Activism, Environment, recent
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The Environment Is too Important to Leave to Environmentalists

The fact that belief in climate change in the US tends to correlate with political affiliation should tell you that we are not objectively interpreting the science as much as we are following the values of our chosen peer group. Because in a world where we follow the evidence, it’s an extraordinarily unlikely outcome.

The truth is that the science of what is happening is as settled as science ever is. That isn’t to be conflated with the challenges of predicting the future. However sophisticated the predictive models get, they are still speculative. And it isn’t to be understood as believing all the headlines written by journalists too lazy to check the original sources (no, all insects are not about to die out—at least, the research that prompted those headlines does not provide any such evidence).

We know enough to understand that we should be taking serious action. The fact that the only groups advocating action at the moment are demanding questionable strategies doesn’t change that. If you’re in a vehicle heading towards a cliff and the passenger on the back seat advises that you crash the car to avoid going off the cliff, you would be wise to ignore their advice. But you’re still heading towards the cliff and you need a plan of your own.

We are so far behind in this, in significant part, due to the remarkable failure of the environmentalist movement to do its job. In fact, rather than persuading people to prioritise the issue, environmentalists have been pushing us backwards. There’s no point being judgemental about it. Largely leaderless groups follow gut instinct not sound strategy. But while being passionate and well-meaning, the movement has done exactly the wrong things in order to achieve its objectives.

This article isn’t about playing the blame game (which is actually, as you’ll see, one of the movement’s bad habits). I simply wish to argue that we need an alternative. Ironically, that alternative is most likely to come from the people the eco-warriors most revile.

Why Has the Environmentalist Movement Faltered?

It’s not as though the environmentalist movement has failed at everything. Indeed, it has had some remarkable successes. Environmentalists raised the issue of the ozone layer’a depletion. Governments came together and agreed to give companies just enough time to innovate and replace the CFC gases that provide beneficial products but are too toxic to live with. Unsurprisingly, when faced with such a deadline, the private sector came up with the goods. The hole in the ozone layer is en route to repairing itself.

This was the best approach. It tackled the problem while working to retain the benefits to society of the products causing the trouble. Environmentalists helped raise the issue. Others then had to develop the best solution. And that’s a pretty good process. We’ve seen other successes, too. The banning of lead in petrol. The complete clean-up of what was a huge problem with acid rain. And there are individual groups within the movement that excel in understanding specific issues in depth and what needs to be done.

But the broader movement fails for a number of reasons. I will briefly explore three of them.

1. The Promotion of an Austere Lifestyle at the Expense of Practical Solutions

We need to reduce the climate change impact of our activities. Quite radically. There are some big system things we can do that will make an impact. Then there are some really hard things that might adversely affect people’s quality of life in significant ways. Any smart strategy would start with the low-hanging fruit, and hope that we could do enough to avoid having the negative impact of the latter measures.

Take the area of food production, for instance. If you analyse the emissions that come from food, there are systemic issues you can address. According to the FAO, we currently waste a third of all food produced. This waste comes early in the production process in developing countries (due to lack of refrigeration and transport infrastructure) and at the consumer level in developed societies (we buy stuff, let it go off, and then throw it out). That’s a system problem that could be addressed without people being made worse off in any way.

Then there’s the energy use embedded in the production of animal feeds and other related processes that could usefully be moved to clean energy. The emissions generated in creating beef in the US are considerably lower than the global average, which suggests there are efficiencies that can be made worldwide. And, even more radically, there’s now the prospect of lab-grown meat that would significantly reduce environmental impact whilst providing a high quality product. There’s a lot more, but you get the point. These are all demonstrably good things from an economic, human well-being, and environmental standpoint. So any movement with a smart strategy would begin there.

On the other hand, it is exceedingly difficult to change people’s diets—to influence what people, given freedom and lots of options, choose to eat. But that is where environmentalists start. We are told we should be eating less meat, or preferably no meat. We’re told we should be avoiding butter. And sugar. And maybe carbs, depending upon which guru you’re listening to. Indeed, in a recent “report,” the EAT Lancet report, a group of researchers proposed a “global diet,” which they said would mean 10 billion people could exist on the planet without starving. Imagine that. 10 billion people. All eating the same diet. Sound like utopia to you? No, me neither.

Forget your individual food cultures, developed over hundreds of years. Forget how important food is in defining places and giving a sense of identity. One approved diet. That diet has miniscule amounts of meat grudgingly permitted per week. Just one egg (so no-one’s going to be eating cake or omelettes ever again). And lots of vegetables and pulses, of course. Recent research has found that only one in five people who voluntarily adopted a vegan or vegetarian diet had stuck with it by the end of one year. And that’s people who choose to follow it. That stuff is hard. Who on earth believes you could compel people to follow such a diet because a bunch of researchers said they should? Environmentalists, that’s who.

Elsewhere, we now see the future of road travel taking shape. Electric vehicles, powered by clean energy, mean that people can retain the huge convenience of personal travel without either the global emissions or the local air pollution. Not good enough for environmentalists, who are still saying everyone should either be cycling or using public transport.

Similarly, we know that international travel is hugely beneficial. The more you travel, the more you appreciate the cultural diversity and natural beauty of the world. And, shocking though some find it, sometimes people do just want some guaranteed sunshine to frolic on the beach. Reducing the impact of air flight is a difficult problem because of the physics involved, but then we thought the same about clean cars 30 years ago. People are working hard on that problem. But environmentalists insist the answer is that everyone should just stop flying. The most extreme activists already talk about holidaymakers engaging in “genocide against future generations.” They remain puzzled as to why they’re not winning more friends and supporters.

The purpose of tackling these issues should be to protect the planet and the essential life-support systems it provides to humans. But, by preference, doing so in a way that preserves individual freedoms and quality of life. Maybe we’ll fail. It’s a real possibility. Maybe we’ll be forced down the line into something more austere because we messed up and something goes badly wrong. But in the meantime, nobody will support or vote for the people who seem to prefer that outcome as their solution of first preference.

2. A Focus on the Science of Ecology at the Expense of Persuasion and Strategy

Climate change is a problem we all share. A good strategy for tackling it would start with consensus-building for action among all political persuasions, and across all cultures and nations. But the environmentalist movement is ideological, and it believes in adopting an aggressively confrontational “Us versus Them” approach.

For certain problems, “Us versus Them” remains a powerful rallying cry. We all know about the unifying power of the threatening “other.” It is why political leaders under duress often seek to conjure such an “other,” even if it doesn’t exist. For environmental problems, however, this approach is about the dumbest and most counter-productive strategy available.

And yet, environmentalists insist that business in general, and oil companies in particular, are the enemy. The “richest one percent” are the enemy. The political Right is the enemy. The greedy capitalists are the enemy. And we will only achieve a sustainable future when “We” the forces of goodness rise up and defeat “Them.” It is as if environmental activists assume that none of the people in these groups have children of their own or a stake in the future.

This antagonistic tendency has always been a feature of the environmentalist movement, but only in recent decades has it broken along party political lines. Maybe that was because of the rise to prominence of Al Gore as the US’s environmental campaigner-in-chief. He was powerful and eloquent (even if he didn’t get all of his facts right, he got the most important ones right), but he was also patently partisan. And that gave his conservative opponents an incentive to retreat into their own political bunker. 

But, whatever the cause, the environmental movement has forgotten how to build a consensus, and why that ought to be an important campaign aim. Recently, we have seen the rise of the so-called “Extinction Rebellion” group in the UK (an emergence currently replicating in other countries), which makes impossible demands to justify breaking the law. It demands targets so severe that they could only be achieved by creating great suffering and hardship. And behind their approach lies a fairly ugly ideology. Consider these words, uttered by one of the group’s founders, and promoted by its official Twitter account:

[Extinction Rebellion] isn’t about the climate. You see, the climate’s breakdown is a symptom of a toxic system of that has infected the ways we relate to each other as humans and to all life. This was exacerbated when European ‘civilisation’ was spread around the globe through cruelty and violence (especially) over the last 600 years of colonialism, although the roots of the infections go much further back.

As Europeans spread their toxicity around the world, they brought torture, genocide, carnage and suffering to the ends of the earth. Their cultural myths justified the horrors, such as the idea that indigenous people were animals (not humans), and therefore God had given us dominion over them. This was used to justify a multi-continent-wide genocide of tens of millions of people. The coming of the scientific era saw this intensify, as the world around us was increasingly seen as ‘dead’ matterjust sitting there waiting for us to exploit it and use it up. We’re now using it up faster than ever.

So the problem isn’t that we’ve been so successful as a species that we’re having to deal with the unintended consequences of scale. The problem is toxic Europeans. Nobody else, we are invited to infer, was being cruel and exploitative until they arrived and despoiled paradise. Most of the concerned young people joining Extinction Rebellion are probably not aware of this position. But it explains why nobody in the founding group is particularly concerned with appealing across party lines. This is just ideological self-indulgence and, sadly, it is not a trait confined to the Extinction Rebellion group.

That self-indulgence is also apparent in how the wider movement routinely uses children as PR props. Whether it’s the young people sent to shame Dianne Feinstein into supporting the Green New Deal, the idolisation of teenage activist Greta Thunberg, or the blatant manipulation of very young children by Extinction Rebellion (which held a “blood of our children” demonstration, at which children aged 10 and 6 spoke), the line is that young people are rising up.

The older generation has betrayed the younger generation. Us versus Them. So the voices of children must be heard. Children who are correctly considered incapable of consenting to sex, or voting, or driving, are nevertheless capable of delivering wisdom about complex scientific matters and proposed public policy solutions. And if, like Dianne Feinstein, you stand respectfully against this sort of manipulation, then the anger of the usual Twitter gods will be forthcoming.

Not that there’s anything wrong with young people like Greta Thunberg making themselves heard. I was a relatively young campaigner myself in my time. But it’s the way the movement has now leapt up, amplified, and occasionally created this phenomenon artificially using children significantly younger that the almost-young-adult Thunberg.

Campaigners ensconced in their echo chambers think this is a hugely powerful device. To many observers, however, it simply looks like adults exploiting children for political ends. Yes, we need to fix these problems for the sake of our children. That’s not the same as exposing children to the pressures of these issues by putting them in the front line.

3. A Selective Approach to Scientific Data and Evidence

Maybe nuclear power should be part of the power mix for the low-carbon world. It’s not a straight forward solution and the costs must be considered and weighed. But the debate about nuclear power in environmentalist circles isn’t pragmatic, it’s ideological. Nuclear power is out. And what about genetic engineering? There are all sorts of ways that food production can be optimised by the sensible and restrained use of that technology. But again, many activists and campaigners have decided that this is beyond the pale. Positions like these are not adopted because we’re holding the facts under review or waiting for the evidence—they are articles of faith.

What Are the Alternatives?

Environmentalist solutions tend to focus on the “what must be done for the planet” but ignore “what must be done for people.” Their preferred solutions therefore put at risk the human progress we’ve made to date, which includes halving extreme poverty, improving global life expectancies, and immeasurably improving people’s lives compared to those of their grandparents. And environmentalist solutions tend towards authoritarianism, even though such approaches always end badly and centrally controlled societies have never been remotely eco-friendly.

So far, the political centre-Right and (depressingly, I have to add) even parts of the usually-alive-to-scientific-evidence Intellectual Dark Web, have been content to criticise the extremes of the environmentalist Left. They have embraced their tribe’s default opinion that this issue probably isn’t a big deal, it probably won’t be as bad as they say, and we probably can’t do anything about it anyway. That is hardly the rigorous analysis we see applied to other issues. And it is wishful thinking.

When businesses are analysing risk, and they encounter an issue about which they don’t know the full facts, they tend to flag that issue as a higher risk until they do. And, unsurprisingly (except to environmentalists), businesses are currently among the most effective entities now taking a lead on the environment. Some of the leading companies have adopted stringent science-based targets for reducing their own impacts. It’s not an easy problem to solve. But because businesses are pragmatic entities, used to managing change and strong on innovation, they are well placed to do it.

So you get companies like IKEA and Unilever, disrupters like Tesla, and a whole lot of others on the journey, including companies the campaigners love to hate, like Walmart and Nestlé. You get companies like Maersk, committed to developing zero-carbon shipping vehicles for 2030, because although the environmentalists never talk about shipping (not as sexy as plastic straws) it has a significant impact.

Not one of these companies is an agent of the Left. They are seeking ways to create wealth that benefits their customers and the world, but they are doing so in a way that is sustainable in the long-term. The centre-Right should be drawing inspiration from their approach, and embracing their solutions. And when the leading companies have demonstrated what is possible, it is appropriate that governments then establish those improved approaches as the new minimum standard. Consumers can still choose what to buy, and how to live their lives. But the negative impact of those choices is significantly reduced.

Yes, there are a ton of problems to be solved. Clean energy is needed, but there are innovation barriers still to be overcome. That isn’t an insurmountable obstacle if you’re committed to the end goal. And, as much as some on the Right may hate it, we do need to have a stab at evolving this wonderful thing we call capitalism. Because the system as currently configured rewards the short-term too much, and incentivises companies dumping costs on society where they can get away with it. The corporate responsibility movement has made some real progress in understanding how companies, by engaging with their legitimate stakeholders, can be responsive to the expectations of society and remain commercially successful. But the system works against them, not with them at the moment. That’s surely a problem we can solve together. It is far more likely that we will achieve sustainability if we work together to reduce the impact of our choices than by seeking to deny them.

But isn’t all the real impact now coming from China, making anything we do irrelevant? It is not irrelevant by any stretch, because we’re learning vital lessons about how to create wealth without impact. And the technologies that help us do that will set the new standards worldwide. Nevertheless, we need to focus on where the biggest problems are globally. It is understandable that people, to date, have been most aware of the developed world’s historic responsibility for emissions. However, the major growth in fossil fuel consumption in China is something that needs to be addressed.

There’s no one simple solution to that. We want Chinese people to continue their rise from poverty to prosperity. But even with the current state of technology, this is a problem that could be solved if the will were truly there. The Paris Agreement was arguably a failure in that regard.

In Conclusion

In the 1990s, while American motor manufacturers were spending most of their time lobbying against increased fuel efficiency standards, Japanese companies were investing in the next generation of technology that they realised would be needed, given what we knew even then about the environment. Lo and behold, within a generation a Japanese car company, unthinkably, became the number one car company in the US.

The case study of the Toyota Prius is instructive. When it was first marketed, it was sold on its environmental credentials. It didn’t sell well. However, when they changed tack and sold it as the high-tech car of the future, suddenly it became the eco-car that movie stars wanted to be seen driving. One might argue that the same marketing pitch is now serving Tesla well, for all its chaotic leadership issues.

In other words, the new sustainable future needs to be sold on the benefits to people, and needs to be developed by folks who care about those benefits. But the clock’s ticking. It’s time to step up.

 

Mallen Baker hosts a podcast, the Mallen Baker Podcast for change makers and commentary videos on YouTube. For the last 20 years, he has been working with businesses on corporate responsibility and sustainability. He started adult life campaigning in the environmental movement, and is a former co-chair of the UK Green Party. You can follow him on Twitter @mallenbaker

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

243 Comments

  1. Nicolas says

    The article starts with a big fallacy. Then it’s a lot of straw manning, confusions, false dichotomies and Quillette-typical left-bashing. Just when you think Quillette can’t get any more Quillette they do!

    • ga gamba says

      More assertions without substantiations.

      To rebut an argument effectively, first specify the author’s words that you dispute. Next tell us what’s wrong, and substantiate this using some type of evidence. What specifically is the “big fallacy” and why is it so?

      Also, proclaiming “false dichotomy” does not if fact prove a false dichotomy. Same too for false equivalence. And reductive. Certainly you may say so, but leaving it at that is not simply unpersuasive, you haven’t even taken the first teeny tiny step to persuade. You need to substantiate. And saying “it’s more nuanced than that” without explanation does not establish it is indeed more nuanced than that.

      I don’t know what you folks are learning in school, but it appears either how to make an argument isn’t a part of the curriculum or you’ve not retaining the lessons taught.

      • vince porter says

        It is difficult to argue with people who would watch a child and a polar bear get up close and personal in a pen – and, who would immediately go into action to save the polar bear.

    • George says

      You should give some specific examples instead of just vague generalities. I have no idea what you are talking about, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

      • Nicolas says

        Here’s a nice exercise for you. First paragraph:

        ‘The fact that belief in climate change in the US tends to correlate with political affiliation should tell you that we are not objectively interpreting the science as much as we are following the values of our chosen peer group. Because in a world where we follow the evidence, it’s an extraordinarily unlikely outcome.’

        You realize it’s not valid argument, don’t you? But even if the argument were valid (it’s not), it would not be sound. For one thing, we don’t live in a world where most people follow the evidence. The author overlooks a possibility: that conservatives engage in more motivated reasoning, are less educated, follow media that are more biased against the scientific consensus, are more susceptible to the influence of the fossil fuel industry, etc than liberals. And then you have your explanation. Oops. Sorry. That hurts.

        • ga gamba says

          I’m not here to read your mind. Nor am I here to play your games.

          State your opinions forthrightly or sod off.

          • ga gamba says

            For one thing, we don’t live in a world where most people follow the evidence. The author overlooks a possibility: that conservatives engage in more motivated reasoning, are less educated, follow media that are more biased against the scientific consensus, are more susceptible to the influence of the fossil fuel industry, etc than liberals.

            More assertions. Substantiate.

            “conservatives engage in more motivated reasoning.” Substantiate.

            “are less educated.” Perhaps true. That said, less educated in which fields? And it strikes me that your engaging in an appeal to authority. Does more educated = always correct? There are many knuckleheads with a lot of education.

            “follow media that are more biased against the scientific consensus” Perhaps. Substantiate. Further, how do we explain who objects to GMOs in opposition to the scientific consensus and who believes in the blank slate? It appears to me both conservatives and progressives engage in selection.

            “are more susceptible to the influence of the fossil fuel industry” Would this be lobbying or conservatives looking at the quality of their lives, realising fossil fuels are a foundation of that, and deciding that until something comparable comes along they’ll stick with what tried and true?

          • ga gamba says

            Forgot to mention. Your initial comment was directed at the author, yes? Your third comment starts with a quote by the author and then goes nowhere. Because the third comment was written to the writer, it’s not your readers’ job to do your thinking for you. Asking “You realize it’s not valid argument, don’t you?” is not an explanation. We’re not here to exercise for your pleasure. You need to do that exercise by explaining what’s false. Break it down. Your job is not to critique your readers’ inability to read your mind, it’s to show clearly what’s wrong with the writer’s argument. Further, I can’t help but noticing all the other things mentioned in your first comment, the ones I asked about, remain unaddressed. Why is that?

            Secondly, your third comment then veers off to attack conservatives. How do you know the writer is a conservative? Are you no longer attacking him but just making sweeping generalisations? Are you attacking the strawman you mentioned in your first comment? What has he done to harm you?

            All in all, it’s a mess. Please, do better.

        • Paolo says

          Dear Nicolas,
          I used to think similarly. Its not like this though. It is not like people on the right are not concerned about climate change because they are less scientifically literate:
          https://www.skepticalscience.com/Kahan.html
          It seems indeed both on left and on the right, people believe things for the wrong reason: political tribalism indeed. It so happens that leftists perceive a higher risk from nuclear power, when science tells the opposite (see Kahn again), and are irrationally afraid of gmos. It’s surely not like the left is the party of science.

        • Tom Udo says

          Every statement by Nicolas is absurd, showing his lack of education and reasoning ability, his bias, and his smugness. This is the typical leftist approach to environmental argument.

        • David of Kirkland says

          @ Nicolas – You counter argue, “For one thing, we don’t live in a world where most people follow the evidence.” Yet that’s not counter to the quote you gave in which he didn’t write that we do live there, but in a world where we did (an imagined world, not our current world).

        • Also what’s the ‘it” he’s referring to as an “extraordinarily unlikely outcome”? Does he mean climate change is? Eh?

    • Ryan G says

      As a left-leaning person I like to check out Quillette frequently because it’s easily the most intellectual treatment of conservative ideas available online [if there is a better site, I have not yet found it]. I am frequently not impressed by the logic contained herein and often return to my “safe space” with the thought that there is no danger of the right gaining self-awareness.

      This article, as you point out, is a par exellence example of that very dynamic. What a shocker, the real solution to environmental problems was capitalism all along! How trite.

      I am always fascinated how “there are some problems with leftist thought” seems to lead to “and therefore the only alternative is returning to economic and social conditions of the year 1910.”

      • S Snell says

        Ryan, did you even read the article? Or did you just sort of perfunctorily scan it for keywords and evidence of badthink?

        You make the same mistake as the original commenter, not to mention many on the Left. OK, so you don’t approve. Got it. But simply waving it away, even while bearing a Very Stern Expression, is not a counterargument.

        I suspect that “capitalism,” i.e. the unfettered application of human energy and talent, will ultimately solve our many environmental problems. Humans are pretty inventive and capable, as it turns out.

        And lose the superior tone. I see no evidence that you are any kind of deep thinker. You get an “A” for “Attitude,” though.

      • ga gamba says

        @Ryan

        Instead of Nick’s one paragraph you treat us to three.

        It would have been more concise and equally vapid had you simply replied:

        @Nicolas,

        Ditto.

      • Not sure if there’s a particular site that I would recommend, but right now, there are some writers that I might consider checking out at the various places they show up: Victor Davis Hanson, Kevin Williamson, Andrew Sullivan, and Conrad Black. Hanson and Black are pro-Trump, Williamson and Sullivan are (mostly) anti-Trump, so between the four, you might get a decent view of the range.

