Actually in the real world we need more CO2

Will Happer is President Trump’s go-to man on Science and he is a great fan of CO2. In long-term historical perspective we are at a low point for CO2 and there is barely enough for good plant growth. The planet has been greened by the increase in modern times and more will be better.

This is a particularly informative interview in the Interviews That Matter series. Particularly clear on the “historical drought” aspect, the diminishing effect of increasing CO2, the way it builds drought resistance and increases agricultural productivity.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 1 Comment

An inside story about the campaign to impeach CO2

A remarkable piece of historical and institutional analysis of climate science over the last 70 or 80 years by Ricard Lindzen, the doyen of genuine climate science. I appreciate that this is far too long for busy Cats to read but everyone needs to know that it exists.

When an issue becomes a vital part of a political agenda, as is the case with climate, then the politically desired position becomes a goal rather than a consequence of scientific research. This paper will deal with the origin of the cultural changes and with specific examples of the operation and interaction of these factors. In particular we will show how the political bodies act to control scientific institutions, how scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions, and how opposition to these positions is disposed of.

Posted in Rafe | 5 Comments

One policy to rule them all

Warwick McKibbin has a very sensible op-ed in the AFR this morning talking about emission reduction targets.

The debate that should be the focus of this election campaign is not the size of the emission target but the comprehensive set of policies that will be implemented.

Well yes. I suppose so. The challenge being that there is a huge gulf between what economists can imagine and what politicians can or want to deliver.

The important paragraph is this:

Australia needs a comprehensive policy to deal with climate change. Piecemeal symbolic announcements do not make a comprehensive policy. An emissions target is an essential element to guide expectations, but it is not the most important part of climate policy. What is most important are the actual policies. These need to be economy-wide because greenhouse gas emissions are economy wide. To be low cost, they need to have a clear carbon price. They need to have wide support because as shown in the failure of energy and climate policy over the past decade, the cost of political uncertainty is likely to be larger than the costs of a well-designed climate policy. The policies also need to be scalable. If the global community pursues even deeper cuts, then the Australian policy may need to ramp-up. Piecemeal policy will collapse under pressure.

Commentary follows.

Australia needs a comprehensive policy to deal with climate change.

This is code for a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme.

Piecemeal symbolic announcements do not make a comprehensive policy.

Yes.

An emissions target is an essential element to guide expectations, but it is not the most important part of climate policy.

Yes.

What is most important are the actual policies.

Very much so.

These need to be economy-wide because greenhouse gas emissions are economy wide.

Hmmmmmmmm. I suppose so, but not entirely convinced. By economy-wide do we mean Australian economy-wide, global  economy-wide?

To be low cost, they need to have a clear carbon price.

That’s a definite maybe. Now here is the thing – we have many, many carbon prices in the economy. At the moment all of them are non-transparent and could be described as being ‘unclear’. The claim being made here is that a transparent and clear carbon price (established either as a tax or by an emissions trading scheme) would be the lowest cost option to meet a given target. Yes – the very target that we were just told is less important than the actual policies being adopted.

They need to have wide support because as shown in the failure of energy and climate policy over the past decade, the cost of political uncertainty is likely to be larger than the costs of a well-designed climate policy.

This is a serious political challenge.  It turns out that voters don’t like carbon taxes. Elites do.

The policies also need to be scalable.

In principle, yes. Yet ow does that compare with it being ‘a comprehensive policy’?

If the global community pursues even deeper cuts, then the Australian policy may need to ramp-up. 

Deeper that what? Doesn’t this point simply demonstrate that Australia should not go it alone but rather cooperate in actual international and coordinated policy efforts?

Piecemeal policy will collapse under pressure.

Yes. Indeed. Australia going it alone is, by definition, piecemeal policy.

It seems to me that the challenge for anyone wanting to propose a carbon tax or ETS needs to explain what happened last time. The Gillard government introduced a carbon tax (that would evolve into an ETS). This we were told was the low cost option to deal with greenhouse gasses, etc. etc. etc. That is what the theory tells us, and what Warwick McKibbin is suggesting in this op-ed.

But we now know that the ‘low cost’ option is pretty expensive.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that we should do nothing, but it does suggest that those proposing this policy response need to do a much better job at justifying their policy proposals.

We also know that all the other carbon prices – the implicit prices – do not get repealed and/or replaced. The carbon tax is an add-on, not a replacement. As such it becomes hard to justify as the low-cost policy that economists tend to support.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy | 36 Comments

Picking fights

The ALP and their fellow travellers are picking a lot of fights.

Retirees.

Mortgage brokers.

Taxpayers.

Easter worshippers. Christians.

That is from the Australian Political Debate page on Facebook.

Really? Not smart. Not necessary.

The faithful should be left alone to worship in their manner. The faithful of ALL religions should be left alone.

Posted in 2019 election, Hypocrisy of progressives, Libertarians don't live by argument alone, Politics of the Left, Taking out the trash | 39 Comments

“Do you see the impression it causes?”

That was a question posed by Virginia Trioli of @TheirABC this morning to Scott Morrison. This is in relation to a water buy-back that is causing some kerfuffle. The correct answer is:

No. What impression, precisely, does it cause? Explain to me, precisely, what your allegation is.

But people don’t do that.

This whole “perceived conflict of interest” shtick needs to be called out. It exposes individuals to having to defend themselves from vague allegations dreamt up by conspiracy theorists.

This was a particularly enjoyable segment of the recent Ridd v JCU judgement.

  1. This is an extremely peculiar finding by the University. The University has found that Professor Ridd preferred his own interests, and those of the Institute of Public Affairs (“the IPA”), above the interests of the University. The University found that this was in breach of the obligations under the Code of Conduct to “take reasonable steps to avoid, or disclose and manage, any conflict of interest (actual, potential or perceived) in the course of employment”.
  2. During the course of the trial, I repeatedly asked Counsel for the University to tell me what the conflict of interest actually was. Try as he might, Counsel was unable to do so. Yet he would not concede that this finding was not justified.
  3. As I said during the course of the trial, I could understand if there was an allegation that Professor Ridd declined to fulfil his duties to the University and instead went off on a frolic for the IPA. I could also understand if there was a demonstrable conflict between the University and the IPA and Professor Ridd put the IPA above the University.
  4. But there are no allegations of this sort.
  5. The fact that the University would not concede that this finding was unjustified, yet made no submissions to allow me to even consider how the finding was justified, is symptomatic of the way in which they have conducted this litigation.

Just made up – yet enough to get you sacked.

Posted in 2019 election, Politics of the Left, Shut it down. Fire them all., Taking out the trash | 15 Comments

Just don’t mention the Christians

Lefties invent a new word to avoid reality. Easter worshippers?

Lefties stand with Muslims, LBGQT and nightclub dancers. What about Christians?

Posted in Hypocrisy of progressives, Rafe | 23 Comments

Peak alarmism. Are we there yet?

Extinction Rebellion is trying hard. Located via this site, h/t TFX.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 5 Comments

Roundup 23 April

A stunning and informative architectural tour and visual history of Notre Dame.

A video lecture on Notre Dame’s history from The Cathedral, a Great Courses production featuring William R. Cook, emeritus distinguished teaching professor at the State University of New York. Dr. Cook’s insights into Notre Dame follow its evolution over time—and its place in history—across 800+ years.

A climate collection. A brief introduction to the scam for beginners. Bjorn Lomborg calls for calm in the face of over-heated warming alarmists. A reminder of several things everyone needs to know. The Climategate scandal proved that key data involving man-made climate change was manipulated. NASA may have also been involved in manipulating data to serve the narrative of man-made climate change. NASA also declared 2014 to be the hottest year on record – despite the fact that they were only 38 percent sure about it. There is no evidence that the Earth has been warming in recent years. The left likes to claim that 97 percent of scientists support the concept of man-made climate change. It’s likely closer to 43 percent. The amount of Arctic sea ice has become quite high. Money from the federal government and leftist organizations fuels a lot of misinformation from man-made global warming alarmists.

The Portal to a collection of fellow-travellers

In no particular order. Australian Institute for Progress, The Institute of Public Affairs IPA, the Centre for Independent Studies CIS, The Sydney Institute, Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, Quadrant On Line, The Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Tim Blair, Andrew Norton, the classical liberal in Carlton, Rite-ON admirable Queensland activists!, The Menzies Research Centre, Jim Rose Utopia You Are Standing in It. LibertyWorks. On Line Opinion.

Overseas. Spiked, Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Dan Mitchell, The Last Refuge.

Education and Culture. Quillette. Heterodox Academy. Accuracy in Academia, Intellectual Takeout, Institute for Humane Studies.

For Nerds. Rafe’s website, Critical Rationalist Blog, My bookstore.

Looking for a book? Try here!

Posted in Rafe, Rafe's Roundups | 4 Comments

Q&A Forum: April 22, 2019

Posted in Open Forum | 7 Comments

Election Market update

Mark the Ballot has an update of the probability of a coalition victory.

He says:

Interestingly, the odds for the Coalition have improved slightly since the election was called.

Not surprising. It is a two-horse race and you’d hope that each side would be competitive.

A couple of thoughts. Coalition victory is still less than 25%. Yes there has been an uptick, but everyone agrees that Shorten had a terrible week. For the government to get re-elected, there has to be a terrible week for the opposition every week.

Posted in 2019 election | 15 Comments