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Koch-funded study confirms global warming
April 1, 2011 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Koch-funded study confirms global warming.

Not an April Fools joke. The study also used data from Anthony Watts. Skeptics appear to have been hoping the study would cast doubt on global warming.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature site.

Richard Muller's Congressional testimony (PDF).
posted by russilwvong (63 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kochya looking!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:50 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


LOLDENIERS!
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:50 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does it attribute it to union activity?
posted by Beardman at 10:52 AM on April 1, 2011 [30 favorites]


The sceptic in me can't help but assume they have discovered a way to profit from the implication that climate change is real after all.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:54 AM on April 1, 2011 [21 favorites]


Calling it a "Koch-funded study" is simplifying things a bit, from my first skim through the first link. That article states:
Put together under the aegis of Novim, a non-profit group that runs environmental studies, the team gathered up a bit over half a million dollars—including $100,000 from a fund set up by Bill Gates and $150,000 from the Koch foundation, whose animosity towards action on climate change made the Berkeley project look yet more suspicious to some climate-change activists—and got to work. There was also support from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Lab, where Dr Muller and some of his team work.
Here is a more detailed donor list.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:55 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Next, maybe they can fund a study to determine if the world is flat. Because I think science got that one wrong too.
posted by Flood at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2011


I think the term is "Koch-fueled."
posted by chasing at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


I thought we were beyond this. No, wait, let me explain. Here are the stages of global warming denial:

1. The Earth isn't getting warmer
2. Everyone knows that it's getting warmer, but it isn't due to human activity
3. Please, we all know humans are making the Earth warmer, but it's not going to be all bad. Cold climates are going to be able to grow their own food, so it might even be a net win!
4. It's going to be bad, deadly even, but it will cost too much to stop, so we are going to have to get used to it.

Honestly, I thought that the deniers were somewhere between 2 and 3. I didn't realize that there was still a significant crowd at #1.

I guess I need to get out more.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:57 AM on April 1, 2011 [46 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: not to be rude, but that's the overwhelming "duh" in my mind. Why haven't climate change folks figured out the way to get buyin is to show how one can make money by doing things to prevent global warming..
posted by k5.user at 10:58 AM on April 1, 2011


It's Raining Florence Henderson: The sceptic in me can't help but assume they have discovered a way to profit from the implication that climate change is real after all.

Why be skeptical? This list of "Koch Brothers' products" is quite a varied list of companies and industries, and any number of them could benefit from activities related to addressing climate change.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:59 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I imagine that if, 10 to 20 years from now, climate change continues to worsen, the hardcore deniers will move from denial of the science to blaming the scientists for not doing anything about it.
posted by perhapses at 11:00 AM on April 1, 2011 [51 favorites]


The Kochs don't seem to be in a hurry to update their crank page.
posted by Iridic at 11:00 AM on April 1, 2011


2. Everyone knows that it's getting warmer, but it isn't due to human activity

I've never understood how this is a dismissal of the issue. It doesn't matter what is causing it (except to determine possible solutions), even if it isn't due to human activity, we still need to do something about it.

Seasonal flooding isn't usually caused by human activity either but we still do something about it when it happens and even try to prevent it.
posted by VTX at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Cold climates are going to be able to grow their own food, so it might even be a net win."

It's a joke, but it was in the National Post so I wasn't sure at first...
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:13 AM on April 1, 2011


I was about to say that I look forward to the day when global warming denial is considered to be as ridiculous as Creationism, but then I realised that that isn't asking for much.
posted by anaximander at 11:15 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think removing the "Evil Corporations Are Destroying The Planet" rhetoric would help the dialogue a lot actually. It's a ridiculously oversimple view of humanity's environmental impact over history, it instantly shuts down a lot of conversations, and it's beside the point: even if climate change were caused by sunspots, we'd probably want to try and reduce it for our own comfort.
posted by freebird at 11:16 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought we had settled his issue with a vote.
posted by Legomancer at 11:16 AM on April 1, 2011


