Monday, December 31, 2007

A Cambridge University death cult

After dropping his tie for his official photo earlier in the season, Myron wore his special Cambridge University crested tie to when he was stupidly invited to sound off before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, where he proceeded to lie and misrepresent several scientist's warnings. Presumably he feels he earned this cherished tie because, according to the very last sentence of his CEI bio:
He also did graduate work at the University of California at San Diego and at Peterhouse, Cambridge University.
Notice how it doesn't mention anything about a qualification or certificate of education. Like the Ritz hotel, Universities are open for "graduate work" to anyone who can pay.

Following this testimony, Myron took a few minutes out of his busy schedule between Xmas and New Year to mock an article reporting that the climate scientist Jim Hansen says it's too late. The CO2 targets are too high, and we seem to be overshooting. Myron wrote:
[According to Hansen] the safe level for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be no more than 350 parts per million. So since it’s now 380 or 390 ppm, we’re already doomed and can stop worrying about it...

What if there’s just a tiny chance that Hansen could be wrong? Wouldn’t drastically reducing our energy consumption cause colossal increases in human mortality and suffering?
In a few more years time, his attitude is going to look increasingly like he is laughing at someone dying of cancer.

According to Myron, it's all a conspiracy. The thermodynamic properties of Carbon Dioxide have been miscalculated, and there has been no increase in global temperature since 1999 in spite of massive increases in greenhouse gasses. The arctic ice sheet has not, repeat, not collapsed as it did this summer, opening the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history. You didn't see it with your own eyes, did you, so it can't have happened.

Using logic known only to followers of Myron, the one added comment on this blog posting reads:
To All Rational Thinkers: Carbon dioxide has been in the atmosphere for about 4 billion years. Despite all the upheaval the Earth has faced over those years, we have never seen any negative effects from that carbon dioxide. None, nothing, no trace of harm, no indiucation that it ever influenced the climate.
I believe the same can be said for meteors, which the Earth has also been experiencing for about 4 billion years with no trace of harm throughout recorded human history.

Well, at least we know where to find unintelligent life on this planet.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Myron slithers to Washington

Myron Ebell appeared before the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming yesterday with his seven page testimony that read like it had been written for his Exxon paymasters under the title: "Kyoto+10: How I helped f-ck it up, and delivered your Company added share value".

After documenting the long history of disappointments and his part to ensure it went that way, he claimed that the reasons for failure were due to three things:
  • (1) Central planning doesn't work.

  • (2) The alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels cost far too much.

  • (3) The necessary technology isn't available
Leaving aside the fact that (1) is a contradicted by the existence of war, and (2) and (3) are references to the economic costs to the oil businesses, not to us, he left out:
  • (4) Well-funded corporate secret disinformation campaigns

  • (5) Compliant corporate owned media disseminating the disinformation

  • (6) Petrochemical Ownership Of Presidency (POOP).
Then he cited the work of some economists. (It's notable that the agreed tactic among the dead-earthers is now to refer everything back to the Kyoto Protocol, which they ensured was a failure, so they can say that any future agreement will be like the Kyoto Protocol, which they also intend to break if someone pays them to.)

Richard Tol

Myron likes this dude not for his hair, but because he's picked holes in the quality of the of the Stern Review which gave an economic argument for immediate action on climate change. Tol's position in his stern reply to the reply to the review of the Stern Review says:
We continue to think that the Stern Review is right for the wrong reasons, and we would have more faith in a climate policy that is right for the right reasons. We think that there are ample bits of evidence offered in the academic literature and indeed the underlying documentation of the Stern Review to make such a case—one that is "bullet-proof" and incontrovertible.
The "ample bits of evidence" refer to Tol's own work, which one can guess he would have been happier had they been used.

