March 03, 2004

Krugman's View of the Bush Administration

Paul Krugman's current view of the Bush administration, from the New York Review of Books. It's depressing as hell. And what is more depressing is that I cannot assemble any substantial evidence against it.

Paul Krugman, "The Wars of the Texas Succession," New York Review of Books: ...But what they said in public was the exact opposite. In private Bush might worry that his tax plan was too friendly to the rich; in public he insisted that "the vast majority of my tax cut goes to the bottom of the economic spectrum." In private Dick Cheney told O'Neill that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." In public he described himself as a "deficit hawk."

So Phillips is right: the Bush administration is deeply hypocritical with regard to its core policies; what it says is at odds not only with what it does, but with what it really thinks. But then what does drive its policy decisions?

Let's flash back to what John DiIulio told [Ron] Suskind in late 2002

There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything--and I mean everything--being run by the political arm. Everything--and I mean everything--is being run by the Mayberry Machiavellis.

O'Neill confirms DiIulio's picture, with a vengeance. Consider, for example, what may in the long run be considered the administration's most fateful decision: to abandon the Kyoto Protocol and, in effect, abandon any attempt to face up to global warming. O'Neill's account makes it clear that nobody even tried to ask what the facts were, what the tradeoffs might involve. Instead, "energy concerns and the thinly supported jeremiad by industry lobbyists had eclipsed considerations about action on global warming. Period." Or as O'Neill summarized this approach to policymaking, "The base [i.e., Bush's Republican political base] likes this and who the hell knows anyway."

Or take the steel tariff. The decision to impose a tariff on steel imports was a terrible one in every way one can think of. It was bad for the economy; it was obviously illegal under international law. It squandered US credibility on trade issues; it was a clear betrayal of the administration's own rhetorical commitment to free trade and free markets. But throwing steel-producing regions a bone might--just might--yield some small political gains.

The Clinton administration refused to impose a steel tariff even during the 2000 campaign; had it betrayed its principles, West Virginia might have gone to Al Gore, who would now be in the White House. When the issue arose again in early 2002, Bush was still immensely popular. "If you can't do the right thing when you're at 85 percent approval, when can you do the right thing?" asked one official. But politics prevailed, and the tariff went through. (The tariff was later rescinded, after the World Trade Organization--predictably--ruled that it violated international law. But the damage was done: US credibility on trade issues had been damaged severely. Partly because of this loss of credibility, international trade negotiations--supposedly an administration priority--have stalled.)

What emerges from Suskind's book is a picture of an entirely cynical administration--much more cynical than Nixon's, in which the corruption was localized, and large parts of the policy process continued to be run by serious, even idealistic people. (Old hands at the Environmental Protection Agency describe the Nixon administration as a golden age.) Under Bush, it seems, political rhetoric bear no relation to reality--what officials say has nothing in common with what they do, or what they think. And policy decisions are driven almost entirely by politics, by what the political arm thinks will play well with "the base.

But in that case, what's it all about? If everything Bush and his officials do is political, what is that they want to do with their power?

Old-line Republicans that I know cling to the belief that the Machiavellianism is only temporary, that it's embraced in service to a higher goal. Once the 2004 election is over, they say Bush will show his true colors as an idealist, someone who genuinely believes in small government and free markets.

But if Phillips is right--and I think he is--there is no higher goal. Bush's motivations are dynastic--to secure his family's rightful place. While he may have some policy biases--like that "instinctive policy fealty" to the investment business--policy is basically there to serve the acquisition of power, and not the other way around...

Posted by DeLong at March 3, 2004 02:55 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

Anyone who has worked in a company with incompetent senior management has seen this many times. Only with GWB, it is magnified a thousand fold because of the power of the position. Scary.

Posted by: Alan on March 3, 2004 03:05 PM

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Tallyrand nailed it 200 years ago. Like the Bourbons, the Bushes forget nothing, and learn nothing.

Posted by: Billmon on March 3, 2004 03:20 PM

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Alan is right.

What is also scary is that even when senior mgmt is demonstratably clueless, most people will continue to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: Moniker on March 3, 2004 03:22 PM

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It's worth pointing out that Kyoto was going nowhere regardless of who was in the White House. A *unanimous* Senate refused to even *consider* it unless it was modified not to exempt "developing" nations like India and China. And that would have been a deal-killer. Kyoto was unworkable from the start.

Posted by: Firebug on March 3, 2004 03:24 PM

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Firebug-
The issue to me is not that he rejected the Kyoto Protocol- it's that he has refused, time and again, and despite the reports issued by his own EPA, to address the subject in any meaningful. Most liberals and moderates (Joe Lieberman, Jim Jeffords), and also most scientists see global warming as a real problem that should be confronted.

Posted by: Brad Reed on March 3, 2004 03:30 PM

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Brian,
Let's pretend it's as you say: O'Neil showed poor judgment, Clinton was spineless, and Kerry lacks principles. Does any of this somehow make you feel better about Bush?

Posted by: joe on March 3, 2004 03:49 PM

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So the Clinton Administration would have been doing the right thing by imposing tariffs on steel, knowing whet we know now. The temporary damage of those tariffs would have been far outweighed by the greater good of a Gore administration. This is something us pro-free trade democrats should think long and hard about it next time we oppose a politically motivated trade restriction move by one of our own.

Posted by: CalDem on March 3, 2004 03:59 PM

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The spuriousness of the Bush administration marches on unchecked and, by many, unnoticed. It would be interesting if the press got behind selecting and presenting a "Joseph Goebbels Lifetime Achievement Award" to be awarded to people in the administration, say, sometime in October, with categories for "Biggest Lie" and "Most Often Repeated Lie", or maybe "Most Brazen Lie" (Bush's recent hollow promise, on national television, to reveal all about his National Guard days comes to mind for this one). Such a venture would not only help to enlighten the general public as to the nature, integrity and veracity of the Bush administration but it may well serve to sharpen the skills of a rather indolent, in regards to things Bushian, press corps.

Posted by: dubblblind on March 3, 2004 04:04 PM

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The relentless pursuit of power by bad means reminds me so much of Nixon, Haldeman, Ehrlichman et al. Except that it makes Nixon look relatively good, a task I had heretofore thought impossible. Nixon at least understood something about international relations (whatever errors he made in that area). These guys don't care about anything except raw power.

Posted by: David in NY on March 3, 2004 04:21 PM

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CalDem - come again on Clinton and the steel tariffs? What did I miss? As I recall, the politicos advise Clinton that these tariffs would be good politics and Clinton shot them down preferring to listen to the policy advise of his economists.

Posted by: Harold McClure on March 3, 2004 04:23 PM

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HOW ABOUT -- GASOLINE PRICES ARE AT ALL TIME RECORD HIGHS.

WHAT DID YOU EXPECT, YOU HAVE A TEXAS OIL MAN AS PRESIDENT.

Posted by: spencer on March 3, 2004 04:23 PM

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Concerning the Kyoto protocol and global warming: until someone can convincingly rebut, as oppose to villify, Lumborg's thesis that a cost-benefit analysis shows clearly that spending trillions of dollars in a hopeless attempt to mitigate global warming, makes little sense when the same money could much more usefully be spent ameliorating the effects of global warming. It's really as simple as that. So on this one issue I'm with Bush -- even though, by every other measure, he seems like the most irresponsible and incompetent president in my lifetime.

