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Last Build Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2017 16:31:51 +0000


Comment on Unforced variations: July 2017 by zebra

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 16:31:51 +0000

Continuing my comment responding to Nigelj 276: The point is that "free" (competitive, internalized) markets are aided by capitalism (wealth operating in the time domain) in optimizing the use of resources. We could not have applied science and "research and development" if there were no investment funding, for example. And even "pure" research depends on accumulated wealth. So, I object to this false equivalence between Elon Musk and the Koch brothers that some here claim when I say we have a choice between the two paradigms. When people talk about "growth" in a finite resource environment, it is usually something of a circular claim. What exactly is the metric by which you measure growth? Why does it have to depend on finite resources? Who says it has to be "more of the same"? I don't think you and I are really in disagreement here; I'm just trying as always to challenge the co-opting of language and framing by the usual and unusual suspects.

Comment on Unforced variations: July 2017 by alan2102

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 15:35:22 +0000

zebra #268: "Humans are monkeys ... it is in our nature to be concerned about our status within the group, and it is in our nature to be comfortable in a hierarchical structure, and it is in our nature to treat other groups as “lesser”" Read Kropotkin, Mutual Aid. And other works along the same lines. It is dangerous to rush to conclusions about "human nature". "Kropotkin’s work must be an attempt to refute, with hard evidence, the cultural assumptions at the heart of the Darwinism of his day. In its most extreme form, this became “Social Darwinism” which (like much of sociobiology today) proceeds by first projecting the dominant ideas of current society onto nature (often unconsciously, so that scientists mistakenly consider the ideas in question as both “normal” and “natural”). Anarchist Murray Bookchin referred to this as “the subtle projection of historically conditioned human values” onto nature rather than “scientific objectivity.” Then the theories of nature produced in this manner are transferred back onto society and history, being used to “prove” that the principles of capitalism (hierarchy, authority, competition, etc.) are eternal laws, which are then appealed to as a justification for the status quo! “What this procedure does accomplish,” noted Bookchin, “is reinforce human social hierarchies by justifying the command of men and women as innate features of the 'natural order.' Human domination is thereby transcribed into the genetic code as biologically immutable.” Amazingly, there are many supposedly intelligent people who take this sleight-of-hand seriously."

Comment on The climate has always changed. What do you conclude? by Victor

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:48:59 +0000

#66 nigelj: "We then ask sceptics to test their “logical assumption” and show in detail which natural forces are causing current climate change, and they cannot, because solar activity is flat etc." You missed the point. A sceptic need not have a "logical assumption." It is the proposers of the theory who are the ones with the assumption, and it is their responsibility to "show in detail" that their assumption is in accordance with the facts and that no other explanation is possible. That's a tall order. Remember: the burden of proof is on the defender of the theory, not the one evaluating it. This is basic epistemology -- see, for example For example, someone attempting to prove the existence of leprechauns could challenge skeptics to "show in detail" that they do not exist, which is, of course, a completely unreasonable request. Does this mean that leprechauns actually do exist? I don't think so. By adopting a similar tactic, supporters of the mainstream view risk committing the logical fallacy known as "argument from ignorance." "One way in which one would attempt to shift the burden of proof is by committing a logical fallacy known as the argument from ignorance. It occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proved true." (Same source as above.) After spending a good deal of time and effort researching the epistemological issues behind the climate controversy in preparation for my book, I concluded that the essence of the "alarmist" position is precisely the argument you're attempting to make. I.e., that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels must be largely responsible for the run-up in global temperatures, because all other possibilities have been investigated and none are sufficient to produce the observed results on their own. And since CO2 emissions appear to be the only other force capable of driving temperatures upward, it is they which must be responsible. In other words, CO2 must be the culprit because we cannot think of any other possibility. Just as leprechauns must exist because we cannot prove they don't. Classic argument from ignorance. And once again, as a skeptic all I need do is utter the much maligned, but perfectly reasonable formula: "the climate has always changed." If, in fact, the climate HAS changed over the millions of years of Earth's history (it has), and if, in fact, we are not always able to explain why it has changed (we aren't), then I see no reason to accept the assumption that CO2 has to be the principal driving force.