Some of Tol's other writings are about economic discounting, which is a way to fudge the numbers (he gets a 40 fold change depending on the implementation) so that the future counts for less than the present. Remember that if you are young and a fifty-year-old economist argues that he can't change his lifestyle so that your life at fifty can be half as enjoyable. According to his numbers, the actual threshold is closer to a discount on your life to 25% of the value on his own life (3.5% over 40 years), and by the time we get to your grand-children, all significance has disappeared. As Tol comments:
In other words, conventional discounting drastically reduces the weight placed on consumption flows in 200 years time, meaning that impacts in the far future are essentially irrelevant to decisions made today. While this might be entirely accurate for individuals (who will no longer be alive), it is unlikely to be a satisfactory basis for public policy making. As Weitzman (1998) states, "to think about the distant future in terms of standard discounting is to have an uneasy intuitive feeling that something is wrong, somewhere". This is also contrary to the goal of sustainable development, which requires the welfare of far-distant future generations to be taken into account. One solution to the problem of long-term discounting is to employ a discount rate that declines with the time horizon.
This is a representation Keynes's:
In the long run we are all dead
but it doesn't acknowledge that:
Those in the future, who can do nothing to stop us now, will be quite alive.
Their interests have to be rounded down to Zero, otherwise how could we justify dumping Plutonium into the groundwaters for the sake of today's pointless nuclear weapons, when god knows how many will die over the next sixty thousand years when this sh-t gets out.

William Nordhaus

Myron explained, using the necessary simplification and misrepresentation, of the opinions stated in his recently published study an estimate that the damages to 2100 caused by a global warming of 3 degrees C will be $22 trillion, while "achieving the Stern Review’s emissions targets by 2050 would reduce the damages to $9 trillion, but the measures necessary would cost $27 trillion." What Nordhaus actually said in the conclusion on page 181 was:
Climate change is unlikely to be catastrophic in the near term, but it has the potential for serious damages in the long run. There are big economic stakes in designing efficient approaches. The total discounted economic damages with no abatement are in the order of $23 trillion. These damages can be significantly reduced with well-designed policies, but poorly designed ones, like the current Kyoto Protocol, are unlikely to make a dent in the damages, will have substantial costs, and may cool enthusiasms for more efficient approaches. Similarly, overly ambitious projects are likely to be full of exemptions, loopholes, and compromises, and may cause more economic damage than benefit.

In the author’s view, the best approach is one that gradually introduces restraints on carbon emissions. One particularly efficient approach is internationally harmonized carbon taxes – ones that quickly become global and universal in scope and harmonized in effect. A sure and steady increase in harmonized carbon taxes may not have the swashbuckling romance of a crash program, but it is also less likely to be smashed on the rocks of political opposition and compromise. Slow, steady, universal, predictable, and boring – those are probably the secrets to success for policies to combat global warming.
In the Climate's view, the temperature increases and trillion dollar amounts over tens of decades which he throws about are analogous to relativistic speeds close to the velocity of light in Physics. Your Newtonian Economics breaks down there, sunshine. It has to go Einsteinian. Future humans are going to look back at these papers and go: "What the hell were you thinking?" To them it'll read like those old economic justifications for slavery, rape, and genocide. Totally off the wall. Politics is not reasonable. It is infested by liars like Myron Ebell, who have to be confronted and publically humiliated. We don't have time to wait for them to die off.

If economists took more notice of how their arguments about life in a hundred years time will look to people in a hundred years' time, they'd make a lot more sense.

Partha Dasgupta

Myron selectively cited his his notes for a seminar, which in fact concluded:
Climate change has been taken very seriously by all economists who have studied the science since the late 1970s. To be critical of the Review isn't to understate the harm humanity is inflicting on itself by degrading the natural environment - not only in regard to the stock of carbon in the atmosphere, but also in regard to so many other environmental matters besides. But the cause isn't served when parameter values are so chosen that they yield desired answers.
The real problem is that the conventional economic framework is bunk over the long-term for this issue. Everyone -- especially those in future generations -- can see that it gives the wrong answers, and must be fudged to produce anything vaguely humane and consistent with reality. There are too many exponential functions buried within it that round values such as wealth towards infinity, and the value of life towards zero.

Myron ended with quotes from fellow disinformation professionals Indur M. Goklany and Marlo Lewis, before adding his own statement:
What do I think those policies would look like? Because access to energy is so important, I think the first emphasis should be on avoiding regulatory climate policies that would have high costs in the near term in order to avoid potential problems in the long term. These problems may turn out to be real, but future societies will be much better equipped to handle them than we are.

Battle of the generations

In summary, his argument has morphed over the years from there being no climate change, to there being climate change but it's not caused by carbon dioxide, to what we have now, which is: "It's not our problem. It only matters to the future generations, and they'll be better off because they'll be alive when we are all dead."

