The Honest Broker

In discussions about science and policy, it is quite common for people to refer to The Honest Broker, a book by Roger Pielke Jr. I realise that it is now a little old, but I’ve only just had the chance to read it. Despite the possibility of incurring the wrath of Roger, I thought I would comment on it. If you want to read other reviews, there’s one by Eli and one by Sheila Janasoff (H/T Jonathan Gilligan).

I mostly found the book rather simplistic. It describes four ideal roles for scientists (Pure Scientist, Issue Advocate, Science Arbiter, and Honest Broker of Policy Alternatives) which are maybe okay as simple representations of the positions that scientists could hold, but probably don’t really describe the reality of how scientists engage with policy.

However, as Jonathan Gilligan pointed out on Twitter, a simple framework can be a good starting point for a discussion. I agree with this. On the other hand, the book regularly criticises the simple linear model supposedly favoured by scientists. Criticising a simplistic model by presenting a similarly simplistic model seems a little ironic.

I also found the terminology a little unfortunate. The book makes clear that the role a scientist may take depends on the circumstances, but it clearly favours the Honest Broker role. Although it doesn’t explicitly regard the other roles as dishonest, the use of Honest in one of them will clearly be interpreted as implying that the others are less than honest.

However, the biggest issue I had was the discussion about politicising science in Chapter 8. It discusses how scientists responded to a paper by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunus and to Bjorn Lomborg’s book The Skeptical Environmentalist. The suggestion is that because the critics referred to the political relevance of these articles, or advocated for specific policies, they were politicising science. There was no real assessment of the merits of the criticism, or the credibility of the various scientific articles.

The book even says

In this instance, evaluating TSE’s presentation of climate science as “junk” or “sound” is irrelevant to understanding the course of action recommended by either side because judgments of the value of costs versus benefits is a highly subjective, value-laden calculation.

Of course, our values do play an important role in policy making, but that doesn’t mean that whether or not some presentation is “junk” or “sound” is irrelevant. The implication seems to be that invoking various political arguments means that there is some kind of equivalence between the different scientific positions; they’re simply arguments used to support people’s policy preferences. Consequently, that they’re being used to support various political positions means that the scientific credibility of the arguments has little relevance.

The problem, though, is that just because scientists are aware of the potential political relevance of their research doesn’t mean that science is being politicised, and discussing this doesn’t somehow diminish the credibility of their scientific position. Additionally, just because the linear model has failed doesn’t mean that science has no relevance for policy, or that being aware of the credibility of some scientific position isn’t potentially important for policy. There might not be a simple path from scientific evidence to policy making, but they’re clearly not completely disconnected.

So, I wasn’t particular taken by the book. Although there clearly are a number of different roles that scientists can play when engaging with policy, I don’t really think that there are a simple set of rules that one can apply. My preference would simply be that scientists should be clear about both about the credibility of the scientific evidence and about the role that they’re playing. There may well be times when they should be playing the role of Honest Broker of policy Alternatives, but they shouldn’t simply provide policy alternatives for the sake of doing so; they should only do so if these alternatives are actually viable policy options.

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173 Responses to The Honest Broker

  1. Willard says:

    > Of course, our values do play an important role in policy making, but that doesn’t mean that whether or not some presentation is “junk” or “sound” is irrelevant.

  2. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: The following (hot off the press) article nicely supplements your OP…

    Why Good Politics And Good Climate Science Don’t Mix by Maggie Koerth-Baker, FiveThirtyEight, Mar 4, 2019

    The lead paragraphs of the article…

    Imagine two people walking through a field. One of them tiptoes gingerly, zigging and zagging from one side to another. The other strides confidently straight ahead. Who looks more like they know what they’re doing?

    Now what if I told you the field is full of land mines?

    Confidence doesn’t equal competence. But our brains tend to assume it does. And that can create big problems when scientific evidence collides with political rhetoric. The senator who confidently throws a snowball to prove that winter is cold can be more memorable (and more believable) than the one who takes the podium to carefully explain how we know fossil fuel use is changing climate over decades. “Denialism has an advantage. Absolutely. There’s no question,” said Stephan Lewandowsky, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Bristol in the UK.

    As the U.S. confronts what to do about climate change, human psychology leaves climate-conscious politicians in a tough spot. Political action means convincing both constituents and colleagues that said action has to be taken and that you know the right path forward. But the global climate system, and our understanding of how humans are altering it, is complex and nuanced enough that talking about it can easily involve a stumbled series of “ifs,” “ands” and “buts.” So it’s worth asking: Is the science of rhetoric fundamentally at odds with the science of evidence-based policymaking?

  3. Everett F Sargent says:

    Five Modes of Science Engagement
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2015/01/five-modes-of-science-engagement.html

    I’d suggest a simplification …
    (1) Scientist
    (2) Advocate
    (3) Arbiter
    (4) Broker

    There is no 5th anything because the ‘so called’ stealth advocate falls under (2). Combine the four into proportions according to your own preferred recipe.

    Would there be any other roles one could add to the above (without adding weasel words or other lopsidedness)? I think there are (e. g. Funder).

    Somehow “Broker” as a book title sounds rather bland.

  4. Jeffh says:

    Strange book. Stranger that people criticizing someone shilling like Soon are accused of ‘politicizing science’. And let’s be honest: Lomborg, who hasn’t got a scientific cell in his whole body, is nevertheless a master of the art of politicizing science.

    A fairer assessment and one that has broad agreement among scientists with expertise in the various chapters that get superficial coverage in the Skeptical Environmentalist is that the book is garbage. John Holdren probably summed it up best in his description: “Unrepentent incompetence”. The chapter on biodiversity and extinctions wouldn’t get a passing grade in high school. But of course, Lomborg wasn’t pitching his tome at scientists, who he knew would trash it, but at the general public, who are desperate for good news, no matter how fictional it is. He also knew that it would be approved and hence promoted by the corporate media and the ruling elites.

    He was right. Lomborg is as clueless as ever, but his cluelessness is officially sanctioned. And of course, TSE is highly political, bolstering the corporate neoliberal agenda as it and it’s author are doing.

  5. Jeff,
    I did wonder if you would comment. I think you were one of those who wrote criticisms of Lomborg’s book at the time. I too find it odd that people criticising poor science are accused of politicising science.

  6. Jeffh says:

    Yes Ken, I did review Lomborg’s first book with Stuart Pimm for Nature. My views of the book or of Lomborg haven’t changed in the almost 20 years since. You are right. If Stuart and I had written how great the book was, we’d not have been criticized by those anxious to promote their own biased worldview. But because we (and other scientists) could see that it was simplistic tripe, then we were accused of politicizing science. The fact is that the book is full of ‘directed’ conclusions. Lomborg knew what he was doing to promote himself. Claim to be on the left, then spew out the piffle emanating from the right. Works every time.

  7. Jeff,
    You’re highighting something I had thought myself. It could almost be a deliberate tactic. Write nonsense about a topic that is clearly policy relevant. When other scientists criticise what you’ve written and highlight how it’s important to correctly represent this scientific topic because it’s important for policy, you can then accuse them of politicising science.

  8. Magma says:

    I’d have more respect for our self-styled skeptics and honest brokers if their work didn’t almost always fall along the spectrum from third-rate to absolute crap.

  9. “Claim to be on the left, then spew out the piffle emanating from the right.”

    the soft shoe shuffle

  10. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    You do say “almost,” which suggests you don’t really think it’s true…but FWIW, that theory seems highly implausible. IMO, only a rare individual would deliberately promote dreck, that they know will easily be seen as dreck. Not impossible, but I think very unlikely.

    More likely, IMO, is that people filter evidence so as to confirm biases, and to reach the conclusions they want to reach – with a confidence that others who want to reach similar conclusions will support their analysis, and indeed, that otters will reject it (which only serves as further confirmation).

  11. Steven Mosher says:

    “Sometimes people get caught up on the word “honest” here — what is important is the commitment to clarify the scope of possible action so as to empower the decision maker.”

  12. Willard says:

    Sometimes people get caught on the word “broker” too:

    Brokers do not expand the scope of choices available to clients, they narrow them. Brokers make markets. Brokers make a living by matching buyers to sellers and taking a commission (You thought they do it for free? What carrot wagon you fall off of bunny?). Ethical brokers will go out on the market seeking product suited to clients and will seek clients suited to products available to them. Ethical brokers have mutual obligations to sellers and buyers, to qualify the buyers and vet the sellers, not to sell every piece of nuclear waste to every rube with a cell phone.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/03/honest-broker-and-yellow-pages-pielke.html

  13. Steven Mosher says:

    “I’d suggest a simplification …
    (1) Scientist
    (2) Advocate
    (3) Arbiter
    (4) Broker

    I think his matrix is good, but as willard points out the “Broker” term may not be especially
    apt.

    While its not true that brokers always narrow choices ( factually not fucking true, maybe Eli has never worked with every type of broker there is ) it is true that they “make” markets. Sometimes this comes through narrowing choices, other times by expanding them.
    The one characteristic that all brokers share is that of middleman.

    I am not sure that science needs a middleman when working with policy makers.

    So lets look at Rogers matrix From a differnet angle. the main thing he is talking about is bring a solution

    1 & 3 Dont bring solutions. 1 just brings information. 3) is presented with solutions and
    brings information/a decision.

    2 &4 Bring solutions.

    Roger, it might be fair to say, may see himself as someone who brings new solutions to policy makers.? (I was going to make a joke about the two opposite meanings of wonk, nevermind)

    so like professional scientist and amatuer policy maker.

    In the end I think we should have Tshirts and hats for all 4 types. Monetize!

    If you are a scientist who just wants to bring the facts. Then a white hat “Just the facts maam”
    If you are a scientist who wants to bring the facts to specific decisions: A gold hat: “Science God”
    If you are an advocate who wants to bring the science and your pet policy A Green Hat but the
    Slogan may vary
    If you are in the 4th box maybe a beanie with a propeller.

  14. Joshua,
    Yes, I don’t think it’s intentional in the way I described. But I do think that those who critique science in society should realise that some people will promote scientific nonsense in order to support their policy preferences and that the response to this is likely to involve other scientists who comment on the policy relevance of this research. Doing so doesn’t suddenly reduce the credibility of this other research. So, what do those who think this is politicising research actually believe? Do they believe that noone ever promotes flawed science to justify their policy preferences? Do they the really believe that if this does happen that the response to this should not highlight the policy relevance? So, even if it’s not intentional, it certainly seems like the kind of thing that could be used in retrosepct (i.e., these people have mentioned policy when they’ve critiqued my work and so they’re politicising science).

  15. Steven,
    I also wondered about the whole broker angle. It doesn’t seem like the obvious role for scientists. They’re not middle-people who help policy makers to make decisions, they’re simple people who have relevant information. Of course, policy makers could hire people to actively help them make decisions, but then these would be government employees working for the policy makers and they would have a well-defined role.

  16. dikranmarsupial says:

    The first “principal component” of this space for me spans the axis Scientist Citizen.

    Whenever I hear “honest broker”, I am reminded of Roger’s blog post How Many Findings of the IPCC AR4 WG I are Incorrect? Answer: 28% . ;o)

  17. Dikran,
    Yes, Roger has made some rather spectacular blunders over the years. I quite enjoyed the discussion between Roger and James Annan that involved an undergraduate helping to explain statistics.

  18. Actually, here is James’ post about Roger’s claim that 28% of the IPCC AR4 WGI are incorrect. I quite like the tagline:

    How many of Roger’s findings about probability manage to be wrong?
    Answer: he’s more inventive than you might expect.

  19. dikranmarsupial says:

    Sounds like the old Douglass et al tropical trophospheric temperatures error made yet again (looking for a difference in means rather than asking if something is plausibly a sample from a distribution). Shame the links are broken 😦

    The thing that bothers me about the other blog article is that it clearly reinforces partisan differences, and does so in a manner biased against the IPCC (if they were certain that all the predictions would pan out, they wouldn’t make probabilistic statements – duh!). Looking cynically that could be interpreted as trying to create a market for an “honest” broker to resolve the difference! ;o)

  20. dikranmarsupial says:

    On that thread (the article is worth reading) was

    Dikran Marsupial said…

    Having now had a look at the paper I am amused at how much Roger has attempted to claim from so little in the actual paper. IMHO this goes well beyond “provocative”. Surely Roger knows that his blog post will be interpreted as saying 28% of the IPCC science is incorrect?
    13/8/11 7:25 pm

    I think I’d prefer to be advised on “honest brokerage” by someone a little less “provocative”.

  21. Dave_Geologist says:

    Whenever I hear Honest Broker, Skeptical Environmentalist, Objective Bayesian and yes, a lot of the time, Citizen Scientist, I ask myself: “How democratic was the German Democratic Republic?”.

