Re: [asa] Disclosure

From: Bill Powers <>
Date: Fri Dec 18 2009 - 08:42:38 EST

The way that climate warming is being presented makes it a very
difficult decision. The picture appears to be

1) The consequences are dire, although the exact nature of the
consequences is uncertain.
2) The lag time between the response and the consequences to that
response is long. This entails that one cannot easily check the extent
that any action is having in preventing or diminishing the disaster.
3) It is not only the long lag time that prevents ready assessment. The
science of both the models and measurement appears to be inadequate for
the task at present.
4) The science required to even describe the consequences are uncertain,
although some aspects that appear more certain are deemed dire.

With this scenario one might easily "over respond." The response required
might be thought to be bringing the massive industrial train of modern
civilization to a screeching halt, hardly a satisfactory solution to the
vast portion of the rapidly developing Third or Second World, viz., China
and India. Mightn't such countries and people suspect, and surely
mightily resist, such a resolution now that the long awaited entry into
the bounty of the West is on their doorstep, indeed a critical turn in
history when the shift of economic power and might is rapidly shifting to
the East? This is the stuff that war is made of. Yet it is painted as
the 21st Centuries vesion of MAD. But with MAD it's very definition
entailed a "cold" war. Might the same be said of the new MAD?


On Thu, 17 Dec 2009,
John Walley wrote:


"IMO remedial action that is taken by our governments is likely to have adverse effects on lots of people if we assume AGW is true and it turns out not to be and the inverse. "

I think this is absolutely key and a sober responsibility on all of us and not something to be taken lightly. Burgy has commented that he is not convinced the DDT issue had negative consequences but concedes that it may have had. When we are playing God with other people's lives we need to get it right.

And the below is one of the principles each ASA member has to affirm to join:

    "We recognize our responsibility, as stewards of God's creation, to use science and technology for the good of humanity and the whole world."

In order to affirm this principle, we have to be able to determine whether we are helping or hurting.  The 1% precautionary principle applies here as well.

As a case in point, consider this question raised to Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, after his keynote speech the other day in Copenhagen, which I think is very valid and reveals an obvious blind spot in the eyes of AGW proponents. The question was asked by Marc Morano and reported by Calivin Beisner but that should have no bearing on the logic of the argument presented.

At the end of the lecture, Pachauri took a few questions.
The first was Marc Morano, of His question related to a video Pachauri had shown at the end of his lecture, the thrust of which was that it was wonderful to provide solar lanterns to poor Indians who lacked electricity for their homes so that they could have light at night by which to study, cook, and do other such things. The lanterns had been pretty obviously poor light sources, but better, surely, than nothing, or than candles and kerosene lamps--and cleaner.
Morano, though, nailed Pachauri with a question about why Pachauri would rather have Indians stuck with the solar lanterns when inexpensive electricity from fossil fuel or nuclear generating plants could give them far more electricity at far lower prices, and electricity not just for a little bit of light but for lots of light plus refrigeration, air conditioning, water heating, clothes washing and drying, etc.
Pachauri’s answer was a classic case of the logical fallacy of false choice. He accused Morano of preferring that these poor people stick with their candles or kerosene lamps. Why shouldn’t they have the solar lanterns instead?
Of course, that hadn’t been Morano’s point at all. The choices aren’t limited to candles and kerosene lamps or solar lanterns. There’s another option: electricity from a grid, generated by a cheaper means.
Morano’s point had been that the cost per lumen for the solar lamps is much, much higher than the cost for the same lumens from standard light bulbs using electricity from a grid. That meant that pushing the solar lanterns on these people would use up more of their money in exchange for less light and leave them still without all the other services electricity could provide. And because it would use my more of their money, it would postpone even longer the time when they could afford the electricity and its other uses. I.e., Pachauri’s recipe is for deprivation, not solution.
As Dr. Cornelis van Kooten points out in A Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor (in the chapter on economics), the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by solar photovoltaic technology is about six to eight times that of electricity generated by nuclear or fossil fuels. Forcing the poor to use “cleaner” solar power instead of “dirtier” fossil-fuel generated power means in practice forcing them to stick with much dirtier fuels like wood and dung for more years until they’re able to afford the much more expensive solar.

From: Dave Wallace <>
To: ASA <>
Sent: Thu, December 17, 2009 6:36:20 PM
Subject: [asa] Disclosure

Glenn wrote:

 I don't give a rats rear end about anything but finding the truth. I invest as I believe, not as I want it to be. In fact, everything I do and say is exactly as I believe it to be. I might be wrong--the data will tell me if I am wrong, but I don't do anything for a personal agenda.
This is also my fourth post for today so I will shut up after this. 

My main interest in this discussion is not "winning" but figuring out what the truth is.  Sure in the heat of the moment one wants to win but on a long term basis that is not a rational goal.  I assume the pro AGW side has the same goals?

IMO remedial action that is taken by our governments is likely to have adverse effects on lots of people if we assume AGW is true and it turns out not to be and the inverse.  The only remedial actions that I am comfortable with at this point in time are ones that also help us address the coming shortage of energy and either move us towards use of renewable energy or in some fashion reduce our use of energy through efficiency etc.  In many areas my take is let a thousand flowers bloom ie different approaches and then pick the best ones as trying to guess before hand is close to impossible. 

Like Glenn I have very little invested in the oil and gas industry, my financial adviser places our funds with yearly review with a goal of capital preservation and income.  I have never worked for either the oil or gas industry, oh yes one summer I pumped gas and washed cars.  Of course I worked for IBM and the oil and gas industry buy lots of computing power.

It has been suggested that anti AGW people are all very far right wing.  I happen to find that suggestion very obnoxious.  I don't want to fall afoul of the no politics rule but the party I happen to support would be about the same as if one took the left quarter of the publicans and the right quarter of the crats.  Thus I am hardly extreme right wing.

I happened to notice a study of how people are reacting to some things depending upon their opinion about AGW:

I thought it was interesting that the doubtful and dismissive are trying to do almost as much to reduce their home energy use as the alarmed.  The bubble size is proportionate to the numbers in the various groups.   I assume Rich and Randy would place themselves in the Alarmed category, while I would see my self in the doubtful category and probably Glenn would be there as well although he could be dismissive.

Dave W

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Received on Fri Dec 18 08:43:19 2009

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