Two of the comments on my too-long piece on the Pielke Nature article have really boiled it down. And then I remembered an old joke that says it best of all.
Joe’s vehemence over this Pielke paper, I think, comes from the fact that unlike some of the commenters here, he is looking at it in the context of Pielke’s past work. In many of his previous writings, Pielke (like other delayers/deniers/skeptics) has worked to convey the messages that global warming might not be the crisis that the IPCC report suggested. His criticisms of global warming activism have tended to be that their recommendations might be too extreme, and so more scrutiny was required. Given that history, it is amazing that Pielke can turn around now and with a straight face argue that the recommendations of the IPCC and activists weren’t radical enough.
It’s the height of irony for skeptics to argue that the IPCC wasn’t alarmist enough on global warming. And it’s the depth of perversity for them to even imply that because global warming is so bad, we shouldn’t bother with the efficiency and decarbonization measures we can actually take now.
And Tyler writes:
I’m tired of calls for more R&D. I can’t count the number of technologies I come across daily that are off-the-shelf, have decent payback, and make a serious dent in emissions by either improving energy efficiency or reducing energy requirements. Based on what I’ve seen in Canada, our universities and startups up humming with R&D, but we’re seriously lacking demonstration and deployment, and programs that assist large-scale deployment in industries that stand to benefit in the long run. It’s a sad situation, and I don’t think government gets this. Articles like the one in Nature put too much emphasis on human ingenuity, like some silver bullet is going to come along and save the day if we simply throw more dollars into R&D. It’s simply foolish.
Precisely. Tyler’s comment reminded me of one of my favorate old jokes, which I’ll reprint from here:
So there’s this huge flood one day, and an entire town looks like it’s going to be swallowed up by the waters. And the Police and Rescue Agencies are running all over the place trying to get people to safety.
So they send the rescue boat over to this house where a guy’s sitting on the roof with the water lapping around his ankles and they say “Come on, quickly, there isn’t much time”
To which he says “Nah, it’s ok, God will Provide”
So about an hour later they’re zooming past in the boat again and they notice the guy’s still there, only the water’s up to his waist, almost at the top of the roof.. “Quick” they say, get in the boat, it’s going to get worst before it gets better.
“Nah, don’t worry – God will Provide”
An hour after that a rescue helicopter flies over the area and notices the guy, who must be standing on the peak of the roof now, with only his head and shoulders out of the water. “GRAB THE ROPE!” they cry “IT’S YOUR ONLY HOPE!”
“Don’t worry” he replies calmly “God will provide.”
So he gets drowned of course. And he goes to heaven, and is a little ticked off with god for drowing him like that, and expresses his concern saying “I had FAITH, I BELIEVED in you – and still you didn’t help me”
“HELP YOU?!” God replies “What MORE did you want – I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”
We’ve been sent energy efficiency and cogeneration, we’ve been sent windpower and solar thermal electric and PV, and hybrid vehicles, and even plug ins — and we haven’t even begun to use those anywhere near the extent that could make deep reductions in national and global emissions. But people are still waiting and waiting and waiting for new technology to save us…..