Environment, recent, Science / Tech

The Right Needs To Grow Up On Environmentalism

Mentioning the environment to a conservative is liable to elicit a similar response that mentioning political correctness would from a left-winger: a slight raising of the eyebrows, a slight exhalation of breath and, perhaps, a folding of the arms or tapping of the feet. It smells—it positively stinks—of out-group affiliation. The environment? That’s what those dreadful latté sipping, lentil eating, flip-flop wearing leftists talk about. Are you sure you’re in the right place?

It did not have to be this way. Up until the later decades of the twentieth century, attitudes towards the environment did not fall along tribal lines. Conservationists, like President Theodore Roosevelt, were often conservatives. As environmental causes, like the campaigns against DDT and air pollution, gathered storm in the 1970s, however, conservative were dismayed by the apparent tendencies towards big government and internationalism in addressing them. A 1970 letter to William F. Buckley from his National Review colleague James Burnham, unearthed by the assiduous researcher Joshua Tait, also expresses deep concerns regarding threats to free enterprise and a “snobbish elitism…with the experts and the publicists knowing what the rest of us ought to want.” As Tait suggests, these “non-scientific arguments against environmentalism” crystallized and endure today.

Yet conservative premises could have lent themselves to environmentalism. Conservatives believe—or ought to believe—in low time preferences, prudence and restraint, the fragility of order, and the love of home. The Left’s apparent use of environmental matters as Trojan horses for egalitarian and internationalist ambitions has no doubt raised hackles on the Right but it is the all-but-unqualified embrace of free market capitalism, has led to an almost absolute abandonment of the field to the Left. Yes, free market capitalism has enabled growth and innovation, but it is also a force for presentism, insecurity and greed.

I would not deny that leftists can be dogmatic, opportunistic, and sometimes openly misanthropic when it comes to the many different debates that come under the heading of “environmentalism,” in which people could have many different reasonable opinions. The debate has also been disfigured by its share of irrational catastophrising. But I am, and have long been, dismayed by conservatives who instinctively take the side of industry, consumption, and solipsism when faced with threats to our environments; dismayed intellectually—because of the point-missing and nit-picking style of their argumentation—and dismayed spiritually, because of their great clubbish complacence.

Last December, Transport and Industry Committee Chairman Bill DeFazio called climate change “an existential threat to our planet.” “Insanity,” scoffed Steve Milloy:

Milloy might have added that music described as “deafening” had perforated no eardrums, that a “freezing cold” afternoon had caused no frostbite, and that a mistress charged with being a “homewrecker” had damaged no houses.

Milloy is a man with a blog, “Junk Science,” but he is not just a man with a blog. A longtime scholar at the Cato Institute, he became a member of President Trump’s transition team despite being censured by his regular hosts at Fox News for not disclosing his financial ties to the tobacco producers and marketers of Phillip Morris.

The President himself has an odd record on the subject of climate change, with his positions shifting from the quixotic idea that it is is a hoax whipped up by the Chinese to the limp claim that while the climate might be changing it “could very well go back.” This month, as winter carpeted the U.S. in snow, he advertised his inability to distinguish between climate and weather when he tweeted:

The climate has been growing hotter and hotter, year after year, and a cold snap does not change this any more than a criminal who pats a kitten on the head has been reformed.

To the extent that President Trump’s attitude is influenced by anything except uninformed intuition, it is influenced by people like Steve Milloy. This is unfortunate, because Milloy is comically unreliable, a fact tmade readily apparent by a visit to his blog. The leading article on Milloy’s website, on the day I checked, was headlined, “AAAS Chief Admits Scientists Have Destroyed the Credibility of Science.” In fact, the president of the Americans Association for the Advancement of Science admitted no such thing. He did say the public does not trust scientists enough but he did not say this is due to scientists destroying their own credibility, which was Milloy’s tendentious editorial gloss.

One of the next articles on Mr Milloy’s website is entitled “An Ocean of Inconvenient Truth” and reports on a paper which suggests that the “estimated increase in ocean heat content during 1990-2015 is the same as that between 1921–1946.” I have no idea why this finding would be inconvenient. Scientists are well aware of the “Early Twentieth Century Warming” and have written extensively on its relationship to ocean heat.

My favourite recent Milloyism, though—the peak of his ludicrous climate complacence—comes when he reports on a study which found that, millions of years ago, the Earth’s CO2 levels might have reached 1000ppm. This he heralds as “proof that the planet is not in jeopardy.” At that time, the Scientific American reports, the Arctic was “stocked with swamp-loving reptiles” and there were “temperate forests covering Antarctica.” The planet would survive transitioning to similar conditions. Would billions of people? That is far more dubious.

If Milloy represents the cranky, Gadsen flag flying old guard of anti-environmentalists, Alex Epstein represents the optimistic, idealistic younger generation. His book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels is a passionate and, I am sure, sincere case not just against decreasing carbon emissions but in favour of increasing them.

Epstein believes that climate scientists have misrepresented facts. So does he. While scientists were prophesying our doom in a new ice age in the 1970s, Epstein claims, there was “not much fear” that global warming was of a “significant enough magnitude to do major harm.” In fact, as Thomas Peterson and colleagues have explained in their paper, “The Myth of the Global Cooling Scientific Consensus,” more scientists believed in global warming than global cooling. A 1968 report from the Stanford Research Institute reported:

If the earth’s temperature increases significantly, a number of events might be expected to occur, including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, a rise in sea levels, warming of the oceans, and an increase in photosynthesis.

This conflicts with the narrative Mr Epstein wants to build about the instability of climate research, and so he simply ignores it.

Epstein’s book is not without its merits. He makes an eloquent case for the essential status of fossil fuels in the development of civilisation, pointing out, for example, the counter-intuitive yet why-did-I-not-think-of-this-before fact that fewer people have been dying from climate-related deaths due to improved infrastructure, technology, and nutrition. Epstein attempts to contrast this cheerful humanist vision with the misanthropic nature-fetishism of environmentalists. This is a case he can make stick when it comes to the eco-doomster Paul R. Ehrlich, but he overreaches when he launches an attack on Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountains Institute. When asked about the potential of nuclear fusion, Epstein tells us that Lovins replied:

Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.

Epstein follows this with paragraph after paragraph about how Lovins is an “anti-humanist” who would deny African hospitals electricity. The quote is not sourced to the original interview but to a book called The Coercive Utopians. It also appears in such books as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and the Environment, The Global-Warming Deception, and Why Businessmen Need Philosophy.

There are two problems with this quote. The first is that the initial sentence does not appear, at least from the web version, to have come from the interview from which the rest of the quote was taken. Where does it come from? I don’t know. The second problem is that the paragraph following this quote, as Epstein does not mention, makes it very clear that when Lovins expressed concern about “what we might do” he was referring to “bomb materials” with “worrisome military implications.” Epstein took a quote, in other words, which worried about the potential for human suffering and made it appear as if its author opposed ameliorating pain. A generous interpretation is that he never read the original interview.

In his discussion of climate change, Epstein makes some reasonable points about how believing that the climate is changing and that humans contributing to these changes does not mean one cannot have different attitudes towards how dramatic and damaging these changes will be. For someone who bangs on about the need for precision in debates, however, his arguments for an optimistic attitude towards the subject involve a lot of hand-waving. Discussing graphs on sea level rises, for example, he says:

Note how smooth the trends are—and also notice how several of them are downward. This points to a truth about sea level and climate. It is affected by many factors, often factors that are much more important than any change in the global climate system.

Wikipedia could tell us that. But how much is climate change contributing, and how much will it contribute? The voluble author falls silent. A recent study, as it happens, suggests that the effects of climate change are significant.

A great deal of Epstein’s book is devoted to arguing that we cannot produce renewable energy efficiently enough to replace fossil fuels. This is not, to be quite frank, a field in which I have the necessary technical knowledge to be a participant. What is interesting, though, is how little space Epstein devotes to the question of whether we can use energy more efficiently. Yes, all of us want heat, light, and warmth. This does not mean that there are not significant reductions to be made in our overuse of cars rather than public transport, bikes or our own two legs, our overuse of commercial flying and overconsumption of meat. No doubt Mr Epstein, as a libertarian who cut his teeth at the Ayn Rand Institute, would defend our right to drive, fly, and eat animal products as much as we like without being lectured by hoity-toity environmentalists, but these would have been less powerful arguments to make than a defence of African hospitals’ right to electricity.

Epstein has fun mocking falsified predictions of “peak oil,” and boldly claims that there could be no limit to our usable energy sources. “[We] just need human ingenuity to be free to discover ways to turn unusable energy into usable energy.” Mr Epstein has great faith in human ingenuity. If, as he doubts, anthropogenic global warming does have significant deleterious effects on our environment, he nevertheless claims that humans will figure out a way around the problem. Well, perhaps. But as Thomas Homer-Dixon writes in The Ingenuity Gap, there is no reason why our ingenuity must keep pace with potential crises. Following the precautionary principle, we must at least minimise our waste.

I was going to avoid mentioning Rand, for fear of succumbing to guilt by association, but Epstein cheerfully makes this impossible. Rand is quoted, and then her philosophies of life are echoed:

Life can be great, indefinitely. Each of us must try to make the best of his life, by creating as much as he wants to benefit his life, and to take joy in the fact that his interests are harmonized with those of his fellow men and his children and his children’s children, knowing that the greatest gift he can give to both himself and to the future is to be a creative human being who enjoys his life.

All of us hope to enjoy our lives, of course, but much of what we do to help our fellow men, our children, and our children’s children involves sacrificing our immediate enjoyment for the sake of their interests.

I am not suggesting that the Right has to accept all IPCC predictions, or reject the use of fossil fuels in principle, or eat organic food, or listen to folk music. These are questions that thoughtful people can debate. Yet conservatives—and our unruly cousins, libertarians—must stop embracing overly convenient criticism of mainstream science, and avoid getting drunk off idealistic optimism, and resist the indolent desire to wish environmental challenges away. Our higher virtues of order, prudence, restraint, and what Roger Scruton calls “oikophilia” (the love of home) will be respected and not betrayed if we do so.


Ben Sixsmith is an English writer living in Poland. Visit his website here and follow him on Twitter @BDSixsmith


  1. DirtyJobsGuy says

    The authors piece is heartfelt but proves the point of most conservatives. Environmentalism has grabbed some tentative science as a cover for a very religious view of nature. You can see that when the first issues with practicality or cost of environmental actions arise. Mr. Sixsmith lives in Poland that wisely chose not to follow the Germans down the renewable energy fiasco but builds modern coal fired power plants to keep the economy growing. Another point that I always ask extreme climate change advocates is who decided that 1950 was the optimal climate? Humans have lived in warmer and much colder worlds and we are still due for another ice age which would be a huge disaster for humankind. I’m perfectly willing to have someone make a philosophical or aesthetic basis for the optimal climate, but they have to be upfront about the economic and social costs. No cheating by claiming we will all die!

    • A. W. says

      Nothing shows the schizophrenic and religious nature of environmentalism than the progression of “green policy advocacy” over time.

      When I was a kid it was always “save the rainforests before they disappear, avoid using paper products”.

      There was lobbying, public policy was adjusted and paper shopping bags were attacked until retailers swapped to plastic.

      Now, suddenly, omg the plastic bags are evil, we need to ban them and MANDATE paper bags, and the rainforest can go eat chainsaw I guess.

      This kind of lunacy and (rather expensive) “shuffling of the deck chairs” policy is the norm.

      The reality is normal economic market forces already work to eliminate wasteful practices and encourage cleaner technology. Horse manure and carcasses caused horrible disease outbreaks and stench in major cities before the car came long. It was naturally superior and produced a massive ecological improvement to our urban areas.

      Good luck getting an environmentalist to acknowledge this, though, they need their heavy-handed policies which unduly burden the poor and middle class with higher prices for necessities so they can “feel like they’re doing something”

        • Richard says

          I agree – why is the IPCC and NOAA data kept so secret? And all their models except the Russian one trend towards death for humanity. I will stick with George Carlin and do my best to clean up after myself and my neighborhood without mandating one damn thing.


      • Angela says

        Thanks to the digital age all the paper we use now in the US comes entirely from trees planted and grown specifically for the purpose of making paper. No rainforests harm at all.

      • Let’s not conflate “environmentalism” with religious nature worship. I’m a conservative who studied biology and ecology, and I think we as humans could be much better stewards of our planet. It bugs me that I am pigeonholed for caring about pollution, factory farms, energy waste, etc. I always called myself an environmentalist, until it started meaning something other than care and conservation of resources. I also don’t want to be thought of as the monopoly man if I don’t buy into all of the “green dogma”.

        • Yes back when it was called “conservation” it meant something different, and one could hardly be called a conservative if he supported waste and abuse of resources.

          When it became “environmentalism” it became an “-ism” and all the implications of that: a model you must fully conform to, rather than a principle. It was no longer about conserving the things we need, but the environment as a cause above our needs. Not interested.

        • peanut gallery says

          The argument I thought the author was going to make, but then didn’t really, was that conservatives/righty-Ronalds/libertarians/etc should make their OWN environmental policy that isn’t (as) dumb. I think the Trojan horse analogy is quite apt. Even though I think we should take global warming and the environment seriously, it’s hard to throw in with “left” types in that arena. OTOH, many conservative like the first one the author mentions, dunk on environmental issues while at the same time sounding like complete nincompoops. “Venus is hot, but is still a planet?” “TAKE THAT LIBTART!!1” What? Yeah, lead also melts on the surface. I don’t think we should concede the ground to people who think the best thing for the planet would be to have less humans. Otherwise the only environmental action taken is going to be written by them.

          Dave Rubin had a guest for conservative environmentalism, Benji Backer, and I think that’s a healthier take. I don’t foresee a mainstream republican swerve towards this sort of thing though.

      • Tennhauser says

        Environmentalists oppose nuclear power and fracking. If they didn’t, the problem with carbon dioxide emissions would be a fraction of what it currently is.

        Naturally they oppose GMOs, which would allow more food to be grown on less land, reducing impacts.

        In Davros, there are 1,500 private planes on the runway, each bringing the rich and powerful to a climate conference to discuss reducing emissions.

        The horrible damage from fires in California would have been greatly lessened if the forest had been managed properly. but they opposed it.

        America is damned for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in the last 10 years. China is praised while they become the largest emitter in the world.

        They protest to remove hydroelectric dams.

        They are disingenuous, serial exaggerators, and fail to address their own inconsistencies.

        In 2015, NOAA’s Thomas Karl — trying to disprove evidence that global temperatures had plateaued for perhaps 15 years — released a report saying that the agency revisited past ground and sea-level temperature data.What they did was adjust both land- and sea-based temperature readings up to prove that temperatures had been rising all along.

        Wind turbines kill an estimated 140,000 to 328,000 birds each year — and that’s just in North America. To protect the environment.

        This list is endless. I’ve frankly lost track of the lies, the double dealing, and outright stupidity of the environmental movement. I naturally assume that every claim they make is wrong – they aren’t always wrong, but they are wrong often enough that their credibility is zero. Their proposed solutions are often preposterous and entirely unworkable.

        So, by all means, lecture me on how I need to “grow up.”

        • Artimus says

          Thats a mighty broad brush Tennhauser. I’m an “environmentalist” and I am pro-nuclear and fracking. As a matter of fact three relatives have fracked wells on their property.
          No, “naturally” I don’t oppose GMO.
          I am in favor of controlled burns of land(very common in Florida where I am from).
          Although in favor of dam removal of ancient unused or lttle used dams I am also in favor of keeping hydoelectric dams.
          My uncle has three large wind turbines on his property, I never recall seeing many dead birds laying around.
          So according to yourself all environmentalists “lie”, are “stupid”, and you asume “everything” they say is wrong.
          Yes, I would say you have to “grow up”.

        • peanut gallery says

          No, the opposition party needs to have it’s own environmental policy other than nothing, “let the lefties do it.”

      • OK Quillette, I enjoyed the OMG climate change is real article and conservatives need to grow up.

        Can we now have an article by Peter Ridd (coral reef scientist sacked by James Cook Uni) and his phd student John McLean who did a 3 year audit on the quality of the data in the IPPC preferred Hadcrut4 database.

        I think it may be a bit more informative regarding the other side of this heavily weighted coin.

      • Ace “Ace” Kenshader says

        Uhm; normal economic market forces have never worked on eliminating wasteful practices and encouraging cleaner technology on it’s own, not without help from the government in the form of subsidies.

      • David says

        Wow your shopping bag analogue is equivalent the climate/weather misunderstanding that Trump shawcased.
        There are multiple sources of pulp in the world. Rainforest timber or intentionally planted pine. Both are ecologies. Both require different conditions and provide different habitat. In the past paper was produced mostly in accoddance with market forces. Oil comes from non renewable souce and also doesnt provide habitat. You only destroy habitat for oil production
        You can provide habitat at lesser costs when it comes to paper. In the past maybe we were lazy and used rainforest paper. Now the cost is to great so we go with an cheaper and what do you know more sustainable choice. Please engage, i would happily email and find a point we can both agree to discuss

    • Angela says

      I certainly wouldn’t be investing in sea level coastal properties, but the over the top doom and gloom predictions of people like Al Gore seem less and less likely.

      • R Henry says


        All of Al Gore’s Hollywood pals live right on Malibu beach in $50 million compounds. This, alone perfectly illustrates the hipocrisy of that cohort….along with their liberal use of private jet aircraft enroute to Global Climate summits in places like Davos.

      • Sea level coastal development, especially in beach areas, has always been a bad idea. I learned in Coastal Sedimentation that sand is always moving, inlets open and close, etc. This happens even without any input from hypothesized human-mediated global change. Let anyone who wants to build there pay for the risks themselves.

        • Jayden Lewis says

          Facts are not allowed in environmentalists brains.

    • Angela says

      Are you actually the guy from that TV show or just like the username? I know hes a libertarian type so wouldnt be surprised if he reads Quillette.

    • Lightning Rose says

      The problem is that “the environment,” meaning issues of toxic waste, water and air pollution, trash disposal, etc., all of which are real-world issues we can address with practical solutions, has been conflated with “climate change,” the Newspeak for “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming,” a theory cooked up by the Club of Rome in the late 70’s specifically as the Boogeyman Threat to take the place of the falling Iron Curtain. (Search “Maurice Strong” for details). When the promised “warming” stalled almost 20 years back, the semantics were changed to “climate change” which can mean absolutely anything the weather does.

      No one “denies” that the climate changes. Where I’m sitting was covered by 3 mile thick ice a mere 12,000 years ago, and whatever melted said ice did not include human fossil fuel use. Nor was that implicated in the years when Greenland was actually green, grapes were grown in the UK, etc. The reasons why climate changes are still obscure. Observations make that part unquestionable. However, the honest scientists acknowledge that the “models” used to prop up CAGW as a geopolitical issue are tainted, “adjusted” GIGO. The source itself is suspect these days; that the UN now prevaricates about “climate justice” somehow involving “gender” and other standard SJW tropes shows their true hand, and it’s social control, not “the environment.” Even the WHO these days makes ludicrous “health” prescriptions that we’ll all live on lentils and be rationed to an egg per week to “save The Planet tm” This crap is lifted straight from Erlich and Malthus and has been debunked 10,000 times.

      If governments can agree on anything, it should be that whichever way the “climate” ultimately rolls over time, adaptation will ultimately be cheaper and much more sensible than the 21st-century equivalent of placating the gods by flinging virgins down a volcanic crater.

      Nowhere do I see discussed the fact that building office towers and billion dollar hotels right down to the high-tide line on Florida beaches is probably a stupid idea. Or that Amazon’s new behemoth HQ in Long Island City will be built about 3 feet above mean high tide, and one side is a wharf. Maybe if your house built on sand washes away for the 2nd time, the Feds ought not to give you money to rebuild in that spot? Maybe it’s time to thin out that underbrush in CA? Maybe growing almonds, lettuce and alfalfa in an historical desert isn’t the most “sustainable” choice, nor is throwing 6 million people’s water needs down in the hottest part of that same desert.

      MANY environmental problems lend themselves to practical, doable, needful solutions that would enhance quality of life for humans and habitats for wildlife directly. We need to address THOSE, and stop making “environmentalism” synonymous with stupid virtue-signaling (straws! plastic bags!) and strong-arming people into the endless boondoggle of weaponizing taxes on energy with the utterly unproven (indeed, ridiculous!) idea that a human-emissions “thermostat” controls the worldwide weather. When one reads in depth about the sketchiness of the “science” propping this theory up, it becomes simply ludicrous.

      • @Lightning Rose
        You beat me to the examples of Britain and Greenland, both obviously experienced much warmer climates during periods of zero industrialization.

      • Facts not Feelings says

        @Lightening Rose

        Very well articulated. I have a Masters degree in Engineering and today’s “science” on climate change 90% propaganda, much of it violating the scientific principles. Especially that of abandoning hypothetical theories that have failed, like the climate models have for 20 years. The UN bureaucrats have repeatedly stated the purpose of their fear monger it is to drive economic dollars from the haves to the have not countries. It is Socialism on a world scale. Socialism has always failed miserably. Yet another example of not abandoning a failed hypothesis. The have countries thrived because of capitalism.

        • Thylacine says

          Yes, Facts hits the nail on the head. Insofar as the IPCC climate models represent a testable hypothesis, they fail. The author of the present article claims, “The climate has been growing hotter and hotter, year after year…” How quickly we forget the 18-year “pause,” during which the gap between actual measured temperatures and model-projected temperatures grew every year. In the past year, several studies have concluded that the IPCC models are “running hot,” and that actual climate change is about what you would expect based on CO2 concentrations without ANY of the positive feedbacks that the IPCC models depend upon to raise alarm. Nobody questions the physics of CO2; what is unproven are the conjectured feedbacks.

      • stevengregg says

        Actually, climate does not always change. The Earth, at one point, was covered in ice for a billion years. Geologists call that time The Boring Billion. Climate usually changes except when it doesn’t.

    • Stephanie says

      @DirtyJobsGuy, of course you probably have a hunch that 1950s was not the ideal climate. Not even the ideal climate trajectory. As you mention, without climate change we’ll be going into another ice age, which would be disproportionately devastating to the West. Europe, Canada, likely much of the US would literally be ground to dust by glaciers. Sound ideal? Definitely not.

      My suggestion for ideal climate is the PETM 56 million years ago. After a huge carbon injection from the volcanos that brought up Canada’s diamonds, ocean warming melted methane hydrates and we had a massive warming event. This is alluded to in the article, when we had tropical rainforests in the Arctic. Temperatures increased an average of 20 °C at the poles but only 5 °C at the equator. There was no mass extinction, only colder-water corals died out in favour of warmer-water corals, and animals and plants simply migrated.

      We could drastically increase our planet’s habitable space, make available new mineral and energy resources, and prevent a devastating ice age, if we would simply continue doing what we want to do – have a free economy and rising standard of living.

      • Blue Lobster says


        This is definitely an interesting take and doubly commendable for being one of the few comments posted here from someone who seems to have at least some idea about how Earth’s oceanic and atmospheric systems interact with each other and with the biome as well as how the the various geophysical systems act to alter the biome and vice versa.

        While I generally agree that the effects of anthropogenic global warming, the denial of which, by the way, will be eventually proved to be a most embarrassing gaffe, will not result in a calamitous, end-of-days type scenario, The implications regarding the disprution of human civilization which might be imagined to occur based on your description of the potential magnitude and extent of changes to the biome compared with the current distribution of environments on Earth as a result of the relatively stable climatic conditions which have persisted for the past 10ka or so should be obvious to anyone. All of which is to say: while it’s unlikely to kill us all, the changes which are coming are going to put alot of people through a lot of pain and heartache and death though when it’s all over but the shoutin’ perhaps the the Earth of the “Neo-PETM” may end up ultimately proving to produce environmental conditions especially conducive to human thriving. However, I think the take home regarding climate change really ought to be that human flourishing is likely to depend substantially on a relatively stable climate regime whatever it may be so long as no climatic parameter or combination thereof reaches an equilibrium value which precludes such flourishing. AKA: climate change (at least in the short term): bad – athropogenic, or otherwise.

        The politicization of the environment has, in part, hamstrung the nation’s discourse to the point of stalemate. Given the objectively non-political nature of environmental issues, I hold out a modicum of hope that the very fact that we are all equally impotent in the face of the fury of nature may eventually force a reconciliation and perhaps potentially usher in a new era of centrist cooperation. Antagonistic attitudes and opinions informed by tribal allegiance rather than objective truth are doing absolutely zero good for anything except to over-inflate already ponderous egos. And that goes equally for both sides of the political spectrum as one only needs to read the comments on Quillette and the comments on Vox to see the bipolar parity of vitriol and misinformation that are commonplace within politically-minded media nowadays.

        • Blue Lobster says


          I am pessimistic about the ability, or even the possibility, for humans to reverse or stop the biogeochemical domino effect that has already been initiated due to the impact of human development on the Earths biome. It seems highly unlikely to me that there will be any substantive reduction in the usage of fossil fuels until such time as commercially viable reserves have been mostly tapped such that alternative options become critically, urgently necessary at which point it is likely that intergovernmental collaboration will be required to address the situation within the timeframe required to prevent massive, worldwide civil unrest and economic collapse.

          Necessity is the mother of invention and necessity doesn’t really take on its true meaning until the proverbial shit has hit the fan.

          • Stephanie says

            @Blue Lobster, thank you for the reply. I agree with you that a stable climate would be optimal, but the climate hasn’t been overly stable for the last 10 000 years. We’ve been generally thawing, and there are some indications we would have gone back into another glacial period already if it weren’t for deforestation associated with agriculture. If you look at Earth’s average temperature for the last 22 million years (when the Antarctic ice sheet began to form), we’ve been going in and out of glacial periods rapidly, but also on a frightening general downward trend.

            I wish we could rally behind a centrist approach. One that avoids the socialist solution of the left, where we need government to exert control on our economies and lower our standard of living, and the fears of the right that the people displaced by climate change will fundamentally transform our culture in a way that will render future growth unlikely. I would suggest we go back to the migratory models of previous generations: instead of luring people with promises of social services, offer them land in Northern Canada, Greenland, and Antarctica.

            Of course once that land is settled, it is likely that we will have massive new oil reserves to exploit. Hydrocarbons are also abundant in space, so we may never get to the point renewables are more profitable. Not that renewables are actually renewable: they require rare earth elements that come from rare, small-volume volcanos. Technology to recycle these once incorporated into electronics is in its infancy, and will be involved and expensive. Also, about 30% of economic deposits are in China, so that’s a problem too. For now global geopolitical stability depends on not becoming dependent on “renewables.”

            We should aim for a climate equilibrium we can all live with, but that will be much easier to do once we finish deglaciating. Not only will be have a better understanding of the climate system then (after a few hundred years of calibrating our models), but better carbon sequestration and storage technology and a planet with a more geographically equitable distribution of good living space. We stand to gain much more usable land than we will lose.

            Current projections for sea level rise are painfully slow. Properties being built on the coast now will be outdated before sea level rise is a threat in most areas. It’s going to happen so slowly, we can adjust for it without emergency government intervention. It’s unlikely we’ll be faced with the fury of nature unless the sun takes a turn and we go into another glacial period. Warm is much, much better than cold.

          • Totally agree my friend. Absent the public’s seeming unwillingness to embrace nuclear, we simply do not have any kind of energy source that can practically be implemented to reduce fossil fuel use. The US is a big place, and cries that we should be more like Europe with the use of trains, is simply impractical to the point of being impossible. Maybe in the future the fusion problem will be solved and we’ll all have flying cars and endless clean energy but until that happens, we will be reliant upon fossil fuels.

            I don’t think conservatives do themselves any favor though by denying the obvious though. We absolutely are likely the main contributer to warming trends, it just drives me mad though that the right can accept this fact while simultaneously disagreeing with the insane policy goals of people like AOC. They needlessly give their opponents ammo when they don’t have to.

          • hunter says

            Blue lobster, a tip is that when you think you have discovered an inevitable domino effect apocalypse, the chances of you being wrong are vanishingly close to 100%.
            Characterizing what we are going through as a “climate crisis” is not really different from deciding that there is a “witch crisis”.

        • Real Science Requires Debate says

          Blue Lobster there is no such thing as a stable climate. Sure there are periods of stability in short time scales, but there is a reason we find tree stumps showing up under th melting glaciers in Alaska. Because it used to be warm enough that there was no glacier there at a point in the not so distant past geologically speaking. The human CO2 emissions dwarf the natural system and CO2 is dreaded by water vapour in the atmosphere. Water vapour level is over 2 million percent higher than CO2 and has an 850% higher radiative absorptive capacity than CO2. Water and sunlight control our climate.

          CO2 was on a download trajectory and was approaching 200 ppm before humans started building it back up. If that downward trend had continued to below 150ppm, the point were photosynthesis stops, life on earth would have died out. Plants grow best at CO2 concentrations in the range of 1200-1500 ppm, which is why actual greenhouses pump CO2 in at that rate. Actual greenhouses have very little in common with the earth’s atmosphere. (It’s an unfortunate misnomer to label atmospheric gases essential to life as “greenhouse gases”, it propagandizes science and stifles debate.)

          • Blue Lobster says

            This comment is so riddled with inaccuracy, not to mention textual incomprehensibility, that I’m not going to bother picking it apart suffice to say that your understanding of physics, chemistry and biology preclude you from being taken seriously by anyone other than the equally poorly informed inhabitants of your particular echo chamber.

        • stevengregg says

          The claim that the future will prove you correct and that “denial” of anthropogenic global warming will be seen as a gaffe is rhetoric, demonstrating how global warming arguments are based on fallacious logic.

          In fact, the claim that humans drive global climate is grandiose nonsense. The Earth is indifferent to we puny humans. The climate is driven by colossal celestial forces far beyond our trivial ability to add or detract.

          • Blue Lobster says

            You seem to confusing the Earth with the Universe. The physical environment and the biome act upon one another mutually in ways that are well known and thoroughly described. These interactions occur at small scales such as the microclimatic perturbation which results from the conversion of forestland to agricultural production all the way up to the mother of all biogenic climate shifts: the Great Oxygenation Event. If you think that single-celled organisms have the ability to catastrophically alter the chemistry of Earths atmosphere and oceans but humans don’t then it’s painfully obvious that ideological rut in which you are stuck has become your permanent residence.

      • Blue Lobster says


        The Holocene climate has, in fact, been unusually stable. That period of stability, which I think not by happenstance coincides with the evolution of human societies from small, relatively primitive and widely scattered bands of hunter-gatherers to an enormously interconnected and interdependent, technologically advanced, global-scale civilization which has improved living standards to a degree incomprehensible and unimaginable to our forebears at the dawn of agriculture, is rapidly coming to an end. It is not possible to accurately forecast what the consequences of this transition will be but I think it’s a safe bet that a regression toward the living conditions of those humans unfortunate enough to have suffered through the climate of the late pleistocene is at least conceivable. Also, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum was indeed accompanied by a mass extinction; 35-50% of benthic foraminfera disappeared from the fossil record over a ~1000 year period – a greater percentage than even during the K-T extinction event. Global warming has been attributed as at least a partial contribution to as many extinction events as has global cooling.

        • Stephanie says

          @Blue Lobster, colder water corals did indeed die out in favour of warmer water corals, but that is such a minor thing I didn’t bother to mention it. Over most of geological history, we weren’t going in and out of ice ages, so what you count as stable depends on what timeframe you want to look at.

          • Blue Lobster says


            First, foraminifera are not corals. In fact, corals and foraminifera are completely unrelated and are not even classified within the same biological kingdom. Second, the magnitude of their extinction was notable within the fossil record such that paleontologists find its cause important to investigate. You, ignorantly, I would argue, may consider them to be an insignificant group of organisms but I think it’s hard to justify the belief that a 50% reduction in genetic richness over a (geologically) brief time period within any group of organisms is “minor”. Finally, indeed you seem to have at last grasped the point that I’ve repeatedly made that THE CLIMATE OF THE HOLOCENE, the time period corresponding with the advent human civilization, was quite stable RELATIVE TO THE REST OF THE KNOWN PALEOCLIMATIC RECORD. Obviously, it is arguable whether the conditions created by the RELATIVE stability of the Holocene climate made a primary contribution to the growth and development of human civilization and its attendant technological advancement but, once again, it would be difficult to justify a belief that the two are unrelated.

            To be clear, the graphical representation of Earths paleoclimate I linked to above should be interpreted as evidence of a planetary climate which is often in a state of flux while also demonstrating that the climate of the Holocene, the only climatic regime in which human civilization has existed, was indeed remarkably stable.


          • Alistair says

            Blue Lobster

            Thanks for posting. You’re clearly educated, intelligent, and wrong.

            I really value posts like yours because it shows that the best people the opposing case has – the very best – is made up of folks who just really aren’t terribly good at argumentation. And don’t realise it.

            You can’t put together a cost-benefit policy analysis. Or recognise the category, composition, and post-hoc fallacies involved in inferring that human civilisation can only continue to thrive in a climate identical to the past one (is that past Mesopotamian, East Asian, or North European climate?). Or even recognise your own risk-aversion and discount rate drives your solution (and isn’t universally shared).You can’t even meaningfully define your major terms (like “stable” – how many units of ‘stability’ did the Holocene have? You know – if you had advanced training in geo stats I’d worry that you might actually give me a measurable answer – but I know you don’t).

            So thank you. It’s good to see the best the other side has to offer. One day they will surprise me, I’m sure.

            And, yes, I suspect most people think the foraminifera die-out is of minor concern.

          • Blue Lobster says


            I’m intelligent enough to understand a counterargument had you provided one rather than an ad hominem rant – but thanks for the “compliments” anyway.

            I tire of having my words twisted and/or ignored by those not interested in engaging with a perspective other than the one they share with their fellow ideologues.

            Not that it will matter to you because you’ve demonstrated that it doesn’t, but, so far as I’m aware (and I’m not a logician), I’ve committed none of the fallacies of which you accuse me. I never made any definitive pronouncement that the Holocene climate (which, by they way, you’ve tacitly admitted was relatively stable because, since it’s obvious that you also are no dummy, you most likely did understand what I mean’t by “stability” but chose to challenge me anyway as a sort of test or perhaps out of mere carelessness) has a causal relationship with human flourishing but only that the correlation thereof might bear deeper consideration. I agree that I did not explicitly define “stability” within the text of my posts but I assumed (obviously incorrectly) that my link to the graph plotting global average temperature estimates against time would make clear the reasonable inference. The “units of stability” would be degrees Fahrenheit and the plot of said units, which I willingly acknowledge as an estimation, does appear to show comparatively little variation of said units from the beginning of the Holocene up until the present.

            Please note, and I think I’ve made it clear to the careful (and relatively unbiased) reader, that I am not a global warming alarmist and, as a patriot, do not advocate for policy which would substantially decrease the standards of living of my countrymen. However, I cannot see past the well-elucidated mechanism which leads to the radiation-trapping properties of certain triatomic gases. It’s certainly possible, in complex, open systems with myriad, and frequently opposing, feedback loops like the Earths atmosphere and oceans, that the known effects of these substances within closed experiments may be mitigated by as-yet unknown processes. Only time will tell as we cannot possibly hope to model the entire planet and do not have access to a second, equivalent planet with which to experiment.

            You are probably correct that most people would consider the PETM foraminifera die-off inconsequential. But most people are not professionally engaged in biostratigraphy, paleoecology, paleobiogeography or oil exploration.

          • Blue Lobster says


            You’ve elected to ignore the information that I’ve provided to the detriment of your own knowledge. I can only imagine that your reasoning for this course of action is in order to insulate yourself from information that could force you to reconsider your opinions. Your most recent comment was the worst one and contains so much assumption, misinformation and willful ignorance that I must concede there is no point in further engaging on this topic. I feel somewhat foolish for having given your thoughts careful consideration when it’s clear that the gesture has not been returned. That’s fine – I don’t need your respect and we’ve now interacted extensively enough that I understand it is unlikely any productive dialectic might occur between us. You should continue your trek toward the destination you prefer – be it imaginary or otherwise – and I shall do the same.

            Blue out

          • Alistair says

            Blue Lobster,

            For your erudition:

            1. Post-hoc fallacy (and subsequent lazy induction). Inference that “stability” is necessary cause of Human Civilisation going forward based on past correlation. This seems directly falsified by current experience; human civilisation now spans a greater part of the globe and across all extremes of climate. Indeed, as technology improves we might expect “climate” to become ever less of a constraint on human civilisation.

            2. Composition fallacy.Civilisation didn’t flourish everywhere in the Holocene. You probably meant to draw attention to warm, wet climates in the mid longitudes. These are, of course, abundant throughout many eras. You were talking about walls when you should have been talking about bricks.

            3. Category error: Related to ‘2’ above; Non-Holocene “climates” may contain local environments which match favourable Holocene local environments. Cannot deduce that a non-Holocene climate would not be favourable to civilisation.

            You’re right about one thing. You’re not a logician. You know too much about one area and nowhere near enough about others. In fact, what you are is a Hedgehog. And I’m a Fox.

          • Alistair says

            Blue Lobster,

            Oh, by the way, if you want to do a “stability” metric properly, then you should be measuring VARIANCE not MEANS of temperature, with appropriate controls for spatial and temporal autocorrelation at various frequencies, as well as means of dealing with the incredibly messy limited and proxy data.

            But you don’t have the faintest idea how to do that. Or that it would give you an answer different to the one you expect. So please stop talking about it.

          • Blue Lobster says


            You disappoint once again. For all you pseudo-pedantic bluster, all you’ve managed to do is misattribute logical fallacies in my arguments which would be accurate had I made the unqualified assertions of which you accuse me. However, as you’ve previously noted, I’m relatively not stupid and know enough about what I don’t know (and what no one knows for that matter) such that the carefully chosen wording of my conjectures has in no way ensnared me within an inextricable trap of non-logic. Your reliance on ad-hominem insults/jargon would seem to indicate at least a certain insecurity on your part when engaging in what should be perfectly civil debate with a reasonable opponent. More likely, however, is that you simply don’t have any refutation whether based in fact or conjecture at all which is why you’ve resorted to precisely the laziness that you also accuse me of.

            One of us certainly thinks they know quite a lot.

            Are you aware of the empirically demonstrated correlation between ones perceived competence and ones actual competence. (Hint: incompetence doesn’t recognize itself)

            Since you seem to be enjoying your reindeer games I’d like to join in the fun by adding:

            “In fact, what you are is a Hedgehog. And I’m a Fox.” – Said the turkey.

          • Blue Lobster says


            Your willful or careless misinterpretation of my commentary has led you into the trap of passing yourself off as a particularly adept statistician and while I don’t think my stats training is as extensive as yours it’s obvious even to someone with a relatively rudimentary undergraduate education therein that your knowledge/ability is far less sophisticated than you would like me to believe. More to the point, however, your attempts to steer our debate into territory with which your familiarity is greater than mine but that is irrelevant to the original topic of discussion, which, as a reminder to keep your wandering mind on track, was that global warming is real, possibly anthropogenic and, at least for a time, is likely to lead to substantial disruption of human civilization, constitutes what I believe you would characterize (were you being honest) as a straw man fallacy.

            Oh, and don’t even worry about reading this (we both know you won’t) before you respond (if at all) since doing so clearly will have no effect on the “substance” of that response.

        • Thylacine says

          Lobster – at least 80% of the Holocene has been warmer than today. Much warmer. Warmer than the IPCC projects to 2100. Yet it is during the Holocene Climate Maximum that you concede human societies flourished, evolving from small, scattered bands of hunter-gatherers into large-scale societies. Your own facts support climate insouciance, not climate alarmism.

          • Stephanie says

            @Blue Lobster, the literature I read about extinction during the PETM focused on corals. I didn’t check out your Wiki article, sorry. Forams are indeed not a concern, much less than corals, and that they periodically die out and are replaced with new species of forams is actually essential to biostratigraphy, and happens quite often. The whole science works best when there are rapid changes in biodiversity. It also doesn’t count as a “mass extinction” when the extinction is that limited in scope. That’s why everyone agrees the last geological mass extinction was the K-T one 10 million years before the PETM.

            You are simply incorrect in your capslocks statement about the stability of the Holocene. Of course it is defined by the end of the last glacial maxima, so artificially appears stable by comparison. However, the Holocene is an instant in geological time, no longer than other interglacial periods and with similar climate variation. Picking a tiny timeframe defined such that rapid deglaciation immediately preceded it, and then claiming it’s this amazing stable period essential to human survival smells of magical (I’d even say religious) thinking.

            By every indication, climate has often remained more stable for longer than a mere 11 000 years. Look at the climate records before 23 million years ago. We should continue our trek towards a better climate that breaks us out of the downward spiral characterising the last 0.005 % of Earth history.

          • Thylacine says

            Lobster – You need to read and comprehend comments before posting irrelevant links.

        • Tom Udo says

          The Holocene climate has been anything but stable! Have you heard of the Younger Dryas, the Altithermal, the Medieval Climatic Anomaly, or the Neo-pluvial? Drop your hockey stick and pick up a book.

          • Blue Lobster says

            Yes, I have. I was not comparing periods within the Holocene but the Holocene to the known preceding paleoclimatic record – a fact easily discernible to all but the laziest of “readers”.

    • I would like to see a large-scale political treaty signed on the climate problem: the right would agree to stop denying climate science, and the left would stop denying that if we want to zero out our carbon emissions we need to replace our fossil fuel baseload with nuclear.

      • D-Rex says

        @ A. Gore
        I deny that the “right” deny actual climate “science”. As far as replacing fossil fuels with nuclear, I’d rather replace stupid wind farms and large scale solar with nuclear and keep the fossil fuels.

    • Earlierapex says

      You were making perfect sense until you put on your ideological preconception blindfold about climate change. You are an English writer, not a scientist or statistician. Therefore you HAVE to rely on those of us with real expertise to make judgements about what science is real.

      You know how you can read a sentence or two by a writer and tell whether he/she is experienced and competent? The same is true of science. When you know what you are doing, it’s obvious when science is poor (a la MMGW).

      Here’s what has happened to you psychologically. When you have to appeal to authority because you don’t know the subject matter, you default to believing the position that “feels” best emotionally because you have no ability to judge the technical subject matter. This happens to all of us, and you are ensconced in your feel good trap that has no basis in objective truth.

      If you are going to make judgments about the quality of the science, you have to be able to look at the raw data, statistics and relationships, which should have NO relationship to ideology.

      Here’s what happens when you do that and how we know MMGW is not just poor science, it’s actual fraud:
      1 there are dozens of factors that impact global temp including solar irradiance, cloud cover, water vapor, rotational axis, etc. the total theoretical contribution, if any, from CO2 is LESS THAN the error rate of the factors that we KNOW WITH CERTAINTY impact temp. Reread that sentence…
      2 CO2 has been as high as 10 to 15x current levels
      3 the relationship between CO2 and temp, if any at atmospheric scale, is nonlinear- that means that the impact of CO2 on temp DECREASES marginally as CO2 increases.
      4 CO2 historically increases AFTER temp goes up
      5 the so called “climate scientists” have not included plants in their models. CO2 is “oxygen” for plants. When CO2 goes up, there are more plants, which is better for all of life. More plants also causes CO2 sequestration.
      6 upper atmosphere temps have decreased relative to sea level
      7 I could go on – there are 1000 variables that we don’t understand yet we are SURE that man is the cause. We can’t even robustly confirm ANY causal relationship between CO2 and atmospheric temp – reread #1 above again. That’s the science equivalent of pathological delusion.
      8 the most well known scientists are committing fraud when the data doesn’t support their narrative: the medieval warming period has been erased by Michael Mann by using tree rings.

      There are many problems caused by conservative thought, but this isn’t one. You don’t know enough about stats to claim to know objective truth here, so you aren’t equipped to judge.

      • @Earlierapex

        I have heard that increased CO2 is a result of climate change, not the cause. I have no knowledge of science and I would love to know if this is true.

        If it is true, then for the scientifically ignorant, such as myself, won’t plants and forests thrive on the extra carbon dioxide, thereby increasing oxygen and food for the world?

        • Vidyaruchi says

          AGW advocates who know more than Al Gore say that historically CO2 both lags and leads temperature. They say an initial rise in temperature caused probably by the earth’s relationship with the sun causes CO2 to be released from the ocean, which amplifies that warming. (I am agnostic on the matter, so I am not trying to persuade you of anything, just repeating what I have learned).

        • earlierapex says

          Throughout most of the ice core records, temp increases occurred BEFORE CO2 went up by about 600 years!

          We just don’t know about all these things, which is the whole damn point. You can’t say something is certain when you don’t know, which is how we know they are lying about it.

          There are dozens of factors that impact CO2 – humans, vegetation, volcanoes, ocean sequestration (controlled mostly by temperature), carbonic acid rain, rotting dead plants. It’s hard to know which is the chicken and which is the egg, or whether the egg is actually an ostrich egg and the chicken is a cow…

          So, in science, when someone makes a strong claim, I say “show me the data.” If the data strongly supports their claim, I know they are trustworthy. If the support is weak or nonexistent, then I know I can’t trust any work they do because they are ideologically possessed – they will always find the answer they want to find rather than the true answer.

          I don’t know the absolute answer about CO2 and temp, but no one else does either. If they tell you they do, they aren’t objective scientists because a real scientist can quickly understand that the data relationships are very weak, likely wrong or fraudulent.

          On your second point, yes. More CO2=more plants= more animals. CO2 is one of the fundamental, if not most fundamental, precursors for all of life! We know this – just pump CO2 into a greenhouse and watch what happens (optimum is about 1000ppm).

          With more CO2, plants can grow in more arid climates (deserts) because they require less water.

          • earlierapex: It is all in the data, not in the models and its not in the head of some scientist who claims the case is closed and settled.

            I was shocked when Uni East Anglia ‘lost’ the historical data base and then deleted most of the weather station records around the world, within Canada it went from 496 in 1989 to 44 in1991 which left just “one thermometer for everything north of LAT 65.” And that one resides in a place called Eureka, which has been described as “The Garden Spot of the Arctic” due to its unusually moderate summers.”.

            Nothing in science is ever settled, we know what we know now, we do not know what others might gather in the future.

        • stevengregg says

          Yes, Al Gore was embarassed by the discovery that warming periods are followed by higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, probably because warm air degasses the CO2 out of the ocean, just like warming a soda will make it flat.

        • D-Rex says

          The solubility of CO2 is inversely proportional to ocean temperature, meaning that as the oceans warm, CO2 becomes less soluble and is outgassed into the atmosphere. The amount of CO2 leaving the oceans as the earth warms would dwarf the human contribution to atmospheric CO2. Humans contribute something like 3.5 Gtons (billion tons) CO2 per annum, whereas the oceans contain about 3500 Gtons and the atmosphere about 800 Gtons.

          ‘If it is true, then for the scientifically ignorant, such as myself, won’t plants and forests thrive on the extra carbon dioxide, thereby increasing oxygen and food for the world?’


          • D-Rex: The other thing that will happen if the world warms is more moisture will rise from the oceans creating more cloud. I have read that a 2% increase in cloud cover would stop all antropogenic CO2 warming (assuming the IPCC is right about 2c).

    • @DirtyJobsGuy
      So well said as Christianity loses favour, the vacuum in atheists hearts are filled with a false doomsday cult.

      The dangerous part is that the cults goals are the redistribution of wealth and the destruction of western economies.

      What the writer does not understand or fails to address is that climate change is not a left/right issue. Environmental issues are mostly supported by students and wealthy elites, the upper middle class, and academics.

      The working and lower middle classes are largely preoccupied with the costs of providing food, housing, affordable heating and cooling for themselves and their families, to care about global agreements.

      This has been illustrated to the world by the “yellow vest “movement which the writer ignored, despite it having left / right bi-partison protesters.

    • gamma57721 says

      Fascinating that it always ends with the accusation that environmentalist are religious extremists. But consider the Cult of Carbon with it’s transubstantiation of bread (i.e. coal) and wine (i.e. petroleum) into a divine manifestation of progress. Of course, I have missed natural gas. But it’s much higher economic viability and lower carbon content does not require transubstantiation. The odd thing about the Cult of Carbon is it’s obvious affiliation with darkness and the depths of the Earth. As opposed to renewable energies (wind, PV, hydro) which receive their impetus from the sun in our heavens above. So who is worshiping what?

      • hunter says

        The “Carbon Cult” has delivered on it’s promise:
        More health, more people, fewer famines, cured disease, ease of travel, safety, comfort, better environmental practices.
        The “Climate Cult” is parasitic, apocalyptic, destroys vast areas if landscape, produces nothing of value, and assigns guilt to people living daily lives.
        Thanks, but if forced, I think most rstratio people will choose the former cult.

