Category Archives: Business

Judith Curry

She is a heretic, who has been cast out of the tribe:

In the run-up to the Paris conference, said Curry, much ink has been spilled over whether the individual emissions pledges made so far by more than 150 countries — their ‘intentional nationally determined contributions’, to borrow the jargon — will be enough to stop the planet from crossing the ‘dangerous’ threshold of becoming 2°C hotter than in pre-industrial times. Much of the conference will consist of attempts to make these targets legally binding. This debate will be conducted on the basis that there is a known, mechanistic relationship between the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and how world average temperatures will rise.

Unfortunately, as Curry has shown, there isn’t. Any such projection is meaningless, unless it accounts for natural variability and gives a value for ‘climate sensitivity’ —i.e., how much hotter the world will get if the level of CO2 doubles. Until 2007, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave a ‘best estimate’ of 3°C. But in its latest, 2013 report, the IPCC abandoned this, because the uncertainties are so great. Its ‘likely’ range is now vast — 1.5°C to 4.5°C.

This isn’t all. According to Curry, the claims being made by policymakers suggest they are still making new policy from the old, now discarded assumptions. Recent research suggests the climate sensitivity is significantly less than 3˚C. ‘There’s growing evidence that climate sensitivity is at the lower end of the spectrum, yet this has been totally ignored in the policy debate,’ Curry told me. ‘Even if the sensitivity is 2.5˚C, not 3˚C, that makes a substantial difference as to how fast we might get to a world that’s 2˚C warmer. A sensitivity of 2.5˚C makes it much less likely we will see 2˚C warming during the 21st century. There are so many uncertainties, but the policy people say the target is fixed. And if you question this, you will be slagged off as a denier.’

This is religion, not science.

The Yale Problem

begins in high school.

Actually, I think it starts earlier than that.

[Update a few minutes later]

Sort of related: How a Progressive became an unperson.

Over on Twitter, I’ve been noting the irony that being a racist was one of the less objectionable things about our first fascist dictator (and arguable worst president, at least until 2009). But they Left was happy with all of the other things Wilson did, including trampling on that pesky, hateful Constitution.

[Update a couple minutes later]

How to spot and critique leftist free-speech tropes in the media. It’s worth noting that Oliver Wendell Holmes’s comment occurred during the Wilson administration.


…will be Barack Obama’s Iraq:

The best medicine for the exchanges? It might involve letting the insurance industry offer pared back, cheap coverage at prices that reflect the risk profile of patients. This would bring back the young invincibles, but jack up prices for sicker patients. That problem could be solved by targeting subsidies on these patients on a strict means-tested basis rather than showering them on everyone up to 400 percent of the poverty level. The crucial upside to this approach is that it would allow the insurance marketplace to function again. However, market pricing based on health is against the religion of liberals. Clinton won’t go there. She could twist the screws on opt-outs by raising their penalty to something close to the price of the coverage they are refusing. But that would require Congress to override the statutory limits on these penalties in ObamaCare. And so long as the House remains in Republican hands, that ain’t going to happen.

Not really fair to compare it to Iraq. Iraq was a bi-partisan project. This disaster is all on the Democrats.

A Suborbital Flight To Space

Everyone’s been paying attention to the “race” between Virgin Galactic and XCOR (a story that got more complicated yesterday), but Blue Origin apparently had the first successful private flight to a hundred kilometers since the X-Prize was won, over eleven years ago. It will be interesting to see when their next one is, to see what kind of turnaround capability they have. It’s now clearly possible that they’ll be offering passenger flights sooner than either of the horizontal approaches.

[Update a few minutes later]

As someone over at Arocket points out, this wasn’t just the first trip to space since 2004, but the first-ever vertical landing of a ship that had been to space (even if SpaceX lands a Falcon 9 first stage, I’m not sure what its apogee is). It was a big milestone.

[Update a couple minutes later]

OK, on rereading, it’s not clear that the booster went all the way to space, just the capsule, so maybe that hasn’t happened yet.

[Update a while later]

Jeff Bezos issues his first tweet ever.

[Late-morning update]

Jeff Foust has the story now, including the Q&A with Bezos.

[Update a few minutes later]

And here’s Chris Bergin’s story.

[Early-afternoon update]

[Update a while later]

Ashlee Vance has an amusing take on the pissing contest between Musk and Bezos.

BTW, it seems to be confirmed that there was only a 120-meter difference in apogee between booster and capsule, so it definitely made it into space.

[Update a few more minutes later]

For those new to the topic, I wrote an explainer about orbits and suborbits a little over a year ago.