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The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (20 comments)

  1. Robert puharic

    Hmmm…the Obama administration and its green supporters?

    A discussion of the role of G H Bush and his administration in developing cap and trade can be found here:

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/air/the-political-history-of-cap-and-trade-34711212/?no-ist

    It was seen as a free market approach to pollution.

    While I admire Jim’s attempts to be even handed, perhaps a bit more history and a bit less ideology is called for.

    1. Likewise

      Likewise the skepticism over rising temperatures. Of course temperatures have appeared flat for 15 years when you start at 1998, an historical aberration and break from trend. Climate skeptics keep harping it, scientists keep demonstrating its silliness, and the misunderstanding persists.

      1. 1998 was the year of a super el nino…looking like an el nino this year, maybe that “flat” line will break out…

      2. They harp because they like the sound of their own voices.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_hiatus

  2. Seattle Sam

    There will always be support for carbon emissions restrictions — as long as you tell people there are no higher costs involved. Same with Obamacare — as long as you tell people that their premiums will fall and that they can keep their doctors. Period.

    What I think Obama likes most, however, is the idea of placing additional burdens on American industry that Asian countries will simply ignore. And then he can blame someone else for all the jobs that move to Asia.

    1. Robert puharic

      It’s funny watching the right defend the free market failure of our healthcare system.

      As to burdens and Obama, it was C Boyden Gray, counselor to G H W Bush, who first pushed cap and trade. Seattle sam needs a history lesson.

      1. Ali Bertarian

        Haven’t you heard? Vets are dying because they are on waiting lists of a government-run single-payer health care system. About half of the medical care system is not free market, but consists of government-controlled Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA. Now Obombacare will only decrease the free-market benefits of medical care, such as the documented best cancer survivability rates in the world.

      2. The failure of healthcare only occurred when government started meddling in the private market with Medicare and Medicaid along with overreaching regulation on medical devices, pharmaceuticals and all other medical technologies.

        1. bpuharic

          Special pleading. You can’t get more govt interference than total govt single payer control, which many countries have

          And they’re ALL cheaper than our free market system, which has always been more expensive than other systems.

          We have more expensive drugs because conservatives, in Medicare Part D, prohibited the govt from negotiating prices with drug companies, during the Bush administration.

  3. Ali Bertarian

    Yes, Mr. Pethokoukis, “government has a role to play here.” That role is to stay out of the way of free people doing what they do best. Pethokoukis correctly points out that “We didn’t tax the telegraph to get telephones or put a cap on typewriters to see the birth of the personal computer.” But unless the government schools that I went to lied to me, it was Alexander Graham Bell who did the research to invent the telephone, not the federal government.

    Now about those “computers, pharmaceutical drugs, radios, microchips, and many other technologies” that Pethokoukis would like to credit the federal government with funding. Many scientists and engineers were involved in the development of radio in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Which of them received federal funding? Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine, was funded by what is now called the March of Dimes, which was not funded by the federal government. Which pharmaceutical companies created their drugs – from Avopro to Ziprexa – using federal funds?

    As for microchips, just one private company, Bell Laboratories, funded the inventions of the MOSFET transistor, and large scale integrated circuits (LSI) that form the foundation of every electronic device we have, including computers. Do you have a Unix operating system on your computer, or more likely your employer’s computers? That operating system was invented by Bell Labs also. Do you have a digital camera? The CCD sensor (charge coupled device) inside the camera was invented by Bell Labs. CDMA patents in cell phones? Bell Labs. Error-checking and correction algorithms for electronic communications? Bell Labs.

    What causes Pethokoukis to think that the Federal government is competent enough to know which sectors of basic scientific and engineering research should receive funding? Did he get this confidence from the remarkable work that the federal government has done in its funding of shrimp-on-treadmill research?

    Anyone who has faith in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) gurus needs to learn what happened during the Climategate email scandal involving leading pro-AGW “scientists.” Their actions included attempts to corrupt the peer review process, attempts to withhold scientific data from other scientists, attempts to make sure that certain papers are not included in IPCC reports, and general corruption of the scientific method.

