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Climate change emails: a scientist defends himself

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Robin Lustig | 10:18 UK time, Thursday, 3 December 2009

According to the Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, leaked emails from a climate research unit at the University of East Anglia "show a pattern of suppression, manipulation and secrecy that was inspired by ideology, condescension and profit."

They do no such thing, says one of the scientists to whom the emails were addressed, Professor Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University. But in an interview with me last night, he did distance himself from the man who wrote some of the emails, Professor Phil Jones at East Anglia. He said he "in no way endorses" some of what was said in the emails he received; that he "can't justify" a request from Professor Jones that he should delete some of his own emails to prevent access to them by outsiders; and that his East Anglia colleague "clearly made some poor decisions."

Penn State said in a statement that "it is looking into" the matters raised by the leaked emails but that Professor Mann is a "highly regarded member of the Penn State faculty" .

You can hear the interview by clicking below.














Broadcast on The World Tonight, BBC Radio 4, 2 December 2009


Comments

  • 1. At 1:03pm on 03 Dec 2009, common wrote:

    This interview doesn't touch on the most important thing discussed in the emails. Namely trying to touch up data to hide the decline in global temperatures in the last couple of years. On today in politics the discussion about climatechange was only about ways to reduce carbon. The so called sceptic, was only sceptical about the way to reduce carbon.
    Isn't the BBC concerned to end up as collateral damage after this all blows up?
    Since you are paid with taxpayers money, there is no excuse for this onesided and unscientific misinformation.

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  • 2. At 10:52pm on 03 Dec 2009, SheffTim wrote:

    The emails show nothing of the sort. The use of the word 'trick' is used widely in many fields of science to denote a 'technique', not deceit. Below is an example from a calculus exercise.

    "How would I take the derivative dy/dx of the function x^2y+xy^3-3x=6. x=4, y=1?
    The trick is to always add a dy/dx whenever you differentiate a function in y."
    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Calculus-2063/2009/6/Taking-derivative-function-variables-1.htm

    The Jones' paper was written in 1999 so the above comment about "in the last couple of years." is another example of either: a) biased & uninformed opinion b) deliberate disinformation.

    As for the ‘decline’ - it is known that K. Briffa’s ring density proxy (but only this one) diverges from the temperature records after 1960.
    In other words the summer temperature record for that region records rising temperatures after 1960, but the tree-ring date doesn't. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v391/n6668/abs/391678a0.html

    This is known as the “divergence problem” and has been discussed in the literature since, e.g. Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682).
    The authors always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, whilst undertaking further research to understand why this happened; so not using that data was appropriate.

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  • 3. At 11:05pm on 03 Dec 2009, SheffTim wrote:

    'the tree-ring date' above (#2) should read 'the tree-ring data'.
    (The auto-correct feature in MS Word is a mixed blessing.)

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  • 4. At 1:30pm on 05 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    We tend to think of people as rational or irrational and of scientists as the most rational of all basing their conclusions only on complete observation and impartial logical deduction. I think that is a bad misconception. Scientists like all other normal people can be both rational and irrational sometimes about the same subject even at the same time. As the world is filled with people who have only emotional connections to the climate change issue, they often base their arguments on what scientist say. The same is done about other religions besides climatology. Suddenly the ability to quote "experts" makes them all experts too. Then when experts are called into question because they acted irrationally and secretively to cover up their irrationality, and when their work formed much of the basis for other scientists' conclusions, it calls into question the entire argument on which hinges the political and economic fate of entire nations, even of the world. This is so serious that the UN has said it would investigate it too because it has based much of its own beliefs on this now questionable science. This reminds us that climate change has become a political football starting with Kyoto and leading to the infamous Al Gore movie "An Inconvenient Truth." The real inconvenient truth of this movie even though it won an Acadamy Award from its political supporters in Hollywood is that it was so technically flawed, at least nine identifiable flaws so far, that it had to be shown with a disclaimer in the UK if it was shown to school students at all. All of this diverts the focus of attention to where it ought to be, the real scientific evidence for or against climate change and devising a fair and effective plan the entire world can agree to if climate change is actually found to be manmade and a threat to human existance on earth.

