'The very opposite of intellectual totalitarianism' - Macleans.ca

‘The very opposite of intellectual totalitarianism’


Maxime Bernier considers the reaction to his comments on climate change and rallies his supporters.

This is why it is so important to have an open and balanced public debate. This is the very opposite of the intellectual totalitarianism of those who would like to stamp out every dissident voice.

As I said in my Calgary speech some weeks ago, we should be the lobby of the silent majority, this majority which is not represented by the interest groups that we hear about all the time in public debates, but who will pay for the policies being adopted in the end. I encourage all those who feel concerned by this question to make themselves heard, either by leaving a comment on this blog, writing to your elected officials or to newspapers. Thank you to those who’ve done it. I can assure you that you are having an impact.


‘The very opposite of intellectual totalitarianism’

  1. There might be global warming or cooling but the important issue is whether we, as a human race, can do anything about it.

    There are a host of porkies and not very much truth barraging us everyday so its difficult to know what to believe.

    I think I have simplified the issue in an entertaining way on my blog which includes some issues connected with climategate and “embarrassing” evidence.

    In the pipeline is an analysis of the economic effects of the proposed emission reductions. Watch this space or should I say Blog


    Please feel welcome to visit and leave a comment.



    PS The term “porky” is listed in the Australian Dictionary of Slang.( So I'm told.)

  2. "…but who will pay for the policies being adopted in the end."

    It won't be Quebec, that's for sure.

  3. Gotta laugh at Conservative labelling – suddenly annoying things like the “facts” are ” totalitarianism.”. I suppose when you refuse to accept reality, it feels like the world really is out to get you

    • Glen, I think you and the other negative first responders are employees of the opposition.

    • Why do you hate the troops?

  4. Mad Max Bernier – "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"

  5. Suzuki: Don't you sometimes wonder if it's worth all this? I mean what you're not fighting for.
    Bernier: You might as well not question why we breathe. If we keep breathing, we'll die. If we keep doubling our emissions, the world won't die.
    Suzuki: Well, so what? It won't be out of its misery.
    Bernier: You know how I sound, Mr. Suzuki? Like a man who's trying to convince himself of something he doesn't care about one way or another.

    • I'm shocked, SHOCKED! to find that there's real facts allowed here…

  6. Bernier is such a doofus. Compared to him – Helena Guergis seems like a feet on the ground brainiac!

  7. Well here's a fun one…

    Bernier says that we should have a debate. Meanwhile his government, which he says he supports, cuts funding for the major body that sponsors climate research in Canadian universities.


    Apparently furthering our understanding of the admittedly complex system of the earth's climate has no part in a debate… about the climate.

    • The problem is that climate research units, thus far, have not covered themselves in glory with respect to open debate.
      In fact some of their premier representative seem to be using their funding to hinder open debate.

      Hence, the apparent contradiction to which you refer is seen to be entirely self-consistent.

    • The Earth will fix itself with us or without us. She doesn't care about debates.

    • The Earth will fix itself with us or without us. She doesn't care about debates.

  8. He might be a doofus but so is Sarah Palin and look how popular she has become for the Right. I don't think we should dismiss Bernier just yet. There are plenty on the Right who would find his message appealing. Harper needs to keep his base happy and with Bernier going rogue, speaking Reformer language to everyone, he will have problems.

    Frankly, I think that Bernier is the best thing to happen to the Liberals right now. If Bernier can threaten the makeshift Progressive-Reformer-Rightwinger coalition, it is the Libs who stand to benefit.

    I'm sure Harper is regretting not bringing Bernier back to the Cabinet table. Another masterstroke move from the Chessmaster-in-chief.

    Who said canadian politics was boring?!?

  9. Bring on the Beauce-Belleville-Battleford coalition!

  10. This is why it is so important to have an open and balanced public debate. This is the very opposite of the intellectual totalitarianism of those who would like to stamp out every dissident voice.

    Dear kettle, so good to see you. how is the pot doing?

  11. Exhibit A

    I'm telling you….The Right will love Bernier. Harper's got himself a problem.

  12. Max is right. No one is allowed to question lest they be called crazy. This reference to him as a doofus is infantile. I can hardly wait for the British dips in Ottawa to start a character assassination campaign on him, too.

  13. …regretting not bringing Bernier back to Cabinet???

    au contraire – every time Bernier opens his mouth, my estimation of Harper's sense of judgment increases.

    • You are missing the point, Richard. Had Bernier been in Cabinet, he wouldn't be able to open his mouth.

  14. I had thought Bernier was an idiot, and yet Wherry keeps posting snippets of intelligent things he's said.

    • "I had thought Bernier was an idiot, and yet Wherry keeps posting snippets of intelligent things he's said. "

      Exhibit B

  15. In a totally unrelated development…

    Source: AP

    SYDNEY – An iceberg about the size of Luxembourg that struck a glacier off Antarctica and dislodged another massive block of ice could lower the levels of oxygen in the world's oceans, Australian and French scientists said Friday.


  16. What Harper hath joined together, let Bernier put asunder.

  17. That's just crazy.

    Why would you write something crazy like that?


  18. Stick with your instincts.

  19. "intellectual totalitarianism"

    What I find interesting, and not at all surprising, is many of Bernier's detractors here don't take on substance of what he's saying. Craig O is the only one who has argument and everyone else has declared Bernier's a halfwit and think that's an argument. It is no surprise Libs/libs need 'thinkers' conference – they are incapable of forming their own ideas. All they do is attack.

    • Interesting concept — a thinkers conference is being inferred as negative. Unlike CONs, who let someone else think for themselves and then, pow! pull a Mao on them for coming out with intellectual totalitarianisms… Dare say, isn't one of the best things about thoughts is that you can share them without much risk? But then, Harper probably thinks intellectual thought causes STDs…

  20. Loon? Why is it that name calling and gossip spreading have come to pass for debate in this country?

  21. And "‘The very opposite of intellectual totalitarianism' would be an Idiot Democracy?

    • Canada's Back!

    • "I see your true colors shining through…" to steal a line from Cindi Lauper. Do you mean idiot democracy like the the Constitution lays out? Do you mean idiot democracy that used to work until lefties and liberals poisoned the educational curriculem? Do you mean all us podunks should just shut up and await the gems of truth that spill from the lips of our intellectual betters like M. Dion, or Iggy!!?? Go back to to your delusional ivory tower of self certainty and smugmness, no need to dirty yourself dealing with inferiors like us, what could we know?

  22. "What Harper hath joined together, let Bernier put asunder."

    I wonder. Cons need to learn how to play nicely with one another. Libs managed to do it – they have Trudeau/Chretien/Dion wing and Turner/Martin/Iggy side. Maybe it's easier for Libs because they are less ideological and have few, if any, principles to break and irk the base.

  23. Well, but, except that… he's an idiot.

    • lol
      stop making joylon look good:)

  24. Now, now don't go all "(Liberals) have few, if any, principles to break and irk the base" on me.

    If your contention is that comparatively speaking the Tories have a lot of more, and more well-defined principles, then even if I grant you that for the sake of argument, you do still have a problem with your line of argument.

    Recent evidence would appear to conclusively prove that the Tories have no problem whatsoever with breaking pretty much every principle they supposedly hold, openly and brashly, with no fear whatsoever of irking their base.

  25. "Intellectual totalitarianism" – what piffle!

    If intellectuals had all that much power more radical steps to address emission problems and climate change would already have been taken.

  26. Irony.

  27. I find it interesting that Bernier is employing a term like "silent majority."

    While Harper is more closley compared to Nixon for the moodiness and chip-on-the-shoulder dickishness, Bernier seems to be reaching back for the language of Nixon.

    Next thing you know he'll be talking about "law and order" when we all know what he really means …

  28. I was being generous about Libs – since they decided that coalition with separatists was good idea, and the base agreed – they have no principles. Libs are nothing if you can't rely on them to support strong, Fed government.

    I agree that Cons abandoned their principles but the base hasn't. The polls I have seen recently show Con support down but Libs stay about same. Other/Don't Know has gone up. That tells me Con base is not happy. Next week's budget is important, I think, and we will see how base responds.

  29. Are you claiming knowledge of Bernier's IQ, or are you simply posturing?

  30. One shutters to think what happens when Max meets up with Sarah.

  31. Since when did being anti-science become a conservative principle?

    • Since when did asking questions and challenging percieved concensus become "anti-science"? One might even say such things are required for science to progress.

  32. Would that silent majoirty being the 30% of Canadians who reliably vote Conservative?

    This country lacks a majority opinion, about almost anything.

  33. Exactly. This isn't debate, it's name calling.

  34. That's it! Maxime Bernier is Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General!

    Some of us will have buzzers in our brains to impede critical thoughts and ballerinas will wear weighted sacks on their feet so we can all finally be equal. No one will be smarter (or dumber) than Maxime.

  35. Exception to the rule…only a genius can be wrong all the time.

    • Chris Matthews is a genius? Who knew?

  36. I propose that the opposite would be emotional anarchy.

  37. In related news: Tomorrow boys and girls Max will show us how to bring black and white people together and live in peace and harmony. He'll also show us how to play the flute:" You blow in one end and move your fingers up and down like this"!

  38. It is possible to be a classical liberal and still be a fool. I've met a few. I've even been a few (well ok, just one).

    As to the detractors, yes that's par for the course. But honestly, a guy who leaves classified docs with his biker chick girlfriend has to be a few cards short of a full deck, no?

    And yet, then Wherry goes and posts all these little comments from the guy that strike me as far more intelligent than 99.9% of the comments on these Macleans boards…well ok, granted that's not saying much… but still. Why is Wherry messing with my mind like this?

  39. "It is possible to be a classical liberal and still be a fool."

    I agree. Should have copy/paste "snippets of intelligent things he's said" instead.

    "But honestly, a guy who leaves classified docs with his biker chick girlfriend has to be a few cards short of a full deck, no? "

    Maybe yes, maybe no. If docs were important staff would have noticed they were missing. I think it's sign of intelligence – I, too, would feel a great deal of ennui when it comes to most government work and docs. I have no problem at all imagining myself forgetting most of the crap governments generate and caring more about pretty women. At the very least, it is normal.

  40. LOL. Seriously?

    It's called "irony".

  41. Well, Bernier isn't really presenting any real ideas – at least not new ones. At best he's recycling old skeptic talking points that are continually addressed by climatologists and environmentalists, but are rarely, if ever, followed up with a response.

    The wait-and-see quote that came up on the Need-to-Know section is a shining example of that – it holds no logical consistently unless you reject any significant possibility of climate science, on the whole, being right, but that doesn't stop it from getting dragged out every. single. time. any skeptic decides to thrown their hat into the ring.

    The call for an open debate is also quite facetious. A debate already exists, both within the scientific community and outside, especially over the various internet blogs that report on the subject. Some of it is quite substantiative. So by calling for an open debate, he's essentially asking to go back to square one, without any reason to – if he values open debate, then he should start to engage in it, rather than launching criticisms and addressing none that plague his viewpoint in return.

    Debate is beyond important, but it's important to progress that debate rather than stand still and present the same arguments again and again and again. While I don't like the reactionary responses either jolyon, Bernier is an idiot, because he's presenting arguments that are so easily debunkable that the only people who continue to parrot them are the ones who haven't bothered to engage in the very debate Bernier's calling for.

  42. Do you have a single example of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences obstructing or hindering opposing views?

    • Not the CFCAS, no. But since the CFCAS was not one of the groups whose conclusions were used in the IPCC report and hence by global leaders in setting environmental policy, I don't think that's particularly relevant.

      If you really don't get just how badly the credibility of the entire field of climate science has been damaged by this fiasco, take a look at this memorandum submitted to the British Parliament by the Institute of Physics.

      In particular I draw your attention to this quote: "In so far as those scientists were complicit in the alleged scientific malpractices, there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field." That's in article number 10.

      • So we're back to guilt by association, are we?

        The CRU and its members acted unscrupulously, not going to deny that. So have other climatologists. But that doesn't mean all climatologists are behaving unethically, or that the science the field as a whole has brought forth is invalid. The link you give shows the Institute of Physics asking questions, rightfully so, into how the field conducts itself. But it doesn't jump to the conclusion that the field is tainted, or that their findings, even the CRU's findings, should be discarded.

        Again and again, we see attacks on the person, but not on the science. AGW is wrong, apparently, but the only evidence of that being brought forth is that some of the scientists are behaving unethically. That's a concern, for sure, but when you have so many scientists studying the field independently, you've got a lot to do to prove that the entire field is corrupt, especially since this theory stretches back half a century, to the times before many of the current scientists in ill repute were even graduate students.

        Besides, if you have no evidence of wrong-doing on the part of the CFCAS and I'd hope you wouldn't assume they're corrupt without any evidence, that only reinforces the idea that they should continue to get funding. If there's doubts with the available research being done abroad, credible research becomes that much more valuable, especially if it's done here on topics that matter most to Canadians. It makes no sense to have a debate without proper information, and it makes less sense to call for such a debate while stifling access to such information. The cut in funding is not consistent with Bernier's rhetoric.

        As for the wait-and-see approach, I addressed that in the Need-to-Know report on this subject, which I know you read because you commented on the same report after I did. If you wish to continue to press that point, I would have hoped that you would have responded to my points in that setting, or addressed them here.

        • "AGW is wrong, apparently, but the only evidence of that being brought forth is that some of the scientists are behaving unethically."

          I've not said that AGW is wrong. What I have said is that the case for it is questionable.
          Since AGW is the claim, those claiming it have the burden of proof. It's not up to the rest of us to prove that it's wrong! As the IoP pointed out, the entire field's practices are questionable because of significant misconduct at the top. As the line I quoted says explicitly, the integrity of the whole field of Climate Science is now questionable.

          If the field's integrity is questionable, the conclusions released by those in the field are also questionable. A wait-and-see approach is therefore perfectly reasonable and wise.

