Or so argues KK. I have some sympathy for him. Discuss :-)

Update: so, read the comments, they are interesting (to me at least). No-one has any sympathy for my sympathy.


* Brian’s view of the same post.


  1. #1 Eli Rabett

    Eli prefers the Pirates who at least are serious.

  2. #2 dhogaza

    I have no sympathy with his strawman description of environmentalism at all. In particular, equating “anti-technology” with being opposed to nukes or GMOs is just a bit crazy.

    Take GMOs, for instance. One concern with Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready crops (corn and soybeans dominate here in the US at least) was that the resulting indiscriminate use of Round-Up had a high risk of leading to selection and flourishing of round-up resistant weeds.

    On the plus side, a great reduction of the use of atrazine on the vast corn (maize) fields of the US, which has led to groundwater contamination in some cases. Round-up has a short half-life which makes it relatively harmless.

    Which brings us to the minus side – Round-Up (glyphosphate) is the one herbicide that’s widely used to attack invasives on lands managed for conservation. It’s hardly anti-technology to worry about GMOs leading to indiscriminate use of glyphosphate leading to the rise of resistance in the wild leading to glyphosphate being less useful in the role for which it was originally developed – as an herbicide for spot use directly applied to target plants.

    More minus side – the rise of resistance is really inevitable (read about DDT and insect resistance when it was used indiscriminately, and Rachael Carson’s “anti-technological” yet correct concerns in this regard, as opposed to spot use). Those who predicted that the usefulness of Round-up Ready GMOs plus Round-up would have a limited lifetime were labeled anti-tech environmental extremists, etc, however … as predicted … glyphosphate-resistant weeds were first identified about 15 years ago and now there are a couple of dozen pest species growing freely in Round-up treated fields.

    So effectively that Dow has a new GMO technology about to be certified that gives resistance to 2,4-D which they plan to market exactly to those farmers who are finding out that Round-up Ready crops + Round-up no longer provide the fantastic weed control benefits that was the only reason for their existance in the first place.

    Of course, if Dow’s new GMO tech is widely adopted you’ll have a couple of decades of bliss, after which you’ll see the rise of equally-annoying weeds resistant to 2,4-D.

    Other “anti-tech” arguments against Round-Up Ready included the prediction that overspray and dispersion by winds would lead to non-crop plants near corn fields being killed, possibly impacting butterflies and the like.

    Again, laughed off the field.

    Yet we’re now seeing published papers linking declines in milkweeds in the mid-west to mass use of glyphosphate made possible by round-up ready crops, and linking this to the marked decline in monarch butterflies seen in the last couple of decades (monarchs feed exclusively on a handful of milkweed species).

    So there was a fair amount of reasonable extrapolation (indiscriminate use of pesticides and herbicides eventually leads to resistance, overspray and wind dispersion would lead to the killing of useful non-target species away from actual fields) based on reasonably sound science.

    Industry managed to shortstop nearly all field testing here in the US and managed to put themselves in control of what field testing is required. That led to an increase in my own personal cyncism regarding the technology. When an industry insists on minimal regulatory interference with the deployment of new technology, you gotta wonder what they fear increased scrutiny might uncover.

    Now the “frankenfood” nonsense based on totally unscientific beliefs that eating GMOs will cause horrible problems in people is another story altogether. But recognizing this doesn’t mean that a lot of the resistance to the deployment of GMO technology seen here in the states (I concentrate on round-up ready crops because that was the first huge deployment of GMO technology impacting all of the soybean/corn producing states here in the US) was necessarily baseless scientifically. In fact, I’d say that the fact that various predictions having come true would argue the opposite.

    Having said all this I personally was a bit of a fence-sitter regarding round-up ready crops (though critical of Monsanto’s motivation, which was largely to greatly boost use of Round-Up so as to extract maximum profit before its patents ran out). Atrazine use on corn has greatly diminished – as predicted – and that’s a good thing.

    Overall I still think it’s a win but am questioning it as I was one of those who, after attempting to educate myself, felt that resistance in the wild would develop a lot slower than it has, in fact. Farmers here are a bit shocked because Monsanto more or less claimed it would *never* happen.

