Climate change policy myopia

This is a guest post by associate professor Ralph Chapman, senior researcher Andy Reisinger, professor Jonathan Boston and senior associate Judy Lawrence from Victoria University of Wellington. It’s a succinct explanation of how and why the government’s climate policy is wrong-headed and ineffective, and is required reading for anyone following the policy debate in NZ. It first appeared in the Dominion Post on Sept 18th.

The deal between National and the Maori party over the emission trading scheme raises serious questions about strategic policy making in New Zealand. The agreement has positive features – a price on carbon will apply from mid-2010 in some sectors – but it raises major concerns about the capacity of our democratic institutions to serve the common good of New Zealand and avoid capture by vested interests.

The deal rests on four myths about climate change policy.

Myth 1: Doing the minimum is good enough

Is doing the minimum still credible? It might have been pragmatic while climate science was being clarified in the 1990s, and then with the US refusing to join Kyoto, but it is now clear that urgent action to cut emissions is needed, globally and nationally. The new law committing the UK to cut emissions by 34% by 2020 is one example of international responses.

The delayed entry of agriculture from 2015, and snails-pace (1% per year) adjustment path for other industries are too slow to be credible when our domestic policies are exposed in international negotiations. Other developed countries are moving towards emission cuts of 80% by 2050. New Zealand farming and other sectors cannot afford to defer adjustment to a changing world. Our businesses are innovative; they need a chance to apply their skills within the changing world order. Sheltering them from the inevitable will increase costs in the long run and foreclose business opportunities. This is the clearest lesson from the economic restructuring of the 1980s. Minimising the exposure of businesses to the price of carbon is just poor economics.

Myth 2: We mustn’t get out ahead, especially ahead of Australia

PM John Key has commented that “It’s not my government’s approach for New Zealand to be way out ahead of other countries.” There’s no chance of being ahead of Europe’s 2005 ETS and countries such as Finland, Norway and the Netherlands, which introduced carbon taxes in the early 1990s, or British Columbia which did the same in 2008. But isn’t our ETS different? Well, no. The introduction of a fixed price cap in New Zealand ($25 per tonne) makes the ETS effectively a tax.

Ironically, delaying our efforts to enable a link with the Australian scheme (not yet enacted) could damage New Zealand. An ETS works best if we can trade with bigger partners, such as the EU and the emerging US emissions trading market. In addition, by opting for an intensity-based allocation scheme aligned with the Australians we rule ourselves out of trading with not only Europe but probably also the US.

New Zealand should include the agricultural sector in the ETS as soon as possible to incentivise innovation, improve efficiency, and encourage agricultural gas-reducing technologies and processes that can then earn export dollars and ensure New Zealand’s leading role in supplying high-value markets with its own distinctive brand. New Zealand cannot afford not to be ‘out ahead’ in the sectors that shape its unique economic and international trading position.

Myth 3: Households should and can be protected from price rises

The debate on the costs of the ETS has been woefully misleading, with exaggerated claims of direct impacts, and a failure to analyse indirect impacts, and the policy adjustments other countries are making. The focus in the agreement is on short-term direct impacts on households. Yet, when emitters are shielded from paying for their emissions, the costs fall on the taxpayer, so households still pay indirectly but in a manner that is less fair.

New Zealand has a legally binding Kyoto Protocol commitment and will likely have similar post-2012 commitments. The question is how the costs of these commitments are shared and minimised. The deal means households will pay most through higher taxes than otherwise, with no incentive to contribute to emission reductions and support innovative businesses. Placing the costs largely on taxpaying households is both inefficient and represents a significant wealth transfer to companies and their shareholders, some of whom are foreign.

Myth 4: Market principles are being adhered to

Business sector disapproval defeated the 2005 carbon tax proposal in favour of a trading scheme, yet the ETS with a price cap acts like a tax. Moreover, why should market-responsive business people prefer market signals to be muted? The international carbon price is currently about NZ$30 per tonne: why should that signal be capped? If interest rates were capped, the price signal they send would be undesirably distorted. The carbon price signal proposed is to be further weakened by the ‘2 for 1’ deal, cutting the market signal to $12.50 and halving the efficiency of the market response (and leaving the taxpayer to pay for the rest). Again, this is poor public policy.

The most egregious aspect of the agreement is the intensity-based allocation arrangement that some companies demanded. This allows emitters to increase their emissions at no cost as long as emissions per tonne of product are below the industry average. In conjunction with the slow phase-out of free credit allocations, this dramatically weakens the signal to cut emissions.

Other aspects of the agreement are problematic, such as the fuel subsidy to the fishing industry: this is sheer political horse trading. But the four myths above are the main concern, and create two problems. First, they have resulted in a low-quality public policy agreement. This may reflect the poor quality of independent climate policy analysis in this country. Second, we now have a policy hotch-potch at a time when a strategic vision in support of urgent action is needed.

Critically the deal is intensely myopic, creating escalating future costs by deferring inevitable adjustment. A far-sighted and enduring policy is required, based on a broad consensus, that benefits both the economy and the environment. The National/Maori deal is not durable as it is out of line with New Zealand’s long-term strategic needs and interests.

106 thoughts on “Climate change policy myopia”

  1. WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT

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    1. So, let me see if I get this right, Roger. First it was “we shouldn’t do anything to cut emissions because it will cost too much”, and now it’s “we shouldn’t do anything to cut emissions because someone might make some money”.

      Aaah, capitalism. You got to love it… 😉

  2. If AGW was being driven by science it would have folded long ago. Billions of dollars have been thrown at it but you are still scraping the bottom of the barrel and trotting out shysters and data massagers like Mann to bolster your case. It has not folded because it is money driven now. That is what will keep the scam rolling long after it becomes generally accepted that it is nonsense. Too many people are making a living out of it; you, the writers of this blog, lawyers, bureaucrats, bankers consultant, accountants etc.

        1. Good to see someone with principles here. I hope you can put your wallet where your mouth is and promise never to try making any money from the carbon markets. As for me, I am looking at all my investments in the light of what the science is predicting for the next few decades. Unfortunately the latest NZ ETS is not really a positive for future investment in NZ (apart from forestry).

          1. No ETS is positive for any genuine investment. It will adversely affect just about everything except, possibly, for the short term only trading in carbon. Carbon trading may look like a quick way to riches but I suspect it will result in many being fleeced. Even as I write carbon trading has taken a bit hit in the USA. It might last for a while but for the fact that the northern Europeans who are promoting it have screwed up their economies. Britain is in the worst state with the pound going down against every major currency and the country being ruled by a one eyed megalomaniac snot gobbling cretin. Britain is supporting herself by way of a demographic Ponzi scheme, inflated property prices and massively mounting debt. Virtually all the traditional industry has gone. Only the London paper shufflers remain and they could all get on the next plane tomorrow for a warmer climate.

            1. Good God Roger, get a grip on yourself. Of course carbon traders are going to make profits and losses. That’s part of the point of an ETS – to create a market for pricing the cost of emitting CO2. The whole point of the exercise is to speed up the transition to a post-carbon economy. We live in a capitalist society, so the only way to do that is to make sure the ‘external’ costs of emitting CO2 are properly included in the economy.

            2. Good god. I think you really believe it! So you consider it necessary that a bunch of lawyers and assorted shysters can make a fistful of money out of the general public, and you somehow think that is going help the world? Your are totally mad. Even if AGW is a reality you would still be mad, simply stark raving mad.

          2. “Unfortunately the latest NZ ETS is not really a positive for future investment in NZ (apart from forestry).”

            And only then after 2020 according to one analysis reported on Nat Radio this morning.

            1. Yes, unfortunately, it seems that NZ may miss out on the ‘next big thing’ because the government is fixated on protecting the old industries with its ETS-Lite. While other countries (China, US, much of Europe, and even India is moving) invest heavily in developing ‘post-carbon economies’, NZ will puff along behind with its carbon intensive economy gradually getting further and further behind.

              We now have the crazy situation where the tax payer is going to be paying millions so that industry doesn’t have to feel the full market pressure to invest in ‘post-carbon’ technology. Meanwhile, other countries are likely to start imposing carbon-tariffs on our exports because they’re full of the stuff. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

  3. This didn’t go through the first time so I will have another go.

    Rogere accuses scientist and others of being shysters, in it for the money.

