Wouldn’t even know …

… if their a**e was on fire. That’s just about literally true of Australia’s climate delusionists. As the hottest temperatures on record set off the predictable (and predicted) bushfires, they keep on with the same old stuff. This Catallaxy thread has it all, if you can stomach it – bogus statistical claims from fools too ignorant to estimate a trend line and too lazy to learn how, silly IPCC and BOM conspiracy theories, absurd economic alarmism about the allegedly catastrophic effects of the carbon price, CO2 as plant food, and so on. Catallaxy’s main rival in the lunar right stakes, the Oz, chimes in with an editorial snarking about Al Gore. Meanwhile, Christopher Monckton has teamed up with pastor, creationist and bigot Danny Nalliah, who blames the bushfires on God’s wrath, to promote an Australian version of the UK Independence Party.

There is no possible evidence or argument that can shift these guys. The only consolation is that, while ignorance is strength in the short run, a political movement that relies on delusion will fail in the end. The US Republicans, and their supporting apparatus of thinktanks, media outlets and blogs have found that out, having lost both elections and credibility. The same is happening here, particularly with respect to alarmist claims about the devastating effects of pricing carbon.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I’m starting a long-postponed project on bushfires and climate change with a former postdoc of mine who’s been working in the US for some years and is back for a long visit, having arrived just as the Tasmanian fires started it.

57 thoughts on “Wouldn’t even know …

  1. Paul W, the comment you’re responding to was intended to be ironic.

  2. In relation to earlier comments re legal aspects of suing deniers, how would these comments be defendable in a court made by the Honorable Warren Truss, acting Opposition Leader, Shadow Minister for guessing or deliberately misleading on a national and global crisis:
    “Indeed I guess there’ll be more CO2 emissions from these fires than there will be from coal-fired power stations for decades.” – January 9, 2013

    From The Conversation:
    “Coal-fired power stations in Australia emit around 200 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This does not include emissions from our coal exports. …. Around 30 tonnes of CO2 per forested hectare were emitted by the Black Saturday Fires in 2009. … Bushfires this year have so far burned around 130,000ha of forest, so have emitted nearly 4 million tonnes of CO2. … So, the bushfires this year have emitted an amount of CO2 equivalent to 2% of Australia’s annual emissions from coal-fired power. … The current bushfires must burn an area of forest greater than Tasmania to generate CO2 emissions equivalent to a year of burning coal for electricity.”
    It is only small steps yet. However if they can drop a megalomaniac bully they can drop dirty coal, you just wait. From ABC News “First Super dumps News Corp stake”

    “Rupert Murdoch advised investors who were unhappy about News Corp’s governance structure to sell out of the company. … Mr O’Connor says First Super is heeding that advice, and is also concerned about the $US65.5 million paid to the top six executives of News Corp, which he says is three times the amount received by the top nine executives of BHP Billiton. … First Super has 72,000 members in the timber, paper and furniture industries and controls $1.7 billion of retirement savings.”

  3. I’m concerned about the way the argument about climate change is being framed here. Given science is not infallible and we routinely see established “scientific facts” being discarded subsequent to new research, it seems unwise to argue that dangerous AGW is an unimpeachable fact.

    I think it is better to view CO2 reduction as a prudent course of action, akin to taking out an insurance policy, given the current and now reasonably long lived preponderance of scientific opinion. I don’t see a need for a more extreme view than that. Moreover, the airing of more extreme views possibly helps nutty right wing propagandists win over some folk who are currently undecided. I guess the best counter-argument to my view is that strong and unequivocal rhetoric is needed to galvanise an urgent public response, but in the medium term (that is, before observable and undeniable catastrophic events become commonplace), strong rhetoric is helps lunatics like Jo Nova paint themselves as the voice of reason.

  4. @Mel

    Absolutely. We have various possible outcomes of CO2 emissions, some of which are both probably and catastrophic. We should act now. As more information becomes available, we can modify our actions.

    What is both heartening and disheartening is that we know from WW2 that tremendous efforts can be made if people truly believe it is necessary, and yet we don’t know what it would take for the majority of the world to believe that action was necessary.

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