Spotlight

If You Want to Save the Planet, Drop the Campaign Against Capitalism

But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao,
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

—The Beatles, 1968

This month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report concluding that it is all but inevitable that overall global warming will exceed the 1.5 degree Celsius limit dictated in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The report also discusses the potentially catastrophic consequences of this warming, which include extreme weather events, an accelerated rise in sea levels, and shrinking Arctic sea ice.

In keeping with the well-established trend, political conservatives generally have exhibited skepticism of these newly published IPCC conclusions. That includes U.S. President Donald Trump, who told 60 Minutes, “We have scientists that disagree with [anthropogenic global warming]. You’d have to show me the [mainstream] scientists because they have a very big political agenda.” On Fox News, a commentator argued that “the planet has largely stopped warming over the past 15 years, data shows—and [the IPCC report] could not explain why the Mercury had stopped rising.” Conservative YouTuber Ian Miles Cheong declared flatly that:

This pattern of conservative skepticism on climate change is so well-established that many of us now take it for granted. But given conservatism’s natural impulse toward protecting our heritage, one might think that conservatives would be just as concerned with preserving order in the natural environment as they are with preserving order in our social and political environments. Ensuring that subsequent generations can live well is ordinarily a core concern for conservatives.

To this, conservatives might (and do) counter that they are merely pushing back against environmental extremists who seek to leverage the cause of global warming as a means to expand government, eliminate hierarchies of wealth, and reorganize society along social lines. And while most environmentally conscious citizens harbor no such ambitions, there is a substantial basis for this claim. Indeed, some environmentalists are forthright in seeking to implement the principles of “ecosocialism.” Meteorologist and self-described ecosocialist Eric Holthaus, for instance, responded to the IPCC report by declaring that:

One of the most prominent voices in this space has been Canadian writer Naomi Klein, whose 2015 book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, argued that capitalism must be dismantled for the world to avert catastrophe. While I am sympathetic with some of the critiques that Klein directs at corporations and “free market fundamentalism,” her argument doesn’t hold water—because mitigating climate risks is a project whose enormous scope, cost and complexity can only be managed by regulated capitalist welfare states. Moreover, it’s difficult to see how she isn’t simply using the crisis of climate change as a veneer to agitate for her preferred utopian socio-economic system. As has been pointed out by Jonathan Chait of New York magazine, Klein appears to be adapting a mirror image of the same strategy she critiqued in her previous book, The Shock Doctrine, wherein she claimed that cynical politicians, pundits and corporations seize on crises to lock in economic restructuring along radical free market principles.

Simply put, describing the call for climate action in economically or politically revolutionary terms is always going to be counterproductive, because the vast majority of ordinary people in most countries don’t want a revolution. Environmentalists such as Klein are correct, however, in their more limited claim that market mechanisms alone can’t prevent global warming, since such mechanisms don’t impute the environmental costs associated with the way we produce goods and live our lives. Without some means of capturing the social price of environmentally destructive practices—resource extraction, in particular—we will invariably embrace wasteful and damaging practices.

Consider, for instance, the vast quantities of natural gas that are flared at oil wells simply because it’s seen as too costly to build gas pipelines to these facilities. This is a context in which we’d urge government to exercise its regulatory power; or to impose some kind of pricing mechanism that, either by carrot or stick, incentivizes the capture of the flared gas. Public policy has a necessary role in guiding capitalist decision makers toward the long-term sustainability of the environment. Unfortunately, this outcome is hard to achieve in a political environment characterized by tribalism, polarization and blame-shifting.

It is true that when it comes to climate change, the political left is more closely grounded in science than the right (even if both sides often tend to deny inconvenient truths more generally). But the left also has proven to be blinkered when it comes to appropriate responses, a tendency that has seeped into the latest IPCC report. While it’s not surprising that the report advocates support for renewable energy, its authors fail to acknowledge the warming effect that scaled up renewable-energy generation would have on land use due to their low energy density (think of the enormous footprint of solar farms). Likewise, the pro-environmental left’s distaste for nuclear power persists, despite its status as a geographically dense, safe, virtually carbon-free energy source.

The whole issue has become a sort of microcosm of the blind spots and dogmas embraced by both sides. As Jonathan Haidt argues, conservatives tend to be skeptical of top-down governance, preferring to focus on smaller nested structures that are less ambitious in scope, and hence easier to manage. This general principle takes form in conservative philosopher Roger Scruton’s approach to environmentalism, which argues that activism on issues such as climate change should be undertaken by communities at the local level, rather than by national (or international) bureaucrats and politicians—because the local level is where “people protect things which they know and love, things which are necessary for their life, and which will elicit in them the kind of disposition to make sacrifices, which, after all, is what it’s all about.”

While Scruton’s environmentalism gives us a reason to protect our local environments, the reality is that the effects of many environmentally damaging practices are not just experienced locally. A community may be motivated to protect a nearby forest from logging because it forms part of their love of home, but greenhouse gas emissions are displaced and dispersed into the shared atmosphere, contributing to global atmospheric degradation. Because of this, any approach that dismisses broader policy initiatives is unlikely to succeed in bringing down global carbon emissions. But at the very least, Scruton’s analysis awakens us to the reality that such policies will gain popular support only if they are justified and implemented in a manner that takes into consideration the views and sentiments of conservatives and liberals alike. Wind and solar farms will face less opposition if local communities get a greater say in where they are located. And while carbon taxes are effective in reducing emissions in some jurisdictions, conservatives will usually oppose them unless they are structured in a revenue-neutral manner, by legislating them alongside equivalent reductions in income tax, for instance.

Environmentalists also should acknowledge that some conservative objections to large-scale, top-down global instruments such as the Paris Agreement are perfectly legitimate. The provisions in such treaties typically are non-binding and require the good faith of all signatories. With many authoritarian countries seemingly misleading the rest of the world about their levels of economic activity, it’s not unreasonable to assume they would do the same when it comes to reporting carbon emissions. Moreover, those countries without the means to enforce reductions in carbon emissions domestically can’t be regarded as reliable participants in a global agreement to voluntarily decarbonize their economies.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t be discussing climate change at a global level, or that international agreements don’t have any value. But environmentalists’ tendency to treat these documents as holy writ comes off as naïve, and thereby tends to undermine their cause.

Overall, our best hope for dealing with the emissions of developing countries is likely to assist them in managing their energy infrastructure so as to bypass high-emissions technologies. China, despite often being lauded for the amount of renewable energy it produces, now emits more carbon dioxide than the U.S. and Europe combined. With technologies such as large-scale solar generation becoming cost competitive with coal, progress is possible, but far from guaranteed without Western support.

These measures aren’t revolutionary. But that’s the point: In the environmental sector, just as in every other arena, there’s an opportunity cost to adopting revolutionary postures—since these revolutionaries tend to make more enemies than allies. If this project is really about saving the planet, rather than destroying capitalism, cooling the earth will mean cooling our rhetoric as well.

 

Andrew Glover is a sociologist who tweets at @theandrewglover.

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147 Comments

  1. Morgan says

    If successful, the IPCC, its marionettes, and other Malthusians will get millions of people killed. They have been wet-dreaming about it for many, many decades. As an example, read Hansen’s (failed) predictions from the early 90’s.

    Capitalism might suffer these and other setbacks but it will survive, inevitably, and humanity will continue to be better off because of it.

    • prince says

      I think the issue goes much deeper than the Malthusians.

      It has long been clear to many conservatives that climate change was weaponized by the left as a tool against businesses and for the big green blob and for excessive regulations.

      This weaponization goes much deeper than just the NGOs that try to capitalize on the reports of the IPCC to push their favorite policies. It now rooted deep in the scientific community that conducts the research. In many ways, climate science has become become a “climate grievance science” where instead of studying nature impartially, scientists see themselves as carrying a noble cause of “saving the world” and have strong preference for specific policies and remedies.

      I have been tracking the climate debate closely for over a decade and I am certain that the political composition of the climate science community resembles much less the physics faculties (1:1.6 right-left ratio) and much more the gender studies departments (1:1000 right-left ratio to be generous).

      As such, most conservatives are (and should be) suspicious not only of the recommended policies but also of the actual core “science” itself which is now conducted to support a specific cause and a specific world view with only a narrow range of acceptable results permitted.

      • @prince
        You convey my sentiments well. I am suspicious of the motives of the so-called climate scientific community, not least of all because they need to eat too. There is a ton of money being spit out by governments and universities to study AGW. The funders are, for whatever reason, looking for answers that support the idea of human caused GW and the scientists oblige. Simple enough to present that data that supports it and ignoring that data that doesn’t. I’d suspect that the comparatively minuscule funding coming from industry expects the same from their scientists.

        Bottom line scientists and scientific pursuits are not beyond having specific motives color their results. For God’s sake just look at the pharmacological industry for examples of that.

      • Morgan says

        @prince

        I consider the political backing of “issues” to be mostly random so I pay little attention to it. Moreover, taking sides on an issue, politically speaking, is generally a poor recipe for its resolution, in my opinion.

        Now, certain climate scientists are evidently behaving in an unethical manner but this has always been so and it is not a circumstance idiosyncratic to climate science. Note that I do not consider “X studies” to be sciences. They amuse but no more.

        Having said that, climate science, as a field, is credible. The behavior of some of its scientists does not change this. Note also that credible does not mean certain. Medicine is a credible science (our best, in fact) yet fundamentally flawed and drowning in non-replicable “bad science”.

        The Malthusian element, that is, the anti-humanism of these certain climate scientists and their acolytes is manifestly obvious in their propose “solutions”. Without fail, they want to do away with liberal democracy, the sovereignty of the individual, or civilization as we know it, to name a few of their gems.

