Cynical denialism will cost us all

Written By: - Date published: 1:21 am, March 18th, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change - Tags: , ,

David Farrar is not stupid. Like everyone with a brain, he knows that climate change is a real and dangerous threat caused by human greenhouse gases emissions. Yet he persists in making denialist dog-whistles to his readers, always being careful never to outright deny climate change himself. He and all the leaders of denialism are telling what they know to be lies to people they know to be idiots.

We know why the leaders of the Right continue to dish up denialist nonsense and try to make huge scandals over every small fault in marginal areas of climate science. It is inconvenient for their short-term interests that the truth be widely acknowledged and the steps taken to confront the problem. It is not in the economic interests of the capitalist class, whose wealth is based on the exploitation of (amongst other things) fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases.

What gets me angry is that climate change isn’t like work rights, or minimum wages, or public services, or taxes, where the Right will lie and say they’re advocating for what will be in the interests of everyone when really they’re just advancing the cause of the ruling capitalist class. Climate change is far more serious. It is not something that we can afford to play political games over. This is the living standards and lives of billions of humans, not to mention the rest of nature, at stake. Our species might not be in peril but our civilisation is.

Yet, the leaders of the Right pour what they know to be lies into the gullible ears of their useful idiots so that action on climate change is delayed one more year, one more quarter, so they can keep getting richer in the short-term, so they can continue basking in the heat as they set the world ablaze.

And it’s working. It’s working so well that 110 years after Svante Arrhenius identified the possibility of increasing the world’s temperature with higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, 50 years after rising levels were first detected in Hawaii, and 20 years after the world’s governments agreed to do something about it, emissions are still rising as are temperatures and we are dooming ourselves to catastrophe by inaction.

We will all pay the price for the selfish short-term actions of the leaders of denialism like David Farrar. Ultimately, they and their children will pay the price along with us.

33 comments on “Cynical denialism will cost us all”

  1. SHG 1

    I don’t recall David Farrar being the world’s largest consumer of coal and opening coal-fired power stations at a rate of one per week. That would be China.

    • mummybot 1.1

      Nice troll on stating the obvious to get a fallacious argument in. The fact that you are raising China’s carbon emissions is the exact dis-ingenuity the article is decrying as the catastrophe. Go read a bit and stop wasting database space:

      The Economist: Chinese cities are greener than American cities

      The Economist: Trading down, Industry’s move from the rich to the poor world is confusing the carbon accounts

    • Chris 1.2

      Our desire for cheap Chinese products (take a look around you SHG, and everyone else! – look at your computer, made in China mostly. The pens? Made in China. Your underwear? Made in China of course) essentially means that we **export** pollution and **import** goods.

      The pollution associated with manufacturing the computer you wrote your comments on SHG has been exported to China, when in fact, it is **your** desire for the computer that caused the pollution in the first place. You OWN that pollution.

      So, given Farrar’s propensity for dog-whistling, and being bat-shit crazy, and using the internet to do it in, it is more than likely that he is responsible for at least ONE coal-fired power station.

  2. Bored 2

    We can focus on Farrar and the right wing nutjobs who deny climate change, the Nact type politicians and the money baggers around the globe who are in denial. By focusing on the right you miss the complicity of the rest of us.

    Go to the Warehouse and see the big people movers roll in with a load of fatties (fed too many calories by oil based agro industry) ready to fritter the cash on cheap imported goods (made by excess calorie burning petro based industry)…..and you wonder why Farrars message falls on a receptive audience?

    • QoT 2.1

      Going oh so well until the inevitable fat-hate, Bored. Props for finding a way to justify your prejudice by aligning people’s fatness with non-renewable energy sources.

      Before anyone starts with ZOMG OBESITY CRISIS BOOGA BOOGA, let’s reflect:

      Go to the Warehouse and see the big people movers roll in with a load of fatties (fed too many calories by oil based agro industry) ready to fritter the cash on cheap imported good

      Fat people: poor (shopping at the Warehouse), lazy (driving big cars, OOH! bonus “evil emissions-makers) and stupid (“fritter the cash). Nope, no societal prejudices HERE.

