The Climate Justice League Vs. The Skepticals

Climate Justice League

Well, I didn’t realize there actually was a Climate Justice League until I started this post. They’re up in Oregon and they’re fighting to get bottled water off campus. More power to them–bottles are for beer.

When I thought up the title for this post I actually had something else in mind–something maybe like this:

Superhoeroes

And that’s because this post is about what I think happens inside the minds of far too many of us fighting the Climate Wars.

I actually found the real Skeptics as well. What I thought would look like this:

JusticeLeagueDark_article_story_main

In reality are the much milder looking…

the-skeptics

I’ve been following (and participating in) the climate debate since about 2008, mostly during breaks from writing long reports about the global markets for energy efficiency, solar power or renewable energy in general. I sit for too long in front of the computer and just flip over to see what’s in the blogs or the news. Eventually I started building in blog-reading time into the delivery schedules for my reports–too bad I don’t get paid by the hour.

As I got familiar with the cast of characters I began to imbue them with character traits that I thought they exhibited through their writing. I built up a mental picture of them, almost the way I build a mental picture of characters in a novel, trying hard not to pick a movie star in case it turns into a movie.

It’s absurd, I know–but I see evidence that I’m not the only one guilty of this. In fact, for some participants I often wonder if what they really need most in life is a X-Box and a free copy of Halo 4–something I’m sure would keep them more usefully occupied than the climate conversation.

cup-o-rage

And it’s funny to see both sides do exactly the same thing. There’s  a core group that think of St. James of Hansen…

20948_dr_james_hansen_puppet

as someone locked in an eternal struggle against capital E Evil, represented by no less a villain than…

Watts

…Anthony Watts.

And the same goes for the other side as well, with many who have beatified Steve McIntyre and reviled Al Gore.

And all of this has nothing to do with the science in and around climate change or the policies under consideration to deal with it. It has become personal–no, more than personal. It’s internal. We have invested the images we have built up with qualities that range from heroic to malevolent. The people behind those images are nothing at all like that.

I happen to know Anthony Watts. He doesn’t resemble either the hero captured in the comments found at his website or the villain he is portrayed as being on the sites of climate activists. He’s a nice human being. He doesn’t take money from big oil or anyone else for his work on climate change. He does make mistakes in some of his posts (or more frequently lets other posters make his mistakes for him). Once he is 3 dimensional, it is easy to see how absurd the caricatures of him are. Here’s the guy–no horns, no tail:

AnthonyWatts

I have no doubt the same is true for the entire ensemble cast of the Climate Wars–from Roy Spencer to Tim Lambert, from Michael Tobis to Steve McIntyre. I think they’re all human beings who think they have a point to make and are taking advantage of free access to blogging software to make it. (Although of course some of us–I mean them, them, dammit!–get just as involved in the soap opera.)

Sadly, I think for many the Climate Sims game is more entertaining and absorbing than anything climate science can offer. Sometimes I think it’s more the Climate Simpsons game.

SimpsonsDiscoverWindPower

Nobody wakes up in the morning and looks in the mirror and says, ‘What a great villain I will be today.’

We’re just on different sides of a political issue. That’s all.

There is a moral to the story–and it can be found, of course, at the conclusion of a film.

No, not an epic struggle between good and evil–no Viggo Mortenson and Christopher Lee–that’s the point.

Check out what the viewing audience did at the end of The Truman Show. That’s the end that awaits us all in the climate debates. Those who are in it for the human drama–will find another human drama.

Hasten the day.

Well, okay.  Actually, as I know some of you have been waiting for this the entire post, I should point out that there is not only a real Climate Justice League and a real group of Skeptics, there is a real live Climate Super Hero–Scott Mandia. Now that there are no more phone booths, I wonder where he changes?

caped_climate_crusader1

52 responses to “The Climate Justice League Vs. The Skepticals

  1. Another bastion of eco-warrior thought crumbles as they abandon their soapbox and attempt concealment within other areas of the NYT and the endless cacophony of the twitterverse.

