An Exchange Regarding Asset Price and Inflation Implications of Fiscal and Monetary Policies in the Wake of 2008

This is not the most erudite debate, but it pretty much sums up matters.

(h/t Vinik/TNR)

Reality check: Figure 1 below depicts the evolution of the nominal trade weighted dollar, inflation and Treasurys.


Figure 1: Nominal trade weighted value of the US dollar – broad currency basket, 1973M03=100 (blue, left scale), CPI 12 month inflation (red, right scale), and ten year constant maturity Treasury yields (teal, right scale). Inflation calculated as log differences. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Dashed vertical line at 2009M02, passage of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Source: Federal Reserve Board for exchange rate, FRED, NBER, and author’s calculations.

By my viewing, the dollar has not collapsed. It’s about 7.6% weaker than when quantitative easing began, while inflation and the interest rate are both lower. I think it incumbent on the Santelli’s of the world to explain the intellectual underpinnings for their Weltanschauung.

Update, 10:10AM Pacific: I see I am way behind the curve. Here is Paul Krugman‘s take on the Liesman-Santelli exchange.

I must confess, I did find it disconcerting when the traders applauded Santelli — not surprised — just sad.


90 thoughts on “An Exchange Regarding Asset Price and Inflation Implications of Fiscal and Monetary Policies in the Wake of 2008

  1. Anonymous

    While I also agree that Santelli really has no idea what he is talking about, it is interesting that Menzie and Krugman both teamed up on him for his false predictions, when their predictions that the 2009 stimulus bill would push unemployment lower and, later, that US austerity would push unemployment higher were both as wrong as Santelli’s bias predictions. I would trust Menzie and Krugman more if they at least came out and said that the stimulus did not work out as well they planned it would, and that US austerity actually did not hurt unemployment as much as their forecast suggested it would. I initially thought the stimulus bill would work (I was an avid reader of Paul and Menzie even back then), but I swallowed my pride enough to tell my friends and family that I was clearly wrong, even though they “knew” I was going to be wrong the entire time. Even if Krugman had gotten his $1.1T stimulus bill instead of the $800B stimulus bill, unemployment would have been affected very little – our economy is too big to think that the extra $300B would have made a significant dent in unemployment, when the initial $800B did virtually nothing. However, Krugman went on record and said that he expected the $800B to push unemployment lower, when in reality it went higher for a very long time after the stimulus bill was passed and spent.

    1. baffling

      anonymous, what would unemployment have done if we had not pursued a stimulus. simple question. would it have gone up or down, and to what (approximate) level?

    2. Patrick R. Sullivan

      Of course, Santelli can’t just be in error. He has to be in error because he hates the poor;

      ‘ Santelli is their kind of guy; he hates the poors, he hates people who want to help the poors, he was trashing Janet Yellen for suggesting that she actually cares about the plight of the unemployed. And the traders feel the same way. So they like Santelli even though he’s been wrong about everything.’

      Speaking of people who have been wrong about everything–and for decades, not just five years–how about Krugman’s friends on the left;

      Now there’s a video featuring a moderator with no clue whatsoever.

      1. baffling

        patrick, this still does not change the fact santelli has been wrong (not in error-that is too kind) for quite some time.

      2. Nick G

        Santelli can’t just be in error. He has to be in error because he hates the poor

        Krugman wasn’t talking about Santelli, he was talking about the traders who applauded him.

        Traders depend on reliable information to make money. Why would they applaud some who’s information was unreliable? Perhaps because they share cultural beliefs…

      3. spencer

        Jason Riley is interesting.
        He argues that admitting blacks to white schools make them worse off.
        Specifically, he says it causes many blacks to fail to graduate from college.
        Yet, the black graduation rate has risen almost every year since 1960 and is now about double it was in 1960.
        The data completely contradicts his argument.
        Next he claims that liberal laws that are soft on crime cause more crime in black neighborhoods.
        Yes, the crime rate in black areas is higher than in white areas.
        But again the overall crime rate in both black and white has trended down for the last decade or two.
        Moreover, during this period the share of young black men imprisoned has soared.
        Again, the data massively contradicts his arguments.

        I do not think Riley would know a data point if he tripped over it.

        His analysis of tese points couldn’t be more incorrect.

    3. Vangel

      Santelli was not any more wrong than Peter Schiff was when he was pointing out that the Fed was creating a massive bubble in housing and stocks. Santelli has never claimed that we will see the price of TVs, cars or other things explode until after the USD has given up the ghost and the foreign lenders force the Fed to monetize the debt. What I see is another Peter Schiff was right and the Fed cheerleaders were wrong moment developing.

  2. baffling

    it’s funny (and sad) we have been having similar discussions on this blog for a while as well. there is a faction that has been arguing for imminent doom for several years, blaming the fed for all things possible. inflation is at the door, debt burden will explode, ACA will bankrupt us, etc. funny thing is those predictions never come true, and yet these same types of folks (think Santelli) keep coming back speaking with authority how they are not wrong. in their ideological world, certain things must act in a particular way, and when events deviate from that ideology it’s time to blame something (the Fed), someone (Bernanke and Yellen), anything other than perhaps their ideology is wrong. but they never fess up to the truth. as Steve Liesman so eloquently told Santelli, you have been wrong about everything and your advice would have lost people money, Santelli simpy denies the truth! absolutely baffling!

  3. BC

    The US$ already crashed . . . against gold since 2001, as it did in the 1970s-80, by 90% or more when adjusting gold for CPI and the US$. The result to date has been the largest financial asset bubble in US history, including equity market cap, non-financial corporate debt, and netted derivatives to bank capital and to GDP.

    Santelli et al., do not see this, apparently. However, seen properly in the forgoing context, Santelli is regrettably correct in some respects that the US is becoming a banana republic in terms of fiscal conditions, wealth and income concentration, little or no growth of real final sales per capita, consumption of capital (not net formation), and the inexorable decline in the purchasing power of real after-tax incomes in terms of the medium of exchange for the bottom 90% (and eventually bottom 99%).

    Also, total US money supply (M2 plus institutional money funds and large time deposits) less bank cash assets/bank reserves adjusted for CPI and the US$ has not grown since 2007-08, coincident with no growth of bank loans and real final sales per capita. All growth of “money” since QE began has been in the form of the Fed crediting banks’ balance sheets with reserves to liquefy banks’ balance sheets and provide funding for fiscal deficits, the reserves of which the banks have accumulated on deposit with the Fed.

    In a fiat digital debt-money currency regime as we have had since 1971-73, and in the context of the debt-deflationary regime that commenced in 2008, one must take care to perceive prices in terms of the effects of the change in the value of the fiat currency and the implied incremental purchasing power effects of price changes.

    This perspective would then counsel against a central bank and gov’t policy attempting to promote sustained price inflation of 2-4% (or 6% temporarily as some misguided eCONomists have recently advocated), assuming incorrectly that wages would commensurately rise during a debt-deflationary regime with labor underutilization, record-low labor’s share of GDP, and capacity slack worldwide. Instead, accelerating price inflation at a sustained rate of 2-4% to 6% would utterly destroy the real purchasing power of the bottom 80-90% of US households, impoverishing further tens of millions of Americans.

  4. Ricardo

    “Stimulus” advocates just don’t get it. Throwing money at the problem doesn’t so much create a problem as it does nothing, nothing at all. Jing Cynthia Wu and Fan Dora Xia have produced a paper for the Atlanta FED arguing that the massive monetary stimulus of the past few years has reduced unemployment by 0.13%. That is not close to statistically significant.

    The problem with Keynesian policies is not that they do not work but that Keynesians create havoc when they see that their schemes do not work. Japan has had stagflation for over 20 years making the same mistake over and over and the US is following Japan’s lead. Does the US face over 20 years of stagnation like Japan? Only if we continue to elect politicians who persist in passing laws (Obamacare, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank) that destroy wealth.

    The problem with the “stimulus” is that it has to be paid for ultimately by increased taxes. Immediately the government is paying for it with increasing debt but debt cannot continue forever and ultimately will require taxes. It is not rocket science to realize that if you want to invest $100K in a business to produce goods for people, if the government takes 40% you will not be able to invest. How hard is that to understand?

    1. baffling

      ricardo, if i follow your reasoning, had we not conducted a stimulus you believe the unemployment would have dropped and the economy would have grown? so the stimulus is the reason for the great recession?

  5. Peter K.

    Krugman and Menzie weren’t wrong. If they had made the stimulus bigger and continued it instead of turning towards austerity, things would have been better. The stimulus was effectively cancelled out by the 50 little Hoovers at the state level who had to balance their budgets. Just seems like “Anonymous” is nitpicking b/c of his political leanings. Santelli was very much wrong and it’s nice to seem him called out on it. Of course he flies into a rage.

    1. Anonymous

      Peter – they were wrong. You seem to think that they said the stimulus bill, as it was actually passed, would NOT work. This is false. They both said it would help unemployment go lower, and, more importantly, they both still say that it “worked” (though they don’t define “worked”, which is good for them as they can easily say that everyone that disagrees with them is wrong, since there is no definition of what “worked” means). I am tired of hearing that Krugman’s model is correct because he wanted more stimulus- he STILL says that the bill that actually was passed worked, and also said the day after it was passed that his model showed that it would “help” unemployment go lower. So Peter, please define what “worked” means (on a cost/benefit scale, not just a benefit scale because then just one person coming off of unemployment means that stimulus “worked”). Furthermore, please explain why unemployment kept going up after the stimulus bill was passed, then it remained high, then we increased taxes and decreased the annual fiscal deficit (aka austerity) and THEN unemployment went down. I am not saying that austerity = lower unemployment. I am saying that government intervention (stimulus or austerity) had little effect on the economy in the US from 2008 to 2014. Also I am talking about fiscal spending policy, not monetary policy.

    2. BC

      Peter K., as of 2010-11, the US reached the so-called jubilee threshold for total local, state, and federal debt to wages and GDP (after a similar threshold was reached for private debt in 2008) such that growth of gov’t spending can now no longer grow as a share of GDP without debt service as a share of receipts and spending becoming a net constraint to gov’t spending, which in turn provides a net drag on overall GDP.

      Hereafter, the fiscal deficit will bottom and begin rising later this year and into 2015 as post-2007 nominal GDP trend decelerates from 2.5%, whereas another cyclical increase in the fiscal deficit will coincide with ongoing record private debt to wages and GDP and rising public debt service to receipts, gov’t spending, and GDP, resulting in any net incremental “stimulus” being in the form of low- or no-multiplier subsistence income support for the poor, unemployed, and elderly, e.g., food stamps, unemployment payments, and Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obummercares, SSI, and disability.

      Keynesian counter-cyclical “stimulus” can’t work as envisioned with record private and public debt to wages and GDP with the 5- to 6-year real final sales per capita at ~0%.

      But neither can supply-side prescriptions do any better, as they require the capacity of the economy to take on more private debt to wages and GDP to result in reflationary growth of investment, production, employment, and debt-based consumer spending. Too much debt, Peak Oil, fiscal constraint, and the peak Boomer demographic drag effects preclude supply-side, debt-based “solutions” to the ongoing “slow-motion depression”, “secular stagnation”, or debt-deflationary regime of the Long Wave Trough.