      • Bored 2.1.1

        Hey QoT, go to the Warehouse and have a look. I dont talk class, race or any of that crap…thats your spin. I open my eyes and see the human condition as it really is.

        Take off the sunnies and have a look at the train wreck are all headed for….and tell me that any of us left or right, pink brown gay straight fat thin etc etc are any less caught up in this and culpable for our own little bit of the action.

        Or capable of doing a little bit of remediation off our own back.

        • jcuknz 2.1.1.1

          Bored is right, and likely I’m one of them, its hard to break the habit. My reaction to DPF is not the hysterics of Marty G but rather the acknowledgement that the warn-ers tend to over state the case [ TV commercials banded for exageration etc]. I also share Iprent’s wonder that I read below as I write this.

          • Bright Red 2.1.1.1.1

            “[ TV commercials banded for exageration etc]. ”

            so what? It that some people over state things does not mean the problem is not very very serious.

        • QoT 2.1.1.2

          I open my eyes and see the human condition as it really is.

          What utterly pretentious wank, Bored. “Human condition”? You dogwhistle poor/fat/consumerist/large-car-driving and you’re going to cite some Higher Consciousness of the Nature of Man?

          You just don’t like fat people, Bored. Admitting you’re prejudiced and judgemental is the first step.

  3. lprent 3

    The right are into sort-term thinking in a big way. DPF, clueless, and the rest of that mob do not exactly induce a sense of awe at their level of insight. More a sense of wonder about how they like to consume now and push the debt on to their kids.

    This shows in everything from not prepping superannuation systems for the baby boomers, through to effectively cutting all second chance education, cutting the fast forward ag r&d, and of course their tepid response to the clear science of anthrogeneric climate change.

    Basically they are just screwing over their kids, while of course telling them it is for their own good. Yeah right.

    • Bored 3.1

      I think you have hit the nail on the head, short term is what the right does so well. Do something / anything to whats immediately infront of you, act without any questioning whats behind whatever it is. Its a bit like the Forrest Gump saying, “stupid is as stupid does”…..

  4. freedom 4

    “stupid is as stupid does’

    The new National Party letterhead?

  5. coolas 5

    Marty G is right. David Farrar is not stupid, but like so many on the Right, he has little imagination, and obviously cannot envisage the catastrophes global warming will bring, or see the economic opportunities offered by International cooperation in reducing CO2 emissions.

    Complacent and glib are these people, like Farrar, because their smug self satisfaction makes them insincere and shallow. They don’t care about the Earth in 2090. They won’t be here. So what!

    • Bored 5.1

      You are right about Farrars lack of ability to imagine anything beyond today….he like most of us expects tomorrow to be just like today….and if the change is so subtle and incremental he (and we) wont notice it. Its also why its so hard to convince people to act, its so easy to put off. And we all hate Jeremiahs.

  6. Bill 6

    We need a witch hunt.

    Anybody guilty of denying climate change merely as an expression or extension of an anti-government regulation ideology?

    Hound them out of all spheres of influence. Ostracise them from society as completely as is possible. In short, be done with them.

  7. Bill 7

    We need liberals to disavow themselves of the essentially denialist notion that by the simple act of continuing on in our present ways in a ‘nicer’ and more conscientious fashion that things will be basically okay.

  8. peterthepeasant 8

    Excuse me, climate change has been occurring constantly long before us modern humans existed. It will occur long after we have disappeared off the planet.

    It is quite wrong to assert that “climate change is a real and dangerous threat caused by human greenhouse gases emissions.”

    It may well be that climate change is as catastrophic as alleged.

    How much human activity contributes to climate change, and in what direction is an unresolved debate.

    It may or may not be mitigated by our actions now. That is the real debate.

    Some 1000 years ago Greenland was colonised by cattle herding Danes. Fat chance these days of raising cattle there.

    Some 500 years ago the river Thames was freezing so solid in winter it was used as a market place and thoroughfare. Fat chance these days.

    By all means attack Farrar, if you must, (I do not care one way or another) but please do not use climate change as your “stalking horse”.

    Get your facts right, human activity does not cause climate change. It happens anyway.
    Human activity may exacerbate or mitigate it but “Dame Nature” is not going to pay a lot of attention to either MARTY G, or David Farrar.

    • lprent 8.1

      …climate change has been occurring constantly long before us modern humans existed. It will occur long after we have disappeared off the planet.

      Yes, and if we were still homo sapien sapien hunter gatherers recently departed from Africa it wouldn’t be an issue. However in your extensive (yeah right – shows all of the signs of a 10 minute search and no thinking) searching of the effects of previous climate change and its effects on humans, did you discover

      • That humans have only had effective agriculture for the last 10 thousand years
      • That humans with agriculture have managed to increase their numbers from probably only a few million, to over 6 billion and still rising.
      • That our agricultural technology is based on having the relatively stable climate that has existed for the last 10 thousand years, and tends to fall apart whenever there is severe climate change – as in the Greenland example that you cited, or the Sahara (the romans bread basket), and innumerable other examples.
      • That the current rate of global temperature change over the last century is the fastest that we can see in the geological record. Both the entire billion years that we have some kind of record of, and the last few million years that we have reasonably good proxies for. That is despite a high proportion of the last centuries heat being buffered into the deep ocean currents (which won’t last).
      • And don’t give me any of the regional climate bullshit from Europe – it is crap from someone who has never bothered to study anything outside of the Gulf Stream area. North Atlantic is a weirdo area for climate as well as the inhabitants. Read my post on the subject – Those childish people of Northern European descent.
      • That the most common cause of wars amongst humans can be traced ultimately to problems with lack of resources – especially food
      • Warfare is a bit dangerous with the number and type of weapons currently available
      • That the issue isn’t if the planet and biosphere survives, but if we (humans) do.
      • That on this issue, you are a pious fool with about as much understanding as a plank. David Farrar is about as thick. Neither of you understand the basis of the science – both of you are stupid enough to imagine that you do.
      • Therefore neither of you have any idea of the risks. DPF reads the executive summary of the IPCC reports, but has clearly managed to avoid reading the nasty bits about risk levels in part one of the report. The bits with large hooks in.
        And at least David can read, unlike you…

      Have I made my reaction to your level of stupidity clear? My BSc in earth sciences may be almost 30 years old, but it clearly is better informed than than ‘peterthepissant’

      • peterthepeasant 8.1.1

        My post was objecting to the comment “climate change is a real and dangerous threat caused by human greenhouse gases emissions.’

        It is simply untrue.

        Climate change happens.

        One does need a degree in anything to understand that.

        To attribute the current alterations in in climatological measurements entirely to “human greenhouse emissions is sheer stupidity.

        Perhaps we could have some sane, rational discussion? Please?

        I think your language reveals your logic very well.

        I am very glad I did not get my degree from the same faculty you did.

        • lprent 8.1.1.1

          Ok peter the pissant. I can see that you don’t address any of points about the danger of climate change to humans, Just wander off to stupidity stating the earths climate has changed in the past – which anyone with even a basic understanding of paleo-climate has been aware of for a century.

          The problem is that humans are now changing the climate inadvertently, and in a way that is liable to undermine the basis of our civilization. It is pretty simple physics that even you should be able to grasp if you were willing to use your brain when you look at effects of the near doubling of CO2 in less than a century from fossil fuel burning (easy to demonstrate if you look at isotopic mixes of carbon). And of course you don’t even offer an alternative mechanism that can with the regional temperature rises in areas like the Antarctica peninsula or the north polar areas.

          But it is clear that you really aren’t willing to do so. Looks like you’re just another stupid CCD running on faith rather than rationality, like so many before. You are a waste of comment space

          • the sprout 8.1.1.1.1

            Hmm… yeah, I wonder why he can’t actually argue the argument could it be because it’d be a hiding to nowhere perhaps?

          • peterthepeasant 8.1.1.1.2

            Read my posts carefully
            Your reactions are quite out of proportion.
            Are you suggesting that without humanity climate change would not happen.
            I was not debating any argument, there were no points to address,as you suggest.

            • lprent 8.1.1.1.2.1

              Climate change is always happening, In the last 10k years it has been relatively stable. While all visible human civilization has happened.

              Now it is shifting rapidly. The carbon ratio is dropping in the rapidly risisg CO2 mix is shifting – indicating fossilized carbon release being released. What do you care? You like SUV’s.

              There are no points to address – you couldn’t give a shit for descendants, or even the rest of your life….

              Hey – you’re a callous monkey…

        • jaymam 8.1.1.2

          Good on you peterthepeasant. I don’t think I can be bothered answering the warmists’ misinformation in here, but somebody should.

          To the warmists:
          “Ok peter the pissant.” It’s typical of warmists to abuse others, because they have no convincing arguments.

          “deny climate change”: Will you PLEASE stop using the term “climate change” when you mean “human caused climate change” (which is in fact insignificant).

          Unlike the warmists, I have actually looked at raw data around the world. i.e. real temperature records in actual reliable weather stations. Anyone who has not done that is unqualified to discuss climate in any way. There is no evidence of catastrophic warming at any of those stations.

          Here’s the real reason for the warmists’ propaganda war – money – lots of it.
          The WWF and its partners hope to share the selling of carbon credits worth $60 billion:
          http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100030769/there-is-nothing-cuddly-about-the-wwf/

          • lprent 8.1.1.2.1

            Here’s the real reason for the warmists’ propaganda war money lots of it.

            That is utter bullshit, for two main reasons.

            First, that amount is pitiful compared to the amount that polluting industries are likely to lose under any credible scheme for putting a cost on emissions. Which is why those companies are spending so much money fighting these pathetic rearguard actions trying to delay any action for as long as possible, regardless of the risks and consequences to everyone else.

            Secondly, most of the work pushing forward climate change is done by tens of thousands of scientists who are largely employed at universities, and by millions of people like myself and others here. In neither of those cases is there any possible way that we could share in any possible payout from some hypothetical dividend from climate change legislation. Since most of us (unlike you from your statements here in the past) appear to know some science, we’re doing it on the basis of the evidence supporting a viable theory. To me, you appear to do it from some crackpot conservative sense that the world isn’t allowed to change on you.

            Grow up. Use your brain and learn some basic science. Then maybe you’ll be worth talking to.

            But don’t accuse people of doing things for monetary gain unless you can support your pathetic insinuations.

            Since you accused me as part of the ‘warmists’ – I’m going to take that accusation personally on behalf of all of the ‘warmists’ here. You’re now going to have to show that linkage for me or withdraw the statement. Adding you to moderation until one or the other happens (and my patience is finite).

            • jaymam 8.1.1.2.1.1

              lprent, you said “humans are now changing the climate inadvertently, and in a way that is liable to undermine the basis of our civilization”.
              That is a warmist or climate alarmist argument. What would you like to be called if not warmist?
              I am saying that the WWF and other organisations, with their huge finances, are driving the climate change hysteria by constant advertising, such as the Earth Day nonsense.
              Have you looked at any raw data yet? That will show that there has been insignificant warming in the last 100 years.

              [lprent: You ignored my question. Exactly how am I expected to get a monetary return from being a ‘warmist’ as you asserted. Being able to substantiate an assertion when requested is a requirement here. Not even attempting to answer is something I ban for because it starts stupid flamewars (and why I intervene). This encourages people to debate rather than making unsubstantiated assertions. You get exactly one more chance. If you can’t support the statement then take responsibility for yourself and say so.]

              • jaymam

                I accused the warmist WWF of making a huge amount of money by selling carbon credits, not individual warmists such as yourself.
                If you are going to ban members of the Labour Party such as me, there’s no point in anyone reading The Standard.

                [lprent: No – what you said in a complete sentence was:-

                Here’s the real reason for the warmists’ propaganda war money lots of it.

