Lefty loosey, righty-tighty

Hi readers.


This weblog is attracting more viewers than I actually anticipated and I’m very pleased with what’s happening here.

I should have anticipated that some of the discussions would move rapidly from climate change to fundamental political orientations. As a Lukewarmer who has spent a lot of time and energy confronting what I believe are serious mistakes by those activists who are fighting hardest for extensive actions to combat climate change, my arguments seem to resonate strongly with skeptics who have been labeled and libeled as ‘deniers’, and many come from either the conservative or independent political side of the spectrum. But as I’m to the left of Groucho Marx it’s easy for conversations to switch from the climate to politics.

All are welcome here. But the focus of this weblog is climate change and the appropriate way to approach it as a societal issue.

I’m open to suggestions on how to keep this blog going the way I want it. We could have open threads or dedicated posts (like this one) on political issues, or maybe you have a better idea. I don’t want to shut off political discussion–I just don’t want it to drown out the climate discussion.

Your thoughts are welcome here.


31 responses to “Lefty loosey, righty-tighty

  1. I vote we do not discus various self identification and definitions of what other people think they are or we perceive them to be it is simply to distracting and explosive. An occaisional thread in regard to a specific event i.e. SOTU would be alright but we can not have every thread dissolve into:

    p1 “I want to spread money around with XYZ tax to counter ABC”
    p2 “SOCIALIST”
    p1 “Meanie liar i am no socialist”
    p3 “Well actually that is part of socialism”
    p4 “Racists redneck you don’t car about the CHILDREN”

    I also would tightly govern conversations about fracing and GMO as they are only loosely connected to AGW and frought with conflicting opinions even more so then the actual “alarmist-warmist-lukewarm-rationalist-naturalwarming-skydragon” spectrum.

    Keep us on topic.
    If you can

    • All this makes perfect sense. Why do I wonder if it will survive contact on the battlefield?

    • Excellent comment Ben.

      Just stick as closely to the science as possible Tom–it’s the only thing that matters. Leave all the other crap to the side–there are plenty out there who will scoop that up and discuss it to death.

      No need to discuss anything other than climate sensitivity and the various, complex data and analyses bearing on that single issue. I see you straying into the more opinionated, non-science stuff. Leave it.

  2. Posts with huge pictures of Obama tend to attract a political discussion.

  3. Lukewarmers like you and me (and presumably others) seem to accept that there is going to be change from the increasing amounts of co2 (and pollutants) we are pumping into the atmosphere. As such, I believe that there are really only two broad areas of discussion:

    1) What are the effects going to be? How bad (or good)? This is the realm of science, and should (at best) eschew the politics and activism. If you have a thread in this area, by all means hammer offenders into oblivion.

    2) Policy responses. This is the realm of politics and needs to be discussed in that context. I don’t think a thread on policy can ever avoid politics. I don’t think you should even try. Moderate? Yes. Snip deliberate offence? Definitely. Avoid the topic? Eliminates half of what lukewarmers should be talking about.

    • You’re right, but you’re not doing much to make my life easier 🙂

      • Hi Tom,
        I have commented in a snarky way on several occasions and will refrain from doing so if you desire. It is your blog and you have every right to run it your way. The difficulty I see for you is that which defines a lukewarmer and is what you have actually named your blog. Lukewarmism basically says that we , humans that is, are contributing to global warming but: 1. It might not be as bad as some predict, and 2. From the precautionary principle, we should do something about it.
        It is that second part that makes your life difficult, because as a self-defined progressive liberal lukewarmer, you are naturally going to prescribe policy programs that will entail government initiated solutions that we snare all of us, including those that have opposite positions than you. Not easy to keep on track.

      • Hi Bob–you don’t need to apologize for or stop light-hearted snark. I do it myself all the time. Just remember the light-hearted part…

        Actually, my prescriptive policy preferences (apart from a carbon tax) are pretty much ‘no regrets’ policies that we should adopt no matter which way the thermometer is moving.

      • No, I like snark and do it a lot myself. I don’t have a problem with snark. Besides, my communist cell masters tell me it makes me look more human.

      • Thomas –

        Well now, that explains a lot.

        Progressive liberal democrat – the human face of totalitarianism!

      • Hmm. I am glad this is not a post about climate as I would then point out that your classification mechanism seems to be similar to that used by climate activists to label all opponents as deniers… But perhaps you’ll clarify.

      • Thomas –

        Sorry. Just a riff on the communist cell masters/looking human theme. No real content intended.

        I’ve got to start using more smiley faces…

      • 🙂 They get me out of rhetorical trouble frequently.

  4. I am a global warming Skeptic, left wing libertarian, and environmentalist. I feel sad that Global Warming has taken over the Green speech, leaving out all other real and eminent threats to second place.

    While we are concerned with CO2, companies and individuals pollute discretly.

    • Imcomplete commment, sorry.

      My point was that politics should be irrelevant to the matter of climate change.

      People concerned with apparent thought coherence may feel inclined to agree with their political group, and impregante every discussion with politics. I find that is very distracting and often leave the discussion when confronted with it.

      I one states his political inclinations there will allways be someone who tries to associate and compare us with others who have the same political guidance. Not helpful. If we don’t state our policitcal views, someone will accuse us of secretly being a member of this or that group. Not helpful.

      I prefer to state my inclinations, but not framed in parties logic. I prefer the political compass (http://www.politicalcompass.org/) way of putting things. My score is -2 in the left/rigth axis, and -6 on the authoritatian/liberatarian axis. I believe no party occupies that area of politics.

      Then let the Trolls troll.

      • I was really hoping that some type of “Greens against climate extremism” or “Green skeptics” would come out of this blog.
        I went to the political compass site and took the test. I don’t know how much faith I put into their definitions. They sure aren’t what I used to use, but for what it’s worth ,I scored -9.5 on the economic axis and -3.6 on authoritarian/libertarian. My closest match was Gandhi and I never thought I had that much in common with him.

      • I’m still hoping. Intending. Got to get the ground cleared regarding the basics first.

      • Rui Sousa –

        I’d disagree with your statement “… politics should be irrelevant to the matter of climate change.”

        As I said above, politics should be irrelevant to the *science* of climate change. Politics are always relevant to the policy responses to climate change. As policy takes place in the political arena, how could it ever be otherwise?


        I’ve now been to the Political Compass site and taken the test, and I’m with you on this – I can’t put much faith in their questions. There were a number for which no answer could be correct for me, as the question itself contained assumptions I don’t buy. For what it’s worth I scored 7.5 on the left/right (seems about right), but only -2.2 on the authoritarian axis (which is much too high – other tests of this nature I’ve taken would have me down around -6).

      • It turns out I’m right next to Alexis Tsipras, whoever the heck that is.

        Close to Nelson Mandela (yay!) and also close to the Dalai Lama (???there must be some mistake???)

        I liked the international chart because it backs me up when I say that from my side of the Atlantic, there’s practically no difference between a Romney and an Obama.

      • Old fossil, Alexis Tsipras is a Greek anarcho-socialist. He is now head of the Greek opposition. He has said some very nasty things about Angela Merkel.

    • “I feel sad that Global Warming has taken over the Green speech, leaving out all other real and eminent threats to second place.

      While we are concerned with CO2, companies and individuals pollute discretly.”
      I couldn’t agree more.

  5. Tom, you say, ” Actually, my prescriptive policy preferences (apart from a carbon tax) are pretty much ‘no regrets’ policies that we should adopt no matter which way the thermometer is moving.”

    I’ve heard you express this sentiment before but it still rings my bell anew when I read it. Tom, explain the logic of a ” no regrets’ policies that we should adopt no matter which way the thermometer is moving.” Please explain how that is even remotely scientific. You expressed a desire to keep politics out of your blog and yet you make a profoundly political statement. I don’t get – maybe I am too dense.

    • Hi Bob

      Well, no regrets actions. Take insulating buildings. Saves money from the owners–lower energy bills. Lowers emissions. Assuming the savings outweighs the investment, nobody loses. Take measures to reduce jet planes circling an airport–same logic.

      There are many, many things we could do that would save real people real money and would also reduce energy consumption and hence emissions. Some day I’ll do a longer post on the subject. The first Bush administration did a lot of work on the subject, inventing the term ‘negawatts’ for energy saved instead of burned.

      • Tom, my, my. No one disagrees with any thing you said. Read my comment again – insulating buildings is not the same as a carbon tax. Your are shooting red herrings out of your mouth now. Again, Tom, explain the logic of a ” no regrets’ policies ( see carbon tax) that we should adopt no matter which way the thermometer is moving.”

      • Hiya Bob–Okay, as clearly as I can:

        1. There are actions we can take that produce benefits to us (and those benefits do not include reducing emissions).
        2. However, they do reduce emissions–almost as a side effect.
        3. We should take actions that don’t cause ‘regrets’ (Why did we spend that much? What have we done to our landscape? Etc.) for the sake of the benefits and smile contentedly because one of the side effects is reducing emissions.

        Example: We did not rush to replace coal with natural gas because it is half as emissive. We did it because we saved big time bucks. And yet it is half as emissive and US emissions have dropped as a result.

        We saved money! And oh yeah–we reduced emissions. How ’bout that?

      • Tom, I appreciate your reply is as clear as you can make it. With due respect it would fail any engineering cost/benefit analysis I am aware of. Your reasoning completely disregards any benefit that might accrue from a 2 degree warm, and all that it entails. I totally get the landscape issues, but the logic of your carbon tax, in light of your statement that you are indifferent to which way the thermometer goes, is illogical by your own words. If that is your final argument I will just have to give you a little more time to think about it.

  6. Tom, did you see Pielke Jr.’s post on energy consumption and GDP? Carbon tax – sounds like a plan!

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