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AGW: battle of the conspiracy theories


1:05 pm - December 4th 2009

by John B    


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Let’s forget the actual data for a second. Let’s assume that we know absolutely nothing about the likelihood of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory being true, but that either the climate scientists or the [denialists/sceptics – insert loaded term of your choice here] are right.

Let’s also assume that one side consists of crooks, cheats and liars, and the other side of bold seekers for truth – but we don’t know which one.

What happens if you try and deduce which side is lying from how the world has acted, based on every actor’s incentives?

Who’s in it to win it?

If AGW is false and people are lying to try and show that it’s true, who benefits? To start with, some geeks who get money to build computer models, some hippies who get to feel less silly about 50 years of veganism and hair-shirt-wearing, and some companies selling turbines and carbon filters.

The nuclear industry is the obvious big potential money-draw, and has form on extorting enormous quantities of state cash – but almost the entire environmentalist establishment hates them and rails against their product, and nuclear currently isn’t counted as ‘renewable’ by any major standards. Still, they’re the ones to watch if there were a conspiracy.

On the other hand, if AGW is true and people are lying to try and show that it’s false, who benefits?

That’d be everyone who does anything energy-intensive, then. Oil companies. Gas companies. Most of the world’s 500 leading companies, who between them disclose 10 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions (that’s a good report, by the way – written from a business and not a hippy perspective, and I’m not just saying that because I came up with the methodology and wrote last year’s edition). People who will directly lose significant amounts of money if caps, quotas or permits for emissions are made mandatory.

Poor, powerless Exxon

Now, out of those groups – scientists, hippies and turbine-makers, plus EDF, Areva and Westinghouse [*], or every other major company that there is, which has the most power? Which is the largest donor to governments? Which provides the most jobs?

Which advertises the most in newspapers and on TV? Which spends the most on PR? If the head of BP and the head of the WWF are both on hold waiting for Gordon Brown, which call will he take?

In short, which group has the power easily to spread its message to absolutely everyone who wants to listen, and to write governments’ industrial policy? Which group has the power to, erm, talk to people and try and persuade them that it’s right, whilst having pretty much no influence on anybody that isn’t conferred by the fact that it appears to be right?

The powerful group here isn’t going to be the hippies or the windmill dudes. Hell, they can’t even save the whale, even though everybody loves whales, they taste revolting, and nobody even makes any money out of hunting them.

But let’s be charitable: let’s assume the nuclear guys have teamed up with their 50-year worst-arch-enemies to play the ‘fake AGW conspiracy’ game too. So EDF has revenues of about $90bn; Areva of $20bn, and Westinghouse of about $4bn. Let’s (generously) double that for the alternative energy industry. Let’s assume they’re lobbying and PRing as flagrantly as the nuclear industry notoriously does.

Meanwhile, BP – just one oil company – has revenues of $361bn. The top 10 oil companies have revenues of more than $3trn (and market caps of over $1.5trn, just in case you dispute revenue as a valid measure). The top 10 electricity companies, excluding EDF, take in another $250bn between them.

And that’s before you get on to miners, steelworks, manufacturers, shippers, airlines, construction companies. Every business that doesn’t consist of Frenchmen toting uranium or chaps in braces pretending they understand money has masses to gain in the short-to-medium term if they can falsely persuade the public that AGW is a myth.

France: perfidious, but not that perfidious

For Anthropogenic Global Warming to be an evil conspiracy, it would have to be a conspiracy invented by people with no power and no shot at power, paid for primarily by the French government which they hate and which hates them, and which had somehow managed to bribe and corrupt every serious scientist in the relevant field.

On the other hand, if AGW were correct, then you might expect that almost every scientist in the field would accept it, that lay-people with an interest in science would accept it, and that even companies affected by it wouldn’t compromise their credibility in the eyes of everyone who actually understood the debate by actively, on-the-record, pretending it didn’t exist.

