2018-11-30

New technologies, not Paris climate agreement, will do the job?

13403371_1121168774614721_7270794426077298794_o Or so says Dieter Helm in the FT (arch).Someone called Simon Evans doesn't like it, and although he says it is packed full of wrongness, in an entire Twit thread he lands few if any hits. But I think DH gets some major points right; principally that the entire Kyoto-Paris-etc negotiating theatre is a waste of time and money; and that the response to GW so far, throwing money at subsidies, has been inefficient. What he mostly says is the very limited amount of money that current customers and voters are actually prepared to pay is spent wisely. The money needs to go on those things that might actually make a real difference. I don't think SE likes the "very limited" aspect, but otherwise, the call to spent money wisely should hardly be controversial2; though when phrased as a criticism of the way money is currently being spent it does become so, since it implies that "the" money is currently being spent unwisely. Which I agree with.

But sadly, as soon as DT gets to solutions, he falls into exactly the same trap as the people he is criticising: Instead of putting all the money in the conventional wind and solar panels boxes, some of it should go on research and development. Did you spot the error? The chances are that if you're a researcher you didn't :-). The error is once again trying a top-down directed approach to what should be done. The answer is a carbon tax, and let the market sort things out. Alas people like DT like that idea no more than people like SE like it, because it gives them nothing to pontificate about.

Fortunately there seems to be a genuine chance that solar will spread quickly enough so solve all our problems, despite the general incompetence. And people are currently doing a really bad job on working out the costs of GW1, so this may be for the best. Although effectively saying "don't worry, all will be well" seems a poor plan, given past experience.

Refs


Carbon budgets and carbon taxes.
* It took me ages to find this so I'll put it here, but its NSFW: Oglaf/Intermission.
What made solar panels so cheap? Thank government policy?
As Congress Tackles Climate, Markets Are The Engine But Policies Set The Direction - Forbes

Notes


1. As ATTP notes in "10% of GDP?"
2. Though now I think about it, I'm actually opposing attempts to spend money "wisely", if "wisely" is read as "after careful consideration by some central authority". But I am arguing for trusting to the "wisdom" or perhaps knowledge of individuals and smaller entities.

2018-11-29

4th National Climate Assessment report: Labour

blobs Part two of a series; part one was on Extreme Temperature Mortality. Labour is - IMO somewhat implausibly - the largest economic cost identified. Let's quote them: Under RCP8.5, labor hours in the U.S. are projected to decrease due to increases in extreme temperatures, especially for outdoor industries whose workers are exposed to the elements. Considering changes in both extreme heat and cold, approximately 1.9 billion labor hours are projected to be lost in 2090, costing an estimated $160 billion in lost wages.

So these are no el-cheapo fruit pickers sweltering under the sun; presumably the peons just get to suffer. No, if 1.9 billion labour hours costs $160 billion, then these people are getting about $100 per hour. 1.9 billion labour hours sounds like a lot, but at 300 days a year that's "only" about 6 million hours per day, which for a working population in the hundreds of millions is about 3% of people losing an hour a day. That's within the ballpark I think you'd expect: a small fraction of the population, affected a bit. But again one sees immeadiately that while $160 billion sounds like a large number, it isn't a big fraction of total wages; changes as projected here from GW are going to be a small fraction of changes due to expected growth in the economy over the next 70 years.

But that was all written without reading the chapter. So let's forge on. I find that these losses - which TBH look quite small to me - are regarded as "large" and "very costly" by the report. Hmm, and that's about it.

Well, I say, meh. consider 70 years ago... 1950. Had they projected forwards to now, would they have predicted the increase in mechanisation, and the introduction of air-conditioned tractors? No. And the present report suffers, inevitably, from similar problems. Generic changes in the patterns of employment due to technological and other change are going to be far larger than the changes considered here.

4th National Climate Assessment report: septics are sad

47002156_2100822113316044_1114944158235099136_o It turns out that there's a collection of review comments on, I presume, an early draft of the recent 4th National Climate Assessment report.

One John Christy (I presume it is he) says Half truths are nothing but lies. The oceans are not rising any faster than before. You can see all the correct science at cctruth.org.

