Monday, July 26, 2010

Noted Cap and Trade Supporter Laments Our Profligate Ways


Tom Friedman is bummed that we won't pass "cap and trade" any time soon. Fortunately, he has plenty of space in his own house (pictured above) to lament our profligate ways in privacy. Perhaps someday we'll appreciate these selfless Cassandras who are trying to teach us a better way.

29 comments:

my name is Amanda said...

Hypocritical behavior doesn't make a person wrong. It just makes them a hypocrite. And while personally I think it's silly that anyone needs such an enormous house, for all we know, he's paying premium costs for more energy-efficient utilities. Or he's not. Either way, we're still harming the environment, in possibly irreparable ways. Although for the record, I would *love* to be wrong about that.

Mr. D said...

Hypocritical behavior doesn't make a person wrong. It just makes them a hypocrite.

Or as La Rouchefoucauld had it, hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.

But that's the point -- if Friedman doesn't act like there's a crisis, it's hard to take him seriously. And he's hardly alone in this -- most of the prominent global warming Cassandras don't walk it like they talk it. Gore, Rachendra Pachauri, the whole lot of them -- lay down enormous carbon footprints, all exceeding mine by a factor of thousands. But they persist in lecturing me about CFLs and SUVs and whatnot. I'm looking for a little leadership by example.

my name is Amanda said...

I understand, and agree.

Anonymous said...

Pointing out Mr. Friedman’s housing choice has no real validity when considering his positions on cap and trade. Would his position be any more valid if he lived a carbon free existence in a 5 square foot recycled hippie womb tent and used his waste as a Styrofoam alternative? It is all to easy to point out the inconsistencies that talking, or in this case writing, heads make in their personal choices as compared to the policies that they advocate.

While it would be easy for me to point to the behavior of any number of Catholic priests as a reason to reject their sermons, it is likely that the sermon was solid while the behavior of the priest was objectionable.

I won’t reject Friedman’s position just because he lives in a big house. If the size of his house is the best objection you have to his policy, which I doubt it is, your argument has serious flaws.

Mr. D said...

Pointing out Mr. Friedman’s housing choice has no real validity when considering his positions on cap and trade. Would his position be any more valid if he lived a carbon free existence in a 5 square foot recycled hippie womb tent and used his waste as a Styrofoam alternative?

Actually, yes. It would prove he walks it like he talks it. That does matter. I don't agree with someone like Ed Begley Jr., who has actually foregone certain amenities to adopt the lifestyle, but I have a lot more respect for his position than a gasbag like Tom Friedman.

While it would be easy for me to point to the behavior of any number of Catholic priests as a reason to reject their sermons, it is likely that the sermon was solid while the behavior of the priest was objectionable.

Catholic priests give homilies, not sermons, but that's a side point. The horrible behavior of some Catholic priests undercut the teachings of the Church because it casts doubt on the moral authority of those who were doing the teaching. And the damage has been horrible, especially when you consider that some have turned away from God as a result of what has happened.

I won’t reject Friedman’s position just because he lives in a big house.

That's your prerogative. And thanks for sharing your thoughts.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

It isn't the hypocrisy of the climate prophets that casts doubt on the seriousness of the environmental situation. It's their insouciance. Well, that and the actual science.

my name is Amanda said...

WBP - Hypocrisy of rich writers and politicians, insouciance (good word, kudos), and the science do not at all cast doubt on the seriousness of the environmental situation. Is it so shocking that DBs exist on either side of the political spectrum? And what science are you referring to, anyway? It doesn't matter to climate change deniers what the "science" is. The "smugness and elitism" of the left is proof enough.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Amanda,

You typed, "climate change deniers" with a straight face. Strictly speaking that isn't proof that the whole thing is hooey, but it speaks clearly about the nature of the controversy. It's not the kind of dispassionate and confident terminology that one would expect from pure science. Clear and indisputable science (as science must be in order to be science at all) has no need of emotional or ad hominem arguments as the truth speaks loudly enough for itself. Maybe one day climate science will be able to do that, but it hasn't yet and us deniers would science a disfavor by artificially lowering the bar.

my name is Amanda said...

Those who believe that climate change is happening need a phrase to describe those who do not. Is it because I'm not saying "skeptics?" The belief is that no matter what science you give to the other side, they will continue to deny anything bad is happening. And that's not skepticism. Anyway, clear and dispassionate science doesn't decide what language may or may not be used in the very political and passionate arguments over the ways in which we respond to clear and dispassionate scientific evidence. Insisting that certain phrasing has no place in the science world is fine, but we're not scientists. We argue about politics. Which is possibly an existence in which the bar is constantly stuck on the bottom rung, for all parties. Does such devotion to dispassionate phrasing preventing us from framing the source of this discussion, for example, as "cap and trade?" What about the "death tax?" The "marriage penalty?" My favorite is the fallacious "Pro-Life."

It's all semantics, and it's dirty and political, and honestly, fun. Except when it's not fun. Science may be above all that. But we aren't.

Bike Bubba said...

The use of personal attacks, and the living in monster homes while preaching the terrors of climate change, remind me of an adage lawyers use:

"If the law is on your side, pound the law. If the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If neither, pound the table."

Gore, Friedman, and Pachauri are clearly pounding the table, and it's a shame that the media apparently have never learned their formal or informal logic to see through the charade.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Those who BELIEVE that climate change is happening need a phrase to describe those who do not. (emphasis mine)

I'm going to dip into semantics again, not because it provides proof, but because it shows the character of the debate society is having. Faith language is used to describe adherence to "scientific dogma." This is well outside the realm of science. Bacon and Descartes would harumph at your standards. They would insist that science and philosophy prove what they purport. The Enlightenment was based on the dismissal of authority and strict adherence to empirical evidence. We could argue over whether that is a good idea or not, but it's clearly the tradition to which climate science claims to belong. The irony is that a claim to authority has developed in some areas of science that is essentially faith-based. But it doesn't work like that. The only ammunition science has is demonstrable truth. If it has that then doubters don't matter. Alas, you do not have demonstrable truth, but only a claim to authority, one that you believe in... and I do not.

Swiftee said...

I'm not a scientist, but as an engineer I play one when supporting sales presentations to clients.

The problem with climate "science" is the money...piles, bales and gulfs of money ride on convincing people that it's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine).

Scientists are people too. They have material desires and are not above a bit of harmless fudging if it serves the larger purpose of financing their research.

But because of the sums involved, many have taken the "safes" off the "fudging" and are engaging in outright scientific quackery.

No credible scientist would pronounce a debate "over" under the circumstances as they stand today. And I'm sorry, but the fact of the matter is that East Anglia is the central database for the worlds climate research, and it's been proven that they are playing fast and loose with the sacred data.

That may not render everything useless, but it certianly necessitates a review by third and fourth parties.

Mr. D said...

No credible scientist would pronounce a debate "over" under the circumstances as they stand today. And I'm sorry, but the fact of the matter is that East Anglia is the central database for the worlds climate research, and it's been proven that they are playing fast and loose with the sacred data.

That may not render everything useless, but it certianly necessitates a review by third and fourth parties.


Yes. And not the self-proclaimed vindication that the people who did all this gave themselves.

If we're going to utterly change the direction of industrial society, which is what any regulatory scheme that's on offer would do, we need far better reasons than what we have at this time. We have computer modeling right now. Corrupted computer modeling.

Swiftee said...

"self-proclaimed vindication" is right.

Penn State says Penn State doesn't allow funny business with it's research....East Anglia says "no we didn't".

It's rubbing salt into the wound.

These people believe that no one on the planet is smart enough to know when the they (academics and researchers) are pissing on their legs, it's not just rain.

And in some ways, "climategate" has helped make smoke for them.

There are some canyon sized craters in the conclusions they've purported to have reached scientificly.

For the past six months, they've been able to keep the debate confined to "we didn't make it up" instead of answering for why it doesn't add up.

my name is Amanda said...

WBP - How about this non-faith language? "I accept that climate change is happening." Okay?

I understand that climate change is happening.

I conceive that climate change is happening.

For the record, I would also say "I believe that it is going to rain today," "I believe that the sky is blue," and "I believe that I know better than you about what I mean when I say the things that I say."

"Faith language" doesn't describe my "standards" for determining whether climate change is happening. That is you trying to twist my words. I actually *believe* the contrary, that Descartes and Bacon would have a little more sympathy for my side, as I support paying attention to the empirical evidence you pretend to exalt while denigrating those who employ it. I'm against, on the other hand, attempting to construe said evidence in order to support the agendas of those that stand to make more money!

I've actually had some fun with this conversation, but saying that I don't pay attention to demonstrable truths doesn't prove anything. I know that I DO pay attention to demonstrable truths, and that Conservatives, seeing that the same truths don't support their cause, prefer to attempt to delegitimize the science than face the facts!

my name is Amanda said...

Okay. I've seen a bunch of comments here in which people suggest that they have a right to speak from the point of view of a scientist. If you are actually interested in hearing from a scientist, feel free to read the terrific comments from my friend Amy - an actual scientist! - in a post I wrote last month. My post could have used a tighter focus, but her comments re: climate change are awesome.

http://memeopolis.blogspot.com/2010/06/why-i-think-linking-misanthropy-with.html

In post, she says the following (there is more, and I'm not going to paste the whole thing in this comment, so if you want the full comment, you will have to go there to read it):

From a personal point of view, I would like to speak for the scientists. We go into science because we LOVE science. I mean, you have to have a deep scientific curiosity to sit through hours and hours of statistics classes, not a fleeting call to activism. And then when you get done with all of that, you're not going to get paid a whole lot, to work a shit ton of hours. In the end, the thing scientists want is truth, which of course, we can never really, truly know, so instead we are constantly looking for new ways to refine our predictions and get more data and improve methodologies. This is why predictions that you see in IPCC reports change and why scientists have email chains, 100s of messages long, trying to figure out what their results mean and the right way to interpret them. I work with 3 IPCC scientists and I can tell you they are some of the smartest people I know, work harder than most people I know and don't tolerate conclusions that are based on anything but the data in front of them.

Also, here's the post in which I talk about how the East Anglia/Climagate thing was a bunch of hooey. (Why no coverage here, Mr. D? You posted a bunch of East Anglia stuff.)

http://memeopolis.blogspot.com/2010/07/hey-climate-change-deniers.html

Mr. D said...

Amanda,

Just so you know, both Swiftee and Bubba both have the scientific knowledge to speak about this topic, much more than I do. I wouldn't give short shrift to their understanding of the matter.

The point about the East Anglia thing is this: the review was internal, as was the Penn State review. Would you trust Karl Rove to review wrongdoing attributed to Dick Cheney?

Swiftee said...

"This is why predictions that you see in IPCC reports change..."

Uh, sure. So how is it that "consensus has been reached" and "the debate is over"?

Look.

Either "the smartest people we know" are "working harder than ever" to determine if the anecdotal data now in evidence has scientific value, or a bunch of politically motivated researchers in search of continuing endowments are jumping to unsupported conclusions and making asses of themselves and their fields of interest.

You can't have it both ways, Amanda.

my name is Amanda said...

Oh, have I tried to have it both ways? I don't remember arguing that.

Mr. D - I give you a scientist and you give me "people with scientific knowledge." I'm not insulting anyone's knowledge; I'm saying if you want to hear a scientist's POV, here it is.

Although I understand if everyone's getting sick of this thread, and how awesome I am.

Mr. D said...

One scientist isn't a representative sample, of course. Thousands of scientists on are on record on both sides of this dispute.

Although I understand if everyone's getting sick of this thread, and how awesome I am.

We hang on your every word, Amanda. Sometimes it seems like dangling more than hanging, but that's a matter of semantics, too.

Gino said...

better context:
if a priest screws around, he brings death to himself if his teachings are true.

if he operates a whorehouse, while preaching his truth, he brings death to others directly, and is himself worthy of an even more brutal punsihment than that.

if gore is preaching truth, then he is 'operating a whorehouse' by directly bringing death to others with his lifestyle.
he is beyond hypocrite. he is either a liar or a murderer.

what is it?
and what are most of those who preach to us?

W.B. Picklesworth said...

As usual, you indulge yourself in self-congratulatory fantasy. You support science and empiricism while your opponents are in it for the money. Weak argument.

You know a scientist. Congratulations.

An interested party exonerated itself. Interesting. In related news, Charlie Rangel has pronounced himself ethical.

Gino said...

brian, one of my commenters, whom you all know, IS a scientist. a real one. he's published, he teaches, all that jazz...

he knows how to read these studies not just for what they say, but for what they dont say. unless you are schooled at this level, you cant do that.

all the rest of us can do is read what other people want us to believe they say, and everybody has an agenda because its been so politicised, while nanny do-gooders wag their fingers at the rest of us telling how we need to live.

btw: he wont touch this debate because its not his field of science.

my name is Amanda said...

I understand if sour grapes are preventing anyone from seeing the humor in my last comment. And self-congratulatory? It hardly took any effort to know Amy; I went to high school with her.

Saying that money is a weak argument IS a weak argument. (Money is actually pretty darn powerful argument; many of Mr. D's posts about corrupt politicians and people are related to exactly that.) From what I can tell no one is actually willing to respond to the substance of my last couple comments. Who cares if I know ONE scientist? Even if I didn't, your suppositions about the way they collect and measure data would still be wrong. And you'd still have justifications for ignoring what I say, even if I personally knew 20 scientists. I recognize derailment attempts when I see them. I'm not being cowardly, I usually don't stick around in comment threads this long to begin with, but we've gotten quite off track from the original point of the post, so this will be my last comment. See you on the next controversial topic. ;)

Bike Bubba said...

I would tend to disagree that one needs to be a trained climatologist to comment on these things; that is the basic logical fallacy of "appeal to authority." Unfortunately, "trust the experts" is a central part of the argument--that should give you a hint as to what the real deal is, and it's not anything to do with "science".

Reality is here that if you understand a touch of logic, you can understand the issues. Specifically:

1. Are 70% of weather monitoring stations improperly placed, or not? (they are improperly placed)

2. Are the reviews of alleged improprieties internal, or external? (they are internal--no prosecutor in a court of law could ever get away with that)

3. Do the IPCC summaries released to politicians contain mostly the means, or the upper bounds, of possible effects? (upper bounds--this is statistical malpractice)

4. Do we have good match between models and historical data? (we do not--see the "hockey stick" graph)

5. Are key players acting as if there is a concern and leading by example, or are they living it up? (they are of course living it up)

....and the list goes on and on and on. It's really pretty hard to find any area of climatology that isn't badly tainted.

Swiftee said...

Oh, have I tried to have it both ways? I don't remember arguing that.

With that one inane statement, you've lost 50% of my willingness to take your opinions as anything more than the ravings of yet another well educated, but wholly unintelligent leftist boob, Amanda.

I love a good debate, but as anyone will tell you, I don't suffer leftist boobs lightly.

Since I've done you the extreme courtesy of assuming you have a functional brain despite the fact that you subscribe to the moron's guide to the universe, please do me the favor of giving your responses more than a nano-second's thought, or, if the subject is beyond your comfort zone, decline a response of any sort.

Thanks.

my name is Amanda said...

Oh dear! 50 percent! Well, at least it wasn't 100 percent, right?!

You said:

Either the smartest people we know are working harder to determine if the anecdotal data in evidence has scientific value OR politically motivated researchers are jumping to conclusions and making asses of themselves.

Then you said that I cannot have it both ways.

Which would only make sense if I considered the latter a possibility, or the scientific data as "anecdotal." Also, it assumes that you listed two contradictory statements posted by me - only, you did not.

If I were to give you the benefit of the doubt that you have evidently given up DEIGNING to give to me, due to your well-known low tolerance for leftist boobs (though you do not suffer them lightly, you can be extremely courteous, despite their moronic attempt at debate, which makes you very magnanimous! and yet, how I dare I BE one in your presence?!), then I would suggest that there has been a miscommunication here.

In which case, your reply is rather unhinged, and unwarranted.

If that's not the case, that there has not been a miscommunication, that you persist in thinking that what you said makes complete sense and what I said is truly inane, then I will just have to suffer with the knowledge of your superior intellect's low opinion of me. Oh, it will be hard, but somehow, I'm sure I will endure. Might I suggest you at least continue to be extremely courteous and in the future, refrain from mentioning whether with this comment, or any others, I have lost the other 50%? I'm not sure that I could handle that.

Swiftee said...

Amanda, to bolster your definitive statement; "we're still harming the environment, in possibly irreparable ways"; you posted an opinion from someone that described climate scientists as hard working and smart.

While the words didn't come from your head, you used them for your purposes; they became yours.

While your purpose was arguing the legitimacy of the IPCC reports, your stand-in said (and please pay attention here, this is important)

"This is why predictions that you see in IPCC reports change..."

Amy has (correctly) admitted that the science in incomplete and far from conclusive, yet you and a pack of politically motivated researchers are jumping to conclusions and making asses of yourselves.

Data that cannot be conclusively linked together to form a coherent theory is anecdotal, Amanda. And that is what we have today; but don't take my word for it, that's the thrust of what your friend Amy is saying.

You can't have it both ways.

It seems you're in over your head, Amanda; barbed sarcasm, while fun, doesn't a positive offense make.

I'll give you some time to let that sink in.

my name is Amanda said...

Since your superior brain power is so unimpeachable, I'm going to have to take your misreading of the quote I posted as deliberately disingenuous. That comment was about how scientists approach science - their POV. It was not My Definitive Proof that climate change is occuring. (Go read her whole comment if you want to base your disagreement from it.) (Not that I am not a little sick of this thread.) You guys were talking about how scientists think. I was giving an example of how those suppositions are wrong.