Overplaying the Climate Fear Card

By Keith Kloor | July 30, 2012 12:31 pm

In her recent Mother Jones story, Julia Whitty mentions that “destruction of nature” has become a “dominant meme” in environmental discourse and politics. Her excellent piece does not follow this familiar script. Rather it chronicles the extraordinary conservation successes of a few unsung individuals.

Anyone who follows environmental writing knows that Whitty’s article bucks a long established theme. As Michelle Nijhuis noted in an essay last year:

Environmental journalists often feel married to the tragic narrative. Pollution, extinction, invasion: The stories are endless, and endlessly the same.

In her Mother Jones piece, Whitty references a 2011 paper by two conservation biologists in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Here’s the section in the paper that jumps out:

Relentless communication of an impending mass extinction is, self-evidently, having insufficient impact on politicians, policy makers and the public, and could eventually even be counterproductive for improved conservation. Instead, we contend that there is ample evidence from other disciplines, such as medicine, public health, and road safety, to show that achieving political support and lasting behavioral change requires ‘bad news’ to be balanced by empowerment. Berating people about biodiversity decline ignores fundamental human behaviors. In broader society, people ignore delivery of bad news because it reflects badly on the deliverer. Indeed, denial of major biodiversity loss might intensify in the wider public, even as scientific evidence accumulates, because of the way in which people respond to threats of this nature.

Sound familiar? Just substitute climate change for biodiversity and the same applies.

A lot of people have lauded Bill McKibben’s recent Rolling Stone article, titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.”  In the Huffington Post, Neil Wagner said it

is probably (pound for pound) the best piece ever written about the dire straights anthropogenic climate change has presented the human race.

Wagner also advised:
  1. Read the first couple of paragraphs
  2. Feel sick to your stomach
  3. Continue reading while curled up in a fetal position.

A recent video by Peter Sinclair connecting climate change to this summer’s heat waves, wildfires and extreme weather in the United States was called, “Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives.”  Translation: Global warming has arrived and this is what it looks like. I think there might be some quibbles with that (in terms of the implied linkages), but no matter. If you don’t pay attention to the details, then watch the video and weep. If it doesn’t inspire utter helplessness in the average person, I’d be surprised.

Along those lines, I’ll be curious to see how the emerging climate movement motivates people to act while they are curled up in a fetal position.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: biodiversity, climate change
  • RickA

    Typo in 3rd paragraph:20011  

  • RickA

    Nice post.  

    I agree that people will not be motivated to act while curled up in a fetal position.

    However, to me it matters whether what is being communicated is a fact or an opinion.

    For example, if it was reported that an asteroid was on a collision course for Earth – I might curl up into a fetal position.  But I would still want to know the fact – even if there was no solution.

    On the other hand, if the purpose of the piece is to try to sway public opinion (i.e. advocacy) and is not necessarily fact, but one persons opinion based on items in factual dispute – I have a different reaction.  

  • Keith Kloor

    Thanks, RickA. Fixed (along with my typo in the first graph!)

  • RB

    Keith, There are two sides to the fear card affecting people’s motivation – environmental alarmism versus economic/social alarmism. The story goes something like: policies to control CO2 emissions will result in destruction of the world economy and billions around the world being forced into poverty, our essential freedoms will be destroyed as governments take over our lives etc etc..

  • Joshua

    Berating people about biodiversity decline ignores fundamental human behaviors. In broader society, people ignore delivery of bad news
    because it reflects badly on the deliverer.

    It’s a logical argument, but I think that the described attribution needs more evidence and certainly may be overstated.

    How do we know, in some quantified fashion, that doom-and-gloom has a negative impact – particularly when compared to other influences such as the economy and political influences (or other “motivated reasoning).”

    Please note – that’s not a defense of doom-and-glooming (certainly to the extent that it isn’t scientifically valid), nor a statement that this:

    Relentless communication of an impending mass extinction is, self-evidently, having insufficient impact on politicians, policy makers
    and the public,

    isn’t true. More effective communication is, self-evidently, good. And discussing inaccurate claims and/or bad science is important. But there is also a possibility that overgeneralizing about those phenomena will prove counterproductive. Where are the lines to be drawn?

  • Mary

    Well, here comes my cynical self: fear might drive the fetal position in a large proportion of people. But it seems to work to drive donations among those still able to reach for their wallet and their keyboard.

  • Keith Kloor

    Mary (6)

    Sure, there is always going to be a portion of the public that responds to fear. Environmental groups have perfected fear-based campaigns for over decades (long before climate change became the issue of the day). But I think it’ll be a narrow slice of the public and that’s proved to to be the case with the environmental movement.

    Joshua (5)

    See this post for links (and coverage) to a university study that might interest you.

    As for “Where are the lines to be drawn,” I’ve been very interested in exploring that. But even discussing this issue is frowned upon by the climate orthodoxy, as illustrated here.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    For a significant part of the population the default reaction to fear-based messaging is ‘they wouldn’t be trying to scare us if they could persuade us.’

  • Joshua

    Along the lines of the study that Keith referenced and Mary’s comment – I have found that I’m more responsive to solicitation for contributions from environmental groups since I’ve been reading so much criticism of environmental extremism.

  • Joshua

    For a significant part of the population the default reaction to fear-based messaging is “˜they wouldn’t be trying to scare us if they could persuade us.’

    Argument by assertion or do you have evidence? There is so much that is subjective about such a statement.

    For example, was fear-based messaging about debt, taxes, government tyranny, the government coming to take away your Medicare, etc., effective for the Tea Party in 2010?

    What does “significant” mean? How is fear-based messaging defined? How are you measuring the impact? How are you measuring the relative impact of other influences? At what point do you determine when the returns from educating the public about potential danger begin to diminish? At what point do they reverse?

    There seems to be a basic logic to what you said. Overextending that logic would be facile.

  • harrywr2

    #4The story goes something like: policies to control CO2 emissions will
    result in destruction of the world economy and billions around the world
    being forced into poverty, our essential freedoms will be destroyed as
    governments take over our lives etc etc..
    If that meme is false then it should be the easiest one to demonstrate to be false. Which I think was the thrust of Keith’s post.By all means please demonstrate how we can reduce CO2 emissions without asking anyone to sacrifice what they perceive to be a ‘quality of life’.The couple that live next to me that own his and her’s 6,000 pound SUV’s are adamant that ‘smaller’ vehicles are unsafe.My buddy with who has a pickup truck with an 8.0 liter engine needs it to go fishing and hunting.

  • PDA

    Well, the effect of a decade and more of relentless “the scary brown people are coming to blow us all up” fear messaging has been a steady rollback of civil liberties, two wars at a pricetag of >$4 trillion and counting, acceptance of targeted assassinations, and the TSA.
    Fear of the Nazis and the Japanese motivated the enormous and unparalleled military building in the US during World War II. Fear of a further economic downturn is motivating the evisceration of Europe’s social safety nets. We put a man on the moon because we were afraid the Soviets would get their first.If people were actually afraid of climate change, we’d have nuclear plants, wind farms and solar high speed trains from coast to coast. They’re not, so we don’t.Fear is an excellent motivator. If there was a significant portion of American public opinion that thought the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was no big deal, or regular debates in the media on the theme “Hitler: Madman or Just Misunderstood?” we might not have won WWII, either.

  • Keith Kloor

    harrywr2 (11)

    I think we’re talking about two different kinds of fear based messaging. The one that #4 mentions is not what my post is about and BTW, I think that is an unjustified fear hyped by some of the camps hostile to the climate science and/or climate action.

    For the record, I don’t think that a carbon tax or cap and trade would mean the end of capitalism or force your buddies to give up their lifestyle. I am not opposed to either, in principle. I just don’t see either as the fix that some make it out to be. And good luck getting the kind of carbon reduction targets out of China, India et al that go along with this.

    The kind of fear I’m talking about is the relentless climate doomsday drumbeat that I think people tune out or being numb to.

    Joshua (10) writes:

    At what point do you determine when the returns from educating the public about potential danger begin to diminish? At what point do they reverse?

    We have an analogue with issues like endangered species, biodiversity et al. Based on my experience and my reading of the state of environmental writing/journalism, the genre is exhausted. It just recycles the same stuff to the same people who are interested. And those audiences are dying out. Environmental groups have aging demographics/memberships.

    I’m pretty sure we’ve passed the point of diminishing returns.

  • Joshua

    Wow!

    By all means please demonstrate how we can reduce CO2 emissions without asking anyone to sacrifice what they perceive to be a “˜quality of life’

    You don’t see a leap in logic from that statement and the meme posted in #4? Why would you be asking that question in response if you didn’t?

    And I could add to that meme – not only will billions die from more expensive energy, but the AGW cabal is completely indifferent to that suffering because it recedes in importance compared to the importance to statists of establishing a one world government, destroying capitalism, and returning us to a lifestyle that incorporates no technology developed after the stone age. 

    So if the impact of fear-based messaging is so obvious, how do we balance the impact of that kind of fear-based messaging and that of the AGW cult? 

    <blockquote>My buddy with who has a pickup truck with an 8.0 liter engine needs it to go fishing and hunting.</blockquote>

    And to enhance his ability to do so, we (as a society)  make decisions about how much tax revenue goes to supporting automobile travel and how much goes towards helping  my (hypothetical) neighbor, a single mother with two children, get to work. Currently she has to ride two buses that take her 1.5 hours each way to take a 15 mile round trip to her minimum wage job at a suburban mall. Should your neighbor sacrifice to enhance my neighbor’s quality of life (especially given the economic benefits we see from spending on public transportation, negative externalities we see from promoting automobile travel, etc.)?

  • Keith Kloor

    PDA (12)

    Fear is indeed a motivator–when the perceived threat is existential in the immediate, visceral sense. 

  • Joshua

    Keith -

    There  seem little doubt that support for environmental issues is down across the board. But it’s like AGW – how do we attribute that change in cause, and how to we measure degree? It’s easy to speculate, and qualified speculating is worthwhile – but conclusions need supporting evidence. If you’re going to use abstract theories about the impact of fear-mongering to attribute fear-mongering from environmentalists, then you need to control for the fear-mongering from  from opposing sides on those issues.

    With endangered species, is it because of fear-mongering or because of economic priorities changing, because some measure of progress has been made, because of the effectiveness of opposing political organizing? You, yourself, give an explanation that seems to underlie the thesis – that the change may be significantly influenced by demographic changes. 

    I know that you’ve been inside the bubble for a long time and that your experiences validly inform your perspective – but being inside the bubble can also have the effect of magnifying biases.

  • PDA

    My comment was “excellent” motivator; I’m not exactly sure what “existential motivator” means. Regardless, I think we’re in agreement about the effect of fear. Where I think we differ is that my assertion that the American people are not now afraid of climate change, and that it is possible – even kind of easy – to scare the bejeezus out of the American people.Whether they should be afraid is a separate point, as is whether scaring people is a good and noble way of motivating a democratic society. I just don’t think that the lack of progress on the climate front is because people are scared into inaction.

  • PDA

    How in Gaia’s name do I do a line break on this thing? I tried <p>s and <br>s, to no effect.

  • Keith Kloor

     Joshua,

    My posts have directly and indirectly cited the social science literature on this. I’m willing to extrapolate from that and combine it with the history of environmentalism, its arc, its successes and failures, and speculate from that.

    It may not be rigorous enough for you, but that’s as good as its going to get in a blog post.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, in the menu bar there are two blue marks <>.If you click on them you move into HTML editing of your comment.If you center your cursory after a line break  () and hit enter twice, the line break will appear.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And the line break code did not appear in my instructions. </p>

  • PDA

    I tried HTML editing; that was what my reference to <p>s and <br>s meant. I’m not sure how to “center my cursory,” so I think I’ll just keep my comments short. Better for everybody, probably.

  • PDA

    Input your comments here…

    Input your other comments here.

  • PDA

    Fabulous.

    I’m in your debt.

  • grypo

    I think we’ve already this a number of times. You went as far as to discuss the the warmongering US government. I pointed out that it’s been using using fear to get into war since the Creel Commission, and fear still worked on 2003 and fear will likely work again in 2013. Fear is used to send kids to die and get maimed. In comparison, some activists are using fear to get a progressive carbon tax. So what? There is no goldilocks message. Some things work, fear-mongering or not, some things don’t. But PDA is correct, this is siily as no one is really all that afraid obviously. No one crawled into a fetal position. This is overplaying narrative as opposed to reality. No one is going to war to fight the climate.

  • Keith Kloor

    grypo (25)

    You and perhaps Joshua seem to be reading too much into what I’m saying. It also helps to remember that I’m someone who believes the climate issue to be one of those “wicked” problems that isn’t going to be solved, even with a carbon tax or cap and trade.

    I think the global energy demand (and the self-interests of nations) trumps everything. Isn’t that obvious by the failure of the UN led climate negotiations?

    Anyway, if there’s going to be some sort of societal shift that puts us on on a more sustainable path, surely it helps to bring have more buy-in from a broader and more committed constituency. 

    I’m basically saying that scaring them senseless is only going to work with the folks who already read climate blogs (the greenie ones, anyway) and those who already share your worldview.  And BTW, even some greens who work at green NGOs get bummed out and depressed by the relentless world–is-on-the precipice of collapse meme. 

    Like the paper I cited in this post (which is the one that MoJo cites) says,  balancing out all the gloom and doom with more hopeful/inspiring messaging would probably be more constructive to the green agenda.

  • PDA

     balancing out all the gloom and doom with more hopeful/inspiring messaging would probably be more constructive to the green agenda.

    Well, that’s pretty much one of the central memes of Collide-A-Scape, and I get that it’s something you feel strongly about. You’re obviously more than entitled to your opinion on your own blog, but “Relentless communication of an impending mass extinction is, self-evidently, having insufficient impact on politicians, policy makers and the public” is pretty close to post hoc ergo propter hoc. In conservation biology as in climate science, there are other factors at play.

    The main problem I have with the don’t-be-a-Debbie-Downer critique is the subtext that people are pointing to potential negative consequences of climate change as a strategy… as opposed to doing so because, you know, they actually believe the consequences of climate change will be negative. And if one genuinely believes that, isn’t one sort of obligated to spread the alarm? 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The U.S. has sharply reduced CO2 emissions. The DOE has announced accelerated closure of 27 GW of coal plants. And Anthony Watts is writing about how much instead of if.

    And you can’t find a feel good story in any of that?

  • PDA

    I have no problem with reporting positive news. I’m saying, though, that if one believes one is barreling downhill with no brakes and headed over a cliff, a slight decrease in the rate of acceleration is not really the stuff of the summer’s blockbuster buddy comedy. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, do you really believe that describes our situation? I surely do not.

  • PDA

    My comment got eaten by a server error.

    The basic gist was: I’m not either endorsing or rejecting the idea that we’re doooooooomed, just saying that anyone who thought the house is on fire would be justified in – and probably morally obliged to – warn people about it.

    Whether or not it’s popular. People hated Cassandra, but she was right.

  • Alan

    Analysis of (perceived) consequences:An IMMEDIATE-CERTAIN-NEGATIVE (reduction in standard of living) trumps a FUTURE(2060)-UNCERTAIN-NEGATIVE (food & water wars) and certainly trumps a DISTANT FUTURE(2100)-UNCERTAIN-NEGATIVE (tens of millions displaced by rising sea levels).The communications strategy of the climate science fraternity and the energy policy change fraternity (off fossil fuel) has been very poor. They should have spent a lot more on messaging.It is essential to demonstrate that moving off fossil fuels and reducing energy consumption per se will not have long term disastrous consequences for the vast majority of people. In fact, there are very real options to move to an electrified world with three breakthrough technologies which are only 5 years and $1B-$5B (each) away from commercial scale proof.Let’s face it, over the next 40 years thousands of coal/oil fired power stations around the world will come to their end-of-life. From 2020 (give us time to plan/design/finance!) it should be possible to replace each of them (at end-of-life) with a non-fossil fuel plant/system. And the same applies to the NEW generating capacity required in places like China and India.Don’t tell me a 40 year transition off coal/oil means economic disaster.But time is fast running out for any sort of low negative consequence transition off fossil fuels.

  • harrywr2

    #25,<i>You don’t see a leap in logic from that statement and the meme posted in
    #4? Why would you be asking that question in response if you didn’t?ure such people probably belong to my tribe as well).</i>I’m not sure I expressed myself correctly.The meme given by some who ‘oppose action climate change’ is that  the climate change people are going to ‘take away freedoms and have a negative impact on quality of life issues’.If that meme is false it should be quite easy to demonstrate it as false. I merely invited someone to demonstrate it as false. I don’t believe it can be demonstrated to be false.Since someone is going to have to give up something then we have two messagings…fear vs fear.Someone who can show demonstrate figment of ‘hope’ will win.Personnally I think the Pielke Jr crowd is the only group with a chance with their ‘Energy cheaper then coal’..meme. It’s not a very high technological bar.

  • Joshua

    I don’t know how, even theoretically, something like that can be proven false. How do you prove what will or won’t happen in the future?

    A message promising hope is in direct competition against two groups who are actually fearful or exploiting fear for political expediency.  Further, a  lack of trust will keep the battle going, and unfortunately many in the Pielke Jr. crowd is just as invested in the jello-flinging and promoting distrust as anyone else.

    So that’s my question to Keith about his approach. I don’t see him promoting tribalism like the Romm, Watts, or Pielke – and legitimate criticism is fair game and important…but…it’s a delicate balance. Over-hyping criticism will result in tribes digging deeper into their trench warfare. It’s tough to mix constructive criticism with trust-building, especially when people feel so embattled and so committed to their identity as the most victimized. But nothing constructive will develop without prioritizing trust-building, IMO.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, what do you believe?

  • Tom Scharf

    What is perfectly clear is the fact that what has been done in the last twenty years to provoke public concern is not working.  PERIOD.

    Latest Gallup poll has global warming ranked (tied) dead last again in public concern, even when teamed up with other environmental concerns.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/156347/Americans-Next-President-Prioritize-Jobs-Corruption.aspx

     

    And the rent seekers such as McKibben keep pounding the same drums that nobody hears.  And the lazy media keep printing the same articles.  It is BORING, BORING, BORING.  It has become pathetic.  Nobody is listening.  Time to change tactics if you actually really care about saving the planet.  And I’m not talking about re-branding global warming again.  

    This movement is so dead right now that I even feel sorry for its supporters, even as I oppose a lot of the solutions.  You guys are capable of a better game here.  Regroup.  Find better leaders.  Engage in achievable goals.  Climate guilt is done, over, kaput. 

  • Jack Hughes

    +1 to #36Enviros need to regroup around new goals – like helping old folks or raising funds for badly-needed guide dogs. Maybe improving their own neighborhoods by picking up litter.

