Beware of Labels

By Keith Kloor | June 6, 2012 11:32 am

As I mentioned yesterday, I participated in a panel discussion at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on environmentalism. The event centered on Roger Scruton’s new book, “How to Think Seriously About the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism.” (My fellow panelists included Daniel Sarewitz of Arizona State University and Kenneth Greene, an AEI resident scholar, who has posted his comments.)

I’m traveling today, so I don’t have time to gather my thoughts on the event or delve into the book (will return to it in a few days). But meanwhile,  AEI’s Steven Hayward captured its theme well, when he said

it is difficult to summarize [Scuton’s] book in a short blog post, beyond saying that he believes we should rest our environmentalism on “oikophilia,” love of place””meaning, our local places.  In other words, instead of “Think Globally, Act Locally,” as the bumper sticker slogan goes, Scruton argues we should think locally, too.

I’ll just briefly add that the book scrambles my conceptions of “conservative.” That’s probably because my framework is political and U.S.-centric. For example, I don’t see Scruton’s conservationist ethic and concerns for biodiversity expressed in today’s GOP. But that is the subject for another post (it  came up during the panel, when Sarewitz asked why, in accordance with the conservative environmental values laid out in Scruton’s book, U.S. Republicans don’t stake out the environment as their own issue).

The danger of categorization–of putting people people in simplistic boxes–was also made apparent to me by this article in today’s Guardian. I’m not that familiar with British politics, but I just assumed that anyone closely identified with environmentalist causes would fit more naturally in the Labour party. But clearly that is not the case:

The influential Tory MP Zac Goldsmith says the intense focus on climate change in the last decade has encouraged politicians and environment groups to drop key green issues like air pollutionbiodiversity and food and avoid reform of the economic system.

“Climate change went too far. A lot of stuff slipped off the agenda. The environment became about carbon and not the environment that you can feel and touch and see. Food, biodiversity, air quality all got knocked off. When we talked about forests we talked about them as sticks of carbon.

 Then there’s this a little further down in the piece:
Jonathon Porritt, former chair of the Ecology party and head of the Sustainable Development Commission, says that Margaret Thatcher and her environment secretary Nicholas Ridley did more than anyone in the last 60 years to put green issues on the national agenda and swell the membership of groups like Friends of the Earth.

In the United States, membership rolls of environmental groups also swelled when Thatcher’s political soul mate across the Atlantic, Ronald Reagan, occupied the White House. But it was in response to his perceived anti-environmental policies–and the anti-environmental rhetoric and actions of Republicans in Congress at the time. Since then, the trend has continued: Membership rises in green groups when Republicans are in power.

Today, because of this history (reinforced in recent years by the GOP’s hostility to climate science) but also because of the demagoguery of American greens, Republicans have been tagged as anti-environmental. Subsequently, environmentalism has become closely associated with liberalism and the Democratic party.

But in the UK, green issues don’t seem to be so monolithically associated with one political party and environmentalists are not so easily labeled. Why is this?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, environmentalism
  • http://www.mcfc.co.uk Jeremy Poynton

    US republicans and UK Conservatives should not in any way be confused. The Conservatives as seen in government at the moment are centre placed Social Democrats. There are MPs with something in common with the Republicans, but they are sidelined and treated with contempt. For example, they think the UK should leave the EU. The government does not, even if it breaks us, bankrupts us, and destroys our common law legal system which has served us so well over the centuries.Bottom line. Republican does not remotely equal Conservative. 

  • charlie

    Pretty easy, actually.Federal ownership of land in the west.Push through federal laws, and you’re going to piss off a lot of land owners (and land users) out west.  And they have something called a Senate.CBA is far from perfect, but with stuff like endangered species you’ve got to wonder is it worth saving some owl or newt?  As opposed to, say, banning oil drilling off Malibu.

  • MarkB

    A couple of thoughts. First, hunters (often conservative, politically) were among the first conservationists, and remain committed conservationists today. Many of them consider environmentalism to have hijacked their own beliefs and replaced them with 1960s radical leftist ideology. Second. Regarding the British situation. Those most against on-shore wind farms are typically conservative country folk who want to protect their natural countryside views from industrial power plants. The fox hunt Tories who are anti-wind don’t take the position because they’re anti-environment. They take it because they are pro-environment. They just put the local environment first. The same is true in Germany, where the power lines necessary to bring North Sea wind farm power to the industrial south are being fought on local environmental concerns. This is putting the newly-powerful Green party in the squeeze.

  • TanGeng

    Today, because of this history (reinforced in recent years by the GOP’s hostility to climate science) but also because of the demagoguery of American greens, Republicans have been tagged as anti-environmental. Subsequently, environmentalism has become closely associated with liberalism and the Democratic party.

    The difference in election format and political should explain the alignment. The US system lends itself to two dominant political parties with prominently visible interest groups.
    However, the most influential interest groups are not visible at all because their positions and policies are unquestionable orthodoxy. Deviation from these policies risks labels of crazy, extreme, or the ever popular Unserious®.

  • harrywr2

    But in the UK, green issues don’t seem to be so monolithically
    associated with one political party and environmentalists are not so
    easily labeled. Why is this?
    I’ll make a hypothesis.The UK Coal industry was a nationalized industry during Thatcher’s rein. It is also clear that it’s economic viability was questionable(the coal seams were pretty thin and increasingly expensive to mine) and would probably need to be propped up with increasingly large state subsidies to survive which a ‘Labor Government’ would only be too happy to provide. (See German coal subsidies)Hence, the environmental cause of ‘Addressing Climate Change’ coincided in the UK with other traditionally ‘Right Wing’ beliefs…i.e..anti labor union, anti nationalized industry and anti subsidies to industries controlled by big labor unions that reliably pour lots of money into the campaigns of ‘Left Wing’ politicians.Other somewhat ‘green issues’ like organic farming/anti GMO favor the ‘landed gentry’ class which traditionally leans towards Tory’s by protecting their agricultural products from cheap American imports. Wind farms also provide a nice chunk of change to the landed gentry. Carbon Trading also provides significant income to another traditional Tory constituency, the financial services industry.The US Coal industry is much more capital intensive and less labor intensive then the UK coal industry. In the UK the average coal miner produces about 3,000 tons per year. In the US the average miner produces about 11,000 tons per year with miners West of the Mississippi producing in excess of 30,000 tons per year.Hence the coal industry in the US is primarily represented by ‘Republicans/Tory’s’ where in the UK it is primarily represented by ‘Labor/Democrats’.

  • Mr. M

    I think you’re over-lumping with the term “environmentalists”.

    However, if you’re going to judge environmentalism by institutional
    criteria, the UK environment movement has always been associated with
    the upper or aristocratic classes and linked more to the tory party.
    Despite the current seeming association of “environmentalists” with the
    Labour party, it’s not deep-set at all. Look at the origins of the RSPB,
    WWF, The Ecologist, The Centre for Alternative Technology and you’ll
    find they were all founded by disillusioned upper-class people or
    aristocrats. Even the Green Party was founded by disaffected Tories.

