What they said X

John Quiggin Australian Financial Review February 3, 2010

… I received an invitation from the Brisbane Institute on 12 January. I responded, seeking to determine conditions under which this debate could focus on Monckton’s conspiracy-theoretic claims, rather on scientific questions on which neither of us have any expertise.

John Quiggin January 22, 2010

…(I delayed in responding to my invitation, and it was pulled).

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58 Responses to What they said X

  1. Peter Patton

    My grandmother used to tell me about those who could not do it straight in bed. 😉

    Quiggin: Why I won’t debate Lord Monckton

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/01/15/quiggin-can-you-reason-with-the-unreasonable/

    [To be fair, Quiggin wouldn’t have written the headline. Sinc]

  2. Presuming that Quiggin is not a Lying Liar (TM), his parenthetical remark “delayed in responding” was just a synopsis of events that was tangential to the topic and therefore would naturally be succinct. “pulled” is not what happened either, but it’s convenient shorthand for what did.

  3. daddy dave

    There was a misunderstanding.
    Quiggin didn’t see his insistence that the debate focus on whether his opponent was a conspiracy theorist, rather than debating the topic at hand, as a deal breaker.
    Clearly it was.

  4. rog

    Wasn’t this originally about something else…..like the costs of a CPRS?

    Silly me.

  5. Sinclair Davidson

    Jarrah on a generous, and I think reasonable, interpretation it could be consistent with his Crikey explanation but it is not consistent with the letter published yesterday in the Fin.

  6. Pedro X

    Honestly, what a storm in a teacup.

    Monckton and Quiggin have little to contribute to the debate. Monckton goes on about World Goverment, Quiggin calls anyone who questions his preferred discount rate someone who ‘hates their children’.

    Are there any Australian climatologists of note? What about economists who studied the issue before it became so politicized? Anyone like William Cline, or Nordhaus?

    [Pedro X – can you provide a link for the ‘hate the children’ comment? I don’t recall Quiggin ever saying that. Sinc]

  7. ken nielsen

    Hey, when this thread is exhausted, can we have a moratorium for a while on mention of JQ and his blog?
    The abuse of people on his blog is worse than abuse here of JQ and his acolytes but neither is edifying. Or fun.

  8. TerjeP (say Tay-a)

    I agree with Pedros sentiment. Who cares if JQ was chicken or if he was uninvited. What does it prove either way?

    [JQ cares. Sinc]

  9. C.L.

    There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. Monckton would have demolished Quiggin and the latter gentleman was intelligent and humble enough to realise that.

  10. C.L.

    Strewth, the post’s about him. Can’t this silly spam policy be abandoned? Or is he going to pretend to sue again?

  11. Sinclair Davidson

    CL – in the past some individuals have been rather personal and nasty in their attacks and he felt they were beyond the pale. I agree on that score.

  12. Meanwhile, JQ has answered Sinclair’s point about the cost of a CPRS in the latest post in a not unreasonable fashion. For me: I doubt that any economic modelling on the long term effects are going to bear much resemblance to reality. As Jason suggested once before, like the GST, you can run all sorts of scare campaigns, but a new “tax” is something countries just get on and live with. (I also note the recent NYT article which gave a handy device for checking the wide difference between forecast deficits and the reality):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/us/politics/02deficit.html?ref=todayspaper

    The real reason for opposing the CPRS should be because of its likely ineffectiveness.

  13. On a more general note, I reckon the audience shots of those attending Moncktons talks have provided further evidence that strong skepticism seems to appeal strongly to the older age bracket. (And yes, I allow for the fact that the audience attending his daytime sessions would be slanted to retirees with the time to attend.)

  14. “The real reason for opposing the CPRS should be because of its likely ineffectiveness.”

    and…

    1. Mitigation generally doesn’t pass a cost benefits test.

    2. The CPRS is grossly cost ineffective.

    3. It doesn’t pass a CBA itself.

    Pedro X is right.

  15. Infidel Tiger

    I’ve just finished Superfreakonomics and can’t believe that the AGW zealots aren’t jumping up and down with joy at the solution outlined within. For the cost of putting on a COP15 each year, AGW could be solved. But i think we know. They want penance and punishment, not problem solving.

  16. Pedro X

    Apologies, JQ did not say hate the children. He says anyone who disagrees with him, like William Nordhaus of Yale, a REAL expert on the economics of global warming is telling people in the future to ‘go to hell for all we care’.

    From:

    http://johnquiggin.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/sternreviewed06121.pdf

    The quote from page 14 is:

    Yet Nordhaus and Boyer propose an even higher rate of 3 per cent, which is tantamount to saying that the future (certainly anyone more than two generations away from us) can go to hell for all we care, since the welfare of our greatgrandchildren
    has about a tenth the weight we accord the current generation. Not surprisingly, this translates into a ‘do nothing now’ approach to global warming.

  17. C.L.

    On a more general note, I reckon the audience shots of those attending Moncktons talks have provided further evidence that strong skepticism seems to appeal strongly to the older age bracket.

    Here we go again. Another ageist ad hom from Steve. Last year, I pointed out that older people backed Turnbull and younger people backed Abbott in Newspoll surveys. Steve responded by saying older people had more wisdom. So shut up, he explained. But when older folks attend a Monckton speech, they’re fuddy-duddy dummies again.

    Just another warmening tactic that’s no longer working. Polls throughout the Western world now show that populations rate “climate change” as being of no great importance. Osama bin Laden is into it, though, which is something.

  18. “Yet Nordhaus and Boyer propose an even higher rate of 3 per cent”

    What it is actually saying is: “let’s have a discounting rate that approaches the real cost of capital (net of preferences to mitigate), i.e what we forgo by having mitigation in terms of a reduction in the capital stock”.

  19. Pedro X

    It’s odd that people who do not think that ETS or high taxes and carbon cuts talk about the science rather than the economics.

    There are quite a few academics, Pielke Jnr, Lomborg, Cline ad others who accept the IPCC climatology but go on to say that if you make reasonable assumptions ETS type mandated cuts make no sense. Their case is very solid.

    I’m a skeptic (or apparently a lukewarmer, my views are that C02 emissions clearly increase temperature, but that the effect has been over stated) but I’m well prepared to be shown over the next 20-30 years that temperature will increase at a really damaging rate ( say 0.3 K / decade ) but the economics just blows ETS and Copenhagen deals out the window.

    A Lomborg tax ( i.e. low and spent almost entirely on energy research ) makes sense. It’s such a pity that Abbott and co didn’t have the guts to put that forward as a policy rather than a dubiously funded tree planting scheme. Abbott mentions Lomborg in his book.

  20. The apparent older average age of skepticism’s audience has been noted by Monbiot too, CL, and the reasons for it make for an interesting exercise in speculative psychology. I doubt I am wrong on the point (of the average age) and I severely doubt that it is because those over 55 are all better armchair scientists than the rest of the population.

    Tough luck if you think this is just “ageism”.

  21. C.L.

    “…noted by Monbiot too…”

    OK, I give up. It must be true.

  22. rog

    How can something be “clearly overstated” when it is unclear how that claim can be proved?

  23. daddy dave

    The apparent older average age of skepticism’s audience has been noted by Monbiot too, CL, and the reasons for it make for an interesting exercise in speculative psychology
    .
    I can think of three reasons off the top of my head, to counter the patronising, sanctimonious theorising of Monbiot and others.
    * First, younger people have been exposed to more pro-AGW propaganda, including viewings of the error-riddled film An Inconvenient Truth in school.
    * Second, younger people are more conformist. Lefties will no doubt object but it’s an empirically verifiable, psychological fact. There’s peer reviewed lit to back me up on this. In your own experience you might notice for example, that young people tend to follow trends and fashions and imitate each other more.
    * older people know how recent the so-called consensus is; younger people have only a sense of this. AGW alarmists scramble the airwaves on this by evoking Arrhenius and other early twentieth century scientists, but this obscures the fact that global warming theory has risen to prominence very recently.

  24. A quick Google turns up one American Gallop poll that says that 47% of those over 65 think climate change is exaggerated compared to 31% of those up to 29. But even this doesn’t break down the level of skepticism in enough detail. To be a complete “it’s all utter bullshit” type denier, like you, I reckon that’s likely to be highly slanted to the older age group.

    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2009/03/gallup-poll-more-americans/

    Oh, and here’s a very recent Morgan poll in Australia showing the clear lead that older people (over 50) have in belief AGW exaggerated. Over 50’s also way ahead in disapproving of the CPRS. (It’s a pretty interesting poll generally, when you look at city/country divide too.)

    Are you going to tell me that its because the older are all better analysts of climate science and policy response than those younger than 50?

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2010/4459/

  25. Last post was addressed to CL, in case anyone can’t work that out…

  26. daddy dave

    Are you going to tell me that its because the older are all better analysts of climate science and policy response than those younger than 50?
    .
    I already told you what some factors might be that account for it. I’m not going to pretend to know definitively, as it is an entirely empirical question, that will probably not get answered in time before global warming dies as a political movement.

  27. Infidel Tiger

    With age comes wisdom, knucklehead.

  28. tal

    Maybe older people remember all the other “scares” and put AGW in the “here we go again” box?

  29. The point being, guys, that those factors you’re citing (like remembering previous “scares”, or that they react against perceived group think) do not involve genuine attempts to inform themselves on the issue.

  30. Paul Williams

    Maybe it’s because older people were lucky enough to escape the education revolution, which began in the early 70’s, and are equipped to think for themselves.

  31. daddy dave

    The point being, guys, that those factors you’re citing (like remembering previous “scares”, or that they react against perceived group think) do not involve genuine attempts to inform themselves on the issue.
    .
    You don’t know that. For all we know, scepticism might be correlated with personal effort involved in looking into it.
    Anecdotally, scepticism runs very high amongst engineers for instance. But again, there’s no data on any of this, just a few basic demographic trends that tell us nothing.

  32. Infidel Tiger

    Well it seems their uninformed hunch was a lot stronger than your “genuine attempt to inform”, because they’ve being proved right. The scientists behind the AGW theory have produced the biggest load of shit since the 2002 Bangalore Curry and Laxative Festival. They win, you lose. Thanks for playing.

  33. C.L.

    Are you familiar with history, Steve? No, you’re not so allow me to tell you something interesting about the outbreak of World War One. It was welcomed with ecstacy by the young men of Europe.

  34. dover_beach

    The point being, guys, that those factors you’re citing (like remembering previous “scares”, or that they react against perceived group think) do not involve genuine attempts to inform themselves on the issue.

    And, of course, the young or middle-aged have genuinely informed themselves haven’t they.

  35. Engineers and geologists. But as engineers often include the ranks of the strange and semi-socialised, [they seem over represented amongst Islamic terrorists too 🙂 ] their tendaecy towards the skeptical side sways me a little the other way.

    I’ve never met enough geologist to know their reputation as a group, but Plimer and Carter’s brand of dishonest skepticism far from impresses.

  36. C.L.

    It was only a matter of time before warmenists went all Mengele on us and started targeting the old. Last week, Steve was making fun of Lord Monckton’s eyes. It’s kind of disturbing, really – all the more so when you consider how amusedly they’ve mocked-through-inverting the idea of “denialism” and called, in one famous case (Hansen), for show trials against sceptics.

    Little wonder “climate change” is now ranking at or near the bottom of most people’s priorities – the conversion of Osama bin Laden notwithstanding.

  37. Good to see your uninformed hunch holding sway Tiger.

    CL: show me the polling on what over 50’s Europeans thought of going to war in 1914 and then we’ll have a discussion.

  38. Pedro X

    Ah Steve, this accusation of they are ‘liars’ is sad.

    Prove that they do not believe what they are proposing. They may well be wrong, but you are saying they are intentionally misleading people.

    It might play well with your friends and people at LP but to the general public it just sounds like you’re religious zealots. It’s one of the big reasons skepticism is growing.

    Rog: C02 emissions driving climate change to the extents claimed could be proved if the models matched better than they do. If such efforts hadn’t been made to suppress the Douglass paper on the mismatch between models and measurements.

    Roy Spencer’s account is illuminating.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/a_climatology_conspiracy.html

    The critical thing is, Douglass et includes 10 datasets that show that the models don’t match. The climategate crew claim that because they don’t include 2 data sets their paper is wrong. There is also an addendum from Douglass about why they don’t include the 2 data sets. They then go on a year long effort to avoid people looking at the Douglass paper.

    Steve, would you say that I’m ‘lying’ because I believe the Douglass paper has merit ? This is essentially your accusation against Plimer and Carter.

  39. For the record, I haven’t mentioned his eyes since becoming aware of the disease behind it. The fact that it is not, after all, an amusing coincidence of natural odd looks coinciding with looney theories has allowed skeptics to become all sanctimonious about those who have joked about it, as if skeptics haven’t made fun of Gore’s weight, etc. So lucky you.

  40. Pedro, no time to rehash the ways in which Plimar and Carter are not only wrong, but by which they must know they are wrong. Plimer has never answered direct and simple questions about claims in his book.

  41. C.L.

    Sorry Steve, that doesn’t make sense. You say it was fair game to make fun of Monckton’s eyes when you thought they were just a random physical idiosyncrasy. You say you accepted it was unacceptable to do so when you found they were like that from disease. Then you compare ridiculing his eyes with something that ACTUALLY IS just a physical idiosyncrasy – namely, Al Gore’s weight. Or, as you might put it, “an amusing coincidence of natural odd looks coinciding with a gargantuan appetite for money scammed from carbon scaremongering.”

  42. CL, do I have to draw a diagram? To try again: if it was good enough for your side to make fun of Gore’s physical appearance, it was good enough for my side to make fun of Monckton’s. Instead, even before anyone knew it was from disease (as far as I can tell, the first time it was ever explained as such was by Miranda Devine) we got you carrying on about how it was wrong to joke about Monckton’s eyes.

    Now, the fact that I know it is from disease means it is actually or potentially cruel to refer to it. (For all I know, though, he may take it all in good humour himself; he doesn’t give the impression of being an overly sensitive character, but I won’t take the risk.)

    So congratulations, you and Blair and Bolt can now get all sanctimonious over The Age’s showing his eyes, and live to crap on about Gore’s weight with impunity.

    You’ve won that round. Yessiree.

  43. Steve you dolt, if a fattie tells you to stop “overconsuming” it’s beyond the pale.

  44. SRL: Gore is not my hero, and some of the jokes about him are/were funny. Too much carry on about it though is too much. Same can be said for Monckton’s appearance. Now I don’t get to make any more of those remarks about Monckton, but I have the right to respond to CL’s spurious criticism.

  45. “Too much carry on about it though is too much.”

    Hardly. It’s like Hamilton – pontificating about “affluenza” whilst being interviewed on Government supported television, with a white baby grand piano in the background.

  46. mumbles

    Steve, I think CL has the point. Without reference to anything other than the experience of living through it I would point to there being many older people still alive that experienced the remnants of the depression, Black Friday, the heat waves of the 50’s and 60’s. That experience as they started school, university or the their first jobs without the benefit of the Club of Rome prognostications or air-conditioning may well have a lot to do with their views. Experience is a great teacher. Try the national archives here http://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/home

  47. C.L.

    My criticisms weren’t spurious, Steve. Your arguments consist of ridiculing old people and (formerly) making fun of Lord Monckton’s appearance. Your Gore comparison was dishonest rubbish.

    It seem that you’ve capitulated and that you’re now content to ad hom warmenism back to centre stage.

    It’s not working. I can only encourage you to keep it up, though, because the more that alarmists like you go around abusing “sceptics” the more people turn against the hoax.

  48. Mumbles, I suspect that all people over the age of 40 or so have seen some degree of change in the weather in their lifetime. (Everyone of my age in Queensland knows that cyclones don’t come near Brisbane now like they used to in the 60’s and 70’s.) So the reaction to AGW may be “well, the weather’s always been changing, it’s probably just natural cycles”. But, it really is a complicated, long term topic that personal experience of the weather of the 20th century is not going to be a good guide to.

  49. I meant to say “But climate change is really a complicated…etc”

  50. Infidel Tiger

    But, it really is a complicated, long term topic that personal experience of the weather of the 20th century is not going to be a good guide to.

    Unless there’s a day over 40c. That’s a sure sign the warmenism be upon us and for all ye sinners to repent.

  51. JC

    40c days are great for getting into the water like the beach or a pool. There should be more of them, as you only feel a little cold when getting out.

  52. CL I don’t know how you manage to type one handed like that all the time. You and your ilk use the most inflammatory language about scientists and “warmenists” all the time and then crap on about how I am abusing skeptics because of mild fun had at the expense of a looney Lord and making a demographic point, proved by polling, about skepticism and age. As I have said before, your hypocrisy is breathtaking.

  53. JC

    Steve,

    You seem more than a little obsessed with CL like FDB is. Are you two into Voodoo dolls/pins and such?

  54. JC

    Steve:

    If I do a command F prompt in threads with CL as the key search it always lands in your comments.

    Try and focus on more useful topics other than CL all the time or just go 33/33/33 with FDB + Rog and buy yourselves a voodoo doll.

    That way the three of you can keep obsessing on CL and keep the threads a little cleaner.

  55. daddy dave

    I suspect that all people over the age of 40 or so have seen some degree of change in the weather in their lifetime
    .
    This is speculation. We don’t know why there are demographic differences in scepticism.

  56. JC: I don’t start threads off by referring to CL anymore, but I’m free to respond to comments he makes, or (as is the case today) argue back when he criticises me.

  57. C.L.

    Tricky Kevi.

    Tom Switzer in The Spectator:

    Our Nixonian PM.

    ‘At one time or another, he had espoused almost every worthy principle, often repeatedly,’ Newsweek once observed of Richard Nixon. ‘But in practice he violated enough of them to make all of his protestations suspect.’

    Could the same thing be said about Kevin Rudd? In Question Time this week, the rattled Prime Minister berated several Liberal MPs for changing their position on his emissions trading scheme: ‘Where lies consistency?’ he cried. Never mind that Copenhagen went up in smoke and that none of the world’s major polluters will cut back on the greenhouse gases that the increasingly discredited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says cause global warming. The point here is that Rudd is an opportunist of such proportions that the only thing that exceeds his reach is his grasp.

    This is a man who defined himself during the 2007 election campaign as an ‘economic conservative’, committed to low public debt, fiscal rectitude and free-market reform, but who now represents the reincarnation of Whitlamism and a big-spending, big-union, big-government, debt-ridden agenda that caused so much economic angst in the 1970s. A man who derides the ‘neo-liberal’ legacy of John Howard and Peter Costello, but who, like Tony Blair, has been the economic beneficiary of the conservative government that preceded him.

    A man who appealed to the metropolitan sophisticates by weakening Howard’s border protection controls, but who now panders to Howard’s battlers by preaching a ‘hardline’ policy against ‘evil’ and ‘vile’ people-smugglers. A man who insisted before the election he’d turn back the boats, but who, a year later, laid out the red carpet to thousands of unlawful arrivals.

    A man who claimed climate change was ‘the great moral challenge of our time’, but who now, in a changing (political) climate, jettisons the evangelical language and hardly raises the subject in stump speeches. A man who pledged to lead the globe on man-made warming, but who now tells us we will ‘do no more, no less than the rest of the world’ — which means doing nothing, since hopes for any verifiable, enforceable and legally binding global agreement are a chimera.

    A man who promised not to means-test the baby bonus and the private health insurance rebate, but who is nonetheless now trying to do so in the Senate. A man who railed against corporate greed and unfettered capitalism, but who is watering down already modest proposals to weaken the fat cats’ ability to pay themselves obscene salaries. A man who promised the Commonwealth takeover of the public hospitals if their performance did not improve, but who has hardly even raised the issue since he’s been ensconced in the Lodge.

    The power of this vacillator’s U-turns and reverse gear is up to the best international standards.

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