Climate clippings 44

Giant red crabs invade the Antarctic abyss

From the New Scientist via Huffington Post “Huge crabs more than a metre across have invaded the Antarctic abyss, wiped out the local wildlife and now threaten to ruin ecosystems that have evolved over 14 million years.”

These critters occupy a layer between 1400 and 950 metres deep, where the water is a little warmer. Further up the water is cooled by melting ice.

Global warming seems to be the culprit. Back in 1982 the minimum temperature there was 1.2°C, too cold for king crabs. Last year it had risen to a balmy 1.47°C, enough for the crabs to thrive.

The temperature rise at 0.27°C is not large, but I suspect it takes a lot of energy to produce it.

Human fingerprints of climate change

Climate Progress has published seven human fingerprints of climate change. The one I want to highlight is #4 which shows that nights have been warming faster than days. This is important because the records created by the daily highs are the ones we tend to hear about.

Warm days and nights

The figures were published in John Cook’s booklet The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism. Cook, of course, is the man behind the Skeptical Science blog. Go here for links to 13 topics often raised by sceptics.

Pacific Islands Forum

We knew that climate change and in particular sea level rise was one of the main issues, but there was little information coming out of the forum. Nic Maclellan at New Matilda explains why. The meeting was top-heavy with celebs and the press packs following the Australian and NZ PMs were more interested in domestic issues such as asylum seekers and rugby union than the Forum agenda.

I did hear on the radio that the main concern was over funding for climate change adaptation, and whether new funds announced were actually new. That’s borne out in this report but here again the reporting is mainly about who should be there.

Paras 14-17 of the Forum Communique cover climate change. Mostly motherhood and procedure.

Sea level oscillated during the Eemian

Sea levels oscillated up and down during the Eemian interglacial about 120,000 years ago according to Woods Hole research. The research used new methods of interpreting the uranium and thorium isotope ratios used in dating coral giving more accurate chronologies.

I’m not sure why we should be surprised. I’ve always had the impression that the stability of the Holocene was exceptional. Also the West Antarctic sheet partially collapsed and regrew over 60 times during the last few million years with a mild forcing like orbital changes as the main driver, suggesting that the sheets respond quite sensitively to temperature.

Here are links to the article and the press release.

Ammonia as car fuel

Ammonia produces just nitrogen and water vapour when burned and, unlike hydrogen, it is relatively easy to store in liquid form. It can also be produced cheaply at the filling station, according to research done by John Fleming and Tim Maxwell at Texas Tech University. Ammonia can be used together with conventional petrol, or the car can be modified to run solely on ammonia.

They are also developing an ammonia engine that drives a generator, which produces electricity to drive the wheels.

They don’t say how much energy is used in making the ammonia, but I expect it could be solar.

Originally published in the New Scientist.

China’s new plan for solar power supremacy

Melanie Hart has done a guest post at Climate Progress on China’s review of its clean energy plans. So far the story in China has been wind power. Now it looks like solar will be given top billing. The suggestion is:

10 GW of installed solar capacity by 2015, including 9 GW from photovoltaic installations and 1 GW from solar thermal electric power generation, and 50 GW total installed capacity by 2020.

Of note, the article says that China too has a fossil fuel lobby, and renewable plans include 30GW of pumped water storage.

With assistance from Melanie Hart Stephen Lacey’s post looks at China’s predatory pricing strategy to knock out American production.

On another thread, jumpy linked to Solyndra’s sad demise. In response, dylwah suggested that a price on carbon might help and linked to an article by Thomas Friedman. I’m not sure what that would do in the face of dumping.

While on solar, here’s a link about spray-on PV developed by Mitsubishi.

Vauxhall/Opel two-seater EV Concept

Finally via John D’s Gizmag browsing here’s Vauxhall/Opel’s two-seater EV Concept which they claim “could revolutionize” urban transport. The article points to similar concepts by other makers and thinks they represent

a line-blurring class of sub-sub-compact cars – a category that we’ve long seen as playing a key role in the future of urban transport.

182 thoughts on “Climate clippings 44”

  1. Oh well, while we all fry, at least we’ll be able to eat King Crab.

    It’s amazing how little it takes to make things go wonky.

    You are right, the energy required to raise that volume of water by only 0.27 degrees would be immense.

  2. @1.

    crikey that article is misleading..

    quote:
    Antarctica is smaller following the break-up of the Larsen B and Wilkins ice shelves.

    Since when did an ice shelf form part of a continent?

  3. Alright, back of envelope time. The density of seawater is about 1025 kg/m^3 and the specific heat is about 3.850 J/(g K) (just pulling some approximate values from here. So to raise one cubic metre of seawater by 0.27 K, you need 1025*3850*0.27 which is approximately 1×10^6 J per cubic metre.

    Next a volume: NOAA lists the volume of the southern ocean as around 71.8×10^6 cubic kilometres, which needs to be multiplied by 10^9 to give cubic meters.

    So the total energy to raise the Southern Ocean by 0.27 K is approximately 1×10^6*71.8×10^6*10^9 = 7.18e22 J. Or 71,800 exaJoules (EJ).

    That’s a big number. Wolfram Alpha gives a couple of comparisons but these two were most interesting:

    71,800 EJ ~~ 1.8 times the 2003 estimated energy in worlds total fossil fuel reserves (about 39,000 EJ).

    71,800 EJ ~~ 1/10th of the estimated energy release during Chicxulub meteor impact (about 500,000 EJ).

    P.S. Yes, I know we’re probably only interested in the layer between 900 and 1400 m, rather than the whole Southern Ocean, so this is an upper estimate, but I have no way of estimating how large that volume is. If you could find a cumulative bathymetric curve for the Southern Ocean than you could probably estimate things that way.

    P.P.S. I wonder if I’ve made a mistake somewhere? That number seems awfully large.

  4. It would be interesting to know what is happening below the king crab zone.
    The two seater EV concept car is typical of its ilk with exaggerated styling and the leap to pure EV. However, if the end product is a plug in hybrid version with decently low air resistance and motor bike level parking space requirements it could be the main transport for car commuters and couples.

  5. I have been muttering about giant crabs in the antarctic since earlier this week when I saw that report on Huffpost. Thanks again Brian for bringing it to wider attention. I have not seen or heard anything about this from our pathetic Australian media, not even for its entertainment value (haha, look giant crabs), let alone its news value re climate change (shit, another biological tipping point). Quelle surprise.

  6. Thanks, Dave, dylwah and Grace. Dave @ 1, I saw the altas story on a feed just as I was finalising the post. Thanks for making the link.

  7. Interesting to hear what’s been evolving 14 million years is about to be wiped out. Does this mean you believe that the warm period reported about a thousand years ago in the northern hemisphere (when, for example, Iceland was warmer than it is now) didn’t affect the southern hemisphere? If it did affect the planet as a whole (as most non-emotively interested in changing world climate during earlier times believe to be the case) surely whatever the species you fear will now be wiped out are, they wouldn’t have been sitting there blissfully unaffected for as long as you suggest?

  8. You’re quite right, Jess, that is an unfeasibly large amount of energy. Fortunately you don’t have to postulate it to account for these crabs.

    The actual paper (who would have thought to look for it?) is about only an isolated crab population that has been found in the Palmer Deep, a small pocket of deep water off the West Antarctic Peninsula. At its depth (1400 metres or so) the water is warm enough to support the crabs, global warming or no global warming,

    The crabs clearly didn’t walk there since they would have had to go 120km from the nearest existing crab population through waters still too cold to support them. The scientists who found them speculate that larvae were swept in on ocean currents “at some point in the last 50 years”.

    In other words this is pretty much a happenstance event – the sort of way populations disperse naturally – and nothing to do with global warming. But when it gets HuffPo-ed it transmutes magically into fossil fuels are breeding giant crabs that will eat our babies. Nothing new in that of course. Scare stories r us is one of the sub-titles of the AGW narrative.

    And don’t worry about the biodiversity. The population density of the crabs is now the same level as that in several commercial Antarctic crab fisheries, and they will be fished out in short order, to the relief of the rest of the wildlife, now we know where they are. Oh, wait, that’s human evil too, isn’t it? Can’t win.

  9. re: the crabs.. note also a similar invasion happening since the late 90’s down the coast of Norway.

    In this case, it was started by one of Stalin’s experiments in the 60’s.

  10. Wozza,

    In other words this is pretty much a happenstance event – the sort of way populations disperse naturally – and nothing to do with global warming.

    What’s your reasoning for this? Dispersal is dispersal. Colonisation if governed by conditions. Colonisation of warm water species is increasing down the east coast of Tassie due to the East Australian Current, for instance.

    The more substantive point is that at current rates of warming, there is an adjacent population for colonisation.

    Interestingly, Craig Smith, the principal author has surveyed fjords and deeps in Antarctica concluding that they are much richer than their northern hemisphere counterparts due to less sediment and disturbance. Plenty of tucker for crabs as it were.

  11. Woz: it’s not a completely unfeasible amount of energy. For example, the Gulf Stream carries about 1.4 petajoules per second, so about year and seven months’ worth of Gulf Stream heat would do it.

  12. Duncan – “In this case, it was started by one of Stalin’s experiments in the 60′s.” Inventive, dictating beyond the grave.

  13. “Since when did an ice shelf form part of a continent?”

    Antarctica is only a ‘continent’ by virtue of its ice. Sans ice, it’s just an archipelago with its biggest island smaller than Australia.

  14. Duncan @ 5, it seems that maps of Antarctica typically show ice shelves.

    Norman Hanscombe @ 10, to state the bleeding obvious, I’m not suggesting anything about what happened in previous interglacials.

    Wozza, three points. First, I don’t have access to the original article, but the NS article that “the crabs had to get from the deep sea over part of the continental shelf and then into the basin that is the Palmer Deep.”

    Second, there are dozens of articles about fauna moving polewards or up mountains because of global warming. Here’s one with a positive spin, though near the end they suggest that the global impacts of warming will not be positive.

    Third, the Palmer deep may be a small pocket, but the fact that warming has reached that remote pocket suggests that warm water is coming in from somewhere, which suggests that there may be considerable energy going below the 700m level. Apart from the exotica value, that was my main interest in the story.

  15. I note at 10, Brian, that you say, “to state the bleeding obvious, I’m not suggesting anything about what happened in previous (sic) interglacials.” I hope that on reflection do understand that you’re talking about the CURRENT interglacial?

    It might also help if you think about the fact that you quoted a report (as the starting point for your thesis) that “Huge crabs more than a metre across have invaded the Antarctic abyss, wiped out the local wildlife and now threaten to ruin ecosystems that have evolved over 14 million years.” Surely you must understand that any reasonable interpretation of this statement DOES suggest that in your subsequent “analysis” of current events, you ARE basing your quaint article on the claim that what is happening there at the moment hasn’t happened there in 14 million years? Why else use that quote to introduce your article?

    You go on to say, “Global warming seems to be the culprit,” which may well be the case; but that still leaves you with the problem of why this is supposedly the FIRST time in 14 million years that this has happened. That’s why I raised the question of why it didn’t happen 1,000 years ago. I trust you accept that 1,000 is less than 14,000,000? After all, to use your own line, isn’t that “bleeding obvious”?

    As someone who as a kid took an interest as far back as the mid 40sin the effects of returning large quantities of CO2 to the atmosphere (and later on tried repeatedly but unsuccessfully in the 70s to interest Bob Brown’s Greens” in the issue) I’m hardly a “sceptic” on the issue. Nowadays, of course, blind rejection of the possibility of human-induced climate change is less common. On the other hand, since blind acceptance of ANYTHING which can be used / misused to support the supposedly “obvious” effects of burning fossil fuels has become de rigueur in self-proclaimed progressive (sic) circles, I guess you must be excused?

  16. Norman, if you go back to read the item, the first three paragraphs are merely a precis of the article. I try to do that without distorting the meaning of the authors. The only “suggestion” that comes from me personally is the last sentence:

    The temperature rise at 0.27°C is not large, but I suspect it takes a lot of energy to produce it.

    I have no idea what happened to the wildlife in the area over the last 14 million years or any other time period apart from what was written in the article. That’s all I’m saying.

  17. Further, the point you raise about what happened in previous warming periods is fair enough. All I’m saying is that I made no “suggestions” in this regard. You’d have to ask the authors, who may or may not have an answer. I can think of various possibilities, but wouldn’t speculate.

  18. Noman Hanscombe,

    A warming of Greenland 1000 years ago was not a global warming event. It was was most likely an anomaly of the North Atlantic Current caused either by an abnormal heating event in the Indian ocean as many as 25 years earlier, an unusual cycle of Arctic Cell weather events, or a combination of both.

    Therefore it is reasonable to postulate that the current activity in the Antarctic could well be caused by similar abnormal cycles. Only further research will be able to clarify this issue that is causing, particularly, yourself such anguish. And as you have a lifetime of interest in environmental matters consider yourself the self appointed scientific investigator of choice to get the bottom of the giant crab issue.

  19. BilB, the unusual event in the Antarctic that most readily comes to mind is, of course, the ozone hole, which has caused atmospheric circulation systems to tighten in around the pole. I understand that one effect of this is to increase the severity of storms and to increase the mixing between the atmosphere and the ocean.

    It seems to me that ocean warming that deep is likely to be caused by other factors, but what happens nearer the surface might have something to do with how the crabs got over the continental shelf and into the Palmer Deep. I’d prefer to hear real scientists on this matter, however.

  20. Quite so Brian,

    We tend to forget the Ozone Hole, the problem we cannot afford to fix as it will exacerbate Global Warming and accelerate Polar Ice melt.

  21. Or what i should have said @27 ” Speakers from China, India ,USA,and others on what they hope to and are doing on the subject of action regarding CC.”

  22. BilB, I’m intrigued to hear that you’ve come across evidence demonstrating that the warming which occurred around a thousand years ago was NOT a global event. I assume this must be original new research on your part, but I haven’t seen it yet, so I’d be interested in knowing when/where you published these fascinating findings.
    Thank you, by the way, for your vote of confidence re my long-term interest in environmental issues; but being aware required little more than being willing to avoid jumping to convenient conclusions, and following through the logic /lack of logic in whatever “true believers” happened to adopt as their faith of choice. It can be a painful road, but you could always decide to risk taking it?

  23. Norman,

    you’re trolling. It’s quite well known. Here’s a recent assessment:
    Mann ME, Zhang Z, Rutherford S, Bradley RS, Hughes MK, Shindell D, Ammann C, Faluvegi G, Ni F (2009) Global signatures and dynamical origins of the little ice age and medieval climate anomaly. Science 326 (5957):1256-1260. doi:10.1126/science.1177303

  24. How unkind of you Roger. Of course (then and now) the evidence shows that variations did, and still do, occur in different parts of the planet. On theother hand, perhaps it was unkind of me to suggest that BilB had done research which demonstrated NO warming had occurred outside the northern hemisphere. I could be wrong, by the way, but I’m under the impression that, for example, it seems there’s evidence New Zealand (which even then was in the southern hemisphere?) experienced a warm period around the time inquestion. I also understand that currently there are even differences to be found in different parts of Antarctica? As much as anything, I suppose I was reacting to the manner in which the original article had been presented.

    It’s NOT, of course, as straight-forward an issue as ‘true believers’ on all sides are sometimes prone to believe; but perhaps I shouldn’t mock them because (if my memory serves me more or less correctly) as someone somewhere once said, “Let he who is without blind spots, cast the first non sequitur.”

  25. Ammonia.
    At last some reality is injected into the “hydrogen economy” so beloved of those of the blissfully ignorant green persuasion.
    First fact:
    The proton exchange fuel cell that is touted as electric vehicle generator is totally useless unless teamed with a battery:
    Second Fact:
    Hydrogen by itself is explosive in almost any ratio in air, expect massive explosions.
    Third fact: Ammonia will burn very well but it is very difficult to explode it.

    Fourth Fact, Because ammonia stinks to high heaven it is impossible to imagine a leak going unnoticed (unlike H2).

    Dealing with an ammonia leak is easy. I once shut down a major leak by getting my assistant to lay down a large water plume with a fire hose. I then walked into the refrigeration plant with no protective gear and closed the relevant valve. I was 17 at the time, but I knew that ammonia is very very soluble in water.

    So on the grounds of safety, CO2 emissions and efficacy ammonia wins.

    Can be manufactured using water, air and sunlight.
    Gets my vote.
    Huggy

  26. I know nothing about ammonia’s energy value, EROEI, combustability, or anything else in regards to it as a fuel.

    I have worked with it in refrigeration in a winery. The engineer was a cheapskate and everything he bought was a problem for our maintenance team. There were numerous leaks from the Ammonia system. The two of us charged with maintaining it got accustommed to the smell. We could walk around a room full of it to turn off valves while others could barely stand at the doorway.

    I can only regard the stink of ammonia as a positive if it is to be used as a fuel.

  27. Yes, ammonia. Huggybunny is right that it has advantages over hydrogen as an alternative fuel, notably a lesser propensity for blowing the crap out of the entire neighbourhood if handled slightly less than optimally. But that doesn’t mean that its disadvantages are not very significant.

    1. Contrary to the assertion that it is “relatively easy to store in liquid form”, it is of course a gas at normal temperatures and pressure, and requires cooling/pressure systems to liquefy. Not as much as hydrogen but any such requirement is difficult/costly to accommodate in cars.

    2. Even liquefied, it has half the energy density, lire for litre, of petrol. ie Half the range for the same tank size.

    3. Ammonia is more expensive to produce than hydrogen. Hydrogen (three parts to one of nitrogen) is in fact the feedstock for its production. Large amounts of energy are required. A vague “I expect solar could be used” is hardly a good enough explanation of how this will be solved. A technological rescue is unlikely – the Haber-Bosch process for producing ammonia has been used for a century precisely because no-one has been able to find a better way in all that time.

    4. And hydrogen is primarily produced from coal, heavy petroleum fractions etc – hydrocarbons which also produce CO2 in the process. Yes, it can come from electrolysis of water, but with significant further energy and economic costs.

    5. Current global production of NH3 represents on an energy basis 325 million barrels (of oil) equivalent. Petrol production is 27 billion. That is, huge new investment in production (and transportation) facilities would be needed. Ammonia production is relatively clean, but it is still an industrial chemical process with its share of pollution, which Greenpeace and others of the usual suspects have leapt up and down about in the past.

    6. Brian’s linked article asserts that “ammonia produces just nitrogen and water vapour when burned.” Yes, in theory. But its combustion in the presence of catalysts of the sort needed to get it burning in automotive engines leads to further oxidation to varying degrees, producing nitrogen oxides.

    I could go on but you get the idea.

  28. Wozz, I agree (sort of) with your comments.
    Ammonia is not the perfect fuel. But what is?
    http://nh3car.com/FAQ1.htm
    Your comment about storage pressures is misleading; containment at 150 PSI (in old units) is a trivial task. The storage of hydrogen under pressure is a task orders of magnitude harder.
    I could also point out that the world dumps about 7 billion litres of ammonia precursor into the waterways and oceans EVERY FUCKING DAY. It is called urine.
    Huggy

  29. More on ammonia recovery from urine.
    http://cgi.tu-harburg.de/~awwweb/susan/downloads/urine.pdf
    BTW even if the recoverable urine only amounts to say 3 billion l, a world that is serious about resource depletion would embrace the urine collection and concentration option. Is it part of the Greens platform? ooh noo. We don’t talk about such things – recycle wee ?
    Now get this:
    “Big Spring, Texas, home to the Colorado River Municipal Water District, will be experimenting with reprocessing wastewater produced by the town’s 27,000 residents, according to Discovery News. Sewage that is typically fed into a creek will be captured by a plant the district has just broken ground on.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/05/texas-town-urine-recycling_n_919782.html
    Now get this: It is 2011 and the totally moronic Texans are dumping untreated shit and wee into a CREEK !!!! FFS!!! What are all the other towns across the States doing????
    Huggy

  30. “Is it part of the Greens platform? ooh noo. We don’t talk about such things – recycle wee ?”

    In their defence, Huggy, you know how News Ltd and rival parties would spin that as Greens HILARIOUS HIPPIES PISS EW EW BEAR GRYLLS snigger-fest. They can’t win on that one.

    I can see the headline now: Wind farm next to urine recycling project: “RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT ALL PISS AND WIND”.

  31. Helen,
    You are right, the Mad Monk would have a really great time with it.
    However the dumping of urine into our environment and the lack of recycling facilities is utterly amazing to me. We must dump millions of tonnes of phosphate, ammonia and other good stuff into the sea every year, all it does is create toxic algal blooms and kill creatures.
    Here is something those of a green persuasion can do at home.
    http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Homemade_urine_diverting_toilets/
    Here is a slightly more comfortable version.
    http://www.sswm.info/print/1757?tid=841
    Now all you have to do is persuade all the people in your locality to install one or more of these and then set up a co-op to process the stuff and you will be doing far more for the environment than those solar panels so beloved of the greens.

    Huggy

  32. Re.”””spray-on PV developed by Mitsubishi.””

    The frontier of Solar energy IMHO.

    We know Mitsubishi is leading development in this area.
    We know that BHP Billiton makes colorbond roof sheeting.
    We know that BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi are connected through BMA (BHP Mitsubishi Alliance )
    Maybe this alliance will bear some PV fruit.

    (At present, BMA make a fortune from coal mines in the Bowen basin and Hay Point coal loading port.)

  33. On the Solyndra ( not Solyandra Brian) debacle , it’s getting very messy.

    “””Obama admin reworked Solyndra loan to favor donor””””

    http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/obama-admin-reworked-solyndra-1182334.html

    “”””Obama fundraiser linked to federal loan for failed solar company””””

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view/20110917obama_fundraiser_linked_to_federal_loan_for_failed_solar_company

    Hard to see Obama going hard at Solar for a while, Perry either.

  34. No one wants to take the piss…

    Nitrogen pollution has beem nominated as one of the main drivers of global environmental change by the Global Change Terrestrial Ecosystems Programme, so it’s on the scientific radar. Pity few people take notice. The sooner we build industrial ecologies with no end of pipe waste, the better.

  35. Bilb,
    ammonia, as some have said; too much fertiliser (will break down in saturated soils into nitrous oxide or leach); urine both human and livestock.
    Because Australian farming uses a lot of legumes, our agriculture is more nitrogen efficient than most. If you’re asking about the chemistry, there are many different processes and for me, learning that was a while ago.
    Lightning also makes nitrogen chemically active as a naturally process because nitrogen gas, the major component of the atmosphere, is otherwise very stable. All other forms (e.g., NOx, N2O, NH4) are pretty active.

    Jumpy, I think chemically active nitrogen where we want it will become scarce in a carbon constrained world, there will be a price on NOx as a greenhouse gas and there is a lot of research into precision agriculture going on, so these will push active management of the N cycle.

  36. Thanks, courageous anonymous Haiku for the link. You’ve given an excellent example of using non sequiturs. As a reward, even though you lack the courage to use your name, I’d be happy to analyse ANY substantive post you’d made on this topic; but alas you haven’t made any, have you?

    It’s true, though, that your link shows (for those prepared to sort through the material in your linked item) that many people become uncomfortable with analysis of their actual content being presented, so for that we should be grateful.

    Good luck, should you risk it, with any attempt to make a relevant contribution on an important substantive issue.

