Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, October 11, 2010 8:49 pm

Alone among the world’s nations …

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 8:49 pm
Tags: ,

in its levels of Teh Stoopid:

Just for the record, when the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences last reviewed the data this spring, it concluded: “A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.” Not only William Hague but such other prominent European conservatives as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced that widespread scientific conviction and supported vigorous action.

Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is “no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.”

It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP’s stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms — and the dangers that Hague identified creep closer.

Are Americans taking this position because we’re stupider than people of other countries? No, although our educational system does suck in ways large and small.

No, Americans, and in particular the Republican Party, are taking this position because their corporate benefactors have rigged the system. Corporations are buying public policy that is directly counter to the best long-term interests of Americans and residents of this planet generally, and our dysfunctional political system is too far gone to stop it.






  1. What you need is one of Reggie Middleton’s fire-breathing rejoinders to the GOP, fashionably adorning the garment of your choice.

    Doomer Wear, bitchez!

    Comment by Fec — Wednesday, October 13, 2010 3:31 pm @ 3:31 pm

  2. Theskeptic’s science


    ” Of course, as we all know, global warming has been rebranded by alarmist groups as “climate change” and then more recently as “climate disruption.” This is in some sense inherently disingenuous, implying to lay people that somehow climate change can result directly from CO2. In fact, no mechanism has ever been suggested wherein CO2 can cause climate change in any way except through the intermediate step of warming. CO2 causes warming, and then warming causes climate changes. So the question of warming and its degree still matters, no matter what branding is applied.

    In fact, it is in the area of the knock-on effects of warming, from sea level increases to hurricanes, that some of the worst science is being pursued. Nowhere can we better see the effect of money on science than in climate change studies, as academics studying whatever natural phenomenon that interests them increasingly have the incentive to link that phenomenon to climate change to improve their chances at getting funding.

    The craziness of climate scare stories is too broad and deep to deal with adequately here, as nearly every 3-sigma weather anomaly suddenly gets attributed to climate change. But let’s look at a couple of the more well-worn examples. In an Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore warned of the world being battered by more and more Katrina style category 5 storms; in fact, 2009 and 2010 have seen record low levels of global cyclonic activity, despite relatively elevated temperatures. Or take the melting ice cap: on the same exact day in 2007 when newspapers screamed that the Arctic had hit a 30-year low in sea ice extent, the Antarctic hit a 30-year high. The truth of the matter is that ice is indeed melting and sea levels are rising today – as they were in 1950, and 1900, and even 1850 (long before much man-made CO2). The world has warmed continuously since the end of the little ice age around 1820 (a worldwide cold spell generally linked to a very inactive period in the sun) and sea levels can be seen to follow an almost unbroken linear trend since that time.

    Alarmists like to call climate skeptics “deniers,” usually in an attempt to equate climate skeptics with holocaust deniers. But skeptics do not deny that temperatures have warmed over the last century, or even that man (through CO2 as well as land use and other factors) has played some part in that warming. What skeptics deny, though, is the catastrophe. And even more, what skeptics deny is the need to drastically reduce fossil fuel use – a step that will likely be an expensive exercise in the developed west but an unmitigated disaster for the poor of Asia and Africa. These developing nations, who are just recently emerging from millennia of poverty, need to burn every hydrocarbon they can find to develop their economies.

    Postscript: You will notice that I wrote this entire article without once mentioning either the words “hockey stick” or “Climategate.” I have never thought Michael Mann’s hockey stick to be a particularly compelling piece of evidence, even if it were correct. The analysis purports to show a rapid increase in world temperatures after centuries of stability, implying that man is likely the cause of current warming because, on Mann’s chart, recent temperature trends look so unusual. In the world of scientific proof, this is the weakest of circumstantial evidence.

    As it turns out, however, there are a myriad of problems great and small with the hockey stick, from cherry-picking data to highly questionable statistical methods, which probably make the results incorrect. Studies that have avoided Mann’s mistakes have all tended to find the same thing – whether looking over a scale of a century, or millennia, or millions of years, climate changes absolutely naturally. Nothing about our current temperatures or CO2 levels is either unusual or unprecedented.

    The best evidence that the problems identified with Mann’s analysis are probably real is how hard Mann and a small climate community fought to avoid releasing data and computer code that would allow outsiders to check and replicate their work. The “Climategate” emails include no smoking gun about the science, but do show how far the climate community has strayed from what is considered normal and open scientific process. No science should have to rely on an in-group saying “just trust us,” particularly one with trillions of dollars of public policy decisions on the line.”

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Saturday, October 16, 2010 5:16 pm @ 5:16 pm

  3. Money for disinterested climate-change research is far harder to come by than money from extraction industries for climage-change “scientific” denialism. And yet, somehow, 97% of those who work primarily in the field buy into the theory of anthropogenic climate change.

    Also, true, a trillion dollars in public policy decisions are at stake, but if the denialists are wrong and we’ve done nothing in the meantime, the economic and human costs will be far greater than $1 trillion.

    Comment by Lex — Saturday, October 16, 2010 6:03 pm @ 6:03 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: