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LED into the Heart of Darkness

On Thursday 28th July 2016 The Guardian’s sustainable business page carried an on-line debate on the question: “How can developing countries reach 100% renewables?” No developing country has expressed the intention of doing anything so daft, but since COP21 is promising them a hundred billion dollars a year to help them switch to renewable energy, the question is relevant – relevant that is to how a trillion dollars might get spent in the next decade. They fielded a team of six experts in renewable energy who answered four questions emailed in during the hour-long live “debate”.

There were also six comments, one from janeykins, a work colleague of one of the panellists; one from Selvak, a leftwing climate sceptic who joined the Guardian community a month ago and has published 27 comments in the past 2 days (He won’t last long); and one from Vaders, a leftwing rabid anti-Brexiter who calls Boris Johnson a “bloody foreigner” and a “spineless, racist xenophobic self interested prick.” (He’ll go far).

The questions came from:
Joe Rafalowicz: partnerships and mobilisation manager at Power for All;
Jamie Hartzell100: managing director and founder of the Ethical Property Company, the Ethical Property Foundation and Ethex, the new online ethical stock exchange for positive investments (slogan: Make Money Do Good)
Anna Leidreiter: Senior Programme Manager for Climate Energy, a subdivision of the World Future Council.
and
Emma Baker @EmmaBaker173 (“Budding traveller, eternal optimist and singer-songwriter.”) Emma is “a twenty-something Brit travelling and volunteering my way around Africa – ‘slowly slowly’ – in search of real experiences, deep relationships, inspiration and meaning.”

[Emma is so obviously a decent human being – like so many of the young people I came across when I was stalking at UKYCC here and here – that I did what no serious researcher would do and pressed the “like” button on her “About me” page. Gaia knows what she’ll think when she clicks on my leering satyr avatar to find out who is the first person to like her in 18 months.]

The panel consisted of:
Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury and SolarAid, and chairman of Carbon Tracker

Edward Hanrahan, CEO of ClimateCare
Maite Pina, renewable energy specialist, Oikocredit International
Nico Tyabji, director of strategic partnerships, SunFunder
Henning Wuester, director of the IRENA Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre, International Renewable Energy Agency
and Aly-Khan Jamal, partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors

All these associations represented are involved in manufacturing, selling, and installing solar panels for Africans who are off-grid, or in providing the intellectual justification for so doing. The entire conversation, supposedly about how to revolutionise the energy provision for 70% of the world’s population in conformity with the conclusions of COP21, turned around providing solar panels for poor Africans to recharge their cellphones. There was no mention of industry, transport, agriculture, infrastructure, urban planning – it was all about rooftop solar panels in remote villages. And everyone asking or answering the questions was in the business. It’s as if you had a discussion on how to spend a trillion euros renovating Europe’s transport system in conformity with an EU directive and only invited cyclists, bicycle manufacturers and heart specialists.

An explanation for this strange little trillion dollar eco-circle jerk can be found in another article on the same day in another – unconnected – corner of the Guardian website. This one is on the “Tech Continent” page, (sponsored by Bill & Melinda Gates), and it’s worth quoting at length:

The Africans buying sunshine with their phones

Julie Njeri did not believe her son when he declared he no longer needed spectacles to read his books and complete his homework. She took him to the doctor and was told young Peter Mwangi no longer suffered the sharp irritation and redness in his eyes that had resulted in him being given glasses. Peter’s mum exclaimed: “It’s a miracle!”

The explanation was somewhat more tangible. In late 2013, Julie and her husband bought an M-Kopa solar power kit… The $200 (£150) device comes with two LED bulbs, an LED flashlight, a rechargeable battery, adaptors for charging phones, and it is all charged by a small solar panel that is propped on the roof.

More than 300,000 families in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania who are not connected to the electricity grid have purchased the unit which is linked to the mobile money transfer system M-Pesa. After paying a deposit of $35 or $25, depending on their M-Pesa credit history, customers are then able to settle the balance through daily mobile phone payments of 50 cents for a year until they own the device outright…

Chad Larson, one of the co-founders of M-Kopa, said the idea sprung from a talk that the Vodafone executive Nick Hughes gave at Oxford’s business school in 2007. Hughes, who is credited with the early research work that led to the introduction of M-Pesa in Kenya, told the audience that mobile phones could replace banks in much of the developing world…

A few years after finishing his studies, Larson and a fellow student, Jesse Moore, quit their jobs and moved to Nairobi with Hughes to join the mobile revolution that was taking hold in east Africa. After dabbling in a number of ventures including a mobile savings account product and a medical helpline where patients could consult doctors via mobile phone, they turned their attention to solar…

M-Pesa, through which customers settle their payments, serves as a virtual wallet on mobile phones into which subscribers deposit cash at an M-Pesa agent. They can then use it to pay bills or transfer the money to another customer…

Investors have piled in – a recent $19m investment round was joined by a number of big names including Generation Investment Management, a fund co-founded by the former US vice-president Al Gore, Virgin’s Richard Branson and the AOL co-founder Steve Case…

The beauty of the business plan is obvious. The solar panel charges the phone that is also the bank that enables the customer to pay his phone bills and the instalments on the payment for the panel, and for products and services advertised on the phone. It’s the 21st century version of the company store. And they throw in a LED torch so your kids can do do their homework in the evening.

There’s one little snag. The viability of the business plan (and therefore the security of the investments of Richard Branson, Al Gore, and thousands of other ethical investors) depends on these African villagers never ever being connected to the grid; never enjoying the quantities of coal- or gas-fired electricity which would power a fridge or a washing machine or a factory or a hospital in the neighbourhood; never emitting the quantities of CO2 which would destroy the planet.

Keep reading by torchlight, Africans. And don’t forget to keep up the payments. Al Gore and Richard Branson are counting on you.

369 thoughts on “LED into the Heart of Darkness

  1. I fail to see the validity of your “snag”. So if in the unlikely event the villagers are connected to an electricity grid in the future, why would they stop using their solar panels to charge their phones and other small electrical items? By that time the costs of charging will be minimal or essentially free.

    The solar cells can, of course, be used in multiples to charge bigger appliances (like fridges to store medicines) and light in rural hospitals. And so much more.

    This seems to me to be the usual anti-renewable rhetoric but applied in the wrong place. The effect of introducing radio, and even more so television, into remote places, charged by wind and/or solar power, is enormous. It opens the world to those who previously had very limited vision.

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  2. “By that time the costs of charging will be minimal or essentially free.”

    But by what time is that, though?

    The question anyone speaking about aspirations for other people needs to ask himself is ‘how long would I wait for it?’, and then, ‘why should anyone else wait any longer?’. The problem being that eco-colonialists’ aspirations have a tendency to thwart the realisation of others. So visions for the populations of developing countries descend to drinking straws, goats, treadle pumps and now solar panels, overseen by agencies organisations that would not have been tolerated here as the Grid was being rolled out. It’s Outdoor Relief, again, for the useless offspring of the upper middle classes that simply can’t make it in any other sector at home.

    Which places do you imagine are likely to be served by such ‘technology’? How remote are they? And what’s keeping people there?

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  3. Alan Kendall
    Why is it unlikely that they should be connected to an electricity grid in the future? It didn’t take many decades to electrify almost all of Europe. Why should Africa be different?

    The reason is that the only sensible way of powering a grid is by gas, coal, or nuclear. And the Greens don’t want that, and are pressuring e.g. the World Bank into refusing to finance coal fired power stations. For a while organisations like Oxfam found themselves in the embarrassing position of opposing development in the developing world. Then along came the solar powered phone charger and they were saved (from embarrassment).

    At https://cliscep.com/2015/11/22/can-of-worms-2-tellus-mater/
    I detailed how Oxfam had teamed up with EDF and Bank of America to provide wind-powered phone chargers and an 8-18% return for ethical investors. And their advertising material gave a clear answer to Ben’s question: “Which places do you imagine are likely to be served by such ‘technology’?” The lucky customers providing the 8-18% profit for Bank of America/Oxfam were living in grass-roofed mud huts.

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  4. Remote communities are bad for the environment and by and large bad for people too. While it might seem that the native peoples are in harmony with their environment it’s only true if they don’t expand their impact, either through increasing numbers or demands.

    Will the solar powered internet connection be used to educate the next Einstein or start a web company selling rare animal parts? Will the tribesman learn poetry or watch porn? Will the school boy learn to write useful programs or how to hack and write viruses? What is the value of giving people the bad side of technology without letting them delve into the good side? The good side requires civilisation, cities, energy, other people and a purpose.

    Even in the UK people have to move where the work is – labs, businesses, better computers, customers. If they just tag on at the back of other countries, they’ll never be wealthy producers, they’ll only ever be hard up consumers.

    If you’re not careful, solar panels don’t act as a stop gap for people with nothing, they become the best those people will be allowed to have.

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  5. Putting the figures in perspective, will help see the lack of perspective the Greenies when trying to “save the planet”.
    $100 Billion Dollars in Aid sounds a lot of money. It is less than 0.15% of annual global output of c$75bn.
    That will buy 4 Hinkley C Nuclear power stations, but not the costs of connecting that electricity to homes and businesses. Hinkley C will be sufficient to supply 7% of the UKs current electricity needs, or about 2-3% the UK switches from fossil fuels entirely. That is stops using gas for heating and stops using oil in transportation. Developing countries have in total at least 50 times the population of the UK.

    Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have about 130 million people between them – say about 25 million families. So about 1.2% of the families (300,000) have invested in the solar kits. There are about 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. There are far more energy-poor families in Asia, such as in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia etc.

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  6. More bleating from anti-renewables land. Do you know the first thing about international development, Geoff? How much does it cost to install a grid to remote villages in, say, the Congo. Give us your best guess. How many power stations in how many places, how much coal and how many roads to transport it, how to pay for the fuel? Presumably you would have the World Bank pay for much of it, so tell us how big the bill is. And who is going to fund the World Bank, since many of the right wingers you hang about with object to aid in any form. Maybe the coal lobby will chip in a fraction of a percent of the cost – a few million, if they can find that much.

    Then say how you would prevent the distribution cables and/or the power from being stolen. How you’d stop local elites and bureaucrats from stealing the funds or the fuels or the land. And if any electrons did eventually make it down the wires, how you would arrange payment? How much that will it all cost and how long it will take?

    Then consider yourself as a family in one of these place, places that Tiny seems to think are uncivilized, and work out whether you’d like to wait for all that to come true or whether you’d prefer a solar panel, some LEDs and some batteries.

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  7. a recent $19m investment round was joined by a number of big names including Generation Investment Management, a fund co-founded by the former US vice-president Al Gore, Virgin’s Richard Branson and the AOL co-founder Steve Case

    So, Gore and his GIM-mies are still merrily rolling along. A little over three years ago, he (and his associates, including inter alia The Nature Conservancy’s and Goldman-Sachs’ David Wayland Blood and Ireland’s Mrs. [Mary] Robinson) stuck his fingers into British Columbia’s “waste management” pie. He succeeded in pulling out $5.5 million in government subsidy plums. See:

    Wastelandia: Andrew Weaver et al‘s big green choru$ and $ymphony … in the key of Gore

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  8. I worked in both West and East Africa. It seems to me many of you who live in advanced countries have a rather large disconnection from conditions in such a large and heterogeneous continent. For example, those who live in large urban shanty towns face a very high crime rate. This means a solar panel will require some sort of steel cage with concertina wire on the outer perimeter, or it’s likely to be stolen.

    Those living in very cloudy areas near the equator will have extremely low panel output. This means the darned things will be even less cost effective. It may be smarter to train a simbiliki to run a treadmill hooked up to a tiny generator.

    The best mass solution they have in some countries is hydropower, such as the dams on the Congo River. I recall some really windy areas in northern Kenya, where a village may do ok with a windmill and a solar panel. This could be handy to run a refrigerator at the local infirmary, and possibly one at the general store.

    But in general I’d say most people who discuss electric power generation are simply disconnected from both the local environments as well as culture, crime rate, and engineering and economics.

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  9. RAFF
    The fact that I know next to nothing about international development or the economics of energy distribution only underlines the strength of my argument. Whether coal or gas or nuclear or vast arrays of turbines or solar panels are the best answer to Africa’s energy needs I leave to experts and the governments (preferably elected ones) involved.

    In the world of the Guardian, and of their guest debaters (who are also often their subsidisers – see left hand column of relevant articles) and the financers of their guests (who are also often guest columnists at the Guardian and the subject of fawning articles at the Guardian) and of the readers who sent in questions to the debaters, who are in the same line of business, if not actually work colleagues, tha answer to the greatest problem facing the planet is solar panels on hut roofs. It’s the answer because no question to which another answer was possible was even posed. If you don’t think that’s insane then .. but you do agree that’s insane, don’t you?

    “Then say how you would prevent the distribution cables and/or the power from being stolen.”

    I’ve already used that line in a comment at the Conversation when someone was extolling energy for Europe from solar panels in the Sahara. I asked how many Tauregs/ISIS fighters in white vans it would take to strip the copper cables and got no answer.

    Your argument (and that of Alan Kendall above) that it’s better than nothing, or waiting for grid connection to come along, is negated by the fact that the people pushing single solar panels are actively campaigning against economic grid-based power. They want power for cellphones and LED torches in order to prevent power for factories and hospitals.

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  10. Then say how you would prevent the distribution cables and/or the power from being stolen.

    These people are at harmony with nature. People at harmony with nature don’t steal!

    More seriously, are you suggesting that it is impossible for Africans to set up a developed and industrialised society?

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  11. “How much does it cost to install a grid to remote villages”

    That’s just it, you don’t do it that way, any more than we connected up the whole of the UK. People moved to the energy and work, not the other way round. It’s even happening now with economic migrants. It takes people out of the remote areas and those spaces become more free of human influence. Only as the culture becomes more affluent can people consider having it all by enjoying the benefits of a rural life along with civilisation. Sure, some people choose to stay out in the middle of nowhere with next to nothing but you don’t subsidise their choice because it allows them to expand and impact more on pristine environments.

    Industrialisation and congregation are the most effective way to curb population. When a couple balance acquiring income with having babies, they often chose fewer kids. If the health and safety situation is such that those kids will survive to adulthood, they choose less kids. When they don’t need those children to be their workers or carers or pension, they have less kids. If they have more to do with their spare time than go to bed early, they have less kids. It works like magic and isn’t as painful as China’s one child policy.

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  12. Overseas Aid: Taking money from poor people in rich countries to give to rich people in poor countries
    Ethical Investment: Taking money from poor people in poor countries to give to rich people in rich countries.

    Guess that Green Capitalism has pretty well covered their bases. while guaranteeing that the poor everywhere stay poor.

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  13. Geoff, of course it would be crazy to think that installing solar panels on grass huts ‘solves’ Africa’s energy problem. But it is something positive that people can do – and many want to do something. It is direct and immediate in a way that no individual or group can hope to achieve through World Bank loans or foreign aid. If climate sceptics or other anti-renewables types set up a fund to bring power to Africa at a national or continental level through coal and gas projects, they’d achieve absolutely nothing. That job is beyond such small scale action. But they could perhaps pay for some diesel generators and a supply of fuel and do some good in villages. Strangely I’ve never heard of that happening, only whining that the World Bank wont pay for coal or useless sniping at local level projects.

    Even if the World Bank diverted all of its $10bn annual spending from health, welfare, education and infrastructure to building coal plants and buying coal it would put just a small dent in the problem. The extra power would go to the rich in the cities, not the poor. Maybe, as Tiny says, that power would pull in more ‘uncivilized’ peasants from the countryside to ever bigger slums around the cities. But many cities already have some power and yet the people stay on their land. Maybe it takes more than just power, do you think?

    It is possible that an economic miracle like that in China could happen in parts of Africa, with the peasants (were they ‘uncivilized too?) flocking to industrial jobs in the cities, but my guess is that this would happen, if at all, in coastal cities (nearer international markets) and the flocking would be limited by borders. Africa isn’t China.

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  14. I should add, that while Africa is waiting for that economic miracle, waiting for the cliscep investors to pump in their dosh, anti-renewables types would prefer that individual Africans stay in the dark.

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  15. “I should add, that while Africa is waiting for that economic miracle…”

    The average African economy has an annual GDP growth rate of 4.6% between 2007-15. Only Central African Republic, Comoros, Eritrea, Libya, and Swaziland have a growth rate less than 2%. 36 countries out of 54 have GDP growth rates higher than 4%/year. 20 are higher than 5%. 12 are higher than 6%. 5 are higher than 7%. Ethiopia has growth rate of 10.5%.

    It is fashionable to think of “Africa” as desperate, needy, and that doing “something positive that people can do – and many want to do something” is as good as “Africans” can expect. I would expect them to say “Stick your recycling bin and solar panel up your a**e, I want air con and a 4WD. Sort your own economy out!” — it is what I would say to such condescension.

    “… anti-renewables types would prefer that individual Africans stay in the dark.”

    On the contrary, if I am an ‘anti-renewable type’, it is because I am pro development, and it is one-time “development” agencies which have most put the brakes on those percentages with “sustainable” caveats, rather than sought ways to increase them. It is those organisations that celebrate ‘pastoral society’ and ‘traditional cultures’ and concomitantly, fuedal and even stone-age modes of production, rather than industrial development on populations’ own terms, according to their own priorities and politics, that most besets progress from rural poverty.

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  16. The M-Kopa is expensive. It works out at more than 20,000 Shillings. For 10,000 you can get a system that has solar panels with two and a half times the M-Kopa’s rated wattage, a battery with seventy times the capacity, four lamps rather than three, much longer cables and a built-in MP3 player and radio. You have to pay all at once and the battery is lead-acid, so might not last as long (though is probably easy to replace), and even with the bigger panels the battery would take an age to charge, but this looks like a much better deal to me:

    https://www.olx.co.ke/ad/20-watts-solar-lighting-system-ID15LJVf.html

    http://www.felicitysolar.com.cn/product/60459408087-213008878/Guangzhou_Factory_wholesale_DC_12V_and_AC_220V_20W_solar_lighting_home_design_protable_for_home_use.html

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  17. Vinny Burgoo
    Thanks for the information and the links, and thanks to the folks in Guangzhou (all 13 million, though I suppose they’re not all churning out solar panels.) So it comes down to customer choice – going on the internet and seeing who gives you a better deal. The British product offers you the guarantee of the involvement of ethical investor and experienced businessman Branson (“our solar panel runs like a Southern Rail train…”) I wonder what the Chinese are offering? An extra LED torch? Or maybe a deep sea port, a gas pipeline and a rail link?

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  18. Ben Pile, if growth in Africa is so rosy, plenty of private capital will be attracted, investments should be profitable and World Bank loans shouldn’t be needed to build power stations. But isn’t GDP growth per-capita a more meaningful in an area with such rapid population growth? According to the World Bank it is currently a not-so-rosy 0.2% for Sub-Saharan Africa: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.KD.ZG?end=2015&locations=ZG&start=1961&view=chart

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  19. — “According to the World Bank it is currently a not-so-rosy 0.2% for Sub-Saharan Africa” —

    Indeed… For 2015. with growth rates of 1.85 for the previous two years, and includes growth rates of 0% for Nigeria in 2015, preceded by 1.5%, 2.6% and 3.5% in the previous years. The data is noisy. so choosing just the most recent sample point is selective, to say the least.

    — ” growth in Africa is so rosy, plenty of private capital will be attracted, ” —

    Indeed:

    — Foreign direct investment in Sub Saharan Africa on the rise

    FDI in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 4.7% in 2013 while it has declined in North Africa

    Africa’s share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) projects has reached the highest level in a decade, according to Executing Growth, EY’s 2014 Africa Attractiveness Survey.

    The report combines an analysis of international investment into Africa since 2003, with a 2014 survey of over 500 global business leaders about their views on the potential of the African market. The latest data shows that while there has been a decline in FDI project numbers from 774 in 2012 to 750 in 2013, primarily due to ongoing uncertainty in North Africa, they remain easily in excess of the pre-crisis average of 390 projects per year. http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Newsroom/News-releases/News-foreign-direct-investment-in-sub-saharan-africa-on-the-rise

    — “World Bank loans shouldn’t be needed to build power stations” —

    Well, I’m no fan of the Bretton Woods institutions. But this is what they say about their purpose:

    — “We provide low-interest loans, zero to low-interest credits, and grants to developing countries. These support a wide array of investments in such areas as education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. Some of our projects are cofinanced with governments, other multilateral institutions, commercial banks, export credit agencies, and private sector investors. —

    There’s no reason why even a developing economy with double-digit growth might be disqualified from a WB loan. Indeed, such growth might be a *really* good time for loans for things like coal-fired power stations, rather than the extremely limited, and *limiting* solar power.

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  20. Seems to me like some here are issuing an ultimatum – give up your traditions, your heritage, your love of the land and all that you and your ancestors hold dear because without access to grid electricity you will will remain impoverished in mind and body. Your values are unworthy. Migrate away from your lands allowing them to regain their former environmental pristineness. You have no worth in our eyes. Migrate to the slums where you belong (and where you are also unlikely to have access to, or can pay for, grid power).

    Those with your best interests at heart do not wish you to be seduced by the promise of solar power today, because it is being promoted by those with selfish interests in spreading the false doctrine of unreliable renewables. Move to the cities or wait until we put together an economic package that will allow you access to all you desire. We will westernize you whether you want it or not.

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  21. — “give up your traditions, your heritage, your love of the land and all that you and your ancestors hold dear because without access to grid electricity you will will remain impoverished in mind and body” —

    Ah, blood and soil… Blut und Boden

    I tell you what, Alan, I have never once weeped for the loss of my connection to the land my ancestors toiled on, died on, fought for (in imagined histories). And I have not once felt jealous of my peers who have been lucky enough to have the means to return to subsistence, artisanal lifestyles, selling to boutique farmers markets in the Cotsworlds, that enable the mystical connection to the Thames Valley and its environs.

    And never have I felt that the Internet, coal burning power stations, jet flight, or the A40 divorces me from my heritage…

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  22. Ben Pile. Great, I’m pleased for you. However your desires and satisfaction are immaterial when considering those in parts of the world where people have different values. Your indifference to their values reveals who you are. Your arguments that would deny them what electrical power they could obtain today, rather than in some distant futures, suggests you would be content to “pickle them in aspic” as some do-gooders suggest, or utterly transform their lives, when you haven’t asked them whether they want those changes. What is very clear is that, from my own observations, they want small scale solar and what it brings. Opposition to solar, in such instances, is immoral.

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  23. Selective? Well, yes, but I gave you the link to look for yourself. Annual per-capita GDP growth over the last 10-20 years seems to have averaged around 2% or lower (2004 looks like a false data-point; Nigeria apparently grew 30% in that year) – better than the preceding decades but hardly stellar.

    There’s no reason why even a developing economy with double-digit growth might be disqualified from a WB loan. Indeed, such growth might be a *really* good time for loans for things like coal-fired power stations, rather than the extremely limited, and *limiting* solar power.

    On the other hand, a country growing at 10% might be in danger of overheating and might benefit from counter-cyclical (contractionary) policy. Adding extra investment at this point in the cycle might be exactly the wrong thing to do. Can you say with certainty which is true?

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  24. — your desires and satisfaction are immaterial when considering those in parts of the world where people have different values. Your indifference to their values reveals who you are. … suggests you would be content to “pickle them in aspic” —

    No, I make no comment about *their* values. It was *you* who emphasised traditions, heritage and love of the land… Seemingly on behalf of people in developing economies.

    “… when you haven’t asked them whether they want those changes…”

    I simply don’t assume that anyone would want anything. Except, of course, that I think emphasis on tradition, heritage, love of land is so much confected bullshit, that we can see operating to dark effect in historical moments, where it has been invoked, rearing its head again, in green ideology, which has undue influence over the development agenda.

    What I do know — rather than assume — is that most subsistence farmers would rather be connected, not to the land, but to mains water, an electricity grid, and to have access to agricultural machinery and chemistry, and for their children to be educated at least to secondary level, and for them not to have to be farmers at all.

    If people want to say “no thanks, we’re happy off grid, and in subsistence conditions”, more power to them, but their dependence on solar would imply a continued dependence on outside agencies, and moreover, no control over those agencies.

    “… they want small scale solar and what it brings. Opposition to solar, in such instances, is immoral.”

    Whose opposing it? What is at issue is the aspirations for others. In this case, eco-colonialism, which limits the possibilities of autonomous politics, economic and technological development with strange notions about what’s best for other people.

    i have written a lot about pickling in aspic…

    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2011/08/against-development.html

    —-
    Pastoral communities are excluded from politics as such in almost the same way that the peasants of medieval England were largely unable to resist the enclosure of common land, forcing them from it. It was not ‘neglect’ which led to the rough treatment of peasants; it was the fact that political freedoms are created, not given. Green imagines that ‘politics’ fails to respond to pastoral societies, but he forgets that pastoralism and democracy are rarely seen together in a meaningful way, and thus he forgets Sen’s point — famines do not occur in functioning democracies. The abolition of the English peasant class was ugly. But the industrialisation of the UK created the possibility of democracy and other freedoms, albeit bloody and hard-won. Feudalism was put in its place, it didn’t take it up voluntarily.

    Curiously for the the research director of a ‘development’ charity, Green seems to emphasise that there is a responsibility to ‘protect’ pastoral society, rather than to encourage — or enable — its transformation. This does two things. First, it locks the members of pastoral societies into that lifestyle — which it celebrates as ‘sustainable’ — and limits its possibilities. Second, it creates a ‘political’ role for agencies such as Oxfam at the expense of development — their influence is legitimised by the implausibility of political or industrial development, which it also precludes. I find that a grotesque thing for a ‘development’ agency to be engaged in. Rather than helping, Oxfam looks more like a parasite. The concept of ‘sustainability’ turns the concept of ‘development’ completely upside down. Progress means retrogression.
    —-

    See also

    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2008/11/painting-pictures-of-poverty.html
    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2008/10/whos-the-basket-case-oxfam.html
    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2008/11/%E2%80%9Cenvironmental-justice%E2%80%9D-%E2%80%93-a-fiction.html
    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2008/08/backwards-to-the-future.html

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  25. AK it’s not about ultimatums, it’s about what happens. Give those kids internet access and they’ll want more for themselves than scraping a living in the back of beyond. How often do we hear remote islanders bleating that all the young people move away? What is globilisation but people migrating to where the jobs are? Why does Scotland hate London? Would you prefer the migrants came to Europe or stay to make their own countries viable? What are we teaching those villagers to read for? So we can pinch the brightest and the best? One of the things that broke Communism so decisively was access to images of what us dirty capitalists enjoy. Only North Korea has managed to resist but to do so it has cut its people off from any development, especially information.

    Other countries will industrialise, regardless of anyone’s plans. The sooner the better, because it leads to more peacful nations and better living conditions. Yes. there may be an unpleasant period of adjustment where things may actually get worse but the time scale is getting shorter and shorter with each industrial revolution.

    Like Ben, I don’t miss many of the traditions of my people. I neither clog dance, wear tartan, go to the toilet in the garden or then spread it on my veg patch. Any desire to comment fondly on my heritage is squashed as being a Little Englander so by now I have zero sympathy for anyone else’s. A cultural foible I’m most attached to is being commanded by my elected politicians and not unelected EU civil servants. Isn’t that quaint?

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Alan, Ben, this discussion reminds me of a spectacular twitter-rant by Mike Shellenberger about what people want (I think it’s mostly about India rather than Africa) . Start here.
    This was in response to some report by climate activists saying something like that people were so concerned about climate change that they didn’t want the lifestyle that the authors of the report enjoy.

    What strikes me is the similarity between the self-righteous behaviour of the interfering, manipulative do-gooders telling people what they should believe and and how they should lead their lives, and the missionaries of the 19th century.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Geoff Chambers, the Chinese are probably offering a never-to-be-completed nuclear power station.

    Apart from the price, and perhaps the slightly neo-colonialist whiff given off by its white ‘social entrepreneur’ founders, M-Kopa seems an OK scheme. It’s a stopgap, not a permanent solution. It’s not preventing proper electrification.

    But the price is way too high.

    And apparently as soon as the solar system has been paid off, they wait a couple of weeks then start badgering you to buy more stuff – TVs, bicycles, stoves, water tanks. I couldn’t be doing with that.

    Their effective annual interest rate is about what a conventional money-lender would charge: 20%. Far better to borrow the money and buy the much cheaper and higher specced Chinese kit.

    But perhaps money-lenders don’t lend to people in remote locations who live on 200 Shillings day.

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  28. Wikipedia: “Overheating can be prevented by means of constant infrastructure expansion to eliminate bottlenecks.”

    In your case, it meant nothing, because 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10% might imply “overheating”.

    Yes in theory, but it must be the *right* infrastructure that is expanded, not just anything. Neither Ethiopian government bureaucrats, World Bank honchos nor even distant bloggers are likely to judge that correctly, especially since either “2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10% might imply “overheating””.

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  29. RAFF — ” it must be the *right* infrastructure that is expanded ” —

    Oh, yes, sorry, misunderstood you. i was all the while thinking that the WB should deliberately invest in the wrong type of infrastructure projects at precisely the wrong time, when the country in question is least able to cope with it, and the investment will cause the maximum damage. It’s all part of our evil plan, which we plot here from our HQ on the climate Denial UFO, to find ways of making life worse for poor people and polar bears.

    The point that ‘2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10% might imply “overheating”’ is that the rate itself tells us nothing.

    “Neither Ethiopian government bureaucrats, World Bank honchos nor even distant bloggers are likely to judge that correctly”

    And yet here you are — not even a blogger, but an anonymous commenter — seemingly defending the WB’s decision not to finance coal-fired power stations.

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  30. The thing about deciding on the right type of infrastructure to build is that it always depends upon the circumstances and that the answer is not always (or maybe even ever) “let’s build a coal fired power station”.

    It is always fun to see conservatives develop a faith in the ability of 3rd world governments and Bretton Woods institutions to deliver the necessary power infrastructure in preference to letting the invisible hand do its job.

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  31. RAFF – “The thing about deciding on the right type of infrastructure to build is that it always depends upon the circumstances and that the answer is not always (or maybe even ever) “let’s build a coal fired power station”.”

    You’re absolutely right, RAFF. I withdraw my suggestion that coal-fired power stations be stamped on every last square inch of every last developing country.

    Oh… Wait a sec… I didn’t ever claim that. Neither did I ever profess a ‘faith’ in Bretton Woods institutions. Far from it. I say above, “Well, I’m no fan of the Bretton Woods institutions”, in another recent thread, I criticise them for producing abortions like Stern (and Stiglitz and Sachs, for that matter), who was appointed because his brother was WB VP, and I point out that it wasn’t so very long ago that the very kind of people who now cite the WB/IMF on climate favourably held it, rightly, in fact, to be amongst the worst institutions in the world, for their enforcing a ‘Washington Consensus’ — making aid and development an instrument of Cold War politics. The fact that that consensus is now green doesn’t, in my view represent quite the transformation sustainababblers appear to think it is… Rather, as per the above, it represents merely green imperialism. I think I have followed the WB’s movements and thought about it rather more deeply than you, in fact…

    http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-world-needs-more-energy-not-green-bs/17647#.V6Jd74MrKJA

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  32. Do you not object to the WB being prevented from funding coal? If you do object, this might imply that you think it *should* fund coal. In other words you would support its decision making processes (and that of supplicant governments) if they lead to a decision to build coal generators. You would, in other words, have faith in the WB.

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  33. You may have thought about the WB too much and missed what happens in the real world. You claim that “Coal is the cheapest form of energy, but it is denied to all those who can least afford the alternatives. “ Yet in the same article you say that 20GW of coal generating capacity is in the pipeline in Africa. So is it denied or isn’t it? And is the WB the only source of funding? What is wrong with private sector funding? Why didn’t the coal industry fund new capacity? Why doesn’t the gas industry fund new gas capacity? What is it that in your mind makes a decision by the WB (which invested only $10bn in all its efforts in Africa last year) not to fund coal equate to Africa being denied coal?

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  34. etc etc…I just want to know if Raff knows anything at all. He gives the impression of a vacuous individual puffing on a bong but maybe he has knowledge that he could share. The problem is that he never shares any knowledge, only his ignorance.

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  35. “Do you not object to the WB being prevented from funding coal?”

    What are you talking about – the WB isn’t *prevented* from ‘funding coal’. It has chosen not to finance or support projects.

    What I’m against is the depriving people of the means to determine their own priorities — which is what the WB and other agencies have done. Meanwhile, the rest of the world burns coal aplenty. Development with strings attached… Nasty, nasty stuff.

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  36. What I’m against is the depriving people of the means to determine their own priorities …

    Well, being pedantic, they could determine their own priorities by holding a referendum or election. By and large the vote will be under the control of the government, and the resulting ‘priorities’ will be those of the government, not the people. The government might decide that ‘it’ (the people of course) is best served by new roads, hospitals, solar panels on local schools, a handout of money or staple foods to all citizens etc or by new coal-fired capacity or by a new airport in the capital or by new government buildings or by higher salaries for the bigwigs or by a bigger militia or military, new jet fighters, etc, etc. And you, Ben Pile, will urge the WB to pay for any and all of these ‘priorities’ because it is what the people want… No of course you wont. You, like the WB, will pass their ‘priorities’ through your own filter and decide for yourself what is actually in their best interests. And then you too would be “depriving people of the means to determine their own priorities”.

    As it happens and as you describe in your article, 20GW of new coal generating capacity is in the pipeline in Africa. That is 25% of existing capacity. So is coal denied them or isn’t it? And is the WB the only source of funding? What is wrong with private sector funding? Why didn’t the coal industry fund new capacity? Why doesn’t the gas industry fund new gas capacity? What is it that in your mind makes a decision by the WB (which invested only $10bn in all its efforts in Africa last year) not to fund coal equate to Africa being denied coal?

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  37. RAFF: “Well, being pedantic,”

    No, you’re being naive, not pedantic. The point is that political autonomy isn’t now, and never has been a given, and supranational political institutions weigh heavier on developing economies, which are concomitantly, less free to develop domestic political institutions to realise such an end. Moreover, it’s my claim (and others’ here, too), that the very nature of sustainable/subsistence economic life (which is what so many supranational organisations want for developing economies) precludes political engagement — it’s back-breaking work, whereas social organisation requires surplus time and/or money.

    RAFF: “So is coal denied them or isn’t it? ”

    Clearly it is being denied “them”; the point being the contrast with other developing economies — and Europe, too. It feels strange, having to point out something as elementary as comparison as a method of understanding the political sphere… But then the precondition of an environmentalist’s perspective is the failure to develop a sense of proportion.

    The remainder of your questions are no less daft than your ability to fathom comparison. The consequence of failing to develop a sense of proportion is the recourse to absolutes. Nobody suggests that the WB is the only source of funding, nor that there is no coal use planned across the entire continent. But then, the WB isn’t the only agency campaigning to prevent coal use in Africa. So daft is your comment, you seem to have forgotten that you learn the fact that some coal is planned for Africa, from an article *I* wrote.

    And above, *I* pointed you to the fact of FDI increasing across much of the region in question. Also above is the point that whereas the WB represents a paltry contribution to development from the West, with strings that preclude development as such, there is also investment from the East.

    This is monumentally stupid:

    — ‘And you, Ben Pile, will urge the WB to pay for any and all of these ‘priorities’ because it is what the people want… No of course you wont. You, like the WB, will pass their ‘priorities’ through your own filter and decide for yourself what is actually in their best interests. And then you too would be “depriving people of the means to determine their own priorities”’. —

    No, the fact of overbearing supranational institutions creating a democratic deficit is well understood, and even articulated to a greater or lesser extent by the ‘development community’ — though not as adequately by them as by their critics. The fact of such unwanted, undemocratic dominance over domestic politics having been demonstrated has been in the news lately. Perhaps you missed it? It wouldn’t surprise me much if you had.

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  38. No, Ben Pile, what is stupid is saying that coal power is being ‘denied’ to people. It is like saying that roads are being denied to people because the money is being spent on medicines; or that schooling is being denied because the money has been spent on ports and security. There is only a finite amount of money from the WB; it sets its priorities according to the wishes of its shareholders. Get over it and find another source of funding for coal power stations.

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  39. “It is like saying that roads are being denied to people because the money is being spent on medicines; ”

    The presupposition there is that “you can have roads, or medicines, but not both”. You don’t know enough to make that claim.

    “There is only a finite amount of money from the WB”

    You move from the general to the particular for the same reason you have failed to develop a sense of proportion.

    Nobody is talking about only the WB; only that the WB epitomise global institutions, and the prevalent mode of the ‘development’ agenda, with implications for development under any financing scheme. For example, and from the article:

    — The message from global institutions to the world’s poor is: ‘you may have your own shit, but you may not have coal’. In 2013, the World Bank, despite acknowledging many people’s lack of access to electricity, said that, because of climate change, it would no longer be supporting the development of coal-fired power stations. The announcement was made in accordance with the principles of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, an alliance of global institutions, civil society and businesses that wants to ‘achieve a broad-based transformation of the world’s energy systems’. But note the caveat: ‘sustainable energy for all’ is not a commitment to ‘energy for all’.

    Low aspirations for African countries are not set by Africans. They are set by the likes of the UK Department for International Development (DfID), which recently set out its Energy Africa campaign – a manifesto for off-grid solar power. ‘Why is [the Department for International Development] pushing solar-only when Africans say they want on-grid electricity?’, asked Benjamin Leo of the US-based Centre for Global Development (CGD). The CGD conducted a survey of Tanzanians who already had connection to off-grid electricity. Ninety per cent of respondents still wanted a grid connection. —

    “… find another source of funding for coal power stations.”

    I prefer to point out the regressive politics of the agencies that dominate the development agenda.

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  40. Thanks Ben for adding the references that support the point that I was making: that a a complex chain of actions runs from the very top to the very bottom of our society, from international organisations like the World Bank and the UNFCCC to the African peasant who’s just stepped on the first rung of the development ladder by acquiring a cell phone, and at each stage the same little green men appear, financing it with their ethical investments, churning out reports justifying it from their NGO offices, plugging it on a subsidised page of the Guardian that no-one reads, and casting a moral anathema on any view but theirs.

    Every penny Richard Branson invests in expensive solar panels handwoven in SW1 for African peasants is a penny not invested in cattle trucks on Southern Railways. And the Brighton commuter goes on cursing Branson and voting Green and reading his Guardian, knowing that, even if all is not right with the world, at least he’s right on with his conscience.

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  41. The presupposition there is that “you can have roads, or medicines, but not both”

    No Ben Pile, the presupposition is that for a given amount of money the more roads you build the fewer medicines you can buy. It is arithmetic. Preferring one over another is a real-world choice, not a denial of one benefit or another. If we increase our foreign aid budget, the WB could of course do more of both but it would still have to make choices. It might still decide that lending a country money for roads and hospitals, which have an indefinite lifetime, is better than lending for coal power, which is arguably obsolete from the outset.

    When it comes to churning out reports, Geoff Chambers, Ben Pile perhaps has expertise from his time as a researcher for UKIP MEP Bloom. It seems unlikely that he would have argued in favour of maintaining the foreign aid budget to bongo bongo land, but who knows?

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  42. RAFF — “for a given amount of money the more roads you build the fewer medicines you can buy. It is arithmetic.” —

    The point was that you don’t know enough to make the claim that “it’s roads or medicines”. The issue is political will and understanding. Your economic mistake is called ‘the household fallacy’. You’re imagining that the economics of the household — the kitty — apply to the wider economy, such that the householder can only afford to buy eggs or socks, whereas the economy in fact produces them. There is plenty of money, and the potential exists for economic regions currently characterised by subsistence to become properly productive.

    For instance, when you build roads, you make drug factories a possibility, and can take your drugs to market. Or other things… More Guinness is now brewed in Nigeria than in Ireland, for example. But were that company’s directors to buy into the sustainabble of the whole of Africa being an arid, infertile desert, its lands incapable of producing crops and its peoples too stupid, or habituated to traditional/tribal society for an industrial division of labour, it would have figured in their investment calculations. Indeed, greens argue that it should be incumbent on investors or financers to take into account such woolly notions as ‘sustainability’ — and more so, in developing economies, where resistance to such ideas is harder to establish, yet where there is greater need of development. As I point out in the article and elsewhere, Oxfam and other one-time development organisations simply don’t imagine African economies industrialising, but instead skipping the entire process of industrialisation, to go straight to the solar-powered ‘app’. This is nakedly because development would exclude them, and so many NGO staff would be made redundant were the productive forces that have been unleashed in China, for example, be unleashed in other parts of the world. Hence, development agencies eschew development.

    The contrast couldn’t be more stark. Hundreds of millions were pulled out of poverty without the help of Oxfam, or even foreign aid budgets, within a generation. The rate of progress was unprecedented in human history. The climate-obsessed ‘development’ NGO worker must look at Borlaug’s wake, and the rapid development of China, and his heart must sink. It *must* be wrong that so much apparent good could have been produced so quickly, to the benefit of so many people without, and in spite of him. And when that capital moved west again, to Africa, where roads and trainlines, factories, mines and markets were built, he said “MAKE IT STOP, THINK OF THE FUTURE GENERATIONS!”.

    So to your… “If we increase our foreign aid budget, the WB could of course do more of both..”, I don’t give a stuff. The largess of western governments is not the whole of it, nor is the WB the only agency in the equation. “Aid” budgets are almost entirely vehicles for extending soft — and sometimes not even soft — power, and are heavily laden with strings. As I point out in the article:

    — A working paper, jointly published by the Global Commission and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) last month was superficially concerned with ‘building electricity supplies in Africa for growth and universal access’. But ‘universal access’ only meant connection to an electricity grid for 40 per cent of Africans. ‘For about 60 per cent of the population, mini-grids and stand-alone systems would be the best means to provide access’, said the paper. Reiterating the point, the ODI’s director of strategic development, Dinah McLeod tweeted, ‘Yes: more to the Africa energy puzzle than off-grid, but grid won’t ever come for many. Let’s be optimistic realists.’ —

    It is hard not to conclude that the development agenda is dominated by people who take a dim view of development, and of aspirations that the continent could be as developed as Europe — or more.

    The point is that not for the first time, it is those governments and those agencies that thwart the possibility of development. For instance, the denial of capital, and the subsequent sabotage of the newly independent Ghana’s ambitions to industrialise itself occurred, not because there was insufficient capital to realise those projects — the world was awash with capital — but because it risked the stakes in a geopolitical battle. Today’s emphasis on environmental concerns is no less ideological, and strategic, albeit multi-polar. Granted, perhaps the west doesn’t any longer back coups in West Africa to prevent development, but state- and supra-state backed green NGOs nonetheless blackmail entire countries against industrial agriculture by threatening to further block their access to (already restricted) western/northern markets should they permit GM, for example, to no less violent an effect — famine.

    “It seems unlikely that he would have argued in favour of maintaining the foreign aid budget to bongo bongo land, but who knows?”

    Well, not you. You don’t know very much. And yet you waffle on, all the same. And not the hack who exposed the whole dastardly conspiracy of MEPs hiring researchers either. You don’t even have the courage to put your own name to your words, so you’re hardly in a position to whinge “OH MY GOD, HE WORKED FOR A UKIP MEP!” Who are you? Who do you work for? Who did you have a lunch with in 1998? What’s your cat’s name? Don’t answer — I don’t care to know, it’s sufficient that your argument is weak — i don’t need to draw from a database of smears to answer you.

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  43. (Is it even a smear anyway? ‘Don’t listen to him. He worked for a political organisation that turned out to have the interests of the majority of Britons at heart. Despicable. He may try to hide it (by fiendishly openly talking about it, as if to distract your attention from his deceit) but he’s not gonna get away with that. Oh no.’)

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  44. No, Ben Pile, if WB funding represented the entirety of development funding then the household fallacy might apply, but the WB quite obviously supplies only a fraction of the investment in Africa. WB has only so much money and what it spends on one thing it cannot spend on another – there is an opportunity cost associated with any spending. Real-world choices are inevitable and don’t represent the ‘denial’ of one benefit or another.

    So to your… “If we increase our foreign aid budget, the WB could of course do more of both..”, I don’t give a stuff. The largess of western governments is not the whole of it, nor is the WB the only agency in the equation. “Aid” budgets are almost entirely vehicles for extending soft — and sometimes not even soft — power, and are heavily laden with strings.

    If you think so poorly of aid then why is WB funding crucial to powering Africa and why does the refusal to pony up for coal imply a denial of energy rather than just the closure of one of many funding sources.

    And a “smear”, Ben Pile? It is only a smear if you think there was something about it to be ashamed of. Was there? If not, it was just a job; a feather in your cap; an entry on your CV. I care little. I mention it only because it indicated where your sympathies lie – with a party that would prefer to cut foreign aid. But you have now made it clear anyway that you don’t think highly of aid – except where it affects coal fired power stations, in which case it is apparently so important that its refusal represents denial of cheap energy. Your ideology has you confused, Ben Pile.

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  45. And the money they could be spending on coal for the many is being spent on solar panels for the few.

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  46. RAFF — “if WB funding represented the entirety of development funding then the household fallacy might apply,”

    Oh, what are you on about?

    You said: “No Ben Pile, the presupposition is that for a given amount of money the more roads you build the fewer medicines you can buy. It is arithmetic.”

    It’s *not* arithmetic, because the point of investment, is not merely buying stuff — per the household fallacy — but development. I know that growth is anathema to you many weirdo greens…

    — “If you think so poorly of aid then why is WB funding crucial to powering Africa ” —

    I don’t claim it is. I say it climate alarmism epitomises what *many* agencies are equally poisoned by. It’s you that keeps going on about the World Bank. It is that

    — “And a “smear”, Ben Pile? It is only a smear if you think there was something about it to be ashamed of. ” —

    Well, why did you mention it then?

    You said:

    — “It seems unlikely that he would have argued in favour of maintaining the foreign aid budget to bongo bongo land” —

    If you care to read what I’ve written — rather than what people I have worked for are alleged to have said — elsewhere, I make the argument for finance without strings and budgets for development without green caveats. Even people who work in overseas development recognise how self serving it is — a real money spinner for some, though.

    You don’t know anything about my ‘ideology’. I do know that you’re a bit thick though.

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  47. Of course it is arithmetic, Ben Pile. If Zimbabwe (or wherever) gets money from the WB to build infrastructure, it will, if it invests wisely, grow faster. This will attract more money and growth will continue. But that doesn’t affect the WB, which still has a fixed amount of money each year and the more it spends on roads, the less it has to spend on hospitals (or the more it spends in Zimbabwe, the less it has for Botswana).

    Finance without strings, Ben Pile? That is, like “free trade”, pie in the sky. Lenders will always want some control. The same goes for green caveats. Can you imagine a lender paying for a motorway through the Rift Valley for example? The only debate is about the degree of controls, not whether they should exist.

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  48. RAFF — “Of course it is arithmetic, Ben Pile. If Zimbabwe (or wherever) gets money from the WB to build infrastructure, it will, if it invests wisely, grow faster. “–

    Then it is not arithmetic. I.e. the consequence of ‘growing faster’ is not given in the available funds, but in the wisdom of the investment. It is the wisdom of investment which is in question. Namely, the predominance of environmentalism in investment choices, and increasingly in regulation of such investment such that the possibilities of development are limited.

    — ‘Finance without strings, Ben Pile? That is, like “free trade”, pie in the sky. Lenders will always want some control.” —

    Lenders will always want some return, not control. If I get a loan from the bank for a car, it matters not one jot if I decide to spend it on mars bars instead, from the bank’s perspective, as long as I make the repayments. *Investors*, rather than *lenders* will make a different form of decision, which may well include control as a *partner* in the enterprise, the risks being a different proposition. But the point was in response to a discussion not about *investment* but *aid*, you having questioned my moral character or ideology, thusly:

    — “It seems unlikely that he would have argued in favour of maintaining the foreign aid budget to bongo bongo land” —

    To which I replied:

    — “I make the argument for finance without strings and budgets for development without green caveats.” —

    So let’s make a distinction between the terms you have conflated: *loans*, *investment*, *foreign policy* (i.e. ‘strategy’) and *aid*, even where loans are given as *aid*, or *aid* takes the form of *investment*…

    Aid given for the benefit of the donor is arguably not aid but strategy, and likely injures the possibility of development, as I point out. In the case of food aid, that might mean distorting local markets for the benefit of producers in donor countries. In the case of green caveats on developmental projects, it seems to me similarly to mean sustaining subsistence economies’ dependence on “development” institutions. It is merely the continuation of colonialism, in other words, in another form.

    For example, it has been a condition of debt relief programmes that governments must spend certain amounts on projects that the donors decide on in place of repayment — recycling bins and composting toilets, for instance, neither of which seem appropriate to me (nor to many reports from the ground). But it might better to say “well, have a bigger loan, and spend it on what *you* think is necessary”, and for ‘us’ to relax the terms or even write off the debt and think again if the loan doesn’t make the economy more productive. No doubt it is harder for poorer economies to raise finance for infrastructural projects on commercial terms, thereby limiting the ‘arithmetic’ part of the funding equation. But it is arguably within “our” power, and a moral imperative, for “us” to take on that risk, and to write it off in the event that it fails, and for “us” (extremely well-funded outfits, run by people on very nice salaries, living colonial lifestyles) not to seek advantage out of the relationship in either event.

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  49. As I said, Ben Pile, it is pie in the sky to imagine lending or giving say £1bn to a developing country with no strings attached. It is in no way comparable to making a car loan.

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  50. RAFF — “it is pie in the sky to imagine lending or giving say £1bn to a developing country with no strings attached. It is in no way comparable to making a car loan.”

    Your own cynicism is not a reason for me to stop arguing that ‘aid’ with strings is not aid, and that it is wrong to use the plight of others to advantage yourself.

