A Winning Political Strategy Against The Konsensus

Yesterday I painted a rather gloomy picture of brownouts and forced rationing of CO2 emissions, the logical outcome of the Konsensus strategy to defeat global warming.

(Repeated disclaimer: There is a broad consensus in science on a narrow interpretation of human-caused global warming. 66% of climate scientists believe half or more of the current warming period is caused by human emissions of CO2. I don’t dispute that–in fact it would not surprise me if that turned out to be the case. However, there is a parallel Konsensus of media hounds, NGOs, marketers and even a few scientists who have made it their mission in life to exaggerate the impacts for political effect, and it is this latter group that concerns me.)

As I pointed out yesterday, the Konsensus has already greenmailed many multinational companies into greenwashing their corporate image. They have most governments cowed into submission on this issue. Most people in the developed world agree with the scientific consensus and have not yet seen the over-reach in what the Konsensus proposes.

The Konsensus is winning the political battle. The Tobacco Strategy will get them where they want to go. And this strategy, which failed utterly in stopping smoking or curbing the activities of tobacco companies, is the one that opponents of the Konsensus have to beat. The strategy being used today by the Konsensus will not reduce emissions–they will just offshore them–but it is not likely to matter much to the activists and lawyers who will be enriched by the spoils of the battle.

Nonetheless, the Konsensus will use the political legitimacy garnered by show trials of fossil fuel companies and media coverage of them to move towards limits on individual emissions of CO2. The first effect of which will be a reversal of the reforestation we have seen for the last 40 years, as enterprising scofflaws will chop down trees to feed wood stoves ‘off the meter.’

To beat them, skeptics and we lukewarmers will have to look a bit further back in history. Tobacco is not the only substance that was legislated against in the past.

For a strategy to beat the Konsensus, I offer for your examination Prohibition.

interrupt your enemy

Alcohol was banned in the United States for 13 years and was demonized in a way not seen since–until tobacco and CO2 became the next targets. According to Wikipedia “It was promoted by the “dry” crusaders, a movement led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Democratic and Republican parties, and was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League, and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Prohibition was mandated under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, set down the rules for enforcing the ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited.”

Despite support from activists that led to a constitutional amendment, Prohibition only lasted 13 years. This offers hope to those of us who think that the activists are wrong in their approach and anti-democratic in their methods.

We Want Beer

Prohibition instantly created one of the biggest black markets the world has ever seen. Canada and Mexico sold liquor to Americans who chose not to abide by the law, rendering it almost unenforceable.

Funnily enough, Canada and Mexico are very large suppliers of fossil fuels.

Prohibition led to Al Capone and a massive increase in organized crime, helping drive public opinion against the legislation. Punitive controls on family use of fossil fuels will quite likely have a similar effect.

Although today’s public accepts the scientific consensus, they are not terribly concerned about climate change as a problem to be solved. Although the Konsensus may be able to put controls on fossil fuels into place, as these controls begin to bite, the public will turn against them.

The only way the Konsensus strategy would work is if renewable energy stepped up to the plate and actually delivered what the Konsensus has promised (or alternatively, if the Konsensus embraced nuclear power as an acceptable alternative to fossil fuels). In which case it wouldn’t matter. It would be a nice touch of irony if the Konsensus had to make the move to nuclear to save their necks.

The winning strategy is to let the Konsensus beat themselves. Sandbag the heck out of ’em.

19 responses to “A Winning Political Strategy Against The Konsensus

  1. Just wait five years until we see the results of the San Francisco rule forcing new build homes to install solar panels.

  2. I think the biggest Konsensus bulkhead that needs to be attacked is their disparagement of debate. They actually have people like Chris Hayes bragging about not allowing guests with skeptical climate views on their shows. This allows them to shield their dumber policies from scrutiny. They need to be called out on their intellectual cowardice.

  3. I came across this classification by Richard Mueller here and thought it useful to pass along.

    Alarmists. They pay little attention to the details of the science. They are “unconvincibles.” They say the danger is imminent, so scare tactics are both necessary and appropriate, especially to counter the deniers. They implicitly assume that all global warming and human-caused global warming are identical.

    Exaggerators. They know the science but exaggerate for the public good. They feel the public doesn’t find an 0.64°C change threatening, so they have to cherry-pick and distort a little—for a good cause.

    Warmists. These people stick to the science. They may not know the answer to every complaint of the skeptics, but they have grown to trust the scientists who work on the issues. They are convinced the danger is serious and imminent.

    Lukewarmists. They, too, stick to the science. They recognize there is a danger but feel it is uncertain. We should do something, but it can be measured. We have time.

    Skeptics. They know the science but are bothered by the exaggerators, and they point to serious flaws in the theory and data analysis. They get annoyed when the warmists ignore their complaints, many of which are valid. This group includes auditors, scientists who carefully check the analysis of others.

    Deniers.They pay little attention to the details of the science. They are “unconvincibles.” They consider the alarmists’ proposals dangerous threats to our economy, so exaggerations are both necessary and appropriate to counter them.

    • Reasonable categorizations. One quibble: “Skeptics … includes auditors, scientists who carefully check the analysis of others.” I would guess that most of us auditors are in the ranks of lukewarmers.

      The categories imply that only the extremes are unconvincible. But one sees very little convincing going on between the other groups. In particular, there seems to be a nearly unbridgeable gulf between warmists and lukewarmers. I think that is because this is not just about science. The alarmists, exaggerators, and warmists all seem to make a tacit assumption that goes something like the following:

      “When people significantly alter the natural environment, the results are bad. The larger the area affected, the worse it is. So altering the global environment is really terrible.”

      I suspect that many of us lukewarmers and skeptics are sympathetic to that assumption, but would add a bunch of qualifiers. So to get that assumption out in the open might help communicating across the gulf.

      p.s. Am I the only one who finds the term “warmist” vaguely insulting in a similar way to “denier”?

      • The people of The Netherlands, for centuries, altered the environment significantly and things are better. Europe has changed practically every forest and waterway and things seem pretty good. The US forests and most water ways have also mostly been significantly altered. Things are pretty good. In spite of the environmental crisis and climate crisis the climate obsessed tell us we are experiencing, things are actually going pretty well. Yet the obsessed are immune to this. Why?

      • Hunter,

        The fact that people can alter the environment without causing disaster is why I said I would add a bunch of qualifiers. But it is also possible to make a mess of things. Given that we have exactly one habitable planet, we should not be cavalier about the possibility that we might make a mess of it.

        You wrote “The US forests and most water ways have also mostly been significantly altered. Things are pretty good.”
        You must be young and indifferent to the past. Yes, our water and air and forests are mostly in pretty good shape. But only after decades of fixing the mess we made.

        Many civilizations have collapsed in the past. Environmental changes, some self-induced, are often implicated. Of course, no one really knows what caused those collapses but they did happen and the people involved did not see it coming until it was too late.

        Disasters are not averted by blindly trusting in the future. Disasters are averted by calm, rational actions (not panic) guided by foresight.

        You wrote: “In spite of the environmental crisis and climate crisis the climate obsessed tell us we are experiencing, things are actually going pretty well. Yet the obsessed are immune to this. Why?”

        To the “obsessed” you probably sound like the legendary fellow who fell off an observation balcony on the 100th floor and 50 floors down said “so far, so good”.

      • You make some good points, and it underscores my position. The environment took a lot of change. We dam up rivers, we build levees, we introduce species, we have large scale agriculture and the world is not, as some foolish people say, “resembling a large trash heap. How many self serving false cries of “wolf!” do the climate obsessed and environmentalists get before we dismiss and defund them?

      • Hunter,

        “We dam up rivers, we build levees, we introduce species, we have large scale agriculture”

        And one can make a legitimate case that those things have done a lot of harm.

        “and the world is not, as some foolish people say, “resembling a large trash heap.”

        It was well on its way 50 years ago.

        “How many self serving false cries of “wolf!” do the climate obsessed and environmentalists get …”

        Many of the past cries of wolf were not false and the wolf was successfully dealt with. But there were a lot of false cries of wolf mixed in. This time the false cries are drowning out the genuine ones. That upsets me since I remember how that fable ends.

        ” … before we dismiss and defund them?”

        Most of the false cries of wolf come from the alarmists and exaggerators. For the most part they aren’t scientists (with a few notable exceptions).

    • AI, thanks. I hadn’t seen Muller’s categorization before, but it fits rather neatly with my own thoughts on the matter.
      “Unconvincibles” at both ends — extremely apt.

  4. I don’t know why I am dropping tid-bits here today, maybe just wasting time on the internet – but I ran across an article that listed Michael Oreskes as the Senior Vice President of News and Editorial Director for the United States radio syndicator NPR.

    Oreskes…. gosh that sounds like a familiar name. Could it be…..?

    Sure enough, Michael Oreskes is Naomi’s brother.

    But, but, but…., NPR assures us, he is neutral on issues related to his sister, but then one might ask, does he recuse himself on issues related to Exxon?

    Goodness me, I certainly am not suggesting that Michael and Naomi are in cahoots. I have lots of sisters that I never listen to… but it just seems odd that so many in the media, and especially at NPR have relationships with so with many left-leaning activists and partisans.

  5. The NPR ombudsman addresses the Michael/Naomi Oreskes link here

  6. ” today’s public accepts the scientific consensus” Seemingly reasonable people repeat this allegation without questioning it. They also accept the label ‘denier’ ( a staple of disinformation specialists working to smear a group ) without noticing that it is usual practice to ask for proofs – not opinions. Indeed, much effort seems expended in convincing people on the irrefutable correctness of the CO2 = warming analysis of a topic marked by complexity, questionable parameters of investigation, relative shortness of timeline information relative to natural cycles, and sparse sampling of land temperatures stretched well past their significant accuracy on a planet dominated by water cycle transformations, wind convection, and ocean effects on air temperatures and conditions.
    Unhappily, I am far from satisfied that meaningful dialogue can take place on a political initiative by an UN organization promoting government action to give it control on international taxes on the use of fuel. I call it an International Tax on the Use of Fire. Others have called it a tax on Air. In either case it exemplifies a breathtaking example of power mongering on a global scale.