    The data do not “seem compelling enough to warrant action” to restrain AGW. The data tell us that the Earth is warm today as it was during the Roman Warm period about 2,000 years ago, and during the Medieval Warm period about 1,000 years ago. The data also tell us that the 500 year Little Ice Age, ending about 1850, was much cooler than today. But the climate models that claim to predict that the temperature will be rising are not able to even “hindcast” those warm and cool periods of the last 2,000 years.

    The data tell us that there have been cyclic ice ages over the last two million years. These data far more compellingly predict another ice age in the future than do the failed climate models of the IPCC. What is your “just in case” plan to handle the next ice age, Mr. Pethokoukis?

    1. bpuharic

      Oh pooh. Sometimes the govt has to lead. Was FDR wrong to prepare us for war against the nazis? Was Lincoln wrong to fight to confiscate slaves from the south? This fundamentalist belief that the ‘market knows best’ is nothing more than a fable, an unproven assertion.

      The govt funded the research that led to the PC and the internet. The govt built the best public university system in the world.

      And Jonas Salk? I’m proud to be a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where he did his research. To pretend a ‘March of Dimes’ could fund current technological development is more childish fables. By the way, Salk never patented his discovery and never made a dime on it.

      I also worked for Bell Labs, a govt protected monopoly. I agree it was a world class institution that was broken up, fruitlessly, since its descendants have virtually re-established communications monopolies under the ‘free market’.

      And given the fact it’s ONLY the US right wing that denies AGW, we can put this down to latter day creationism. AGW deniers have as much evidence as those who assert the earth is 6000 years old, and do so for the same reason: ignorant beliefs that trump evidence

      2100 papers were written on AGW last year. 97% of the scientists who expressed an opinion stated it was man made. And that’s what the first law of themodynamics, applied to the mass balance of CO2 into the atmosphere show.

      So enough with the right wing creationist garbage. It’s time for the right wing to put away childish things and grow up

      1. Ali Bertarian

        Bpuharic wrote:

        bpuharic | June 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

        Oh pooh. Sometimes the govt has to lead. Was FDR wrong to prepare us for war against the nazis? Was Lincoln wrong to fight to confiscate slaves from the south? This fundamentalist belief that the ‘market knows best’ is nothing more than a fable, an unproven assertion.

        Please concentrate, and try to stay on topic. Pethokoukis wrote “the most reliably successful driver of new innovation and transformative technology changes has been an active partnership between private-sector entrepreneurs and innovators and a public sector acting as both an initial funder and demanding customer of new, cutting-edge technologies.” He used the examples of “computers, pharmaceutical drugs, radios, microchips, and many other technologies.” I successfully rebutted his claim and examples.

        Neither you nor Pethokoukis answered the relevant question: “What causes Pethokoukis to think that the Federal government is competent enough to know which sectors of basic scientific and engineering research should receive funding? Did he get this confidence from the remarkable work that the federal government has done in its funding of shrimp-on-treadmill research?

        Bpuharic wrote:

        The govt funded the research that led to the PC and the internet. The govt built the best public university system in the world.

        Completely absurd. The most important work was done by Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Bell Labs (as I already pointed out in my prior post), Apple, Motorola, Digital Research, the IEEE standards groups, etc. What government grants created OSX, Windows, DOS, Unix (which I already pointed out in my prior post), etc.?

        The decades-old ARPANET looks as much like today’s privately built and maintained Internet as DOS does to Windows 8.1.

        If by “best public university system” you mean systems that are factories for leftist indoctrination; who show their tolerance for free speech by throwing pies at conservative on-campus speakers or just outright banishment; who turn out degrees such as Feminist Environmental Gender-relaxed Gaia Studies (OK, I exaggerate a little); who produce “graduates” ignorant of history; and who produce graduates with college degrees for a job world that only needs half as many degrees, then they are the best. I would take Cal Tech, and even Harvard, over any government university system.