    I’ll remind you that you initiated this micro-exchange by suggesting *my* attitude to development budgets were the expression of some toxic ‘ideology’ — indifference to the plight of others. Shoe is rather on the other foot now, isn’t it.

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  51. So did you impress on your erstwhile employer the need to maintain existing aid budgets, even to “bongo bongo land”? Or did you go along with common right wing dogma that existing aid is ‘harmful’ and cover yourself by arguing for this impossible-to-achieve (and thus easy to promise) unconditional aid. If the latter how was the advice received?

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  52. Maybe not. But my impression from talking to people on BH and elsewhere is that those who decry the “denial of energy” to Africa by the WB being selective in the aid it provides are often the same people who object to existing foreign aid under any circumstances, providing a lovely contradiction that they somehow ignore. You play it clever by doing both these but at the same time claiming to support a purer form of aid. Yet I’m pretty certain that you cannot name a single developing country, region or government outside the UK to which you would be prepared for the UK give, say, £1bn unconditionally. Unless you actually can, your rhetoric is entirely worthless.

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  53. — “Yet I’m pretty certain that you cannot name a single developing country, region or government outside the UK to which you would be prepared for the UK give, say, £1bn unconditionally. Unless you actually can, your rhetoric is entirely worthless.” —

    Let’s start with the HIPCs.

    Afghanistan
    Benin
    Bolivia
    Burkina Faso
    Burundi
    Cameroon
    Central African Republic
    Chad
    Republic of the Congo
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Comoros
    Ivory Coast
    Ethiopia
    Gambia
    Ghana
    Guinea
    Guinea-Bissau
    Guyana
    Haiti
    Honduras
    Liberia
    Madagascar
    Mali
    Mauritania
    Mozambique
    Nicaragua
    Niger
    Rwanda
    São Tomé and Príncipe
    Senegal
    Sierra Leone
    Suriname
    Tanzania
    Togo
    Uganda
    Zambia

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  54. Seriously? You’d have the UK government give £1bn to Afghanistan, unconditionally? Wow!

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  55. RAFF
    Please name one of the “people on BishopHill and elsewhere who decry the ‘denial of energy’ to Africa” and who “object to existing foreign aid under any circumstances,” thus “providing a lovely contradiction that they somehow ignore.”

    Or go away.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Well, so much for concern about “worthless rhetoric”, then.

    Well Ben Pile, I don’t really believe that someone could be sufficiently naive to just give £1bn to Afghanistan, unconditionally. And nobody would support such a decision. Imagine the renewables head bangers when told you are cutting wind farm subsidies and just handing the money over to the Afghans instead – think they’d like that?

    Geoff Chambers, go search BH if you like. You’d have to be willfully blind not to have noticed that the folks with whom you find common cause are against foreign aid, the World Bank, the UN etc and yet manage to complain when that aid doesn’t pay for coal. I often wonder how you can bear the company you keep.

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  57. I don’t really believe that someone could be sufficiently naive to just give £1bn to Afghanistan, unconditionally.

    We’ve spent a lot more than that bombing them back into the Stone Age. Since we’re doing it for their own good, why shouldn’t we hand over a piddling billion? Remember, with your wholehearted approval (?) we’ve just promised to hand over a hundred billion a year to the developing countries to mitigate global warming. What’s a billion to Afghanistan?

    And nobody would support such a decision. Imagine the renewables head bangers when told you are cutting wind farm subsidies and just handing the money over to the Afghans instead – think they’d like that?

    Of course they won’t. They’ll whine about cutting wind farm subsidies as they whine about cuts in aid to the developing countries. They just don’t get your point about money spent on x is not available for y.

    Geoff Chambers, go search BH if you like. You’d have to be willfully blind not to have noticed that the folks with whom you find common cause are against foreign aid, the World Bank, the UN etc and yet manage to complain when that aid doesn’t pay for coal.

    Why should I search BH for evidence that you’re right, when you’re wrong? And even if you’d gone to the bother of responding to my challenge by finding one single commenter to support your claim, what would that prove?

    I often wonder how you can bear the company you keep.

    Do you indeed? That’s what your interventions here come down to: implying that, because – according to the consensual conventional wisdom – climate sceptics are knuckle-dragging Trump supporters, therefore no sane person would want to be associated with them.

    It’s not going to work. I am happy to be associated in the campaign against lies with the likes of Delingpole and Monckton, who challenge the same lies, even if I wouldn’t be seen dead in the same polling booth with them. Can you understand the concept of agreeing with someone on one proposition, but not on another? I doubt it.

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  58. Geoff — “according to the consensual conventional wisdom – climate sceptics are knuckle-dragging Trump supporters, therefore no sane person would want to be associated with them.” —

    It’s interesting what is revealed by angry green attempts attempts to draw out *our* worldview. It’s knuckle-draggers here; and it’s feckless, fecund and feeble people overseas. We stand accused, it seems, of being in bed with nasty people, with nasty views. But it’s not us, or even our putative co-ideologists who take such a condescending view of people, nor attempt to limit their material aspirations.

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  59. It’s interesting what is revealed by angry green attempts attempts to draw out *our* worldview.

    What’s really interesting is how you can say this without any apparent irony (unless it was meant to be ironic and I missed it).

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  60. — unless it was meant to be ironic and I missed it —

    It’s what you imagine that is more pertinent than what you ‘miss’. Though you miss plenty, irony included… Including the irony of you suggesting that the observation of the irony of greens missing their own ideology lacked a sense of irony. It’s a kind of same-to-you-but-with-brass-knobs-on, which is ironic, given you were trying (so hard) to ‘keep the conversation civil’. That’s *our* fault too, I guess. But *you* posted *here*. And you’ve posted almost everywhere else that there is a danger a conversation might happen without the oversight of Consensus Enforcement.

    Haven’t you got any ‘physics’ to do, Ken? Or was it just an afterthought?

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  61. Ben,
    I’m not blaming anyone else for anything. I was simply commenting on your complaint about others attempting to “draw out *our* worldview” (which may, or may not, be true) while appearing to do precisely the same yourself. If anything, your entire mantra is generalising about the worldviews of those with whom you seem to disagree. This appears to be mostly based on a small amount of personal experience, and a huge amount of ideological bias.

    given you were trying (so hard) to ‘keep the conversation civil’

    Yes, but this did fail, which I have acknowledged, time and time again. At least I tried.

    And you’ve posted almost everywhere else that there is a danger a conversation might happen without the oversight of Consensus Enforcement.

    No, I haven’t. What a bizarre thing to say.

    Geoff,

    I am happy to be associated in the campaign against lies with the likes of Delingpole and Monckton

    Really? Monckton and Delingpole are – IMO – two of the most dishonest, ignorant, and unpleasant individuals who choose to engage publicly about climate science.

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  62. Thanks for the clarification, Ken. Let’s bring it back on topic.

    — “… while appearing to do precisely the same yourself. If anything, your entire mantra is generalising about the worldviews of those with whom you seem to disagree.” —

    I make the point, in fact, that nobody should be nervous of admitting to ‘ideology’ or ‘politics’. And if they weren’t, greens wouldn’t try so damned hard to hide it behind science. So, whereas us knuckle-dragging sceptics might, on the final analysis, turn out to lumber under the same weight of ideology as our green counterparts, it is nonetheless green ideology that prevails absolutely, and that thus it deserves far more criticism than it receives.

    So, I can be an outright goose-stepping, barely-legal-far-right, topless skateboarding nutjob, and yet *still* have a valid point to make about the extent to which green ideology dictates the terms of development overseas, and still question the legitimacy of that predominance.

    The point is not ner-ner-nerr-nerr-nerrr, my-ideology-is-purer-than-your-ideology. My preference for democracy and my distaste for environmentalism on that basis is, after all, merely ‘ideology’. The problem is that others’ preference for ‘science’ as the organising principle for development there, or energy and industrial policy here is no less ‘ideological’. It’s only by admitting to ‘ideology’ that it can be isolated, and thus how “what science says” can be understood. Anything else is blackmail.

    — “No, I haven’t.” —

    Oh, but you are *so* prolific. I can’t believe you have any time to look at the stars.

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  63. Ben,

    I make the point, in fact, that nobody should be nervous of admitting to ‘ideology’ or ‘politics’.

    Of course.

    And if they weren’t, greens wouldn’t try so damned hard to hide it behind science.

    Ahh, but a key problem is that some (yourself, for example) choose to define certain people as greens on the basis of the science they choose to discuss publicly. This is often despite any evidence that they actually ascribe to a Green viewpoint.

    So, I can be an outright goose-stepping, barely-legal-far-right, topless skateboarding nutjob, and yet *still* have a valid point to make about the extent to which green ideology dictates the terms of development overseas, and still question the legitimacy of that predominance.

    Of course, but sometimes it’s hard to then extract the valid point from the ranting.

    The problem is that others’ preference for ‘science’ as the organising principle for development there, or energy and industrial policy here is no less ‘ideological’.

    This – in my opinion – is mostly a strawman. Of course people with certain ideological viewpoints will use science to their advantage if they can, which would be ideological. However, there is little to suggest that anyone is really suggesting that science should be some kind of organising principle. The main suggestion is that we should use evidence to inform decision making. That doesn’t mean that the evidence defines the decision, or that it somehow trumps ideology, but does mean that people might need to justify their decisions, given the available evidence.

    It’s only by admitting to ‘ideology’ that it can be isolated, and thus how “what science says” can be understood. Anything else is blackmail.

    This sounds like postmodernist nonsense. An alternative explanation is that the evidence presents our best understanding – at the moment – of the system that we’re trying to understand. Sometimes this challenges our ideological views, sometimes it supports them. The idea, however, that our ideology somehow defines/influences the overall evidence is something for which there is little evidence – of course, ideology might influence individual studies, and/or individual researchers, but there’s little evidence that our overall understanding is somehow influenced by ideology.

    Oh, but you are *so* prolific. I can’t believe you have any time to look at the stars.

    Not quite sure how youre response relates to what you quoted of mine, but – as I think you have said yourself – None of your business, really, is it?

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  64. — “This – in my opinion – is mostly a strawman.” —

    Indeed. Your opinion. Yet so many political claims do seem to be hidden behind ‘science’. And adherents to those claims/’science’ protest so much that it is simply ‘the facts’ speaking to them, and on which they speak for. And so much of institutional science seems to be jostling for position. And there is much resistance to that being pointed out, too.

    — ” there is little to suggest that anyone is really suggesting that science should be some kind of organising principle” —

    There’s tonnes of it. Much of it discussed here. And on my blog. The problem is, you merely see it as railing against ‘science’.

    — “The main suggestion is that we should use evidence to inform decision making.” —

    but here, in this thread, we see it proposed that science should limit the material aspirations of others, living far away. Yet you still see no evidence. None so blind…

    — “This sounds like postmodernist nonsense.” —

    Any criticism of scientism will appear to its advocates as ‘postmodernist nonsense’. The problem for them being that the postmodern condition is precisely ‘incredulity towards metanarratives’ (i.e. ‘politics’, ‘ideology’, etc), and emphasis instead on technical, scientific administration of society. It was only a small number of postmodenist thinkers that descended on the idea that science was ‘just another narrative’, though not entirely without foundation… It is, after all, possible — and you seem to admit so yourself — for pseudoscience to appear as science. And it was only a small subset of those who claimed that there was no such thing as an objective, material world.

    — “The idea, however, that our ideology somehow defines/influences the overall evidence is something for which there is little evidence – of course, ideology might influence individual studies, and/or individual researchers, but there’s little evidence that our overall understanding is somehow influenced by ideology.” —

    There’s an absolute abundance of exactly this. And it is on questions of development that the ideological presuppositions of environmentalism become most transparent in ‘scientific’ claims. My ‘favourite’ example being the notion that N thousand people die a year as a result of climate change, and that thus people living in developing economies suffer more as a consequence of climate change, and will benefit from skipping all that ugly technological development stuff, and heading straight for windfarms and solar panels.

    There is no test of the cause of death that could determine ‘climate change’ was the cause. Moreover, all the things that are assumed to be the deathly consequence of climate change, are in rapid decline. not because of solar panels, but more because of coal and capitalism. (And I say it with no particular dog in either of those races). Even more moreover, what remains fatal to many people is not an nth-order effect of climate change, but first-order effects of poverty. It takes *exactly* an ideological rejection of science to claim that any death from poverty is a death from climate change; it *presupposes* that absent an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere, happy peasants would toil at fertile soil. And that idea has gripped many global institutions. There is even now the claim that wars, as well as poverty, and even criminality can be explained as the consequence of climate change. And yet you say there is little evidence of ideology. It is the premise of your ‘science’. The problem is, ‘science’ does not seem to have developed the means to isolate that ideology. Hence, I suggest that in order to understand ‘what science says’, ‘ideology’ — what science has been told — must first be understood. One can do seemingly ‘good’ science from poor premises.

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  65. Wilful blindness indeed, Geoff Chambers. And from my side of the fence, it seems obvious that much said about climate by Monckton is plain wrong and he knows it but that Delingpole, the interpreter of interpretations, would not know true from false on any given scientific question. I always assumed that sceptics like you appreciated that too but were willfully blind to it. It is, I guess, possible that you really don’t realize the degree of nuttiness of the people with whom you campaign, but that nuttiness rubs off on you, you are part of their fruitcake, whether you know it or not.

    I see the legendary ‘lies’ are your motivation, so tell me, what in your opinion is the biggest ‘lie’ in the climate debate?

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  66. AND THEN THERE’S PHYSICS, RAFF

    Examples of Delingpole and Monckton’s dishonesty, ignorance, and unpleasantness (ATTP) and wrongness and nuttiness (RAFF) please.

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  67. RAFF
    “what in your opinion is the biggest ‘lie’ in the climate debate?”

    “We know that in the future…”

    Yours is a very good question, but its purpose here is to deflect attention from the subject of the article, which is Richard Branson upping his credibility with the Brighton commuter by selling trinkets to Africans.

    And THEN THERE’SPHYSICS did the same thing on the Benoît Rittaud thread, asking me what I thought people would think of Climate Audit and WUWT in the future, as if my predictions of what other people would think could be of any interest.

    But it got me thinking about the lies uncovered by Steve McIntyre, by Steig, Gergis, Lewandowsky, and I think Mann and Schmidt, which were in fact all the same lie – claiming to have found and corrected an error in their own work to cover up the fact that it was Steve. As lies they were trivial and infantile (“Who found the lost rabbit?” – “I did Miss!”) but their purpose was not. It was to deny credibility to McIntyre and all sceptics for ever. McIntyre must never be right, or else the world (their world) will come to an end. Scientific propositions would have to be judged on their merits and not on the status of their utterers or their degree of consensuality.

    So I can’t really answer your question. But it’s an interesting one, and I’ll think about it. Thanks for asking it.

    Liked by 2 people

  68. THE lie was to hard sell climate catastrophe as hard science, as settled science, as empirically derived science. All the little white lies employed thereafter to bolster this notion and ensure its continuance are, in a sense irrelevant, but obviously worthy of exposure by those who have technical knowledge and expertise in various scientific and mathematical disciplines.

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  69. That is why you puzzle me, Geoff Chambers. You are the political opposite pole to much of the climate sceptic community and yet you campaign with them, even the obviously ignorant and toxic like Dellers, against ‘lies’ that you cannot identify. Strange.

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  70. RAFF should explain what ‘political poles’ has to do with global warming. After all, ‘eco socialists’ and green capitalists buddy up all the time. David Cameron unveiled some of his plans for his ‘greenest government ever’ before he was even PM at Greenpeace’s London HQ. Much of the UK’s climate policy was forged after a cross party-consensus was established by the Green Alliance.

    So why is it ‘toxic’ for sceptics from seemingly opposite ends of the political spectrum to speak with each other, but the far more significant coalitions of billionaires, technocrats, NGOs, Conservatives, Lib Dems, Labour, and far left and anarchist greens isn’t?

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  71. The thing is, Ben Pile, politics and the climate debate are deeply entwined. Scepticism is predominantly of the right, which implies that it is not to do with science. People from opposite poles don’t usually cooperate without a strong motivation, yet Geoff Chambers cannot, as yet, identify what motivates him (the main ‘lies’).

    BTW, in normal English, “toxic Dellers” means Dellers is toxic, not that political cooperation. Between poles is toxic. But I realise that skeptic English differs…

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  72. Raff, Geoff identifies what motivates him in every post he writes. It’s the same thing that motivates most if not all of us on this joint blog – a concern that the left has lost its way and become not merely irrelevant, but harmful as it shifted into campaigning for the climate (and other areas designed to signal virtue).

    This is all obvious stuff – but it’s staggering how, even now, with vast areas of working class Britain voting for Brexit and putting the boot in to the remote, metropolitan liberal-left establishment, with the Labour Party imploding in irrelevance, that people who identify self-consciously as left-wing can’t see what’s in front of them.

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  73. RAFF — “politics and the climate debate are deeply entwined. Scepticism is predominantly of the right, which implies that it is not to do with science.”

    While I agree that ‘politics and the climate debate are deeply entwined’, it seems to me you want to have your cake and eat it, whereas the fact is that the left’s apparent absorption of climate change has nothing to do with “science”, either.

    Moreover, if you care to take an interest in political history, parallel to the development of environmental science, the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ turn out to be pretty redundant today. So redundant, in fact that your observation, if it is true, is trivially true, and might amount to no more than “belief in climate change signifies belief in climate change”. For example, the UK’s politics are dominated by a cross-party political consensus on climate change (amongst other things), and climate having been emphasised as much by conservatives as by the Labour Party. Indeed, the first drafts of the 2008 Climate Change Act proposed from the then Labour Government’s side included a commitment to only a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, which was criticised by the Tories for being insufficient according to their own “research”. They proposed a figure of 80% — which is what it ultimately was, the political disagreement being settled by the Act’s creation of the Committee on Climate Change, to remove the political dimension from goal-setting (or goal-scoring, if you prefer).

    Moreover, European politics is dominated by conservatives, yet it is Europe which arguably pushes the for the most ambitious commitments in global policymaking. No less a figure than Connie Hedegaard that did a lot of that pushing, and she hails from the danish Conservative People’s Party. There is no left-right dimension

    You can only really point to outliers — Monckton, Delingpole — not broad political movements, with tangible influence over policymaking. If that appears to you to signify climate scepticism as predominantly of the right, it might be cause by a transformation of the left, which has developed something of an intolerance to dissent. One doesn’t need any particularly deep grasp of political history to note that all the institutions of the Left are in deep crisis, and exist on the opposite side of a yawning chasm to their putative constituency, the concerns of which do not figure much.

    To bring this back on topic, it is very much the same symptom that drives the notion that developing economies will be served by solar PV cells: institutions that are increasingly divorced from reality, be it political, economic, practical, or objective reality, to the extent that they rely increasingly on wholly abstract metrics and understandings of society. This is a complete inversion or divorce from the foundations of anything resembling the ‘left’, the much larger parts of which emphasised a material understanding rather than intangibles such as history. It might be that there appears to be more climate scepticism on the right, but this would likely be the consequence of it not being in such disarray as the left (though it is certainly not without its own crises), comparatively speaking, and thus is able to accommodate differences of perspective within its own fold, and stand as a more coherent political force.

    So to the observation that climate scepticism appears to be a phenomenon of the right, we can say either that the observer is dizzy from his own spinning, or that his disorientation is the result of having his head up his arse.

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  74. Raff,

    “Scepticism is predominantly of the right, which implies that it is not to do with science.”

    ‘Climate change’ is a wicked social problem which implies likewise that ‘it is not to do with science’. We’ve all been led up the garden path it seems – both sceptics and campaigners and researchers advocating for the perfect future climate who have ‘science on their side’.

    http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/climate-change-as-wicked-social-problem.html

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  75. Correction… “…rather than intangibles such as history…” WMTB “… rather than intangibles such as TRADITION [and natural order]…”

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  76. Thanks JAIME JESSOP for finding that reference to the Reiner Grundmann article from the slightly dormant German based blog Klimazwiebel. Once we’ve got together the 16 euros to buy the article, I’m sure someone here will be commenting on it.

    RAFF
    You still haven’t indicated what Monckton says that is “plain wrong”. His most prominent contribution at the moment is probably his regular articles at WUWT calculating how long since there was a significant rise in global average temperatures, a series discontinued because of el Niño but no doubt soon to be resumed. Are his calculations wrong? Please answer yes or no, otherwise I consider all discussion terminated.
    Your obsession with me defining “lies” is peculiar. My repetitive insistence from time to time on the lies of Lewandowsky and Cook is precisely because clear examples of lying in a massive propaganda campaign are hard to pin down. No statement about the future can be called a lie, nor any statement beginning “Scientists think/believe/predict…” Are there lies in Mann Bradley Hughes 1998? Probably not. Are there any lies in the Climategate emails? Probably not many. Phil Jones asked Mann to delete emails and said Keith would do likewise. So when he said later that he hadn’t himself deleted emails he wasn’t necessarily lying. People generally don’t, if they can avoid it. Did Keith Briffa and Mann delete emails? We don’t know. They never lied about it because no-one ever asked them.

    Is Caroline Lucas lying when she says in today’s Guardian that the climate is “spinning out of control” and talks of a “jobs-rich zero-carbon future”? Of course not. She’s merely demonstrating that she’s a nutter who’s lost all contact with reality. A zero-carbon future is “jobs-rich” the way a zero-insecticide organic cabbage is slug-rich. But it’s not a lie.

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  77. “Are his calculations wrong?”

    No. His calculation of the number of months since Jan 1997 was spot on in the article I read. But his characterisation of the RSS data thus:

    Figure 1. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly dataset shows no global warming for 18 years 8 months since January 1997, though one-third of all anthropogenic forcings occurred during the period of the Pause.

    is obviously wrong in its description of the dataset. And his introduction to the figure:

    Yet for 224 months since then there has been no global warming at all (Fig. 1).

    Is also, as I’m sure you can recognise, wrong.

    What interests me about ‘lies’ is that they are invoked so often by skeptics, often as reason for their scepticism, yet whenever I ask for a concrete example, none is presented. You are no different. Even if Lew/Cook did lie (let’s not debate that again), that would not explain your long held scepticism, which predates the 97% business. I understand that it is tiresome to be called on that, but suggest you provide a better reason for being sceptical of climate science.

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  78. RAFF

    “…‘lies’ […] are invoked so often by skeptics, often as reason for their scepticism, yet whenever I ask for a concrete example, none is presented. You are no different. Even if Lew/Cook did lie (let’s not debate that again), that would not explain your long held scepticism..”

    The contradiction there between saying “no lies are presented” and “let’s not discuss the Lew./Cook lies” is too evident to need comment.

    Lies are never the first sign that things are not right. Lewandowsky 2012 is clearly rubbish from beginning to end – biassed, incompetent, illiterate statistical manipulation for base political ends. It was only when Barry Woods asked a question about it that Lewandowsky lied. The lie merely confirms that the whole edifice is rotten. Similarly with Climategate. People ‘knew’ that MBH98 and the various attempts to prop it up were rubbish. It was only when the emails spoke of destroying data, deleting emails and hiding the decline that there was proof that what might have been simply an eruption of mass incompetence was in fact a conspiracy to corrupt science and pervert international politics. The only obvious lies that can be clearly identified are the thousands of statements by journalists and politicians that Climategate was thoroughly investigated and the scientists cleared. But who cares if politicians and journalists lie?

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  79. It may have escaped Raff’s notice, but we are from the UK, not from the USA.

    There’s an interesting paper by Capstick and Pidgeon, What is climate change scepticism; in their UK survey they asked people their voting intention, but curiously the paper does not report results on this. If you search through their SI file you eventually find that there was a tiny non-significant correlation between one type of scepticism (‘epistemic scepticism’) and voting conservative, and a tiny negative non-significant correlation between ‘response scepticism’ and voting conservative.
    In normal science, a non-result like this, that goes so strongly against conventional “wisdom”, would be highlighted in the paper as a major result, but here it’s not mentioned in the main paper.

    The obsession the institutional left has with labelling sceptics as right-wing (and therefore, of course, evil) is another topic worthy of analysis, but way off-topic here. It will be the subject of a future blog post.

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  80. No, Geoff Chambers. We have discussed Lew/Cook before are though you remain convinced that they lie, I am not. Repeating the discussion would not help. From your lack of interest in whether Monckton is actually wrong and your near obsession with Lew/Cook would I be right to conclude that you are not really interested in climate science per-se (‘epistemic scepticism’, per PM link) and have no view on it; that your interest is only in the social or societal side of the climate debate.

    Interesting, Paul Matthews. I had formed the idea that skepticism is a right wing thing from various sources.

    – Personal acquaintance, where it seems go with right wing politics.

    – News articles, where it predominates on the right in the US, is often seen in Tory MPs in the UK, is an apparent feature of the right wing parties in Oz and NZ, pops up in right of centre parties in Germany, Netherlands and France and perhaps others.

    – Blogs such as BH, Euan Mearns (and others where I have not lasted too long) where right wing commenters/owners are common.

