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John Oliver, the media and climate change

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 pm, July 11th, 2014 - 49 comments
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If you ever wanted an entertaining, succinct, yet devastating critique of the media handling of Climate Change then John Oliver’s recent attempt from his Last Week Tonight show should be compulsory viewing.  Here it is …

49 comments on “John Oliver, the media and climate change ”

  1. Jenny 1

    @ 01:25 minutes: “The debate about climate change should not be about whether or not it exists but what we should do about it.”

    What we should not be doing, is developing unconventional oil technologies like deep sea oil drilling, or fracking, nor should we be opening up any more new coal mines.

    This just makes a mockery of political parties that make aspirational statements about New Zealand being carbon neutral in 2030 or 2050 or what ever stupid distant date they care to name that lets them avoid taking action in the here and now.

    Bottom line

    No Deep Sea Oil Drilling

    No New Coal Mines at Mangatangi, or Denniston.

    Wind down the rest, starting now.

    Anything less is blatant and hypocrisy.

    Cancel the government subsidies to the polluters and switch them to renewables industry.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I don’t disagree with you Jenny but civilisation needs to rid itself of its addiction to petroleum but not crashing and burning at the same time. So we need to have a crash carbon diet. The politics of getting there are cursed.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Unfortunately I suspect our options now are:

        1) A controlled ditching, on our terms with everyone well braced for impact OR
        2) A flameout and nosedive from 35,000 feet with champagne still served in first class all the way down.

        Let me think what our power elite are going to pick.

      • Jenny 1.1.2

        Greg when you say the politics are cursed, What do you mean?

        Do you mean that the fossil fuel lobby is too powerful for democratic government to oppose?

        Fighting climate change is not a technical matter it is a matter of political will, do we not have the political leaders with the needed courage and intelligence and the determination to advocate for even the most minimalist program?

        Look this is not extreme. Deep sea oil drilling is something that we never had before and wouldn’t miss. And No New Coal Mines is an extremely minimalist policy. Hardly crashing and burning. If we are committed to starting new coal mines now. We will still be mining coal way into the future for the foreseeable lifetime of these mines, way past the time when we should beginning to grandfather the already existing mines.

        It is the prevarication and commitment to Business As Usual position which is the extreme position and will which will result in crash and burn.

        We need concrete action in the here and now. But it is not happening. Why not?

        Are we waiting for a super storm like Sandy or Haiyan to crash on our shores?

        • mickysavage 1.1.2.1

          I mean politics will limit how far society goes with measures to address climate change. If a party goes too hard they will lose, if they do not go hard enough then irreparable damage will occur. I am hoping that the democratic system is able to deliver leadership that will be able to stop irreparable damage. Time will tell …

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1.1

            Only grass roots pressure from widespread popular movements and civil society organisations have any hope of pushing Parliament to do the right thing. Any isolated leader, no matter how talented, willing or well intentioned, without these popular movements backing them up will find resistance to change from establishment players pretty much unsurmountable.

            • Jenny 1.1.2.1.1.1

              This is exactly true CV but it is a balancing act. Popular protest alone won’t do it. Neither will government ministers in isolation acting alone can do anything. There has to be a melding of the two. Leadership from above is just as important as pressure from below. The model I refer to is the one that made New Zealand Nuclear Weapons Free.

              If you remember it was the Labour Party in opposition in league with the huge protest movement that brought the legislation to the floor of parliament. This is the model we need to emulate.

              It is one of the main reasons that I call for the Greens to stand out from cabinet, so that they are able to champion and speak for the gains of any popular movement in parliament. Bound by collective cabinet responsibility they will be stifled from giving a voice to such a movement.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.1.2

            A democratic system probably would – pity we don’t have one.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.2

          And No New Coal Mines is an extremely minimalist policy.

          Actually, it’s a rather stupid policy. Coal is a useful resource when it’s not burned to produce electricity.

          A better policy would be: No coal mined in NZ will be burned to produce electricity. And yes, that means not selling it to other countries because we can’t guarantee that it won’t be burned.

          We need concrete action in the here and now. But it is not happening. Why not?