  • steven mosher

    I agree with Joshua. without qualification, nit picking or expanding. Nothing changes without trust building.

  • Joshua

    Here’s what’s interesting – despite data that show that public opinion on environmental issues tracks with economic security, and reason to speculate that other factors such as short-term weather phenomena and organized political opposition also influence opinion, I am being told that the reason why “climate concerned” have”failed” is that the messaging has been wrong.

    This is the same messaging that has had significant impact on our society (higher emission standards, investment in renewable-energy technologies, “green” products being offered ubiquitously, etc.) and obviously  raised the consciousness about the potential dangers of climate change. But the messaging has “failed” because people are less concerned than they used to be about the potential for environmental impact that will likely take place long after they are dead (and which will disproportionately impact people who are not well-educated, not exposed to information about climate change, and who live in other countries from where the concern about climate change is being measured). 

    And let’s not even consider the possibility that concern has lessened is because it is a very complicated problem with no obvious solutions. It’s a failure because people haven’t overwhelmingly supported paying more taxes or circumscribing their lifestyle by voluntarily reducing their energy consumption. 

    There’s nothing wrong with better messaging, but pardon me if I remain a bit skeptical about whether these obstacles that are intrinsic to creating effective climate change policy would just vanish if environmentalists were less  less shrill in their messaging.

  • steven mosher

    the same messaging to the same audience with different concerns is not the same messaging.
    the fact that your messaging’s effectiveness tracks with economic uncertainty should tell you something. It should also guide you in developing effective messaging that is robust WRT economic uncertainty.
    when I am economically secure, when my base human needs are met I am open to
    A) fear based messaging
    B) messaging that implies a untangible benefit for modest cost.

    when I am economically insecure I could gives a rats ass about 100 years from now and I dont have the luxury to spend a few bucks to save polar bears.

    Enviro messaging is optimized for economic good times. The sooner that reality sinks in the sooner you might get on a path to brand that survives in all sorts of weather.
    try something aspirational.

  • tlitb1

    “Enviro messaging is optimized for economic good times. The sooner that reality sinks in the sooner you might get on a path to brand that survives in all sorts of weather.try something aspirational.”Steady on now! You can’t just say obvious stuff like thins :) Where is the fun in empty posturing about the correct tactics for persuading the great unwashed if you point this out ? ;) The fact that it can’t be “heard” though is an actual interesting point.If we are wealthy enough we can have all the blinging gold plated windmills as designer accessories we want. Maybe there will be something useful created in the enviro-posturing during the boom days too. When the economy squeezes the regular guys however, then we start to worry about the disgusting enviro-bling posturing. Stuck between a rock and a hard place the elitist trust funders and pseudo-intellectuals who want to keep the chavs and the developing world in a state of low carbon poverty while they jet around posturing and “finding” themselves will always help maintain the dichotomy of an “us and them” world in which a low carbon underclass is always ready to storm the gates.I hate being scared, most people hate being scared, it is only people who like scaring others who claim to like being scared. Keep scaring yourselves about that. ;)

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    It’s worth pointing out that the success of messaging depends on both the person trying to communicate the message and the person receiving it. If the message is not having the desired effect the fault is not necessarily with the person trying to get it across – sometimes people are simply not prepared to accept an argument, or are at least extremely resistant to it, however it is communicated. Sometimes you just have to accept that and target your communications at those who are more receptive.

    ISTM that there is more resistance to the climate change message in the US than there is say here in the UK and I don’t find that particularly surprising given the difference in political attitudes generally. That’s not meant as a slight on the US public, there are no doubt areas where us Brits have similar blindspots – we are particularly attached to our National Health Service for example and it is a brave politician who makes an argument for replacing it (so they try to undermine it by stealth instead).

  • BBD

    @ 39 +1, especially your final two paragraphs.

  • BBD

    andrew adams

    Yes indeedy. I cannot imagine ‘tlitb1′ frothing away about the disgusting enviro-bling posturing  being capable of understanding that CC is a Very Bad Thing.

  • tlitb1

    bbd
    I cannot imagine “˜tlitb1″² frothing away about the disgusting enviro-bling posturing  being capable of understanding that CC is a Very Bad Thing.

    That’s a weird statement. My frothing may be ineffectual in persuading anyone of anything, but do you think my showing a sanguine acceptance of “disgusting enviro-bling posturing” would rather help show my capability of understanding that CC is a Very Bad Thing?

  • Joshua

    Mosher:You raise good points. It is also true that to the extent that environmental “messaging” is a coordinated and deliberate endeavor (as opposed to people doing what they believe is the appropriate action to take in the face of phenomena they oppose), it makes sense to create messaging that is less vulnerable to political opposition that has grown in its institutional power.

  • Joshua

    tlitbl

    Consider that rather than frothing causing misunderstanding, they are both attributable to the same cause.

  • John F. Pittman

    If someone with better Google-fu than me can find the study that Great Britian did on communicating climate change, we could address much of the speculation about speculation. It was a study conducted by a group who specializes in consulting ad firms whose advertisement scheme failed for their customers. The government of GB wanted to know why the amount of money and effort that they were putting into getting the message of cc to the public seemed to have little effect or sometimes negative effect. The report analyzed the advertising scheme and rated it. In particular, IIRC, fear based calls had several problems. One,  it de-engerized some. Two, persons ended up thinking that if we are all doomed we should enjoy ourselves and would emit more CO2. And third, buyer fatigue: a lot of people tune out the same message yelled louder and more often.

  • Joshua

    It may be a mistake to make assumptions that what is true in one country is true in another. And even in one country, as Mosher said, there could be other problems with generalizing as fear-based messaging could have different impact given other factors.

    Here’s one thing I know for sure. Given the complexity of the issue, conclusions about fear-based messaging will be fraught with confirmation bias.

  • BBD

    John

    I suspect you are thinking of the Futerra ‘Sell the Sizzle’ project. Pdf here.

  • BBD

    Joshua @ 49 +1 again…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    John  Pittman, I just googled “communicating climate change uk” and got a rich supply of returns. Do you recall title, issuing agency, anything else?

    The link between support for environmentalism and economic good times is not obvious in other parts of the world–underdeveloped countries do care about the issues, even if they cannot always act on them. Linking our own reactions to climate change to good times reduces windmills and solar panels to mini-pyramids erected to salute ourselves, and I think that’s a bit extreme.

    Good climate change messaging may resonate more during good times. We don’t know at this point, as there has been no good climate change messaging–just falling polar bears, exploding children and blunt falsehoods about malaria and Himalayan glaciers. 

    So we won’t really know until we try–with proper messaging.

  • BBD

    Tom still trying to do as much damage as ever, I see:

    Good climate change messaging may resonate more during good times. We don’t know at this point, as there has been no good climate change
    messaging”“just falling polar bears, exploding children and blunt falsehoods about malaria and Himalayan glaciers.

    Nice work, picking out a handful of f-ups and claiming that ‘there has been no good climate change messaging’. One has to wonder what you think you are doing.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, you have been good for nothing else in the discussion about climate change since your exile from Bishop Hill. Here’s your chance–prove me wrong with examples of good messaging about climate. Should be easy peasy–even for you.

  • BBD

    Address the point.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Oh, so you cannot find any examples of good climate messaging either?

  • Ed Forbes

    Cagw supporters had at least one major PR victory:.10:10 No Pressure 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Here in America a major network did a one-hour docu-drama on global warming over the course of this century. It was almost as good as No Pressure. They had the polar bears attacking the World Trade Center in one commercial, equally as scintillating.

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    An example of good messaging would be the summaries published by the national science academies such as the Royal Society or NAS.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Andrew,I would argue that those are messages, which in modern discourse is far different from ‘messaging’, the dark art.

  • Joshua

    Keith -

    Tom’s comment is instructive, I think (not to mention tlitb1′s):

    Good climate change messaging may resonate more during good times. We don’t know at this point, as there has been no good climate change
    messaging
    ““just falling polar bears, exploding children and blunt falsehoods about malaria and Himalayan glaciers. 

    My question to you is whether or not you agree that an over-hyping of doom-and-gloom messaging, in effect, can (at least potentially) serve to reinforce the same dynamic that we already have seen:

    IOW, claims like Tom’s (as someone that you have said contributes comments of value) that use simplistic rhetoric to describe a complex dynamic, and similarly-reasoned responses from environmentalists as they dig themselves deeper into trenches. How might you get someone like Tom to be less partisan?

    How do you evaluate the results of your approach to spotlighting environmentalist extremism so far? In reading the comments at your blog, it seems to evoke, in balance, more same old, same old. I’m not blaming you for that – but at some point it makes sense to evaluate cause and effect (with you just as with environmentalists). 

    In a theoretical sense, or better yet from real world evidence, how do you project forward to see a beneficial impact from your approach?

    I think that we have enough people who are focused on pointing to extremism on each side (singularly) and using examples of extremism to generalize. I think that sites that focus on extremism on both sides is qualitatively different, and more useful, but not if in effect it generates more people using extremism to generalize.

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    Tom,OK, in that case I would nominate An Inconvenient Truth. Yes it is flawed but it has been massively influential and still has a stronger scientific basis than pretty much anything put out by the “skeptic” side.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Being a lukewarmer puts me on the extreme, eh? Just as I’ve always argued, if you are not one of the Elect and criticize Their performance, you are extreme.As for simplistic rhetoric, I should just bow to the master, but I’ll point out that media criticism is a game anyone can play–perhaps you can offer your own opinion of those messaging or take the baton from BBD and offer your own examples of effective messaging.You might also show examples of extreme messaging from skeptics, although I’m unaware of any messaging at all from them. (To elaborate on what I told Andrew Adams above, by ‘messaging’ I’m referring to a co-ordinated campaign pushing the same message repeatedly across one or more media. Sad as I am to say it, blogging just doesn’t count…)

  • BBD

    Tom

    Address the point please:

    Nice work, picking out a handful of f-ups and claiming that “˜there has been no good climate change messaging‘. One has to wonder what you think you are doing.

    You are being evasive again.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Keith’s argument would have a lot more merit if it was based on evidence. This may come as a surprise to some people, but politicians, NGOs, thinktanks, and pollsters (where Nordhaus and Shellengerger cut their teeth) are all well aware of the fact that fear-based messaging -in isolation- does not create public support for climate mitigation policies. That’s why the overall communications strategy always include other themes including:

    -energy security and independence (a certain piece of legislation comes to mind)-health benefits (i.e. clean air)

    -economic benefits (e.g. green jobs, consumer savings)

    -Manifest destiny (clean energy is ‘Progress’)

    -Innovation is part of what makes America ‘Great’

    -Moral obligation (to descendants for the less religiously inclined) and religious Stewardship for the Evangelicals.

    Now some of these themes obviously resonate more strongly in the U.S. than elsewhere, but I’d argue they’re fairly universal. Now, if that’s those are the themes on the pro-mitigation side, then what do we see from the opposition? 

    -there is no problem. (denial)

    -if there was a problem scientists wouldn’t be so mean to skeptics.

    -Climate change is a conspiracy cooked up by kleptocrats at the UN in collusion with third rate climate scientists that suck at statistics (fear/paranoia)

    -cheap fossil fuels have freed humanity from the yoke of nature and anyone that wants to make them more expensive hates poor people and worships mother earth. (paranoia)

    -ok there might be a problem, but we need to wait until we have more information. (delay)

    - turns out there is a problem, but there are no effective solutions (i.e. energy cheaper than coal). So we should wait until the market develops solutions. (delay)

    -there is a problem and the market could develop solutions if there was less government interference (e.g. nuclear approvals) 

    - there is a problem, but we would be fools to do anything until the BRIC countries agree to limit their emissions.

    -BRIC countries will never agree to limit their emissions, so we should focus on adaptation.

    The point is that I would make is that climate change messaging isn’t occurring in a political vacuum. There are competing messages aimed at the broader public, and also at specific groups; Heartland’s billboards weren’t targeting urban Democrats in New York ;) So the suggestion that the primary obstacle to climate mitigation policy is even remotely based on the effectiveness of messaging tactics by one side is badly misguided. It’s a streetfight. A war for hearts and minds. Unfortunately, people’s minds on this issue are strongly guided by their economic prospects. I think it’s fair to say that we’d be having a very different conversation right now if the global economic meltdown had struck a couple of years after the ACES bill was making its way through Washington.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Andrew, AIT grossed $24 million domestically and $25 million internationally, so it counts as messaging–somewhere on the order of 10 million saw it. 

    It was professionally produced and written. It was clear. It was marketed correctly and well-received. So I’m certainly willing to accept it as an exception that proves the rule. 

    I would argue that it was effective in influencing the debate around the time of its release–so yes, I’ll take AIT as a counter. 

    Contrast that, however, with other ‘messaging’ put out by the Brigade, and it seems much more like an anomaly than an example…

  • John F Pittman

    #49 Joshua, I did not claim for the paper it would do more than it was designed to do. However, it would end some of the speculation as to what had been studied and how it had been studied if nothing else but in a particular case. Different cultures do react differently and sometimes react the same; not a good excuse to ignore what has been studied and how, or not. And without reading the paper, I suspect your certainty of bias is certain in you but not necessarily the paper. The combined appeal to authority and implied argument from ignorance is not proof of bias in the paper.BBD, and T Fuller, no, this was a report and was on a .gov UK site and was a study. It examined the message and examined reactions, IIRC, as behaviors, rather than assigning motive to anyone or either side. It did present qualitative information such as persons reasoning such as the example of emitting more as a response to concluding “There is nothing we can do, so I should enjoy myself.” This was given as a typical response to explain the behavior.Is there a lot of broad brush painting. Yes, there is. They were not trying to explain a specific person’s response; they were examining a recognized ineffectiveness. One may take issue with the determination of this ineffectiveness, but that as presented was pretty straightforward, though some may complain that is also a broadbrush.

  • Joshua

    Tom -

    Just for your edification, based on past experience, you have shown that there is no reason for me to respond to you directly with a goal of exchanging viewpoints. I gave you an opportunity to prove otherwise (everyone makes mistakes) but you declined the opportunity. You insisted (paraphrasing) that I don’t understand reality – and I see little reason to engage in exchanges with someone who views me in that way (there would be no point). Further, you ask for proof that all climate change messaging has been bad but you strike me as someone who is fully convinced on the topic. What would comprise “proof” for someone whose mind is already made up? Your original statement, completely devoid of any nuance or qualification, shows that you are fully convinced on the topic.

    That said, because I think there is a larger benefit of using your comment as an object lesson, I will quote the following sentence:

    Being a lukewarmer puts me on the extreme, eh?

    I didn’t call you an extremist – yet that is how you, in your simplistic rhetoric, characterized my statement. My comment to Keith is to ask an honest questions: What is a strategy for effective communication when people are so inclined to claim victimization when it only exists in their own head? What is an effective strategy for communication when people willfully simplify what someone says to confirm their biases?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Random example of effective messaging that doesn’t fit in with the ‘fear and no hope’ meme that Keith is ascribing to climate advocates.

    Like McKinsey, I’ve tried to estimate the costs of these technological transformations. My impression is that they probably sum to 1 to 2 percent of GNP on an annual basis””or, very roughly, $500 billion to $1 trillion per year, a significant sum but modest compared to the incalculable costs and risks of wrecking the planet. Climate change, disease control, food production, and biodiversity are solvable problems, but only if we cooperatively choose to direct significant resources toward their solution, mobilize the needed scientific and engineering knowledge, and act quickly and consistently for years to come. All of this requires a significant, but manageable change in direction. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dipping into the cooking sherry this early? Well, I guess the sun’s over the yardarm somewhere. Might have been useful if you had linked to all the criticism of the Mckinsey report–from your side…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Joshua, there’s no need for you to respond to me at all, if you don’t want to. You can prove my opinion of you incorrect by focusing on the topic when you comment. As I said on the relevant thread, I’d be happy to apologize if I turn out to be mistaken. Hasn’t happened yet, but who knows? It’s another beautiful day and anything can happen…

  • Joshua

    #67 – John -

    Joshua, I did not claim for the paper it would do more than it was designed to do. However, it would end some of the speculation as to what had been studied and how it had been studied if nothing else but in a particular case. Different cultures do react differently and sometimes
    react the same; not a good excuse to ignore what has been studied and how, or not.

    Fair points – although while I can understand why you thought so, I wasn’t implying that you thought that different cultures don’t react differently – I was just commenting on the limitations of sample set.

    And without reading the paper, I suspect your certainty of bias is
    certain in you but not necessarily the paper. The combined appeal to authority and implied argument from ignorance is not proof of bias in
    the paper.

    I wasn’t commenting about the conclusions in the paper – just to what we know about the characteristics of how humans reason.  My point is that more generally, conclusions about fear-based messaging aren’t fraught with confirmation bias, I’m open to hearing that argument. But point taken, I should have qualified my statement to:

    Given the complexity of the issue, simplistic conclusions about fear-based messaging will be fraught with confirmation bias.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua (61)

    You yourself have observed on numerous occasions the circular nature of blog commentary and its diminishing returns. 

    To whit: I have a loyal base of readers, of which a certain percentage are regular to semi-regular commenters. By now, I can spot a person’s name or handle and pretty much guess what position they’ll take on a given post.

    This is not to diminish the value readers bring to this blog, because in addition to the blog serving as my personal muse/shingle, I also see it as a forum for people to make their arguments. And more often than not, I learn something from a number of people who bother to comment on this blog–including you and Tom.

    That said, I also don’t view the commenters–and the comment threads–as representative of the general public, which doesn’t tune in to the ins and outs of the environmental/climate debate.

    But I do believe the larger public discourse is an important one and plays a role in shaping the memes that develop on climate change et al. This meta level is the territory that this blog most often traffics in.

    When I’m critical of climate skeptics or call out people like Anthony Watts, I know that it will not make a bit of difference with loyal tribal members of WUWT and Bishop Hill.

    And when I’m critical of enviro/climate orthodoxy and call out its demagogues, I know it will not make a bit of difference with green tribal members.

     So I’m not much concerned–nor do I care– when the “same old, same old” is evoked in the folks who belong to these respective tribes. I’m delighted that some of them who are readers of this blog have enough respect for what I write to participate in the comment threads, but I’m under no illusions that anything I say or write is going to fundamentally change their minds. 

    So I’ll settle for those moments when the blog debate is constructive and take some satisfaction from the knowledge that less partisan members of these tribes sees me as an honest broker of sorts.

  • Joshua

    More object lessons:

    Joshua, there’s no need for you to respond to me at all, if you don’t want to.

    Why would I think there is a need for me to respond?

    You can prove my opinion of you incorrect by focusing on the topic when you comment.

    It is impossible for someone who isn’t in touch with reality to prove someone else wrong, now isn’t it?

  • Joshua

    73 – Keith -Thanks.

