Monday, June 30, 2014

It's okay

I've finally slogged my way through last week's Supreme Court decision on EPA regulation of some sources of greenhouse gases. For those with livelier things to read, it was generally seen as an okay-to-good result for climate hawks - the EPA tried to regulate 86% of stationary sources using two legal theories under the Clean Air Act. On a 5-4 vote the Court rejected Theory Number 1 and on a 7-2 vote the Court accepted the more restrictive Theory Number 2, which still allows regulation of 83% of the sources.

Put me closer to the "okay" side of the spectrum in terms of what this hints at for future challenges to the proposed regulation that Obama announced in early June.

The big picture is that the Clean Air Act is very broad legislation from the 1970s meant to regulate air pollutants that would be specified at a later date, but it is still difficult to adapt the law to very unexpected air pollutants in the form of greenhouse gases. Past current and future litigation revolves around the extent to which the EPA can be flexible. Climate hawks mostly want flexibility.

Theory Number 1 tried to install flexibility to avoid an over-harsh result (a numerical limit that catches relatively small producers of GHGs), which the Court rejected, but it had a backup theory to use (larger producers were already regulated for their other emissions and therefore could be regulated "anyway" for GHGs). Not clear how that approach affects the June proposal, which would limit overall emissions but look "outside the fence" of emitters and allow energy efficiency and carbon markets to achieve reductions. I think the previous decision earlier this month is somewhat more indicative.

Some commenters think this decision reaffirms the 2007 Massachusetts v EPA ruling establishing EPA's ability to regulate GHGs, but I think it just treats it as the controlling law without commenting on whether it's correct. If President Cruz gets to replace Ginsburg or Breyer, then we could be in big trouble.

Some other comments:

One thing I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere is this excuse the Court majority gave for rejecting the EPA's proposal to rescue Theory 1 by someday issuing general permits that cover small emitters:

"Nor have we been given any information about the ability of other possible “streamlining” techniques alluded to by EPA—such as "general ” or “electronic” permitting—to reduce the administrability problems identified above."

I don't know if no one briefed them (they could always demand more briefing, they are the Supremes) but anyone with a passing familiarity with environmental law knows that one-size-fits-all general permits are commonly used to make permitting easier for the regulated and the regulators. This excuse doesn't work.

To read more, the first link above is for the case, read as much as you like. Or to get the essence, read these two paragraphs in the dissent as to why EPA should have prevailed:

The implicit exception I propose reads almost word for word the same as the Court’s, except that the location of the exception has shifted. To repeat, the Court reads the definition of “major emitting facility” as if it referred to “any source with the potential to emit two hundred fifty tons per year or more of any air pollutant except for those air pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, with respect to which regulation at that threshold would be impractical or absurd or would sweep in smaller sources that Congress did not mean to cover.” I would simply move the implicit exception, which I’ve italicized, so that it applies to “source” rather than “air pollutant”: “any source with the potential to emit two hundred fifty tons per year or more of any air pollutant except for those sources, such as those emitting unmanageably small amounts of greenhouse gases, with respect to which regulation at that threshold would be impractical or absurd or would sweep in smaller sources that Congress did not mean to cover.” 
From a legal, administrative, and functional perspective—that is, from a perspective that assumes that Congress was not merely trying to arrange words on paper but was seeking to achieve a real-world purpose—my way of reading the statute is the more sensible one. For one thing, my reading is consistent with the specific purpose underlying the 250 tpy threshold specified by the statute.The purpose of that number was not to prevent the regulation of dangerous air pollutants that cannot be sensibly regulated at that particular threshold, though that is the effect that the Court’s reading gives the threshold. Rather, the purpose was to limit the PSD program’s obligations to larger sources while exempting the many small sources whose emissions are low enough that imposing burdensome regulatory requirements on them would be senseless.

Maybe There Is Something You Don't Know


Splendid food fights have broken out at the Weasel's, Willard Tony's and Jo Nova's about Junior Rocket Scientist David Evans New Notch Delay Solar Theory.  Eli will let David summarize this

We assume the system from solar radiation (TSI) to surface temperature is linear and invariant, so we use sinusoids and frequencies to do the analysis. The TSI peaks every 11 years or so, yet there is no detected corresponding peak in the temperature, which is unexpected. This implies there is a natural notch filter that filters out the 11-year hum from the Sun
The Weasel summarizes the conclusion 
Roll on BIG NEWS part IV: A huge leap understanding the mysterious 11 year solar delay. These people are not shy about their headlines (yes, I have pointed them to the terrible example of AW’s paper but it just bounced off. I’m not sure how they’re going to cope when this all falls apart. Will they quietly forget it, like AW and his paper? Will it become part of their background mythology? But I digress). Although its putatively a “physical mechanism” its an unknown physical mechanism, so its called “force X” (from Outer Space). For some odd reason, its 11 years delayed, or something, please don’t accuse me of reading all the details, and “Force X has ten to twenty times more influence on temperatures on Earth than changes in the direct heating effect of TSI (a result we will show later)”. Um, that was a surprise. I was expecting “force X” to have about the same, but opposite, amplitutde; therefore cancelling out the solar forcing. Something that had 20 times the amplitude, but an 11 year cycle, would produce an obvious and visible effect. At this point, either what they are saying, or my own poor understanding, is clearly lacking; so I’ll leave you to read their stuff and make up your own minds.
There is a splendid to and fro at WT's between Monckton of Benchley and Leif Svalgaard about whether or not Jr. Rocket Scientist David Evans used a reasonable total solar insolation data set to regress against or Fourier transform or whatever.  Perhaps with more time this might be excerpted and published as a Kindle edition.

But, and to repeat himself one more time, you bunnies out there know that a but is coming, the whole thing, theory, spittle, braying, chest pounding and all is besides the point.

Simply put it is well known why surface temperature records show no dependence on the solar cycle, the answer being ozone and oxygen and other scattering.  It turns out that almost all of the variability in the solar spectrum is below 300 nm, and none of that makes it below the ozone layer.  Let Guy Brasseur tell you why
Variation in the amount of solar energy intercepted by the earth has affected past climate, specifically over long timescales. Changes generated by periodic modifications in the orbital parameters of the earth have probably triggered the successive transitions between ice ages and warmer periods with time periods of typically 100,000 years.

Variations in the radiative energy emitted by the sun associated with the 11-year solar cycle directly affect the upper atmosphere but not substantially the lower atmosphere and the Earth surface. Small indirect influences propagating from the middle and lower atmosphere are, however, possible.

Thus, even though the sun could generate tiny periodic fluctuations in the surface temperature and in the atmospheric dynamics, it cannot generate the persistent temperature trend that has been observed since the preindustrial area. The best explanation is therefore that the observed long-term trend in temperature results from the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases. This explanation is based on well-established and experimentally verified physical concepts.
Basically TSI, or more accurately changes in the UV component of TSI,  drives huge changes in the upper (above 100 km) atmosphere such as the poor thin thing is.  There are observable, but not obvious without some work on the data sets, changes in the stratosphere driven by oxygen and ozone absorption and and dissociation.  But there is little to nothing in the troposphere, and what miniscule change on the 11 year cycle is observed in the troposphere is indirect, driven by stratospheric changes.