    • hunter says

      The author, a non-scientist, has decidid to take a rather typical non-science approach and simply condemn all who doubt his religious faith in climate doom. With many words.
      And he lives in Poland no less, a nation that has rejected the climate consensus.
      Perhaps the growing list of people rejecting the climate consensus are doing so because they have rationally considered the claims and evidence and predictions of the climate change consensus and find the consensus is not correct?
      Perhaps people notice the childish dismissive emotional arguments of people like Ben Sixsmith. Then dig a little deeper to see why such an allegedly important issue has such weak arguments. Then they find the climate crisis case to be rubbish and find themselves skeptical of the massive apocalyptic claims of the consensus.
      And then apologists like blue lobster talk about the conversion of Earth from anaerobic to aerobic over millions of years via evolution and try to compare that to CO2 caused by humans, and the bs meter pegs out.

      • gamma57721 says

        There are exactly two sources of energy on planet Earth: the sun above your head and the heat beneath your feet. Interestingly, both are the result of nuclear energy, but not fission. Of the two, solar energy is the greater. If you understood the entropy concept, you would realize that the most efficient, and least environmentally destructive, source of energies are these two. Fossil fuels are a a source of chemical energy that is a combination of solar and geothermal energy. Plants capture solar energy and store it as chemical energy which is then upgraded by a slow geothermal process. The ultimate problem with fossil fuels is the release of entropy in the form of waste heat and chemical by-products (i.e. pollution). The entropy laws make this unavoidable. (Please note that the entropy generated by nuclear fission reactors is even worse since it is thermal, chemical, and radioactive emissions. This is why Fukushima, and other such events, were so disastrous.)

        Historically, there is an interesting association with the entropy concept. It is also known as “chaos”. So once again I need to ask “Who is worshiping what?”

        • Gamma,

          Both fission and fusion occur on the sun. And Fukushima and Chernobyl are the only two major nuclear accidents. Don’t mention Three Mile Island, because contrary to popular belief Three Mile Island was not a disaster and no evidence exists of any harm coming from it. Additionally, the amount of harm caused by Fukushima is also very debatable and for the most part hypothetical. So one truly horrendous accident, which was not the result of nuclear fission itself, but bad engineering, corrupt construction and poorly trained workers were what caused Chernobyl. Actually the first two were also to blame for Fukushima. As for your sainted renewables, have you ever visited an open pit mine in China (hint this is where the majority of rare earths used in solar panels are acquired), they are not exactly environmental friendly. And rare earth materials, once refined into batteries, are also a massive pollutant that is toxic.

  2. A. W. says

    “Environmentalist” public policy always boils down to either top-down, burdensome restrictions and design diktats that end up with either onerous “rationing”, shortages of necessities, or massive price-hikes.

    Conservatives instinctively take the side of the working poor and middle-class who are subjected to the horrendous costs of “green policy”, which can best be illustrated by looking at California and other deeply left-leaning areas:


    CEQA and other “conservation” laws imposed onerous limitations on construction. The result: 1 new housing unit built for every 2.5 new families for 50 years. A state where a plumber could buy a house with an ocean view now has an average house price of half a million, and it rockets to a full million if you want to live where jobs exist.

    “environmental” activists have successfully forced California onto different standards for gasoline refinement from the rest of the USA, then blocked the construction of new refineries in the state. The result? Gas prices 3 times the national average.

    “environmental” activists running public policy have instituted “energy conservation” policies which produce ludicrous penalties on electricity use. If you’re in the bay area and use Air Conditioning in a 600 square foot apartment your power bill will be $400.

    “conservation” of “endangered” delta smelt (an invasive species, btw) results in the state dumping YEARS worth of water every year into San Francisco bay while rationing the water to the point anyone who showers daily receives billing penalties. Average water bill in the central valley? $500


    Environmentalism is a neo-religion that holds that human beings are a plague upon the planet, and whenever they’re given power, environmentalists “legislate [that] morality”, placing horrific barriers in the way of average people’s ability to live their lives, or god forbid raise families, all so the incredibly rich can feel good about themselves for “saving the planet”.

    • Tom Udo says

      Yep, California leftists claim to be setting an example for the nation and the world. They are, but not in the way they think. California has become a cautionary tale that the rest of the country and the world should keep an eye on as an example of what not to do.

  3. Gringo says

    The Right Needs To Grow Up On Environmentalism.
    After all the EPA does so much good.Animus River EPA spill.

    BTW, I was an environmental activist before there was an EPA, so I don’t need some puerile twit telling me I “need to grow up.”

    • Gringo says

      The point about the EPA and the Animus River spill, for which the EPA refused to assume liability, is that the EPA in recent years has been out of control.

      The Right Needs To Grow Up On Environmentalism.
      Consider Paul Erlich.. Back in the day, when I was an environmental activist, a.k.a. eco-freak, I worked with a former student of Paul Erlich. I heard Erlich speak once in a small room setting. Paul Erlich was the prophet of environmental catastropne- Population Bomb and all that. Paul Erlich’s prophecies of doom didn’t work out very well. Nor did the resource exhaustion prophecies of the Club of Rome from that era work out very well.

      Thus far the AGW disaster warnings haven’t worked out very well either. Several decades ago The Independent warned us that snowfalls are or will be a thing of the past. The Independent removed that article from its website, but astute screen savers have saved this misguided prophecy for posterity.

  4. Optional says

    The author concludes “These are questions that thoughtful people can debate. “.
    Except you actually can’t debate with a climate alarmist.
    Environmentalism, as it is current practiced, is a religion, and climate heresy (i.e. debate) is not tolerated. So the conservative’s shrugs and cursory dismissal of environmental whining is all very well warranted. I’m the most outdoorsy person I know, and I can’t image advocating for more government intervention to help anything. Government kills what it touches. A necessary evil, that you keep as far from the things you love as possible.

  5. At the very least, the right ought to come up with its own, hopefully better version of environmentalism to take away the left’s monopoly on the issue. As the effects of climate change continue to worsen, affecting more people, those people will turn in desperation to anyone claiming to have the answers. If the right continues to ignore climate change, it will be forced to watch more and more people move to the left.

  6. A.West says

    The precautionary principle is the modern adaptation of Pascal’s Wager. Whomever can make up the most devastating downside scenario, wins. The preacher with angriest god promising the most torment in hell, gets to set your life’s policy. Just in case.
    I think J.Scott Armstrong, long an expert in the practice of prediction, makes the most damning case regarding the scientific validity of predictions coming from the climate change alarm industry. As a person involved in finance and economics, I’m very familiar with top experts and Nobel Prize winners in this field not only having their predictions turn out inaccurate, but directionally wrong. And they have better incentives for accuracy than do the Climate Change warriors.

    But if you don’t want to stand out from the crowd and do want to fit in at cocktail parties, then the author’s advice is the way to go.

  7. Frank Ch. Eigler says

    If the “grow up” acceptable discussion is limited to arguing only the degree to which one kowtows to climate change alarmism, no, conservatives are right to reject that framing.

  8. Truthseeker says

    Ben you say …

    “The climate has been growing hotter and hotter, year after year, and a cold snap does not change this any more than a criminal who pats a kitten on the head has been reformed.”

    Well the satellite measurements show that this statement is completely incorrect. The land based temperature records have been corrupted to the point of being fraudulent. Just go to this website … https://realclimatescience.com … which has large number of data driven posts on this very subject that has been painstakingly put together by a genuine long-term environmentalist. Many of the same “scientists” that are trumpeting global warming now, were warning about a coming new ice age in the 1970s. Just look at the language – “Global Warming” became “Climate Change” when the verifiable data showed that there is no warming above natural variation.

    Geologists will tell you that the current period is known as the Holocene Optimum because the climate has been so benign. The normal state of this planet is Ice Ages and we are fortunate to be living now when things are so good. “Climate Change” is a vehicle for bureaucratic control and virtue signalling from the left, not an issue that humans have caused or that can effect in any significant way.

    • D-Rex says

      Sorry to be anal about this but the current interglacial is called the Holocene, the Holocene optimum refers to a period some 8 thousand or so years ago when temps were well above those of today. When named, scientists thought that the warmer the better, hence the term “optimum”. Other than that nit pick, I totally agree with the rest of your comment.
      Actually, current predicted trends by the alarmists still wouldn’t bring the planet out of its current ice age that has been going on for several million years, let alone coming anywhere near the dizzying heights of the PETM that Stephanie mentioned earlier.

      • Truthseeker says

        D-Rex – thank you for the clarification. It actually makes my point better for future reference.

  9. Dean Russo says

    Simply wondering if we can condemn POTUS for an attempt at humour. May not have been a good joke, but it was also not him declaring what you seem to think he was. Not defending him just nitpicking your arguement.

    • Dean, indeed. Every hot stretch, every big storm, every out of control fire is presented as instant evidence of climate change. Yet it’s the jesting skeptics that are accused of muddling weather and climate…

  10. Conner M. Steacy says

    Probably one of the best climate skeptics on the interwebs is Tony Heller. I have no idea what his politics are.

    • Kelli says

      I, too, am unsure of Tony’s politics but he is enough of an environmentalist to ride his bike instead of his car when possible. Not many are that committed to the health of the planet.

  11. codadmin says

    The article is right, Like it or not, environmental issues are extremely important ‘territory’ and conservatives have to begin to colonise that ‘territory’ for themselves.

    The overwhelming majority of people, including conservatives, want to live in a cleaner, less polluted, less toxic world. Ceding the entire space to the left is just awful politics.

    As for Scrutons term ‘oikophilia’, it’s unfortunate, to say the least. Oik means obnoxious. Not sure what he was thinking when he coined that term.

    • X. Citoyen says

      The word oikos is Greek for home and philia is Greek for love or friendship.

    • Heike says

      It’s the reverse of oikophobia. Xenophobia is an irrational fear of the unknown; oikophobia is the irrational fear of the known. It’s typcially used to describe Western elites who despise their own working and middle classes. Remember the FBI agent investigating Trump who was caught saying “”Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. l could SMELL the Trump support.” Remember Hillary’s deplorable slur? Pure oikophobia, and that’s concentrated in DC.

      Schweizer said, “Well, let me tell you, I would recommend everybody go out and get an academic book published last year called “What Washington Gets Wrong,” and it’s two scholars from Johns Hopkins University who do a massive survey of senior unelected executives in government, basically the deep state, and asks them a bunch of questions. And as the authors describe the deep state has contemptuous attitudes towards the average American.”

      “They think they’re far less educated than they actually are,” he continued. “They think they are far more dependent than they actually are. They’re arrogant, they believe, and say in the surveys if the American people want one thing, and they think it’s wrong, they’re going to push something else. There’s a massive disconnect, and the deep state is real, and it’s a threat to our republic form of government.”


      Smaller example of oikophobia: Big-city liberal punches down and lets rural Americans know what she really thinks.

      • codadmin says

        Lofty as he now is, Scruton will still be aware of ‘oiks’ common meaning, making the term even more baffling.


        Must I also point out the word ‘oik’ is how pig noises are written! The word simply couldn’t be any worse if it tried….oh, it could actually, it sounds like pedophile!

        If conservatives actually adopt this ready made insult for themselves, I will concede the leftists were right about their intelligence all along.

        Do not use the word ‘oikophilia’ to describe yourself or anyone else on your side…ever!

        • Kelli says

          Our word “economics” comes from the Greek word oikos. It is something like “the laws of home” or as a dictionary puts it, “home management”.

          We’re you trying to be funny?

        • D-Rex says

          @Codadmin, “Must I also point out the word ‘oik’ is how pig noises are written! The word simply couldn’t be any worse if it tried”
          Actually, ‘oiNk’ is the way pig noises are written and you have just made yourself look like a partisan fool.

          • codadmin says

            The leftists would have field day with the term ‘oikophilia’. If you can’t see that, then it’s you who are a fool.

            In fact, I suspect you’re the speech writer who thought the term ‘the nasty party’ would be a brilliant idea.

  12. The author makes a reasonable case against some of the things espoused by Epstein and Milloy, but makes no mention of opinions of any of the non-alarmist PhD scientists such as Judith Curry, Kary Mullis, Roy Spencer, John Christie, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, Tim Ball, William Happer, Patrick Moore, Richard Keene, Willie Soon, Roger Pielke, Carl-Otto Weiss, François Gervais, Bjorn Lomborg, Freeman Dyson, Don Easterbrook, Nils-Axel Morner, Murry Salby, Bob Carter, Nir Shaviv, Piers Corbyn, Jay Lehr, etc……

    • E. Olson says

      Because those people would be hard to refute – in fact they make the whole global warming movement look silly.

    • Joseph Ratliff says

      Thank you Mark, these are the climate “realists.” Neither alarmist, lukewarmist, nor denialist, they just state and discuss the climate science “as it is.”

      • D-Rex says

        Actually, Pielke and Lomborg are both lukewarmers but that actually strengthens the case.

        • Right – Pielke believes that l it may be a good idea to take some mitigation measures, but his contribution has mainly been to show that there has been no change in hurricane frequency and/or strength over the last century, which debunks one of the alarmist scare tactics. The same can probably be said for most other examples of extreme weather. The temperature gradient between the poles and the equator is a large driving factor of weather, and if it’s the poles that are warming the fastest, you would expect fewer incidents of extreme weather, but that does not fit an alarmist narrative.

  13. John F McKeown says

    Theodore Roosevelt was not a conservative. The term did not then exist. He was a Nationalist, a Progressive, and a Conservationist. He well deserves to be memorialized by the statue at NY’s Natural Museum of History.

    • E. Olson says

      TR was a progressive who loved guns and killing animals. If he were around today, he would be breaking up the Facebook and Google monopolies, building a wall to keep out undesirable and illegal immigrants, and doing everything in his power to encourage US economic growth and the productive use of natural resources.

  14. Doug F says

    I understand the concerns expressed by the author. It would be great if we were having authentic public discourse on this very important topic. However, that has been made impossible by the tactics of hard-core environmentalists.

    The reality is we don’t truly understand the impact of humans on the climate. No model has ever worked and yet questioning the latest and greatest model is not allowed. We should be working diligently and honestly towards better understanding, but any data that suggests anything counter to the prescribed narrative is trivialized or raged against.

    The reality is that the US and other industrialized countries are reducing CO2 emissions. China, by far the greatest producer of CO2, continues to grow their emissions with no social restrictions.

    The reality is that to make the hurried changes that many environmentalists claim are required would significantly disrupt the economy leading to a whole set of societal suffering. We should be discussing the rational balancing act of an almost certain catastrophe to an unknown chance of a greater catastrophe.

    How do you have a rationale discussion in a world where a person elected to congress announces the world will end in 12 years with no supporting facts?

    Conservatives have not created the rules to this new playground. Until the rules change back to being based on true science and provable facts there is no discourse worth having.

    btw I applaud and thank Quillette for trying to provide a rational playground.

  15. @Scargar: “As the effects of climate change continue to worsen…”

    That’s the problem, predictions of calamitous climate events have failed to come true. Alarmists such as Mann and Hansen use bad, if not fraudulent science. Left leaning politicians salivate at the chance for new carbon taxes. If the left continues to push an agenda as if “the science has been settled”, it will force more and more people to move to the right.

    • E. Olson says

      The fact that climate alarmist predictions haven’t come true is not a problem for anyone except the climate-industrial complex.

      • @E Olson
        Not sure I can agree with that. These people are relentless. If enough of them get into positions of power in the U.S. (can’t speak for the rest of the Western world) they will shove their ridiculousness all the way down our throats.

        I’m a center/right classical liberal type. I believe in preserving/conserving resources and reducing all pollution – within reason. But these people are absolutely nuts – and frankly they are extreme hypocrites.

    • Lightning Rose says

      I think the outgassing of a certain Ms. Ocasio-Cortez on this subject will have people moving, nay FLEEING, to the right in volume. By next week!

  16. mitchellporter says

    There was a time when I studied what the physical mechanisms of global warming are supposed to be. I am rusty, but I thought I would sketch a few details, as a starting point for the scientific side of the argument that will undoubtedly follow this piece.

    We can think of the major factors directly determining the Earth’s average temperature as its orbit and the amount of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere. The orbit determines how much solar radiation we get, the carbon dioxide determines how much heat will be retained. Then there are secondary factors, arising from the internal dynamics of atmosphere, ocean, and biosphere, which modify the effect of those major factors. For example, a change in temperature changes the amount of water vapor, which produces a further change in temperature.

    Conventionally, this is summed up in a number, the climate sensitivity, which describes the increase in average temperature that occurs every time carbon dioxide doubles in concentration. The standard answer for several decades has been 3 degrees of further warming for each doubling of CO2, with 1 degree coming directly from the increase in carbon dioxide, and 2 degrees coming from the net effect of the secondary factors, like water vapor.

    The direct contribution of 1 degree results from basic properties of the CO2 molecule. But the secondary factors include highly complicated systems like clouds, which make negative and positive contributions that are difficult to model. The estimate of an additional 2 degrees comes primarily from the record of the ice ages.

    The ice ages are caused by long cyclical shifts in Earth’s orbit. With Newton’s laws of motion, we can calculate where Earth was and how much solar radiation it was getting, and then the geological record provides data on what the average temperature was, and therefore data on what the net effect of the secondary factors is. The sensitivity estimate of about 3 degrees comes primarily from the ice age traces, and is then refined by the ongoing study of modern temperature data and of how the secondary factors work (e.g. the physics of clouds).

    I’ll also add that when carbon dioxide concentration increases, it changes what the new average temperature should be, but this change takes a long time to fully manifest, because the ocean absorbs a lot of heat while remaining colder than the atmosphere. The new average actually represents a new equilibrium temperature that takes decades or centuries to reach, and which is attained only when the ocean and the atmosphere are in balance again.

    • Skepticus says

      “The standard answer for several decades has been 3 degrees of further warming for each doubling of CO2, with 1 degree coming directly from the increase in carbon dioxide, and 2 degrees coming from the net effect of the secondary factors, like water vapor.”

      That Standard Answer is almost certainly wrong by at least 1 degree too high, based on the best available empirical estimates. That Standard Answer is derived from climate models, none of which has ever been validated, the overwhelming majority of which have consistently “run hot” by projecting greater warming over the last 20 years than has actually occurred. If anyone here really wants to read mathematically sound, scientifically literate discussions of the climate sensitivity question go to Judith Curry’s site Climate Etc. and search the posts of Nick Lewis relating to that topic.

      • Right, the Standard Answer has always been too high because too many positive feedback loops are incorporated into it that don’t appear to actually happen.

    • TarsTarkas says

      I think the cooling of the sun and the Milankovic cycle are going to have a bigger effect on future climate than anything that man can do reasonably or unreasonably about it, and that’s including totally collapsing the world economy.

      • mitchellporter says

        @TarsTarkas James Hansen justifies the 3 degree sensitivity estimate (which is the basis of climate change alarmism) specifically by referring to the ice core records, in which changes are driven by the Milankovitch cycles. Last week I wrote to Gerard Roe, a student of Richard Lindzen’s who later worked on Milankovitch and the ice ages, to ask him to comment, but he hasn’t replied so far.

    • D-Rex says

      @Mitchel Porter
      ” the ocean absorbs a lot of heat while remaining colder than the atmosphere.”
      And where do the oceans absorb all of this heat from? Don’t tell me the air, water has about 2000 times the heat capacity of air and the top mm of ocean loses heat constantly from evaporation, cooling the air just above it. The oceans hiding all of the ‘missing heat’ is a myth.

      • mitchellporter says

        @D-Rex I never looked at this detail, I just assumed that there is heat exchanged between air and water, and that it would take a long time for the ocean to reach equilibrium with a hotter atmosphere. Are you saying heat flow is all one way, from ocean to atmosphere?

        • turnages says

          No, the heat flow is two-way. Ocean surface loses heat through evaporation, but gains heat from absorbing the sun’s rays, and from the precipitation (rain) failing back into it (which D-Rex overlooked). Over time, surface water mixes with deeper water.

          When the climate is in balance, the ocean temperature is also in balance. As it is now, however, there is slightly more being taken in by the globe than is being re-radiated to space, to the tune of about 0.5 – 1.5 watt per square metre averaged over the entire Earth’s surface (which is two-thirds ocean). This nett inflow is slowly but surely warming the planet.

          • D-Rex says

            ‘When the climate is in balance, the ocean temperature is also in balance’

            Really? So climate is the only thing that influences ocean temperatures?
            Continental crust is on average 45km thick, yet mines that are a mere 2km deep reach temperatures up to 70 degrees C. Oceanic crust is on average 5km thick so deep ocean water is much closer to the mantle which is hundreds of degrees just 5km away. You don’t suppose that mantle heating of oceanic crust might play some role in heating the oceans, not to mention the estimated 80,000 active submarine volcanoes and sea floor spreading at the various plate boundaries?
            The sun only warms a very thin surface of water and rain is generally colder than the surface. Plus, less than 100% of the energy that leaves the surface due to evapouration is returned via rain.
            As stated before, water has about 2000 times the heat capacity of air. It is simply not possible for the roughly 1 degree C rise in global air temp to have caused a measurable change in ocean heat content. There must be an alternative explanation.

          • turnages says

            @D-Rex, yes, the oceans do get heated, very slightly, by heat flow from the earth’s crust, to the tune of about a tenth of a watt per sq.m averaged over the world’s oceans. And, yes, this heat flow is higher than from the land, which averages 0.7 W/m2.

            However, this is insignificant compared to the heat absorbed by the ocean from the sun, which is roughly 200 watts per sq metre including both direct insolation and longer-wave infrared from the atmosphere.

            If there was significant heat coming up from the bottom, we would expect deep-upwelling convection as the warmed water rose to the top. Instead, we find relatively stable layering, called thermoclining, with warmed water at the top and temperatures getting colder the deeper we go.

            Over a period of years and decades, however, with storms, deep-ocean currents, decadal oscillations and whatnot, any nett imbalance in climate warming or cooling gradually percolates downwards as well.

            Yes, water has 2000 times the heat capacity of air. This of course increases the thermal inertia of the system, but It doesn’t magically make the nett heat flow imbalance disappear. The oceans as a whole may have only warmed by a piffling-seeming 0.05 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years, but their volume is so vast that about half of the ocean-level rise over that period is due to thermal expansion. Imagine, if you will, a thermometer tube 5000 metres tall and how much the water in it would rise if warmed by a twentieth of a degree.

          • turnages says

            [sorry, typo. The heat flow from the earth’s crust over the land averages about 0.07 watts/m2, not 0.7.]

  17. jimhaz says

    Sad to see the majority of responses so far. Damn contrarians who do it from habit, as their modus operanda.

    Enforces my view that the human race like any other species will have to suffer enough before it adapts. So many dystopian predictions will come true.

    • Edward Blythe says

      Sad in a way – so many are so blinkered – but it is valuable in that it shows how the right has made a shibboleth of this issue and is now accepting or rejecting scientific findings based upon whether or not they are politically correct. It’s the sort of thing that the Central Committee of the old USSR used to do (in fact, that’s exactly what happened with the imposition of Lysenkoism), and it’s interesting to see that the modern right has come completely out in the open and is now displaying the characteristics and demands of Orwell’s Inner Party.

      And I really have to wonder at why the author of this piece didn’t come right out and say that Milloy’s work, and Epstein’s, are consist of nothing but mendacity.

      • Funny that you should mention Lysenkoism, That’s exactly the word that Dr. Richard Lindzen used to describe the alarmists….

      • TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Climatism or global warming alarmism is the most prominent recent example of science being coopted to serve a political agenda, writes Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the in the fall 2013 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. He compares it to past examples: Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union, and the eugenics movement.

        Lindzen describes the Iron Triangle and the Iron Rice Bowl, in which ambiguous statements by scientists are translated into alarmist statements by media and advocacy groups, influencing politicians to feed more money to the acquiescent scientists.

        In consequence, he writes, “A profound dumbing down of the discussion…interacts with the ascendancy of incompetents.” Prizes and accolades are awarded for politically correct statements, even if they defy logic. “Unfortunately, this also often induces better scientists to join the pack in order to preserve their status,” Lindzen adds.

        Lindzen discusses key aspects of the global warming models, including their dependence on the “globally averaged mean temperature anomaly”—that is the average of the differences between the average temperature for the year at each weather station and the 1961-1990 average for that station. This metric is used to create an influential graph that resembles the daily chart of stock indices, but is of dubious significance. The change in the anomaly is tiny against the perspective of the temperature variations we experience daily, Lindzen demonstrates.

        In normal science, models are judged by how well they agree with nature, Lindzen explains. In the climate “debate,” however, the models are given a claim to validity independent of agreement with real observations.

        The highly oversimplified terms of the discussion in the policy arena “largely exclude the most interesting examples of historical climate change. The heavy intellectual price of the politicization of science is rarely addressed,” writes Lindzen.

        Lindzen writes: “Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly. It has also been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions. How can one escape from the Iron Triangle when it produces flawed science that is immensely influential and is forcing catastrophic public policy?”

        Escape from climate alarmism will be more difficult than from Lysenkoism, in Lindzen’s view, because Global Warming has become a religion. It has a global constituency and has coopted almost all institutional science. Nevertheless, he believes “the cracks in the scientific claims for catastrophic warming are…becoming much harder for the supporters to defend.”

        • A very clear case of projection – thanks for bringing it to our attention.

      • The denialists started off by saying that there was no such thing as global warming. Then they said admitted that there might be, but certainly humans had nothing to do with it; there was no such thing as “anthropogenic climate change”.

        Reading the comments, it seems that they have moved on to saying either that the effects of climate change wont be as bad as the climate scientists claim (although the denialists are always careful to never make their own predictions) or that even if they are, its not worth potentially damaging the economy trying to address it.

        Certainly, the conservatives’ newfound passion for scientific inquiry seems to go on holiday whenever climate change comes up. Otherwise, they’d realise that its up to them to make their own set of falsifiable predictions on climate if they want to be taken seriously. If the current warming trend is merely cyclical, then you’d expect it to come down eventually. When?

        • Lightning Rose says

          We’re still emerging from the Little Ice Age of the 1300’s through 1700’s. If you look at the graph on a time scale back to the last full glaciation, the changes since then have been gentle, benign, and on the whole very helpful to humanity. The picture has a thousand faces depending on where one snips the graph, and can be just as disingenuous as last week’s initial video clip sparking the Covington media frenzy. Early 20th-century weather, esp. the 1910’s through 30’s, really, REALLY sucked in the US but it’s not “convenient” to mention . . . truth is, we’re living in pretty damn good times.

        • Soon, very soon – Grand Solar Minimum coming next decade….something never reported in the MSM. Lower Solar activity = more cosmic rays = more cloud cover and lower surface temps. See Maunder Minimum and Dalton minimum.

          Now let’s turn your argument around and discuss an obeservation about leftists and alarmists and their creeping predictions. First the Earth was going to cook and ice caps were going to melt and NYC was going to be underwater by 2000, then 2013, then 2018. Now they are smarter predicting doom in another 50 years so we don’t keep passing the deadlines with no changes.

        • Bab:

          The core position of most of the non-alarmist critics is that making predictions about future climate is for the most part a non-scientific undertaking, science being defined in the Popperian sense. This being the case, to offer alternative predictions and pretend to base them on science would be a largely illegitimate pursuit.

          • Actually, making accurate predictions as one of the bedrocks of science. Science can be proven through experimentation, or through predictions, and the alarmist predictions continue to fail to come to fruition – that’s why, as I said in a earlier post, the most recent predictions are for a more distant future where they cannot be disproven too quickly.

        • Truthseeker says

          Bab – your are showing your activist colours by using the term “denialists”. No-one denies climate or that it changes. This term was coined to connect “Climate Deniers” to “Holocaust Deniers” and you have used it to connect these “denialists” to “moon landing denialists” (comment below) for the same reason. The data is clear, but that is not what you are arguing. Like all of the leftist activists on this issue you are going after the people and not the arguments because that is all you have.

          The data is against you.

        • @ Bab
          I reject your use of the term on the face of it – no one denies the climate changes. What a sober, reasonable conservative denies is the drastic prescriptions for dealing with a cyclic natural phenomenon from a human civilizational point of view.

          If you and your cohorts are willing to plunge the modern world into the stone age instead of reasonably acting to mitigate and adapt to climatic changes feel free to unplug your computer and buy a horse.

          The backlash and so-called denial is really just a response to the unrelenting barrage of trumped up catastrophes the previous predictions have failed to produce. Couple that with the hypocritical way you all live your lives – and no driving a Prius doesn’t exonerate you from criticism. Walk the talk.

        • “conservatives’ newfound passion for scientific inquiry”

          This is just a biased and insulting statement that makes too many assumptions to even begin to pick apart.

          How can a person expect to be taken seriously with this kind of language of bias?

          • Edward Blythe says

            “How can a person expect to be taken seriously with this kind of language of bias?”

            Because it’s accurate. As a practicing scientist, I have been driven away from the political right because of its proponents’ very strong tendency to evaluate scientific findings by whether or not they’re consonant with right-wing orthodoxy. If you’ve ever wondered why so many scientists seem to be lefties these days, it’s because of the inability of the right to separate ideology from reality.

        • Ronald says

          @bab Yes. There’s been in evolution in the conversation on the right about climate change, I’ve noticed too. Kicking and screaming they’ll come, eventually, to the right side of history like always, besmirched, but still wielding out-sized power because of all the special interest money propping them up. And still they will decry all the ills of the “elite”.

        • Stoic Realist says


          That’s okay. The other side’s passion for scientific inquiry goes on holiday whenever science steps on their sacred cows as well. As a rule I find it suspect whenever I find a group who only believes the science that supports them. Given that both sides of the aisle do that these days I am forced to find a lot of things suspect. That and be exposed to a nauseating amount of people being hypocrites.

      • I want to know….in all seriousness….the scientific output that makes a pretty ironclad case for both identifying the exact problem and corresponding solution with explanation about how X solution will get us from point A in the present to point B where we need to be in the future.

        Show me. Seriously. I want to know.

    • Harland says

      Dystopian predictions?

      Al Gore In 2005: “Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro.” Kilimanjaro In 2015: http://i.magaimg.net/img/ol3.jpg

      Greenpeace Just Kidding About Armageddon: “In the twenty years since the Chernobyl tragedy, the world’s worst nuclear accident, there have been nearly [FILL IN ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID HERE],” the sheet said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/01/AR2006060101884.html

      Now riddle me this: If global warming is such an existential threat that we need need to get as much clean energy online as quickly as possible, why did the Obama administration put steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels?

      Here’s Michael Mann’s (The Hockey Stick guy) prediction that the West Side Highway would be under water by now
      he also said that restaurants would have signs in their windows that read, “Water by request only.”
      He is citing predictions that didn’t happen. What do you call a theory that makes wrong predictions?

      • E. Olson says

        Harland – it is not surprising those people were wrong in their predictions, because they just don’t have the scientific background of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has now confidently told us that we have 12 years to fix climate change and has a perfectly rational and feasible Green New Deal to win the climate war.

      • Lightning Rose says

        We could have had the whole planet on “clean, sustainable” energy a generation ago–it’s called nuclear, but oh-no, can’t have THAT!

        Don’t get me started on the 1,500 private jets converging on Davos, occupants of whom also own multiple, opulent homes all over the globe, and especially on beaches. Not to mention the 100-foot yachts they operate. I’ll believe there’s a “problem” when these clowns start to lead by example with “sustainability.”

        • E. Olson says

          Taxes and climate austerity are only for the little people.

    • Stephanie says

      @jimhaz, the slur “contrarian” is generally applied to those who disagree instinctively and without reason. Just about every comment above yours uses different arguments and examples to poke holes in the premises presented in this article from different angles. Your comment – one of the shortest so far – presents no information. Just an insult and an almost gleeful prediction of impending doom. Unless we all disavow our reasoned positions and adopt your unsupported position, of course. Who’s really being a contrarian here?

    • D-Rex says

      No, damn contrarians just pay more attention to facts and real science than lefties who swallow unscientific dribble because it fits their partisan narrative.

  18. Sean Leith says

    Ben Sixsmith,

    I don’t what you are smoking. The left, aka, Al Gores, push global warming, which outer anti-science. Look back their predictions, not even one closing to reality. The left are totally insane right this moment. I predict that won’t be leftist government in next 50 years, if you want to bet.

  19. C Scott says

    Bit of a straw man here, it is not either or, not absolutely true or false. There are plenty of well credentialed Climate Scientists who accept that greenhouse gases are contributing to the warming of the earth. It is generally accepted that since the preindustrial age, starting during the Little Ice Age, that the world has warmed about 1 degree. The question is how much is natural rebound from the earlier period or part of much longer ocean or other natural cycles. However, many of these Climate scientists do not buy into the Catastrophic meme. See for instance the former head of the Atmospherics Dept at Georgia Tech discussion of warming in the first half of the 20th century, In the following cited article the opening paragraph states “A careful look at the early 20th century global warming, which is almost as large as the warming since 1950. Until we can explain the early 20th century warming, I have little confidence IPCC and NCA4 attribution statements regarding the cause of the recent warming.” https://judithcurry.com/2019/01/23/early-20th-century-global-warming/#more-24640

    • @C Scott, the problem is that the Right is not interested in scientists who mount good-faith, well-evidenced arguments that the modeling may still be overestimating the effects of climate change. Instead, for the most part, right wingers continue to deny the greenhouse effect outright as a fundamental article of faith.

      • I think believing this reality about “the Right” is the fundamental article of faith. IOW, I think you look to lowest, basest and silliest to form your opinion so you can file away and dismiss what you just read.

      • C Scott says

        Have no idea who this Right is that maintains this, I suggest that this is a convenient stereotype. I see many Lefties, such as myself, who dispute the Climate Catastrophe dogma. The idea that all you have to do to refute skeptics is to point to the physics demonstrating that there is such thing as a greenhouse gas, is irrelevant to any serious skeptical criticism. Moreover, if it is that crazy anti-science Right who is the only ones promoting skeptical thinking, well that is enough to dismiss it without addressing its cogent criticisms. So you illustrate the two memes: one, skeptics deny basic and easily demonstrated science. Two, this is solely one looney idea among many looney ideas that make up the Right wing tribe. Both are simply convenient fictions to dismiss legitimate debate. Moreover, for decades now the catastrophic Climate community has decried any attempt to address skeptical arguments publically as giving them unwarranted attention. Almost all have refused to participate in any program or debate that had a representative from the other side. See this statement by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press and its stance on climate denial. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/01/02/chuck_todd_im_not_going_to_give_time_to_climate_deniers.html
        So the presentations by scientist from the skeptical community are estopped by most of the media’s denial of a platform, and by dismissing them out of hand as denying basic science. Both false to fact. This ladies and gentleman is not how science is done.

        • @CScott – you can see ample instances of it in this thread. Some people have claimed that surface temperatures haven’t increased at all, and any evidence to the contrary is the result of a conspiracy apparently involving every observer at every weather station over the past 100 years. Those who claim that it is the duty of climate scientists to “debate” these people need to realise that its futile to engage with people with whom you can’t even agree on basic standards of evidence and good faith. Its the equivalent of trying to debate someone who denies that the moon landing ever took place. In fact, I dare say that both the climate denialists and the moon landing denialists have similar views of NASA.

          I agree that the left is just as dogmatic about believing in climate change as the Right is about denying it. The problem is that the Left is fundamentally correct in this instance. Of course, that is mere happenstance, as there are plenty of cases where the Left refuses to listen to evidence (immigration, multiculturalism) just as there are cases where the Right refuses to do so. Its a fitting reminder that neither side has a monopoly on the truth.

          • Bab, the point is that when one side of the ideological spectrum wants to have open and honest debate with the other side, and the other side wants to stifle debate and silence any opposition to their views, it’s a good bet that the former is correct and the latter has much to hide.

          • C Scott says

            I was not thinking about comments in a casual article in a place like Quillette. I was thinking more about serious discourse that one might find in a Climate Science oriented blog such as ones hosted by actual climate scientists such as Judith Curry https://judithcurry.com/ or even popular blogs committed to discussing the issue. For instance, WattsUpWithThat, which is the most popular blog on the subject on the internet. https://wattsupwiththat.com/ It is not strictly science oriented, but while it does address some science it is also polemical. Even there if one were to post an article proclaiming that there is no such thing as global warming, if anyone acknowledge your post at all, you would be quickly schooled and roundly ridiculed. Take a look and explore what each side has to say, it is frequently enlightening.

        • TarsTarkas says

          Deplatforming was the purpose behind the Climategate e.mails. Conspire to deny publication of papers that cast any doubt on AGW, then trumpet loudly, ‘see, every published paper supports AGW!’ When you rig the game, don’t bitch when those getting the shaft protest.

      • Lightning Rose says

        Actually, the right’s Heritage Foundation has offered on many occasions to take on the climate alarmist scientists in open, televised debate. The alarmists have categorically refused, hissing and spitting ad-hominem invective in reply. The skeptical scientists have the evidence on their side, therefore the alarmists CAN NOT debate on scientific merit–they will lose.

        Trump can blow the whole thing out of the water by going after the Endangerment Finding that allows (only since Obama, natch!) the EPA to regulate CO2 as “air pollution.” There are indestructible arguments that CO2 is in fact necessary to all life on the planet, and as it increases (for whatever reason) life’s abundance increases by every measure. In fact, if there’s a downside, evidence has yet to be produced.

        Get rid of the Endangerment Finding, and it’s Game Over for the leftist “climate” cabal.

      • Truthseeker says

        Bab – again you are labelling people with a group tag instead of facing the arguments that are being made. Anyone who uses the term “Greenhouse Gas” either does not know how a greenhouse works and/or does not know what a gas is. For example water vapour is not a gas, but a vapour (the clue is the name) and that means it has quite different properties which explain the effects that clouds have.

        For a detailed and scientific refutation of the radiative greenhouse gas theory, you can start here which is from an astro-physicist using the work of two other physicists to show the scientific invalidity of the radiative greenhouse gas theory.


      • @Bab
        again… No one denies the greenhouse effect. The truth of the matter is water vapor is the chief greenhouse gas and where is the effort to call water vapor a pollutant and ‘stop it’?? Also guess what greenhouse operators pump into their greenhouses? CO2.

        The focus on CO2 is because it is one of the atmospheric gases that mankind in it’s modern incarnation emits as a result of living. More modernity and wealth equals more CO2.

        Whether or not CO2 is going to devastate the world and kill everything is up for debate. The fact that it has been higher than it is now long before modern man and life persisted is evidence against the sky is falling trumpeters.

        The real evidence is showing that increased CO2 is greening the planet (see NASA 2016 study). https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

        • Truthseeker says

          Craig – there are serious scientists that absolutely deny that the “greenhouse gas” theory has any validity whatsoever. See my comment above yours.

          • Craig WIllms says

            I am certainly no expert, but I’ve read about this contention and listened to Richard Lindzen and Lord Monkton among others on the subject, I find them credible and frankly convincing. I just tried to point out that CO2 is not a pollutant and that it is the scapegoat because its clearly the one element mankind’s activity is a factor in.

            Thanks for the link!

      • hunter says

        Funny, Bab, but Scientists who dare to drift off the consensus you support are attacked attacked and have their careers damaged for not supporting the consensus.
        Please stop projecting.
        It is the consensus true Believers who reject dissent.

  20. Saw file says

    We will keep on building, constructing.
    Of course we care about the planet.
    It’s a race.

    • Gringo says

      Yes, it could be. Paul Erlich cried “wolf” on the Population Bomb. The Club of Rome cried “wolf” on resource depletion. These predictions were made a generation before the author of this piece was born, so he may not be aware of them.

      Then there was The Independent’s prediction on snowfall. One of the longest running climate prediction blunders has disappeared from the Internet:

      Readers of WUWT and millions of climate skeptics have read this article before, and in fact it is likely one of the most cited articles ever that illustrates the chutzpah and sheer hubris on display from a climate scientist who was so certain he could predict the future with certainty. Dr. David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit who famously said:

      From the Independent’s most cited article: Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past by Charles Onians:

      However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

      “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

      It seems however, that after over 15 years, the Independent has removed that article,

  21. Farris says

    “Yes, free market capitalism has enabled growth and innovation, but it is also a force for presentism, insecurity and greed.”

    Yet free market countries tend to be cleaner and more environmentally friendly than command and control economies.

    The author fails to address the laws of unintended consequences that plague the environmental movement. There is an island of plastic in the ocean and localities are banning plastic straws. But why? Could it be that 30 years ago environmentalists told us we need to use more plastic bags and straws while limiting the use of paper bags and straws to protect the rain forest? It wasn’t corporations that stained the Colorado River orange with toxic chemicals but rather the E.P.A. Out of control wildfires have been the result of environmental policies prohibiting the cutting of the under growth. Solar and wind kill birds and require massive acres of cleared land.

    Naturally the article devolved into a climate change vegan rant. The real question is: Is the Left better stewards of the environment or just pushing an anti free market agenda?The only evidence the Left puts forward to show they are better stewards is the self serving claim that they care more.

    • Obscure Canuck says

      Most of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comes from east Asia, not to say that North American plastic doesn’t cause problems. And it was corporations that caused these: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/is-the-cuyahoga-river-the-only-river-to-ever-catch-on-fire.html

      Fire control policies have updated with the knowledge that fire suppression is unhealthy for forests (many pines need fire to reproduce for example).

      Birdwatchers generally care about the environment and have been very vocal about wind farm placement. Considering how popular the hobby is and the organizations involved, it does have an effect. However, the deaths caused by wind turbines are tiny compared to the number of birds killed by windows and outdoor and feral cats in the US, so the significance is generally overstated.

      The environmental movement is not an unchanging group that all thinks the same way. It has made its mistakes, just like any other group. The issue would be if it consistently failed to learn from them.

      • Farris says

        @Obscure Canuck

        Thank you for your response. It sounds as though we may be in agreement.
        If the majority of ocean plastic is from Asia that would be evidence that the more free market economies of the West tend to be the more environmentally friendly countries. Additionally it remains evidence that plastic push to save trees was ill advised. Many people, including myself, puzzled how more plastic factories and slowly degradable plastic could environmentally friendly. Another example of the Leftist panic to judgment producing harm and not a solution.
        If bird watchers are now complaining about wind farm placements, it shows he initial policy was short sighted and reactionary. How could be granting variances for bald eagle kills be embraced by the so called eco-friendly Left?

        These an other incidents demonstrate the the notion the Left is better stewards of the environment is a fiction. Furthermore these ill advised rush to judgments should cause reasonable minds to ponder if the climate change diagnosis is correct and is the prescription beneficial.

        • TarsTarkas says

          Most of the plastic in the Great Raft of Plastic may have come from China, but much of it originally came from North America. Put in recycle bins, collected shipped to China, the useful portions reused there, the rest dumped in the rivers to go into the Pacific.

      • @ obscure
        “The environmental movement is not an unchanging group that all thinks the same way. It has made its mistakes, just like any other group. The issue would be if it consistently failed to learn from them.”

        Well, not all right-wingers and conservatives think same either. Using pejoratives and well worn labels allows the left to ignore ANY criticism. This while they hypocritically shame the other-side as they live with the same modern conveniences they claim are destroying the planet.

        I say thank God for the environmental movement! It sprang forth in the 1960’s righteously. However, it has morphed into and anti–capitalist and anti-human enterprise. Both capitalism and humans are going to be needed to fix what’s broken.

  22. augustine says

    This brief essay was a disappointment because it went directly to the issues around climate change. That is not the territory where conservatives should be fighting for primacy. The focus should be in areas where everyone can relate to the ethos of the proponent: local environment, food safety, nature conservation, and so on. Environmentalism in a more traditional sense instead of a progressive sense. Does anyone seriously contend that liberals care about forests and clean beaches– that is, the existence of these things– while conservatives do not?

    It has been widely accepted that Republicans care about jobs and business profits and not at all about anything standing in the way of those things. Clearly this is a false dichotomy, but what do GOP types rally for in the environmental realm besides Ducks Unlimited? The stereotype of the conservative who is ignorant and callous when it comes to anything associated with “nature” is firmly established now.

    I don’t see any heartfelt attachment to “climate” per se, on the left or right, and that is because any passion involved is channeled directly into politics and ideology. It is an arena to rumble in but it completely misses the most important environmental sentiments we possess. Compare “global warming” to restoring a polluted river or protecting a local watershed to catch water, prevent erosion and provide enjoyment and learning for local citizens. Quality of life, in other words. Ideologically zealous liberals have taken ownership of these things in the public imagination for decades while conservatives have folded.

    • Obscure Canuck says

      Thank you for this comment; I felt the same way. I am a social conservative but grew up in a family that loves learning about and spending time in nature. I don’t understand why both in the US and here in Canada there is a pretty perfect spearation between people wanting to protect the environment and conservative politicians.
      As a result, I was looking forward to reading article, but was quickly disappointed when it turned out to be simply refuting climate change skeptics/deniers. Climate change is such an abstract and controversial issue that you’re not going to convince people by starting there, and it ignores the majority of people that at least accept climate change is *probably* something to be concerned about.
      Start with areas of common ground; aesthetics (trees and clean water look nicer than concrete and lawns, and are healthier and better for the environment too!), deforestation, and air and water quality are things everyone can get behind. Arguments for biodiversity and ecosystem services may take some more work, but I think you’d still get a lot farther than anything involving climate change.

      I liked this article a lot better, but I feel like it wouldn’t appeal as much to the many people who aren’t hunters and fishers: https://www.fieldandstream.com/politics-hunting-and-fishing

      • augustine says

        Obscure Canuck,

        Thanks for your reply. The F&S article gets at some of the underlying problems and directs attention to the fact that we, as citizens, have a lot more in common regarding the environment than our politics would suggest. This shared interest has been hijacked by both Republicans and Democrats co-opting social-economic issues and linking them with their own environmental messaging, so that we have liberal priorities married to protection/worship of nature, and conservative imperatives linked to the use/subduing of nature. For most people, city dwellers especially, any number of social issues takes precedence over environment come election time.

        Conservatives are in better position I think to break the problem of voters having to choose (for example) between false dichotomies like pro-gun/anti-regulation and anti-gun/pro-regulation. The current alignments can be disrupted. Many liberals, in their inherent quest for rebellion and change, lost the plot when they gave up local and national level activism for protecting nature and the fight for clean air and water and took up abstract planetary concerns instead. They jumped the shark a long time ago.

  23. Cody Smith says

    Mr. Sixsmith,

    The 1968 Stanford Research Institute report that you quote as being proof of scientists believing in global warming over global cooling is actually equivocal on the issue. You quote the section of it that laid out the case for global warming, but omit or ignore that the very same report also lays out a case for global cooling.

    A portion you did not choose to quote: “An increase in fine particulate material will have the effect of increasing the reflectivity of the earth’s atmosphere and reducing the amount of radiation received from the sun. Thus this effect would be the opposite of that caused by an increase in CO2. The argument has been made that the large-scale cooling trend observed in the northern hemisphere since about 1955 is due to this disturbance of the radiation balance by fine particles and that this effect has already reversed any warming trend due to CO2.”

    This is not to say that your overall premise must be incorrect, but you chose a poor article for supplementation of your viewpoint.

    • Sean S says

      Agree. The author simply doesn’t sufficient knowledge for the topic.

    • turnages says

      Well, no article can cover all the nuances, without turning into a whole textbook.

      As far as the particulates are concerned, yes, they do indeed result in cooling, which counteracts some of the warming from CO2 increases, and no-one in the field has ever pretended otherwise. Particulates increased greatly through the 1950s and 60s with postwar industrialization, causing the warming evident in the ’30s and ’40s to level off.

      However there has been an enormous reduction since 1968 of particulate emissions in Europe, North America and Japan, and the more recent increases in China and India are also starting to reverse as their governments are getting more serious about air pollution. So it’s been swings and roundabouts on that front.

      Meanwhile, the rate at which CO2 is being added has, of course, greatly accelerated in the last fifty years. So overall the nett anthropogenic effect has been one of significant warming.

  24. Scott Collins says

    Many arguments can be made on both sides but the reality is that MOST climate science is in fact bad science. Science has a basic tenant of observing the world, proposing an hypothesis to explain what you observe and then validating your conjecture with a prediction of what is to come next. Climate “science” had failed miserably and completely in the third requirement of good science.

    I am a PhD physicist who earned my doctorate testing a small piece of general relativity, by today’s standards this makes me an “Einstein denier”.

    The science of climate change is far from “proven” and in reality is far closer to economics than to real and hard sciences. The earth is a dynamic and constantly changing system and the arrogance of claiming an even cursory understanding of it confounds me.

    • Lightning Rose says

      These days I find the “science” of psychology a similarly moving target, aiming in the same direction; Orwellian social control. Think this way or else!

    • Craig WIllms says

      @Scott Collins
      I’d love to here more about your work. It fascinates me. Einstein was a genius level figure and without question a major contributor to cosmology as we know it, but he was not God. I’m wondering you believe that the God-like status of people like and Einstein and Hawking has stifled cosmology in the face of super modern observational tools that (seem to) question their suppositions/conclusions. Is the Standard Model of cosmology due for a remodel?

  25. JackD says

    Wow, “conservatives are wrong about global warming.” Thank goodness for sites like this that can publish such a unique and controversial idea.

  26. Thomas Barnidge says

    There was a time here in California when the Environmentalist mantra was “we can replace fossil fuels with alternative energy sources.” Now the same people are against hydro (rivers must run free!), solar and wind (kills birds and desert tortoises!) , and of course (are you kidding?) nuclear. So here’s my prediction; If ever alternative energy sources are near-perfected, the environmentalists will fight like mad to keep it out of use for the public. People must suffer!

  27. AW is more than a little over the top here. While gasoline prices are substantively higher in California than elsewhere in the USA, they are nowhere near triple the price. The delta smelt is certainly not an “invasive”, but actually an “endemic”; meaning it is extant only in the SF Bay estuary. And yes, there is a genuine ethical question regarding driving any species to extinction without deeply and publicly weighing the societal costs and benefits of the decision-taking entailed in either in their fanatical conservation or in kissing them goodbye.

    The Bay Area has radically differing microclimates, but I lived there for decades and by and large, neither heating nor air conditioning is absolutely required —with exceptions, surely— and however inflated energy costs may be in those parts, it’s unimaginable to me that a 600 sq foot dwelling anywhere within 50 miles of the Golden Gate could entail a $400/mo electric bill solely for mandatory aircon.

    The larger problem which I saw an a participant-observer at the Federal and State levels is that the enviros have from the outset vastly overplayed their hands and as with many aspects of the silo-ing of our culture, they are clueless as to how much legitimate resistance there is to going along peaceably with their program —widely and all too correctly perceived as arrogant and elitist— and how poorly they/we have elicited the broadest possible informed constituency.

    • hunter says

      Teddy was much more the conservationist.
      Like a true conservative, he actually did something that made a constructive impact.
      Rachel misled and scared.
      Teddy created.

  28. Jezza says

    I know little of climate science. I form my opinions by assessing the accuracy of scientific pronouncements, and the probity (or lack thereof) of the various commentators. When Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth is judged to be political propaganda because of the huge number of scientific errors it contains, and is therefore banned from being shown in English schools, I don’t trust its message. When academics in Essex try to suppress e-mails that diminish their case for climate catastrophe, I suspect they are not being entirely honest. When an Australian political appointee predicts a drought so severe that the dams will never fill again, and then it floods, well, I just scoff. Intellectual and scientific rigor seems to be lacking in all predictions of catastrophe. When I see reports of the huge wads of cash being generated by the climate business, I roll my eyes and say, ” Ah, so that’s it!”

    I wish someone would buttonhole these supposed experts and ask some pertinent questions: Where exactly are we on the Malkovic Perturbation cycle; why have Professor Zukof’s mathematical predictions of sunspot activity been buried; why won’t the IPCC release the data they rely on; and do you really think ‘no coal-fired power stations’ will actually prevent your death?

    Seeing as the level of maths required to conduct climate science is way above that of ordinary people, what proof can you supply to show you are proficient in this field?

    Turn off your air conditioner and sharpen your pencil.

    • Stephanie says

      @Jezza, to conduct climate science you not only need a ton of math, but the computer models capable of running those simulations exceed what you’ll find even at most universities. When I was taking a climate course during undergrad 6 years ago, the models were ran through a super-computer in a neighbouring province. The simplified models we played with were so sensitive that even the tiniest change in certain parameters yielded completely unrealistic results. I think if most people looked under the hood, they would hold deep misgivings about trusting the output of any such models.

  29. X. Citoyen says

    Three things need separating before anything else, party politics, conservative philosophy, and the public discourse on the environment. The first two are easy. Conservatives cannot complete with the left on the environment, any more than we can on social programs. We’ll always be outbid or shot down by partisan scientists in the academy, so there’s no point trying. On philosophy, we have conservationism, protecting and restoring wild areas and practical policy (e.g., internalizing externalities) and engineering solutions for messes, including global warming. Scuton’s oikophilia suits me fine.

    Public discourse is another story. You yourself have bought into the narrative that environmentalists are champions to the environment when they’ve been long ago captured by the progressive hive and turned into watermelons, green on the outside, bright red millenarians on the inside. This is most apparent in the environmental destruction caused by environmentalists themselves. From incinerating garbage, to alternative energy, to fuel efficient transportation, environmentalists have rejected anything short of total social transformation as contemptible half-measures. They’re willing to accept environmental destruction in all these cases because, as their fairy tale goes, half-measures stave off the inevitable collapse they portend will finally force us to change our evil ways once and for all.

    So, who will you have this dialogue with? All you’ve got left are people who don’t belong to the movement but have been thoroughly propagandized by the media. I do encourage you to engage them. But you’ll be defending against unending attacks by activists and activist-scientists insisting you’re deluded, scientifically illiterate, and likely in the pay of nefarious forces bent on destroying the environment, so your efforts will likely not get us any further than we are now, with someone just like you wondering a year from now why conservatives don’t grow up. The fact is, conservatives don’t need to grow up; they need to learn about the practical solutions to environmental problems that are already out there and support them.

  30. Morgan Foster says

    I consider us all to be very fortunate, indeed, that the planet does not appear to be getting colder.

    For the time being.

  31. Stanley Ketchel says

    The problem is between being a macro environmentalist and a micro one. The big issues for the macro environmentalist are global change, population control, and of course the ravages of the capitalists. The micro people worry about fishing licenses, duck stamps, habitat creation and preservation, game laws, land access, and a variety of local issues. All the people who hunt, fish, birdwatch, collect mushrooms, photograph, and hike are not counted as “real environmentalist” since they do not properly obsess over the big issues, although they are the ones who created the wildlife refuges, parks, and preserves that are actually used. The macro environmentalist act like it is a religion that does not allow apostasy, whereas the rest of us are trying to bring that trout up to a caddis, locate that spring morel, or try to find a Smith’s Longspur. It is the environmental baby steps that are making the world a pleasant place. I would also like to give kudos to private groups like the Nature Conservancy and The American Prairie Reserve who do a lot more than just complain about how terrible humans and economic progress is. They put their money where their hearts are and buy up critical habitat.

  32. Obscure Canuck says

    As a social conservative who also loves nature, I was really looking forward to reading this article. I hate having to compromise between important issues like abortion and preserving biodiversity. However, like augustine above, I was pretty disappointed by the article. It focuses exclusively on the climate change issue, only one of many environmental issues (protecting important ecosystems and their ecosystem services, sustainable agriculature, etc), probably the one that is hardest to change peoples’ minds on, and also possibly the one with which laws will have the least effect. Reducing climate change is not environmentalism in its entirety, or anywhere near that. And someone can care a whole lot about protecting the environment, and help a whole lot with that, even if they don’t believe in climate change.

    Everyone knows that most climate skeptics are conservatives, and that conservatives have generally failed at supporting the environment. Given the title of the article, I was hoping to read about why that is, why that should change, and how it can be changed in a manner that is consistent with a conservative worldview.

    Why does Ben Shapiro support eliminating the EPA despite his religious beliefs that humanity is directed to steward the environment, and the evidence supporting environmental regulation? Many conservative politicians are Christians and should hold similar beliefs.
    Can “tragedy of the commons” issues like water quality, air quality, and biodiversity be addressed by a conservative/libertarian method, or is regulation necessary?
    I’ve been unable to find satisfactory answers to these questions so far for myself.

    • Lightning Rose says

      I would take issue that “conservatives have generally failed at supporting the environment.” A great many outdoor sportsmen, ranchers, and farmers are conservatives. Revenue from hunting and fishing (licenses, Ducks Unlimited, etc.) and political support for conservation from these groups to SUPPORT the preservation of the outdoor sporting way of life is quite considerable. The difference is these folks aren’t on laptops in coffee shops blatting about how righteous they are; they’re actually enjoying hunting, fishing, etc. in pristine places their commitment has created.
      They are also substantial (if not mouthy) supporters of national conservation groups like Audubon.

      • Obscure Canuck says

        Absolutely, and waterfowl are one of the few groups of birds that are doing better than before thanks to hunters and Ducks Unlimited. I should have been clearer.
        I was thinking more of politicians and popular public conservatives, who don’t seem to proclaim how they are supporting the environment (perhaps I am just not following well enough). When a hunter has to choose between voting for better environmental laws or anti-abortion laws, I’m guessing many would choose the latter and I can understand why. https://www.fieldandstream.com/politics-hunting-and-fishing
        The Audubon news page currently has a pile of negative political stories, most mentioned in this article: https://www.audubon.org/news/the-trump-administration-cant-ignore-raul-grijalva-anymore
        It definitely gives a negative impression of Republicans on the environment (of course there could be some political bias involved in their reporting).

  33. Nicholas says

    How about environment alarmists grow up? Stop waving signs and hugging trees and invent a gosh-darn better battery, or wind turbine that’s profit without subsidies? That’s how we quit using fossil fuels, not wagging fingers and tsk tsk tisking each other to death over which bags we ise at the grocery store.

  34. notpropagandized says

    Not so. I’m right b/c the middle and left went radical and left me to be seen as right instead of abandoned. So I’m right but am a conservationist. I love carbon and carbon dioxide because both give life on planet earth. Radicals and leftists gobble up propaganda and garbage science and are disastrously abandoning the fight against pollution. There’s more danger coming from the clothing industry than co2 could ever threaten. Climate change is a fact of life and nothing new nor are the many meteorological anomalies that many think are unprecedented. My suggestion is to step away from socialist communists and get a real education on carbon and co2. Strangling planet earth from co2 is just as stupid as Chinese chasing sparrows to their death for the crime of eating seeds in the field. Snuffing out co2 will de-green planet earth. Wake up and stop echoing stupidity to impress your socialist handlers.

  35. Fickle Pickle says

    I quite like the understanding of the situation that we are faced with as described in the following sources, all of which promote a truly conservative perspective – practical reality based ecological intelligence for grown ups.
    An essay written in response to Sept by the deeply conservative Wendell Berry in the always excellent Orion Magazine http://www.orionmagazine.org/article/the-idea-of-a-local-economy

    Needless to say none of the usual so called conservative suspects came anywhere near to taking Wendell’s sage advice seriously.
    The work of Jem Bendell via his Deep Adaptation
    The work of Paul Kingsnorth especially via his Black Mountain Project
    Paul is now an editor for Orion Magazine. He used to be associated with The Ecologist Magazine which some time ago merged with Resurgence Magazine.For many years Resurgence used to and still does promote the Small Is Beautiful paradigm as enunciated by E F Schumacher.

  36. Fred LaSor says

    The World Economic Forum is meeting this week in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss “Globalization 4.0,” an effort to “create a world of public-private partnerships that guide the free market to create economic growth, sustainability and social benefits, according to WEF’s founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab.” That quote is in an email from Climate Home News.

    I am skeptical about the disinterested nature of “public-private partnerships,” or indeed anything except Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” guiding the free market. There is a striking familiarity to the messages from the elite who meet regularly in Davos to tell us how we should be living: it is they who will pull the strings on this so-called “partnership.” They want to be the “guides” who decide what energy source is allowable, how much development is sustainable, and what social programs and benefits are to be supported.

    Climate change is not new, but it is a powerful rallying cry precisely because it is hard, perhaps even impossible, to measure.

    Our earth is a gigantic system. Anyone who thinks they have found a way to measure global temperatures and their effect on climate is taking on an enormous responsibility. Like the six-year-old with the small tin bucket carrying seawater from the surf in the hope of draining the ocean, they have an imperfect appreciation of the scale of their task. Human beings are not good at scale: all too often they have the notion their gaze encompasses the whole scope of the problem. When discussing any global dynamic, they cannot see beyond the horizon. But they will tell you they can because the UN says it is possible.

    And they are ultimately left to make a lot of interpolations based on climate models dependent upon data points limited in time and location. All too often their data have proven to be inaccurate, or worse, dishonest.

    The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year calling for a unified effort to limit temperature growth world-wide to less than three degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Such a goal, the UN says, would require us all to stop using fossil fuels, a pretty common refrain by climate change people. But for political reasons, the changes they call for will not apply to the two worst offenders: China and India.

    Think about that for a moment – our betters would like us to give up coal, petroleum, and natural gas in the next generation. In its place they call for us to use renewable energy: solar, wind and geothermal,

    And most revealing of all is that no one talks about nuclear power generation, by far the cleanest and historically safest available to us. But our betters (again) have determined, not based on demonstrated experience, that nuclear power generation is dangerous, probably because of the 1979 Jane Fonda movie ‘The China Syndrome’. Our worst experiences with nuclear energy – including Chernobyl — have been remarkably tame compared with the scare scenarios we are exposed to from Hollywood.

    Nor do analyses of the cost of alternative energy sources take into account the externalities of various alternatives. The cost of a wind turbine needs to include not only the cost of its production and installation, but also the environmental costs, and ultimately demolition and recycling. Solar system costs need to include environmental costs of the mining, the concentration of sunlight or heat, and (again) the demolition. These are not insignificant costs.

    People who want us to believe they have the inside scoop on the relative cost of traditional and renewable energy like to overwhelm us with studies, statistics and reports from authorities like the UN. They seldom address the simple question cui bono? Who benefits from those studies and reports? Does the university publishing them, or the UN agency who reports the studies, stand to gain from the results if they are accepted? All too often, the answer is “yes”.

    The question we should all be asking when someone tells us they know what is best for us is: “do they follow their own advice?” Reports out of Davos are that more than fifteen hundred chartered private jets have shown up bringing individual delegations to the world forum. Traveling in a private jet has just about the greatest environmental impact possible. It will be a lot easier to take environmentalists seriously when they themselves start acting like their message is serious.

    • E. Olson says

      Good comment Fred. I often wonder why so many environmentalists use private jets to attend environmental conferences – haven’t they heard of Skype? Many of them also live in high priced coastal areas – if they truly believe their predictions why aren’t they moving to the mountains? If they are so worried about future generations, why do so many not have any children? Lots of interesting questions to ponder for the “scientific” leftist climate alarmists.

    • Fred, I’m with you but there are real reasons to be cautious with nuclear. The effects of chernobyl were extreme, widespread and long lasting. I should really say the effects of stupidity. And then there are natural disasters like fukushima. Should nuclear be used in earthquake zones? And then there’s corruption. The mafia for example happily sign up to get paid by the EU for disposing toxic waste. Instead of treating it or containing it, however, they just dump it in the ground. All of Italy knows better than to buy food products from the Naples area. But if it’s handled competently and honestly, it is the best available alternative to fossil fuels.

      • IronSI says

        It is prudent to be careful with nuclear, but coal has killed more people in the 20th century than nuclear power did, and I am including both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in nuclear’s total.

        Nuclear fission appears to be the only viable replacement for fossil fuels long term.

        • stevengregg says

          Hydroelectric power has drowned quite a few people, as well.

      • Grant says

        There are alternatives to current types of plants that use high pressure and water that are much safer and require very little refined fuel. Bill Gates has been trying to build a sodium cooled test reactor in the US

      • Alistair says


        Even with upper-estimates for historical casualties, Nuclear is still the safest form of energy (and getting safer, of course, as old designs are superseded). Only hydro runs it close.

        Do you have any idea of how many people die per KWh generating other forms of energy? It’s scary.

  37. Fickle Pickle says

    Has anyone ever heard of Robert Ornstein?
    He was a lifetime brain and consciousness researcher who wrote many books including
    Mind Real How The Mind Creates Its Own Reality (actually it is the brain which does so) – we now all “live” in this left-brained virtual “reality world”.

    It just so happens that he co-authored two books with the dreaded Paul Ehrlich – I have recently read the first one
    They are
    New World New Mind
    Humanity On a Tightrope

    Some readers may also like to check out the world-work method that Amy and Arnold Mindell promote and do. World-work which takes into account what Arnold calls Time Spirits which in both their individual and collective forms obstruct the Process of communication necessary for the resolution of group conflicts.

    Extending from their work we are all more or less completely unconscious of the powerful psychic forces and Time Spirits that pattern and control our normal dreadful sanity

  38. This article is a good litmus test to see who reads Quillette for shallow tribal reasons; vs. who reads Quillette because they appreciate the validity of a spectrum of often incompatible views and arguments.

    The results are so-so.

    • Edward says

      Indeed. It’s always interesting to look at the Quillette comment sections to identify those who do not read Quillette for shallow tribal reasons.

    • Stephanie says

      @Will, Quillette commenters are always keen to grapple with articles seriously, and criticize them as heavily as they see fit. That is what most people have done here.

      Your comment, on the other hand, is one of the shortest and most shallow I’ve seen so far. It’s easier, but more boring for everyone else, to insult the commenters instead of debating them on the merits of their argument. Your condescending tone is in sharp contrast to how everyone else has been interacting, and contributes nothing to this conversation. Please reconsider next time you want to attack people instead of arguments. Let’s keep this a productive space.

    • Craig WIllms says

      I’m gonna be on that shallow side, I’m just not that smart. But I have a good BS detector and can detect a good argument versus ad hominem straw man-based diatribe. Science is tricky business when treading into the unknown, where a good guess is often treated as gospel truth. Skepticism is the bedrock of science, this much I know.

      You are likely correct, nice observation.

  39. George says

    Environmental alarmism is just another form of extremism putting environmentalism on a par with Islamism as a major threat to human flourishing and the environment. To support this assertion one need look no further than the ludicrous campaigns against GMOs which have lead to bans in Europe and dire health consequences for up to 6 million children in South East Asia thanks to Greepeace’s delaying of the introduction of Golden Rice. They really should be tried for crimes against humanity.
    The movement began with Rachel Carson and her scaremongering book Silent Spring which led to entire countries banning DDT on scant evidence and the unnecessary deaths of up to 30 million people from Malaria.
    On the Environmental front fear-mongering on Climate and ‘peak oil’ led to the destruction of rainforest on an industrial scale to grow crops for ‘biodiesel’ which turned out to have higher emissions than fossil fuels and triggered a world food crises.
    They are basically Malthusians- Followers of Thomas Malthus, a man who’s trail of destruction in terms of human lives is up their with Karl Marx. It will be interesting to see if they succeed in destroying the global economy how much the starving populace cares about the environment. QWealthy people care because they can afford to.

    • Peter says

      Another example of the »Great DDT Hoax«. DDT was abandoned because it stopped working!

      Mosquitoes develop resistance to insecticides, including DDT. This happened in Greece, and in Sri Lanka already in 1969, as illustrated in the following article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3943480/:
      “In 1963, parasite incidence reached a remarkably low-point with only 17 cases of malaria, which included only six indigenous cases (rest were imported) [31]. Given the favorable indicators, in April, 1963, spraying was halted throughout the country except for barrier spraying around jungle areas. Within months however, the appearance of new cases of malaria prompted the resumption of spraying in the affected areas [30]. Number of malaria cases continued to increase in the following years together with the vector density with over half a million cases of malaria reported by 1969 [31]. That year, a further setback occurred when DDT-resistance was discovered for the first time in Sri Lanka [27]. As resistance spread, the country switched to malathion in 1977 [32].”

      In Sri Lanka, they just added DDT to interior paint, and this made houses »safe« for a year or two. It was a lesser evil. But the extensive use of DDT in agriculture produced DDT resistant mosquitoes. The next applied insecticide malathion has a sickly smell and has to be reapplied every three or four months, so ignorant people naturally longed for the »good old DDT«, not realizing it did not work any more.

      • DDT was abandoned because DOW’s patent had run out and ‘newer better’ products were ready for release.

        When I grew up, DDT was sprayed on the white washed wall inside the whole house. I certainly had not stopped working and a few places have got permission to use it to control mosquitoes.

        • Peter says

          Fran, you provide no evidence for your claims. Granted, DDT is still working in the bodies of people, who sprayed the stuff with little or no protection, or lived in the houses treated with this very persistent chemical. It may work against mosquitoes in places where it had never been used before, and where people do not care about the long term consequences.

  40. Mitchell O Strand says

    You don’t begin a conversation (a polite one, anyway) by saying your interlocutor needs to grow up.

  41. martti_s says

    I lived my childhood in an industrial town.
    I saw lakes die, trees turn brown, people having to move away because of respiratory diseases.
    At that time, the first voices for the nature could be heard. Silent Spring was one of the wake-up calls.

    On the Right they were sure that everything related to environmentalism was a Communist plot.
    Not only that, even the Communists said that progress is the most important thing. We have seen how good the Soviets were in protecting the environment. Their heritage is scary!

    Our planet is far too important to be subject of partisan politics.
    People should really come together and see that there is no planet B anywhere at our reach.
    This is the only one we got.

    • stevengregg says

      You are mixing up pollution with climate change. They are two different topics.

  42. Fickle Pickle says

    Banal cliches all-the-way-down.

    This site (with nary a marxist to be found) features all the research based information that one needs to know re the topic of GMO phoods. http://www.i-sis.org/uk/menu.php

    As does the East by Northeast site of Colin Todhunter

    For a bit of infectious Happiness and Light relief check out the delightful cartoon The Sunshine Makers.

    Not much Light or Sunshine to be found anywhere on the “dark”-web.
    Interesting use of language – even the name the dark-web precludes the possibility of Light and Sunshine.

  43. D Bruce says

    “it is the all-but-unqualified embrace of free market capitalism, has led to an almost absolute abandonment of the field to the Left.”
    Capitalism is not to blame here – it is the tax system ie the State that under-prices land (in the widest sense) relative to capital and labour. The tax system incentivises wasting land. The Single Tax would be the environment’s protector.

  44. Edward says

    Excellent piece. Reasonable people can, indeed, disagree about policy prescriptions. For example, overthrowing capitalism — as Naomi Klein suggests — is not necessary to combat climate change.

    A carbon tax in the United States — with rebates to the American population — would be very welcome, though, as a bipartisan group of economists recently pointed out.

    Unfortunately, many of the comments on this article are examples of precisely the kind of thinking the author warns against.

    • Stephanie says

      @Edward: welcomed by whom? It’s just another tax. It will only reduce carbon emissions by lowering people’s standard of living. That should not be the goal. And it makes little sense to handicap our economy and punish our middle classes when the largest emitters have no intention of reducing their emissions. The last thing we need is to help China gain global supremacy.

      But I do agree with you on your last point: credulous people uninterested in buying into propaganda are exactly who the author fears.

  45. Peter says

    Very good article. Houston was optimistic and hated regulation: no zoning! People built in low lying areas and we all know the consequences: enormous amount of damage in recent floods.

    I remember the times of heating with coal: often for three weeks in December (and on many other days) a thick dirty fog was all over our city, making it sometimes difficult even to walk, let alone drive. Now, with a ban on coal, regulations on the efficiency of buildings and also retrofits, the situation is much better. It recently worsened somewhat with more people using wood and wood pellets (renewables!) as the cheapest energy, but regulation is catching up – new wood stoves must have oxygen sensors and the bigger ones particle filters.

    Yes, fossil fuels are a wonderful thing and helped us enormously, but there is a price to be paid now. Fossil fuels and technical innovation also enabled the rise of Communism. The Koch family helped and enabled SSSR to refine oil. Without fossil fuels, electrification and the mass production methods that Trotsky copied from the US, the communist system would collapse much sooner.

  46. Jezza says

    I expect climate to change of its own accord. I predict earth’s climate will get warmer. And then it will get colder. This will happen without human intervention. And you will die. Get over it.

  47. Donald Collins says

    The problem is not in accepting things change including the environment, the problem comes when one is tempted to think government can do anything rational about it without a serious power grab to do so.

    I am more than willing to let anyone have their goofy ideas to solve problems on a global scale, but I am not willing to let any one entity have power on that scale, for any reason called moral, as I am real sure that would not work out the way folks believe it would, in fact quite the opposite

  48. Aylwin says

    “Yet conservatives—and our unruly cousins …”. Is this site now officially conservative? Oh dear.

  49. Mr. Bear says

    If you want to talk to conservatives about caring for the environment, then you want to talk about something other than the climate – or, at least, don’t talk about climate exclusively. That is a topic that has become deeply polarized. That well has been poisoned by politicians pretending to be scientists and scientists acting like politicians, spreading misinformation, disinformation, and rampant fearmongering.

    Because of the bad actors – and there are many, with various motives – it is impossible to look at any climate science and believe that the information is 100% correct and objective. It is particularly bad when any criticism of the concept is met with bile-spewing hatred and name calling.

    Did we find fault with the statistical analysis in a report? Was the sample size too small, or the math not correct? Did the study not account for some other obvious factors? Do we know of another study that came to different conclusion? Did the study come from a group that is known for pushing political activism?

    Well, then we’re science deniers! Stupid and ignorant! Backwater hillbillies! We don’t care! We should march ourselves straight to the gas chambers!

    When we are treated like that, how do you expect us to react?

    There’s plenty of other topics – and you will find conservatives quite warm and receptive. Biodiversity is one example. The overuse of pesticides is another. Plastic microbeads, the growing amount of chemicals in the water, the collapse of insect populations, bad forest management practices, etc. I don’t think you’ll find a single sane person out there who doesn’t think pollution is a bad thing, for example.

    But when you focus on Global Warming As The One True Indicator Of Caring you turn a lot of people off – myself included – and I’m more interested about the environment than most.

  50. Konrad says

    Elon Musk tends to frame issues with refreshing simplicity and clarity. On global warming he has said:

    “It’s tautological. We must have a sustainable energy transport and infrastructure in the long term, so why run this crazy experiment where we take trillions of tons of carbon from underground and put it in the atmosphere and the oceans? This is an insane experiment. It’s the dumbest experiment in human history.”

    He has also said that a solar power plant is capable of producing more electricity than a nuclear plant of equivalent size, if you include the surrounding green belt.

    Why not give the renewable energy industry the same tax breaks as the oil industry? Wouldn’t that be fair?

    • E. Olson says

      Konrad – the renewable energy industry gets tax breaks that are about 100 times what the oil industry receives on a per BTU basis. Furthermore, the oil industry “tax breaks” are almost entirely based on depreciation allowances that every industry gets to deduct from their gross profits to reduce their taxable income, the elimination of fuel taxes on the fuel used by the the military and farmers, and fuel subsidies given to low income families so they can have heat in winter. Even after all these “tax breaks” the oil industry pays among the highest tax rates of any industry and is among the largest tax paying industries. In contrast, most renewable energy subsidies are direct government payments to renewable energy investors, manufacturers, and users, and the government gets no tax revenues in return. Thus the renewable energy sector would collapse overnight if they received the same tax breaks as the oil industry.

    • D-Rex says

      @Konrad ‘He has also said that a solar power plant is capable of producing more electricity than a nuclear plant of equivalent size, if you include the surrounding green belt. ‘
      Could you please provide a reference for that quote as I don’t believe that Elon Musk would say something as profoundly wrong as that.

    • Jay Salhi says

      It sounds exactly like the kind of ridiculous thing Elon would say. He makes silly, exaggerated and blatantly false statements all the time. The quoted text in which refers to “the dumbest experiment in human history” is a more ridiculous statement than the alleged statement about which you requested a link.

      What Elon calls the dumbest experiment in history has greatly improved human welfare. None of Elon’s companies would exist without fossil fuels, nor would this conversation be taking place. Modernity itself would not exist without fossil fuels.

      • D-Rex says

        While I agree with your comment, the ‘dumbest experiment’ quote is not an uncommon opinion among the alarmist community and is just raving hyperbole. The one I quoted was a statement of engineering factual error which is why I’m surprised that he said it.

    • stevengregg says

      In this case, Elon Musk has framed the issue politically. Where is this solar plant that is outproducing nuclear plants? Nukes can produce electricity around the clock, while solar plants produce a fraction of that, peaking at noon, then shutting down at night.

      Renewable energy could not exist without massive government subsidies. The oil industry gets the same tax breaks every business gets. You are arguing for something very unfair.

  51. The Left weakens its own arguments with every over-the-top alarmist outcome that doesn’t come to pass. Climate Scientists who really believe in the severity of their predictions and conclusions need to do a better job making their case and choosing their battles more wisely. Every ridiculous, chicken little claim that doesn’t come to pass makes an valid claims harder to have accepted.

  52. Morgan Foster says

    “This does not mean that there are not significant reductions to be made in our overuse of cars rather than public transport, bikes or our own two legs, our overuse of commercial flying and overconsumption of meat.”

    There is political danger here.

    The governed know perfectly well that if they were to be deprived of personal transportation vehicles, if they were forced to obtain difficult-to-get government approval before flying across country or to other continents, and if they were to find meat priced beyond their reach, or empty shelves in local markets …

    The governing class would still have access to all of these things.

    Any political success in imposing these “significant reductions” upon the masses could be wiped away in a moment through political revolution.

    • david of Kirkland says

      I know that temps between 20-90 (F) are better than colder and warmer.
      I know that setting the global temp is pointless, but it’s not pointless to note it’s getting hotter as we pump more such gasses into the air while deforesting (often by burning) for cattle.
      Any waste you put into the air or waters rather than contained is pollution. We should tax pollution based on how much you are putting out, and how dangerous the pollution is.
      No doubt climate models are not correct, but the “earth has always been changing climate” notion is absurd since human civilization is pretty much 10-12 thousand years old alone, and we probably don’t want to suffer an ice age or runaway heat (think all planets in our solar system that aren’t Earth).

      • D-Rex says

        You mean all the planets in our solar system that are within the ‘goldilocks zone’? That’s only Mars.

  53. S Snell says

    The Right could certainly use a little course correction in matters environmental, but this goes treble for the Left, which for the last forty-plus years has very tiresomely screamed Wolf, er, Crisis at every opportunity. Witness the frenzied efforts to portray the very mild, overwhelmingly beneficial warming of the present time as some sort of existential threat. The sheer oddity of fearing this little gift quite aside, anybody with even a cursory knowledge of Earth history understands that climate is cyclical and ever-changing, and that what’s happening now has happened countless times before. This is utterly lost on the Left, which has little understanding of either history or science.

    For the record, the current warm spell is the tenth such event since the Holocene Interglacial began about 12,000 years ago, and is milder in scope than almost all its predecessors, including the most recent, the Medieval Warm Period of a thousand years ago. At the height of the MWP, the coastal permafrost of a certain large northern island melted, allowing trees to grow, inspiring Viking colonists to call the place Greenland. A name which gained instant irony when, a couple of hundred years later, the climate turned cold again, killing the colonists and the trees. Which have yet to grow back, despite decades of supposedly catastrophic warming.

    The heart of the Green agenda is cold, cold place, where lives a high-grade, malignant misanthropy, which would eagerly bring centuries of human progress crashing down if it could. These true believers understand that the best way to enact this grand vision is to take away humanity’s chief energy source, i.e. fossil fuels. Even in its milder forms, the eco-utopian visions of the Left could, if enacted, cause serious, nearly universal privation without any compensating benefits whatsoever.

    By all means let us take better care of our home planet. But let common sense, guided by a sober risk-benefit mentality, prevail.

    • david of Kirkland says

      So humans are not causing warming from so-called greenhouse gasses? This is just natural trends unrelated to human activity?

      • D-Rex says

        Pretty much, yeah.

        @Stephanie, this ☝️is I believe the shortest comment so far.

      • stevengregg says

        Mars and Venus experienced warming at the same time Earth did. Are you claiming that all three are driven by human activity. If so, please explain how driving my SUV is warming Mars.

  54. Wentworth Horton says

    All’s well and good, plenty of words at elevation. Which is why I come here, they’re writers, and profs and geeks of every kind, and the conversation is oh, so lofty. What is environmentalism on the ground though, where the great non-tenured toil? Here is what it looks like. I needed refinancing on a small rental property I own, the place shows low margins and my tenants are fixed income but if fortune shines and I haven’t been regulated out of existence by then I might be able to pass something on to my children. By regulation enforced through Canada’s Bank Act it was required that I do an “Environmental Assessments Levels 1&2”, which is testing for petrochemicals. The nearest fuel tanks are 80m away on dead flat, well drained terrain. Even an idiot knows those conditions cannot allow leaching but the regulations required a Certified Idiot to do the work. And not just any Certified Idiot, a Bank Approved Certified Idiot. Interestingly the Bank Approved Certified Idiot who did the Mandatory Appraisal for $4000 (45min visit and a 10 page cut and paste template) did not mention the potential impact on the value of the land of contaminated soils. I digress, on to Environmental Assessment Level 1. This requires a site viewing by said Certified Idiot and a report. For $6000. $6000. And all it is, is a preliminary for the Environmental Assessment Level 2, soil testing. If ESA2 is default, why do ESA1? Because corrupt money grab. Short an sweet, that is all it is. I challenged the Bank and Certified Idiot with my logic and told them I was putting the whole thing on hold. After a couple weeks the Idiot relented and we went straight to the ESA2. This required the drilling of two holes down to ground water. 1 day drilling, then sampling, then testing, then report. $18000. $18000. Good work if you can get it. The soil was clean and the groundwater was clean of anything that could have come from the tanks 80m away. Duh. Ah, but we are not done yet. In the groundwater, 26ft down they found petrochemicals, most likely organically sourced but, of course, more testing would be required. The cost? $6000, the amount I argued them out of in the ESA1. At this point I gauged that the Bank would blink if I told them to fuck off. So I did and they countered with an ask for $700. I paid it and watched them slither out of the scene. The point of it all is this: I don’t know a goddamn thing about global warming and am too busy trying to eat to give a fuck. I do know that money did nothing to stop it and every dime of it will come from people with less every year. And I do know corruption wrapped in Ideology when I see it. If being a Conservative will stop this country from turning into a morass of poverty and thieving parasites wrapped in Ideology, then call me a Conservative.

    • E. Olson says

      WH – So you are against providing all those “environmental studies” majors some paid employment so they can pay back their student loans while saving the planet?

      • Wentworth Horton says

        Unfortunately in the end it’s my tenants that pay for that farce. Nothing new there though.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Wentworth Horton

      One of the best comments so far.

      There’s not enough attention being paid to the issue of ground-level corruption within the science-government complex.

      • Wentworth Horton says

        We need to define corruption more as something more sophisticated than some third world despot cleaning out the national bank or a greasy palmed hack taking brown envelopes. Let’s measure it as endeavor, human capital and resources that go to producing absolutely nothing of value. Then put a carbon footprint on it. Now we’re heading in the right direction.

  55. Mr. Sixsmith’s defense of scientists being aware of global warming as opposed to global cooling in the 1970s using a Stanford quote is quite weak. Two of the godfathers of climate warming alarmism, Drs. James Hanson and Steven Schneider, were contributors to published papers touting the fear of global cooling in the 1970s. Yet I have seen more recent quotes and videos of each downplaying the hype of the global cooling in the 1960s and 70s, saying that it was mostly media hype not supported by-in-large by the science community of that time. They, and many esteemed scientists, were contributing to that cooling hype.

    Mr Sixsmith also alludes to the fact that there was early 20th century warming, as there was in late the 20th century. However, as Tony Heller (a geologist, like me) using raw data from the US National Historical Climatology Network of 1,218 stations, has demonstrated in several You Tube videos that the warming trend in the early 20th century was much greater than the current warming. It was much hotter in the 1930s than today. He demonstrates how temperature graphs have been “adjusted”, or data earlier than the late 20th century simply not used, to promote the alarmist narrative. I suggest watching Mr. Heller’s You Tube videos “Is the Global Temperature Record Reliable”, and “Debunking the Debunker”, which gets into issues of the climate models. He has several more good videos, especially Part 3 of his review of the recent US government climatic assessment.

  56. Erica Germaine says

    The challenge is that after most of the water, air and land was cleaned up in the last 40 years and people stopped dumping motor oil, antifreeze and other toxins into our water supply and ground…the Environmentalists were out of ammo…so they jumped on the CO2 Global Warming Issue…but not before they had to jump off the Global Ice Age hysteria in the 1970’s.

    It’s like watching the crazy guy holding at sign at my exit every morning saying “Repent! The End is Near!”

    We’re not going to divert trillions in our annual economy to impact something that’s not going to make an impact on the environment.

    We’ve had 18 straight years of no temperature changes even though CO2 has nearly doubled. Smart scientists are asking “how did that happen?” Other scientists believe the carbon is hiding out in the Laurential Basis taking a vacation. Others yet are starting to believe that perhaps they should have included variables in their models to account for the ebb and flow with that big ball of gas in the sky as well as the fact that 97% of the atmosphere is water vapor.

    For the serious scientists..they are revisiting the PDO and NADO and finding that those two models explain 90% of what’s going on in our climate.

    The irony is that the original people who started all the scaring have said that unless the world isn’t fixed now…it’ll end in 12 years. Then idiots in Congress start parroting these lines and trying to work people up into a frenzy..while asking them to donate $50 to their political campaign. These same people say if all human activity on earth ceased tomorrow..the impact on our temps by the end of the century would be .1 degree (and they can’t even agree if that means .1 degree warmer or colder.)

    For those of you in Berkeley, that is the difference of 72.5 degrees for your days run or 72.4. If you feel yourself getting chilly with that .1 degree, might I suggest another soy chai latte? Just make sure it’s organic and the store doesn’t use any carbon to run their cash registers.

    I and nobody else who’s sane is willing to sacrifice trillions of dollars from our annual economy for assuaging fears of something that is simply a very very very small risk.

    it’s the same reason I don’t have earthquake insurance. Could it happen? Sure..and unicorns could fly out of my rear end tomorrow.

    So the tree-huggers get some old time religion…then coopt it for their own cause knowing full well that when people stop believing in God…it doesn’t mean they stop believing…they just need a new cause to commit their faith to.

    • david of Kirkland says

      Except that we’re having the hottest temps in recorded history in many parts of the world. Other than that, there’s “no record of of increasing temperatures.”

      • D-Rex says

        By ‘recorded history’ you mean the instrumental temperature record, which has only been somewhat global for the last 60 or so years and that only on land. The weight of evidence does suggest that the earth has been warming for the last 150 years but most of that is probably been from a rebound from the LIA. The system probably reached equilibrium in the 50’s and 60’s so anything after that would be due to other forcings. The existence of the 20 year hiatus despite continuing increases in CO2 suggests that those forcings are predominantly natural. As mentioned before, we still haven’t experienced temperatures as high as the Holocene optimum and there was no burning of fossil fuels back then.

    • “…as well as the fact that 97% of the atmosphere is water vapor.”

      That part of your comment is all wet. Nitrogen is still the most common element in our atmosphere (78%).

      • TarsTarkas says

        I suspect he meant that 97% of the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is H2O.

        • D-Rex says

          I suspect that with a name like ‘Erica’, he is actually a she (but I’ve been wrong before).

    • Obscure Canuck says

      I don’t understand the “out of ammo” comment. There are plenty of other issues to be concerned about.
      Deforestation causing loss of valuable soil and dirty and inconsistent streams. Habitat destruction causing significant loss of important ecosystem services and species. Development along coasts and rivers resulting in flooding and a lack of natural filtering of pollutants. Fertilizers causing eutrophication of lakes (e.g. Lake Erie). Invasive species causing all kinds of problems. Huge losses of insects affecting bird populations and who knows what else. Toxic chemicals are still leaking into aquifers from mines, poisoning drinking water for large areas. And on and on…
      Climate change is just the biggest and most alarming issue, for people who assume it exists, as most scientists happen to, so people are making a much bigger deal about. It’s also not a local issue so, if it exists, it would need to be dealt with nationally and internationally. Personally I have no issues accepting that it exists, but I still think everyone is overreacting about it and possibly forgetting about the other issues.

  57. david of Kirkland says

    I believe in human created climate change, primarily due to greenhouse gasses. The facts seem pretty clear. But predictions about the future are just that, predictions, based on models that haven’t been proven to be correct (even weather forecasting is hard just days in advance, and many “surprise weather events” missed entirely).
    But government should take externalities into account. The failure to do so gives the wrong incentives. I don’t want government banning things, nor mandating specific behaviors. The free markets do work wonders and certainly have a better track record than government coercive policies ever have.

    • Just only this week, I came all of a sudden also on this idea of yours, david, it’s that GOVERMENT BANNING AND MANDATING FROM ABOVE, of course, that’s the root of all that climate scepticism of the right. For some years, I was thinking: but is it not the right that is supposed to be responsible for the globe, the environment, climate, nature conservation (like it has always been, over the centuries, the nobility saving forests and wildlife, against the proletariat and small peasants, that wanted to cut it all , burn it in their ovens, shoot and eat the wild life). Stupid, for not having thought about that before, stupid indeed!

  58. For comparison, the atmosphere Venus is 96.5% CO2 — and the planet is still there.

    And the Venusians are doing just fine! What a complete fucking idiot.

    • Grant says

      It was tongue in cheek response. You may argue with his ideas but he’s not an idiot.

      • You’re right – Malloy is no idiot. He’s a soulless whore to the tobacco & oil lobby.

    • Anyone who is stupid enough to think that cutting down over half of the worlds forests, burning umpteen trillion gallons of oil, dumping umpteen trillions pounds of herbicides and pesticides on the soil, burning umpteen trillion tons of coal, raising billions of stock animals for slaughter, and the other things we have been doing to the planet aren’t going to change the planet’s ecosystems for the worse doesn’t deserve to be counted as a member of the human race. Their IQ is way too low. So, what to do about it. The VERY FIRST THING in my book would be to STOP SUBSIDIZING the industries that are involved with these practices using government funds. The second thing that might be helpful is to use the money that we saved through de-subsidizing to incentivize better alternatives. We have a system at present that is working against all of us to make abusing and polluting our environment more profitable. How about doing a little homework so that we realize that genetic engineering is a practice used to make profits for the chemical and seed companies rather than to benefit any of us? How about offering incentives to develop biodegradable plastics (which the corporations have no incentive to do, so they haven’t)? How about incentivizing the installation of solar panels on every roof so that more people will be producing their own electricity? The incentives don’t have to be very much to begin to encourage progress. What we are doing now is incentivizing corporations to continue what they are doing now because they have the pockets of the politicians and changing their standard protocol is too much trouble. Do we really think that we can get away with abusing the planet indefinitely without hitting critical mass? It reminds me of the national debt. Someone is eventually going have to pay, one way or the other. And if it isn’t us. it will be our children or our grandchildren. The Republican right is just plain irresponsible when it comes to environmental issues. They have their heads firmly and completely buried in the sand. The adjustments necessary to begin to turn the situation around are not that difficult logically speaking. The most difficult part is the political because the people in the government are too busy bickering over their favorite ideological issues instead of doing the practical work of ensuring our future survival.

  59. I happen to be a conservative who cares deeply for the environment, I compost and recycle nearly all of my refuse, I walk, bike and take public transit nearly every day, I even actively support funding for parks and open space whenever it appears on the ballot, but this article is a load of crap. The Left has been pursuing this effort to reduce CO2 emissions for 30+ years, and exactly what do they have to show for it? The CO2 trend line has not a single kink in it. And so you are chastising the Right because we haven’t joined in on this fool’s errand?

    Why not chastise the Left for turning mainstream environmentalism into a quasi-religious movement that is based on a “belief” that unless we change our sinful, CO2-spewing ways, we’re all going to burn in an eternal hellscape of greenhouse gas-caused global warming, and that aims at nothing less than the total transformation of every society on Earth along the lines prescribed by the high priests at the IPCC? There are millions of square miles of potential common ground between the Left and the Right on the environment, and it’s composed of practical solutions that reduce waste and protect nature, and when the environmental movement does focus there, such as protections for open space and sensitive resources, the Right generally supports it. Even as Georgia last November was going through one of the most divisive and contentious elections in memory, for example, 83% of its electorate approved a tax to raise funds for parks and open space.

    Please rethink your uncritical acceptance of this truly idiotic climate change alarmism as the standard for what is or is not “environmentalism”. Carbon emissions are causally-linked to the incredible advances in human well-being that we’ve enjoyed over the past two centuries. Even as we’ve multiplied our population several times over, our lifespans and standards of living have increased even more, and our rate of extreme poverty has decreased — all dramatically. We are less likely to die from weather-related causes now than ever before. As we become even richer and more advanced, yes, uncoupling improvements in standards of living from increasing carbon emissions will become increasingly possible. But as of yet, the only way we’ve done that has been when one place exports its carbon-intensive activities to another (such as California to China); on a worldwide basis, we’re nowhere close to that. Reducing carbon emissions can only mean reducing living standards, which ironically, would also reduce our resiliency in the face of all kinds of natural threats, including climate-related ones.

    If at some point in the distant future, carbon emissions begin to have a net negative impact on human well-being, I suspect that we will have advanced alternative energy technologies to the point that making radical shifts in how we generate energy will then be doable at a level that we cannot even imagine at present. But we are nowhere near that point; carbon emissions have a net positive impact on human well-being, and the delta is massive. There is zero justification for tolerating even a tiny bit of additional human suffering in order to avoid alleged net suffering that is still decades into the future.

    • I you think the IPCC, and the 97% of climate scientists who agree with its findings, are wrong about the danger of CO2 levels, who do you think is right and why do you trust them?

      • D-Rex says

        When the IPCC uses articles from organizations like greenpeace and the WWF as primary sources you bet I don’t accept their findings. The idea that the IPCC is made up of the world’s top climate scientists is a fallacy, Michael Mann was still doing his PHD when he became a lead author and they used his debunked hockey stick graph. The 97% meme is a fabrication and fraud and the study by Cook has been shredded several times. Plus you have mischaracterized the quote, there was no mention in the bogus study of agreeing with the IPCC or the danger of CO2 levels. As for who do we (contrarians/skeptics/deniers et.al) trust?
        I would put Judith Curry at the top of my list, followed by the ones mentioned above and many others that you obviously have never heard of.

        • Okay, this Forbes article


          says the 97% figure is indeed incorrect — it’s only 80-90%! I guess those “many others” I’ve never heard of comprise those 20%, who you still haven’t explained why should be trusted over the 80%.

          Oh, but I am quite familiar with Judith Curry, another whore for the coal & oil lobbies, who every year or so repeats the same obvious lie that warming trends have stopped.

          • D-Rex says

            Follow the money, where is all of the research funding going? There is fame and fortune to be made by being an alarmist climate scientist (e.g.Mann) and the skeptical scientists are the ones with integrity.

          • Do you really want to compare the amount of money at stake?

            Was Milloy showing integrity when he claimed second-hand smoke was harmless, or was he creating disinformation for his employer?

        • Okay, this Forbes article


          says the 97% figure is indeed incorrect — it’s only 80-90%! I guess those “many others” I’ve never heard of comprise those 20%, who you still haven’t explained why should be trusted over the 80%.

          Oh, but I am quite familiar with Judith Curry, another whore for the coal & oil lobbies, who every year or so repeats the same obvious lie that warming trends have stopped.

          • stevengregg says

            The IPCC also said there was a warming hiatus, which is to say that the warming trend has stopped. Is the IPCC then a group of whores for the coal and oil lobbies?

          • No, it didn’t. Look up the word ‘hiatus.’ You might also consider actually reading the source material, instead of just believing the lies whores tell you.


            … It’s true that the warming of average global surface temperatures has slowed over the past 15 years, but what does that mean? One key piece of information that’s usually omitted … is that the overall warming of the entire climate system has continued rapidly over the past 15 years, even faster than the 15 years before that…. the surface temperature speed bump is mainly due to the short-term influences of natural climate variability on top of the long-term human-caused warming trend.

            The speed bump only applies to surface temperatures, which only represent about 2 percent of the overall warming of the global climate…. That’s the only part of the climate for which the warming has ‘paused’. As the IPCC figure indicates, over 90 percent of global warming goes into heating the oceans, and it continues at a rapid pace, equivalent to 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonations per second.

      • stevengregg says

        Science is not based on the popularity of an idea, but rather replicable experiments. This is another example of fallacious logic employed in the service of the global warming pseudo-science.

        • LOL. You’re ones always banging on about ‘there’s no consensus’, then when shown proof of an overwhelming consensus, you go ‘but, but … consensus doesn’t matter!’ What a bunch of wankers.

          You still haven’t explained why the vast majority of climate scientists are wrong, and we should instead trust this tiny minority — who coincidentally all seem to be in the employ of the fossil fuel lobby.

  60. Stephanie says

    I’m disappointed in this article. The title promugates the importance of environmentalism and the need for conservatives to “grow up” about it. And yet instead of discussing the aspects of environmentalism conservatives could get behind that are of vital importance, like plastics in the ocean, we get a diatribe about climate change.

    The author mocks Trump for joking about how climate change would be a good thing, saying he’s confusing climate and weather, but in the very next sentence, he confuses climate and weather. Climate is defined as weather averaged over 30 years – it makes no sense to say that climate is getting hotter every year. He should have said weather, but either he’s ignorant of the difference, or he feared it would weak the impact.

    Another astounding statement is the fear-mongering about “billions” dead because of climate change. Are sea levels going to rise so quickly that people will drown? That seems to be the suggestion, since the author notes extreme weather has been killing less people with time.

    During the PETM 56 million years ago, climate changed extremely quickly: as quickly as we can measure. Did billions die? We have no evidence for a mass extinction. Animals and plants basically just migrated to match their ideal climates. Is the author unaware, or does he think that humans are less adaptable than every plant and animal? Our huge population and supremacy on this planet suggests exactly the opposite.

    If the point of this was to convince conservatives that we should take climate change seriously, that should have been in the title. And also, this article fails at that, by arguing around the edges and making unconvincing, hyperbolic attacks anyone on the right has heard and discussed before.

    • Lightning Rose says

      “Did billions die?” “Mass extinction?” Show me the bodies. You can’t? Oh, why is that . . . ?
      To my knowledge no death certificate on earth shows “proximate cause–climate change.”

      One new “number” bandied about these days is “premature death.” This is an entirely made-up metric with no meaning in the natural world. Death, by any cause, is “one to a customer.” No person, statistic or algorithm is capable of predicting with any meaningful accuracy the time of any individual’s death. The jogger who just aced his physical can step in front of a bus, an entire city in Indonesia can be in the path of a tsunami, and we all know drunks who lived into their 90’s.
      This is just one more bit of “fuzzy math” cooked up by the WHO and IPCC to get OUT of “showing us the bodies.”

      Another way the larger context is constantly obscured is to tout the theoretical deaths from “heat,” without also mentioning that deaths from COLD, particularly in the face of energy poverty among the elderly and disadvantaged, are much, much higher.

    • Peter says

      Stephanie: “Climate is defined as weather averaged over 30 years – it makes no sense to say that climate is getting hotter every year.”

      As if averages could not increase with time…

  61. Morgan Foster says


    “I’m disappointed in this article.”

    I spent a few minutes looking up Mr. Sixsmith on Google and Bing, searching for some sort of CV.

    There are quite a few references to him – including his website, noted above – but all merely state that he is a writer.

    If he has had any training, work experience or specialized knowledge in any scientific field, it isn’t readily apparent. You have good reason to be disappointed.

  62. George says

    There’s a difference between trying to solve a problem and trying to use a problem to leverage advantage. In weaponising environmentalism the left is often guilty of invoking the law of unintended consequences and that can have dire effects for both the environment and humanity in general. The left’s raging, angry, mobs are not conducive to finding rational solutions to real world problems INHO.

  63. Chad Jessup says

    One aspect of the global warming climate scare missing from the author’s narrative is the fact that the increase in the average global temperature is driven by an increase of the minimum temperatures an not by an increase in the high temperatures. The Southeastern United States high temperature averages have decreased in the last fifty years.

    I am just amazed by the intelligence exhibited by the devil’s molecule, CO2, whereby it can increase the average minimum temperatures but decrease the average high temperatures.

  64. It’s been pointed out that the press takes Trump literally, but not seriously; and his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.

    The author exhibits the same flaw when he suggests that Trump “…..advertised his inability to distinguish between climate and weather….”. Perhaps he might mull over the fact that by making that comment he is advertising HIS inability to distinguish between gentle mockery and serious comment.

    Trump, in fact, is likely more knowledgeable than the writer in this field (not a hard thing to be, mind you)

    At that point, I stopped reading, as the article had lost all credibility.

  65. CuriousLayPerson says

    So many of the comments here demonstrate why articles like this are needed.

    • Chad Jessup says

      Yes, they provide us “deniers” comedic relief.

    • Stephanie says

      @CuriousLayPerson, yes, it gives commenters that are more informed on the science and economics of climate change than the author a chance to share what they know. Too bad you chose to be smug instead of doing the same.

  66. Ridiculous. The left hijacked environmental issues some time ago ago; “environmentalism” is a Trojan Horse for otherwise-discredited socialism. environmentalist proposals always favor command-and-control “solutions” that would give them power. Environmentalists also grossly exaggerate problems in an effort to panic the public into following.

    Case in point, IPCC:


  67. Pappy says

    Visiting my very liberal sister on the east coast this fall I found myself being lectured by her extremely intelligent husband (Who I have a great amount of respect for) about the doom of global warming. To press his point home he told me about a friend of his that grew up on the coast of Florida. His friend told him she remembers when she was a small child the water barely came up to her feet while sitting on the dock. By now years later it comes halfway up to her knee. And she was looking to sell the family land in Florida and get the hell out before it was all under water.
    I shook my head with concern, refrained from asking him what her condition was that stunted her growth and asked for another glass of wine.

    • Morgan Foster says



      Little girls grow and Florida docks settle. You’ll have another chance next year.

    • stevengregg says

      If the ocean is rising, then why haven’t the Florida Keys flooded?

  68. check out the long long term of ocean level rise. It’s not recent.

    writer of this article??? truly cuckservative . also the disgusting “forgive me for what you think I might be” National Review.”

  69. Rick Phillips says

    The above comments suggest that many Quillette readers have been exposed to the arguments both for and against the current “consensus” on climate change. I must admit that some of the evidence provided by both sides obfuscates rather than educates but it is clear that there is a need for more rational debate to be had. The other debate however, will inevitably focus on what policies are appropriate given continued uncertainty about what consequences can be expected to flow from our understanding of the science.

    With respect to the economics and policy implications, I refer you to Nordhaus (who recently won the Noble prize for his work on the economics of climate change) and in particular to Table 1 or 4 DICE’s Relative Benefits of Different Climate Policies found for example at


    Nordhaus estimates (based on climate model understanding of impacts) that the Present Discounted Value (PDV) of environmental damage as 22.55 Trillion $US(2005). He assumes abatement costs of only 0.04 Trillion in this base line scenario for a Sum of Damages and Costs estimate of 22.59 Trillion. The estimates for his 1.5°C scenario that appears to be a current policy target, are a reduction in environmental damage to a level of 9.95 Trillion (or a mitigation of about half of the do nothing scenario) that is associated with an increased abatement cost of 27.08 Trillion for a total Sum of Damages and Costs of 37.03 Trillion or about 64% higher than the do nothing scenario.

    This suggests that unless there is an apocalyptic life extinction type outcome in the future, then there is certainly a policy discussion to be had about the appropriate balance between the environmentalists’ seeming desire for a no carbon outcome over the next decade (which I doubt would be politically or even technically achievable) with some set of policy and technical outcomes that are actually doable.

    I think one of the better sources for such a discussion is Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen concensus initiative


    That group is in the business of looking at global priorities identified by the UN and applying cost/benefit analysis to priorize associated policy proposals. They happen to find that putting more money into technology research is more effective that a carbon tax (but rank many other alternatives).

    I have never understood environmentalists who suggest nuclear is a no go if apocalypse truly awaits. I could support a carbon tax …. depending very much on whether it was revenue neutral. But there are many things that could be done to make this a better world and with limited resources we should choose carefully which to pursue.

    • Optional says

      The worst predictions are for 10 inch sea level rise over 100 years. And that is the alarmists worst case. If you do nothing 1 ft might well cause 22 Trillion in damage.
      On the other-hand people have built dikes for 800 years now. A 1 ft dike is pretty darn trivial.
      I lived 10 feet below sea level for years with millions of other people.
      Not one of whom paid a “carbon tax” to make government bigger, and more intrusive. and more wasteful.

      Lets wait 30 years (3 inches worst case) before we decide to panic.
      (because the predictions started 50 years ago – and still are not panning out as predicted)
      So another 30 should tell us if this is a leftist power-grab or not.
      In the unlikely event the oceans rise you can build a wopping 1 ft dike and be good
      for the next 70 years. All without a carbon tax. “Revenue neutral” being a very old joke.

    • E. Olson says

      The problem for environmentalists is the economics of climate change almost never make any sense. The best estimates of the damage caused by a ton of CO2 emissions are less than $50, which translates into about 50 cents per US gallon of gasoline. 50 cents is well below the taxes already put on gasoline in most major markets and hence is unlikely to reduce driving. On the other hand, most analyses of the costs to achieve a CO2 ton reduction in emissions using renewables, electric cars, organic foods and other popularly promoted “clean” technologies are usually from several hundred to several thousand dollars per ton, and therefore yield highly negative return-on-investments, which is why they all need massive subsidies to even achieve tiny market shares. This is one reason the warming believer Lomborg says the all efforts should be put into R&D to lower the cost of green technologies and/or climate adaptation (i.e. building dikes and dams) rather than over-priced and ineffective climate mitigation using today’s primitive green technology.

    • Rick you assume that warming, if occurring is caused or accelerated by man. There are scientists who say this is silly and they have credible evidence to back them up – scientific evidence, at least from where I sit.

      See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYhCQv5tNsQ&t=34s
      and tell me why these scientists are wrong.

      • Rick Phillips says

        DrZ interesting link. I have been around long enough to see a number of scientific consensuses evaporate and recognize that what seems a robust theory now may not seem so robust when new evidence presents. It could well be that in addressing your challenge a revised narrative may emerge, especially if the scientific community can move beyond its current and somewhat peculiar insistence on vilifying what often seem to be legitimate challenges.

        When I was an undergrad I came across an article by Thomas S. Kuhn on the Structure of Scientific Revolutions that impressed me and is worth a read (unfortunately I can only provide the wiki reference at present)


        I still have enough confidence in science and its methods to believe that the theory that is best supported by the evidence will eventually prevail.

        The interim challenge is to determine how best to proceed from a policy perspective given uncertainties associated with conflicting theories and the costs and benefits associated with addressing the consequences that appear to flow from them. I suspect that if Nordhaus is correct; there is a low probability that societies will be able to move in a policy way that gets us to the 1.5°C outcome. Recognition of this is the path that leads to serious consideration of the Copenhagen Consensus approach (reference above) while continuing to do what is reasonably achievable to reduce carbon emissions… and while entertaining a real hope that apocalyptic predictions will not come to fruition.

  70. This piece is idiotic. For one thing the environment is probably in the best shape of the last 50 years or so overall and will continue to improve as we learn better ways to protect the environment without hamstringing humanity. There will always be some trade offs. Its the left actually that needs to take environmentalism seriously and stop proposing these idiotic solutions that would crush the poor like moving to all renewables (subsidized heavily by the government of course). Instead of crony green schemes like that we should be getting all the natural gas we can and nuclear we can. That would move us farther away from the dirtier forms of fossil fuels. If you really believed the world was ending in 30 years or so would you continue to use tons of carbon yourself? Im sorry but most of us know human nature enough to know the answer to that is no. If I had lung cancer I wouldn’t continue to smoke cigarettes unless I was an idiot. Some of these people are idiots but there behavior is cynical and self motivated not guided by simple idiocy.

  71. Most probably, the CO2 tax will be imposed on the industry, agriculture and common citizen (tax on warming and meat), but, in the rich west, neither in China and India (middle classes only, but 100s millions, nevertheless) I don’t expect any lowering of consumption, it simply goes on and on, how can this consumption pattern ever adapt to lower levels in democratic societies, unless some apocalypse or tsunamis will superimpose (not the next few decades, so not for the people in power right now) ? Maybe it’s even a contradiction in terminis, that democratic mitigation!

  72. Take a look at the political leanings in higher education. In a vast sea of leftist thought and practice, the small islands of conservatism or libertarianism are in the STEM disciplines.

    This is why opposition to climate hysteria, disguising itself as “environmentalism” appears to be a characteristic of conservatives simply because they have the tools and knowledge to see that Climate Change is a 50 story skyscraper of dire consequences built on a soap-bubble foundation of unproven assertations.

    STEM graduates, unlike English majors :-), don’t need to accept “appeals to authority”. Vector calc, diff eq and linear algebra allow following the arguments. Experience operating large variable simulation engines make it easy to see how different, essentially arbitrary, assumptions would produce drastically different results. If you know how to look, the man behind the curtain can be seen.

    The left is still mesmerized by the flame blasts.

    • Stephanie says

      @bud, very, very small islands. I am one of two in an Earth Science department of 100 people. The other one had a previous life in the Air Force.

      I told a fellow PhD student at a function I was pro-climate change, and she tried to embarass me about it in front of 20 people, including my supervisor. Can you imagine if I expressed doubt about temperature reconstructions, model parameters, or even model predictions?

      Ever since my fellow students noticed I’m conservative from my Facebook activity, I’m no longer invited to social events – not even thesis submission celebrations during work hours in the department for people in my lab group. My supervisor has delicately warned me about making enemies, even though I’ve never been less than respectful to any of them. I value debate, it helps me develop my perspective, but I’m met with fury that I won’t accept the leftist talking points I outgrew during undergrad.

      Not trying to elicit sympathy, just emphasizing the overwhelming homogeneity even in STEM and the hostility to people with divergent opinions. Our conferences have “gender and diversity” panels with as much scientific rigor as you’d expect from a gender studies symposium. People, including the director of my centre in a meeting, will insult Trump, because it is simply inconceivable that anyone in the room would hold even slightly favorable opinions of him.

      I consider the chance I get hired for a professorship remote, despite my supervisor describing me as in the top 20 % of my cohort. Hiring committees are opaque, so I’ll never know why I don’t get the job, but from what we see going on in universities, at some point I’ll really have to wonder.

      Oh well. Hopefully the socialists don’t destroy the economy in the meantime, and I can transition to industry. We will need to find alternative economical sources for rare earth elements for when things come to a head with China.

      • E. Olson says

        Stephanie – very sad that having a contrary opinion well backed by scientific and economic data makes you “an enemy” in your discipline, but just a further illustration that diversity is a strength only when it doesn’t dip below the level of skin pigment. Popper, Merton, and Kuhn are rolling over in their graves. Based on your experiences, is this climate change hysteria based on genuine beliefs or is it a cynical understanding that department funding is highly dependent on keeping the hysteria going?

        • Stephanie says

          @E.Olsen: We don’t have climate researchers in our department, so people in my department just accept the media narrative without question. The competition for government funds strongly controls what we can study, and I hear complaints about how easy it is to convince bureaucrats to fund climate research but not geological research. I suspect this is part of the motivation to merge our department with Environmental science. We hype up the importance of our research, I don’t doubt they do too. I’ll have a better idea how cynical it is on their part when we’re forced together. All I’ve seen so far is genuine ideological fervour.

      • Alistair says


        Sorry to hear that, but interested to hear of the dysfunctional groupthink, intolerance of reasoned dissent, and virtue-signalling in Earth Science. It’s a powerful heuristic of error.

        The one big thing that drove me into the luke-warmist / policy sceptic camp was the sheer aggression and rudeness of the AGW crowd to reasonable challenges about confidence levels and model accuracy. They had too much certainty, ironically; doubt would have persuaded me more.

        Don’t panic – the Rare Earths are actually geologically common. China just has the cheapest reserves, but they can be dug up nearly anywhere at reasonable cost if you really need them.

  73. Grant says

    One of the next articles on Mr Milloy’s website is entitled “An Ocean of Inconvenient Truth” and reports on a paper which suggests that the “estimated increase in ocean heat content during 1990-2015 is the same as that between 1921–1946.” I have no idea why this finding would be inconvenient. Scientists are well aware of the “Early Twentieth Century Warming” and have written extensively on its relationship to ocean heat.

    It’s inconvenient because the 1921 – 1946 period warming cannot be linked to CO2. Environmentalist will claim that all warming since 1850 is caused by CO2 so it begs the question, what caused it before CO2?

    • Grant says

      The author’s lack of understanding of why that data are inconvenient demonstrates how little he has investigated the subject.

  74. Until those who believe that man is responsible for climate change can tell me why the points made in the following video are wrong, I do not believe anything they have to say.

    Also, *if* CO2 is the alleged cause of warming, then why are we not retiring more gas and coal fired electrical generation facilities with more nuclear instead of solar panels and windmill generation. The later two are known to not be capable of providing the power modern societies need. We do not have a way to store the energy and there are no storage mechanisms in sight.

    The video to which I referred above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYhCQv5tNsQ&t=34s

    • Scott Murray says

      Agree, a 50 year plan to move to nuclear power, seems to me the only way we can move to a low-emission society that maintains our prosperity.

      • Lightning Rose says

        Ha! Who says the Left wants to “maintain our prosperity?” They’d like very much a bunch of dumb, malleable, easily-ruled SHEEP who kowtow to the authority of their betters. Full stop!

  75. Scott Murray says

    AGW policy decisions boil down to how you answer this one question. Is an increase in CO2 emissions a price worth paying for the incredible benefits cheap and reliable energy brings to mankind? If we are just another creature no more important or significant to any other you say NO, but if we are pinnacle and best of all creatures worth more than anything else you say YES. The question requires a religious answer, and so AGW debates are religious in nature.

    • Lightning Rose says

      Historically the Left has tried to avoid engaging in any cost/benefit debate on the environment–hence the highly emotionalized, pseudo-religious framing of it as “sacred,” and untouchable in their utopian vision. More practically, in full context, is the possible non-existence of a rare minnow (the snail darter) more important than a massive hydro-electric project that could provide relatively clean energy to millions of humans? Context taboo here is that Nature herself culls a great many species into the “extinct” column every year, for natural causes that remain often obscure. Do we, as the pinnacle predator, have a “moral” obligation to save EVERY species, even at the expense of our own detriment? How do we place a value on a species? Elephants and tigers are more photogenic than slugs and slime molds, so do we play God and decide which we need to keep?

      There are some deep discussions to be had here, but the Left refuses to allow them.

      • Cornfed says

        well stated. The three words that environmentalists hate most: Cost-benefit analysis

  76. Loran Tritter says

    Religion explains why our own certain demise is not Armageddon, but too many have abandoned their faith. So, the lapsed get confused by climate-change charlatans. Poor little Mexico. So far from God. So close to the United States.

  77. Peter says

    In my job I transferred from a building made in 1968 to a building made in 2008. The second building was the work of an architect with rather frivolous ideas: lots of glass, only interior shades (which do a very poor job of blocking heat). But the energy use (heating and cooling) was much lower in the second building. This was due to better technology (insulation, modern windows with low-e coating) and new regulations that required those changes. If those regulations required also exterior shading (as they do now), it would be even better and comfier.

    So a lot of energy can be saved with new technologies, without significant rises in construction price. In Europe this is achieved with more than a little nudging from the government, as well as with high energy prices. In the US energy is cheap, construction and oil lobbies have a lot of power and do not want change or regulations. Maybe when energy prices soar again…

    The big challenge is transport. Also in Europe. Cars have become bigger, much safer, but also heavier. Many people want to drive SUVs, even if they can hardly afford them. Consumer Reports often characterizes cars with engines that are bigger and more powerful as in the same popular model in Europe as “sluggish”.

    I do not like cold and snow, so the warmer climate is nice in winter. Apple trees start flowering three weeks sooner than in my youth. But now even May can be oppressively hot. I live in the same place for 40 years. It seemed a safe place for the first three decades or so. Historically, there was a flood of the century (or even two centuries) in my city in 1926, but it did not reach the place where I live now. In the last 12 years we were three times in real danger of being flooded. Warmer air can store more water vapor …

    • I agree. There are so many things that we can do to conserve. I suppose that building codes will eventually “fix” this problem, but it will be a long-haul effort.

      I was in homes in San Francisco recently in which there were two slated windows. For those of you who do not know of these, they are glass louvers that open and close on a lever and leak air like crazy. The gas heaters were running non-stop. San Francisco is cold. The owners of these homes are avid environmentalists.

      Environmentalists, if they are correct about AGW, need to gain some perspective. The answer doesn’t start with the environmental destruction that comes with more windmills and solar panels, it starts at home.

  78. Jackson Howard says

    I always find the contract of US conservatives vs EU conservatives very striking when the environment comes into play. It is almost like if in the US being anti-green has become part of the US conservatives DNA. This is very puzzling to me as conservatives were strong in environment protection in the 50s to 70s. The “debate” has devolved in silly identity politics.

    As for climate change happening or not, I only need to take a hike and look at the glaciers to settle the issue. One needs to live under a rock not to see it. That, and C12/C13 ratios.

    1.5C and 50$/T in damage is likely hopelessly optimistic. The OP is right, conservatives should indeed grow up and start to conserve the environment. Because if they don’t, when SHTF, they’ll be be seen as huge fools. And where people will turn then ? To the left… with all the big state solutions.

    Seems to me that there is a large political risk. EU conservatives are shielding themselves with lip service and greenwashing, but I wonder how far that will hold.

    Good thing I live in a place where there is a green conservative party to vote for.

    • “As for climate change happening or not, I only need to take a hike and look at the glaciers to settle the issue. One needs to live under a rock not to see it. That, and C12/C13 ratios.”

      A truly unscientific statement if ever there was or at least a statement that lacks solid logic based on your conclusion that man is causing glacier melts. Glaciers have been melting for at at least 10,000 years when the oceans were approximately 80 meters below what they are now. The question at hand is how much effect has man had on the rate of rise. Apparently, not much. If you would have prefixed your comment about glacier melting with man has accelerated the normal rate by a factor of “x” I would not be writing this comment.

      Take a look at the Farallon Islands off of Point Reyes, California. Approximately 10,000 years ago, man would have been able to walk from Point Reyes to these islands. Today that same route is covered by as much as 240 feet of seawater.

  79. Don_in_Odessa says

    Like most of the arm waiving “Climateers,” Mr Sixsmith labels anyone who questions the prevailing “man caused” meme as “climate changer deniers.” Two different things Mr. Sixsmith.

    Personally I’m slightly leaning over natural side of he fence with the occasional sitting up to an even straddle. Climate change is clearly a fact. But the truth of the matter is, it always has been here. The ice age has been ending for 10,000 years or more. Long before mankind’s population could have possibly had any effect on it. And frankly, there was more CO2 in the atmosphere before Lucy and her clan rubbed those first two sticks together. And, while we’re on the subject, it’s not carbon that’s the problem, it’s CO2, methane and CFCs. One warm summer at the arctic, permafrost releases more CO2 and methane than man does in 20 years.

    If you’ve read this far and haven’t scratched out a knee jerked reply before you got here, I will say this: It is wisdom to not defecate in the bed one must sleep in. We should live as cleanly as possible. In the days when I rented I always left the place cleaner and better than the first day I moved in. We should do the same for the planet.

  80. This is what I commented above Jackson, in capitals, and where I thought that this difference is due to the mandate from above, felt so much more in US than in Europe. Yes, it must be part of their identity niche, and I,m sure that also Ayn Rand would be a climate change sceptic (but not conservative Roger Scruton). I still remember , some 15 yrs ago in the elevator near my mother’s appartment, a man known for his ultraconservatism in the neigbourhood, simply declaring that all that fuzz was only “hysteria”, CO2 was good for the planet, climate had changed all through history, etc, etc. It’s simply a conviction of conservatives, I think, reason or debate don’t help you one inch forward, as neither in questions such as abortion. But, still, the difference between the continents is amazing, yes.

  81. William says

    Contemporary “Left” “Right” political spectrum describe command and control to ensure egalitarian outcomes (Left) versus the individual’s Liberty and Freedom (Right).
    Why does Ben Sixsmith associate “growing up” on enviornmentism with individual liberty and freedom and not egalitarian command and control?
    What more effective way exists other than enviornmentist coerosion to enforce the Left’s goal of social commnad and control? For the Right, i.e. liberty and freedom, the market will find a solution; and of course such a solution is unknown until implemented.
    Enviornmentism is modern day Malthusianism. The market proved Malthus wrong, no different than the market will prove Mr. Sixsmith et al wrong.

    • But, William, are you an ideologist? Fanatic? To believe in the market as something Holy and Universal? I believe that markets solve a lot of problems and are a wonderful glue, but they can’t solve it all, least of all climate and environmental problems, such as overfishing, cutting of the last rain forests, biological diversity, climate change, plastic in the oceans and so many more things. It see a tremendous tragedy enfolding, the billions in China and India and Africa (and the conservatives of the US), believing in free markets and capitalism (we taught them), and not seeing that we live on a seriously threatened and delicate, small planet.

  82. Mark Bailey says

    I consider myself to be a skeptic with regards to man made global climate change. Is the climate changing? Certainly! It as always been in a state of flux. But the global warming projections and attributions of cause are based on computer models, which the climate scientists readily admit are incomplete.
    Until a climate model is developed that can take all the climate data up to the year 2000, input no additional data other than observed levels of green house gases, and produce the trend from 2000 to 2018, I will remain a skeptic and suggest that more attention be given to alleviating the results we are seeing. Rebuilding on a coast line subject to flooding is unmitigated stupidity. Building at the urban wilderness interface without providing a fire break and using flame resistant construction is equally stupid.
    There are many alternatives other than depending on a massive change in our economic structure and its associated upheavals of political, social, and industrial systems. If we cannot afford to be wrong about the climate, we sure as hell cannot afford to be wrong about the solutions. We currently live in a world that cannot support the present population without massive use of technology and energy. As the less developed nations start to catch up, energy and technology are going to be even more critical to provide the necessities of life and civilization. Any changes to these fields nee to be modeled at least as carefully as the climate is.

