William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The Environmentalist Fallacy Causing Global Warming Divide To Grow

A headline lifted from an MS-”Bias free”-NBC story: “Americans’ divide over global warming getting deeper” (linked on HotAir). Subtitle: “Despite onslaught of science, resistance to the idea seems to be hardening.” An onslaught!

The author, Charles J. Hanley, said that the debate “has taken on a more partisan, ideological tone. Polls find a widening Republican-Democratic gap on climate. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry even accuses climate scientists of lying for money.”Environmentalist fallacy

That last claim is an odd one for the left wing C.J. Hanley to make, because later in his musings he quotes a certain Hamilton who, in “an interview, he said he found a ‘transformation’ from the 1990s and its industry-financed campaign, to an America where climate denial ‘has now become a marker of cultural identity in the *angry* parts of the United States.’”

Never mind that “angry” parts business—which appear to be those geographic subareas wherever large numbers of progressives with “outrage” on their lips gather; have you ever seen an angrier bunch?—and focus instead on the charge that skeptics are part of an organized conspiracy financed by “industry.”

What is “industry”? From the writings of environmentalists it is empirically defined as “those companies who provide money for organizations that are not friendly to environmentalists.” Companies that provide endless streams of money at environmental organizations are not, therefore, “industry.” Apple corporation, for example, is not a member of “industry.”

Perry claimed that scientists, being only human after all, can be corrupted by the root of all evil. Perry’s statement is both true and obvious. Therefore, those scientists, including those whose careers depend on pro-environmental funding, can be corrupted. Perry further claims, just as Hanley and all those whom he quotes also claim, to have found scientists who have been corrupted. We resist quoting Captain Renault’s reaction.

The so-called “widening Republican-Democratic gap on climate” is also disputable. What is instead happening is fewer Americans give a damn about global-warming-is-doom discussions. Only the stalwarts on either side remain, each camp tossing verbal bombs at the other, and like all political wars, the rhetorical weaponry has been subjected to an arms race.

The worst error Hanley and his cohorts make can be called the Environmentalist Fallacy. This is not to be confused with the environmental or ecological fallacy. Let me explain.

Human activity certainly affects the climate. How much is in dispute. Many climatologists, relying on models built around a common theory, say, with high probability, the “global temperature” will increase a few tenths of a degree centigrade within about fifty years. A smaller group of scientists, the skeptics, agree this might happen, but say the probability it will do so is much lower.

The typical environmentalist commits the environmentalist fallacy the first time when he turns the “high probability” into unshakable certainty. Incidentally, if the environmentalist further says the skeptic, by disagreeing with him, is a “denier”, the environmentalist has not re-committed the environmentalist fallacy, but has exposed himself as an ass.

A rise in the “global temperature” has no real consequences, because no thing (except the planet as a whole) experiences a “global temperature.” People, plants, things, and so on experience local temperatures, wind, and weather.

Now, a rising “global temperature” does not imply that all locations will have a change (in the statistical sense) in weather. The environmentalist fallacy says all locations will change. A rising temperature does not, it most emphatically does not, imply that only untoward, evil, unwanted, costly, unhelpful, harmful effects will result. The environmentalist fallacy says only bad and no good can come from changing temperatures.

Since it is not certain “global temperatures” will rise, it is also not certain that weather will change at any given locality. Indeed, it must be less certain weather will change at a given locality. No climatologist, skeptic or consensus member, disputes this. It also must be, and is anyway obvious, that projected changes in plants, animals, things, and so on caused by changes in weather are less certain still.

Even given that only evil, etc. changes will certainly take place, and that these changes are certain, it is far, far from certain that any proposed policy or behavioral changes will fix the evil changes. Human behavior is even more complicated than the climate and nobody yet has succeeded in predicting it. And of course, it is not certain that only evil changes will occur.

Taken together, these truths add up to healthy, compelling uncertainty, which argue extreme caution in making any policy or behavioral decisions. The environmentalist fallacy says no uncertainty exists and that any proposal made by an environmentalist will bring only good.

The environmentalist fallacy is, in a word, a ruthless uncertainty remover. In summary form: “Whatever I believe is true because I, an environmentalist whose motives are unquestionable, believe it.”

What we need, however, is less, not more, certainty.

46 Comments

  1. Would it be PC for angry “deniers” to point out “fallacists” are stupid?

    Educated? Yes. Intelligent? Possibly. Smart? Not very much. Huge failure applying logic.

  2. Well, ummm, 49erDweet, I must take exception to your comment.

    It seems (and please do correct me if I’m wrong) that the only reason a raving environmental lunatic would call Briggs’ logic “stupid” would be said lunatic’s reliance on yet another fallacy, the precautionary principle, which has been, I think, rendered irrelevant.

    I found the logic unassailable, and the concluding paragraphs brilliant. They bear repeating:

    “The environmentalist fallacy…[i]n summary form: “Whatever I believe is true because I, an environmentalist whose motives are unquestionable, believe it.”

    What we need, however, is less, not more, certainty.”

  3. Hmmm, I might’ve misunderstood the thrust of your comment, Dweet. If so, so sorry!

  4. @ HPJ,Jr. We’re cool. After writing the comment I edited it for length, but seem to have made it murkier.

