Sunday, November 15, 2009

As expected

From the NY Times

SINGAPORE — President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate changeagreement at a global climate conference scheduled for next month, agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific “politically binding” agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future.


Rattus Norvegicus said...

Why am I not surprised? The denialist campaign is working and political support is waning in the US to get anything done. It seems unlikely that the Senate can get anything done given the power of the fossil fuel lobby. Even if they could get to sixty to pass something, no matter how ineffectual, it would be impossible to get to 67 to ratify the treaty. No matter how much the teabaggers want to think that they are protesting the hold that corporate America has on our political process they are doing it's bidding on every issue they address.

Deech56 said...

Inertia is pretty powerful, and our political institutions are inherently resistant to real change (except for going to "war" and lowering taxes). Denial is the natural state of being, I'm afraid, and the task of the deniers and delayers is made that much easier.

There is always the tendency among us Americans that once we set our minds to a problem we can solve it, and the we are quite adaptable. This is akin to the confidence of a procrastinator - that you can always pull through at the last minute, but science is act of facing hard truths.

Professor Mandia said...

Americans also are falsely convinced that future problems can always be solved by technological advances that save the day down the road. Joe Romm really hammers this point home in his book: Hell and High Water.

Anonymous said...

"Americans also are falsely convinced that future problems can always be solved by technological advances that save the day down the road."

..which is why books like Superfreakonomics sell so many copies and why people like Levitt and Crichton take on the mantel of "experts" (Gods, even)

Americans have infinite faith in the ingenuity of their scientists, largely because most Americans have no clue what is involved and because scientists HAVE come through in the past (eg, with the Manhattan project and moon landing).

What they ignore of course, is that scientists and engineers have REALLY screwed things up as well (eg, in draining the Florida Everglades and in inventing CFC's and other things without having any idea how it would effect the environment )

Meanwhile, the scientists and engineers (who do understand what is involved) are sweating profusely and even peeing their pants in a panic trying to figure out how the hell they are going to get the World's people (in this case) out of the latest self-induced pickle.

perhaps if scientists and engineers were not so damned good at 'coming through" (and at producing technology that requires so much energy) we would not be in the current situation.

William M. Connolley said...

Yes. I'm appalled. Get a new spellchecker. "changeagreement" indeed.

As to the substance: no surprise. I haven't even bothered to snark at them :-(

carrot eater said...

Ho-hum. They should have been lowering expectations from some time ago.

At the very least, they might get REDD going, for preserving rain forests in Brasil.

But so long as the US Senate is hung up with health care, real progress was very unlikely. Even if they had time to deal with climate bills, they'd get into a catch-22: the Senate won't want to act unless they know what China is going to do, but if the Senate doesn't act, then the other countries at Copenhagen won't know what the US could actually agree to.

Perhaps we should take the entire Senate to Copenhagen.

Unknown said...

The denialist campaign is working and political support is waning in the US to get anything done


The industry lobbyists are working. Not the denialists. There is a difference.

Nonetheless, long ago I was convinced we cannot solve our problems.

(word verif agrees: 'farcings')



Alastair said...

It does not seem that the general population understand that the longer we put off doing something about AGW, the worse will be the consequences. (By general population I include those posting here who, although they may consider themselves unique, accept that AGW will have an effect.)

It is not just the damage that we are doing to the climate, we have also reached Peak Oil.

The Americans and the Europeans are consuming the resources of a planet of twice the size of the Earth. Unless we accept that we have to become poorer then the developing countries will have to remain in their state of poverty. Is that just? Is it right that this generation of first world countries should have used within 50 years all of the oil deposited over 500,000,000 years. Not only have we stolen it from the under-developed countries, we have also stolen it from our grandchildren and our children. They cannot look forward to a peaceful retirement!

Anonymous said...

I would not blame the Senate so much as I would blame Obama.

I expect inaction from the Senate.

They need a prodding from the President, who has been basically MIA on this issue.

Oh, his rhetoric has been there, for sure.

but, as on so many other issues, the actions simply do not even come close to the words.

Obama is a speech maker.

That's about ALL he is.

And he does not even write his own speeches.

It's pretty pathetic.

he's little more than a disappointment, as far as i am concerned.

carrot eater said...

Come, people. Congress is only going to do one big thing at a time. Maybe all you are focused on climate change, but the Congress and President are preoccupied with health care. It has nothing to do with lobbyists or denialists or anything like that. It's legislative priorities.

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with lobbyists or denialists or anything like that. It's legislative priorities."

Unfortunately, the fact that Obama has nothing to bring to the table in Copenhagen is not the fault of Congress. It is the fault of Obama.

He seems to have lots of time on his hands -- eg to make personal appeal to get the Olympics for his home town -- but none for Climate change.