          "I would have hoped that you would have responded to my points in that setting, or addressed them here."
          I don't like repeating myself any more than you do, but the fact is that I really don't remember the Need-to-Know commentary you mention. Therefore I ask your forbearance in addressing the issue here, or if you'd prefer not to then I'm sure it will come up in future postings again anyway.

          • Ah the burden of proof…

            Here's the thing – the information out there makes a compelling case in itself. The burden of proof has been largely satisfied, at least enough to take appropriate action (I will repost my response to the wait-and-see approach Bernier presented, which will support this point). Your point is that the scientists who came up with evidence are not credible. That's an accusation of the people involved, but it does not in itself refute their findings – only if they are guilty of the various misconducts they are being accused of do their results then come into question. That means the burden of proof lies with those making the accusations, such as yourself – innocent until proven guilty, and all that.

            More tangibly, if a doctor is accused of malpractice, it is the accuser who has to prove the doctor's guilt, not the doctor who has to prove his innocence – nor do doctors he or she worked with have to prove their lack of instances of malpractice.

          • From http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/02/24/bernier-questi

            Your own post is two below mine.

            "Ah yes, the "wait and see" approach.

            There is, of course, doubt in the science of AGW, especially with regards to specific consequences. But uncertainty isn't a reason for inaction – quite the opposite. If I had a vat of mysterious yellow fluid and I ask my friend, let's call him Bob, to figure out what it is, there are a number of things he could do to find out. One of them is see what the fluid does to himself, perhaps by ingesting it. If, say, it's acid, he'll know by the acid burns all down his throat and that dying sensation in his belly. If it's lemonade, it'll taste delicious going down, and he'll have a chance to drink all the lemonade before I can (damn you Bob!).

            Of course, it would make more sense for Bob to run some other tests that don't involve him possibly dying, even if that means I'll find out that it's actually lemonade at the same time he does.

            When it comes to climate change, the earth is Bob and we're drinking the fluid. There's plenty of reason to question, even doubt, many of the claims from AGW theory, and there's far greater reason to be skeptical about the certainty of those claims. But there still must be a recognition that CO2 emissions represent a significant change to the atmosphere and environment in general, and that there is a non-trivial chance of something very bad happening if we continue our rate of emissions. Inaction is not the best policy in the face of uncertainty.

            As for alarmism, it runs both ways – expressing overconfidence in the gloom and doom predictions of AGW isn't appropriate, but neither is overstating the costs of lowering emissions, provided it's handled at least somewhat intelligently."

          • The analogy isn't bad, but I would make the following adjustments:
            (1) The guy drinking the fluid ("Bob") has been drinking it for decades and nothing bad has ever come from it. On the other hand, if he stops it will cost him a lot of money.
            (2) The guy warning Bob (let's call him "Al") and his friends will get billions in grants and "yellow fluid offsets" if anyone believes him.
            (3) Al has also been drinking the fluid, and in fact is still drinking it just as heavily as Bob.
            (4) Al has tended to shout down anyone who even questions him.
            (5) Al has been caught trying to hide data that doesn't agree with his hypothesis, bury papers with which he disagrees, and obfuscate information requests at every turn.

            Now, given all these (and I'd say this analogy is now perfect), does it really make sense for Bob to heed Al without waiting for more information?

          • You've missed the analogy entirely…

            I'm saying we're basically conducting an experiment, which will have results that we cannot fully predict. There is a possibility of something significantly bad happening if we continue along with the experiment. As such, it makes more sense to stop the experiment, if we can, to see if we can better predict what will happen if we were to continue with it, then to forge on ahead and risk our safety. The costs of stopping are not overly restrictive either – many countries have leveled off and reduced their emissions with little if any negative impacts on their economies.

            After a few meaningful posts Gaunilon, your last two have been rather reactionary. I've put a real effort here to explain my points as well as I can, and I would appreciate if you would take the time to try to understand what I'm trying to say and respond to that, rather than just continually looking for any little way to advance your unchanging position.

            For example, do I really need to lay out that more CO2 emissions are likely to lead to different or more severe effects than what's occurred from previous CO2 emissions of the last century? I mean, by the logic you've used in points 1 and 3, if I eat one Big Mac a week and don't get diabetes, I couldn't possibly get diabetes if I eat 5 Big Macs a week – but that's ridiculous, and you know that just as well as I do.

  43. Bernier writes: "this majority which is not represented by the interest groups that we hear about all the time in public debates, but who will pay for the policies being adopted in the end."

    Sunday Times – Jan 24 2010 – "The chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    Rajendra Pachauri's Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to £310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion's share of a £2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers.

    It means that EU taxpayers are funding research into a scientific claim about glaciers that any ice researcher should immediately recognise as bogus."

    Craig O writes "Bernier is an idiot, because he's presenting arguments that are so easily debunkable".

  44. tories may have more principles but they seem far more likely to ignore them. In the end, what is the diff?

  45. The irony is delicious…red meat conservativism from the heart of darkness Quebec, and honeyed words and faux liberalism from the that bastion of liberalism – alberta…the dissonance is enough to drive a reformer off the deep end.

  46. apparently it's guilt by association.

  47. Did Max forget that he lost his job? He was caught banging a biker hoe. No one else has forgotten. Good luck winning the leaderhip convention now.

  48. Love…true love…but it's ok, neither have access to nato documents right now.

  49. "The irony is delicious…red meat conservativism from the heart of darkness Quebec"

    If I was a reformer, I'd be all over this one. Sure Bernier is a bit rough around the edges and a bit too much of metrosexual for some within that group but a francophone Reformer with a Quebec following?

    Don't let his perceived shaky grasp on policy fool you. Harper got into power with a smokes and mirrors campaign. There was very little substance in it. And he's repeated the same kind of performance in the following elections. The man barely bothered to produce a platform in the last one.

    You wanna believe that a man like Bernier would never have a shot at becoming Prime Minister but I can remember a time when the very same was said about Harper.

  50. Really? This irony, is that what passes for intelligent comment rather than analysis of data? And the reference to the UK high commission is in reference to what published stories have said about the way the Brits handle Canadian politicians who disagree with them — by spreading rumours about them and their abilities. You could, as they say, look it up. So Bernier is likely next on their hit list as he doesn't agree with Brown's position.

  51. Thanks for that Maxime. I was thinking my silent majority ideas would never get credence but you've just embiggened me — off to create that new Cascadia flag!

  52. Yes, but what if she was just reading the big words for him…well, not just that!

  53. How dishonest of you, Gaunilon;since the only climate research unit which has been accused, falsely, of trying to hinder debate, was being deluged with FOIA requests by dishonest bloggers who were seeking to hinder the scientists' work, not to learn anything, because they don't have the brains to understand the data they keep whining about.

  54. Well, for one, Himalayan Glaciers ARE melting, though not nearly as fast as was reported in the IPCC report.

    However, it's all beside the point. One man taking advantage of one falsehood in one section of the IPCC's report does not throw out the work of thousands upon thousands of climatologists, even if that one man happens to be the head of the IPCC, because climate research is done by largely independent scientists and organisations who may collaborate, but ultimately come to their conclusions independently.

