RNC Delegate Fredericks: “I am gonna go with Charles Krauthammer” on global warming

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"RNC Delegate Fredericks: “I am gonna go with Charles Krauthammer” on global warming"

Why is the ignorance of national conservative pundits on energy and climate issues so important? Why do I spend time debunking the Krauthaumers of the world?

Because a large number of conservatives rely on them in forming their opinions on complex issues like global warming. After all, who among us has time to be expert on every subject? The role of conservative pundits is doubly dangerous because they don’t merely spread misinformation to the conservative base, they tell them it is not an important or first-tier issue worthy of their attention. They preach malign neglect.

A good example of how this plays out is an interview my brother Dave did with a Melinda Fredericks, a delegate to the Republican National Convention — see here or use the new widget:

The whole interview is rather long, but the climate stuff is relatively early on:

ROMM: Well, what about your stance on things like, say, global warming?

FREDERICKS: Ya know, I am gonna go with Charles Krauthammer on that and call myself “a global warming agnostic.”

ROMM: Which means what?

FREDERICKS: Which means that there is so much talk, and I’m not – I haven’t, I haven’t myself gone through what yet is truth on either side. But there’s enough committed people who I think um, deserved — who have credibility, that deserve to be listened to on both sides. And um, so, I’m, I uh, I’m just not sure yet, what I believe on that. But I respect. Um. I respect that there are, that there are those who are listening and aware that we may truly have a problem. And we need to, uh, make sure that we address it. In the event that there is.

It should be as outrageous and out of the mainstream to say you are “agnostic” on global warming as to say you are agnostic on nuclear proliferation or breast cancer or 9/11. But it isn’t. Why? Because it is a position articulated by seemingly credible people with a big megaphone, like Charles Krauthammer — and George Will and Gregg Easterbrook.

The only thing more shameful than not thinking for yourself is letting shameless non-thinkers do it for you.

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30 Responses to RNC Delegate Fredericks: “I am gonna go with Charles Krauthammer” on global warming

  1. Bob Wallace says:

    Agnostic.

    Perhaps only a trolley stop on the route to reality.

    Only the Mormon Church is allowed ‘revelations’. Others have to change their positions via a series of steps in order to place their discarded statements far behind them.

  2. paulm says:

    Its starting to get even more scary….

    Roll back time to safeguard climate, expert warns

    Cleaning the atmosphere of all man-made carbon dioxide is the only way to
    prevent the worst impacts of global warming, one of Europe’s most senior
    climate scientists has warned

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/15/climatechange.carbonemissions

  3. paulm says:

    I think Ike will make Bush a AGW believer now that his home state has been trashed!

    Looks like a big one every 2-3yrs now…goodbye insurance industry.

  4. Ronald says:

    Republican politicians know how much of a ruckus the commentators on talk radio can cause. Not long ago there was a bill being pushed by Pres. Bush and other Republicans about the illegal immigrant problem. Talk radio was able to stir up enough of a backlash against it that Congress recieved millions of e-mails and phone calls. Taught everybody where the much of the power is.

    Politicians can do something in office only if they are elected. Doesn’t matter if they solve problems for people who will be voting in 50 years, they only count the votes of those who voted this year.

  5. rpauli says:

    Ideology requires that Republican neo-cons tend toward denialism

    The root of the blame for AGW is rapacious capitalism
    The solution is more government and radical industry restrictions.
    Faced with global survival, humans will require a form of totalitarian communism.

    Hence AGW is the total enemy for conservatives.

    Right now their only course is to deny it is even there.

  6. Ronald says:

    rpauli,

    You couldn’t be more wrong. Solving the global warming problem will need markets, innovation and regulation reforms. It will not and should not be solved with communism. That you would call for communism is rediculus.

    Why more government? Why not less? Let’s eliminate property taxes and sales taxes and only tax fossil fuels to pay for government. That would solve much of the problem without changing the level of taxation.
    (not that we would have to go to that extreme)

    That we don’t have a tax on carbon/carbon dioxide, but we have large taxes on sales, property, income and social security is part of the problem. get a price for carbon and that will make a difference, not to go ‘totalitarian communism.’ That’s nuts.

  7. Mark Shapiro says:

    Ronald, I certainly like the policy of carbon taxes to replace or reduce income or other taxes, but obviously we all want carbon consumption to go to zero. Hence I would propose a raw materials tax, which would encourage conservation in mining, forestry, and fisheries, as well as energy.

    But this discussion is mooted by the ironclad rule in today’s politics that you may only say the word “tax” immediately followed by the word “cut”, except when you are trashing your opponent.

    OT completely, a couple years ago I asked if CSP could be used for energy intensive industrial processes like aluminum smelting, iron and steel, and glass. The answer was that these processes needed high temps continuously for several days. But now CSP is designed with storage, such as molten salt.

    Hmmm. . . Is it time to reconsider CSP for industry? How about glass? The desert southwest has reliable sunshine and lots of sand. Someone call Corning.

  8. Bob Wallace says:

    The root of global climate change denial seems to spring from Ronald Regan’s administraton.

    A recent article published in the UK Sunday Times describes how Regan received two very high level reports that described what was happening and he chose to shop for a third opinion that allowed him to disregard the warning.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4690900.ece

    We’re (hopefully) reaching the last days of the Regan cult, his ideas have been tried and shown to fail. Now we might be a bit more able to proceed using reality rather than myth.

    As for communism – failed even worse than Reganism.

    Look around you and you will see the great capitalistic machine gradually reorienting itself away from fossil fuels and in the direction of green energy and conservation.

  9. Earl Killian says:

    Mark Shapiro, CSP+TES+CHP?

    Of course if more people move to the desert Southwest to work in those heat-intensive industries, it will be more AC and more water problems. I guess we need robots… :-)

  10. Earl Killian says:

    Bob Wallce, Naomi Oreskes traces the start of the denial movement to the fall of Communism, which left the George C. Marshall Institute with its role supporting Reagan’s Star Wars program in question, and they turned their attention to global warming starting in 1989 (the IPCC having been formed in 1988). Reagan was hostile to science and anything environmental, but I would speculate that global warming was probably just another environmental issue to him. Reagan was followed by Bush I, who while a disaster on many things, at least decided to swallow some scientific advice on global warming and so reversed himself and went to 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which started the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which Bush I then signed and had ratified in the Senate (probably the last global warming treaty the Senate will ratify for a while). Unfortunately the Marshall Institute was beginning to work its evil by then, and you know the outcome.

  11. Mark Shapiro says:

    Earl – Yes to CSP+TES+CHP! And, all residents of the Southwest should have passive solar HVAC plus rainwater collection, not just the new solar industry workers.

    Meanwhile, let’s hope that the economy doesn’t collapse thanks to Phil Gramm’s deregulation of the $45 trillion credit default swaps market . . .

  12. Anne says:

    The global warming denial machine has been diabolically effective, we are still seeing the ripple effect, the fallout, the devastation in public opinion as a result of a few mega oil corporations paying some fringe “scientists” to lie about the problem.

    If only this negative energy had been spent on something constructive and positive, we would be eons ahead in our fight to “avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable” impacts of global climatic disruption.

    Good for you for staying on top of these liars. Krauthammer is wrong on just about every social issue, he is an apologist for corporate thugs. I’d like to see his financial portfolio…. how is the “blood for oil” money laundered to reach his account?

  13. Dano says:

    I think one of the key issues here is how the Republicans/denial industry/corporations are able to effectively frame their message to be resonant not only to a certain ideology, but some fence-sitters as well.

    This was worried about and written on by Schellenberger and Nordhaus. Their thesis was that the environmental movement was ineffective at moving people, for reasons explained in the essay (and followups).

    The denialism industry/right wing is verrrrry effective at moving people. We see this in so many areas. The environmental movement/Progressives are not. And I’m a social Progressive.

    Best,

    D

  14. Robert says:

    It will be interesting to see if the “most powerful economy in the world” actually exists once the Wall Street casino has finished dismantling itself.

    In the meantime does anyone seriously expect global warming to be a priority?

  15. Bob Wallace says:

    Harris poll, earlier this year…


    1. Consistent with a previous poll during April (2008), a clear majority (63%) of likely U.S. voters consider it important that the next president initiate strong action to address climate change soon after taking office. Those most likely to vote tend to consider this issue of even greater urgency.
    • 38% believe it is extremely or very important that the president takes strong action to address climate change soon after taking office. This percentage increases to 42% among those absolutely certain to vote.
    • Only 16% believe it is not at all important.

    I read that as only 16% are ‘true’ deniers. 84% of Americans feel that global climate change is happening.

    And by extension 84% of Americans feel that humans play a major role in causing climate change otherwise how could they expect the US President to do anything about it?

    Denier-ville is loosing its inhabitants. Before long it will be populated by the sort of crackpots who post “US Out of UN” signs in their lawns, go on and on about the ‘grassy knoll’, and attend Big Foot get-togethers.

    I really think a lot of the noise that we hear from the right about climate change is simply loudmouths who feel that they have to shout the approved slogans in order to support the party. I suspect a goodly number don’t actually believe what they say in public.

    Just like all the ‘family values’ stuff….

  16. David B. Benson says:

    paulm — Thanks for the link. This is similar, but more strigent than Dr. James Hansen’s similar, earlier warmings, about which he continues to write.

    My simple analysis is:

    1750 CE (pre-industrial) 280 ppm; Alpean glaciers advancing;
    1850 CE 288 ppm; glacier advance stops in the Alps;
    1958 CE 315 ppm; glaciers in Alps retreating about 4 m/y

    and based on this, after correcting for elevated levels of methane, aersols, etc., indeed around 280 ppm CO2e appears safe and returns the climat4e to a more-or-less understood state.

  17. David B. Benson says:

    Dano — What is an antisocial Progressive? :-)

  18. rpauli says:

    Denialism may just be a business tactic.

    Figure Exxon $40Billion, Coal industry, all the carbon fuels are big big business. It is easy to imagine their very happy stockholders demanding that these huge profits keep flowing. They might even expect an industry group to spend a few hundred million to assure friendly US laws, and to divert any challenges to the fundamentals. And to change public opinion. Delay is all they want. They know it is toxic to life.

    Of course. It fits.

  19. llewelly says:

    The root of the blame for AGW is rapacious capitalism
    The solution is more government and radical industry restrictions.
    Faced with global survival, humans will require a form of totalitarian communism.

    In N America and Western Europe, acid rain was greatly reduced by use of lightly regulated markets – a cap-and-trade program on which modern suggested carbon emissions cap-and-trade markets are based. Emissions of ozone-destroying gasses were also greatly reduced by similar modest regulation of markets.
    (Furthermore – Obama, in all his writings, is clearly convinced that many corporate officers can be convinced that the urgency of the problem justifies their co-operation, greatly reducing the need for heavy-handed enforcement.)
    The notion that environmentally inspired regulation is necessarily communist originates from dishonest anti-environmentalists who worked very hard (and with great success) )to associate environmentalism with something widely despised – communism.
    Although it seems greens have had somewhat more political success in socialist-leaning democracies, totalitarian communist regimes have (with a few exceptions) had deplorable environmental behavior.

  20. David B. Benson says:

    Here is a news article in which Dr. James Hansen outlines his climate concerns and offers a solution:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/phase-out-coal-and-burn-trees-instead-urges-leading-scientist-929889.html

    I agree that some biomass oriented (partial) solution is required but that it would be far better for everyone to start growing plants and turning some into biochar worked into soils.

  21. Paul K says:

    So many – who probably wouldn’t let a Republican in their house – are so expert on what Republicans think. The majority of Republicans believe, as I do, in the necessity of replacing fossil fuel. Many are already involved in the transition. Granted, a majority are no doubt skeptics and even deniers at least of the more catastrophic AGW projections. There seems to be an almost willful inability to recognize other valid reasons for seeking the same goal.

  22. David B. Benson says:

    Paul K — I’d certainly let Dr. James Hansen, a Republican, in my house.

  23. Paul K says:

    David B. Benson,
    And I’d be happy to have you both at mine.

  24. Bob Wallace says:

    And I let my Republican friends in my house.

    Of course they have to bend, touch their foreheads to the ground three times, and beg my forgiveness. But I do let them in….

    Problem is Paul, the majority of Republicans might believe, as you do, in the necessity of replacing fossil fuel but what we see with our lying eyes is Republicans shouting “Drill Baby, Drill!!!” and selecting a VP who is a climate change denier.

  25. Mark Shapiro says:

    Drill, baby, drill means burn, baby, burn.

    Republicans are the new dirty hippy radicals.*

    *Some individual republicans may be quite nice.

  26. Dano says:

    Benson asked:

    Dano — What is an antisocial Progressive? :-)

    ;o)

    Funny guy. I’m an economic conservative & social and environmental Progressive (but I don’t use a Venn diagram to graph their relationship).

    At any rate, many await the return of true conservatives to the Murrican political scene, as these people in power now are plunderers and not conservative.

    Plunderatives? Plundercrats? Plundericans?

    Best,

    D

  27. David B. Benson says:

    Plundercrats — Good term, that.

  28. David B. Benson says:

    Kleptocrats is the traditional term.

  29. Alyssa R. B. says:

    mabye people should start caring about the world more than thier stupid computers……….who cares who the next president is, who cares that thwe world is coming to a end…exactly no one does……………………………………………………….

  30. shop says:

    Republican politicians know how much of a ruckus the commentators on talk radio can cause. Not long ago there was a bill being pushed by Pres. Bush and other Republicans about the illegal immigrant problem. Talk radio was able to stir up enough of a backlash against it that Congress recieved millions of e-mails and phone calls