Who’s afraid of big bad coal?

by Judith Curry

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project aims to “reveal the complete truth about the climate crisis” and “bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it.”  Gore’s promotional video accuses “Big Oil” and “Big Coal” of evil manipulation.

The Australian Conversation has a very interesting analysis of Gore’s new project entitled “Who’s afraid of big bad coal?   Al Gore’s ‘climate reality’ is a pointless fairy tale,” by Will Grant and Rod Lamberts.  In their analysis, they ask the key question:

Where is the mechanism here that will finally get the unconverted or the hostile to agree with the need to take action on climate change?

The answer that they provide:

There isn’t one.

With regards to Al Gore’s demons “Big Oil” and “Big Coal”:

Those who got into the coal and oil industries did so for the simple goal of making a profit by providing us with the energy we need for the modern economy. They didn’t do it to be evil. They don’t want to destroy the world. They are not the nefarious oligarchs that so many would have you believe.

Yes, we now know that the carbon pollution produced by the coal and oil industries is a big problem for society. We all need to wean ourselves off such carbon intensive energy.

But we’re not going to do it by misrepresenting people’s intentions and calling them names. We’re not going to do it by punishing people who acted in good faith.

We’re only going to convince people to change by lining up their profit motive with everyone’s need for a low-carbon economy.

Yes, that’s right. We need to support the fat cats, just as we need to support anyone else in transition.

We need to encourage those who invest in coal and oil to move their money to less carbon-intensive investments. Incentive, not invective.

These captains of industry are not our enemies. They need to be our allies in de-carbonising the economy.

So what should you do? Here are three things you can do now:

  • Assume good faith amongst those who advocate different things to you. They may be motivated by profit, but that doesn’t mean they’re evil. ‘Profit’ does not equal ‘evil’.
  • Challenge conspiracy theories, whether of the left or the right. Just as much as we need to reject the idea that “Big Coal” wants to destroy the planet, so too should we reject the clownish idea that scientists are corrupt plotters seeking totalitarian world government, or better yet, the forces of darkness. We’re just not. If someone is nominally on your side (ie, you want the same outcomes or you’re in the same political party), then you need to challenge their conspiratorial thinking more, not less.
  • Remember the goal. This is about limiting and (eventually) reversing climate change. Other fights, from name-calling squabbles to building a social democratic utopia, must be put to the side.

With regards to “the world joining hands”:

We don’t have to touch each other to solve climate change. We don’t even have to like each other.

JC comments:  Al Gore is preaching to his (shrinking) choir.  On the other hand, Grant and Lamberts provide a refreshing approach that might actually lead to productive dialogue on the climate/energy debate.

348 responses to “Who’s afraid of big bad coal?

  1. Gore’s promotional video accuses “Big Oil” and “Big Coal” of evil manipulation.

    The real problem of course is manipulation by big government and its largely stooge scientists, who control almost 100% of all money spent on climatology, and who to this day cannot bring themselves to decry the secrecy and fraud practiced by the IPCC cadre.

    • You are right. Escape from this increasingly dangerous impasse is blocked by fear, false pride and a lack of world statesmanship.

      Now we decry “secrecy and fraud”, but it appears that world leaders secretly adopted “Global Climate Change” in 1972 as the “common enemy” for a noble goal: To unite nations, end nationalism, and save the world from the danger of mutual nuclear annihilation.

      That was when the results of government-funded space sciences began to be manipulated to hide evidence that Earth’s heat source is not a stable H-fusion reactor.

      Today a wise statesman, like Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela, is needed to end “secrecy and fraud” and seek reconciliation instead of punishment or revenge for scientists and politicians who have misused science for a “noble cause” for the past 39 years.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo
      NASA NGR 26-003-057

      • Joe Lalonde

        Oliver,

        Letting the “free-market” come up with the promised technology of governments has been a failure in producing the promised wonder innovative toys to change our consumption of oil.
        Not hard to figure out why hydrogen cells were destined to fail at the idea level but millions were pumped into this promise. Batteries and technology are still not evolved enough for what government is pushing toward electric cars. These are heavily subsidized for the manufacturers to push their product. Is this fair to other manufacturers?

      • As I noted this morning in a message to Climate skeptics, we now know what Climategate is about:

        “This is about . . . deliberate fraud.”

        “This is about the environmentalists controlling vast sums of money and massive political power, and deliberate fraud.”

        But today as I prepare to write the concluding chapter to a book summarizing the past 50 years of my research career, “A Journey to the core of the Sun,” I also scanned news headlines of economic, political and social gridlock worldwide and realized for the first time that:

        Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project [http://climaterealityproject.org/] on September 14 is a desperate cry for relief from the certain demise of hundreds of leading scientific, political and news organizations that promoted the fraudulent story of “Global Climate Change” as the common enemy of nations since the time Henry Kissinger took Richard Nixon to China in 1972

        To end the threat of mutual nuclear destruction and bring peace to a world divided by nationalism and hatred.

        Today the whole world is on the verge of economic, social and political collapse. World statesmanship is desperately needed more than victory for either side in this conflict.

        Let’s not “win the battle” and “lose the war!”

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo
        NASA NGR 26-003-057

    • “The real problem of course” was “manipulation by big government and its largely stooge scientists” from the time of

      a.) The 1972 meeting of Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon with leaders of China to seek an end to the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation; to

      b.) The 2009 release of 61 MB files of documents and e-mail messages from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit on a Russian server; until

      c.) The current alignment of Al Gore and his Climate Reality Project with the self-preservation instincts of world leaders, the UN, and leaders of scientific, news, and political organizations in a final, futile, but dangerous attempt to “save face” by supporting “the secrecy and fraud practiced by the IPCC cadre.”

      This is an extremely dangerous impasse for everyone. The outcome has already been forecast by similarities in the scriptures of almost all – if not all – religions: “Truth is victorious, never untruth” [Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6; Qur'an 17.85; Numerous verses in other religious scriptures].

      Now we need a political leader with the wisdom and integrity required to guide us out of this dangerously Inflammable stand-off.

      Who? Perhaps Czech President Václav Klaus or his predecessor, Václav Havel.

      May we seek resolution
      Rather than victory,
      Oliver K. Manuel

      • “c.) The current alignment of Al Gore and his Climate Reality Project with the self-preservation instincts of world leaders, the UN, and leaders of scientific, news, and political organizations in a final, futile, but dangerous attempt to “save face” by supporting “the secrecy and fraud practiced by the IPCC cadre.”

        Unable to get off and ride on the dead horses.

  2. Regarding Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, you should check the nonsense about Cape Verde:

    http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2011/07/debunking-al-gore-in-cape-verde.html

    Ecotretas

  3. “Assume good faith amongst those who advocate different things to you.”

    I don’t see a lot of good faith around these parts Dr Curry.

    Otherwise I don’t see much of note in that essay. You could write much the same about the Tobacco Industry (“They’re not evil, they got into it to produce a product Americans want to buy”) and it simply shows that you can conceivably imagine a wide range of motives both good and bad for any individual or group.

    Motives are a side-show to the discussion and ultimately people prefer to discuss them because they’re easier to engage with than are facts which require serious thought and education..

    We know factually that industries can and do buy scientific opinion to protect their interests. This is no sense controversial or a “conspiracy theory”.

    Less relevant than the motives of either the scientists producing that work or the motives of industry in funding it is where it sits in relation to the body of work produces by other scientists. If various trials say drug X is harmful in 80% of cases but the drug company sponsored one says 5% then this demands scrutiny. Motive may be of interest in other contexts but not with regard to whether drug X is harmful or not.

    Hence the concept of consensus becomes of critical importance. Where is 70% in relation to consensus and where is 5%? The more particular conclusions stand as an outlier from others the more scrutiny they require. Are they the vanguard of a new way of looking at things or are they simply wrong? In most cases, simply wrong.

    When a group in its entirety tells me to be maximally skeptical of working scientists, attacks the concept of consensus and tells me to act in good faith towards business interests (which is an odd concept) I feel that I’m being setup for poor decision making.

    • @sharperoo: Very well put. I’m afraid Ms Curry is enjoying her position as lead warming skeptic to change it now, which is a pity.

      There’s science, consensus, politics, and rational governance on one side, and fear, greed, comfort, convenience, short-sightedness and apathy on the other. Guess which one will win.

      Please keep posting.

      • “Fear”…of AGW?

        Andrew

      • Yes, Andrew, fear of government, a phony ploy by those who cheerfully posit that government is bad, as if grownups didn’t understand that it’s necessary. Stamp your feet about having to do things you don’t want to do, like a child. Pretend it’s all phony, pretend the government WANTS to have to deal with AGW.
        Yeah, fear.

      • Ormond,

        I think you are overreacting just a bit. If you want to point to people acting out of fear, you may as well be honest and say that fear of AGW is a motivating factor for a person or group. Perhaps yourself?

        Andrew

      • Oh, yeah. No need to get all exercised about a little global predictive science. It’s all for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

        Duh. Fear of crop failure, drought, monsoon displacement, oceanic acidity, food riots, and of Pakistan careening out of nuclear control of sane people would be a start. I wonder what the weather results of a little nuclear tit for tat between Hindutva and Taliban would be?

        Meanwhile, rhetorical nitpickers and head-patters derail what little rational response we’ve got left, thinking that the USA will be exempted somehow from world economic collapse from trying to protect itself from a fair distribution of world wealth.

        I got news for you, Andrew, it’s happening already. I’m no fool. I’ve been following the science since I was analyzing cloud chamber particle paths in 1958, on my way to a degree in physics. I can do the science, and I can easily understand the difference between legitimate objections and political propaganda.

        Apparently, you can’t. More’s the pity. When the pitchforks and torches arrive, you think you’re safe. I don’t. Fear has its uses, and fear of government is one of the detrimental ones.

      • Ormond,

        You lost me. Am I supposed to be afraid of Global Warming or Government or Both or Neither?

        Andrew

      • Actually, Andrew, I don’t expect you to follow me, since you’re here, and fighting science. QED ,sort of.

        I just think we need to leaven your hysteria a bit with rationalism.

      • Fair distribution of world wealth, hmmmmmm. At least your hints are good ones.

      • Well Ormond, at least you can still smile, so there is hope!

      • Ormond Otvos:
        The food shortages and hence food riots —- and nuclear proliferation , and hence nuclear confrontations you speak of , are more likely to result from your determination to foster big over-arching government and the prescriptions of the bogus consensus, than from anything advocated by the sceptic side of this issue.
        Food shortages have already occurred , as farmland meant for growing food crops was co-opted for the growing of crops for biofuels.
        In Indonesia, huge tracts of rainforests and peatlands were destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations to meet the demand from European true believers in the AGW consensus.
        The same is happening as we speak in Brazil, with the Amazon rainforests destroyed for soy and other crops—and there are plans for numerous dams and hydro schemes on the Amazon —all in the name of AGW and the consensus.
        The burning of those rainforests is also contributing black carbon [ soot--- not CO2] to the atmosphere, and black carbon has been found by numerous researchers to be the cause of ~50% of the Arctic ice melt, and that of at least some of the glaciers and potentially of the permafrost.
        Drew Shindell of NASA on black carbon and other aerosols:
        [ "We will have very little leverage over climate in the next couple of decades if we're just looking at carbon dioxide," Shindell said. "If we want to try to stop the Arctic summer sea ice from melting completely over the next few decades, we're much better off looking at aerosols and ozone."]

        http://www.igsd.org/documents/PR_JacobsonBCstudy_29July2010_000.pdf

        [‘Washington, DC, July 29, 2010 – Reducing emissions of black carbon, the dark component of soot, could be the best – and perhaps only – way to save the Arctic from warmer temperatures that are melting its snow and ice, according to a study published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Dr. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University studied the short-term effects of reducing black carbon and other greenhouse gases, including CO2 and methane, over a 15-year period of time, with black carbon reductions appearing to be the fastest way to avoid further Arctic ice loss and warming.’
        “The Arctic is a critical defense shield for the Earth’s climate system. Its vast expanse of ice and snow is reflecting significant incoming heat back into space. We cannot afford to lose the Arctic,”]
        Why are you so bent on putting all the focus on CO2, politics, big government and your apparent penchant for wealth redistribution, instead of calling for immediate focus on trying to mitigate the Arctic melting?
        Many warmers are now concluding that only nuclear power will produce the base load power in the foreseeable future, when they kill the coal industry, so if they have their way there’ll be a proliferation of nuclear power plants in many seismically and politically unstable countries, all over the world.
        That —a consensus outcome —is more dangerous and volatile than the outcome most sceptics want—of judicious mitigation, starting with the most effective, like black carbon, and including biosequestration, carbon capture and conversion, conservation measures, low-emitting vehicles, smarter buildings etc—and maintaining healthy economies to fund research into renewables that might be able to provide base load power sometime down the track.
        It’s always a useful ploy for those who want the overbearing nanny state and authoritarian government, or global governance — to cast those who want a less intrusive but competent democratic government, as somehow being fearful of any government at all, but it’s simply not true, and I think you must know that.
        Since when did big overbearing government , with huge suffocating bureaucracies, produce vibrant innovative societies and viable solutions?

      • a.n. ditchfield

        I don’t know whether to laugh or weep at what is written about the sacrifice of the Amazon rain forest to the greed and improvidence of the feckless that slash and burn the lung of the planet.
        This politically correct view differs from my view as man-on-the-spot. Those who say the Amazon rain forest is being cut down to give way to grain plantations may not know on which continent the Amazon river flows, but they certainly know nothing about the grain business. Grain is grown on the dry savannahs of the Central Brazilian Plateau, far south of the rain forest. Soil and climate of the rain forest are unsuitable for farming, and will remain so: a green desert with scant population. I don’t know of anyone who tried farming in such a hostile setting.
        The notion that the world has run out of land to feed more mouths is countered by the fact that arable land in Brazil is equivalent to that of America and Russia combined. Only a modest fraction of it is tilled. Another fact is that the surge in Brazilian annual grain output, from 50 million tons to 200 million tons over 30 years, sprang from ingenious biotechnological research and efficient farming practices, not by burning more forest. Occupied farming area rose from 20% to 23% of the available land over a period that saw a fourfold increase in output. This has made Brazilian grain harvest yields better than those of the Corn Belt in America. It is further known that the forested area on Brazilian farms expanded considerably above the levels of 30 years ago.
        It is wrong to rate potentially arable land in Brazil as too remote to be brought into cultivation. The great tributaries on the southern side of the Amazon are being pressed into duty as waterways. There is already intense barge traffic on the Madeira River to a deep water port on the Amazon, far inland, which can service giant bulk carrier ships. Additionally, the Tapajos River can be made navigable year round with modest investment in a dam and a lock. The significance of this is equivalent to that of the Erie Canal that linked Chicago to New York and opened the Midwest to farming in the 19th century. As an engineer, I have supported this project.
        The current limit of farming in Brazil is a sparse population, not Malthusian over-crowding. Greater output with fewer hands is the imperative

      • IOrmond: I’ve been following the science since I was analyzing cloud chamber particle paths in 1958, on my way to a degree in physics. I can do the science, and I can easily understand the difference between legitimate objections and political propaganda.

        Clearly you cannot. And just as clearly you are unable to tell the differene between legitimate science and the ‘consensus’ politically-funded political propaganda masquerading as science, somewhat outed by Climategate. Or with your physics degree/s would perhaps care to regale us on just how clear-cut the physics of feedbacks due to clouds are?

      • John Kannarr

        Ormond

        You use that old straw man, those who supposedly hate government, or “cheerfully posit that government is bad,” to divert recognition that there are many of us who are objecting to the abuses of government, not to government per se. I speak of those who tell us that climate change, or some other posited danger or crisis, requires government to violate individual rights.

        Those who want to assume the power to override the choices and decisions of individual citizens, and to impose their values and views upon everyone else, should be identified for what they are, would-be dictators. It used to be standard practice for such people to claim divine will or absolute right to rule to others. Now the alarmist crowd claims that “science” is on their side just as some have claimed to speak for “god.”

        In a free society, those who wish us to change our lives need to convince us to make individual choices and changes, assuming they can convince us that they have valid arguments for why we should change. I for one have not seen credible data or arguments from the alarmists, but I have seen numerous occasions when they appear to have violated standard rules of scientific integrity, which has left me very unconvinced by most of what they claim.

      • OO, are you familiar with the concept of projection? Because saying the skeptics are motivated by fear is nonsense.

        However, the AGW believers are either acting out of fear (of the consequences of runaway global warming) or if they don’t believe it, they are using fear to sell it to other people.

        I’m afraid the kids in the room are the warmists who are hiding under their covers because of the scary carbon monster in their room.

      • There’s science, consensus, politics, and rational governance on one side, and fear, greed, comfort, convenience, short-sightedness and apathy on the other.

        Thanks for the report from binary world. Here on earth things aren’t quite so cut and dried.

      • I think what Ormond really meant was : there’s politically-funded and corrupted science, manufactured consensus, politics, and would-be totalitarian governance on one side; and fear of all the aforementioned on the other side.

      • I agree, Punksta.

        The secret 1972 agreement among world leaders to use “Global Climate Change” as the “common enemy” to save their own lives and the world from the threat of mutual nuclear destruction

        Produced the “politically-funded and corrupted science, manufactured consensus, politics, and would-be totalitarian governance” that now pose an even greater threat to the political and economic fabric of the entire world society.

        Is there a leader with the wisdom and integrity required to guide us out of this dangerously Inflammable stand-off?

        We need resolution, not victory,
        Oliver

      • Hi Ormond,

        “There’s science, consensus, politics, and rational governance on one side, and fear, greed, comfort, convenience, short-sightedness and apathy on the other. Guess which one will win.”

        I agree the science will win, although it tends to take the long road to success. Obviously people on any side of the debate will take that to mean them as they would on other topics like evolution, vaccination etc.

        Somewhat unlike other controversies people positions are on record in a very precise and searchable way, it makes for interesting times.

        People may well act out of fear, short-sightedness etc although not realise or acknowledge such. It’s another part of the reason why I find the motive discussion a distraction.

    • Sharperoo: Motives are a side-show to the discussion and ultimately people prefer to discuss them because they’re easier to engage with than are facts which require serious thought and education..

      Motives are very far from being a sideshow. Especially when, as here, specialized expertise is involved. Your doctor may know much more about medicine than you, but that’s no good if like the UK medical mass murderer Dr Shipman, he has motives other than your health in mind. Motives are only ever dismissed by those trying to hide them.

      We know factually that industries can and do buy scientific opinion to protect their interests. This is no sense controversial or a “conspiracy theory”.

      Quite so. And exactly the same applies to the science bought by the state. That virtually all government scientists labour diligently to prove CAGW is neither accident nor conspiracy, it is simply them doing their job, laying the groundwork for their employer to be able to raise taxes and otherwise aggrandize itself. This bias is of course a delight to totalitarians, but anathema to those who value a free society.

      • Nice analogy. Global warming scientists are killer doctors.

      • By diverting the world’s attention from solvable problems like clean water, perhaps. By continuing to fly to far-flung party spots in jet aircraft to dine on finger sandwiches while deciding how the rest of us should live, maybe even more so. And don’t even mention carbon offsets – if they really believed they were destrying the palnet would do that anyway and stop killing the planet for crying out loud. How about you, Ormond? Have you given up the car and electricity (obviously not) and flying and eating food from out-of-town? Have you stopped killing the world? Do you walk the walk, or just talk the talk?

      • Nice straw man Ormand!

      • Actually LH, it wasn’t a very good straw man. Ormand, redo and resubmit please.

      • Confucius say:

        “When making strawman, always use fresh straw.”

      • ‘Killers’ – well, yes – but of your bank balance and freedoms.

      • that’s no good if like the UK medical mass murderer Dr Shipman, he has motives other than your health in mind.

        Regardless of his motive his “treatment” was known to be deadly. Motive helps explain why he might have done such a thing but has no impact on what he did or the effects of what he did.

        “Motives are only ever dismissed by those trying to hide them.”

        A bold statement. A curious one too on a post where we’re being instructed to have a positive view of the motives of the energy industry

        “And exactly the same applies to the science bought by the state. “

        Yes I see this one bandied about a lot too. It’s a nice way of drawing a false equivalency since all science must be funded it makes special interest funded science the same as that funded with numerous safeguards and checks against exactly that.

        It is nice of you to tell Dr Curry her life’s work is simply a product purchased by the state to further its totalitarian goals though.

      • “Motive helps explain why he might have done such a thing but has no impact on what he did or the effects of what he did.”

        That probably sounded really clever as you typed it. Until you realize that the good doctor’s motive was what determined his choice of action in treating patients to kill, rather than cure. I suspect the dead patients would disagree with you that his motive had “no impact on what he did.”

        Motives are excellent evidence in determining what past behavior was, and predicting what future behavior will be.

      • Sharperoo Regardless of [Shipman's] motive his “treatment” was known to be deadly. Motive helps explain why he might have done such a thing but has no impact on what he did or the effects of what he did.

        Yes, it tells is what he is trying to do. And we know that the motive of totalitarian ideologists (like Gore,) is crush a free society – climate is just convenient tool.
        And we also know that political action to enforce more expensive energy must necessarily have harmful effects.

        “Motives are only ever dismissed by those trying to hide them.”
        A curious [statement] on a post where we’re being instructed to have a positive view of the motives of the energy industry

        Curious that you call such an obvious thing as self-interest ‘curious’.

        “And exactly the same applies to the science bought by the state. “
        Yes I see this one bandied about a lot too. It’s a nice way of drawing a false equivalency since all science must be funded it makes special interest funded science the same as that funded with numerous safeguards and checks against exactly that.

        It’s a perfectly valid equivalency – what’s good for the Tobacco goose is good (or better) for the Government (propa) gander. Both fund “numerous safeguards and checks” to advance their cause. Like pal-reviews.

        It is nice of you to tell Dr Curry her life’s work is simply a product purchased by the state to further its totalitarian goals though.

        She’s a big girl. And knows we know there are a few non-stooges.

    • Rob Starkey

      It is interesting that those who believe that AGW is a dire problem often are now citing their favoriate expert opinions of others who agree with their views and while trying to avoid discussing the science or the economics that make up their positions.

      The feared harms of a warmer world have never been proven and most of the feared conditions from 10 years ago are being demonstrated to be invalid. Advocating expensive actions by the United States that will do almost nothing just does not make sense. People should continue to ask simple questions and demand simple answers prior to agreeing to new tax proposals. What will this measure cost, and how much it might potentially impact worldwide temperatures?

      • Gee, if it were just simple…

      • It’s not even a small part – it’s nothing, zero, zilch.
        Imagine a train with the motive power supplied by bicycle pedals in the driver’s cabin – that gives some idea of the impact of wind power.
        Oh, and massively expensive.

      • I guess you have an odd definition of “nothing, zero, zilch”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power

        “Energy production was 430 TWh, which is about 2.5% of worldwide electricity usage;[3][4] and has doubled in the past three years. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration, such as 21% of stationary electricity production in Denmark,[3] 18% in Portugal,[3] 16% in Spain,[3] 14% in Ireland[5] and 9% in Germany in 2010.[3][6] As of 2011, 83 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.”

        The countries listed seem to be doing pretty well out of it though I guess if you want to quantify the value of each individual turbine as a percentage of global temperature saved over 100 years….

        Is the solution for everyone everywhere? No of course not. Is it part of the solution? Yes absolutely.

      • Having posted all the ‘headline’ figures here, why not read the rest of the article, including the ‘fine print’ figures

      • “Britain has more than 3 000 wind turbines with a total capacity of over 5 000MW. Between November 2008 and December 2010 there were 124 occasions when these turbines produced less than 20MW in total.”

      • Well, three of the five named countries are going bankrupt. Spain, especially, squandered a lot of resources trying to go green, and had to reverse its direction somewhat.

      • this is the important point. it is econimic suicide to support wind power.

      • Have you looked at the actual way the power grid works in Denmark – which I believe has the highest electricity costs in Europe? If it wasn’t that Denmark was located next to two countries with (a) surplus Hydro power and (b) relatively efficient storage mechanisms, there is no way they could afford the 25-30% efficiency of their current wind-based electriity generation capacity.
        I assume you realize that “commercial” is not the same as “price competitive”?

      • that will do almost nothing

        Yes I enjoy reading on sites like WUWT about how such-and-such windfarm will reduce temperatures by a tiny fraction of a degree and was therefore a waste of money.

        It’s almost as if when you break a solution down to its component parts each individual part only has a small impact.

      • My reply above should have been to this post

      • Windmills will never be cost effective except for the promoters and owners.
        That AGW believers refuse to pursue the thing that actually works, nuclear fission, in favor of what will not work says a great deal about faith based thinking.

    • Hi Sharper00,
      I would like to hear your views on consensus applied to the Einstein-Schroedinger/Heisenberg-Bohr dustup in the early twentieth century. Should the consensus have prevailed? Also Piltdown Man. Should the consensus have prevaled then? Or how about plate tectonics? Surely, the consensus was of value then?
      In my opinion, the history of science is the history of struggle against the consensus.

      • scepticalWombat

        You are right. In the case of global warming the struggle lasted for over half a century as the consensus was that Carbon Dioxide could not cause global warming. It was only during the 70s that the evidence became sufficient to convince mainline scientists that there was a real problem.

        It is true that the scientific consensus is often wrong. However it seldom if ever moves from a correct understanding of the world to an incorrect one.

      • “Should the consensus have prevailed?”

        Nobody is arguing hat consensus should “prevail” in the face of superior evidence or explanations, this is a strawmen you erect just so you can push it down.

        Science moves forward and corrects itself. A hundred years from now our understanding of climate will be much more complete and better explanations than ones which currently exist will be found.

        I mentioned your point in my post – a view contrary to consensus could be the start of a new way of looking at things or could simply be wrong. In most cases it will simply be wrong.

        As a non-expert you stand an overwhelmingly better chance of making the best possible choice by taking the consensus view. Yes an outlier view may ultimately prove more correct and you would have done better with that but also flipping a coin may have provided the better choice.

        As mentioned above by scepticalWombat many of the views presented by skeptics are actually old and incorrect ways of looking at things.

        “In my opinion, the history of science is the history of struggle against the consensus.”

        The history of science is the struggle to learn something new and then convince others of the value and merit of that knowledge. Nobody should expect an easy ride when bringing change.

      • As a non-expert you stand an overwhelmingly better chance of making the best possible choice by taking the consensus view

        The truly hopeless oversight here being the assumption that the consensus isn’t funded by some party with a vested interest.

      • Yes, those heavily invested in solar, wind projects, companies, stocks and shares and yes the academia to get grants as their primary objectives to make a living.

    • Sharperoo:
      If, in your supposed analogy, you intend [ as it appears], the trials to represent AGW scientists and the IPCC—– drug X to represent CO2 —- and the drug company to represent the fossil fuel industry—- then it’s a bogus analogy.
      Your implied claim is that those producing for CO2 research the result ‘80% harmful’ , namely the IPCC and its consensus—- are on the side of the angels [ as are researchers looking for cures], and those producing the’ 5% harmful’ , namely sceptical scientists—-are intrinsically biased toward a product they wish to promote[akin to ‘big drug company’].
      The natural, ubiquitous and absolutely essential gas for life on earth —CO2—is in no way analogous to a drug developed by a drug company.
      The AGW scientists and the IPCC are not on the side of the angels—and are very far from angels themselves , as evidenced by their very own words in the CRU emails, and their actions that underpin those words.
      The sceptical scientists are not lackeys of the fossil fuel industry as you want readers to believe.
      Just because a scientist has at some time in his career worked for some division of that industry , does not nullify, disqualify and discredit every bit of research and every view he has for the rest of his career, or afterwards.
      To claim such a thing is to attack democratic and human rights.
      The implication is that you liken a ‘5% harmful’ result for your drug X to the sceptical scientists having a smaller number of peer-reviewed research papers than do the ‘consensus’ scientists.
      This too is a faulty analogy, because, unlike that for drug research, the sceptical scientists have to try to negotiate a far-from-level playing field—also evidenced by the admissions [ from ‘consensus’ scientists themselves in the CRU emails] , of manipulation of the peer review process and other fudging of results , and by their actions and those of the IPCC.
      Your claim is that because the gatekeepers of climate science—the ‘consensus’ scientists—have secured the clout, the ear of governments—and the access to massive amounts of taxpayers’ money—and have the arrogance to shut out of peer review almost all dissent—- then the natural consequence of that set-up , fewer peer-reviewed dissenting research papers , means dissenting views are not valid.
      That’s a ‘set-up’ all right, but not the kind you speak of —the ‘outliers’ are only outliers because of the deliberately-manufactured set-up.

    • andrew adams

      Sharperoo,

      Good points. As you mention the drug industry it’s worth pointing out that the level of openness about their research and willingness to “show their work” displayed by the drug companies makes climate scientists look like angels by comparison.

      The essential point is that the coal industry is not “evil” (although as Joshua points out below they can sometimes do evil things) but that it will go to great lengths to protect its interests. Within certain limits that is perfectly legitimate, but the interests of the coal industry do not necessarily coincide with the interests of our wider society and while I agree that undue demonisation of the industry (as opposed to pointing out the very real problems associated with widespread use of coal) is not warranted neither does it have any right to have its profits protected or get any kind of support during the transition away from coal use, which the authors seem to be implying.

      • …drug industry … level of openness about their research and willingness to “show their work” displayed … climate scientists look like angels by comparison.

        Perhaps. But the huge and obvious difference being that they do it with their own money, and don’t seek to impose their findings on others by force, as the climate brigade does.

        … the interests of the coal industry do not necessarily coincide with the interests of our wider society …

        And the exactly the same applies to the interests of the state – just 100 times more seriously and powerfully.

      • andrew adams

        Perhaps. But the huge and obvious difference being that they do it with their own money, and don’t seek to impose their findings on others by force, as the climate brigade does.

        How is the “climate brigade” trying to impose it’s findings by force? And do you really think that there are not wider implications if drug companies do not make public all of the test data for their products and not just the favourable results?

        And I thought that “showing your work” was an essential aspect of the scientific method. How does that principle depend on who is paying for the research?

    • You were set up for poor decision making a long time ago. You seem unable to grasp the concept of a logical fallacy.

  4. You Wrote:
    With regards to Al Gore’s demons “Big Oil” and “Big Coal”: 2nd paragraph down.
    Yes, we now know that the carbon pollution produced by the coal and oil industries is a big problem for society. We all need to wean ourselves off such carbon intensive energy.

    That is exactly what this Skeptic does disagree with.
    There is pollution from coal that is bad, but that can be scrubbed.
    The CO2 from coal is a benefit that we should encourage.
    Until we develop adequate Nuclear, Coal will be needed.
    After we develop adequate Nuclear, Coal will be needed so we can save oil for other necessary products.

    • Bruce Cunningham

      My sentiments exactly. They state that carbon is pollution, which anyone above the age of 6 should know is not true. Maybe they are throwing us lukewarmers a bone or two, hoping that we will accept a central part of their plan. If it becomes accepted by all, that carbon dioxide is pollution, then the EPA and others can do whatever they wish to eliminate it. That’s all they need to accomplish at this point. No matter if they agree to agree with us on all the other points they make, if they can pull that one thing off, then they essentially win the whole argument. Ain’t gonna happen.

  5. Most Important!

    The money and effort and time that has been wasted in Wind, Solar and Ethanol would have been better invested in Clean Coal and Nuclear. No investor is willing to invest in what works because they must compete with the heavily subsidized competitors that don’t help with our energy problems.

  6. The entire basis for Gore’s, Grant and Lampbert’s, and your “productive dialogue” falls in the dust if you once consider the strong possibility that CO2 is harmless, and that all “reduction schemes” are much worse than pointless. Suggestions that dialogue needs to begin on solutions begs the question.
    Switching to renewables is not a “neutral” option because it’s a “good idea anyway”. The downsides are huge, and completely ignored and discounted and left off the balance sheets.

    Suggesting that many or most scientists with any training in relevant fields recognize this but keep silent because the pressures and money spigots are in the hands of those prepared to enforce “consensus” is not “clownish”.

    There will be an accounting.

  7. “This is about limiting and (eventually) reversing climate change.”

    Absurdities.

  8. Coal is good. Coal produces SO2 which cools the earth.
    Coal allows poor countries to become rich countries.
    Taxing coal forces rich countries to become poor countries.
    Coal burning countries have a future. With jobs.
    Coal banning countries will have no future. And no jobs.

  9. I think this comes down to ego. People who believe in the consensus on climate know they are smarter than those that disagree. They try to convince the unenlightened of the wisdom in their position but the unelightened pays no heed as they have more pressing problems.. Since the unelightened won’t learn or can’t learn they are either stupid or being manipulated by outside evil forces, hence the demonization of big coal and big oil. Ironically, the battle for the near term energy future is likely between big coal and big gas, and big gas is Exxon, BP and the other oil conglomerates. You’d think all those really smart folks would figure out how to pit these two competing interests against one another.

    • So, Sean, what’s your projection of the coal reserves after WWIII? We’ve had two wars to end all war, why not a third? Maybe it’s a charm, since you’re so into magical thinking.

      Meanwhile, fear rules. Everyone knows how to manipulate the average person. How unique. When do we learn how to understand scientific predictions. They worked for the atomic bomb, airliners, nuclear plants, water treatment, the Twin Towers, and submarines.

      But all of a sudden, science is government controlled.