Someolderbunnies may remember when the point about UV variability became the flavor of the day amongst the denial set.  Force X, like Chemical X is not to be used without caution.  If Eli may distort  a phrase, denial repeats itself first as ignorance and then as farce.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's the Effing Details


So what's new?  Well the Weasel is going after a sci-fi comic drawing in the H.H. Lamb series, this one first appears to have appeared 2006 in the Torygraph in an article by the Monkers (don't blame Eli, that was Wm's description) part of which was reproduced as part of an amazing mathterbation exercise by David Evans over at Nova's.  More on that next post.


and since republished here and there.  Wm wants to know where this came from.  Whatever it is it is not the from the IPCC First Assessment Report (FAR), but somebunny's "modification" of same for Europe.

What was in the IPCC FAR was a free hand sketch by H.H. Lamb that has since been abused every which way, as described by the Weasel and others)

So when Christopher Monckton claims that in an article showing the first graph that
The UN's second assessment report, in 1996, showed a 1,000-year graph demonstrating that temperature in the Middle Ages was warmer than today.
He is wrong about which IPCC assessment report had the Lamb sketch, and wrong that the graph that appeared in the bottom pane of the figure shown in his piece was the one that appeared in the IPCC report and wrong when he said the graph demonstrated that the temperature in the Middle Ages was warmer than today, because, well, because of Mike's trick.  Eli is a helpful little bunny, so he hopped over to Wood for Trees, ran a graph of HADCRUT 4 global and smoothed it on a ten year basis, ran a line over the global temperature variation and nailed it to the 1900 value shown in the first graph above, voila, Mike's trick.
 
If Eli had used the Northern Hemisphere instrumental temperature record, the rise would be even higher.  As for Europe, well Eli will leave that to Zeke, but dollars to donuts it is going to be even higher.

The fun thing is that Chris Monckton is running about Sgt. Schultzing that he knows nothing, nothing about that graph. 
Mr Connolley falsely accuses me of having fabricated a graph in whose selection, drafting and publication I played no part whatsoever. I should be grateful if he would remove all references to my having “faked” or fabricated this graph, and if he would kindly notify me when he has done so.
and being met with an OK, who put it into an article you wrote and had published and have you written to the Telegraph asking them to post an error notice.  Eli notes that in 2008 Monckton got the IPCC report version right, and the curve, but somehow erased the y axis and did not note how the instrumental record sort of falsifies the Lamb sketch.

Indeed, if you look at the IPCC First Assessment Report, the instrumental records in the same chapter falsify the the Lamb sketch, it being known even then that there had been a ~0.7 C increase in global temperature over the 20th century.  And so it goes.

Friday, June 27, 2014

It's not a Godwin if you only talk Nazis

After reading some of The Nuremberg Interviews, I found this on wiki:

In 1934, Hitler named Ribbentrop Special Commissioner for Disarmament. In his early years, Hitler's goal in foreign affairs was to persuade the world that he wished to reduce military spending by making idealistic but very vague disarmament offers (in the 1930s, the term disarmament was used to describe arms-limitation agreements). At the same time, the Germans always resisted making concrete arms-limitations proposals, and they went ahead with increased military spending on grounds that other powers would not take up German arms-limitation offers. Ribbentrop was tasked with ensuring that the world remained convinced that Germany sincerely wanted an arms-limitation treaty while also ensuring that no such treaty was ever developed.
Interesting stuff.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Warmest May ever

Sayeth GISS.

In the interest of fairness, I'll be sure to post whenever we have a coldest month ever in the GISS records.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ethon RTFR and Is Pleased


A few days ago Ethon's food group put up a very depressing chart purporting to show the proportion of global energy consumption that comes from carbon-free sources.



Now, far be it from Eli to question other's Excel skills but one of the things the Bunny likes to do with charts is figure out why they go up or down or don't.  Looking at this one, well,  the rise from 1970 to 1985 might be an increase in nuclear, especially in France and the FSU, but the stagnation after ~1998 does not seem super likely, and with increased wind and solar, there should be a sharper rise after ~2005 or so IEHO of course.  Roger Jr. was kind enough to provide the source, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, and so the Bunny sent the little (not) birdie off to see

The summary over at BP
Global hydroelectric output grew by a below-average 2.9%. Led by China and India, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 78% of global growth. Drought conditions reduced output in Brazil by 7% and in Finland, Norway and Sweden by a combined 14.5%. Hydroelectric output accounted for 6.7% of global energy consumption.
Renewable energy sources – in power generation as well as transport – continued to increase in 2013, reaching a record 2.7% of global energy consumption, up from 0.8% a decade ago. Renewable energy used in power generation grew by 16.3% and accounted for a record 5.3% of global power generation. China recorded the largest incremental growth in renewables, followed by the US, while growth in Europe’s leading players – Germany, Spain and Italy – was below average. Globally, wind energy (+20.7%) once again accounted for more than half of renewable power generation growth and solar power generation grew even more rapidly (+33%), but from a smaller base. 
to which one has to add nuclear as a fossil free energy source.  Anyhow this appeared a bit at odds with Roger's message
What you should take from this however is that there remains no evidence of an increase in the proportion of carbon-free energy consumption even remotely consistent with the challenge of atmospheric stabilization of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Those who claim that the world has turned a corner, soon will, or that they know what steps will get us around that corner are dreamers or fools. We don't know. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can design policies more compatible with policy learning and muddling through.
Praise be the bird, Ethon also brought back a wonderful spreadsheet with all the data, so Eli extracted the world total energy consumption by energy source and plotted the results.


  
Ethon is too damn fat so Eli leaves the pecking to others, but this is damn interesting.
  • First, the nuclearization of electricity generation in the 1970s is absolutely clear.  
  • Third, non-fossil, non-nuclear energy chugs along at a steady level, mostly hydro, until ~2002 when it takes off like a rocket.
  • Fourth, the small step jump in the 1970s for non-fossil, non-nuclear might be a reaction to the oil shocks and the step down in int early 1980s is a reflection in the fall in the inflation adjusted price of oil.  In a US context, Reagan's dismantling of the energy programs that Carter put in place. 
  • Fifth, without the fall off in nuclear, non fossil energy consumption might already be near or over 20% of the world total
  • Sixth, and bottom line, as any bunny might suspect, the Roger is selling a McGuffin, defined as a desired plot our hero inserts in advancing his argument with no explanation.  In this case the explanation destroys his argument  It's not that renewables are not growing, it is that nuclear is shrinking.  If Barry Brook and Jim Hansen get their way, or even more simply if Japan comes back on line, that trend reverses.
  • Seventh, the growth in non-fossil, non nuclear energy is still too slow, because there is also growth in fossil energy use.  There is a significant growth in non-carbon energy consumption, principally wind, with solar coming on, but the growth will have to accelerate.  This requires policy changes, withdrawal of subsidies for fossil fuels for sure, almost certainly cap and trade or a tax on fossil fuels.


