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"Geo-engineering" might be fine if done by engineers who understood and could design for all of the major problems. Already the acidification of the oceans and its effect on fish from CO2 being added to the oceans is a subject of serious concern. And, do we know what effect putting up an earth cooling sunshade would have on plants? The short growing seasons of Russia come quickly to mind. A sulphur dioxide "pill" with as every medicine significant and often unknown side effects? Short-sighted?


Judge Posner,

Neither you nor Dr. Becker bothered to mention the climate-gate scandal that involved the manipulation and distortion of scientific data for pure political purposes. That is a significant omission from your blog entry. I'd beeb waiting for you and Becker to comment on it since the scandal broke and was wondering if it affected your views on global warming at all? Apparently not.

Chicago School and a Denier of MMGW

It is very sad to see social scientists ignore evidence of the politically motivated science behind man-made global warming.

It isn't a "travesty" when data conflicts with models, and it isn't a travesty when mother nature drops 2 feet of snow on the idiots in Washington DC.


I'm a conservative that listens to Glen Beck and I just don't believe in global warming. Even if it is real, Jesus will return long before we ever have to worry about it.


Amazing...politics _and_ science mixing in a human endeavor? Well, Chicago School, I am shocked, SHOCKED at such an allegation. Politics exist in science just as they do in economics or any other field of study, and throwing out the good science because there may be a political element is an adolescent knee-jerk reaction. I daresay there might even be politics involved in conservative economics. Yep. I said it.

And there's a difference between weather, such as 2 feet of snow dropped on idiots, and climate. A simple Internet search should provide clarification about the difference. No amount of Internet searching will provide any clarifications about the idiots, however. They remain an enigma.

Gregory Nieberg

Not a single climatologist that believes climate change is a real phenomena has ever said that a snow storm in late December 2009 is an impossibility. If that were the case, then the 60-70 degree weather that NY experienced in November would stand of proof of global climate change (which it is not).

So anyone who argues that the recent snow storm in anyway refutes the claims of human induced climate change clearly has no understanding of the debate. That would be the same as my arguing that the "movement" of the sun proves that the earth stands still.

There is significant day-to-day variation in the weather irrespective of the veracity of climate change. Those who argue that climate change is a real phenomena and problem are not claiming that winter will cease to exist. What they are claiming is that we may experience a few degrees shift in average temperatures which (given the complexity and feedback loops in the earth's climate) can lead to dramatic (and potentially costly and deadly) results. To take a simple example, if the average temperature during December in Washington DC is currently 28 degrees and global climate change raises the average temperature by 3 degrees we would still see snow in December b/c the average is below the freezing point of 32 degrees (And that's of course forgetting that average is only half the story, b/c even with an average of 35 degrees you are likely to see days below 32 degrees).

The point of climate change is long-term trends. And the long-term trends show a disturbing result. The so called "climate-gate" does nothing to change the data. That was the case of a vanishingly small subset of the climatology community that (10 years ago!) ended-up publishing - not hiding - the articles that questioned climate change. Moreover, the so-called "trick" that they used to calculate the data is no more a trick than my saying that multiplying by 1/2 is the same as dividing by 2.

Can climatologists say to an absolute certainty that climate change is real? Of course not! That's not science. Even gravity, which I am willing to speculate we all agree is a real phenomena, is still referred to as the "theory" of gravity b/c it cannot be proven to certainty. Anyone who argues that anything "proves" that climate change doesn't exist is therefore not basing their arguments on science but is basing it on ideology. Unfortunately, we will never "know" that human induced climate change is real until it actually occurs (and even then it could never be proven what the cause was). The question we should (must!) be asking is what are the probabilities of it being true, what are the costs of preventing it measured against the costs of doing nothing if it were true. I happen to believe the costs of doing nothing are immense, the costs of doing something are not that great, and that, even if climate change is not real, that the benefits of doing something lead to other benefits that make it worth it anyway (e.g., no longer sending money to autocratic dictators who hate us and support themselves with oil money).

