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catallaxy in technical exile

global warming – the models

with 54 comments

This graph, from Lindzen’s article at cato shows the prediction of various models.

CO2 doubling effect

from this, the 1 degree change for 2xCO2 (doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide) looks the most reasonable.

The only rebuttal to this part of Lindzen’s that i’ve read is by

He repeats this point in the Q&A session as well. However, Lindzen is undoubtedly well aware (having written papers on the subject i.e. Lindzen, GRL, 2002) that lags in the surface temperature due to ocean thermal inertia imply that the transient response is always smaller than the equilibrium response, and that additionally, there are other forcings in the system (specifically land-use change and aerosols) that counteract the forcing from greenhouse gases alone.


(this article is actually referring to different presentation of lindzen’s and not necessarily the cato article, but the substantive point is the same)

This doesn’t seem very satisfactory to me. Lindzen points out that the models chosen are the overestimates if we use them back over the recent past. The other side responds by saying theres a lag, or theres land use changes. First, to address the lag, the long term data suggests temperature moves before CO2 rise. So the causation is plausibly the other way around. Of course there are other factors like the oceans acting like a heat sink, and convection to the poles cooling the planet, but these suggest mitigating factors. You can’t just say theres a lag and expect everyone to run for the hills. Second the other forcings in the system could be positive or negative, but presumably thats what is contained in the model as well. You can’t just pick the high model and say “lag and forcing”. Of course, the high model could be true, the globe could also possibly cool. Land use changes are interesting, because they contribute to climate change irrespective of the CO2.

Thus, they don’t give enough evidence that we should pick the high one.

I’m sure there are reasons for scientists picking the high model. But lets hear them not just quote the increasingly imaginary “consensus”.


Written by Admin

November 24, 2006 at 11:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

54 Responses

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  1. A bit tricky to eyeball, but it looks to me like the 2 degree warming is probably closer to what that temperature is varying around. Given that its above the 1 degree for all but about 10 years in the early part of the century and a couple of years in the 70’s.

    Steve Edney

    November 24, 2006 at 12:13 pm

  2. potentially 2, but it looks more like an upper bound than the curve of best fit…

    3 definitely looks high…its not like its in the middle of the data or anything. the selection presumably is due to faith in lag.

    it would be good to get the data to do the modelling and plot different curves…i’m in the process of doing this…more soon…

    is anyone really concerned about even a 3 degree warming? i dont think there will be any catastrophes like massive sea level changes or conveyor belt shutting down or frozen europe…

    it would presumably just be a bit more pleasant in europe in winter, the arctic would be more navigable, and the southern hemisphere would probably be mostly unchanged (lots of ocean – and it looks like it might be cooling anyway)

    a 3 degree change seems to be handled by polar convection and ocean heat sink cooling. if we’re not nuclear (fission or fusion) by the end of the century we really dropped the ball on energy. by then we could be CO2 neutral if we chose to be.


    November 24, 2006 at 12:33 pm

  3. You can’t just present a model that assumes that, contrary to the laws of physics, assumes that the oceans warm instantly and claim that you’ve proved something wrong with the models that are actually used.

    Have a look at what a real model and not a straw-man model produces. The interesting thing to note is that this model was run in 1988 so there is no chance that the model was tweaked to fit the observations after 1988. But the fit is really good.


    November 24, 2006 at 12:43 pm

  4. Tim

    What’s you view on AGW? Where do you think we are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 everything being hunk dory.


    November 24, 2006 at 1:49 pm

  5. Tim, I’m not sure that was the link you intended.


    November 24, 2006 at 2:01 pm

  6. Tim (and Ken Miles if you are out there):

    1. Are there any conclusive studies which exclude the influence of solar radiation?

    2. What assumptions are made about feedback into vegetation growth as a carbon sink, the cooling effect of rising oceans and smog density contributing to dimming?

    3. What is impractical or impossible about carbon sequestration, silver cloud lining or iron filing dumping?

    4. Can you explain the logic behind the data smoothing in the initial IPPC report which produced the hockey stick graph – note I am sceptical about any data transformations in any analysis. Methodologically, I think the data should speak for itself.

    So from 1. and 2., how significant is the human impact, and is there an upper limit on the greenhosue effect?

    Mind you I don’t see global warming as a policy concern. Reductions in market distortions made by taxes and other regulation would reduce net emissions anyway. This is the way to go as there is no immediate cost, unlike a global trading system.

