Select committee report

I know Eli’s already covered this, but I have to say that I’m quite impressed with the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee’s first report on the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report. From the written evidence that I’d read and the oral evidence I’d heard, I was worried that it would be an unmitigated disaster.

The Summary of the Select Committee’s report says,

AR5 provides the best available summary of the prevailing scientific opinion on climate change currently available to policy-makers. Its conclusions have been reached with high statistical confidence by a working group made up of many of the world’s leading climate scientists drawing on areas of well-understood science.

and

The IPCC has responded extremely well to constructive criticism in the last few years and has tightened its review processes to make AR5 the most exhaustive and heavily scrutinised Assessment Report to-date.

Finishing with,

Of course there are those who will continue to be critical of the conclusions and the process through which the IPCC produces its Assessment Reports. But our conclusion here is clear. There is no scientific basis for downgrading the UK’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Select Committee report concludes with

It is important to consider all lines of evidence together when assessing climate change rather than focusing on particular aspects of the report. The overall thrust and conclusions of the report are widely supported in the scientific community and summaries are presented in a way that is persuasive to the lay reader.

and recommends that

The Government must renew its commitment to achieve a global deal on climate change.

So, from what I’ve read it seems pretty sensible. They were reviewing a report written by hundreds of leading scientists, based on the work of thousands, so maybe it’s not that surprising that even our policy makers are not silly enough to heavily criticise such a report just because there are a few dissenting voices. Given the nature of the topic, it’s actually not surprising that there are some that dissent. Given that there are some (as expected) but that they are few in number, might actually give us some extra confidence that there are aren’t any major issues with the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Climate change, ClimateBall, Global warming, IPCC, Science and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

113 Responses to Select committee report

  1. Marco says:

    Let the whining from the pseudoskeptics begin…
    Unsurprisingly, Judith Curry has already jumped on that bandwagon.

  2. Marco,
    I hadn’t seen that but should probably have guessed. I see there are also a few other critical blog posts. No surprises there then 🙂

  3. Similarly with some comments of Eli I observe in the working of the Select Committee also evidence on the power of weak evidence. The outcome is very often better when those opposing are given the change to try to make their point. As long as they are prevented from attempting their failure is not as evident.

  4. Pekka,
    I don’t quite follow what you’re suggesting. Are you suggesting that even though many dissenting views were presented, the committee still concluded that – by and large – these dissenting views have little merit?

  5. Yes, I did. I tried to tell that no one can form properly an opinion on the value of dissenting views without being presented the best of them (or a selection supposed to be the best).

    I had also in mind the implications of that observation to discussion elsewhere, including blogs.

  6. Pekka,
    Well, yes, then I agree. I’m somewhat impressed that they were presented with quite a wide range of different views and – in my opinion at least – dissenting views were probably over-represented. Yet, they reached a conclusion that – in my view again – was sensible and reasonable.

  7. Rob Nicholls says:

    Good to see that sense has prevailed in this instance. Having heard the list of some of the people giving evidence I was not expecting a sensible result from this. (The only part I actually saw on TV included Prof Myles Allen answering some of the committee’s questions – I thought his answers were excellent).

  8. Whether dissenting views were over-represented depends on the weight given for the IPCC report itself and all other material that they obtained themselves on the IPCC process. The apparently large share in the oral representations may have been just what was needed to prove that the criticism of IPCC conclusions lacks basis.

  9. Similarly in blog discussions. The best way for discrediting views that should be discredited may be to lead subtly the discussion on such a path, where the dissenter discredits himself. That doesn’t succeed always, but quite often that can be done.

  10. OPatrick says:

    Perhaps somewhat along the lines of what Pekka is saying, having an over-representation of ‘sceptic’ voices shouldn’t necessarily have had a negative impact on the committee’s understanding as it just provides an ‘is-that-all-they’ve-got’ opportunity. That the ‘sceptics’ had a chance to go into some depth in their evidence probably counted against them, no chance of just getting away with a Gish gallop.

  11. > The best way for discrediting views that should be discredited may be to lead subtly the discussion on such a path, where the dissenter discredits himself. That doesn’t succeed always, but quite often that can be done.

    Hence “thank you for your concerns” and “please, continue”.

  12. uknowispeaksense says:

    Once upon a time I subscribed to “The Register” because I saw an interesting story there about bird migrations and it offered up some good references. I’ve never unsubscribed and rarely click on it when it appears in my inbox each week. This week though, I noticed their headline was about the only two dissenters in the committee were the only two with some “scientific training”. I was reminded instantly of Dennis Jensen here in Australia who loudly blows his own “I’m the only one with a PhD” trumpet. The article was written by the scientifically illiterate and AGW denier, Lewis Page. Anyone wanting to read it, here’s the link.

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2014/07/29/just_two_climate_committee_mps_clash_with_ipcc_the_two_with_science_degrees/

    Of course Lewis fails to mention that these two scientist MP’s have very close ties with fossil fuel companies and the industry in general. Sound familiar?

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10362/peter_lilley/hitchin_and_harpenden#register
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10576

  13. For completeness, I’ll note that Tim Yeo is Chairman of a Renewable Energy Company (biofuels, I think).

  14. Marco says:

    ukiss, Lilley and Stringer are the only to have an undergraduate degree in “natural sciences” (and apparently later economics) and “chemistry”, respectively. Of those two, only Stringer did some actual work in the area, although his job could probably be best described as “lab technician”.

    The register does ignore Robert Smith has a degree in mathematics (but also never really did anything with it), and that there is only one PhD (political science) on the committee, Alan Whitehead.

    With all due respect to people with BSc or MSc’s, but having that degree isn’t enough.

    I should point out that for some having a PhD doesn’t mean much either. We all know our share of PhDs who have no scientific credibility and are an embarrassment to humanity.

  15. Marco,

    With all due respect to people with BSc or MSc’s, but having that degree isn’t enough.

    I agree. Having some kind of science degree, but not having done any actual research, doesn’t really give one a real understanding of how research works. I remember as an undergraduate everyone was reading the classic popular science books about cosmology, quantum mechanics, and other fascinating topics. I think people had this idealistic sense that research involved pondering the unsolved mysteries of the universe. There can be some of that, but an awful lot is just slogging through some kind of tedious data analysis to try and extract some kind of meaningful and hopefully interesting results. I think many also don’t realise that some of the great discoveries of the past were built on lots of other work that may now be regarded as wrong but that still played an important role in developing understanding. Scientific research isn’t just full of eureka moments (well, it can be, but most of them turn out to be wrong when you check them after waking up 🙂 ).

