A Trio of Climate Change Items

Three of the better items on climate change that have floated by my newsreader in the last day or so:

First up, some propaganda:

Next, an interesting post from Michael Tobis about scientific uncertainty: A Precedent for Failure of Consensus.

Scientists, being human, will err on the side of intuition, and having done so, will cluster together until new evidence changes the picture. Of course, we are amenable to new evidence. That’s the good news. But we can be blind to it if we are comfortable with the herd, and especially if the new evidence is even further from the intuitive sense of things.

And we are still fighting an intuitive sense based on our historical context, that the world is much larger than humanity. That’s totally wrong now, at least insofar as its surface processes go. The earth’s surface is a wholly owned subsidiary of the human enterprise. But most of us are still awestruck by the size and, well, awesomeness, of the world.

That is, our consensus estimate of 2.7 for climate sensitivity is a battle between the evidence at hand and our own innate cultural intuitions, to which as scientists we are not immune.

He continues from there. I found the whole thing really interesting.

Finally, David Roberts interviews Bob Inglis, the former U.S. Representative from South Carolina who was kicked out by a Tea Party opponent in the 2010 primary for the heresy of believing the scientific consensus on climate change: Hey, look, a Republican who cares about climate change!

Q. Tell me about the new organization you’re starting.

A. It’s called the Energy & Enterprise Initiative. It’s an effort to advocate for the elimination of all subsidies for all fuels and the attachment of all costs to all fuels. That’s the free-enterprise fix to energy and climate. If you correct the market distortions and make all fuels accountable for all of their costs, that will drive innovation and as a result reduce CO2 emissions.

The freebies for coal and petroleum are substantial even if you leave out the climate change impacts — just consider the health impacts, or attach to petroleum some of the defense costs in the Persian Gulf.

We want the accountability that is a key value of social-issue conservatives, who believe, as I do, that human beings are responsible actors. The argument to social-issue conservatives will be, if you’re coal, you gotta be accountable! If you’re causing 23,600 premature deaths in the U.S. annually, over 3 million lost work days annually, pay up!

And to the economic-issue conservatives, the argument is, don’t you see the market distortion? If those costs aren’t attached to coal, how will you ever build a nuclear power plant? It used to be convenient for us as conservatives to blame enviros for why we’re not building nuclear power plants, but if we update our rhetoric to the actual facts, what we find is it’s more a question of economics. It just doesn’t make sense to build a nuclear power plant if you can build a coal-fired plant that can belch and burn for free.

For the libertarian conservative, our case will be that we shouldn’t socialize costs and privatize profits. And for the national-security conservative, the case is, why haven’t we broken this addiction to oil? Why has every president since Richard Nixon made the same speech that Barack Obama made last spring? Because we haven’t said we’re ready to fight this thing; we’re gonna make the economics right. We fund both sides of the war on terror. We fund them with our gas pump purchases and then we fund the bombs to blow them up.

So the concept is, all four docks on the waterfront of conservatism, we think we’ve got a case — social-issue, economic-issue, libertarian, and national-security conservatives.

As the only politically conservative climate change skeptic to whom I have ready access, I’m curious what shcb makes of Inglis’s arguments.

33 Responses to “A Trio of Climate Change Items”

  1. knarlyknight Says:

    okay, Bob Golis’ comment is a great description of the reasons to support the economic theory of using policy to make polluters internalize the costs they’ve been externalizing (hoisting on society) in their quest for profits to shareholders, in order to ensure better outcomes for all living things (that means you.)

    But who is Inglis?

  2. jbc Says:

    Actually, Inglis is the real name. Golis is the one I made up in a fit of addled post-it-now-and-get-back-to-work. Anyway, fixed. Thanks.

  3. shcb Says:

    First, I find the choice of words “kicked out” odd, Inglis lost an election, according to Wiki (a disclaimer that always needs to be made) he lost 71-29, not even close. They give the reasons for the loss as support of the bailout and opposition of the surge in Iraq. Not important to the discussion, I just think it interesting the perceptions we have based on our priorities and visions.

    The very little I’ve read of Inglis it seems he is more of a libertarian than a conservative, a libertarian with more liberal than conservative tendencies. I think that explains quite a bit of his comments.