  • Keith Kloor

    Marlowe (65)

    I don’t disagree with what you’re saying here. Your criticism (which is legitimate) is similar to those who criticized my broad brush generalizing of environmentalism in those essays from a few months ago. I thought that was a legitimate criticism, too, and acknowledged it in one of those follow-up pieces. 

    But again, as I said to Joshua in #73, I’m making meta level observations, for which there will always be exceptions. 

  • Joshua

    John -I think I might need to clean this up to make it decipherable. My point is that more generally, conclusions about fear-based messaging are (not aren’t) fraught with confirmation bias. If you would argue otherwise, I’m open to reading that argument.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @76

    fair enough.

  • John F Pittman

    I don’t think papers that discuss the results well should be always objectionable. A reasoned disclaimer could be that the conclusions though genreal, are by necessity restricted to a specific case, study, country, socio-economic assumption, etc. stated by the authors would be useful for showing the limits. In general, I see persons, not necessarily the authors, taking a conclusion too far. That being said, there is useful information contained in broadbrush approaches, as in they can have some explantory power, but it is extremely limited when extrapolating, or when trying to determine a quantifiable result past the restricted ones in a good study. I do not see it claimed often that a general statement can be applied universally.

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    Hi Tom,By the “Brigade” I presume you mean those who, to quote another of your comments, should be making a “a co-ordinated campaign pushing the same message repeatedly across one or more media”.Who would you say constitutes that group exactly? 

  • Joshua

    I don’t think papers that discuss the results well should be always objectionable.

    Agreed. Which is why I added simplistic conclusions (in reference to  complex issues).

  • Steven Sullivan

    Fuller:”[T]here has been no good climate change messaging”“just falling polar bears, exploding children and blunt falsehoods about malaria and Himalayan glaciers. “<br><br>TF, do you really believe that describes our situation? I surely do not. I believe it’s a grotesquely facile description of our situation.  But I am not surprised at all that it’s part of *your* ‘message’.

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    I don’t know the details of the survey which John is referring to but my perception of this situation here in Britain is that although there is little public pressure on politicians for immediate and drastic actions on climate change there is a pretty widespread acceptance that it is a real problem which does need to be addressed.

    I think a good indication of this is the behaviour of politicians and businesses who are trying to win favour with the public. At the last election all three mainstream parties were keen to stress their “green” credentials in general and promised action on climate change in particular, and although the government’s policies are unlikely to actually turn out as radical as claimed there has been little objection to them outside the predictable sections of the right wing press. Business are similarly keen to promote a green image and make much of how they have reduced their carbon footprints. I’m not saying that this makes much practical difference but the fact that they feel the need to do it is significant.

    The 10:10 campaign and other efforts have been generally well received by many, others have tended to be indifferent rather than actively hostile. Yes the “No pressure” video was horribly misjudged but I’m not sure how much publicity it got amongst the general public, and anyway us British have quite a high tolerance for a black humour (they still shouldn’t have done it though).

    Yes there is a small and vocal “skeptical” movement, largely associated (as elsewhere) with the hardcore right wing, and as mentioned above, they do get a plenty of coverage in certain parts of the media, and I’m sure they do have influence, but much less than in the US.

    Of course this is only my personal perception. Others here may disagree.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sully, yes I do.

    Andrew, I think you’ve described what’s going on in the UK quite accurately. I’m not sure if it’s readily comparable to what’s happening in the U.S., where climate change got ruthlessly hijacked into the partisan sphere, mostly thanks to our Senator James Inhofe and his blogger Marc Morano. They managed to make it a litmus test for true Republicanism, although not as completely as Norquist did with tax issues.

    It was just 4 years ago that the Republican candidate for the office of the presidency supported Cap and Trade. Times have changed.

    Once again, America is the exception in this, and I don’t think there is much in the way of intelligent communication going on in the major media at this time, although that might not be exactly new…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Andrew at #80, I think it is the public communications sections of the major NGOs primarily.

  • Tom Scharf

    Alarmism is just one of the messaging techniques in the spectrum.  It works with a subset of the people it hits.  There are of course a lot of others in this debate who do not go down this road.

    Where I find fault in the “failed” messaging of alarmism is:

    1. It is quite easy to refute by skeptics, and by any reasonably intelligent person who performs a self investigation.    

    2. The more moderate (majority?) climate concerned people allow this messaging to dominate in the public sphere without comment (KK/Revkin and some others excluded),  thus implicitly approving of it.

    3. The media is compliant as it traffics in fear as a matter of course.

    4. A dominant easily refutable message taints the entire movement as scientifically corrupt, causing long term credibility problems.

    The movement is living with the long term credibility problem now.  The “all in” strategy of the science is settled backfired badly.  Get rid of the global treaty unicorn chasers, social justice co-opters, Hansen / McKibben / Gore types.  Get some leaders that have cross-aisle appeal and trust.  Build a bigger tent.

    People have grown weary of the angry environmentalists who blame everyone but themselves.

    Above all, do something useful.  Visibly.  Locally.  Way too much effort has been focused on bringing about nebulous immeasurable large scale political change and has resulted in alienating 50% of the voting population.   Environmentalism is not cool anymore to too many people. They simply don’t like you anymore.  Try changing that. 

  • BBD

    1. It is quite easy to refute by skeptics, and by any reasonably intelligent person who performs a self investigation.   

    What you have been fooled into mischaracterising as ‘alarmism’ is neither alarmist nor refutable by so-called sceptics. And believe me, once ‘the people’ wake up to what the more prominent and structured ‘sceptics’ have really been doing, they won’t like you any more. Count on that.

  • BBD

    The *reason* why the more paranoid-inclined don’t trust Hansen etc is because they have been duped. Personalise, demonise. That’s how it’s done.

  • BBD

    I say this in the interests of balance, give that we are hearing rather a lot about the environmentalist campaign of fear.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    We’ve been duped! It’s a cookbook! Soylent Green is people! Cassandra was right!

    We’re doomed. Doomed, I tell you…

  • steven mosher

    Again, I agree with Joshua 100%
    “Here’s one thing I know for sure. Given the complexity of the issue, conclusions about fear-based messaging will be fraught with confirmation bias.”

    I think that conclusions about its effectiveness or ineffectiveness will be fraught with confirmation bias. I suppose one way to come closer to diminishing argumentation over the issue is to engage in a little experiment.
    Remain teachable and try something else. Measure the results and report. If it was the case that fear based messaging was working in all situations, for all audiences for all times we would not be having this debate. In short, if its not broke dont fix it. If its working, can you do better?

  • steven mosher

    tom
    “Being a lukewarmer puts me on the extreme, eh?”

    no they are just repositioning the window

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Fear-based communication does work. But it has a shelf life. The Red Scare worked. Until it didn’t. Anti-vaccine messages worked. Until they didn’t. What eroded their effectiveness was the bringing of facts to public attention and the effects of time disproving their hypothesizing. Kind of a hint for modern communicators, actually… Will we ever remember anything else Joe McCarthy worked on or anything else Wakefield ever did? Could either of them come back into public trust?

  • steven mosher

    “It’s worth pointing out that the success of messaging depends on both the person trying to communicate the message and the person receiving it.”

    Yes, this is part of what we call “the rhetorical situation” Speaker. Place. Audience. Purpose. Message.

    for climate change, start by looking at the speakers. In the beginning you would want to start with speakers who already have credibility with your audience. To drive awareness and interest in your core constinuency you would pick.. Al Gore and scientists. the brainer the better. The appeal of fear works fine as does the appeal to intangibles:
    leave a better planet for our grandchildren. do good.

    When you switch to phase 2, moving on the uncommitted, you need to change speakers. you absolutely must.

    The communications plans I’ve seen ( from the files of climategate.. not discussed too much ) saw follow on phases in the classroom. basically drive awareness and concern in the youth market. A good strategy, but it engaged the enemy too early.Opps, scaring kids backfires especially when their folks are worried about the mortgage.

    Hindsight of course. I had hoped and Tom had hoped that after climategate certain voices would graciously exit the debate. Usually through a promotion to an important non speaking role. Not all prophets make it to the promised land

    /p>

  • BBD

    What eroded their effectiveness was the bringing of facts to public attention and the effects of time disproving their hypothesizing.

    That’s what’ll do for scientifically baseless but tactically useful lukewarmerism and of course full-blown denial.

    McCarthy? Wakefield? In the same breath as climate science? I ask you again Tom: what do you think you are doing here?

  • BBD

    SMHindsight of course. I had hoped and Tom had hoped that after climategate certain voices would graciously exit the debate.Well, it seems that your robust attempts to make as much mischief as possible out of that incident failed to have any real effect. Not for want of trying though, eh? I wonder why you did it? Personalise… demonise…

  • steven mosher

    Yes Tom fear works, until it doesnt. If I know nothing about my audience. I think I would always a start with something aspirational and uplifting. and keep a fear stick handy. Its hard to start with fear and switch to aspirational. Lead with heaven, keep hell in your back pocket

  • BBD

    And personalise… demonise…

  • Joshua

    “The Red Scare worked. Until it didn’t. Anti-vaccine messages worked. Until they didn’t. What eroded their effectiveness was the bringing of facts to public attention and the effects of time disproving their
    hypothesizing.”

    The Red Scare worked, and it is still in use, and it still works.

    Fear of vaccinations continues to negatively affect vaccination rates (slowing their growth or causing a decline). The assumption that “bringing of facts to public attention”  “worked” is facile. Interestingly, with vaccines, there was a larger decline among higher SES families – who presumably would have more access to the “facts” brought to public attention.

    Once again, there are multiple factors in play. Simplistic arguments by assertion will continue to be fraught with confirmation bias.

    Public decision making related to vaccine acceptance is neither driven
    by scientific nor economic evidence alone, but is also driven by a mix of psychological, sociocultural, and political factors, all of which
    need to be understood and taken into account by policy and other decision makers. Public trust in vaccines is highly variable and building trust depends on understanding perceptions of vaccines and
    vaccine risks, historical experiences, religious or political affiliations, and socioeconomic status. Although provision of accurate, scientifically based evidence on the risk-benefit ratios of vaccines is
    crucial, it is not enough to redress the gap between current levels of public confidence in vaccines and levels of trust needed to ensure adequate and sustained vaccine coverage. We call for more research not just on individual determinants of public trust, but on what mix of factors are most likely to sustain public trust. The vaccine community demands rigorous evidence on vaccine efficacy and safety and technical and operational feasibility when introducing a new vaccine, but has been negligent in demanding equally rigorous research to understand the psychological, social, and political factors that affect public trust in
    vaccines.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21664679

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hey, okay, BBD and Joshua. Everything’s fine with what you’re doing. 

    Everyone who disagrees with BBD is demonizing and personalizing. Everyone who disagrees with Joshua is oversimplifying. You’ve pointed it out repeatedly and all your opponents are slain and gathered in piles at your feet. Right?

    So what’s the problem?

  • BBD

    Everyone who disagrees with BBD is demonizing and personalizing. I didn’t say that at all. I said that’s what you and Mosher did with your book. Which just so happened to sit rather well alongside all the other contrarian personalising and demonising. The question is not what you are responsible for, it is why you did it. And why you are still talking and talking and talking…

  • Tom Scharf

    @87 BBD “What you have been fooled into mischaracterising as “˜alarmism’ is neither alarmist nor refutable…”

    What is easily refutable is the certainty with which the doom and gloom are pronounced by our expert predictors.  Hansen’s latest salvo op-ed in the NYT was a prime example:

    That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk. 

    Are you stating that this is irrefutable by a reasonably intelligent person?  Don’t do your usual (quite transparent and ineffective) dodge and change of the subject here.  Do you or do you not agree with this statement by one of the leading scientists on climate change?

    It’s a target rich environment here, I can come up with 10 similar examples.  It’s embarrassing to science.  This stuff belongs in the Enquirer.  

  • Joshua

    Yet another object lesson:

    Everyone who disagrees with Joshua is oversimplifying.

    And a beautifully ironic object lesson, at that. I always loves me some irony.

  • BBD

    Are you stating that this is irrefutable by a reasonably intelligent person?

    Yes. Go ahead and refute it, properly. Start with all the premises Hansen is working from, and demonstrate error.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, please name one instance where we demonized or personalized anything in our book. One.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    As we can see, what BBD and Joshua do becomes a two-edged sword. They succeed in diverting discussion from the topic. They also confirm the negative opinion others have of the advocates of the cause they espouse. But apparently communication is over-rated in this day and age. 

  • RB

    harrywr2#33, You know I said nothing about ‘quality-of-life issues’ as you have reframed it. (If you wish, I will agree that ‘cap-and-trade’ is like a tax that will raise the cost of fossil-based energy, which is how it is supposed to work in a Pigovian sense as also endorsed by many US conservatives.) If it so turns out that your neighbors are not able to go hobby-fishing, it is not an outcome equivalent to forcing billions around the world into poverty. But that really is the level of economic alarmism that is often heard – basically, taking a concern and exaggerating its impact to wild extremes.

  • John F Pittman

    BBD, as someone who spent weeks of vacation and spare time on the impact of CG1 on the paleo, attribution and computer modelling in AR4, if anything Fuller and Mosher were light and even handed. I must assume you did not read CG1 and do not know the context, myself and others, found that make the context worse. Their book is only a guide, you need to read both the book, CG1, AR4 6,9,10 for context. The place place to start is to sort on Yamal and larch. Read them from start to finish as you read the parts of 6,9,10. In this I assume you are well versed with 6, 9,10. If not start there, then use F&M as a guideline with the actual emails.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    C’mon, BBD. One instance where we personalized or demonized in our book. Useless git.

  • jeffn

    “If it so turns out that your neighbors are not able to go hobby-fishing, it is not an outcome equivalent to forcing billions around the world into poverty.”

    Too funny.
    A policy aimed at reducing global warming that would make energy so expensive as to prevent a middle class American from going fishing would, in fact, have quite a disproportionate impact on people in developing nations.
    But of course you don’t see that because you expect to exempt the developing nations, which means you don’t expect to do anything about global emissions, which means you don’t expect to do anything about global warming, which means you expect middle class American to support “policy” that makes them give up fishing for absolutely no benefit to the environment.
    Nobody is going to do that, so you’ll just make up more scare stories and call them stupid. Good plan.

  • BBD

    Tom
    Your book is *about* demonising and personalising various ‘Team’ scientists. Don’t be ridiculous and tiresome.

  • BBD

    And Tom, I am deeply fed up with your routinely abusive language. Why KK doesn’t pull you up for it is becoming increasingly puzzling. Since he has not, I will. Fucking well stop it.

  • Keith Kloor

    Tom fuller and BBD: do you boys need a time out?

  • Joshua

    A policy aimed at reducing global warming that would make energy so expensive as to prevent a middle class American from going fishing
    would, in fact, have quite a disproportionate impact on people in developing nations.

    That might depend. I mean your use of “prevent” is a bit vague given the earlier context of the discussion.

    Balancing the impact, differentially, on people of different SES and in different countries is not mutually exclusive with raising the cost of energy for middle class Americans. And raising energy prices for Americans wouldn’t necessarily mean that someone couldn’t go hobby-fishing, but that they might need to make choices, such as using less energy in other ways, or taking a bus to a fishing hole, or driving a more fuel-efficient car.

    I’d say that relatively few people who think that energy should be more expensive for middle-class Americans thinks that it should be so expensive that it should “prevent” harry’s neighbor from going fishing.

  • BBD

    A cessation of abusive language from Tom would be enough Keith.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    “We are tough on the scientists we call The Team, and we think deservedly so. But we want to stress from the outset that we do not for one minute believe there is any evidence of a long-term conspiracy to defraud the public about global warming, by The Team or anyone else. What we find evidence of on a much smaller scale is a small group of scientists too close to each other, protecting themselves and their careers, and unintentionally having a dramatic, if unintended, effect on a global debate.”"We see the frustration the scientists felt in getting the media and the public to understand the science as well as the desire to fight a rapid reaction battle against a host of critics who used the Internet to post their “•refutations of accepted science. This is a common theme that runs throughout the Climategate story. Working climate scientists publish their findings in the peer-reviewed journals of science: Nature, Science, and others. The process of publishing is long and tedious and open to manipulation as we shall see.On the other side, often combating them, are a variety of voices from outside this mainstream publishing world. It”˜s an internet world where anyone can post their ideas immediately, without review or rather with a wide-open unfettered review by hundreds or thousands or millions of readers. The culture shock is evident, and not just in Schmidt”˜s email. A process that formerly took months to get a polite reply from a colleague was being challenged by a world where the scientist would be confronted by dozens, if not hundreds, of blog posts from people ranging from scientifically qualified to people who had never opened a book before picking up a pen. Scientists who might flame another scientist in private mails were exposed to an internet world where the flaming was out in the open.”

  • BBD

    Perhaps Tom’s oft-used expression ‘useless git’ is less offensive in US English than in UK English. In the wrong circumstances here, it could start a physical fight.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    If by abusive you  mean my use of the word ‘git’, it is similar to ‘tosser’ and is defined in the Urban Dictionary as

    A person who feels justified in their callow behaviour. 

    I think it’s descriptive and accurate, not abusive.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    One example. BBD.

  • Sashka

    Keith, as you know it used to be a much more civilized place. The way you dealt with Rabbett (and perhaps with a few other assholes) shows that you are perfectly capable of maintaining civility and decorum when you want it. It follows that we have what we have because you you want it that way or at least don’t mind. You can’t have it both ways.

  • BBD

    Tom, your book was a very deliberate attempt to make a select group of scientists look bad. As we all know. Your denial of this makes you look *even worse*.

  • BBD

    Rather than play silly games with you trying to direct the conversation, let’s get back to the burning question: why did you do it? What made you think that any good would come of selectively misrepresenting the stolen emails to make your targets look as bad as possible?

  • BBD

    Climategate shows the extraordinary the [sic] lengths The Team, a small, elite group of climate scientists, would go to in order to frustrate McIntyre’s requests for data, and the effect this scandal has had on the global warming debate, government policy and perhaps the future of the world.