It's a joke.

HE is a joke (and, sadly, I actually voted for him)

Anonymous said...

" but none for Climate change."

Actually, Obama's administration has done a _lot_ of climate change work in the past 10 months - not all of it goes through Congress (and even there, the stimulus package had a number of environmental provisions along with all the other junk). Also, 10 months just isn't a very long time to turn a behemoth like the federal government around...


Anonymous said...


Ask climate scientist James Hansen what he thinks of all the "work" Obama has done, on cap and trade, for example.

“Trading of rights to pollute … introduces speculation and makes millionaires on Wall Street,...I hope cap and trade doesn’t pass, because we need a much more effective approach.” -- James Hansen

or ask the economist who invented cap and trade (to deal with SO2 emissions) Thomas Crocker

"I'm skeptical that cap-and-trade is the most effective way to go about regulating carbon," says Mr. Crocker, 73 years old, a retired economist in Centennial, Wyo. He says he prefers an outright tax on emissions because it would be easier to enforce and provide needed flexibility to deal with the problem" -- WSJ

Ron said...

It’s difficult to imagine how anybody can be wrong on so many points using a mere 165 words. From the top, your assertion that the consequences of AGW will be bad is pure fear mongering which fails to acknowledge that every known stage of increase in human life and general richness has occurred in warmer rather than colder periods.

(Your second sentence means---what???)

Peak Oil? Are you serious? Look, we don’t have a clue how much oil remains to be discovered.

Your assertion that the world’s resource development is a zero sum game is a purely political polemic totally unsupported by any systematic historical, or socio/economic investigations.

What is justice, or, more properly, what’s YOUR definition of justice? The tone of your remarks suggests that it may well be somewhat similar to what I would call ENVY.

All the oil?? Com’on, this is just hyper fatuous hyperbole.

Oil, stolen from under-developed countries, etc. Watch your tongue here Alister. I’m an Albertan. We produce a lot of this stuff and we didn’t steal it from anybody who actually possessed it, nor was it stolen from us. Get a grip; or look up the meaning of “steal”.

My children, and grand children, and their grand children are going to have a far longer, healthy, comfortable, and peaceful retirement than probably 95 % of humans of my grand parents’ generation could ever have imagined. The only thing that could slow down this possibility would be if people with your (apparent) mindset ever got the power to control things. The `collectivist social revolutionary mindset with its “for the people” slogans has continuously demonstrated that even using all the political, police and military force it could muster it couldn`t run even simple national economies on behalf of “the people”. So why should we turn over the earth`s climate (presuming it would be possible to in some small measure actually control it) to a super do-gooder agency as stupendously corrupt as the UN using the IPCC bureaucracy, especially when it appears it intends to run a purely tax and spend venture that would relate to controlling the climate in the same way a flight simulator of a 747 could actually fly 450 people across the continent.

Have a nice day,

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...


Go away, concern troll.

* * *

Shorter Ron:

"Justice" is a Marxist construct. For far too long "injustice" has been given a bad name, but do you know that another name for injustice is "freedom"? Down with justice! All hail injustice!

Also, Marxism didn't work, therefore the IPCC is corrupt.

And... peak oil? We don't know how much oil we still have, therefore we know that we still have a lot of oil. We don't know, therefore we know.

-- bi

Anonymous said...

Bi says Anonymous:"Go away, concern troll."

I guess James Hansen and Thomas Crocker are also "concern trolls"?

Look at the facts for a change, as Hansen and Crocker have. They might surprise you.

Bye Bi.

carrot eater said...

Anon, I really don't see where you are going off. Watch the mechanics of the Senate sometime. You'll go through months of committee hearings (on several different committees), hundreds if not thousands of proposed amendments, and possibly several rounds of scoring by the CBO and in this case, the EPA. And this process has barely started in the Senate for climate change, as they have been devoting all that effort to health care.

Some of you guys might be one-trick ponies, only caring about climate change. I hate to break it to you, but you aren't at the top of the totem pole. Top of the agenda was/is the recession. Second was health care. Climate change was never going to pass those two on the list of priorities.

Steve Bloom said...

Shorter Ron: The First Nations never owned any of this, therefore we never stole it. You want proof? Just ask our lawyers!

amoeba said...

Shorter Concern Troll - Screw future generations!

Taking oil output as an indicator of declining reserves, all fields are in decline.
There is serious doubt about the veracity of claimed reserves: Saudi; Iran; Kuwait; and other middle-east countries whose reserves jumped suspiciously in quick succession without any discoveries!

With declining output and rising demand [e.g. car-buying in China], that sounds like past peak oil to me!

See link below for graph of dodgy middle-east oil reserves:

Anonymous said...

Carrot eater said:

"Top of the agenda was/is the recession. Second was health care. Climate change was never going to pass those two on the list of priorities."

yeh, I forgot.

Obama and congress had to give away hundreds of billions to Wall Street banks and tens of billions to the health insurance industry and big pharma before they can even think about giving more billions to Wall Street (as profits on cap and trade speculation)

Forgive me if I did not realize when i voted for Obama that he could not chew gum and think at the same time.

carrot eater said...

I suppose trying to pass not just one, but two of the most significant pieces of legislation in decades in the same year is just like chewing gum and thinking at the same time. In the middle of a bad recession, no less.

hapa said...

it's disturbing. we really do have a short schedule and there's really not much we can do to keep the rot from
ruining us.

Ron said...

Re, Shorter Ron

-Are you really saying that “freedom” is a bad thing?

-Your Marxist/PCC syllogism is invalid, and did NOT say it was the IPCC that is corrupt. The IPCC is mostly a bunch of bureaucrats proposing a political solution in which the world’s national governments are to turn over control of their economies to an international quasi government to solve a problem (it may not even have definitely claimed to exist) by giving some people somebody else’s money; and it’s headed by a person who, in his dispute with the Indian government, revealed himself to be totally unpractised in the discipline of scientific or serious thought. Frankly, if you can take him as a spokesman for science, then we really have little to say to each other.

-This reducto type argument of yours is merely absurd. What I said was we do NOT know how much oil may be left. This in NO WAY implies we do know (how much oil) but merely that those who claim we do are merely expressing an opinion , not stating any facts. (Think a bit about our “knowledge” regarding exploitable natural gas we thought existed two years ago, before the shale possibilities materialized. I hope you got rid of any natgas heavy stocks last year.)
Steve Bloom,
Re: Shorter Ron.
Steve, over the years I’ve read a fair amount of your stuff, and often found it worthwhile to have done so. So I’d appreciate your view, or references, to a serious moral (distributive justice type) theory of ownership that would allow for your apparent claim that the aboriginals owned material miles below ground that somebody else brought to the surface. Frankly, I have never actually heard a real argument on this issue. Please avoid anything related to the complexities of the evolving legal/constitutional/political issues here as I’m afraid I (and most of the lawyers involved) won’t live long enough to get it all straight.
Re: Shorter Concern Troll

If you’re talking to me, please spell my name right.


EliRabett said...

At this point Eli starts to point out that property is theft, including the Alberta oil sands.

Ron said...

EliRabett said...
At this point Eli starts to point out that property is theft, including the Alberta oil sands.
5:03 AM

Which prompts the equally assertive response that the possession of property is a well recognized universal right for those who acquire it in a proper manner, and that includes the oil sands----Check!

Eli, of course you know full well that what you are saying here is so far removed from the ordinary general usage of these terms that as a descriptive assertion it is hyper anomalous to the point that these English words would, if heard by the casual listener, be as meaningful as what was being understood by the workman at the fall of the Tower of Babel. But, if your real meaning was not to state an apparent lexicological untruth, but to make a provocative gambit intended to introduce an argument that there are empirical reasons that anyone possessing property has actually stolen it from some proper owner, or that the very concepts of property , or ownership are incoherent in themselves, or maybe contrary to the natural order of things, then its your move!

PS Sorry for poor proofing in last post. Two "I"s missing: one before "did NOT" in first line, and in the word "reductio".

EliRabett said...

Sorry Ron, there is never any good title to anything. You can always find an act of theft or war at the end of the chain. Buying something in good faith from a thief just means you forgot the title insurance.

Ron said...

EliRabett said...
Sorry Ron, there is never any good title to anything. You can always find an act of theft or war at the end of the chain. Buying something in good faith from a thief just means you forgot the title insurance.
5:10 AM

OK Eli, show me why I wouldn’t have legitimate ownership (if that’s what you mean by “good title”) of a wooden chest (“hope chests” in the old days) inherited from my mother. It was hand made for her by my grandfather from a tree she liked to sit under at their homestead/ranch in Northern Alberta in the 1920’s. Their home was at a location where, according to aboriginal sources in the general area (some I knew personally) there had never been any known settlements or hunting or trap-line activities by anybody. No known theft, no know war here. If you want to insist that theft or war could be found if we looked hard enough, then frankly we’d have little more to talk about because on my planet the rules of thought do not allow for claims of truth for a priori empirical propositions. Please note, I’m not claiming your statement is false, but as you are making a claim about all matters of fact about particular events, I’d like some evidence, such as an itemized list of every transaction involving possession of anything showing its antecedent act of theft or war. Or, to save time, if you can’t defeat my (true) example above may I suggest instead you take a whirl at the possibilities of an analytic argument in support of your property=theft thesis.