We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Disarray in Copenhagen – oh I do hope so!

In an earlier posting today, I expressed the fear that this Copenhagen nonsense would lead to quite a few more stupid laws. But the news right now seems to be rather better than that:

The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations.

If this shindig can be a total fiasco I really do not care why (for his own idiot reasons this guy agrees). Sadly, I fear that this leak may just be negotiation as usual. The bodge that results will still probably be pretty terrible.

On the other hand, maybe the rich countries do not actually want a deal. Reading that Guardian report, you can almost hear the rich country negotiators muttering amongst themselves that they would prefer to stay rich. But maybe that is a step too far towards being sensible, and too much to hope for.

Fingers crossed.

38 comments to Disarray in Copenhagen – oh I do hope so!

  • Nothing is going to happen in Copenhagen. Various statements in favour of motherhood will be made at the end of the conference. Disagreement in private will be furious and unpleasant.

  • Frank S

    It is ironic that the Nobel PC Prize was given to people intent on stirring up hatred amongst the nations on the basis of crappy computer codes and shoddy science. This ‘shindig’ as you call it could be with us for some many years to come.

  • Paul Marks

    The long awaited ruling by the EPA happened yesterday – now C02 is officially an evil toxin and anything that produces it can (by the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act) be regulated in any way whatever.

    So Comrade Obama does not need Congressional support for any deal at Copenhagen – because his people (Cas Susteen and the rest) now have all the power they need.

    The new regulations on anything that emits C02 (we had better not breath out) will help with the overall aim of “collapsing the system” by overburdening it with government spending and regulations.

    C & P are held (by Glenn Beck and others) to have invented this strategy in their article in “Nation” magazine back in the 1960’s. However, whilst it is true that C&P supported the strategy it is a very old one.

    For example, Ludwig Von Mises described it as “Destructionism” – and that was back in the 1920’s.

    In Britain of course Parliament is a rubber stamp – so tricks such as EPA “endagerment rulings” are not needed.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Paul, so I guess the Community Organiser and his cohorts will support say, the infanticide of the first-born, for example, to curb CO2 emmissions!

    I think it was Mencken who once wrote that democracy is a system under which the majority get what they want, done good and hard.

    Oh well, the mid-terms should be fun.

  • John B

    Having seen a few minutes on CNN about this, it very much looks like they are trying to smother a real issue (climategate) with a non issue.

  • Marky Mark

    Of course they will reach an agreement – an agreement which on the face of it will allow all the politicians at the end to have a nice big photo op and bask in the glory of the momentous occasion where the world came together to save the world!

    An agreement is easy provided the money and the carbon targets are far out into the future and enforcement mechanism fuzzy. Third world: will take what they can get being a few token bones up front. China: will make grand sounding promises provided the enforcement mechanism is weak or where they can otherwise carry on as normal. The EU and the US: will front-load the pain and backload the money – ie. knee-cap their economies and feel great doing so.

  • hopefully they will all agree to have free sex with danish prostitutes and will die quickly of “social” diseases…..one of the best metaphors of the year so far.

  • OMG – then the “Copenhagen Agreement” can become another way of saying that free sex with prostitutes is a good thing!

  • OK….this now means that Tiger Woods had his own sort of “Copenhagen Agreement” with all his girlfriends…not that it is going to end up being very free when all is said and done.

    Of course, everyone here knows TANSTAAFL, or, in this case, TANSTAFS. So, if the worshipers in Copenhagen DO contract something icky, it will be a TANSTAFS infection.

  • Samsam

    So, if the EPA says CO2 is a pollutant, is it OK if I reduce to zero the CO2 emissions of all those people I don’t like?


  • darthlaurel, actually it is spelled TANSTAFA:-)

  • Nick Davis

    I heard on the venerable BBC R4 this morning what appeared to be part of a series on the effects of climate change. I think it was about flooding. I wasnt listening too carefully; I seldom do (think of this as indoctrination prevention).

    I was still trying to puzzle out how a rise in temperture in 2050 causes floods in 2009, when a thought struck me.

    How about a series of 5 minute podcats or similar on the effects of the proposed actions to combat global warming.

    Unlike the possible warming or possible cooling (I lose track of this week’s fashion), the actions proposed to combat any change are concrete, and measurable.

    I dont hold up the BBC’s economic model but it would be interesting to see its predictions for the effects on the economy of (pick a different town a day) of a cut carbon strategy.

  • Laird

    If we all wish really hard, maybe a small asteroid will choose this week to drop in on Copenhagen. Truly, a happy ending!

