Home > Environment > Another bad day for delusionists*

Another bad day for delusionists*

February 27th, 2007

With Al Gore winning the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth and the CBC news “The Denial Machine” airing on Four Corners last night, it must be getting hard to hold on to the delusions that have been propagated so vigorously throughout the parallel universe created by Fox News and similar bodies. While it’s no news to anyone who reads blogs on the topic, the revelation that the “skepticism” propagated by our local delusionists was produced by recycled hacks for the tobacco industry, such as Fred Singer and Fred Seitz (I was mildly disappointed that Steve Milloy didn’t get a run) must have shaken a few more people awake.

“Happy Feet”, an Australian animated feature about penguins that has been attacked by the Fox News delusion machine because it refers to overfishing, also scored a gong. No doubt, Neil Cavuto would have preferred an award to the Astroturf exercise on penguins produced by DCI. It’s delusion all the way down with these guys.

* The problem of terminology has always been difficult. It’s obviously unreasonable to use terms like “skeptic” or “contrarian” to describe people who produce or swallow transparently fraudulent propaganda like that of Singer and Seitz because it happens to suit their preconceived ideological views or financial interest. On the other hand, there have been vigorous objections to “denialist”. So, I’m switching to “delusionists”, a term which covers:
(i) people who manufacture delusions for a living like those mentioned already and their local counterparts
(ii) people who prefer to accept ideologically convenient delusions rather than face the truth
(iii) people who have genuinely been deluded by this propaganda (not many of these left in Australia now).

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  1. conrad
    February 27th, 2007 at 06:38 | #1

    Not that I want to be pedantic, but in areas where people really are concerned about delusions, the term really only refers to (iii) in your list — i.e., you need to believe it for it to be a delusion. If you are simply dishonest (as in (i) and (ii) ), then it isn’t a delusion. Perhaps crapologist is a better term of (i) and denialist is better for (ii).

  2. February 27th, 2007 at 07:01 | #2

    I’m all for calling it the New Lysenkoism.

  3. Smiley
    February 27th, 2007 at 08:05 | #3

    It was quite amusing, and a little bit infuriating to hear the “architect” of the Republican Party campaign of denial (on last nights Four Corners) state that the problem (to paraphrase) was above politics.

  4. February 27th, 2007 at 08:33 | #4

    ProfQ, I don’t think this will make the slightest difference to the delusionists. Andrew Bolt posts 4 or 5 stories a week from credible sounding experts who are “speaking out” against the global warming religion. For example:

    Heretics defy Hollywood
    A model sceptic
    Gore all at sea

    IMO Bolt’s campaign of disinformation borders on the criminal, but what can be done about it? No doubt, many, many more people read Bolt’s column in The Hun than read this blog.

  5. jquiggin
    February 27th, 2007 at 08:47 | #5

    Nothing will make much difference to Bolt and his hardcore supporters, or to the Oz and the rest of the rightwing punditariat. The main point to make to people who are aware of the reality on this topic is that Bolt and co should not be believed on any topic.

  6. Smiley
    February 27th, 2007 at 08:55 | #6

    For those of you who missed your weekly dose of Bolt on the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, he stated that the new Federal Government policy of mandating compact florescent light bulbs was pointless because it would only account for 1/1000th of our carbon emissions. As Gore stated in his movie, it looks like Bolt has gone from denial to despair.

  7. February 27th, 2007 at 09:25 | #7

    I forgot to add: No doubt many more people read the Hun and the Oz than watch Four Corners!

    I take some comfort in the fact that mainstream media (e.g. 60 Minutes, Sunrise etc) now accept global warming as fact and are talking about solutions rather than debating the science, but Bolt and his loopy band of followers show absolutely no sign of giving up.

    Bolt is not in despair, his position is that the science is not settled and the effects of climate change will not be disastrous and may be actually be beneficial. Mad I know, but this is a man who believes Rumsfeld was a great Secretary of Defense.

  8. February 27th, 2007 at 09:38 | #8

    I strongly urge readers to check out Juan Cole’s excellent post today in which he suggests a global boycott of ExxonMobil may be in order. He calls for “a Manhattan Project-scale government effort” to develop green energy.

    Continued heavy dependence on gas and oil therefore not only turns the world into a hothouse, with rising seas, ever more destructive hurricanes, and possibly disastrous shifts in the ocean currents, but it also drives the United States to more and more wars.

    And, note that the wars are not even successful in allowing a practical oil grab of the sort Cheney and Lee Raymond dreamed of.

    Indeed, you could now, in retrospect, turn their whole argument around on them. US militarism cannot secure petroleum and gas supplies from places such as Iraq, because the pipelines are so easily sabotaged and local nationalisms and religious activism make it impossible for people to accept that kind of US hegemony.

    Since the Pentagon cannot practically speaking hope to safeguard US petroleum supplies from the Gulf, national security requires a massive and rapid research and development program of green energy.

  9. February 27th, 2007 at 09:44 | #9

    Thank you, John Quiggan, for drawing attention to the Four Corners program. Alas, I missed it, and they don’t seem to repeat Four Corners, these days. Another annoying thing, is that the program was not really advertised – I did not see any mention of its content, certainly not outlined in the TV guides.
    Are they doing a bit of self-censorship at the ABC these days? I wouldn’t be surprised.
    Clare Booth Luce, decades ago, wrote strongly on the advantage to governments of having the media, and the public, put “chains on their minds”. That way. governments don’t need the expense and trouble of organising real chains.

    I have to agree with Conrad.Yes, let’s be pedantic. It’s important. There’s a whole history of lies, (e.g the Iraq war, the asbestos, the tobacco industries). Calculated lies are not delusions.

  10. February 27th, 2007 at 09:49 | #10

    I was interested in the deliberate efforts of EXXON to obscure the debate by hiring PR firms to exploit fault lines – for example by using terms like ‘climate change’ rather than ‘global warming’ and by turning scientific claims into a ‘debate’. The Four Corners show demonstrated that this has had at best short-term effect. Longer-term it has only bought discredit on the companies.

    One simple idea puzzled me. Could corporations be so stupid as to endanger the future of the planet by telling lies about global warming? Or is it that self-interest obscures their vision and makes them believe what they want to believe. In terms of consequences it doesn’t matter but, still, I suspect the latter.

  11. Lynette2
    February 27th, 2007 at 09:55 | #11

    Have you been reading Lakoff John?

  12. February 27th, 2007 at 10:03 | #12

    ghandi wrote:

    He calls for “a Manhattan Project-scale government effort� to develop green energy

    And I’m afraid that’s what it will take. IMO, an EU-style emissions trading scheme (even if implemented globally) will have negligible impact on this problem.

