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Forced Responses: Dec 2018

Filed under: — group @ 2 December 2018

A bimonthly thread for discussions on solutions and responses to climate change. For climate science topics, please comment on the Unforced Variations thread.

697 Responses to “Forced Responses: Dec 2018”

  1. 151

    n 136: I think you normally well informed people are wrong to claim Victor is not a liberal and has some hidden agenda.

    BPL: Well, you’re wrong. I had an extensive confrontation with him on Facebook over Colorado’s free birth control experiment in which he clearly opposed it, despite the 40% decrease in teen pregnancies and 42% decrease in abortions, because it took taxpayer money to help other people. That may be a Libertarian position, but it is not a liberal position. Add that to his climate denial, and we have a picture of a free-market righty, not a liberal.

  2. 152
    Ron R. says:

    Zebra, #138. Which women?

    Thinking a bit more about it, I looked up the Wikipedia article, Demographics of Singapore.

    “Singapore’s resident total fertility rate (TFR) was 1.24 in 2015; the Singaporean Chinese, Malay and Indian fertility rates were 1.10, 1.79 and 1.15, respectively. In 2010, the Singaporean Malay fertility rate was about 70% higher than that of Singaporean Chinese and Singaporean Indians.[11]”

    I think that Singapore geared their family planning services toward those with the higher fertility rates. That led to accusations of eugenics by some, which I suspect you’re alluding to when you say “undesirables”. And perhaps there was an aspect of that in the earlier years. Still, it would seem to prudent to direct the money toward those with higher fertility rates, don’t you think? And perhaps a bit more monetary security by itself would have a psychological effect to help rein in births. Anyway, these are issues to be worked out in discussion. But again, I don’t pretend to have all the answers.

  3. 153
    zebra says:

    NYC solar,

    A couple of things people not familiar with NYC should note.

    1. It isn’t all high-rises. So, lots and lots of houses that could get rooftop solar exist, in the “metropolitan area”.

    2. There is very efficient use of natural gas to generate electricity, because there is co-generation– the waste heat is used for heating. Not sure if it is also used for AC, but it probably could be. So “back-up” would be available to some extent with less CO2 produced than in many scenarios. This principle can operate both locally and at the utility level.

    But having a large metropolitan area “go green” in general is easier, not harder, because you can make adaptations and regulations that deal with multiple areas (of consumption), and you can optimize. If you mandate all transport to be electric, you match that with the best non-FF source to charge the batteries. Those batteries work as storage if needed, and so on.

  4. 154
    MA Rodger says:

    Kevin McKinney @143,
    Yoyu have more patience than I have watching the drivel of Steve Goreham for a full 10 minutes. I did however spot a webpage with his slides which allows his nonsense to be appreciated pretty well without suffering the video.
    I note you say of his slides 14 & 15 (7:50 in the video) ”Pretty sure that’s the GISP Greenland temperature graph. “ It isn’t GISP. And it isn’t even ”Dansgaard (1984), Avery (2009)” as Goreham insists.
    It is actually Figure 25 in Chapter 4 of Christian Schönwiese (1995) ‘Klimaänderungen: Daten, Analysen, Prognosen’ and apparently captioned “Schematic reconstruction of average temperature variations in the Northern Hemisphere during the Holocene.” It probably uses ice core data from Dansgaard (1969) which shares attributuon in a number of versions of the graphic that are scattered around the web. The Dansgaard data would have been from Century Camp rather than GISP and looked something like this graphic which was part of a talk by Dansgaard at the time (& appears in his Frozen Annals).

  5. 155
    Ron R. says:

    A bit more research shows that today’s low fertility rate in Singapore used to be much higher (and disproportionate), especially between the Chinese and Malay, which led to these policies. Imo, the drop for TFR there is a success story for the survival of that small city-state, with the kinks continually being worked out.

    And with that, I’ve just about exhausted my interest in Singapore’s population issues.

  6. 156

    #139, Ron R.–

    Sorry, my internal nitpicker was activated again by this:

    I realize that hunting is the primary means of eating for indigenous populations around the world.

    That’s a widespread misconception with sexist antecedents, in that in general men do the hunting and women, the gathering. Guess whose contribution is more ‘photogenic’, metaphorically speaking? Yet in many indigenous societies, it’s the gathering that brings in the greater proportion of nutrition:

    What do the !Kung eat? Animal foods are estimated to contribute 33% and plant foods 67% of their daily energy intakes. Fifty percent (by wt) of their plant-based diet comes from the mongongo nut, which is available throughout the year in massive quantities. Similarly, the hunter-gatherer Hazda of Tanzania consume “the bulk of their diet” as wild plants, although they live in an area with an exceptional abundance of game animals and refer to themselves as hunters…

    Such societies probably ought to be called “gatherer-hunters”, for accuracy.

    It does vary by ecology; the extreme example of the contrary case is that of the Inuit/Eskimo societies of the North American high Arctic, where the fat and protein from staple prey such as seals, whales, and (for inland tribes) caribou make up large proportions of the diet. In those societies, women traditionally contributed to that indirectly, by devoting enormous amounts of time and energy to the manufacture of the clothing that is the primary adaptation enabling their survival in a very cold environment. They still do find time for gathering, though, and it’s not insignificant–especially in the Arctic summer.

    Indigenous societies also have engaged in proto-agriculture (or just agriculture!) quite often, as well.

    Although agriculture is relatively recent, most hunter-gatherer societies appear to have enthusiastically embraced it. For example, since well before the time of Columbus, tropical rain forests of South America have been inhabited not by hunter-gatherers but by hunter-gatherer-agriculturalists, small societies practicing shifting cultivation whose main crop was likely a single starchy carbohydrate. Contemporary ethnographers working in Amazonia noted that even when smoke racks are filled with game, if the carbohydrate staple becomes exhausted, the inhabitants say they have no food.

    Such a model is clearly related to the permaculture concept Killian has been advocating.

    All that said, the percentage of wild meat in the hypothetical diet under discussion is going to have to be very low. Take the case of the white-tail deer. It’s a species that has thrived in recent times, despite human activities of all sorts. It’s viewed as a nuisance species in many places, and estimates of the population run into tens of millions. I see them all the time when I walk the dog in the evenings here in the country, and I saw them pretty frequently in my former home in the Atlanta suburbs. And they were a big prey species both for indigenous tribes, and for early settlers in eastern North America.

    But if there are tens of millions of them today, that doesn’t compare well with the couple of hundred of millions of humans spread over the same area; a predator-prey ratio of, say, 4-1 is anything but sustainable. (Even in early times, the settlers tended to rely on their chickens, hogs, and cows quite a bit, too.) I’d think there’s potential for small domestic animals, though; for instance, the nascent permaculture “farm” at ‘the Mountain’ center in North Carolina, which is currently working to establish a true ‘food forest’, keeps both chickens and ducks.

  7. 157
    Killian says:

    Re #135 Ron R. said …permaculture video from Ireland. I love this way of gardening, and agree that her land looked lovely, and definitely more biodiverse than the land to the side of it… I try to live this way as well and love such lush life. There are a lot of sites on small space, or “tiny gardens” and urban and backyard forests… And I agree with your comments re: simplicity. That said, I have a few concerns…

    1. Again, this is in Ireland, which she mention is very wet. That kind of wetness is a boon to growth. Rains are like ambrosia to plants. But they aren’t so globally regular… I’m not sure how successful on a world basis it would be.

    Rather than my words…

    Green Pheonix desert:

    Green Jordan desert:

    Large-scale restoration:

    2. Turning the world into a giant permaculture garden, while it would be beautiful, it would also be ignoring the fact that the earth has many different biomes

    None are more aware than permies that what you do here has effects there. So, no we may not want to green all the deserts. What you actually see, however, is more typically people reclaiming desertification areas. But, yes, if you are going to, e.g., engage in aforestation, one needs to consider what that does half the globe away.

    3. She mentions that she plants whatever will grow, and doesn’t give thought to the native/non-native issue. That’s would be a big issue to a lot of biologists

    Yes, a big issue. The planet, however, has never been truly stable. What is important to note is that we are going to lose/are losing ecosystems as we speak and some of them cannot be recovered. We will need to be as wise as we can – meaning as informed as we can be – in figuring where we need to try to preserve an ecosystem and where we need to create a new one fit to the new conditions.

    4. Turning city lots into agriculture sounds like a great idea. On that land next to hers it looks pretty virgin. But I’d be pretty hesitant about the healthiness of food grown on presently vacant lots in, say, Los Angeles because of pollution. Maybe permaculture has considered this though.


    5. Roy Sesana mentions that he’s been told that his people have been hunting too many animals, but he thinks they’re wrong. Hunting is something that his people have always done, it’s embedded in their genes, and therefore is as unquestioned and unquestionable as western cultures find the Bible to be. My guess, though, is that there’s truth in the accusation.

    No, this is blaming the victim. The First Nations take trivial amounts. What you are seeing are the results of industrial predation collapsing populations then complaining that the First Nations are then pushing extinction. If only First Nations were culling, there would be huge numbers of pretty much everything, excepting environmental degradation.

    That won’t give wildlife much of a chance in the future if the practice of hunting continues unabated.

    See above.

    I believe that hunting is an obsolete practice based on continuing to do what we’ve always done

    Hmmm… And industrial culls and “modern” hunting are not the problem?

    which in the prehistoric past, because our numbers were much much less, had small effects

    Are we talking indigenous hunters or industrial culling?

    6. You mention in 102 that you don’t believe that population is an urgent issue, but that’s not what science is telling us.

    Not what I said. Population will not fall before mid-century. We need to be DONE mitigating by then, imo, to stay within any kind of sane risk assessment. Ergo, population is not the short-term solution, but is integral to the long-term solution.

  8. 158

    #141, zebra–

    Well yes, Kevin, we agree, but that does not excuse us from articulating how to achieve the desired mix. “Affirming” doesn’t really cut it.

    I’ve been quite clear that I don’t think the immediate, urgent issue is population, and that I’m mostly concerned with the steps needed to address immediate and urgent needs to reduce emissions. So yes, I think I do have the liberty to excuse myself from discussions of population at some point. By all means, explain yourself at whatever length you wish; I’ll read with interest, because your comments are generally substantive and well-reasoned.

    But I’m not obligated to weigh in just because you think it is the most important thing. (That will probably come as a relief to some.)

    Again, “You do you.”

  9. 159

    My #142–

    MAR on the FR thread makes an important additional point I didn’t consider (and should have):

    The thermal efficiency of coal is still about 35% and CC gas still below 50%. So wind & solar should be considered as at least double when compared with the primary energy use of FF-generated electric.

    Figuring out just how much that would reduce the actual area of solar PV needed is not, I think, simple; it wouldn’t just be in electrical generation, but also in transportation and heating as well, where electric technologies have higher start-to-finish efficiencies than their FF-based competition.

    So if all of NYC’s primary energy use is replaced by electric applications–the premise of my calculation–then battery-electric vehicles also replace current tech, and heat pumps replace natgas and fuel-oil furnaces, for just a couple of instances. The efficiency gains are considerable, and would be manifest in a decline in primary energy use (or at least the intensity thereof.) But they’d all have to be considered separately, and I’m guessing that even finding all the data you’d need would be a big undertaking.

  10. 160
    Hank Roberts says:

    This is not up for debate. If you stand opposed to the scientific recommendations based on these findings, then you are in favor of certain planetary destruction. There is no middle ground here. Our time to address the most serious threat to humanity’s existence is quickly running out.

    The good news is that the scientists who issued that cataclysmic warning believe that the technology does exist and will exist to address the problem. Where their pessimism comes in is our collective political will to do something about it. Not only do we have a political and economic establishment completely unwilling to do something about the 100 companies responsible for 71% of carbon emissions since 1988, but us as voters have yet to prioritize our future over the profitability of those 100 companies. Everyone must change, and we all must get behind aggressive policies if we are to stave off certain planetary disaster.

    Which is where the Green New Deal comes in.

    What Is the Green New Deal?

    The New Deal was a series of programs implemented by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s. Facing widening inequality and a poorer class which grew in size each and every day, the federal government created an aggressive group of policies designed to help out farmers, the unemployed, the elderly, and young people. Social Security is one remnant of this largely successful government policy (and the fact that socialism is literally in the name of “Social Security” is proof that America has not always been the hyper-capitalist nation we see around us today).

    The Green New Deal is a 21st century version of the New Deal, but tilted towards completely changing our economy so as to not be reliant on fuel that is poisoning the planet. It’s pretty simple: we can have the economy we currently “enjoy,” or we can have a habitable planet, but we can’t have both. The Green New Deal aims to create a new 21st century economy centered around four main principles (credit to Data for Progress
    for providing a longer summary of which I am summarizing).

  11. 161
    Oscar Wehmanen says:

    Global warming is just an engineering problem. All we need to do is move Earth 20,000 miles further from the sun. We must learn how to do this anyway since the sun will be running down in a billion years and make our current orbit unsustainable. As a quick fix we can add some sulfer to our jet fuel to create a nice sunshade of sulfuric acid. The other solution that is more politically possible is a nuclear war. If the US and Russia exploded half their weapons, the demand for petrochemicals would be reduced significantly below current levels. And the climate would revert to normal in only a few thousand years. As an eighty year old, I thank Gaia that I will not be around to see which solution is implemented!!

  12. 162

    MAR, #154–

    Thanks for running down the source of that graph. If it comes from 1995, then it obviously does not include the last 23 years of warming. And if Goreham himself misattributes his own material, then that’s a clear instance of incompetence–and it’s a consequential one, in that he can’t correctly align records when he attempts to do so later on, even if doing it right was his intention.

    But just how do you misattribute a source, anyway? Not keep track of what you read/looked at? Or is it a matter of finding something that ‘looks like’ it supports a predetermined conclusion? IOW, the error looks to me a lot more like the action of a ‘debater’ than anything an actual scholar would ever do.

  13. 163
    CCHolley says:

    Mr. KIA @146

    140 – CCHolley
    “BTW, who claimed that anyone in particular on this site was paid by big oil?”

    Some insinuated that Victor’s unpopular video (or the Heartland Institute, or denialism in general) was funded by big oil – see comments 101 by James, 126 by you, CCHolley

    Denialism is funded by big oil. That’s a documented fact. See #126 and link below.

  14. 164
    Hank Roberts says:

    Big Beef Prepares For Battle, As Interest Grows In Plant-Based And Lab-Grown Meats

    By Frank Morris, December 18, 2018 · The U.S. meat industry is gigantic, with roughly $200 billion a year in sales, and getting larger. But the industry faces emerging threats on two fronts: plant-based meat substitutes and actual meat grown in labs.

    Plant-based meat substitutes are a lot more, well, meaty than they used to be. They sear on the grill and even “bleed.” They look, taste and feel in the mouth a lot like meat. Savannah Blevin, a server at Charlie Hooper’s, an old-school bar and grill in Kansas City, Mo., says the vegetarian Impossible Burgers on the menu are popular with the meat-eating crowd….

  15. 165
    Ron R. says:

    Hank Roberts, #160. I sure wish environmental groups would talk to earth other before they come out with these plans. The Green New Deal is good, but again seems directed toward human benefit. Wildlife seem to be an afterthought that would benefit, but only indirectly. Throw Rewilding into that mix and they’d really have something.

  16. 166
    Scott E Strough says:

    @160 Hank,
    We can agree that we have a need to reverse AGW. However, your “green New Deal” is most certainly not mandatory as you suggest in your opening paragraph.

    “This is not up for debate. If you stand opposed to the scientific recommendations based on these findings, then you are in favor of certain planetary destruction. There is no middle ground here. Our time to address the most serious threat to humanity’s existence is quickly running out.”

    In fact it is language like that which causes massive push back. Why? Because the so called “Green New Deal” has more language in it besides just AGW mitigation. It has very strong socialist language and welfare funding too.

    “Making ‘green’ technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the US, helping other countries transition to carbon-neutral economies.

    Provide all members of society a job guarantee programme to assure a living wage job.

    Basic income programmes and universal health care.”

    Sorry but you just guaranteed with language like that to a fight you probably won’t win. It’s the primary reason the conservatives stay far away from AGW mitigation.

    Yes we can reverse AGW. Yes we have a moral and ethical responsibility to future generations to do so. But most certainly we do NOT need to become a socialist country to succeed. In fact even trying to solve this problem in that way will make it much harder, not easier, to form the coalition that will get ‘er done…

    Just food for thought.

  17. 167
    Ron R. says:

    Kevin McKinney, #156. Killian, #157. ”The First Nations take trivial amounts.”

    I really hate harping on the same points over and over again, and I hate sounding moralistic. I keep feeling a need to apologize.

    Please see the following sample of studies.

    You are aware that lots and lots of species have become extinct from cultural hunting right? Just one example:

    Note that I’m not trying to apply moral blame to indigenous cultures here. They are only doing what they’ve always done (though I do assign it to sport and trophy hunters).

    And no, I’m not claiming that traditional hunting is as bad as industrial (I’m thinking whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary no less – wait, that’s supposedly cultural too). But we are all in uncharted waters here and our cumulative assaults are having an outsized impact. The end will come when we continue to do what we’ve always done.

    Or as Hank says in #160: Everyone must change, and we all must get behind aggressive policies if we are to stave off certain planetary disaster.

    Killian, ”Population will not fall before mid-century.”

    It won’t fall after mid-century either.

  18. 168
    Ron R. says:

    Btw, the biggest reason for the relative abundance of whitetail deer is because we’ve been so effective at hunting their natural predators out.

  19. 169
    Victor says:

    BPL [referring to yours truly]: I had an extensive confrontation with him on Facebook over Colorado’s free birth control experiment in which he clearly opposed it, despite the 40% decrease in teen pregnancies and 42% decrease in abortions, because it took taxpayer money to help other people. That may be a Libertarian position, but it is not a liberal position. Add that to his climate denial, and we have a picture of a free-market righty, not a liberal.

    V: You have me confused with someone else, Bart. I’ve never communicated with you on Facebook or any other venue aside from this blog. I’ve never even heard about the experiment you mention.

    My political sympathies are mostly with the left and even the far left. I consider myself a nonviolent radical.If you spend some time browsing the older posts on my blog you’ll get the picture:

    Here’s a good place to start:

  20. 170
    Killian says:

    Re #160

    Believe all the ignorance and false promises you want, folks. The Green New Deal – which I first heard of from the Green Party – is suicidal. Full stop.

    We can discuss why after all of you are done with your apoplectic responses… but you already know why.

  21. 171
    MA Rodger says:

    Kevin McKinney @162,
    The incompetence of the denialist Goreham has even featured in a book as an exemplar of “Classical cherry picking – graphical understanement & hiding parts”. (You will note Ref 66 give a URL for Avery 2009.) We can but assume that Goreham saw the graph as having been drawn by fellow-denialist Avery, and using Dangaard’s data (as Avery 2009 says it is) and bolted on the reference “Dansgaard 1984” given by Avery elsewhere in his talk even though this was given for another reason. Where Goreham got the idea of re-labelling the graphic as “Ice Core Data from Crete Site in Central Greenland” remains a mystery.
    As for Avery drawing the graphic, I should make plain that he appears to have pinched it from fellow-denialist David Archibald (from 2007, Fig 6 here) who in turn, appears to have simply translated & coloured-in this 2006 German graphic, the German origin supported by there being an earlier 2004 German graphic with differing scaling. And quite where this 2008 German graphic fits into all this isn’t obvious – it is from a German denialist but with English annotation, it has Avery’s colours, Archibald’s title but unlike Archibald, a reference to Dansgaard that is an actual paper.

  22. 172

    #163, CCH–

    And by big coal (which, however, has weakened considerably in the US), utilities that prefer the old ways, and various allied industries heavily involved with petro-chemicals. I call them collectively Big Fossil. And they currently own the US government, not because of some fluke of history, but because of long-sustained, strategic and very well-funded efforts to transform the political landscape of the US.

    Jane Mayer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Dark Money” is quite revelatory on this.

  23. 173
    zebra says:

    #152,155 Ron R,

    I asked you originally about your proposal with reference to the USA, not Singapore, so it isn’t me who is keeping that in the picture. What I can interpret from what you said re Singapore, though, is that you think targeting certain identifiable groups with high fertility is an appropriate methodology.

    So, for example, in the US, a readily identifiable grouping would be Mormons, or Amish people– I’ve seen various figures, but TFR above 3 is certainly something we should be concerned about with respect to population growth.

    Now, in order to constrain the money numbers, we could ask ourselves how much it might take to convince a typical Mormon woman to forgo childbirth. I’m just looking for orders of magnitude, not an exact amount. What would you guess?

  24. 174
    zebra says:

    #158 Kevin McKinney,

    Tsk! I’m not trying to get you to talk about population– mostly I try, unsuccessfully, to get you to talk about the realpolitik constraints on your unrealistic expectation of large near-term reductions in FF use.

    My point in that last comment was to give an illustration of what I had said earlier about what psychology/motivation might cause people to reject obvious solutions.

    We know how to bring back the grasslands, because we observe the process happening without any reference to how wonderful nature is. People are leaving all the pointless little towns in the USA because the towns are pointless; at some point they will be abandoned and returned to “nature”. The only question is how rapidly this can occur.

    We know how to reduce the population, because we have these places with TFR below 1.5, where there is no overt effort to reduce the population, and in fact sometimes the government is even trying to increase TFR. So, all that’s required is to promote the observable factors causing this.

    More generally, we see people coming up with all kinds of suggestions to deal with issues like climate change that involve, as I said, either conversion and/or coercion. If we can reduce population, or reduce FF use, without loudly pronouncing that this is what we are doing, and how “morally” justified the solution is, many commenting here just aren’t interested.

  25. 175
    Ron R. says:

    Zebra, #173. On this thread you said, “And, of course, if Ron R wants to offer some concrete specifics on how we go about ‘paying women not to have children’, perhaps this approach can be incorporated into the calculations”

    So I offered you one. I never said it was my preferred solution. I said paying (rewarding if you will) women who voluntarily choose to limit birth for the greater good was, imo, one good avenue. But I’m not going to argue this endlessly. You may have the last word on Singapore’s methods.

  26. 176
    Ron R. says:

    Re: my comment in #160. “I sure wish environmental groups would talk to earth other before they come out with these plans.”

    Was supposed to be “each other”. Dang auto-correct.

    And my comment in #168. Should also add habitat destruction and fragmentation via roads, fences, development is also responsible for the loss of the whitetail’s predators.

  27. 177

    zebra, #174–

    Ah! The “unrealistic expectation of large near-term reductions in FF use.”

    Well, “unrealistic” is, of course, your opinion; we’d already established that we have differing “expectations” in this regard. Fair enough.

    So let’s talk, for a moment, about scenarios of change which do not involve either “conversion and/or coercion.”

    Dale Ross has had a bit of a media ‘moment’ over the last couple of years for being a Republican mayor who has taken his town to 100% renewable energy consumption through Power Purchase Agreements with wind and solar farms.

    But it’s not about ‘conversion’:

    [Ross says that] Georgetown’s energy initiative amounts to a “no-brainer.”

    “We are going to provide cost certainty on our electricity for 25 or 30 years. And there are no pollutants going back in the atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody wins on this deal.”

    It’s a story now, because it’s seen as a novelty. But it’s not going to be a story 5 years from now, because a lot of places will be doing this–not to save the planet, but to “provide cost certainty on our electricity for 25 or 30 years.” And, oh yeah, saving the planet is a good look for a politician.

    Somewhat in a parallel manner, today Tesla is making news for outselling all but 5 other automobiles in the US with a battery electric vehicle, and turning a profit doing it. (Camry, Corolla, Civic, Accord, and Elantra, if memory serves; note that all of them are considerably cheaper than the Model 3.) In five years, that isn’t going to be the story, because BEVs doing well in the mass automotive market aren’t going to surprise anyone. Yes, saving the planet will be a thought for some buyers, but a whole lot of people are going to be realizing that the product actually has advantages–lifetime cost of ownership, acceleration, reliability, vastly less road noise, handling, and the convenience of doing the great majority of your ‘refueling’ at home.

    These trends in energy production and electric mobility are not linear. If suitably encouraged–and I’ll certainly agree that there are discouraging aspects of the ‘realpolitik’ in this moment–I think that “large near-term reductions in FF use” are far from out of the question. My focus is to organize to try to ensure that those reductions are as large as possible; whatever that number turns out to be, *any* marginal reduction is helpful.

  28. 178
    nigelj says:

    Ron R @167, I live in New Zealand and your source is right, the indiginous Maori population killed of the Moa. This is not surprising as its a docile flightless bird with no native predators so was an easy target.

    The indigenous Maori population, with a culture that combined hunter gathering and farming, killed off approximately half all native bird species. The white colonisers nearly killed off the other half. We are currently putting a lot of effort into preserving what bird species are left with conservation programmes, and attempting to create predator free zones on islands etc.

    No doubt we can learn something from indigenous peoples, but this attempt by some people to idolise their way of life is so unconvincing. A cold hard look at the facts shows indiginous peoples had a mixture of positive and negative attributes not in scale dissimilar to our cultures.

    I think indiginous peoples should have first rights over hunting native species but if they are getting near low population levels all hunting should be banned. Animals are there for the benefit of all of us.

  29. 179
    zebra says:

    #175 Ron R,

    Ron, again, I am not talking about Singapore— I’m going by what you said at #152:

    “Still, it would seem prudent to direct the money toward those with higher fertility rates, don’t you think?”

    I’m trying to take your idea and get it into a real-world policy form that would be applied in the USA, with at least a first approximation of costs. Why are you so resistant to having a discussion about it when you started out complaining that “people don’t want to have a discussion about population”?

  30. 180
    nigelj says:

    Zebra says

    “Now, in order to constrain the money numbers, we could ask ourselves how much it might take to convince a typical Mormon woman to forgo childbirth. I’m just looking for orders of magnitude, not an exact amount. What would you guess?”

    What a non representative example. This is a small sub group of Americas population. Obviously it would take very serious money to convince a mormon, because having large families is part of their faith, a very specific part I know because a neighbour of mine was a Mormon.

    Instead look at the millions of working class people in America who typically tend to have larger families. Some very religious, some mildly religious, some non religious. It may not take much of a monetary incentive for them to have smaller families, especially if you combined it with education on the benefits. Anyway do what I previously said and ask them if it would work.

    Obviously it needs to be done sensitively, so you would target the programme at people with large families, and not single out a social grouping.

    In the end it may be possible to target all fertile women.

    I think Zebra is just trolling.

  31. 181
    nigelj says:

    Kevin McKinney @158, yes you are right population programmes wont do anything to help meet Paris commitments by 2050, however its possible we will miss these goals and emissions will continue to rise later this century. Lower population would help mitigate this, but such policies have to start now because of the big time lag.

    I think population policies could work in parallel with renewable energy without compromising renewable energy efforts. The resources required to promote smaller population would not be huge. I emphasise I think renewable energy is the first priority.

    Just a general comment. The IPCC does not mention the population issue probably because its sensitive, so its up to everyone else.

  32. 182
    nigelj says:

    Victor @169

    So I’m struggling to know who to believe, you or BPL. You can clear this up by saying whether you support the free birth control policy he mentions, yes or no.

    Seems like a good policy idea to me and obviously liberal / left leaning. Sad because everyone should embrace something that has such benefits for so little cost.

  33. 183
    Hank Roberts says:

    The text in 160 should be in a block quote, it’s direct from the linked source, not my statement.
    Posted as interesting.

  34. 184
    Hank Roberts says:

    The text in 160 should be in a block quote, it’s direct from the linked source, not my statement.
    Posted as interesting.


    M.A. Roger, thanks for the history of that denial chart. Amazing how little actual material there is behind all their credulous copypasting.

  35. 185
    Hank Roberts says:

    It’s not that I’ve given up hope entirely. But perhaps my narrative emphasis has shifted away from Avoid the Cliff and closer to Make the Fuckers Pay. Hope— dims, as time runs out. Anger builds.

    And now, nearly a hundred world-class scientists throw a report at our feet that proves something I’ve recognized intellectually for years, although not so consistently in my gut: I’ve been just as childishly, delusionally optimistic as the rest of you.

    Bear with me, though. Read on. I have at least one more happy ending in me.


    It’s been a couple of weeks now since the IPCC report came out. You know what it says. …

  36. 186
    Victor says:

    Nigel sez: re Victor @169

    “So I’m struggling to know who to believe, you or BPL. You can clear this up by saying whether you support the free birth control policy he mentions, yes or no.”

    Not sure what that particular policy entails, but yes, in principle, I do support making birth control freely available to all, with or without parental consent. I am also in favor of free choice when it comes to abortion. Any other questions?

  37. 187
    carrie the can says:

    180 nigelj says: “I think Zebra is just trolling.”

    Nah. Why would think that? He is only pushing his profound theory for a global population of 300 million. Jez, anyone can see the logic and reason in that, surely?

  38. 188
    Mr. Know It All says:

    A CONSERVATIVE solution to global warming (Part 1)

  39. 189

    V 169,

    My apologies if I confused you with someone else. [Emily Latella voice:] Never mind!

  40. 190
    CCHolley says:

    nigelj @182

    So I’m struggling to know who to believe

    Since much of denialism is a product of right wing fossil fuel driven propaganda and therefore most denialists tend to be conservative, I can easily see Victor claiming to be a liberal in an attempt to present himself as a “true” skeptic rather than politically motivated. He even goes a step further and attempts to minimize the role of the fossil fuel industry and its influence on the conservative agenda. Why? Because he would like to present the illusion that legitimate climate skepticism actually exists. Regardless of that, under the guise of being a true skeptic, he acts like a typical denialist citing the same disreputable sources and making the same misleading or false claims while making zero attempt to show an understanding of what the science actually tells us. Anyway, why would anyone trust anything Victor says as he has not earned any trust based on his posting history? Besides, his motives, whether honest or not, don’t really matter, he is a climate action obstructionist and apparently will say or do anything to justify his obstructionism.

  41. 191

    #190, CCH–

    FWIW, there is a left-wing denialist contingent. They aren’t large, but they do exist. For example:

    (Cockburn died in 2012, so he’s not a current example, but he probably remains the most prominent one.)

    I also used to encounter a character espousing a leftish political orientation who called himself Gordon Robertson–and that’s probably his real name, I if had to guess, but who knows?

    Anyway, he was sort of an all-purpose denialist whose “oeuvre” included not only climate change but quantum mechanics and HIV. He was great to debate with because basically all you had to do was ‘give him rope’ and he’d ‘hang himself’–particularly since he was completely unable ever to admit error, no matter how transparently he’d screwed up, or how mutually inconsistent his positions became. My favorite was his argument that downwelling radiation from the atmosphere carried “information, but not energy!” Yes, really!

    Ah, the good old days…

  42. 192
    Steven Emmerson says:

    Victor@114 wrote:

    I found Goreham’s presentation convincing, largely because he offered convincing evidence from what appears to be reliable sources.

    Victor, you’ve demonstrated to my satisfaction that you prefer to accept “facts” and assertions from unscientific, non-peer-reviewed sources rather than from scientific, peer-reviewed ones.
    Why is that? A wise person would do the opposite.

  43. 193
    nigelj says:

    CCHolley @190, yes the majority of denialists tend to be conservative, but not all are. Polling by Pew Research shows Republicans more sceptical of climate science than democrats:

    And I did consider that Victor might be lying about his political orientation, but a google search turned up nothing. I think he is probably liberal, to some extent, his own peculiar brand of it.

    I think Victor he is driven firstly more by an extreme form of scepticism. My impression is most of us have some natural and proper scepticim of new ideas, and it goes out of control with some people and they become cranks or contrarians. I suspect scepticism is probably on a scale or continuum. I’m interested because I did some papers on psychology at Varsity.

    Secondly Victor seems well educated overall, but doesn’t seem to think in a scientific sort of way, so might just be weak in that area. Some people just are as I explained. Combine this with his extreme sceptical contrarianism, and all is explained adequately for me.

    I do think right wing politics and ideology is a huge dominant part of the climate denialism. Plenty of peer reviewed research papers on this, but I don’t think it’s the only reason. look at KIA and DDS and we see obvious evidence they are driven by conservative ideology and perhaps business interests. I can see this would motivate than to minimise the science of climate change.

    Yes the sources Victor quotes are nonsensical, and imho his cherrypicking is huge and his climate commentary is completely unreliable.

  44. 194
    CCHolley says:

    Kevin McKinney @191

    Interesting. In all my advocacy work for climate change action I have yet to run into a left leaning denialist. Oh, I’m sure they exist, just haven’t personally run across any. On the other hand, I know many conservatives including elected officials that have a clear understanding of the issue at hand. Funny how most denialists accuse all those advocating for action to be liberals.

    Anyway, thanks for the anecdote.

  45. 195
    Hank Roberts says:

    Here’s the problem with the Victor Eyeball method, as used by people far out on both wings:

    … the statement of one of the lead authors of the study: “We found that people who hold radical political beliefs have worse metacognition than those with more moderate views,” said lead author and neuroscientist Dr Steve Fleming. “They often have a misplaced certainty when they’re actually wrong about something, and are resistant to changing their beliefs in the face of evidence that proves them wrong.”

    After being proved wrong, the participants were shown another picture, which was meant to give them a hint to the correct answer. The moderates were less sure of their decisions after being shown the additional picture. The hardliners doubled down….

    Read more at:

  46. 196
    Phil Scadden says:

    KIA – Can we take it that you agree with the very sensible and informed statements of the video author? (Doesnt seem apparent from much of your earlier comments). Funnily enough, his “conservative” solution doesnt seem very different from what scientists and liberal governments worldwide have advocated and adopted. Seems conservatives just cant hear those voices. But bravo, if you can stop the science denial because you understand there are solutions that conservatives advocate and which liberals are certainly not going to object to. The critical step is pricing carbon so it is more expensive than renewables. Choose the method of doing that (Emission trading, subsidies, carbon pricing/tax) and advocate for it.

  47. 197
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    It’s easy to call someone a liar, or a fool, paid by big oil, etc, but it is more difficult to state in scientific terms why they are wrong.

    IAT doesn’t understand that the burden of support is on claims contradicting the lopsided consensus of specialists. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, IOW, and since none of IAT’s sources presents any, there’s no reason to engage them. CCHolley, by directing IAT to, has made the appropriate response. I predict IAT will now deploy the genetic fallacy, by dismissing SkS as an ‘activist’ site.

  48. 198
    MartinJB says:

    It doesn’t matter if Victor, the man of many names, is a lib or a conservative. All that matters is that he’s stunningly ignorant climate troll. He has demonstrated this time and time again.

    For the record, I am pretty sure he’s a lib, based on things I’ve seen that he’s written.

    If you’re looking for motivation, I suspect it has more to do with his conceit that he has these amazing critical thinking skills that allow him to pierce the veil of poor reasoning used by experts in various fields. I base this on posts he has (or at least had) on his website attacking other fields in a similar manner. His capacity for making (in his own mind) authoritative claims about things he doesn’t understand is impressive.

    All that said, his motivation has naught to do with the (lack of) veracity of what he says. But maybe it is useful when engaging with him?

  49. 199
    Mal Adapted says:


    Some insinuated that Victor’s unpopular video (or the Heartland Institute, or denialism in general) was funded by big oil – see comments 101 by James, 126 by you, CCHolley

    Does IAT consider citations to probative documentation made by several commenters to be ‘insinuation’? If by ‘big oil’ he means not only fossil fuel producers but their capital investors, especially the wealthy individuals and families whose private fortunes accrue primarily from the socialized climate-change costs of their business, then I presume he’ll likewise dismiss Robert Brulle’s 2013 peer-reviewed report, Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations (free PDF).

    IMHO, the role of ‘big oil’ in sustaining political AGW denial is sufficiently demonstrated that the burden of argument is on those who claim otherwise.

  50. 200
    Ron R. says:

    Nigel, #178. Right.

    There’s no denying that native cultures were responsible for a lot of the early defaunation. Still, the way I look at it, it’s mainly modern white man that has greatly accelerated that destruction, with our economies based on seeing and using the earth as little more than a giant super market. There’s been little regard by the PTB for the health of the whole. It’s been all about what we can take and have today. Sure, a lot of people care, but not enough.

    In North America however, though here for many thousands of years, still the Natives conserved much of the integrity of the land, no overpopulation, no mega-cities barren of non-human life. Look what we whites have done in a mere 500. I’ve read some people who try to paint Native Americans with the same brush as whites, perhaps to assuage their own guilt, and it’s true there were some bad apples, and bad acts, but what can’t be spun away is that they preserved and passed a lovely land down to each succeeding generation. I like to think that they learned something along the way from those horrid first generations. One of my favorite quotes is from French Explorer, Pierre Esprit Radisson, circa 1652:

    “The further we sojourned the delightfuller the land was to us. I can say that in my lifetime I never saw a more incomparable country….The country was so pleasant, so beautiful and fruitful that it grieved me to see the world could not discover such enticing countries to live in. This I say because the europeans fight for a rock in the sea against each other, or for a sterile and horrid country. Contrariwise, these kingdoms are so delicious and under so temperate a climate, plentiful of all things, the earth bringing forth its fruit twice a year, the people live long and lusty and wise in their way.”

    And a favorite NA quote is from Chief Luther Standing Bear,

    “Miles were to us as they were to the bird. The land was ours to roam in as the sky was for them to fly in. We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangled growth, as ’wild.’ Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was the land ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage people.’ To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful, and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.”

    I don’t think this eco-consciousness was ubiquitous among all First Nations though.