David Albert says Climate change later in this century will be dominated by declining solar activity not CO2 or human activity. Human CO2 will never exceed 20% of the atmospheric content (Harde2017). To assert that it will warm in the future and that warming will be controlled by human emissions is speculative not supported by data.

Ross McKitrick says ...The wording in the opening sentence is imprecise and overconfident. There is little reliable information about the pace of changes on decadal and centennial time scales throughout Earth's history, yet you state without any qualifications that modern rates of change are unprecedented...

Angelica Marchia says The report should remove the unsupported major claim in that "... emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming..." The claim (that CO2 causes global warming) is unsupported by any valid method that has been properly published and peer reviewed.

David Wojick says This entire Message states a clearly false claim. The scientific literature is full of discussions of possible natural causes for the observed changes. Moreover, there are numerous studies that suggest that these changes are well within the range of natural variability.

Jan Dash (who has a PhD, you know) adds a comment that apparently comes from " Richard McNider and John Christy, The University of Alabama in Huntsville": In the last 25 years climate science assessment documents from the IPCC to the Present NCA-4 have devolved from a rational accounting of knowns and unknowns to a one-sided epistle for climate action...

Michael MacCracken says lots of things, but since he's mostly sane I didn't bother read any of them.

There are 251 pages of comments in total. Lord help anyone who has to read it all.

2018-11-26

4th National Climate Assessment report: Extreme Temperature Mortality

blobs Yes, the post you've all been waiting for. Before reading my take you should of course read RealClimate, but I suspect like me you'll be a touch disappointed, because that post is bland. I shall quote from it: The summaries and FAQ are good, and the ClimateNexus briefing is worth reading too. The basic picture is utterly unsurprising, but the real interest in the NCA is the detailed work on vulnerabilities and sectorial impacts in 10 specific regions of the US. The FAQ is also unsurprising if you know this stuff, but does include a ref to our ice-age myth stuff, which is nice.

You'll also be disappointed - perhaps shocked - to discover that I haven't read the whole thing. Instead I looked for something to latch onto, and found this pic, which is from... well, OK, let me tell you a story. The pic is a version of something I saw in a Twit, and thought, hmm yes very interesting but where do I find the data, analysis, discussion? So I looked through the report chapters (sorry, the report format appears to be shitty javascript written by script kiddies, making it impossible to link directly to the chapter overview) and failed to guess which of the chapters it might be from. Fortunately, Google is more useful than NCA, and site:https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/ "annual damages" found me what I wanted: Chapter 29, Mitigation. Of course. As an aside, the report to me appears to be waaay behind the IPCC reports in terms of sourcing the summaries back to the chapters. Anyway, that bit of Chapter 29 sources itself to Multi-Model Framework for Quantitative Sectoral Impacts Analysis: A Technical Report for the Fourth National Climate Assessment, and so I looked at that.

As you'll see, the three biggest impacts on that graph, as measured by dollars, are: Labour, Extreme Temperature Mortality, and Coastal Property. To a first approximation, each of those are a quarter, and everything else is another quarter. I was going to do Labour, but the first one along was ETM, so I thought I'd do that instead. Note first that The study also only considers deaths related to extreme temperatures, though extreme heat will... do other stuff too; so this isn't complete.

$141B/yr is a Big Number, but we all known that Big Numbers without some kind of context or referent are meaningless. Let's try to put it into place. As the report says, This analysis estimates the number of deaths over the course of the 21st century attributable to extreme temperatures in 49 cities in the contiguous U.S., which account for approximately one third of the national population. So that's a bit funky: you might at least expect them to multiply it by three or something. That number - by 2090 - represents 9,300 deaths/yr which is ~$15M/life by a quick in-my-head calc; and looking at footnote 142 I see I'm right. Soooo... how might we assess that? Imagine (I do this just to wind you up, you understand) we were talking not about people, but about industrial plant. Then we'd want to compare those 9,300 people to the replacement rate; which is currently abut 1%, of about 300M, which is to say the population is growing by 3M/yr. Against which 9,300 is about 0.3%, if I have my maths right. Scaling that, we might expect a similar number from the GDP figures: $141B is large, but the US GDP in 2018 was ~$20Tr, of which $141B is about 0.7%, which is close enough, as I haven't been very careful about what year I'm looking at.

The next interesting thing to consider is Mortality from extremely hot days decreased more than 50% under both RCP8.5 and RCP4.5 in 2050 and 2090 when the human health response to extreme temperatures was evaluated using Dallas’ threshold for extreme heat (in all cities with thresholds initially cooler than Dallas), as a sensitivity analysis to consider the effect of adaptation. Which is a good place to remind ourselves that, for simplicity, the initial figures are with no adaption, a not very plausible scenario. Unfortunately they don't really explore Dallas-world in depth, so it is nothing but a sensitivity analysis; but if you think $141B is large then you presumably think $70.5B is also large, and so should be very interested in exploring an effect that large.

If you follow the spiral of bubbles down to near the centre you'll eventually come to "shellfish" at $23M/yr. Now I quite like shellfish, some of my best friends are shellfish, but compared to the uncertainty in $141B, 23M is less than a rounding error, so why they bothered - other than pressure from the shellfish associations - I really don't know.

I should also point out that these are RCP8.5, which you can call too high if you like, and can consider RCP4.5 if you prefer, in which case you get to cut the numbers in half.

Update: I didn't explicitly note it here, but their estimate of the (small) changes due to winter mortality don't look plausible to me, especially in the face of stuff like Excess winter deaths in England and Wales highest since 1976 from the Graun.

Refs


The management apologise for any inconvenience - aka Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States by Solomon Hsiang et al., Science 30 Jun 2017.
10% of GDP? - ATTP

2018-11-23

Was an imminent Ice Age predicted in the '70's? No

DSC_3261-w-ma-great-aunt-jess With the recent drivel in "Metro" making the news, it may be time for another anti-ice-age-myth post; the last from me that I can see is from 2015, when the Squareheads went mad. To remind you, the "proper" scientific source for all this is Now out in BAMS: The myth of the 1970s global cooling scientific consensus, which is my wild-eyed enthusiasm, Thomas Peterson's careful scholarship, and John Fleck's journalistic flair. My1 RC post from 2005 is also worth a look.

But what I wanted to link to here, for those young 'uns who don't know the history, is http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/. Which is hosted on my web site (remember when people had personal web sites?) and will probably one day disappear when I forget to pay the bills; happily there's an archive of it. As you can tell, it is a page that Just Grew; I even felt moved to add a note to new readers at one point. So all this started in the sci.env days, let us say around the year 1995-2000. In those days GW "skepticism" was a little bit more respectable, the evidence wasn't all in the way it is now, and one of the themes was the familiar "but you were all predicting ice ages in the 70's", and what I discovered was that when you actually read the papers that people were putting forward, you discovered that no, people weren't predicting ice ages (with a few exceptions).

Some flavour of sci.env comes from Re: control the climate by Michael Tobis in 1995, or Cooling vs. Warming by Robert Parson in 1993. In some ways the best summary is by Dick "Mad Dog" Lindzen:
Many studies from the nineteenth century on suggested that industrial and other contributions to increasing carbon dioxide might lead to global warming. Problems with such predictions were also long noted, and the general failure of such predictions to explain the observed record caused the field of climatology as a whole to regard the suggested mechanisms as suspect. Indeed, the global cooling trend of the 1950s and 1960s led to a minor global cooling hysteria in the 1970s. All that was more or less normal scientific debate, although the cooling hysteria had certain striking analogues to the present warming hysteria including books such as The Genesis Strategy by Stephen Schneider and Climate Change and World Affairs by Crispin Tickell--both authors are prominent in support of the present concerns as well--"explaining'' the problem and promoting international regulation. There was also a book by the prominent science writer Lowell Ponte (The Cooling) that derided the skeptics and noted the importance of acting in the absence of firm, scientific foundation. There was even a report by the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences reaching its usual ambiguous conclusions. But the scientific community never took the issue to heart, governments ignored it, and with rising global temperatures in the late 1970s the issue more or less died. In the meantime, model calculations--especially at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton--continued to predict substantial warming due to increasing carbon dioxide. Those predictions were considered interesting, but largely academic, exercises--even by the scientists involved.
though of course you can't trust everything that article says. The 1975 US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Report is also worth a look; and since Big D mentions it, here's my read of The Cooling.

Refs


* 2012: Carbon Dioxide: Our Salvation from a Future Ice Age?

Notes


1. Now assigned to "group" but as the archive shows, it's mine.
2. The pic is me - I'm the little one - my mother, and Scary Great Aunt Jess. at their house in Leighton Buzzard, in 1964 I'd imagine.
3. A point that VV makes in hist comment elsewhere is that even if the meme were true - if the consensus had been for cooling then - it still wouldn't affect the quality of today's science. That is logically true, but I suspect it wouldn't play well politically, so it isn't my lead argument. I prefer to go with the argument that the entire meme is broken, which it is.

2018-11-21

What made solar panels so cheap? Thank government policy?

It's by that nice Dave Roberts, in Vox (arch). Naturally, he omits the second question mark. His text is Evaluating the causes of cost reduction in photovoltaic modules by Goksin Kavlak, James McNerney and Jessika E.Trancik. I'd feel guilty for not reading it but it's paywalled so I'll rely on DR's paraphrase.
 

Anyway, the paper takes the observed steep decline in solar PV price, and tries to work out what caused this: things like building bigger plants, efficiency (of the panels) and R+D. This is a sensible thing to do, and nicely they do it over two decade-length times, so you can see to some extent how the drivers change over time. Read Vox, I won't re-say it here.

DR's point is that it were the gummint that dunnit, and naturally I'm a bit dubious about that. If you break down the drivers into "low level" and "high level", then each contributes about 100% (by a quick by-eye addition), and the largest single factor is a high level one, public and private R+D, which is ~60%. Unfortunately it then starts to get blurred: DR doesn't split R+D up into the obvious categories of public and private. Then "market-stimulating policies" come in from the left field, and are policies "which create legal or economic incentives for private actors to research, develop, and invest in technologies"; and apparently "do the bulk of the work". So it was mostly private R+D, stimulated by govt policies? This is believable.

While I'm here, I should link to Auke Hoekstra's update of his "solar PV is doing much better than the projections" that I blogged as Photovoltaic growth: reality versus projections of the International Energy Agency – the 2017 update.

Refs


* Extinction rebellion - ATTP. Well, someone had to write it. I notice he isn't brave enough to venture an opinion. Having written that, I suppose I ought to. Reading Rupert Read, philosophe, it would seem that they're fine because they're "righteous"; I'm dubious.
Transportation is the Biggest Source of U.S. Emissions - from 2017, but the point is interesting: with large-scale solar supplying more power, and coal less, there will come a point where addressing (electric) transportation becomes more important. Fortunately, that's already happening to some extent.
* Thanksgiving in Little Hill Village - Scott Sumner
* Astonishingly, Timmy has a different answer: It’s Capitalism That Made Solar Panels Cheap. Capitalism And Markets, Not Public Policy. Although actually he mainly points out that the paper doesn't answer the question he is interested in.
* Nice cartoon.

2018-11-19

Early oil industry knowledge of CO2 and global warming?

evil The world is clearly desperate for information on this topic, because a minor and rather unimportant letter on the subject makes Nurture (to me via Twitter; actually maybe it's only NatureClimateChange, possibly in lower case, I find it hard to keep up). The author, one Franta, came to my attention with similar stuff earlier: On its hundredth birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming? I find this disturbing, because I think people are jumping on this rather foolish bandwagon under a kind of group illusion that because other people publish drivel, they should too (and this isn't free; it distracts from reality); see-also The oil industry knew about climate change long before the American public did? You can hear the salivating in These archival discoveries add to the growing body of information regarding  fossil fuel producers’ knowledge of climate science over time12. Such information  may assist in understanding the history of climate policy efforts and assessing  the responsibilities of fossil fuel  producers today. FFS, that ref 12 is not to any scholarly article, it's to Exxon: the road not taken by InsideClimateNews. Terribly nice people I'm sure, but their entire series was broken, as I may have mentioned more than once before.

Refs


* DID THE WHALE OIL INDUSTRY KNOW ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING BEFORE THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
UN environment chief Erik Solheim quits amid expenses row.

2018-11-10

The Carbon Tax Is Dead, Long Live the Carbon Tax?

vie Or; alas poor I-1631, I knew you well. Tyler Cowen ventures to hope that its failure on the ballot in Washington state will inspire economists to come up with better arguments. TC doesn't address the rather messy nature of 1631. I noted that parts of it appeared to have been written by children, and no-one disagreed. In comments elsewhere, I said to PH that
You have a bind: there are two versions of the "carbon tax initiative": the "pure" one, which can attract thinking Repubs, and ought to have the support of Dems; but which offers no pork-barrelling, which people have come to expect as a right, so struggles to get enough support. As you found, this version doesn't get 100% Dem support, because they want the moon on a stick, so it fails. The other version is the distinctly impure one, where revenues are used to buy off a pile of special interests. Now you can get all the Dems on board, but you repel a lot of Repubs. There isn't an easy answer to this, other than to slap the over-fussy Dems around and get them to vote for the "pure" version.
Joe Romm at ThinkProgress roundly blames Big Bad Oil for the defeat; but that's just excuse-making and infantilising the electorate. Doubtless money has some influence; but telling how much is impossible, and in the end the electorate are responsible for the little marks that they put on the little pieces of paper. TC says
Like many economists, I have long supported the idea of a carbon tax, and still do. Government has to tax something. So why not tax those activities which generate social costs, in this case through disruptive climate change? It is a very intuitive argument that has persuaded many economists on both sides of the political spectrum.
So far so obvious. But also
The doomsday wing of the carbon-tax movement has long faced a tension in its proclamations. On one hand, it argues that relatively modest carbon-tax proposals will bring significant gains for the global climate. On the other, some of the more extreme advocates argue that without such taxes, the climate will take a disastrous turn. The reality is that carbon taxes would simply be accelerating the natural course of technological progress — electric cars in five years rather than 15. That’s a net social benefit, but it is unlikely to make the difference between environmental balance and doom.
which I rather like. How can sane people - like him and me - convince anyone that carbon taxes are a good and useful idea, if other people are loudly shouting that doom is just around the corner? Clearly, a modest (say, $20 / tonne) carbon tax cannot be the difference between Doom and Not-Doom; it is easy enough to morph that into "oh well in that case let's not bother".

TC doesn't have any geat ideas for how to address this problem, and neither do I. We could just hope it will solve itself; Lazards Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2018 looks good (and see-also Storage will replace 3 California gas plants as PG&E nabs approval for world's largest batteries).

Brian has a go, at Eli's.

Refs


What is the revenue generation model for DuckDuckGo?
* Legal Responses to Regulatory Capture SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE United States Senator from Rhode Island; aka "drop Chevron deference if the agencies make decisions I disagree with".
* Elon Musk weights in.
U.S. Coal Plant Retirements Near All-Time High.
The E15 Mandate is Poor Environmental Policy - USA corn ethanol boondoggling.
Will Trump Join the "Fight for $15?.
There are No Natural Resources… - CafeHayek
Yes, a carbon tax - Timmy
Low-skilled Immigrants are Productive, Too - CafeHayek
* Markets fail, use markets - EconLib
It is impossible, however, to guarantee that force will be limited to maintaining good civil order.

von Neumann on climate, in 1955

vonn Via Twatter, I discover that Every president since JFK was warned about climate change. That doesn't seem especially plausible to me - at least, in the conventional sense of the phrase "climate change", which is used to mean "global warming" - and the sense of the word "warn". Since I suspect attacking this would be more shooting fish in a barrel, I won't bother; instead I'll look at the source of JFK's warning, which was apparently from the great von N, no relation to von S. If you look, you'll easily find Can we survive technology? (Fortune, 1955) which purports to be a reprint from the archives. Alas, you'll search in vain for climate there, and you may be rather confused by the somewhat abrupt ending of the piece, without even the dignity of a final full stop. And then it becomes clear that whoever was tasked with transcribing this stuff just got bored after a bit and stopped.

Happily, there's a copy at http://activistpost.net/Can-We-Survive-Technology.pdf1

I don't have a great deal to say about it, though. He knows about CO2 causing warming; he knows about aerosols causing cooling. However, he doesn't seem to be concerned, as we are now, with inadvertent warming from CO2 emissions; rather, his interest is in deliberate modification.

At this point I need some text to fill out the blank space before the next image comes in. I could read more of the article itself, but don't feel inclined to. Instead, I'll tell you about my sculling outing today. I didn't get out until 2:30, by which time the early sun had gone; and I had to fight my way past endless novice VIIIs tangled up with each other, and the moored boats; but once on the Reach it was lovely. Then it began to rain, and on the way back it absolutely hammered down so that it was hard to see. Ah, I see I've hit my quota. Excellent, on with the show.

vonn1 He realises that trying to change the climate might not please everyone; he is bizarrely confident of our ability to do it, however.

Perhaps not unreasonably, Senator Clinton Anderson chose to bring this to the Prez's attention, but under the rather weak rubric of "I mean only to suggest to you that this is an interesting subject and one which should not be put entirely on the shelf.

For my general opinions about "early warnings", see In the decade that ran from 1979 to 1989, we had an excellent opportunity to solve the climate crisis? and indeed Who knew what when? not forgetting The oil industry knew about climate change long before the American public did?

Notes


1.  Warning; that nice PDF came via this, which begins In the course of exposing chemtrails... and then ...is the most potent evidence yet in support of the assertion that the theory of man-made global warming is a cover story for the biggest scientific effort in history. However, that does have a plain-text copy of some of the von N text, which I'll paste in here for convenience: The carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by industry’s burning of coal and oil – more than half of it during the last generation – may have changed the atmosphere’s composition sufficiently to account for a general warming of the world by about one degree Fahrenheit. The volcano Krakatao[sic] erupted in 1883 and released an amount of energy by no means exorbitant. Had the dust of the eruption stayed in the stratosphere for fifteen years, reflecting sunlight away from the earth, it might have sufficed to lower the world’s temperature by six degrees (in fact, it stayed for about three years, and five such eruptions would probably have achieved the result mentioned). This would have been a substantial cooling; the last Ice Age, when half of North America and all of northern and western Europe were under an ice cap like that of Greenland or Antarctica, was only fifteen degrees colder than the present age. On the other hand, another fifteen degrees of warming would probably melt the ice of Greenland and Antarctica and produce worldwide tropical to semi-tropical climate.

Refs


A study of climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems
Trump cancels US cemetery visit amid diplomatic embarrassment

2018-11-09

Jordan Peterson is a tosser

#1 in a series of "my friends have taken this idiot seriously so I paid some slight attention"1. ATTP has discussed him and his a few times and it wasn't very interesting. But now JP has chosen to say things about global warming which makes it obvious that he's a fuckwit, so I can conclude my opinion-forming process with "tosser". There's a convenient transcript of some of his words by CliSep, who I think are dodgy, but ATTP Twitted their link, so I guess that's OK.

We start off with Well, I don’t really have beliefs about climate change, I wouldn’t say. I think the climate is probably warming, but it’s been warming since the last ice age, so... This is a bit shit, taken together. There's nothing wrong with "Well, I don’t really have beliefs about climate change, so I'd rather not answer your question" or some other such deflecting formula; but having professed no knowledge, there's no justification for going on and pushing out your beliefs2. There's a get-out-card available for him, perhaps, if he wishes to distinguish "beliefs" and "knowledge": perhaps he knows a lot, but doesn't "believe" in it? But if so, he should be clearly distinguishing the two; otherwise he's just guilty of muddled talking, and probably muddled thinking.