  37. @jumpy, *shrug*. You seem to be under the impression that many people here are only here because of Gore. That’s so far from the truth that it’s hard to know where to begin.

    Gore made a useful contribution to public awareness of the problem a while ago. He was a valuable ambassador for those who look at the data, look at the risks and conclude that steps need to be taken to cut back on our fossil fuels economy.

    If Gore’s latest effort fails to capture the general public’s information as much as his previous efforts have done,then that’s disappointing from a PR point of view. But it doesn’t make any difference to the science itself, nor to the need for pushing the implementation of adaptation/mitigation programs.

  38. On another possibly bright note, the satire on display in Jumpy’s link@52 is of such high octane oomph as to place David FW’s efforts into Orpheaen darkness.

    The worrying counterfactual is that it is not actually existing satire – leaving me to wonder why New Scientist has either:

    a) been infiltrated by Banana Benders;
    or b) hires people under the age of thirty

  39. meh. I skipped the 24 hours of infotainment, but it was worthy I’m sure. The New Scientist blog article was pretty shallow, and the first comment on it is a little critical. I’m amazed it’s still there – NS has the thinnest skin of any online publisher I’ve come across.

    Watched 4 Corners though. I’d love to sound off on some of those politicians but as a member of Climate Scientists Australia, a group who is trying to carry on a meaningful conversation with decision-makers, I’d better not. Mini Minchin from SA though, has been harassing the Bureau of Meteorology for not producing climate records that show cooling. The leader of the opposition is not being held to any standards because it’s well known he has none, whereas the PM is excoriated for changing the way she implements the policy she was always going to implement. The Australian Trade and Industry Alliance is carrying out the most untruthful ad campaign of modern times, yet know they have very little exposure.
    For example, the Australian Carbon Finance group have looked at the top 200 companies and say only the two big airlines are likely to have an impact on gross annual income of more than 1% (roughly 5%). They also say the top 200 companies know this. So the Trade and Industry Alliance are well aware of the porkies they are telling to scare the crap out of people who have a limited understanding of climate change and its economic impacts.
    And scientists get accused of scaring people with the truth.

  40. jumpy @ 43, thanks for the spelling correction. Fixed.

    Roger, I also watched 4 Corners. Depressing. Bernardi is spooky, and it’s significant that he’s assisting Abbott.

    There was an unfortunate contrast in body language. Abbott had a self-satisfied smirk playing over his face. Gillard looked as though she had been woken up at 3 am and told that someone had died.

  41. Back in more intellectually rigorous times, BilB, some of my best friends were scientists; but were they still around, I suspect they’d be less than impressed with what now all too often passes for analysis of issues, both in the general media and (worse still) on blog sites. There’s a disappointing tendency nowadays for protagonists to simply accept without careful scrutiny anything which seems to support whatever ‘side’ they happen to have adopted as their own. There’s a tendency in ‘discussions’ of issues to go wandering off topic on hobby horses as people conflate un-related issues into what they want to believe supports their case.

    Whether it’s Lord Monkton’s ravings or Gore’s “Convenient Half Truths”, their reactions are fairly similar. Convinced True Believers from each camp can see what’s wrong with the other side’s case, but let shortcomings on their own side go through to the keeper. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful innate factor. But of course I’m not a scientist, so presumably all True Believers can dismiss these comments?

  42. Norman Hanscombe said:

    But of course I’m not a scientist, so presumably all True Believers can dismiss these comments?

    I’ve no idea what ‘true believers’ will say of your comments, and as far as I can tell, no ‘true believers’ are even aware of them, so the question of dismissing them simply doesn’t arise.

    Certainly, if the dissembling vacuous maundering above is a fair sample of what you have on offer, the class of those dismissing it would not be confined to ‘true believers’ but contain anyone not wishing to waste their time. Your want of credentials in the field would scarcely be considered, germane though this probably is to the commentary you offer.

  43. Fran, I hadn’t realised the term “true believers” was so difficult to understand, but it does mean you may well be wasting your time trying to understand what I wrote. Physicist friends who never had any difficulty following my arguments included three Professors [in the days when that title was aplied more sparingly than now] but you have difficulty.

    Still, you shouldn’t give up hope just yet. One day you may even be able to detect irony? Either way, should you decide to make the effort, you have my best wishes.

  44. Norman,
    you’re going to have to do better than that. The “both sides are as bad as each other” is a tactic to suggest that all arguments are belief, distorted by exaggeration and open lies. This belies the fact that there is a body of scientific knowledge that favours one line of advocacy and not the other. In a reasoned argument, advocacy should not affect the perception of the body of knowledge it draws from but psychologically, we know it does.
    I have heard Gore speak and he uses the science very well – whether or not his strategy is the right one, I’ll leave that up to others.
    The IPCC is carrying out one of the most intellectually rigorous tasks every undertaken on an international scale. It’s not perfect. I’m a coordinating lead author in the latest assessment and think there are a range of shortcomings, some of which are in a paper about to be published in Climatic Change. These shortcomings are about framing, how science translates into policy and decision-making, and the relationship between science and values in addressing risk. These issues are deeply philosophical.
    Science has changed. It used to pass on judgements from a position of authority. In the modern democracy, science has to be shared and explained – its delivery is much more egalitarian. However, when strongly held beliefs are used to contest every finding repeatedly, this method of sharing knowledge is at a serious disadvantage. Add a significant hostile element in the media and where are we? I’m much more confident with the sharing knowledge model, but am aware that in a power discourse, science has had to cede its previous authority to maintain its relevance. In an environment of unreasonableness, this places it at a significant disadvantage.

  45. Roger, to point out that our species’ weaknesses, e.g. the need to be aware of the effects of such things as cognitive dissonance, is NOT saying as you suggest that “both sides are as bad as each other”, merely there are major flaws in the ‘arguments’ put by both sides — surely not a point you’d dispute? It does NOT mean, as you say, “that all arguments are belief, distorted by exaggeration and open lies.” Philosophy of Science was always an interest, and even though I wasn’t enrolled, because of that interest was allowed to sit in and participate. You must have realised I do NOT dispute the science of carbon emissions, and have in fact been talking about it long before it became a trendy issue. What DOES worry me is the manner in which people adopt what may well be described as a non-theistic belief in whatever stand they deem important, and logic (never a strong point with our species?) simply goes out the window.

    You make much the same point when referring to the psychological influence on what people believe they know. In 65 I analysed the overall records of all Hons graduates at Sydney Uni to see what subjects, if any, had been failed on their way through. Basic Philos I had been the main problem for these successful Hons Graduates. I’d suggest this was because we’ve evolved along lines which had considerable value on the primaeval savannah, and it’s painful to force ourselves to carefully analyse our own core belief structures — whatever they may be.

    As for Gore, his use of psychologically appealing arguments was fascinating, and it would give me similar pleasure to go through the movie with students to a distant past when I had groups who took “Chariots of the Gods seriously; but here’s not the place to tackle that.
    You’re correct in saying that, “Science has changed.” But it’s an unfair caricature to imply it was undemocratic, blind authoritarian dogma until now. The CSIRO’s Len Hibbard, NOT a professor, was listened to and his ideas valued not because of some ‘authority’, but because what he said made sense. Of course any idea in science or other fields of enquiry is open to amendment IF better explanations are forthcoming; but this isn’t part of a so-called ‘democratic’ process entitling anyone who has an opinion to reject current evidence as irrelevant or not worth considering, and I’d suggest it’s this nihilist tendency in the ‘postmodern’ zeitgeist which is science’s greatest enemy.

    Sharing knowledge always has been important. Leaving it to the market of ‘public opinion’, however, is the current danger, along with so-called ‘democratic’ assessment. Now I’m off for a day among rabid greenies and raving right-wingers. I must be a beggar for self-inflicted punishment?

  46. Norman,

    Your Physicist friends were just being “nice” to you.

    There is only one environmental reality, and that is the one that eventuates. You can “believe” what ever you like, but what actually takes place will be the real and physical consequence of our own collective actions.

    Rather than spend a day with Greenies and raving right wingers, I suggest that you spend a day with the victims of car accidents. These are people who thought that they had everything under control, only to discover split seconds later that they did not.

    Learn the language of regret…..before you need to speak it yourself.

  47. I’d suggest this was because we’ve evolved along lines which had considerable value on the primaeval savannah…

    You criticise others for a lack of rigour and then demonstrate you’ve fallen victim to the most modish, just-so-story, rigour-free branch of pseudoscience on the planet. Evpsych! Motes, beams etc, Norman.

    Time to link to this, yet again… 😉

  48. The difference between von Daniken and Gore is that when the evidence they both bring to their psychologically appealing arguments is tested, one set (mostly) passes, the other doesn’t. People who deny climate science in public are in the main good communicators – they are self-deprecating, open faced and authoritative. So is belief the issue, or the evidence used to inform that belief?
    I wondered if you’d pick up on the one-liner on scientific authority. Of course it’s more complex, and the reason that the CSIRO has higher credibility than most comparable organisations internationally (this is polled frequently) is that they have been sharing knowledge with the Australian people for a long time. Why then, does Sen Cory Bernardi believe they are corrupt?
    I still think your “true believer” is a straw man argument. You’ve snarked at people on this thread for their take on news reports. The 14 million years, for example, covers the shelf ecosystems surrounding the Antarctic, extrapolated from ocean core reconstructions of temperature and the presence of ice surrounding the continent after the establishment of the circum-polar current following separation of the continents. Project deep ocean warming, which is happening faster than most scientists anticipated, and adjacent populations of hungry predators, and its evidence of risk. Which has been reported by news media and repeated in brief here. Seems reasonable.
    You might articulate what true belief is and why it is harmful. But better, given that the chief scientist has said the debate on climate change has degraded to an extent he thought impossible, what solutions you would propose?

  49. Roger with due respect your “science has changed ….. it used to pass on judgements from a position of authority” is simply not correct.
    .
    What science used to do, and still does do when it hasn’t been captured by special interests, is pass no judgments whatsoever. Science is not about judgments. It is about observation, evidence, ability to repeat results, rigour in applying evidence to hypotheses, and all the rest of it.

    The problem we have now has arisen precisely because in certain scientific fields – notably of course but not only climate science – scientists did begin to get into making pronouncements from authority. They found it gave them more power, and more funding. But people inevitably started noticing that the cobblers were not sticking to their lasts, and that the lasts might be deteriorating – authority suffers if the authorities have to admit errors, and there were at least appearances in some instances that errors were being buried. As well, the scientists have strayed as a result into public policy, where they generally have little expertise and it shows.

    That is why there is increased questioning of science and scientists, and the need for greater explanations. Perhaps it has gone too far, but the Manns and Hansens of this world have brought it on themselves (and, perhaps unfairly, on you). To describe it as an atmosphere of unreasonableness putting science at an unfair disadvantage is a misperception. It is an inevitable result of an increasing trend to perversion of science in certain areas. Admittedly, proper science done rigorously will be queried for a while too. Collateral damage often accompanies unwise courses of action.

  50. Roger@ 56: “the PM is [unfairly] excoriated for changing the way she implements the policy she was always going to implement”.

    This is an interesting observation. It is your belief then that when she said no carbon tax under a government I lead, this was an outright lie intended as such? Since she was always going to implement it.

    Any subsequent suggestions that it was a change in course through Parliamentary and power-sharing circmstances also then become outright lies, of course.

    But it is Tony Abbott who, “as is well known”, has no standards.

    Right. Glad we’ve got that settled.

  51. She was always going to put a price on carbon in the form of a trading scheme. She said she wasn’t going to put a tax on carbon. Circumstances changed. She ended up with a scheme that has a technically legislated tax for three years before turning into trading scheme. I’m comfortable with that. Some aren’t.

    Re 67 Read Phillip Kitcher’s Science in a Democratic Society.

  52. “Mann, Santer, Hansen bought it up themselves.”

    Please, may I offer again for skeptics to definitely disprove CO2 involvement in the infrared, would you care to put your finger in front of a CO2 laser. We’ll film it and it’ll settle this without need to argue.

    I’d love to know from a skeptic how an Infrared Gas Analyser works. I know the manufacturers say how their kits works, they are consistent and I guess I’m a believer. Their consistency would suggest to a skeptic of a conspiracy. I’d love to know how you guys think it works.

    Finally, let’s see if we can’t join up and make ourselves an enormous amount of money. Forget climate science, if you can make up our own science, say room temperature superconductivity, then big bucks follow. For me it would take min 3 decades of research into materials and many many text books in between, and no guarantee of success, but you guys can do it by making shit up, being smarter than NASA, CSIRO, BoM, AMOS, RoyalSoc combined. I have a list of tech advances we can do. You can keep the money too, I will be happy just to have the advancements available to humanity.

  53. Roger Jones said:

    {stipulated: not a carbon tax}

    She was always going to put a price on carbon in the form of a trading scheme. She said she wasn’t going to put a tax on carbon. Circumstances changed. She ended up with a scheme that has a technically legislated tax for three years before turning into trading scheme.

    Other than as above, just so. She specifically stated before the election that she did not rule out legislating a price on carbon prior to the next election, and would regard a win as a mandate to do so. It was clear that the new parliament’s composition fit the description, perhaps even better than if the ALP had won in their own right. At worst, she dumped the (absurd and diversionary) “citizen’s assembly” idea.

    Sidebar: On Breakfast with Fran Kelly yesterday:

    think tank Per Capita has surveyed 1,300 people on their attitudes to taxation

    The researcher, David Hetherington notes, re carbon tax:

    32% favour emissions trading scheme, 16% favour a carbon tax … Apparently people don’t like the word “tax”, according to Mr Hetherington. So why is the regime allowing it to be called “a tax” (especially when it isn’t)? It’s hard to avoid drawing the conclusion that they are either cowardly or stupid and perhaps both.

  54. OK Fran (and Roger) I plead guilty to succumbing to provocation. I don’t have much time for the particular ways any of the political parties is conducting the climate debate; I was reacting more to the casual general slur from a scientist who professes to be indignant that the horrid public and media are unfairly stigmatising scientists by questioning their objectivity. That is, the Tony Abbott is well known for having no standards but Julia Gillard can wriggle, obfuscate and backflip as much as she likes and she’s still principled line.

    But I shouldn’t have chosen to re-open the semantic tax vs carbon price thing again to do so. It has been done to death. I still disagree with you on it of course – as it seems obvious from the polls most do – but it is unprofitable to go there again. Perhaps we could have a Julia Gillard’s standards debate somewhere else based on, say, her bullying of the media to ensure her alleged murky past associations with criminals are not de-murked?

    In all seriousness, though, do you think that the tax will ever transmute into a trading scheme? Even if in three years the current Government is still around? Governments do not often give up taxes, especially those who have dug themselves into the fiscal hole of this one. And all the modelling – and the alleged advantages of an ETS – are based on the assumption of a viable world carbon trading scheme, and 60% plus (? memory) of Australia’s “reductions” coming from buying someone else’s. When this doesn’t happen, as it clearly won’t, what are the chances of a sudden “discovery” that circumstances have changed (again), and amendment to keep the tax in till times are more propitious for an ETS? ie not in the foreseeable future.

  55. Dave McCrae, if that is aimed at me – and it seems from the quote, or actually even after one correction the misquote, it might be – can you please point out where I have denied the feasibility of CO2 lasers? Or that CO2 has a particular infra-red fingerprint. Having in my own post-graduate study leaned heavily on IR spectra as an identification tool for the compounds I was working with, I am well aware of what they are.

    Why is that the true believers – Fran, if you are listening, we have here an example that might help you grasp what is meant by the phrase – feel it necessary to argue so frequently via strawmen of their own creation, and strawmen so silly moreover that any half-wit could identify them as being quite unbelievable. No-one questions that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    What is questioned are things like climate sensitivity, the crude nature of the climate models, feedbacks and other assumptions, etc which lie behind the doomsday temperature predictions . Go look up what (minor) temperature increases actually come directly from greenhouse forcing.

    And, yes, regrettably the credentials and objectivity of some of the scientists in the field come under scrutiny as well – I think it is often overdone personally, but the arrogant, clubby and untransparent behaviour of some of them has brought it down on themselves.

  56. Wozza said:

    No-one questions that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    Believe it or not, I have come across some who assert even this.

    Don’t use the phrase “true believers” in this context. It’s a blatant attempt at an equivocation fallacy, and marks you and Norman above as trolling.

    While the nomenclature of carbon pricing does have a semantic dimension, it is also about the functional operation of the pricing mechanism. It is also salient in partisan positioning on policy.

  57. “”””Don’t use the phrase “true believers””””
    The law.

    “”””It’s a blatant attempt at an equivocation fallacy,””””
    The verdict.

    “””” and marks you and Norman above as trolling.””””
    The sentence.

    Fran, Get over yourself.

  58. In all seriousness, though, do you think that the tax will ever transmute into a trading scheme?

    Since that is what is in the legislation, and is what the ALP has been arguing for for 5 years, yes. The suggestion otherwise appears to be a triumph of partisanship over reality.

  59. What is questioned are things like climate sensitivity, the crude nature of the climate models, feedbacks and other assumptions, etc which lie behind the doomsday temperature predictions .

    Feedbacks are not assumed they are estimated on the basis of constraints from multiple independent lines of evidence: the instrumental record, the paleoclimate data and, yes (gasp) climate modelling.

  60. BilB, don’t wander out of your depth. Helen, it wouldn’t hurt for you to read more re evolution. Roger, the term I use the term “true believer” not in any sense of the belief being correct or incorrect, but rather because the person in question [whatever that belief may be] is so blinkered in his/her confidence the belief “must” be true, that the actual facts/arguments become of minor concern. It’s merely a human weakness which takes a great deal to keep from blinding us to anything which doesn’t fit well into our passionately held presumptions. That’s not really what the scientific method entails, is it? It can even result (as I’d suggest has happened with your response?) in interesting accurate non sequiturs being dragged up.

    Gillard’s unequivocal statement before the election that her Government wouldn’t introduce a carbon tax is an interesting example of how people (often unconsciously) let their “true believer” status colour their ‘thinking’. The very same people who’d have bitterly savaged Abbot had he done it rationalise away the process by various means, and do so not because they’re being consciously dishonest, but rather because their emotively blinkered ‘memories’ let anything which doesn’t help them feel positive about ‘their side”, simply go through to the keeper. I personally do NOT think Gillard lied. She changed her mind because she needed the Green M.P’s vote to form a Government. On the other hand, when she first changed her mind she repeatedly told us she HADN’T said there’d be no carbon tax. That’s a far more difficult statement to swallow, but “True Believers” on her side seemed able to digest it. “True Believers” on the other side were so obsessed about what they claimed was her pre-election “lie”, that few even noticed this second, far less easily defended change. Reading your [69] ‘explanation’ that she hadn’t said what we all heard her say is interesting, but squares with the problem (I think I mentioned above?) of those successful Sydney Uni Hons students who had but one failure in their degrees, simple Philos I

    And then there was Fran, who also has difficulty understanding why using the term “True Believers” isn’t naughty trolling. It really isn’t difficult, Fran, IF you understand that it’s used to describe people on BOTH/ALL sides of a discussion who are so rigidly certain the’re on the side of the (metaphorical) angels they don’t feel a need to examine anything which comforts them, with the same attempted rigour they apply when it’s something which doesn’t comfort them.

  61. Well Norman or Mann ME, Zhang Z, Rutherford S, Bradley RS, Hughes MK, Shindell D, Ammann C, Faluvegi G or whoever…

    as I said, there is only one environemntal reality, one physically observable reality, a reality which is

    the escalating increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration
    the melting of glaciers globally
    the melting of the ice caps
    the thawing of permafrost
    the escalating release of arctic methane
    increasing ocean temperatures
    increasing ocean acidity
    increasing sea levels
    changing weather patterns
    expansion of the tropical zone
    changing seasonal definition
    migration of insects and diseases

    In reaction to these many changes a new responsible political reality can be observed with the application of a Carbon Price to retard the acceleration of the CO2 atmospheric concentration level.

    Fortuneately there is no “belief” structure necessary for achieving this new political reality, it simply required the election of an intelligent, competent and responsible government.

    The next reality is that this nations worst Carbon Emitters will be forking out 7 billion dollars a year to contribute to the devlopment of a new and better low carbon economy.

    The final reality that really matters is that long before a cent is handed over the mere suggestion that such will be required is irritating the hell out those who have no concern at all for the health of the world’s environment. And that is a sweet thing.

    No belief required. Simple mechanics.

  62. Reading your [69] ‘explanation’ that she hadn’t said what we all heard her say is interesting

    Pardon me? Where did I say that?

    Your definition of “true believer” also includes your impression of whether or not a person has demoted evidence as subsidiary to belief. That’s very handy for you but not for someone who would beg to disagree. ‘twouldn’t make it thru the mythical Phil 101, either.

  63. Yes, Wozza, at you and your kind such as Norman.

    Like Fran, most contact with deniers are the clueless at volumn types who shout that all CO2 is same and have no idea, and will subsequently deny isotopes.

    That you associate yourself with this makes you no genius. A genuis you think you are – more skilled than NASA, CSIRO, BoM, AMOS Royal Society, UKMet, AMS. Maybe you are and I look forward to your published work – but I strongly suspect you have a vastly overestimated opinion on yourself and skillset.

    I now near bugger-all, a text book here and there and I struggled. Consequently I have much awe for the men and women who work, research and, unlike you, publish in journals on this topic.

    You sure you can’t make up room temperature superconductors – that would be useful.

  64. Norman Hanscombe @ 82:

    On the other hand, when [Gillard] first changed her mind she repeatedly told us she HADN’T said there’d be no carbon tax.

    That’s not how I remember it. She readily admitted she’d said what she said, but her explanation was less than forthright about why she changed her mind. On 4 Corners last night Christine Milne made it crystal clear that doing something about climate change, establishing committee and a price on carbon was front and centre in the agreement with The Greens.

    My interpretation is that in order to avoid looking as though she was doing the bidding of The Greens she has sounded evasive and fallen prey to the charge that she lied, which is a lie.

  65. BilB, putting aside the fascinating manner in which your ONE ‘reality’ blossoms into multiple list of ‘realities’, aren’t you jumping even further into a faith position when you say, “a new responsible political reality can be observed with the application of a Carbon Price to retard the acceleration of the CO2 atmospheric concentration level.”? I know you’ve shown a fondness for conflating unrelated items into one convenient issue, but even for you that seems an approach which is several bridges too far.
    You may indeed be correct in believing we’re fortunate to have had elected what you describe as “an intelligent, competent and responsible government”; but from an empirical perspective it has to be said that this cannot (as you’re forced to do) simply be assumed in one more of your acts of blind faith. That’s how “True Believers” tend to ‘think’, but it’s still patently ONLY a belief, because it’s adopted on faith alone, no matter how comforting for them such faith may be. Then again, perhaps you didn’t mean to say what you actually wrote? When one is carried away by “certainty”, “True Believers” sometimes fall into that quagmire.