  7. I’m a bit late here, sorry, but I’ll stick in my tuppence worth and hope it’s welcome. I’m not a scientist, I’m not even particularly well-educated. I’m one of the feeble minded, great unwashed that are either terrified of GW or puzzled that a valuable trace gas (CO2) which we were led to believe is the gas of life during rudimentary secondary school science (I’m talking 70’s here folks) is now a poison.

    So dig a little further and I can’t find any conclusive proof that CO2 causes GW, far less anthropogenic CO2. I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I have caused many arguments on a variety of forums by asking that simple question. No one, to date, has shown me the conclusive proof, therefore I must assume the entire CO2 derived, GW/AGW debate is predicated on a hypothesis. Indeed, there seems to be considerable evidence from observational studies that CO2 has lagged temperature rise.

    I also note a study published on the NASA website which shows the planet has greened by 14%, two continents the size of mainland USA of extra greening in the last 30 years, 70% of which is attributed to extra atmospheric CO2. Again, observational science Vs. a hypothesis.

    And it was oldephartte that prompted me to comment as he reminded me of a thought that whizzed through my thick grey matter some time ago.

    I couldn’t understand why, in the face of overwhelming criticism, virtually every westernised nations government collectively, and wholeheartedly, support the concept of AGW. My opinion is that it’s nothing more than business, but not in the sense that it generates profit (although it does for many individuals) rather that it contributes to the lifeblood of business.

    World economies have been in crisis for donkey’s years. The 2008 banking crisis wasn’t unexpected, on the contrary, it was considered merely a matter of time. It exposed the west’s comprehensive mishandling of taxpayers money, many countries teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

    But the problem, it seems to me, wasn’t the ‘wealth’ of any particular country, but rather the turnover of taxpayer money. There just isn’t enough revolving round the global marketplace to sustain the global business model.

    Along comes GW, and a perfect opportunity to generate taxpayer income to inject into the system by creating ‘fear of loss’ of the planet. But the cunning devils (politicians) won’t come out and say they are going to tax us more to save economies, they tell us the planet is at risk if we don’t accept subsidies for ‘clean’ energy generation. They then quietly tax our energy bills which generate’s business, creates employment, increases consumer spending etc. and kickstarts the vital cashflow imperative.

    OK, a simplistic view, but I’m a simple guy and have to have my information delivered in understandable chunks I can rationalise.

    When I began working in 1976 in the UK, my Income tax bill was around 30%. However pissed off I was at that rate, it covered virtually everything you could imagine, health, water, infrastructure, local councils etc. etc. and carried many nationalised operations that needed to be privatised, coal, steel and British Leyland, British Telecom, British Gas etc. etc. to mention but a few.

    We shed nationalisation, Income tax should have dropped. We introduced VAT (8% then, 20% now), Income tax should have dropped. We shed centrally funded local councils and the council tax was introduced, Income tax should have dropped. I could go on.

    I understand from a variety of sources that the tax burden on middle-income UK is now 40%.

    And whilst I don’t imagine for a moment that GW taxation is the panacea for global finance, it certainly contributes.

    Governments don’t want the GW pretence to end because it’s too big a collective earner for them.

    The planet’s temperature MAY have risen over the last 100 or so years, but the very means of measuring ground temperature is a slatted white box with a thermometer in it, developed in the 19th Century. Even the paint covering, never mind location, record keeping etc. affects the measurements and the data quality. They were designed as weather stations, not climate stations, so even the premise they are based on is misleading. Similarly, sea temperatures recorded by the cabin boy, when he had the time or inclination, of a ship is hardly an accurate recording of data, as we expect it today. Even satellite data from the mid to late 20th Century is questionable as the science was ‘early days’ and the damn things kept breaking down.

    So to make up for all these inaccurate data sources, the ‘scientist’s’ homogenised the data to make up for bad data, badly recorded data and badly recorded data from unreliable sources. Roll all that up and no matter the belief in homogenisation, it is still little better than guesswork.

    The human race’s future has nothing to do with climate change. It is reliant on bad data, from scientists with a personal agenda, delivered to politicians with their personal agenda, activated by businessmen with their personal agenda, promoted by the media, with their personal agenda.

    Too many fingers in one juicy pie. We are being scammed, and we are being convinced it’s all for our own good.

    Now, the question is, not whether I’m right or not, the question is, how have I come to this conclusion. I was told by a very wise businessman, many years ago “perception is reality”.

    My perception, and the perception of many, is that we are being scammed by the GW debate. That perception will grow. And when we dimwit proletariat don’t get the answers we demand, we get ugly.

    Thanks for your patience. I may have contributed rubbish, but it’s my perspective.

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