    So let’s look at where Roger gets his money at http://www.liveperson.com/roger-dewhurst/ we find the Roger states that his experience inlcudes:

    EXPERIENCE From 1985, consulting geologist, Rotorua. Clients include:- Wyoming Mineral Corporation, report on uranium prospects in Indonesia. Gold Resources Ltd., water rights for mineral exploration. Shaw Minerals, alluvial gold project management. Goldmines of New Zealand, water right for mineral exploration. N.Z. Co-operative Dairy Company, Te Awamutu, well testing, contract preparation, well design, well drilling supervision, resource investigation, well-field optimization, water rights. N.Z.C.D.C., Waharoa, water right dispute, well-field re-commissioning evaluation. N.Z.C.D.C., Reporoa, investigation of existing water supply system, potential for groundwater contamination, streamflow investigation with flume construction and emplacement. Waikato Dairy Co-operative Ltd., groundwater resource investigation, well testing, reporting for water right purposes, contract preparation, observation well drilling contract supervision. Downard-Estcourt, landslide investigation and reporting, site investigation. Whakatane District Council, report on groundwater resources. Murray-North Partners and DMR Consultants, see comment following N.Z.C.D.C., Te Awamutu. Morrinsville-Thames Valley Co-operative Dairy Company, preliminary report on groundwater resources, investigation proposal. Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd., Wallford Meats Ltd., water right dispute. Rotorua District Council, preliminary investigation of groundwater resource contamination resulting from the discharge of light industrial and wood treatment waste. Investigation of faecal coliform bacterial contamination of the Ngongotaha water supply spring. Okareka groundwater supply investigation completed for the Rotorua District Council. Waihi Gold Company, N.Z. Mining and Exploration Association, water right dispute. Department of Conservation, Matata lagoon environmental investigation. Quarry investigations for Fulton-Hogan, Waikato. Design of ROXWATER artificial aquifer and reservoir for iron and manganese removal, water storage and filtration. Until recently I was the New Zealand representative on the management committee of the Mineral Industry Consultants Association, being a member of that and of the Aus.I.M.M. I am involved with dairy farm irrigation water supply and environmental impact investigations”

    I will only note that there are a lot clients that are signficant emitters of GHG or high intensity energy users in this CV.

      1. Bully for you, bozo. At least I have a c.v. There is nothing there to be ashamed about. Just like lawyers who defend the likes of Weatherston, consultants make the best possible case for their clients without distorting the facts as they understand them. You really ought to discover a bit about ethics in the consulting business. Some have ethics. Some do not. I am in the first category. When you are dragged, kicking and screaming, into the real world you will learn some lessons.

          1. Oh hell…I hate to defend Roger but….really there isn’t much in the way of GHG emission enabling in that CV Doug. No coal, no oil, mostly water and a bit of gold.

            Perhaps it’s the noise of the drill rigs that have driven him nuts. Certainly mixing with drillers appears to have influenced his vocab.

            1. True, no more GHG emission than anyone who farts normally. But perhaps you lot do not fart. Not much oil, not much coal, mostly uranium with a bit of gold and nickel. And water in recent years of course.

            2. Andrew in NZ over 50% of emissions are from intensive agriculture, mostly dairying . A significant proportion of Roger’s clients are dairy companies (e.g. N.Z. Co-operative Dairy Company (NZCDC). Which would seem to imply at least an indirect financial benefit from the status quo.

            3. You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel! On a par with the attack on Professor de Freitas in Auckland because there happens to be an oil industry geologist in Canada who happens also to share the surname. Just how low can you get? You are beneath contempt.

        1. “consultants make the best possible case for their clients without distorting the facts as they understand them”

          Then the problem seems to stem from your clear misunderstanding of the facts.
          In addition to the sheer scientific weight of evidence and the comprehensive rebuttal of every denialist claim as discussed here.

          The economic fact is that the world is putting a price on carbon and new zealand should be positioning itself on this wave to take advantage of the demand that will be generated by these changes.

          Trees. Technology. Food. Why wouldn’t we want to set ourselves up for a win?

  4. “The National/Maori deal is not durable as it is out of line with New Zealand’s long-term strategic needs and interests. ”
    The deal is completely unsustainable. Regretfully in the meantime it will bankrupt the country.

  5. *IT**’**S COMING TO NZ!**
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    > Wishart’s bestseller Air Con, now comes the 500 page book by
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    > scare, the worldwide bestseller Heaven And Earth.

