Friday, June 24, 2011 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

CO2: Supreme Court promotes Freeman Dyson

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court released its verdict in the case with a technical name

Three authors have discussed a nice footnote #2 that recommended you to read "The Civil Heretic" (TRF), a celebration of Freeman Dyson written by Mr Dawidoff in a March 2009 New York Times Magazine. These three authors include Lawrence Solomon (Financial Post), Sam Kazman (Global Warming.ORG), and Douglas Kysar (Nature).

Just like Acropolis... I think that if Greece is ever revived, they should repair the Parthenon and other buildings - to make them usable - because the ruins will otherwise remind them of the default.

The first two of them are climate realists.

The third one is the only climate alarmist but you shouldn't be surprised that despite the name of the magazine that published his essay, Nature, he is not a natural scientist and he knows nothing about natural science. Mr Kysar is employed by the Yale University's Law School as a Professor Struggling To Contaminate Judicial Systems By the Green Ideology.

What a terrible name for an occupation. And indeed, this guy is doing his job vigorously.

Kazman's and Solomon's articles are nice but I will focus on Mr Kysar's text - probably because it is more provocative. ;-)

You know, since the first years when I began to understand what the global warming movement was all about and whether it was justifiable by the scientific evidence, I thought that the courts and judges were at least as threatened as the universities by the proposed modifications of the functioning of the society. After all, the global warming movement is all about an effort to change the character of our societies and the judges - especially the supreme judges (including the recently appointed ones) - have been trained to respect the laws, including (and, maybe, especially) the 200+ years old texts such as the U.S. Constitution that the climate alarmists are eager to burn before they blink their eyes.

The U.S. Constitution is a carefully and cleverly crafted web of rules and interrelations between the subjects and parts of the government that allow the U.S. to function well - which is why it has been more or less copied at other places, with somewhat mixed results - well, because the good laws are not a sufficient condition for a prosperous and healthy society.

Mr Kysar's article makes it clear that he's been trained to know something about the law. At the same moment, it is even more obvious that he considers the environmentalist ideological delusions to be much more important than any principle of the U.S. judicial system - or justice itself.

His article is called "Supreme Court ruling is good, bad, and ugly". Now, just like you would expect from such an author, the "good" are all the bad news about the ruling; the "bad" are all the good news about the ruling; and the "ugly" are all the aesthetically pleasing things about the ruling. ;-)

Mr Kysar is happy that the Supreme Court didn't question the decision that the EPA has the legal power to regulate the greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. However, he is unhappy that the Supreme Court ruled that it means that there can't be other, parallel mechanisms how to regulate the greenhouse gases. In particular, the judges can't decide that CO2 is a "nuisance" under the federal common law.

The Supreme Court judges decided that "We see no room for a parallel track."

Mr Kysar is upset about it. He says that "the US system of limited and divided government is a web of interconnected nodes, not a row of parallel tracks." Indeed, that's the whole point of the Supreme Court judges' sentence. What they mean is that various responsibilities are divided between the interconnected nodes that depend on the decisions of other nodes and in principle, the algorithm governing the legal decisions is well-defined and deterministic. It is being evaluated by a single, interconnected processor.

If there were another body or a system of processes that would allow the branches of the government to regulate the greenhouse gases regardless of the EPA's decisions, it would change the U.S. web of interconnected nodes to a system of parallel tracks where two processes can run simultaneously and separately, to compete with one another, and maybe even to contradict one another - which is no good. So Mr Kysar's sentence is completely illogical. From a viewpoint, it is damn obvious that he understands why the Supreme Court had to decide in this way. On the other hand, he claims that it's bad exactly for the reason why it is good.

Well, as I have said, he calls "good" everything that is "bad" and vice versa. Mr Kysar's stunningly flagrant bias is expressed quite explicitly, by sentences such as
The threat of such suits adds legal, financial and public-relations pressure to the mixture of forces that drives policy outcomes.
The only problem with Mr Kysar's way of thinking is that judges are not employed to "add pressure" against particular victims or to "threaten" them. Unlike others (...), they were not hired to help others to break Jewish windows during the night of the broken glass. They were not hired to fight power plants or utilities or factories or their owners or camels. The job for judges is to guarantee justice, to treat everyone fairly according to the law, and - indeed - to remove protect potential victims from pressure and threats that can't be justified by the law.

I am amazed that Yale University that claims to be a serious high school, if not something more than that (however, the official name of the school among ex-our Harvard undergraduates is Yale: Harvard for Dummies), is able to employ someone with such a breathtaking misunderstanding of justice and the role of the courts as a professor of law. This guy should be in the State Penn, not a law school.

