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Say When

Here’s a question to ponder on this fine Sunday morning. When will people on either side of the climate “debate” (it’s no such thing of course) acquiesce and “say when?” On the skeptical side, can you point to an outcome, an event, a state of affairs that would have you say, “you know, I don’t like it, and I am really upset that it is going to be costly, but we ought to take measures A, B and C to try to offset the problem?”

And for you in the “consensus” side, can you ever imagine a point where you’ll say, “geez, I think that while I know the science, I would recommend that we do NOT roll back industrial civilization, prop up failing green-energy companies, stomp on people’s individual decision-making ability for the foreseeable future.”

Find me someone on either side who will make such a solid claim and I will show you where the imps hide in my house.

By the way, for those of you interested in knowing what the “debate” is all about, it is simply this: “we are right, we are adults and you are wrong. End of story. We don’t even know what you object to or why, because the second we hear the term, “but …” we ask who is paying you from the oil companies to say it.” The last paragraph of this is, to me, breathtaking.

9 Responses to “Say When”

  1. Speedmaster says:

    Is what Peter Gleick did criminal?

  2. J Storrs Hall says:

    Science has no guardrails. There is a slippery slope from enlightened enquiry into the nature of things, to a venom-choked intolerant religion, as your link clearly demonstrates. The important question is how such guardrails might be provided. I don’t know the answer, but I can suggest some possibilities, such as the complete separation of science and state. What else might work?

    But the bottom line, for me, is that the important thing is not the outcome of this one particular debate, but the meta-question of how to make science work, safe or at least insulated from capture by politically-motivated power structures.

    One hopeful sign in the climate debate has been the ability of the “army of Davids” independent citizen scientists to attack an enormously deeply-defended orthodoxy with the tools of openness and skepticism that should rightly be the core of science in the first place. To the lover of truth, this has made the past decade a time of intense interest and some hope.

  3. Speedmaster says:

    What are he odds a DA will charge Peter Gleick for anything? I’m guessing less than 5%.

  4. Michael says:

    As a skeptic, I would have a few steps before I could move into the costly “cures.” Even f I accept that global warming is real and is entirely man-made via CO2, that doesn’t mean we should do something about it. I do actually accept that man has an impact on the climate, most notable through road construction and our heat islands affects (I think CO2 is fairly minimal). hOWEVER, I remain skeptical that somehow by making us all poorer (via taxes) we’ll end up more environmentally friendly; my brief experience on this earth plus a little bit of reading and watching things on history tends to support that wealthy people are, on the whole, more environmentally friendly than poorer places.

  5. Michael says:

    Drats, hit the caps lock on a review.

  6. Rod says:

    The last best excuse for authoritarian collectivist government has become environmentalism. First, it was acid rain (all rain is acidic to some degree) and then it was the watershed, which covers every inch of the dry land, including your and my property. Add in riparian buffers, non-point sources of water pollution, snail darters and smelts and you wind up turning your liberty over to the concerned scientists. Finally, the concerned scientists and the UN came up with global warming, which was never really about global warming but instead was a scheme to redistribute wealth from the countries that, by their sights, had too much wealth to the third world socialist countries that did not have enough.

    So after considering the source, the UN’s international conference on climate change, I said to myself, okay, let’s see if the dire predictions made by Al Gore and others come true. Prince Charles (Alfred E Neuman) said we had ten years to prevent the Maldive Islands from flooding over. Well, none of the predictions have come true. Indeed, the global warmers recognized that and have changed their concern to climate change, up or down. To put it in March Madness terms, you get two points if you either make or miss a basket.

    At any rate, I think the burden of proof is on the proponents of manmade climate change for two reasons. First, they have attempted to make the public accept a self-protective argument; and second because there is an enormous amount of money at stake — enough to bring our economy to its knees, which could be the intended purpose of all this pseudo-science and discipleship of Paul Ehrlich and Margaret Mead.

  7. In The Rational Optimist Matt Ridley asks rhetorically if we should ask our ancestors of 1825 do without improvements in their lifespan and happiness and just bank the cash so that we all now could pay our bills today. That is what Ridley says climate politics amounts to. As comments 2, 3, and 4 above all point out, even if the science were acceptable, the proposed remedies are not. In fact, says, Ridley, the best outcome is both global warming and the wherewithal to adapt well to it. I have kidded about forming the “Michigan Citrus Growers Association” but the facts seem to be that periods of global warming are better for more people than times of cooling.

    The bottom line here, however, seems to be that neither side (any side? are there more than two?) is not listening. Why Evidence is Not Enough is a discussion paper from the Yale Law School, touted at Mother Jones (the link) and which I have discussed on Objectivist boards and my own blog. Ironically, the Objectivists discounted the study itself, denying the evidence about the denial of evidence.

    The deeper questions are about attitude formation. Why do people believe what they claim to … and whether they really do… (My favorite statistic is a Pew poll revealing that 3% of those self-identified as “evangelical Christian” doubt the divinity of Christ. You gotta wonder…)

  8. Brent says:

    I’d be satisfied if we could just get people to quit throwing their cigarette butts out the car window…

  9. Harry says:

    I am willing to stipulate for the sake of argument that things appear to be warmer today, just not to waste time going down that road, partly because I do not know, and partly because I have read that the Earth warms and cools periodically. Lake Ontario is pretty good evidence that things got warmer since the Ice Age. I am even willing to concede statements such as “the earth has warmed about a half a degree centigrade” , even though we know the data are not all that precise, and a lot of data is missing, as in we do not have data for many airports before the Wright Brothers, and even after them the temperature at the airport in Sherman Texas was precise to a degree plus or minus a degree, enough information to calculate whether you could take off safely, which meant that Leo and Billy Bob and their bags were about the same weight last time, and this time they did not have the dogs.

    Meanwhile, there are huge parts of the world where data is also unavailable, including the poles, and the oceans.

    The question is, what has been the effect of man-made carbon dioxide that is the result of production of power for labor-saving machines. Recently linked to a blog that catalogued thousands of factors that contribute to the climate, and carbon dioxide, all of it, is about 400 parts per million, a teeny part of the atmosphere, and a portion of that is man-made.

    A portion of man-made CO2 is made when we breathe, and I assume that is ok, except for the zero-population growth folks and others who believe the world would be better off with fewer or no humans who make fires. (Authorized campfires for people who want to save the Planet are ok.)

    My problem is that nobody has convinced me that eliminating some or most CO2 from the atmosphere will help push global warming in any direction, given other powerful and overwhelming factors like clouds and solar radiation. Sure, the world is a big greenhouse.

    Indeed, the idea is preposterous on its face, downright silly and counter-intuitive. Just fly from Frankfurt to Hawaii, and that is not flying half way around the world, and you get a sense of how small man’s presence is. You do fly over a lot of water and clouds.

    So I am waiting for somebody to prove it, not just to me, but to other skeptics as well. The burden is on them.

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