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back to article Eco-nomics: Was Stern 'wrong for the right reasons' ... or just wrong?

"Why should we sacrifice 10 per cent of our income today to make Bill Gates better off?" asked an MP. "As the world's [second] richest man, he doesn't need our sacrifice." The second richest man in the world, Bill Gates, is a proxy in this rhetorical question. The MP, a former Cabinet minister, is raising a fascinating and …

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P_0

" the non-Newtonian calculus..."

I would also like to know what that means. But at any rate we've been using "Leibnitzian calculus" for about three hundred years. Only the most dreary professors still put dots over their y's or talk about fluxions.

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Boffin

In fact, we've been using Cauchy's calculus for centuries (more's the pity).

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Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

If real gdp per capita is 7 times higher than now in 2200 then I'll use my newly implanted teeth to eat my hat.

Gdp has grown dramatically when the global supply of resources was essentially unlimited (though obviously not free) but you only have to look at commodities costs to see that that doesn't hold forever.

Likewise real gdp in the west has had a big temporary boost because of cheap labour in newly industrialising countries, but anyone who thinks that people who are comfortably off will still work like dogs for low wages to keep standards of living high elsewhere is in for the same kind of shock europe is currently going through.

Technology will help of course, and a source of cheap renewable energy would dramatically change things, but influential economics papers have no business relying on such assumptions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

Did they mention anywhere if that was real or nominal?

; )

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Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

'7 times richer' refers to real. Otherwise zimbabweans are several billion times richer than they were before hyperinflation.

If they are using nominal gdp growth as a marker variable for real standard of living then that's precisely the kind of politicisation of scientific research that the article criticises.

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Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

It would require a grouth rate of under 1.2% per year globally with the world population hiting the UN 2200 average projection to see a 7 fold higher real per capita gdp. Thats a dissapointedly low grouth rate when compared to the last 200 years. As for commodities, they have been on a 200 year downward slide and there is no good reason to think they want continue to get cheeper as we learn how to use them move productivly.

Lastly, every rich country started as a poor low wage country, you don't get rich by being poor, you get rich by being more productive. Japan, Singapore, Germany etc didn't make the world poorer by becoming rich. They did the opposite by creating bigger markets for others to sell too.

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Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

Your assumptions are based on the 'unlimited resources' paradigm I referred to.

In the context of real gdp per capita productivity is a measure of the amount of resources that can be productively used per capita. Rich countries are rich because they have significant automation of low value tasks and have moved a lot of the low value tasks that have yet to be automated offshore to countries with lower labour costs and lower standards of living.

Those are strategies which yield continuous gdp growth for some of the people some of the time, but they don't project an unlimited distance into the future without unlimited resources.

The oil and mineral supplies aren't there to allow a much higher population to use 7 times as many per capita). Likewise offshoring work to poorer countries only creates lasting gdp growth for all if the newly unemployed in rich countries can be employed in higher productivity tasks than they were doing before. Otherwise you create unsustainable trade imbalances and shift unemployment to the countries with generous social safety nets (does any of this ring a bell re: europe?).

Looking at gdp for some countries in modern history and assuming a linear trend for all countries moving forward is roughly the same strategy employed by dot com stock analysts at times in the recent past.

And didn't that work out well?

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Happy

Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

"The oil and mineral supplies aren't there to allow a much higher population to use 7 times as many per capita)."

Well the *oil* might not be there but that's a *very* narrow view of the global energy resources available to humanity.

As for resources well are you assuming that there is no *recycling* of resources and everything ends up in a global landfill? In which case you will capturing that Methane for power, won't you? It's unlikely to be more than 10MW a site but every little helps.

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Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

With the way things are going now, a GDP per capita increase of 7x what it is now won't mean the population will be 7x richer. It means that the insanely wealthy will be 7x richer, while the rest slide into poverty through inflation. And by inflation, I don't mean our wages, I mean everything but. I highly doubt that kind of wealth increase will even happen for that matter - capitalism overall has a tendency towards dramatic corrections to exponential growth.

So this line of reasoning is itself flawed too.

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Bronze badge

Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely....bollocks

"In the context of real gdp per capita productivity is a measure of the amount of resources that can be productively used per capita."

Complete nonsense. Productivity is the value added to resources, not the amount of resources consumed.

If we create the same value but use fewer resources then we are becoming more productive.