      The only long-term structural “solution” is a reduction of debt to wages and GDP of at least 30% and the commencement of a demand-side regime in which labor’s share of GDP rises against capital’s share, but most particularly financial capital’s share of GDP.

      Specifically, cumulative imputed compounding interest claims to total credit market debt to average term now exceeds GDP in perpetuity.

      Moreover, the net annual rentier flows to the financial sector now exceed the growth of nominal GDP.

      Thus, the more successful the Fed and TBTE banks are in inflating the debt/asset bubble as a share of wages and GDP, the larger net cumulative rentier claims to same, and the slower growth of the economy will be indefinitely.

      The US economy, gov’t, academic establishment, and opinion-shaping mass-media influentials have been utterly captured by the rentier Power Elite top 0.01-0.1% and their financier oligarchs on Wall St. The mass-social zeitgeist is now dominated by the rentier-parasitic mentality. Therefore, all problems are presumed to be addressed by the “solution” of more credit issued at compounding interest in perpetuity with the objective of reflating financial assets, the large majority of which are owned by the top 0.1% to 1-10%. The rentier Power Elite and their oligarchs know no other “solution” than the one that best serves their interests at the increasingly debilitating cost to the bottom 99% and ultimately to western civilization, “capitalism”, and Anglo-American empire.

      No establishment economist can say this publicly, either because they don’t understand it or they know it and can’t risk their reputations, credibility, and livelihood. That is understandable, albeit not entirely defensible under the circumstances. Therefore, someone has to say it because they won’t, or they can’t. I’m saying it. Spread the word.

  6. 2slugbaits

    As I recall back in early 2009 Krugman was very concerned that the stimulus on the table would be just big enough to stop the bleeding, but not big enough to turn things around in anything like a big way. He was especially concerned that the stimulus was not backloaded enough to allow for a sustained recovery. The one thing he was wrong about was a “President Sarah Palin” winning in 2012 because of the underpowered stimulus.

    Santelli is just a clown show. Not only does he owe investors a big apology for his consistent miscalls, he also owes the country an apology for giving us the Tea Party.

    Ricardo I half expected you to defend Santelli’s predictions by appealing to shadowstats. The govt is lying about the numbers! Look here…see…inflation really is running wild. Zimbabwe can’t be far behind!!! Is it too much to hope that you’ve at least given up that bad habit?

  7. Anonymous

    Robert and Baffling,
    First of all, I think you will both admit that it is surprising that Menzie and Krugman do not have an estimate of how many people were saved from unemployment due to the stimulus package, which is probably evidence that they in fact do not believe it worked as well as they wanted it to, even though just like Santelli they do not admit this. Second, back of the envelope estimate: about .75 million-1.5 million people, at the absolute maximum, were saved from unemployment. Compared to the $800 billion check we wrote, this is nothing as we could have given each one of these people hundreds of thousands of dollars for the same $800 billion payout that our kids will be paying for. Most of those saved from unemployment due to the stimulus bill were state workers, not people in the private sector, I believe.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Anonymous: Huh? What about all those posts about the ARRA I wrote? What are all the graphs I painstakingly generated about? Gee, some people would have said I was too definitely in the camp fo estimates. I guess you are one who “stands apart”.

      Well, take a look at this post. If it’s not obvious, at the time I thought the CBO-midpoint was about right. Now, after reviewing the recent thought on multipliers, I think it’s more toward the high impact. For more, see Figure 5 in this post. (By the way, you really should read this post on conditioning).

      1. Anonymous

        Exactly – your post says that the US tax payer paid $116 thousand per job; why would an average American that makes less than half of that possibly think that this is worth it. Couldn’t we have given each of these people that were saved from unemployment a check for $110K and been better off. How was the stimulus “stimulative” in any way? My estimate was that about one million people were saved from unemployment, yours was 2.6 million, the conclusion is the same: on a cost benefit scale there is no way it was worth it. Next time, let’s just pick random people on the unemployment line and write them a fat check for $115 thousand instead of $116 thousand and we will be better off. Also, I recall that Krugman said that most of the stimulus’s benefits were absorbed shortly (say six months even though I don’t recall the exact amount of time) after the stimulus bill was spent,which does not jive with your 2 year estimate. Also, your number assumes that the consulting firm’s forecasts would have been correct as of the date the stimulus bill was passed, and I am not sure that is a good assumption to make since forecasts are rarely correct when it comes to timing business cycles.

        1. BC

          Anon, the revenues/employee of the Fortune 25-100 to 300 is currently $450,000, and that of the likes of Google, Facebook, and peers has reached $1 million+/employee.

          Few but the top 0.1-0.5% can “compete” with that kind hierarchical upward distribution of flows of resources, production, and social goods.

          The West (and China and India, having adopted the similar model) has created an economy that rewards the top 0.01-0.5% with “it all” at the expense of “enough” for the bottom 99-99.5%. But this is not anomalous in history, as virtually all elites in human history (choose your economic, political, and social system of organization and flows) have constructed and reinforced systems that resulted in remarkably similar disproportionate flows to the top 0.1-1% at the expense of the rest of society.

          When the elite top 0.1-1% assume that their conferred merit, wealth, success, and security is of their own making, abandoning the thermodynamic/exergetic reality that they are dust without the labor and acquiescence to rule conceded by the masses, the elite wittingly or otherwise presume that their existence is the result of some metaphysical predetermination that they themselves cannot afford to affirm and defend without the blood of those they presume are unworthy of “enough”. This is a dangerous and fatal conceit by the elites, one which Islamic “terrorists”, i.e., victims of Anglo-American empire, understand and are reacting against, and one which a growing plurality, and eventually a majority, of Americans will perceive and internalize; it’s just a matter of time.

          How many well-positioned, self-satisfied, self-deluded establishment intellectual types perceive themselves as today like the courtier intellectuals in service to the Bourbon monarchy, the Romanov dynasty, and the intellectual establishment during the Weimar Republic. I submit virtually none, but they will eventually experience a cognitive dissonance and reactive response against those who would challenge their dubious claim to legitimacy to rule and their license to steal labor product, profits, and gov’t receipts in perpetuity.

        2. 2slugbaits


          your post says that the US tax payer paid $116 thousand per job; why would an average American that makes less than half of that possibly think that this is worth it.

          Think about how stupid that statement is. Just stop for one moment and think about it. Do you believe that the govt wrote checks for $116K for everyone that was unemployed? Look, the US nominal GDP is $17T. Total employment is roughly 140M. Now if we take GDP and divide by the number of workers, it turns out that the average worker gets roughly $121.5K. Notice that this is very close to the $116K adjusted for inflation since Menzie wrote that post. Give or take. What you’re missing is that GDP (as a proxy for national income) includes returns to all factors of production. When you divide GDP by the total number of workers you do not get the value added of labor; you simply get average GDP per worker. It’s no different with the stimulus. The govt injects $1B in stimulus. Roughly 65% goes to labor and the other 35% goes to capital. That does not mean the previously unemployed then get 65% of the $116K . Some of the benefits from the stimulus will flow to those who already have jobs and make much more than $116K. It works its way through the economy.

          Ricardo Where did you get this crazy idea that government spending crowds out private sector investment when the economy is at the ZLB and private sector demand is weak? Once again, you are assuming away the problem. If private sector demand was strong enough that government spending actually did crowd out private sector investment, then we wouldn’t be at the ZLB and we wouldn’t be talking about the need for fiscal stimulus. Understand?

  8. baffling

    krugman does not believe it worked as well as he wanted it to, because he said when it passed it was not large enough to cover the demand shortfall the country was experiencing. you guys have been framing the question, since the stimulus passed and unemployment rose it must not have worked. don’t be disingenuous. if stimulus was not of adequate size, of course unemployment will continue to rise. you need to compare it to the rise which would have occurred if any stimulus had not been introduced. krugman clearly stated this concern at that time-you undersize the stimulus and unemployment continues to rise, then the republicans will jump up and say “see its not working unemployment is rising”. you did exactly as he predicted!

    “Second, back of the envelope estimate: about .75 million-1.5 million people, at the absolute maximum, were saved from unemployment. ”
    i have a bridge to sell you, since you are soooo good with numbers!

  9. Ricardo

    Here is the whole discussion if you are interested in more of the debate and less yelling. Progressives prefer the snip because they don’t have to engage in thought. It is easier to support a bad idea if you can demonize your opponent and silence his points.

  10. Tom

    Aside from the tedious quibbling over who was wrongest and rightest, it’s worth pointing out that the chart doesn’t say anything about asset price inflation, the main result of QE. Also the impact on FX would have been bigger, more like in Japan, if the dollar weren’t such a heavyweight that other CBs tend to swim in the same direction.

  11. Nebulous

    Those who are crowing about the lack of greater inflation remind me of people riding a bus which is headed for a cliff. “Look! ” they gleefully shout. “All those ridiculous predictions of a calamitous fall were nothing but overhyped alarmism! Why, just look below the bus. The ground there is solid!”

    Should someone dare to point out that the bus is still headed for that drop-off, the response seems to be “look, fifteen feet in front of the bus is solid ground also! Oh, you want me to consider the future? That’s what you’re worried about? Fine, I’ll check the ground *twenty* feet in front of the bus. Look, it’s all good! In fact, driver, step on it!”

    To take it out of the metaphor, what exactly is being argued here? That an unlimited amount of money could be electronically printed and never have any effect on inflation? At what point do you expect that printing will cause inflation?

    I’m not a professional economist like many of you regulars here but I can tell you that it sure is easy to reach $100 or more at the grocery store; gas in the $4 to $5 range, once considered shocking, is now commonplace; costs of healthcare, college, housing are all very high.

    1. baffling

      nebulous, are these price increases you shout about the result of inflation, or are they a result of the law of supply and demand? i think you conveniently confuse the two concepts to bolster your argument-but doing so is wrong.

      regarding your bus and cliff analogy, how long do you have to be wrong about inflation before you look at your map and realize your cliff does not exist? or in reality, how long will you stick with a model that incorrectly predicts inflation before you reassess the quality of this economic model?

    2. Menzie Chinn Post author

      nebulous: While I don’t believe that one needs to be a professional economist to have insights into the workings of the economy, it might be useful to occasionally consult an undergraduate textbook if one does not have some courses in the subject. The Fed has increased its balance sheet, hence the money base, sometimes referred to as high powered money. This is a liability to the Fed, an asset to currency holders and banks. Typically, we think of inflation as being linked to the money supply which is a liability of the Fed and private banks. While the money base has increased nearly fourfold, M2 has not increased anything near-proportionately, and against a backdrop of decreases in wider credit aggregates.

      You might also find this post on PLOGs and inflation of interest.

      Your $4-$5 comment reminds me of people who used to tell me “I remember when movies were a quarter…” When was the last time you talked to somebody who said “I remember when my mobile phone cost me a couple thousand dollars…And we liked it!” (apologies to the youth of today who don’t remember that SNL reference). Maybe useful to look at some aggregate stats to move away from an anecdote-interpretation of the world.

      1. Steven Kopits

        Menzie -

        Oil today is at 5% of global GDP, pegged right up at the carrying capacity limit. In better times, it was 2%.

    3. Nick G

      I’m struck by the similarity between that argument and the argument for paying attention to the risks of Climate Change.

      Legislators in N. Carolina have told their staff planners that they can’t allow for ocean level rise, because it would be bad for business, and it’s not happening today, right?

      1. David A

        That is correct. There has been no acceleration in the rate of SL rise over the past century. All the CAGW predictions over the past thirty years are falling flat. No global decrease in snowfall. No global increase in hurricanes No rise in global T for the past 17 years. Global sea ice has been higher then normal for most of the past three years. (Why should the listen to unscientific unknowable failed predictions of gloom?)

        1. Nick G

          There has been no acceleration in the rate of SL rise over the past century

          There we go: that parallel argument which was presented above:

          ““look, fifteen feet in front of the bus is solid ground also! Oh, you want me to consider the future? That’s what you’re worried about? Fine, I’ll check the ground *twenty* feet in front of the bus. Look, it’s all good! In fact, driver, step on it!””

          1. David A

            Sorry but your precautionary principle taken to the nth degree is a logical failure. The bus has in fact never gone over the ditch. All observational perspective present a picture that it will not go over the cliff, that there is no cliff. (At least one composed of a catastrophic natural earth response to an anthropogenic increase in Co2.) Indeed, the benefits of Co2 are established in thousands of real world observations. Every crop on the planet currently grows about 15% more food on the same amount of water, due to the atmospheric increase in Co2 from 280 to 400 P.P.M.

            If you study the CAGW predictions, you would realize that they are an unmitigated disaster. One failed claim followed by another. They are akin to shouting fire in a crowded theater, when there is no fire. After a very long series of failed predictions, the alarmist have recently decided to forego the five to thirty year predictions of imminent doom, and instead predict out close to one century. (Conveniently they will be long gone by the time these alarmist shouts in the theater are known to be false.) There is no logical reason for any municipality to accept predictions of future disaster, from the same brigade that made hundreds of past false projections, which are in fact about ten or more time worse then any observations. Current SLR in the peer reviewed science indicates about 1 to 2 mm per year SL rise. The same as has been going on for about 100 years with no acceleration at all.

            Enjoy the day.

          2. baffling

            you could argue the same about the inflationista alarmists who keep saying tomorrow, the day of reckoning will come. all their models have been dead wrong for the past five years, but tomorrow (or sometime soon) they will be correct! why not ridicule that lot as well?

          3. Nick G


            My reading of the scientific literature, and it’s interpretations by the scientific community, don’t fit with your comments. Could you provide evidence for the claim that “Every crop on the planet currently grows about 15% more food…due to the atmospheric increase in Co2″?

            The scientific community disagrees with your arguments. For instance, The American Physical Society “strives to be the leading voice for physics and an authoritative source of physics information for the advancement of physics and the benefit of humanity”.

            Their current statement about Climate Change is as follows:

            “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

            That’s a strong statement.


          4. David A

            Nick says… “David,

            My reading of the scientific literature, and it’s interpretations by the scientific community, don’t fit with your comments. Could you provide evidence for the claim that “Every crop on the planet currently grows about 15% more food…due to the atmospheric increase in Co2″?
            Nick, I would be happy to. Go to here Click on the question on the left side; “Do plants like more CO2?” Click on “dry bio mass”, and you can find the percentage increase of plant bio-mass for the change from 300 to 600 ppm CO2 from hundreds of studies composed of thousands of experiments, both Field studies and lab. Between 280 ppm and the current 400 ppm the increase due to CO2 is fairly linear relative to the 300 to 600 change in most studies. (If anything I am underestimating the increase for major crops such as Soy, Wheat, and Corn. Please note that water is a real environmental concern and these studies are based on CO2 being the only change. The effective utilization of CO2 increase of bio-mass, without additional water is well known and documented.
            Nick Continues…
            The scientific community disagrees with your arguments. For instance, The American Physical Society “….
            Yes Nick, I am well aware of their statement, which by the way caused a number of prominent physicist to resign. However they have refused to have that statement put to their members. Also you are now falling to an argument from authority which certainly fails science.
            check here and here for a little background…

            Please check out the Oregon Petition web site for a definitive scientific perspective and statement on the view I have presented. There you will find links to hundreds of peer reviewed reports in the literature supporting the skeptical position, as well as a clear statement signed by over 31,000 scientist. (More then 11,000 with PHDs) I can effectively argue from authority as well.

            However the biggest common sense perspective is the complete failure of the catastrophic projections to materialize. There is no global increase in droughts, hurricanes, storms of SL rise. Global sea ice is high. And it is not warming, for about 17 years. The theory is CAGW.
            The C, the G, and the W are MIA.

            At Baffling, sorry you are not comparing apples to apples. Economics is the dismal science for a reason. Currently the world’s currencies are in a least ugly contest, so it is relative. However asset inflation is real. Beyond that I am not a large inflation proponent. Much of the energy from stimulus goes into a black hole of debt, striving to maintain current asset bubbles, pushing on a chain if you will. However, when the dollar is dethroned as the World’s reserve currency, you will see the destructive power of the deficit spending we have engaged in, in whatever form that takes, it will be a bitter pill to swallow.

            David A

          5. Nick G


            I’m happy to be a contrarian – I’ve tried to draw many Peak Oil enthusiasts towards a little more realism.

            But, in the course of a long professional and personal involvement in energy matters, it has become clear to me that the arguments against Climate Change are generally misinformed, with the misinformation emanating from organizations funded by fossil fuel interests. It’s very much like the fight against tobacco.

            I looked at the plant question (““Do plants like more CO2?” Click on “dry bio mass”). It was interesting – it does look like increasing CO2 makes plants grow. But, you said:

            these studies are based on CO2 being the only change.

            And, yeah, that looks like a crucial distinction. Here’s a Stanford study: “”Most studies have looked at the effects of CO2 on plants in pots or on very simple ecosystems and concluded that plants are going to grow faster in the future,” said Field, co-author of the Science study. “We got exactly the same results when we applied CO2 alone, but when we factored in realistic treatments — warming, changes in nitrogen deposition, changes in precipitation — growth was actually suppressed.

            I’m reading up on the Lewis letter, but I’ve looked at Wattsupwiththat in the past, and been disappointed by it’s intellectual dishonesty. Similarly, the website is very disappointing. For instance, it promote an unrealistic document produced by the Heartland Institute:

            “The Heartland Institute has a long history of valuing the interests of its financial backers over the conclusions of experts. It has campaigned against the threats posed by second-hand smoke, acid rain, and ozone depletion, as well as the Endangered Species Act. With its aggressive campaigning using tools such as billboards comparing climate change “believers” to the Unabomber, Heartland makes no pretense at being a scientific organization.

            Heartland’s funding over the past decade has included thousands of dollars directly from ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute, but a large portion of their funding ($25.6 million) comes from the shadowy Donor’s Capital Fund, created expressly to conceal the identity of large donors to free-market causes. The Koch brothers appear to be funneling money into Donor’s Capital via their Knowledge and Progress Fund.

            Heartland’s credibility has been so damaged that mainstream funders have been abandoning the organization, and it has been forced to discontinue its annual climate conference.”


            Now, I’m not a climatologist, and I haven’t had the time to become one. But, I suspect you aren’t one either. So, we’re both dependent to some extent on the expertise of others.

            But, I often see specific claim by CC “skeptics” that I have the expertise to evaluate (“wind turbines kill birds”, “wind power costs more than coal power”, “renewable power has enormous costs because it’s unreliable”, etc., etc., ) it has become clear that they were not only badly uninformed, but misinformed: using information that had no reasonable basis, and clearly was originally created and disseminated by someone who’s purpose was to deceive.

            What I see is an international consensus, and a scientific consensus, on the risks of Climate Change. Only in the US, and only in odd corners of the scientific community do we still find disagreement. A tiny amount of scientific disagreement isn’t surprising – we have to keep in mind that it still possible to find a tiny number of biologists, and a significant number of non-biology scientists, who don’t believe in evolution…

          6. baffling

            Nick, i have had the same problem with David regarding obamacare. he uses biased websites to produce his “facts”, then gets upset when you no longer want to call any information from such sites legitimate. i don’t have the time and energy to debunk these sites, so i choose to use better sites. once a site loses its credibility, independent thinking people have a hard time taking its points seriously-even if it begins to produce unbiased information in the future.

          7. David A

            Nick, your sadly misinformed post basically said the following regarding CAGW.
            1. There is no real debate, just Ignorant Skeptics funded by fossil fuel interests.
            2. Stanford study, factoring in — warming, changes in nitrogen deposition, changes in precipitation — growth was actually suppressed.”
            3. Lewis letter, (no comment about it, instead on attack on the source. WUWT
            4. Same thing with CO2 science, and a further attack that they refer to a Heartland Inst Report, which is funded by fossil fuel interests. these studies are based on CO2 being the only change.
            5. Appeal to experts because neither of us are.
            6. Assertion that claims that wind power cost more then coal are bogus, false and fossil fuel funded.
            7. Claim of an international consensus on CAGW. Only skeptics are in the US, and small pockets elsewhere.

            Please quit the B.S. The only thing exceeding your demonstrated arrogance in this post, is the ignorance of what you are articulating. You discount all counter arguments by attacking them as not credible.

            In a real debate this is not accepted. For instance, your link to a report comparing the NIPCC vs IPCC is from a source I consider not credible in the least, written by a child novelist. But I would argue against the points raised, not against him as the source.

            Your arguments are old, tired, and easily proved false by any open investigation. First off please desist in saying the debate is about Climate change. It is not. The theory is called CAGW (CATESTROPHIC ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING) It is dead on arrival. The attempt to rebrand CAGW into CC is due to the fact that neither the warming or the catastrophes predicted, are not happening anywhere near like the theory said, and the very expensive climate model projections, touted by the government, are wrong, all of them. So I will always call it what it should be; ”CAGW”. The C, the G and the W are MIA, not in the observations.

            Now I will do a brief rebuttal of each of your points…
            It is easy to claim consensus, (which in itself is non scientific, as Einstein said, it only takes one fact to destroy a theory) It is harder to demonstrate it. The vast majority of the alarmed “climate scientists” in those deeply flawed scientifically meaningless 97% surveys, are not specialists in the CAUSES of climate change (attribution), but in the impacts of and remedies for such change. Most know zip about atmospheric studies. They may know a little bit about how in such and such region there was a drought, or a flood, and in that region these species were harmed, be it plants, animals, etc, and they then look at some stupid climate model (which according to all the observations are off by a factor of at least three) that says, “It worse then we thought, these events will increase in the future if we do not tax the air you breath now”.