  22. izen says:

    The odd thing is that ‘Honest Broker’ has a specific meaning and role within medical science.

    http://www.hscbusiness.hscni.net/services/2454.htm
    “The Business Services Organisation has established an Honest Broker Service (HBS) for Health and Social Care (HSC). The aim is to enable non-identifiable data to be safely shared to maximise the uses and health service benefits which can be gained from it, including planning, commissioning of services and public health monitoring”

    This is primarily concerned with removing personal identification from clinical data so that bulk data can be used without risk of breaking increasing strict confidentiality and privacy rules. It is a means of extracting ‘just the facts’ required for scientific research or policy decisions, without the personal information.

    Climate data do not need to be anonymised, there is no personal information in Greenland ice mass balance or lower tropospheric temperature estimates. But the honest broker also has a role in ensuring the data is complete and accurate. One issue that has arisen is whether the EPA findings on the harm from air pollution were valid. Because the research data on exposure were anoymised, opponents claimed that it was impossible to establish that the subjects were a representative sample, and the harm reported is therefore credible. Eventually a mutually agreeable ‘Honest Broker’ was used to review the data and pass judgement.

    All this is at the level of the data. The broker is not collecting or comparing scientific hypothesis or political/social policy. The ‘honesty’ is in the matter of data integrity, not neutrality towards the conclusions.
    The alternative use that seems to be implicit in RJP’s version sounds more like a policy adviser than a data integrity check.
    Although perhaps the argument would be that the data that hurricanes are getting stronger and more destructive should be rendered completely accurate by the data that less people are killed by them than in the past. Because that is the more complete information required for informed policy choice.

  23. dikranmarsupial says:

    Dave_Geologist wrote “Objective Bayesian” you’re not a fan of Jaynes then? ;o)

  24. Dave_Geologist says:

    It was the rhetorical way it was used dikran. Or rather misused, in the same way Skeptical is misused. And Honest. As a dog-whistle to one tribe that the other tribe is credulous, dishonest or subjective. In the Bayesian case, failing to explain that it was used in the paper as a Term Of Art, not in the everyday objective-subjective sense. Inexcusably IIRC, because the author participated in blogs about it and failed to correct the misconception. I recall some discussion that other terms like Uninformed or Uninformative could have been used, and should have been IMHO because it was such an obvious dog-whistle. The U-words look like dog-whistles but they’re not in the case I have in mind. The author knowingly excluded observations which demonstrate that part of his prior extended into unphysical territory. IMO that turned it from a serious piece of science into mathturbation.

    An objective prior IMO (everyday sense) would have started with the 1K direct CO2 effect and been truncated at zero, because there are a whole host of geological and physical observations that tell us ECS can’t be negative in any real universe. At minimum there should have been a run with a sensible, informed prior and discussion of what, if any, difference it made. Followed, if there was a difference, by a statement that the Objective result should be treated as a lower bound, showing what you can do by excluding much well-founded information, all of which leads to a higher number. IIRC there was more to it than that, the usual cherry-picking of the most favourable inputs. In any case it’s moot IMO, now sector models have shown that whole-Earth averages are a garbage-in, garbage out way of calculating ECS. IMO the lot should be be binned, whatever their ECS.

  25. dikranmarsupial says:

    “In the Bayesian case, failing to explain that it was used in the paper as a Term Of Art, not in the everyday objective-subjective sense. ”

    ah, yes, indeed! In an everyday sense, to be “objective” we would have to use an informative prior as we “objectively” know something about ECS before we observe the data (we know it is very, very unlikely to be zero).

  26. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli has on occassion commented on this but as t root the problem is that Pielke has no idea about what brokers, advisors or political scientists do.

  27. Willard says:

    > no idea about what brokers, advisors or political scientists do.

    This might extend to scientists in general, for if we accept that there’s no dichotomy between facts and values, his set of pure scientists is empty. Junior says so himself:

    This role doesn’t really exist in the real world.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2015/01/five-modes-of-science-engagement.html

    This might be a good thing, as pure scientists are supposed to abide by some linear model and we all know how that model is supposed to be the root of all ClimateBall Evil. Except, of course, when the Lomborg Collective (which nobody should consider activist) does it. For when that collective appeals to factfulness, like Junior did in a WSJ op-ed, it’s not because of some linear model. No sirree.

    Wonder why we’d work with a four boxes model one of which is empty is left as an exercise to the reader.

  28. Willard says:

    > a four boxes model one of which is empty

    Perhaps I spoke too fast, as I’ve not considered that the three other boxes could also be empty. Let’s recall the model:

    The two axis are view of science and view of democracy. Each axis offers a dichotomy, for instance the Y axis opposes interest group pluralism and elite conflict. An honest broker is an agent that operates with a stakeholder model of science and an elite conflict view of democracy. Not sure what’s that elite conflict thing exactly, but let’s note the kind of entity that occupies the bottom level:

    Science arbitration and honest brokering of policy alternatives are best done by committee, ideally, by legitimate, authoritative bodies which are well-connected to policy makers.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2015/01/five-modes-of-science-engagement.html

    So let’s recap. Pure scientists do not exist. Science arbiters and honest brokers are institutions. Where do we put scientists as individuals? Something’s amiss.

    This might explain why Junior backtracks a bit when, after saying that the role of the pure scientist “doesn’t really exist in the real world”:

    A well-functioning system of decision making and expertise will find all four roles well populated.

    A small detail, I admit. Still.

  29. Everett F Sargent says:

    izen,

    Yes, that is what I also found (medical broker).

    See also …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honest_broker

    “Diplomacy
    In Diplomacy, an “honest broker” is an entity (individual or organisation) that is accepted by all sides in a negotiation as impartial. Neutrality does not equal an absence of interest; rather, the interest of the honest broker lies in a solution, without preference for either party involved in the conflict.

    German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was the first to use the term (applied to himself) in connection with the 1878 Congress of Berlin.[4]”

    I can accept the 1st part but wonder if there has ever been an honest broker (however, there are arbiters and referees). The last part appears to be a recent referential edit (4th citation added to existing text), but I’m pretty sure Bismarck was not an honest broker, as I am kind of thinking he was working foremost in terms of German interests. Godwin that. Now I feel better.

    I don’t immediately think of RPJr as impartial.

  30. As a mostly “honest” layperson (with considerably more experience of science than most of my ilk) and a Trumpistan survivor, I note that the facts do not support assertions made by unskeptical “skeptics” despite their popularity. I spent a lot of time when I started taking a good hard look at things in the mid-aughts trying to “honestly” chase down the assertions of the likes of Soon and Baliunas, as well as Pielke Jr.’s hostile attacks, and found a swamp of unsupported bias. It was much harder then, as I was inexperienced and had to read it all. Unfortunately, the extended Duaequartunciae blog providing a detailed deconstruction of the APS-Monckton anti-science problem (2007) with the never give up respondent has disappeared from the internets: it was a good example of the line of country. These people never give up, and they always have the last word. It is a terrible waste of time, and time is something we don’t have, or perhaps more accurately have less of with each passing day (four decades of days, so far).

    Nowadays, though, there is a lot of support for prevarication and willingness to discredit quality, expertise, and honesty in favor of preferred opinions.

    It’s possible for a clever advocate to pretend to be “honest” and a “broker” these days, and make a very good living at it. Pielke Jr. (degree: political science) and Lomborg do just that, while their fan club and colleagues in delay and distraction join them in accusing their opponents of their own faults.

    Trouble is, we think other people are just like us. Open minded people expect open minds; closed minded people the opposite.

    Meanwhile, humanity on its lovely finite decreasingly hospitable planet suffer. Climate injustice comes most heavily on the poor, despite claims to the contrary.

  31. Everett Sargent, fwiw, I have found that often nowadays I have to go into “Change” (next to “Log Out” below) and reassert my identity. You can recapture the material and see it posted by going “back” first.

  32. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven,
    I also wondered about the whole broker angle. It doesn’t seem like the obvious role for scientists.”

    I’ll just say this as an off and on again analyst.

    1. In many sitiations the job was just reporting the facts as I knew them or analyzed them
    I knew my work was going to be used by others in decision making roles. The job
    as it was explained to me was “complete your staff work” Taken as a whole, I would
    hazard that 97% of scientists function this way, because most science isnt policy relevant.
    Ya publish your papers, ya teach your classes.. maybe you bitch in general about funding.
    There is nothing in the GND about exoplanets last time I looked. Thats good, cause you
    can just go do the thing you love and report on it.

    2. as you moved up the food chain, you might be called in as an arbitor of sorts.
    It never looked like an arbitration. Somebody handed you scenarios and you ran the
    numbers on the scenario. You might publish a recommendation. In very contentious
    issues it might be a team of analysts, or red teamed blue teamed. But the difference between
    1 and 2 was clear. It was clear that some decision was being taken and the options were handed to you.

    3. Yup, been in this role. You usually end up in this role after years of fights over hotly debated issues. You live through situations 1&2, and if you are lucky you end up doing 3. advocate

    4? huh hmmm broker? needs a better name. The annoying Kibitzer.

  33. izen says:

    There is a category error in the idea that an ‘Honest Broker of Policy alternatives’ could exist.

    In every other field in which the concept of ‘honest broker’ is used, they are an intermediary who validate the information, evidence and facts used to inform policy decisions. The role is to ensure there is a common body of knowledge from which governments can derive appropriate policy. Not to judge or advocate for a contingent response.
    In financial investment services the honest broker provides accurate information about possible investment between stock-seller and investor.
    In diplomacy the intermediary adjudicates on facts, not the ideological response that each side may advance.

    The whole point of an honest broker is that they can be established as a source of certainty about the underlying information or situation. So in medicine the role of tobacco in lung cancer could be defined by an honest broker process, but the policy response is a matter of political choice.

    As multiple policy alternatives can be derived from one set of agreed facts, the ‘honest broker’ has no role in deciding among the alternative policies if they all conform to the honest facts.
    Of course how well they conform may depend on ideological viewpoint, however much of the policy disagreement is because a political faction has rejected the ‘honest broker’ facts and refused to concede the need to make policy.

  34. Everett F Sargent says:

    ATTP,

    Not having read the book myself. I don’t want to take your direct quote from the book out of context …
    “In this instance, evaluating TSE’s presentation of climate science as “junk” or “sound” is irrelevant to understanding the course of action recommended by either side because judgments of the value of costs versus benefits is a highly subjective, value-laden calculation.”

    The “judgments of the value of costs versus benefits is a highly subjective, value-laden calculation” part I find rather ironic given RPJr’s propensity of writing articles and a book (The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change) that would appear to be based on highly subjective, value-laden calculations.

  35. EFS,
    The quote continues with

    In this case Lomborg and his critics basically agree on the science – global warming is real,it will have impacts on people and the environment, and there will be more “losers” than “winners” from climate change – but differ agreat deal on what the science signifies for action.

    There’s a huge difference between agreeing that global warming real and arguing that the impacts will be manageable, and agreeing that it’s real and accepting that they could be severely negative.

  36. Willard says:

    > The whole point of an honest broker is that they can be established as a source of certainty about the underlying information or situation. So in medicine the role of tobacco in lung cancer could be defined by an honest broker process, but the policy response is a matter of political choice.

    Indeed. Looking back at Junior’s quadrant, the Pure Scientist and the Honest Broker are therefore reciprocals, Their connection has not been made explicit, except perhaps by the “pure” and the “honest” epithets. Junior forgot his diagonal arrows, e.g.:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/square/

    The main difference is that scientists are individuals, while brokering firms are institutions.

    ***

    Another important point is that the Broker shares something with the Advocate. The Broker also shares something with the Arbiter, but if one disputes the existence of the Pure Scientist, one can also dispute the existence of the Arbiter. Because, linear model, say.

    What does the Broker and the Advocate share? Something called a view of science. What opposes the Broker and the Advocate? A view of democracy. Again, something is amiss: in a world of pure conflict of elites, there’s no Advocate. In a world where it’s all about interest group pluralism, there’s no Broker.

    ***

    A simpler interpretation bypasses these views on science and democracy. The Scientist and the Advocate are individuals or private entities. The Arbiter and the Broker are institutions or public entities. None of these roles are absolutes: there is no Pure Scientist, there is no Pure Arbiter, there is no Pure Advocate (think about it), there is no Pure Broker. Junior’s model is Pure Crap.

  37. Willard says:

    > broker? needs a better name.

    Here would be my two models – AMZN and teh Donald.

    If you insist on the brokering facility, go for Jeff’s.

    If you insist on transparency, go for teh Donald.

