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Alarmists argue about the 5-year plan

The alarmist party is split to a joule wing and a kelvin wing

Three weeks ago, Mr Victor and Mr Kennel admitted in Nature that the 2 °C "warming target" is a plain idiocy. In the climate alarmist movement, even such obviously valid observations turn out to be immensely controversial.

So Stefan Rahmstorf published another memo on RealClimate.ORG,

Ocean heat storage: a particularly lousy policy target
The tirade starts with a 2027 article in the New York Times where they announced that the 2 °C target was replaced by the 1024 joule target after the 385th gathering of the climate alarmists on the Bahamas. If I suppress all the redundant junk, Rahmstorf's article says that it's bad to replace kelvins by joules in the deep ocean because no one cares about the deep ocean and it takes centuries for the heat to penetrate to the ocean.

(Incidentally, neither Rahmstorf nor a single other participant of the RealClimate.ORG exchanges knows that the units such as joules and kelvins are written in lowercase letters. So the answer to the question "Are you smarter than a 5th grader, climate scientist?" may very well be "No.")

There are advantages and disadvantages of the joule ocean target and the kelvin surface target. The heat is said to be "hiding" in the ocean so clearly, if we carefully trace the heat in the ocean, we should be able to see all of it. The resulting curves for the total heat should be smoother and more predictable, and therefore a better basis for a "climate planning".

On the other hand, with this methodology, it indeed becomes obvious that they're trying to build plans on a quantity whose value doesn't matter to anyone. No one cares what the temperature is 500 meters beneath the sea, especially if the expected temperature changes are even smaller than those on the surface. Some goals based on the "surface temperatures" are seemingly more relevant for the people and the most important ecosystems.

But all these people are totally incapable of understanding that
the whole philosophy of their "climate planning" is totally defective.
Whether you try to plan the climate in joules or kelvins, you won't change the facts that
  1. it is irrational to enact laws that "repel" the society from a particular number of excess joules or excess kelvins because there doesn't exist any glimpse of scientific evidence that something special is happening at/near these randomly chosen numerical thresholds
  2. people aren't even in full control of the number of these joules or kelvins, so any "climate plan" saying that "we won't surpass a threshold" is inevitably just a guess that may be right or wrong. If it turns out to be right, the "climate plan" is useless because the planned threshold was higher than the reality; if it turns out to be wrong, the resources spent to stay below the threshold are wasted because nothing really changes at that threshold.
And so on. I wrote many more things in the previous article. These individuals are hardcore Stalinists who believe that they have the right to plan the climate which is why're obsessed with this activity. They never ask the question whether it is wise to construct "plans" of this kind or "regulate" the society in the first place, let alone whether they could be just potentially dangerous power-thirsty totalitarian scumbags who should better shut their mouth. The answers to these questions are obviously No and Yes but they don't even want to ask these questions. Planning of the society is a dogma for them and they think that it has to be done by them.

The Stalinist lyrics of the musically cute Czechoslovak song from the 1950s is a sequence of hardcore left-wing clichés that have been plagiariazed by Al Gore so I don't have to translate it – you've heard this junk many times.

Their closest soulmates, the actual Stalinists in the 1950s, had the slogan
We'll command the wind and the rain.

Poručíme, větru dešti.
In late 1989, we would like to add an extra verse:
We'll command the wind and the rain.
But tomorrow only in Bucharest.

Poručíme, větru dešti,
zítra už jen v Bukurešti.
Needless to say, it was just weeks before Nicolae Ceaușescu was informally executed so months later, these folks couldn't command the wind and the rain even in Romania. However, the Romanians and others failed to execute tons of Nicolae Ceaușescu's soulmates so these dangerous assholes are again planning to command the wind and the rain not only in Bucharest but in many other cities – really the whole globe, if you ask them.

Comrades, why aren't you satisfied with a realistic temperature target, i.e. to ask your nurse to regulate the temperature in your own room in the psychiatric asylum? And just f@ck off of the rest of the world where you have absolutely no business to harass, preach, and oxidize.

The fact that all this climate panic pseudoscience is controlled by left-wing extremists is obvious in every other detail. For example, Rahmstorf's newest article ends with these comments:
[p.s. I am grateful that David Victor has apologized to me for comparing it to "methods of the far right" that I introduced him as a "political scientist" in my previous post (as in fact he is in the intro to his interview). This matter is now settled and forgotten, with no hard feelings.] - See more at: URL
In the real world, David Victor had nothing to apologize for because by his description, he has (unintentionally) overstated the value of Mr Rahmstorf as a human being by several orders of magnitude and Mr Rahmstorf should have been flattered.

