Another Sunday Stroll Through The Blogosphere

Saturday in the Park 2

When I’m really busy, as is the case at the moment, my reading of the climate blogs is almost perfunctory–I steal a glance at blogs when I’m in a taxi or on a plane, but I’m really just scanning for actual news or something that isn’t a bland repeat of old stories and arguments.

This week actually had stories of interest and I’m sorry I didn’t have time to delve more deeply. But in one sense, rationing my time brought something else new to me–the dawning realization that those strongly committed to a certain segment of the spectrum of opinions on climate change are so far apart and deeply entrenched that I don’t see any chance of reconciliation. The most I think we can hope for is that the argument drifts away from climate change and on to the next millenial threat.

The follow up paper by Stephan Lewandowsky was one of the most widely covered topics of the week, including my dismissal of it as actual science here. Skeptics joined me in denigrating its methodology, analysis and conclusions–Bishop Hill having posted several times on it, the final one (so far) being here, while Jo Nova posts on it here.

Defenders of the story have tellingly kept to the comments section. And their defense is not of the actual paper, but of the a priori opinions that drove Lewandowsky to write it.

Since I called Lewandowsky a charlatan in my earlier piece about his paper, I might as well go the whole hog and say that I think he is lying about one aspect of this whole sorry affair. I believe that his original paper, an incendiary string of insults based on a phony push polls that he falsely claimed were the opinions of skeptics, was in fact bait set out to garner responses for his second paper.

It is Earth Hour as I write this, and Earth Hour has received a lot of attention from the skeptics this year, as it has for the last few years. While environmentalists want to use it as a symbol of the world’s commitment to reducing energy consumption and the CO2 it brings, skeptics point out that energy is actually just as much a symbol of humanity’s ability to conquer the elements and bring light, heat and wealth to a species that cowered in caves.

No reason we can’t do both, of course, but as a Lukewarmer, let me offer a third reason to honor our ingenuity in producing energy and our concern for the consequences. Let’s make Earth Hour a commitment to the billion people on this planet unable to make this gesture, as they don’t have power to switch off for an  hour. Let’s tie a yellow ribbon around a light pole and start every newscast with ‘Day Number 100,000 of humanity held hostage, with one in seven of us unable to access the energy grid that leads to health and prosperity.’



87 responses to “Another Sunday Stroll Through The Blogosphere

  1. “The most I think we can hope for is that the argument drifts away from climate change and on to the next millenial threat.” Actually, that’s what I’ve been hoping for some time.

  2. AGW has long legs and deep, well funded roots. It ain’t going away until a major country really screws itself up over idiocratic AGW policies, or maybe a worldwide famine caused by some ethanol scam.

    • CAGW is deader then a door nail in the US.

      A non-binding US Senate vote to build the Keystone XL pipeline was 62 to 37 in favor this week including 17 democrats voting in favor.

      McKibben et al drew a line in the sand and the US Senate basically steam rolled right over it.

      The amount of coverage the vote got should be a sign as to how dead the issue is.

  3. By the way, I would not bother to attribute motives to Lew and pals. Let their contemptible exercise speak for itself.

  4. Tom, I like what you say about tying a ribbon. I consider myself a lukewarmer – but a bit more skeptical than you, especially in regards to the ability of alternative energy to compete with fossil fuels.

    However, let’s give credit where it is due. The progress made in LED lighting, energy efficiency and even solar panels has brought tremendous value to people who live beyond the grid. No better example of this exists than the Gravity Light.

    We need a new category for the Nobel Prize and these people should be its first recipient.

  5. Cheap energy is its own reward. There is no environmental dogma push that will stand in the way of the drive for the world to embrace cheap energy.

    Fracking rolled over the greens like a elephant stepping on an ant in the US. The terms of the argument were obvious, and the fact the greens stood in the way only further diminished their credibility. Everyone just scratches their head and asks “What is it these people really want?”

    I, for one, cannot accurately answer that question. The desire for some zero impact unreachable utopia is fine, but deluding oneself into believing it is achievable, and never running the hard numbers, is inexcusable.

    • “What is it these people really want?”

      Purity. They want the same purity as Evangelicals and Marxists want.

