Most discussed posts of 2008

Who the heck knows what the best posts are? But I do have two quantitative measures of the hottest posts — most comments and most views (Part II).

The most-discussed post received more than 500 comments, a figure I doubt I’ll ever match again! This most comments” list is, I think, a good introduction to what Climate Progress is all about:

44 (comments). Krauthammer, Part 2: The real reason conservatives don’t believe in climate science.

47. The Self-Limiting Future of Nuclear Power, Part 1

48. Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 6: What the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill debate tells us

48. Obama’s strongest message on climate yet: John Holdren to be named Science Adviser

50. American Physical Society stomps on Monckton disinformation — thank you Climate Progress readers

50. Media enable denier spin 1: A (sort of) cold January doesn’t mean climate stopped warming

51. Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 2.5: The fuzzy math of the stabilization wedges

57. Peak Oil? Bring it on!

61. How desperate are climate scientists? Desperate enough to contemplate geo-engineering.

61. What are the near-term climate Pearl Harbors?

64. Plug-in Hybrid FAQ

64. “Nature article on ‘cooling’ confuses media, deniers: Next decade may see rapid warming

64. Hadley Center to delayers (this means you Pielke): We’re warming, not cooling

65. Obama: Climate bill is “good first step” but “not perfect”

66. Is 450 ppm (or less) politically possible? Part 3: The breakthrough technology illusion

66. Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 0: The alternative is humanity’s self-destruction

68. Yes, even low levels of radiation cause harm — and coal plants are worse than nuclear plants*

69. An open letter to James Hansen on the real truth about stabilizing at 350 ppm

72. Physicists forced to reaffirm that human-caused global warming is “incontrovertible”

75. Lake Chad now more like Pond Chad

80. Polluter appeasement — should we question the patriotism of deniers?

81. Michael Crichton, world’s most famous global warming denier, dies

82. How do we really know humans are causing global warming?*

85. Is 450 ppm (or less) politically possible? Part 2: The Solution

91. McCain calls for 700+ new nuclear plants (and seven Yucca mountains) costing $4 trillion

109. Memo to T. Boone Pickens: Your energy plan is half-brilliant, half-dumb

137. EIA bombshell: Offshore drilling “would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030″³

And the winner by a country mile is

525. The deniers are winning, especially with the GOP

[A good follow up to the winner is The Deniers are winning, but only with the GOP.]

Interestingly, I think “most comments” turns out to be a better ranking system than “most views,” as you’ll see. While “most views” seems like a sounder metric on paper, in fact it is rather arbitrarily determined by whether I get picked up by some uber-popular website like Digg.

Note: The above list is (almost) every post that received 50 or more comments, with a few in the 40s thrown in to round out this introductory post for the side bar.

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15 Responses to Most discussed posts of 2008

  1. Wes Rolley says:

    Here is another way to look at these metrics. You would think that a highly partisan Democratic blog would have an interest in global warming and similar issues… but they do not. I just checked the “recommended diaries” at DailyKos today and found:
    – How the arts can nourish a struggling nation (59 comments)
    – What are you reading? (131)
    – I left the Catholic Church today. ( 435)

    By comparison, that about which we are all passionate is not even on the radar screen for most. As I go from blog to blog (Climate Progress, GristMill, DotEarth, intersection) I see the same people posting the same messages and they are not new readers. The point is that maybe we are all talking to ourselves and not reaching a wider audience.

    I am not sure how to do that is some new way that will make things the center of attention. I contribute a periodic column to my own local newspaper. I know that Brian Williams called clean coal an oxymoron on the nightly news. I know that Anne Thompson will be doing a story on the Kingston TVA power plant coal ash spill tonight. But even that has little or no effect. More people get their news from Rush Limbaugh than read this blog, or mine, or even all of the truth tellers put together.

  2. Joe says:

    JR -2008, yes oops, thank you.

  3. alex says:

    “The point is that maybe we are all talking to ourselves and not reaching a wider audience.”

    That is possibly because contributers who basically agrees that AGW is a huge problem that needs to be addressed but does not agree with some of the detail regarding “solutions” posted on this blog gets put on moderation and/or banned (Joe – i.e. me)

    [JR: Uhh, no. You would be the only one who fits in this category.]

    Whatever we have been doing and are doing clearly isn’t working. Joe has been in the middle of the action so does that make him an expert or just part of a failing organisation? A really radical new approach is needed, where cutting carbon comes first and everything else is secondary. Hansen understands this but very few other people seem to.