            From there they project that frogs will get bigger, or frogs will get smaller, or penguins will get to warm, or polar bears will drown, or forests will burn up, or oceans will rise 20’, or bees will die, or earthquakes will increase (really) ,etc,etc,etc. (This is not hyperbole, as the broken climate science peer review process has produced papers stating all of the above, and a far longer list of absurdity then written here)
            When the skeptics wish to demonstrate that there is a strong scientific community of thousands of PHD scientist who reject the theory of CAGW, they do it correctly. They start with a statement that goes to the heart of the matter…

            .“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
            There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

            OK, a clear statement directly addressing the “C” in CAGW. Now let’s take a look, at the ”flat earth bible thumpers” who signed it?
            31,487 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhDs

            Who wrote the petition? Dr. Frederick Seitz, past President of the National Academy of Sciences, PHD – Physics. wrote the petition’s cover letter. You cannot get more ‘mainstream’ than Dr Seitz. Who are some of the signers, plus some of the other “flat earth bible thumping” skeptics from around the world…

            Professor Richard Lindzen who is the professor of meteorologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He may know more about the atmosphere than anybody else. There’s Shunichi Aksofu (ph), one of the two most cited scientists in the world in Japan who’s completely against it. There are people all over the world and thousands of them now, leading scientists like Roy Spencer and John Christy who do all the atmospheric measurements using balloons, radio signs and satellite, the Fred Singer who established the U.S. satellite weather service. I could go on and on…

            “Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in history . . .When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, and award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

            Here are Seven Eminent Physicists; Freeman Dyson, Ivar Giaever (Nobel Prize), Robert Laughlin (Nobel Prize), Edward Teller, Frederick Seitz, Robert Jastrow and William Nierenberg, all skeptical of “man-made” global warming (AGW) alarm.

            So Nick, I am in good company telling you that there is not a consensus on the my experts against your any day. Indeed your experts are afraid to debate my experts, as they lose every debate.

            Concerning your Stanford nitrogen study and your false smear of the web site, CO2 science, please note that everything you said is wrong according to the peer reviewed literature! First you clearly failed to read that many thousands of the experiments were REAL WORLD field studies, and no extra nitrogen was added. The results are real world. Secondly you completely failed to research the CO2 web site, with links and references to hundreds of peer reviewed studies. If you had used the search index, you would have read this about nitrogen…”In reviewing the literature in this area, one quickly notices that in spite of the fact that photosynthetic acclimation has occurred, CO2-enriched plants nearly always display rates of photosynthesis that are greater than those of control plants exposed to ambient air. Consequently, photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiency, i.e., the amount of carbon converted into sugars during the photosynthetic process per unit of leaf nitrogen, often increases dramatically in CO2-enriched plants.

            In the study of Davey et al. (1999), for example, CO2-induced reductions in foliar nitrogen contents and concomitant increases in photosynthetic rates led to photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiencies in the CO2-enriched (to 700 ppm CO2) grass Agrostis capillaris that were 27 and 62% greater than those observed in control plants grown at 360 ppm CO2 under moderate and low soil nutrient conditions, respectively. Similarly, elevated CO2 enhanced photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiencies in Trifolium repens by 66 and 190% under moderate and low soil nutrient conditions, respectively, and in Lolium perenne by 50%, regardless of soil nutrient status. Other researchers have found comparable CO2-induced enhancements of photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiency in wheat (Osborne et al., 1998) and in Leucadendron species (Midgley et al., 1999).

            In some cases, researchers report nitrogen-use efficiency in terms of the amount of biomass produced per unit of plant nitrogen. Niklaus et al. (1998), for example, reported that intact swards of CO2-enriched calcareous grasslands grown at 600 ppm CO2 attained total biomass values that were 25% greater than those of control swards exposed to ambient air while extracting the same amount of nitrogen from the soil as ambiently-grown swards. Similar results have been reported for strawberry by Deng and Woodward (1998), who noted that the growth nitrogen-use efficiencies of plants grown at 560 ppm CO2 were 23 and 17% greater than those of ambiently-grown plants simultaneously subjected to high and low soil nitrogen availability, respectively.

            In conclusion, the scientific literature indicates that as the air’s CO2 content continues to rise, earth’s plants will likely respond by reducing the amount of nitrogen invested in rubisco and other photosynthetic proteins, while still maintaining enhanced rates of photosynthesis, which consequently should increase their photosynthetic nitrogen-use efficiencies”

            But you Nck, just like Baffling, failed to do any real research. Further research would have debunked every concern of the Stanford study, which, by the way, only got “diminished” results by assuming CAGW disasters of unprecedented droughts and heat waves predicted in climate model studies which are documented GIGO, all of which are simply not happening.
            The Stanford study removed nitrogen from the soil, starved the plants for water, and baked them in heat, and said additional CO2 actually caused them to be smaller. The study is very much anything but real world. In fact satellites prove the real world observations of the sited NIPCC reports, as they show that the globe is greening.

            Your smear of the NIPCC is unfounded. 50 scientists put the report together, that you had the malicious audacity to smear and demean their intergrity with false claims of fossil fuel funding. (You smeared them by linking a children’s novelist) These PHD scientist however linked references to thousands of studies from the peer reviewed world!! The NIPCC, like CO2 science, is a very professional organization, not funded by fossil fuel interest, and unlike the IPCC, it only uses peer reviewed literature. (Please note that 30 of the 50 lead scientist are not from the US, but international, effectively debunking your US only assertion.

            The NIPCC thoroughly debunks the link you gave here…

            Here is just a sample. Anyone who is modestly objective will read the link. Your claims are very false, and you are parroting a blog published by Jeff Nesbit, an author of children’s novels.

            “The Heartland Institute did not “assemble a group it calls the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC),” nor did it choose the name. NIPCC was created in 2003 by S. Fred Singer, who chose the name at the suggestion of Frederick Seitz, one of the world’s most distinguished scientists. See Setiz’s foreword in the first NIPCC report, here. NIPCC is an independent panel of scientists that chose The Heartland Institute to publish its work.
            Nesbit claims “the NIPCC examines literature published exclusively by climate contrarians who are paid to contribute their findings to NIPCC reports.” This is nonsense. Nearly 4,000 peer-reviewed articles are cited in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, including significant representation from leading journals such as Nature and Science. NIPCC cites many of the same sources as the IPCC. Indeed, in critical chapters, NIPCC cites more (and more recent) scientific sources than does the IPCC\”
            Anyone who wants the truth can see more at the link. Not one penny from fossil fuel interests went to the Heartland publication for this report. Fossil fuel interests give far more to the proponents of CAGW, as it only raises their profits. IF you had bothered to actually search the site, you would have found this section on nitrogen use and depletion. If you had checked out the NIPCC reports you would have likewise seen how every claim in the smear you linked to was false. In the future please up your game, and stop the character assassination. It is beneath reasonable debate.

          8. baffling

            just a sample of your “justification” against climate change, you site Dr. Frederick Seitz, former President of NAS. a little history regarding Seitz may let you understand, while he was a genius in the area of quantum mechanics, he was also a contrarian supporting topics outside his area of expertise-such as tobacco smoke and climate change. A couple of quotes from wiki on Dr. Seitz history

            “Seitz signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration and, in an open letter inviting scientists to sign the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine’s global warming petition, called for the United States to reject the Kyoto Protocol.[4] The letter was accompanied by a 12-page article on climate change which followed a style and format nearly identical to that of a contribution to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific journal,[30] even including a date of publication (“October 26″) and volume number (“Vol. 13: 149–164 1999″), but was not actually a publication of the National Academy. In response the United States National Academy of Sciences took what the New York Times called “the extraordinary step of refuting the position of one [of] its former presidents.”[4][31][32][33] The NAS also made it clear that “The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.”[32]”

            “Oreskes and Conway were critical of Seitz’s involvement in the tobacco industry. They stated that Seitz stood against the scientific consensus that smoking was dangerous to people’s health, and helped to create confusion and doubt on this issue.[34]”

            “Nonetheless, later academic studies of tobacco industry influence concluded that Seitz, who helped allocate $45m of Reynolds’ research funding,[14] “played a key role… in helping the tobacco industry produce uncertainty concerning the health impacts of smoking.”[15] According to a tobacco industry memo from 1989, Seitz was described by an employee of Philip Morris International as “quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice.”[16]”

            david, this is not a character assassination. this is a short description of the life of Dr. Seitz, and the views he held and actions he took. this was one of the early leaders of the doubters on the issue of climate change. he was certain of the effects of second hand smoke. he was certain of global climate change. you said “You cannot get more ‘mainstream’ than Dr Seitz. “. do you want to reconsider that statement now?

            “NIPCC is an independent panel of scientists that chose The Heartland Institute to publish its work.”
            who you choose to associate with reflects on you and the integrity of your work. the heartland institute is biased with an agenda-i have no problem with that since they do not hide it. but once you associate with the group, you need to understand it will reflect on how credible others view your report.

          9. Nick G


            I don’t expect to convince you with my personal opinions. As a practical matter, we all have to decide how to approach contentious issues like this: what evidence to accept, what to do when we don’t have time to do primary research or even read all of the literature. These are my thoughts: some will find them useful. Personally, I think they provide a better approach than simply following the ideas handed down by my political party.

            So, off to details:


            Well, not by climatologists. That’s what climate change “skeptics” call it. This is like “pro-life” vs “pro-choice”: you can tell the source of someone’s opinions by the jargon they choose. If it it’s CAGW (the “catastrophic” part is a new one to me), then why is the official body called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

            It is easy to claim consensus, (which in itself is non scientific, as Einstein said, it only takes one fact to destroy a theory) It is harder to demonstrate it.

            Well, one strong source is Judge Richard Posner’s analysis of the literature. I find Posner a pretty convincingly conservative source: I’m willing to believe his analysis, because it’s *counter* to his conservative culture. If he’s willing to be convinced, I am.


            I’ll close with my favorite approach to evaluating the intellectual integrity of a source: I look at topics I know in great detail. If that source is “flaky” in that area, I can be reasonably confident that their general approach is not robust. In this case, I look at the analysis of fossil fuel vs renewables vs nuclear. If they’re breathlessly unrealistic in those areas, I know they’re not a good source. And, when I look at sources like the Heartland Institute I see that they are indeed flaky in that area. So, I don’t rely on them.

          10. David A

            Nick says…” david, this is not a character assassination. this is a short description of the life of Dr. Seitz” and then goes on to call him an old senile man who supported the tobacco industry.

            Well Baff., that is charter assassination without doubt. I have not studied the scientific arguments against SEOND HAND tobacco smoke. They may or may not be valid. It is of no interest to me, and I would need at least 40 hours to begin to form an opinion.

            I am not however surprised at once again you, like Nick, are attacking the debater, not the argument presented. You would lose any debate very easily.

            Seitz was president of Rockefeller University, and president of the United States National Academy of Sciences 1962–1969. Seitz was the recipient of the National Medal of Science, NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Award, and many other honors. He founded the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and several other material research laboratories across the United States.[1][2] Seitz was also the founding chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute,

            Frederick Seitz was a distinguished physicist and educator who held key government posts for over three decades. Dr. Seitz received the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest award in science, in 1973 for his contributions “to the foundation of the modern quantum theory of the solid state of matter.”

          11. David A

            Sorry I hit post before I intended. More on the good Dr.

            Appointed professor of physics at the University of Illinois in 1949, he became department chair in 1957, and dean and vice president for research in 1964.

            Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1951, Dr. Seitz served as president on a part-time basis for three years before assuming full-time responsibilities in 1965. He was a member of the board of trustees of The Rockefeller University from 1966 to 1978.

            Dr. Seitz was science advisor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Paris from 1959 to 1960 and was a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee from 1962 to 1969. He was an advisor to the Office of Naval Research, the Office of Aerospace Research, the National Bureau of Standards, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, the Defense Science Board (chairman, 1964 to 1968), the National Cancer Advisory Board, and The Smithsonian Institution, among other national and international agencies.

