Friday, June 29, 2012

Gaia Man says cool it on global warming

Now that Rio 20+ is over, you wonder if there is any point in continuing the long string of seemingly pointless annual environmental conferences.
This one did not go well according to two stories here and here. The first Rio Conference 20 years ago, was more generalized toward sustainability and environmental action on a broad front. As time went on, each succeeding conference became more and more focussed on the perceived immediate threat of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). That hysteria peaked at Copenhagen in 2009, and began to fade at Cancun in 2010. Since then, the idea that humans are responsible for bringing Earth out of the last ice age toward thermal doom from excess carbon dioxide has been getting 'colder-than-a-well-diggers-ass-in-the-Klondike' or similar such sayings.
Last week a noted purveyor of the AGW hypothesis recanted, and then, shock of shocks, the Father of Mother Earth Gaia shared his second thoughts on the AGW issue with The Guardian.
Ninety-two-year-old James Lovelock was one of the worlds leading alarmists on the AGW hypothesis. In 2006, in an article in the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, he wrote:“before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”  That is alarmist, wouldn't you say, right up there with Al Gore? But Lovelock is a respected scientist, and you have to wonder why he would bother doing this so late in his life with his contributions to environmental research assured? Why bother if he didn't feel strongly that this is an error? Lovelock first showed his change of heart in April 2012, in an interview with MSNBC, where he was quoted: “All right, I made a mistake.”

Lorrie Goldstein, writing in the Toronto Sun, this past week summarized some of Lovelock's views originally posted in The Guardian. Here are some of the observations:

(1) A long-time supporter of nuclear power as a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions, which has made him unpopular with environmentalists, Lovelock has now come out in favour of natural gas fracking (which environmentalists also oppose), as a low-polluting alternative to coal.

As Lovelock observes, "Gas is almost a give-away in the U.S. at the moment. They've gone for fracking in a big way. This is what makes me very cross with the greens for trying to knock it ... Let's be pragmatic and sensible and get Britain to switch everything to methane. We should be going mad on it." (Kandeh Yumkella, co-head of a major United Nations program on sustainable energy, made similar arguments last week at a UN environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro, advocating the development of conventional and unconventional natural gas resources as a way to reduce deforestation and save millions of lives in the Third World.)

(2) Lovelock blasted greens for treating global warming like a religion.

"It just so happens that the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion," Lovelock observed. "I don't think people have noticed that, but it's got all the sort of terms that religions use ... The greens use guilt. That just shows how religious greens are. You can't win people round by saying they are guilty for putting (carbon dioxide) in the air."

(3) Lovelock mocks the idea modern economies can be powered by wind turbines.

As he puts it, "so-called ‘sustainable development' ... is meaningless drivel ... We rushed into renewable energy without any thought. The schemes are largely hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant. I personally can't stand windmills at any price."

(4) Finally, about claims "the science is settled" on global warming: "One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don't know it."

6 comments:

  1. Once again the privileged, elderly, upper-middle-class, white man rants about the IPCC. It's no wonder your party gets nowhere.

    There is a scientific, peer-reviewed consensus from climate scientists around the world on climate change. It's the IPCC. You're as bad as a creationist denying evolution.

    A ninety-one-year-old man has read a climate denial book and decided that AGW isn't happening. He writes an opinion piece for the general public but doesn't create a proper scientific paper for peer-review. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that he ISN'T a climate scientist. And this is what you parade around on your blog? Someone who simply thinks AGW is wrong?

    Your denialism is really getting quite pathetic. If the consequences of climate change weren't so serious, I'd laugh. Unfortunately, however, it really is the most important challenge for all humanity. The people of the future will weep at the legacy you leave on your blog and with the Libertarian Party.

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  2. So, I see you have reached the limits of rational persuasion and now you must resort to ad hominem attacks to vent your fury on my poor little blog posting.
    You attack my age, my forethought to save and plan for my retirement, that you call privilege, and even my skin colour.
    You attack my chosen political party that advocates freedom from tyranny at the weekend that celebrates the birth of this country.
    Then you use the fallacy of the red herring to accuse me of something that I am not.

    As Lovelock suggests, your message is as shrill as the rantings of a religious nut, the religion of green.
    Humanity will end if we don't repent now and BELIEVE in the revealed word of the Gore-ical and Saint Suzuki.

    But of course you use the orthodoxy of peer-reviewed consensus to rationalize your position. It must be true, because that's how science works. Science is above being spoiled by politics and money. Or is it? Not according to this article: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/06/14/money-corrupts-peer-review-process/

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  3. Dr. Naomi Oreskes wondered why climate denial is almost entirely coming from a certain social class of person - white, middle-aged (and higher), high income earners, from privileged 1st world nations, and male. The surprising answer was Cold War fear. Having grown up during a time of panic by attacks from Communist Russia the resounding conclusion amongst this class of people is that the real enemy is Communist/Socialist political systems. Therefore, any public policy conclusion that ends with government regulation brings terror to those who fear the totalitarians are attempting to overtake us (and our wealth).

    The denial of climate change has little, if anything, to do with the science. The facts are there. What the denialists really oppose is the proposed solutions - setting a price on the pollution being caused by the burning of fossil fuels. As Dr. Oreskes points out, this solution has already been tried successfully with CFCs despite the same sort of denialism back then. Dupont was one of the companies most opposed to CFC regulations since it hurt them financially; however, they changed their business model (and their opinion on CFCs) when they saw an opportunity to exploit the new market. Last time I checked, Dupont is still around, making profits and CFCs are being reduced worldwide.

    Libertarians like yourself are trying to convince us that regulations impede free markets and limit personal choice of freedom. Frankly, you are wrong. The purpose of the regulations on carbon emissions is to EXPAND choice. Those who profit from carbon emissions get their choices on spending those profits, but those of us who are harmed by the consequences of warmer climate (like the new distribution of water due to changing climate patterns, destruction of arable land, increases in harmful insect populations, reduction of crops in once favourable areas, to name a few) are losing our choices on how to live. The wealthy can afford air conditioning in Hell but the other "99%" will suffer our loss of freedom as we burn.

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  4. Interesting hypothesis for Ms. Oreskes. If that satisfies your bias, then of course you believe it. Central planning has been shown over and over and over again NOT to work. But that's irrelevant to your bias, it will of course work this time! We will make it appear like a market. We will sell bullshit carbon credits to the bullshit market, "setting a price on pollution" OR ELSE!
    "The denial of climate change has ….little to do with science." More importantly the belief in Anthropogenic Global Warming has EVERYTHING to do with politics and virtually nothing to do with science.
    Here is what I think of CFC's: http://mises.org/daily/4888

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  5. I'm looking forward to the Libertarian Party finally admitting that AGW is settled and stepping up to the table to help provide solutions. Richard Muller, with funding from the Libertarian Koch brothers, has something to say:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

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  6. The Koch Bros. are more Republican than Libertarian. I rather doubt that any Libertarian Party will step up to any table pushing for government control of anything, let alone energy use.
    It will never happen, and certainly not in Ontario.

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