  • John F Pittman

    Joshua #114 If so (not expensive) 1. Would it work?  2. Is that is what has been proposed? The answer is that the proposals have to work as reasoned. As shown by Tol and others, there are assumptions that are unjustifiable. In fact are the opposite of what economists state about economics. The most glaring is the energy mix. There is an assumption that as demand for wind and solar increase, purchases will casue an economy of scale such that the price decreases. This is a basic error, economy of scale will flatten not reverse price demand ratios. Thus the IPCC becomes the greatest in the Polyanna contest and is hands down winner.  So, the conclusion is 1. No. 2. No. What the consumer will see is about a deflation of buying power of about 45% when fully implemented minus the flattening by the economy of scale where 10% to 20% of the total (45%) is considered phenomenal, the last time I looked at such. At current levels, consumer resilience is about 10%. The maximum that could be expected would be consumers facing 36% net loss of buying power. Not survivable at current conditions. So, yes, when fully implemented over a period of time, one would expect that your neighbor would have to give up recreeational fishing, non local produce and a host of other changes, OR a fundamental change in energy will occur, and do not mean going to wind and solar. It will have to be a source as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sure, BBD. Who we gonna believe? Quotes from the book in question or your characterization?Whoop ti ki yi yay, git along little dogies, it’s your misfortune and none of my own… Whoop ti ki yi yay, git along little dogies, for you know that Wyoming will be your new home…

  • Joshua

    John -“1. Would it work?”“Work” is a rather vague term. By itself, would it reduce ACO2 sufficient to reverse global warming? No. Would it reduce the rate of global warming -  IOW buy some time? Assuming no “tipping points” are trigger, I doubt it -  as one change among others think it is theoretically possible. Would it generate revenue that might go towards researching better replacement technologies, and might it have other associated benefits – I’d say yes.  “2. Is that is what has been proposed?”It has been proposed by some. “The answer is
    that the proposals have to work as reasoned. As shown by Tol and others,
    there are assumptions that are unjustifiable. In fact are the opposite
    of what economists state about economics.”
    The findings by Tol and others are disputed. From what I’ve seen, Tol is subject to some biases. I have seen very few (any?) analyses that incorporate differential pricing for people of different SES. I think that there is no solution w/o people with higher standards of living sacrificing more (or at least facing more changes) than people of lower SES (and I think there is room for that sacrifice and change) – so projections that don’t incorporate such differentiation are not optimal, IMO. And there are follow-on benefits in addition to revenue for research – reduced pollution, for example – that would reduce cost to society in other ways. How do we account for other possible external economic benefits – e.g., with less use of oil, fewer wars to keep oil flowing.  “There is an assumption that as demand for wind and solar increase,
    purchases will casue an economy of scale such that the price decreases.
    This is a basic error, economy of scale will flatten not reverse price
    demand ratios.”
    Economy of scale is not the only benefit. Again, revenue used for research, the potential benefits of efficiencies resulting from experience.  If more infrastructure is in place and more usage is taking place, even if the initial benefits of scale are limited – once the usage is greater any benefits from reduction in cost is magnified – something not caught by economy of scale. ”Not survivable at current conditions.”Not survivable by whom? And with the consideration of what sacrifice? Not survivable if more people live in cities? If more people use public transportation? If we eliminate massive waste in food production or have massive efforts for conservation? “So, yes,
    when fully implemented over a period of time, one would expect that
    your neighbor would have to give up recreeational fishing, non local
    produce and a host of other changes,”
    Hey – conservation and higher energy prices are all well and good, but keep your hands off my heirloom tomatoes.

  • Jeffn

    Joshua at 114, I think you are partly right. Differentiating between a middle class emission of CO2 and one from a poor person makes no difference to the climate, so is an unsustainable climate policy.
    John’s already addressed the economics of alternatives. So I’d like to focus on your last sentence- that few want energy to be THAT expensive. Here’s part of the messaging that used to be hot with the concerned but has largely disappeared- we need to reduce global emissions 85 to 100%. Now.
    That was a message people actually heard and thought about. You could evaluate policy with it. When presented with the idea of a carbon tax, for example, they pondered how big it would need to be and how far reaching to effect an 85% reduction in fossil fuel use. Answer- massive. And they pondered what’s available that can replace 85% of coal use. Answer- stuff the concerned oppose using.
    So now the messaging is to pooh-pooh the idea that replacing 85% of energy sources is going to take any effort- something nobody believes.

  • Joshua

    Screwed up on the formatting – I think you’ll be able to get through it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, it occurs to me that the term ‘git’, which most find rather inoffensive, is apparently perceived by you as much stronger and insulting. As I don’t think the user of the term should be able to impose his/her definition by default, but rather that the person so labeled should instead be able to say how it makes him/her feel, I apologize without reservation for using a term that causes you such anguish.

  • Joshua

    Jeffn -I don’t understand this point.

    “Differentiating between a middle class emission of CO2 and one from a poor person makes no difference to the climate, so is an unsustainable climate policy.”

    What people advocate for changes over time due to circumstances, insight, information, etc.  Why would anyone expect anything different? Further, I think that you are over-generalizing, to the point where it is difficult to respond. For example, problems with nuclear extend much farther than just opposition from the “concerned,” and not all “concerned’ are in opposition.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @122

    money and/or vanity seem like the most obvious candidates no?

  • steven mosher

    ‘Tom, your book was a very deliberate attempt to make a select group of scientists look bad”

    well since the ICO agreed with us, I suppose you can take it up with them. heck, Jones agreed with my assessment of him.

  • John F Pittman

    Format not a problem. I would put your generalization of the benefits and costs as similar to my “work.” I meant to work is to acheive the stated goals as stated and in the manner as stated. I would point out that you envision benefits, some appear to be realizable, some may well be, but use what I think of as the portfolio fallacy “Results based on past performance do not indicate future performance” with my addition it may be the best or only way to rate future performance. But one aspect I find unassailable is that such a program of taking discriminates against those that would prefer recreational fishing and dislike mass transit for example. Persons engage in legal discernment and legal discrimination all the time. Their behaviour is theirs. I understand that some have concerns about Tol, but then I have concern that Stern used discount rates that I find objectionable, his argument as to their validity I find biased. Welcome to the complex world. You think there is no solution without people with higher standards of living sacrificing more . I think that that is one possibility. Another is that the best alternative in the long run is to economically grow those without high SoL. This is based on the portfolio fallacy as well. One thing we do know, the poor do not care for the environment, and can be often seen in that the countries with the better carbon footprints often have the worse impact of the environment in general, per capita. Another is that statist governments don’t care either. Perhaps this will change as well, but I have not seen evidence of it.

  • Joshua

    Need to take a break for a while. I’ll respond to this since you highlighted it.

    “But one aspect I find unassailable is that such a program of taking discriminates against those that would prefer recreational fishing and dislike mass transit for example.”

    I’m not sure I fully understand your point, but while what you say is, in some sense no doubt true, we also need to consider a legacy of past discrimination (decisions to spend money promoting automobile travel over providing public transportation), and consideration of societal economic good and magnitude of emissions benefit. For example, how do we weight the emissions benefits from one guy fishing and the follow-on societal economic benefits from him being more self-sustainable (others?) versus emissions benefits from someone being able to  take public transportation and the follow-on economic benefits from economic activity in transportation hubs, less time spent in traffic, fewer traffic fatalities, etc. I’m not trying to portray that as being as one-sided as it sounds – I don’t doubt it is a very complicated calculus.

  • John F Pittman

    I agree it is about bedtime. The point is not only is it a very complicated calculus, it may well be unsolvable, there may be more than one correct answer. This is a problem I find with the playing of the fear card. It presupposes the correctness of the solution. In other words, it is a preemptive effort to come to a policy decision. When one uses the moral dimension based on the the fear construction being correct, it attempts to enage the discussion from a plane of moral ascendancy that often can only be shown to be an assumption that reflects person(s) bias(es). 

  • Jeffn

    Joshua, at 134, that is an example of diverting an environmental policy to a political policy. Focus. A policy that doesn’t necessarily reduce emissions, but satisfies a desire to offer a sacrifice to “past discrimination” isn’t a policy to reduce emissions and therefore isn’t a policy to address global warming.
    That was my point earlier- it doesn’t matter where the molecule of CO2 comes from if you believe it will kill us all. Once you start down the path of exempting this group or that group out of some sense of political fairness, you’ve lost the argument that CO2 is dangerous. Fred the fisherman might give up his truck for a necessary 85% reduction in global emissions, but for a plan that doesn’t reduce global emissions a bit, only shuffles things around according to what Joshua thinks is fair? Hell no.

  • Keith Kloor

    Sashka (120)

    When I look around at other climate blogs and see all the flaming in the comment threads, I think mine holds up well, comparably.

    That said, I’ve applied a light hand overall, stepping in perhaps on the late end of a skirmish, to keep it from getting uglier. Fact is: the blog is already a time-suck, and playing nanny only makes it more so. So you’ll have to deal with the occasional incivility. 

    But if some people can’t keep from dishing out the gratuitous insults, I’m not averse to putting them on moderation. It’s more work for me, but what I’ve discovered is once someone goes on moderation, he or she eventually stops commenting altogether or very infrequently. It’s a tradeoff.

  • steven mosher

    i will tell you why i did it. nov 29. tom wrote me and asked me to. i hoped revkin would have. i wrote tohim ondayone. follow foia. he didnt. the story hadbecome a joke. either fraud or boys behaving badly. i tried to stick to thechronology. at times editorializing distracted from that. demonizing.. no see my piece on big government site. excuse sent from phone

  • harrywr2

    Joshua,

    or taking a bus to a fishing hole, or driving a more fuel-efficient car.Going fishing on the Columbia river requires a fairly sturdy boat. You also need camping gear, coolers for the fish(salmon and steelhead generally run well above 10 lbs/piece) etc etc.

    Every Friday night there is  a virtual parade going from Urban/Suburban Seattle of Pickup Trucks loaded up and towing all manner of  recreational equipment headed east to the  rural and uninhabited parts of Washington State, then on Sunday night it returns.

    Getting ‘out of the city’ and ‘recreating’ is a really big quality of life issue for many.  It’s the reason national parks were established in the first place.

    Not to worry though…the engineers at Ford Motor Company..fearing for the future of the #1 selling vehicle in the US for more then 30 years, the Ford F-150 are hard at work on ways to get more fuel economy out of it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, when you re-enter the fray, I have something to say to you.

    It’s really clear why you got kicked off Bishop Hill’s site. You are dishonest as well as a troll.

    Steve Mosher went out of his way to find ways to humanize those we criticized in our book. He was one of the first, if not the first, to drag the concept of Noble Cause Corruption from the realm of police studies precisely to allow for the possibility that those we criticized felt that their cause was so important that it permitted them to exceed the normal bounds of propriety. He was one of the first, if not the first, to hypothesize that those we criticize felt not only within their rights but part of their duty to adopt the tactics of Big Tobacco, precisely because they expected the tactics to be used against them.

    I can understand why you don’t want discussion to proceed on how the consensus team has overplayed the climate fear card, the topic we are to putatively discuss. The consensus has overplayed the fear card, sowing the wind and now reaping the whirlwind as a result. So you and your fellows try to lead the discussion astray and have more success than you deserve.

    But when you lie about what others have written and are unable to produce even one example of what you claim they have done, you reinforce the image others have of you. You are very much like the character Bob Hoskins played in Unleashed–a vulgar thug with dreams of being a bit more cultivated than he is. At the end of the day, for you it all comes down to ‘Get ‘em.’ It’s too bad your weapons look more like Peggy Lee than Jet Li.

    You lie.

  • Sashka

    Well, you are making my point for me. What you see as a trade-off I see as big win.

  • steven mosher

    steve mcintyre came up with noble cause corruption. we were talking. trying to make sense out of the behavior. fighting mcintyre made no sense. Neither of us thought mann or jones or briffa was evil. My explanation was that Mann felt embattled. he says as much. Jones after years decides to help and do his part. and briffa, the story shows was really bullied into a corner first by mann and then by overpeck and jones did nothing to protect him. kinda like screwtape. steve objected to me seeing briffa as a hero of sorts. His suggestion was noble cause corruption. Once he said that I saw that too. this was not fraud or hoax. For a while Tom and I debated over titles; noble cause corruption or CRUTAPE. We felt noble cause corruption while accurate would be pissing n two tents. sceptics would howl about “noble” and the other side would scream about corrption. plus corruption was a bit too harsh. anyway, Tom let me pick and since I liked my crutape idea, I picked that. Probably egotistical and too impressed with my own cleverness.
    would I write the same book. No. I ( not tom) made two mistakes. one about Jones which gavin caught and another about briffa that arthur smith caught. I’d spend more time talking about the luke warmer stuff. Tom wanted this to be a bigger part and I said no. i was beat, exhausted. I’d probably tone down some of the rhetoric, trim some of the speculation. People who dont live on the internet tell me we were balanced. Skeptic friends say the last part of the book ruined it. Richard betts likes the last part of the book. i regret not listening to Tom who wanted to end with more stuff from the middle of the road. I would rather write a book that richard betts likes than one that BBD approves of.

    Did we achieve perfection in finding a way between the two extreme frames of climategate.
    Nope. anybody who reads through the book can see that its rhetorically uneven. I dont think its fair to say that we demonized people. unless you literalize the screwtape trope. we did personalize because its story about how personalities intersect with science. So, I will accept the “personalization” charge. I wont accept the demonizing charge. humanize is more to the point. thsoe who tried to charge fraud, demonized. those who excused the behavior,tried to canonize. they were men. who believed strongly and failed to live up to an ideal that perhaps we shouldnt hold them to. I dunno.

  • BBD

    Tom

    I can understand why you don’t want discussion to proceed on how the consensus team has overplayed the climate fear card, the topic we are to putatively discuss. The consensus has overplayed the fear card, sowing the wind and now reaping the whirlwind as a result. So you and your fellows try to lead the discussion astray and have more success than you deserve.

    What interests me is balance. The claim that the ‘consensus team’ (see what you did there? see what your distorting book was doing?) ‘overplayed’ the ‘climate fear card’ is IMO a fiction. It grows from the crypto-denialist discourse you, Mosher and zillions of other motivated commenters have assiduously substituted for what the rest of the world calls the mainstream scientific perspective. Let’s bear in mind that your position proceeds from your own private version of physical reality where ECS is 1.9C.

    But when you lie about what others have written and are unable to produce even one example of what you claim they have done, you reinforce the image others have of you. You are very much like the character Bob Hoskins played in Unleashed”“a vulgar thug with dreams of being a bit more cultivated than he is. At the end of the day, for you it all comes down to “˜Get “˜em.’ It’s too bad your weapons look more like Peggy Lee than Jet Li.

    You lie.

    Keith, you came down right hard on me for far less than the tripe and abuse Fuller provides above. So where’s the famous even-handedness?

  • BBD

    Steven Mosher

    Thanks for your latter response. You know well that I don’t buy most of it except as an internally coherent explanation for what you did. You had a similar discussion with MT some time ago, so to save time, pain, and this thread, take it that I am of his position.

  • Keith Kloor

     BBD,You and Tom like to dance. More power to you both. I get exhausted just reading your exchanges, sometimes.

    You both give as good as you get. And you both have been warned, equally on separate occasions.

    By all means, continue to fire away at each other. Just don’t make it personal (which you have done and will of course do again).

    I have trouble getting my kids to listen to me. (Cue classic Bill Cosby routine. Do you guys have “brain damage”?)

    Seriously, I like it that this blog is not an echo chamber. That leads some of you to complain about trolling (about the other side, naturally). Some of the readers that comment most frequently here are engaged and passionate. At the very least, your word play is entertaining.  

  • Marlowe Johnson

    The claim that the “˜consensus team’ (see what you did there? see what your distorting book was doing?) “˜overplayed’ the “˜climate fear card’ is IMO a fiction. It grows from the crypto-denialist discourse you, Mosher and zillions of other motivated commenters have assiduously substituted for what the rest of the world calls the mainstream scientific perspective.

    +1

    Oh, and I’d suggest that @142 is about as close to a mea culpa as we’re ever likely to see from the divine Mosher. Can’t wait to see if similar whispers of contrition are forthcoming from McIntyre,Watts and Pielke the elder given recent events. I’m not holding my breath. 

  • Joshua

    #135 – John

    I’m on board completely with that comment. I was going to write something similar, yesterday, about the problems inherent in trying to find one answer – but forgot.

    There really is a dilemma, however, if you think that there really is a question of morality involved (preventing human suffering or, if you’re so inclined, preventing the immorality of destroying other forms of life or the environment). In that situation, it’s only logical to consider what you see to be less effective solutions as being morally inferior. That’s problematic in itself, but the real problem comes in when you start working backwards from that, to impugning the morality of those who have different views.

    I think that’s a very important issue as far as the logistics of the debate, as opposed to the content. It’s part of the reason that so little progress has been made – because it becomes a morality play. This is part of why I think there’s a problem with focusing on whether or not environmentalists “play the fear card” – it’s focusing in the wrong place. Playing of the fear card isn’t the problem unto itself. People fear bad outcomes, logically. The problem is the underlying problem – that people think that they can judge someone’s morality on the basis of what policies they advocate. That isn’t logical. You may or may not be able to formulate such a judgement – but you’d need more information.

    In fact, what happens is that people choose positions so that they can validate their own  morality (in a facile manner)by impugning the morality of people who choose different positions.. I’m struck with, for example, how many people think that they can judge the views of climate scientists without  even knowing what climate scientists say (as shown by polls that show that a significant chunk of people doubt global warming even though they trust climate scientists — because they are have mistaken views regarding how most climate scientists evaluate the data).

    And as an aside, the whole “play the fear card” notion is one fraught with bias to start with. I think of the “outrage” about the “race card” being played in the O.J. Simpson case. I mean really? Do people think that racial issues weren’t integral to the context for that case from the very start, based on hundreds of years of “race card” playing? All of a sudden someone was “playing the race card?”  A legacy of racial bias is integral to how virtually any black or white American differentially views the probability and/or credibility of a white cop framing a black man.  Just as playing a race card or a fear card reflects biased perspective, so does the accusation that someone’s playing a race card or a fear card.

    What I happen to find particularly interesting is when “skeptics” who pride themselves on their objective analytical processes, base determinations about the morality of their opponents on nothing other than speculation (how could someone who’s never met me judge my morality – simply because they think I’m a “warmist?”).

  • Joshua

    #136 – Jeffn -From what you wrote, it seems to me that you’ve misinterpreted some of what I said. Try rereading what I wrote and what you wrote. Maybe you can reframe in such a way that I feel I can just respond without first having to explain how you misunderstood me.

  • jim

    Keith, this is a nice piece.  However, despite their best efforts, scientists and social scientists and writers and pundits seem to have overlooked an obvious explanation:people dont accept the alarmist message because it is simply wrong.  After all the current extinction event has been ongoing for 12ka.  The biodiversity loss we’ve thus far incurred doesn’t seem to have stalled human progress. Climate has changed and changed again, occasionally causing major crises but, for the most part not impeding humanity’s advance.  OTOH, preachers of hell and damnation are surely older than the bible itself, and I can’t think of one case where the predictions have borne out.The real story is that environmental alarmist prophets (McKibben, Hansen, etc) are not much different than biblical prophets before them.  Like the biblical prophets, their message is primarilly moral – its wrong to destroy nature – as opposed to technical – we cant survive the coming crisis.  A technical message  would require inclusion of technical solutions, which would require solutions that exclude the idea of preserving nature – anathema to the enviro movement.  They want only solutions that preserve their particular concept of what constitutes a “natural” environment, and the public correctly percieves their ideas as proselytizing supported where possible by sound science and, when sound science is not available, by any tortured data that might be believable.  I think thats closer to the real truth: people don’t accept alarmism because it IS false,  its based more on moral judgements than on facts, and is more akin to proselytizing than to a hard-headed technical assessment of potential problems and solutions.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Like my co-author, I wouldn’t write the same book today. I certainly wouldn’t try to do it in 30 days. 