    • The war over frakking is far from over. I think could see all frakking shut down here and elsewhere. All it takes one friendly ‘cut out’ suit by one of the big green insider companies like Greenpeace or WWF against the EPA.

      • It isn’t the cooperate greens you should worry about. It’s all the little lawsuits settled by local judges who have to live in the local communities. The frackers had to pay out $750,000 over one well. Multiply that by a couple thousand, where’s the cheap gas, if it was ever there in the first place.

      • The well was near Ryerson Station SP in PA. There are bigger suits near Butler.

      • Marty,
        Since the claims against frakking are based on false evidence and charges, I would suggest that cut out sham suits are not unique to the EPA. I am giong on a limnb and betting that a fair number of lefty intiatives being imposed on us by the courts are in fact cut out type suits.

      • Frakking isn’t even a national debate in the US.

        Yes..I know…anything that happens within 200 miles of NYC is ‘treated’ as a national debate rather then what it is…a local zoning dispute.

        Doing anything ‘industrial’ in the high population density corridors of the Eastern US is rightfully difficult. People don’t like their immediate living area ‘messed with’ without substantial consultation.

        We have about 3 GW of wind farm in Washington State…hardly a peep from anyone. Some concerns about cost and birds…but nothing beyond ‘concerns’. Go to the Eastern Seaboard of the US and you would think Wind farms were nuclear waste dumps.

        A big portion of oil and gas concerns in the US are used to doing business in the wide open spaces of the Western US where there is ‘plenty of gas’ to be had. I.E. Wyoming production is larger then Pennsylvania production.

        East Coast politicians…anxious to reap the local economic benefits of frakking mistakenly adopted local consultation policies more appropriate to the wide open spaces of the Western US and the public is predictably upset.

        Eventually, the public in the Eastern US will resign itself to paying substantial pipeline costs(Compare Alonquin City Gate Prices with Henry decemeber the spread was $3MMBtu) or work out a way to allow fracking.

        The $3/MMBtuAlonquin City Gate price premium paid in the North East is going to be either a powerful motivator for folks to find an acceptable way to regulate frakking in the North East or a powerful motivator to drive whatever industry remains in the Northeast elsewhere.

        I seriously doubt the Oil and Gas companies care one way or the other.

      • Thomas Fuller

        Harry, this is quite good. Why aren’t you bogging?

        Sent from my iPhone

      • yeah, Harry. Start “bogging” under the nom de plume “Peat”
        Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

    • “Fracking rolled over the greens like a elephant stepping on an ant in the US.” Big Green was taking money to support it, remember.

    • The harder the greens fight cheap energy, the worse they look. There is no question that EVERYTHING the oil and gas industry does will be opposed by big green. They are natural enemies. The real question is who is the bigger enemy of Joe Public? I submit it is the greens who wouldn’t know an economic argument if it bit them in the arse.

      Look, I am not so deluded to see that big oil needs oversight, and that there have been abuses in the past, and there will likely be mistakes in the future, but grown ups have to accept trade offs.

      In the USA the greens are a victim of their own success. Energy production here is arguably hyper-regulated, and that should be seen as a victory for everyone. However this being the case, the greens keep pounding the same old drums as if no progress ever occurred. That is deluded. They have tons of money and they have to be against “something”, right? The question is whether it is a valid argument.

      The argument that some have made that fracking should be shut down until the greens and their lawyers are satisfied with its impacts is obviously a non-starter in the real world.

  6. I hope that a stroll through the blogosphere would note this interesting story- a billionaire threatens to spend millions of dollars to defeat a Democrat in the next election over his vote on Keystone Pipeline!
    Have those oil barons Koch brothers no shame?!?
    Ooops, wait, it’s a climate activist billionaire and he threatened the Democrat in a primary race if he refused to pledge to vote against Keystone. Nevermind.
    Almost to their credit both candidates in the race (even the one who would have benefited) rejected the threat over the weekend. Why “almost?” Glance through the comments- the first reaction was “get ‘im” and the tide changed only when the hypocrisy was too obvious to avoid.

    • See? Foolish billionaires exist on both sides of the aisle…

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Tom, this proves my point a couple of articles back. The billionaire Tom Steyer is another rightwing scum bucket interferring in the Democrats nominating process.
        What we’re seeing is the third life of co2 hysteria. Steyer is using climate change to justify fracking. That seems to be the new party line.

      • Thomas Fuller

        Safe to say that acc has become A bit of a grab bag rorschach test…

        Sent from my iPhone

    • JeffN,
      All I see in the letter as well as the comments is a bunch of ignorant reactionaries bleating away about their misunderstanding of climate and energy.
      They seem to think that oil fuels their power.
      Did I miss posts from ratinal and informed people?
      What maroons.

      • That site did a follow up post when Markey disavowed the threat – noting that Dems are supposed to oppose billionaires affecting elections. Soros being the only exception, apparently. The commenters on the second post suddenly understood what we used to call ‘the optics of the position.”
        Just saw a commenter on Kloor trotting out the ol’ “true cost” of fossil fuels when pollution is expensed. Gas is supposed to be $14/gallon. Ok. Sure. Submit the bill for a $10/gallon tax hike for gas and let’s be sure to have Congress vote before the next election so they can take full credit for it with their constituents. I mean, only greedy “Repugs” would vote no and now’s the chance to show how out of touch they are!

      • Let’s do the true cost of wind, if we are going to do the ‘true cost’ of gasoline.

    • You misunderstood the politics as usual. The billionaire climate activist you speak of is really a FRAKKER. He is Tom Steyer. See: for a real leftwing interpretation of this rightwing scumbag.

      • The Center for American Progress- liberal think-tank that is the home of Joe Romm – endorsed Steyer for energy secretary. He was on Obama’s short list.
        I “misunderstood the politics” in the same way that I believe Diane Fienstein is also not a wing-nut Repuglican.
        I recognize that there is “the left” and then there is “the left of left.” But if you think Joe Romm wants “a rightwing scumbag” to be energy secretary then I suggest your definition of the phrase is a tad off from the standard understanding of politics.

      • A fracker, by definition, is a rightwing scumbag.

      • I’m using the traditional definitions. Frackers need Joe Romm as much as the nuke industry, or haven’t you figured that out yet. Center for American Progress is hardly progressive.

      • Diane Fienstein is also extreme right by any traditional definition. Look at her foreign policy.

      • So. Is there anyone in Congress who isn’t a right-wing scumbag? Or the administration seeing as how they take credit for shale gas growth.

      • For Marty, anyone who disagrees with him is a right wing scumbag. And since everyone not heavily medicated or in need of heavy meds disagrees, we are all right wing scumbags.

      • I love it when certain Americans describe themselves as liberal because by absolute standards, both Dems and Reps are far right-wing.

        Since all politicians are by definition greedy sleazy lying scumbags, I love it when certain Americans try to elevate the current president to the status of a saint.

        Americans and their politics. Facepalm.

  7. In 10 years, fracking is just going to be the name for another burst bubble that the American taxpayer will be on the hook for.

    • Marty,
      Your claim about frakking, bubbles and tax payers makes little sense.
      I am in Houston, have lived through a huge bubble burst, and was just discussing this with another veteran this afternoon.
      How much governemnt guarantees are in frakking? zip.
      How much tax payer subsidy supports frakking? zip.
      There will be a commodity bubble and bursting in frakking gas and oil, as there nearly always is, but the direct cost to the tax payer, unlike solar and wind, is basically $0.
      And unlike wind and solar, frakking actually produces something at market rates that consumers can use.

      • The EPA co2 ruling is a SUBSIDY. It is forcing utilities to buy fracked gas. That’s what it was all about. Who’s going to be locked into buying fracked gas once the price skyrockets? Who are they going to pass these costs onto?
        Cheap fracked gas is one big lie. They’re lying about how much they can recover and how cheap it will be. There is no reduction in green house effect.
        Who’s going to pay for the fracking mess they leave behind.

  8. “Just saw a commenter on Kloor trotting out the ol’ “true cost” of fossil fuels”

    Has anyone calculated the “true cost” of breathing?

    • Although I think it gets exaggerated, I do believe that negative externalities exist and should enter into cost benefit analyses. Better if they were independent…

      Sent from my iPhone

  9. Oh what a great CCR tune, probably my favorite! Haven’t heard that in a long time. Thank you!

  10. And while we’re at it, I have a suggestion for all of you who think fracking is such a great idea. Why don’t you come here and buy a home over the Marcellus Shale, then you can go frack yourself.

    • Tom, don’t hesitate to censor the above comment.

    • Marty,
      Do you live near any of the shale beds being developed for oil and gas?
      Do you even understand frakking and what is involved?
      I seriously doubt it.
      It is interesting to me that for AGW fanatics, only climate scientists (who agree with them) are entitled to an opinion. But for anti-frakking kooks, no expert geologist, geophysicist, historical record, or engineering report is good enough. Now the argument comes to a person having to live their to be entitled to an opinion. And of course that person has to believe that “Gasland” and that Matt Damon movie are accurate portrayals.
      As to the EPA CO2 ruling, now you are into wacky conspiracy land. The CO2 ruling was to shut down coal, rationalize a carbon tax and will eventually hit transport fuels and natural gas.
      You seem to enjoy calling everyone who disagrees with you a liar.
      Would you like to back that up with some actual evidence?

      • They’re fracking where I grew up.I grew up over the Marcellus. I now live over the Utica formation. I come in contact with fracking and frackers weekly. My brother in laws well is contaminated. I have former students telling me what’s going on.
        I have 6 refereed articles in geology. How many do you have?
        Hunter, I’ve been trying to ignore your lies and bad manners since Tom’s first blog. You’re just an ignorant bully. You trash everything you come in contact with.

      • google “images jonah field wyoming.”

      • Marty,
        It is easy to ignore what is not there. “Lying” is a deliberate choice to tell what is known to be false. Please show me where I have lied. Disagreeing with your pontifications is not the same as lying. As for bad manners, I disagreed with you on frakking in a respectful way, and even listed specific points of disagreement.
        I asked you to offer evidence of lying, and you complain about bad manners.
        Now you imply that since your brother’s well is messed up it must be frakking. Offer evidence the two are linked. You know, like the 6 papers you have refereed.
        The EPA is desperate to find ways to restrict if not shut down fracking.
        You can be a hero.

      • Marty,
        If you are still around I would like to make a sincere offer:
        Tell me how you would like to see a dialogue on this topic take place in a way that you would not find offensive. Perhaps there is a way to have an open conversation that will not alienate or fofend you so much that you feel as if your best option is to leave?
        Tom Fuller has put together avery nice blog and I enjoy his postings very much. I would like to do what I can to encourage his insghtful well written posts to continue. If my perceived actions serve to make that continuation less likely, I am willing to consider options.

    • If it comes with mineral rights, you can sign me up NOW.

  11. Over at The Weekly Standard, Mark Bauerlien writes about the research of Neil Gross who has this to say about academics:

    “the professoriate either contains the highest proportion of liberals of any occupation in the United States for the period 1996-2010 or is right behind another famously liberal occupational group, authors and journalists.”

    You have to wonder how that impacts not only climate science but climate communication.

    Seriously, what conservative would consider entering a field so heavily dominated by liberal activists? (I am talking about journalism here, not climate science) 🙂

    It is hard to imagine the pressure that a young climate scientist is under to toe the line and not challenge the consensus.

    • The Weakly Standard????? lol Now we know where you’re coming from?

      • Uh no, Marty, you don’t.

        I picked up the link to the article from The Chronicles of Higher Education, the house organ of academia. Nonetheless, I enjoy The Weekly Standard too. A whole lot more than The Nation.

        Now you know where I am coming from.

      • GregS,
        I notice that it is not uncommon for many to condemn the source of the news as a way to avoid dealing with news they dislike.
        The atheist/agnostic leanings of academics is well documented in academia.
        For instance, Dr. Elaine Ecklund of Rice University
        did a study which became a book on exactly this topic:
        I found it to be an interesting book. It gives insights on how many academics see and react to the world around him.

      • Hey, thanks for the link, hunter. The blurb and reviews on Amazon are very interesting. I made a note of the author and hope to find out more.

        What interests me is how scientists insulate or fail to insulate their research from their beliefs. We saw an interesting case of this when Robert Putnam, the author of Bowling Alone, was alleged to have initially withheld data which suggests increased diversity corrodes community trust. What Putnam’s data does or does not show, or whether he did or did not suppress it, is not the issue. What should concern everyone is the threat of faith and politics warping science.

        I am not sure what the answer is – but at least in the case of climate science, the politics of it and the prejudices of academia threaten the credibility of the science itself.

      • GregS,
        You are very welcome.

  12. The Economist joined the ranks of Lukewarmers:
    They take note that the science isn’t settled after all and that it increasingly appears the “settled science” just wasn’t true.
    “This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy.”
    Poor BBD must be having kittens

  13. Tom, I found the Sternglass papers on nuke safety and had them scanned. I was going to write an intro.
    The Jan Kozier article on sea level has been published, but I don’t have a copy yet, so I can’t tell if it’s the game changer it’s supposed to be.
    Tom, I encouraged you to start this blog. My big attempt to diversify your audience didn’t work. Except for Bouldin, all you got left is nutjobs. And they’re not even a good collection of nutjobs. It’s the same thing that happened to your last blog. They’re so stupid, they think they won, but they really lost. If somebody who really was trying to make sense out of the climate debate stumbled on here, what would he think. The comments reinforce alarmist propaganda.
    There were some interesting comments at the beginning, but they quit about a month ago.
    I have other things to try, see you around. Marty

    • It seems like a month. I checked. Things went south around March 7-8.

    • Marty I don’t think the vituperation is necessary. The sign of a healthy debate is the presence of conflicting viewpoints. Compare this to WUWT comments threads and all the mutual back-slapping groupthink. And the conflict is all happening in a reasonably civilized way. That’s most unusual for climate blogs. As a result, a lot of readers may have changed their opinions, even if only slightly.

      Although this blog calls itself thelukewarmersway, it is in fact full-on warmist. Tom predicts catastrophic warming and he advocates expensive mitigation. Still, it is the only warmist blog I can read without facepalming and much heavenward rolling of eyes. I’m here at least twice a week and every time I get something new.

      • Jim,
        You note somethign very significant in the great climate dispute. My take the last several years is that this due to the nature of the AGW movement itself: it is not really about the science at all. AGW is a belief system that uses climate science as a sort of veneer.

    • Too much wandering strictly from the science issues, that’s always the core problem in this thing. You either wander from the science and get lots of traffic and comments, or stick closely to it and get very little/few.

      Which tells you very much about what people are really interested in in this whole thing.

  14. Enjoy your selected echo chambers…hopefully they will be full of not stupid people like yourself.

    Almost every site that runs articles on climate science become polarized in comments over time. For whatever reason the pro AGW tribe values consistent messaging above all else. Even people who occasionally wander off the reservation such as Revkin and KK are virtually shunned by the tribe members as apostates.

    Like Marty, and to different extents everyone, they aren’t interested in debate, they are mostly interested in value reinforcement. There are plenty of places to get this need served.

    • Anybody’s more than welcome to break from any perceived tribes they want to, it’s a free world. All you have to do is do it. I’m a member of RealClimate and I have no problem pointing out any and all problems that I see as such, and I can guarantee you that only one person in RC will have any real problem with that.

      • A lot of the responsibility for that is mine. I naturally want a larger audience and so play to the news a bit.

      • Jim, almost no one from the skeptic side gives a hoot about anything said at realclimate. Too much abuse, too much boreholing, etc. Flat out just don’t give a damm anymore. They are now a true echochamber. Did you happen to see Gavin on FNC Stossel last night? It was pathetic, he played musical chairs with Spencer, refusing to be on the stage at the same time, as if Spencer was some kind of leper.

      • Bob,
        It is clear to me that most of the lords of AGW are unable to debate with skeptics and win on their ideas. If they could, they would. Instead we are watching for most of a decade as AGW opinion leaders from Gore to Schmidt require that they be asked only pre- screened questions, shielded from debate, and not be puton the same forum as skeptics. In other words, they act like intellectual cowards. They only do this because it is the best they can do. If they could prevail in an argument they would.
        Their scientific argument is untenable or they could defend it. Spencer is hardly a lightweight. if anythign Schmidt is the lightweight in that exchange. And he acted exactly as a light weight would act.

      • Everyone can hold any viewpoint of RC they like and I know that many mistakes have been made in dealing with criticisms from readers. But this characterization of Gavin is just plain wrong. He’s a very smart and tolerant person in the end.

