Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pay others to take your job away

Imagine a policy where politicians willingly, in the name of "controlling" "climate change" use your money to:
1) Subsidize a foreign takeover of a viable business in your country

2) Close that business down
3) Transfer the 1700 jobs associated with that business to a foreign country

4) Remove not one ounce of CO2 from the atmosphere in the process.

As a taxpayer, or better still, a now-unemployed taxpayer of that country, would you feel you were doing your part to save the planet? Based on what?

This is reality for the workers at Corus Steel's Redcar plant in Teesside, England. While the Redcar plant was efficient, the lure of up to £1.2 billion in carbon credits (paid for by you and me, dear taxpayer and consumer) was just too much for the Tata group and so Redcar is to be closed.

Presumably all levels of once-great Britain's government smiled in pride at the sacrifices made by the smoggies of Teesside. Well done, lads!

One can only shake one's head and wonder how the madness ends.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Carbon Market Musings

Supply and demand. Fear and greed.

These two pairs of terms are all you need to know about what drives markets.
Market fundamentals are based on supply and demand. Market emotion is based on fear and greed.

The market fundamentals of global warming (when it was still credible) were in the area of renewable / sustainable energy, and in carbon trading. Renewables have their own intrinsic economics, which can be distorted by government subsidies but which sooner or later have to pass a reality test. Carbon trading has no intrinsic economics, it is simply based on some fiat declaration of the price of carbon.

This fiat was one driver of the Kyoto Accord, embodied in its Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation, which allow a developed country to buy indulgences from other countries.

As the sham science of global warming is gradually revealed, the political power to declare carbon prices diminishes, and emissions trading schemes lose their emotional support amongst the general public. Australia is the bellwether of this trend, and is now going through a phase of confusion and fingerpointing. More to come elsewhere, I promise.

The World Bank publishes an annual report on the state of Carbon Markets. The 2009 version makes for interesting reading. It notes that one purpose of the Copenhagen conference was to "scale up climate mitigation" in developing countries. In other words, buying more indulgences.

Who buys these indulgences? How much are they worth? Just as there is only one taxpayer (you), there is only one consumer (also you). How do you feel about $150 Billion per year? What would you like in return?

You pay, as part of a global shakedown, so that you can continue to have what you currently have. No CO2 emissions are cut, but money goes to some third world regime so that they can cut down an old forest and replant with something that grows faster.
You pay. No value is added anywhere.

When the global warming panic really hit a few years ago, I watched as industry and governments wrestled with the science and the politics. I was surprised when the people that I thought would fight just hunkered down and went along. Now I realize how naive I really am, since I totally missed the opportunity to be part of a 9 figure per year carbon market. And look at the
business opportunities to support it!

But we are about to find the supply of carbon offsets outracing the demand for them. And the fear mongering that created the market in the first place will be replaced by the fear of being the last fool left standing in the market when the music stops.

Blogger extraordinaire JR notes that the
carbon market reacted poorly to Copenhagen. I am going to figure out a way to short GRN, the ETN that tracks carbon trading. Looking at the charts, we can see support being pulled out from under it, with lower highs, lower lows, a reverse head and shoulders and a P&F target of $17, well below its Dec 24 close of $23.50.

Supply and demand. Fear and greed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Facts & Predictions re Copengeld

As the Copenhagen summit (mercifully) stumbles to its conclusion we should be grateful that so far, little real money has been spent. Symbolic gestures should be made only with symbolic resources, not real ones. Nonetheless, there seems to be some political will to ship large amounts of money around the world for no real benefit. Here are some facts and predictions regarding how much of this political will translates into action:

Fact 1: Governments of developed countries around the world are increasingly strapped for cash. Prediction 1: The realities of demographics and the relentless growth of bureaucracy combine to grind government finances into finer powder. No extra money will be available.

Fact 2: A cold hungry populace is not as cooperative as a warm well-fed populace. Prediction 2: Look for some counter-vailing force to emerge fuelled by growing reaction to Climategate, UN malfeasance and greenie extremism. A mainstream media channel will both aid and profit immensely by this.

Fact 3: We are in the midst of ongoing debasement of currencies and a continuing developed-country currency crisis. Prediction 3: These will provide justifications for amending commitments to the Copenhagen wealth transfers, and if large sums do indeed get committed as a result of Copenhagen, eventually all foreign aid, even existing programs, will be re-labeled as Copengeld.

The statistics are warming!

We are discovering evidence of man-made global warming in statistics everywhere lately. Not warming in the actual atmosphere, just man-made warming of the statistics.

Here is a plot of Siberian temperatures from The Migrant Mind. Just goes to show what happens when you cherrypick the starting dates for your warming trends.

Damn, the 1800s must have had a lot of CO2...


Time to re-introduce an old word into our modern vocabulary and then propose a modern variant.

a tax raised to pay tribute to the Viking raiders to save a land from being ravaged

Since the raiders today are not Viking [they were just visiting Copenhagen at the time] I propose the word Copengeld. All the tribute money is dressed up with the pretense of being for Copin' with the effects of climate change.

Either way, it's just another shakedown.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why do denialists and skeptics believe as they do?

Why do AGW denialists and skeptics (and agnostics like me) believe as they do?

SquanderTwo has some highly relevant thoughts. Here are some excerpts: a computer programmer, I agree with Feynman's philosophical position that you shouldn't use computer models as a source of new information and I also take the practical position that even the world's best software is buggy. I've not seen any evidence that climatologists' software is orders of magnitude less buggy than, say, Excel. Two weeks ago, I saw evidence that it's buggy as hell...
I object to the way that the science has been inseparably attached to authoritarian politics. Herman Van Rompuy said the other day that "2009 is also the first year of global governance," giving Copenhagen as an example of this. That's an unelected president of an unelected body asserting that he is going to exercise more power over me via policies that I will never be allowed to vote on. And I'm told that the only reason to object to this is because I hate the planet and want all our grandchildren to die...

The consensus thing. My objection to the constant use of the word "consensus" is not that the consensus itself is meaningless; obviously, it's relevant. My objection is the way that the consensus's existence is routinely presented as a scientific argument in its own right. It amounts to "You shouldn't be sceptical because none of us are, and that proves it." Yeah, go science.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"The only warming I see is from Thermometer Change"

Do I ever admire those who have the quantitative chops, and the persistence, to dig through the data and draw conclusions from the results.

Blogger "Chiefio" has dug into the GHCN thermometer records to see just how credible the aggregated data could be.

His conclusion forms the title of this post.

When you average temperatures from available thermometers, and then plot them year to year, it is reasonable for a reader to assume that the population of thermometers is more or less the same year to year.

But clearly the chart shows that the gross numbers of measures are changing. What Chiefio demonstrates is that the location of thermometers is changing too, as is the nature of the thermometers themselves. In his words "For Canada, the thermometers have been leaving the Rockies and running to the shore where it is much warmer"

All the warming that we read about comes from GHCN thermometers, and the trends in temperature are easy to pick up when we use GHCN data. But who at GHCN stands up and says "use only the data from long-term stations with continuous records, well-managed surroundings and unmodified thermometers." Who in the professional climate science community stands up and says that the averages are misleading, and cools the rhetoric?

Not the guys who have been garnering all the headlines. Climatologists are about to join journalists, celebrities, politicians and used car salesmen in the list of least trusted professions.

It turns out that there is no warming at the long term stable sites. Not in Antarctica, not in Australia, not in Africa, not in Asia, not in Europe, not in South America and not in North America. Nor the Caribbean, and not in the South Pacific. Not many sites qualify, but their data should have weight far beyond their numbers. Climate change is basically thermometer change. When someone tells you that this is the warmest decade on record, they aren't lying, but they most definitely are wrong.

Anybody feel grumpy yet?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Edmonton breaks record cold temp 2 years running

If it's cold, it's just weather. Only record high temperatures signify climate change, we all know that. But today the weather at Edmonton International Airport was -46 C, fully 10 Celsius degrees colder than the record low for Dec 13. And that record low was set last year. Clearly the warming is "worse than we thought".

Any sign of Urban Heat Island effect? Well yes, now that you mention it. The temperature downtown was -36.5 C, breaking a record going back to 1882. Is the weather office taking 9 degrees off urban temperatures to correct for UHI? Somehow I doubt it.

Cold enough to freeze the nuts off the High Level Bridge.

Oedilf and Limericks

The Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form attempts to define the English Language using, naturally, limericks. Why wouldn't they? Wouldn't you, if you'd thought of it?

A few years ago I submitted something lame to OEDILF (which they astutely have chosen to not publish) and thereby got onto their mailing list. Today I received a note from OEDILF asking whether I was still alive, and that act of kindness moved me to generate something on our favourite new topic, Climategate.
Climategate emails have peeved
Both the sceptics and those who believed.
Much ink has been spilt
About CO2 guilt.
Some are asking now, "Were we deceived?"

Your limericks and comments are, as always, most welcome. Even yours, PKD.

Friday, December 04, 2009

"In short, you are the definition of moral hazard"

US Senator Jim Bunning tells Ben Bernanke what is on his mind. The full broadside can be found here at the West Kentucky Star. Here are some excerpts:
Chairman Greenspan's attitude toward regulating banks was much like his attitude toward consumer protection. Instead of close supervision of the biggest and most dangerous banks, he ignored the growing balance sheets and increasing risk. You did no better. In fact, under your watch every one of the major banks failed or would have failed if you did not bail them out.
You bowed to the political pressures of the Bush and Obama administrations and turned the Fed into an arm of the Treasury. Under your watch, the Bernanke Put became a bailout for all large financial institutions, including many foreign banks.

You have decided that just about every large bank, investment bank, insurance company, and even some industrial companies are too big to fail. Rather than making management, shareholders, and ebt holders feel the consequences of their risk-taking, you bailed them out. In short, you are the definition of moral hazard.
From monetary policy to regulation, consumer protection, transparency, and independence, your time as Fed Chairman has been a failure. You stated time and again during the housing bubble that there was no bubble. After the bubble burst, you repeatedly claimed the fallout would be small. And you clearly did not spot the systemic risks that you claim the Fed was supposed to be looking out for.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tiger Woods, Crowd Pleaser

The front page of our local paper features photos of Tiger Woods, his beautiful wife, and several other attractive women with whom he has been rumoured to be, um, pelvically affiliated.

In Tiger's defense, he has been encouraged roughly 280 times per week, by crowds around the world:
  1. You da Man!
  2. Go in the hole!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Walk through this excellent summary

The world of climate science is a complex one. So when someone writes a lucid and insightful guide to thinking your way through the whole Anthropogenic Global Warming debate, and summarizes the key decision points and hold-for-further-investigation points, it is worth devoting 10 minutes of your life to.

I have found such a guide, on The Devil's Kitchen. Whatever your views on AGW and the environment, the science or the policy responses, I ask you to suspend your prejudices and read through. Read CRUdGate: Why this can't be swept under the carpet.