The immaculate conception of climate change denial

This is a public service announcement for the attention of all those who, despite everything, continue to tell themselves anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is not happening: —————– The problem here is your a priori assumption that environmental concern is politically motivated. Unless or until you are willing to question this misconception yourself, I cannot really help you engage with reality. I will therefore be brief: Limits to Growth is not an “agenda” – it is a biological reality: Populations increase unless or until predation and/or food supply intervene to stop them. If there is no water or food available (or capable of being grown), even a desert can be over-populated – telling yourself it ain’t so does not change reality of what is currently happening in Niger: Starvation and death in sub-Saharan Africa is not a food distribution problem – it is a consequence of over-population. Obviously, if you walk around with your eyes closed you will not see the proof of ACD, but I would suggest you put a boxer’s head guard on now to protect yourself against injury. The current energy imbalance (0.6 Watts per – that is causing ACD) is equivalent to 4 hiroshima bombs being detonated every second. Yours hopefully, Rick. —————– If you want to see what prompted this minor rant from me please go here.


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Cognitive Dissonance, Environment, Limits to Growth, Optimum Population, Scepticism. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The immaculate conception of climate change denial

  1. I found SteveB’s counter argument interesting- although I can see how frustrating it is to try and have a formal argument because of all those ‘rule’ breaking. And that leads to ad homs, polite ones, but telling someone they have their head in the sand may be true but gives an excuse to disengage. As for the core argument the counter point is that limits to growth and the consequential mass starvation has been proposed since the 18/19th Century with TR Malthus. Many have followed along with eco-disaster theories and work like Silent Spring. I am not saying that there are no limits to growth, in fact bad things have happened on a fairly regular basis as opposed to a single global ‘End Time’. But, from a counter argument many ‘sceptics’ can dismiss such claims because the ‘boy cried wolf’, although the point of that story is missed as eventually the wolf turned up. Sceptics are on safer ground when this argumentative challenge is taken up, they can point to history- such as whale oil being replaced by fossil fuels, [and they did that not because the whales died out! but fossil fuel was better! I think you will find that whales were harder and harder to find]. They can point to Malthus and how he failed to take into account technology, although we are better informed and I can’t see any fuel or agricultural revolutions happening in the next 30 years. Oh they say what about fusion? or shale gas or to really display how sceptical they are they even swallow e-cat. Evil greens are causing deaths, we stopped DDT, they fail to see that its use stopped when bugs got immune to it, we prevent cheap energy going into African homes and offer crappy solar instead when clearly the last few decades saw no company moving into rural Africa and installing a [inter]national grid. Its funny how ‘consensus’ for AGW is witchcraft but consensus for a +2-4c MWP proves their argument, but the trick is for them to move the discussion, you challenge them on one point and they move on. Sceptics gain ground by controlling the high ground. They deploy huge [although ill-equipped] arguments, they move quickly from one part of the battlefield to the other, changing the subject anytime they are challenged. to win such battles, don’t attack the multiple heads [sorry, changing metaphors!] go for the heart- I the most intriguing aspect of why deniers accept non-sense and then claim sceptism. Why are they not sceptical of idiots like monckton etc? And I would humbly suggest that such battles are not there to be won but as a means to gather intelligence. I am an atheist but spent a decade writing about religion and particularly ‘end time’ mentality- my arguments were not about winning but getting information. My book Serpent in the Labyrinth [Jules Bywater-Lees] [not available yet in uk] may interest you, if you have an email I will send a word doc. Ultimately challenging deniers will not convert them, nothing will, even when shit really hits the fan they will say the MWP was the same, the only future is shale gas blah blah, windturbines are causing fuel shortages etc. The challenge is to provide the voice of reason to those who have not become ‘sceptics’.


    • Rick Altman says:

      Hi Jules. I must confess that I am very prone to making disengagement-inducing comments involving words such as ‘your’, ‘head’, ‘in’, and ‘sand’; and ‘you’, ‘need’, ‘wake’, and ‘up’… I must also confess (as I think you have spotted) that I tend to behave like an evangelist (and thus get depressed when I cannot convert someone)… Your book therefore sounds very interesting (presumably you have read my History page?). Thank you for the kind offer of emailing it (or maybe just a precis?) to me as a Word document. I would be happy to receive it so long as no conditions are attached to my doing so? Tom Blees sort of did this with his book Prescription for the Planet on Fast Breeder Reactors (i.e. nuclear power), but I am afraid I have neither read the book (because I already know and agree with what it says); nor reviewed it on Amazon (as I think he hoped I would). I am just too busy trying to resolve my unemployment (and blogging). Thank you for reminding me that “the point of that story is missed as eventually the wolf turned up”. This is almost a revelation – and I just cannot believe I have never pointed it out to anyone! I have addressed Steve B’s reliance on technological optimism (what I call Prometheanism [faith placed in salvation via human ingenuity] as opposed to Cornucopianism [faith in salvation via nature’s bounty]) at great length on this blog in the past* – and I just could not be bothered to waste my time with him. His mind is closed. * For example: Green philosophy in a nutloaf (23 January 2012).


      • I can’t be bothered with the guy anymore, no sooner does one prove to him about one thing than he totally forgets having ever mentioned it and moves on to some other piece of rubbish science. He mentioned CO2 in humans and when I pointed out that fauna with smaller masses will find such increase toxic to them then he conveniently neglected CO2 from there on He mentioned Mozzies in Siberia and when I pointed out that just across the road in Alaska they are killing herds by the thousands then he stuck to the point of Malaria without so much of a mention as to their increase in numbers, everything I mentioned that proved him wrong simply went right over the top of him. He tried to tell me he has an IQ of 150, I never mentioned mine nor did I bother to point out that those with a high IQ don’t ever say such things, they’d rather say how happy they are to be smart and leave at that. The man is representative of just about every denialist, they understand the issue but don’t have enough matter to comprehend the facts behind the problem. I shan’t be visiting his site any more, not worth the trouble, I have better things to do with my time.


      • Even bad people [i use the term loosely] have their value, see it as the ultimate argumentative challenge. And there is much to learn from the style of argument if it is ever to be successfully challenged. Do you have a source for animals being eaten alive in Alaska? It sounds horrible, but remember all mozzy poo must contribute to the fertility cycle of the tundra. Rick, you don’t have to read the book if it doesn’t grab you 😉 it is 100k words long and I had to force my mother to read it. It needs a re-edit but I have another tale I will tell you about.


      • It’s in one of these four videos on this link, Jules, trouble is I can’t remember which one and they are all at least half hour videos, still, every one of them was very interesting and going by the comments on the blog everybody seemed to agree that they were all very factual, lots of scientists have much to say in them. They really are worth watching.


      • pendantry says:

        @julesbollocks the reference to mosquitos having a devastating effect on Alaska’s Porcupine caribou was in the second part of four of Strange Days on Planet Earth. I know, coz I’m (allegedly) ‘late to the party’: I only just watched part two yesterday.


  2. Lionel A says:

    The problem with Prometheans is that eventually they have to consider entropy – there is no escape. As you alluded to Prometheus, and given how evolution is thought to work, this book should provide thoughtful reading. I read it about ten years ago and probably need to revisit.


  3. I read the Post on the ‘other place’ and found it truly frightening. Because what that father of two seems to be saying is that the single biggest threat to the world is … well read it for yourself, “What is the biggest threat to us who live in the western world? It is the people who want to save us from Global Warming or Climate Change or Climate Disruption as it is called now.” So the science as presented here is wrong. Or that the American Interfaith Power & Light are wrong, see here Or that the many religions that explicitly preach that we have to protect the Planet Earth from the harm we are causing, are wrong. Or that the Green Bible is a mistake, see And on and on and on. About the only saving grace for Steve from that ‘other place’ is that he won’t have long to wait before the evidence of mankind’s changes to our planet is overwhelming. I just hope he has the strength to say to his children that he was wrong when that point is passed.


    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks for those thoughts and links, Paul. It is a shame that, even if you posted them on his blog, Steve would almost certainly not read them… The irresistible force comes up against the immovable object. What makes me so angry is that the fate of humanity – if not all life on Earth – may now all hinge upon the ability of a small elite (the 1%) to prevent energy policy change by maintaining a significant proportion of the population in a catatonic state of unquestioning fossil fuel dependency. It is ironic that we realists get accused of being part of a new religion because, the 1% are actually behaving like drug barons whose survival depends on maintaining demand for their drug: They have assumed the role of the Church so criticised by Karl Marx for being the opiate of the people. As such, climate change denial is a catatonic state from which people cannot be roused unless, like something or someone alerts them to the fact that their reality is a delusion… Unfortunately it is much worse than being caught in The Matrix, because that could be brought down by one brave individual. At times it seems like we have no hope of dismantling The Matrix unless we can turn everyone into a saboteur first; and I just don’t think that this will be possible. I therefore hope Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of the Emperor’s New clothes is a better analogy…


    • jpgreenword says:

      I went to the “other place” as well. Scary! And what people who have similar views do not realize is that dealing with climate change – relying less on fossil fuels – will have so many other positive impacts on our society. Less oil spills from pipelines and offshore rigs. Less air pollution killing people around coal power plants. A democratization of energy production which allows a much greater percentage of society making money from the production of energy. And the list goes on. Even if man made climate change wasn’t real, getting off of fossil fuels would be worth it.


  4. Pingback: Dirty water kills 180 children per hour « Anthropocene Reality

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