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Climate Alarmism and Crony Capitalism, a Marriage Made in Hell

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As reported in the WSJ.  As many of us suspected (knew for a certainty, actually) all along, it has never been about science or the environment.  It has always been about money:

During the decades we’ve been waiting for actual climate data to validate or invalidate our climate models (we’re still waiting), at least one phenomenon has been reliably observed. This is the political domestication and co-optation of the once-vexing global warming hypothesis.

A pioneering shaman of this transmutation was BP CEO John Browne, who in the 1990s declared his company “beyond petroleum,” then proceeded on a series of mergers that made it an even bigger petroleum company. GE, Ford, DuPont and others quickly lined up behind a U.S. cap-and-trade bill. There can be something for everybody in treating carbon dioxide as a problem, they realized. That is, as long as nobody is so crazy (wink, wink) as to actually try to slow down materially the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere.

Which brings us to President-elect Trump’s meeting this week with Al Gore.

Details weren’t released but we can be pretty sure of the message Mr. Gore delivered. It’s the message he’s been delivering since President Obama’s election in 2008: Climate change no longer requires any painful root-canal actions. No need for unpopular energy taxes or giving up our energy-rich lifestyles.

The problem can be solved with handouts to the green energy lobby. Who doesn’t like distributing handouts?

A credulous piece in the New York Times tells us Elon Musk makes a “compelling case” that Tesla would be better off without federal subsidies yet the paper doesn’t tell us what the case is. Here it is: Mr. Musk would certainly be better off without federal fuel-mileage mandates that cause his competitors to make and dump electric cars on the market at a $9,000 loss. But those rules aren’t going away even under President Trump. And there is no sign Mr. Musk is eager to do without his own subsidies. He was last seen berating the California Air Resources Board for failing to create enough “zero-emission” credits to suit Tesla.

A new study from Arthur D. Little finds that, over its lifecycle, an electric car will generate just 23% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gasoline-powered car. If every car on earth were electric, this translates into a mere 1.8% decline in total emissions.

Yet even a small electric car will cost its owner $20,816 more to own and operate than a comparable gas-powered car, and its total “human toxicity”—mainly due to heavy metals and graphite—will be three to five times greater.

This is hardly the first study to demonstrate that electric cars solve no environmental problem. Will it make a difference? No. We’re way beyond that now.



anthropic, interesting graph, thanks. Why, we might ask, have the estimates have been revised by 2-3x over less than two decades? Was there some phenomenal increase in the accuracy of our measuring sensors? Some amazing mathematical breakthrough that allowed the calculations to be performed much more accurately? Unlikely. What we are dealing with instead is a constant tweaking of the inputs and parameters to make the outcome look less absurd and closer to actual observations. That is a good thing, to be sure. But at the same time it underscores that what we are dealing with is not a comprehensive, well-defined, readily-calculable situation, but rather a largely-academic, data-fitting exercise. As to the outlier projections, some might be tempted to argue that they would have been right, but for certain things that they didn't know about or didn't take into account . . . Which is another way of saying that they didn't know what they were talking about. Eric Anderson
Fact of the matter is that estimated climate sensitivity to rising CO2 has fallen sharply in just the last 15 years. Back in 2000, the average peer-reviewed published estimate of the impact of doubling CO2 was 4.5 C. Now it is 0.5 to 1.5 C. Given the trend, it may well be even lower in the years ahead. https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/clip_image005_thumb.jpg?w=899&h=726 No end of the world. No catastrophe. And no notice by the IPCC, which desperately clings to 3.0 C. Otherwise, how to justify their existence? anthropic
Seversky @3: There is much in what you wrote that I can agree with. There are some important environmental issues in the world that need to be dealt with and that could be dealt with. Part of the problem with global warming alarmism is that it has cannibalized nearly all environmental resources and efforts over the past couple of decades. It is nearly impossible to have a discussion about anything environmental without global warming being brought up and taking over the conversation as the bugaboo that needs to be addressed. The constant drumbeat about global warming drowns out any discourse on more current and significant environmental issues. Worse, the siphoning of billions upon billions of dollars in environmental-related funding toward the study of all things global warming takes away resources that could be used to address real environmental issues.
Yes, the climate is always changing but it would be foolish to deny the possibility that the scale of human industrial activity over the whole planet is having an effect on that change.
Yes, it might be foolish to deny the possibility. It would be equally as foolish to assume that human activity is a primary driver or that the human effect is significant. We just can't make assumptions without knowing the data and knowing how things work. Either way, we need objective facts and analyses, not scare stories and faulty models and questionable claims about what might or might not happen at some unknown location at some unspecified time in the future. Furthermore, even if the danger were imminent and certain, it still leaves unanswered the critical social, political and economic questions, as has been pointed out.
Do we really need to wait until Florida or the Netherlands disappear beneath the waves before we admit there might be a problem here?
As Barry pointed out @5 in reference to what I wrote, the fact that X is going to happen does not mean that we can or should do something about it. But let me leave that key point aside for a moment and turn back to the science, given the hyperbolic nature of the question. What database are you looking at – what calculations have you seen – to make you think that “Florida or The Netherlands are going to disappear beneath the waves?” I’ve looked at some sea level data over the years, so I’m curious to know which database you are looking at. On a related note, one alluded to by chris haynes @6, what was the sea level data for Florida or The Netherlands 100+ years ago? How does the comparison of past levels with current levels inform our understanding of the overall amount of change and the rate of change? And what does it tell us about the relative merits of putting our time, money, and energy into: (a) doing nothing, (b) engaging in mitigation, (c) attempting to control sea level by indirectly controlling the global average temperature by indirectly controlling human emissions of carbon dioxide? ----- Unfortunately, the example you gave at the end of your otherwise thoughtful comment highlights one of the key problems with global warming alarmism, and one of the things that drives objective observers crazy: the urgency to address global warming, the need to do something, the cries for action -- invariably all seem to be built upon exaggerated claims, hyperbolic assertions, scare stories, doomsday predictions. Things that have proven less than prescient in the past and that are held together with only the most tenuous connection to the actual scientific data. Eric Anderson
Might I even suggest that IF manmade global warming is occurring--which I doubt seriously is the case, but still--could it be that it might produce net GAINS for our planet? There is an assumption, among many others, of course, that global warming is all bad, catastrophic in every way and so forth. But, that assumption may very well be unfounded and it might be to our benefit as a human species. OldArmy94
Just how fine tuned bacteria are for providing a stable atmosphere for humans, and other higher life, is impressive. For instance, nitrogen regulation,,,