    Mark Hill

    November 24, 2006 at 2:16 pm

  7. Models, schmodels.

    However you look at it, CO2 emission is a pollutant. It is estimated that each of us Australians is responsible for around 70 kg of the stuff each and every day. To argue that this is OK and we should keep on doing it is reprehensible. In a user pays economy there must be a price put on pollution and the resulting damage it causes.

    If we act on CO2 pollution and later on we find out that it doesn’t matter, then it won’t matter – we will have a more energy efficient economy. On the other hand, if we don’t act, and the more dire predictions turn out to be true, then we’ll all be up the creek.

    Instead of trying to shoot the messenger or quibble about the details of the message how about offering some constructive support and policies for doing something about it?

    Get over it. Move on.


    November 24, 2006 at 2:22 pm

  8. By removing market distortions, we remove carbon emissions and move towards more efficient energy use anyway…thereby short circuiting any problems about the costs, benefits and imperfect information surrounding carbon trading. In this case, there is is no immediate costs.

    How do you value what this extra price on carbon emissions should be? How much should someone in inner-city Sydney pay in Pigouvian taxes for their food to be transported to the Broadway woolies?

    Mark Hill

    November 24, 2006 at 2:27 pm

  9. FDB: Oops correct link.

    JC: You haven’t defined any other numbers on your scale.

    Mark: 1. Solar hasn’t increased in the last few decades, so it hasn’t caused any of the warming in that time.

    2. vegation growth absorbs some CO2 but not enough to make much difference. Rising oceans have a neglible cooling effect. Smog aerosols are included in the models.

    3. Don’t know.

    4. Smoothing removes noise and lets you see the signal.


    November 24, 2006 at 3:09 pm

  10. Tim (and Ken Miles if you are out there):

    Hi Mark, I am “out there”, but I don’t have regular internet access, and I’m trying to write a patent (first one – yay) so I won’t be regularly checking this site.

    1. Are there any conclusive studies which exclude the influence of solar radiation?

    I’m not too sure what you mean. If you mean future predictions of climate changes, then yes, because the sun’s future output is very uncertain, projections of future warming are for human effects (GHGs, particles etc) only. If you mean explaining the past climate, then no. We can only accurately account for the past climate by considering a range of factors both natural (solar and volcanic) and human caused.

    2. What assumptions are made about feedback into vegetation growth as a carbon sink, the cooling effect of rising oceans and smog density contributing to dimming?

    I haven’t read too much into this, so this is a very basic discussion, but the biosphere will increase as a carbon sink (there are some vegetation models which predict that with significant warming ecosystem changes will change from being a carbon sink to a carbon source – however, these are pretty new and aren’t used in the standard models).

    What cooling effect of rising oceans?

    Smog – some has a warming effect, others a cooling effect. Depends on the particles.

    3. What is impractical or impossible about carbon sequestration, silver cloud lining or iron filing dumping?

    CS – nothing (but the economics may make other forms of power generation more practical)
    Cloud lining – nothing that I’m aware of.
    Iron filing dumping – I thought that this didn’t perform nearly as well as expected? Once again I haven’t studied this so I could be completely wrong.

    4. Can you explain the logic behind the data smoothing in the initial IPPC report which produced the hockey stick graph – note I am sceptical about any data transformations in any analysis. Methodologically, I think the data should speak for itself.

    The “data smoothing” as you put it, was performed in the inital IPCC report. Rather it was performed in a individual study, and cited in the third IPCC report on the Scientific Basis for Climate change. I presume (and this is very far from my area of expertise) that the smoothing was carried out to reduce year to year fluctuations so to get a better idea about the long term changes in climate. There are very good reasons for performing transformations on data, but if your sceptical about any analysis, I would suggest this paper as it probably has the simplest analysis (but still includes smoothing).

    So from 1. and 2., how significant is the human impact, and is there an upper limit on the greenhosue effect?

    The human impact on climate is significant (at least in the 20th century). We are probably the single biggest driver of climate.

    There are theoretical limits on the greenhouse effect (for example, we will never be like Venus – there simple isn’t enough atmospheric pressure for that). But these limits are pretty academic as the likely effects are far far lower than the theoretical effects.