Posted by: Luke Lea on March 3, 2004 05:01 PM

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grammatically revised version of above post

Concerning the Kyoto protocol and global warming: until someone can convincingly rebut, as oppose to villify, Lumborg's thesis that a cost-benefit analysis shows clearly that spending trillions of dollars in a hopeless attempt to mitigate global warming, makes little sense when the same money could much more usefully be spent ameliorating the effects of global warming -- I have to take exception. It's really as simple as that. So on this one issue I'm with Bush -- even though, by every other measure, he seems like the most irresponsible and incompetent president in my lifetime.

Posted by: Luke Lea on March 3, 2004 05:08 PM

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Bush is spending trillions on ameliorating the effects of global warming? That's a relief: I feared that inheriting my humble abode in New Orleans would require my children to acquire dive suits.

Posted by: M. Tullius on March 3, 2004 05:34 PM

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Concerning global warming - the problem with Bush43 is that he's not going to spend money either on mitigating OR ameliorating. He's just going to pretend the problem isn't going to happen. Honest people can disagree on the best/right approach to the problem of global warming. I agree that a treaty that exempted the two largest growing economies in the world - India and China - would have been in economic, political, and environmental terms dead on arrival. However Bush's plan is to stall and pretend that the problem doesn't exist so that he doesn't have to deal with it.

As for the rest, it's appalling and it's true and there may never be a way to undo the damage without severe consequences - which are accruing by the day. The terrible thing is that Bush43 may still win in November!!! Kerry is ahead in the polls, but let's remember electoral college math. I fear for my country, dreadfully and terribly. I do not count this President out yet. It is awful what is happening, and the worst may be yet to come.

Posted by: Oldman on March 3, 2004 05:34 PM

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I don't know anything about Lumborg's thesis though I look forward to reading all about it as soon as someone provides a link. In the meantime anything antithetical to the Kyoto framework, given it's widespread support by all our good friends around the world, seems a little suspect. But, even if Lumborg's thesis is correct it would be at least useful if BushAdmin acknowledged global warning instead of resisting a worldful of scientists.

Waiting to hear how millions of miles of dikes is more cost effective than trimming carbon consumption.

Posted by: dennisS on March 3, 2004 05:45 PM

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Robert F. Kennedy once said, "Richard Nixon represents the dark side of the American spirit." Well, RFK never met George W. Bush.

Not since the days of Tricky Dick has the White House seen such a secretive, paranoid and vengeance-filled occupant. President Bush may not have the Plumbers, CREEP (the Committee to Re-elect the President), or the "Enemies List", but in its essence his administration has all the same hallmarks as the Nixon team. The politics of retribution, secrecy, and infallibility are eerily familiar, only the names (Haldeman, Erlichman, and Mitchell versus Cheney, Rove and Ashcroft) have changed.

George W. Bush, a man who came to office pledging to bring honor and integrity back to the White House and who claimed to be "a uniter, not divider", has proven to be small, petty, mean-spirited and venal as president. His politics first and foremost are characterized by the "Payback Principle," with vengeance for those crossing him or his team, even, it seems, to the point of breaking the law. Second, the Bush team's paranoia manifests itself as extreme political cowardice, and an almost pathological refusal to admit error, as we'll see in the case of Iraqi WMDs and 9/11 below. By comparison, the administration's fixation with secrecy seems merely idiosyncratic.

For more, see:

- "The Smallness of King George"
http://www.perrspectives.com/articles/art_smking01.htm

Posted by: Jon on March 3, 2004 05:50 PM

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Appears the re-insurance giants are a lot more concerned about climate change than our friend who is going to rely on our rich grandchildren to do something about it.

Posted by: SW on March 3, 2004 06:20 PM

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It should be interesting to see how hard they try to keep their papers and communications from the public if the Bush administration loses in 2004.

Posted by: Unseelie on March 3, 2004 06:22 PM

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Jon is right.

Unseelie, that's why this crew _cannot_ lose the elections.

And that's why that outcome will be forestalled, prevented, circumvented or undone by _any_ means necessary.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 3, 2004 06:52 PM

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FWIW (which ain't much) the name is Bjorn Lomborg and it should be easy to google.

WRT the Kyoto treaty, it was designed as a standstill agreement which would set up a system of international cooperation on climate change within which further steps could be taken in the future. If it does not come into effect, five or ten years down the road everyone will have to spend another five or ten years setting up a system in which to work.

The precedent was the Montreal Protocols on freons which had much the same shape at the beginning, small effect, establish an international cooperative mechanism in which later, effective steps could be taken and only subject third world and developing countries later to restrictions. It worked.

In any case, it is interesting to note that Chinese emissions of CO2 and other baddies have DECREASED over the past ten years. Efficiency is a good thing.

Posted by: Eli Rabett on March 3, 2004 07:26 PM

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Picture a cowboy boot stamping on a face forever

Posted by: davids on March 3, 2004 07:29 PM

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If they lose, the noise from the paper shredders will be deafening. I am concerned about the ability of the DC area power grid to deal with the surge in the months between November and January.

Posted by: SW on March 3, 2004 07:30 PM

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"However Bush's plan is to stall and pretend that the problem doesn't exist so that he doesn't have to deal with it."

There is no need to "pretend" the "problem" of global warming doesn't exist. Global warming is NOT a problem. It's that simple.

The temperature projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Third Assessment Report are the biggest fraud in the history of environmental science.

http://markbahner.50g.com/what_will_happen_to_us.htm

Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 3, 2004 07:41 PM

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I love the self-rightous arguments that decry the increase in emissions in developing countries (while we are supposed to cut) as some great inequity imposed on us. Common decency and justice requires that if we are considering controling emissions, those emission should be controled on a per capita basis.

Why is it that you feel that the accident of your birth in this country entitles you to something like twenty times the world per capita averge carbon emissions? If these emissions are responsible for serious damage, what gives us the right to insist that any reduction in emissions on the part of some guy who is airconditioning his 6000 sft house in the Arizona desert, driving a gas guzzling SUV etc be matched by some poor bastard in India who is supposed to cut down on the propane he uses to cook with? Its insane on its face. It is a completely stupid, disingenuous argument.

If there are going to be carbon emission limits they will imply a convergence on a per capita emission rate. This means that the industrialized world's per capita emission will need to come down, as the developing world and third world per capita emissions rise. That is simply the way it is, and any argument to the contrary is based on the sort of exceptionalism that will become increasingly untenable in a more interconnected world economy.

Posted by: SW on March 3, 2004 07:45 PM

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"Anyone who has worked in a company with incompetent senior management has seen this many times. Only with GWB, it is magnified a thousand fold because of the power of the position. Scary."

Posted by Alan at March 3, 2004 03:05 PM

Benign cluelessness is one thing but willful and/or negligent malfeasance and imbecilic incompetence is another. People in most companies and corporations will hold back and tolerate incompetent senior management if there's a sense that "payback" is an option. But once the ship starts sinking - watch the hell out! And this ship is sinking.

This administration is guilty of intentionally misleading the nation on so many counts in so many areas and on so many occasions it's almost impossible to keep track. Working class & middle America, while maybe slow to catch on, won't even begin to tolerate being made the fool (yes, I are one). CEO of America or CEO of Enron, it will look the same.

Of course, there's no accounting for the diehard, rabid Bush supporters anymore than you could make sense of the "America Right or Wrong" crowd during my formative years. To quote a famous America scholar/philosopher "stupid is as stupid does."

Thank you,
I now return control of this site to you...