  38. Joshua says:

    Off topic –

    Would you follow advice about personal energy conservation from a climate specialist with a large carbon footprint? Many climate researchers report anecdotes in which their sincerity was challenged based on their alleged failure to reduce carbon emissions. Here, we report the results of two large online surveys that measure the perceived credibility of a climate researcher who provides advice on how to reduce energy use (by flying less, conserving home energy, and taking public transportation), as a function of that researcher’s personal carbon footprint description. Across the two studies, we randomly assigned participants to one of 18 vignettes about a climate scientist. We show that alleged large carbon footprints can greatly reduce the researcher’s credibility compared to low footprints. We also show that these differences in perceived credibility strongly affect participants’ reported intentions to change personal energy consumption. These effects are large, both for participants who believe climate change is important and for those who do not. Participants’ politics do affect their attitudes toward researchers, and have an extra effect on reported intentions to use public transportation (but not on intentions to fly less or conserve home energy). Credibility effects are similar for male and female climate scientists.

    https://t.co/49ipQerS9y?amp=1

    So let’s assume that study’s conclusion is valid, and the carbon footprint hypocrite ad hom is effective against climate scientists.

    Are there any ad homs that are effective against “skeptics,” and if not, what explains the assymetry?

  39. Mitch says:

    Joshua:
    There are legitimate reasons to have a large carbon footring, e.g. working in the Antarctic or doing oceanographic field work. The carbon footprint is just a way to dismiss listening to the climate scientist.

  40. Willard says:

    Here’s the tagline of the SIEP:

    At the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, we’re working to address real-world challenges in economic policy in the U.S. and around the world.

    A report from a recent conference:

    ***

    Suppose you’re a Broker who wants to provide all the policy options available. The more options, the better. If your clients buy more than 35$ in policy options, you offer free shipping.

    You accept all policy producers that manufacture deck chairs. You got all the deck chairs. All the models. All the colors. All the price ranges.

    When a policy customer types into your search bar: “AGW policies,” thousands of pages are returned. The first hundred ones are deck chairs, as it’s your best sell. All colors, all models, all price ranges, some Made in USA. You know every policy analyst needs at least one, if not three. That ordering also helps you with your advertised content. There’s this seller who pays you to spam your clients with the “Make AGW Great Again” deck chair.

    The market is never wrong. The one you create is thus never wrong too. It’s an honest business. You’re an honest Broker.

  41. Joshua says:

    Mitch –

    When viewed as an ad hom argument, it is by its very nature effectively intended as a distraction.

    But in the article, it presents that (whether presented with the specific intent of an ad hom or not) a scientist’s carbon footprint can undermine his/her credibility.

    But what I find interesting is that I can’t think of an equivalent parallel ad hom against “skeptics” that would be equally effective. Some argue that “denier” is effective as an ad hom. I don’t think I’ve seen evidence of that, and I doubt that it is effective, but my guess is that it hasn’t been studied as such.

  42. Willard says:

    FWIW

    Seems that I did not explain when tu quoques are valid over there:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/holy-tu-quoque-batman/

    Instead of trying to find where I did, let’s repeat what I must have said. Simply put, an ad hominem argument is valid when it’s relevant to the point it counters. Someone who says we should cut mean should cut meat. Someone who says we should cut flying should cut flying.

    Someone who says we should reduce emissions should reduce emissions, although we should not conflate the me-problem with the we-problem. If the argument is only that we, as a whole, should cut emissions, then individual reduction matters less than what we, as a whole, do. But if the argument is amplified by a megaphone, then what the megaphone does matters.

    DavidR tried to wiggle his way out of this kind of framework a while ago on the tweeter. He failed spectacularly.

  43. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    My interest isn’t the question of validity, especially in some abstracted frame.

    IMO, although difficult to judge, intent matters. If someone says “You have a big carbon footprint” as a response to “Continued emissions pose a risk,” or responds by saying “Climate scientists fly a lot,” or even worse “Al Gore uses a lot of electricity.” then although judging what they intend to do is difficult, I think I can reasonably guess their intent is not really to engage on the importance of cutting emissions.

    It could be an confused of saying “The logistics of cutting emissions shouldn’t be underestimated,” but then it’s basically a non-sequitur.

    But being an ad hom, irrespective of validity doesn’t render a response ineffective, and we can certainly understand why peoplge might assess someone’s behavior to judge their advice on a technically complicated topic (where someone can’t judge the technical arguments).

  44. Willard says:

    > IMO, although difficult to judge, intent matters.

    Then you concede everything the tu quoque requires. Look at what Al says. Look at what Al does. Between Al’s flying and Al’s talking about flying there’s a gap. Contrarians can fill that gap with whatever intent they please.

    Try to counter my argument by probing my intentions. I dare you.

  45. Magma says:

    Willard: “Contrarians can fill that gap with whatever intent they please.”

    In my observation, they can fill pretty much any gap.

    Contrarian: So what have *you* done to reduce your carbon footprint, alarmists?
    Climate scientist A: [travels to international conferences and policy meetings, conducts field work, lives in detached home and drives]
    Contrarian: Hypocrite. I’ll believe it’s a crisis when you act like it is.

    Climate scientist B: [provides long list of ‘reasonable’ changes such as reducing travel, energy efficiency measures, ride sharing or public transit, reducing meat consumption and food waste]
    Contrarian: Big deal. Anyone could do that, and besides, prove it.

    Climate scientist C: [details drastic reduction in personal and professional carbon footprint]
    Contrarian: Fanatic. Not all of us want to live in caves.

  46. Willard says:

    > In my observation, they can fill pretty much any gap.

    Of course. That’s when being able to determine when they’re going a bridge too far may help. Here’s what I believe is a valid tu quoque:

    BarryW at T1 says that RCP8.5 makes no sense. When being shown that this scenario is indeed quite possible, BarryW at T2 says that he only argues against the expression “business as usual.” Showing BarryW at T2 what BarryW said at T1 should be relevant – it’s the same exchange.

    The move does not require to analyze BarryW’s intentions. I don’t even need to presume that BarryW will try to preserve consistency. Sometimes I think that seeking coherence would hinder a contrarian’s game plan.

  47. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    I don’t understand why you’re daring me.

    My point is that (IMO) determining the “validity” of an ad hom (IN context) requires judgment of intent.

    But anyway, IMO its validity is irrelevant in the real world anyway (from the perspective of effectiveness) – so I’m not particularly concerned about whether the ad hom of “You use a lot iif electricity” in response to “ACO2 emissions pose a risk.” is valid or invalid from some imposed framework.

  48. Willard says:

    > My point is that (IMO) determining the “validity” of an ad hom (IN context) requires judgment of intent.

    Mine is that relevance suffices.

    ***

    > IMO its validity is irrelevant in the real world anyway

    You just cited a study that undermines this claim.

  49. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    OK. I wasn’t thinking of validity as a measure of the scientist’s carbon footprint, but the degree of relevance of said footprint to the scientist’s position on the risks posed by ACO2 emissions.

    If a scientist says to someone that ACO2 emissions pose a risk, and that someone responds by saying “But why then did you drive up in an SUV? ” it could be an actual attempt at clarification and understanding (IMO valid), or it could be a rhetorical ploy to dismiss the risk from ACO2 by implying that the scientist is a hypocrite and thus not credible (IMO invalid). I wouldn’t know how to judge the question without some assessment of intent (is the person exploring the issue or a “skeptic” who wants to justify his/her view that ACO2 emissions don’t pose a risk?).

    But the article suggests that either way, the scientist’s carbon footprint influences his/her perceived credibility (on average). So I guess that’s the bottom line.

  50. Joshua says:

    BTW –

    I must admit…

    These effects are large, both for participants who believe climate change is important and for those who do not.

    I am very surprised by that second part. Due to my motivations, I will remain skeptical (unless/until I see further confirmation), but less confident in my previous opinion.

  51. One thing seems to be fer shure:

    A hella lot of “wrong priorities!”, “special pleading”, “but big tent!”, “be weasonables!”, “it’s a collective action issue!” squeaking quickly comes to the fore for most as soon as advocates’ personal footprints are raised…

    Not a lot of “point taken, I need to and will do more personally and will update…”‘s. Third rail stuff for many of “us”, apparently…

  52. Willard says:

    > If a scientist says to someone that ACO2 emissions pose a risk, and that someone responds by saying “But why then did you drive up in an SUV? ” it could be an actual attempt at clarification and understanding (IMO valid), or it could be a rhetorical ploy to dismiss the risk from ACO2 by implying that the scientist is a hypocrite and thus not credible (IMO invalid).

    That’s incorrect. If the scientist is using his microphone to seriously hint that we all should reduce emissions, then it’s fair to ask about their own emission reduction efforts. In the public sphere, that scientist loses credibility by not walking the walk advocated. Even Marc Morano could make that valid point.

    The Benshi’s analysis of Marc’s ClimateBall performances is quite good.

    ***

    Speaking of advocacy leads me back to Junior’s quadrants. Two other points.

    First, following Junior’s logic makes me conclude that all individual scientists are advocate. They can’t be Pure Scientists, because fact/value dichotomy. They can’t really be Arbiters or Brokers – those are institutional roles. (One could argue there is no real scientific arbiter, but that would have to wait.)

    Second, all the quadrants should be for scientists – Science Researcher, Science Advocate, Science Arbiter, and Science Broker. I suspect Junior breaks homogeneity to include policy analysts.

  53. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    If the scientist is using his microphone to seriously hint that we all should reduce emissions, then it’s fair to ask about their own emission reduction efforts.

    Fairness seems to be another line of evaluation than validity. At any rate, it might be fair (I suggested a fair scenario), or it could be a rhetorical ploy (I suggested an unfair scenario) . And you’ve added to my quote of the scientist. This goes back to what Anders often talks about: the simple act of saying that ACO2 emissions pose risk (i.e., my scenario) doesn’t equate to advocacy.

    But life isn’t fair, anyway. To wit:

    In the public sphere, that scientist loses credibility by not walking the walk advocated.

    Yes, as the article indicates.

    Although the article’s scenario is contrived. In the real world, the scientist can discuss his/her use of an SUV and why/whether it materially affects the implications of the scientific evidence.

  54. Willard says:

    > Fairness seems to be another line of evaluation than validity.

    Come on.

  55. Steven Mosher says:

    Joshua its not an ad hom.

    its a totally rational response.

    Suppose there is a big old bowl of potato chips in front of you me and willard.

    Maybe enough to last to the end of the game if we each consume our fair share.

    Willard is munching on carrot sticks not even watching the game. He’s waiting
    for the commercials and otherwise lost in thought.

    You are stuffing your face with handfuls of chips and at your rate of consumption we
    wont even make it to half time.

    I’m picking up the scraps that fall from your hands, trickle down style.

    At some point you say, mouth full of chips..

    HEY! we need to eat fewer chips.

    Should Willard laugh and what does this signify?

  56. Willard says:

    > its not an ad hom.

    Of course it is. Every single tu quoque is ad hominem. At least until we can exchange with a tu that is not an homini (?).

  57. Steven Mosher: It looks to me like you created an analogy that proves your point and then claimed your point is proven.

    Magma (see quote below) covers the bases. As for Al Gore, if anyone bothered to check his responses about this, they exist. But it’s easier and more effective for distractionalists to pretend there is no answer. There doesn’t have to be an substance to these accusations, just the impression of an argument that people can seize on.

    Of course everyone – no exemptions – needs to do what they can. But the way our society is constructed, it’s not all that easy to stop getting your food in packets that have been shipped from far away, your heat and transport from conventional sources, etc. etc. Marketing has a firm grip on how we live, and it’s rigged in favor of short-term profit and against smaller community enterprises.

    Contrarian: So what have *you* done to reduce your carbon footprint, alarmists?
    Climate scientist A: [travels to international conferences and policy meetings, conducts field work, lives in detached home and drives]
    Contrarian: Hypocrite. I’ll believe it’s a crisis when you act like it is.

    Climate scientist B: [provides long list of ‘reasonable’ changes such as reducing travel, energy efficiency measures, ride sharing or public transit, reducing meat consumption and food waste]
    Contrarian: Big deal. Anyone could do that, and besides, prove it.

    Climate scientist C: [details drastic reduction in personal and professional carbon footprint]
    Contrarian: Fanatic. Not all of us want to live in caves.

  58. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven Mosher: It looks to me like you created an analogy that proves your point and then claimed your point is proven.”

    Oh next time I will use an analogy that doesnt prove my point. thanks for that pro tip
    or was it an ad hom? who knows.

    The simple fact is we have a common resource: the atmosphere. and there is a budget that we all consume. It is finite. There is only so much Carbon we can consume and put into the atmosphere.
    So bowl of chips or carbon budget, it’s not that different. humans consuming a fixed resource.

    Any way where we left off was Willard laughing at Joshua for talking with his mouth full about how we all should eat less and save some chips for the kids. Now, Joshua is right. We need to eat less. I dont think he is wrong. I like him. he is a good person. I want to be just like Joshua. I think I’ll eat more chips and also tell willard we should eat less. Willard laughs some more. I’m pretty sure he isnt angry at us, he’s not wearing a yellow vest. Yet. Any way I don’t take his laugher as a criticism
    why should I? Do I take his laughter as an ad hom? nope. He likes me, he thinks I’m funny. That’s a good thing It’s not an ad hom. We want to be just like Joshua. Following his lead is a compliment actually. I too want to sit at the table with my mouth full, solemnly informing everyone that we should eat less, but only if willard laughs.

  59. Dave_Geologist says:

    FWIW I agree that it’s a contrived situation in that in the real world the scientist could explain that he has solar panels on the roof and came in an SUV rather than a bus because there’s no bus and he brought a pile of posters and handouts; and a taxi would have used even more fuel because of the driver’s additional weight and mileage and the likelihood is he’s driving an old clunker; and his is a hybrid SUV to boot. Likewise Al Gore has explained itself. Of course it’s not an unrealistic contrived situation, because contrarians routinely contrive situations to their advantage – by stacking the audience, by having the last word, by countering science with a Gish Gallop etc.

    But remember the context: the question is about policy, not science. And about personal actions, not collective actions such as electing legislators who’ll impose taxes and regulations to reduce emissions whether the contrarians like it or not. The science is taken for granted.

    The researcher explains how an individual’s actions can collectively have a large impact on the environment. He gives examples of these actions, such as air travel and amount of energy used in the home. He also explains how these actions can have negative effects on the environment. Near the end of the talk, the researcher gives advice to the audience on how they can reduce their own energy use. He gives examples such as flying less, using less energy at home, and taking public transportation. He urges the audience to make these changes

    1. Based on the advice provided by the researcher, please check which of the following
    actions you would be willing to incorporate in your life. (Check all that apply).
    ☐ Fly less
    ☐ Use less energy in my home
    ☐ Take public transportation more often
    ☐ Think about changing some actions
    ☐ I already conserve energy
    ☐ Change no actions
    ☐ Other (please specify):

    If the questions were do you believe climate change is real, do you believe the earth is warming, do you believe CO2 is the main culprit, and do you believe it’s our CO2, it would be an ad hom. Ditto if the researcher was asking the audience to consider the climate-change policies of who they vote for. But in this particular, narrow case “practice what you preach” really is relevant. In the broader cases “does how Michael Mann travels to a conference influence my view of the hockey stick” or “does how Michael Mann travels to a conference influence my support of his calls for greater collective action” it’s irrelevant. Of course that doesn’t mean some people won’t be influenced. But in those cases you may find that AGW accepters and deniers do display different responses. In the collective-action case I’d also expect a large Right-Left difference. People who abhor collective action will jump on any excuse to dismiss the call.

  60. Steven Mosher says:

    what dave said

  61. Ken Fabian says:

    Joshua, it is a most effective taunt because everyone living a modern Western lifestyle is guilty, and if you aren’t guilty you are a fanatic, as Magma points out. There are things that I could say back that ought to shame the committed deniers and obstructors – but their disbelief that the climate thing could really be real and serious is like a magic shield against guilt or shame, and they cling to it hard. It seems likely the disbelief supports an overriding belief – in the direct social good of the heavily fossil fuel assisted industry and prosperity we have come to enjoy and take for granted, and is self evident all around us. Even climate scientists and climate activists continue to enjoy and use and benefit from them! It is rhetoric that urges a rush to a harsh character judgement whilst denying rhetorical room for discussing complicating facts or mitigating circumstances.

    I expect a demonstrable personal history of making carbon footprint reducing efforts is going to be an asset to any high profile advocate of strong climate policy – and any emissions excesses will continue to invite this kind of rhetoric. But it seems to only bring it home to me that the disconnection between the everyday choices we face and the climate costs of them is why we cannot rely on people voluntarily choosing to do the right thing as a principle response and why institutional change is so essential. Somehow the options we have on offer need to have the climate costs – or ways around those climate costs – built into them. Which, I suppose, circles us back to carbon pricing.

  62. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua “But what I find interesting is that I can’t think of an equivalent parallel ad hom against “skeptics” that would be equally effective.”

    That is perhaps because the “skeptics” opponents might be less keen to engage in ad-hominems because they feel the science supports their position?

    The obvious parallel ad-hom is to point out that skeptics are only skeptical because of political or tax considerations.

  63. Joshua says:

    Dikran –

    The obvious parallel ad-hom is to point out that skeptics are only skeptical because of political or tax considerations.

    I suppose that would certainly be one, but I wonder if under a similar examination it would be found equally effective. I suspect maybe not; concern about political or tax considerations are shared by the questioner and common to all “experts,” whereas concern about ACO2 emissions may be what distinguishes the climate scientist.

    It would be interesting if the researchers did some kind of follow up to examine if the carbon footprint ad hom is any different in effect than any other ad hom. Maybe they are basically just showing that ad homs work?

  64. dikranmarsupial says:

    As I said, it wouldn’t be similarly effective because the mainstream position has the backing of science, and so doesn’t really need ad-homs. Ad-homs are rarely effective if you actually have a sound argument that you could use instead.

  65. Joshua says:

    DG –

    But in this particular, narrow case “practice what you preach” really is relevant.

    If scientist A is saying “X,Y, Z are what individuals can do to help reduce overall emissions,” then whether scientist A does X, Y, or Z doesn’t seem “technically” relevant, to me, to scientist A”s statement. IOW, whether scientist A does X, Y, or Z doesn’t affect the veracity of what scientist A said. To the degree that the credibility of what scientist A has said is being assessed on its merits, his/her footprint is irrelevant.

    Of course, people use heuristics to evaluate the credibility of experts who are offering information on technical issues that people can’t really assess in their own. And, I guess it is a “valid” line of reasoning as in the end, on average it probably works out that assessing whether the behaviors an expert offering advice are consistent with that advice help protect against bias from the expert’s selfish interests.

    Again, FWIW, for me the validity of that heuristic is mediated by the “intent” of the user – but the research suggests that irrespective of the validity (or intent), in the real word considering strategies to address that heuristic would make sense.

  66. Joshua says:

    Dikran –

    As I said, it wouldn’t be similarly effective because the mainstream position has the backing of science, and so doesn’t really need ad-homs.

    We often see the argument made that “skeptics” should be dismissed because they’re “deniers” or because they’re motivated by self-interest. My question is whether thise ad homs are equally effective to the carbon footprint hypocrite ad hom. I suspect not, and im wondering why that would be so, if not. I also speculate that the effectiveness of ad homs (for the general public) isn’t directly related to scientific validity (as most people aren’t in the position to assess scientific validity)

  67. Joshua says:

    Ken –

    Joshua, it is a most effective taunt because everyone living a modern Western lifestyle is guilty, and if you aren’t guilty you are a fanatic, as Magma points out.

    I think u agree. It’s applicability/utility is universal, and can’t be falsified.

    There are things that I could say back that ought to shame the committed deniers and obstructors – but their disbelief that the climate thing could really be real and serious is like a magic shield against guilt or shame, and they cling to it hard.

    Except the article suggests some complications there: The ad hom affects views strongly irrespective of preexisting views about climate change.

    It is rhetoric that urges a rush to a harsh character judgement whilst denying rhetorical room for discussing complicating facts or mitigating circumstances.

    It may be, but it may be more than that. It might also be a heuristic people use to assess technical expertise (as might be a “consensus” heuristic).

    I expect a demonstrable personal history of making carbon footprint reducing efforts is going to be an asset to any high profile advocate of strong climate policy – and any emissions excesses will continue to invite this kind of rhetoric.

    Yup

    But it seems to only bring it home to me that the disconnection between the everyday choices we face and the climate costs of them is why we cannot rely on people voluntarily choosing to do the right thing as a principle response and why institutional change is so essential.

    Seems to me that the obstacle to both is pretty much the same: personal choices and political will won’t occur until a critical mass of people see the effects of climate change as unambiguous daily life harm.

    Somehow the options we have on offer need to have the climate costs – or ways around those climate costs – built into them. Which, I suppose, circles us back to carbon pricing.

    Agreed.

  68. Joshua says:

    “I” not “u,” “its” not “it’s,” etc.

  69. Willard says:

    > If the questions were do you believe climate change is real, do you believe the earth is warming, do you believe CO2 is the main culprit, and do you believe it’s our CO2, it would be an ad hom.

    The argument is ad hominem in both cases. In one case, it’s valid, fair, proper, felicitous, legitimate, OK, whatever. In one case, it’s not. How to distinguish the two should be simple – does the argument counter the claim being made or its relevant implications, yes or no? If it does, then so much the worse for the defender who’d reply “but it’s ad hom!”

    The claim “we should reduce emissions” involves everyone from the industrialized world. Not everyone equally, but everyone in some way. Including the claimant, more so if it’s a megaphone, exhorting people to cut emissions. To think that an argument is not OK because it’s ad hom is one of the worse stereotypes people memorized from their critical thinking classes. That presumes an overly simplistic argumentative playground.

    This even applies to the claim that AGW is real. Its truth is independent from what its proponent does, but its implications are loud and clear, i.e. it’s a problem, and we should do something about it. To hide these implications could rightfully be suspected of hypocrisy or worse.

    Look. I’m not insisting on this distinction for accuracy’s sake. The factfulness trick made by the Lomborg Collective rests on that kind of trick. The auditing “get your facts straight” too.

  70. Willard says:

    > That is perhaps because the “skeptics” opponents might be less keen to engage in ad-hominems because they feel the science supports their position?

    You can’t make this up.

  71. Joshua, my point is that whether an ad-hom is effective depends on the audience for the ad-hom. In the case of skeptics, it is likely to be others that have skeptic tendencies, and they tend to be O.K. with ad-homs, because they don’t have much in the way of good scientific arguments of real merit. For ad-homs against skeptics, they are bound to be ineffective as the audience will generally be people who are happy to be guided by mainstream science, where there are good scientific arguments.

    “We often see the argument made that “skeptics” should be dismissed because they’re “deniers” or because they’re motivated by self-interest.”

    and you will often find people like me saying that however nutty the individual is, you still need to address the content of the scientific argument (e.g. the rise in CO2 is natural, temperature is due to the weight of the atmosphere, the GHE violates the second law of thermodynamics etc. etc.).

    Willard, I said “less keen”, I didn’t say they/we didn’t do it (I’m not perfect anymore than anyone else), they/we clearly do, the point is they/we don’t have to, but they/we are humans not Vulcans.

  72. Willard says:

    > I said “less keen”

    Yes, and it’s ad hom, as it targets intentions.

    If all you want to suggest is that food fights favor contrarians, then I’m with you. There is an asymmetry between mainstream and contrarian viewpoints. In principle, food fights favor contrarians. We should observe less personalization from mainstream viewpoints. I don’t see that, and my own experience led me to stop expecting less ad homs.

    I don’t care much about the ad hom mode anymore. I still care that ClimateBall players own what they do.

  73. “Yes, and it’s ad hom, as it targets intentions.” yes, as I said, you have to address the contents of the scientific arguments, regardless of the intentions, regardless of how nutty the individual is. Even if you get a bit burnt out from the tediousness of it all after a while.

    “If all you want to suggest is that food fights favor contrarians, then I’m with you. There is an asymmetry between mainstream and contrarian viewpoints. In principle, food fights favor contrarians.”

    yes, that is good way of putting it.

    “We should observe less personalization from mainstream viewpoints. I don’t see that, and my own experience led me to stop expecting less ad homs.”

    Yes, we *should*, however human nature makes that difficult to put into practice as we are cognitively adapted to this sort of short-cut judgement. In my experience, even if there isn’t as much less ad-homs as I would like in absolute terms, there is more sticking to the science from the mainstream, so the ratio seems better?

    “I don’t care much about the ad hom mode anymore. I still care that ClimateBall players own what they do.”

    Agree, you have to be aware of your nature if you want to improve it.

    As I’ve said before, ad-homs are a bit like sledging in cricket – a sign of weakness. If a bowler was genuinely confident about getting you out, or stopping you from scoring, they wouldn’t waste time telling you about it, they would just go and do it and wouldn’t need to gain an unfair “edge” by disrupting your concentration (cricket is difficult – being an arsehole is so easy, where is the challenge ;o). If someone uses ad-homs, it seems to me a tacit admission that they don’t have enough faith in their scientific understanding to risk relying on it.

  74. Dave_Geologist says:

    OK Willard it’s an ad hom, but perhaps a justified one. A sharper analogy would be the doctor who tells you to give up smoking to avoid cancer, but smokes himself. A reasonable question is “why don’t you give up?”. A reasonable answer is “I’m trying, but it’s really, really hard – I’m an addict.” To which a reasonable riposte would be “me too”. To which the doctor could say “but you should at least try”. There’s a difference between that exchange and saying “you still smoke so I believe you’re lying about it causing cancer”. If nothing else, where you are on that spectrum can be an indicator of the good faith of your interlocutor, and inform the amount and type of effort you put into the conversation. Or of his ability to frame a logical argument and his likely responsiveness to yours.

    My main point though was that the findings of the paper can’t necessarily be generalised to cases like my second example where the ad hom was unjustified. There is a valid, more probable alternative to the proposition that the doctor is lying: namely, that he’s addicted and can’t break the habit.

  75. Willard says:

    > a sign of weakness

    Sometimes it’s a sign of joy sparking:

    Those who fail to spark joy in others are the plebians, the mass, the endless train of humanity in general. Those who fail to spark joy in themselves are the elect, the nobility; and how strange it is that those who don’t fail to spark joy in themselves usually fail to spark joy in others, while those who do fail to spark joy in themselves spark joy in others. The people who do not fail to spark joy themselves are generally those who are busy in the world in one way or another, but that is just why they are the most incapable of sparking joy, the most insufferable, of all.”

    Søren Dikrangaard

  76. Willard says:

    > A sharper analogy would be the doctor who tells you to give up smoking to avoid cancer, but smokes himself. A reasonable question is “why don’t you give up?”. A reasonable answer is “I’m trying, but it’s really, really hard – I’m an addict.” To which a reasonable riposte would be “me too”. To which the doctor could say “but you should at least try”.

    I like this analogy so much I use it myself, Dave. Search AT’s for “akrasia.” You might also like this other one:

    A patient enters a doctor office. The doctor announces to the patient that he has a terrible illness. The patient must do something. But what?

    – So doc, can we do something about my illness?

    – Yes, of course. There are good chances to treat it.

    – So, what do you suggest?

    – Well, you have this treatment A, which have these consequences. (Inaudible.)

    – …

    – And you have this other treatment B, which have these consequences. (Inaudible again.)

    – So, doc, what do you think we should do?

    – Well, you have two choices, A and B. Both have their benefits and problems.

    And he goes on to repeat them.

    – Ok, I know, I know, but what should I do?

    – Well, you have two choices, A and B. Both have their benefits and problems.

    And he goes on to repeat them.

    – Ok, I get it! I have to choose. So, if you were Me, what would you do?

    – Look, I am not you. And I abide by the Honest Borker’s pledge. Have you read the book, by the way?

    – Should I buy it, you think?

    – Well, there are pros and contras.

    https://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/08/and-in-end_01.html?showComment=1280752913538#c8316028886179744702

    ***

    The main problem with the orthodox view of fallacies is that it takes establishing truth claims for granted. Take again “we should reduce emissions” – how do we know it’s true? Many assumptions are swept under the argumentative rug. Deriving is from ought may not be impossible, but it’s usually hard. Consider:

    [Spock-like Scientist] AGW carries risk, but I don’t care one way or another.

    [Selfish Scientist] AGW carries risks, but not for me.

    [Sociopath Scientist] AGW carries risks, and ignoring them will earn me some money.

    [Suicidal Scientist] AGW carries risks, and the earlier they are enacted the better.

    These examples should underline that a truly honest Broker is far from being neutral.

  77. John Hartz says:

    Words of wisdom from a very wise woman…

    Individuals everywhere must make different choices if humanity – and many of the world’s other species – are to avoid a “bleak” future, leading environmental campaigner Jane Goodall says.

    Dr Goodall, who is heading to Australia in May for a series of talks dubbed Rewind the Future, said “the consumer must take responsibility”, adding “the accumulation of millions of ethical choices will certainly make a difference – and it’s beginning to happen”.

    ‘Consumers must act’: Jane Goodall’s plea to avoid a ‘bleak’ future by Peter Hannam, Environment, Sydney Morning Herald, Mar 11, 2019

  78. izen says:

    @-JH
    “the consumer must take responsibility”

    I doubt the wisdom.
    Modern society has spent the last century (at least) establishing a consumer society in which the consumer is NOT an agent that can ‘take responsibility’ or choose to act. Much time and energy has been expended to make consumption a passive, reactive, and directed response. The idea that the consumer ‘must’ take responsibility for their choices would cause marketing CEO’s to wake with nightmares. How on Earth could industry sell the products and services it makes best profit on unless it is able to persuade as many consumers as possible that what it wants to provide is what the consumer most needs/desires.

    Expecting the consumer to ‘take responsibility’ for their purchasing is rather like requiring slaves to throw off their chains without help or change from the surrounding society and how the economics are set up.

    Why is more (or any) culpability heaped on the consumer of an unnecessarily fuel guzzling SUV than on the entity that designed, made, and sold the product ?

  79. Apropos of the discussion about the credibility of messengers versus their personal emissions due to personal behaviour choices:

    That Jane Goodall – the one exhorting “consumers”, “individuals” “must take responsibility” and make “ethical choices” – that “wise woman” would be the Jane Goodall who last month appeared (presumably for pay!) with other celebrities in an ad/love letter for British Airways and flying, flying, FLYING!!!

    Physician heal thyself, indeed.

  80. By the way, it’s been clear for a long time that to hit anywhere near 2C, the top 10-20% emitters – surely everyone here – was going to have to make large reductions to their discretionary emissions.

    That leading researchers are squealing about unfair standards being applied to them – methinks they do protest too much. No one “wants” this. If those who understand the urgency and reach of the crisis aren’t expected to lead/model on this, then who?

  81. Joshua says:

    Well, moralistic finger-pointing serves a purpose, but methinks has little to do with the price of tea in China.

    The paper, while interesting, is a contrived experiment and needs to be placed in context.

    Would a uniformly miniscule carbon footprint among climate scientists (and/or advocates) leave a signal in the trajectory of climate change policy development?

    I rather doubt it, but I don’t see a reason not to find out.

  82. Willard says:

    > moralistic finger-pointing serves a purpose, but methinks has little to do with the price of tea in China.

    Strictly speaking, saying:

    [M1] It is raining, but I don’t believe it’s raining.

    is perfectly fine.

    Moralistic finger-pointing regarding those who have no qualms saying Moorean sentences in public serves a purpose, etc.

  83. Joshua says:

    Moralistic finger-pointing exists.

    Not everything is moralistic finger-pointing.

    Would a uniformly miniscule carbon footprint among climate scientists (and/or advocates) leave a signal in the trajectory of climate change policy development?

    What do you think?

  84. Joshua says:

    I go back to what Ken wrote:

    But it seems to only bring it home to me that the disconnection between the everyday choices we face and the climate costs of them is why we cannot rely on people voluntarily choosing to do the right thing as a principle response and why institutional change is so essential.

    Of course, there’s a good distance between saying that everyday choices matter and pointing to individuals’ everyday responses as a principle response. But there is also, IMO, a potential cost (at some point in a spectrum) in spending energy (no pun intended) engaging at the level of individual choice when institutional response is needed. Not to suggest mutual exclusivity, or that individual choices can’t affect the likelihood of institutional change.

    But to ask, if there are potential costs, where the lines might be drawn?

  85. Willard says:

    > where the lines might be drawn?

    That’s just a line in a heap of sand. From the classical logician’s point of view, computers can’t bootstrap themselves. Dynamics are required. Social movements are as absurd as they are hard to predict.

    One way to go from Me’s to We’s is to think that if you build it, they will come:

    It’s hard to know if something will work if you don’t try it. The same goes the other way around:

    Refundable container drives can fund many projects. Plenty of companies regularly give their refundable beverage containers to organizations that contact them and a well-organized neighbourhood collection drive can raise up to $4,000 in a single day!

    https://consigneco.org/en/

    Now, imagine we double the deposit, or that every single piece of plastic container becomes refundable. That would be a We decision that surely will have an impact on the Me’s. I’m not suggesting it’d be enough. It’s just an illustration of a We policy that has no Me equivalent. Until someone starts a BottleCoin currency or something, perhaps.

  86. Willard says:

    Here could be a more relevant example for this blog:

    Notwithstanding Jacob’s evasion during the first two minutes, look at his response to Your fund has set up two new funds, not in the City of London, but in Dublin [Europe]. Isn’t that a bit hypocritical given how confident you are in the UK or the City of London that Somerset sets up two funds in Dublin?.

  87. jacksmith4tx says:

    I like the way these guys frame the issue.
    “Few Remaining Paths Lead to a Tolerable Amount of Climate Change”
    If our climate turns out to be highly insensitive, meaning it’s resilient to rising CO2 levels, then there’s a 50-50 chance we have until mid-century to achieve a tolerable future, the researchers found. And if the climate’s sensitivity is mild, then we’ve got about the next decade or so — by 2030 — to change course and have a 50-50 chance of success. But if the climate ends up being any more sensitive than that, then we’ve already closed the window to achieving a tolerable future with a 50-50 chance of success.

    “Our analyses actually show that when you go out to the end of the century, so sort of what our children and grandchildren will be experiencing as a climate, at that point climate sensitivity is not actually the major controlling factor of the climate they’re experiencing,” Lamontagne said. “It’s actually what climate actions were taken earlier in the century.”
    Discover Magazine article: https://tinyurl.com/y37qaxy2

  88. Steven Mosher says:

    “If scientist A is saying “X,Y, Z are what individuals can do to help reduce overall emissions,” then whether scientist A does X, Y, or Z doesn’t seem “technically” relevant, to me, to scientist A”s statement.”

    Its pretty simple. I believe you when you say we have a limited number of chips to eat.
    I believe you when you say we should eat less.
    But its simply irrational for me to stop eating chips before you do, or to eat less than you do. especially when its characterized as a sacrifice to do so. why do I have to be jesus?

    And dont try this nonsense of you are addicted to chips, or that its hard to stop eating.
    look at willard munching on carrots.

  89. Steven Mosher says:

    “One way to go from Me’s to We’s is to think that if you build it, they will come:”

    yup

    There are several ways to motivate people to sacrifice. Personal inconsistency aint one of them

  90. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    Read what Susan wrote.

  91. Oh dear … Joshua, he did read it, and he was annoyed by it; I didn’t choose to answer because (a) I have other things to do, and (b) I didn’t think it would make any difference. I was tempted to repost Marc Roberts’ “Trick” cartoon for some cognitive dissonance and to hammer the point that if you want to see something you’ll find it, but once in a while is enough. Picture = 1000 words, like that.

    I failed to make Magma’s point. I like Willard’s analogy with a doctor who smokes but advises a smoker about addiction. We must at least try. We have to accept our own and others’ failings and move on. Otherwise we’re just stuck with recriminations.

    The point is not less valid because all of us are caught up in some level of hypocrisy in the very act of moving through a normal day and doing normal things. In my experience, guilt and finger pointing are a great waste of energy.

    Now for that dissonance (apropos of something or nothing, your choice) from Russia with love: https://twitter.com/backt0nature/status/1104861234497695745/photo/1

  92. Steven Mosher wrote “But its simply irrational for me to stop eating chips before you do, or to eat less than you do.”

    This is obviously incorrect. Whether it is irrational or not depends on whether stopping eating chips best serves your true values. As has been pointed out, this is a bit like saying you won’t stop smoking before your doctor (who advises you to do so) stops smoking. It would be irrational to continue to smoke, having had the dangers pointed out to you, simply because your doctor is too weak/addicted to do what is in her/his own best interest.

    why do I have to be jesus?

    You don’t have to be Jesus to conform to your own values. If there were no sacrifice involved, there would be no altruism. There is quite a lot of spectrum between a complete lack of altruism and Jesus.

    Hyperbole isn’t particularly convincing either ;o)

  93. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven –

    Read what Susan wrote.”

    I did. None of it addresses my point or was even game enough to answer the question i asked about what willard’s laughter signifies?
    Magma of course was talking about contrarians. I’m not. I agree we have a limited budget.
    I agree we should all eat less chips. I find it funny when people say this with their mouth full.

    Consuming carbon aint anything like a nicotine addiction, that dog wont hunt.

    in short, if your mouth is full of chips almost anything you say will be funny.
    whether you tell me the laughter is an ad hom ( its not)
    or wether you say “we should all try ” ( hey all have fallen short )
    Its all funny when your mouth is full of chips.

    Clue. If your audience is laughing, ya might wanna think twice

  94. Steven Mosher says:

    “This is obviously incorrect. Whether it is irrational or not depends on whether stopping eating chips best serves your true values. As has been pointed out, this is a bit like saying you won’t stop smoking before your doctor (who advises you to do so) stops smoking.”

    then its not obviously incorrect since it depends
    The difference would be that eating is generally necessary to life, as opposed to smoking Now of course you could be eating the wrong thing or too much of a thing.

    You see what the doctor and smoking analogy misses is the idea of a shared resource that –to date– seems pretty necessary to a good and comfortable life. Replace the chips with water.

    X amount of water.
    Joshua consumes more than his fair share and says we should drink less or we will all die.
    what would kant do?
    me? I’m drinking water. maybe I will join joshua and mouth some nice words about trying
    hard to curb my water consumption.

  95. SM wrote “then its not obviously incorrect since it depends”

    No, you made an unconditional statement “But its simply irrational for me to stop eating chips before you do, or to eat less than you do.” so if it depends, then the unconditional statement is obviously incorrect because it depends, as I pointed out.

    “The difference would be that eating is generally necessary to life, “

    Nobody is suggesting anyone stops eating to the point they starve.

    “You see what the doctor and smoking analogy misses is the idea of a shared resource that –to date– seems pretty necessary to a good and comfortable life. Replace the chips with water.”

    A repetition of a straw man is a second straw man. Note the hyperbole of mixing “good and comfortable life” with starving and the neccessity for water. Fossil fuel usage (at the levels used in the western world are about comfort, not necessity, so smoking seems a rather apposite analogy).

    “Joshua consumes more than his fair share and says we should drink less or we will all die.
    what would kant do? me? I’m drinking water. maybe I will join joshua and mouth some nice words about trying hard to curb my water consumption.”

    Yes, that is your choice, and whether it is rational depends on whether you are actually as selfish as you present yourself to be in that paragraph.

  96. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    Susan already tried to gube you some advice, but you ignored it.

    Put down the bag of chips and we might have something to talk about. IMO it’s a silly analogy and sheds no light on the subject at hand.

    You can grab a coke to have with your chips and discuss its aptness with dikran if you’d like. Or you can do something really important with your precious time like meet with someone important, or uncover some criminal, or invent some term, or explain to someone how to save the world.

    You have a habit of contriving self+sealing analogies for rhetorical purposes, not for the purpose of furthering discussion. I’ve explained to you before my view on analogies: I’m only interested in ones used to advance discussion, not ones used to play rhetorical games. I’m not chasing you down your self-sealing rabbit holes.

  97. Joshua says:

    Oy. gube = give

  98. dhogaza says:

    Mosher:

    “me? I’m drinking water. maybe I will join joshua and mouth some nice words about trying hard to curb my water consumption.”

    That’s expected of lukewaterers like you. Thus the need for government action. In the case of water use in California, the state’s been quite aggressive and per capita water use has declined noticeably for decades:

    Public policy regarding personal consumption has included things like mandating low-flow shower heads and more efficient toilets in new construction (sounds a bit like CAFE standards, no?), tiered rates based on consumption (taxing carbon emissions won’t work?), restrictions on landscape watering and the like. The simple graph above doesn’t show when various specific measures came into effect, of course. But the overall picture is clear.

    I don’t recall people trying to deny the need for CA to conserve water based on whether or not various government functionaries or researchers into precipitation trends or the like have a glass of water – or even two – when enjoying dinner in a restaurant. This kind of gotcha-ism seems mostly reserved for one’s personal level of CO2 emissions.

    Data for LA alone:

    The 2016 bump corresponds to easing of mandatory water conservation measures …

  99. Joshua says:

    Apropos to the discussion of how relevant at the carbon footprints of a relative handful of people :

    https://usa.streetsblog.org/2019/03/06/heres-how-driving-is-encouraged-and-subsidized-by-law/

  100. Joshua says:

    Demonstrating real world limitations to limiting carbon footprints to lessen the impact of ad homs. Keep in mind, AOC has been criticized for her carbon footprint. I’d say lowering her carbon footprint wouldn’t change this one iota.

    https://video.foxnews.com/v/6012997442001

    Of course, there are other things that AOC could do to limit these kinds of attacks (and I don’t particularly agree with many of her strategic choices), but a question is, a legitimate question IMO, how much can she do to limit the effectiveness of ad hom attacks, short of stopping her advocacy for different energy policies?

  101. It’s fascinating being admonished about how to be effectively persuasive or not by someone who is so serially, seriously unpersuasive.

  102. Willard says:

    > Consuming carbon aint anything like a nicotine addiction, that dog wont hunt.

    Dubya’s claim that our best way to break this addiction is through technology sounds like a breakthrough in akrasia. America should create an institute for the breakthrough. It should be called the Breakthrough Institute, and should be part of the Lomborg Collective’s efforts to tackle everything but AGW while focusing on GRRRRROWTH.

    Thank you.

    ***

    In the thread at mt’s I cited earlier, Junior said something quite intriguing:

    [W]hat constitutes a “worthless” policy is indeed in the eye of the beholder. Science does not confer worth to an outcome. And you cannot use science to determine worth. And experts are not more an authority on worth than non-scientists.

    https://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/08/and-in-end_01.html?showComment=1280756012656#c7745820018854425904

    Junior’s claim rests on the fact/value dichotomy. If memory serves well, Junior argues against the fact/value dichotomy at the beginning of his broker book. Perhaps AT can check.

    The claim is false. To see why, here are two arguments. The first is semantic – replace “confers worth” with “evaluates.” Science helps evaluate all the time. The second is logistic – it does not matter much as long science helps constrain policy options. As mt said in that thread (his emphasis):

    Any policy which does not reliably lead to zero or near-zero net emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases by a date certain is not adequate to reliably achieve the objective of restabilizing the climate.

    This constraint is useful when comes the time to judge luckwarm shadowboxing. For instance, our Lomborg Collective keeps arguing that we should tackle everything else but AGW. How does that meet the constraint underlined by mt? It does not. It’s irrelevant. The whole Lomborg Collective playbook can be trashed.

  103. John Hartz says:

    Joshua: Out of curiosity, have you read the book, Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life (2011) by Kari Marie Norgaard?

    It is referenced in the following article…

    The Psychology of Climate Change: Why Feelings Matter by Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D., Psychology Today, Mar 8, 2019

    The lead paragraphs of Price-Mitchell’s article…

    New research suggests that what’s simmering inside of American psyches may be as important to the climate change debate as the greenhouse gases bubbling from lakes, rivers, and wetlands throughout the world.

    While the climate change issue has regressed from a scientific to a partisan one in recent decades, research shows public opinion is changing on both sides of the political spectrum. Why have people’s feelings shifted? Will this be a psychological tipping point for action?

    I found the article to be both informative and hopeful about the future.

  104. Willard says:

    Felicity asks:

    Possible answer – create a large-scale exam scam.

  105. Thanks John Hartz for posting about the “Strike” this Friday. Probably the most useful thing we all can do at the moment is make a lot of noise.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch (first try embedding a tweet, hope it works).

    They have used their immense resources to create fake scandals and to fund a global disinformation campaign aimed at vilifying the scientists, discrediting the science, and misleading the public and policymakers.#Science #ClimateChange #KeepItInTheGround https://t.co/HYTN7nk7qw— Paul Dawson on Climate Change (@PaulEDawson) March 12, 2019

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  106. Nope. Oh well. Here’s some of the substance: Mike Mann points to Russian and Saudis for Climategate.
    ‘The most villainous act in the history of human civilisation.’ Michael E Mann speaks out

    A compelling case can be made that Russia’s involvement and Saudi Arabia’s potential involvement in the last [US] election was about a half-trillion-dollar oil deal between Russia and ExxonMobil that had been blocked because of the sanctions against Russia.

    What’s the first thing that happened under the now-infamous Paul Manafort? They changed the Republican platform to try to get rid of those sanctions. Then Trump appointed Rex Tillerson, the former head of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State. Is that a coincidence?

    It was the same players and the same motive and the same disingenuity. In the case of Climategate, there have now been the better part of a dozen investigations in the US and the UK, and they have all come to the conclusion there was no impropriety on the part of the scientists whose emails had been stolen. The only wrongdoing was the criminal theft of the emails in the first place.

    The science that we are doing is a threat to the world’s most powerful and wealthiest special interests. The most powerful and wealthiest special interest that has ever existed: the fossil fuel industry.

  107. We pointy-headed types don’t get it, do we? Even those of us who have embraced at one time or another the best of the Gospels, which directly contradict the “god and guns” people. And, in fact, we’re not so different, witness my opinion that there diehard bias coming from Mosher/Fuller, after all these years; I’m sure they feel the same about me. Here’s a good summary from a top comment at the NYTimes:

    I’m currently on job assignment in central Michigan in a political district that literally put Donald Trump in office. In my conversations with colleagues and many local people, he has their unconditional support. Let me repeat that: “unconditional” support. No matter how vile, heinous, destructive or incompetent he is, his cultist followers don’t care. I have family members in a number of other states who think he’s doing exactly what he promised to do and that his predecessor essentially accomplished nothing. Get the picture?

    Nothing we say or do or demonstrate or document will convince Trump’s loyal followers to abandon him. Quit trying persuade them to leave the dark side. They will not.

  108. John Hartz says:

    Susan Anderson: You’re welcome. It will be interesting to see how many youth in the US participate. The turnout will definitely be heavy in Europe and Australia.

  109. John Hartz says:

    Stefan Rhamstorf just posted the following on his Facebook page…

    Here is the English version of the statement by over 12.000 German, Austrian and Swiss scientists in support of #Fridays4Future! https://www.scientists4future.org/statement-en/ #FridaysForFuture @sci4future @GretaThunberg #ScientistsForFuture #SchoolStrike4Climate

    https://www.scientists4future.org/statement-en/

  110. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    No matter how vile, heinous, destructive or incompetent he is, his cultist followers don’t care.

    Actually, they do care.
    In fact, they care Bigly.
    “Vile, heinous, destructive, incompetent” – these are all features, not bugs.

    Trump proves to his followers every day that you can be an incurious, uneducated, scientifically illiterate, racist, sexist, homophobic, philandering, money-losing, Constitution-shredding, Russian asset, con-man – and still be the single most powerful person in the world.

  111. Joshua says:

    JH –

    I haven’t seen that book, no.

    From the article:

    While the climate change issue has regressed from a scientific to a partisan one in recent decades, research shows public opinion is changing on both sides of the political spectrum.

    That strikes me as counter-intuitive. To the extent that it has become more of a partisan issue I would predict that opinion would not be changing as described (a diminished polarization).

    According to a February 2019 report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, the past five years has witnessed a significant swing in the proportion of American adults who believe global warming is occurring and who are worried about its effects.

    Young people are worried too. From very early ages, students study climate change in school and are often more aware of scientific studies on global warming than their parents. Many children have adopted climate change as an emotionally-focused cause.

    My guess is that younger people are seeing climate change as less of a signpost for ideological identity…which would suggest that it has become less of a partisan issue (at least among younger people).

    I’ll look more into the reference you provided. Thanks.

  112. Joshua says:


    No matter how vile, heinous, destructive or incompetent he is, his cultist followers don’t care.

    Actually, they do care.
    In fact, they care Bigly.
    “Vile, heinous, destructive, incompetent” – these are all features, not bugs.

    I think only a minority don’t care about those issues, and only a minority consider them to be features.

    I think that some % of his supporters use a different metric to assess those qualities. Another % (I’d say a larger %) care about those issues, but are more focused on a hatred of libz and lib beliefs…a hatred which Trump leverages quite effectively.

  113. Joshua says:

    I think there is much in this article that is relevant to the climate wars:

  114. russellseitz says:

    Climate Warriors of all stripes tend to ignore the first duty of an Honest Broker– telling clients “Don’t trade.”

  115. That is a very interesting link, Joshua.
    “Since higher levels of cognitive resources and partisan social identity are associated with higher levels of political activism, the effect may be self-reinforcing, wherein political elites polarize the strongly identified and cognitively reflective, who then elect more polarized elites. The democratic dilemma may not be whether low information citizens can learn what they need to know, but whether high information citizens can set aside their partisan predispositions.”

    That was the conclusion reached by this finding:
    “In plain language, the most active voters — those notably “high in cognitive resources” — are the most willing to accept policy positions endorsed by their party, and they are doing so not out of principle, but to affirm their identity as a Democrat or Republican. ”

    Odd that they included a MAGA photo when the data said Democrats are more hateful:
    “Some 20 percent of Democrats (that translates to 12.6 million voters) and 16 percent of Republicans (or 7.9 million voters) do think on occasion that the country would be better off if large numbers of the opposition died.
    We’re not finished: “What if the opposing party wins the 2020 presidential election. How much do you feel violence would be justified then?” 18.3 percent of Democrats and 13.8 percent of Republicans said violence would be justified on a scale ranging from “a little” to “a lot.”

  116. russellseitz says:

    Jeffnsails”Some 20 percent of Democrats (that translates to 12.6 million voters) and 16 percent of Republicans (or 7.9 million voters) do think on occasion that the country would be better off if large numbers of the opposition died.”

    That Democratic cohort should take heart- all the low Whigs and Know Nothings aleady have.

    Does this imply a political corollary to the observation that science advances one funeral at a time?

  117. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    I would say my that if you take some schadenfreude-like, tribalistic, self-congratulatory pleasure from pointing to that statistical difference, you’ve missed the most important implications of the article.

    By a long shot.

    But, I wouldn’t exactly surprised. 😏

  118. Ken Fabian says:

    Jeff – unfortunately the intensity of dislike is only likely to increase as just how damaging the persistent, dangerous irresponsibility of the conservative right on climate change has been becomes known and accepted; the better informed the public gets, the greater the risk that the public will turn on them.

    Like traitors during a war, those who have ruthlessly promoted the very activities to take us to the high end warming scenarios risk serious condemnation as the extent of the harms become apparent – and experienced first hand. Note that I think calling for death sentences or lynchings or the like, even rhetorically, without actual intent, should be avoided and condemned; the human capacity for feeling good about the harsh treatment and even killing of people we happen to think are “bad” is one of our most dangerous traits. It prompts an urge to violence that needs no trial or weighing of evidence, just being told can be enough. And just sharing an affiliation with someone deemed “bad” can be enough for people to believe someone is bad by association.

