“They want to make you poorer”

Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in an interview with James Delingpole, discuss the roles of science education, money, moral superiority, and hypocrisy in the great global warming debate.

The debate between Ebell and Delingpole concerns how important scientific facts are to the discussion. Ebell says yes, facts are important and we are winning that debate; Delingpole says the issue is almost 100% political.

Noted in passing:

  • The issue is largely won by the political Left because they posit the issue in terms of “why don’t you care for the planet?”.
  • The remarkable hypocrisy of the mainstream media in not looking into Al Gore’s immense wealth, which can only be increased by making fossil fuels more expensive, remains unexamined.
  • The Koch brothers are evil. Tom Steyer, on the other hand, is a good guy. The only difference between them is what groups they subsidize.

There is another interview in the same series by Delingpole with Pat Michaels, who is altogether more combative and take-no-prisoners.

All agree that in the last 150 years, there has been warming of 0.8 of a Centigrade degree.

An  interview with Dr. Roy Spencer in the same series discusses cold water ocean circulation, which should help you have a better debate with a global warming catastrophist at the next cocktail party to which you are summoned. I had not known that average ocean temperature was 3C, even in the tropics. It is the average temperature of our climate system.

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Samuel

Is it really so hard to believe that human activities are affecting the environment? Cities are eating up farmland. habitat for wildlife is shrinking. The rivers are polluted. We spew all kinds of crap into the air. Everybody knows this is bad for the environment. If we don’t harmonize human avtivity with the environment we will not be able to sustain humanity.

Richard

You are right; human activities ARE causing local changes, and no one douts that. The question is whether the magnitude is significant on a global scale. The precautionary principle is not helpful here, because that same principle warns us that investing in untested technologies and restricting well-tried industrial activity can also cause terrible and irreparable harm. Health is closely correlated with wealth, and energy is wealth. For my part, I think the natural fluctuations will massively outweigh the puny efforts of humanity–and I’m getting ready for 20 years of cold. Brrrrr.

dalwhinnie

Every person in the grip of eco-catastrophist doctrine needs to be aware of three very large facts:
1) the average temperature of the oceans is 3degrees centigrade, including the tropics. The earth’s oceans hover just above freezing.
2) in the last billion years, 80% of the time there has been no ice at all at the poles, and
3) since 1850, the end of the last little ice age (1300-1850) the earth has warmed 0.8 degrees centigrade.

Humans are responsible for desertification of some environments by over-grazing. If you could shoot every goat that walks the earth, Gaia would probably be pleased. To conclude, however, that we humans are the fountain of eco-catastrophe that Samuel above thinks,is not justified on the facts.

gah

Regardless of how much CO2 we pump into the atmosphere and how high temperatures go, life will persist on earth.

The questions of relevance to us are how far from current levels can we sustain our civilization, at what levels do we start to see serious stability issues, and at what levels do we guarantee negative impacts on the global economy above the cost of averting it.

While it is true, climate models are statistical and we don’t actually know at what levels any of this will happen, this is true of people on both sides of the debate. The hardcore climate change denialists often say that the cost of ‘fixing’ the issue is a waste of money, but they don’t actually know any more than the people creating climate models know what the temperature will be in a given part of the world in 5 years.

Insurance companies calculate the cost of premiums by a series of complex calculations that basically boil down to the probability of a thing happening, multiplied by the seriousness of the probability (lets ignore the horrendous profits that insurance companies make for the moment and pretend that they’re just breaking even in this example). When people say that it’s not worth it to curb CO2 emissions, they want you to believe that the cost of not getting insurance will save you more money than if you were to need it.

They’re certainly entitled to that belief, but they haven’t done the math, and for an increasing number, the fact that we only have a single civilization and a single planet weigh fairly heavily into the equation– you don’t hear the same people saying we shouldn’t be looking out for comets coming our way and having a contingency plan for that… why not?

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