    I am not of the left, more pragmatic centre, and I read a variety of sources (although with a bias towards The Economist/FT). But maybe I should review my biases…. or at least read your link.

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  81. Correction: “We have discussed Lew/Cook before AND though you remain convinced…”

    Also I should have added Canada to the list of right-skeptics.

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  82. Also off-topic, but maybe of relevance to the subject of consensus enforcement, is that McIntyre is regularly labelled as a “sceptic”, in the sense of someone who thinks that much of climate science is motivated more by dubious green political concerns than by scientific concerns. Yet whenever he does comment on the wider political issues, he says that he would, if he were a politician, be guided by the IPCC. It seems that labelling him as a sceptic is about enforcing the infallibility of climate scientists.

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  83. It was pointed out to RAFF that the coordinates of his understanding of both politics and the climate debate were wrong.

    — I had formed the idea that skepticism is a right wing thing from various sources. —

    This shows us that the biggest problem in forming a view of the world is eliminating observer effects. RAFF’s understanding of what he sees is established before he opens his eyes… And as to opening his eyes, he says,

    — “… no question about it.” —

    Eyes wide shut, he claims to be ‘not of the left, more pragmatic centre’.

    Everyone in the mainstream believes themselves to be ‘pragmatic’, and to have occupied the ‘centre’.

    But is the centre the carefully-triangulated position between two other well understood positions? Or is it perhaps nihilism, rather than a commitment to anything at all? Or perhaps it’s even just utterly devoid of even the capacity to reject an idea, because it’s just too… well… thick — the newspapers and magazines it buys merely affectations, the signifiers of substance between the eyes… Accessories.

    It is true that an attempt was made to make Climate Change a ‘wedge’ issue in the USA. What this tells us though, is that, rather than suggesting simple, ideological a prioris at work, the issue is strategic. Joel Kotkin observes a far more sensible division of America on the climate issue than “left” and “right”: the industries of early and advanced capitalism.


    Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward mobility, self-sufficiency and property ownership.

    This great betrayal has many causes, but perhaps the largest one has been the abandonment of broad-based economic growth traditionally embraced by Democrats. Instead, they have opted for a policy agenda that stresses environmental puritanism and notions of racial redress, financed in large part by the windfall profits of Silicon Valley and California’s highly taxed upper-middle class.

    Nowhere in California is this agenda more clearly manifested than with state Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, who represents impoverished East Los Angeles. De León has proclaimed addressing “climate change” as the Senate’s “top priority” and is calling for, among other things, disinvestment from fossil fuel companies. Rarely considered seem to be the actual impacts of these policies on the daily lives of millions of working- and middle-class Californians.

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/california-673763-state-new.html

    There is no left/right dimension to the debate, because at least one of those designations — or its constituency — is completely missing. The dynamic is not between left and right. Paradoxically, however, (from a historical POV), the right ends up being the better defender of working class interests, the promises of Silicon Valley only extending to those who are able to develop ‘apps’, rather than cheap tangible commodities. The closest thing to the ”left” is the liberal communism of billionaire philanthropists. Left and right are arbitrary designations in a categorically post-political era, in which there are almost zero ideological battles of consequence. And it is precisely that sterility which has led to the ascendancy of climate change.

    In the 1970s, it was conservatives who argued for cap-and-trade type measures for protecting the environment. In any sensible perspective, this is called ‘privatisation’. And on any objective view, the privatisation of the commons — the land, air and water — is offensive by degree to the ‘left’. yet even after Enron had extorted the bill payer, and staked its claim on the assets that would be created by Kyoto and successor agreements, the putative ‘left’ still didn’t recognise what it had embraced by greening.

    So RAFF buys the Economist and the FT only in the sense that they keep his chips warm.

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  84. I admit I was surprised that Raff claims to read the Economist and FT but more on the grounds thqt he seems to know nothing about finance, business and economics. Perhaps he buys them for the recipes?

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  85. — “… he seems to know nothing about finance, business and economics…” —

    To be fair, The Economist is to economics what The New Scientist is to science.

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  86. I consider myself to be towards the centre, Ben Pile, because I was not so many years ago much more to the right. My opinions on many things have changed, over several years, leftward from what I used to accepts as true and now consider stupid. Changing ones opinion requires a certain mental flexibility and an acceptance that one is fallible. I doubt that you would recognize these characteristics.

    From the number of words you write, I guess you think of yourself as a deep thinker. But if you cannot discern what is clear, that conservatives in the US (and Oz/Canada) reject climate science while liberals (in the US sense) don’t, then your thoughts are of worth only to those with similarly blinkered views on life. And as you should know, facts have a liberal bias.

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  87. I’m afraid it’s Raff who shows his blinkered bias. A non-biased way to put it would be to say that in the US, ‘conservatives’ downplay the effects of climate change whereas ‘liberals’ overstate it, as shown very nicely by Kahan (can’t find the link right now – the one where the ‘liberals’ thought that nuclear power caused GW and that North pole ice melting would cause sea level rise).

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  88. Raff, you’re embarrassing yourself now. As a comeback, that’s several universes, possibly a few dimensions, off target. Please look after yourself.

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  89. — I was not so many years ago much more to the right —

    How “much more to the right”, RAFF? And how many years ago? Were you goose-stepping before you were walking? Or did your road to green centrist Damascus come much later in life, after some dabbling with skinheads and football casuals, perhaps?

    Indeed, I do understand the transformation, having once counted myself as ‘green’ and ‘left’. But it turns out that the latter is a hollow category, as I’ve been trying to explain to you. And the former does not require reflection on the possibility that oneself is mistaken, but deference to consensus. Some say that consensus is ‘scientific’, but the more i looked for myself, rather than merely cited the authority of others in battles of received wisdoms, the more I discovered political presuppositions buried beneath all that ‘science’. I then noticed that my erstwhile green comrades, too, had failed to engage with the arguments, and wandered routinely through a script that had been handed to them. In many places elsewhere, I’ve pointed out that a characteristic of environmentalism is in fact the inability to reflect on the position one assumes. You consensus enforcers will brook no dissent.

    I make no claim as to the depth or quality of what I write, RAFF. You can take it or leave it. I’d rather you left it, to be honest, as, like most people of a green bent, you’re not a challenge, you’re not interesting, and I’d rather talk about you, not to you.

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  90. Ben,

    I’d rather talk about you, not to you.

    This seems pretty obvious, but in between all your attempts to talk about others – rather than with them – maybe you could clarify what you meant by this:

    but here, in this thread, we see it proposed that science should limit the material aspirations of others, living far away.

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  91. Despite all the attempts to explain to him that left and right are fairly meaningless in this age as descriptions of political views, Raff still clings hard to them. People who self-describe as “left-wing” can encompass belief that the state should provide for everything while yet allowing considerable difference between how those aims should be achieved – by force, in the view of Stalin, Mugabe or Mao or by voluntary action in the case of Gandhi, for example. Gandhi would probably be seen as highly libertarian – is that left or right wing? Similarly, people described as highly right wing – such as Hitler and Mussolini – seem to share similar attitudes to authority as the left wingers Stalin and co. Where does someone who is libertarian and yet believes in a small state, with people looking after themselves as much as possible fit on a simple left-right axis? In the Western democracies, I guess that most people hover somewhere around the centre. Given the manifestoes on which the last UK election was faught, which was the more left-wing party, Lib Dems or Labour? What real differences were there between the Conservatives and Labour apart from some esoteric differences on economic policy?

    And as usual, pure comedy gold from ATTP. Read the thread, ATTP, there are many examples given of how “science” is being used to limit other people’s aspirations. But to help you with your reading comprehension, here is the argument in a grossly simplified form:

    1/ Scientists have concluded that CO2 emissions cause global warming and that this has negative consequences for something not specified very clearly – the sort of thinking that thinks that a planet is a person.
    2/ Governments and NGOs have bought into this and, guided by scientists with “green” inclinations, are trying to limit and restrict CO2 emissions.
    3/ Amongst other things, wealthy governments are tying international aid to curbing emissons in the developing world.
    4/ NGOs and entrepreneurs are jumping on this bandwaggon, marketing renewable solutions to the developing world which will have the effect of making the buyers dependent on the suppliers of these solutions and ensuring that they are unlikely ever to experience the benefits of economic growth.
    5/ Economic growth is anathema to the green movement and many climate scientists share that anathema – eg Michael Tobis – and consensus enforcers such as Eli Rabbett and most of the commentators that you permit to comment at your website. If that is not limiting people’s aspirations, what else is it?

    Liked by 2 people

  92. Ken — “maybe you could clarify what you meant by this: ‘but here, in this thread, we see it proposed that science should limit the material aspirations of others, living far away.'”–

    It’s the subject of the post, Ken. We were talking about the green tendency — that is to say, about you — to use climate ‘science’ as a pretext for neocolonialism.

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  93. Ben,
    Well, this is bollocks

    the green tendency — that is to say, about you — to use climate ‘science’ as a pretext for neocolonialism.

    but that’s no surprise (for someone who appears to think they’re some kind of intellectual, you don’t half spout a lot of utter nonsense).

    That aside, thanks. It just sounded like you were actually suggesting that science itself suggests that the material aspirations of others, living far away, should be limited. You just believe that there are people using scientific evidence to promote neocolonialism and limit the material aspirations of others. Slightly bizarre, but not impossible, I guess.

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  94. Ken Rice — “Well, this is bollocks” —

    And yet here you are, with your emphasis on “physics”, attacking us deniers, for suggesting there might be some problems with the aspiration underpinning the question “How can developing countries reach 100% renewables?”, and the predominance of a single perspective in debates about that agenda.

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  95. Ben,
    This is also bollocks

    And yet here you are, with your emphasis on “physics”, attacking us deniers, for suggesting there might be some problems with the aspiration underpinning the question “How can developing countries reach 100% renewables?”, and the predominance of a single perspective in debates about that agenda.

    Come on. Are you genuinely trying to be serious, or are you just having a massive laugh?

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  96. ATTP, do you think it is desirable for developing countries to achieve 100% reliance on renewables?

    If so, what are the physics reasons behind your belief?

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  97. Ken Rice — “I was simply posting a few comments on a blog.” —

    And this is incompatible with…

    — “And yet here you are, with your emphasis on “physics”, attacking us deniers, for suggesting there might be some problems with the aspiration underpinning the question “How can developing countries reach 100% renewables?”, and the predominance of a single perspective in debates about that agenda.” —

    .. how?

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  98. Ken Rice — ” I’ve never attacked anyone for making those suggestions” —

    And yet your opening effort was…

    — “What’s really interesting is how you can say this without any apparent irony (unless it was meant to be ironic and I missed it).” —

    What did you believe you were saying? What whingeing, interminable string of self justification makes that comment all sweetness and light… just a passing comment… your tu’penth worth, eh?

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  99. Ken Rice — “WAAAAAAH, WAAAAH, IT’S NOT FAIR! I’M A MIDDLE-AGED MAN WHO HAS BEEN VERY SLIGHTLY MISCHARACTERISED (AT WORST) ON A BLOG, THE OCCUPANTS OF WHICH i HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON WITH, WHO AM OPENLY HOSTILE TO, WHO HAVE PUBLICLY SLATED AS NOT WORTHY OF ENGAGING WITH, HAVE DESCRIBED VARIOUSLY AS MAD, STUPID AND EVIL, AND WHO I BAN FROM MY OWN BLOG BECAUSE I CLAIM THEY ARE DISRUPTIVE TO ‘CIVIL CONVERSATION’. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! IT’S NOT FAAAAAAAAAAIR”. —

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  100. Ken Rice — “I was simply commenting…” —

    Oh, right.

    And so when I said,

    — “And yet here you are, with your emphasis on “physics”, attacking us deniers, for suggesting there might be some problems with the aspiration underpinning the question “How can developing countries reach 100% renewables?”, and the predominance of a single perspective in debates about that agenda.” —

    I was simply commenting, too.

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  101. What we said at ATTP’s site, or at the Conversation, or the Guardian or SkepticalScience is gone for ever. What they say here will stay for ever. Historians will only have this site and sites like it to rely on. How unfair.

    Liked by 1 person

  102. So the consensus of Matthews-Woolley-Pile (which sounds like a sort of carpet) is that scepticism is not of the right – tho any normal-thinking person would see that it is – and even that ‘left’ is an hollow concept. That will be news to Geoff Chambers, but I’m sure he has faced worse insults. He is after all an adherent to a political philosophy that caused more death, destruction, pain and suffering than probably any other, except for religion, in the 20th century.

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  103. “Geoff Chambers … is after all an adherent to a political philosophy that caused more death, destruction, pain and suffering than probably any other, except for religion, in the 20th century.”

    Gosh, that’s quite an accusation to make about the British Labour Party. But I suppose Jeremy Corbyn hears worse every day from his parliamentary colleagues.

    Liked by 1 person

  104. You can easily see what attracts raff to the world of AGW activism. It is his inability to accept factual evidence when it goes against his preconceptions. As an example, the legislation in Europe put forward by a conservative politician. Of course this ignores the question of whether conservative equals right-wing, but that is too difficult for him to grasp.

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  105. No, Geoff Chambers, if the Labour Party is a political philosophy, I’m a liberalism. The philosophy I referred to was obviously communism or its cousin Marxism, to which you adhere I believe.

    What “factual evidence” can you provide, Man In A Barrel, that suggests climate scepticism is not generally (i.e beyond these shores) of the right?

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  106. RAFF — “…communism or its cousin Marxism…” —

    You’re a first order moron, RAFF. You could read every edition of The Economist ever printed, but its words word pass through your thick skull to no effect.

    Even The Economist’s authors know that Marx (and Engels) penned The Communist Manifesto.

    It might be normal for wherever you live for cousins to be closer than… erm… cousins. And that would explain some things. But to pretend to have a grasp of politics and then issue such an abortion… well… really…

    Do yourself a favour.

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  107. Can you really be as stupid as you appear, Ben Pile, or are you just pretending? Talk to Geoff Chambers. If he is a real communist, he’ll explain the differences in easy words for you.

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  108. RAFF — “…explain the differences…”–

    Thanks, I have a degree in politics, and have read Marx quite thoroughly. I’m intrigued though.. You think that Communism — the most definitive attempt to formulate which was Marx’s project — is distinct from Marxism, which is also the term for Marx’s thinking (notwithstanding, “…one thing I am certain of, I am not a Marxist). And then, you don’t know which one Geoff adheres to, but you’re sure it’s one of them, and that this makes him culpable for millions of deaths.

    It’s an interesting mess you’ve made for yourself. And pointing it out doesn’t make *me* thick…

    You seem to be unique in showing the traits of both an angry Consensus enforcer, and the kind of flannel that the shallow end of the alt-right produce. the only thing missing is the claim that CO2 is a Jewish conspiracy.

    What the hell are they printing in the FT these days?! I must buy a copy to see what it’s about. Sounds hilarious.

    Who are you, anyway?

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  109. Raff

    I don’t know what shores you are referring to and, as I have tried to explain to you, left/right is not an informative way of looking at politics anymore. I just note that in the UK all of the 3 major parties have promoted AGW-combative policies. The EU, through a Danish Conservative commissioner, is signed up to mitigating ACW. I don’t follow politics in many EU countries, but I note that Spoain has signed up to mitigting AGW and has had Socialist and Christian democrat governments since 2004. In terms of sceptical voices, I imagine that Delingpole and Monckton would support the Conservative party but I have no evidence for that. It is no more than a belief. I see no prominent sceptical voices elsewhere in Europe.

    On this site, Geoff, a sceptical voice, lives in France and presumably would support a socialist party.

    In the USA, a Democrat president has not managed to achieve support in Congress for very much in the way of anti-AGW legislation, although he did veto the Keystone pipeline on grounds of emissions. He has also done nothing to curtail fracking – a technology abhorrent to the UK green fringe. And for his first 3 years in charge, he had a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives so he could probably have passed legislation in this area if he had wanted to.

    Map these illustrations onto your simplistic and meaningless left/right dichotomy.

    I really do not know anything aqbout the political allegiances of major sceptical voices. I gather that Steve McIntyre who you would probably declare a sceptic has stated that, if he were a politician, he would be guided by the IPCC and I suspect (although without very much in the way of evidence, that he would vote for a social-democrat party in Canada) Is that left or right on your simplistic scale?

    I hope that helps.

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  110. I also note that in the UK, 3 Conservatives were the only MPs to vote against the Climate Change Act. However, the Conservative Lord Deben chairs the Independent Committee on Climate Change and seems to be as strenuously in favour of the mitigation of AGW as, say, Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP. Which one is left-wing and which right-wing? Looking at the Commons Select Committee on Climate Change, 2 prominent sceptical voices were Graham Stringer from the Labour Party and Peter Lilley from the Conservatives.

    Scepticism does not break down on party lines as far as I can tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  111. MAN IN A BARREL
    What distiguishes the 2 prominent sceptical voices on the Commons Select Committee on Climate Change (Graham Stringer from the Labour Party and Peter Lilley from the Conservatives) from almost all their colleagues is that they have both had a scientific education.

    Liked by 1 person

  112. A degree in politics, Ben Pile? Well then you must be right. Perhaps you can go here:
    http://politics.stackexchange.com/questions/2394/what-are-the-main-differences-between-different-types-of-marxism

    and add your tuppence worth to put them right. Be sure to include “I have a degree in politics” and they will be sure to defer to your superior wisdom. Idiot!

    I see no “factual evidence” from what you wrote, Man In A Barrel, that scepticism is not on the right. But you should note that saying that scepticism is generally on the right does *not* mean that people on the right are sceptics. The two are of course not at all the same thing, yet that is what you seem to have assumed.

    Liked by 4 people

  113. You see no factual evidence, Raff, because you refuse to see it. You are strongly averse to evidence. The fact remains that you are unable to define this left /right dichotomy. Name some of these right wing sceptics and then let us discuss whether their influence outweighs all these governmental forces.

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  114. Man in a Barrel,

    “I suspect (although without very much in the way of evidence, that he would vote for a social-democrat party in Canada)”

    Evidence: “I live in downtown Toronto, and I have the politics of downtown Toronto.”
    —McIntyre, quoted by Macleans.

    For non-Canadians: in Raff’s simplistic scale that means leftism, or its cousin socialism, or its cousin liberalism, or its cousin izquierdismo.

    Liked by 1 person

  115. It shouldn’t need repeating, Man In A Barrel, but with you it seems to. Just because most postboxes are red doesn’t mean that Geoff’s red flag is a postbox. So just because most sceptics are on the right doesn’t mean most of those on the right are sceptics. It is quite easy really. Changing the subject to who has most influence doesn’t help you. Denying that right and left exist is foolish. They may be less useful categories than once was the case, but broadly scepticism is still of the right.

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  116. Raff,

    so: climate gullibilism is broadly of the left (and chiefly afflicts inner-city first-world white folks with college degrees but no training in science)? All right. Whatever.

    Liked by 2 people

  117. RAFF claims, — “Denying that right and left exist is foolish. They may be less useful categories than once was the case, but broadly scepticism is still of the right.” —

    Just a few posts back, Geoff’s alleged adherence to a category of political ideas — the left — made him answerable (on RAFF’s view) for millions of deaths. Yet now, the ‘left’ stands for gay marriage and climate policy, not the political struggle of the industrial working class. It’s not merely that the designations are less useful than they were; ‘left’ and ‘right’ are fluid, not historically-consistent categories. The point being then, that adherence to climate change ‘orthodoxy’ might signify membership of the ‘left’, which therefore makes the observation that ‘climate sceptics are predominantly on the right’ a truism: ‘people who believe in climate change tend to believe in climate change’, as I pointed out above. Moreover, the context of this is a political era in which the most leftish statement made by the leader of the Labour party was for ‘ethical capitalism’, not for socialism. As it happens, it wasn’t distinct from the opposite party’s attempt to formulate a popular capitalism ‘that works for everybody’. And in the terms we’re using to define left and right — it was that party which finally made gay marriage a possibility, and which continued to emphasise climate change. There is no politics — the contest of ideas — in contemporary politics. This is a categorically ‘post-political’, or post-ideological era.

    The other problem for RAFF is the dynamics of the contemporary ‘left’. There is no popular left — i.e. ‘mass’ movement any longer, such that ideas of the left are contested in the way that they once were. If superficially left movements have absorbed climate change, it is because of this divorce from its constituency, not because the nominative ‘left’ has tested the idea. (This is why, as it happens, the centre and the right have absorbed environmentalism, too, as we can see in the cross-party consensus.) We could say “nobody on the left believes in ghosts”. But it might be that people who believe in ghosts are kicked out of the ‘left’, or that they are disappeared in the night. It means nothing, therefore, to say that any particular idea belongs more or less to one or other tendency: ideas are no longer decisive; whichever issues are emphasised by politicians are emphasised for strategic, not political or ‘ideological’ reasons.

    It is true that some who identify with particular conservative ideas seem to be identifiable with climate scepticism. But RAFF’s observation here would only be meaningful if we could say that the left was capable of producing such an opinion independently or autonomously. But there is *now* no significant (i.e. decisive) libertarian or anti-establishment equivalent on the ‘left’. And even on the libertarian right, it is chiefly policy, rather than science, that is questioned. Even RAFF’s favourite villain asks *how much* climate change there will be, and *how big* a problem that will be, rather than, as RAFF imagines, denies climate change outright. There are more nuances than RAFF can admit to. This should be obvious…

    Invariably the response to left sceptics is that they speak for the right. Similarly, when even greens speak out on climate change in favour of nuclear power, or GM crops, they are invariably told they are apologists for corporate capitalism — unwitting tools of ‘right wing think tanks’. Witness Monbiot on Brand and Lynas, for instance. Furthermore, the category of conservatism that does seem to be correlated with scepticism is distinct from its own designation on the political spectrum — from the mainstream — as well as distinct from its historical antecedents.

    Broadly scepticism is not ‘of the right’. It is merely an accident of outliers, the emphasis that the likes of RAFF give to outliers, and his own extremely limited perspective.

    Just as the climate debate is polarised, and the binary categories of ‘scientist’ and ‘denier’ precede any understanding of the debate, so too do political categories.

    In other words, you can be pigshit ignorant of climate politics and science, and yet declare one’s position merely in terms of the debate’s putative geometry, even if you read the Economist and FT. Aware of only the Cartesian coordinates, you can convince yourself that you’re you’re on the side of science and that therefore anyone you pick a fight with is an evil rightwing monster and wrong. Consensus enforcement is about defending those coordinates, not about the substance of the debates that appear to develop on the landscape they seem to form. Hence ‘debates’ with the likes of RAFF and ATTP don’t settle on particular issues, but wildly leap from claim to claim. They are preoccupied with character: virtuous scientists versus the ‘motivated reasoning’ of — shock horror — the climate bloggers — because they are signifiers of position on the landscape. The facts, or the coherence of arguments don’t matter to the interlocutor, either, because he didn’t reason himself into a position; his position is merely, on his own view, an expression of his inner virtue. He *knows* he is right; he believes himself to be so, and he feels it very very strongly indeed.

    If some who once held with any insight or claim of any variant of Marxism has to account for the excesses of Maoism or Stalinism, and, paradoxically, has to explain his apparent proximity to James Delingpole, we can see that what’s really going on has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘science’, nor even ‘physics’.

    if that’s the test, we should demand that the interlocutor explain his sympathies with Emma Thompson and Theodore Kaczynski.

    Liked by 3 people

  118. Raff, how did I overlook this masterpiece of self-defeating “logic”…

    Scepticism is predominantly of the right, which implies that it is not to do with science.

    Er, did it ever occur to you that that’s exactly equivalent to arguing:

    Non-skepticism is predominantly of the left, which implies that it is not to do with science.

    What am I saying? Of course it didn’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  119. Just to give you another chance to evade the question, Raff, you have not yet identified any sceptic who is on the right, and nor have you defined what you mean by right. To give an example, one scale I have seen has Communism/Leninism /Maoism on the extreme left and John Birch minimal government libertarians on the right. This means that Fascism and Nazism are somewhere in the centre.

    Further thoughts on blogging sceptics, Jeff Id is fairly right wing on the scale I have just given. I would guess that Lucia Liljegren is slightly more inclined to be a Republican than a Democrat, which would make her slightly left-wing. I apologise to both if I miscategorise them.

    Any analysis or evidence, Raff? Consensus enforcement is not well rewarded on this blog.

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  120. Ah, I see your problem, MiaB, you think the Republicans are of the left. For examples, if you must have them, pick any leading Republican presidential contender (except perhaps Trump who might be anywhere on the spectrum left-right on any particular day). In the UK, try Lawson.

    Non-skepticism is predominantly of the left, which implies that it is not to do with science

    Well that is almost correct. Non-skepticism in general has nothing to do with understanding science. That is rather obvious. I doubt it is “predominantly of the left”.

    Ben Pile, TL;DR

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  121. Raff… slip of the fingers, I guess thaqt Lilja is slightly more Democrat than Republican. If that is your only evidence, then you are actually deranged. try finding some evidence for yourself rather than depending on proof-reading slips. Over to you…we await…it is like waiting for ATTP to answer a question.