Planet's Nitrogen Cycle Overturned - Oct. 2009 Excerpt: "Ammonia is a waste product that can be toxic to animals.,,, archaea can scavenge nitrogen-containing ammonia in the most barren environments of the deep sea, solving a long-running mystery of how the microorganisms can survive in that environment. Archaea therefore not only play a role, but are central to the planetary nitrogen cycles on which all life depends.,,,the organism can survive on a mere whiff of ammonia – 10 nanomolar concentration, equivalent to a teaspoon of ammonia salt in 10 million gallons of water." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930132656.htm Engineering and Science Magazine - Caltech - March 2010 Excerpt: “Without these microbes, the planet would run out of biologically available nitrogen in less than a month,” Realizations like this are stimulating a flourishing field of “geobiology” – the study of relationships between life and the earth. One member of the Caltech team commented, “If all bacteria and archaea just stopped functioning, life on Earth would come to an abrupt halt.” Microbes are key players in earth’s nutrient cycles. Dr. Orphan added, “...every fifth breath you take, thank a microbe.” http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev201003.htm#20100316a
Nitrogen fixation also highlights another origin of life conundrum for Darwinists:
The nitrogen cicle, irreducible interdependence, and the origin of life Excerpt: So, resuming : Without cyanobacteria - no fixed nitrogen is available. Without fixed nitrogen, no DNA, no amino-acids, no protein can be synthesised. Without DNA, no amino-acids,protein, or cyanobacteria are possible. So there you have a interdependent cycle, with no beginning. But, wait : there is more,,, http://elshamah.heavenforum.org/t1562-the-nitrogen-cicle-irreducible-interdependence-and-the-origin-of-life#2354
Thus, the fact we even have an atmosphere that is capable of supporting humans in the first place is to be considered 'miraculous' and is certainly not to be expected from the Darwinian framework. And if atheists really want to worry about uncontrollable 'warming', then I suggest they worry about the fate of their souls:
Special and General Relativity compared to Heavenly and Hellish Near Death Experiences https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbKELVHcvSI&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5&t=923s&index=1
,,, At least that is a worry about warming that we can actually do something about. Verse:
Romans 10:13 ? for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
How Microbes Make Earth Habitable - February 10, 2016 Excerpt: Nitrogen-Fixing Bacterium Does Solo Performance,,, Plankton Maintain Carbon Cycle,,, Diatoms Promote Diatomic Oxygen,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/02/how_microbes_ma102600.html
The 'Biogeochemical Cycling' of the entire ecology of the planet that enables an atmosphere capable of supporting human life, simply does not fit within the materialistic, i.e. Darwinian, framework:
Biogeochemical Cycling – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09_sWPxQymA
These following sites have illustrations that shows some of the interdependent biogeochemical complexity of different types of bacterial life on Earth.,,,
Biologically mediated cycles for hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and iron – image of interdependent ‘biogeochemical’ web http://www.sciencemag.org/content/320/5879/1034/F2.large.jpg Microbial Mat Ecology – Image on page 92 (third page down) http://www.dsls.usra.edu/biologycourse/workbook/Unit2.2.pdf
Please note, that if even one type of bacteria group did not exist in this complex cycle of biogeochemical interdependence, that was illustrated on the third page of the preceding site, then all of the different bacteria would soon die out. This essential biogeochemical interdependence, of the oldest types of bacteria that we have evidence of on ancient earth,,,
Geobiologist Noffke Reports Signs of Life that Are 3.48 Billion Years Old - 11/11/13 Excerpt: the mats woven of tiny microbes we see today covering tidal flats were also present as life was beginning on Earth. The mats, which are colonies of cyanobacteria, can cause unusual textures and formations in the sand beneath them. Noffke has identified 17 main groups of such textures caused by present-day microbial mats, and has found corresponding structures in geological formations dating back through the ages. http://www.odu.edu/about/odu-publications/insideodu/2013/11/11/topstory1
This essential biogeochemical interdependence of the most ancient life on earth, makes the origin of life ‘problem’ for neo-Darwinists that much worse. For now not only do neo-Darwinists have to explain how the ‘miracle of life’ happened once with the origin of photosynthetic bacteria, but now they must also explain how all these different types bacteria, that are dependent on each other, in this irreducibly complex biogeochemical web, miraculously arose just in time to supply the necessary nutrients, in their biogeochemical link in the chain. As well, though not clearly illustrated in the illustration on the 'Mat Ecology' site, please note that a long term tectonic cycle, of the turnover the Earth’s crustal rocks, must also be fine-tuned to a certain degree with the bacteria and thus plays an important ‘foundational’ role in the overall ecology of the earth that must be accounted for as well. This following study gives strong indication that the long term tectonic cycle of the earth and bacterial life, (and other organic life), indeed work in conjunction with each other to provide a life enabling atmosphere for humans:
The Life and Death of Oxygen - 2008 Excerpt: “The balance between burial of organic matter and its oxidation appears to have been tightly controlled over the past 500 million years.” “The presence of O2 in the atmosphere requires an imbalance between oxygenic photosynthesis and aerobic respiration on time scales of millions of years hence, to generate an oxidized atmosphere, more organic matter must be buried (by tectonic activity) than respired.” - Paul Falkowski http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev200810.htm#20081024a The Goldilocks principle: New hypothesis explains Earth's continued habitability - March 19, 2014 Excerpt: Researchers from USC and Nanjing University in China have documented evidence suggesting that part of the reason that the Earth has become neither sweltering like Venus nor frigid like Mars lies with a built-in atmospheric carbon dioxide regulator – the geologic cycles that churn up the planet's rocky surface. Scientists have long known that "fresh" rock pushed to the surface via mountain formation effectively acts as a kind of sponge, soaking up the greenhouse gas CO2. Left unchecked, however, that process would simply deplete atmospheric CO2 levels to a point that would plunge the Earth into an eternal winter within a few million years during the formation of large mountain ranges like the Himalayas – which has clearly not happened. And while volcanoes have long been pointed to as a source of carbon dioxide, alone they cannot balance out the excess uptake of carbon dioxide by large mountain ranges. Instead, it turns out that "fresh" rock exposed by uplift also emits carbon through a chemical weathering process, which replenishes the atmospheric carbon dioxide at a comparable rate. "Our presence on Earth is dependent upon this carbon cycle. This is why life is able to survive," http://phys.org/news/2014-03-goldilocks-principle-hypothesis-earth-habitability.html
Much like Darwinian evolution is a unfalsifiable pseudo-science, the 'chicken little' global warming scare is also a unfalsifiable pseudo-science. And again like Darwinian evolution, the most paltry of supporting evidence is held up as undeniable proof for global warming and the most damning of countervailing evidence against global warming is simply ignored as inconsequential.
Climate Change is Unfalsifiable Woo-Woo Pseudoscience - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huKY5DzrcLI
And again much like the pseudo-science of Darwinian evolution, if you dare doubt the 'science' behind the global warming scare you are labeled anti-science. Moreover, if Darwinian evolution were actually true then humans would not exist, nor would a life sustaining atmosphere even exist for humans to worry about warming in the first place. If evolution by natural selection were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only life that should be around would be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most 'mutational firepower', since only they, since they greatly outclass multi-cellular organism in terms of ‘reproductive success’ and 'mutational firepower', would be fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution ruled and only the fittest are allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this Richard Dawkins' video:
Richard Dawkins interview with a 'Darwinian' physician goes off track - video Excerpt: "I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly -- a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves -- that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we're stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?" http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/video_to_dawkin062031.html
In other words, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful, and highly efficient reproduction, be realistically 'selected' for? Any other function besides successful reproduction, such as much slower sexual reproduction, sight, hearing, thinking, etc.., would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successful reproduction, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded, and/or 'eaten', by bacteria, as so much excess baggage since it obviously slows down successful reproduction. Moreover, directly contrary to the 'survival of the fittest' assumption of Darwinian evolution, instead of eating us, time after time we find micro-organisms helping us, and each other, in ways that have nothing to with their own ‘survival of the fittest'’ concern.
NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012 Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival. http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2012/nhgri-13.htm We are living in a bacterial world, and it's impacting us more than previously thought - February 15, 2013 Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing "germs" or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,, I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens." http://phys.org/news/2013-02-bacterial-world-impacting-previously-thought.html#ajTabs
The following researchers said they were ‘banging our heads against the wall' by the contradictory findings to Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' thinking that they had found:
Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists - April 28, 2014 Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin's hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true. Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin's theory — at least in one case. "It was completely unexpected," says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan's school of natural resources & environment. "When we saw the results, we said 'this can't be."' We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin's hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?" The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,, The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. "We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists," Cardinale says. "When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn't right, we were completely baffled.",,, Darwin "was obsessed with competition," Cardinale says. "He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don't grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected. ",,, Maybe Darwin's presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong." http://www.livescience.com/45205-data-dont-back-up-darwin-in-algae-study-nsf-bts.html
Indeed, mutual cooperation between bacteria, rather than the 'survival of the fittest' of bacteria, is found to be the rule rather than the exception:
Oceanic microbes behave in a synchrony across ocean basins - March 16, 2015 Excerpt: Researchers have found that microbial communities in different regions of the Pacific Ocean displayed strikingly similar daily rhythms in their metabolism despite inhabiting extremely different habitats -- the nutrient-rich waters off California and the nutrient-poor waters north of Hawai'i. Furthermore, in each location, the dominant photoautotrophs appear to initiate a cascade effect wherein the other major groups of microbes perform their metabolic activities in a coordinated and predictable way.,,, The bacterial groups common to both ecosystems displayed the same transcriptional patterns and daily rhythms -- as if each group is performing its prescribed role at a precise time each and every day, even though these communities are separated by thousands of miles. "Our work suggests that these microbial communities broadly behave in a similar manner across entire ocean basins and that specific biological interactions between these groups are widespread in nature,",,, "Surprisingly, however, our work shows that these extremely different ecosystems exhibit very similar diel cycles, driven largely by sunlight and interspecies microbial interactions," said Aylward, "This suggests that different microbial communities across the Pacific Ocean, and likely waters across the entire planet, behave in much more orderly ways than has previously been supposed," http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150316102112.htm
Moreover bacteria, besides providing vital functions essential for individual human survival, were essential for transforming the primordial earth from a toxic wasteland into the present habitat that is capable of supporting human life.
“Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.” - Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers Bacterial Heavy Metal Detoxification and Resistance Systems: Excerpt: Bacterial plasmids contain genetic determinants for resistance systems for Hg2+ (and organomercurials), Cd2+, AsO2, AsO43-, CrO4 2-, TeO3 2-, Cu2+, Ag+, Co2+, Pb2+, and other metals of environmental concern.,, Recombinant DNA analysis has been applied to mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper resistance systems. http://www.springerlink.com/content/u1t281704577v8t3/ Similar organisms deal with life in the extreme differently, research finds - September 24, 2012 Excerpt: One single-celled organism from a hot spring near Mount Vesuvius in Italy fights uranium toxicity directly – by eating the heavy metal and acquiring energy from it.,, http://phys.org/news/2012-09-similar-life-extreme-differently.html
BA: I notice your summary:
Progressives are so utterly certain of their own brilliance and rectitude, they never even consider opening their minds to consider a problem from a different perspective. That is why progressives are natural authoritarians. They believe that because they are so much smarter and morally superior to everyone else, no one can disagree with them in good faith, and it follows that anyone who does disagree with them is evil, not merely mistaken, and must be crushed by any means necessary.
I think this summary raises very significant issues. Do you care to expand it, or would others want to, in the context of the cluster of polarised, scientific issue- tinged debates that now seem to be a major part of public issues and policy trends? For instance in origins science debates, we have on longstanding record, Mr Dawkins on his view of those who object to his evolutionary materialism, that they are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. This view seems to drive much of the tone of debate. One thing that pricks at my thoughts is the Marxist base-superstructure view, on which any existing frame of thought, authority and governance until the Marxists [whether classic class warfare or the Frankfurt School cultural identity variant makes little difference] showed up. Thus there is an underlying assumption of monopoly of legitimacy in leadership in thought, issues, policy and politics. Where, we can clearly see how progressivism -- in the sense used in recent decades -- is deeply influenced by Marxism. Echoes of Fascist, Nietzschean superman beyond-law political messiahs who come to rescue the mass victim group in the face of allegedly unprecedented crisis and threat also seem to be there in the above. But then, Fascism was in many respects Marxism 2.0. KF kairosfocus
Daniel King: "What’s Barry’s answer?" I did not suggest an answer Daniel. I asked you to assume 10X for the sake of argument. You are unwilling to do so. I am not surprised. Progressives are so utterly certain of their own brilliance and rectitude, they never even consider opening their minds to consider a problem from a different perspective. That is why progressives are natural authoritarians. They believe that because they are so much smarter and morally superior to everyone else, no one can disagree with them in good faith, and it follows that anyone who does disagree with them is evil, not merely mistaken, and must be crushed by any means necessary. Thanks for demonstrating the point I was hoping to demonstrate. I knew Sev, if he answered, would never respond to the question on its own terms. Your answer served to demonstrate the point just as well. Barry Arrington
Daniel King @ 7
let Florida and the Netherlands go under.
Well, maybe we should just save Key West and move all the Netherlands' blondes there. Charles
Assume for the sake of argument (1) global warming is happening; (2) the cost of trying to stop it is 10 times the cost of allowing Florida and the Netherlands to go under. Sev, should we pay that cost even thought it is 10X the cost of doing nothing?
What's Barry's answer? 10X? 50X? 0X? My answer is, let Florida and the Netherlands go under. I don't live in either place, so why should I care? Daniel King
Florida and the Netherlands disappearing beneath the waves? You forgot to tell us when. According to the "medium scenario" of the latest (2013) report by those thousands of unbiased Top Peer Reviewed Scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the sea level will will rise by........ 2 feet in the next 200 years. Talk about a nothing-burger! Its on page 1188, Figure 13.13 Check it out: http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter13_FINAL.pdf Now imagine it was 200 years ago, and you're President Elect Monroe. Your gurus tell you that by 2016 the sea level will be rising 2 feet. What would your action plan be? chris haynes
Sev: "Do we really need to wait until Florida or the Netherlands disappear beneath the waves before we admit there might be a problem here?" Assume for the sake of argument (1) global warming is happening; (2) the cost of trying to stop it is 10 times the cost of allowing Florida and the Netherlands to go under. Sev, should we pay that cost even thought it is 10X the cost of doing nothing? That is the point of EA's comment. Barry Arrington
Seversky @ 3
The rise in the measured levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the slow but steady rise in sea level measured in New York harbor.
You're just another hater of flora & fauna that prefers to leave plants gasping for lack of CO^2 and would like to see fish have shallower safe spaces in which to swim... You hater. Charles
Conservatism, progressivism are irrelevant. The fact is that all processes, whether biological or mechanical, are inefficient and generate waste products. We all know about the exhaust products from coal or oil burning engines but electric vehicles are not exempt from that principle. More electric vehicles means a greater demand for electricity which means more power stations. Rechargeable batteries are only good for a certain number of cycles. More electric vehicles mean more spent batteries that have to be disposed of somehow. The much broader problem is that both private and public companies are irresponsible. As far as they are concerned, they exist to make money through producing goods and services, somebody else can clear up the mess created by making those products. I look at the waste I throw out each week, wrappings, plastic bottles, the hated blister packs, cans etc. Used once and then dumped in a landfill, except for token recycling efforts. Cell phones with a new generation each year which means a small mountain of obsolete models just dumped somewhere again. Whole islands of plastic waste swirling around in our oceans. We are slowly turning the planet into one vast waste dump. We can pretend it isn't there for the moment because it isn't right in front of our eyes but that's not going to last forever. Yes, the climate is always changing but it would be foolish to deny the possibility that the scale of human industrial activity over the whole planet is having an effect on that change. The rise in the measured levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the slow but steady rise in sea level measured in New York harbor. Do we really need to wait until Florida or the Netherlands disappear beneath the waves before we admit there might be a problem here? Seversky
I'm not going to discuss claims of crony capitalism, but there is another important overarching sense in which the debate is not about the science: Even if we set aside the many scientific points that are up for debate and uncritically accept all the claims about global warming* as the 100% verifiable, bona-fide, unquestionable, irrefutable gospel truth -- even if we adopt the scientific case for global warming hook, line and sinker -- the question of what, if anything, to do about it is ultimately a social, political and economic one. One can assume, for purposes of discussion, that all the scientific points marshaled in favor of global warming are true, and yet still have a very genuine, and much needed, debate about myriad issues, including those highlighted in the article: what the impact will be, whether taxes should be imposed, whether subsidies should be granted, and on and on. So very many of the important issues, the ones where the rubber meets the road, really aren't about the science, per se. The problem comes when claims of scientific authority are used to justify a social, political or economic stance. Or when scientists themselves enter into a position of advocacy that goes far beyond the science, while at the same time relying on their scientific credentials to lend their advocacy an air of objectivity. ----- * I use the words "global warming" advisedly. Let's be clear about what the theory claims: that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will cause an increase in the global average temperature. This is really the one and only alleged driver of "climate change" for purposes of the ongoing debate. "Climate change" is a euphemism that detracts from the central claim. The only other negative change of interest allegedly resulting from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is the newly-popularized claim of a slight decrease in the ocean's basic level toward a more neutral pH level -- known in more scary terminology as "ocean acidification." Eric Anderson

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