        And don’t talk to me about “echo chambers” and so forth when you have lunatics like Watts wandering around loose firing randomly from the hip with his peanut gallery cheering relentlessly, or the firehose of biased crap coming from Fox “News”.

      • “Gavin Schmidt” and “tolerant” fit together like “military” and “intelligence”, or like “Peter Gleick” and “ethics”.
        And one great tell of a challenged person is when they pretend Fox News is not a legitimate news source. Just saying.
        The elephant in the room today is the editorial from The Economist. Does this now mean The Economist is reporting faux news as well?

      • From far away I can only observe that I found the Economist articles remarkable, given their reporting over the past few years. I literally cannot view any blogs from China. All of your comments are coming to me via automatically generated emails. Is anybody talking about the Economist?

      • Tom, BH did a post about the Economist. The Australian also picked it up.

      • Tom,
        Too few. I see it as the first break in the great consensus, so maybe it is shocked silence? lol

      • To me the first fissure was James Hansen’s use of the word ‘stalled’ to describe recent temperature records.

      • Jim, calling Anthony Watts a lunatic says more about you than it does about him.

        I don’t know you but I hope I would also spring to defend you against baseless accusations.

  15. Jim, ” But this characterization of Gavin is just plain wrong. He’s a very smart and tolerant person in the end.”

    I did not say he was smart. I said he looked like a disheveled fool. Do you actually see the segment? You seem to be a decent chap and I’d be surpreised if you came to a different conclusion.

  16. Gavin said, “I am not going to argue to make good TV.” Good for him!!! I may not agree with his alarmism, but kudos for him to him for his handling of the media.

    Roy Spencer did a great job too by focusing on the incompetence of green solutions.

    In the end, I believe that Roy and Gavins musical chairs worked to Roy’s advantage.

    • GregS,
      Gavin could have argued to make his points. Debating is not ‘good TV’. He did not appear ont he same stage as Spencer because he is a dishevelled coward and does not win debates. He only thrives in controlled forums where he gets to silence critics and answer questions he pre-approves. Recall that he decisively lost against Michael Crichton in a debate in New York City.
      Dr. Spencer hardly came out with some sort of Hollywood production quality flourish.
      AGW is delicate indeed that most of its major promoters are unable to debate it in an open forum.
      Of course Dr. Spencer looked better: He behaved like a scientist, not a cowardly priest hiding out behind his religious sensitivities.

      • I doubt Schmidt is a coward. From what I have seen, he enjoys a fight.

        However I have no doubt that he is getting the best PR advice that money can buy. It is simply a given that if you are ahead, you never debate your opponent. This is poly-sci 101.

        The fact that he appeared at all signifies that his highly paid PR people blinked. I would expect to see quite a lot of Gavin in days to come. Much needs to be spun.

      • GregS,
        Maybe he is getting advice, and hopefully it is expensive advice not paid for by NASA,but it has certainly not been *good* advice.
        I think his lack of debating is simply because he loses and lose convincingly.
        But it is not important, in the long run: The alarmists are losing on the issue for the same reason alarmists always lose: They are wrong.
        As to calling him a coward, a coward is as a coward does.

  17. Lots of people are talking about the Economist article. Stoat has a post. So does Powerline .

    • Paul,
      Great links.
      For years many skeptics have been betting on the major media back peddling as sign of the decline of AGW as a social dysfunction.

  18. Damn, I wish I could be a right winger so I could “explain” everything about climate change in terms of liberal conspiracies and how scientists appear in television debates. Would be so much easier than this, you know, detailed science crap and all that.

    • It would be nice if detailed science crap could be trusted.

      Instead we get “hide the decline”, “hide the hotspot”, “delete the emails” and “oh, in contrast to my dissertation, the 20th century data I published in Science was ‘not robust'”

      Must be nice to be a “left winger” so an uncritical press lets you get away with this crap…… Try that in forensic science and you will be doing some serious time in the big house.

  19. Hi everybody–I am now in a different country and can actually see this blog.And news! And other blogs! Maybe if I read some of them I will think of something to write. In the meantime, thanks for holding down the fort.

    I was chilly where I was this morning. It’s really hot and humid where I am tonight.

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