Another way of accurately putting this is that productivity is the balancing item between value created and resource consumption.

BTW, IPCC numbers assume, in one example, global GDP of $550 trillion, adjusted for inflation, in 2100.

Another example (the lowest) assumes $250 trillion. These are based on 1990 numbers, when globaly GDP was $50 trillion.

So I think that your 2200 number is wrong. Should be 2100.

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Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

"If real gdp per capita is 7 times higher than now in 2200 then I'll use my newly implanted teeth to eat my hat."

I suggest you buy a nacho hat then if you manage to live that long - 7x in 200 years is a bit over 1% annual growth rate - currently the West is growing at 2-4%, developing countries like China and India well over 10% - the 7x figure is actually extremely conservative.

"Likewise real gdp in the west has had a big temporary boost because of cheap labour in newly industrialising countries,"

I think you need to learn what GDP is - anything produced by a newly industrialised country is counted in their GDP figure - not that of the West.

Cheap stuff from China et al appears as consumption in the West, not GDP.

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Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely....bollocks

My sense here is that we'll know well before the turn of either century whether the growth model the IPCC and others have used is reliable.

If I'm right that resource constraints and growing population make standing still on real gdp an acheivement then we should see continued persistently high oil and metal prices drag the current recession into a long term trend of inflation matching or exceeding gdp growth while rich countries struggle to productively employ large parts of their population and prevent them correcting the debt imbalance that has built up.

That will need to happen for quite a long time to change the widely held view that consistent real gdp growth is inevitable and that we just need to rely on this in looking forward to how things will be in 1 or 2 centuries, but I think its a change that's been in place since before the last recession and that only loose monetary policy and the associated asset and debt bubbles have temporarily hidden it.

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Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

Oil may be a narrow view of the resources available to man but in this context it's wholly relevant because the flexibility and cost per MW make it the de facto input that has fuelled (no pun intended) the current growth paradigm. Essentially when oil is cheap standards of living boom and when it's expensive they tank.

Do I doubt we can come up with alternatives when the recent trend of stubborn prices even during a recession force us to? No. Will having to plan for consistently more expensive and less flexible energy supplies constrain growth in real standards of living? Of course.

Essentially I'll see maintaining what we have while fossil fuel supplies get less reliable and more expensive as an acheivement.

On the recycling of resources question I don't doubt there'll be a good deal of it, but that won't support a much bigger population having a 7 times increase in per capita consumption. As above, standing still might be seen as an acheivement given the constraints.

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Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

When a western company moves production to china and sells the goods in western markets more cheaply than before that has an easy to observe effect on standards of living in the west as well as in china, but it creates unemployment. When the western country borrow money from China and use it to create jobs that wouldn't exist without easy credit that boosts measured gdp and income.

Lower real costs, same real income, temporary boost in living standards.

The problems come when China stops funding the fiscal transfer, incomes tighten and people wonder if fish pedicures and the like are really something they need. China"s gdp growth is based on western living standards that are unsustainably supported by the temporary support that chinese lending gives to western gdp.

That's the long version of what I said above. If you don't believe me, watch how real gdp in both hemispheres is affected now that things are unwinding.

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Boffin

Re: Those gdp growth figures sound extremely unlikely

The simple fact is that you don't understand the meaning of the words "wealth" or "productivity" and so you can't understand what GDP means. Neither has a connection to the word "money" though that word is used to describe the accumilation of one and the creation of the other.

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Anonymous Coward

"But we can't escape economics; it's a discipline we're cursed to continue."

The problem with Economics today is that many (most?) of the people claiming the title of Economist are tools (yes, I mean that in the worst possible sense). They have no appropriate sense or respect for: 1.) the complexity of the systems they are dealing with, 2.) their own limitations, and 3.) that the systems will *always* react in strange and unexpected ways when one attempts to control them.

Ignorance and hubris are a powerful and dangerous combination... and unfortunately common with Economists (well, at least the ones that get carted out by the politicians).

/from someone who studied Economics and thinks it is one of the most fascinating topics EVAR : )

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Stop

Re: "But we can't escape economics; it's a discipline we're cursed to continue."

Economists..."They have no appropriate sense or respect for: 1.) the complexity of the systems they are dealing with, 2.) their own limitations, and 3.) that the systems will *always* react in strange and unexpected ways when one attempts to control them."