          All indications are that our politicians are owned by the rich and quite possibly the rich in other countries.

          • Jenny 1.1.2.2.1

            All indications are that our politicians are owned by the rich and quite possibly the rich in other countries.

            Draco T Bastard

            I actually don’t believe that. But politics is a strange thing, it is all about pressure, it takes a very remarkable individual to go against the main flow of opinion, very few have ever managed it, even with a support group around them. Who is giving the lead and applying the pressure and who isn’t. At present the fossil fuel lobby are, and they have as yet not properly met up with a counterbalancing force in society, at least not one that reaches into parliament.

            Unlike the current situation, the hugely successful antinuclear movement was able to reach into parliament and influence opinion amongst MPs effectively winning over Government Members Mike Minogue and Marilyn Waring, tilting the ballance of power in the house.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.2.1.1

              We follow much in the steps of the USA and the USA is already a plutocracy.

              But the reality is that our politicians aren’t making the changes required by the facts and they’re not making the changes required by the population. So what is driving them to the policies that they do promote and implement if it’s not the two things that they should be making the decisions upon?

              • Colonial Viper

                And don’t forget the attitudes and recommendations of the civil service bureaucracy and deep state, and how far corporate influences have got in there as well.

      • Molly 1.1.3

        Transition towns are at least making a start, and without waiting for permission from the government to do so.

        The Blueskin Energy project has resulted from that initiative, and I seem to recall they are intending to open source their project so that it can be duplicated around NZ.

        • Jenny 1.1.3.1

          Hi Molly I applaud and support the Transitions Towns initiative where I can. I see them akin to the heroic citizens of the International Brigade that volunteered and went off to confront fascism in Spain. But what we must take from this is that to really defeat international fascism on a global scale there had to be national government and wider society buy in.

          I might also add that Transition Towns currently require a contribution of financial and other resources that a large part of the population simply don’t have, no doubt when the crisis hits these efforts will be rapidly scaled up, how successful this will be in protecting the majority of the population is anyone’s guess.

          • Jenny 1.1.3.1.1

            A draft report prepared for the United Nations suggests, out loud, what the U.S. needs to do about CLIMATE CHANGE: Cut emissions to one-tenth of current levels, per person, in less than 40 years.

            It’s perilous to say these things in the U.S., where a mere description of the scale of the climate challenge too often invites ridicule and dismissiveness. AMERICANS are each responsible for about 18 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Taking that down 90 percent would mean a drop in emissions to what they were in about 1901 or 1902. Cue ridicule and dismissiveness.

            The report is entitled Pathways to ‘Deep Decarbonization’

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-09/fix-the-climate-problem-easy-cut-u-s-emissions-to-1901-levels.html

            The study contains detailed sections on each of a dozen large national emitters, including the U.S., China, Russia and the U.K. It suggests to national leaders that cutting carbon may be possible, without ECONOMIC compromise and without fear that they’ll have to go it alone. Such analysis might help them generate the political support they’ll need to make the UN climate negotiations in Paris at the end of 2015 successful.

            This is where we come in. We are not one of the dozen large national emitters, but we could give them a lead and an example to point to.

            The big polluters are all waiting on each other to make the first move.

            What New Zealand does in 2015 could make or break these talks. There is still time for the main opposition parties to start campaigning for a blanket ban on Deep Sea Oil drilling and No New Coal Mines, in 2015.

            Our new government could then go to these talks as a world leader and openly say that we have taken these iconic positions to show this country’s seriousness in fighting climate change.

            This would truly see climate change become an election hot potato. The government would be left floundering, it is their weakest performing portfolio. On the issue of climate change they have no answers, they are in effect the emperor without clothes.

            80% of the population are opposed to deep sea oil drilling,

            As Gareth Hughes of the Greens has said, “If we really want to beat Deep Sea Oil Drilling we have to fight it on climate change grounds.”

            60% want the government to do more on climate change.

            This is a large constituency just waiting to be tapped.
            From the report:

            Talking about cutting emissions back to 1901 levels should strike many as crazy talk. It would be nice if it were crazy talk. Instead, it’s a WORTHWHILE description of the challenge at hand.

            There’s no question that there are still “technically feasible” pathways to a low-carbon economy. The bad news is that, without political buy-in, exploring technical feasibility is basically a parlor game. And political buy-in isn’t going to come about in the U.S. through reports suggesting that AMERICANS should reduce their emissions to a tenth.

            Elected officials can use studies like this to generate support for clean-energy policies. But in some places, like the U.S., the same studies can hinder policy development. It’s a chicken-and-egg thing.

            New Zealand could be that egg from which global action could hatch.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.3.1.1.1

              national National government Party buy in. FIFY.

              Same goes for child poverty, and every other issue under the sun. The Right is lost in belief and proud of it*. Either that or they’re intent on murder-suicide with the rest of us as the unwilling partners.

              We would not be having this debate otherwise.

              *I include Margaret Thatcher in this – her science-driven early (for a politician) recognition of the problem was dwarfed by the damage her dogma did.

  2. that is very funny..and john oliver is very very good…

    ..i have built quite a tidy little john oliver archive..

    ..should you desire more..

    http://whoar.co.nz/?s=john+oliver

    ..(i had that climate-one back on 13th may..)

  3. if you polled the rightwing-jerks that inhabit most of our media..

    ..probably most of them are denialists..’the jury’s still out’ kinda people..

    ..and funny story..!..

    ..rich republicans overwhelmingly are denialists..

    ..the ‘rich idiots’..

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/climate-denial-wealth-rich-republicans

  4. dimebag russell 4

    if they admit to climate change then they wont be able to get any more soap or elastic for their underpants.
    not to mention the estates in the hamptons and the 10 car garages, international travel adnd esxpensive hotels and personal assistants (slaves).
    it means the end of the “system”.
    show me any politician will go against the material things of no practical use produced by industrialism and the tawdry dreams manufactured by the dream factories.
    sorry folks but humanity is just going to have to ride this one out.
    tough titty.
    in the meantime the seas will be acidified and species extinction will severely curtail the ability to continue unlimited growth and expansion.

    • Lloyd 4.1

      Won’t the Hamptons be under the ocean in a few years? Maybe the effects of global warming will wash out all the neo-liberals.

  5. Tom Jackson 5

    The media problem is more general than this. When an established fact is at odds with either a significant number of viewers’ opinions or at odds with elite opinion, the media won’t report the fact. They will inevitably slip into reporting what the polls say as a means of avoiding taking a position.

    It’s strange: the institutions that we employ to inform us about the facts that we don’t have the time or resources to find out for ourselves end up reporting to us what our uninformed opinion of those facts is. It’s an endless loop of mutually reinforcing derp.

    Sometimes they’ll even report a fact as a fact and in the next sentence slip into talking about public opinion as a way of discounting it.

    My guess: it’s money.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Look up the “Kochtopus” to see how big money influences what we got told in the media. From funding friendly research, to publishing only the results that are ‘acceptable’, to owning the media channels and spin merchants. It’s a complete system of disinformation.

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        It’s a complete system of disinformation.

        Yes it is. I keep wondering exactly where it’s Achilles Heel is. Nothing is invulnerable.

        For how long did we imagine that the Iron Curtain was impregnable – then suddenly it was gone?

      • Tom Jackson 5.1.2

        The Herald does it on a regular basis. Not sure the Koch’s reach that far.

        • RedLogix 5.1.2.1

          A complete reform of the media is long overdue. Professional journalism plays an important role in a healthy society – metaphorically they are like the eyes and ears of the body of society.

          No wonder we are deaf and blind to what is really going on.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.1.1

            Then i would add that a deep reform of academia to meet the needs of society needs to follow.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.2

          Not sure the Koch’s reach that far.

          The system of global media story syndication, evisceration of counterbalancing local investigative journalism, and funding of right leaning think tanks which pump out a continuous series of credible looking ‘news worthy’ discussion points, is how it is done.

          It’s nowhere near perfect of course. Look at how we are able to discuss what we are discussing now. But you will note their many legal and technological attempts to start squeezing down discourse and dissent over the internet.