        • E. Olson says

          dmalcolmcarson – good group, but I would add Heather MacDonald, Dov Fischer, Francis Menton (aka Manhattan Contrarian), Kimberly Stassel, Megan McArdle, and the mostly retired Thomas Sowell to your list.

      • Are says

        I fall into the same category of reader as you, but I definitely saw value in this piece. I think you are oversimplifying the, admittedly common, appeal to “return to unfettered capitalism” that gets tossed around so easily. That isn’t really what the author is arguing. The way environmentalists shape their narrative harms their goal. They should concentrate on more limited goals that require less from people, and work up from there. In terms of combating climate change, its not the best solution. But we need to change the battleground from the existence of climate change to how much are we going to give up.

        I interpreted this as more of a criticism of the Right than the Left. The Left is factually correct, but doing everything wrong. The Right is factually wrong, therefore doing everything wrong. The Left should re-frame the argument to make it easier for the Right to be on their side. Us vs. Them might work to build a coalition so we can pass laws, but environmentalism is something that individual people need to be convinced of, because everyone plays a part.

        I won’t bore you with more. But I really enjoyed this piece.

        • KcTaz says

          Are wrote,
          “They should concentrate on more limited goals that require less from people, and work up from there.”
          To me, Are, your comment, as well as the what I hear the author of this piece saying, is the equivalent of this.
          The Old Tale of a Boiling Frog – Awesci – Science Everyday
          awesci.com/the-old-tale-of-a-boiling-frog/] awesci.com/the-old-tale-of-a-boiling-frog/
          The guy in the video initially tries to put a frog in a pot full of boiling water. Of course it resists, and doesn’t go in. Later, when the frog is put into a pot full of water at normal temperature and is warmed gradually, the frog never tries to leave. It gets cooked in the boiling water. Just like the tale suggests.”

          It sounds just like what Chavez (and many other disreputable character throughout the history of Mankind have done).

          It is quite creepy and dishonest when you think about what the two of you are suggesting.

        • Jay Salhi says

          “But we need to change the battleground from the existence of climate change to how much are we going to give up.”

          If global warming is the existential crisis it is sometimes claimed to be, I would expect people to be willing to give up at least 20 percent of their incomes for the rest of their lives to fight it. Maybe it is but the public doesn’t seem to see it that way.

          A recent survey found that only 28% of Americans were willing to pay $10 per month to fight global warming. When the amount was reduced to $1, the percentage willing to pay increased to 57%.

          http://www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/Is-the-Public-Willing-to-Pay-to-Help-Fix-Climate-Change-.aspx

      • Max says

        Give JacobinMag a look. While it’s not conservative, it does critique a considerable amount of liberal narratives and policies.

      • KcTaz says

        Ryan, first, let me commend you for seeking and reading opinions which differ from those you hold. We would all be better served by doing so. I am not certain, though, why you say that capitalism solving the problems (real or imagined as the case may be) is “trite”. At least, you do expose yourself to different points of view, though, this article is very much of the Left side.
        As one who was born a Democrat and became a Flaming Liberal and who is now a Conservative Trump supporter and who does read Left-wing sites, if you truly care about people, I encourage you to look at results of different policies, not just the noble and lovely sounding words.

        The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,

      • Paolo says

        Yo Ryan, what did you come here for. What solution did you wish to hear that better would have pleased your eyes? Some anarco-socialism, some pastaferianism, some healthy gluten-free-pizza revolution?

      • Craig Willms says

        @ Ryan
        Seriously? Having been accused of living in an echo chamber because of my center/right perspective this comment is just hilarious. When you to retreat to your safe space you feel confident the ‘right’ will never emerge from it’s cluelessness??? Do you realize how shallow that is, how devoid of logic? So leftist naval-gazing is now equivalent to self-awareness.

        BTW Quillette is the farthest from a right-wing think tank. You need to get out more, it’s a great big world. Read a little Thomas Sowell once in a while.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      Oh Nic, you silly rabbit. You should know by now that any criticism of anything here will be met with a relentless attack. You’ll be asked for reams of evidence (when criticizing a piece pathetically lacking in evidence), and you’ll be attacked as an intellectual lightweight (while criticizing a piece with the depth of a mud puddle).

      The swarm is relentless, but I commend your refusal to submit to the Quillette zombie attack.

      • Saw file says

        @Noodle Plaza
        Your own hypocrisy it telling.
        I have never once seen you, amongst your repetitive banal attacks of Quillette commenters’, ever present a cohesive counter position to their point, let alone a intelligently viable link.
        If you quit blaming the tradesmen for pointing out your own foundational flaws, then you might (kinda maybe) be able to construct a somewhat lasting structure.
        Ditch the crayons and pencil erasers. This isnt an
        ‘art’ project.
        Try out the pen.

        • Denny Sinnoh says

          I give the poor Plaza boy a pass. He is just hurting because he doesn’t have a girlfriend.

    • ODAAT says

      Toy are proving the author’s point. Most people, right and left, are more interested in being right than in doing what works.

      Example, I used to get angry with people who drive in the passing lane on the highway. Then a friend said, “Do you think yelling at them will make them better drivers?”

      Look in the mirror. Ask how you can make things better, not how you can force others to see the world as you do.

  2. E. Olson says

    The science is settled? Well, if you mean there is widespread agreement that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that burning carbon fuels releases CO2, then there is almost complete agreement, but beyond that there is no agreement because the climate models have all been running too hot for the past 30 years. The is also lots of evidence that the temperature records are being manipulated to show more warming that there actually is, which further reduces trust in the “science”.

    Then you have the eco-nuts that criticize capitalism and carbon fuels, but fly around the world on private jets (a product of capitalism) to protest climate change. Al Gore has multiple mansions that each consume more electricity than 20 average American homes, so perhaps the people telling us to change our materialistic lifestyles should follow their own advice if they want some credibility. And if oceans are rising and flooding is imminent, why isn’t the price of coastal real estate collapsing? Is the thought of moving inland among all those deplorable types that vote Trump so unappealing that the global warming fear mongers on the coasts would rather drown, or don’t they believe the “science” either?

    Then there are all the lies about “solutions”. They tell us that renewable energy is the only answer and getting cheaper all the time, so how come every country with the most renewable energy has the highest electricity prices in the world and almost no reduction in CO2 emissions? And the only country that has made significant reductions in CO2 emissions is the “climate change denying” USA, which has used cheap gas from fracking to replace coal, but the eco-nuts have fought tooth and nail against fracking and cheap energy. And God forbid you mention nuclear as a solution, which is far cleaner than solar or wind and can run 24-7-365, because it is so dangerous that 40 people have died in all nuclear accidents since 1945. And those clean electric vehicles they want us to drive? Most electric vehicles will be running on coal, because coal will remain the most common source of electricity around the world, and between the coal and environmental damage caused by battery production, it is highly unlikely that electrics provide any environmental benefit versus modern gasoline cars.

    The only reasonable solution is to not do anything until truly clean solutions are cost competitive with carbon fuels, and if the recent predictions are correct, we may be back to worrying about global cooling during the next 10+ years as sun activity goes into a predicted lull.

    • jakesbrain says

      Then you have the eco-nuts that criticize capitalism and carbon fuels, but fly around the world on private jets (a product of capitalism) to protest climate change. Al Gore has multiple mansions that each consume more electricity than 20 average American homes, so perhaps the people telling us to change our materialistic lifestyles should follow their own advice if they want some credibility. And if oceans are rising and flooding is imminent, why isn’t the price of coastal real estate collapsing? Is the thought of moving inland among all those deplorable types that vote Trump so unappealing that the global warming fear mongers on the coasts would rather drown, or don’t they believe the “science” either?

      “I’ll believe there’s a crisis when the people telling me there’s a crisis start acting like it.”

    • Doug F says

      I do have some worries about negative impacts of climate change on humans. I would be very supportive of more non-politicized scientific research to better understand how real the problem is and how realistic it is that changes we make will significantly impact it.

      Unfortunately the far-left has hijacked the conversation. All attempts to truly discuss what the science really means or to analyze research that might not support their narrative are met with screams of “Climate Denier!”, even while every model built that is the premise for the severity of the problem has failed. The solutions proposed would have severe impacts to our overall living standards (as well as moving us towards a form of tyranny) – it sure would be nice to understand a lot more about the problems and the impacts of various interventions than we do now.

      And if it turns out that the problems are dire and we can actually make a significant impact to it, we we already have a mature technology that seems to missing from all the solutions – nuclear. Good grief something like 75% of French energy is supplied by nuclear power – this is not a radical solution and would be far less disruptive to our social and economic systems. The exclusion of this alternative in the solution discussion makes me very suspicious of the motivations.

      • Softclocks says

        The conversation started out as an apolitical one, just look at Bush sr and the way republicans were gearing up to combat global warming.

        It was politicized and pushed left by giant corporations like Exxon. It happened through bought research papers, the framing of climate change as a “debated issue” and criticism from giant corps. Anti-pollution was framed as anti-capitalist and the divide naturally followed.

      • Craig Willms says

        @Doug

        “Unfortunately the far-left has hijacked the conversation. All attempts to truly discuss what the science really means or to analyze research that might not support their narrative are met with screams of “Climate Denier!”, ”

        And in the U.S. every Democratic presidential contender is being forced to sign on to the insanity of the hair-on-fire foam and spittle crowd. This while they criss-cross the country in private jets and stage carbon burning rallies and chastise every one else for living a normal life by driving to work and heating their homes – how can they keep a straight face? I’d be embarrassed.

    • prince says

      Those who have been following the climate wars closely already knows that the foundation of the apocalyptic claims – the Climate Science – should be treated the same way we treat the grievance studies.

      What seemed to be an area of hard physics science has been invaded by activists with a political agenda who cherry pick, bend, and falsify to advance their noble cause.

      The real consensus around climate science is very narrow: CO2 is causing warming and the planets has been warming over the last 250 years since the end of the little ice age.

      Very little consensus beyond that:

      How much is the real warming?
      There is no consensus as the sensors data are being heavily manipulated (“homogenized”)

      How much is the warming due to CO2?
      This can’t be measured. There are a lot of opinions but no data. Opinions are not science.

      What is the adverse impact of the warming?
      Even the IPCC is saying that so far the warming has been beneficial as the planet is greening, growth seasons are elongated and food production is going up.

      What about all those climate disasters of hurricanes, floods, wild fires etc?
      The IPCC is saying there is no intensification measured and there is no correlation found between warming and weather/climate disasters. Data shows that the world is getting much safer and resilient to weather events.

      What about the dreaded acceleration in warming, sea level rise, disasters in the coming decades?
      All of these are predicted by computers models that have so far shown the predictive power of a crystal ball at the county fair. They have no scientific validity and are only useful for advancing a political agenda.
      The actual data shows no hint of a change in trajectory.

      Shouldn’t we act today just as a safety measure to protect the future generations?
      Many of the actions today have massive negative impacts. Higher energy prices, diversion of resources from public health, education and infrastructure investment into inefficient green projects. And the real devastation is in the developing countries that can’t get funding to create the energy infrastructure that will lift the out of poverty.

      “We have to harm the people to save the plant” is the green version of “we have to burn the village to save it”.

    • Blue Lobster says

      E,

      Can you provide links to online evidence which demonstrates that temperature records are being unduly manipulated? I ask not as a challenge in particular, but because I’m genuinely curious to see your contention rigorously supported. I am, of course, aware of this assertion as a talking point among those who argue that the idea of anthropogenic climate change is some kind of fraud or hoax but have never seen any compelling evidence in support of the claim. I’m especially interested in sources that show original and “manipulated” data rather than charts and/or graphs representative of someone else’s interpretation of supposedly manipulated data.

      As a weather buff and amateur meteorologist, I’m acutely aware of the importance of properly situated instrumentation of high quality in producing accurate records. I am also well aware that some temperature records, for instance Earth’s former all-time record maximum temperature (136.4F at ‘Aziziya, Libya on September 13, 1922), have been discarded after thorough investigations concluded that such records were invalid. In fact, record temperatures of questionable veracity are considerably more likely to be maximums rather than minimums due to the fact that most causes of erroneous measurement result in temperatures which are too high.

      The most common of these, by far, is improper siting of the temperature sensor. The thermometer should be positioned at 5 feet above the ground, at least 25 feet away from the nearest structure and/or pavement and should be enclosed within a (preferably fan-aspirated) white or very light-colored radiation shield. If any of these requirements are not adhered to, temperature readings are likely to be too high. In contrast, it’s more difficult to get temperature readings which are too cold. Other than inaccurate or poorly calibrated thermometers, such records might result from taking measurements too close to the ground during particularly cold weather when temperatures might run a bit colder at or near the surface rather than at 5 feet due to the greater density of colder air. However, on hot days, such a situation would likely result in temperatures being measured too high due to the greater temperature of the ground compared to the surrounding air. The troposphere is heated from the ground up which is why, on average, the lowest temperatures are measured at the tropopause and the highest temperatures at the surface. It should be fairly obvious that our ability to take accurate measurements, both with respect to increasingly accurate instruments as well as increased understanding of the possible sources of error, is greater now than at any time in the past and that said trend will almost certainly continue.

      In light of the aforementioned, revision of meteorological records is therefore an indisputably sound practice. The notable lack of validity, upon careful consideration, among claimed record maximum temperatures further substantiates the practice and should provide the more concerned and better-informed among us with a healthy dose of skepticism with regard to historical temperature data. Notwithstanding, all this would seem to suggest that revision of temperature records (in good faith) ought to produce a dataset with lower record maximums but relatively unchanged record minimums. Thus, I would be very interested to examine, side-by-side, unaltered and “doctored” data which clearly show temperatures revised upward for no good reason.

      http://www.markvoganweather.com/2016/07/29/chris-burt-hottest-reliably-measured-air-temperatures-on-earth/

      • E. Olson says

        BL – here are a couple of links that document the manipulations of the temperature records. The first is part of a multi-part series that documents how manipulations have been made to fit global warming theory rather than any legitimate reason. The 2nd link graphically demonstrates the fraud. Pretty scary stuff that this is called science.

        https://www.manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2019-2-24-the-greatest-scientific-fraud-of-all-time-part-xxi

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgk3xFHvWLE

        • Blue Lobster says

          E,

          Thanks for the links. I haven’t watched the video yet but the blog post contained some illuminating information, particularly the linked-to report from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology which was summarily dismissed as “impenetrable”. While I agree that, for laypersons, the report is fairly dense, it should be relatively decipherable for someone with a science/mathematics post-secondary educational background. Given my familiarity with meteorological data collection and weather history, I found the report quite reasonable in it’s approach to so-called climate data homogenization. It appears, from my perspective, that this kind of data quality control is likely to present fodder for conspiracy theories to those who are either poorly versed in statistical methods, unfamiliar with the practical aspects of measuring and recording climate-parameter data (especially temperature), ideologically blinkered or some combination thereof.

          I intend to dig more deeply into the blog series from Manhattan Contrarian with the goal of improving my understanding of how climate change skeptics/deniers justify their positions using the very same data that professional scientists use to substantiate the opposite assessment. To be clear, I’m also in full agreement with the article’s author regarding his ideas about why the environmental movement has failed to gain wide political support on the issue of climate change. Both Left and Right are to blame in their respective parts for this failure of what really ought to be a non-political matter but has snowballed into ridiculousness due to tribal allegiance.

          A big part of the problem here is that the deleterious consequences of global warming are simply much less immediate and far more spatio-temporally diffuse than other environmental issues like water quality or ozone depletion. Thus, in the absence of immediately obvious problems/solutions, both sides feel entitled to take excessively partisan stances in the hope of abusing the information vacuum as an opportunity to attempt to advance ideology rather than cooperating to achieve a means of resolution. As we do not know and cannot predict with much certainty what the eventual outcome of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will be, I can only hope that either the progressives are comically wrong in their projections or that we figure out beyond a reasonable doubt what is coming and what, if anything, is to be done.

          • Jay Salhi says

            @ Blue Lobster

            Thank you for insights.

            There are quite a few posts about homogenization at Energy Matters. Here’s one: http://euanmearns.com/the-horrors-of-homogenization/

            One of the criticisms I have seen is that the people who homogenize data are often not transparent about it. Among other things, they are unwilling to make their data and their computer code available so that third parties can independently check the results.

          • E. Olson says

            BL – I would love to understand the “scientific” rationale for adjusting temperatures in 1904 Darwin downward 115 years later because the location of the thermometer was moved in 1941. If you follow the MC series you will find another one noting the work of an Australian PhD student who seems to have discovered that temperature records going back 100+ years have been systematically cooled down because of urban heat island effects of today. I understand why adjustments need to be made when the temperature station starts in a rural area that is later urbanized and paved, but there is no logic to adjusting downward the rural/non-paved era temperature records that I can determine other than a desire to show warming.

      • Saw file says

        @Blue Lobster
        ‘Friends of Science’ covers this topic well.
        There is definitely a ideological bent, but they provide academic links.
        They are definitely in front of one of the many sides of this question/debate.

        https://www.friendsofscience.org

          • Craig Willms says

            @Blue

            Beware FOS is industry financed therefore cannot be taken seriously. We all know that only government funded science is truth… />sarcasm=off

      • Jeff says

        Mr./Ms Lobster, you might take a look at Dr. Roy Spencer’s web page:
        http://www.drroyspencer.com/

        He has a lot of information.

        From the “About” section:
        “…he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites.”

        I will NOT attempt to interpret Dr. Spencer (far smarter than me) and some of the discussions on the page (well most) are beyond my comprehension, but they are interesting.

        I gather Dr. Spencer’s specialty was satellite temperature measurements. He has some very interesting things to say about that.

        Take a look at some of his past blog posts/discussions. I found them much more informative than standard media.

        You will also find links to other actual climate scientists and data.

        Good hunting,
        Jeff

    • Bill says

      You forgot that the people frantically waving their hands yelling, “CRISIS!” are themselves becoming magnificently wealthy and priviledged as a result of the handwaving. Do you think, perhaps, that Gore making millions on investments predicated on the climate change “Crisis” might be every bit as biased as a scientist who receives grant funding from an evil fossil fuel producer?

    • KcTaz says

      E. Olson,
      Excellent comment! I only differ in that we do have a truly clean and very safe and reliable 24/7, completely CO2 free technology but the same people who insist the world is going to end due to fossil fuels and CO2, refuse to use it, nuclear.
      Wind and solar are environmentally and ecologically extremely destructive and increase CO2 emissions but they refuse to use it. One can’t help but think that their issues really have nothing to do with CO2, science, or a real belief in catastrophic climate change but something else, totally unrelated, like power, wealth and control.

      If the world is going to end imminently, in 12 years now, because off CO2, why would any Believer fight nuclear and want wind and solar which increase CO2 emissions plus the other grave harm they do?

      Analysis: Adding More Solar, Wind Power Increases Dependence On Fossil Fuels,
      ‘Doubles’ CO2 Emissions http://notrickszone.com/2016/11/24/analysis-adding-more-solar-wind-power-increases-dependence-on-fossil-fuels-doubles-co2-emissions/

    • David of Kirkland says

      Yeah, there’s just smoke, so we’ll wait for the conflagration before we admit there might be a fire.

  3. Truthseeker says

    Let’s start by stop demonising CO2 which is making the planet greener and the biosphere more productive. Let’s also not have the arrogance to think that the current climate is anything other than a relative optimum when compared to geological ages that have come and gone. The next climatic event is likely to an ice age and we are powerless to prevent it. We can only adapt to it.

    • E. Olson says

      TS – very good point. The true costs of CO2 emissions are very likely to be longer growing seasons and greater yields and food abundance, and hopefully a postponement of another ice age, which would be truly catastrophic for human and most forms of animal life. But those types of positives are never discussed by the climate modelers and politicians.

      • Nakatomi Plaza says

        That’s really dumb. Shockingly dumb, even.

        Please, go ahead and do a comprehensive cost analysis of the expense of warming versus the benefits or shifting the entire planet’s food production. And for this truly stupid argument to work you have to assume that not only does food production shift but it profoundly changes its methods. Our current methods tend to be very wasteful and unsustainable.
        Ice ages are not caused by human activity. How would artificially heating the earth counter a natural ice age? And this is without even considering how stupid it is to assume an ice age is inevitable or predictable. What if the next ice age happens in fifty-thousand years?

        I swear you people will say absolutely anything to avoid agreeing with anybody you perceive as having a different political belief than you do. An environmentalist could hand you the cure for cancer and the secret to world peace and you’d throw them away out of spite.

        • Bill says

          Well, so if ice ages are not caused by human activity you are suggesting that climate change has a driver that is not human activity since an ice age is climate change. What does the model suggest is the major component of this non-anthropomorphic climate change that resulted in the ice age(s)? Does that model show what that major component is doing now so that we can subtract that out of the anthropomorphic climate change models? Does it, for example, suggest that it is due to low atmospheric CO2 caused by a reduction in volcanic activity from the norm? If so, what is the norm? Is the current period one of above average activity, for example, meaning that some part of the warming now is actually due to an absence of this non-anthropomorphic cooling?

        • Truthseeker says

          NP – I love it when the political zealots make my arguments for me. A cursory look at the geological history of this planet will show you that Ice Ages are the norm and the interglacials the outliers in the climate paradigms of this planet. Ice Ages are indeed not caused by human activity, which is what I said. The scales of the energy and fluid interactions that are involved completely dwarf any activity by humans. About 97% of the CO2 comes from the oceans and as our planet starts to cool, which it is showing signs of doing, then the oceans will start absorbing CO2 and then things will look much worse for agriculture in places like Russia and Canada. By the way we are producing food more efficiently and more productively than at any point in human history.

