Seen elsewhere
Twitter
Support

 

Buy

Click images for more details

Recent posts
Recent comments
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Big wind just got smaller | Main | The Smart Money - Josh 206 »
Tuesday
Feb262013

The price of life: the IPCC's first and forgotten controversy

This is a guest post by Bernie Lewin.

Mostly on the blogs we give our attention to the corruption of climate science by the politics of climate change. However, beyond the physics of climate and its physical impact, recently there has been a small revival of interest in the economic damages climate change is expected to cause, and how the costings of these damages is weighed against the costings of various mitigation efforts.

Such cost/benefit analysis should be the ultimate instruction to policy action, yet it introduces whole new layers of uncertainty that render such assessments even less tolerable to sceptics. This analysis is no more tolerable, or tolerated, even where the results present sober and moderate, even when they all but call off the alarm. This hit home hard with the recent treatment of work by a reader and commenter on this site: Richard Tol might be one of the most vocal and scathing expert critics of the Stern Review, but he still had to weather the onslaught against his own sobering damage assessment when it was posted on WUWT.

Tol’s willingness to engage across the borders of this fractious debate is admirable, and some BH readers may know of his previous work with Bjørn Lomborg on the Copenhagen Consensus. But many readers may not know that Tol’s very academic career was baptised in an earlier fiery controversy. While still a PhD candidate in his early 20s, Tol was swept up in the first public controversy ever to hit the IPCC.

The tale of this ‘price of life controversy’, like the tale of Tol’s career, is not easily reduced to a simple yarn of black and white, sceptic/alarmist, good and evil. Its significance presents in more subtle ways, and sometime in direct contradiction to the motives of the various actors. Thus, this story takes a bit of work to get into. However, it may reward those readers curious about the early history of the IPCC during the time when it was still engaging with the gathering political forces but not yet overwhelmed by them. The following is a short summary, while more detail can be found here.

Back in the early 1990s our Richard Tol was promoted to a ‘lead author’ of the Working Group III ‘damages’ chapter (Chapter 6) of the 2nd Assessment, mostly in acknowledgement of all his work in preparing it. But this was also, and in turn, because the doctorial dissertation he was simultaneously drafting was one of two draft theses (the other by Fankhauser, also duly promoted) that became the twin capitals supporting the IPCCs first full assessment of global damage costing estimates.

The controversy over Chapter 6 first hit the press as the first Conference of Parties to the climate treaty opened in Berlin (March–April 1995). Just prior to the conference India had called on other poor-country delegations to reject the damages assessment in the recently circulated final draft of Chapter 6. These estimates were ‘absurd and discriminatory’ due to the fact that they valued the death of the world’s poor much less than the death of the rich. And, as the IPCC assessment is supposed to provide ‘the basis for the policy discussion’, the Indians called on other delegations to support them in their efforts to have the ‘misdirection’ of this ‘faulty economics’ ‘purged from the process’.

India continued to make this appeal though COP1 and beyond, with a number of key players, including China, receptive and willing to support their protests. This ruckus in Berlin over the price of life set the scene for a robust confrontation when the intergovernmental plenary convened to finalise the Working Group III Summary for Policymakers three months later in Geneva.

At the Geneva Plenary, left alone to defend the chapter from an orchestrated diplomatic onslaught were our two grad-student lead authors. The more senior chapter authors had stayed away, including their PhD supervisors Vellinga and Pearce, and one Indian author, R. K. Pachauri, who kept his head down during the whole controversy. And so it fell to Tol and Fankhauser to refuse the repeated demands by a bloc of developing-country delegations who insisted they change their assessment. With both sides holding firm, the plenary collapsed in a stalemate. When it was reconvened in Montreal, Tol was left alone to mount the defence. The controversy eventually subsided but it was never fully resolved. Indeed, a truce was brokered in Montreal, but this was apparently against the IPCC rules, for the expert authors explicitly and repeatedly rejected as a distortion of their assessment the published version of the damages section in the policymakers’ summary.

***

This forgotten controversy in many ways stands distinct from the other big controversies that were to follow. By way of contrast, consider the Chapter 8 controversy that blew up the following year when the 2nd Assessment was published and the published version of Chapter 8 was found to have been ‘doctored’ so that a weak attribution claim could to be inserted into the spin machine motoring relentlessly towards Kyoto. In that dispute, as in many that followed, the alarm was raised by sceptics concerned about overstating the case. In contrast, the ‘price of life’ controversy was initiated in the UK by a small radical group of green activists concerned that the case for action was not strong enough. (The campaign was most active and effective in the UK, where it included such direct action as the picketing of Pearce’s research centre, but it was explicitly opposed by the mainstream green NGOs.)