    As someone who is interested but not directly involved, I don't know what to think right now. I was very skeptical of the alarmists for a long time because their arguments were incomplete, badly flawed, utterly unacceptable from the point of view of someone who will not listen to conclusions not arrived at by the highest standards of scientific research and peer review. But when I saw the photographs of the receding glaciers and polar ice caps including one glacier I'd seen with my own eyes 20 years earlier, I changed my mind. Not that I agreed with the program advocates who call themselves "environmentalists" generally propose as they seem unfair and ultimately ineffectual because they do not address the root cause of climate change, namely overpopulation given the level of technology humanity currently has available and what it is likely to develop as the problem grows worse if there really is a problem. The proposals seem politically motivated by the desire to transfer wealth from some countries to others and to use the crisis as part of a hidden agenda to establish a world government. This is unacceptable to me and I think to most other Americans. It may not be to many Europeans until they see that their standard of living will go down as the "developing world' standard of living rises to equalize those standards globally. Thus the real agenda is form me in America to live worse while people in China, India, Brazil will live better, this is their concept of justice and climate change is the mechanism they will use to bring it about.

    I am now of the opinion that unless and until a well respected scientific research effort can be produced to show conclusively that manmade activities are causing global warming and a plan formulated that is fair such that all people must make a sacrifice to avert the consequences, and that this plan includes a program to severly reduce world population while at the same time researching alternate technologies that produce energy on a practical scale, not the science fair deomonstration efforts like wind farms and solar panels, that no action should be taken. The long term risk of climate change if we do nothing is a possibility. The short term risk of worldwide economic depression, famine, and consequential social upheaval around the world among billions if we act severely and precipitously is a certainty.

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  • 5. At 2:10pm on 06 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    There's dumb, dumber, and then there was BBC's broadcast called "The Climate Connection" from Kolkata India. If BBC had more technical resources of its own in-house to examine its broadcasts, its only reaction to this one would be one of humiliating embarrassment. Its pertinent arguments were so technically incompetent that it was utter absurdity to even listen to it. I heard it to the end just to see to what depths BBC had sunk. Next time get a protagonist who at least knows what they are talking about so that the most intelligent arguments can be examined whichever side is presented.

    MarcusAureliusII

    Consulting Electrical Engineer

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  • 6. At 11:07pm on 06 Dec 2009, Steve wrote:

    There is always the odd scientist who fiddles their results. It happens in every field. At some point a scientist working on the Big Band Theory has probably fiddled his results. Does that therefore mean the entire scientific consensus on the Big Bang Theory is wrong? Of course not.

    Although, if the the Big Bang Theory was a threat to business interests, you can be sure that news papers would be full of articles titled "The Big Bang Swindle" etc. We've seen this kind of witch hunt against scientists before when their research displeases either the government or big business. Don't be fooled by the propaganda.

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  • 7. At 02:32am on 07 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Steve;

    "We've seen this kind of witch hunt against scientists before when their research displeases either the government or big business."

    We've also seen a South Korean scientist claim he had cloned a human being. Now he's in prison for fraud. Believe it or not, scientists are people to. They can lie and cheat just like anyone else. I've learned over a lifetime to take a skeptical eye towards everything they say. Had they been serious about global warming as a scientific problem for the world instead of as a political problem for diminishing America's relative power, they likely would have presented the issue to the world the same way CFCs were presented and there would now be a solution in the works...if it really is a problem. Meanwhile, the UN has tried to whitewash the whole incident even though they relied heavily on the now discredited scientists originally for their conclusions. Now the onus of convincing me begins all over again.

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  • 8. At 04:08am on 07 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    #7 "Had they been serious about global warming as a scientific problem for the world instead of as a political problem for diminishing America's relative power, they likely would have presented the issue to the world the same way CFCs were presented and there would now be a solution in the works..."

    Hmmm, because an overnight replacement for Carbon-based fuels is always going to be an easy ask. Get real!

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  • 9. At 11:57am on 07 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    pciii, do you think finding a replacement for Freon 11 and Freon 12 was easy?

    What difference does it make what targets politicians or environmentalists commit to? Without a coherent plan to meet those targets without creating a worldwide economic depression or causing widespread famine, they are just so many useless words. As of now, there are no practical ways to reduce CO2 output to the levels so called climatologists tell us would be required to stop global warming without reverting to a pre-industrial age level of living standards OR a severe reduction in the world's population.

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  • 10. At 12:26pm on 07 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    "do you think finding a replacement for Freon 11 and Freon 12 was easy?"

    Comparatively, yes.

    As many critics point out, the effects of climate change, the various trigger points etc, are far from certain, so to say there is no point doing anything just because it might not be quite enough is rather defeatist.

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  • 11. At 07:05am on 08 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    If the burning of fossil fuels is the cause of global warming, trying to thwart it by building wind farms and installing solar energy collectors in mitigation given the numbers is the equivalent of shoveling shit against the tide. It is an entirely wasted effort. Ludicrous when you think about the enormity of the numbers and the limitations of those technologies in light of the size and nature of energy requirements of modern industrial societies.

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  • 12. At 8:53pm on 08 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    #11. You've added nothing new to the debate. I refer you to #10.

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  • 13. At 10:16am on 09 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I had hoped to have some free time to research the technical aspects and associated costs, financial analysis etc. and complexities of wind turbines which I think for most electrical engineers is a rather rare and arcane subject even if it captures the public imagination now but suddenly new projects at work will take up much of my time. Because of their utter impracticality, unreliability, and lack of cost effectiveness, they strike me as not even remotely worthy of consideration in most projects or situations. Certainly not for private industrial projects or for high rise apartment or office buildings probably for both technical and financial payback reasons and even for suburban and rural residential structures of limited value if any. The simple payback method most people instinctively use to compute the value of such projects flies in the face of real world accounting practice which only considers the concept of Net Present Value or its mathematical equivalent, far harder to compute.

    Even if the entire power generating network were miraculously replaced by vast distributed networks of windfarms, an impossibility in any reasonable time frame for large countries like the US IMO, the existing network would have to remain available in a standby mode so that power would be available when there is insufficient wind to meet demand load. This would only add enormously to the cost of it. The largely carbon based central power generating station concept cannot be abandoned or replaced by any foreseeable developments as far as I can tell. Talk that is can is pure foolishness by people who do not understand how it works. There is far to much science fiction and media hyperbole shown to the public and often far out of context even when there's an element of truth in it.

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  • 14. At 11:13am on 09 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Marcus, whoever said this was about dismantling the power network and replacing it with wind farms? I'm well aware of how large organisations consider the cost-benefit of various ventures - it's part of my job too.

    You got one thing right - a centralised power network won't disappear overnight (unless something terrible happens) and probably never will for most people. But that's not to say that in many locations and situations it can't be extensively supplemented by other means.

    Here's my take on it - the science says we've caused global climate change that will (and is) negatively impacting our species. No one's certain how bad it's going to get and even to what extent it can be mitigated. That's not a good reason to do nothing. I seem to recall you using the story of the orchestra playing as the Titanic sank (probably in an amusing attempt to insult the British). Right now, to me, you're doing the climate change equivalent.

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  • 15. At 03:30am on 13 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "You got one thing right - a centralised power network won't disappear overnight"

    A centralized power network won't disappear ever. Not unless someone can figure out how to put windmills and solar panels on the roofs of high rise apartment buildings in congested cities all over the world that will power all of their lights, computers, television sets, air conditioners, and other appliances and they don't mind doing without them when the wind dies down and the sun isn't out. And not unless everyone who owns or occupies any building decides to become his own electrician, electrical engineer, or hire them when it all breaks down.

    "No one's certain how bad it's going to get and even to what extent it can be mitigated. That's not a good reason to do nothing"

    It's also not a good reason to turn the world upside down and create the near certainty of perpetual global economic depression and famine on a plan that hasn't got a prayer of working. It is a good reason to find out the facts and devise a plan that is fair, practical and will likely work. Too bad the alarmists didn't do that instead of wasting two precious decades of the world's time with their perpetual harangues. If action is taken according to their rediculous plans, the world will go from hearing stupid to suffering chaos.

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  • 16. At 9:36pm on 13 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Marcus, I always find that only quoting half a sentence, leaving out the bit that actually agrees with your own point can make you look not only smug, but a bit dumb. What I said was:

    "a centralised power network won't disappear overnight (unless something terrible happens) and probably never will for most people. "

    As for this:

    "It is a good reason to find out the facts and devise a plan that is fair, practical and will likely work. Too bad the alarmists didn't do that instead of wasting two precious decades of the world's time with their perpetual harangues. "

    Do you really think that's what's been happening? If time has been wasted it has been in persuading head-in-the-sand sceptics that there is actually a problem. When those sceptics control the world's biggest economy, progress is likely to be slow.

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  • 17. At 12:01pm on 14 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "No doubt of it whatsoever."

    When alarmists demanded that the US agree to the Kyoto protocols which were supposed to be the "be-all end-all" solution to climate change, American scientists created models which showed that at best enforcement of Kyoto would only reduce temperature rise by two thirds of one degree over 65 years and was therefore pointless. At that point the alarmists said that therefore Kyoto would be just the beginning. And so it was. But Kyoto was so unfair and so ineffective that in a Sense of the Senate vote, the all important United States Senate which must agree by by a two thirds majority for any treaty the US signs to become effective voted 95-0 against Kyoto back around 1994. This is why the US withdrew from the talks, it had nothing to do with President Bush, it happened long before he even took office, Europe's incessant America bashing notwithstanding.