    [Snipped – this is not relevant to the thread, Roger. And Plimer’s book is as bad as Air Con.]

    1. It does not suit your obsession. That is all. This thread, indeed all threads in this blog, relate to your obsession. You just cannot stomach the fact that there is a very large body of working scientists all around the world that have not swallowed this politically driven AGW rort.

      1. The RORT Roger is not being perpetuated by those scientists who clearly see the impending chaos that AGW entails. No! the RORT is being pursued by those very people who have been the prime cause of the problem in the first case – the people who stand to gain the most are Energy companies that burn and sell fossil fuels, (and in NZ – farmers whose animals belch rather than fart Methane) – added and abetted by a compliant government.

  6. Oh Roger so you are not that ground water geologist? I have been living under that assumption for a number of years. What is your area of scientific expertise?

    Oh and based on your comments made here and on other sites, the feeling is mutual.

    1. uranium, groundwater, gold, engineering geology and environmental geology pretty much in that order with coal and oil trailing well behind. The uranium and water have been in rocks which are Miocene or younger. Thus the changes in sedimentation which generally relate to climate change indirectly have been a significant interest.

  7. So that was your CV posted?

    You alluded above, by referring to Chris deFrietas, that I was drawing the wrong inference because of mistaken identity. If it is your CV my previous comments stand.

    That is you appear, based on your client base, to have a vested financial interest in maintaining the status quo (i.e. no price on carbon) and we must weigh your comments accordingly.

    1. “You alluded above, by referring to Chris deFrietas, that I was drawing the wrong inference because of mistaken identity.”

      I was alluding to the politics of the gutter in which you, among others, choose to engage.

      As I have been semi retired for some years I have no financial interest in maintaining the ‘status quo’. I obtain no income from the petroleum or coal industry and have not done so since about 1969.

      I could, if I so choose, elect to speculate in the carbon trade market. I do not for various reason among which is the inherent dishonesty of that trade and secondly because I think it will collapse along with this whole AGW scam.

      Are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is and to engage in trading carbon? No, I think not. You are just piss and wind.

  8. Roger, Don’t expect anyone here to be impressed by anything originating from Jennifer Marohasy. Even by crank standards, she is unusually scientifically illiterate.

  9. If Jennifer Marohasy is scientifically illiterate you would be struggling to get past C in the alphabet. The article was not written by Marohasy anyway. Try reading and try picking holes in the logic. You are as bad as the rest. If someone, however well qualified and experienced, does not agree with your scientology, for that is all that it is, you go for the ad hominem every time and in every case. And they let people like you loose in our schools. What pity.

  10. Dewhurst, it’s time you found a different forum for your rantings. Try the anti-GW/AGW forum at Australia’s Weatherzone – you’d enjoy the company. Full of general weather cranks, creationists and professional liars for vested interests.

    1. On vested interests just follow the money trail! Consider Gareth himself. This blog exists to promote his book and thus his income. Are you unable to see that?

      It is reasonable to assume that the Milankovitch cycles have existed for much or all of the history of this planet. It seems to me that there must have been other factors superimposed on the Milankovitch cycles to create the climate changes that have occurred. Movement of the continents permitting or restricting the flow of deep ocean currents offers a plausible explanation for the long periods, the whole of the Tertiary period for example, when climatic change was slow or
      negligeable. Furthermore the climatic changes occurring in the the last 2.5 million years, the Pleistocene period, have on occasions, been far to rapid to be explained by Milankovitch theory. I think that we need a combination of at least three mechanisms to explain climate change, continental drift, Milankovitch cycles and solar effects, each of these
      operating within decreasing periods of time. That atmospheric carbon dioxide follows temperature change should be accepted as self evident now.

  11. Buy two bottles of soda water at the local supermarket. Put one in the fridge and chill it. Leave the other on the kitchen shelf. Next day take the bottle out of the fridge and shake it. Take the one off the shelf and shake it similarly. Take the caps off both and see what happens. Then put your minds in gear and using the example in front of you consider what happens when the oceans warm and cool.

    1. Carol It’s futile to attempt any discussion with Roger – his mind is firmly shut. His kind simply need to be ignored – we have too many other problems to deal with now – the most important of which is how do we get across to our politicians the urgency of the situation and the fact that “image” and platitudes are not enough. Substance is now required.