    Like my co-author, I’m proud of what we managed to accomplish.

    Like my co-author, I know we didn’t demonize people and we tried to humanize them.

    Unlike my co-author, when pathetic ratbags lie about what we wrote I will get in their face. 

    BBD, you claim to have bought the book. You claim to have read it. You say we demonize and personalize in it. I call for an example.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #146, you really shouldn’t drink before breakfast. It impairs your judgement.

    Good morning, Keith–happy to be back? 

    Seriously, what happens here would have gone unnoticed in London coffee-houses in Samuel Johnson’s time. It wouldn’t have risen to the level of newsworthy in American political campaigns of the 18th and 19th (or even the early part of the 20th) centuries. Playing the dozens was an accepted activity near your part of the world until such time as everyone walked around armed.

    At least nobody is unclear about how I feel about BBD, Marlowe and the like. Clarity is good…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Jim at 149, there is a distinction in what you write from what others are writing. You note correctly that the alarmists have cried wolf once too often and their jeremiads are losing their punch. 

    But they are different from environmentalists, as you note. And public acceptance of environmental messages and willingness to support them has not changed.

    But some refuse to see what you have noted. Pity, that.

  • Jeffn

    Joshua, agree that my post was inarticulate- wrote it in haste to go watch Olympics.
    I was working off the same sentiment that John Pittman noticed and expressed better than I:
    “You think there is no solution without people with higher standards of living sacrificing more . I think that that is one possibility. Another is that the best alternative in the long run is to economically grow those without high SoL.”
    What I’m trying to say is that an approach that has the high SoL folks sacrificing more, but which doesn’t get you to 85% reduction in global emissions is not an AGW policy- ie it won’t address AGW. It is not, then sustainable as environmental policy, however strongly you may feel about it as an issue of fairness or other moral good. Your AGW policy must significantly affect AGW for broad support. Otherwise you’re just dressing up progressive politics as environmental policy- and the minute you do that you lose more than half the electorate. And not just in the US, there are a lot of Europeans fed up with spending billions on wind and solar with the end result that they’re burning more coal. They thought they were being asked to sacrifice to reduce emissions.

  • Joshua

    jim — #149

    “… people dont accept the alarmist message because it is simply wrong.”

    Not to say that people do accept wrong messages, but you are laying out a cause-and-effect relationship there without providing any evidence. I have seen quite a few folks make similar claims, and haven’t seen them provide supporting evidence.

    Given that you seem likely to have a partisan perspective on the science of the debate, it stands to reason that your bias in that regard is affecting your assessment of the cause-and-effect in public opinion amongst people who largely don’t share your view of the science, are uninformed about the science, are misinformed about the science, or don’t even know what climate scientists have to say about the science.

    Is your assessment based on anything other than pure speculation and argument by assertion?

  • Joshua

    Jeffn -

    What I’m trying to say is that an approach that has the high SoL folks sacrificing more, but which doesn’t get you to 85% reduction in global emissions is not an AGW policy- ie it won’t address AGW.

    It won’t solve AGW, but it may address it. There are a lot of unknowns. Will it reduce the rate of change? Will it buy some time? Will it provide revenue that could be directed towards the development of new technologies?

    Otherwise you’re just dressing up progressive politics as environmental
    policy…

    Not necessarily. It is addressing other issues:  pollution, sprawl, the social and economic cost of keeping oil flowing, addressing the single biggest economic obstacle we face (healthcare costs), etc. Some of them are directly environmental issues, and others are not, and of course there is some aspect of a goal being to address different kinds of issues simultaneously, but it doesn’t negate the potential to address the margins of climate change.

    - and the minute you do that you lose more than half the electorate.

    Only if people see an effort to reduce pollution, or sprawl, or dependence on foreign oil as necessarily a political product that they object to. A good example: the healthcare mandate – proposed and supported by “conservatives” just a few short years ago, and now condemned as the tyrannical goal of power-hungry statists.  Was a healthcare mandate, as a way to address healthcare costs, necessarily going to be opposed by more than 1/2 the electorate? That would depend on how people choose to use the issue. If extreme climate change becomes clearly unambiguous, people will may move past using the climate debate to validate their own sense of moral superiority. Chances are that won’t happen in my lifetime, however.

    And not just in the US, there are a lot of Europeans fed up with spending billions on wind and solar with the end result that they’re burning more coal. They thought they were being asked to sacrifice to reduce emissions.

    What does “a lot’ mean? What are the trends? How is opinion likely to change in the future?

    I can’t vouch for the polling done in the article below, and formatting problems prevents me from cutting and pasting an excerpt, but I suspect in reality, public opinion may be more equivocal than suggested by your statement. 

    Large Majorities in Us and Europe Endorse Focus on Renewable Energy

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/btenvironmentra/707.php?nid=&id=&pnt=707&lb=bte

  • John F. Pittman

    I agree with your comments #147. However, whereas you find the “”"

    What I happen to find particularly interesting is when “skeptics” who pride themselves on their objective analytical processes, base determinations about the morality of their opponents on nothing other than speculation (how could someone who’s never met me judge my morality ““ simply because they think I’m a “warmist?”).”"”
    What I happen to find particularly interesting is when activists who pride themselves on their objective analytical processes, base determinations about the bias of their opponents on nothing other than speculation without examining the institutional bias of their own position (how could someone who’s never met me judge my bias ““ simply because they think I’m a “skeptic?”).

  • BBD

    Tom

    BBD, you claim to have bought the book. You claim to have read it. You say we demonize and personalize in it. I call for an example.

    The entire book is the example. You force me to repeat myself by deliberately ignoring what I have just said:

    The claim that the “˜consensus team’ (see what you did there? see what your distorting book was doing?) “˜overplayed’ the “˜climate fear card’ is IMO a fiction. It grows from the crypto-denialist discourse you, Mosher and zillions of other motivated commenters have assiduously substituted for what the rest of the world calls the mainstream scientific perspective. Let’s bear in mind that your position proceeds from your own private version of physical reality where ECS is 1.9C.

    Unlike my co-author, when pathetic ratbags lie about what we wrote I will get in their face.

    You are illustrating the profundity of your own confusion. I will not call it dishonesty. Unfortunately, the negative effects are the same: you handed the contrarians a megaphone and a song-sheet. It is the most irresponsible, stupid and damaging act imaginable. It is proof of your confusion that you haven’t quietly vanished into obscurity.

    Perhaps your aggressive blustering indicates belated but growing awareness of the seriousness of what you have done. Who knows. And anyway, it’s too late now.

  • Joshua

    It’s not like I didn’t anticipate that, John.

    There may be a difference more generally, I’m not sure (regarding the primacy of identifying oneself as a rational analyst – seems to me that “skeptics,” as a group, are more singularly focused in that regard by definition)….

    But I’m arguing with “skeptics” here, some of whom fit my description. At this very site, I’ve had “skeptics” make determinations about me based on mere speculation. BBD did that once also, but later apologized. We all make mistakes. Some folks own up to them.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Done with you, BBD.

    Germany’s Energiewende policy is predicted by its supporters to raise electricity prices by 70% by 2025, according to the Economist. They will have to build or upgrade 5,157 miles of transmission lines at a cost of 20 billion Euros. They have obligated themselves to pay billions of Euros to those who have installed solar power systems on their rooftops.

    All this in an effort to catch up with the OECD average of 17% of electricity from renewables. 

    It’s expensive. It isn’t a total solution. But as yet there is no public outcry. Indeed, the overall policy is supported by the public.

  • steven mosher

    “Let’s bear in mind that your position proceeds from your own private version of physical reality where ECS is 1.9C.”

    Huh? I’ve characterized the lukewarmer position many times over at Lucia’s where we actually discuss these things. Stop mispresenting our position. If presented with an over/under bet of 3C Lukewarmers take the under bet. That is, its more than 50% probable that the value falls below 3C rather than above 3C. The floor for lukewarmer is 1.2C. Below that and you are a lindzenite.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    I’m adding ‘ratbags’ to the list.

    Keith, along the lines of this post, I’d be curious on your thoughts with regards to the manner in which opponents of climate policy play the ‘economic’ apocalypse card, as evidenced by several comments in this thread.

    Do you think that this helps or hurts their goals?

  • Joshua

    - 161 – Marlowe -

    I’m on board with that also. I don’t see how you can talk about the “climate fear card” without talking about the “economic apocalypse/deaths of millions from lack of cheap energy card.”

    Discussing each is important.

    We have plenty of people discussing each in isolation. What’s interesting to me is to examine them in relationship to each other.

  • Joshua

    Done with you, BBD.

    Thank god. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to hold to it, but I’m a hopeful man.

  • John F. Pittman

    I thought you might reply that way in 158. I agree and glad we got to confirm agreement about ones I would tend to think would fit your ideal. See it all the time. But it also occurs on the other side. I would give you my example, but Mosher in 160 does it well. Except I would add after lindzenite, or beleive that low probabilty results means that they have to happen. So I could contrast the low probability fear mongering that claim such for 12C that this thread is about, with its opposite low probability polyannism.

  • harrywr2

    #155,

    Large Majorities in Us and Europe Endorse Focus on Renewable Energy

    Pielke Jr covered that years ago…he also covered how much the ‘large majorities’ were willing to pay. In the US it works out to be $10/month…about 1 cent/Kwh above what they are currently paying. Above that you lose the majority. 

    Most people have to live within household budgets that involve tradeoffs in their quality of life. Putting a dollar amount on those tradeoff’s is nothing new for Mr and Mrs John Q Public.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Harrywr2, when I did the survey for Examiner.com a couple of years ago, those identifying themselves as Republicans were willing to pay $250 a year for upgrading the grid and other energy efficiency measures.

    I actually think that packaging sound policy without climate labels makes a difference in reaching agreement.

    My famous example is Sen. Inhofe making common cause with Sen. Feinstein about improving energy expenditures in the Capitol Building–as long as they didn’t call it fighting climate change, they were able to agree.

  • Sashka

    @146: I have you are not blind enough to see that Mosher is brutally honest. Too bad the same cannot be said about too many on your side.

  • Sashka

    @160: How do you figure the probability?

  • Joshua

    harry -

    Pielke Jr covered that years ago”¦he also covered how much the “˜large majorities’ were willing to pay.

    Of course I could Google, but linky? It’s obviously a moving target, and contingent on a variety of influences. What folks are willing to pay is very dynamic. Treating it as something stagnant is a mistake, IMO, and in itself not a very good basis, as a stagnant figure, for assessing forward-looking policy.

    To tie this back to the post topic (imagine that!), I think that fear may very well be the most effective way to get people to loosen their clutch on their wallet – but it depends on the context. A few more summers in a row like this one, a few more summers of Arctic melt like we saw this year, and suddenly methinks the metrics will change. Those who can afford to pay more may see more reason to do so. With more extreme weather, the “fear card” being played currently – that people are (I think speciously) saying has caused apathy or opposition to climate change policy – will pay dividends in the future.

    That said, my link was in direct response to Jeffn’s statement about opinions in Europe.

  • Jeffn

    Joshua, you wrote much in reply, to my argument that AGW policy that doesn’t address AGW is unsustainable, but this sentence of yours pretty well summarized it.
    “Only if people see an effort to reduce pollution, or sprawl, or dependence on foreign oil as necessarily a political product that they object to. ”
    If CO2 is “pollution” we have the technology to reduce it without a carbon tax- gas and nukes to start. The concerned are the most significant obstacles to those solutions.
    There is no consensus that “sprawl” is a bad thing – see the deep blue sprawl of greater Washington DC for an example. If sprawl is a problem, energy pricing is not the solution. Fixing schools, crime, corruption are far more important.
    Domestic energy production, including drilling and fracking, are the most effective means of addressing energy independence.
    In short, you’re 0 for three on the “benefits” of an AGW policy that doesn’t address AGW. On a meta level, let me try an analogy- you own a business. Your new CFO says you must fly cross country to attend a meeting tomorrow or you’ll be bankrupt. No problem, you say. There is a sacrifice- cost, time away from home, but you’ll book a flight and…
    No, no, the CFO says. Can’t fly, you must walk across country.
    How long would you spend walking before deciding this is a ridiculous way to cross the country?

  • Sashka

    @163: +1

  • BBD

    @ 160

    Huh? I’ve characterized the lukewarmer position many times over at Lucia’s where we actually discuss these things. Stop mispresenting our position.

    You urgently need to speak to TF. 

    If presented with an over/under bet of 3C Lukewarmers take the under bet.

    Trying to pretend that fractionally under 3C is ‘lukewarm’ is wholly disingenuous. You know what it says in AR4 WG1. Like Tom, you backed the wrong horse a long time ago and like Tom, you are stuck with the consequences now. Like Tom you are obliged to wriggle and play word games, and like Tom, it does not convince. We’ve had this discussion at least three times before. Let’s not bother having it again.

  • Joshua

    Jeffn -

    The danger with reducing a long comment and equating it to one decontextualized statement is that you lose important context.

    I think that again, you have misinterpreted what I said, at a fundamental level of logic. I am not saying, and I never said, that (progressive) cost increase for ACO2 is an optimal policy for addressing those issues, or that it should be done in isolation from other approaches. I also haven’t said that such an approach will solve potential problems from climate change.

    No matter how many times you try to fit what I say into those pigeonholes, it won’t fit. My sense is that you’re trying to argue the merits of those other issues with me, on the basis of opinions that you project onto me but you haven’t read from me.

    Now that I think about it, and if I remember correctly, you’re the fellow that I gave up on a while back because you wouldn’t own up to an obvious straw man argument. Are you that same fellow? If you aren’t, then maybe we could continue with the discussion. If you are, then until you own up, I will assume this is a continuation of that pattern and take a break from exchanges with you for a while.

  • steven mosher

    ‘Trying to pretend that fractionally under 3C is “˜lukewarm’ is wholly disingenuous. ”

    I think you should read what I’ve written from the very start. The first discussions of lukewarmer started at climate audit. In fact that is where the term was coined. The question on the table was
    “how much of the warming is attributable to man” There were three classes of readers.. people put there numbers up and there were basically three classes. The middle group was called Lukewarmer.
    I liked that term, so I started using it. others picked it up. But there really wasnt a good definition at that time. Discussion moved to Lucia’s. At that point we were discussing models and how they relate to observations. The IPCC projection was .2C warming per decade. We defined luke warmer as being something more in line with the observations.. like .15C. You go find those those discussions and remain teachable.
    Finally, folks started to ask what our psotion on sensitivity was. The answer was pretty clear.
    Since a .2C/dcade rise is predicated on models that have an average ECS of 3.2C and SINCE we all decided that this was too hot, I cast the definition in terms of ECS. None of us would take the over bet at .2C/decade so none of us would take the over bet at 3.2C ECS.

    Fundamentally here is the difference.
    we pretty much agree with the IPCC PDF, although I think you will see work and we have seen work that lops off the high end of the tail and moves the mean below 3C. Some folks like to emphasize the high end of the distribution. we like to point out that the low end is more likely. You sell fear. which gets us back on topic.
    You sell fear and it doesnt work to sell fear.
    We need to take some action to prevent future damage. That action has been delayed for 20 years because of people who sold fear about nuclear. You sold fear on nuclear and now we have a potential problem with Carbon. and you still want to sell fear. You’ve sold fear on climate change for at least 10 years and it still doesnt work. I may not be angry at you ( Toms a little hot ) but my grandchildren will want to know why BBD refused to fight loudly and strongly for nuclear. They will want to know why he wasted his time talking to mosher and fuller rather than using his brain to promote nuclear. they will wonder, if he was so afraid, why did he waste his time with morons like fuller and mosher. Maybe they will question whether he really believed the fear he was peddling? Why? because he didnt act like a man who was really concerned.

  • Jeffn

    Joshua it is true that it is hard to determine what your position is, so perhaps it is better to discuss the point being made. A half measure that has minimal affect on AGW but is supported for other policy wants is dangerous- it alienates those who don’t place a high importance on the other policy objectives, it reinforces the notion that addressing AGW is not really urgent, it contradicts the claim that action is sought on AGW.
    Mission creep is real, it’s no straw man. See the recap of Rio20
    If CO2 is the “target” you can achieve something, for example, with windmills and price increases. You can achieve more, with a price decrease if you frack for gas and switch to it from coal. It’s important to say why the former is preferable if The argument for action is that CO2 is the most serious problem.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    To extend my earlier comment, I’d suggest that those who suggest that an effective mitigation portfolio would produce economic catastrophe are further out relative to the mainstream economic consensus that those who argue that the physical impacts of unchecked emissions will be catastrophic. That is, there is far more evidence to support the risks of the latter than the former. And yet no one — in blogland anyway– seems willing to confront this line of reasoning head on . Will it cost money to switch to lower carbon energy sources? Of course. But if you put it into proper perspective, it’s a no-brainer.

    Now perhaps Harry would like to argue that cheap perfume or 0-60mph in 3 seconds vehicles are more important than a livable planet. In fact, I’d like to see him try ;) .

  • Joshua

    Well, Mosher – it’s been nice to have brief moments of 100% agreement – but this:

    That action has been delayed for 20 years because of people who sold fear about nuclear.

    is facile. Such statements serve (in their own small way as a singular blog comment) to undermine your goals, and jeopardize your grandchildren’s future (not to mention smell like selling fear).

  • Marlowe Johnson

    “That action has been delayed for 20 years because of people who sold fear about nuclear. ”

    I call bullshit.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Those who drink early in the day can confuse stream of consciousness with puddle. 

    It’s not overplaying the climate fear card to demand someone choose between cars or perfume and a livable planet. Not at all..

  • Marlowe Johnson

    the link I meant to point to @176 is here.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Numbers 177 and 178 are correct to object to Mosher’s statement about protests halting progress on nuclear power for 20 years. Mosher is very wrong.

    It’s more than 30 years.

  • harrywr2

    Joshua,Here is one of the studies done in 2007 related to the ‘price’ people are prepared to pay to address ‘climate change’.

    http://woods.stanford.edu/docs/surveys/Global-Warming-New-Scientist-Poll-Technical-Report.pdf&nbsp;

    An interesting new poll out as well…that doesn’t ask the ‘how much question’ but has another interesting question

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-03/global-warming-no-longer-americans-top-environmental-concern-poll-finds.html

    Trust in scientific opinion on global warming continues to be less than robust. About a quarter of the public trusts what scientists say about the issue “completely” or “a lot,” while 35 percent, trust scientists only a little or not at all. Thirty-eight percent trust scientific opinions a moderate amount.