    Ken Miles

    November 24, 2006 at 3:39 pm

  11. Ok
    We do nothing at all about reducing carbon d. What is the world going to look like in 100 years time.

    The reason I ask this is that the get up and do something crowd are asking that we do an enormous transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

    The poor are us relative to future generations.


    November 24, 2006 at 3:44 pm

  12. not to mention todays poor. wasting money on stupid things like carbon sequestration when spending the money on anything else would be better. we could spend it on hospital beds or give the money to the gates foundation to research malaria. or create a medical x prize for aids research. or anything at all!


    November 24, 2006 at 3:51 pm

  13. i’m going to kick off a new post wrt the policy options of global warming and hopefully jason and john humphreys et al will put in their opinions.


    November 24, 2006 at 3:52 pm

  14. In 2100 without mitigation policies the world will be…

    Slight sea level rises (some small Islands will have to be evacuated and some costal properties will be flooded, but this is small fry in the context of 100 years of global history).
    Significantly less biodiversity
    Wetter (due to increased bioversity)

    With mitigation policies, it will be as above, but slightly less.

    Ken Miles

    November 24, 2006 at 3:54 pm

  15. 2. What I mean is, that greater CO2 production will also see a faster rate of CO2 uptake by plants. Or I assume that. Is this right, wrong, or factored in at all? As with the oceans, I don’t think I am getting my point across: you say the effect is neglible (which may be the answer I get anyway). But every unit the sea level rises is parabolic in terms of volume, and requires an exponential amount of energy to do so. Also if there is greater ocean volume the regulation of temperature is less volatile, is it not?

    So isn’t there a dynamic equilibrium for temperatures, rather than a linear projection of the current and perhaps spurious linear correlation between CO2 and termperatures? Or is raising the C02 level shifting the equilibrium – then wouldn’t the negative feedback become stronger?

    4. I can’t agree with data smoothing. The data should be analysed to the types of trends present. It seems like you are just cancelling out a potential random walk because it doesn’t look neat. Regression analysis of the disentangled processes should reveal the actual trend, shouldn’t it? I have seen a couple of cointegration aanalyses of AGW, but I don’t know enough about the science to judge which ones were conclusive. One was supportive of AGW, the other was not. Is there anything conclusive out there?

    Mark Hill

    November 24, 2006 at 3:55 pm

  16. Thanks Ken.

    However, mitigation policies won’t mitigate help overall human welfare. Immediate removal of the market distortions that favour old technology and coal, and taxes that kill innovation and investment in more efficient energy transmission will help to reduce GHG emissions immediately, without the immediate and ongoing costs of a trading system.

    Mark Hill

    November 24, 2006 at 4:00 pm

  17. miles i bet you $10,000 2006 AUD that the world will not be poorer in 2100…

    since we may not live that long, care to take $10,000 that the world will not be poorer in 2025?


    November 24, 2006 at 4:10 pm

  18. Ken

    Hotter? I am sure you or I wouldn’t notice if were living. In any event hotter is good I thought as mammals thrive when its hotter.

    “Slight sea level rises (some small Islands will have to be evacuated and some costal properties will be flooded, but this is small fry in the context of 100 years of global history).”

    By how much? If its slight why should we care.? People living on those islands coud be compensated. It wouldn’t be effecting more than 150 million people anyway. Pople do move it’s no big deal. it’s also a huge bet thinking future generations want to be living on small tropical islands when we see most migration is to cities.

    “Significantly less biodiversity”

    Ah. You have fallen for this one too. What is more diverse, the Amazon or the south pole? Hot weather combined with lots of water is actually like tonic to life form. I don’t know where you get this.


    I will bet you any part of $100,000 that world GDP will be higher 10,20 100 years from now. We can escrow the funds and leave them there for a future generation. Want to bet?

    Wetter (due to increased bioversity)

    Ok, you have both hotter and wetter. these are the two ingredients that pumped so much life into the Amazon. The Amazon river has more diversity than the entire Atlantic. Ever wonder why?

    “With mitigation policies, it will be as above, but slightly less.”

    No. With mitigation policies it will be slightly poorer.


    November 24, 2006 at 4:11 pm

  19. ABL says:
    “Immediate removal of the market distortions that favour old technology and coal,”

    ABL you wanna expand this a little. How so?


    November 24, 2006 at 4:13 pm

  20. even with stupid mitigation policies we’ll be richer than now, but slightly poorer than we otherwise would have…

    the world is richer despite one of the most costly wasteful centuries ever. two world wars, half a century of communism in china and russia. aids, malaria and war taking a whole continent out of the global economy.

    humanity will overcome these things.


    November 24, 2006 at 4:14 pm

  21. deregulate nuclear and bring all energy technologies into line with regard to pollution controls.

    remove all distortions and government funding for energy technologies.

    get rid of three mines policy. allow australia to sell uranium to any liberal democracy. allow any company to build nuclear enrichment plants in australia with government oversight.


    November 24, 2006 at 4:17 pm

  22. Cato

    The problem I have with us switching to nuke is that we give up an absolute advantage in coal for only a comparative advantage in Uranium.

    This is a very big issue for us that we need to carefully consider before we scrap coal fired plants for nukes.

    Nuke energy would force us to price ourselves at the world price because the market in uranium is essentially a world market. Compare this to the vitually limitless supply of brown coal close to our big cities that doesn’t carry a world price. Moreover the advantage of being an Island means the electricty supply cannot be sold to our neighbours at a higher price. So we are left with abundant cheap enegry….. that is an absolute advantage.

    We need to think very carefully before we change this vituaous circle.

    Sure deregulate the silly policies to do with nuke, but I wouldn’t be forcing oursleves to jump to nuke energy by placing some artifical price on carbon in an attempt to play pretend games.

    This is the drivel third raters are going for.

    Maybe our uranium exports ought to be credited back to us. If they were we would be be so carbon credit positive that would own the world.


    November 24, 2006 at 4:30 pm

  23. Perhaps Ken means than a warmed 2100 will be poorer than a non-warmed 2100, not that 2100 will be poorer than now.

    Even then, enviornmental economist Mendelsohn suggests that warming of less than 2.5 degrees will not lead to a net cost to the world (poles & mid-latitudes gain, tropics & sub-tropics lose).

    I have joined in this new renaissance of AGW skeptic activity with a new post at the ALS blog:

    John Humphreys

    November 24, 2006 at 4:32 pm

  24. JC: This is why I think laissez faire has much more hope for the environment that fuzzy global “solutions”. In fact, a global agreement to free trade and low taxes and regulation along with strong property rights and privatisation may be more helpful. A strange idea…read on.

    Let’s say you did remove taxes on capital, tariffs and non-tariff barriers on vehicles, planning restrictions on energy generation, allowed the privatisation and rationalisation of power generators and networks and removed the legislative bias against biodiesel, LPG/CNG and ethanol. Let’s say you created incnetives to manage forests and vegetation by allocating strong property rights. Let’s say you also allow for the use of GMO and allow farmers to manage their farms and reduce ag. subsidies to zero.

    What do I think would happen:

    1. An increase in the amount of fuel efficient vehicles purchased, and locally produced efficient vehicles.

    2. The building of energy generating plants deriving from many alternate sources.

    3. Investment in more efficienct transmission systems, reducing demand for energy inputs.

    4. An uptake in renewable and less carbon rich fuels.

    5. More forestry and vegatation preserved and farmed.

    6. More efficient farming, using less cultivated land, therefore reforestation and regrowth of grasslands. Possibly more efficient harvesting of biofuels.

    7. A large increase in disposable incomes, employment and total factor productivity.

    8. Large increases in R&D spending across the board. There are potential spillover effects, e.g creation of a thermal plastic for aicraft may be used in a more efficient photovoltiac cell.

    There are some seemingly attractive state impsoed policies, like compulsury solar panels etc. But these are inequitable and do not encourage solar panels on new homes etc to be efficienct as possible, it will not create the best possible product, as it is an implicit subsidy to producers. The same thiong happened to the efficiency and confort of Australian built cars. There is also the opportunity cost of some of this being spent on investment in R&D by individuals who wish to save.

    Only the market can properly allocate R&D, industrial policy has been dead in the water for some time. The arguments against it are as strong as any economic argument, thanks to Hayek’s work on prices and information.

    Mark Hill

    November 24, 2006 at 4:37 pm

  25. Totally 100% agree, ABL. Great points.

    John. Humphreys doesn’t mean that. He means
    people will be foraging round trash cans looking for food in 100 years time wearing shorts and t shirts in the winter.


    November 24, 2006 at 4:45 pm

  26. Sorry Miles doesn’t mean… should have said.


    November 24, 2006 at 4:46 pm

  27. 1 degree on the decadal or one or two centuries level looks MUCH more reasonable to me.

    Otherwise it would show up in the data OFTEN.

    And not just (perhaps) in the last two decades of the twentieth century. And thats debateable too. But not by me because I don’t know how to uncouple the data.

    In any case there hasn’t been enough ignorant INDUCTION up until right now.

    And its this link THIS LINK!! ………

    Its this link that takes the INDUCTIVE-SOPHISTICATION for this subject to an whole…… new………level……


    November 24, 2006 at 7:19 pm

  28. timlambert comes in and says there is lag caused by the oceans.


    didn’t birdy make the argument that there was lag between some non-CO2 event and warming


    November 24, 2006 at 8:15 pm

  29. Well Scrooge.

    From here on in I’m saying there might be a lag or there might not.

    But I’ll be saying from here on in that such talk is the wrong way round.

    The CO2 effect ought not be seen to be LAGGED by the oceans.

    Because I have decreed THIS VERY DAY that the oceans are the thing.

    And we must find some sort of metric based on something deep in the oceans a little bit less wispy and whimisical then AIR.


    November 24, 2006 at 8:21 pm

  30. “The problem I have with us switching to nuke is that we give up an absolute advantage in coal for only a comparative advantage in Uranium.”

    We need both to increase as much as we can get them and fast and we need some sort of national solidarity about it.

    We don’t switch we build.

    And we must build with a real sense of urgency.


    November 24, 2006 at 8:25 pm

  31. “We need both to increase as much as we can get them and fast and we need some sort of national solidarity about it”

    Sounds a bit like Mao’s Great Leap Forward there, Birdy …

    Jason Soon

    November 24, 2006 at 8:26 pm

  32. “allow any company to build nuclear enrichment plants in australia with government oversight.”

    I LOVE it.


    Get this shit DOWN.


    November 24, 2006 at 8:28 pm

  33. ““We need both to increase as much as we can get them and fast and we need some sort of national solidarity about it”
    Sounds a bit like Mao’s Great Leap Forward there, Birdy …”

    No no.

    No compulsion and no subsidy. Ã…nd no increase to non-governmental depredation.

    But as a political force and as (potential) politicians we have to fight like amphetimine-enhanced-heterosexual-buggery to clear a way and give confidence to such investors who might wish to pay their own way.

    If I’m elected to HIGH OFFICE you won’t see me sitting back and lamely saying….. “Oh…. don’t do that……… Oh…. my position is that…… well………we should do …. well nothing is better then something……. I’m smarter then you statists…..”

    You won’t get that lame stuff from me fella.

    I’ll be out to kick heads.

    But the businessmen will have to pay their own way.

    National non-defense priorities cannot go further then tax cuts in their encouragement.

    But its more an inspiring of confidence and getting the light-touch regulation right and TRASHING most of the existing regulation.

    Not business as usual.

    Not a hoity-toity weak-ass libertarian holier-than-thou attitude.


    November 24, 2006 at 8:37 pm

  34. Oh goodness me.

    Cato’s graph implies that the CO2 effect ( I stress…. for that sort of time period) is actually likely LESS THEN 1 degrees for a doubling.

    Because what we know is that during that time the solar cycles have been, on the whole, building.

    So there really isn’t any real data in favour there……..

    ….. and elsewhere we mostly on see GOOD evidence for CO2-warming on the local level for arid areas.

    Well that last bit is my interpretation anyway.

    But my interpretation of the graph I think I can vouch for.


    November 24, 2006 at 9:05 pm

  35. #7 Slim, if you are wanting to reduce our carbon footprint, the quickest way would be to do what signing the kyoto protocol would have done. Ship our aluminum industry off to Indonesia. Problem immediately solved.
    …oh wait, net world emissions would be no different.


    November 24, 2006 at 9:22 pm

  36. “Have a look at what a real model and not a straw-man model produces.”

    I did. But what we are trying to model? 0.5 degrees increase through the last few decades? Isn’t it within natural variability?

    This is important even if this is caused by CO2 emissions, since the feedback mechanisms when it comes to, say 2-3 degrees, are quite unknown.