      1. 49.

        Fortunately you are not doing a very good job of it. At the end of the day politicians follow the votes. And it is beginning to look as though the voter at large is getting pissed off with the doom and gloom that you and your ilk promote. Somehow I do not think that you are going to sell the voters the idea that massive taxation with profits going to those bankers, lawyers, wheeler dealers, and sundry sharp operators, is going to be good for them.

      2. 49.

        Substance is something you find hard to get! Despite the billions already spent you have a few shonky models, a rats’ nest of ‘projections’ and predictions that have fallen rather flat. But keep trying.

  12. >This simplistic example is not very helpful here.

    Actually it is for without the simple explanations the politicians and general public will be baffled by the bullshit. If fact the Wikipedia article adds little in principle but contains the mandatory obeissance to AGW.

    Part of the problem is that your and your ilk have absolutely no understanding of geological time . You may be able to re-gurgitate some numbers but any real grasp of what those numbers mean escapes you. Furthermore you have no grasp of the magnitude of the carbon that has been locked up by biological processes in the earth’s crust. Again, you may be able to spout some numbers but they are meaningless to you.

    1. Roger has his arguments, and he’s sticking to them whatever the facts might be. He’s made virtually identical statements in earlier comment threads — at least twice. You have to admire his consistency, if not his wisdom. 😉

  13. I’ve been away a couple of days so this is going back a bit.

    But…I really think your concern over Roger’s CV is misplaced Doug. I have friends who have done years of work (as consultants) for a well known coal miner. But at the same time they are very concerned about climate change….I guess they rationalise this by wanting the miner to make a good job of what it does (mostly in managing environmental impacts). But mostly it is just the reality of being a consultant.

    My interpretation of Roger’s motivations is that he is just one of those geologists who takes the long view…and in the long view the climate changes all the time.

    Trouble is a long view often takes a telescope – and with a telescope you can easily miss what is going on around you.

    cheers

    Andrew
    PS..hope that wasn’t too much for the moderator.
    [Nope, fine with me… GR]
    PPS. Carol, how was that geologic conference you were going to report back on.

    1. Dear Andrew

      My point was, if I can remember, that Roger accused the climate scientists being in it for the money. By highlighting Roger’s CV I was trying to make the point that you could make a stronger argument that Roger was in the denying game for the money. There is no conclusive proof of course, and I don’t want to take it any further.

      However, I would argue that most climate science funding comes from government’s public science funds. There is no evidence to support the view that government’s have a vested interest in promoting anthro climate change. On the contrary Government’s of all persuasions would love it to go away as they have enough troubles, env, economic and social, to deal with without CC adding to the mix. Their reluctance to do anything about it demonstrates how politically difficult it is. I know this from personal experience. Look busy but don’t rock the boat.

      The other part of the scientists are in it for the money argument, assumes that all these climate scientists would be out of jobs without CC to provide employment. I would argue that given their various high level skill sets they would relatively easily move into other areas of public research or into the private sector.

      Finally if I was an unscruplous climate scientist and I was just chasing the dollar I would get into the denying game. There are much bigger bucks to be made there, at least until your professional credibility was destroyed.

      1. “The other part of the scientists are in it for the money argument, assumes that all these climate scientists would be out of jobs without CC to provide employment.”

        If AGW were proved to be false, it would mean that pretty much everything we think we know about how the atmosphere works is wrong. This would be a pretty strong case for needing more climate scientists than we have now, so that we could try and understand how they got it wrong, and to find the real answers.

    2. Hi Andrew,
      My reply I posted yesterday seems to have vanished into the ether, so I’ll try again. Sorry for any repetition..
      The GSA conference is on 18-21 October – here’s a link if you’re interested:
      http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/2009/
      I’m actually there to discuss South American volcanoes rather than climate change, but I”ll be very interested in the ‘Crisis in the Cryosphere’ keynote session (great title). I’ll let you know if your theory about geologists is more widely supported!

  14. I am inclined to think that a pre-emptive attack by Israel on Iran or a pre-emptive attack on Israel by Iran in the next few years is rather more likely than any distinct drift in the climate, in either direction. Either of these events will push the politics of carbon dioxide firmly into the background.

