Penny Wong ups the ante

Looks like the government is going for broke on the CPRS business. Penny Wong has just given a speech that denies the allegations and defies the allegators (I think Merton Miller first said that).

Red herrings and arguments at the fringes of the debate cannot dismiss the fact that that the world is warming, nor is it justification to ignore the range of scientific work on climate change.

A question all of us should consider is what will happen in 20 years.

In 20 years time, can we seriously look our children and grand children in the eye and say we sat on our hands because of a computer hacker?

To the best of my knowledge Wong doesn’t have any children, so that final sentence must be placed into the Clive Hamilton basket of weirdness.

This is a speech that promises to be the source of many What they said posts (Rudd’s speech to the Lowy Institute should also feature). Consider this great comment (emphasis added).

the IPCC chairs themselves announced that one paragraph in its 2007 Assessment relating to loss of Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was poorly based. It had been erroneously stated that 80 per cent of Himalayan glacier area would very likely be gone by 2035.

That’s not quite how I recall things happening. I’m just wondering how the Guardian Newspaper first reported this story?

Two years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN agency which evaluates the risk from global warming, warned the glaciers were receding faster than in any other part of the world and could “disappear altogether by 2035 if not sooner”.

Today Ramesh denied any such risk existed: “There is no conclusive scientific evidence to link global warming with what is happening in the Himalayan glaciers.” The minister added although some glaciers are receding they were doing so at a rate that was not “historically alarming”.

However, Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, told the Guardian: “We have a very clear idea of what is happening. I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

Pachauri dismissed the report saying it was not “peer reviewed” and had few “scientific citations”.

“With the greatest of respect this guy retired years ago and I find it totally baffling that he comes out and throws out everything that has been established years ago.”

In response Pachauri said that such statements were reminiscent of “climate change deniers and school boy science”.

“I cannot see what the minister’s motives are. We do need more extensive measurement of the Himalayan range but it is clear from satellite pictures what is happening.”

Unfortunately I can’t find the sentence or instance where Pachauri called this ‘voodoo science’ – I can find lots of instances where it is reported he said ‘voodoo science’ but not the original context. As I was telling someone just this afternoon, the AGW lobby are going to try to brazen this out.

(HT: Andrew Bolt)

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106 Responses to Penny Wong ups the ante

  1. C.L.

    “…our children and grand children…”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Isn’t Miss Wong a childless lesbian?

  2. daddy dave

    the AGW lobby are going to try to brazen this out
    That freaks me out, because I know you are right.
    But the IPCC is the weak link.
    The alarmists must be asked their give opinions on the credibility of the IPCC. No wriggling. Are they credible or not?
    But never fear. Tony Jones is on the case. He’ll ask the hard hitting questions.

  3. tal

    This government sure does like the kiddies

  4. rog

    “To the best of my knowledge Wong doesn’t have any children,..”

    That’s a pretty weak argument, like other MPs Wong represents the voters.

  5. C.L.

    She and Miss Gillard are working hard for their Children And Their Children’s Children’s Children.

  6. daddy dave

    like other MPs Wong represents the voters.
    Yes, but we can still mock her for lame attempts at sentimental populism.
    Perhaps you identify with her in other ways, rog? It would explain your sudden shift leftwards.

  7. MM

    Wong’s was the weaker argument.

    If she were the maternal type, which she clearly is not, then her remarks could be seen as a genuine plea from a concerned parent. Her statement was thus a platitude supposed to appeal to the stupid breeders out there.

  8. C.L.

    In 20 years time, can we seriously look our children and grand children in the eye and say we sat on our hands because of a computer hacker?

    But they can seriously look our present children and grand children in the eye and say they’re sitting on their hands because of an insulation backer.

  9. C.L.

    As climategate denialist Wong marches on, the world is pretty much over the warmening:

    Ministers lavished £9m on climate change stunts… but public opinion is left cold by global warming ‘propaganda’.

    Check out the “climate change dome”!

    Via Blair.

  10. dover_beach

    In 20 years time, can we seriously look our children and grand children in the eye and say we sat on our hands because of a computer hacker?

    So we get a reference to ‘children and our children’s children’ and ‘eyes’ all the same sentence.

  11. I’m impressed by the commentators in the Hamilton article. Most are not regulars, and tell him to go jump.

    Except for the resident far left choir.

  12. dover_beach

    As I was telling someone just this afternoon, the AGW lobby are going to try to brazen this out.

    I hope you’re keeping a list of those that do try to brazen this out, Sinc.