BTW, it is interesting that the non-fossil sources show little evidence of the 2008 economic downturn and less so of other, while they are clearly marked in the fossil source consumption as seen in the figure below  In the nuclear trace, the shutting off of Japanese reactors after Fukashima shows up clearly at the end.  If non-fossil sources were more expensive than fossil sources, one might expect the opposite at first, perhaps, another marker of a turn away from fossil energy?



UPDATE:  As requested below, the breakout of the various non-fossil sources


with as fernando speculated hydro showing steady growth and an increased rate after 2000, with wind picking up in 2005 and solar after 2010.  There is room to grow on the bottom.

Obama's CO2 regulations can semi-automatically lower Indian and Chinese maximum emissions

One point I've been meaning to make and haven't seen mentioned is that the Chinese and especially the Indians have said their per-capita emissions won't exceed the US or the industrialized world average, respectively. If we reduce our emissions, that tightens the level that they've promised not to exceed.

I think this is worth submitting as a comment on the proposed EPA regulations. Unfortunately it's not an airtight argument because the promises aren't airtight. The Chinese commitment was by a high-level government official, not a legal pronouncement (and not entirely clear that the bar adjusts downwards as US emissions decrease). The Indian commitment was by the then-Prime Minister, again helpful but not binding. The Indian statement also included a confusing disclaimer that limiting US emissions was necessary but not something imposing requirements on India as well. I think the way to resolve the confusion is to assume it meant that the US emissions needed to drop while Indian's very low per capita emissions needed to grow, but grow only up to a certain point.

One diplomatic goal should be to make these commitments binding and to obtain them from other countries. The other point is that they're not enough - if India ever neared current industrialized world per capita emissions, that would be the real game over for the planet. We in the West have to realize we're asking far more of the developed countries than of ourselves.

In the long run, post 2050, developing world per capita emissions should actually be higher than the developed world. Best case scenario is the developed world has sharply negative emissions and developing world has modestly negative emissions. That might make up for some of the inequity in prior carbon emissions.

Eli's Gift


As manybunnies have noticed climate science blogs, have well, not have a lot of science in them lately.  The basic stuff has been gone over time and time again, the only thing left is to mole whack the day dreams of science denial and frankly, even that becomes repetitive.  Stoat has been reduced to baiting the disbelievers, ATTP is dealing with messaging the 97% once again, and Victor is working out his immature and neurotic fixation on Tony Watts, Real Climate is doing mostly Deltoid imitations, James and Jules have taken up biking in the forest, and so it goes.

Everyone goes on about what the 97% believe or don't.  For some time Eli has been using the term the IPCC Consensus, something that even one of the Pielke's says he believes in, but confusion about what is believed are starting to grow, so Eli would like to propose a simple answer that can be used by all players of ClimateBall and which is sufficient to justify action and legislation:

Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere at current rates will increasingly cause bad things to happen.  Over the next one to two hundred years this will lead to VERY BAD things happening. 
The rest is detail.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Iraq runs its own Pottery Barn

Not much reason for the US to jump in - we may have screwed up in the past, but as for what's going now, the Iraqis need to work it out.

The tricky issue is when "working it out" means massive slaughter of one sect by another, intentionally triggering the wanted counter-slaughter. It no longer looks like the Shiite-dominated government will fall, but if it did seem under threat, I could theoretically imagine airstrikes on troop movements that only keep ISIL out of Shiite cities (if airstrikes would work, which is doubtful). Some real changes in the government's behavior could be reason to support it, but otherwise we should stay out.

ISIL seems momentarily popular in their part of Iraq. Fine, let's see how long that lasts. I doubt they'll have ability or energy to attack foreign countries given what the civil war they're dealing with now.

While consistency might not be the most important thing in the world, I think I'm taking a consistent position on this as with saying the West shouldn't conduct airstrikes in parts of Libya that supported Gaddhafi and that we shouldn't have a troop surge in Afghanistan in the parts that rejected Karzai.

Finally, I don't think this will be seen as a political problem for Obama - the Republicans who claim otherwise will be asked if they learned anything at all from the Iraq War.

Whatever Gets a Bunny Going



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Eli's Picks

Continuing Rabett Run's run through the World Cup Groups, Eli comes to Groups EFGandH.  Remember the point is to pick games worth watching, not the winners.  Given the cost of tickets and travel, this is not necessarily a minor consideration, and even those of us who watch on TV have some investment. Todays Brazil-Croatia game was, as the Rabett recalls, as good an opening game as he has seen in a while.  Not a work of art mind you, but Cruyff never won the World Cup either.

Group E:  Switzerland, Ecuador, France and Hondouras.  Switzerland-France.  Switzerland overperformed in the qualifiers, France the other way about.  The shame is that Franck Ribery is out of the cup, but France has some exciting players and seems to be coming right.  They will not go far, neither will Switzerland, but this should be a good game.  Xherdan Shaqiri is the player to watch for Switzerland, and Karim Benzema has gotten hot for Real Madrid and France.  Not an exciting group, but this should be a good game.

Group F:  Argentina, Bosnia and Hertzogovina, Iran, and Nigeria.  As the last warm up game for the US showed, Nigeria is not ready for prime time, also Iran which makes Argentina vs. BH the only game worth watching in this group.  The former Yugoslavia teams ain't bad, and BH could make some problems for Argentina early on, but really, only Judith Curry would bet against Argentina in this group.  No stadium wave here.

Group G:  aka the group of death, Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA.   An interesting group of very different teams.  Germany is clearly the class of the group whose only weakness is that they have 20 midfield players and no attacking ones.  Miroslav Klose is older than Eli.  Portugal is the best one player team in the world, and with Cristiano Ronaldo being in and out of ill health they could finish first or fourth in the group.  The fun game, if it happens, would be Germany vs. Portugal with Philipp Lahm biting Ronaldo's ankles (who knows if they would be directly matched).  The other Germany fullbacks are no match for Ronaldo.  Low might double team him with Lahm as a defensive midfield shadow.  If that Ronaldo goes missing due to injury (he has had a very hard year), then the game of the group might by US-Ghana, with the US playing from the break lead by Michael Bradley in the same way they did against Nigeria.

Group H:  Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Republic of Korea.  The game Eli likes here is Belgium vs. Korea.  Belgium has a golden generation that can play and score and is pretty young at this point. The Koreans play a really aggressive pressing game and are fast.

Remember, it is not who won and lost but how you watched the game.  Eli had a couple of pints. 


Climate divestment applies the smack-down theory of political change

The offensively-named but useful "bitch slap" theory of politics helps explain demonstrations of political strength that may make it possible to change policies. I'm going to call it the smack-down theory instead, and it applies to climate divestment.

When Stanford announced it was divesting from coal, it was saying it's unafraid of what coal businesses are going to do in response. Contrast that to how American public television tried to placate the Koch brothers and kept the critical documentary "Citizen Koch" off of PBS. An institution that divests is unlikely to give in to similar intimidation, partly because they won't be receiving donations from the polluters. What Stanford is saying is that as far as coal goes, it's willing to take that hit. To the extent other institutions do the same, they're showing that the coal lobby can be beat.

Time to do the same for the other fossil fuels.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eli Has Another Question


With the World Cup starting tonight (and yes, Eli will be watching) another question, not the usual who will win or which team will get out of the groups, but which games would a bunny risk the rath of the family to see.  A lot depends on tactics, if one team parks the bus and relies on breaks to score, that can be not so much fun to watch, and Eli is talking about you, Juergen Klinsmann.

Group A:  Brazil, Croatia, Cameron, Mexico.  Here the most entertaining game is liable to be the first between the two strongest teams, Brazil-Croatia.  Brazil may be the strongest team in the Cup built on a strong defense but with players who can score, Neymar, Fred and Hulk.  The only possible weakness is the midfield.  Willian could fill that hole.  Oscar, not so much.  The danger, of course, is that Croatia WILL park the bus, figuring that a tie followed by two wins against weaker teams gets them out of the group.  This is especially possible in spite of all the noises that the Croats are making because their best scorer Mario Mandzukic from Bayern, will miss the first game.  OTOH, so does a loss followed by two wins and there is quality on this team including Luka Modric from Real.  If Brazil scores early, look for a wonderful game.

For those bunnies who have not seen it, here is a great line from the Guardian about administrators

 The minister of sport once described Croatian football as "a huge swamp of irresponsible behaviour in which there are lots of mosquitos that fly up in the air, suck blood and spread malaria".
Group B:  Spain, the Netherlands, Chile and Australia.  Chile - The Netherlands.  This should be the rubber match to determine which team goes forward to the eliminations.  Spain, although growing old, has enough quality left to make it that far, but probably not to the semis.  The Netherlands invented total football and if von Persie is healed (always a question) has a lot of fire power.  Chile was third in the South American qualifying and is being tipped as a dark horse in the tournament. They play a pressing style and have some great players, Vidal (Juventus) and Sanchez (Barcelona), but so does the Netherlands with Van Persie and Arjen Robben.  Chile is small at the back, and both Robben and Van Persie are over 1.8m, so this could get interesting, especially since this is the last game of the group and depending on the outcome of their games against Spain one or both of these teams could be desperate.  The group could actually be decided by goals against Australia (sorry guys).

Group C:  Columbia, Greece, Cote d'Ivoire, Japan.  The weakest and least photogenic group of the tournament, thus the hardest to find a game worth watching.  Take the Ms. to the mall.  Cote d'Ivoire has some great players left from their golden generation, Gervinho, Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou and Didire Drogba, but they always disappoint in Cups.  Japan is like the US, strongest team in a weak confederation, Greece has always been as much fun to watch as paint drying with their defensive approach which leaves Columbia, a very good team that is in danger of going to sleep in a weak group.  Save your money

Group D:  Uruguay, Italy, England, Costa Rica.  Italy - England.  Another group where the best game may be between the teams struggling for the second place.  Uruguay is the class of this group, at least in attack with Suarez and Calvani.  Italy and England play the first game in hell, aka the Arena de Amazônia, in the middle of the Amazon in Manaus.  So you have heat, humidity, a really awful pitch, desperation and jet lag because the commute to Hell is long.  What's not to like?  The field could make this a clown show or a thriller.  England has some speed and youth, which if they bring it on late after everyone else has sweated out their strength, could break the game open.  Italy has Mario Balotelli.  Anything can happen.

Tomorrow Groups EFGH.  Suggestions welcome

On the Rat Race

Simply two links.  Any connection btw them may say more about thee and Eli than anything else

Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision

Pre-Tenure and Post-Hoc

Nasal Glazing or Eli Too Has a Question

The usual introspection has broken out at two of Eli's younger friends establishments, And Then There Is Physics and Victor Venema's place, and Judy is engaged in yarn bombing her blog.

Rather than open another front, Eli has a serious question

Is there anyone on the other side of this who deserves respect?  

At one time the Rabett thought that Roger Sr. might be that person, and indeed at times he acts as if he would like to be so thought of, but as a usual thing, he is the perfect Harvard man.  Roy Spencer on occasion shows flashes, but in general, and perhaps Eli needs to get out more, pointers to honest people who have both the scientific nous to understand the situation, but have concluded that there is not a challenge, are hard to find.  Peter Webster may be such a person, judging from some brief interactions and there are many in the regional air quality business Eli knows who are at least on the fence.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bleg: foreigners, especially Indians or Chinese, arguing their countries should do nothing on climate because of American emissions

Bit of an experiment. I'm interested in internal climate policy debates in other countries where someone prominent takes the same position the Republican leadership is taking today, that we should do nothing because foreign bogeyman is worse, except that the bogeyman is the US. It's Indians and Chinese that the Republicans usually identify as the bogeymen, so they'd be the ideal examples.

I know the UN forums will have plenty of examples of diplomats telling other countries that they should do more or should go first, but I'm looking for internal debates that parallel Republican arguments for inaction. I realize that Chinese debates would be hard to get, but maybe not impossible, even if it's just Chinese policy academics arguing with each other.

Desmog has an okay example of Canadian officials saying Canada should act in concert with the US and not move forward unilaterally, but the ideal example would be more angry and blame-spouting. And Chinese.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Lennart Bengtsson and His Nine Lives

While fairly distrustful and always on the lookout for inside knife work, Eli has come to recognize that sometime you have to wait to the end to understand what has happened. This was the case, with the Monnett issue.  There, even after it was explained to him, Michael Tobis was simply too full of good will to accept Eli's explanation. Further, sometimes bunnies can't accept reality because it would hurt their positioning.

Over at Klimazwiebel, HvS tries to make sense for his readers of what happened with Lennart Bengtsson, the GWPF and ERL.  Given his druthers, von Storch is not able to follow the music and so, at the end Eli tries to enlighten him

L’Affaire Bengtsson was all over the Climate Blog world and even penetrated into the real media. What Eli and the bunnies need is perspective. While this flood appears to have come from nowhere, it came from Sweden, and had been percolating there for a few years, but, of course, in Swedish.

There, IEHO, is the crux of the matter. Bengtsson functions in different linguistic and national worlds. It was first in Sweden that his political and science policy worlds came together, but even in Sweden, his writings in the national media, while in part skeptical of the IPCC consensus were not outside of the 97%, or at least not much. At conferences, he went further, and as a commenter on the blogs (esp of the Stockholm Initiative) he joined a far right wing view of the world and his colleagues that was despicable. (See, for example here, here and here.)  This explains the strident reaction of Rabett Run's Swedish friends for whom Bengtssons actions were not a surprise but simply the last straw

The explosion about Bengtsson's joining the GWPF, should not have surprised any speaker of Swedish or reader of Swedish climate blogs, but, of course, it was a shock to those stuck in the English (and evidently German) worlds.

In this regard HvS's perception that Bengtsson

"2) Complains that the discussion, even for climate science suffers all to much from politization, and he was trying to open new channels for communication".

is a bit naive. Maybe more than a bit but it well fits the space that HvS and EZ are trying to dig out for themselves.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

A Paper Named Sue




Many have commented on the problems with a recent paper by some marketing types claiming that hurricanes with female names are deadlier than those with male ones because of the perception that the male storms are fiercer.  Kiju Jung, Sharon Shavitt, Madhu Viswanathan, and Joseph M. Hilbe
Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes PNAS 2014 : 1402786111v1-201402786.