        It is not incumbent upon me to prove that government is not able to do the job of efficiently spending even more of the money that it wastes, including on fundamental research, let alone the targeted research on energy that Pethokoukis advocates. It is up to you to prove that it can do so.

        Bpuharic wrote:

        And Jonas Salk? I’m proud to be a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where he did his research. To pretend a ‘March of Dimes’ could fund current technological development is more childish fables. By the way, Salk never patented his discovery and never made a dime on it.

        It is really sad how you are unable to read, because you just waste everyone’s time. As I wrote in my prior post, “Which pharmaceutical companies created their drugs – from Avopro to Ziprexa – using federal funds?”

        Are you able to answer challenges?

        Bpuharic wrote:

        I also worked for Bell Labs, a govt protected monopoly. I agree it was a world class institution that was broken up, fruitlessly, since its descendants have virtually re-established communications monopolies under the ‘free market’.

        Are you sure you want to use the word “monopolies?” Plural? Mono means one.

        Bpuharic wrote:

        And given the fact it’s ONLY the US right wing that denies AGW, we can put this down to latter day creationism. AGW deniers have as much evidence as those who assert the earth is 6000 years old, and do so for the same reason: ignorant beliefs that trump evidence

        In my post I presented fact-based objections to the AGW theory that have been presented by scientists. Are you able to rationally respond to those objections, or do you wish to discuss creationism?

        Bpuharic wrote:

        2100 papers were written on AGW last year. 97% of the scientists who expressed an opinion stated it was man made. And that’s what the first law of themodynamics, applied to the mass balance of CO2 into the atmosphere show.

        So enough with the right wing creationist garbage. It’s time for the right wing to put away childish things and grow up

        What is your source for the 97% claim? Is it Cook, et al.? I already dealt with that in our prior discourse. Please read it.

        The climate models allegedly model the CO2 forcing of the climate, not the first law of thermodynamics, so the important question is, how successful are these models at predicting temperatures? Are you unable to respond to my reasoned objections to AGW theory that I presented in my prior post? I will just copy and paste them here:

        Anyone who has faith in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) gurus needs to learn what happened during the Climategate email scandal involving leading pro-AGW “scientists.” Their actions included attempts to corrupt the peer review process, attempts to withhold scientific data from other scientists, attempts to make sure that certain papers are not included in IPCC reports, and general corruption of the scientific method.

        The data do not “seem compelling enough to warrant action” to restrain AGW. The data tell us that the Earth is warm today as it was during the Roman Warm period about 2,000 years ago, and during the Medieval Warm period about 1,000 years ago. The data also tell us that the 500 year Little Ice Age, ending about 1850, was much cooler than today. But the climate models that claim to predict that the temperature will be rising are not able to even “hindcast” those warm and cool periods of the last 2,000 years.

        Why do you have so much irrational faith in people who create climate models that are unable to represent the temperature history of the last two thousand years, yet believe that they will be able to predict future temperatures?

        The data tell us that there have been cyclic ice ages over the last two million years. These data far more compellingly predict another ice age in the future than do the failed climate models of the IPCC.

        1. bpuharic

          Given the spectacular failure rate of private enterprises, neither govt nor the market is successful at picking winners. The fact the govt STARTED the internet, funded development of the PC, and protected monopolies like ATT is simply ignored by you.

          And your special pleading about universities is a useless dodge to deny the failure of your argument.

          The NIH is an important source of research funding

          http://www.faseb.org/portals/2/pdfs/opa/2008/nih_research_benefits.pdf

          And if you deny the current telecommunications industry is, again, heading for a monopoly, you’re free to deny the obvious

          Regarding AGW, I pointed out that 97% of climate scientists agree it’s happening. That’s about the same consensus as agree on evolution.

          I read your previous discourse on AGW. It was simply wrong since it denied the consensus by saying some papers didn’t express an opinion. That’s quite a bit different than saying scientists say it’s NOT happening.