Chicago School and a Denier of MMGW


Here is Howard Dean admitting the current senate healthcare bill will "precipitate the crisis" and make prices continue to skyrocket to the point of government intervention. Compare Dean's comments to what Obama is saying - insure 30,000,000 more people while cutting the deficit...!!!

It is the same strategy the marxist used to destroy other industries. Precipitate the crisis, create unsustainable bubbles, let them pop on the American people, and point the finger at free markets. Then convince people that government intervention is the only solution to stem systematic risk. Don't tell anyone about government intervention creating the bubble - their memories don't go back that far.

See... the mortgage industry and auto industry...! Healthcare is next.... and HOWARD DEAN IS TELLING US THIS...! The MARXIST will precipate the crisis and destroy our system just to advance his government takeover. Liars like Obama are just puppets of Sal Alinsky to fool the American people.

Yes, and man-made global warming is total BS...!

Chicago School and a Denier of MMGW

Arguing that a snow storm in december is evidence of anything is as stupid as arguing that one over-active hurricane season is evidence of anything, but that is being taught in our public school system courtesy of Al Gore's nobel prize winning The Inconvenient Truth.

Foreign media even mentions climategate and how those emails disrupted the talks in Copenhagen. I just hate to see our version of the story omitting relevant news. We know CNN and the others distort the news all the time to fit their agenda. It is just sad to also see our scientists do the same.


Judge Posner,
Make an attempt to investigate the sceptical view.
"Climate Audit" and "Watts up with That" are OK starting points.
Read the posts, starting with older ones, and skip the comment sections, which can be eratic and uninformative as they are here.
I think it will change your tune.


Judge Posner,

Just a few thoughts:
1.) Don't you think there are down stream effects of acid rain? For example when you use fertalizer nitrogen from the fertalizer leeks into rivers which flow into the ocean, which causes allegy blooms that soaks up all the oxygen and causes dead pools. Now you've killed all the fish.

2.) There's more to global warming then temperature evidence. Mainly ice core and anthropological evidence. The result of global warming is not hotter temperatures but greater extremes. That is based on anthropological evidence not faulty temperature measurements.

3.) If the ice is melting adding water and the air can hold more water because of greater heat what is the net net? More rain, more ice, greater atmospheric pressure, dryer land, higher sea levels? The truth is we don't know but it would be great if we did.

4.) Maybe instead of bribing poor countries we could promise to fund research devoted to clean energy? Now you've given an incentive to: Poor country governments, the largest populations, etc. I guess I'm saying what we need is more creativity and less speculation. Climate change may be a problem but it may not be however what is certain is that there are global wars over energy alongside billions of under fed people in the world. If we exercised a little more creativity and a little less name calling the world would no doubt be a better place.


Please release the sulfur dioxide in northwest Pakistan, two birds with one stone.

Chicago School and a Denier of MMGW


30 years of a mini ice-age coming our way.

Al Gore is a fascist nutjob. George Orwell would be amazed to see groupthink reaching this level.

Bob Howard

Dear Professor Posner,

In my view, the free rider problem that you note is defeating solutions to global warming is created by bad proposed solutions. The proposed solutions are poor public policy because they create an unnecessary large loss for some countries and groups within countries, with an uncertain gain for different countries and groups.

A partial solution that has no free rider problem and that would unambigously improve US and glabal welfare would be a revenue neutral shift from income and payroll based taxes to fuel taxes in the US. This shift would reduce pollution and increase US economic growth. Small and Parry calculated an optimum gasoline tax of about $1.00 per US/gal for the US in their 2002 article Does Britain or The United States Have the Right Gas Tax?

Professor Mankiw also suggested replacing revenue from a US payroll tax with a gasoline tax increase as part of the US government response to the 2008 recession.

The US has a very low fuel tax by international standards much lower even than in Canada or Australia, which are large, empty countries.

What do you think ?

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I'm a conservative that listens to Glen Beck and I just don't believe in global warming. Even if it is real, Jesus will return long before we ever have to worry about it.

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