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  122. Raff…you obviously think that euro conservatives are left-wing…because they have enacted so much green legislation. does that help your mental confusion?

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  123. Proof-reading slips, MiaB? I thought that you actually believed that the Reps were to the left of the Dems; difficult to see how anyone who knew the 1st thing about US politics could make such a mistake. I’m sure Ben Pile wouldn’t, ‘cos he has a Degree in Politics – did he tell you that too?

    you obviously think that euro conservatives are left-wing…because they have enacted so much green legislation

    You really are struggling with the concept, aren’t you?

    – Greens are on the left and also like all green legislation;
    – Euro conservatives pass some green legislation;
    – This doesn’t mean euro conservatives are on the left.

    It really doesn’t need another example – go back to the post boxes if the above and basic logic are beyond you.

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  124. RAFF — “This doesn’t mean euro conservatives are on the left.”

    And yet it was RAFF who was struggling with the concept that not all climate sceptics are of the right. He was so sure that sceptics who identified as ‘left’ should have to explain their apparent proximity to Delingpole and Monckton.

    Has he apologised for his proximity to Emma Thompson and Theodore Kaczynski yet?

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  125. You can stop digging now, Raff.

    First you tell us skepticism is unscientific. Now you’ve said non-skepticism is unscientific.

    MiaB may be the victim of a typo but you’re apparently having a braino.

    Still, I can’t help wondering what, in your stroke-addled state, you make of the kind of antiskepticism professed by John Cook (“Getting skeptical about skepticism,” or however his blog tags itself). Presumably you know as well as the rest of us that it’s antiscientific.

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  126. First you tell us skepticism is unscientific. Now you’ve said non-skepticism is unscientific.

    Bingo, you’ve got it at last! The vast majority of people know nothing about climate science. They take their cues for what to ‘believe’ from what they see, hear and read. If the media says climate change is a lie, a fraud, not happening or not serous, that is the direction their audience will tend. If the media says CC is a serious problem etc, that is the direction their audience will tend. Why do you think it could be any different? The same is true among activists like you and me and GreenPeace and so on, all modified by our own experience and biases. There are relatively few skeptics and they tend to the right. There are many more anti-activists and because of their larger number they don’t identify so strongly as left or right.

    Just as I don’t value the opinion of someone like Ben Pile, who needs to proclaim his past qualification (some sort of degree in politics, apparently) to cover his ignorance of his own subject, I don’t value your estimation, Brad Keyes, of whether something is scientific or not. I imagine that if pressed to find something antiscientific about climate science on SkS you’d wimp-out and complain about consensus studies instead. Geoff Chambers would doubtless chip in with his normal obsession with Lew/Cook ‘lies’ and Nazi salutes but neither of you’d get any closer to any discussion of the science.

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  127. — “…Ben Pile … needs to proclaim his past qualification (some sort of degree in politics, apparently) to cover his ignorance of his own subject” —

    — “I don’t value your estimation, Brad Keyes, of whether something is scientific or not” —

    — “Geoff Chambers would doubtless chip in with his normal obsession…” —

    Why are you here, Raff? It sounds like a deeply unpleasant experience for you.

    I mean, as heroic as your effort is, you could, after all, foxtrot oscar and get a life, maybe?

    Perhaps you could even read a book, rather than the FT/Economist?

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  128. Raff,

    fair enough. You were talking about the “vast” (and irrelevant) majority of people, who allegedly follow, rather than lead, in the formation of opinions. (I don’t quite share your low opinion of the average person’s competence, but that’s another discussion.)

    This is not fair enough, however:

    The same is true among activists like you and me and GreenPeace and so on, all modified by our own experience and biases.

    Speak for yourself. For me it has everything to do with science.

    I don’t value your estimation, Brad Keyes, of whether something is scientific or not.

    Nor would I expect you to. Fortunately, “whether something is scientific or not” is not a matter of opinion—it’s a function of the rules of science.

    I imagine that if pressed…

    The Argument From Imagination is invariably worthless.

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  129. Go on then, Brad Keyes, don’t leave me imagining. Tell me what is anti-scientific about SkS.

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  130. Raff:

    Tell me what is anti-scientific about SkS.

    Have you got all day?

    I don’t, so I’ll only give you a couple of the myriad possible answers to your question.

    Let’s confine ourselves to the site’s home page, shall we?

    The very first paragraph seen by everyone who visits SkS slanders the scientific community—which is comprised entirely of skeptics—as irrational and evidence-phobic:

    Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming.

    It also whips up contempt for a make-believe adversary, a technique John Cook may well have picked up in church:

    Scientific skepticism is healthy. …. Yet this isn’t what happens with climate change denial.

    As Cook himself has admitted, there is no such thing as climate change denial. (I can’t recall if that was before or after he taught his massively multiplayer online course, Making Sense of Climate Change Denial.)

    Moving a couple of inches to the left, we see a list of Most Used Climate Myths (compiled in an order based on zero statistical evidence, naturally—in other words, fabricated).

    Problem is, these supposed Myths include scientifically true statements.

    Climate has changed before. The models are unreliable. Animals and plants can adapt.

    Call these facts “myths” and you’re, well, denying science.

    Shall I go on?

    Liked by 1 person

  131. PS

    Notwithstanding your ill-conceived attempt to defend SkS, Raff, I do appreciate your candid admission that you’re an activist who knows nothing about climate science and believes whatever the media tells you.

    If only more people on “your” “side” were so honest.

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  132. So your objection is to the presentation not the science. What a surprise! Confirms to me that you know little climate science; probably no more than I do (and I know close to nothing, which is at the same time as much as most commenters and bloggers here)

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  133. “So your objection is to the presentation not the science.”

    Huh?! Did you read what I wrote?

    Anyway, what “science”? Did you mean the antiscientific denial of science? Because antiscience can’t be science. It’s one or the other. Why is it necessary to explain this to you?

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  134. Yes, of course I read it. But it is cringe-worthy stuff of the sort written by the most ignorant of supposed skeptics. You may or may not be amongst the most ignorant of skeptics, I don’t know for sure, so if you really think they write anti-science, pick a myth-rebuttal (for example the one you mentioned, “Climate’s changed before”), select the most advanced tab (“intermediate” in that example) and show where it is “anti-science”.

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  135. RAFF says to Brad, “you know little climate science; probably no more than I do (and I know close to nothing..)”.

    If RAFF admits he knows close to nothing, how can he know what Brad knows, much less make a judgement about how much Brad knows?

    But worse, how could he possibly understand Brad’s attempt to ‘show where it is “anti-science”’ to be satisfied by it?

    RAFF’s bad faith is as self-evident as his ignorance. Does it really add anything, letting him post here?

    Perhaps if we demanded a minimum standard, it might at least encourage a slightly more able Consensus Enforcer to step forward. We’ve got two low grade Enforcer hacks here, and they can’t even make for interesting diversions from the topic in the post.

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  136. SkS, in its desperation to misrepresent “skeptics”, consistently and willfully misrepresents science.

    SkS says:

    “Firstly, ice-core CO2 measurements are direct measurements on air that has been enclosed in bubbles. On the other hand, stomatal density is an indirect measure. Experiments on stomata density showed that “the stomatal response to increasing atmospheric CO2 was identical to that induced by removing water from the plant roots” (Idso et al 1984). In other words, stomatal index data may not be the able to measure the atmospheric concentration as precisely as its proponents would like.

    Secondly, several different ice-core data sets are essentially consistent. Artifacts do appear in earlier ice core records – mainly the Greenland drill sites where CO2 was depleted through a chemical reaction – but there are no such indications of this in the Taylor Dome ice core. In any event, this is a known phenomena, and one that can be accounted for. These records all indicate the CO2 concentration from 260 to 280 ppmv during the preindustrial Holocene . . . . . .

    In summary, the skeptics claim that stomatal data falsify the concept of a relatively stable Holocene CO2 concentration of 270-280 ppmv until the Industrial Revolution. This claim is not justified.”

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/plant-stomata-co2-levels.htm

    Science says:

    Although records of atmospheric [CO2] as obtained from air bubbles in ice cores provide a good overall picture of the [CO2] conditions during approximately the past 800,000 years of the last ice age (Shackleton et al., 2000; Monnin et al., 2001), these records do not typically record short-term oscillations (<200 years), due to smoothing effects caused by both diffusion of gasses within the ice and time-averaging of ice core records (Shackleton et al., 2000; Siegenthaler et al., 2005). . . . .

    Historically, the smoothed ice core-based records of Last Termination [CO2] were believed to accurately reflect a steady, almost linear increase in [CO2]. . . . . .

    The high-resolution, single-species based [CO2] record presented here, together with previously published Last Termination stomatal based [CO2] records, clearly show that ice core-based [CO2] records may significantly
    underestimate both the actual [CO2] values during this period, but perhaps more importantly the dynamic behaviour of [CO2], particularly at transitions between climate intervals (see Figs. 8 and 9). Plant stomatal densities changed as a direct response to [CO2] (which is well-mixed and globally distributed) and are thus an ideal proxy for Last Termination [CO2]."

    ["Stomatal proxy record of CO2 concentrations from the last termination suggests an important role for CO2 at climate change transitions" Steinthorsdottir et al, Quaternary Science Reviews, 2013]

    Liked by 2 people

  137. Raff,

    have some dignity.

    When your imagination-based prediction is falsified, then for fox ache admit it. Your attempts to weasel out of it will not avail you here. We skeptics have little tolerance for such transparent denial of reality.

    Pretending I wrote something I didn’t write (“So your objection is to the presentation not the science.”) is a eunuch move. Stooping to data-free rudeness (“But it is cringe-worthy stuff of the sort written by the most ignorant of supposed skeptics.”) is a eunuch move. Setting homework (“pick a myth-rebuttal (for example the one you mentioned, “Climate’s changed before”), select the most advanced tab…” blah blah blah) is a eunuch move.

    Grow some gonads.

    Liked by 1 person

  138. Raff, just to repeat:

    we’ve had our differences (e.g. I can argue my way out of a wet paper bag; you apparently can’t), but I still thank you for your admission at 12:32 pm that you’re a know-nothing activist and media pawn when it comes to climate issues. One has to respect such self-deprecating candor, if nothing else.

    Liked by 1 person

  139. The thing about knowing next to nothing, Ben Pile, is that it can still be vastly more than you, Brad, or others know. You probably wouldn’t recognise that because when you learn a little you think you know a lot, where as more intelligent people realise that the more they know,the more they don’t know.

    Jaime, I don’t see your point. You surely can’t be saying that because a 2013 paper (which may or may not be correct) disagrees with a 2011 article (which may or may not be correct) that this makes SkS “anti-scientific”, can you?

    Like

  140. RAFF, SkS started out as a pro-science cult for people who didn’t know how science works, so was in many respects anti-science. Things got a bit better when regular SkS commenters like dana1981 nudged its founder, John Cook, aside and made it a bit more professional, a bit more believably sciencey. But then came the consensus surveys… Back to the old days and ways.

    It’s hard to find examples of how anti-science SkS was in its early days because the website has a longstanding policy of reshaping articles and the comments beneath them sans acknowledgement.

    But I might have a look for some next week if my horoscope allows.

    Like

  141. RAFF — “more intelligent people realise that the more they know,the more they don’t know” —

    Right. But how would you know?

    And as much fun as it is… me saying you’re thick, and then you saying that you are, but at least you’re not as thick as me… The other question that sticks out is why you’d want to spend your time here with us climate sub-morons? Surely you could be over at Ken’s blog trading sexual favours for deep climate knowledge — or whatever passes for quid-pro-quo in Consensus Enforcer circles. After all, it’s not like you’re learning much here, nor even sharing any of the small insight you claim to posses. You’re not adding much, nor does it seem obvious that you’re getting much out of it either.

    Liked by 2 people

  142. Raff/Ben,

    “more intelligent people realise that the more they know,the more they don’t know”

    Actually that’s not true. Nobody realises any such thing. How could they? It’s oxymoronic.

    Charitably, let’s assume that what Raff was trying to articulate via his series of phoneme-like grunts was:

    The more people know, the more they realize they don’t know.

    Ben,

    “And as much fun as it is… me saying you’re thick, and then you saying that you are, but at least you’re not as thick as me… ”

    Indeed. Raff appears to have revolutionized the old comeback, “I know you are, but what am I?” Once the world’s schoolchildren catch wind of his invention, I’m sure their adoption of “I know I am, but what are you?” will be rapid.

    Vinny,

    “It’s hard to find examples of how anti-science SkS was in its early days…”

    But its anti-science mission is still palpable on every page. You don’t have to look far (let alone click on the “Intermediate” tab) to see that SkS buys into, and helps popularize, the pernicious dichotomy of scientists on one side, skeptics on the other.

    In that sense John Cook is an accomplice in the murder of climate science—after all, when an entire branch of science sees skepticism as the other side’s job, it’s dead.

    The sooner it’s amputated, the better the prognosis for science as a whole.

    Like

  143. Raff,

    “You surely can’t be saying that because a 2013 paper (which may or may not be correct) disagrees with a 2011 article (which may or may not be correct) that this makes SkS “anti-scientific”, can you?”

    Why not? Those are the New Rules. Because Judith Curry (who may or may not be correct) disagrees with Michael Mann (who may or may not be correct), that makes her “anti-scientific.” Because some expert (who may or may not be correct) disagrees with John Cook (who last studied science as an undergrad in the late 80’s), that makes him a “fake expert.” Do try to keep up with our living, evolving language.

    Liked by 1 person

  144. There really is no winning with Raff. He demands that we provide specific examples of SkS antiscience then, when confronted with a blatantly obvious example of antiscience-speak from SkS, he disappears down a rabbit hole and comes back waving a white rabbit wearing a top hat, declaring that the bleedin’ obvious is null and void because . . . . dates and the ever present spectre of the possibility that something might be incorrect!

    Liked by 3 people

  145. Vinny,

    ” SkS started out as a pro-science cult for people who didn’t know how science works, ”

    That raises some serious metaphysical questions. Can you really be pro-something if you believe the something you’re pro- is something completely different from what that something in fact is?

    Conversely, can people like Lewandowsky, Oreskes and their son really be said to hate science, when what they actually hate is their own deformed, funhouse-mirror concept of what science is?

    Like

  146. Jaime,

    “declaring that the bleedin’ obvious is null and void because . . . .”

    Because if there’s one thing believers are good at, it’s denial.

    Like

  147. Brad — “Indeed. Raff appears to have revolutionized the old comeback, “I know you are, but what am I?” Once the world’s schoolchildren catch wind of his invention, I’m sure their adoption of “I know I am, but what are you?” will be rapid” —

    I think Ken mastered that one first — perhaps RAFF is some kind of apprentice. His other stunt being a display of faux magnanimity on some trivial point, and then to feign outrage when it isn’t reciprocated in full by everyone in the room in sequence. Thus allowing a swift transition to his main talking point: how everyone at BH/WUWT/Etc is an evil bastard who fails to live up to some unwritten set of standards.

    RAFF’s playground rhetoric is a clumsy attempt to channel Lewandowsky’s reinterpretation of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Said Lew and Pancost:

    — “Ignorance is associated with exaggerated confidence in one’s abilities, whereas experts are unduly tentative about their performance. This basic finding has been replicated numerous times in many different circumstances. There is very little doubt about its status as a fundamental aspect of human behaviour.” —

    But it puts no less of a bind on Lewandowsky than RAFF puts on himself, Lew commenting so far from his own field of bognitive science to comment on the mental faculties of deniers/whoever had actually filled in his internet survey.

    What that says, I think, is i) Consensus Enforcers don’t get any smarter as they move up the ranks; ii) the academic standard of Consensus Enforcers’ argument is no better when published in academic journals than in their interventions on Internet fora.

    Liked by 2 people

  148. Jaime, if you condemn an SkS article as “anti-science” because a new paper disagrees with it (even without knowing whether the new article is correct or correctly interpreted), how much of what has ever been written and said do you also condemn as “anti-science”? Everything except the most recent it would seem. All scientists who since their time have been shown to have been wrong become anti-scientists.

    Why do I stay here, Brad ‘n Ben? Well sometimes there are interesting discussions. When trolls like you two get involved things go downhill fast. You don’t seem to know anything worth saying about climate science and poor I’ve-got-a-degree-Ben-Pile doesn’t even know his own subject very well. But I guess I’ll stick around, if for nothing else than just to annoy you.

    Like

  149. — “for nothing else than just to annoy you” —

    Occam’s razor would of course have sliced it that you being a troll was the best explanation of your presence here. But a charitable disposition precludes pointing it out…

    — “You don’t seem to know anything worth saying about climate science…” —

    Curiously, the post at the top of the discussion doesn’t require an understanding of climate science. It does require an understanding of other things, though, such as development, economics, and so on. We might call those things ‘politics’, rather than ‘science’.

    It’s only a conceit of Consensus Enforcers that ‘climate science’ has anything to say about solar panels and the spivs who spin them.

    Liked by 2 people

  150. Raff, this is a good point:

    “… how much of what has ever been written and said do you also condemn as “anti-science”? Everything except the most recent it would seem. All scientists who since their time have been shown to have been wrong become anti-scientists. ”

    So why not explain it to the people who actually toss around epithets like ‘anti-science’ non-ironically? Hint: it’s not us.

    You could start with the pig-ignorant fuckwit Dana Nuccitelli, who’s most closely associated with the tactic of ridiculing Richard Lindzen (“the wrongest, longest”) for the crime of spending his career pursuing hypotheses that turned out to be wrong. Also known as “doing science.”

    Liked by 2 people

  151. Are you saying that accusations against SkS are’ironic’?
    And did Dana accuse Lindzen of anti-science?

    Like

  152. “Are you saying that accusations against SkS are’ironic’?”

    No, the criticisms themselves are perfectly valid. But the use of the offending adjective is ironic, or at least it started out that way. (Read the context where I introduced it into this thread again.) It’s not part of my usual vocabulary.

    Having said that, the more I use the word “anti-scientific,” the more comfortable I’m becoming with it. There are certainly aspects of SkS that are anti-scientific, as opposed to just scientifically wrong.

    ” And did Dana accuse Lindzen of anti-science?”

    I’m not sure if he said that, or just accused him of being a science-denying lung-cancer-denier. (I forced the Guardian to begrudgingly and quietly retract the latter libel.) To repeat, this is for the crime of exploring now-defunct hypotheses. Now that I think about it, it’s Dana’s strategy of ridiculing someone for being a proper scientist that’s anti-scientific.

    Like

  153. Raff,

    “Jaime, if you condemn an SkS article as “anti-science” because a new paper disagrees with it . . . . ”

    I really shouldn’t need to be going thorough this Raff. It’s tedious, for me and readers, but seemingly necessary in order to drive home what should have been obvious from the word go. It’s not just ONE paper; it is several.

    “AtmosphericCO2 reconstructions are currently available from direct measurements of air enclosures in Antarctic ice and, alternatively, from stomatal frequency analysis performed on fossil leaves. A period where both methods consistently provide evidence for natural CO2 changes is during the 13th century AD. The results of the two independent methods differ significantly in the amplitude of the estimated CO2 changes (10 ppmv ice versus 34 ppmv stomatal frequency). Here, we compare the stomatal frequency and ice core results by using a firn diffusion model in order to assess the potential influence of smoothing during enclosure on the temporal resolution as well as the amplitude of the CO2 changes. . . . .

    It is well known that diffusion processes within the firn layer and the gradual enclosure of the air in the lock-in-zone of the ice lead to a reduced signal of the original atmospheric variability and may obscure high-frequency variations (e.g. Trudingeret al., 2003) . . . . .

    Diffusion through the firn layer and gradual enclosure in the bubbles leads to smoothing of the record and, thus, underestimation of the amplitude of the CO2 changes (Trudinger et al., 2003). In the present study, we assume that the high-amplitude fluctuation of the CO2 [SI] record during the 13th century AD reflects actual change in atmospheric CO2. The applied smoothing during firn densification should then reduce the information to a level on which it would be preserved in the air measured from the specific ice core, in this case D47. If the trends in stomatal frequency data do correctly reflect past CO2 changes, the match between CO2 [SI] and CO2 [ice] should be perfect. The observed firm correspondence between the CO2 [SI] and CO2 [ice] data indeed confirm that the observed amplitude differences between the raw stomatal frequency record and the D47 ice core data can be explained by the smoothing of CO2 during ice formation.”

    http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~wal00105/papers/hoofetal2005.pdf

    Not only is the validity of stomatal methods confirmed by direct comparison with ice cores, this study provides very good evidence that the ice core record is smoothed by artificial and natural processes and therefore does not faithfully capture short term variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration. More science which SkS conveniently ‘forgets’ to mention because it conflicts with the message they want to convey. This is anti-science.

    Like

  154. Jaime,

    “This is anti-science.”

    Hmm. Isn’t it more a case of science-denying disinformation? I’m not asking rhetorically; I’m not the minister for semantics (yet) so I can’t tell you that you can’t use “anti-science” that way. However, that’s always struck me as the ultimate condemnation, in a special category of heinousness of its own, to be used as a nuclear option only when someone is caught actually damaging or defaming the mechanism of human discovery itself.

    On the other hand, if you view the job of science as divulging knowledge to society as a whole, then I can see how the suppression of scientific evidence on a popular website could deserve the indictment “anti-science.” Hmm.

    Like

  155. I think debate-denying is anti-science. My rough attempt at philosophy of science is that it is an attempt to reconcile different perspectives by excluding perspective. Enforcement denial excludes perspectives without reconciling them.

    Another dimension to this might be the difference between science as a process and science as an institution. The latter makes ‘science’ a war of position in which consensus is achieved by force, not a contest of ideas. It was probably ever thus, but it gets amplified by the politicisation of science, for obvious reasons.

    Anti-science, then, for it has all the marks of scholasticism, rather than Enlightenment reasoning. Ante-Science, perhaps?

    How many climate scientists can dance on the head of a pin?

    Liked by 2 people

  156. Did AR5 reflect data from leaf stoma in the way you want SkS to? If not, is it anti-science as well?

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  157. Brad,

    I was just adopting the language from further up the thread but, for the record, i do believe that what I earlier identified as “consistent and willful misrepresentation of science” could suitably be called “anti-science”.

    Raff,

    You have no logical response to my revelation of SkS’s willful misrepresentation of science, so what do you do? You up the ante by dragging the IPCC into the argument. I personally don’t know if and where AR5 refer to stomata vs, ice cores and I am not particularly interested. This conversation is about the SkS website; how THEY distort science to promote their own agenda and their ‘war on fake scepticism’.

    Like

  158. Ben,

    “I think debate-denying is anti-science.”

    Definitely, with the proviso that science doesn’t involve “debating” in the familiar sense of the word. There’s little to no comparison with the Friday-night extracurricular activity we remember from high school. Some of us may even have been captains of the debate squad—but that would be the wrong analogy by which to understand how science works.

    Science is not a competition between advocates motivated to prove their superior eloquence by any means necessary, including disregard for the truth. In fact it isn’t about who’s the better debater/scientist at all. On the contrary, it’s understood that the winning hypothesis wins because it’s true, no thanks to its proponents—who aren’t really its proponents anyway, because they’re mainly preoccupied with proving it wrong (and failing), not proving it right (and succeeding).

    The more I think about it, the less science and debating have in common.

    “…a war of position in which consensus is achieved by force, not a contest of ideas. It was probably ever thus…”

    Probably, but only because of human nature, not because of the nature of science—in fact, despite it.

    And until clisci came along, scientists knew that science wasn’t supposed work that way, and acted accordingly. They would have been ashamed to use verbal phrases like “achieving consensus” out loud. Now certain -ologists use it with pride. It’s an official desideratum in a certain discipline, which as you say, is so atavistic as to be called prescientific.

    Is it just a coincidence that the discipline in question, having renounced the mores of science, is also the one that can’t name a single achievement, a single discovery, in the past five years? The discipline that’s no longer doing the one thing science is required to do, by definition: add to human knowledge?

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  159. — “the winning hypothesis wins because it’s true, no thanks to its proponents” —

    I am not so sure it is as different as you suggest. The hypothesis does not write itself and design its own experiment. After all, the debating club — I was never in one — rarely trod any less new ground than what science club ‘discovered’ in the school lab. Their experiments and debates were simply rehearsals.

    And the winning hypothesis doesn’t win in science because it is true. It’s only ever provisionally true. I.e. not false.

    — “… who aren’t really its proponents anyway…” —

    Of course they are. As venal and conceited and attached to their hypotheses as any in the debating club.

    — “… the nature of science…” —

    Is human. Try doing science without being a human.

    Like

  160. It is only misrepresentation if what they say is false and they publish it knowingly. You haven’t established that, but if the IPCC has shifted their opinion towards stomatal indices you would have some support. As it is, you have only accusations, as usual.

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  161. Ben

    “The hypothesis does not write itself and design its own experiment.”

    Right, but at least the hypothesis is the thing that’s at stake. That’s not the case in a debate. Debaters have to go through the motions of trying to convince the audience their side of the argument is The Truth, but what they’re actually trying to do is convince them that they’re better advocates than the other team. And the debate is awarded on that basis, not on the basis of who’s correct. Nobody, including the adjudicator, really believes anything they hear. When I was an adjudicator I routinely gave the debate to the side I knew was wrong. By contrast, the Nobel committee is unlikely to give a prize to a scientist who’s obviously and knowingly pushing an incorrect hypothesis.

    “And the winning hypothesis doesn’t win in science because it is true. It’s only ever provisionally true. I.e. not false. ”

    Thanks for the reminder—I will be more careful with that.

    “After all, the debating club — I was never in one —”

    That may explain your relative lack of cynicism about debating. I rose to the top of my debating society, and it wasn’t by hewing closely to the facts at all times 😉

    “Of course they are. As venal and conceited and attached to their hypotheses as any in the debating club.”

    I’m sure you’re right. But the difference is, those are *bad* scientists. Or at least, they would be *better* scientists (more *scientific* scientists) if they rose above those traits. Those traits are *discouraged* by the norms of science.

    In debating they’re taken for granted. (Other than attachment to one’s hypothesis—that doesn’t happen because you only get your hypothesis an hour before the debate.)

    “[The nature of science] is human.”

    Well I guess that’s truistically the case, but my point was that the norms of science specify superhuman, or at least unnatural, conduct—such as “bending over backwards to be honest; a kind of extraordinary honesty,” as Feynman put it.

    “Try doing science without being a human.”

    I’d be game to try, except that I am a human, so that’s not really possible. Joking aside, there’s no reason a computer couldn’t do science. Arguably some already do—I’m thinking here of things like the VICAP database which trawls through reams of information testing various hypotheses. Sure, it was programmed to do so by human beings. But they use it precisely because it does its job better, faster, more disinterestedly than any human could.

    To flip it around, I challenge you to try bending over backwards to be honest, always disclosing not only what’s right about your hypothesis but what’s wrong with it [Feynman again], while being a human. I’m sure you’ll find that it’s doable, but not natural.

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  162. Raff,

    “You haven’t established that, but if the IPCC has shifted their opinion towards stomatal indices you would have some support. As it is, you have only accusations, as usual.”

    So in your mind, an activist political committee is the arbiter of scientific truth?

    “As it is, you have only accusations, as usual.”

    Sigh. You can’t help yourself, can you, Raff? You can’t ever—ever—exhibit the grace to concede the point when one of Us is right and one of You is wrong, even in those cases where it’s blindingly obvious to everyone, can you? I’m not suggesting that we doubters are always on the right side of a given argument and you believers are always wrong, or even that this is true most of the time (though in my personal observation, it is). All I’m positing is that this is sometimes the case, which is just a probabilistic truism. So it follows necessarily that if you were a normal, honorable person you would sometimes admit we’re right and you’re wrong. Yet one struggles to find examples of this. If they do exist, their effect is cancelled out by pompous and sneering generalizations like “you have only accusations, as usual” and “But it is cringe-worthy stuff of the sort written by the most ignorant of supposed skeptics.”

    By contrast you can find an example of my conceding your correctness in this very thread. You made a good point, and I was not only willing but eager to acknowledge it.

    My question is, what do you imagine you’re achieving by the appallingly bad losership you display when you’re wrong? Do you fear that if you ever conceded the truth of a single “skeptical talking-point,” it would open some sort of floodgates and suddenly everything would be up for debate?

    Well guess what, buddy. It is. That horse has bolted. No amount of bad sportsmanship can put that genie back in its bottle.

    The conduct of you—and, to a worse extent, your coreligionists, of whom I must say you’re one of the more reasonable and decent exemplars—reminds me of a guy who was described thus:

    “His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy…

    If that’s the ‘rule’ you’re following, it’s only fair to warn you that things didn’t work out too well for that guy. He died underground in a suicide pact with his wife, after being forced to kill his beloved dog.

    Liked by 1 person

  163. Raff,

    “It is only misrepresentation if what they say is false and they publish it knowingly.”

    Misrepresent; definition:

    1: to give a false or misleading representation of usually with an intent to deceive or be unfair

    2: to serve badly or improperly as a representative of

    annoy; definition:

    1: to disturb or irritate especially by repeated acts

    2: to harass especially by quick brief attacks

    SkS have herein been proven guilty of the former with respect to current scientific knowledge and understanding of atmospheric CO2 variability. You are obviously here to do the latter.

    Like

  164. Brad — “….Nobody, including the adjudicator, really believes anything they hear. ” —

    I think of it as a much, much slower arrival at a consensus between or reconciliation of perspectives. If everyone is committed, then they’re better able to expose chicanery. However, I agree that there is something a tad naff about the contrived formal debate format. I went to a few DS events at uni and the chair threatened to throw me out for asking the guest speaker (some self-promoting carbon warrior) too many questions (from the floor) when he kept replying with questions. I pointed out the fact that he’d not answered the questions, but she insisted it was heckling. Formal debates are often sterile, passionless.

    — “those are *bad* scientists. Or at least, they would be *better* scientists (more *scientific* scientists) if they rose above those traits. Those traits are *discouraged* by the norms of science.” —

    I don’t know that they are bad traits. They might be the kind of bloody-mindedness needed to get out of bed in the morning, run a large research effort against the odds, argue for the budget… etc. To say that to rule out those traits is to the betterment of science is to make the mistake that many greens have claimed of their own pet scientists: that *virtue* is the essence of the scientific enterprise… Our scientists are more moral than your scientists. Hence Oreskes et al bang on about the naughty scientists who worked for tobacco lobbyists, who she says *must* be corrupted. Of course, virtue *might* be just as good at getting scientists out of bed in the morning… But the point is the same: the virtue would have to be removed from the perspective, just as much as the self-regard of the scientist who was more self-consciously aiming for the glory of the Nobel Prize.

    “…“bending over backwards to be honest…”

    It’s much easier to be honest about sub-atomic particles than about the fair distribution of resources. There’s a lot less baggage in the purely physical world, because it is so far removed.

    To your challenge… …disclosing not only what’s right about your hypothesis but what’s wrong with it.., I like to think I try to anticipate problems with my own argument. (Which is one reason why brick-for-brain Enforcers, not to mention alt-physics evangelists, are so dull — it’s no challenge at all to the argument). And I think most people who take arguments seriously do the same. In a good-faith exchange, the job of anticipating problems with a hypothesis to develop a more robust argument can take the form of debate. As you point out above, finding a negative result is as scientifically valuable as a positive result… Well, maybe not quite, but you get the point.

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  165. Ben,

    I should clarify that I also routinely talk of “the climate debate,” and I didn’t mean to pick on your use of the word in particular. (There’s nothing wrong with the metaphor, as long as we bear in mind that it’s a debate in an informal sense—that is, a dispute or controversy.) I was just using your comment as a springboard to digress into one of my hobbyhorse spiels, viz. the anti-rhetorical ideal of science and how it’s incompatible with the rhetorical ideal of formal debating.

    Also, the challenge (“try bending over backwards to be honest, always disclosing not only what’s right about your hypothesis but what’s wrong with it”) was not meant to imply that you, personally, don’t normally do that. It was just my attempted inversion of your challenge. In other words, try being a scientist without being superhuman. It’s doable, and I’m sure you’d make an excellent scientist, but it’s not instinctual—it’s not “human nature”—it’s a discipline; it requires a conscience.

    I disagree with you on one thing though. I think Our scientists are more moral than yours is a perfectly cogent argument, because my interpretation of the scientific method itself is that it’s a code of ethics. So Oreskes has every right to call out corrupt scientists.

    The problem is she’s attacking the wrong scientists, for the wrong reasons, on false pretexts, in a pattern that could reasonably be called libellous, because she has no conscience.

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  166. Raff: “…more intelligent people realise that the more they know,the more they don’t know.”

    I like this. It suggests that the one thing knowing people can be sure of is how little they know. What is being sought, with answers, is confirmation of how reliable one’s lack of knowledge is. As if life depended upon it. A bit like saying we eat, not to end hunger, but to keep it alive.

    Perhaps the ‘climate debate’ has reached a clattering stalemate not because too much is irreconcilable, but because too little is?

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  167. PETERS,

    the more people know, the more they know.

    Raff got it wrong. A bit like saying the more you eat, the less you eat. You’re both making this more complicated than it needs to be, and more profound than it deserves to be.

    When it comes to climate propheteers, their lack of knowledge about the future state of the earth’s fluid envelope is very reliable indeed. If I knew how to bank on their ignorance, I would.

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  168. When hobby-horses collide! ‘Rhetoric’ has become a pejorative. But it used to mean more the skill of presenting a coherent argument, rather than misleading people with mere style. This also speaks to the perception of a gulf between the arts and sciences, which I think is an unhelpful development that has led to the excesses of scientism, the seemingly more objective perspective of material accounts of a fuzzy world being more appealing than the seemingly metaphysical and subjective understandings of the softer, social sciences and arts. Witness Brian Cox on AQ, waving graphs around, as though they were talismans of truth… And his counterpart somewhat floundering against the sheer, unimpeachable authority of NASA. ‘Science’ becomes no less ‘rhetorical’, in the negative sense. Of course, he’s doing bad science, his presumption being that science, by definition, rules out rhetoric, NASA researchers having unimpeachable moral characters. But good, old fashioned rhetoric might be helpful in pointing it out that science is blind to such things as rhetoric, even if the intention is to rule them out.

    I’m not positing a symmetrical equivalence of debate and the scientific method — their objects are different (we have to assume the universe is, erm, universal, and that as contingent as the social world is, some sense can be made by attempting to find universals). But I think that, ‘in order to understand what “science says”, you have to know what you’ve told it’, and science, after all, begins from subjective experiences. Cox has no idea that science can proceed from presuppositions, and therefore is bound to beg the question. The scientific method alone can’t (or doesn’t) rule out rhetoric. Your own grasp of rhetoric, however, is useful. Wise to it, you can begin to eliminate it. The debating society turns out to be useful in the laboratory. This is why I say we shouldn’t be scared of ‘ideology’ in the climate debate — it allows us to better see what is a political question and what is a material claim. Without such a grasp, how could it be ruled out? Critics of ‘politics’ claim wrongly that politics corrupts the view of science. I believe this makes them all the more vulnerable to it.

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  169. Knowing IS like eating. The more you know, the more knowledge you expel in the form of simply forgetting or ejecting as waste from consciousness. Knowing is less like filling a reservoir, more like shining a spotlight across an unlit landscape. What you don’t know is always vast in comparison to what you do know, and forever will remain so where consciousness is the main organ of descrying. Knowledge is functional. What matters is not what you don’t know, so much as the way you keep shining your light not just randomly across the darkness, but in such manner as to pick out useful knowledge, thereby hopefully discerning a pattern, whilst at the same time acquiring the knack of discarding the not so useful parts. That’s consciousness in action. That’s developing wisdom.

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  170. Ben,

    we may be speaking at cross purposes, hence the EVC [equine vehicle collision]. In my idiolect, the brandishing of misleading graphs is not the act of a scientist at all. I don’t mean that metaphorically. I mean there is literally nothing scientific about it, no matter how sciency the stagemanship may be, just as there’s literally nothing scientific about HTD or the diagrammatic fraudulence employed by Gore in his Nobel-Prize-winning carbon-credits infomercial. The critical fact for me is that none of these acts adds anything to human knowledge—they serve only to delude (induce false knowledge). That’s the best they can do, and that’s what they’re intended to do. So they’re ipso facto examples of descience. The perpetrators are either non-scientists (Gore) or pseudoscientists (Cox, Jones).

    These are simple matters of definition, not debate, for me. But I appreciate that my definitions may not be shared universally. Heck, they aren’t shared universally. We’re all working from our own private dictionaries, and what’s worse, we don’t even know which pages differ from our neighbour’s, an epistemic tragedy that’s led to no end of unnecessary misunderstanding and even violence throughout history.

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  171. Sigh. SkS isn’t anti-science just because you say so, however many hundreds of words you write. And it is not enough to present some evidence that calls what they write into question. You have to show that this evidence is widely accepted as discrediting the current generally accepted understanding of pre-industrial CO2 levels. I haven’t seen that.

    I don’t mind conceding a point when I am wrong, Brad Keyes. It happens. I have done so from time to time at BH, maybe on CliScep too – I don’t recall. But only when I’m wrong.

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  172. Raff,

    You were wrong to imagine that if pressed to find something antiscientific about SkS I’d wimp-out and complain about consensus studies instead.

    You were wrong to think you’d get away with misrepresenting what I wrote about SkS (“So your objection is to the presentation not the science.”).

    You were wrong to impute that just because you’re an “activist” who knows “next to nothing” about clisci and merely believes the “media spin,” so am I.

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  173. And you’re wrong if you think it matters how “widely accepted” a piece of evidence is (whatever that means). It doesn’t. This kind of rhetoric is rubbish:

    “You have to show that this evidence is widely accepted as discrediting the current generally accepted understanding of pre-industrial CO2 levels.”

    No, she doesn’t. Science doesn’t, and can’t, work that way. Not in theory, not in practice. Either a piece of evidence falsifies (“discredits”) a given hypothesis (“understanding”) or it doesn’t; the number of people who happen to think so has precisely zero bearing on the the matter. Why is it necessary for me to explain this to a science enthusiast? Have you been seduced into the cult of consensualism? Are you unaware that it’s a pseudoscientific cult, or as Ben put it, a cult of ante-science? Seriously?

    Anyway, no matter how many errors you’ve made, it’s not too late to admit them. There would be dignity in that. (Certainly more dignity than there is in barreling ahead in an erroneous state of disgrace.) So go on, Raff. I said you appeared to be following a policy of denying your mistakes. Prove me wrong.

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  174. On your points, Brad Keyes:

    1: yes I was wrong
    2: I don’t think you addressed science. If presentation is the wrong word, I don’t know what the correct one is.
    3: I’m not persuaded that you know any more of the science than I.
    4: it matters to the lay person like me and all here. Otherwise one could just pick any old piece of research, however at odds with other research, and build a narrative around that. That is of course the approach taken by skeptics, so I don’t expect you to appreciate why it is wrong. On the plant stoma, perhaps there is not enough data or results are inconsistent or the error bars are large, etc. You could talk to some climate scientists, visit some conferences etc to find what people in that field think; or you could see what the IPCC says, or you could just decide that your own opinion is enough. I think I can guess which you’ll do.

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  175. Raff

    1. Thank you, and well done for surpassing my expectations.

    2. Of course I didn’t “address the science.” You asked me to find examples of “anti-science,” not science. What were you expecting?

    3. I’m not persuaded that you aren’t a human-trafficking pederast wanted on war crimes charges in relation to the mass rape of a Kosovar nunnery, but it doesn’t follow that you are, or that I’d ever be uncouth enough to call you such a thing without good evidence to the affirmative. So kindly restrict your confessions of scientific ignorance to the first person singular, please.

    4. I’d evaluate the evidence. “For myself,” so to speak (though those two words are rather redundant). I’d certainly ask some of the questions you ask: “On the plant stoma, perhaps there is not enough data or results are inconsistent or the error bars are large, etc.” Because that’s how science is done. But I wouldn’t follow you down the path of polling the opinions of scientists. Because that’s how ecneics is done.

    “Otherwise one could just pick any old piece of research, however at odds with other research, and build a narrative around that. That is of course the approach taken by skeptics…”

    You really don’t like skepticism, do you? How do you expect to come to grips with a scientific controversy when you’re so antipathetic to the philosophy at the heart of the scientific method?

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  176. 1. no problem.
    2. you didn’t do that either.
    3. I’ll assume you know something about science when I see you write something about science. I don’t recall having seen anything.
    4. I’d rather given up using quotes when I write the word skeptics, as it was pointed out that it was rude. But if you insist on suggesting I’m talking about real skeptics (and donning their mantle) when I’m really talking about pseudo skeptics or “skeptics”, I’ll revert. so to restate:

    – Otherwise one could just pick any old piece of research, however at odds with other research, and build a narrative around that. That is of course the approach taken by “skeptics”…

    Skepticism is great, but “skepticism” sucks. Engage in the better variety and I’ll respect you.

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  177. “On the plant stoma, perhaps there is not enough data or results are inconsistent or the error bars are large, etc. You could talk to some climate scientists, visit some conferences etc to find what people in that field think; or you could see what the IPCC says, or you could just decide that your own opinion is enough. I think I can guess which you’ll do.”

    Effectively, what Raff is saying here is:

    ‘I can idly speculate forever, sans actual evidence, on why plant stomata evidence is either ignored/not widely accepted by institutional climate science, and thence form an opinion, sans actual evidence, that the science is invalid but you, you rotten “sceptic”, must go to conferences, search out all the reasons/excuses you can find advanced by climate scientists across the entire academic sphere for why peer-reviewed science which points to the validity of CO2 stomatal paleo proxies is universally ignored/dismissed. When you have complied this list of excuses or reasons, you will almost certainly be in possession of ultimate Truth. If, as expected, you don’t, because you’re just another “sceptic” who values their own opinion above that of ‘experts’, then my point is ‘proved’ – stomatal proxies are complete rubbish and ice core CO2 records are the bees knees, as revealed by the Gospel According to SkS, Jelbert, 2011.’

    Thus, it is written, you cannot contradict the Gospels According to Skeptical Science if you have not first sought the wise council of the Elders of Climate Science.

    Raff, your unwritten ‘Code of Practice’ when engaging with “sceptics”, which principally involves rejecting logic, rationality, common sense, common decency, and the very essence of the scientific method, will find no favour here and may cause genuine consternation on those you ‘try it out on’.

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  178. 1. Great.

    2. You think I didn’t address the anti-science? Clearly you’ve forgotten what I wrote.

    Without venturing any deeper than the landing page of SkS, in fact without even scrolling down past the fold, I showed:

    Cook denigrating skeptics, sans scare-quotes—which is ipso facto a denigration of all scientists. If “anti-scientific” means anything, surely it means that sort of thing.

    Cook heaping hate on a boogeyman, “climate change deniers,” who (by Cook’s own admission) doesn’t exist in the real world. That’s not anti-scientific so much as it is the worst sort of evangelism.

    A top-ten list of “most commonly used myths” based, in fact, on no data whatsoever as far as anyone can tell. That’s not so much anti-science as it is an attempt to dazzle with the false authority of pseudostatistics.

    Several instances of dismissing scientific facts as myths. That’s not anti-scientific so much as it is science-denying. He even manages to deny the possibility of evolution, interestingly.

    What more did you want? Oh, you wanted me to click deeper into the site and gather further evidence of its hostility to science? Sorry mate, no interest. No point. No need.

    3. Whuh? The majority of my comments are about science. If you haven’t noticed that by now I can only assume you either haven’t read them, or haven’t figured out what the word “science” denotes. Don’t feel bad, it’s a widespread failing. I blame our schools.

    4. Whoever told you to favor politeness over accuracy gave you bad advice. Besides, what’s polite about insulting the wrong people in an attempt to avoid insulting the people you want to insult? Say what you mean in future and I’ll respect you.

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  179. Indeed, looking at your unbelievably arrogant and completely unjustified reply to Brad above, it may be requested that you go forth and multiply. Which is probably the response you were seeking because that would confirm any one of the key precepts from the Book of Pseudoscepticism – How to Recognise and Defeat It, which you have obviously avidly read, from cover to cover.

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  180. BRAD: “Raff got it wrong… You’re both making this more complicated than it needs to be, and more profound than it deserves to be.”

    Raff briefly switched the object of his interest from the climate to people and said something of possible value… that a functioning intelligence is integral with an avowed lack of knowledge rather than with claiming an abundance of it.

    I wondered if, in this case, intelligence and hunger were similar… in that neither seeks its own end, but the maintenance of the organism in which these states of wanting can continue to be experienced and their recurrence relied upon. If so, the purpose of intelligence isn’t so much to find answers but to find ever-better questions to ask… with knowledge being a useful byproduct of the process.

    Rather than being ‘profound’, I’d say the observation is an obscure one. And a possible reason for its obscurity here isn’t so much its lack of relevance to the ‘climate debate’, but that it’s mutually exclusive with what is being sought – by both sides, in collusion – from the debate.

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  181. The thing is, Brad, you don’t talk about science, even when you say you are. You would have to be an idiot not to know that Cook is talking about “skeptics” not real skeptics or that reference to climate change denial really refers to climate science denial. You quibble about these details (the presentation, I think I called it above) under the pretence of talking science, but clearly there is no science, just the word ‘science’ used as a hammer.

    Jaime talks about science. I argue only about her degree of certainty for which I see no justification.

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  182. RAFF: — “You would have to be an idiot not to know that Cook is talking about “skeptics” not real skeptics or that reference to climate change denial really refers to climate science denial. You quibble about these details (the presentation, I think I called it above) under the pretence of talking science, but clearly there is no science, just the word ‘science’ used as a hammer.” —

    That’s surely something you need to take up with SKS/Cook.

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  183. Raff, “you would have to be an idiot not to know that Brad knows that SkS thinks “sceptics” are not real sceptics, also that ‘climate change’ deniers are really climate ‘science’ deniers – which is why he thinks that SkS are, a priori, unscientific idiots and thus whatever they subsequently parrot as actual science is probably not worthy of detailed investigation”. We differ in that respect. I think it’s often worth getting into the nitty gritty details.

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  184. Jaime,

    I can’t tell who you’re quoting. Or was that a “FTFY”?

    Raff,

    “climate science deniers” is an equally delusional description of us since we all accept the existence of climate science. It’s no more accurate than “climate change deniers.” But it raises the question: why are you incapable of using the words you mean? Is English your second language or something?

    What is it about climate activists that seems to go hand in hand with knowingly using the wrong words? Who can forget that you (or people on Your Side) say “carbon pollution” when you mean “carbon dioxide,” and nobody else on Your Side stops you. It’s Orwellian.

    How are we supposed to guess what you “really” mean by anything, when you’ve demonstrated such a cavalier indifference to semantics?

    But even more amusingly, your excuse (“reference to climate change denial really refers to climate science denial”) contradicts Cook’s version! Read the link. According to him, the phrase is actually supposed to mean *consensus denial*.

    I guess John Cook “would have to be an idiot” then, eh, Raff? 😉

    I don’t mean to be rude, but I have to ask: do you guys even know what you’re talking about half the time?

    I suggest you get your stories straight if you want grownups to take you seriously.

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  185. PETERS,

    I really like that metaphor, now that you’ve developed it a bit further.

    If anything, that kind of insight brightens up the debate. (What makes you think it’s unwanted?) Keep them coming.

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  186. BRAD – Well, brightening up a thread on LED eco-torches is the least one can do… I hope they’ve got climate-resistors in those things 😉

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  187. PeterS – “I hope they’ve got climate-resistors in those things” —

    Eco torches generate more heat than light. They are the prototype ‘climate communicator’.

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  188. Your obsession with presentation, Brad – whether the meaning of a collective noun (or compound-collective-noun in this case) exactly identifies the intended group – is as tiresome as it is common as a feature of climate science “skepticism”. Another favorite is an obsession with words like ‘acidification’ which gets some “skeptics” really excited. It shares an intellectual level with someone objecting to a “school” of fish because there is no teacher or classroom.

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  189. I’m being pedantic? Really? That’s the best excuse you can come up with for the fact that every time you say A, you think someone would have to be an idiot not to know you mean B, even though John Cook means C?

    It’s all well and good to speak in metonyms and similes and shorthand, provided that—when pressed—you can actually explain what it is you’re referring to.

    But you can’t tell us what you mean by ‘climate change deniers,’ can you? That’s a cheque you can’t cash, can you?

    So far, your best attempt at a definition—’it means climate science deniers’—is not only absurd but contradicts John Cook’s (equally ridiculous) story.

    Unless you can explain your way out of this, we’ll all know you’ve been passing around a bum cheque every time you labelled us. It’s a dysphemism ‘without an object,’ as Ben might say. Your ontology is bankrupt.

    This is no mere cosmetic problem—it speaks to an incoherent thought system. In all the years you subscribed to it, did you have any inkling of how confused you were?

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  190. You are right, Brad Keyes. Defining you collectively is like nailing jelly to the wall, but the incoherence is all on “your side”. It stems from the inability of any small number of you to agree what it is you are “skeptical” of and what you actually believe to be true, beyond some vague idea of opposing ‘lies’ that can’t be identified.

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  191. Hilarious Raffy, thank you so much! Yet again you show that your understanding is still at level zero, despite the amount of time that you spend here! Have you not even read our “About” page? It says:
    a number of disparate voices in a joint venture. There’s no “party line” or rulebook, and certainly no 97% consensus about anything.

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  192. — ” It stems from the inability of any small number of you to agree what it is you are “skeptical” of ” —

    Why should we agree what we are sceptical of? It’s not *us* who is demanding that the world be organised according to the latest manifestation of environmentalism.

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  193. — vague idea of opposing ‘lies’ that can’t be identified —

    You can’t blame the hollowness of SKS on climate sceptics.

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  194. Raff, the diversity of views on “my side” (which is not really a side, but simply the locus defined by the complement of “your side”) does not excuse you for reducing us to a libelous caricature (“climate science deniers”). Not in the slightest. But you know this. And you persist in your silly fiction anyway.

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  195. I wonder how pervasive amongst the consensologists is this tendency to use words and phrases as insults without reference to their meaning – “climate denier”, “carbon”, “sceptics are of the right” etc?

    You see it at work constantly in the writings Mann, ATTP, Raff, Tamino, Bob Ward, Connolley. One effect is that it makes it very difficult for people who use English in a normal way to respond to them. It is unsettling to debate with a bunch of people who cannot be bothered to communicate clearly. It is debating with a bunch of people who use a strange word-salad. The debate becomes impossible, which has the effect of ensuring the consensus is enforced. BTW they cannot even define this consensus without managing to include climate deniers such as McIntyre, Watts and Bishop Hill.

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  196. MIAB, you forgot ‘climate system,’ ‘global change,’ and indeed ‘climate,’ for which you get 11 different definitions if you ask 10 ‘climate scientists.’

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  197. Lewandowsky can’t even keep his story straight when asked what ‘conspiracism’ is, a problem that famously cost BBD his online reputation.

    Funnier still, Lewandowsky is so uneducated that he regularly accuses Our Side of ‘conspiratorial’ discourse/thought/behavior. Obviously he’s unaware that in NLE (non-Lewandowsky English) that amounts to ‘maliciously plotting to intervene in the course of major historical events from behind the curtains,’ and the accusation itself is a conspiracy theory!

    Heavenly Father, make my enemies ridiculous…

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  198. Brad, I remember having a shouting match with the shoutiest of the consensologists – BBD – on some blog about this sort of thing. There he was yelling his head off about “evil Koch brothers hiding their denialist funding by using Donors’ Trust” and I asked him about why the consensologists were so keen on conspiracy theories. He nearly blew a gasket.

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  199. The inability of Consensus Enforcers to give substance to their conspiracy theories is interesting. I’ve asked the then SoS for Energy & Climate Change, Ed Davey and the Chair of the CCC, Lord Deben, pka John Gummer to explain what turns out to be idle, erm, ‘ideation’.

    Davey http://www.climate-resistance.org/2013/07/decc-distances-itself-from-davey.html

    Gummer http://www.climate-resistance.org/2015/11/freedom-to-invent-information.html

    Also notable is the tendency of recent Presidents of the Royal Society to descend to conspiracy ideation — and outright lies — , too.

    This stuff doesn’t simply get invented by anonymous bottom feeders like RAFF and BBD; it drops into their stream from great heights.

    Or if it is invented by the simplest organisms of the climate web, it is remarkable that the likes of Gummer, Davey, May and Nurse lower themselves and their organisations to such a level.

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  200. “One of the very, very vilest people I have ever encountered”, says BBD, of Brad. Actually, that about describes my lasting impression of HIM. I had the misfortune of encountering him at ATTP when I was just knee-high to a grasshopper, climate sceptically speaking. Extreme nastiness in 3 short letters.

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  201. “the diversity of views on “my side” (which is not really a side, but simply the locus defined by the complement of “your side”) …”

    That defines it well, although in an unflattering light. I mean it shows your side for what it is:

    My side: CO2 levels are going up
    Your side: no they are not
    My side: O2 levels are going down
    Your side: no they are not
    My side: average temperatures are rising
    Your side: no they are not
    etc

    It is basically just denial. Whether you want to call it climate change denial or climate science denial or just simply denial, your definition sums-up you and your co-campaigners well.

    “does not excuse you for reducing us to a libelous caricature (“climate science deniers”). Not in the slightest. “

    But of course it does, you just did it for me – see above.

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  202. “My side: CO2 levels are going up
    Your side: no they are not
    My side: O2 levels are going down
    Your side: no they are not
    My side: average temperatures are rising
    Your side: no they are not
    etc

    It is basically just denial”

    Hope you get better soon Raff. These long threads can be mentally very tiring. Take a break old chap.

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  203. Raff,

    this may be hard for a non-scientist like yourself to understand, but when you’re peddling a compound hypothesis you have to expect it to be attacked on each and every sub-claim it makes. You don’t get to take it personally. You don’t get to insist that everyone who disagrees with it must disagree with exactly the same set of sub-claims for exactly the same reasons. You don’t get to demand a coherent alternative view. We are under no fucking obligation to agree with each other about what, exactly, is the most preposterous tenet of climate catastrophism. (There are so many to choose from, and everybody has their personal favorite.)

    All we have in common, and all we need to have in common, is that we don’t buy the overall story: we don’t believe you when you say that ongoing carbon dioxide emissions are so perilous that it’s necessary to revolutionize our industrial base[s].

    For example many of us, if not most of us, have no problem with the idea that “global warming is real*.” But all of us have a problem with the idea that this is something to soil our pants about.

    We deny that. We say no to the CO2 panic.

    Does that clear things up for you?

    *Admittedly I’m beginning to suspect that even the notion of AGW is bullshit, since the main argument in its favor seems to be the scientifically-abortive appeal to consensus. That loser move is an open declaration of evidentiary bankruptcy—as you’d know if you were a scientist.

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  204. Ben,

    ‘This stuff doesn’t simply get invented by anonymous bottom feeders like RAFF and BBD; it drops into their stream from great heights. ‘

    In my limited experience with Raff, I’d place him several links of the food chain (or rungs of the evolutionary ladder) above BBD. He’s earned that by admitting one of his mistakes—and by having enough of a vertebral column to comment here, in unfriendly waters.

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  205. FWIW, here is a comment thread on my blog where Jaime encountered BBD. Maybe not the most pleasant, or constructive, of exchanges, but given what seems to be the norm here, it’s really difficult see why this qualifies as BBD being one of the vilest people I have ever encountered. YMMV, of course, and I’ll leave it for others to judge for themselves.

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  206. — “given what seems to be the norm here” —

    Always seems to be superficially caveated with,

    — “…I’ll leave it for others to judge for themselves.” —

    It’s a bit like hoping ‘LOL’, or ‘just sayin’, as a suffix mitigates an insult. Only in a distinctly passive-aggressive utterance could this make any sense. E.g.

    “Some people might say you’re stupid, fat, ugly and ridiculous. Some might not, but some probably would.”

    It’s a mere get-out-of-jail-free card, isn’t it. It appears as a ‘well, it’s only my opinion, and I could be wrong but…’, but only the author of the utterance is convinced that this makes him the nice guy, who is ‘merely commenting’, or ‘just passing by’. The implication being that we don’t have the common decency to caveat our insults and prejudices.

    The norm of online climate debates where there is a risk of progress is that a certain tendency will show up. Here’s an example… Right at the top of a recent post over at Reiner Grundmann’s site…

    — “Except this is so obviously stupid, that I’m amazed anyone with a basic understanding of the topic would possibly excuse it.” —

    I’ll leave others to form their own judgement about the value of such a contribution WRT ‘norms’. (See what I did there? LOLS. ROFLS. Just sayin. YMMV, ‘n all that.)

    This speaks to the other acronym’ed anon passer-by…

    — ““My side: CO2 levels are going up
    Your side: no they are not” —

    The Consensus Enforcement’s a priori is that the climate debate is polar — there must be sides — and that the risk of nuance infecting the climate debate is thus an abomination that must be stopped.

    Consensus Enforcement denies that there are dimensions, nuances and degrees to the claims made in the debate, their consequences and the counterarguments of a number of perspectives. It’s all black ‘n’ white, goodies and baddies in the Consensus Enforcement outlook…

    Consensus Enforcement is borne out of that infantile inability to tolerate debate — the need to invent enemies… A demonology, a mythology, and an ideology emerges, mostly in reaction to its own alienation and inability to make sense of the world.

    The ‘norm’ perceived here by the four letter acronyms is nowt but the poisonous atmosphere they bring with them. As I’ve point out to Ken Rice, years ago, you can’t behave like a prick at a party, and be surprised that you get called a prick. You can’t walk up to people and say, ‘Your mileage may vary of course, but is your wife fat and ugly, or pregnant and just having a bad hair day?’ and expect to come away from the party a more popular individual.

    What is possible is that Consensus Enforcers are as much victims, rather than instigators, of the polarisation of the climate debate — they unwittingly carry forward the presupposition of scientists-vs-deniers. They know it to be true, but don’t know that they know it to be true, and have never tested its truth. I’ve had hundreds of conversations like this, though…

    “Gosh, you’re a climate change denier, aren’t you…”

    “No. I’ve never denied the concentration of GHGs, nor their warming effect, nor that this may be a problem”.

    “But you’re still a climate change denier, you’re on their side”.

    “No, what interests me, and what I think needs to be understood is the belief that society is as sensitive to climate as climate is to CO2, and that you believe can know what I’ve said, argued, written merely by knowing that I’m a denier, before you’ve heard or read what I say”.

    That’s not a conversation with some random bloke at the pub. It’s a conversation with a professor, at Oxford University. And the point is he, like the Enforcers, should know better, but something stops them. Academics worth their salt, on the other hand, when encountering a difference of opinion, are interested in the substance of that perspective, even if they don’t believe it. Academia means nothing if it doesn’t mean understanding the development of ideas.

    The polarisation of the debate precedes the substance of the debate, and is imposed over it. The likes of RAFF and ATTP, bring what they perceive with them. Any discussion with them is merely their attempt to argue with the cartoon denier in their heads, for which the counterpart is merely a proxy for the hallucination that they cannot see past. The only hear or read that which conforms to the cartoon.

    If nuance can be perceived as ‘denial’ or simple negation, it really does not matter what is actually said. The debate above, for instance, starts out as a discussion about eco-colonialism, but in RAFF’s head, it is a debate about our denial of climate science. Hence the ‘dysphemism without an object’ (thanks, Brad).

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  207. Ben,

    It’s a bit like hoping ‘LOL’, or ‘just sayin’, as a suffix mitigates an insult. Only in a distinctly passive-aggressive utterance could this make any sense. E.g.

    Not really. It’s hard to see how anyone could conclude – based on the exchange on my blog – that someone involved was the vilest person ever encoutered, especially given what’s condoned here.

    As I’ve point out to Ken Rice, years ago, you can’t behave like a prick at a party, and be surprised that you get called a prick.

    Yes, of course, but it’s you who seems to be complaining about how people respond to you, so it’s odd that you think you’re in a position to point this out to me.

    Any discussion with them is merely their attempt to argue with the cartoon denier in their heads, for which the counterpart is merely a proxy for the hallucination that they cannot see past.

    You could always try harder to not so closely match the caricature.

    You do seem desparate to avoid having any kind of actual discussion, while complaining about it being impossible to have any kind of actual discussion.

    Like

  208. — “…It’s hard to see…”

    It must be. And we sympathise, we really do. But ultimately, it is hard for you to see that it is your problem, which you tend to inflict.

    — “You do seem desparate to avoid having any kind of actual discussion” —

    All conversations with Consensus Enforcers go the same way, whether I take part or not. Your angry contributions to Reiner Grundmann’s site being a vivid demonstration of this. I happen to disagree with many of that contingent’s perspectives, and occasionally discuss it with them, online and offline. But nobody calls anyone stupid. Nobody demands answers to seemingly unanswered questions. And curiously, debates tend to stay roughly on topic, and ends when everyone feels that enough progress has been made on the issue for the time being.

    You don’t notice these exchanges because, if you did, and/or you had been invited, you would have ‘contributed’ to them in the manner you cannot help, to prevent a cool-headed exchange, and they would have gone the way of all ‘discussions’ with consensus enforcers. Result!

    You’ve alienated yourself. Keep up the good work.

    You see, I simply don’t have any kind of issue with anybody who believes that climate change is an urgent problem but that it is a problem which requires a debate to understand and secure a legitimate response to it. It would be extremely hard to argue against the compacts of the IPCC, UNFCCC, and all the rest, had there been some kind of vote for them. Not necessarily a referendum, but a process of testing ideas and the precepts of carbon bureaucracies democratically. You say I don’t want to discuss it, yet the issues I raise relate almost entirely to the democratic deficit necessarily created by the approach taken by ‘policymakers’, on mitigation in general, and in the case of development, per the post at the top of the thread.

    The entirely antidemocratic precept is a much the ideology of Consensus Enforcement as is its tendency to disrupt discussion. So I find your reply somewhat weak.

    Like

  209. Via Paul is this from Roger Pielke Jr.

    —-
    I speak to reporters just about everyday and am often quoted in the media on all sorts of topics. The only issue on which I have had repeated trouble with any reporters is in the area of climate change, in which a certain subset of reporters seem to want me to play the role of a cartoon villain in their predetermined narrative (you know the one: its worse than we thought, here is a stupid denier, yada yada yada).
    —-

    The point here, not putting myself in the same league as RPJ, but to observe that we see it here in microcosm what can be seen in discussions all over the web and in the media and politics.

    There simply aren’t enough sceptics to explain the tendency of Consensus Enforcement: the emergence of an intolerant ideology, and its need for a demonology. RPJ isn’t even a sceptic! And neither is Lomborg. Or Curry. Etc. Etc.

    Heated debates are of course eternal. But climate change as a topic seems unique in its ability to do *something* to transform some people. Maybe it draws that kind of person to it, rather than makes them.

    Like

  210. ATTP:

    “FWIW, here is a comment thread on my blog where Jaime encountered BBD. Maybe not the most pleasant, or constructive, of exchanges, but given what seems to be the norm here, it’s really difficult see why this qualifies as BBD being one of the vilest people I have ever encountered.”

    It’s a very long thread and for the record, certain comments which I remember seem to have disappeared. But here’s a taster of BBD’s nastiness:

    ““Jaime Jessop” still wasting everyone’s time with conspiracist ideation while denying that it is conspiracist ideation.
    Ho-hum.
    Jaime
    Speaking for myself, I would be very happy if you went. You are ill-informed and you are ill-mannered in that you do not acknowledge what others have said and just keep banging away with your own little drum. This invariably annoys people which leads to incivility which spoils the otherwise relatively calm and pleasant ambience.
    Keep digging BBD.
    That sounds like a threat, Jaime.
    That might be unwise unless you have deep pockets. Please set out your exact complaint. And it had better be more coherent than your rubbish on this thread or I will take you to the cleaners, make no mistake about that.”

    I don’t intend to relive here that rather unpleasant encounter with numerous regulars on ATTP who all piled in with relish to attempt to discredit my viewpoint and me personally. But BBD was easily the most personally abusive of the bunch and if he had any balls he would be on here challenging “pseudoscepticism” and “conspiracist ideation”, rather than lurking in the safe space of your own heavily censored and controlled blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  211. Jaime, I think it is sadly an object lesson in the futility of ‘discussion’ with pathological Consensus Enforcement.

    By way of contrast, here is the result of a discussion between me and Mark Brandon, in which I am really really horrible to a climate scientist, and twist his words, and do all the nasty things Ken says us nasty sceptics do…

    Except, of course, I didn’t. And Mark was happy, in fact, with the article, in which our differences of opinion were explored, in the context of alarmism about the decline of Arctic and Greenland ice. (I was looking through my old articles on the subject for the other thread on Wadham).

    It wasn’t always like that. A while earlier, Brandon had penned a rebuttal to Nigel Lawson’s response to David Attenborough’s remarks, and I had responded to what I thought were shortcomings of Brandon’s claims. http://www.climate-resistance.org/2011/12/the-polar-bear-affair-part-1001.html

    Brandon didn’t pull any punches in his response to Lawson. And I pulled none in reply to him. Yet we bumped into each other, and he agreed he had made some mistakes and some good points. We agreed to speak further. We didn’t become best mates or anything. And I doubt very much he’s less concerned about global warming than he was way back in 2011 as a result of our conversation. Yet, I found our conversation, which was hostile in the first instance, productive in spite of it.

    It seems to me that the only purpose of Consensus Enforcement is to prevent such productive dialogue, and it is not in either the intention or inclination of most climate scientists or sceptics to allow discussions to descend to flame wars. It is Consensus Enforcers who drag debates down, and who become outraged when climate scientists, politicians or journalists speak to sceptics.

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  212. It is always amusing to hear those like Ben “I’ve got a degree in politics” Pile pontificating from his shallow puddle of knowledge against scientific consensus, while scientists like Brian Cox argue in favour. It should make you think… and not that Ben Pile somehow has a clue what he’s talking about.

    Like

  213. Ben,

    “Jaime, I think it is sadly an object lesson in the futility of ‘discussion’ with pathological Consensus Enforcement.”

    Yes, lesson learned on that thread. I’ve had reasonably polite, constructive conversations with quite a few scientists too, with none of that character assassination nonsense. Even with Gavin Schmidt, and even (shock, horror) Ken himself on a few occasions. In fact, where professional scientists are concerned, my experience is that the majority are polite and willing to engage on the issues. Not all. A few have been arrogant and belittling whilst studiously avoiding the issues – Michael Mann was in a class of his own.

    Liked by 1 person

  214. RAFF raises my degree more in this thread often than I have on the entire internet since i graduated. In fact, I think this may be the only occasion I’ve ever mentioned it. It’s usually more interesting to Enforcers that I have a politics (and philosophy) degree — they say it means I’m not qualified to speak about what they call “climate science”.

    — ” against scientific consensus,” —

    I don’t think I’ve ever argued “against scientific consensus”, but pointed out that it is, in some hands ‘a consensus without an object’ — i.e. it means whatever RAFF (or whoever) wants it to mean. Just as Enforcers presuppose the polar debate, the likes of RAFF believe that whatever they say is within the Consensus, and whatever sceptics say is outside of the consensus.

    Which, when you think about it is odd. It’s the wrong way round, for a start: membership of the consensus should begin with assent to or dissent from the substance of the consensus. Second, it reveals that the ‘consensus’ imagined by enforcers is a consensus achieved only by exclusion, not agreement.

    It all breaks down for the poor, muddlebrained Consensus Enforcers, when it turns out that many sceptics’ positions overlap completely with the IPCC’s, and that those who Enforcers have tirelessly exposed as ‘deniers’ aren’t. It then puts Consensus Enforcers, paradoxically, further from the consensus than the sceptics.

    Like

  215. Jaime,
    I appreciate that you might not want to relive an unpleasant exchange, but you suggested that that exchange was such that you concluded that one of those involved was the “vilest person ever encountered”. It’s possible that something particularly egregious was deleted, but I moderate my blog and – if it was – it was deleted then and not now. Also, I do find it slightly odd that you would complain about the piling on that occured there, given how Raff is treated here. FWIW, I did not realise that you regarded yourself as “knee-high to a grassshopper, climate skeptically speaking” as you appeared fairly convinced of your views.

    Ben,
    I imagine even you understand that finding an example where you don’t twist what others have said, does not mean you never twist what others have said.

    Like

  216. Ken Rice — “…odd that you would complain about the piling on that occured there, given how Raff is treated here…” —

    There is no equivalence. And this expectation of symmetry is yet more mere passive aggression. In the terms of the analogy above, Jaime wasn’t behaving like a prick at your party… of pricks. It is Willard, of all people, not you or the moderator, who feels uncomfortable about the ‘piling on’. Raff, here, like most consensus enforcers, brings his own rules with him, and demands that we tolerate his interminable meandering, hollow invective. Whereas Jaime set out her argument, and the hostility she received was the result of her view, not because of the style in which she set about explaining it.

    — finding an example where you don’t twist what others have said, does not mean you never twist what others have said —

    If you look carefully through the exchange again, Ken, you’ll note that I was just as careful to point out that the issue was the style of Consensus Enforcers, which cause debates to…


    go the same way, whether I take part or not. Your angry contributions to Reiner Grundmann’s site being a vivid demonstration of this.

    It seems to be consensus enforcement, I am suggesting, which poisons debate.

    Liked by 2 people

  217. Come off it Ken, Raff gives as good as he gets here and and isn’t piled on by 6 or 7 people singularly intent on trying to make him and his opinions look stupid. By no means am I the only person who has been treated in such manner on your blog. Badgerbod, also quite new to the climate debate, seemed genuinely shocked by his treatment at ATTP. I’m sure there are many others – most of them now banned. Anyway, I’m not complaining or wanting to make a big deal about it; all I was saying is that BBD is the nastiest person I have personally come into contact with since I started blogging and engaging on line re. the climate change debate and I used his own description of Brad as a useful guide to my lasting impression of him. But anyway, this is an open blog and BBD is welcome to defend his reputation here if he so wishes; more to the point he is welcome to challenge the views expressed here which he obviously must regard as anathema and totally illegitimate. I’m sure he won’t be ‘piled upon’ just for the hell of it and I myself have no particular axe to grind after two and a half years. Water under the bridge and all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  218. RAFF,

    “It is always amusing to hear those like Ben “I’ve got a degree in politics” Pile pontificating from his shallow puddle of knowledge against the rhetorical misuse of a vacuous consensus, while scientists like Brian Cox argue in favour. ”

    Fixed that for ya.

    But yes, it never ceases to amuse: in the climate debate the amateurs always seem to be obliged to correct the delusions of the professionals.

    Liked by 1 person

  219. …AND THEN THERE’S PHYSICS (20 Aug 16 at 9:30 pm)

    Ben,
 Funny, I thought you may say something like that.

    Imagining what other people are going to say seems to be an occupational disease among consensualists.

    I can’t get out of my mind the fact that Andthenthere’s day job is looking for exoplanets. Does he practise this kind of second guessing, anticipating what he’s going to find, when he’s behind the telescope? I mean, it’s only about the most interesting job since Christopher Columbus. I hope he practises it with the seriousness that it deserves.

    Or maybe Columbus had the same problem. If the King of Spain pays you to find India, that’s what you’re going to find…

    Like

  220. Jaime,

    be fair to Ken. Rachel doesn’t wield the coward-hammer willy-nilly. She only bans commenters at the last minute, just in time to stop them defending themselves against a fatuous slander-a-thon from the billy-goats.

    And anyway, Ken has no responsibility for, or knowledge of, Rachel’s activities.

    My fondest memory of the evil genius of Ken/Rachel’s censoriousness would have to be what happened under a post entitled, rather deliciously, ‘Free Speech.’

    This is a masterpiece of accidental self-incrimination:

    [Mod: Brad, please have this discussion elsewhere, thanks. This comment is only here to avoid accusations that comments have been deleted without other commenters knowing.]

    In other words, this comment is only here to prevent the accusations from being true.

    Apparently, my being a lying troll was on-topic; my NOT being a lying troll was a discussion I had to have “elsewhere, thanks.”

    In case you’re wondering, the unmentionable person whose libelling of Richard Lindzen I kept trying to mention was Dana Nuccitelli.

    Ken must have mentioned my unmentionable comments to Dana, though, because the very next day—mirabile dictu—the Guardian finally issued a correction of Dana’s lies about Professor Lindzen.

    Let that be a lesson, kids: harassing [failed pseudo]scientists works.

    All in all, an enjoyable thread in which I got to probe the hypocrisy of Ken’s feigned obsession with on-topicness by having a long debate about… extreme weather event trends.

    Liked by 1 person

  221. Here’s a gem of a squirrel-dropping if ever there was one:

    “Personally, I think it takes courage to delete comments”
    —RachelM

    Liked by 1 person

  222. LOL, Brad, still f***ing with people’s heads:

    ” “Brad’s intent is to provoke others into error so he can fuck with their heads. This is so blindingly obvious, only you could have missed it.”

    Well I’m not very bright, BBD, so it’s par for the course. Or perhaps it is just that I’m blind?

    So help me to understand fully. Brad doesn’t actually believe what he writes. He spends hour after hour engaging in blog arguments, writing elaborate comments, writing elaborate posts for his own blog, And it isn’t that he actually believes others are in error. He does what he does not because he believes he is right and others wrong, or because he’s interested in determining what is or isn’t correct. Actually, he knows that what he writes is full of shit, but he does what he does because he wants to fuck with people’s heads.

    I assume you don’t think this is true of all “trolls” (or do you?) – so what are the blindingly obvious signs for how he differs from other “trolls” (that I am just to dumb or blind to see)?

    Also, out of curiosity, do you have some idea of what motivates Brad to want to fuck with people’s heads? Is he just a mean person who gets some perverse pleasure out of provoking others to make errors?”

    Isn’t that conspiracist ideation? Granted, you being the sole conspirator.

    Liked by 1 person

  223. For the record, the latter slab of Jaime’s comment above is a quote from the comparatively principled, occasionally courageous, Joshua.

    Like

  224. BBD was, of course, flattering himself if he thought he or his coreligionists had to be provoked into error.

    Like

  225. Ken Rice — “Funny, I thought you may say something like that.” —

    The emergence at last of some self awareness, perhaps.

    Trolls, bullshit and flame wars are eternal. But the climate debate is perhaps unique in that it is a debate which doesn’t show any improvement as it moves away from the internet, into wider society, the media, and the domestic and supranational institutions created in the image of climate change.

    It’s not even clear which way the bullshit flows. Indeed, Obama waved the 97% figure in one of his own speeches. Consensus enforcement is not confined to the Internet. It has lowered the level of debate, far and wide.

    Liked by 1 person

  226. Ben,

    But the climate debate is perhaps unique in that it is a debate which doesn’t show any improvement as it moves away from the internet, into wider society, the media, and the domestic and supranational institutions created in the image of climate change.

    I disagree. I think it’s slowly improving. It seems harder to promote the fringe views and even media outlets that used to mainly promote nonsense seem to now be writing articles that seem broadly reasonable. Okay, we still have Delingpole and Booker, and Wadhams is getting a bit of exposure for his book, so it’s not perfect, but perfection is probably not possible.

    It is maybe a bit unfortunate that there are still some who seem to cling to these fringe views and who choose to spend their time complaining about consensus enforcers and how others are preventing any kind of discussion, while excusing – or ignoring – their own poor behaviour, but that’s their choice. It’s got nothing to do with me and if they choose to behave in a manner that means they will probably be mostly ignored, that’s entirely up to them.

    Like

  227. If the climate debate is improving, Ken, it is because emerging political reality has displaced climate change from the political agenda, not because of its own development. Climate change epitomises the excesses of a remote, intransigent political establishment.

    — “there are still some who seem to cling to these fringe views and who choose to spend their time complaining about consensus enforcers and how others are preventing any kind of discussion, while excusing – or ignoring – their own poor behaviour… ” —

    Oh, I see what you did there. Very clever. But it’s more same-to-you-with-brass-knobs-on — ‘rhetoric’, as Brad might say. I make no claims about my own behaviour, as I have pointed out to you three times now:

    — “All conversations with Consensus Enforcers go the same way, whether I take part or not. Your angry contributions to Reiner Grundmann’s site being a vivid demonstration of this.” —

    There is a broader, and more reflective centre ground opening up, and as we can see with your comment to Grundman’s site…

    — “Except this is so obviously stupid, that I’m amazed anyone with a basic understanding of the topic would possibly excuse it.” —

    … if the debate has developed, then it seems Consensus Enforcement is now fighting on new territory, but with the same histrionics. That is to say that *your* behaviour is the same, no matter my behaviour. I’m not interested in which individual’s behaviour is the best/worst, I’m interested in the structure of the debate, what is decisive in those debates, what claims and counter-claims are made, and what movements are at work. For a long time, the influence of ‘deniers’ and sceptics have been presupposed, whereas it seems to be emerging from many analyses that Consensus Enforcement and related tendencies have been the toxic agent.

    — “It’s got nothing to do with me and if they choose to behave in a manner that means they will probably be mostly ignored” —

    And yet here you are. For the N-thousandth time. And there you are, over at Grundman’s site. You’re largely ignored there, in spite of your angry demands that your question be answered. My own ill behaviour, if that is what it is, on the other hand, is here — a site I’ve been invited to write on. The point being, again, that Consensus Enforcement is a much wider phenomenon than can be explained as sceptics’ nastiness.

    Meanwhile, you can’t even point out what the ‘fringe views’ are and what is wrong with them, much less identify what is the mainstream views that they are so distance from, without inventing ridiculous metrics that even mainstream, consensus, climate scientists say are misleading, and naked attempts to control debate at best. As I pointed out, the consensus Consensus Enforcers enforce is ‘without an object’. Ditto, the sceptics and ‘fringe views’ that you imagine you are exposing don’t really have an object, either. Hence, you are preoccupied with behaviour and character — ad hom — rather than the substance of the debate. A condition of environmentalism seems to be the failure to develop a sense of proportion, after all.

    Like

  228. Ben,

    Hence, you are preoccupied with behaviour and character — ad hom — rather than the substance of the debate.

    It’s hard not to on this site, because it is what discussions always degenerate into. You could try harder to avoid it, but that might not be actually possible. I would be impressed if you at least tried.

    As I pointed out, the consensus Consensus Enforcers enforce is ‘without an object’.

    No, this is silly. The consensus, in its simpliest form, is that humans are causing global warming. If you want a more rigorous definition, you could use the latest IPCC conclusion that it is extremely likely that more than 50% of the warming since 1950 is anthropogenic.

    Like

  229. Ken — “It’s hard not to on this site, because it is what discussions always degenerate into.” —

    Only when you, or RAFF are here. Ditto, anywhere else, it is Consensus Enforcement which precludes debate across perspectives. Your own droppings all over the web show this, as did Dana N’s outburst that a denier should be given the oxygen of publicity at Nottingham’s MSP blog, and then that a climate scientist should seem to agree with me… It doesn’t cause reflection on the argument, it merely causes more Consensus Enforcement histrionics.

    It’s a problem that Consensualists created for themselves, by trying to claim that opinions that seem to come from without the consensus are owed to their moral shortcomings — their ‘motivated reasoning’ and the such like. This claim that only bad faith or pathology can explain the difference of perspective turns the climate debate into a pageant of moral beauty, Enforcers feigning outrage that such unimpeachable virtue (of the super human climate scientists) should be challenged.

    — “The consensus, in its simpliest form, is that humans are causing global warming.” —

    It means nothing. It’s not a meaningful proposition, and it doesn’t divide the putative debate. As has been discussed, at length, in many places, each conversation of which has been disrupted by Consensus Enforcement.

    Like

  230. — “If you want a more rigorous definition, you could use the latest IPCC conclusion that it is extremely likely that more than 50% of the warming since 1950 is anthropogenic.” —

    When a mainstream, Met Office, consensus-adhering climate scientist pointed out that this measure doesn’t divide the debate meaningfully, one Consensus Enforcement cog-scientist categorised his remark as ‘conspiracy ideation’.

    When that same climate scientist, amongst many others, stated that the hiatus was a fact, and needed to be explained, the same cog-sci Consensus Enforcer, along with a ‘science historian’ said that the climate scientist was the victim of ‘denier memes’.

    I believe that Ken is a colleague of that cog-sci Consensus Enforcer and science historian, in similar enterprises.

    Sceptics have had nothing to do with that *behaviour*.

    QED.

    Liked by 1 person

  231. Ben,

    Only when you, or RAFF are here.

    Yes, I know. We make you do it.

    It means nothing.

    Of course it means something. I don’t know if I can explain it in any simpler terms, but I’ll try one more time. The planet is getting warmer. We’re doing it.

    Like

  232. — “We make you do it.” —

    No, you do it. And you do it everywhere, not just on sceptic blogs. And not just on blogs. Consensus Enforcement as as toxic here as it is in journals, on TV, and in the Graun.

    You admitted it yourself — the 97% paper was *strategic*.

    Like

  233. — “The planet is getting warmer. We’re doing it.” —

    And the sky is blue and grass is green. The proposition is inconsequential. It can mean anything between nothing and Armageddon.

    Like

  234. Ben,

    No, you do it. And you do it everywhere, not just on sceptic blogs.

    Do what? Write comments? Write blog posts? Sure, so what?

    You admitted it yourself — the 97% paper was *strategic*.

    Did I? Don’t really remember saying anything quite like that. I think I may have said that it was aimed at countering claims that there was no consensus, but lots of research is aimed at addressing public misunderstandings, so nothing all that unusual about that. You don’t do research in the hope that it will be ignored.

    And the sky is blue and grass is green. The proposition is inconsequential. It can mean anything between nothing and Armageddon.

    It’s not really a proposition, and it is still the consensus postion. Given that a great deal of the discussion relates to the anthropogenic influence on climate change, I would argue that it’s far from inconsequential. You are, of course, free to disagree.

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  235. — “Do what?” —

    Consensus Enforcement. See above.

    — “It’s not really a proposition…” —

    Some help for you…

    —-
    proposition
    prɒpəˈzɪʃ(ə)n
    noun
    1.
    a statement or assertion that expresses a judgement or opinion.
    —-

    — “Given that a great deal of the discussion relates to the anthropogenic influence on climate change, I would argue that it’s far from inconsequential. ” —

    it is the *proposition* which is inconsequential. Hence, “It can mean anything between nothing and Armageddon.”

    As Consensus Enforcers discovered when a Met Office scientist pointed out that dividing the climate debate on the proposition didn’t in fact exclude the putative ‘deniers’ and ‘sceptics’ of the *proposition* from the *consensus*. This caused Consensus Enforcers to categorise the climate scientist as a ‘denier’. And then a second climate scientist when he agreed that the attempt to divide debate in this way is misleading and counterproductive. And this caused Consensus Enforcers to turn their back on climate science completely, declaring it to have been contaminated by ‘denier’s memes’.

    Hiding behind truisms to make statements about a debate that turns out not to be divided on the truism has been the MO of Consensus Enforcement for years now. Is it willful ignorance, or stupidity? Is it trolling or merely ‘just sayin’? It surely looks like an attempt to control discussion — delimit permissible areas of debate. Which raises the question…

    “You are, of course, free to disagree.”

    Are we? not even consensus climate scientists can make comments without the angry wrath of Consensus Enforcers descending on them.

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  236. Ken,

    ‘I don’t know if I can explain it in any simpler terms, but I’ll try one more time. The planet is getting warmer. We’re doing it’.

    A statement so vague, so banal, so simplistic, as to be virtually meaningless – and, at this point in time, technically incorrect whichever dataset you choose. Also very likely wrong according to globally averaged lower troposphere temperatures. It should be obvious to you of all people that you cannot, however hard you try, explain the ‘global warming consensus’ in simple terms, unless you torture it to mean what you would like it to mean. This principally comes down to the fact that the ‘scientific consensus on man-made global warming’ is as ‘reality-fluid’ as ‘dangerous or significant man-made global warming’ itself.

    Like

  237. Ben,

    Consensus Enforcement. See above.

    Me specifically, or some generic group?

    a statement or assertion that expresses a judgement or opinion.

    It’s not really a judgement or opinion, at least not in the sense that those terms are normally used.

    Like

  238. — “It’s not really a judgement or opinion, at least not in the sense that those terms are normally used.” —

    Then there really is no consensus, in the sense that that term is normally used.

    Like

  239. Ben,
    You mean this

    No, you do it. And you do it everywhere, not just on sceptic blogs. And not just on blogs. Consensus Enforcement as as toxic here as it is in journals, on TV, and in the Graun.

    I ignored that, because it just seems bizarre. I’m not aware of having enforced anything. Maybe you could provide some kind of link? Something showing where someone (me?) actually enforced something? I would imagine that you can’t, but feel free to prove me wrong.

    Like

  240. ..AND THEN THERE’S PHYSICS (21 Aug 16 at 3:35 pm)

    The consensus, in its simpliest form, is that humans are causing global warming. If you want a more rigorous definition, you could use the latest IPCC conclusion that it is extremely likely that more than 50% of the warming since 1950 is anthropogenic.

    But I don’t think there’s a single article here that denies those statements. Why would we bother to dispute whether it is “extremely likely” or merely “totally possible” that “more than 50% of the warming since 1950 is anthropogenic”? What would be the point?

    And yet you come here to dispute – what? You really must say what you’re arguing about.

    (21 Aug 16 at 4:08 pm)

    The planet is getting warmer. We’re doing it.

    And the planet got warmer in the 19th century and we weren’t doing it. Come on now, you must do better than that. What is it you read here that you disagree with?

    Like

  241. I’ve explained what I believe to be a phenomenon — Consensus Enforcement — equivalent to an equivalent political movement, with organisation, including shared perspective, with detectable influence on society.

    — “…actually enforced something” —

    As is explained, Consensus Enforcement in the main means toxifying otherwise good faith debates. It also means controlling the narrative. Dana N’s outrage that Nottingham hosted my article is a good example. Another example is the likes of Bob Ward lobbying to use instruments of censorship to close down debate in the media. Ditto Roger Pielke’s remarks about being blacklisted. Cognitive scientists’ interventions are perhaps the most egregious: to undermine people of a different perspective.

    You may well be a mere passer by, ‘just saying’, and ‘only blogging’. The fact of your organisational relationships with people who do overtly campaign to control the debate, however, suggests there is no coincidence. Your somewhat limp protest at being so categorised is a bit like someone canvassing for a candidate at an election complaining that they had been accused of being a member of a political party.

    Like

  242. Ben,
    So no link, or evidence, then?

    As is explained, Consensus Enforcement in the main means toxifying otherwise good faith debates.

    So, if it wasn’t for these supposed Consensus Enforcers, the debates would otherwise be good faith. Really? I would certainly disagree if this is really what you’re suggesting.

    It also means controlling the narrative.

    How? I don’t think people expressing their views – however strongly – somehow controls the narrative. Nothing stopping you from expressing your alternative views.

    Your somewhat limp protest at being so categorised

    Oh, I don’t care. I simply think your Consensus Enforcer narrative is weak. It seems more like an excuse than anything else. I’ve seen little to make me think that you really are interested in good faith debates. You seem, instead, to spend most of your time complaining that others are somehow preventing you from doing so. Why not try and see what happens?

    Like

  243. — “So no link, or evidence, then?” —

    Well, the events referred to are detailed above, or are easy to find. Plenty of evidence.

    — “So, if it wasn’t for these supposed Consensus Enforcers, the debates would otherwise be good faith. Really?” —

    As was explained, there doesn’t seem to be a problem when Consensus Enforcement is absent. Moreover, even when sceptics aren’t present, Consensus Enforcement seems to provoke a toxic atmosphere. Furthermore, when Consensus Enforcers seem to discover that unauthorised discussions between deniers and climate scientists are taking place, or have taken place, they appear to become very angry about it.

    — “I would certainly disagree if this is really what you’re suggesting.” —

    Of course you would. But your certain disagreement is a constant — a given. There is little evidence of your critical understanding of the debate, as is made clear by your prosaic — to put it generously — definition of the ‘consensus’ position, to which you can only have imagined opposition.

    — “How? I don’t think people expressing their views…” —

    Let’s return to the party analogy. Being a prick at a party precludes the enjoyment of the party, you understand? Debate, similarly requires the good faith of its participants. You still following? Passive-aggressive consensus enforcement, however, raises the temperature of propositions offered in good faith, and the willingness of various people to get involved. Here’s an example of one such prick turning up to the party:

    — “Except this is so obviously stupid, that I’m amazed anyone with a basic understanding of the topic would possibly excuse it.” —

    Check it out for yourself, the guy lacks any sense of self awareness.

    — “Oh, I don’t care. I simply think your Consensus Enforcer narrative is weak. “–

    Oh, but you do. And you agreed with it just a few years ago. Or at least, you said you did, and then demanded that I agree with you — to reciprocate your magnanimous display of good faith. Or were you simply trolling?

    — “I’ve seen little to make me think that you really are interested in good faith debates.” —

    How would you know? The presupposition of Consensus Enforcement is the bad faith of sceptics. The cognitive scientist, for instance, claims that a pathology prevents it. Others say deniers are the witting or unwitting tools of Big Oil PR conspiracies. Above, for another example, RAFF makes the claim that scepticism is an expression of right wing politics. As was also pointed out, the 97% survey was used by Presidents and DECC SOS’s to waive away criticism of climate politics — rather than, and this is key here, so pay attention, Ken, engage with the criticism.

    I care very little for your estimation of my good or bad faith. I point out yours merely to show it is consistent with a much broader tendency — a political movement we can see, with tangible, formally-instituted and organisational relationships, having a tangible influence in society. In this respect, your contributions here have been very useful. Thank you.

    Like

  244. Here’s an example of one such prick turning up to the party:

    Interesting. I had thought you were going to simply imply that I was a prick, rather than explicitly calling me one. I clearly misjudged you.

    Like

  245. “Interesting. I had thought you were going to simply imply that I was a prick,”

    Why? That would be a pussy move.

    “rather than explicitly calling me one.”

    Now *that* has balls.

    “I clearly misjudged you.”

    Yes, clearly you assumed Ben was a passive aggressive [Mod: redacted]-for-brains [Mod: redacted] of a [Mod: redacted] like you.

    Like

  246. You’d rather feign injury, Ken, than recognise what’s in the analogy, much less engage with the debate. Nonetheless, if the cap fits,

    Now you can say “SEE, HE’S CALLED ME A PRICK! AREN’T SCEPTICS BASTARDS… BASTARDS, I TELL YOU, BASTARDS… I’VE BEEN SAYING SO FOR YEARS, AND NOW, AFTER THOUSANDS OF INTERMINABLE COMMENT THREADS IN WHICH I BANGED ON ENDLESSLY AT THE COST OF DISCUSSION, I FINALLY HAVE THE PROOF!”

    Consensus Enforcement is a phenomenon we can observe and debate the existence of, whether or not I called you a prick. If you want, you can discuss it, or you can spoil the party by being a prick — i.e. whingeing about being called a prick.

    Big boy pants, as they say.

    Like

  247. Ken,

    ” I think I may have said that it was aimed at countering claims that there was no consensus,”

    I see. So it was aimed at finding that there *was* a consensus?

    That’s a cardinal symptom of pseudoscience. You’re a fraud and you don’t mind who knows it, do you?

    ” but lots of research is aimed at addressing public misunderstandings, so nothing all that unusual about that.”

    ROFL!

    It’s not merely unusual, Ken, it’s *pathological* to go through the motions of “researching” a question when all you want is an excuse to announce a specific answer.

    You might want to be a bit less brazen about it in future. The taxpayer’s patience with parasitic fakademics is bound to run out at some point.

    Like

  248. Ben,

    Now you can say

    Couldn’t care less.

    If you want, you can discuss it

    We have. I think it’s an argument you’re using to excuse your inability to actually hold a discussion about a this topic.

    Big boy pants, as they say.

    Put some on and stop spending most of your time complaining about Consensus Enforcers.

    Like

  249. Serious question, Ken:

    Have you or have you not ever stopped to wonder how smart it was to admit, in writing, that you knowingly participated in fake research?

    Liked by 1 person

  250. Brad, here is the post at my blog Ken popped up in.

    It’s a response to his own blog, and in particular Tom Curtis’ comment there that I, and more significantly, Mike Hulme were ‘idiots’.

    Is being a prick better or worse than being an idiot? And what does it say about the denizens of there, rather than here? No matter…

    Of course, this makes my point that what Consensus Enforcers hate most is the respectability that is from time-to-time given to sceptics by mainstream climate scientists, like Hulme and, Curry, and institutions like Nottingham’s MSP project. It angered Dana. And ‘Wotts’ as he was then called felt he could join in.

    This is interesting, I think:


    Ken: “I agree that the Cook et al. paper was strategic and not science. I can see no other reason for publishing such a paper and see nothing wrong this. It was, however, your explanation above that motivated my initially glib analysis of your first post. Your assessment of Cook et al. appears to be based on a discussion of what they meant by consensus. This just came across as somewhat semantic (or pedantic). I think it is well defined and I think this has been explained clearly – in numerous comments – by Tom Curtis (despite what you think of Tom Curtis, I think he has a much better handle on the subtleties of this field than you give him credit for). You say that they can make it mean whatever they like, but the descriptions of the levels of consensus – as described in their paper – seems pretty clear to me.”–

    The point then, as it was now, that the paper makes no contribution to understanding the debate, capturing, as it does, so many perspectives that Cook et al (et al now encompassing Rice himself) designate as ‘denial’. Furious back peddling — and even some side-peddling had to be done to message away the simple category error. And many more errors besides, as catalogued by Richard Tol, who Ken has no less furiously attacked for that very reason… Yet he claims to be ‘merely commenting’.

    As I explained to Ken three entire years ago:


    “I don’t think it means anything. It’s not useful. The categories are ambiguous. The study is partial and subjective. As I say elsewhere, I don’t care if it’s 97, 98, 99, 100 or 500%. It makes no difference. It doesn’t define the consensus, and it doesn’t define a point of disagreement between the consensus and its critics.”

    And then out comes the passive-aggressive rule book:


    KEN: ” Do you enjoy mis-representing what people say?

    It’s getting a little late and I must be honest that I’m getting a little frustrated. I’ll make a general comment about this discussion.

    In my view there is very little point in having a discussion if one or both parties are unwilling to consider that the other party’s views have any merit or are unwilling to consider the possibility that they may mis-understand something or that their understanding may be somewhat flawed. I’ve tried hard in this discussion to not only come here and apologise if anything I’ve said was unfounded, or appeared to be so, and to also agree with aspects of what others have said that have merit or that might be reasonable. I think if you go back and read my comments, you’ll find this to be true. I wish I could say the same of you though. You’ve shown very little desire to seem agreeable or to acknowledge that anything I’ve said has any merit. It’s possible that you’re completely right and I’m completely wrong but, I would suggest, that this is unlikely to be true.”

    With this little delicious pudding for afters…


    KEN: “Maybe you could explain how I could undertake a lengthy discussion without ever agreeing with anything the other person says. I find it quite difficult, but you clearly are an expert!”

    Then reported back to the lovely people at home…


    “I can’t see the point of discussions in which both (or one of) the parties are unwilling to consider that anything the other person says has merit and are unwilling to consider that some of what they say may be wrong, or not as well-founded as first thought. Also, rather naively, I think that if I try to be pleasant, others will reciprocate. It’s not a requirement, of course, but it does make the discussion more enjoyable. So, essentially I ended up having a discussion with a group who were, by and large, unpleasant (with some exceptions) and who clearly thought that the way to engage in such a discussion was to poke holes in the other person’s argument and avoid acknowledging any issues with their own.”

    Three years on, and Ken has made zero progress towards understanding the debate he has such strong views on.

    Liked by 1 person

  251. — “Put some on and stop spending most of your time complaining about Consensus Enforcers.” —

    It’s not possible to understand the climate debate without understanding Consensus Enforcement. Consensus enforcers are explicit about it, in academic literature; their intention is to establish ‘gateway beliefs’ in support of climate policy, and intervening to create the perception of a consensus in the public mind is fundamental to that end.

    The problem for them has always been that the public aren’t receptive to such high pitched whining. Deniers were held responsible. It was an explanation that convinced some — Ed Davey being one such. And perhaps even Obama, though he more likely was reading “97%” from a script. But it was the zeal of the enforcers and their histrionics that obstructed sober debate on the facts.

    Many have internalised the climate debate over the years, such that they have become emotionally unstable at the presence of non believers. But that phenomenon has more recently developed into a more tangible project, with an ideology, etc, such that we can say it is a ‘thing’ — Consensus Enforcement.

    Liked by 2 people

  252. Does Ken continue to claim ignorance as to what a hateful piece of work BBD is?

    BBD once expressed the wish that I be martyred “the old-fashioned way. With a stake, and bundles of firewood.”

    As I wrote in reply:

    Then gather your faggots, because it’s the only way you people are going to win the climate debate at this stage.

    That was three years ago.

    Like

  253. Brad, I think Ken has too many problems of his own to start dealing with BBDs.

    Here’s how the Hero imagines his quest following Brian Cox’s recent intervention…

    —-
    “Maybe it really is becoming more and more obvious that climate denial is ridiculous and that the only suitable response is to mock those who promote it.

    It was also good to see some other scientists commenting on this topic. We certainly shouldn’t expect climate scientists to shoulder all the burden. It might also make some more aware of the kind of crap that some have had to put up with when they do communicate about this publicly. I sometimes get the sense that many don’t realise just how difficult it is to discuss this topic publicly and what you have to put up with if you do.”
    —-

    I’ve never noticed Ken struggling with the difficulty of discussing climate publicly as much as I’ve noticed him making it difficult for other people to discuss climate in public.

    When Grundmann suggested that the pressure be taken off climate science by social science taking some of the burden, and broadening out the debate, Ken blew a gasket at the mere suggestion that there was any equivalence of milking high temp extremes for climate propaganda and climate sceptics using cold months for the same ends.

    —-
    “Except this is so obviously stupid, that I’m amazed anyone with a basic understanding of the topic would possibly excuse it.”
    —-

    It should be obvious that grinning physicists bearing printouts of NASA graphs, and pointing and mocking at climate deniers have not brought the climate wars to a resolution. Instead, they have only raised questions about what the premature tenure of pop-stars-turned-professors says about science, and the quality of NASA’s ‘re-analayses’ of temperature record that puts the curves on its charts further and further away from other temperature records.

    It seems to have taken social scientists to point out that there is a problem with this mode of communication — emphasising alarmist stories, and subsequently trashing the character of anyone who points out the obvious excesses of alarmism. Yet the astrophysicist refuses to take any clue from the sociologist — Grundmann or Sarewitz — about climate science’s shortcomings, in the shadow of science’s much broader and deeper emerging problems. Never mind that Grundmann is sympatico. Perhaps the problem for the Consensus Enforcer is that admitting the social sciences to the debate means admitting to the failure of the Enforcement approach, which in turn means admitting that the sceptics had a point. Or maybe that credits Enforcers with too much.

    I, for one, hope that Ken and Cox keep up the mocking. It will more swiftly end the climate debate, though not in the way they hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  254. Yes, I share your anticipatory Schadenfreude at the prospect of seeing the climate antiscience cult hoist by its own retards.

    Liked by 1 person

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