          The 1st law of themo deals with both the accumulation of energy AND MASS. CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere. That is a fact. Svante Arrhenius predicted at the beginning of the 20th century that increasing CO2 concentration could damage the environment, so such predictions, models and MEASUREMENTS have been going on for over 100 years.

          As to ‘climategate’, the right invokes conspiracies where it can’t cite facts. The idea that the entire world’s scientific community is engaged in a conspiracy against freedom has no more basis in fact than creationism’s assertion about scientists and evolution. Both are primae facie evidence of ideology, not logic

          The fact is that January 2014 was the 327th straight month that average temperatures were warmer than average temperatures in the 20th century. The fact of AGW comes across the globe. The denialists are limited to the US right wing, with its paranoid hatred of evidence.

          1. Ali Bertarian

            The spectacular failure rate of private enterprises is similar to the spectacular failure rate of biological organisms under the stress of natural selection. Both processes result in the elimination of losers – but leave the winners who are the best in their environment.

            The government is a self-enforced monopoly. It has no competitors who can select it out of the environment. It continues to put veterans on waiting lists to die, instead of getting medical treatment, while bureaucrats get bonuses. The government continues to spew out high school graduates who are no better educated than those of 40 years ago, yet more than double the money per student (discounted for inflation) is spent today than 40 years ago. Can you think of any other product or service that is less efficiently produced than 40 years ago?

            Stating that the government started the internet is like stating that government started the magazine industry because the US Postal Service delivers magazines to our homes.

            What are the technological and market ramifications of the government’s control of the direction that the internet took? “The fact that its designers envisioned a packet-switching network has serious implications for how the internet actually works. For example, packet switching is a great technology for file transfers, email, and web browsing but not so good for real-time applications like video and audio feeds, and, to a lesser extent, server-based applications like webmail, Google Earth, SAP, PeopleSoft, and Google Spreadsheet.” (https://mises.org/daily/2211/Government-Did-Invent-the-Internet-But-the-Market-Made-It-Glorious)

            Do consumers benefit from the direction that the internet took? From the Netbook (http://www.columbia.edu/~hauben/netbook/):

            “The current global computer network has been developed by scientists and researchers and users who were free of market forces. Because of the government oversight and subsidy of network development, these network pioneers were not under the time pressures or bottom-line restraints that dominate commercial ventures. Therefore, they could contribute the time and labor needed to make sure the problems were solved. And most were doing so to contribute to the networking community.”

            (My emphasis added)

            You seem to think that protection of AT&Ts monopoly is a good thing. The theory that wire-based telecommunications is a “natural” monopoly is a claim that big-government advocates would naturally be attracted to, because it allows them to acquire what they ultimately desire – power over other people. Please read “The Myth of Natural Monopoly” (http://mises.org/daily/5266/) if you want to learn something that was not taught to you in the government schools.

            Government did not fund the PC. IBM brought out the first PC with no government funding.

            Bpuharic wrote:

            And your special pleading about universities is a useless dodge to deny the failure of your argument.

            There was no special pleading, which you would have discerned had you read and understood what I wrote. You wrote “The govt built the best public university system in the world.” I responded that I prefer private universities, and gave examples. I also criticized the government university system. Do you remember what those criticisms were? If not, then here they are again:

            If by “best public university system” you mean systems that are factories for leftist indoctrination; who show their tolerance for free speech by throwing pies at conservative on-campus speakers or just outright banishment; who turn out degrees such as Feminist Environmental Gender-relaxed Gaia Studies (OK, I exaggerate a little); who produce “graduates” ignorant of history; and who produce graduates with college degrees for a job world that only needs half as many degrees, then they are the best. Government has a poor history of producing much of anything better than free people, except for death-and-destruction-causing military forces.

            Free people, unencumbered by government force, have proven time and again to be better at producing what their fellow humans want and need than has government. Whether you look at studies comparing the correlation of wealth and freedom among countries, or your own personal experience, free people usually do a better job.

            You and Pethokoukis have failed to show that government is capable of picking and choosing the direction of any meaningful energy research better than would free people.

