Friday, February 11, 2011


Recently, the skeptic dominated the blogosphere (at least the one I inhabit). But, of course, mainstream climate discourse is still alarmist. Maybe it's weakened; maybe there were exaggerations and too many scandals - but come on, keep it real:  there are still global climate negotiations; the IPCC is still alive & well; national energy policies go green everywhere, and the next wind turbine is just round the corner. And oh, I almost forgot: there is still anthropogenic global warming! Alarmism is not dead?!? After having caressed the skeptic for such a long time, maybe it's time to bring back the alarmist. Help needed? Be your own judge and read Paul Krugman's recent alarmist comment in the New York Times:

Some days ago, the winner of the Noble Prize for economy,  had an op-ed in the New York Times, which stirred some agitation in the blogosphere.  Paul Krugman! The first economist who is able to write first-class op-eds! Who so expertly took the reader by the hand and steered us through the global economic crisis! (No irony, from my side, I mean it!).  In this comment, he turns his expertise to climate and links it with political economy: he establishes a causal link between the current political upheavals in Egypt and global warming via the rise of food prices, which (in his opinion) are a consequence of the effects of global warming (such as droughts and floods in Australia or Russia).

He says:
And there’s little question that sky-high food prices have been an important trigger for popular rage.
And the link goes to Joe Romm's Climate Progress blog, where we can read that

Political unrest has broken out in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt and other Arab countries. Social media and governmental policies are getting most of the credit for spurring the turmoil, but there’s another factor at play.
Many of the people protesting are also angry about dramatic price hikes for basic foodstuffs, such as rice, cereals, cooking oil and sugar.
This is a quote that Joe Romm picked up from the American National Public Radio, where a feature is titled "Rising food prices can topple governments, too".
Why these links? I just want to show that this kind of alarmism is far from being a peripheral phenomenon. Quite the contrary, this is mainstream thinking and has to be taken seriously. To be more precise, it is liberal (or in European terms, social democrat / green) mainstream, as Krugman makes clear from the outset. Of course, "American right-wingers (and the Chinese) blame easy-money policies at the Federal Reserve" for rising food prices and state that "Bernanke has blood on his hands"; and those very same right-wingers of course "insist that the scientific consensus on climate reflects a vast leftist conspiracy." But leave those right wingers behind and have a look at what happens:
Consider the case of wheat, whose price has almost doubled since the summer. The immediate cause of the wheat price spike is obvious: world production is down sharply. The bulk of that production decline, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, reflects a sharp plunge in the former Soviet Union. And we know what that’s about: a record heat wave and drought, which pushed Moscow temperatures above 100 degrees for the first time ever. The Russian heat wave was only one of many recent extreme weather events, from dry weather in Brazil to biblical-proportion flooding in Australia, that have damaged world food production. The question then becomes, what’s behind all this extreme weather?
Again, Krugman knows about his critics. Yes, there are other reasons for rising food prices, too. Yes, there is also La Nina. Krugman is not stupid:
As always, you can’t attribute any one weather event to greenhouse gases. But the pattern we’re seeing, with extreme highs and extreme weather in general becoming much more common, is just what you’d expect from climate change.
That's it. It's "just what you'd expect from climate change" - here we have in a nutshell those elements that make up global climate change discourse. This discourse is politicized (left / right); it is indeed "global" - this is not about details, it is about the big picture;  it is about common sense based on the scientific consensus.
Something went wrong with alarmism. In case you are concerned about global warming and you want to raise alarm, there should be better arguments. For example, something went wrong with Paul Krugman's respect for people: to denounce the revolution in Egypt as a mere effect of a food crisis aka global warming is deeply cynical; it takes away dignity and respect from those who fight and risk their lives for democracy and human rights! In this respect, his comment is arrogant and deterministic (and, so American, I am tempted to add...).
We have put so many efforts in bringing back the skeptic into climate discussion; isn't it time to restore and to update the alarmist's position?


Georg Hoffmann said...

If anybody (or lets say any relevant social group) in Egypt demonstrates for democracy and human rights is still out for judgement. My best guess is at the end there will be a religiously more engaged, even more nationalistic government and the people are happy that finally they are free to burn Israel flags every day and not just when Rais tells them.

I dont think there is any study or even a realistic possibility to study the link between social uproar/war and climate change. climate change and a specific weather event is impossible, the weather event and the concrete wheat output is not trivial. How that ends as a specific on the global market is not clear (how much was the percentage speculation on the global food market? 500%?). How the price will end up strengthening a political opposition or even create a "climate of war", nobody can say.