          We can only hope that the next ice age does not come for another fifty-thousand years.

        • Saw file says

          @Noodle Pee

          “you have to assume that not only does food production shift but it profoundly changes its methods. Our current methods tend to be very wasteful and unsustainable.”

          Haha….where the fk do you dig up such crap?
          Of course agricultural food production shifts, and profound changes occur. ‘Duh’, science!
          Current agriculture methods are striving for the opposite of “wasteful and unsustainable”, and are continuing to succeed at an unprecidented rate.
          Due to modern agriculture, the world produces much more food than it need’s. Food production is only going to increase, due to the science/technology within agriculture.
          The biggest threat to the world is the population explosion in the third world, due to technical advances from the first world.
          The clash of modernity vs third world culture.
          Loving the smart ph/internet, while disallowing certain #s/content.
          This isn’t going to be resolved in a civilized way, but liberal civilian will definitely prevail.

        • D-Rex says

          @NP, no, YOU’RE really dumb and a poo poo head as well so there.

          All childishness aside, you do have one valid point, ONE, according to a study over at Climate etc., the next glaciation isn’t due for another few thousand years. This means that all of our fossil fuels will be used up long before that happens and they won’t be able to stave off the coming ice age even if CO2 was the main driver of global warming. Fear not however, as the next ice age is definitely inevitable.

        • Our current agricultural production is very wasteful and unsustainable? That demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of current agriculture. In fact we produce far more food in the US (and Canada) then we ever did on far fewer acres of land. We produce about 200% more beef than we did in 1947 but with less than half the number of cattle. The same can be said for milk. On average the amount of water, land and CO2 per KG of beef produced has all dropped dramatically since the 1970s, and the same goes for KG of milk, bushel of wheat, corn, soybeans etc. New farming methods developed in the last three decades have had positive impacts on soil organic matter, microbes, nutrients etc. In fact, the least sustainable methods of farming, rather we are measuring soil health, economically, or other measures is the one most championed by environmentalist and, ironically, is pushed as a means to combat AGW (but will actually worsen it by all measures)… organic and grass fed. Also, studies showing that ending meat consumption being a benefit for the environment tend to be majorly flawed (they often don’t factor in the need for land to produce the same amount of energy and protein that meat provides). The USDA recently released a new study that shows that meat production has minimal impact on GHG emissions (less than 2% of all GHG emissions for the USA).

    • KcTaz says

      Truthseeker, iindeed, it has been very good.

      Thousands of scientific experiments indicate that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the air have contributed to increases in crop yields.
      · Satellite evidence confirms that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations have also resulted in greater productivity of wild terrestrial ecosystems in all vegetation types.
      · Increasing carbon dioxide concentrations have also increased the productivity of many marine ecosystems.
      · In recent decades, trends in climate-sensitive indicators of human and environmental wellbeing have improved and continue to do so despite claims that they would deteriorate because of global warming.
      · Compared with the benefits from carbon dioxide on crop and biosphere productivity, the adverse impacts of carbon dioxide – on the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, on sea level, vector-borne disease prevalence and human health have been too small to measure or have been swamped by other factors.
      It is very likely that the impact of rising carbon dioxide concentrations is currently net beneficial for both humanity and the biosphere generally. These benefits are real, whereas the costs of warming are uncertain. Halting the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations abruptly would deprive people and the planet of the benefits of carbon dioxide much sooner than they would reduce any costs of warming”
      http://bit.ly/2Jjl6JQ

    • Craig Willms says

      @Truthseeker

      the 2016 NASA study shows the Earth has ‘greened’ in the past 30 years the equivalent area of the continental U.S. and 70% of the greening is directly attributed to rising CO2. Seems like good news to me.

      However, it does not serve the narrative and got very little press. If you do read the reluctant articles from back then you’ll be treated to a lot of “yes, it’s good, but…”

  4. Jackson Howard says

    What I see is that conservative have left the environment for 30 years and bashed on much needed regualtions for 30 years. Suddenly they “wake” up to what’s been going on only to find that the answer whole environmental and AGW issues have been framed in a leftist social justice + big state solution.

    Which is a shame, because conservatives had a good track record, and once where about conserving things. Once AGW really starts to bite, I’m afraid that the damage to conservative and neo-liberals (a dying breed in europe) will be high.

    The problem is that had we started in the 70’s with renewables + nuclear, the transition to lower ERoEI sources and retrofit of the transport infrastructure would have been rather easy and would have cost a small fraction of GDP per year. Now ? The bill is going to be a mighty one, and moving fast enough to keep AGW in check will likely cost a good slice in GDP. Had we started in the 70’s, or even the 90’s, market based solutions with incremental carbon pricing would have worked just fine. I’m afraid conservatives have missed the train and that market based solutions would be too slow.

    • E. Olson says

      Jackson – seems you want to conserve the way of life from pre-industrial ages when 99% of the population was poor and always near starvation, all food production was organic, and the global carbon foot-print was approximately zero. In contrast, conservatives would rather conserve the environment we have today, where global poverty is at an all time low, life expectations are at all time highs, and obesity is the major health problem – all due to cheap and reliable energy mostly derived from carbon based fuels that are at all time highs in terms of proven reserves.

      Renewable don’t work now, so they certainly wouldn’t have worked in the 1970s when they were all the rage as Carter predicted the imminent end of the global oil supply. There was also a strong anti-nuclear movement in the 1970s when the China Syndrome movie and 3 Mile Island accident (zero fatalities) both occurred, so the US was certainly in no mood to start building nuclear plants. You also are forgetting that in the 1970s all the scientists were predicting global cooling, which were headline stories in all the major newspapers and magazines. Plans were afoot to cover the arctic in coal dust to better absorb the heat from the sun and postpone another ice-age. So you are fooling yourself if you think a few little changes 40 years ago could have happened and would have made any difference.

      • Jackson Howard says

        Haha, Nope.

        What I want is akin to France levels of nuclear + german levels of renewables with transport electrification. Hardly a return to pre-industrial ages…

        • Grant says

          Keep in mind that German 20 years of massive expenditures on renewables benefit was wiped out overnight when they closed their nuclear plants. So what’s the point of renewables?

        • Jay Salhi says

          @ Jackson

          If we had France levels of nuclear, why would you want wind and solar, which are redundant and add no value? France’s electricity prices went up when they added renewables to the mix. If we got 75% of our electricity from nuclear (like France) we could rely on hydro (where geography permits) and natural gas for most of the rest.

          I see from your other posts that you’ve read David MacKay’s work. I’m not sure how you could do that and still come away as a fan of wind and solar. MacKay famously said he was not anti-renewable, simply pro math.

        • Craig Willms says

          @Jackson H

          We can’t change the past, it’s gone. Get over it.

          E Olson did a nice job of explaining why we don’t have a nuclear energy base like France, it isn’t going to happen unfortunately, and it isn’t because of those dastardly conservatives.

          As for German levels of renewables,… Why would anyone repeat such a failed experiment?

      • kamakirinoko says

        “scientists were predicting global cooling, which were headline stories in all the major newspapers”

        You know, many newspapers have made digital archives of old issues. Perhaps you could see your way clear to producing just one newspaper with one headline predicting “global cooling”?

        I’ve been around 61 years and for the life of me, I can’t recall a single headline that predicted global cooling . . . not a one.

        Biut I’m sure it will just be a trifle to rustle one up from the thousands of digital archives which exist.

        We’ll all thank you for it!

    • ga gamba says

      I understand what you claim see, but perhaps you may not see everything.

      For example, the Montreal Protocol that dealt with ozone depleting substances (ODS) like CFCs and HCFCs was negotiated and signed by Reagan, and follow-on revisions were done by Bush the elder. CFCs are greenhouse gases. And they are extremely potent ones, causing thousands of times more warming per molecule than carbon dioxide does. Its most recent revision was supported by Trump.

      He [Trump] has even agreed to take a nearly 25 percent share of funding of over $500 million pledged by the developed countries to provide to the developing countries. The deal to provide $500 million over the next three years for the purpose was sealed in Montreal last week [final week of Nov 2017]. . . . Developed countries will start reducing HFCs [hydrofluorocarbons] as early as 2019, while developing countries will start later. Phasing down HFCs under the Protocol is expected to avoid up to 0.5 degrees of global warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. If the energy efficiency improvements due to use of non-HFCs in refrigeration and air conditioning appliances are taken into account, then the avoided warming would be even more. That will be equivalent of achieving at least 25 percent of the objective of the Paris pact.

      Even Vox, no friend of Trump, had to report of Montreal: “The administration even backed a new set of revisions to the treaty that would further ratchet down emissions of harmful gases that deplete ozone and warm up the planet.”

      In a 2014 report by The Economist about climate change titled The deepest cuts it “made a stab at a global comparison of carbon-mitigation efforts.”

      Overwhelmingly ODS reduction was the champ. Annually, the Montreal Protocol reduces more CO2 equivalent than hydro and nuclear power together worldwide – 5.6 billion tonnes vice 5 billion tonnes.

      The problem is that had we started in the 70’s with renewables + nuclear…

      The US was building nuclear power plants at the time, but then Three Mile Island happened, a few Hollywood films including the blockbuster The China Syndrome were released, and that was that. But the environmental movement had opposed nuclear before those events, and in 2011 Obama then killed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. By killing it not only was all the money spent wasted, the government is obliged to pay waste producers annually for failing to provide a nuclear waste disposal facility.

      The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 requires that the DOE dispose of nuclear waste being produced at civilian energy plants around the country, which in turn pay fees for a long-term storage facility. The department’s contracts with dozens of energy companies said it would start disposing of the waste in 1998.

      The companies held up their end, feeding about $750 million into the Nuclear Waste Fund each year. But the department did not manage to set up any facility to receive the waste, forcing energy companies to store it themselves on-site.

      All those partial breaches of contract haven’t come cheap. As of the end of 2015, the DOE has paid $5.3 billion for failing to fulfill its obligations, and even if it manages to start disposing of waste in the next 10 years, it could still be on the hook for nearly $24 billion in additional liability.

      “Because the United States has no facility available to receive spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW) under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, it has been unable to begin disposal of SNF from utilities as required by the standard contract with utilities,” said a DOE spokesperson in an email. “Significant litigation claiming damages for partial breach of contract has ensued as a result of this delay.” (Source: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:https://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/05/how-the-department-of-energy-became-a-major-taxpayer-liability.html)

      • Bob says

        70’s nuclear…
        Environmentalists were initially in favor of nuclear power. Then the “hard greens,” the ones that would suppress development of any kind, took over because nuclear would have done too good a job at raising people out of poverty world wide. Ironically their, and big coal’s, success at stopping nuclear in the US has resulting in 100’s of thousand of premature deaths from coal PM (if you believe EPA’s PM research.)

        Those that say nuclear is too expensive are truthful IF you are referring to the current generation nuclear. Next gen nuclear will need to be competitive to gas to be adopted by the free market. Problem is the rabid anti-nukes, and renewable and gas corny capitalists, will likely find a way to hobble next gen nuclear in the US – sad. China will likely be a big winner in next-gen nuclear because of the anti-nuke forces in the US.

        • Scoop says

          And the current generation of nuclear plants are only so expensive because of needless over-engineering, regulatory review, public input, etc. Plants were built in the early 60s for prices that, even adjusted for inflation, would be cost competitive today.

          Nuclear is expensive because western societies have chosen to make it so. Now China, which had been cranking out 1.6 GW plants for under $4 billion a pop is choosing to make it more expensive for itself by adding another $4 billion per reactor safety features to already safe designs because of the Fukushima “disaster,” in which everything went wrong yet not a single person was exposed to unsafe levels of radiation

    • Saw file says

      @Jackson H.
      I can’t speak for the legislators, but I have spent my career in the’energy industry.
      All of us (essentially) love our planet and it’s environment.
      Even before we received the ‘new’ regulations, we often refused, on site, to comply with anything that was environmentally wrong. Saving afew $100 wasn’t worth dumping barrels of used equipment engine oil into the excavation prior to backfill was a ‘no go’, to us.
      I firmly believe that the only way that third world countries can join us in the first world is via hydrocarbon energy.
      We must sell them the technology, at a reasonable rate, for the environmentally soundly use hydrocarbon energy conversion to power.
      Once the wealth of the third world comes into serious international play, modern nuclear energy will become viable.
      But, wtf do i know……

  5. Before we start dancing to the lefts tune of “do something” by which they mean “implement global socialism” would it be too much to ask to have them make one, just ONE god damned 10 year prediction that is actually correct.

    This 12 years left to fix this sounds strikingly similar to the previous 4 years left an 13 years until and the formerly very en vogue by the year 2000. Every. Single. One. of their predictions has been wrong.

  6. Jackson Howard says

    Well. In my country we have x2 the climate sensitivity. Prediction 0.8-1.0C, measured : +1.5 to +2.0C. Seems right on track. Spring has moved forth two weeks. Our glaciers have lost 20% mass in 10 years.

    It would be easy as pie to sell it as a right wing/conservative issue :

    Make it about national security and independance from hostile foreign fossile suppliers and conserving indigenous reserves for later use. Push for Nuclear + Renewable mix.
    Make it about preserving the american way of life by keeping the historical american climate and being the tech leader.
    (The best part IMO) go for carbon tariffs against China. It would be a great move : China is coal heavy, so would be at a disadvantage with the cleaner US. From a WTO PoV you can argue that you protect yourself against unfair competition from the chinese that undercut you by trashing the environment. Best of all : you can do that and go America first on nuclear and clean tech industries and have the EU dance to your tune.

    • Jay Salhi says

      @ Jackson

      Your country is which country?
      “Our glaciers have lost 20% mass in 10 years.”

      Ten years is a very short period of time. Have you looked at it from a longer time frame? Ice that melts this decade may come back next decade or at some later point in time.

    • Jay Salhi says

      @Jackson

      “It would be easy as pie to sell it as a right wing/conservative issue :

      Make it about national security and independance from hostile foreign fossile suppliers and conserving indigenous reserves for later use. Push for Nuclear + Renewable mix.
      Make it about preserving the american way of life by keeping the historical american climate and being the tech leader.”

      I’m not a conservative but:

      Fracking and the shale revolution have dramatically improved US energy independence.
      Conservatives have never opposed nuclear. Opposition has come from the left.
      Conservatives will support energy that works at scale. Hydro and geothermal where geography permits but geographic limitations are significant. Wind and solar do not work at scale. They are not environmentally friendly and do not materially reduce CO2 emissions. Whatever wind and solar we foolishly build, will have to be nearly 100% backed by reliable energy and natural gas is best suited for that purpose. Better to simply rely on natural gas in the first place and eliminate the redundancy.

  7. Hill of the Moon says

    While I agree with many of the observations and recommendations of this article, I can’t help but note the omission of the most glaring reason the Environmentalist Movement has faltered: actually explaining climate change and the human role in it. Outside basic secondary education textbooks, which are far too simplistic and largely ignore the human element entirely, accessible information on this topic is vanishingly rare. Those who oppose climate change often produce facts or studies which I struggle to trust because there is so much bias evident. But that at least is leaps and bounds further advanced than the Environmentalist Movement, which makes zero effort to explain anything, insists I believe in climate change, insists I believe in their understanding of its causes and will outright persecute me if I refuse to. Or treat me like I have some sort of mental illness for disagreeing, in much the way a cultist might if I questioned their religion.

    I recall a link in the comments of Quillette some months ago that led to a primer on climate change prepared for a judge who had sought to expand his own knowledge. It was hugely informative, albeit very much fell on one side of the debate. Maybe it was purely my own ignorance, but at that point I hadn’t even realised greenhouse gases were vital to keeping the planet warm. My little secondary school textbook hadn’t bothered to mention that. Instead all greenhouses gases were bad and evil. Again, I hadn’t appreciated that water vapour is a biggest greenhouse gas, not CO2. This sort of discovery, combined with the Environmentalist Movement acting like an inquisition, makes me very heavily question climate change. So why is it the only primer I could find (that wasn’t either condescendingly simple or impenetrably academic) was from the opposing side?

    In short, the optics stink. If I wanted to force my views on someone and get my way, perhaps for money, perhaps for societal power, perhaps for pure ego, but I found my arguments were full of flaws, I would probably go about forcing those views using the exact methods the Environmentalist Movement uses. Bearing that in mind, I doubt their motives and I doubt their science. Until that approach changes and someone actually has an honest explanation for me – including acknowledging speculative or uncertain areas – then I will continue as I have: throwing my hands in the air, giving up and walking away. That even the side that recognises the Environmentalist shortcomings can’t see this problem saddens me greatly.

    • Doug F says

      Yes, this. And these tactics make it impossible to have a conversation that can lead to any reasonable outcomes.

    • Grant says

      @hill of the moon

      The whole of the global warming debate centers on the the role of water vapor. CO2, absent feedbacks will add about 1.2 C warming per doubling of CO2, there’s no argument at all about this. Also the effect is logarithmic, so if a growth in CO2 from 300 ppm to 600 ppm causes 1.2 C increase, then a change from 600 to 1200ppm will be needed for another 1.2C increase. The estimates of catastrophic warming are derived from the idea that that temp increase will result in more water vapor in the atmosphere and that will cause more warming until the system runs away.
      The history of the planet argues against this and it has been extraordinarily stable despite wide swings in CO2 content.
      The difficulty in molding this is that clouds are very difficult to introduce as a simple variable. Some trap heat, some reflect it, and then there are rains, thunderstorms that alter the balance.
      Faster computers just mean you get the same answers faster.
      Ask any college student these basics about CO2, or anyone for that matter and very few people will know.

    • Jay Salhi says

      “I can’t help but note the omission of the most glaring reason the Environmentalist Movement has faltered: actually explaining climate change and the human role in it.”

      Cimate is a complex topic. It cannot be reduced to a single true / false question, which is what the environmentalist activists have tried to do.

  8. Richard Fagin says

    The science of nuclear electric power generation is a lot better settled than the science of climate change. If we have to accept that human caused climate change is real and dangerous then the safety and efficacy of nuke electric must be accepted all the more. The author gives the game away by putting nuke power in the “must consider” rather than the “must use” category. That is, we will take seriously that greenhouse gas emission is a serious threat when they take seriously proven solutions. All of them.

    • K. Dershem says

      My concern about nuclear energy is not its safety, it’s the cost. I think the author gets the issue exactly right: we should be pragmatic about achieving the goal of decarbonizing energy. In the short term, we obviously shouldn’t de-commission nuclear plants in a panic like Germany did. In the long term, I think the jury’s still out about how much we should invest in additional nuclear plants in place of renewables.

      • ga gamba says

        … it’s the cost.

        That’s a fair point. Specifically the cost over runs. That said, it appears many things go significantly over budget such as airports, bullet trains, frigates, and jet fighters.

        Re nuclear power plant construction, if a contractor is building one irregularly, then the costs are going to to be much higher than for one that does so frequently, possesses in-house expertise, employs skilled workers such as precise welders (or uses robots), and has nailed down the process.

        A recent big project that’s soon to begin operation is UAE’s Barakah of four reactors that is scheduled to come online in 2020. KEPCO of Korea, which had been trained by America’s Combustion Engineering (now defunct and ownership has passed through several hands) as well as Canada’s Candu and uses Westinghouse’s reactor technology (owned by Toshiba since 2006), beat France’s Areva-led consortium (Areva later went insolvent and the nuclear business taken over by Electricite de France), and US/Japan’s GE-Hitachi. The Koreans had built only four nuclear plants previously, 20 reactors in total, all in Korea, and all of these were constructed with outside expertise – US and Canada.

        KEPCO’s bid was $20.4 billion for four reactors (1,400MW each); Areva’s bid, the next lowest, was $36 billion. After initial celebrations in Korea, everyone then wondered what the Korean bid missed. Then they panicked fearing that an underbid would force Korean consumers to subsidise cost over runs because KEPCO is the nation’s electrical utility.

        In January of this year Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company, which had been awarded the contract for maintaining Barakah after it comes online, decided to give up signing the contract because it didn’t want the to assume of the risk of full liability if an accident occurred.

        Some may wonder why the UAE is building nuclear reactors. It has oil and gas, right? Correct. Well, that’s Abu Dhabi, which is only one emirate of seven and is 95% of UAE’s oil & gas production. Dubai is wealthy because of business services, real estate, and showmanship (aka bullshit). And the other five are backwaters. The UAE lacks freshwater, so it has several hydrocarbon-fueled desalinisation plants (as do other Gulf states). This is costly to run and polluting as well. Further, people in the Gulf states run the aircon almost non-stop, so the UAE decided to shift to nuclear power to deal with the increase in demand rather then build more (and cheaper) gas-fueled power plants. The UAE forecast to see its electrical power demand grow from around 15,000 megawatts in 2008 to 40,000 MW in 2020 as oil wealth drives population (of expats) and economic growth. As of 2008 gas could only supply 20,000-25,000 MW. Further, in 2007 the UAE became a net natural gas importer.

        In the short term, we obviously shouldn’t de-commission nuclear plants in a panic like Germany did

        Mostly right here. Yet, the average cost of power generation per kw produced decreased 67% for wind power and 86% for solar power from 2009 to 2017. However, the cost increased 20% in the case of nuclear power. This may explain why many countries are joining the movement to phase out nuclear power plants.