            Bpuharic wrote:

            The NIH is an important source of research funding
            http://www.faseb.org/portals/2/pdfs/opa/2008/nih_research_benefits.pdf

            A publication created by the NIH states that the NIH does good work with the taxpayer’s money. Did you ever hear of a government department that says it does a lousy job? Would you trust an Exxon-Mobil report stating that oil and gas is a better form of energy than coal?

            Please review the economic terms opportunity cost and path dependency, and then tell me how they relate to government funding of basic research, and the internet.

            Bpuharic wrote:

            And if you deny the current telecommunications industry is, again, heading for a monopoly, you’re free to deny the obvious

            Unimportant speculation and alarmism.

            Bpuharic wrote:

            Regarding AGW, I pointed out that 97% of climate scientists agree it’s happening. That’s about the same consensus as agree on evolution.

            And I already pointed out to you how that claim is unscientific and fraudulent.

            So you, John Kerry, and Al Gore say that 97% of climate scientists agree it’s happening. So what? What is your source? Is it any of the sources mentioned in this article: “The Myth of the 97% Climate Change Consensus” (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/30/the-myth-of-the-97-climate-change-consensus/)

            100 % of scientists believed that the Earth was the center of universe until Copernicus convinced them otherwise.

            Science consists of hypothesis, experimentation, verification, and logic. Science is not mob rule.

            Bpuharic wrote:

            I read your previous discourse on AGW. It was simply wrong since it denied the consensus by saying some papers didn’t express an opinion. That’s quite a bit different than saying scientists say it’s NOT happening.

            You need to read better, because it said more than just that some papers didn’t express an opinion.

            You are correct when you write “That’s quite a bit different than saying scientists say it’s NOT happening.” You seem to be finally understanding that there is a difference between the following statements:

            1- AGW and its predictions of dangerous temperature increases have not been scientifically established.

            2- AGW and its predictions of dangerous temperature increases is not going to happen.

            Somehow you have been deluded into thinking that “deniers” have been claiming (2), while in fact they have been claiming (1).

            Bpuharic wrote:

            The 1st law of themo deals with both the accumulation of energy AND MASS. CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere. That is a fact. Svante Arrhenius predicted at the beginning of the 20th century that increasing CO2 concentration could damage the environment, so such predictions, models and MEASUREMENTS have been going on for over 100 years.

            This is really getting tedious, because I keep repeating the same objections to your evidence that is limited to just CO2 concentrations and temperature measurements of the last 100 years.

            The first law of thermodynamics applies only to the system consisting of the Sun and the Earth, because the Earth alone is not a closed system as required by the first law. None of the climate models account for the long-term cyclic solar irradiance changes due to Earth axis changes and Earth orbit eccentricity changes.

            As I already wrote before:
            Check your own Bible, IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers, page 16: ” Climate models now include more cloud and aerosol processes, and their interactions, than at the time of the AR4, but there remains low confidence in the representation and quantification of these processes in models.” (Emphasis added) Unfortunately for AGW advocates, H2O is a far more effective greenhouse gas than is CO2, yet it is not adequately represented in the climate models. The current climate models are therefore not sufficient as climate modelers, let alone climate predictors.

            The current models have failed, as I previously pointed out, and repeat here:
            The data do not “seem compelling enough to warrant action” to restrain AGW. The data tell us that the Earth is warm today as it was during the Roman Warm period about 2,000 years ago, and during the Medieval Warm period about 1,000 years ago, in spite of the greater anthropogenic CO2 of the last 60 years. The data also tell us that the 500 year Little Ice Age, ending about 1850, was much cooler than today. But the climate models that claim to predict that the temperature will be rising are not able to even “hindcast” those warm and cool periods of the last 2,000 years.

            Which climate models account for the cyclic ice ages of the last two million years, and can replicate the temperatures therein?

            The data tell us that there have been cyclic ice ages over the last two million years. These data far more compellingly predict another ice age in the future than do the failed climate models of the IPCC predict dangerously rising temperatures.

            Bpuharic wrote:

            As to ‘climategate’, the right invokes conspiracies where it can’t cite facts. The idea that the entire world’s scientific community is engaged in a conspiracy against freedom has no more basis in fact than creationism’s assertion about scientists and evolution. Both are primae facie evidence of ideology, not logic

            I already cited facts unrelated to the fraud perpetrated by some pro-AGW “scientists.”

            Was Piltdown Man a scientific fraud?
            Do you believe that no scientists can abandon the scientific method for emotional or monetary reasons?

            The emails sent between prominent AGW advocates revealed attempts to corrupt the peer-review process, corrupt data, and refuse to allow others to access data, even by refusing to submit to FOIA request. Would you trust “data” created by such “scientists?”

            Bpuharic wrote:

            The fact is that January 2014 was the 327th straight month that average temperatures were warmer than average temperatures in the 20th century. The fact of AGW comes across the globe. The denialists are limited to the US right wing, with its paranoid hatred of evidence.

            Look, I have a BA degree in Math from Univ. of Cal., Irvine. I had classes in probability and statistics and math modeling of data. You are not going to convince anyone with basic mathematical knowledge — because “January 2014 was the 327th straight month that average temperatures were warmer than average temperatures in the 20th century” — that the temperatures are going to go up in the future.

            But let’s play your game and see where it gets us. There has been no average global warming for 213 months (17 years, 9 months). Check the satellite temperature data here:
            http://data.remss.com/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_3.txt.

            You can see it graphed here:
            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/04/the-pause-continues-still-no-global-warming-for-17-years-9-months/

            More than half of the warming of the last 100 years occurred before 1940, which was before anthropogenic CO2 was put into the atmosphere. Do the climate models account for that? No.

            I will keep copy-and-pasting this until you answer or respond:
            1- The current climate models are not able to accurately model temperatures that actually occurred in the past, let alone predict them.

            2- Was CO2 the cause of those great temperature changes during the Medieval Warm period, and during the Little Ice Age?

            3- Was CO2 responsible for the cyclical Great Ice Ages over the last two million years? The ice core data evidence says no, since CO2 levels rose after temperatures rose coming out of the Ice Ages, and then fell after the cooling into the next periodic Ice Age.

            4- Why are the climate models unable to portray the Roman Warm period, the Medieval Warm period, or the Little Ice Age as a function of CO2?

            5- The temperature changes of the last 100 years are well within the range of temperature changes observed over the last 2000 years of Roman Warming period, the Medieval Warm period, and the Little Ice Age.

            6- There is far more evidence for the evidence of cyclical ice ages, from the last of which we are still recovering, than there is for global warming. Show me one scientific article that declares unequivocally that there will not be another Ice Age?

  4. Jim,

    I have long been an avid reader of yours, and I think you’re one of the good guys. However, humans do NOT play a key role in the climate in any way. There is no actual evidence to support this foolish notion. Climate is changing. It was about 85 where I live yesterday and will be about 89 today. But that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what kind of car I drive or how much I drive it. It simply is not affected by my personal behavior. Surely you haven’t fallen into the “inside the beltway” trap of thinking that we can control the climate with our behavior.

    1. bpuharic

      THis is the right wing argument?

      It was 85 at your place yesterday so AGW isn’t happening, regardless of the THOUSANDS of measurements showing it is?

      Hmm….some argument

      1. The point is that humans do not affect the climate. If we could change it with our behavior, then we should be able to steer tornados and hurricanes away from us, right? The east Anglia emails prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it is a myth. It’s all a put up job and a scam.

        1. bpuharic

          You realize how deranged your argument is, right? I can dry up a spill in my kitchen. That doesn’t mean I can dry up the oceans.

          Steer hurricanes? That’s your argument against AGW??

  5. Moira Egan

    What a stupid picture to illustrate an article about a colorless gas.

  6. john werneken

    Perhaps considering the truth might help. So far no alleged amelioration of CO2 emissions is LESS expensive than whatever climate change might bring us.

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