  • steven mosher

    you are right Tom, I was wrong. 30 years.

    somewhere back in the annuals of time there was a movement by Teller against C02 and Coal based on Global warming.. Im talking waaay back. basically he was shilling for nuclear.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Funny, Steve–we’ve never talked about that but I’ve heard the same story from a climate scientist who wished to remain nameless. He described listening to Teller give a speech back in the 50s, using AGW as a means to hype nuclear. He was shocked. I wasn’t.

  • Joshua

    “somewhere back in the annuals of time…”

    Perhaps – but in the annals of time* it says that the lack of nuclear in the US is a result of more than just “people who sold fear of nuclear.” It also says that selling fear about the selling of fear is counterproductive.

    * I never said I was above delivering a cheap shot every now and then.

  • Keith Kloor

    Question for Joshua and Marlowe:

    Which is more important, on balance:Addressing the demand side of the climate issue (as in, global energy demand) or raising public awareness/concern about increasing risk of catastrophic dangers of global warming?  

  • steven mosher

    Oh ya, people fought against nuclear because it caused global warming.. no wait, they fought against it using hope.. no wait.. they fought against it because it was more expensive.. no wait they didnt fight against it.. they embraced it.. no wait.. that wasn’t fear they used.. it was concern.. no wait they fought against it based on the subsidies.. no wait.. they said it would destroy habitat and kill raptors.. no wait.. They said it was unsafe.. opps thats fear.. didnt do that..

    for 30 years fear ( and other tactics ) were used to fight the adoption of nuclear in the US. Guess what? it worked. and now we have a carbon problem.
    so yes fear does work. you can convince people to do all manner of stupid shit using fear.

  • Keith Kloor

    By the way, nobody should take my question as a mutually exclusive litmus test. People should continue to discuss the legitimate risks that rising temperatures pose for society and ecosystems.

    I’m just asking which will move the needle faster, in terms of addressing the root problem.

  • steven mosher

    yes Tom. It’s one of those stories that really hasn’t been investigate fully. I hesitate to bring it up as it is based on personal communication. there is written evidence out there, I think I know where it is, but the stack of paper is millions of pages. I’m fast, but not that fast. would need to be crowd sourced

  • Marlowe Johnson

    readers interested in a reality-based view of nuclear and the reasons it hasn’t taken off since the 60s might wish to start here.

  • steven mosher

    Look Keith, Joshua cant even say that he is certain that lives are at stake with global warming.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Keith at #186, I am trying to focus on energy consumption (not quite the same as energy demand, sadly…) at my normal place of business.I think the figures I present there are enough to frighten anyone. Funnily enough, nobody seems to want to discuss the subject. I’m very interested in where my traffic is coming from–I kinda think the right people are reading it. But for some reason the idea that energy consumption is going to rise more than projected just to meet energy demand and total about 3,000 quads by 2075 does not seem to merit as much conversation as the trade-offs between perfumes and livable planets.The lamentable focus on the very slight rise in temperatures over the past 150 years has diverted our attention for the slamming CO2 is going to provide over the next century. We’ve been straining at gnats and counting how many pinheads can dance on an angel and sleepwalking into a cloudy future.China doubled energy consumption between 2000 and 2010. It is their stated policy to do it again by 2020. 70% of their energy is provided by coal. That percentage is not expected to change much over the next 50 years.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Keith,

    I don’t think you can realistically do one without the other. I’d like to think that I can chew gum and walk at the same time. As you’ve said they aren’t mutually exclusive. However, I think effective policies are much more likely to be deployed if a sufficient portion of the voting public properly grasps the urgency of the situation (insert WWII mobilization analogy here).  Now I realize that I’ll probably get branded a fascist by Tol for saying this, but that’s how I see it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sorry–formatted:

    Keith at #186, I am trying to focus on energy consumption (not quite the same as energy demand, sadly”¦) at my normal place of business.

    I think the figures I present there are enough to frighten anyone. Funnily enough, nobody seems to want to discuss the subject.

    I’m very interested in where my traffic is coming from”“I kinda think the right people are reading it. But for some reason the idea that energy consumption is going to rise more than projected just to meet energy demand and total about 3,000 quads by 2075 does not seem to merit as much conversation as the trade-offs between perfumes and livable planets.

    The lamentable focus on the very slight rise in temperatures over the past 150 years has diverted our attention for the slamming CO2 is going to provide over the next century. We’ve been straining at gnats and counting how many pinheads can dance on an angel and sleepwalking into a cloudy future.

    China doubled energy consumption between 2000 and 2010. It is their stated policy to do it again by 2020. 70% of their energy is provided by coal. That percentage is not expected to change much over the next 50 years. 

  • steven mosher

    “It also says that selling fear about the selling of fear is counterproductive.”

    I merely point out that your actions are inconsistent with the fear you are selling.

    There is a group of scientists who take their fear so seriously that they have become survivialists of sort. basically, they are getting in the life raft. I watch what they do, and I say.
    “Damn, they believe their pitch”

    I watch some greens change their mind on Nuclear. and I say. “damn, they believe their pitch” they take it seriously enough to modify their position and be open minded”

    I watch other people who say they are concerned.
    They admit no criticism. Even the tiniest modification of their POV. They would rather save face than help the planet. They dont act like they are concerned, they talk like they are. They are not open minded about trying other solutions. They continue a path that doesnt work? why. its not logical. A person really in fear, a person who really is desperate for change, will be willing to listen, especially if their way has failed.

  • steven mosher

    yes marlow, 30 years ago when people discussed nuclear, the environmental movement was clear in its messaging. Nuclear will cost too much.
    Nobody in the environmental movement ever used a message of fear. nobody ever raised issues of safety, either for the operation of the planets or the disposal of waste. And the china syndrome is what you get if you eat too much beef chow fun.

    And if people did you a message of fear, they didnt mean to. err. nobody listened to them.. politicians ignored them.. ya thats it. There never was a message a fear ( keep repeating that 0 but if there was, we didnt mean it and nobody listened to us. we were right for the wrong reason.

    denial runs pretty deep.

  • Joshua

    “Which is more important, on balance:Addressing the demand side of the
    climate issue (as in, global energy demand) or raising public awareness/concern about increasing risk of catastrophic dangers of global warming? 

    I’m just asking which will move the needle faster, in terms of addressing the root problem.”

    Fair point (I’m assuming that it was a rhetorical question and that you do have a point). And I think the question cuts beneath the fat to the bone.

    It is important to note that there is no mutual exclusivity, but since you’ve done that, I’ll go with door #1. 

    Of course, addressing global energy demand is an incredibly complex goal. If people focus on the easier goal, it may not be as nefarious as “selling fear,” it might be focusing on what you feel is at least somewhat of an attainable goal. And further, as I mentioned above, if people are disproportionate in their focus right now on potentially disastrous manifestations of climate change – if trends in extreme weather events do become unambiguous, people will be quicker to respond if the groundwork connecting cause with effect has been done ahead of time. Of course, no doubt, that’s a double-edged sword. People hyped-up with concern are inclined to overreact as well.

    In the interest of addressing the fallacy of mutual exclusivity, it makes sense to focus on having the public have the most accurate information available. That includes informing the public about what “skeptics” have to say as well as what most climate scientists have to say. The one poll result I have trouble getting past is that most Americans have a poor sense of how most climate scientists view the science. So I’m not going to move away from my question to you: Is there a danger from over-generalizing about the messaging from environmentalists if it distorts their impression about the full range of what environmentalists are saying?

    I’m not sure that you’ve answered that question. If your response is that it’s more efficient to focus on the supply-side aspect, so be it; but I’m wondering of there isn’t a blowback from what I think may be an overemphasis on extremism on the “warmist” side of the lunchroom. 

    And Steven, at least you didn’t say “anals of time.” I will give you credit for that.

  • Keith Kloor

    Marlowe (193)

    Your view reflects the conventional wisdom that is reflected in the climate discourse shaped by climate scientists, environmentalists, etc.

    This is the sort of meta meme that I’m talking about.

    Next the question becomes: What’s the best way for a sufficient bloc of the voting public to grasp the urgency of the situation (as you have defined it)?

    (I don’t see this as question that will be much entertained in China or India, but never mind–that’s another issue.)

    Here’s where your hope bumps up against what social scientists and cognitive researchers say about this aspect of the climate problem. That is, in the absence of climate change being perceived as an existential threat in real time (not in 30 or 50 years from now), that sense of urgency is not going to be grasped any time soon.

    How do you propose to get around that?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    mosher i thought you were smarter than this.

    Premise A: Many environmentalists 30 years ago opposed nuclear power because they were afraid.

    Premise B: Construction of nuclear power plants has declined dramatically over the last 30 years.

    Conclusion: Environmentalists are responsible for the decline in the construction of nuclear power plants over the last 30 years.

    Do you need me to point out to you that your conclusion doesn’t follow from your premises?

  • Joshua

    Steven -

    Just to pick out one of a number multiple fallacies:

    Nobody in the environmental movement ever used a message of fear.

    That is a straw man.

    It is always significant when smart people make fundamental errors in logic. Particularly true when a “lukewarmer” fails to address the magnitude in attribution of different variables to create a binary construction of either it’s all or nothing.

    Back off the facile rhetoric and we might have a discussion about the different components that retarded growth in the nuclear industry in the United States as compared to other countries. Of course, environmental messaging is one of them.

  • Keith Kloor

     Joshua (197)

    I promise to address your outstanding question sometime soon. (Really!) I believe I have accurately described the dominant message of environmentalism in previous posts. I suppose it’s up to me now to just make a better case for that. 

    As for the rest of your comment, I’m not really clear on where you’re coming down on my question. Can you clarify, please?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @198

    How do you propose to get around that? 

    Honestly, I don’t know.

    It’s a failure of our political institutions as much as anything else. We simply don’t reward our political leaders for taking a long-term view of many of the problems we face, including climate change. If anything, the 24hr news cycle, and the increasing polarization in u.s. politics (and elsewhere) makes it even more difficult, since the political calculus of every policy decision is viewed through the lens of the next election cycle.

    wrt to china and india, I think you’d see far more action on their part if the west got serious about using trade measures (e.g. border tax adjustments). the showdown between the E.U. and chinese airlines could be a preview of what’s to come on that front, but it’s still early days.

  • BBD

    @ 174 Steven Mosher:

    Fundamentally here is the difference.we pretty much agree with the IPCC PDF, although I think you will see work and we have seen work that lops off the high end of the tail and moves the mean below 3C. Some folks like to emphasize the high end of the distribution. we like to point out that the low end is more likely. You sell fear. which gets us back on topic.You sell fear and it doesnt work to sell fear.

    Nope. I do not ‘sell fear’. I agree with ~3C (per AR4). And Annan & Hargreaves (2006) lopped the long tail *without* moving the mean below ~3C. Me, I don’t sell anything. Or consciously misrepresent it either.

    but my grandchildren will want to know why BBD refused to fight loudly and strongly for nuclear.

    Er, you’ve got the wrong guy, mate ;-) Seriously – ask anyone here. Ask Tom. Ask Marlowe. You’ve screwed yourself more than you know.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a Wattsian blunder, but accusing BBD of not ‘fighting loundly and strongly for nuclear’ is precious indeed.

    We all know he’s a paid shill for Sheffield Forgemasters ;)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    What I would happily tell the public is:

    We used 523 quads in 2010. 52 of those quads were renewable. Of those 52 renewable quads, 50 were hydroelectric.

    Based on current patterns of consumption and growth of population and GDP, we will use 3,000 quads in 2075.

    If we make no changes to our current patterns of energy development, acquisition and deployment, most of those 3,000 quads will be delivered from coal. China alone will burn more coal than the entire world is using now.

    I would then ask, ‘is that the way we want things to be?’

  • Joshua

    Keith  -

    If I had to choose, as a theoretical construct that views the options as mutually exclusive, I go with door #1 (addressing energy demand). The more pressing goal at this point in time is addressing global energy demand but with movement towards emissions reduction.  How much emissions reduction should be prioritized is a problem, and where to trade-off economic growth for the sake of emissions reduction is a problem. But sure, I’d say that spreading knowledge about the dangers of climate change takes a back seat to addressing the underlying mechanics of ACO2 reduction. Simply increasing awareness will not, in itself, solve the technical issues that need to be solved one way or the other.

  • BBD

    @ 204

    Argh! Outed at last!
    :-)

  • steven mosher

    BBD when you use your real name I’ll take you seriously. sorry mate. you have a choice. stand up with your real name for what you believe or cower in fear. I think anybody who cares about the future shows it through their actions. including being public. get it. I watch what you do. not what you say. so out of the closet bud. I have no problem unlike others admitting when I’m wrong. easy peasy.

  • steven mosher

    Tom. on a personal note, Will is appearing at the Fringe in Scotland. for the next month. Huge break.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya SteveThat’s really cool for Will! I’ve been to the Fringe Festival–it’s a riot. You should go with him–be his manager for a week…

  • harrywr2

    #174,

    That action has been delayed for 20 years because of people who sold fear about nuclear.

    The cost of coal declined between the late 1970′s and late 1990′s. In the US we also seriously overbuilt base load generation capacity in the 1970′s. The ‘fear mongers’ were convenient scapegoats for various utility executives who had ordered plants for which there would be little or no demand.

    Average coal fired utilization rates in 1990 were 61%..that increased to 75% by 2007. —- http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Coal-fired_power_plant_capacity_and_generation

    To make a nuke plant cost effective the utilization rate needs to be above 80% and coal has to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $4/MMBtu or more.

    Currently the only places in the US in need of significant new multi-GW baseload are the US Southeast(which is building nuclear) and Texas(which has access to below average priced coal

    Report on average price of coal by state…in Texas it’s $1.93/MMBtu
    http://cleanenergyaction.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/20120712-u-s-delivered-coal-costs-2004-2011.pdf

  • BBD

    Steven @ 208

    BBD when you use your real name I’ll take you seriously. sorry mate. you have a choice. stand up with your real name for what you believe or cower in fear.

    An artless misdirection. I’m irrelevant. This is about misrepresentation, not pseudonyms. The scientific consensus is your problem, not my name.

  • John F. Pittman

    Tom,  But imagine that you are correct. What infrastructure is needed? What per cent of easy energy sources can feed the development from 523 to 3000.  If it is not easy and concentrated such as coal and natural gas, what additional infrastructure will  be needed. I don’t think the quads will be the problem as much as the infrastructure. This is one of the reasons that the idea that wind and solar are somehow going to be effective is laughable. At present, it takes 3 times the area served and exponential costs past 7% of electric infiltration to get to 21% market infiltration by wind, and any accountable energy requires at least 79% backup by NG or other. The studies that I saw did not include standby costs  which will eat up about 1% of the 21%. Nor did they include cost of wear in high wind conditions, nor cost of safety infrastructure correctly because they solved these problems with non-existant software and hardware. The 3000 quads is the elephant in the room.

  • harrywr2

    @Tom FullerChina…coal…70%…doubling…not changing in the future

    http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/8578451

    CEC said China’s design power generation capacity is expected to increase by about 86,000 MW, or 8.2%, year on year to 1,140 GW at the end of 2012. Of the 86,000 MW, about 50,000 MW will come from coal-fired power units and about 20,000 MW will be contributed by hydropower units

    50/86 = 58% according to my calculator…in any case coal fired construction in China is slowing

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi John,If solar merely continues to grow at half the pace it has maintained for the past 30 years, it will supply enough to eliminate the need for coal. I haven’t worked out the math for wind power, but it’s not dissimilar.I don’t expect it to happen in either case, but they will each be able to make a serious contribution. Hydropower is set to double by 2035, but that’s not going to make a real dent.The solution is not really that difficult to map out. Developed countries need to make like France. Developing countries, especially the heavily populated ones, need to leapfrog a generation of technology and use solar for rural electrification programs. They’re popping up all over–they just need to be a Millenium-type goal.As for we rich-worlders, I advise everybody to visit France. It’s clean. The TGV works really well. The lights stay on. And it’s all run on nukes.A few years back we were laughing at their cheese. Can you imagine how they’re laughing at our coal? (I don’t think they are… but they should be…)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Whoops! formatted:Hi John,If solar merely continues to grow at half the pace it has maintained for the past 30 years, it will supply enough to eliminate the need for coal. I haven’t worked out the math for wind power, but it’s not dissimilar.

    I don’t expect it to happen in either case, but they will each be able to make a serious contribution. Hydropower is set to double by 2035, but that’s not going to make a real dent.The solution is not really that difficult to map out.

    Developed countries need to make like France.

    Developing countries, especially the heavily populated ones, need to leapfrog a generation of technology and use solar for rural electrification programs. They’re popping up all over”“they just need to be a Millenium-type goal.

    As for we rich-worlders, I advise everybody to visit France. It’s clean. The TGV works really well. The lights stay on. And it’s all run on nukes.

    A few years back we were laughing at their cheese. Can you imagine how they’re laughing at our coal? (I don’t think they are”¦ but they should be”¦) 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Harry–I’ll get back to you about China and coal. I’ve written heaps about it…

  • harrywr2

    #206

    The more pressing goal at this point in time is addressing global energy demand but with movement towards emissions reduction. 
    How much emissions reduction should be prioritized is a problem, and
    where to trade-off economic growth for the sake of emissions reduction
    is a problem.

    Wind,Hydro and Nuclear are all cheaper then coal in India and China. The problems with rolling them out have more to do with regulatory, technical and industrial infrastructure.

    I.E. In 2011 the Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration had a staff rumored to be about 300 people and was overseeing construction of 25 nuclear reactors. By comparison the US NRC has a staff of over 3,700.

    One of the fundamental problems in the whole ‘climate/energy debate’ is that so many of those debating/setting the agenda see the issues thru a parochial lens and insist that a policy that might reasonably expected to succeed in a local environment will exceed in a global environment.

    I.E. Southern California has really good sunshine, it also has a serious ‘summer peak/winter peak’ imbalance. They need about 15GW of summer only/daytime only generating capacity. Solar makes a fair candidate as part of a solution.