        • E. Olson says

          GG – of course if you want to be fair you need to look at how the cost projections are made. All the DOE projections on the levelized cost of renewables do not include the cost of having back-up power for when the wind isn’t blowing and sun isn’t shining, and the assume the same 30 year plant life for all forms of electricity production (i.e. solar plants, wind farms, nuclear plants, coal plants, etc). The reality is that wind and solar have far shorter lives than expected, as blades need replacing at 10-15 years, and solar panels lose efficiency to be worthless in about 15 years, while nukes, coal, and gas plants frequently can go 50+ years with little or no loss of efficiency. Furthermore, liability costs for renewables are understated because they do not include lawsuits that will be sure to come from environmentalists who finally realize those windfarms are killing all the eagles, hawks, owls, bats, etc., and lawsuits from consumers and industry as contracts for reliable power go unfulfilled during cold or hot weather when the wind and sun die out (see recent example in Minnesota).

          In nuclear is so expensive and renewables are so competitive, why is electricity so much cheaper in France (heavily nuclear) than in Germany (heavily renewable)?

          • ga gamba says

            @E,

            Good comment there. The renewables rely on battery technology to handle downtime, and that’s not reliably forecastable. Lithium-ion batteries have there own issues. How many power walls does a home owner need to handle all the home consumption needs plus recharging one or two vehicles daily for 4 or 5 days of little sun or low wind?

            At the Geneva Motor Show this year Piëch Automotive introduced a new car claiming to recharge to 80% in 4 minutes 40 seconds, which is a helluva lot faster then what Tesla can do with its proprietary Supercharger which does so in about one hour. When charged to a full 100 per cent, Piëch’s claims its Mark Zero is able to deliver a full 500 km (311 miles) of range on a single charge. If true, that represents a pretty incredible breakthrough in battery technology; one that ought to make EVs very desirable because of low cost provided the technology scalable to a low cost. But until I see some independent proof of this, I’ll reserve judgment.

            The problem with renewables is the sky-high promises. I’m all for them, but prove it to me.

          • E. Olson says

            GG – a EV battery than can get 300 miles of range in 5 minutes would indeed be a game changer, but I can only imagine the kind of grid upgrade that will be necessary to shove that much juice into a battery with that kind of speed, and of course the possible destruction to battery life that such high speed recharging may do won’t be known for some time.

        • Scoop says

          There’s nothing inherently expensive about nuclear. We demand they be absurdly over engineered and that their construction be over regulated. The costs we paid to build nuclear power plants in the early 60s would, adjusted for inflation, be pretty cost competitive with fossil fuels today. All the additional costs are self inflicted for no reason other than irrational fear.

          We should, in fact, be cranking out nuclear power for far less than we made it in the 60s by mass producing plants from a single standardized design (well, one from each maker).

          I’ll know when someone gets really worried about climate change when they argue for the rapid mass production of the 1,000 or so reactors we’d need to replace fossil fuel electricity in the US. Until then, people are just pretending to be concerned.

  9. Jackson Howard says

    I think that to get an unbiased read on AGW the best is to read actual science papers, and not just those pushed either by the environmentalists or the fossil people.

    Personnaly, I find the book “The Warming Papers :The Scientific Foundation for the Climate Change Forecast” very good. It’s a compendium of well reviewed science papers. It’s a bit dated but as far as I’m concerned that’s a plus since this is well established stuff. It’s quite a heavy read, but sometime one has to do the heavy lifting and not let others peddle pret-à-penser ideas.

    When energy is concerned I go for “Renewables without the hot air” by David MacKay. It’s a sobering read for both sides of the political spectrum since it’s very much factual pro-arithmetic no-nonsense stuff. Very well researched and still readable.

  10. Optional says

    Actually, the primary problem with climate alarmists is that they think more government is the solution. And I don’t.

    The New Green Deal could not have been more obvious. It was climate alarmism as an excuse to impose socialism. Note that every socialist program this country has ever implemented has always become bigger. Not one of them has ever actually solved a problem and been stopped.

    It is pure stupidity to think that the USA moving to socialism will stop China and India from burning tons more coal. I am the biggest outdoor freak I know. But that doesn’t mean I see the world through a child’s/environmentalist’s eyes.

    • E. Olson says

      Optional – your obstinacy and skepticism are precisely why more government has to be the solution. It is very clear that you will never volunteer to give up your oil and gas, or car, furnace, air-conditioner, jet-powered holidays, meat and dog, or pay 70% of your income to finance the Green New Deal, so the government has to force you. Just remember – its for your own good.

      • Optional says

        The scary thing about socialism is that I can’t tell if your comment is parody – or real.

  11. dirk says

    The environment in a positive light on Quillette! Forget the environmentalists!!!, Okay then, now we can speak again. For some time, I felt quite embarassed with the issue. How on earth, I thought, is climate change and environment all the time so debunked in the articles and comments here. I would say (and thought before entering on the scene here): if really there is any conservative issue, it must be the environment. Not so, so it seemed. It got me thinking…… and I think I found out. The envionment sneaked into the banners of the Left, the SJW and the old Marxists, young people that felt ill at ease, and preached a comprehensive , radical reordening. So, logically, that the old right is going to see the environment and all with other eyes.
    The environment as highjacked by the left, is that the situation right now?

    But then there is Roger Scruton, there was Edmund Burke, heroes of the right, preaching the partnership between the dead, the living and the unborn, the care for the local, the landscape, the global equilibrium, the last unspoiled wildernis. In Europe, it was the nobility that saved the woods and forests, as against the peasantry and proletarians that wanted to cut the trees and finish the wildlife. I miss these heroes here and elsewhere in Quillette. At the contrary, where ever an article appears about climate and environment, the sneering on the “econuts” (see Olson here above) is the general attitude and judgement, even in that one on Thoreau: take care,(semi)-wildernis and out-life can spoil our youth.

    But, of course, we can take that whole environment out of hands of the activist environmentalists, and give it back to where it belongs.
    This, however, is not the direction of the political movements and reality I,m noting around me and in the media.

    How will it end? Where are we going??

    • augustine says

      @dirk

      I agree with your sentiment here. Not that long ago no writer of articles of comments could compose messages about “environment” and “environmentalism” without reference to natural areas (quality of life) and nature conservation. This used to be a mainstay of the message, in addition to pollution problems, and it has been supplanted by the intangible but politically viable AGW chorus. The Right and Left have both lost the plot in this regard today.

    • Optional says

      It is because the “climate change” is just an awesome tag line to get bigger government.

      Big Government runs off “problems”.
      That is how politicians get people to give their power and freedom – to politicians.

      What “problem” could be better for this, than one which will never be fixed.
      Which takes 100 of year to know if you have “fixed” it.
      And which there is zero metric to determine when it is “fixed” (what temp should the earth be ?).

      Climate change is the Nirvana of socialist marketing.
      They are just sad they didn’t think of it 100 years ago, and were forced instead to kill 100 million civilians – for their own good.
      AGW is going to be so much less messy to control the idiots with …

      • dirk says

        This is not how Scruton sees it, Optionel, in his Case for Environmental Conservation. He is of the opinion that no national or supernational government can tackle these problems, it should be a concern of local,cohesive communities (his oikophilia), and only in a much later stage of governmental action. A quite libertarian approach, I would say, Ayn Rand would approve. Only, can it work anymore these days? With the vanishing of all cohesion and the growing of identities? I don’t see it really! But he tried at least.

    • Most of those I know are conservative, and very supportive of conservation (note I didn’t say environmental issues). The problem with the environmentalist is to often what they propose does nothing to better conditions, but do destroy economies and communities. In fact, quite often their proposals make things worse. Take their oppositions to managed forests and opposition to any logging. This has lead to increased forest densities which has contributed to disease and insect outbreaks, killing off huge acres of forests, leading to forest fires. These fires move much faster and burn much hotter doing far more damage then they should in the process. Additionally, thick forests actually decreases habitat for many mammals and birds, which benefitting only a few. Another issue they get wrong is grazing. The wish to remove any grazing by domestic livestock from wild grasslands. But these grasslands actually perform better when grazed (as long as you don’t overgraze). The best way to do this is to have a large number of animals in a small area for a very short duration of time. I can name several other issues where the environmental movement has actually harmed rather then helped the environment (nuclear power being one). Or where their my way or the highway mentality has caused harm. We have a local diversion dam for irrigation. The environmentalist wanted it removed completely, to benefit the endangered pallid sturgeon. This plan would have harmed the entire area (most of these environmentalist were not from here). The irrigation district, the Corp of Engineers, the USFWS and state fish and game came up with an alternative that allowed irrigation to continue and would be beneficial to the sturgeon. However the environmental group sued to stop this compromise. They lost but then sued again and appealed the other loss. This went on for three years, in the meantime, the USFWS biologist were stating every day we delay leads to greater likelihood that the sturgeon will go extinct. Finally, the judge threw the last challenge out and construction has begun. The biologist, however, are not certain if there is enough time left now to save the sturgeon. The environmental group suing is opposed to all irrigation and used this issue to force their will on the area, and their refusal to compromise may have doomed the sturgeon.

      • augustine says

        @ Jeffrey C

        Your points about forest management are standard non-liberal rhetoric and they have some merit. However, our many decades old policy of fire suppression is a key factor in the out-of-control fires we’ve been seeing in the West. Blotting out every fire, natural or man-caused, leads to senescent forests with dense growth and plenty of fuel. When these conditions range over many miles and many decades, the potential for catastrophic fires is greatly increased. I am told the relevant federal agencies know this and have been trying to alter the course of old, misguided policies but it is difficult. When Trump was throwing out blame for last summer’s fires onto various agencies (especially state of CA), I was hopeful this problem was foremost in the minds of his advisors, but who knows.

        As a comparison, one can look at studies in places where there is virtually zero fire control and see what that landscape looks like, e.g., northern Mexico. Lighting caused fires occur with regular frequency in some of the higher mountains. When they ignite the vegetation and start to burn it is not long before that fire meets a patch of trees that has burned recently. With little fuel and lots of new “wet” growth the fire will stop on its own after burning perhaps a few hundred or thousand acres.

        • I wasn’t talking about fire suppression so much as managed logging. My brother-in-law is a forester for Idaho Department of Lands. In 2015 a massive fire burned through the Clearwater region of Idaho. The fire was uncontrollable on federal land that hasn’t had much logging since the late 1990s (so lots of new growth and hasn’t had a major fire in about the same time), however, they were able to control it better on state and private land that was logged in a responsible manner. You could talk to my Extension Forestry Specialist and he will tell you the same thing. It isn’t rhetoric, it is based upon actual scientific research and real world experience from experts in wild land firesand foresters (most of whom work for state and federal agencies and thus are not industry shills). I grew up in North Idaho and now live in Montana. I work for MSU Extension, and we receive training every year in subjects related to this. I have taken multiple range management classes, and forestry classes. I tell you that more than anything it is general mismanagement (which yes does include overzealous fire suppression, but those same forest managers you mentioned have also been calling for more logging on Forest Service and BLM land, I’ve spoken with a number of them who have recommended both increased logging and less fire suppression). Logging is not an evil thing.
          Your example of northern Mexico is suspect, because it is a different ecosystem with different plant communities and different rainfall patterns. Northern Mexico has far less rain than say the Cascades or the western Bitterroots, and far less snow pack then the upper elevations of the Tetons or Bighorns. You are comparing apples to oranges and trying to draw a conclusion. That is not scientifically sound. Additionally, how much logging is allowed?
          Additionally, what is the impact of overcrowded forests on large ungulates such as deer, elk and bighorns; all are grazers and need large areas of grass and forbs to support them, none of which grow well in overcrowded forests. We have also seen a decline in the past decade in upland game animals such as ruffed grouse, spruce and dusky (blue) grouse and a number of forest dwelling small mammals. These species actually require edge habitat and large areas of dense forests decreases their ability to find food and survive. Grouse and turkey chicks are almost entirely insectivores and grassy areas provide more hunting habitat. They have found the same thing with the sage grouse. Yes, they need sage to nest in, but to much sage, without grassy areas to hunt in, actually decreases chick survival.
          Logging and grazing, if done in a responsible method (which is the norm these days as science has improved, as has technology and better monitoring tools) is actually beneficial. Even clear cuts are not necessarily a bad thing.
          The idea that dense forests are a natural thing in the west is completely misguided and not historically accurate. The western Bitterroots, for example were dominated by White Pine and Cedar Cathedral forests when Lewis and Clark came through. These trees tended to be over 80 feet tall and had a drip line that reached out to over 100 feet. They tended to crowd out other trees, thus created much less dense forests, often 100 feet between trees. The spruce, lodge pole pines and firs, which tend to grow much denser stands, were actually rarer and tended to grow in disturbed areas or along forest edges. These latter species are not the norm. A mature Douglas Fir has a drip line of less than half of a Western White Pine or Western Red Cedar. Blue Spruce has an even smaller drip line, and grows in even more denser patches. When root disease in the early 20th century wiped out many of the old growth White Pine, the forests were replanted with denser growing spruce and fir trees to stabilize the soil. These denser stands create more fuel. Additionally, stressed forests (overcrowding is a stressor and one that contributes greatly to tree disease and susceptibility to insect damage) are more prone to catastrophic fires. Fire suppression doesn’t help this, but the overcrowding would still occur. Catastrophic fires would still occur.

          • E. Olson says

            Thanks for the very informative comment Jeffrey.

          • augustine says

            Thanks for your comment. I did not mean “rhetoric” in a pejorative sense, only that the argument about (pro)active management is one that has been a standard response to environmentalists.

            Points taken. I think it is useful to consider that there is no ideal or constant state that a forest exists in. I think you would agree with that from what you’ve said here. For many millions of years before humans arrived there was glaciation, lighting caused fires, droughts, disease, biotic factors, etc. So you are right to say that forests are not a natural thing in the way may people seem to think of them.

            I’m not aware of logging in the area of Baja California where the study I was referring to was done. The areas compared are nearby and directly comparable: Sierra San Pedro Martir (MX) and the Palomar Mts. (CA). I can’t find a reference for it but it was an insightful presentation.

  12. Jackson Howard says

    No need for a green new deal socialist push.

    Use the well tested pork barrel system of congress like it was done for the water reclamation project.

    That and carbon tariffs to mess with China and India.

    Sell it as an American energy independence thing when shales start their decline and make a deal with the energy companies : zero corp tax on their renewables and nuclear subsidiaries for a 20 year period with a zero percent loan up to the value of their proven reserves (with them acting as collateral). so long as they don’t extract it.

    It would be good deal.

  13. bumble bee says

    I agree with others here that Climate Change is not a foregone conclusion. This is not to mean that are not many environmental issues that need to be addressed such as pollution in all its forms, as well as the degradation of ecosystems. However, I wonder if all this Climate Change is more akin to an environmental hypochondria attitude. Where interpretations by nonscientific environmentalists, politicians, and some faulty science are feeding this push.

    Let’s face it we get our information from news outlets regarding the issue of Climate Change. We do not get the full science behind it. CC has become propaganda for the most part where we are given cherry picked information, evidence that is suspect from everyone including the off hand remarks of local politicians remarking that the latest storm is due to CC. We are being manipulated by environmentalists, news outlets, politicians, and anyone that can make a buck off of the rhetoric.

    We are told by 10yr olds, that using plastic straws, plastic bags are killing all the marine life. The picture of a sea turtles who ingested a straw, or entangled in a plastic bag has become the reason we must stop using them. So from the mouth of babes we must adhere, and politicians, businesses are doing as such because it makes good press. Never a mention of the need to determine how the plastic is getting in the oceans, or even cleaning up the oceans. No, what the ultimate agenda is forced behavior modification of the masses regardless of the reality of its impact.

    Now we are hearing that we only have 12 yrs left on this planet. That in 12yrs we are all going to be dying out. Like all doomsdayers that have plagued humanity from the beginning, these people somehow are correct. They have the foresight and information to publicly begin the countdown, and like all the others will be proven wrong.

    Then there is the science involved. The proof positive that every assertion is correct. Well that’s not how science really works. There is no way for environmental science to come to concrete conclusions, like one finds in medicine, because they cannot get a controlled environment to test. Environmental sciences are in their infancy and because today A leads to B, does not make it an absolute and will very likely change. Even today there are scientific conclusions that have been abandoned. We have been told in the past that eating eggs was a one way ticket to a heart attack, then we are told that eggs are beneficial, then again we are told they are natures hand grenades, and again told the opposite. That is science in a nutshell especially when dealing with a dynamic system such as the human body. Now extend that to the world at large and farting cows causing a rise in hurricanes is asinine.

    By simply minimizing pollution, environmental degradation through over building, deforestation, nonnative farming, better and more efficient recycling, packaging, there should be a marketed improvement for not only humans but all the life on this planet. What really concerns me with large movements such as environmentalism is there is no end point, no place in time to claim victory or meeting goals. There will always be groups demanding more and more, never satisfied never a point where the environment will be considered sustainable.

  14. Jackson Howard says

    The 12 year thing is simple to understand and it’s not the world ends in 12 years.

    The concept is rather simple : to stay under +2°C, the carbon budget left is 200GT. If by 2030 we haven’t made a serious dent in carbon emissions, we’ll have used too much of the budget to stay under +2°C. Then if we go above +2°C, positive feedbacks like albedo changes from the arctic melting (not controversial science) start to kick in and we might lose control of the process. Then again, we might bet on being lucky and having a low climate sensitivity. Or maybe we won’t.

    Then again, one doesn’t believe in physics, there is no discution to be had and everything devolves into opinions and identity politics. Which is exactly what can be seen in the media and in quilette comment sections.

    • K. Dershem says

      Very true. This comment section should probably be divided into two sections: one for climate denialists, and another for people who accept the scientific consensus. Trying to debate denialists is pointless and exhausting, like attempting to persuade creationists that the Earth wasn’t created in six days or Truthers that W. wasn’t behind the 9/11 attacks. Climate denialism is also based on a conspiracy theory, the bizarre idea that scientists are secretly collaborating to transform the world into a socialist dystopia (while also hoping to get rich … by being scientists). Either that, or they’re so stupid that they can’t see objections to climate models that are somehow obvious to anonymous commenters on the Internet. The power of motivated reasoning is mighty, indeed.

      • Grant says

        You’re so wrong in every level. Every skeptic knows that a doubling of CO2 will produce 1.2C warming absent feedbacks. The sensitivity is unknown but the higher estimates of feedback haven’t been evident even though CO2 has surged the last 20 years. We became skeptics because of the heavy handed adjustments to the temperature records that invariably bolster the CAGW view, the lack of explanation of the early 20th century warming that closely resembles late 20 warming, the complete ignoring of human land use and its expansion’s effect on the temperature record, the ever shifting explanations of why temperatures have not significantly increased in 20 years and the silly notion that what we’re doing to reduce CO2 is having much effect.
        The US reductions of late are mostly due to the use of natural gas.
        No one I know thinks we can continue to use fossil fuels indefinitely, but to us it’s clear that we have time to do it in a sane way.
        Believe me, I’m open to evidence that these dire scenarios are happening.

      • Jay Salhi says

        @ K Dershem

        Could you kindly define what you consider to be the consensus using precise terminology. Are you referring to the IPCC’s statement that more than half of the warming since 1951 is caused by human activity? If not, please clarify.

      • E. Olson says

        K – you seem like a smart guy, so it seems very strange that you apparently have never heard of the group think concept. The climate scientist community is pretty small and insular, and heavily dependent on government grants to fund their research and modelling work. Models that show “nothing to worry about” will not generate nearly as much government funding as models that show disaster and the need for further research. It also isn’t difficult to find examples of scientists in the community expressing skepticism about climate model parameters or predictions, or skepticism about dire predictions of planet death from heat, drought, hurricane, cold, snow, blizzard, and flood, who are mercilessly hounded and “unfriended” by their colleagues unless they shut up (see Judith Curry and Roger Pielke, Patrick Michaels, and Richard Lindzen, and check out the Climategate scandal as a few examples).

        Skepticism and active attempts to falsify scientific paradigms is supposed to be what science is all about, which is certainly not the situation in the climate science community (see, Robert Merton, Karl Merton, or Thomas Kuhn). Socialization and norms of behavior that are strongly sanctioned and rewarded will certainly lead to group think among small communities, and thus faulty science doesn’t require any diabolical collusion. Its the same for the victim studies “research” where 95% of the community are Leftists, and it should therefore not be very surprising when all the research shows support for the Leftist positions on various social issues, and occasional scandals reveal how biased the community is.

        • K. Dershem says

          Thanks for the responses. Like I said, I don’t see any point in debating denialism — it’s a classic case of conspiratorial thinking which is immune to counter-evidence. I’m sure denialists feel the same about those of us who acknowledge the reality of AGW, just as creationists deride “evolutionists” and Holocaust deniers reject the overwhelming consensus of historians. So it goes. For what it’s worth, I actually hope you’re correct.

          Denialism is the proper term, not “skepticism” — skeptics ask critical questions and demand evidence before accepting claims, but they don’t repudiate well-established facts on the basis of their ideological commitments. E. et al., if you’re asking questions in good faith, skepticalscience.com is a good place to start.

          https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

          • D-Rex says

            Sorry K but skeptical science .com is the last place anyone should go for good faith answers. Their 97% paper was a total fraud and they use pseudoscience to debunk skeptics. AGW proponents don’t have a skeptical bone in their collective bodies, they swallow the BS without a critical thought.

          • Jay Salhi says

            @K. Dershem

            Socalled “deniers” and AGW believers have more in common than you might think.

            Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is a die hard AGW believer.

            BBC Question: “When scientists say “the debate on climate change is over”, what exactly do they mean – and what don’t they mean?”

            Phil Jones answer: “It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don’t believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.”

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm

            Your posts at Quillette would imply that Jones is a denier.

      • Farris says

        Warming pause deniers?

        Whenever someone uses the term “climate change denier” I know they are out of ideas or have no arguments.

