Naomi Oreskes and the New Climate ‘Deniers’

Naomi Oreskes (with the assistance of Erik Conway) wrote a science fiction book about the collapse of Western Civilization. Now she’s trying to cause it.

Oreskes is not a scientist. She’s a ‘historian’ of science, one who has not learned the first lesson of history and is thus condemned to repeat its errors. Specifically, she has not learned that social and political activist movements have stumbled, fallen and stopped in their tracks when one flavor of activist began to condemn other flavors for not being flavorful enough. It happened with the Civil Rights movement in the U.S., with feminism in the UK, and with Communism pretty much everywhere.

But she can sound really ‘sciency’ and she writes as one accustomed to authority, as one who considers herself the final arbiter of the Good and the True.

So when James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley called for a realistic assessment of the fuel portfolio the world will need to lower emissions–and specifically included widespread nuclear power among the options to evaluate–Oreskes did what people of her activist ilk have always done.

She called them ‘ climate deniers.’ This of course is nonsense–she’s calling some of the people who have created modern climate science deniers of the science they have created. (She’s in good company, of course. Other idiot activists have used the label for any scientist who doesn’t agree with their policy prescriptions–their knowledge and acceptance of how the climate works is irrelevant to activists.)

She is also functionally innumerate. Regular readers will know that I have been looking at energy consumption rather intensely for the past 5 years.  Some of the statistics are so easy to rattle off that it’s beyond belief that Oreskes isn’t familiar with them.

Here’s an example. In 2010 the world used 523 quadrillion British Thermal Units (or ‘quads’ as they are lovingly known).

Of those 523 quads, 52 came from renewable energy.

Of those 52 renewable quads, 50 came from hydro-electric generation of electricity. Biomass, ethanol, wood chips, wind, solar all combined to produce 2 of the 523 quads used by the world that year. It hasn’t improved significantly in the 5 years since then.

Note that nowhere did the 4 real scientists argue against renewables. Nor do I. But looking at the numbers I just showed would convince anyone with a brain that ignoring nuclear power will not lead to a good outcome.

Given that it is very clear that energy consumption will rise dramatically over the coming decades as the developing world develops, it is absurd to eliminate the one non-emissive option that provides reliable baseload power and has been proven to work worldwide.

Stalin sent assassins to murder Trotsky in Mexico City with an axe. If I were Hansen, Caldeira, Emanuel or Wigley, I’d start getting ready to look over my shoulder a bit more frequently. Oreskes has outed herself as an unthinking fanatic. There’s no telling what she’ll do next.


14 responses to “Naomi Oreskes and the New Climate ‘Deniers’

  1. She only gets away with it because she’s such a babe.

  2. Oreskes is the Donald Trump of climate politics.

  3. Oh, if it were only her. There are so many Donald Trumps in climate science it makes me wonder if they are all suffering from the DTs.

  4. Im on page 88 of “The Lukewarmer’s way”. Pretty good so far. If I were you I would release a V.2 in 2018. All it needs is updated statistics, a refresh of the politics, including a small blurb about the uncertainty you are starting to feel about fossil fuel resources.

  5. She seems to be in the thrall of Mark Jacobson, the crackpot with all the studies about how the world can be powered exclusively by renewables (no nuclear). I will have to admit he has an impressive looking CV.

  6. Heads up, Trotsky was murdered by Stalin’s assassins in 1940. Lenin died years earlier. But great essay. However I would point out that not even Malthus, much less Ehrlich, have ever been formally or widely repudiated.
    And they are the anti-science, anti- humanists who make reactionaries like Oreskes possible.

  7. We have a newly enobled lord over here called Byrony Worthington who is very green and runs an activist organisation called ‘sandbag’. Some of her operatives have just been found guilty of trying to damage a coal mine here.

    Anyway, my point is that I am totally bewildered as to what people like Naomi and Byrony think we should use for energy?.

    Activists have long had a downer against nuclear and obviously coal oil and even gas are not acceptable, so what is left that will do the job in an increasingly power hungry world?

    It would be great to have a guest post by either of these people in which they can set out where plentiful cost effective energy, to the green standard they demand, can actually be derived from and then we could directly question them.


    • They think we should use renewables and one of the reasons is Mark Jacobson, who I mention above. He has impressive credentials and is very charismatic. He looks a little like Jon Hamm of Mad Men. He has a lot of half baked studies proposing 100% renewables. He’s the man who needs to be debunked.

      He’s in a lot of YouTube videos. He’s been on Letterman. He’s in Bill Nye and Anrold Schwarzenegger’s new video. He was in a TED debate on nuclear that got over 200,000 views. He even persuaded a small portion of the audiance:

  8. Pingback: In Which Lewandowsky and Oreskes Discover an Interesting Variation on ‘Utterly Wrong’ | The Lukewarmer's Way

  9. Pingback: Is it something about the name ‘Naomi?’ | The Lukewarmer's Way

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