    The UK is a winter peak country…even if they spend on the solar they are going to have to spend again on something that works in the winter…solar is a poor solution for the UK but the UK ‘Climate Activists’ have expended goodwill and trust pushing a solution inappropriate for the locality.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Harry, as far as I can tell you’re absolutely dead right on everything you write in #218.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Mosher, the nice thing about being a septeganrian GASBAG who made his money making crappy mp3 players (creative MuVo par example) is that you can act with impunity. don’t need to worry about your day job right? you can matherbbate all you want about the virtues of ‘model E’ and try and put all your ‘pre-Damascus’ vitriol down the memory hole. image rehab is a worthwhile goal, but you’ll forgive me if I doubt your sincerity (despite your epic intellect). I get that you are the second coming of christ…but forgive me my skepticism…particularly in light of the company you choose to keep.

    in case you’re too dumb to take my meaning — playing the ‘i’m a real person and you’re hiding behind a pseudonym’ card is the last refuge of blog scoundrels. one might almost call it an ad hominen

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    No, the last refuge of blog scoundrels is commenting while drunk. Which is all you ever do. It affects your spelling, but displays your IQ.

    The left (bereft)

    Hand side (deride)

    Of the Bell (oh, hell)

    Curve (You swerved)

    Have another drink. It’s what you do. It’s what you’re good at.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    well that didn’t take long. 

    was it the ‘septegenarian gasbag’ bit that set of the alert Tom? I’d have thought you’d be in bed by now…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Septuagenarian. Hominem. ‘Off the alert.’

    You may pass out now.

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    Keith, thanks for letting the cat out of the bag when you say “Your view reflects the conventional wisdom that is reflected in the
    climate discourse shaped by climate scientists, environmentalists, etc.”<br /><br />As opposed, of course, to what churnalists, political science guys on the make and paid propagandists mouth.  If you want Eli can name a few in each category.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    One of the fundamental problems in the whole “˜climate/energy debate’ is that so many of those debating/setting the agenda see the issues thru a parochial lens and insist that a policy that might reasonably expected to succeed in a local environment will exceed in a global environment. 

    While I agree with this sentiment Harry, I’m not sure it’s as much of problem as you suggest. I think it’s widely accepted among mitigation advocates that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. 

  • Joshua

    Eli has a point, Keith -

    Your view reflects the conventional wisdom that is reflected in the
    climate discourse shaped by climate scientists, environmentalists, etc.

    I could read that comment two ways: (1) climate scientists and environmentalists contribute, along with “skeptics,” Inhofe, etc., to shape the discourse or, (2) climate scientists, environmentalists, etc. actually shape the discourse (without influence from others).

    Given that the extracted phrase is “the climate discourse shaped by….” the meaning is a bit ambiguous, but it does suggest that you are overplaying the influence of the different sides inaccurately. As the definite article, “the” seems more likely to refer to the entire discourse than one specific discourse among many discourses.

    It also treats the input of climate scientists, environmentalists, etc., as monolithic.

    This kind of ambiguity, I think, is a danger when people  develop an agenda. Pielke Jr.’s latest post shows the same kind of problem: when you allow an particular agenda to drive your input, it is often reflected in a lack of objectivity. Needless to say, I’m not exempting myself (and my focus on motivated reasoning) from the same phenomenon.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua (226)

    Eli has a schtick, which I don’t pay much attention to.

    If you take a look a the climate media ecosystem, you’ll see how the discourse is shaped. Story narratives develop from the most forceful characters involved–be it a McKibben, Inhofe, Muller, Mann, Romm etc. They get picked up on in the mainstream media, blogosphere, social media, where they are reinforced.

    Eli also conveniently ignores the “churlism” that lazily reinforces the narrative that he prefers. 

    In any event, I don’t think I’m overplaying anything. I follow the climate media, the propagandistic rhetoric, etc, pretty closely. It’s pretty obvious to me where the discourse is. What you correctly identified as door #1 is largely absent from the public debate.

  • Joshua

    Not to defend schticks!!!11!!11  - but everyone here has a schtick.

    Trust is built when we can all own our schticks in discussion. That’s hard to do when someone’s always pointing at you and saying “They/you have a schtick.” – which is the climate debate in a nutshell.  

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Harry,

    China uses a bit more than 100 quads a year right now, 70 from coal. If my projections are accurate (and they are much higher than those provided by the DOE’s EIA or the IEA), in 2030 they will use 247 quads minimum, with 185 coming from coal. For reference, the entire world used 156 quads from coal in 2010. 

    They are eagerly awaiting completion of Mongolia’s mega-mine, Tavan Tolgoi, as Mongolia is slated to produce 240 million tons of coal a year by 2040. China will work to make Australia richer and Indonesia rich, by buying as much of their coal as they are willing to sell. I think there’s another Pacific Rim country that is looking to sell some coal, too…

    China is developing nuclear. They have 14 plants now, 27 in various stages of construction and plans for 150 total. It won’t make a dent in their coal consumption–if my calculations prove correct. 

    China has 100 dams planned or being built along the Yangtze River alone, and 43 additional dams are in the works for the Lancang (the Upper Mekong), Nu, Hongshui and Jiulong Rivers in China’s southwest. And it won’t make a dent in their coal consumption if my calculations are correct.

    China manufactures half the solar panels worldwide and is installing more and more of them domestically. They exported 95% of those they made last year. They expect exports to take up only 70% of their manufacture this year. And it won’t make a dent…

    My point is that although China is working heroically on developing other sources of clean or at least cleaner energy, coal will remain the workhorse for their economy for a long time.

    And don’t get me started on India…

  • Keith Kloor

    When a blogger/commenter engages in zero sum tactics, I don’t trust that person to engage with me honestly. When that becomes the case, I don’t bother much with said person.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Here’s where your hope bumps up against what social scientists and cognitive researchers say about this aspect of the climate problem. That is, in the absence of climate change being perceived as an existential threat in real time (not in 30 or 50 years from now), that sense of urgency is not going to be grasped any time soon. 

    Keith while I largely agree that the cognitive aspects of the problem present significant obstacles to a political solution, they aren’t, to my mind, the most important factors. I would argue that established and powerful corporate interests play a far greater role in preventing meaningful policy in the U.S., as does the Senate super majority requirement. In this context, climate obfuscationists like John Christy provide critical political cover to prevent meaningful proposals from moving forward (e.g. yesterday’s Senate committee testimony).

    I would also add that I think this dynamic holds true for a wide variety of policy issues, from health care, taxation, etc. How often does the public actually get policies that they want or that serve the interests of the common good :) ? But now we’re into the realm of political theory, rather than the communications/cognitive arena that you’re more familiar, and more comfortable discussing.

  • Keith Kloor

    Marlowe (231)

    You write: 

    “I would argue that established and powerful corporate interests play a far greater role in preventing meaningful policy in the U.S., as does the Senate super majority requirement.”

    This is a reasonable argument that has merit. It’s certainly true to some extent. Whether it’s the biggest factor I think is debatable.

    That said, many important players in the business community are on board with doing something about climate change. We saw this coalition make its presence known during the cap and trade debate in 2008/09 and also in the run-up to the big Copenhagen meeting in 08. So that whole corporate narrative is not so cut and dry as you and many others suggest.

    Personally, I think too much emphasis is placed on the American equation of this debate. Continuing to do so, in the face of what appears to be a political stalemate for the next few election cycles, strikes me as willfully shortsighted. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Keith, your last point is apropos. The U.S. is becoming less a part of the problem and more a part of the solution, and that is true to a greater extent for most of the rich countries. Our efforts should be very focused on the developing world.Taking a coal plant off line in the U.S. is great in terms of CO2. Helping China avoid the need to build one is better.

  • Joshua

    When a blogger/commenter engages in zero sum tactics, I don’t trust that person to engage with me honestly.

    That is a very useful frame for viewing blog discourse.

  • harrywr2

    #225

    I think it’s widely accepted among mitigation advocates that there is no “˜one size fits all’ solution.

    I don’t need to look any farther then the the goings on at the Washington State Legislature…we have some of the most generous solar panel subsidies in the world. The ‘takeup’ has been way lower then anticipated..most folks are smart enough to know that a roof covered in moss is not a good candidate for a solar panel.The advocates went back to the legislature to arguing that the reason more people weren’t putting solar panels on their roofs was that the subsidy wasn’t generous enough and were ignored.I could look further afield to where my mother lives on the East Coast…the community bought  a tract of undevelopable(swampy) land for $5 million to use as a ‘carbon sink’. $5 million is a fair chunk of change for a community of 25,000. Tree’s don’t grow all that well in swampy land…if anything  was accomplished they’ve preserved a source of methane emissions.Or I could look to the UK…for a nuclear power to be financially viable they need a 80% utilization rate…if you’ve got windmill’s that blow 20-25% of the time then the financial viability of nuclear power becomes questionable. The UK is having substantial difficulty attracting investment for their nuclear power expansion plans.Then I could site the success of the ‘climate concerned’ in relation to the Keystone Pipeline.Today’s headline -http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-02/buffett-railroad-beats-coal-slump-with-75-gain-in-oil-freight.html

    Buffett Railroad Beats Coal Slump With 75% Gain in Oil: Freight

    Forcing our current glorious leader to expend the limited political capital he had on an issue that would have negative impact on climate change(trains need more energy then pipelines) may not have been such a good move.Buying up a portion of the brazilian rain forest at a cost of $100/acre as a carbon sink might make sense. Buying a piece of swampland in Connecticut at a cost of $100,000/acre as a carbon sink is just plain retarded. The same $5 million could have had 100 or 1,000 times the impact.Sorry…but it’s not Anthony Watts or Marc Morano that is foolishing expending ‘political capital’ on zero impact solutions.

  • Joshua

    Heh – The honest broker calls me a “troll.”http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/08/ipcc-lead-author-misleads-us-congress.html?showComment=1343922780475#c603814462424839706I feel honored.Ya’ gotta love the blogosphere.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I looked at the comments on Roger Pielke’s post. I don’t find fault with his description. The Rabid Reaction Team, led this time by Bob Grumbine, is whittling away at Pielke’s reaction, mostly by blaming him for not going after Christy. Which is typical in the blogosphere. If you write about A, some group will claim that is evidence of bias because you didn’t write about B. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to Keith, it’s happened to everybody.The simple fact that is obvious to everyone else, including Stanford, which had to issue a ‘clarification’ regarding Field’s testimony, understands that Field inaccurately characterized the IPCC’s position on extreme weather in the past couple years and any possible relationship to climate change.You and the others attacking the nits and introducing complex and vague justifications are just seeking to cloud, not clarify the issue.

  • John F. Pittman

    I know this will not surprise you Joshua, the discussionof CO2 at JC’s is more about tribe posturing than science. An example of this are the FACE studies. In general CO2 will help most native species only a little, and may eventually have some negative effects. In specific, the results for species may not reflect that CO2 may have a much larger impact, and where the impact occurs. Understand that with farmers adding pest and herbicide control, modern techniques generally make CO2 or water the limiting growth factor, such that the known effect of CO2 on transpiration, and CO2 itself, both would need to be assumed positive. Another factor is that many plants that humans are interested in are better at storing sugar and starches than the general model.Such that you should doubt that any claims that farming would not benefit from increased CO2. After all, in the greenhouse environment, elevating CO2 is possible. Note that greenhouses also control, as do farmers, pest, water, and other nutrients. The part that is missing is the ecosystems’ responses which where a single species may not see much dis or advantage to CO2, this is not true of the system. Another factor usually left out is that we are adding the other nutrients in large scale around the world such that the conditions of the Face studies become less real in general, and the greenhouse more real in general. We are adding usable nitrogen at rates that match organic ratios almost on par with CO2 emissions. There are a lot of disagreement as to the quantity. We are producing and mining fossil phosphate in increasing quantities such some of the Bern model assumptions may soon be invalidated, and the model constraints for the ocean should be suspect first. CO2 geologic sequestering is not the only sequestering that has been ongoing. Though mechanisms and the actuality are not the same nor simple.And in general, many species will benefit from the increased warmth, and at least some will suffer. The quantities and specfics are not a simple yes, no, though for what humans tend to eat, it is a general yes.

  • Keith Kloor

    Part of me is sympathetic to Roger ( I get accused of a similar sin), part of me thinks he is being obtuse. But Roger is hardly obtuse so I’m chalking it up to stubbornness.

    Personally, I’m more swayed by Joshua’s line of argument in that thread. I’m currently working through how I feel about this and might put a post up, if I feel I can add anything constructive.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Keith,

    I agree that corporate interests in the U.S. are by no means monolithic, but I also think that fossil fuel industries have sufficient political influence in key swing states to effectively stymie action. 

    The other elephant in the room at this particular point is of course the Republican Party. First, do you agree that fossil fuel companies disproportionately favour the Republican party? Given that support, it then seems obvious that the Republicans would adopt a position that is in line with their interests. 

    wrt to the u.s. centrality in the discussion, I agree that they’re not the only game in town. But surely we can all agree, that as the world’s largest economy, they are a key part of the solution.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    oh and kudos for publicly disagreeing with Roger (on twitter) wrt to not calling out Christy, as well as just now wrt to Field. I didn’t think you had it in you ;)

  • Keith Kloor

    Marlowe,

    Don’t patronize. I’ve disagreed with Roger on previous occasions. It’s not my fault that you weren’t paying sufficient enough attention. 

    Also, FWIW, think Roger gets an undeserved rap. The partisans are to blame for this. But I’ll reference this if I end up doing a related post.  

  • Marlowe Johnson

    it’s always about ‘partisans’ for you isn’t it Keith?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Count the non-partisans in the room. You’ll have one hand free for a cocktail by the time you’ve finished.

  • Keith Kloor

    Marlowe,

    Partisans on both sides have made a mockery of the climate debate. They react to each other’s excesses, reinforcing the partisanship. What we see in the blogosphere is the cancer up close, as it metastasizes.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I am a partisan for the lukewarmer side. I don’t apologize for it. I also think that you’re exaggerating a bit, Keith.

    Certainly outside America, the debate is not as toxic. Here, it’s been hijacked by domestic political agendas. But those are the opposite of debates–they are planks in a platform and brook no discussion, let alone disagreement.

    If you ignore Sessions and Boxer and look at Fields and Christy, there is a debate that, while vigorous, is far from cancerous.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Keith I just don’t find ‘partisan’ to be a very useful label. Are you a partisan? Am I? Fuller or Joshua? What does one have to do/say/believe in order to be one? 

    For years Roger has been going after all things IPCC and/or Real Climate, with a particular focus on certain individuals. Once in a blue moon he’ll address a denialist personality and/or meme. Are some of his criticisms legitimate? Absolutely. And sometimes they’re not, IMO. But his choice of targets over the years have overwhelmingly been mainstream climate scientists and mitigation advocates. Moreover, his tactics have often been questionable (see for example the ‘lying by omission charge and Joshua’s follow-up). Does that make him partisan ?

  • Keith Kloor

    Marlowe, Many, many people engaging in this debate exhibit partisan behavior. Roger would have inoculated himself from the charges you make if he would have been critical of the partisan behavior of both sides. He’s chosen to focus largely on one side and that’s why, I believe, he gets attacked the way he does.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Keith if you read carefully you’ll notice that I’m not making any ‘charges’. I’m asking ‘questions’.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Keith, many have noted in this debate that critics and their criticisms are pointed in one direction.

    For those criticizing the consensus (including me) the reason appears obvious–to us. The power is in the hands of the consensus. If they are misusing that power, that is where our attention should be focused. 

    Further, I at least don’t see much to attack in Pielke (other than his personal attributes of stubbornness and perhaps ambition), McIntyre and other ‘focused’ bloggers. Anthony Watts is frequently wrong, but it gets pointed out so quickly that there’s little need to add to the chorus. Morano and Monckton are driven by politics and personal need, and don’t really seem to merit focused criticism.

    What for me needs to be confronted vigorously is the culture embedded at the top of the IPCC, the clannish self-protectionism of the self-labeled Hockey Team and the closed minds of the consensus bloggers and their commentators.

    Those on the consensus side surely have their own reasons for attacking those on the other side and I’ll let them put those reasons forward, if they want. But I’m satisfied that pointing out error in the positions and policies of those in power is the right way for me to go.

  • PDA

     The power is in the hands of the consensus.

    I’d ask you – with all sincerity, and aware that this is a loaded issue that’s already half a food fight – if you honestly believe that. And if so: why?

    What is this “power” that the consensus has, in your judgment? Where are the strong public policies that this powerful group has been able to enact? Where is the evidence of their influence on the thinking of the American people?

    I get that you think they’re wrong, or “luke-wrong,” or whatever… leave that aside for the nonce. I don’t get how you think they have power. If they do, from where I sit, they’re the most inept bunch of hegemons I’ve ever seen. Policy is utterly stalled. The OP is all about how their message has ultimately failed to resonate.

    My assertion – which I think is adequately supported by the evidence – is that the power is in the hands of industry, which is, taken as a whole, neutral-to-opposed w/r/t the consensus.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Okay, PDA, I will give you my two cents worth:The consensus team holds the data. They are in senior positions at the principal government agencies dealing with climatology, including those that fund research. They are the ones directly reporting to elected politicians. John Holdren is a pretty senior official. They comprise the staff at the IPCC. They have direct access to major media. They get funding for projects ranging from CAP to Real Climate. Because a majority of scientists, politicians and the public agree in principle with many of their positions, they have broad acceptance. They have allies in NGOs with millions of members and hundreds of millions to spend on media campaigns.Industry does not oppose them–not as a united front, not as a conspiratorial grouping. They fund the consensus. British Petroleum was the first funder of CRU. Exxon gave $100 million to Stanford for environmental studies. The regulations the consensus would happily impose gives industry more opportunity to collect rents on the natural resources they have access to. The millions they donate to established consensus organizations dwarfs the tens of thousands they give to thinktanks that occasionally publish a skeptic piece.I do agree about the inept hegemons stuff, though. Never in the course of human history has so little been done with so much.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Whoops! Formatted:Okay, PDA, I will give you my two cents worth:

    The consensus team holds the data. They are in senior positions at the principal government agencies dealing with climatology, including those that fund research. They are the ones directly reporting to elected politicians.

    John Holdren is a pretty senior official. They comprise the staff at the IPCC. They have direct access to major media. They get funding for projects ranging from CAP to Real Climate.

    Because a majority of scientists, politicians and the public agree in principle with many of their positions, they have broad acceptance. They have allies in NGOs with millions of members and hundreds of millions to spend on media campaigns.

    Industry does not oppose them”“not as a united front, not as a conspiratorial grouping. They fund the consensus. British Petroleum was the first funder of CRU. Exxon gave $100 million to Stanford for environmental studies.

    The regulations the consensus would happily impose gives industry more opportunity to collect rents on the natural resources they have access to. The millions they donate to established consensus organizations dwarfs the tens of thousands they give to thinktanks that occasionally publish a skeptic piece.

    I do agree about the inept hegemons stuff, though. Never in the course of human history has so little been done with so much. 

  • PDA

    So, they have all the power but are still completely unable to affect the course of human events? I’m not trolling: seriously, is that what you’re saying? 

    I’m seeing the laundry list of complaints about the consensus, whose name is Legion, and I’ve seen it before. What you seem to be saying – and I agree with you if so – is that this power amounts to bupkes in the real world.

  • PDA

    Input your comments here…

  • PDA

    (Sorry, I clicked the button by accident. That’s probably something that shouldn’t be as easy to do…)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, they’ve squandered money, good will and other resources at an astonishing rate.

    Before you say they’ve achieved bupkes, I think you should take another look. I think they’ve achieved a lot in terms of framing the conversation, encouraging renewable energy and putting targets in place for emissions.

    I agree that it isn’t enough given their advantages in financing, alliances and position. They should be ashamed of how little they’ve done. Hell, they should be fired en masse.

    I have my own ideas on why they failed and those ideas don’t include industry opposition or climate skeptics. But 20 years from now, what they’ve accomplished might look a bit different. It seems like small beer now. But crunch time comes for us around 2040, and if it serves as a base from which efforts grow, we might be more forgiving.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom if that is your conception of political power then you live in a very different world than I do. Maybe it’s time to take a break and read up on the subject? 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, I don’t know if you’re in America or if you watch network television, but there’s a recent advertisement for milk where the minions of a billionaire sit around a conference table thinking of ways to waste his money. That’s pretty much my impression of how the consensus has operated to date.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Geez, I mention beer–even small beer–and Marlowe staggers in.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    did someone say beer?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Marlowe, I have no doubt that I live in a very different world than you.

  • PDA

    So – again correct me if I’m wrong – the extent of consensus power is limited to “framing the conversation, encouraging renewable energy and putting targets in place for emissions,” which even you characterize as “failure.”

    Do you see my confusion?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, no, I don’t think that describes the extent of their power. I think it describes the miserable little they’ve done with it.

  • PDA

    Still not getting it. Either you have power or you don’t. If you do “miserable little…” what power do you have?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You certainly have the power to squander your power, not use it wisely. Which is what happened.Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever argued that Britain did not have the power to crush the American rebellion. They frittered it away, fought other countries, lollygagged and argued amongst themselves, and failed to use their very real superior power to achieve their desired end.

  • PDA

    No, the British actually CONTROLLED the Colonies, for a long time. for this analogy to hold, they’d be tenuously hanging on to partial control of the Tower and half of London Bridge and issuing dire but impotent threats at the Thames estuary. Obviously we’re talking past each other. I still can’t wrap my head around the idea of a David fighting a blind, paralyzed and aphasic Goliath, but whatever gets you up in the morning. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Well, I thought I was very clear. People can of course disagree with my assessment, but I find it astonishing that you don’t understand it. But, whatever keeps you in bed in the morning…

  • Menth

    I think there’s a confusion here between scientific and political power and the false assumption that a reigning scientific paradigm necessarily has transferable power over the political sphere. Saying the “consensus” doesn’t have any power because if they did we’d all be riding bikes, building solar panels and doing whatever McKibben et al. thinks we should is pretty naive.

    If this is about about the whole Christy v. Field thing and why Pielke didn’t criticize both, well it should be obvious: one was speaking on behalf of the IPCC position and leads the WG2 if I’m not mistaken. The other is an individual scientist known for taking an outlier position. Within the “sphere of science” Christy, Spencer, Lindzen et al. have little power or influence over their field and have plenty of people dissecting and pointing out their errors.

  • Joshua

    Keith – In terms of Roger’s post, and my little dust-up with him – I go back to your comment about zero sum gain, or perhaps more appropriately zero sum game (part of the problem is some people take themselves too seriously and don’t see how they’re playing a game). It may be a more useful concept than partisanship in some ways, or at least a complimentary concept.It’s striking how few people I’m able to have a discussion with in the blogosphere where we can exchange thoughts in good faith, without an assumption that any movement on any issue would be viewed as a complete loss. People frequently immediately launch into a scorched earth carpet-bombing of anything I have to say – which includes ridiculous straw man building, taking things out of context, etc.I find non-zero sum game mentality to be a rare commodity within the blogosphere – with you and John Pittman to be among the exceptions. Of course,  it takes two to tango, but I see scorched earth debating to be ubiquitous when I’m not involved as well. Even clearly knowledgeable and mild-mannered all around good guys like Fred Molton and Pekka Pirila over at Judy’s crib are frequently demeaned, and often get sucked into death matches where only one debater can be left standing.

  • Joshua

    - 261 – Marlowe -

    All I can say is thank god it was Budweise.

  • Joshua

    - 238 – John -

    Thanks for that input.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Joshua, what you seem to be saying is that you and all your failed relationships have something in common. Other than yourself, what might that be?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    I think there’s a confusion here between scientific and political power and the false assumption that a reigning scientific paradigm necessarily has transferable power over the political sphere. 

    Precisely.

    +1

  • Joshua

    Tom -

    I’m trying to figure out whether it’s sad, pathetic, or ironic that someone might call petulant blog interactions “relationships.”

    What do you think?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I would use those adjectives about those who complain about them. Remote relationships have been in existence for centuries and have provided a rich source of satisfaction–think pen pals and the like. They are what you make of them, I imagine. I don’t know if you’re making much of them.

  • Joshua

    Tom -
    I’m trying to figure out whether it’s sad, pathetic, or ironic that
    someone might call petulant blog interactions “relationships.”
    What do you think?

  • Joshua

    I will also note, Tom, than in answer to a question about how you would characterize an action, in addition to a non-sequitor about a completely different topic, you answered how you would characterize a person. 

    Since you’re into assigning labels for people, how do you characterize folks who repeatedly display difficulty with logical coherency?

  • Joshua

    Keith – I’ll stop now. No need for reprimand. Consider me self-reprimanded.

  • Menth

    Fun Fact: “Joshua” is in actuality an elaborate bot created by an M.I.T grad student.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    No, Joshua, you will not stop. You’ll just take a break. As for how I characterize folks who repeatedly display difficulty with logical coherency, I have no need to. I see BBD, yourself and Marlowe in the comments section every day. You both characterize and ‘caricatur-ize’ yourselves.

    As I’ve seen you make the same spelling error before, you might note that it’s non-sequitur.

    Menth, I think you’re on to something.

  • John F. Pittman

    I understand what Fuller and PDA are saying, but I see it different. IN GENERAL, the AGW group has won. This is indicated by the science; where the nations that tend to lead in environmental action are going; and the general opinions of the populace including the USA that indicate at least a “weak” positive to AGW. The problem is that at least some, and I would include the IPCC, do not want to admit what the general population has agreed to. IN GENERAL, people want the status quo. In other words, they will not tend to, nor their representatives agree to draconian measures, or in the case of China, measures that are not in China’s interest. And of course different cultures and countries vary. As the “skeptics” label them, the catastrophists of CAGW are the ones that I would agree are wasting time, money, and political geld, not actual power in one sense. However, in another sense, for the longterm they may be right and they may be on the right path; they may be 180 degrees from the truth. We don’t know. The real issue has not been resolved by science. We do not actually know what the future climate holds. This is intrinsic to the fact we have have one X, the temperature/climate history, and bunches of Y, paleo, models, etc. Mapping X:Y is not the same as Y:X and uncertainty will tend to grow rather than shrink, until we do have enough X to do Y. As Tebaldi and Knutti have indicated wrt present rates and knowledge, we may need more than 135 years to validate a 100 year “prediction.” To me, the real failure has been the advocacy, yes, even extreme advocacy, in an increasingly uncertain determination. IN GENERAL, people do have buyer fatigue, and I would submit, they are fatigued.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Actually, I agree with you, John.

  • BBD

    Menth

    Fun Fact: “Joshua” is in actuality an elaborate bot created by an M.I.T grad student.

    Nope, that’s me. MIT just rents me out to Sheffield Forgemasters to fund the ongoing development of the code.

  • Menth

    @284 hah!

  • harrywr2

    #251,What is this “power” that the consensus has, in your judgment? Where are
    the strong public policies that this powerful group has been able to
    enact? Where is the evidence of their influence on the thinking of the
    American people?

    I can look out the window of my wife’s rental house that ‘shadows’ a house ‘down the hill’ and see two solar panel’s facing my wife’s rental house have been recently installed on an otherwise ‘moss covered’ roof..Having recently driven US Route #2 from ‘sea to shining sea’ I can attest to the presence of numerous ‘mega-wind farms’. I also had the chance to examine the blades at various ‘oversized load’ parking areas.

    I also got to visit the $5 million ‘carbon sink’ my mothers community bought. My mother took me to visit it so I could explain to her how this ‘worthless piece of land that no one in their right mind would buy’ was going to ‘help climate change’. (Her politics are generally a lot further to the left then mine).

    Even the ‘McChimpy BushHitler’ signed the energy act’s of 2005 and 2007 into law creating such things as ‘substantially higher CAFE standards, a requirement that biofuels be mixed with gasoline and diesel, various financial incentives for the regional greenhouse gas initiatives, subsidies for windmills and solar panels plus various energy R&D programs.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-109publ58/pdf/PLAW-109publ58.pdf

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-110publ140/pdf/PLAW-110publ140.pdf

    The one ‘wild success story’ in reducing US CO2 emissions, hydraulic fracturing was made possible by section 322 of the Energy Act of 2005 signed by McChimpy BushHitler as well.

    SEC. 322. HYDRAULIC FRACTURING.Paragraph (1) of section 1421(d) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h(d)) is amended to read as follows:”˜”˜(1) UNDERGROUND INJECTION.””The term “˜underground injection’”””˜”˜(A) means the subsurface emplacement of fluids bywell injection; and”˜”˜(B) excludes”””˜”˜(i) the underground injection of natural gas forpurposes of storage; and”˜”˜(ii) the underground injection of fluids or proppingagents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulicfracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermalproduction activities.”.

    Republican’s ‘addressed climate change’ in 2005 and 2007. Every conceivable form of ‘alternative energy’ got financial help.

    Now it’s time to wait and evaluate ‘what worked and what didn’t’ and at ‘what cost’ before we make commitments that we have no idea how to meet or what the costs vs the benefits will be.

  • Joshua

    I know that Desmog and Climate Progress don’t have a whole lot of fans in these here parts, but apropos of discussion about power distribution in the energy/climate debate, this link is interesting:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/what-expect-when-you-re-electing-mitt-romney-s-energy-advisors

  • jeffn

    Harry at 286, that certainly looks like “action” to me.
    Is it possible that we are being asked to “discuss the science” behind claiming a normal heat wave is man-made because the Limits to Growth gang fears that evaluation?

  • Tom Scharf

    Climate change is synonymous with progressive politics in the USA.  Academia is liberal by a 5 to 1 margin.  The social sciences are liberal by a 10 to 1 margin.  Environmentalists are liberal by a 10 to 1 margin.  You can Google these numbers.

    And what do you expect to happen when Academia, social sciences, and environmentalists get together?  A progressive agenda emerges.  Is anyone really surprised that somehow conservatives didn’t get invited to this party?  

    The climate movement has become morally barren is reality.  There is very little grass roots action not aimed at long held progressive political objectives.  The science was long ago co-opted for political purposes.  Real movements such as breast cancer feel so strongly that they self finance their own research with a clear and tangible objectives outside of government sponsored research.  Breast cancer was smart enough not to allow the polarization of their movement by political hacks.

    CAGW doesn’t require taxpayer help for real action.  If it was really so clear and obvious, it could self-finance through user donations from the converted.  The Catholic church has a lot of money from a lot of people who believe in their mission.  They spend it on the mission.  

    Climate solutions that don’t include a progressive agenda are non-starters in the USA, and solutions that have no hope of being effective but are progressive in scope are curiously supported.

    They would rather fail than work with those icky people across the aisle.  

  • jeffn

    Tom S, Andy Revkin has been following a case where some political hacks are trying to co-opt breast cancer.
    I would also say that climate solutions that don’t include a progressive agenda are ignored, but are actually happening. The US reduced emissions thanks to switching to gas and that continues. The US issued it’s first permit in decades to a nuke plant this year. Those aren’t Progressive solutions, so they are ignored. Which really means, progress continues because we don’t listen to Progressives. Again.

  • harrywr2

    Jeffn @ 288,

    /sarc on

    This is progress ;)

    http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,16136728,00.html

    Twenty-three new coal-fired power plants are being built across Germany, with the capacity to generate 24,000 megawatts.

  • John F. Pittman

    Joshua 287: I read it and a couple of links. They make some good points about different power structures. Hope you appreciate my reaction to the tribe drum banging. I think we should have a post of “Merchants of Certainty: Hijacking Good Science in the Name of Moralizing Demonization of Your Opponents and Making Low Prability Claims as Certain Such That Your Tribe Feels Self-Righteous”

  • jeffn

    … and I’ve read that they’re buying the coal from us since we’re switching to gas.
    We should attach an export tax to it, cause it’s bad for ‘em and they’re rich. Use the money to cover our UN dues, which means it’s essentially refunded to them.

  • Joshua

    ” I think we should have a post of “Merchants of Certainty: Hijacking
    Good Science in the Name of Moralizing Demonization of Your Opponents
    and Making Low Prability Claims as Certain Such That Your Tribe Feels
    Self-Righteous””

    Sounds like a good post, John. Will you write the section that discusses Christy, Monckton, Watts, Inhofe, etc.?

  • John F. Pittman

    Joshua if I were to write such an article I would. But I would have to make it sections, as each in my opinion occupy a separate niche, and I would have to have them mirrored with Mann, Schneider, Romm, and Pelosi.

  • Sashka

    Joshua, due to your previous anal comments on Mosher, I must tell you that it is non sequitur. I sure hope that you are not a teacher of French. That you are not teaching science has been clear for a while.

  • Joshua

    Wow – two spelling nannies in one thread.

    That’s impressive.

  • Joshua

    I’d like to read that, John. That said, I don’t see the categorical differences as you state them. Sure, I get the superficial categorizations and parallels as you imply with your list of names, and I agree that outlining the parallels in detail is important,  but I think that your original title applies equally well to everyone mentioned (except maybe Schneider – most of my information about him comes from the “skeptosphere,” and based on their track record, my initial gut reaction is that they fail to understand what he was saying and/or deliberately exploit mischaracterizations of what he said for political/partisan expediency).

  • John F. Pittman

    The point of Schnieder or his replacement is that historicaly he has never been right about the doom and gloom. I might have to replace him to one from the club of rome with a “better” track record. You should look at the track record of the population bomb and other of the first neo-malthusians. Much better than the “skeptics.” Thses are his projections of trends in the past.

  • Sashka

    That’s called Grammar Nazi, Joshua. I’m really not, though. Just thought you might appreciate the taste.

  • Joshua

    You can call it whatever you like, Sashka.Me, personally, I don’t like analogizing people to Nazis. And nannies are nice. Associating you with one is not meant as an insult, just an observation of fact. I appreciate your concern over my misspellings. I’m sure that it is very well-intended, just as would be the care of a nanny.

  • Sashka

    Oh, come on now. I know you’re smarter than that. Calling a guy “grammar Nazi” is no more analogizing with Nazies than calling a guy troll is analogizing with those little fellas from fairy tales. It’s just bloggers vernacular. But I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.

  • Joshua

    Sashka -

    Sure. The soup Nazi episode is one of my favorites. But given how “concerned” some “skeptics” get about their dissembling that “denier’ widely references holocaust denial, I think it’s best to just not go there. Particularly since “nanny” is a much more apt term to describe your scolding me about spelling errors. You seem like a nice enough guy, and nanny simultaneously alludes to your character as well as your actions. I thought of using “grammar nag” as a description, but I felt that “nag” has too negative a connotation.

    And just for future reference, my feelings don’t get hurt by blog comments (might you be projecting?). Again, your protective, nanny-like “concerns” are appreciated, but entirely unnecessary.

    And I really don’t need to be instructed about blog vernacular. I’m quite familiar, thank you. Speaking of which – are you familiar with the term butthurt?

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    When a blogger/commenter engages in zero sum tactics, I don’t trust that person to engage with me honestly.<p></p><p></p>That covers about all of he said she said journalism, but be assured Keith we all know how you are trying to balance the capture of the media by those who see a threat from climate change.

  • jim

    Joshua (154),
     
    My argument is speculative, no doubt.  You might note the “perhaps” at the beginning of the argument.
     
    Here’s my question for you: would you assert that the results of the various psychological studies carried out about the reasons for climate apocalypse “denial” constitute valid arguments based on evidence?  :)  
     
    I’d counter your argument with these thoughts: there’s a large scale experiment occurring every day with respect to people’s attitudes about climate change.  Scientists such as those at RC and other CO2 action advocates have, for nearly two decades, been casting about unsuccessfully for answers to why no one listens to their cries of apocalypse.  Originally, we had the “fossil fuel interests” conspiracy theory hypothesis.  More recently, scientist have turned to social science to answer the probing question through surveys ““ a method only slightly more reliable for determining cause than conspiracy theories (numerous studies have shown that people’s behavior rarely conforms to what they say they believe in surveys).  And, most recently, Keith highlights the apparently physiologically-based “lizard brain” hypothesis.Nonetheless, the question remains unresolved. No one seems to know why no one really cares all that much about climate and why the messages of apocolypse get no traction.
     
    The interesting thing about all of these hypotheses is that all make one fundamental assumption: that apocalyptic AGW is assured.  It doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone creating hypotheses for non-belief that the apocalyptic AGW hypothesis just might be wrong.  Kinda funny, doncha think?I offer a possible explanation for why this is so.   Your response “are you arguing from assertion” – that is, an effort to disqualify the argument on technical grounds - suggest that the argument has struck a nerve, no?  :) 
     

  • Joshua

    jim -

    No nerves struck.  I agree that a  hypothesis that assumes that “belief” in the “AGW hypothesis”  is valid, (or that anyone that doesn’t hold such a “belief” is a “denier”)  – for the purpose of examining the impact of messaging about AGW – is a problematic hypothesis.

    Beyond that, you would have to be more specific for us to discuss whether or not any particular study makes such an assumption, or centers on a hypothesis that would be spuriously affected by such an assumption. I will say, however, that given the choice, I would prefer flawed conclusions that are based on problematic hypothesis but that also have substantiation in controlled data collection over broad arguments by assertion that are likely based on similarly flawed hypotheses.

    No one seems to know why no one really cares all that much about climate and why the messages of apocolypse get no traction.

    Although I think that your claim of “no traction” is poorly quantified to the point of essentially being useless (would you say that widespread societal change as the result of concerns about climate change  = “no traction”?), that is, essentially, my point:

    Many people make arguments about cause-and-effect w/r/t messaging and cause-and-effect on public opinion (e.g., Keith in his posts, “skeptics” in the “skeptosphere), IMV, based on insufficient data. 

    The best analysis I’ve seen uses data collected through a controlled process to conclude that the single-biggest influence on public opinion w/r/t climate change are antecedent variables related to social, cultural, and ideological identity.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »