Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hope springs in Boulder. A misunderstanding in the burrow

In the last post Eli laid out a set of principles

  • The policy debate between us and our allies is about means.
  • The denialists want a debate about ends.
  • We must ally with those who see the dangers of climate change.
  • Denialists must be marginalized, not those who acknowledge the danger and the need for action, though we may differ with them on the level of risk and the needed response.
  • The factual, scientific basis allows us to do all this.
Eli's comments on framing pointed out that if those who think climate change is an important issue try to find the "middle" position as an accommodation, the denialists will leave the middle as the extreme. What is needed is to move the window AWAY from the Inhofe position, which means always pointing out how unacceptable it is

Eli had taken some care, well, maybe not enough, to point out that his disagreement with Michael Tobis, Chris Mooney and Matthew Nisbet was not about science, nor necessarily about their policy recommendations, but how they advocated convincing the broad public
Eli is not comparing Tobis, Nisbet and Mooney to our favored pinati, for one thing, and it is a very important thing, when confronted by climate nuttery, they call it spinach and they don't like it. Still, the tactics they recommend start by condemning what might loosely be called the Hansen-Gore position as way far out, and if not their science, saying that they personally enrage too many people.
Which brings us first to our good news. Ethon came by with an Easter Basket full of Carter's Little Liver Pills and Science Policy Peeps (The lab bunnies decided to experiment. We are still cleaning) and shared with us some news from Boulder. In reply to one Harry Haymuss

This illustrates typical shallowness of thought when it comes to global warming. Supposedly this global warming episode is driven by increased CO2, yet never before in the paleorecord has CO2 (nor apparently any other ghg) led warming, so it has never then caused warming. Obviously then historical attributes of warming periods are irrelevant compared to this phase. Nonetheless, alarmism reigns when massive increases in research (including realistic models) should instead be the result. Changes in the lapse rate are the clue.

Kevin Vranes wrote:

Harry -- just because a long-term independent CO2 change in the past hasn't led temperature (from what can be read in the paleo record, at least) doesn't mean that a change in CO2 now will not force a temperature change. The science is solid enough to surmise a very high certainty that CO2 can lead temperature and I have yet to see any serious, credible dispute to that. The real question is about feedbacks and amplification. Changes in the lapse rate are one small piece of the larger puzzle -- feedbacks and processes abound. You don't need to lecture us about the science around here....that's what RC and CA are for.

calling the spinach, spinach.

So what are Eli's differences with Michael Tobis. Twofold.

First Eli, who disagrees with many on the extreme environmentalist side of the climate policy debate (Greenpeace for example) would be happier to see their position taken as the discussable, extreme than he would to extend that honor to the Competitive Enterprise Institute and their buds at Tech Central Station shutting Greenpeace out. Eli thinks that Michael Tobis wants to shut both extremes out and have a reasonable discussion to convince the lurkers.

The second point is who got the middle. Michael defines the middle as his position. Eli thinks the middle is Al Gore and Jim Hansen's position. A lot of that is what Eli believes is needed. That also has to do with where Eli would put the Overton Window. See point one.

Tobis has always had interesting and reasonable things to say. Eli is just your garden variety batsh*t rabett. MT's new blog will quickly become an important voice in the policy debate and a source of basic climate science information

6 comments:

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks!

Eli thinks that Michael Tobis wants to shut both extremes out and have a reasonable discussion to convince the lurkers.

Hmm. At present I am thinking (about a week earlier than Nisbet & Mooney came out or to my attention, so I get some credit for thinking this independently) pretty much what N&M are thinking: that the scientific community is botching the situation and had best reconsider its tactics.

I rather doubt there are many neutral lurkers, but I try hard not to offend people who disagree with me, and I plan to try harder.

Michael defines the middle as his position. Eli thinks the middle is Al Gore and Jim Hansen's position.

Not exactly. My position is close to Hansen's, and, I suppose, yours. The IPCC is and should be the center. The problem with the extant frame is that it paints IPCC as a pole of a debate. This, we agree, is nonsense.

Hoping the thing with the colored eggs (which I will never quite understand) went well.

best

Gareth said...

Hoping the thing with the colored eggs (which I will never quite understand) went well.

You roll them down a hill. That's all.

Anonymous said...

"The problem with the extant frame is that it paints IPCC as a pole of a debate."

The ironic part (it would be funny if it were not so aggravating) is that "journalists" (including some "science journalists") are the ones who created the false "balance" with denialists on one side and IPCC on the other.

Why anyone should take a journalist and a communications guy serious on this subject is beyond me, at any rate. They have zero training between them in science education.

Anonymous said...

Ugh! Whatever the discussion, and who it involves, I think we can all agree that much of what comes out of Boulder is nonsense.

Vranes and Pielke Jr. have made too many public statements of just garbage to have much credibility.

Steve Bloom said...

FYI, TCS Daily (nee Tech Central Station) appears to have pretty much gone out of the climate denial business as such. Although the subject is still raised as a side-issue in the context of articles like the one on the recent SCOTUS decision, note that there was no article on the WG II release. The new proprietor likely lacks the deep pockets of the prior one, so it may be more a matter of resources than a shift in position. OTOH it has to be good news that global warming is no longer considered to be as important as the areas of interest that remain.

Anonymous said...

# The policy debate between us and our allies is about means.
# The denialists want a debate about ends.
# We must ally with those who see the dangers of climate change.
# Denialists must be marginalized, not those who acknowledge the danger and the need for action, though we may differ with them on the level of risk and the needed response.
# The factual, scientific basis allows us to do all this


Oh god, Eli, please, you are muchly needed to help wipe out the most prolific denialist in Australia.

Not the "scientists", like Carter - but the fossil-fuel think-tank dumb relay who is known as Andrew Bolt. He's horrible... and a bully... with a gig an opinion journo. Worse than that... he once screamed at Al Gore!!

I think he is on his last legs but we need someone of your intellect and climate knowledge to tighten the Bolt's nuts.

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php

If you bring your bunnies I promise you all... there will be no myxomatosis this time (the Bolt is already blind). We were wrong. We love rabbits.

Signed.... Nobull Warning of Leichhardt, Sydney, Australia.