ZOMG: Denialists meet flooded brains 20 years late and on the wrong side of reality

From The Indie: Government ministers meet flooded locals 20 minutes late and on the wrong side of a collapsed bridge, via facebook:

Seemingly determined to prove their incompetence to already derisive Cumbrians, a delegation featuring members of two government departments had to make a 20-mile round journey after allegedly finding themselves stranded on the wrong side of the collapsed bridge. Floods Minister Rory Stewart, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and an extensive entourage had been due to meet residents of the villages of Soulby and Pooley Bridge to discuss efforts to rebuild the local community in the wake of the recent floods. But in a scene worthy of BBC political comedy The Thick of It, the group appear to have found themselves stuck on the wrong side of Pooley Bridge and faced with a dilemma over whether to try and swim across the swollen River Eamont or to make a rather embarrassing call for help.

To be completely honest, I ought to point out that they claim to have an excuse at the end, but its not very plausible. That's amusing, but not as funny as Denier weirdness: It hasn't warmed since 2017! at HotWhopper, which I'm going to shamelessly copy. Here's the take-home pic:

Fairly bog standard: it's been getting warmer, no surprises there. And this graph appeared at WUWT and is Bob Tisdale's excuse for not taking Mark Boslough's bet; because, errrm, its obvious it has got warmer. It's as though the denialists have parked two sides of their minds on opposite sides of the river.

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Wildlife Observations. Jan 6, 2015
I tried to do some Google research on Rory Stewart and Patrick McLoughlin in order to better be able to appreciate the poignant looks on the mugs of a cartload of denialist monkeys huddling clueless on the wrong side of an absent bridge. The relative paucity of easily mine-able quotes from these two makes me think that your British denialist species may be a somewhat classier and more subdued bunch than our American ones. Ours tend tend to make their denialist leanings clearly known in print and picture with a cunning array of stunts ( see for instance Senator Inhofe and the snowball ) and loud crowings about the worldwide climate change hoax. Ours are definitely much easier to spot, so the chance to observe yours in their natural habit exhibiting their cluelessness trait is really priceless. Thanks for sharing.

And what exactly has Stewart denied ?

Ah, there's the rub - the Conservative party denialists have worked out that it's much simpler to pretend to listen to the scientists, and then just continue on, policy-wise, as if global warming was happening to a different planet.

Any actual consequences are just photo ops and a chance for Cameron to act at being all Prime Minister-ey. With lots of stern promises that Something Will Be Done.

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 07 Jan 2016 #permalink

I'm still trying to figure out what Rory Stewart's position on global warming is. After spending an inordinately large amount of time searching on line ( five minutes?) I found this....In April of 2012, somebody named Rory Stewart wrote..."Look at Germany’s disastrous 100 Billion investment in solar energy (98 cents in every Euro was wasted, and the effect according to the standard model, would delay global warming by 23 minutes) " which sounds like a snarky put down of concern about climate change, or it might be something else...

As I tried to imply at #1, to a foreigner poking around, there are few readily apparent signs of which way this man is leaning regarding climate change. My guess, consistent with #3, is that he will wait for a clear indication of which way the political/economic/scientific wind is blowing ( wind sock torn from its moorings...) before he publicly and clearly commits to and ties his actions to a position which might cost him a lot of sacred dignity,authority and power if he is later shown to have chosen wrongly.

Global Warming... as a Weapon?

Let's imagine for a moment you're the leader of a huge overpopulated nation. Fortunately for you, your country is communist so you get to make whatever decisions you want. Your nation is still moving from an agrarian economy to an industrial one so you need power, a lot of it.

The nations that compete against your interests, economic and geo-political, are democratic capitalist societies, and they’ve always treated you like the unwanted step-child.

Enter Global Warming.

The capitalist nations, with their excess prosperity, study the world and find signs of an impending climactic disaster called global warming. The people of the capitalist nations are so eager to fix things that they begin rearranging their laws and regulations to mitigate the danger. All this at great economic cost, but the danger is too great to ignore. No price is too high for this emergency, they say.

Your competing political powers are doing something to save the planet, and it’s making them weak. They ignore their natural resources; they impose massive restrictions on their economies, and they accumulate massive debt all the while. They ask you to join them in this crusade, and of course you agree in principle, but what can you do? You have millions of people flooding your cities. You need energy to transport, heat, and cool them. You need energy to run schools, hospitals, and preserve food supply. You need to drive the industry that is helping you dominate the manufacturing markets.

An interesting dichotomy develops; the more cheap coal fired power plants you build, the more your adversaries spend on cleaning theirs. The more cheap energy you use, the more they turn to expensive alternatives. Global warming has become your ally.

Now an observer might object and say you are working against your own interests, but they simply don’t understand communism like you do. Communism has no tears for loss of life if it furthers the goals of the state. Your beloved Mao condemned tens of millions to starve to further the ambitions of the state, what should it matter if some coastal areas are lost, assuming it’s even true.

So you feed your slave labor force with thousands of new dirty coal-fired power plants. You dump the cheap goods into the capitalist markets. You build your military with the profits. And you wait.

@-"The relative paucity of easily mine-able quotes from these two makes me think that your British denialist species may be a somewhat classier and more subdued bunch than our American ones."

Politicians in mature democracies learn to avoid making definitive statements of belief on anything. They have learnt the trick is not to garner the most supporters for your views, but to offend the least number by never expressing any.

#5 Your imaginative interpretation of life in the 21st century is one of many which a creative person immersed in cold war ideology can easily conjure up, but it is so rife with wrong assumptions that it false flat pretty quickly. Take for instance, the assumption that renewables weaken an economy. Currently, no pun intended, I am enjoying my first year of solar powered electricity and I don't see much of a downside to having the power company pay me for electricity, other than the fact that if I have to buy it from them I pay retail prices, and when they buy it from me they pay wholesale ones... hardly seems fair. I just don't see how I am contributing to the rise of global communism and the weakening of western civilization by conserving electricity or by generating my own.

Modern western society is doing plenty of really stupid things that will bite us on the ass as time goes by, but switching from fossil fuels to renewables is not one of them. One of those really stupid things that is becoming more and more of a problem IMO is the increasing tendency of members of the governing class and the electorate to base decisions on ideology, superstition, and myth.

#6 Over here politicians ( or polluticians as I like to call them ) have no need to exercise mealy mouthed decorum once oil has been discovered under their feet, or once a politician has learned where the deepest pockets with the greatest amounts of electioneering cash are to be found. At that point, it pays for them to mouth off loudly, especially about the global warming issue. Yeeee Haaaw! We certainly have the best democracy money can buy ( our election money laws need severe revision...)

I'm not a huge fan of Bob Tisdale, but I am pretty sure he accepts the reality of global warming (he has some pretty lame ideas about what causes it though). So it's not controversial to him that if you add a big ENSO to a secular increase in temperature, you're inevitably going to see 2016 as the warmest year on record.

So he is right that Mark Boslough’s bet is a sucker bet. Of course it's been warming, and one would have to be a moron to bet against Bgoslough.

If Mark wants a real bet (based on the "climate is not weather" inverse meme), how about 2020 instead? That's roughly when the next ENSO event is supposed to occur. Personally, I wouldn't better either way on that.

Of course if Mark really thinks that 2016 being warming that 2015 is proof of AGW, he'd be equally happy to bet on 2017. Who here would be willing to take that bet? Just wondering.

[Err, I would. Are you sure you understand the bet? -W]

> dump the cheap goods into the capitalist markets

Don't forget the secret satellite broadcasts to make all those cheap goods (computers, cell phones, 'hoverboards') burst into flame on command.

Oh, wait ....

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 07 Jan 2016 #permalink

"They ignore their natural resources"

That's called "still having them". With the exception of resources like hydroelectricity, not making use of them now means you've got them in the ground when everyone else has pulled theirs out. And I can't think offhand of a renewable resource that is being left fallow specifically to combat global warming.