  13. JC

    Yea, most people find his ideas reprehensible;

    I particularly like this one.

    Catherine Kraina :

    10 Dec 2009 11:39:37am

    From the time I understood that tax dollars paid for the ABC I have supported this public funding of a national broadcaster. No more. To provide a platform for propaganda like this is disgraceful. The next step, as another commenter points out, is asking children to dob in their parents. Much of the world is only now recovering from the depredations of the communist regimes that brainwashed their children. To give Clive Hamilton, who has canvassed the idea of suspending democracy, a place on the ABC is not what most taxpayers want their money spent on.

  14. JC

    It seems from those charts that there isn’t any discernible warming going on

  15. JC

    jeez oh boy.

    Yes experts, I know Prague is not the world. However it’s more than a little interesting the the second oldest temperature record shows no noticeable warming.

    The latest “gate” – of a sort – has made an appearance, via Czech physicist Lubos Motl. He analyses on his blog the temperature record at the Clementinum in central Prague (pictured).

    The site hosts the world’s second oldest continuously working weather station after the Central England dataset, with records going back to 1770 which have not been interrupted or modified since 1775. And, in 1794, the Clementinum’s annual mean temperature was 11.50°C and in 2005 it was 10.88°C.

    Effectively, there has been no statistically significant warming in Prague since 1800, and that is without taking into account the urban heat island. That may be as much as 0.6°C per century and which would probably revert the 200-year trend to a significant cooling.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/01/and-now-for-amazongate.html

  16. John H.

    In 20 years time, can we seriously look our children and grand children in the eye and say we sat on our hands because of a computer hacker?

    Bollocks, we sat on our hands to prevent finger frostbite.

  17. Infidel Tiger

    If theses lunatics have any sense of shame they won’t dare tell their childrens’s children’s children they believed this mumbo jumbo.

  18. C.L.

    Tim Blair: They Are Never Right.

    Another laughable debacle.

  19. C.L.

    Wong scare falls flat:

    AUSTRALIA’S most iconic beaches, including Bondi, Bells and those on the Sunshine Coast, could erode away or recede by hundreds of metres over the coming century, according to Climate Change Minister Penny Wong.

    But locals aren’t so sure.

    Bondi veteran Lee Boman has swum at the beach for more than 30 years and was adamant he had seen “no change” to the coastline over that period. “Nothing too drastic that indicates it is going to be changed in the future,” said Mr Boman, 53.

    Bob Carter, a geologist and environmental scientist with James Cook University in Queensland, said Senator Wong’s comments appeared to be an attempt to panic the public.

    Pointing to historical rates of sea level rise of an average 1.6mm per year globally over the past 100 years, Mr Carter said it was reasonable to expect a total rise of 16cm in a century…

    Patrick Doab, 63, said he had been visiting Bondi nearly every Sunday since the 1960s and was not worried anything would change.

    “Now and again, you get king tides around Christmas time, but it’s just the ebbs and flows,” Mr Doab said.

    In response to Ms Wong’s statements, Mr Doab said he was not at all concerned that his two grandchildren would not be able to enjoy Bondi beach “just the way I did as a youngster”.

    “I think it’s just too drastic to say that the beach is going to change and they won’t be able to go to a beach like this. It’s very drastic,” Mr Doab said.

    “I don’t think anyone knows what will happen, quite frankly.

    “It’s like the stock market — no one really knows.”

    Dr Carter said: “Have you noticed Bondi beach being destroyed in the past 100 years by that rise?”

    He said that in some areas around the Australian coast, the sea level was actually getting lower.

    “In some places, the geological substrata is sinking, which adds to sea-level rise, and in other places it’s rising, which subtracts from sea-level rise,” Dr Carter said.

    “So you can’t have a sea-level policy for the whole of the Australian coast — that’s just stupid, and that’s what the states are doing.”

  20. tal

    We will fight them on the beaches

  21. C.L.

    Global warming bumped:

    A cartoon by Nicholson.

  22. rog

    They all laughed at Noah (according to irrefutable sources)

  23. Samuel J

    You’re being a bit harsh – she may have children in 2020!

    But isn’t it interesting how people can become denialist when their ship is sinking?

  24. dover_beach

    Wong is either brazen or a fool.

    In Australia yesterday, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong gave a speech is which she discussed the claims that the IPCC had misrepresented the science of disaster costs and climate change. She stated:

    Another claim is that the IPCC exaggerated economic losses from catastrophes attributed to climate change.