Also a neat summation of those proposing climate controls e.g. sea water cloud ships, iron seeding of plankton, space mirrors and so on.

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Re: "But we can't escape economics; it's a discipline we're cursed to continue."

It has always struck me that economists are historians who can do mathematics - Economics can tell you what has happened and offer a reasonable explanation as to why it has happened, but like History, hasn't a clue as to what is going to happen next. Everything (just like to weather) is just to complicated to make realiable predictions.

Perhaps we should treat Economics more like History. It is worth studying to enable us to avoid making the same mistake again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "But we can't escape economics; it's a discipline we're cursed to continue."

Economists *can* do mathematics, but I sometimes get the impression that they make so many simplifying assumptions that their subject matter completely escapes them.

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Re: "But we can't escape economics; it's a discipline we're cursed to continue."

Actually they're tools in the literal sense.

Mainstream policy economics - ignoring heterodoxers like Steve Keen, who mostly gets it, and Krugman, who almost does - is purely a propaganda exercise.

It's politics by other means. It has no interest in empiricism. It's as much - if not more - of a pseudo-science as astrology and homoeopathy. Only PSICOP has always and inexplicably ignored it, preferring to bully faith healers, who are far more of a danger to Western civilisation than the people who put millions out of work, kill science funding, and direct clever people who could be doing incredible research into useless quant-wankery.

The history of the Monetarists and the Chicago school demonstrates that the 'ideas' were created to discredit and undermine the effectiveness of Keynesianism and the ideas of dangerous dissidents like Minsky and Henry George.

It's a Soviet-style exercise in state-sponsored opinion management - like Lysenkoism but about money.

And then you get bloviators like Orlowski and Page who take a pop at hippies but ignore the fact that raving Randian nutjob thieves and cheats are bankrupting entire countries in Europe and running for president in the US.

Priorities, eh?

Right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "But we can't escape economics; it's a discipline we're cursed to continue."

"It's politics by other means. It has no interest in empiricism."

Thank you for establishing that you have absolutely ZERO understanding of economics.

"Steve Keen, who mostly gets it, and Krugman,"

So you think the 2 worst economists on the planet are the ones we should listen to? Actually, calling Steve Keen an economist is an insult to economists all over the world

Your level of ignorance is truly outstanding!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "But we can't escape economics; it's a discipline we're cursed to continue."

"They have no appropriate sense or respect for: 1.) the complexity of the systems they are dealing with, 2.) their own limitations, and 3.) that the systems will *always* react in strange and unexpected ways"

OR Economists are forced to produce forecasts DESPITE knowing the system they are trying to predict is at least partially chaotic, but have to make a prediction in any case.

Ever think that economists know they will never be 100% right, but also know that no one else on the planet is willing to do it?

"Ignorance and hubris are a powerful and dangerous combination"

True, but those traits aren't limited to Economists.

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"dismal science"

Oh come on. It's no more a science than a game of Snakes & Ladders.

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Everyone knew at the time...

...that the Stern Report was a lie. It was just an activist excuse for rich greens to force through the series of subsidies, paid for by taxes, which we have now and which have made them immeasurably richer. When the report was published all the economists either slated it as rubbish, or kept dead quiet (if their grants depended on greenery). The only people who welcomed it were politicians and journalists.

The 'science' behind Global Warming is of a similar level of credibility, but, now that the taxes and the planned collapse of our infrastructure are in place, that's really quite irrelevant. We're stuffed, and when the lights start to go out we'd better learn to bend over and enjoy it...

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weird weather == expensive food

This has, so I've seen reported, greatly affected Northern Hemisphere continental climates (Russia, Ukraine, US mid west) grain production this year due to extreme heat and drought. So all food globally will be more expensive next year. It's not the comparatively rich people in fully developed countries who will be going without as a consequence. Seems Stern's conclusion about a 5% GNP drop was right, but it's not the rich who suffer.

Oh but of course we're supposed to believe the very idea of weird weather is just a silly conspiracy dreamed up by naughty fakers at the UEA, despite their emails not being evidence of anything of the sort.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: weird weather == expensive food

There's actually plenty of corn harvested in the US, the price however has been driven up drastically because of the demand created by another bit of climate change insanity, biofuels. Because ethanol blends are mandated, and the US won't import the stuff, they ferment corn at a significant loss to produce ethanol.