    NYT pulls the plug. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/

    • The green blog will be back when a Republican wins the White House. That is the only time climate is urgent (not to mention cheap and easy). It’s been interesting to see the comments section of Revkin’s Dot-Earth over time. The only “concerned” regulars left are two nasty (and incoherent) activists named Roddy and Anderson, a couple of kooks who want to depopulate the world but haven’t the guts to say how, a Guy from Maryland who installs solar panels and needs the subsidies to fill his bank account, and someone who insists (daily) that the world will be uninhabitable tomorrow.
      There is no joy, or reason to debate with these folks. They don’t care if what they say is true and partisans like Roddy would be happy to say the opposite tomorrow with equal conviction if the party asks.
      Dave Roberts at Grist penned the epitaph for climate recently with defense of being unreasonable- his phrasing. When I started following this issue, the warm claimed to be concerned only with the true light of reason, as delivered by science. That’s quite a climb down.

      • Yes, it is so not any fun without Bush around to beat up on. Everything wrong with the environment (and *** everything *** is wrong with it) now has to be viewed through the lens of the ONE, the great uniter, the only adult in the room. That is a bit of a confounding factor as they say in science.

        Seriously it is ironic how much the greens are satisfied with near zero progress as long as they have an evil target to blame it all on. The accumulated energy of self righteousness increases ten fold when there is a Republican in the White House.

        Keystone will likely get approved (many on the left are caving, for good reason) and the next week nobody will ever talk about it again. Boring.

        Only the seriously committed (or those who really need to be committed, seriously) can keep a drum beat going on when nobody is listening.

      • Well, on the other hand I’d be happy to keep beating up on Bush…😉

  2. ‘He [Anthony Watts] doesn’t take money from big oil or anyone else for his work on climate change.”

    Well… I’m sure he WOULD do it all for free if he could, but the fact is that Watts himself has acknowledged outside funding;

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/2/15/heartland-docs-leaked.html

    The only problem with your ‘we are all doing what we think right, so there are no heroes or villains’ argument is that MOST ‘villains’ are doing what they think is right. They’re just deluded. I have a hard time seeing Christopher Monckton… or Peter Gleick… as NOT having crossed a line.

    • Tell us how it is with them, and Romm, and Kloor, and Mann and so many others on that side of the line some time.

    • CBD–that’s out of line. He put a project up for funding that would provide access to important weather information via web to anyone. Someone you don’t like provided partial funding. Yep it’s outside funding. Yep, it’s a source you don’t like. But they are neither an energy group nor exclusively devoted to climate skepticism. They’re just on the other side. And when you insinuate that Watts gets outside funding without specifying the circumstances you are not playing fair. At all.

      • Tom,
        CBD, like the other AGW extremists have no problem with deceit and out right falsehoods in pursuit of their delusion.

      • Conrad Dunkerson

        Tom, don’t be ridiculous.

        I didn’t “insinuate that Watts gets outside funding”… I PROVED that he does. In order to correct your FALSE statement that he does not.

        That means I am “not playing fair”? The TRUTH is verboten?

        As to the claim that I didn’t specify the circumstances… I linked to Bishop Hill’s DEFENSE of Watts on the matter. The circumstances are fully laid out and given the best possible spin on that page. Not to mention the bit where I said I believe he would do the same with his own money if he had enough (thus implicitly indicating that he was not ‘paid off’)? Yes, how terribly ‘unfair’ of me.

        Look at it again Tom. You responded to a polite correction with rage and unwarranted attacks. You might want to think on the reasons for that, and what they imply.

      • CBD, first–I’m not even miffed, let alone enraged. You didn’t prove he got money from oil sources–you showed where one of his projects is funded by an organization that gets a portion of its funding from energy companies. Just like the Sierra Club.

        Second, getting funding for an outside project is different in character than getting ongoing funding for his daily activities. Not to be clear about that is very wrong.

        Did you make a fuss about Muller getting funding for BEST from the Koch brothers? Didn’t turn out so bad, did it?

      • CBD seems to have trouble telling the truth.
        Not really surprising at all, really.

    • I must admit, as a UK citizen with a good idea of Christopher Monktons methodologies in politics, I find it hard to believe he really believes in some of the nonsense he spouts. As an example he is a great supporter of the Obama birther lie and is a senior player in a hard right UK political party , as a result I can’t believe he sets out with the best of intentions. Unless of course his intentions are not what would generally be recognised as positive.

      • Hi Gareth,

        As a former resident in the UK I can only say I have no use for the man. I don’t think he cares a fig about climate change. I think he’s a glory hound and his only contribution to the debate is the reintroduction of a few dusty Latin cliches.

    • CBD predicted that no one woudl read about the facts of the Heartland grant money.
      Like most things involving predicting and being an AGW kook, he predicted wrong.

  3. I agree. Even Keith Kloor, who I think writes pretty good stuff, vilifies Anthony Watts. You missed the Global Warming Superheroes, who sadly, though not unexpectedly, no longer have a working URL. But, they are not forgotten: http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=3315

    • Kloor, as he likes to say, is “climate concerned”. That is just a euphemism for “climate obsessed”, or “climate kook”.
      Tom,
      This may be one of your best posts yet: You shed light on the idea that the issue is not actually the climate or science at all. It is how some extremists have turned AGW into bizarre dysfunctional modern eugenics movement.

      • The major motivation behind the global warming issue, is that is it is Mann -made as the perfect excuse for even more government; the rent seeking (government-funded) science itself is a red herring. What is important is that it is a means to the end of more and more government.

        Are you aware of any warmistas who desire smaller government? By and large, alarmists are just totalitarians/socialists who attempt to conceal their real agenda hidden. And skeptics are superheroes who have recognized this deception.

      • Hunter, it is worth reminding people of John Coleman’s historical view of the climate movement and its origins.
        ” The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam by John Coleman
        The key players are now all in place in Washington and in state governments across America to officially label carbon dioxide as a pollutant and enact laws that tax we citizens for our carbon footprints. Only two details stand in the way, the faltering economic times and a dramatic turn toward a colder climate. The last two bitter winters have led to a rise in public awareness that CO2 is not a pollutant and is not a significant greenhouse gas that is triggering runaway global warming.
        How did we ever get to this point where bad science is driving big government we have to struggle so to stop it?
        The story begins with an Oceanographer named Roger Revelle. He served with the Navy in World War II. After the war he became the Director of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute in La Jolla in San Diego, California . Revelle saw the opportunity to obtain major funding from the Navy for doing measurements and research on the ocean around the Pacific Atolls where the US military was conducting atomic bomb tests. He greatly expanded the Institute’s areas of interest and among others hired Hans Suess, a noted Chemist from the University of Chicago, who was very interested in the traces of carbon in the environment from the burning of fossil fuels. Revelle tagged on to Suess studies and co-authored a paper with him in 1957. The paper raises the possibility that the carbon dioxide might be creating a greenhouse effect and causing atmospheric warming. It seems to be a plea for funding for more studies. Funding, frankly, is where Revelle’s mind was most of the time.
        Next Revelle hired a Geochemist named David Keeling to devise a way to measure the atmospheric content of Carbon dioxide. In 1960 Keeling published his first paper showing the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and linking the increase to the burning of fossil fuels.
        These two research papers became the bedrock of the science of global warming, even though they offered no proof that carbon dioxide was in fact a greenhouse gas. In addition they failed to explain how this trace gas, only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, could have any significant impact on temperatures.
        Now let me take you back to the 1950s when this was going on. Our cities were entrapped in a pall of pollution from the crude internal combustion engines that powered cars and trucks back then and from the uncontrolled emissions from power plants and factories. Cars and factories and power plants were filling the air with all sorts of pollutants. There was a valid and serious concern about the health consequences of this pollution and a strong environmental movement was developing to demand action. Government accepted this challenge and new environmental standards were set. Scientists and engineers came to the rescue. New reformulated fuels were developed for cars, as were new high tech, computer controlled engines and catalytic converters. By the mid-seventies cars were no longer big time polluters, emitting only some carbon dioxide and water vapor from their tail pipes. Likewise, new fuel processing and smoke stack scrubbers were added to industrial and power plants and their emissions were greatly reduced, as well.

