Tuesday, January 31, 2012

They Believe

 Joe Oliver was asked during QP yesterday whether he "believed" in Global Warming, and seemed to suggest that it was all a matter of theology.  Not good.

MERX is  Canada's electronic tendering service.  Among other things, its where the gov. goes  to hire scientists to think on behalf of the nation.  A glance there sometimes can give you an idea of what the Harper government really believes about the scientific issues of the day. 

In order to position itself to be competitive in an increasingly carbon-constrained global economy, Canada needs to reduce the overall carbon-intensity of its economy. This does not necessarily, at least in the short-term, suggest a shift from the resource-intensive production (e.g. oil and gas production, mining, etc.) on which Canada’s economy is currently heavily reliant for growth. It does suggest that these sectors need to become as carbon-efficient as possible, and that the power generation, transportation and building sectors which support both industry and society more broadly need to become more efficient from an energy and greenhouse gas emissions perspective and less reliant on GHG-intensive energy sources. These changes – some incremental (e.g. more energy-efficient buildings) and some potentially transformative (e.g. electric vehicles, distributed renewable energy) will require significant investment from both public and private sources.

(Note: the phrase "at least in the short term" is interesting here.  It suggests that the folks at the folks at the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy understand Canada's role as a hewer of wood & carrier of water for the rest of the planet must eventually come to an end.)

It is important for both describing the transition to a more carbon-constrained economy and assessing the most efficient and effective path for Canada in this transition to understand the required investment – both in terms of its magnitude and the sectors in which it is required.

It is also essential to understand the implications of delayed investment with respect to the level of investment required to achieve the desired outcome. The level of investment in low-carbon technologies and approaches is greatly influenced by public policy. Lacking policy-certainty (and indirectly market certainty) with respect to the intent to reduce the carbon-intensity of the economy, investments in capital stock and infrastructure are likely to either be delayed, or give minimal consideration to GHG-related factors. This may result in the installation of capital stock / technology and infrastructure that is not optimal. Once constructed or installed, the costs associated with modifying or changing the infrastructure or capital stock are typically significantly greater than the incremental cost of alternatives at the outset. Completely changing the infrastructure / capital stock would result in stranded assets – sunken investments which have not had the opportunity to realize their full potential return. Thus sub-optimal stock and/or infrastructure may be “locked-in” as a function of delayed public policy action.

It is perhaps marginally encouraging to know that remarks like Oliver's are meant to delude the government's political base, rather than the government itself.

6 comments:

Frunger said...

You seem to mock Oliver's suggestion that AGW is akin to a religious theology yet the questioner asked what his "belief" was.

You don't "believe" science (if that's indeed what Global Warming theories are). You either accept or reject the methods and conclusions done by the scientists.

Belief is for that which cannot be proven, and taken as true based only on faith. It has no place in real scientific study.

The only aspect of faith in the whole argument is whether you believe those pushing the AGW theory are doing so ethically and without alterior motives. Not everyone is so sure.

Einstien said something about never trusting a scientific consensus. Scentists never all agree on anything and when they do it's not the science they are agreeing on.

Rotterdam said...

I believe in God. Most people do, including many scientists.
However, if you do not, I will respect you the same. Liberals should be just as open minded and respect those who disagree with their beliefs.

Lenny said...

Frunger plays semantic games with Leslie's use of the word "believe" and claims there is no such thing a a scientific consensus, and Rotterdam begs to be shown the same respect for his irrational beliefs that he shows those who prefer empirical evidence.

Ah, I see.
http://news.yahoo.com/low-iq-conservative-beliefs-linked-prejudice-180403506.html

sharonapple88 said...

You seem to mock Oliver's suggestion that AGW is akin to a religious theology yet the questioner asked what his "belief" was.

Isn't this semantics? Belief has the religious connotation, but one of the other definitions is opinion.

Einstien said something about never trusting a scientific consensus. Scentists never all agree on anything and when they do it's not the science they are agreeing on.


The funny thing is that Einstein theories became part of scientific consensus in physics. Does it make his theories less true now that the majority of scientists accept it?

General consensus in science ends when the contrary arguments start folding under the weight of evidence. Anyway, it's not good enough to say that because the majority believes X, it's wrong. You need evidence to back up your points. Consensus in science can't be attacked until there's evidence pointing to something else. This hasn't been found with regards to climate change.

Bah, the situation reminds me of this quote by Carl Sagan.

"But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

Just because you're not accepted and mocked doesn't automatically make you right.

Frunger said...

"General consensus in science ends when the contrary arguments start folding under the weight of evidence".

"You need evidence to back up your points. Consensus in science can't be attacked until there's evidence pointing to something else. This hasn't been found with regards to climate change."


Your points are good ones but you fail to mention that when evidence to the contrary is presented to a AGW "believer" it gets dismissed outright and the presenter called a "denier" or other such dismissive.

What's the most compelling evidence you ask? The last 15 years of no warming and 1930-1970 of cooling. All in the IPCC's own data yet the environmental lobby just ignores it. The models they use don't even match against recorded history. It's nuts that anyone pays them any mind anymore.

It all comes back around - who needs facts when you have beliefs, or faith.

History will always prove the fool to be foolish. The hope is that we aren't all proven foolish by following his lead.

Lenny said...

"What's the most compelling evidence you ask? The last 15 years of no warming and 1930-1970 of cooling. "

Which has been debunked over and over again. Isn't it amazing how all that "not warming" and "cooling" adds up to so much warming!
http://www.skepticalscience.com/going-down-the-up-escalator-part-1.html

"The models they use don't even match against recorded history. It's nuts that anyone pays them any mind anymore."

It's nuts that you can either be that ignorant, or keep lying like that when all the information to the contrary is readily available.

"History will always prove the fool to be foolish."