    I know from efforts at the domestic level that our use of gas and electricity can easily change by a factor three depending on whether I make an issue of it or just let everyone leave everything on 24/7. Scale this up globally by applying the pressure through taxes, prices, regulation and hard limits on fossil fuel extraction and the problem could be solved. It won’t be solved by keeping lifestyles unchanged and hoping for some sort of technogical/political miracle.

  4. David B. Benson says:

    Joe — Given what happened to the tenor of the comments on your ‘most comments’ thread, I think you should treat this as a statistical outlier.

  5. alex says:


    To be honest your blog is just getting plain boring. You seem to understand the gravity of the problem with suitably alarming pieces about total polar meltdown etc., but your “solutions” are too complex, timid and ineffective. We all know that establishing complicated efficiency standards, renewable energy obligations and so on isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference, either in the US or globally. Its like trying to put out a forest fire with a fire extinguisher. Suggesting policy that won’t work just places you with the delayers.

    This air of complacency is echoed by most of the people who comment, but as you weed out the stuff you don’t like maybe that isn’t surprising. I guess the world will need to see some real evidence of climate chaos before the subject is taken seriously. By then it will be too late.

    Anyway, I’ve probably outstayed my welcome so I’ll move on. There is a ton of stuff out there so why linger on one blog that you’re fed up with?

    [JR: Yeah. I’m complacent. Calling for 12-14 wedges in four decades is very complacent. I’d love to see the blogs you frequent by people who are less complacent. Seriously, dude — if you’re gonna leave, just leave. But there is no need to be self-definingly petty.]

  6. Hey Joe,

    Gotta say, your stuff may be complex at times (I scratch my head for a while before I get it at times) but I don’t think it is ‘timid or ineffective’ – just a bit wonky sometimes. I love having this resource as there isn’t anything else like it on the web.

    Keep at it!

    Happy Holidays and New Year,

  7. Kathy N. says:

    Since we are getting a better picture every week about how complex the system is that we have screwed up, we will need equaly complex solutions. On the other hand we can not afford to take as long fixing it as we did at messing it up. I agree with you Joe it will take something big and clearly linked to GW/CC and have a global impact to get all of us on board. I still fear it will come at a price we can’t afford.

  8. Joe says:


    Thanks. a lot of what happens in this city, country, and world makes me scratch my head — but one of my new year’s resolution will be “greater clarity.” Of course, that means more repetition, so it is a fine line to walk.

    I appreciate your work and another resolution will be to feature more of the work of other bloggers here — there is no point in reinventing the wheel and there is just too damn much material to cover!

  9. alex says:

    “Calling for 12-14 wedges in four decades is very complacent.”

    You might call for them, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty you aren’t even prepared to countenance a gas tax. There is an unbridgable gap between your understanding of the problem, the nature of the solutions and what you are prepared to advocate in practice. This might be because (a) you are politically compromised by being (as I understand it) a spokesman for the Democratic party, and (b) somewhat boxed in by what you have already published.

    [JR: I think it is time for you to comment elsewhere. I’m tired of your making stuff up to attack me about, when my positions could not be more clearly articulated and utterly different than what you claim. If you “understand” I’m “a spokesman for the Democratic party” then you probably understand 2+2=5. Try reading my book or my blog sometime, but don’t waste your time trying to make stuff up and post it. BTW, we need a carbon price, not a gasoline price. And, in any case, a price is not they key strategy if you are in the 350 ppm — and not a delayer as you often seem.]

  10. msn nickleri says:

    Thanks. a lot of what happens in this city, country, and world makes me scratch my head — but one of my new year’s resolution will be “greater clarity.” Of course, that means more repetition, so it is a fine line to walk.

  11. cet says:

    yes Joe — Given what happened to the tenor of the comments on your ‘most comments’ thread, I think you should treat this as a statistical outlier.

  12. Pangolin says:

    You still owe us that biochar post. There is a shortage of ways to pull carbon down from the atmosphere, reduce nitrate and methane emissions from farmland and improve crop growth in a world where climate change is destroying crops. People need to know what part of biochar buzz is hype and what is science.

    Otherwise I tend to be most interested in your concise expressions of how climate change is a threat and the time frame of the threat. The “wedge” model of climate change mitigation is also good in that it makes clear that many areas of progress will have to be made simultaneously to make a dent in the problem.

  13. Emerson says:

    Above there are many interesting posts, thanks.