin to understand (I’m assuming that if you aren’t part of DA then you’re intelligent enough to realise I’m not talking about all Americans).

Yes, I’m talking about the comments in Under the Volcano, Over the Volcano by Willis Eschenbach at Wattsup (ht: mt). Incidentally, anyone tempted to complain about my sneering or elitist tone is invited to comment somewhere else. If you want the department of politely answering stupid questions, you want Eli.

[Update: if you didn’t like the tone of this post, you might find somewhat similar ideas expressed in a more measured way by Bart (and links therein to mt).]
Continue reading “Dumb America”

IOP: we were hopelessly wrong

Scientists cleared of malpractice in UEA’s hacked emails inquiry says the IOP, which isn’t quite the headline I chose, but once again you’ll have to forgive a little poetic licence on my part. The Grauniad says much the same, as does Aunty. Perhaps more tellingly, The Torygraph and Times have ignored it entirely.

The report itself is here. Thankfully, it is quite short.

[Update: other views:

* Eli
* TL
* Keith Kloor – for the “opposition”
* HT
* mt – this is well worth reading for mt’s thoughtful take on what is and what is not worth noting about the report.
* CA – McI is deeply miffed that Oxburgh doesn’t love him.

Update: as noted in the comments, this report picks up on a point the weaselly MP’s evaded, that Monbiot still hasn’t realised and that JA blogged: that the main problem with data availability comes from the gummint. So we may quote conclusion 3:

It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.

Ha ha, I was too kind on the Torygraph: the toerags have gone for ‘Climategate’ scientists criticised for not using best statistical tools (mind you Nurture is a bit crap too). They even manage to stuff up the main conclusion: However, there was no evidence of “deliberate scientific malpractice”, meaning the conclusion that mankind is causing global warming is probably correct. is wrong, too. But even they can’t find a septic to stand up and be counted. Come on Lawson, where are you when you’re needed?

Oh, and

We have not exhaustively reviewed the external criticism of the dendroclimatological work, but it seems that some of these criticisms show a rather selective and uncharitable approach to information made available by CRU. They seem also to reflect a lack of awareness of the ongoing and dynamic nature of chronologies, and of the difficult circumstances under which university research is sometimes conducted.

is nice to have, too.


UEA circus, continued

The HoC inquiry into the CRU hack has reported. Judging from BBC radio 4 this morning (which interviewed Acton and then Lawson, no, not the wobbly one) the results are good: I say this because Lawson showed a distinct disinclination to talk about what the report actually said :-).

I’ll expand this post later with more, so don’t complain if it changes. My initial impression is that is is fairly good, and certainly provides the right headlines, but I can’t yet endorse it whole-heartedly – it looks like they have made some errors (in the matter of blaming Jones for the data sharing). But I need to read the thing (courtesy CP) before saying more.

Milambre, Octagon has spoken though, and the headline says it all “Phil Jones exonerated”. HT goes for the same. Eli also opines and has some more useful links. Romm too.

And the current version of the wiki page says The first review to become available, conducted by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee, largely vindicated Jones and the CRU (and no, I didn’t write that). That is sourced to yahoo news (are they a WP:RS?); James prefers The Times. The Grauniad isn’t quite so fulsome: Climate researchers ‘secrecy’ criticised – but MPs say science remains intact.

[Update: those toads at the IOP have the gall to trumpet this as Climate science must be more open, say MPs. Evil slimey little toerags. JA points out why they are wazzocks, without actually talking about them.

Moah: does this report pass the “Wattsupwiththat? test”? – yes, with flying colours. Watty can’t even bring himself to make any comments on it, and all his commentators hate it :-). McI hates it too, which is a bonus. Anyone else got any nose-out-of-joint septic blogs to link to? But I did learn that the division of the committee members is interesting. Look at p56, for the votes. On all issues, “Graham Stringer” stands alone (on the septic side). Who is he? I don’t know (uupdate: Fred Pearce clearly doesn’t know either: in his latest rubbish the best he can do for a link to GS is this fairly useless comment).