        But an environmental movement had been established and its funding and very existence depended on having a continuing crisis issue. So the research papers from Scripps came at just the right moment. And, with them came the birth of an issue; man-made global warming from the carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.
        Revelle and Keeling used this new alarmism to keep their funding growing. Other researchers with environmental motivations and a hunger for funding saw this developing and climbed aboard as well. The research grants began to flow and alarming hypothesis began to show up everywhere.
        The Keeling curve showed a steady rise in CO2 in atmosphere during the period since oil and coal were discovered and used by man. As of today, carbon dioxide has increased from 215 to 385 parts per million. But, despite the increases, it is still only a trace gas in the atmosphere. While the increase is real, the percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2 remains tiny, about .41 hundredths of one percent.
        Several hypotheses emerged in the 70s and 80s about how this tiny atmospheric component of CO2 might cause a significant warming. But they remained unproven. Years have passed and the scientists kept reaching out for evidence of the warming and proof of their theories. And, the money and environmental claims kept on building up.
        Back in the 1960s, this global warming research came to the attention of a Canadian born United Nation’s bureaucrat named Maurice Strong. He was looking for issues he could use to fulfill his dream of one-world government. Strong organized a World Earth Day event in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970. From this he developed a committee of scientists, environmentalists and political operatives from the UN to continue a series of meeting.
        Strong developed the concept that the UN could demand payments from the advanced nations for the climatic damage from their burning of fossil fuels to benefit the underdeveloped nations, a sort of CO2 tax that would be the funding for his one-world government. But, he needed more scientific evidence to support his primary thesis. So Strong championed the establishment of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This was not a pure climate study scientific organization, as we have been lead to believe. It was an organization of one-world government UN bureaucrats, environmental activists and environmentalist scientists who craved the UN funding so they could produce the science they needed to stop the burning of fossil fuels. Over the last 25 years they have been very effective. Hundreds of scientific papers, four major international meetings and reams of news stories about climatic Armageddon later, the UN IPCC has made its points to the satisfaction of most and even shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.
        At the same time, that Maurice Strong was busy at the UN, things were getting a bit out of hand for the man who is now called the grandfather of global warming, Roger Revelle. He had been very politically active in the late 1950′s as he worked to have the University of California locate a San Diego campus adjacent to Scripps Institute in La Jolla . He won that major war, but lost an all-important battle afterward when he was passed over in the selection of the first Chancellor of the new campus.

        He left Scripps finally in 1963 and moved to Harvard University to establish a Center for Population Studies. It was there that Revelle inspired one of his students to become a major global warming activist. This student would say later, “It felt like such a privilege to be able to hear about the readouts from some of those measurements in a group of no more than a dozen undergraduates. Here was this teacher presenting something not years old but fresh out of the lab, with profound implications for our future!” The student described him as “a wonderful, visionary professor” who was “one of the first people in the academic community to sound the alarm on global warming,” That student was Al Gore. He thought of Dr. Revelle as his mentor and referred to him frequently, relaying his experiences as a student in his book Earth in the Balance, published in 1992.
        So there it is, Roger Revelle was indeed the grandfather of global warming. His work had laid the foundation for the UN IPCC, provided the anti-fossil fuel ammunition to the environmental movement and sent Al Gore on his road to his books, his movie, his Nobel Peace Prize and a hundred million dollars from the carbon credits business.
        What happened next is amazing. The global warming frenzy was becoming the cause celeb of the media. After all the media is mostly liberal, loves Al Gore, loves to warn us of impending disasters and tell us “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”. The politicians and the environmentalist loved it, too.
        But the tide was turning with Roger Revelle. He was forced out at Harvard at 65 and returned to California and a semi-retirement position at UCSD. There he had time to rethink Carbon Dioxide and the greenhouse effect. The man who had inspired Al Gore and given the UN the basic research it needed to launch its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was having second thoughts. In 1988 he wrote two cautionary letters to members of Congress. He wrote, “My own personal belief is that we should wait another 10 or 20 years to really be convinced that the greenhouse effect is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways.” He added, “…we should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer.”
        And in 1991 Revelle teamed up with Chauncey Starr, founding director of the Electric Power Research Institute and Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, to write an article for Cosmos magazine. They urged more research and begged scientists and governments not to move too fast to curb greenhouse CO2 emissions because the true impact of carbon dioxide was not at all certain and curbing the use of fossil fuels could have a huge negative impact on the economy and jobs and our standard of living. I have discussed this collaboration with Dr. Singer. He assures me that Revelle was considerably more certain than he was at the time that carbon dioxide was not a problem.
        Did Roger Revelle attend the Summer enclave at the Bohemian Grove in Northern California in the Summer of 1990 while working on that article? Did he deliver a lakeside speech there to the assembled movers and shakers from Washington and Wall Street in which he apologized for sending the UN IPCC and Al Gore onto this wild goose chase about global warming? Did he say that the key scientific conjecture of his lifetime had turned out wrong? The answer to those questions is, “I think so, but I do not know it for certain”. I have not managed to get it confirmed as of this moment. It’s a little like Las Vegas ; what is said at the Bohemian Grove stays at the Bohemian Grove. There are no transcripts or recordings and people who attend are encouraged not to talk. Yet, the topic is so important, that some people have shared with me on an informal basis.
        Roger Revelle died of a heart attack three months after the Cosmos story was printed. Oh, how I wish he were still alive today. He might be able to stop this scientific silliness and end the global warming scam.
        Al Gore has dismissed Roger Revelle’s Mea culpa as the actions of senile old man. And, the next year, while running for Vice President, he said the science behind global warming is settled and there will be no more debate, From 1992 until today, he and his cohorts have refused to debate global warming and when asked about we skeptics they simply insult us and call us names.
        So today we have the acceptance of carbon dioxide as the culprit of global warming. It is concluded that when we burn fossil fuels we are leaving a dastardly carbon footprint which we must pay Al Gore or the environmentalists to offset. Our governments on all levels are considering taxing the use of fossil fuels. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of naming CO2 as a pollutant and strictly regulating its use to protect our climate. The new President and the US congress are on board. Many state governments are moving on the same course.
        We are already suffering from this CO2 silliness in many ways. Our energy policy has been strictly hobbled by no drilling and no new refineries for decades. We pay for the shortage this has created every time we buy gas. On top of that the whole thing about corn based ethanol costs us millions of tax dollars in subsidies. That also has driven up food prices. And, all of this is a long way from over.
        And, I am totally convinced there is no scientific basis for any of it.
        Global Warming. It is the hoax. It is bad science. It is a high jacking of public policy. It is no joke. It is the greatest scam in history.”

        John Coleman
        1-29-09

      • Actually, hunter, I think Keith is thoroughly bored by the climate discussion and would like to get on with his life. Sadly, I think he needs the eyeballs at Discovery and so he keeps putting up climate stuff–but I don’t think his heart is in it.

      • Tom,
        I like Keith. I also think he has begun to see just how non-rational and often times cynical the AGW fanatic believers have become. But he is the one who introduced the term (afaik) “climate concerned”, so until he actually repudiates it, I will stick with it.

      • Bob, Coleman seems to have left out all the millions the nuke industry gave Gore. He led both houses in nuke contributions.

      • Didn’t seem to do them much good, did it?

  4. Well, my, my. The Obama administration just released an exhaustively researched, thorough study of the Keystone pipeline that concludes that every single one of the activists complaints about the pipeline was a lie. Every one. Anyone surprised? http://abcnews.go.com/politics/t/blogEntry?id=18633232&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fdrudgereport.com%2F

  5. Nice post Tom.

    I’m not sure it’s all so simple though. As the Mandia photo shows, many of us have extraordinary moral committments at stake in the argument. It’s these moral committments that are driving our increasingly savage debate, about both climate and the direction of our country in general.

    I had to hold my nose and close my eyes while checking boxes in the last election. It doesn’t matter which way I voted. Each side is so committed to beliefs over pragmatism that both come with more negatives than positives.
    The sequestration reflects this. With climate, we know where people stand. In politics, both sides are working as diligently to affect their extreme agendas – that is, to reward their funding base – as the are to show the public they’re just looking for a middle-of-the-road compromise.

    • Their political tactics–on both sides–don’t change the fact that most of these people are trying to do what they think is right. I’m so mad at John Boehner right now I could twist his nose in circles. But I’ll bet money he’s an honest guy doing the best he can and wants to do what he thinks is right.

      That makes it scarier, of course, when they’re wrong.

      • Hi Tom, ” I’m so mad at John Boehner right now I could twist his nose in circles.

        I’d be curious to see what you would do to Harry Reid’s nose.

      • Well, as I am a lifelong Democrat, probably not much. Although Sen. Reid has not covered himself in glory…

      • “most of these people are trying to do what they think is right”

        In a manner of speaking. They’re doing what they think is right but using underhanded means to do it – a bait and switch on the voters. To say they’re just doing what they think is right is kind of like saying it’s OK to exagerate or lie about climate science if that’s what prompts action.

  6. “We’re just on different sides of a political issue”. Aye, there’s the rub. Unbind the climate concerned from the chains of politics to study war no more. Pursue mitigation as far away from the political process as possible. Recognize the superiority of the social process for mitigation success.

    The political process requires political majorities and faith in the constancy of politicians and bureaucracies. The social process requires only that individual members of society act with a shared purpose and faith in themselves. Markets and trade are an important part of the social process, as are NGOs, associations and charitable organizations. The social process’s fundamental advantage is the ability to achieve instant success within it.

    • Paul, you’re turning into quite the philosopher of late. Fortunately, it’s a philosophy I respect and agree with. Keep it going.

    • Paul (and Tom)-

      You’re going to have to unpack this for the slow (like me). As it stands, I think I’d have to disagree with almost all of what you wrote.

      You seem to believe that any meaningful accomplishment on a global scale can be achieved without a political process, relying solely on a social process. How? Politics is what we use to regulate society – it can be bad or good, but almost certainly is going to be better than no regulation. Throwing out the political process is to invite the tyranny of the mob and the triumph of demagoguery.

      Your position here strikes me as the result of failure to achieve *your* goals through the political process, hence a call to sidestep it. However, your social process could easily crush *my* goals. Is that any more equitable?

      • Hi kch,

        I’m sure Paul can do more justice to the concept than I. For my part, I believe that politicians follow public sentiment, rather than lead it. I believe that if the public signals a desire to combat climate change, by individual or collective purchases of energy efficient, hybrid and electric cars, solar panels and ground source heat pumps, insulated windows and insulation for attics and flooring, that politicians will take heed and structure policy to further those goals.

        I do not believe politicians can ram policy down the throats of an electorate. Fortunately, most in the developed world (and many, many in the developing world) have already made their desires plain. Those who can afford it are indeed buying green technology at a retail level. Those who cannot signal their support in public opinion polls and voting booths. It is true that global warming is ranked last in terms of importance. Eating and working do take precedence and always will. But sympathy and sentiment exists to move the agenda forward.

        But it starts with the people. We won’t change the climate. We will change the politics.

      • Tom-

        I can, in general, agree with every thing you said here…and there’s the problem. How can you square your explanation with Paul’s statements? They seem almost completely at odds.

        Paul says “Unbind the climate concerned from the chains of politics…” Compare this with your “I believe that if the public signals a desire to combat climate change,… that politicians will take heed and structure policy to further those goals.” Your statement seems closer to my thoughts – the social process informs the political process. (I would add that the social should not dictate the political, but then, I’m a libertarian.)

        You then continue on with “I do not believe politicians can ram policy down the throats of an electorate.” Quite right – at least in a democracy – but isn’t that the problem here? The politicians have not rammed things down our throat, so Paul is calling for the politicians to be sidestepped. Who then will enforce, at the societal level, any necessary changes? I can’t imagine anyone really thinks that mitigation will occur solely through individual action.

        Again, you say “But sympathy and sentiment exists to move the agenda forward.” This could mean that you are calling for some amorphous societal agenda to triumph, but are you sure you want this? They used to burn witches on this basis. More likely, isn’t this again the social informing the political, rather than sidestepping the political as Paul wants?

        Finally, you say “But it starts with the people. We won’t change the climate. We will change the politics.” I might not completely agree, but this is much is clear to me: that is not what Paul is saying. He is not talking about changing politics, he is talking about some utopia in which politics is not necessary but works because “… individual members of society act with a shared purpose and faith in themselves.”

      • Hi kch,

        Well, like I said, Paul can probably advance his agenda more completely than I can. I think Paul’s mission is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the change we both seek. He wants to get started–and so do I. But I believe that starting something has consequences and those consequences will be political.

      • Tom –

        I’d agree that Paul is the best person to expand on his statements. I do hope he returns.

        I’d also suggest to you that anyone who believes in political process and rule of law, however minimal (libertarians) or extensive (progressive liberal Democrats), needs to be careful of allying with those who could bring themselves to toss the law or politics aside to achieve a societal end. The means to an end can easily be worse than the original problem – with extra-political methods in place, the temptation to continue meddling is almost beyond human nature to resist.

      • kch, I think what we’re talking about is often characterized as ‘voting with your pocketbook.’ It doesn’t seem to have done much harm in the past.

      • Tom –

        What you are talking about is certainly ‘voting with your pocketbook’. I definitely have no problem with that, even if you see it as just the start of the political process whilst I wish it to be the whole of the political process.

        That’s not what I see Paul calling for, however. He seems to call for the avoidance of the political process entirely. And in virtually all of history, stepping out of the bounds of the political process to enact great societal change has indeed caused immense harm to both individuals and society. It’s a tiger I wouldn’t want to ride.

        Of course, I could be entirely wrong about what Paul is saying, no matter how clear it appears to me. It wouldn’t be the first time… I’ll just have wait and see if he clarifies.

    • “The social process’s fundamental advantage is the ability to achieve instant success within it.”

      Yes, see Detroit as an example.

      • Yes, Tom, the citizens of Detroit were eager to vote for the corporate changes that precipitated their dilemma.

        As a citizen of San Francisco I can only say that sometimes the social model works–and sometimes it doesn’t. Kinda like everything else.

      • Are you inferring the problems in Detroit were caused by “corporate changes”? That is a very, very, kind interpretation.

        Detroit is the blue social model gone horrifically wrong. Eroding tax base. White flight. Corrupt government. Unfriendly business environment. Politically connected self serving public sector unions. Unsustainable pension obligations.

        I agree it didn’t need to end like this, and if hopefully won’t in many other cities. But a big part of the problem has been the decades long denial that there ever was a problem to start with.

        Two cities in CA already went bankrupt recently. Surely you know CalPERS has been waging on a war on math for a while now. They are going to lose it if things don’t change.

        http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-malanga-pensions-california-20130224,0,60801.story

        I don’t begrudge people from voting in a liberal society if they want it. But somebody has to pay the bills, and you need to have adults in charge of the accounting.

        The trick, of course, is to keep your tax base from fleeing to greener pastures, as is their right.

      • Hi Tom

        Actually, 4 California cities have declared bankruptcy: Atwater, San Bernardino, Stockton and Mammoth Lakes. Do you know which were governed by conservatives as opposed to liberals? Check the geography…

        As for Detroit, you’re correct that they didn’t anticipate negative externalities, and correct by extension that that is a common failing of liberal schemes.

        CalPERS is not the only investment fund that has experienced some difficulty in recent years, if I remember correctly.

        Would you agree that it rained on the just and unjust alike since 2008?

  7. This pudding has no theme. What are you saying, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

    “And the same goes for the other side as well, with many who have beatified Steve McIntyre and reviled Al Gore.”

    Huh? These two names should not be in the same sentence whether it is the one you have written or the one where you switch the names. There is a correct answer. Who has benefited from his activities?

    I guess you could say McIntyre has benefited in the sense that he has found a complex cross-word puzzle to wade through to occupy his synapses; full disclosure, I have the highest regard for him and his synapses. Has he made a mistake he has not corrected when called on it? He is prickly for sainthood however and I suspect would not welcome it.

    As to his politics, who knows? I don’t remember how long I have read him but I do recall a clunky web-site that crashed all the time and Anthony Watts in the comments long before WUWT. What’s funny is that I found Climate Audit via Real Climate before McIntyre became He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The only political comment I recall was him saying in ’08 that he would probably vote for Obama. Since he’s Canadian that’s not a problem for me and I think it was more of a crease in his trousers, cut of his jib sort of vote based on Bush fatigue.

    But Gore has benefited hugely and made enormous sums of money for him and his twelve best friends. He can burn however much fuel he wants and buy indulgences from himself? That’s OK? Has he ever acknowledged that he has made mistakes in his analyses? Can one give credence to his hysterical claims while he is purchasing property hard by the ocean? Why not up the hill a way, say Nevada City?

    I protest their sharing the same sentence. An unforced error on your part.

    • Well don’t overegg the pudding, Bernal. I’m a big fan of Mac and thoroughly disappointed in Gore. And hey–I voted for Obama–twice!

      Let’s just leave it at that.

      • Oh, please, Tom! I cannot believe that you could be so Kloorishly oblivious to the implications of your choice of comparisons.

        The only “beatification” attempts I’ve ever seen are those who would (and some who have) beatified Gleick.

        You can do better (I’ve seen you do so). So why did you choose to lower your standards?!

    • Bernal,
      Tom seeks equivalence in order to seek to placate the rabid believers like CBD, for example. The kooks acting out have always been on the believer/promoter side. Recall that poor soul dressed as some sort of court jester who pretended to offer rational arguments for the apocalypse? He melted down. Look at Mann- his reading comprehension has been lost to his ego, and his latest pitiful spew underscores the impact of this loss rather sadly. Mann’s meltdown is longer term and slower, but more entertaining.

  8. Wait what?…you put up a picture of a guy with a hockey stick and a Superman suit and I’m overegging? Is that even a word? The wavy red line says no.

  9. kch,

    Some clarification:

    “You seem to believe that any meaningful accomplishment on a global scale can be achieved without a political process, relying solely on a social process.”

    Close. I would say … can be achieved without a dependence on a political process, relying overwhelmingly on a social process. I also say that observation indicates the political process has proven inadequate to the task. Even so, i have no desire for “throwing out the political process”. There is no tyranny of the mob here.

    “Your position here strikes me as the result of failure to achieve *your* goals through the political process, hence a call to sidestep it.”

    Not close. My goal is 21st century energy transformation. It is my goal regardless of whether or not climate is an issue. I have always thought it must be achieved through step by step deployment.

    The argument against the political and for the social is pragmatic rather than utopian. We have had almost thirty years of IPCC reports, frequent international conferences and treaty negotiations. The climate change message is fully accepted by most governments, politicians and elites. What has it wrought?
    .

    • Paul Kelly –

      Thanks for the clarifications.

      To your first point, I would question, in the absence of market forces, the possibility of any major transformation to succeed without some level of coercion. I personally would prefer that to occur within the political process.That the political process might not succeed is not such a bad thing – it indicates that the benefits of transformation are still unclear to society.

      To your second point, I’m still unclear on how your response is germane to my point. I think I understood your goals – and mostly agree with them – but I don’t see how your method isn’t a side-step of the political process, and a side-step called for because the political has failed for you.

      For your last, I would argue that the political process is the pragmatic approach, if only for the slightly greater protection it affords the individual. Social pressure should inform this process, not dictate it.

      As a final note, the failure of the international approach? Did anyone not see that coming?

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