    November 24, 2006 at 9:50 pm

  37. JC you’re absolutely right. i want the market to decide between coal and nuclear…but nuclear has been unfairly punished for years. the only good thing to come out of the global warming alarmism is that nuclear is back on the agenda. right action for the wrong reasons.

    the government will probably stuff around with it though.

    does anyone else get the impression that this whole thing is unravelling.

    me bird and humphreys are posting substantive things about data. the best the other side can do is say “consensus”.

    truth will win the day yet…


    November 24, 2006 at 10:10 pm

  38. Now that you all feel better for having got that off your chest, I’m interested in a practical outcome.
    Please consider the LDP’s energy policy ( and tell me if we have got the balance right.
    I wrote the policy, with a bit of help. I also have a background in science, not economics, so I understand the bullshit associated with “consensus”. On the other hand I don’t have any expertise in climate science. Judging by the confidence of some of these comments, some of you must have that.
    So, please tell me what you think.


    November 24, 2006 at 10:41 pm

  39. David

    My view is that we should have a totally lay off it approach and allow nuke into the picture. If we get pressured into signing Kyoto we demand that we get credited back our uramium exports and that they be set aside for our coal driven plants.

    I think this is so important because the last thing we should do is give up our absolute advantage with coal for nuke power.

    My view is the game is too late. I think Bush will sign some sort of agreement.


    November 24, 2006 at 11:00 pm

  40. my comment should be included as a fall back if we sign a Kyoto arrangment. We must not give up our advantage in using coal under any circumstances. It would truly screw us up.


    November 24, 2006 at 11:02 pm

  41. remove the dangerous waste materials from nuclear…

    vitrified processed nuclear waste sunk deep into the middle of a tectonic plate is completely harmless and has zero effect on humans, animal or plant life (the definition of pollution)

    coal puts more radioactive material into the air than nuclear. furthermore, nuclear is the only energy technology in the world that causes a net reduction in radiation…i’m pretty sure the waste materials put out less radiation than the input materials, otherwise the second law of thermodynamics would be violated…


    November 24, 2006 at 11:12 pm

  42. Cato
    The problem as I see it is that we are now dealing with scare campaigns further enhanced by an extremely compliant media. You will have enormous problems dealing with lies and distortions about nuke material making it vitually impossible for the government to allow it. Howard is just chomping at the bit to go ahead, but it’s like shoveling shit uphill with the eniron crazies. They will lie and distort the truth to no end.

    You would see Brown and his “brown” shirts plant all sorts of lies about it. In the end it will fail.

    The trouble is that you need enormous publicity to fight back the onslaught of lies and distortions.

    The other side. The green left doesn’t want economic growth. They don’t want to see improvements in living standards. We must understand that their motivations and objectives are not ours. They want a return to some semi-proverty type life. Good energy for the enviro nazis is to only have electricity production on windy days.


    November 24, 2006 at 11:23 pm

  43. Thats a pessimistic view JC, the Mises link touches on those anti liberal elements

    Listening to Adams on LNL interviewing Niall Ferguson re empires war etc – at first Adams was happy in his usual fawning way to have a fellow anti-US on board and could barely restrain himself interjecting with his own version of events. Towards the Life of Brian it all takes a nasty turn when Fergusson remarks on the “absurdity of crude anti-imperialism” and Adams is left floundering up his own shit creek of anti-imperialism anti-american prejudices.

    Fergusson says that Iran may need premptive action and cites among the ‘what ifs’ if the UK had appeased Hitler and if the British Empire had not existed Hitlers’ Empire may have been flourished unopposed.

    All in all Fergusson thinks that the future does not have to be apocalyptic if political leaders are willing to be proactive.

    [audio src="" /]


    November 25, 2006 at 8:51 am

  44. Jason Soon

    November 25, 2006 at 9:01 am

  45. I’d be interested in anyone else’s ideas about data smoothing, re the hockey stick graph. Why not try to disentangle various time series trends and build them into a cointegrating model?

    As for Nordhaus and Stern:

    “How large a one-time investment would be justified today to remove the
    wrinkle starting after two centuries? The answer is that a payment of 15 percent of world consumption today (approximately $7 trillion) would pass the Review’s cost-benefit test. This seems completely absurd. The bizarre result arises because the value of the future consumption stream is so high with near-zero discounting that we would trade off a large fraction of today’s income to increase a far-future income stream by a very tiny fraction. This bizarre implication reminds us of Koopmans’s warning quoted above to proceed cautiously to accept theoretical assumptions about discounting before examining their full consequences.”

