There are at least as many walks as talks

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In the previous thread a discussion ensued about how to gauge someone’s credibility. Tom Fuller said that a

message needs to be evaluated by the normal criteria we use for messaging.

1. Is the message credible and coherent?
2. Are the messengers credible and coherent?
3. Are the actions of those who preach and believe the message consistent with the implications of their message.

This was echoed by Paul Kelly. Especially the third point got a lot of discussion. Steve Fitzpatrick had brought up that issue as well:

anybody who believes that CO2 driven warming presents a serious threat to humanity ought not be regularly jetting off (with enormous CO2 emissions!) to exotic destinations like Tahiti for climate science conferences. Climate scientists who want their (un-welcomed) message of extreme future warming to be well received must be (and must be perceived as) more pure than Ceasar’s wife.

To which I replied:

The physics of radiative transfer and feedbacks are not the least dependent on whether climate scientists fly to Tahiti or not.

If you can only address a problem when you’re pure as the driven snow, than no problem will ever be addressed.

and:

The more complex the chain of cause and effect, the more more complex the third point [walking the walk] becomes. If someone says that too much coffee is bad for you, but in the meantime downs 8 cups a day, I guess he can say he’s addicted (and perhaps he is). His message will however lose credibility indeed. But would you care to venture a guess how many people drink more coffee than they think is good for them? People don’t always act in accordance to what they (think they) know. It seems a little too easy to dismiss someone’s message because they too possess that very human trait. And then I’m only talking about drinking coffee. In a complex area such as climate change, people have vastly different perceptions on how it should be tackled and on their own role in that. Projecting how the messenger should behave, and then dismissing them because they don’t, is sometimes a little too convenient of an excuse to dismiss the message I think.

Marco:

The fact is that taking the message and really following up on it, may well push you into the area of “activism”, which then becomes an easy way to attack the message and the messenger itself. Good examples are the attacks on Al Gore for investing in sustainable energy and doing CO2 trading, and those on Jim Hansen for demonstrating against coal mining.

I.e. communicators are damned if they do and damned if they don’t walk the walk. It’s so easy to condemn them for not walking the walk you had in mind. And if they walk too much, they’re to be dismissed as “activists”.

Willard extends my coffee analogy to include Irish coffee:

The preach what you teach or the walk and talk argument pertains to public relations, not communication per se. When an alcoholic says to me that alcohol can be bad for you, I tend to believe that person. But I am not sure I would take an intemperate drinker for my nation-wide week of soberness.

Andrew Adams:

the central message of the “climate consensus” is that AGW is real, that the consequences are likely to be serious and it needs to be addressed. The extent to which this means we have to change the way we live is more debatable, there really is no consensus about the specific policies which are required in order to combat AGW

Even people who agree on the science and on the needs to address AGW, can disagree vehemently about *how* to address it. That is actually the discussion we should be having in society.

Andrew on the wider context of credibility and behaviour:

In any debate on a question of science the messengers should surely be judged primarily on the extent to which they can support their arguments with references to established science – that is what gives the message credibility and coherence. (…)

And of course scientists are not the only messengers, there are others (such as yourself) and their credibility should equally be held up to scrutiny. (…) It is often suggested that the whole furore, controversy etc around the subject of AGW is down to the actions of climate scientists and others who advocate action on AGW as if the “skeptics” have no responsibility for the situation or no agenda of their own. This is nonsense – they have an active roll in this saga and they have to accept responsibility for their actions. Even if they have an electric car.

If someone is claiming that as an individual I should be taking specific actions then obviously I would expect them to do the same, but otherwise I’m really not interested in examining the lifestyles of those who support action on AGW.

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171 Responses to “There are at least as many walks as talks”

  1. sharper00 Says:

    “And if they walk too much, they’re to be dismissed as “activists”.”

    It’s not even a case of “walking too much” but they must walk in a specific manner, one which climate change is criticised for and misrepresented with.

    It’s usually the case that proponents of AGW and environmentalists are presented as being anti-progress, anti-technology, anti-capitalism and being against western lifestyles. I think it would be very fair to say the entire policy challenge is around how we maintain (and expand) or standard of living without energy usage undermining it yet proponents of AGW are expected to “walk the walk” of reducing theirs.

  2. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    Thanks for cleaning up the noise from the previous thread. Most importantly, you point out that the focus should be “… about *how* to address it. That is actually the discussion we should be having in society.”

    I’d like to speak in support of activism, especially activism that focuses on actual deployment of transformational technologies and efficiencies. I think the group 10:10 was on the right track despite their unfortunate epic PR fail. I don’t have much of a problem with Hansen’s anti coal activism other than sanctioning property damage and likening coal trains to holocaust trains is a bit unseemly for a U.S. government employee.

    So, how do we engage society in discussion? For best results, the basic message should appeal to the broadest spectrum of people and contain the least potential for controversy. To that end, I put it this way. For a variety of reasons, fossil fuel use should be replaced in this century. The faster it happens, the better. Luckily. for the first time in history, the technology exists to begin to make it happen. It must happen from the bottom up.

  3. MikeN Says:

    The lifestyles are not relevant, other than for charges of hypocrisy. Flying to Tahiti is convenient, but if the scientists are in different countries, they probably have to fly to meet.

    One issue where I do think their actions matter, is if they are advocating policies that don’t match their rhetoric. For example, if someone names Roald Jomm said having EPA regulate CO2 is a bad idea, and cap and trade is a good idea, after previously complaining about rip-offsets, I would be suspicious.

  4. Eli Rabett Says:

    No free riders. Which means we either act together [edit. BV]

    The key to all these problems is that people are willing to stand a considerable amount of sacrifice, but only if they see that everyone is sharing the same. So Eli

    1. is willing to share a considerable amount of sacrifice but
    2. is unwilling to do it if others don’t.

    This is a fairly general rule

  5. tom fuller Says:

    Well rabett, igave up my car I 1990. What have you done?

  6. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    Please remove Eli’s totally off base and off color comment.

  7. Eli Rabett Says:

    Eli hears the tone trolls tweating in the bush.

    You guys can dish it out but you cannot deal with reality. The key to things like, for example, taxes, is that people will pay their taxes as long as they think that everyone in the community is paying (US until recently). OTOH, if they think that others are successfully avoiding taxes, they will cheat (Italy, Greece).

  8. Tom Fuller Says:

    Rabett, you’re tone deaf apparently. And maybe blind. I gave up my car in 1990. What have you done?

  9. Tom Fuller Says:

    Or are you trying to sound like Jack Nicholson saying we can’t handle the truth?

    [edit. BV]

    You won’t answer my question, obviously, as you’ve more than likely never done anything except climb the greasy academic pole to the middle, probably on the backs of your TAs and students.

    And Rabett, this is the age of Twitter. Learn how to spell tweet, proffy.

  10. Michael Tobis Says:

    There is an ethical issue here, actually. Ray Pierrehumbert doesn’t drive at all, though he goes to Europe and to AGU annually and to IPCC meetings on some occasions. I am considering giving up my car, myself.

    But this is an individual decision. And as such it has an ethical dimension but no practical dimension. Only global agreements among nations can actually stop or even substantially reduce the accumulation of carbon in the environment. Our society is in many cases set up to punish those who don’t participate. Certainly, scientists who don’t attend out-of-town meetings will be at a great disadvantage and will soon stop being scientists. Consequently, again, as an individual decision as opposed to a collective decision, it is very much out of reach.

    And I can understand the idea that global meetings should be drasticallt curtailed; yet in science and in climate policy developing a global community is important. Can mere video conferencing substitute for everyone drinking the same beer?

    But while Paul Kelly’s suggestion that some sort of grass roots movement is going to work is based on the fantasy that people as individuals have the slightest grasp on what they need to do, combined with a total failure to understand the tragedy of the commons, I think there really is a point.

    Collectively, earth scientists really should be working to virtualize scientific conferences. (I don’t think this applies to non-scientific meetings like the COPs.) But setting an ethical example isn’t really in the blood of science as a collective, which normally operates through the organizations whose main income base is the very meetings in question!

  11. Tom Fuller Says:

    There’s no ethics involved in Rabett’s challenge. After telling me and Paul Kelly to screw off he says he’s willing to do something if others are. I tell him I haven’t had a car since 1990. I have made a lot of major decisions that were influenced by that. Where to live, what kind of job to look for, how to shop. It’s not the labors of Hercules, but I gave up driving as the most beneficial thing I could do for the environment.

    I ask Rabett what he’s done. He issued his nonsensical challenge. (Nonsensical because if the world is at risk due to climate change he should do whatever he can regardless of what others do.)

    [edit. BV]

  12. Tom Fuller Says:

    Considering giving up your car. Ooooh.

  13. Paul Kelly Says:

    Those reviewing the previous thread will note tone was mainly brought up by Steve Fitzpatrick. I focused on message and messenger as did Fuller. He threw in the lifestyle question.

    MT explains what I’m doing pretty well as: “… based on the fantasy that people as individuals have the slightest grasp on what they need to do”

    I would only change fantasy to inspiration. The slightest grasp is all that’s necessary.

    “… combined with a total failure to understand the tragedy of the commons”

    Change to including only a slight grasp of the tragedy of the commons.

  14. Dave H Says:

    Tom,

    I have no intention of giving up my car. I like my car.

    On the other hand, I haven’t spent the last few years as an enabler of those who firmly believe action is a harmful and unnecessary fraud.

  15. J Bowers Says:

    I don’t drive, I haven’t flown for about five years whereas in the 90s I did long haul every month on average at one point, the vast majority of my work is done from home. So, I guess I’m walking the walk in that sense.

    Al Gore’s home is a favourite piñata, but it’s a red herring. It’s not just a family home, it’s also two full time offices with staff. He’s ex-Vice President of the USA, so catching a public bus to New York or flying economy to Geneva probably isn’t really a sensible option, is it. Be realisitic.

    In the context of “walking the walk”, of all of the Harvard graduates of the time Gore was one of a handful from there who accepted their draft and went to Vietnam as enlisted. His ex-college housemate, Tommy Lee Jones (among others), confirms that Gore went as enlisted because that’s what most of the men from Alabama have to do and his privileged position shouldn’t mean he be treated any differently, nor should his avoidance mean another man take his place in Vietnam. How’s that for walking the walk, not just talking the talk? What does that say about his character? A lot.

    Hansen condoning direct action/civil disobedience/protest against coal, even participating, is walking the walk. “Activism” has become a dirty word but in reality it’s a demonstration of how seriously he takes the issue and is a regular feature of democracies. Where would the civil rights movement and US apartheid be if Rosa Parks hadn’t practised what she also preached and refused to move as instructed by the bus driver? The same goes for women’s voting rights and the suffragette movement. Hansen being a NASA employee is completely irrelevant, just as the military top brass and officers in the Middle East joining the anti-government rebels in their respective countries is irrelevant. They’re government employees, too.

    Essay: The Role of Civil Disobedience in Democracy

    http://www.civilliberties.org/sum98role.html

    This nonsense about how scientists shouldn’t fly is just a lame excuse to dismiss their message. If they stopped flying to work related conferences and workshops then another adolescent and disingenuous excuse for dismissing the messenger would be found, and less would be found out about how the climate works – what a coincidence.

    It’s not the scientists flying but it’s what fuels the planes and drives the power plants that help build them that’s the problem. That’s what I want to see addressed, and that’s why I couldn’t care one jot about their meeting up by beating gravity every now and again.

  16. Chris S. Says:

    Virtualising scientific conferences is all very well. But how do we then replicate the meetings in the bar afterward & the chats in the queue for lunch where the real value of getting a load of scientists in one place lies?

  17. Paul Kelly Says:

    J Bowers has inadvertently demonstrated how a small but glaring error diminishes the effectiveness of the message and the credibility of the messenger. Al Gore, as every schoolboy knows, is from Tennessee.

  18. Bart Says:

    Guys, lets keep it conversational and constructive. Back and forth bickering is not part of that. I’ve edited out some offensive parts, but I don’t enjoy policing other adults, so please police yourselves.

  19. J Bowers Says:

    Paul Kelly, you demonstrate how a small error is blown out of proportion and focused on when a simple correction, followed by my acknowledgement, would have sufficed.

  20. Heraclitus Says:

    Reminds me somewhat of the ‘Al Gore said the Earth was several million degrees’ kerfuffle. If there is an argument worth making why make worthless arguments?

  21. Paul Kelly Says:

    I did not intend to dis J Bowers or the substance of his comment, with which I generally agree, but to make a point. It is not just major errors that harm the message. This is a thread about communication, after all. Communicators must be aware of dangers and pitfalls.

    Little mistakes do get blown out of proportion all the time to devastating effect. Dan Quayle never recovered from misspelling potato. The effective communicator takes care not to not provide ammunition to those who would block his message.

  22. willard Says:

    > Dan Quayle never recovered from misspelling potato.

    May I ask why?

  23. Paul Kelly Says:

    Al Gore is a good example of the cumulative effect of error on the messenger. Since the publication of AIT, his credibility has been damaged by a series of mostly minor – a million degree earth – sometimes egregious – crucial, enthusiastic support of corn/ethanol – errors.

    That being said, I think it much more productive to focus on the process of replacing fossil fuels rather than the personalities involved.

  24. Paul Kelly Says:

    Willard.

    It made him a laughing stock, allowing his opponents to paint him as ignorant and not up to the job of Vice-President.

  25. J Bowers Says:

    Paul Kelly, Bush was in office for two terms, Palin is still popular. You can’t count the number of gaffs they’ve made on the fingers of everyone on your block. Mistakes happen and everybody knows it. There’s more to it than just spelling, especially when politics are involved. A capable team of spindoctors and the media being on your side goes a long way towards spinning the gaffs away.

  26. Paul Kelly Says:

    J Bowers,

    As I said, let’s focus on the discussion we should be having in society, the process of replacing fossil fuels.

  27. willard Says:

    > It made him a laughing stock, allowing his opponents to paint him as ignorant and not up to the job of Vice-President.

    How did they succeeded?

  28. Paul Kelly Says:

    willard,

    If there’s some point your trying to make with your questions, just make it. I’m more interested in your thoughts on the process of replacing fossil fuels.

  29. Heraclitus Says:

    Paul Kelly, you can’t possibly have missed the point being made here. The primary problem is not the mistakes made by those trying to communicate but the farcical exaggeration of those mistakes by people who weant to spin a narrative and the willingness of others to be taken in by this. This problem is pervasive throughout the climate debate and I find it hard to think of an example it doesn’t apply to.

  30. andrew adams Says:

    It’s fair enough to point out that when commenting on a contentious issue when one’s words are likely to be twisted by one’s opponents it’s important to choose them carefully and not offer any hostages to fortune. But we only have to look at the examples of John Houghton and (especially) Phil Jones to see that ultimately it’s pretty futile because of the huge gulf between the way scientist’s words are portrayed by the “skeptics” and any reasonable interpretation of their meaning.

  31. Bart Says:

    Paul,

    As you’ve stated yourself, this is a thread about communication, so the points J Bowers and questions Willard are posing seem to fit the thread quite well.

    In an earlier comment you stated:

    For a variety of reasons, fossil fuel use should be replaced in this century. The faster it happens, the better. Luckily. for the first time in history, the technology exists to begin to make it happen. It must happen from the bottom up.

    Though all of these statements seem quite sensible, I think for some of them the picture is a bit more complicated. The “variety of reasons” argument has a lot of appeal for pragmatic reasons (the least chance for controversy, as you state), but imho climate change is the most pressing of these reasons. Therefore, keeping it front and centre makes sense to me, though I’m open to pragmatic reasons so as to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Low carbon technology exists, but is currently too expensive to be implemented at a large scale (plus technical issues such as upgrading the grid to enable large amounts of intermittent renewables, but those are solvable issues I think). Your last statement sounds too absolutist: “It must”. I don’t see how massive changes to the energy system will be implemented in time to avoid serious consequences. With such structural changes, I think a framework is needed that enables and soothes the transition, and politics has a very important role to play in setting the framework. Because of the tragedy of the commons and associated free rider behavior (see Eli’s comment upthread) the necessary changes won’t happen just by waiting untill enough individuals adapt their lifestyle and/or way of producing energy.

  32. Tom Fuller Says:

    Geez, J Bowers. I enlisted in the Navy and served on a ship on the gunline off Vietnam. I don’t use that to justify or excuse anything that’s happened since, and I certainly don’t look at Gore’s service as justifying his energy consumption or egregious errors in AIT.

    Just a quick check here–how would you rate former Vice President Al Gore’s personal lifestyle in relation to his views when compared to former President Jimmy Carter’s?

  33. Tom Fuller Says:

    Bart, I truly do not understand your argument. You write that because you think climate change is the most pressing reason to change our fuel consumption mix that it should be front and center. But the past decade has shown that your opinion is not shared by enough people to persuade policy makers to take meaningful action. It isn’t working. Paul Kelly’s willingness to open the door for other motivations is exactly how successful policies have been crafted in the past, by constructing a big tent, a coalition of the willing, etc.

    You write “I don’t see how massive changes to the energy system will be implemented in time to avoid serious consequences.” How is that an argument against forming alliances to make those changes? I don’t get it.

    As for referring me to Eli upstream, after being told by him to screw off, thanks but no thanks. Feel free to summarize without his editorialization.

  34. Paul Kelly Says:

    Heraclitus,

    That mistakes will be spun, unfairly or not, is exactly my point. Those who wish to communicate can either whine about the real dynamics of the marketplace of ideas, or they can perform the due diligence necessary to prevent errors in the first place. The best way to avoid being spun is not to give ‘em the opportunity.

    That is one of the reasons I have no interest in engaging in argument about climate science in general or any of its particulars. It is a distraction from, once again, the discussion we should be having in society about the process of replacing fossil fuels.

  35. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    You wrote: “… imho climate change is the most pressing of these reasons”

    Well, imho, environmental concerns other than climate, economic survival and international security are all more immediate and certain threats than climate. We could spend endless hours discussing the relative merits of of these and other perfectly good reasons for our shared goal of replacing fossil fuels, but is merely a distraction..

    At some point, you have to decide if your interest is in winning an argument over reasons or in accomplishing the actual goal. If you insist on having a sufficient number of people agreeing to your reason before focusing on reaching the goal, who then is the inactivist?

    I use the word must because a) the top down approach is not happening, so if we are to start today, it needs to be from the bottom up, and b) I see energy transformation as a social movement rather than a political one. Successful social movements start at the bottom.

    My approach solves the problem of the tragedy of the commons by unleashing a counteracting force, the joy of the commons.

  36. Tom Fuller Says:

    Andrew Adams, you certainly have a point, especially in regards to Phil Jones’ interview with the BBC regarding temperatures over the past decade. Skeptics certainly twisted the meaning of what he said.

    But compare that to, for example, luminous beauty’s tirades against McIntyre on the previous thread (and against myself, truly a minor player in all this). His/her departure from reality is really astonishing, and nothing that McIntyre (or I) have written corresponds to the comments. No amount of care could protect against that.

  37. Heraclitus Says:

    Paul, no-one can avoid making mistakes – that is a ridiculous expectation. And examples like the Greenpeace / Hardtalk ‘Arctic ice is going to disappear’ deliberate ‘misunderstandings’ http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/greenpeace-admits-bbc-got-it-wrong-about-arctic-sea-ice-melting-20090820 show that you don’t even need to make a mistake. This behaviour needs to be criticised continuously – it is the problem.

  38. Paul Kelly Says:

    Heraclitus,

    I watched the video. The interviewer clearly maneuvered the Greenpeace guy into a false gotchya moment. However, note the Greenpeace guy could have avoided it simply by pointing out that he was talking about arctic sea ice – the commonly understood meaning of arctic ice – and that the land covering Greenland ice shelf is a separate, though related issue.

  39. Tom Fuller Says:

    Paul, as someone who has been interviewed for TV, I can tell you that you really need a lot of experience not to get gamed if the journalist wants to do it. Something about looking into that camera…

  40. Heraclitus Says:

    Paul, I can’t re-watch the video at present, but if I remember rightly the quote was thrown at Gerd in a live discussion and entirely out of context. It is completely unrealistic to expect him to know the context of the quote, which made it perfectly clear and could not by any stretch be considered a mistake on Greenpeace’s part (ha!), and be ready to correct it in the way you suggest in such a live disussion. The fault is entirely with those who have deliberately misused this. I won’t even concede a fraction of a percentage of the fault to Gerd, Greenpeace or NASA.

  41. luminous beauty Says:

    TF,

    Blockquote>“I don’t see how massive changes to the energy system will be implemented in time to avoid serious consequences.” How is that an argument against forming alliances to make those changes? I don’t get it.

    It isn’t.

    No one is arguing against ‘forming alliances’. What is problematic is that developing alternative energy or implementing energy efficiencies for reasons independent of climate change do little to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

  42. willard Says:

    Paul Kelly,

    I do not know Dan Quail’s story, so references about the way his misspelling mishaps have been spunk are welcome. It would interesting for comparison’s sake. Just to make sure how political spinning works.

    If you’re interested about in a (technological?) discussion about moving away from fossil fuel, in yet another conversation about the conversation, mentioning Dan Kwhale begs an explanation.

  43. Bart Says:

    Tom, Paul,

    I wrote that The “variety of reasons” argument has a lot of appeal for pragmatic reasons (the least chance for controversy, as you state) and that even though I regard climate change as the most pressing reason to decarbonize the economy, I’m open to pragmatic reasons so as to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Seems to me that I showed quite some willingness to open the door for other rationales or ways to reach the same goal, so I don’t quite understand the beef you have with my comment.

    Paul, I share your pessimism that the top down approach isn’t working very well, but I don’t share your optimism that the bottom up approach as you describe it would.

  44. luminous beauty Says:

    TF,

    How many fools keep repeating the whole of climate science is a fraud citing the Broken Hockey Stick and Climategate as proof? Lots.

    You keep repeating your one-sided categorical belief that Jones ‘broke the law’ without a trace of the normative journalistic caveat of ‘allegedly’. You are fanning the flames of ignorance no matter how strenuously you may want to disassociate yourself from it. It is your personal tar baby.

    People hear what they want to hear, and disregard the rest.

  45. Anna Haynes Says:

    > “I.e. communicators are damned if they do and damned if they don’t walk the walk.”

    Yup, it’s a fantastic inactivist game-theory move. So it needs to be called out, whenever we see it.

    Thanks Bart for doing so here.

  46. J Bowers Says:

    Tom, I’m not even remotely interested in discussing Carter. The circumstances of your own enlistment are not relevant, either. I was making a point about whether Al Gore waks the walk or not, and from his past actions we can see that he most certainly did in his youth. I would need some convincing to make me think that he lost that aspect to his character. With evidence, not conjecture.

  47. willard Says:

    Speaking of Vietnam:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/11/infra-digging-michael-tobis.html?showComment=1288905967770#c8050965310834887507

  48. Tom Fuller Says:

    Bart, public policy has often reshaped itself to reflect bottom-up changes in norms and behaviour. The repeal of Prohibition in the U.S. is often cited as an example.

    It used to be said of politicians that they went looking for a parade they could jump in front of so they could call themselves a leader. If the people start making changes, the government will, too.

    In the United States, government bodies not subject to electoral whims have already started to adopt a green agenda, with the primary example being the military.

    It could happen.

  49. Tom Fuller Says:

    Good, willard. My military service is mischaracteized at Eli Rabett’s blog and you happily repeat the lies. Good, willard.

  50. willard Says:

    Tom Fuller fails to mention that Paul Middents was right in that comment. Tom Fuller himself acknowledged so in that thread. Tom Fuller also fails to mention that he has not answered Bernard J’s question, a question that ends the thread.

    And so we observe once more that any thread with Tom Fuller conversing ends up being a conversation about Tom Fuller. Perhaps personalizing is a professional prerequisite.

  51. Anna Haynes Says:

    Question for Paul Kelly: what actions are you taking to make govt. GHG-reduction policy actions more likely?

    If someone’s just encouraging people to focus on personal-footprint actions *instead*, their overall influence is a backward one.

  52. Tom Fuller Says:

    Umm willard, my previous comment was to Bart about public policy. You attacked me personally–you’re threadjacking out of personal spite.

  53. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    “Variety of reasons” is not an argument. It is a rationale, and a rationale that can be assumed whenever you’re talking to people who want to replace fossil. At that point, there’s no necessity for any of the reasons to enter into the discussion.

    Anna Haynes,

    The bottom up approach is not about personal footprint. It is about individuals in association effecting specific deployments.

    Since I see transformation as a social process, I’m not actively involved trying to influence government policy. I strongly support the ending of corn ethanol subsidies as you probably do, too.

  54. willard Says:

    Tom Fuller writes at 20:20 that

    > [M]y previous comment was to Bart about public policy.

    Tom Fuller’s last comment was posted at 20:02.

    This is supposed to answer my comment that I posted at 20:12.

    My 20:12 comment was about another comment I made at 20:01.

    So Tom Fuller is saying that my comment made at 20:01 is somehow inadmissible because of a comment he made at 20:02.

    ***

    Our comment, a mere reference to an old thread, was made to document the fact Tom Fuller already told us about his participation in this war.

    Our comment was also made to mention a thread worth the read: it has around 200 comments, many by a commenter named “Tom”, that is Tom Fuller himself.

    Our comment, a simple link, was more importantly posted to put into perspective this other comment by Tom Fuller at 17:57, in which we read:

    > Geez, J Bowers. I enlisted in the Navy and served on a ship on the gunline off Vietnam. I don’t use that to justify or excuse anything that’s happened since, and I certainly don’t look at Gore’s service as justifying his energy consumption or egregious errors in AIT.

    Let us note how Tom Fuller succeeded in turning this biographical into a yet another Al Gore piñata, if I may use J Bowers’s apt term.

    Let us also note how this is supposed to be an answer to J Bowers comment, made at 12:27

    > [T]ommy Lee Jones (among others), confirms that Gore went as enlisted because that’s what most of the men from Alabama have to do and his privileged position shouldn’t mean he be treated any differently, nor should his avoidance mean another man take his place in Vietnam. How’s that for walking the walk, not just talking the talk? What does that say about his character? A lot.

    Let us note that this anecdote is related to the subject of the head post.

    Let us wonder how Tom Fuller’s anecdote is relevant to the head post.

    ***

    Tom Fuller fails to mention that when he says:

    > You attacked me personally–you’re threadjacking out of personal spite.

    he is assuming that he can read my motivation. Tom Fuller is also interpreting as a personal attack my observation regarding his tendency to personalize debates, sometimes by talking about Al Gore, Phil Jones, or Michael Mann, but some other times by talking about himself: Tom Fuller has no car, Tom Fuller went to war, Tom Fuller is a lukewarmer, etc. Now it’s Tom Fuller as the victim of a personal attack out of spite.

    Our comment is certainly related to communication and trust. It is also related to the walk and talk argument. So the accusation of threadjacking has no merit, if we’re to hold that anything related to communication and trust is on topic.

  55. Tom Fuller Says:

    willard, everyone can read your motivation. Tobis even published it in one of his midnight ramblings. You’re just a hitman hijacking the thread. Can’t have real communication, can we?

    Tom Fuller has no car. We know this because Eli Rabett challenged Paul and myself, saying he would do ‘something’ if we did. We did.

    Tom Fuller served in the military. We know this because someone inappropriately cited Gore’s brief experience as a military communications journalist as evidence of walking the walk on climate change. I mentioned my service as evidence that there is no link between the two.

    Your tirade does deal with the topic of communication, but not in the way that you want us to think. You are trying to interrupt communication, not facilitate it.

  56. willard Says:

    Here we go again. Compare and contrast:

    > I mentioned my service as evidence that there is no link between the two.

    with

    > I don’t use that to justify or excuse anything that’s happened since, and I certainly don’t look at Gore’s service as justifying his energy consumption or egregious errors in AIT.

    We clearly see that Tom Fuller is mentioning his service to provide evidence that there is no link between “the two”, the two being walking and talking, presumably.

    Rolling thunder indeed.

  57. willard Says:

    Oh, and speaking of cars:

    > But compare that to, for example, luminous beauty’s tirades against McIntyre on the previous thread (and against myself, truly a minor player in all this). His/her departure from reality is really astonishing, and nothing that McIntyre (or I) have written corresponds to the comments. No amount of care could protect against that.

    So many tricks in so many words is an art.

  58. Tom Fuller Says:

    And you relate this to walking the walk or talking the talk how?

    Other than polluting the various threads you infest, what are you doing to combat climate change, willard? I do hope it’s more than just badgering those who disagree with you…

  59. Tom Fuller Says:

    I’ve been meaning to ask one of you robed ones anyhow–what is your desired endgame, you, dhogaza, Secular Animist, luminous beauty?

    Are you trying to convince those you criticize? Make us see the error of our ways?

    Are you trying to drive us away from blogs that you consider your territory?

    Do you think your actions will somehow silence us?

    Do you think climate newbies will be impressed by your demeanor and your criticism?

    What is it you hope to achieve here in the comments section of this and other blogs? I’m truly curious.

  60. andrew adams Says:

    Tom,

    But compare that to, for example, luminous beauty’s tirades against McIntyre on the previous thread (and against myself, truly a minor player in all this). His/her departure from reality is really astonishing, and nothing that McIntyre (or I) have written corresponds to the comments. No amount of care could protect against that.

    Maybe I’ve missed something but as far as I can see LB trashed McIntyres criticisms of Mann’s work – it’s an argument which has gone back and forth for years now with much bad feeling on both sides. Your own spat with LB is the kind of thing I’ve seen a million times in blog arguments – tempers get frayed, people’s motives are questioned, sometimes it’s unfair but it’s of no consequence to anyone but the individuals involved.

    The misprepresentation of Jone’s words is something else altogether. Firstly the question was posed deliberately so that if he gave a true and honest answer (which he did) it could be twisted and used against him. And so it transpired – people spread the story that “Phil Jones said there has been no warming since 1995″ knowing that it was false. I don’t believe a single person who has used that argument has not known it to be false. And unlike most spats on blogs it actually matters – Jones is a significant figure in climate science and an admission from him of one of the common “skeptical” claims would be a major feather in the “skeptics'” cap. It was picked up and repeated by sections of the MSM (who equally knew what they were doing).

  61. J Bowers Says:

    Back to the topic, how about this instead:

    1. Is the message credible, coherent and consistent?
    2. Are the messengers credible, coherent and consistent?
    3. Are the messengers willing to modify their position based on new evidence?

    The old 3’s rubbish and games the credibility test IMHO. For instance, “Does the denier regularly drive their SUV next door for a midday coffee and a chat with their neighbour, leaving the TV and lights switched on?” If yes, the denier is walking the walk consistent with their message and belief, and satisfies the old 3’s criteria.

  62. Paul Kelly Says:

    J Bowers offers a workable framework for analysis. Let’s do some. The first thing to do is determine the content of the message. It should consist of ten or fewer simple declarative sentences. Once we have a message, we can test it against our criteria.

  63. andrew adams Says:

    I’m completely with Bart when he argues that we should continue to press for action specifically to combat climate change rather than resort to finding other arguments to support actions which will be tangenially beneficial to fighting AGW.
    We should by all means use arguments about energy supply and security etc as an indication of additional benefits which will come from reduced reliance on fossil fuels but climate change comes with its own set of specific issues which need to be faced and addressed and it’s simply a cop out to think it’s sufficient to try to find some middle way which will keep all sides happy. What is being sold as compromise is basically admitting defeat and handing a veto to the “skeptics” and agreeing to only do stuff they want to do anyway. This is exactly what they want.
    Of course the kind of global agreements which Michael Tobis points out are neccessary are difficult to achieve, and progress has been disappointing. There are good reasons for this, there are very difficult questions which need to be answered and competing interests to be addressed. Public support (or lack of) for meaningful action by policymakers is a factor but not neccessarily the decisive one –
    the claims of the skeptics that they have won the public debate is not borne out by the opinion polls and policymakers are on the whole are still convinced of the need for action. Obviously the political situation in the US is problematic but that’s much more due to the idealogical bent of the Republicans than a big shift in public opinion on AGW. And lets face it there are plenty of governments who don’t have to worry about public opinion at all, although they will still be very aware of their national self interest.
    Of course we should still do what we can to put pressure on politicians and influence the public debate – doing this effectively is just as important as making individual gestures to marginally reduce our carbon footprints. In the UK our new coalition governments has used plenty of fine words but is unconvincing, maybe the kind of bottom up action advocated by Paul Kelly will strengthen their resolve.
    But giving up arguing for action to combat AGW is not only defeatist, it is wrong.

  64. Paul Kelly Says:

    andrew adams clearly is more interested in winning an argument over reasons rather than achieving the goal. More important to him than the practicability and effectiveness of an action is that the action be based in a climate metric. Of course, the actions that metric makes “necessary are difficult to achieve, and progress has been disappointing” but surely if we wait just a couple more years something good will happen.

    The fallacy is that only the climate concerned are interested in replacing fossil fuels or that giving equal weight to all the valid reasons means some kind of defeat for the science.

  65. Dave H Says:

    Paul,

    As has been pointed out already- unless climate change concerns are given the due weight of consideration that the current scientific understanding *demands* of any reasonable policymaker, any other grounds such as “energy security” grounds are skewed.

    What’s hot topic in the energy sector right now? Fracking. Why is that? Because it has now become cost effective to hit reserves of fossil fuels that were previously too expensive or technologically inaccessible or dangerous to retrieve.

    So: given access to one or two centuries worth of gas energy via this process, and without negative externalities of fossil fuels *even close* to accounted for by the market, explain again how a pure energy security approach is going to do anything to curb emissions in this scenario?

  66. willard Says:

    This time, really speaking of cars:

    On the March 25, 2011, at 02:42, Eli says:

    > No free riders. Which means we either act together […]

    At 03:00, Tom Fuller:

    > Well rabett, igave up my car I 1990. What have you done?

    At 03:28, Eli explains itself:

    > The key to things like, for example, taxes, is that people will pay their taxes as long as they think that everyone in the community is paying (US until recently).

    At 04:53, Tom Fuller:

    > Rabett, you’re tone deaf apparently. And maybe blind. I gave up my car in 1990. What have you done?

    At 04:57, Tom Fuller:

    > You won’t answer my question, obviously, as you’ve more than likely never done anything except climb the greasy academic pole to the middle, probably on the backs of your TAs and students.

    At 05:55, Tom Fuller:

    > There’s no ethics involved in Rabett’s challenge. After telling me and Paul Kelly to screw off he says he’s willing to do something if others are. I tell him I haven’t had a car since 1990.

    At 05:58, Tom Fuller:

    > Considering giving up your car. Ooooh.

    At 18:03, Tom Fuller recalls that he went to war in reply to J Bowers, who just said he does not own a car.

    At 18:40, Tom Fuller concedes that Andrew Adams certainly has a point in one paragraph, following by a “comparison” with what Luminous Beauty said in another thread.

    At 19:16, Tom Fuller says something more amicable to Paul Kelly.

    At 20:02, Tom Fuller talks about public policy.

    At 20:04, Tom Fuller miscontrues what has been said in Eli’s thread and targets me.

    At 20:20, Tom Fuller recalls that at 20:02, he talked about public policy.

    At 22:50, Tom Fuller reiterates that he can read my motivation and returns to his own car sacrifice:

    > Tom Fuller has no car. We know this because Eli Rabett challenged Paul and myself, saying he would do ‘something’ if we did. We did.

    At 23:18, Tom Fuller asks:

    > And you relate this to walking the walk or talking the talk how?

    An unwillingness of the messenger to modify the message faced by evidence. Coherence and consistency leading to lack of credibility.

    Here is the jest of what Eli Rabett said:

    > The key to things like, for example, taxes, is that people will pay their taxes as long as they think that everyone in the community is paying (US until recently).

    Here is the jest of Tom Fuller’s claim:

    > Tom Fuller has no car.

    Geez, Tom Fuller will know that I do not own a car, but I don’t use that to justify or excuse my comments, and I certainly don’t look at Tom Fuller’s car sacrifice as justifying his various misunderstandings shown hereunder, ranging from Operation Rolling Thunder to Eli’s claim, which is not about a Me, but a We.

    Me? We!

  67. Paul Kelly Says:

    David H,

    Apparently you have not read what I have written. I’ve never used the term energy security nor advocated a pure energy security approach. I advocate a bottom up approach based purely on replacing fossil fuel use.

    I have not said climate shouldn’t be given due weight, but that all valid reasons should be given their due weight also. Since I look on replacing fossil as social movement, I’m not much interested in influencing policymakers. I think it is dangerous to wait for policymakers to act.

    Hope this clears up the misunderstanding of my position indicated by your comment. My personal reasons for replacing fossil are environmental concerns and economic survival. I’d be interested in how you would frame “the message”.

  68. Paul Kelly Says:

    Tom Fuller,

    Please don’t reply to Willard.

  69. Eli Rabett Says:

    Couple of points:

    Eli did not challenge Tom or Paul to do anything. Eli said
    ———————————
    The key to all these problems is that people are willing to stand a considerable amount of sacrifice, but only if they see that everyone is sharing the same. So Eli

    1. is willing to share a considerable amount of sacrifice but
    2. is unwilling to do it if others don’t.

    This is a fairly general rule
    —————————

    and that means everyone Tom not just you. A good example of this is bottle return laws or plastic bag laws. People have no problem with them and they benefit the community, but only a few will bring their own bags or return bottles without some sort of regulation.

    Second, Eli has no position on Tom serving or not serving in the Navy during Vietnam or having or not having a car. For all Eli knows Tom is a fifteen year old girl in India working for HBGary Federal.

    So Bart, how about editing Tom’s lies about Eli???

  70. Eli Rabett Says:

    Paul, have no fear, Tom will point out that he has no car and served in Vietnam.

  71. Oale Says:

    lol, hands up everyone who has a robe on!

  72. Bart Says:

    Paul,

    Your characterization of Andrew’s words doesn’t conform to what he wrote. He sais, as have I, that leaving AGW out of rationale risks that actions won’t be sufficient to prevent serious effects, and that therefore it should remain included. He, as do I, also said that including other rationales as well is good, as it could raise the support for adequate measures.

    Going down the road of ridiculing any position that doesn’t conform 100% to your own is not a good communications startegy I think.

    Andrew, thanks for your consistently thoughtful and constructive comments.

  73. Dave H Says:

    @ Paul Kelly,

    So perhaps you could replace “energy security” (which was, after all, just a shorthand for the sort of non-climatic reasons given for altering our energy mix) with “economic survival” in my comment and consider a response. On economic grounds, why not coal?

    > Since I look on replacing fossil as social movement, I’m not much interested in influencing policymakers.

    And this is why it is doomed to failure on anything like the timescales necessary to make a difference. As a social movement, action on replacing fossil is going backwards. Indeed, as a social movement it is *easy* to dismiss for precisely the reasons outlined in Bart’s original posting.

    The basis for action is scientific – but any activism is easily framed such that is indicates that you are *not expressing a rational position* or that your rationality is overwhelmed by your emotive response. The science encourages action – but action discredits a dispassionate analysis of the science.

    Check the numbers and *anything* that individuals – or even small groups – can do is utterly dwarfed by the major infrastructure that cannot be controlled or influenced from the bottom up.

    The only way to enact change on this scale with a social movement is with such a groundswell of public opinion that it makes it untenable for policymakers to continue on a course of inaction. Given that *precisely the reverse* is happening in the US, it is bizarre to imagine any change of this sort taking hold in the next decades on any serious level.

  74. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    If you’ll point out any words of ridicule in my reply to Andrew, I’ll gladly retract them. I agree his comments are consistently thoughtful and constructive.

    You and Andrew seem to misconstrue giving equal weight to the variety of reasons to mean leaving AGW out of rationale altogether. That is not the case. Now, including other reasons in the rationale might lead to consideration of solutions other than global CO2 suppression schemes or regressive taxation. That’s a good thing, as those solutions are unlikely to be implemented or be effective.

    DAVE H,

    Replacing “energy security” with “economic survival”, my response is still that actions should not be based purely on a single reason, be it climate, economics or any other.

    We no doubt agree that the number one impediment to alternative deployment is lack of market competitiveness. This is aggravated by an almost unique inability if the consumer to effect pricing. Whether competitiveness can be reach in the necessary time frame is a good question. Just yesterday, the US Energy Secretary presented some fairly optimistic projections.

  75. J Bowers Says:

    Oale — “lol, hands up everyone who has a robe on!”

    Pyjamas.

  76. J Bowers Says:

    Paul Kelly — “We no doubt agree that the number one impediment to alternative deployment is lack of market competitiveness. This is aggravated by an almost unique inability if the consumer to effect pricing.”

    That’s not true. Fossil fuel receives more socialist style funding and support than any other energy source. It’s reverse socialism – robbing what little the poor and middle classes have left to make the filthy rich even richer.

    * IEA: Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Amount to USD 557bn
    * World should eradicate fossil fuel subsidies: IEA
    * Real Cost of a Gallon of Gas: $11.35 plus
    * Coal and Oil Will Cost the US $23 Trillion from 2010-2030, New Study Finds
    * IEA reveals fossil fuel subsidies top $550bn
    * Coal’s hidden costs top $345 billion in U.S.: study

    BOSTON (Reuters) – The United States’ reliance on coal to generate almost half of its electricity, costs the economy about $345 billion a year in hidden expenses not borne by miners or utilities, including health problems in mining communities and pollution around power plants, a study found.

    Those costs would effectively triple the price of electricity produced by coal-fired plants, which are prevalent in part due to the their low cost of operation, the study led by a Harvard University researcher found.

    “This is not borne by the coal industry, this is borne by us, in our taxes,” said Paul Epstein, a Harvard Medical School instructor and the associate director of its Center for Health and the Global Environment, the study’s lead author.

    Then there’s all the hullabaloo about nuclear, but something that keeps getting swept under the carpet:

    * Coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste

    And a challenge to the conventional view that coal supplies can fire the power plants for hundreds of years:

    * Mining the Truth on Coal Supplies

    All of my domestic electricity is replaced by renewables. It’s costing me less than before I switched supplier.

  77. Paul Kelly Says:

    JBowers,

    Interesting stuff, not sure it falsifies the quote. The subsidies cited are consumption (at the pump) subsidies. In the IEA report, 37 countries were identified that offer subsidies to fossil fuels in consumption, with the Top Five being Iran, Russia, Saudi-Arabia, India and China. So the socialism charge is valid. Iran’s subsidies were $101 billion in 2008.

    In the US consumption subsidies are mainly limited to ethanol, which I strongly oppose, and low income home heating assistance.

  78. Dave H Says:

    > Whether competitiveness can be reach in the necessary time frame is a good question.

    My point is: absent environmental considerations, there is no incentive to pursue renewables for several decades at least.

    Yes, all reasons should be considered – I don’t know of *anyone* who says that climate change is the only reason for taking action on energy production – they may exist, but it seems a weak and limited caricature of a position.

    Saying “we need to give all reasons due attention” comes across as shorthand for “lets draw attention away from climate change”, which diminishes its importance among the many reasons for action.

    Whereas, in actuality, climate change is the 700lb gorilla in the room, and has a more profound effect in the direction of energy policy than any combination of other factors. I can think of no other single reason that on its own determines the appropriateness of maintaining the current energy mix with newly viable fossil resources expected to last well into next century. Indeed, what – aside from environmental concerns – justifies investment in CCS?

  79. Tom Fuller Says:

    Well, DaveH, I submit that what seems like a 700lb gorilla (did he lose weight? Thought they were 800lbs…) to you, to others looks like a remote problem that will affect their great grandchildren a bit. (I am not one of those.)

    But many of those can be engaged on other issues. As Paul points out, there is no need for ideological purity, and nobody is suggesting the suppression or abandonment of discussion about or research into climate change.

    There are precious few social or political issues that have simple majorities favoring one position. Almost all get successfully addressed by big tent coalitions of the willing pursuing goals that happen to move in parallel for a long enough time to encourage working together.

    Given what we’ve seen of political, scientific and social discourse over the past decade, why would we expect climate change to be any different?

  80. Sou Says:

    Is the message credible – that’s the main criteria for me.

    Maybe the meaning of the words are lost in the translation from US English to Australian English, but I don’t care about messengers, preferring to refer to the source of the message rather than the ones who deliver it. The mainstream media is often the deliverer of the message, and I tend to take what I read in the daily press with a grain of salt. A lot can get lost in the translation so it is better to go back to the original message if it is available.

    As for those who ‘preach and believe’ – such loaded words. There are deranged people who preach and believe many different things, from the credible to the incredible. Again, where possible, I find it best to go to the message and its source, rather than rely on third hand reports from ‘preachers and believers’.

    There are better ways to check the credibility of the message than relying on the fallibility of the persons delivering it, unless the person who is the author of the message is also the messenger, which is sometimes the case.

    Finally, I don’t expect those who draft the messages to be saints. I think that expecting purity in thought, word and deed might be an American thing.

  81. Bart Says:

    Paul,

    The first sentence in your earlier reply to Andrew put words into his mouth that misconstructed what he said (as if he were only interested in “winning an argument” rather than solving a problem). Perhaps ridicule is not the right word, but it gave a wrong (some may say bordering on insulting) impression of what Andrew was getting at.

    I agree that if climate change is not taken out of the picture, but merely supplemented by other reasons that warrant approximately the same sourse of action, that’s seems like a good approach.

  82. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    I think it’s hard to construe the words more interested in winning as only interested in winning, but your point is well taken. i apologize for any insult or offense my words implied.

    Perhaps when Andrew wrote compromise is basically admitting defeat and handing a veto to the “skeptics”, he was referring to the defeat of the idea of replacing fossil. However, that fear is unfounded. There are many, many examples of skeptics and outright deniers who support energy transformation.

    That’s an important point. Aside from getting more people to understand the necessity of replacing fossil, a big benefit of “variety of reasons” is identifying those who already do and bringing them together.

  83. Bart Says:

    Thanks Paul. And I think you’re right that bringing in more reasons could also bring in more people.

    Sou, very true.

  84. J Bowers Says:

    Paul Kelly — “There are many, many examples of skeptics and outright deniers who support energy transformation.”

    Not in the US legislative bodies.

    When US legislators publicly declare that God will sort it all out (with conviction), or express their awe at the sight of the beauty of the Deepwater Horizon disaster (with conviction), and the most popular US radio political commentator, who has a grip on the opinions of conservative Americans, laughs about the Japanese tsunami live on air and “suggests” it’s God making the Japanese pay for their environmental concern,…… well, what’s there to really say? Even though they don’t exercise outright brainwashing on conservatives, they certainly have a way of making conservatives pause. They’re elected, by the way, or so popular they earn $50 million a year, so please don’t try to paint them as just cranks who no-one takes seriously.

    Add the US Chamber of Commerce which takes funding from foreign interests and hires military contractors who then hack and spy on the opposition, including environmentalists. Who else is doing it? It certainly makes me ponder whether they had any involvement in Climategate, as they clearly have zero ethics and the means to take over family home computers and monitor directly what’s going on even inside peoples’ homes.

    How do you fight that?

  85. Dave H Says:

    @Tom Fuller

    > But many of those can be engaged on other issues.

    And the point – once again – is that the engagement is ultimately fruitless if the supposed compromise neglects to account for climate change as a factor.

    Its not about purity. If the *absolutely central issue* is that we need to curb emissions of CO2, but no rationale beyone environmental concern justifies that. None.

    So please explain: if climate change is not a factor, why change the energy mix in the next 50 years?

  86. Paul Kelly Says:

    Dave H,

    How many times does this need to be said. Variety of reasons does not in any way mean climate change should be neglected or even discounted. No one has to change their views on climate issues or their importance.

    Variety of reasons is not about compromise. It is about a mechanism to bring disparate people together for a common goal. Since that common goal of replacing fossil is indeed the one sure way to reduce CO2 emissions, resistance to recognizing there are other dogs in the hunt seems counterproductive.

  87. dhogaza Says:

    Paul, have no fear, Tom will point out that he has no car and served in Vietnam.

    In the British Navy, no less … (read the thread at Eli’s that was linked above, google a bit, and you’ll understand).

  88. dhogaza Says:

    Tom Fuller:

    I’ve been meaning to ask one of you robed ones anyhow–what is your desired endgame, you, dhogaza, Secular Animist, luminous beauty?

    Speaking for myself, simply that reality be acknowledged, and that whatever society does be based on the truth of that reality.

    So, in the US House, for instance, I’d like to see the Republican leadership say:

    “oh, the science is sound, we’re looking at a sensitivity to CO2 doubling of 2-4.5C, which translates to a north american land increase of about twice that much, which means a total disruption of agriculture in the Heartland over the next century. We’re running on a platform of doing nothing, anyway, because short-term business profits are more important than planning for the future”.

    If the people voted such politicians to power, then I’d say … “the people, being informed, have spoken”.

    That would be fair.

  89. Dave H Says:

    @Paul Kelly

    > How many times does this need to be said?

    How many times must I repeat the question that has so far gone unanswered?

    > It is about a mechanism to bring disparate people together for a common goal. *Since that common goal of replacing fossil*[…]

    There – that bit. You are begging the question. Replacing fossil is not a common goal.

    I keep asking someone to justify why it would be a goal for anything other than environmental reasons. No-one has. I’ve explained by it *wouldn’t* be justified on any of the normal grounds given (energy independence, economic security etc). No-one has rebutted this.

    > Variety of reasons does not in any way mean climate change should be neglected or even discounted. No one has to change their views on climate issues or their importance.

    If you want to engage someone who does not believe climate change is a problem (as in, the majority of the US electorate that can be bothered to vote, and their representatives, it seems), then you cannot assume you share the “common goal” of reducing fossil fuel usage even slightly in the next 50 years.

  90. Bart Says:

    Brian over at the back seat makes some related points, stating that it’s not a great argument to claim

    that you’re not allowed to do something good unless you always do that good thing. (…) We’re no angels, and hypocrisy is a good argument to make if we claim to be angels, but it’s not an argument for inaction.

    Likewise, it’s a poor argument to claim that

    someone […] should be allowed to do something wrong because other people have done something wrong previously.

    (h/t Stoat)

  91. Paul Kelly Says:

    Dave H,

    Your question: “If climate change is not a factor, why change the energy mix in the next 50 years?” is based on a false premise, as no one is suggesting that climate change is not a factor. You already acknowledge that environmental concerns are a sufficient incentive.

    Economic survival and international security are also sufficient, but you reject them without any underlying evidence to back your claim. One of my son’s friend is an environmental activist in Minnesota. Last year, he told me ground temperature assisted heat pumps are very popular with farmers there. This technology has one of the shortest break even times. Since farmers often already have the drills and mechanical knowledge needed to do the job, it is very cost effective for them. I said wow, farmers into global warming. He said no, most of them think AGW is baloney. They’re doing it to save money.

    In California there’s a club for people who are into squeezing mega-mileage out of Priuses. Membership is about evenly divided among environmentalists, cheapskates and techno geeks. There’s another group that supports replacing fossil – those who just think it’s the cool thing to do.

    The assertion that replacing fossil is not a common goal is absurd on its face. I’ve said my reasons are a combination of environmental concerns and economic survival. You already agree with the environmental concerns. There is no need to justify for you economic survival because no one is asking you to accept it. You have your reasons for replacing fossil fuels and that is good enough for me. I have no desire to dispute your reasons, nor should you of mine.

    I talk about replacing fossil to quite a lot of people who don’t believe climate change is a problem. The assertion in your last paragraph is at odds with my real life experience.

  92. Paul Kelly Says:

    While Dave H and I don’t seem to agree on much yet, I do appreciate his use of a 50 year time scale for energy transformation. This indicates to me that he understands that although delay may be dangerous, we don’t necessarily need solutions that “fix the problem all at once”. That’s a good thing to keep in mind. It is also why, in the areas of housing and transportation at least, there is good reason for optimism.

  93. Tom Fuller Says:

    Dave H, for over two decades people have been talking about weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels for reasons unrelated to environmental causes.

    One commonly cited reason is energy independence and a desire not to subsidize regimes of governments we consider bad or even evil.

    Another is concern over peak oil–a realization that the cheap oil has been sucked up and burned and the rest, however much there may be, will only get more expensive.

    There are potential allies everywhere you look.

  94. Tom Fuller Says:

    Oh, yeah–dhogaza. If you’re interested in truth and reality, why do you lie about me continuously and continually?

  95. adelady Says:

    Dan “So please explain: if climate change is not a factor, why change the energy mix in the next 50 years?”

    Me? I’d call on the classic economics “rational man”. Abundant natural resources, abundant power. Oh look! Sunshine costs nothing, wind costs nothing. Don’t need ports, railways or any other transport, no-one gets killed in mine explosions. Once I build it I need never negotiate a raw materials contract ever again.

    Whyever didn’t I think of this before? I’ll get right on to it.

    If economics worked the way most economists have told us it does, this conversation should be the dominant one.

  96. Tom Fuller Says:

    Hey Bloom, buzz off.

    Bloom, did you ever serve in the Navy? If not, let me explain that the watch system is not rating specific and as petty officer on watch I would routinely tell whoever was also on watch the time to go dump the bucket. Yup, they were BTs, GMs, BMs, et al. Highly unlikely my ass. Yup we used buckets.

    Fool.

  97. Tom Fuller Says:

    You haven’t bothered? You clearly have if you have come up with your imaginary reasons why this is fanciful. You’re just wrong–why on earth would I lie about something like this? Go back to your sweaty sessions with dhogaza. Maybe Rabett will pay to watch.

  98. Tom Fuller Says:

    Accusing someone of falsifying their military service has consequences. I hope someday to tell you about that face to face.

    I have not lied or exaggerated about my military service.

  99. Steve Bloom Says:

    Tommy, baby, I mention it because I actually took such readings when I was in the Navy. In an engine room, using a temp gauge on a condenser intake, as had existed for *many years* (I did this on a ship commissioned in 1945, and it had the gauge when it was built), and as is the practice to this day. By regulation, the readings are taken hourly.

    See this paper for the relevant history, noting that use of buckets (by much of anyone) ceased around WWII. The Navy likely would have started taking condenser intake temperatures more like 1900.

    This business added to your confabulation about the Nixon message begins to build a bit of a record, doesn’t it?

  100. Tom Fuller Says:

    What kind of person would accuse someone of a crime because they didn’t like their political position on global warming?

  101. Tom Fuller Says:

    Well, my first ship was commissioned in 1945 and we didn’t have or didn’t use condenser intake temperature readings. We used a bucket. And we didn’t do it hourly.

    And apart from my not remembering the operation name we were working under at the time it happened, I am not ‘confabulating’ about the message we received regarding the presidential succession.

    People lose their jobs over this. People go to jail. You are libeling me in a public place.

    Like I said. I hope to speak to you about this face to face.

  102. Steve Bloom Says:

    *Why* would you fib? In this case, to support your assertion that you personally kinew that SST measurements taken by bucket were crap. Remember that?

    But the fibbing itself is no surprise, recalling your amazing Gish Gallops over at MT’s.

  103. Tom Fuller Says:

    Okay–tell me where I or my lawyer can find you.

  104. Steve Bloom Says:

    Er, *we*? An ET (or eq.) hangin’ around with the snipes, down in the engine room *and* being familiar with the readings taken? Quite the nautical polymath. Tell you what, I’ll give you a chance to think about why it’s important to take condenser intake readings, and why it would be a very bad idea to dispense with them. Hint: It’s information you can’t get from a bucket over the side.

    I’d ask you to explain what a BT would be doing standing a deck watch, but that would be rubbing it in.

  105. Steve Bloom Says:

    In your dreams, Tommy. But I do love the bluster! It’s so… illiberal.

  106. Tom Fuller Says:

    So you can make false accusations from whatever rock you’re hiding under. You’ve got the same lack of balls that you do of brains.

    If you’ve never seen a snipe on a deck watch, that’s your problem, not mine. And if you’ve never seen a thermometer in a bucket, again, your problem, not mine.

    But when you accuse me of lying, it’s really your problem.

  107. Tom Fuller Says:

    You lying sack of s**t. They’re still using buckets.

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:qqCNDJVHk8gJ:www.weather.nps.navy.mil/~psguest/OC3570/CDROM/winter2007/Prikasky/report.pdf+us+navy+use+of+buckets+for+sea+temperature&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjsF74_HO_c7Vy2AmriEo3zT2DViSoat-1Zgh0QWgi23qkR0x3f_xHQNX79BZKumAqKpH94qBJpSfhBwAb3FJ_-kiQ0irQPuJSLqHKVdf-6hXLkrkgHZBtA187kIw6PKmoPm4Nz&sig=AHIEtbRkdEwIAGpHG8G7_cMakPuwxDG48g&pli=1

  108. J Bowers Says:

    Tom Fuller — “People lose their jobs over this. People go to jail. You are libeling me in a public place.”

    Sounds like another week at the climate science faculty. Not completely. There are no death threats, dead animals left on doorsteps or family breakups, and nobody’s been driven towards committing suicide.

  109. Tom Fuller Says:

    J Bowers

    Yeah, just another week at the climate charnel house. Lies, libel and trash.

    Don’t ever look around puzzled and asked why your movement is sinking like the Titanic.

    Pity you’re dragging a serious issue down with you.

  110. Sou Says:

    Tom might start to understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end (if he is). Of course, Tom’s credibility isn’t on the line :D

  111. Tom Fuller Says:

    No, of course not, Sou. I’m falsely accused of lying about my military service. It’s not true. Bloom knows nothing of me, and evidently nothing about taking of sea surface temperatures. But he lies nonetheless. At least when I accuse someone of wrongdoing, I use their own words. With quotation marks.

    But keep on giggling, Sou. That’s how you move your cause backwards–that is what you want, right?

  112. Steve Bloom Says:

    Bad source for your point, Tommy, although it was interesting to read. That was various methods being compared on an oceanographic research vessel. It’s a worthwhile thing to do since skin temperature, bucket depth temperature and intake temperature won’t be identical. What you need is an example of buckets being used regualrly in the Fleet. Good luck with that.

  113. Eli Rabett Says:

    So now there is another ship Tom was on, not the Barbour County, which was commissioned in 1972? Steve’s point is actually getting to be fun with two interesting papers linked

    BTW, Tom, your link pointed to a research cruise, not naval vessel operations, which, as Steve said, appear to have switched to engine intake measurements during WWII. You were on research cruises?

    Finally, since Willard appears to be collecting Tom Tunes, perhaps Eli can quote the lad over at that Rabett Run thread

    —————————————
    “You piss me off because you’re a gutless wonder nibbling around the edges of plants and mumbling invective behind your weathered whiskers and disappearing down holes. ”
    ————————————–

    It is amusing that Tom writes this sort of stuff, and similar in this thread and elsewhere and then does the moan about being picked on. Who is more deserving?

  114. J Bowers Says:

    Was that an example of you evangelising here for your Third Way, Tom? Have you considered taking a course?

    On the subject of the Titanic: 58% of Americans say severity of recent disasters is evidence of global climate change

    I don’t think Leo and Kate are standing on the upright stern of AGW science, somehow.

  115. Tom Fuller Says:

    So Bloom had to go back to the coven for help for his attack? I told the truth about my service and what transpired. It is only respect for Bart that prevents me from using stronger language about you. You are a coward hiding behind pseudonymity making up stories and interpretations of things you know nothing about.

    Rabett, I’m sorry I was so moderate in my language about you. You didn’t deserve it.

    Bowers, are you really that oblivious to reality?

  116. Tom Fuller Says:

    Yes, Rabett, there are those of us who didn’t hide in academia that actually served in more than one ship. But I bet the grad students were so… tasty…

  117. Steve Bloom Says:

    Oh, this Barbour County? Well, it was never on that gunline. It also had diesels, not steam turbines, which means, among other things, *no BTs* (boiler technicians). (There are steam auxiliaries on such ships, mainly for running the water purifiers, but equipment like that is usually operated by MMs (Machinist’s Mates). Diesels are crewed by ENs (Engineman). IIRC big ones like that have cooling intakes, which would mean the intake tempoerature would need monitoring. LSTs most certainly do not have sonar, which pertains to another boast Tommy made.

    Sadly, the Barbour County ended its days sunk as a target, a fine metaphor for this discussion IMHO.

  118. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    May I suggest moving the previous 22 fascinating comments to perhaps a new Fuller is a %*#@$! page where he and the pismires, who are all culpable, can flamejack away.

  119. Steve Bloom Says:

    Oh, so a *second* ship, previously unmentioned. The embroidery proceeds.

    Still waitin’ on some evidence for bucket SST measurements in the Fleet, Tommy. There’s nothing standing between you and Google but your blood alcohol level.

  120. Steve Bloom Says:

    You mean a Fuller *says* %*#@$! page, PK.

  121. Paul Kelly Says:

    Dr. Halpern,

    Your comments are a tremendous disrespect to serious fellow scientist.

  122. Paul Kelly Says:

    Steve Bloom,

    Whatever.

  123. Sou Says:

    I second Paul Kelly’s suggestion of giving Tom his own thread. He’s hijacked enough threads. As Willard has observed, TF cannot help but make any discussion all about TF.

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/there-are-at-least-as-many-walks-as-talks/#comment-12587

  124. Steve Bloom Says:

    I can’t imagine that Bart feels even slightly disrespected by Eli’s comments, PK. It’s odd that you would think so. Er, you wouldn’t be tone trolling, would you?

    No doubt, BTW, those words you used are specialized obscenities known only to you and your new mayor. :)

  125. Paul Kelly Says:

    Steve Bloom.

    I’m saying that a person with Halpern’s education and position and existential threat viewpoint coming to a blog dedicated to presenting serious climate discussion in the third person guise of a sophomoric furry animal and pollutes it with the above comments is de trop. And that’s all I’m gonna say about it.

    Our new Mayor will do fine, although some hope he’ll continue to live somewhere else.

  126. Steve Bloom Says:

    Possibly the sub-text here is that a blog that features Fuller so extensively and (IMHO) unconstructively isn’t going to make much progress on the problem. In any event Eli’s fellow scientists seem to think rather highly of him. And FYI, his persona is clearly upper division. I’d have that humorectomy reversed if I were you.

  127. Bart Says:

    People’s negative opinions about some other people really don’t have to aired ad nauseam. People’s history in the armed forces is definitely off topic.

  128. J Bowers Says:

    Tom Fuller — “Bowers, are you really that oblivious to reality?”

    No, I provided a link with primary source references. The more polls that come out the more obvious it is that denialists are in the minority (~25% in the UK, ~33% in the US). But take Americans for Prosperity with its 1.6 million organised ‘activists’ (AFP’s own term). Cancun looms, and AFP contacts Tea Party activists all over the US, flies them down to Cancun and has a camera crew filming protests with Tim Phillips up front spouting bile. It’s smoke and mirrors, an illusionist’s trick, astroturfing, propaganda. One of the Cancun Tea Party activists was actually disgusted at Phillips as he mocked the very green tech that she and her husband had been thinking of installing for themselves because they want to become even more green.

    But the likes of AFP are very effective at confusing and throwing multiple issues into the same pot in a way guaranteed to make a conservative’s blood boil. They’re masters of Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt, and talk a very good talk. I took a look at their website last night and browsed through their posts on energy issues. Their propaganda machine is awesome. Most of it’s complete bollocks, but since when did truth need to get in the way of pushing an agenda?

    Then there are the more subtle enablers of doubt and inaction such as the Copenhagen Consensus Center, which helps legislators and individuals abdicate responsibility because there’s nothing any one person can do to halt climate change, just wait for a new Einstein to make it all better, why let facts get in the way, we’re economists!

    Make your legislators feel better and look credible about delaying action and you will receive millions in funding. Make your legislators feel bad and look like dumbasses for delaying action and you will be defunded.

    To illustrate my opinion of the “Third Way”:

    Three economists go deer hunting for the weekend. After a while they spot a fantastic looking deer in a clearing and line up to take their shots. The first economist aims and fires, and misses to the left. The second economist aims and fires, but misses to the right. The third economist jumps up and joyously cries out, “We got it! We got it!”.

    IMHO.

  129. J Bowers Says:

    Paul Kelly, this from the Royal Society of Chemistry might interest you, if you haven’t seen it already:

    A Sustainable Global Society: How can Materials Chemistry Help?

    http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/CS3%20-%20A%20Sustainable%20Global%20Society%20FULL_WEB.pdf

    H/T to Michael Tobis.

  130. Eli Rabett Says:

    No No No No. The Coven TM is an organization of journalists. Can’t anyone here get anything right.

  131. Eli Rabett Says:

    So Paul, you object to this terrible vision of Eli’s?

    —————————————
    The key to all these problems is that people are willing to stand a considerable amount of sacrifice, but only if they see that everyone is sharing the same. So Eli

    1. is willing to share a considerable amount of sacrifice but
    2. is unwilling to do it if others don’t.

    This is a fairly general rule
    ————————————–

    which is what this discussion was about

    Care to contribute something?

  132. Paul Kelly Says:

    Hare Professor,

    I object to the irrelevant flaming and your lagomorph need to always be too cute for words.

    re: 1. is willing to share a considerable amount of sacrifice but
    2. is unwilling to do it if others don’t.

    This is a fairly general rule

    Since your churnalist lamentations were the spark for the current discussion, I will try to break through the surface sophistry to see if there is something to agree with here.

    Sacrifice is not a proper or necessary rubric for reaching the goal of replacing fossil fuels. Of course, it is required in the top down approach with the sacrifice being not willing, but imposed.

    A better rubric is the pursuit of happiness. So, I would rephrase #1 to is willing to expend personal resources to attain an intangible benefit. We do it all the time when we see a movie or drive to the country to observe the change of seasons. We do it simply because it makes us happy.

    Now change #2 to is willing to do it if others do. That is the essence of the bottom up approach. Others are doing it and you are invited to hop on board.

  133. Eli Rabett Says:

    Paul, your Candide imitations are just hilarious. The majic fairy ain’t gonna waive her wand, the new better improved miracle ain’t gonna emerge from Koch Labs. Taxes are only zero in Somalia

    There is no way the world is going to get away from burning coal and oil without putting a Pigovian tax on carbon. Just digging the stuff up and burning it is too cheap. Whether that tax is in the form of a tax or a emissions permit is neither here nor there. Whether that tax displaces other taxes is a political decision.

  134. Paul Kelly Says:

    Josh,

    Assuming that a Pigovian tax is necessary, how much of it are you willing to bear, how long are you willing to wait for it to be imposed, and what are you going to do until it is?

  135. Tom Fuller Says:

    dhogaza, not one word of what you have written is true. Not surprising.

  136. Tom Says:

    All of which is true. All of it.

    Bloom, Bowers, dhogaza and Rabett,

    You have called me denier, pimp, lying sack of shit and a thousand other terms. None of them are true.

    I suppose it’s inevitable that liar would be next, and I suppose it’s inevitable that pedofile or something similar is in the future.

    As all of this is false, I can only say we are learning more about you than we are about me.

    You have taken a thread where people of good will were actually trying to have constructive dialogue and turned it into your own private mudpile. As you have done countless times before.

    So I’ll leave you to play with your mud pies. You have created your desert–I hope it brings you peace. The rest of your lies will have to hang here without a response from me.

  137. Paul Middents Says:

    Let’s play “out the rabbit”. It’s almost as much fun as talking about RealClimate moderation.

    Knowing who the rabbit is does not confer any sort of membership in the cognoscenti nor does outing him repeatedly enhance your lukewarmer cred.

  138. Paul Kelly Says:

    That Rabbett is Josh Halpern has been widely known for several years. I’m using his real name here to encourage him to lay his childish otherness aside and engage here as the educated adult that he is. Your remark about lukewarmer indicates you have me confused with someone else.

  139. Steve Bloom Says:

    And indeed it’s a one-sided game, as we know nothing about PK, other than that he is smitable.

  140. Eli Rabett Says:

    The Larson proposal is not a bad place to start. $15 tonne CO2e to start with a $10/tonne increase each year until emission targets are met. Provides time to phase in replacements.

    However, rather than a pure Pigovian tax, Eli prefers Eli Rabett’s simple plan to save the world

  141. Steve Bloom Says:

    PK, you’ll want to pay close attention to events in Germany regarding the implementation of a fast (we’ll see how fast) transition to renewables without nukes, which all three major parties (yay Greens!) seem on-board with. I expect the happy thing will not be a feature. Satisfaction for accomplishing something of great importance, yes, but that’s not quite the same thing as happy.

  142. Eli Rabett Says:

    Out the Rabett is a strange game indeed, one that exposes you to attack by the pink berets. Gotta learn that jelly bean trick tho.

  143. Paul Kelly Says:

    Steve,

    You know my name, the city I live in and probably what I do for a living. A click on my name will give you a hint about my current activities. I don’t know anything about you, but am pretty sure you are someone paid by the denial machine to make the climate concerned look foolish and petty on the internet.

  144. Paul Middents Says:

    Lukewarmer is probably too generous a term for Paul Kelly. He seems to be a guy who believes in fairy dust and the essential rationality of all mankind. They will come around and get rid of that bad, bad coal if we just don’t badger them about climate change or anything really unpleasant. Good luck with that.

    How many coal fired plants do you think your windows and doors project will put out of business? Oh, I forgot, carbon is not really a big problem–just one of many and we are just easing into the solution.

    Do you have something against working toward national level policies that might actually reduce our dependence on coal in the near term? Is there a closet libertarian lurking somewhere behind that coyly righteous veil? Your spiffy web site leaves much to the imagination.

  145. Paul Kelly Says:

    Eli Rabett’s simple plan to save the world is quite fanciful and has zero chance of being implemented. The Larsen plan is equally unlikely to be adopted any time soon. Prof. Halpern has proposed two possible Pigovian taxes without dealing with my simple questions about such a tax. Nor has he considered alternate ways to confront externalities.

  146. Paul Kelly Says:

    Paul Middents,

    I have nothing against anyone working toward national level policies. I’m just not willing to wait for those policies to be put in place. As to the rest of your comment, thanks for your input. Come back when your reading comprehension skills have improved.

  147. Bart Says:

    I’ll say it once more: People’s military history is absolutely off topic.

    No discussion. Inasfar as it says something about someone’s credibility, that same argument could be used for almost anything. Hockeysticks are also a frequent stick to try to beat up someone’s credibility. Perhaps the next guy will argue that it’s also relevant whether someone likes to cross dress on saturday night. It is off topic and that’s the end of it.

  148. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    One of my comments is in moderation. Please feel free to remove it.

  149. Paul Kelly Says:

    Back to the topic. Now that it is established that it does not mean a neglect or diminishing of climate concerns, variety of reasons should be considered as meeting the criteria for inclusion in an effective message.

    Let’s continue on to “… fossil fuel use should be replaced in this century. The faster it happens, the better.” I don’t think there’s much to disagree with here. We might want to think in terms of fifty years, with targets at five or ten year intervals. More important is an action plan starting now for the next year or two.

    “Luckily. for the first time in history, the technology exists to begin to make it happen.” Again, not much controversial here. Its inclusion is important because it encourages a focus on the solutions rather than the reasons.

    Following a good point by Bart, the last bit should be “It is best accomplished from the bottom up”. This is the part of the message I think most worth discussing. It includes what is and can be done outside the political arena, and actions that don’t necessarily depend on governmental support or approval. I would like to explore if bottom up can deal with the problem of externalities.

  150. willard Says:

    Speaking of walks:

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/behavior-change-fun-piano-stairs/

    Let’s make it fun!

  151. willard Says:

    Speaking of hairstyle, another blast from the past:

    > Not only we dislike being told to change our hairstyle, appealing to our fears does not motivate us to change it:

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/24991

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/what-we-know-is-most-important/#comment-9402

    On the same thread:

    > I for one would emphasize beauty. Here’s an explanation why:

    Inspiring people means sending fitness signals, not distress signals.

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/what-we-know-is-most-important/#comment-9410

    ***

    More blasts from the past hereunder:

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3A+http%3A%2F%2Fourchangingclimate.wordpress.com+paul+kelly

    ***

    Non nova, sed nove, or so it seems.

  152. Bart Says:

    Paul K,

    Thanks for moving the discussion back to the topic at hand.

    It may seem like nitpicks, but even those uncontroversial things you mention aren’t that uncontroversial:

    My beef is not with fossil fuels per se, but with the adverse consequences that they have. If those consequences can be largely, though not completely, remedied (e.g. air pollution by using filters; climate changes by employing CCS), then I’ve got a whole lot less beef with it. This mainly applies to large scale electricity production of course; transport (at least with an ICE) and heating are more disperse.

    On the technology exists, it doesn’t exist on a scale and at a cost that makes it feasibile to start using at a large scale. RPJr regularly makes this argument, and though I think he underemphasizes the possibilities/importance of implementation of current technology, you seem to overemphasize its ease of implementation. At a small scale there may be excellent opportunities of course. But those may not contribute much savings yet in the grand scheme of things, until the scale becomes larger.

    See e.g. point 8 here:

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/comment-on-pielke-jr/

  153. Paul Kelly Says:

    I agree that eliminating the harmful effects of fossil fuel use has the same positive result as eliminating fossil fuel use. It might even be more cost effective, although CSS, for instance, also may have a have a problem with scalability as well as containment. I would encourage further efforts in this area.

    Nuclear power, of course is a fully scaled replacement for fossil generated electricity. The problem here isn’t with the technology, but with political will and arguably justifiable fears about accidents and radioactive storage.

    In transportation, we see the recent developments in hybrid and EV technology. It takes about 25 years in the automotive world for an innovation to go from novelty to standard equipment. Heating also has several nearly competitive technologies, ground temp assisted heat pumps and solar water heating e.g., and architects and builders are ever more aware of the importance of efficiency in design and construction. Yes I am optimistic, but not overly so.

    Are current technologies now available at a scale and price sufficient to replace fossil? No, but they are sufficient to begin what is indeed a 35 – 50 year process. The idea is to start now with what we have.

    I think the biggest obstacle is price. Part of what led me to favor a bottom approach was wondering how individuals might exert downward pressure on prices in the marketplace. I don’t know if there is a magic tipping point for reducing price or increasing scalability. The recent history of cell phones or of hand held calculators back in the 70’s might provide some lessons.

  154. MarkB Says:

    Criticizing someone for the emissions that result from flying to a climate conference is pretty silly. Most participants would correctly argue that the potential long-term emissions benefit from such meetings is clearly greater than the costs. It would be slightly less silly for them to criticize them for flying to a pure vacation destination, but then we’re getting into typical Shoot the Messenger tactics, typical of politics, and nothing to do with the science.

    I recently read a discussion where some wealthy business leaders we’re advocating higher marginal tax rates on the highest income brackets. Someone responded with something like “if they want to pay higher taxes they should voluntarily do so…else they are hypocrites”. That’s an analogous argument, and equally silly.

    Kudos to willard (March 26, 2011 at 03:30) for thwarting a thread hijacker. “We” is not spelled “Me”.

  155. Bart Says:

    Paul,

    I agree with this (as is probably evident from the link to my earlier post):

    Are current technologies now available at a scale and price sufficient to replace fossil? No, but they are sufficient to begin what is indeed a 35 – 50 year process. The idea is to start now with what we have.

  156. willard Says:

    MarkB,

    > “We” is not spelled “Me”.

    Hat tip to Ali:

  157. J Bowers Says:

    Paul Kelly — “£Are current technologies now available at a scale and price sufficient to replace fossil? No, but they are sufficient to begin what is indeed a 35 – 50 year process. The idea is to start now with what we have.”

    The technology is already there for off-grid rural Africa in the form of cheap Chinese PV which is becoming highly popular. No treks to get kerosene, the light’s better than kerosene lamps and the kids don’t burn themselves, and the lights stay on longer and school grades improve because the kids can do their homework until later (the Sun’s free). Mobile phones can also be charged for free, with some making money by selling time on the solar chargers to other villagers (mobile phones have become essential in rural Africa).

    Here’s a video of homemade wind generators and a solar panel built by a Palestinian involved with Engineers without Borders: http://tinyurl.com/5tqez6q

  158. Paul Kelly Says:

    Thank you J Bowers for pointing out that the bottom up approach is already moving right along.

  159. Eli Rabett Says:

    Actually Eli answered your question Paul, you just don’t like the answer. Given that several European countries already impose higher carbon taxes, your claim the the taxes Eli mentioned “can’t be done” is empty.

    Further, there are serious discussions about something like Eli’s simple plan. Here is one example

  160. Paul Kelly Says:

    Professor,

    You gave the rate of Pigovian at the point of imposition. My question, if I can phrase it better, is how much extra cost you are willing to bear from the results of the tax? I ask this question in an effort to find some point we can agree on. Most people say about $125 a year wouldn’t bother them it all. In fact some say they’d feel good about the extra cost if it is going to a good purpose.

    The second part of my question, also unaddressed, was how long are you willing to wait for its implementation. Far from empty, it is pretty well establish that the pricing for externalities schemes you favor are very unlikely to be implemented for some time, if ever: and “can’t be done” in the next 3 – 5 years. You cannot say climate is an existential threat and be willing to wait on these schemes at the same time.

    The third part of the question was what are you going to do while you’re waiting

  161. J Bowers Says:

    Off-grid Africans are making increasing use of cheap Chinese PV. China’s introducing taxation on heavy carbon polluters. I’m sure there’s something to that, but it’s a bit too early in the morning right now.

  162. Eli Rabett Says:

    Paul, you read what Eli has written, and also what is written about border tax adjustments in general, the statements are that taxes collected as carbon taxes would be offset by reductions in other taxes and fees. Simple enough. So why are you asking a question that has already been answered?

    As to when, ten years ago five years in the future was about right, but folks like you have made the situation much more dire by your petulant you can’t make me, it’s impossible attitude.

  163. Paul Kelly Says:

    I think it fair to conclude from the above comment that the commenter does not expect to bear any of the costs involved in the taxes he proposes, is willing to wait forever for their imposition, and intends to do nothing in the meantime.

  164. Paul Kelly Says:

    “Are current technologies now available at a scale and price sufficient to replace fossil? No, but they are sufficient to begin what is indeed a 35 – 50 year process. The idea is to start now with what we have.” Key words: start now”.

  165. Paul Kelly Says:

    The most contentious part of my framing is it is best done from the bottom up. The one thing that cannot be said about the bottom up approach is that it isn’t already happening.

  166. Eli Rabett Says:

    You would be wrong Paul, but that is not unusual.

  167. Paul Kelly Says:

    Bart,

    I’m taking this over Kloor’s: Aggregation of individual actions effecting fossil fuel replacement.

    For a variety of reasons, fossil fuel use should be replaced in this century, the faster the better. For the first time in history, the technology exists to begin to make it happen. Are current technologies now available at a scale and price sufficient to replace fossil? No, but they are sufficient to begin what is indeed a 35 – 50 year process. The idea is to start now with what we have. Energy transformation is best done and is being done from the bottom up.

  168. Eli Rabett Says:

    Perhaps another way of looking at this

  169. luminous beauty Says:

    Paul,

    It isn’t easy being green

    I have no problem with your bottom up approach, just that, by itself, it is ineffective if not coordinated and reinforced at every level of society, from the local to the global.

  170. Bart Says:

    Brian Schmidt makes a similar argument and in doing so provides some great quotes:

    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to fear hypocrisy

    I really hate the argument that you’re not allowed to do something good unless you always do that good thing. (…) We’re no angels, and hypocrisy is a good argument to make if we claim to be angels, but it’s not an argument for inaction.

    I often see its counterpart argument, btw: someone says they should be allowed to do something wrong because other people have done something wrong previously.

    h/t Eli Rabett

  171. On Credibility: As Many Walks as Talks | Planet3.0 Says:

    […] with permission from Bart Verheggen’s site. Bart retains […]

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