Moonrise at Murrell’s Inlet

murrell's inlet
The water and sky are spectacular down here on the South Carolina coast. No sign of global warming this week — temperatures were blessedly and unseasonably cool yesterday.

Good thing the Bacons aren’t adventure kayaking in the Arctic this summer. According to the Danish Meteorological Institute, the extent of Arctic sea ice is 50% greater this month than the same time last year (which might explain the lack of hysterical stories this summer about the melting icecap). Meanwhile, polar bears are thriving (which may explain the paucity of articles about the imminent demise of polar bears).

Maybe Peter G. should turn his investigative eye from the politicization of data at local econometric firms to the politicization of data at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Oh, I forgot, people who think like Peter never politicize data. Only conservatives do that!

Actually, Michael Mann, whom Peter portrays as a paragon of scientific integrity, is the textbook illustration of someone who politicizes science. Christopher Monckton, a well-known “denier,” touches just the highlights of his offenses in a letter addressed to the Times-Dispatch. Even by Warmist standards, Mann is an outspoken, leftist outlier. His credibility is eroding faster than a Greenland glacier in August.

– JAB

21 Responses to Moonrise at Murrell’s Inlet

  1. repeat after me – weather is not climate…weather is not climate….

    verse two: the politicization of science data was never initiated by “liberals”.
    they never questioned science – from the get go…

    that’s purely a conservative “deal”.

    verse three – there is an extremely high correlation of birth certification “deniers” with climate science ‘deniers’.

    verse four: the same folks who would burn “heretics” at the stake in medieval times now have descendents practising the same craft.

    verse five: when you are a Conservative who disagrees with reality – you revert to the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” mode…

    it works for blacks elected to 2nd term POTUS as well as ObamaCare and a wide variety of “plausibly deniable” …realities…

    this kind of “deny” is the Conservative version of “comfort food”.

  2. So, we’re supposed to believe “Sir” Monckton, a conservative English journalist and politician? Is he a climatologist or just writes about it? And why should being in the Richmond Times-Dispatch be any particular credential. They go ga-ga over things British and ANYONE can write for them (like “you know who”)

  3. Jim, that DMI chart shows the month-to-month fluctuation of arctic sea ice, and it includes data from 2005 through August of 2013. But DMI uses September of each year to calculate the minimum arctic sea ice (the ice that survived the summer), and DMI’s chart on that data shows that the average minimum arctic sea ice has been in decline (with some fluctuations) since 1979. The DMI chart on minimum sea ice is referenced and pictured in your polar bear link, so I assume you must be aware of it – any reason why you chose not to include a link to that chart as well when talking about arctic sea ice?While 2013 appears to be a better year for arctic sea ice so far, the big picture is that arctic sea ice remains in decline over the long-term.

    Mr. Monckton routinely mischaracterizes and incorrectly cites scientists who then publicly reject his use of their work. He has no scientific training – let alone any expert knowledge regarding climate change. Using Mr. Monckton as a reliable source of information about climate change is like using Karl Marx as a reliable source of information about economics.

    Here’s what needs to happen: libertarians, Republicans, and the business community must do two things. First, stop fighting science with anti-science silliness and willful ignorance – it’s embarrassing. It’s also entirely unnecessary because libertarians can accept the existence of climate change and still resist the flawed solutions proposed by (typically anti-capitalist) environmentalists.

    This leads me to the second thing that libertarians, Republicans, and the business community must do: come up with an effective, market-friendly approach to solving this problem. There is a lot of room to manuever here, but so far the conversation about solutions is entirely dominated by environmentalists and Democrats – and we end up with “cap and trade”, with all of its problems, as the only option on the table. The real fight should be here, over solutions – not in denying the problem altogether.