  5. I don’t think apple is a good example of a corporation that is not an industry based upon the fact that Apple does not do much charity donations.
    Greenpeace says Apple was placed fourth from bottom for charity giving amongst corporations.
    http://www.cultofmac.com/5216/apple-scores-low-on-corporate-responsibility/

  6. The inexplicable fallacy to me is the expectation that we humans as a species will change our activities in even a small way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions given the huge impact it will have our standard of living (in developed countries) or in our survival rate (in the most undeveloped countries). You have to be total denier of basic human nature to believe anything like that is even remotely possible. Sure, we’ll outlaw DDT now and then, but only if the malaria stays in Africa.

    And you may even be able to convince a country or two to lead the way, but when their economies are in shambles any other country initially tempted to follow will no doubt re-evaluate.

    I really am being honest when I ask this – why the heck are they doing this??? What do they hope to achieve, given the practical impossibility of ‘winning the war’, or for that matter, even more that a token battle or two? Mass delusional idealism??? Some instinctive need to believe in something bigger than themselves? Money? Where? How?

    Meanwhile, I have to admit that I do enjoy the science – I’m learning a lot from a surprisingly wide range of fields that have surprising applicability to the topic. And from what I have learned so far, the schadenfreude a denier can expect to experience in about ten years – priceless.

  7. @Milton
    IMO they do this to perhaps feel good. Now if they led by example I would pay attention. Nothing like tilting against windmills is a no lose trade, when I am certain there is no blow-back.
    Warren Buffet anyone?

  8. Are they holding hands through PVC piping? Is that environmentally sound?

  9. Grzegorz Staniak

    27 September 2011 at 7:53 am

    Mr. Briggs,

    You keep spreading doubt where there’s very little room for it. Every single temperature trend series in the world shows a rise, and quite a fast one too. There are multiple independent lines of empirical evidence proving the reality of the warming and its anthropogenic character. As I have reminded you before, it’s just physics — not statistics. You can’t re-radiate 800 trillion Watts towards the surface of the Earth and expect it to cool. And I seriously doubt that plant and animal species that already migrate to the North (or South, on the other hemisphere) do it just because they’re gullible enough to listen to Mr. Hanley and fall for an “environmentalist fallacy”. It’s happening now, it’s not just “projected”. Read up before writing.

    You’re propagating falsehoods while pointing to “fallacies” in other people’s opinions. No, Mr. Briggs, it’s certainly NOT true that “a rise in the ‘global temperature’ has no real consequences”. The rise reflects a physical reality of increased greenhouse effect, that is, more longwave radiation hitting the surface of the Earth. There’s nothing “uncertain” about it, and it has real consequences everywhere, CO2 being a well-mixed gas. So YES, “all locations will have a change (in the statistical sense) in weather”. “In the statistical sense” weather is climate, and climate is affected at all places, as it is not a composition of discrete parts, but one system. CO2 doesn’t form isolated islands here and there.

    You set up one straw-man after another, ascribing opinions to whole categories of people, but never actually quoting anyone except Mr. Hanley. I don’t know where you find all the people who claim that high probability is certainty, or that climate change brings evil and only evil — in my matrix people know the phrase “proven beyond reasonable doubt” and are able to see the big picture, in which the net balance of possible gains and losses has the minus sign in front of it. Your views on the human nature are nothing but your private convictions and do not need to bother anyone else. Somehow the fallible, imperfect human beings that we are have been able to reduce aerosol emissions — at a considerable cost — in order to fight smog, and to reduce halocarbons emissions — at a considerable cost — to fight ozone depletion. The means to reduce carbon emissions are there — see http://goo.gl/l3AXj — and the cost is nowhere near as prohibitive as some would like it to seem. If there’s still some uncertainty, it’s definitely not an excuse to play Russian roulette with the whole planet. Decisions should be made now, even if deniers, or FUD-mongers like you, spread doubt to push their private ideological or political agendas.

  10. Ahhhh, there it is: The Precautionary Principle from Staniak…

    Those who promote the principle call the financial and human costs of “stopping CAGW” nothing more than insurance premiums, like insuring one’s house against fire.

    That makes sense, ONLY if one would pay a million dollars in premiums, up front, today, cash, against the possibility that one’s house, worth $100,000, might one day be lost to fire.

  11. Grzegorz Staniak – Maybe I’ll be the first to point out to you the following: Among other things,

    a) This blog is intended to be entertaining,
    b) This blog is intended to address serious matters, usually associated with statistics & commonly associated logical reasoning (those two actually go “hand & hand”), and
    c) The above two are not mutually exclusive. Honest! Though, as a blog the depth of discussion is naturally limited to available space.

    Keep all that in mind–context that is–and relax & be happy.

    RE: Your assertion: “Every single temperature trend series in the world shows a rise, and quite a fast one too.”

    THAT is simply untrue.

    See: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2009/2009_Lean_Rind.pdf

    That’s the same paper you’ve seen fit to reference a number of times…but this link actually links directly to the paper, and, note Figure 1 a) (top of the second page) — from 2000 thru the end of the data (about 2009-ish) the Global Surface Temperature is illustrated as being basically flat with the temperature anomaly presented ranging between 0.3 to 0.5 degree (major excursions from this band are downward, in the direction of cooling). For equally reputable data, available elsewhere, this non-warming trend has persisted to the present.

    What’s not shown is the statitistical significance associated with that graph–and an aggregate figure from numerous measurment sites of 0.4 degree plus/minus 0.1 degree persisting for a decade doesn’t seem like one should expect or impart any statistical significance … which is to say the data shows no change in a flat (non-) trend for some 40+ seasons or so. All while CO2 has risen steadily. None of the models saw that coming…at least not until it came for awhile & the models were tweaked….

    This non-warming non-trend trend is been a puzzle& embarrassement to a number of the high priests of climate scientists, many of which are on record discussing it (e.g. Hansen’s peculiar ‘the heat is “in the pipeline”‘ remark, which even as an analogy makes little sense & must be taken as metaphorical allegory…).

    Semantics aside, the “missing heat” [non-, to some] “issue” has been a very BIG DEAL for those alarmists studying climate & trying to get their models to predict what’s actually happening rather than (though, someday, it will happen, they persist in saying…with “it” being runaway warming pushing the Earth into some thermal tipping point leading to some sort of calamity…like a resurgence of Seersucker as a fashionable & popular style…).

    Recently, they think they figured out what’s happening. And what’s happening is, according to them is [not that the heat is "in the pipeline" but rather that] the heat went into hiding some meters deep in the ocean.

    Here’s a story, one of many, on this subject: “Missing” global heat may hide in deep oceans
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/09/18/science-us-climate-oceans-idUKTRE78H1TF20110918

    Of course, after missing the trend so much & long note the use of weasel word qualifiers: “may” which gives them wiggle room to squirm out of accountability when these predictions miss the mark by the proverbial mile.

    Its clear you know a lot, but recent (i.e. past decade or so) trend/non-trend data clearly isn’t one of them. Even the high priests of climatology & warming alarmism haven’t even made such bold claims (and they’ve made some doosies).

  12. @Human Person Junior, Jr.

    You’re in the situation of a guy who hasn’t got any insurance and is watching an approaching bush-fire seated on his porch, deliberating whether insurances are any good at all, and convincing himself that the fire will stop anyway, or the house is gonna be fine after all etc. etc. The odds are very much against you. It’s not insurance, it’s gambling against common sense.

    @Ken

    The magic spell of “uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty!” doesn’t make a “serious matter associated with statistics” out of bunch of pre-suppositions. And I guess you could tell Mr. Briggs to relax and be happy too, tone down the vitriol a bit and get some therapy for the little climate science obsession that surfaces in this blog so often.

    As for Lean&Rind, you understood so little that it’s actually funny ;) You can cherry-pick any noisy time series to show any trend you like e.g. by starting on a crest and ending on a trough of a cyclic graph to show a decline. That’s exactly why the authors identified a set of influences and subtracted their metrics from the temperature trend graph. And after you remove ENSO, solar and volcanic you’re left with a steady climb that cannot be explained by “natural cycles” (’cause you’ve just removed them). The WMO uses 30 years as the basic period for drawing conclusions about climate not arbitrarily, but for a reason. That’s the scale where you’re able to see the signal behind the noise, and get results similar to L&R by smoothing the record. Now, go and find any temperature trend series that shows a “pause in warming” or “a cooling” for the last 30 years.

    And while you’re at it, have a look at http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/three-more-months-to-go/ — unless a miracle happens in the last 3 months of this year, the myth of “there’s been no warming since 1998″ is gone. Mind you, this is in “moderate to strong La Nina conditions”, when the Pacific colder water is cooling the globe.

    Your nonsensical remarks about Hansen’s “heat in the pipeline” or “missing heat” prove that just like Mr. Briggs, you actually know very little about the science you attempt to criticise. Go google for “equilibrium sensitivity” and “transient sensitivity”, repeat your secondary school thermodynamics paying attention to the words “thermal inertia” this time, or you could start with a nice intro like this: http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/re-visiting-cff/ and visit the references given by the author.

  13. The ocean’s rising has not accelerated; in fact, last year ocean level has gone down; ACE (accumulated cyclonic energy) for the past couple of decades is down; Antartica’s ice is pretty stable; The Arctic ice extent almost reached 2007 low (except for 1 anomalous account) and winds changes can account for a lot of the ice loss (pushing ice to warmer waters); and Mt. Kilimanjaro’s snow cap is returning; snows have returned to Europe. So where is this growing world-threatening disaster? I think the attempt by governments to reverse industrialization is the real disaster in the making. The fix is the problem.

  14. Three questions for you, Mr. Staniak;

    1. What is the average temperature of the Earth supposed to be today, and how do you know?

    2. Do you really think citations to Joe Romm and Tamino are persuasive, and will change the views of those who don’t agree with you?

    3. Why are the true believers in AGW so darn angry?

  15. Grzegorz Staniak said:

    “The rise reflects a physical reality of increased greenhouse effect, that is, more longwave radiation hitting the surface of the Earth.”

    So how come astronomers have measured a decrease in downwelling IR over the last few decades?

    Personally, I’m with Briggs/William/Mat [delete whichever is inapplicable] that climate is local. And I have changed the local climate of my land to warm it and increase its water retention. In cooler climes, warmer is better.

  16. From Greg Locke, #3:

    WHY ARE TRUE BELIEVERS SO DARN ANGRY? E.G. Grzegorz S.’s comment’s extraordinarily rapid degeneration to emotion-laden sweeping generalities–exactly the opposite of credible science & objective discussion & study. Reasons underlying THAT pattern areaddressed, in detail but at a level suitable for the layperson, in Chapters 42-46 of the book advertised at http://www.libertymind.com.

    Related insight, from someone with such a disposition is at: http://www.guesswhatnormalis.com/

    That site is by an adult child of an alcoholic (ACOA) who understands how their childhood emotional trauma left scars & deep changes that affect how they perceive a distorted view of reality. ACOA is one [too common] example of a traumatized personality characterized by low self esteem, hypersensitivity coupled with an inclination to be insensitive to others, etc. Such people are inclined to support broad causes/themes/concepts but become very uneasy when confronting anything involving the inevitable hard decisions & trade-offs. When they do address details they tend to things lacking any emotional content (i.e. emotionally safe themes such as math, engineering, software coding, etc.). They are drawn to noble causes, but invariably in a way that never leads to any success (self-sabotage). A typical profile is a child that had to deal with a parent’s unpredictable mood swings & contradictory values. In reaction they crave the stability they never had, but, being conditioned to an emotionally chaotic lifestyle, and being told repeatedly (directly & indireclty) they are insignificant, invariably are drawn to people & circumstances that re-create the chaos of their dysfunctiona home life. When such are not available, or what is is insufficient, they create chaos around them (though they never consciously realize this & believe the opposite). As such, a noble but utterly futile cause like saving the world from global warming & certain doom by curtailing CO2 emissions is as irresistible a cause as going back to that stream from which a salmon was hatched. The science is arcane, highly uncertain (mirroring home life psychological chaos), and the leaders promise severe repercussions just around the corner (like toxic parents that always threaten the kids with a beating, foster care, removal from the will, etc.) that never quite come about, the promises of doom never do either (but then, the parent’s promises to behave better, made in moments of lucidity, never quite came about either). When one points out historical facts like the Roman period of economic prosperity–coinciding with natural warming that was not apocalyptic in its effects–these people can get very angry…by pointing this out one is effectively undermining their entire belief construct. Sick personalities, for as much as they want to heal, crave the familiar & prefer that to a difficult uncertain future.

    M. Scott Peck also describes this in, “People of the Lie.”

  17. Psychology of the Left

    QUOTE: “On the left, we eat alive our own allies when they make false claims. That’s precisely what happened on vaccines and autism. We don’t follow the leader—any leader. This is part of our inherent disunity (often a political liability) and anti-authoritarian psychology.” From the liberal blog: http://www.desmogblog.com/unequivocal-today-s-right-overwhemingly-more-anti-science-today-s-left

    Habitual rebelliousness is a strong indicator of someone that not only didn’t outgrow that phase of childhood development, didn’t do so suffered from dysfunctional/toxic parenting — because they couldn’t develop healthy relationships with the primary authority figure(s) in their life, that bit of development was significantly thwarted to the point it affects all aspects of their lives.

    Again, the best concise summary is in Chapters 42-46 of “The Liberal Mind,” available thru http://www.libertymind.com

  18. Grzegorz Staniak

    28 September 2011 at 7:34 pm

    @mbabbit

    You know, when I read comments like yours I must agree with Joe Romm when he talks about the “epistemic closure” — the echo chamber of the ideologically approved media creating their own reality, and filtering out anything that doesn’t agree with it. Hundreds and thousands of papers confirming the “consensus view” each year don’t exist, but anything authored by a few well-known opponents of it automatically is “the last nail in the coffin of AGW”, however easily debunked. I’ve lost count of the last nails already. The coffin must be nothing but the nails by now, and still not nearly finished for some reason.

    Anyway, you’re very detached from reality here. Ocean levels are rising at accelerating speed, no matter what yearly variability you decide to cling to. ACE is an index that is based on the peak wind speed registered for a hurricane and thus e.g. is less sensitive to an observed increase in smaller, shorter-lived cyclones — other indices that assess the released energy (like the Power Dissipation Index) paint a different picture. The Artic ice extent is another carefully picked metric, often used to counter the unequivocal and quite dramatic decrease in Arctic ice volume — in vain, too, because even ice extent has a clear downwards trend. Mt. Kilimanjaro has lost some 90% of its icecap, but even if you were right, you have hundreds of other icaecaps and glaciers all around the world that are retreating — why? And you know, I live in Europe. Please don’t tell me about “returning snows”, OK?

  19. Grzegorz Staniak

    28 September 2011 at 7:43 pm

    @Greg Locke

    I’ll answer your questions by asking my own:

    ad 1) How should I know and why should I care?
    ad 2) Does it make a difference to you who reports a fact or presents an argument? If I linked directly to http://goo.gl/YRKe1 would you feel any better? If so, what does it say about your impartiality?
    ad 3) Oh, I love this kind of questions. I can ask my own: why are the anti-science crowd questioning AGW so dumb?

  20. Grzegorz Staniak

    28 September 2011 at 8:20 pm

    @Pompous Git

    The answer is simple: they haven’t. The IRIS satellites and then the Japanese IMG program confirmed a decrease in the outgoing longwave radiation, and at the same time and increase in the re-radiation to the surface was recorded. You can read about it e.g. here: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JD011800.shtml

  21. I must have hit a nerve. Good.

  22. Grzegorz Staniak

    28 September 2011 at 8:42 pm

    @Ken

    Actually, just as you suggested before, I was quite relaxed, happy and amused when I saw you quoting a paper that dissasembles the temperature trend record to show the underlying, uninterupted warming trend, as an argument for “cooling” on the basis of the very same temperature trend record that was being disassembled. I don’t think you would do that intentionally, so I have to assume you didn’t quite understand what you were reading. That’s just calling a spade a spade, as I see no reason to beat about the bush.

    Anyway, glad to see that you’re above the whole ad hominem mess — like, refraining from suggesting personality disorders in your opponent just because he’s caught you writing something silly.

  23. Grzegorz Staniak

    28 September 2011 at 8:44 pm

    @mbabbitt

    LOL ;) Yeah, keep repeating that to yourself. Or maybe blog about it. That would be perhaps another nail in the coffin etc. etc.

  24. @Grzegorz Staniak Sorry, I forgot to reference the response you gave in my above response — and found the time to respond to your genius. You can tell this by the fact you refer to “Epistemic closure” — another fad phrase making the psuedo-philosophic rounds today– to make it seem like a smart idea; it can be thrown in both directions; it basically means closed minded. What a unique idea!

    Consensus, Consmensus. One countering data set can cancel out all of the consensus you can throw out.Wow, hundreds and thousands of papers! Whew, so impressive when they all get grant money to put a global warming spin on any paper they write — besides controlling who gets published or how easy it is to get published when you go against the narrative. Sorry. All of the things we’re supposed to worry about concerning global warming, don’t seem to be big deals.

    Beside the other repeated, sky- is-falling garbage, I had to laugh at your account that ocean rise is accelerating in an (implied) dangerous way. That’s a whopper. See JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 115, C08013, 15 PP., 2010 :
    “The global mean sea level for the period January 1900 to December 2006 is estimated to rise at a rate of 1.56 ± 0.25 mm/yr which is reasonably consistent with earlier estimates, but we do not find significant acceleration. The regional mean sea level of the single ocean basins show mixed long-term behavior.” After an ice age, sea levels naturally will rise, but the rate has been pretty steady for the past 100 years.

    I would actually prefer a slightly warmer planet – most of human history is full of accounts of the flourishing of civilizations in a warmer world. But I don’t think that’s going to happen; I hope it doesn’t go that way the other way. But no one really knows.

  25. Grzegorz Staniak

    29 September 2011 at 7:47 am

    @mbabbit

    And thus, in one smooth step, you sink from Mr. Briggs’ “reasonable” assumption that since some scientists are certainly corrupt, some climate scientist are most probably too, into a conspiracy theory of epic proportions. EVERY climate scientist except the bunch that tells you what you want to hear is a corrupt shill for conspiring governments and/or international organizations dominated by leftist intent on controlling your life. And they’re in it just for the money. The money that no-one actually has pointed to, for some mysterious reason. But it must be a real bundle, considering that one Disney movie has a budget bigger than all climate modelling teams in the world combined.

    You and Ken seem to share a peculiar idea of science: it is NOT a house of cards from which you can pull one and cause it to fall. Science is not just mathematics. It’s a puzzle, in which you can have a number of missing pieces and still be able to recognize quite clearly what is the big picture. The “missing heat” is no more a proof of “shoddy research” and an argument against AGW than dark matter/energy are proofs of “shoddy research” and arguments against relativity or quantum mechanics. And you definitely do not “cancel out all of the consensus” with one data set — you’re missing the obvious possibility of errors within this particular data set or the analysis thereof.

    Anyway, the paper you’re referring to is a neuron net analysis of tide gauge data only, without satellite measurements. It doesn’t show an acceleration only because this particular analysis produced no slump in the graph around the 50s — which may well be an artifact of this specific method. Have a look at http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/SeaLevel/ to see a concave graph and multidecadal trend illustrations on data that include satellite measurements. See http://academics.eckerd.edu/instructor/hastindw/MS1410-001_FA08/handouts/2008SLRSustain.pdf for context — the natural rise “after an ice age” stopped c. 3000 ago.

  26. @Grzegorz Staniak No, I don’t believe every AGW believing scientist is corrupt by any means, but I do believe that the economic and political atmosphere today has a corrupting influence especially when many of the scientists providing some key supporting data do everything they can to avoid criticisms. Climategate exemplifies this. Many scientists trust other scientists in other fields since they trust how their own field operates. However, when they start digging, they oftentimes come to the skeptical position and are appalled at the lack of scientific rigor in climate science. AJ Strata at http://strata-sphere.com/blog/ is one such person. My biggest beef is the way many AGW supporting climate scientists behave: the censure at their blogs and their ad hominem attacks on their opponents. People of integrity don’t behave like that. Enough said. Bye.

  27. Grzegorz Staniak

    29 September 2011 at 9:28 am

    @mbabbitt

    What exactly does the so-called “Climategate” exmplify? As far as I know, seven or eight independent investigations, including the one recently concluded by NSF’s Inspector General found no evidence of wrongdoing on the side of the climatologists that have been dragged into mud by the well-orchestrated “-gate”. Which accidentally happenned before the Copenhagen summit, accidentally in Murdoch’s tabloids, accidentally just in time to let the revelations sink in, but without giving anyone a chance to verify or explain them. For me, the so-called “Climategate” is a good example of how you can dump a huge mountain of misinformation on the unsuspecting public, achieve a political goal by confusing it profoundly and get away with it. Not much else.

    I’m sorry, but an anonynous someone who claims to be a converted scientist and quotes Monckton, of all people, is no authority. And anyway, as a “skeptic” you shouldn’t argue from authority, right? What exactly has the blogger published? What arguments has he presented? Anything else than some “omg they’re so corrupt and incompetent” laundry parlor gossip?

    Somehow I’m not surprised at all that you decided to climb the high moral grouds and finish the conversation just at this moment. That’s in turn what bugs me about the so-called “skeptics”: they’re being “skeptical” only as long as their beliefs and prejudices are not threatened.

  28. Dear Staniak:

    You attempt to make this debate about scientific truth versus scientific untruth. It is, in fact, hippies versus rrational people; commies against people who believe wealth can be amassed from hard work; political left versus political right.

    If you care to, you can look up the self-evident words from the CAGW-pushing leftists.

    Example from Ottmar Edenhofer, IPCC official: “…[I]t’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization…”

    More from the same genius: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this.”

    I can quote you dozens of similar pronouncements from the “scientifically pure” alarmists.

  29. @Human Person Junior, Jr.

    You’re the best example of why there can’t be any rational debate on the subject at the moment: like too many others, you aren’t interested in the truth nearly as much as in waging crusade against “hippies”, “commies”, “political left” or “alarmists”. That’s a bit ironic actually, because traditionally it was the conservatives who valued the conservation of nature, founded and funded national parks etc. This ended however when the scale of the problems made it evident that a global intervention is required — in a couple of decades they went hard into denial and now live in the la-la-land where 150 years of science and common sense mean nothing as long as they contradict the ideological dogma: central government is evil. If they have to choose between a mass extinction and empowering central government they will choose a mass extinction any time. Anything better than a global government, right?

    Frankly, I don’t give a damn about “warmists”, “alarmists”, IPCC officials, Al Gore etc. I’m interested in what the science says, in order to make informed decisions for myself and my children. And the scientific opinion leaves littlle doubt about the direction things are going.

  30. Wow! Just wow!

    I’m so heartened to have run across someone who’d totally above the political fray, a pure heart devoted to scientific reality and nothing else. You are a rare breed, fuh ree-yulllll.

    You wrote: “…I’m interested in what the science says, in order to make informed decisions for myself and my children. And the scientific opinion leaves littlle doubt about the direction things are going.”

    I’m so glad you’re not interested in making “informed decisions” for me and my children.

    You’re right about one thing you said about conservatives (or, at least, this conservative), about how we would choose a “mass extinction” over “empowering central government.”

    If my choices are to A) bake, sizzle or drown; or, B) live in Van Jonestown, I’d prefer to bake sizzle or drown. Oh, wait, Van Jones is only interested in the science, right? Just like you, right? To paraphrase your complaint against conservative, you believe there’s NOTHING “better than a global government, right?”

  31. Grzegorz Staniak

    29 September 2011 at 3:16 pm

    @Human Person Junior, Jr.

    Hey, look who’s going all “rational” here. Good luck, old boy, go fight the red disease to amass your wealth from hard work in peace. Let no silly eco-BS stop ya, better dead than carbon-neutral.

  32. You say carbon-neutral. I thought CO2 was the culprit.

    And if CO2 is the culprit, why prattle about carbon?

    And if you must shorten the term CO2, why not shorten it to oxygen? After all, isn’t oxygen a larger component of CO2?

    (By the way, I know why alarmists say “carbon” rather than CO2. It’s a lie.)

  33. Grzegorz Staniak

    29 September 2011 at 6:03 pm

    @Human Person Junior, Jr.

    OMG, you’ve blown my cover — I’m a card-carrying solar-panel user. “Carbon” is our inside jargon for “the capitalist pigs must die”.

    Seriously, why are you using all those question marks at the end of your senetnces? You don’t want any answers, you already know. You always knew.

  34. @Grzegorz Staniak Anyone who calls the parties which investigated Climategatee, “independent”, just lost any credibility they ever had.

  35. Grzegorz Staniak

    30 September 2011 at 2:49 am

    @mbabbitt

    Yeah, sure. The British Parliament is “dependent”, the NSF Inspector General takes orders from Van Jones, Lord Oxburgh is in it for the money he’ll make on green tech etc. etc. But of course you’re not building a global conspiracy theory here. No siree.

  36. It is very likely – indeed, a certainty – that an other reader has noted this error:
    “…the root of all evil.”
    “LOVE of money” is the root of evil.

  37. Milton Hathaway

    1 October 2011 at 4:00 am

    @Grzegorz Staniak

    You’ve been very diligent at responding in this forum, so I am motivated to ask – how come? While it’s clear that you are a true believer, how does your side win this battle? This doesn’t seem like a battle that can be won incrementally – the incentive is to let others lead the way in reducing GHG emissions, and if others do lead the way, there is no incentive to follow. And we have no world government with the required power to enforce GHG emission reductions world-wide all at once.

    Am I missing something here? I just don’t see a practical way to get from where the world is today to where you want it to be. What’s your plan? Little picture, big picture, near-term, long-term, where do you go from here?

    I myself do have a default plan: wait and see.

  38. Grzegorz Staniak

    1 October 2011 at 8:52 am

    @Milton Hathaway

    I’m not a “believer”, true or otherwise. It’s not about faith or beliefs. It’s about looking for reliable information under all this ideological and political hell fanned by interest groups. I don’t care about it. I just want to able to form an informed opinion about a plan once someone comes up with it. I don’t have one myself.

    I guess we will all just have to wait and see. Technically, reducing emissions by 85% is already feasible and nowhere near as costly as the deniers would like it to be — I prefer the engineers’ opinion on that. And anyway the concept of “stabilization wedges” has been around for a while. I think even without a global government, as soon as China and India decide to go green, the game is over. And you know, China’s leaders don’t need to worry about public opinion too much, and are not stupid. If you’re a no. 4 world oil producer and still have to import half of the oil you use, you start thinking about alternatives. Luckily, they don’t have a bunch of Saudis and Koch brothers holding a nation hostage.

  39. @ Staniak:

    Please take off the blinders.

    The middle class is anathema to those in the know, those at the top of this leftist food chain. The average tree-hugger is purely a tool for upper management.

    Every leftist government in history has attempted (often successfully) to annihilate the middle class. And you’d better believe: If the UN or any global organization gets the upper hand over nations and their sovereignty, the economic system WON’T be capitalism. The very reason upper management hates capitalism is that it creates and maintains a vibrant middle class (once called the merchant class). People who sell goods and services to their neighbors and/or other businesses are the lifeblood of a healthy economy. These people act much like worker ants, but ants with a true stake in the bigger outlook. In the leftist economy, central planning attempts to create a strong economy, by giving the people an EVEN BIGGER STAKE in the overall picture. That’s right: Screw up on this production line once more, and you’ll get a bullet in the back of the head, and another, interchangeable unit will be doing your job. And if HE SCREWS UP, the process will simply repeat…

    If we initiate carbon (CO2, lol, what you call carbon) pricing, people will starve and freeze in their homes. Already, the plan has been shown for what it is — a frog-in-the-pot plan. Chairman Zero has already said, in effect: What are you people afraid of? It’ll just be like maybe $7 to $15 per month added to your electric bill.

    Guess what: That’s the loss leader, the come-on, the “let’s start small NOW so we can get some serious cash from you ASAP plan.”

    You are free to be an idiot, useful or otherwise. I won’t submit to leftist dominion over the sweat of my brow. It ain’t gonna HAPPEN! I’ll do what I must to prevent it, and plenty of us feel the same way. FORGET IT!

    We are Taxed Enough Already. CAGW is a hoax. GW is a fact, one I cheerfully accept.

  40. Grzegorz Staniak

    1 October 2011 at 4:25 pm

    @Human Person Junior, Jr.

    If we initiate carbon pricing, people will starve and freeze in their homes

    CAGW is a hoax

    Prove it. Or stop the silly propaganda. Put up or shut up.

  41. Grzegorz, I am a middle class hippy (grow my own organic food, live in an “ecological” house (whatever that means) I built for myself, have long hair, listen to music Briggs does not approve etc). My carbon footprint when calculated by me is very close to what the CAGW alarmists say it should be. Yet if I go to one of those cutesy alarmist websites that calculate my carbon footprint, they tell me the exact opposite.

    You see, I grow my own organic food rather than buying it. I grow my own trees for fuel, rather than paying someone to grow them for me. Et cetera.

    Now, tell us why this is “scientific” rather than a grab for our money. Tell us why it’s not nanny-statism. Hint: this has nothing to do with the Left vs the Right, it’s the Authoritarians vs the Libertarians. And the Authoritarians (Chinese) are winning in the economy stakes. And making lotsa plant food.

    [aside] I wonder if I can get Deadman Turner to write a song: “Carbon is the nigger of the world!” [/aside]

  42. Grzegorz Staniak

    2 October 2011 at 5:39 am

    @Pompous Git

    Could you please provide the URL of the website that falsifies carbon footprint calculation?

    As for the rest of your post — I respect your right to possess any ideological bias you choose to possess, but I draw a line at creating alternative realities. Have a look at http://goo.gl/1vWzQ — the multinationals that dominate world food trade come from the USA, go hand in hand with GMO companies that dominate grain trade, and are supported all the way by the US government which takes care of their interests wherever there’s a US embassy in the world, and continues to shove intellectual property rights down the world’s throat: just in case anyone would attempt to rely on their own GM crops. For every tonne of vegetables that the US buys from China, China buys 10 tonnes of American soybeans.

  43. Grzegorz Staniak said @ 2 October 2011 at 5:39 am

    @Pompous Git

    Could you please provide the URL of the website that falsifies carbon footprint calculation?

    Sure: http://www.carbonfootprint.com/ provided me with the false figures.

    My tiny carbon footprint has absolutely nothing to do with ideological bias and everything to do with being rational. My mummy taught me how to do sums (and Briggs has expanded my mind greatly in that regard).

    I also assert my right (until it’s removed by despotism or death) of creating my own reality. As I wrote more than a decade ago:

    “If you grow your own potatoes, you have done several quite important things. You have removed the necessity to earn the dollars to buy those potatoes and if your income is subject to your control, you can then choose to pay less taxes. If, like me, you grew them organically, you have no need of the agrochemical inputs and so you have reduced the income of the agrochemical companies and in turn their taxes. You have had useful physical exercise that improves your health and so reduced the necessity to visit the doctor. You have saved transporting the potatoes from the farmer’s paddock, to the warehouse, to the supermarket and home, reducing the amount of fossil fuel burned. The most profoundly political act you can make is not to vote for Tweedle Dumb or Tweedle Dumber, or protest about what you can never control, but to grow your own food and take control of your own life.”

    Your reality appears to consist in worrying about what you cannot control and attempting to persuade others to do the same. Sounds like insecurity to me. I prefer acting within my sphere of influence.

  44. Grzegorz Staniak

    3 October 2011 at 10:58 am

    @Pompous Git

    Of course by “alternative reality” I didn’t mean your private agriculture, but your “hint” that it’s the Authoritarians (Chinese) who influence the nanny-state to lie to you about your carbon footprint so that they can sell you plant food, instead of you growing your own. But you know what I meant, don’t you.

    You have your values and your way of life — good for you. Why are you telling me about it when I haven’t asked you to do it, though? It’s off-topic anyway. Are you by any chance “persuading others to do the same”?

    And please lose the straw-man. It seems one cannot just talk about a topic here without being immediately pidgeonholed. Who says I’m “worrying about what you cannot control”? Who says I’m “persuading others to do the same”? I might equally well say that you’re an escapist, hoping that reality will disappear once you close your eyes.

  45. Gregorz, you missed my point regarding authoritarianism, nanny-statism & the Chinese. The Western powers in their pursuit of nanny-statism are losing the economic war big-time. I highly recommend reading “How the West was Lost” by Dambisa Moyo. The people who lie to us most effectively are of course not the Chinese, but our own governments. You also missed my point that CO2 is plant food, not the toxic pollutant the CAGWers say it is.
    You said: “I draw a line at creating alternative realities” and I pointed out that creating an alternative reality is a valid, albeit anti-authoritarian thing to do. I don’t think I have ever attempted to persuade anyone else to do so; I merely assert that it’s a valid way of dealing with things. How is it off topic to address a statement you made?
    You have in this thread attempted to persuade us that our scepticism of CAGW is wrong and that it is due to an ideological bias. We are a heterogonous bunch and apart from preferring to think through issues for ourselves, do not appear to share an ideology. And if you feel pidgeonholed, it’s because you are promoting something that doesn’t stand up to investigation.
    Google: “Green Advocates Failing in Climate Debate” and read what Mark Seal had to say on this.
    You said you were worrying about what you cannot control, not me: “the multinationals that dominate world food trade come from the USA…”
    Yes, I am an escapist. However, I don’t expect reality to disappear any time soon regardless of me closing my eyes, or not.
    If you are worried that Briggs might be upset that we are now off-topic, you can always mosey on over to my blog. Or not.

  46. Grzegorz Staniak

    4 October 2011 at 3:50 am

    @Pompous Git

    Creating alternative realities is a sign of denial. When you follow Msr. Candide you’re not creating an alternative reality, you’re just cultivating a way of participating in the boring common one. Please refrain from poetic language if we’re gonna communicate effectively, and consider making your points a bit clearer in the future. I’m glad to see that you merely assert your way of life, not trying to persuade anyone to adopt it. Still, it was redundantly asserted it as an answer to an unrelated statement.

    I certainly do not attempt to convince anyone that skepticism is “wrong” — on the contrary, I value and respect skepticism. However, if you ignore arguments and make up a world different from the one that surrounds us because it makes you feel better, you’re not being skeptical, you’re being gullible. CO2 is not just “plant food” and effects of its increased atmospheric concentrations are far from being exclusively beneficial to plants: http://goo.gl/LUqT3 , http://goo.gl/2Ostw — have you checked this before accepting the myth of “plant food”? No? Then what kind of “skeptic” are you? Were you as willing to check who profits on the general public accepting such myths as you are willing to suspect authoritarian conspiracy and corrupt government when you find an error in an online carbon footprint calculator? No? Why?

    You still read meanings I haven’t expressed. I stated facts about world food/grain trade in response to the assertion that it’s the “authoritarians” who have “lotsa plant food” to sell. I don’t have an emotional relation to the facts, they’re just true. Just as AGW is. I’m not “promoting” it, I’m just stating that it’s true, which should be obvious to any skeptic worth this name and doing their own thinking. It’s the pseudo-skepticism such as exhibited on this blog that gets debunked by science on a daily basis. There hasn’t been any “investigation”, let alone one that would prove a problem with the AGW theory. If you meant to make an argument out of this: http://goo.gl/m1qMY then it’s failed. It’s just an opinion of one guy about readers’ activity on one blog.

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