The climate change denial industry’s dirty money-trail gets exposed


9:15 am - February 17th 2013

by Tim Fenton    


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James ‘saviour of Western civilisation’ Delingpole eagerly recycled an article from a senior advisor to the Heartland Institute back in November 2011, because it gave him the answer he wanted to hear. The subject was “Green charities”, and the article rubbishing them had appeared in the American Thinker.

Had Del Boy plucked these organisations out of thin air? Well, no he hadn’t. Heartland has recently moved on from pretending that passive smoking can’t harm people to becoming a pillar of the climate change denial movement. The American Thinker is described as a “Conservative online magazine”. The two had been cited by Del because they are as reliable to his mind as Fox News Channel.

So what was Delingpole’s verdict on “Green charities”? These were held to be “way more evil and dangerous than Exxon or the Koch Brothers”. But the climate change denial lobby does plenty of its own charity fundraising.

That has been thrown into sharp focus by the Guardian, with an article about donor trusts and the sharply increasing amount of money estimated to be passing through them en route to funding climate change denial groups.

Under US law, donations made this way can be kept secret, but it appears that one recipient is the so-called Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT).

CFACT, in turn, runs a website called Climate Depot, a repository of robustly expressed climate change denial, and here – for instance – there was a point-by-point rebuttal yesterday of anything climate related in Barack Obama’s latest State Of The Union address. This was enthusiastically trailed by Delingpole, who with customary subtlety called it a “fisking” of the President’s “eco-bollocks”.

Thus the climate change denial circle jerk in microcosm. The donor trusts also have the advantage that people like the Koch Brothers can slip the conservative and libertarian fringe a few million greenbacks this way too, and thus make it look as if they’re not really involved any more (the estimated amount of direct Koch donation more than halved between 2006 and 2010).

And this parallels the kind of non-transparent funding structure of UK organisations like the so-called Global Warming Policy Foundation, the premier British repository of climate change denialism.

This is something to think about the next time you see a conservative or libertarian lobby organisation popping up in the media claiming to be “non partisan”. He who pays the piper, and all that.

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About the author
Tim is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He blogs more frequently at Zelo Street
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Reader comments


Good expose of the money trail, rather undermined by the authors bias towards the climate change theory.

@ yoyo

It’s a pity the earth agrees with the science behind AGW then isn’t it. When a former denialist looked at the actual science his eyes were opened to the dangers, instead of only looking at the groupthink conformiprop…

http://m.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/bob-inglis-republican-believes-climate-change

Because he saw the actual evidence and accepted it for what it is, he was pilloried by the conspiracists and their billionaire astroturfers! Goddam earth, conspiring to wreck the purity of all those dirty, polluting, corrupt power junkies who want to have their cake & eat it…

By the way, AGW denialism is even generating a few scientific papers now too :D

http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.au/labs/cogscience/documents/LskyetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf

3. Richard Carey

I wonder what the OP’s writer thinks about all the tax-payer money that flows into the coffers of the green lobby? In this dispute, one side is getting funded by voluntary donations and one side through the coercive state – but that’s okay, I suppose, in the strange and violent logic of the left.

@ Richard Carey

How much extra tax do you have to pay to clean up the mess the fossil fuel industry makes? If you are against taxation, the true cost of burning fossil carbon should be paid in full by the fossil fuel industry, which in turn would be passed on to you every time you buy fossil fuel generated energy. Or don’t you believe in a free market?

A Death Spiral Ditty.

O, The Kochs grew fat on their fossil fuels,
And hired Heartless Stink Tanks of fossil ghouls •
Who cook up half-truths for blind fossil fools
To elect Koch-sucking fossil tools
Now more treasure protects the Koch’s deadly rule!

Exxon Mobil spreads death on scales global ,
Fills Congress with zombies of no soul.
CO2 it doth spew
To screw me and you
Till our demise on this dear Earth is total !

Shell NO! Do not go,
(Though vast profits lie far below)
To the pristine Arctic snows

Though Congress has its wanton ho’s
You know your poison grows and grows.
Leave the land to Eskimos.

Shell NO! Do not go!

Asks Keystone Sludge of Canada,
“May we borrow America?
And wrest the farm of your Ma and Pa?**

And fill your air with C excreta?
And level forests vast as Florida?”***

Tell them, “No, no, no! We’d rather go with Nature’s wind and sola’!
——–
Hear the gleeful chorus of “Drill. Baby, Drill!”?
Is climate still a joke on the Hill?

