The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The World Is Going to Hell Because

Globe on FireYou get the behaviour you reward.

Politicians in the US, with the Iraq war and the vote to have it, committed the exact same war crime most Nazis were hung for: aggressive war.

They, including the most responsible politician, George W. Bush, were not punished for it. Indeed, Bush was re-elected and so were most of the others.

In 2008, there was a vast financial crisis, caused by bankers and Wall Street brokers and so on–financial executives. It included a widespread amount of fraud, aided and abetted by ratings agencies, financial regulators, and central banks.

No one was held responsible and sent to jail. Instead, they were bailed out and allowed to keep their illicit profits, and the same games that caused the crisis were reinstituted alongside aggressive money printing targeted at the class of people who caused the crisis.

In other words, the people who caused the financial crisis, as a class, were rewarded for that their behavior.

We have an ongoing problem, due to turn into a worldwide catastrophe causing over a billion human deaths and so many non-human deaths it will show up clearly in the geological record. It is called climate change.

Oil companies knew that climate change was real, based on their own research, back in the 80s. Not only did they not make that research public, they spent large amounts of money to fund propaganda saying that what they knew was true wasn’t.

Put more simply, for their own personal and financial gain, major corporate executives did their best to make sure that information known to be true, which might have helped stop a billion or more deaths, was not acted upon.

They have not been punished for that, but they have, indeed, retired wealthy and happy.

If people who knowingly do very very bad things (like causing the death and suffering of millions of people in wars, economic downturns, and forseeable environmental catastrophes) are not only not punished but rewarded, then more of the same behaviour will occur.

During his term in office, Obama increased drone murders significantly and destroyed Libya, in a war of aggression (the same war crime that for which Nazis were hung, and Obama also should be in a war crimes dock along with every other Western leader involved in Libya). He was then re-elected.

None of this stuff should be hard to understand. If leaders who do monstrous things are rewarded, as opposed to punished, for doing those things, more leaders will do even more monstrous things. They have been shown that is what is rewarded.

Welcome to a world tottering towards hell, because that is what too many people want–as measured by what they reward.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Review: Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs


Book Review: Pandora’s Seed by Spencer Wells


  1. Olivier

    Ian, not a single thing would have been different if the oil majors had released their climate research findings: there was and there still is no constituency for reducing our carbon footprint. As Cheney put it, our extravagant first-world life style is held by most people here as non-negotiable. Meanwhile in the developing world Chindia and the others are fixated on attaining our level of consumption and regard that as non-negotiable, too. So let us give the oil companies a break, at least in this respect.

  2. Olivier

    PS: You need to update your blogroll. There is no longer an archdruid report: JMG now blogs at

  3. Tomonthebeach

    Olivier, there indeed is a constituency for reducing our carbon footprint and it is happening despite Trump’s efforts in the opposite direction. Ian is correct, from a psychological point of view at least that behavior reward intensifies. Buying more energy efficient appliances and cars is rewarding me every month to continue that behavior. Buying solar panels likewise is a rewarded behavior in my pocketbook, and thus is incentivized.

    Data are already showing that coal and nuclear-generated electricity is on the wane in the US. Trump promising coal miners in WV that their jobs are coming back is just another of his thousands of lies. US fuel consumption, despite a growing population of people and cars, is using less petroleum than in 2007.

    What you might be referring to is the lack of fist-pounding in Congress and demonstrations in the streets. On this topic, it appears to be unnecessary. Americans actually seem to get it.

    Better that we have demonstrations to refight the US Civil War, and try to put Trump’s populist, white-supremacy genie back in its racist and undemocratic bottle labeled MAGA.

  4. Ian Welsh

    So, the Archdruid wants to make all his old posts only available to people who pay, eh. Well, can’t blame him.

    If there was not a constituency for punishing those who lied about climate change (I think there was, I remember the 70s), then that’s still part of the syndrome I’m talking about.

    Note that I say people were rewarded, often by the population, for doing bad things. Americans knew what George W. Bush did and re-elected him.

    The people do have some responsibility for disciplining their leaders. They chose not when they had the opportunity.

  5. Alex

    And what do think we should do?

  6. Ian Welsh

    I’m going to pivot to what individuals and smaller groups can do at some point within the next few months. Not quite yet, I think.

  7. bruce wilder

    “The people do have some responsibility for disciplining their leaders.”


    I file this under, “people not understanding how things work.”

    I think it should be obvious that you cannot privatize the profits and socialize the losses continuously without destroying the legal and social basis for a functioning economy, but I do not believe most people think much at all about what makes political society work. Perhaps more to the point, the academics and journalists and politicians whose job it is to carry on the public discourse, do not often speak directly and honestly, as Ian has here, of what is necessary to, say, accomplish public purposes or keep corruption down to a dull roar.

    There is fundamental dishonesty at work. And, Ian is certainly correct: that dishonesty it may as well be said flows up from the bottom as much as down from the top.

    Still, leadership is leadership and being a follower, absent a lot of organizing of numbers, is not a strategic position.

    I read an analysis the other day of the impact of the first movie, An Inconvenient Truth, and the thesis was that visceral dislike for the figure of Al Gore provoked tribal antipathy and resistance that effectively cancelled out whatever good he did in raising awareness. I cannot say I understand why that should be the case. Gore was something of a visionary. I might fault him as weak in some ways, but ultimately I think he was done in by a journalism and a Media that was profoundly irresponsible. I saw Anderson Cooper of CNN take apart Trump’s statements related to Charlottesville the other day, and he was relentless, but not actually scrupulous in his paraphrasing and criticising — some things Cooper said about what Trump said were contradicted by the videotape he was running to illustrate his thesis. I have no sympathy for Trump, but I cannot believe that Cooper’s abandonment of standards is not going to have consequences — obviously it has already had consequences lo this last 20 years already.

    Hillary Clinton wore her bad judgment and war-mongering corruption quite openly in her last campaign, but I have many friends who look at me uncomprehending when I point out how blatant she was. Admittedly, I live in California which voted overwhelmingly for her. I have watched the Russia hysteria fomented by the strange alliance of the Democratic establishment and the Deep State surveillance agencies Obama cultivated and the total disregard for foreseeable consequences is shocking to me.

    I cannot help but imagine that the disregard for consequences is related less to perversity of desires than to a collective inability to see social mechanisms that link action to consequences.

    (Anyone who uses “incentivize” as a word does not understand economics.)

  8. Peter

    Ian has a great idea about prosecuting important people for lying about GW but you must be careful what you wish for. The warmer cabal went after Exxon for supposedly lying about GW but found out that opinions are not lies and are protected free speech. Some of the Exxon scientists may have believed that CO2 was the cause of GW but they admitted their uncertainty and lack of proof.

    Warmers such as Al Gore would be a good prosecution target for lying to the public but he like many other prominent Warmers are clever lawyers who know how to couch their lying without directly breaking the rules. Al uses video clips in his movies that show dramatic ice melting in Greenland or an ice shelf floating away from Antarctica and lets the audience draw a false conclusion, GW These are natural normal occurrences that have nothing to do with GW.

    Thanks to wikileaks and other whistleblowers we have seen how the Warmer alarmists have manipulated the existing data to conform with their version of climate change. Nature hasn’t followed their lead and their catastrophic projections haven’t become reality but they surely will sometime in the future if the rubes will just believe what their betters tell them.

    Almost every one of the Warmer mouthpieces parrots the lie that the sea is accelerating its rising because of GW and most of the snowflakes seem to believe this lie. The IPCC report on sea level rise stated clearly that the rate of SLR hasn’t increased in over a century. Again you have to believe the alarmist projections to see the catastrophe that the actual one inch per decade sea level rise would produce.

  9. ” The IPCC report on sea level rise stated clearly that the rate of SLR hasn’t increased in over a century. ”

    Sea Level Rise, as per NASA satellite data, have been flat for about 1 1/2 years.

  10. It’s the Trump-suckers, the NAZIs and Confederates, the credit card rich white trash, the racist, misogynist, homophobic “christian” conservative assholes who don’t know any more than what comes out of the television, that are the snowflakes: lily white spoiled little crybaby cucks so frightened of the real world they need safe spaces.

    A clear and present danger to all of our grandchildren’s future.

  11. Ian Welsh

    It’s useful to have someone in the comments to illustrate a point about misleading people (hopefully for pay).

    But only up to a point.

  12. Herman

    And yet many Americans seem to prefer to punch down and complain about things like people possibly cheating to get on disability or some other form of social welfare. This is one big reason why I am not optimistic about the future. Too many Americans seem more concerned with the bad behavior of the poor and weak than the rich and powerful. It is a good example of the “pirates and emperors” problem. A poor person who tries to cheat a welfare service is seen as a parasite and a major menace but politicians who start disastrous wars based on lies, cheat on their taxes, or engage in other forms of bad behavior are seen as “tough” or “smart” as opposed to bad actors. Americans love punishing the poor and weak and sucking up to the rich and powerful.

  13. “Put more simply, for their personal financial gain, major corporate executives did their best to make sure that information known to be true that might help stop a billion or more deaths, was not acted on.”

    Such type of behavior, with a smaller number of potential or actual victims, but still numbering in the millions (at least), seems quite common amongst corporate elites. (Also, Monsanto draws special condemnation as a corporation that is quite willing to damage the lives of billions for the sake of it’s bottom line, and/or other nefarious, hidden agenda.) So, it’s certainly plausible that Exxon management behaved similarly. And, furthermore, that even after the large amount data and research that subsequently poured into the field, after the initial “global warming” hysteria reared it’s head, ExxonMobil management continued to suppress the truth.

    However, in order for this claim to be anything more than a hypothetical psychological or moral judgement upon ExxonMobil management, it is necessary for the assumption about curtailing fossil fuel consumption helping stop “a billion or more deaths”, to be true. A current analogy: Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer expecting political dirt on Hillary Clinton may indeed indicate a willingness to collude with a foreign entity in a US political campaign. But until a scintilla of evidence arises that the Russians and any member of the Trump campaign personnel did, in fact, collude with the Russians, I will continue to treat it as the garbage meme that it gives all the appearance of being.

    After about 4 years of spending a largish amount of time following this field, including looking at original papers (I have a physics and math degree, so studying graphs, or following quantitative arguments, down to a certain level not accessible to the layman doesn’t phase me), I concluded not only that the central claims of catastrophic heat rise in the Earth over the next few decades were extremely unlikely, but also that, as a scientific endeavor, “climate science” is grossly dysfunctional, and riddled with Fraud (notice the capital F). I also concluded that I had mostly wasted my time, for reasons that I can easily guess at, but can’t confirm, since I can’t crawl inside somebody else’s head to hear their true thoughts. If, indeed, there WERE any thoughts deeper than “this guy CAN’T be right”.

    At this point, I could write a whole mess of blurbs and provide links to all kinds of information, dealing with the political glomming onto a relatively smallish scientific discipline and politicizing and $funding$ it to well beyond the point of civic responisibility, the fraudulent manipulation of data (for which some people should go to jail), the fact that GCM climate modelers couldn’t even get a basic feedback, which is baked into all their models, right, the fact that there are more successful models than the collection of more complicate “holy models” which predict catastrophe so beloved of the IPCC, the fact that the framing of the conclusions and quality and certainty of those claims is fraudulent (this is distinct from the actual referenced studies, themselves, which can be rather good), “the Pause”, Richard Feynman’s quote about how if a theory makes wrong predictions, no matter how beautiful the theory or brilliant the scientist, it’s wrong, evisceration of the notion of an ensemble of models by Robert G. Brown (who posts as rgbatduke), why the IPCC ceased using Michael Mann’s amusing “hockey stick” as a logo, etc., yadda, yadda, yadda.

    I will, instead, give 2 links, which together seem to sum up rather nicely how off the rails the CO2 climate catastrophists are, and call it a day. If these don’t motivate people, who are truly concerned, to dig deeper, then probably nothing will.

  14. Cagliostrowned

    Sea Level Rise, as per NASA satellite data, have been flat for about 1 1/2 years.

    I’m sure you would have looked at similar temporary plateaus or dips such as 1997 or 2011 and said, “SLR is BULLSHIT” then, too. The trend is extremely clear.

  15. “The trend is extremely clear.” Correct. There’s no statistically significant acceleration. Since about the mid-1800’s. I.e., well before fossil fuel and concomitant anthropogenic CO2 production started it’s rapid acceleration, around the 1940’s. My comment was mostly an FYI.

  16. I suppose I should add: historical data on SLR are based on tide gauge data, satellites not having been invented, yet….

  17. realitychecker

    @ Ian

    Punishment? What’s that?

    We in the West have moved relentlessly away from the idea of punishment as a shaper of behavior for the last half-century.

    As we sowed, so are we reaping.

    Only individuals acting as madmen can deliver punishment anymore, it seems.

    Perhaps we need more madmen?

    Nah, let’s just keep doing what we’ve been doing./s

  18. Peter


    I prefer SLR direct measurements from long term monitoring sites that can’t easily be manipulated. A small number of data points, however collected, don’t carry much meaning so I don’t understand why MM introduced these NASA findings. SLR even without an increasing rate is still real and will continue but it can be countered in many if not most important locations. Look at what the Netherlands has done for a thousand years to claim their land from the sea.

    So long as people are exposed to political propaganda and fake science to gain support for a multi-trillion dollar Big Green industry it may be impossible for some people to develop informed opinions. Even Big Oil and most manufactures have submitted to the political pressure and parrot the Warmer alarmism even if it’s just for PR reasons.

  19. Tell that to the folks thirty miles inland of the Texas gulf coast, who until yesterday had never even seen a storm surge, let alone one twelve feet deep. First hand account: my mother is amongst those folks right this minute.

    For having “a physics and math degree” (I have advanced degrees in computer and information science… math, thank you) you don’t seem to have a grasp of exponential acceleration, such as that as we have see in the geological record. Indeed, sea level rise is a very poor indicator of what’s going on in our deteriorating atmosphere. I sincerely hope ypu live long enough to see, and comprehend, the harm you have wrought.

    I was out and about, Ian, as is my wont quite early this morning, Cascadia time. I saw that, gave me pause.

  20. @ Ten Bears

    “you don’t seem to have a grasp of exponential acceleration, such as that as we have see in the geological record. ”

    Oh, pray tell, exponential acceleration OF WHAT in the geological record? Do you even know what’s implied by “geological record”? Here’s a big clue for you:

    Not even a century has passed since humanity vastly expanded use of fossil fuels. Even if anthropogenic CO2 was as bad as the worst nightmares of James Hanson, what on earth (no pun intended, though it works rather well, here!) makes you think it’s even POSSIBLE to see it in the geological record?

    ” I sincerely hope ypu live long enough to see, and comprehend, the harm you have wrought.”
    Gee whiz, that I – little ole metamars, who probably is not even 6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, but at least 7 – have wrought?

    I think I’m seeing a pattern here. Viz., what you write makes no sense….

    BTW, back in my student days, a fellow student who was also attending both math and physics classes with me disappeared from the physics ones. When I asked him why, he said (of the physics textbooks) “because there’s a mistake on every page”. He didn’t literally mean mistake. Do you know what he actually meant? Because, if you don’t, you are commensurately ill prepared to understand how “climate science” could produce such a large amount of rot, and yet still have no math errors, or computer code that blows up, within most of the body of their work.

  21. Mallam

    Stop lying about Libya, Ian. What you are saying is that no matter how much people rise up against dictators, that any outside intervention to help them in their time of need — in the face of genocide — is equivalent to Iraq. This is ridiculous sophistry at best, and outright malice at worst. Gaddafi destroyed Libya. The Cold War is over. Gaddafi was a neoliberal asshole dictator governance. He was not a “resistance” fighter against the IMF and World Bank. He refused to step down, and then turned his military against his own citizens when they didn’t go home. Apparently, so long as a dictator stays within their fake borders to kill people when they stand up and demand an alternative, nothing can be done.

  22. realitychecker

    “metamars did it.”

    A prime example of one of the most fucked-up mindfucking tricks currently favored by the (fatally?) diseased modern left.

    Anybody read the Black Agenda Report, recently?–I heartily recommend a visit-especially the current articles by Ford and Kimberly. That’ll be a real reality-check for many of you here.

    Inconvenient truths abound.

