A self-proclaimed left/liberal/Democrat extends an olive branch to Republicans and climate skeptics:
Yes, I have the perception that your side is worse. Yes, I understand that your side has the perception that my side is worse. Great. Can we both agree to back off a little?
We’ll continue to try to make the case that the global society does need to decarbonize, and we’ll accept that your disagreement doesn’t make you evil. In return, can you agree at least to listen in good faith and accept that our beliefs about the importance of global warming doesn’t make us evil?
This story at desmogblog reminds me of that classic Mad magazine cartoon.
That’s because the CIA today is treating climate change seriously, while one of its supposed former spooks is chasing shadows. I say supposed, because what self-respecting spy goes around publicly advertising himself as a “CIA counter-terrorism operations expert”?
Some of you may experience that after reading this article, or maybe you’ll reach for some of those tattered Carlos Castaneda paperbacks and get reacquainted with Don Juan, that wily, shape-shifting trickster.
Or maybe not, if you’re already aware that Castaneda was a dark trickster of another sort. So in light of this history, I want to know less about The Atlantic author’s psychedelic experience and more about the guy in her story, who goes from living in New York City and working for Pfizer to living in a thatch hut in the Amazon and becoming a shaman’s apprentice.
How does that happen?
A reader of James Fallows has a suggestion to better focus the national discussion of the moment that is equally relevant to the climate change debate:
I would love to see a list of common sense rules (similar to Michael Pollan’s food rules) that serve as good reminders of civil discourse. What would you like to see on such a list? My first one, for example: “Never speak with the insinuation that your opponents do not have the best interest of Americans at heart.”
If only Joe Romm and Anthony Watts, two of the most popular climate bloggers that happen to occupy opposite ends of the climate spectrum, would take that advice to heart. For the record, I do believe that both of these men have the best interest of Americans at heart.
one useful way to think about the relationship between violent rhetoric and violent action.
The climate change example discussed by the blogger “Henry” relates not to civil dialogue but to the causal connection often invoked for random weather and disaster events. He writes:
…it is usually going to be next to impossible to tell whether any given event is ’caused’ by climate change…Testing arguments about climate change involves multiple data points and the usual problems of statistical inference etc. Similarly, it is probably a bad idea to attribute any particular violent action to an overall climate of violent rhetoric without some strong evidence of a direct causal relationship.
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute advance their argument for a “third pathway” in the energy/climate debate.
The two dominant sides, they assert, have
constructed increasingly baroque fantasies of the other. To partisan greens, skeptics are fossil fuel-funded and brainwashed planet killers too stingy to spend a postage stamp a day to save the world from imminent apocalypse. To the partisan skeptic, greens seeking emissions caps are crypto-socialist watermelons whose policies would destroy the global economy and rapidly goosestep us into U.N. governance. Those who fit into neither frame are squeezed in one camp or the other by those who believe that if you are not with us, then you must be against us. The result? A Manichean debate with essentially no room for a third view.
The authors make a forceful pitch for nuclear power as the bridge technology that can unite disparate forces to the cause of fossil-fuel free energy–if only the main antagonists could get past their dark suspicions and sweeping rejection of each other:
Nuclear power is today being embraced by individuals such as Stewart Brand, who holds an apocalyptic view of global warming, as well as by George Will, who doubts anthropogenic global warming is in fact occurring. Must their motivations align before we make the necessary investments to make nuclear power cheaper, safer and cleaner?
It’s going to take a lot more than a few uncommon bedfellows to overcome the deeply ingrained opposition to nuclear power by greens. On that note, consider this passage in the Shellenberger & Nordhaus essay:
Many of the climate scientists most alarmed by global warming were making the case to their friends in the green movement that scaling up nuclear power was critical to reducing emissions, since renewables remain expensive and difficult to scale. “One of the greatest dangers the world faces,” NASA climate scientist James Hansen said, “is the possibility that a vocal minority of antinuclear activists could prevent phase-out of coal emissions.”
I’d like to know who “many of these climate scientists” are other than Hansen. Because I have to wonder: if there were a good number of prominent climate scientists as vocally supportive of nuclear power as Hansen, I bet the anti-nuclear stance by many greens would melt away as fast as some of the world’s glaciers are now melting.
“There’s no place for plastic in our marine environment.”
To which Bart says:
Imagine a similarly worded and honest, clear, informative interview about AGW. And the scientist interviewed says right in the beginning: “There’s no place for unlimited amounts of CO2 to be emitted into our atmosphere.”
I dare say that it wouldn’t receive the same amount of praise as this article has. Because both are normative statements that people agree or disagree with. People in the latter category will be predisposed to dismiss what follows.