    Disbelief has been an effective shield from the accusations of irresponsibility and negligence of the Doubt, Deny, Delay policy position, yet even though giving it up voluntarily can lead to absolution or at least amnesty, holding tight to that shield does hold off the guilt and shame that understanding and knowing how much damage they have done can bring. Promoting things that will irrevocably harm one’s nation (and world) really can provoke intense hatred – yet there is also a lot of good will and a surprising amount of understanding and sympathy; fixing the problem still has precedence amongst the climate “movement” over retribution or restitution. We are all shareholders in this mess – even though the majority shareholders are the institutional ones – and not without guilt; the high placed deniers do have a window of opportunity to use that goodwill to change their position and dodge being held accountable.

  119. Steven Mosher says:

    “Consuming carbon aint anything like a nicotine addiction, that dog wont hunt.”

    sorry dog still wont hunt, that bush used it kinda seals the case of the dog that wont hunt.
    funny how he missed the fracking breakthroughs.

  120. Steven Mosher says:

    “You have a habit of contriving self+sealing analogies for rhetorical purposes, not for the purpose of furthering discussion. I’ve explained to you before my view on analogies: I’m only interested in ones used to advance discussion, not ones used to play rhetorical games.”

    Not really.

    Lets see if I can make this clear. I havent seen many object to the doctor and smoking analogy
    so I’ll assume you like that one. no rethorical game there hehe. Bad assumption maybe, so you’ll correct me Let me just be clear what I am trying to point out.

    I can do that by comparing the two analogies.

    The consumption of cigarettes provides a short term benefit ( about 20 times a day)
    to both me and my doctor. That short term benefit does not help my children
    or their children, or my neighbors. it helps tobacco farmers I suppose.
    It is not necessary to life. Lack of nicotine wont lead to my death. Tobacco is
    also not scarce. and me smoking my pack does not deprive the doctor of his
    pack. Also, if I quit my doctors health does not improve. If I quit, that doesnt
    allow him to smoke more.

    The reason I contrast this with a LIMITED food or water analogy is that it is closer to the situation
    with carbon. First we have a limited budget. There is Only so much that we all together can emit. if that is 1000 Gtons, then its 1000 that we all share. Every ton you emit is a ton less for
    others to emit. Not at all like Nicotine. Further, The benefits I get from eating or drinking or consuming carbon are not limited to 20 times a day. They are continuous, broad and shared. My children benefit from my consumption, my workers benefit, my customers benefit. In some places ( cold ones or hot ones) the consumption is necessary to survivial. As in using electricty in an heat wave. This is nothing like the short term personalized benefits of nicotine.

    So when I see you eating more chips while arguing that we should all eat less,
    its not the hypocrisy exactly thats the issue. It’s the actual fricking consumption that is the issue.
    Because there is fixed budget. And because presently we both derive immediate benefits from carbon consumption. I’m watching you eat, I am not listening to what you say. For all I know
    your words may just be platitudes you use to get me to consume less, so that you can consume
    more. Because the resource is limited I watch what you do and ignore or mock what you say.
    Because the resource brings me and those close to me measurable short term benefits I watch what you do, not what you say. Because in some cases ( al beit rare) the resource may be necessary for survial, I watch what you do, not what you say. And because I am fighting you
    for a fixed resource I am going to attack your words while emulating your behavior.

    My doctors hypocrisy doesnt materially affect me. Whether he is hypocritical or not (smokes or doesnt smoke) has no affect on whether or not cancer will get me. I dont take his hypocrisy seriously. I laugh. (like carrot eating willard) It doesnt deter me from trying to quit. His quiting wont magically make more cigarrettes for me to smoke. His continuing to smoke wont change my risk ratios, or damage my children. However, when you continue to consume more than your fair share of the budget, be it food or water on the life raft, while at the same time preaching less consumption, the hypocrisy is material to my well being and material to the well being of others.
    I dont laugh, I will try to match your share of eating.

    When my doctor is hypocritical and I point this out, its pretty much an ad hom. I’m going after him.
    When you consume more than your fair share of food, while saying we should eat less,
    when I object, its more like self preseveration than merely attacking your character. Looks like a ad hom of course, and you would call it an ad hom while continuing
    your behavior, because calling it an ad hom allows you to continue your behavior. But the real issue is how much you eat, not what you say. Lastly, I’ve had a ton of friends quit smoking.
    never inspired me for a second. They quit . good for them. I watch folks now taking the train to conferences. Good for me.!

    Opps I was too early with the “lastly” ( had a smoke,haha)

    Lastly I see no moral problem with all smokers, blithly telling each other “we should quit”
    while not quitting. I do see a moral problem ( a material hypocrisy) with you me and willard
    all telling each other we should eat less while consuming more. Call it a vaguely kantian
    concern, morally that is. I struck here by a change in my own behavior. In SF I had a friend
    chide me for not seperating garbage. FFS. we had a really bad fight about it. She attacked me for X, I pointed out Y about her behavior.

    Willards feild of dreams post is relevant here.

    I now live in korea ( part time). Outside the apartment there are a large number of different
    kinds of containers for each different kind of trash. Thankfully, there are nice people who
    show me how to do it. They have to show me because we dont speak the same language.
    We are from different tribes. I cant understand what they say, I can only watch what they do.

    Imagine a libertarian paying to dispose of food waste. all from watching what they do.

  121. Joshua says:

    Steven –

    I’ll assume you like that one.

    Wrong.

  122. Joshua says:

    BTW –

    I didn’t bother reading the rest, assuming it was based on your wrong assumption.

  123. Joshua says:

    BTW –

    I see no reason to read analogies of any type on this issue. I don’t think there’s anything to be learned from them. We can just discuss the actual issue. I offered a scenario accordingly. We could talk about that. I might take some time to read other suggested scenarios also, if they were interesting.

  124. Joshua says:

    BTW –

    I’d suggest that if you want to take time to discuss the usefulness and applicability of Willard’s analogy, you take it up with him (i.e., don’t start you comment with a quote of my comment).

  125. No, let’s torture Steve’s analogy until all submit.

  126. BBD says:

    while not quitting. I do see a moral problem ( a material hypocrisy) with you me and willard
    all telling each other we should eat less while consuming more.

    Who says we are consuming more? CO2 emissions for most developed economies are falling. Not by anything like enough, but falling all the same.

  127. BBD says:

    When you consume more than your fair share of food, while saying we should eat less

    Sounds like a thinly-disguised attempt to retread the da poors crap to me.

  128. izen says:

    @-SM
    “So when I see you eating more chips while arguing that we should all eat less,
    its not the hypocrisy exactly thats the issue. It’s the actual fricking consumption that is the issue.”

    That may be a less important issue than WHAT you are consuming.
    Chips are based on an economic model that transports from a wise area a single potato, or a handful of grain, and fires in fat, adds salt and flavourings, puts in a plastic bag, and distributes widely to shops. It is a common food production model.
    It has a massive carbon footprint.

    The recent Lancet report tried to coordinate a healthy diet with low carbon agricultural production.
    I don’t think chips form a large proportion of the recommended daily intake. For reasons of health and carbon footprint.

    From a personal health, and planetary carbon emissions standpoint, you and Joshua would be wise to share Willard’s carrots.

  129. Dave_Geologist says:

    jeff, perhaps Dems are more hateful because wilfully allowing the deaths of innocent children inspires more hatred than healing the sick?

    Kinda like risk = probability x impact. Hatred = predisposition x trigger.

    Just a thought.

  130. izen says:

    @-JNS
    “Some 20 percent of Democrats (that translates to 12.6 million voters) and 16 percent of Republicans (or 7.9 million voters) do think on occasion that the country would be better off if large numbers of the opposition died.”

    That discrepancy may not be reflected in the figures of those few who hate so strongly they pick up a gun and kill people.
    Often themselves.
    In fact both mass killers and suicides show strong gender and political imbalances.

  131. Izen: “In fact both mass killers and suicides show strong gender and political imbalances.”
    I remember reading somewhere about a paper that proposed the idea that angry hyper-partisanship attracts the mentally unbalanced. Ie “hateful” or “violent” Democrats or Republicans are often just folks who want an excuse to be violent and don’t really care which party provides it. Makes a lot of sense. It’s like looters in a riot- are they “protesting” or just using the opportunity of a protest to do what they do?
    The most interesting sentence to climate change was this one:
    “The democratic dilemma may not be whether low information citizens can learn what they need to know, but whether high information citizens can set aside their partisan predispositions.”

    Joshua, you mentioned way back something about the the travel patterns of the climate concerned having a teeny tiny carbon footprint in the big picture. That’s true. 7.5 billion people make the same argument every day. A tiny subset of that 7.5 billion population says we have a limited number of flights left to use. And they use them, but tell everyone else not to. Some people will call out that subset as hypocrites. The vast majority will simply ignore them. The latter is what you need to worry about.

  132. BBD says:

    Much as you might like to pretend that there is any issue whatsoever with climate scientists flying, it is not the problem at all. The problem is that national and international policy must change to reduce FF use and emissions. Another problem is that contrarians try to obscure this fact by accusing those who make it of hypocrisy.

  133. Willard says:

    > Much as you might like to pretend that there is any issue whatsoever with climate scientists flying, it is not the problem at all.

    Hence why I spoke of megaphones, not scientists. The answer to David Roberts’ rhetorical question “does flying hinder my credibility to advocate etc” (paraphrasing, he blocked me a while ago) is yes, it does. Even deaf contrarians in denial ride Priuses. Deal with it.

    ***

    > Joshua would be wise to share Willard’s carrots.

    Please leave me out of this. Carrots are for bunnies like Eli.

  134. Willard says:

    As for JeffN’s latest spin:

  135. @Rust. Thanks for keeping your eye on the ball. I find a lot of this discussion resembles calculating the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin.

    Here’s something to actually do:
    https://350.org/support-schoolstrike/

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, while distractionalists and petty but limited perfectionists (the biblical motes and beams*) use their admitted cleverness to microfocus on the hypocrisies inherent in doing work and being alive these days, this is happening.

    US official reveals Atlantic drilling plan while hailing Trump’s ability to distract public
    Revealed: Interior department official says he is ‘thrilled’ by Trump’s ‘knack for keeping the attention of the media and public focused somewhere else’

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/14/offshore-drilling-trump-official-reveals-plan-and-distractions-delight

    * Caveat: even the devil can quote scriptures:

    1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
    5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

  136. John Hartz says:

    Arwa Mahdawi’s recent opinion piece is the perfect antidote to the poppycock being spread by Rep Bishop.and many of his Republican/Tea Party colleagues in Congress.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right – it’s time for radical change, not more ‘meh’ politics, Opinion by Arwa Mahdawi, Comment is Free, Guardian, Mar 12, 2019

    The lede for this well-written op-ed:

    Centrism won’t fix wealth inequality or the climate crisis – so why are progressive politics condescendingly dismissed as unworkable?

  137. @John Hartz. Exactly right! Glad to see our Ayanna Pressley has joined in. At the time, I was all for her opponent, Mike Capuano, who had a near-100% score on progressive causes and a possible chairmanship of a committee. But this wind is doing a mighty job of outing the dangers of procrastinatoion; the time for delay via doubt and misrepesentation is long gone, after decades of compromise that got almost nothing done.

  138. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    Joshua, you mentioned way back something about the the travel patterns of the climate concerned having a teeny tiny carbon footprint in the big picture. That’s true. 7.5 billion people make the same argument every day.

    I doubt it. My guess is that a small fraction of that 7.5 billion give it much thought on a daily basis, let alone make arguments about it. And an even smaller fraction think about it deeply. I think you’re making some very wrong assumptions, merely because it is what you want to assume, and because of which tribe you want to criticize. Did you read the article that I linked, and that you referenced, in your tribalistic zeal?

    A tiny subset of that 7.5 billion population says we have a limited number of flights left to use. And they use them, but tell everyone else not to.

    Again, you seem to be letting your assumptions get in the way of your reasoning. Do you actually k iw what % of climate scientists, who describe the science behind the risks of continued ACO2 emissions, do or don’t make significant alterations in their behaviors on the basis of their understanding of those risks?

    My guess is that you don’t. Show me wrong.

    Some people will call out that subset as hypocrites.

    In particular if they are tribally motivated to do so in order to rationalize their preexisting beliefs. Know anyone like that?

    The vast majority will simply ignore them.

    Probably not for the reasons you suggest. The vast majority of people who “ignore” what scientists say about the risks of ACO2 emissions are fully ignorant of climate scientists’ carbon footprints – hence, climate scientists’ carbon footprints are basically irrelevant to their behaviors,

    Jeff – I’m tryimg to have a concvo here, and when you say really stupid shit that makes it harder.

    Why don’t you pick up Steven’s discussion about his silly analogy?