    Solving climate change is perfectly compatible with established economic theory (even economic theories embraced by libertarians!) – the effects of climate change are just negative externalities that we have to account for. I understand that businesses have been free-riding on this issue for a very, very long time – and they don’t want to start paying now – but this is just a classic example of a market failure. And we know how to fix market failures – indeed, economic theory teaches us that we should fix market failures instead of intentionally prolonging them (I’m looking at you, anti-climate science deniers.)

    How do we quantify the costs of climate change externalities, and how do we allocate the payment of those costs? This is where the real fight is. The environmentalists’ usual answer is to have the “big, bad greedy corporations” pay for everything – either through cap and trade or EPA regulations/penalties (read: government oversight).

    Right now, the Republicans don’t have an answer other than complete denial. But this position isn’t going to win over non-Republican-base voters – exactly the voters that the Republicans need, if the last election was any indication. I am sympathetic to the fact that Republican candidates will get crucified by their base if they publicly accept the existence of climate change, but Republicans have faced this dilemma on a variety of issues lately.

    If Republicans continue on their current trajectory, and continue to lose elections, they may not be able to stop cap and trade from being pushed on everyone. It would be far better to engage in the debate and propose a solution.

    • JFT, I threw those citations into my blog post to tweak Peter. Monckton has spent a lot of time studying climate issues but is not himself a climatologist. I know that. I also know that one summer’s record of Arctic ice mass is purely anecdotal. And I know that polar bear populations fluctuate for a variety of reasons, of which the extent of polar ice caps is only one. (However, I am making a serious point about the Warmists who don’t hesitate to use anecdotal evidence such as the melting Arctic icecap and dying polar bears to advance their theory!)

      That said, there are legitimate scientific questions about the extent to which climate change is occurring and the extent to which it is man made. The IPCC has just downgraded its predictions of expected climate change by the end of the century from 3.6 degrees to 2.7 degrees, which they describe as “slight.” It looks to me like they’ve downgraded their estimate by 25%. Is that “slight?” You be the judge. But something must caused that changed assessment. What do you think it was?

      Could it be the fact that global temperatures have remained stable for 16 straight years in defiance of IPCC predictions and the forecasts of almost every climate model? Do you deny that this is a fact? It is “silliness” or “embarrassing” to bring that up? Do you deny that the Warmists themselves are scrambling to explain the discrepancy, coming up with all sorts of theories, from unaccounted-for aerosols to heat hiding in the ocean deep where it cannot be measured by conventional means? If these ex-post-facto explanations are correct, then the skeptics were right all along that the original climate models were flawed and that the science wasn’t settled!

      I agree with you that responsible conservatives should not refer to AGW as a “hoax” or “fraud,” as some do. My argument is that we do not yet understand climate well enough to justify restructuring the energy economy of the globe on the basis of climate-model forecasts that must continually be revised. Let’s keep on studying and keep on measuring. Let’s not treat AGW as holy writ — let’s stay open to new thinking about the factors that might drive climate change.

      • I agree that there are definitely alarmists on the environmentalists’ side, and I also think that it’s a mistake to use an animal’s cuddly appeal as a reason to push laws with far-reaching effects.

        I agree with you that there are legitimate scientific questions about climate change, because scientific inquiry is almost always legitimate. However, I disagree with the idea that climate change skeptics are the ones presenting legitimate scientific questions – they are not. The scientific work that is done in this field is being done by folks who have Ph.D.’s in some sub-field of climate science.

        Climate scientists do continue to investigate the extent of climate change, and they continue to investigate human impact on climate change, but let’s be clear – almost all climate scientists agree that humans are the primary cause of global warming. See here, here, and here. To the extent that there is disagreement among these folks, it isn’t over the questions raised by climate change skeptics.

        You mention the IPCC’s downgraded prediction, but several papers show that the IPCC typically understates the data on certain climate change issues (see for a list of the issues and links to source papers). I am curious to see the source for your statement regarding the downgraded prediction, as I didn’t see it anywhere.

        Global temperatures have not remained stable for the past 16 years – in fact, it has continued. The idea that global warming has stopped for the last 16 years (since 1998, is the usual claim) is a common misunderstanding about how global warming is measured and analyzed. To specifically respond to your assertion, however, global temperatures have not remained flat for that last 16 years – what happened, instead, was that surface and land average temperatures slowly but steadily increased while ocean temperatures increased dramatically (particularly below 700 meters). See here and here. Even if we just look at land and surface temperatures, warming has not stopped.

        I think it’s a mistake to refer to the latest science as “ex-post-facto” explanations. Scientists are always improving and revising their models – that’s the point of science. To say that “Warmists themselves are scrambling to explain the discrepancy” ignores the fact that climate scientists have examined this question and provided a peer-reviewed, data-supported answer. Extending your characterization, we could say the same for any scientist who later revises his model or theory. Every year there are more studies confirming global warming and confirming the role of human causes.

        To say that “the skeptics were right all along” is a very odd thing to say – because climate change skeptics deny all of the climate science, not just the parts that are later revised. To say that the skeptics were right all along is like saying that creationists have been right all along because biologists continue to improve and refine the theory of evolution. Making improvements to a scientific model does not mean the model was completely wrong beforehand. It just means that someone is doing their job as a scientist.

        AGW is not “holy writ” – because it’s the product of twenty-plus years of scientific work, not received wisdom from a dubiously-accurate ancient text. It’s a well-established, incredibly robust theory, and it is a mistake to think it isn’t.

        With that said, I agree with you that we need a better, more specific understanding of climate change before we start pushing policy changes. Policymaking is all about trade-offs, and it’s difficult to quantify the tradeoffs involve in climate change. We could introduce a carbon tax, but how would we set the rate of the tax – how much carbon should equal $1 of tax, for example? We know that CO2 is problematic, but I haven’t seen any studies that quantify the economic costs of emitting 1 ton of CO2 – and without that sort of data, how can we form any sort of reality-based economic plan?

        This is why I have a problem with cap and trade – it arbitrarily sets emission permits equal to a set amount of CO2 emissions, and then those permits are either auctioned off or given out by the government. But how do we know that the base level of emissions is an appropriate amount?

        I think a better approach is to convince consumers that they should be willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly goods – which is already happening (see: organic foods, “sustainable” architecture and design, recyclable packaging, “green” cleaning products, etc.) I think that customers should learn and express a clear preference for businesses that are certified as “green” (and we need certifying agencies to provide those labels). If we could develop a short-hand way to quantify a product’s environmental-friendliness, we could see little icons with a single number that communicates that value to the consumer, making it easier for consumers to differentiate between “green” and non-green products.

        If green certification requires that a business’s supply chain is also certified, we’ve got a way to encourage businesses up and down the supply chain to adopt environmentally friendly practices. Similar to the ISO 9000 certifications, green certifications could become a voluntary way that some businesses use to set themselves apart from others.

        The federal government could kickstart this process by requiring government contractors to meet certain environmentally-friendly requirements if they want to receive government work. To ease the short-term costs of certification, a temporary tax subsidy could be provided to cover replacement costs of non-green equipment, or purchase costs of new green equipment, or consulting costs to create new green work processes, etc.

        Additionally, the government could provide heavy subsidies for commercial research and development into alternative energy subsidies. As any good libertarian ought to know, the few economic problems that a government can rightly solve are the tragedy of the commons problem, the free-rider problem, and negative externalities – all three of which describe aspects of climate change. nvironmentalists would howl, but I think we ought to be encouraging the big energy companies to heavily spend on developing alternative energies – we want them to play ball, and they’re going to need some financial incentive.

        Anyway, while we wait for further scientific developments regarding the link between a pound of CO2 and climate change costs (information we must have before we can fairly and rationally institute a carbon tax or cap and trade), we should start working on shifting consumer demand and thus altering the market. This has the added benefit of not screwing over the business community, too, since they will typically follow demand.

