Oops?

by Russ Roberts on April 4, 2008

in Environment

I guess ten years isn’t a trend. It better not be or some people going to look a bit silly. (HT: Drudge)

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{ 47 comments }

Mesa Econoguy April 4, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Some people already look very silly/stupid/megalomaniacal due to this fake science.

Chris O'Leary April 4, 2008 at 8:36 pm

So should I stop construction on my post-apolocalyptic, cannibal proof shelter or not?

muirgeo April 4, 2008 at 8:57 pm

The patient had a temperature of 104.5 F.
Now it's 104.3 F. I guarantee you some people WILL look silly when history looks back on this.

Am I missing it? Or does some one see a cooling trend?

tw April 4, 2008 at 9:21 pm

I hate to sound like a broken record, but this whole global warming thing reminds me of Malthus' warnings about overpopulation. And he/his disciples certainly had a big "oops" moment at the technological advancements that made larger populations sustainable. An "oops" moment here wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Sam Grove April 4, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Why 104.5° and 104.3°?
Why not 99.4° and 99.2°?
Greater shock value?
Is that how the politics of 'climate change' works?

The earth is still way on the cool side of the geo-historical median.

Chris O'Leary April 4, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Muirgeo,

There are serious, and likely deliberate, distortions in at least one of the two charts you posted.

I discuss them in this piece…

- Analysis – An Inconvenient Truth (PDF)

David P. Graf April 5, 2008 at 12:00 am

It's interesting in this forum that many free market advocates are doubters of global warming. However, I don't think that there's a logical connection between one's position on free markets and one's beliefs about global warming. Am I wrong?

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 12:03 am

Never mind the fact that NASA’s GISS data set was wrong, and likely still is…..

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 12:08 am

Yes, David, you absolutely are.

No scientific proof points definitively towards any catastrophic causality from increases in .04% atmospheric component.

The entire movement is nothing more than an excuse to limit economic (and other) freedom based on fake science.

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 12:16 am

The earth is still way on the cool side of the geo-historical median.

Posted by: Sam Grove

It may be surpassing the warmest period of all of human civilization. That's the period of interest.

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 12:26 am

No it’s not, because you have no baseline reading.

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 12:35 am

Chris ,

I know of know significant paleo-data that suggest something significantly different then what Mann et al have shown do you?

Here's a great reference to all the available studies on paleoclimite. Almost all suggest the current warming is greater then any time in the last 500 to 5,000 years.

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 12:38 am

Never mind the fact that NASA’s GISS data set was wrong, and likely still is…..

Posted by: Mesa Econoguy

Hey you're a Wall Street grifter NOT a rocket scientist…. keep to your specialty.

Sam Grove April 5, 2008 at 12:41 am

It's interesting in this forum that many free market advocates are doubters of global warming.

The temperature record 'seems' to indicate fairly recent warming.

However.

Human civilization has existed for a very short time relative to geological history.

The temperature record may not be trustworthy in recent decades due to urbanization and poor maintenance of recording stations.

Doom sayers have given us many reasons to greet their claims with skepticism.

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 12:41 am

Here’s a better reference.

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 12:43 am

“Hey you're a Wall Street grifter NOT a rocket scientist…. keep to your specialty.”
Posted by: muirgeo

Apparently, I’m both.

You’re neither.

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 12:45 am

David,

Absolutely right you are. Why should one's belief in an issue based on science correlate with ones political beliefs? The idea that there are potentially serious externalities that the free market can not address is a night mare to economic ideologues. It's no different with respect to Darwinism and people who hold to fundamental biblical literacy. People don't give up their preconceived notions and ideologies with out a fight.

Sam Grove April 5, 2008 at 12:46 am

It may be surpassing the warmest period of all of human civilization. That's the period of interest.

MAY be.
When was the warmest period?
The medieval optimum?
How far have we to go to reach that level?

Sam Grove April 5, 2008 at 12:48 am

There are serious, and likely deliberate, distortions in at least one of the two charts you posted.

One of them looks like the infamous hockey stick graph.

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 12:49 am

Mesa I can cite all sorts of well known economist to counter your economic positions… you can cite at best a handful of climate scientist and almost NO literature that supports your position on climate change.

Hey we live blogging?

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 1:16 am

Mesa I can cite all sorts of well known economist

Correct, 1: Keynes, and that’s a mild refutation, if you actually understand him.

you can cite at best a handful of climate scientist and almost NO literature that supports your position on climate change./i>

Incorrect.

http://www.climate-skeptic.com

http://www.climateaudit.org

icecap.us

http://www.junkscience.com

http://www.surfacestations.org

wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 1:17 am

You’re an idiot.