    Conclusion: global warming is a real problem, the Stern report et al., offer no real solution.

    Mark Hill

    November 25, 2006 at 11:52 am

  46. We ought to have done what the great Labour Prime Minister Bob Hawke said.

    Take all the worlds radioactive waste.

    The hard thing would be to keep a straight face.


    Because its only a matter of time before we learn how to use all that stuff and it becomes worth zillions and they will all want the radioactive ‘waste’ back again.

    The window of opportunity won’t last long and so we better get to it.

    Its just like oil. In the older days and even not so long ago you’d see them burning off the natural gas.

    Of course the natural gas turned out to be the most useful stuff.

    So we wasted it all by burning it.

    And its like this for radioactive waste. We waste it now by not reprocessing it or failing that just accepting it from all the frightened suckers out there in the world who have been duped by leftist scaremongerers.


    November 25, 2006 at 4:22 pm

  47. …i’m pretty sure the waste materials put out less radiation than the input materials, otherwise the second law of thermodynamics would be violated…

    I’m pretty sure this is not true. It also doesn’t have to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Actually I can’t even work out why you think it would.

    Steve Edney

    November 25, 2006 at 7:55 pm

  48. Well Steve.

    It would go like this:

    This material has already supplied enough energy to melt the Laurentide Ice-sheet……

    And dude probably suspects that its atomic-instability has been diminished some…..

    And so that therefore the atom kicking bits of itself out at folks might be somewhat diminished.

    Now if he’s right the material cannot be too dangerous with a little bit of care and vigilance.

    And if he’s wrong its time to figure out how to re-process the stuff and let it be one component-part in our goal to get real Gross Domestic Revenue Growth up above 20%………

    …….and then all of us can make potfulls of gold. In a situation of famously-secure SECURITY and be unassailable to any foreign aggressors or coterie of same

    Its time to stop being CHILDISH about this people.

    Nuclear is the safest, the best, the cleanest (and if we get the regulatory regime right) potentially the CHEAPEST of any energy source available to us in what must be the majority of non-transport situations.

    And the only reason its opposed by the left (as a group, not as individuals) is because it WORKS.


    November 25, 2006 at 8:54 pm

  49. Nuclear energy is not a left/right issue outside of Australia. In places like France and Sweden the left always supported nuclear energy.

    It is hard to understand why otherwise rather moderate ALP (and even more moderate state branches) is so opposed to nuclear energy and uranium mining, especially in the place where there must be more space to place power plants in geologically stable locations and to store waste safely.


    November 25, 2006 at 11:55 pm

  50. Hi Boris,

    Although I was about 10 yrs old when the ALP’s three-mine policy on uranium was decided on, I’ve read a bit about the ALP’s position on uranium and its current opposition to uranium. (Prior to 1977, it was actually in favour of mining uranium according to Peter Walsh.)

    My impression is that its current opposition to nuclear power is strongly informed by the fear of nuclear power and nuclear weapons that was very strong in the 60s, 70s and 80s. I’m not sure if they’ve looked carefully and dispassionately at the issues. I suspect that quite a few anti-nuclear campaigners aren’t acting from information and reasoned analysis, but from their feelings and insufficient information.

    I don’t have a complete understanding of the issues associated with nuclear power, but I’ve read enough to know that it’s not as straightforward as some anti-nuclear campaigners put forth.

    Sacha Blumen

    November 26, 2006 at 9:53 am

  51. If Australia is the best place in the world to store nuclear waste, and if storing nuclear waste in the best place in the world to do so is an important thing to do, and if the transport issues can be adequately dealt with, then it should be done.

    Even if it’s directly under my house.

    Sacha Blumen

    November 26, 2006 at 9:57 am

  52. John Humphries is correct wrt what I meant by poorer.

    Ken Miles

    November 27, 2006 at 11:34 am

  53. Ron Bailey over at Reason has a new piece on engery and AGW. Worth readng althougj i don’t agree with him on carbon pricing. You can price carbon out by offering accelerated depreciation and tax holidays for investors in alternatives.


    November 27, 2006 at 2:14 pm

  54. Sure. You could do that.

    But we must never forget that CO2 is good and that we are in an ice age.


    November 27, 2006 at 3:07 pm

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