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Climate Change Catastrophism, As Ridiculous, Sublime And Dangerous As Ever

Talking about “Climate change scepticism is an age-old problem” Brendan Barrett and Sven Åke Bjørke at the UN University manage to be ridiculous, sublime and dangerous at the same time.

“Ridiculous” when they complain of poor communication between (catastrophic climate change) believers and skeptics after using the odious word, “denier”; and when they say that only extreme voices get audience, and at the same time label all skeptics as vaguely paranoid.

“Sublime” when they quote the thoughts of Malthus about advocates “indulging in bitter invectives” instead of being practical and solution-focused (obviously, not even Malthus could get it all wrong).

Finally, “dangerous” when they suggest there is no more time left to debate the causes of climate change. Historically, those who felt there was not enough time to save the world, went on to commit genocide.

  1. 2010/09/30 at 14:33

    Another example of how ignorantly ridiculous it can get:


  2. SME
    2010/09/30 at 12:14

    I responded to the Batter/ Bjorke post as below.
    Unlikely to get past their moderator, but, miracles happen.


    You interpret Malthus thusly:

    “The friend of the present order of things ( e.g., climate sceptics) condemns all political speculations in the gross. He will not even condescend to examine the grounds for which the perfectability of society ( e.g., a low carbon society) is inferred.”

    And, there’s the rub. You are
    (1) putting words in Malthus’s mouth and creating a straw man attack on those who you consider your opponents, on grounds which many do not hold. Equally badly,
    (2) you are postulating a basis for seeking to combat anthropogenic climate change which is not the core issue.

    Your error in (1) is in suggesting that climate skeptics are equivalent to Malthus’s “friends of the present order of things”. Some may be, but that is not what defines a sceptic, it is not what is important about a sceptical position and indeed “being a friend of the present order” contradicts the very concept of scepticism.

    The general sceptical position, which you have apparently failed to appreciate, is that people calling for extreme action (at either extreme) seem to be doing so in many cases

    – with inadequate scientifically acquired data,
    – with inadequate scientific rigour (and in too many cases, no rigour at all),
    – by transforming gross uncertainties into apparent near certain probabilities by redefining words (“very likely” and the like have been as transformed in meaning as has “mission accomplished” in another context),
    – seem often to be motivated by concerns which are not the ones that their actions are claimed to be based on and in too many cases appear to have ulterior motives.

    ie the skeptical position is to desire truth, well founded research, open sharing of information and uncertainties and proper scientific methodology (ie a la Popper rather than a la Popeye).

    Your surprisingly revealing error in (2) is two fold – you equate “perfectability” with “low carbon” (a ‘the science is settled’ concept) and you indicate that your primary concern is not the potential negative effects of climate change, but the pursuit of a low carbon society. There have long been those who have argued the merits of a low carbon society, which often enough means low energy use per capita, limited use of hydrocarbons, proper lifestyles and general “right-thinking”. The last is not a logical extension from the rest, but usually comes as part of the package. Such arguments may well have merit, but they are wholly peripheral to the main issue which is , lest it be lost, to determine if we are causing problems, whether we need to do anything about them and whether we can do anything about them and, if so, how hard do we need to try.

    – IF the world is under dire threat due to anthropogenic causes and,
    – IF the stunning correlation of the AMO with long term temperature cycles is just an incredibly unlikely coincidence and,
    – IF the ongoing cyclical decrease of solar activity over a number of past sunspot cycles has no relationship to the events preceding the “Maunder minimum” and,
    – IF the decrease in solar activity does not have a much greater and as yet badly understood effect on climate than solar radiation levels alone suggest.
    – AND if all the other poorly understood indicators that suggest that “Gaia” is a lot better at maintaining its feedback systems than we credit it for prove not to be true.

    THEN we need to be spending our money on real science, best possible cooperation, best possible use of research funds. We need to eliminate the lying, obfuscation and fortune seeking which is an entrenched and primary part of the current climate change industry.
    If we proceed as we are now, then if there is a hazard to be avoided and a means of avoiding it if we act in time, then many will grow rich on carbon credits, cap and trade, alternative energy and their ilk – but we will not avoid disaster. Our children’s children will curse us chapter and verse – if they survive.

    Until we dispense with the politics and start doing real open honest science, the sceptical position seems like a very sound one indeed.

    Godwin suggests that I should leave the “denialist” taunt unanswered.

  1. 2010/10/26 at 00:10
  2. 2010/10/23 at 09:25
  3. 2010/10/21 at 12:46
  4. 2010/10/21 at 10:31
  5. 2010/10/20 at 05:30
  6. 2010/10/01 at 01:21
  7. 2010/09/30 at 21:17
  8. 2010/09/30 at 13:05

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