David Thompson
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February 23, 2009

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John D

"The longer I work on climate change, the less important I think it is whether or not the warmists or the sceptics are right."

I just wanted to hear that again.

TDK
Retardo

Golly, what a glorious future! Remember the glorious future we got after the fall of communism? Yeah, it'll be just like that, but even better!

And they call that "pragmatism". Riiight.

David

It’s rather like how a certain type of English graduate will argue, badly, that the notion of intelligence as a personal attribute is “aping capital” and “a source of social ills” and therefore “should be abandoned” in favour of a more egalitarian, but dishonest, formulation:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/10/unnatural-taboo.html

I marvel at how an ostensibly clever person will argue that his cleverness is not his own, based on political beliefs that are enormously tendentious and not at all convincing. I also marvel at the readiness to confuse reality with political preference. But maybe that’s just me.

TDK

I see you are interested in the logic of what he says

In that case W Briggs has a relevant post:
http://wmbriggs.com/blog/2009/02/23/what-appeal-to-authority-means-and-what-it-doesnt/

For me I think the argument above is a non sequitur. He starts from the idea that consumption (ie wealth) is bad and therefore any argument is a justification. If it wasn't global warming it would be affluenza.
http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2891/

In a different age he would be preaching eternal damnation unless we repent our sins. There's still time!!!

David

TDK,

Thanks for those. I was rather struck by Edwards’ apparent willingness to accept gross distortion (if that’s what it should prove to be) in the cause of some ostensible greater good. I find it interesting that some people will blur the distinction between how reality is and how they feel it ought to be, or ought to be perceived, and do so quite openly. Again, it reminds me of the anti-intellectual theatrics of Professor Maureen Stanton and her associates when faced with lines of enquiry they found ideologically “offensive”:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/09/diversity.html

TDK

Ah Larry!

Here's another person "articulating an appalling point of view". Disgraceful!
http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/02/la-griffe-du-lion-universal-math-sex.html

David

TDK,

Again, thanks. I’m sure this kind of unrealism spans all parts of the political landscape, but it’s hard not to register a concentration of it among parts of the academic left. I suppose this is to some extent a consequence of efforts to politicise everything in sight, often tendentiously. Details and enquiry become charged and rather precious, in the pejorative sense.

TDK

Luboš Motl is an interesting anomaly, or he would be were he in the UK or US. This is an admirer of Vaclav Klaus and http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/02/vaclav-klaus-unbearable-inability-to.html
and Milton Friedman http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/02/milton-friedmans-f-twist.html

I hope he's not so unusual in Eastern Europe

Alcuin

The longer I work on climate change, the less important I think it is whether or not the warmists (sic) or the sceptics are right

Only insofar (according to climate science guru Wallace Broecker) as if we did EVERYTHING that our leaders have proposed, it would only cut our emissions by a third of how much we need to cut them. But most of the proposals and targets are themselves unachievable. For example, to meet Broon's absurd targets for wind power, we should have to ramp up manufacture of turbines to ridiculous levels. Assume the unachievability factors our targets down by 50%. Add to that our lack of any serious resolve to do anything until disaster stares us in the face, and you see that IF the sceptics are right, we are wasting our time, and if Broecker and James Lovelock are right, then the catastrophe will happen anyway.

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-980700582829425063&q=lovelock+Climate+change+on+the+living+Earth&total=1&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

Seeing as the sceptics are a rag-tag bunch of opinionated journalists, political activists and quack scientists, I lean to the second scenario, in which case you can put your head between your legs and kiss any hope of a fairer world goodbye. We are truly fucked. Forget windmills, buy some land (more than 10 meters above sea level) a few Uzis and plenty of ammo, grow your own food and protect it from all comers.

Brunsfighter

Pebble-bed reactors and nuclear reprocessing are the best thing to do, yet Greens refuse to see it. These morons drove us away from clean power, and now whine at us for coal plants. They infuriate me.

newbie

Makes me wonder how common Edwards attitude is.

Steve in San Diego

Leading non-scientist global warming pimps such as Al Gore are heavily invested in "Green Technology" companies. The question is not whether CO2 is a real problem. It is not whether windmills and solar can really meet our energy needs. The question is, whether Al's stock portfolio has a winning rate of return or not.

http://soundpolitics.com/public/2008/05/al_gores_green_megamillions.html

http://www.matternetwork.com/2008/5/al-gore-lands-another-683.cfm

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/are-pelosis-green-investments-a-conflict-of-interest/


Note also that these sorts generally have enormous carbon footprints. Do as I say, not as I do.

