Now that it is clear that there IS no consensus. See the Greenie article immediately below. Note that there is no mention of any scientific fact in the article even though the article is supposed to be about "taking on global warming deniers". Abusing people as "schmucks" is their level of sophistication. And their "work in progress" by Kevin Grandia seems to be the development of further "ad hominem" abuse!
Joe Romm has an excellent piece over on Salon taking on global warming deniers. It contains some good advice on ways not to feed denialist fires, specifically, when it comes to using terms like "consensus":
One of the most serious results of the overuse of the term "consensus" in the public discussion of global warming is that it creates a simple strategy for doubters to confuse the public, the press and politicians: Simply come up with as long a list as you can of scientists who dispute the theory. After all, such disagreement is prima facie proof that no consensus of opinion exists.
This is the sort of tactic we saw in December when James Inhofe's minions released a list of 400 "prominent scientists" who dispute claims about man-made climate change. A number of them were neither prominent nor scientists. Others actually only disagree about the specifics of the rate and impact of climate change -- not whether it's happening or man-made. But as Romm points out, it's not about "consensus of opinion" -- it's about data and science and scientific conclusions, and needs to be framed as such. And what that data shows is actually worse than the latest "consensus" reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This reflects the progression we've seen in the global warming denier crowd. First, they said global warming wasn't happening. Then they acknowledged it was happening, but swore it wasn't man-made. Then they conceded it was happening and manmade, but doing something about it was just "too costly." And now that most Americans understand of how costly it would be to not take action on climate change, they've resorted to disputing whether scientists are actually in agreement on what's happening to the planet, and pulling out all kinds of bunk arguments to support that idea. Which is precisely why talking about it as "consensus" is problematic. They'll always be able to dig up some folks to disprove that everyone's agreed.
Romm's piece is especially appropriate this week, as the famed ExxonMobil and Philip Morris-lovers at the Heartland Institute bring together as many denialist schmucks as they can dig up for an International Conference on Climate Change in New York, with under the theme "Global Warming: Crisis or Scam?" The event is meant to solidify their denialist message and garner some good press, which they'll probably get. But any examination of the "luminaries" they've invited to speak shows how desperate their attempts at arguing against science have become. (Kevin Grandia is working on a reference list on the conference speakers.) I'd feel bad for them for cobbling together such a pitiful group, except for the fact that they'll probably get plenty of uncritical press out of the whole deal.
Those who live in glass houses....
The Green/Left specialization in attempted character assassination that we see exempified above would seem rather unwise. It invites retaliation. And retaliation is not difficult, as the background of some of their own people is not very inspiring of trust or of any confidence in impartiality. Tim Ball notes:
Kevin Grandia is the writer at Desmogblog which spends its time in personal attacks on people rather than discussing the issues. Despite this a recent article by Mike De Souza claimed Desmogblog was a climate blog. De Souza, although identified as a reporter for a newspaper provides a steady flow of articles in support of the David Suzuki Foundation and the work of Desmogblog.
The Blog itself was formed by James Hoggan owner of a public relations company that has as a client the David Suzuki Foundation and alternative energy companies including Ballard Fuel cells. If there is no conflict there consider that he is has been on the Board of the David Suzuki Foundation and is currently Chair.
Hoggan set up Desmogblog and hired Kevin Grandia to run the operation. Grandia was formerly an assistant to a Canadian Liberal Party Cabinet minister who lost his seat in the last election. Grandia was thus available. He will list the usual pieces of inaccuracy, innuendo and smears that typify his style and the site he runs, but then he has no choice because he cannot and will not debate the science.
And who is trying to muddy the climate debate? All I am seeking is a debate. It's the same as them calling me a climate change denier when my entire career has involved educating people to how much and how often climate changes.
And Iain Murray notes
Note this quote from the Desmogblog site:
The DeSmogBlog team is especially grateful to our benefactor John Lefebvre, a lawyer, internet entrepreneur and past-president of NETeller, a firm that has been providing secure online transactions since 1999. John has been outspoken, uncompromising and courageous in challenging those who would muddy the climate change debate, and he has enabled and inspired the same standard on the blog
Mr Lefebvre is a past President of NETeller because he is currently awaiting sentencing, having pled guilty to federal money-laundering charges. As it happens, I think the application of those laws to his activities were an example of government overreach, but can you imagine the outcry from the enviros if someone on our side was in the same situation?
But now that the Green/Left have lost "consensus" as an argument, abuse is all they have left as a way of reponding when the many gaping holes in the global warming theory are pointed out -- so abuse is what they will continue with, I guess. Honesty would be too much to expect -- JR
PROGRAMME OF THE NEW YORK CITY CLIMATE CONFERENCE
The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, scheduled for March 2-4 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City, has been sold out. Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute, said: "We have literally been overwhelmed with the response and interest of people from all parts of the world wanting to attend this one-of-a-kind conference."
Bast said recent surveys and online petitions show thousands of scientists, economists, and public policy experts believe modern global warming is primarily natural (not man-made) and likely to be very moderate.