    Bernier makes a good point about the politics that surround climate science, but is saying nothing new about the core of the science itself, or what the response to the findings of that science should be. As much as some would hate to admit it, the Himalayan glaciers don't need to melt in 2035 for AGW to be occurring.

  55. 'There's a reason why the Left has gained power as critical thinking skills have declined."

    Coming from a branch of political thinking that has pretty much abandoned W. Buckley for Palinism, i'd say that staement was a tad ironic, no? Glass houses and stones…

  56. "…decided that coalition with separatists was good idea, and the base agreed – they have no principles."
    Ah, the rights revision of history continues. Nevermind Harper's own diddling with Duceppe many moons ago, so quaintly put to print that you can't deny. Let's see, where did the first Bloc members emerge from? I do seem to recall it was something called conservative in nature. Paranoid, self-obsessed, meglomaniacs, that doesn't sound far off the fruit Harper's selling.
    Enjoy your hidden coalition with the 'devil'…

  57. Just to add, because I forgot, I assume the debate Bernier wants to have is on the climate science and what to do about it, not whether some climatologists are bad people.

  58. "…If Bernier said it publicly, Harper wanted it out there.

    Harper himself described the Kyoto process as “a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.” Last year he appointed two climate “skeptics” to high profile scientific bodies in a move described as dreadful by members of the scientific community…"


    • Please demonstrate that Kyoto is not "a scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations". I like when lefties reference that quote, because he was demonstratably correct with that assesment.

      • "Please demonstrate that Kyoto is not "a scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations".

        Given you can't prove a negative, just how would one do that Einstein?

  59. Ok, my tinfoil isn't too tight, perhaps you should check yours then…

  60. Coalition with the separatists that had the separatists giving up their power for two years.

    Damn.. gotta hate that.

  61. As critical thinking skills have declined the left has gained power?

    Considering that it's the conservatives in power, something's wrong with that statement.

    Is it that critical thinking skills haven't declined? Well.. judging by your claim that the left has gained power when it's plainly obvious that they're not in power, in seems that you're correct that critical thinking skills have declined.

    So it looks like all that's wrong is that it's not the left that gains power as critical thinking skills decline, it's the right.

  62. "This is the very opposite of the intellectual totalitarianism of those who would like to stamp out every dissident voice."

    I like the cut of the Bernier's jib. He keeps this up he will be very popular indeed with a large section of the base, that's for sure. I have many complaints about Cons and one of them is they don't sound conservative and are doing nothing to progress conservatism in Canada. Bernier sounds like other conservatives, ones who aren't in politics, and that will excite people.

    • Is it the insane, paranoid part of his meme that seeps deeply into your cockles, joylon? That's where he sounds like a lot of CONservatives i read here…

  63. Agreed.
    Yes, it is just like the lefty yahoos south of the border salivating over a Palin presidential candidacy.

    The election (and re-election!) of Dubya a proved that a truly dangerous idiot can reach high office and implement a nefarious agenda dictated from the power brokers that keep carefully out of sight.

    And, while I am guessing that Harper's IQ is likely more than Palin's and Dubya's combined, his gov't acts just as dumb as Dubyas and talks just as dumb as Palin and still got reelected.

    So, if Palin is the GOP candidate and is defeated by Obama, the fact of her candidacy will have lowered the bar … just as her VP candidacy did. Max, as leader of the Tories may sound attractive to center and left leaning types, but besides the risk of letting an airhead like this take high office now – it paves the way for a future version to do the same.

  64. Well, I'm glad you don't deny that critical thinking skills have declined. Where you're running into problems is that you're thinking in terms of the last 4 years, and in terms of Canada alone. There hasn't been any widespread societal change in the last 4 years, and Canada does not represent all of society.

    However, if you look at the last 150 years, you see significant social changes. Mostly leftward. Capische?

  65. "One man taking advantage of one falsehood in one section of the IPCC's report ….. "

    Do you keep with the news, Craig O?

    Interview with Phil Jones: "Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming? Yes, but only just." BBC, Feb 13, 2010

    "A BRITISH climate scientist at the centre of the hacked emails controversy has been accused of trying to hide flaws in Chinese weather data used in a scientific paper on the effect of cities on global warming.

    The 1990 paper, which also included temperature records from Australia, was cited in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as evidence that urbanisation only made a small contribution to rising temperatures." Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 3 2010

    "The world's leading organization on climate change says it is working on a strategy to better police the experts who produce its high-profile reports, to try to ensure they adhere to rigorous scientific standards.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change needs to "leave no stone unturned to come up with a set of measures so this can be ensured," Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations-sponsored organization, said." WSJ, Feb 24, 2010

    "Even some who agree with the IPCC conclusion that humans are significantly contributing to climate change say the IPCC has morphed from a scientific analyst to a political actor. "It's very much an advocacy organization that's couched in the role of advice," says Roger Pielke, a University of Colorado political scientist. He says many IPCC participants want "to compel action" instead of "just summarizing science." WSJ, Feb 26, 2010

  66. Critical thinking skills have declined over the last 150 years? In what universe? 150 years ago you and I would both have been farming.

  67. Hey Gaunilon, The Economist calls a lie a lie:

    "…What's truly infuriating about this episode of journalistic malpractice is that, once again, it illustrates the reasons why the East Anglia scientists adopted an adversarial attitude towards information management with regard to outsiders and the media. They were afraid that any data they allowed to be characterised by non-climate scientists would be vulnerable to propagandistic distortion. And they were right…"


  68. If there is one thing that the Bush vs Gore campaign thought me, it is to not assume that Obama could easily beat Palin if she ended up as the GOP nominee.

    We are talking about voters that replaced Ted Kennedy with an absolute nobody.

    It may sound farfetched… but then it isn't.

  69. I only speak on behalf of the fool, you know. You can't expect too much.

  70. Ah.. I see the problem I'm having.. I was just looking at YOUR critical thinking skills.

    My bad.

    Incidentally, I thought human rights issues and the abolition of slavery were also leftward changes.

  71. Are you saying that you disagree with what Bernier is advancing?

  72. "Harper's got himself a problem."

    I don't think Harper has a problem because no one is going to challenge his authority. Once Harper goes, it will be interesting to see how many Tories remain within party (I think of them as Prentice supporters) and how many Reform types remain (more Kenney and now Bernier).

    • "I don't think Harper has a problem because no one is going to challenge his authority."

      It sounds like the prevailing opinion is that the CPC caucus is too obedient to challenge Harper. I personally don't think that's the case. Giornio was attacked by anonymous caucus members the other day and I saw this as a veiled threat against Harper himself. I am also inclined to think that there is a good reason why Bernier has chosen this particular moment to make his move.

      There's blood in the water…

  73. "The many errors made by the IPCC that have been recently unveiled add more weight to the various alternative theories that have been put forward for a number of years. The errors (both of them) by the IPCC are not particularly important. "

    Dr Dawg needs to get out more, I reckon. Because even the IPCC the errors are important indeed or else they would not be doing this:

    "The UN is to commission an independent group of top scientists to review its climate change panel, which has been under fire since it admitted a mistake over melting Himalayan glaciers." Guardian, Feb 26, 2010

    I love it when people comment about someone else's beliefs and ideas when they have no freakin' clue themselves.

  74. The Canadian MSM has done a poor job of reporting the recent climate change events. The problem for AGWers is not just the embarrassing glacier mixup or using reports by WWF/Greenpeace/graduate students but the very real problems with its raw data, methods and conclusions. Phil Jones (of climategate fame) admitted that much of the original data is missing and therefor cannot be tested or verified by others. He admitted that other periods of warming (like MWP) may have been warmer which smashes the unprecedented claim. Finally, he also admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming for 15 years. Even more amazing is all that has been blamed on this statistcally insignificant warming – from acne to yellow fever, more wind, less wind, more snow, less snow . http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

    In fact there seems to be anything that doesn't prove AGW/CC. Quite the 'science' you true believers have – missing raw data, unreproducible results, contradictory claims on effects, no way to falsify predictions, meddling in the peer review process, refusal to hold open debates etc, etc. Fortunately, all of the major data gathering organizations are in the process of being investigated and/or being sued to get them to live up to the FOI requirements. Advocating taking action before the investigations and legal workings are complete is an odd reaction for people who claim to be pro-science and intellectually gifted. But Palin and Mad Max are the idiots…right.

  75. i don't think they'll accept a francophone Quebecer as PM..the west wants in still. [ i'm not suggesting racism] unless the Cons are a lot more mature than i give them credit for, i'd say this has the potential to split the con coalition…Harper does well to keep Bernier outside, but if this keeps up the old maxim : better inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in, will come into play.
    i take your pont about Palin…to be fair though does Bernier = Palin?

    • "i take your pont about Palin…to be fair though does Bernier = Palin?"

      Not at all. Palin is a first class idiot (read Game Change, very revealing). Bernier is not. I think that he lacks political savvy but he's actually solid on policy though I completely disagree with them. I'd love to know who is on his "campaign" team, though.

  76. You talking to me? or do you know what Bernier means?

  77. Gaunilion takes the long view…the enlightenment was an infringement of the doctrine of infallibility.

  78. That is laughable!!! First of all, FOIA is a requisite for basically anybody who gets government funding, so esentially every government dept. is able to respond to them in a reasonable fashion. The fact that these "scientists" were unable to respond AT ALL is a testament to their incompetence.

    Secondly, they NEVER REPLIED to the FOIA requests. The only time they invested in them was trying to suppress the very information that was sought out.

    Thirdly, if these "scientists" were even half honest, the data would be publicly available to anybody who wanted it. But they're not honest, so they lied and covered up the fact that their data was completely bunk instead.

    Fourthly, who's paying you to make this stuff up?

    • Wow! It almost sounds like you know what you're talking about! Never trust someone who so emphatically ust KNOWS what happened, and just KNOWS why!!! Especially when they're commenting on a story whose details transpired largely on the net.

  79. Having a garaunteed veto for two years is "giving up their power"?

  80. There's no satisfying people like you, is there? You'll only be truly happy when scientists are lower on the totem pole than used car salesmen, or intellectuals generally.

  81. There's no satisfying people like you, is there? You'll only be truly happy when scientists are lower on the totem pole than used car salesmen, or intellectuals generally.

  82. No, the Bloc agreeing not to vote against any bills their federalist counterparts put forward for two years is "giving up their power". The notion of a "veto" is something you just made up in your head.

  83. I guess I have the same three questions about Bernier's leadership prospects as anyone else who has ever worked around or met the man, which are:

    1. How is possible for someone with a sub-normal IQ to get an economics degree and a law degree from accredited Canadian post-secondary institutions?

    2. Is it possible for someone with a sub-normal IQ to be a viable candidate for national leadership?

    3. Would people vote for a national leader with a sub-normal IQ?

    I fear the answers to these questions are "yes", "yes" and "quite possibly".


    • " Is it possible for someone with a sub-normal IQ to be a viable candidate for national leadership?"

      If the people voting for you are rightwingers, absolutely. Bush made it to the White House and Sarah Palin is the toast of the rightwing town.

    • "Is it possible for someone with a sub-normal IQ to be a viable candidate for national leadership?"

      Have you heard the names Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi?

  84. This scientific debate thing is easy, just look at a couple of web sites, and mention tree rings or ice cores or something. Nothing to it and it absolves you of making the policy choices and decisions that ought to be your field as a politician.

    Join us for our next two episodes in which Max looks through one of those surveyor thingies at the site of the Fort McMurray Water Reclamation project to demonstate he is au courant with infrastructure development and then dresses as the third backup goalie for the Croatia game in order to set a course for Canadian sports policy.

    Wasn't Max also at the Berlin Wall with Sarkozy?

  85. OK, last attempt.

    You wrote: "Max is right. No one is allowed to question lest they be called crazy".

    I replied to you by calling you crazy.

    Was my use of ironic humour really too subtle for you?

  86. No. The coalition government would have only survived as long as the Bloc supported it. That is a veto in every way but in it's name. A Rose by any other name… and all that.

  87. Thank you for not responding to my point whatsoever…

    Let's give you the benefit of every doubt here (mostly because I'm currently too lazy to address some of the things you've said here which range from valid to misleading to downright irrelevant). The IPCC is not synonymous with climate science. It does not control the field of climatology. If we throw out everything it says, we are still left with thousands of reputable climate scientists who reach the basic conclusions of the AGW theory (though doubtlessly they differ in their views of the details and consequences).

    Neither Bernier, nor you, have addressed climate science, only the politics surrounding it. Yes, some climatologists are opportunistic and deceitful. So are many skeptics. It doesn't matter. Are CO2 concentrations rising? Will that lead to a significant rise in the earth's temperatures? If so, what are the general implications? These are the questions that matter and there's more than enough untainted data to make reasonable conclusions about what could happen and what to do about it.

  88. Why do you consider an attack against a few scientists an attack against all scientists? This is exactly the "intellectual totalitarianism" that Bernier talked about. Is criticizing a scientist or questioning the norm now considered "anti-science"? Perhaps somebody should go back in time and tell that to Newton or Galileo.

    • Oh give me a break…you're only critical of these scientists, right? And for the record i do support good science…therefore i have no problem with Jones and company answering to their critics, and their jobs if proven. 'Intellectual totalitarianism" is just another code word/phrase for the libs are shoving reality down our throats again, which is just like a dog whistle for the far right.

  89. Except they signed an agreement that they would not vote against the Coalition government in a confidence motion. So the only way for the government to *not* survive, would be if the Bloc went back on their word.

    While I realize that's S.O.P. for Harper's crew, if the Bloc has been one thing, it's that it's been honest about what it wants and intends to do.

  90. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f

    Take a look at the rich countries who have met their obligations and those who haven't. The Scandinavian countries have hardly been suffering since they signed. France's economy has been one of the more resilient G8 countries during the recession and Germany, which has pretty much kept the EU going through the recession, was damn close to its target.

