Conversation in a Straitjacket

Success in life is about saying what you need to say in order to get what you want without actually lying. It’s called the Art of the Deal, and politicians, lawyers and property developers are particularly good at it, which is why they’re so detested.

Academics don’t do that. They tell politicians and journalists what they want them to say in order to get what they want. (They may tell property developers too, but they don’t listen.) It’s called science, or global studies, or bioethics, or arselicking with tenure.

At the Conversation, Robert Kopp, Professor, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, and Director, Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience Initiative, Rutgers University, says:

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions peaked in 2007, and Chinese emissions may have peaked in 2014. Solar energy, wind and energy storage are expanding rapidly….Meanwhile, China and Europe appear to be ready to take up the mantle of climate leadership that the U.S. is abdicating.

Wanyun Shao, Assistant Professor of Geography, Auburn University, says:

Chinese leaders are closing coal-fired power plants and ramping up use of renewable energy…. by taking the United States out of the Paris agreement, President Trump has opened up space for China to increase its political and economic influence. China is likely to seize that opportunity.

Henrik Selin, Associate Professor in the Frederick S Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, says:

President Trump officially, and entirely voluntarily, ceded hard-won U.S. international leadership. Already, China and the EU are showing signs they are willing to fill the leadership vacuum.

Robert H. Scott III, Associate Professor of Economics, Monmouth University, says:

Many reacted to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord with understandable dismay, fearful that the U.S. is shirking its global leadership role, will fall behind in green technology and is helping usher in the worst effects of global warming…. After weighing many pros and cons, I believe it’s sensible to conclude it doesn’t really matter. That’s because efforts by cities, states and companies are already underway to keep up the spirit of Paris….

Nives Dolsak, Professor of Environmental Policy, University of Washington and Aseem Prakash, Walker Family Professor and Founding Director, Center for Environmental Politics, University of Washington say:

China has already emerged a leader in several renewable energy areas, particularly solar and wind….a growing percentage of new global electricity generation capacity is based on renewable sources…Thus, China has strong incentives, both commercial and environmental, to continue its focus on renewable energy. A similar logic, to some extent, holds for the EU and India.

Bill Hare, Director, Climate Analytics, Berlin; Adjunct Professor, Murdoch University, Perth; Visiting scientist, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, says:

… the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement …will likely cause other countries to reaffirm their firm commitment to the full implementation of the climate deal…Both China and India are now seizing the future, working to bend their emissions pathways while growing their economies and creating thousands of green jobs through massive investments in renewable energy….the US risks being left further and further behind… employment in the renewable-energy industry is growing rapidly in the United States (and around the world), and far exceeds that in coal mining….The increase in employment in solar energy alone over the past three years is more than twice the total number of jobs in the coal mining industry in the United States (which are declining).

Frederik Dahlmann, Assistant Professor of Global Energy, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, says:

in the US, there are already more than twice as many more people employed in the solar energy sector compared to coal.

Logical argument, a sense of scale, and the meaning of physical constraints are concepts entirely foreign to these people. A close reading of Alice in Wonderland would help them grasp the first two. As for physical constraints, they won’t understand that concept until they’re hauled off in straitjackets.

15 thoughts on “Conversation in a Straitjacket

  1. Alice in Wonderland plays with logic and is a prime and early example of the literary nonsense genre. In my judgment those you quote need no further grounding in this and can easily continue adding to their fantasy world. The idea of China being at the forefront of a fight against climate change by curtailing use of fossil fuels is barking and those promoting this fantasy should have reservations at the Hatter’s tea party.

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  2. “In my judgment those you quote need no further grounding in this and can easily continue adding to their fantasy world!”
    Grin! 🙂

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  3. Agreed, Alan and Will. But Lewis Carroll was a lecturer in logic, and “Alice” is full of authoritarian characters who attempt to beat her down with specious arguments. From “Through the Looking Glass:”

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’

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  4. Indeed Geoff but Charles Dodgson based most of his characters on people he knew- some only slightly veiled. This suggests to me that perhaps Brad (or someone like him with a nefarious mind) might turn his considerable talents to pen a facsimile of the Dodgson classique with a climate setting from a suite of well known villains and villainesses. Just imagine – who might be the jabbawocky, the Queen of Hearts (oh the irony count!), the Knave of Hearts, Bill the Lizard? Could be a best seller.

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  5. ‘Heigh-ho,’ sighed Kate. She was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no graphs or projections in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Kate ‘without graphs or projections?’

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  6. Your quotes show the unreality of academia, but the problem goes much deeper. Their world-view rejects science and objective reality, so what else can you expect from postmodern?

    Moderns thought science and technology are good for all, extending our knowledge of the universe and making the world healthier, cleaner, and more productive. Postmoderns say science betrays its elitism, sexism and destructiveness by making the speed of light the fastest phenomenon, thereby unfairly privileging it over other speeds–by having chosen the phallic symbol i to represent the square root of negative one–by asserting its desire to “conquer” nature and “penetrate” her secrets–and, having done so, by having its technology consummate the rape by building bigger and longer missiles to blow things up.

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/inside-the-snowflake-academy/

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  7. Justin Welby is in there too, Geoff. The Church of England is very interested in what ExxonMobil is doing to propitiate the Gods of Climate Change. Oddly, they are not so interested in why nobody wants to go to church unless Pippa’s arse is on show

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  8. Greens are in the process of lovingly crafting an alternative Utopian reality in which ancient, out-moded technology writ large across the landscape, powers modern civilisation. That the actual reality will more resemble a Dystopian nightmare matters not a jot to them. They are in pursuit of a dream, eco-vandals in hob-nail Doc Martins trudging across a pristine meadow, crushing precious flowers and small furry animals and insects underfoot, net in hand, hoping to capture a beautiful butterfly. I detest them viscerally.

    And what do we have at The Conversation? An acknowledgement by a ‘philosopher’ that Greens are failing to inspire widespread ‘environmental passion’ in the US and that the new ‘world leader’ in climate change, China, is likely to do better in this regard because it is not a democracy! I would argue that Greens probably have the same hopes for the EU!

    “I suspect that because of all these hurdles, climate change is not liable to be solved by democracies. Autocracies might do better – like China, for example. Given the severity of its current air pollution – a veritable “airpocalypse” – China’s government does not need to be prodded or persuaded to act; the necessity is obvious, and urgent. And China has the ability to take dramatic measures on climate change and act quickly – just what scientists are calling for – dragging the people with them.”

    His choice of air pollution is weird; 1/ because it bears no relation to non-polluting CO2 which supposedly is driving dangerous climate change, and 2/ because – correct me if I’m wrong – the democratic British government solved a similar dramatic air pollution crisis in the 1950s by introducing the democratically drafted and enacted Clean Air Act 1956. No need for autocratic Communism then.

    But what can you expect from an author who, with a seeming complete lack of self-awareness, says this:

    “As a philosopher, interested in the nature of knowledge and persuasion, I have long wondered why climate change is such a hard sell in the U.S. Is there something about it that makes it liable to doubt, skepticism or inaction?”

    Gods give me strength!

    http://theconversation.com/why-is-climate-change-such-a-hard-sell-in-the-us-78794

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  9. Jaime, thanks, I put a comment under that article:

    Why is climate change such a hard sell ?

    Here are three simple reasons, none of which seem to mentioned in this article (though there is a hint of 2.)

    1. As illustrated here, climate change salesmen use offensive language such as “climate change deniers” to describe people who don’t share their point of view. This is obviously not a good way to win people round.

    2. Climate change salesmen indulge in exaggerated scaremongering, such as “Climate change could render vast portions of the planet uninhabitable and spark widespread wars between suffering populations.” You can easily find examples of ‘experts’ declaring that the Arctic ice will all disappear in 2013, 2015 or 2017.

    3. The modern elitist left – which of course includes the vast majority of academia – has politicised the issue, twisting the science to conform to its own worldview (demonising western civilisation, calling for world governance etc).

    What puzzles me is why sociologists, psychologists and philosophers don’t seem to have thought of asking people who are skeptical what their reasons are. There are plenty of us here to explain it you, if you are interested in listening.

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  10. Yes that pesky freedom thing….I heard some “journalist” talking about how bad it is that there is not one agreed upon narrative to discuss. And for how many decades was the West brow beaten by lefties about tolerance of views, two sides to the story and diversity? And as soon as they control media and the academy….its all “trigger words” and racism and safe spaces, and there is not two sides to a story. The faux academic quoted in this post is just dog whistling for a Mao or Stalin or Pol Pot to clean things up a bit. Is it that he is historically illiterate or is he just a xenocidal sociopath? It doesn’t really matter.

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  11. There are 13 comments on that Conversation article, Paul’s included, and all of them are sceptical/highly critical of the author’s claims. That’s rather satisfying.

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  12. Arguing that it is a good thing that twice as many people are employed in solar as coal misses the point that coal mining is efficient; fastening solar panels on houses is not efficient. The extreme example is subsistence farming, hunting or fishing where essentially everyone is “employed” subsisting and no one is employed doing anything else.

    At the opposite extreme would be a hypothetical energy source that needs only one person (or zero!) to operate it and provide all of the energy needed for a nation. That would extremely good, but not by this logic where good is “how many people are employed” by the thing.

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  13. Michael. But you miss the point made by green “free”-energy proselytizers. We already have an energy source that needs zero persons to operate it and which provides all of the energy needed for the whole world – the Sun. Our task is “merely” to capture and store a tiny part of this energy. Simples! If a dumb dandelion can do it….

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  14. That’s socialism for you. The needless employment of hundreds of thousands of people in pointless, non commercially productive, wealth destroying ‘non-jobs’ with full union representation and workers’ rights; the creation of publicly subsidised ‘non-jobs’ driven, not by the free market but by the top-down imposition of ideological imperatives.

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