The cruelty and immorality of this case has been matched recently by war-apologist Thomas Friedman who said on behalf of the US military with its metaphorical gun in the mouths of the Iraqi people "Suck On This".

That, Myron, is what your life is about. Screwing our children's grandchildren on behalf of the oil aristocracy by lying and misrepresenting anything you can get your hands on, because you know you'll be dead by then, and you are the utterly selfish epitome of all the evil encompassed within our current political-economic system.

It's great to be alive, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The long view

Where's Myron? Is he still serving the Oil aristocracy in order to cash his salary and irreparably damage the fate of his children's grandchildren?

In the meantime, there's always some light relief from clever people who call it GOREBAL Warming, because of their visceral hatred of Al Gore, the man who was elected to be President of the United States in 2000, and could not possibly have made a worse job of it than the guy who stole it instead.

Honestly, the reasoning in some of his posts is insane. On reading predictions that Global Warming could contribute to a mass extinction on the scale of what which killed off the dinosaurs (which was probably due to a meteorite), he quips:
So the article readily admits that the temperature of the earth has in fact change dramatically over the "520 million years" to the point of mass extinction? Interesting. And all this time I thought dinosaurs roamed the earth on their feet, not SUV's.
You know, just because you can die of one thing, doesn't mean that something entirely different can't also kill you.

Via deltoid, there's this bizarre observation about the new tack the US delegation is applying, with their literal interpretation the word "irreversible".
They argued, for example, that the melting of glaciers or ice sheets -- which could raise ocean levels by several meters (a dozen feet) -- was not "irreversible" as ice could eventually reform.
I guess it's always a matter of time-scales. What's a few million years here and there when you're dead for almost all of it? The businesses and family lines of the super-rich are far more important to preserve. The correspondent comments:
I remember when I first became familiar with environmentalism as a political and philosophical system. It was often criticized for treating nature as sacred and humans as irrelevant.

But here we have an ostensibly conservative representative of the Bush administration trying to frame the climate debate in geological time -- and it's environmentalists who argue that we ought to think about this in human terms.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

No Ebell till Bali

The COP-13 Bali Conference is open, just in time to welcome the new government of Australia, after the lying, cheating, Bush-lite, waste of space premiership of John Howard got resoundingly kicked out of office by a public who was no longer able to be ignorant of the desperate facts. There is some feeling of hope in the world, although it is probably too little too late.

Ever willing to be unhelpful, Myron Ebell put out a false statement that he is a "Global Warming Expert" available for interview, adding the quote:
"With many European countries failing to meet their Kyoto targets and major developing world emitters like China and India refusing to make any concessions, it has become clear that the United Nations’ global warming strategy has failed. Another round of promises to reduce emissions may make the delegates feel good, but the Kyoto Protocol has demonstrated that meaningless symbolism can be very expensive."
I'm not sure what he means by "very expensive", but I do know that Exxon paid the salaries for lot guys like Myron Ebell whose job was to make sure that the Kyoto Protocol failed, so he probably has the figures.

Myron also has the figures for the state of American journalism today, by the number of reporters who phoned him up on 202-320-6685 for his set of predictable lies and harmful garbage with which to derange the general public.

Meanwhile, Exxon was only yesterday taking out its full page ads in places like the International Herald Tribune to tell us about their battery powered cars in 5 words or less. You don't even need to be fooled when they publish their outrageous op-ed on-line confirming the a policy of on-going wars for oil with:
"Most of the world's major economies import oil and natural gas to meet their energy needs... Some have argued for closing doors to oil and gas imports and pursuing 'energy independence.' This approach would reduce Americans' choices and weaken the international system of energy trade and investment that enables the development of additional supplies."
There is a long way for this to go. The Climate is here to remind people that this mixed PR is not good enough. The crimes have gone too deep. Nothing less than public statement apologizing for the funding of Myron Ebell and his pals over the last ten years, plus a complete, unequivocal account and refutation of everything he's said on their behalf, can be accepted. This is a matter of community service; just as a person who gets caught dropping litter has to clean the streets for seven days, the corporate PR industry must be obliged to undo the mess they have deliberately imprinted onto the public consciousness.

The Myron Ebells of this world need to be seen to be humiliated. They can't just sink away like a nuclear waste spill.