But lets assume the exact contrary. Climate has no influence whatsoever on weather, weather no influence on agricultural output, the nutritional situation in a country no influence on its political stability and it's political stability no influence on the probability of civil war and war in general. Hmm, doesnt sound right, doesnt it?

Tobias W said...

I'll counter Krugman's (in my mind delusional) op-ed with this one by Anne Jolis, that seems written almost in direct response to Krugmans assertions:

And as for Egyptians fighting for "Human Rights", Werner, I'm sceptical. According to PEW 84% of egyptians think that apostates from islam should be killed, 82% thinks that adulterers should be stoned to death and 77% similarly feels that thieves should be whipped and their hands be cut off. Something like 95% of them dislikes jews, I can't remember what the exact number was, but somewhere around 85-90% of all women in the country has had parts of their clitorises cut off. The evil secular regime (no pun intended, they are evil off course) outlawed this practice a few years ago, to no avail. Conclusion: they are fighting against the dictarship of Mubarak, certainly. For democrasy, perhaps? But for "Human rights", I shouldn't think so.

I know this is rather beside your point, that has to do with some sort of culture war, but I still think it's important to clarify.

@ReinerGrundmann said...

I am not sure the dichotomy alarmist/skeptic is helpful to understand Krugman's position on the case of the Egypt unrest.

He argues that warmer temperatures lead to a rise in food prices and thus to rebellions in North Africa and perhaps elsewhere. This is alarmism only if you hold, in addition, the political view that the rebellions are bad (for example, because they could de-stabilize the region, lead to militant fundamentalism, unsettle Israel, etc). If you are in favour of such movements you might as well welcome the rise in temperatures because they have the desired political effect. Assuming, of course, that the link exists between rising temperatures and rising food prices.

But as history has shown many times, the worsening of life conditions is not sufficient for revolutions to occur. What seems to be a big factor is emulation: the example of Tunisia serves as role model, very much like the 1989 events spread across Eastern Europe. And does anyone remember military strategists developing 'domino theories' for East Asia? They became obsessed about such dynamics.

So whatever the causes of the popular uprising in Egypt, the desire to get rid of the regime is what unites them -- this simple fact should not be overlooked.

Anonymous said...

To the best of my belief the statement:

      "American right-wingers (and the Chinese) blame easy-money policies at the Federal Reserve"

... does not reflect the reality appropriate.

For example Ellen Brown is called "left-wing" and the Süddeutsche Zeitung (see the previous link) is not right-wing (as little as I am).

This simplistic, monocausal (this term is used in psychology for morbid conspiracy theorists) view (left/right) is disappointing and demoralizing.


Anonymous said...

I have answered too quickly. To avoid misunderstanding: I do not think you are a morbid conspiracy theorists.


Natuurlijke Wereld said...

The real dichotomy is not skeptic-alarmist. My sense is that there are 2 main dichotomies:

1) truth seeking versus advocacy attitudes

2) science-based versus ideology based policies

Looking at the scientific work since the last IPCC, it seems that much more alarmism would be needed. But scientists and others are reluctant to bring forward their authentic concerns, since the current socio-political attitude in many countries is to frame environmental and climate concerns as politically incorrect.

Werner Krauss said...

@namenlos #4, #5
The statement
"American right-wingers (and the Chinese) blame easy-money policies at the Federal Reserve"
is a quote from Krugman's op-ed piece; it's not my opinion.

Werner Krauss said...

@Reiner #3
Krugman is, in my opinion, not really interested in (explaining) the upheaval in Egypt and elsewhere. Instead, he wants to raise alarm on anthropogenic climate change. In my understanding, his op-ed is about global warming. That's why I say he makes an alarmist argument.

It is directed at us in the 'West' - the Egyptians are just pawns or puppets in his global warming game. This is weakness #1.

Of course, there might be a causal link between global warming and rising food prices, why not. If so, it is non-linear and one factor among many. The uni-linearity is weakness #2 in Krugman's approach.(Not sure if I express this in proper terminology...)