    The IPCC has described these claims as “misleading and baseless”. The scientist has gone on the record to say his peer-reviewed scientific paper was correctly represented in the IPCC report.

    Presumably, the “scientist” that she refers to is Robert Muir-Wood. In the paper that Wong refers to, Muir-Wood and colleagues write:

    We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses.

    If Wong thinks that paper suggests a linkage between rising temperatures and catastrophes, then that is pretty good evidence that the IPCC did not in fact accurately represent the paper. It is interesting how the issue is now about how a paper was represented, and not the science of disasters and climate change.

    Muir-Wood also confirms that the IPCC intentionally miscited another paper in order to include a graph that he says,

    . . . could be misinterpreted and should not have been included in these materials.

    Obviously, from Wong’s remarks misinterpretation is more than just a possibility. The IPCC also made up stuff about my views and ignored its reviewers who explained that the graph was misleading and should be reviewed.

    The bottom line is that there is no scientific evidence linking rising global temperatures to the increasing catastrophe losses around the world. Ironically enough, the scientific evidence includes the paper cited by Wong to suggest the opposite. Despite this fact, and the obvious IPCC misrepresentations on this subject, Australia’s Penny Wong concludes:

    There may well be dispute about the cost of catastrophes, but the science on the link between these catastrophes and climate change has not been credibly challenged.

    Score that as one fully duped policy maker by the IPCC’s spin and misdirection.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/policy-impact-of-ipcc-misdirection.html

  25. rog

    Muir-Wood

    After showing that it was possible to find statistical correlation, it was determined that the result was very sensitive to small changes in assumptions, so it was concluded that it was not possible to show a statistically convincing linkage at that time.

  26. rog

    Muir-Wood

    RMS believes the IPCC fairly referenced its paper, with suitable caveats around the results, highlighting the factors influencing the relationship that had been discovered between time and increased catastrophe costs.

  27. dover_beach

    Pielke Jr:

    In my efforts to unravel the issues associated with the IPCC’s mistreatment of the subject of disasters and climate change I discovered that the IPCC intentionally mis-cited a paper to get around its own deadline for the inclusion of publications in its report. This fact has now been independently confirmed by RMS, a company that develops catastrophe models for re/insurance (PDF).

    The research was conducted during the first half of 2006 and the full paper summarizing the results was peer reviewed and accepted for publication in November 2006. This was a few weeks outside of the cut-off date for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report in October, which is why an earlier summary version of the paper—written for a scientific workshop held in May 2006 and published in the conference proceedings in October 2006—was referenced (the IPCC can only cite published material). Despite not being able to reference it, the IPCC was aware of the full report and that it had been accepted for publication before the 4th Assessment Report was finalized.

    The problem was that the “earlier summary version of the paper” did not contain any of the information for which the citation was provided in the IPCC, specifically a discussion of rising temperatures and the increasing costs of disasters. In academia, the intentional mis-citing of a paper in support of a claim for which the paper offers absolutely no support would be a highly questionable ethical practice.

    RMS is completely silent on the intentional misdirection and also on the so-called “mystery graph.” I understand why. However, Rober Muir-Woods of RMS has already explained in public that the “mystery graph” should not have been included in the report. Given this fact, the omission of this detail from the new RMS FAQ is unfortunate. It is however nice to see my accounting of events surrounding the mistreatment of disaster losses by the IPCC receive some independent confirmation from RMS.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/rms-confirms-effort-to-skirt-ipcc.html

    The silence of RMS has since been broken:

    In short, RMS has now independently confirmed that the IPCC willfully miscited the graph to avoid a publication deadline and admits that the IPCC shouldn’t have included the graph in the first place, because it was misleading. Not good for the IPCC.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/rms-on-mystery-graph-should-not-have.html

  28. Rog,

    The glacier references were basically unprofessional. You could have paid a HSC student to do better.

  29. I continue to be amazed that do-nothing skeptics think it’s somehow silly that people who want action on CO2 talk about it in terms of protecting, or insuring, the planet for our descendants, as if somehow that is not exactly what it is about.

    As for Wong referring to “our children”, and being childless, this is just a ridiculous, irrelevant point. The next time the Queen uses the “royal ‘we'”, I expect to see some sort of ridicule from here?

  30. Sinclair Davidson

    Royalty refering to themselves as ‘we’ is an acceptable usage of the English langauge. Wong isn’t the Queen – her usage is dishonest.

  31. Steve,

    Penny Wong’s dishonesty on sea level rises basically turned me from an agnostic supporting a tax neutral, GDP positive mitigation scheme into someone who opposes mitigation. Wong & Rudd don’t care about utilitarianism. They think this ETS is a vote winner and they are prepared to insult my intelligence to scare others into supporting it, despite being a mongrel dog of a policy, and not worth two shits/having a double dissolution over.

    Australian rural (no urban heat island effect) temps:

    http://www.petergallagher.com.au/index.php/site/article/century-trends-in-victorian-temperatures/

  32. jtfsoon

    Learn some English colloqualisms Sinclair.
    it’s called the ‘royal we’ precisely because it isn’t just used by royalty nowadays. otherwise there’d be no point identifying it as a general term of usage.

    Obama said ‘Yes we can’. Politicians and community leaders use it all the time.

  33. Sinclair Davidson

    That’s not what the wiki says.

    A common example is the royal we (Pluralis Majestatis), which is a nosism employed by a person of high office, such as a monarch, earl or pope. It is also used in certain formal contexts by bishops and university rectors. The expression was first used in 1169 when English King Henry II (d. 1189), hard pressed by his barons over the investiture controversy, assumed the common theory of “divine right of kings,” that the monarch acted conjointly with the deity. Hence, he used “we” as “God and I…,” or so the legend goes. (See Rolls Series, 2.12)

    In the public situations in which it is used, the monarch or other dignitary is typically speaking, not in his own proper person, but as leader of a nation or institution. Nevertheless, the habit of referring to leaders in the plural has influenced the grammar of several languages, in which plural forms tend to be perceived as deferential and more polite than singular forms. This grammatical feature is called a T-V distinction.

    Popes have used the we as part of their formal speech with certain recent exceptions. The English translations of the documents of John Paul II dispensed with this practice, using the singular “I”, even though the Latin original usually continued to use the first person plural “We”.

    Last I checked she wasn’t the monarch, pope or an earl.

  34. Sinclair Davidson

    Obama said ‘Yes we can’.

    I think the response to that has been ‘you can keep the change’. 🙂

  35. Pedro X

    The Roger Pielke stuff is serious.

    What he has said should be mailed to Wong and a few journalists. If she doesn’t issue a correction it should be pointed out that she is deliberately misleading people.

    An ETS is an insurance policy with serious problems. It’s just one that is likely to have a considerable net cost if you use sensible ( i.e. not Stern ) discount numbers. Also, if only the EU, AU and Japan do it it’s also pointless. No China and no India no point.

  36. She’s a “person of high office”, Sinclair, of which certain examples follow.

    Surely the context is important. If a single person stood up at a school P&C meeting and talked about “our” children, people would say it’s odd. If a young Minister of child bearing age currently without children talks of the future of “our” children in 2020, it’s unremarkable.

  37. Sinclair Davidson

    Steve – bullshit.

  38. (And it’s hardly worth noting that lesbians have children too, as much as I personally don’t like that.)

  39. Sinclair Davidson

    (even some gays have children – let’s keep away from that topic as it adds nothing to the debate. As best I know Wong doesn’t have kids and why she doesn’t is her choice.)

  40. JC

    good to see some of you guys have turned against this dog of a policy. (ETS)

    Penny needs to stop the incessant lying.

    Steve

    Most guys here are not “do nothing”. The only person that takes an anti-science position on these matters is Rog as he opposes nuclear energy thinking wind would be sufficient.

  41. JC

    Who cares about Wong’s sexual orientation. It has nothing to freaking well do with her idiotic plan.

    She and her party are economic menaces. That’s all I’m concerned with.

    From the stimulus, to AGW and now IR where you can’t fire a person if they’re incompetent on matters of safety. This government needs to be thrown out.

  42. jtfsoon

    You’re consulting wiki on the english language now?

    FFS people in public office use ‘we’ or ‘our’ all the time. I use ‘we’ all the time in writing reports. What a ridiculous debating point. How is not following your ideas of the English language ‘dishonest’?

  43. jtfsoon

    In this case ‘we’ is a synonym for ‘Australians’. Everyone knows this except literal minded AGW skeptics fishing for every petty little debating point.

  44. CL is “do nothing”; dover – well I don’t know what he wants to do, but he seems to find the reference to children irritating too. Sinclair – don’t know what he wants to do either, but I suspect it’s nothing.

    I referred you in previous thread to a paper from last year setting out why there is urgency to start addressing CO2 production if you want to have a hope of preventing projected rises of more than 2 degrees. This sniping from the sides about Himalayan glaciers, the exact level of sea rise and whether Siberian trees are that great as proxies are all “can’t see the wood for the trees” arguments, and prevent political action until it is really too late to start taking any.

  45. “We” ended for me when Wong exaggerated the IPCC sea level claims by about nine times at the benign level to about three times over at the extreme range of predictions.

  46. Steve – 19 to 78 cm sea level rises, 55 cm most likely.

    Do nothing.

  47. Sinclair Davidson

    So Jason / Steve you’ve got nothing to say about the rest of the post? Or Pielke who basically shows she’s a liar?

    There is nothing wrong with being concerned about AGW but you don’t have defend every dumb speech or every corrupt scientist on the block.

  48. dover_beach

    I continue to be amazed that do-nothing skeptics think it’s somehow silly that people who want action on CO2 talk about it in terms of protecting, or insuring, the planet for our descendants, as if somehow that is not exactly what it is about.

    That is unfortunate because you are being amazed by a figment of your own imagination; there are no “do-nothing” skeptics. All of the skeptics here, and likely elsewhere, think the most reasonable policy is to continue as we have always done which involves adopting ad hoc strategies to adapt to this or that eventuality as they arise. That has been history of our civilisation since Adam; it has served us well.

  49. Sinclair Davidson

    can we seriously look our children and grand children in the eye and say we sat on our hands because of a computer hacker

    The more I think about this comment the more annoyed I get. People who aren’t concerned about AGW are bad parents – is that what she is saying? Fuck her.

  50. dover_beach

    CL is “do nothing”; dover – well I don’t know what he wants to do, but he seems to find the reference to children irritating too. Sinclair – don’t know what he wants to do either, but I suspect it’s nothing.

    Wrong, Steve from B; you mistake the absence of a plan as a willingness to ‘do-nothing’. I don’t have any plans about renovating my house, this doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing in respect of its maintenance.

  51. So the government’s looked at things – not just scientific facts – and decided that they’re going to stick it out. Who knows what information they’ve assembled, what the quality of it is and what strategy they’ve actually decided on.
    .
    Sorry but this govt has balls. They aren’t wishy-washy.

  52. d_b: you’re ignoring the fact that it is a problem with a built in delayed effect. If there was a way of removing large quantities of CO2 from the air once precise climate sensitivity is firmly established, you would have a point.

  53. It is such a worthless policy to pony up over.

  54. As climategate denialist Wong marches on, the world is pretty much over the warmening:
    .
    The trouble CL, with relying on strictly partisan discourse as you seem to is you get a distorted view of things. This would be fine with me if it wasn’t for the fact that almost everyone does the same thing.

  55. People who aren’t concerned about AGW are bad parents – is that what she is saying?
    .
    If the hypothesis proves correct and we’re headed for disaster wouldn’t doing nothing if something could be done be inconsiderate to future generations? Just sayin’.

  56. Sinclair Davidson

    I think the Garnaut point on Lateline is giving some encouragement. The idea that 57 percent of the electorate supports a big reform being a high number. If we (that is you the readers and me) think about the liberalisation in the 80s that is true. But in the 1980s liberalisation has bipartisan support, whereas the ETS/CPRS doesn’t. The Republican referedum shows that 57 percent support isn’t enough in the absence of bipartisan support. When you don’t knw you should always vote no.

  57. Sinclair Davidson

    wouldn’t doing nothing if something could be done be inconsiderate to future generations?

    Yes. And?

  58. dover_beach

    d_b: you’re ignoring the fact that it is a problem with a built in delayed effect. If there was a way of removing large quantities of CO2 from the air once precise climate sensitivity is firmly established, you would have a point.

    Not at all. What you purport to be a ‘fact’ is, in fact, an ‘assumption’. Further, it is clear from all observation-estimates of CS that they are within the range of 0.5-2 C. We have at the least another 70 years to more firmly establish CS and for warmists to develop their apologias.

  59. Sinclair Davidson

    DB – isn’t Steve’s point that CO2 is a stock pollutant and not a flow pollutant?

  60. dover_beach

    Sinc, it might be his point but I’m not convinced that at current levels or those reasonably projected for the next 100 years that CO2 is a stock pollutant. It certainly wouldn’t be if CS is at or below 2C.

  61. Sinclair Davidson

    Well yes. That is the issue.

  62. Sinclair, you have to admit, don’t you, that if a middle aged parent “who isn’t concerned about AGW” is wrong in his/her assessment, the temperature rises and associate climate changes are (save some miracle technology we know nothing about now) going to affect their descendants for much longer than the parent will be around?

    It’s a simple fact. Repeating it is a way of encouraging people to take it seriously as an issue. The problem of not taking it seriously is a real one, when you see some of the reasons behind people’s “hunches” that there is nothing to it. (Nick Minchin and his “it’s a all a plot created after the collapse of communism” comes to mind, for one.)

    It’s not a necessary conclusion that parents who decide it is a non-issue are “bad parents”, given the range of reasons that people may have for reaching
    that conclusion. But there is also nothing wrong with politicians and scientists continuing to push the line that the parents ought to be seriously thinking about it as an issue that is about the future their kids will inherit.

  63. Sinclair Davidson

    AGW is hardly unique of that score.

    Until Penny Wong has kids herself she should stay the fuck away from lecturing people on parenthood.

  64. Peter Patton

    I gotta say, criticizing Wong’s comment about “our children” misses the point that the raising of children and their care does have a broader social aspect. As an adult, I feel responsible for any children in my view whom I think are vulnerable, whether that means a crying lost toddler in a supermarket, a neighborhood kid whose parents cannot get home in time to make dinner, a couple of young bullies laying into some poor kid in the local park…

    Still, in general when anybody plays the ‘future generations’ card, I think it is legitimate territory to trump with the Godwin’s card. 😉

  65. “Sinclair, you have to admit, don’t you, that if a middle aged parent “who isn’t concerned about AGW” is wrong in his/her assessment, the temperature rises and associate climate changes are (save some miracle technology we know nothing about now) going to affect their descendants for much longer than the parent will be around?”

    19-78 cm. 55 cm most likely. 90 years time. Forcing mitigation locks them into one response mode. It takes away choice of future generations.

  66. jtfsoon

    she isn’t lecturing people on parent hood, she’s employing future generations rhetoric – something that politicians the world over and in many different contexts have employed to back up their favourite policies. I would be surprised if the Coalition hasn’t used it to attack the budget deficit racked up by Rudd for loading up debt ‘on our children’.

    No outrage by sinclair in all those other case, only here – the only difference is that the ETS is somehow singled out as a specially hat4ed policy.

  67. John H.

    Discussions on climate science will be more beneficial if people chose to focus on the research as it is released, which is every week. Going over old arguments, taking cheap shots at political comments, talking about conspiracy, are not scientific discussions, they are political discussions. I’ll believe that people are prepared to deal with the science when they start dealing with the latest research instead of the same old blibber blabber.

  68. On the issue of CO2 being a “stock pollutant”, this discussion in Nature on two papers published last year is relevant:

    http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0905/full/climate.2009.38.html

  69. daddy dave

    not scientific discussions, they are political discussions.
    which category do you put “the corruption of science”? Or “The politicisation of science”? is that in the ‘science’ box, or the ‘politics’ box?
    And what if, instead of focusing on the same old blibber blabber, we only focus on the latest breaking scandals? Would that be better?

  70. “I’ll believe that people are prepared to deal with the science when they start dealing with the latest research instead of the same old blibber blabber.”

    Good point.

  71. Peter Patton

    John H

    As somebody with a Science degree, who very wisely also took History and Philosophy of Science, “scientific discussions” always entwines “political discussion.”

    I do believe there is a truth, a reality, immutable laws of nature out there. But to me, Science refers to the myriad devices we have developed that attempt to improve our access to those physical/natural abilities beyond our mere subjective observations.

    But it is a mistake to equate the process – ie, ‘Science’ – with that natural/physical truth itself.

  72. John H.

    PP

    Yes yes Feyerabend and all that. So much is obvious. What is not obvious is how we can deal with the latest research when we are preoccupied with scandals and politics.

  73. daddy dave

    I’m failing to see your point, John H.
    Surely one of the major developments of the day is not the “latest research” but the spectacle of previously accepted research unraveling.

  74. Peter Patton

    John H

    No, not Feyerabend, but every single person who has ever been involved in the practice of science, since the dawn of time.

  75. Peter Patton

    Except curiously, a large number of contemporary so-called “climate” scientists. 😉

  76. C.L.

    Sinclair, you should have concentrated on Wong’s eyeballs. Steve could have respected that.

  77. John H.

    Daddy Dave,

    I accept that there has been a lot of dodgy research. That is precisely why focusing on the latest research may have more utility in helping us to understand what is going on. Remember that the latest research is now going to be much more cautious in its proclamations. The ruckus over climategate is going to make scientists more circumspect.

    In any event everyone should take it as a given that science is politicised. In relation to biomedicine it is a huge problem. Everything from ADHD to statin drugs is to some extent corrupted. But how am I going to establish any truth value if all I am reading is about scandals and politics? A question of balance. If people are serious about developing a more rigourous view of climate science they need to keep in mind the politics but keep discussing the relevant research.

  78. Peter Patton

    In fact, if you think about it, even the most hard-core advocate of ‘science = true reality’ is contradicting him/herself.

    Nobody questions that skepticism is at the root of science. And why should a scientist always have his/her wits about, and always cast a skeptical eye over the data, the observations, the hypotheses, the conclusions from previous research if not to be on guard against political noise, distraction, bias, all the way up to outright fraud.

  79. dover_beach

    Remember that the latest research is now going to be much more cautious in its proclamations. The ruckus over climategate is going to make scientists more circumspect.

    This is true but I don’t think this has washed through the system yet; we’re likely to notice a change in the second half of this year. I think the “latest research” now appearing was likely submitted before climategate, etc.

  80. John H.

    You could be right about that DB but I wouldn’t be surprised if published material in waiting(it can take many months from acceptance to publication) is not being recalled for revision and “correction”!

  81. John H.

    DB,

    By way of example, I found it interesting that recently Nature put up a huge list of its reviewers as a defence against some claims that a few reviewers were dominating their publication process.

  82. Steve Edney

    Sinclair presumably thought John Howard was talking about himself and Phillip ruddock when he said.

    “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.”

  83. Sinclair Davidson

    she isn’t lecturing people on parent hood, she’s employing future generations rhetoric

    Indeed, she is. But why didn’t she just say ‘can we look future generations in the eye…’? There is no problem with that as opposed to making claims about children that is very clumbst language. I think the government is trying to avoid the term ‘future generations’ because that terminology is associated with debt and debt burdens. So it’s probably just like they didn’t want to use the term ‘billions’ last year.

  84. Peter Patton

    Sinclair, I think there might also be the fact that Tony Abbott has been conducting a very aggressive campaign to own the ‘family’ space, especially given the status of Rudd front-benchers Wong, Roxon, and Gillard. By actually saying the word ‘children’ perhaps Wong was attempting to neutralize Abbott’s first mover advantage?

  85. THR

    Indeed, she is. But why didn’t she just say ‘can we look future generations in the eye…’? There is no problem with that as opposed to making claims about children that is very clumbst language

    It could be less sinister than that. By ‘our’ children, she could simply have meant nephews, nieces, grandchildren, kids in the neighbourhood, and not just one’s immediate offspring.

  86. Peter Patton

    THR

    That’s why I reckon.

  87. C.L.

    Barnaby Penny Wong bungles (or deliberately lies about) the percentage of countries which have signed up to the failed Copenhagen “Accord.” Says it’s 85 percent. It’s actually 36 percent.

    Also at that link, journalist Richard Orange admits to inventing sinking island hoax.

  88. JC

    This “future generations” shtick is the left’s new mantra after been laughed at for wheeling out kids (“think of the children”) with every new policy.

    The idea that the poor (us) should help the rich (future generations) is about the most pathetic thing any leftwinger can say. I thought their argument was always about equality and not widening the spread between the rich and poor.

    No one has yet to make an argument the future generations are going to be poorer. Not even Stern and mini-me (Garnaut) tried that shit. In fact it’s the opposite even when using dodgy discount rates etc..

    So the idea of making transfer payments to future generations ought to be anathema to the left wing.

    As usual though their cascading logic is flawed from the very beginning.

  89. THR

    Is it really transfer of wealth, or the negative goal of not trashing the environment?

  90. JC

    THR:

    You need to define exactly what you mean by “trashing the environment”.

    This is a pretty open statement to make that environmentalists often apply that is supposed to conjure an image but by itself is about as meaningless as any empty rhetoric.

  91. JC

    THR:
    For instance I could easily argue that littering the country side with useless propellers on sticks and ridiculously dilute panels is actually littering the environment.

  92. THR

    I mean causing sea levels to rise, destroying rainforests, etc.

  93. Peter Patton

    THR

    I am actual believer in global warming. I also accept the contribution of industry-caused GHGs. The problem is I am not persuaded it is all caused by man’s activities. I am not persuaded that the largest concentration of GHCs – water vapor – is a consequence of increasing carbon levels.

    But least of all am I even remotely persuaded we can do anything about it, if our only plan is to decrease our conscious use of fossil fuels.

  94. JC

    Sea levels have been rising since the middle ages, THR and an ETS is not going to stop them rising.

    Vegetation in the developed world has increased since 100 years ago.

    So are WE “destroying the environment”?

    We interact with the environment. That’s what humans do and have always done and will continue to do. To suggest otherwise is to ignore human behavior.

  95. THR

    I agree that neither a carbon tax nor an ETS will do anything about it. I don’t think that humans’ are just benignly ‘interacting’ with the environment. There are plenty of places in SE Asia where seemingly permanent clay mud has replaced former rainforests. And take a stroll through one of China’s industrial cities – the ‘interaction’ can be seen, smelt and tasted in the form of black smoke.

  96. Sinclair Davidson

    By ‘our’ children, she could simply have meant nephews, nieces, grandchildren, kids in the neighbourhood, and not just one’s immediate offspring.

    Maybe.

  97. THR

    ‘Childless lesbians’ still have an important role to play with respect to children. I’m surprised this would even be controversial. This isn’t to say the ‘think of the children’ schtick wasn’t merely a rhetorical device.

  98. Sinclair Davidson

    THR – I don’t care if she’s a lesbian or not. I’d be just as annoyed if Julia Gillard made this comment. I recently criticised Gillard on a similar type thing.

  99. THR

    So only those with their own children are entitled to be concerned about children? This is taking things a little far.

  100. JC

    Here’s a very basic way to look into the future.

    Global GDP is around $65 trillion, give or take.

    On present trajectory of 3.5%, the compounded estimate for global GDP 100 years from now will be 2,027 trillion annual, assuming no mitigation cost and no damage from AGW, (which I think it real enough by the way).

    If we lop off 1% off the growth rate for mitigation efforts real GDP would be $768 trillion (annual).

    The difference between $2,027 – $768 measures the expected losses that AGW is supposed to cause over this period.

    That means that the alarmists are expecting a loss of $1,260 in annual GDP from the effects of AGW.

    Nordhaus, the Yale (economist) has already suggested that US losses from AGW in 2100 would amount to $5 billion and the US is 22% of global GDP. This points that the losses would be nowhere near as big as the alarmists are suggesting.

    Long term grow rates matter a lot and if the innumerate Wong wanted to really argue about future generations instead of making up bullshit and exaggerating the effects, she should explain how and why lowering the growth trajectory would actually help future generations instead of hinder their wealth prospects.

    Wong, Rudd and Lurch are the hindrance to future living standards as it appears. as nothing else is, certainly not AGW.

  101. Sinclair Davidson

    So only those with their own children are entitled to be concerned about children?

    No. Of course, not. But at the same time people without children should not be using children as an emotional blackmail device.

  102. JC

    I don’t think that humans’ are just benignly ‘interacting’ with the environment.

    I never suggested it was benign or not so. The word “benign” needs to also be defined too by the way. For instance, Britain’s environment looks nothing like it did 1000 years ago and a great deal of vegetation has been removed over time and new shit has grown in a far different way to what it did. The Scottish Highland’s weren’t always barren of trees either by the way. Yet anyone going through the English countryside would talk about how pleasant and pretty it looks despite experiencing an enormous amount of human interaction. Humans change their environment. That’s what we do.

    There are plenty of places in SE Asia where seemingly permanent clay mud has replaced former rainforests. And take a stroll through one of China’s industrial cities – the ‘interaction’ can be seen, smelt and tasted in the form of black smoke.

    Some of it has been screwed over in terms of our rich world standards. But ask a Chinese person living in parts where industrialization has reached them whether they would like to go back to the old ways. Chinese want to live like Americans do, THR and there is no reason why they shouldn’t.

    The problem environmentalists make is that they don’t believe there are trade offs in life. The average Chinese I’m sure is more than prepared to live with the brown smog than how they lived before. In any event their living standards and demands are will not remain static as they go through the various stages of industrialization. It won’t be too long before they demand cleaner air etc.

    Static assumptions are the great error of the enviro zealots. They want stasis. In fact they crave it.

  103. C.L.

    I don’t know. I think Wong is a garden variety leftist drone, as well as a confirmed hysteric and whopper-botherer on “climate change.” But having now read about her only sibling’s suicide in 2001, I’m less inclined to make assumptions about what she does or doesn’t feel about families and children.

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