  13. Jed
    February 27th, 2007 at 10:27 | #13

    For those interested in the 4 Corners episode last night; the material mirrored closely the first few chapters of the George Monbiot book ‘Heat’. The remainder of this book discusses what can be done. I’ve read a few books of climate change, but his was the best…5 stars.

  14. February 27th, 2007 at 10:56 | #14

    I was wrong.
    The ABC will repeat “The Denial Machine” at 11.40 pm Wenesday Feb 28

  15. February 27th, 2007 at 10:57 | #15

    Harry – “I was interested in the deliberate efforts of EXXON to obscure the debate by hiring PR firms to exploit fault lines ”

    And the best one of all they used was the Hockey Stick. The volumes of crap written about MBH99 by a mining engineer beggers belief. It was an extremely effective tactic as the simple false message that they got through so effectively was that “the hockey stick is broken so AGW is false”

    Very effective almost as good as “Labor will raise interest rates”.

  16. Bill O’Slatter
    February 27th, 2007 at 11:10 | #16

    The CBC news “The Denial Machineâ€? was a mild Canadian attack on the shills. The actual truth is far worse and the ABC should have been able to do better than this.Just send a reporter around to Lambert and your goodself ( for audio only ) for example. Also shill central is not these recycled smoking hacks but climateaudit.org. The latest incarnation of the delaying tactic is the green coal/ carbon sequestration nonsense. How long do we have to put up with that before it’s ” Oh sorry its not going to work”. Both Howard and Rudd have climbed aboard that Titanic.

  17. Hal9000
    February 27th, 2007 at 11:29 | #17

    As an interesting corrollary, the anti-green ‘movement’ in the US has been peddling fabrications about allegedly heavy-handed envirocrats oppressing battling pioneer landowners trying to make an honest buck. It’s all a well coordinated attack on the US Endangered Species Act, funded by the usual suspects in the mining and land development lobbies. No doubt the same thing is happening here on a smaller scale. The trouble is that it is peddled through testimony to dodgy congressional committees and then reported as fact on the MSM.

    See http://www.counterpunch.com/stclair02242007.html

  18. Kevin Cox
    February 27th, 2007 at 11:43 | #18

    I have found the delusionists become despairists and fatalists as soon as they see the evidence is overwhelming. That is, they do not believe that there may be a solution once they realise the have to accept that the earth is warming from human activity. The mantra becomes “we cannot stop it anyway so let us not worry but let it take its course”. Given that this is their response I suggest we ignore them or better still laugh at them while the rest of us keep on working on solutions.

  19. February 27th, 2007 at 11:49 | #19

    Dear John Quiggin

    I agree!

    “The problem of terminology has always been difficult. It’s obviously unreasonable to use terms like “skepticâ€? or “contrarianâ€? to describe people who produce or swallow transparently fraudulent propaganda like that of Singer and Seitz because it happens to suit their preconceived ideological views or financial interest. On the other hand, there have been vigorous objections to “denialistâ€?. So, I’m switching to “delusionistsâ€?.”

    I see these people as delusionists because they are perniciously attempting to delude the public, as they did on the war against the people of Iraq and the planned war against the people of Iran, not so much that they are themselves deluded. They are pseudo public intellectuals in a similar way to our current crop of ‘security discourse’ scholars who are heading into over-paid and redundant careers in ASIO.

    These people share one important attribute in common with John Howard and his acolytes: they are postponing effective government action to deal with climate change, which is a far greater threat to human security (and our own security) than any terrorist plot yet devised. I wonder if anyone has done an emissions audit on the war in Iraq – it would stagger our imaginations. What carbon offsets would Andrew Bolt recommend?

    I would describe the ten years of the Howard government as a reckless travesty of lost opportunities, whilst the product of the minerals boom has been squandered on slick vote-buying and pork-barrelling exercises. I suspect that the Labor Party is not really up to the mark either. Peter Garrett needs to say with certainty and purpose that renewable energy coupled with energy conservation trumps Mr Howard’s sudden introduction of nuclear power and the mental aberration called “clean coal technology�, which Kevin Rudd still says he thinks will deliver a drastic reduction in emissions.

    If these people, including the ‘late converts’ and opportunists, think they can simply toy with the global warming issue and ‘fcuk with our heads’ with more ‘smoke and mirrors’ at the coming federal election – we should tell them to get out of the way.

    I hope that Andrew Bolt may be remembered as a bitter old man who was the last to leave a failing disinformation newspaper as people lost interest in his rantings. Till then – here’s to free speech. It is our only hope of holding these people to account and changing the agenda.

    Regards
    Willy Bach
    http://willybachpoeticthoughts.blogspot.com/

  20. February 27th, 2007 at 11:54 | #20

    This is just rudeness for rudeness sake.

  21. February 27th, 2007 at 11:59 | #21

    Dear John Humphreys

    Please produce an argument that we can engage with. To describe what I have said as “just rudeness for rudeness sake” doesn’t explain what your point is.

    Regards
    Willy Bach

  22. February 27th, 2007 at 12:54 | #22

    I wasn’t talking to you Willy, but if you agree with calling me a delusionalist then it applies to you too.

    There is no benefit to the debate in calling the other side names. If I were to suggest that all pro-Kyoto people should be referred to as “fcukwits” it would be only a slightly more obvious attempt at being insulting.

    I don’t think that pro-Kyoto people are fcukwits. But neither am I trying to delude anybody nor do I have any sort of mental problem.

  23. February 27th, 2007 at 12:59 | #23
  24. Thom
    February 27th, 2007 at 13:33 | #24

    John,

    But some people, like Roger Pielke Jr., are simply contrarians, who have this need to always give the “on the other hand” side of the issue. Or who focus on minor issues to exclusion of the vast majority of information. I don’t think Pielke is delusional.

  25. derrida derider
    February 27th, 2007 at 13:47 | #25

    John, it’s not anti-Kyoto people but anti-AGW people who are being called delusionists. There’s a fair argument to be had about whether Kyoto is the optimal approach or even worthwhile, but its quite a different argument from whether anthropogenic global warming is happening.

    As I’ve said before, scepticism was quite reasonable 10 or 15 years ago (I was a denialist – not a delusionist – myself then) but you have to ignore a helluva lot of evidence now to still be sceptical. Climate denialists now belong, in my view, right alonside creationists. Except at least creationists aren’t in it for the money.

  26. February 27th, 2007 at 13:54 | #26

    People like Bolt are making a healthy living out of being outrageous. They don’t really care about the facts. They are the political version of media whores like Paris Hilton, riding the slime machine for all it is worth. I do my best to ignore them, although one cannot ignore the sad fact that some powerful people use their nonsense words as justification for their own nonsense deeds.

