Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Global Warming: It’s About Politics

October 28th, 2009

Once again, Coyote Blog the prolific and intellectual powerhouse has brought to my attention a great video source to argue that Global Warming is a political issue, not a scientific one. Whatever the scientists want to argue about (or not argue about) isn’t the issue. Global climate has become a political movement led by people who thrive on any scare/crisis/mania that, in their opinion, will enlarge the regulatory role of government in human affairs. It matters little whether this is cause is global warming, global climate change, global cooling, holes in the ozone layer, Y2K, energy crisis, over-population, SARS, swine flu, bird flu, alar in apples, butter, trans-fats, or obesity. It is the same people with the same motives. The cause is immaterial to the proposed “solution,” more government control of our lives.

See the video:

Resist cap and tax legislation, tell your representatives that the U.N.’s global warming conferences (Kyoto, Copenhagen, etc.) are nonsense. Tell Al Gore to take a cold bath.

6 Responses to “Global Warming: It’s About Politics”

  1. comment number 1 by: bkalafut

    Every time I read a scientific paper about this, I’m reminded that you are very wrong.

    Would you name names? What scientists are motivated by politics, and which of their findings, in which articles, would be different were they not?

  2. comment number 2 by: admin

    You misunderstand the point of my article. I’m saying that the political movement associated with AGW is not motivated by science so much as it is by the political ideology of the left. I sincerely doubt that Al Gore et al, Nobel Prize notwithstanding, has more than a grade school appreciation of science. He and his acolytes are motivated by the notion that people are not to be trusted with the stewardship of “mother earth.” Rather, this is something that should be regulated by wise men ensconced in international bodies such as the U.N.

    The scientists are not all objective bi-partisans, either. They know which side of the bread is buttered. For that see Dr. Richard Lindzen’s discussion here:

    http://www.heartland.org/events/newyork09/pdfs/lindzen.pdf

    In case you’re interested, there will be a science oriented presentation next week in Phoenix by Warren Meyer, author of CoyoteBlog.com and Climate-Skeptic.com I’ll be attending.

    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2009/10/phoenix-climate-presentation-november-10-at-7pm.html

    I’m particularly impressed by Meyer’s discussion of the role of positive feedbacks in climate models. Although I’m a mathematical cripple, I do have some appreciation of the role of feedback positive and negative in nature.

  3. comment number 3 by: bkalafut

    Thanks for the invite, but I’m tied up on the 10th.

    The clarification helps, but if I were talking about activism and not science I’d be highly reluctant to toss about terms like “fraud”. FWIW I don’t pay much attention to popularizers and haven’t seen the Gore film, although I know that its science errors were covered by a working climatologist at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/al-gores-movie/

    Three things are worth keeping in mind about Lindzen. The first is that if he is right about cirrus clouds (this is the matter where he is a scientific contrarian) the mainstream case is not categorically wrong but merely overstated. For a somewhat out-of-date but very fair treatment of the dispute, see http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Iris/ . My take is that Lindzen could be right but he’s not making a particularly strong case…but as I’m not up-to-date on the relevant literature–although I have checked to see whether or not Lindzen has strengthened his case my thinking he could be right may be out of date, too.

    The second thing to keep in mind is that Lindzen has been arguing his conspiracy theory–that his fellows hold their position to make their lives easier and not because they believe it–not since 2007 or 2001 but since 1996. The related third point is that Lindzen is the best refutation of his own conspiracy theory, having received heaps of government grant money and some very high honors well after 1996 and continuing to the present. That he’s done so after not only being a dissenter but after repeatedly slandering his colleagues with his conspiracy theory shows that, if anything, the scientific community is too fair-minded when it comes to such people.

    On Warren Meyer, he’s what I’d call a gadfly more than a skeptic. It’s clear that he’s thinking about things and its very nice to see him reading the literature, but he stops whenever he hits a hangup and broadcasts it as “aha, they’re wrong!” without sufficiently attempting to work through it. Many of these are things that are nonobvious to neither himself nor me, but that someone working in the field would know.

    But if you’re really like to see where he exhibits this “denialist” mentality, have a look at
    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2009/09/ocean-acidification.html

    Meyer rushes to call scientists “silly” on the matter of ocean acidification after severely botching basic high-school-freshman aqueous chemistry. Instead of learning how acid-base chemistry works and why an increase in the partial pressure of CO2 above water results in acidification, he makes up a talk-argument that would actually have CO2 being basic! And this is something he could even resolve empirically, too, using club soda, empty plastic bottles, and equipment one could purchase at a pet shop.

    Given that his desire to say that scientists pointing out reasons for concern about Man’s environment are wrong is so strong that he’ll do so without even learning even basic chemistry–does he really believe that e.g. the Royal Society review paper on ocean acidification botches high-school-level chemistry?–I’d take anything he tells me at his guest talk very lightly. One can’t presume that such characters are modest or have exercised due diligence.

  4. comment number 4 by: bkalafut

    Thinking of the bit of popularization I have read: most get the mechanism for shell thinning due to ocean acidification rather wrong…sometimes I wish I had a button on my computer that would cause a review paper to be dropped from a satellite onto somebody’s front stoop.

  5. comment number 5 by: admin

    You see, I don’t (and can’t) argue even the “high school science” questions with you. Furthermore, I think it misses the point of the exercise.

    Also, I’m not attacking the scientists personally, just recognizing that they are motivated like any other humans by peer pressure and paid demands for their services — nothing wrong with that.

    The “popularizers” you don’t pay attention to do influence voters and politicians. And this is precisely my point.

    We are not an aristocracy, which I sense you’d prefer. Our politics are formed by popular movements and even illusions. The harm that can be done by ignoring incomplete science is minimal compared to the harm that can be done by ignorant politicians and herd instincts. In a rational world, which this is not, you scientists would have to convince us (voters) that your scientific models justify the drastic economic, regulatory and social measures that the politicians, IPCC, etc. are proposing. To date you haven’t done this, but rely on emotional appeals of the “popularizers.”

    Re. your commentary on Lindzen, I could reply that an influential scientific voice is that of John Holdren (Obama’s science Czar), and if you knew anything at all about Holdren you’d think twice about this kind of ad hominem argument. It can cut both ways. And no, I don’t think Lindzen’s arguments amount to accusations of “conspiracy,” but rather of herd behavior.

    The influence of money is huge: See a study indicating that the U.S. Government has spent $79 Billion to promote global warming hysteria.
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/climate_money.pdf — and a lot of this went to scientists.

    We could go on and on, you arguing the science, me arguing the politics. The truth is that the politicians don’t give a hoot what the science is, especially over a 100 year time horizon. But the economic and cultural damage they can (and apparently intend to) do is immense. Validation or invalidation of your science can wait a few years, unless you think that the oceans will come up and swamp New York by the time of the next election. Saving our economy and our freedom from socialist fanatics like Holdren is in my opinion by far the most urgent priority.

    And finally, I don’t think “fraud” is too strong a word.

  6. comment number 6 by: bkalafut

    Validation or invalidation can possibly wait, but the science has already been validated–just not to the extent that would rule out unreasonable doubts.

    Scientists have made their case to the public in this matter more than anything else. And where people show that they’re willing to consider the arguments in good faith, the scientists’ case is convincing. The trouble comes with bad-faith characters like Meyer or the many who just don’t have the technical background to consider the scientists. Hence popularizers.

    If the popularizers get us to 50% plus one, and don’t make claims inconsistent with the literature, it doesn’t bother me. If they screw up a little bit, as long as they’re getting people to act as they would act were they reasonable, it doesn’t bother me. If they whip up too much fear and a desire for a sloppy fix, it bothers me.

    Meanwhile, while we wait for political will–I’m not convinced the “unreasonable doubt” crowd are an impediment this year–both the harm that we can expect and the cost of mitigation and adaptation will build, build, build.

    Given that the only two options people are talking about are Pigouvian taxes or some bastardized form of cap-and-trade, fears of socialism and such are misplaced. Nobody who is anybody is advocating such things–it makes me wonder where the Right is getting the idea. It’s too widespread now to trace it backwards and figure out who Just Made It Up.

    Just Making It Up, by the way, is what “fraud” implies scientists are doing–that falsehoods are being deliberately introduced. Who, and in what paper?

    Holdren is an old-time lefty, yes, but Holdren as an influential scientific voice? Influential in Cabinet, perhaps. He’s what we in science call an “operator”–someone who likes to spend his time on committees and whatnot–and it paid off for him personally, but he’s still a minor figure.

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