    What have the alarmists especially in Europe done during the intervening fifteen years? Have they developed anything which could work, which is fair, which will be enacted? No. They have come up with son of Kyoto which essentially exempts China and India, two of America's largest and most important trade competitors from the kinds of restrictions that this new treaty would impose on the US. Have they insisted that their scientists develop alternate energy sources that could replace fossil fuel power? No, instead they have wasted time on imbecillic science fair projets like wind turbines and solar power that would be implimented with hair brained schemes for example requiring vast areas of the Sahara desert to be covered with them, construcing the transmission capabilities to transmit hundreds of millions of kilowatts one third of the way across Africa and then across the Mediterranean Sea to tie into Europe. If you think Europe is vulnerable to cutoff of Russian gas and oil now what would that do? And what happens when the sun isn't out and the wind dies down? In the meanwhile Europe's scientific resources such as they are were squandered on designing and building a useless redundant space program, a useless redundant global positioning satellite system which the US said it would shoot out of the sky as a security risk if it is ever successfully deployed, and a useless redundant super jumbo jet that will only waste even more fuel needlessly when it flies three quarters empty. Physicists wasted their time on a super conducting supercollider atom smasher, their new found toy which will do nothing to slow global warming while some rediculous nuclear fusion experiment is being contructed in France. If that ever goes haywire, it will leave a gaping crater where south Central Europe is now.

    The clear purpose of Kyoto and now Copenhagen is for Europe to attack America's economy through this useless monstrous scheme which doesn't even hint at population control and reduction, the real root cause of overproduction of CO2 if that actually is the problem. The US would compromise its industries, reduce its standard of living, be penalized for being the largest and among the most efficient producers of wealth while China and India skate free. That will not happen. It cannot happen. If anyone in a position of political power in American were stupid enough to try it, it would lead to worldwide depression that would not end, worldwide famines, enormous unemployment in America that would cause a political upheaval (the Obama administration is on the skids as it is for the upcoming election for the unemployment problems it has now and hasn't solved yet already.) Meanwhile you haven't heard much America bashing yammering from Europe about climate since China became the number one producer of CO2 in the world surpassing the US and the EU leaders revealed themselves as being personally the ultimate hypocrites insisting that it was their right to drive the most CO2 producing highest fuel consuming vehicles available. No, this will not happen because chaos and disaster will ensue if it does. Even America isn't that stupid.

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  • 18. At 10:22pm on 14 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Oh dear Marcus, some more free advice - don't assume you know someone else's opinions - it makes your arguments sound rather stupid when you get it wrong. I don't recall holding Europe up as a shining beacon of climate change action, their record is only marginally better than the USA's. By the way, I did not single out Mr Bush as the single sceptic. I'm well aware that it takes more than the will of a single man to move USA policy.

    Can we have some evidence to back up your other assertions please:

    "the Kyoto protocols which were supposed to be the "be-all end-all" solution to climate change"

    "insisting that it was their right to drive the most CO2 producing highest fuel consuming vehicles available."

    Ironically, it is you who is the continent basher, obviously got a bee in your bonnet about a Euro GPS and the Airbus. I can see the reasoning behind these projects, incensing you is just a happy bi-product. Is it galling to see USA Airlines buying the Airbus?

    Anyway, back to the original question: would you really have the world do nothing at all, just because it might not be enough to reverse the effects of climate change? Are you really that defeatist/lazy?

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  • 19. At 12:22pm on 15 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Can we have some evidence to back up your other assertions please:"

    This isn't a research paper and I'm not going to do your homework for you. Everything I've said was well publicized in the news in recent years. The incident about the EU leaders driving around in gas guzzling Mercedes, BMWs, larege SUVs both in their jobs and for personal use was well covered in the press a few years ago.

    So are the others. There's no doubt that Europe has been in a trade war with the US for most of the last decade. Some of the manifestations were over civilian and military aircraft, meat, bananas, genetically modified foods and seeds but there were and are many others. How ironic that the trade war and mutual embargo on importing meat between the US and EU saved Americans from eating European meat clearly tainted with hoof and mouth disease and then with prions that cause mad cow disease on Europe's pretense that American meat was somehow contaminated with hormones and antibiotics. It seems to me it would be to America's advantage to extend the embargo to all European goods imported into the US as the EU is a net exporter to the US.

    "Ironically, it is you who is the continent basher"

    Europeans don't seem to like a taste of their own medicine. There's an old saying about people in glass houses not throwing stones. But that is exactly what Europeans did over the last decade. They didn't much like President Bush because to a limited degree, far too limited IMO he stood up for American interests to the exclusion of what others wanted. I think Europeans will ultimately realize that President Obama will to some degree do the same even if it not as overtly or phrased so bluntly.

    That Europeans hate America for many very good reasons is beyond doubt. In the relatively short span by European standards of only a century or two, European nations were badly eclipsed by a nation which not only came from nowhere but was invented deliberately as an anti-Europe, something which Europeans who know nothing about American history and civilization vehemently deny. The evidence for this hatred is very strong and has been documented going back to the American Revolution in a book written by an American several years ago. I'm not going to research its title either. And what is most humiliating of all for Europe is that every time it has gotten itself into real serious trouble during the last century, America has had to come to bail it out reminding it of its decline and impotence. The greatest power in Europe is America. To attempt to reverse or at least slow that process, the EU was invented by utter trickery in trying to weld together the nations whose ancient hatreds run so long and deep that it seems impossible that it could possibly work. And in fact the EU is such a remarkably clumsy and convoluted structure with so many inherent contradictions, that to hold together this volatile boiling mass this long is a wonder that it stays together at all.

    The element Europeans never counted on was the ally Americans would find in their war with Europe are the nations all over the developing world in which America invested. Among America's main weapons have been Japan and China. In these places, American investment has created industries and products against which Europe can't compete even on its own soil. If Europe becomes protectionist its exports will receive the same treatment. If it doesn't, its domestic markets will be swamped with foreign goods that are far cheaper than its own, of equal or greater technology, or both.

    If the alarmists are right about CO2 from human industrial activity causing climate change (and that is far from certain but it does seem possible) then it it is in all likelyhood already too late to stop or reverse it. And it is in all likelihood suicide to try because it would mean shutting down much of the world's industry and the benefits derived from it. Take my word for it as an electrical engineer with over 40 years of experience across a wide range of industries the world's industry depends in large part on the burning of fossil fuels, there is no escaping that fact and we do not have an effective substitute which is large enough, reliable enough, cheap enough, and accessible within the limited time left to have a sufficient effect. Inequitable sacrifice by some perverted rationale won't be implimented for obvious political reasons, can't be implimented for obvious economic reasons. It's not a matter of being lazy or defeatist to recognize that the problem has no solution within the alotted time given the framework of human technology at its current state of development. The only rational course of action then is not to try to thwart global climate change but to adapt to it where and to the degree possible and to accept the consequences where it isn't. I've taken the first steps in my personal life already. I've moved to much higher ground.

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  • 20. At 9:31pm on 15 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    So then Marcus, nothing new to add then. With regard to the main question here, your above post seems to confirm that you are a defeatist when it comes to climate change. Sure you've acted personally (the move to higher ground), but I wonder if you've thought through all the possible impacts, and more importantly those that will affect your fellow Americans, other nations and future generations. Adaption is important, but when, as you admit, even the timescale of the impacts is not yet known it is defeatist to say:

    ..."the problem has no solution within the alotted time given the framework of human technology"...
    Especially given the over-inflated view you have of the abilities of USA industry.

    I work with Engineers day in, day out. Generally very intelligent people. However, they do tend to be a little monochrome in their solutions, especially outside of their personal comfort zones. It doesn't take one to tell me what I already know. There is no single substitute for fossil fuels. That doesn't mean there aren't very effective ways to substantially cut its use. For a comparison, think of water usage. To an even greater extent, there is no substitute for this one either. Yet, in places where water is more scarce, technology and more intelligent useage can cut consumption dramatically.

    Finally, when you make statements that come as a bit of a shock (WHO thought Kyoto was the be all and end all?), it is your job to provide evidence. Otherwise you just look dumb. It's up to you mate. As for the EU commissioners. Personally, I'd have them in a fleet of efficient Limos for when they're in Brussels and leave them to buy their own cars when at home. I would be surprised if these cars they're driving around in aren't some of the highly efficient large Euro diesels. You might not be familiar with the concept.

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  • 21. At 12:09pm on 16 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    pcii if you want to jump into the fire to save the world I'll be the last to try to stop you. But don't expect me to jump in willingly with you just becuase a bunch of people are screaming that the sky is falling. As far as I am concerned I have as much right to demand that my government provide me with the best quality of life possible as anyone else and I see no reason to compromise my life so that someone in China or India can live their lives better. Especially when if the sky really is falling and they and people like you refuse to acknowlege that the root cause of it is that there are just too many people in the world and they won't even agree to reduce the number by population control through attrition and to share the sacrifice until better energy technologies that are satisfactory that actually work are found and are implimented. Until that time, as far as I am concerned you have no case.