    The real culprits are the people who pay, publish and promote these fools. Follow the money and you get back to people like Rupert Murdoch, whose complicity in a whole range of disasters (Hicks, Iraq, climate change, etc) has to date received very little REAL scrutiny.

    Don’t hold your breathe waiting for Kevin Rudd to attack Big Rupe, of course. So what to do? Personally, I do my best to boycott News Ltd products (not easy in SE QLD) and talk them down at every opportunity. But I would certainly like to see Murdoch asked some hard questions whenever he appears in a public forum. Let’s get him on record publicly denying his complicity in the major political and military stuff-ups of the past ten years.

  27. February 27th, 2007 at 14:18 | #27

    PS: Dick Cheney has just achieved victory in Iraq:

    Iraq’s cabinet has approved a draft of a national oil law that would share revenues from the country’s vast oil reserves among its ethnic groups.

    Prime Minister Nouri Maliki described the agreement as a “gift to all the Iraqi people”.

    Iraq’s Shia majority and Sunni and Kurdish minority groups have squabbled over how to distribute oil revenues since the US-led invasion in 2003.

    The draft bill must now be submitted to Iraq’s parliament for a vote.

    There may be some grandstanding in parliament, but it is basically just an up-and-down rubber stamp. Dick Cheney has won. Big Oil will control Iraq’s oil for generations to come. The new law states that the oil belongs to “the Iraqi people” but EXTRACTION RIGHTS will belong to Big Oil. This effectively puts big Oil in control of the tap, which they can switch on or off at will. The law, which was written by Big Oil consultants to the US, UK and Iraqi governments, is also intentionally vague about revenue sharing.

    This is NOT a victory for the Iraqi people, it is a tragedy, a travesty and a disgrace. Expect major protests across Iraq and neighbouring countries.

  28. February 27th, 2007 at 14:41 | #28

    DD — it is not clear to me at all that I (or other skeptics) am outside of the scope of the GW activists aim.

    I first wrote on global warming in 2003 and I assumed the truth of AGW. But I think that some GW commentators overplay the certainty of what did or will happen and they overplay the negative consequences and they exagerate the argument for government action. I’m thankful there are some people out there pushing against the alarmist position being promoted in some quarters.

  29. February 27th, 2007 at 15:18 | #29

    The New York Times notes (in the next-to-last paragraph) that Iraq’s oil will controlled by the iron fist of a “central body called the Federal Oil and Gas Council” which will have “a panel of oil experts from inside and outside Iraq” as part of the operation… without telling us that these “oil experts” will in fact be executives and representatives of American and other Western oil companies.

    More here.

  30. Bill O’Slatter
    February 27th, 2007 at 15:53 | #30

    Quoth John Humphreys “I’m thankful there are some people out there pushing against the alarmist position being promoted in some quarters”. Let’s be specific about who you are saying is alarmist. Perhaps the IPCC?

  31. Hal9000
    February 27th, 2007 at 17:05 | #31

    One issue raised by the IPCC report that has received less attention than it ought is what we might call the ‘negative dividend’ from inaction. As I understand it, the IPCC laid out fairly clearly that a tonne of GHG emissions cut today is worth a whole lot more than a tonne cut in 20 years’ time. So what is implicitly the John Humphreys prescription – ie do nothing until the data is all in, say about 2050 – is a policy with real costs, while much can be achieved right now with negligible costs (indeed, in terms of efficiencies, gains).

  32. February 27th, 2007 at 17:08 | #32

    I doubt Bolt is an invited member of The Denial Machine. He’s simply dug himself a hole bigger than an open-cut coal mine and has no where else to go. Twit.

  33. February 27th, 2007 at 17:14 | #33

    I don’t think the IPCC is generally alarmist. I think Stern & Gore were. There are plenty of good scientists (and policy analysts) who want to see action on AGW who aren’t alarmist. I’m not trying to lump all people who disagree with me together.

    And my position has never been “do nothing until the data is all in”. My position has been do nothing unless doing something will give a net benefit.

  34. February 27th, 2007 at 18:59 | #34

    Boycott Murdoch.

  35. observa
    February 27th, 2007 at 19:22 | #35

    Yes GW has spawned a whole industry of delusionals. There are those that pooh pooh the denialism of GW overall, who now believe we can reduce CO2 emissions to 40% of 1990 levels without any serious tradeoffs in GDP and furthermore, without nuclear power. Mike Rann is the typical new denialist on that account, along with all the ‘one percenters’.
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21296890-1702,00.html

  36. February 27th, 2007 at 19:25 | #36

    John Humphries wrote:
    “…I think that some GW commentators overplay the certainty of what did or will happen and they overplay the negative consequences”

    Given that a well qualified hydrologist recently predicted that without above average rainfall in the next two years the murray river will be reduced to a series of long pools. Perhaps you could give us your positive version of Adelaide surviving without water within the next two years.

    My problem with people who downplay the effects of GW is the way in which reproductive necessities are ignored. Water and food are reproductive goods. They are time compulsory, cyclical in nature and are necessarily social(require a social contract) as opposed to socially necessary. The failure to consider this leaves us slouching towards armageddon to misquote Joan Didion.

  37. observa
    February 27th, 2007 at 20:01 | #37

    “Looking at the desperation with which opponents of climate science, and of sensible policy responses such as Kyoto, are holding on to positions that have clearly become untenable, has prompted me to think about my own views on a range of issues…”

    “While I’m not ready to join the optimists just yet, it’s clearly necessary to rethink the implications of a Chinese economy that is already a substantial part of the global total, and growing rapidly.”

    But perhaps still sticking to the delusion that Kyoto will work in the absence of China John…..or without nuclear power replacing coal?

  38. jquiggin
    February 27th, 2007 at 22:47 | #38

    Observa, Kyoto is, as you would know if you had bothered to follow the history, a first step requiring action on the part of the developed countries only. Talk about China is just part of the delusionist armory.

    As regards nuclear, I’ve discussed it at length. If fully-costed nuclear, including decommissioning and waste disposal can beat the alternatives, I have no problem. The failure of Howard’s attempted wedge on this should have alerted you that this dog won’t hunt.

  39. Joseph Clark
    February 27th, 2007 at 23:29 | #39

    Do you include the value of reduced emissions in the costing of nuclear?

  40. Chris O’Neill
    February 28th, 2007 at 01:53 | #40

    “There is no benefit to the debate in calling the other side names.”

    The issue is not “calling” someone a name, the issue is finding a name that is an accurate desciption of their behaviour. Bolt has said that he “agrees” that global waming is happening, yet he repeats arguments that are intended to create the impression that global warming is not happening. I think denialist is a pretty good description for this type of behaviour. Objection to the word “denialist” is to a large degree itself a denialist tactic. Bolt’s behaviour could also be described as “credulist”, except his errors are always in the same direction.

  41. Paul G. Brown
    February 28th, 2007 at 04:10 | #41

    John Humphrey –

    So long as you refer to Stern and Gore as “alarmist”, I will refer to you as “denialist”, “delusionist”, and in my less sanguine moments “blithering idiot”.

    You blithering idiot.

    PB

  42. rog
    February 28th, 2007 at 07:20 | #42

    Well, its unusual that Hollywood is being held up as a benchmark by the non deluded.

  43. Simonjm
    February 28th, 2007 at 09:19 | #43

    Not really rog when the scientists say that he is pretty well on the money.

    JQ I was going to post on that one but it seems no matter how many times that this is pointed out about Kyoto it still gets trotted out time and time again. BTW this is from individuals who have trouble with their moral compass in that even though developed nations created the mess they have no moral responsibility in that regard.

    Sorta like Bolt on the Timor Sea resources Australia you didn’t have to treat East Timor fairly -even though they are one of the poorest counties in the worl-, if we took more than our fair share tough luck.

    John H

    What I want to know from guys like you is what do you think should be done, if anything? Energy efficiency, nuclear energy, carbon trading etc ?????? Or do we wait and see and adapt to come what may?

  44. Paul Norton
    February 28th, 2007 at 09:24 | #44

    Today’s Age reports that there will be a delusionist confab in Canberra today.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/greenhouse-sceptics-to-congregate/2007/02/27/1172338625822.html

    One looks forward to the proposals for cancer cures, water-powered cars, stone soup recipes and perpetual motion machines which this gathering will generate.

  45. February 28th, 2007 at 10:15 | #45

    And who of us relishes the thought of saying “I was wrong.” The politics of global warming, climate change, or whatever, are all dependant upon the amount of money a specific idea can raise. Global warming is a great fund raiser at the moment – like the coming ice age of 30 years ago. The real science of the global situation is smothered in money and politics. The “truth” may surface in about 50 years or so when some historian digs out all the dirty little secrets of both corporations and government. Meanwhile the people will be pushed from pillar to post on a sea of irrelevant junk from so called “ethical” sources. And the poor will get poorer, and the purveyors of all this rubbish, the rich, will get richer.
    Who will remember the “golden rule?”

  46. February 28th, 2007 at 10:22 | #46

    Did somebody just suggest that the problems with the Murray were caused by global warming? Do the other people on this blog (especially JQ) agree with this assessment?

    Stern suggested that inaction will lead to worse outcomes that the world wars & the great depression. That’s fear-mongering.

    Gore spent a disproportionate amount of time considering outcomes that are unlikely to happen and look really scary. That’s fear-mongering.

    On the other hand — I note that the IPCC has offered a much more balanced review of the available evidence, despite the valid points about some remaining bias. I would suggest that there are more scientists in what I call the “mainstream” camp than in the “alarmist” camp… but the alarmists just get more headlines.

  47. Adam Rope
    February 28th, 2007 at 10:23 | #47

    Quick point to Carbonsink, and even Gandhi, treat Bolt’s pseudo-blog as the parody of informed comment that it really is and you’ll feel much better. I know Carbonsink joins in the fray over there, but you’re really just upsetting the die hard loyalists, who don’t want any actual real, scientific, facts to get in the way of their perceptions. Treat it as parody, and it’s the greatest laugh you can have all day.

  48. February 28th, 2007 at 10:29 | #48

    Simonjm — some context. I have a very strong fundamental objection to the mindset that says: “there is a problem, the government MUST do something”. I believe something should only be done if it is likely to provide a net benefit.

    On the basis of the information I’ve seen to date, I don’t support Kyoto. I am generally a technology optimist and believe that adjusting will be relatively cheaper than drastic action to reduce emissions now. Having said that, I am sympathetic to discussions of a small carbon tax offset against other tax cuts and find that option significantly better than a carbon trading scheme.

  49. wilful
    February 28th, 2007 at 10:35 | #49

    For those with digital, the Four Corners show will be repeated tonight on ABC2 at 9.30. It will also be reshown on ABC at 11.40 pm.

  50. Hal9000
    February 28th, 2007 at 11:02 | #50

    “My position has been do nothing unless doing something will give a net benefit.”

    So where do you stand on energy efficiencies, JH? These are the low-hanging fruit and by definition yield a net benefit, and moreover they’re the central policy recommendation of those you call alarmists. What’s your real issue, then?

  51. wilful
    February 28th, 2007 at 11:06 | #51

    Did somebody just suggest that the problems with the Murray were caused by global warming? Do the other people on this blog (especially JQ) agree with this assessment?

    Most people are very careful with their language on this point, because it is something that denialists* jump up and down about whenever there is any overreach, however, it is clear that the problems of the Murray are in good part due to the recent extended dry spell of several years duration. CSIRO modelling is clear that climate change will reduce rainfall in the Murray catchments. The extent to which there is a current direct link between the recent drought and the early stages of climate change is quite unclear, however it is not unreasonable to posit a link and suggest there may be some causation there.

    Similarly, while Hurricane Katrina was not the direct and sole result of climate change, sea surface temperatures are predicted to increase in the Gulf of Mexico leading to bigger and badder hurricanes. Failure to see this link is essentially to deny that there will be any deleterious effects from climate change, which is as good as denying climate change will occur. In which case, you’re in a small and suspect crowd of people.

    *I’m happy with the old tag, I think the supposed holocaust link is bogus Godwinning.

  52. February 28th, 2007 at 11:32 | #52

    Skeptics also complain when those link are made. It’s simply untrue to say that most people are careful to avoid drawing the link. Kyan certainly wasn’t and nobody raised an objection. Drawing the link helps get people scared and fear is the best motivator to get people to support government action. It is reckless and politically motivated and not supported by the science. And your careful response helps to perpetuate it.

  53. wilful
    February 28th, 2007 at 11:43 | #53

    Nobody respectable is saying the Murray is stuffed and it’s because of climate change.

    Lots of respectable people are saying that the Murray is stuffed and climate change isn’t helping, and may be playing a part.

    Fear is a good motivator, I don’t think it’s dishonest to point to the Murray as an example of what’s in store for us in the future. We have to accept that we cannot ever really tell how much is natural variation and how much is anthropogenic. This is distinctly not saying that there is no anthropogenic problem or that action should not be taken. Waiting for all the data to come in will cost far more in the long run.

  54. Stephen L
    February 28th, 2007 at 13:33 | #54

    Karoly et al demonstrated pretty convincingly that climate change was contributing to the Murray’s problems in 2003, and I have no doubt an updated report would show it has got worse. At this stage it is far from the largest factor, but it is certainly contributing.

    And JH, do you have any evidence that the majority of climate scientists don’t support the “alarmists”. I’ve spoken to several IPCC authors, as well as various other climate scientists and they generally take the view that the scenarios Gore talks about are a distinct possibility and need to be highlighted.

  55. sdfc
    February 28th, 2007 at 13:55 | #55

    I’m happy with the alarmist tag, given the uncertainty and possible ramifications, if you’re not alarmed you’re obviously a bit of a dill.

  56. Simonjm
    February 28th, 2007 at 14:07 | #56

    John H

    I’ve heard basically the same take on the latest IPPC release that to gain a consensus from world governments they had to take a conservative position to deal with the recalcitrants.

    http://www.sciam.com/podcast/podcast.mp3?e_id=99FB6D4E-E7F2-99DF-3030E2BDAB849DC5&ref=p_sciam

    Some environmentalists have attacked it on those grounds but the commentary like the above indicates why this is necessary and that with further releases coming the matter is still of grave concern. Like my other post on global security and climate change on ‘Another own goal for the denialists?’ given that even a small disruption to the social situation in China -let alone other places-would have a major knock-on effect both economically and security wise, your attitude would be like arguing over your options while the ship sinks because you don’t know if the options have any net benefit.

    You may wish to continue to argue and place the certainty bar high but I for one am not prepared to go down with this ship.

    Basically we have the same sort of people who had to be brought kicking and screaming to acknowledge that AGW even exists, now nit picking negatively over solutions or likely effects of AGW. Personally I don’t think many of the denialists should be given a second chance to slow the debate, they have used their credibility capital.

    Like Howard’s greenwash the paint is only on the surface and still wet.

  57. James Duggie
    February 28th, 2007 at 14:36 | #57

    Dear ProfQ – I’d like to recommend you reconsider the decision to adopt the label ‘climate change delusionist’, because whilst ‘climate change denialst’, makes it clear we talking about people denying climate change, the phrase ‘climate change delusionist’ taken out of context is ambiguous. The delusionist might be intepreted as referring to those who acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change.

    I would be interested to hear what objections you’ve recieved regarding the use of ‘denialist’. I think it is quite appropriate, and I haven’t been able to come up with a more accurate and concise descripion. But if an alternative is to be adopted, it should be one that isn’t ambiguous in the way delusionist is; and so can’t easily be used by the denialists!

    This is my first comment on your blog, so I should mention I very much appreciate your work on it.

  58. jquiggin
    February 28th, 2007 at 14:41 | #58

    Joseph, obviously the value of emissions avoided has to be counted for nuclear, otherwise it would clearly be economic.

    JH, I’m surprised that you think it’s good that people should be paid to lie about the dangers of tobacco and global warming, that it’s OK for you to promote them on your blog and that it’s mean to apply pejorative names to them.

    Singer, Seitz and Milloy are evil men who have lied in order to deceive people about a drug that will in many cases kill them. When that business dried up, they moved on to destroying the planet. They deserve none of the courtesies of civilised debate. Those who repeat their lies (deliberately, recklessly or as a result of being deceived themselves) need to be told what they are doing in the clearest possible terms.

  59. Amy McArthur
    February 28th, 2007 at 15:44 | #59

    People lied about tobacco effects in the past to protect business profits. Therefore, people must be lying about AGW because there is a connection of…business profits?

    Right or wrong, the scientists that do not adhere to ‘intergovernmental consensus’ on AGW but truly follow their convictions of what their research and knowledge tells them should be applauded and the freedoms to challenge science should be cherished always.

    Was it that long ago that intergovernmental concensus had us living on a flat earth?

  60. February 28th, 2007 at 15:56 | #60

    The climate-change delusionists were not the only ideologists who got taken down on Oscar night. It was a good Oscar year for monarchists and anti-communists both. Helen Mirren was justly rewarded for her endearing portrait of an embattled but noble Queen. And the anti-communist “Lives of Others” won best foreign film for exposing just the banality of evil under Bolshevik-style dictatorships. A nice combination of blows to Republicans and commie-symps both.

    Cultural delusionists got a reality check a couple of years back when “Crash” got a gong, with its relentless debunking of politically correct types. Unfortunately “Babel” was a big disappointment in this respect, despite its promising title.

  61. rog
    February 28th, 2007 at 16:08 | #61

    Michael Moore won an Oscar a few years ago, what was it about, was it penguins?

  62. wilful
    February 28th, 2007 at 16:15 | #62

    People lied about tobacco effects in the past to protect business profits. Therefore, people must be lying about AGW because there is a connection of…business profits?

    Amy, the professor is talking about a long-standing issue that he has raised many times on this blog. He is not talking about ‘some people’, he is talking about specific persons that appear to be pseudo-credible and that have demonstrated their willingness to debase themselves for a buck.

    As for scientists not following the intergovernmental consensus, give us a break – the US and Australian governments are only now reluctantly admitting there may be an issue. Because an overwhelming majority of experts have not varied in their advice for decades now.

  63. Razor
    February 28th, 2007 at 17:26 | #63

    wilful – that would be the decades since we were going to have an iceage and run out of oil by now, no?

  64. jquiggin
    February 28th, 2007 at 17:42 | #64

    Honestly, Razor, the “new ice age” is straight out of the same delusionist deck as the satellite data showing cooling, attacks on the hockey stick and so on. Why don’t you tell us about the 17000 scientists who say global warming is a fraud?

    And Amy is recycling yet another myth about the flat earth. The fact that the earth is spherical has been known since Jesus was in nappies.

  65. Sinclair Davidson
    February 28th, 2007 at 18:04 | #65

    The fact that the earth is spherical has been known since Jesus was in nappies.

    A tad over-stated, I think.

  66. rog
    February 28th, 2007 at 18:16 | #66

    Not only did Jesus live! he was wearing nappies when the flat earth society held its first meeting.

    What a bunch of deluded deniers they are, eh?

  67. jquiggin
    February 28th, 2007 at 18:36 | #67

    “Swaddling clothes”, if you prefer, Rog. And, while it’s not proven, I think the balance of probabilities favors the historical existence of Jesus. More importantly, given the degree of ignorance required to take the delusionist side in this argument, I thought I’d give a historical reference everyone would know, rather than refer to obscure figures like Ptolemy or Pliny.

    On the substance, I’m impressed by the fact that no-one on the delusionist side even seems to have heard of Wikipedia, which states

    “Eratosthenes, however, had already determined that the earth was a sphere and calculated its rough circumference by the third century B.C. By the time of Pliny the Elder in the 1st century, however, the Earth’s spherical shape was generally acknowledged among the learned in the western world. Ptolemy derived his maps from a curved globe and developed the system of latitude, longitude, and climes. His writings remained the basis of European astronomy throughout the Middle Ages, although Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (ca. 3rd to 7th centuries) saw occasional arguments in favor of a flat Earth.

    The modern misconception that people of the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat first entered the popular imagination in the nineteenth century, thanks largely to the publication of Washington Irving’s fantasy The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1828.”

    Of course, misconception is exactly what delusionism is all about.

  68. Sinclair Davidson
    February 28th, 2007 at 19:03 | #68

    Well, yes. Eratosthenes was one man, and there were others. But what was the consensus?

  69. February 28th, 2007 at 19:29 | #69

    the “new ice age� is straight out of the same delusionist deck as the satellite data showing cooling, attacks on the hockey stick and so on. Why don’t you tell us about the 17000 scientists who say global warming is a fraud?

    All of this is gospel over at the Bolt Blog. They believe this stuff … no really.

    Bolt has a running commentary going on the Lavoisier Group shindig at Parliament House. Why these nutcases were allowed to use Parliament House is beyond me!

  70. February 28th, 2007 at 19:46 | #70

    carbonsink – On Sunrise Bolty trotted out the Earth has cooled since 1998 AND the House of Lords study without so much as a response from Kosh. Talk about dumb and dumber. The Lavoisier Group is a long on skeptics but short on facts.

  71. jquiggin
    February 28th, 2007 at 19:52 | #71

    It’s great that you read sentence one, Sinc. Now let’s try sentence two “By the time of Pliny the Elder in the 1st century, however, the Earth’s spherical shape was generally acknowledged among the learned in the western world.” (emphasis added)

    Of course, the Pythagoras Group and the Athenian Enterprise Institute were busy pointing out that the learned depended on sphericist scientific bodies for their funding, that consensus was no basis for science and that acceptance of a spherical earth would lead inevitably to heliocentrism.

  72. Sinclair Davidson
    February 28th, 2007 at 19:58 | #72

    Touche :) Just read you. My memory of this is from Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’.

  73. February 28th, 2007 at 20:03 | #73

    Carbonsink – I did not see your link before. I like the 9 facts of Climate Change. I am going to ask Coby Beck if he can number his excellent “How to Talk to a Climate Change Skeptic” here http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-to-talk-to-global-warming-sceptic.html

    It will be much easier because I could then save a lot of writing by just referencing the relevant number for the hackneyed arguments contained in the 9 facts. For example

    Fact 1: Response 11
    Fact 2: Response 14 (needs a slight mod about CO2 being only one factor in plant growth)

    and so on
    (also posting this on Bolt’s blog)

  74. rog
    February 28th, 2007 at 21:54 | #74

    Of course any comment on Al Gores’ (relatively) excessive energy consumption is “the last gasp of the global warming skeptics” according to a Gore spokesperson. And thats the gospel!

  75. jquiggin
    February 28th, 2007 at 22:07 | #75

    Indeed, rog, you are delusionism personified. No matter how many bogus claims you put up and have shot down, you’re still ready with more. On this point, you might want to read one of the few genuine libertarians around, Jim Henley (linked in my blogroll).

    More generally, you might do well to read the many comments you’ve made on Iraq, global warming and so on, and see how they all stack up today. Then you might think about whether the information sources you’ve been using are good ones.

  76. rog
    February 28th, 2007 at 22:36 | #76

    We could all take a leaf out of GWB’s book; http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0429-03.htm

  77. observa
    February 28th, 2007 at 23:23 | #77

    Wikipedia summarises John Quiggin’s ‘sensible policy’ first step of Kyoto
    “As of year-end 2006, the United Kingdom and Sweden were the only EU countries on pace to meet their Kyoto emissions commitments by 2010. While UN statistics indicate that, as a group, the 36 Kyoto signatory countries can meet the 5% reduction target by 2012, most of the progress in greenhouse gas reduction has come from the stark decline in Eastern European countries’ emissions after the fall of communism in the 1990s”
    outlined in more detail here
    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=31&art_id=qw116072424316B264

    Unfortunately or fortunately as the case may be, the world doesn’t have a lot more communist basket cases to collapse in order to meet its Kyoto targets. ie picking low hanging fruit. Never mind, China is making up for this lack by chucking up coal fired power stations at the rate of one a week. Naturally it will make them as ‘dirty’ emission wise as possible, so that it has plenty of room to manouvre on its emissions targets when the heat is really on for it to do so. No doubt then, sensible chaps like JQ will be lauding China as the shining international exemplar, as they clean up all these dirty power stations, and admonishing the nasty West for not making similar percentage cuts in our emissions at that time. Capitalising the losses and socialising the gains. You know it makes sense.

  78. Simonjm
    February 28th, 2007 at 23:48 | #78

    Observa apart from the Japanese very few major developed nations have made energy efficiency a major policy plank so there is plenty of low hanging fruit to go round. Plus if it’s good for Australia to whine for an increase and use land clearing why shouldn’t China use a similar approach to favour their interests?

    But what the hey, why should they get away with the sh*t the developed nations pulled by using the atmosphere as a free tip; they have some hide wanting to bring the bulk of their people out of poverty or have a 1st world living standards, eh Observa? That’s just asking a bit too much isn’t it?

  79. Peter Wood
    March 1st, 2007 at 01:08 | #79

    Many industries and firms who used to adopt a delusionist position are now adopting what I would like to call an ‘exemptionist’ position. This is a position that advocates a ‘polluter pays’ policy on climate change, as long as it doesn’t apply to them.

    A good illustrative example of this is the Australian Aluminum industry, which is responsible for electrictity use of over 3 GW (equivalent to at least 3 average Pressurised Water Reactors). Their submission to the National Emissions Trading Taskforce (submission 105 at http://www.emissionstrading.net.au/stakeholder_consultations/submissions_2006 ) suggests that they should be exempted from a carbon price signal, rather than being subsidised with free allocations of carbon permits. Talk about being greedy for corporate welfare!

  80. Chris O’Neill
    March 1st, 2007 at 03:31 | #80

    John Humphreys: “I am generally a technology optimist and believe that adjusting will be relatively cheaper than drastic action to reduce emissions (beginning) now.”

    Maybe. A point that people who understand the difference between debt and equity will appreciate is that business-as-usual followed by adjustment is a high risk strategy while atmospheric maintainance is a risk-free strategy.

    Amy McArthur: “People lied about tobacco effects in the past to protect business profits. Therefore, (the same) people must be lying about AGW because there is a connection of…business profits?”

    Proven liars are usually ignored in court (if he’s lied before how do we know he isn’t lying now?) and generally the rational way to deal with proven liars is to ignore them when there are plenty of credible people available.

    “On Sunrise Bolty trotted out the Earth has cooled since 1998″

    Aside from the inconvenient fact that this is no longer true in any way (January 2007 was substantially warmer than February 1998), Bolt adopts the credulist position of ignoring the significance of the El Nino in 1998. Coincidentally, Bolt’s credulist positions always downplay the evidence for global warming.

  81. Amy McArthur
    March 1st, 2007 at 04:56 | #81

    CO’N you clearly wish to mis’con’strue my point by adding (the same) when you quote me. I used ‘people’ as a term designated to those relative to the different particular issues. Tobacco effects and AGW are different issues and the scientists today arguing human influence on global warming is marginal relative to natural effects of the earth are not ‘the same’ scientists who argued smoking was harmless in the past. Perhaps you have found an exception and now use said individual to shout out a very weak point.

    JQ you demean yourself by name calling when it comes to differences of scientific opinion.

    It was not that long ago that “many” renowned scientists warned of the coming of an ice age and according to the Earth’s own natural clock we have had one in the past about every 10,000 years –and the clock is ticking towards its next Y10K (I should trademark that as an ice-age term). But I digress, so I ask you, was George Will beholden to corporate interests when he wrote about this just last year?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/31/AR2006033101707.html

    Are you JQ beholden to federal and state government political mantra every time you receive government grants for research? Scientists and rearchers who attack others in their field this way only undermine themselves in the process.

  82. Paul G. Brown
    March 1st, 2007 at 05:59 | #82

    John Humphreys –

    “Gore spent a disproportionate amount of time considering outcomes that are unlikely to happen and look really scary. That’s fear-mongering.”

    As we say in the gamer’s world, ROFLMFAO!

    “The big smelly fireman talked lots of scarey stuff about not playing wid matches. But I doan care! Cos burning down the house isn’t likely to happen. That’s jus fear mongering.”

    Note: From this point on, I am going to adopt my ‘gamer dude’ personality from time to time. It’s really the only way to respond to some of this blithering idiocy.

  83. jquiggin
    March 1st, 2007 at 06:19 | #83

    Amy, read the post. The people running the anti-AGW campaign are the same ones who denied the dangers of tobacco smoking. As well as Singer, Seitz and Milloy listed above, this group includes Richard Lindzen (who seems to be a general contrarian rather than a paid hack like the first lot). Add in people who previously denied the effect of CFCs on the ozone layer and you’ve got the majority of the delusionist crew.

  84. Peter Wood
    March 1st, 2007 at 10:33 | #84

    “The Denial Machine”, which was recently screened on 4 Corners, can be found by doing a search on Google Video.

  85. frankis
    March 1st, 2007 at 11:22 | #85

    Of course, the Pythagoras Group and the Athenian Enterprise Institute were busy pointing out that the learned depended on sphericist scientific bodies for their funding, that consensus was no basis for science and that acceptance of a spherical earth would lead inevitably to heliocentrism.

    is my early nomination for blog comment of the year :)

  86. March 1st, 2007 at 11:37 | #86

    Paul G. Brown: If you want a laugh spend some time at the Bolt Blog.

    Yesterday and today we have a one-two punch from fellow delusionists Janet Albrechtsen (aka the sk***y h* who would die in a ditch for the Liberal Party) and the divine Miranda. Albrechtsen regurgitates the same junk science that’s been discredited a thousand times, and the divine Miss M plays the man not the ball.

    My point is, despite a big shift in Howard Government rhetoric on climate change recently, the hard-core delusionists are not giving up, if anything they’re ramping up their anti-AGW campiagns.

  87. Chris O’Neill
    March 1st, 2007 at 21:12 | #87

    Amy McArthur: “Tobacco effects and AGW are different issues and the scientists today arguing human influence on global warming is marginal relative to natural effects of the earth are not ‘the same’ scientists who argued smoking was harmless in the past.”

    Wrong, as Pr Q pointed out. Fred Singer, Fred Seitz, Pat Michaels are some of these scientists.

    “It was not that long ago that “manyâ€? renowned scientists warned of the coming of an ice age and according to the Earth’s own natural clock we have had one in the past about every 10,000 years”

    Aside from the fact that scientists do learn a fair bit over 30 years, having an ice age in 10,000 years time probably won’t help much to avoid the consequences of global warming in the next 100 years.

    BTW, ice ages don’t occur about every 10,000 years, the inter-glacial periods last an average of roughly 10,000 years. The last glacial cycle was about 120,000 years long. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png to see the history of recent glacial cycles that started about 3.5 million years ago.

  88. observa
    March 1st, 2007 at 23:04 | #88

    “Observa apart from the Japanese very few major developed nations have made energy efficiency a major policy plank so there is plenty of low hanging fruit to go round.”

    Simonjm, all I know is that those who have made a start and ratified Kyoto’s modest 5% reductions are struggling to do so and they’re running out of collapsing communist countries to help get them over the line collectively. Now common sense (law of diminishing returns) suggests the first 5% is the low hanging fruit compared to the next 55% (those 1990 levels again) we’re supposed to be aiming for long term. Again I must ask-How are they doing with the first 5%? Now I don’t blame China for wanting what we’re having. In fact I believe it’s futile pretending we can stop them or India or whomsoever. In actual fact, reducing the West’s demands for say oil would logically reduce its market price and facilitate more consumption by all LDCs, which is a zero sum game, GG emission wise. What about nuclear power?

    As John Quiggin quite logically says-
    “As regards nuclear, I’ve discussed it at length. If fully-costed nuclear, including decommissioning and waste disposal can beat the alternatives, I have no problem.”
    Well now I would have thought that’s a fairly simple calculation for the ‘one percenters’ who have their social discount rates down pat and have the good oil on calculating this GW thingy over the decades. They simply apply the same wisdom to nuclear power and come up with the answers. Important answers they’d be too, so we can judge whether the UN is right that Iran has got it’s sums wrong on thinking nuclear power is cheaper than Iranian oil fired power. Or as Mike Rann has stated- nuclear power would raise electricity prices 100% (over his Leigh Creek lignite stuff presumably) so Walker and Co, including Rob de Crespigny, (Rann’s appointed state economic advisor), can take a funny walk. The one percenters like JQ will be able to resolve this minor disagreement between uranium and lignite, while skeptics, delusionaists and denialists like myself, trot down to the supermarket in our SUVs, armed with our reusable shopping bags, to pick up some compact fluorescents all the way from China, in order to meet our Kyoto target and save the planet.

  89. observa
    March 1st, 2007 at 23:13 | #89

    After we’ve attended the V8 Supercars with Mr 60% reductions Rann of course. Mustn’t rush the good Professor as we don’t want any mistakes in the calculations.

  90. Spiros
    March 2nd, 2007 at 08:21 | #90

    Observa, you are just plain weird.

    And, in case you hadn’t noticed, your obsession with Mike Rann is wasted on everyone outside South Australia. Nobody outside the pea-floater state gives two hoots about any of its state politicians, what they say or what they do.

  91. Majorajam
    March 2nd, 2007 at 08:45 | #91

    observa, that’s brilliant analysis. I presume its not lost on you that a country or region’s progress toward emission targets does not in any way evidence the cost of achieving those targets (in fact, the correlation is more likely to be negative). And since yours is an overwrought, high-handed argument about the cost of emissions reductions heretofore and in the future- wherein you appear to be very sure of yourself- I would also presume you can cite figures as to those costs?… No?

    Or perhaps it’s safer to presume you’re just another in the seemingly interminable line of right-wingers whose revealed preference is for supposition, non sequiturs and bluster, (not to mention downright fraud and fabrication), over evidence and argument. All the better to propagandize with.

    Thanks for playing. Don’t let the door hit you in the as$ on the way out.

  92. Simonjm
    March 2nd, 2007 at 10:32 | #92

    Observa should it be any surprise that they are having trouble when it is a policy stance they have entered half-hearted?

    My view has been would try to do the least amount possible to look like they are doing something just to appear responsible, when really they want to keep business happy until they have no choice. Game theory should be able to predict this; that up until you know everyone is going to take the medicine no one wants to jump in early and take any lumps in the short term.

    BTW I’ve already posted work by the http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/index.shtml and an aussie academic that the emission cuts needed are achievable with a mix of energy and increases in energy efficiency. What it lakes it political will. I notice only now that the government is talking about energy efficiency, when they make it a central plank of their policy I’ll take them seriously, banning incandescent bulbs is only a baby step.

    By all mean put nuclear on the table, the auz gov’s head honcho says they have included the total lifecycle including mining, energy production, waste, security and decommissioning but I find it hard to believe it can still be economical including this, but I’m more than prepared to let the facts speak for themselves come what may.

    I would say though the with the advances in renewable esp solar and ones that can deal with the base-load problem you are throwing away money on something that if it was taken up would have use up the worlds high grade uranium ore in a very short time.

  93. Simonjm
    March 2nd, 2007 at 10:49 | #93

    Here we go nice little solution to AGW:

    ‘Nuclear winter’ may kill more than a nuclear war
    http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn11287-nuclear-winter-may-kill-more-than-a-nuclear-war.html

    If we can get India involved we can kill two birds with one stone.

  94. jquiggin
    March 2nd, 2007 at 12:19 | #94

    Observa, have you ever wondered why you have been on the losing side of almost every debate you’ve been on in the last few years? Maybe you should read Bjørn Staerk.

  95. observa
    March 2nd, 2007 at 20:13 | #95

    “your obsession with Mike Rann is wasted on everyone outside South Australia.”
    Spiros, I simply use Mike Rann as a perplexing microcosm of the bigger picture on GW for the average punter here. Personally I am no less confounded by light bulb economics from our national leadership in that regard, nor do I think SA’s Opposition will be less clueless and schizophrenic than the Rann Govt clearly is on GW. I do live in a State with about a quarter of the world’s known uranium reserves and it seems reasonable to ask the question, if it’s OK to dig it up and flog it to nuclear power users(many of whom are Kyoto signatories), why is it not feasible to use it here in SA where we currently burn flammable mud? In JQ, Stern, et al, apparently we have the intellectual knowledge to do such sums as they so happily profess. Quest: Why don’t they? That’s a valid question given two basic facts. ie Many Kyoto signatories have used nuclear power for years and as the Quiggins now lecture us, the world has changed dramatically for continued fossil fuel use (basically the social costs have sky-rocketed) Are they afraid their one percent of GDP methodology for the net costs of GW, if applied to nukes would also sugar coat that industry, just like their GW one? Or, is their methodology really a lot of intellectual wankery and we rely on common sense and intuition here. That means the Mike Ranns of this world can’t proudly boast how they’re one of only 3 jurisdictions to sign up to 60% GG reductions and in the next breath champion V8 car races and exporting Holden V8s to the US and happily flog uranium but ban using it here, but continue burning Leigh Creek lignite. Is it any wonder Kyoto is a pipedream with ‘concerned’ Goreists like that and I accuse ‘one percenters’ like JQ of intellectually sugar coating these turkeys. One percent my arse!

  96. observa
    March 2nd, 2007 at 20:49 | #96

    I’ll respond to Bjorn Staerk in that post. Mind you a clash of civilisations could make GW a secondary problem.

  97. Richard Tol
    March 5th, 2007 at 03:46 | #97

    Isn’t Al Gore a “recycled hack for the tobacco industry”?

  98. Majorajam
    March 6th, 2007 at 05:49 | #98

    Good one Tol. Perhaps your ignorance of the US can attributed to your domicile- either that or central tendency. As it happens, Gore’s role is as publicist for the vast majority of people who do this for a living, (unlike, say, Michael Crichton, who cannot find in the realm of science anyone rivaling his own capacity for critical thought). So, while casting aspersions as to his motives by way of his prior political career may be about as edgy and humorous as a productive trip to the john, it is also at least no less substantive than what you do on your day job. Being you does have its advantages.

  99. Richard Tol
    March 6th, 2007 at 07:42 | #99

    Majorajam: I thought that John Q’s cheap reference to the tobacco industry called for an equally cheap response. But seriously, Al Gore made his fortune in tobacco — or so he says, but then he also claimed to have invented the internet, and to be an eager student of Revelle. He surely is a master of spinning science for political ends.

  100. Majorajam
    March 6th, 2007 at 08:47 | #100

    Silly me, I take what I write seriously though I post anonomously while you post under your own name and rattle off frivolous falsehoods, of which this, is only one of the three in your last post (there were three statements there, right?). It’s not that I care much about Al Gore, it’s that I take the truth seriously.

    Perhaps if you persist I should return in kind- heard any good Theo van Gogh jokes lately?

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