Speaking of slimy toads, if you look at the inquiry video around about 31:38 you see Benny Peiser complinaing that the satellite records don’t make thier methodologies fully available! Yes, that’s right – he is (although he is very careful not to do so by name) attacking UAH and Spencer and Christy. They are eating themselves -W]

* Deep Climate – Climategate investigations, round 1: CRU exonerated – has some interesting dissection of Stringer.
* Nurture wades in with “Parliament committee calls for more transparency in climate science” which is crap.
* Cruel Mistress goes for “Data Valid”, which is what the NYT said and I think this is a good headline – it is, after all, the fundamental point. Transpancy and reputations matter, but the bottom line is, was the research valid, and the answer is “yes” (ah, and as I can see that could easily be misinterpreted, whilst I’m happy that the HoC have said that, I don’t really think they are a competent authority to decide that. Who is competent? Probably the overall scientific community via peer review, who have said the same thing, implicitly).

That Copenhagen climate conference, in full

Carbon prices drop in wake of climate talks.

Carbon prices plunged on Monday in the aftermath of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, dealing a blow to the credibility of the European Union’s carbon-trading scheme. Prices for carbon permits for December 2010 delivery, the benchmark contract for pricing European permits, dropped nearly 10 per cent in early trading, before recovering to end the day 8.3 per cent lower at €12.41. One dealer described the market as like “a falling knife” but said that a rise in European gas prices had helped to support the carbon market. UN-backed certified emissions reductions for December 2010 delivery fell 7.9 per cent to a low of €10.89 a tonne, a six-month low.
Continue reading “That Copenhagen climate conference, in full”

Those CRU emails in full

Anyone who cares has found them by now so I won’t trouble you with all the details. James “Gonad Watcher” Annan is fulfilling, with commendable neutrality, the role of arbitrator to which I appointed him, and I don’t think there is much more I need to say. That won’t stop me from saying it, of course. Other people who have said sensible things include Denial Depot, Newtongate, CM and of course RC (apologies if you’re not on the list; oh all right Eli too since he says he needs the traffic). Indeed pretty well everyone with any sense seems to have got the right answer by now.

So I’ll deal with the interesting bit, which is obviously me. I appear in 5 emails; one only incidentally, the rest about an interesting search for the origins of the first IPCC report fig 7.1.c. This is a fun topic; there is even a wiki page about it [[MWP and LIA in IPCC reports]] (yes, of course, I wrote most of it). If you’re not familiar with that issue, go off and read the wiki page. So: at the time of the first report, there wasn’t a good reconstruction of the last 1kyr, and they wanted one, so they found one from somewhere. Unlike just about everything else in that report, the figure is unsourced. If, nowadays, IPCC were to try to include a completely unsourced 1kyr reconstruction they’d get ripped to shreds. However, since that old graph shows a warm MWP plenty of septics nowadays are very keen to throw away all the peer-reviewed stuff we have and go back to this sourceless pic (e.g. [1]). It would be funny if it wasn’t so stupid. Oddly enough, although the text of that email is really jolly exciting – we still don’t have an adequat explanation as to how Jack “cooked up” that figure – I do not believe it was purely out of thin air – no-one seems interested in putting it about. As for Ah, you mean A9(d) (I thought you meant A9(a) for a bit). Yes, that looks pretty similar to IPCC 1990. Though not identical – the scaling is different, but the timing is similar. – well, it is strong stuff.

I was going to write up the wiki-wars on this topic; but its past 10 now so I won’t. Write an encouraging comment and I might. In the meantime, have a look at (and maybe contribute to) [[Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident]].

Also, I recommned looking up “McLean”.

Late news: you thought this couldn’t get any stupider? It has. Reminds me of the good old days in BAS, where the acid test of any rumoured management decision was always “is this really stupid enough to be true?”. Usually it was 😦

[Update: apart from the gonads, which I’ve corrected, I feel obliged to point you towards the comment policy. I was a little late to the party with this post, deliberately so, and while *I*’m allowed to say things that have already been said before I reserve the right to delete silly comments that merely repeat what has been said already. Oh, and did I forget Smoking guns in the CRU stolen e-mails: A real tale of real ethics in science

Update: example of abuse of 7.1.c added

Update: Melanie Phillips is a dull bozo. But you knew that already. “Thanks” Tom

Update: Science historian [Spencer Weart] reacts to hacked climate e-mails is very good -W]