The comments under Rahmstorf's article tell you quite something about what sort of people the RealClimate.ORG fans are. The first one by Mr Greisch says
Politicians can misinterpret anything they want to.
which is sort of true but it's not celebrated by anyone because the likes of Rahmstorf and his readers are imagining, and often rightfully so, that they are actually controlling the politicians. So it's explicitly or effectively the climate alarmists who are misinterpreting anything they want. But the second comment is more interesting:
Limiting ocean heat content to 10^24 Joules will open serious problems of measurement, even within factors of 10. Perhaps that’s the idea? “Let’s argue about measurements, not consequences.”?
Fantastic! It's wrong according to Mr Harrison to talk about measurements. No one in proper science can possibly care about the measurements, right? What matters are the consequences that don't have to be connected with any empirical data. As a notorious alarmist openly wrote, it's not about the truth at all – it's about something plausible. ;-)

The next commenter Mr Lynch "finds this entire discussion disturbing" and would prefer CO2 emission targets only, sort of openly admitting that the emissions' relationship with the temperatures is so noisy, unreliable, and weakly correlated that it effectively doesn't exist. Someone mentions that Roger Pielke Sr has proposed the ocean heat content as a metric and asks whether he's still alive. He immediately appears in the next comment, capitalizing joules as well.

Some other comment only says "We have to act.", clearly showing that the difference between joules and kelvins is too much of a detail for the author but he or she is sure about the main point, that the sky is falling, anyway. Two more comments sort of support the joule target.

Thankfully, these nuts have largely run out of steam in the recent 5 years. Thankfully, Poland is decided to veto some new wave of carbon regulation in the EU (hopefully, many many others will join Poland: it seems that the Baltic States have joined so *all* the post-socialist EU countries oppose the climate deal now; Britain and Cyprus are in between but may join the full opposition, too) which may be effectively joining the example of Australia. This whole thing seems to be fading away. But it is fading away so frustratingly slowly and these individuals continue to be so incredibly dangerous...

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snail feedback (25) :

reader Eclectikus said...

I get the impression that some fading on climate hysteria is actually happening already. Or maybe a transition. A few months ago here in Spain the far-left did public a manifesto which warned of imminent oil depletion (the famous Peak Oil), and therefore [they warn] we must take immediate action: adopt socialism :). The funny thing is that many of the signatories (including Pablo Echenique Robba by the way, the quantum crackpot you wrote about passed year) are also regular climate alarmists, even though both apocalypses are incompatible with each other: no climate model assumes the end of the hydrocarbons, i.e. no Peak Oil is contemplated during this century, and if we accept the Peak Oil, the most catastrophist scenaries are simply impossible. Unfortunately these people are immune to inconsistencies.

reader br said...

Indeed, I'm sure most of my conceptions on string theory are misconceptions :) So I'm grateful when anyone helps me prune a few of them. I just found the phrase 'Everything is calculable within the theory by the theory' jarring, so wanted to find out a bit more. Referring to empirical data or realistic cosmologies is what I had in mind! That is nothing against string theory, all physics theories need to refer to these things.

reader Giotis said...

Again the fully theory has no free parameters.

Below the compactification scale we go to an effective field theory and we need to stabilize the free moduli of the compactification scheme we are following. These moduli again are stabilized (acquire a value) by internal mechanisms of the theory itself and people know how to do that. During the stabilization process (for the IIB flux compactifications in particular) we found ~10^500 possible effective vacua and indeed we don’t have a vacuum selection principle to choose just one of them i.e. the correct vacuum of our universe. That is how the string landscape emerges.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Exactly, the nicely sounding NGO meme really means


But I guess that ABLMCTEDPMFTGAGOTPFTGBNRACABOVOOMHYCDSATITGA doesn't sound as sexy as an NGO. ;-)

reader Tea for 330 million said...

They are smarter than us. Only they can understand why the price keeps dropping as the oil depletes.

reader Giotis said...

What I mean is the well known fact that the only free paramter of the full theory is the string coupling constant but its value is determined by the Vacuum expectation value of the dilaton field which is a field of the theory. So the dynamics of the theory itself determine the value of the coupling constant.

reader kashyap vasavada said...

I see now from what you and Lubos are saying that ST does not have any free parameters. Confusion in some of us arose because of some 20 parameters of SM QFT which is as of now a low energy theory. Presumably such things will be clearer as we go along. As far as I am concerned such discussions are very useful. This fact is a great plus point for this blog as compared to other physics blogs.

reader QsaTheory said...

Let me get this strait, maybe you have said it elsewhere, but I hope for a clearer answer. I guess you don't believe in multiverse( rumors are you left Harvard b/c of that, but that is not important). So what do you think(might) what forces our universe vacua. A particular hidden process or what?

reader br said...

Going by this graph http://www.infomine.com/investment/metal-prices/crude-oil/all/ oil price (last 14 years) and global temperature (last 50 years) have an amusing similarity. Clearly lots of noise and 'natural variation', but do they both have a long term upward trend? Probably, but it is hard to tell by how much and due to what.

reader Gordon said...

Yes, changing the focus from 2 degrees to ocean heat capacity is a PR gaffe on their part---their PR machine is likely now trying to undo the damage by using units of baby kittens...:)

reader Liam said...

Hi Magyar Ember, you make some good points higher in the thread, but here you are simply playing fast and loose with the facts.

The change in the organisation of the taxi companies here in Budapest is that now the companies act as franchisees of a central licensing authority with a centralised dispatch and fixed-rate metering system. Prior to the changes there were plenty of reputable taxi companies that operated as a mini-cab service (available only by calling the dispatch office and not having a presence at taxi-ranks waiting to pick up and rip-off tourists, though indeed there were plenty of taxi companies that did that). They were used to set their own quite reasonable rates and did not discriminate against foreigners, (my visiting friends and relatives used them successfully on many occasions), and yet they somehow managed to stay in business.

Even the dodgier companies were not so kind as to be running the rate they charged to native Hungarians as a loss-leader to be compensated only by the trade in tourist pickups, which was just cream. The price doubling has nothing to do with lost revenue from ripping of tourists, and everything to do with the fact that the price was doubled by act of fiat of the new licensing authority.

The tobacco shops themselves are technically privately owned - they are operated as "concessions", a concept similar to a franchise, but the product is purchased from a single state-owned distributor, the Hungarian National Tobacco company, and once again the retail price is fixed by the distributor as part of the license agreement.

Please tell me where I can go to buy tobacco in Budapest that isn't a Nemzeti Dohanybolt and where the prices differ from the nationally fixed retail rate, or who I can call to order a taxi where the rate differs from that set by the local Taxi Authority!

Well I know that there are already some answers to those question, but let's just say that they are somewhat grey (or black) answers, if you catch my drift. Note that tobacco sales in Hungary have dropped sharply, whereas consumption remains roughly the same. Lightest Supersymmetric Partners or Axions are not required to explain the discrepancy. ;)

The sale of products and services at a price fixed by the local or national government might be considered a "free market" in Hungarian thinking. Much of the rest of the world would disagree!

reader Luboš Motl said...

It's amazing. You wrote 4 sentences. They contain about 8 different assumptions or rumors and 100% of them are just wrong - just 4 misconceptions in the first two sentences.

How do you do that? I wouldn't be able to achieve this high concentration or reliability of bullšit even if I tried.

I do believe that the multiverse is more likely to exist than not although it is not quite established. The multiverse naturally follows from eternal inflation and inflation is almost certainly a part of our cosmology and very likely to be eternal. I haven't significantly changed my views on these matters for more than a decade. So that claim of yours was wrong.

Second, what I consider wrong is the anthropic principle, the idea that the counting of observers that emerge in a vacuum/theory may be or should be used to calculate the constants of physics. The anthropic principle is in no way equivalent to the multiverse.

Third, it is complete nonsense that I would leave Harvard because of the multiverse. I left after my visa expired and I didn't renew the visas and block all green card efforts because of the feminist terror at Harvard that began in 2005.I thought that those things are well-known by now.

Fourth, it is complete nonsense that I would be leaving Harvard because of the multiverse, especially because all relevant professors at Harvard (I mean Strominger, Vafa, Randall, Yin, Yau, whatever) have views on these matters that are pretty much 100% compatible if not identical to mine. You may have confused Harvard with Stanford which is on the opposite coast.

Nima Arkani-Hamed was more pro-anthropic than I was but we had excellent relationships and it's just downright silly to imagine that someone would be leaving because of those differences.

"What forcesour universe vacua" isn't a meaningless question, so I can't answer the mysterious remark about the "hidden process", either.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Good that you finally noticed. Almost all price graphs or stock price graphs and many other things look like this. The trends sometimes have an explanation - inflation, progress in technology, GDP growth, disappearing fossil fuels or on the contrary dropping demand and so on.

The short-term behavior isn't too different from random walk - Brownian/red noise. It's regulated to be more constant over the medium scale but over the longest scales, this regulation goes away again and much bigger deviations are possible.

reader scooby said...

May I ask where do you get this figure of 34 billion euros from?

reader QsaTheory said...

Thanks for your answer. Few years back as I was reading all sort of blogs I got some information and impression that made me stay away from your blog. As my knowledge increased I decided I participate in the blogs to pick the brains and hear it from "the horse's mouth" and not care for the politics that much. I did read you complain about Harvard Feminists but did not tie it to what you say. To my mind there must have been some great disagreement regarding issues of work i.e. scientific disagreement. The confusing part is that you speak highly of them yet they don't seem to have stood up for you( they seem to be formidable people). I left three jobs because of my strong disagreement on how work was conducted and not how I was hurt by overload or things of that nature. but I guess you can have many different situations.

As for the multiverse, my understanding is that the cosmological model predicts many universes like ours and not necessarily with different constants and what not.

reader lukelea said...

Thanks, QsaTheory. I am not surprised that I am mistaken.

reader Gerry said...

As a lay person I found the discussion of Dimensionless Constants very interesting. A good deal of Paul Dirac’s lecture actually made sense to me.

But…the universal gravitational constant is confusing. So I will risk asking a what may be a stupid question.

As the universe expands and the distance between objects/mass increases I would expect universal gravitation to be in decline. However, it is apparent, obvious and observable that universal gravity is constant.

So, how is a universal gravitational constant possible with a variable like universal expansion?

Or is it possible universal gravity is also a fundamental physical constant of the void in to which the universe is expanding?

reader Gerry said...

Sorry...meant to say..

is it possible universal gravity is also THE fundamental physical constant of the void in to which the universe is expanding?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Gravity is a force, constant is a number, so your sentence is exactly as meaningless as

Is it possible that the U.S. income tax is also THE African elephant's trunk reaching for a coconut?

reader MikeNov said...

Seems too me it is far more reasonable to focus on ocean heat. Pielke Sr was saying this for many years, but they criticized him when the surface temperatures were still in their favor. Then they agreed when the temperatures went against them. Now they are acknowledging that their 'oceans ate the warming' argument nullifies everything they are saying so are running away from it.

reader MikeNov said...

The throwaway lines from RealClimate gang are incredible.

Here they acknowledge we are talking about hundredths of a degree, and warming takes many centuries in the oceans.

On another blog, Gavin mentions that Mann's hockey stick of 2008-09 doesn't validate without tree rings. A post on Keystone, they casually mention they are using a model that has been tuned to yield a 3C response.

reader MikeNov said...

Yes, I noticed that many years ago, and when called on it, they responded that the issue with Peak Oil is that the Saudis would collapse or something.

The lower prices now are primarily a function of increasing US supply, combined with a deliberate decision by the Saudis to mess up Iran's economy by increasing output and dropping the price.

reader Howard Wiseman said...

Ocean Circulation: Wind-Driven and Thermohaline Processes, By Rui Xin Huang A little to "mathy" for the AGW crowd. Also, no polar bears in the abyssal depths.

reader Lauri Hauru said...

I think you're dismissing the time argument a bit too fast. The question shouldn't be about our time (8e60 Planck times), it should be about a characteristic time, which can be fixed. For instance, for a radioactive substance such as uranium, this is the half-life (t½). At timescales much shorter than t½, it is extremely unlikely to see an uranium nucleus decay (p(t<>t½) = 1). So, if you put a piece of uranium in a box, seal it, and open it later, you will find inside something different than you put in (emanation, in this case). The same logic applies to the universe. It decays, today by converting stars and gas into black holes and radiation. What is the half-life of the universe? We're currently transitioning from the electromagnetic epoch into the gravitational epoch. Starting from the beginning, our universe has gone through the quantum gravitational, strong force, electroweak and electromagnetic (up to CMBR emission) epochs, and will continue into the gravitational epoch. In this context, it's not surprising that what we can see is what we see: terrestial matter and stars. To form us, humans, you need both atoms and planets, thus our existence requires an epoch dominated by electromagnetic and gravitational forces. It's difficult for us to observe the workings of the strong force, but if we were composed of delta baryons, we'd be arguing why the large number is around 1e20 Planck times. For a very, very short time, though. What do you think, does this version of the anthropic principle hold water?

tl;dr: We observe large numbers because our observing apparatus is composed of particles governed by them.

reader QsaTheory said...

What question are you answering?