Global Warming is Conjecture, Consensus and Anything but Science

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 20th, 2011

Week in Review

What’s that sneaking up behind you?  Could it be global warming?  Probably not.  But a whole lot of scientists with a vested interest are saying it is (see Weather disasters to increase report warns, climate change signal slow to emerge for some extremes by Jason Samenow posted 11/18/2011 on The Washington Post).

A report from 220 of the world’s leading climate scientists cautions climate change may bring “unprecendented extreme weather and climate events” in the coming decades.

The report by the United Nations Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change makes clear that warm weather extremes and heavy precipitation events have increased, most likely as a result of manmade climate change. And it projects with a high degree of confidence increasing hot weather and heavy downpours in the future…

But the “Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” (SREX) is somewhat guarded about the links between manmade climate change and hurricanes, floods, droughts and weather disaster losses. And some of its findings are more conservative and characterized by greater uncertainty than the major volume released by the IPCC in 2007, known as the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

What other science reports their findings using words like ‘may’ and ‘likely’ and a ‘high degree of confidence’?  I’ll tell you what kind.  Bad science.  Good science knows that if you raise the temperature of water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit at standard atmospheric pressure it will boil into a gas.  And there’s no ‘may’, ‘likely’ or a ‘high degree of confidence’ necessary in the report documenting this.

Science is not consensus.  That said, there isn’t even a consensus in the scientific community studying climate.  One says it’s definitely man-made global warming.  While another is saying there may not even be a link between man and rising temperatures.

The equivocal nature of some of the report’s scientific findings demonstrates the difficulty in drawing conclusions from a patchwork network of weather observations. It also illustrates the challenges in identifying a human fingerprint in data that is inherently noisy due to the highly variable nature of climate and weather, not to mention the challenges in modeling its future behavior.

The report is clear that when it assigns “low confidence” in observed changes, it doesn’t mean the extreme hasn’t changed or won’t change in the future. It simply conveys lack of data and/or knowledge. For some extremes, it seems to be the case that more we learn, the more we recognize we don’t know.

Climate is complex.  It’s far more complex than predicting tomorrow’s weather.  And we all know how often the weather people get tomorrow’s weather wrong.  And if it’s the case that as we learn more the more we recognize we don’t know, then it’s a safe bet that the global warming alarmists are wrong.  They were, after all, wrong about the coming ice age back in the Seventies.

Perhaps it’s time we ask them how do they know what they’re telling us.  I think you’ll be surprised by what you hear.  For it’s all a lot of guess work with some elaborate man-made computer models.  Not hard science spent in a laboratory.  Or study of empirical data going back a few ice ages or so.  It’s just conjecture.  And consensus. Which is anything but science.

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Japan Raising their Consumption Tax may not have Caused their 1997-98 Economic Slump but it sure didn’t Help

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 20th, 2011

Week in Review

Poor Japan.  Always used as the example of what not to do (see Two things to remember about Japan posted 11/14/2011 on The Economist).

Between 1994 and 2008 American GDP grew 3% a year while Japan’s grew 1.1%… Japan’s working-age population at that time began a long decline, shrinking 0.4% per year over the period while America’s grew 1.2% according to the OECD. That 1.6 point differential can explain most of the difference in growth.

This means that the Japanese population was aging more than the American population.  More people growing older and retiring.  Pulling out of the workforce.  And maintained by the taxes paid by the decreasing number of those still working.  Similar to the projections in the U.S. about Social Security going bankrupt for the same reasons.  Only Japan appears to be further down that road than America.  Which means things will only get worse in America.  If we keep doing what the Japanese are doing.

In April, 1997, the government raised Japan’s consumption tax. That is now routinely cited as a cautionary tale against premature fiscal tightening since it was followed by a steep recession.  But a closer examination suggests the tax increase alone cannot explain the length and depth of the 1997-98 slump… In July, Thailand devalued, touching off the Asian crisis, a major negative for Japanese exports. Then, in November, a series of banks and investment banks collapsed: Sanyo Securities, Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, Yamaichi Securities and Tokuyo City Bank.

This is what happens when you play by Keynesian economics.  First of all you’re in a tax and spend mentality.  And this tax and spend mentality is what destroys economies.

Raising taxes is the worst way to reduce your deficits.  Because your tax policy didn’t cause your deficit.  Your spending did.  If you want real fiscal tightening decrease your SPENDING.  Do that and you’ll see real deficit reduction.

As far as currency manipulation?  Well, if you want to play by Keynesian economics this is what’s going to happen.  For the Keynesian way to work requires the honor system.  To have responsible fiscal policy.  And not to cheat with monetary policy when you don’t.

If you want to prevent currency manipulation then make it harder to manipulate your currency.  Bring back the gold standard.  If you don’t want to do that than just quit bitching about currency manipulators.  Because this isn’t a perfect world.  And cheaters are going to cheat because the game rules make it easy to cheat.

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GE vs. TransCanada – Is the President too much of an Environmentalist or just too Anti-American?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 20th, 2011

Week in Review

General Electric is everything the Occupy Wall Street protestors hate.  But they don’t protest them.  Or President Obama.  Who has a close personal relationship with GE (see Occupy GE posted 11/18/2011 on Investors.com).

At a recent town hall meeting, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, reminded constituents of a story that broke earlier in the year — that General Electric paid no taxes on profit of $14 billion, $9 billion of which was earned overseas.

Ryan related how he had asked a GE tax officer the length of GE’s tax filing. The tax guy said it was filed electronically but if it had been printed out he reckoned about 57,000 pages. This speaks both to the complexity and unfairness of the tax code.

…businesses large and small are encumbered by regulations and a byzantine tax code designed not to raise money for the needed functions of government but to reward or punish the behavior of corporations and individuals as the government sees fit.

57,000 pages?  For what?  To maximize tax revenue?  Apparently not.  As GE paid zero taxes on $14 billion.  So this complicated mess of a tax code clearly doesn’t maximize tax revenue.  It actually minimizes tax revenue.  By giving the well-connected corporations (i.e., government cronies) a way to escape paying their ‘fair share’.

In the mean time, though, the Obama administration is trying to raise taxes on the rich.  To make them pay their ‘fair’ share.  And by rich they mean the middle class.  For they definitely don’t mean crony capitalists like GE.

General Electric, a “good” and “green” company that makes wind turbines instead of drilling for oil, is rewarded for successfully jumping through government hoops and gaming the system.

TransCanada, which wants to build a pipeline to bring oil from Alberta’s tar sands to American refineries, is deemed a “bad” company that wants to rape the earth and give us bad air and water. It, and the 20,000 jobs it would create for the 99% by building the Keystone XL pipeline, is told to cool its heels.

GE is a crony capitalist.  And close friend of the Obama administration.  They can ship jobs out of the country.  And not pay income taxes.  TransCanada, on the other hand, will create jobs in America.  As Americans will build their pipeline to pump their oil to American refineries.  Thus benefiting all Americans by lowering the price of gasoline.  But this company is no friend of the Obama administration.  So Obama won’t allow them to build their pipeline.  Create American jobs.  Or lower the price of gasoline.

TransCanada is better for America.  Yet GE is getting all of the breaks.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Is the president too much of an environmentalist?  Or just too anti-American?

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