Russ Nelson April 5, 2008 at 1:27 am

And it took you HOW long to realize that?

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 1:48 am

Duh

My bad

[I had to close the italics tag...]

Jay April 5, 2008 at 2:19 am

http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1572

Muirdonkey: If you were aware of what the IPCC did to the Briffa reconstruction you should quickly lose respect for these "scientists" who conveniently omit data that doesn't fit the results they set out to produce.

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 3:28 am
Grant April 5, 2008 at 4:16 am

I do take issue with:

The entire movement is nothing more than an excuse to limit economic (and other) freedom based on fake science.

I think its more accurate to say the movement is nothing more* than a means of political entrepreneurship. By convincing people they need more government, the costs of government actions is reduced, thus increasing its (often non-monetary) profits and allowing it to expand.

* I say this even if global warming ends up being a problem. I have no idea if it will or not, but I doubt the politicians care. They've given us enough scare-stories they are bound to be right eventually (just like a broken clock).

Grant April 5, 2008 at 4:19 am

Whoops, I'd meant to add that I don't think anyone explicitly wants to limit freedom, least of all the do-gooders conned into believing the government's latest scare-story.

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 5:00 am

And what constitutes “political entrepreneurship”/opportunism?

Renato Drumond April 5, 2008 at 8:14 am

"The idea that there are potentially serious externalities that the free market can not address is a night mare to economic ideologues."

Potentially externalities that can be positive or negative. The idea that global warming is necessarily negative simply ignores the possibility of positive effects.

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 10:59 am

Here is the bottom line on the pale-climate data. Almost all of it suggest the last 2,000 years have been very stable. Maybe within 1 degree Celsius from warmest to coolest times. It almost all suggest the current warmth is near or exceeding the warmth of the previous 2,000 years. Further much convincing evidence of 5,000 year old buried plant material showing up from beneath receding glaciers confirms the "hockey stick" data and suggest that it is even warmer now then at least 5,000 years…. close to the entire time of human civilization.

There is almost nothing I know of in the respected peer reviewed science journals that contradicts what I've said above.

Gil April 5, 2008 at 11:03 am

What wrong with Malthus' warning? It's simply a variation of the Law of Diminishing Returns applied to human population growth. Technology may increase the carrying amount of people for the same piece of land but what would be the point if the population simply increased at the same rate as the techonology? You know, what's the point of doubling the food supply just to have the population double? At the end of the day the average person has no more food than before. Similarly how is having a greater population a 'sign of wealth'? I usually consider that as a sign of a primitive warmongering culture.

The Dirty Mac April 5, 2008 at 11:10 am

Why should one's belief in an issue based on science correlate with ones political beliefs?

It shouldn't. But some of the "solutions" just happen to include top down economic control and possible massive transfers of wealth.

Marcus April 5, 2008 at 11:22 am

What wrong with Malthus' warning?
– Posted by: Gil | Apr 5, 2008 11:03:26 AM

There is nothing wrong with Malthus' warning in and as far as it goes. Yet, when applied to human populations it is incomplete.

Malthus looks at only the cost side of human beings but doesn't include the benefits side.

Innovation is a product of the human mind. The more minds there are the more innovation there is. The return on innovation exceeds its cost. It is also clear that comparative advantage and division of labor raises the standard of living for everyone. More people mean more comparative advantage and more division of labor.

Adding all of these into the calculations and it becomes clear that people contribute more than they cost.

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 11:34 am

Exactly Dirty Mac. Smart liberal (classic) people would admit to the science and propose potential solutions that are market based or if they chose admit they are OK doing nothing and comfortable gambling the future so they won't be inconvenienced. The science is pretty clear the response is what needs to be debated.

Chris O'Leary April 5, 2008 at 12:17 pm

"However, I don't think that there's a logical connection between one's position on free markets and one's beliefs about global warming."

The common thread is a distrust of the arrogant belief that some people truly understand so complex a system.

Chris O'Leary April 5, 2008 at 12:21 pm

"I know of know significant paleo-data that suggest something significantly different then what Mann et al have shown do you?"

First, many people have expressed doubts about Mann's data and the hockey stick.

Second, you're ignoring the systematic and deliberate distortions in Al Gore's presentation of the data.

I don't trust anyone who distorts data to make their case, not matter how well-intentioned they may be.

Chris O'Leary April 5, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Muirgeo,

As before, you're ignoring my point that Al Gore has systematically distorted his presentation of the data in his book and movie.

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 12:38 pm

The common thread is a distrust of the arrogant belief that some people truly understand so complex a system.

Posted by: Chris O'Leary

Chris,

I think we have a double standard here. I'd argue the economy is far more complex then climate. But still we have arrogant beliefs about how best to run the economy. Do you know how best to run the economy? Does anyone?

muirgeo April 5, 2008 at 12:42 pm

First, many people have expressed doubts about Mann's data and the hockey stick.

Second, you're ignoring the systematic and deliberate distortions in Al Gore's presentation of the data.

I don't trust anyone who distorts data to make their case, not matter how well-intentioned they may be.

Posted by: Chris O'Leary

First,

Show me some data…. literature….. Above I showed you mine.

Second,

This isn't about Al Gore. It's about the science, the data and what is in the literature.

Al Gore may have distorted but how about those who claim cutting cO2 emissions will cause global economic disaster? They don't know that and there is good reason to think responding could result in economic growth of new industries and new technologies.

yosoyhayek April 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Dear friends,
My English is very bad, sorry. I am writing from Spain with great joy at having found your blog. My nickname is yosoyhayek, or yo soy Hayek in English, I am hayek, which means that I am hayekiano, not hayek that has risen and is living in Madrid, Spain, jejeje.
I love your blog and makes me very happy that all of us continue to Hayek to the two sides of the Atlantic.
My blog is http://lalibertadylaley.wordpress.com/, in honor of the work of Bruno Leoni, freedom and law, which follows the ideas of hayek on the right and was a friend of his.
i link you on my blog for not lose you of my view. I hope that our relationship reaches more and be very productive in the future

Yosoyhayek

Mesa Econoguy April 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm

The science is pretty clear
Posted by: muirgeo

No, it is not. The science has become extremely politicized, and is not reliable. Further, results are not open to review or criticism, unlike virtually every other area of scientific inquiry. The governing body, the IPCC, is a political entity, not a scientific one.

As for the peer-review process, it is highly contaminated and has led to propagation of bad data.

What an incredibly ignorant statement. The science is anything but clear. It is pure hubris to suggest we need to take action based on results to date.

andy April 5, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Compare this to the stock market. If the historical measures show an upward trend, and the 10 year period you are looking at shows the first 9 years going upward, with the 10th year falling back to the base of that period, would you conclude the market does not have an upward trend?

Look at stock market priced in gold and speak about 'historical upward trend'. You have 30 years of upward trand and last 5 years of downward. I would conclude the market does not have an upward trend.
Regarding weather, such finding might show end of trend, reversal of trend or mere variability. We don't know. However, the problem is that it is not 9 years up and 1 down. Actually, it's 10 years of mostly stability.

BTW: My personal belief is that given the amount of activities people it would be miracle if it hadn't have noticable effect on the environment. That said:
- the whole issue is politicized, there are too many lies over there and too many people deliberately lying in order to 'get attention'. If the proponents of the global warming theory openly criticized e.g. Al Gore's movie and provided hard data, even free-market economists would take them seriously. Unfortunately, 90% of the 'global warming' movement are deliberate lies.
- I seriously doubt that ANY solution the politicians try to establish would have any effect on the environment, and even if it had, I don't see how a net effect on people's wealth could be positive.

Acutally, I believe that if the politicians started to enforce private property rights regarding pollution – give priority to solving local pollution problems by local people, the unintended positive effects would contribute significantly to mitigating global warming.

Sam Grove April 5, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Do you know how best to run the economy? Does anyone?

Is this a hint of a breakthrough? Is muirgeo finally coming to acknowledge what we have been trying to explain to him?

Of course NO ONE knows how to run the economy. NO ONE has the information, or the power, to "run" the economy.

And the only science that is clear to you is the science that you have decided is valid.

Not to mention that your conclusion fits with your conception of mankind as inherently evil and to blame for any bad thing that happens or seems to be happening.

Sam Grove April 5, 2008 at 2:58 pm

And Keynes is a poor reference to authority to bring up on this site.

This is an anti-Keynes site.

If you would like an extreme allegory, quoting Keynes here is like venturing into heaven and quoting Satan.

Grant April 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Mesa,

And what constitutes “political entrepreneurship”/opportunism?

Coercion obviously, but coercion is rarely the explicit intention of those who advocate government action. In the case of politicians its generally self-interest, and in the case of tree-hugging hippies its generally a misplaced desire to do good.

muirgeo, its really very simple. You keep advocating the use of government to solve what are basically public good problems. The problem is that good governance is in itself a public good, so it in and of itself cannot solve a public good problem. Government cannot get rid of externalities, it just moves them around a bit. If you want to improve the world we live in, you don't need, and in fact cannot use, government to do it.

David Gagnon April 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

The BBC have edited the text.

The first version (retrieve with Google Cached):

"This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory."

Was replace with:

"But this year's temperatures would still be way above the average – and we would soon exceed the record year of 1998 because of global warming induced by greenhouse gases."

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