                That was a direct assertion / slur against all ‘warmists’. It is equivalent to saying that all labour supporters are communists or that all national supporters would like to drive all socialists into concentration camps for a final solution.

                You then provided an example of a journo asserting something against the WWF, which had what looks at first glance to be a paranoid fantasy worthy of Ian Wishart. However even if was true, that didn’t provide support for your first sentence asserting a claim about implicitly all ‘warmists’. That is what I called you on.

                What I look at on this site is behaviour. In this case I saw a really stupidly broad statement that was sure to stir up a flame-war after it got noticed, and stepped in to educate you (and to prevent others from getting stuck in). That is a concession to the fact you have actually debated before and have a history of being moderately rational sometimes. Normally I’d just do a pre-emptive ban or a very sarcastic tear-off before dropping you into moderation for behaviour modification. In this case you got a short taste of what I’d expect the response to be. Read the policy about how I view flamewars and the people who start them.

                So now – does that sentence stand or not?

                BTW: I really couldn’t give a damn for whatever party people claim they’re in. I’m mainly concerned with behaviour and comments that are liable to lead to unreadable threads. I think I’ve banned people of every possible political denomination at one time or another. The bias tends towards the right, but that is mostly because they don’t like the site existing and it affects their behaviour. ]

  9. Yeah yeah but whats the solution ?…it’s not voluntary reduction or cap and trade, thats also back asswards looking.

    Look to the future and what do you see ?

    • Bill 9.1

      “Look to the future and what do you see ?”

      lousy science fiction

      • pollywog 9.1.1

        no bright future huh ?…all doom and gloom !

        Gov’t’s can’t regulate big business to reduce pollution, they cant even regulate banks to reduce risk taking ‘investments’, meaning we’re looking at an environmental and financial meltdown of apocalyptic proprtions ?

        …so we may as well party like theres no future for tomorrow we die and fuck the problems our kids will endure as our legacy. Let them deal with it…yeah. It’ll build character ?

      • Bill 9.1.2

        Or change the trajectory that leads us to the lousy science fiction future.

        A revolution. Only problem would be that no base or movement is in existence from whence to launch such positive change as is needed…yet.

  10. Descendant Of Smith 10

    The difficulty that I see is that the denial means that not enough is being done to be able to work out how we will survive in those circumstances and what new mechanisms, tools, equipment, might be needed to survive.

    It seems quite clear that change is coming – it seems equally clear that we are ill prepared for it both at a local and a global scale.

    Having lots of dead people will no doubt be a useful way of adjusting and reducing our impact on the planet. No doubt many of those dead will be in places we don’t live.

    The Greenland example is only marginally interesting because they, the Vikings, were very reliant on imported materials to maintain their existence there. Their big problems came with the freezing of the straight that gave their ships access. It wasn’t so much the impact of climate change directly on Greenland itself. It for instance already had poor soils and few minerals.

    At the same time they did not wish to drop their standard of living e.g. by eating seal meat that may have enabled their survival.

    I guess the lesson is, is that we may need to reduce our dependency on imports and that we may need to be prepared to accept a drop in our standard of living as climate change happens.

    But look we already are likely to have to accept a lower standard of living with our aging population and we’ve can’t even plan properly for that – and that is totally predictable.

    I also don’t remember asking as a consumer that clothing jobs be moved from New Zealand to China I think that was a push by private enterprise who wanted to make more profit. I think they also wanted tariffs removed so they could remove any protection for our industries. I didn’t know I could actually buy a computer completely manufactured in New Zealand – let me know where I can find one – not just assembled but made and built component by component.
    I can also find plenty of rich fat people who shop at Kirkcaldie and Stains. Are those people not even more culpable because at least they have the financial freedom of choice about what products they buy.

    Equally, and if I can find the reference I will, didn’t the sugar industry play a crucial role in preventing a maximum sugar level in food items from being put in WHO guidelines. This was recommended by the scientists involved in the report but missing from the final version.

    Applying this maximum would be a good start. Taking the high level sugar out of food would be a much better step forward than berating the consumers if we really wanted to make a difference. Trouble is we don’t want to because free market reigns supreme.

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