    Demographers tell us that there will be around 9 billion people in the world by mid century. According to your thinking and those like you, if the total so called carbon footprint of humanity must be lowered, then each of us on average will continually have to live worse and worse quality of life because there will continually be more and more of us. I refuse to willingly sacrifice the quality of the rest of my life. If you listen carefully to what the Chinese have agreed to at least what they say at Copenhagen they haven't agreed to reduce their CO2 output at all, only to reduce it as a percentage of their gross energy consumption as their GDP increases. In actuality their GHG output will continue to grow unabated. That's always been their position. Their weasel words designed to obfuscate that fact holds no water to this observer.

    Personally I don't think the population will ever reach 9 billion. I think in the next 20 to 30 years some catastrophe or group of catastrophes will quickly and sharply reduce the population. It may be wars or natural disasters or both. When they come, they will seem like bolts from the blue but afterwards in retrospect to anyone left alive who studies them, they will be seen to have been as inevitable a consequence of refusal to face facts and alter course in time as the finanicial collapse was last year. One of those facts is that the world cannot sustain anything like 6.5 billion people we have today and another is that nobody will willingly return even in part to pre industrial revolution levels of life to save your precious planet. I know I won't.

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  • 22. At 9:32pm on 16 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Marcus, again with the assumptions. Who says I don't think that there are too many people in the world?

    Your phrasing above really does suggest that you don't want to act through fear and greed. Previously you've been claiming it is because it's too late to act, now however you're using phrases like: "if the sky really is falling". It sounds like you're not even convinced Climate Change is even happening. If that's the case how can you be sure it's too late to act?

    Of course you know that the flip-side of your 'the Chinese aren't doing anything so we shouldn't either' is the developing world view that the west caused this problem and should be the first to act. Conveniently, these views allow both sides to do nothing (not even rearranging the deck chairs this time just lying back and waiting for the tsunami).

    So any news on those Kyoto sources yet?

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  • 23. At 00:33am on 17 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Your phrasing above really does suggest that you don't want to act through fear and greed."

    Afraid of what? Greed? That's what you call it, I call it self interest. I don't feel I owe it to sacrifice anything to anyone. That's "The Virtue of Selfishness" as Ayn Rand put it in her book of essays by that title.

    At first I was skeptical about global warming. Then I saw the photos of glaciers I'd seen myself 20+ years ago and the polar ice caps and I was convinced. But now with these recent revelations about UEA and NASA I'm not so sure anymore. I've posted elsewhere that right now I don't know where the truth lies.

    "Of course you know that the flip-side of your 'the Chinese aren't doing anything so we shouldn't either' is the developing world view that the west caused this problem and should be the first to act"

    If that view held sway the result would be that we'd regress to where they were and they'd progress to where we are. I don't particularly care for that scenario. I'd prefer to do nothing. And I'm doing just that.

    News of Kyoto? Look it up in Wiki. Latest news the way I understand the data is that the EU is for the most part falling far short of its promises. Since they didn't keep modest ones, an 8% cut why should anyone expect them to keep promises of 25%, 35% or more? Just talk, that's all it really is and worthless chatter at that.



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  • 24. At 02:45am on 17 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Marcus, If you don't know where the truth of Cliamte Change lies, how can you have the opinion that it is already too late to act?

    "If that view held sway the result would be that we'd regress to where they were and they'd progress to where we are".

    Erm....no. It would mean that we would take the lead in cutting emissions and they would follow. I'm not saying it's right, but you've embodied a simple statement with the fearful approach that I was talking about earlier.

    Yes Marcus, Kyoto is mentioned on Wiki - no "be all and end all" as far as I can see though. You're the only person I've ever come across who was of that opinion (which is rather strange cosnidering you're a sceptic).

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  • 25. At 11:39am on 17 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    no "be all and end all" as far as I can see though. You're the only person I've ever come across who was of that opinion (which is rather strange cosnidering you're a sceptic).

    That wasn't my opinion, that was what it was being sold as by environmentalists...before the American model pointed out its futility. That's when the environmentalists lowered the boom telling us it was just the first installment.

    Thanks to the recession America has lowered its GHG output. Europe claims to have. But a few windfarms and promises notwithstanding China and India haven't slowed their pace of GHG at all. If anything they've accelerated it. Looks like leadership doesn't work. Is that the first installment too? What next, we just shut the switch off on industrial society in America and hope for the best? I think that's what environmentalists would like us to do. That is something to be frightened of, listening to those fools and the risk they might acquire enough political power to do it. But I think the sense of self preservation if not common sense will prevail and it won't happen.

    Environmentalists have spent far to much time delving into science fiction and far too little time delving into real science and what is possible. It's one thing to set targets, something anyone can do. It's quite another to come up with a plan everyone will agree to that will work to achieve those targets, something no one has done. I'm going to make 10 million dollars next year. Unfortunately you can't sell enough of your blood to make that much money, not at the going rate for blood these days.

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  • 26. At 12:05pm on 17 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Again. No. Until you provide some evidence that Kyoto was the "be all and end all", all we have is your opinion. One confused American does not a consensus make. What's this American model anyway?

    Again with the fear. Who is saying "shut the switch off on industrial society in America and hope for the best". This is your opinion and it is laden with fear. To some extent I can understand this. The future is uncertain, we should proceed with caution. However, to fear change just for the sake of it will not help us here, in all likelihood it will make things worse.

    "Environmentalists have spent far to much time delving into science fiction and far too little time delving into real science and what is possible." Maybe there's some truth in this - some dyed in the wool Greenies have some pretty wacko theories, but luckily for us there are millions of scientists and engineers who work every day with the "real science" of these problems. Perhaps it's time you joined us rather than standing on the sidelines, schizophrenically questioning whether there's a problem whilst simultaneously declaring it to be too late to solve.

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  • 27. At 12:10pm on 18 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Perhaps it's time you joined us rather than standing on the sidelines, schizophrenically questioning whether there's a problem whilst simultaneously declaring it to be too late to solve."

    It is you who sit on the sidelines. I design industrial facilities in the time honored way with no thought to energy efficiency and I ignore all of those notions in codes whose only rationale is that. As far as I am concerned, LEED stands for Lots of Exorbitantly Expensive Dross. Nealy every one of the dozens of industrial energy savings plan I have examined was fatally flawed in at least one way or another. Schemes for energy savings in America are nothing new. The attempt at it in the 70s and 80s is how we invented what HVAC engineers and health professionals call "sick building syndrome."

    I would hardly call being unconvinced, unsure of what increasingly appears to be junk science schizophrenic. That is the kind of argument and language that makes me question whether or not the whole thing when you get down past the alarmism isn't just a ruse. So are revealed secret e-mails which strongly suggest an agenda that is less than factually based science.

    Anyway, just in case it is real, I've taken steps to protect myself. I've moved to much higher ground. A 30 foot rise in sea level won't even come close to getting my toes wet.

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  • 28. At 00:03am on 19 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Wow! I'm shocked that you could actually think that posting such meaningless junk as above would somehow make your point.

    So because you have some dispute with a certain set of industrial codes and therefore now refuse to make any attempt to improve how you work, that means it is I who sit on the sidelines?

    I also see that in your most recent post you're back to questioning the whole climate change thing. How long before you're back to the it's too late to solve thing? Do you think that Copenhagen is the "be all and end all" too?

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  • 29. At 2:22pm on 20 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    pcii;

    "So because you have some dispute with a certain set of industrial codes and therefore now refuse to make any attempt to improve how you work, that means it is I who sit on the sidelines?"

    That's right. I actually do things that have an effect one way or the other. The results of my designs get built...the way I design it. That has an effect. All you do is talk...unless you would like to make a claim that your do more than just that.

    "I also see that in your most recent post you're back to questioning the whole climate change thing. How long before you're back to the it's too late to solve thing?"

    How can I not question what was purported to be the science behind it. Climategate is not the prattling of Al Gore whose movie "An Inconvenient Truth" has to be shown with a disclaimer to school students in the UK because the real inconvenient truth is that it has at least nine major scientific errors in it. No this is much bigger. The scientists who advanced this theory look suspiciously like they fudged their work to arrive at a predetermined conclusion. That is not science that is propaganda. Until that is proven not to be the case, their conclusions are entirely suspect until they either come clean and admit their work was not genuine science or their conclusions can be verified by other scientists who are actually trustworthy.

    "Do you think that Copenhagen is the "be all and end all" too?"

    I'm hoping it's the end all. After this, I think the party is over. But I'm sure politicians will find other reasons to go on junkets abroad and spend gobs of their taxpayer's money on unofficial holidays even if it is only to some godforsaken place like Copenhagen. Denmark's national radio station said once on their program Copenhagen Calling quoting some diplomat about Denmark, "it's eight months of bad weather followed by winter." Looking out my window today it looks more like we're having global cooling than global warming.

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  • 30. At 9:35pm on 20 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    "That's right. I actually do things that have an effect one way or the other."

    Yes, and as you admitted previously you deliberately choose a less efficient design.

    "All you do is talk...unless you would like to make a claim that your do more than just that."