  • Nuke Gray

    What would the asteroid get out of it? Aside from the chance to have a meteoric career, and make a big impression, I mean.
    And wouldn’t the surviving sociosaurs just clamour for government intervention even louder?
    And our PM, Kevin Rudd, has been likened to Tintin, because of his roundish head. You want to kill off Tintin! What’s he ever done to you?

  • There is a lot of really great art in Copenhagen…I’d hate to see an asteroid destroy all that.
    How about an killing snow storm……fit, and just would it be.

  • Alice, I was riffing on staph ….. but there are probably a LOT of TANSTA…..(and fill in the blank).

  • thefrollickingmole

    Now if I were an unscrupulous die hard “warmenista” I know what would be grear fun to do for the conference.

    Sunny Malmo is only down the road from Copenhagen, and Im sure a couple of pigs heads adorned with Korans set ablaze after Friday evening prayers would alert world authorities to the real meaning of the word “crisis”.

    As I said, a terrible thing if it were to happen eh?….

  • I heard someone on the BBC WS the other day saying that Copenhagen was a sham. Its simply gov’ts getting together so that they can be seen to be doing something. The speaker was obviously one of thosepeople who would dearly love to see us subjugated under the boots of the new preists of the environment, but the fact that it was said was quite refreshing for the BBC.

  • darthlaurel:

    but there are probably a LOT of TANSTA…..(and fill in the blank)

    At the risk of stating the obvious, the final A in my version stands for ‘anything’, so yes.

  • Well…..’anything’ is 5 letters longer than the one I imagined…..given the context…..and the potential bi-sexuality of the event.

  • I haven’t thought of that one – very fitting:-)

  • While I do support action to curb CO2 emissions, I agree to an extent that it is coming from the wrong place. The governments of large countries certainly have the most power to stop global warming, but they really don’t know how. A committee of scientists would be a better option; unfortunately, I don’t think that most governments want to follow the orders of climate scientists.

  • Someone has been asleep for the past month or so.

  • permanentexpat

    Did you mean ‘comatose’, Alisa?…& probably since birth.

  • ‘Since birth’ would be a bit too harsh. As to ‘comatose’…well, sometimes I feel like l could sleep for a month:-) Anyway, in keeping with this charitable mood, maybe we can hope that Michael was being sarcastic?

  • “A committee of scientists would be a better option;”

    Excellent idea! I’m a scientist, and I reckon several others here are too, so let’s form a committee.

    Right. First item on the agenda – action to curb CO2 emissions. What do I have? Any offers?

    Let’s wait 50 years for technological progress to make alternative technologies yet to be invented economically viable, then all move across naturally and make a huge profit doing it. In the meantime, continue to develop the economy, bringing the poor of the world up to current Western standards of living, gaining the maximum in resources and flexibility needed to most effectively best face whatever currently unknown problems turn out to be most important.

    We have a proposer. Do we have a seconder?


    Votes…? I declare the motion passed unanimously. What’s next? Oh yes. Agenda item 2: Decamp to the nearest bar for the rest of the evening. Who’s in favour…?

    I reckon that’s what we’d get from a committee of scientists. You’ve just got to have the right sort of scientists, see?

  • Pa…you’d have to have real scientists, not “poli-scientists”.

  • Sunfish

    hopefully they will all agree to have free sex with danish prostitutes and will die quickly of “social” diseases…..one of the best metaphors of the year so far.

    What a horrible thing to say. Prostitutes are people too. Even the ones on East Colfax with bigger forearms and Adam’s-apples than mine are people, sort of.

    Votes…? I declare the motion passed unanimously. What’s next? Oh yes. Agenda item 2: Decamp to the nearest bar for the rest of the evening. Who’s in favour…?

    Once upon a time,before I discovered Thuggery for Fun and Profit, when I had aspirations of being a scientist, that’s pretty much how we worked. Except, being poor students it was cheaper to just bring large quantities of EtOH to the lab.

    Because I don’t know what you mathematical people did, but in the biology building we had people who were wise in the ways of yeast.

  • Right. First item on the agenda – action to curb CO2 emissions. What do I have? Any offers?

    Turn the EU back into a simple free trade zone, and abolish the European Parliament, and fire the vast majority of the EU bureaucrats in Brussels. They have to put out a bunch of CO2 between them.

  • While I do support action to curb CO2 emissions

    People should stop breathing perhaps?

    The governments of large countries certainly have the most power to stop global warming, but they really don’t know how.

    The sun does not have an ‘off’ switch, so yeah, that.s gonna be rough.

    A committee of scientists would be a better option; unfortunately, I don’t think that most governments want to follow the orders of climate scientists.

    The whole “Climategate” thing just passed you by did it?

  • I’d say Michael Dickens was having a riff on us… the only problem is that there are actually people out there who believe that tripe.

  • Ah. So this is one of those blogs where everyone starts yelling at you when you say something that differs from the majority opinion. Great.

    Alisa: If you are accusing me of ignorance, then you are doing a poor job of rectifying the situation.

    Gregory: I do in fact believe that scientists know more about curbing carbon emissions than politicians do. Is that so wrong?

  • Michael,

    Nobody is yelling. And there’s nothing wrong with holding an opinion different to the majority, and talking about it. It’s just that we hold the opinion that it’s wrong, and we get to talk about that too.

    “Rectifying the situation” would take some time, though. And would only work if you was willing. I’ll give it a go with anyone, but my experience has been that relatively few really are.

    The problem with the statement that “scientists know more about curbing carbon emissions than politicians do” is that the question isn’t how to do it, but whether to do it. Whether it is needed at all.

    And you have to be careful with such statements not to invest scientists with Authority. Because Argument from Authority is the very antithesis to science, and as soon as you start implicitly trusting scientists advice, it ceases to be science.

    Yes, scientists know more about it. But their role is to explain it to you so that you understand it too. It’s not to tell you the conclusions, but refuse to give up the data, calculations, or reasoning to audit. Think of it as like being asked to invest in a company that won’t open its accounts to scrutiny. “I’m an accountant. I know far more about profitability than you. Invest your pension here.”

    It’s true. Accountants do know more about profitability. But that’s no reason to trust them, sight unseen.

  • Michael: ‘accusing’ wouldn’t be the correct term, but yes, you do come across as ignorant on this particular subject. Whether willfully so or not, would depend on your familiarity with the word ‘climategate’. In any case, you can always google it and come back with any questions or remarks. I hope I hence have done my part towards rectifying the problem.

  • Pa, I understand what you are saying, and you have a good point. I’ll remember that. When you say that few people are willing to change their viewpoints, you have a point. I try not to be, but I am already biased against global warming skeptics and towards proponents. I am fully aware of this bias, but it’s still very hard to resist. I want you to be aware that I have that bias, for the sake of fairness. I will do my best to avoid this bias; with that in mind, the following paragraph may contain bias. (I used the word ‘bias’ a lot.)

    Thanks for the tip, Alisa. I assume you are referring to those hacked e-mails? I heard about them, but didn’t think much of it. I looked into it a bit further, and found this video which pretty thoroughly debunks the whole fiasco. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnVQ2fROOg&feature=player_embedded

    To confirm potholer54’s findings, I downloaded the emails and took a look at what I see as the most serious phrase: “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” Kevin said that. (I am using first names because that’s what is in the emails, and it’s less confusing that way.) This is how Tom responded:

    At the risk of overload, here are some notes of mine on the recent lack of warming. I look at this in two ways. The first is to look at the difference between the observed and expected anthropogenic trend relative to the pdf for unforced variability. The second is to remove ENSO, volcanoes and TSI variations from the observed data.

    Both methods show that what we are seeing is not unusual. The second method leaves a significant warming over the past decade.

    These sums complement Kevin’s energy work.

    Kevin says “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t”. I do not agree with this.

    So Tom did see a “significant warming over the past decade” and disagrees with Kevin’s assertion. Later, Tom elaborates by saying:

    I didn’t mean to offend you. But what you said was “we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment”. Now you say “we are no where close to knowing where energy is going”. In my eyes these are two different things — the second relates to our level of understanding, and I agree that this is still lacking.

    Besides, it’s not like it was a big secret that Kevin believed that the lack of warming was unaccounted for. He even made a PowerPoint(Link) about it.

    After considering these factors, the emails do not seem to expose so much of a hoax after all. If you disagree, please do say why so that I may adjust my views accordingly. (As you said Pa, I will probably be reluctant to change my mind, but I would still like to hear any issues that you have with potholer54’s video or my own explanation (which is pretty similar to the video’s)).

  • Michael,

    Everybody is biased, and everybody needs people on the other side of the debate to keep them sharp. I’d appreciate having sensible people taking your sceptical approach to Climategate and to climate scepticism itself, as it is far easier to talk seriously about it than with the fanatics. (Although it is far easier to win the argument with the fans, as they tend to shoot themselves in the foot all the time with blatant ad hominems and arguments from authority.)