      • re: ” let’s stay open to new thinking about the factors that might drive climate change.”

        since you’ve impugned 95% of the worlds scientists as liberal/statists, who would you now be “open” to listen to on the “factors”?

        who is going to be your trusted science?

  4. Jim, you struck gold. You really have larryg spewing!

    • the current climate kerfuffle is not unique.

      one only needs to look back a few years with the Cigarette industry (to include Richmond) and their tactics to discredit science and scientists who were warning about the connection to cancer.

      it was a masterful and successful PR campaign that only went down to defeat because the scientists were not going to be dissuaded from their findings.

      the same thing is going on right now. there are significant corporate industries – like the Koch boys who are funding the opponents and who, ironically, are successfully making the argument that climate scientists are lying so they can get more “funding” – so we have scientists in NOAA and NASA that – if they are doing what is claimed – should go to prison…

      and of course Cucinelli is more than willing to do his part with Mann…

      • Nice analogy, Larry.

        Of course, I could draw an analogy, too. I could say that the GW movement is like the Lysenkoism under Stalin, in which an ideologue hijacked the biological sciences and set back Soviet biology 20 or 30 years.

        Analogies are in the eye of the beholder. You can focus on the similarities; I can focus on the differences. In the end, analogies prove nothing. They have no explanatory power.

        The Koch Brothers are your bogeyman. Government-funded research driven by media frenzies and ideological agendas are the comparable bogeyman of the right. What matters is the quality and rigor of the science.

        • re: ” Nice analogy, Larry.

          Of course, I could draw an analogy, too. I could say that the GW movement is like the Lysenkoism under Stalin, in which an ideologue hijacked the biological sciences and set back Soviet biology 20 or 30 years.”

          you could – but in this case you’d have to expand it to global dimensions.

          “Analogies are in the eye of the beholder. You can focus on the similarities; I can focus on the differences. In the end, analogies prove nothing. They have no explanatory power.”

          they do when your premise starts off with a global conspiracy.

          “The Koch Brothers are your bogeyman. Government-funded research driven by media frenzies and ideological agendas are the comparable bogeyman of the right. What matters is the quality and rigor of the science.”

          The Koch boys are just representative of the industries that would be affected by changes – much like the cigarette industries.

          but you’re accusing all the govts on the planet including NASA and NOAA in order for your premise to stay true.

          you’re saying that each and every climate scientist who asserts global warming – is part of a global conspiracy… a consensus of world scientists is – a global conspiracy of governments… and scientists…

          how can any rational person REALLY believe that?

  5. Jim should take a visit to Glacier Park where they have wall montages of the ice extent from prior decades compared to now. The same is true of glaciers from Alaska to Peru…

    jft makes an excellent point about distinguishing between science and the policy and when doing “science”.

    There will never be absolute certainty about this. The earth has a LOT of moving parts that are not easily understood and not totally consistent but to deny science is ignorant… it’s modern day luddite… burning heretics, etc.

    This is not the only issue that Conservatives are in denial about these days if you have noticed….

    • Ed Risse once gave me a subscription to the Glacier Park quarterly magazine. No question, the Montana glaciers are retreating.

      Given the fact that global temperatures have increased by one degree Centigrade over the last century, you’d expect glaciers to retreat. What does that tell us about AGW? It tells us that it’s warmer now than it was 100 years ago. It tells us nothing about the next 100 years.

      If AGW is over-rated and global temperatures are cyclical, then temperatures will decline and the glaciers will expand. If AGW theories are right, temperatures will rise and the glaciers will shrink even more. Knowing what happened to the glaciers over the past 100 years sheds no light on which theory is right.