Calling it a "Koch-funded study" is simplifying things a bit

Yeah...this is kind of like saying "here is a tasty cake to eat, brought to you by flour. Only flour."
posted by jnnla at 11:17 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Evil Corporations Are Destroying The Planet

Well, they are doing their part...
posted by goethean at 11:20 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh good! They proved (again!) that the Earth is warming, which we knew already, but, anyway. The point is to get them to admit (or prove again or whatnot) that this warming is anthropogenic.
posted by carmina at 11:23 AM on April 1, 2011


I imagine that if, 10 to 20 years from now, climate change continues to worsen, the hardcore deniers will move from denial of the science to blaming the scientists for not doing anything about it.

They're already blaming scientists for more than that. If you haven't been keeping your eye on the herp derpingtons, the spin is that any warming (as well as earthquakes) is caused by HAARP.
posted by fleetmouse at 11:23 AM on April 1, 2011


In related Tea Party fallout news, the reported Florida Quran burnings have instigated an attack on a UN facility in Afghanistan that has left 8 UN workers, and 4 Afghan civilians dead.
posted by schmod at 11:33 AM on April 1, 2011


VTX, the issue is what you do about it. If humans aren't causing it then there is really no need to stop burning oil and start embracing all that hippie green technology stuff.

If I'm gaining weight then I might conclude it's my diet and cut back. But if I prove that it's not my diet and it's the increased graviational pull of the Earth then clearly I can continue to eat pie.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:34 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not seeing how this is related Tea Party fallout news.
posted by spicynuts at 11:50 AM on April 1, 2011


It's raining Florence Henderson is all the proof I need. It never used to do that.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:01 PM on April 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


"I've never understood how this is a dismissal of the issue."

It's very similar to replacing creationism with Intelligent Design. They're saying, "Oh yes, we believe the science, but there's another factor that you haven't dealt with yet." It's designed to stall public awareness and policy implementation and keep energy profits flowing to the current crop of denialist funders.
posted by sneebler at 12:16 PM on April 1, 2011


I think removing the "Evil Corporations Are Destroying The Planet" rhetoric would help the dialogue a lot actually. It's a ridiculously oversimple view of humanity's environmental impact over history, it instantly shuts down a lot of conversations...

We've been trying that for the last fifteen years. It isn't working. It's not working because corporations [evil or otherwise] are destroying the planet. Municipal wast accounts for about 3% of all pollution in the world, while industrial waste accounts for the other 97%; we've tapped the planet's mineralogical resources so much that we have to resort to riskier and riskier methods to keep up with target levels of growth; and meanwhile these corporations spend shitloads upon shitloads of money to hire lobbyists to write our regulatory laws, and advertise getting us to consume more. Most advertisements for recycling plastics are paid for by oil companies that don't do any plastic recycling in order to convince us plastic is OK and we should consume more of it.

This is not an instance of a few bad apples. This is systemic. It's an inescapable part of what we've created.

[adjusts tinfoil hat slightly to one side, at a jaunty angle]
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:23 PM on April 1, 2011 [18 favorites]


I've never understood how this is a dismissal of the issue. It doesn't matter what is causing it (except to determine possible solutions), even if it isn't due to human activity, we still need to do something about it.

Seasonal flooding isn't usually caused by human activity either but we still do something about it when it happens and even try to prevent it.


Human responses to seasonal flooding don't address the actual flooding. They typically involve flood gates, flood walls, dikes, and even moving away from flood zones. Unless you wanna suggest generational spaceships to travel to other planets, seasonal flooding and climate change are apple and orangeish.

Stating that humans aren't causing climate change dismisses the issues because the extended argument is that there isn't anything humans can do to reverse it.
posted by Billiken at 12:25 PM on April 1, 2011


I think removing the "Evil Corporations Are Destroying The Planet" rhetoric would help the dialogue a lot actually.
Who do you think is lobbying world governments to ignore this? If it weren't for "Evil Corporations" solutions would be in place. Individuals can only make the choices offered to them, and corporations and governments decided what those choices should be. This "We should all be driving electric cars that aren't for sale and riding on trains and buses that don't exist so let's not blame corporations!" stuff is nonsense.
posted by delmoi at 12:31 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I'm gaining weight then I might conclude it's my diet and cut back. But if I prove that it's not my diet and it's the increased graviational pull of the Earth then clearly I can continue to eat pie.

Unless eating less pie will help counteract the effects of the sun.

I guess my problem is that I think the argument is framed wrong. It shouldn't be, "Global warming is happening, its our fault, and we need to change our ways to fix it." It should be, "Global warming is happening, it doesn't matter who or what caused it, these are the things we can do to fix it."

By focusing on who is to blame (humans or nature) we've shifted focus from the solutions. I don't care if it anthropomorphic or not, I just care about what needs to be done to fix it.

Human responses to seasonal flooding don't address the actual flooding. They typically involve flood gates, flood walls, dikes, and even moving away from flood zones. Unless you wanna suggest generational spaceships to travel to other planets, seasonal flooding and climate change are apple and orangeish.

They built a dam on the nile to help control flooding (among other reasons). That isn't without its own issues but my point is that we tend view nature as a challenge to be overcome rather than just accepting what it dishes out. It isn't a great analogy but it was the first thing I could think of.
posted by VTX at 12:33 PM on April 1, 2011


The smarter conservatives have never denied a negative trend in climate change. They have, on the other hand, always denied it was human influenced and I tend to think they have a point. Natural cycles do exist and they generally occur over time periods with orders of magnitude greater than what we can comprehend. This does not negate the fact that it needs to be addressed and find some way to slow it down and to adapt to it.
posted by JJ86 at 12:39 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well the problem in part is that if it's not anthropogenic we should be fixated on geoengineering solutions rather than reducing CO2 emissions. If it is then we need to focus on the latter if it isn't too late, and the former if it is.

I have the feeling though that true global CO2 output reductions are impossible to implement in time given the politics.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:40 PM on April 1, 2011


By focusing on who is to blame (humans or nature) we've shifted focus from the solutions. I don't care if it anthropomorphic or not, I just care about what needs to be done to fix it.

Well, yeah, but the first thing needed to be done to fix it is to stop doing thing things that are causing it! And that's what the Koch brothers, George Bush, et al. don't want to do, because the things that are causing global warming are making them unbelievable amounts of money. Therefore, they're doing everything they can to make us, the great unwashed masses, not want them to stop burning oil and coal and big macs and monster trucks and stuff.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:41 PM on April 1, 2011


Here's my theory about the Koch Brothers' attitudes on everything: they are two old men, one with cancer (who is doing most of his charitable giving to cancer research). I've never heard anything about their heirs, family or corporate (and since their corporation is privately held, they are the same thing), unlike most aging billionaires. And they are considered hard-core Libertarians, so their goal is maximizing their profits while they are still alive, being the ones who "die with the most toys" and fuck the future (which also explains their deep disdain for public education - the children are YOUR future, not ours). They can privately believe the earth will boil over 50 years after they're dead, but if it's that far away, it's not their problem and just gets in the way of doing business. I was getting rather surprised there aren't more billionaires with that totally self-centered anti-social philosophy, but I'm starting to suspect that being an openly hard-core Randian Libertarian makes it HARDER to be successful. (Now whether other billionaires are putting a false face on caring about the world, that's another issue)
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:44 PM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Global warming is happening, it doesn't matter who or what caused it, these are the things we can do to fix it."

It does matter who's causing it because the first step in fixing it is making them stop. Maybe it's theoretically possible to stop global warming without reducing CO2 emissions. But it's the obvious first step. The problem is that you can't say "here is what you can do fix it" without mentioning the most obvious solution.
posted by delmoi at 12:45 PM on April 1, 2011


The focus should be on the solution and not the blame. The fact that reducing emissions will reduce global warming has nothing at all to do with whether or not those emissions caused in the first place.

Instead of telling emitters that they've done something wrong and need to fix the problem they caused, you're telling them that they need to help fix this thing that is happening to all of us.
posted by VTX at 1:04 PM on April 1, 2011


The fact that reducing emissions will reduce global warming has nothing at all to do with whether or not those emissions caused in the first place.
That doesn't make any sense.
Instead of telling emitters that they've done something wrong and need to fix the problem they caused, you're telling them that they need to help fix this thing that is happening to all of us.
They don't care about blame, they care about MONEY which they will not get if they stop emitting excess CO2, regardless of how the issue is presented to them.
posted by delmoi at 1:07 PM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


When corporations are bad, we should call them bad. When people are greedy we should call them greedy. When policies are stupid we should call them stupid.

Anything less is...well you know what? Anything less is stupid.
posted by Legomancer at 1:20 PM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I care about the international political realities of implementing effective emission reductions in a timely fashion. I don't really care if it's the most effective technical solution to the problem if it can't be implemented without unanimous agreement (because we all know how easy unanimous agreement is to achieve).

Maybe it's theoretically possible to stop global warming without reducing CO2 emissions. But it's the obvious first step.

It's not obvious to me, but I haven't had the time to look that hard at CO2 reduction compared to other solutions.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:22 PM on April 1, 2011


This is my answer to the anthropogenic question (from another forum): If you really believe that billions of people burning billions of barrels of oil over 100 years won't raise the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, you seriously need to learn something about this issue.
posted by sneebler at 1:56 PM on April 1, 2011


VTX, it very much matters what the cause of climate change is because it frames how we think about and implement solutions.

If climate change was not anthropogenically-influenced, then societies and governments would be best served by adapting to the change, through measures like population relocation, increasing agricultural productivity, and infrastructure improvements. Those aren't solutions per se, because we wouldn't have the power to reverse climate change anyway; instead all we could do is make the best of a particular set of mostly unfortunate circumstances.

However, since climate change is human-induced, one could argue that societies and governments should be focusing our response efforts primarily on mitigation - reducing our carbon footprint so as to lessen the impacts that we, and future generations, will experience from having caused climate change in the first place.

Since greenhouse gases are stock pollutants, we have committed our future generations to global warming, making the distinction between adaptation and mitigation somewhat less relevant. We have forced ourselves into adaptation. However, it's still important to be clear that climate change is anthropogenically caused because we can still act to limit the degree to which future generations are affected by climate change impacts. Many would argue that we're morally obligated to do so.
posted by just_ducky at 1:59 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


We've been trying that for the last fifteen years. It isn't working.

I've been hearing the same blame-other-rich-people stuff for as long as I can remember, though I admittedly grew up in pretty radical circles. But it feels to me like blaming the corporations is what we've been doing for decades, with little large scale success - as you point out.

This is not an instance of a few bad apples. This is systemic. It's an inescapable part of what we've created.

Yes! I think we may actually be violently agreeing. I'm not saying corps don't contribute - I'm saying they're just part of a much more systemic problem.

Humans have been deforesting and deflowering the world about as hard as we can for about as long as we've been around. It's just that we have unbelievably greater power to do the damage we've always done now - not that we weren't doing damage before corporations.
posted by freebird at 2:52 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


When corporations are bad, we should call them bad. When people are greedy we should call them greedy. When policies are stupid we should call them stupid

And when people lie, we should call them liars. That's why these people get away with misinformation: They know our side is too timid to call them liars.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:58 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, my contribution to surviving Global Warming is that I am learning everything I can about camels.
Seriously, that is one of the things the U.N.is doing because in time there are many places where no other animals will be useful for dairy purposes.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:22 PM on April 1, 2011


I've been hearing the same blame-other-rich-people stuff for as long as I can remember, though I admittedly grew up in pretty radical circles. But it feels to me like blaming the corporations is what we've been doing for decades, with little large scale success - as you point out.
Well, you can't run controlled experiments. And you also can't 'decide' on what kind of rhetoric everyone should use. People will say whatever they want. The important thing is to stop global warming. I think the the problem with the non-confrontational rhetoric is that if you don't make it clear to the average person that there's a real fight going on, they'll just assume that it will get taken care of and they don't have to worry about it.
posted by delmoi at 3:48 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good luck with stopping the 90% of the world who lives in poverty from developing their economies with the cheapest, dirtiest fuels they can find. And good luck with a green platform in a time of 15%+ real unemployment. It's time to move from preventing to adapting.

I guess that's stage 4.
posted by blargerz at 5:24 PM on April 1, 2011


Good luck with stopping the 90% of the world who lives in poverty from developing their economies with the cheapest, dirtiest fuels they can find.

The U.S. produces about 25% of the world's CO2 pollution. China just recently surpassed us, and we're about equal. Except they have 4 times the population. America is the #2 carbon emitter.

The reality is, if everyone used energy the same way people "who live in poverty" do, we wouldn't have a problem at all. The problem is caused by rich people wasting energy. Fix the problem in China, the U.S. and India and Japan and the problem is basically solved.

People who say "The third world will never go along" don't understand the problem. The third world is not the problem. At all. Maybe someday in the far future it could become a problem, it it isn't anything close to a problem now.
posted by delmoi at 5:34 PM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Right. Good luck with China and India and Brazil. I assure you they do not care about this issue, nor is there any way to make them to.
posted by blargerz at 5:43 PM on April 1, 2011


The problem is caused by rich people wasting energy.

Except in an economic sense there's no such thing as wasting energy. We use what we have the capacity to produce in coal based energy supply. We could do various things to stomp on energy usage efficient or inefficient, but then there's an excess supply that flows to whatever market wants to utilize the suddenly cheap (relatively) energy. Without a startling amount of unanimity both on the international and domestic level there is really no way to contain the problem. It's the weakness of having a global economy with no global governance. I agree that the US alone could take steps that would mitigate the problem given a different political situation.

Right. Good luck with China and India and Brazil. I assure you they do not care about this issue, nor is there any way to make them to.

They care to some extent, there's just a tremendous economic advantage in being the holdout, and while we all bicker over the size of the slice the pie is getting ready to shrink.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:54 PM on April 1, 2011


They don't care about blame, they care about MONEY which they will not get if they stop emitting excess CO2, regardless of how the issue is presented to them.

You're right, I guess it would be more about presenting the issue differently to others. When don't frame the discussion in terms of who is to blame you might be able to side step the defensive reaction that those who feel the need to defend big business usually have.

Have you ever been in a meeting where something has gone wrong and everyone spends an hour trying to figure out who is to blame for it? If that information isn't going to change the solution, it isn't important and time and effort is just getting wasted.

Yes, the cause of global warming is important in that it helps to determine the solution but that is the only way in which its important.

The "Everyone knows that it's getting warmer, but it isn't due to human activity" stance focuses on the blame and it implies that we can't do anything about it. If these people have bought into the idea that global warming is happening you need to leave the blame out of it. All they need to know is that cutting emissions will help solve the problem. These people aren't deciding on the solutions anyways, its just about creating societal support for tackling the problem.

The cause of global warming is important, assigning blame isn't.
posted by VTX at 7:10 PM on April 1, 2011


Right. Good luck with China and India and Brazil. I assure you they do not care about this issue, nor is there any way to make them to.

Do you for some reason think India won't be affected by global warming for some reason? In any event, India is a democracy and Indian voters, like most rational people around the world, are very worried about global warming.

An extraordinary 85 percent of Indians see global warming as an important threat, with 45 percent saying it is extremely important. A mere 10 percent say it is not important at all.

So, realistically that problem is solved. China, not being a democracy isn't as simple, but it's economy is export driven (unlike India's), and cutting off their ability to export products to the U.S. and Europe would do far more economic harm then their switching non-fossil fuel energy.
Except in an economic sense there's no such thing as wasting energy.
Only if by "economic sense" you mean "bullshit perfect market fantasy". Just out of curiosity, have you ever taken a real economics class in your life?

Honestly people who think the problem just can't be solved politically are idiots who are either advanced deniers or just moron contrarians who disagree with rational people because they are too dumb to actually understand anything but want to feel like they somehow know something someone else missed.
posted by delmoi at 8:25 PM on April 1, 2011


Oh, and this nonsense:
Have you ever been in a meeting where something has gone wrong and everyone spends an hour trying to figure out who is to blame for it?
no.

And you don't seem to understand the difference between assigning blame for something that happened in the past, and assigning blame for something that is continuing to happen. Without assigning blame it can't be stopped. In particular, both CO2 emissions and the political interference that's preventing any solutions from going forward.
posted by delmoi at 8:28 PM on April 1, 2011


The focus should be on the solution and not the blame. The fact that reducing emissions will reduce global warming has nothing at all to do with whether or not those emissions caused in the first place.

Instead of telling emitters that they've done something wrong and need to fix the problem they caused, you're telling them that they need to help fix this thing that is happening to all of us.


Yes. Or (putting my super-centrist hat on), let's tell them about all the profit they'll make fixing it. Let's tell them how much it'll help their marketing if they start working toward a real solution.

If 5-10 companies pooled their advocacy dollars into a fund for lobbying and advocacy, a "let's get this problem fixed already" fund, and if that fund got legislation passed that put us on the road to 350 ppm? I would buy their carbon-neutral products for the rest of my life. I would never buy another brand of toilet paper if I could help it.
posted by salvia at 8:37 PM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Honestly people who think the problem just can't be solved politically are idiots who are either advanced deniers or just moron contrarians who disagree with rational people because they are too dumb to actually understand anything but want to feel like they somehow know something someone else missed.

Have the facts changed all that substantially in the last ten to fifteen years? I mean the evidence for anthropogenic warming has been pretty solid for that entire time other than refining the model over and over a little tiny bit either way, and we've still got more than enough deniers to keep much of anything from happening in the US. So yeah, I think the problem can't be solved politically in time to prevent serious change. I'm not sure why that makes me an idiot. Frankly I think you are misunderstanding the scope of the political problem, and how vested American consumers are in their entitled lifestyle. I suspect the deniers will be deservedly shouted down after some time, but then the minute we start tightening our belts American consumers will bitch about it and vote Republican again.

I'm glad you mention the stats on India; that makes me a bit more hopeful.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:09 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


BTW, I'd be amply happy to be proven wrong about how tough a political fight this is. I just think we should have a plan B and plan C going on concurrently, because the stakes are damn high.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:27 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly people who think the problem just can't be solved politically are idiots who are either advanced deniers or just moron contrarians who disagree with rational people because they are too dumb to actually understand anything but want to feel like they somehow know something someone else missed.

Thank you for illustrating why it's so hard to get anything productive done on this issue. Yay let's all call each other idiots and point fingers and ignore history while the world simmers away. You can totally blame the idiots when we're all hanging out in the ruins.
posted by freebird at 9:29 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


That India thing is from a survey conducted in late 2005 -- 5+ years is an awful long time in public opinion. I'm pretty sure the global economic crisis and increased oil prices have weighed more on their minds since then.

If you think there is going to be any political traction on this, when Obama has barely advanced the ball... you are smoking rock. Even if it is as severe as some say, global warming is simply too slow for people to get freaked out about. Sustained high oil prices are really your best and only hope. Democrats should be calling for a gradual reduction of the income tax, with an increase of a gas tax, so as to keep gas prices from ever falling below a given number. Maybe even horse trade with the Republicans -- give them high income and corporate tax breaks for a gas tax. Regressive, yes, but you have a world to save.
posted by blargerz at 9:32 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well in Delmoi's defense I will say I was an idiot for thinking he could figure out what I was trying to say from my rather terse comment while his blood was up. I'm not saying that if the US populace prioritized this enough we couldn't get an International agreement. I'm just saying that's not likely to happen with big oil and coal funding the sort of anti-science propaganda that was refined by big tobacco. The problem too is that every nation wants a slightly more favorable International agreement, and as it becomes slightly more unfavorable for a given nation the internal political pressures mount as the moderates retreat from supporting the International consensus. From a pure game theory perspective anyway. From a practical perspective if it were easy it'd already have happened with the Kyoto accords.

I fully support pigovian taxes on fossil fuels, especially coal. I'm not sure it helps much with oil and gas, given the fungible nature of those goods, and China's vastly increasing utilization, but sure why not. I just think we also need to put heavy focus on sequestration and other solutions like the artificial pollution geo-engineering technique (if it's still viable, I haven't looked at it lately).

The CO2 ocean acidification is pretty depressing though.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:41 PM on April 1, 2011


And by the way, stop talking about global warming, and hammer away at "Energy Security", something that everybody agrees on. Let the Republicans drill to their hearts content, so long as you get your gas tax.
posted by blargerz at 9:41 PM on April 1, 2011


And you don't seem to understand the difference between assigning blame for something that happened in the past, and assigning blame for something that is continuing to happen.

Do you realize how negative that sounds? That is exactly my point. Blame is much more specific, much more negative, much more emotional, and implies a need for punishment. Causality (and that isn't quite the right word) is much more broad. If I'm on the fence and you tell me that companies X, Y, and Z are to blame for global warming, I might not be sure about it but I don't want to punish them for past or continuing mistakes. After all, a company is going to do what it is economically beneficial for it to do (and if we could accurately and consistently tax companies for externalities I think the "free" market would solve a lot of problems by themselves but that's a different discussion). I might pass the blame on to the government for not stopping those companies to begin with and we start dicking around with needs to be punished for their misdeeds. None of that focuses on solving the problem.

Its the difference between "these companies did XYZ" and "XYZ happened." The former can put people into defensive mode, the latter lets people focus on the problem. That way, if I don't think those companies (or humanity in general) have done anything wrong but I still think something needs to be done about climate change, I won't get hung up on making sure the right people get punished and can just focus on the solution that works.
posted by VTX at 11:52 PM on April 1, 2011


That is exactly my point. Blame is much more specific, much more negative, much more emotional, and implies a need for punishment.
God that's so irrelevant. The problem is to identify the people preventing change, and defeat them. They don't give a crap how you feel about them. They are going to continue blocking change until they are defeated, because that's how they make their money.
posted by delmoi at 3:37 PM on April 2, 2011


Remember why we're talking about this: "Everyone knows that it's getting warmer, but it isn't due to human activity."

If someone is using that argument then the issue of blame is absolutely relevant. They are saying, "I'm not to blame, humanity is not to blame, the responsibility to fix it and the punishment for it is not ours. I'm saying that the issue of blame is irrelevant to that argument. It doesn't matter who is to blame. All that matters is that we can do XYZ to fix it. No needs to get punished. Something happened, we need to fix it, thats it.

In general, I agree with you. In the case of this specific argument, this is how you take away the power of that argument, how you defeat them as you put it, and the get the majority of the people in the middle on your side.
posted by VTX at 4:00 PM on April 2, 2011


New research suggests that Republicans are far more likely to believe in the vaguer-sounding "climate change" than "global warming." To Democrats, the terms are synonymous.
posted by exphysicist345 at 8:48 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


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