Monday, February 11, 2008

"..the basic threshold for participating in the climate change debate.."

The basic threshold for participating in the climate change debate for Isaac Smith is of course agreeing with his point of view. Anyone that dares to disagree with him is automatically not credible. This is the general mentality of the alarmist camp, with folks like Al Gore and 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley going so far as to compare skeptics to holocaust deniers.

Chirs Horner made a similar observation in regards to Captain Climate and the alarmist disposition:

I attended the CPAC dinner on Friday night at which George Will gave the keynote address. Among several trenchant remarks was the observation that cap-and-trade enthusiast, leading Senate adherent of catastrophic warming theory, and presidential aspirant Sen. John McCain finds corruption wherever he finds opposition to John McCain (before then insisting that rules are rules, McCain won fair and square, so all now should fall into line behind him as “happy warriors”).

I immediately scribbled a note to myself of the similarity between the mindset which Will — among others — attributes to McCain and that of global-warming alarmists, who find venality in all quarters opposing them. E.g, here’s reporting from Al Gore’s acceptance speech for a “Baptist of the Year” award: “[Al] Gore said some Baptist spokesmen deny the reality of global warming because they are locked in a coalition with rich and powerful people who take advantage of the poor for economic profit.”

Similarly, when a list of scientists publishing work that runs contrary to the alarmist thesis, Gore’s spokesman immediately came out and offered the specifics free and otherwise risible dismissal that either “25 or 30” of them had certainly received money from ExxonMobil (leaving about 450 still to smear by implication).

This sentiment is of a piece with the ritualistic incantation that no credible individual can possibly disagree — not “with global warming” — but with the notion of an impending environmental man-made catastrophe, because, it turns out, mere disagreement immediately calls one’s credibility into question (see also here). There is certainly a consistency of thought there.

When you get past their apocalyptic rhetoric and get into the ramifications of their policy prescriptions, the alarmist imperative to besmirch skeptics becomes readily apparent.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Mark,

I came over here after reading your piece in the Examiner this morning.

I'd like to pose the following question for you and your readers. If you were convinced that the damage to our environment that would be caused by a carbon dioxide concentration of 550 ppm (which we're on track to hit by mid-century at the current rate of increase) were really unacceptable, what policy course would you recommend?

I think you'd be well served to come up with a clear answer, because the fact is that among people who spend serious time and effort thinking about this (i.e. enough time and effort to get a PhD in the subject), the great majority would agree with the premise (that 550 ppm CO2 would have unacceptable consequences, at least in comparison to the generally agreed upon worst case scenario of the cost of keeping concentrations below that level (maybe $200/ton C emissions averted, the cost of sucking CO2 out of the air, compressing it to a liquid and pumping it underground, with current technology). I'd be happy to list bad effects of increasing CO2 concentrations, but the point is that they don't need to be catastrophic to justify spending some money to avoid them.

Cheers,
Dan Kirk-Davidoff
Assistant Professor
Dep't of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
U. Maryland.