    Your supposed “final reality that really (sic) matters” really sums up your emotive hang-ups extremely well, when you tell us it’s your belief (and bizarre as this may sound to any dispassionate observer, I am quoting you in context) “that long before a cent is handed over the mere suggestion that such will be required is irritating the hell out those who have no concern at all for the health of the world’s environment. And that is a sweet thing.”
    Interesting to learn what gives you pleasure, BilB; but an odd priority. Then again, when in your final brief paragraph you say,
    “No belief required. Simple mechanics”, it becomes clear that you use words like “belief” in much the same way Humpty Dumpty did? Ditto your use of “mechanics”. Although in fairness, I can’t fault your appropriate use in that same paragraph of the word “simple”.

  66. This morning’s news.

    Wayne Swan voted Euro Magazine’s finance Manager of the Year…..

    “intelligent, competent and responsible government”

    …….Globally recognised.

  67. Roger, if I misunderstood you, and you weren’t suggesting Gillard had made no major change from what she unreservedly promised during the elections, I apologise unreservedly, and am glad to find someone who supports what she is doing without feeling a need to pretend that dramatic reversal didn’t happen.
    My definition of “true believer” is based entirely on whether protagonists examine the premisses on which they base their conclusions, and the argument said to lead from those premisses to the conclusions they want to believe. It’s no more than that. I may agree wholeheartedly with the conclusions they reach; but that’s irrelevant to the question of whether or not their “certainties” are based on no more than strongly (and genuinely) held emotive beliefs. As for your reference to “mythical Philos I”, as far as I’m aware its existence as a full year three term course was never challenged, but since I missed the entire third term after an almost fatal car accident, I have no direct evidence the third term lectures took place. On the other hand, I did manage to make the exams (which I expected to fail and be offered a post exam) but was refused the post, and offered instead a spot in their Hons course which I didn’t accept. Fortunately that didn’t prevent me from following another of my interests, how our species handles logical ‘argument’ in everyday life

    It’s a fascinating area.

  68. @bILB
    “This morning’s news”

    This is the same group pwho has given top awards to such entities as:

    Lehman Brothers – Best Investment Bank
    Morgan Stanley – Best Equity House
    Bear Stearns – Best at Risk Management
    Citigroup – Best at Invester Services

    All of whom have had to be bailed out or actually gone bust.

    I would not put too much value in their judgement, nor their awards.

  69. Brian, Gillard EVENTUALLY admitted she’d changed her mind; but initially she quite unwisely obfuscated around that point, trying to avoid acknowledging that it was breaking a promise. Perhaps it didn’t matter all that much because once battle lines are drawn, emotion usually trumps reasoned statements anyway? You’re correct re what Milne said about why Gillard HAD TO change her position if she wanted to be P.M., and that’s why Gillard was in a cleft sick, with no way of ignoring that election promise. Being forced to change her mind clearly wasn’t a lie; but what was said INITIALLY after that change of mind is a quite separate matter, and we’re fortunate more hasn’t been made of those initial statements.

  70. Fascinating indeed. So let’s see if any Real Progress has been made.

    Let’s examine Climate Progress in terms of our Educational Performance and Assessment system which is a highly structured – yet totally flexible method used to reach outcomes. When one can carries out an activity within an agreed time frame to achieve a pre-determined level of performance one is deemed “COMPETENT”. There is no A, B, C, or D grades – just competent…..or not yet competent.

    Essentially, assessment depends on measurable outcomes. It doesn’t matter how one found a way to be able – every time – to produce a given outcome, but it is critical that the outcome can be clearly measured.
    On the climate debate, there are two main schools of thought – in this country. One on pricing carbon as a means of causing a shift away from high-carbon alternatives; the other on using techniques to take carbon out of the air, eg plant a lot of trees, (don’t cut down the existing trees), and pay to remove the baddies.

    Both sides of the argument have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5 % below 2000 levels by 2020. That is the agreed outcome – presumably it is sufficiently measurable to make it worthwhile giving the commitment.

    In assessment planning the task is to prepare what they call tools and instruments. The tools are used to monitor the progress of the learning – because outcomes are not just end points – and the instruments are mainly the means of locking the participants into meeting their require performance levels.

    So, it can be said that it doesn’t really matter which of the two strategies is used PROVIDED it can be established that the outcome will be reached.

    All of the main scientific and economic studies suggest that a combination of both strategies would be the best way to go – and it is certain that that is what will happen in the longer term. This would suggest that the main decision has been reached – provided we shut our ears to Tony Abbott and Alan Jones – so, whichever side wins in the end the proof will be in the level of emissions by 2020.

    However, the human race has not even come close to finding a solution for removing the fight for control of power from decision making and so in Educational Assessment Terms it must be concluded that we as a species are “NOT YET COMPETENT”

  71. BilB, if our current “education” policies are to provide the guidelines for other areas, that’s a truly depressing picture.

  72. Norman:

    Science is not about judgments. It is about observation, evidence, ability to repeat results, rigour in applying evidence to hypotheses, and all the rest of it.

    For someone claiming to espouse a philosophical viewpoint, this extremely Popperian view of the philosophy of science is rather naive. As an example, one of the issues with this viewpoint is that scientists do not make their observations separately from other scientific reasoning. If I make an observation of a star through an optical telescope, I’m not just testing a hypothesis about that star, but also about the optics of the telescope, the transmission of light, general relativity and so forth. How do I know if my observation falsifies my hypothesis about the star, or about the optics of the telescope?

    The solution here is to accept something more like Imre Lakatos’ view of scientific progress: we have core and non-core aspects to a scientific paradigm. Deciding which is which involves a value judgement on the part of scientists (sure, we can’t ever prove anything for sure, but we think that some aspects of science are more likely to be correct than others). So your statement that science involves no judgement calls is plainly inconsistent with the way science is done in practise.

    Roger’s point was that we used to rely on people who knew the state of their field inside out to tell us where the core/non-core boundary lay. We don’t rely on them any more. Why is this?

  73. Bilb @87

    Indeed. He joins the likes of Ivan Miklos of Slovakia, Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Mladan Dinkic of Serbia and Milen Veltchev of Bulgaria, to name only a few of the winners of the award in recent years. Veritably a pantheon of the most famous and influential figures in world finance.

    I did wonder what this had to do with a climate change thread, but on reflection I think you have it exactly right. Euromoney is one of the main cheerleaders for the enormous, easy profits which will accrue to banks from global carbon markets if expanded – “profiting from climate change” as they put it. As it appears you do, I think Wayne is mostly being rewarded for his Government’s efforts to help bankers everywhere pocket their rightful share of the dosh about to be extracted from the taxpayer in the street in the name of Gaia.

    David McCrae @85. I think you are going about this in the wrong order. Can I suggest that you learn to write English first, then tackle the task of applying the new skill to explaining your views on climate change. It would certainly help the rest of us.

  74. Norman Hanscombe @ 91, I’ll stick with my memory of this. Listening to the radio most of the day, as I do, I tend to hear these things repeated over and over. Initially she said something like, “Yes, I did say that, but I was faced with a choice. I was in a position to decide to do something about climate change, or not do it. I chase to do something.” In later iterations she may have dropped the first part, but it was implied.

    I never once heard her deny saying it. That would have been stupid in the extreme, because it would open her to someone demonstrating on TV that she did, and then compounded the situation by lying about it. She’s not that stupid.

    BTW this discussion about the nature of science is getting quite boring and IMHO not yielding any insights or understanding that would make the effort of reading worthwhile.

  75. Jess, I think it is me you are arguing with.

    If that is what Roger’s point was, and he should probably be allowed to say whether it was or not for himself, that is what he should have said. Amongst other things that would mean avoiding the word “judgment” – you don’t, to use your analogy, make a “judgment” about which of the various possible explanations for the telescope’s observations is correct. You test the possibilites through further observations under different experimental conditions until only one is left.

    It would also mean avoiding, in the same paragraph as he was whinging plaintively that the media most unreasonably question scientific objectivity in certain areas, indulging in grossly politically partisan slurs and ra-ras.

    This isn’t about the philosophy of science anyway. Roger’s essential point, as I took it, was that scientists used to be able to get away with arguing from authority as far as the public and media were concerned. Now they can’t. I agree. He also professed that in principle this was a good thing – again I agree. (That in practice he appears to feel it is not a good thing – “environment of unreasonableness”, “scientists at a disadvantage” etc – is a different, if illuminating as to his real argument, point.)

    We just have different explanations of why this public perception of science has come about. Mine involves the scientists actually taking responsibility for some of it.

  76. Wozza, you are right. Wayne Swan’s gong has nothing to do with climate change and should have been posted on the Saturday Salon thread.

  77. Well it did not take long for someone to put a negative slant on Wayne Swan’s achievement suggesting the pocketing billions from the public purse, and not surprisingly, Wozza it was you. The fact that Costello funnelled billions of dollars into big business does not rate a mention.

    I believe that it was Paul Keating who was the last Australian to get the Honourable Mention offered in the full knowledge of the coming Carbon Pricing system, which is a vote for competence and performance in economic management, not Costello.

  78. BilB and others, Brian has already said that discussion of Swan’s award does not belong on this thread. If the discussion is not taken elsewhere voluntarily, perhaps the moderators will need to resort to deleting all the comments that mention it so far.

  79. Yes, OK, sorry, Brian. Missed the last para of your 98. I will forthwith cease on that aspect.

    It’s not quite as boring though, IMHO, as continuing contrived defences of the PM’s dissembling on this subject, astonishingly skilful as the semantic gymnastics required may be.

  80. 1. Jess, I have an interest in the philosophy of science, but don’t believe I’ve raised any point to which your comments are relevant. I’ve said nothing even remotely akin, for example, to “science involves no judgement calls”, so what makes you think I did? My criticisms have had zilch to do with philosophy of science, per se, although I accept it wouldn’t hurt for commenters with an interest in science (or social science for that matter) to become more familiar with that area. My comments have been primarily in relation to how our species has difficulty keeping whatever our pre-conceived prejudices happen to be under control, whenever we ‘evaluate’ information. That’s why people can, for example, imagine a reference to the value of philosophy of science was actually ‘assessing’ the scientific evidence, when the poster was merely talking about one of the ways we can minimise the side-effects of our human frailties.

    2. Brian, stick with your memory by all means; and until we find someone who knows BOTH our histories well, whose memory has tended to be better can be left as a moot point. On your comment re the nature of science I couldn’t agree more, and would add only that it’s also mostly completely irrelevant.

  81. The CPRS proposed a start date of 1/7/11 with a one year fixed-price period.

    The Gillard election platform was for a start date no earlier than 1/7/13, and it is to be presumed also with a one year fixed-price period.

    The legislation is for a start date of 1/7/12 with a three year fixed price period.

    Clearly this is a change from the election platform. Is it a major change? I’m not so sure myself, but I guess there’s room for opinion here.

    Let’s ask Tony Abbot what he thinks about governments changing their minds:

    TONY ABBOTT: Well, Laurie, when I made that statement, in the election campaign, I had not the slightest inkling that there would ever be any intention to change this. But obviously when circumstances change, governments do change their opinions, and that is actually the responsible course of action.

    http://sgp1.paddington.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/political_transcripts/article_1761.asp?s=1

  82. MartinB, the electorate accepted on face value our election promise that there’d be NO carbon tax. We’re now proposing a carbon tax, although for some time AFTER the election we continued with a farcical situation in which we tried (ultimately unsuccessfully) to not use the word “tax”. As for your starting dates ‘justification’, consider what you’d say to the claim:
    “I promised you the starting date for your fish deliveries to change would not be until 1/7/13, and there’d be no eels, but now the starting date is to be 1/7/11, and there’ll be no prawns.” I’d suggest that (unless you were as uncomprehending as a stunned mullet?) some might feel they’d been fed the metaphorical raw prawn?

    You ask, “Is it a major change?” Surely that often can depend (from an emotive perspective) primarily upon what your taste preferences happen to be? That’s why we need to examine our personal prejudices so carefully when we’re evaluating what has/hasn’t happened.

  83. Not a problem Jess. You’re right, we have been made to appear rather similar. Perhaps the automatic avatar generator has a sceptic detector and delves into the same box for us all. Sort of like the Star of David, if that doesn’t trigger the Godwin detector.

  84. Speak for yourself, Wozza. It’s not a problem, of course, but I’m not a sceptic, I’m an optimist. Not as naive an optimist as some, mind you, but nevertheless a genuine optimist who continues to live in the hope that there’s a chance — however slim — that one day things may begin to get worse more slowly.

  85. @96 Wozza, you got me.

    But please do tell why your skeptical hypotheses are not published in Nature or Science?

    Being slow myself, I do rely on these journals to act as my BS filter.

  86. MartinB, the electorate accepted on face value our election promise that there’d be NO carbon tax. We’re now proposing a carbon tax, although for some time AFTER the election we continued with a farcical situation in which we tried (ultimately unsuccessfully) to not use the word “tax”.

    That’s the funny thing about facts, isn’t it Norman, the way they are selectively observed and reported. The context of Gillard’s pre-election statements always was very clearly about the choice between an ETS and a tax. And yet now that context is almost never considered or reported, as if Gillard was talking about the choice between a tax or nothing.

    For two years there, everyone was happy to consider that a trading scheme with a one year fixed-price term was an ETS and not a tax. And now it is received wisdom that a trading scheme with a three year fixed-price term is a tax and not an ETS.

    You think these are entirely a matter of fact and not judgement?

  87. @MartinB,

    For two years there, everyone was happy to consider that a trading scheme with a one year fixed-price term was an ETS and not a tax. And now it is received wisdom that a trading scheme with a three year fixed-price term is a tax and not an ETS.

    You think these are entirely a matter of fact and not judgement?

    That is very pithily pointed out, and I plan to steal it.

  88. Martin B, well put, but my recall is that Ian MacFarlane and Penny Wong negotiated a two year fixed price period.

  89. Wozza: It is a myth that science is all about the disinterested search for truth. The advance of real science tends to be about individuals pushing/fighting for particular ideas. It is the conflict between individuals and teams championing particular ideas that tends to drive progress.
    In the field of climate science the conflict is driving us towards a better understanding of how the world works.

  90. There’s something to what you say JohnD, but I suspect that those fighting for their ideas really do think them sound. Searching for truth and being invested in an area of study aren’t necessarily in conflict.

  91. dear Fran Barlow
    “Searching for truth and being invested in an area of study aren’t necessarily in conflict.”

    i understand, and not sure if this is what JohnD was getting at, or something else, but disinterested pursuit of truth isn’t necessarily the norm, either. both happen. ask cui bono & you get a complex picture, including patent laws, pharma & agribusiness, restricted pure maths (codes), satellites for espionage vs storm tracking, supercomputer simulations for weapons vs climate models, &c.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  92. Norman H.

    “the electorate accepted on face value our election promise that there’d be NO carbon tax”

    That is almost certainly not the case.

    John Howard was totally dumped in his final election for his failure to deliver on the environmental concerns of the public. This was an overwhelming majority of public concern following a massive anticlimate change propaganda campaign by the government. This says that over 50% of Coalition voters are for environmental action. At the last election the Greens vote swelled with support for such action. So the sum of the residual Coalition support for action with the Greens and the ALP amounted to a huge majority of support for Action on Climate Change, irrespective of what the political rhetorical flow was saying minute by minute.

    The Australian public have voted resoundingly for a CPRS, an ETS, or a Carbon Price….whatever form Climate Change Action ultimately takes, it has been absolutely voted FOR, with a big YES.

    The heating of the planet has not changed.
    Damaging weather events continue
    Global human population has not declined
    Resources continue to be depleted
    Animal species continue to be threatened

    What has changed is that one wealthy industry has been hit with a rent tax that it does not like, and has unleashed its wealth resources through a multitude of avenues to create the impression that public opinion is against “taxes”.

    And this is despite the global overwhelming proof that a failure to “tax” can certainly lead to economic failure. The US, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal. All countries which we believed to be safe, secure, well managed democracies, now crippled with debt due to their failure to tax appropriately and spend wisely.

    By the flow of your arguments from attempting to label Scientific “fact” as being a matter of opinion, that concern for environment is a matter of belief, that the government of a country can be decided on the microscopic examination of a single sentence,…I am left with the impression that your sentiments are with that anti tax lobby and your interest in the science of Climate Change was left behind with that alleged failed attempt to spark interest in the subject with the Greens of a bygone time.

  93. Robert Rapier, who rarely fails to challenge, on his blog appears to have coined a new term in his current thread disclaimer

    “but a note for the comprehension-impaired”

    Robert has a group of threads up at the current time that would make relevent reading.

  94. Fran 119, the most frequent problem is, as you say, ”that those fighting for their ideas really do think them sound.” That’s why the term cognitive dissonance was coined. It’s also true that “Searching for truth and being invested (sic) in an area of study aren’t necessarily in conflict”; but sadly it’s in our nature (and this site provides numerous examples of this) to let our strong prejudices blind us to any failure to guard against the damage our enthusiastic support of a “noble” cause can do to rational analysis.

    BILB 121 provides a prime example of the enthusiast’s problem with seeing [regardless of whether or not his conclusion happened by chance to be correct] that his argument isn’t logically sound. He appears blithely unaware that even if his long list of assumptions happened to be correct, this wouldn’t establish that the electorate hadn’t accepted Gillard’s statement when she said there’d be no carbon tax. BILB also illustrates what is meant by the effect of being a genuine “True Believer”.

    Cognitive dissonance helps us unconsciously overlook flaws in our emotive stands, such as how we can become enthusiastic about decisions which in reality make effectively no meaningful contribution to the planet’s greenhouse gas situation. Still, it does make us feel we’re doing something, and that seems to be enough for many. Sad, perhaps; but it’s an aspect of human nature which isn’t easily overcome — as can be seen in BILB’s quaint conclusions that I label facts as opinion; am with the anti-tax lobby; believe the government of a country can be decided on the microscopic examination of a single sentence; ad nauseum

  95. The problem with your response Norman is that it makes a reasonable general statement about “cognitive dissonance” but fails to distinguish between general untested inferences about the world and those that are subject to long established processes entailing rigour and transparency in data selection, collection, repeatability, arms length peer-review, and circulation before a qualified community. The individual’s sentiments cannot stand against these things, for in the end, the rules will rule. Someone exposed as doing unsatisfactory work suffers the worst punsihment anyone who takes themself seriously can endure.

    It is one thing to suffer abuse from those one doesn’t respect in the belief that intellectual or ethical right is on one’s side, but quite another to withstand condemnation from those one is bound to respect who come armed with sound objections. A strong belief in the worthiness of one’s endeavours is a necessary condtion for making them, but is likely to fail, even in the case of those with a strong sense of their personal place in history and culture if placed under sustained and robust critique. Few like being recalled as hopeless fools.

  96. Norman H,

    For starters, I also, have been observing climate variation over a long period, and I have done this first hand in many countries. So my conclusions on Climate Change are what I —–know—– to be true based on those physical realtime observations, rather than just believe on the basis of second hand knowledge.

    It is true that to say

    “the sum of the residual Coalition support for action with the Greens and the ALP amounted to a huge majority of support for Action on Climate Change”

    is arrived at with deductive reasoning, however, the election outcome is the ultimate arbiter, so climate action support is at least positive by a slim margin, but counting Malcolm Turnbull’s positive support the known margin is stronger than that of the election result.

    But to say

    “the electorate accepted on face value our election promise that there’d be NO carbon tax”

    is pure unsubstantiated assumption, and almost certainly false.

    And, further, these

    “as can be seen in BILB’s quaint conclusions that I label facts as opinion; am with the anti-tax lobby; believe the government of a country can be decided on the microscopic examination of a single sentence”

    are evidence based conclusions. See above for the evidence.

  97. I’m sure, FRAN 124, you believe you’ve made a relevant point about something I’ve said; but it seems to me that there may be a communication problem (possibly, of course, on my side) so it would help if you’re able to identify precisely where I’ve applied the term cognitive dissonance to what you deem to be (in your words) something which has been “subject to long established processes entailing rigour and transparency in data selection, collection, repeatability, arms length peer-review, and circulation before a qualified community.” ????

    I’d suggest you’re likely to find I referred to an instance where posters had conflated such an item with a less well-established belief and/or used a well-established belief as starting point, only to leap to a satisfying ‘conclusion’ which unfortunately did NOT actually follow logically from the original well-established premiss.

    If I’m mistaken, I’m sure you’ll point out my error; and naturally I’ll be more than happy to acknowledge it and recant. Over to you.

  98. BILB 125, since (at a mere 76 years of age) I’m obviously much younger than you have to be, I haven’t been around long enough to, “have been observing climate variation over a long period” I’ve observed weather variations, of course, but that’s a totally different (and irrelevant) matter, as any reasonably literate person knows.

    As for (since it’s a much more complex matter than you seem to realise) determining precisely WHY individuals have voted for particular Parties, it’s not clear how you established that, “the sum of the residual Coalition support for action with the Greens and the ALP amounted to a huge majority of support for Action on Climate Change” But for the sake of analysing your fascinating thesis, let’s assume your opinion on this is correct. Even IF we accept that the majority in the 2010 Election wanted action on ANY issue, this in no way entails the conclusion that they want the action YOU want, and/or that they’re agreeable to the sorts of meaningful actions needed to bring about what you deem to be needed. That’s NOT a difficult concept to grasp, is it.

    I’m intrigued to find you saying (and I AM quoting you in context) that it is, ”almost certainly false” to say the electorate accepted what Gillard said about carbon tax on face value. You REALLY don’t think they believed her? You are a cynic!

    What a mess can sometimes be created when cognitive dissonance is allied with reading comprehension challenges — even when someone isn’t a card-carrying “True Believer”.

  99. Norman proposed as follows:

    so it would help if you’re able to identify precisely where I’ve applied the term cognitive dissonance to what you deem to be (in your words) something which has been “subject to long established processes entailing rigour and transparency in data selection, collection, repeatability, arms length peer-review, and circulation before a qualified community.”

    Strictly speaking, you didn’t do that — but your response clearly suggested such application. You said:

    the most frequent problem is, as you say, ”that those fighting for their ideas really do think them sound.”

    This was, in context, not a reference to the community in general but to the scientific community described by JohnD. You continued:

    That’s why the term cognitive dissonance was coined {i.e for the scientific community, inter alia — FB}. It’s also true that “Searching for truth and being invested (sic) in an area of study aren’t necessarily in conflict”; but sadly it’s in our nature {my emphasis- FB} (and this site provides numerous examples of this) to let our strong prejudices blind us to any failure to guard against the damage our enthusiastic support of a “noble” cause can do to rational analysis.

    Nature describes a condition antecedent to experience and culture, so again the clear implication is that scientists too are covered by the impulse to specious pleading.

    This is a form of equivocation — an attempt to blur boundaries that are in practice, clear and distinct, in order to found a claim for which no adequate warrant has been advanced.

  100. FRAN, glad to see you admit that, “Strictly speaking, (I) didn’t do” what you’d alleged I did; but for you to then proceed to ‘interpret’ what did say is just another amusing example of the poor analysis to which I’ve been referring. When I said, (as you quote)”that those fighting for their ideas really do think them sound,” it clearly referred to ALL those who fight for their ideas. You went on to say, “This was, in context, not a reference to the community in general but to the scientific community described by JohnD.” I’ve not even bothered to respond to his post, so why bring him in. On the other hand, it does supply another example of how easily the “True Believer” can lose the plot?

    But back to you offering. You claim, That’s why the term cognitive dissonance was coined {i.e for the scientific community, inter alia — FB}. Do some CAREFUL reading, FRAN. It was coined to give a term which described how homo sapiens had evolved a capacity (long before science became a profession — or was even able to be imagined) to simultaneously hold TWO separate views, either of which INDIVIDUALLY might logically be true, but logically they couldn’t BOTH be true.

    Once this is understood, it’s easier to avoid misinterpreting what others who know the meaning of such terms are actually saying. Then comes your fatuous advice that our species’ nature covers scientists too, which suggests you may not yet have come across the term non sequitur; but it’s in even small dictionaries, and very straight forward.
    But you receive full marks for dedication to your cause, even if I might suspect you’re not as effective an advocate as you might be?

  101. It is not necessary to elaborate on

    “WHY individuals have voted for particular Parties”

    as political parties of all persuasions declare that their supporters voted for the policy platform in whole and in part, thus giving the winning party the “mandate” to execute the policy as stated. Further, during this past election there were many influential figure who, while voting to be in opposition, publically declared their support for Climate Change Action thereby transferring their specific support to the ultimate election winner for the Pricing of Carbon Emissions. As this is a universally accepted “reality” then it is “true” to say that the majority of the population want for there to be a price on carbon and for the government to take affirmative action to limit Climate Change.

  102. Norman suggested:

    When I said, (as you quote)”that those fighting for their ideas really do think them sound,” it clearly referred to ALL those who fight for their ideas. You went on to say, “This was, in context, not a reference to the community in general but to the scientific community described by JohnD.” I’ve not even bothered to respond to his post, so why bring him in. On the other hand, it does supply another example of how easily the “True Believer” can lose the plot?

    I’m not letting you get away with that. JohnD’s remark is relevant because my observation was a direct response to it. You took up my remark and therewith, the chain of provenance thereto attached. There is no “other hand” upon which to rest your assertions about the intellectual conduct of “true believers”.

    Sidebar: As a matter of form, I dislike the practice of ending a statement with a question mark. I find it twee and somewhat disingenuous.

    {Cognitive dissonance} was coined to give a term which described how homo sapiens had evolved a capacity (long before science became a profession — or was even able to be imagined) to simultaneously hold TWO separate views, either of which INDIVIDUALLY might logically be true, but logically they couldn’t BOTH be true.

    That’s not quite right, but for our purposes it’s good enough as a definition. However that may be it doesn’t alter a jot the usage of the term in your text. You were clearly trying to create a false amalgam between scientific inference and the general views people form about the world so that you could adduce the flaws in the latter against the integrity of the former. This is a form of intellectual equivocation. Such shiftiness ill-becomes someone who asserts an interest in intellectual integrity.

    Then comes your fatuous advice that our species’ nature covers scientists too, which suggests you may not yet have come across the term non sequitur

    One can but laugh …

    I wish you well, but your advocacy would be better suited to some place where people read with their lips moving.

  103. 1.Norman Hanscombe Says:

    BILB, it’s interesting to hear you possess E.S.P. You could make a fortune with this strange power to do in your head what costs so much when you rely on old-fashioned approaches such as polling.

    I shan’t try to understand your obsession with a third party’s beliefs, but if you really can’t comprehend that I was referring to the problem “True Believers” like you have with keeping your emotive assumptions under control, you have an additional problem which is unrelated to anyone other than yourself. I’ll try not to confuse you with question marks in future, but you will, I hope, try to learn the DICTIONARY meaning of disingenuous?

    You question my very simple explanation of cognitive dissonance, then show you haven’t a clue what it means by tossing in your quaint assumptions about what you dearly want to believe. No wonder so many people could never handle the demands of simple tests in logic? Ooops! I used the dreaded “?” again.

    Recently a young academic friend’s email commented on the “un-nerving” effect was having on less capable ‘academics’. On the other hand, some enthusiasts for a noble cause (or even an ignoble cause?) don’t understand enough to be un-nerved. Despite this I’m still trying. [[There’s your chance, FRAN, for you to pick up on my use of the word “trying”?]]

    I’m glad to hear, though, that you CAN laugh at yourself for using a non sequitur. Or do you still not understand what it is? As for your suggestion re a site “where people read with their lips moving,” I can only say that I’m hoping, FRAN, that something may finally encourage you to work harder on controlling your emotive blinkers. Now surely that would be achieving something which was truly worthwhile ???????

  104. 1.Norman Hanscombe Says:

    BILB, it’s interesting to hear you possess E.S.P. You could make a fortune with this strange power to do in your head what costs so much when you rely on old-fashioned approaches such as polling.

    I shan’t try to understand your obsession with a third party’s beliefs, but if you really can’t comprehend that I was referring to the problem “True Believers” like you have with keeping your emotive assumptions under control, you have an additional problem which is unrelated to anyone other than yourself. I’ll try not to confuse you with question marks in future, but you will, I hope, try to learn the DICTIONARY meaning of disingenuous?

    You question my very simple explanation of cognitive dissonance, then show you haven’t a clue what it means by tossing in your quaint assumptions about what you dearly want to believe. No wonder so many people could never handle the demands of simple tests in logic? Ooops! I used the dreaded “?” again.

    Recently a young academic friend’s email commented on the “un-nerving” effect was having on less capable ‘academics’. On the other hand, some enthusiasts for a noble cause (or even an ignoble cause?) don’t understand enough to be un-nerved. Despite this I’m still trying. [[There’s your chance, FRAN, for you to pick up on my use of the word “trying”?]]

    I’m glad to hear, though, that you CAN laugh at yourself for using a non sequitur. Or do you still not understand what it is? As for your suggestion re a site “where people read with their lips moving,” I can only say that I’m hoping, FRAN, that something may finally encourage you to work harder on controlling your emotive blinkers. Now surely that would be achieving something which was truly worthwhile ???????

  105. First of all, apologies for my troubles with posting. The last new technology I really managed without problems was the introduction of the biro. [[There’s a target you might manage, FRAN?]]

    FRAN 131, I shan’t try to understand your obsession with a third party’s beliefs, but if you really can’t comprehend that I was referring to the problem “True Believers” like you have with keeping your emotive assumptions under control, you have an additional problem which is unrelated to anyone other than yourself. I’ll try not to confuse you with question marks in future, but you will, I hope, try to learn the DICTIONARY meaning of disingenuous?

    You question my very simple explanation of cognitive dissonance, then show you haven’t a clue what it means by tossing in your quaint assumptions about what you dearly want to believe. No wonder so many people could never handle the demands of simple tests in logic? Ooops! Did I use the dreaded “?” again?

    Recently a young academic friend’s email commented on the “un-nerving” effect I was having on less capable ‘academics’. On the other hand, I guess some enthusiasts for a noble cause (or even an ignoble cause?) don’t understand enough to be un-nerved. Despite this I’m still trying. [[There’s a much needed free kick for you, FRAN, to pick up on my use of the word “trying”. You might manage that?]]

    I’m glad to read, though, that you CAN laugh at yourself for having used a non sequitur. Or do you still not understand what it is? As for your suggestion re a site “where people read with their lips moving,” I can only say that I’m hoping, dear FRAN, that something may finally encourage you to work harder on controlling your emotive blinkers. Now surely that would be achieving something which was truly worthwhile ???????

  106. Just so Haiku … It is clear that he is working his way through the standard list of troll tactics. He can try to finish the list without my assistance.

  107. Haiku/Fran, how we three assess our respective abilities doesn’t count for much; but there ARE certain standards set by experts in the various fields. That’s why I accepted greenhouse gas [although that tag, as far as I know, been used then] as far back as the 40s. I accept psychology’s definition of cognitive dissonance because to make up your own as Fran wants to only leads to confusion. I go along with standard applications of logic because to do otherwise leads to chaoticly incoherent dialogue.

    The fact that “true Believers” praise Science without applying the methodology of scientific methods may raise their sel-esteem, but it does little else of any value or consequence. So you two are wise to drop off until you can cope with the elementary demands of standard analysis, no matter how long that takes, no matter how painful it can be for dedicated “True Believers” of all stipes.

    P.S. What you seem to label the “standard” list of tactics is actually little more than asking you to attempt such things as:

    1.The correct use of English words.
    2.The correct application of basic logic.
    3.Understanding how emotive needs can impair cognitive abilities.
    4.Learning the standard psychological meanings of terms such as cognitive dissonance, projection, etc.
    5.Not going off on irrelevant detours while pretending to be responding to questions you (unconsciously?) find too difficult to answer.

    It’s never too late for you two to begin further education?

  108. Norman H,

    You seem to have a fixation with some notion that people who do not agree with your position are part of some other philosophy which you have labeled “true believers”. I think, Norman, it is time that you come to grips with the reality that here at LP you have encountered a forum of rational thinking individuals. Individuals who fit no common philosophy or dogmatic paradigm to fit your archaic view of a “believers cult”. It is the Christian Science people you need to seek out if that is the type of thinking that you feel most comfortable with.

    As I said LP is a conversational forum for rational thinking individuals who from time to time can display a high degree of cognitive resonance which, when it relates to matters of the environment is coaligned by the repeatably observable properties of our real physical environment.

    To save you some trouble I have researched a connection for you where your ideas might feel conversationally more at home

    http://christianscience.com/forums/

  109. As a matter of interest the heat of combustion for ammonia found quoted here was 42% of the figure for gasoline. (LHV values of 18.6 vs 44.4 mJ/kg – LHV is based on the water being a vapor, not liquid at the end of the test.)
    Not an overwhelming problem for efficient motors, particularly if the fuel is used in fuel cells rather than internal combustion.

  110. On the Solyndra thing,

    “”””Figures announced this week show that the non-residential project pipeline went from a stagnant 17GW two months ago to an overflowing 24GW by September 2011, indicating that the bankruptcy of Solyndra is not symptomatic of the entire solar industry.””””
    http://www.globalsolartechnology.com/solar/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8287&Itemid=9

    My question is, ( knowing FA about patent laws), with Solyndra in receivership and their ( presumably ) advanced RnD technologies up for grabs, could this be advantageous for Chinese manufactures to buy the patents and produce the hardware at a lower price to benefit us all? (except the Yanks that paid for the RnD of coarse)

  111. BilB, it’s not as you superficially assume about conclusions or ‘philosophies’. It’s not even about conclusions “True Believers” hold so fervently. It’s merely about whether their premisses actually provide a logical basis for those conclusions. I often find myself in agreement with ”True Believers” conclusions; but this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t point out that they’re merely assumptions, and NOT based on a logically constructed argument.
    I understand that for some, this isn’t an easy thing to comprehend; but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be encouraged to try to tackle the challenge. When you understand that “True Believer” applies not so much to a philosophy (sic) but rather to a psychological process which leads them to simply assume whatever fits their prejudices as appealing, and therefore not needing rigorous analysis, some of your confusion may dissipate.
    You may even realise that here at LP I’ve encountered a forum of believers so certain their beliefs are ‘obviously’ right that they habitually (unconsciously?) avoid the basic steps of rational analysis. They in fact have much in common with the group you mention, Christian Science. Your conclusions are, of course, not always the same; but the thought processes by which you acquire your beliefs are very similar.

    I know it won’t “save you some trouble” to make the painful effort required to come to grips with basic logical arguments, but calling yourself “rational” doesn’t actually result in the intellectual metamorphosis required of you. I hope this helps dispel at least some of the fog currently preventing you from understanding how logical arguments proceed? Best wishes anyway.

  112. Meta

    I just love how many people are instant experts about the thought processes of ‘LP’, and can rattle on at length about their incredible insights into what makes ‘LP’ tick, having spent all of five minutes here.

    Really, Norman, it’s a shame you wasted your career — you could’ve been an ethnographer and solved all the mysteries of human culture and social interaction in about 18 months flat. But sadly, it was not to be, and your galactic-scale talents have been frittered away on “analysing” the social traits of a group of people you’ve never met, don’t know, haven’t bothered to even begin a rudimentary effort of seeing in terms outside your own; and yet carry yourself with the air of somebody who has the authority to make long-winded declamations on just what, and how, and why, ‘LP’ behaves the way it does.

    BTW, here’s a lady I’d like you to meet. I think you and Jennifer will find much in common…enjoy!

    Sorry Brian for wasting the pixels on your thread

    /meta

  113. Anonymous Meta, it’s possible that XXX and posters on this thread don’t represent the standards of LP generally’ although your contribution doesn’t do much to suggest otherwise. Perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered about XXX high assessment of LPers, but he deserves help. Have you a suggestion re how many threads one needs to examine before being permitted to have an opinion?
    Sadly I don’t have the “galactic-scale talents” you suggest; but don’t feel badly, because I always rejected others’ assessments of me as being too high. Mind you, after decades of seeing the limited capacities of people like yourself, I eventually began to understand why others had made the mistake of giving me ratings with which I felt uncomfortable. It was simply a matter of them making relative judgements. Finally, thanks for your kind suggestion re someone you ‘think’ I’d like to meet; but in light of your obvious lack of sound judgement, I shan’t bother following up your generous offer. Try not to be offended, won’t you?

    P.S. Instead of apologising re “wasting the pixels”, why not abstain from making ANY posts until you’ve mastered the language, and discovered the meaning of a relevant contribution?

  114. Jennifer Wilson wailed:

    don’t you people ever get over anything?

    Based on your own admission at your blog, Ms Wilson, that’s a curious question to be asking of others.

  115. Are ya cut?

    Sliced, diced and fric-a-seed. And I’ll never, ever, get over it.

    As for a relevant contribution — hey, how about those giant red crabs, huh!?

    Luv ya work, Brian. Always read the CC threads. Rarely comment as I don’t have the book learnin’, and anyway, as Norm helpfully pointed out, I am of limited capacities and have yet to master the language. Most of my comments don’t appear anyway — my monitor hasn’t worked so well since I dipped my thumbnail in tar to write upon it.

    PS – not anonymous, Norm. Don’t feel bad, even a great ethnographer like yourself can’t expect to avoid elementary mistakes when they rush to judgement on communities they don’t take the time to research properly.

    The derail train has now well and truly left the station. Hey, look! Giant red crabs!!

  116. @146, Manners, Fran!

    It’s Dr Wilson. Had you forgotten? How could you have gotten over it so swiftly?!

    OK, naughty, stop it now. Off to Japan for a bit. See youse later!

  117. Merc, I think Dr Wilson came and went before Fran came.

    In short, there’s history, Fran, but you really don’t want to know.

  118. Brian, before I head for the plane — just trying to get in one semi-relevant post on CC 44, at least in the realm of agnotology.

    As one engages in any discussion of climate in the blogosphere, the probability of encountering an antagonist who loudly declaims that they are the smartest person in the room (or at least waaaay smarter than yours truly), approaches 1.

    The catch is — throughout my short life I have become very good at telling when I have met someone who is smarter than I, partly because it happens fairly frequently, but mostly because they never have to say so…

  119. Mercurius’ law! I like it.

    Perhaps you could add a page to Wikipedia …

    Anyway, I’m off to give some lessons in lipsnigering to a certain Miss Higgins. At least, I think that was the name.

  120. Hey, this is looks like fun. Can anyone join in?

    So, to summarise to date, Mercurius has done again what he does best – actually, let’s be honest, the only thing he does – and posted a gratuitous snark. The troops immediately ride in behind, shouting and whooping, to provide cover.

    And here’s me been taking seriously that other meta narrative that gets trotted out so regularly – ain’t no group-think or closing of ranks done around here, hell no, we’re all free thinkers.

    But go to it. Entertainment on a climate change thread is a first.

  121. *Bangs heads together*
    Mercurius et al, I think it’s unfair to bait a commenter with whom you’ve had a stoush with in the past. Let them come in and lurk and rejoin the conversation if they want. Look at the people who constantly flout the rules of civility and get excused *cough John Paul Zenger cough*
    Jenny, the “you people” thing is really not a good look (or sound rather) in conversation. In my corner of Australia at least, it’s aggressive. Try it in the local pub and you’ll get the idea.

  122. On further thought @ 149, I was actually thinking of someone else. It all came back to me sitting on the loo.

    BTW, I haven’t finished this week’s CC yet. I hope it will be out tomorrow morning. It depends on how much football I watch tonight.

  123. Wozza, there you go making shit up again. No-one is riding in behind, “shouting and whooping, to provide cover.”

    I missed the link @ 142. I think the whole thing is best left to rest.

  124. @159 Right back at you Fran – you people brought it up again after all these months, not me!

    And thanks for the advice Helen, but I did use the term with intent, if not aggressive intent…

  125. John D, I’ve found these postings informtive. Sad, of course, but informative, because about 40 posts back someone told me I needed to read more of them in order to understand how LPers thought, and having read the posts since then carefully, I now realise better just what he/she meant.

    I’ve yet to read enough of Mr (no relation) Irving’s contribution to know what his particular comprehension challenge might be, so I shan’t comment on that.

  126. dear Norman Hanscombe
    why are you such a prick?
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison
    p.s. – i got a phd too, so get rooted.

  127. It’s just the way some people are Alfred Venison.
    Sadly experience teaches these people nothing, and they go through life blaming others for they own unacknowledged shortcomings.

  128. Yes Helen, my head is duly smacked, and rightly so.

    Unlike Wozza, I read the CC threads for the climate info, not the stoush, and especially appreciate when Jess and Roger Jones chime in. Another who comments before he has read sufficiently, Wozza is unaware that I do more than snark, and have written many dozen posts here, although in his defence most of them were written before he learnt to read.

    Sorry I also (genuinely!) didn’t realise that linking to another site could constitute “baiting”. I hadn’t realised just linking to she-who-must-not-be-named would provoke such a Voldemort-like response (sorry, that’s Dr Voldemort). I have linked to numerous numerous sites on numerous occasions in the past, but never, ever, heard from the linker. Then again, I have never linked to anyone so…exciteable…before, so it’s a lesson learned.

    Brian’s patience and forbearance knows no bounds, again. The signal-to-noise ratio on CC threads remains high, except on those occasions when someone does the online equivalent of walking into a bar, smashing a bottle over the counter, and shouting “I’ll take youse all!”. Then, it’s pretty much all-in, Hollywood-style Western bar fight, complete with piano-player.

    Sorry. And also sorry I had so much fun!

  129. Pretty weird stuff from Mercurius. It’s not as if this blog is overflowing with smart women commenters.

    Sexism much?

  130. Philomena, I don’t think so, truly, but I’m disappointed that the last 9 comments have not been about climate change. And please be aware that it’s against comments policy to be commenting about other commenters.

  131. It was interesting (if not particularly relevant) to hear about your qualifications, Mr Venison. Presumably that explains your eloquent style — although your bowler hat IS more impressive than your command of language. As for Adrian’s reference to people blaming others for “they (sic) own unacknowledged shortcomings”, he clearly would seem to be justified should he decide to blame his junior primary teachers for his language shortcomings?

  132. Brian, I only just noticed your 168, and (despite any temptations) will attempt to follow it scrupulously in future, should you decide to enforce it.

  133. Brian @168 (“but I’m disappointed that the last 9 comments have not been about climate change”) you are absolutely right.

    It would be a little more convincing if you could bring yourself to acknowledge that the problem stemmed from Mercurius’ ego in making a completely unnecessary, if typical, attempt to use the thread to settle an old score. Nonetheless, I deplore as much as you do the derailing of any of your always thought-provoking climate change threads. I may often disagree with some of their content, but most of their attraction is that they do generate a lively debate – 150-odd comments on this one, for instance, before it was Mercurius-ed – which you unlike some moderators allow without, usually, heavy-handed intervention.

    If this blog didn’t have your threads, frankly at the moment it would have very little at all. Witness which threads the vast majority of recent comments have gone to.

    Sorry, I suspect that praise from the likes of me is a mixed blessing for you vis a vis the majority of LP participants, but since the thread has already gone all meta, I thought I would take the opportunity. I like stoushes or I wouldn’t be here, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the real contributions of other stoushers, even if the cut and thrust of the specific debates usually leaves little space to express it.

  134. Wozza, I’m out a fair bit of the time.

    Merc made a comment and in particular a link @ 142 that seemed like a good idea at the time. The thread has been derailed ever since. Helen called him on it, he’s now apologised, so let it end there.

    I had my wires crossed, missed the link and was rushing out. My ‘light hand’ was just me not being on top of it.

    Norman, Merc is part of the furniture, as is Helen, in case you don’t know.

    Jumpy @ 170, that should have been posted on Saturday Salon.

    I’ll leave the thread open, just in case anyone wants to make a legitimate comment, but from here on everything else goes in the bin.

  135. Jumpy “My question is, ( knowing FA about patent laws), with Solyndra in receivership and their ( presumably ) advanced RnD technologies up for grabs, could this be advantageous for Chinese manufactures to buy the patents and produce the hardware at a lower price to benefit us all? (except the Yanks that paid for the RnD of coarse)”

    The patents may well end up for sale Jumpy, and the Chinese may well snap them up, C’est la global capitalism. looks like the factory got built too, more assets. it will be interesting to see the carve up, and the eventual dividend to the USGovt, very little i suppose. you gotta reckon everything else funded under the same program is gunna be under the microscope.

    It is the first real snafu from that 2009 stimulus package that has popped up, apart from it not being as good as Swannies, that is. If the repub attack weasels don’t find anything new soon, it is just going to fade into the corporatist meta sludge.

    o/t I think that Jennifer Wilson rocks. She goes the wowsers good.

  136. dylwah, perhaps an important difference is that giving cash for school stuctures etc., doesn’t have to produce anything is quite easy, but with Solyndra the millions given to a business (which theoretically was supposed to come up with an economically viable product) is another thing altogether. We’ve had similar misguided ‘green’ initiatives here in Australia, but fortunately they weren’t as big.

  137. Norman H – It was a loan bro, not a give. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you big-noted your own language up thread, looks a little hollow when you make mistakes like that. You peddle a good line in snide tho, that cannot be denied. Props.

  138. Norman @176: The development phase of many new technologies is often a high risk/potentially high gain stage. It is not unusual for governments to provide support during this stage. As a result there will often be cases where the project fails because of the nature of high risk projects.
    Avoidable wastage can occur if the government support is about political gain or is simply backing something without proper due diligence. Avoidable waste also occurs when governments continue to support a project it really should be dropped.
    I have no idea whether the support of Solyndra made good sense at the time when the support was made but it would be a shame if this type of support was canned out of hand.

  139. 177, of course it was a loan not a gift, but the word “given” applies to both. In any case, my reference was to your praise for Swan’s ‘plan’ as opposed to what was done in the States. Had the U.S. instance involved gifts rather than loans, it might have made Solyndra’s economic position less vulnerable, but whether that was the best way to have gone [when, as I understand the situation] it, Solyandra claimed it had economically viable plans] is a different issue.

    John D @ 178, nothing I said earlier (or immediately above) relates to the difficulties you rightly raise re “development phase of many new technologies”.

  140. Great comment, Philomena# 167. Am glad to see that at least Jennifer Wilson can get her pov up without censorship, perhaps the “Dr” moniker is the passport in the snob stakes?

  141. 181: I work on the assumption [not always justified, perhaps?] that those posting possess rudimentary comprehension skills. I acknowledge I could make more allowance for those whose approach is [to use your words] is more “ideologically charged” than my own; but you can’t always make allowances for them without having to make posts un-necessarily longer, can you?

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