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2007/02/gores_carbon_fo.html


Yes, Al Gore and Yassir Arafat, both proud winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

There are proposed closed cycle nuclear breeder reactor schemes, where reactor fuel is reprocessed on-site into fuel containing all of all of the radioisotopes produced, not just the plutonium. The radioactive waste would no longer be waste, but rather fuel, all consumed to produce power. Ultimately, the scheme could consume 95% of natural uranium, rather than the 0.7% that is U235. A few pallets of low-enriched uranium fuel (3% U235) could be brought onto the site to start the reactor operation, and that would be it -- the remaining 97% of U238 would be consumed over the life of the reactor, with almost no high-level waste remaining.

http://www.nationalcenter.org/NuclearFastReactorsSA1205.pdf

A fairly reasonable investment in green energy could be petroleum from algae. Oil is running out and this could actually make economic sense.

http://www.nrel.gov/biomass/pdfs/benemann.pdf

gaffee

"Climate change experts" ain't what they used to be.
http://www.slideshare.net/cafodbigdeal/liveit-2008-mike-edwards-on-climate-change

Steve in San Diego

Possibly related.

New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Rain Forests

CHILIBRE, Panama — The land where Marta Ortega de Wing raised hundreds of pigs until 10 years ago is being overtaken by galloping jungle — palms, lizards and ants.

Instead of farming, she now shops at the supermarket and her grown children and grandchildren live in places like Panama City and New York.

Here, and in other tropical countries around the world, small holdings like Ms. Ortega de Wing’s — and much larger swaths of farmland — are reverting to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings.

These new “secondary” forests are emerging in Latin America, Asia and other tropical regions at such a fast pace that the trend has set off a serious debate about whether saving primeval rain forest — an iconic environmental cause — may be less urgent than once thought. By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/science/earth/30forest.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all

One hypothesis:

Jobs = moving to cities.
Moving to cities = abandoned subsistence farmland.
Abandoned farmland = rainforest regrowth.
Carbon caps = fewer jobs.


David

Gaffee,

“‘Climate change experts’ ain’t what they used to be.”

In fairness, that slideshow is aimed at children. But, yes, it’s interesting how cosily the infantilism and religiosity sits with the broader issue. “Live simply, sustainably and in solidarity” because “individualistic materialism” is very, very bad. He seems very keen to tell us what a “proper life” is. The fact Dr Mike doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb is itself rather curious. Though to his credit, he does play the didgeridoo.

http://www.progressio.org.uk/livesimply/AssociatesInternal/95534/meet_the_speakers/

rxc

It is all part of a strategy to get your ideas made a part of the culture. You say the same things over and over again, and eventually it gets pocked up, and if it becomes fashionable, voila, you are in. I heard the head of the "Universal Voluntary national Service" organization say exactly this, the other day on NPR. She said that the "voluntary" part was correct, but they hoped that eventually the idea of "National Service" would become so embedded in the culture that no one would think of not performing it. It is the first time I have ever heard anyone explicitly describe this tactic, which arises from Gramsci, but I think it is the basis for the environmental movement. And it leads to the sort of quotes that Dr. Edwards made.

What I worry about is what happens when their ideal moreal world doesn't quite work the way they think it should - people who are driven by their own visions of morality are not known for their tolerance of people who do not make the world work the way they want it, and they have a propensity to impose more and more controls to get people to behve the way they "should".

AMac

A bit late to the party, but here's a link to Fabius Maxius' compilation of one recent, prominent tussle between the AGW consensualists and the AGW skeptics.

"An opportunity for you to judge for yourself the adequacy of the work in climate science," 2 March 2009.
http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/judge-2/

This concerns the January 2009 publication by EJ Steig et al of “Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year” in Nature.

The skeptics' position is that the data and computer programs on which this paper are based should be made publically available. Their reasons: (1) It's how good science is done; (2) Vetting and replication are only possible if the material is made public in a usable form; (3) Journals' policies require such releases; and (4) This is publically-funded research.

The consensualists' positions are... well, about what you might imagine.

Worth reading.

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