Posted by: JimmiRayBob on March 3, 2004 07:53 PM

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"Common decency and justice requires that if we are considering controling emissions,..."

There is no need to consider "controlling" emissions. Emissions are being "controlled" naturally. It's called technological progress.

Worldwide emissions of CO2 have ALREADY plataeued:

http://markbahner.50g.com/what_will_happen_to_us.htm

And methane atmospheric concentrations have ALSO already plateaued.

Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 3, 2004 07:55 PM

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"Bush is spending trillions on ameliorating the effects of global warming? That's a relief: I feared that inheriting my humble abode in New Orleans would require my children to acquire dive suits."


Posted by M. Tullius at March 3, 2004 05:34 PM

Dear Thullius,

Invest in hilltop property. Dive equipment and a small water-craft wouldn't be a bad idea either. Sorry, but my gloomy sense of the fate of New Orleans will increase the frequency of my visits until the end - I'll miss the food. No help from this administration. Good luck.

Posted by: JimmiRayBob on March 3, 2004 08:03 PM

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Speaking as a bit of a tin-foil on this, why isn't anybody saying the obvious?

Wait, SW did, just to elaborate, The GOP can't afford to lose the White House. My opinion and theory, is that there is a smoking gun somewhere in there..

Actually, when I want to be tin-foil like, I can put it like this....

October Surprise got Reagan elected..(This sort of thing is NOT unthinkable..a similar thing happened in 2000 regarding Israel/Palestine, not to the same scale however)

The stinger missles went to Iran to pay for that. The money for that went to help the Contra's in Nicarugua, and the rebels in Afghanistan.

As well, to even the odds and keep balance in the mid-east, we supported a strongman in Iraq..I believe his name was Hussein...

This would catch a lot of the bugaboos of the last 20 years, and could be a major scandal. One that would take down a good portion of the GOP. And considering 9/11 and the Iraqi war, the explosiveness of that is building rather quickly..

And considering Kerry was one of the point-men on the original Iran-Contra investigation..

yikes.

Posted by: Karmakin on March 3, 2004 08:04 PM

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Yes, let's hope that the initials (JFK) aren't prophetic.

Posted by: SW on March 3, 2004 08:14 PM

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Joe, while my post has been eliminated, I'll just say it gives us perspective. Apparently, perspective is not a valued commodity on this blog.

Brad, If I just say good things about O'Neil and Krugman can I post on your website.

Posted by: Brian on March 3, 2004 08:19 PM

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Luke Lea:
The current issue of Scientific American has an article on the global warming problem worth reading. It discusses the reports that Mark Bahner, Environmental Engineer, insults. Unfortunately, only an abstract is available on-line:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=000E3A5C-D9D8-101E-990A83414B7F0123

Posted by: masaccio on March 3, 2004 08:32 PM

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Mark needs to look at the US Statistical Abstracts for 2003 table 1330. Fresh off the digital presses.

Total world CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased from 5873 mt in 1990 to 6568 in 2001. While you are at it take a look at France, Germany and the UK. I note that China has started to rise again, after a fall in the late 90s as they modernized. Table 1329 is also informative

http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/03statab/intlstat.pdf

Now one interesting thing about Mark's tables, is that it appears as if natural CO2 sinks are saturating which would be bad news indeed, as more and more of the emitted CO2 would remain in the atmosphere.

here is the Manua Loa record in pictures
http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/mlo144e.pdf

and here is a good discussion of the issue
http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/epubs/other/Sicilypaper.pdf


Posted by: Eli Rabett on March 3, 2004 08:40 PM

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Even if the dire predictions of the general circulation modelers are correct, there is still a problem with the Kyoto treaty. Its controls on carbon emissions provide a trivial reduction in the amount of global warming. Why spend all that money to get so little in return? The global warming debate reminds me of the nuclear winter debate. Remember that? As the models got more detailed and realistic, the effect became less and less. If you asked Carl Sagan for a copy of his nuclear-winter-prediction code, you got a big “no.”

Posted by: A. Zarkov on March 3, 2004 08:41 PM

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Who cares about the academics of the debate. If it's getting hotter outside and the sea level is rising, who cares what variables are included in the model. It doesn't matter anymore if it's man-made or natural. It's happening and we're going to have to deal with it.

We are ruled by idiots.

Posted by: Phil on March 3, 2004 09:03 PM

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masaccio above mentions the SciAm article, A. Zarkov, that contains the answers to your questions above. You may want to pick it up, it is very readable, and it also has some other interesting articles in it.

The short answer to your question is that there is a lag time and a residence time to consider; the problem with human perception is that it doesn't deal with scale well.

And Eli:

don't forget the CH4 in tundra soils that would be released - methane is far more powerful than CO2 (although carbon would be released from tundra soils as well).

But I'm sure BushCo has considered all this already and has a plan. snork. Ahem.

D

Posted by: Dano on March 3, 2004 09:14 PM

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Mark Bahner, Environmental Engineer

Don't make me post a list of death and destruction resulting from engineering arrogance. It would be long and depressing. In science, caution is good - certainty is doomed.

Environmental Geologist

Posted by: JimmiRayBob on March 3, 2004 09:28 PM

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No, the "global warming debate" reminds me of the "does smoking cause disease debate".

Posted by: SW on March 3, 2004 09:38 PM

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"No, the "global warming debate" reminds me of the "does smoking cause disease debate"."
Well that's sound science for you.

http://www.chriscmooney.com/blog.asp#612
...
Dig into the origins of the phrase "sound science" as a slogan in policy disputes, and its double meaning becomes clearer. That use of the term goes back to a campaign waged by the tobacco industry to undermine the indisputable connection between smoking and disease. Industry documents released as a result of tobacco litigation show that in 1993 Philip Morris and its public relations firm, APCO Associates, created a nonprofit front group called The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) to fight against the regulation of cigarettes.

Posted by: rdb on March 3, 2004 10:29 PM

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Hal, that is my point, Clinton listened to the policy side over the politicos and possibly lost the election for Gore. Knowing what you know now about the Bush administration, don't you think it would have been better overall to backslide on trade and impose the tariffs and as a result win the election for Gore and not have to dig ourselves out of this tremendous fiscal hole?
I am saying the economists should have been more aware of the generally horrendous consequences of a Republican victory and not argued so hard against the tariffs.

Posted by: CalDem on March 4, 2004 12:14 AM

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"Well, we concede that lung cancer exists. But we don't believe that there is convincing evidence that smoking causes it".

Posted by: SW on March 4, 2004 05:26 AM

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Rather than trying to reduce the cancer rate by urging people to stop smoking, we should instead adapt to the reality of smoking related deaths. Certainly there are creative uses we could find for the cadavers. Then there is the economic benefit of not having to pay social security to these folks. "Thanks Mr. Butts!"

Posted by: SW on March 4, 2004 06:33 AM

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sw: No, the "global warming debate" reminds me of the "does smoking cause disease debate".

There are two “smoking causes disease debates.” The original debate and the current so-called secondary smoke debate. Let’s look at the first. While today we have virtually incontrovertible scientific evidence that primary smoking causes a number of diseases this was not always the case. In the 1950s R. A. Fisher, the founder of modern statistics, the man who invented the method of randomized clinical trials, expressed doubt that smoking was linked to lung cancer. Dr. Joseph Berkson (chief of Medical Statistics at the Mayo Clinic) agreed (they didn’t agree on much). Berkson was trained in both medicine and statistics. Both were concerned about scientific methodology and wrote extensively against the link between smoking and disease. Of course they were wrong, as we learned later from additional data, which included laboratory experiments on animals. Moreover, the mechanism of action by which tobacco causes disease was later identified. Thus Fisher and Berkson were both right and wrong. Right in the sense that their conclusions were in accord with good scientific methodology, and the data available at the time, but ultimately wrong in the light of new facts. The current debate on secondary smoke is another matter. The EPA methodology here is a fraud, but timidity and political correctness has prevented a lot of people who know better from speaking out. Dogma reins. The global warming debate is somewhere between the debates on primary and secondary smoke, and I think pretty close to the latter.

Posted by: A. Zarkov on March 4, 2004 09:05 AM

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It is the "I think" part that trips you up. Nice try though.

Posted by: SW on March 4, 2004 09:13 AM

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SW writes, "No, the 'global warming debate' reminds me of the 'does smoking cause disease debate'."

That's probably because you don't know much about global warming.

You bring ***anyone*** with a degree in science or engineering who maintains that the IPCC's temperature projections for the 21st century are not a crock, and I'll destroy his or her arguments.

If Brad DeLong doesn't want to have this done on his blog, we can use mine:

http://markbahner.typepad.com

...or any other blog.

This isn't even close. The IPCC's temperature projections in their Third Assessment Report--1.4 to 5.8 degree Celsius temperature rise by 2100--are the biggest fraud in the history of environmental science.

Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 4, 2004 09:32 AM

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In response to the request above for a pointer to Lomborg: AFAIK, the book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" is not available online. Links to Scientific American's extensive commentary, and to Lomborg's response, and a response to the response, are at:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00000B96-9517-1CDA-B4A8809EC588EEDF
and at:
www.lomborg.com

To Mark Bahner:
Having now read your piece, I'm still skeptical. The reason for my skepticism is that I think the IPCC is both conservative and, at least, not stupid. IIRC it took the IPCC over a decade before they would endorse the notion of a definite human signature on climate change. And I'm sure they are as able as you to do the quite simple projections you do, and have some reason for rejecting it.

I'm not competent to try to adjudicate this debate; I must rely on scientific opinion. Recently there was an interesting, if somewhat depressing, thread on Crooked Timber about reading material by experts about subjects that intrinsically involve expert knowledge, which this thread brought back to mind. The thesis discussed is basically that it's hopeless; you can't meaningfully pick positions, but instead must pick experts (how?). The thread is here:

http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/001427.html

Posted by: Jonathan Goldberg on March 4, 2004 09:36 AM

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Eli Rabett writes,

"Mark needs to look at the US Statistical Abstracts for 2003 table 1330. Fresh off the digital presses. Total world CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased from 5873 mt in 1990 to 6568 in 2001."

OK, I've taken a look at those numbers. The numbers on my website come from Worldwatch Institute. Neither your numbers nor mine are from "primary" sources, as far as I know.

The original source for your data is the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The original source for my data is a U.N. Agency, I think. I need to check my Worldwatch Institute "Vital Signs" books to see what their source is. Those books are at home.

In any case, the argument would be whether it was 100% accurate to say that emissions, "have plateaued"...or whether a better characterization would be "are plateauing."

Your source does NOT have data prior to 1990. My source (Worldwatch Institute) has data going back to 1950. See Figure 4 on this webpage:

http://markbahner.50g.com/what_will_happen_to_us.htm

Decadal increases in CO2 emissions were:

1950 to 1960: 57%

1960 to 1970: 58%

1970 to 1980: 29%

1980 to 1990: 15%

1990 to 2000: 6% (according to Worldwatch Institute...10% according to your source).

So whether the increase from 1990 to 2000 was 6% or 10%, it was still less than the 15% from 1980 to 1990. Which was in turn less than the 29% from 1970 to 1980. Which was in turn less than the 58% from 1960 to 1970.

So perhaps "ALREADY plateaued" wasn't 100% accurate. But the trend from 3 decades of data is pretty clear.


Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 4, 2004 09:50 AM

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"Having now read your piece, I'm still skeptical."

You should be! Of EVERYONE.

To get slightly sidetracked, this is one indication of how far evironmental science has fallen. "Global warming skeptic" is used as a term of DERISION!

Well, my lunch period is over. I'll address your skepticism later tonight, if possible.

Mark Bahner (environmental engineer)

P.S. "I'm not competent to try to adjudicate this debate; I must rely on scientific opinion."

Well, then you're in trouble. Because MY opinion is scientific. And the IPCC claims to be based on science.

But this is NOT rocket science. An overall opinion on global warming CAN be formed by a lay person, based on reading/listening to scientific debate.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 4, 2004 09:58 AM

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<There is no need to "pretend" the "problem" of global warming doesn't exist. Global warming
<is NOT a problem. It's that simple.

Shrug - I have my PE license in environmental engineering, and I've worked in air quality for about the last nine years. In my little corner of the air quality world, there's been a rather embarrassing "whoops" on ethanol plants lately - what engineering judgement and theory predicted emissions would be from dry mill ethanol plants seriously underestimated the actual emissions, as was discovered when Minnesota actually did some testing. Rather expensive mistake for some plants, since EPA went after them for PSD violations.

Now, I would think that grain-based ethanol production is a fairly well-established technology, with a pretty good understanding of the inputs, especially when compared to global warming. When you say that you're certain global warming is not a problem, I suspect you're either working in a part of the field that is more cut-and-dried than what I'm used to, or you're using a pretty idiosyncratic and/or Panglossian definition of "no problem".

Posted by: K Kuhn on March 4, 2004 02:45 PM

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"When you say that you're certain global warming is not a problem, I suspect you're either working in a part of the field that is more cut-and-dried than what I'm used to, or you're using a pretty idiosyncratic and/or Panglossian definition of 'no problem'."

Any *honest* look at the "problem" of global warming must take the following facts into account:

1) It is virtually certain that the less global warming there is, the less of a problem there is likely to be. (In toxicological terms, "The dose is the poison.")

2) One must also include the *benefits* of global warming, in any *honest* analysis of the problems. That is, if one is *honest,* one must acknowledge the possibility that the benefits from certain levels of warming might even *exceed* the problems caused by those levels of warming.

3) Since global warming "control" would presumably be done for the benefit of future generations, one should consider whether future generations will be substantially better off than we are today. For example, if people in 2100 will be 100+ times richer than people are today--which is likely to be the case--it's pretty ridiculous to claim that a few degrees of temperature rise, or a foot or two of sea level rise, will be a "problem" for them.

4) In order to evaluate whether global warming is a "problem," it must be compared to other problems. For example, if a man had Stage 4 leukemia, you wouldn't say his hangnail was a "problem."

By those criteria, it's clear that global warming is not a problem.

There ***are*** very important environmental problems in the world today. In the third world, there are indoor air problems from combustion of dirty fuels in homes. There is lack of clean water to drink. There is significant outdoor air pollution in megacities.

In the first world, there are far fewer environmental problems. But there is fine particulate pollution, both indoor and outdoor. Some problems with clean water...especially for people served by individual shallow wells. There are problems associated with concentrated animal feedlots. And others.

Global warming is not a problem. We should concentrate on real environmental problems...not on computer-generated fantasy problems.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 4, 2004 03:32 PM

____

Panglossian sounds right - Swiss Re http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0303-07.htm is in the news again [pardon the site - the only good link I could find] about what they consider to be a problem.