I have saved the aesthetically pleasing for last. Mr Kysar calls it "the ugly". He is angry because:
It is hard not to conclude that the judges were influenced by climate-science controversies of the past few years, however contrived and overstated they have been.
What happened? Well, in 2007, the Supreme Court used the term "respected scientists" for those who believed in the climate alarm. Mr Kysar thinks that back in 2007, the climate crackpots already had a nearly total control over the whole society, including the Supreme Court, as evidenced by the two words, so the only sensible outcome in 2011 might have been a complete control over the whole society and the Supreme Court. And he's surprised and disappointed that it didn't happen.

Instead, what he sees is that his dirty political movement began to fade away. The brainwashing has lost some steam. The fluke of a "high percentage" of believers has gone away. By 2011, only the most hopeless bigots of the climate Armageddon continued to defend the indefensible. Mr Kysar criticizes the court for having said that:
The court, we caution, endorses no particular view of the complicated issues related to carbon-dioxide emissions and climate change.
Indeed, I could also be happier if the Supreme Court endorsed the numerous robust arguments that the climate sensitivity can't really exceed 2 °C - which means at most about 1.5 °C of warming by 2100 - and that there can't be a noticeable problem for the ecosystems or the society that results from another degree of warming that we could get in a century. However, I realize, appreciate, and acknowledge that it is not a job for the Supreme Court to make such excursions into natural science. It's not their job and they're not even necessarily the most qualified people to do so.

Instead, what they can do is to observe the opinions about the scientific matters in the society - and perhaps, they may take the education, training, and intelligence of the people who hold various opinions into account. Still, they couldn't overlook the essay about Freeman Dyson and they recommended the reader to explore this source to see that there are respectable scientists who disagree with the EPA.

It is very clear that among every group with a fixed given IQ, there is a comparable number of climate realists (who think that there's probably no problem) and climate alarmists (who are convinced that there has to be a problem). This is true for physics Nobel prize winners, physics professors at Princeton, and many other groups at various levels that matter (as well as those that don't). Of course that one may also collect ensembles of people who were hired for similar biased reasons that Mr Kysar would love to prescribe to the Supreme Court as well. But the Supreme Court judges are not silly and they can notice that the large number of people spreading the climate hysteria has been artificially engineered.

More importantly, even if there were a majority that thinks XY, it's just not the job for the Supreme Court - or any other judges - to make a majority even stronger or to transform every majority to a totality.

That's just not what judges are supposed to do - and scientists are not supposed to do such things, either. Judges as well as scientists are assigned the task to find the truth - whether it's the truth defined by the man-made laws and the actual facts and events that led to a lawsuit; or the truth defined by Mother Nature and displayed in our observations and experiments. And just like in science, it is also true in the courts that minorities are often right and their rights and interests also have to be defended when they're being attacked by someone else.

I know it sounds inconvenient to the politically correct people in the U.S. - whether they consider themselves skeptics or not - but the opinion of a professor of law that the task for judges is to use their powers to transform majorities into totalities is indisputably a fascist point of view. That's true pretty much by definition of fascism. Please, try to understand that this is not meant as a superficial insult that could be reverted by apologies: it is a completely serious result of an extremely careful analysis of a very important issue that's been underway for 10 years or so.

You may be politically correct and ban all comparisons to fascism in the U.S. - but that won't change the fact that there are people in the U.S., such as Mr Kysar, who have very analogous plans with the society as the fascist systems we used to have in Europe. Don't be misled: the Americans are not a superior race that is forever guaranteed to be protected against such things and ideologies. If something protects America against such things, it's primarily a functioning political system that, together with the decent traditions, guarantees e.g. that the Supreme Court judges remain pretty much wise and sensible people.

Mr Kysar describes Freeman Dyson as "the theoretical physicist whose controversial views on climate change have been widely promoted by the climate-sceptic community." Well, as a reader of Nature noted before me, I am not sure who holds the more controversial opinions about the climate today. Is it Freeman Dyson, or the IPCC? Moreover, I don't feel that the climate skeptics' outlets have been the most active ones in the promotion of Freeman Dyson's views on the climate. After all, the longest article appeared in the New York Times Magazine.