  16. foxgoose says:

    And Then There’s Physics says:
    July 30, 2014 at 7:39 am
    For completeness, I’ll note that Tim Yeo is Chairman of a Renewable Energy Company (biofuels, I think).

    If it’s “completeness” you’re striving for – why not list all his green business interests & funding?

    From Wikipedia:-

    “Yeo is chairman of Univent plc, Chairman of TMO Renewables and non-executive chairman of Eco City Vehicles plc and AFC Energy plc.

    Yeo and his wife Diane are sole directors of Locana Corporation (London) Ltd., Anacol Holdings Ltd. and General Securities Register Ltd.

    Yeo is also a director of ITI Energy Ltd.”

    http://www.tmo-group.com

    http://www.ecocityvehicles.com

    http://www.afcenergy.com/default.aspx

    http://www.iti-energy.com

    Here are the details of the payments he’s received from his various interests.

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10658/tim_yeo/south_suffolk

    Hope this helps.

  17. FG,
    If you’d followed the link, I think you would have found all of that.

    Hope this helps.

    It might, but it would be naive of me to think that your intention was to help. Of course, just because you’ve never done so before doesn’t mean you’ll never do so in the future, but your past actions are all I can work with.

    Personally, I don’t care if Yeo has interest in the renewable energy sector and Lilley and Stringer have interests in the fossil fuel sector. I can judge them on what they say and do, not on some conspiracy-based view of why they’re saying or doing it.

  18. Eli Rabett says:

    As Willard points out, the proper response to foxgoose is thank you for your interest. For Eli the tell in the committee was John Robertson’s comments to Lindzen and Laframboise, especially the later,

    With the best will in the world, you are one person and a lot of other people would disagree with you and you have had your chance to sell your book.

    After that it was clear where the committee was going to come out.

  19. Eli,
    Yes, I keep forgetting my manners. John Robertson’s comment probably was a big hint as to the direction they were going. I may not agree with our politicians about many things but I should at least realise that they’re not all idiots.

  20. foxgoose says:

    Anders

    I can judge them on what they say and do, not on some conspiracy-based view of why they’re saying or doing it.

    Odd then that you let this pass without comment:-

    uknowispeaksense says:
    ……….Of course Lewis fails to mention that these two scientist MP’s have very close ties with fossil fuel companies and the industry in general. Sound familiar?

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10362/peter_lilley/hitchin_and_harpenden#register
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10576

    Even odder that his Stringer link shows absolutely no involvement with fossil fuel industry that I can see – and the Lilley link shows a single shareholding in an offshore oil company with no links to UK energy policy.

    Yeo, on the other hand, earns around £140,000 per year from companies which stand to benefit from UK energy policies.

    Strangely – the combination of UKISS’s post and your follow-up managed to give the exact opposite impression to the truth of the matter.

  21. FG,

    Odd then that you let this pass without comment:-

    Given that I pointed out that I don’t really care, why is it odd that I let it pass without comment (which isn’t strictly correct as I responded by linking to Yeo’s register of interest). Anyway, as Eli points out, I should really just thank you for your concerns.

  22. Joshua says:

    ==> “Anyway, as Eli points out, I should really just thank you for your concerns.

    Speaking of which – I wonder of foxgoose is concerned about conspiracy ideation when it is found in the “skept-o-sphere,”

  23. > Given that I pointed out that I don’t really care, why is it odd that I let it pass without comment […]

    And now AT steals my logic quips.

    I’ve had it.

    (Slams and invisible door, not to return, at least until tomorrow.)

  24. Oh, perhaps I ought to remind readers that Mr. Fox’s fantastic:

    > If it’s “completeness” you’re striving for […]

    is yet another instance of the peddling trick.

  25. John Mashey says:

    Let us recall that Stringer sponsored a visit to Parliament by Murry Salby. See
    “Terri Jackson’s Scientific Blog (sic)”:
    Professor Murry Salby UK Tour 4th-8th Nov. Will speak on “Climate Change: What we know and what we don`t”, which contains the false claim:
    “Professor Murry Salby Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University, 2008-2013, and at present Professor in Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences University of Colorado”

    Rev Philip Foster and Terri Jackson lead Professor Murry Salby in climate debate in House of Commons repeats the falseclaim:
    “Professor Murry Salby Professor in Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado”

    You can see the video of Stringer’s introduction. Of course, it makes perfect sense to sponsor a spealker who:
    a) rejects basic physics and massive data on carbon cycle and ice cores
    b) Was debarred by the NSF for years of deception
    c) Resigned from CU before a looming Conflict of Interestt problem
    d) Was dismissed for cause by Macquarie
    e) Didn’t make friends in European science by getting a distinguished long-time associate to go out on a limb … that had already been chainsawed weeks before.

  26. Philip Hardy says:

    The long and short of it is think tanks and activist groups supporting global warming restrictions raise and spend far more money than think tanks and activist groups opposing global warming restrictions. Global warming activists may think they are scoring short-term political points by lying and misleading the public about such funding, but their lies will certainly come back to haunt them. The sceptics cause comes mainly from a scattering of blogs which have surprisingly high support from the public but little or no funding from energy companies.

  27. Philip,

    The long and short of it is think tanks and activist groups supporting global warming restrictions raise and spend far more money than think tanks and activist groups opposing global warming restrictions.

    Care to provide a reference of some kind, rather than simply making an assertion. In fact, maybe you could provide some evidence for all of what you’ve said.

  28. why not list all his green business interests & funding?

    Just offhand, are the magnitudes and varieties of the ecological and environmental damages of the alternative and renewable industries less than or greater than that of the fossil fuel industries?

  29. TLE,
    I’m not sure who you’re directing that at, but it would seem fairly obvious that the ecological and environmental damages of the alternative and renewable industries is less than that of the fossil fuel industries.

  30. jsam says:

    Imho, JAQing off should be moderated out. TLE is outsourcing his homework.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Just_asking_questions

  31. foxgoose says:

    And Then There’s Physics says:
    July 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm
    Philip,

    The long and short of it is think tanks and activist groups supporting global warming restrictions raise and spend far more money than think tanks and activist groups opposing global warming restrictions.

    Care to provide a reference of some kind, rather than simply making an assertion. In fact, maybe you could provide some evidence for all of what you’ve said.

    Anders

    This may help you to understand the magnitude of Philip’s assertion.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisprandoni/2014/07/30/breaking-senate-committee-report-details-environmentalists-inner-workings/

    Maybe $5Bn pa is small change in your circle – but it sounds quite a lot to me.

  32. Andrew Dodds says:

    Foxgoose –

    As far as I can tell, your link says ‘EGA members doled out $1.13 billion to environmental causes in 2011’. That’s not $5 Billion.

    Love the way that the report refers to ‘Far Left Environmental Movement’ like it’s a single word.. it does seem to ramble on without anything particularly specific (apart from articulating the blatantly obvious need to stop burning so much stuff).

  33. Andrew,
    And it also seems odd that people would object to people providing financial support to organisations that aim to protect the environment (I would assume that this is something we should be doing) but also that they’d object to private individuals doing as they wish with their own money. Not quite clear how they’re benefiting by providing this financial support.

  34. Bobby says:

    I’d love to watch FoxGoose embarrass himself further, but I thought I’d go back to the point of the thread. When I read the whole testimony, I was surprised to see Lindzen, after performing poorly IMO, resort to claiming that climate scientists are intellectually weak:

    Q96 Chair: Were you suggesting just now that the people who have gone into this field of work
    were academically or intellectually inferior to those who had chosen other fields of work?
    Professor Lindzen: Yes. I do not think there is any question when we were in college that the
    brightest kids went to physics and math, then chemistry and other areas.

    Chair: Out of interest, do you think that is still the case? Obviously climate science is talked about
    rather more now.
    Professor Lindzen: I think so. The only change that has occurred is, in my career, most of our
    graduate students came from physics and math. They were the overflow. That has ceased. It is
    also the case today that many of the brighter students do not go into physics and math. They
    might go into business, law, and so on. Things change with time but your statement, although it
    makes people a little queasy to say, “My field is not as strong as other fields”, is obviously true.

  35. Philip Hardy says:

    Thanks Foxgoose. Its also blindingly obvious that the sceptics cannot compete with the massive government grants available to the warmists. And the money is still flowing even though the ‘science is settled’.

  36. AnOilMan says:

    Thomas Lee Elifritz: “are the magnitudes and varieties of the ecological and environmental damages of the alternative and renewable industries less than or greater than that of the fossil fuel industries?”

    They have been fully quantified if that is what you mean. As you know this is required by law.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_car#Air_pollution_and_carbon_emissions

    So… 60% coal in your power mix = less emissions than gasoline. Electric cars are indeed green.

    You could just look this stuff up first though.

  37. BBD says:

    Philip Hardy

    the sceptics cannot compete with the massive government grants available to the warmists.

    Allow me to paraphrase for better accuracy:

    The problem is that the contrarian lobby has no scientific argument of any kind and is therefore reduced to the most absurd rhetoric imaginable in order to promote its anti-regulatory agenda. This includes, but is not limited to, characterising those who accept mainstream physics as somehow promoting a murky, politicised agenda of their own, hence the tag “warmists”.

  38. AnOilMan says:

    BBD: I think Philip is confusing scientific research with PR and lobby efforts.

    Philip Hardy, PR and scientific research aren’t the same thing. That seems obvious to me. More to the point all opposing views to our current understanding of climate science is being actively funded, researched. The fact that it doesn’t offer a viable solution is an indication that it is wrong. You can read up on the latest state of solar heating, and cosmic radiation, cloud effects, as well as global cooling in the IPCC report, or go to the journals if you wish.

    In any case, your claims that dissenting opinions aren’t funded appear wrong to my eyes.

  39. BBD says:

    Plenty of money goes into funding organised denial. See Brulle (2013) Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations.

    For a quick overview of the huge funding of organised denial and the Brulle study, see here. The article is helpfully entitled: Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change.

  40. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD, the important words there are ‘up to’. Brulle’s study – or more likely the reporting of it; I haven’t read it for a while – conflated the funding of general right-wing evil with the funding of climate change denial.

  41. Vinny,
    But I think the ‘up to’ applies to the private funding of environmental groups that FG highlighted. As I understand it, all of the money donated is not for climate change only, but is all of the money (in the US I think) donated to environmental groups. Whatever you may think of climate change, it would seem that some (quite a lot) of what environmental groups are trying to do is commendable.

  42. BBD says:

    Vinny

    As Brulle notes, the players in this particular game are at pains to hide their activities and identities behind anonymising fronts, eg Donors Trust and Donors Capital. This makes it hard to determine exactly how much funding is going into organised denial. ‘Considerable sums’ seems a reasonable paraphrase. The most likely consequence of the efforts to conceal the funding of organised denial is that the estimates are conservative, since they are based on what can be established.

  43. BBD says:

    To OilMan and ATTP’s point, FG attempts the usual conflation of “The Greens” with physical climatology, which is a false equivalence. Physics doesn’t care about environmentalism; it just does what it does. The implied conspiracy theory that “Green” scientists are over-egging their results because of prior ideological commitment remains unsupported by any evidence whatsoever.

  44. BBD,
    Indeed, I – of course – agree.

  45. AnOilMan says:

    I’m just playing ball. 🙂

  46. John Mashey says:

    BBD: the real challenge with Bob Brulle’s sort of study (which is the best out there, I think) is that we can’t easily find the lobbying and PR money from corporations. The foundation money is really useful because you can find some of it, but nobody is under the illusion that it is complete, and indeed the DONORS money laundry has been growing.

  47. BBD says:

    John

    Thanks for commenting. I was hoping you would.

  48. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Wotts, I agree. ‘Up to’ also applies to the funding of US green groups.

    Let’s try to pin it down for the UK.

    The Environmental Funders Network (a Goldsmith offshoot) publishes occasional reports on the funding of UK environmental organizations. _Passionate Collaboration_ is the most useful for our purposes. Downloadable here:

    http://www.greenfunders.org/resources/

    EFN reckons that 14% of the £1 billion received by 139 green groups in the UK in 2011/2012 was spent on climate change: £140 million.

    But we’re not interested in government funding (27% including public sector contracts and local govt grants and contracts, 33% if you include the Lottery too) or legacies, subs, donations etc from the public (42%, 47% with Lottery). We want numbers for unaccountable plutocratic philanthropic foundations and dodgy greenwashing businesses.

    EFN says that the former gave £100 million to the 139 groups in 2011/2012, of which 25% was spent on climate change: £25 million. The latter gave £95 million. Dunno how much of that was spent on climate change. Let’s use the average for the whole £1 billion: 14%, or £13 million. So £38 million in total.

    There are, of course, many more than 139 green groups in the UK. They don’t, however, spend all of their money on UK projects: the 139 spent ~75% of their £1 billion here in 2011/2012. So let’s assume that the 139 includes most of the big players and that the two factors (incompleteness and some-spent-elsewhere-ness) balance each other – that is, that EFN’s total spend for the 139 equals the UK spend for all green groups. And we’ll round it up a bit to show that our number is basically a guess.

    So – ta da! – in 2011/2012 UK foundations and businesses channeled £40 million through green groups to tackle or publicize climate change in the UK.

    Now for the tricky bit. How much did the other side spend? In 2011/2012, how much did unaccountable plutocratic misanthropic foundations and evil cackling money-mad businessmen, with their suits and ties and sweaty palms and ghastly chain-smoking trophy wives tottering around Fortnum and Masons on ten-inch heels shopping for tiger steaks and knickers made out of baby seals’ eyelashes – how much did they give to British anti-green groups to deny climate change or prevent British action to mitigate it?

    Dunno. About 10p?

    If so, that’s a ratio of 400 million to 1.

    Point proved, I think.

  49. BBD says:

    Interested parties can read more by John Mashey at DeSmog on Brulle and the rise of anonymising fronts. Links to more on Donors Trust and Donors Capital at the bottom of the article.

    On a personal note, this is something I find completely vile. It is a matter of fact that there is an organised denial industry and that it is funded – secretively – by vested corporate interests and right-wing billionaires. It is a matter of fact that this morass of fake charities aka “think tanks” and the “scholars” they employ are free market ideologues. Contrarians invariably either deny this outright or try to wave it away but they can’t because these are matters of fact.

    These people’s mendacious, self-serving rhetoric threatens our future. What I think of them cannot be written here. What I think of those who think this is acceptable is likewise unprintable here. The only sane response is revulsion.

  50. BBD says:

    Vinny

    Deliberately [Mod : redacted] up climate policy in the US [Mod : redacted] up climate policy worldwide. So you switch attention to the UK.

    Need I say more? I’m not really sure I trust myself to at this point. Please examine your [Mod : redacted] conscience.

  51. Vinny,
    Surely the main issue is transparency and honesty. I don’t know if the funding of environmental groups is transparent, but I have a feeling that most who fund environmental groups are not embarrassed to do so. I’m not sure I can say the same of those who fund Heartland, GWPF, Cato, … (maybe not embarrassed, but – in some cases at least – not particularly happy about making it known).

  52. BBD says:

    Let us all note that in addition to diverting attention to the war on climate policy being conducted in the US – and its global ramifications – Vinny is still playing the conflation game: “Green” and physical climatology. This after it has already been pointed out that it is a false equivalence.

  53. BBD says:

    “diverting attention AWAY FROM the war on climate policy”

    Sorry.

  54. BBD,

    “Green” and physical climatology. This after it has already been pointed out that it is a false equivalence.

    Indeed, I agree. That’s partly why I don’t really care that much about all this “who funds what” game. I’m pretty sure that there’s funding for the denial industry (and funding for environmental groups) but – in my view at least – if we and our policy makers get fooled by those who present unscientific garbage, it’s more our own fault than anything else. That’s not a reason not to point out that some organisations are peddling nonsense, but you don’t need to know where their funding comes from to do that.

  55. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD, what? I don’t get it. I switched to the UK because I have UK numbers handy (and – OK – because the US climate ‘debate’ bores me).

    And conflating ‘green’ and physical climatology? How did I do that? If anything, I did the opposite. I tried to split out climate change activities from general greenitude.

    Mystified.

  56. Vinny,
    What BBD means – I think – is that all this all this discussion of who funds what is largely irrelevant and is essentially a distraction.

  57. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Wotts: Hmmm.

  58. BBD says:

    Why should anyone mind if environmental groups promote awareness of physical climatology?

    Why should the funding either in size or source be a matter of interest?

    How could it possibly be of more interest than the war on climate policy in the US – which is a war on climate policy worldwide – conducted by free market ideologues and hidden away from the public view? Something you – astonishingly – find “boring” and are waving away. Exactly as predicted above.

  59. BBD says:

    ATTP

    I could care less who funds ENGOs to promote awareness of physical climatology. The other lot however are matter for grave concern. Because they are peddling lies in the name of free market ideology and they are a menace to the rest of us.

  60. BBD,
    I tend to agree, but my point is simply that I don’t need to know where their funding comes from to know that they’re talking nonsense. Of course, I’d much prefer if everything were transparent and we knew who funded what, but – scientifically – it isn’t really that important.

  61. BBD says:

    Sure, of course you don’t because you have a proper insight into the science.

    The general public needs to be aware that there are lies being peddled. Rather too many people think that there’s a scientific debate going on.

  62. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD, leaving aside the fact that British green groups sometimes go beyond what’s known about physical climatology in their climate change campaigns (Willard probably has a label for this clause), the funding of such groups is a matter of interest because a goodly portion of this comment thread has been devoted to the funding of groups that push positions on climate change.

    As for your third, somewhat incoherent paragraph (have a drink and calm down) I am bored by the US ‘debate’ mostly because outright deniers play such a large part in it. Being that wrong means they’re not worth reading.

    Should I do something to convince them that they’re wrong? No. That position is overfilled. (Plus it’s boring.)

    Should worry about where their funding comes from? Don’t care. They’re boring.

  63. BBD,
    Yes, that’s probably true, but I am trying my best to explain to others where they’re wrong 🙂

  64. Vinny,

    I am bored by the US ‘debate’ mostly because outright deniers play such a large part in it. Being that wrong means they’re not worth reading.

    Interesting. I presume you have more time for those who are self-proclaimed Lukewarmers (correct me if I’m wrong). The problem I have with the Lukewarmer position, is that it just seems to be those who accept that outright denial now looks ridiculous, so instead they adopt a position that seems less ridiculous, but still isn’t really scientifically credible. You don’t really get to choose which bits of evidence you accept and which you choose to ignore. Also, uncertainty doesn’t mean you get to choose, it simply represents a confidence interval.

