Alarmist Tent So Small It Cannot Accomodate Judith Curry

I find it just staggering that Judith Curry, whose hypotheses about man-made global warming probably overlap those of the hard core alarmists by 80-90%, can no longer be tolerated by alarmists.  Much as the Catholic Church radicalized Martin Luther when all he initially wanted to do was reform some practices (many of which the Church later reformed), the attacks on Curry seem to be having a similar effect.

The typical response by politicians, of course, is to try to get more money from taxpayers.  California has a ballot initiative this November proposing to raise vehicle licensing fees to all its citizens in order to fund state parks.  Unfortunately, this kind of funds earmarking by ballot initiative is already threatening to bankrupt California.  One problem with this approach is that it demolishes accountability — once an unelected state agency gets dedicated funds the legislature can’t touch, there is nothing that taxpayers can do if these funds are not spent wisely short of another time-consuming ballot initiative to revoke them.

In the case of state parks, the accountability problem is even worse, as the initiatives replace park user fees, which at least enforce accountability in that users can stop visiting if park services are not up to expectations, with a no-strings-attached bureaucratic windfall.  Compounding the problem, in many states the parks organizations report to rubber-stamp boards rather than the governor or any elected official, so taxpayers have absolutely no path to enforce accountability.

  • hunter

    Shrinking tents, increasingly shrill voices, bizarre public behaviors. I think most people would agree that those behaviors- all exhibited by the AGW community are not signs of great vitality.

  • Not Sacastic Much

    Yes…lets excommunicate those without 100 % agreement. How dare we question the absolute truth of AGW . Pride , greed, politics and ego just simply do not exist in the undirected and non pressured field of climate science. We should all drop our oil induced trance following the pagan religion of denial and all be reborn into the AGW and have everlasting life. All variables are perfectly taken into consideration. All the fools should just except the “current” opinion of the infallible experts as it never changes , it only gets more accurate, no matter what actually occurs.

  • Might I make a minor point? The quotation seems to belong on the Coyote Blog. I would direct folks to the Reason Video on this issue.
    However, maybe, there are just some words missing here, because the funding of state parks and global warming have some common policy issues.
    Let me start with Global Warming. For me there are two main areas. There is the science bit (the forecast warming and the catastrophic consequences) and the policy devised as a remedy (divided into the policy itself – the Legislation and actions – along with the expected / actual results). Or more simply Forecast, Consequences, Policy, and Outturn (FCPO).
    In each area there are problems. There is no proper forecast, only scenarios reliant on unverified hypotheses and bold assumptions. The climate disruption consequential on this postulated warming is possibly more speculative still. The policy recommendation of containing CO2 levels to twice the pre-industrial level over-states the effectiveness and massively understates the costs. The outturn is likely to be much, as governments fail to project manage the policy implementation effectively. So the various initiatives to reduce CO2 will massively over-run on cost and fail to deliver desired results. Overall, you need to make a number of extreme assumptions to say that the “consensus” view is the correct one. A more balanced and objective evaluation in any of the four areas can easily mean potential costs of mitigation outweigh the benefits. The overall solution is likely to be worse than the actual problem.
    On the area of California state parks, there is a better diagnosis of the problem – the parks are in a bad way and costing more money than can be afforded. However the proposal for an extra tax on cars (in return for free access for all) does not meet the all the criteria, as part of the cost problem is ineffective management. The solution of separating revenue from customers (or the electorate) will exacerbate the management issue. Furthermore, free access to all will increase visitor pressure, potentially hampering conservation efforts, whilst having an element of unfairness towards the inner-city poor. The overall solution is likely to be worse than the actual problem.

  • Justice4Rinka

    I cam across this interesting article recently, about how regulators’ biases cause them to make bad regulatory decisions.

    The one that caught my eye was this one:-

    “…psychologists have shown that we systematically overestimate how much we understand about the causes and mechanisms of things we half understand. The Swedish health economist Hans Rosling once gave students a list of five pairs of countries and asked which nation in each pair had the higher infant-mortality rate. The students got 1.8 right out of 5. Mr. Rosling noted that if he gave the test to chimpanzees they would get 2.5 right. So his students’ problem was not ignorance, but that they knew with confidence things that were false.”

    This was essentially one of Judith Curry’s challenges to the IPCC’s pronouncements on stuff she understood (aerosols and cloud formation): they grossly overstated their certainty because they did not understand how little they understood.

    It’s instructive that there’s a name for it.

    Climate scientists trying to do statistics remind me of a quote from M R James:

    “Few people can resist the temptation to try a little amateur research in a department quite outside their own, if only for the satisfaction of showing how successful they would have been had they only taken it up seriously.”