Category Archives: Climate Change

More Jon Huntsman Moderation Grandstanding (Climate Change, etc.)

There is something about the spotlight and garnering the praise of others that must be like crack, because once these centrist  Republicans who like to bash other Republicans get a taste of it, they can’t seem to stop. Take a look at this story. I’m not sure what kind of a site BuzzFeed is, but I get the feeling the author may just get what Huntsman is up to. Even the title seems to be needling him a bit.

When it comes to highlighting his party’s deficiencies, Huntsman has never been shy. In fact, his ascent to national notoriety has been fueled and fed by regular, headline-grabbing attacks on the GOP — a habit that has turned him into every Democrat’s favorite Republican, and every Republican’s favorite punching bag.

Since I have already beat up on Mr. Huntsman before, I won’t rehash that old ground. I want to focus on one part of his critique specifically.

“The minute that the Republican Party becomes the… anti-science party, we have a huge problem.”

Anti-science? This may also be a reference to the evolution vs. creation debate, but it is clearly a reference to climate change which is mentioned earlier in the article. The science of climate change aside, since Huntsman’s concerns are allegedly about the future electoral viability of the GOP, then is he suggesting that there is mass popular support for measures that would have a significant impact on carbon emissions? Which policies would those be? Would the GOP improve their electoral prospects if they supported a large increase in the gas tax? Cap and trade? Since that went over so well last time. If championing climate change is such a winner with voters, why did Obama drop it like a hot potato? I think Jon Huntsman is more concerned with making the GOP more acceptable to his social circle than he is about the GOP’s electoral prospects in general.

Professor: Death Penalty for Global Warming Deniers

Ugh! As I have said before, I’m not inclined to argue the science of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) on political grounds. But I am inclined to comment on the state of the debate. As I said in the article linked above, the insufferable smugness of the AGW true believer crowd is profoundly unhelpful to their cause. This story from Political Outcast is a perfect example of what I mean:

The funny thing is, Professor Richard Parncutt of the University of Graz isn’t even a climate scientist. He teaches Systematic Musicology. So, if you’re one of those global warming deniers, then you shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion because you don’t have enough expertise in climate science, or if you do, you should have your credentials stripped from you because you’ve proven yourself unworthy to have them. On the other hand, if you support the theory of anthropogenic global warming, it doesn’t matter what credentials you have or don’t have, your opinion is vital and true. You could be a bum living in a cardboard box in D.C. with an 8thgrade education and believe that man is causing the earth to warm, and that if the “lords” over in the D.C. castle don’t “do something” about it, humanity will be wiped out, and it will be the fault of all those “deniers.” And that poor bum’s opinion will have more respect than the climate scientists with 18 Ph.D.’s who believe the only thing that’s manmade about anthropogenic global warming is the theory itself.

Read more…

The good professor has changed his original article (follow the links in the article above) presumably in response to criticism, but he seems more concerned with establishing his liberal bona fides in light of his call for the death penalty than he does in walking back from his outrageous premise. Either way, his over the top nonsense has certainly done more harm to the cause he espouses than good. The AGW true believers need to step outside the bubble they inhabit and join the rest of us in the real world where there is, for better or worse, still doubt.

First “ClimateGate,” Now “FakeGate”

Have you been following the “FakeGate” climate change scandal? For those who haven’t, here is a brief recap.

First, some documents (see attachments at bottom of post) from the Heartland Institute, a think tank well know for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) skepticism, were leaked.

AGW skeptics quickly suggested that one of the documents, the one labeled 2012 Climate Strategy, was a rather ham-handed forgery. (See here, here and here.) Some even speculated that Peter Gleick, a prominent AGW believing scientist, was the source of the leaked documents (Heartland does not deny the authenticity of the documents other than the allegedly forged Climate Strategy memo.) and likely the forger of the Climate Strategy memo.

Now Gleick has confessed to impersonating a Heartland Board Member to obtain the leaked documents. He has not confessed to the forgery.

As I have said repeatedly, I have stayed away from the AGW debate to some extent because I don’t like politicized science. I agree with Rod Dreher that simply believing that AGW is likely true should not be “a test of ideological purity” on the right as some have tried to make it. For example, that Newt Gingrich seemed to affirm AGW in his now infamous commercial with Nancy Pelosi has been used by many as proof that Newt is no conservative. Of course Newt is no conservative and the wisdom of doing that commercial can surely be questioned, but acknowledging the possible reality of AGW alone does not tarnish someone’s conservative credentials.

That said, again as I have said over and over, the claim by AGW believers that the scientific debate is settled is obnoxious and maddening. The scientific debate is manifestly not settled or we wouldn’t still be fighting about it. I don’t know enough about climate science to comment in an informed manner on the technical issues involved, but I do follow the debate enough to understand the state of the debate, and the debate is not settled regardless of how smugly the AGW believers insist that it is. (The link at “some documents” above is a textbook case of such smugness.)

What I have been fascinated by is the politics and psychology of this debate. There is clearly a network of AGW true-believers who are on alert to pounch on any AGW sketicism wherever it appears. See for example the Kaminsky AmSpec post. There isn’t a similar crew of Internet commandos who respond to every post on Austrian economics for example. There was a similar crew combatting birtherism as we have even seen on this little ol’ blog. This suggests to me that there is an emotional component motivating the AGW true-believers beyond the alleged integrity of science and saving the planet. My sense is that a lot of the AGW true believers are more motivated (consciously or not) by proving their “I’m not one of those ignorant climate change denialists” bona fides than they are by saving the planet. Being an AGW believer has become for them a sort of badge of enlightenment that separates the believer from the ignorant masses. Accepting AGW has become a sort of class marker for them.

I believe that the insufferable smugness of the AGW crowd has actually hurt their case. Their rhetorical bullying and casual and/or angry dismissal of all skepticism out of hand has cause the skeptics to dig in their heels and gives the impression that they are not as confident as they let on. If the evidence is so overwhelming then why not welcome debate instead of trying to stamp out dissent?

Polls show that the AGW believers are losing ground with the public and even some believers have been willing to admit this. You would think that some of them might get the message and try a different strategy. “Gee, maybe being a pompous know-it-all scold looking down my nose at “anti-science” skeptics isn’t the best rhetorical posture.”

Editor’s Note: I just added a “Climate Change” category.