Thus pushing up corn prices, revenues for the crony capitalists involved, and create more poverty and hunger elsewhere. Nice policy people.

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Re: weird weather == expensive food

Re: Oh but of course we're supposed to believe the very idea of weird weather is just a silly conspiracy dreamed up by naughty fakers at the UEA, despite their emails not being evidence of anything of the sort.

Let's side-step the semantics about 'conspiracy'. Getting out of the way of a moving bus does not mean you belong in a tin-foil hat.

We don't have 'weird weather'. We have reports of perfectly ordinary (by geological or even historical standards) weather being cast as 'unprecedented' when (a) an imperfect 200 year record of a phenomenon that ebbs and flows over aeons hardly contains meaningful precedent for anything and (b) in the majority of cases, the 'unprecedented' event actually has a precedent even in our trivially small set of records.

The people involved in reporting 'climate change' as a meaningful and interesting phenomenon have been:

(a) Dishonest

(b) Incompetent

The climategate emails, tons of which I have read myself, in context, show a small, tightly knit cabal of people with an axe to grind and very little by way of scruples. To the extent that I have expertise in either statistics (Like M&M I did a lot of stats in my work) or programming (I am an expert programmer with more than 30 years of experience), their work is poor to the point of dysfunction. The 'hockey-stick' is nonsense on its face and anybody with experience crunching real stats from real world measurements could see it is unlikely to be correct at a glance. The fact that it has been thoroughly and irrefutably discredited and yet continues to be promoted in some form or another is all the proof you need that they are at least one of dishonest or incompetent. The reason *I* have never made such a big deal of the disastrous quality of the computer source code revealed with Climategate is that I honestly felt sorry for the programmer and it seemed gratuitous to pile on. The source is not suitable for any type of production use at all and certainly not reliable enough to inform (in any way, even as an experiment) Trillion dollar decisions.

Re: "we're supposed to believe"

Merciful heavens. Will at least some of the warmista fanboys *stop* believing what they are told and start to think for themselves.

This is, as my old Biology professor said with respect to Evolution Vs Creationism, not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of knowledge. Get that knowledge. Learn a little geology, history, biology, physics, chemistry, math and stats, bone up on the particulars of some aspect of this idiotic debate and you will see for yourself that this Alarmism is complete nonsense.

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Anonymous Coward

Weather ≠ Climate

Every god damn time...

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Re: weird weather == expensive food

@btrower

"The fact that [the 'hockey stick'] has been thoroughly and irrefutably discredited..."

That's quite a strong assertion. Could you provide some references to back it up please?

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Re: weird weather == expensive food

"The source is not suitable for any type of production use at all and certainly not reliable enough to inform (in any way, even as an experiment) Trillion dollar decisions."

Good job it wasn't being used for that purpose then wasn't it?

"Learn a little geology, history, biology, physics, chemistry, math and stats, bone up on the particulars of some aspect of this idiotic debate and you will see for yourself that this Alarmism is complete nonsense."

Yea sure and that's why the scientists who have studied up on those things are alarmed by what's happening....

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Re: weird weather == expensive food

Those who espouse that we are experiencing "weird weather" are just exposing their own ignorance of history. There is agreement among scientists that the earth has been natural warming since the end of the Little Ice Age, the middle of the 1800s. Man's contribution to that warming is greatly debated. If you think otherwise, then peruse these 1100+ peer-reviewed papers casting doubts on various aspects of the man-made catastrophic global warming meme. Then we can discuss it.

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Re: weird weather == expensive food

Re: That's quite a strong assertion. Could you provide some references to back it up please?

[Executive Summary: The shape of the hockey stick is not an honest reflection of the empirical data, it is an artifact of the statistical treatment and simply an error. The alarmist camp has been unable to rise to an understanding of this, but their inability to do math does not make their argument any better.]

Below is a section of relevant text from the Wegman Report. It is a part of the public record and you can find it in a number of places. Anyone who has spent a little time with stats and has a background in engineering or science (real science, not 'climate science', 'creation science' or 'scientology') can follow the argument with perhaps a peek at a reference or two. The criticism of the hockey stick can be made by literally millions of people literate in these matters. As clearly demonstrated by their pathetic defense of the entirely indefensible and, as I say, thoroughly discredited, 'hockey stick', 'climate scientists' are hardly literate in this sense. What is so maddening about all this is that it is so idiotic. The critique of the 'hockey stick' is clear, compelling and inescapable. It could be followed by a clever high school student. The ongoing defenses of the 'hockey stick' are ridiculous to the point of being offensive. One of the proponents of this nonsense confesses in a climategate Email that he can't even operate a spreadsheet for goodness sake.

Why, really, would I have to give references for such a basic thing, a part of the public record for years and accessible to people even moderately literate? The apologists for global warming alarm need very badly to learn to read and think for themselves:

[Note: I am aware of the scurrilous attacks on Wegman. That is how the Alarmist Cabal operates, I am afraid. They can't attack the argument or the facts so they go after the messenger. What Wegman says below is correct and confirms what M&M had to say. Fact is, the 'hockey stick' is pretty much ridiculous on its face. No argument can defend it and what arguments have been offered are just plain sad.]

From Wegman:

Some examples of tree ring proxy series are given in Figure 2. Most of the proxy series show little structure, but the last two show the characteristic ‘hockey stick’ shape. The principal component-like methodology in MBH 98/99 preferentially emphasizes these shapes as we shall see.

Principal component analysis methodology is at the core of the MBH98/99 analysis methodology. Principal component analysis is a statistical methodology often used for reducing datasets with many variables into datasets with fewer, but composite variables. The time series proxy data involved are transformed into their principal components, where the first principal component is intended to explain most of the variation present in the data variables. Each subsequent principal component explains less and less of the variation. In the methodology of MBH98/99, the first principal component is used in the temperature reconstruction.

Two principal methods for temperature reconstructions have been used; CFR (climate field construction used in MBH98/99) and CPS (climate-plus-scale). The CFR is essentially the principal component based analysis and the CPS is a simple averaging of climate proxies. The controversy of the MBH98/99 methods lies in that the proxies are incorrectly centered on the mean of the period 1902-1995, rather than on the whole time period. The proxy data exhibiting the hockey stick shape are actually decentered low. The updated MBH99 reconstruction is given in Figure 3. This fact that the proxies are centered low is apparent in Figure 3 because for most of the 1000 years, the reconstruction is below zero. Because the ‘hockey stick’ proxies are centered too low, they will exhibit a larger effective ‘variance’, allowing the method to exhibit a preference for selecting them as the first principal component. The net effect of this decentering using the proxy data in MBH98 and MBH99 is to produce a ‘hockey stick’ shape. Centering on the overall mean is a critical factor in using the principal component methodology properly.

To illustrate this, we consider the North America Tree series and apply the MBH98 methodology. The top panel shows the result from the de-centering. The bottom panel shows the result when the principal components are properly centered. Thus the centering does make a significant difference to the reconstruction.

To further illustrate this, we digitized the temperature profile published in the IPCC 1990 report and applied both the CFR and the CPS methods to them. The data used here are 69 unstructured noise pseudo-proxy series and only one copy of the 1990 profile. The upper left panel illustrates the PC1 with proper centering. In other words, no structure is shown. The other 3 panels indicate what happens using principal components with an increasing amount of de-centering. Again, the single series begins to overwhelm the other 69 pure noise series. Clearly, these have a big effect. It is not clear that Mann and associates realized the error in their methodology at the time of publication. Our re-creation supports the critique of the MBH98 methods. In general, we found the writing in MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms by MM03/05a/05b to be valid. The reasons for setting 1902-1995 as the calibration period presented in the narrative of MBH98 sounds plausible, and the error may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr. Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimate studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians. Because of this apparent isolation, we decided to attempt to understand the paleoclimate community by exploring the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction.

We found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of this relatively narrow field of paleoclimate studies are closely connected. Dr. Mann has an unusually large reach in terms of influence and in particular Drs. Jones, Bradley, Hughes, Briffa, Rutherford and Osborn.

Because of these close connections, independent studies may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.

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Re: weird weather == expensive food

"The controversy of the MBH98/99 methods lies in that the proxies are incorrectly centered on the mean of the period 1902-1995, rather than on the whole time period."

And what do reconstructions since MBH98/99 that center on the whole period show?