            He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy, and the New York City Commission for Science and Technology. He served as chairman of the United States delegation to the United Nations Committee on Science and Technology for Development, and as a member of the Secretary of State’s Monitoring Panel for UNESCO. He was a member of an advisory board to the office of the Strategic Defense Initiative.

            He was former chairman of the board of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He was a trustee of The American Museum of Natural History and of the Institute for International Education, and a director of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.

            In 1940 Dr. Seitz published The Modern Theory of Solids, a book generally regarded as having been a prime influence in the development of solid-state physics, including the development of transistors. His second volume, The Physics of Metals, was published in 1943. His other books include The Science Matrix (1992); On The Frontier: My Life in Science (1994), an autobiography; Stalin’s Captive: Nikolaus Riehl and the Soviet Race for the Bomb (1995); and Electronic Genie: The Tangled History of Silicon in Electronics (1997), co-authored with Norman G. Einspruch; and The Cosmic Inventor: Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932) (1999). He was an editor and consultant to numerous scientific publications, including the second Five Year Outlook for the National Academy of Sciences, and was a consulting editor in solid-state physics for the Encyclopedia of Science and Technology.

            Among his numerous honors and awards, Dr. Seitz received the Franklin Medal in 1965; Stanford University’s Herbert Hoover Medal in 1968; the Defense Department Distinguished Service Award in 1968; the NASA Distinguished Public Service Award in 1969; the Compton Award, the highest award of the American Institute of Physics, in 1970; and the James Madison Medal of Princeton University in 1978. In 1979 he received his second NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his “dedicated service as chairman of the NASA Space Program Advisory Council from 1973 to 1977.”

            For you to quote such cheep comments against a man of distinction is very poor form chap. You should hang your head. What are you going to do next. Character assassination on all 31000 signer of the Oregon Petition? Character assassination on the other notable scientist I mentioned in my post. Your inability to debate the points made instead of the arguments stated is astounding, and shameful.

            Let us look at the Heartland Institute you attack. (Because you have not researched the issue, so cannot debate the facts and data.)

            “Nesbit claims “The Heartland Institute has a long history of valuing the interests of its financial backers over the conclusions of experts.” This is frequently repeated false claim that has been thoroughly debunked.
            Heartland is a nonprofit organization that takes free-market positions consistent with the positions of many other such groups, including the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, National Center for Policy Analysis, Hoover Institution, Hudson Institute, and any number of other free-market think tanks.

            The Heartland Institute has not received any funding from ExxonMobil since 2006. Most of our work on climate change (other than reporting on the debate in Environment & Climate News) started in 2008, after ExxonMobil stopped funding us. ExxonMobil never gave more than 5 percent the organization’s annual receipts. Same for the American Petroleum Institute.

            The Heartland Institute has not lost donors or income in recent years, as Nesbit claims. The number of donors has increase from about 1,300 in 2011 to around 8,300 in 2013. Receipts in 2012 were 15% higher than 2011. Heartland is “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made global warming” [The Economist, May 2012]. It has been endorsed by many leading academics, elected officials, and civic and business leaders.

            More than 200 academics and professional economists serve as policy advisors to The Heartland Institute, including members of the faculties of Harvard University, The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Georgetown University, Pepperdine University, Vanderbilt School of Law, and scores of other respected universities.

            Credible with policy makers: A telephone survey conducted in 2014 found 77 percent of Republican state legislators and 72 percent of Democratic state legislators read one or more Heartland newspapers “sometimes” or “always.” Two-thirds of state legislators (70 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Democrats) said they found Heartland’s newspapers a “useful source of information.” Thirty-nine percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats reported a Heartland publication changed their opinion or led to a change in public policy. Approximately 160 elected officials — Democrats as well as Republicans — serve on Heartland’s Board of Legislative Advisor”

            So Baffling and Nick, you have created a nice little circular Ivory tower for yourselves. Any and everyone who disagrees with you, you lambast, no matter how educated, respected or published. Here is the link to the entire response by heartland to their critics. Of course you and Nick have not read it, but I hope any neutral party would.

          12. Nick G


            I know the chain of comments can be confusing, but please note that your last two comments were replies to “baffling”.

            I agree – it’s nice go over the scientific details. I’ve done that many times on this kind of issue. I used to spend some time on it with friends who weren’t quite ready to believe the theory of evolution. I find it can be quite frustrating.

            I find the American Physical Society’s stance pretty compelling. Here’s what their critic, Harold Lewis, had to say in 1992 about his assessment of climate change from the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases in a book on technological risk:

            “All models agree that the net effect will be a general and global warming of the earth; they only disagree about how much. None suggest that it will be a minor effect, to be ignored while we go about our business.

            A couple of pages later, he laid out the implications of warming and the need for “global cooperation and sacrifice now, to avert something far in the future.” He noted that this was unlikely, given human nature, but said, “one can only hope.”

            The author of the blog where this is discussed asked him for an explanation of the change in his views. He didn’t respond.


            Have you looked at this?

            For responses to a very large number of arguments, it does a pretty thorough job, well-referenced and quite accessible.

          13. David A

            Nick, my last two comments were to both of you, as you were parroting each other with the same Ivory Tower comments.
            The fact that you are not aware that the climatologist themselves, for years, called the theory CAGW, is perhaps why you remain so poorly informed on the subject. Think about the scientific depravity of naming a theory “Climate Change”, as climate has and will always change. Think about the accuracy of the title Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. Now that tells you what to expect..However it has not happened, and in a desperate attempt to make every puff of wind and drop of rain a sign of CO2 induced doom, they CAGW. Like here in the Guradian, 2012
            In the Guradian link you will learn how your SUV is causing volcanoes and earthquakes. Quite the hoot. The bottom line is that without the C, the debate is strictly academic. ( At least on my part.) You and Baff insist on attacking every source that disagrees with you, so you thus eliminated both debate and learning. With the C the subject become post normal, and politics pollutes the science.
            It is curious how you ignore the C and then link to an article with Catastrophe in the title..

            Concerning Harold Lewis, I full support his view. Your rendition is not accurate, as Harold had already explained clearly that his mind changed due to the fact that the OBSERVATIONS did not match the theory. (Science 101)
            In legal terms the response was “asked and answered”
            Concerning “Skeptical Science”. Many years ago, before I formed a view, I sent about 200 hours there. How many have you spent at skeptical sites? II learned to know there view before they posted it. I know both sides. You and baffling clearly do not.

            S.S. is a misnomer. They block posts that are polite and on topic. They change posts, and eliminate the supporting structure. They close comments. I have seen many dozens of examples of this.
            I have posted both the Heartland and IPCC responses to critics. Your very old and worn complaints are well answered. Yet you have never read their responses. I will not respond further to childish attacks on the source, but only to comments on the science.

          14. baffling

            once again you do not understand my description of dr seitz, so you call it a character assassination. first, did i present anything untrue about the good dr? no. in fact, i acknowledged his genius. unlike you, i have actually read his scientific works and put his work into practice. but his scientific genius was in the area of quantum mechanics-not global climate change, or second hand smoke for that matter. in the 1990′s and later he was not actively involved in conducting cutting edge research. he was into policy change. you quoted all of his accolades-and there were numerous. but that era of his life ends in the 1980′s-well before his foray into global climate change in the 1990′s. no character assassination. but you simply use his experience a half century earlier as justification for his authority on global climate change-and i challenge that fully. you need to provide better evidence as to why i should accept him as an expert on global climate change. but you did nothing of the sort.

            david, judging by your responses,i certainly have concerns if this is how the heartland institute vets its scientific thought leaders.

          15. David A

            Clearly you read what you choose, not what is presented. I said, “So Baffling and Nick, you have created a nice little circular Ivory tower for yourselves…”
            You read… “But, in this case you intended to “put down” academics. So, I understood your meaning correctly.”; even after I explained…”Thus you spend five minutes at a web site like CO2 science, which consists of thousands of pages linked to relevant peer reviewed science regarding CAGW, then proclaim them flawed and inferior, and you post one article and claim to have them trumped, while you are then entirely ignorant that the site your “Ivory Tower” mind set dismissed, has about ten links to over forty peer reviewed studies addressing the very assertion you foolishly accepted as game, set and match.” I also clearly did not mean academics in general, but the scientist that base their predictions of catastrophe on a anthropogenic induced warming of the planet due to GHG emissions.
            The problem was not my writing, but your reading skills.

            As to the rest of your post, it is baseless assertions which are as vague as they are meaningless; something about a high school debate, after you ignored references to tens of thousands of peer reviewed scientist, internationally renowned physicist, and other world recognized international scientist, all skeptical of CAGW, and you ignored simple deductive though process of fundamental scientific method which states that if your observations do not match your predictions, your theory is falsified.

            As another example of what you call “High School Debate,” I show that the theory of CAGW is missing the G.W. ”
            as the Pause in each major temperature data set is as follows:
            For GISS, the slope is flat since July 2001 or 13 years.
            For Hadcrut3, the slope is flat since July 1997 or 17 years.
            For Hadcrut4, the slope is flat since December 2000 or 13 years, 3 month.
            For Hadsst3, the slope is flat since December 2000 or 13 years, 3 month.
            For UAH, the slope is flat since October 2004 or 9 years, 9 months. (goes to December using version 5.5)
            For RSS, the slope is flat since September 1996 or 17 years, 10 months.”
            None of the computer models predicted this. I can show MULTIPLE examples of peer reviewed research showing that the predicted increases in droughts, extreme storms, hurricanes, fires, etc., are all not increasing. The reduction in NH snowfall is not happening. The increase in cost of natural disasters is accounted for by population expansion and inflation.
            I showed the benefits of CO2 are known in thousands of real world experiments, and that the feared harm from studies like your Stanford quote, are not manifest in the real world. I did this with links to peer reviewed journal articles from PHD scientist. (All of this is meaningless high school debate, according to you. You were upset that I simply pointed out that you and Baffling engage in ceaseless attacks on the source, never the arguments, and you imagine I am engaging in a game of silly debate tactics.)

            Finally you claim that the debate is not about human GHG emissions causing the mean atmospheric T of the planet to rise
            resulting in catastrophic increase in SL, storms, fires, etc, causing 50 million climate refuges by 2010.

            ” According to a report published by the United Nations University, there are now about 19.2 million people officially recognized as “persons of concern”-that is, people likely to be displaced because of environmental disasters. This figure is predicted to grow to about 50 million by the end of the year 2010″ (Where are they?)

            Some adverse impacts are expected even before we reach the 2°C limit, for example hundreds of millions of people being subjected to increased water stress, increasing drought at mid-latitudes (as we recently discussed here), increased coral bleaching, increased coastal damage from floods and storms, and increased morbidity and mortality from more frequent and intense heat waves (see here), floods, and droughts.+…
            “increases in drought, heat waves, and floods are projected in many regions and would have adverse impacts, including increased water stress, wildfire frequency, and flood risks (starting at less than 1 °C of additional warming above 1990 levels
            Right now, we are on track for the catastrophic consequences (widespread coral mortality, mass extinctions, hundreds of millions of people adversely impacted by droughts, floods, heat waves, etc.). If we continue forward on our current path, catastrophe is not just a possible outcome, it is the most probable outcome…Climate contrarians will often mock ‘CAGW’ (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming), but the sad reality is that CAGW is looking more and more likely every day
            Link to above (Notice your recommended web site)

            Met Office warns of catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes (UK meteorological Organization)

            This alarmist web site refers to anthropogenic global warming as catastrophic:

             The alarmist site, burycoal dot com defines catastrophic climate change:
            “Avoiding catastrophic or runaway climate change is absolutely necessary if any of the other ambitions of humanity are to be achieved”

            This alarmist web site refers to anthropogenic global warming as catastrophic

            “Humanity is sitting on a time bomb. If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right,
            we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet’s climate
            system into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics
            and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced- a catastrophe of our own
            making. Jeff Skoll says, “I thought I knew a fair amount about this subject, and it’s something I’ve
            studied and read about for many years – but when I saw Al Gore’s presentation, it really changed
            my mind. I had been looking at it as a long-term issue, a story that was going to be unfolding
            over the next 20 or 30 years, but what I learned is that it’s so much more urgent than that. The
            facts, as you’ll see in Gore’s presentation, are that we have maybe five or ten years to address”

            Wow, ten years, and this was presented well over ten years ago, about a paper that appears in a search for Scholarly articles for scientist predicting global warming disasters
            … planetary emergency of global warming and what we … – ‎Gore – Cited by 1308
            (This became the heavily debunked “Inconvenient truth”)

            Scientific American; “Risks of Global Warming Rising: Is It Too Late to Reverse Course? … The risk of catastrophic climate change is getting worse, according to a new ….

            2004 Guardian Headline
            Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us• Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
            • Britain will be ‘Siberian’ in less than 20 years (we are over 1/2 the way to yet another grossly failed prediction)
            • Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

            Keep telling yourself that the ignorant skeptics invented CAGW.

            Of course after all the five and ten year predictions of catastrophe fail, they make new predictions, already failing;…
            .”How long have we got? We have to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade, or temperatures will warm by more than one degree. That will be warmer than it has been for half a million years, and many things could become unstoppable.” Jim Hansen,

            And in 1985 he even got Carl Sagan involved, misleading people into thinking that the world would be 9 deg F hotter, perhaps within 16 years.

            “Few scientists now dispute that today’s soaring levels of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere will cause global temperature averages to rise by as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit sometime after the year 2000, Sagan said.” Robert Engleman, “Fossil Fuels Bring Trouble,” The Vindicator, Dec 12, 1985, p. 59

            At a Congressional hearing (28 years ago) these panic stricken Global Warming Hysterics (I mean climate scientist) solemnly testified that in merely 25 years all sorts of bad things would be going on.

            “Other scientists gave senators the same grim picture of the United States with the ozone nibbled away: Average temperatures up nine degrees, sparse rainfall destroying crops, melting polar ice slicing beaches at such places as Atlantic City by 85 feet in 25 years, 2 million yearly cases of skin cancer.” Sandy Grady, “The Heat is On,” The News and Courier, June 17th 1986,5141658&dq=james-hansen+desert&hl=en

            Hermann Flohn of the University of Bonn, West Germany, said studies of the Arctic Sea ice cover have shown that prolonging the summer melt season by as little as two weeks annually would free the Arctic of ice in about 20 years.” “Scientists predict World’s Climate Will Warm Up”, The Leader-Post-Jan 9, 1982,,1812228&dq=james-hansen&hl=en

            How could we possibly disbelieve him. He is a scientist. He is part of your proven false CONSENSUS!

            “If scientist James Hansen is correct, humankind may be turning planet Earth into a giant steamer and the population into unwilling clams.
            The director of the Goddard Institute for Space studies in New York City, who spoke Wednesday at the University of Florida, forecasts the average global temperature rise as much as 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2030. This, he said, would more than double the annual number of days in many U. S. cities with weather in the 90s.” John Wood, “Earth is heating Up, Space Scientist Warns, “ Gainesville Sun, Sept 4, 1986,

            The price tag? $60 trillion – or about the size of the entire global economy in 2012 – according to new research that modeled the economic toll that methane gases seeping out of the Arctic will take on the world.
            “It’s not just bad news for the polar bear,” said Gail Whiteman, a researcher at Erasmus University in the Netherlands and a coauthor on the paper, published in Nature. “It’s a global economic time bomb.”

            I can add hundreds more. So go on thinking that Skeptics put the “C” in CAGW, all because in their published papers they commonly used the acronym G.W. or A.G.W. instead of CAGW.

            Is global warming catastrophic or not? If the answer is not (which appears to be your position the way you run from the CAGW acronym like a shy “High School” boy from a girl), then why should we worry about it?

            The acronym CC means what? Nobody is skeptical of climate change. Does it mean beneficial climate change?
            No, it means extreme costly climate change of catastrophic floods, droughts, fires; displacement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees, SL rise flooding cities and towns, etc, etc. as the linked articles depict “climate scientist” stating to the media and government. They defined “catastrophic not the skeptics.
            What is the cause of this catastrophic climate change. It is all predicated on a mean warming of the earth’s atmosphere caused by Humans.

            The theory is CAGW, the warmist scientist and media put the “C” in CAGW , not the skeptics. ( “A rose, be it called by any other name, is still a rose”) That they now complain about the accurate acronym is a sign that they know the overwhelming evidence destroys cries of “FIRE” they have been shouting in theaters for decades.

            What is it about then?

          16. Nick G

            I also clearly did not mean academics in general

            That’s not clear. “Ivory tower” is generally understood to be an insult to the academic community.

            My point about CAGW is that it’s a term not used by the scientific community. If you choose to use it, you’re signalling that you’ve been immersing yourself in unscientific sources, and you’ve chosen to use an emotionally loaded term. It’s like calling the Estate Tax a “Death Tax”, or using the term “climate alarmist” – you’re signalling an allegiance with a particular (nonscientific) group.

            the scientist that base their predictions of catastrophe on a anthropogenic induced warming of the planet due to GHG emissions.

            But that’s pretty much the whole scientific community. There’s your problem.

            For example, here’s a study produced by the United Nations, insurer Swiss Re, management consultancy McKinsey, the European Commission, the Rockefeller Foundation, Standard Chartered Bank. McKinsey is pretty well respected. Swiss Re is pretty hard headed.

            Again, Russia, Saudi Arabia and China all agree that Climate Change is a very serious risk. Why would China do that, if they thought there was *any* scientific basis for doubting it? China has a very solid scientific and engineering basis, and they’re very, very willing to say that there are limits to what they’re willing to spend on it. But they never argue with the science…

          17. David A

            That is not a response. My link is in response to your link. I answered everyone of your linked statements in my responses You answered none of mine. I gave you dozens of links to your alarmist scientist putting the “C” in CAGW, long before your very poor ratwiki link admits.
            I assert that I can give literally hundreds more. Ceaseless examples of scientist and media using the word catastrophic.

            As to your incapacity to read I stated this..”So Baffling and Nick, you have created a nice little circular Ivory tower for yourselves..’ which you insisted meant I was slamming all academics in general.
            Sad really

          18. Nick G

            That is not a response…

            Again, this isn’t a game, or a formal debate – rather than focusing on details, you have to look at the primary points being made. You have to try to make sense of the big picture.

            We can spend forever on technical arguments: if we don’t agree on the validity of the sources, it’s a waste of time.

            Ceaseless examples of scientist and media using the word catastrophic.

            Sure. But, we’re talking about jargon, and the acronym CAGW is only used by those who are strongly committed to the position that climate science can’t be trusted, and that “AGW” is not a serious problem.

            My argument is that those sources are not reliable. When I’ve dived into detailed technical arguments about things that I know, that’s what I’ve found.

            The fact is that the cost of slashing our consumption of oil and coal is very low. Those who defend the oil and coal industries are afraid to acknowledge that – they greatly exaggerate the cost of transitioning away from oil and coal. If they’re willing to mislead people on that point, I’m confident they’re willing to mislead about other things as well.

          19. Nick G

            That’s a good example of the unrealistic articles that this kind of website produces. Two specific errors:

            The article compares EIA and EPA projections. It likely uses the EIA “reference” projections which are based on current policy, while the EPA is analyzing the impact of improved public policy.

            The article claims that mainstream US media suggest that China is planning to dramatically reduce coal consumption. That’s highly unrealistic – the Chinese haven’t said they plan to do that any time soon, and no one expects them to.

            The Chinese have said that they consider Climate Change to be real and important, but: it’s a 2nd priority behind crash economic growth; they’re hoping to get the OECD to help pay for it; and they’re hiding behind a lack of leadership from the US. They are in fact installing more wind power than any other country, including the US, and have more aggressive vehicle efficiency regulations.

        2. Nick G


          The fact that you see CAGW as a mainstream term says that you’ve been reading the wrong websites – no mainstream Climate Change source would use the term.

          Here’s a discussion:

          CAGW, for “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming,” is a snarl word (or snarl acronym) that global warming denialists use for the established science of climate change. A Google Scholar search indicates that the term is never used in the scientific literature on climate.[1]

          It’s not clear just when or how the denialists adopted CAGW over from the acronym AGW (anthropogenic global warming) used by normal folk. The term was used in blog comments at the New York Times[2] and ScienceBlogs as early as 2008,[3] and is likely to have been used earlier. By around 2011 CAGW had become commonplace in denialist blogs such as those of Anthony Watts or Judith Curry, and over the next year or two essentially replaced AGW in such esteemed venues. Despite the qualifier, denialists apply the term indiscriminately to anything approximating the mainstream scientific view on climate, regardless of whether or not “catastrophic” outcomes are implied.

          As for motivation, it’s an attempt to move the goalposts. Denialists realized they had lost the argument over plain old “anthropogenic global warming” — the basic physics of the problem have been known since the 19th century,[4] so that rejecting AGW outright paints oneself as a loon. Adding “catastrophic” gives plenty of wiggle room for denialism.[5] Sea level rises a foot? Just a few Pacific Islanders getting flooded out; no catastrophe. Sea level rises a few more feet? The Philippines get flooded out and we lose coastal cities like London and New York. But with a few trillion dollars we can move them inland; no catastrophe. And so on


          Your comment used the term “Ivory Tower” in a way that appeared to assume that your audience would understand that to be in a “Ivory Tower” was a bad thing. That suggests that you’ve been exposed to an anti-intellectual culture, one where pure scientific research and academicism is not respected. That’s not a place where you’re going to get good scientific information, or where you’ll see examples of good, objective thinking.

          The fact that you went to a “pro-Climate Change science” web-site doesn’t help you if you don’t approach it with an open mind. The fact that you had a bad experience suggested that you went there to fight and not to learn.

          1. David A

            Sorry, but your ratwiki article is factually wrong. Lets work bottom to top.

            Best to ask me what I mean and not insert your own meaning, since you do not comprehend, “Ivory Tower” a term often used by academics, and non-academics alike. From Idioms, the free dictionary…” if you are in an ivory tower, you are in a place or situation where you are separated from ordinary life and its problems..” another wording is meaning that someone is lost in their thoughts, biases, and conviction of superiority, educated or not, and their mind is closed to real world observations, or contradicting data.