  65. BBD says:

    As for your third, somewhat incoherent paragraph (have a drink and calm down)

    There is nothing “incoherent” about this:

    How could it possibly be of more interest than the war on climate policy in the US – which is a war on climate policy worldwide – conducted by free market ideologues and hidden away from the public view? Something you – astonishingly – find “boring” and are waving away. Exactly as predicted above.

    You continue to push your false equivalence:

    the funding of such groups is a matter of interest because a goodly portion of this comment thread has been devoted to the funding of groups that push positions on climate change.

    Physical climatology is science. Free market ideologues peddling inactivism is ‘pushing a position‘ on climate change.

    If ENGOs occasionally sod up the messaging they do far, far less harm than the denial machine. So more false equivalence.

  66. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Yes, that’s probably true, but I am trying my best to explain to others where they’re wrong

    And you are doing a fine job.

  67. Vinny Burgoo says:

    I got bored writing that last comment. It’s true that I’m not very interested in finding out where US deniers get their funding but I do accept that identifying any hidden funding of US deniers by people who would benefit from climate change being magicked away would be worthwhile.

    The trouble is, such efforts bring out the worst in climate-concerned people. Koch Brothers this, Koch Brothers that, wild speculation presented as fact, conspiracy theories… Boring.

  68. BBD says:

    I should have said that lukewarmerism is another peddled position. It isn’t science. Science requires that all the evidence is considered, as ATTP points out above.

  69. BBD says:

    wild speculation presented as fact, conspiracy theories… Boring.

    Still waving away matters of fact just as I predicted that you would.

  70. Vinny Burgoo says:

    God you people write quickly.Four more comments while I’m polishing mine. Laterz.

  71. > Let’s try to pin it down for the UK.

    I think Vinny means “pin in down” as in “peddle in”. And BBD falls for it, right after AT dodged Mr. Fox’ fantastic monkey wrench.

    In discussing funding, it’s important to recall that it’s not the dollar you have that matters, but the one that you miss:

    The determination of the value of an item must not be based on the price, but rather on the utility it yields…. There is no doubt that a gain of one thousand ducats is more significant to the pauper than to a rich man though both gain the same amount.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Petersburg_paradox

    Billions to sustain an whole economy is small change compared to millions raised by invisible hands to undermine it.

  72. Mal Adapted says:

    Vinny Burgoo:

    I do accept that identifying any hidden funding of US deniers by people who would benefit from climate change being magicked away would be worthwhile….Koch Brothers this, Koch Brothers that, wild speculation presented as fact, conspiracy theories…

    “Conspiracy” isn’t really the right word for the strategy fossil-fuel billionaires have adopted to protect their investments. It’s not illegal after all (unless it extends to actionable libel), and it’s not really secret, as key evidence for it is in the public record. For example, an investigation by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University relied on tax documents to establish that:

    … from 2007 through 2011, Koch private foundations gave $41.2 million to 89 nonprofit organizations and an annual libertarian conference. Koch Industries and Charles and David Koch contributed $8.7 million to candidates and the Republican Party in the three election cycles between 2007 through 2012. In addition, Koch private foundations contributed $30.5 million to 221 U.S. colleges and universities and $46.3 million to the arts and other more traditionally charitable purposes during this period.

    And while Koch Industries’ lobbyists were spending $53.9 million to further the giant corporation’s federal and state policy agenda, the nonprofits it funded were simultaneously “educating” the public and lawmakers about energy, the environment and other issues in public testimony on Capitol Hill.

    Clearly, the Koch brothers’ funding strategy has wider goals than maintaining public doubt about AGW. The ostensible rationale is the promotion of Libertarian ideology and free-market economic policty, but that’s obviously underlain by financial self-interest, and it’s naturally shared by other wealthy people. BBD has already linked to Brulle (2013); outside the referred literature, the most authoritative source on long-term plutocratic “philanthropy” is the series of reports by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker magazine, beginning in 2010:

    In recent decades, members of several industrial dynasties have spent parts of their fortunes on a conservative agenda. In the nineteen-eighties, the Olin family, which owns a chemicals-and-manufacturing conglomerate, became known for funding right-leaning thinking in academia, particularly in law schools. And during the nineties Richard Mellon Scaife, a descendant of Andrew Mellon, spent millions attempting to discredit President Bill Clinton.

    Mayer points out that “Of course, Democrats give money, too” but also that contributions by George Soros, the most prominent example, aren’t in his economic interests. The Kochs, OTOH, have given millions of dollars to “nonprofit” groups that criticize environmental regulation and support lower taxes for industry. And like Soros’s giving, donations for environmentalism are mostly transparent, otherwise foxgoose wouldn’t have been able to cite that “$5bn” figure, or Andrew Dodds to show that it was inflated. OTOH, while 100s of millions of the dollars supporting AGW denial are documented, billions more are hidden under U.S. law. Most recently, funding for pro-plutocracy PR and lobbying groups is being funnelled through Donor’s Trust, and “Dark money” contributions to political campaigns have increased dramatically since the Citizens United decision by SCOTUS. That’s not hard to understand, because as ATTP observed with characteristic understatement:

    “most who fund environmental groups are not embarrassed to do so. I’m not sure I can say the same of those who fund Heartland, GWPF, Cato, … (maybe not embarrassed, but – in some cases at least – not particularly happy about making it known).

    What’s most frustrating about the AGW-denier disinformation campaign, though, is that its success depends less on secrecy than on misdirection. Its thrust is to simply to maintain public doubt about the actual scientific consensus, because as political consultant Frank Luntz advised GW Bush in 2002 (credit to Shub Niggurath for the full text of Luntz’s memo):

    Voters believe there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field.

    As the tobacco litigation of the ’90s proved, there are always “experts” willing to sell their testimony, and even plenty of useful idiots who will voluntarily lend their credentials in support of science-denial, allowing more of the money invested by the plutocrats to be spent on sophisticated propaganda. I don’t suspect Vinny Burgoo of consciously abetting the denier campaign, but he illustrates why it’s effective: attempts to call attention to it are “boring.” Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, Vinny.

  73. BBD says:

    Willard

    I think Vinny means “pin in down” as in “peddle in”. And BBD falls for it,

    That’s a little harsh. I did point out that Vinny was peddling an irrelevance.

  74. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Mal Adapted, thanks for that. You needn’t have bothered, though. I’ve just found out that the Koch brothers make lycra – no further proof needed of their malign influence on the world.

  75. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Wotts, I’ve never been sure who the Lukewarmers are but I’m not interested in exploring fringe theories about low sensitivities, if those are the people you mean.

  76. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD, you say Big Green’s distortions aren’t equivalent to Big Lycra’s because they do less harm. I’m not sure that’s true but even if it were it wouldn’t destroy the equivalence. Distorting, abusing or inventing evidence is the same no matter who does it.

    As it happens, I don’t think many climactivist groups deliberately exaggerate the threats from climate change (or from nuclear, fracking and their other betes noires). They just don’t care whether or not they are exaggerating. As long as something is scary, it’s good enough to use. They aren’t actually very interested in science. (Same as Big Lycra?) It’s just something they use – and sometimes abuse – to add authority to their preferences, which in some cases antedated their adoption of climate change and ‘the science says’.

  77. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Willard.

  78. Vinny,

    I’ve never been sure who the Lukewarmers are but I’m not interested in exploring fringe theories about low sensitivities, if those are the people you mean.

    I stand corrected then.

  79. Vinny,

    As long as something is scary, it’s good enough to use. They aren’t actually very interested in science. (Same as Big Lycra?) It’s just something they use – and sometimes abuse – to add authority to their preferences, which in some cases antedated their adoption of climate change and ‘the science says’.

    But isn’t this kind of obvious, in some sense. Environmental groups exist because they believe we are damaging our environment. Hence, they will likely use whatever evidence they can to support their position. The question might then be whether or not their views have some merit (are we doing damage to our environment or not?), but I doubt that many could make a convincing argument that our actions have benefited our natural environment : I’m willing to be convinced otherwise, though.

  80. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Wotts, the people I had in the back of mind were not environmentalists but anti-capitalists, many of whom swarmed aboard the climate change bandwagon as soon as it came in sight.

  81. Vinny,
    Well, okay, anti-capitalists would be a different story. As far as I’ve seen, though, there is a tendency to equate environmentalism with anti-capitalism; an equivalence I’ve yet to see justified. Additionally there seems to be a tendency to equate anything that isn’t free-market libertarianism with rampant Socialism – again, I haven’t seen this justified either. Although I don’t have evidence for this, my current view is that much of the environmentalist = anti-Capitalist = Socialist is really just an attempt to de-legitimise those with whom some disagree.

  82. > I’ve just found out that the Koch brothers make lycra – no further proof needed of their malign influence on the world.

    My policy regarding death penalty just changed.

  83. guthrie says:

    If you’ll excuse me making it slightly less clear…
    There’s a complete sweep of opinion on environmental and economic matters, which goes from left to right, and doesn’t neatly align one way or the other. But what you have to remember is that the number of people who hold each opinion varies wildly.
    For instance, on the internet, there’s a loud but small number of folk who do indeed think that all environmentalists are socialists/ communists/ anti-capitalists. But I think you’ll find that most people in the halls of power, politicians, opinion makers, think that’s stupid and wrong. An overlapping set of folk also see anything that isn’t a ‘minarchist’ or near some form of anarcho-capitalism as being socialism, but again, they are a loud minority, and als usually follow discredited and irrelevant economic ideas like Austrian economics. Or perhaps it would be nicer to say that they are the right wing equivalent of the people who bang on about how we need to actually try socialism.

    And yes, ATTP is correct to say that equating environmentalists with socialists etc is just another de-legitimation tactic.
    On the other side, there certainly are quite a number of loud anti-capitalists who see climate change etc as showing how capitalism is wrong and good opportunity to change. Some are not so concerned with science, others are. But as usual loud and wrong drives out quiet and correct.

    Personally I’m more bothered the more power some group/ idea has, and since the market worshippers seem to have the most power and be driving us off a cliff right now, they are who I am most concerned about.
    There’s also the role of the media in searching for endless frenzies to try and whip up some emotion from the public, which facilitiates the loud but wrong folk immensely.

  84. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Wotts, proper socialism doesn’t get much of a look-in. The people in the back of my head are more likely to describe themselves as anarchists or autonomists. They hate multinationals and the World Bank and want to replace them with allotments and squatted social centres or something.

    Their typical pathway to climate change might be…

    Illegal raves, then road protests (which had an eco component), then hunt-sabbing (ditto, I suppose, but it was mostly class war), then anti-Monsanto protests (not really ditto but some would claim it was), then a stint worshipping the Zapatistas, then anti-globalization protests, and finally Camp for Climate Action, fun at power stations and perhaps a job with Greenpeace or the Guardian or teaching activism at a university (archetypically the course would be filed under ‘urban geography’ but such courses also exist in art, anthropology, sociology, history and even divinity departments).

    A bit more environmentalism in there than I’d thought. It might be fairer to label the archetype a green-tinged anti-capitalist rather than an anti-capitalist tout court (and not just because of the drugs). That doesn’t mean the climactivism isn’t opportunistic, though. Just because someone was once worried about butterfly habitat (and a traveller camp) being destroyed by a bypass wouldn’t mean that their using ‘science says’ bollocks about climate change killing butterflies as proof that the World Bank should be replaced by an allotment would be anything other than bandwagoneering, for example, as I’m sure we can all agree.

  85. BBD says:

    Vinny

    I don’t care. Physics doesn’t care. Quite why you do is a mystery, given how assiduously you document your concerns.

    It seems to me – and others – that what you are doing is waving away the very big problem while hyperfocusing on a very tiny one.

    Don’t be surprised when people treat this a gross intellectual dishonesty and give you a hard time for it (see above).

    Really. Don’t be a bit surprised at all.

  86. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD: OK. Thanks for your concern.

  87. Bobby says:

    At the risk of over-using a personal anecdote, I am an entrepreneur and economic conservative. OTOH, I have a PhD in physics and don’t believe the laws of physics bend to economic policy opinions. Also, I happen to see interesting growth opportunities in things like electric vehicles and renewable energy sources. There is finally the side benefit of removing our (US) dependencies on foreign oil. Nonetheless, again, as ATTP always says, policy is a different discussion than science. The science is absolutely clear if you have even the most basic physics education.

    Since being educated on the misinformation push by fake skeptics, I have often wondered if any other sciences would have been affected had their been policy implications. Can you imagine Neils Bohr debating quantum mechanics with “bloggers”? It’s really just silly. The two areas of science where I’ve seen non-experts become “experts” are evolution (overlap with religion and creationism) and climate science (overlap with fossil fuel industry and with fear of energy taxation for average individual).

  88. chris says:

    Vinny, your “anti-capitalists” bogeyman just doesn’t ring true to me. In any case I suspect that most of those “anti-capitalists” would be shown to be in fact “anti-corporatists” when questioned carefully.

    My perception is that your “swarming” “anti-capitalists” simply aren’t taken seriously by anyone unless they are highlighting something truly abhorent and then, if they have any influence on debate, they’re likely to influence it positively. One might think of “swarming” “anticapitalists” rabble-rousing against the poll tax in the UK in 1990-1991! “Anti-capitalists” chaining themselves to trees in protest against bypassess or to the fences of Greenham Common may raise public perception of the issues but ultimately the relevant issues are decided on more sanguine grounds.

    More generally I would have thought “anti-capitalist”/environmental actions against whaling, seal clubbing, lax practices with respect to oil discharges/oil rig decommissioning, deforestation, nuclear waste/plant decommissioning, fox hunting, GM crops and so on have had a positive impact in raising legitimate concerns and influencing public/politicians to incorporate wider concerns into policy.

    This is surely of a far far less pernicious nature then the corporate-sponsored anti-science propagandising against the science on such things as the effects of aspirin on children with respect to Reyes syndrome (some elements of pharmaceutical industry), or the role of ciggie smoking with respect to respiratory disease and lung cancer (ciggie industry) or the role of HIV with respect to HIV/AIDS (this one wasn’t corporate-sponsored disinfo but had different anti-science origins) which caused massive suffering in South Africa under Mbeki…and so on ad nauseum.

    Your apparent effort at suggesting some sort of equivalence between wide scale and pernicious anti-science propagandising (climate science is just the latest arena for this nauseating stuff) and environmentalism/”anti-capitalism” simply doesn’t ring true with me.

    Perhaps you could be more specific in highlighting what you consider to be the pernicious conequences of your so-called “anti-capitalist” “swarming”…

  89. Pingback: Energy and Climate Change committee: new inquiry: IPCC 5th Assessment Review: published – Stoat

  90. Mal Adapted says:

    Vinny’s association of climate advocacy with anti-capitalism further demonstrates the effectiveness of the AGW-denier disinformation campaign. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, Vinny.

  91. Rachel M says:

    Vinny,

    I’ve found your comments on this thread very frustrating and they remind me a bit of something Adam Gopnik wrote in the New Yorker a few years ago:

    “…people who don’t want high-speed rail are not just indifferent to fast trains. They are offended by fast trains, as the New York Post is offended by bike lanes and open-air plazas: these things give too much pleasure to those they hate. They would rather have exhaust and noise and traffic jams, if such things sufficiently annoy liberals. Annoying liberals is a pleasure well worth paying for. As a recent study in the social sciences shows, if energy use in a household is monitored so that you can watch yourself saving money every month by using less, self-identified conservatives will actually use and spend more, apparently as a way of showing their scorn for liberal pieties.”,

    I guess it’s hard when a group you largely disagree with ends up on the same side as the science and so therefore shares some of the same goals. But this is just tough and completely irrelevant. Who gives a [must not swear on AT’s blog] whether Miriam Freckle down the road, with her anti-vaccination, anti-GM placards also accepts the science of climate change. It really has no bearing on the science at all and should not affect whether the rest of us accept it or not. She can have her own wacky opinions on all of it but I’ll go with the mainstream science on all of those things: vaccination, GM foods, and climate change.

  92. Pingback: Energy and Climate Change committee: new inquiry: IPCC 5th Assessment Review: published [Stoat] | Gaia Gazette

  93. Skylanetc says:

    Rachel M’s comment wins the thread.

  94. Andrew Dodds says:

    But as an addendum – as long as the political-right refuses to admit that global warming is happening, then the only solutions put on the table will by necessity come from the political left..

    (This being a very broad brush, of course)

    So the complaint ‘All the solutions are left wing!’ is sort-of valid, given that no one appears to have proposed any ‘right-wing’ solutions.. Which is a bit like a football team all deciding to sit down for a bit and then complaining that the other side is scoring lots of goals..

  95. Andrew,
    I did once ask if there were any sensible right-wing solutions and some did provide links (I’ll try and find them). The problem I discovered is that sensible right-wing solutions seem quite similar to many left-wing solutions, so I don’t think I’d associated them with being right-wing.

  96. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Rachel, here’s Adam Gopnik writ large:

    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/07/23/conspicuous-pollution-rural-white-men-rollin-coal/

    (No, BBD, I’m not defending it.)

    I’m not at all uncomfortable being on the same side as the anti-capitalists and their NGO chums when it comes to science (when they get it right, that is). Science is science. It’s an attempt at a truthful description of the world that, in a sense, is the world. It’s what is. I’m sure even H̶i̶t̶l̶e̶r̶Jimmy Savile thought the world is r̶o̶u̶n̶d̶pear-shaped but I don’t lose sleep over it.

    Policy, however… Perhaps one day the anti-capitalists and their NGO chums will suggest a sensible policy and I’ll get to gauge whether that makes me feel uncomfortable. Unlikely, though. They see their policy choices not as choices but as immutable truths, usually dictated by science, so there’s very little chance of them changing their minds about, say, nuclear or fracking or the value of unhittable targets or of solar in near-boreal insolation zones..

  97. Vinny,

    They see their policy choices not as choices but as immutable truths, usually dictated by science, so there’s very little chance of them changing their minds about, say, nuclear or fracking or the value of unhittable targets or of solar in near-boreal insolation zones..

    Surely on can make a similar argument about some of the policy options presented by those on the other side of the policy debate? I see a similar level of certainty presented by others, normally associated with not doing anything other than maybe adapting to possible changes. Something I also see are those who blame any stupid policy decision on those on the left or on those who agree with mainstream climate science. As far as I can tell, our policy makers are perfectly capable of making stupid decisions without any pressure from anyone else 🙂

  98. Tom Curtis says:

    Ander’s, Vinny’s attempted demonization of those in favour of action of climate change (“anti-capitalists and their NGO chums”) is beyond caricature. The policies being suggested to tackle climate change come from academic economists, from such “anti-capitalist” institutions as the World Bank and the OECD. There is no point in attempting rational discussion with somebody so blinded by ideology that he thinks attempts to tackle climate change stem from a leftist point of view.

  99. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Tom C, if you read back through the comments thread you’ll see that I am attempting to describe a subset of climate-concerned people/bodies.

  100. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Wotts, only one (subset of one) side is claiming that their policy choices have been dictated by science.

  101. Vinny,
    Firstly, that’s a little like a strawman – IMO. There’s a big difference between saying “science says that this might happen if we don’t do something” and “science says we must do precisely this”. The former, in my opinion, is much more common than the latter. Secondly, it still seems slightly better than others who base their policy preferences on guesswork and ideology.

  102. BBD says:

    Tom C, if you read back through the comments thread you’ll see that I am attempting to describe a subset of climate-concerned people/bodies.

    And it has been suggested that this is hyperfocus on an irrelevance.

  103. Andrew Dodds says:

    At the risk of becoming the ball..

    I do think there is some sort of split in terms of the solutions, amongst people who at least accept the science, and this is what Vinny is talking about. We could have:

    1) People who are a-priori anti-capitalist and have allied this to global warming to come up with solutions under the ‘powerdown’ category – which involves much lower energy usage/availability, only renewables, localisation and a general deconstruction of industrial society. Also in this category I’d put the green-aristocrat category – headed by our own Prince Charles – who have a thinly-disguised longing for a return of the days of being lords of the manor with grateful serfs to till the land and doff the cap. People in this category would be – typically – vehemently anti-nuclear, anti-fracking, anti-GMO, and often quite blind to any potential problems with renewables.

    2) People who take the ‘Economist’ line – that to fix global warming (or at least CO2 emissions) we need to introduce incentives – Carbon Taxes, Cap’n’Trade, possibly Feed-in-tariffs – and then let the magic of the market sort everything out. People in this category tend to know that they are right to the extent that discussion is futile, or indeed impossible.

    3) Those of the techno-utopian bent (of which I include myself) – who as a result of reading too much science fiction tend to favor things like nuclear power, fuel synthesis, breeder reactors and the like (Dogwhistle: Thorium!), and tend to be a bit ‘meh’ on the whole subject of renewables. Can tend to be a bit politically and/or economically unrealistic as to what can be achieved, and also dismiss non-techno solutions without proper examination.

    It’s not quite an irrelevance either – disagreements between these groups can be exploited by the denialati to make a ‘no possible action anyway’ argument.

  104. Marco says:

    Not quite true, Vinny, since the ‘other’ side not infrequently claims it is too expensive to take any action or has too little effect, and we should just adapt (which is policy-descriptive, too).

  105. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Andrew D, the antics of anti-capitalists etc. (ACATNGOC) are more directly ‘not quite an irrelevance’: they have been successful in influencing policy. For example, boosting the CO2 reduction target in the UK Climate Change Act from 60% to 80%,

  106. Vinny,
    I don’t know the details, but can you really attribute that change to anti-capitalists rather than simply to those who would like to see a faster reduction in CO2 emissions.

  107. BBD says:

    What’s wrong with 80%? That’s what will be necessary across industrialised societies anyway if substantial and dangerous warming is to be avoided.

  108. chris says:

    Vinny, it’s still not clear what your problem is. All sorts of influences/evidences/opinions are taken into account in considering policy – the views of wacko’s are generally sidelined. If “anti-capitalists” (specific examples please) have influenced policy in the way you indicate (specific examples please) it may well be the case that their influence was merited. It also seems unnecessarily perjorative to label the actions of those poor “anti-capitalists” as “antics”! One man’s “antics” are another mans “reasoned argument”…

    ..you seem to me to be pursuing a bogeyman! Specific examples might help to make your case

  109. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Wotts, can I ‘really attribute that change to anti-capitalists rather than simply to those who would like to see a faster reduction in CO2 emissions’?

    (You mean there’s a difference?)

    No, and I probably can’t attribute it credibly to the group that I actually said was successful in getting the target changed, to wit ACATNGOC rather than simply anti-capitalists. They are happy to claim the credit, though. Don’t you believe them?

  110. Vinny,
    Actually, the only person who has mentioned anti-capitalists is you, so I’m really taking your word for their existence. I’ve never heard of ACATNGOC before – I thought you’d made it up 🙂

  111. BBD says:

    Wotts, can I ‘really attribute that change to anti-capitalists rather than simply to those who would like to see a faster reduction in CO2 emissions’?

    (You mean there’s a difference?)

    You don’t have to be anti-capitalist to recognise that emissions reduction policies are a necessity. Simply informed by the scientific evidence. I’m not an anti-capitalist Green. I’m not a member of any environmentalist movement, although the trousers I’m wearing at the moment are holed at the right knee. But nary a dreadlock in sight.

  112. Mal Adapted says:

    I’m not anti-capitalist. Broadly speaking, I’m in Andrew Dodds’ category 2. I am a member of a few Conservation groups that are focussed on protecting biodiversity, but I certainly don’t expect capitalism to disappear. I sometimes say “I may be Green but I’m not Red!”, and then I have to explain how the meaning of “Red” has changed in the last 40 year 8^}. I support government policies to correct market failures: what economists call externalities, that is, the costs of producing goods that don’t show up in the price consumers pay for those things.

    On the AGW issue, my advocacy as a US citizen is for a carbon tax on fossil fuels charged to producers at the mine, wellhead or port-of-entry, together with a Border Tax Adjustment on imported goods based on the greenhouse gases emitted to make them. I’m flexible on whether the revenue should all be returned to consumers in some way, or whether some should be used to provide relief for unemployed coal miners or other people for whom the tax would cause genuine hardship.

    I am convinced that if the price consumers pay for fossil-fuel-derived energy is high enough to make alternative energy sources competitive, then the market will drive the development of alternative technology and infrastructure, eventually bringing alternative energy prices down to current levels and making fossil fuels obsolete. The US can then sell that alternative energy technology and infrastructure to the rest of the world. That’s my dream.

    This site has been instructive for me:

    http://www.carbontax.org

  113. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD, a lack of dreadlocks is all very well but is your dog’s lead made of baling twine?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s