Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Warmists whacked in Oxford Union debate

nuclear-004 Oxford Union debates are a big deal.  Remember when David Lange leaned toward Jerry Falwell and told him “I can smell the uranium on your breath”—a line still much-quoted today? That was from an Oxford Union debate of around a quarter-of-a-century ago.  Oxford Union debates are a big deal.

Which makes the latest debate in which warmists were whacked by the Union a fairly big deal too.

Leading the skeptic team to a 135-110 victory in a debate on the motion “That this House would put economic growth before combating climate change” was Christopher Monckton, a man who more than any other gets under warmists’ skin.  The SPPI blog [via Watts Up With That] describes his presentation:

_quoteChristopher Monckton said that real-world measurements, as opposed to models, showed that the warming effect of CO2 was a tiny fraction of the estimates peddled by the UN’s climate panel. He said that he would take his lead from [his team-mate] Nigel Lawson, however, in concentrating on the economics rather than the science.
    “He glared at the opposition again and demanded whether, since they had declared themselves to be so worried about ‘global warming,’ they would care to tell him – to two places of decimals and one standard deviation – the UN’s central estimate of the ‘global warming’ that might result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. The opposition were unable to reply. Monckton told them the answer was 3.26 plus or minus 0.69 Kelvin or Celsius degrees.
    “An Hon. Member interrupted: ‘And your reference is?’ Lord Monckton replied: ‘IPCC, 2007, chapter 10, box 10.2.’ [cheers]. He concluded that shutting down the entire global economy for a whole year, with all the death, destruction, disaster, disease and distress that that would cause, would forestall just 4.7 ln(390/388) = 0.024 Kelvin or Celsius degrees of ‘global warming,’ so that total economic shutdown for 41 years would prevent just 1 K of warming. Adaptation as and if necessary would be orders of magnitude cheaper and more cost-effective.

He’s quite right, of course.  Even if the warmists’ worst fears were to be granted credibility (and the likes of Richard Lindzen offers a substantial challenge, suggesting for example that the effect of doubling CO2 would be a temperature rise of just 1.0 degree Celsius), even total economic shutdown would not allay them. 

Yet the only “action” that warmists call for is government action to ban or to shackle private action, ruling out (both in their own minds and, if they are successful in their calls, in reality) any possibility at all of human beings adapting to a changing climate freely and individually, i.e., in exactly the way that human beings have successfully adapted to changing climates right across the millennia.

Face it, when people are left free to make their own choices for themselves, they are able to make better choices for them than a screaming hippy with a clipboard would make on their behalf.  And since the time period in which people might be required to adapt would be substantial (we’re talking decades, if not centuries here) then the time required for people to, for example, change the places in which they live and work, is more than sufficient for that to be done in a civilised manner, with the necessary changes being flagged by price signals.  (So don’t worry, Al Gore will have more than enough time to sell his sea-level apartment in San Francisco before he starts seeing the tide in his living room.)

Furthermore, warmists often forget, or have never considered, that under all but their most catastrophic scenarios, the future generations who they say will benefit tomorrow from banning or shackling private action today will (unless the warmists are successful in shackling producers completely) be several orders of magnitude richer than we are today.

Furthermore, as economist Robert Murphy points out  in ‘The Economics of Climate Change

_quote it is rather absurd to argue about the impacts of present tax policies [or cap-and-trade schemes] on global temperatures in the year 2150. Yet, it is precisely these projections that provide the foundation for policy recommendations.
    “Many critics have raised this objection before, but it bears repeating: We have no idea what the world economy will be like in the 22nd century. Had people in 1909 adopted analogous policies to ‘help’ us, they might have imposed a tax on buggies or a cap on manure, needlessly raising the costs of transportation while the U.S. economy switched to motor vehicles. This is not a mere joke; ‘serious’ people were worried about population growth, and the ability of large cities to support the growing traffic from horses. Had someone told them not to worry, because Henry Ford's new Model T would soon transform personal locomotion without any central direction from D.C., these ideas would probably have been dismissed as wishful thinking. As famed physicist Freeman Dyson has mused, future generations will likely have far cheaper means of reducing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, if the more alarming scenarios play out.18
    “In the climate change debate, people often forget that under all but the most catastrophic scenarios, the future generations who will benefit from our current mitigation efforts will be much richer than we are. For example, Nigel Lawson points out that even under one of the worst case scenarios studied by the IPCC, failure to act would simply mean that people in the developing world would be "only" 8.5 times as wealthy a century from now, compared to 9.5 times as wealthy if there were no climate change.19

To translate, this means that even if the scare-mongers were correct, they intend to strangle prosperity now – right in the middle of the deepest depression in seventy years – simply so that your future generations one-hundred years from now might be able to afford an extra Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster while they orbit the planets.

Makes no sense to me at all.  And it made no sense to 135 Oxford Union voters either.  My hat goes off to their very sensible British souls.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Dale B. Halling said...

PC

Thanks for the post. One important point always ignored by the global warming (climate change) crowd is the single biggest factor effecting the temperature on Earth is the output of the Sun. The Sun’s output has varied over time and is likely to vary in the future. At present we only have very crude models for predicting how the Sun’s output will change in the future. If we cannot predict how the most important variable in the Earth’s future temperatures will change, then we really have no ability to predict the future temperatures on Earth. Making any statements about the future temperature here on Earth under these circumstances is at best nonsense (garbage in – garbage out).

5/26/2010 02:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Go figure said...

The the sun's output has not been ignored at all, but is dealt with in hundreds of papers. The cycles of solar radiation variation are well understoon and have been shown to explain only a vary small part of the warming trend. That we're currently at a minimum in those cycles while warming increases rather makes the point too.

5/28/2010 11:59:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monckton is a persuasive speaker whose scientific sounding gibberish has been debunked quite thoroughly every time it has been subjected to actual scientific scrutiny. Mistaking him for someone who actually cares what the truth is, is a telling error.


Since he accurately reports what the IPCC said, he has your trust.. which he then very thoroughly abuses. All economic activity? What is the source of THAT number is what one should ask, because that calculation comes not from the IPCC, but from his own very shaky grasp of climate science.

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/07/moncktons_triple_counting.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfA1LpiYk2o&feature=player_embedded

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/04/monckton-jumps-shark-gets-eaten.html

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/05/moncktons-deliberate-manipulation/

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/07/once-more-unto-the-bray/

Enough of that. The final winner of this "debate" will be Mother Nature.

There are no "refutations" nor even any real competitors to Global Warming theory in explaining what is happening. If you want to debate it, go argue with the rising tide.

Furthermore, warmists often forget, or have never considered, that under all but their most catastrophic scenarios, the future generations who they say will benefit tomorrow from banning or shackling private action today will (unless the warmists are successful in shackling producers completely) be several orders of magnitude richer than we are today.

You have swallowed the fishhook of economic discounting very deeply here.

I point out that with the backslope of peak oil and the effects of resource depletion of every description coupled with the addition of another billion or so people, the massive debts we are already saddling our children with and the clear failure of economists to understand the first thing about thermodynamics... leave scant reason for your optimism. I suggest that the reality is significantly more grim than you appear to believe EVEN WITHOUT WARMING. Add the climate catastrophe that you cannot show to even be unlikely and human civilization is at risk.

http://tqe.quaker.org/2007/TQE155-EN-WorldEnergy-1.html

What you may be missing, is that climate change doesn't make capitalism or libertarianism wrong. It has nothing to do with it. The science doesn't care about politics and neither do the scientists.


On the other hand, I DO care...

Advocating theft from future generations is apparently what you are about ("exploit the earth or die"), and I have little sympathy with people who steal from their own children and even less with those who steal from mine.

bjchip

PS. The science includes solar. Changes in temperature are attributed as accurately as possible with respect to what the sun has been doing, but it has NOT been doing anything that noteworthy.

5/29/2010 01:39:00 am  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

I would consider that Monckton's accurate reporting of the highly politicized IPCC is poor choice if attempting to establish trust with anyone.

You may not choose to exploit the earth -be that as it may. I for one will not be living in a cave. I will, and am protecting my environment for my children to inherit. That is my responsibility. Forcing others to do your bidding seems to be yours, bj.

5/29/2010 09:26:00 am  
Anonymous Julian said...

@bjchip

You wrote "There are no "refutations" nor even any real competitors to Global Warming theory in explaining what is happening. If you want to debate it, go argue with the rising tide."

Your whole argument is undermined with this statement of yours.

The onus of proof lies with he who asserts the positive. It is therefore the job of those who assert that global warming is happening and that it is caused by man, to provide proof. In the views of many qualified climate scientists, this has not been done. It is not the job of those who disagree with the warmists' theories to provide an alternative theory. And why should they if, in their view, there is no scientific evidence that the world is warming in that manner that is claimed, and that man has caused it.

Julian

5/29/2010 10:20:00 am  
Anonymous Go figure said...

"I am an island", Shane declares. "The forces of nature don't apply to me unless I say so!"

5/29/2010 11:08:00 am  
Anonymous Go figure said...

Julian, you could only be correct if there is nothing to be explained. Otherwise, it is not enough simply to say the mainstream explanation is false, you DO have to put up another explanation that better fits the facts. As for "qualified climate scientists", Monckton certainly isn't one, but rather a charlatan who's made up his story. That he may be a convinsing debater doesn't make his bullsh!t any more true.

5/29/2010 02:25:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julian

You are still treating science like it was a debate.

The wishful-thinking side has to do one of two things. Find a refutation of the core tenets underpinning AGW or find an alternative theory that fits the facts and predicts results better.

It isn't.
They haven't.

bjchip

5/29/2010 04:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may not choose to exploit the earth -be that as it may. I for one will not be living in a cave. I will, and am protecting my environment for my children to inherit. That is my responsibility. Forcing others to do your bidding seems to be yours, bj.

Since I and mine have never advocated living in a cave, your first exaggeration is noteworthy.

If you are protecting your environment for your children to inherit, you must be taking notice and trying hard to keep your carbon footprint small and more power to you... but this is the "tragedy of the commons" writ large and I have yet to see ANY treatment/solution from a libertarian perspective, of the tragedy of the commons.

Particularly when it comes to the quality of the atmosphere of the planet.

When you come up with some alternative you have a right to ask for that alternative to be used in place of a carbon tax or something similar. You will find (and I think you will be surprised at this) that I dislike and distrust big government.

It is all too often a tool of exploitation... in the bad sense of the word.

That however, has nothing whatsoever to do with the science, and must be faced in spite of our misgivings.

Find us another way. I see none.

bjchip

5/29/2010 04:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Sam P said...

And yet for all the sanctimonious posturing, the warmists continue to ignore the documented warmer periods in earlier centuries.

5/30/2010 10:42:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam

With all due respect -

And yet for all the sanctimonious posturing, the warmists continue to ignore the documented warmer periods in earlier centuries.

...is simply untrue.

What is true is that we cannot connect those periods directly to CO2.

Which means that one of the other climate forcings was causative then.

Which means absolutely nothing when attempting to determine the climate forcings at work today.

bjchip

5/30/2010 12:02:00 pm  

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