NYTimes: Where did global warming go?

It’s those darn skeptics again…

The Times observes:

… This fading of global warming from the political agenda is a mostly American phenomenon…

…In the United States, the right wing of the Republican Party has managed to turn skepticism about man-made global warming into a requirement for electability, forming an unlikely triad with antiabortion and gun-rights beliefs. In findings from a Pew poll this spring, 75 percent of staunch conservatives, 63 percent of libertarians and 55 percent of Main Street Republicans said there was no solid evidence of global warming…

But even President Obama seems to have lost interest:

In private, scientific advisers to Mr. Obama say he and his administration remain committed to confronting climate change and global warming. But Robert E. O’Connor, program director for decision, risk and management sciences at the National Science Foundation in Washington, said a bolder leader would emphasize real risks that, apparently, now feel distant to many Americans. “If it’s such an important issue, why isn’t he talking about it?”

Read the Times commentary.

16 thoughts on “NYTimes: Where did global warming go?”

  1. Actually, you do. Think about how you come to understand when someone is trying to scam you. If it is the Nigerian e-mail spammer, you recognize several factors such as orders of magnitude above reasonable windfalls, and whether or not you have ever had any connection to a Nigerian bank. “You’ve won $7.00” is a lot more believable, on its face, than “You’ve won $7,000,000.00”. But you cannot make even this kind of distinction without understanding the science; innumeracy is a real problem here, if not worldwide.

    As to AGW-“remediation” policies, for instance, if you don’t at least read a couple dozen articles on pertinent blogs, you will never know that the “politicized scientist” is manipulating data and carefully wording his “findings” to make sure he gets that next government grant.

    As to Alinsky’s claim, of course it is seriously overstated. We live with much cleaner air and water, and have much better health overall now than even 70 years ago, because at one time the issue was the issue, and we cannot know when the politicians have sacrificed reason for power without continued informed attention to the science.

  2. I’m sorry that I did not clearly state that I am not waiting for any politician to teach me about the scam that we know AGW is. I’ve been following skeptical blogs for a few years now, and I believe I understand the science as well as any layman (and I believe it is my duty to understand it). My post was intended to characterize (and lament) the “political debate” as nonsense from the radical left and right, whereas the scientific discussion in blogs such as this one appears to have no place in electoral politics.

  3. I would agree that most of the regular commenters here are eductated. However, Don has a point that a large number of people just oppose it for reasons that range from “Obama said it therefore it’s wrong” to the less offensive saying “I smell a rat”. Others don’t know why it’s wrong, but it trips their mental “scam alarms”.

  4. Conservatives tend to shy away from the Global Warming scare are the following reasons.
    1: Engineers. Almost all engineers are conservatives (even engineering professors are a conservative bunch). We are also the most literally minded, and have a good sense of the scale of changes required for CO2 reduction, so we understand the costs of reductions will be huge. Finally, we routinely deal with models and thus don’t trust them in the least, so the global warming phenomenon doesn’t have much leverage with engineers.

    2: Built-In Skepticism: conservatives distrust anything that is for “the environment” or “the public” almost instinctively as another excuse to dip into the public wallet to fund a pet project.

    3: Ideals. Let’s be frank. The “let’s make major sacrifices to help the WORLD” meme very much fits in the liberal ideal of the government taking care of the people and the world. It is diametrically opposed to the conservative ideal where everyone takes care of themselves. Therefore confirmation bias kicks in with all its problems on BOTH sides.

    4: Confirmation Bias. This is worth repeating. Once you start on a side, it is very, very difficult to change over no matter what evidence is presented. I have found myself a victim of believing something I read simply because it agreed with my preconceptions.

  5. Don, instead of waiting for AGW scam experts to appear from the Tea Party (interested in returning our government to a decent size and reasonable spending and regulating habits) try looking at the latest information available (from science… not political agenda hacks). Have you read the latest CERN report that says human influences have little, if anything, to do with climate change? Are you aware that a number of the IPCC lead authors, most notably Professor John Christy of UAB, and head of the U.S. weather balloon station, disagree with the Al Gore political consensus? Are you even aware that the initial IPCC report was altered by the policy makers… after… the report was approved by the scientists? I doubt the scam proponents will tell you that over 32,000 U.S. scientist have signed a petition to congress, advising against AGW. Do you know that over 1000 international scientists are now denying the AGW claim as baseless?
    Are you aware that we are all living in one of only two periods over the last 600 million years with both temperature and CO2 at such a low rate? Do you know that the IPCC has admitted their AGW position is in response to the computer generated “scenarios”, not to any scientific studies? Oh yes, one more thing. Can you explain why there have been two Ice ages that occurred when CO2 levels were much higher than they are today… including the Carboniferous Ice Age with a CO2 level over 4,000 ppm (over 10 time higher than the current level).

  6. “… This fading of global warming from the political agenda is a mostly American phenomenon…”
    The Times (as usual) suffers from Amerocentric myopia, prehaps due to the misinformed belief that New York City is the Center of the World. AGW is fading fast in Canada and Australia (where common sense still thrives amoung those who live ‘close to nature’ in rural areas), and never really caught on in highly educated areas like China or Japan, or in areas where subsistence living is common, as in Bangladesh, sub-Saharan Africa, South America, etc.
    And then there are those areas where the dominant religion is strong, but not environmentalist.

  7. You don’t need to understand the science. You need to understand when someone is trying to scam you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Nigerian e-mail spammer, some guy in a bar who’s trying to bet you he can do something that seems impossible, or a politicized scientist who is manipulating data and carefully wording his “findings” to make sure he gets that next government grant. A scam is a scam is a scam. After reading the East Anglia e-mail and readme files, (especially the readme files) it became very obvious. If you want to know what’s really happening, read Alinsky. “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always power and control”.

  8. Don,

    I think you would find many conservatives readily able to characterize the failure of AGW, beyond the “science is not settled”. Much of that is selection bias by the media, that use that easily shown clip that affirms their view of these “unintelligent, knuckle dragging conservatives”. If I were asked I would offer thus:
    1. There has been no significant warming since 1998 even though CO2 has risen.
    2. The predicted temperatures from the models with this level of CO2 are so far out of step with observation that the current temperatures are outside the error bars.
    3. Temperature drives CO2 concentration historically, and not the other way around. The effect cannot precede the cause.

    I could go on but you get the point. This is not a liberal/conservative issue, it is an issue of scientific truthfulness, and accuracy. As an engineer I could not expect my work to accept this type of data to drive the decision process for millions of dollars, not less trillions. Yet, that is what we are expected to do. What global warming has really hit is cognitive dissonance. The predictions do not match reality, and the emperor has no clothes.

  9. I cannot speak for mainland Europeans, but I can assure you that public opinion in the UK is highly sceptical of AGW.

    All you have to do is to look at any blog on climate change in the UK media and you will see alarmists completely outnumbered by “sceptics”. And it is not some kind of big-oil funded conspiracy either before some goof comes on and makes some inane comment to that effect.

    There is no doubt, however, that idiot UK politicians, not least in the government, are still sticking to the alarmist mantra and causing great damage to the UK economy in the process.

    Take the absolutely crass over-investment in wind power, for example. Tremendously expensive, admitted by even the government to be highly inefficient and requiring gas-fired backup in any case for when the wind does not blow. Which is often. And then there is the question of the “right kind” of wind. Very recently, there was a huge outcry in the UK when wind generator companies were paid some serious amounts of money to shut down their turbines because the wind was blowing too strongly. You could not make this up.

    And then you have the so-called “Green” taxes which are now just looked upon as revenue raising device for the government with zero benefit for the environment.

    Finally, you have the biggest scams of the lot because of the alarmists’ takeover of the asylum: carbon trading (cap ‘n’ trade) and offsetting. How many billions of dollars this is going to make for the bankers and other spivs is incalculable. At least, the US managed to avoid the carbon trading scam on a national basis – I hope for your sakes permanently.

    There are signs that even some senior UK politicians are now beginning to recant on climate change and the extreme cost to the British economy. The basic trouble is that admitting you made a mistake is one thing that British politicians just do not do. