Travel day today, so something light and airy—and incomplete.
President Obama, presumably sacrificing a tee time, went to keyboard and typed these words:
This is a big moment in the fight against climate change—stick it to climate change deniers by adding your name: http://t.co/fkCzkiMhFw
Now you may think the problem lies in the words stick it to climate change deniers, but you would be wrong. Mr Obama is a politician and stick it is political language, and typical language at that. It is the weak man who allows himself to be offended easily. Add to that that it probably wasn’t our dear leader but some staffer or other hack who wrote the tweet, then there is nothing unusual with stick it.
No. The shark jump is in adding your name. Add your name to what? A petition.
Climate science by petition! While global warming has always had a thick dressing of ideology, this converts the matter completely from science to pure politics. What we have here is the triumph of pragmatism and democracy, the disastrous idea that truth can be had by vote, finally applied to science. Here’s the petition pleading:
Deniers and deep-pocketed polluters make it pretty hard to get anything done on climate change—but here’s one meaningful way you can fight them: The EPA is collecting comments on President Obama’s climate plan, and it’s our chance to show public support.
This is one of the decisive moments in the fight against climate change. Collecting comments gives the EPA a chance to see what ordinary people have to say about this important issue. (Don’t worry—they hear from the special interests on every day that ends in Y.)
What ordinary people have to say about global warming is, as far the EPA goes, meaningless. What value is it to collect the opinions of those unaware of fluid physics about the value of that physics? Of course, it is of some use to ask people how potential regulations might affect them, but about the science behind the regulations there is none.
Yet BarackObama.com says
The other side thinks they can win this fight simply by shouting the loudest, and they have a lot of money to back it up. What they don’t have is a whole lot of people—genuine voices standing up for what’s right. And we’ve proved time and again that, when we raise our voices together, we can take on even the most powerful interests.
Forget the canard about money (I’m still waiting for my check from Big Oil), and forget the idea that the people currently in power need to fight “powerful interests”. What is the point of “voices”? Will these voices fix model parameterizations? Will crowd wisdom tell us the proper role of cloud feedback? Should we turn to social media to guess proxy temperature reconstructions?
I’m writing in a hurry and can’t develop the idea, but somehow I’m put in mind of those early sci-fi movies, where groups of concerned scientists and government officials would gather around a table to discuss the alien giant bug crisis. Sleeves were rolled up. Uniforms worn. Discussions ranged. But never once was there the idea of putting ideas to a vote among the populace.
Incidentally, if you add your email (I made one up) to the Science Petition, you are asked to give money to Mr Obama to “help defeat the dirty special interests”. Sheesh.
Since political activism can change nature, I propose we start a petition immediately to demand that the Ebola virus become less virulent.
John, let’s go all the way for benign and efficacious.
I can’t think of too many interests as powerful, or as well funded, as the that of the Oval Office.
An episode of Penn and Tellers Bullsh#t once had people sign a petition to ban dihydrogen oxide. This new Obama petition kind of smells the same.
Excellent call John. That’ll teach that upstart virus!
Huh? A President of a United States needs your money to defeat “dirty special interests”? Why? Is he going to buy them some soap?
I think everyone in the Obama administration thinks everything is a matter of public opinion and that if you get enough people on “your” side then what you say is true. They do not seem to believe that things are true or false no matter what you believe about them. This is just one of a long list of examples. Say it often enough, or loud enough, or vehemently enough, and it’s true! They always seemed surprised when events do not bear out what they’ve declared to be true. I think they really are surprised.
You may want to read this minority staff report by the United States Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works:
The Chain of Environmental Command:
How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obamaâ€™s EPA
That’s the dirty money and they don’t fund science.
This is truly disheartening. I thought Obama was president of both the American climate warmists and the American climate skeptics.
It’s been politics ever since they started talking about the scientific consensus. Consensus is a term from politics and has nothing to do with science. People that believe in scientific consensus believe that reality can be determined by taking a poll.
I believe I mentioned that Democrats solve problems with a hash tag in a prior thread. Of course they use hash tags–they have no real plans except to raise taxes and spend money foolishly You can’t really put that in the hash tag, of course. Throw in “evil industrialists” and “special interests” and you have winner. Yet the people pushing this often made all or much of their money from fossil fuels, have multiple homes and private jets (Note Paul’s comment.) Human stupidity does seem boundless much of the time.
The truly sad part of all of this is the leaders think words are the same as reality. This is have deadly consequences with ebola (as noted by other commenters). Imagine how deadly trying to defeat climate change will be. These people are clueless and sadly in charge. Global warming is the least of our problems. Science is being set back centuries with this whole mess.
We’re all saved now: Ron Klain, a lawyer, is now the ebola czar. His wife, Monica Medina, an environmental activist, and special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, will undoubtely save us from global warming (which explains why she’s a special assistent to the Sec of Def. The military is now in charge of fighting ebola and global warming. Who knew bullets and lawsuits could fight a virus and CO2?
That blogpost at Barackobama.com was written by “JACK SHAPIRO, NATIONAL ISSUES CAMPAIGN MANAGER” not the POTUS.
Sheri – Not just Democrats: Western Man in general. The tweet or facebook post, is how you show you care, and showing that you care is the most important thing you can do in the modern world.
Was the Iranian student revolution won by people sending out supportive tweets? Nope, people with guns put it down so fast it wasn’t even funny. Did the tweets supportive of Ukraine stop Russia from annexing Crimea?
My opinion is there was a pretty clear jump the shark moment for global warming. It was when then went public with global warming is causing colder winters and more snow. The new euphemism of climate change occurred here as well.
This was followed up with the meme that every extreme event is due to global warming, on top of a a claimed link to almost anything bad that happens on earth (The Syrian Civil War!). Just dream up any tenuously plausible link and the media will run with it.
This is all well and good, the media loves most anything that is new and scary. Where this is a bit different is the conspiracy of silence by most climate change advocates and climate communication experts in policing this climate astrology, and in many, many cases actively promoting it.
How many times do we hear that climate change will cause man to go extinct? This has about zero support in the science, even among the quacks, but people spread this like the Black Death in the middle ages.
At least Ebola has given the media something new to run with. I suppose it wont be long until we find out that climate change caused Ebola.
I share your annoyance on these points, particularly the former. Climate is defined by averages, extremes and relative frequencies of other such metrics over extended periods of time. Attributing a single ginormous storm to global warming contradicts that fundamental principle and has backfired spectacularly. Even so such headlines continue, gleefully answered by the opposition with counterfactual anecdotes that are similarly unscientific.
Reducing the complexity of wars down to a single cause is foolishness to the extreme. Even without the predicted effects of climate change on food production and water availability, population growth itself is likely to increase pressure on such resources. Armed conflict for food, or blocking food distribution as a conflict strategy are things we’ve already witnessed. It’s certainly plausible that climate changes will contribute and exacerbate thes already existing factors, but sound bites making global warming the sole boogeyman of African misery are overdone … and I think somewhat misdirected to boot.
At least as many times as you’ll have to hear about dead polar bears.
So far as I’ve seen, some news outlets are asking the loaded question. There is pushback from appropriate quarters:
Both Newsweekâ€™s story, titled â€œEbola and Climate Change: Are Humans Responsible for the Severity of the Current Outbreak?â€œ, and CNBCâ€™s story, titled â€œIs climate change key to the spread of Ebola?â€, quote scientists from the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance to suggest that the virus could be worsened by a gradually warming earth. CNBCâ€™s story in particular notes the theory that the Ebola virus is spread to humans via infected fruit bats. Climate change could cause those bats to have more babies, the story said, or could cause humans to come in contact with bats more frequently as drought dries out agricultural land, sending people into the forest for food.
But Jason Rohr, who studies disease ecology at the University of South Florida, said those claims are â€œirresponsibleâ€ to make because theyâ€™re not yet backed up by peer-reviewed research.
â€œThe evidence is incredibly weak,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s a difference between weather patterns affecting an infectious disease and actual climate change impacting a disease. Weather patterns are going to occur on a much smaller time scale, whereas climate change, you need to link it to a long-term pattern. Weâ€™ve had so few [Ebola] outbreaks that we canâ€™t yet make those claims.â€
Links to the offending stories are contained in the article cited.
” Add to that that it probably wasnâ€™t our dear leader but some staffer or other hack who wrote the tweet, then there is nothing unusual with stick it.”
If this “aliased” tweet account was NOT in line with the president, do you think it would be allowed to exist? Remember how 97% John Cook was “honored” by the same tweet account and that made his day/week/month/year.
Amen Tom and Brandon:
Brandon stated: ” sound bites making global warming the sole boogeyman of African misery are overdone â€¦ and I think somewhat misdirected to boot.”
This could actually be TRUE since expensive unreliable renewable energy sources (as I’ve heard from various sources) may be foisted on developing nations (no dirty coal for you) leaving them in the dark
The Ebola-climate connection is hilarious, I was going to Google this but I guess I was afraid of what I was going to find.
I think we all probably suspect that if it was fruit bats that were providing an Ebola serum, the story would be that climate change was going to cause less cutey fruity babies, and probably cause them to go extinct posthaste.
I think most wars come down to group of humans A wants to rule group of humans B, and B isn’t so fond of this idea. Simple power struggles. There is no doubt there are examples of environmental factors causing stress between groups, water rights battles and so forth. Separating the ideas of climate stresses and climate change stresses is not usually pondered very hard.
Thanks for the compliment. I don’t like always being adversarial as I and others here so often are.
I’ve read that argument in numerous places as well, and it’s a compelling one. I’m more up on the science of AGW than the politics and economics. My opinion is this; if the first world is seeking to lead in imposing world-wide carbon agreements which seek to bring in renewables before they achieve economic parity with fossil fuels that it is incumbent on us to subsidize their deployment and operation in second and third world nations. That could become expensively burdensome, and for that reason I don’t think any such scheme will succeed in practice even if the political obstacles could be overcome. Which I think won’t.
I think the best course is for the first world to lead as we’re the most carbon-intensive. Having the more robust economies, we can better afford to absorb the up-front costs of development. Done “properly” those costs would be investments with both immediate (jobs, pollution reduction) and long-term (future licensing and/or direct foreign sales) economic benefits. Wrecking our own economy in the US is not something that would be good for the entire world, as witnessed by the 2008 financial crisis. I believe the US can find a solution that is both a net economic stimulus and a meaningful emissions mitigation, but it would require bipartisan cooperation — a la the Clean Air Acts — to get there which currently does not exist.
I hadn’t thought of it, but as soon as I read what you’d written I knew someone had already gone there. It’s the corollary of Rule 34: “If it’s bad, global warming caused it.” I was truly surprised that ThinkProgress pushed back against the larger media outlets for doing it instead of the other way ’round.
Probably so. I despair when such stories run the first time, and get angry when they stick around and go … viral if you will. I hope not all of us on the consensus side are such fruit loops, but you wouldn’t know from popular coverage. Which drives me batty. (That’s probably quite enough bad puns, innit.) Even if that kind of irrational noise died down, it would never die out completely. Thus in accordance with Rule 43 — if you look hard enough on the Internet for something, you will find it — climate contrarians would still be able to emphasize and mock the worst arguments to good effect.
As the issue is so politically polarized in an already fractious political system, I’d say that both the left and right unthinking noiseboxes get undue attention and therefore have undue influence. I cannot overemphasize how much I do not like it.
Brandon, I’ve stayed out of the discussions on AGW, because I’ve said everything I can say on it, but evidently not; when you say
“Done â€œproperlyâ€ those costs would be investments with both immediate (jobs, pollution reduction) and long-term (future licensing and/or direct foreign sales) economic benefits.”
“properly”??? When coal miners and electric plant workers are losing their jobs?http://middlesborodailynews.com/news/news/2501758/More-Kentucky-coal-miners-lose-jobs
What are the new jobs these guys are supposed to get? Picking up the dead birds killed by wind tunnels and solar mirrors?
Quoting your first link: The stateâ€™s Appalachian region in eastern Kentucky has a long history of coal production, but weak demand, low natural gas prices and stricter federal regulations have hurt mine production in recent years.
So don’t forget to also blame fracking in addition to federal (read: Obama) regulatory influence. From your second link:
Charles Tunny worked for Coal River Mining for several years before being laid off in November. He has since been having to draw unemployment in order to get by.
Ah, unemployment … yet another casualty of our broken political system. Done “properly” unemployment would entail putting people to work directly on the public dime until a place in the private sector opens up. Instead we put people on the dole which isn’t the most effective system of support and economic stimulus.
Company officials say the layoffs are expected to be permanent.
A similar thing happened when the GM shut the Norwood, OH assembly plant in 1987 creating blight and local economic depression for years. As property values declined, commercial developers moved in and built malls, a movie theater complex, etc. Being an enclave of Cincinnati, those new businesses brought money into Norwood’s economy. Of course a non-union retail job doesn’t pay as well as a UAW line assembly slot, and I seriously doubt you’d blame Reagan for GM’s business decision.
I’m really not interested in talking about what can’t be done in the name of technical innovation because someone might lose their job doing it. For one thing private industry is plenty good at doing that all on its own. Far better in fact. How many American manufacturing, engineering and service jobs have been shipped overseas chasing lower labor costs? Who was more responsible for the 2008 debt crisis, Bush or private investment banks who securitized high risk mortgage debt while downplaying risks in the prospectus?
Do you think typewriter manufacturers were happy when microcomputers and dot-matrix printers penetrated the business market? Wait a tick, didn’t IBM manufacture typewriters and teletypes? Why yes, yes they did. Hmm. You know, I bet the UAW wasn’t happy when car building robots first hit the scene. But you know what, a lot of line workers could have had more job opportunities if GE and GM had found a way to compete with Kawasaki Heavy Industries et al.
You gripe about solar panels, but it’s a booming worldwide business. What on earth would compel you to not want to be competitive in that market? Who’s the biggest wind turbine manufacturer in the US? GE Energy. Which manufacturer has got the largest worldwide market share? Vestas of Denmark with 13.2% followed by Goldwind and Enercon of Germany and China respectively at just over 10% apiece. GE’s share? 4.9% as of 2013. You want to know what GE’s share was in 2012? 15.5%
Who loses 10% market share of a growth industry in one year to foreign competition? Do you want to blame Obama the windmill champion for that one? Wouldn’t be the first place I’d look.
I don’t want anyone losing their job, their house, their sense of being a productive contributor to society whose only option is to be a handout recipient. If private industry isn’t willing to create domestic jobs, government needs to step in and do it. One way to do that is loan guarantees which let private lenders take capital risks on private R&D they otherwise wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Perhaps instead of subsidizing oil and gas exploration, we the public could subsidize research on things like cyanobacteria as a source of liquid fuels — something which existing oil refineries are well-suited to be retrofit when it comes to processing that sort of raw material into end-use products compatible with existing internal combustion engines.
What about the ever fashionable tax inversion strategy responsible for even more job losses to overseas? Obama complains that they’re being unpatriotic. Republicans complain that corporate tax is too high. Has complaining solved the problem? No, it hasn’t.
I’m beyond tired of political dialog in this country being saturated with anecdotes about 4,000 coal mining jobs being lost in Kentucky as political rhetoric. Not because I have something against coal miners, far far from it — I simply think it’s silly to make a political argument out of something which looks to be driven more by changing market forces. It’s no politician’s fault that Kentucky has poor shale gas reserves compared to Pennsylvania, or western states. But do you think laid-off office workers are working the shale gas fields? Surely not — probably more than a few ex-coal miners have taken up the new (different) jobs in that growth sector. Who knows though? With all the one-sided, non-comprehensive politically motivated uselessness floating around the entertainment media masquerading as journalism these days it’s getting tough to tell what’s really going on.
Incessant complaining will get us nowhere. I don’t have all the answers, that’s what I thought I was paying our elected representatives to help generate. Instead mostly what I see is a bunch of overpaid nitwits in fancy expensive clothing insulting each other on Twitter at my expense. Enough of this BS already. Knock it off with the negativity and petty squabbling, Congress. Get off the partisan ideological high horse, sit down at the negotiating table and find some solutions instead of continuing to create even more demoralizing, anti-creative, non-intelligent ill will.
Brandon, I suggest you repeat those arguments (which I don’t find convincing) to the coal miners who have lost their jobs. To ignore the restrictions the Obama administration has made on emissions for coal-powered plants and to blame it on increased use of natural gas, is at best ignorant of what is actually happening and at worst misleading. And, thank you, I intend to remain on my “partisan(,) ideological high horse”, because it is the moral and patriotic thing to do if this country is to be saved.
And should we put more money into defunct, impractical solar energy corporations? More Solandras?
Here’s a commentary on Obama’s “War on coal”:
and before you complain about that source being biased, I would say it’s the only unbiased agency for news and commentary that we have.
High horse indeed!!!
I find that offensive!!!
Brandon, one more point–surprisingly, I am in agreement with you about letting new technology/economics supplant old, outmoded industries. But that is a process that happens gradually, not in one guillotine decapitation of industries by government fiat.
And with respect to advancing new energy technology–why doesn’t the government subsidize (taxwise) use of natural gas in automobiles instead of promoting ethanol as an additive (which is harmful to engines and raises the cost of food)?
And, development of new energy technologies is done better by private capital than by the government–witness the probable development of a practical fusion device by Lockheed-Martin:
I guess you missed the bit where I said, “So donâ€™t forget to also blame fracking in addition to federal (read: Obama) regulatory influence. ” Anywho, shale gas production was already ramping prior to Obama taking office. Production doubled from 2006-2008, and up to 2011, oh quadrupled:
I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve doubled since then. You’re probably aware that fracking isn’t popular among a lot of environmentalists, which I think is irrational to the point of lunacy. If not that, at least plain old stupid. Please don’t lump me in with the kinds of folk who live in that particular fantasy world. I’ve got plenty of my own dreams for you to poke holes in.
Spoken like a true partisan. My reading of history is that winner take all tends not to work out no matter who wins. We might have a fun talk about why I don’t necessarily think Republicans taking the Senate and relegating Obama to lame duck status is such a bad idea. I’ll start: at least it wouldn’t be gridlock and I’d like to see what two Republican houses of Congress would do with a Democrat in the White House.
Again with the anecdotes. Try a global view from 30,000 ft. instead staying mired in the mud of the election cycle propaganda: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growth_of_photovoltaics
Boy howdy, that looks real impractical to me. I note that you made no mention of other “defunct” companies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailout
2008 – The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc.
2008 – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
2008 – The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
2008 – Morgan Stanley
2008-2009 – American International Group, Inc. multiple times
2008 – Citigroup Inc.
2008 – General Motors Corporation and Chrysler LLC
Correct me if I’m wrong, but that was before Obama took office, wasn’t it? And again note that I don’t hold Bush responsible for that mess. Do you? If you really want to get nasty about abysmal failures of now-defunct energy companies, let’s talk about Enron.
The first question I had reading the lede was, “Why would switching from coal to gas necessarily result in a net loss of jobs?” My first instinct is to say that it would result in net job gains through at least as long as it takes to build the new gas plants and/or convert existing coal fired plants to gas where feasible.