Eli's POV is that this was pitched to the freakonomics crowd masquerading as journalists who were happy to roll with it.  There are, as they say, issues, and Eli will simply outsource those to Jeremy Freese, Andrew  Gelman, Harold Brooks and Bob  O'Hara.

Bottom line, as Brooks points out is that these clowns are building a model for a fictitious, but churn baiting effect.  Why churn? Well the bunnies remember the churnalists, the post that earned Eli the undying affection of John Fleck.  If you wondered why every piece of crazy gets its day in the headlines here is one answer, the churnalists walking, nay sitting on their butts and printing everything that is spoon fed to them without working (shudder) to figure out whether there is any there there.  At root, churnalism is an abdication of responsibility and moral failing worn proudly by an entire profession.  Some do their job and some have useful bullshit filters, witness the E-mail Gelman got from a journalist working on the story
A colleague is working on a quick piece on a soon-to-be-released paper which argues that female hurricane names have higher death tolls since people take them less seriously. In looking through the methodology, we’re seeing a couple of potential red flags, but could use a professional’s judgment on this. Any chance you’re available to take a quick look?

One thing that caught our eye was the whole no-male-hurricanes-before-the-late-1970s thing. Does that leave us with enough male hurricanes to say anything substantive here? Is their method of rating not just whether but how feminine the earlier names were good enough? I’m also curious, of course, just how much statistical tweaking they had to do to get those results. More broadly, a lab setting in which people rate names doesn’t do it for me – in the real world these sexist impulses, which I’m sure exist, are likely swamped by a million other factors. Surely whether or not your five neighbors evacuate has a bigger impact on your behavior than storm name.
Gelman and Freese go a level deeper, something that Eli has also remarked on.  Behind every press release is a press office, aka often the University Communications Office.  As Freese, points out
The authors’ university issued a press release with a dramatic presentation of results. The release includes quotes from authors and a photo, as well as a quote from a prominent social psychologist calling the study “proof positive.” So this isn’t something that the media just stumbled across and made viral. My view is that when researchers actively seek media attention for dramatic claims about real deaths, they make their work available for especial scrutiny by others.

As a coda that may or may not be relevant to the case at hand, I will confess that I [Freese] have become especially impatient by the two-step in which a breathless set of claims about findings is provided in a press release, but then the authors backtrack when talking to other scientists about how of course this is just one study and of course more work needs to be done. In particular, I have lost patience with the idea the media are to blame for extreme presentations of scientists’ work, when extreme presentations of the scientists’ work are distributed to the media by the scientists’ employers [emphasis in the original].
 and Gelman adds
As the saying goes, +1. The news media are what gets us hearing about these studies (and indeed I’m contributing to it now), but the tabloid science journals such as PNAS provide incentives for researchers to engage in hype so as to get their papers published, and of course once a paper is published, with whatever errors it happens to contain, researchers have an understandable tendency to hang tough and not acknowledge problems with their claims.
The real question is what to do.  Eli had one suggestion a long time ago, any grant renewal had to attach press releases issued by the University about the research and the project should be evaluated on the basis not only of the scientific impact but the public impact.

Eli now has another.  Call it public shaming.  Write to the Communications Officer listed as contact on the press release.  Remark about how they have dragged their university's name into the mud.  Point to some of the substantive refutations and maybe explain a bit about why they are substantive.


Saturday, June 07, 2014

Frankly Eli Is Bored


After a while the popcorn gets stale and it's summer, and the bunnies want to go out an play.  Popehat has the latest in Mann vs. Steyn, except this is Doe vs. Burke which may or may not have implications for Mann vs. Steyn.  Yes it is that boring.  Doe is a dear, a Wikepedia author, Burke is a lawyer who does human rights litigation and does not like Blackwater muchly.   Anyhow Doe wrote something on the Wiki about Burke and Burke wants to know who Doe is and Doe does not want her to know.  Doe's attempt to quash an order to the Wikipedia was quashed, and Doe (who may be a she Doe) appealed.  The issue being whether an immediate appeal is allowed, somewhat like in Mann vs. Steyn and the court hearing the appeal said yes,  but, in footnote 6 (footnote 6 being the third reviewer in all cases, the court leaves itself wiggle room)

6.  We do not address the related but separate question of whether an order denying a special motion to dismiss under the Anti-SLAPP Act is immediately appealable. We note that this was an issue in a different case before this court, Mann v. Nat’l Review, Inc., et al., 13-CV-1043, but the appeal in that case was dismissed before an opinion was issued. Two days before oral argument for this case, the District of Columbia delivered to the court the amicus brief it filed in Mann. It is not clear what the District, which is not a party to this case, sought to accomplish, procedurally or substantively, with this submission. While the District is not required to ask permission to be amicus in this court, see D.C. App. R. 29(a), it still must follow other rules pertaining to amicus filings, see, e.g.,D.C. App. R.29(c)-e). Moreover, if it meant to participate in this case as amicus by resubmitting its Mann amicus brief, that brief provides little guidance regarding the issue before us. In a footnote, the District in Mann took the position that whether the denial of a special motion to dismiss is immediately appealable is “related, but quite distinct” from whether the denial of a special motion to quash is appealable, and it never said whether the appealability of these distinct motions should be resolved similarly or differently. We see no reason to address the appealability of the special motion to dismiss in this case.
Mostly the court appears to be leaving the issue of immediate appealability in cases like MvS hanging out there for later, see footnote 12. 

Thanks!

Sometimes you lose the thread, sometimes the @ get in the way.  So Eli tries to help





.@cwhope @RogerPielkeJr Have you thought what a problem would be presented to Mr Pielke if he agreed with that!
— John Deben (@lorddeben) June 5, 2014

@cwhope Here is a nice review/analysis by @@JesseJenkins on exactly this--> http://t.co/BCw1FDlabU
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 5, 2014

Actually @lorddeben a centerpiece of my book The Climate Fix is a price on carbon. Plz be informed before attacking, thx
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr The abstract of the paper doesn't mention the effect of CO2 prices on economic growth.
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 5, 2014
@cwhope  my paper isnt RE impacts on economic growth, but is RE political constraints on carbon pricing
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr From your blog: 'the needed price to achieve such drastic rates of decarbonization would impact economic growth'
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 5, 2014
@cwhope @RogerPielkeJr  is ur claim that a "substantial CO2 price" would not impact economic growth? How do u define substantial?
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@cwhope You are not asking me to explain the paper to you I hope. It's about political constraints of carbon price.
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope  what my paper does do is contrast estimates of the social cost of carbon with societal willingness to pay
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope  whereas SSC estimates are ~$15-200/ton, willingness to pay in US is likely in $2-8/ton range.
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope ABC/WashPo poll on EPA regs showed households willing to pay $20/mo to support. For avg US household, that's $7/ton.
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@JesseJenkins Will depend critically on how WTP was assessed. Don't forgot CO2 price is just a transfer payment.
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 5, 2014
@cwhope  @RogerPielkeJr yes, it's a transfer of surplus today to reduce externalities born by everyone worldwide forever...
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@cwhope I am quite comfortable with that claim. Are you saying that carbon pricing cannot affect econ growth?
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 5, 2014
@JesseJenkins But EPA regs don't return CO2 tax as, say, sales or payroll tax cuts.
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 5, 2014
@cwhope @RogerPielkeJr if u don't think that will have negative impacts on today's GDP, I dont think u understand the nature of the transfer
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@cwhope  @RogerPielkeJr yes, and? Show me any evidence such rebates significantly increase WTP? Ive seen none. Survey in paper.
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr As CO2 tax is a transfer payment, no a priori reason to believe will reduce growth. In fact just the opposite.
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 5, 2014
@cwhope  now I know you're an expert on this stuff, so Im surprised u challenge idea that a substantial C price impacts GDP.
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@JesseJenkins No, it's a transfer payment from, eg those who use lots of energy to those who employ lots of labor
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 5, 2014
@cwhope (my Energy Policy paper actually cites your social cost of carbon work)
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@cwhope @RogerPielkeJr yes there's some of that kind of transfer also, but the big hit is in exchange for reducing the climate externality.
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@cwhope @RogerPielkeJr in addition, those transfers themselves produce significant political opposition that helps bind against large Cprice
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@JesseJenkins Sadly, I have to leave now this is getting interesting. Will try to pick up tomorrow.
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 5, 2014
@cwhope @RogerPielkeJr even if net societal wealth doesn't change, major transfers will certainly be opposed by the losers in such transers
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014
@cwhope @RogerPielkeJr  happy to chat more. Shoot me an email if you'd like and I can send you my paper...
— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) June 5, 2014

 @JesseJenkins @cwhope Theoretical arguments abt GDP effects of high C price irrelevant when such a thing politically impossible
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope that paper makes no claims re GDP impacts of C price & argument doesn’t depend on such claims.
— Matthew Paterson (@MatPaterson) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope is about power of concentrated interests & weak willingness 2 pay, blocking C price emerging
— Matthew Paterson (@MatPaterson) June 5, 2014
@cwhope They seemed to miss that in #IPCC WG3, "it does not cost the world to save the planet", >0.6%GDP/yr
— Glen Peters (@Peters_Glen) June 5, 2014
@cwhope @RogerPielkeJr  Depends on how drastic is defined. Shale gas has delivered relatively large emissions reductions & growth
— Mike Shellenberger (@MichaelBTI) June 5, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr But you say 'the needed price to achieve such drastic rates of decarbonization would impact economic growth' Needs evidence.
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr Here is one piece of evidence against your claim that carbon tax would harm growth http://t.co/KOxNmuitbE
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 6, 2014
@cwhope  @RogerPielkeJr  British Columbia fuel use drops while economy keeps up with Canada. http://t.co/jssTi8pQ1u
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) June 6, 2014
@cwhope Let me know when we have a real world example of a high carbon price to assess your claims empirically, until then zzzzzzzz Thx!
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope British Columbia Canada.
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr I believe @edwiebe just gave you one!  In any case, you're a long way from proving your contention in your blog,
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 6, 2014
@cwhope @edwiebe So that is what you define as a high carbon price?
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 6, 2014
@cwhope No worries, we agree to disagree. Thx @edwiebe 
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope  I'd prefer it were higher but political self interest has halted the increases for now.
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope The right fails to see or understand the bigger picture, their inherent selfishness gets in the way.
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr @cwhope  You may agree. I don't.
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) June 6, 2014
@edwiebe You don't have a choice ;-) Like it or not, there is a plurality of views out there on such topics.
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr What I take from this is that when asked to provide evidence for your claim, you didn't do so
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 6, 2014
@cwhope Give me a break Chris, I've published x10s papers & a book on climate. If you want to enagage send me an email.
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr   Not the same as passive aggressive attempt to stop discussion when it got harder to support your view.
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) June 6, 2014
@edwiebe I'm happy to discuss. Passive/aggressive - ironic! If you'd like to engage my views, then do so intelligently
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 6, 2014
@edwiebe @cwhope You guys both have an open invitation to visit my blog where we can discuss in more than 140 char.
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 6, 2014
@edwiebe @cwhope Can also email. Otherwise, plz go wag your c*cks elsewhere. Not
interested in the twitter chest thumping. Thx.
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr  We know we must stop emitting carbon therefore agreeing to disagree is not an option.
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) June 6, 2014
Last two paragraphs of Chapter VII http://t.co/E21JU5Y3XF @RogerPielkeJr  http://t.co/Q2m5ixENPf
— Ed Wiebe (@edwiebe) June 6, 2014
@RogerPielkeJr Well, I had hoped for intelligent debate. Think I've been polite throughout. Disappointing.
— Chris Hope (@cwhope) June 7, 2014

Friday, June 06, 2014

Paul Krugman Adopts Eli Rabett's Simple Plan to Save the World


Eli tires (not really) of reminding everyone how prescient the Bunny is.  Today in his op ed column (TED not TEDX) at the NY Times, Krugman discusses the new EPA emission regulations

America can’t expect other countries to take strong action against emissions while refusing to do anything itself, so the new rules are needed to get the game going. And it’s fairly certain that action in the U.S. would lead to corresponding action in Europe and Japan.

That leaves China, and there have been many cynical declarations over the past few days to the effect that China will just go ahead and burn any coal that we don’t. And we certainly don’t want to count on Chinese altruism.

But we don’t have to. China is enormously dependent on access to advanced-country markets — a lot of the coal it burns can be attributed, directly or indirectly, to its export business — and it knows that it would put this access at risk if it refused to play any role in protecting the planet.

More specifically, if and when wealthy countries take serious action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, they’re very likely to start imposing “carbon tariffs” on goods imported from countries that aren’t taking similar action. Such tariffs should be legal under existing trade rules — the World Trade Organization would probably declare that carbon limits are effectively a tax on consumers, which can be levied on imports as well as domestic production. Furthermore, trade rules give special consideration to environmental protection. So China would find itself with strong incentives to start limiting emissions.
Now where has Eli seen this before.  Ah yes back in 2007
 Nations wishing to make major progress on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions should introduce emission taxes on all products. These taxes should be levied on imports as well as domestic goods at the point of sale, and should displace other taxes, such as VAT, sales taxes, and payroll (e.g. social security, health care) in such a way that tax revenues are constant, and distributed equitably.

These should be introduced as an Emissions Added Levy (avoiding the bad jokes). EAL would be imposed on sale for emissions added in the preceding step and inherent to the consumption of the product, as would be the case for heating oil and gasoline. Manufacturers would pay the EAL on electricity they bought, and incorporate this and the levy on emissions they created into the price of the product they sell.

Imports from countries that do not have an EAL would have the full EAL imposed at the time of import. The base rate would be generic EALs based on worst previous practices in the countries that do have EALs, which would be reduced on presenting proof that the actual emissions were lower.

All countries with EAL systems would reserve a portion (say 5%) for assisting developing countries with adaptations (why not use acclimations?) and mitigating programs.

By basing the levy on emissions rather than carbon all greenhouse gases stand on a common level, sequestration is strongly encouraged as well as such simple things as capturing methane from oil wells and garbage dumps (that gets built into the cost of disposal). The multipliers would come from CO2 equivalents on a 10 year basis.

The process can be effective without across the board agreement which means the ability of countries such as the US to bargain the process down is decreased. Further, early adopters will control the process and establish the base rates in concert. Imagine a world wide EAL system controlled by the early adapters. The effect will advantage them in the same was as the oil market being denominated in $ has benefitted the dollar.

If large enough chunks of the world economy, for example, the EU and Japan adopt this, manufacturers world wide have to follow across the board no matter where they are. There are not going to be separate lines to produce whatever for North America and Europe in China. And yes, as in all things there would be some gaming of the system. It’s the price you pay for lawyers and economists.

See, told you it was simple.
and more here including such points as why China and India would do well to adopt Eli Rabett's simple plan
India and China and many other developing countries should reduce their emissions of black carbon by 90% or more in the next decade as part of their work. This will not only significantly reduce warming of the climate, it will make a major contribution to the health of their people. Simple and economical methods of doing this are available. 
Now go read Brian on the emissions regulations.  Good sense, good thoughts.

Eli Outsources


As somebunnies may have noticed, Paul Krugman had a comment yesterday on Ethon's foodgroup.  Roger Dear published a letter in the Financial Times that Paul thought a bit, well a bit like Roger's last comment on Science at 538, basically pushing the idea that there is a rigid proportionality between carbon intensity and GDP, so if the former goes down so does the latter.  This is called the Kaya Identity, well not really.  Pielke's version as Krugman pointed out

 This is actually kind of wonderful, in a bang-your-head-on-the-table sort of way. Pielke isn’t claiming that it’s hard in practice to limit emissions without halting economic growth, he’s arguing that it’s logically impossible. So let’s talk about why this is stupid.
Since Ethon is busy dining, Eli will simply reprint a comment at the Times from one Sahuaro in Arizona

Buggy whips are the product of growth in the transportation sector of gross domestic  product and of buggy utilization. More precisely, this relationship is called the Kaos Identity – after Horace Kaos, the Welsh stablemaster who first proposed it in the 1890s.

Thus, by definition, a “buggy whip cap” necessarily means that a government is committing to either a cessation of transportation growth or to the systematic advancement of technological innovation in equine substitutes on a predictable schedule, such that economic growth is not constrained. Because halting economic growth is not an option, in Cambridge or anywhere else, and because horses don't move via fiat, there is in practice no such thing as a buggy whip cap.
If Bunnies need that translated, Susan Anderson at the same place can help you
The brawny promotion of we can't do anything, so we must do nothing, seems to be Roger Pielke Jr.'s stock in trade. He does a lot of harm, being so plausible and all.
Some time ago Eli pointed out that Roger was of the Breakthrough institute lie back and enjoy it school of dealing with climate change.  Roger did not take that well.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Random impressions following the Obama's move on climate

  • In addition to the 30% reduction by 2030, the rule includes interim reduction averages over the years 2020-2029, a good means of preventing a combination of delaying and then claiming compliance is impossible.
  • There's a very early deadline for this proposed rule, June 30, 2016 for states to submit their proposals. I think this will play into the legal maneuvering. States and fossil fuel corporations will not only have to sue when the rule is finalized next year, they'll have to win preliminary injunctions to stop the law. If they don't get PIs, then time is on the side of good guys - litigation can drag on as long as possible but the states will still have to reduce emissions in the interim, and after a while they will have reduced incentive to fight the regulation. (Disclaimer- my usual one, I'm not a Clean Air Act lawyer.)
  • The proposed rule includes an alternate proposal that just regulates the generating plants and doesn't rely on efficiency and renewable energy. This sounds to me like a reference to the legal question of whether the EPA can look "outside the fence" of the generating plant to achieve emission reductions. It seems like a warning, that doing it this way could be a lot more expensive but feasible. That may be a warning against the attempt we've seen repeatedly to run up the cost of regulation in order to kill it.
  • Leafing through the rule, page 57 says the air pollution benefits outweigh costs even setting aside all climate benefits. So much for the stupid arguments that skeptics have been making to date.
  • Some commenters have noted the parallel between this rule and Obamacare in terms of maximizing authority for the states. Can't find where I read it, but somebody also noted the likely parallel that some states will refuse to submit a plan to achieve the goals. So did the EPA, saying "If a state with affected EGUs does not submit a plan, or if the EPA does not approve a state’s plan, then, under CAA section 111(d)(2)(A), the EPA must establish a plan for that state." AFAICT that sentence stands alone - they may need to spell it out in a little greater detail.
  • Jamelle Bouie says that national Republicans have themselves to blame for this regulation, because they are the ones that stopped cap-and-trade or any serious possibility for a carbon tax. Cap-and-trade included provisions making a transition to a lower-carbon economy easier on the poor, but Republicans are now crying crocodile tears over that problem (while ignoring the health benefits).
  • China is now engaging in a discussion over whether to cap their emissions, planning the cap in the next five year plan and hitting it in 2030. That's not enough, but it's something and I think American action can help Chinese proponents of action.

Model Making, Mathturbation, and Bullshit Tests

Reading Attp's take on all the goings on, Eli was struck by a thought that he has had before, that Richard Tol is very much the kind of person who sets more store by formalism than realism.  Now this does indeed seem to be a disease of denialists such as Steve McIntyre and Lucia, but it is something that any student with a decent adviser rapidly loses.

You learn to test your results against the most extreme case where the realistic answer is obvious.  If your result fails the test, why then, oh yeah, there is something wrong, either with your model or your assumptions, so you change an assumption and try it again.  If that does not help you start looking at the model, or for a wire that was not plugged in correctly.

Now not to pick on Prof. Tol, oh well, why not, but his work is full of failed bullshit tests.  For example, using ones that have been discussed on various blogs recently, the recent attempted takedown of Cook, et al.  Clearly, as Anon has shown, and as SkS has shown in a different but related way, there were obvious tests which would have shown that Tol was going off the rails.

And then the bunnies have Tol (2009), when Richard was told by Julie Nelson, that a positive value for Chris FieldHope's PAGES result at 3 C made no sense given it's use by Stern and others.  Moreover, and Eli thinks that Eli is the only one who noticed this, Tol created the global value for PAGES and got a positive number, EVEN when all the regional values were negative.

And, of course, Tol's reaction to Bob Ward picking up on this. . . 

Then, of course, there is the famous Ackerman Tol set to, where Ackerman and Muntz not only found an obvious divide by zero issue, but serious issues with Tol and Anthoff's calculations of agricultural benefits.  The response on the divide by zero was typical Tol, we know about this, you would too if you understood FUND and we monitor for it.  Given that no one else knew and this was not commented on elsewhere, a very weak response but made in full fury.

Another one was Tol's working paper on the advantages of accepting welfare and not working in Ireland.  Obvious nonsense, and clearly so from the paper, but no, Richard has full faith and credit.

Be skeptical is good advice.  Be nice, so when you make a mistake, and all bunnies do, others will be nice to you.  Wait. . .

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

In the Spirit of Deep Climate


In the spirit of Deep Climate, Anonymous, as he wrote to Eli, has penned an analysis of how Richard Tol cooked and indeed, it is McIntyre class, although from the nature of the mistake, it may very well have been hubris and not malice.  Dickie's misbegotten analysis starts from Cook et al's description of their procedure, and just to show that Eli is an honest card shark, why not start with Tol's description first of what he did, and then of what Cook et al did.  At the end of this it should become clear that, well, Eli will leave that to the bunnies.  From Tol's blog

According to Cook et al., each abstract was assessed by at least 2 and at most 3 raters. In fact, 33 abstracts were seen by only one rater, 167 by four raters, and 5 by five. 
 Eli will not get into why at this time that of the 12,000 odd abstracts 33 were seen by one rater, but bunnies might ask if those 33 had something about them and whether they were included in the published ratings. Tol rants on
If the initial ratings disagreed, as they did in 33% of cases, abstracts were revisited by the original raters. In 15.9% of cases, this led to agreement. In 17.1% of cases, a third rater broke the tie.
A reported error rate of 33%, with 2 ratings and 7 categories, implies that 18.5% of ratings were incorrect. 0.6% of abstracts received two identical but wrong ratings. 2.9% of ratings are still wrong after reconciliation. 3.2% of ratings are wrong after re-rating. In total, 6.7% of reported data are in error.
At this point Dickie goes totally off the rails.  That there were disagreements in the ratings is clear, such disagreement is to be expected when one imposes an ordinal value on a continuous one.  For example, if bunnies measure a continuous value of 3.5 + 0.1 imposing an ordinal value will in half the cases result in an ordinal value of 3 and in the other half of the cases in an ordinal value of 4.  In this case it is not surprising that in one third of the cases there was a disagreement amongst the raters.

Where the separation between ratings is only one unit these are not disagreements in any meaningful sense and anyone who claims that they are is fooling himself or attempting to deceive the reader.  Those perhaps interested in cross tabbing can look at those from Brian's survey of 666 (yes, Eli reads the Old Testimony) abstracts selected at random from those published between 2002 and 2007 (more about the prequel here).

Tol shows a figure indicating how in the reconciliation and re-rating processes, ratings changed.  For 92% of the cases the ratings changed by one unit.  




Anonymouse describes Tol's mathturbation
Tol (2014) argues reasonably that from the number of disagreements, the error rate in the initial abstract ratings was about 18.5%. He further argues that if the same error rate applies during the reconciliation process then 6.7% of ratings will still be in error after reconciliation, implying that 11.8% were corrected during reconciliation. He assumes that the remaining errors are equally distributed among categories, a claim which is problematic but which will be assumed for the remainder of this analysis.
Eli disagrees with this on two grounds.  First, as mentioned previously, these differences, and certainly the differences of one unit are in no way errors.  Second, the assumption that the remaining differences are equally distributed among categories is more than problematic.  It is WRONG and the data showing that it is WRONG have been made public.  Anonymouse continues
 In Tol’s analysis the 6.7% of error ratings are redistributed to other categories in proportion to the corresponding proportion of shifts in the histogram. Shifts which would move the abstract rating outside the 1...7 range leave the abstract in the most extreme category.

This operation on the error ratings may be represented by the matrix S
Which can be used to produce the Tolian 90% version of the Cook, et al 97% result via
T = (1-0.067)I - .067S using the 6.7% disagreement rate.

multiply the T matrix by the vector of the ratings in each category and you get Tol's results, which, in spite of Richard's whining, is a pretty good check of the procedure.  Although the elements (1,1) and (7,7) appear irregular (Mark R in the comments at Tol Cooking, thinks they should be zero, and Eli did at first, they are correct, as can be seen by adding all the columns (and rows) which sum to unity as they should.  Richard is spewing snot about this. 

UPDATE:  Everyone, inc. Eli got gremlins.  See comments by Neal King
As Tol points out in his blogspot, AS does get the wrong matrix S. However, his calculations have been redone with the correct matrix S, and yield essentially the same results:
- If one were to expect Tol's approach to be applicable to the only solid evidence there is (the records of the reconciliation), the approach requires that the initial distribution have negative numbers in one category, prior to reconciliation; and
- the results of Tol's projection bear no similarity to the statistics they seek to model: How does a 2:98 split turn into a 55:45 split? via the power of Tol's assumptions! and this is for the category that comprises 2/3 of the papers that were studied.
and Mark R
For those gentlepeople of leisure who don't want to muck around in excel, here is Tol's 'S' matrix:  http://textuploader.com/0gj6

Elements 1,1 and 7,7 should be zero (otherwise it's not an error), so to make the columns sum to unity each of the remaining values are scaled by a constant to normalise.

During reconciliation, the consensus went from 96.73% to 97.06%.

The Cook response method predicts that reconciliation changes consensus from 96.73% to 97.06% (versus observed 97.06%).

The Tol comment method predicts that it changes from 96.73% to 87.44% (versus observed 97.06%). Working backwards, Tol's correction requires that the pre-reconciliation consensus should be >100% (as pointed out by Anonymous).

I'm sure that Professor Tol will realise and retract his paper or, at the very least, submit a quick correction. 
 added by Eli for convenience Mark R's S matrix


0.0 0.429017350 0.030959032 0.001167679 0.000468604 0.000000000 0.000000000
0.916281027 0.0 0.415735568 0.031060252 0.001171509 0.000487329 0.000000000
0.068994531 0.523180399 0.0 0.417094816 0.031162137 0.001218324 0.001038422
0.006731174 0.039394667 0.506983240 0.0 0.418462980 0.032407407 0.002596054
0.007993269 0.003843382 0.038175047 0.508640822 0.0 0.435185185 0.069055036
0.000000000 0.004564016 0.003724395 0.038299860 0.510309278 0.0 0.927310488
0.000000000 0.000000000 0.004422719 0.003736572 0.038425492 0.530701754 0.0


Which agrees with Tol's.  This is somewhat hidden in the URL that Neal gave.  Bunnies have to download the Excel spreadsheet http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/rt220/Consensus.xlsx and also http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/rt220/tcp_allratings.xlsx which are under the headings Data and Graphs on Abstract Ratings and Individual Ratings 
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The problem being that if you use the inverse, the percentage agreeing with the IPCC consensus is 116% and the number of papers rejecting the consensus at level 5/7, 7 being outright Dragon Slayer territory, is -555 which is the new number of the beast.  The two errors in the S matrix will not change that much

What to say, what to say. . . First of all shifts that would move the abstract out of the ordinal range should have a probability of zero.  This unjustifiably inflates the number of abstracts at the extremes. Second, Skeptical Science has just published it's full response, and bunnies can see how Tol's assumptions lead to Tol's conclusions


Which are wrong