I'll listen to the ultracareful-with-money folks before I listen to declarations of supposed certitude or assertions of fraud.

And where's the html tags on this thing?!?

D

Posted by: Dano on March 4, 2004 03:36 PM

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Dear Mark,

How about emissions back to 1751
http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis/glo.htm

BTW, CDIAC is the official US site for this kind of data. You can find their list of products at
http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/by_new/bysubjec.html

Now, riddle me this batman, if the emission level is constant, but the yearly emissions exceed the ability of the earth system to absorb CO2, what happens to the ambient CO2 level (at least for 600-1000 years, which is the characteristic time for CO2 to mix back into the deep ocean)...Why the CO2 mixing ratio goes UP. Gee, just what it has been doin.

BTW, by chaining back to on line issues of previous Statistical Abstracts you can get back about 20 years.

Posted by: Eli Rabett on March 4, 2004 06:51 PM

____

>1) It is virtually certain that the less global warming there is, the less of a problem there is
>likely to be. (In toxicological terms, "The dose is the poison.")

Agreed - but where are you going with this? I've seen some interesting articles on CO2 sequestration technologies, but nothing suggesting that the dose is likely to start decreasing in the near future.

>2) One must also include the *benefits* of global warming,

Yep - but wouldn't you need to be quite sure of your model of what will change in order to do a cost-benefit analysis that you could rely on? For instance, I think there's still disagreement about what the real odds that the Gulf Stream will shut off are. I'd also note that the people who will benefit are not the same people who will lose, and cost-benefit analyses often get somewhat contentious when one group of people notices they're doing the paying but some strangers are getting the benefits - even worse when said losers don't believe they agreed to help out those guys who ended up benefiting, or don't think they're benefiting enough compared to what they're paying. Just look at arguments around health-based standards - take a look at the PM2.5 proposals, or why the most recent NESHAPs are technology-based rather than health-based. Or just look at some of the other threads on this blog - like the one on outsourcing.

As far as being richer in the future - I'm not a prophet, and past returns are no guarantee of future results, etc. And I admit, I'm not particularly fond of arguments about what life will be like in a century - I've read enough sf to notice how badly wrong most authors get it when they try to do realistic near-future sf.

And again, as far as whether global warming is leprosy or a hangnail - well, I'd argue that you need to be pretty certain of your model and what will happen before you can really do a decent cost-benefit analysis. Arguments along the line of once everyone arguing this is dead, those still around will be better off, are not particularly popular with most people. Back to cost-benefits again.

And I'm not sure that pollution solutions have to be an either/or basis, along the lines of rich societies can't afford more than they're currently paying for a clean environment, so therefore if you decide to clean up drinking water supplies, you can't do anything about feedlot emissions. And if you want to do a bit of handwaving, a lot of air pollution in megacities is due to internal combustion engines. Come up with fuel-cells that are a better idea for cars than gasoline engines, and not only might you reduce CO2 emissions, but you'd help air pollution levels as well.

Posted by: K Kuhn on March 4, 2004 07:03 PM

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Dano writes, "I'll listen to the ultracareful-with-money folks before I listen to declarations of supposed certitude or assertions of fraud."

Oh brother! Yeah, Dano, insurers don't have any fiscal incentive at all to scare their clients into paying for insurance that isn't necessary!

When I was in college, life insurance salesmen came to the dormitory all the time. A guy tried to sell me a ****$300,000**** life insurance policy. A 20-year-old single guy, in perfect health, and with less than $2,000 in debt.

But of course, he was just one of those "ultra-careful-with-money" folks, right?

Oy, vey!

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 4, 2004 07:32 PM

____

Mark Bahner, Environmental Actuary, is right.

Why, there's no need to increase reserves at all. Nope. I'm convinced by that powerful, compelling anecdote.

No need to consider that with urbanization comes greater chance that...well...Mark surely has that on his web site.

And I'm with K Kuhn:

Cifuentes, L., Borja-Aburto, V.H., Gouveia, N., Thurston, G., Davis, D.L. 2001. Hidden health benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation. Science 293:5533 pp. 1257-1259.

Reduce the PM and the O3 precursors from fossil fuel burning and there's huge savings in health costs each year - and who cares what was the reason you did it?

D

Posted by: Dano on March 4, 2004 08:01 PM

____

Mark Bahner wrote:

"The temperature projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Third Assessment Report are the biggest fraud in the history of environmental science."

You're too modest Mark.

The temperature projections in the TAR were part of a 'scenario analysis'. They are not 'here's what's going to happen'. They are 'here's what the model produced when we ran through various scenarios'. Anyone who read the TAR would know that. The scenarios are meant to be 'illustrative' rather than an accurate prediction of reality. The TAR very clearly points this out.

Trying to discredit the TAR by saying that the scenario's projections don't match up with reality is dishonest. Mark has been called on this before - by people who had read the TAR as well as primary sources. When he saw that his BS wasn't working - he stopped debating and ran away.

http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/002176.html

Which makes the following comment all the more amusing:

"You bring ***anyone*** with a degree in science or engineering who maintains that the IPCC's temperature projections for the 21st century are not a crock, and I'll destroy his or her arguments."

I'll repeat what I said in that thread:

"It either comes down to you didn't read/understand it [the TAR] or that you're trying to mistate it in order to score cheap points. Neither case is one to be proud of."

---
"You should be! Of EVERYONE."

Particularly of you.
---

The one point I do agree with him is that:

"An overall opinion on global warming CAN be formed by a lay person, based on reading/listening to scientific debate."

Read the TAR. Even the "Technical Summary" is easily accessible to non-technical readers.

Posted by: chris_a on March 5, 2004 01:39 PM

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Yes, Chris.

I say again: there's nothing like the spectacle of Mark Bahner on an anti-IPCC rant.

But nice pointing out of the dropped argument.

D

Posted by: Dano on March 5, 2004 01:58 PM

____

...but I must confess, Mark's argumentation on other selected topics is very good, and I often enjoy the non-climate comments he makes here.

D

Posted by: Dano on March 5, 2004 02:05 PM

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"...but I must confess, Mark's argumentation on other selected topics is very good, and I often enjoy the non-climate comments he makes here."

I only feel compelled to respond when he says stuff like this:

"You bring ***anyone*** with a degree in science or engineering ..."

Unfortunately, that happens in some non-climate comments as well.

Posted by: chris_a on March 5, 2004 02:15 PM

____

"Trying to discredit the TAR by saying that the scenario's projections don't match up with reality is dishonest."

Bwahhahahahaha!

So, Chris, why didn't the IPCC put a note on the TAR that said, "These scenarios' projections aren't intended to match reality." ("They are only intended to scare people.")

???

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 7, 2004 07:37 PM

____

Returning to Jonathan Goldberg's comments:

"Having now read your piece, I'm still skeptical. The reason for my skepticism is that I think the IPCC is both conservative..."

What do you mean by "conservative?" If by "conservative" you mean that they dramatically overestimate future atmospheric methane concentrations, future CO2 emissions, future CO2 atmospheric concentrations, and future temperature increases, then I completely agree with you.

"...and, at least, not stupid."

I don't think they're stupid. They're dishonest. That's a lot worse.

"And I'm sure they are as able as you to do the quite simple projections you do, and have some reason for rejecting it."

Yes, there reason for not coming up with projections similar to mine is that it would cost the "global climate change community" literally BILLIONS of dollars in funding.

They come up with ridiculously high numbers, because they know that people like your poster on Crooked Timber can be relied on to say, it's not worth spending the time to try to find the truth, and that one should just trust people who are saying what you already think is true. Unfortunately, that's not very good science. Good science involves being skeptical of everyone's comments.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 7, 2004 07:57 PM

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Tell you what, ChrisA. You've said that the IPCC's projections are just "scenarios" and you admit they don't match reality.

So give me some numbers that DO match reality. Predict human CO2 emissions, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, atmospheric methane concentrations, and surface and lower tropospheric temperatures for the 21st century.

Give me 5%, 50% and 95% probability numbers. That is, give me numbers where there is only a 5% probability that the numbers will be lower than what you predict, a 50% probability that the numbers will be lower than you predict, and a 95% probability that the numbers will be lower than you predict.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 7, 2004 08:05 PM

____

"So, Chris, why didn't the IPCC put a note on the TAR that said, "These scenarios' projections aren't intended to match reality." ("They are only intended to scare people.")"

Mark, how about you READ ALL of the TAR. You will see just how strongly they make the distinction. The fact that you haven't done this speaks volumes about your 'skepticism'. As I said earlier, neither position is one to be proud of. You can 'Bwahhahahahaha!' all you want but it doesn't change that. Really professional.

[BTW, If they were trying to scare people, they would have focused on the possibility of abrupt climate change - like the Pentagon/Marshall report that came out recently.]
---
"Yes, there reason for not coming up with projections similar to mine is that it would ..."

Lets investigate this comment little more. Not only are the GW proponents using overly complicated models but so are the GW **skeptics**. They have rejected Mark's approach as well. Are they also part of the conspiracy as well?

There *are* challenges to GW consensus that are firmly grounded in science. Most of which involve cloud formation. Mark is unwilling - or incapable - of crafting such a challenge. Instead he chooses an approach abandoned by other skeptics. He deliberately mischaracterizes the TAR - even after it's been pointed out to him. His response here is to
issue some 'Bwahhahahahaha!' non-denials. Last but not least, he runs away when confronted.

These aren't the actions of a skeptic. They obscure where the debate really is and serve none - skeptics included - except his own ego.

Finally, rather than address the deficiencies in HIS arguments, Mark wants change the subject.

"So give me some numbers..."

Start reading the primary literature.

Posted by: chris_a on March 8, 2004 10:00 AM

____

"Mark, how about you READ ALL of the TAR."

No, Chris, how about you quote the parts of the TAR that you think are relevant, and state why you think those parts absolve the IPCC of 1) dishonesty, and/or 2) complete incompetence.

"You will see just how strongly they make the distinction."

They strongly make a strong distinction between their "projections," which don't match reality, and "predictions?" Well, that may sound wonderful to you, but we taxpayers have paid literally tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars for their models.

Most of us taxpayers expected an answer to a relatively straightforward question, "What will happen to CO2 emissions, CO2 atmospheric concentrations, methane concentrations, and surface/lower tropospheric temperatures in the 21st century, if governments don't get involved in 'controlling' global warming (e.g. with the Kyoto Protocol)?"

I don't think it's too much to ask of the IPCC for them to make some goddam PREDICTIONS with the tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars they've been given.

Chris writes, "Not only are the GW proponents using overly complicated models but so are the GW **skeptics**. They have rejected Mark's approach as well. Are they also part of the conspiracy as well?"

No, in fact both global warming "skeptics" and that granddady of global warming alarmists, James Hansen, have agreed with me that the IPCC "projections" are cr@p. And they agree with me for the very same reasons: 1) the IPCC's methane concentration projections are cr@p, 2) the IPCC's CO2 emissions and resultant CO2 concentration projections are cr@p, and 3) the IPCC temperature projections are cr@p.

From Dr. Hansen:

1) "Also, the IPCC predilection for exaggerated growth rates of population, energy intensity, and pollution calls into question the realism of their results. Let's try an alternative approach that begins with observed rates of change in the forcings."

2) "Actual growth rate of CO2 emissions in the 1990s, based on the recent update of DOE (Reference 10a), was 0.7% per year. In the IPCC CO2 scenarios (constructed before data for the full decade were available), the growth rate of CO2 emissions in the 1990s is 1.5% per year, about twice the actual growth rate."

3) "It is sometimes suggested that the recent ~1% per year growth rate of CO2 emissions is an aberration resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union's economy and is affected by possible under-reporting of China's emissions. On the contrary, the demise of inefficient systems is natural and there is much room for further gains in efficiency. Reported reductions of coal use in China in the late 1990s were probably exaggerated, as indicated by a 28% increase in reported coal use between 2001 and 2002 (Reference 10b). But such uncertainties do not modify the conclusion that a realistic description of business-as-usual is 1–1.5% per year growth of global CO2 emissions, not 4% per year (see note 10c in References). The presumption inherent in the fast-growth IPCC scenarios—that the entire world will follow the energy path of the U.S. between 1945 and the early 1970s, developing a comparable dependence on fossil fuel supplies, with all the disadvantages that entails—is highly dubious."

4) "Methane (CH4) causes the second largest GHG climate forcing. Hansen and Sato (Reference 1a) show that actual growth rate of CH4 is falling below all IPCC scenarios."

http://naturalscience.com/ns/articles/01-16/ns_jeh6.html

So once again, Chris, you don't have a clue about the scientific facts of the subject you're trying to discuss.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 8, 2004 07:02 PM

____

"Mark, how about you READ ALL of the TAR."

No, Chris, how about you quote the parts of the TAR that you think are relevant, and state why you think those parts absolve the IPCC of 1) dishonesty, and/or 2) complete incompetence.

"You will see just how strongly they make the distinction."

They strongly make a strong distinction between their "projections," which don't match reality, and "predictions?" Well, that may sound wonderful to you, but we taxpayers have paid literally tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars for their models.

Most of us taxpayers expected an answer to a relatively straightforward question, "What will happen to CO2 emissions, CO2 atmospheric concentrations, methane concentrations, and surface/lower tropospheric temperatures in the 21st century, if governments don't get involved in 'controlling' global warming (e.g. with the Kyoto Protocol)?"

I don't think it's too much to ask of the IPCC for them to make some goddam PREDICTIONS with the tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars they've been given.

Chris writes, "Not only are the GW proponents using overly complicated models but so are the GW **skeptics**. They have rejected Mark's approach as well. Are they also part of the conspiracy as well?"

No, in fact both global warming "skeptics" and that granddady of global warming alarmists, James Hansen, have agreed with me that the IPCC "projections" are cr@p. And they agree with me for the very same reasons: 1) the IPCC's methane concentration projections are cr@p, 2) the IPCC's CO2 emissions and resultant CO2 concentration projections are cr@p, and 3) the IPCC temperature projections are cr@p.

From Dr. Hansen:

1) "Also, the IPCC predilection for exaggerated growth rates of population, energy intensity, and pollution calls into question the realism of their results. Let's try an alternative approach that begins with observed rates of change in the forcings."

2) "Actual growth rate of CO2 emissions in the 1990s, based on the recent update of DOE (Reference 10a), was 0.7% per year. In the IPCC CO2 scenarios (constructed before data for the full decade were available), the growth rate of CO2 emissions in the 1990s is 1.5% per year, about twice the actual growth rate."

3) "It is sometimes suggested that the recent ~1% per year growth rate of CO2 emissions is an aberration resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union's economy and is affected by possible under-reporting of China's emissions. On the contrary, the demise of inefficient systems is natural and there is much room for further gains in efficiency. Reported reductions of coal use in China in the late 1990s were probably exaggerated, as indicated by a 28% increase in reported coal use between 2001 and 2002 (Reference 10b). But such uncertainties do not modify the conclusion that a realistic description of business-as-usual is 1–1.5% per year growth of global CO2 emissions, not 4% per year (see note 10c in References). The presumption inherent in the fast-growth IPCC scenarios—that the entire world will follow the energy path of the U.S. between 1945 and the early 1970s, developing a comparable dependence on fossil fuel supplies, with all the disadvantages that entails—is highly dubious."

4) "Methane (CH4) causes the second largest GHG climate forcing. Hansen and Sato (Reference 1a) show that actual growth rate of CH4 is falling below all IPCC scenarios."

http://naturalscience.com/ns/articles/01-16/ns_jeh6.html

So once again, Chris, you don't have a clue about the scientific facts of the subject you're trying to discuss.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 8, 2004 07:02 PM

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ChrisA writes, "Last but not least, he runs away when confronted."

On the contrary, Chris, I waste too much of my time responding to clueless jerks like you. Just look at all the time I've wasted right here, when I could have been responding to K. Kuhn's informed, intelligent, and interesting comments and questions. Ali Rabett and Jonathan Goldberg have also had good comments and questions that I haven't been able to fully address, because I've been wasting time with you.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 8, 2004 07:18 PM

____

""Mark, how about you READ ALL of the TAR."

No, Chris, how about you quote the parts of the TAR"

I am not the one calling the TAR the biggest fraud in environmental science. The burden is clearly on you.
--
"They strongly make a strong distinction between their "projections," which don't match reality, and "predictions?" Well, that may sound wonderful to you, but we taxpayers have paid literally tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars for their models."

No they make a distinction between a scenario analysis and a prediction. You keep missing this point. The Hansen quotes are about the forcings - the *assumptions* that make up the scenarios. They aren't about the models used.

---

I don't think it's too much to ask of the IPCC for them to make some goddam PREDICTIONS with the tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars they've been given.

Again, they made the distinction between a scenario analysis and a prediction. Just because they didn't do what you wanted doesn't make the TAR the biggest fraud in environmental science. Once again, your failure to honestly characterize the TAR speaks volumes about your 'skepticism'.

---
"Chris writes, "Not only are the GW proponents using overly complicated models but so are the GW **skeptics**. They have rejected Mark's approach as well. Are they also part of the conspiracy as well?"

No, in fact both global warming "skeptics" and that granddady of global warming alarmists, James Hansen, have agreed with me that the IPCC "projections" are cr@p. And they agree with me for the very same reasons: 1) the IPCC's methane concentration projections are cr@p, 2) the IPCC's CO2 emissions and resultant CO2 concentration projections are cr@p, and 3) the IPCC temperature projections are cr@p."

I was clearly talking about the *models* not the *assumptions*. You consistently, and incorrectly, group them together. I'll try to be more clear:

The model - not the assumptions - that you are using has been discounted by others, including skeptics. Jonathan brought this up and rather address that point, you switched the subject to the results - not the models.

This brings up an interesting set of questions:

What results would you get if you run their assumptions through your model?

What results would you get if you run your assumptions through one of their models?

---
Let's not forget that the NAS was asked to review the TAR and didn't come anywhere near your conclusion. There's also the matter of the vast body of primary literature that supports the broad conclusions of the TAR.

Posted by: chris_a on March 9, 2004 09:19 AM

____

ChrisA writes, "I am not the one calling the TAR the biggest fraud in environmental science. The burden is clearly on you."

Yes, you are. Here are quotes from ***me***:

"The temperature projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Third Assessment Report are the biggest fraud in the history of environmental science."--March 3, 2004, 7:41 PM.

"This isn't even close. The IPCC's temperature projections in their Third Assessment Report--1.4 to 5.8 degree Celsius temperature rise by 2100--are the biggest fraud in the history of environmental science."--March 4, 2004, 9:32 AM.

I clearly wrote both times that the ***temperature projections*** in the TAR were the biggest fraud in the history of environmental science.

I think you're deliberately misquoting me. In other words, I think you're lying. Since I don't expect that you'll admit that you're misquoting me and apologize, you can go to h@ll.

Like I wrote previously, there are plenty of decent people with interesting comments and questions on this issue. Absent an apology from you, I'll deal only with them from now on.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 9, 2004 02:14 PM

____

I wrote, "1) It is virtually certain that the less global warming there is, the less of a problem there is likely to be. (In toxicological terms, 'The dose is the poison.')"

K. Kuhn responded, "Agreed - but where are you going with this?"

Where I'm going is that global warming has only been judged a problem because people believe the IPCC's ridiculously high temperature projections. I would admit that global warming would be a problem, if the temperature would increase by 5.8 degrees Celsius (~10 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100. But the fact is that there isn't even 1 chance in 100--and probably not even 1 chance in 1000--that such a temperature increase will happen.

In fact, I don't even think there's 1 chance in 100 that the 3 degrees Celsius temperature rise that IPCC comes up with as a midpoint for their "projections" will occur.

So global warming has been judged to be a problem largely due to the dishonestly high temperature projections of the IPCC.

I wrote, "2) One must also include the *benefits* of global warming,..."

K. Kuhn responded, "Yep - but wouldn't you need to be quite sure of your model of what will change in order to do a cost-benefit analysis that you could rely on?"

No, this isn't addressing what I was trying to get to. What I'm saying is that there are benefits of global warming...longer growing seasons resulting in cheaper food crops, allowing people to spend more time outdoors and thus rendering them less susceptible to flu and other diseases that are more prevalent when people are indoors, and other such things.

This is in contrast, say, to CFCs causing stratospheric ozone depletion. There are few if any benefits to the stratospheric ozone layer being depleted. But there are legitimate benefits from global warming. These legitimate benefits of global warming need to be "subtracted" from the problems, in order to decide whether there is a "net problem."

I think, if one were to honestly evaluate the situation, a good case could be made that a world that 0-2 degrees Celsius warmer than today would actually be a net *good* thing.

"For instance, I think there's still disagreement about what the real odds that the Gulf Stream will shut off are."

Well, that would depend on how much the world warms, I think. So that's really more in the range of the first item I listed, "The dose is the poison" (i.e., whether global warming is a problem depends on how much warming we're talking about).

"I'd also note that the people who will benefit are not the same people who will lose, and cost-benefit analyses often get somewhat contentious when one group of people notices they're doing the paying but some strangers are getting the benefits - even worse when said losers don't believe they agreed to help out those guys who ended up benefiting, or don't think they're benefiting enough compared to what they're paying."

Yes, those are all very complicated issues. Global warming can help some people (e.g. Canadians and Russians, who live where it's ridiculously cold). And it can hurt others. But as I mentioned before, the fact that global warming can help some people makes it different from stratospheric ozone depletion (for example) which doesn't help anyone (well, maybe sunscreen manufacturers).

"As far as being richer in the future - I'm not a prophet, and past returns are no guarantee of future results, etc. And I admit, I'm not particularly fond of arguments about what life will be like in a century - I've read enough sf to notice how badly wrong most authors get it when they try to do realistic near-future sf."

Well, we're relying on the IPCC's (completely bogus) projections about what temperatures, CO2 emissions, and CO2 and methane concentrations will be like 100 years from now, to even decide that global warming is a problem.

The IPCC also projects what economic conditions will be like 100 years in the future by the way. They also project that people will be much richer than in 2003...although their values are "only" about 10-20 times as rich, versus my prediction of 260 times as rich.

In the final analysis, science is all about predicting future events. Scientists aren't "prophets" but science CAN be used to accurately predict future events. (Depending on what one's definition of "accurately" is. For example, if people in 2003 are "only" 50 times richer than they were in 1990, rather than 260 times richer, as I predict, I would consider my prediction to be "accurate." But if they were only 2 times as rich in 2003 as in 1990, I would certainly admit I'd been inaccurate!)

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 9, 2004 02:47 PM

____

Mark Bahner desperately searches for an excuse not to address:

* His inability to distinguish between a scenario analysis and a projection.

* His inability to distinguish between the model, the assumptions and the results.

* Why the NAS assessment was supportive of the TAR.

* Why researchers - including many skeptics - have abandoned the model that he uses.

----
With only a quick search, here you say:

"I am dealing with it. I'm exposing the IPCC TAR for the pathetic fraud it is."

http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/002176.html

It's not like other examples would be difficult to come by. Considering your behavior here and on other threads, the whine about misquoting is impressive hypocracy - even for you.

If it makes you feel better, I'll restate myself:

I am not the one calling the TAR a pathetic fraud. The burden is clearly on you.

Clearly before calling the TAR, or its scenario analysis, a fraud - you should have read the entire thing first. Once again it says volumes about your skepticism.

Posted by: chris_a on March 9, 2004 04:24 PM

____

ChrisA writes, "Mark Bahner desperately searches for an excuse not to address:..."

"* His inability to distinguish between a scenario analysis and a projection."

Heh, heh, heh! Chris, you can't even keep your own pathetic weasel-words straight, why should anyone else be able to do so?! :-)

By your own weasel-logic, a "projection" is the SAME as "an outcome of a scenario analysis." It's a "prediction" that's allegedly different! Bwahahahahahaha!

Oh, my! Most folks probably don't understand this whole mess. That's not surprising. In fact, that's probably the whole goal the "scientists" at the IPCC who are doing the predictions...uh, projections...uh, scenario analyses,...uh, story telling, uh,...

...well, the best name for it would probably be "pseudoscientific cr@p."

"* His inability to distinguish between the model, the assumptions and the results."

I can easily distinguish between the three: the model inputs (which you call mislabel as "assumptions") aren't worth cr@p. So the model results aren't worth cr@p. So it doesn't make any difference how good the models are, their outputs are cr@p. It's called "GIGO." (Garbage In, Garbage Out.) Models produce garbage/cr@p, if they have garbage/cr@p going in.

Chris concludes with, "Clearly before calling the TAR, or its scenario analysis, a fraud - you should have read the entire thing first."

I've read the analyses. They're cr@p. Once again, if you think that, buried somewhere in the thousand pages of the TAR, there is some phrase or sentence that shows that the people who made the predictions...er, projections, er, stories, er, pseudoscientific cr@p...weren't dishonest (or completely incompetent), then you should provide that nugget of gold.

I have demonstrated, both on my website, and even using granddaddy alarmist James Hansens' own words, why the IPCC TAR's temperature projections are the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science. If you think otherwise, *you* provide the evidence.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on March 10, 2004 02:26 PM

____

"own pathetic weasel-words straight"

How about common, accepted terms.

As far as the prediction/projection mixup goes - Oops my bad. It still doesn't change what I've said or the fact that you keep ducking the questions I've outlined. But in the interest of not going over this AGAIN:

From
http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg2/125.htm

"Box 3-1. Definitions

Projection. The term "projection" is used in two senses in this chapter. In general usage, a projection can be regarded as any description of the future and the pathway leading to it. However, a more specific interpretation was attached to the term "climate projection" throughout the Second Assessment Report (SAR) to refer to model-derived estimates of future climate.

Forecast/Prediction. When a projection is branded "most likely," it becomes a forecast or prediction. A forecast is often obtained by using deterministic models—possibly a set of such models—outputs of which can enable some level of confidence to be attached to projections.

Scenario. A scenario is a coherent, internally consistent, and plausible description of a possible future state of the world (IPCC, 1994). It is not a forecast; each scenario is one alternative image of how the future can unfold. A projection may serve as the raw material for a scenario, but scenarios often require additional information (e.g., about baseline conditions). A set of scenarios often is adopted to reflect, as well as possible, the range of uncertainty in projections. Indeed, it has been argued that if probabilities can be assigned to such a range (while acknowledging that significant unquantifiable uncertainties outside the range remain), a new descriptor is required that is intermediate between scenario and forecast (Jones, 2000). Other terms that have been used as synonyms for scenario are "characterization" (cf. Section 3.8), "storyline" (cf. Section 3.2), and"construction.""

You have continued to treat the scenario analysis as a forecast/prediction. You claim to have read the TAR yet you missed this. Even after the distinction was pointed out to you in the previous thread you continued doing it. We're far past this being an honest mistake on your part.

"Most of us taxpayers expected an answer to a relatively straightforward question, "What will happen to CO2 emissions, CO2 atmospheric concentrations, methane concentrations, and surface/lower tropospheric temperatures in the 21st century, if governments don't get involved in 'controlling' global warming (e.g. with the Kyoto Protocol)?""

Perhaps this will help clarify why they didn't answer the questions you wanted answered:

http://www.unep.org/GEO/geo3/english/583.htm

" a scenario approach has been chosen that deliberately emphasizes the possibility of many different futures rather than the probability of any single one. None of the four scenarios that has been presented should be viewed as more or less likely than the others, or as a reference scenario from which the others represent variants. Recent experience and reflections upon issues such as insufficient information (ignorance), the complexity of human and natural systems (surprise), and the ability of humans to choose (volition), suggests that for longer range policy thinking it is not only disingenuous to presume we can know the most likely future, but that it is also detrimental to good policy making because it unnecessarily narrows our vision..."

To repeat:
"disingenuous to presume we can know the most likely future"

It puts the work you've posted on your website in perspective.
--
"... the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science. If you think otherwise, *you* provide the evidence"

I'll refer you to my opening comment on this thread:
"You're too modest Mark."

You've continued to mischaracterize the work of others. Your own work uses models and techniques abandoned by others - including other skeptics. You continue to avoid questions - like the NAS assesment of the TAR.

You are a far bigger fraud than the TAR - or its projections.

Posted by: chris_a on March 10, 2004 03:55 PM

____

It's worth remembering, chris_a, that scenario analysis is part of an adaptive management strategy, not an end product in itself. The scenarios arise when values of certain indicators are reached.

So, hypothetically, if CO2 conc reaches 450ppmv and land use changes become x and black carbon output is y, then it is likely that global average temps will rise by z.

But, personally, I wanna know how Bahner can know that a particular scenario will not happen in the future, or that a particular forecast is wrong.

How can he know this? Can he SEE INTO THE FUTURE?!?!?!?

As this sort of argumentation is throughout his posts, either he CAN see into the future (in which case, buddy, can you loan me, say, .00275% of your lottery winnings? Pay you back. Promise.), else his rhetorical skills are lacking, or else he doesn't understand what he is reading. Since he is an Vernmentul Injuneer, we know that he implicitly understands all.

My compliments on your patience in continuing this debate. Crikey.

D

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Thanks Dano.

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