Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Deja Vu All Over Again

A number of folks have face palmed at Roger Jr.'s latest observation on the IPCC summary report, expressed in 140 characters or less



AndThenThere'sPhysics is chewing this one over, trying to figure out what Roger Really Meant. 
I engaged briefly in a discussion between Michael Tobis – who appears to be one of the more thoughtful people involved in the climate debate – and Roger Pielke Jr – who, in my view, is not. Michael was trying to get Roger to clarify his position. Needless to say it didn’t go well. Roger accused people of being childish and of Trolling. To be fair, I happen to agree with Roger that much of the online climate debate is indeed very childish. If, however, he thinks he’s some kind of mature influence, then I think he’s sorely mistaken (to be clear, though, I’m certainly not suggesting that I am either). 
Roger’s response was essentially to read his books. Apparently, if we did that we’d understand his views. Well, there are a lot of books in the world. I’d certainly like some kind of sense that I’m not going to be wasting my time. All indications, so far, are that I would be.
 Ethon could have told ATTP, that there is no there there, and the only fitting response to Roger is to ignore him, or make light japes about Roger's incredible ignorance of political science and public policy.  Indeed, as to drive the point home, Richard Tol showed up to play drums in Roger's duet, although, to be honest, Roger stayed away

Now how, young bunnies could Ethon know such things.  Well simple, the Pielkes have a limited but oft times effective playbook and Roger specializes in immature twaddle, as, of course, does Richard.  For example, consider that tweet, and then consider Young Roger's take on the effect if the tobacco companies fight against science which, had there been twitter at the time, would have been tweet
In the battle over smoking efforts to deny a link between smoking and health risks seems to have been completely a lost effort.
continuing
This begs the question -- why has anti-smoking advocacy been so successful over time? The throwaway answer that increasing scientific certainly is the key does not seem to jibe with this data.
As Eli said at the time the problem with this whole line of reasoning is that it is built upon a falsehood. The tobacco industry used advertising, public relations campaigns, Potemkin science, litigation, and any other method it could find to maintain revenues. Deaths were collateral damage. This is no secret to anyone who reads the newspapers let alone science journals. The mortality data and the data on tobacco use and its relationship to advertising both pro and con is readily available to anyone who makes the smallest effort to search. The Potemkin science allowed all of the other efforts to go forward, providing a screen against the imperative necessity of eliminating tobacco that were being uncovered by medical research. The tobacco companies were the successful ones, with all the facts against them, they delayed action for decades, but in the postmodern Pielke World, there are no facts. 

In the context of the IPCC reports, it is important to understand that the Surgeon General's Reports eroded the position of the tobacco companies and built up a mass of evidence that was used in private lawsuits and lawsuits by the Attorney Generals of many states that eventually collapsed the dis-information program of the tobacco companies and lead to the Tobacco Settlement.  That action opened up the Tobacco Archive whose contents showed the massive efforts to discredit science, some of which indeed was beyond belief

Eli awaits Roger complaining that his specific policy proposals have not been discussed. True enough, why waste valuable time discussing immature twaddle.  Tomorrow comes.

64 comments:

John Mashey said...

And if you want to read a good legal thriller, try Bad Acts: The Racketeering Case Against the Tobacco Industry by some folks I know.

GW Bush's folks tried hard to make this not happen.
One more time: tobacco company business plan = addict people during adolescent/YA brain development, make them lifeshort customers and then kill them as slowly as possible.

Altria+PMI = $100B/year.

Shub said...

Smoking is around ~20% of the population in the US and UK. That is a disturbing figure for developed economies.

The tobacco settlement pays out money from customers. Tobacco companies were not hurt significantly by the settlement.

I know the reason why you like the tobacco approach so much but the tobacco-to-carbon analogy does not apply.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Shub,
You didn't actually read the post, did you? Or, if you did, you didn't understand it.

guthrie said...

ATTP - Shub Niggurath is anti-science, so no, they didn't read, or at least didn't comprehend the post.

ALso, if Roger thinks that the IPCC reports are recycled, he's a moron, but since he is playing politics, that has to be a deliberate grandstanding mistake.

On the other hand he is correct about it needing more than the IPCC reports to get the proper change to happen.

...and Then There's Physics said...

guthrie,
Indeed, I've encountered Shub before. I still live in the naive hope that eventually a Shub-like person will actually read something, think about it a little, consider that maybe some of what is said does have merit, and write a comment that is actually constructive and worth responding to. It's unlikely, but not impossible :-)

Shub said...

"...[Roger's] incredible ignorance of political science and public policy..."

You know you and I not friends of the Pielkes.

That doesn't mean you can't see what he says for what it is?

The Democrats have taken a drubbing in the mind-term Senate elections. This happened *because* Obama and Kerry kept talking about the climate when people wanted to hear 'jobs, Ebola, ISIS, immigrants, etc etc'. The carbon tax was thrown out in Australia. The present defeat will in turn damage hopes for Paris.

25 years of agenda-building in the climate policy world has built almost zero popular support. Instead the climate agenda is toxic, it destroys what it touches. Writing borderline ambiguous statements in inter-governmental reports and letting them be used by friendly alarmist journalists and activists has not produced any mass movements or results.

'Tomorrow' is already here.

You don't need a Pielke to tell you this, do you?

You can pass laws crippling tobacco companies or ban 'chemicals' like chlorofluorocarbons'. You can't do the same with hydrocarbon fuels. Definitely not via creeping legislation.

The tobacco story is very attractive to you. It has clear villains. They are corporate. They sell a product and derive profit. The product is harmful. Users keep with it because of addiction. Each sentence above has key moral buzzwords.

The tobacco settlement story is attractive to you but your history-recounting is wrong. The settlement dragged on for ages owing to the tortured US legal system. The lawsuits of the Attorney generals and the surgeon general reports did not 'collapse' any dis-information programs'. The US was a much freer country and even snake-oil salesman had the right to swindle gullible customers. Entities bilking each other is a respectable tradition in American life and business. All the settlement does is transfer money from current smokers to state coffers - an indirect tax. The tobacco companies paid no price.

Leave Pielke out of it, leave Tol. You detest them, you can't stand to hear what they say. I am an anonymous third person, I can tell you - the climate community's approach has to change. I don't know but whatever it is you guys tried for all these years - has not worked. This approach will not work.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Shub,

the climate community's approach has to change. I don't know but whatever it is you guys tried for all these years - has not worked. This approach will not work.

I'm a little confused as to who you are referring to when you say climate community but even if you are correct that it hasn't worked, so what? If the formal role of climate science is to inform and not influence (as many would argue that it is) then if our policy makers choose to do nothing to reduce the risks associated with climate change, that is their decision to make. Unless you're actually suggesting that formally the role of organisations like the IPCC should change so as to have a remit to directly influence policy (rather than to simply inform) I fail to see what they can really do that would be different.

Being somewhat aware of your views, I'd be surprised if you were really arguing that the climate community should change so as to more directly influence policy, rather than to simply inform policy.

Given that you appear to be a mitigation skeptic, I find your views somewhat ironic. Surely you should be pleased that it hasn't been working. Why would you possibly be suggesting that it should change. Could it be that you're becoming concerned that it is actually starting to work?

willard said...

>This happened *because* [...]

Was that a claim of Granger causality, or another kind of claim?

Data and code of all the statistical tests, pretty please with sugar on it.

Shub said...

Willard, there is likely a nuance you missed. Obama's appeal weakened significantly, not because he talked about the climate but because he did not talk about what his constituents wanted and instead talked about the climate.

Climate has thus been delivered a near-fatal kiss by association.

Unlike climate activists who are akin to hardy barnacles, politicians tend to be extremely sensitive to defeat. It is therefore not my causal reasoning that matter but theirs. If they see defeat occurring the face of climate campaigning and its non-acceptance among voters, they will blame climate.

Climate leadership has not worked to sustain politicians' fortunes in the West. It has not worked for Obama, Cameron, Rudd or Gillard.

Activists will not see even the utter annihilation of their cause as defeat. The rest however live in the real world.


...and Then There's Physics said...

Shub,
So, your argument is essentially that politicians tend to think short term and tend to focus on what they think will get them re-elected. Wo'd a thunk it!

By your thinking, even if climate change is a real risk, there is no way that we can ever find a sensible solution given our current political landscape. Not only are you largely proving the point that Eli was making in his post, you seem to be arguing against representative democracy. Or, you're suggesting that you're happy to live in a society that is incapable of solving any problem that requires long-term thinking and making decisions that might disadvantage us today, but that will benefit us in the long term. Personally, I'd rather find ways in which our representative democracies can address an issue such as climate change. Call me an optimist if you will.

Shub said...

Physics, you are unnecessarily expanding the implications of what I wrote. Rabett thinks Pielke Jr is mistaken to slam the climate community for pursuing the same approach over and over again, and that he is incredibly ignorant of public policy. He is wrong on both counts.

Any time an election was fought politicians carefully avoid mentioning climate, as Gillard did in her election and Obama for his second term. Climate change leadership has not worked any wonders for the UK in its domestic politics. The much-vaunted 'leadership in the international stage' did not materialize for the UK or Australia for their climate change act and carbon tax, respectively.

Climate policy *cannot* by pursued by slowly chipping away. It wouldn't whet activists appetites and the approach may not even work. This has been observed in the REDD world already in the form of 'leakage'. If you regulate industry slowly, capital and employment will flow elsewhere. The world may nevertheless decarbonize itself owing to the sheer power of hydrocarbon-driven prosperity - the so-called Hartwell proposition. Rabett doesn't like that either. What is left is for climate activists to realise that climate policies will not succeed without popular support.

Is this a controversial statement? You and I may want to live in a certain world but that has nothing to do with what we actually get.

The purported harms of carbon di-oxide are not in the same class of tobacco, that you can run a purely EPA-rule bureaucrat driven agenda. There is a limit. The Democratic party is staring at that limit in the face. Every article I scan mentions climate policies in the context of the Democrats' defeat or Republicans' victories.

Anonymous said...

Since there is so much noise about Roger's statement, then please point out to all of us which part of the latest IPCC report is going to motivate people to action?


1

...and Then There's Physics said...

Anon,
please point out to all of us which part of the latest IPCC report is going to motivate people to action?
Maybe you could point out where it says that the goal/remit of the IPCC report is to motivate people to action. As I understand it, it is to inform, not influence.

Shub,
Physics, you are unnecessarily expanding the implications of what I wrote.
Quite possibly, but actually engaging in a serious discussion would - based on past experience - seems rather pointless. Given that this discussion relates to how best to influence, rather than inform, I thought it might be appropriate to try and make you what say seem silly and pointless.

J Bowers said...

The parts with the science when it happens. Did you train to be completely dim?

Anonymous said...

RPJr re:smoking is, as oft, in not-even-wrong territory.

As Eli points out, he is clueless as to the reality of the decline in smoking rates - but that's only in developed countries with strong public health policy.

Tell RPJr to go look at some of the developing world.

Anonymous Etc

Shub said...

"Quite possibly, but actually engaging in a serious discussion would - based on past experience - seems rather pointless."

Then don't. I saw you wrote three comments and replied out of courtesy. Why say things if you don't mean them?

The 'climate community' does not consist of scientists alone. Scientists can inform or persuade but you need others to take it forward.

To answer to your second point, unlike your imagination, not all participants in the climate debate are locked in an us-vs-them confrontational frenzy. Whatever blame climate activists might want to lay at Roger Pielke Jr's feet, his favoured policies are even less politically influential than those tried by the present administration. Trying to shovel blame for their failures on Pielke Jr reflects spite and frustration. Online climate skeptics carry even less *direct* political sway. Consequently I can take a step back and tell my activist colleagues where they are going wrong. It does not violate my principles. It does not mean I'm helping them either. People who censor debate and shut down their opponents offend me more than those who passionately fight for their cause.

I watched Michael Mann's UCLA visit on video where he is in a panel talk with three people. Mann did not have anything novel to say and nor did the senior person/scientist sitting in the middle. However, the lady to their right Brenda Ekwurzel said to a question from the scientist about why the climate question proved so intractable:

Scientist: "Nothing has worked. No one has come up with a magic bullet. And there's all kinds of plans out there but no action"

EKwurzel: I think it's one of those situations where we don't realise the scale of action needed to really bend the atmospheric CO2 curve."

Yes, that's right. That's the problem climate activist environmentalists have set for themselves - to bend the atmospheric CO2 curve. Atmospheric CO2 human emissions are a product of the entire of humanity - historical and current and climate activists are trying to bend it. That's setting up oneself against the life force of all humanity. You will face defeat. Do something else.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

That's setting up oneself against the life force of all humanity. You will face defeat. Do something else.

Ok, you think the life force of all humanity should be some black crud from under the ground and burned in an open fire pit. You honor your ancestors. I get that.