Alarmism is a matter of eloquence, as is skepticism. We need convincing alarmists.
The basic alarmist tool set should consist of the following statements (in my opinion):

Yes, there will be more droughts and more floods. Yes, this will affect the lives of many people in a negative way. Yes, we should take care of this problem and we should alarm people.
There is nothing wrong or illegitimate in this line of thoughts. The problem is to express this in a proper way without falling victim to Malthusianism, determinism, or bad imagery.

Anonymous said...

Hm, there are too many people using the Egypt conflict as a means to support their own vision.

Another funny example is Glenn Beck, Fox News, answering Paul Krugman:

"Beck's comments came in the middle of a nearly 19-minute monologue where he continued his theory that the protests in Egypt are being orchestrated by an alliance of Communists and Islamic fundamentalists who seek to overthrow capitalism and make a "new world order.""

Maybe we try to make a synthesis of Beck and Krugman:
Climate change is made up by the IPCC, the IPCC is ruled by communists and so the Egypt riots are caused by the IPCC.

Who was the name of the german or austrian author, who tried to explain wars and revolutions by birth rates some years ago?


Antoon DV said...

just a little sidenote : Joe Romm's blog is called Climate Progress, not Real Climate

Werner Krauss said...

Antoon #9
oops, I'm so absent-minded! I'll change that immediately.

@ReinerGrundmann said...

agreed on weakness #1 and #2.
But not so on your statement:
"Yes, there will be more droughts and more floods. Yes, this will affect the lives of many people in a negative way."

Krugman implies that the unrest is a negative thing. Which is quite telling. He does not say extreme weather events lead to famine, but to revolution.

So when yo then say "Yes, we should take care of this problem and we should alarm people" you are robably thinking about famine etc. whereas Krugman in this instance thinks about revolution. There is the unspoken assupmption that new regimes in the Middle East would be dangerous, hence the alarm.

This is a framing of the dangers of climate change that is quite unique, especially given the hopes of many in the 'liberal west' that a move towards democratic forms of government will occur.

Werner Krauss said...

Reiner, I agree, this is really a weird framing of the dangers of climate change. The voice of a nation with still territorial dreams? And I write this in the very moment when Mubarak steps back!

ghost said...

irgendwie lustig... hier ist noch so ein Statement:

Es geht nicht nur um den sozialen Aspekt des Wirtschaftssystems, sondern auch um den ökologischen. Insbesondere der heutige ganz irrationale Kampf gegen die angebliche Aufheizung der Erdatmosphäre hat die europäischen Effizienzprobleme noch verstärkt. Ich würde sogar so weit gehen, dem für seine Klimapolitik weltweit gefeierten Al Gore und seinen Anhängern eine Mitverantwortung für die jüngsten Entwicklungen in Tunesien und Ägypten zu geben. Dort wird nicht nur für die Demokratie demonstriert, sondern auch gegen zu stark gestiegene Lebensmittelpreise. Und das liegt auch an der neuen Klimapolitik, die die Handschrift von Al Gore trägt. Wenn die Felder weltweit immer häufiger für Bio-Treibstoffe und nicht für Lebensmittel verwendet werden, dann hat das seine Folgen. Und die EU hat diesen falschen Umweltgedanken unkritisch aufgenommen.

das ist von einem Hardcore-"Skeptiker", einem Ökonom, nämlich von Vaclav Klaus, dem tschechischen Präsidenten.;2748005

hm... bei den einen wird ein Zusammenhang zum Klimawandel gebracht, bei den anderen wird Al Gore die Schuld gegeben. Hm... XYZ (keine Ahnung wie Klaus nennen soll? Vorschläge?) ist wohl auch nicht tot.

Ansonsten wird es öde... natürlich kann alles ein Zeichen des Klimawandels sein, aber solange man es nicht zeigen kann, ist die Spekulation doch wertlos. War 2010/11 überhaupt ein schlimmes Jahr im Vergleich?

PS: um ein wenig alarmistisch zu sein: Sydney hat gerade einen neuen Hitzerekord gebrochen, noch nie (150 Jahre) war so lange so heiß gewesen.
PPS: erfreulich: die Feuchtigkeit von Yasni mindert die Waldbrandgefahr dort.

PPPS: Mubarak ist weg... hoffentlich wird alles gut da. Ich wünsche es den Ägyptern!

ghost said...

noch ein Anmerkung: offensichtlich sind in ihrem Ansinnen gescheitert, Skeptiker in die Diskussion zurückzubringen. Jedenfalls bei Leuten wie Vaclav Klaus. Wie kommen sie überhaupt darauf, dass sie da irgendwelche Fortschritte gemacht hatten?