            This is a general meaning. Specifically with regard to CAGW it means that the scientist promoting the predicted catastrophic results of CO2, are removed from real world observations and live in their computer generated models, ignoring the real world observations.

            Specifically with regard to your behavior, it means your bias prevents you from reading anyone who disagrees with you, regardless of the fact that their qualifications far exceed yours, and are on par or above your experts, and often win debates with opposing experts.

            You pretend that they are biased, and you and your experts are not, so you do not study their words. Thus you spend five minutes at a web site like CO2 science, which consists of thousands of pages linked to relevant peer reviewed science regarding CAGW, then proclaim them flawed and inferior, and you post one article and claim to have them trumped, while you are then entirely ignorant that the site your “Ivory Tower” mind set dismissed, has about ten links to over forty peer reviewed studies addressing the very assertion you foolishly accepted as game, set and match. (I only linked to about three of those studies, simply to begin to show you your bias.)

            You, like Baffling, are convinced that anyone who disagrees with you is biased.

            I will respond to your misunderstanding of the origins and accuracy of the Phrase CAGW shortly. It is very late here on the west coast now.
            Good day,

          2. Nick G

            Best to ask me what I mean and not insert your own meaning

            That’s how writing works – you need to pay attention to what your audience gets from your writing, not just what you intended. But, in this case you intended to “put down” academics. So, I understood your meaning correctly.

            David, this isn’t a philosophy class or a high school debate. It’s not a game, where you win or lose on points. It’s a real thing, a complex and politicized thing. So, you have to look at in a practical way.

            That’s why things like scientific consensus matter. When almost all the climatologists and physicists agree, it’s a pretty good indication. When all of the countries of the world agree, that says something too. It would be very convenient for countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and China to reject the science, but they don’t.

          3. David A

            That is not a response. My link is in response to your link. I answered everyone of your linked statements in my responses You answered none of mine. I gave you dozens of links to your alarmist scientist putting the “C” in CAGW, long before your very poor ratwiki link admits.
            I assert that I can give literally hundreds more. Ceaseless examples of scientist and media using the word catastrophic.

            As to your incapacity to read I stated this..”So Baffling and Nick, you have created a nice little circular Ivory tower for yourselves..’ which you insisted meant I was slamming all academics in general.
            Sad really

            Oh I did not answer the China question. Yes, you are quite correct, the one coal fired power plant they build every week means they are committing suicide, (Sarc) They only give lip service to CAGW as long as it benefits them. (By the way, they know particulates are a problem.)
            Ditto with Russia, it is a political game, and they prosper by Europe’s dependence. (A very foolish thing Europe has done) Now I have answered all your attempts.

          4. Nick G

            the China question. Yes, you are quite correct, the one coal fired power plant they build every week means they are committing suicide (sarc)…By the way, they know particulates are a problem.)

            Those two points are contradictory. Particulate pollution is causing enormous health costs in China, but the Chinese accept that as the cost of economic growth. The same is true of CO2 emissions.

            They only give lip service to CAGW as long as it benefits them.

            How does giving lip service to “CAGW” benefit China? If they don’t want to invest in low-CO2 energy sources, why give lip service? Why not just say they don’t think it’s a problem??

            Ditto with Russia

            Yes, ditto with Russia. How does agreeing that AGW is very risky help them with their political games?? Why wouldn’t they just argue that CO2 isn’t a problem?? We can ask the same question for all of the other countries that have signed onto the IPCC, like Saudi Arabia.

            The answer is that they all agree that climate change is a big risk, and they know that arguing otherwise would just make them look foolish.

          5. David A

            Nick, there you go again, getting it all wrong…(My comments in caps.)

            David A says…the China question. Yes, you are quite correct, the one coal fired power plant they build every week means they are committing suicide (sarc)…By the way, they know particulates are a problem.)

            Nick says…Those two points are contradictory. Particulate pollution is causing enormous health costs in China, but the Chinese accept that as the cost of economic growth. The same is true of CO2 emissions. (SO YOU THINK THEY KNOW THEY ARE DESTROYING THE WORLD WITH ALL THE CATASTROPHIC PREDICTIONS I LINKED TO, WITH A HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLAR GLOBAL COST, FOR ECONOMIC GAIN?) WOW!

            DAVID A SAID…They only give lip service to CAGW as long as it benefits them.

            NICK SAYS…How does giving lip service to “CAGW” benefit China? If they don’t want to invest in low-CO2 energy sources, why give lip service? Why not just say they don’t think it’s a problem?? ASKED AND ANSWERED ABOVE. THEIR MAJOR INVESTMENT IS COAL AND NUCLEAR. THE REST IS LIP SERVICE FOR THE BENEFITS MENTIONED. ASK THEM TO FOLLOW THE CARBON REDUCTION PROTOCALLS OF EUROPE, AND THEN YOU WILL SEE THEIR REAL OPINION OF CAGW.

            Ditto with Russia


            NICK SAYS…The answer is that they all agree that climate change is a big risk, NO, THEY KNOW THEY BENEFIT, AND THEY EXPAND INTO COAL AT A RAPID RATE.

          6. David A


            BTW Nick, I never had a bad experience at your preferred web site for climate issues. I went to SS to learn, and that is why I spent 200 hours there. I had no conviction one way or the other. Unlike you, I learned both sides of the debate. I could argue for CAGW far better then you. I observed the censorship and personally never commented, This was years ago, before I learned the facts.
            Once again you poorly read my statements in this manner, and projected your own bias. In response to Nicks comment…”The fact that you went to a “pro-Climate Change science” web-site doesn’t help you if you don’t approach it with an open mind. The fact that you had a bad experience suggested that you went there to fight and not to learn.”

          7. David A

            The Russians have just emerged from 80 years of a stupid debilitating dogma called communism, based on the rantings of Marx, Lenin, Stalin etc.

            Not surprisingly, they don’t want another 80 years of another stupid debilitating dogma called AGW, based on the rantings of Mann, Jones, Briffa etc.

            Besides, they do not need CAGW to establish a statist government.

          8. Nick G

            there you go again Again, this isn’t a debate – there aren’t any journalists saying “wow, he’s winning the PR part of the debate with his cute one-liners”.


            Of course, they’re not quite that dramatic, but yes, they’ve said many times they consider climate change an enormous problem, just like the incredibly bad air pollution created mostly by coal plants. They’re prioritizing economic growth, and hoping to get the OECD to pay them to clean up.


            New Chinese coal plants are improving, but that statement is really misleading.

            “Chongqing’s men, women and children breathe air filled with lung-clogging soot and smoke. Nationally, health care associated with respiratory ills costs China an estimated $100 billion a year, according to the World Bank. Furthermore, the foul air can literally stunt the growth of the next generation, according to recent research from Frederica P. Perera of Columbia University and her Chinese colleagues.”

            China knows that it has major pollution problems, and it’s working on both particulates and green house gases. The problem is simply that their power production is very large, and reducing pollution is 2nd priority behind crash economic growth.

            “Notwithstanding its deeply polluted state, China is also working feverishly to clean up. It plans to reduce pollutants by as much as 10 percent over the next five years. Part of the effort involves creating carbon-neutral cities and expanding renewable energy sources, as described in the stories that follow. Much of the strategy, however, is simply to shutter small, inefficient coal plants and replace them with larger ones that are more efficient. “To close small plants, it will be very effective to improve air quality,” Sarah Liang, a spokesperson in Greenpeace’s Beijing office, tells me. But that still leaves a load of pollution.”


            Not exempt, they’ve simply chosen not to sign any treaties. That’s very telling – if they don’t want to sign a Climate Change treaty, they simply choose not to. Similarly, if they disagreed about Climate Change, they’d simply say so. They don’t. China agrees that Climate Change is a very big problem.


            China is also installing low-CO2 power, including hydro, wind and solar.


            Again, that makes no sense. Russia benefits from selling energy – why not simply deny that Climate Change is real? It would only benefit them to do so. They don’t, because…they actually agree.

            …(fossil fuel exporters and) RUSSIA HAVE PLAYED THE WEST FOR FOOLS.

            By accepting Climate Change? That makes no sense. Wind and solar reduce the need for fossil fuels. EVs reduce the need for oil. The acceptance of Climate Change only helps the US and Europe, as it provides more incentive for domestic sources of energy.

          9. Nick G

            Oddly enough, that article about global cooling doesn’t support your argument. The astronomers play down the overall impact:

            “Journalists say the entire process is very simple: once solar activity declines, the temperature drops. But besides solar activity, the climate is influenced by other factors, including the lithosphere, the atmosphere, the ocean, the glaciers. The share of solar activity in climate change is only 20%. This means that sun’s activity could trigger certain changes whereas the actual climate changing process takes place on the Earth”.

            Clearly, the astronomers agree that AGW is happening:

            “The Northern Sea Route has never opened so early or closed so late over the past 30 years. Last year saw a cargo transit record – more than five million tons. The first Chinese icebreaker sailed along the Northern Sea Route in 2012. China plans it to handle up to 15% of its exports”.

  12. westslope

    I am not a fan of the Fed’s dual mandate or the shifting labour market goal posts but you have to admit that weakening the US dollar in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis makes a lot of sense from the perspective of wanting to stimulate US growth.

    Funny though. If somebody ranted that way about I dunno…. Hamas. Would Paul Krugman intervene? Unlikely. Americans appear to feel just as strongly about affirmative action ethnic cleansing despite all the evidence to suggest the security and economic risks.

    1. spencer

      Check your data. From early 2008 to early 2009 the trade weighted dollar rose about 20% and it is still some 10% above the early 2008 bottom.

      From the 2009 peak the dollar did go back to about the same value in 2011 it had bottomed at in 2008.

      If you want to look at a policy that weakened the dollar I suggest you check out the policies of George Bush in the early 2000s when the dollar fell about 30%.

  13. Ricardo

    Peter K.

    You must be a product of the public school system because you appear to know nothing about Hoover’s massive intervention. Hoover engaged in the largest “stimulus” plan in the 20th Century up to to the 1930s. It was not adding to the money supply, because the US was on the gold standard, but it consisted of massive public works projects. He was ultimately forced to the most massive tax increase in the 20th Century because his “stimulus” did not work. Sound familiar?

  14. spencer

    Name one highway, dam or building that Hoover’s massive stimulus program built. Anything? Name one.

    The federal deficit increased under hoover, but it was because the US suffered near double digit deflation in the early 1930s.

    Every budget Hoover proposed cut spending. It just wasn’t enough to adjust to the massive deflation and plunge in revenues.

    You must be home schooled to believe the things you believe.

  15. Ricardo

    The primary problem here is the ignorance of inflation by Keynesians, monetarists, and modern Austrians. All equate inflation only with price rises. I am especially saddened by the ignorance or Austrians because they should know better. Here is an excerpt from HUMAN ACTION Chapter XX INTEREST, CREDIT EXPANSION AND THE TRADE CYCLE Section 6

    Yet, even in this restricted sense, the teachings of the nonmonetary doctrines are vain. It is evident that every expansion of credit must bring about the boom as described above. The boom-creating tendency of credit expansion can fail to come only if another factor simultaneously counterbalances its growth. If, for instance, while the banks expand credit, it is expected that the government will completely tax away the businessmen’s “excess” profits or that it will stop the further progress of credit expansion as soon as “pump-priming” will have resulted in rising prices, no boom can develop. The entrepreneurs will abstain from expanding their ventures with the aid of the cheap credits offered by the banks because they cannot expect to increase their gains. It is necessary to mention this fact because it explains the failure of the New Deal’s pump-priming measures and other events of the ‘thirties. [My emphasis]

    The boom can last only as long as the credit expansion progresses at an ever-accelerated pace. The boom comes to an end as soon as additional quantities of fiduciary media are no longer thrown upon the loan market. But it could not last forever even if inflation and credit expansion were to go on endlessly. It would then encounter the barriers which prevent the boundless expansion of circulation credit. It would lead to the crack-up boom and the breakdown of the whole monetary system.

  16. Anonymous

    I took your advice and read this post: “Assessing the Stimulus and Its Aftermath” and it looks like your estimate is that the cost per job-year of the stimulus bill was $170,000, but would have been lower if lawmakers followed your advice and spent more money on state transfers and infrastructure. Assuming the $170K estimate is true, and I have no reason to believe it is not, it seems reasonable that a reasonable person, conservative or liberal, would believe that $170K per job or job-year is too much. The cost-benefit analysis would suggest that ARRA did not work. Do you think that it is totally unreasonable to think that $170K per job is too much? To me, given that the average salary is less than $50K, that $50K per job-year would (maybe) be reasonable. Keep in mind that someone, even though it will not be us, will have to pay this back, and it seems very selfish to assume that they will be ok with paying so much for a person to be employed.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Anonymous: Well, this is strange. Do you put zero weight on companies, individual entrepreneurs, and corporations and their shareholders? That’ s what your per job metric implies. Personally, I prefer to use the multipler metric – output per dollar government spending.

      Yes, debt has to be paid back (well, actually not. We typically can just let that debt sit as long as the debt to GDP ratio doesn’t explode). Let me ask you: what is the nominal interest rate on government debt right now? What is the real interest rate on government debt right now?

      1. Anonymous

        Do you have a blog post that does a cost-benefit analysis of ARRA in your terms (the multiplier metric – output per dollar government spending)?

        I know we are on to other posts now, but I am still stuck on this. To me, the goal of stimulus was to take people that were unemployed and help them become employed – not necessarily to increase output (because output could mean the wealthy getting wealthier, which I don’t think any of us want to go into more debt for). So if we spend $666 billion, there has to be a metric for how many people it helped, who it helped (as I said, helping the wealthy, like someone that owns a construction business make $160K a year instead of $150K, is not the help most people thought of when Obama brought up stimulus), and whether or not it was worth it. I realize that real interest rates are negative, but that doesn’t mean the debt doesn’t exist, it means that instead of paying off 100% of the debt, the people in the future will be paying off 100% but it will feel like 50% or 60% of what it would be if they paid it off today (or insert your own percentage, of course).

  17. David A

    “Anonymous: Well, this is strange. Do you put zero weight on companies, individual entrepreneurs, and corporations and their shareholders? That’ s what your per job metric implies”

    How so? Are you saying it is the same thing? Pease elaborate.

  18. baffling

    david and anonymous,
    did that $170,000 go to an individual who stashed it under the bed? no. think about how that money moved through the economy-how many ADDITIONAL business transactions occurred because this money filtered through the economy. as menzie says, the multiplier. but you can think of it in real transactions if you want as well. all those transactions would not have occurred without that stimulus. and if that stimulus could make the difference between hoarding ones cash and spending some of that cash-then it was effective.

    1. David A

      did that $170,000 go to an individual who stashed it under the bed?
      No, that stimulus was the debt created to provide the job. Little went to infrastructure. Some went to failed alternative energy companies. much we will never know how it was spent. Yes, that employee did circulate the money. But that is not the determining factor in the moneys productivity. By your definition the more spent to produce each job, the greater the stimulus. (Put that Broken Window philosophy in your business plan and see how long you last.) That money is now a deficit, so its efficiency, or lack thereof, also has to be weighed against that.

  19. westslope

    affirmative action ethnic cleansing

    What does that mean? Especially the “affirmative action” part? -Nick G.

    It refers to US support for Israel’s ‘nation building project’ $3 to $4 B for military hardware. $50M for resettlement of Diaspora Jews.

    Jews haven’t managed to commit genocide for a few millenia (if you believe accounts in the bible). Generous support from American socialists allows Israeli Jews to ‘catch up’. Just like an affirmative action program. In light of the extirpation campaign by German fascists during WW II, it is all ‘fair and equitable’.

    Does that clear up the affirmative action metaphor?

    After all, isn’t helping needy others to destroy the communities of lesser deserving people that are in the way, the supreme gest of friendship and solidarity? Americans did enjoy considerable success with its own campaigns of ethnic cleansing during critical nation-building period. Time to share.

    1. baffling

      westslope, your description and comparison of affirmative action is in extremely poor taste. i would be quite embarrassed by such statements if i were you.

    2. Nick G

      Generous support from American socialists

      I’d be curious for evidence of that. As far as I can tell, Republicans are at least as aggressive in supporting Israel as Democrats, though clearly it’s pretty bipartisan. For instance, the destruction of Saddam Hussein was supported strongly by members of the Bush administration who saw Iraq as a threat to Israel.

      Oddly, support for Israel seems lately to be coming most fervently from the religious right, which believes that Israel must exist in order to allow the Second Coming to appear in the sequence predicted in Revelations.

  20. Steven Kopits

    Defending Rick Santelli

    Santelli’s views are broadly held within the financial community, but they have not been correct in every respect. Monetary and fiscal policy in the US has not led to either high inflation, high interest rates or a collapse of the dollar. at least to date.

    A majority in the financial community, however, is concerned that asset bubbles are forming in bonds, stocks, and to an extent housing. Thus, we are seeing asset, rather than consumer, price inflation. For example, from Bloomberg, today:

    Two years of uninterrupted gains in U.S. stocks are sowing anxiety among financial professionals, with three in five saying the market is on the verge of a bubble or already in one, the Bloomberg Global Poll found. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed said the equity market is close to unsustainable levels while 14 percent already saw a bubble, according to a quarterly poll of 562 investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers. Almost a third of respondents called the market for lower-rated corporate debt overheated…

    Here’s what they’re looking at:

    Leverage for buyouts is soaring:, even as EBITDA multiples are at recent highs, at 11.5x versus a peak of 9.6x for the previous cycle.

    The Bank of International Settlements has expressed concerns about bubbles, almost using Santelli’s words, that investors are assuming that the Federal Reserve will always backstop equity markets with low interest rates.

    For its part, the IMF has expressed concern about a global housing bubble:

    Santelli is, I think, bringing attention to the fact there is more to monetary policy than inflation and unemployment rates, and that is asset bubbles. The US was not undone in 2007 by either overheating labor markets or excessive inflation. It was gutted by an asset bubble, and specifically an asset bubble in housing.

    Santelli, and now much of the financial community, is clearly spooked that another bubble is well under way, and that the Fed should act to cool valuations and restrain leverage. That’s what he refers to as a more ‘steak and potatoes, mundane’ monetary policy. Janet Yellen, like her predecessor, does not appear able to recognize a bubble, and yet, I would wager that just about every reader of this blog would agree that US housing was a bubble in 2007.

    So, we have a situation in which the financial community calling for restraint, and policy makers are resisting it. Who was it who criticized evil bankers among the commenters? Slugs, perhaps. Perhaps Slugs would now agree, that if the financial community is of the view that we have the threat of a bubble, then perhaps it is time for the Fed to act, just as it failed to do last time around.

    And I think that’s Santelli’s underlying point.

    1. Steven Kopits

      Baffs -

      I have long blamed it on Beijing, and that’s still a risk, I agree. Having said that, the Fed has piled on, and interest rates are arguably too low–not for the real economy (ie, income statement themes like wages and expenses) but for balance sheet items like financial assets. It’s a tricky balancing act, but we do need to keep in mind, I think, that asset prices are also a third element in the mix. I personally feel the Fed should have broad discretion in these matters. After all, it was asset prices(coupled with a hefty oil shock), not inflation or unemployment, which blew up the economy in 2007. The Fed needs to be able to factor asset prices into their thinking.

      As for Rick Santelli, he says what I often feel. It’s more visceral than rational, but sometimes it’s comforting to have someone say that money has value, that merit matters, that there is no free lunch forever. It’s very Newtonian and tangible. I don’t take everything he says as gospel, of course.

  21. baffling

    santelli rants every few weeks because he is an ideologue with a short temper. he is a primary reason i don’t watch cnbc anymore. i used to, but idealogues (and there are several on the network) will lose you money.

    he argues the fed is artificially holding down rates, and this is creating a bubble, particularly in the bond market-his specialty. however, did you read the front page wsj today? over the past couple of years china has been buying alot of us treasuries-in april they bought more than the Fed! you may argue they are a government and not a private market participant, but when they buy treasuries they are a member of the capitalist free market-and their demand has contributed to the “artificially low” yields santelli rants about. so i continue to ask the question to those who detest the fed-why should rates not be low? is it really “artificial”? china would lead one to believe the low rates are not artificial but the market rate.

    finally, financiers want the government to restrain them? why should the government keep them from touching a hot burner? if we have an asset bubble, you do not need to invest in the overvalued asset-let somebody else buy. you simply need to be patient and wait for them to liquidate. problem is financiers have no patience-so they now want the government to keep them from buying an overvalued asset. why?

    you are now saying the fed should not focus inflation or employment, but financial stability? they are asking congress for that authority now-you can guess what the answer will be!

  22. westslope

    baffling wrote: westslope, your description and comparison of affirmative action is in extremely poor taste. i would be quite embarrassed by such statements if i were you.

    baffling: To be clear, I am no advocating ethnic cleansing and terrorism. And although I count less than 30,000 Americans who have died for this glorious nation-building exercise, I still view Israeli settlement as the the single biggest threat to US security and economic well being.

    All that said, I am rather certain that the victims of this glorious nation building exercise would appreciate the analogy or metaphor.

    1. Nick G

      I am rather certain that the victims of this glorious nation building exercise would appreciate the analogy or metaphor.

      You might want to ask them.

      You appear to be making an analogy between support of Israel and support for affirmative action (a policy designed to mitigate the effects of racism). Given that you appear to disapprove of Israel, that certainly gives the impression that you support racism. Palestinians, on the other hand, have been arguing that “Zionism is racism”, so clearly they disapprove of racism.

      So, you might want to ask them…

    2. baffling

      westslope, you equate affirmative action to activities of murder, genocide and terrorism. it is just very poor taste.

  23. baffling

    in case anybody was ever curious about how a disinformation and misinformation campaign is promoted, this thread certainly gives us a close encounter with how a “think tank” promotes its agenda!

  24. baffling

    David A,
    to identify any conflict of interest, are you or have you ever been associated with the Heartland Institute and its activities?

    i ask because of the curious response you made above
    “the Heartland Institute has not received any funding from ExxonMobil since 2006. Most of our work on climate change (other than reporting on the debate in Environment & Climate News) started in 2008, after ExxonMobil stopped funding us.”


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