However, you’d also expect that the companies with enormous amounts of money to lose in the short term from AGW being accepted would try every trick in the book to take the debate from the realms of science to the realms of political soundbiting, churnalism, paid shilling, and stirring up the worst instincts of the worst idiots in the blogosphere.

Now, which one of those sounds like a more plausible scenario for where we are today…?

———–
[*] all other big nuclear generators have even larger coal operations, and all other big engineering firms are equally happy to dig mines, make aeroplane engines or build coal stations, so swings-and-roundabouts rules apply.

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About the author
John Band is a journalist, editor and market analyst, depending on who's asking and how much they're paying. He's also been a content director at a publishing company and a strategy consultant. He is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy and also blogs at Banditry.
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Reader comments


1. Dick the Prick

Sub ed – I though AGW stood for anthropogenic global warming.

Of course it does. Fixed.

It is not a conspiracy.

But it is a delusion, which has all the hallmarks of all the famous popular delusions of history.

Damn – I was really enjoying world domination for a minute there.

5. FlatPackHamster

Surely under the cap and trade system, the big petrochemical companies and the big polluters will be paid off anyway.

You forgot to mention the other big gainers from the AGW process – quangos and government. Suddenly, instead of being out of a job, 400 hopeless Miriams and Quentins are on the government’s NO LIGHTS ON project with a £50m a year budget and responsibility for making people’s life just a little bit less bearable. Seriously, the big gainers are government.

Oh yes, and the third world countries who, apparently, are to receive $1Tn a year from the west to ‘compensate’ them. I’m sure that the yacht and supercar manufacturers are looking forward to hearing from those African dictators with another tranche of gullible westerners’ money in their pockets.

@5 ok, what’s the mechanism by which an alliance of hippies, wind turbine makers, 500 Viz Modern Parents and a coterie of third-world dictators manipulate the global scientific community into believing their insane conspiracy theory? And how does that mechanism compare in plausibility terms with “large companies who’re known regularly to manipulate the media and politicians on issues that affect them manipulate the media and politicians on an issue that affects them”?

Maybe it’s possible to read the world as something other than competing conspiracies?

Someone whose only argument is “the tinfoil hat doesn’t work the other way around” isn’t really worth very impressive.

It’s neither a conspiracy nor a delusion – but that’s not to say a ‘powerless’ group can’t also persuade the public that it’s claims are correct. Look at alternative medicine. Compared with Big Pharma it’s the underdog. It’s still popular among the desperate or gullible though.

There’s no real economic reason to support creationism/ID either (cave men & dinosaur theme parks aren’t that lucrative) while opposition to stem-cell research flies in the face of what could be a fantastic profit-making industry, but people with pre-scientific beliefs are still able to persuade the ignorant to follow their lead.

Let’s also assume that one side consists of crooks, cheats and liars, and the other side of bold seekers for truth – but we don’t know which one.

I believe in agw but it’s clear something smells in East Anglia

I reckon the battle of the conspiracy theories was cooked up by both sides of the AGW argument so that neither of them has to do anything sensible like test and review each other’s scientific methods and data.

Or is this just another crazy conspiracy theory?

Firstly, you have failed to engage in the central point in most “deniers'” argument: that it is scientists themselves who have been corrupted in their search for truth. The usual incentive cited is that their livelyhoods/careers depend on government funding, and that government – or at least the critical mass of government – has an inherent bias towards raising taxes. Hence there is a codependence/symbiosis between the government and scientists, and its in both their interests to perpetuate the climate change “myth.”

Secondly, as far as I can tell, most “deniers'” case isn’t built on an overarching conspiracy of all interested parties, or even just amongst scientists and the government. They see it more as a Chomsky-like filtering process whereby critical scientists are weeded out before reaching positions of influence/authority by the prevailing orthodoxy/vested interests.

12. Shatterface

‘Maybe it’s possible to read the world as something other than competing conspiracies?’

Substitute ‘discourses’ for ‘conspiracies’ and you have postmodernism.

That’s why we have science – to decide between claims without the need to assess the motivation behind conflicting theories.

Ultimately, power and motivation don’t matter.

Agreed: “might is wrong” is not a logical approach to the world.

#10 – No, I don’t think so. There’s no evidence for collusion, for starters.

As for something smelling in East Anglia, it is rather too soon to make that claim. Also the justification for various e-mails seems reasonable enough, so why lots of people are presuming guilt I don’t know. Most of them don’t know anything about the topic anyway.

@8, the difference is, AM sells hope to the desperate and the gullible. AGW is accepted, where it’s accepted, despite the fact that its conclusions are grim and negative

Indeed, some of the reason why the public is so happy to fall for industry’s spin here is likely that “don’t worry, you can fly to New York every weekend and drive around in a 4-litre Land Rover forever” is a nicer message than “we need to change our lifestyles”.

I admit the pro-science movement hasn’t been helped in the public debate by the annexation of our side the issue by deep greens, who pretend it’s all about radical lifestyle change, going back to the land, scrapping our cars, not using deodorant and never eating meat.

We need to counter that message too: there’s a good piece in this week’s New Scientist pointing out that this is rubbish – an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 would drive prices up by about 5% (which effectively means it’d cut 2050 GDP by 5%, or the equivalent of 0.1% a year off growth).

@12 but if you trust science and the scientific process, then you’ll go with “AGW is most likely true, there’s overwhelming evidence for it and very little against it”. The only justification for believing AGW is false is if you don’t trust science and think the entire process is inherently corrupt.

That’s the whole reason for the post – I’m trying to get into the mindset of an AGW denialist, and show that even from that starting point the “AGW is a conspiracy” point doesn’t work.

17. Cheesy Monkey

Have you noticed that (nearly) all the Deniers who think AGW is a lefty scam are the very same who believe ‘urgent action’ needs to be taken to ‘combat’ global overpopulation?

Someone on another thread said that ‘Deniers’ wasn’t a very good label for these people. I agree.

‘Stormtroopers’ would be more apposite.

Well, while we’re on conspiracies, who do we think is most likely to gain from deliberately up-fucking the work of a would-class, UK-based research unit?

@8, 15: The other difference is that the alt-med crew haven’t actually managed to convince practically all of the worlds leading medical researchers that they’re right. Instead, they have a handful of very weak studies collected over the period of several decades which they constantly harp on about, whilst the rest of the medical research establishment goes on producing reams of solid material every single month. Now, if you want to use that as an analogy for climatology, which side is which?

s/would-class/World-class/

21. John Meredith

Framing the argument in these terms looks like another attempt to delegitimise all scepticism about AGW. It needn’t be an ‘evil conspiracy’ to include some elements of conspiracy (and, indeed, it seems pretty clear that there have been conspiratorial manoeuverings). And much scepticism, the main thrust perhaps, is not aimed at debunking any possiblity of GW or even AGW, but in challenging the degree of the warming realtive to historical norms and variations and therefore the significance of it. It is interesting, for example, that since the CRU scandal, Michael Mann seems to have re-discovered a medieval warm period, which rather changes things, even if it doesn’t reverse them.

22. Vladimir Putin

John B argues from the perspective that the AGW believers are all impoverished hippies and scientists with no resource other than The Truth. Has he not noticed the constant bombardment of official “Act on CO2” propaganda, paid for by our tax money? Has he not seen that even the huge energy corporations have been paying lip service to AGW for years? Perhaps he hasn’t realised that almost all of the UK media establishment is committed to belief in AGW.

Even Sunny is claiming that the “denialists” are a tiny minority, despite their allegedly vast resources.

John, the “follow the money” argument is unhelpful to your cause because the trail leads to Government, who *do* have a vested interest in higher taxes and more control of businesses and individuals, and are *not* above telling lies and distorting information in order to get what they want (see Iraq).

I am an unusual sort of sceptic because I think that Jones and Mann et al. are basically decent people who truly believe that they have always done the right thing. They do not see themselves as part of a conspiracy, they see themselves as good scientists. Unfortunately, scientists can fool themselves, particularly if they are surrounded by those who agree with them, and particularly when their research funding depends on finding more evidence to justify their earlier claims. They are human, after all, and scientists are not infallible, as earlier controversies such as Piltdown Man and Cold Fusion have demonstrated.

“That’s the whole reason for the post – I’m trying to get into the mindset of an AGW denialist, and show that even from that starting point the “AGW is a conspiracy” point doesn’t work.”

Fair enough. But let’s go one step further. Just about everyone shouting about climate change is real is also saying that globalisation must be reversed to deal with it. But if you look at the IPCC reports you see that globalisation leads to lower emissions than not globalisation (with the added happy outcome of fewer, richer people).

So who is paying Greenpeace, FoE, the Green Party and all the rest to lie about what the IPCC reports say?

Maybe it’s possible to be deluded (or to wish to impose your worldview whatever the evidence) without actually being bribed to do so?

@14

As for something smelling in East Anglia, it is rather too soon to make that claim. Also the justification for various e-mails seems reasonable enough, so why lots of people are presuming guilt I don’t know. Most of them don’t know anything about the topic anyway.

So, if they know nothing about it, how did they get to be scientists?

25. Shatterface

‘Have you noticed that (nearly) all the Deniers who think AGW is a lefty scam are the very same who believe ‘urgent action’ needs to be taken to ‘combat’ global overpopulation?’

I’d have thought it more likely that climate change skeptics are anti-abortion and have large families of their own. It’s the greener fringes which see the world as over-populated.

Shatterface:

“Ultimately, power and motivation don’t matter.”

OK so you probably don’t like Foucault, so I won’t recommend you any nasty Po-mo stuff.

So why not try T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Me thinks you will find power and motivation in science do matter.

“Just about everyone shouting about climate change is real is also saying that globalisation must be reversed to deal with it. But if you look at the IPCC reports you see that globalisation leads to lower emissions than not globalisation (with the added happy outcome of fewer, richer people).”

I’m not sure “just about everyone” is shouting this.

But those that are, they are clearly idiots. Anyone who thinks “globalisation” is something that can be reversed is living in cloud cuckoo land.

“These are the facts, make them better”, as a wise man once said.

* whatever the hell “globalisation” is taken to mean. Typical slur-word chucked around with no control by embarassing idiots on all sides.

“just about everyone” meaning in this (Red Queen style instance) Greenpeace, The Green Party, Caroline Lucas, George Monbiot, Jonathan Porrit, the Sustainable Development Commission, POT, WWF, FoE, new economics foundation…..well, you get the exaggeration I was making.

“whatever the hell “globalisation” is taken to mean”

Red Queen again: greater interlinking of he global economy allowing more division of labour and the specialisation of it.

Hmmm. China seems to be doing well, India too. Bit too bloody well for my liking. How can we keep them poor and us rich?

Arghh. I know. Let’s close down their industy.

http://www.350.org/

Run by the Rockerfellers.

http://www.rbf.org/resources/resources_show.htm?cat_id=905&doc_id=1097670

(Nice to see Branson going to Nopenhagen. Follow the money, Richard)

Billions of people in the third world were just about to be kept in chains by “carbon credits”, invented by the very, very rich to keep the very, very poor in slavery. And the left is complaining. Because the “State” will no longer have access to that power and tax revenue

Quite, quite remarkable

31. Shatterface

‘OK so you probably don’t like Foucault, so I won’t recommend you any nasty Po-mo stuff.’

Read it, not impressed.

‘So why not try T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Me thinks you will find power and motivation in science do matter.’

Read Kuhn too, which is why I said ‘ultimately’. Doesn’t matter what discourses or paradigms dominate, either the world will get hotter or it won’t, just as the Earth either orbits the Sun or it doesn’t.

The world has never been flat, there has never been luminiferous ether, you can’t detect landmines with twigs, Nick Griffin isn’t decended from a God-like race of pre-diluvian Ice Warriors and even if every school on Earth teaches creationism your ancestors won’t get any less hairy.

@cheesy monkey (17)

“Have you noticed that ( nearly) all the Deniers who ´think AGW is a lefty scam are the very same who believe “urgent action” needs to be taken to “combat” global overpopulation ? ”

No. But there have been heard reports that Holden,Obamas science Czar.co-authored a book in 1968,advocating forced abortion and sterilization.
Being an ÁGW sceptic myself , it appears that the sceptics are concerned that AGW appears to have evolved that rather distasteful element of irrefutable religious dogma for lesser mortals and a wacking great “never let a climate-change crisis go to waste” chance for just one more political tribal cabal with expendable principals to be issued a mandate (blank-check) —–leaving us in years to come—pondering as to how it ever came about that history,corruption,self-interest and collective lab-rat social engineering——-did not after all decide to take a vacation—-but had the audacity to get one past us on “our watch”.

( 1 ) group: The hippies / campus / catastrophy addicted crusade / idealist / guilt./ collective instinct.

(2 ) group: The career/ priest-hood / privilege / status / and wife ,kids and mortgage to pay for. And Left.,Internationalist,socialist anyway—so what the hell–screw the numbers.

(3 ) group : Democracy is a pain in the arse, but we need a good justification to dump it.
What a fantastic opportunity to dress the whole thing up as ” idealistic altruism” and a basis to demonize ” denial” as a form of anti-social,counter revolutionary dissent.

Each group being dependant upon the other for ideological re-inforcement.

I’m not saying that any of the above self-perpetuating mechanisms are the truth…but

The price of freedom—is —eternal vigillance—is it not.

But then, I have the uncomfortable premanition that a fair number of L.C.s poltical persuasion would be quite content sholud it serve an alternative purpose,if the above scenerio were to be nearer the mark.
Just a théory.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/5595813/why-the-maldives-arent-sinking.thtml

A former lead reviewer for the IPCC, Nils-Axel Mörner was head of Geodynamics at Stockholm University until his retirement in 2005.

“If AGW is false and people are lying to try and show that it’s true, who benefits? To start with, some geeks who get money to build computer models, some hippies who get to feel less silly about 50 years of veganism and hair-shirt-wearing, and some companies selling turbines and carbon filters.”

Who benefits?

One snake oil salesman after another has jumped on the bandwagon, whether it’s nuclear lobby, the kill-them-all lobby (Optimum Population Trust), the cap’n’trade speculators, the windmill lobby, the home insulation lobby, the car-makers lobby (scrap your old car and buy a new one that’s slightly more efficient) or just politicians with a lust for higher taxes and more power, or just ‘researchers’ with a lust for loads more research grants.

Or indeed the places like Bali or Kyoto or Copenhagen who benefit enormously from the influx of high-spending foreigners, or third world despots who can now ask for money in exchange for starving its own people, or fakecharities and quangoes who can ask for more money or recycling companies who can earn more by lovingly separating out stuff that is of little commercial value etc etc.

Do you seriously think there are no vested interests on the AGW side as well? As opposed to what? Normal people who like using a patio heater, driving a car etc? We’re like the evil ones, are we?

This weekend, I am celebrating. Nearly three billion people, the poorest half of the planet will not be forced to wear “carbon footprint” chains by the lies of a greedy and malevolant “elite”. They can produce. They can thrive. They can work their way out of poverty, just as we once did. WE WON

37. diogenes1960

you just have to love the way that John B misses the point as always… when was scepticism about AGW about conspiracy theories…wasn’t it always about the rather less than rigorous science displayed on “real climate”? Now that the £13m that the bofffins have enjoyed in public subsidy comes to light, the idea of a conspiracy comes to mind…but no, for John B, it couldn’t be that scientists would be motivated by the idea of a governmental gravy train…you could not make it up

13 million, 1.5 trillion… What’s the difference, eh?

“less than rigorous science”? What exactly is your basis for this? thousands of studies all pointing at the same thing over decades not rigorous enough I suppose?

And there’s no money other than public money, right? Energy corporations, and those with a natural interest in keeping AGW out of consensus, right?.

It’s funny, with public money going in one end, and corporate money in the other…we still have an overwhelming consensus in one direction. Strange, huh?

It’s delightful the way this thread entirely proves the point.

“Well, while we’re on conspiracies, who do we think is most likely to gain from deliberately up-fucking the work of a would-class, UK-based research unit?”

The Russians?

http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/brief-thoughts-on-the-climate-change-scandal-3rd-december-2009/

I think there is a lot of money behind global warming denialism. It in itself has a huge network of folk who earn their living by saying ‘is just ain’t so’.

More neutral observers might care to follow these links, which shows a web of global warming deniers:

The post is here: http://tinyurl.com/yar7mgf

The diagram is here: http://tinyurl.com/y9uww9h

@41 that’s awesome, thanks. Careful though, if you click through too many links yo u may be eaten by a grue.

@John B

” Its delightful the way that this thread proves a point. “—-How cheap.

Yes. That only non-left conspiracies are within the realm of possibilty.
Lets try to look at this rationally. Surely,if AGW has evolved –into a “conspiracy”,in that very timeless fashion that “conspiracies are known to evolve—i.e.——–

Incrementally,insidiously,self-perpetuating and some what organic and virus like in the way that “memes” whether theological or religio-scientific—will gradually untilze the weaker points of human nature as a catalyst…….such as

Greed,power,vested interest,ideological group pressure and emotional blackmail.

I can understand that one would expect the most powerful and influencial lobby,to be the energy companies and polluting industries—and I can understand the suspicion that the sceptics camp could be high-jacked by the vested interest of these entities.
But the proposals put forward by the AGW camp will have enormous consequences,and disturbingly dictatorial in their nature.
Such power can be put to the wrong purpose. Surely it would be prudent to have an independant enquiery (not United Nations ) into the whole matter.
In the light of the Climategate exposure,is one a conspiracy loony for suggesting such a wise course of action?
In an age of Parliamentary expenses,E,U.financial corruption,Labour party immigrant voter gerrymandering and LibLabCon,referendum lies, what “loony” would not be looking under the bed for the next scam—–in the post-honest era.?

This is basically the point, isn’t it?

If you fundamentally believe that life involves everyone who works in the private sector going through life being awesome and wonderful, whilst people who are UNSPEAKABLY EVIL decide to work in the public/academic/NGO sector, then the ‘AGW is fake’ meme makes sense.

If you don’t, then you aren’t clinically insane, but probably also won’t be welcome at any libertoonian bashes. “You say companies can infringe on freedom as much as governments, and most of the bad stuff governments do is at companies’ behest? IT’S ALL LIES! COMPANIES ARE WONDERFUL! IF YOU DON’T SHUT UP THEN OUR PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS WILL HAVE YOU SHOT”. Etc.

Unrelatedly (fuck it, it’s my post), ta to whatever Canadian made me put Spirit Of The West on my iPod. Like a Pogues/Proclaimers hybrid. This, especially.

If you don’t, then you aren’t clinically insane, but probably also won’t be welcome at any libertoonian bashes. “You say companies can infringe on freedom as much as governments, and most of the bad stuff governments do is at companies’ behest? IT’S ALL LIES! COMPANIES ARE WONDERFUL! IF YOU DON’T SHUT UP THEN OUR PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS WILL HAVE YOU SHOT”. Etc.

Are you joking? I can only guess that you’ve never met a remotely sophisticated libertarian, because a huge part of the libertarian critique of governmental power is that it will invariably be captured by special interests. Sure, companies can infringe on freedom as much as governments, but how? By using the coercive power of the government to do their dirty work for them. Anyone with a basic grounding in public choice economics will realize that big business can lobby the government – usually to restrain competition and to otherwise further their interests – more effectively than the widely dispersed group of consumers who would benefit if that competition was in place. But this seems to me like a better reason to limit the scope of state action in the first place, rather than to constantly expand it and hope that somehow the problem of special interests will somehow go away.

This also brings me to the problem with your article: what you’re doing is comparing the winners and losers in the event that a) we respond to AGW with informed and uncorrupted policy (well enforced and set caps, carbon trading, permits etc) and b) we do nothing at all. It’s possible that your point would be correct, if these are the only two options; but they’re not. You neglect the situation which is in fact most likely to arise, namely, that governments take some action against AGW but, like most things that go through the political process, it is captured or at least heavily influenced by the interests of big business. Take the proposed US Cap and Trade bill, for example. While it might just possibly be true that in its original form it was a good piece of policy, just look at how it has been subverted: 85% of the carbon permits will be given – not auctioned, given – to energy companies, oil companies, coal plants, and a host of politically connected corporations.

Why do you think that BP America Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Chrysler LLC, ConocoPhillips, Deere & Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Duke Energy, DuPont, Environmental Defense, Ford Motor Company, FPL Group, Inc., General Electric, General Motors Corp., Marsh, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, NRG Energy, Inc., Pepsico, PG&E Corporation, PNM Resources, Rio Tinto, Shell, Siemens Corporation, World Resources Institute, and the Xerox Corporation (among many others) are members of the United States Climate Action Partnership, “a group of businesses and leading environmental organizations that have come together to call on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions?” Could it be, just possibly, because they think it is in their own interest? Why does Shell seem so keen (http://blogs.shell.com/climatechange/) on advocating new policy to curb emissions? Answer that and I think you’ll see why your analysis is, to say the least, slightly flawed. And I don’t even need to get started on what governments – who always love the new powers a good crisis leaves them with – stand to gain out of a problem whose putative solution involves them controlling ever more intrusively vast swathes of the economy.

Ah, so having agreed to disagree about the science in Sunny’s thread we are now discussing the conspiracy theory. Fine. I can do that.

There is a conspiracy but it’s a fragmentation of vested interest and there are plenty of people in the world who are doing nicely out of AGW. As many have said before: “Follow the money.”

Of course for a really big conspiracy – global government – the politicians need to be involved and this is probably not the case as such although if Copenhagen succeeds we’ll be handing trillions over to the UN and that creates a political vested interest of massive proportions.

So why are politicians pushing the AGW agenda? Simples really – ‘The war on climate change’. Two of the reasons why people go into politics are to become powerful and famous. These are heady drugs and there is nothing like a ‘war’ to feed this habit and it can be any sort of war – a war on drugs, a war on terror, a war on poverty, a war on inequality …. whatever bandwagon happens to be passing. The latest happens to be a ‘war on climate change’ where they can feel important and be seen to be important. The ‘war on climate change’ is a good one because they can make promises that they will never have to keep.

Dan,

You offer a reasonable critique of the politicians, what you don’t deliver on is an alternative. Let’s assume the state is not an actor, as you would wish. What exactly, except our extinction, is to stop any multi national doing what is in the interests of themselves rather than the common good?

It is already the case that spin doctors, no, propogandists, for the anti-AGW case – such as it is – make a healthy living out of their naysaying. How do you stop that in a capitalism red in tooth and claw environment?

A healthy living indeed.

See here.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574566124250205490.html

Or is that not what you meant?

While the CRU has been looking for money from, erm, big oil….

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/04/climategate-cru-looks-to-big-oil-for-support/#more-13738

*bangs head against wall*

There’s a difference between being given money by big business to argue in big business’s interests, and being given money by big business to not. Denialist shills = 1, CCU = 2.

54. Vladimir Putin

@48. You mention the value of a “war on XXX”, where XXX might be “terror”, “drugs”, or (these days) “climate change”. That’s right. Through fear of XXX, the population can be brought into the service of a common goal. Governments love this stuff, because it allows them to do the things they wanted to do anyway. Remember the Blue Eagle and “war socialism”. We are not sufficiently afraid of either drugs or terror… but the Green God might flood the world, Book of Genesis style, and that would affect everyone, everywhere.

John B, at the heart of the matter, this is not a conspiracy so much as a group of scientists who have fooled themselves and continued to fool themselves, and a group of politicians and corporations who have (knowingly or unknowingly) gone along with it.

May I recommend the book “Voodoo Science” by Robert Park as a history of how scientific frauds come about. With a few exceptions, frauds are not a consequence of deliberate trickery, but rather the consequence of making bold claims without good evidence, then shutting out sceptics who claim the evidence is not good enough. We know that Jones and Mann worked to exclude hostile scientists from peer-reviewing their work (that’s all in the emails) and we know they made very bold claims. We know that they never doubted what they were doing: but belief is never enough for a scientist. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.. and where is the extraordinary evidence? Well, apparently, it’s been deleted.

John B, at the heart of the matter, this is not a conspiracy so much as a group of scientists who have fooled themselves and continued to fool themselves, and a group of politicians and corporations who have (knowingly or unknowingly) gone along with it.

The problem with that is that it’s not just a group of scientists, it’s hundreds, thousands even, of scientists in dozens of countries all over the world, including all of the foremost experts in the relevant fields, all of the worlds most prestigious scientific institutions and the world’s most respected scientific journals.

The problem with that is that it’s not just a group of scientists, it’s hundreds, thousands even, of scientists in dozens of countries all over the world, including all of the foremost experts in the relevant fields, all of the worlds most prestigious scientific institutions and the world’s most respected scientific journals.

Well funded, aren’t they? Us sceptics meanwhile…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae5O_kVA8u4

Use shift-delete next time…….

#55 – Andrew you really are doing a sterling job against overwhelming odds. But I think you’ll find far there are more scientists in disagreement than “hundreds, thousands even, of scientists in dozens of countries”. Start with http://www.petitionproject.org/ where no less than 31,486 scientists don’t agree.

Chris,

The scientists I’m referring to are the ones who actually work in the field of climate science and virtually none of whom have signed your petition. The fact that someone can plausibly call themself a “scientist” does not in itself mean we should take their views seriously on subjects outside their field of expertise.

Chris,

http://tinyurl.com/9w9nrk

97% of active climatologists agree that human activity is causing global warming.

And:

http://tinyurl.com/yfevh9b

Basically the Oregon Petition was a scam, along with what Andrew Adams said at 59.

9pm news on R4

Gordon calls us all “flat earthers”

Does it get any better?

Chris,

Further comment on your ‘petition’ including yet another rather excellent video:

http://tinyurl.com/m2loxk

Old Holborn,

Gordon is having quite a good week, don’t you think?

65. diogenes1960

lee griffin – do you still believe in the peer-reviewed hockey stick graph? doers that count as “less than rigorous”?

and what about about the fudging of thhe temperature data so that it obscures the fact that at the sources show a fall in temperature after 1960? Does that strike you as rigorous science?

and what about about the fudging of thhe temperature data so that it obscures the fact that at the sources show a fall in temperature after 1960? Does that strike you as rigorous science?

If someone wants to hide an unexpected outcome in a certain dataset then publishing their results in Nature is a pretty odd way to go about it.

65. And you’re going to argue a lack of rigour through cherry picking a couple of things (that Unity has more the competently gone through in his latest post) from a mountain of evidence? Amazing that you can’t see the irony.

“More on the Russian theory!”

Yay! Libertarians for Putin!


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