        Furthermore the substituting consensus for evidence is anti-intellectual . Or as Albert Einstein said in response to the book Hundred Authors Against Einstein “Why 100? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

    • Optional says

      The 12 year thing is even easier to understand than that.
      Hype and nonsense.

      In the late 1980s, the UN claimed that if global warming were not checked by 2000, rising sea levels would wash entire countries away.

      2000 Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, predicts that within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

      Sea levels could rise twenty feet, claimed Al Gore in his 2006 documentary. (That is bunk).

      Year 2006. NASA scientist James Hansen says the world has a 10-year window of opportunity to take decisive action on global warming and avert catastrophe.

      In 2009, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown predicted that the world had only 50 days to save the planet from global warming.

      2011 Cristina Tirado, from the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, says 50 million “environmental refugees” will flood into the global north by 2020, fleeing food shortages sparked by climate change. Tic Toc.

      Rajendra Pachauri, while head of a United Nations climate panel, said that that without drastic action before 2012, it would be too late to save the planet.

      When 2012 finally rolled around, Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, predicted “global disaster” from the demise of Arctic sea ice in four years. (Note: Arctic sea is currently increasing)

      Since all that deadlines have expired. I propose that it is “too late”.
      And we move on to something that isn’t an obviously hollow leftist scare tactic.

  15. Alan Gore says

    I have one simple test for whether a person commenting on the carbon problem has any grasp of the science he is proclaiming: if he believes that cow farts are a significant part of the problem, I can safely walk away without having to listen to whatever that person is about to spout next.

    What such a person does not realize is that cows do not eat coal. All of the carbon that goes into them was taken from the atmosphere in the last year. All that cows emit just returns this “new” carbon to the environment from which it was just withdrawn. Cattle are therefore carbon neutral.

    It’s true that cow gases contain more methane (natural gas), a more powerful greenhouse gas, than CO2. But methane also breaks down quickly, blunting its effect. Because most of the manmade methane going into the atmosphere is leakage from natural gas production, cleaning this up would dwarf any benefit we might get from eliminating cows,

    • dirk says

      Methane is a rather stable molecule, Alan, it takes an average of 10 yrs to break down (somewhere high in the atmosphere or in the underground), and that exactly is the problem. Wildlife such as deer and buffaloes produce more methane/daily per unit liveweight, compared to our cattle and dairy, but, Jesus Christ, since we went ahead with our civilisation, consumption pattern ,overpopulation and bioindustry, we now have 7x as much domesticated large animals as we have wildlife (Harari’s estimate in Homo Deus). This farthing and bulging is just too much for the atmsphere to grapple with, it’s now responsible for about 10% of the influence of greenhouse gasses. So: recyling yes, but no more equilibrium and statice, and, oh God, if all these Chinese and Indians and Africans also are joining the beef devouring crowds?? Then, the equilibrium will get farther and farther out of sight. And this is exactly what’s going to happen, there is no halting this process.

    • Slim says

      I think the problem with cows is that it takes something like 10 calories of feed to produce 1 calorie of cow, so you mark up the land, carbon, and fertilizer runoff by 1000%. So they are not carbon neutral compared to beans and grains, unless they are completely pasture raised in and area that would not otherwise support agriculture.

      • Most cattle are raised in pasture that isn’t fit for farming and then finished in feedlots. This actually reduced CO2 dioxide and methane per KG of beef produced (the science is very specific on this). Grass fed beef actually takes longer to produce and increases resources needed and produces more GHG emissions per KG of beef produced. Also it isn’t 10 calories for 1 calorie produced but more on average of 7 lbs of feed for 1 lb of growth (I am a ruminant nutritionist and an animal science/ag science professor). Feedlots do utilize grains, but they also utilize a lot of waste that would end up in landfills. For instance, bakery waste, waste left over from frozen potato manufacturing, waste leftover from brewing and ethanol production. Supermarket produce that has gone bad, cotton seed, soy bean meal and canola meal (left over after oil production), apple and grape pumice left over from juice, cider and wine production, etc. On average, feedlot cattle are finished at 18 months to 2 years of age, while grass fed beef requires an additional 6 months to a year. Feedlot fed cattle use less land, less water and produce less waste over their lifetime then does grass fed beef. They also produce more meat per animal then grass fed beef and thus reduce the number of animals needed to meet demand.

        • dirk says

          Small technical detail, Jeffrey: of course, theoretically, Slim’s conversion in calories makes more sense, is much better than your practical (for farmers, traders and vets) conversion of pounds feed into meat. Feed and fodder varies from 20 to 85% of drymatter (of varying qualities), and all that water does not contribute to the energy content. So, what you better should have provided in your correction is another caloric conversion figure (made up of the caloric values of that feed and that meat). Besides, very useful, make a distinction in liveweight and edible or commercial parts. In that last case, I think the conversion is even much higher than Slim’s 10 to 1 (how much??).Of course, the energetic (and monetary) costs of a unit weight of fodder or cottonseed meal is only a fraction of that of meat, and most of this feed is not usable for humans, unlike the feed for broiler and pork meat. In fact, I think Slim’s figure of 10 is one for the feed conversions in broilers and swine, not for cattle.

          • @Dirk
            No calories to calorie conversion is never a good measurement. Ruminants are able to utilize cellulose, which produces the same gross energy gram for gram as starch (because both are macromolecules of glucose, starch, or more accurately amylose, having an alpha 1-4 bond and cellulose having a beta 1-4 bond). Humans are unable to digest cellulose therefore the comparison is meaningless since most of the energy taken in by cattle is undigestible by humans. Additionally, it isn’t an accurate conversion because energy is not the only nutrient obtained from eating beef. Additionally the amount of calories released from glucose and proteins, on a gram to gram comparison, are nearly identical, however the body treats them differently. The body doesn’t want to utilize protein for energy except during periods of energy deprivation. Beef also is the main source of Vitamin B12, many essential amino acids, and the vitamins and minerals obtained are far more biological available then those obtained from plant material. Finally, as to you point about stating it on a dry matter basis, that is what I did. That is standard procedure for a ruminant nutritionist (what I trained for at school and the specialty of my MS). Moisture content is to variable and therefore I rarely use it as a means of comparison except when mixing a ration. And even then, I first formulate the ration on a DM basis and all needs of the animal are figured on a DM basis. Once the formulation is done, then it is converted to as fed. I should have specified that.

          • dirk says

            @Jeffrey, again: I fear, you are looking at ranching and beef production with quite other eyes than Slim, Stephanie and myself. Of course there are many different ways you can look at cattle and ranching’
            1) for the rancher and the academics supporting ranching: how can I get good beef at a reasonable price and quantity
            2) for the housewife: where can I buy a juicy steak for my husband (she herself takes a salad)
            3) for the ecologist and rural politician: how much land do we need for beef, where, with how much vegetative diversity.

            I fear, that you look at the issue with the eyes of the specialist, the ranch business only. And very good that this is done well. But there is so much more. I dived into the subject once more, and found a publication on conversion efficiency (in calories and in protein efficiency)in cattle and other animals from a team of A.Shepon> Wrong, never good, in your eyes of course, but there are 100s of similar studies. These ones found that the US could feed 130 million citizens more if they only would change the beef in their menu to poultry and pork (with Slim’s energetic efficiencies of 9-13, whereas that of beef would come to as much as ca 30). Such studies don’t help the ranchers maybe not much, and also , as explained, I don’t think that his message is very useful for the US, but for countries like China and India, and others, similar studies, I think are of foremost concern. Now, China is buying up all the soybean from Brazil, for which they have to finish their last forests. BTW, the Chinese knew the knowledge of Shepon et al already 2000 yrs ago, and that’s the reason they have more rice,pulses, vegetables ducks and pork in their diet, and almost no beef. This is only one case, of the many.

            In the NL, there is no week with at least 1x fierce clashes on the advantages and disadvantags of dairy and land use, all seen by parties with different interests (the ornithologists are not so happy that the dairy farmers chase away all lapwings and other birds from their lands, the home owners are not happy with the water quality due to all that dung, etc. etc etc)

            It seems that also here on this issue, Slim, Stephanie, you and me are looking at the material with complete different eyes.

  16. Jackson Howard says

    Good point. In fact with good grazing techniques pastures and ranching can become a net carbon sink. This something I would expect other conservatives to push and advocate for. Sadly all too often when the left point to something as being problematic for the environment our side denies and deflect instead of being smart about it and disarming the problem with intelligent solutions.

    An other thing often missed is that ranching is often done on soil unsuitable for crops anyway.

    • dirk says

      About this grazing and carbon sink, something just now playing in the NLs: we emit 7 Mton of CO2 equivalents only by lowering the watertable of our grazing meadows year round. By letting this water table come up again on, say,half the area, we can “gain” 3.5 Mton. This would contribute and help us reaching the 70 or so that we have to decrease by the Copenhagen agreement. However, this means big problems for the farmers and their machinery, as well as for production of grass. I really don’t see it done, the farmers won’t allow it. Nevertheless, politicians are talking quite open and relaxed about it, and look us citizens and voters frankly in the eyes. Because, this Copenhagen agreement is something for 2030,a time that almost none of the politicians in the government now will still be seated there then. It’s a comedy, this whole thing.

      (BTW, being an amateur ornithologist, I would be glad with that policy of higher water tables, it would mean more lapwings and other meadowbirds back in our landscape (now mostly gone), but where the dairy industry is at stake??? We’ll see!

    • Stephanie says

      Grass-fed beef is superior to grain-fed in terms of taste, nutrition,and environmental impact. We waste a ton of water in places like Australia and California growing crops that have no place being grown in deserts, when free range cattle farming would be so much more effective. This is a solution both the hippy left and the frugal right should be able to get behind.

      The author’s push for lab-grown meat is misguided. We’ve degraded the quality of meat substantially already by feeding cows food they are not adapted to digest properly. To think we’ll be able to replicate the complex nutritional structure of real, properly raised beef anytime soon is a pipedream. A prudent person would not trust such a radical change in food source until decades worth of studies on the health effects have been conducted and replicated.

      • @Stephanie, wrong on all three. Well taste is subjective, but when blind taste test have been done (and repeated multiple times) American’s (even those who state otherwise) preferred grain finished beef. As for better health, again the research is at best dubious, though the indications are that there is no difference. Some research does show a small, but statistically different level of CLA, which some studies do correlate to lower inflammatory responses and thus decreased heart disease. However, the science is not clear on if this effect is causative or not and the difference between conventional and grass fed beef is so small that it likely has no biological significance (like a lot of things, people don’t understand what is meant when scientist state something is significantly different). As for the environment impact, this again has been demonstrated, much more conclusively, that the environmental impact of grass fed beef is worse than conventional beef because cattle finish at small weights, take longer and require more land and water to reach slaughterable weights. Thus you need more animals, on more land, using more water and living longer to meet production needs. If you read the IPCC report on Agriculture it actually states the best way to reduce GHG emissions from meat and dairy production is to graze less and use more CAFOs, as well as hormonal implants and ionophores. The very opposite of what you stated. I suggest you read Jude Capper, PhD, work from when she was at Washington State University, as well as many of here colleagues. The dispel the myth that grass finished beef is good for the environment (in fact most calves are on pasture until the last 6 months or so of their lives in the US and Canada).

          • As I said George, most beef cattle in the US spend most of their lives grazing, it is only the last 3-6 months that they are in CAFOs. I am not against grazing. In fact, my specialty is animal science, though as an Extension Agent I have to have training in a variety of agriculture and horticulture subjects. Grazing is a necessary part of the environment and benefits grasslands. Moving away from grazing entirely is just bad for the environment. But, modern beef manufacturing (and sheep and goats) still utilize grazing as much as possible until the finishing phase. Dairy, pork and poultry do utilize much more concentrated feeding for the animals life (but even some dairies utilize some pasture for dry cows). Grazing is and will remain an important part of beef production, but finishing calves in the feedlot (notice I used the word finished, which refers to a period of fast growth over a short period of time) is better for the environment than grass finishing. How the beef industry generally works is that the cows will calve (in the Northern Prairies, Rocky Mountains and Intermountain west) in late winter or early spring. If they do not calve on pasture, as soon as grass is available, they cow-calf pair will be turned out to pasture. They will remain in pasture until late summer early fall, at which time the calves will be weaned, and shipped for sale. The cows will, if grass is available, be turned back out to pasture until snow fall becomes to thick to graze (these cows will have been bred again in late spring or early summer, and thus will be at mid-gestation and able to tolerate low quality forages, because nutrition needs are at their lowest). The calves meanwhile can either be moved to a backgrounding operation, where they will continue to graze either stored forages, field stubble such as corn or wheat stubble, or winter wheat fields (common in the southern prairies states such as Kansas, Oklahoma and north Texas). In the more northerly state, some will be placed dry-lots and feed forages such as grass hay. The idea is to slow their weight gain down (this actually will increase their feed efficiency later, taking advantage of compensatory gain, this is also why calves will be backgrounded in states where that is feasible). After backgrounding (or directly after sale often in northern states) the calves will be placed into feedlots for finishing for anywhere from two to eight months depending on breed and frame size. What most people get confused by is that most dairy animals will eventually also be slaughtered for their meat, and almost all male dairy cattle will be castrated and sold as steers. Dairy cattle do outnumber beef cattle in the US, and dairy steers account for up to 55% of cattle slaughtered in the US. As I mentioned above, dairy animal production does differ considerably from beef cattle production. It is possible that we could graze these dairy animals more (though, not much more as that would require a drastic increase in the amount of land already grazed, which isn’t very feasible), however, dairy breeds are dairy breeds because they are much more efficient at producing large volumes of milk then they are at producing meat efficiently. Trying to raise dairy steers as grazing animals would not be efficient nor economically or environmentally sound. It can take a steer from a beef species almost three years to reach slaughter weight on grass, it would take dairy breeds much longer (yes they are heavier but they don’t muscle well).

        • dirk says

          Again a consideration on this, Jeffrey: it is quite common these days to read about land or water needed for a unit of food. In this case grassfed cows, needing more than grainfed and much more than poultry and swine. However, I see this with different eyes. Next to wildernis and nature, I like meadows or half-desert with cattle most, in fact , I even prefer walking or biking in the meadows with sheep or cows around my home above walking in the forests here in the neighbourhood. So, I wouldn’t mind about many square miles under grass with dairy or cattle, and I hate the sight of arable land with silagemaize, wheat and the stables stuffed with 10s of thousands of chicken or swine (not to speak of the odours). Even where this would mean 5 or even 10 x more landuse for the same steak, sausage, chicken or pork chop of the bioindustry.

          • @Dirk,

            Once again I never called for the ending of grazing. In fact, grazing, as I stated is extremely important part of the beef industry and the production cycle. The biggest difference between conventional beef and grass fed, is the fact that conventional beef will go into a finishing phase and be ready for slaughter with less input then grass finished. But both spend the majority of their life on pasture. And the cows that produce the calves in conventional beef systems will spend years grazing, until they are culled and then they will spend a few months finishing before slaughter. The idea that only grass finished beef grazes, while conventional beef is raised strictly in feedlots is simply not true.

  17. Etiamsi omnes says

    I’m sixty and my impression is that the weather patterns in Eastern Canada where I was born are indeed not what I recollect from my childhood days. But then again, it seems every single generation before us has held that opinion, and there’s no telling what I would say were I to live another sixty years.

    What makes me skeptical about the whole climate change affair is that it really does seem like an article of faith, more than a matter of fact. It used to be a safe subject if there was any was precisely the weather. Of course weather is not to be confused with climate, which is a long-term affair. But take for example both last year’s and this year’s winter in these parts. Last year’s lasted much longer than usual, with cold temperatures till late in the season. Well I remember hearing a speaker on the radio saying that “oh, it’s all because a great big chunk of broke off the polar ice sheet and, as it has been drifting along our coasts, it has had this cooling effect.” And, as hot as our last summer was, this winter has at times bitterly cold. I’m waiting for some zealot to come up with an explanation that will soothe the anxiety of those in whose hearts doubt has crept.

    It reminds me of a religious funeral service for very young children who would have died in an accident, or killed by a psychopath on the rampage : the priest or minister looks up from his pulpit to face his parishioners assembled before him, and he finds that the look in each one’s eyes says: “Well, well, let’s see how you explain this one, if your god is so merciful and loving.”

    • Grant says

      @mones
      It’s definitely warmer than your childhood but the 60’s and 70’s were quite a cold period. One of the reasons for the chatter about a coming ice age in the 70’s was because of adults remembering warmer childhoods. Climate always changes but a lot of people see any change as a harbinger if doom.

  18. Kevin Herman says

    I don’t feel like climate change alarmists are offering workable solutions and in addition to that are not living there lives in a way that says I believe the world is in danger in even the semi immediate future. Until they do I will continue to be skeptical of the whole thing. We could eliminate most coal use with more nuclear power but they won’t go for that. We could use more natural gas which is one of the cleaner fossil fuels. States like California and New York refuse to develop huge shale formations. Then you have the carbon taxes being proposed from time to time. A carbon tax is basically the environmental version of a sin tax. It will do nothing to actually reduce carbon use in a meaningful way but what it will do is hurt the economy and its a pie in the sky idea that the money will go back to the taxpayers somehow. Even if it did they’ll come out behind financially because of the damage the carbon tax will do to the economy. Never mind the fact the United Stats is just one nation and we actually have cut our emissions quite a bit. India and China and other developing nations will continue to do whatever they want energy wise and will continue to do it. Deep down in there hearts polling shows most Americans are petty skeptical of the whole thing even though they might SAY when asked that its an important issue BUT it actually falls pretty far own on the list of American citizen’s concerns when polled.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      “Alarmists” have been offering workable solutions since the 1970s, and plenty of people have been changing their lifestyles to reflect their values.

      It’s your own fault it you haven’t noticed any of this. And all of your stupid solutions just extend the problems rather than offer anything serious. Christ, of course people are skeptical. There is a billion-dollar industry sowing misinformation and there has been for decades. Americans are like a cigarette smoker who refuses to believe they’ll never get sick and all doctors are liars.

      Enjoy your cancer, America. You earned it.

      • No the solutions offered by “alarmist” are not scalable or reliable enough to be considered workable. And, the majority have not changed their lifestyles dramatically. If they had, why was the last large climate summit not held via teleconference, thus reducing the amount of air travel needed to attend? Why did so many attendees actually travel on private aircraft, the least efficient means of travelling? America has reduced CO2 output much more drastically then any European country (and before you say we produced more, realize that none of the European countries are nearly as large or as populous as the US except Russia and the Ukraine, hardly leading the world in reducing environmental impact). Kevin also gave evidence, unlike you, of tested ways by which the US has already reduced our CO2 levels and how we can reduce them even further. Ways that actually work in the real world and are cost effective. Rather than refute this you just made unsupported assertions and ad hominins. You a caricature of what the author of this piece was talking about. You are so caught up in your tribalism and dogma, that reasonable discussion is impossible with you. Rather than trying to find common ground, you would rather demonize people and insist on a my way or the highway mentality that produces more harm, while never solving the problem. You are as much a part, if not more, than those who completely dismiss AGW.

      • Jay Salhi says

        @NP

        “There is a billion-dollar industry sowing misinformation and there has been for decades.”

        Nearly all of the money on the AGW issue is on one side, the warming side. Most climate science funding comes from governments and governments fund the IPCC (“I’ stands for intergovernmental). The IPCC only looks at human causes of warming. No funding for research exploring natural causes. Most of the major foundations (Ford, Rockefellar etc) are on the warming side too.

        Greenpeace has a budget of 400 million dollars. The Heartland Institute’s budget is about $5.3 million. Skeptics tend to be older scientists nearing the end of their careers and less reliant on new research grants and retired people with time on their hands to do independent research. AGW skeptics are not well-funded.

  19. Lightning Rose says

    (1) There is not now, nor has there ever been, any observed evidence capable of teasing a man-made signal out of the naturally-variable noise of “climate.” Particularly because the IPCC’s mandate is to study human sources only, and ignore natural variation. Models are designed to show exactly what they’re showing, to service the UN’s agenda–and they have yet to successfully model the PAST! The theory so far has failed to deliver on any sound basis for 30 years. My cat with a Ouija board could probably come closer. This is by no Popperian criteria, “science.”

    (2) The “warming,” entirely aligned with the negligible rate steady since the end of the Little Ice Age, paused around 18 years ago, in spite of atmospheric CO2 rising from 280 to 400 ppm. Therefore, the logical inference is what geologists have always suspected; that atmospheric CO2 rises in RESPONSE to warming that’s already taken place, rather than causing it. A thousand other variables, some of which remain undiscovered, are completely ignored in the “models.”

    (3) Such warming (1.5 degrees C. since 1850) has been overwhelmingly beneficial to humans, through greater crop yields, faster plant growth, fewer deaths caused by fuel poverty, extreme weather, hunger and disease. If you don’t think so, why not take your Bahamas vacation in Wisconsin in January? Why not? Or do we enjoy temperate weather more than freezing our butts off in dangerous blizzards? Hurricanes and tornadoes, droughts and floods, are vastly reduced in terms of destructiveness and lives lost compared to the first half of the 20th century. This is a well-documented matter of historical record.

    (4) “Environmentalism” as hijacked by the UN following the fall of the Soviet Bloc is a secular hijacking of shopworn religious tropes owned and operated by the hard Left, for the greater glory of redistributing the wealth of Western capitalism. It encompasses Malthusian anti-humanity, apocalyptic nihilism, and belief in Edenic “living in harmony with nature” which never existed in the human past. These moonbats howl as loud as anyone else when the power fails, and I don’t see any of them living on Amish style subsistence farms. I DO see all of them consuming a great many air miles.

    (5) Not to be confused with “Conservationism.” Conservationists are the people working quietly and without fanfare to clean up toxic waste sites, find solutions for sewage and trash, preserve open space for wildlife, shoot poachers, etc. But they are not Of The Faith, because they include inconvenient people like hunters, fishermen, ranchers, farmers, and tourism interests. Most of them do not believe “The Planet!” is in any mortal danger unless an asteroid slams us.
    But lacking existential hysteria, it’s harder to get checks. Thank goodness for Ducks Unlimited!

    (6) If ANYONE really believed CO2 was an “existential threat” we would have the entire West’s technology behind building nuclear, not coal, power plants all over Europe, the U.S. and the entire developing world, starting with China and India. Sanctions would be extreme. That’s the ONLY thing that would make a difference, not middle-schoolers in Patagonia puffers indulging in street theater for The New Yorker-tote-bag crowd’s fawning approbation.

    (7) Notice the rebranding. When the 30-year cooling cycle ended around 1980, we had sudden Impending Doom from “Global Warming.” (Man-made, all right!) Oops, warm cycle ending, let’s rename it “Climate Change” which can be pinned to anything at all. Uh-oh, not emotional enough, ’cause any fool and his truck realize that the climate has always changed. So, uh, like, let’s go with “Climate CRISIS!” Because ordinary Jacks are starting to give this the fish eye and our bottomless troughing might be endangered. Better strike while the iron is still hot!

    (8) Weapons-grade Goebbels level propaganda out of the mouth of a ditzy barmaid with zero credentials of any kind to her name, pitching a “deal” where we’ll ride trains to Hawaii. And half of Congress is acting like this is a Serious Thing? Have we hit Peak Human Stupid yet?

    (8) So, distilled, this “problem” is that a pre-cooked computer model speculates a degree or two of “warming” a hundred years from now. Reported breathlessly by the same people who can’t tell me if it’ll rain tomorrow night. And for this supposed direct-thermostat zero evidence proves we hold on the atmosphere, we’re supposed to give up breeding and eating and return to the Iron Age? Are the Branch Davidians back in town?

    Y’all can set an example, honey. Show us how . . . you go first!

    • E. Olson says

      Great comment as usual LR. When it comes right down to it, eco-nuts just don’t like people very much. They would much prefer letting the fishies, birdies, animals, plants, and insects live in pristine nature and peace and harmony just like an Animal Planet feature.

    • K. Dershem says

      This is a great summary of tired denialist arguments which have been dealt with time and time again by actual scientists. I provided this link above, but since it’s relevant here I’ll post it again:

      https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

      Of course, the scientists behind that site may be part of the globalist, anti-human conspiracy, so reader beware.

        • K. Dershem says

          @D, you’re making absurd assertions without providing any evidence!

      • George says

        Anyone truly interested in this issue should read this. It’s a report on the long green march through the English Schools. The point about indoctrinating kids into pestering their parents is something I think I may have heard before (Mao?). If your kids are depressed maybe it’s because they’ve been taught what to think rather than how to think?

        “Concerns about environmental education in modern times are not new. For
        example, in 1984 Herbert London wrote Why are they Lying to our Children? 7
        in response to the following incident described in the book’s Introduction:
        One evening more than a year ago I came home from university to find
        my elder daughter – then 13 – with tears streaming down her cheeks. . .
        When I gently inquired why she was crying, Staci said, ‘Because I don’t
        have a future’. [She] produced a mimeographed sheet suggesting that a
        dismal future – or none at all – is what awaits her. . .widespread famine. . .
        overpopulation. . .air pollution so bad everyone will wear gas masks. . .
        befouled rivers and streams. . .melting of the polar ice caps and worldwide
        devastation of coastal cities. . .an epidemic of cancer brought on
        by damage to the ozone layer. . .
        London finishes his introduction by noting that with fear about environmental
        threats being so widely promoted:
        . . .it is little wonder that teachers and textbook writers often cannot distinguish
        between wheat and chaff. As a result, they become part of a system
        that disseminates the currently popular, prevailing opinions. Unfortunately,
        those opinions tend to be wrong, misleading, and misguided.”

        https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2014/04/Education-reducedportrait-5.pdf

      • Jay Salhi says

        @K. Dershem

        I have visited skeptical science before but have not been able to access their site for the past 2 days. Are you able to open your link?

  20. Stanley Ketchel says

    The problem with being considered an “environmentalist’ in good order is there is a certain religious dogma one must accept to be considered a true believer. I bird watch, pick mushrooms, fly fish, and stomp all over the outdoors looking for natural gems. I have also contributed to The Nature Conservancy and the American Prairie Preserve, but I am skeptical about the young hipsters who want to go totally green, economics and science be damned! Since I am not willing to stop progress and go back to a mythical earlier age (of course with antibiotics and plentiful organic food), I cannot join the true church. The current crop of environmentalists is so focused on the big picture, the micro environment is ignored. Saving patches of habitat, creating contiguous zones so wildlife can move, and land stewardship seem to be ignored.

    One of the seminal papers on private ownership and land stewardship was by Garrett Hardin about the “Tragedy of the Commons.” Basically, people take better care of that which is theirs, rather than land kept in common for everyone’s use. It is also clear that the greatest damage to the environment in the U.S. is when industry and business get behind an idea. The market system does not have the power to expropriate land and water, whereas with a government partnership there is no limit to the damage that can be done. Also, last resort insurance backed by the government has led flood plains and barrier islands to be occupied, hurricanes and shifting sands notwithstanding.

  21. Jackson Howard says

    Let me try in “do the math” terms and rely only on very simple science (something everyone should do, scientific litteracy is important) :

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas. This has been know for a while (100yrs) and it’s old school absorbtion/emission spectrum physics. The bands can be computed from quantum physics, like for water and the microwave absorbtion. School case : venus vs mercury.
    Volcanism, solar output and orbital stuff have all been stable.
    If one is skeptic about models, well it’s really easy to test if temperatures are rising. How so ? Do a wilcoxon test using monthly temperature records. If there are more high temperature records broken than low temperature ones, well it means things are warming up. One can do that with an xls sheet and their national met office data.
    Look at glaciers ice lines. Glaciers are great because people have been taking pictures of them pretty much since the camera was invented. And surprise, since 1950 they retreated a lot.
    How do we know it comes from fossil fuels ? Simple : C12 to C13 ratio. Simple nuclear physics, which is a well tested science…

    Or one can ignore basic science and statistics and go for a socialist UN conspiracy. But then we are sitting at anti-vax/chemtrails/moon hoax levels of stupid.

    • dirk says

      The problem here, Jackson, is maybe that CO2 is invisible , so not like plastics and other rubbish. Everybody understands that you can’t just throw away and dump rubbish, unless it is recycled (like dung, paper and organic material), however, with CO2 and methane this is only so for people with a basic knowledge of chemistry and physics, still a minority, I fear.

      • Grant says

        For an invisible gas it sure gets blamed an any perceived negative environmental effect. Oh wait, the devil is invisible too.

    • Grant says

      Glaciers have been retreating since 1850 and one can find many alarming reports in the 1920’s about it. Everyone knows it’s warming, the question is how much will it in the future? This depends on feedback that we don’t know. But we do know that dire feedbacks are not evident as yet.
      If you look closely at the temperature record you will notice much of the warming has occurred due to warmer night time temps. A good deal of this ius due to urban heat sinks: buildings and pavement that retain daytime heating. If you examine only rural stations that have stated rural and well situated, you’ll find a much lower warming over the same period.

    • Lightning Rose says

      The fact that temperatures are “rising” (depending on how and where one measures) does NOT prove that humans did it or can undo it. A simple look at the historical climate record for the past 100,000 years shows conclusively that the climate changed many times, sometimes violently, in ages where we could not possibly had an influence. The mechanisms remain unexplained.

      • K. Dershem says

        LR, just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it “unexplained.” Actual scientists have a pretty good understanding of why carbon dioxide levels have risen and fallen at different times during Earth’s history.

    • Stephanie says

      Jackson, the “basic science” you discuss is tainted by the extremely small sample size you’re dealing with. What humans have measured and observed is an infinitesimal portion of Earth history. This leads people to be hugely biased in what we think is happening and why.

      Glaciers have been retreating for over 10 000 years. The Canadian prairies were under kilometers of ice in the not-so-distant past. How do you distinguish the melting that has been on-going for millenia from melting caused by humans? It’s not so clear.

      Record high temperatures are also poor indication of a long-term trend. We’ve only been collecting reliable data for a few decades, and temperature reconstructions show a saw-tooth pattern. If nothing were changing we would expect temperatures to rise for a time, then fall for a time: our narrow window of observation is not sufficient to project warming a hundred or a thousand years into the future. Even if we continued to emit CO2 at the rate we do now forever, there’s no reason to think that the temperature will continue to rise in tandem. The feedbacks involved are not well-understood, particularly when it comes to cloud cover.

      Scientific literacy isn’t taking a little bit of knowledge and applying it in support of an ideological presupposition. Good science requires understanding the full context of the question at hand (most importantly here, geological history), treating every claim with rigorous scepticism, and having enough humility to avoid bold predictions untethered to a record of success or honest accounting of uncertainties.

      Climate is extremely complex. Reducing it to a grade-school level absent context or discussion of uncertainties amounts to sloganeering, and serves little but to foster an anti-scientific attitude of Climate Science as the new Gospel.

      • K. Dershem says

        Climate IS extremely complex — and it’s arrogant to the point of insanity to suppose that you can understand it better than the thousands of scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying it. With a slight modification, you’ve provided a perfect description of denialists like yourself:

        “Scientific literacy isn’t taking a little bit of knowledge and applying it in support of an ideological presupposition. Good science requires understanding the full context of the question at hand (most importantly here, geological history), treating every claim with rigorous scepticism, and having enough humility to avoid bold predictions untethered to a record of success or honest accounting of uncertainties.

        Climate is extremely complex. Reducing it to a grade-school level absent context or discussion of uncertainties amounts to sloganeering, and serves little but to foster an anti-scientific attitude of Climate Denialism as the new Gospel.”

  22. Some good ideas here, but you do sort of gloss over the essential debate about climate change: are we facing a slow-moving catastrophe? You sort of dismiss that debate as analogous to “uncertain risks” that businesses commonly do their best to hedge against, but it’s of course a very difficult question for most businesses to decide how much they should put into a hedging against a given risk. Certainly, buying an insurance policy where the premiums are of equal or greater value than the company’s profit margins would be ill-advised.

    So, we must confront “the science” in order to determine the risk. And no, we do not know “what is happening”. We have a reliable global surface temperature record going back barely a few decades, and then we have random other data points from which we must extrapolate presumed global temperatures going for billions of years from there. We have barely begun to theorize about the causes of natural variability, and we don’t have “consensus” on even basic facts such as whether the background signal absent human activity would be positive or negative, and how much time we have until the next glacial period within the current ice age is due to begin. From a scientific standpoint, no we do not know “what is happening”.

    But I think you do get at a key point given the above, which is essentially, to the extent that we can identify climate actions that can be reliably said to have a net positive impact outside of climate considerations, then why not? That’s not just a cost-free hedge, it’s a profitable hedge. And there do seem to be a number of these measures. There are strategies that cut local air pollution. There are strategies that preserve forests and other wildlands for human enjoyment and biodiversity. There are strategies that lower the cost of energy. The obvious reason that something like the Green New Deal does appeal to so many is for exactly these reasons, they think that not only will we save the planet, but we’ll solve every other economic, social and environmental problem as well.

    Maybe so, maybe not, but they don’t allow us to have that honest debate by as you correctly point trotting out 10 year-olds to scold us about our moral failings. A reasonable approach to an uncertain long term risk would be to have a sophisticated and nuanced public debate about whether there are policies that might reduce that risk that would simultaneously enhance our lives. Bjorn Lomborg has been doing some of this analysis for many years, but for that he’s pilloried. But it’s the only answer with a realistic chance of adoption.

  23. augustine says

    The article was choppy for me, with too many incongruous sections. Why give that group of extremists in UK any visibility? I’d never heard of them previously.

    The writer seems to miss two key points. First, the amorality of business, which cares not which way political winds blow so long as markets are not hampered, which belies their ostensible role as any kind of heroes for the environment. They can and do have positive roles to play of course. This line highlights the second missed point:

    “Environmentalist solutions tend to focus on the “what must be done for the planet” but ignore “what must be done for people.” ”

    As the writer indicates, the new progressivism is about a radical politics aimed at power and not good faith solutions. My take from knowing some of these people, both old and young, is that deep down they hate their fellow man. They see swarms of unenlightened hordes all over the planet, destroying the environment and each other, since forever. Like Christians, they are sad about the Fall and expulsion from Eden (or some equivalent utopian state). Unlike Christians, their eschatology is ultimately fatal.

  24. Jackson Howard says

    As I see it the pros of “climate action” are that you can use it to advance lots of usefull conservative agendas while getting public support and you could get the left on board rather easily (IMO).

    First thing is security by cutting out external energy suppliers. Shales will last for a while, but not for very long since they have a fast depletion rate and rather low ERoEI. So secure the energy supply and give the finger to russia and the middle east seems like a no brainer to me.

    Health care costs from reducing coal. Seriously, we are speaking of billions per year saved here. Again, seems like a no brainer to me.

    Reclaiming nuclear power and high tech industry primacy. One could imagine a renewable+nuclear buildup with contracts awarded to US companies or allies instead of letting China take the lead. Pile on with carbon tariffs with the EU on board and you can force China to walk the walk instead of getting a free pass.

    The hard part is getting Big coal and Oil on board. But here again, those are slowly dying industries from easy coal/oil depletion and rising exploration/extraction costs (worsening ERoEI). One could loan them at zero percent against their reserves so long as those are not used (aka you keep emergency reserves for the future in the US) and help them become Big “green”. (That was Big green would be US companies and not Chinese companies).

    All of this is beneficial and has nothing to do with climate. Add in the fact that this will also prevent climate related costs to infrastructure (relocation and repairs) and it would seem like a good deal and a conservative one.

  25. Hmmm says

    Judith Curry has done some good work on how to think about rational policies in the short, medium, and long term, given the high level of uncertainty in predicting the effects of CO2. “Climate etc” is her site, judithcurry.com.

  26. The main thing missing about global warming is an honest discussion about the relationship of natural variation and the impact CO2 may or may not be having on the climate. The defenders of the AGW hypothesis would rather engage in hyperbole with multiple rounds of gloom, doom, death and destruction just over the horizon. They know they are unlikely to win the science argument, so they just try to scare the living crap out of people and their children. We are into the third round of their 10-year scare stories.

    Round 1: Jim Hanson (NASA) 1989: The West Side Highway in NYC will be under water in 20 to 30 years, and NYC will be rationing water. (paraphrased) I checked a NYDOT traffic cam last evening at West St and Canal; high and dry with no boat traffic. You’re busted Dr. Hanson!

    More Round 1: United Nations in Canberra Times, 1988: The Maldive Islands will be under water in 30 years. A quick check of Maldive beach cams looks like that’s a place I would rather be right now! Great beaches still there.

    Round 2: Jim Hanson (again). 2008: The Arctic Ocean will be ice free in 5 to 10 years. Satellite images of arctic sea ice from March 3, 2019 show ice coverage is about average. Busted again, Dr. Hanson.

    Round 3: UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said in 2017 only 4 years to save the earth. The US govt climate summary and AOC says we have 12 years till we all die. Someone here must be a climate DENIER!!! Will you still be a believer when all is rather normal in 12 years?

    The godparents of CAGW have been feeding us climate gloom and doom for 30 years, and none of it has come to fruition. It’s time to ship these people off to a piece of arctic ice where a polar bear resides, and let the rest of us have a scientific, adult discussion about climate change. And quit scaring the crap out of children. That’s disgusting!

    • K. Dershem says

      Thank goodness you came along and suggested that we consider natural climate variation. I’m sure scientists who have studied the topic for decades never factored that into their calculations!

      “Quit scaring the crap out of children. That’s disgusting!” You’re right again: we should be warning children about real threats, like child molesters pretending to be trannies so they can sneak into bathrooms.

      • Stephanie says

        K, more girls assaulted by opportunistic men in bathrooms than hurt by “climate change.”

        • K. Dershem says

          It must be liberating to make arguments that are completely unconstrained by evidence. Unfortunately, I’m an actual skeptic (not a denialist who falsely claims the mantle of skepticism), so I don’t have that option — I guess that puts me at a disadvantage.

      • Jay Salhi says

        @ K. Dershem

        “Thank goodness you came along and suggested that we consider natural climate variation. I’m sure scientists who have studied the topic for decades never factored that into their calculations!”

        The IPCC’s mandate is to study human caused climate change. One criticism of this is that is has resulted in too much research being focused on human activity and not enough investigation of possible natural causes. The scientists who question whether natural causes might play a larger role than the IPCC suggests are the same people you call “deniers”.

      • D-Rex says

        @K, ‘ I’m sure scientists who have studied the topic for decades never factored that into their calculations!’ No actually, they put a lot of effort into minimising natural climate variation so they could push their big climate boogyman.

        • K. Dershem says

          Back to the massive conspiracy theory argument, which is (at the end of the day) the foundation of all denialist claims. It’s absurd on its face, but don’t let that get in the way of your ideological distortions.

          • Jay Salhi says

            @K Dershem

            “Back to the massive conspiracy theory argument”

            Forget about this particular topic. Think about all the times the scientific consensus was wrong. Did it require a conspiracy to reach that consensus in the first place? Did medical doctors conspire to get the explanation of stomach ulcers wrong? Or were they merely honestly mistaken? Are you familiar with the scholarship on the tendency towards herding in academia?

            Have you read Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”? Are you familiar with paradigm shifts and the resistance proponents of a paradigm mount when the paradigm is challenged?

            Science is not done by consensus, as I’m sure you know. Challenging consensus is healthy not conspiratorial. Calling people deniers is unhealthy. Even if the “deniers” are wrong for the most part they might raise some legitimate criticisms and addressing those criticisms may improve the scholarship.

            One recent example of this, is the independent researcher Nic Lewis who is often called a “denier”. Nic found a material error in a peer-reviewed paper published by eight prominent climate scientists in the world’s leading science journal, the lead author is a professor at Princeton.

            “In a paper published Oct. 31 in the journal Nature, researchers found that ocean temperatures had warmed 60 percent more than outlined by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

            However, the conclusion came under scrutiny after mathematician Nic Lewis, a critic of the scientific consensus around human-induced warming, posted a critique of the paper on the blog of Judith Curry, another well-known critic.

            “The findings of the … paper were peer reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media,” Lewis wrote. “Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results.”

            Co-author Ralph Keeling, climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, took full blame and thanked Lewis for alerting him to the mistake.”

            https://phys.org/news/2018-11-climate-contrarian-uncovers-scientific-error.html

  27. prince says

    Those who have been following the climate wars closely already knows that the foundation of the apocalyptic claims – the Climate Science – should be treated the same way we treat the grievance studies.

    What seemed to be an area of hard physics science has been invaded by activists with a political agenda who cherry pick, bend, and falsify to advance their noble cause.

    The real consensus around climate science is very narrow: CO2 is causing warming and the planets has been warming over the last 250 years since the end of the little ice age.

    Very little consensus beyond that:

    How much is the real warming?
    There is no consensus as the sensors data are being heavily manipulated (“homogenized”)

    How much is the warming due to CO2?
    This can’t be measured. There are a lot of opinions but no data. Opinions are not science.

    What is the adverse impact of the warming?
    Even the IPCC is saying that so far the warming has been beneficial as the planet is greening, growth seasons are elongated and food production is going up.

    What about all those climate disasters of hurricanes, floods, wild fires etc?
    The IPCC is saying there is no intensification measured and there is no correlation found between warming and weather/climate disasters. Data shows that the world is getting much safer and resilient to weather events.

    What about the dreaded acceleration in warming, sea level rise, disasters in the coming decades?
    All of these are predicted by computers models that have so far shown the predictive power of a crystal ball at the county fair. They have no scientific validity and are only useful for advancing a political agenda.
    The actual data shows no hint of a change in trajectory.

    Shouldn’t we act today just as a safety measure to protect the future generations?
    Many of the actions today have massive negative impacts. Higher energy prices, diversion of resources from public health, education and infrastructure investment into inefficient green projects. And the real devastation is in the developing countries that can’t get funding to create the energy infrastructure that will lift the out of poverty.

    “We have to harm the people to save the plant” is the green version of “we have to burn the village to save it”.

    • Obscure Canuck says

      I realize Quillette comments have a URL limit but I’m wondering if you can provide sources.
      “The real consensus … is …”
      “Even the IPCC is saying…”
      “The actual data shows…”

      I have no idea if these are just “a lot of opinions” or not. 😉
      Thanks.

      • K. Dershem says

        Here’s the short answer: every claim that “prince” made is factually incorrect. It’s obviously possible to find denialist websites that appear to support his statements, but actual scientists have repeatedly refuted every one. Once again:

        https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

      • Jay Salhi says

        Climate is a complicated topic. There is no one source that can provide all the answers to your questions.

        The IPCC’s AR5 attribution statement from 2013 is:

        “It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”

        Extremely likely is defined as 95% or higher.
        Other anthropogenic forcings means things like land use and aerosols.

        Observations:

        (i) The IPPC’s mandate is to study human caused global warming. It does not focus on natural causes.

        (ii) There is no consensus as to the causes of warming in the first half of the 20th century which are roughly equal to the warming in the second half of the 20th century.