    Roger

    1. A few more reasons:

      CCNet 148/2009 – 23 September 2009 — Audiatur et altera pars

      WORLD LEADERS KICK CLIMATE POLICY INTO THE LONG GRASS
      —————————————————–

      If you want to know what I think is going on inside Prime Ministers’
      offices around the world, it’s ‘Let’s kick this into the long grass.’
      Because that is what it will take to approach the problem. The
      short-termism is gone.
      –Benny Peiser, LTT, 14 November 2008

      Copenhagen was essentially sidelined yesterday at another event, UN
      Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s Climate Change Summit in New York.
      There, along with Chinese leader Hu Jintao, U.S. President Barack Obama
      more or less shuffled climate control policy off into the great
      dreamscape of unattainable plans and long range objectives. Like
      equality for all and peace in our time, the world will have to wait for
      sweeping and binding climate policy.
      –Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 22 September 2009

      The UN Climate Change Summit in New York managed to produce a concrete
      result. It has nothing to do with CO2 reduction targets, however, but
      with a simple political insight: Forget Copenhagen! The chances that the
      Copenhagen summit will deliver more than just a non-binding framework
      agreement decreased further on Tuesday. They now tend towards zero.
      Therefore, it would be best to postpone the climate conference until the
      United States is ready to agree to clear progress in negotiations.
      Otherwise, there is a real danger that a compromise formula in
      Copenhagen would make any progress impossible for years to come because
      the big climate sinners could hide behind the agreement.
      –Editorial, Financial Times Deutschland, 22 September 2009

      Initially, many climate activists had hoped this year would yield a pact
      in which nations would agree to cut their greenhouse gas emissions under
      the auspices of a legal international treaty. But recent announcements
      by China, Japan and other nations point to a different outcome of U.N.
      climate talks that will be held in December in Copenhagen: a political
      deal that would establish global federalism on climate policy, with each
      nation pledging to take steps domestically.
      –Juliet Eilperin and Colum Lynch, The Washington Post, 23 September
      2009

      The significance of the Chinese proposal is that it indicates that China
      is willing to join Europe, the United States and others in a fantasyland
      of climate policy detached from policy reality. It is hard to believe
      how that outcome leads some to greater optimism on climate policy.
      –Roger Pielke Jr, 31 August 2009

      None of the alarmists and their supercomputer climate models ever
      predicted even a 30-year respite in their apocalyptic scenarios. Neither
      did they predict the sun, that thermonuclear furnace in the sky that has
      more influence on earth’s climate than any number of Ford Explorers,
      would suddenly go quiet for an indefinite period. Latif and others
      conclude that, at the very least, we have time to think about it and
      analyze and learn. We don’t have to fight global warming by inflicting
      global poverty. More things on Earth affect climate than are dreamed up
      in computer models.
      –Investor’s Business Daily, 22 September 2009

      The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research finds that 20 per cent of
      the population are hardened sceptics about man-made global warming.
      Could it be that this is the top 20 per cent of the population who are
      able to read? The others simply believe any rubbish that they are told.
      I would have thought that most of the readers of the FT fall into the
      top 20 per cent of the population in levels of IQ. No wonder your
      readers are tired of reading the stupidities which, like me, they know
      to be without proper scientific basis.
      –Annie Walker, Financial Times, 23 September 2009

    2. “more likely than any distinct drift in the climate, in either direction.”

      Oh, so we’re recanting on the “the world will cool in the next 30 years” meme already, are we?

      My, that was a short-lived one, even by your standards.

      1. 68.

        I wrote “….the next few years….”. I had two or three in mind. I do not think that the climate will swing sufficiently in that period to satisfy both sides that “…. any distinct drift…” has occurred. I accept though that any change, even annual, will be taken by one side or the other as evidence in support.

        I have never been committed to the idea that cooling over the next decade or two is a certainty though I do consider that it is more probable than warming over the same period. When a much longer time period is considered I am pretty confident indeed that we, or rather our descendents, will face another glaciation. However it would not surprise me at all if we are now in the run up to another Little Ice Age.

        Do you wish to try and twist that?

    3. a pre-emptive attack […] Israel […] Iran […] will push the politics of carbon dioxide firmly into the background.

      Also, did you know that we’re on a ball of rock that’s revolving at 900 miles an hour? It’s orbiting at 19 miles per second, so it’s reckoned, a sun that is the source of all our power. The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see, are moving at a million miles a day! In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour, of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’.

      Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars, it’s a hundred thousand light years side to side. It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick, but out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide. We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point, we go ’round every two hundred million years! And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions in this amazing and expanding universe.

      The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding in all of the directions it can whizz. As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know, twelve million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.

      So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure, how amazingly unlikely is your birth, and pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.

      Now, you didn’t need your liver did you? No, it’s completely insignificant.

      (wittiness courtesy of Monty Python)

  15. There is a rude little fellow who posts on nz.general. Perhaps he is here under a different name. He thinks this stuff is science:

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – The “Temp leads Carbon” Crock
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJeqgG3Tl8

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – “The Medieval Warming Crock”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrKfz8NjEzU

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – The “Urban Heat Island” Crock
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7OdCOsMgCw

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – The Great Petition Fraud
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P8mlF8KT6I

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – The Big Swindle Movie
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boj9ccV9htk

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Ice Area vs Volume
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nruCRcbnY0

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – That 1500 Year Thing
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0HGFSUx2a8

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – I Love the 70s!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nTw0KneNLg

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Solar Schmolar
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sf_UIQYc20

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Watts Up With Watts?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcxVwEfq4bM

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Creepy at the EPA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNbjqSyWdcs

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – All Wet on Sea Level rise
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEXtrLKru-Y

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Don’t it make my green world brown
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFGU6qvkmTI

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Party like it’s 1998
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y15UGhhRd6M

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Mars Attacks
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSXgiml5UwM

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Denial was a River in Africa
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NJEouqefis

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – This Year’s Model
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Un69RMNSw

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Sense from Deniers on CO2? Don’t hold
    your breath….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPA-8A4zf2c

    Polar Ice Update

    1. Can I just say that I heartily endorse these videos? Excellent debunking of denier arguments. Hope you’re taking them on board, Roger. (But I’m not holding my breath).

      1. My favourite is the one on Watts, especially the bit with the graph showing that there is absolutely no difference between Watts’ “perfect” temperature stations and the set he claims is faulty. Crash and burn!

  16. 74.

    Can I just say that I heartily endorse these videos?

    Really!

    Excellent debunking of denier arguments.

    I half expected that even you would find some of them a bit crappy.

    Hope you’re taking them on board, Roger. (But I’m not holding my breath).

    Please do not stop holding it on my account.

  17. “He thinks this stuff is science”
    Roger, they’re obviously not science in themselves, but they are based on good science. You have a problem with the National Academy of Sciences? On what grounds?

  18. 77.

    I have problems with anybody who thinks that there was no mediaeval warm period and no little ice age or that the latter was confined to the northern hemisphere etc. And I do not care whether those views come from the National Academy of Sciences, Exxon, or Jesus Christ.

    1. Go look up the word “attribution”, Roger. MWP/LIA are irrelevant to today’s warming, because they were not caused by CO2.

      You know, if you actually read some of the science you might learn something. But you won’t.

    1. I have enough life and work experience to be a bit selective about authorities. You, for example, might swallow the authority of Michael Mann, hook, line and sinker. I do not propose to.

  19. What evidence is there that the MWP and LIA were global events?

    Please provide sources from the literature. I have access to Science Direct so I can follow these up.

    1. Please provide sources from the literature. I have access to Science Direct so I can follow these up.

      In that case you can find them for yourself. Stalactites might give you a clue though.

    1. I have probably read far more than you for I have had more years to do it. Those years have been interrupted by a little work of course, but I doubt that factor has impeded you at all.

        1. I think that Roger is referring to the C Loehle 2007 paper published in Energy and the Environment (no comment) where he uses non tree ring proxies. His reconstruction shows a very high MWP and that it is worldwide.

          Concerns have been raised over the robustness of the methodology used primarily around the dating, fidelity, calibration, compositing and perhaps most importantly the validation of the reconstruction.

          I would also note that Mike Mann has recently done further reconstructions without any tree ring data that align more with most reconstructions rather than that of Loehle (which is a outlier).

          Upon my quick revew of the literature (looking all the reconstructions) I am on reflection willing to be open to the idea that there was a global MWP warm period. However, there is much stronger evidence that it was not as warm as it is today.

          1. 90.
            When I was working in Australia in mineral exploration I found that you could separate the exploration geologists into two groups, those that relied entirely on the printed word and would disregard any opinions provided by those with local knowledge but no academic record and those who were prepared to pick the brains of those with local knowledge. I was in the latter camp. I never had cause to regret it.

            Of course we wrote reports documenting our work. Almost none of these were ever published for obvious reasons. Some are accessible in state Departments of Mines if you know what you are looking for.

            This may explain why I do not assume that the refereed article is the be all and end all. I recall one such article on the sub-surface geology of part of the Lake Frome Embayment. It was rubbish. The author based his paper on half a dozen holes as I recall. At the time I had some hundreds! At the end of the project I had seen drill cuttings, drill cores, electric logs and gamma counts for nearly 1000 holes. The final report on that project, to which I contributed, has never been public. It is however the basis of a solution mining operation now in progress.

            I have spent weeks in state Departments of Mines wading through reports looking for stuff that might be useful. It made me a little cynical.

            1. Publication in a journal is not the end the proces. Lots of crap get published in journals. The second part is when the article reviewed by the author’s peers. If it is good or or value (even if disagreed with) it will be picked up and used to inform other work.

              Have you thought now that you are semi retired about taking those reports/data and writing them up for a journal. I am sure that your peers would find it of interest.

            2. Flattering but no. Someone asked me to write stuff for Wikipedia. I am just not going to play the games required to do that at this stage of my life. I have opinions based on my life experience. These I am quite prepared to stand by, as you have seen. Bullshit and academic arse kissing cut no ice for me at all. I think that I have learned that if you want someone to take in your message it is best to make the bugger laugh. He/she/it (one wonders these days) might remember that. Stodge he will not.

          2. The thing is that proxy studies – whether they involve tree rings, ice cores, sediment records or whatever – are not attribution studies.

            Roger seems to believe that all he needs to do is show that the MWP was warm, and this will prove that AGW is wrong.

            That is not so.

            There is nothing in the proxy data that would indicate that the MWP warming and today’s warming have the same cause. Indeed, the greater temporal and regional variability of the MWP compared to the globally consistent warming seen today suggests very strongly that these are two different events.

  20. We both have the same MSc degree (Resource Management) from Canterbury/Lincoln. He lectured me on property rights as part of the economics course. His thesis was that we just need to get the property rights clearly defined and env externalities will no longer be a problem.

    I recall that he did not receive an easy ride from the many of the students as we had just been covering the different types of market failure and the limitations of Coasian theory (including problems around the definition, allocation and enforcement of property rights)

    1. 90.

      I have often wondered about degrees in resource management in the absence of any real understanding of the resources in question! The same goes for these management degrees. There exists the mistaken belief that management itself is a skill that does not require any knowledge of that which is to be managed. Our politicians provide us on a daily basis glaring evidence of the falsity of that proposition.

      1. I totally agree. That is why a strong undergraduate degree in a specific area (science, economics, law) was required before doing the degree.

        Next time you are working for Fonterra or Waihi mining please point out to all those MBAs what a waste of of money those degrees were.

  21. 93.

    Continuing. I believe that many of the problems associated with the RMA result from a lack of understanding of the resources involved. The main resource are of course water, minerals and soils. In my view there were far too many recent graduates who expected to ‘manage’ water etc without anything but the most superficial knowledge of groundwater or surface water. They attempt to allocate resources on the basis of minimal knowledge of the subsurface geology and hydrogeology.

    Management of mineral resources is not one field. Each mineral requires its own management strategy. When these people know one resource inside out then they might be able to manage it. Until then!

    1. I agree with you on these points. It is unfortunate that new grads are put in the position where they are making policy or managing issues that are often outside their areas of expertise. This is a combination of hiring policies and agency’s limited budgets. This, however, is where they have to, and should, rely on specialists.

      It is the role of the specialist to provide clear, and balanced advice. It is my unfortunate experience that in some cases contracted expertise (especially so in economic analysis) comes with baggage.

  22. Oh dear. It seems that the numbers change. I put a number at the top thinking that number defines the post that I am replying to and now I see that the number changes. Someone needs a kick where the sun does not shine.

  23. These days the children get out of university thinking and that they know everything and that the sun shines out of their arses. They do not and it does not. However gone are the days when they were just shit kickers until they had learned something. What a pity. Look at them here, in bloody droves.

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