    Potholer54’s video was accurate so far as it went. There are a couple of technical things I could pick up on, but I would be being overly picky as the same would go for any article. My main issues with it are that it tries hard to give the impression that this is all there is to the emails, and it concentrates on the low quality end of the coverage. Popular media doesn’t have the time to get into the complex issues behind all this. They’re looking for soundbites, and for a lot of this you can only understand its significance if you know a lot of the backstory.

    Let’s take another email, in 1212063122.txt, that is entitled “IPCC & FOI”. The background to this is that Stephen McIntyre was a reviewer on the IPCC AR4 report, and put in many criticisms that were ignored or rejected by the IPCC authors without explanation. (For example, McIntyre objected to them truncating the data after 1960 in one of Briffa’s reconstructions that showed a decline – he said they ought to show it and explain it if necessary. Briffa who was leading on that chapter said showing it wouldn’t be “appropriate” but no other explanation was given. Steve’s criticism seems valid to me.) Now the IPCC claims in its publicity to be a transparent process and declares that all working papers will be archived for at least five years and made public. The problem is, they didn’t. It took a legal fight to get them to open up the reviewers comments, and then McIntyre asked to see the lead editor’s correspondence on it. The aim was to find out what they said about the reasons for the criticism’s rejection.

    The IPCC said they didn’t have any. Then they said it was personal mail, not official. There was a single form with not much more than a signature on it that they released. McIntyre said he thought it simply wasn’t credible that this was all there was, and put in multiple FOIA (freedom of information act) requests asking for all official correspondence and documents on the IPCC AR4 editorial process.

    This was when Phil Jones wrote to his colleagues to say:


    Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

    Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

    We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.”

    [to be continued…]

  • […continued – my attempt to circumvent the spam filter’s dislike of long posts didn’t work, the first part should be up soon]

    Remember, that’s under the subject heading “IPCC & FOI”. Now we have to be careful here because we don’t know whether the deletions took place – and indeed, it’s usually impossible for users of an email system to truly delete things. They’re kept by the servers in archives, as this leak has demonstrated. However, it does at least appear to be a declaration of intent, related to FOI, and with the intention of preventing McIntyre getting his hands on it. The aim presumably being to say with hand-on-heart that they didn’t have any.

    However, it’s grossly unethical, both professionally and scientifically, counter to the IPCC’s procedures and public claims to transparency, and under British law it is actually illegal to delete anything subject to an FOIA request, or to declare that you don’t have it when you do.

    And obviously raises the question of what did they have to hide in this correspondence, that they would countenance possible illegality to prevent public release? Probably nothing much, but we don’t know.

    Now there are still many things we don’t know. Jones and the UEA have said they have not deleted anything. (Which is almost certainly true, although I suspect they didn’t know it at the time.) Mann has said since that he wouldn’t have complied, and indeed, his reply says nothing more than that he’ll “contact Gene ASAP about this”, and gives his new email address. It would need lawyers to argue out whether this was proof of anything, and I suspect a good lawyer would weasel out of it quite easily. We don’t even know that the emails referred to were the ones being sought. Evidence in real life is never so neat.

    But you should be careful about potholer54’s claim that this is the best we’ve got.

    For another one, see my post on some allegations of scientific fraud (you’ll note I quote the email that potholer54 says you wouldn’t see us quoting) and for that “Hide the Decline” thing you need to look at Stephen McIntyre’s coverage, which is probably the most authoritative from the sceptic side. Bishop Hill is a blogger who has some well-written less technical coverage (his article ‘Caspar and the Jesus Paper’ is quite famous, and well worth reading, but from well before the current events), he had a post “Climate cuttings 33” that listed a lot of the best Climategate emails and issues. And if you’ve downloaded the emails, I strongly suggest you look in the documents folder you’ll also find there for a file HARRY_READ_ME.TXT. This, we believe, is the personal log of the software programmer asked to reconstruct and fix the CRU code so that it could be released. I think it explains very well the real reason why Jones did not want to release it. Not malice or conspiracy, but sheer embarrassment.

    Read poor Harry’s log file, and bear in mind that the governments of the world are staking trillions of our dollars on the results of this and work like it. (I’ve seen Hansen’s GISTEMP code; it was just as bad.) By the work of this same group of people. There’s tons more I could tell you, but this post is too long already. Hope that’s helpful.

  • Sorry, slight correction to the above. For the record. I got confused between Wigley’s emails. The one potholer said we wouldn’t be quoting is here instead. The first post was better.