    You may disagree or agree with the above, but I do hope you get the point that Keith’s claim that opposing GMOs is necessarily “anti-technology” is, to be kind, unconvincing?

  3. #3 Nathan

    It’s a pretty superficial post. Devoid of evidence… It’s armwaving with some name calling thrown in. I’d say it’s a Postmodern essay, all form and no substance.

    Comparing Environmentalism to Religion is particularly stupid.

  4. #4 carrot eater

    I can’t comment on dhogaza’s treatise on Roundup, but I will say that most visible opposition to GMO has been silly and emotionally based, not scientifically based.

    But I suppose it’s unfair to any concept to judge it by the activists supporting it. Whatever the cause, the activists are often fervent, earnest, idiots. But that doesn’t necessarily say anything about the underlying scientific basis.

    I’m also not so sure the Pirate parties are in any way serious. Well, they take themselves seriously, I guess.

  5. #5 dhogaza

    carrot eater:

    but I will say that most visible opposition to GMO has been silly and emotionally based, not scientifically based.

    It’s also true that “Frankenfood” arguments against GMOs aren’t *environmentally* based, but rather attempt to scare people that GMOs will hurt their health.

    Likewise economic and farmer’s rights arguments against Monsanto’s aren’t *environmentally* based arguments.

    Also claims made by industry that convinced the US congress to essentially strip the federal goverment of regulatory authority regarding the deployment of GMOs were no more science-based than the over-the-top claims of harm to biodiversity made by the likes of Greenpeace.

    Regardless, making one’s support of nukes or GMOs a litmus test for being “anti-technological” or not, as Kloor does, is just dumb.

  6. #6 Rattus Norvegicus

    I can comment on dhogaza’s treatise having followed this story for quite a while. What dhogaza said, except that I was less sanguine to begin with.

  7. #7 Steve Bloom

    Kloor is not and has never been an environmentalist, and doesn’t much care for them. Or rather, he only likes the sort of environmentalists who are enthusiastic about compromise, which begs the question of whether such folk are environmentalists at all. I would say not. In any case, his views on this subject are of no value, as the comments there amply demonstrate.

    Re GMOs, there’s more than a small concern about the potential for designer plagues that Kloor ignores entirely.

    Re nukes, if he had any technical competence he might be worth paying attention to. He doesn’t.

    Why the sympathy?

    [With the basic message; I wasn't really interested in the details. I'm someone who would call themselves "green", but I've stopped paying any attention to what any of the env movement says -W]

  8. #8 Quiet Waters

    Is there anything in dhogaza’s post that doesn’t apply to conventional herbicides?

  9. #9 Eli Rabett

    Well, yes and know. GMOs can reproduce themselves, conventional herbicides not so much. There were proposals early on that GMOs would have to incorporate suicide genes for that reason.

  10. #10 carrot eater

    To further Quiet Waters’ question – we’ve been genetically modifying stuff for millenia through breeding. If we’re standing around identifying possible risks to GMO, don’t some of those risks apply to anything else, too?

    [I've heard people saying this, but I don't think its plausible. In fact I think its close to a dishonest argument - although that may just be my failure to understand what the gene-splicing stuff is about. The chances of moving naughty genes about are much higher than in the husbandry style of change -W]

  11. #11 Quiet Waters

    This is a newsworthy issue in the UK at the moment – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17906172 where the scientists are appealing to protesters ‘as environmentalists’ not to trash their trial. This isn’t a resistance gene but a gene that produces an aphid alarm pheremone (one that is found in e.g. mint plants).

    Eli, crop volunteers tend to die out of their own accord due to competition and only tend to be seen in any great numbers on disturbed ground, whether resistant or not. Arable weeds have the same competition pressure, though some species do do as well if not better in non-ruderal habitats, the question with this group then being: is resistance developed through cross-pollination any different to resistance evolved through exposure to the herbicide? Which then refers to my original question regarding conventioonal herbicide use.

  12. #12 Eli Rabett

    Steve Bloom pretty well expressed Eli’s POV (as well as thingsbreak, Marlow, Tim Burden and others to be named later over at Kloor’s). While the framing is important, Dean in the first comment at Collide-a-Scape nailed the purpose, by congratulating Keith on reaching a level where he could be named a fellow of the Breakthrough Institute. Kloor seeks to establish the Breakthrough Institute and its allies as the “real” environmentalists. To do so requires disestablishmentenvironmentalotherorganizationism of the the highest order, and, of course, the ritual piss on Romm statement.

  13. #13 dhogaza

    Quiet Waters:

    Is there anything in dhogaza’s post that doesn’t apply to conventional herbicides?

    Round-Up is a conventional herbicide, an extremely non-specific one, that happens to be relatively benign except to those plants it is applied to. So I don’t fully understand your question.

    Typically Round-Up is used applied to individual pest plants. I’ve used it to keep the Tree of Heaven from overruning my own yard, for instance. Spot use of this sort is unlikely to lead to the widespread emergence of resistance.

    Round-Up Ready corn and soybeans allow for the massive drenching of a significant portion of the north american continent with Round-Up.

    It’s this massive use that almost inevitably has led to the rise of resistant weed species. That massive use is only made possible by GMO corn and soybeans (unless we were to decide to defoliate Vietnam or some such).

    So there’s nothing here that’s not familiar to those who are aware of the rise of anti-biotic resistant staph in hospitals. And not just staph and not just in hospitals, various anti-biotics are far less useful than they were when introduced. Ditto Round-Up. It’s becoming less useful.

    Monsanto doesn’t argue against any of this, BTW. They just blame the farmers for using more than the recommended amount of Round-Up.

    But, sure, in a sense you’re right. Massive use of herbicides will lead to the rise of resistance, just as is true with antibiotics and pesticides. GM technology was just an enabler regarding Round-Up, making such massive use possible where it would not be without.

  14. #14 dhogaza


    With the basic message; I wasn’t really interested in the details. I’m someone who would call themselves “green”

    So you agree with his basic message that you are anti-technological?

    Sometimes details matter …

    [No; with his basic message that the env movement has come to be seen as anti-tech -W]

  15. #15 Eli Rabett

    There is a great business book to be written about Monsanto pretty much getting out of the chemistry and recreating itself as a bio-ag company based on Round-up-Ready seeds and BST.

  16. #16 dhogaza


    No; with his basic message that the env movement has come to be seen as anti-tech -W

    Well, no, that’s not what he said. He said “Environmentalism is anti-technology. ” No “has come to be seen as”, no qualifier at all.

    All of it. Everyone. No exceptions. Including ‘ole green you.

    Underlying this is his belief that there are no legitimate concerns regarding GMOs, nukes, fracking … which is false.

    [Well, I wasn't reading him literally. Indeed I only really skimmed his post. But it resonated with me -W]

  17. #17 Quiet Waters

    i think there’s some traction in the idea that environmentalists tend to be left-leaning in the main and with that political outlook comes a distrust of big business and multinationals. As these tend to be the drivers of technology such as GM, nuclear, vaccinations etc. then there will be a politically driven push against them. This goes the same for his third argument (the de-growth brigade).

    Not anti-technology, more anti-profit-from-technology (which is definitely not the same thing, but could be seen as such from a right-leaning perspective).

  18. #18 Ian Forrester

    We should be more specific in our description of this technology. The use of the term “GMO” allows the promoters to say “we have always used genetic modification in improving crops”. This is similar to the AGW deniers always insisting “climate has always changed.”

    What we are talking about is a very specific use of “genetic modification”, rDNA technology (recombinant DNA). This involves transfer of genes from one species to other entirely unrelated species. The gene product itself, in the case of glyphosate resistance may be harmless to the consuming organism but there is every likelihood that other genes transferred during the recombination may cause problems. These include a promoter gene and anti-biotic resistance genes. Everyone should now be aware of the problems with the promiscuous transfer of anti-biotic resistant genes but we can not be sure that the promoter gene is 100% innocuous.

    As well as these problems with Roundup Ready crops, the other main use of rDNA technology is the production of BT crops. BT is an insecticidal protein produced by a soil bacterium. The genes for these proteins (there are a number available) are transferred into the crop. The original BT proteins have been well documented as safe.

    However, the proteins produced by the crop are not identical to the native proteins. Once proteins have been synthesized on the ribosomes some undergo what is described as “post translational modification”. The genes specifying these modifications are the ones in the new host, not the ones where the modification was carried out in the bacterium.

    Thus the BT proteins produced in the crop are not identical to the BT proteins which were tested for safety. Post translational modification has many effects on proteins, one in particular is the stimulation of the immune system. This may be the reason why a number of recent reports have found problems when test animals have been fed BT crops.

    Promoters of rDNA technology keep on repeating that second generations of rDNA crops are in the pipeline, crops which will be drought resistant or saline resistant. However, the best results in producing such crops come not from the rDNA labs but from a newer technology called “marker assisted breeding”:


    If this technology lives up to its potential it will deliver solutions without the problems associated with rDNA.

  19. #19 Andy

    There are some environmental activists who know their stuff and others that don’t. No different than the issue of AGW. KK’s argument somewhat hinges on a false assumption: that the environmental movement is directed by a few big players. While the memberships of the international and national groups maybe large, I believe most people actively working to improve their environment do so as part of a local group and only belong to the larger organizations as one would belong to a political party. Their membership denotes support for the cause even if they don’t believe in everything the large groups spout.

    Also, you had a post awhile back about whether restriction of exports of fossil fuels from developed countries to the developing world and China could make a difference. Since then I’ve come across this white paper.


    [Thanks. That paper has a problem though: they say, correctly, that exporting coal will decrease prices. This is just obvious. But they have no data on how much. They have some data on how price changes affect coal use, but that isn't enough -W]

  20. #20 Steve Bloom

    Anti-tech? Well, there’s plenty of questionable tech to oppose, certainly. But greenies are generally on-board with development and deployment of solar and wind, e.g., and while unhappy with some of the site impact implications have been willing to make the needed compromises. Tellingly, Kloor mentions that not at all. So what he means is opposed to tech that he likes. Well sure.

    But broadly speaking, anything like sustainability will require lots and lots of tech. I think that fact is widely recognized in environmental circles.

  21. #21 dhogaza


    Well, I wasn’t reading him literally.

    He wrote that in response to those who accused him of building a strawman characterization of environmentalists. Rather than respond with a more nuanced description, he just added to the strawman.

    I get annoyed with some in the environmental community, too, “frankenfood” bullshit is, after all, just bullshit. But Kloor’s far more annoying.

    [I agree, Kloor is annoying. But I find him to be one of those who is annoying in a good way. Some people are annoying in a waste-of-time way; I personally don't put Kloor in that category. I think he is valuable. That doesn't make him always right, of course -W]

  22. #22 dhogaza


    There is a great business book to be written about Monsanto pretty much getting out of the chemistry and recreating itself as a bio-ag company based on Round-up-Ready seeds and BST.

    It really is a great business story, whatever one thinks of GMOs and Kloor’s idiocy.

  23. #23 Brian Schmidt

    Andy – Kloor isn’t just wrong about who runs the environmental movement, he’s wrong about what those larger groups say. If enviros appear to some to be anti-technology in general, it’s because people like Kloor are successfully spreading glib strawman attacks (secondarily, it’s because there is an element of truth to the criticism re stances on nukes and GMOs).

    Here’s another data point FWIW: I live in Silicon Valley, worked for years with every enviro organization here dealing with land use issues, and all of them support increasing housing in Silicon Valley cities. They oppose specific projects that sprawl outward or cause other problems, but support efforts in general to let people live where they work. Kloor’s claim that enviros are anti-city has no basis to it.

    [OK, tell you what, next issue of the Greenpeace Mag that comes through my door, I'll analyse that from this viewpoint. If I remember. Remind me :-) -W]

  24. #24 scatter

    Steve Bloom nails it in #20.

    It’s absurd to suggest that environmentalists in general (let’s say the main environmental organisations) are anti tech. There are some for sure, but they’re in the minority.

    These are people putting forward proposals for moving to near 100% renewably generated energy, the development of continental scale supergrids, the implementation of load shifting and dynamic demand and many others besides.

    These are all very high tech, it’s just they’re not nukes.

    But then it does seem to be very fashionable at the moment to sniffily dismiss environmentalists who haven’t rolled over for the nuclear lobby and claim that they’re out of touch and holding things back.

  25. #25 David B. Benson

    One should not trust anything that KK writes.

    [Well, if you like. But... try reading what people are writing here against Kloor, and then try reading the stuff that people were writing against me at WUWT. Its not the same, the WUWT stuff is worse, but a decent defence lawyer for WUWT's folk would have no problem at all in presenting a case along the lines of "You're think you're the good guys? But you too put forward content-free posts with only insults. You too attack people behind their back..." And so on -W]

  26. #26 Eli Rabett

    Eli, being an old Rabett and too aware of the vaguaries (however you spell it) of life avoids setting purity tests, having observed that they are too often used to separate those who agree on many things to the advantage of the testers.

    You do note that this is a favorite tictac of the Pielkesphere and their pals on web sites whose names must no longer be mentioned tho, conclusive proof that Kloor is really the anti-environmentalist that he has always denied.

  27. #27 Neven

    What is “the environmentalist movement”? Is that some centrally organized monolith where all the members adhere to some program?

    What is “anti-tech”? Is that anti all technology, or just some technologies?

    When it comes to technologies that involve risks, such as GMO and nuclear technology, I personally would prefer it if the profit-motive – also known as the cutting-corners-hijacking-federal-agencies-motive – gets eliminated. Is that irrational?

    [You've raised another problem, possibly inadvertently. You appear to equate "profit motive" with "cutting-corners-hijacking-federal-agencies-motive". I'm sure you didn't mean anything so crude, but its obviously wrong. Profit is what drives our entire society, it is what our economic system is built on. Its why most people go to work, and how we get our food from the shops, and everything else. By talking as you do, you sound like the lets-go-back-to-socialism-and-abandon-money school. I doubt that's what you meant, but its pretty easy to read you as meaning that -W]

    I have read too many stuff and seen too many documentaries about the pharma/food industry and agribusiness to be laid-back about this.

    [I've seen stuff about GW on the TV too, many of them claiming to be documentaries. Most of them were appalling; all of them contained serious errors. It is simply irresponsible to get your hard info from the mass media -W]

    When profit and shareholder value comes into play, whether consciously or not, these multinational companies that control the entire food production chain view consumers the same way those machines view humans in The Matrix. And it is impossible to have a healthy and sustainable society that way.

    Nothing is either good or bad, but the concept that lies at the heart of your economy, society and culture, makes it so. And that is why I lean towards being anti-GMO and anti-nuclear, but not anti-tech as such. I wouldn’t have anything against GMO and nuclear if society was healthy and sustainable, but then again, GMO and nuclear probably wouldn’t be needed in such a society.

    Does this make me a crazy greenie? Am I damaging The Cause?

  28. #28 Neven

    “I doubt that’s what you meant”

    No, in the end what I mean is that you can’t have infinite growth in a finite system. It has nothing to do with socialism or money. I’m not against profit either, only against the limitlessness of it.

    [Oh hold on, that is a completely different matter. You can't shift ground so quickly - not if you want anyone to understand you. You started off by complaining about money corrupting the regulatory process - or so I thought. Now you're on the std complaint about infinite growth - which I won't go into. But they are totally different -W]

    I really don’t think it’s a good idea to trust multinationals that revolve around profit maximisation and shareholder value to self-correct. BP and the Gulf of Mexico come to mind. Fukushima comes to mind. Transfats come to mind. Goldman Sachs comes to mind. The list goes on.

    [I could pick apart your list if I wanted to. But thats another discussion -W]

    When it comes to nuclear I’m against anything that isn’t GenIV, because so far nuclear has failed miserably. And GMO is at best nothing other than an ultimately fruitless attempt to keep the corpse of the Green Revolution (read: profit and control for the 1%, not the people who work and get food from the shops) upright for a while longer.

    “It is simply irresponsible to get your hard info from the mass media”

    Thanks for the tip. :-I

  29. #29 Neven

    Oh hold on, that is a completely different matter. You can’t shift ground so quickly – not if you want anyone to understand you. You started off by complaining about money corrupting the regulatory process – or so I thought. Now you’re on the std complaint about infinite growth – which I won’t go into. But they are totally different

    They might be totally different, but they are also totally related. If your premise is that economic growth can and should be infinite, you can only make your entire society and culture revolve around that premise if you make profit limitless too. Otherwise it won’t work. And as profit is power (as it has been from the moment humans started storing grains) it isn’t a coincidence that the economic concept of infinite growth has become all-powerful.

    I maintain that this is at the core of all current global problems, be they socio-economic or environmental, from credit bubbles to AGW, and from resource wars to top soil erosion.

    So to return to the topic at hand: The question whether GMO or nuclear (or any other technology) are good or bad technologies isn’t nearly as important as the context in which they are employed. And in the current context of an infinite growth paradigm I find them useless in the long-term at best (because the problems in agricultural cannot be solved by GMO, and nuclear will only lead to Jevons Paradox, never mind their use an sich), and potentially extremely dangerous in the short-term. Now if they weren’t for profit, or the profit wouldn’t go to the never satisfied few…

    But I don’t want to hijack this thread with my ‘infinite growth is impossible in a finite world’-mantra, so I’ll just leave it at that.

    Hang around at Kloor’s place for a while, and see how long the sympathy lasts. I cannot help but get bored by intellectually lazy and cowardly people who want to have everything both ways, AND eat their cake.

    Which is why I keep coming back here though. :-)

  30. #30 dhogaza


    You too attack people behind their back…

    Kloor won’t allow me to challenge him face-to-face.

    [Well, I was generalising. But has he really banned you? Kloor is, in my experience, very reluctant to block anyone. Which is why I don't comment there anymore - he refuses to enforce any standard of civility -W]

  31. #31 dhogaza

    Kloor’s claim that enviros are anti-city has no basis to it.

    Yeah, I skewered that at Eli’s, as I live a bit north of you in Portland, OR where enviros have been very successful in promoting increased urban density while preserving farmland via such anti-technological means such as light rail, lower-cost trolleys (where appropriate), and improved bus service along with measures to encourage cycling (about 10% of commuters to downtown PDX cycle during the good weather months), etc etc.

    We’re so anti-city that the environmental NGO I served on (board, 15 years) is considered a crucial resource by our city and regional planners.

    The right-wing hates our anti-sprawl, farmland-preserving, more efficient and lower-carbon footprint approach to growth so much that the state legislature over the past 10 years has passed laws meant to *force* Portland to sprawl more than the city wants to (and unfortunately those state laws have to some extent counterbalanced enviro efforts).

    We’re so anti-city that increasing livability issues within Portland (the only real city in the state) has been a top enviro agenda item for over 40 years!

    Kloor’s an idiot.


    [OK, tell you what, next issue of the Greenpeace Mag that comes through my door, I'll analyse that from this viewpoint. If I remember. Remind me :-) -W]

    Which Greenpeace? UK? International? US? Germany? Spain? (there is no one “greenpeace”, and while the international organization takes the lead on many issues, national organizations aren’t always in lockstep with it.

    For instance, currently the issues page of GP USA doesn’t even mention GMOs …

    They do parrot the exaggerated fears of nukes pushed by GP Int’l though …

  32. #32 afeman

    On the contrary, he finds Steve Bloom, Eli and perhaps now dhogaza intolerably uncivil. Which kinda gave his game away long ago.

    [Well, Eli I can understand. But the others? That seems odd. and - because words are important - are they formally banned? If they are, publicly, I'd expect a link to the banning -W]

  33. #33 JayAlt

    I don’t read KK regularly as past pieces have held little value for me. The responses here and there were more revealing than his post, e.g. – criticism #31 by NewYork_J , (to which Kloor made no reply).

    His attempt to characterize environmental groups did not convince me, and I hold no memberships. His arguments are another bullet in the arsenal of the environmental counter-movement, enabled through feigned concern. A more charitable possiblitiy is that he thinks finger pointing is a way forward and that US groups eager to promote a sustainable future have done no soul-searching.

  34. #34 afeman


    They’re apparently on moderation.

    [Ah. That is rather different from being banned, I'd say. After all, you're *all* on moderation here, though that is mostly because of the shonky software we're running -W]

    But do you find that either Steve Bloom or Eli exceeds your minimum standard of civility? Eli may not suffer fools, but he’s usually oblique about it.

    [My standards are elastic. I don't mind insults, as long as they're creative. But, especially since having been over to WUWT, I've become rather less tolerant of abuse here -W]

  35. #35 Brian Schmidt

    I might be over-interpreting William at 25 and Eli at 26, but like them I wouldn’t completely write off Kloor. Like I said in my post I think he does occasionally acknowledge reality and in those cases might bring along a few fence-sitters with him. It is frustrating when he writes nonsense, but OTOH he’s no Tom Fuller. I’d peg him as slightly better than Ron Bailey.

    I usually think the value in debating denialists is to convince the fence-sitters. When you have determined fence sitters/”Third Way” spouters it’s less clear, but maybe they will occasionally shift in a reasoned direction. Deciding whether to skewer them as they deserve or to cajole them toward obvious reality is hard to determine.

  36. #36 Michael Hauber

    I have some sympathy for KK. Some of his criticisms of the environmental movement resonate with me. Although some point out that the ‘anti-technology’ label is really ‘anti-some technologies but not others’ and I think this is a fair comment. Keith asks whether any environmental groups support either nuclear or GMO techs, and I would be interested if there are such.

    I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on the environmental movement, but judge things somewhat through the lense of mass media etc. An example that particularly bugs me is the ‘save the planet series’ on a local tv news session which frames simple measures such as recycling and catching a train as ‘saving the planet’, and while personally in favour of both practices they seem a bit like using a bandaid to treat a missing limb.

    And I strongly resonate with kk’s comments about ecosystem collapse. I am fully convinced that our ecosystems will be seriously disrupted with climate change, and many of them will become unrecognisable compared to what we have today, but consider this more of a serious nuisance that can be adapted to (even if we’d be better of prevented) rather than the ‘end of the world’ disaster that often seems to be implied but never actually stated by certain people when discussing climate change.

    My biggest issue with his post would be his opening discussion the catholic church and the implication that the environmental movement is somehow similar. But the catholic church is a vast monolith, and you can point to a single person and group (pope/vatican) that controls this monolith. Who is the person and group that controls the environmental movement?

    Perhaps a more appropriate comparison could be made with the evangelical christians who are a diverse group of organisations with similar over-arching beliefs and goals, but many diverse sub-groups and opinions, and no central body or person that can be said to control or represent the lot of them. With the increased diversity there is more tendancy of some subgroups to move with the times (eg the hard rock/youth sub-culture), whil other subgroups maintain staunch dedication to what worked well in the past.

  37. #37 dhogaza

    Well, I was generalising. But has he really banned you? Kloor is, in my experience, very reluctant to block anyone.

    You are touchingly naive …


    They’re apparently on moderation.

    No, I was banned. No public announcement, just a private e-mail.

    [Oh go on, publish it -W]

    Then again I deserved it, because I don’t buy into his stupidity, and Kloor’s actively guided his blog into a space where it’s mostly worshipped by the worst kind of denialist.

    W: you don’t get out much, do you?

  38. #38 dhogaza

    They’re apparently on moderation.

    And how would afeman know this?

    And … why would you believe him after I told you I’ve been banned?

    You’re weird. Just saying.

  39. #39 NewYorkJ

    The whole post from KK is littered with problems. My thoughts here:


    So what Keith really meant by “anti-technology” or “anti-industry” is just anti-nuclear and anti-GMO, but then he would be just repeating what he’s said before in various forms…not too interesting. Better to provoke with strawmen.

    Jay (#32), Keith typically does not respond to my critiques, and when he does, it’s often very shallow, or a childish dismissal accusing me of being “tribal” or something.

  40. #40 Eli Rabett

    One is condemned to abuse a blog of wind until banned:)

    Appreciated that afeman

  41. #41 Eli Rabett

    Michael (#35): What happens when the pollinators leave the building?

  42. #42 keith Kloor


    Thanks for initiating the thread. Just to clarify: People regularly come over to my blog to criticize me. I accept that. What I won’t accept is abusive language.

    Thus a handful of people are on moderation. Dhogaza has managed to distinguish himself by getting banned. I’m sure he wears it like a badge of honor. So be it.

    [OK, I think that answers people's questions. Whether they like the answer or not is another matter. The reason I stopped commenting at CaS was lack of moderation of incivility from vacuous septics. I don't think anyone who is merely moderated should be conflating that with banning. I admit I'm surprised that Dh has managed to get himself banned, errm, but I've seen none of the relevant comments, obviously, so can't judge -W]

  43. #43 dhogaza


    I admit I’m surprised that Dh has managed to get himself banned, errm, but I’ve seen none of the relevant comments, obviously, so can’t judge

    Oh, as I said, I deserved it. Had to work at it, though.


    One is condemned to abuse a blog of wind until banned:)


  44. #44 Mal Adapted


    Which brings us to the minus side – Round-Up (glyphosphate) is the one herbicide that’s widely used to attack invasives on lands managed for conservation. It’s hardly anti-technology to worry about GMOs leading to indiscriminate use of glyphosphate leading to the rise of resistance in the wild leading to glyphosphate being less useful in the role for which it was originally developed – as an herbicide for spot use directly applied to target plants.

    Monsanto has engineered glyphosate resistance directly into some of the worst wildland weeds. I worked on prairie restoration in the Willamette valley, and found that creeping bent grass (Agrostis stolonifera) and related alien Agrostis species are a serious obstacle to success. When it was demonstrated that resistance genes escaped from GR bent grass field trials into wild populations, one of my worst nightmares came true.

  45. #45 dhogaza

    When it was demonstrated that resistance genes escaped from GR bent grass field trials into wild populations, one of my worst nightmares came true.

    Oh, shit, I was unaware of this.

    Why were they GM’ing a pest invasive to be resistant to glyphosphate in the first place?

    This is almost enough to cause me to become anti-technological! :)

  46. #46 Steve Bloom

    I’d call what happened to me an effective banning involving moderating to a much stricter standard than the usual there. It was provoked not by a blog comment but by a private email to Kloor, in which I did (justifiably IMHO) rather flame him. Considering the contents of comments there by the likes of Fuller, after a number of moderations (note also that he doesn’t redact, but holds comments until rewritten; this generally means that the passage of time will make a comment irrelevant) I considered the double standard and the moderation process intolerable and stopped submitting. Sometimes a ban is just a ban.

    [As I say, I found the atmosphere there unpleasant. If you visit somewhere like WUWT, which is unashamedly septic, you expect to have insults fluung at you and have the moderators egg them on. But I expected better from CAS, and didn't get it, despite complaining to KK -W]

    Kloor’s general stance, this latest being no exception, is more marketing than otherwise, which I think explains his inability to defend his own positions, as that would entail doing a bunch of work not especially relevant to his goal. The goal? To become the climate/environmental version of the late unlamented David Broder. He’s probably right that there’s a demand for it. Expect more along the lines of the Discover piece, then eventually the sinecure of a syndicated column if he can manage it.

  47. #47 dhogaza

    Steve Bloom:

    Kloor’s general stance, this latest being no exception, is more marketing than otherwise, which I think explains his inability to defend his own positions, as that would entail doing a bunch of work not especially relevant to his goal.

    Interesting notion, though I think his inability to defend his own position is just a function of ignorance and an inability to understand the underlying issues he’s talking about.

    But I agree that his approach and perhaps his long-term goal doesn’t actually require that he does …

  48. #48 Steve Bloom

    Yes, dhogaza, and it rather begs the question of whether he’s sufficiently bright to manage even if he tried. The unoriginal regurgitation of Breakthrough Boyz material that we just saw, and apparently are going to see more of since this outing was such a success eyeballs-wise, isn’t much of a test of that.

    If you were Judy Curry, William, you’d have gotten better service.

  49. #49 Eli Rabett

    the place to go after Kloor is the Yale site where you can complain about the slow walking to the owner. Eli is now being slow walked at Keiths

  50. #51 Paul Kelly

    Most of the animosity for WC at WUWT and Kloor’s comes from those outraged that Wikipedia could be incomplete or one sided or even unconsciously biased. It’s funny to me that the person I come to for the dead center middle of the consensus is considered such a wild eyed didact elsewhere.


    Note also that most of the wiki animosity there is for things that never happened. Whenever I challenge them on "just what are these terrible things" they either ref other, hopelessly wrong, WUWT posts; or the arbcomm judgement (which they have clearly never read) -W]

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