Consider also that while Ben Santer quietly consented to changing the final draft of Chapter 8, the authors of the Chapter 6 publically and angrily resisted increasing pressure to do so. (And they resisted even to the point where both sides were out in the science press embarrassing the IPCC with calls to have the chapter removed entirely from the assessment.) And finally, consider that the version of the Summary for Policymakers agreed to at the Madrid Working Group I inter-governmental plenary ended up by strengthening the Chapter 8 attribution findings. In contrast, in the Working Group III Plenary there was a successful push from among the political delegations to stress the uncertainties and dilute the damages results given in the Chapter.

These differences go some of the way towards explains why this controversy is forgotten, but they do not diminish its significance. Key issues emerge as unheeded omens of the Hockey Stick controversy and the other scandals arising after Climategate. These relate to the treatment of uncertainty, the use of unpublished sources, the abuse of peer-review processes and other signs of virtuous corruption. Moreover, behind the very push to re-constitute Working Group III for the 2nd Assessment – so as to cover the economic and social dimensions of the problem – was an attempt to incorporate the broader sustainable development goals of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit into the IPCC assessment processes. The tensions that developed in this Working Group, and which erupted in this controversy, can only be understood by recognising that this was always more than about the climate. Just as with the Toronto climate conference of 1988, here we find another bold attempt to channel the aspirations of the sustainable development movement towards realisation in policies driven by climate fear.

And this is why, for some activists, the bottom-line result of the Chapter 6 damage assessment was so disappointing when it came out at 1.5–2% of GDP for a doubling of CO2. With only a one or two percent impact on GDP after perhaps one hundred years of business-as-usual emissions, there was no suggestion that we should be racing to the panic button. The mainstream green lobby involved in the treaty talks and in IPCC plenaries seemed less concerned with this mediocre result than they were about losing the cooperation of some very powerful developing nations. But this controversy now drove the (leaked) draft of the chapter into the daylight, where this bottom-line result was found to be unqualified by any confidence interval, and it was soon lampooned in the science press as ‘ridiculously definite’. The social costings, including the costing of human life, were described as ‘the economics of the madhouse’ and ‘a lunatic way to count the cost’.

Such criticism appeared in the news and letters pages of New Scientist and Nature, where it was sometimes even attributed to economic experts in the field. So, while this barrage against the chapter served the interests of those driving the campaign for a more radical and socially equitable result, it also served to bring the IPCC assessment and its process generally into disrepute. Towards the end of the controversy (but long before the Chapter 8 controversy broke) an editorial in Nature, scathing of the IPCC, concluded with the recommendation that Working Group II and III should be suspended while Working Group I got its act together.

***

Forgotten this controversy may be, nonetheless it seems to link various themes in the whole drama. And also various players. While Bert Bolin was, behind the scenes, setting the stage for this re-constituted Working Group III, the current chairman of the IPCC had his first modest walk-on non-speaking role (a role that the audience is left wondering might have been much larger, what with the treaty talks being threatened by his own countrymen over his own chapter). There were also cameo appearances from some other giants of the larger controversy. These include two distinguished British citizens who added their authority to the protest against Chapter 6. The first was the former advisor to Prime Minister Thatcher and founding father of British climate alarmism, Crispin Tickell. The second was Martin Rees, the astronomer who turned eschatologist before his elevation to the British peerage and the presidency of the Royal Society. But the most fascinating figure in the whole controversy is undoubtedly its very instigator, Aubrey Meyer. A violinist and composer, Meyer’s activist career was launched after he experienced a remarkable life-changing epiphany upon hearing of the death of an Amazonian rubber tapper called Chico Mendes.

More on the price of life controversy...

 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (108)

Who were the activists? - please

"the ‘price of life’ controversy was initiated in the UK by a small radical group of green activists concerned that the case for action was not strong enough"

Feb 26, 2013 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Why did the IPCC hire Rajendra Pachauri as its head honcho?
Because it takes a railroad engineer to run a gravy train.

Feb 26, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterhaha

@Barry W
The chief activist was Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute.

Feb 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

This is another excellent detective piece by Bernie Lewin. It is interesting that Fankhauser's name comes up. He has made a career from promoting carbon trading and is currently a consultant at Vivid Economics, http://www.vivideconomics.com/index.php/meet-our-team.

Simon Dietz, who was seconded to Stern from Tyndall for the Stern Review, is also there. He is acting co-director of the Grantham Research Institute with Fankhauser at the London School of Economics, where Stern is the Chairman.

Fankhauser also serves as Chief Economist to Globe International, and is a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change and its mitigation sub-committee. You can read his ideas on how the UN Climate Finance Advisory Group should raise the $100 billion by 2020, agreed at Copenhagen:
http://www.ideacarbon.com/download.cfm/docid/C2CBFFFE-8353-40DD-9452D093FF0E7552.

There is more on this UN committee here: http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/high_level_climate_finance.html

Fankhauser was at one time MD of IdeaCarbon, Stern is an advisor there and was instrumental in its founding. Christina Figueres, Exec Secretary of the UNFCCC, was a member of the IDEAcarbon Ratings Committee, before getting her current job. http://sppiblog.org/news/a-nest-of-carbon-vipers

Interesting also that the name of Aubrey Meyer should come up. He is the architect of "Contract and Converge", the policy adopted by the UN and the basis of carbon trading and emissions reduction: http://www.gci.org.uk/index.html. Described as "climate justice without vengeance" it is the bible for all the green groups and has been embraced by politicians and global financial institutions for varying reasons of self-interest.

Effectively it says that there is a finite amount of fossil energy that can be burned without plunging the world into climate catastrophe (2 degree meme) and that the West has used more than its share. Therefore The West must contract and allow the developing nations to expand by using what remains of the "global allowance".

If we return to the climate change committee of which Sam Fankhauser is a member, prior to the appointment of John Gummer, (Lord Deben) as its head, former FSA chairman, Lord Adair Turner was the chairman. He is a one-time WWF trustee and an associate of Al Gore via the Carbon Disclosure Project. On the 4th of February 2009, he told the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) that: -

"The core (of the UK Climate Act} is Contract and Converge. We cannot imagine a global deal, which is both doable and fair, which doesn’t end up by mid-century with roughly equal rights per capita to emit and that is clearly said in the report. This is strong support for what Aubrey Meyer has been saying."

On the 4th of March 2009, the House of Commons Energy Committee (ECCC) then told Turner that: "Your pragmatic support for Contraction and Convergence from the meeting with the EAC, is very welcome."

In February 2009, he was quoted in the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/4536352/Flights-could-be-rationed-says-environment-tsar-Lord-Turner.html

"Lord Turner, the chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said people would be given personal flight limits to lower pollution from the aviation industry.

"We will have to constrain demand in an absolute sense, with people not allowed to make as many journeys as they could in an unconstrained manner," he told the Commons environmental audit committee.

The comments echo a suggestion made two years ago by Tim Yeo, a Conservative MP and the chairman of the environment audit committee. He said there was "no reason at all why people should fly around the UK" and that domestic flights should be taxed almost out of existence."

This is also the oft-quoted stance of Kevin Anderson from Tyndall, who in 2005 was advocating carbon credit cards for every individual, to ration CO2 emissions.

These policy aims are still pursued in many places and we are seeing the ramifications in the collapse of our energy security and disastrous costs on industry and the public, of high energy prices.

Feb 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

Why did Al Gore cross the road?
To get to the Chicken Little deep inside.

Feb 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterhaha again

One of the big flaws in all this is the language. Economists weren't calculating the value of a life, but willingness to pay to save one.

It is self evident that poor countries were not are not willing to pay the sums implied for developed nations. In fact they couldn't even afford it.

Of course the real motive is to build the case to support action and then quibble over who pays - as we know, that was to come from massive financial transfers from the developed to developing world.

It is sobering that our lives are influenced so by random ill qualified ideologues like Meyer.

Feb 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

I don't mean any disrespect to Richard Tol, but, as Donna has pointed out, was a student preparing his PhD thesis really the most senior expert in his field?

This question applies to all the "best scientists in the world" who were actually students, some many years away from their PhD's

http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/my-book/

Feb 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMangoChutney

The Green/Left only wants one thing -- their own way, now and forever, and will use their natural amorality in any way possible to achieve that aim.

It's time to stop being surprised at the stuff they continually get up to.

Feb 26, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

It is sobering that our lives are influenced so by random ill qualified ideologues like Meyer.
The interesting thing is that in a sense Meyer was right.
If (OK, big 'if') you accept that there was a problem which needed to be addressed it is hard to argue that it wasn't the developed world that caused the problem in the first place with our insatiable demand for the latest must-have goodies. (Which iPhone version are we on now? How many of us actually need the latest state of the art technology in our lives???)
I'm no different. I recently bought a smartphone. I don't need a damn smartphone FFS! Living in the depths of rural France and at my age, I barely need a mobile phone of any description except that they are now so ubiquitous that it is virtually impossible to be without one.
I'm not defending Meyer — Geckko's point is perfectly correct — but his complaint that it was the poor of this world that were destined to pay the price for the rich's "failings" is fairly clear.
Global Sustainability requires: "the deliberate quest of poverty . . . reduced resource consumption . . . and set levels of mortality control."
Professor Maurice King
...the only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States: We can't let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.
(Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund)
Oppenheimer went on to add
And it is important to the rest of the world to make sure that they don't suffer economically by virtue of our stopping them.
though I haven't so far come across any practical suggestion on his part as to how that circle was to be squared.

Feb 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The choice of an unqualified student as a 'lead author' confirms Donna Laframboise's view of the IPCC. The whole show was rotten from the start.

Feb 26, 2013 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterColdish

What is so surprising is the existence of vast organisational structures which do nothing except employ people to tell the rest of the wealth-generating world what to do.

How do I get into this paradise?

Feb 26, 2013 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

@Coldish, MangoChutney
I think it is healthy if a team has senior and junior members, the former for strategy and quality control, the latter to do the donkey's work.

So, the IPCC then did it right. It is just that the communication strategy by Pachauri was all wrong. Fankhauser and I were in grad school still. We were not leading experts of any sort.

In AR5, there are only seniors, which creates a problem because someone needs to collect and read all those papers.

Feb 26, 2013 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

MangoChutney
"I don't mean any disrespect to Richard Tol, but, as Donna has pointed out, was a student preparing his PhD thesis really the most senior expert in his field?"

Again, no disrespect to Richard Tol but this lends credence to the idea that "Climate Science" at the time was a barely-populated backwater which attracted few of the brightest and best. If a novice - and Donna has listed several others - could almost instantly become one of the leading experts that says something about the number and the calibre of people in the field.
Of course as soon as it started to become glam every third-rater from any remotely-related field (or railway engineering) only had to call themselves a climate expert, blast off a hysterically alarmist press release or two and become a star.
I suspect this state of affairs, apart from the obvious catastrophic effects, has put off saner, wiser heads from other fields wanting to become involved - to all our detriments.

Feb 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

They should never have gone down the line of apportioning blame without also apportioning benefit. Which is pretty much impossible. How do you place a value on a life of someone who may never have existed without the global benefits from industrialisation? Can you calculate a country’s likelihood to develop an Einstein or a Simon Cowell (hey, loath him or err loath him, he makes money)? Can you know whether land would have been rich farmland or worthless scrub without modern techniques? Could a starvation prone country even argue it has been blighted with overpopulation caused by access to medicine?

And what of those who benefit from climate change? Would the UK have to euthanise some of it’s elderly because they should have died of cold?

It’s a charter for lawyers to get rich while people starve. Or worse.

Feb 26, 2013 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Richard: Thanks for responding. Perhaps the IPCC in its early days was doing what it was set up to do and I've no doubt that you played an honest and conscientious role. However 20 years later we now have the problem that influential people who should know better come out with unsupported claims such as "Greenhouse gas emission reduction is, of course, a public good."

Feb 26, 2013 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterColdish

I guess the negotiation over the figures shows that politicians do understand the difference between science and 'science' after all.

Feb 26, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Some of the talent here could be well-deployed looking at the mess the UKMO and Climate Change Committee make of the 'science/policy' behind the Climate-Act - see story here [23 02 2013]: -
http://www.gci.org.uk/news_February_2013.html
Led by UKMO, Gov't [eyes wide shut] now funds continuation of flawed hybrid budget approach

Feb 26, 2013 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAubrey Meyer

Aubrey - from your link above - are these your words?:

"Because of the dangers of runaway rates of climate change, we have to openly measure & act faster with human-budget-emissions-control now to avert the growing incidence of rising non-human-feedback-emissions/concentrations/temperature/sea-level/ocean-acidification & the appalling extinction risks we run with these factors"

Have you been following any of the recent debate re: "low climate sensitivity"?

Feb 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Not Banned Yet -

Yes - those are my words.

To answer your question; I have been following the debate about low medium and high climate sensitivity for about 23 years. My impression is that it is 'messy' . . .

The concept management tool for dealing with this mess is [in draft] here and I invite you to take a position. A sufficiently wide bandwidth of positive to negative feedback rates is there: - http://www.gci.org.uk/CBAT/Domain1cc/Domain1/Test.swf

. . . for users to place their bets. What's yours?

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Registered Commenteraubreymeyer

Aubrey Meyer, have you figured out that artificially raising the price of energy is a War on the Poor.

Richard Tol, given that a warmer world sustains more total life and more diversity of life, haven't the benefits of a non-catastrophically warming world been seriously underestimated?
==================

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Kim - If you'll take and reveal a position as above, I'll be happy to answer your question.

i.e.

The concept management tool for dealing with this mess is [in draft] here and I invite you to take a position. A sufficiently wide bandwidth of positive to negative feedback rates is there: - http://www.gci.org.uk/CBAT/Domain1cc/Domain1/Test.swf

. . . for users to place their bets. What's yours?

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:09 PM | Registered Commenteraubreymeyer

The globe is cooling, Aubrey Meyer, for how long even kim doesn't know.
==========================

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

@Kim
Short answer: No. That holds in a long-term equilibrium that is not particularly relevant on a human time scale.

Long answer: Click on my name. That'll lead to a website with a draft textbook that can be downloaded for free. It has 2.5 chapters on the impact of climate change.

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

The machine is in full swing now. There is very little, at this moment in time, that can be done to change policy in terms of the obsession with AGW. Biden's visit to the UK is evidence of that. Can anyone really imagine Dave telling Biden that the game is up and it's a crock even if He believed it?
No neither can I.
To much money and brown paper parcels have exchanged hands for the bandwagon to put the brakes on regardless of any evidence to the contrary.
On a lighter note I'd like to recommend this youtube channel giving everyone a daily update on solar activity, earthquakes and stormy weather all over the globe. It's addictive and the videos on this chaps' channel explain much about solar activity and how it affects us here on planet Earth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sZwYS0O9kc&list=UUTiL1q9YbrVam5nP2xzFTWQ&index=1

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

To Kim - so your are arguing strong negative feedback [cooling]
e.g. in the model minus-40 segregated feed-back on the high budget perhaps . . . ?

To Richard Tol - this comment is a little opaque - its not clear what exactly holds in a long-term equilibrium. Can you be more precise please?

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Registered Commenteraubreymeyer

Richard, short of equilibrium, warmer is better than cooler, at all scales relative to humans.
====================

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Aubrey - thanks for following up.

re: sensitivity - Are you sure that is the right link? I just get a graphic with no words, numbers or explanations. I've tried it in two mainstream browsers with the same result.

Also I tried the FAQ page at your site for more info on you and the Global Commons Institute. Unfortunately that page comes up blank, so I went to Wikipedia. The link which is there to your CV is dead and the link to GCI heads back to the website. So:

Please do you have a current link to your CV? You are clearly an accomplished musician but I would like to know if you have any training or formal employment in economics? Similarly do you have any training or formal employment in a scientific discipline?

Re: the Global Commons Institute which you founded, please can you tell me about the membership and what formal procedure you undertook to form the Institute. Are you aware that "Institute" is a protected term in the UK and that Wikipedia states:

//
Great Britain

In the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man the term "institute" is a protected word and companies or other organizations may only use the word if they are "organisations which are carrying out research at the highest level or to professional bodies of the highest standing".[1] Furthermore, if a company is carrying on a business under a different name to the company name, that business name must comply with the Business Names Act. Use of the title "institute" requires approval from the Secretary of State. Failure to seek approval is a criminal offence.
//

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Paul - your comment is a little colourful. However, I don't necessarily disagree with the analytical points you make relating to brown paper paper parcels and money.

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:26 PM | Registered Commenteraubreymeyer

@Kim
Warmer is better (worse) than cooler if the starting point is cool (warm).

Florence has the ideal climate.

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Nope, Aubrey, you presume. I don't know what climate sensitivity is, though it appears to be small. The 'consensus' for global warming/climate change/climate weirding has neglected natural climate change, which I expect to cool the globe for another couple of decades, longer if the sun gets into the act, as it appears to be doing.

You are stuck in the last century, when the effect of CO2 was exaggerated, and the natural change of climate was neglected.
====================

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Richard, we've yet to reach the high temperatures at the climate optima of the Holocene. Even if we do reach them, warmer would be yet better, considering the temperature crevass we are facing.
=================

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Richard Tol:

"Florence has the ideal climate."

Do you have a citation for that?

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

The Holocene is senile, possibly kept on the respirator by AnthroGHGs. Shall we remove the respirator?
====================

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Given a low sensitivity, which is being approached as a limit, and given the finite number of hydrocarbon bonds which we can expect to ever fracture for the energy within, we're looking at a maximum of 2+ degrees C when we've exhausted those hydrocarbon bonds. That's paltry compared to a minus 8+ degrees C we can expect from the next glaciation.

It would please me greatly if sensitivity were high enough to abrupt the next glaciation, but I fear that at best we can only delay it.
=================

Feb 26, 2013 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Ah, now to topicality. What will a human life be worth when the next glaciation comes?
===================

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

@Not banned yet
Hemingway or some such geezer.

Later confirmed by studies of holiday travel and labour and retirement migration patterns.

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Heh, a nice little corollary for you, Richard. In a warmer world, human life is worth more, in a cooler one it is worth less. Oh, no, does intuition outpace analysis?
==========================

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

As Climate Science currently cannot tell us what aCO2 will do to climate nor what climate would be doing without it, the position of sceptic to its mainstream output is the only sane one. All else, leaving aside the pay-checks, is pessimism at best and belligerence at worst.

This can be illustrated by the fact that musicians can tell us, officially, that we are all going to hell in a handcart. And that this, based on nothing certain at all, trumps natural and rational incredulity.

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Elegant ssat. This is why I've long said that Techno-Optimists vs Malthusian Doomsayers is not even a sporting contest. Whoa, why are we against the ropes? Must be the referee.
=================

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Kim: "Must be the referee."

As I said...leaving aside the pay-checks...

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Heh, CO2 coulda been a contenduh.
=========================

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Good points Not Banned Yet

Which countries did you have in mind regarding those permissions?

Here are a few UK SoS etc but if you'd like more, we could probably find them on the site
http://www.gci.org.uk/Meacher_15_11_02.pdf
http://www.gci.org.uk/Clegg_Cable_Huhne_et_al.html
http://www.gci.org.uk/UNFCCC_Submission_Co-Signatories.html

Means nothing really - as you observed I'm just a musician . . . .

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:40 PM | Registered Commenteraubreymeyer

The Fat Lady, Gaia, is singing, Aubrey. She's taken the chill off with a spell by the fire, and her garden is blooming with delight at the enriched CO2 environment.
====================

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The uncertainty around matters such as the climate sensitivity is more than matched by the breadth of economists' damage functions. With Stern on one end of the spectrum and perhaps Robert Mendelsohn on the other, there is no agreement whatsoever. This does not stop economists from computing forecasted damage to three signficiant figures, without regard to what this does to their credibility. And of course the going in assumption is that IPCC is right so they generally take the central value of 3 deg for 2 x CO2 as given, and any sensitivity tests are weighted to the upside even though there is no empirical basis for that. On top of all this is the manipulation of the discount rate so as to achieve their going in predilictions.

One comes away with the strong impression that the economists can get any result they want -- and they do.

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoblesse Oblige

Thanks - that's good to know Kim.

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Registered Commenteraubreymeyer

If we consider ourselves as the jury and those engaged in climate science as an occupation as expert witnesses, Richard Tol stands as one with a high degree of crediability.

(And an equally high level of civility.)

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered Commentertimg56

Join her, Aubrey; life is good.
===========

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Well said Noblesse Oblige. I agree with you and that has been my experience too for more than two decades.

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:55 PM | Registered Commenteraubreymeyer

You're right, life is good Kim, shall we dance?

Galileo and the Vatican missed this point, Earth/Venus/Sun-centred as you will: -
http://www.gci.org.uk/animations/ThreeDifferentOrbits.swf

This works a perfect [Pythagroean 3:5 Tango]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cgQNUhtmHM

Feb 26, 2013 at 5:00 PM | Registered Commenteraubreymeyer

Artificially raising the price of energy to the poor is a Danse Macabre.
====================

Feb 26, 2013 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>