Not possible until we develop omniscience and overcome emotion.
Understandably so, I can be blunt, ascerbic, combative, etc. Things you and others here say offend me too, even when you’re being nice about it. Downside of free speech I suppose. Regardless, my argument stands. As a country we’re not cooperating with each other in a way that’s unprecedented in my lifetime. It needs to stop because I care about our country and those who live in it as much as you do.
Bob pt. II,
Truly, I’d like to surprise you more often. I agree that gradual change is preferable to doing things in one fell swoop. Start small, see if it works, if it doesn’t try something else. That requires a functional government, which we don’t have. I expect the Hail Mary pass to be the rule of the day for the forseeable future no matter which party is (allegedly) at the helm.
The history of the French electric utility industry is an interesting one. They nationalized the entire system when the war ended and embarked on a gradual phasing out of coal with nuclear fission. A few years ago, they spun off the industry into the hands of private investors and management though (IIRC) the government still holds a significant, but non-majority stake. They’ve had about the best air quality in Europe, indeed among all industrialized first world nations, produce gobs more electrical power than they can consume domestically which they sell on the international spot market. Their reactor designs are world class, and they license their newest designs to foreign nations. There have been bumps and crises (but no major nuclear accidents), but overall pretty much a hands-down success story.
I’m not arguing for nationalizing the electrical utility industry in the US, I don’t think it would work because … well … see again we don’t have a functional government. But good grief, if the French can do it surely we can find a more American-style way of doing something similar. Can’t we?
The ethanol subsidy/production target/gasoline additve requriement is hands down one of the dumbest “green” energy “ideas” ever implemented.
I saw that news a few days ago as well. I want to have high hopes, but the joke about fusion power is that it’s been 30 years away for the last 50. I do hope they pull it off, even if it does give you a another “private industry is always best” anecdote to bash me with. Something to keep in mind, most of what’s known about fusion reactors was researched on government grants, and it really has been going on for over 50 years. Private capital doesn’t do pure research over those sorts of extended periods of time. Also keep in mind that Lockheed punched out of the commercial airliner business in what, the ’80s? Lotsa defense contracts since then. Money well spent, especially if those profits are how they’re funding this fusion research.
The private business is always better than government narrative doesn’t work for me. We didn’t have the successes of our recent past that way.
You’re talking to someone who lost his job in 2009, and house in 2011.
Well there are two parts to this. The “science” and the policy prescription. The sceptic position on the “science” is that it’s largely crap. Hide the decline, upside down proxies, failure in one case to follow the procedure set down in the papers method. And basically a failure to establish the typical limits of “normal” climate and prove that human activity has breached them. Forgive me if I oversimplify… None of that is a matter of vote but of data and analysis. Feel free to insert the relevant Feynman clip here or assume it’s presence.
Beyond the science, there isn’t really any evidence presented that the current strategy, wind, sun, energy saving is the most cost effective or efficient solution as opposed to other strategies, CHP, cracked gas, improved fission that might preserve economic well being and reduce overall emissions,while we give human ingenuity the time to take a proper crack at the problem of carbon-dioxide free power generation.
After all should we crack the two problems of cost-effective fusion generation and cheap refining of hydrogen for fuel. CO2 concentration would soon tail back to its previous level and we would doubtless all freeze our tits off as a consequence.
If your intent was to be ironic, I appreciate the humor. If you think that’s what would actually happen, there may be a problem with your argument.
“If you think thatâ€™s what would actually happen, there may be a problem with your argument.”
It’s usually best to assume I’m taking the p*ss…:-). Having said that, we’re in an inter-glacial aren’t we? Going to start getting cold at some point…
Like I said, I appreciate the irony. Yes, we’re in an interglacial, but either by fluke or Providence we’re in a part of the cycle that calls for an extended stay above deep freeze for another 50-100K years.