If closing down coal, oil, and gas fields turns out to be an existential national mistake (which, sadly, I can see it might be, in a sort of military Prisoner's Dilemma/Tragedy of the Commons sense) then you can just start extracting again, before it's too late and you get invaded by a powerful enemy.

Carrick - the 2020 bet would have plenty of takers; you're just dropping the last 5 years of the 30 year average and adding 5 new ones. Only a deep-pocketed true believer would bet that 2016 thru 2020 will be cooler than 1986 thru 1990.

I'll take 2016 thru 2020 even if they're all guaranteed La Nina years.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 07 Jan 2016 #permalink


what should it matter if some coastal areas are lost, assuming it’s even true.

Sounds like the plot of a bad novel. You're too late, that one's been published.

Since the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence is that anthropogenic GHGs are causing the climate to warm, the only reason for you to suspect that the leaders of China don't assume AGW is true is that you don't. That is, you are an AGW-denier. But it's getting harder and harder to ignore what's happening all around you, so you're compelled to invent ever more far-fetched conspiracy theories to sustain your denial.

For reality-based people, its easier just to accept the science. Occam's Razor, you know?

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 09 Jan 2016 #permalink

Vinny, thanks for the pointer to Jackie. This clarifies many burning questions. Note however that "world disasters and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn" is redundant.

By Raymond Arritt (not verified) on 09 Jan 2016 #permalink

So is this the right thread to discuss which solutions are longterm commitments to which tactics? Questions for the ecological economists like, I"d think:

-- does building new infrastructure to use temporarily cheap fossil fuel make more sense longterm than building a smarter electric grid?
-- does it make longterm sense to continue using gas fracking wells as toxic waste dumps (for undisclosed surplus chemicals that would otherwise be much more expensive to dispose of) and hoping that nothing blows back before the stockholders' meeting?

I'm sure you can suggest other questions and perhaps phrase them in a more, er, conversational way.

Me, I'm just wondering -- if we remodel the damn kitchen from its 1923 best practices, what's sensible to build in? Like:
-- induction electric stove instead of gas or resistance heat?
-- hot water hydronic circulator for heat, instead of fans and ducts and gas burner?

My building department has caught up to 1970s energy efficiency requirements, they won't allow electric appliances because gas is available and at the moment costs about half as much per therm and has lower losses during transmission.

Hey, who knew electrons leaked more than methane?

Damn, this stuff is hard.

Elizabeth Muller stressed, “The most important things we can do to mitigate global warming include energy efficiency and the increased use of renewables, natural gas, and nuclear power. It is time for us to stop being picky about which is the very best solution to global warming – we need all solutions that are available to us today.”

The details ..., at: http://berkeleyearth.org/temperature-reports/
---end quote---

[This is a ZOMG thread; you can discuss anything. The question of using up fossil fuels to get your infrastructure in place is an amusing one. Arguably buying solar panels is in this category. At the moment, we'd effectively call it a bonus to encourage early adoption -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 13 Jan 2016 #permalink

P.S., for those who doubt the comment about gas fracking wells as toxic waste dumps --- 'oogle gas fracking public health.

And remember that nonsense about adding MTBE to gasoline? There's an industrial waste product brought to market by relabeling it an oxygenator. Sure, burning it all up, let's find a way to make a profit while doing that. Yeah, let people burn it for us in their gasoline engines. What could possibly go wrong?


And look at the long list of other toxic industrial waste that's been claimed at one time or another to be a good additive to gasoline. Whacked!


Another lovely example of getting the extremes to fight the middle ground -- convince or astroturf 'environmental' argument for cleaning up the air, and convince the same fools that putting your toxic crap into gas tanks or fracking will be an appropriate way to do that.


What do you think of the chance of intelligence evolving in the universe? Can you point to even one single example?

I'm not cynical enough yet.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 13 Jan 2016 #permalink

Well, to quote Lily Tomlin, no matter how cynical I get, I can't keep up.

By Bob Loblaw (not verified) on 13 Jan 2016 #permalink