In answer to "But It’s dramatically accelerated in the last couple of decades" we have Yeah, maybe, possibly, it’s not so obvious, I spent quite a bit of time going through the relevant literature, I read about 200 books on ecology and economy. Again, there's the contradiction between his original assertion of lack-of-belief, and his apparent vague but firm knowledge that "it's not so obvious". This is then followed up by a claim to have looked at the "relevant literature", which then turns out to be ecology and economy.

These are obvious points the interviewer should have picked up on. But the interviewer is as thick as pigshit and totally fails to notice, so JP gets a free pass in the interview. But not from me. Is he genuinely so muddled that he doesn't know that he needs to look at physical climatology, if he is interested in the temperature record? That the IPCC is the obvious source; and that there's a convenient summary available? Of course, if you're a provocative public intellectual, then simply agreeing with the relevant authorities is uninteresting and might diminish your aura of controversiality.

But actually the answer is that he's even more muddled, because he segues straight into I find it very difficult to distinguish valid environmental claims from environmental claims that are made as a secondary anti-capitalist front. And indeed, that's a separate muddle one can get into, but it is nothing to do with temperature rise.

So, far from a clear-thinking intellectual, he's just a rather confused talking head.


Notes


1. Number 2 actually happened first and is over here, deliberately obscure, but I link it for completeness. This one was a-friend-down-the-pub, and to be fair they were only going to listen to him speak.

2. Unless you're a talking-head public intellectual too dumb to realise that you're not obliged to have an opinion or know things about all subjects.

Refs


What the Word Liberalism Means, If Anything.

2018-11-02

More bad news for photogenic teens

DSC_6095 Via ClimateLiabilityNews, Alaska Judge Dismisses Youth Climate Suit Vs. State Government. Looks to be very similar to a Washington case, which itself was similar to the Alsup one. Meanwhile the original photogenic teens have their case stayed (update: and now unstayed... now more, see update #2). On what bizarre grounds was the current one dismissed, you will wonder?
If this court were to bypass the executive or legislative branch and make a policy judgment, it would violate the separation of powers.
So there's a pattern emerging, because that's essentially the same reasoning used in the other cases. That dealing with this problem is one for the legislative and executive branches. I agree with that, as I've said before. It would be a case for relief-by-law in the normal courts if there was a clear law being broken; but there isn't. And it would be one for the constitutional courts of there was some clear violation of the constitution or your rights. But despite the rather implausible stretches in the cases, there isn't.

That leaves you with the unpalatable problem that the L+E branches won't do what you want them to do. So that's the problem you need to address, rather than wasting your energy in the courts. I offer my wise advice about What to DO about big problems? over there.

Just as I'm writing this, Previously Unrecognized Rights: Climate Change Lawsuits and the Rule of Law comes my way. I seem to largely agree with it. Notice also that my view of "rights" as expressed in Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you? also largely agrees with that link's disdain for over-creative claims of "rights".

Update: from CleanTechnicaIf the political process is hijacked by rabid climate change deniers at a time when an environment suitable for human existence is threatened, the courts have no choice but to put aside legal niceties and force the hand of the Congress and the president. That’s what the Juliana case is really all about, although the plaintiffs can’t say that openly. But of course, the courts will not put aside legal niceties.

Update #2: The case was stayed, by Roberts, and then unstayed, by the full court, but when you read the reasoning carefully, it was less due to lack of merit and more because if that's what was wanted, the appeal court could have done it instead. So the govt applied to the appeal court ({{cn}}) and now have got a temporary stay while they think about it.

Refs


* A eulogy to Guardian's Climate Consensus - the 97%
* Is Kids Climate Case Coming to an End? - Volokh: The "trial of the century" may not happen after all; Jonathan H. Adler

2018-11-01

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

Continuing my art series, wherein I offer you plebs advice about which pictures are worth your attention, from the heights of my cultured elegance. It also serves as a partial answer to CIP's "eh it were better in t' old days", first popularised by Plato. But then so does Heart of Darkness.



Path: Gustave Moreau: The Apparition, via fb; to Musée d'Orsay; to Gustav Klimt.

Refs


* The ParkBuchenwald I.