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.