        (iii) The mainstream press will give you the impression that hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornados etc. are all on the rise and all caused by CO2 emissions. There is no consensus on this.

        (iv) Doomsday predictions about the future are hypothesis, not settled science.

        (v) The IPCC does not tell us what percentage of the human caused global warming is caused by CO2 and what percentage is caused by other human activity like land use.

  28. Barney Doran says

    With these SJWs (eco fanatics are just one branch), it is always the usual suspects: above all capitalism (like pride, the source of all sins) and it all its inevitable derivatives of wealth, prosperity, oil, coal, Western Civilization, colonialism, white people who are not ‘allies’, and bad hair. They are utopians of the lowest variety – intent on making all people equally miserable in order to better control them by obliterating the concepts of merit, self regard, and success. It’s just communism in a pretty, new, red dress. Red, as always, for blood…of their opponents.

  29. dirk says

    I wonder, last year a German scientific monitoring program found that the amount/mass of insects now is just only 25% of what it was 50 yrs ago. I never heard of insect denials, though, would quite be possible,people reporting insect bites at night not much less than in their youth. But no, no denials in this field. So, with that climate, there must be something different playing. But what??

    • Obscure Canuck says

      To be fair the politicians aren’t making a big deal about there not being enough insects around, nor would they. It wouldn’t be a particularly popular position, regardless of their ecological importance. But if they did, the other side (I feel pretty confident guessing which side that would be unfortunately…) would be eager to ignore the modern absence of insects covering windshields.

    • Cornfed says

      Okay, here’s a denial. This is based on just a couple of studies, both with serious methodological concerns. I have no doubt that there are fewer insects in the world, since there is less of just about everything. But some very sweeping, alarming conclusions were drawn from some pretty scant evidence.

      • dirk says

        Thanks for that one, Cornfed, and of course there were a scanty few more, but nothing much compared with all that fuzz and political doldrum of the climate thing of course. Logically, has more economic and social impacts, and most insects are a nuisance (though, not for insect eating birds, about 50% (?) of the species).

        • Obscure Canuck says

          “But some very sweeping, alarming conclusions were drawn from some pretty scant evidence.”

          Yes, many of the news articles about it said that based on the study’s conclusions, insects as a whole would be extinct in 100 years. That’s crazy. Cockroaches are insects… I think there would more likely be a gradual but getting steeper decline in species before levelling out at something lower.

          “most insects are a nuisance”

          I think it’s more likely that most of the insects you can think of are a nuisance. Yes there are a wide variety of insect pests, but often insects are also among the major predators of those pests (ladybugs, mantids, dragonflies, etc.). Insects also have major ecological functions pretty much everywhere (except the oceans and poles maybe) because they’re near the bottom of the food chain. Everything eats them; fish, birds, bats, small mammals…
          Apparently 96% of North American terrestrial bird species eat primarily insects, and I’d guess that’s similar all over the world (considering the crazy diversity of Passerines, which are mostly insect-eaters), but I’d like to find a better source (https://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bwdsite/bestofbwd2016/birds-eat-dont-really-know.php).

          • dirk says

            And a lot of vegetables and fruits need insects for their blossoms to be fertilized. The Chinese, using much more and uncontrolled insecticides than we do, use already human beings as fruittree fertilizers (as done in vanilla in Madagascar, where the insects that do it in their home land Mexico fail). However, what I expect here, that Monsanto or other giant is going to produce insecticide resistent special GM bees and bumbles to do the job in future. No more naughty insects, only the useful ones remaining. Bad for the birds and the bats maybe, yes.

          • Cornfed says

            I’m a pretty fair entomologist, and most insects I can think of are not the nuisance types. But I’m familiar with those too! Where habitat is intact, the numbers and diversity, broadly speaking, are usually good. As I said there is no question that insects, like almost all wildlife, are declining, but this corresponds well to habitat loss. Relating this to climate change (what else!?) seems like a stretch. I also am not worried about pollinators for food production, since this is almost entirely performed by domesticated honeybees, which are simply agricultural livestock whose challenges seem surmountable.

  30. Anj says

    “The five internationally accepted temperature records – three surface and two satellite – show that the world has not experienced any significant warning over the last 18 years. At the same time atmospheric carbon dioxide increased by 10%.
    111 of the IPCCs 114 climate model runs failed to predict this lack of warming. In most branches of science, when the theoretical predictions do not line up with the observations, the hypothesis is abandoned. In climate science, the observations are discounted or ignored.”
    -Climate realists NZ org

    Try ‘selling’ the truth first, the rest will follow…

  31. E. Olson says

    Very interesting comments, from which I make the following general observation.

    The Climate Skeptics very frequently have nicely organized rebuttals to the climate “science” predictions and the alarmist “solutions”, which include references to specific studies, scientists, or data that support their points.

    In contrast, the Climate Alarmists almost never have anything besides some vague references to the “debate is over” and childish dismissals of the skeptic arguments with no fact or reason behind them. At least no alarmist has attempted to bring up the 97% consensus argument so far.

    • K. Dershem says

      I’ve provided a link to a science-based site that responds to 197 different denialist claims. I think that qualifies as more than a “vague reference” or a “childish dismissal,” but YMMV. Virtually every claim made by the denialists (like I said above, “skeptic” is a misnomer) is demonstrably false.

      • rickoxo says

        AGW folks have a predicament. If climate is simple and easy to understand so we know what’s going to happen 100 years in the future, then there shouldn’t be so many predictions that don’t pan out and problems with the global warming story (temperatures not rising as much as you thought or not so many hurricanes, etc.) It makes you look bad.

        If you admit that the climate is pretty complicated and you can’t predict everything perfectly, it gets a bit harder to say you know for 100% what’s gonna happen in 50 or 100 years and everyone who disagrees with you should be considered a denier.

        I’m fine with whichever side you pick, but I’m not a big fan of the back and forth whenever it suits you. Land temps didn’t rise the last bunch of years, oh yeah, it went into the oceans, we forgot to mention that. Either claim that you can predict medium scale details (temperature patterns for 20 years, frequency of extreme weather events, etc.), make your predictions and put your theory to the test, or stop talking about climate change having anything to do with anything in the current weather and tell the media, politicians and actors to shut up as well.

        And if you can’t predict things like land based temperatures for a fairly large period of time, or extreme weather patterns, then maybe you might want to rethink the whole, “every claim made by denialists is demonstrably false.”

        The main claim I know denialists make is that AGW folks keep talking out both sides of their mouths and change their story whenever it suits them. Personally, I’d love to see the predictions. The ultimate test of science is that it can make reliable predictions. Instead of sending us to skeptical science every time you speak, send us to the site where all the predictions made by the settled science can be found, with details and dates, so we can see that you all really are right on and the deniers are full of it.

        I would love to see that site …

      • E. Olson says

        K – I wrote my comment before you started providing your one link written by true believers in AGW. Proof is in the pudding – none of the models have predicted the lull in temperature increases over the past 20 years, while there is a great deal of evidence that temperature records have been manipulated to cool the warming of the 1930s and bump up the warming of the past 20 years to get rid of the lull. Real scientists wouldn’t be doing sneaky stuff like that, and would be seriously questioning a theory/model that consistently over-predicts temperature warming. But even if you believe all this stuff, we are never going to fix it because doing so will require going back to the stone age.

        • K. Dershem says

          You can criticize the link I provided with an ad hominem attack, but at least I’ve provided a link. Every claim you’ve made is demonstrably false — you’re misrepresenting the so-called “Climategate” scandal (which is explained on the skepticalscience site) and making an absurd claim that preventing catastrophic warming will require an abandonment of modern technology. A tiny contingent of “primitivists” urge that approach, but all serious climate activists believe that technology will play an essential role in addressing the problem. Your entire argument consists of false claims and straw men; this is exactly why it’s pointless trying to debate denialists. And yet, I keep getting drawn in …

          • E. Olson says

            K – I probably provide more links to more varied sources than any commenter on this site, but if my sources and assertions are wrong, please educate me on what specifically is wrong with my comments. I really want to learn via a demonstration of your superior knowledge on climate science, temperature records, the cost and environmental impact of renewables, nuclear, oil and gas, electric cars, why coastal real estate prices don’t respond to imminent predictions of flooding, and how Climategate wasn’t a concerted effort to subvert the peer review process in climate journals to prevent any skeptic research from being published. Please don’t just send me a link to the same site that you use to refute every comment on this thread that you don’t like – I’ve seen all the arguments and they don’t line up with reality.

            For example, the “experts” pretty much agree we need to eliminate 80% of human sourced greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the 2 degree temperature increase that they say will destroy earth as we know it, and we need to do it like yesterday (or within the next 10 years). Please give us your plan on how this will be done with today’s technology without requiring severe austerity in the West and a reversion to poverty in the developing world, and without dismantling Democracy and Capitalism, and without bankrupting industry and governments. Or if you propose the dismantling of most economic and political freedoms in order to save the planet, please tell us how you plan to do this – military coup, mass brainwashing, or extermination camps for global warming skeptics?

  32. Nicolas says

    The fact that Quillette, a supposedly science- and evidence-based magazine, attracts such comment feeds gives you pause. Well done, Mrs. Lehman.

    @ E. Olson Look up what fallacy means and tell me if the first sentence makes a valid claim. It doesn’t.

    • E. Olson says

      Nicolas – whose first sentence am I supposed to examine for fallacy? If you wish to dazzle us with your witty critique you might make more effort to clearly communicate your requests.

  33. Peter says

    Very good article and a nice change for Quillette. It is interesting to read in the comments »conservatives« supporting government subsides for nuclear power . Is it not hypocritical for believers in the free markets ? The last nuclear power plant was built in UK only because the government guaranteed paying for its electricity double the market price for the next 30 years. Nobody in the AGW denial religion seems to mind this blatant distortion of markets and the really intrusive government intervention.

    And all these science experts in the comments as well as in the US congress… Wait, there was only a handful of scientists in the US congress and now seven more from STEM are joining – mostly Democrats. What about the Chinese politburo? I heard it is a completely different story.

    • E. Olson says

      Peter – I don’t think anyone who has brought up Nukes has expressed support for subsidies. I certainly don’t support subsidies, but their removal from the energy business would mean the immediate collapse of the renewable sectors because they receive by far the largest subsidies on a per KWh basis. On the other hand, carbon fuels receive the smallest subsidies, and are net tax payers and a major source of government revenues, while renewables have yet to pay a penny in taxes. I would also be happy to have electric car subsidies scrapped, as I think it is obscene that taxpayers are helping the richest people in the country buy a new car.

      • Peter says

        I am also against subsidies for electric cars. But the last issue of Consumer Reports says: Honda Accord 32 mpg, hybrid version: 47 mpg, for 4350 $ more. If you drive a lot, you do not need subsidies for the decision.

        • E. Olson says

          Peter – you raise a very good point, and the average driver would need about 15 years to get back the extra $4350 from fuel savings. It is unfavorable math like this that usually means hybrids and electrics have very small market share, which is why governments keep mandating higher fuel economy standards for automakers so that everyone is forced to buy a car that makes economic sense for only a few.

          • D-Rex says

            Hey E, I’m pretty sure the car’s batteries will need to be replaced before that 15 years is up. I don’t know how much they cost but my solar system batteries set me back $8,000 and they weren’t the high tech Lithium ion types. And remember, if one battery dies prematurely, you have to replace the whole lot.
            Keep up the good work E, it’s easier for me to read top comments than to try and write my own (as if that wasn’t obvious).

  34. Cornfed says

    “But, whatever the cause, the environmental movement has forgotten how to build a consensus, and why that ought to be an important campaign aim.”

    I don’t actually think they ever knew how. The movement started out with very reasonable goals, to solve problems that were obvious to everyone. Litter, clean water and air, conserving wild areas and endangered species. Not much convincing was needed. But the results were spectacularly successful and then, as with all movements, they couldn’t just put a fork in it and go back to living their lives. They moved on to more nebulous “problems” such as GMOs, endocrine disruptors, acid rain, ozone layer, nuclear power, global warming. These issues range from real but exaggerated, to debatable, to outright ridiculous. Meanwhile, leftist activism has come to dominate the environmental movement even more than the environment itself. That’s no exaggeration. Consider how often “justice” “equality” are cited as the reason to solve some or other environmental issues. As well, the entire concept of free enterprise and profit has become illegitimate; environmental issues are routinely leveraged to achieve leftist goals. Is it any wonder they can’t build a consensus? I realize the author agrees with much of this, but apparently he sees something worth salvaging, while I tend to think the enviro movement is beyond redemption. I applaud his efforts, however — if he was a typical environmentalist, I would probably be one myself.

    • E. Olson says

      Cornfed – great comment. Once you have an EPA and NGOs (Green Peace, Sierra, Union of Concerned Scientists, etc.) with legions of paid scientists, environmental lawyers, administrators, and fund raisers whose entire livelihood and status is built on solving environmental “problems”, actually solving them creates a problem. Are they just going to pat themselves on the back and declare victory for eliminating smog in LA, saving the whales, cleaning up the Great Lakes and Mississippi, and introducing mass-scale recycling, or are they going to find ever more obscure and/or unsolvable environmental problems to fixate on? Government agencies never commit suicide, so of course they will keep going, and the NGOs seem very happy to go along for the ride.

  35. Nakatomi Plaza says

    This is so perfect for Quillette. You’ve got an army of billionaires and massive, multinational corporations with the power of entire governments and their militaries. You’ve got a massive misinformation campaign that is almost never questioned by our docile media. You’ve got presidents, up to and including the current half-wit in charge, who are little more than lobbyists for Big Oil. The forces lined up against meaningful action on climate change have every possible advantage, and anybody who asks Americans to give up drinking straws or take the bus is treated worse than a child-molesting serial-killer.

    But Quillette blames a little subset of the left for everything. Nice work, guys.

    • E. Olson says

      NP – you do very well to comment since I assume your Internet connection must be powered by a horse or mule. Given that the “experts” say the globe needs to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in order to avoid melting the planet, that means the average American would need to have the carbon-footprint of a 1870s American, when everything was horse powered, and fire was high technology. It also means the developing world will need to stay as poor as the currently are or slightly reverse. How likely do you think that is going to happen?

  36. Pingback: The Environment Is too Important to Leave to Environmentalists – Kshiroda

  37. Cynical Old Biologist says

    The environmentalist message failed in the 1970s when we still within sustainable limits and could have done something meaningful by halting human population growth, restricting consumerism and moving to renewable energy sources. Now we are dealing with a much larger population still growing rapidly, wanting to eat and, more than that, enjoy western-style “wealth”. Now there is so much growth momentum in the system that a “crash” of some sort is unavoidable (and that includes human population sizes). But this is the truth that cannot be named since we, as wealthier individuals, want to continue to live the illusion that our current lifestyle will continue uninterrupted. And the poorer people in the wider world want to believe that continued growth is possible so that their lives can become less difficult.

    If you include the natural world in your economic calculations then our existence on planet Earth has always been a zero-sum game. More people = less Nature (but oops, when the Nature is gone we discover we were part of it and dependent upon the rest of it).

    And Mallen, as a biologist and likely older than you, and with many biologist colleagues, let me tell you that the thing that scares us shitless more than any other is the decline in insect populations that we can see with our own eyes and with the memories from our long lives. Insects were supposed to be resilient and rapidly adaptable. As humans screwed over the environment they were meant to overwhelm us, not fade out. And if insect populations are in trouble, what does that mean for the future of the human population ?….

    There are too few humans in the world who are capable of objective, rational through on environmental issues to make a difference to the behaviour of the human population on the whole. We need to face the fact that we are, in aggregate, an irrational species. Like any other irrational species we will breed and consume and grow ourselves into catastrophe once the resources, on which the growth was based, dwindle.

    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2015/04/programmed-to-ignore/

    In the meantime “sustainability consultants” will continue to make a living flogging feel good messages to the corporate world and the general public for a few more years.

  38. dirk says

    Question to our American friends? What about that austere lifestyle? In the NLs quite a common and trendy issue, with a lot of especially millennials becoming veggies or having less meat and luxury food. I don’t think it would help more than just a trifle, (and is not more than kind of escaping guilt by doing at least something and showing off). Besides, nowhere else in the world (USA? China ?) I can sense much sympathy for the idea.

    • K. Dershem says

      Austerity is a non-starter; except for a tiny minority of deeply committed environmentalists, Americans will never abandon our consumerist lifestyle. For this reason — and because most pollution is generated by governments, corporations, etc. — individual behavioral changes are important but far from sufficient. Structural reform is necessary to adequately address the climate crisis, e.g. a carbon tax that would internalize the currently externalized costs of carbon pollution. Many climate denialists are libertarians who oppose government intervention in the economy, which helps explain why they’re motivated to reject climate science. Fossil fuel companies originated and continue to promote many of the denialist myths, following the same playbook that tobacco companies to “manufacture doubt” and obstruct action. They have an obvious financial incentive to oppose structural change, and make slightly higher profits than the climate scientists who are supposedly part of a global climate conspiracy. With the exception of the GOP, every major political party in the world accepts the reality of AGW and is committed (in theory, if not always in practice) to addressing the problem. This includes the Chinese Communist Party, which is aggressively promoting renewable energy.

      • rickoxo says

        Tobacco is a great example of huge companies falsifying research in order to protect a dangerous product they were marketing. But things have changed since the 60’s and 70’s and now finding something catastrophically wrong is the best way to get published, get funding and get on tv.

        According to scientists, we’re all gonna die from eating too much cholesterol or fat or meat or whatever the latest anti-food trend is, violent video games kill people, cell phones lead to cancer or teen suicide, etc.

        All of these are examples of the way research has been co-opted by the grievance culture such that false science gets published (and repeated endlessly in the media echo chamber) regularly warning us to beware of non-issues, or, they take an issue that is legitimate but nowhere nearly that critical and blow it way out of proportion.

        But somehow in the midst of all this, all you can see are the ways that climate deniers are bought and paid for by big industry or they’re willfully blinded by their political beliefs, but never mention once the financial or political incentives of those who support AGW. Are you really trying to argue that there are no political, career or financial advantages to writing about the catastrophic implications of climate change right now?

        Anyone with the tiniest actual scientific and research orientation would be scared as hell about what’s happening in climate science right now. There is clearly so much incentive to find more of the same result, funding to find more of the same result, incentive to come up with increasingly drastic predictions, it makes it incredibly hard to separate out the real science from the crap.

        That 97% of scientists agree the planet has warmed over the last 150 years and that humans are part of the cause of it is a nothing burger. That is a non-issue not worth anyone’s time. Anyone can say, ok, so what?

        There is absolutely no settled science about how much more the planet is going to warm in the next 100 years, what will happen to the global climate and ecology because of that change and what the error bars are for that prediction. This is the issue that is critical and the science here is in its infancy.

    • E. Olson says

      A few clues on whether those Dutch millennial vegans are truly serious. Have they stopped flying to Spain or Australia or the Florida for holidays? Are they buying organic/Fair-Trade non-seasonal food flown in from Africa, S. America, or Australia? Are they against importing any more 3rd world immigrants who will live a much more carbon-intensive life in the Netherlands than their home country? Are they living in small apartments and not owning/driving a car by choice or simply because they can’t afford it?

      • dirk says

        You are so right here, Olson, but in my grandfatherly role these days (being so old), I can’t feel any hostility anymore for the each and everything overruling hypocrysie I see around me, especialy among those young and attractive and sexy girls in their outfits, attitude, behaviour and expressions, why should I spoil the fun? They believe in things, and have confidence, that’s also something.
        However, in my youth, I would have reacted fiercely against!! Hypocrysie, then, I felt as the worst sin to commit, that’s history, not anymore now!

  39. William E. Kimberly, Sr. says

    Zoom out and consider why things have become so polarized:
    Imagine a possibly serious & previously unseen problem appears on the horizon:
    1) Liberals will be the first to accept it as a genuine problem.
    2) Conservatives will take more time.
    That is almost a definition of Liberal and Conservative.

    The speed of today’s world, with the short time horizons we have become accustomed to, may help explain how conflictive our times have become:
    1) Today, before even flexible conservatives have grasped the need for attention to a problem, many liberals have defined them as part of the problem.
    2) This drives a wedge between the two groups, and makes getting the cooperation often required more difficult.
    Given conservatives simply aren’t going to jump on most problems, it is incumbent on the liberals to stretch their time horizons, if they wish to avoid alienating those whose help will be needed.

  40. mishka says

    This is a truly brilliant article. I am a student of a bachelor of Sustainability… yes, a lot of the content and lecturing is very left and disappointingly doesn’t often offer a realistic and critical approach to sustainable solutions.
    Since I have decided to strive for critical analysis and be a better researcher as a student, I often feel isolated in my thinking as a young person in a very left community. Young people are yearning to be heard on both political poles, and it feels sometimes like there is no room for a critical approach to sustainable solutions… the extinction rebellion group is also just another way in which the “sibling society” is expanding and demanding they be heard (Robert Bly was talking about this in a mythic perspective in 1996- worth reading this book)

    • E. Olson says

      mishka – it is great that you are observant and skeptical of the Leftist perspective that permeates the sustainability/climate change fields. I must warn you, however, that if you publicly question the Leftist orthodoxy of the field you will face difficulties in getting your course work fairly graded, and you will certainly never gain employment in your field. Even the sustainability departments of oil companies are likely to be very hostile to any skepticism about sustainability logic and math. And if you manage to keep your skepticism buried deep within, you will almost certainly become frustrated by the lack of logic and objectivity of your colleagues.

      • mishka says

        Thank you for the sound advice, it’s great to talk to people on here like you.. at a bit of a cross roads i guess with my education, views and career hahah

  41. Rick Phillips says

    I would refer readers to previous articles such as “The Right Needs To Grow Up On Environmentalism” and other Quillette pieces for a more comprehensive consideration of the merits of the current climate change narrative in their respective comment sections …. I note some propensity for comment fatigue.

    I could not help but notice the many referrals in this comment chain to the Skeptical Science site. I have visited often and come away somewhat unsatisfied. The site takes a somewhat “settled science” approach. It does attempt to message at a basic, intermediate and advanced level. At the simple level the site simply provides talking points for believers. The advanced level is more enlightening but unsatisfying. For example, in answer to the question “Are surface temperature records reliable?”, the rationale for adjusting observed temperature data is addressed. The temperature records used are “reconstructions”. The site goes on to explain that “There are three prominent reconstructions of monthly global mean surface temperature” where “reconstruction” is defined as “the use of climate indicators to help determine (generally past) climates”. They go on: “we can conclude that the three global temperature analyses are reasonable, and the true surface temperature trend is unlikely to be substantially different from the picture drawn by NASA, CRU, and NOAA.” They then go on to assert that the reconstructions are valid because 1) the data and software used to produce these reconstruction are publicly available 2) the software has been successfully tested outside of NASA and CRU and it works as advertised 3) similar results can be obtained using different software and methods.

    My take away is that the “reconstructed” temperature record is generated using models. They go on to assert that “the results are generally quite close to the “official” results from NASA, GISS, CRU, and NOAA, NCDC. This seems to me to be an assertion of validation through consistency (which is certainly one aspect of proof) rather than an assertion of predictive value (as in… the model reproduces the observed temperature record over the past century in the US…. which would be another type of proof).

    This would explain why the “reconstructed” temperature record differs from actual temperature measurements, which appears to be one of the main issues climate skeptics like Heller focus on. For Heller, and a significant number of other skeptics, the modelers do not seem to have explained in a clear and convincing way; why the reconstructed temperature record differs from actual observations. They also point to an inability to explain significant early 20th century warming; followed by post-WWII cooling that was so significant that many reputable climate scientists were predicting the on-set of a new ice age. Skeptics also point to somewhat dubious treatment of data in climate messaging. The selection of particular base periods that enhance the perception of warming or the avoidance of periods of warming or cooling that are not consistent with general predictions of warming together with many of the failed predictions alluded to in other comments. These are typically the types of challenges that modelers must address with more than simple assertions of authority based on status; or face a Kuhnian outcome.

    Modelling is indeed complex…. I am more familiar with modelling of economies but it is very difficult to predict the next recession with great confidence; especially the when and magnitude; let alone catastrophic events like a stock market collapse. A little humility is perhaps called for.

    The point is that the evidence suggests the models are as one would expect…. complex and interesting…. but not yet comprehensive… and of somewhat less predictive value than advertised.

    This gets us into policy making. If CO2 caused catastrophes await then I still do not understand why we would be debating whether nuclear is part of the solution as opposed to taking action to build nuclear capacity as fast as possible (along with renewables and other measures) and damn the expense (although I have some sympathy with the argument that costs are enhanced by “fail proof” regulation and a lack of consensus on how to dispose of waste… issues that are treated somewhat more leniently in the context of renewables). Forgive me; but the fact policy makers are not moving in this direction suggests that policy makers discount the current narrative about predicted catastrophic climate outcomes. Perhaps they have read Nordhaus and are simply cautious about committing resources at levels that dwarf current budgets and propose major societal restructuring; when the absolute certainty that would justify such change is in such short supply. I empathize with their dilemma.

    • Jay Salhi says

      @Rick Phillips

      Excellent post. Thank you.

      You might find this site interesting, the guy seems to specialize in data homogenization. As far as I can tell, he strongly believes the technique is valid yet is somewhat critical of the way it is being used in practice, at least in certain instances.

      variable-variability.blogspot.com

    • E. Olson says

      Good post Rick – thanks. The entire homogenization process is fraught with subjective judgments of “scientists” who are rewarded to find warming which should be very concerning for policy makers. Yet with so much of the temperature record “adjusted” or “tweeked” it seems to me it make it impossible to discern how much of the temperature changes are from “natural variation in climate” versus “man-made emission influence on climate” versus “homogenization influence on climate”.

  42. Lightning Rose says

    A question for the CAGW true believers here:

    You claim belief that all life on earth is in imminent danger from human emission of CO2. What steps are you, personally, taking to mitigate this? Please do tell the ways in which you have altered your personal consumption patterns, travel plans, and career path to reflect this belief.
    I’m talking about concrete changes to your own lifestyle, not verbal arguments, where you are (pardon the pun) “modelling” what you feel is the “proper” behavior we should all adopt. I’ll be very interested to see the answers. You ARE leading by example, yes?

    • George Kamburoff says

      Thanks for asking. Being a former engineer for a large power company and having earned a Master of Science in Energy and the Environment, I had PV panels installed three years ago, with my estimated payback of 15-17 years, . . the right thing for an eco-freak to do.

      Before they could be installed, we acquired a VW e-Golf electric car. The savings in gasoline alone took the solar system payback down to 3 1/2 years. So, we added another electric car, and that took the payback down to less than three years, which means we now get free power for household and transportation.

      But that is not all: We do not need to go to gas stations, we fuel up at home at night with cheap baseload power. During the daytime, the PV system turns our meter backwards powering the neighborhood with clean local power, which we trade for the stuff used the night before. If we paid for transportation fuel, the VW would cost us 3 cents/mile to drive, and the Tesla Model S P 85 would cost 4 cents/mile at California power prices.

      No oil changes are a real treat along with no leaks. And since it has an electric motor, it needs NO ENGINE MAINTENANCE at all. We do not go “gas up”, or get tune-ups or emissions checks, have no transmission about which to worry, no complicated machined parts needing care.

      The future is here now, with CLEAN POWER and a clean lifestyle. Why are you still in the 20th Century?

    • George Kamburoff says

      Come back, . . I am not finished. We also have cheap grid power thanks to clean renewables which are now the cheapest power available to power companies.

      Recent bids to provide power to Colorado utilities had wind plus battery storage at 2.1 cents/kWh, and PV plus battery storage at 3.6 cents/kWh. By comparison, the new Vogtle nuclear powerplants in Georgia will cost us over 15 cents/kWh.

      Whose power do YOU want to buy?

      • Lightning Rose says

        And all this showboat conscience clearing cost you WHAT, exactly? And how much would that have been without subsidies from taxpayers, many of whom make far less than you?

        My electric bill averages $70 a month. The cost of switching to solar, even with subsidies, would be close to $70,000.00. I’d have to live far beyond a human lifespan to see a return on that investment, not counting routine maintenance and eventual replacement. I work from home and drive minimally and locally, in a 13-year old sub-compact car. I fill it up for $25.00 once a month. If I swap it out for a Prius ($30,000.00) I can plug in at night, wanna bet that would run the electric bill up more than $25.00? Add 5 years of car payments.

        Now the oil bill for winter heat–man, I’d LOVE to blow that off! Anybody out there like to give me a subsidy for geothermal? No? Crickets? Well, that’s why I also have a large wood stove.

        Simply put, the numbers need to make sense for mass adoption of any of these technologies. And right now they don’t, and doing so is nowhere on the horizon.

        BTW, how many airplane rides have you taken in your life? Me: Zero. And I don’t even believe in CAGW. If we’re gonna play the competitive carbon footprint contest . . . 😉

      • Jay Salhi says

        How do your EV’s perform in the winter?

        Colorado gets more than half of its electricity from coal. Crude oil production has quadrupled since 2010. Colorado is the 5th largest natural gas producing state in the US. Despite your legislature’s attempt to muck things up, Colorado is a fossil fuel state.

  43. George Kamburoff says

    I am am former Senior Engineer for P G & E with a Master of Science in Energy and the Environment, who has watched as ignorant folk like this author spread their ignorance to their fellows with as little science as they.

    The cleanest power available now to power companies is wind plus battery storage. My own household and TWO electric cars are powered by the solar system on my roof.

    • Jay Salhi says

      @George

      “The cleanest power available now to power companies is wind plus battery storage.”

      Then perhaps you can explain why your state gets more than 79% its electricity from fossil fuels?

      • Jay Salhi says

        Also, given that the projects you have in mind have not yet been built, how do you know the power will be cheap? Because Xcel said so when applying for project approval? Would they be so enthusiastic without the 30% tax credit or the other subsidies?

        The experience of Germany, Denmark, South Australia and Minnesota suggests power in Colorado is going to get more expensive, George. But you probably don’t care since you are one of the people feeding at the subsidy trough at the expense of your less affluent fellow citizens.

  44. TheSnark says

    Whether you agree with some or any or all of their diagnoses or not, environmentalism these days is in many ways become a religious phenomenon. It’s adherents have mostly rejected traditional religions, but instead have built their own, which is very similar to early Christianity. Like the early Christians, their basic premise is that we must give up all our earthly goods to find salvation. They have their stylites, who climb to the top of redwoods instead of the top of pillars. They have their wealthy and fashionable adherents, who make pilgimages to them and then go home to resume their regular “sinful” life-styles, all the while professing how enlightened they have become. They have their revealed truths, such as the inherent evil of GMOs/nuclear power/capitalism, that are beyond questioning. And many are real fanatics.

    If you look at it this way, it it is easy to see how this repels not just many who believe in traditional religion, but also those who are trying to get on with their lives. Worse, their fanaticism helps justify the backlash of those who simply deny there are any environmental problems at all.

    • George Kamburoff says

      We have to give up nothing but pollution.

      Read my posts above.

  45. Chuck Berger says

    The author generalises unfairly about “environmentalists”, which is a very broad group of people, including lots in big business and plenty more who are happy to work with big business. I worked for 10 years in one of the largest environment groups in Australia (ACF), and during that time some of our most important work was with major businesses around climate change – working to build common ground, and culminating in many joint statements and joint pieces of policy development. Persuasion and cooperation with core to our work.

    I fear that what happened in the 1990s, and accelerating into the 2000s, was not that “environmentalists” abandoned the “right” side of politics, but rather the reverse. When conservative politicians (lookin’ at you, Tony Abbott), decided there was political gain to be had in trashing environmentalism, and when they decided we didn’t have any environmental problems at all, there was little hope of finding much common ground.

    An important strand of environmentalism has its roots in conservatism from the 1950s and 60s. It’s hard to see even a shadow of that concern in today’s right-wing parties.

    • George says

      Environmentalism is the extreme manifestation of the green movement just as Jihadis are the extreme manifestation of Islam. Unfortunately, thanks to social media and the media in general, we live in an age where the sh*t floats to the top so movements become defined by their extremists.
      The Irony of all this is if these Green Jihadis manage to succeed in sinking the global economy as appears to be their aim the damage to the environment will be orders of magnitude greater than we see today. To save the ship the first thing governments will toss overboard is hard won regulation. Starving people will be the greater need.

  46. George says

    As far as I can see the Green Movement has evolved into a raucous mob the members of whom compete to see who can yell “FIRE” in a crowded cinema the loudest. If they really wish to be effective they should read the story of the ‘boy who cried wolf’.
    Of course at the pointy end it’s just another doomsday cult that uses fear to rally the mob. Personally I think a rational approach to environmental problems is the way o go.

  47. RBW152 says

    “We know enough to understand that we should be taking serious action.”

    Do we? As this article indicates (and the comments section), the whole subject has become politiczed to such an extreme it’s difficult to know exactly what is going on.

    There are some quite clear indicators though, from which certain conclusions can indeed be drawn – and I’m afraid the above statement is not one of them:

    1) Where is the evidence for ‘serious action’? Even the IPPC concludes that it is only ‘ilkely’ that humans are causing most of the change in climate. Granted, they put this likelihood at a very high level but still, they don’t know for certain.So again, where is the evidence? Since all of the dire predictions we’re continually assailed with are based on computer models (yes, all of them) that doesn’t form empirical evidence does it? Yes, I know the climate is changing. I’m old enough to have seen that over the years. But are we the cause? The truth is, we just do not know for certain and certainly not enough to spend trillions of dollars on remedial measures, most of which are demonstrably futile.
    2) All of these models and predictions have been wrong but not only that, they’ve all been wrong in the same direction i.e. they predict a warming trend. Clearly there is some of bias in the underlying algorithms.
    3) All of the ‘hottest year ever’ claims are within statistical error margins, though that isn’t something the layman would know from the headlines – but they are. There has been some mild warming in the last 150 years or so but that’s natural and not statistically alarming in the least. No, it really isn’t. Check it out yourselves. Hint: don’t use the BBC or the Guardian to do this.
    4) Now for some really easy facts to check yourself: sea level rise – the rate or trend is not accelerating. Go look at the charts at the NOAA. Hurricanes – number and intensity are not increasing – at all. Again check the stats. In fact re: frequency they’ve been at historic lows over the last couple of decades. So the claim that ‘extreme weather events are increasing’ is bunk. Pure and simple. Species extinction from climate change – none. If you think otherwise, tell us all which creatures you mean. And then show the evidence that human-caused climate change made them go extinct. Good luck with that one.

    I could go on.

    Now I know many will just write me off as a fascist, or a ‘denier’ or whatever. But for those few people left with unbiased, enquiring minds I urge you to please check out the science yourself. Go to Paul Holmwood’s blog, or the Watts Up With That website. Read what Professor Lindzen has to say on the matter, or Judith Curry.

    And for those die-hards who still think that diagreeeing with the hysteria is just a right-wing plot, ask yourself this: how exactly will carpeting our countryside with thousands of wind turbines give us the cheap, abundant and reliable energy we need to power our societies? Think they could power a steel works for example? You’ll be very disappointed if you do.

    One conclusion I have made, that I think is pretty certain is that the science is a very long way from being ‘settled’ (no 97% of scientists do NOT agree that it is, check that one out too – please)., nor do I believe for one moment that spending trillions of dollars on wind farms or battery powered cars will have any impact at all on climate change., absolutely none.

    The other conclusion, which I think is pretty clear, is that certain left-leaning thinkers are very enthusiastic about ‘combating climate change’ because, unfortunately, the measures we would have to take if it were indeed a serious, urgent and human caused threat would be very socialistic in nature and which they obviously find appealing. As do all the anti-growth, anti-human anatchist deep-green types out there.

    Sadly, this is why it is all so politicized. It’s no longer about science to them but ideology. Which is also why they get so hostile if you question this ideology – that’s what they always do with dissenters. It comes with the territory.

    But science is never settled and skeptics throughout history have driven human progress time and again.

    So if you’ll excuse me, I will keep being skeptical, I will keep questioning the science and I will certainly not just blindly accept what I’m told because some angry liberal shouts at me. I have never done that and I never will.

    Besides, if your goal is get everybody on side because you think there is a very real and urgent threat out there – that is the idea right? – then perhaps you may consider showing us the evidence for it in a calm and measured manner, so that we can all agree and get doing something about it.

    But if all you do is turn people away from your message with ranting and insults we are not going to solve the problem are we?

  48. Jay Salhi says

    @RBW152

    “how exactly will carpeting our countryside with thousands of wind turbines give us the cheap, abundant and reliable energy we need to power our societies? Think they could power a steel works for example? You’ll be very disappointed if you do.”

    Not to mention you cannot make steel without fossil fuels. Ditto cement. And you need fossil fuel technology to mine for all those rare earths used in the turbines. Then you have to ship it from China on diesel powered ships. And then transport it all by diesel powered trucks to the sites on roads made of asphalt, which you cannot make without oil. Then the construction process for the turbines and the large array of power lines needed to transport the energy to the grid requires still more fossil fuel technology.

    “The other conclusion, which I think is pretty clear, is that certain left-leaning thinkers are very enthusiastic about ‘combating climate change’ because, unfortunately, the measures we would have to take if it were indeed a serious, urgent and human caused threat would be very socialistic in nature and which they obviously find appealing. As do all the anti-growth, anti-human anatchist deep-green types out there.”

    The architect of the IPCC, UN bureaucrat Maurice Strong, was a socialist who believed in transnational government. He tried unsuccessfully to get a UN imposed transnational tax. He latched onto environmental issues and AGW in furtherance of larger ideological goals. There are many others like him in the UN environmental bureaucracy.

  49. Ruth Henriquez says

    You wrote: “The fact that belief in climate change in the US tends to correlate with political affiliation should tell you that we are not objectively interpreting the science as much as we are following the values of our chosen peer group.” That may be true; has there been a poll?

    I’ve been following climate science since the early ’80s, and it has been a major concern of mine. I do believe that humans are changing the composition of our atmosphere in such a way that bad things are occurring all over the planet. Anyone who knows anything about what’s going on in the oceans right now will be concerned, if not very afraid. But I am not a liberal, even though I believe this. I’m not a conservative either. My opinions tend to fall all over the map, and I try to based them as much as possible on direct observation and reading.

    Observation: two entities who take climate change very seriously are 1) insurance companies, since they’re on the hook for the ever increasing damage being caused by weather events and 2) the U.S. Military, which deems it one of the most pressing national security issues for the future. In addition ranchers in the U.S. western states and foresters in the upper midwest are starting to deal with the practical problems riding in on the back of climate change. These people are not exactly raving lefties, and have no political axe to grind. He who has ears, let him hear.

    • dirk says

      But, Ruth, what can ranchers and foresters do, except of waiting for what is coming and happening? Imagine, you are a rancher, with cattle and land , contracts with providers and finances. What is their influence? Maybe, they just are laughing, because the winters are shorter, and the feed and fodder cheaper because of higher CO2 and more rains.

      • dirk says

        Furthermore, Ruth, because of your interest in the oceans, just read ” The sea around us”, I think it was, of the same author as Silent Spring. Great literature, with lots of influence, uptil our times of senseless affluence.

  50. OWG says

    l still subscribe to the most cogent comment about the whole situation that came out right at the beginning. If the projections of temperature increase and resultant disruptions are true, regardless of reason, we should not be spending billions and trillions on preventing minute increases in temperature and instead be saving that money to deal with outcomes whose remediation will cost about the same order of magnitude.

  51. Ian Campbell says

    At last a Greenie getting more realistic. But until as much funding is available for the natural causes of climatic and other changes in the environment, as is only available for man made causes, the investigation of the causes cannot, by definition, be held as sufficiently scientific. You cannot know what is caused by man if you do not know the natural variability causes. The science does not know the latter therefore the scares about the former are just voodoo type scares.

    Thus, there is a big divide between what we actually know and what we believe. Belief is not scientific and so insufficient cause for changing much. But it is what currently drives environmental policy across the world.

    Clean air we all know is a good thing, how that is achieved should be down too those who can best provide it through the competition of ideas and innovation, not diktat (or subsidy) from governments terrified by the emotions generated by the emotional fools of environmentalism.

  52. Isaias says

    Very realistic, down-to-earth diagnose. The basic problem with environmentalism today, or with the left in general, for that matter, is that it has become a religion, with its dogma, its believers, its heretics, its Inquisitions, etc.
    If environmentalism is to really produce any meaningful contribution to society, it must abandon its Savonarola, holier-than-thou attiude. If not, it is doomed to failure. Real-life people do not like being preached to 24/7.

  53. Jackson Howard says

    I have yet to see solid evidence that climate sensitivity from a C02 doubling is zero, as many seem to believe in the comment section.

    Or that mitigation costs are lower than emission cuts for warming above +2°C.

    Yes, some environmentalists are alarmists and overplay their hand, or use the science to advocate for leftist policies. But as far as I’m concerned, the sceptics spent 30 years flinging sketchy theories, cherry picked data and missrepresenting climate science and failed to make their case.

    I mean, if they were the Galileo or Einstein of climate science, their theories would be the consensus by now. Einstein expended over Newton theory in a mere 8 years…

    Being conservative I plan to prepare according to what I see coming and not rely on handouts that everyone will be asking once problems gets out of hand. Especially since increasing self reliance and resilience cannot be a bad move.

    Ranchers will certainly enjoy the increased droughts and torrential rains and then ask for handouts at some point.

    • Jay Salhi says

      @Jackson

      “I have yet to see solid evidence that climate sensitivity from a C02 doubling is zero, as many seem to believe in the comment section.”

      No skeptic claims it is zero. They just point out that the models tend to over predict and the media tends to focus on the most alarming predictions.

      “Or that mitigation costs are lower than emission cuts for warming above +2°C.”

      The US and the EU produce less than 30 percent of the CO2 emissions. Even radical reductions in those countries is not going to stop the overall global trend of increased emissions. The best mitigation strategy may be a healthy economy to enable human adaptation, at least until better technology comes along. In the mean time, more nuclear and more natural gas. Do not waste a dime on redundant wind or solar.

  54. OLd NiK says

    “The worst thing you can do to a fool is hand them a microphone.” Most people recognize when they are being preached at, if they agree great, if they don’t or aren’t sure, it’s annoying. Environmentalism as practiced by many is a pretty strict religion, you can’t refute their beliefs because their beliefs are more righteous. A great many believe that once the ‘bad people’ lose control they’ll rise to in their place, with the help of the state police and army, which they are vocal in their dislike of (and who are aware of this). This is unlikely to work out well for them.

  55. Mark Beal says

    The author makes many eminently sensible points. I’m actually one of those people who has been turned off most forms of environmentalism by the ideological nutjobs who create a panic to further their own agenda. Even more so since children appear to be taught little more at school than how to brandish placards and tell cameras how all those nasty old people are killing them, as opposed to learning some reedin, ritein an’ riffmetic which might enable them, in time (which they’re indoctrinated to believe they don’t have), to make important contributions to solving some of the problems we do face.

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