    And although environmentalism’s current media and political
    spokespeople often evoke radical politics, they are still largely of
    aristocratic or upper-class stock (e.g. Monbiot, Goldsmith, Porritt),
    and have never been able to shake the presentation in much of the media
    (and perception among much of the public) that they only evoke their
    radical politics of anti-consumption because they have a familial
    safety-net and want to “kick away the ladder” to prevent others from
    ataining their level of material wealth.

    Another key factor is simple geographic size. There was a lot more
    environment to go around in the US for non-priveleged non-Indians to
    enjoy, whereas almost all the land in the UK has been owned by and run for the
    benefit of wealthy barons for an extremely long time, and has thus been seen as their exclusive concern (I’m obviously simplifying massively, and there are a lot of other factors besides the above).

  • huxley

    I’ll just briefly add that the book scrambles my conceptions of
    “conservative.” That’s probably because my framework is political and
    U.S.-centric.
    KK: No, it’s because you’re a typical US liberal who has not bothered to educate yourself about conservative thought but instead relied upon the cartoonish stereotypes of conservatives generated by other liberals, especially journalists.I’m speaking as a person who was liberal, even radical, for most of my adult life. I wish you the best on your political journey.

  • Vinny Burgoo

    Scruton stole ‘oikophobia’ from me. 15 years later, he comes up with ‘oikophilia’ and claims all the credit. Oi! He’s not welcome in my oikos, that’s for sure.

  • Jack Hughes

    Keith, remember that the whole political system in the UK would feel at home within the US Democrat Party.
    The Conservative Party tilts towards pro-business (not pro-market) and the Labour Party tilts towards pro-welfare.
    The Liberal Democrat Party is the junior party in the coalition govt. They are uneasy in this role because in the past they have enjoyed the luxury of never being in power so their policies are like walking into a shop that sells bumper stickers.
    The BBC is both a product of, and a promoter of this cosy consensus in which the ruling elite are often proud of being out-of-touch with ordinary people.

    Zac Goldsmith is an uber-trustafarian, dabbling in this Marie Antoinette world of experts knowing hoe ordinary people should run heir lives.

  • BBD

    There’s no Bible Belt around the belly of the UK electorate.

  • TanGeng

    @9 Jack Hughes
    >> Keith, remember that the whole political system in the UK would feel at home within the US Democrat Party.
    >> The Conservative Party tilts towards pro-business (not pro-market) and the Labour Party tilts towards pro-welfare.

    Republican Party in the US is pro-business rather than pro-market. It takes a special level of integrity to be pro-market and laissez faire. It’s really hard for politicians to be hands off.

  • Tom Scharf

    Al Gore

  • http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/ Bart Verheggen

    Keith,You seem to suggest (last few paraghraphs) that the sequence of events is roughly:- (coincidentally) some republicans (Reagan) had anti-environmental rhetoric and policies- Greens tagged the political right as anti-environment- Environmental issues got tagged as politically leftI wonder if that’s indeed the case. I don’t know, mind you, but you certainly haven’t convinced me that it is. Could it be that the partisanship re environmental issues is a side-effect of polarization in politics in general?

  • Tom C

    Keith -For those of us who have not read the book could you tell us if Scruton spends any time defining environmentalism from first principles.  Specifically, does nature have any inherent “rights” against interference by Man, or does Man have stewardship over nature for the purpose of making life good for men?  This, rather than liberal-conservative or republican-democrat, is the true fault line between the modern day environmentalists and the old time conservationists.

  • http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/ Bart Verheggen

    lay out in comments doesn’t quite work yet…

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom C (14)Will be discussing the book tomorrow in a post. About to take the day off to spend with my kids, who are off from public school today.

  • Tom C

    #10 BBDThat you indulge in sneering at religious people does not mean you have ideas worthy of consideration.

  • BBD

    Tom C

    That was not a sneer. It was an observation in fact. The fact that you are getting frilly suggests religious affiliation on your part. Is this the case?

  • BBD

    Tom C @ 14 asks KK:

    Specifically, does nature have any inherent “rights” against interference by Man, or does Man have stewardship over nature for the
    purpose of making life good for men?

    Now where have I heard that before? Ah, yes. ‘The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation':

    Our examination of theology, worldview, and ethics (Chapter One) finds that global warming alarmism wrongly views the Earth and its ecosystems as the fragile product of chance, not the robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting product of God’s wise design and powerful sustaining. It rests on and promotes a view of human beings as threats to Earth’s flourishing rather than the bearers of God’s image, crowned with glory and honor, and given a mandate to act as stewards over the Earth””filling, subduing, and ruling it for God’s glory and mankind’s benefit. It either wrongly assumes that the environment can flourish only if humanity forfeits economic advance and prosperity or ignores economic impacts altogether. And in its rush to impose draconian reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, it ignores the destructive impact of that policy on the world’s poor. 

    Look: there’s that thing about killing the poor again. Which is interesting.

    I wonder if Tom C, along with kdk33 and perhaps others here is an affiliate? Or simply a member of the wider Southern Baptist congregation?

    I ask this because I suspect (as Tom C all-but confirms at # 14) that here is the answer to Keith’s question. As I said earlier, there’s no Bible Belt in the UK.

  • Tom C

    BBD – Your thinking on this topic is hopelessly confused and conspiratorial.  None of the other commenters brought religion into the discussion, just you.  I’m just waiting for you to blame the Koch borthers also.

  • Tom C

    BBD – I see your alarm bells went off because I used the term “steward”.  While that term does have Christian overtones it does not necessarily refer to any religious stance.  For the record, I am an Orthodox Christian, usually don’t agree with evangelicals about a lot, and think the Cornwall whatever is mis-guided.

  • Steven Sullivan

    Ah, the Reagan era.  Nutty right-wing dispensationalist Christian soldier/Interior Minister James Watt was the monstrous gift that just kept on giving for environmentalists.

  • BBD

    Tom C

    In what respects do you find the CA misguided?

    Would you agree that man has stewardship over nature for the purpose of making life good for men?

  • Tom C

    BBD – I have no idea whether God made the world fragile or robust.  How the CA signers seem to know is baffling to me. I am fully on board with the notion that humans could possibly screw up the world so that everyone will die.  I just don’t think that they can do so through CO2 emissions.  Re stewardship, I want clean air so that I don’t poison myself or my neighbors, not because the air has “rights” to be clean (whatever that could possibly mean).  None of this involves religion, it is just common sense.

  • kdk33

    BBD, What does CA have to with anything on this thread?  Or what has it ever had to do with anything anytime you bring it up?  And what does anyones affiliation with CA have to do with anything?

    You have an objectional desire to name-call that most people find inappropriate if not disgusting, and it is absolutely not necessary.  I think everyone would much prefer that you take your ignorant tripe elsewhere. 

    You have repeatedly demonstrated your technical incompetence on this site.  You are now in the process of demonstrating that you are an ignorant bigot.

    Please do carry on.

  • kdk33

    Beware of labels

  • BBD

    You are now in the process of demonstrating that you are an ignorant bigot.

    Beware of labels

    Oh dear. Logic has fled. And I seem to have touched a nerve here.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    there are two things in this world that I cannot abide. bigots. and the dutch.

  • BBD

    Tom C

    You say:

    I have no idea whether God made the world fragile or robust.  How the CA signers seem to know is baffling to me.

    Then you say:

    I am fully on board with the notion that humans could possibly screw up the world so that everyone will die. I just don’t think that they can do so through CO2 emissions.

    Leaving aside the small matter that nobody’s claiming that ‘everyone will die’, why do you question CA’s position then reciprocate it?

    You both make statements of personal belief that contradict the standard scientific position on CO2 emissions. That’s *not* ‘just common sense’. So what is prompting you to make this statement? Do you see why others might find this interesting?

  • Jack Hughes

    Chill out, dudes. Mother Gaia gave us reserves of coal and oil so we can have comfortable lives. We must respect her sacred plan for us.

  • BBD

    From the article Keith links above:

    One senior House Republican who appears comfortable with his positions on climate science is Texan Ralph Hall, chairman of the House Science
    Committee.
    Asked if climate change is causing the Earth to become warmer, the lawmaker charged with shaping national science policy responded, “I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls.“

  • Tom C

    BBD – I don’t think you know what the word “reciprocate” means.  What “statement of personal belief” did I make that “contradicts the standard scientific position on CO2 emissions”?

  • BBD

    Reciprocate: correspondent or equivalent. Look it up in a decent dictionary.

    You contradicted the standard scientific position on CO2 emissions by saying this:

    I am fully on board with the notion that humans could possibly screw up the world so that everyone will die. I just don’t think that they can
    do so through CO2 emissions.

    I pointed out the strawman (nobody says everyone will die). But your meaning was clear: CO2 is not going to be a problem. Or are you fully signed up to 3C for 2xCO2? Perhaps I’ve misread you. Do you endorse the IPCC best estimate for climate sensitivity to CO2?

  • harrywr2

    #33Do you endorse the IPCC best estimate for climate sensitivity to CO2?

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-5.html#box-10-2

    Progress since the TAR enables an assessment that climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely
    to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be
    excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for
    those values

    In the English language the end of a complete sentence is indicated by a period. We generally accept a sentence as representing a complete thought. Parsing a sentence in a way unintended by the original author changes the meaning of what the author intended.

    The IPCC defines what the word likely

    Where uncertainty in specific outcomes is assessed using expert judgment and statistical analysis of a body of evidence (e.g. observations or model results), then the following likelihood ranges are used to express the assessed probability of occurrence: virtually certain >99%; extremely likely >95%; very likely >90%; likely >66%; more likely than not > 50%; about as likely as not 33% to 66%; unlikely <33%; very unlikely <10%; extremely unlikely <5%; exceptionally unlikely <1%.

    Failing to convey the level of ‘uncertainty’ represented by the IPCC’s complete sentence changes its meaning. Obviously, it was a carefully worded document. Likely doesn’t imply 90% certain, it only implies at least 66% certain.

  • kdk33

    I think BBD is off his meds.  But then, I’ve thought that for some time, he’s just now come ’round to a full demonstration.  Peachy!

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    Sigh. Start here. Don’t come back until the reading is done. Thanks.

  • BBD

    For those with reading comprehension issues:

    Progress since the TAR enables an assessment that climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    … still the Ctrl-C-Ctrl-V argumentation, I see …

  • Nullius in Verba

    #37,

    It isn’t a question of reading comprehension, it’s a question of understanding how continuous probability distributions work.

    The IPCC “likely” corresponds to 66% which corresponds roughly to a 1-sigma interval on a one-dimensional Gaussian distribution. (It’s not Gaussian, but it’s a useful approximation for the intuition.) The IPCC give this interval as 2 C to 4.5 C, centred on 3 C.

    Now most scientists usually give 2-sigma intervals, corresponding to 95% on a 1D Gaussian. It gives a much better idea of the range covered, and is now the commonly understood convention. (The IPCC took flack in their comments because of their potentially misleading use of 90% intervals instead.) Following the analogy, that would put the IPCC’s 2-sigma range as 1 C to 6 C. And since the IPCC estimate is conditional on the correctness of their models, assumptions, and “expert judgement”, and they acknowledge that uncertainties in many studies are not fully accounted for, there is an additional structural uncertainty that spreads the interval even further. The interval now extends from “nothing” all the way to “armageddon”, and may be briefly summarised best as “we don’t know”.

    Because of the way the methodology works, we tend to get skewed variations on the Gaussian “bell” shape probability density, which means values towards the middle of the range are considered slightly more likely than values at the extremes. Also, many estimates involve climate models – either directly or as an aid in extrapolating from measurements – and climate models tend to have sensitivities around 3 C. This will influence the result somewhat. But you’re always going to get a highest value somewhere, vaguely towards the middle of the interval.

    We can also go the other way and narrow the interval. If the 1-sigma interval 2-4.5 C is 66% likely, then the 1/2-sigma interval 2.5-3.75 C is 38% likely, and the 1/4-sigma interval 2.75-3.375 C is 20% likely, and so on. (Bear in mind these are over-estimates because of structural uncertainty.) In the limit, the probability of it being exactly 3 C is zero.

    Or you could pick an interval not centred on the centre. If it’s 66% likely to be in the interval 2-4.5, then it’s 34% likely to be either less than 2 or more than 4.5. If we assume their selection of limits was reasonably efficient, we can split that probability evenly between the two, so the probability of it being less than 2 C may be estimated to be around 17%. Likewise, they reckon the probability of it being greater than 4.5 C is around 17%. Not big, but not tiny, either. They can’t be confidently excluded, even according to the IPCC.

    Climate science generally has a bias towards reporting more alarming results, the IPCC has a further bias towards picking them, and everything is influenced by the clustering of the models around 3 C despite the state of the science being that we really don’t know. And even the IPCC say they don’t know, and the literature is pretty poor.

    But uncertainty doesn’t get political action, so activist-scientists beef up the language to make it a definite 3 C, which also lets them give numerical predictions of the dire future consequences without lots of inconvenient caveats as well. It fools many people.

  • BBD

    NIV

    Yes, yes… Do read the links. Start at # 36.

    You got into a pickle last time you stuck your neck out over CS. Why not learn?

  • BBD

    Before we get drawn too far off course, the interesting bit here was why the UK was different from the US in certain very important respects. One answer is that encapsulated perfectly by this quote from the article Keith links above:

    One senior House Republican who appears comfortable with his positions on climate science is Texan Ralph Hall, chairman of the House Science Committee. Asked if climate change is causing the Earth to become warmer, the lawmaker charged with shaping national science policy responded, “I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls.”

    There is no analogue for this situation in the UK. Almost certainly because there is no Bible Belt in the UK.

  • kdk33

    Poor BBD…

    It wasn’t long ago that you blamed inaction on climate on “big oil”, “entrenched inerests”, “big money”.  To combat these evil forces, you wanted to make lists, lists nameing anybody who dared offer an opinion different from… well from yours.  

    Of course it is “unfettered capitalism” that allows these evil forces the thrive and they are “undermining democracy” and we need restrictions on free speech.

    Now the problem is religion.  And since climate change is an existential threat, religion threatens us all, no doubt.  Much like “entrenched interests” threaten democracy.

    Everything would be just peachy if we scuttled democracy, rid ourselves of the free market, jailed political dissidents, and outlawed religion.

    Have you considered emigrating?

    Perhaps you could teach the folk there about PDF’s.

  • Tom C

    kdk33 – My dystopian vision is someday being called before a “climate tribunal” overseen by BBD whos sits on high with powdered wig and says “Place your hand on the Book of Hansen…Do you accept the IPPC best estimate, 3C,  etc. etc’

  • Tom C

    OK BBD – I’ll put it as clearly as I can.  The Cornwall Alliance seems to be saying that AGW can’t be a threat because God made the world to be robust to Man’s actions.  I don’t agree with that.  I can’t imagine what part of Christian theology would lead to a conclusion like that.  I think that Man could screw things up to the point of self-extinction.  Massive nuclear war might be one way but there are probably others that I can’t dream of right now.  I think catastrophic AGW is plausible as a concept.  But, to put it mildly, the case has not been persuasively made.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #40,

    “Pickle” presumably being defined as ‘got bored and gave up trying to explain basic statistics to the invincibly unconvincable BBD’.

    Yes, I saw the Annan article. I saw it last time around, too. I think it’s based on that paper they knocked up over the weekend when they saw the unconvincing rubbish the IPCC was proposing to include, and is basically a case of the “Emperor’s nose” fallacy.

    Nobody knows what the actual climate sensitivity is – that’s simply the current state of the science. While the IPCC spin it as best they can, they say so too. It’s all guesswork and gut feel.

    Scientists made a fuss about global cooling in the 1970s, and then when it turned out that it was wrong, they went back and revised the history and it turned out they hadn’t said it at all. If you looked closely at the academic literature, there were no definite claims, at best a bit of tentative speculation from a few scientists. And the same thing will happen with global warming. In twenty years time, when it’s been mostly forgotten, and all the eco-sceptics are fighting the next big scare and saying “remember all the predictions of global warming doom”, they’ll say that scientists never actually predicted any such doom. It’s not in the technical literature, all the proper uncertainties are reported, and even the IPCC made it clear that the confidence interval spanned the range and there were systematic uncertainties unaccounted for. And all the eco-sceptics will be called liars for suggesting that reputable scientists would say any such thing. The dire predictions of apocalypse were all made up or exaggerated by sensationalist journalists and ignorant activists. But this time it’s different.

    I remember the Ehrlich ‘population bomb’ scare from when I was younger. I remember serious people took it seriously – it was in the news and on the TV, and people talked about it as a settled matter. Scientists too. Within ten years the famines would start, and the ecological degradation and exhaustion of resources, and within thirty there would be wars and the collapse of civilisations, and it was even odds whether our nations would still exist by 2000. You never saw anyone come on to say it was all rubbish.

    They never did, either, even afterwards. It just slowly stopped being mentioned, until it quietly vanished from the public consciousness without a ripple. And if you talk to them about it now, it turns out that the sophisticated computer models saying it was inevitable had come with big caveats and assumptions and extrapolations that somehow hadn’t made it to the TV chat shows, and it wasn’t any great surprise that it hadn’t happened. They had said so at the time, they say, it’s just nobody had listened.

    I can see it happening now. Attention is already gradually drifting away from global warming, and in five or ten years when nobody is looking any more, all those caveats will suddenly become very important, and it will never have happened. By then, everybody will be looking at something else. Round and round the cycle goes.

  • kdk33

    Actually, the CA position on climate change is not very different from the mainstream – mainstreamed being defined as positions held by most people.

    They claim (according to their website, which is the only source of information I have about them, and also the only source ever offered by their detracters) their position rests on three pilars: theology, science, economics.  Before one slanders others one should take the time to understand them.  As and aside: it is interesting to note, again, how religious folk are able to separate faith from science.  A skill the climate alarmed apparently lack

    Anyway, they don’t proffer that CAGW can’t happen because “god won’t let it”, which was BBD’s original claim.  In fact, this is their statement on environemental stewardship:

    Human understanding and control of natural processes empower people not only to improve the human condition but also to do great harm to each other, to the earth, and to other creatures. As concerns about the environment have grown in recent decades, the moral necessity of ecological stewardship has become increasingly clear.

    Some folks like to just make things up.  It isn’t hard to figure out who.

  • BBD

    kdk33It’s not *me* pointing the finger at big oil, vested interests and big money. Or a certain type of fundamentalist Christianity, come to that. You should read the links Keith provides and I have twice copied in comments here. Let’s continue. And bear in mind this is *exactly* what I was saying several months ago. And exactly what you were denying:

    Here’s what has changed for Republican politicians: The rise of the tea party, its influence in the Republican Party, its crusade against government regulations, and the influx into electoral politics of vast sums of money from energy companies and sympathetic interest groups.

    Republicans have long had close financial ties to the fossil-fuel industry, of course. Between 1998 and 2010, the oil-and-gas industry
    gave 75 percent of its $284 million in political contributions to Republicans. But the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allowed unlimited corporate spending on campaign advertisements, opened up a whole new avenue for interest groups to influence campaigns by flooding the airwaves with ads that support a political candidate or position. In the 2010 elections alone, the top five conservative and pro-industry outside groups and political action committees””including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Karl Rove-backed PAC American Crossroads, which have close ties to fossil-fuel interests””spent a combined $105 million to support GOP candidates (compared with a combined $8 million that the top five environmental groups spent to back Democrats). Both sides could double those numbers in 2012.
    Among the most influential of the new breed of so-called super PACs is the tea party group Americans for Prosperity, founded by David and Charles Koch, the principal owners of Koch Industries, a major U.S. oil conglomerate. As Koch Industries has lobbied aggressively against climate-change policy, Americans for Prosperity has spearheaded an
    all-fronts campaign using advertising, social media, and cross-country events aimed at electing lawmakers who will ensure that the oil industry won’t have to worry about any new regulations.

    Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, says there’s no question that the influence of his group and others like it has been
    instrumental in the rise of Republican candidates who question or deny climate science. “If you look at where the situation was three years ago and where it is today, there’s been a dramatic turnaround. Most of these candidates have figured out that the science has become political,” he said. “We’ve made great headway. What it means for
    candidates on the Republican side is, if you “¦ buy into green energy or you play footsie on this issue, you do so at your political peril. The
    vast majority of people who are involved in the [Republican] nominating process””the conventions and the primaries””are suspect of the science. And that’s our influence. Groups like Americans for Prosperity have done it.”

  • BBD

    Tom C

    I think catastrophic AGW is plausible as a concept.  But, to put it mildly, the case has not been persuasively made.

    I asked you why you were contradicting the standard scientific position and you have yet to provide a *reason* for what you think.

  • BBD

    NIV

    Oh, Ehrlich blah, blah blah.

    Nobody knows what the actual climate sensitivity is ““ that’s simply the current state of the science. While the IPCC spin it as best
    they can, they say so too. It’s all guesswork and gut feel.

    Misleading, as per. Read the link at # 36. You are claiming a degree of uncertainty that is not shared by the mainstream scientific position. In other words, you are off with your baseless contrarian guffing again. And it’s boring. Not to mention long-winded.

  • BBD

    Classic parallel universe stuff from the nullius:

    Scientists made a fuss about global cooling in the 1970s, and then when it turned out that it was wrong, they went back and revised the history
    and it turned out they hadn’t said it at all. If you looked closely at the academic literature, there were no definite claims, at best a bit of
    tentative speculation from a few scientists. And the same thing will happen with global warming.

    This is, as usual, complete crap. Here’s the relevant reference for those who want to see what our old trickster is misrepresenting this time.

  • BBD

    The determined trolling on this thread makes me think that mentioning money and God in the same breath has hit home with certain people.

    Interesting. One to pursue, clearly.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #48,

    The standard scientific position is that it is uncertain. It’s you that is going against it this time.

    #49,

    “Oh, Ehrlich blah, blah blah.”

    Classic argument!

    #50,

    Yep. That’s just the sort of thing I was talking about.

  • BBD

    kdk33

    Anyway, they don’t proffer that CAGW can’t happen because “god won’t let it”, which was BBD’s original claim.

    Oh yes they do :-)

    Here it is, from the CA ‘Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming':

    WHAT WE BELIEVE

    We believe Earth and its ecosystems””created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence “”are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory.  Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

    […]

    WHAT WE DENY

    We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.

    There it is, plain as day: God made the world robust and resilient and *self-correcting* and we can’t break it with a teeny bit of CO2.

    And to think, Spencer, McKitrick and D’Aleo are all signatories to this tripe. 

    Now the *big tell* here is that every time this comes up, kdk33 leaps in and defends the indefensible to the hilt. For days, the last time. All the while denying that he’s ever heard of the CA etc.

    I think he’s lying to us.

  • BBD

    NIV @ 52

    The standard scientific position is that it is uncertain. It’s you that is going against it this time.

    Sigh. How many times? The standard scientific position is that the most likely value is around 3C.

    Wittering about Ehrlich is one of your well-worn distraction tactics. All that’s required these days is to indicate a yawn.

    Yep. That’s just the sort of thing I was talking about.

    But you were *utterly misleading* on the 70s ice age myth NIV. Is this all you can say when you are exposed as a bullshitter?

  • BBD

    The determined trolling on this thread makes me think that mentioning
    money and God in the same breath has hit home with certain people.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #54,

    The standard scientific position, expressed in the standard scientific way, is that it is between 1 C and 6 C. The phrase “most likely” does not mean the same thing as “likely”.

    You are “most likely” to get struck by lightning stood out in the open on top of a hill, but you are not “likely” to get struck by lightning. You are “most likely” to suffer a car accident when changing speed or direction while distracted, but you are not “likely” to be in a car accident.

    “Most likely” does not mean what you keep insisting it means.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Just a drive by comment here, and apologies to BBD. 

    1. When last I researched the story about the 70s conversation about global cooling, I found at least half a dozen peer reviewed papers positing the potential. It included some famous names as I recall. The paper you link to is extremely myopic in what it covers regarding that subject. In fact it’s very poor. If that is what informs your thinking on the subject you would do well to research the matter further.

    2. BBD, if you don’t like people using Ehrlich’s thoughts as an example of environmentalist hyperbole, either disavow him or tell him to shut up. You being associated with him is absolutely no different than you associating some commentes here with an evangelical group. It’s mirrored behaviour.

  • http://reclaimreality.blogspot.com Jonas N

    BBD, sorry, I have not followed this thread, only read occasional comments. But you certainly should be very careful talking about “trolling’, especially when taking about other people ..

  • BBD

    NIV

    Read the Annan & Hargreaves 2006 paper. Follow the link at # 36. Then you can look at the empirical stuff. Then at Knutti & Hegerl’s review in 2008. Then you can stop obfuscating because you will know why it cuts no ice with me.

  • BBD

    Most likely means most likely.

    And you were bullshitting about the 1970s ice age myth. Let’s get back to that.

  • BBD

    Tom can provide the references.

  • Tom C

    BBD – I’m getting tired of this so will check out with one last comment.  I find it fascnating that you are so confident that 2X CO2 will lead to 3C of warming because a subset of “scientists” say so.  It really does border on a religious belief.  Those of us who are technically trained and have been around a while are not nearly so sanguine regarding these pronouncements.  The reason Ehrlich and Cooling are brought up is that wild-eye types like yourself once told us that these predictions could not be questioned because they were “scientific”.  To deny them was to be a fundamentalist, a corporate shill, blah, blah, blah.  Frankly, we have seem this sham before.  When one is15 years old it is convincing, but not much so now.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #60,

    I remember the 1970s ice age claims. I was there.

    And the Connolley paper you linked is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about. At the time, the story in the news was cooling. After it’s become obvious that it’s nonsense, we have activists like Connolley telling us that it never happened, that the scientific literature is virtually empty of any such claims, and it was all due to the uninformed “misreading” a few papers.

    And of course because it says what you want to believe, you accept it without question. Even though it does exactly what I said people did, you accept their revised history as the truth, and take it as refutation of the claim that they revised it! Impressive!

    I’m sure that in the future global warming will also be the result of “a selective misreading of the texts both by some members of the media at the time and by some observers today.” It’s the way these things go.

  • RickA

    BBD is the troll.Climate science has the burden of proof, which they admit they have not and cannot yet meet.That is why Trenberth advocated changing the null hypothesis.That is why climate scientists are so enamored with the “precautionary principal”.It is because the data is not definitive yet.

  • BBD

    NIV

    At the time, the story in the news was cooling

    That’s the point. The story in media, not the majority view of climate scientists at the time. Read the reference.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #65,

    Yes. And that’s what I’ve been saying.

  • kdk33

    BBD, you continue to cut and paste (your only form of argument, as far as I can tell). 

    Now to the repeated nonsense about CA.  You are cutting and pasting words from their website like “robust”, “resilient”, “:self-correcting” and then twisting the intepretation to your liking.  In polite society this is called lieing and this makes you a liar.  They simply never said what you claimed.

    Furthermore, you continue to ignore the portion where they say exactly the opposite of what you claim, and that I have repeatedly shown you.  In polite society this would make you a liar. 

    I am defending CA from your lies.  You continue to insinuate that because I do so I must be “a member” or something.  This is argumentum ad hominum.  A way for you to smear me by associating me with a religous organization.  And you exascerbate this logical fallacy by claiming CA to stand for things that they demonstrably do not.

    In polite society this would make you an ignorant bigot and a liar.  And, since religion was never part of this thread, until your smears, this also makes you a troll.

  • BBD

    Tom C

    I asked you for a *reason* why you disagree with the standard scientific position. You still haven’t provided one. The scientific position is based on a considerable body of work. Yours is a statement of belief apparently based on nothing at all.

    All this crap about Ehrlich and ice age stories in the popular press has nothing whatsoever to do with what I asked you.

    It has nothing to do with who funds Republican politics and its culture of climate denial, either. 

    Funny how we cannot seem to stay on that topic.

  • kdk33

    The portion of CA that BBD continue to quote and then inexcusably twist is more-or-less reflecting the typical conservative view of environmentalism.  If any reader would care to visit climate etc (Curry) there is a discussion of this topic there now.

    Basically.  Liberal enviros tend to see people as a blight, a polluter, a despoiler, whose influence must be minimized.  They think the earth should be returned to some mythical pristine, wild state.  Any human impacts are destructive by definition, hence develoment bad.

    This view is played out in climate science as tipping points, non-linearities, continental ice sheets sliding into the ocean.

    Conservatives tend to see it differently.  They don’t believe in the mythical pristine wild state.  Human impacts are per se neutral and are good or bad based on an objective evaluation of the outcome.  They want to conserve eco systems, preserve species, not poison our children.  But they also want to feed, clothe, house, and free from poverty, the human inhabitants of earth, and this latter takes priority.

    And this is very much what CA is saying.  They frame it in the imagery of theology, which causes a knee-jerk reation from many – even many religious folks – because religion isn’t “cool” these days.  But a few minutes perusing their website and you can understand their position.

    CA holds that human technology has developed to the point that man can significantly alter the earth.  This power can be used for good (feeding, clothing, housing, freeing from poverty, the poor) or for bad (damanging other humans and the earth).

    It takes some maturity to see past deeply ingrained prejudices – like hatred for religion – but it behooves us all to do so.  Any fair reading of CA’s position will not support BBD’s claim.  CA does not hold that CAGW isn’t true because “god wouldn’t let it happen” – and they say exatly the opposite.

    As I said, their position has 3 legs:  theology, science, economics.  Any serious discussion will adress these as such and as stated on their site.  Not by twisting their words to something they obviously don’t mean and then playing on peoples prejudices to smear them.

  • BBD

    kdk33

    Fatally for your doomed defence of CA’s stuff, the quotes are all posted above at #53 for everyone to see. Presumably the reason you hate it when I do this (cue the invariable ‘cut and paste’ rant) is that you don’t like the evidence on show. As you say, people will make up their own minds who is warping the truth here.

    It’s also instructive how you *really* start to froth when we get down to who is funding the Republican culture of climate science denial.

  • BBD

    NIV

    Yes. And that’s what I’ve been saying.

    Oh no it isn’t. You *did not* say that it was mainly media-driven, not scientific. You said this:

    Scientists made a fuss about global cooling in the 1970s, and then when it turned out that it was wrong, they went back and revised the history and it turned out they hadn’t said it at all. If you looked closely at the academic literature, there were no definite claims, at best a bit of tentative speculation from a few scientists. And the same thing will happen with global warming. 

    Which is completely different. And this blatant bit of back-tracking is feeble in the extreme :-) 

    But it keeps the focus off who is funding the Republican culture of climate science denial and who the footsoldiers are.

  • Anteros

    Maybe some people here are too young to remember the prevailing view in the early 70’s that we were heading for another ‘ice age’.

    Coincidentally, I was listening to tapes of Mike Hulme and Stephen Schneider yesterday. Hulme remembers being taught by his Geography professor who was convinced about the coming freeze. And Schneider was admitting he was more worried about cooling than warming.

    The most telling thing for me [beyond the obvious give-away that Schneider was worried] is that he claimed that the biggest problem would be that as it got colder, climate would become more variable.

    Funny how it is also now claimed that climate will become more variable as it gets warmer.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #71,

    Who do you think it was who told the journalists?

  • BBD

    NIV

    You said that:

    Scientists made a fuss about global cooling in the 1970s, and then when it turned out that it was wrong, they went back and revised the history and it turned out they hadn’t said it at all.

    This needs backing up, so what evidence have you got?

    If you looked closely at the academic literature, there were no definite claims, at best a bit of tentative speculation from a few
    scientists.

    So the scientists by and large expected warming and the hacks pumped up the ice age scare story.

    And the same thing will happen with global warming.

    You seem to suggest that there are ‘no
    definite claims, at best a bit of tentative speculation from a few scientists’
    on the subject of AGW. That’s a bit mad, really.

  • BBD

    From the link Keith provided:One senior House Republican who appears comfortable with his positions on climate science is Texan Ralph Hall, chairman of the House Science Committee. Asked if climate change is causing the Earth to become warmer, the lawmaker charged with shaping national science policy responded, “I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls.”

  • Anteros

    In case my comment @72 needs context, I would say that the ‘evidence’ for global warming [and into the future] is three or more orders of magnitude greater than there was for ‘cooling’. In fact they don’t really belong in the same discussion except as an example of how scare stories can be based on very little [in the case of cooling]

    Still, on the other hand I think we’re better off with a couple of degrees of warming than one of cooling..

  • BBD

    Rapid climate change is bad news either way Anteros.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #74,

    The media didn’t just make it up. They didn’t say: “I’m bored. Let’s make up a story about an imminent ice age and write ‘scientists say…'”

    The scientists told them. Yes, it’s true that in the journals there isn’t all that much of it – it was just speculation anyway. But when the scientists talked to the media, advised on documentaries, gave newspaper and magazine interviews, talked on TV, they had to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts they might have. The journalists of course love the sensational, and so were perhaps less critical than they might have been, and hyped it further. But the source of the story was the scientists – nobody else.

