If I ask you what colour the sky was, you’d say blue. If I asked what colour it was right now where you are, the only way for you to answer correctly would be to go and look. That’s science: the go and look bit. Science is where we try and get past the rote answer and use evidence to understand what’s going on.
There have always been people who don’t like the go-and-look philosophy. Most of the time they’re the same people who would prefer we all take on the listen-to-them philosophy. It rankles with a certain type of person that they can’t just say anything they like without being fact-checked. It used to be religious authority who were most guilty of this; now it seems to be marketers & PR people working for rich corporations, billionaires and politicians. Or at least so the documents about the Heartland Institute released this week would lead us to conclude. (I’ll not go through this, you can read more about it here if you’re interested.
I don’t like this war. To me, if you want to know what colour the sky is, you go and look. If you can’t do that, you use the scientific method to find the most probable answer. You don’t ask yourself, what is the most beneficial answer? And then shout out to everyone who’ll listen that the sky is in fact black-and-white-stripes, punching anyone who disagrees with you in the mouth. The trouble is that in human affairs, what matters most isn’t what you can prove, it’s what you can get people to believe. And the anti-climate-change lobby have been very, very effective at getting the public to accept the idea that there’s any scientific controversy. There isn’t. Human action is causing the climate to change. (The graph in that last link is particularly compelling.)
Over and over again, I encounter the idea that renewables are only being developed for the subsidies; like there are fat cats putting up useless wind farms and then laughing at us all the way to the bank. I’ve seen no evidence for this. Firstly the subsidies are generally paid out alongside the electricity being generated, so that if you build a wind farm in a bad location or if you don’t maintain it you get far less in terms of subsidies. Secondly the expense of building the project and the risk of failure all fall on the developer, and many wind farms do fail at various points after significant time and money has been invested in them; not really something that encourages risky development and then running off with the cash. Thirdly, the renewables lobby, like the climate change lobby, are nowhere near as effective as their various counterparts. And fourthly, electricity prices are driven by gas prices. Renewables aren’t driving profits or costs to any large extent, and a lot of their profits goes back into the next development. Profits which are being invested in infrastructure aren’t lining fat cat pockets.
If there are powerful people with lots of spare money about, they’re not coming from the renewables industry. They’re more likely to be coming from the oil and gas sector. Those are the people who don’t want us to invest in renewable energy which doesn’t require a constant fuel source. Those are the people with both the motivation and the money to actually get their voice heard. And the evidence seems to suggest that they’re using that voice: they’re using it to lie to you.
The worst thing about it is that if we don’t know the facts we make poor decisions. We all want our grandchildren to live on a planet that’s at least as good as the one we have. No-one wants the luxury of a private jet if the direct cost is watching their grandchildren starve in a climate-change induced drought. If we change things now, we can do it slowly, keep the level of technology we have. If we don’t…
Well, the way I see it, if we don’t reduce our reliance on oil and gas we face much bigger problems than just climate change. We face the increasing instability of the Middle East, and hugely fluctuating prices. We face increasingly desperate technologies (like fracking) used in increasingly unsuitable environments. We face dwindling global supplies and perhaps even wars over what remains (the question of who owns North Sea oil if Scotland gains independence will seem tame in comparison). On a human level there could be a global crisis of a level not seen since the second world war. And on top of that we could have hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and monsoons, rising sea levels and dwindling water supplies.
Unless we work to avert it. Now. Little by little.
‘Turbinetastic’ is a wind industry professional who has kindly agreed to syndicate their posts to this blog. This post was originally published on turbinetastic’s own blog on 22/02/2012.
Are these animals the victims of AGW propaganda and alarmism?
One of the most compelling bits of evidence that shows that climate change is real and is happening right now is the fact that species are moving geographically in a way that has never been seen before.
Here’s some links to articles from such notorious warmistas and climate alarmists as the Telegraph, Natural History Museum, the Discovery Channel, the Independent, the Audubon Society and Scientific American.
- Climate change pushing animals further north
- Changing species distribution
- Animals Moving More Quickly From Warming
- Animals can’t keep up with climate change
- Birds and Climate Change: On the Move
- Some Species Face “Move or Die” Scenario under Climate Change
I suppose it is possible that all these animals are just victims of the alarmist AGW propaganda machine . . . but frankly I find it unlikely.
Denialgate – Heartland Institute Internal Documents Leaked
A genuine conspiracy to mislead the American people on climate change has been unmasked tonight with the release of several internal documents from the Heartland Institute, an organisation that has long been suspected of being a major cog in the climate change denial machine.
One document reveals that the Institute pay climate skeptic and defender of the tobacco industry Fred Singer $5K/month, while the weatherman Anthony Watts who runs a popular climate denial blog is on track to receive $90,000 in 2012. Funding is also to be made available to run courses in American schools that cast doubts on climate science.
After this there can no longer be any doubt about Heartland’s role in funding climate disinformation and seeking to undermine the IPCC. We always knew it, but now there is proof that so-called ‘indepdendent’ climate ‘sceptics’ have been getting paid by corporate America. After enduring two years of the ’Climategate’ nonsense the good guys finally have some ammo to fire back.
Now what we need is a whistleblower to shine some light into the dark recesses of our own Global Warming Policy Foundation**.
More via the links below or on Twitter under the hashtag #denialgate . We will attempt to keep this links list updated as the story continues to unroll. Links are in (roughly) chronological order.
DeSmogBlog article with links to the documents - DeSmogBlog (who originally broke the story)
Heartland Institute budget and strategy revealed – from Deep Climate
Is Turnabout Fair Play? - Planet3.0
Guardian article 15/02/2012 - The Guardian
Openness: A Heartland-warming tale - BBC News
Inside the dark Heartland of climate denialism - ThinkOrSwim blog
Heartland Institute attempts to discredit “stolen” papers - Business Green
The Heartland Files and the Climate Fight - Andrew Revkin, New York Times
Climate Denial Bombshell UPDATED - Neorenaissance , Shawn Lawrence Otto
Heartland Documents Reveal Fringe Denial Group Plans - Climate Progress
How is Joe Bast Like Joe Camel? - Climate Denial Crock of the Week
Theft and Apparent Forgery of Heartland Institute Documents - American Spectator fingers Gleick prior to his confession
Climate scientist Peter Gleick admits he leaked Heartland Institute documents - Guardidan 21/02/2100
Scientist who lied to obtain Heartland documents faces fight to save job - Guardian 24/02/2012
** Bob Carter ($12K pa from Heartland) is on the advisory board of GWPF
– which is presumably one of the ‘parallel organizations’ referred to in the documents.
Scepticism is a lazy man’s consolation, since it showed the ignorant to be as wise as the reputed men of learning
- Bertrand Russel, A History of Western Philosophy (1945)
Three nine zero parts per million
What on Earth’s the harm in that?
Climate’s driven by the sun
Cosmic rays are where it’s at.
Global warming propaganda
Warmists on the gravy train
Lying snouting hypocrites
Fly to Cancun on the plane.
Wasn’t that last Winter cold?
Chuck the broken hockey stick!
FOI them, Telegraph it,
Hiding decline with their trick.
Gore’s a carbon billionaire
Climate changes all the time;
Four by fours killed dinosaurs?
You should be in pantomime.
Turbine nonsense solar panels
Telling me to take the bus!
I can see your central heating
You’re no better than all us.
Don’t show me your graphs and figures
No upward trend this past ten years!
Cannot hear you, cannot hear you
Fingers stuck in both my ears.
Loose Cannon Fires A Broadside
That loose cannon on the Scottish political scene Jim Sillars has today published a hysterical article in the Scotsman denying the existence of global warming, belittling climate science and ridiculing Scotland’s ambitions for renewable energy.
He refers to the current scientific consensus on AGW as a ‘lobby’, which is like calling the SNP a ‘minority interest group in Scotland’.
Sillars claims that climatology is ‘in its infancy’ - a particularly stupid statement when you consider the likes of Edmund Halley, who published a map of the trade winds in 1686 after a voyage to the southern hemisphere, or Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), who mapped the course of the Gulf Stream. With the advent of satellite observations and powerful computers climate science experienced a step change though and is now moving forward at a frenetic pace, with every new set of observations and every refinement of atmospheric models confirming that we are engaged on a massive experiment with our atmosphere and climate. The results are uncertain, but they lie across a range from disruptive but tolerable to downright threatening.
Sillars speaks of a ‘delusional world where they believe they . . . can stop the world’s climate warming beyond another 2.5 degrees’ – so apparently he DOES he believe in climate change, but believes action is futile. This is not only the politics of defeatism, but also has more than a whiff of sour grapes.
Sillars has of course instantly become the darling of the denialist blogosphere, being described on the ‘Bishop Hill’ blog as ” an influential Scottish political commentator” within hours of this article appearing. At the same time he has given the Unionists a stick to beat the SNP with by decrying Scotland’s renewable energy targets and ambitions as folly.
So – all in all remarkable double whammy own goal from a man who is allegedly a lifelong supporter of independence but who just can’t miss a chance to get back at old adversaries, not matter what the cost to his country and his planet.