      • ” one degree Centigrade over the last century, you’d expect glaciers to retreat. What does that tell us about AGW? It tells us that it’s warmer now than it was 100 years ago. It tells us nothing about the next 100 years.”

        ever hear of core samples Jim?

        there are other “indicators” besides just one.

        here, take a look:

        http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators

        now are the scientists at NASA “lying” about this data? – all of it combined?

        do you “deny” that these charts are correct?

        are these NASA scientists lying so they can get more money and convince us to destroy our economy?

        you guys kill me… where is your critical thinking? the body of evidence is undeniable – for those who don’t believe there is a conspiracy.

  6. ” For Insurers, No Doubts on Climate Change”

    “Insurance is heavily dependent on scientific thought,” Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, told me last week. “It is not as amenable to politicized scientific thought.”

    Yet when I asked Mr. Nutter what the American insurance industry was doing to combat global warming, his answer was surprising: nothing much.

    Mr. Nutter argues that the insurance industry’s reluctance is born of hesitation to become embroiled in controversies over energy policy. But perhaps its executives simply don’t feel so vulnerable. Like farmers, who are largely protected from the ravages of climate change by government-financed crop insurance, insurers also have less to fear than it might at first appear.

    The federal government covers flood insurance, among the riskiest kind in this time of crazy weather. And insurers can raise premiums or even drop coverage to adjust to higher risks. Indeed, despite Sandy and drought, property and casualty insurance in the United States was more profitable in 2012 than in 2011, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

    http://goo.gl/ViYPtP

    all the properties that Jim Bacon is surrounded by – are “insured” by the US govt – not private insurers… If the Feds got out of the flood insurance business, many of those properties would either not be able to get private insurance at all or it would cost as much as the property is worth – which is what many people in New Jersey are now seeing after Sandy.

    this is not left loony hysteria… it’s real.

  7. I’ll give all the skeptics here including Jim – the same benefit of the doubt.

    answer this question:

    Do you believe there is a global conspiracy of climate scientists ?

    yes or no. no equivocation… is there or is there not a global conspiracy?

  8. http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/03/climate-science-gore-intelligent-technology-sutton.html

    “In 1974, the National Science Board announced: “During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade. Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end…leading into the next ice age.”

  9. Throughout history scientists have been frequently wrong – even when they agree. From using leeches to take away the bad blood to eugenics there have been many cases of widespread inaccuracy on the part of scientists.

    There may well be global warming but if you insist that scientists are never wrong then I have a jar of leeches just for you.

  10. I would NEVER insist that science and scientists are infallible.

    It’s always been two steps forward, one step back.

    that’s the essential nature of scientific inquiry – for ALL AREAS of SCIENCE.

    to this day – Science and scientists cannot really tell you the exact, specific way that smoking causes lung cancer – in some but not all people and for how much smoking verses how long a time it results in cancer.

    there are many questions they still do not have the answers to but a consensus is convinced from the overall evidence.. You may recall the cigarette industry attacking science and scientists on this very basis.

    I had asked the question – if people here who are skeptics believe that a worldwide consensus is a worldwide conspiracy.

    when most scientists agree on something – is it a conspiracy?

    because that’s exactly the glue that holds everything together for the skeptics.

    in order for them to believe that scientists around the world are wrong – they have to believe that they are colluding to cook the books…

    and what I’m saying is that if you are one that believes that – and further you only believe it for Climate Science and not the rest of science – then there is a problem.

    I’ve supplied this NASA GW indicators :

    http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators

    and ask people if they think this data – for ALL of these indicators is bogus data…cooked-books data… and the answer from folks so far is zip.

    Jim says that not all Conservatives believe the same thing about GW that some are convinced of some things but not others but you’d never know it in general because all of them sing in the same GW skeptic choir. The only difference is some of them sing Soprano and some Tenor… but they’re all singing the same hymn – that science is corrupt and engaged in a worldwide conspiracy. That NASA and NOAA are part of this conspiracy.

    it strains belief that otherwise perfectly sane and rational people believe there is a conspiracy … but they apparently do if a majority of world scientists reach consensus on something.

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