        • freedom 5.1.2.3

          Tom, are you suggesting the Herald is impervious to the commercial and political will globally focused on maintaining the status quo?

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    My usual gripe with ‘climate change’ which i will habitually mention here: depletion of affordable fossil fuels within 20 years is the main problem. It is going to lead to a chaotic and rapid decarbonisation of the global economy as well as a very limited ability to deal with the longer term effects of the climate change which is already inevitable.

    We have this short time period within which to get NZs social, economic and infrastructure systems in place. If we do not use this remaining window of opportunity wisely, we will be making life for future generations of Kiwis much harder than it needs to be.

  7. Jenny 7

    Will climate change become an election issue?

    In 2012,

    Despite Hurricane Sandy blowing right through their campaign and throwing their schedules into disarray, both Obama and Romney remained steadfast in giving the climate as little air time as possible.
    And for the first time since 1984 climate change wasn’t mentioned in any of the presidential debates.

    “End Climate Silence”

    Here’s a remarkable thing. Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama – with the exception of one throwaway line each – have mentioned climate change in the wake of hurricane Sandy.

    They are struck dumb. During a Romney rally in Virginia on Thursday, a protester held up a banner and shouted “What about climate? That’s what caused this monster storm”. The candidate stood grinning and nodding as the crowd drowned out the heckler by chanting “USA! USA!”. Romney paused, then resumed his speech as if nothing had happened. The poster the man held up? It said “End climate silence”.

    While other Democrats expound the urgent need to act, the man they support will not take up the call. Barack Obama, responding to his endorsement by the mayor of New York, mentioned climate change last week as “a threat to our children’s future”. Otherwise, I have been able to find nothing; nor have the many people I have asked on Twitter. Something has gone horribly wrong.

    George Monbiot The Guardian, November 2012

    The studied silence around climate change in the US presidential election race, in 2012 mirrored the same studied silence on the climate change that was observed by all parties in the New Zealand elections the previous year.

    And sadly in David Cunliffe’s recent inaugural 2014 election speech given at the Labour Party congress last week.

    In the wake of the severe flooding and storms in the North that look to become a regular seasonal event.

    Just like Obama and Romney in 2012, after Sandy, if he continues this studied silence David Cunliffe risks becoming isolated and embarrassed in his silence over climate change.

    My hope is that in deliberately leaving any mention of climate change from his inaugural election speech, that David Cunliffe intends to give this subject the proper attention it deserves and has prepared a dedicated address on climate change that will set out what concrete measures the Labour Party intend to implement on coming into government.

  8. johnm 8

    (That any policy can make a difference now): This is, Lovelock says, a deluded fantasy. Most of the things we have been told to do might make us feel better, but they won’t make any difference. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable.

    “It’s just too late for it,” he says. “Perhaps if we’d gone along routes like that in 1967, it might have helped. But we don’t have time. All these standard green things, like sustainable development, I think these are just words that mean nothing. I get an awful lot of people coming to me saying you can’t say that, because it gives us nothing to do. I say on the contrary, it gives us an immense amount to do. Just not the kinds of things you want to do.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange

    We’ve already pumped enough CO2 into the atmosphere to precipitate catastrophe, talk of policy making a difference is delusional.The MSM keep up the pretence we still have control, the truth would cause mass dismay.

    • ..@johnm..

      ..+1..

    • Jenny 8.2

      Humanity is in a period exactly like 1938-9, he explains, when “we all knew something terrible was going to happen, but didn’t know what to do about it”. But once the second world war was under way, “everyone got excited, they loved the things they could do, it was one long holiday … so when I think of the impending crisis now, I think in those terms. A sense of purpose – that’s what people want.”

      James Lovelock

      The only difference is that today we don’t anywhere seem to have the necessary gutsy determined political leadership ready to step up to give us that sense of purpose. Leaders who can’t be bought or intimidated or easily fooled. Leaders prepared to go out on a limb to shame the political quislings and cowards and name and denounce the open traitors,
      With the self assurance and certainty of purpose to be able to rally the population,
      With the sense to listen to the scientific advisors, and with the courage to be able to stand up in the face of the arrogant and powerful plutocrats determined to drive us deeper and further and faster down the road to disaster.

