Global Climate Change a.k.a. Global Warming

Ok I have been thinking a lot on this subject.  Before I start here I have to say I do have a PhD in Physics.

When I heard the President say, a few months back, that every scientist agrees that man made global warming (he may have said climate change) was real I laughed out loud.  If you put a dozen scientists in a room you can barely get a consensus on color of the sky.  Sure blue but the shade of blue will be up for debate.  Its not that we are bad people its just that we like precision.  So the wavelength of blue light is something we will argue based on who did the measurement, how many clouds, time of year, latitude and longitude, see there is no one correct answer.

Climate Change….I, as a graduate student, did some work in this area.  Yes I was just a student and the work I did and published in a refereed journal didn’t turn the world on its ear but it did show one thing.  Our Sun, the source the of Earth’s warmth, does change its output over time.  It gets warming it gets cooler.  VERY slightly…This is pretty well known to happen even outside the physics community in the astronomy community even amongst amateur astronomers.  Probably not that wide outside of that community.

So we studied changing global temperature vs changing solar temperature.  You get a GENERAL match.  I say general because global temperature data is a mess…We saw it at the time.  There have been changes in instrumentation which changes your accuracy.  These changes can be by as much as a degree or so.  Over the last hundred years if I remember right there have been 3 major changes in the types of instrumentation (I probably am off on that number but you get the point).  That throws error into the data.  Whenever I sit and watch a story on the news of global climate change or see Al Gore talking about it they never talk about the potential error rate.  There are error bars.

If the error rate is what I believe it to be the global climate change they talk about is well within the error bars.  Meaning that it may be a mistake.  Just like political polls have an error rate of plus or minus something.  Temperature data has an error rate of plus or minus something yet you never see that quoted.

Now I hate pollution like anyone but before we spend LUDICROUS amounts of money funding reversing, shifting or whatever climate around which I don’t think man can really do shouldn’t we fund a few million bucks for a study that says what the heck are those error rates?  See just what the real data looks like since it all seems to be missing at this point?  I’m just saying lets do this right.  Look at it from first principals and not go off half cocked with something like cap and trade which will cause much higher taxes on everyone regardless of income bracket?

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Yoshi on March 1, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    This is the real problem with the whole debate on global warming — Its all about money.

    No person in their right mind would ever sit in a room while fossil fuels are burned and inhale them. Everybody seems to agree that pollution is a bad thing. Yet efforts made to reduce toxic emissions are always met the argument you end with. Its a tax.

    Unfortunately the only way to make the kinds of changes needed to reduce pollution and to prevent the destruction of the natural environment is through legislation and taxes. Nobody wants to pay more taxes, nobody wants an overarching dominating government. However, the only way to solve this problem is by sliding a little more in that direction. How many times was legislation mandating improved efficiency for cars, shot down or reduced because of the cost? What would the results have been if those laws were passed 10 or 20 years ago? Would we all be driving cars that have much better milage and reduced emissions?

    You need to deal with it. You don’t get anything for free. Is cap & trade the right answer, I don’t know. Will it reduce pollution? Probably. The only argument against it….taxes.


    • I agree there are no free rides. You get nothing for free. However how much do I have to pay in taxes? The wife and I combined to pay 12.3X the taxes of the average American household. Happy to do it. However when is enough? If I had more of my income left I would likely find a way to make more money, by investing, that investing causes new salaries…Those salaries (and I have created 6 jobs through direct investments) pay taxes also. Wouldn’t it be better to allow me to keep more and do something constructive with it? It has been shown over and over historically that there is a law of diminishing returns on taxes. If you tax too high revenues to the government decline. We have probably passed those numbers. I’ll have to research what that point is and post it.


      • Posted by Yoshi on March 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm

        Not that I am all for increased taxes, but the lower taxes to spur investment stuff is really a bunch of garbage.

        Here is mental excercise….

        You have $1,000. You can invest that money and make a 10% return.

        The tax rate is 0%, do you invest?
        The tax rate is 25% do you invest?
        The tax rate is 50% do you invest?
        The tax rate is 99% do you invest?

        In every case you are going to invest because as long as taxes are less than 100%, you always end up with more money.

        Yes, you need to account for inflation, etc. But this simple example show that taxes do not affect your decision to invest.

        Now what you are referring to with the law of diminishing returns is is more about the opportunity cost, and that general is about your time. You are limited to 168 hours in a week. Thus each additional hour that you choose to work needs to pay your more money as each hour is more valuable to do other things. Or you could use that $1,000 above to take a nice trip. Corporations face no such limits. They have nothing else to with their resources than to invest them (in theory). Yes corporations spend money on stuff like bonuses, perks, etc.

        Where taxes do affect investment is in your evaluation of whether or not an investment is sound. Lower taxes encourage riskier investments.

        Lets say you have an opportunity to make an investment. It has a 50% chance to lose half its value and a 50% chance to double its value. Thus the expected outcome is a 25% return. Now lets take a look at how taxes change that.

        Assume you invest $100. Your two outcomes are end up with $50 or end up with $200. If you end up with $200, you earned $100, and after taxes, you end up with $90. So the true expected outcome is really a 20% return. 50% to end up with $50, 50% to end up with $190. Now what if taxes are 50%. You end up with a 50% chance to get back $50, and a 50% chance to get back $150 after taxes. Expected outcome is 0%. So you are less likely to invest in something that has a 50% change of losing half its value with a high tax rate.

        As taxes increase your expected return goes down. As taxes increase, your expected return goes up. Thus with lower taxes, you are more likely to invest in riskier opportunities as the expected payoff when you win it larger.

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