Others think differently, because they know where that black crud came from, and how it got there. They honor their future descendents.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Shub,
Then don't. I saw you wrote three comments and replied out of courtesy.
Out of courtesy. That would be a first. Plus, you're rather missing my point, which may be a little subtle, I'll accept. You seem to be agreeing with the basic view that because climate policy has been a failure, the IPCC has been a failure. My point is that the IPCC is only there to inform policy, not influence policy. Therefore, any policy failure is our policy makers fault, not that of the IPCC. They would fail if they didn't succeed in informing. That would appear to be a difficult argument to make. Ignoring their information doesn't qualify as them failing.

Similarly, I might regard a constructive discussion with you as pointless (since it's unlikely to be constructive) but that doesn't mean there can't be a point to engaging with you. Depends what the goals are.

Why say things if you don't mean them?
I didn't say I didn't mean them. I simply acknowledge that I may be misinterpreting what you're saying.

The 'climate community' does not consist of scientists alone. Scientists can inform or persuade but you need others to take it forward.
Certainly, not sure who you think is suggesting otherwise.

To answer to your second point, unlike your imagination, not all participants in the climate debate are locked in an us-vs-them confrontational frenzy.
Possibly, but that is not obvious. I'm not in favour of an us-vs-them frenzy, but it's hard to see that it isn't an apt description. If you're somehow implying that you aren't a player in an us-vs-them frenzy would suggest a significant lack of self-awareness.

Aaron said...

The smoking model worked for the tobacco companies because smoking only kills the smoker, leaving other customers.

This model does not work for the fossil fuel companies because serious climate change damages everything and everybody. This is the deep lesson that our species needs to understand.

However, there is a lag in climate change so that impacts and effects may occur 50 years after the act. Thus, fossil fuel companies, their governments, employees, and customers need to look more than 50 years into the future. They need to be certain whether there will be sea ice to keep the permafrost from melting and the tundra from being turned into atmospheric carbon . . . .

Fossil fuel companies have never looked 50 years ahead and they are not likely to start (voluntarily). They will not see the impacts and effects of climate change well enough, or early enough to save themselves or their companies. This is a lesson for investors.

RP jr. is just an echo chamber for a segment of society that makes money on the consumption of fossil fuel. Stop the noise at its source, and you stop the noise in the echo chamber. Yes, he says what a certain segment of the economy want him to say, and what a certain segment of society wants to hear, but he is more interested in saying something, than in telling the truth. Change the content in the fossil fuel companies' annual reports and you will change the stories told by RPjr.

Shub said...

"You seem to be agreeing with the basic view that because climate policy has been a failure, the IPCC has been a failure. My point is that the IPCC is only there to inform policy, not influence policy."

You make the same mistake you made in your blog. Pielke's tweet is directed at the journalists and activists who have a delusion that the IPCC will write a report and something will happen. Not at the IPCC.

Your criticism of Pielke Jr should have in turn demonstrated that, in fact, the IPCC writing such reports can lead to tangible political change and that the journalists and activists were not deluded to persist in their approach and about how such change was already lowering CO2 fossil fuel emissions.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Shub,
You make the same mistake you made in your blog. Pielke's tweet is directed at the journalists and activists who have a delusion that the IPCC will write a report and something will happen. Not at the IPCC.
That might be a fair interpretation of his first tweet (which I acknowledged). Harder to see how that's a fair interpretation of his second - apocalyptic warmings in scientific reports (well, unless you think that using apocalyptic was not intended to be critical).

Your criticism of Pielke Jr should have in turn demonstrated that, in fact, the IPCC writing such reports can lead to tangible political change and that the journalists and activists were not deluded to persist in their approach and about how such change was already lowering CO2 fossil fuel emissions.
Ignoring that he did indeed appear to tweet a direct criticism of the report (apocalyptic warnings in the form of scientific reports), if all that Pielke Jr was getting at is that we won't do anything, then he may well be right, but so what? I agree that we might not do anything. If Pielke Jr sees himself as someone who can suggest solutions, I fail to see how crowing about the fact that we won't do anything, is an appropriate way to behave (unless his goal is to undermine everything unless it happens to be what he wants).

My point is not that such reports will lead to action. My point is that such reports are simply intended to inform. Choosing to point out on the day of its release that we have a habit of ignoring what these reports says, seems rather churlish and would appear to be more the action of someone trying to undermine the message than of someone who is aiming to be constructive.

It would also have been good if Roger had been willing to clarify what he meant. He chose not to. Why would that be? Could it be that he knew that he'd said something that was sufficiently unclear that it could be interpreted as critical of the IPCC, but could also be defended as you've done? Create confusion, job done?

willard said...

> Climate leadership has not worked to sustain politicians' fortunes in the West. It has not worked for Obama, Cameron, Rudd or Gillard.

Come on, Shub: "has not worked to sustain fortunes" is a tad weaker than "has caused misfortunes", don't you think?

Besides, what kind of cherry pie is this? Obama got two terms. Rudd and Gillard got **elected** with a platform based on an emission trading scheme. Cameron, Cameron: why the hell are you including Cameron in that lot?

You can't walk out of your "because" like that, Shub. Data and code, pretty please with sugar on it.

***

Here's how "because" works, Shub:

> This study examined the possible influence on newspaper coverage of tobacco-related issues by the importance of tobacco in the sample newspapers' economy, the public relations activities of the Tobacco Institute and the importance that journalists place on providing an objective balance of points of views in stories. Modest differences in “support” of tobacco were found in headline slant and in use of tobacco industry sources in major smoking-related stories when newspapers of different regions were compared. Stories show how the tobacco industry attempts to take advantage of reporters' desire to balance stories, but with only limited regional differences.

http://jmq.sagepub.com/content/69/4/987

The PDF is over there:

https://journalism.utexas.edu/sites/journalism.utexas.edu/files/attachments/reese/smoking-and-health-issue-add.pdf

Fernando Leanme said...

This morning I was chewing on a piece of mango as I pondered the USA election results and the terrible situation in Venezuela and I realized the main reason why you guys don't get much traction is your inability to treat this problem as a construction project. What do you want to achieve? That people accept your mid stratospheric relative humidity estimat s for 2036? Nah. You want the world to stop using fossil fuels in a hurry. Now that I told you want you want to do, go read some books.

Russell Seitz said...

Thanks for reminding us of the necessity of constant vigilance.

I had quite forgotten that the Elsa Krebs of the Nanny State used to run WHO.

Shub said...

Willard, Obama uttered not a single word about climate during his second election campaign. He fought on non-election issues. Gillard promised a no-carbon-tax and then backed out. Rudd? This is what Rudd had to say about the carbon tax:

""To begin with we didn't have a mandate for it."

Tony Abbott ran against Aus Labor specifically on the carbon tax issue.

Why forget the hidden negatives? When climate friendly politicians win elections, climate is every ready to take credit.

Electoral defeats come and go but this defeat comes at a crucial time. If Obama's Democratic party loses on one of the two - EPA-regulation based shutdown of coal plants or the Keystone XL pipeline, it will lose the leverage to force deals in Paris. Developing countries will point out the hypocrisy. Even if it parried all three, the Senate won't ratify any treaty, and certainly not a Republican senate. Canada and Australia are in no mood to sign up either.

Among his constituencies the climate/environmental groups have been the biggest mill around Obama's neck. They raise a hue and cry but they never bring in the votes. Greens only make demands but don't live up to their side of the bargain because they are not as big, united or strong as they project themselves to be. If Obama had been pro-business and pro-industry and helped with jobs the criticism would been swift, and endless. But come elections, the young environmentally conscious students cannot be bothered to vote and pull their weight. In other words, they are expensive political liabilities.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Votes and politics are not going to fix the problem, quantum physics and engineering are. Obama know that. You don't. Roger doesn't.

Even more amusing, you aren't even willing to try. Obama has, to the best of his ability. We're going to have a reusable booster land on a barge in the middle of next month (hopefully) and the quantum physics is shaping up nicely. Beyond nicely. But these things take time and money and brains. Pielke is a non-player. So are you.

Russell Seitz said...

Eli, the danger to liberty is as great as that to facticity- as a matter of fact many people elect to purseue happiness by doingthings other people think scary.

The problem is that some of the more timorous have been encoraged to belive that they have a right to stop people from doing anything that scares them.

Russell Seitz said...

Like wasing time turning SpellCheck on and off.

EliRabett said...

Russell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIzRGHuJt_I

Eli's position is a bit more complex and starts with dry cleaner bills. Somewhat like his position on Hummer drivers. Imposition on the commons has a high cost. What you and Dick Lindzen do in private is pretty much your thing.

As an advocate of single payer there are other issues as well.

Russell Seitz said...

My beef is with Gro Brundtland's wannabe WHO successor, Julio Frenk, who has issued a ukase declaring Harvard Yard , Tobacco Free.

Not just smoke -free, mind you, but snuff free, dip free, vaping free and chaw-free.

Never mind the 300 wood burning fireplaces within the gates,or the diesel engines circumvalating the place 24-7-- the NeoPuritans are on the warpath !fekley's buckets

Lotharsson said...

"The carbon tax was thrown out in Australia"

That's quite misleading.

1) We never had a carbon tax. We had a trading scheme with a fixed price leading into market pricing. Abbott and co lied incessantly about it being a carbon tax, but that doesn't make it one.

But that's a nit compared to:

2) The government that brought in the carbon tax was thrown out because it was on the nose (in large part due to a sustained Murdoch-backed lie campaign). The new government repealed the carbon price.

And it did this, despite (IIRC) 70+% of voters in a recent survey wanting a serious response to climate change, and quite a lot of those would acknowledge that the new government is not and has no intention of providing one.

"Gillard promised a no-carbon-tax and then backed out."

That's one of the lies that Abbott and the propagandists endlessly repeated, ironically accusing her of lying on the basis of a lie. She never imposed a carbon tax, and indicated before the election that she intended to put a price on carbon.

"Tony Abbott ran against Aus Labor specifically on the carbon tax issue."

No, he ran against Aus Labor on the carbon tax we never had and by extension claiming that Gillard was a liar, on the alleged mendacity of the government having changed leaders (entirely within the rules) between elections, on the alleged incompetence of the minority government, on shameless lies that the minority government formed legitimately under our democratic rules was illegitimate, on highly dubious claims that the stimulus measures were a waste of money, on astonishingly hubristic claims that the government were poor economic managers and that his mob were obviously better, and more. It was a multipurpose campaign full of FUD and barefaced lies, not one specific to the carbon tax we never had.

(You're also forgetting Howard who (IIRC) supported an emissions trading scheme in order to help avoid losing one of his reelections. The public can and have supported more serious responses to the climate change issue.)

"25 years of agenda-building in the climate policy world has built almost zero popular support."

That's about as acccurate, at least here, as any of Abbott's pre-election slogans.

"The purported harms of carbon di-oxide are not in the same class of tobacco..."

I agree. At high enough levels, which we're driving towards, and over a long enough time frame they are far more harmful to far larger numbers of humans. That probably doesn't help your argument though.

I do agree that "the present defeat will damage hopes for Paris", although we'll see how much it damages Paris itself when that time comes.

willard said...

> Obama uttered not a single word about climate during his second election campaign.

That might be a tiny bit too strong, just like the overall idea of determining election success with positions on climate change might be:


But there is little chance that the few undecided American voters who will decide the razor-close election will cast their ballots based on the candidates' position on climate change.

By attempting to link beliefs on climate change and election success, Shub disregards the middlemen. For instance:

> For Every Minute Of Airtime Fox News Gave Obama Speech, Romney Got Seven

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/11/06/for-every-minute-of-airtime-fox-news-gave-obama/191170

willard said...

Missing link:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-not-a-presidential-election-issue-yet/

garhighway said...

With all due respect to Shub, the tobacco analogy works pretty well at this stage of the proceedings. In each case, Tobacco and Carbon, the opening defense move was to challenge the science through media strategies and the use of pet "experts". So we get the Tobacco Institute on one hand and the Heartland Institute (or CEI or the GWPF or whatever other denier shop you care to mention) on the other. The obvious strategy is to delay for as long as possible the day that a political consensus forms around the scientific consensus, and each industry has made that play.

It might very well be that the end game for each is different: the court system took charge with tobacco and that seems unlikely with carbon. That essentially short-circuited the need for the political process to work. With carbon, it sems like the solution will have to come from the political sector and therefore promises to be a long, hard slog.

But the different end games only point up the similarities in strategy: the carbon folks are going to get to play out the end game the tobacco folks never got a chance at.

I suspect the story ends the same either way, and the day will come when people think of Heartland or CEI (or WUWT and Curry, for that matter) the way people think of the Tobacco Institute now: as despicable people who made some money for a while by providing scientific cover to villians.

Garhighway

Anonymous said...

I see your 7:1 and raise you almost 14:1

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/rich-noyes/2014/09/08/mrc-study-tv-buries-bad-news-obamas-collapsing-polls


In the end we would have been much better off with Romney then the disaster of Obama.


1

willard said...

> In the end we would have been much better off with Romney then the disaster of Obama.

Data, code, and emails for that claim, pretty please with sugar on it.

***

An interesting link:

http://newsbusters.org/search/site/climate

More than 10 news items since a Halloween.

Interestingly, the Media Research Center has received funding by Bradley, Scaife, Olin, Castle Rock, Carthage and JM foundations, and Bob Ward has said that it also receives funding from ExxonMobil.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_Research_Center

Jon said...

Shub,

You wrote:

"This happened *because* Obama and Kerry kept talking about the climate when people wanted to hear 'jobs, Ebola, ISIS, immigrants, etc etc'."

and also

"Obama's appeal weakened significantly, not because he talked about the climate but because he did not talk about what his constituents wanted and instead talked about the climate."

Do you in fact truly believe that Obama talked more about the climate in let's say the last six months than he did about even one of jobs, ISIS, ebola and immigration, let alone all of them together? Or is your claim that any amount of discussion of climate change was a bad idea, no matter how much more time he devoted to discussing the things you think people really wanted him to talk about?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, pretty much every measure of human life is improving, largely due to the use of fossil fuels.

Shub said...

Jon,
It's not the quantity (alone) of what a president speaks about. On ISIS, Ebola and jobs, Obama takes hits - fairly or unfairly. When ISIS stories were unfolding, Obama did things that surprised many people and you had Kerry going around giving climate speeches. The effect was jarring. It is not just climate skeptics - it was lampooned in editorial cartoons. You must know the number of people looking at the cartoons and nodding their heads in agreement. When the Ebola media panic was unfolding, Obama's protection measures seemed half-hearted. Ask Rabett who is otherwise quite militant about vaccinations etc - Obama's tepid response is confusing. On jobs, it has been well-known this has been a jobless recovery. You can't just 'blame Obama' but that's what a lot of people do. The underlying theme, I believe, is that the American public tolerates a lot of things but they don't take well to perceived weakness or indecisiveness in the face of foreign powers. As President, you have some control over not letting things go in that direction. Climate is a good in-betweener agenda. But when things heat up - you must drop climate and tackle. I'm not a close political observer but I got the distinct impression Obama did not do this. Most people are in this category. If they see a president chasing trivia (sorry that's where climate is on people's lists), it's not a good thing.

To further answer this point and willard's, you can consider this a litmus test. Is 'climate' as an issue a heavy hitter enough to divert and hold people's attention from other apparently pressing problems and concerns? If climate were successful in this role, it would have energized a voter base and blunted the Republican wave.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Shub,
OK, so let me get this straight:

Precisely one person has died of Ebola in the US. He gave the disease to two others (about a normal transmission rate for Ebola), both of whom survived.

Not one person within the US has died due to ISIS.

The economy, by every available measure, is improving.

Meanwhile, climate change threatens to cause trillions of dollars of damage to the economy and cost countless lives in the coming century

And your contention is that whenever people get scared of something new, the President and his entire staff should drop everything and tell us, "There, there. Everything's going to be all right?"

Shub, have you heard the Ebola joke?

Ah, you probably won't get it.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, climate change threatens to cause trillions of dollars of damage to the economy and cost countless lives in the coming century

Thank you for providing fertilizer.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Meanwhile, pretty much every measure of human life is improving, largely due to the use of fossil fuels.

Er ... duh! Since our civilization is defacto based upon the combustion of carbon to function, that's kind of a no brainer. Thanks for stating the obvious. What do you not understand that the bad effects of carbon consumption (combustion) are destroying the environment, deeply and insidiously, such that those bad effects have already become apparent and will quickly overwhelm the system through rampant overpopulation and overdevelpoment, a small part of which is the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere? Canary in a coal mine? Get it? Nah, just keep smoking, it's good for you! Doctors recommend it!

Anonymous said...

Destroying the environment, aye?

When I take a hike, that's not what I see. I see pretty much all the native species doing what they've been doing.

The non-natives are intruding to be sure, and we're missing some of the predators, but everything else appears normal.

Lotharsson said...

"When I take a hike, that's not what I see."

So, is that the fallacy of argument from personal ignorance, or the fallacy of argument from anecdotal data in the face of higher quality evidence?

BBD said...

Lotharsson

It's a twofer, if you ask me.

...and Then There's Physics said...

Lotharsson and BBD,
It's what I've often called "the Boris Johnson school of climate science". His particularly expertise involves looking out his kitchen (IIRC) window and noticing that it is snowing. Of course, that is a rather UK-centric analogy, but I imagine each country has their own version :-)

shub said...

willard,
I wrote this ~6 days prior to election day:

https://twitter.com/shubclimate/status/527857083794722816

Anonymous said...

You guys sure seem to devote a lot of time here to those you consider a "waste of time".

Carry on.

BBD said...

Dear Anon.

Trolling is bad form. Exactly repeating previous trollery is extremely bad form. Please up your game.

Anonymous said...

Stopping in here is like looking at a diorama in a museum. Nothing ever changes.

Lotharsson said...

Anonymous, you sure seem to devote a lot of time to looking at a site where it's like nothing ever changes ;-)

Lionel A said...

Some anymouse linking to Max Roser:

"But Dr. Max Roser wants to remind us the world is getting better. That's why Roser, a fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, created OurWorldinData, a website that tells the visual story of how the world is changing.

"We are far away from an ideal world — we should work to end poverty, to end hunger, to end war — but in all of these aspects we are making progress," Roser wrote in an email to Business Insider."

Oh! Wow! Another economist giving a Lomberg class appraisal that is far from the truth. How could Roser know his being barely out of nappies (aka diapers) judging by his photograph.

Must be those roser tinted spectacles he is looking through. He needs to get out more.

I guess it all depends who is in that class of 'we'.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, you sure seem to devote a lot of time to looking at a site where it's like nothing ever changes ;-)

And how did you come to that brilliant deduction?

It takes all of 2 minutes to note all the comments on a post whose last line (quite ironically although quite accurately) asks "why waste valuable time discussing immature twaddle?"

Russell Seitz said...

The 'indeed was beyond belief ' link fails to note the social construction of AEI's hostility to WHO's global regulatory ambitions.

The them President of WHO's previous job was as Chairman of the Socialist International.

Anonymous said...

This thread was a blast. Roger comments on the mistaken inference reporters will probably make, and the Rabetts go nuts. Seems every time Roger does or says anything it sets Eli and the rodents off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VaazQfxGso


1

Anonymous said...

Rabett Run is an infinite deju vu loop.

Mal Adapted said...

Anonymous:

"Destroying the environment, aye?

When I take a hike, that's not what I see. I see pretty much all the native species doing what they've been doing.

The non-natives are intruding to be sure, and we're missing some of the predators, but everything else appears normal."

Aldo Leopold:

"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen."

Anonymous said...

"Who are you gonna believe? Me, or your own eyes?"

Chico Marx

willard said...

> To further answer this point and willard's, you can consider this a litmus test [...]

What was my point, again, and how does a litmus test answer it?

So we go from:

[S1] This happened *because* [...]

to

[S2] Climate leadership has not worked to sustain politicians [...]

to

[S3] Obama uttered not a single word about climate [...]

and now

[S4] If climate were successful in this role, it would have [...]

So Shub is backtracking from causality to plausible deniability, then to absence of evidence, and now to a counterfactual about some evidence of absence.

Shub's case is getting stronger and stronger by the minute. In a few days, we can predict it will become homeopathic.

***

All this to deflect from the fact that the "tobacco industry used advertising, public relations campaigns, Potemkin science, litigation, and any other method it could find to maintain revenues."

In other news:

> “If you show up at The Washington Post or New Republic sites, where there’s an article that’s critical of Russia, and you see that there are 200 comments that sound like they were written by 12-year-olds, then you just don’t bother to comment,” she says.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/08/the-kremlins-troll-army/375932/2/

Lotharsson said...

"It takes all of 2 minutes to note all the comments on a post whose last line (quite ironically although quite accurately) asks "why waste valuable time discussing immature twaddle?""

Well, if we're going to ignore the humourous intent of my comment and pretend that it was a rigorous claim, then rigorously speaking a single two minute visit is nowhere near sufficient to determine that "nothing ever changes".


But taking it that seriously would be foolish, now, wouldn't it? ;-)

Lotharsson said...

"Shub's case is getting stronger and stronger by the minute. In a few days, we can predict it will become homeopathic."

FTW!

Mal Adapted said...

Anonymous:
" 'Who are you gonna believe? Me, or your own eyes?'

Chico Marx"

Chico Marx had an ecological education?

Russell Seitz said...

Mal, try to remember where Shub Niggurath is coming from- the poor creature has has a thousand mouths to feed, not counting tentacles.

Hank Roberts said...

Refreshing in a dismal way to see RPJr agreeing with Krugman that: "... as soon as the political implications of all that research become inconvenient, it all goes out the window."