How can climate change denialism be explained?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by James R, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Irrelevant. The entire industrialized world and the way everyone does things is poisoning the only Earth we have. Even some aspects of fighting climate change poisons the Earth and risks the long term well being of our species, but far less than other endeavors. Not even computer communication is carbon neutral. The only thing that has to change is everything and you cannot begin to imagine what that might mean. That's what conservatism means, an unwillingness to change.
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Which is not totally unreasonable since there is a fairly large and extremely loud contingent of Greenies who want us to return to a preindustrial economy. What we'll do with the billions of people whom a preindustrial economy won't feed is a question they ignore.
    Exactly. Everyone discounts both future pleasure and pain. We'll take the pleasure today rather than accruing interest and saving it for a year in which we might already be dead. And we'll put off the pain as long as possible, increasing the odds that even if it's greater pain, we'll be dead.

    If you can defer something bad for so long that you'll be long gone and your great-grandchildren will have to deal with it, then by today's rules you're a winner. After all, our great-grandchildren will have invented cold fusion, interstellar travel and perpetual motion, so it won't even be that bad a future for them.

    All in all I didn't think this was one of Arthur's less civilized arguments.
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  5. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I think it's inevitable to return to an economy based almost solely on agriculture. This is what the founders envisioned anyway. We won't be feeding billions anymore, only ourselves. But there will be a lot of work to do.

    I think Arthur is attempting to depoliticize the issue by shifting it into the realm of personal responsibility. It's the same thing that capitalists do when they emphasize the importance of charity. Don't even think about changing the system in any meaningful way, just put a band-aid on it called charity.
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  7. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Don't you also think there's a more moderate segment of at least fairly well informed people who lean towards the Greenies, but also understand that economies will move on, with or without starving masses....

    In other words, there probably are some fairly sensible folks who aren't advocating that we cut any corners, but they understand at least that CO2 levels are rising, and they would like our governments to be preparing for contingencies, whatever those may be, by relying on whoever the experts are, for guidance.
  8. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Well said.
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I'll say. Manne's remarks read like an angry political rant. The guy's frustrated, I guess.

    The majority of intelligent people aren't in any position to form scientific judgements for themselves about what, if anything, is happening with the climate. They are stuck in the position of having to accept or reject the word of purported authorities.

    What people like Manne fail to realize is their own insulting and highly politicized rhetoric creates the strong impression in many onlookers that the whole subject of climate change has already devolved into ideology in the guise of science. There may indeed be some kernel of objective truth to what the climate change evangelists are saying, but it's also pretty clear that opportunistic political activists have attached themselves to the cause and are trying their damndest to exploit it for their own ends. It's almost impossible for an outsider to distinguish precisely where objective science stops and political rhetoric begins.

    And that inevitably generates skepticism about the whole subject.
  10. elte Valued Senior Member


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  11. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    No I very well imagine what it will mean.

    I've posted extensively on how much energy we use today.

    What I also know though is that the veracity of any message is considered based on the person giving the message, and so far they have been saying one thing but living a totally different lifestyle.

    So yes, computer communication may not be carbon neutral, but it is many magnitudes more carbon efficient then flying 30,000 people to Bali or Cancun or Copenhagen or Durban, to discuss being carbon efficient.

    What they are saying is important, but their actions are also important.

    They continue to act like business as usual is ok.

    It's not.

    It's time to not only make pronouncements about how people should change, but for those making the pronouncements to make the changes they advocate for the rest of us.

    You know, actually LEAD by example.

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  12. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    We have no shortage of energy.
    Even if we had to depend on just Biofuels, Wind, Solar, GeoThermal, Hydro and Nuclear we would still have far more energy then we need for just agriculture and within a few more decades probably have about 1/3 the energy we have now.

    Of course that would be a change, a significant one, but we would still be far from just an agricultural society.

    Who cares what the founders envisioned?
    They certainly didn't envision the industrial revolution, airplanes, cell phones, computers, automobiles or the internet either.

    Ultimately it is always about personal responsibility. Meaningful change starts by millions of people changing everyday habits and making less wasteful individual choices.

    Just BS
  13. Believe Happy medium Valued Senior Member

    They aren't worried about feeding the billions if we return to a pre-industrial set up. They will be dead from disease long before it matters.
  14. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    1/3 of the energy we use now is not adequate to prevent widespread economic collapse. In the future we need ever increasing amounts of energy. Since that isn't going to happen, even with a combination of alternative energy, we need to re-think our way of life. I'm not saying it's going to be Armageddon, but it will be difficult and we as a nation are totally unprepared.

    Because I think they were correct. Real wealth comes from practical necessities like food, not meaningless pieces of paper or electrons.

    I disagree with this point. I think such an important subject goes beyond some dude deciding to use cloth bags instead of plastic. It should be a political issue. We are, after all, going to have to change everything to become more local, more efficient, and perhaps invest to a larger degree in common tasks and infrastructure. Maybe the federal government will become less important, but local governments will increase in significance.
  15. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    And my point wasn't that we would only have 1/3 the amount of Energy, only that we can produce that much energy with almost no CO2.
    We will continue to use energy and particularly fossil fuels ever more efficiently.

    There is no energy shortage.
    If there were, then there wouldn't be a reason for the concerns expressed by the IPCC about fuel use.

    Well then I guess you think that the AGW issue is totally bogus?
    I mean the entire issue is based on us NOT restraining our use of fossil fuels.
    So just the opposite of what you claim "isn't going to happen" is the actual issue.
    The fear is we will use ever increasing amounts of fossil fuel energy, so much so that we increase the levels of CO2 well past 560 ppm (we are at 390 now, and at recent CO2 growth rates that would be in ~80 years or so).

    There is no shortage of energy.
    There never has been.
    The means we will use to produce it will change, but we won't run out of it.

    It won't be that difficult.
    Indeed the transition has been going on for a long time and so we are very well prepared.
    Indeed, we have the ability to totally replace our vehicle fleet in about 15 years time, so there is no worry that we can't adapt as fast as we need to.

    LOL. Food turns to Shit in no time.

    Real weatlh is what we learn and what we create and ultimately what we leave for the next generation to admire, use and build upon.

    180 degrees off the mark.

    We will become more GLOBAL, not more locally focused.

    Why do you think China is doing so well?

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Balderdash. We're already two Paradigm Shifts past the Bronze Age, the last level of civilization in which agriculture was the dominant economic activity. The Industrial Revolution automated agriculture, freeing up 97% of the population to invent more enjoyable, interesting and valuable professions--which are also considerably less hard on the human body. The Electronic Revolution continues that trend, with the new wrinkle that electronic systems use far less energy than industrial systems.

    Commuting alone accounts for one-fourth of America's petroleum usage, and when the new generation of kids who have been using cellphones, online databases and webcams since birth take over, only a small percentage of the population will have to "go to work." Other post-industrial efficiencies will reduce energy use even further.
    The founders were nice guys but they could barely glimpse what the Industrial Revolution was going to do to America, much less electronics.
    Then who's going to feed the billions? Digitally controlled industrial farming needs to be performed on a fairly large scale or it becomes too labor-intensive and too resource-inefficient, and we end up halfway back to the Stone Age. Maybe you're one of the neo-hippies who thinks it would be romantic to grow your own tomatoes, but my mother had a vegetable garden back in the 1950s and I never want to see another tomato plant close up as long as I live. Besides, it was a terribly inefficient and expensive way to feed a family. What a colossal waste of water!
    And most of it will be done sitting down, as it is today.
    My screed about the future of capitalism has been posted on this forum about ten times. The huge concentrations of capital that were necessary for the monstrous projects of the Industrial Revolution are no longer needed. The era of the mega-corporation is lurching to a close as they scavenge each other's rotting corpses, pick off a few useable shards, and then fall into the pile. A few large companies that provide the infrastructure of the Information Age, such as FedEx, Apple and Google, will survive, but they won't have the critical mass to dominate government like today's corporate class. The corporation is arguably an artifact of the Industrial Era and may fade into history.
    Sure, but those people don't yell at us like the extremists at both poles do.
    Which will probably be the peak value for all history. Some processes are becoming more energy-efficient, such as lighting. Conservation measures are working, such as better insulation in dwellings and more diesel engines. And energy-intensive activities are being phased out, such as commuting, which I already covered.
    Say what you want about opposable thumbs and controlled fire, but I think what distinguishes humans from all other animals is our capacity for cognitive dissonance.

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    The day will come when most travel requiring an engine will be for recreation and/or socializing.
    I remember a few years ago there was a conservation conference in Brazil. After hours the delegates went out for some fun, and one carload found itself a little farther from town than they had intended to be. A huge crowd of rural folks rushed over and were very enthusiastic to meet them. The delegates thought this was a great opportunity to preach to them about conservation. No no no. They all had one question: How can I get a nice big car like the one you're using?
    Have you ever tried to explain to your boss that you, he, your company, your customers, your country, and the entire human race would be better off if he let you work at home? Did you count the number of reasons he had rehearsed for saying No?
    Not clear. As I already suggested, the Industrial Era may have been the human race's high watermark for per-capita energy consumption.
    Transportation is our biggest single energy-guzzler in the USA, and we've made tremendous strides. The average car got about 17mpg back in the 1950s when they all had tail fins, and nobody car-pooled. Most of the kids who had cars in high school had "hot rods" that used even more gas than that. But beyond that, today's houses have better insulation, we're moving away from incandescent lightbulbs, and even our solid-state electronics use less energy than vacuum tubes.

    Wait for the sea change when the MOMRPG generation goes to work... by staying home. "What do you mean, I need to be sitting next to somebody in order to work together?"
    Ah, the Luddites are still with us. "Wealth" is whatever we value. Software and databases are extremely valuable, as are recorded music and TV shows.
    Ridiculous! We now have the technology to transcend provinciality, and it's dirt cheap! Americans wept over the real-time cellphone videos of Neda Agha Soltan being gunned down in a street in Tehran. That is not local. This connectivity is what will damp down our tendency to fight war. When we all have friends everywhere, nobody's going to want to shoot anybody.
  17. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Not likely.

    The world is going to add about 2 Billion more people, maybe more, over the next 40 years.

    The use of energy will continue to climb well past mid century.

    And while you keep saying that transportation energy use will go down, nothing suggests that is likely:

    Motor vehicles produced:

    1997 54,434,000

    2000 58,374,162

    2005 66,482,439

    2010 77,857,705

    So in just 13 years, even though our cars last longer, our annual production of motor vehicles has grown by over 40% and last year China alone produced almost 20 million of them.
  18. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    The demand for energy will increase, but the supply will not.
  19. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    China has cheap labor, so they are making money. It's a race to the bottom.

    I don't think GW is a bogus issue. As we get more desperate for energy we will use every source we can find, and that includes very dirty and inefficient sources like coal and tar sands. While I do think to some extent the loss of prosperity will essentially end our growth, the damage will probably already have been done. At that point we must focus our efforts on adapting to the new conditions rather than prevention.

    You are delusional regarding our state of preparation and our tremendous investments in infrastructure with no future, like suburbia and the interstate highway system.
  20. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    And yet it always has.

    You might wait on making these pronouncements AFTER our year to year energy production actually does go down.

    According to IEA total world energy supply was:

    1990 - 102,569 TWh
    2000 - 117,687 TWh
    2005 - 133,602 TWh
    2008 - 143,851 TWh

    We have no shortage of energy.
  21. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    You don't make 18 million cars a year because you have cheap labor.

    You vastly underestimate the Chinese production capability.

    Actually all sources continue to rise, but the main difference is we burn coal much cleaner than we used to.

    Not at all.
    We are the world's second largest producer of Renewable energy and it is increasing at a rapid pace.
    At the same time our energy consumption per $ of GDP continues to fall.

    Our suburbs are not doomed any more than those in Europe are with gas costing twice as much as it does here.
  22. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Again, delusional. Clean coal is a delusion. Pace is not the same thing as total energy, in many respects, this is just greenwashing.

    Europe has a good rail system, and they don't have sprawl like we have in America. I've been there, I know.
  23. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    So you lack the ability to make predictions based on known reserves? That's why we are sleepwalking into an uncertain future.

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