        Thus, I say, if successful they will get millions of people killed. It has nothing to do with the validity of the science (if any). Massive loss of human life has always resulted from the activities of social engineering fabulists.

      • Morgan says

        @das monde

        Go back into the record a few decades, read it, then consider what has and has not happened.

        And, yes, “stupid” has not gotten fixed. It never will. Thus, this. Deal.

  2. Simon Johnson says

    How fitting that the first commenter is a head in the sand conspiracy theorist.

    There’s a very simple reason why so many conservatives and pretty much all libertarians reject the science of anthropogenic climate change. It begets acceptance of the concept of market failure.

    What I find fascinating is that for all the denialists’ bluster about the supposed ideological, political and economic agendas of those on the left, they still consider it impossible that the same motives might just drive their own side of the debate – even when we can openly see the money trail.

    Like the author I completely agree that capitalism and markets are the key to addressing the issue. This will only work when enough people recognise their flaws, and drop this nonsensical false dichotomy that anyone critical of capitalism in its current form must be a socialist.

    • peter from Oz says

      Are there conspiracy theorists who don’t have their heads in the sand?
      But seriously, I have to give you credit because unlike so many other people you correctly used the term “anthropogenic climate change” rather than just “climate change.” Of course, it’s a load of hogwash paid for by governments in the interests of increasing government interference in our lives.
      Also capitalism doesn’t have a form. Capitalism is the natural result of humans dealing with each other. It is the default position. But men are not perfect, so we need to regulate their dealings. The argument is not about capitalism versus socialism, but about how we regulate capitalism. There are those of us who take an instrumentalist approach, that somehow the market should be made to provide for eveyone. There are others who just think that protect the poor from the ravages of the market.
      Personally, I think the more important question is whether we let government become more and more our master or whether we make it our servant. Most people who whine about capitalism forget how evil government can be.

    • Thanks for leaving the only reasonable comment here.

      I infer from the unhinged denialism, conspiracy theorising, and misrepresentation of science going on in this comment section that right-libertarianism is a utopian ideology just as detached from reality as communism.

    • I’m a simple scientist. I have yet to receive a reasonable explanation why the agencies keep altering the actual measured, historical records such that they fit the AGW models. In the physical sciences, the actual physical measures are what models are adjusted to fit yet for the AGW “consensus scientist” it is the reverse. THAT is the basis of the skepticism. Under the guise of “normalizing historical readings” they adjust to fit a model. That is precisely why the models have failed in their predictive accuracy. The “consensus scientists” have hamstrung science, they are anti-science as they shout down any suggestion of future investigation; however, they keep emphasizing their need for funding for their own future investigation. A simple search on archive.org for old reports and graphs compared to modern ones show the shifts and the agencies have addressed those shifts as actually happening as they “remodel” the record.

      Can you imagine the outrage if the historical record was re-timelined and “normalized” to fit the 6000 year old Earth theory of the Young Earthers? Would it be justified to then say “a consensus of Young Earth scientists” agree, the Earth is 6,000 years old, you are a denier! Of course not! However, that same argument aimed at AGW theologians ….

      Has man made an impact? Of course, so have bees, fire ants, earth worms, wooly mammoths and even Ligers. But so have all of the undersea volcanic eruptions, above ground eruptions, solar activity, the ozone layer, etc. Perhaps the shifts in temperature are a result of mankind taking action to repair the Ozone layer and nothing to do with CO2 at all? Of course, that is a heretical theory so even the grant request would be denied.

        • …interesting link…climate fraud has similar characteristics to the banking fraud which caused the 2007/8 financial collapse – that being – in both cases the fraud was/is exposed when the underlying data used to support the ‘widely held view’ is exposed as fraudulent – in both cases people exposing the fraud are/were perceived as wrong simply because they did not accept the dominant view – their arguments were ignored and their personal character was/is attacked…the result of these character attacks is described in an article titled ‘The Academic and Its Fatal Toll’ published on Quillette March 2 2018 – https://quillette.com/2018/03/02/academic-mob-fatal-toll/

      • Ellar S says

        Some of the commenters here would benefit from reading reputable scientific sources over conspiracist blogs. The conspiracy theory that scientists have altered data to give a false impression of warming is easily disproven. A comparison of the raw temperature data to the adjusted shows that the corrections actually reduce the warming trend. See https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-how-data-adjustments-affect-global-temperature-records.

        The reason for the adjustments is simple; to harmonize data collected using different methods. As every real scientist knows, data correction to account for sources of bias is a normal part of modern scientific practice. For instance in my own field of astronomy, CCD data is routinely manipulated to remove the effects of varying light distribution, dead pixels, electronic interference, and so on.

        Of course no explanation will satisfy the hardened science denialist. If the raw temperature data shows warming, it must be subject to the urban heat island effect and unreliable. If it’s corrected to account for such influences, this must be part of The Big Hoax. The hypothesis that climate change is faked is thus immune to falsification, a hallmark not of scientific scepticism but of motivated reasoning.

        @Bill, as a “simple scientist” I’m surprised at your last paragraph. It’s incredibly naive to think that climate scientists haven’t considered volcanic eruptions, solar activity and so on. They’ve all been quantified and conclusively ruled out as a source of the current rapid warming. Volcanic eruptions, for example, amount to for less than 1% of human greenhouse gas emission (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earthtalks-volcanoes-or-humans/).

    • Actually, climate change proves the “tragedy of the commons.” If air and oceans were private property — not doable of course — this problem would not have been as bad because the owners of air and oceans would have clamored immediately to protect their property.
      Markets work once the goal is clear for capitalists to make money. A free market won’t fix a future possibility, but as actual harms are experienced, the markets will be the best way to achieve solutions.
      Of course, externalities do need to be accounted for so that free markets take into account these costs, which then prompts markets to offer cheaper alternatives. They cannot be revenue neutral otherwise they’d not have any economic impact. The revenue must be used to deal with fixing infrastructure to be prepared for climate change and to create shared infrastructure for a future energy distribution grid.
      International cooperation is a must, but we don’t have to wait for everyone to be in agreement to start.

      • Actually, they can be revenue neutral and work. If you tax pollution and all the money back to consumers in the forms of tax cuts (or rebates), then people who pollute less will pay less in tax but get the same amount of money back. That means individuals or businesses which become more efficient will be incentivized. Basically, groups that pollute more will subsidize those who pollute less, and thus will be less economically competitive.

    • Morgan says

      Fascism and communism have killed millions of people.

      Fascists and communists deny this fact by claiming that those are just conspiracy theories.

      The article provides one unequivocal example of the objectives of the IPCC and acolytes.

      “The world’s top scientists just gave rigorous backing to systematically dismantle capitalism as a key requirement to maintaining civilization and a habitable planet.”

      This delusion will lead to the death of millions of people. No conspiracy needed. It is clearly articulated for all to see as has been for decades.

      Only those in denial claim it is a conspiracy, like Holocaust deniers and their communist brethren do.

      This has nothing to do with ACW, its science or lack of it.

    • When any controversial debate is occurring that has great uncertainty, then almost everyone falls back to there prior biases. The long term impacts of climate change are highly uncertain, so the expected people take the expected positions. Color me unsurprised. The same thing happened with the Kavanaugh debate, for example.

      One you get over that, then people need to actually propose solutions, determine how much they will cost, who will pay for them, and how effective they will be. Somehow most people never get past the name calling and get to this point.

    • George McDermott says

      I am no scientist. But I do pay attention and I read/listen to the “theorems” and assertations of the “scientists”, their claims of what is hapoening, the causes, the preducted catastrophes, and their proposed solutions.

      Have been listening to the same basic & re-wrapoed claim for many decades; We are killing the planet (carbon, overpopulation, etc) and we HAVE to do something about it ASAP or we are doomed (the “solution” is always to transfer wealth out of the USA).

      Annnddd….. Nothing. Crickets. The Oceans have not flooded. Hurricane activity is actually way less than nirmal. Greenland us still frozen. Polar bears are still alive. There is plenty of food.

      “Profits” like Al Gore and Leo still jet around all over the world, spewing CO2 into the atmoshpere, and haven’t put their oacific ocean mega mansions up for sale yet.

      So sorry – ya’ll might be right about the catastrophic effects of raising global temps by….. one degree….
      But so far… 60 years after the predicted “ice age”…. yawn.

  3. Russell Hertzberg says

    Hilarious that a sociologist should come along on a credible site like this and make claims about the ‘science’ of climate change. The entire theory that human C02 emissions are the sole and only control factor in a dangerous and soon to be catastrophic warming of the planet…has been repeatedly falsified by a wide variety of scientific, climatic, and atmospheric events. The science of climate change is far from being settled. Cleaner, more efficient, and better sources of energy, especially for the humans living in poverty, is unrelated to the theory of AGW. Making the connection itself is a politicization of complex and theoretical climate questions

  4. Morgan says

    One might thank that there could be something more comical than capitalist climate deniers, but no, here comes Andrew Glover. Climate change IS real, he admits, but capitalist (as his god of choice) will solve it, as the market solves everything. All it needs is the faith of the heretics.

    • Climate change is real and Capitalism will not solve it (though it may allow civilization to adjust to the hard times that are ahead better than other systems.)

      Climate change is one in a handful of serious problems facing civilization. Solving for just one of the issues will tend to make the others worse. For example, building out the “renewable” infrastructure required to keep a civilization of this size and complexity running would consume more natural resources than we have at our disposal. Solve for climate, exacerbate resource depletion.