In the last paragraph, Mr Kysar summarizes his evaluation of Freeman Dyson in this way:
That the nation's highest court would repeat this misleading refrain, and seemingly endorse Dyson's views as equal to those of the IPCC and the EPA, simply takes the breath away.
Well, it takes my breath away, too. I don't believe that a reasonable person, in a privacy of his or her home, could seriously compare scientific midgets and crackpots of Michael Mann's caliber (and I don't even want speak about the officials at the EPA) to Freeman Dyson who's been a de facto peer of Richard Feynman and other top physicists. But I respect the right of the IPCC to publicly make such a strange comparison. After all, the IPCC has screamed a lot that it contains great scientists - despite the fact that it's led by a porn writer and railwayman who believes in reincarnation - and it has made dozens of people in the U.S. believe that there are actually good scientists in the IPCC. So the Supreme Court has to respect their opinion and the influence that the IPCC has acquired by their cleverly prepared tricks, bullying, and intimidation.

But let me return to the second paragraph from the end. Mr Kysar criticizes the Supreme Court for this observation:
...after all, we each emit carbon dioxide merely by breathing...
According to Mr Kysar, this is a "prominent skeptical refrain". I didn't know it was a "prominent skeptical refrain". I thought it was a relatively common knowledge about elementary biochemistry. Well, at least, you see the truth: if you actually dare to think (or even say!) that we breathe CO2 out, you must be a skeptic! I would actually love to know how many people are skeptics and how many people are unaware of this fact of basic school biology, if I have to avoid the term "imbecile".

Mr Kysar claims that the heretical claim that we breathe out carbon dioxide "serves only to downplay the severity and significance of industrial emissions". This either suggests that CO2 from different sources should be treated differently - which is unacceptable from the viewpoint of justice if it is really CO2 that is the problem - or it suggests that the CO2 we breathe out is negligible relatively to the industrial emissions.

But it is not negligible! The mankind actually breathes out 2.5 gigatons of CO2 per year (search for 2.459 on that page) which is nearly 10 percent of the CO2 emissions of the mankind! All of transportation, all of energy production, and all of agriculture produce 20% or so each - so the CO2 we breath out is a whopping one half of the contributions from any single of these sectors of the "industry". It's just not negligible in any sense.

People who would try to reduce "random" sources of CO2 could of course try to kill people or stop the population growth by some brutal policies. But I don't need to go that far. Someone could reduce our CO2 emissions by 5 percent if he banned sports - because we emit more CO2 when we're moving quickly! ;-) Now, would this policy that could actually have a much bigger impact on the CO2 emissions than e.g. all the attempts to sell hybrid cars be legitimate?

It is clear that the Supreme Court can't allow a situation in which it would be possible to harass an arbitrary random source of CO2 in an ad hoc way just by plaintiffs' pointing out that the victim emits CO2. The judicial system would instantly turn into a complete anarchy. Would the sports be banned in Australia before Australia exterminates its 1.2 million camels? The CO2 emissions reductions are comparable and so are the advantages that both policies bring to the world climate (namely zero).

Maybe the first successful ban would be the ban whose proponents would be running (or riding a camel) faster to the courthouse than their competitors, before one of the two means of transportation is banned? I could sketch many more even more absurd situations that would arise if it were possible to sue someone just because he emits the carbon dioxide in one way or another. When it comes to the law, I am a layman but I am absolutely certain that I understand how sensible the laws have to be and how carefully they have to be read and interpreted for the society not to be transformed into a complete havoc.

And I am also totally confident that the U.S. Supreme Court judges understand these potential threats as well - probably much more intimately than I do. And I even think that the U.S. founding fathers knew all such things and that the U.S. Constitution has been carefully designed to avoid systemic collapses of the government - such as the collapse resulting from the policies proposed by the climate alarmists - so it's perhaps enough to carefully protect the U.S. Constitution (and other essential laws).

And that's the memo.

Add to Digg this Add to reddit

snail feedback (3) :

reader Oliver Manuel said...

Thank you, Luboš Motl, for your excellent essay.

The potential abuse of government science as a tool of government propaganda was first noted by former President Eisenhower in his farewell address on 17 Jan 1961, only a few months after I started research on the origin of the Earth and its elements.

I have greatly admired Professor Freeman Dyson and his approach to science since we first met at the 1976 Gregynog Workshop on Isotopic Anomalies in Gregynog, Wales.

I was sitting behind Willie Fowler in this IOP photograph of the gathering. Is that Freeman further back in the audience, on the right side?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

reader Ex Afrika said...

Hi Lubos,

I enjoyed your comments about banning sports, and made similar comments about fat people in my book.

reader nick said...

"respect the law"

when one violates the law that is not respecting the law! - I am talking about the quiet one.

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-1828728-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');