      And time is running out

  9. “on the contrary, it gives us an immense amount to do. Just not the kinds of things you want to do.”

    That to me is the nub of the whole issue especially in our western middle class lives – we will do what we want and that is the way we roll – selfish, ignorant, delusional and greedy – fuck the planet, fuck the developing nations, fuck the poor, fuck the future generations, fuck everyone and everything that isn’t me – guess what human, mother nature doesn’t like that attitude. So for the many that are repelled by the attitudes expressed above – what are YOU doing to prepare, what part of the “immense amount to do” are you getting on with.

      • marty mars 9.1.1

        Yep he is seeing the future trajectory of humanity with clarity imo an essential read is JMG

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          +1

          So for the many that are repelled by the attitudes expressed above – what are YOU doing to prepare, what part of the “immense amount to do” are you getting on with.

          Exactly.

      • Jenny 9.1.2

        Your mission should you choose to accept it:

        <

        blockquote>….he started insisting to anyone who would listen that Middle-earth was doomed, that there was no hope left in elves or dying Númenor, that Sauron’s final victory would surely come before—oh, I forget what the date was; it was some year or other not too far from now. He spent hours reading through books of lore, making long lists of reasons why the Dark Lord’s triumph was surely at hand. Why did he do that? Why, for the same reason that drove him to each of his other excuses in turn: to prove to himself that his decision to refuse the quest hadn’t been the terrible mistake he knew perfectly well it had been.

  10. Jrobin 10

    Just read an excellent book edited by David Cromwell and Mark Levene “Surviving Climate Change” published by Pluto Press. This is the most comprehensive, honest and pragmatic collection of articles that I have read. The writers do not waste time trying to prove the obvious but get straight on to solutions, political and legal blockages to change, consequences.
    Refugee flows are going to be one of the major issues as populations flee drought, competition for water and food, and wars. You can see John Key starting to get NZers used to the rhetoric of exclusion and prejudice in his reactions to refugees and boat people. He has possibly been briefed by American sources eg Schwarz and Randall report for the Pentagon.
    The awful truth appears to be that American preparations for climate change are predominantly involved with preparing for control, exclusion and discipline of refugee populations through new “non lethal” weaponry. Steve Wright.s chapter on refugee flows and the Pentagon response is worse than the most outrageous conspiracy theories and science fiction.
    Fortunately the rest of the book is less terrifying and deals with how to effect change. Seems we need to move off endlessly going over the same tired arguments. Is it isn’t it etc.

    Corporate laws that insist on ever increasing profits are one of the major problems and this needs a political solution. Worth asking MPs at political Forums what their policy is on MIA treaty and TPPA, as these bind sovereign states into considering the profit motive above all other factors.
    They also recommend local solutions and collective action as effective and psychologically healthy responses. New Zealand has many advantages as we are small and nimble and have the remnants of democracy which can be revived post election. This really is the do or die Election. We just have to change the Govt. to get started on positive action. We can be a positive model for the planet to follow.

  11. George 11

    The rich and powerful don’t want us making decent labour laws either. But we don’t lay down and give up that fight.

  12. dimebag russell 12

    the whole raison d’etre of the media is to sell stuff to the masses with the false consciousness that posessing goods is the only road to happiness.
    They are like the Spartans who wouldnt change their minds about their political system even as it crumbled around around them and could have been saved with the correct mental adjustments.
    The media have only one goal and that is to exhaust the wealth of the world now before industrialism collpases.

  13. RedLogix 13

    Oh finally incontrovertible proof climate change is a hoax – the official denial from Murdoch

    In an interview on Sky News on Sunday, Mr Murdoch spoke candidly about climate change, Australia’s political environment and its relationship with China. He said climate change should be treated with ”much scepticism”.

    If the temperature rises 3C in 100 years, ”at the very most one of those [degrees] would be man-made,” he said. ”If the sea level rises six inches, that’s a big deal in the world, the Maldives might disappear or something, but OK, we can’t mitigate that, we can’t stop it, we have to stop building vast houses on seashores.

    ”We can be the low-cost energy country in the world. We shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish,” he said.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/fight-climate-change-by-building-away-from-sea-rupert-murdoch-20140713-zt66s.html#ixzz37LlwBiw4

  14. Michael 14

    Actually, no, John Oliver’s critique is not “devastating”, because it is based on an obvious untruth. In setting up his mock debate, Mr. Oliver tries to represent that skeptics are a group of people who “deny” that ANY warming is occurring.

    But he is not alone. For several years, many on the left have been trying to shut up the climate skeptics both by grossly misrepresenting their viewpoint AND by completely misrepresenting the results of consensus surveys as meaning (falsely) that 97% of climate scientists believe that man-made global warming will have CATASTROPHIC results, which then justify the urgency for the world’s industrial powers to make significant changes to their energy policies.

    As for that 97% so-called consensus, this could also be critiqued based on both the logical fallacy of making scientific conclusions by consensus AND the fact anyone who looks into the details would see how it was based a clearly faulty premise which discarded most of the over 11,000 research papers for expressing no opinion, eliminated others based on the pollsters own subjective criteria, and based on their own limited, and dare I say, manipulated remaining sample (less than 100), drew conclusions based on opinions expressed only in those papers, and then reported the results as a percentage of that very small sample. Anyone with a basic understanding of statistical analysis should see the problem with this.

    But putting that all aside, the authors of the consensus STILL did not specify the degree to which the warming was human caused (just some, nearly all, or somewhere in between), or whether the “97% thought the consequences of this warming would be mild, dire or could not yet be determined. Regardless of these glaring faults and omissions, advocates of the catastrophic view irresponsibly used this consensus as yet another weapon in their war on any opposing viewpoints.

    Likewise, for years those holding the catastrophic view have falsely been portraying “deniers” as a group of people who deny the obvious – that the world has been warming since 1950, that CO2 in the air has been increasing, that the increased CO2 is at least part of the cause of this warming, and therefore that some of the warming we have experienced during that period is caused by human activities.

    Naturally, the reason for both of these gross misrepresentations – regarding the viewpoints of skeptics and regarding the consensus survey results – is that the left wants to be able to claim that the “debate is over” and that the “science is settled”, so they can have American and other industrial powers move on to the next step of implementing dramatic changes to their energy policy.

    However, the logical and practical next step is not to hastily move on to making major changes in energy policy, but rather to conduct a cost-benefit analysis that considers both the consequences of not making energy policy changes, along with what negative things might result from making those changes. And there is a good reason why the left wants to skip over this important step, because they know full well that limiting the use of fossil fuels, particularly in developing countries, would have serious, costly, and in many cases, fatal consequences for many people across the globe, and that once those facts come out, support for their agenda will wither away.

    So no, this “optimistic” viewpoint is not something new. The acceptance of the basic premise of warming and human contributions has been there for many years, and I would be happy to provide multiple links to show that this is the case. However, those favoring the “catastrophic” (or, as it were, “pessimistic”) viewpoint have been constantly distorting this for years, as they would much prefer to engage in a one-sided demagogue than in a debate that they know they would lose.

    And ironically, the only way industrial powers would ever be convinced to make the dramatic and global changes needed to have any serious effect on atmospheric CO2 and on climate would be if we actually have the debate I suggest and if, to my surprise, those holding the catastrophic view can put forth convincing data which shows that they are correct, and that therefore the costs and associated risks of making these sweeping energy policy changes is justified. So the irony is that the very debate that is needed in order to realistically bring about these changes is being suppressed by the side that believes that the changes or urgently needed.

    • lprent 14.1

      As for that 97% so-called consensus, this could also be critiqued based on both the logical fallacy of making scientific conclusions by consensus AND the fact anyone who looks into the details would see…

      Ok so you are simply lying. Lets be charitable and say that is simply because you are too ignorant to know how people doing science think. They are the “skeptics”. To be quite frank the “deniers” that I meet in discussion boards would have to be regarded as being simple minded amateurs compared to working scientists. They are trained to disbelieve their own ideas and test the multiple alternative hypothesis for validity. Because if they don’t then some other science prick will make a name out of disproving their ideas.

      In 1978-1981 when I went to university to do a Earth Sciences degree we were aware as students of the anthropomorphic climate change theory. In terms of the physics, it was clearly correct that increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would cause greenhouse effects. It was easy to show that in the lab. It was also clear then from isotopic analysis that the most of the decade on decade culmative changes in additional CO2 in the atmosphere were from fossil carbon fuels, again easy to show in the lab.

      My geochemistry texts had sections on the analysis based on papers going back to the 1950s, just as they did on meteorites and everything else. That was the “consensus” then. It is something that is obvious to anyone who spent time understanding the basic science. Something you clearly have put no effort into attempting to do.

      About the only thing that wasn’t understood was why we weren’t seeing the expected effects as fast as the “pure” physics suggested should happen. But of course they weren’t manifesting themselves on a daisyworld. A real world with lots of volatiles around isn’t even remotely as simple. Almost all of the work done since then to establish the more recent “consensus” you’re referring to happened a lot later.

      That became obvious over the following decade as they extended the temperature measurements outside of the dust polluted skies of Europe and the US via ground stations and satellite IR. Then the oceans chemistry, temperatures, volumes, and speed of movement had to be at least partially established. Ice melt were factored in. Every thing had to be measured ever more precisely, widely, and continuously. It has been quite apparent since the early to mid-90’s to anyone with any significiant knowledge of earth sciences what the broad outlines were. Humans were causing climate change well above and directly opposite the underlying trends. Everything else after that was merely refining the models with updated observational data and getting better at predicting the interfaces between climate and decadal weather.

      These days, I don’t know of a reputable working scientist (ie one with their beliefs not paid for by oil, gas and coal (usually by the Heartland Foundation)) in the earth sciences areas who doesn’t think that the effects are likely to be catastrophic for our type of civilisation over the next few centuries. The only real questions are how fast it is likely to arrive at the point of causing serious damage, how much adaption time there will be, and how long it will take to adapt. Those are the risks requiring assessment. I notice that you don’t address any of them preferring instead (like so many of the other whining deniers that I see here) to avoid looking squarely at the issues you purport to raise.

      However, the logical and practical next step is not to hastily move on to making major changes in energy policy, but rather to conduct a cost-benefit analysis…

      Waste more time? Oh yay! Another munter from oil, coal and gas wanting to waste more time so they can realize their reserves. That analysis of your conduct seems like a good working hypothesis to me, bearing in mind the number of these kinds of arseholes I have seen over the years. To prove you are not, then I have a question for you at the end…

      But we already know the basic conservative and almost certain risk levels of climate change over the next century. Those are the ones that the IPCC puts out. Book one gives the most conservative estimates of climate change by a combined voice of a lot of knowledgeable scientists working in the areas around climate change. That is the current conservative consensus. They only take high probability and proven results to put into the models to give the range of outcomes shown.

      Of course the sequential reports keep getting worse as evidence is found of reinforcements the tilt to climate shifts, evidence of the buffering of oceans and ice sheets reaching its limits, and the very limited countervailing effects of things like additional cloud cover. AR5 showed a much higher risk than AR4 as more information entered the high probability range and gets incorporated.

      And the reports for AR6 is going to be a lot worse because now there is some solid evidence this year about the WAIS instability has been long speculated on, but never had a high enough probability to get into the IPCC models.

      And ironically, the only way industrial powers would ever be convinced to make the dramatic and global changes needed to have any serious effect on atmospheric CO2 and on climate would be if we actually have the debate I suggest and if, to my surprise, those holding the catastrophic view can put forth convincing data which shows that they are correct…

      But the only way to get the type of “convincing” of proof that you seem to be demanding is to let it happen and then examine the consequences in the aftermath. Of course this could result in some megadeaths and I’m sure that the surviving people of Bangladesh, Holland, Florida, Louisiana, South East England, and many other places won’t want you strung up by your balls if you just happen to be wrong about how fast water will rise – yeah right!.

      The issue really is risk management where there is incomplete data. This isn’t a completely untapped area of analysis. Insurance companies, stockmarket traders, and politicians do it all of the time. So do scientists. For that matter, even people in households looking at how much they have to hold in liquid savings for emergencies do it – they assess their risks with distinctly imperfect information.

      This is no different to trying to analyze the effect of putting cobalt casings on to H-Bombs (in what I perceive is your scenario we should have dropped the damn things to see if the “On The Beach” scenario was feasible), continually adding more fluorocarbons to the atmosphere (we should have seen if we really could fry peoples eyes by removing more ozone), persisting in dropping heavy metals into rivers and harbours in industrial quantities (those lovely cancer and miscarriage clusters not withstanding), or even looking at social policies (free education won’t increase literacy because the peasants are too stupid to read), etc etc. All of the conservative myths of the past that said because something hadn’t happened before in the lifetime of the bozo saying it, that it couldn’t happen and ignoring known risk levels.

      If you can suggest a experiment that emulates the whole world, then even then it isn’t “proof”, and in any case a dipshit like yourself won’t accept it as being “valid”. There are no frigging certainties in science except if you carefully measure them throughout the actual object undergoing whatever effect you are testing for. Even then it is subject to questions about retroactive instrumentation and observational effects and a need to repeat the experiment several times.

      Unfortunately we actually live on this world, and many of us don’t like the experiment going on now. Quite simply we already have a conservative assessed risk that is making insurance companies routinely building changed weather patterns into their policies.

      To me, you sound like a complete paid for fuckwit without an ability to think. But hey, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

      Lets run an experiment on you to see what type of “denier” you are. Following your argument, lets look at what would allow you to be satisfied about the various parts of the probability risk matrix (I did an MBA as well). A typical denier will do almost anything else apart from trying to define what it would take to convince them that their belief is in fact incorrect.

      I’ve tried asking them to provide links to papers, and then never heard back from them after I use their own links to show that they hadn’t read the farking things or they hadn’t looked for critiques (in other words they’d pulled them off some denier site without reading them themselves).

      The best way I’ve found of elucidating what type of person I’m dealing with is to ask them to define their own parameters of skepticism.

      SO
      Tell me explicitly what you would regard as “convincing data” and then tell me how long that data would take to collect.
      OR
      Tell me explicitly what you would regard as data required to disprove anthropogenic CO2 induced climate change and then tell me how long that data would take to collect.
      OR
      Tell me (from the other side) what the certainty is of developing the mitigation and adaption technologies in time to deal with the worst case IPCC AR5 case. Because in the event that you are the fool and are quite wrong, the the other side of the risk equation will be to make sure that the technology required is available.

      My bet is that
      1. You cannot do any of the above because you have about as much scientific knowledge in this area as the hamster that your accounting prose above indicates. So your response will be on the effective order of “let god decide” and other such chiliastic nonsense. Quite simply you probably wouldn’t be prepared to take the time and study that answering that question will require. In which case you have a lot in common with the leaders of the “industrial powers”. Like them you rely instead on believing in people and/or gods. Rather than believing in the people who actually study the subject I suspect you believe in the dumb munters who make you or your investments feel safe rather than facing reality.
      2. That your assessment in the first two will effectively say to wait for another 20-30 years without any changes based on probable risks and let the carbon mining continue in the meantime, while we find out for “certain”. In the latter one you will ignore the history of technology development and assume that an engineered and distributable solution can be reached and testing within a few years despite all of the evidence of the last 50 years of large scale developments that it cannot.
      3. Meanwhile you will oppose taking any precautions against the known risks of developing new technologies (look at the history of nuclear fusion) or abating the severity of the risks of climatic shifts by abating greenhouse gas pollution. In other words oppose any gradualistic approach to abate possible risks.
      4. Now queue the usual disappearance or the whining about how I am so mean to dumb hamsters and keep calling them names.

      I have seen so many of these dumb arse whiners and time wasting shills sprouting the latest spin from the Heartland Foundation and its oil and coal funded clones that I’m getting more than a wee bit sick and tired of them.

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