      The only valid response to these issues is to reduce the size and complexity of the economy as a whole. Humanity doesn’t have the sapience necessary to do this intentionally but it WILL happen as soon the fuels that drive this global heat-engine can no longer be pulled out of the ground at increasing rates.

      Capitalism combined with individual liberty is the best system we know for producing growth so to the extent that it has been used to grow the economy, it can be blamed for the problems related to that growth (climate change, resource depletion, topsoil erosion, deforestation of mature ecosystems, etc.)

      But more complicit than Capital is Globalism. Globalism enables the many smaller economies to merge into the gigantic-biosphere-consuming monster we have before us.

      So if you care about the environment your first target should be Globalism.

      • Wrong. As people get richer, they also pollute less and want a cleaner environment, just as richer people have fewer babies. It’s poverty that will kill Earth, not wealth.

      • peanut gallery says

        Less economy means less people. So you want to kill the people yourself instead of letting mother nature do it. Makes sense.

  5. D-Rex says

    Where to start? Firstly I’d like to acknowledge that the author did a credible job of making reasonable arguments for taking a step back and not just bowing down to the more extreme environmentalists. Unfortunately his article is based on some false assumptions. The scientists that produce the IPCC reports are NOT in most cases anywhere near the “worlds top climate scientists”, as if that even had any meaning. The actual data shows that by most metrics, there are fewer extreme events. Sea level is rising at a pedestrian pace that shouldn’t pose that great a problem due to human ingenuity. A 2 degree rise poses no particular problems as it wouldn’t effect the tropics, just warm the poles a bit. The computer models have been spectacularly wrong because they all assume that carbon dioxide is THE control knob for the global temperature and this is not accurate.
    If all the doomsayers were genuine, that would be demanding that governments build as many nuclear plants as possible as that is the only credible way of large scale reduction of CO2 emissions in the short to medium term, but they don’t because they are ideology driven and use climate change as a patsy for their hatred of fossil fuels.

    And don’t even bother calling me a “denier”, that just demonstrates an ignorance of real science.

    • @D-Rex Everything in your comment reflects the current understanding of reasonable and informed people. The issue with articles like this is a large segment of media which has strongly believes something else so completely they treat it like a fact.

      That’s not a healthy basis to even start a discussion, but I appreciate that you at least put some of the points out there – it may encourage somebody to do their own research.

    • Ellar S says

      @ D-Rex

      Do you have citations to reputable scientific journals to back up each of your claims?

  6. vrcreationshebrides says

    “With technologies such as large-scale solar generation becoming cost competitive with coal, progress is possible, but far from guaranteed without Western support.”
    Where did you get this crazy idea from? Solar generation has a capacity factor of less than 20%, non-dispatchable, is low density, only works during the day and fluctuates wildly and rapidily with cloud cover.
    Look into the debacle at Ivanpah.
    Please update the fallacies in this article.

    • The problem is that the only way a large-scale solar-power system can be cost competitive with coal is if coal is used in the process to produce the system.

      Building a solar power system using only power from solar power systems will not work. Coal, oil and natural gas are necessary inputs.

      • While necessary for now, their use will be limited by more solar. Solar shouldn’t just be a centralized power system, but should take advantage of the fact that it’s fully distributable as the sun shines everywhere and doesn’t pollute while doing so. A distributed power system will have less waste and be better able to deal with terrorism/war attacks.

        • roaddog says

          So David, you plan for use to transport electricity around 50% of the circumference of the planet, at night? Fully distributable?

  7. E. Olson says

    Even if you agree with the 97% of climate scientists and accept their model predictions of climate change, the problem is there is no way to fix a problem that requires 80+% reductions in human sourced greenhouse gas emissions. Renewables are not competitive with coal, gas, or nuclear because they are intermittent and therefore require conventional power backup, and this redundancy means you are essentially doubling the cost of power generation, which the greens never talk about. Electrification (aka Teslafication) of transport means even greater electricity generation and grid capacity, and most of it will come from coal or natural gas and negate all or most of the supposed environmental benefits, which again the greens never talk about. Unless we wish to allow the 5 billion poor people on the planet to never rise any further in their economic development and resource consumption, achieving 80% reductions in greenhouse gases means the wealthy 2 billion people will need to give up more than 100% of their greenhouse gas emissions – i.e. going back to pre-industrial age living standards, but instead the greens talk about changing light bulbs and turning down the thermostat 2 degrees. Thus fully addressing climate change with today’s technology is just not politically or economically possible, and it is therefore highly questionable that the $trillions spent on trying to implement, enforce, and achieve the goals of the Paris agreement are worthwhile expenditures, when UN models predict that total compliance (highly unlikely) would reduce predicted temperature increases by .17C by 2100. Yet the Green’s talk about Trump’s withdrawal from Paris as a world-ending event. These green lies and exaggerations and continual fear-mongering regarding climate change have even less credibility when all previous predictions of climate doom made by private jet flying millionaires, leftist politicians, and government funded climate scientists have all proven to be wrong.

    To expect humanity to give up the modern conveniences, comforts, health, and political and economic freedoms brought about by cheap and reliable carbon-based fuels, based on predictions that are far less than 100% certain is just not going to happen. The low credibility of the climate scientists and their apostles is perhaps best indicated by the price of coastal real-estate – if floods are coming why are ocean view lots still so expensive?

    • This liberal agrees with every one of your points except the last one which may well have been made in jest.

      “…if floods are coming why are ocean view lots still so expensive?…”

      If recession is coming why are all the asset prices so high?

      • E. Olson says

        Happy to see a liberal with some common sense – wish there were more of you. The last comment wasn’t made in jest, however, as if the dire predictions of arctic ice melting leading to rising oceans and flooding in coastal areas were truly something to be worried about – the “smart” money would be trying to unload coastal real estate and prices would be flat or declining. Certainly “greenies” such Richard Branson would not be buying and investing heavily in small islands if he truly believed Mr. Gore’s flooding predictions from an Inconvenient Truth – he might even shut down his airline if he was truly concerned, as air travel is probably the worst form of greenhouse gas emission there is.

    • Steve says

      “Even if you agree with the 97% of climate scientists”

      The “97%” meme was soundly debunked years ago. There is nothing remotely like such a “consensus” among working climate scientists. The provenance of the dubious “97%” claim was a single shoddy paper by a master’s degree student.

      But the Left is “grounded in science”.

      • E. Olson says

        Thank you, but I am well aware of the 97% fraud, but the Green’s keep using it as “proof” of human caused climate change – as if scientific fact is a popularity contest.

      • Ellar S says

        Steve wrote “The provenance of the dubious “97%” claim was a single shoddy paper by a master’s degree student”.

        False. The high level of consensus – 97% within a few percent – has been confirmed by the following studies:

        2004 – Oreskes
        2007 – Harris
        2008 – Bray and Von Storch
        2009 – Doran and Zimmerman
        2010 – Anderegg et al.
        2011 – Farnsworth and Lichter
        2012 – Powell
        2013 – Cook et al.

        It doesn’t matter to E. Olsen though. The fact that Richard Branson has bought an island is all the proof he needs to freeload off of future generations.

          • Ellar S says

            Diethelm and McKee (2009) identified five characteristics of science denialism. Mr Guenier’s submission demonstrates two: impossible expectations and cherry picking.

            Impossible expectations: ALL the surveys of scientists and the scientific literature show agreement of between 90-100% on current climate change being mostly anthropogenic in nature. He responds by raising the bar impossibly high before he would accept the results. For example, he cites Professor Phil Jones’ response to a question asking 1) whether natural influences could have contributed to global warming, and 2) to quantify the exact contribution of all natural influences on climate in Watts per square metre. Prof Jones did not give the exact figures requested because it “is slightly outside my area of expertise” but confirmed that natural influences exerted a net negative (ie cooling) forcing over the period in question. This was misrepresented by Mr Guenier as an inability by an expert to answer a question about “whether natural influences could have contributed to global warming”, and he then proceeded to argue on the basis of this misrepresentation that most climate scientists therefore have insufficient expertise to weigh in on the question of human contribution, therefore such surveys are invalid. The impossible expectation is that all climate scientists should be experts in all relevant fields before we can trust their opinions.

            Paradoxically, when the surveys do specifically examine specialist opinion, Mr Guenier argued the numbers are too small to be representative – creating another impossible standard. By his own admission, the kind of survey that would satisfy him would be too large and impractical to carry out, implying that no evidence would actually be sufficient to change his mind – another hallmark of denialism.

            Curiously, this “scepticism” doesn’t work the other way around. When Bray and von Storch (2008) found that only 17.75% of scientists agreed “the state of theoretical understanding of climate change phenomena is adequate”, Mr Guenier seized on this to argue that the discovery that humans are the dominant driver of current climate change is little better than guesswork. No qualms about the methodology or phrasing here! I expect that most scientists would agree that understanding in their field is not “adequate” since they’re all working on gaps in our knowledge and understanding. It doesn’t mean we can dismiss whichever findings we find inconvenient, and the best placed people to judge the merits of such conclusions are the scientists themselves. “Scientists don’t know everything, therefore they know nothing” is a common trope of science denialists like creationists and anti-vaxxers.

            In another example of cherry picking, in § 3.5 of his submission above, Mr Guenier seized on one or two remarks reported in the press to argue against the presence of a consensus. It’s noteworthy that he finds large-scale peer-reviewed surveys of scientists and the research literature to be unconvincing, but a few isolated statements suffice as evidence against a consensus – a decidedly one-sided skepticism. For the interested reader, it appears the Chinese and Russian scientists were misrepresented. The source of this misinformation was the lobby group Heartland, who have a history of misrepresenting scientific opinion, which is then repeated by uncritical sections of the media. It’s debunked here: www (dot) skepticalscience (dot) com/heartland-cas-fantasy (dot) html.

  8. D-Rex says

    E. Olsen, great comment, I would just add that the so-called 97% meme is a total fraud. This is a statement of fact; renewables could not possibly replace all of the fossil fueled electricity and transport, there is not enough land, copper or iridium.

  9. B… bu… but the campaign against capitalism is the entire point!

  10. Steve says

    Anyone who is 1) over the age of 40 and 1) honest will recall that the same dire predictions of impending doom have been repeated for decades now. The goalposts keep moving. Miami was supposed to be mostly submerged by 2015. The UK was supposed to experience her final snowfall several years ago. Polar bears were supposed to be on the verge of extinction by now. The list goes on and on and on.

    Anyone who cannot see the prima facie fraudulence of the entire “climate change” movement is unlikely to be persuaded by any amount of counter-evidence.

    • Peter says

      “Miami was supposed to be mostly submerged by 2015.” Steve, enlighteen us: Which scientist, when and where claimed that?

      “The UK was supposed to experience her final snowfall several years ago.” Which researcher, when and where claimed that?

      “Polar bears were supposed to be on the verge of extinction by now.” Which scientific body, when and where claimed that?

      • Dennis Victor says

        1. Al Gore, An Inconvienient truth. 2. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” Dr. David Viner, a scientist with the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia, told the UK Independent in 2000. Terry Root, senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “The globe is warming so rapidly, and variability is increasing so much – both of those things together, I’m glad I don’t have stock in ski areas.”

        3. SEP 10, 2007 U.S. Geological Survey — studying whether the bear should be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act — concluded grimly last Friday:

        Projected changes in future sea ice conditions, if realized, will result in loss of approximately 2/3 of the world’s current polar bear population by the mid 21st century. Because the observed trajectory of Arctic sea ice decline appears to be underestimated by currently available models, this assessment of future polar bear status may be conservative. ThinkProgress: “That’s right — this grim prediction is optimistic, a best-case scenario. In the next post, I’ll examine why polar bears are likely to go extinct by 2030 if not 2020.”

        • Peter says

          Al Gore is not a scientist.

          “Polar bears were supposed to be on the verge of extinction by now” is not the same as “loss of approximately 2/3 of the world’s current polar bear population by the mid 21st century” with some additional caveats by scientists.

          And many European ski resorts would be abandoned by now it they were not using artificial snow. I see that there are no skiers among the commenters.

          • E. Olson says

            Peter – Al Gore is certainly not a scientist, but he plays one on TV. His total formal science background is one science class in college, in which he received a C or D grade, and yet he won an Oscar and Nobel prize for his “scientific” documentary.

            I’m an avid skier, and since ski resorts are basically a late 20th century invention, it certainly isn’t clear what long-term “normal” snow conditions should be – especially since Europe has been coming out of a little Ice Age for the last few hundred years. Of course if skiers are really concerned about global warming, they should definitely give up their sport unless they are prepared to skip the flight/car trip to the mountains, luxury resort, artificial snow, and ski lifts, and instead simply ski for transportation (natural snow permitting).

          • Russell Hertzberg says

            You seem to be a deep bullshitter. European resorts have added snow making only to open earlier in the season, and on selected easy runs on the lower mountain areas. Purely for commercial reasons. Most of the best ski able terrain in both the USA and Europe have no snow making at all. Average snow depths and temperatures during winter at ski resorts in both the USA and Europe are consistent and somehow unaffected by the alleged ‘global warming’ caused and controlled only by human CO2.

            So…you have been caught in yet another bullshit lie about supposed consequences of AGW. You need to learn the truth about the limited thermometer data used for the IPCC’s GAT estimates, placed mostly in urban heat island zones. And the fact that GAT itself is based on such a limited amount of data that it is more or less useless. 1% of the censor data needed to really assess changes in GAT. And on top of that, simplistic linear models which project dangerous warming caused always and only by human C02, which makes up only 3% of all the C02 in the atmosphere.

            You should stop pitching the fraud soon, because science is not going to stand for it any longer. The typical fraudster wants to believe AGW because it feels like an environmentally responsible thing to do. But scientifically…it is a true failure. An embarrassment to real scientists.

          • Peter says

            SJWs are not the only ones incapable of civil discourse.

      • 2007, Earth 2100 shockumentary made the 2015 claims. It had clips from scientists co-mingled with activist prognostications. Like it or not, most of the general population hear this stuff, like the 97% meme, and because it comes from a “reputable” news source believe it to be scientific and true information.

      • roaddog says

        In 1988 James Hansen predicted the streets of New York City would today be submerged. So much nonsense for so many decades.

        • Citation with context required. Hansen did three different “what-if” scenarios with 3 different levels of greenhouse gas emissions. What-ifs for scenarios with emissions higher than those that actually occurred would of course be unlikely to happen.

    • Russell Hertzberg says

      Indeed, the AGW theory posing as ‘settled science’ in in fact the greatest science fraud in human history.

    • Ellar S says

      Upon reviewing the thread it’s clear that there is nothing to support the silly strawman claims made in the opening comment.

      Misrepresenting the science that does suggest a motivation other than a dispassionate search for truth.

  11. Michael Lardelli says

    Capitalism is not under threat from climate change activism because the selfishness and competitiveness of human nature mean that the world will never unite to drastically reduce CO2 emissions. But don’t panic – Mother Nature has the situation in hand! What the IPCC has, essentially, never recognised in its modelling is that fossil fuel resources are finite and far less fossil fuel of all types is accessible for burning than is required for all but the “greenest” of their future scenarios. Coming decades will see very significant decreases in fossil fuel use driven by dwindling availability due to geological constraints rather than by humans showing self-restraint. This will have massive effects on the human economy and will put an end to economic growth. This idea is pure cognitive dissonance for most economists (particularly resource economists who believe that resource availability is determined by price rather than investment of energy). But read the works of Charles Hall, Kjell Aleklett, Jean Laherrere and Colin Campbell if you are interested. This is why I simply don’t worry overly about climate change – there is nothing I can do about it (human nature being what it is) and the reality will be nothing like what either the capitalists OR the IPCC is expecting. My mind is more focussed on how we will feed cities with populations of millions to tens of millions when liquid fuel resources become scarce. After all, 30% of all fossil fuel use goes to food provision.

    • E. Olson says

      If it makes you feel any better, the first predictions of imminent depletion of all the earth’s oil was 10 years away was made during WWI. Before that, British economist William Jevon made predictions about running out of coal in the 1860s, and such dire predictions have been repeated about every 20 years since then, and in fact there was an academic journal published called “Peak Oil” devoted to predictions of the end of carbon sourced fuels – which ceased publication a few years ago when fracking made such predictions seem ridiculous. It seems that the climate doomsters have been hoping we would run out of oil since Jimmy Carter said we had 10 years supply left in 1979, but now greens say we must leave it in the ground since we now have more known reserves than at any point in human history.

      • The whole, “all the oil,” straw-man is tired. Lets burn it already. Fossil fuel depletion is a complex issue and you discredit yourself posting such a simplistic argument.

        Oil, coal and natural gas will never be fully depleted because it gets exponentially more costly to extract these fuels. This is the message that most of the people worried about depletion and peak oil have put forward.

        Yes today, thanks to Fracking the US is producing a bit more oil than Saudi Arabia. But if the depletion folks are right we should expect to see the US working a good deal harder than Saudi Arabia to extract the same amount of oil.

        Turns out the US works about 9,000% harder. Fracking doesn’t discredit the people worried about resource depletion. It confirms what they’ve been saying.

        https://twitter.com/AuneShawn/status/1050466491651493889

        Reserves don’t matter as much as global discoveries. In the past decade the oil majors have spent RECORD amounts of money searching for new fossil fuel reserves and have come up with record low discoveries. They’ve since decreased their CAPEX in response.

        https://twitter.com/AuneShawn/status/1051820966937075712

        The ONLY fuels that can allow this system to continue and grow past the end of our lives are the fuels of nuclear energy BUT I contend those fuels will be difficult to harvest and put to massive use once global oil production fails to keep going up.

        • E. Olson says

          Fracking was a “fantasy” technology until less than 15 years ago, tar sand based oil was a “fantasy” technology 40 years ago, deep sea oil exploration was a “fantasy” until about 50 years ago, if oil and gas are in the ground somewhere on planet earth and the price is right – someone will figure out an economically viable way to extract it.

          • And don’t forget off-planet. There is already discussion about sending exploratory, private-sector vehicles to asteroids and moons for speculative mining.

          • Michael Lardelli says

            Fracking is an interesting case in liquid fuel production. As a whole, the industry is not profitable financially (it has always been driven by debt) which means that it is certainly not profitable energetically. In essence, fracking in the USA is a sophisticated way to convert energy from coal, gas and nuclear sources, via electricity, into liquid fuel. The existence of fracking allows the USA to pretend it does not have a liquid fuels supply problem but, in gross terms, the USA remains a liquid fuel importer. Conventional oil production (that provides the great bulk of supply) peaked a decade ago but the additional liquid fuel increments from fracking have allowed the USA (and the rest of the world) to pretend that future supply of liquid fuels is not a problem. However, as we speak, depletion of conventional oil production is beginning to overwhelm the relatively small volumes of liquid fuel from fracking. What all this certainly means (particularly considering that global CO2 emissions growth stalled a couple of years back and could well do so again soon) is that the world is already in a state of declining net energy (since fossil fuel sources are getting progressively harder to access and if the total rate of production of fossil fuels as a group is levelling off, then the net energy derived from them must be decreasing). Declining net energy would explain why the world is currently swimming in overwhelming volumes of debt – money is created and put into non-productive assets such as property to give the illusion of increasing value and “economic growth” but social divides increase and the great bulk of humanity is not benefitting.

      • D-Rex says

        Actually, I’m a bit of a fan of the abiotic oil theory which, if true, would mean that we would virtually never run out of oil.

      • Farris says

        Peak oil is based upon the notion that some oil will not be extracted because it is too expensive. However science and the market always seem to develop ways to extract once thought unobtainable fossil fuels.
        Lastly if gasoline or diesel refined from oil become too expensive, then a switch to LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) or CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) will occur. There are literally immeasurable stores of untapped natural gas.

        • Michael Lardelli says

          No, peak oil is based on the idea that, if oil is being used as a source of energy, then the energy-cost of “producing” oil from the Earth (and of converting it to fuel, transporting it to where it is needed etc.) will eventually exceed the energy that can be derived from burning it. At that point, oil production must cease unless an energy subsidy to support the production comes from elsewhere. The economy actually runs on energy, not money. Money is only a means of allocating energy. The ACCESSIBLE volumes of all the fossil fuels, oil, coal and natural gas, are most definitely finite. The modelling has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. At the moment, because of the usefulness of liquid fuel, energy from coal and natural gas (and nuclear) is being used to subsidize production of oil from shale sources. But the fact that shale oil production is so financially unprofitable reflects the fact that it is not a net contributor of energy to the economy.

  12. If you add a greenhouse gas to your home in the winter your furnace will work more efficiently.

    Your local HVAC technician knows enough science to prove that changing the mix of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere will cause the climate to change in noticeable ways.

    Human civilization IS changing the climate.

    Will it spin out of control? That is highly debatable.

    Will the technical and political solutions put forward by the left solve the problem? Not at all. In fact they’ll make things worse.

    So oppose the catastrophic conclusions related to the issue and oppose the horrifying so-called solutions to the issue but don’t be so dense as to deny the issue exists.

    • Why should we believe temperatures will increase 1.5 celcius in the next 25-50 years when in the last hundred or so it increased less then 1 degree celcius? Even if it does why should we believe the over-all effects would be bad? With something as complex as climate why should we believe carbon, and carbon alone, is some kind of thermostat knob that can be adjusted to keep temperatures as desired. People like me aren’t questioning there has been an increase in global tempartures we are questioning how much human kind has to do with it and what the proper response is.

      • “Why should we believe temperatures will increase 1.5 celcius in the next 25-50 years when in the last hundred or so it increased less then 1 degree celcius?”

        It isn’t a 100% clear picture of what is going to happen but it is MORE true than the statement, “Human activity has no effect on the climate.”

        A More True version of the statement would be, “Greater greenhouse gas concentrations increase the specific heat of the atmosphere in general allowing it to absorb more energy. The complex-adaptive-system known as The Climate will be doing complex-adaptive-system-type-things to dissipate the additional energy absorbed by the atmosphere. These things look like, heatwaves, bigger and more powerful storms, changes to climactic patterns, etc.”

        “Even if it does why should we believe the over-all effects would be bad?”

        See my previous post regarding the catastrophic predictions related to this process.

        “With something as complex as climate why should we believe carbon, and carbon alone, is some kind of thermostat knob that can be adjusted to keep temperatures as desired.”

        Nobody with any scientific knowledge is saying that. It is a straw-man caricature of a problem you admit is complex.

        • The greenhouse effect is well established and so strong it bends many other natural changes (like solar radiation) that should cause a cooling of Earth.
          The predictions fail to take into account all that the future offers and how nature itself actually responds. We could be underestimating the problems, or over estimating, or just picking the wrong hazards.

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  14. Peter says

    I support the article. (Democratic) socialism will not stop climate change. But science, technology and political leadership can slow it considerably. Global solutions are necessary: After all, the international treaty banning FCCs that destroy the ozone hole worked and decreased the danger. (And shoddy recycling practices in China, endangering the results, have recently been discovered and outed.)
    The cheapest way to address climate change is often increased efficiency in the use of energy. Google »Passive house New York« to see how existing technology can build houses and buildings that use just a tiny amount of energy compared to the run of the mill variety, and are more comfortable – at practically the same price. China is now building the largest Passivhaus complex in the world.
    Deep retrofits that are planned anyway give added profit to the investor and the environment if such energy saving technologies are included. But it requires know-how. This is what Knowledge Based Society should be about. Opting for a white roof instead of a dark one is one easy solution.
    Renewables are just part of the solution.

    • E. Olson says

      Fixing the ozone was easy because there were relatively cheap and easy to implement replacements for chlorofluorocarbons, but there is no cheap and easy to implement replacement for carbon based fuels. Yet even here there is mixed evidence that CFC is responsible for ozone holes, and whether the CFC bans have been environmentally effective (see links).

      https://principia-scientific.org/the-myth-of-man-made-ozone-depletion/
      http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Ingles/Crista.html

      As for efficiency improvements – the problem they create is rebound effects (aka Jevon’s paradox). For example, studies find hybrid car owners drive more miles offsetting some of the emission reduction that otherwise might have been expected. Same with energy efficient houses – people crank up the A/C and heat because it becomes more affordable. These are direct rebound effects, but there can also be indirect rebound effects, where the cost savings from efficiency gains in one area (such as fuel efficient cars or TVs) is used in other emission creating activities (i.e. an extra jet propelled vacation). New cars, appliances, electronics, heating/AC systems, light bulbs, jets, etc. all use less than half the energy of similar items from 30 to 50 years ago, but per capita energy consumption has remained relatively flat in most western countries during that time, because we use the cost savings to consume more.

      • Peter says

        E.Olson, you are actually making an argument for carbon tax.

        From my limited experience in the US, A/C is so extreme in summer in the existing buildings that cranking it up would be almost impossible.

        Have you ever heard of energy poverty? In UK some people in winter are freezing in poorly insulated houses.

        Trump administration’s goal of throwing out fuel consumption standards for vehicles will result in US car industry being less competitive when oil prices go up.

        An energy efficient home or buildingis is a big bonus in case a disaster causes an electrical blackout or a cut in natural gas supply.

        • Oh please, Trump isn’t “throwing out fuel consumption standards for vehicles.” The prior administration placed future standards at an arbitrary high point and Trump is reigning them back. If anything, Trump’s reeling them back HELPS! The arbitrary high points cause new car prices to go up. The result is longer road-life of vehicles since new vehicles get priced beyond where many can afford. In addition, with higher fuel efficiency, people drive more because they don’t see the impact at the gas tank. Hell, under Trump the carbon generation has already dropped 3% I read yesterday. But that’s ok, keep spouting your anti-Trump talking points.

          We already have cars getting more expensive due to safety add-ons. Fuel efficiency comes without government mandate because people do pay attention to operating cost. If you make a 30,000$ car cost 50,000$ it had better generate an operating cost payback curve for that extra $20k that isn’t 15 years (1200$ less in fuel cost per year). The problem is the monkeying around (oh wait, will saying that now make me a racist?) with fuel cost and such ignores human adaptive behavior. Look at the cell phone industry as another example…iphone comes out, they introduce unlimited data, then they see that 5% of users blow up the network because they failed to predict that unlimited data with iphones (and what we have now) mean a lot more bandwidth consumption. Now users cut the cable and use netflix…see the shock of internet bandwidth usage as programs go from 720p to 1080p and now 4k.

          Here’s an idea: roll back all safety requirements, that will mean we can have lighter/simpler cars so we can then use lighter engines/higher fuel efficiencies…or maybe just make the Affordable Car Act with gov’t subsidies to give everyone their new car (oh wait, we already did that for a whopping +2mpg avg efficiency or something nonsensical like that)

        • E. Olson says

          Peter – carbon taxes are very interesting, but have lots of problems. They tend to fall most heavily on the poor, which is typically why the left doesn’t like them. Carbon taxes also need to be be very high to have much effect. 50 cents per gallon would cover the lifecycle damages caused by burning gasoline – which is about what the US fed and state gas taxes are today, but Europe already has far higher fuel taxes and people still drive a lot. There is also the question of what is done with the money. For example, using the money to plant trees, which will take 40 years to undo the damage of your flight today does not really make sense, or using the money to subsidize inefficient solar/wind plants that will double the price of electricity during their 20 year life won’t be very popular with voters. Most likely most of the carbon taxes will end up funding civil servant pensions, which isn’t exactly going to reverse global warming.

          If you really want to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, the only real solution is to make everyone poor. The best way to accomplish mass-poverty is to abandon all remnants of capitalism and adopt a socialist style government that rewards sloth and party loyalty by confiscating the wealth of innovators and hard workers, who then decide not to work so hard or leave and everyone gets poor except the party leadership. Unfortunately, the environmental record of socialist countries tends to be very poor with regards to decreasing real pollutant emissions (i.e. not CO2 plant food), and protecting natural resources, so you end up with lots of poor dirty people with smaller carbon footprints.

    • E. Olson says

      Too bad the Germans, Japanese, and Californians haven’t gotten the news, because they are all shutting down their nukes. The Germans and Japanese are replacing their nukes with mostly coal, the Californians still have the dream of using renewables instead of nuclear, but when brownouts occur they will no doubt import power from neighboring coal states.

      • Daniel says

        E. Olson, that’s incredible. I wasn’t aware that they were moving to replace nuclear with coal. Wow.
        The difference in pollution levels between nuclear and anything else is staggering. Clean air, clean water, no carbon emissions — why on earth would you not? Also, because they typically have such strict standards on radiation, a nuclear power plant actually emits less radiation than a coal, petroleum, or gas-fired plant.
        An opponent to this view will remind us of Fukushima. But that is actually a tale of a freak geological incident coupled with a botched job of handling it. We can design nuclear power plants to handle earthquakes, fires, 747 crashes — everything down to scabies outbreaks.
        The most frustrating thing about this climate-change debate is that a really good, game-changing answer is completely available: nuclear power.

  15. Smart capitalists — the ones that survive — use fewer resources to deliver the same or better results…that’s the very backbone notion of doing more with less that drives innovations.
    But we do need taxes on externalities to to help capitalism arrive at the right price rather than think it a good deal because not all expenses were accounted for.

  16. TarsTarkas says

    Anyone who touts Socialism as the governmental system that can successfully combat AGW had better pay a visit to the Aral Sea, or rather what’s left of it. A whole ecosystem of over 100 thousand square KM completely devastated by Soviet central planning.

    Successful Socialism depends entirely on the benevolence of the men and women running it. Ain’t no such thing as a benevolent Socialist or Communist because even the most selfless and disinterested Socialist leader considers people and natural resources as fungible goods to be used and/or expended for the greater good; love, friendship, and sentiment are a bourgeois luxuries that society can ill afford when the fate of the world (or utopia) is at stake. All people are selfish to some degree, many if not most can curb their selfishness if motivated by a greater goal. Socialism and Communism encourage the worst in selfishness.

  17. Nicholas says

    I don’t think it’s completely fair to say liberals are more grounded in science than conservatives.
    I grant most conservatives are generally deaf to climate change research, but merely agreeing with scientists’ conclusions doesn’t mean you’re any more rational or informed if you only agree with them when those conclusions align with your existing ideology. The consistant failure of the left to embrace consensus views in economics, for instance, gives the lie to the notion that they are ‘grounded’ in anything other than ideology.
    Instead they take fringe economists who argue against consensus and elevate them to Rockstar status. And notice the response from the field isn’t hysteria about who’s pocket those economists are in; they respond in the literature to legitimate criticisms of their work and keep plugging away…. because the very notion of ‘settled science’ is in fact an oxymoron. And that’s not even to mention the regressive left’s new found distain for science and reason themselves as systems of oppression.

    • Paolo Scussolini says

      I dare to raise the objection that there should be a clear distinction between ‘science’ and ‘economy’. Your point does not seem to stand, thus. But it’s true for example that the left is deaf to the facts of the brilliant results of free markets worldwide. So I agree that the left surely doesn’t have a pure record of being fact-based.

      • Nicholas says

        @Paolo

        Fair point, my example about economics may not have been the best, I wanted to raise the issue of the left denying the science of geo engineering, but didn’t want to track down sufficient quotes to demonstrate a trend rather than isolated anecdotes. However, I feel the point about “settled science” stands; the whole premise of the scientific method is falsifiability. The left’s embrace of unquestionable ‘science’ demonstrates their deep lack of scientific literacy and rejection of science proper for ideological *scientism*.

    • E. Olson says

      Certainly the left very often doesn’t agree with the scientific consensus regarding IQ differences between groups, or the genetic sources of IQ and personality differences, or significant gender differences in brain activities (or even physical abilities), or that transgenders always remain the same sex they were born as, or the lack of health benefits from organic foods. The left also tends to have basic disagreements with the idea that the scientific method is based on empirical verification of theory, as they constantly talk about 97% agreement rates as “scientific proof” when they aren’t promoting “post-modernism” as the subjective future of science.

  18. Tobias says

    The IPCC and the entire climate science establishment is paralyzed by groupthink.

    The IPCC writes a 1,000-page report that should have been summarized in one sentence: “The world will exceed +1.5C over historic without large-scale Geoengineering.”

    Then they omit the most promising, cost-effective approaches to Geoengineering, like Marine Cloud Brightening and Cirrus Cloud Thinning. There are climate scientists who are harassed for research into these technologies, despite their potential to HALT global warming for 30 years for under $1 billion USD per year. That’s 0.1% of the Paris Accord’s cost.

    The research budget for these projects? I am sure IPCC’s annual budget for conferences is larger. They spend weeks on end debating how to write a paragraph, while meanwhile leaving a gaping hole in their research project.

    The world is not facing a climate change problem…it’s facing a crisis of scientific sloppiness, ideological rigidity, and lack of meaning. This has left those who are supposed to be pointing us to solutions completely blind.

    But, I am optimistic. You Aussies in Queensland are paying to see if you can brighten clouds to save the Great Barrier Reef. And I will never give up on my home country (USA). And even if we don’t get our act together in the Chinese will certainly do it.

    • D-Rex says

      I am dead against any form of geoengineering to reduce CO2 because of the great risk of unintended consequences. I’ll take a warmer world over a colder one any day.

  19. Paolo Scussolini says

    I love this site and read most articles with interest. It’s quite unsettling though to see such a large participation from climate denialists, in the comments section. I feel sometime this undermines the validity of the rest of Quillette’s. Like I find myself reading along a set of gullible and politically polarizer people. I normally just shake off this impression and go ahead reading.

    • The reason is, Paolo, that climate change, and the awareness of it, is an issue of the leftists, denial is something of rightists, of which there simply are more on this blog (read the Wikipedia, see Quillette). I also love this site, and where the discussion is again on climate change denial, or the low IQ of blacks, I just skip the comments, because there are always very many sensible comments too.

    • @Paolo There are definitely a few denialists here, but there is also a surprising amount of people with a well-informed view. Since most media is so polarised I think this site is actually doing pretty well in terms of the comments it attracts.

      Do you know of another site that is even less filled with alarmists and denialists?

    • Paolo: if you think this is bad, you should definitely avoid the comment section for Quillette’s recent “White Privilege” article. Most of the commenters completely misunderstand the idea of white privilege and refuse to consider the possibility that racism remains a problem in American society. A few are explicitly racist and anti-Semitic; they went unchallenged. It’s disappointing that a site dedicated to “free thought” attracts so many knee-jerk reactionaries.

      • Maybe, dellingdog, free thought has its price! But, you are right, strange that all that antisemitism and racism goes unchallenged! But Aux is also right: blog’s lifeblood is extremism, however, most blogs expose extremism of only one kind ( right OR left), and this youcan’t say of Quillette!

    • jimhaz says

      I was think thinking much the same – I want truth not the self-interest based fables of right whingers or those egotists who find attention by being contrarian cause they were probably bullied at school for being non-intellectualy odd.

    • Can you not engage with people who aren’t denying the world is warming, but question the magnitude of the future effects, the accuracy of the presentation in the media, or the viability of the proposed solutions?

      What I have found is that anyone who brings out derogatory labels is usually not particularly interested in an honest debate.

  20. I must say that these comments are really depressing. So much grandstanding.

    The 97% meme has been blown up. Who cares about the percentage? Surely the scientists mostly agree, right? Seems like that is unassailable.

    So what if a few people have made crazy predictions in the past that have turned out to be wrong? Isn’t that always the case? It doesn’t change much.

    So why aren’t beachfront property owners selling up? Who’s to say some aren’t? How would you know? Don’t markets always look rosy just before a crash? Such a lame argument.

    • > The 97% meme has been blown up. Who cares about the percentage? Surely the scientists mostly agree, right? Seems like that is unassailable.

      I agree that repeating the 97% meme misses the point a bit. The main point is really that it’s one of the best arguments the IPCC has, but it’s invalid. There are 2 issues with the whole line of reasoning,

      (1) science doesn’t work by consensus. What matters is which ideas prove to be more useful in the long run.

      (2) what is it that scientists “mostly agree” on? Certainly not the policy proposals being put forward by the IPCC.

      • D-Rex says

        It doesn’t really matter what percentage of scientists agree on something if they are all wrong. Please tell me what you think is the ideal CO2 concentration and why?

        • That’s easy Rex, that’s the concentration of our grandparents time, time when obesity still was the exception, animal factories did not exist and children were still playing outside, instead of playing computergames inside. CO2 concentration was 325 ppm at that time, whereas now it’s close to 400. Temperature was consequently, 1.5 dgr Celsius lower, but there were times that these concentrations and temperatures were still lower, in the glacial periods.So, ideal concentrations do not exist, it all depends what you like, cool or warm climate (nature just adapts soon enough, plants as well as animals, though some will go extinct). Sea levels in our ancestors time were 100 mts below what they are now, and if all ice melts down, will rise more than 50 mts. So, NwYork, and many other coast cities, will have a hard time.

          • @dirk, but why not the concentration from 800 years ago when the climate was even better and all those plants and animals thrived? You know, pre-Industrial revolution and Monsanto and such!

          • @Bill: 800 yrs ago there was also a somewhat warmer period, in the 17th century, we had a short ice period (with very severe winters and snow even in June). But why so far back, yes? It’s not getting better and better, climatewise. And I also don’t think that people have problems with the climate we have now, even where it is 1 or 2 degrees warmer than it was, it’s the steep and ongoing rise in the last 50 years (in CO2 and in temperature) that is the concern, not for us, maybe, but for our grandchildren, and theirs. Can we go on with this fuel gulping and consuming? Do we really need it for feeling well? What if sea level is rising with meters (with enough time), instead of with mms? That’s probably the scaring scenario! Anyhow, as I said, not our problem now!

  21. D.B. Cooper says

    If this project is really about saving the planet, rather than destroying capitalism, cooling the earth will mean cooling our rhetoric as well.

    The framing of this debate evades a level of candor commensurate to the problem. Semantic intuitions notwithstanding, this project is not – or, should not be – about saving the planet or destroying capitalism, but rather, what energy policy is most consistent with human flourishing, now and in the future. Humanity’s well-being – health, happiness and prosperity – is the standard, isn’t it? To my knowledge, reports of the planet’s impending doom are not simply exaggerated, they’re unreported. It seems like mad work to concern oneself with saving a planet that no one believes is dying.

    Moreover, I’ll be happy to include myself in this null-hypothesis hostage taking just as soon as someone – anyone will do – can tell me what, precisely, the ideal temperature (on Earth) is supposed to be. This lack of precision, more than anything, has weaponized this discourse to the point that, rarely, anything is said that actually approximates to the reality of the situation. There are multiple reasons why the climate changes, including, but not limited to: CO2, the sun, the clouds, the oceans, and Earth’s orbital variations. None of these inputs are well understood. That said, however, most all climate scientists agree that adding CO2 to the atmosphere should lead to some warming. But the scenario that burning fossil fuels leads to “potentially catastrophic consequences” is not discussed in the linked IPCC summary report, nor any IPCC report I’m familiar with.

    Furthermore, this issue demands that we take a dispassionate view of the data, and IF we’re going to commit ourselves to such, we should agree to consider both the positives (carbon dioxides fertilizing effect – global greening) and the negatives (global warming) of CO2 emissions; and not simply parrot off unduly qualified confirmations of prejudice as grand declarations of truth: “…greenhouse gas emissions are displaced and dispersed into the shared atmosphere, contributing to global atmospheric degradation.

  22. Greg Scott says

    “Eco socialism”? More like ‘eco imperialism’ given it’s the developing world that’s more likely to suffer from the restraint of fossil fuels. I’m aware that the IPCC has attempting to address that imbalance but why do they, and Klein for that matter, never tell us how many human lives they are willing to sacrifice to achieve their utopian dream? Maybe it would help if they could actually find some real evidence that we are heading towards ‘end times’ but calling people names and arguing that correlation equals causation makes it look like really don’t have any.
    As for the ‘scientists say’ argument, scientists say that skin care cream my wife just bought will make her look 10 years younger.

  23. ga gamba says

    Having actually read the Paris Climate Agreement, I came to the conclusion that it’s bereft of actual plans and policies to keep global warming lower than the 2-degree celsius pre-industrialisation target (or 1.5 degrees as others want) except in one key area: the annual transfer to $100 billion for decades from the ‘developed world’ to the developing. It’s a wealth transfer. A pay off.

    And who is the ‘developed world’ mentioned in the Paris Agreement? This is defined by Annexes I and II of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992. Yes, 1992. The developed countries are Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe.

    Notice who’s missing? China. But not only China, almost all of Asia, including highly developed South Korea and Taiwan and thriving Singapore and Malaysia is exempt. This region is where much of the world’s industrial activity occurs as well as the explosive growth in ownership of petrol-powered vehicles and electricity-consuming home-appliances.

    What’s the cheapest and easiest way for a developed nation to reduce its greenhouse-gas emitting troublemakers? Transfer them to the developing world. The ones building coal-fired power plants presently to handle ever growing industrial and consumer demand.

    … China’s role in constructing over 700 new coal-fired power plants around the world. According to Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin, some of these new coal plants will be built in countries that burn little or no coal today. While many of the coal plants will be located in China, about one-fifth of the capacity of these new coal power plants is going to be located in other countries.

    China is not alone in constructing coal-fired power plants. According to Urgewald, about 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries; this data comes from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. If constructed, these new plants would increase global coal-fired capacity by 43 percent. According to Urgewald, 11 of the world’s 20 biggest coal plant developers are Chinese.

    The world’s largest coal-plant developer, however, is India’s National Thermal Power Corporation, which plans to build over 38 gigawatts of new coal capacity in India and Bangladesh.

    China and India, ranked first and third globally in greenhouse gas emissions, are planning to build coal-fired plants at home and in other countries to bring electrification to the developing world and to continue to grow their economies. While both countries have ratified the Paris climate agreement, they will continue to do what their populations need with respect to power generation and will also continue constructing coal-fired plants around the world.

    The Paris Agreement incentivises countries such as Norway to ban petrol-powered cars by 2025, a no-cost and painless solution for the oil-exporter because it builds a few hundred cars, all electric, annually. Petrol cars removed from the developed world don’t disappear, they’re often exported to the developing world where a thriving second-hand market exists. For example, in Nigeria and Ethiopia second-hand imports account for 80% of vehicle sales; 96% of vehicles imported into Kenya are used.

    Whether you believe climate change is real or not, make no mistake, the Paris Agreement is a shell-game scam. Though climate change is a global issue activists claim will affect everyone, only a small part of the world is responsible to do anything about it. The Agreement was a failure from the start. Temperatures will keep rising and ever more demands will be made for the developed world to fix things further out of its reach.

    Note: if you want to get an idea of where the coal-fired power plant development is happening, check out https://endcoal.org/tracker/. Select a country, then choose the filters ‘permitted’ and ‘construction’, and upon refresh the future plants will be presented.

    • The $100B was a payoff to the developing world to buy their signatures. The agreement was being held hostage. On the other side it was a poison pill to the developed world. People who lament about the Paris Accords never bring this up, or tell their electorate exactly what their share of the cost will be.

      If you run the numbers of where all those future emissions are predicted to come from, China, India, and Africa, it is clear that the only viable path is for clean energy to be at least at cost parity with fossil fuels. Energy technology, not punishing the carbon sinners, is the path forward. Poor developing world’s won’t pay extra to assuage the climate guilt of wealthy countries.

  24. Colton says

    This is a tremendous article. A person can be both a conservative and a proponent for keeping the planet stable by reducing our footprint. If done correctly capitalism can be the answer.

    • Jackson Howard says

      Capitalism should indeed be the answer, but it can only work if the externalities are priced correctly. Otherwise markets will suffer from a catastrophic blindspot and fail badly. My fear is that liberal capitalism might not survive as the dominant ideology would such a massive failure happen.

      The climate change effects are very much here though, and it’s getting worse. It’s not like one needs a PhD to see it. Hike in the Alps and look at the glaciers and permafrost at high altitude. It’s really getting bad.

      Same goes for heat events and massive precipitations.

      Greens have terrible blind spots though, mainly their hate of nuclear anything and love for heavy handed governement direct intervention (surely from their socialist roots, at least in EU). I’ll never understand the german greens with their choice of removing nuclear power before coal.

      As for renewables intermitency, it can be adressed with hydropower as energy storage and fast gas combined cycle power plants.

      The way I see it is that for now markets are blind to it (though re-insurance companies are starting to feel the pinch). If not adressed, it will end with a massive and permanent loss of asset value. Mainly anything sitting on the low coasts or in the equatorial belt.

  25. D-Rex says

    Um, has anyone noticed that we are in fact in the middle of an effing ice age? Volcanism has been steadily declining for millions of years so CO2 levels have been st dangerously low levels for millennia. Believe it or not there are some people who think we should remove all CO2 from the atmosphere altogether (and carbon from their own bodies).

    • Um, no D-Rex, I hadn’t. The most recent ice age was about 20,000 years ago, and we’ve come out of it. See https://xkcd.com/1732/ for a delightful picture that’s worth 1000 words.

      It’s worth noting that temperatures have warmed as much in the last 100 years as they did in the previous 10,000. A slight speed up, one could say.

      And about removing all CO2 from the atmosphere, citation required.

      • D-Rex says

        Simon, I think you’re confusing ice ages with glacial periods. We are certainly in an interglacial period but we have also been in an ice age for over 2 and a half million years. FTWWTK, an ice age is when you have permanent ice on earth, which has not been the norm throughout earth’s history.

        • D-Rex says

          “It’s worth noting that temperatures have warmed as much in the last 100 years as they did in the previous 10,000.”

          It’s actually worth noting that we now have very high resolution of temp calculations whereas paleoclimate proxies only have a resolution of 100 years minimum, so that is an empty claim. Plus, most of the temp increase in the last 150 years is as a rebound from the little ice age.

          • The last 100 or so years are of course not paleoclimate proxies, they are actual thermometers. To be sure, earlier years are more and more uncertain in time the further back you go (although ice core proxies with their annual layers can be accurate almost to the year for one or more thousand years BP). But with the warming over the last 10,000 years no-one’s really asking if it was really 9900 or 10100. So the claim that things have sped up enormously in the last 100 – 200 years is not empty.

            Regarding “rebound from the Little Ice Age”, the research indicates that it was actually several disjoint episodes occurring at different times from 1300 – 1850, relatively localized and not putting all that much of a dent in the global average temperature (about -0.5C compared to the 1950 – 1980 mean). But it’s uncomfortably significant that the “rebound” coincides with the Industrial Revolution, and that increases since then have taken things higher *above* that mean than the MWP ever took them below it. 8 years since have equalled or exceeded the then-record global average temperature of 1998, 6 of them in the current decade, which some claimed was going to show pronounced cooling due to sunspot minima and orbital factors.

          • D-Rex says

            Sorry to correct you again Simon, but when we talk about 100-200 year resolution, it produces an average. Much like taking a months worth of daily maximums and calculating the monthly average. This gets rid of the numerous peaks and troughs that you find in the modern record What single temp would you get if you were to average the 20th century’s annual global temps? Nowhere near the current highs. The same can be said for the rate of temp increase over the last 150 years, if you simply took the average per century over the last 2 millenium, it wouldn’t look that dramatic.
            BTWFTTWTK, the Younger Dryas period near the end of the last glacial saw an estimated 8 degree rise in 10-100 years and as far as I know, no known explanation.
            Just as a more recent example of what I’m talking about, if you look at graphs of Atlantic hurricane activity presented in Mr. Gore’s seminal documentary, there is a peak with hurricane Katrina and the 5 year smoothed curve is also showing an upward trend. There were predictions that it was going to get much worse but fast forward to today and the smoothed curve has dropped significantly, making Katrina just a blip on the graph.
            What all of this is leading to is the point that paleo proxies are like the smoothed hurricane graph, they can’t show the true highs and lows because of the low resolution. For all we know there could have been single years during the MWP (which new evidence has shown to have been global) much warmer than today.

            Confession time; all of my comments on this thread have been just from memory, I’m too lazy to go back and look stuff up.

          • D-rex, I’m trying to unpick your line of reasoning. It seems to be:

            – The further back you go, the more smoothed and over a longer time the averages must necessarily be. [Fair enough.]

            – You implicitly invoke the mantra “climate’s changing all the time” to presume that the sort of global-average changes we’ve been seeing in the last few decades have actually been happening with similar degree and rapidity throughout paleohistory as well. [1] [A whopper of an assumption.]

            – We don’t see these rapid changes in the paleoclimate, but only gradual variations, because the temperature proxies smooth these rapid changes over 100 years or more. Single- or few-year global highs would not be seen. [Like the previous step, this begs the assumption that human-induced climate forcings have been and continue to be insignificant, not resulting in long-term trends which would still show in the 100-year averages.]

            – Therefore, the surface temperature measurements showing dramatic warming in recent decades, now measured at many tens of thousands of points measured from land, sea and space averaged over the whole globe, can be assumed to only temporary and will conveniently disappear after a few more hundred years of smoothing. [Highly dubious assertion, if I may say so. [2]]

            – Therefore, recent measurements do not indicate significant long-term warming and AGW is a hoax.

            By all means protest if the above is an unfair distillation of what you’re saying.

            NOTES

            [1] Such rapid changes do indeed occur locally, but once you average them over the whole globe they are much less. Your quoted Younger Dryas warming of 8 C over 10 – 100 years is a relevant example here. If you pick a spot near the boundary of receding glacial ice pack, you will indeed get such a rise (and there are similar increases today in parts of northern Canada etc). But globally, the end of the YD covered 10,500 to 8000 BC and the global average increased less than 2.5 C over those 2500 years. This is quite another ball game than 2 degrees C globally in 150 years.

            [2] By a similar line of reasoning, I can assert that my average house temperature goes up and down all the time, set the place on fire (sort-of like “reaching a tipping point”), and just wait a week or two until the average reduces to a normal level. It’s gone up before, after all…

  26. Could it be that some people think CO2 is a poisonous gas? Without CO2, no plant, and thus no animal and human life. But, this gas needs to be present in a certain (very low, but not too low) concentration, in the order of parts per million, instead of parts per hundred (percents) such as oxygen.

  27. martti_s says

    Dismantling capitalism is an idea that surfaces every time there is a new, wealthy middle class with lots of time in their hands. Those who have the bad luck of living in socialism try to get the hell out of there or at least make a living in black market, drugs, arms or prostitution.

    It is remarkable that it is always the well-to-do who feel that they should ‘liberate’ an oppressed group whether they want it or not. The elite is incapable of understanding that their ideals are not global truths, let alone that they have been historically tested and failed.

    Dismantling capitalism and introducing any known form of socialism would probably in the long run reduce world population b 20 to 30 per cent through famine and police action. This would be enough to slow down global warming unless the remaining populations took to slash-and-burn farming (what else could they do facing the collapse of the agro-ndustry) and lose the gained momentum against climate change.

    Having see the Soviet ecology in action, I would not except any great innovations on the new socialist order, either. It is not in their fabric like mind policing, prison camps and propaganda is.
    What they want is total power.

  28. I’m not in favor or Marxism or any other top-down organizational structure for human beings, but capitalism is a suicide pact.

    Consider the following scenario:

    Two corporations, A and Z, are in the foodstuffs market. Corp A goes out of it’s way to use the most environmentally-conscious processes, distribution and packaging it can find, while Corp B uses the most cost-effective. Corp A pays much more to put their product on your shelves, and has more product loss because they’re not using hermetically-sealed plastics for their packaging.

    Which of these endures? Which of these goes on to dominate the market? Which is accelerating the rate of climate change (more)?

    This is capitalism at work, and it’s pushing the same species-exterminating solutions everywhere it’s found because all it cares about is profit. There was never a future in it.

    • I’m having a hard time connecting the example to “species-exterminating”. It is hyperbolic statements like this that make environmentalists look like fact starved wackos. You might want to look into what economic systems have produced the most “species-supporting” advances, from medicine to agriculture.

  29. I agree Jason, capitalism is very good in cheapest, best production and distribution of goods for all, but in sustainability? And environmental care and mangement? For that very same reason, the worst, of course. But what’s the alternative, besides socialism, or totalitarianism? Read the 21 lessons of Harari to know more on that!

  30. Cjones1 says

    Socialism nationalizes the private sector, Fascism controls the private sector, but leaves private and public ownership. Does the IPCC promote Fascism?
    Acknowledging ice ages and the history of climate change is a far cry from the claims of AGW proponents. The modelled predictions of the bubble headed, AGW proponents have not matched the actual conditions that occurred.
    They have deliberately ignored or downplayed the pre-industrial factors that influenced the history of climate change such as geological events, sunspot cycles, orbital cycles, bolide impacts, and periodical atmospheric/oceanic oscillations. The pages of climatic history as far as core data and isotopic studies still require deciphering.
    If some sunspot speculators are correct, the current downward trend in the sunspot cycle portends a cooling trend in late 2019/early 2020. Throw in a couple of large volcanic events and a little ice age cometh.
    We can hold off on the quasi-fascist economic policies at least until 2020 until we know more.

  31. Nick Ender says

    Nope. You want to stop global warming? Less government is the answer. Are you really concerned with climate change? Stop subsidizing oil prices. Watch how fast electric and solar replace natural gas and gasoline in a free market. It’s that simple.

  32. “If this project is really about saving the planet, rather than destroying capitalism, cooling the earth will mean cooling our rhetoric as well.”

    It’s not about saving the planet.

    The Left doesn’t really think the planet is in danger. Otherwise, they would show it in their daily lives by drastically cutting personal energy consumption. And they would stop buying stuff from countries (China) who have lower environmental standards. Of course, we rarely see that response.

    The issue is not saving the planet or making the planet better. It’s about making the planet equal. Climate change wealth redistribution facilitates the movement toward global equality. People just stupidly assume that equal means better. It doesn’t of course. Better means better. The only way to better is inequality. And that is where capitalism comes in.

    At the end of the day, communism (equality) and capitalism (inequality) cannot coexist. One must die.

  33. Ironic that the author brings up the venting of methane from natural gas wells as a problem when it is fracking that has produced a large portion of recent emissions reductions in the US, all without costing the consumer a dollar. It is the environmentalists who oppose this in lock-step, as well as nuclear.

    As for the left being closer to the science, that is rather opportunistic. As an example, the recent IPCC report had this to say about hurricanes:

    “Numerous studies towards and beyond AR5 have reported a decreasing trend in the global number of tropical cyclones and/or the globally accumulated cyclonic energy”
    “… there is only low confidence regarding changes in global tropical cyclone numbers under global warming over the last four decades.”
    “There is consequently low confidence in the larger number of studies reporting increasing trends in the global number of very intense cyclones.”

    Go read recent hurricanes and climate change articles in the media and try to find a single one that references these statements, or even state something similar. Instead they quote single scientists who say the things the media wants to parrot: Climate change has already made hurricanes worse.

    The problem isn’t the science, although there are some bad activist scientists, but environmental journalism which has the worst case of noble cause corruption I have ever seen. They shouldn’t be trusted, and they earn that reputation every day.

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  37. D Bruce says

    The tax system needs to be brought into the market – LVT as the single tax would fix the root bug in capitalism (a tax system that destabilises the largest market- the land market and drives inequality and the boom bust cycle) and also, in one of a cascade of positive side effects, correctly price the environment.
    A govt whose only income derives from land value is going to be a fierce defender of the environment.

  38. Jonathan Pye says

    For an active climate communist with the feeling of always fighting against the wind in small powerless groups, the concerns you guys show over IPCC really does warm my heart. Maybe we will win after all!

  39. The climate alarmists have not even come close to proving the most basic point in support of their claims: that the policies they advocate would alleviate more suffering than they cause. By nearly every generally applicable measure, human well-being has been on a steep uphill climb that almost perfectly mirrors the steep uphill climb in carbon emissions. Thus far, the direct negative impacts from (arguably) warmer global temperatures have been minimal and declining (wealth being the largest mitigating factor reducing the severity of weather-related disasters). The alarmists would have us reverse the trend in carbon emissions, but have not presented an argument that we could do so to a degree that would significantly impact global temperatures while leaving uphill trend in human well-being intact. Until they do so, it would be foolish to follow their recommendations.

    • Peter says

      Switzerland ejoys prosperity with per capita CO2 emissions amounting to
      31% that of the US.

  40. Doug Whitney says

    Climate change, deal with it. I know Bogota, Colombia, a typical 3rd world city, pollution so bad that I get headache within 12 hours and come back to the US with respiratory illness. If they don’t care about cleaning the air for their own benefit, why would they remove Co2 for the world’s benefit , when they contribute less than 0.5%? Pollition i’s not a failure of capitalism, it’s prosperity, people are moving to the city daily to improve the lives.

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