  23. nihil obstet

    I think you’re describing a specific manifestation of what you once declared as the Welsh family motto, “An optimist and a damn fool are the same thing.” I was going to write up a comment that said most people are optimists, and assume that everything will be fine without their having to do anything hard or unpleasant, like punishing the powerful who can fight back. Remembering that you had once written on the subject of optimism, I found that you had phrased it better than I can:

    Ordinary people, what we call “sane” in our society, are really shitty analysts. Really, really shitty analysts. Their bias to the upside is tiresome, predictable and makes them wrong, over and over and over again. They don’t know what real threats are, they constantly are confused about what is really dangerous. . . .Of course optimism is wonderfully adaptive as long as optimists aren’t your leaders or analysts, and don’t run your nuclear power plants, or plan your economies, or make any decisions about anything which if it goes wrong can go catastrophically wrong. Optimists are happier, they live longer, they’re healthier. . . .

    This all makes it very hard to figure out why we should try to follow a morality based on truth, aimed at kindness. It speaks to something very basic in human beings that many don’t just go along with the death bet — hey, I’ll get what I want, and who cares about the next generation.

  24. @ Mallam “Gaddafi destroyed Libya. ” Oh, wow. Shall we assume that you believe that Assad destroyed Syria, too? I heard the author of “Killing Hope” interviewed, many years ago. I suggest you read that, or track down interviews, as well as similarly for “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”. You seem utterly and completely clueless…

  25. realitychecker

    @ nihil obstet

    The power of ‘positive thinking’ has had more propaganda supporting it than the equally valuable and necessary power of ‘negative thinking,’ aka realistic risk assessment analysis.

  26. Cagliostrowned

    I’m not sure how much acceleration we should be seeing in SALT yet, as my understanding is that we have yet to see a lot of ground ice melt, which is what would really do it, but this chart which goes back much further does appear to show some acceleration:

  27. Graph of SL going back to 1700. Graph from about 1855 certainly looks like a statistical straight line. . And based on my reading, IS a statistical straight line. That’s 162 years. As the graph say, 85% of anthropogenic CO2 was after 1945, or since 72 years ago. If there’s any acceleration, I certainly don’t see it; and if there’s no acceleration, there’s no acceleration due to CO2 (human generated, or otherwise) or anything else.

    BTW, one of my pet theories is that heat escaping from beneath the mantle plays an as yet uncertain part, perhaps quite significant. SLR is actually quite complicated, but at what I’ll call a global level, is due to thermal expansion and ice melt. Do we know how much heat is escaping from beneath the mantle, at the bottom of the ocean, near subduction zones? Not an estimate, but actual measurements. I doubt anybody tried to measure this, since even a large spatially discrete set of measurements would be a “drop in the ocean”, though such might be invaluable as a means of disproving models. And who is going to pay for instruments that have to withstand the water pressure at the bottom of the oceans? If it’s significant, that might be the primary factor for SLR aside from surface heating that affects both thermal expansion and ice melting. The steadiness of SLR certainly SEEMS to be uncoupled from year-to-year surface temperature variations.

  28. Watching The Weather Channel’s coverage of the flooding on coastal Texas. It’s pretty clear how f***ed up we humans are. Building at sea level on a bayou? What could possibly go wrong? Building at sea level on swamps and Everglades? What could possibly go wrong? Not talking about population control or taking it seriously? What could possibly go wrong?

  29. Peter

    Ten Bears is joining with snowflakes in pushing the fake science that the extreme bad weather in Texas is connected to SLR or GW. Even the Warmer scientists use words like ‘may’ or ‘could’ when they explain that GW could add power to these storms.

    The only actual hockey-stick type graphs of exponential temperature and CO2 rise come from core samples that show a period about a hundred million years ago when both these things occurred. The Warmers celebrated this news as proof of their CO2=GW theory but further closer analysis of the core samples showed that the increase in CO2 followed the rising temperature by about 3 thousand years. This inconvenient truth destroyed their proof so they tried to sell feedback loops and overcomplicated magic thinking to cover their failure.

  30. Hugh

    Goebbels never died. He went to Madison Avenue, and his descendants, the Mad Men, went on to Wall Street and K Street. They run political campaigns and the media. They regularly tell us that day is night, east is west, we can’t get enough crap, the things that are killing us are good for us, or even better, cool, the rich really do deserve all their money, there are real differences between the political parties, and quick! look at the bright shiny object over there.

    We have whole “Goebbelian” professions, like economics and political science, whose sole purpose is to obfuscate and lie to us about economics and politics. Their patron saints are Mephistopheles and MEGO.

    Yet despite the constant barrage of being told everywhere and by everyone “who counts” that we live in the best of all possible worlds, or that if we don’t, it is our own damn fault, and that existential threats like climate change and overpopulation are best handled by just denying them, despite all this, there is discontent, –a lot of it. But in the garbage dump of ideas in which we live, it lacks any coherence. So far all it has managed is a pushover like Sanders and a puffed up dictator wannabe like Trump, a couple of Establishment oddballs, but still very much a part of the Establishment. Sorry to prick any bubbles but neither was ever going to be your savior. We remain stuck in an endless game of football: two teams wearing different colored jerseys, trash-talking before the game, and slugging it out on the field, but at the end of the day, it’s still all football. One team is not pro-football and the other anti-. So we have the spectacle of the appearance of movement –without any change. And so it goes, and goes, and goes.

    The ideas are out there, but until they can be fit into a framework that is both coherent and easy to understand, our discontent will remain self-destructive and go exactly nowhere, and oh yes, the world will continue to fall apart.

  31. Steeleweed

    Re warnings ignored:
       I read a pretty accurate portrayal of hurricane Katrina in the Scientific American – in the early 1970s. Don’t recall if it was by the Army Corp of Engineers or just ‘climatologists’ but the knowledge was out there.
    Re rewarding bad behavior:
       Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) put it very well:
    “In a country of the people, by the people and for the people, we need a better class of people”.

    Re Blogroll:
       In addition to removing Archdruid Report, you might want to remove Agonist, since it’s gone dark. And consider adding Stonekettle Station.

  32. When your arguement is predicated on name calling, you lose. If you were to talk to me thus on the street, I would rip your balls and feed them to you.

  33. realitychecker

    “If you were to talk to me thus on the street, I would rip your balls and feed them to you.”

    Yet another Internet tough guy lol. Would you have your seventen dogs to back you up?

  34. different clue


    If you are correct about the reality of man non-made global non-warming, then you have a tremendous contrarian-investment opportunity laid out before you. Since the current and building levels of rainfall in the ongoing Harvey raindump event are merely accidental and not the result of a warmer ocean surface able to blast more water vapor into a storm formation to fall out as more rain; then you may be confident that it will not happen again anywhere for tens or hundreds of years. This means that you can invest for a song in REITs based on land in the devastated post-flood coastal Texas area and make big profits ( for you or your heirs) in the decades to come when people realize that such a rainfall hasn’t happened and won’t happen ever again.

    Since many people will imagine “what will happen if such a rainfall happens over New Orleans”, investment may fall or even retreat from South Louisiana. You should also contrarian-invest in Southern Louisiana and in NOLA in particular in order to reap the rewards of no such flood ever happening when all the Warmers think it will.

    If you really believe what you are telling us, you are preparing to make these investments even now. If you really believe what you are telling us.

    About the Archdruid locking up his posts, they can all be found at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine . . . if you type in the exact URL in the “find-it” space. Of course this depends on your writing down the exact URL before you forget, and before it falls off the current web.

    About Syria . . . if the analysis and reporting at Sic Semper Tyrannis are correct, it looks as though the R + 6 may be on track to exterminate ISIS and then exterminate the alphabet jihadis in Idlib after that. The legitimate Assad government may be able to exterminate all terrorist opposition so thoroughly that it will stay exterminated for the 5-7 decades necessary for Russia and China to be able to help the Syrian Arab Republic rebuild Syria. The pro-Syrian refugees can all be let back in slowly from Lebanon where they mostly fled, and the pro-jihadi refugees can all be denied re-entry into Syria, or can be machine gunned en masse at the borders if they dare to try to return in order to bide their time and launch another throat cutting head chopping Jihad in 50 to 70 years from now.

  35. Peter


    I think my comments are setting off your Oldtimer’s disease, you keep babbling and repeating nonsense. Who would want to invest in oily Huston even though the people will flood right back after its clear.

    Your other prime investment picks in Louisiana and Florida are both sinking which will magnify the effects of the normal not increasing SLR

    Try to pull yourself out of your decline and offer up some more fake science or snowflake propaganda which is much more entertaining than your nonsense babbling.

  36. My Dunningkrugerometer is taking readings that are way off the scale!

  37. Chavdar

    Reinforcing bad behavior and punishing good behavior – isnt that what society is all about? I’m not speaking about a family, a small village or a hunter-gatherer group. We live in a much larger society. In order to hold a person accountable, you have to really know him – but your knowledge of a person is inversly proportional to the number of people you interrelate with. So whatever we may think, we reward or punish appearences, not real acts. This means honesty, which is essential in a small group, is self-detrimental in a city or nation. So, the bigger the nation, the more floors in the hierarchy and the more filters that make sure the purest possible sociopaths concentrate at the top. And the more they decieve, the more support they get from the base of the pyramid.
    This pattern is universal. It can be observed in a capitalist, communist, medieval, ancient societies, in corporations, trade unions, religious organisations, NGOs, in empires and city-states. The bigger – the worse.

  38. Peter

    I have no idea what pathology might be causing the Bear’s overreaction to my comments but when someone fixates on putting their hands on my balls I become concerned. Perhaps a spelling error could explain this devious outburst with his handle actually being Ten Beers.

  39. realitychecker

    ” . . . but when someone fixates on putting their hands on my balls I become concerned.”

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that lol.

  40. realitychecker

    @ Chavdar

    I think you are certainly correct that ‘bigger is worse’ in terms of the difficulty of management, but it does not have to be nearly as bad as we have let it.

    Somehow, we have allowed ourselves over the last decades to buy into the bullshit idea that punishment does not deter bad behavior. So we have left ourselves with very few, if any (shame? for the shameless???) tools to control those who have achieved physical maturity without decent socialization.

  41. Willy

    There are videos out there with moon landing deniers chasing around old astronauts then being told to fuck off. Aha! Proof!! Maybe if the deniers claimed a few math and physics classes under their belts they’d complete their mission?

    All crimes have motives. So do most other behaviors. Everybody knows what the warming deniers motives are – usually the cash prizes or tribal feelings, along with feeling superior. I wonder what the AGW people’s motives are? Historic precedents. When have such diverse and large groups of highly educated people been totally wrong before? And most importantly, why?

  42. atcooper

    Global warming is a plot to make Gore rich. Or something.

  43. sid_finster

    Sociopaths understand only reward and punishment, but they understand these things very well.

  44. sid_finster


    Of course, even if everything you wrote were true, Libya under Qaddafi was a semi-functioning state.

    It isn’t any more.

  45. @ Willy

    “Everybody knows what the warming deniers motives are – usually the cash prizes or tribal feelings, along with feeling superior.”

    That’s funny. That’s not what they say. Ah, but you know us so-called “deniers” better than we know ourselves, eh?

    “I wonder what the AGW people’s motives are?”

    It’s CAGW, not AGW. If you’re not aware of the difference, why should anybody take anything you say, seriously?

    Besides which, if you’re both ignorant about how the deck of economic incentives is stacked with regard to “climate science”, or either too lazy or disinterested to find out, you are once again not worth taking seriously. Not on this subject, anyway.

    To anybody who wants to see what a serious debate looks like, while I haven’t seen too many of them, the quality of the climate debate at stood heads and shoulders above “the rest”. “The rest” is in scary quotes because serious debates are VERY HARD TO COME BY. These sorts of debates are what the body politic needs, not superficial, drive-by comments made by ingoramuses. (Comments on right wing blogs like breitbart tend to be just as useless to developing a responsible, enlightened viewpoint by the public.)

    Gee whiz, any idea why that would be?

    Here’s a clue: Ralph Nader tried to arrange a debate between 2 Congress critters on climate change, between a Republican and a Democrat. Guess whose scheduling problems wouldn’t allow that to happen? I don’t remember the guy’s name, but apparently he’s so busy that, till this day, there’s been no debate. Quite a busy guy, no?!!

    Here’s another clue. A strident CO2 catastrophist, Gavin Schmidt, leaves the studio, rather than face a Dr. Roy Spencer, a climate scientist skeptical of catastrophism. ( 6:30 into )

    Here’s another clue. Al Gore has been ducking debates from the beginning of his ‘career’ as climate change profiteer. The climate realists, I’m sure, would be delighted if Gore would appoint a scientific second – oh, say like James Hanson, who he consulted on “An Inconvenient Truth” – and bless him or her to do the debate in his name. But since it’s “settled science”, in Gore’s warped judgement, why bother?

    The Intelligence Squared Debate on climate change, “Global Warming is Not a Crisis”, is @ . And one of the participants is the same Gavin Schmidt that was too cowardly to face Dr. Spencer. While I wouldn’t make too much of this, note
    a) the timeline: Intelligence Squared Debate was way back in 2007, while the appearance of Schmidt and Spencer on the Stossel show was (apparently) in 2013
    b) the CO2 catastrophists lost the debate. Before the debate started, they had 56% against the motion. After it was over, that dropped to 42%, and for the motion won at 45%.

    I believe THIS is why, despite all the funding they get for their “science”, they don’t want to debate qualified sceptics – THEY LOSE! Yes, even though humanity’s very survival is hanging in the balance, and you’d THINK that people with Ph.D. level of scientific training would welcome the opportunity to prove the skeptics wrong, as often as they could stand for such punishment, the “climate science” community is curiousy uninvolved. Sure, it’d be nice to do your part to save the earth, all while pulling down $70,000+ a year, plus benefits. But like the Democratic Congress critter who pulls down in the neigborhood of $130,000 a year, with GREAT benefits, they can’t seem to fit it into their schedule. /s

    It’s not curious to me.

  46. Robotpliers

    Mandos: The needle is broken on mine. Will have to retune the next one for a logarithmic scale.

  47. It is a bad idea to hold public debates with people who debate in bad faith, so I would heartily recommend that most climate change activists do not personally debate skeptics, who are usually arguing in bad faith. As evidence by the wrestling match language they use, the desire for spectacle.

  48. Willy

    @ metamars

    if you’re both ignorant about how the deck of economic incentives is stacked with regard to “climate science”, or either too lazy or disinterested to find out…

    Too busy, like the majority of voters, the people you need to be persuading, fool. As it is, most everyday deniers are still running the full spectrum from ‘not warming at all’, to the more reasonable ‘warming but definitely not catastrophic for a variety of scientific reasons’. So maybe your efforts are paying off?

    With your “CAGW” comment I’m assuming you’d rather be debating over whether gaining a Northwest Passage is worth losing Florida. Or are we still disagreeing with those idiotic 97% of “experts”?

  49. “Too busy, like the majority of voters, the people you need to be persuading, fool. ”

    Excuses, excuses. There’s this thing called Google that can lead you to just about anything you need to know. (Science journals behind a paywall represent a financial constraint.) I don’t “need” to be persuading anybody. If you want things explained to you, you can try posting polite questions at, and/or Maybe you’ll get lucky,

    That’s assuming you actually want to learn more, and are open minded. I doubt you are any such thing. Instead, you remind me of Barney Frank’s interlocutor, to whom he said, ““Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table.”.

    ” Or are we still disagreeing with those idiotic 97% of “experts”?”

    Again you appear to be clueless. I could give you some more clues, but why bother? You show no more interest in learning than a dining room table. Look what you did with the clues I already left!

  50. gnokgnoh


    Pierre L. Gosselin, the source of one of your links, has degrees in civil and mechanical engineering, and by his own admission is only “a critical spectator in the climate change debate and arena.” The two German scientists in your post, Horst-Joachim Lüdecke and Carl-Otto Weiss, are physicists, not climate scientists. Their statistical analysis of 240 years of temperature readings in Europe is meaningless and easily debunked as anything other than self-gratifying chart curves. The beauty of the critique is that it is made by a statistician, Grant Foster.

    It’s kinda hard to figure out who Alec Rawls, the author of the article in your second link, is, but it appears he is the son of John Rawls and an economist critiquing the IPCC report. Here is a compilation of his articles.

    Go away.

  51. Willy

    There’s pretty much just one kind of believer – the ‘man’s causing it but we’re still debating over impacts and outcomes’ kind.

    But there are so many flavors of deniers it’s hard to keep up. Hoaxers, NoBigDealers, Christian “scientists”, Kochsuckers, the guy who hears “climate change” spoken in a crowd and suddenly needs to beat somebody up…

    I don’t have the time to read all your self important 3-percenter gibberish. You still haven’t answered the question of which kind of denier are you?

  52. Pierre L. Gosselin, the source of one of your links, has degrees in civil and mechanical engineering, and by his own admission is only “a critical spectator in the climate change debate and arena.”

    In light of the editorial board, I’d call this irrelevant. Search for the word “climate”

    The two German scientists in your post, Horst-Joachim Lüdecke and Carl-Otto Weiss, are physicists, not climate scientists.

    Being a “climate scientist” is not a guarantee of anything. (Claiming climate science related research on a resume is even more unreliable , but I don’t want to tell that story again, which I got first hand from an interviewer/hirer of scientists who admitted to bogus claims.) R.P. Feynman was a theoretical physicist, but his critique of the causes of the shuttle disaster are more reliable than than the judgements of the NASA managers that were a big part of the target of his criticisms.

    “Their statistical analysis of 240 years of temperature readings in Europe is meaningless and easily debunked as anything other than self-gratifying chart curves. The beauty of the critique is that it is made by a statistician, Grant Foster.”

    rgbatduke weighed in on this paper. See his comments @

    “Fourier transforms of really long/infinite series are great. For finite series the question of artifacts is a very serious one, and the authors haven’t quite convinced me that any of the peaks they propose as “signal” of underlying actual long period causal variation are robust, as opposed to either being artifacts or pure noise, something that will shift all over the place any time one alters the length of the timeseries being fit, irrelevant stuff needed to fit THIS particular curve but not indicative of any actual underlying periodicity in hypothetical causes of the curve.

    So, “interesting” but no cigar, at least not yet.”

    I was not aware of his criticism when I posted the link. In light of them, I regret posting that one link. I have a great deal of respect for rgbatduke. How about you? Does he fall short of the lofty designation of “climate scientist”, or not?

    “It’s kinda hard to figure out who Alec Rawls, the author of the article in your second link, is, but it appears he is the son of John Rawls and an economist critiquing the IPCC report. Here is a compilation of his articles.”

    Is this the best you can do? Are you an omitted variable fraud denier?

    “Go away.”

    I’d welcome you to do the same, but you actually contributed something valuable to the comments!

  53. @Willy

    “I don’t have the time to read all your self important 3-percenter gibberish. You still haven’t answered the question of which kind of denier are you?”

    You persist in showing your cluelessness. How unimpressive. Well, at least you found the time to post this, so that people who know the details about the garbage 97% meme can observe yet another one of it’s brainwashed prisoners.

  54. Peter

    The Warmer wizards and their political clergy have suffered some major loses and can no longer claim to be the unopposed State Religion. Trump has cast many of these moneychangers out of the Temple and they are desperate to regain control from the heretics.

    Debating or even discussing their magic climate modeling will only lead to more exposure of their corruption so it must be avoided. The snowflake chattering class has been called on to preach the catastrophe gospel with fake news that the bad weather in Texas is the revelation of their cause and effect alarmist predictions..

    It doesn’t seem to matter that the high water temperatures in the Gulf hasn’t translated into more or more powerful hurricanes. The stalled storm feeding the torrential rain into Huston is the perfect visual trigger to create fear among those people who want to be true believers in the predictions of these GW wizards.

  55. So it’s a “stalled storm” that “feeds rain” now, is it? Better update the meteorology textbooks with this smart new vocabulary.

  56. Willy

    …so that people who know the details about the garbage 97% meme can observe yet another one of it’s brainwashed prisoners.

    You mean Peter, who just equated Trump with Jesus? Trying to shame one’s way out of an uphill battle usually shows desperation. So is quibbling over 97% (that number being useful since everybody knows what it means). Speaking of 97% and uphill battles…

  57. Ché Pasa

    Peter Pangloss’s poesy is sometimes beyond criticism. Should Kellyann or redoubtable Sarah get the ax, a role for Peter should open up at the White House.

    Meanwhile, let’s understand that Our Betters long ago learned that climate change leading to catastrophe was inevitable, only modestly delayable — if that — and irreversible on the scale of multiple human lifetimes.

    What to do?

    Take measures to protect oneself, of course (thus the accelerated pace of looting and pillage by the high and mighty) and simultaneously keep the Rabble squabbling among themselves over whether climate catastrophe is “real” or not. Evidence notwithstanding. It doesn’t ultimately matter. What matters is the squabble.

    Ultimately, it’s all supposed to work out for the best.

    For some. The Lucky Few.

    What “we” do or don’t do barely registers on their interest meters…

  58. different clue


    Thank you for your response to my comment. I have given it some thought before replying.
    “Houston is too oily” is a matter of taste, I suppose. But “South Louisiana and New Orleans are sinking” in absolute terms . . . could be true. Between sucking out underground oil and gas holding the land up and building canals from the sea up into the marsh which kills the marsh and makes it erodible and dams all along the Mississippi-Missouri holding back sediment and starving the delta of its normal and traditional input of sediment deposition replacement for sediment lost or sunk, you have a point there.

    So I will offer a purer example without these susidence and erosion/attrition issues.

    But first, I must apologize for being just unclear enough to have led you to misunderstand something I wrote. I did not realize you were slightly hard-of-thinking. I will try using smaller words this time. And I will type real slow, so you can keep up.

    I didn’t say “buy a house and move there”. What I said was that you could inVEST there. There are investment funds of different kinds. People can buy a small percent of the fund for themselves and then the people who manage the fund put all the money together and invest it in different things in line with the stated theory of the fund. So I was suggesting that you could invest in funds which invest in things within the future sea-level-rise zone. And also in the future-raindump-flood zones which are considered liable to once-in-a-hundred or once-in-a-thousand year floods.

    So here is where you could apply a purer proof of concept. All along the Virginia/Maryland/Carolina/Georgia coast . . . there is no sinking and no deprivation-of-sediment causing sinking of huge deltas. The threat there would be purely from
    mmgw sea level rise and mmgw superflood raindump events. So I think you should make your contrarian investments in funds who do their investing along the Maryland-to-Georgia coast. That way you or your heirs can make big money when the rest of us realize the global is not warming, the sea is not rising, and the raindump superfloods are not coming . . . after we all based our investment decisions on assuming all that stuff is happening and will happen even more.

    That is , if you personally believe in private what you are claiming to believe here in public. So the question is, do you personally believe it? Are you willing to base investment decisions on it? Its not a question for you to answer to me, just a question for you to answer for yourself.

    And I apologize in advance if I still used too many big words and if I typed too fast for you to keep up.

  59. @Willy , re Bloomberg

    Well, a step in the right direction. At least the author does nuance…

    See also and

    The latter study found 52% of meteorologist blamed mostly humans for global warming. (So 48% are “deniers”, by some people’s definition of same.)

    Even this does not really speak to the only issue that matters, viz., is CAGW taking place? To be fair, a serious study would at least differentiate between not just AGW and CAGW, but also between DAGW (dangerous AGW, but not catastrophic). Better yet, I suppose, you could simply ask what their expectation of global temperature anomaly is in 2100, plus or minus whatever error bars they’d endorse. (“Dangerous” and “Catastrophic” are functions of economics, which we can’t reasonably expect physical scientists to have any mastery of.)

    Furthermore, a serious study would try to eliminate bias by people whose careers depend on research dollars tied to a catastrophic worldview. My favorite leveler strategy is to poll recently RETIRED scientists, in this category.

    If a serious enough survey of scientists was done, and, say, 33% believed we were on a global warming scenario that economists, and other scientists with relevant disciplines, largely believed was catastrophic, THEN invoking the precautionary principle would be justified. But the way out has to be based on cost/benefit analyses, like what Lomborg attempts, not Al Gore’s and others’ desire to profit off of the situation.

    There are ecological disasters (Fukushima, e.g.; dead zones in the sea, mostly from wastewater) that are occuring, or heading into “catastrophe” territory. Denis Rancourt, a lefty physicist who doesn’t buy the CO2 catastrophist claims, says that the way to fight pollution is to fight pollution. Don’t glom onto what should be an honest science because it fits some other agenda or pessimistic world view.

  60. realitychecker

    Nowadays, there are ETF’s that allow one to go short (i.e. bet on a decline) virtually any kind of investment asset class. If there are not already (which would be very surprising) , there certainly will be some that sell short waterfront and coastal real estate. One could make a fortune betting that such property will go down in value as it becomes part of the shallows. If that turns out to be the correct prediction.

    So, climate change believers can also put their money where their mouths are. Are they? Will they?

    (FWIW, I am agnostic about the entire climate change topic, since I have no personal expertise in the relevant underlying sciences. But I am, in principle, against any and all unnatural pollution.)

  61. realitychecker

    I think the greatest reason we are going to hell in a handbasket is because we have tolerated too much lying for too long. We are more likely to reward it than to punish it.

    That’s not a solid foundation for a good future. Maybe we should start there, if we want to change direction?

    Or is that too simplistic for all the geniuses on the Internet? Or too inconvenient, perhaps?

  62. The reason the world is going to hell in a handbasket is because the people who could prevent it want to understand human behaviour for what they think it ought to be, not what it is.

  63. Mike

    FFS some of humanity’s finest are on display here in this thread. I despair.

  64. realitychecker

    @ Mandos

    Don’t blame yourself–it’s not ALL your fault. 🙂

  65. im rubber yr glue

  66. realitychecker

    Did you really type that lol?

    The wheels seem to be coming off the entire political speech environment.

    Maybe it’s a good sign. One can only hope.

  67. Willy

    If Judith Curry is all about limiting tribalism within the science culture and improving the skeptical objectivity there, then I’m all for it. But if she’s just acting out because of hurt feelings I’d say she’s no better than the people who’d hurt her.

    My point is that if the science community cannot be trusted to find the truth, then who can? If they’re wrong about this relatively simple issue (ever increasing population and technology will ensure tougher challenges ahead) then our species will be truly fucked when the tougher stuff comes along.

    Regular guys like me will have no choice but to believe that mother cosmos really does have her ways to keep intelligent life in check. And we might as well go sell dog-eat-dog snake oil while the gettin’s good.

  68. Did you really type that lol?

    I was trying to compete with your general sophomoricity.

  69. realitychecker

    @ Mandos

    For once, your effort was a resounding success, you surpassed me by a mile! Perhaps you’ve found your true niche.

    In any event, you’ve earned another participation trophy. 🙂

    Got shelf space?

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