"Delayer-1000 v. Climate Progress Smackdown"
Okay, so the idea of calling the non-skeptical climate disinformers and deniers by the name Delayer-1000’s is not going to take the world by storm [Note to self: Duh!].
Still, I thought you might be interested to see how a back and forth might go, if some hypothetical well-informed delayer-1000 who worked at a hypothetical well-known conservative think tank sent you (and some bloggers and journalists) a hypothetical email explaining the value of the recent delayer-1000 conference:
Second, the conference showed (to those open-minded enough to actually come and listen) the reality that most so-called “skeptics” have been mischaracterized by climate-policy activists. Most (if not all) of the scientists gathered in Manhattan accept the fundamental science of non-enhanced GHG warming, and acknowledge that human GHG emissions have caused and will cause some amount of atmospheric warming, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification. The science debate is (and always has been) about how extensive anthropogenic warming is; whether it will be enhanced by water vapor; whether it will be negated by feedbacks; whether it is overwhelmed by non-anthropogenic forces at work in the climate system; whether climate projections have planning value; and whether the claimed benefits of various climate policies can be validated based on the underlying science of climate change.
Third, the conference was a morale booster for those who suspect that climate change is being exaggerated in order to ram through a political agenda that is basically socialism dressed up as climate policy, and that is being promoted through scare tactics. Such people face an uphill battle because the eco-socialist types have managed to con much of the political classes and mainstream media into the insane belief that their favored policies are the only possible responses to climate change, as endorsed by some authoritarian “big science” that must be obeyed and never questioned. There is a value in pep-rallies - that’s why people hold them.
Just as an aside, this email shows 1) Most of the delayers have moved beyond being pure deniers and 2) what they really hate is the solution — “eco-socialism” (!) — much more than anything else. Now someone like me might reply:
A pep rally for people who apparently want CO2 concentrations to hit 1000 ppm. What a concept!
I would be interested to know your answer to the most important climate question — if you were running national and global climate policy, what level of global CO2 concentrations would be your goal and how would you achieve it?
If you have no answer, or propose no serious policies other than a continuation of business as usual — then I am going to put you down as a “1000 ppm’er” or a Delayer1000 — I’m still working out the kinks for my new naming system….
If I have misunderstood you, if you have a plan for keeping annual carbon emissions this century from coming close to averaging 11 GtC/yr, a plan that does not involve either a deus ex machina or all those hated “socialistic” policies that historically are the only ones that have ever succeeded at achieving serious reductions in a widespread pollutant, then I am all ears….
By the way, the feedback ship sailed a few years ago, and while you may still be at the dock waving, the rest of us know that far from there being any chance that feedbacks could negate the impact of anthropogenic emissions — which would be contrary to all the paleoclimate data in any case — all of the recent observational evidence and scientific analysis makes clear that there are multiple amplifying feedbacks already at work….
Yes, I’m aware this is pointless. But I’m trying out my new naming system, and I wanted some reaction from a geniune delayer-1000. Here is that reaction:
Ah, the uncivil tone of the true believer. If you don’t want their policies, by gum, then you must want the world to burst into flames and for the next 50 generations to suffer! If you don’t answer their question the way they want, by golly, they’re going to come up with a new label to slander you!
Joe, I’m not going to respond to your sneering dismissal of the feedback issue in depth, I’ll only to say that if you actually think the water vapor, cloud, and albedo-change feedback questions are settled, you haven’t read the body of AR4, much less the technical summary.
For the record, I’ve proposed starting with a modest revenue-neutral carbon tax of $15.00/ton of CO2, ratcheted upward in coming years as a domestic policy. We modeled that would cut 11% of CO2 emissions out on an annual basis….
[Better than nothing. It would raise gasoline prices 14¢ (less than 10% of what a few years of George Bush energy policies have accomplished, though). And it won’t come close to stopping 1000 ppm, of course.]
As for your 1,000 ppm world, I doubt very much it’ll happen. You’re assuming that nothing will be done for 150-200 years in terms of progress on low-carbon energy, and that China and India will do nothing even as they choke themselves to death on conventional pollutants, which is exactly the opposite of what history tells us is most likely. Extrapolating trends forward into the far future, while assuming an absence of response is the favored method of alarmists. Such thinking is rubbish. Had I continued to grow at the rate of my first 6 months, I’d be 20 feet tall by now. I’m not.
So the exchange was useful. He has no concentration target, and he clearly identified his policies (though I would like to have seen how quickly he ratchets up the carbon price). So someone like me might still reply:
So it is civil to repeatedly call those who disagree with you “socialists” and suggest we are exaggerating the science because we have a political agenda? My agenda is the health and well-being of the next 50 generations, which will be gravely threatened at 550ppm and ruined irreversibly at 1000 ppm. You seem focused on not overly inconveniencing the richest people on the planet.
I have read AR4, including the first report, which I think you missed. It is the carbon-cycle amplifying feedbacks they — and everyone else but true non-believers — worry about. The AR4 says we face 1000 ppm if we keep emissions rising at current levels for maybe 15 years and somehow manage to freeze them for the next 7 decades, which is far more emissions control than your policy would achieve.
I make no other assumptions. Certainly not waiting 150 years for some deus ex machina (which is a century too late anyway), or expecting China and India to do more than you think the richest country in the world should do.
So I’m gonna put you down as a 1000 ppm’er — since your “doubts” it will happen, sadly, will not weigh much against the force of unconstrained greenhouse gas emissions.
The few people who have kept reading this far can stop anytime you want. But I found his response informative, anyway:
Describing an activist’s agenda is not uncivil, it’s simply accurate. To assign a proper label to a thing is how one communicates clearly. To assign some ludicrous slander-tag like “denier,” “delayer,” and to imply that someone you disagree with has basically malicious intentions and is unconcerned about future generations is the politics of personal destruction, and yes, uncivil.
As to the accuracy of the labels, well, I figure that “by their ends ye shall know them.” While a few a very few climate activists are focused on reducing carbon through technological and other approaches that allow for the survival of capitalism, the vast majority – including yourself, if I understand your position rightly – are only willing to allow policies that are socialist in nature, and involve “perfecting humanity” by legislating the primacy of ecological values; massively redistributing wealth, and putting the means of production into the hands of eco-commissars at the UN. You want these policies even as they’ve been shown to fail spectacularly in Europe, and cause major economic damage. Adaptation, sequestration, nuclear power, geo-engineering are all off the table as solutions as far as most climate alarmists are concerned. So yes, I’d say that ‘eco-socialism’ is an accurate label for such policies.
Well, again we see 1) the problem is the delayer-1000s hate the solution [if hate is even a strong enough word — maybe “despise with ever fiber of their being”], and, worse still, 2) they don’t read my books or blog! So someone like me would reply [and everyone but my mother can stop reading now, seriously]:
Nice try. But you questioned my scientific integrity. Nothing is worse than that. And you are a Delayer. That is the most innocuous term able to come up with that retains a semblance of the truth.
I very much doubt that most delayers have malicious intent — but sadly for future generations, intent is irrelevant. The world’s top scientists and governments have issued their warnings. Pretending they are all part of some conspiracy to exaggerate because they supposedly share a political agenda will not save future generations from the harsh reality of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions.
I have spent my life pushing technological solutions — they don’t reduce emissions (let alone concentrations) absent strong regulations.
… Adaptation is an utterly meaningless term. Of course we’ll “adapt” just like the citizens of New Orleans “adapted” to Katrina. Forcing future generations to “adapt” to 700 to 1000 ppm is morally unconscionable and is an Orwellian use of the word.
“fail spectacularly in Europe”
What are you talking about? The real curbs only kick in this year. Everything before was just an experiment. It is incredible they have gone as far as they can without US participation. If the situation were reversed (U.S. ratified, but not Europe), people like you would be demanding immediate withdrawal.
“and cause major economic damage”
Here you’ve got me very puzzled. Have you looked at the dollar recently? In the last few years, Europe has grown significantly wealthier compared to us. So much for your analysis.
If you’re wondering why any even semi-sane person without a blog to fill up would reply — fear not. This is the end of the email exchange. And of this post.