  83. Kendall says

    I have been an environmentalist, and a conservative libertarian, my whole life.

    What your article neglects is that religious environmentalism has long been to the detriment of mankind. It was the so-called “environmentalists” that blocked nuclear power from spreading just when it was getting popular, how much better off would the world be if many more nuclear power plants had been made, none of them sitting CO2 at all?

    You state that conservatives side with industry. But is that really true? The rush to address CO2 emissions alone has shadowed all efforts at reduction of real pollution, on top of that environmentalists allowing industry to purchase CO2 credits to escape even that minimal obligation! You can tell industry itself is just as into the environmental lobby, as they hide behind a facade of supposed environmental support.

    There are plenty of conservatives who are indeed for protection of the environment, but we want rational discussion on what a warming climate truly means. All we have is un-debatable alarmism that simply cannot be discussed rationally. So until the day when things can be discussed rationally we push back where we can against the most dogmatic takes. Is that so wrong?

    • jimhaz says

      One of the problems is that far right conservatives and the old school wealthy generally will just not adequately cooperate. This makes environmentalists into activists, because you can’t actually strategically plan in the most effective holistic sense, when the focus is always on undermining.

      Like anything new, like any major change, there is always lots of stupidity and outrageous marketing bullshit right up to when the job is done.

      We all know the real pollution is increasing numbers of people with increasing consumption. We can never get to a position to seek answers to this dilemma, as the owners of fossil fuel shares, feel they have too much to lose.

  84. Steve Northrop says

    I grew up in northern California. I took Ecology classes in Jr. & Sr. High School,I spent my youth learning to love and respecting the outdoors, but the Left has abandoned good Conservation policy in favor of Environmentalism, emphasis on the mental part. In my experience as a Conservative, I find it is is those like me, that hunt, fish, and spend every available opportunity out among the fields, forests, rivers and seas, that do the necessary work of leaving an area better than we found it. I’ve raised my Sons to do they same, as they’ve taught their children. hen we hunt or fish, or camp, we take out garbage left behind by those we meet along the way wearing Earth First T-shirts and then proceed to dump their Dasani water bottles where they emptied them.

    A case in point is the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. 13 tons of refuse was left for others to clean up by these “Environmentalists” protesting the safest, least intrusive means of transporting crude oil and its byproducts. The impact of pipelines is demonstrably less than rail or road transport, but because it’s the height of virtue signalling to protest a pipeline, it got lots of good Press, but where was the media when all the hoopla was over and the State & County had to clean the tons of garbage left behind by these “environmentalists”?

    Sorry, but I’ll take Conservationism, the good stewardship of lands and waterways, over Environmental activism any day.

  85. MoreGlobalWarmingWhining says

    The authors piece is heartfelt but is just another whining childish emotional plea of “can’t you at least compromise and agree with me on this or that or the other thing to go along …”

    As with all liberal faithful of Climate Change, the author tries to falsely wrap his global warming cause in reasonable causes/areas for legitimacy. He claims Teddy Roosevelt was an “environmentalist”… when he wasn’t. Teddy was a preservationist. Teddy did not ban fossil fuels. Teddy celebrated fossil fuels in creating industry and promoted them as American greatness. Teddy sent the “Great White Fleet” – all coal fired vessels – around the world as a PR display of the U.S.

    The author needs to stop trying to win the global warming debate with condensing emotional crap. If you want skeptics to buy into the legitimacy and importance of global warming then provide real conclusive proof. Open the global warming research books to full and complete transparency of global warming reports. All data, all models in the public Internet for review… no exceptions at the penalty of losing all future funding. No fudging / adjusting initial data samples. No patching of patches of patches in the climate software models.

    Until the pro global warming folks put ALL data into the public forum, these emotional “can’t you be reasonable” articles can go pound sand.

    • I am truly amazed to find Quillette readers and supporters clinging to uninformed ideological biases without a shred of scientific understanding, exactly the attitude that Quillette was intended to counteract. These comments fall in one of two categories: “so far so good” as the man falling past the 82nd floor of the Empire State Building states”; “environmentalists are just radical leftists who hate capitalism”. The other larger category consists of people who only read news about the environment that emanates from their own political peer group. It appears that all the commenters are post modernists in that they deny science because they think it is still “unsettled” (based on the fact that scientific research allows and needs hard evidence and that science proceeds by the confirmation or rebuttal of such evidence). In any case, the burden of proof is not on the scientists but on those who continue to deny that wildfires, droughts, floods and extreme heat waves are nothing more than the usual catastrophes. The denial of not just evidence but of clear substantiated data on the human origins of climate change….based on the simple fact that excess CO2 creates a greenhouse effect and reflects heat back onto earth instead of into outer space ….gives little hope that the human species is capable of using rationality and evidence rather than political bias or wishful thinking. Depressing as these comments are, I thank Quillette for exposing the ugly underbelly of self-styled but clueless experts. Regrettably, Jordan Peterson’s uninformed views on climate change are having a seriously adverse impact on public discourse. But at least he and these comments reveal the political and economic biases that are at work in the climate change denial debate.

      • Alistair says

        Hey Lorna,

        Can you do a full cost-benefits analysis, with proper risk-adjustment and discount rates across various climate policies? Make sure to show how different groups benefit and suffer accordingly. Show your pricing for externalities and all welfare distributions. Show total welfare of mitigation against adaptation or do-nothing under various growth models. Test your answer given the sensitivity of your climate model with associated confidence and uncertainty statistics.

        If you don’t even know where to begin such a work, please shut up about who is truly ignorant to comment on climate policy.

  86. stevengregg says

    What would prove anthropogenic global warming (AGW) false? If nothing, then it is an irrational belief and certainly not science. Consequently, educated people should reject it.

    If there is something that would prove AGW false, what is it, where has it been tested, and what were the results? Real scientific experiments publishes its results. I have seen no such published results from a real scientific experiment for AGW.

    The way science works is that you see a pattern, form a conjecture about it, develop that into a thesis, then develop a falsifiable proposition that, when tested, will prove that thesis true or false. The global warmers have not made it past the falsifiable proposition step of the experimental method which is the foundation of science. That makes their “science” pseudo-science, what Feynman called “cargo cult science,” which has the appearance of science without the intellectual rigor.

    AGW arguments are conveyed in logical fallacies, mainly propter hoc and argument by assertion. They have simply skipped over the pesky scientific vetting and declared their conclusions true and call everyone who disagrees a denier.

    The fact is that the environment is well within its historic norms and the AGW models which predict humans will boil the Earth have failed to be confirmed by reality. They can not even predict the past. When your models disprove your case, you need to go back to the beginning and examine your faulty assumptions.

    You need not be very smart to figure out AGW is false. When liberals tell you the Earth is doomed and only they can save you if only you give them trillions of bucks and vast, unaccountable political power, anybody with any street sense can smell the scam. AGW is simply socialism by other means, socialism in a lab coat.

  87. I’m a Ph D scientist. In my opinion, most humans care about the environment and want to do their part to protect it. However, most have little, if any, scientific knowledge regarding the environment. Unfortunately, what most of us bring to complex and little understood environmental issues are biases, closed minds, anecdotes and “most scientists believe”. There is a lack of humility and caution in drawing broad, sweeping conclusions and a lot of hubris and heals-dug-in attitude. That’s could be tolerable if it weren’t for the fact that environmental issues have moved beyond personal choices like “should I recycle or not?” to HUGE public policy issues like should we let the government have more control over our economy to fight the potential of climate change. When one group demands sweeping changes and at large costs to fight environmental concerns based on much uncertainty, it’s not surprising that that group will face A LOT of push back from a portion of the public being asked to accept those changes/costs.

    • The author of this article appears to start out with an unsound premise, that climate change “represents an existential threat to the planet”. After I read that I felt the content wasn’t worth reading it, skimmed it for a while, and decided to write a comment I know it’s unlikely anybody will read.

    • @Ranj: you don”t need to have any scientific knowledge or background to choose for either calling yourself a climate change sceptic, or an alarmist climate change believer, as is the case for, e.g., swear yes or not for biological food, or for chemically produced food, or for being a vegetarian or an omnivore. These things have absolutely nothing to do with science, but with convictions and ideology.
      Same thing as with being a socialist or a conservative. It’s as simple as that. Science has to do, e.g., with the correct measurements of temperatures, or measuring concentrations of CO2 or methane somewhere and over time, or establishing the speed of melting glaciers over the years. Jesus, it”s unbelievable, this playing on the drum of science here all the time!

  88. Elizabeth says

    The first paragraph of this article is just a great big strawman.

  89. scubajim says

    How much man effects climate is debatable. Yes, man has some effect. What is dissapointing is that the projections are always projected to be much worse than they turn out to be. I would expect that several projections to straddle what actually happens. When all of them overshoot the actual it means that the models are terribly wrong or the bias is so great they cannot make them nearer. (hence useless unless there is a political bent) Also the main stream journalists – like everything else – do not have any nuance just yelling and hyperbole. (on all sides)

  90. GregS says

    It is not the right that needs to grow up on environmentalism, it is the media.

    For instance, take a penny and lay it flat, next take another penny and lay it flat on top of the first. That is how high the seas rise each year on average. Now take a penny away, because sea level has been rising a penny a year for several hundred years.

    See what you are left with? It is the width of a single penny that “might” be attributed to climate change.

    Now square that with every breathless story you have heard from the media about hurricanes or inundated coastal lands, or the threat of climate change to shoreline development.

    Granted, the perceived rise in sea level may be dramatically different – but that is due to the ground sinking in response to geological forces rather than the sea rising.

    The next time, the NYT or the Miami Herald or WAPO, or CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN or the National Geographic tries to spin this tale about rising seas, just hiss through your teeth, “You &^%$#@ liars,”

    • Lightning Rose says

      You left out: What part of the thickness of that penny resulted from natural causes, and which part from Man? Prove it and show your work. 😉

  91. B. Scott Michel says


    Well articulated read to which I’d add two points about “conservatives”.

    First, conservatives prefer solutions that embed proportionality (I think you hint at that, but not explicitly), vs. “the other side” that espouse the “boil the ocean” total solutions. Hence, conservatives are skeptical because experience shows that the “boil the ocean” solution is a wicked problem’s solution. Wicked problems have to be solved incrementally, not in totality. To be sure, conservatives can get behind using resources more optimally and industry needs proper encouragement to move in an optimal direction without the government stepping on industry’s neck or the general populace’s, for that matter.

    Second, the amazing amount of scientific illiteracy, primarily on green/environmental side of the argument. As one example, the proof of climate change is predicated on models. Models are, by definition, simplifications of nature. Mostly, models are wrong, but some are actually useful. For example, people look at the trend line (simple linear regression) on climate change predictions, which embeds the assumption that the trend will simply continue. That flies in the face of evidence, namely, that climate is a cyclical process — imagine trying to predict next Great Depression/Recession using the current six months of DJIA data. Sure, the trend line has negative slope (downwards), but can you really be confident that you’re really headed off an economic cliff? Again, conservatives are usually skeptical with such predictions as the result of unquantified uncertainty. (Yes, I know the current American/European models used by the IPCC have uncertainty bounds, but apparently there’s a Russian model that does much better at tracking to historical climate data and comes to a completely different conclusion.)

    • Lightning Rose says

      Conservatives also tend to be much less prone to gratuitous drama and emotional argument; the trouble is, you can’t win an emotional contest with facts when drama sells advertising. The only conservative of our time who’s broken through this barrier arguably is Trump. He’s called their bluff and said in essence, it’s all hooey! Whack the beehive and watch the sport . . .

      • stevengregg says

        The trouble conservatives have in arguments with global warmers is that you can not reason somebody out of a position they were never reasoned into. Global warming is part of a liberal lifestyle, a tribal religion.

  92. Marshall Gill says

    “If you don’t agree with my absurd panic, you are being immature!!!”

    No, the Left needs to give up their desire to control every aspect of their fellows lives. The environment continues to improve as our wealth continues to grow. Only the most vacuous would retard economic growth in the name of environmentalism.

    • jimhaz says

      If it is (how) maybe it is because the dirty industries are now in developing countries.

  93. Lightning Rose says

    The challenge of transport can be met to a very extensive degree by telecommuting (think Skype and GoToMeeting). There is no practical reason (except habit) for people to have to commute expensively, wasting time and fuel and causing stress, to sit in a cubicle in a big-box building pushing pixels around a SCREEN when the identical SCREEN in their own home could be utilized as a platform for the identical task. When the Internet was born, many of us had high hopes that it would be used this way, eliminating the need not only for polluting cars and unpleasant air travel but untold acres of valuable real estate tied up in parking lots, as well as the need for out of home child care, crappy junk food, and inefficiency all the way around. People just need to work with their companies to form a new habit, that’s all. “Work from home” needs tax incentives and corporate support to take off.

    • jimhaz says

      Would working at home be a decline in living standards for the average person – human interaction is so important a part of life for most? Would this lead to more and more people becoming loners giving them all sorts of problems later on?

      Yes, I’d prefer it but I’m near retirement age and now have little in common with my majority migrant colleagues.

      What I’m trying to point to is that it is population growth based on the lure of economic growth propaganda that is boxing us in. How far will that go? In 20 years, will I need to book 3 years in advance to get a spot to see last remnants of the Great Barrier Reef. If working from home in my tiny 1 bedroom unit will I need to be available 24/7 and with the employer limiting my various freedoms. Will I need a wheelchair due to a lack of adequate walking.

    • Cameron says

      Excellent, we can just skype all of our food around the countryside. That will work. I am sure that I can skype my work on the factory floor as well. This type of uninformed comment matches most of the uninformed comment in the about article.

      • Lightning Rose says

        I was talking about commuters, not trucking. Obviously.

  94. Cornfed says

    The title of your piece is unintentionally ironic. In fact, conservatives ARE the grown ups. They are the ones pointing out that proposed environmental solutions are unworkable, that apocalyptic predictions regularly issued by environmentalists have a strangely consistent way of not coming to pass, that modern environmentalism is more deeply rooted in romantic primitivism than sound science. All demonstrably true. And for this, we are labeled deniers, greedy capitalists, etc etc. I agree there is a tendency to tune out the greenies no matter what they say, but you can only shout “the sky is falling” so many times, right? They have not earned the right be heard, frankly.

    Let me tell you a story, Mr. Sixsmith. This is completely true. I was performing a field study on a threatened species, examining the effects of various activities on this particular plant. When it became known that the species might actually benefit from selective logging, some local environmentalists filed a protest (which they could do because it was all taking place on federal land) to block my study. Why? Because if the study showed a positive benefit from logging, then it should not take place at all. That was their stated reason, and that is how polluted the environmental movement has become. If you think it is about science, you are wrong. And if you trust their science, you are naive.

    I don’t know any fellow conservative who doesn’t want clean air and water, wild places conserved, and efforts made to save threatened species. All noble sentiments, all generally accepted by the Right. That is why I am proud to call myself a conservationist. But never again an environmentalist. They abandoned science a long time ago.

    • Obscure Canuck says

      If stuff like what you described happens regularly, I would like to see a conservative/conservationist counter-movement emphasizing “clean air and water, wild places conserved, and efforts made to save threatened species” as opposed to the stuff everyone is complaining about environmentalists (overreacting, anti-capitalist, hypocritical, whatever) being in these comments. The media would probably be outraged about a de-emphasis of climate change, but at least if planned well it would break the stereotype of conservatives not caring about pollution or habitat destruction or threatened species in order to benefit industries.

      I don’t know how you define “fellow conservative”, but Republicans certainly seem directly responsible for the catastrophe described in this article: https://www.fieldandstream.com/politics-hunting-and-fishing
      I haven’t researched that issue at all though, so feel free to correct me if the article misconstrues what happened. I also fail to see how the GOP position quoted there is conducive to those goals.

  95. George says

    Environmentalism relies on Postmodern, Post Fact ‘Science’. Though few regular scientists realise it, Modern Science, being male dominated, was all about maintaining the power structures of the patriarchy and suppressing minorities. Post Modern Science therefore, is about redressing past wrongs and redistributing power to those deemed worthy.
    Thus Environmentalism is about power.

  96. Tom Udo says

    Reasonable people don’t “deny climate science.” They deny the claims of pseudo-science that is driven by ideology, greed, incompetence, and fear of professional ostracism.

  97. Pingback: Conservation is conservative – Tom Shakely

  98. Julien says

    I didn’t find this commentary coherent in its objections or criticisms. It seemed like an excuse to espouse some moral middle-of-the-road between two poorly illustrated positions.

  99. mnemos says

    Do you remember the outcry from scientists when it was discovered that the writers of the IPCC report took quotes from environmentalist propaganda and presented it as conclusions from the research as part of their summary. Neither do I. There was only the most muted response from the scientific community. The scientific establishment allowed virtue signalling to override scientific accuracy, which earned them a certain loss of respect. That’s not a unique example. That is a lesson that still needs to be learned.

    Second: “Conservatives believe—or ought to believe—in low time preferences, prudence and restraint, the fragility of order, and the love of home.” If any environmental issues were being framed in that way, they would be getting more conservative support. Environmental issues are being constantly framed as “This is a crisis!!! We have to scrap everything and start over.” This is part of the issue with nuclear energy. It is not simply a question of worry about nuclear weapons, it is more that replacing a set of coal plants with a nuclear plant would not be scrapping everything and starting over. Insufficient drama and insufficient increase of centralized control.

    If environmentalists ever become more interested in environmental issues than virtue signalling they will find they get support across the political spectrum.

  100. Tekyo Pantzov says

    Free markets generate socially destructive time-preference schedules. Empirical research revealed that investors’ decision horizon does not extend beyond 5 years into the future. A different research paper revealed that investors do not factor demographic trends into their investment decisions. For example a rising birth rate now indicates a rising demand for playground equipment in 5 years’ time and rising demand for hair gel in 15 years’ time, but investors completely ignored these factors in their investment decisions. The market interest rate is an aggregate of many individual time preference schedules that are postulated on differences at the margin, i.e. whether construction costs will rise or fall, and so forth. But the market interest rate cannot account for drastic future changes in supply and demand. In view of the prospect of large rises in methane emanations from the Siberian ice shelf, climate change is likely to become rather swift in the near future. Consequently relying on market interest rates to guide environmental decisions is a suicidal policy.

  101. Conservative are against anything that sounds like a liberal religion. Too late to confuse them with facts.

  102. Alan Green says

    Ok Mr. Sixsmith,

    In an effort to “stop embracing overly convenient criticism of mainstream science”, let me say that my skepticism of catastrophic global warming stems not from doubt about the science, but from the absurdity and lack of seriousness evident in the proposed solutions.

    First the low-hanging fruit. Thinkers like Naomi Klein and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez assert that socialism is the answer. Strange, given that the old socialist economies of the 20th century were among the most polluted. A socialist regime is still just as industrialized as a capitalist regime. How does abandoning free enterprise result in less CO2?

    Then there’s the pure hypocrisy of the global warming high priests: Al Gore with several massive homes, Thomas Friedman with his sprawling estate, Prince Charles with his castles, & several hundred private jets flying in to Davos to commiserate about the earth’s imminent demise. As Glenn Reynolds puts it: “I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis”.

    If the most alarmist predictions are accurate, we clearly need to transition to alternative fuels. But why, as Angela Merkel put it, do nations need to give up their sovereignty? Or as Christina Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change said “…….This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.” First of all, this isn’t the first time anyone has tried to “change the economic development model”. Socialists tried it in many places during the 20th century and millions died. Second, why the big power grab? There’s no reason switching to alternative energy sources requires such draconian & dangerous authoritarianism.

    Now let’s look at specific proposed alternatives:
    – Bio-fuels: First, they emit CO2. Second, look where are these crops raised. Brazil has a successful ethanol program using sugar cane – grown on land once described as the Amazonian rain forest. Europe likes Bio-diesel, which comes from many types of oil. But the most efficient & cheap source is Palm oil, which comes from, where else, the tropics. So the EU signed a deal w/ Indonesia to transform thousands of acres of formerly pristine rain forest into palm farming. Where are environmentalists on this issue?
    – Wind & Solar: Excellent ideas, except that the great Achilles Heel of these energy sources is that they’re intermittent – sometimes the wind doesn’t blow & the sun doesn’t shine (ie night), & we’ve not found a way to efficiently store energy on a mass scale. I live in Texas, where more wind energy has been developed than the next 33 states combined, but each evening, as the wind dies, our natural gas plant energy production is boosted to make up the difference. These energy sources are simply not able, with current technology, to completely replace fossil fuels.
    – Nuclear: This is our only stable, high density form of energy ready & able to replace fossil fuels. I hate “traditional” nuclear as much as anyone, but fortunately we can develop thorium (molten salt) reactors that are so different from traditional reactors that they shouldn’t be called nuclear (please, please research this). Any believer in catastrophic global warming who is opposed to nuclear energy, especially thorium energy, is wither not serious or is pro-black-out.
    – All of the above: This is a terrible strategy. Why make a massive investment in wind & solar, only to need an additional massive investment in Thorium nuclear to complete the transition?

    Thorium nuclear, conservation (but not so much that it threatens our well-being), & the new technology of removing carbon from the air to make carbon fiber (which would be a boon to construction), is all we need. The rest is fantasy, or a simple power grab.

  103. Seems to me the whole climate debate is misleading, if not beside the point. As Joseph Conrad once said: “Strictly speaking, the problem is not how to get cured, but how to live.”

  104. Constantin says

    A lot of verbiage leaving unanswered the basic question of “what it means to grow -up on environmentalism?” Accept the idea that turning down your own thermostat will save the planet? Ignoring and forgiving the inexcusable falsification of data and scare tactics of a globalized cabal with unlimited funding? What will mark the attainment of “maturity” on environmentalism? Oh! I got it – but I had to bear reading this to the very end to learn that respecting “main stream science” might be just the ticket. Somehow, it does not strike me neither as a particularly novel or original idea. Obama managed to put it all in one sentence. Duh!
    P.S. Who is more immature? The one who does not get the “consensus of main stream science” or the scientist who is willing to falsify and manipulate data to serve an ideological purpose? Entre les deux mon coeur balance!

  105. Almost all these comments are thinly disguised hate for not just the left but for anyone who casts doubt on our economic growth paradigm known as capitalism. In addition to hate there is the ominipresent confirmation bias, where people read and believe those whose politics they share, which is mainly right wing, neo con or some variety of libertarianism. It is SO easy to blame all these enemies rather than the ones destroying the world in the name of social welfare and progress. It is uncomfortable to be faced with cold facts that are disturbing and inconvenient. The reaction of anger and ideologically based attacks is natural because. No one wants their personal
    vision of the world disturbed in any way. Nearly all the commenters are already entrenched in their a priori biases and convinced that they have the solution. I haven’t seen one reasoned and evidence-based argument here, just a collection of opinions with occasional references to sources with whom they already agree. These comments are, for the most part, dishonest. Nor do they
    contribute to a impartial search for the truth. They are in the end trivial. What is not trivial are the consequences of denial and of delay. It doesn’t matter whether life on earth is going to disappear or not. What matters is that now and in the foreseeable future there will be more and more suffering and hardship for more and more people. No one on this list has been honest enough to admit this much less propose any solution beyond keeping government’s hands off everything. That is pure ideology, not science and certainly not socially responsible.

    • Rick Phillips says

      @ Lorna.. I couldn’t help but observe that your comment would be more consistent with what one would expect to see from someone who had not read the comments rather than someone who had. I am pretty sure that conservatives could easily (and perhaps accurately) assert that your claims are more applicable to your views than theirs (with certain group identities interchanged of course).

      I personally do not see any evidence in your remarks that would suggest that you have read the bulk of the comments carefully, and even less that you have engaged thoughtfully with the perspectives raised in many of them. I encourage you to do so and resist the temptation to engage in simple attacks on the integrity of commentators. You have certainly not demonstrated that you hold a monopoly on either reason or fact.

      … welcome to Quillette though.

  106. Philip Coelho says

    I have to echo what other respondents have said. When the doomsayers such as Representative Bill DeFazio state that change is “an existential threat to our planet,” then they should behave and argue as if they, in fact do believe it. That means promoting nuclear power in all places, banning air travel (trains and ships are much less polluting per passenger mile) and, if bans cannot be imposed, then set an example showing that you really mean that the threat is existential (no more weekend trips to Oregon for DeFazio). Failing to do so means that the people who say that the threat is existential do not believe it, or they do not know the meaning of existential.

  107. Pingback: Conservative Treehuggers, Manufacturing, and Monks | Front Porch Republic

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