  139. Willard says:

    > The vast majority of people who “ignore” what scientists say about the risks of ACO2 emissions are fully ignorant of climate scientists’ carbon footprints – hence, climate scientists’ carbon footprints are basically irrelevant to their behaviors,

    My guess is that you don’t know that. Something something assumptions.

    Show me wrong.

  140. Joshua says:

    I have to prove to you that the vast majority of the 7.5 billion people referenced don’t know what climate scientists’ carbon footprints are. Really?

  141. re that “No Hate Left Behind” article, I had some trouble with that. I didn’t look up the source, but probably I should have. It did not ring true. I live here, and I don’t see much in the way of violence or threats of violence coming from the “left” these days. While stockpiles of guns and ammo for the “militia” build up, and Trumpsters – including T himself – threaten violence if they don’t get their way.

    With surveys, one must evaluate the questions and methodology; this one did not ring true. “A recent survey” is more than inadequate. Going to a link, I find a self-published paper with many references, two authors, and no “methodology”. If I had caught the article in time, I would have tried to complain directly as this kind of misrepresentation is all too easy, and the supposed “left” leaning press (which used to be the center before the goalposts got pushed and pushed to the “right”) is too eager to admit fault and try to be “fair” to opposing views, no matter how wrong.

    I usually go to Readers’ Picks to find more information, here’s the top one:

    I find myself in strong disagreement with much of this piece. in that it deals with the purely academic, almost to the point of abstraction, but seemingly pays no attention to what’s been going on in the real world of United States politics since at least 1992.

    The conclusions reached by the various academics imply a sort of “both sides do it-ism” that in my experience is simply false.

    Only one side has stolen two presidential elections, even enlisting the Supreme Court to help it in one of them. Only one side has an entire news network functioning as its propaganda arm, whose owner talks to the president weekly on the phone, whose hosts seem to dictate policy, and which spreads hatred of the other side on a daily basis. Only one side has pledged to simply obstruct everything the other side tries to accomplish.

    In short, only one side has weaponized politics. This point seems to have been missed by every academic quoted here.

  142. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    What # if people would you estimate ignore what climate scientists say about the risks of ACO2emissiknsnfue to a perceived hypocrisy in their part as revealed in their carbon footprints?

    Let’s divide that by 7.5 billion.

    The article shows evidence that in their experimental paradigm, “realists” and “skeptics” alike used info given to them about climate scientists’ carbon footprint, at least in part, to evaluate the credibility of information the climate scientists were giving them about how to change individual behaviors about to reduce the risks of ACO2 emissions.

    I have some questions about the generalizability of that evidence, but I don’t doubt that it generalizes to some degree.

    Jeff’s argument seems like a ridiculous extension of that degree.

  143. Joshua says:

    … ignore… risks of ACO2 emissions due to perceived hypocrisy…

  144. Willard says:

    > I have some questions about the generalizability of that evidence, but I don’t doubt that it generalizes to some degree.

    You always do.

    It might be time to move away slowly from that horse.

  145. Joshua says:

    Susan –

    Another question I have is how they measure increased partisanship. Measuring changes in how many Demz call Pubz evil is a measure of something, but using those numbers to conclude that partisanship has increased when comparing today to when blacks were denied basic human rights, or when gay people were openly persecuted, or women were denied enfranchisement, seems a bit complicated.

    That said, they weren’t statng measurements of violence or threats of violence

  146. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    It might be time to move away slowly from that horse.

    What “horse,” and why?

  147. Willard says:

    > What “horse,” and why?

    The generalizability of the evidence, and because the mutual baiting between you and JeffN has to stop.

  148. Joshua, I took a moment before I posted to look at the quoted material. In general, Edsall (NYT) is credible, but his choices here don’t smell right. Once I went over to the cited paper, it seemed to be a self publication.
    https://www.dannyhayes.org/uploads/6/9/8/5/69858539/kalmoe___mason_ncapsa_2019_-_lethal_partisanship_-_final_lmedit.pdf
    Nowhere in either the NYT or the cited article is there anything about methodology. But the article did say that more D’s would like to kill R’s than R’s D’s. AFAIK that’s just not true.

    Some 20 percent of Democrats (that translates to 12.6 million voters) and 16 percent of Republicans (or 7.9 million voters) do think on occasion that the country would be better off if large numbers of the opposition died.

    We’re not finished: “What if the opposing party wins the 2020 presidential election. How much do you feel violence would be justified then?” 18.3 percent of Democrats and 13.8 percent of Republicans said violence would be justified on a scale ranging from “a little” to “a lot.”

    Now I’m a “coastal elite” but I do get around, and there’s something fishy here. It’s all too easy to promote fringe research if it’s dressed up to look legit. The paper has a lot of references, and I’m not interested in chasing them all down, but something is seriously wrong here.

  149. Joshua says:

    [Playing the ref. -W]

  150. Joshua says:

    Susan –

    I would say that the % differences, if we consider margins of error, are fairly meaningless. Especially if we consider the problems with self-report surveys and the vagaries of the questions. That said, I’d point out that wishing people would die isn’t the same as wanting to kill people

  151. Joshua says:

    Susan –

    I also think that the % differences in those measures is only a relatively minor point raised in the article.

  152. Joshua says:

    Willard –

    They conducted an experiment where they set up very specific, and not terribly real-world, paradigm. More specifically, they followed up information about what climate scientists said about risk with information about those climate scientists’ carbon footprint. That isn’t a typical scenario, IMO. And when it does happen in the real world, it happens in particular contexts. Also, they didn’t have any interaction from the climate scientists’ related to the size of their carbon footprint – something that could happen in the real world.

    I have no idea how much of the general public has any idea of climate scientists’ carbon footprints, either as a species or as specific animals. Of the number that do, I have no idea have any kind of realistic, reality-based estimate (in other words, their actual carbon footprint is only partially relevant).

    My guess, is that in terms of affecting the general public’s position on climate change, their actual carbon footprints plays a limited role. I don’t doubt that it plays a role. As such, seems to me that the generalizability of the findings is worthy of questioning.

    It seems to me that to determine the impact of actual carbon footprints of climate scientists’ we need more information. Yes, there are reasons to think that it would theoretically have some impact.

  153. Willard says:

    Joshua,

    Here’s how your first comment on this starts:

    Off topic –

    I’m not sure how many times you’re willing to reiterate that you’re underwhelmed about that study, but I’ll take your word for it and consider it OT.

    Asking for more evidence starts home.

  154. Joshua says:

    I linked an article which provided evidence on the effect of the carbon footprint ad hom.

    What I’ve seen beyond that is speculative and theoretical.

  155. russellseitz says:

    Cue ManBearBigfootprint episode of South Park

    Joshua might try comparing the climate forcing and carbon footpeints of Canadian climate scientists and beavers. You can look up the climatologists air milage, and get started on the beavers with Akbari et als paper noting that a 16 M2 white roof that lasts for two decades displaces enough black asphalt to produces a radiative forcing equivalent to capturing and sequestering 1 tonne of CO2 from the air.

    Our friend the beaver in contrast ,produces a radiative forcing of opposite sign, by drowning up to a million M2 of relatively bright land in the course of a lifetime of damming operations.

    The details are left as an exercise for the reader.

  156. John Hartz says:

    Point of clarification:

    There is no significant* reduction in carbon emissions if a climate scientist chooses not to take a commercial airline from point A to point B unless his/her choice causes the flight to be cancelled.

    *Yeah, each passenger and his/her luggage adds weight to the plane and causes a small increase in fuel consumption.

  157. Willard says:

    > There is no significant* reduction in carbon emissions if a climate scientist chooses not to take a commercial airline from point A to point B unless his/her choice causes the flight to be cancelled.

    Therefore no passenger is responsible for any flight whatsoever.

    If only physics worked like that.

  158. John Hartz says:

    Willard: According to physics, planes emit carbon,

  159. John Hartz says:

    Willard: If critical mass of travel consumers makes the choice not to travel by air from Point A to Point B, the airlines will cancel flights. I posted about consumer choice upstream when I cited this article…

    ‘Consumers must act’: Jane Goodall’s plea to avoid a ‘bleak’ future by Peter Hannam, Environment, Sydney Morning Herald, Mar 11, 2019

    “We have met the enemy and they are us!” – Pogo

  160. Willard says:

    > According to physics, planes emit carbon,

    Planes aren’t responsible for anything, John. They’re not agents. Not yet.

    There’s one very simple way to meet the tu quoque y’all try to evade – flip it. If contrarians raise concerns about the habits of a flying megaphone, just be ready to respond. One possible answer:

    By 2021, airlines that fly internationally will have to offset any extra emissions under a UN agreement (called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, agreed on in 2018 in Montreal, Canada) so carriers are no longer relying on individuals to tick that box. And that probably makes the whole idea more effective.

    https://www.wired.com/story/airline-emissions-carbon-offsets-travel/

    That won’t be enough. So add – wait! there’s more! Tell that your Davos Conference will invest in a peatland:

    70% of the world’s wetlands have been lost since the 1700’s and degradation continues at alarming rates world-wide. A gender approach to wetland conservation and sustainable use is essential to reverse this alarming trend of wetland degradation. We need to further press for progress and accelerate actions that acknowledge the critical role of women in ensuring the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

    https://www.ramsar.org/news/secretary-generals-message-for-international-womens-day-0

    Peatlands are the bestest way to neutralize carbon, or so I heard. It’s not like we lack ways to do good in this world. Talk about walking needs to lead to walking. It’s as simple as that.

    Megaphones carry an authority we can question, legitimately (see my above comments) or not if we consider the deaf contrarian in denial I mentioned earlier. In both cases, megaphones need to flip that script.

    That’s, like, basic PR.

  161. Everett F Sargent says:

    “Despite being away from her home in Bournemouth in southern England for 300 days a year, Dr Goodall has no plans to give up her global campaigning.”

    “As long as I can I will keep doing what I do,” she said. “I’m caught. It’s a big responsibility from which I cannot escape.”

    “Dr Goodall, who is heading to Australia in May for a series of talks dubbed Rewind the Future, said “the consumer must take responsibility”, adding “the accumulation of millions of ethical choices will certainly make a difference – and it’s beginning to happen”.”

    It is?

    So, it would appear that getting carbon emissions to zero will only take, relatively speaking, a few volunteers?
    http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

  162. Everett F Sargent says:

  163. Willard says:

    > It is?

    Of course consumers must take responsibility, Everett. Who else will? Corporations will only follow suit with carrots or sticks. That point will have to wait until I finish editing my chat with Jonathan Gilligan.

    Fair Trade saves lives. AGW requires something like Fair Trade on steroids. The challenge is bigger. Orders of magnitude bigger. The objective should not be carbon neutrality. We’re past neutrality. We need to start thinking carbon negative.

    ***

    I kept insisting in walking the talk, but there’s another thing that matters – talking as if one knows the walk for real. Listen to this explanation by a Canadian Minister of the recent Boeing crash:

    That minister is Marc Garneau, the astronaut.

  164. John Hartz says:

    Everett F Sargent said::

    So, it would appear that getting carbon emissions to zero will only take, relatively speaking, a few volunteers?

    What an absurd distortion of Dr Goodall’s message. .

  165. Ken Fabian says:

    Consumers should take responsibility to the extent they are capable, but so must producers and suppliers. I suggest that whilst more responsibility rests with the latter – my understanding is that long established legal precedent supports that view, even if courts have yet to apply it – they have greater ability than an average consumer to avoid it.

    When the consumer/voter/citizen has been deliberately targeted with FUD from sources they rely upon to be ‘well informed’, to the point of walking away from climate concerns entirely, is this entirely their responsibility? I don’t think it is. The feedback mechanisms in play probably make modelling climate look easy.

    Favouring truth over lies is a good start; Doubt Deny Delay politics has seen lies elevated over truth in ways that I find truly appalling, coming from people holding positions of trust and responsibility. I think their Doubt, Deny, Delay politicking is tantamount to negligence at the least and corruption at it’s worst – yet I would not hesitate to support amnesties to facilitate a change of direction that limits recriminations whilst enhancing our collective prospects of facing the climate problem effectively.

  166. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    russellseitz says:

    Our friend the beaver in contrast ,produces a radiative forcing of opposite sign, by drowning up to a million M2 of relatively bright land in the course of a lifetime of damming operations.

    Kill them all, and paint the bodies white.


    The details are left as an exercise for the reader.

    Pity the poor blame-able beaver, who, requiring neither a Paris Accord nor a Greta Thunberg, has lived on this planet for some 24 millions of years without much altering the composition of its atmosphere.

    Really, if we’re going to charge the ever-dwindling indigenous populations of the Earth with the crime of lowering the global albedo, then trees are the real threat.

    So – Bring on the beavers.

    And since typical ocean albedo is approximately 0.06, we’re gonna need many more, and much bigger, white fish.

  167. Pingback: “Some down-to-earth blue sky thinking” – Symptoms Of The Universe

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