Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A request to readers - give us your Rubio climate rebuttals

I'd like to try a little experiment here - a little over a week ago, Marco Rubio graced the Internet with his nontheories regarding climate change.  I thought about doing a line-by-line rebuttal and then decided you all might be able to do a much better job than me.

So below I'm putting Rubio's claims down, one at a time for your rebuttals and prebuttals.  As a way of responding to the finding that repeating falsehoods reinforces them, even if corrections are added, the way I want to do this is precede each claim with the truth, then give the claim, and then follow up with more truth.

Just leave your rebuttals and links below in the comments - and please say which claim(s) you're responding to. As they develop, I'll add the best.  What's really needed is a special wiki devoted to refuting his nonsense, but in its absence I'll be the referee (Eli too if he wants), adding the best refutations and links.  I'll look for the most concise, most readily-understood refutations with the most-generally-accepted link sources.  No more than two or maybe three before and after each claim - if a refutation gets bumped, it'll be included as additional sources in footnotes.

Let's see if this works.  To the Rubio quotes!

Claim 1.  Relevant truth:
Claim 1.  Ignorance from Rubio:  "Anything we would do on [climate change] would have a real impact on the economy but probably if it's only us doing it a very negligible impact on the environment."
Claim 1.  More truth:

Claim 2.  Relevant truth:
Claim 2.  Ignorance from Rubio:  "Ultimately if you look at the developing countries which are not developing countries any more, China, India, and others, they're now the largest polluters in the world by far."
Claim 2.  More truth:

Claim 3.  Relevant truth:
Claim 3.  Ignorance from Rubio:  "....On the other hand if we unilaterally impose these sorts of things on our economy it would have a devastating impact on economics depending on which measure it is we're talking about."
Claim 3.  More truth:

Claim 4.  Relevant truth:
Claim 4.  Ignorance from Rubio:  "I think that's what more than anything else is standing in the way of doing anything on this, there has to be a cost-benefit analysis to every one of these principles that people are pushing on and the benefit I think is difficult to justify when you realize it's only us doing it, nobody else is doing this."
Claim 4.  More truth:

Claim 5.  Relevant truth:
Claim 5.  Ignorance from Rubio:  (Responding to the question whether he sees global warming as a threat to Florida)"....The fundamental question is whether man-made activity is what's contributing the most to it.  I understand there's significant scientific consensus on that issue.  But I've actually seen reasonable debate on the principle."
Claim 5.  More truth:

Claim 6.  Relevant truth:  "Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions."  International Energy Agency 2011 (via ThinkProgress)
Claim 6.  Ignorance from Rubio:  "But beyond that the secondary question is is there anything government can do about that that will actually make a difference.... When you look at the cost benefit analyses being proposed, if you did all these things they're talking about, what impact would it really have on these changes that we're outlining?  On the other hand I can tell you the impact that it would have on certain industries and on our economy, and that's where it falls apart."
Claim 6.  More truth:

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amusing tweet re: Rubio --

https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/304244809529450497

Martin Vermeer said...

http://www.marcrobertscartoons.com/cartoons/cartoon2207.jpg

Martin Vermeer said...

It's frankly amazing, and sadly hilarious, how powerless the land of the free and the home of the brave manages to be when it so chooses... of course the rest of the world will sit up and pay serious attention the moment the US of A starts taking the climate issue seriously. How much of China's export is going to the US?

Nyati said...

Rubio should be made to read the 2011 IEA World Energy Outlook
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/11/09/364895/iea-global-warming-delaying-action-is-a-false-economy/

“Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.”

And the World Bank report on climate change:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/11/19/1212181/world-bank-climate-a-4c-world/

Brian said...

Thanks Nyati, I've used your quote and link.

J Bowers said...

Is Rubio's Denial of Climate Change Tied to His Dependence on Koch Oil Money?

carrot eater said...

eh. His comments, at least what you've listed here, seem focused on policy and economics, as opposed to denying physics and scientific observations.

If that's the case, I count that as progress.

anyway, I have a complaint. I almost always understand Brian's prose. Can you add some Eli-style obscurity?

Russell Seitz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Russell Seitz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Russell Seitz said...

Meanwhile , back at Forbes, James Taylor is explaining why we should pay no attention when the authors of the studies he cites complain of gross misrepresentation

Russell Seitz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian said...

Previous comments deleted per commenter request because of typos, in case anyone's wondering.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Egads, I was choking on the straw.

rab said...

Re #4: Cost-benefit analysis only makes sense within a paradigm where doing nothing gains nothing. That's not the case with climate where doing nothing has a major and exponentially increasing cost.

--rab

carrot eater said...

rab, "Re #4: Cost-benefit analysis only makes sense within a paradigm where doing nothing gains nothing. That's not the case with climate where doing nothing has a major and exponentially increasing cost."

that isn't true at all. you calculate the cost of doing nothing, and then the avoided costs by doing something. that's exactly the key part of the cost-benefit analyses that have been done.

Nyati said...

Rubio starts from the cautious assumption "if it's only us taking action".

However, this is a false assumption; the rest of the world is not taking enough action precisely because the U.S. is not.
The world follows American leadership; right now, the U.S. is leading in the wrong direction.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

The Rube's entire position is predicated on the idea that taking action represents a "cost", and that the US will be the only nation bearing that cost. These are both false premises.

First, what is needed is a new energy infrastructure that doesn't rely on fossil fuels. Since fossil fuels are a finite resource, we would need to develop this new infrastructure eventually in any case. The only possible difference it would make is timing.

And since whoever gets to the solution first will be selling that solution to every other nation on Earth, there is a tremendous upside to forging ahead.

The fallacy of the Rube's cost-benefit analysis is that it looks only at the costs of taking action, while ignoring the potential benefits of action and ignoring the costs of inaction.

It is the sort of analysis only a Koch sucker could love.

Brian said...

Some good arguments here. If you have links, please provide them. If not, I'll go hunt them down.

This might not have been the best post for crowdsourcing here at RR where the commenters seem to talk most about the scientific/technical side of things instead of policy (as per carrot eater's comment).

For carrot eater's other comment - yes I can and often do add obscurity to my writing, but where I fall short is in doing it a stylish way. My best bet is to keep it plain.