    The same is true today. The IPCC reports do definitely push the envelope as far as it will go, but they’re a lot more cautious down in the depths than you’d think from all the media coverage of it. Regarding the attribution question, is the observed warming anthropogenic, Ben Santer said: “It’s unfortunate that many people read the media hype before they read the chapter. I think the caveats are there. We say quite clearly that few scientists would say the attribution issue was a done deal.”

    And it’s the same for the sensitivity issue. They list all the uncertainties and problems with the science, say explicitly that no really solid results are available, admit to using their own gut feelings on the issue, and then conclude in effect that it is somewhere from 1 to 6 with a value around 3 in the middle being “most likely”. And then the media hype picks “most likely, 3 C” up and runs with it – all the careful caveats left behind.

    But that’s exactly as intended, though. For the time being they’ve got their political alarm, and their day in the media sunshine. And later on, they’ll have all their caveats and escape clauses in place, and in the end it will all be the media’s fault. Again.

    Considering they’re the ones who most directly control the message, they do take the rap a surprising amount of the time.

  • Anteros

    BBD –

    If by ‘rapid climate change’ you mean the 0.15C per decade we’re experiencing at present I disagree. It’s the same as it was for three decades early last century, and nobody noticed.

    Humanity (as a whole) is now ~an order of magnitude better off as regards climate impacts. And has every likelihood of being better off even more given another hundred years.

    Surely the rate of warming has been clearly shown to be unproblematic. You can assume it will increase, or you can assume it will continue for a long period of time, but without one or the other I don’t see the need for panic at all.

    There is a strong, clear trend – to visit greater climate catastrophes you have to go back in time. Climate resilience may well be outstripping even our progress against infectious disease.

    I know this is disappointing to those who really want to worry about something, but I see every reason to suppose humanity will – as a whole – be better off climate-wise in a hundred years time.

    The climate is not the dramatically changing variable.

  • BBD

    NIV

    I asked for evidence, not further editorialising. I’ve provided a detailed reference already.

    The media have had precious little to say about ECS being ~3C. You are saying stuff again.

    There is a growing stack of work that points to ~3C. Your ongoing attempts to create uncertainty in comments here aren’t going to have any effect on the ever-tightening estimate. Why not accept that and open your mind? Why the reflexive contrarianism? Wherefore the conspiracy theories and paranoia?

    The same is true today. The IPCC reports do definitely push the envelope as far as it will go

    What was the AR4 best estimate for ECS again? Oh! Just the same as those fierce critics Annan & Hardgreaves suggested. I believe I’ve mentioned this evidence of IPCC mendacity before, nullius. ;-)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Growing? Seems to me like recent papers are moving away from 3C. (Again, sorry about hit and run commenting.)

  • Nullius in Verba

    #80,

    I’m just sayin’ what the IPCC say.

    And I’m frankly not interested in creating uncertainty in the comments. People can think it’s certainly high or certainly low or that nobody knows. You think it’s exactly 3 C. Fine. Opinion noted.

    But other people hold different opinions, and it would be nice if people could discuss these things without you constantly jumping in and making demands and asserting your view as the only one to be tolerated, particularly when you haven’t even got your own orthodoxy straight.

    An open mind requires the ability to listen to other people’s views. Especially people you don’t agree with.

  • BBD

    NIV

    You think it’s exactly 3 C. Fine. Opinion noted.

    No, I’ve *never* said that. I think it’s about 3C (~3C).

    This would be a strawman, would it not?

    I’ve listened to views here. I’ve asked for supporting references too. Never get any though. Perhaps I’d be persuaded if a stronger case was made.

  • BBD

    Tom @ 81

    Growing? Seems to me like recent papers are moving away from 3C.

    That would need a number of references. The Schmittner estimate is problematic, so not that study. 

  • Bobito

    BDD, How about NASA?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #83,

    The range 1 C to 6 C is also “about” 3 C, give or take a handful of degrees.

  • RickA

    BBD @ 83I think it is about 1.5C.

  • BBD

    Ho hum.

  • kdk33

    BBD,

    Yes, thank you very much for cutting and pasting the quotes which you then mangled into “because god won’t let it”.  But readers can also see in my #46 that when they actually speak to “would god let it happen” they happen to say the exact opposite of what you claim.

    Interested readers can also read CA’s case as they present it in terms of: theology, science, economics. Sadly you seem unable to address any of these in a meaningful way.

    Your ad homenim is not lost on anyone – it was, of course, you show introduced religion in the first place – your tactics reflect on you exactly as they should.

    I also should belatedly thank you for repeatedly demonstrating your technical incompetence on this blog.  Because it is important to establish that your ignorance is not constrained.

    It has been a pleasure watching you self-destruct, and I shall continue to enjoy it.

  • BBD

    Sorry, not you Bobito.

    Funny how some modelled studies are more equal than others :-). But let’s hope they’re right. Although I did notice this:

    Bounoua stressed that while the model’s results showed a negative feedback, it is not a strong enough response to alter the global warming
    trend that is expected. In fact, the present work is an example of how, over time, scientists will create more sophisticated models that will
    chip away at the uncertainty range of climate change and allow more accurate projections of future climate.

  • BBD

    kdk33 @ 89

    WHAT WE BELIEVE

    We believe Earth and its ecosystems””created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence “”are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. 
    Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

    […]

    WHAT WE DENY

    We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse
    gases is causing dangerous global warming.


  • BBD

    Look Mum! No mangling.

  • BBD

    I wonder why nobody (including you, kdk33) has reacted to this oft-repeated quote:

    One senior House Republican who appears comfortable with his positions on climate science is Texan Ralph Hall, chairman of the House Science Committee. Asked if climate change is causing the Earth to become warmer, the lawmaker charged with shaping national science policy responded, “I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls.“ 

    Have you *nothing* to say about this?

  • Bobito

    BDD, that is the bit I was hoping you would notice.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, why would I care what a Texan Republican thinks? I’m a liberal California Democrat. Why would I care what a devout Christian thinks about climate science? I’m an agnostic.

    Why are you so eager to associate a position on climate science with partisan politics or flavors of theology? It was asinine for Republicans to do so. It is equally asinine for Democrats.

    It is close to crazy for a Brit without extensive experience in the quilted nature of American opinions to draw conclusions from afar. You’ve seen and remarked on the hazy comprehension of British culture and politics held by Yanks. Don’t get caught in the same trap.

    This is a wonderful place. It is also very weird. Especially in politics.

  • Jeffn

    Quote by Christine Stewart, former Canadian Environment Minister: “No matter if the science is all phoney, there are collateral environmental benefits…. climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

    Quote by Timoth Wirth, U.S./UN functionary, former elected Democrat Senator: “We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

    BBD- have you nothing to say?
    This is fun. A game everyone can play!
    But it does beg a serious question- earlier today you seconded Peter Lang’s great post on nukes in another thread here. You must know that the “contrarians” you ineffectively attack all day would do what Lang suggests whether cs is 0 or 3. And you must know most of the warmers here wouldn’t whether cs is 3 or 30.
    So what do YOU think you’re achieving here? I’m genuinely curious. If your “opponent” says yes to your plan, why endlessly debate the reason for the plan?

  • BBD

    Tom

    BBD, why would I care what a Texan Republican thinks?

    Because he’s the chairman of the House Science Committee. Because he’s ‘the lawmaker charged with shaping national science policy’.

    Because he said this:

    “I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls.”

    As I said earlier, there is no analogue for this extraordinary situation in the UK. Almost certainly because there is no Bible Belt in the UK.

  • BBD

    Jeffn

    Trivia first:

    Christine Stewart, former Canadian Environment Minister: “No matter if the science is all phoney, there are collateral environmental benefits

    BBD- have you nothing to say?

    Is the science ‘phoney’? Where’s the evidence? Without evidence that it’s all wrong, who cares what Stewart and Wirth said?

    So what do YOU think you’re achieving here?

    Precious little, if I’m being honest. But the idle fantasy is that somebody, somewhere, reads our chats and recognises that the standard scientific position is sound and the ‘sceptics’ have been reduced to opportunistic misrepresentation and worse.

    ‘Green’ opposition to nuclear is as mad as you lot claiming that it’ll be fine if we keep on burning fossil fuels.

  • Jeffn

    BBD

    So… You won’t do anything about global warming, even though folks like me would be happy to do the only sensible thing, until the last remaining skeptic concedes that you posses total atmospheric enlightenment?
    Good thing the issue’s not urgent.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @95

    ? It was asinine for Republicans to do so. It is equally asinine for Democrats. 

    Definition of ASININEof, relating to, or resembling an ass Pot meet kettle?

  • kdk33

    Yep, BBD, that’s the quote you keep cuttin’ and pastin’, and then trying to twist to mean whatever it is you want.Of course, being scientifically minded, and a man of detail, I’m quite sure that you’ve clicked through to the part where they say exactly the opposite of what you claim (as I posted in #46), and the part where they explain their position:  theology, science, economics.  As a rational man of science I’m sure you could easily refute all three of these.
    So the audience is left to wonder why a man of such high intellect and high standards and great education –  a man who could easily refute CA’s entire position on the individual merits – would sink to crude ad hominum based on a lifting of this one section.
    Or maybe nobody is wondering at all.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Since we’ve got on to the subject of the theology of climate change…

    “Although I have yet to see any evidence that climate change is a sign of Christ’s imminent return, human pollution is clearly another of the birth pangs of creation, as it eagerly awaits being delivered from the bondage of corruption (Romans. 19-22).”

    http://www.e-n.org.uk/p-1129-Climate-change-and-the-Christian.htm

    Bonus points if you can spot the connection to Harry.

  • James Evans

    BBD, do you really have to turn *every* thread into a pointless tit-for-tat squabble? You used to do it on Bishop Hill. Now you do it here.Can we all just settle this once and for all? Can we all sign a piece of paper that says we all agree with everything you say, always, and forever? You’re always right. Agreed. There. Done.

  • BBD

    kdk33

    The quote means what it says. Your increasingly desperate attempts to pretend otherwise make no difference. Everybody can see the words. Anyone who didn’t the first few times around can scroll up to # 91.

    I don’t like stupid pastors making stupid statements about things that really matter and about which they know nothing. And I am entitled to say so (freedom of speech, remember?). I like it even less when the chair of the House Science Committee turns out to be of the faith and rejects the fucking *science*:

    One senior House Republican who appears comfortable with his positions on climate science is Texan Ralph Hall, chairman of the House Science Committee. Asked if climate change is causing the Earth to become warmer, the lawmaker charged with shaping national science policy responded, “I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls.“ 

    The future should not be in hands such as these. I notice that despite being asked directly, you still have nothing to say about this. You have self-identified.

  • kdk33

    BBD,

    You have to show (and you will never show because it doesn’t exist) where CA says “god won’t let it happen”, which was your claim.

    “robust”, “resilient”, “self-correcting” do not mean “god won’t let it happen”.  In fact, they say very much the opposite.  CA doesn’t deny AGW, they think it has been exagerated.  They think the proposed policies will harm human properity, paritucularly the poor.  So what. 

    In their section on environmental stewerdship they say:Human understanding and control of natural processes empower people not only to improve the human condition but also to do great harm to each other, to the earth, and to other creatures. As concerns about the environment have grown in recent decades, the moral necessity of ecological stewardship has become increasingly clear.

    And it is hard to imagine a more direct rebuttal to your claim “god won’t let it happen”

    If you put all of theri policy positions on a not-religous website, they would not be noteworthy.

    Sadly, there are people like you who try to play peoples prejudices and argue ad homenum.  It and you are sad and, from the comments, people recognize exactly what it and you are.

    Ironically, this doesn’t have anything to do with what is preventing your side from winning the argument.  But your behavior goes a long ways towards keeping people skeptical, so please do continue.

    I’ll not comment further on this topic.

  • BBD

    kdk33

    I’ll not comment further on this topic.

    From a tactical point of view you shouldn’t even have started. But I’m glad you did :-) And thanks for confirming that you will not respond to the Ralph Hall quote provided, repeatedly, above.

    WRT the CA stuff, perhaps I’m being a bit uncharitable. I hadn’t seriously considered that the problem might lie with your reading comprehension. Either way, you should have kept your head down.

    Too late now, though.

  • Anteros

    BBD –

    See @103.

    When you’re left just talking to yourself, it doesn’t mean what you think it does.

  • BBD

    Anteros

    You are not a reliable source of information ;-)

  • hr

    It’s strange you would think anybody would be anti-environment. Who’s actively for the destruction of the environment? It’s a lot easier from my perspective to understand there are people who are strongly anti-environmentALISM. I think being pro-environment and anti-environmentalism is not a contradictory position to take, and without wanting to box people off I suspect that is were these ‘surprising’ conservatives are.

  • Steven Sullivan

    Nullis In Verba gets nostalgic:”I remember the 1970s ice age claims. I was there.”<br><br>And I remember the 2000s ‘teenage sexting’ journalistic fad —  and many many others.  I was there.<br><br>For example I remember the 1970s ‘ice age’ journalistic fad too.  I was there.  You aren’t the only 50+ year old here, NIV. Best be careful what you claim.   

  • John

    Referring to Roger Scruton, how can you even begin to take anyone seriously who pretends to be a “scholar” at the AEI.This essay describes the  nature and consequences of the applied anti-environmental politics as practiced during the Bush mis-administration. The kind of  applied anti-environmental politics that Rogers benighted friends at the AEI advocate.http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/1116 If the Romney/Ryan so called conservatives win the USA Presidential election, what is described in the above essay will seem like a minor prelude for the environmental holocaust to come.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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