    And as I previously said, pretty much every day I work on designs that attempt to incorporate the possible effects of climate change and limit the negative impacts of those designs. I don't stand on the sidelines lazily finding excuses to do nothing (it's too late, I don't believe it, Kyoto was supposed to 'fix' it all'....).

    Lets see if you can stick to the argument that you don't believe climate change is occurring. And let's not pretend that it hasn't been referred to Climate CHANGE not Global Warming for years now.

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  • 31. At 02:38am on 22 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "And as I previously said, pretty much every day I work on designs that attempt to incorporate the possible effects of climate change and limit the negative impacts of those designs."

    What exactly in hell are you talking about? What exactly do you design?

    "Yes, and as you admitted previously you deliberately choose a less efficient design."

    Yes my clients are invariably only interested in first cost these days. The less efficient designs are cheaper to build, the equipment and materials cheaper to buy. Besides, when you compute payback the way accountants do by calculating net present value taking into account depreciation and ROI which includes lost opportunity of capital and higher real estate taxes because the property is worth more, rosy payback numbers like one or two years are stretched out to 8, 9, 10 years and they don't look very good at all. As I've said elsewhere, most schemes I've examied fell apart under close scrutiny. They were not nearly as advertised.

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  • 32. At 06:24am on 22 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    "What exactly in hell are you talking about? What exactly do you design?"

    I am talking about nothing in hell. I work in the field of hydraulics/hydrology. That's flood mitigation, bridges, culverts and dams to you.

    Why do you continue to drone on about net present value as if it is some magical concept that aids your arguments?

    So is it your choice or your clients choice to "no thought to energy efficiency"? Either way it sounds pretty dumb.

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  • 33. At 00:31am on 23 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "So is it your choice or your clients choice to "no thought to energy efficiency"? Either way it sounds pretty dumb."

    It is their choice based on my analysis and advice. It's only dumb because it is someone else's money, not yours. If you were starting up a company on a shoestring wondering if it will survive, you wouldn't be interested in whether or not more expensive investments today will get you a payback in five years from now. Added expense today might mean there will be no five year from now for your company.

    Tell you what pcii, I'll be in charge of helping nature create the floods, you stick to mitigating them.

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  • 34. At 04:30am on 23 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    "If you were starting up a company on a shoestring wondering if it will survive, you wouldn't be interested in whether or not more expensive investments today will get you a payback in five years from now"

    Hmm, true, but (shock! horror!) that's not what you said before, is it? You said:

    "I design industrial facilities in the time honored way with no thought to energy efficiency and I ignore all of those notions in codes whose only rationale is that."

    That's "no thought to energy efficiency", not "ignoring energy efficieny when long-term pay back is not appropriate to your client". You seemed to be so proud of this standpoint too. Perhaps because at that particular juncture you were of the opinion that human induced climate change was nonsense. However, I now note that you seem to be back in the believer camp, offering to help create floods through your actions. Which is it to be? Which MAII is posting today (or this hour even)?

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  • 35. At 04:48am on 23 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    pcii

    my primary concern is that whatever I design or build will perform reliably as expected. My next priorities are that it not become obsolete and that it is not especially difficult to maintain to the degree that is possible. To this end I choose equipment that is time proven from reliable sources and use them conservatively. Lately I've had to adjust my thinking to consider cost as an important element. Hard to balance so many forces pulling in different directions and still satisfy all of them. And only last do I consider energy efficiency. If all other things were equal (they never are) than the more energy efficient or greener solution would be the one I'd select. I'd give you some examples but I just don't have the inclination to waste the time now.

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  • 36. At 9:55pm on 23 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    I'm reassured. It's good to know that in 'real life' you take a sensible approach to your work. The sensationalist throw-away nonsense statements are reserved for your postings on this website.

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  • 37. At 10:49pm on 23 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I save my sensible comments for sensible people, my throw away comments for throw away people. I've lived long enough to easily and quickly discern the difference.

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  • 38. At 04:19am on 24 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Hmmm, even if that were true, it wouldn't explain the random and inaccuarate stuff that you often come up with, totally unprovoked.

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  • 39. At 11:50am on 24 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    To people who have preconceived biases and have formed their views based on a litany of lies they've been exclusively fed for a lifetime, the enlightened and factual truth would seem an inaccuracy. Especially if their minds were conditioned to be closed to the possibility that they'd been wrong about their views all along because the facts they were told were wrong, skewed, incomplete, and taken out of context. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in a European's philosophy pcii.

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  • 40. At 1:18pm on 24 Dec 2009, pciii wrote:

    Oh Marcy, thanks for the Christmas chuckle. You are a card, describing yourself like that!

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