Comment on The climate has always changed. What do you conclude? by Evans

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 11:25:10 +0000

The climate has always changed and life changed in response. How will life adapt this time? Harmful algal blooms and Zika are just the beginning. Each species thrives under a given set of conditions (pH, temperature, gas content) and humans are on course to test those limits. For all the talk of our higher brain functioning, we are profoundly stupid.

Comment on Unforced variations: July 2017 by zebra

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 10:09:10 +0000

Nigelj 276, It is just as necessary that we agree on terminology in discussing these issues as it is in doing climate science. Money, debt, growth, capitalism, free markets, and so on... if these are just thrown around rhetorically, the discussion is empty. So, I am trying to get to some clarification. In my understanding, if the society operates on the assumption that paper money denotes value, and can be exchanged for value, that is sufficient to have "capitalism", because one can accumulate wealth, and "invest" it in the hope of increasing it. It is possible for this to happen within the realm of labor exchange, where you save money earned by labor and then become an employer, profiting from the difference between what the employee earns and what the business takes in. "Capital" in this case is a means of including the time axis in the market, as opposed to being constrained to contemporaneous barter. I pay you a little less now so you can eat, but it is less than you could earn directly from the customer if you didn't need the money right away. I "profit" from that difference. My point, obviously, is that this doesn't require resource extraction/consumption, and there is no resource ownership, which is the real issue, involved. I have to go to work at this point but I will expand on this later or respond to your response depending on how the moderation goes.

Comment on The climate has always changed. What do you conclude? by Adam Lea

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 07:51:31 +0000

Re 22: I appreciate that mass cooperation to solve an impending threat can happen e.g. the Y2K bug or Hitler. The key difference with AGW is that the primary cause is the wasteful and unsustainable Western lifestyles. To solve the problem relies upon people willing to fly in the face of the human utopia which is freedom without responsibility, and address their way of living. This has to happen without a visual threat, and requires sacrifices on an individual level without any perceived benefit (e.g. when I cycle to work instead of drive, it does nothing measurable to decrease traffic congestion or pollution, but it does elevate my vulnerability, increases journey time and increases fatigue). That is what makes AGW such a super evil problem, you are ultimately asking people to take a hit on perceived quality of life for no perceived benefit. Note that it is perception that matters, not facts (because we are emotional, not logical beings). It matters not how many people agree climate change is happening and that humans are primarily responsible. What counts is what they do based on that knowledge, and I see little evidence of much happening of any significance. People are still voting for right wing neo-liberal capitalist governments, and if anything, the right wing (which is more likely to deny AGW) is becoming stronger (think demonisation of immigrants and Brexit). I wish I could be more optimistic but can't find any based on my observation and interaction with people.

Comment on The climate has always changed. What do you conclude? by Chris O'Neill

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 07:37:33 +0000

#23 Victor:
I see no evidence of a long-term correlation between CO2 emissions and temperature.
Why don't you get a list of CO2 levels and global temperature anomalies for each year since 1910 and see what correlation they have? Then we'll be able to tell if you're so blind that you will not see. BTW, atmospheric CO2 increased by 3.6% from 1910 to 1940 and by 4.6% from 1940 to 1970. According to you Victor, a 3.6% increase is a "low rate of increase" while a 4.6% increase is "rising sharply". You are obviously biassed Victor.

Comment on Unforced variations: July 2017 by Andrew

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 07:01:27 +0000

Re: #252 Nemesis "Let me say it again in one single sentence: No chance, to change climatical/ecological politics without changing the economical system and vice versa, no way. Monetary profit is not sustainable." I count two sentences there. Also, that seems childish and slightly hypocrite. "I demand that capitalism be replaced by something else before I take action to mitigate climate change, and before I recognize that others are taking such action. And yes, I live (and earn a living or depend on somebody who does) in a capitalist country and am using a computer manufactured by the capitalist system, just like anybody else I am communicating with." Not very effective. Do you expect to be taken seriously?

Comment on The climate has always changed. What do you conclude? by Chris O'Neill

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 06:47:03 +0000

the “climate always changed” meme was used because it was so effective
That's why we should have stuck with using the term "global warming". "There has always been global warming" just doesn't seem to come out right.

Comment on The climate has always changed. What do you conclude? by Russell Seitz

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 05:35:25 +0000

I am obliged to conclude that Lord Lawson does not read RealClimate: