Category Archives: Science And Society

Climate McCarthyism

Wikileaks exposed it, from Podesta and Steyer:

Since the uproar, Pielke has quit publishing about climate change. He’s gone on to become a world-leading expert on sports and doping. He now heads the Sports Governance Center at the University of Colorado, which is housed within the university’s athletics department. He has more than 8,000 followers on Twitter and is an active, maybe rabid, tweeter. “I’m having a blast,” he told me. Working on climate change, he said, “you wake up, it’s the same people arguing about the same stuff. In sports, you have no idea what idea you will be writing about. . . . There’s so much going on. There’s so much upheaval.” What lessons did he learn from his stint in the climate-change discussion? He replied that the debate is “almost religious in its intensity.” Instead of having a rational discussion about the best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the debate has become solely “about power, about who gets to speak and whose voices are deemed legitimate.” The smear campaign against him by Romm and ThinkProgress was designed “to make public speech costly.”

The lawsuit against me and others is mentioned as well. What fascists these people are.

Steven DenBeste

Rest in peace.

He was one of the greats of early blogging, and a brilliant man in many fields. I have to confess that I feel partially responsible (though I’m sure I was far from alone) in chasing him away from blogging with an ill-thought email. I think I later apologized, but if I didn’t, Steven, if you can read this, please accept my deepest apologies.

[Tuesday-morning update]

More thoughts from Jim Geraghty.

From Global Warming

…to global greening. Thoughts from Matt Ridley:

Suppose I am right and our grandchildren find that we were greatly exaggerating the risks, and underestimating the benefits of CO2.

Suppose they do indeed experience carbon dioxide levels of 600 parts per million or more, but do not experience dangerous global warming, or more extreme weather, just a mild and decelerating increase in global average temperatures, especially at high latitudes, at night and in winter, accompanied by spectacular global greening and less water stress for both people and crops.

Does it matter that our politicians panicked in the early 2000s? Surely better safe than sorry?

Here’s why it matters. Our current policy carries not just huge economic costs, which hit the poorest people hardest, but huge environmental costs too.

We are encouraging forest destruction by burning wood, ethanol and biodiesel.

We are denying poor people the cheapest forms of electricity, which forces them to continue relying on wood for fuel, at great cost to their health.

We are using the landscape, the rivers, the estuaries, the hills, the fields for making energy, when we could be handing land back to nature, and relying on forms of energy that nature does not compete for – fossil and nuclear.

But there is a further reason why it matters. Real environmental problems are being neglected. The emphasis on climate change as the pre-eminent environmental threat means that we pay too little attention to the genuine environmental problems in the world.

We bang on about ocean acidification when it is overfishing and run-off that is most hurting coral reefs.

We misdiagnose climate change as the cause of floods when it is land drainage and urban development that is the cause.

We claim climate change as the cause of extinctions, when it is invasive species that disrupt and damage ecosystems and drive out rare species.

We say climate change is a threat to air quality, when it is climate policy that has hindered progress in improving air quality.

We talk about losing seabird colonies to warming seas and then build wind farms that slaughter the birds while turning a blind eye to overfishing.

Here’s why I really mind about the exaggeration: it has downgraded, displaced and discredited real environmentalism, of the kind I have devoted part of my life to working on.

I have worked on wildlife conservation projects in India, Pakistan and elsewhere. Climate change is the least of the problems facing birds like the western tragopan, the lesser florican, the cheer pheasant and the grey phalarope, rare species that I once studied and published peer-reviewed papers about.

The climate obsession has used up money and energy and political will that could have been used for getting rid of grey squirrels, for protecting coral reefs, for preventing deforestation and overfishing, for weaning the rural poor in Africa off bushmeat and wood fuel.


I wrote earlier today that I don’t worry about increased concentrations of plant food in the atmosphere. This is part of the reason why.

Colonizing Mars

Is Elon religious enough to do it?

I don’t know, but I think there will be room for plenty of religions off planet, including new ones.

[Update a while later]

A new paper from the White House called “Making Human Settlement of Space a Reality” that contains almost nothing that would actually enable human settlement of space.

[Afternoon update]

Adam Routh wants to do Apollo again.