    On the flip side, look at the countries who missed their obligations. Besides Canada, we're in stellar company – all four of the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) who are now major drags on the EU, and you can throw Ireland in their too. Japan hasn't looked too hot over the last two decades either.

    My point here is not that meeting Kyoto obligations makes the economy better, only that there's very little evidence that meeting them makes the economy worse – if Kyoto were truly "a scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations", those who met their targets should be doing a whole lot worse than they are now.

  91. "So the only way for the government to *not* survive, would be if the Bloc went back on their word".

    You mean like Iggy did the moment he became leader?

    And signing an agreement to vote for policy that you haven't seen – for two whole years, noless – wouldn't come without some strings attached. What did the coalition promise the Bloc to get them to agree to something so reckless? An EFFECTIVE veto over policy.

  92. Non-written strings are worth the paper they're written on. Besides think really hard about what the Bloc stood to gain if the Liberals and NDP were making policy. Those two parties have had almost a historical favortism toward Quebec, with the biggest question being which one fawns over them more.

    They wouldn't even need a veto, written, effective, or otherwise, in order to see Quebec making great gains out of the coalition.

  93. Who cares about facts or proof when Holly Stick, and many others, have feelings that obviously trump reality. I wonder where Harper ever got the idea that agw is scheme to transfer wealth?

    "The British Government, as revealed by the EU's Official Journal, has allocated £60 million of taxpayers' money to be spent on buying carbon credits from the Third World for the use of government buildings and other official purposes – so that our civil servants can continue to benefit from the CO2 emissions needed to keep their offices warm and lit. " Sunday Telegraph, Feb 20, 2010

  94. No, that is a lie, sourstud.

  95. "SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

    It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

    The UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation." Sunday Times, Nov 29, 2009

      • "The climate expert at the centre of a media storm over the release of emails onto the internet has admitted that he did not follow correct procedures over a key scientific paper.

        In an interview with the science journal Nature, Phil Jones, the head of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University East Anglia, admitted it was "not acceptable" that records underpinning a 1990 global warming study have been lost." Guardian, Feb 15, 2010

        Are you saying Phil Jones is a liar?

        • No, you smearing denialists keep lying about what he says. How about you provide a link for your quotation so I can see if it ia another dishonest quote by Leake or one of the other misrepresenters.

  96. No, you're lying. Who's paying you to aid in the cover up?

    "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

    If you'd like to be enlightened, there are many more like it: http://www.eastangliaemails.com/

  97. No, what you have written about Phil Jones are lies. Here is the real story: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/201

    See also my Economist link above.

    What you have written about climate science are also lies, Go through this list and refute all of these papers, before you can honestly say there was no proof of AGW.

  98. Not sure where you get that idea Holly.
    Nothing the CRU has done appears to be verifiable! The problem remains that CRU record keeping was abysmal. The MET office is now organizing an independent effort to redo what CRU had purportedly done for the last decade, and keep it in the public domain. I don't know you, but if my employer decided that my last 10 yrs or research needed a do-over, I'd be a wee bit embarrassed.

    • Do you do anything but smear scientists?

  99. And if the CRU were the only institution conducting climatology, you might have a point.

    As it isn't, you're pointless.

  100. The British Government's actions likely stem more from the Copenhagen talks (which were beyond worthless), not from Kyoto.

    And how is the federal government investing in energy production in CANADA a transfer of wealth out of the country? Heck, reading the reports, it looks like that new source of energy could replace BC energy imports from the US, meaning money is kept here, not removed.

  101. "The story then becomes even more bizarre. The contracts with Barclays, J P   Morgan and co – who will retain up to £9 million in commissions – will be used to buy Certified Emissions Reduction (CER) credits under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) set up under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol."


    I was cheating with Natural Resources quote, I know. I always like to give Harper a good kick whenever I can and just finished reading the Corcoran article I got quote from.

    How about I alter Harper's quote to “a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing economy.” The gist is same.

  102. Whadyaknow – I stand corrected. Entirely unnecessary to have transfers to third-world and – correct me if I'm reading this wrong – it looks like those credits are being bought so that the UK can meet it's obligations, rather than as part of a transfer scheme (sort of like a loose cap-and-trade type deal), which is pretty much just a cop-out on the UK's part.

    For the other part, come on jolyon. We're not talking about some hippie commune, it's a pulp mill – I'd call that part of the wealth-producing economy. Besides, this is an investment – if that money was going towards a coal-based power plant, would this be, at all, an issue? And considering that this is a pretty novel way of going about things, it's a fairly solid real-world R&D investment as well. I really fail to see the downside, or even socialist angle, of making a resource-producing sector more efficient.

  103. Science is not a belief system. It is a method system. The whole altar of science is erected on the assumption that results are reproduceable if theory and method are faithfully followed…this is what "proves" a theory.

    When the methods and the data are hidden from scrutiny fron "non-believers" how are sceptics supposed to react? To call AGW science is to call taliban rule democratic, everyone who disagrees is simply killed. No problem, perfect society.

  104. Fortunately, climatology and its generally accepted conclusions don't rest on any single data set or method – there are multiple research units with independent data sets, many of which are as available as any other data set from scientists in other fields (that's not to say they're 100% available, because neither are the sets from researchers in other fields).

    That's why the criticisms of CRU, while entirely valid, ultimately change very little – what they found, others found independently meaning the results are not only reproduceable but have already been reproduced. You can throw out their data entirely and still come to the same conclusion that the vast majority of climatologists do.

    • The results are utterly irrelevant, the CAUSE is the sticking point. Since cyclical warming/cooling is the norm in the historical data why is this event different than others? That is the fundamental point at issue. The fast and loose with the truth and the damning emails on obfuscating the recent cooling (which utterly shreds the agw theory if their hypothesis about human carbon is correct) are the issue. That you guys continue to spout your revealed truth as it supports your world view, in spite of OVERWHELMING evidence of fraud and "Downing streeting" the data to fix the facts to the policy shames you. I'm not saying let's pump toxins into the environment, I am saying that before we kneecap our economy and sentence our children to poverty that we be awfully damn sure.

      • Despite all the denialist hysterics over a few stolen emails and one mistake in the IPCC report (which no denialist had the wit to find) the huge amount of evidence that AGW is occurring is still right here. There is no "OVERWHELMING evidence of fraud" just denialist liars screaming in all-caps on their blogs.

        What evidence do you have that "cyclical warming/cooling is the norm"? If you point to the MWP, despite it being a regional event, not a global event, so what? One period of warming then cooling does not make a "norm".

        The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and in the ocean is going up. The global temperature is going up, justas it is predicted when the amount of CO2 rises. If you do not believe CO2 is having a greenhouyse effect, give a scientific explanation for why not, then explain why 2000-2009 was the warmest decade in recorded history.

  105. nice try dude, but you've got your shoes on the wrong feet…Vonnegut was specifically targeting lefties in the piece. Freedom is Ignorance, Truth is how you twist it?

  106. Wasting your breath…anyone who conflates the taliban rule with CC science isn't really interested in a debate, no matter claims to the contrary.

    • Are the results reproducible? Is the nascent ponzi scheme of carbon trading credits real? Is kcm a sociology undergrad at left leaning school? Is calling someoneone a "denier" (and all that implies) worse than equating taliban orthodoxy with extant agw climate science pr? Check out the post on realclimate science about the warning sign of agw being a cult…you may be due for some reprogramming my young friend.

      • Not so young actually. And i dislike the use of rediculous hyperpole in polemic, whether it be equating Israeli misdeems to fascism/nazism, or the taliban to CC scientists. It does nothing to move the debate forward. There are plenty of intransigent idealogues who refuse to even consider the possibility of AGW…agreed that simply labelling them deniers probably isn't helpful either.

  107. The CRU "scientists" are the one who were caught red handed distorting and destroying the data that their work was based on.

  108. The UK Institute of Physics is a charity, not an authority.

  109. "…only if they are guilty of the various misconducts they are being accused of do their results then come into question. That means the burden of proof lies with those making the accusations, such as yourself – innocent until proven guilty, and all that. "

    Point 1: this is not a criminal case, it's an assessment of credibility. There's more than enough evidence to establish that their credibility is in question.

    Point 2: "The CRU and its members acted unscrupulously, not going to deny that. So have other climatologists. – CraigO
    The prosecution rests.

    The cred gap is on firm ground. With that established, political action is rightly on hold.

    • Gaunilon, come on, think a little harder than that.

      First, as I've said repeatedly, one bad institute does not mean all the research centers or researchers are bad, a point I just spelled out. As "prosecution", your burden is, at a sheer minimum, to demonstrate that enough of the field of climatology has been corrupted. Otherwise you've just proved that one doctor committed malpractice – guilt by association Gaunilon, it's been said repeatedly, yet you continue to ignore that point.

      Secondly, let's take a look at the manner of the CRU's scientists misconducts. Is there any evidence of falsification of data? Of manipulating results? So far, no. There is evidence, heavy evidence, of an unwillingness to share data, especially with those of opposing viewpoints. That defies proper scientific conduct, it's insular and antagonistic – understandable reactions given the bombardment of often unreasonable scrutiny that these scientists have been subjected to from non-scientists, but unacceptable nonetheless. This is circumstantial evidence of wrongdoing in research, but not direct or conclusive evidence in itself. To eliminate the legitimacy of their work, you, as "prosecution", would have to prove that there should be a lack of confidence in their findings, not just their integrity in dealing with those they disagree with – all the more since the CRU findings agree with those from other research centers.

  110. There's evidence of misconduct as scientists, which is bad enough, and further evidence of trying to deceive by presenting data in a misleading light (e.g. "hide the decline", concatenating data from different measurement methods and making them look like one when in fact a single data method shows an awkward trend, etc.) This strikes me as plenty. Apparently it also strikes the IoP as plenty, not just to establish a cred gap at East Anglia but for the entire field.

    The point here is that the misconduct was right from the top, and contaminates several key personalities as well as the key report on which most policy was based. This is not just my opinion, as the link I provided shows. So I'm not "ignoring" anything. The field is compromised, not just because "one doctor" acted badly, but because several top doctors did and the report which the entire field accepted as gospel has also been found to be sloppy at best, or dishonest at worst.

    Yes, this does not mean that we should fire every climatologist. That would be "guilt by association". But also yes, it does mean that we should take a step back from the policy initiatives that the field has been aggressively pushing.

    • "Apparently it also strikes the IoP as plenty, not just to establish a cred gap at East Anglia but for the entire field."

      *sigh* How often must I repeat myself? The IoP asked for an investigation. That's not the same as saying the field has no credibility – it's sending the doctor to trial, not finding him guilty.

      Furthermore, there is no "top" in any field of science, including climatology. There are certainly more prominent members, but they do not control the rest of the field – perhaps direct it with their research and finding, but they do not get a say in what other climatologists do directly. They have their own research with their own findings. Some of this research may draw on the work of more prominent scientists, but that's the beauty of science – if those top guys are wrong, then there will be unexpected or unexplained results from other researchers that use their incorrect findings. Heck, quantum mechanics came out of that very process.

      Lastly, you've still presented nothing but more circumstantial evidence. The "deceptions" of data presentation weren't really deceptions at all, because the data presented was all still valid and was not erroneously manipulated or falsified. Not presenting it in the most unbiased way is, again, a fault. But it runs parallel to the other faults that these climatologists have, that don't want to give anything to skeptics that might in any way be construed as running against AGW, even if they should (why they wouldn't want to give skeptics anything is explained quite well in the Economist article Holly Stick linked towards the end of this page).

      You say the evidence is plenty for you, but you maintained this skeptical position well before any of these things came to light, so I hope you can understand why I think what's plenty for you is not enough to an objective observer, at least when direct evidence is lacking.

  111. Every action leads to unforeseen consequences. There is no such thing as "stopping the experiment" in this case – either avenue is an experiment. Therefore it is a cost-benefit analysis: the risk of continuing (probability of harm x cost of said harm) has to be weighed against the risk of changing course. This is not as straightforward as you seem to think, and it certainly isn't a slam dunk in favour of Gorism.

    "For example, do I really need to lay out that more CO2 emissions are likely to lead to different or more severe effects than what's occurred from previous CO2 emissions of the last century?"
    I doubt that you *know* it's likely. I doubt that anyone does.

    "I mean, by the logic you've used in points 1 and 3, if I eat one Big Mac a week and don't get diabetes, I couldn't possibly get diabetes if I eat 5 Big Macs a week – but that's ridiculous, and you know that just as well as I do.

    No, that's not the logic at all. The logic is that until someone presents clear evidence, I don't know I will get diabetes, or even that I will llikely get diabetes, if I continue to eat as I have done. No one is saying "I couldn't possibly get diabetes", which would be the equivalent of saying "AGW is known to be false". To quote some guy named Gaunilon just above: "I've not said that AGW is wrong. What I have said is that the case for it is questionable. "

  112. "*sigh* How often must I repeat myself? The IoP asked for an investigation. That's not the same as saying the field has no credibility…"

    That *sigh* really does sound like Mr. Gore! Perhaps it's something in the air.

    "Furthermore, there is no "top" in any field of science, including climatology."
    Yes there is. There are top names, renowned researchers, premier research groups, etc. People who have enough clout to be influencing which papers get published are top figures. Likewise, people whose input is used in international policy making.

    " …but that's the beauty of science – if those top guys are wrong, then there will be unexpected or unexplained results from other researchers that use their incorrect findings.
    This is only true if others are able to (a) reproduce the experiment, or (b) access the date. In the case of historical temperature measurements it has to be (b).

    "You say the evidence is plenty for you, but you maintained this skeptical position well before any of these things came to light, so I hope you can understand why I think what's plenty for you is not enough to an objective observer…"
    Yes, because I think it's only rational to be skeptical of anyone preaching anything when they stand to gain billions of dollars from it. This was the situation prior to Climategate. The situation now seems to more than justify my initial reaction.

  113. As to Big Macs, the better analogy is that we're eating something whose effects in quantity are unknown (say, kiwi). It might hurt us. We don't know. We should be careful, but we should also be skeptical of the guy chowing down on kiwis right next to us who says "hey, give me billions of dollars for research and kiwi offsets, and you won't suffer the horrible fate that I predict you otherwise will. And no, you cannot see my data."

    "…we don't need to be sure that bad things will happen, we merely need to accept a real possibility of something bad happening that would be worth avoiding."
    As I said above, it's a cost-benefit analysis. There's a risk if we continue, and there's another risk if we stop. The latter is not a climate risk – as you point out, we know that not emitting isn't going to hurt the earth – but it's an economic risk. These risks have to be weighed, but to be weighed they must be calculated, and to calculate them we need to know the probability of CO2 emissions causing horrible effects. That last part is the one that's currently questionable. Hence we should probably wait until better info becomes available.

    "If done what I consider to be the right way, it should even mean lower income taxes too. These are important considerations that do not have to deal with the uncertainty of AGW."
    Yes, and that could be a good discussion. Unfortunately those pushing for policy changes so far have hammered on things like apocalyptic floods … which is all well and good if there's either solid evidence or a prophet with bona fides from God, but very questionable in the case of scientists and politicians advocating something dubious which happens to coincide perfectly with their own vested interests.

    • The economic risk is minimal, as I've said and as I've demonstrated in posts further down this article. France, Germany and all the Scandinavian countries have reduced their emissions without much – if any – harmful effects to their economies, and they started at levels well below that of ours and that of the US's. On the flip side, rich European countries that increased their emissions are now the ones in the most trouble – the PIGS bloc, for example. I'm not saying there's a causal link here, but I am saying the two aren't correlated strongly enough to make it a real concern. If reducing emissions is doable while maintaining a strong economy, yet increasing emissions can occur while producing a struggling economy, at a minimum, it means that the economic effect of reducing emissions will be overpowered by more important factors.

      The rest of your argument is not against me, because they are points I have not made (and if I have in the past, I'll retract them here and now). I don't believe apocalyptic floods are coming. The sea level could well rise, but that's a far cry from the doomsday rhetoric that comes out of other AGW that I don't agree with. But to disagree with my position because there are some idiots who agree with my position for different reasons has no merit. There are idiots who agree with your position for different reasons, but that doesn't automatically make you wrong.

      Lastly, you haven't answered my question.

      • I'm not an economist, so I won't claim to know the economic risk. I merely know that there is one, and that reputed economists (e.g. Thomas Sowell) seem to think it could be pretty big. They may be wrong, but it has to be weighed.

        I'm not suggesting that you're one of the Goretastic types, merely that Goretasm (?) … Goregasm (?) …. Goreaciousness (?) …. has been the primary narrative of those calling for policy changes. It's unfortunate. There may well be a more rational discussion to be had, but the attempts to pressure governments into action thus far haven't been it.

        I think I did answer your question, but I'll have another go if you wish. I have no idea whether there is a "significant chance that unregulated CO2 emissions will lead to a consequential, damaging change in the global environment." I'm just skeptical, and I think it's wise to hold off on actions until we know the benefit outweighs the cost. If there's a minimal-cost way to reduce our impact on the environment then I'm all for it – that can't be bad – but in general things like capping emissions and imposing carbon taxes strike me as much bigger impositions with a lot of possible unforeseen (or even foreseen) bad effects.

        • The one benefit of having waiting so long to act on any sort of climate change is that we can see how other countries did and the result of it. We don't have to perform that experiment ourselves, at least not entirely. My go-to favourite country for this, because it makes the point so well, is Sweden, which implemented an $100 per tonne carbon tax in 1991, which has gone up to $150 and is slated to rise! The number thrown around here is $40 a tonne, with an incremental rise over the span of a few years. How damaging can such a tax be, since Sweden's economy has been largely fine over the last few decades?

          I know, a carbon tax strikes a lot of people as something scary. Taxes in general do, and probably with good reason. This is why I really liked Dion's Green Shift plan, even though Dion himself was the political equivalent of thin soup (weak and unsatisfying), because it rolled back income taxes at the same time. And I can't help but thinking, I don't like taxes, but they are necessary to some extent and so I might as well be getting taxed on things activities I should be reducing, instead of on things I should be increasing. That way, if I'm more productive (earn more) and waste less (produce fewer emissions), there's more money in my pocket than if I produced less and wasted more.

          Anyway, I need sleep, so this'll have to be my last post for the night. Thanks for the (mostly) productive exchange!

  114. They've only lost authority if they're guilty. I'll go back to the doctors – if a doctor is accused of malpractice, he's not a bad doctor if he's found innocent and can continue to practice medicine with his authority intact.

    Top only matters if it has control, because if it does not, then we return to a situation where you're implying guilt by association. The field does not rest on those top experts, their opinions or their credibility and so even if I give you the benefit of the doubt and throw out everything the CRU's done, there are still many other people qualified to speak on the issue who are not even under investigation who would say largely the same thing. And while you keep bringing up the IoP's statement, but have yet to establish that it has any meaning – I'll say again, INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY – why is an accusation without a conviction enough? This is even more irrelevant a charge when you consider that both the UK Met Office and the US National Academy of Sciences conducted investigations into CRU and Michael Mann respectively and in the end agreed with the results.

    Physics I brought up merely to show that in standard scientific practice, discoveries of errors in theories can and often are brought about not by doing the exact same experiment done previously, but by doing new ones and finding contradictions. I'm not saying AGW is on the same footing (climatology is an applied science, how could it be?), but that we don't need the hard data to prove the findings wrong, if in fact they are wrong. (and Planck didn't realize anything – he said himself that the use of quantized energy was a moment of desperation and he spent the rest of his career with serious doubts about QM in general)

    • Ok, we seem to be going in circles so we may just have to agree to disagree. Suffice to say that for those of us who are not climatologists (e.g. me) and don't have the time to delve into the data, reliance on the credibility of those in the field is key. We assume that they are either acting in good faith, or that their peer review is sufficient to keep bad practice to a minimum. This is why, when a series of top names and an authoritative research institute appear to be doing fairly unprofessional things with their data and the peer review process, one reasonably questions the entire field.

      When the field is seen to be acting in accordance with vested interests, suspicion is reasonable. When there is evidence that the field has perhaps (note: perhaps) been snowed by fraudulent practices then suspicion is imperative. The reasoned response is "yes, they could be right, but I'll wait until the claims are vetted". To use your doctor analogy, if a group of top doctors at a hospital are accused of molesting patients, one doesn't fire them until the case is heard, but one also has reasonable reservations about putting oneself under sedation in their presence. Weigh the risks.

      • Just smear everybody. The kangaroo court of denialism doesn't care about the science and don't make an honest effeort to understand it. They just resort to smearing the scientists.

        • Holly, do you anything other than resort to name calling?

          Why don't you follow the example of Gaunilon/Craig O, who show above how a debate actually works.

          Thanks, guys for keeping it clean and thoughtful!

  115. "Thanks for the (mostly) productive exchange!"

    Agreed, and thanks to you also!

    • I enjoyed this exchange…thanks