Conference organizers had hoped for 300 to 400 attendees, but more than 500 people have already registered, beyond the capacity of the meeting rooms reserved for the event, Bast said.
Media registration also has been brisk, and complimentary media registration from March 2-4 is still open. Media representatives can register at the MEDIA REGISTRATION BOOTH on the 5th floor of the Marriott Marquis at 1535 Broadway during the conference or in advance by contacting Harriette Johnson, Heartland's media relations manager, at 312/377-4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following national advertisement on the conference listing some participating speakers appeared in Wednesday's New York Times and Washington Times.
A complete program for the event, including schedule, bios for nearly 100 speakers, and descriptions of more than 50 cosponsoring organizations, is available here
BRAINLESS BBC DOES IT AGAIN
What is it about the Today programme (BBC Radio 4)? After all, it is supposed to be the thinking person's introduction to the news of the day. But, at 07.21 minutes into the programme this morning, their correspondent shadowing the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband [amazingly given as `Milliband' at the Today web site], on his trip to China blithely blathered the phrase: "to stop climate change" [you can listen in here, at 07.20 minutes into the 06.00 - 06.30 slot - after today, select `Thursday'].
What a nonsense! Whether you believe in `global warming', or not, the one thing on which we can all agree is that humans can never stop climate change. We may be able to influence it, or to modify it, but we can never, never "stop" it. Indeed, because climate is the most complex, coupled, non-linear, semi-chaotic system known, we can't even manage it predictably. Still, I am sure we will all revel in the sight John Humphrys battling solar sun spots, Sarah Montague honing the geometry of the Earth, James Naughtie capping volcanoes, Carolyn Quinn creating fluffy clouds, and Ed Stourton deflecting the ocean currents.
It really is time that the producers of Today expunged from the programme such thinking and sloppy language about climate change, especially as Radio 4 regards itself as a cut above the other more `popular' BBC outlets. Yet, interestingly, a far more critical (and, I might add, fun) approach is often found on Radio 2, witness Jeremy Vine's lovely interview yesterday with the weatherman, John Ketley, who was hilarious about `global warming' and climate change being blamed for everything, even for football managers losing their jobs [you can listen in here, starting at 12.30 minutes into the recording*]. Mind you, I wouldn't put it beyond the Today lot to try (although poor old `sport' does tend to be a tad looked down on by its more lofty presenters).
Unfortunately, too much of Today simply repeats what The Times commentator, David Aaronovitch, has brilliantly termed the `Intelligentsia Default Position', or IDP. Sadly, of course, this does not mean that it is either intelligent or even meaningful.
EU IN FULL RETREAT ON COSTLY CLIMATE POLICY
Europe's metal and paper industries may be given free emission allowances during the post-2013 phase of the EU carbon market, the Commission indicated in two communications announced this week. Brussels is hoping to prevent energy-intensive sectors from fleeing the EU as the bloc's carbon market becomes tighter.
Background: The Commission on 23 January announced plans to beef up the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). But the proposals delayed making a decision over which industries could benefit from either free CO2 emission allowances or a tax on imports from competitors operating in countries with less costly environmental rules.
Preventing 'carbon leakage': "It is not in the interest of the European Union that in the future production moves to countries with less strict emissions limits," the Commission notes in its communication in support of the metals sector, announced on 25 February.
The EU executive is waiting on the outcome of ongoing international climate change negotiations, launched in Bali in December 2007, and has abstained from giving a clear 'yes or no' answer to questions about how Europe's energy-intensive industries could be protected in the event that the climate talks fail to produce a global deal under which competiting producers in third countries would be subject to EU-style emissions caps.
EU industries are complaining that the lack of certainty is affecting business decisions, and have stepped up warnings about the potential for 'carbon leakage', meaning the relocation of energy intensive factories and jobs beyond the EU's borders.
In the absence of a clear industry protection framework, the Commission is making public assurances. "We should support them in this effort through a policy framework which allows this important sector to remain competitive, while contributing to our ambitious climate change and energy policies," EU Industry Commissioner Gnther Verheugen said in a 27 February press release announcing the Commission's communication on forest-based industries.
Verheugen made similar assurances to the metals sector, which "must be able to compete on a level playing field with their global competitors," he said.
FULL STORY here
Wind power shows its dismal form in Texas
This is a truism: Wind power is unavailable when it is very hot or very cold. The reason is that extremes of temperature in winter and summer occur when there is a stationary high and when there is a stationary high the wind does not blow. We can put it another way: The only reliable thing about wind power is that you know it will not be there when you really need it.
A significant event occurred this month and like so many significant events it had to happen in Texas. For the first time, major power cuts were suddenly implemented because of a drop in the wind. Since the birth of Number Watch it has been going on about the insanity of energy policy (see for example, Power Mad) with reminders on roughly an annual basis that power cuts are inevitable and that people are going to die. The Texas incident is just a small taster of what is to come, but the frenetic erection of those modern religious icons, wind turbines, means that successive incidents can be expected to get worse.
The least stupid way of utilising wind power is to pump water up hills. At least the energy is then available when you need it. But religion never had much to do with common sense.
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