      BS. Foolish, deadly BS.

      • The fear is all coming from you guys, OO.

      • what’s your projection of the coal reserves after WWIII?

        The coal reserves will be fine – but will there be humans to use them? And what does this have to do with anything?

        Fear rules? You’re projecting.

        science is government controlled.

        Science is government funded – therefore, government controlled.

  10. Gore is in full retreat.
    He has not sounded this reasonable for decades.

    Shaper00,
    Bitter much?

  11. Who’s afraid of big bad coal?

    Al Gore is changing his tune a bit and is distancing himself from James E. Hansen’s “coal death trains” (but the underlying message remains).

    But let’s take an objective look at “coal”.

    The Industrial Revolution brought an affordable energy infrastructure and, with it, affluence, a better standard of living and increased life expectancy to a significant part of the world. This transformation of society was only able to occur because of coal.

    We all owe the fact that we can debate climate issues here to coal.

    So coal is obviously not “evil”.

    There are real pollutants from the combustion of coal (SO2, NOx, particulates, heavy metals, etc.), which should be removed (this technology exists today). CO2, itself, is not a pollutant but a naturally occurring trace gas, which is essential for all life on our planet.

    There is no compelling empirical evidence to show that increased atmospheric CO2 represents a serious threat to humanity or our environment over the next decades or centuries.

    The World Energy Council has issued a 2010 report listing the energy resources of our planet. It lists the “proven reserves” for coal at 861 billion tons (Gt) and the “possible inferred resource in place” at 2,462 Gt. At current usage rates, this “possible inferred resource” would last 385 years.

    Studies made prior to the Fukushima incident showed that conventional nuclear power could compete economically with coal even without any “price of carbon”. The problem now is more political than economic (or technical). Germany goes one way; France goes another.

    Fast-breeder technology with thorium has been tested in several locations; this could offer a solution to the spent fuel problem and cost associated with nuclear fission plants today.

    It is most likely that new technologies will emerge, which can compete economically with coal as a source of energy, long before we “run out” of coal.

    Nuclear fusion? Why not?

    Something totally different we cannot even comprehend today?

    The pace of change is exponential. Things will move much more rapidly over the next 385 years than they did over the past 385 years (i.e. since 1626).

    But could a person living in 1626 have imagined all the technologies we take for granted today, which would arguably never have been developed without coal?

    I think not.

    Long live “Old King Coal”!

    Max

  12. Pooh, Dixie

    “Yes, we now know that the carbon pollution produced by the coal and oil industries is a big problem for society. We all need to wean ourselves off such carbon intensive energy.” — Al Gore

    No, it is not a big problem, and Al Gore is entitled to call it “pollution” only by Act of Congress: The Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1970 and amended in 1977 and 1990. In its decision that EPA had to rule on whether of not it was a “dangerous pollutant”, the Supreme Court variously characterized the CAA as “broad”, “sweeping” and “capacious”. Scalia, in footnote 2 to his dissent (page 10), remarks that “It follows that everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies as an ‘air pollutant.’ This reading of the statute defies common sense.”
    Justice Stevens. 2007. MASSACHUSETTS ET AL. v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ET AL. April 2. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/06pdf/05-1120.pdf

    Originally a response to real disasters such as The Great London Smog and Donora, PA, the history of the CAA is the very model of legislative scope creep and bureaucratic over-reach.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      The Supreme Court ruled only that EPA was required to decide. You will note that the EPA “decided” under the administrative guidance of Climate Czar (Czarina?) Carol Browner. An EPA dissenter (Alan Carlin) was reprimanded and his advice ignored. Mr. Carlin is now “retired” from the EPA.

  13. One thing I wonder is whether there will be a “Gore effect” on September 14th; the date Gore is due to launch this effort. IIRC, this is the date for peak hurricane activity in the North Atlantic. At the moment all we have had is two tropical storms; Arlene and Bret. I know it is early days, but Sep 14th could be interesting.

    • The “Gore Effect” produces blizzards, not cyclones. (Thats the only part of climatology with conclusive evidence to support it).

  14. Everyone knows Ameria is the Middle East of coal and that China uses 30% of all the coal that’s consumed in the world.

    “Their massive campaign to overstate the threat of man-made warming has left its imprint on public opinion. But the tide seems to be turning… the Climategate scandal and stabilization of worldwide temperatures since 1995 have given rise to growing doubts about the putative threat of ‘dangerous global warming’ or ‘global climate disruption.’ Indeed, even Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and one of the main players in Climategate, now acknowledges that there has been no measurable warming since 1995 despite steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide…

    “The authoritative International Energy Agency does not foresee any substantial scarcity of oil and gas in the near to medium future, and coal reserves remain sufficient for centuries to come. As for global warming, there has been no statistically significant rise in average worldwide temperatures since 1995. Meanwhile, recent peer-reviewed studies indicate that increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere (natural or man-made) have minimal effects on climate change – and on balance, this plant-fertilizing gas is beneficial, rather than harmful, for mankind and the biosphere.

    “All this argues for a closer look at the cost/benefit relationship of investing in renewable-energy projects, to prevent a massive waste of resources in uncompetitive and thus wasteful forms of energy. Because every cloud has a silver lining, the ongoing economic crisis might give extra impetus toward that end.”

    ~Hans Labohm, the Washington Times, 5-Nov-2010

  15. “Yes, that’s right. We need to support the fat cats, just as we need to support anyone else in transition.

    We need to encourage those who invest in coal and oil to move their money to less carbon-intensive investments. Incentive, not invective.”

    I’d like to know the details of how they intend to support the fat cats? With whose money do they propose to do this … let’s see … what could it be …

  16. This is a minor point but back in the day I did a number of skeptical studies, and my primary sponsor was a collection of coal-fired rural electrical cooperatives. Non-profits all. Their concern was not profit, it was protecting their members from the absurdities of the climate scare. I shared their concern. Profit is a red herring. The issue is human welfare.

  17. I am heartily fed up with the characterisation of scepticism regarding what has been presented as the basis for alarm of AGW as “anti – big govenment” and advocates as being pro – big government. The above conversation is just ridiculous.

    The only basis for taking action on climate change is if it is a) warranted and b) effective.

    If there is a climate emergency then the best agency for coordinating a response to it is government. That is what they are for – the primary function is to the security and survival of its citizens.

    But if there is no emergency, then policies based on flawed assumptions that have not undergone rigorous due diligence studies is equally capable of putting the same citizens through unnecessary hardship.

    I think even Steve McIntyre is on record as saying as much – that if there were a need, then governments should take action.

    I really wish you foaming-at-the-mouth political advocates of both sides would give it a rest. If only you knew how foolish you ALL sound. On this issue, the only thing that matters is the voracity of the science, and the manner in which it has been presented. Shoe-horning your political views into the subject has really gotten beyond the pale.

    • I should perhaps specify more clearly – I am referring to the exchange at the start of the responses to this blog posting, which typify many throughout the site. It’s not that I mind the substantive points that some of you make, it’s the constant politicisation that accompany them. They are irrelevant and make me think your simply confirm your positions based on your political allegiances rather than an objective assessment of the facts.

      • ian (not the ash)

        Agreed. The seemingly constant political niggling acts between certain parties makes some posts rather tiresome to wade through FWIW.

      • Nature will have the last say not schoolteachers and politicians. Burning coal is no worse option that forcing the elderly in the UK to burn books to stay warm as they did last winter.

        Meanwhile, both China and Japan are buying coal. Both China and Japan are expanding their nuclear power capacity while Western civilization is going into debt and America is printing the heads of dead presidents on pieces of paper and paying cash for clunkers.

        This is how societies live and die. Nothing happens until driven to the brink, whether it’s weather that is the tipping point for whether it’s the politics and failed ideologies. It’s the same reason no great advances usually ever occur except during time of war. And currently, the Left is at war for years with most of the traditions and principles underlying Western civilization.

      • Wagathon, I take that as a political comment.

      • In fact, the current Japanese PM (polling 15%) wants to turn Japan’s back on nuclear energy, and delay or cancel start-up of plants shut down on a precautionary basis post-tsunami. But his job is at risk, his view might not prevail.

    • Agnostic, I totally agree. Believe it or not, even Monckton said yesterday at a debate in Australia, that if there were a need, then governments should take action. Perhaps the penny is dropping for some that politics is making the debate intractable.

  18. Agnostic:
    Yes, we’d like to know the truth. But effectively you would have us pretend that politicised, politically-funded science is real science, in effect becoming Climategate-deniers and burying our heads in the sand..

  19. Judith Curry: “Al Gore is preaching to his (shrinking) choir.”

    That prompts the simple question: Why is Al Gore’s choir shrinking?

  20. “Those countries with coal should count their blessings.” So ends a report by Casey Research. It has some interesting facts about coal production, prices, demand from China and India, etc.

    One of the ironic points it makes is that if Julia Gillard achieves her goal of damaging Australia’s coal industry, global emissions of CO2 and pollutants would increase, because high quality Australian coal would be replaced by poor quality, dirtier coal.

    http://www.safehaven.com/article/21427/its-time-to-invest-in-coal

  21. See my October 12, 2010 at 10:29 pm summary with links on coal and oil resources:

    Rapid increases in coal and oil drove the Industrial Revolution and the rapid economic development of the West. e.g. see:
    Exponential growth, energetic Hubbert cycles, and the advancement of technology, T.W. Patzek Archives of Mining Sciences, Volume 53, Issue 2, 2008, Pages 131-159.

    It is shown that the rates of oil production in the world and in the United States doubled 10 times, each increasing by a factor of ca. 1000, before reaching their respective peaks. The famous peak of US oil production occurred in 1970, and global oil production probably peaked in 2005 – 2006, with little fanfare.

    China has been adding one large coal fired power plant each week to support its rapid 9% to 10%/year growth rate. See: Peak Coal and China
    Minqi Li, China, Peak Oil, and Climate Change (February 11, 2011, presentation)

    The World Bank

    defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$1.25 per day[4] (PPP), and moderate poverty as less than $2 a day. It has been estimated that in 2008, 1.4 billion people had consumption levels below US$1.25 a day and 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day.

    About 1 billion live in hunger, living on less than $1/day.

    “Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year–five million deaths.”
    “As of 2008 (2005 statistics), the World Bank has estimated that there were an estimated 1,345 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less.3″

    For the developing world to break out of poverty will require similar access to inexpensive fuel with rapid growth. Until cheaper renewable energy sources are developed, rapid use of coal is the most likely path for developing countries to find the inexpensive energy to break out of poverty.

    Will we let wealthy “alarmists” deny them that opportunity and condemn millions more to starvation?

  22. The irony being that Gore along with the IPCC , CRU etc know lots about big oil becasue of their own involvement with it , from a finical point of view. But I guess that’s ‘different’
    Now what other group of people regard the same thing they condemn in others as being a virtue in themselves ?

    • that’s a good point. for all the furore about skeptics being funded by big oil it’s often easy to overlook that the CRU was in (a large part) funded by big oil….

  23. “‘Profit’ does not equal ‘evil’.”

    I’ve never met or heard a lefty who believes that – reconciliation is a naive pipe-dream

    • You should get out more. I’m a lefty capitalist, and a lefty profit lover. But I’m not a market-worshipping laissez-faire loon.

      • All this requires abiding by the “rule of law” such as is embodied in the Magna Carta (1215), Rutherford’s Lex Rex, and the US Constitution.

        One danger in this alarmist demonization of coal is the confiscation of goods in the name of Gaia.

      • The environmental “climate change” coercion is being escalated to the next stage;
        The UN security council to consider climate change peacekeeping

        Special meeting to discuss ‘green helmets’ force to intervene in conflicts caused by rising seas levels and shrinking resources . . .In an official “Concept Note” ahead of the meeting, Germany said the security council needed to draw up scenarios for dealing with the affects of extreme temperatures and rising seas. How would the UN deal with climate refugees? How would it prevent conflicts in those parts of Africa and Asia which could face food shortages?

        But there is a deep divide over whether the security council should even consider climate change as a security issue. . . .
        “The security council should join the general assembly in recognising climate change as a threat to international peace and security. It is a threat as great as nuclear proliferation or global terrorism,” Marcus Stephen, the president of Nauru,

      • Really? Where would the troops come from? The money to pay them? The arms, ammuntion, equipment, fuel and food to supply them?

        This is the fantasy of the deluded providing the bugaboo of the paranoid.

      • You’ll find that’s reality if you but read. During the 20th century 33 democracies descended into tyranny for failure to preserve constitutional protections.
        The troops and funds follow the rhetoric of the demagogue/dictator.
        Demagogue: the fight to save democracy from its worst enemies

      • Really? The Great Depression, the Civil Rights struggle, Vietnam, the Oil Crisis and stagflation, none of those were up to the task of throwing the US into a dictatorship, but the Greens, now there’s a threat…please. Hysteria, regardless of which end of the spectrum it comes from, does not breed respect.

      • Really? The Great Depression, the Civil Rights struggle, Vietnam, the Oil Crisis and stagflation, none of those were up to the task of throwing the US into a dictatorship, but the Greens, now there’s a threat…please.

        Please, dictatorship doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. In a country with such relatively noble beginnings as ours, the necessary demoralization of the populace cannot be expected to occur in the space of a generation. Serious political corruption in the US, an inevitable consequence of such demoralization, can be traced at least as far back as 1942, when SCOTUS held unanimously that a man could be penalized under the commerce clause for producing wheat he didn’t sell; and the mentality which tolerates such a travesty of justice because it is perpetrated by learned men, and that which makes haruspices who call themselves climatologists into authority figures, are, you may rest assured, one and the same.

      • I can go farther back than that…there have been more than a few Supreme Court decisions that I have a problem with since FDR’s court packing attempt. That being said, it’s a far stretch to say the US is on the path to a dictatorship.

    • I’m not a market-worshipping laissez-faire loon.

      Laissez-faire implies tradeable property rights. Only a loon would call that loony.

      • Webster’s defines laissez-faire as “a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights.”

        The U.S. had close to a laissez-faire economy in the 19th Century, but the lack of regulation permitted child labor in mines and factories, hazardous working conditions, monopolies, contaminated food, snake-oil medicine, and other things the majority of voters wouldn’t tolerate today.
        Some right-wing extremist and libertarians advocate a return to laissez-faire, and are sappy enough to believe it could happen.

        Only a person who doesn’t know the meaning of laissez-faire would think it’s necessary for tradable property rights.

      • The U.S. had close to a laissez-faire economy in the 19th Century, but the lack of regulation permitted child labor in mines and factories, hazardous working conditions, monopolies, contaminated food, snake-oil medicine, and other things the majority of voters wouldn’t tolerate today.

        OK – so we no longer have child labor. Whether we have monopolies is a matter of opinion.

        But we still have hazardous working conditions, contaminated food and snake oil medicine. All your regulation hasn’t changed that.

        On top of that, you still don’t know anything about history or the cultrual differences between today and the 19th C. Although I don’t know why it’s so, I’ve found that peculiar form of ignorance to be endemic on the “lefty” side of the fence.

      • Webster’s defines laissez-faire as “a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights.”

        M Carey Only a person who doesn’t know the meaning of laissez-faire would think it’s necessary for tradable property rights.

        Webster’s has it right, Carey is clueless.

      • You are probably right though that modern voters are far too blinkered and and totaliatrian to allow others to make their own consent-based decisions about how to handle snake oil salesmen and the like.

  24. GIGO! But, global warming alarmists (‘reminiscent of nothing so much as the McCarthy era’) just don’t care.

    “In October 2004, we were able to demonstrate in the scientific journal “Science” that the methodological bases that led to this hockey-stick curve are mistaken … Prominent representatives of climate research, however, did not respond by taking issue with the facts. Instead, they worried that the noble cause of protecting the climate might have been done harm.

    “Other scientists lapse into a zeal reminiscent of nothing so much as the McCarthy era. For them, methodological criticism is the spawn of ‘conservative think tanks and propagandists for the oil and coal lobby,’ which they believe they must expose; dramatizing climate change, on the other hand, is defended as a sensible means of educating society.

    “… The concealment of dissent and uncertainty in favor of a politically good cause takes its toll on credibility, for the public is more intelligent than is usually assumed. In the long term, these allegedly so helpful dramatizations achieve the opposite of that which they wish to achieve. By doing so, however, both science and society will have wasted an opportunity.”

    (Dr. Hans von Storch)

  25. Gosh, is this the same anti-oil Al Gore?

    We ought to start with several releases of five million barrels each, and assuming that is successful, we should continue with these swaps in an effort to stabilize the price of oil at lower levels and help consumers. America’s energy resources should not be so reliant on others, so subject to shortages, so vulnerable to big oil interests, with disregard for the public interest. You ought to have the choice to get in your car, turn on your engine, and go where you want, all at a reasonable price to you and your family.

    Of course, that was when he was groveling for votes and still believed in democracy (sort of). Now he can sing a different tune, since he only has to worry about feeding his own ego and watching his “Green” investments grow.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/economy/july-dec00/oil_9-21.html

    • The word you WON’T discuss is “reasonable.”

      • I’m quite happy to discuss the word “reasonable”.

        Since Gore made that comment in Sept 2000 when gas prices were about $1.50/gallon, the logical conclusion is that at that time, his idea of “reasonable” was somewhere south of that price.

        What is your idea of “reasonable”?

      • JohnM

        I’ll go with Hansen and ban, over ten years, progressively, all non-sequestered coal burning.

        Well, John, have you ever bothered to figure out how much “global warming” you could avert by Hansen’s plan, and what this would cost?

        Hansen’s plan actually called for shutting down all coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030.

        If this were really done, it would theoretically reduce global warming by 2100 by 0.08C (using IPCC’s notion on 2xCO2 climate sensitivity) and would involve an investment cost of $1.5 trillion.

        Not much “bang” for a helluva lot of “bucks”, John. Maybe you’d better look at the cost/benefit analysis (which Hansen did not include in his proposal for obvious reasons) before signing on to such hare-brained schemes.

        Max

      • You must be thinking of your other brother John M.

        Like the one named Orman Otvos are some other such “$10/gallon” delusionist.

      • ormondotvos

        I’ll posit $10/gallon for regular, considering the vast amount of money we’ll need to reverse the externalities already in place from fossil fuels.

        That should knock down the consumption quite a bit.

        At the same time, I’ll go with Hansen and ban, over ten years, progressively, all non-sequestered coal burning.

        Now you can pretend you discussed reasonable.

      • Actually, for most people, it will knock down the consumption of pretty much everything but gasoline.

        If you need to drive 30 miles to work … you will. But you will end up with less money to spend on everything else. Like food. Which of course will cost a lot more.

        I have an alternative. There are 1000s of left wing foundations that were created with money from guilty capitalists.

        Those foundations fund huge organizations like Greenpeace dedicated to destroying capitalistic societies.

        Lets tax those foundations 100% for every penny spent on lobbying.

        We can spend the money on coal power plants to compete with China.

        Remove all taxes on fossil fuels and watch the economy fly.

      • Be my guest and go out to your closest street corner and tell any stranger what you think is “reasonable”.

        Clearly, Al Gore didn’t agree with you.

      • That should knock down the consumption quite a bit.

        Yup – it’ll also knock down the trucking industry. Then where will you get your bread and milk (and everything else)?

        Tourism will aso be gone – which will take out the economies of most of the States.

        We can continue the litany if you want – but only after you justify what you’ve already notionally done to the economy.

      • Adam Gallon

        Well, we in the UK are at an equivalent of about $8.70 a US gallon for our petrol (gas for you yanks)
        Now, how will you ban China from non-sequestered coal burning?
        How will you sequester in the first place?
        How will you replace the electicity generated by non-sequestered coal?
        How will you increase electrical generation to charge the batteries of all these zero-emmissions vehicles?
        While we’re at it, name the islands and coastal towns that have been abandonned due to a rise is sea level over the past, oh, let’s say 25 years?

      • Details details Adam …. Like, who cares, man ?
        All that matters is that tax increases and world government get a boost.

  26. Profit done amorally, say, by a corporation, certainly seems to lead to evil.

    Lefty is a term that means nothing.

    • But nowhere near as much evil as those who claim to do good.

      Barney Frank and Fannie/Freddie destruction comes to mind. And Greenpeace, And Rachel Carson.

      • Do you have any idea of what the antecedents are to these evildoers? Brook Bornsley? Bill Clinton? W? JP Morgan Chase? Countrywide? Or is your mind only selecting that which pleases your opinion?

      • “It began, they suggest, with the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, which required government-backed mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to direct 30 per cent of their loans to low and middle-income families and another 30 per cent to units in inner cities.

        Fannie Mae chief executive James Johnson used the law to transform the company from a steward of the public trust, purchasing safe mortgages when other sources of capital dried up, into a “high-flowing growth enterprise with a vast web of political patronage, run for the benefit of top executives”.”

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/arts/fannie-freddie-and-how-it-all-went-wrong-in-the-global-financial-crisis/story-e6frg8nf-1226094492653

        What could be more feel good for do gooders than to expand home ownership to poor people.

        Look at the catastrophe that resulted from do gooders.

      • And then when the whole thing went to heck they took all that bad private debt and made it public. What a scam.

      • Republicans want to blame the housing crash on the poor and minorities. No surprise there.

      • No, Republicans want to blame the gross corruption and criminality of Democrats in Congress and Democratic contributors who used Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as their personal piggy banks. They want to blame politically-connected fat cats on Wall Street who took enormous risks, but got the govt to pick up the tab. Read Reckless Endangerment by a NY Times reporter (no righty) and published by Times Books.

        This canard of yours demonstrates just how far from reality you are.

      • Which is more cruel?

        Lending money to “poor and minorities” and letting it all go to hell destroying the financial system and trillions in equity AND having them lose their homes AND allowing a bunch of corrupt people to make fortunes.

        Or

        Not lending them money for homes until there is some chance they can pay the mortgage?

      • It may well be the poor and minorities who defaulted. But that needn’t mean it was entirely their fault.
        The question is, why were they as a group lent at rates too low to cover those of them that did default ?

      • Where’s the evidence most of the defaulters were poor or minorities?

      • Where’s the evidence most of the defaulters were poor or minorities?

        Have you really looked at the pattern of defaults? The poor and minority neighborhoods led the way, followed by the high-priced (over-priced) McMansions.

        They defaulted because they were too poor to pay their mortgages. Yes – some of those mortgages were $1 Mil and up, but if they were too “poor” to pay, they should never have gotten those mortgages. What’s the definition of “poor”?

      • I was hoping someone might have actual evidence, such as the total amount of money represented by mortgages in default, and the distribution of the total by mortgage size. Then we could see whether the bad debt is concentrated in the lower priced properties that poor homeowners typically buy.

      • M. carey –
        Someone, somewhere has your numbers. But not me.

        What I saw in the DC/Baltimore area though, was people whose “visible income” was $40-50K buying $600-800K houses. Do you think that’s reasonable?

      • Foreclosures:

        56.1% – non-hispanic white (honkies?)
        11.6% – African American
        16.2% – Latino
        3.3% – Asian
        .4% – Native American
        .5% – Hawain/Pacific Islander
        11.8% – others (AGW deniers?)

      • From the Washington Post, in June, 2010:

        “Minority homeowners have been disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis and stand to lose homes at a faster pace than white borrowers in the future, according to a report released Friday by a nonprofit research group.

        While about 4.5 percent of white borrowers lost their homes to foreclosure during that period, black and Latino borrowers had 7.9 and 7.7 percent foreclosure rates, respectively. That means that blacks and Latinos were more than 70 percent more likely to lose their homes to foreclosure during that period, the study found.

        While about 4.5 percent of white borrowers lost their homes to foreclosure during that period, black and Latino borrowers had 7.9 and 7.7 percent foreclosure rates, respectively. That means that blacks and Latinos were more than 70 percent more likely to lose their homes to foreclosure during that period, the study found. ”

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/18/AR2010061802885.html1802885.html

        The reasons for the disparate foreclosure rates are complicated, and still need to be analyzed. But it is clear that sub-prime loans were marked aggressively in minority communities, and they have have paid dearly for the idiotic governmental policy of making home loans available to those who cannot afford them.

      • JCH –
        I wasn’t clear – my bad.

        The Clinton administration wanted home owenrship for ANYONE who wanted it – regardless of income level, credit rating, fnancial stability, whatever. The banks were (at first) forced into making loans to the unqualified. The banks later did it happily because it came to be seen as a money tree. (greed) The “poor/minorities” were the first in line at the money trough – as was intended (more greed). Then came everyone else – buying houses that were WAY above their pay grade (and MORE greed). Once the money flood gates opened, it was not possible to shut them on those who were just greedy rather than needy. I know VERY few people who didn’t either buy or refinance at that time. Then came the crash. I’ve said before that my wife and I were among those who got out before the crash. Those who had bought the inflated value, low interest rate houses and didn’t bail got caught with high mortgages, houses worth far less than they paid for them and eventually, in many cases, no jobs. Thus, by definition – they were among the poor. In the DC area, your percentages are laughable because the demographics are entirely differentthan nationally. Whatever – your breakdown is based on race, but what I said was based mostly on economic status – specifically poor. I also defined poor as being unable to pay the mortgage. For some, this came later – by losing their jobs as the economy slid further into the pit. And it’s still happening. It ain’t over and the fat lady ain’t singin. This is all further complicated because, among other things, many couples were two-income families – and it required both incomes to maintain the house. If either one lost their job, then they were in deep kimchee.

        And I didn’t even get to the escalating housing price inflation.

        I was a home owner, as were my family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers – and I watched the process develop, stumble, slide and crash. It was one of several reasons why I retired and went walkabout for 5 years. If I hadn’t developed medical problems, I’d still be walking rather than annoying people on this blog.

      • “The analysis indicates that, by far, the most important factor related to foreclosures is the extent to which the homeowner now has or ever had positive equity in a home. The accompanying figure shows how important negative equity or a low Loan-To-Value ratio is in explaining foreclosures (homes in foreclosure during December of 2008 generally entered foreclosure in the second half of 2008). A simple statistic can help make the point: although only 12% of homes had negative equity, they comprised 47% of all foreclosures”

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124657539489189043.html

        No money down … no equity … no home.

  27. Who’s afraid of big bad AGW? Big Al, Dr. Curry, Martha, Ormond… ;)

    Andrew

  28. How about a “renewable” alternative to coal! By very, very stupid do-gooders.

    “The ‘Merton Rule’ is the groundbreaking planning policy, developed by Merton Council, which requires the use of renewable energy onsite to reduce annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the built environment.”

    http://www.merton.gov.uk/environment/planning/planningpolicy/mertonrule.htm

    “As for wood, consider the effect of a simple rule passed by the London borough of Merton in 2003 and slavishly emulated by planners all over the country. The Merton rule requires all developers who build a building of more than 1,000 square metres to generate 10 per cent of energy ‘renewably’ on site. The effect has been to make it worth my while to thin my woods in Northumberland for the first time in decades.

    How so? Faced with the need to find an energy source sufficiently dense to fit on site, developers have turned en masse to wood (or biomass as they prefer to call it). This has led to convoys of diesel lorries chugging through the streets of London to deliver wood to buildings — how very 13th-century! Delivering, drying and burning this wood produces far more carbon dioxide than delivering gas would.

    And lo, by bidding up the price of wood, the effect has been to cause landowners to harvest their timber younger than before, which increases carbon emissions. Thus enriched by having lost less money in managing woods, people like me take a holiday — on a jet. So as policy own goals go, the Merton rule is a quintuple whammy. According to one estimate, Britain is producing about six million extra tons of carbon dioxide each year as a result of redirecting its wood supply from current use by the wood-panel and other related industries into energy supply.”

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/print/essays/6954843/a-green-dark-age.thtml

    We need saving from the evil done by those claiming to do good.

    • The world is a perpetual caricature of itself; at every moment it is the mockery and the contradiction of what it is pretending to be. George Santayana

  29. From the “Climate Reality” site, a “blog” called “Reality. It’s not an opinion”:

    Reality. There is no hiding the fact that the ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998. It is a fact that severe droughts threaten the livelihoods of millions; that 100-year floods and 1000-year floods are occurring around the world year after year; that island nations are going underwater; that rising seas are already washing away beaches and impacting entire communities.

    Can anybody find me some peer-reviewed support for this? Or is it just hype? Certainly there’s no such links on Gore’s site. Does anybody have a good explanation why not? Is there anybody connected with the “Climate Reality” project reading this blog?

    (BTW, notice the URL: “option”?)

    • The 5 warmest years in the US (even with modern data contaminated by UHI and adjusted like crazy by Hansen) are:

      Year Temp F
      1998 55.08
      2006 55.04
      1934 54.83
      1999 54.67
      1921 54.53

      1998 in the US is 1% warmer than 1934 (even with UHI unaccounted for and all the adjustments)

      The 1930s were most likely the hottest decade in the US. Current warming is not unprecedented.

      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

      Shall the US spend trillions to combat 1% higher temperatures?

      • Bruce, go back as far as 1880 in the linked Gisstemp table for the 48 contiguous States, and you will find that 7 of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 1989, and 13 of the 20 warmest years have occurred since 1980.

        The warmest decade was 2000-2009, which had an average anomaly of 0.685, followed by 1980-89 and 1930-39, which had average anomalies of 0.458 and 0.430, respectively.

        Temperature anomalies for the 20 warmest years are:

        1998 1.318
        2006 1.292
        1934 1.195
        1921 1.080
        1999 1.068
        1931 0.965
        2001 0.920
        1990 0.918
        2005 0.913
        2007 0.866
        1953 0.859
        1954 0.810
        1987 0.807
        1939 0.773
        1986 0.761
        1938 0.750
        1991 0.711
        2000 0.692
        2003 0.684
        1981 0.671

        http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt

      • Giss temperature calculations appear to be sensitive to the mix of stations in use at the time the calculation is done. They evidently haven’t used a consistent mix over time. I see no reason to tout any particular warm year/decade when the Giss figures are always changing and in some cases quite substantially.
        Here is a graphic showing how over time Giss has reported US 48 temperatures for the current six warmest years since 1998.

        Some data comes from graphics found in old Hansen PDFs with occasional downloads of Giss Fig.D data since 2009.

        Some notable changes:
        Not one of the top six years has remained stable over time. As a matter of fact the year 1953(0.94c) originally edged out 1998(0.92c) for 4th, but is now ranked 11th due to a downward adjustment and other warm years being subsequently added, and so it isn’t shown.

        IN Hansen 1999 the year 1998 was originally lower than 1921, 1931, 1934 and 1953(not shown), but has risen about 0.4c while 1934 has dropped 0.26c. 2006 rose more than 0.2c between the January 2009 and November 2009 fig.D downloads. How does that happen? Was there a big change in station mix in 2009?

        Bob

      • Thanks for the info. I knew about all the manipulations but I didn’t have the data around.

        What a grotesque abuse of science.

      • Well, anyone would have to be pretty bad at arithmetic to believe those minor adjustments in the temperature anomalies alter the long-term warming trend. But I guess some AGW deniers are desperate enough to try to make an issue out of nothing.

        The “warmest-year” thing never interested me much, but Bruce brought it up, and he had some mistaken notions.

      • I like pointing out how morons want to spend trillions staving off death by overwhelming heat even though it was warmer in the 1930s.

      • Here is a graph of the Giss adjustments made between January 2009 and November 2009. It is really astonishing.

      • What would be astonishing is those adjustments having a meaningful effect on the temperature trend. If you believe they do, will you show trends “before and after” the adjustments?

      • Even with the manipulation I see 4 from the 1930s and 1 from 1921.

        Within the margin of error the 1930s are justs as warm as 1998, which happened 13 years ago.

        Should we spend trillions because 1998 and 1934 are in a statistical tie?

        No.

        When we get a decade of 1F warmer … I’ll worry.

      • For those worried about July … 1936 wins

        1936 77.43
        2006 77.26
        1934 77.00
        1901 76.92
        2002 76.63
        1980 76.51
        1931 76.29
        1998 76.28
        2003 76.22
        1954 76.12

        Summer – Jun/Jul/Aug – 1936 again!

        1936 74.64
        2006 74.36
        1934 74.18
        2002 73.96
        2010 73.95
        1988 73.92
        2007 73.90
        2003 73.53
        1933 73.51
        2001 73.45

        And don’t forget (as Bob Koss pointed out) the 1930s were “adjusted” downwards.

        1936 had the 2nd coldest winter too. What a year of climate extremes!

        1963 – Warmest Fall
        1910 – Warmest Spring
        2000 – Warmest Winter … so long ago …

        2010 had the 15th COLDEST Winter.

      • You know deniers are scrapping the bottom in desperation when they start cherry-picking months.

      • Isn’t science amazing?

        Some people hate data because it ruins the narrative.

        Some people love data because the it tells us something interesting.

        And some people just make it up … like Mann.

      • 1998 on won one month – Warmest September

      • ONLY won one month.

      • Bruce, you are on a roll. Don’t stop now. Go for the warmest day, the warmest hour, and the warmest minute.

      • I was really worried about the terrible toll that the super hot 1998 would cause — even though it was 13 years ago — until I realized it was just the average … and only 1 month out of 12 was to be worried about.

        I mean all you cult members go on and on about the hottest this and hottest that … and all you seem to have is the hottest September in the biggest El Nino of the 20th century.

        The 30s were warmer. Live with it.

      • Perhaps the 1930′s were the warmest decade in denier La La Land, but not in the U.S.

        In the 48 contiguous States, the warmest decade was 2000-2009, which had an average anomaly of 0.685, followed by 1980-89 and 1930-39, which had average anomalies of 0.458 and 0.430, respectively.

        http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt

        Of course if you don’t like the data, you can amuse readers by suggesting it’s fraudulent.

      • I would suggest that you hang on to that data and compare it to the same data base every month. And watch how each month changes data points by some small amount all th back to the beginning of the data set. Lucia illustrated that several years ago. You can do it for yourself. A little self instruction is a wonderful thing.

        Do you think this is reasonable? Honest? Or fraudulent? Just askin’.

      • GIS has regularly adjusted data from the 1930s downward until it appears that modern years are warmer. But they aren’t.

        As Bob Koss noted, once upon a time 1934 was over .5F warmer than 1998.

        Then 1998 kept getting warmer and warmer while 1934 got colder.

        There is too much money in the scam to allow facts to get in the way.

        The 1930s were warmer.

      • Wonder the odds that the “supposed” hottest decade the 2000s produced no record high temps by state? Where as the 1930s produced many.

        Spock might say illogical.

      • Wonder the odds that the “supposed” hottest decade the 2000s produced no record high temps by state? Where as the 1930s produced many.

        Spock might say illogical.

        Forgot the url

        http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001416.html

      • Actually, 25 states had their record temps set in the 1930s, that is a whopping 50%. No states had records set in the “warmest ever” decade of the 2000s – 0%. I wonder, I wonder.

      • Hum –
        While you’re at it, why don’t you tell m. carey how many State cold records were set?

      • Sure thing, the 2000s had 1 state record cold and the 1930s had 10.So the AGW proponents gave up on the name “global warming” since that was no longer happening and are now trying to scare us with “climate change.” Well it should be apparent that the 1930s should have the moniker “climate change”, and anyone who suggests that weather is getting more crazy and unpredictable today versus in the past has no idea what they are talking about.

  30. tempterrain

    Judith,

    You are right up to a point. The coal industry, like just about every other, is motivated by profit, which isn’t necessarily evil, and certainly do not wish to create any more damage than they consider they have to in the furtherance of those profits. However, what is that limit?

    Anyone who has lived in a mining area will know that they is always a conflict between the interests of the mining company and the local community. If they feel that the loss of, say, a mountain top is justified to increase coal production and therefore improve their bottom line, that mountain top is going to be under threat. There is always an environmental price to be paid by the community.

    So how do they handle the problem of the certain groups pushing for limits on CO2 production? If viable CCS existed they wouldn’t object. But it doesn’t.

    So do they just let it all happen and see demand for their product, and their profits fall? Or do they fund groups like the CEI , or the Institute for Public Affairs to try to undermine the scientific case for environmental action?

    • Temp: The mountaintop is not mined to increase production, but simply to maintain it, to continue providing the electricity that runs your computer and your home. Extractive industries are messy but necessary. Profit pays for the capital needed to do the mining. CEI presents the glaring weaknesses in the scientific case. Companies that are attacked have an obligation to defend themselves.

      • tempterrain

        “Companies that are attacked have an obligation to defend themselves.”

        What about tobacco companies? Logging companies? Asbestos companies? If they are criticised isn’t it often justified? There obligation should be to mend their ways rather than just be defensive.

      • What about tobacco companies? Logging companies? Asbestos companies? If they are criticised isn’t it often justified?

        Sometimes, sometimes not (eg with CAGW, where we still don’t know the truth, because really have only the opinion of tax- and power-greedy govenments to go on).

    • Temp,

      There is no proof of CO2 damage, don’t be obsessed with a manuafactured one like you are manufacturing.

    • Mining brought people, jobs, and much needed money to many communities close to where I live. When mining leave so do the jobs and the money that other businesses need to survive

  31. Michael Larkin

    What I get from this post is the suggestion that people can be perfectly sincere even though they happen to hold views different from one’s own.

    I think that belief and knowledge, though different, can be equally compelling in matters deemed to be of high import. Both the knower and the believer will act in accord with their knowledge, or their belief, respectively.

    For the one who acts according to knowledge, sincerity is irrelevant. I’m not being sincere if I tell a child not to stick a paperclip into the wall socket, nor if I tell it to eat its dinner, because I know about electrocution and starvation. Nor am I being insincere if I fail to tell it those important things; I am being negligent. And if I tell it to do things I know to be harmful, I am being just plain evil.

    The sincere are sincere because they don’t know. But we all have to act in certain circumstances, and so if we don’t know how best to do that, we have to act based on belief (or maybe sometimes, purely out of instinct or intuition). But an important consideration is whether we are aware that we merely believe, or whether we imagine we know.

    Sincerity is no guarantee of right action. As the cliché has it, the road to hell is paved with good intentions (of the sincere who are ignorant of unintended consequences). If one doesn’t know and knows one doesn’t know, then unless one is compelled to act, there’s a strong case for inaction.

    A friend once told me that if confronted with a bear on a hill, one should run downwards and not upwards because the bear has shorter front legs, which favour it when running uphill. I don’t know if that’s correct, but if I were suddenly confronted by a bear on a hill, then I suppose I’d act on that piece of information and find out the hard way whether or not the advice was correct.

    They tell me, these people who may well be sincere, that CAGW is a fact. They may be right, and they may be wrong; I simply don’t know, and I believe that they don’t either. But I am not compelled to act because there’s no immediate danger. There could be severe consequences if I choose to act out of belief CAGW is right when it is actually wrong, or belief that it is wrong when it is actually right.

    I didn’t ask to be placed in this predicament; it’s self-evident that, had the CAGW hypothesis never arisen, the predicament would not exist. Either way, it concerns me, but I’m not going to act stridently even if my suspicion is that it is something that has been over-exaggerated.

    In this highly polarised debate where factions on both sides are apt to excoriate the other, I can’t recall having heard an appreciation of the position of those like me, who can’t be said to be undecided, so much as those who know they don’t know and who are acting in accord with that knowledge. I’m not being sincere, because my (in)action arises from knowledge and not belief.

    If the convinced on the CAGW side are belatedly saying that like-minded others should respect the sincerely-held opinions of the other side, I can’t say that impresses me. The implicit assumption is that they know CAGW is a fact, and they propose to engage with and persuade dissenters through subterfuge. There’s less honesty in that than acting in accord with their beliefs, which they would still be doing if it wasn’t dawning that it’s been completely counterproductive. I think they are actually being insincere themselves.

    I say they should realise some people aren’t “being sincere” one way or the other. For them, it’s not a question of sincerity; they’re not remotely interested in such a thing. What they are pursuing is knowledge; they want to come to know, and know that they know, even if there’s no hope they ever will. They may not be accredited scientists, but actually, they are pursuing science, which etymologically derives from the Latin for knowledge.

    How will I ever know the truth regarding CAGW? I suppose in the end, if I live long enough, it might be through observation. If a good number of sufficiently specific predictions that are incontrovertibly linked to the effects of anthropogenic CO2 come to pass, then fair enough. However, so far I haven’t observed that. What I have observed is a number of failed predictions, changing and ad-hoc explanations (the effect of aerosols in recent years comes to mind), and the kind of stridency that signals to me we are dealing with matters of belief, even if those beliefs eventually turn out to be true.

    • Michael: On a technical note, in epistemology knowledge is often defined as justified true belief. Thus knowledge is a form of belief, so your distinction between knowledge and belief does not work. To put it another way, the debate is over whose beliefs are in fact knowledge, and whose are not.

      • Michael Larkin

        David Wojick,

        “On a technical note, in epistemology knowledge is often defined as justified true belief. Thus knowledge is a form of belief, so your distinction between knowledge and belief does not work. To put it another way, the debate is over whose beliefs are in fact knowledge, and whose are not.”

        To substitute the definition in your first sentence in the last, I get:

        “The debate is over whose beliefs are justified true beliefs, and whose are not.”

        What is a “justified true belief”? Is that another way of saying a belief that has been proven to be correct? If someone has proved that CAGW is correct, then it is correct regardless of whether I believe it or not.

        It seems to me that it is entirely possible that no one has actually proved that CAGW is correct, or put another way, belief in it cannot be justified (although it may still be a fact). And in that case, it is meaningless to talk about a debate over whose beliefs are justified true beliefs and whose are not.

        I know I don’t know if CAGW is correct, regardless of definitional sophistry. What I don’t know is whether someone, somewhere, does know, because they have proven it. Until they also prove it to me, or observation proves it to me independently, then as far as I’m concerned, I remain ignorant. I fail to see why this argument is fallacious.

        My point is, the debate rages on, and it may be between people who are just as ignorant as I am. I’m saying that for me, it’s not a question of being open to persuasion by sweet words, however sincerely held are the beliefs of those uttering them. I am simply acting in accord with what I know, viz. that I am ignorant. The position of people like me isn’t properly understood and thus not factored into the debate. It’s a complete waste of time to try to employ rhetoric to change us, whether that rhetoric is sweet or sour.

      • Michael, welcome to epistemology, which is not an easy subject, to say the least. To start where you end up, rhetoric has nothing to do with it, nor does psychology. My only point is that belief is all we have, some of it is wrong but some of it is knowledge. Which is which is not necessarily knowable, and that is the irony. (This is what makes philosophy deep.) All we have is what we have, when we have it. (This is what makes philosophy useless in the short run.)

        The kicker is the “true” in “justified true belief.” Because many beliefs are justified but are not true. The history of science is in many ways the history of false beliefs. But this is not evidence against any particular belief.

      • Michael Larkin

        Well, David, I can’t claim to be an epistemologist and I use my terms in a way that makes sense to me. I must say, it seems crazy to say that some beliefs are knowledge and some aren’t and then turn around and say which is which is not necessarily knowable.

        If a thing is knowledge, then to my way of thinking it can’t be unknowable that that’s what it is. Knowledge, to me, implies a conscious knower. I’d distinguish it from truth, which exists whether or not it is known by a conscious knower. If we say that some beliefs are true and some are false, and which is which may be unknowable, then I can accept that.

  32. We don’t have to touch each other to solve climate change. We don’t even have to like each other.

    Sounds like we don’t have to agree there’s a problem, either – which is certainly an understandable sentiment if one intends, under cover of “civil dialogue”, to impose a “solution” unilaterally.

  33. Grant and Lamberts are not climate scientists, but clearly accept the CAGW case. I signed on to contribute to and comment on the Australian Conversation site when it began, but have been unable to do so. My brief visits suggest (not definitively) that it does not represent a full range of views but tends to a soft-left perspective. The pro-CAGW Australian government and Greens have decided to spend $A10 bn on research into alternative energy, excluding sequestration and nuclear energy. G&L might suggest that if they are serious about CAGW, they would put that $10 bn towards a nuclear power station? And that dialogue should extend beyond coal and oil sectors to nuclear scientists. And, as physicist and former ANSTO head Ziggy Switowski suggest in today’s Australian newspaper, stop calling life-enhancing CO2 a “pollutant” and recognise that we can not sensibly live in an economy with zero CO2 emissions. Do G&L envisage dialogue on such issues, as well as the validity of the alleged science? If not, it’s waffle promoting a dialogue of the deaf.

    (Yes, lying prone at the keyboard with a sore back may have weakened my usually sunny disposition; or maybe not.)

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Faustino,

      Ziggy is wrong. We call nitrogen or phosphorus pollutants – along with carbon the three building blocks of life – depending on the source. If sewage is dumped in a river – ecologies are severely affected.

      With CO2 we have at a minimum an observed change in terrestrial plant biology – reduced stomata size and density with implications for transpiration. Ecologies and hydrology change as a result of excess carbon dioxide.

      Cheers

  34. Chief Hydrologist

    There are half a dozen proposed ‘supercritical’ caol powered generators in China and India qualified as clean development mechanisms under the Kyotot Protocol. Supercritical plants are about 5% more efficient than conventional sub-critical plants. So Australians face the prospect of paying more for electricity so that coal powered generation can be subsidised in India and China. Good for our coal exports that are progressing in leaps and bounds. None of our coal seems to be on the top of what mountains we have. We manage coal extraction in thinly settled areas such as Central Queensland where I live and quite successfully and completely rehabilitate landscapes.

    Within cooee of where I sit is an export hub rapidly expanding to become the world’s largest coal and LNG terminal. Just this morning I was at a meeting with an Australian Government Minister – who quite cheerfully endorses a carbon tax and insists in the same breath that coal and LNG have a great future in Gladstone with thousands of new jobs.

    I fear we have fallen down the rabbit hole.

    • Australians voted to subsidize India and China by sending them coals. Americans have also voted to subsidize China by sending cheap Powder River Basin (PRB) coal to China so that the Chinese products are difficult for the Americans products to compete. PRB producers are happy that they can now sell coal to China whereas Sierra Club and all those AGW believers stop them (or reduce coal usage) from selling coals to American coal power stations (lots of them scheduled to be decommissioned due to the efforts of EPA making them too expensive to operate). The Government (EPA here) works hand in hand with the Sierra Club and the AGWers to send coal to China to destroy US economies.

      Isn’t it nice, especially the Americans, build up debts for the American children to pay, and subsidizing the Chinese now by increasing the debt limits.

  35. I gave up a long time membership with The Australian Conservation Foundation two years ago because of their simplistic attitude towards climate change and nuclear energy. I agree with JC that Grant and Lamberts article does seem like a step in the right direction.

  36. You can see what Gore means. Coal and oil have big lobbies in Washington to protect their profits, so it is just business. They have several congressmen from coal and oil states in their pockets who are in it to be re-elected, and these congressmen run hearings into global warming stacked with sympathetic people testifying to idiotic beliefs in the name of advancing congressional understanding of the problems ahead. Lots of self interest there, and it doesn’t help with planning for the future. It is more a statement about the workings of the political system than being evil, and Gore has made it known before that he has major problems with this system of having the best congress money can buy.

  37. Challenge conspiracy theories, whether of the left or the right. Just as much as we need to reject the idea that “Big Coal” wants to destroy the planet, so too should we reject the clownish idea that scientists are corrupt plotters seeking totalitarian world government, or better yet, the forces of darkness.

    That’s hilarious. Following that logic, Judith, you should be denouncing some significant % of the posts here at Climate etc. – in this very thread no less.

    • John Carpenter

      Joshua,

      You need to give up that hobby horse idea of yours about Judith. You should know by now Judith is the type of referee that will let the players ‘play’ the game. She just offers topics for discussion she finds relevant to the ongoing climate discussion. Just because she doesn’t police every comment is not a fault of hers. At some point you need to quit banging your head on this point… you know what they say about people who try the same thing over and over and expect a different result… don’t you?

    • Joshua –
      The problem here is that only a few of the scientists fit the description. Most of the corrupt plotters seeking totalitarian world government are politicians and greens. Remember Chirac – he was only the first.

      I’m not sure who qualifies as the forces of darkness. And I don’t think I care right now. I’ll let you figure that out. :-)

  38. Does Massey qualify as evil?

    Federal mine disaster investigators disclosed a few pieces of new information Tuesday night from their year-long look at the April 2010 deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion. They said that:

    — Mine owner Massey Energy kept two sets of records that chronicled safety problems. One internal set of production reports detailed those problems and how they delayed coal production. But the other records, which are reviewed by federal mine safety inspectors and required by federal law, failed to mention the same safety hazards. Some of the hazards that were not disclosed are identical to those believed to have contributed to the explosion.

    — Portions of the Upper Big Branch mine hit by the explosion were not treated for excessive and explosive coal dust because the entryways or tunnels in those areas were too small to accommodate the machine used to spray the material that neutralizes coal dust.

    • John Carpenter

      Joshua,

      Evil? No. Stupid?… irresponsible?…. greedy?…. yes, but not evil.

      • I don’t know, John.

        From Wikipedia – one of many examples, this from under the category of “lawsuits.” The categories of environmental record, mine safety, and age discrimination are doosies also:

        On September 16, 2004, a civil jury ordered Massey to pay $1.54 million in damages to 245 residents of Mingo County, W. Va., who lost their water wells after Massey had mined beneath the homes. The jury concluded that Massey acted “with malicious, willful, wanton, reckless or intentional disregard for plaintiffs’ rights.

        .

        I guess your bar for “evil” is higher than mine.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, this is an example of ‘greed’, not evil. My bar for evil would mean Massey engaged in those activities because those at the top actually were taking pleasure in causing harm. I don’t think that is the case. Greed, OTOH, is more plausible. Greed causes decision makers to ignore such problems for financial gain, which is what happened.

      • They jury found that they acted with malicious disregard for plantiff’s rights,l intentional disregard. I guess we’ll never reach agreement on this issue, but as far as I’m concerned, greed and evilness are not, in any way, mutually exclusive.

        There are different kinds of greed. We’re all greedy at some level. Some people, most I would say, are not so greedy that they would maliciously disregard the safety of hundreds of people to pursue financial gain. For some, the health of hundreds of people is no deterrence in their pursuit of money.

        That distinction satisfies my criterion for determining evilness

      • Jopshua –
        For some, the health of hundreds of people is no deterrence in their pursuit of money.

        The greatest evil is not what comes out of greed, but rather that which comes out of serving a cause and ignoring the effects of that cause on others. Greed is limited in scope – idealism isn’t.

      • Joshua –
        Sorry about the typo on your name – I’m obviously tired. So – good night.

      • The greatest evil is not what comes out of greed, but rather that which comes out of serving a cause and ignoring the effects of that cause on others

        I’m sure that the families of those who died in the mine disaster will be greatly comforted to know that the malicious disregard for the safety of the workers, an intentional disregard for their loved-ones’ lives, was less evil than if the deaths of their family members was specifically intended.

      • Touched a nerve, did we? Well, for what it’s worth, that wasn’t intended. But I won’t apologize for the truth either.

      • Joshua –
        I guess your bar for “evil” is higher than mine.

        You’re just a sensitive flower, Josh. :-)

        You ain’t seen nothin’. You’ve obviously never worked a mine – or for the Families – or construction – or driven a truck – or – well, you get the idea.

        Seriously – keep your indignation and outrage alive – the world needs that.

      • What are you talking about? I’ve worked construction and driven trucks for work – and what does that have to do with anything?

      • Ever played strike on those jobs?

        what does that have to do with anything?

        You’re bemoaning actions of the coal industry – but there’s little in that industry that doesn’t show up in others. If you didn’t see that, then you were just plain lucky.

      • Companies can’t be evil. Its bad metaphor time when people try to personalize corporate action. Some of these companies, after all, had horrible childhoods.

      • Jack Hughes

        :-)

      • I’d blame their horrible behaviour on their parent company.

      • John – I regret to inform you that companies can’t be stupid, irresponsible, or greedy.

      • John Carpenter

        Yes Joshua, that is true. I was once informed by an auditor looking at our processing records that companies can’t go to jail either… just individuals. Steven is correct.

      • You need to talk to the Supreme Court – they seem to think that corporations have Constitutional rights just like people do.

      • Corporations do have constitutional rights.

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZS.html

        Corporations can also be charged with crimes.

        http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=212&page=481

        And while corporations cannot be sent to jail, they can suffer the equivalent of the death penalty. Just ask (former) accounting giant Arthur Anderson.

        Corporations are artificial persons and therefore cannot be evil in and of themselves. But because people often act through corporations, under certain circumstances it is appropriate to treat the corporation as liable (even criminally) for the actions of its agents.

      • According to the SCOTUS, corporations can also speak, and thus be denied freedom of speech.

        It really is amusing to watch y’all tie yourselves into knots to avoid the obvious. When I was saying that Massey is “evil,” I was referring to the executives who are responsible for the reprehensible decisions that lie behind Massey’s corporate policies.

        My assumption is that if any one of y’all had known about the types of decisions made by those who were found to deliberately and maliciously disregard the health of hundreds of people, you would have been aghast and would have taken direct action to prevent the unfortunate direct outcomes of some of Massey’s policies. My assumption is that none of y’all would have ignored those policies and instead proclaimed “Corporations can’t be evil, therefore these decisions cannot be regarded as evil.”

        I assume, not a one of you.

        Of course, it is theoretically possible that some or all of you would have stood around with your thumbs you know where and played semantic games about how “corporate personhood” should be defined.

        But I assume not.

      • Joshua –
        It seems you fail to realize that this case is one of the few where the community has won. Most of these cases have been ruled in the company’s favor because they, not the community or the individuals, owned the mineral rights. One of the famous cases is Butte, Montana where the company destroyed what had been communiy property in a “search” for minerals (copper, in this case). The hole is still there.

        You apparently have no personal experience with the “phenomenon”. I do. Long ago and far away in another universe, my “playground” was the strip mines and the mountains behind
        them. Later they stripped the mountains as well.

        Note – if the search for uranium ever gets serious again, there are parts of the Appalachian Trail that lie atop massive deposits. That would raise the possibility of a fight between government agencies. Since you’re a hiker, I thought you might find that interesting.

        I’m not defending any of this – only offering information.

      • According to the SCOTUS, corporations can also speak, and thus be denied freedom of speech.

        Considering that a corporation is an organized assemblage of people, it makes sense. In essence, freedom of the press is nothing more than the right of a news outlet (very frequently a corporation) to “speak”.

        When I was saying that Massey is “evil,” I was referring to the executives who are responsible for the reprehensible decisions that lie behind Massey’s corporate policies.

        Then say so. When referring to Massey you can easily be considered to be referring to both owners and employees (executive and otherwise). That’s painting with too broad a brush. Certainly anyone complicit in violations should be dealt with (criminally and civilly), but their guilt is personal, not corporate.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, you have now reached silly.

      • Joshua, you have now reached silly.

        Just now?

      • John Carpenter

        “Just now?”

        Good one!

      • If you weren’t trying so desperately to paint yourself as the dissenting voice of reason in a world of oppressive tribalism (even if apparently only on this blog), you might be able to tell when someone is agreeing with you.

      • Gene -

        The court found that Massey, the corporation, not the people who made the decisions, acted in malicious and deliberate disregard for the safety of hundreds of people. As a result, the corporation, and not people who made the decisions, was fined. And it is only one example.

        When people on this site and others rail against Greenpeace, as an entity, making decisions that (in your opinion) harm people, do you engage in semantic wrangling to make sure that people understand that as a entity, Greenpeace isn’t really responsible for its actions? How about the EPA? The IPCC?

        Since the railing has occurred no doubt thousands of times at this site since you’ve been reading it, perhaps you could point me to a few posts of yours where you felt compelled to write a comment about the vitally important distinction to be made between a corporate or other institutional guilt and personal guilt?

        How about one?

      • If you weren’t trying so desperately to paint yourself as the dissenting voice of reason in a world of oppressive tribalism (even if apparently only on this blog), you might be able to tell when someone is agreeing with you.

        Sorry, Gary.

        Sometimes being the only voice of reason does make me respond a bit reflexively.

        It’s a heavy burden to bear.

      • Since you’re a hiker, I thought you might find that interesting.

        BTW – have to find an alternate plan to my expected hike of Kearsarge Pass and Rae Lakes. To much slop still left from the outrageously heavy snowpack. Even in Late July!

        Dang global cooling.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Jim Owen,

        I assume you are referring to The Berkeley Pit one of the largest superfund sites in the nation. Note that Anaconda did buy the property (I guess split estates didn’t apply here…)

        On the other hand scarcely a month goes by out here w/o a story about the damages done by the mining operations and the continuing refusal of Anaconda and it’s successor corporations (currently Arco) to clean stuff up, with the Berkeley Pit being exhibit A.

      • Joshua –
        Dang global cooling.

        This is the 4th year of cooling out there. And the 3rd year of heavy snow pack. Be glad you’re not headed for Montana. Just tonight, my wife opined that this is NOT a good year to be hiking either the PCT or the CDT since they’re both under snow at higher elevations. I suspect the pattern will hold for at least a few years – if not longer. Dammit. I wanted to get in another CDT thruhike – and finish the PCT again. Not likely, now.

        Dang global cooling. :-)

        Just looked at the snow maps. Still lots of snow, but it’s melting fast now. If you’re looking for an alternative, I’d highly recommend the Wind River Range in Wyoming. It’s generally a little lower elevation – unless you’re peak bagging. When were you going?

      • I’m already in Cali – heading out (of San Francisco) on Sunday morning (can’t swing a dead cat around here w/o hitting an eco-Nazi – so I need to get out of here as soon as I can).

        We hiked a bit lower down last year with no problems – although the water was incredibly high, which actually added to the enjoyment.

        We thought of hiking the pass with full packs and then going back down in the same day just to prove we aren’t getting soft. But maybe we won’t tell anyone anyone we punked out and just comfortably find other places to hike. I hear there might be one or two other nice hikes in King’s freaking Canyon and Sequoia freaking National Park below 13,000 feet (I’d insert a smiley face here if I knew how).

      • Rattus –
        Yup – that’s the one. Been through there several times. Never did go see it. I’ve seen enough of that mess in other places (like Arizona). It may be necessary for economic growth, but it’s NOT necessary to leave it like that.

        On the other hand scarcely a month goes by out here w/o a story about the damages done by the mining operations and the continuing refusal of Anaconda and it’s successor corporations (currently Arco) to clean stuff up, with the Berkeley Pit being exhibit A.

        Yup – that’s one of the reasons I didn’t settle there last year. Liked the area, housing prices were good, have friends in the area, close to the mountains, BUT…… it’s gonna be a mess to clean up – if it ever happens.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Jim,

        I’m in Bozeman. Housing prices are pretty damn high for MT, but nice place to be. You might consider Cardwell or Whitehall on the other side of the divide. Not quite as many toxic problems, although the Golden Sunlight mine ain’t perfect, same advantages. Only about 20 minutes away at the speeds we drive out here :)

      • Joshua –
        We thought of hiking the pass with full packs and then going back down in the same day just to prove we aren’t getting soft. But maybe we won’t tell anyone anyone we punked out and just comfortably find other places to hike.

        lol – we were at Kearsarge last June. Cold. And I was on the way out for knee surgery. “punked out”? More like smart.

        I hear there might be one or two other nice hikes in King’s freaking Canyon and Sequoia freaking National Park below 13,000 feet (I’d insert a smiley face here if I knew how).

        Yup – I’d say so. Have a good time. I’d still recommend the Winds for another time. Ask me about it if you’re ever interested.

        Wish we were there. Maybe next year.

      • Rattus –
        You might consider Cardwell or Whitehall on the other side of the divide. Not quite as many toxic problems, although the Golden Sunlight mine ain’t perfect, same advantages. Only about 20 minutes away at the speeds we drive out here.

        Spent my birthday in Whitehall in 2006. Nice little town. Met the mine manager during the hike into town. And then got “lost” hiking out. But not for long.

        I know about the speeds y’all drive out there. Try it in the back of an open pickup with broken glass all over the bed – it’s an experience to miss. :-)

      • Answered below.

      • Joshua,

        (Well, don’t let it go to your head. :-) You will probably find this comment more in line with what you are accustomed to. I have to to do something to get over agreeing with you.)

        I have asked you twice before with no response, a question similar to the one you just asked Gene. I will ask it a third time, with no expectation of an answer. But just in case, I will rephrase it to mirror your own question, so there is no question that it is fair:

        When you on this site rail against tribalism and lack of balance, do you also post similar comments regarding the tribalism and lack of balance at RealClimate? How about Skeptical Science? Tamino’s?

        Since your railing has occurred no doubt thousands of times at this site (at least) since you’ve been reading it, perhaps you could point me to a few posts of yours on those other sites where you felt compelled to write a comment about the vitally important issues of tribalism and balance?

        (Is that more like it?)

      • Actually, Gary – not at Tamino or RC.

        But I have gotten into some flame wars with lefties at a couple of sites about their views on climate change (not to mention other subjects such as whether or not Sarah Palin is stupid, whether or not the Tea Partiers are proto-Nazis, whether or not it makes sense to out-Republican Republicans in playing “gaffe” politics). The positions I took were very much similar to the one I take here at Climate etc., in pointing out that tribalism is counter-productive. In fact, one issue where I took the most heat was from “conservatives” when Obama spoke about the legitimate concerns that many “conservatives” have w.r.t. racial politics. I found it fascinating that he was being viciously attacked from the right of acknowledging that the only way to find valid answers to many problems is by recognizing the validity of the positions on both sides and eschewing tribalism.

        Obama and I – two peas in a pod.

      • How about linking to a couple. Such posts would make your comments here seem less…tribal.

      • You doubt my word?

        If you’re really that interested, search for Talking Point Detective over at Little Green Footballs – and read my exchanges with the lefty who posted under Ludwig Von Quixote, the dude called Obdicut, and Charles (the moderator). My earliest posts at that site.

      • A search like that only turned up a list of articles. I’m not THAT interested to search through hundreds of comments. But I am curious, why you don’t even try to address the tribalism and lack of balance at Real Climate, Skeptical Science or Tamino (oh, or ClimateProgress/ThinkProgress)?.

        Is it that you find those sites fair and balanced and so not in need of your assistance, or are they perhaps just a weeeee bit more tribal than this site, where your numerous comments go completely unmoderated?

      • The search engine at LGF is pretty good. Try looking for my name and add proto-Nazi to the search string.

        This was the first “climate” site that I’ve posted at. Those other sites tend to be more technical rather than overtly political as so many of the posts here are. You will notice that I tend to stay away from the technical debates: (1) I don’t have the technical background, (2) I’m not intelligent enough to understand the technical arguments well-enough to debate them, (3) my primary interest is the political overlap with the climate debate. I came to this site first because I was interested in Judith’s discussion of tribalism among climate scientists. Unfortunately, after coming here I found that it seems she’s only really interested in discussing the tribalism on one side of the debate. I have made it my life mission to get her to be a bit more even-handed.

        My sense is that overtly political/non-technical posts are much less frequent at those other sites.

        After reading Judith’s site I started to come across blogs like Climate Progress and Desmog – and I guess that would be more similar to Climate Etc. w.r.t. the level of balance between technical and political – but given my new life mission, posting there would only be a distraction.

      • Joshua wants to deny billions of the world’s poor the means to survive. Millions will die every day if Joshua gets his way. Is Joshua evil?

      • stan – you know me so well!!!11!!!

        If there’s one thing I want, it’s to deny billions of the world’s poor the means to survive.

        How did you find me out? I thought I hid my true intentions so well.

        There’s just no fooling Climate etc.’s “denizens,” is there?

    • Joshua –
      Does Massey qualify as evil?

      Massey did nothing that hasn’t been done by coal operators for the last 3000 years. Not all of them, but enough for it to be a pattern.

      Not that I approve of the practice – I don’t. But it doesn’t surprise me either. In fact, I’d have been surprised if it hadn’t gone like that. BTW – this is OLD news.

      FYI – My grandfather and ALL 6 of my uncles were caol miners. They lived through the struggle to bring the unions in – and then watched the unions turn as corrupt as the owners, if not more so. I’ve forgotten more about coal field corruption than you’ll likely ever know.

      There are some good things about being a coal miner – but not many.

      • Jim – you know that a coal mine, if improperly operated, is very likely to incur serious incidents of one type or another. Coal mines do not get lucky for very long because there is danger everywhere. If all current coal mining operations were being as careless as Massey, the body count would be significantly higher. Massey was being operated as in the days of old, not the present.

        In the oil biz there is one company I long ago nicknamed killer. They kill their own people – because there are reckless. Most companies are not. Some are so obsessive about safety it hurts. You do not want to be married to an individual who is on the safety committee at one specific oil company, because she will tell you how every aspect of the new rock garden you just built her can result in injuries. She’s drivin’ me nuts.

      • JCH –
        Yup – I concur on the above.

        Not ALL mine operators are that careless, but enoujgh of them are that it’s no real surprise when people die. Even if none of them were careless, mining is one of the most dangerous occupations. Until WWII nearly all of the males in my immediate family (except my father) were miners. Then they all went to war – and they all considered that less dangerous than the mines.

        In 1957, one operator followed the vein too close to a river bed – and broke through. Flooded mines as far as 50 miles north and south, killed a number of miners, put thousands of others out of work and destroyed the anthracite industry in Pennsylvania. Greed, carelessness and stupidity.

      • That mining is dangerous is beyond dispute, as is the idea that different safety procedures are likely to
        - reduce danger by differeing amounts, and
        - have differing costs

        Danger levels will tend be reflected in wage levels. The more dangerous, the higher the wage needed to get people to face it. More safety-conscious mines will have higher costs, and thus pay lower wages; and of course vice-versa.

        Government regulation that obliges some mines to increase safety, thereby also forces down wages in them.

  39. If global warming alarmists were correct that AGW theory was truly informative of reality and the world should stop using coal, for its own sake and not just to save other life from extinction, all of humanity would be in deep zugzwang.

  40. The west’s fossil fuel causes global warming, but the east’s causes global cooling.

    • Those who believe in AGW go to the west, like Al Gore did. Those who do not believe in AGW, make a move to the east, have peace. Those who believe nothing, should move to the mid-states hear nothing from the deniers and the believers. Cut all the budgets of climate research, cut all subsidized oil, coal, solar, wind budgets to make a balanced budget not live on our children’s debts we created for them.

  41. James Hansen had a lot to say about coal in his 2008 testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board.

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2007/IowaCoal_20071105.pdf

    • Oh, that big bad liar spent billions of US tax money to speculate CO2 hoax for decades for making himself a living! He wants the world to spend trillions for nothing existed.

    • This big bad liar said he was “on behalf of the planet, of life on Earth, including all species”. His budget should be totally cut and Goddard should be totally disolved for stopping wasting the tax payer’s money.

  42. I like the tone and the general idea of this piece (less so the implicit assumptions, but that’s par for the course now a days).

    Suggesting that all big companies are evil and all climate scientists are innocent little bunnies is ludicrous (as is the vice versa). As is typically the case, reality is much more complex.

    It makes infinitley more sense to incentivise rather than penalise people/industry/investors into researching/developing/adopting low polluting (why stop at carbon?) energy sources.

    Geothermal’s the way to go for my money. Fusion would be nice, but hey ho- you have to be realistic.

    I keep coming back to the most useful debating maxim i’ve ever come across; play the ball, not the man. The minute someone starts trying to assign nefarious motives to their opponent (without some VERY hefty evidence) is the minute you should stop listening to them as they’re invariable acting to their own nefarious motives.

    I’ve tested this theory on politicians and it works 100% of the time.

  43. Al Gore does not know a bit about coal, does not know physical properties of CO2, H2O. He is a scientific ignorant. Who is afraid of big bad Al Gore’s CO2 speculations and making himself a big profiteer in the CO2 hoax, the Americans and the world!

  44. Remember the goal. This is about limiting and (eventually) reversing climate change.

    A nonsensical concept if ever there was one. Why on Earth would we want to limit climate change? Climate change is beneficial and necessary for the wellbeing of the biosphere. Compare the health of an air conditioned couch potato with an out in all weathers goatherd.

    The Earth’s surface would become a moribund cesspit if we were stupid enough (and had the capability) to ‘limit climate change’.

    • Your aim is true. You’ve managed to veer clear of the point by adopting a literal interpretation of the words without consideration for what they were clearly saying.

      I’m not even sure your literal interpretation makes sense with a reading of the quoted sentence. What do you think ‘reverse climate change’ means given your implication that they were talking about all forms of climate variability, rather than a specific incidence of climate change?

      • Hi Paul,
        Please can you clarify what you mean by
        “a specific incidence of climate change”
        Thanks

        Seems to me that if they mean they want to limit and eventually reverse ‘man made global warming’, then they should call it that and asay clearly what they mean. Then they need to prove it has happened, rather than assume it as a given.

      • It’s an article about how “Big Oil” and “Big Coal” should be ideally addressed regarding climate change issues, by reference to statements made by Al Gore. It seems somewhat absurd to come to the conclusion that the quoted sentence represents an unannounced digression into discussion of climatic changes in general.

        A specific climate change incident would be something like a glaciation or deglaciation, where a relatively large and/or persistent factor invokes a clear trend. Likewise large changes to atmospheric chemistry in the recent past and near future are predicted to cause a clear trend over the next century.

        Your non-belief in this last point is irrelevant to what the article is saying. If you like just mentally prefix “If manmade climate change is real…” to each sentence you don’t like. It’s somewhat beyond the scope of the article to provide a definitive proof of global warming.

        If you still think your interpretation of the sentence is reasonable I’ll ask again: What does ‘reverse climate change’ mean in that context?

      • Hi Paul,

        I didn’t think it was reasonable. That’s why I said it was nonsensical.
        Basically, I’m tired of the alarmists hijacking terminology such as ‘climate change’, a perfectly normal natural phenomenon that no-one ever doubted, and twisting its meaning.

        These authors perpetuate that misuse of natural language, and collect my disapproval along the way.

      • A corrupted enterprise, through and through, thorough, too.
        =================

  45. Al Gore is a big bad liar. He is gradually exposed of his CO2 speculation and AGW hoax to make a huge profit. He is after your money for every moves.

  46. ■”Remember the goal. This is about limiting and (eventually) reversing climate change. Other fights, from name-calling squabbles to building a social democratic utopia, must be put to the side.”

    Can someone show me the evidence that burning coal is causing climate change or that stopping will reverse climate change? I think not.

  47. … it appears that world leaders secretly adopted “Global Climate Change” in 1972 as the “common enemy” for a noble goal: To unite nations, end nationalism, and save the world from the danger of mutual nuclear annihilation.

    Yes, it has and had close to nothing to do with climate science, which we see is anyway riddled with advocacy and other corruption.
    And trying to “unite nations” is just newspeak for world government and forcing up taxes and socialism on everyone, to be achieved by removing the possibility of political competition from low-tax regimes.

  48. tempterrain

    Judith,
    Judith,

    You’ve quoted this passage with seeming approval:

    “Challenge conspiracy theories, whether of the left or the right. Just as much as we need to reject the idea that “Big Coal” wants to destroy the planet, so too should we reject the clownish idea that scientists are corrupt plotters seeking totalitarian world government, or better yet, the forces of darkness. We’re just not. If someone is nominally on your side (ie, you want the same outcomes or you’re in the same political party), then you need to challenge their conspiratorial thinking more, not less.”

    I don’t think anyone is saying that anyone wants to destroy the planet. The accusation is that they may put their own short term interests before the long term well being of the planet which is quite different.

    On the other hand, we certainly do hear a lot of nonsense about totalitarian world government etc such as this:

    “Punksta | June 21, 2011 at 5:25 am
    Carey just means that totalitarians long ago figured out that a truly beaufiful way to usher in world government, is to fund and foster a fervent belief in CAGW.”

    And the challenge to this “clownish” idea? Well yes there has been , but not from you!

    • The claim of ‘clownishness’ is just a cover for lack of anything even remotely resembling an argument. It is itself a clownish comment, in fact.

      The simple facts are that
      - the state funds virtually all climate science
      - the state’s interests lie in CAGW being believed, since this provides a justication for its own expansion – more political controls over society, more taxes etc
      - the climate science the state selects for funding, tells us there is CAGW.

      The situation is exactly like when the Tobacco industry’s scientists said smoking was safe. They funded science that fostered their vested interests, exactly like governments now fund science that fosters theirs. Only a clown could miss the obvious parallel. Or someone quite happy that the deception involved futhers their own political preferences.

      • tempterrain

        The problem with this argument is that various Governments, worldwide, also funded the research into the health related aspects of cigarette smoking.

        From a financial point of view, these Governments should have been on the same side as the tobacco industry, as the tax revenue on a packet of cigarettes was much higher, in many countries, than the profits made by the tobacco company.

        So they should have reported there were no health problems? Yes, if scientists are as corrupt as you claim they are. But, that didn’t happen.

        So scientists and governments were the good guys then but are bad guys now? It seems unlikely don’t you think?

      • tt –
        You forget that the State governments reaped $millions (or was that “billions”?) from the settlement. Which was supposed to offset the health care costs of smoking and finance anti-smoking campaigns. But which actually just went into the General Fund for most States. Only a few actually used it for anti-smoking campaigns.

        In addition, the tax on cigarettes was raised significantly, supposedly to discourage smoking but in reality it was to compensate for the loss of revenue due to the “reduced number” of smokers.

        The “governments” made out like bandits.

        And you wonder why I”m cynical?

      • Jim,

        And did you notice that once the states got their vigorish, all the demonization of big tobacco just stopped dead in its tracks? What a coincidence.

      • Gary –
        Yup – isn’t it amazing?

        I wasn’t personally involved at any level but my wife was tasked at one point to research the payments to the States – and the uses to which the money had been put. The results were ……interesting. And damning.

        Note that following the example of the tobacco settlement, the Clinton administration tried to do the same thing to the firearms industry. There have also been similar attempts on other industries but not on the same scale.

      • Jim Owen,

        I’ve found these figures from the UK and I would expect the figures from the US would tell a similar story.

        http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=866

        So the UK government look to have been reasonably successful in discouraging smoking. I doubt that they would make more in taxes, with this reduced number of smokers, even if the tax on cigarettes were reduced to try to encourage smoking again.

        But if you have the figures to show otherwise, I’d be interested to see them.

      • tt –
        Numbers. If you lose 20% of the smokers as your tax base and double the tax, do you lose or gain in tax revenue? 30%? 40%?

        Work it out – you might be surprised.

      • tempterrain

        I’ll take that as a “no I don’t have the figures!”

        Incidentally , if you could read a graph, you’d know that 50% , not 20% of smokers have been lost.

      • tt –
        Do the math – it’s simple arithmetic.

    • I wish that the threat of a totalitarian world government, like that described in George Orwell’s book – “1984″ – were only an illusion.

      Sadly that may not be true. When I visited the old USSR in 1980 I learned that George Orwell’s book – “1984″ – was banned there.

      That is why I repeatedly suggest that people goggle “1984″ and the US Declaration of Independence on the web to learn about the ways of totalitarian governments before these web sites vanish:

      http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

      http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

      • Try “Liberal Fascism.” It’s a great read and shows you the new totaltarianism will come not with death camps and black shirts, but with smiley faces and Nike sneakers.

      • tempterrain

        Its worth noting that George Orwell also fought for the Spanish Republic in the 1930′s, in a Trotskyite militia, and his later books were inevitably influenced by that experience.

    • And the challenge to this “clownish” idea? Well yes there has been , but not from you!

      Funny, that. One would think that by now she might have done so if only by accident.

  49. The Left’s tactics of a ‘swing into full distort-and-denounce mode’ to achieve their ends has become so pathetically shrill and predictable. And, we see that with the coal industry, the oil industry and the business of living in general, especially when it comes to keeping their own on the behind the tanks at Tiananmen Square.

    For example, Steven Hayward () writes about the attack on Bjorn Lomborg becase he “departed from the script when he pointed out that Kyoto-style emissions reductions failed any reasonable cost-benefit test. This venture into ‘the emperor has no clothes’ territory inspired Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to say the following to a Danish newspaper in 2004: ‘What is the difference between Lomborg’s view of humanity and Hitler’s? . . . If you were to accept Lomborg’s way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was the right thing.’

    • Thanks for pointing out Rajendra Pachauri’s willingness to endorse Hitler’s tactics.

      We are at a very dangerous point: Leaders of governments, science and news organizations are struggling for self-preservation.

      They absolutely cannot win the battle against scientific reality.

      Now we desperately need to find a path to resolution and forgiveness, rather than victory and social disorder.

      Oliver K. Manuel

    • Sam NC says “If you were to accept Rajendra Pachauri’s way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was the right thing.” Demanding the world spend trillions and limit their freedoms for nothing and he pockets the money.

  50. Rajendra Pachauri – now there surely is the undisputed king of the the Climate Clowns. He surely makes committed alarmists cringe whenever he opens his mouth.

  51. Perhaps is ligitimate to inquire if in fact a new consensus is growing–i.e., that, “liberalism… [is] nearly as intellectually dead as environmentalism.” That seems to be the what to Hayward may be an unfurling of the wings of a new ‘optimism about the planet’s future,’ and a “new progressive politics must take liberalism’s commitment to broadly-shared prosperity forward while leaving the old, redistributive agenda behind.”

    http://www.aei.org/article/103877

  52. “Remember the goal. This is about limiting and (eventually) reversing climate change.”

    Hubris of the worst kind. The climate has been changing for the last 4.6 billion years or so, in a vast chaotic system full of complex interactions about which we really know very little. But these people think that a tiny added amount of carbon dioxide from human activity – far less in extent compared with the naturally-produced substance, with a total lower than it has been for most of the Earth’s history – has somehow changed the whole atmosphere/hydrosphere/biosphere to the point where, godlike, humans are in total control and can not only stop it but reverse it.

    Don’t assume that everyone shares any such goal, or belief. Until you can get past that point, any sort of dialogue is doomed. Of course the climate is changing, that’s what it does. Life, including mankind, will adapt; that’s what we do.

    • Bill Norton

      I was about to express the same feeling when I read your comment, but since you said it better than would have, I won’t. Good job.

    • Part of the problem is having to assume the good faith albeit ignorance of those when they say reducing CO2 is their only goal. However, what if their stated goal is simply to cover a more sinister ulterior motive? What if their real aim is a takeover of the economy by whatever means so long as in the end the allocation of scarce resources through the mechanism of the free market is eliminated and capitalism is replaced with Marxism? Aren’t we then dealing with an evil intent as opposed to ignorance and hubis?

      • Wagathon, I do agree with you about the ulterior motives and evil intent, and I also believe that there are some of those people and we are in great danger from them. But I feel the vast majority of the foot soldiers are either sincerely misguided or so in love with their theories they can’t give them up. My sister is a full member of the church of CAGW, and she certainly has no evil intent, she really really believes that CO2 IS EVIL *sigh*

        (Bill, Tallbloke, Manacker – thanks for your kind words :) )

    • Spot on Janet

      The antics of the neo-Canutians would be amusing if they weren’t costing us so many billions of dollars.

    • janet

      What you have written is correct.

      But it is the arrogance of these people really thinking that they can do something to make a perceptible change in our climate.

      There have been no specific actionable proposals to date, which would have any perceptible effect on our climate – none.

      A proposal by Hansen et al. to shut down and replace all coal-fired plants in the USA would end up reducing the global warming by 2100 by a theoretical 0.08C at an investment cost of $ 1.5 trillion.

      Teeny-weeny “bang” (or “pop”) for a whole helluva lot of “bucks”.

      Max

  53. After a few months following the threads here at Climate Etc, I’m begining to think most AGW deniers are both anti-government ideologues and conspiracy theorists.

    Conspiracy theorists are nutty but entertaining. My favorite was John Bircher Society founder Robert Welch who was convinced President Eisenhower’s mind was being controlled by Moscow through his brother Milton. It’s hard to top that one for lunacy. There must be a reason right-wingers, more than other groups, are drawn to conspiracy theories. Could it be brain chemistry?

    • You’ve obviously NOT been reading Robert, lolwot and tempterrain and their conspiraciy theories about sceptics.

      As for anti-government, there’s a long and honorable tradition to that attitude – starting with Thomas Jefferson. Have you ever read the Constitution? It’s not about enabling the central government, but rather restricting it’s duties and powers. The Bill of Rights was and is, specifically aimed at curbing government abuse of the rights of it’s citizens.

      If you examine the functions of government today, as opposed to that specified by the Constituti0on, you would find that much of today’s government activity lacks Constitutional authority.

      Is there any reason that, as a citizen, I should be enamored of a government that refuses to obey it’s own laws? Why should I not desire to limit the power of a government that’s been out of control?

      OTOH, I recognize that the choicefor effecting that limitation is between ballots and bullets – and I have no great desire to resort to bullets. In spite of Jefferson’s admonition that “a little rebellion may sometimes be necessary” I would prefer that “rebellion” to be bloodless.

      Wrt “global governance” as envisioned by alarmists, greens, environmentalists and the UN – and some Democrats – I believe my views are on record here and need not be repeated.

      Is this conspiracy? If you believe so, then your education is sadly lacking.

      • Owen, it looks like you may be more of an anti-government ideologue than a conspiracy fan. That’s not very entertaining.

      • An example of why one might feel justified in being leery of government “solutions”. They don’t go away and they can be “re-directed” at will.

      • No, babe – not “anti-government” but definitely anti-BIG-government and absolutely anti-GLOBAL-government. Let’s keep it in perspective.

        It’s your BIG government that’s dragged us all dowm into an unsustainable economic morass and will, if allowed to continue, drag us into Third World status. Keep inmind that right now we’re less than two weeks from that particular development. Have any smart remarks about that? Ideas maybe?

      • ” An unsustainable economic morass?” Economic morasses should be unsustainable, but if the Republicans get back in power, I wouldn’t be so sure.

        We have big government because the U.S. is a big country. I suspect people who whine about the government are just looking for an excuse for failing to achieve their goals. Perhaps they have deluded themselves into thinking if it wasn’t for government, they could have really amounted to something. So government is their scapegoat.

        Without big government, underachieving right-wingers would have to blame their failures entirely on Blacks and Hispanics.

      • M Carey,

        Yes that’s an interesting point! Of course if you look at the figures for tax as a percentage of GDP, the USA comes out as quite a low spender.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

        There is one exception though. The USA spends more on its military than just about the rest of the world put together!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

      • tempterrain

        The USA spends more on its military than just about the rest of the world put together!

        Interestingly, since you are Australian, this started around the time that the US Navy stopped a Japanese plan of incorporating your country into its “East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere”.

        Just remember: You’d be talking Japanese now if that hadn’t occurred.

        Max

        PS But that’s all a bit off topic here, don’t you think?

      • M. carey –
        If you want a hockey stick go look at the increase in natiional debt over the last 100 years. And the projected increase over the next 10-20 years.

      • tempterrain

        Like this?

      • No – like this –

        You know – the one that actually shows the debt ($) as opposed to the one that shows % of GNP (which is not a useful parameter in this context). Note also that the present $ of GNP is approaching that incurred by WWII, even though we have no major war and a much higher GNP.

      • Jim – I take it you’re on board with Jefferson’s views on appropriate governmental power as reflected in this statement?

        The property of this country is absolutely concentred in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downwards… I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on.

        Or perhaps this one?

        We are all the more reconciled to the tax on importations, because it falls exclusively on the rich, and with the equal partition of intestate’s estates, constitutes the best agrarian law.. Our revenues once liberated by the discharge of the public debt, and its surplus applied to canals, roads, schools, etc., and the farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of his country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spare a cent from his earnings

        Dang statist/commie/eco-Nazi, that Thomas Jefferson – eh?

      • Joshua –
        You noticed, of course, that Jefferson’s views did NOT prevail in the Constitution? Perhaps because he was out of the country when it was written?

        You probably also noticed that, as President, his commissioning of Lewis and Clark did more to relieve his perceived inequities than any other President has done since that time (with the possible exception of the Louisiana Purchase?)? Admittedly inadvertently, but still….

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Lewis and Clark were a result of the Louisiana Purchase, of course. Not to mention the fact that the Louisiana Purchase itself was a huge step outside the literal bounds of the Constitution.

      • [T]he Louisiana Purchase itself was a huge step outside the literal bounds of the Constitution.

        Using the problematic Madisonian interpretation of the general welfare clause, yes. Otherwise I’m not aware that it violated the letter of the Constitution.

      • Just found out that the quotes were with reference to France. Pretty funny that his views of what was appropriate in France were different than his views of what would be appropriate in a country where he’d be taxed.

        Still, as a statement of principle, his quotes are interesting w.r.t. addressing vast income inequality.

      • Still, as a statement of principle, his quotes are interesting w.r.t. addressing vast income inequality.

        Not that surprising when you consider the feudal economy of the ancien regime that had just been overthrown. Compared to it, the Gilded Age was a progressive paradise.

  54. After a few months following the threads here at Climate Etc, I’m begining to think most AGW alarmists are both big-government ideologues and sexually abusive criminals.

    Why is it that most sex offenders and people in jail are liberal or democrats? Must be something in the brain chemistry. Which group are you in M.carey?

    Wow this fun, just make a bunch of BS generalized statements divorced from reality and make them sound as facts.

    Oh let us not forget, fellow liberals, that 911 was an inside job by the U.S. Governement, I mean fire can’t melt steel.

    • Given Jon P’s outrageous response, I must have touched a nerve. He’s probably one of those conspiracy theorists. I look forward to Jon entertaining readers with some wacky notions.

      • M. carey,

        See below, as I was purposely matching your outrageous statements. IOW, I do not believe the “outrageous” statements anymore than I believe yours. Your lack of reading comprehension is duly noted.

        “Wow this is fun, just make a bunch of BS generalized statements divorced from reality and make them sound as facts.”

        Edit to original comment as I forgot the “is”.

      • Jon P, my comment is no match for yours. I have never implied anyone here is a sex criminal. You have set the bar of despicable behavior too low for me to get under.

      • And neither have I as I called those staements I made “…BS generalized statements divorced from reality”.

        Stop ascribing beliefs to people in generalized BS statements. Sorry I made you cry.

      • You should be sorry for making the following statement :

        “Why is it that most sex offenders and people in jail are liberal or democrats? Must be something in the brain chemistry. Which group are you in M.carey?”

        You have had ample time to apologize for suggesting I am sex offender.
        .

      • Well are you?

        Since you are painting all Republicans as right-wing racists with brain chemistry problems I figured the floor was pretty open. Sounds like you have something to hide or feel guilty about, please let it out before it is too late.

        People like you disgust me, as you through around general statements and then claim “but I did not mean you, specifically”. It is chickensh$$.

        Enjoy your anonymous bravery and cuteness, I will not let it pass or be ignored.

      • M. carey –
        Don’t have a clue about the sex offender crap, you’ll have to work that out for yourself. But did you know that in those places where prisoners are allowed to vote, they consistently vote for ANY gun control law? This, of course, automatically tags them as either liberals or Democrats.

      • trollscore – 2/10

  55. Dr. Curry, it seems to me that this is pretty much a yes-or-no question. Is Al Gore (and so many believers in AGW) correct: Is Big Oil and Big Coal the main driver of global warming skepticism? Or are the skeptics correct: The main driver of skepticism is that there are some influential experts who just aren’t convinced by the scientific evidence.
    Or, can we quantify an estimate for what fraction is driven by each?

    Am I wrong in my own assumption that Big Oil and Coal are a tiny fraction of what’s happening?

    • You’re leaving out several key interest groups Big Secular, Socialist Big Government, the Education Industrial Complex, the Green machine and a consensus of anti-Americanism in the UN and dead and dying Old Europe.

      • That’s an interesting question, but it’s a different question. I want to know if Al Gore is right, or if this is a Big Lie. Is the fossil fuel industry a major cause of skeptical thinking?

      • Al Gore is a seminary school dropout, a lifetime Democrat politician and the biggest global warming hypocrite, and you are asking if he is lying, right?

      • Al Gore is right, correct, on the money. So is Hansen.

        But complicated. Too complicated for sound bite sluggers.

      • Both are Pied Pipers of AGW True Believers. It is not complicated: both are Leftists and are pushing the climate porn that is a plank is the Democrat party platform.

      • No, no. I understand it. Yes, it’s complicated.
        ==========

      • ormondotvos

        Al Gore is right, correct, on the money.

        He probably is “correct on the money”.

        After all, he has made a bundle of “money” from the AGW craze (and hoped to cash in even more before the carbon market collapsed).

        So is Hansen.

        Hmmm. I don’t think he has cashed in tens of millions like his pal, Al..

        But his forecasts back in 1988 turned out to be lousy (because he used a model-based 2xCO2 climate sensitivity which turned out to be more than 2x too high).

        Max

    • Regardless of which powerful groups are lobbying each side of the warming argument, good science is still good science and good science will prevail in time.

      Anyone with a properly scientific bent will always be skeptical of outrageously confident claims when the data do not support the assertions.

      The only thing that is surprising is that big bad anyone hasn’t funded more scientific research. Perhaps because lobbyists don’t need truth, they need an opposite negotiating position.

  56. In response to this from Joshua above:

    Since the railing has occurred no doubt thousands of times at this site since you’ve been reading it, perhaps you could point me to a few posts of yours where you felt compelled to write a comment about the vitally important distinction to be made between a corporate or other institutional guilt and personal guilt?

    How about one?

    Well, these are less than a month old and were exchanges with you: This pointing out the distinction when referring to government in general (not specifically the EPA, but close enough) and this where I stated the following about the environmental movement: ” There is a wide range of positions that fall under that umbrella. To say that the entire movement is a “reduction to fear” would be overly broad. It could apply to some elements, but certainly not all.” Again, not specific to GreenPeace, but close enough.

    The court found that Massey, the corporation, not the people who made the decisions, acted in malicious and deliberate disregard for the safety of hundreds of people. As a result, the corporation, and not people who made the decisions, was fined. And it is only one example.

    The jury decision and damages awarded that you referred to was from a civil action. The individuals involved could well have been party to the suit – if not, that would have been a decision on the part of the plaintiff’s attorney(s)

    However, since “evil” isn’t a legal term, it was my assumption that we were talking about guilt in a moral or ethical sense. That guilt can’t be delegated to the group.

  57. There is plenty guilt to go around for any who actually have a conscience. The AGW Hypothesis and the artificial sand islands of Dubai will be remembered as the Towers of Babel at the turn of the millennium. And what have we learned.

    We now have proof that if you scratch a Leftist, liberal Democrat you get a Marxist trying very hard to bail the party out of the ponzi scheme they have created by inflating the currency to cover all of the outrageous and unsustainable promises that have been made.

    You can see that the science authoritarians cannot abide anyone seeing the truth. By their blackballing tactics we see an example of the “Medium is the Message.

    What is the real meaning of global warming alarmism?

    It is short for, ‘Welcome to the fall of Western civilization.’ The new reality is the fall of productivity and the rise of a never-ending battle against government-sponsored prejudice and discrimination against the productive:

    What society faces is governments use of global warming alarmism to consolidate power through internal disintegration of identity and by the pathological perpetuation of hatred of business and capitalism, the promotion of prejudice and discrimination against the productive—a group comprised of workers and entrepreneurs in the free enterprise sector—and, by creating negative stereotypes and fear of Americanism and defining as the common enemy those espousing patriotism, nationalism and Judeo-Christian ideals.

  58. “Where is the mechanism here that will finally get the unconverted or the hostile to agree with the need to take action on climate change? The answer that they provide: There isn’t one.”
    That is a key question but I would modify “the answer they provide.” They provide an answer that specifically (intentionally?) will not have any appreciable affect on climate change. A treaty that exempts China? Windmills, but not nuclear plants? (and warmists can spare me the “we’ve changed our minds on nukes” until you actually build one instead of advocate their closure). A tax hike? These aren’t serious “mechanisms.”
    It’s as if you’ve told that I’m in great peril if I don’t travel from Washington DC to Los Angeles by noon tomorrow. And then insisted that I walk there.
    And then wondered why I’m skeptical of either the need or the capability of traveling over 3,000 miles by foot in 24 hours.

  59. Why a Coal Guy is Going Green

    By the end of our conversation, I had a better understanding of why Rogers and Duke have become advocates of a cap-and-trade scheme to regulate global warming pollution.
    Rogers, who is 62, has been a utility-company CEO since 1988. He’s also been a consumer advocate (as an assistant attorney general in Kentucky) and a federal regulator (at the FERC) so he sees issues from different perspectives. More important, Duke Energy is, for the most part, a regulated utility — meaning that its major investments and electricity rates must be approved by state public utility regulators. So if Rogers can convince those regulators that his investments in low-carbon power generation make sense, he should be able to make a good return

    “Moving to a low carbon world is an earnings opportunity for me,” Rogers said. “If I have to retrofit my fleet, that’s earnings growth.” That’s assuming, of course, that state regulators will permit him to raise rates for customers to cover the costs of renewable power, cleaner coal or new nuclear plants.

    This helps explain why Rogers doesn’t try to pretend that the transition to a low-carbon world will be easy or cost-free. He needs to set the stage for future price increases that he knows are an inevitable. He says:

    “As we transform, as we invest in renewables, as we invest in smart grid, as we invest in retiring existing plants and building new plants, the price of electricity is going to go up.”

    http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2009/10/16/why-coal-guy-going-green

  60. If the Caps Fits (Kimberly Strassel, The Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2007
    There’s nothing capitalist about lobbying for a program that foists its debilitating costs on taxpayers and consumers while redistributing the wealth to a few corporate players.

    http://tinyurl.com/3dkh3o9

    GE CEO explains practical realities to free marketeers

    “I came because I was invited,” says the man on stage heatedly, squaring off his shoulders to the packed crowd. “I don’t need to be lectured by anybody in this room about how to compete!”
    From another speaker it might sound defensive, but in this case it is the CEO of GE, the second largest company in the world. Jeff Immelt knows whereof he speaks.
    Immelt’s outburst came toward the end of a Q&A session that saw him repeatedly assailed by ideological conservatives angry over his involvement in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of large businesses lobbying for a carbon cap-and-trade system, and his leadership role in pushing the business world to embrace clean energy and sustainability.
    First it was Kimberly Strassel, conference co-host and member of WSJ’s notoriously hard-right editorial board. He answered her patiently, explaining that it’s better for businesses to get out in front of what’s coming than wait on the sidelines. Then it was Fred Smith Jr., president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who lamented the capitulation of business leaders before the onslaught of Big Government. Immelt smiled tightly, paused, and said, “it’s a great country — we can disagree about this.”
    What put him over the top was Terry Anderson of the Property and Environment Research Center, a right-wing think tank. Anderson asked what real entrepreneurs — the ones who don’t have the resources to lobby for favorable treatment from government — are supposed to do when a carbon cap cripples the economy.

    Real entrepreneurs. That set Immelt off. “We compete our asses off,” he snapped. “We’re No. 1 at what we do!”

    At points, Immelt seemed keen to let his antagonists know that he was one of them. “We read all the same books!” he said plaintively to Strassel. “I’m not an environmentalist,” he insisted later. At the end of one exchange, he protested, “I’ve never voted for a Democrat!” adding with a mutter, “until tonight, maybe …”
    Conservative in good standing he may be, but Immelt has practical considerations to attend to. The day after this law is passed, he said, “you can write about something else. But I’ve got to go to work that day.” He returned to several points repeatedly

    http://www.grist.org/article/economics-immelt-vs-the-ideologues

    • Yeah. And did Immelt mention that his multi-billion dollar GE did not pay any US corporate tax last year (at the same time profiting from “green” tax-payer funded subsidies)?

      Max

  61. [I]t’s a far stretch to say the US is on the path to a dictatorship.

    It’s only a stretch if the populace is not becoming increasingly demoralized; and while that may not seem to you to be the case, it is clear to many of us that it is.

  62. Gene – OK – this, sort of, meets the bar:

    As noted above, absolutes tend to be both naive and untrue. Government is neither good nor evil.

    But still, no doubt, you have read thousands of posts here that assign attributes like evil to Greenpeace, the IPCC, the EPA, etc. Can you point me to where you responded to a “conservative” making such a characterization about one of those or similar institutions, where you felt compelled to point out the distinction between personal guilt and institutional guilt?

    Your second link seems to me to be a bit of a stretch. Saying that different kinds of actors can fall under one umbrella does not negate the concept that an institution could be assigned attributes like evil. And again, can you point me to a post where in response to a conservative railing about the IPCC, or Greenpeace, or the EPA, etc., you felt compelled to point out to that conservative that those organizations comprise many different kinds of people?

    OK – even if you can’t, the links you provided do support your position to a certain degree. I don’t disagree that everyone writes better posts to the extent that they are as specific as possible. But I think the question of why you singled me out for the need for such clarification remains to be answered.

    So let me propose another challenge to you.

    The next time that someone the likes of hunter shows up to analogize environmentalists to Eugenicists, or you read from someone like kim a broad condemnation of the IPCC, or someone like ferd tells us that the EPA is responsible for the deaths of millions due to its statist motivations, write a post explaining that it is important to distinguish between personal guilt and institutional guilt.

    I would welcome your support.

    • But I think the question of why you singled me out for the need for such clarification remains to be answered.

      The answer to that is simple, while we’ve disagreed in the past, we seem to be able to hold civil exchanges that don’t drop down into the infantile. The shallow, the crazy and the overwrought generally wind up on my scroll past list.

      And again, can you point me to a post where in response to a conservative railing about the IPCC, or Greenpeace, or the EPA, etc., you felt compelled to point out to that conservative that those organizations comprise many different kinds of people?

      I don’t keep a searchable catalog of my comments, so right off hand, I can’t. Do I get credit for responding to the ridiculous comment about the “Green Helmets” on this thread?

  63. ormondotvos

    I’d like to express my gratitude to those commenters who continue the good fight for the environment, even against obloquy and nastiness. It’s a job that needs to be done, and it takes time and directed effort.

    Even as the coal, oil and gas companies spend millions on propaganda and web commenters, the facts keep shining through, and those who pay attention gradually realize the verbal and psychological tricks that the big corporations are playing to keep up their profits, regardless of damage to the environment or human suffering.

    Thank you, fellow scientists and humanitarians, thank you!

    • Even as the coal, oil and gas companies spend millions on propaganda and web commenters,

      Ok – so where’s the check?

      Horse puckey.

    • “It’s a job that needs to be done”

      And very well paying as Al Gore’s 7 homes has shown. There money in green propaganda. And subsidies.

      My favorite is the Spanish solar facility caught running generators at night because the PV subsidies paid more than the cost of diesel.

      • Then there was the 2 Chinese factories – one making CFC’s and the other destroying them. Then there are the coal fired power plants – 5 approved as clean development mechanisms by the UN and 31 in the pipeline. Talk about heat in the pipeline.

  64. Remember the goal. This is about limiting and (eventually) reversing climate change.

    Nature takes care of that:

    NOAA’s Data shows that ice accumulates rapidly during warm times and slowly during cold times. It snows more in Antarctic when the oceans are warm. The NOAA Ice Core data shows that. It snows more in Greenland when the oceans are warm. The NOAA Ice Core data shows that. It snows more in Europe and Asia and North America when the Warm Ocean Currents melt Arctic Sea Ice. For Example, this past Winter and other Winters during the past Decade.

    When Oceans are cold, it snows less and ice retreats. When Oceans are warm, it snows more and ice advances. This powerful negative feedback is the Thermostat of Earth. Pay attention to the agreement between Low Arctic Sea Ice Events and severe winters around the Northern Latitudes. Look up these events during the past Decade.

    Consensus Climate Scientists leave this powerful negative Albedo feedback effect out of their Theory and Models.

    Warm Oceans melt Arctic Sea Ice and cause it to snow more. That is when the oceans drop. Nature takes care of that!

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