December 01, 2009


There's a good post at The Devil's Kitchen (via The Corner) with flow charts explaining how we ought to make decisions on global warming vs how we do. I have debated this with real-world friends and have always tried to steer it towards the Ought flow chart, but it always ends up skipping right ahead to the "We're all going to die" box. Laymen, especially quasi-treehuggers, don't want to talk about cost-benefit analysis; I've been told that we need to err on the side of caution and try to prevent climate change from happening no matter the cost because it's For The Childrenâ„¢.  And even when I try to play Bjorn Lomborg, as I've said I always try to do to concede some ground in the debate, and say that there are things we can do to save The Children right now instead of in 100 years, it never seems to have much effect.

If anything, Climategate can at least give me another talking point to get us off the bozo flow chart and back onto the Ought one.  The science is most certainly not settled, so any decisions you make For The Children based on the "consensus" are flawed.

But what do I know, I don't even recycle.


Slightly related, I enjoyed this comment on Althouse's post (via Boxenhorn).

He easily could've made an argument that Republicans are sceptical of anything which tries to paint Capitalism in as bad a light as possible, or that we are not idealistic so much as pragmatic, and realise that academia (who fired the first AGW volleys) are mostly left-wingers intent on hounding corporations for their multiple "crimes".

But no, he goes for the "Republicans are dumb and don't like science [read, because they are religious and therefore are all creationists]".

We're even better at making their arguments for them!

And here's a great summary of Climategate itself.  (I just discovered that the link doesn't go directly to the comment, so I am reposting it here.)

The reason why people say it has warmed at all in the last 100 years is because the CRU told them so. How did CRU come to that conclusion? Well, NASA gave the raw temperature readings for however many years such things existed. CRU then proceeded to "adjust" those readings. Clearly, some adjustment and almalgamation was needed to get the proper global temperature measurements. But were CRU's adjustments done correctly?

Understand, this is a really hard question. We don't know what the actual global temperature is. We are supposed to figure that out by looking at the temperature data and adjusting it accordingly. But if you don't know the final answer how do you know the adjustments are correct? That is a hard question.

But we will never know if the adjustments were done properly because the CRU destroyed the raw temperature readings. They only have their adjusted or "value added" readings. But there is no way to tell now if those readings are correct.

The whole proposition that the world warmed over the last 100 years is now in question. For all we know, the world could be cooler now than it was in 1900. We have only CRU's word and adjustments to go on. And CRU has been revealed to be a complete fraud. Basically, climate science has to start over from square one.

Posted by: Sarah at 08:08 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 555 words, total size 4 kb.

1 We have always been tuned into the Climate "debate" at our house. My husband is a scientist.
Well, just go to my blog and see how many posts  we have done on it and my explanation of why. We means me, my son and daughter. You don't want me to repeat all that here.;D
Rockport Conservatives

Posted by: Ruth H at December 01, 2009 12:18 PM (KLwh4)

2 Sarah,

I love the flow chart! Thanks for linking to it. If everyone wrote such charts, we'd understand their thinking much better. Alas, there is much more feeling than thinking ...

Laymen, especially quasi-treehuggers, don't want to talk about cost-benefit analysis

Why would they want to be like a (gasp!) capitalist weighing alternatives when they can have faith in the One Truth? Again, feeling over thinking.

there are things we can do to save The Children right now instead of in 100 years

That assumes saving anyone is the point. It isn't.

Being a Borlaug is boring. Silent salvation? Zzzz. Better to keep everyone awake with hype, I mean, the Truth about our burning planet, keep everyone's eyes on you, a superior being high above those gun-clinging Creationists. Point to the flaming globe sticker on your SUV and talk about how you'd like to get a Prius.

I loathe 'science' in the name of status. But I don't have what Guard Wife might call actual knowledge about the climate. I see two possibilities:

- AGW is real and all this data-cooking was totally unnecessary

- AGW is as bogus as the data

I was on the fence for years but now I lean toward the latter. Imagine you're Jor-El during the last days of Krypton. You find data indicating your planet will soon blow up. Would you

(a) want to be disproven? (Science is about testable hypotheses. Counterevidence. Skepticism. Not belief. Not dogma.)

(b) manufacture 'proof'?

If you don't get that analogy, read this comment at Althouse:

Just ask yourself: are the global warming alarmists behaving like people who have discovered the equivalent of an asteroid heading for earth that will destroy life as we know it? Or are they behaving like people who "never let a good crisis go to waste," a la Rahm Emanuel?

If I had discovered an asteroid heading for earth, I would bend over backwards to provide every bit of my data, my models, my emails, whatever, to the skeptics so that I could convince them. You wouldn't need to file an FOA request to see my emails or data because I'd be out showing them to as many people as possible. I'd be as open as I could because I'd WANT to be disproven if possible. And knowing that my political opponents would be skeptical of any proposals that smacked of confiscatory taxes and world government, I'd say "YOU decide what we should do - I don't care how capitalistic/free-market/conservative your solution, as long as it solves the problem". Such a problem would truly be beyond politics or careerism, and a person who really believed it was potentially civilization-ending would welcome skepticism, would welcome critiques, would be as open as possible.

It would be tragic if AGW were real, if we could do something about it, but we didn't because of Climategate.

Josh Marshall's post via Althouse deals with far more than Climategate:

How obvious is the connection between your beliefs on tax policy and foreign policy?

Another way of looking at this is that in our politics and society, group association seems to give certain beliefs or policy positions a mutual 'stickiness' even if they do not seem to be connected together in any logical or consistent way, or any way that would make sense out of the context of our culture and society.

I see a lot of intellectual 'package deals'. A lot of 'if you believe in X, you also believe in Y' even if X and Y don't necessarily go together. 

I think AGW is a good fit for the Leftist memetic package - it combines status-seeking ("look at meeee, I'm aware!") with statism.

But what about, say, the Afghanistan/Iraq War? Leftists who love Big Government and all things Third World are hostile to nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq. Conversely, Rightists who hate Big Government tend to be for the war which William Saletan called "the one welfare program conservatives can't criticize or even recognize, because they're the ones running it."

Can someone explain that to me?


I have been reading your comments on this blog for years and always wished I could read your thoughts on another site. Now I can. Thank you for linking to your blog. I read all the posts on your front page and I look forward to exploring your archives.

Posted by: Amritas at December 01, 2009 05:26 PM (+nV09)

3 Amritas -- I also really liked the asteroid comment when I read it today.  Thanks for adding it to the post.

Posted by: Sarah at December 01, 2009 05:56 PM (gWUle)

4 Amritas,
Oh no don't read my thoughts!  Seriously, I got  into my blog very slowly with just links, until I decided since I was posting comments at many other places why not put my thoughts on my site too.  I guess I'm a slow learner.
Don't we love our Sarah, though?

Posted by: Ruth H at December 01, 2009 11:00 PM (JFseb)

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