Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Denial by Ridicule

Kevin Drum chimes in with some useful snark on the tactics of the global warming deniers:

This is just an example of the current craze in global warming denialism: don't literally deny that warming is happening (the actual facts make that too hard), merely mock every possible effort to fight it. International agreements? Obviously ridiculous. Federal regulation? Just an excuse for more anti-business spleen from the Birkenstock crowd. Carbon taxes? You'd like that, wouldn't you? Government spending on amelioration? Forget it. We should spend the money on, um, clean drinking water for Chad instead. Yeah. Private efforts to inspire conservation? Just a bunch of hectoring, self-righteous Hollywood elites. Al Gore? He doesn't live in a cave, so he's a hypocrite.

So that's that. Sure, global warming is real, but we shouldn't fight it with international efforts, federal efforts, local efforts, personal efforts, higher taxes, or additional spending. And if you support any of that stuff but still drive a car or use electricity yourself, then who the hell are you to pretend you're better than the rest of us?

Alternatively, we could all cut the smarmy posturing (mirrors in space!) and actually do something. Unfortunately, merely typing these words and posting them has roduced CO2, so there's no reason to listen to me, is there? I'm just another liberal hypocrite.
Look, we all have to function in the world that exists today, even while we are trying to make it better (or less worse in the case of global warming) for tomorrow. That means we have to drive the cars and take the planes and use the electricity that’s available and affordable at the moment.

No one is suggesting that we need to go back to the Stone Age to curb man’s effect on the planet. There are reasonable measures that can be taken that still allow us to enjoy life, but still use less polluting energy in the process. And the only way this is going to work is if we, globally, work together to achieve that.

I, or Al Gore (one word), as individuals could drive our Hummers to the airport get on a plane and fly continuously around the world for the rest of our lives, refueling in mid-air, and those individual efforts would do nothing to towards making global warming worse. It’s just too insignificant. But the collective use of fossil fuels as it exists today is causing a problem.

Now, obviously the collective effort requires individual effort as well, and there are things that every person can do now, but the ultimate solutions are gong to have to be more systemic. If cleaner alternatives are not available or practical, the individual is not going to use them. And we should all do what we can now, use CFLs, buy more fuel efficient cars, or if you have the option, do as Al Gore (one word) does and purchase more expensive electricity generated from eco-friendly sources.

Having said all that, I can now expect comments from people who will miss the point and want to tell me all about how Al Gore (one word) spends a lot of money on electricity and flew on a private jet therefore global warming doesn’t exist because he’s a hypocrite. Sigh.


Rickmonday said...


Very well thought out post. You know where I stand on man-made global warming but the good news is that I agree with all of the actions that you lay out. We should conserve energy, walk when we can, recycle when possible, turn the lights off, etc.

My reasons for taking these actions are for security purposes. The less we rely upon foreign fuel the better off we will be. Furthermore, as a person who enjoys wildlife and nature, lets face it, oil wells are ugly. Spills do happen and contaminate large areas of land. The oil companies do rape us. I spend close to $700/month in gas for my car. I would love a cheaper alternative. If it happens to be cleaner and doesnt pollute the environment (ever see the smog over LA? disgusting) great.

The problem that the GW crowd has, I think, with their message is in the way that it is conveyed. They could obtain the results they want by preaching more along the lines of what you laid out. Instead they come across as "better than thouh" elitist hypocrites who make outlandish claims.

I would hope that we as a country could start to make better progress in energy conservation and alternatives. I think the next President, a democrat I concede, will help us take these steps. Bush really hasnt done much in this area and it is a shame. Oil is bankrupting this country right now as far as I am concerned.

geek_guy said...

Well I was agreeing with RM till "better than thouh" elitist hypocrites who make outlandish claims.
Please feel free to give examples. I guess Dave was right when he said "I can now expect comments from people who will miss the point and want to tell me all about how Al Gore (one word) spends a lot of money on electricity and flew on a private jet therefore global warming doesn’t exist because he’s a hypocrite."


rickmonday said...

Here are 4 examples of the man made GW crowd making outrageous claims and directives and yet dont follow their own rules:

1. Cheryl Crow telling me how much toilet paper to use in order to save the Earth. I mean what a nut!

2. Al Gore flying to meetings in private jets when commercial transportation is available. Hey if you are going to preach to me about not taking private planes, then I just think it is fair that he follow his own rules.

3. Harry Reid stating that the California wildfires were caused by global warming. Wildfires have been around forever. And in this particular case it was arson. Reid played to the GW crowd on this one to make political gains and that disgusts me.

4. After Katrina, the GW crowd stating the we will have more Cat 5 hurricanes the past couple of years. Guess what, we didnt.

Look, I agree that the "cures" of GW are good for everyone. But when these clowns try to tell me what to do, I take offense. It really irritates me when they dont follow their own orders. That is the problem that I have with the GW crowd. That and the fact that they are hawking these so called carbon credits, whatever those are.

And while we are at it, I dont understand why the GW crowd does not embrace nuclear power. Nuclear power produces ZERO emmissions. So if they were serious they would stop telling me how much toilet paper to use and focus on something that we have today that works, like nuclear power.

Now if we focus on the true actions to take I think we can both be happy: conserve energy, find alternative fuel sources,do more walking and biking,planting trees (which I did a few years ago by planting 5000) etc.

I never said global warming doesnt exist, I claim that man has very little if anything to do with it. What caused the glaciers during the last ice age to recede? What about warming on other planets that is occuring right now? Just too many questions to say with 100% accuracy that man is the only reason behind GW.

geek_guy said...

1) and you know how much toilet paper she uses?!? Got paperwork to prove it?!? You are the one making outlandish claims.

2)Read Daves comment that I repeated.

3)Global warming made the area drier then normal

4)Just wait

Nuclear power has deadly pollution waste. There are alternative materials that can be used that have shorter half life, less toxic and can't be used in nuke weapons. To get that working, it takes research. I have linked an article on it before

I agree with your "true actions", but we also need tighter environmental controls, raise the fuel economy standards of cars, government funded research for better batteries, better solar panels, tax breaks for solar/wind power installation. Other things like being able to chose your electric company (and their power source) will be nice.

Increased carbon from volcanoes caused the last ice melt.

geek_guy said...

HTML got screwed up. Let me try the link again for other planets warming here

geek_guy said...

OK what am I doing wrong? I did [a href=http://climateprogress.org/2007/08/08/the-other-planets-are-warming-myth]link test[/a] using greater/less than symbols

rickmonday said...


What is your take on biodiesel? Is it a real long term solution? I keep reading articles on college students and professors running their cars on this stuff. Is it ready for mass production? I do know that corn based ethanol is not the answer.

Will said...

Rick, it sounds like no environmentalist has personally acted like a "better than thou elitist hypocrite who makes outlandish claims" to you in person. Every example you gave is the kind of thing you hear on talk radio or on conservative websites, but nothing from your own personal experience.

What Dave wrote in this post is exactly the message I see coming from the environmental movement. Maybe you're getting a warped view of the movement due to cherry-picking of outrageous quotes that goes on so often on conservative talk radio shows and websites. You can listen to a million hours of Rush Limbaugh and never get a remotely accurate idea of what the real environmental movement is doing or saying. Why not look around at what's happening locally and trust your own experience instead?

rickmonday said...

to Will,

So who then exactly was Cheryl Crow talking to when she told people to use one piece of toilet paper? (and no I have no proof but I would bet my life that she uses more than one piece. Although she does have a nice small behind :))

Who was Barbra Streisand referring to when she told people to hang dry their clothes? I am sure that is the only way that she dries them. Maybe she hangs them out the window of her CO2 emitting helicopter?

Who was Al Gore referring to when he told us to take commercial over private planes when available and yet he took private flights to places when commercial was available. That definitely is hypocritical.

If you read my previous posts, I personally am enviornmentally efficient probably more than the average person. But, I dont go around ordering people how to live their lives. These elitists are using the bully pulpit of their fame to direct their minions on how to live their lives. My question is what are they doing to cut down on CO2 emissions. Not much by what I see them doing. oh, thats right they are offsetting them with carbon credits. What a joke.

Maybe if they lived what they preached they would get more respect and more people would follow. Like I said, their message isnt a bad one but to me anyway they come across as the Pigs in Animal Farms and we are just the rest of the livestock.

Will said...

Well, Crow and Streisand are musicians, not environmental leaders. Crow said she was making a joke and I don't see any reason not to believe her.

I suspect going to the airport is a different experience for a former Vice President who travels with a secret service detail so that criticism is a little unfair. Al Gore pays extra money to power his home with clean renewable energy, uses energy efficient appliances, cfls, and yes he also buys carbon offsets. If everyone made the same level of effort in their personal lives that Al Gore makes then we'd be in pretty good shape.

I still don't think what you're writing about has anything to do with the real environmental movement. The materials and statements put out by leaders of national environmental organizations will never be quoted on conservative talk radio and are nothing like the way they portray environmentalism.

Its great to hear that you cut your energy use. It makes sense for everyone since it usually means cutting down monthly bills too.
I responded here because the constant straw-man tactics and ridiculous stereotyping of environmentalism that goes on in talk radio is a minor pet peeve of mine. Most environmental leaders I see talk about these issues do lead by example but you won't see them get exposure on talk radio or fox news.

geek_guy said...

The problem with biodiesel (and ethanol) is the whole food for fuel deal. I would rather eat then drive. Ethanol drives up the corn prices and the food prices. The debate is still out on the fuel usage to generate ethanol. Also with global warming (whatever the cause) the farm lands will be damaged. I can see it as a possible stop gap measure if the ME decides to cut our fuel. Of course with better fuel standards...
Biodiesel is fine if from things such as recycled vegetable oil.
I heard rumors that they are trying yo make fuel from algae ponds, the things to consider are 1) how much land is needed per "gallon" 2)Does it need prime farm land? 3)how many crops a year can it make 4) How much energy to harvest and processes it. Just remember it takes money to invest in the future...

geek_guy said...

Re Hypocrites.
Some republicans that preach "family values" end up being caught in homosexual and other affairs. Yet oddly Rick probably still votes for Republicans. Some religious leaders get caught doing the same and various other "sins", yet I wonder if Rick still goes to church or even reads the Bible. If he does, he's a hypocrite.