    He wants to eliminate subsidies “for all fuels” to paraphrase Gilda Radner what about all the other “fuels”? Are we going to stop subsidizing wind and solar? How about nuclear and hydro? What about the little ponies in the circus? Why only concern ourselves with the race horses?

    He then wants to make all “fuels” accountable for all their costs. Really? How is he going to do that? What are those costs, and who is going to pay for them? Sure there are some costs associated with pollution or power generated that can calculated; the cost of a coal scrubber and the upkeep can be calculated to the penny. An oil spill will take x amount to clean up. The roads running to the windmills have taken a certain amount of farm land away, that loss of revenue can be calculated. The tricky part comes from the other costs, I put a different cost on the production of CO2 than someone that believes in AGW. I put a different cost on the killing of birds by windmills than JBC does since he is more of a bird lover than I am.

    Does this mean a value can’t be placed on these things? No of course not a value can be placed on them and a value will be placed on them and that value will change as the makeup of congress changes, just as the value of subsidies changes now. Inglis is a career politician, his job is to get people to get people to do what they don’t want to do. Now there are two ways to that, with a stick or a carrot. It seems all he is doing here is replacing the carrot with a stick. That is fine, he can rule either way, but you need to understand what is going on here.

    Back to who is going to pay for them. We are all going to pay for the costs, either in direct energy costs or through taxes. The cost of war to keep oil flowing is a cost of doing business that we all receive benefits from, the alternative is drill here. The cost of subsidies is paid by the taxpayer, the cost of fines is paid by the consumer who is also the taxpayer.

    Which brings up a point you may want to consider. A subsidy is paid for by the taxpayer, of which there are fewer and fewer. Fines to producers, especially fines that force the entire industry to change are passed on to the consumer, many of whom are poor. So in essence you as good liberals, if you agree with Inglis, are proposing to tax the poor. Just sayin’.

    Well, enough for now, I need to get to work.

  4. knarlyknight Says:

    A couple things you miss shcb – first, attributing even a fraction of the cost that CO2 or other pollutants impose on the world and making the polluter pay that cost is better than letting the polluter dump into the commons.

    Second, you completely miss the point by saying it doesn’t matter since we all end up paying those costs anyway through higher costs in general to consume things. The point is to link the cost of the pollution to the price of the product that causes the pollution so that there is a free market signal to avoid that product. Your argument that all taxpayers should pay for armies to secure oil facilities in the middle east or everyone should pay the costs of excess CO2 pollution through a damaged ecosystem is not just socialism but the worst kind of socialism, it’s subsidizing bad things through ignorance or apathy.

    JBC, it’s disconcerting that you still seem to think there is some intelligent key to understanding right wing thinking, and that it is hard to find people who think like that. The key is they have emotional biases based on hate, contempt, a fear of appearing weak, etc. and then will use any rationalization to justify the bias other than facing their underlying emotional issues. Along those lines, Golis provides more insight in this short clip: http://front.moveon.org/hilarious-bill-maher-on-why-republicans-act-exactly-like-14-year-old-boys/?rc=daily.share

  5. knarlyknight Says:

    JBC – fyi your search and replace also switched the Gollis and Inglis references in my first comment, don’t htink you intended to change the comments too… lol

  6. jbc Says:

    I actually don’t remember modifying your comment. I noticed that the names were backwards in it, but I thought that was just a downstream consequence of the confusion I created with my original error.

    I actually think right-wing thinking is not categorically different than left-wing thinking. I mean, yeah, on particular subjects where right-wing and left-wing types have different motivations, their reasoning can be more or less off on one side or the other, and climate change clearly qualifies as as a subject where the right-wing reasoning has been skewed far, far from reality. There are subjects where it breaks the other way, though: sequestration of nuclear waste, genetically modified organisms, and risks of vaccination are all questions where right-wingers tend to hold views closer to the scientific consensus than do left-wingers.

    The takeaway for me is that we’re all human, and each of us is susceptible to the effects of logical fallacies and motivated reasoning. Brains aren’t computers, and humans aren’t vulcans. The challenge is for us to work out methods for arriving at good collective decisions in spite of those weaknesses.

  7. knarlyknight Says:

    I doubt I juxtaposed the names but it seems the more logical explanation and it’s certainly possible.

    And I like your conciliatory explanation that both the left and right have the same grey matter hardware and therefore both are just as susceptible to logical fallacies and motivated reasoning. But within that framework, what I think has happened is that the overall camp of conservative right wingers have drifted farther and farther to the extreme right, to the point that anyone who is slightly to the left of being a moderate right wing conservative is viewed by most conservatives now as a Liberal or a socialist or (insert term for bogeyman here.) Whereas the moderates (liberal or conservative) and the left wingers have, relative to the right wingers, stayed fairly constant in their views. Case in point, it’s commonly been noted that Ronald Reagan was considered very conservative when he was elected but now his policies are considered relatively moderate in comparison to the recent conservative establishment.

  8. shcb Says:

    At the very lowest level of a conversation where there is any chance of some sort of understanding, let alone a compromise, of even swaying someone else’s opinion, is both parties have to be honest with what they, and more importantly, their opponent has said. You can’t just trot out the race card every time you are losing a point.

    A discussion or debate is like a tennis match, you don’t have to win every point to win the match, while you are out there flailing around because your opponent has worked you into a no win situation you are just wasting energy you could use later, and for what? You are going to lose the point anyway!

    The type of tactic Enky uses is one battle field commanders have used since the beginning of time, villainize your opponent. The best way to get your men to kill other men is to get them to believe the opponent is an intrinsically bad person, less than human. Now of course sometimes that is the case, when it is the case, as in the case of the Nazis, you don’t have to convince your men much, and you certainly don’t have to lie about them to accomplish your goal. In other cases you have to be untruthful to get them to believe the opponent is less than human. That is what we have here, Knarly, who is a good and decent person has been persuaded by Enky conservatives are less that human.

    From a let’s have a conversation standpoint, the person being called less than human can simply ignore the jabs and go ahead and make their point, not so with the person who has decided the other is less than human, they have put themselves above the other, and all their ideas and ideals above the other to the point there is no more conversation justified with the less than human.

    Lastly it is imperative to understand the other’s motive and motivation as JBC said above. That is why in business when the you are competing with another person or company for a contract it is important to understand the other’s motivations, put yourself in their shoes as it were.

    Story time.

    My wife and I are going to Europe for a long overdue vacation. We are going in at Amsterdam and leaving from Munich ten days later. We decided to just rent a car and wing it. The first few days are fairly well planned since we need to cover so much ground on so many days and don’t want to travel more than a few hours each day. The last is set because we are going to a dog show in Ulm for 3 days. But the middle, oh the middle.

    As you know I am a little bullheaded, for a woman to live with me for over 30 years my wife is similarly afflicted. The trip was in serious jeopardy because we couldn’t decide how much time to spend in France and how much to spend in Germany, I wanted to spend 2 or 3 days in France since we are committed to 3 in Germany for the dog show. My wife wanted to only spend 1 in France and 5 in Germany. I KNEW I was right, just knew it. Then one evening she said “but I want to spend more time in Germany, this is a trip to Germany.

    At that point I understood the problem, I was going on a trip to Europe and she was going on a trip to Germany, even though we were going on the same plane and driving in the same car. At that point I knew there was no way I was going to win the argument based on merit, we simply have different visions of this trip. So I stopped trying to make my case, my only hope of “winning” is to wait till we get there, don’t make any hotel reservations for those middle 3 days and hope she decides to change her mind once we are there.

    So, the reason I put winning in quotes is because there are several ways for this to play out, we might both hate France and decide to move on, does that mean she won? Or did we both come to a mutual agreement, same if we stay all three days in France, did I “win”? What if we only stay 2 days? Did we both win or lose? This is what a rational discussion with an understanding of the other person’s motivations, needs, wants, vision, whatever is appropriate, looks like, not calling each other a stupid racist.

  9. knarlyknight Says:

    Nice story. (Really.) & it is relevant.

    I’ve got no issue with your latest comment, except: 1. My bias was formed long before I “met” Enk and from significant experience, but I recognize it as a stereotype and there are lots of exceptions & that human behaviour / opinions is a continuum not an either/or.

    And I would point out that the vilification you speak about applies in spades to your views about Muslims / Islamists.

  10. shcb Says:

    “And I would point out that the vilification you speak about applies in spades to your views about Muslims / Islamists.”

    Hmm, I think you have a point. The radical terrorists are off the table, I think we can both agree the are to be hated, like the Nazis. But there are the Muslims/Islamists that want me dead but don’t want to kill me themselves, I think that is where you have a point. Then there are the M/I that don’t want me dead or even harmed, I think we both agree they shouldn’t be vilified.

    I probably go much further into the grey area between the first and second group than you do.

  11. enkidu Says:

    Haven’t had much time to keep up with the ‘debate’ around here as we’ve been vacationing in CO and CND.

    Really shcb? You imply I’m a Nazi for disagreeing with you? But I’m the one who is impolite? Whatever. As I’ve said before, there are some reasonable conservatives, but you just aren’t one of them. Just to use the same example I’ve used before (several times I’m sure) but I think Bill Frist is right about vaccinations while Bill Maher is wrong. Mr Frist is a conservative, while Mr Maher is a liberal of the worst stripe (by your reasoning, someone who actually stands up to rightwing nonsense and smacks it down with facts, stats, humor and backs it up with a million dollar donation to the Obama campaign. huzzah. knarly may be a flaming liberal to you but we respectfully disagree about issues like vaccinations without screaming Nazi, socialist or any of your usual ‘debate’ ‘tactics’.

    There are fewer and fewer reasonable Rs to even ‘debate’ with… why? because your media consumption is 100% bullshit and bluster with a very tenuous connection to reality. Ronald Reagan couldn’t win a R primary these days, he’s waaaaay too ‘lib’.

    But just keep projecting your biases on others and bellowing sociamalism every time someone has the nerve (the nerve!) to disagree with your intellectual eminence (note, if you can’t hear the sarcasm in that, you might be a right wing nut job).

  12. shcb Says:

    when did I imply you are a Nazi?????

  13. shcb Says:

    You remind me of an old Far Side cartoon . What Enky hears: The type of tactic Enky uses bla bla bla bla Nazis bla bla bla. “Hey! You just called me a Nazi!

  14. enkidu Says:

    The type of tactic Enky uses is one battle field commanders have used since the beginning of time, villainize your opponent. The best way to get your men to kill other men is to get them to believe the opponent is an intrinsically bad person, less than human. Now of course sometimes that is the case, when it is the case, as in the case of the Nazis, you don’t have to convince your men much, and you certainly don’t have to lie about them to accomplish your goal. In other cases you have to be untruthful to get them to believe the opponent is less than human. That is what we have here, Knarly, who is a good and decent person has been persuaded by Enky conservatives are less that human.

    Please point out where I’ve said conservatives are less than human. Again, this is an exercise in futility. You won’t be able to find that post. But you are convinced I’m using Nazi tactics, taxamagical, sociamalism, commie, lib, blah blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah. whatever

  15. shcb Says:

    You really can’t understand that paragraph can you? The Nazi reference doesn’t apply to you, if conservatives were actually evil, there would be a legitimate reason to hate them as you do, but they’re not so you have to make shit up to make them seem to be something they aren’t. That is the point. Now this is an analogy, not a direct statement, you really aren’t very smart are you?

  16. enkidu Says:

    Swearing and calling people stupid… thems some ace ‘debate’ tactics
    But I’m the impolite one. lol!

    Please point out where I’ve said conservatives are less than human. Again, this is an exercise in futility. You won’t be able to find that post. But you are convinced I’m using Nazi tactics, taxamagical, sociamalism, commie, lib, blah blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah.

    I think Knarly’s Theorem applies here: if wwnj says it, it must be bullsh!t

  17. shcb Says:

    “Please point out where I’ve said conservatives are less than human” I never said you did, I said you are using the same tactics as those that do, those that do (battlefield commanders) don’t always call their enemy less than human either, but the tactic is the same. In a small way you just did with this generalization: “if wwnj says it, it must be bullsh!t”. Now that isn’t really what I’m talking about, but it is a symptom.

    This is why I said “Now this is an analogy, not a direct statement”. No, there is not place where you have said the exact words “less than human” but you have called me a racist over and over and over, which I’m not, this is an ANALOGY!!!

    1. Battlefield commanders tell their commanders the enemy is less that human even in cases where they aren’t so the men will hate the enemy when they normally wouldn’t.
    2. Enky calls me a racist even though I’m not so others (“his men” in number 1 above) will hate me when they normally wouldn’t

    An analogy.

    The fact that I had to spell that tells me that you really aren’t that smart, I might be wrong, but all I have to go on is our conversations here.

  18. knarlyknight Says:

    Conservatives are not less than human, they just missed the day the kindergarden teacher talked about being nice and not acting like a dick.

  19. enkidu Says:

    knarly – touché

    wwnj, perhaps you forgot about writing this?

    Knarly, who is a good and decent person has been persuaded by Enky conservatives are less that human

    geez buddy, you brought up the whole ‘some lib lady called me a racist’ schtick. I just agreed. Based on your postings you are something of a racist. So what? Maybe if there weren’t some truth to that you wouldn’t be so twisted up in a knot trying to deny it. I’ve pointed out – using your own words – verbatim (look it up) – instances where you’ve used clearly racist language. Plenty more where those examples came from. I’ve challenged you to point out where I’ve said something even remotely like “conservatives are less that human”. You can’t.

    Now the clown team takes the field, wwnj grabs the ball, runs to the sidelines and spikes it into the gatorade “touchdown! socialism! flibbertygibbit!”

    You win again!

    ‘Debate’ with extremists like you is nearly pointless, but funny. I’ve had plenty of decent conversations with reasonable conservatives. You just aren’t one of them. So what? Calling people stupid isn’t ‘debate’. It’s kindergarden name calling.

  20. shcb Says:

    It’s a literary technique called extending the analogy, it doesn’t mean you actually said it.

    Knarly, thanks for the compliment, sometimes somebody has to be the dick, someone has to do it. My wife has two young dogs that she has decided to train by almost total positive reinforcement, stupid. Here trainer thinks this is the way to train a dog, in fifteen years this concept has resulted in one dog trained to a SCH 1, the lowest level of schutzhund training possible. So these too dogs are just out of control, they are getting close to a year old and have no manners and no regard for commands unless it suits them. She was in Baltimore this weekend so I was in charge. The most rebel of the two took off after a rabbit, crossed the road and continued all around two neighbors yards. When I would call it back it would pause, then continue, it had weighed the punishment it was used to getting, a not so stern “don’t do that” to the fun of chasing the rabbit all over 6 acres. When she got home I beat the crap out of that dog, got worried that someone might call the cops, took her inside and beat her some more. The little rebels had a couple issues the rest of the weekend that required a something less but none the less swift and brutal reaction from me. Guess what, they are relatively well behaved now. No more physical contact has been needed. Sometimes someone has to be the dick, when that time comes, I’m your guy!

  21. knarlyknight Says:

    The SPCA is on its way.

  22. shcb Says:

    Ha ha, yeah, I told my wife half the neighbors would probably be calling the cops and the other would problaby be cheering me on a much hell as those two dogs have raised.

  23. knarlyknight Says:

    Well, I disagree with your wife but you are even more wrong. You are thinking and acting like a schoolyard bully, you are not thinking like a dog or an intelligent human being. Dogs are not capable of thinking like people, they are pack animals and their behaviour can only be understood in those terms and any modification in their behaviour is a result of how things are understood according to their only means of understanding – that is the pack mentality/paradigm.

    Dogs respond to rewards, yes, but also respond strongly to immediate negative consequences: the alpha dog throwing them to the ground the second they try to steal a piece of food or threatening them when they try to go somewhere they shouldn’t. That can be mimicked in so many creative ways: a leash snapping tight then releasing, a noisy tin can crashing next to them when they misbehave, or less humane means such as shock collars, etc.

    But your beating of your dog when she got home is just as ignorant as your wife’s reliance solely on rewards. Your dog does not associate the beating with chasing rabbits.

    From a dog’s perspective, events happened like this: I went chasing rabbits and Ricky started yelling (choice made: respond to rabbits and ignore ricky’s useless yelling.) Rabbit fun ended. Ricky is calling. Thirsty. Tired. Time to go home. Ouch!!! Ricky’s acting like a psycho, beating me for coming home. Lesson learned: “take my time coming home and be careful around Ricky because he beats.”

    Congratulations, you’ve made an animal who looks up to you also cower in your presence. Sounds like you have a loving household.

  24. shcb Says:

    I’ve heard that, and I think it is true to a certain extent, but they also do know when they have done something wrong. The beating, which mimicks another dog taking them down and and really wailing on them, did work in relation to her running across the street, they were both more attentive to any call for them to return to us than before.

    But, the other thing they have been doing is digging up one and only one flower pot. A dog that neither of these has ever met burried a bone in that pot a year or two ago, they insist on digging the flowers from that pot even though the bone hasn’t been there for months. So they remember. Now I beat them for digging, they continued to dig the next morning, so you are right in that case, I am going to have to find a different way, they aren’t associating Rick mad, no dig. but they did associate Rick mad, come back to him when he says.

    oh, they did cower for a few hours, pissed all over at my sight, but we’re cool now, we’re friends, they know who is the alpha, but we’re cool.

    There can be stearness in a loving relationship, actually there usually is.

  25. knarlyknight Says:

    I did not say that, dogs don’t remember. But feel free to argue that point all you like and slam-dunk the ball into the gatoraide barrel on the sidelines if that makes you feel good.

    I said you do not understand dog brains because you think that beating a dog after it returns home from doing something bad will help prevent it from doing the bad thing when in fact all it will do is create a cowering animal that is wary when returning home, or in your words, that pisses all over the place when it sees you.

  26. shcb Says:

    Well, we just got back from a walk, a bunny got up and they chased it through the fence, they aren’t supposed to do that, but they stopped and returned on first command, they don’t cower or piss themselves anymore. Don’t know what to tell you, but my methods worked.

  27. enkidu Says:

    As a dog owner, I find you, your story and your existence repulsive.
    You brag about beating your dog so badly it soils itself when it sees you? You only stopped because you were afraid that someone would call the cops? So you moved indoors and beat your bitch again (oh, sorry, am I extending the analogy a bit too far?) Have you stopped beating your wife? jes a little joke har har har

    You ‘extended the analogy’ to say I use Nazi tactics, that I convinced others conservatives are “less than human”… you ‘sir’ are doing that all on your own. Can you back up your claims? Not a shred of evidence, not a shred of human decency.

    You are a sick individual. Sick. gfy

  28. shcb Says:

    Yeah, but I got the results I was looking for.

  29. shcb Says:

    Imagine how utterly devastated I am that someone of the high moral fiber of Enky doesn’t approve of my methods, sleep will come with great difficulty if all tonight as I try and grasp the shame that has befallen me.

    As a s side note, my wife has started using my tactics, albeit to a much more tame level. She won’t admit it, but the results of only three days of proper discipline were staggering.

  30. enkidu Says:

    wwnj – proud to be a sadist

    Any objective reading of your little story would conclude that you abused that animal. You beat it so badly it pissed or shat itself. Then you beat it some more.

    typical Rethugglican. You and Rmoney are more alike than not. At least Seamus ran away at the first opportunity. Here is hoping that your dogs run and keep running: not all humans are violent racist sh!tbags, but most Rs appear to be.

    Run and keep running lil doggie. Godspeed.

  31. shcb Says:

    Ah, proud to have accomplished what i set out to do. 20 years ago I would have been a bad owner to have not properly corrected my dogs for being a pain, now I am a sadist for doing the same.

    Times change, some for the better, some for the worse.

  32. enkidu Says:

    It was great to come home after two and a half weeks on the road. We picked up our dog at our neighbor’s house and boy was he happy to see us! He jumped up once on Mommy, I said ‘down boy’ and he stayed down, ran around shaking his whole body from tip to tail, making those little grunty noises and excited yelp/bark thingees. The neighbor kids were very sad to see him go.

    Beating your dog (twice) so badly it soils itself isn’t a mark of pride and distinction, except for wrong wing nut job sadists.

    I sincerely hope your dogs run away and keep running. Not all humans are sadistic shits, just most wwnjs. Run doggies run!

  33. shcb Says:

    they are fine, they run and jump on me too. actually I think they are happier, they now know what the limits are, I wasn’t beating on them because I enjoy it, they were becoming a threat to themselves and others and needed some boundries.

    In the past my wife has used the same tactics dogs use on themselves, when the misbehaving dog returns, she takes them down and holds their heads to the ground whille growling at them, it really works. If whe had done that early on i wouldn’t have had to go to the extremes I did.

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