As God’s precious gifts vanish, from cherries to krill,
As Hurricane Sandy , Mitt’s bitter pill,

Our planet’s in hock, so our tanks we may fill.

In 2006, James Lovelock (he of Gaia theory) predicted climate change would leave the Earth uninhabitable except in the Arctic. Now, he holds that the “alarmist” case was “a mistake”.

Recently, he objected to 275ft wind turbine in Devon, saying: “I am a founder member of the greens but I bow my head in shame…We never intended a fundamentalist movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable…We need to take care that spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island – monuments to a failed civilisation.”

He also observed: “Gas is almost a giveaway in the US at the moment. Let’s be pragmatic and sensible and switch everything to methane.”

Source: Sunday Times. 17.02.2013

James lovelock has given up. He sees us as simply too stupid to survive both the resource and AGW bottleneck – that is the real context behind his comment that wind turbines will be monuments to a failed civilisation. Maybe he has a point, when people would choose to listen to those that got rich off fossil fuels, and just continue with a damaging, polluting, inefficient and ultimately unsustainable lifestyle. For years he has been saying enjoy it while it lasts.

Incidentally, his Gaia hypothesis is a bit on the flawed side – for something approximating reality we also need to include Gaia’s alter ego, Lethe. The history of the earths climate is far from stable, with it repeatedly lurching from icehouse to hothouse for the past billion years at least… And that lack of stability should indicate it is not in our interests to perturb things by much anyway.

Dissident @ 7:

If those quotes from the Sunday Times are anything to go by, Lovelock seems to have moved on from his March 2010 view that we are too stupid to do anything about climate change. Now, he recognises he was alarmist, opposes wind turbines and advocates the use of cheap gas.

Also, you write:

“The history of the earths (sic) climate is far from stable, with it repeatedly lurching from icehouse to hothouse for the past billion years at least… And that lack of stability should indicate it is not in our interests to perturb things by much anyway.”

If so, that’s an argument for not getting overly excited by climate change. We might as well continue as we are, as sooner or later we are either going to freeze or going to fry, whatever we do. For, in the long run, we are all dead.

9. Richard Carey

@ Dissident,

I notice you completely avoid commenting on the point I made.

“How much extra tax do you have to pay to clean up the mess the fossil fuel industry makes?”

I don’t know. The polluter should pay, but often does not, because the state collectivises such costs and has done since the Industrial Revolution. However, I suspect you are not thinking of quantifiable pollution, but rather the unquantifiable effects of carbon dioxide and global warming.

“If you are against taxation, the true cost of burning fossil carbon should be paid in full by the fossil fuel industry, which in turn would be passed on to you every time you buy fossil fuel generated energy.

What do you mean by the ‘true cost of burning fossil carbon’? Again, I suspect you are talking about something utterly unquantifiable. As for the cost of fuel now, most of it is tax. If it weren’t for the tax, there would be cheap fuel for everyone.

“Or don’t you believe in a free market?”

Certainly I believe in the free market, which requires (amongst other things) respect for property rights. Where companies pollute, they should be forced to pay to clean up the land they pollute and compensate those who suffer the consequences. In the developed world this is largely the rule, but much less so in the developing world, due to corrupt oligarchies and a lack of respect for private property.

10. So Much for Subtlety

Heartland has recently moved on from pretending that passive smoking can’t harm people to becoming a pillar of the climate change denial movement.

Heartland is right. Passive smoking is no threat to anyone at all. The figures have to be massaged to come close to showing it. As everyone who has bothered to look at the evidence knows.

By the way, what is the evidence the Heartland Institute is a pillar of anything? I see a lot of outrage and a lot of innuendo, but I see little evidence.

That has been thrown into sharp focus by the Guardian, with an article about donor trusts and the sharply increasing amount of money estimated to be passing through them en route to funding climate change denial groups.

It is ironic that the Guardian – which despite its moves into tax havens and shelters is a donor trust – should be complaining about this. However the key word is “estimated”. In other words, they don’t know why they are losing the argument so they are going to make some sh!t up.

CFACT, in turn, runs a website called Climate Depot, a repository of robustly expressed climate change denial

So we have one website with no link to the HI or anyone else? Amazing.

The donor trusts also have the advantage that people like the Koch Brothers can slip the conservative and libertarian fringe a few million greenbacks this way too, and thus make it look as if they’re not really involved any more (the estimated amount of direct Koch donation more than halved between 2006 and 2010).

More smears but still no evidence. A few million dollars is peanuts compared to the funding the Warmists get but so what? The Kochs are free citizens of a free country. There is no evidence they are funding anyone in this article, but why would it be an outrage if they did?

And this parallels the kind of non-transparent funding structure of UK organisations like the so-called Global Warming Policy Foundation, the premier British repository of climate change denialism.

And so we have a baseless smear on top of a baseless smear – no evidence of American wrong doing is used to imply British wrong doing even though there is no evidence for it. This body looks just like the Guardian to me – a non-transparently funded political lobby. So freakin’ what?

This is something to think about the next time you see a conservative or libertarian lobby organisation popping up in the media claiming to be “non partisan”. He who pays the piper, and all that.

Indeed. But you have no evidence of anyone paying anyone else. It is all just claims and innuendo. Not much different from Stormfront’s similar claims of shadowy international groups secretly funding pretty much everyone. With names like Koch I doubt Stormfront would disagree with you either.

Evidence? None. Reasons to be concerned? None I can see. You might be outraged at the normal workings of a free and democratic society but I am not. Make a case for why we should lose the freedom to fund and hear who we like.

11. So Much for Subtlety

2. Dissident

It’s a pity the earth agrees with the science behind AGW then isn’t it.

Not really because the Earth can’t agree with anything. Being a large inanimate rock. The evidence certainly does not agree with the “science” behind Man-made Global Warming. As can be seen by the stubborn refusal of the planet to warm over the past 16 years.

4. Dissident

How much extra tax do you have to pay to clean up the mess the fossil fuel industry makes?

Umm, none. At least as you mean it. Because the fossil fuel industry makes remarkably little pollution. We are still paying for miners with Black Lung and the like. That will go on for a lot longer. We still have to work to stabilise coal slag heaps in Wales. But generally, fossil fuels produce massive amounts of wealth – on which all taxation is based – with very little in the way of pollution.

If you are against taxation, the true cost of burning fossil carbon should be paid in full by the fossil fuel industry, which in turn would be passed on to you every time you buy fossil fuel generated energy. Or don’t you believe in a free market?

By all means, let’s see everyone pay full costs. So what ? It wouldn’t change a thing.

12. SadButMadLad

And how much money is in the trail to the climate change believers? They get loads from various government agencies, non-government agencies, charities, and businesses. For example, Heartland’s total income (for everything it does not just climate change) is in the tens of millions and all the others such as bloggers are only paid a few thousand if at all. But compare that to the billions all the various global warming groups get and the loads of green taxes collected by government and spent on the green energy schemes such as costly windmills.

Oh dear SMFS…

You obviously know I meant ‘the earth agrees’ in terms of AGW hypothesis being confirmed by what is happening to the earth. Sorry if your lawyerly trick is a damp squib! By the way, since well over 90% of AGW is going into the huge thermal sinks of warming oceans and melting icecaps, the rate of air temperature change is slower, and as I stated to you in a previous debate on AGW, La Niña conditions increase the rate at which heat is absorbed by the pacific. Yet it is interesting to note that La Niña years since 2000 are still amongst the hottest on record!

@ Tone & Richard Carey

Since the earths climate is meta stable, and liable to flip into other states with even small changes, only a fool would knowingly push its climate either way, that is the difference. As it is, the forcing from more CO2 in the atmosphere is pumping extra heat energy equivalent to 6 Hiroshima’s every second into the worlds oceans. What would the result of that be? Are you seriously suggesting that is nothing to worry about?

Here is a list of effects that has triggered over the past 12 months:
Arctic sea ice at a record breaking low again, its volume has dropped to an even scarier level (volume is now reduced to a fifth of what it was in the 80’s)
North America suffering record breaking heat waves & drought conditions over more than half of the agricultural zone, reducing harvests significantly
Greenland icecap melting even at its highest elevations last July
Superstorm Sandy trashing northeastern coastline of USA, resulting in another major US city been flooded in the space of a decade
Record breaking snowstorms in Siberia, burying entire houses
Britain drenched in endless rain, flooding many areas time after time and reducing harvests
Australia suffering extreme drought, triggering massive wildfires
East Africa suffering a massive drought
Eastern India and the Philippines drenched in record breaking monsoon rains

Although it is difficult to ascribe AGW to any one event, we are experiencing such events with more frequency as the years pass. That just so happens to be one of the consequences of AGW – and it is happening now. Why do you want to make it worse?

14. Richard Carey

@ 13 Dissident,

the climate cannot be controlled, nor can it be predicted. It is better to try to adapt to the changing environment, rather than trying futilely to halt nature in its tracks. Ramping up taxes and funding useless, symbolic gestures will be no more effective than burning old women as witches to stave off crop failure. If you disagree, tell me how you intend to stop the ice melting in Greenland or the monsoon rain falling in Thailand? Meanwhile, some of the supposed solutions of the green lobby seem to be, on closer analysis, counter-productive.

In any case, all this is really off-topic. The OP is an attack on funding for ‘climate deniers’, which, unlike the funding for the green lobby, is voluntarily donated and not plundered via the tax-man.

Unfortunately you are correct in stating we would have to adapt to AGW. We cannot stop what is already in the pipeline, (it has been estimated that removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere would require an industry 6,000 times larger than anything we currently have) My point is the propaganda disseminated by lobby groups like the Heartland Institute is solely to benefit their paymasters in the fossil fuel industry, who want you to think we cannot have a better solution than their kind of business as usual.

Look at how much taxpayers money has been squandered securing oil reserves over the past decade. Literally $ trillions (unless you think NATO involvement in Iraq was solely to do with Osama and Saddam) Why was all that money wasted, when investment in post carbon age technologies is a smarter option?

You are wrong to state that future climate cannot be predicted, over the past 40 years, our understanding of climatic forcings and feedbacks has increased exponentially. Like every other scientific research we have invested our collective wealth on. Do you have any genuine reasons, apart from the general anti science propaganda from denialists, that the statements I make are wrong?

The knowledge we gain will make adaptation and mitigation of the worst effects of AGW achievable without us been reduced back to the Stone Age. What should we do, blithely go ignorantly into that future?

@ 13 Dissident

You are making the typical warmist faux-pas. Mistaking correlation and causation.

Most of your weather event examples simply aren’t true either – the severe weather you are talking about isn’t unusual at all. The North America exampe you use is especially bad as if you search quickly on the web you will be able to find data for yearly drought conditions and crop yields – which show that the last few years are nothing out of the ordinary.

You’ll probably also want to check on your Arctic sea ice claim – the vloume hasn’t dropped by 80% since the 80s.

And seriously? 6 Hiroshima’s EXTRA worth of energy *per second*. Think whichever alarmist website you get your info from has serisouly jumped the shark.

17. andrew adams

@12

But compare that to the billions all the various global warming groups get

Which “global warming groups” are they?

Remember how we got to melting Arctic (with ancient ice gone by 1/3)? rising seas? more frequent and more destructive extreme weather? an ocean 30% more acid (and dissolving creatures at the BASE of the food chain)?

Because of denial and delay for 30 years in the face of the warnings and best scientific advice – by our foremost universities, virtually all of our world’s scientific academies, 97% of our climate scientists.

And, of course, they will ALWAYS have some niggling reservation, or conspiracy stupidity to offer, instead of a demand for action.

That is how we got here.

The motivations of contrarians and so-called skeptics are diverse, but those who are paid to be so are directly complicit in the deaths of millions of people. Millions? Google “climate change deaths” and pick your source.

As for those paid fossil ghouls, their children, too, will pay for their avarice.

Many apologies for the typo, late at night! It’s not 6 Hiroshima’s, only 2 per second, for the past few decades…

http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1829

Still a lot of extra heat energy going into the worlds oceans. Of course you denialists will concentrate on a typo and say ‘its all wrong’ same way you cherry pick everything else to confirm your own viewpoint. In other words the usual weasly lawyer tricks used by lobbyists that have grabbed the lions share of attention from those other lawyers called politicians – who themselves cherry pick and seek only information that confirms their outlook. By the way, do any of you even bother to look it all up? Here is a link to the worst offenders. All hold positions of power and influence. All hog the back room where decisions are really made, all peddle the very lies denialists use…

URL: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31633524/the_climate_killers

20. Richard Carey

@ Dissident,

you are presenting an over-simplified, and I believe incorrect version of the political forces involved.

The energy companies are funding the green lobby probably far more than they are funding the sceptics (remember BP – Beyond Petroleum?). Take the nuclear industry for example. It was on its arse until the global warming panic. Energy companies are happy to work on expensive new technology projects, as long as they get corporate welfare via ‘green’ taxes.

I agree that the wars in the Middle East have been a terrible waste of blood and treasure, especially for the people of that region, but I don’t think the primary motivation was to secure Iraqi oil.

You comment on how “we have invested our collective wealth”. This returns us to the OP. You don’t obviously mind “out collective wealth” being taken by the government and handed out to projects you support, but this stands in contrast to the sceptics who are funded voluntarily, which is morally superior in every way.

You say; “Unfortunately you are correct in stating we would have to adapt to AGW. We cannot stop what is already in the pipeline”.

Indeed. Therefore I think the best thing to do is to calm down (not you particularly, but the green lobby) and think a little more rationally and long-term about the problems we face, because a lot of the things being pushed as solutions are not practical and are even counter-productive.

Richard Carey

I noted you said energy companies. Good. I was on about fossil fuel industry specifically. I would expect energy companies to lobby for any source of energy, however the fossil fuel industry lobbies in favour of using their own fuels. Beyond petroleum as a model has been put on the back burner recently, ever since the former CEO John Browne was ousted because of an escort agency scandal… Makes you wonder if that was a dirty trick campaign…

Dissident @ 13:

“…the earths climate is meta stable, and liable to flip into other states with even small changes.”

Assuming this jargon-laden statement is even meaningful, please can you (a) clarify what it refers to (the earth’s climate generally, or the the present climate of the earth, or…) and (b) cite evidence for the claim?

“Here is a list of effects that has triggered over the past 12 months:
Arctic sea ice at a record breaking low again, its volume has dropped to an even scarier level (volume is now reduced to a fifth of what it was in the 80?s)
North America suffering record breaking heat waves & drought conditions over more than half of the agricultural zone, reducing harvests significantly
Greenland icecap melting even at its highest elevations last July
Superstorm Sandy trashing northeastern coastline of USA, resulting in another major US city been flooded in the space of a decade
Record breaking snowstorms in Siberia, burying entire houses
Britain drenched in endless rain, flooding many areas time after time and reducing harvests
Australia suffering extreme drought, triggering massive wildfires
East Africa suffering a massive drought
Eastern India and the Philippines drenched in record breaking monsoon rains”

Apart from the Arctic sea ice (though your figures are suspect), I see little to worry about here. There have always been extreme weather events; and weather is not the same as climate.

I’ll come back on the rest when you have responded.

The problem Tone is all those positive feedbacks. A small rise in forcings to make the earth hotter are amplified by increased out gassing of CO2 and methane, and reduced albedo from ice melting in mountainous and polar regions, which makes the earth hotter still. The reverse is also true, a small reduction in CO2 reduces temperature slightly, which would result in increased albedo in polar regions, because of a reduction in the ammount of snow & ice melted in summer, which reflects more of the suns light back to space, leading to an increase in ice cover. That is the crux of stating meta stable. Why is that so hard for you? It is basic for me…

Btw, an increased frequency of extreme weather events has been recorded worldwide. The Gaussian curve of temperature anomalies has both flattened (increase in anomalies compared to 40 years ago) and skewed towards higher temperatures (faster increase in heat waves)

Dissident @ 23:

I understand the feedbacks, and ostensibly we may well have a problem, but it simply does not follow from your statements about feedbacks that the earth’s climate is (as you state) “liable to flip into other states with even small changes.” The latter cannot be derived by logic from the former, so it requires separate and empirical support.

Also, I would point out that if the the earth’s climate is as sensitive as you claim, then it would be most imprudent to go down the mainly wind + solar route as the earth’s climate could change so easily that wind-patterns could alter radically and (for a variety of reasons) sunlight could decrease (eg several large-scale volcanic eruptions).

Tone

“Also, I would point out that if the the earth’s climate is as sensitive as you claim, then it would be most imprudent to go down the mainly wind + solar route as the earth’s climate could change so easily that wind-patterns could alter radically and (for a variety of reasons) sunlight could decrease (eg several large-scale volcanic eruptions).”

As opposed to pumping tens, maybe hundreds of gigatonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere? Like in the fossil fuel dependent model of business?

Dissident @ 25:

You are missing or avoiding the point I made. I argue that climate sensitivity to CO2 and other things is a lot less than many people assume, because the predictions of the alarmists and eco-doomsters are not coming to pass. You, for example, assume that climate sensitivity is very high. You may be right; and I may be wrong.

However, I cannot see how greens can believe that the climate is highly sensitive to inputs and also advocate relying ultimately on wind and/or solar power as their availability could very easily become (even more) unreliable if climate sensitivity is as high as they claim. In other words, climate change + high climate sensitivity means that renewables are not a prudent investment at all. (And low climate sensitivity would suggest that renewables are not necessary.)

So because the thermal inertia of the earths oceans is very high, resulting in most of the extra heat been absorbed by the oceans you think climate sensitivity is low? Please look at what is actually happening. Why do you also listen only to big oil/gas/coal peddling ‘controversy’ ‘scam’ and ‘unreliability’ memes about climate change and renewables? When you look at who actually funds those claims, who do you get back to? Fossil fuel barons perchance? You trust your children’s future to them? Wow…

Also your misconception that renewables are unreliable is merely a minor problem in infrastructure (super grid) and storage (new fuel cells and batteries) and if you think the cost of that is astronomical, what is the cost of maintaining fossil fuel dominance? Finding, extracting, refining and transporting oil costs $300 billion per year, a fraction of that per year would make renewables cheap and readily available. That is why big oils patsies are peddling everything from ‘unreliability’ to absurd bullshit about wind turbines making people ill!

Big oil corporations, and the billionaires freeloading off them, are literally crapping in their pants at the prospect of simultaneously losing their market, and becoming liable to the harm they are causing both our civilisation and the biosphere that keeps our civilisation alive, put yourself in their shoes, what would you do?

1: Put your hand up and say ‘mea culpa’ or

2: Set up and fund a massive misinformation campaign, bribe and blackmail strategic people and organisations worldwide – especially when you have the resources to do so…

Be honest, would you do the first option or second?

29. Robin Levett

@TONE #22:

Apart from the Arctic sea ice (though your figures are suspect), I see little to worry about here. There have always been extreme weather events; and weather is not the same as climate.

There have indeed been always been extreme weather events. But, for reasosn which might be obvious when you think about it, they should become rarer as time passes, all other things remaining equal. Do you need that proposition explaining?

Robin I think I understand – if you define extreme weather as so out of the ordinary for that climatic zone – then they are indeed what they used to call ‘once in a century events’ – however when the climate changes what you end up with is ‘once a century’ happening ‘once a decade’ with extremes that were previously ‘impossible’ becoming likely. That would obviously explain why record breaking temperature and precipitation events are happening with increasing frequency!

Dissident @ 27:

“So because the thermal inertia of the earths oceans is very high, resulting in most of the extra heat been absorbed by the oceans you think climate sensitivity is low?”

You are evidently a true believer. Unfortunately for you, the science of climate sensitivity to given inputs is far from settled.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_sensitivity

“Please look at what is actually happening.”

Like James Lovelock, I am. And the alarmist case is becoming less plausible.

I am still waiting for the empirical evidence for your claim that the earth’s climate is “liable to flip into other states with even small changes”…

“When you look at who actually funds those claims, who do you get back to?”

Your paranoid conspiracy theory has just led you into the genetic fallacy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy
You are confusing the alleged origin of certain propositions with whether they are true or false, concluding from from the former that they are false.

“You trust your children’s future to them? Wow…”

Oh No! ‘What about the cheeeldren!’ The emotive cry of every authoritarian nutjob who wants to foist their favourite policy prescription on to the public! Calm down. Climate change is a problem, but it is very unlikely to result inannihilation of the entire biosphere.

Dissident @ 28:

More conspiracy paranoia, I see. Regarding renewables, you can have all the inter-connectors and supergrids you like in Western Europe, but if wind-levels were to drop continent-wide as a result of climate change, what would you do? Cover the Falklands (for example) with wind turbines, and build connexions to such far-flung parts?

Similarly, with solar pv, we could invest billions to find that particulate matter in the atmosphere (from volcanic eruptions, meteorite impacts, etc) reduced their efficiency.

Renewables may have their part to play, but they are not reliable and do not ensure security of supply.

RL @ 29:

“for reasosn which might be obvious when you think about it, they should become rarer as time passes, all other things remaining equal. Do you need that proposition explaining?”

Yes, please.

Pick apart this little lot Tone (or should I say cherry pick)
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Earth-expected-global-warming.htm
http://www.skepticalscience.com/16_years_faq.html
Also with regards to climate sensitivity…
http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-sensitivity-tail.html
And thermal input to the worlds oceans…
http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/Nuccitelli_Fig1.jpg
BTW there are links to the actual scientific papers referred to. Or do you only accept propaganda disseminated in Rupert’s sorry excuse of a news corporation, which has repeatedly been found to lie openly about a wide variety of things (not just AGW)

Also denialists consistently claim a green conspiracy, you actually claim I am indulging in the genetic fallacy, that I am a true believer and paranoid, what about denialists – I refer you to a link I posted earlier about denialist conspiracy providing a rich seam of information for psychologists…
http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.au/labs/cogscience/documents/LskyetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf

Dissident @ 32:

Thanks for the links, which I will read.

I am not a denialist or even a sceptic. I think climate change is happening, and I think it’s reasonable to hold that we are causing most if not all of it. However, I think Pigouvian taxation and nuclear power are the answers to climate change:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigovian_tax

@ Tone
Thanks for your link in turn to Pigouvian tax system. That is precisely what we need! I for one resent the free ride the fossil fuel industry has had for over 30 years! If not longer. If they actually paid in full the true cost of their business overnight they would go bankrupt within a year, phased in over a decade would give our society a chance to adapt, and there is already much of the infrastructure, and most of the basic science in alternatives out there. We can even use commoner than dirt rust as the basis for photovoltaic fuel cells, giving us an endless, cheap supply of hydrogen…

I also see very little wrong in nuclear – the right kind of nuclear ie thorium reactors, integral fast reactors to deal with radioactive waste (extracting energy in the process) and eventually fusion as the backbone. With renewables contributing significantly.

Done in a smart way, we can get through the resource depletion and AGW bottleneck. Unfortunately those who have got rich from fossil fuels don’t like that, for some stupid reason they think this conversion would be a threat to them, when all they have to do is change their business model like BP tried to under Lord Browne! In other words, look to the long term, pay the true costs and go for what would be more profitable in the future.

Unfortunately people still have the habit of discounting the future, like when you show a young child one sweet, and tell them they could have 2 later if they turn it down…

Dissident @ 34:

“If they actually paid in full the true cost of their business overnight they would go bankrupt within a year”

Not true, I believe. I recall the Stern Review estimated levels of Pigouvian on fossil fuels to be about the right level.

That said, we find ourselves in substantial agreement, after all.

36. Robin Levett

@Tone #31:

“for reasosn which might be obvious when you think about it, they [weather extremes] should become rarer as time passes, all other things remaining equal. Do you need that proposition explaining?”

Yes, please.

The weather extremes under discussion are records/top 5 figures etc.

Take temepratures. If the climate remains the same, by definition the average temperature, and range of natural variability, remains the same.

In a given set of temperature data, the first record will, when recorded, be botha record high and a record low. the second, will be either a record high or a record low (or record-equalling in both directions) – again, by definition. As time goes on, however, new record temperature highs and lows are set. As each new record is set, it leaves a smaller range of possible temperature values for subsequent years that could be records. that means that there is less chance of any individual subsequent year setting a new record, and hence means that fewer records will be set.

Take a simple example for the sake of argument. Assume a climate with a range of potential average annual temperatures from 10C to 20C. A record high of 18C is set; at which point, to set a new record, a subsequent year’s annual average temperature – T – has to fall within the range 18C < T <20C. In a subsequent year, a new record of 19C is set. Will more average annual temperature of subsequent years lie within the range 18-20C, or within the range 19-20C? The answer should be obvious.

RL @ 36:

Not a very interesting point, because your definition is questionable.

“The weather extremes under discussion are records/top 5 figures etc.”

No, not always. The claims I have seen are that extreme events like floods and hurricanes are becoming more frequent, not necessarily that they are becoming more intense.


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