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Re: weird weather == expensive food

@btrower

I am aware of the Wegman report. It is interesting that you invoke conspiracy theories to pre-empt any criticism of it but you must at least be aware of some of the problematic issues with it which are a matter of 'public record', such as the plagiarism, the misappropriation of references, the bulking out of the bibliography with papers not even referred to in the text, etc. The fact is that the report is just a rehashing of the M&M papers. As you know, these did find some statistical errors in Mann's methods and nobody disputes these. However, when they were corrected, it did not substantially affect the results, which have also been validated by other methods subsequently. This is why I was interested when you said that the hockey stick had been "thoroughly and irrefutably discredited" because I thought surely you couldn't still mean those old M&M papers and I certainly didn't think anyone would be stupid enough to invoke Wegman!

BTW if anyone wants the gory details, there is a surgical demolition of the Wegman report at http://deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/strange-scholarship-v1-02.pdf. "Thoroughly and irrefutably discredited" indeed.

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Anonymous Coward

Nice

Interesting piece. Thanks.

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It's Not Just Extinction

"But far more dramatic changes in the climate have been experienced within the past 20,000 years, Lilley contends, with humans able to draw on far more primitive technological resources, and yet survive."

There's a difference between avoiding extinction and avoiding decimation of human society as we know it today. The challenge isn't just to keep SOME human beings alive in a changing climate, it is to keep ALL 7+ BILLION of them alive. A much harder problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's Not Just Extinction

Raising the living conditions of the 3rd world would remove a lot of world unrest, but how long do we keep breeding like rabbits?

One of the things economists seem to lose sight of is that growth cannot continue indefinitely. Farmers know about a concept called 'carrying capacity'. I suspect we're already way passed the carrying capacity of our one and only (so far) planet.

Where do we stop?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's Not Just Extinction

And no one is concerned about the global decrease in biodiversity that we are directly responsible for?

Year after year we, through our excessive greed for resources (for whatever reasons), humans are killing off life forms that have taken millions of years to evolve - and they are not being replaced by anything new - nor can they adapt/evolve fast enough.

What kind of planet are we cultivating when in the future all we have is humans, cattle, pigs and chickens, artificial plant stuffs (genmods), polluted water/air and iWhatevers?

It's not where I would want to live.

We are proving to be the worst thing that can happen to a habitable planet.

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Thumb Down

Inept analogies abound - an entire ecosystem of them

To select just one - "But far more dramatic changes in the climate have been experienced within the past 20,000 years, Lilley contends, with humans able to draw on far more primitive technological resources, and yet survive."

Back then we had nomadic hunter gatherers. When it got cold, which it did gradually, people moved to warmer areas. When the local animals died or were killed, the people moved to the next valley or died. Many must have died - those who did not decide to move south.

With a lightly populated planet and far more animals (food) than people, it was an entirely different problem.

Today, without imported food, most of the northern parts of the planet would soon die of starvation. Any argument based on conditions 20,000 years ago is simply too stupid to be considered. Any writer who repeats it meets the same assessment.

And, yes, when I read the title on the splash page, I did guess that it was by Orlowski.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Inept analogies abound - an entire ecosystem of them

"Back then we had nomadic hunter gatherers. When it got cold, which it did gradually, people moved to warmer areas."

In the Middle Ages the majority of the world's peoples were not nomadic, and there was significant climate change recorded in the major human population centres.

"With a lightly populated planet and far more animals (food) than people, it was an entirely different problem."

We produce far more food (some estimates say double) than is necessary to feed the worldwide human population. Increasing CO2 and any global warming increases plant yields globally (though not necessarily in every location).

"Today, without imported food, most of the northern parts of the planet would soon die of starvation"

Are you seriously claiming that climate change could stop food transport? Really?

"Any argument based on conditions 20,000 years ago is simply too stupid to be considered"

And we should consider your completely incorrect arguments because?

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Re: Inept analogies abound - an entire ecosystem of them

Consider my upvote multiplied by an order of magnitude. Here in Australia there is currently much angst about "boat people". Froth-mouthed demagogues whip up hysteria about the country been swamped by "economic refugees". All in response to a few thousand people per year. Now imagine what would happen if a significant proportion of , say, the North African population decided to tried to move northward in order to "adapt" to higher temperatures. Frankly, I'm happy to pay 5% of my income not to live in that world.

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Regressive

Climate change is likely to lead to starvation by the world's poorest and most vulnerable people, as crops stop growing in tropical countries. Nor can those people really expect that the world's rich nations, that balked at cutting their carbon emissions, are going to get food aid to them in time.

So I really can't buy fixing things up after the fact as a cheaper solution. If past experience is any guide, it won't happen.

Of course, neither will significant cuts to our standard of living to cut down massively on our energy use. So they're pretty much doomed, aren't they?

Well, we do have other choices. It's not as if the breeder reactor hasn't been invented yet, even if we don't have fusion power. So we have plenty of electricity. Transportation? Well, they may not have quite got electric cars up to snuff, but the trolley bus has indeed been invented as well.

So, while we might have to put up with some inconvenience - gasoline rationing forcing us to commute on public transport (but since everybody will have to do that, there will be enough public transport to go around) - there's no reason to think we'll have to go back to a pre-industrial state. Instead, growth can continue, with only a few specific areas being limited.

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Re: Regressive

Privations imposed in the name of Green ideology will not, of course, affect our rulers. As they become more "authoritarian" we can be quite sure that their immunity from hardship will increase in inverse proportion to the hardships they impose on the rest of us.

An early example is the aviation carbon tax, to be imposed soon on all European travellers- except those officials and functionaries (nomenklatura) engaged in official EU business and rules enforcement!.

It is an axiom that an early step towards tyranny is the exemption of a ruling class from privations or taxes imposed upon their subjects.

Watch this space- Greens are the new Reds- social "engineers" can be dressed in Black (SS) Red ( Commissars) or Green yet to come- but beneath the pretty colours, they are all the same - would-be tyrants devoid of empathy for people at large. The higher the Cause, the more bestial the reality.

To those who say the UL cannot produce such folk- observe the activity of Traffic Wardens in our city centres, and the genesis of concentration camps guards is clearly discernible. Dress them in misanthropic Green and all will be clear!

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Re: Regressive

Your opening paragraph is total and utter nonsense. Why do people believe a warmer world would be a worse world, when the history of the world shows that life thrives more in a warmer world? We are still exiting the last Ice Age (otherwise, there would be no ice caps at all, as many times in long ago past).

Consider this: there is NO place on earth too hot to grow crops. Too cold, yes. Too dry, yes. Too hot, no. A warmer world would increase the land that could be used to cultivate crops. They may have to change want crops grow where, and they may need to increase irrigation in places, but increased warmth, particularly with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, mean REATER crop production - and yes, there is peer-reviewed literation coming to this conclusion (it's just not pc or sexy to publish in the MSM).

Speaking of atmospheric carbon dioxide, as long as termites are generating more than Man (which they are), then Man doesn't have anything to apologize for. We are part of nature, too.

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Re: Regressive

Akhenaten:

Nicely put. It's funny because it's true.

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Re: Regressive

"Why do people believe a warmer world would be a worse world"

Rapid change is what causes mass extinctions.

"Speaking of atmospheric carbon dioxide, as long as termites are generating more than Man (which they are), then Man doesn't have anything to apologize for. We are part of nature, too."

We are causing CO2 levels to rise, not termites. Termites are carbon neutral. Termites aren't burning fossil fuels.

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"Saving the Planet?" a new route to Hell on Earth!

Small wonder that over the past few years influential Greens have increasingly called for the "Abrogation" of hardwon Liberties and standards "to Save the Planet". The true costs of Green policies are now so feared that only a dishonest global dictatorship could possibly succeed in pushing through the measures that Greens increasingly call for, which would of course fail anyway!

My contribution "Can Space Save the Planet?" - A wrong and Dangerous Question was given to the British Interplanetary Symposium in Mar 2009, and can be accessed by typing this title into Google.

In this I predicted that Greens would openly express increasingly anti-human views, and that Humanity needed to find a sense of value and defend itself vigorously against its would-be destroyers. Genghis Khan , that well-known lover of Humanity, is upheld now by the Carnegie Institute as a great Green precursor. We can and will do better, given a Green opportunity!

The essential fraud, corruption and mendacity of ALL would-be dictatorships, particularly those driven by ideology, was fully understood by Fyodor Dostoyevsky amd expounded in Ivan's famous Grand Inquisitor's Speech in "The Brothers Karamazov".

It is truly depressing that this fallacious Faustian bargain can still be offered to free people, and considered even for a second. Have not enough people been done to death already in the past 150-200 years?

Conserve Earth- Colonise Space!

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