Altman of progress towards embracing reality

To mark this blog’s first anniversary today – and highlight the above – I am re-posting the item I posted exactly one year ago (and will return to the subject next week). Apart from the opening reference to my MA dissertation as being a work in progress, this could have been written yesterday:

Sceptical economists are intellectually bankrupt (10 August 2011)

As made clear in About,  I am in the process of completing an MA in Environmental Politics at Keele University in Staffordshire (i.e. in the UK).  As part of the requirements for my MA, I chose to undertake, as my dissertation topic, “A Discourse Analysis of Climate Change Scepticism in the UK”, looking at organisations, economists, scientists, journalists, politicians, and others, which was prompted by my reading the following: — Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway; — Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth about Climate Change, by Clive Hamilton; and — Environmental Skepticism: Ecology, Power and Public Life, by Peter Jacques. This, then, provides the relevant background to the following summary of my findings regarding economists: I looked at 9 such economists (Roger Bate, Ian Byatt, David Henderson, Lord Lawson, Russell Lewis, Alister McFarquhar, Julian Morris, Alan Peacock, and Colin Robinson); and found that, 5 out of the 9 of them equate concern over AGW with a new religion; whereas 4 out of 9 suggest that pressure to take action to mitigate AGW is a politically-motivated conspiracy; and/or that AGW is a problem that is not worth fixing. Lord Lawson is probably the most famous of these people, who, despite acknowledging his own scientific illiteracy, cites the “three greatest lies” of AGW as being (1) that the science is certain and settled; (2) that global warming is actually happening; and (3) that carbon dioxide is a pollutant (see Lawson 2009: p.107). Therefore, although many sceptical economists (and scientists) may wish to draw analogies between concern for the environment and religious belief; and be very dismissive of “an uncritical acceptance of this new conventional wisdom” (Peacock), this does not negate the reality of the Limits to Growth argument; nor change the strong probability that, in addition to being the “greatest market failure in history” (Stern) and “a failure of modern politics” (Hamilton), AGW is the clearest evidence yet that the Earth has a limited capacity to cope with the waste products of human activity (cf. Meadows et al. 2005: p.223). Notwithstanding all of the above, Greg Craven’s argument still holds, i.e. we need to decide how much risk we want to take hoping unpleasant things won’t happen.

Greg Craven's decision matrix

Greg Craven's decision matrix

——————— The reason I want to return to this subject (i.e. the prejudice that drives economists to deny scientific facts) is that it has just come to my attention that the very aptly-named Global Warming Policy Foundation (i.e. promoting policies that will maximise global warming) has – in addition to a serving Bishop in the Church of England on its Board of Trustees – a list people (mostly economists) on its Academic Advisory Council that reads like a global who’s who of climate change denial… It would therefore seem that, when it comes to the ideologically-prejudicial and economically-driven disputation of the basic laws of physics, the World is very small (and may well be flat)!

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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 Anthropocene, Climate Science, Cognitive Dissonance, Denial, Economics, Environment, Growthmania, Insanity, Junk Science, Money Fetishism, Politics, Populism, Pseudo science and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Altman of progress towards embracing reality

  1. Duncan says:

    I am afraid that I cannot accept that CO2 is a “pollutant”. In what sense I ask? It follows that, if this be the case, then nature, the environment, the life force immanent in the universe has been busy polluting itself from day one, so to speak. For, without CO2, there would be no plants. Or are these stores of CO2 also polluted and polluting? I think the author of the article wishes to state that excessive amounts of this inert compound can be, from a human point of view, considered to be polluting. Just as a small dose of a poisonous substance can be innocuous, a larger dose can be fatal. See human bio mass for this effect!

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    • Rick Altman says:

      I am afraid, Duncan, that words like pollutant and poisonous have distinct meanings; as do inert and innocuous. Claiming that CO2 is not a pollutant is one of the most popular memes of climate change denial (also known as “CO2 is plant food”). As you have correctly noted, some things are not harmful in small doses but to be exposed to too much of them can be deadly. UV light and cosmic radiation are in that category; but CO2 is definitely not. If volcanoes had not first pumped CO2 into the oceans there would be no life on Earth; and without any CO2 in the atmosphere the Earth’s surface would be permanently frozen. However, you most definitely can have too much of a good thing; as demonstrated by the planet Venus: Where the Greenhouse Effect got out of control; and too much CO2 in the atmosphere has resulted in surface temperatures and pressures ninety times those here on Earth. https://anthropocenereality.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/like-farting-in-an-elevator/

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    • Patrice Ayme says:

      The Latin “polluere” means “to soil, defile, contaminate” comes from the Greek. It means what came “before” everything was reduced to “mud”. Although CO2 is necessary to life, it becomes lethal to canaries at low concentrations. At 3% it doubles human breathing rate; and makes blood acidic. At 5%, CO2 kills. http://inspectapedia.com/hazmat/CO2gashaz.htm CO2 nearly killed the Apollo XIII astronauts. CO2 will kill the biosphere, reduce the biosphere to “mud”, well before that, from its colossal and persistent greenhouse effect. So calling CO2 a pollutant is amply justified on the ground of what words mean. Parroting fossil fuel propaganda does not thinking make. I am not afraid to say that.

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      • Rick Altman says:

        Thanks for the supporting comments; particularly regarding Apollo 13… I had thought of this and then forgot to mention it. The Crew of Apollo 13 were in a much better situation than much of humanity today: They knew they had a life-threatening problem; and were being supported by a dedicated team of people determined to solve it… Meanwhile, we still have to convince 5% of the scientists 50% of the people and 95% of the politicians that the problem is real; we are causing it; and doing nothing about it is not a good idea… Like dealing with an approaching asteroid on a collision course with Earth, if we wait too long to send up a rocket with an atomic bomb to blow it off course, the collateral damage could be significant.

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      • Patrice Ayme says:

        Politicians, especially in the USA, mostly care about where their next check is coming from. They serve their masters. We have to tax their masters, or then change the constitutions, as in 1789 (French and USA constitutions).

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      • Patrice Ayme: Thanks for the link regarding CO2 but I must remind you of a Buddhist saying; “A half truth is a whole lie”. [Snip – Lengthy re-statement of the CO2 is plant food myth has been deleted so as not to insult anyone’s intelligence. I have permitted the remainder of this comment so that Patrice (who may not be familiar with your input to this blog) can get the measure of your expertise – ML] Then you say: “CO2 nearly killed the Apollo XIII astronauts.” and I must ask you how many children were asphyxiated after being locked in old refrigerators? It is the lack of O2 that kills people. I hope that this will clear up the confusion you seem to have about the canaries: Carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas devoid of color, taste or smell, can form underground during a mine fire or after a mine explosion. Today’s coal miners must rely on carbon monoxide detectors and monitors to recognize its presence underground. However, before the availability of modern detection devices, miners turned to Mother Nature for assistance. Canaries — and sometimes mice — were used to alert miners to the presence of the poisonous gas. Following a mine fire or explosion, mine rescuers would descend into the mine carrying a canary in a small wooden or metal cage. Any sign of distress from the canary was a clear signal that the conditions underground were unsafe, prompting a hasty return to the surface. Miners who survive the initial effects of a mine fire or explosion may experience carbon monoxide asphyxia. http://www.msha.gov/century/canary/canary.asp

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      • uknowispeaksense says:

        You must love getting snipped. I’ve had to completely block you at my blog because of your continual flouting of the rules. Maybe ML will be more forgiving than me. If you are disputing that CO2 nearly killed the Apollo 13 astronauts and that it was a lack of oxygen (as you appear to with your children/refrigerator example), you are completely wrong: The Apollo 13 LM had more than enough oxygen for the astronauts because it had to carry enough oxygen to repressurize the LM after each EVA. Since they never reached the lunar surface (and did not do any EVAs), they had no shortage of oxygen. Therefore, it was most definitely CO2 that nearly killed them. I hope that this will clear up the confusion you seem to have about CO2 and the astronauts.

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      • I’m sure some of this will be enlightening regarding CO2, if you actually want to be enlightened. [Can I respectfully suggest, Douglas, that you research the person you insult before doing so – ML] Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an essential component of photosynthesis (also called carbon assimilation)… [Snip – as above – ML] http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm

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      • Rick Altman says:

        I almost forgot to mention my surprise to see you back here, Douglas, given your previous outburst, which included this classic piece of reality inversion: “I will never reply directly to your irrelevant blog again but, if, when going around the internet, I happen to encounter you, I will make sure that I appraise everyone…of the type of low-life, lying dud that you are. Good Bye…”

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      • Patrice Ayme says:

        May I suggest to Douglas new ideas to repeat ad nauseam. CO2 is good for two reasons: a) It has carbon, which is necessary for life b) It has a double dose of Oxygen, which is also necessary for life. Thus CO2 is TRIPLE goodness! Otherwise the observation of uknowispeaksense is excellent. PA

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  2. Lionel A says:

    The GWPF is well known as an advocacy organization whose ability to maintain charity status, as evidenced by the Gift Aid Declarations allowed on membership fees, is an anomaly that needs protest. One only has to read some of their Policy articles to discover what a skewed view of the science they present. That is proof of advocacy. For example, I have just read a GWPF article entitled ‘Caribbean Corals: What’s Really Been Giving Them A Hard Time?’, which points to coral stresses arising before the recognition of coral bleaching. To be sure, these stresses could well be real but, what the article neglects to point out is that the bleaching need not be only from a change in ocean pH (due to CO2 build up). Furthermore, the pH change is real and adds to any other stressing factors; all of which means it is not make it OK to continue increasing GHG levels. However, this article did originate from CO2 Science; a source well know for its neglect of true scientific analysis.

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  3. Poor delusional Rick allows his ignorance to be known by anyone stupid enough to visit his blog; and there are very few that do so… [Please address your own ignorance here. – ML] How can comments that have no profanity – and only state the truth – be so objectionable to these kind of demented people? Then this idiot complains when the most visited blog site blocks some of his utter nonsense from being posted. [Wonderfully polite as usual, Douglas. This comment is being permitted (albeit heavily-moderated) as testimony to your shameless hypocrisy. – ML] [Snip – Cutting and pasting my comments on other sites is not acceptable – If you do this again you WILL BE blacklisted. For the record, I was clearly mistaken, WUWT have a lot of comments that disappear; and I have not been blacklisted. However, thanks for highlighting the complete failure of WUWT to answer my questions. – ML] What follows shows that your old Australian buddy Mike is as much of a lying piece of crap as you are, Rick. [What was that about not including any profanity, Doug? If you insult me or fellow readers like this again you WILL BE blacklisted. – ML] [Snip – Anyone who reads the Apollo 13 Mission transcript (from which you quoted extensively), will see that the LM did indeed lose most of its oxygen supply BUT that does not change the fact that what nearly killed them was their inability to take CO2 out of the air NOT the exhaustion of their oxygen supply. – ML]

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    • uknowispeaksense says:

      …and Douglas, you are delusional. Seek help.

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    • Rick Altman says:

      As indicated above, Doug, this is your last chance. Make brief comments making a single point without the use of insults or profanity – or they will now not appear.

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      • Lionel A says:

        Douglas might like to ask himself why the Apollo 13 crew had to improvise a ‘scrubber’, if he understands the function of a scrubber in the first instance that is. BTW I was lucky enough to be able to have a tour around Cape Canaveral back in June 1971 with Apollo 15 on the launch pad. I managed some good shots inside the VAB too and some of one of those monstrous ‘crawlers’ using some Agfa CT18 50 ASA (ISO these days) and some of the first and very welcome 100 ASA Fujichrome using a pair of Minolta SRT-101s.

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      • Rick Altman says:

        Thanks for spelling-out the reality of the situation to Douglas. I would like to think that, if he does not understand the meaning of the word “scrubber” (in this particular context), he would go and find out before embarrassing himself further. However, based on his track-record to-date, I am not particularly optimistic. I too have fond memories of ISO, SLRs, and having to chose between aperture-priority and shutter–priority mode, etc..

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  4. Lionel A says:

    “I too have fond memories of ISO, SLRs, and having to chose between aperture-priority and shutter–priority mode, etc” There was no priority system with those SRTs, one simply chose settings to get the best out of the lighting conditions and subject type, they had a dashed good metering system though – when used with a token of common sense, aka experience and lore. I also used Kodachrome II at 25 ASA. Quite an art taking shots of Phantoms coming in to the deck at around 180 knots with that material – but paid off. That old Kodachrome II has maintained its colour balance to this day but it can be a devil to scan at first until one has optimised the scan settings.

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  5. Pingback: Sampson and the Temple of Economic Dinosaurs « Anthropocene Reality

  6. The link below fully explains your blog and your distorted philosophy on this subject that you know nothing about and sent people to a debunked site such as Skeptical Science for some “facts” that have long ago been proven to be nothing but political conjecture. Wise up. The political posturing of ‘climate astrology’ http://triblive.com/opinion/2379398-74/global-warming-hansen-climate-globally-record-trying-activists-hottest-proof

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    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks for being brief, making one point, and not using any profane language, Douglas. Whilst I cannot complain about your use of sarcasm; I think you still need to try harder not to insult people (and/or their intelligence). Yet again you seem to fail to appreciate the difference between a blog (that tells you what you want to hear) and peer-reviewed science (that generally tells you the opposite). Rather than merely continue to state your opinion that black is white as if it were an unassailable fact, I would suggest you read my more recent post about the Wall Street Three; where the comment from Paul Vincelli (i.e. quoted from the Wall Street Journal) is a very appropriate response to you too: “…an op-ed piece in a major newspaper has absolutely no impact on scientific progress, no matter how influential it is on public opinion. If you believe what you wrote, please submit your ideas, with supporting data analysis, to peer-reviewed journals…”

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      • uknowispeaksense says:

        not just a blog, but a Q&A with Marc Morano no less. What a f***ing moron.

        Like

      • Rick Altman says:

        I agree Mike, Douglas does seem to have a flatulence problem. 🙂 However, to be fair to Douglas, I must ask you also to moderate the way you express your frustration (even though I think I share your amazement at his hypocrisy and poor judge of character).

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      • uknowispeaksense says:

        Apologies Rick. I did use asterisks though. I’m tired of mollycoddling these people. If it looks and sounds llike a duck, its a duck. If it looks and sounds like a moron….. Anyway, your blog, your rules and it would be hypocritical of me to flout them. I shall, while I’m here, treat your guests with the respect they deserve……no hang on, that won’t work. I shall, while I am here, temper my language and express my frustration at stupidity, wilful ignorance and dishonesty, internally. Now…..where’s that heartburn tablet?

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      • Rick Altman says:

        No, it would be hypocritical of me to flout them! using asterisks is OK in my book; it was the combination with the word moron that makes your comment transparently (even if entirely understandable) hostile that pushes it over the line.

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      • uknowispeaksense says:

        story of my life.

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    • Lionel A says:

      So explain what this is happening, note information not coming from a commonly recognised AGW blog: Warm seawater forces Conn. nuclear plant shutdown or this: where Dick Lindzen, John Christy, Patrick Michaels and the likes of Morano, Malloy and Monckton should be sent for a holiday. Delingpole should then be sent out to report on how well they are doing. Only morons believe what Morano spouts. He should have a wind turbine and a gas turbine installed on his person giving renewable energy from both ends. The only snag being which end to fit which unit.

      Like

  7. Lionel A says:

    Matt Ridley should be sent on holiday to that Greek resort too given this piece of straw man laden rubbish.

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  8. “Not just a blog, but a Q&A with Marc Morano no less. What a f***ing moron.” This is about the type of assessment that one expects from you Mike [hypocrisy alert! – ML] regarding Marc’s web site that offers up both sides of this issue and that is something that neither you nor Rick will tolerate. For example: [Snip – Morano’s assertions that ‘black is white’ do not alter the likelihood that the Earth’s climate is changing primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels. – ML] [Snip – Gish gallop (including blog popularity comparison) offered in lieu of evidence of scientific inaccuracy has also been deleted (as promised). If you don’t like it (and/or can’t stop it), please go away. – ML]

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    • uknowispeaksense says:

      You’re absolutely correct about Marc Morano’s two sides. First, there is the denier, paid to spread ignorance and then there is the denier who does it for free out of his personal ignorance. Two sides. You’re funny and my previous assessment of you still stands.

      Like

  9. Thanks for proving a point.

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  10. Pingback: There is nothing abstract about climate change denial « Anthropocene Reality

  11. pendantry says:

    Heh. I know I’ve said it before but if you can repost stuff so can I: perception is everything.

    Like

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