Anonymous said...

Zum Amüsement:

Einen alternativen Erklärungsansatz liefert Glenn Beck, Fox News:
"Beck's comments came in the middle of a nearly 19-minute monologue where he continued his theory that the protests in Egypt are being orchestrated by an alliance of Communists and Islamic fundamentalists who seek to overthrow capitalism and make a "new world order.""

Und dann gab es noch vor wenigen Jahren einen Soziologen, Namen leider vergessen (wer weiß es noch?), der die Theorie aufstellte, man könne fast alles mit der demographischen Entwicklung erklären.
Kurzfassung: Hohes Bevölkerungswachstum -> viele junge Männer -> Revolution und Krieg.

Wir sehen:
Jeder erhält genau die Bestätigung durch die Krise in Ägypten, die er für seine vorgefasste Meinung benötigt. Insbesondere teile ich die Kritik von Herrn Krauß an monokausalen Erklärungsansätzen.

Stan said...

Hmmm, you would think that an economist might pick up on the price implications of burning a large portion of the US corn crop in autos. But although that clearly causes food prices to go up, that answer is inconvenient for environmentalists. So Krugman ignores it.

ghost said...

the price of corn is not only determined by the bio-ethanol production in the US. For example, last year the US corn production was lower than expected because of high temperatures and drought. Furthermore, China imported much more corn than before, because of different eating habits (much more beef) and China had floods and droughts in the last year, too. W/o floods the Chinese do not import corn. Worldwide, the corn production was not so successful in 2010. Argentina had an increase... but that it was, and the demand is increasing, etc. etc. Last, why using corn for HFCS? Nobody needs this. You cannot even eat the corn for starch or HFCS. At last, speculating also determines the prices.

But, well, the bio energy is a difficult problem. There is no simple solution.

And the final, most important question is: are the corn or more general the food prices even the reason or trigger of the Arabic revolutions? That I doubt it.

However, I would say, #15 summarized the problem very good. Thank you.

Werner Krauss said...

Corn, bio-energy, ecology, economy, Russia, China, US, EU, Egypt, rebellion, food prices, droughts, floods, climate change and so on...who will ever write the political ecology in an ever more interconnected world?
I still think that there are good reasons to raise alarm; to raise alarm without using unilear - monocausal - or onedimensional or other oversimplifying arguments.

Maybe to 'raise alarm' is not a good expression. What about: to raise concern (if this is proper English)? I always liked Latour's (the French sociologist) expression "matter of concern".
It is not enough to be skeptical of alarmist arguments (such as Krugman's). Being skeptical is not an end in itself. It is the first step to the improvement of an argument. There are reasons to be concerned about the political ecology in times of an obviously changing climate, even more so when so many human factors play a decisive role in this "political climate-ecology complex".

Hans von Storch said...

Werner, in my value-catalog (as a scientist) skepticism is a key entry. That does not mean that I like everything, which got or demands the label "skeptical".

Werner Krauss said...

Glad to hear that, Hans. So how can the skeptical scientist raise alarm or concern? The skeptical alarmist - how does that sound to you?

Hans von Storch said...

Sure, alarmists can be skeptical as well - but In would assume that their skepticism, as well as that one of many skeptics, is a but "uni-directional". Skepticism is a methodical attitude, less so related to political agenda, I would think

Werner Krauss said...

I agree. But let's get back to the climate debate: the (climate debate) skeptic is critical of the alarmist, sometimes with good reasons (just as in the Krugman case in this thread). The skeptic points with her finger and says: wrong here, erroneous here, uni-mono-something here. Fine. 1:0 for the skeptic. But there is something AT STAKE: the discussion between the skeptic and the alarmist is only an academic entertainment as long as it remains on this level.
Let's switch perspective: now we see a conversation between the skeptic and the alarmist about something else, which is exactly climate change and its political ecology. The conversation is indeed about droughts, floods, extreme weather, greenhouse gases and so on. BOTH should be concerned and join forces for the sake of "something else" (and not for their own sake or for being right and you wrong).
(Doesn't that sound very much 'reconciliationist'!)

Hans von Storch said...

Ja, Werner, very "very much 'reconciliationist'!". This was a very wise assertion. Applause.

Werner Krauss said...

My pleasure. Thanks.

Stan said...


I don't see anywhere in my short comment that I attributed all the change in food prices around the world to ethanol production in the US. I would hope that anyone with any sense would understand that there are a myriad of factors on both the demand and supply sides of any economic good or service which affect its price. If you want to be a bit more accurate in your little lecture, I would suggest you also include a discussion of the cross-elasticities of demand and supply regarding substititue goods, etc.

Heber Rizzo said...

Excuse me for my intervention. I am surely less wise and learned than most of you (no pun intended, it's just plain true), but... wouldn't it be better to start claryfing the basics of the debate?
I mean, what we are talking about here? Is it climate change, global warming or anthropogenic global warming? Those are very different things, you know, and the conclusions would be very differente too.

Günter Heß said...

@Werner Krauss
I don’t like the phrase “raising concern”. I watch the “Morgenmagazin” for half an hour every day. I observe that the journalists, day by day interview people including scientists that raise concern. I think “raising concern” is our nature. Our second nature is to an “alarm” or to a “concern” is that we try to act immediately according to the very first solution that comes into our minds. Being sceptic against that, is necessary in order to focus our resources to the real problems.
Now I think the discussion separates in the public media according to my observation. The “alarmist” or ”concernholder” seems to welcome and justify any solution that comes into mind, which promises “CO2” reduction, even without validation.
The “sceptic” seems very often to disagree with any proposed solution stating there is no problem at all.
I do think most of the contributors in this blog differentiate much more, so I apologize, but for the sake of my argument I painted black and white. In order to strive for “reconciliation” it is very necessary to separate the “problem description” and “root cause finding” process from the “solution finding” process.
This means a solution for CO2 reduction, like mixing bioethanol into gasoline, should neither be justified nor disqualified by the personal view if a problem exists or not. Such a solution should only be implemented if it is validated according to its CO2 reduction targets, ecological impact and cost targets, etc. The targets should be agreed upon by the society.
I know that this is very difficult, because there are a lot of vested interests in all aspects of the problem solving process. However, I think the only way to move toward your intention of “reconciliation” is to discuss “bioethanol” separately from “global warming” or “greenhouse gases”.
Moreover, I would think that the IPCC should be separated and divided in different organizations according to their working groups.
Problem description, impact on the world, solution finding needs to be separated and done by different groups of people.
Best regards

Werner Krauss said...

@Heber Rizzo #22
I am sure you are not less wise. Maybe wise in a different way? Anyway, here's my answer: your question is part of the problem we are talking about.

Hans von Storch said...

Heber Rizzo/26 - one of the problems (which make the issue interesting and the debate possible) that "we" are unable to define what "the" basics are.
we peak about all these issues, climate change, global warming, global warming, but also about: climate, climate impact, climate perception, climate beliefs, climate policy, climate catastrophe, climate hoax, climate movies, climate poetry ... and many other somehow related issues. In all (or at least: most) of their names the the word "climate" is included but with very different meanings, illustrating the fascinating multiplicity of cultures.

Werner Krauss said...

@ Günther Heß #27

Thanks for your contribution! Reading it a second time, I thought: you deliver a good description of how things actually work! Leaving your disagreement with the way things are aside - that's exactly the way it goes!

Your suggestions are already part of the democratic process. There are winners and losers, and sometimes losers turn into winners vice versa. Such is the case with bio-ethanol: obviously, it was agreed upon and, even more important, it was possible to put the idea into practice. Once established, it turns out that there are more negative effects than expected. How to get rid of it? Nothing but trouble...

Think through the case of wind energy; up to now, more or less a success story. Critics are a part of it - think of all the regulations, decisions, conflicts involved! Once established, every technology gains a life of its own - not everything can be planned in advance. Even the promoters of wind energy are surprised how well this new technology became established and integrated. It's a new industry.

Once being concerned that the sky falls in on us: we have to act without knowing better. We know that there is no independent 'truth' teaching us what to do. Scientists do their research and give advice; engineers construct and invent technologies; economists check the feasibility; new industries come up; citizens reject or embrace; new parties come up and old parties change....that's the way it goes, that's what we do all the time! There are no solutions outside this complex process. Instead, we have to learn more about this process.

I think it is highly unlikely that we wake up one day and read in the newspaper: "Problem of climate change solved, perfect solution at hand!" or "Scientist found out that climate is fine! No CO2 reduction necessary!" I think this won't happen, unfortunately.

There is only the process that we have started already - obviously, we can't do much better, even though we try, inclusive skeptics and alarmists. The blind leading the blind - doesn't sound very promising, but as long as nobody sees the future, we have to anticipate it. Improve the IPCC; improve dialog; get rid of bio-ethanol; improve renewables and keep on weighing arguments... what else should we do?

Günter Heß said...

@Werner Krauss
And that is my point. Being “sceptic” is an integral part of this process as was “raising concern” in the first place. People who label other people, bringing skeptical arguments forward, as deniers in their publications leave this democratic process behind and start the nucleus to an unhealthy debate and hamper the way to a solution.
In a democratic process you don’t have to follow each argument, but you have to respect each one. It might be difficult, but this is the only way to “reconciliation”.

Gerd said...

Probably Krugman is right in correlating high food prices with social phenomena - at least "in very poor countries". In former times presumably most people had the bad luck to live in such countries - if they did not belong to the pharaos or local analogs. Seemingly there exist empirical data that indeed show an effect of changing climate (weather?) conditions on some phenomena, a "series of serious social problems". The key point of this paper is: in all the different regions and through all the different times, it was the COOLING that produced the problems, starting with less food to eat.

Is there any flaw in this paper, in the general conclusion?

" ... We show that long-term fluctuations of war frequency and population changes followed the cycles of temperature change. Further analyses show that cooling impeded agricultural production, which brought about a series of serious social problems, including price inflation, then successively war outbreak, famine, and population decline successively. The findings suggest that worldwide and synchronistic war-peace, population, and price cycles in recent centuries have been driven mainly by long-term climate change. ... "

Zhang DD, Brecke P, Lee HF, He YQ, Zhang J (2007) Global climate change, war, and population decline in recent human history. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:19214-9

_Flin_ said...

There are many variables in the food markets
- biofuels lower the maximum possible food grains production by reducing the acreage. Having better biofuels (like Igniscum) will help a lot. More biofuel acreage leads to higher volatility.
- extreme weather events (droughts, floods, hail storms) lower the production => prices rise
- Rising demand for meat, which is suboptimal from a calorie-per-acre point of view => prices rise
- Oil and phosphate prices are important, oil is used for transport and machinery, phosphates as a fertilizer. Both are becoming scarcer and more expensive.

Current developments make prices rise on both the demand and the supply side.

Wheat was rising heavily during the Russian drought summer. Agriculturals as a whole, however, paint the same dark picture.

_Flin_ said...

@Günther Heß: Why do you have to "respect every argument in a democratic discourse"?
If somebody says "It's the sun, because the sun controls our climate", and there are about two papers each year showing that the sun is not responsible for most of last century's warming, how will you be able to continue to "respect the argument"?
Isn't there a point when one can say: This argument has been valid once, it has been disproved time and time again with a multitude of studies, lets move on. Or is there something I do misunderstand about the "respecting each argument"?

IMHO it is rather irrelevant whether calling deniers deniers affects the possibility for a solution. There will never be any "solution" with deniers. Just because deniers deny that there is any problem (only a conspiracy to further some kind of leftist conspiracy to control everyone's life, based on fraudulent data). Without a problem there simply is no need for a solution. That's why they are called deniers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hans von Storch said...

No 36 has been deleted because of inadequate language. -

Günter Heß said...

I thought respect for the opinion of other people is taught at highschool in our democracies. But it is also my experience with people. Each human being is unique and has the right to be judged according to his/her deeds, not according to his/her opinion. I am not in the position to know motivation and the line of thinking how somebody derives his/her conclusion. Everbody I meet usually is a good parent or a tax payer and should be respected. What else?
My experience is that people almost exclusively have motives and arguments they consider right. You rarely find someone who thinks he is wrong. Therefore, if you want to develop solutions with people the best strategy is to respect every opinion and seek for the truth behind each argument, no matter how false you perceive it from your perspective. Moreover, I do not know the carbon footprint of somebody you call “denier” and I do not know your carbon footprint. So, who are we to judge.
No, my conclusion is simple. Whoever is really interested in a solution, better respect the people and their opinion.
Best regards

Anonymous said...

@ Flin

Spelling the d-word five times in a short post, can hardly be outmatched. But what are records in calling names when we talk about respect?
Maybe you should think about the historiographical genesis of the term before you use it in such an inflationary and inappropriate manner.

The sun does of course affect earth's climate. Its contribution to the observed warming in the last century remains one of the most interesting questions in climate science.

If there is a higher solar influence to be considered than previously assumed: it would not only affect earth's climate but parts of the global warming hypothesis at the same time. Should we stop thinking about whatever could call into question what we believe to be "valid"?

Here's some interesting research on the subject ...


Anonymous said...

Just briefly:

A long time ago Joh. Gottf. Herder, in his later "career" 'Dekan' and 'priest' of the secret Weimar Illuminaten house, tried to interpret the Bible - and here especially the Book of Job, aka the "Apocalypse"[*]. Herder considered the Bible as a result of Hebrew poetry[**] which he called Naturpoesie. He regarded Naturpoesie as beauteousness which was in his opinion represented especially in the biblic Apocalypse. Indeed, Herder translated in a - long lasting - Faustian mood[***] already 1767/8 long parts of that apocalyptic book in which he saw also Egyptian motives.

I do not know if a poetry (of catastrophism) has been or will ever be a "mass genre", but it appears to be reasonable to assume that it was never dead and arose at least since Zoroastrian time.

- - -

[*] Cf. the "problem of evil"; also cf. f.ex the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" which were also included into Jerry Ravetz's social-constructivist P[ost]N[ormal]S[cience] as the "‘four horsemen of the scientific apocalypse’" ("shoddy science, entrepreneurial science, reckless science, and dirty science [...]; all involved with runaway technology [Ravetz (1996): Scientific Knowledge And its Social Problems, p. xiv]."

[**] See e.g. On the Spirit of Hebrew Poetry (1782-83); Vom Geiste der Ebräischen Poesie, SWS (Sämtliche Werke Suphan), Bd. XI, p. 280-291, 301-320, 423-428 (cf. also here).

[***] Cf. f.ex Günther Schwab's novel Dance with the Devil. The (right-wing) online news site The American Thinker writes: "At one point in his novel, Schwab opines on the fragile relationship between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Assuming the planet has only about 100 years remaining, Schwab frets over the continuing rise of carbon dioxide that 'will absorb and hold fast the warmth given out by the earth. This will cause the climate to become milder and the Polar ice will begin to thaw. As a result, there will be a rise in the level of the ocean and whole continents will be flooded.'"


Anonymous said...

To post #35/"denier", "'solution'", "conspiracy":

We read:

      "There will never be any 'solution' with deniers. Just because deniers deny that there is any problem (only a conspiracy to further some kind of leftist conspiracy to control everyone's life, based on fraudulent data). Without a problem there simply is no need for a solution."

(1) I don't think that this label "denier" is working. F.ex MIT's (climate-) researcher Richard Lindzen said about this word:

      "I actually like 'denier'. That's closer then 'skeptic'. 'Realist' is also not bad." (Lindzen on BBC World Service, 30 Sep 2010.)

I have never seen Lindzen beeing paranoid at all; I never saw him claiming that there would be (only???) a conspiracy. Did I get it/him wrong?

In my opinion in most cases it is more fruitful whensoever you argue; because it's more promising then just calling certain people - whose views/solutions might oppose to yours - "them" or "deniers". That means to argue in plain language your opinion what precisely your "concern" is about.

(2) How would that "solution" look like? Is there maybe only one solution?

(3) And what means: *No problem - only a conspiracy*?

Wouldn't a possible conspiracy be considered as a (potential) problem?
For example intransparent IPCC proceses (since the first assessment report) are not irrelevant for solutions which shall be trusted by nearly the whole world, are they?

We in Europe are considered as enlightened people (cf. here). Proponents of enlightenment took some strong positions; f.ex. in favor of "openess" and against "appeal to authority" (cf. also A. Camus: "[I]s [it] possible to live without appeal"? (here)), against implicit/blind trust (cf. "trust" here).

Daniel J. Solove writes (see "Access and Aggregation: Privacy, Public Records, and the Constitution"):

      "According to the Senate Report for FOIA, the APA was 'full of loopholes which al-low agencies to deny legitimate information to the public' and that in-formation was often 'withheld only to cover up embarrassing mistakes or irregularities.'"

      "The House Report likewise noted that under § 3 of the APA, '[g]overnment agencies whose mistakes cannot bear public scrutiny have found >>good cause<< for secrecy.' H.R. REP. NO. 89-1497 (1966), reprinted in 1966 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2418, 2423".

See also Solove's forthcoming book Nothing To Hide, which is an expanded version of his paper "'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy".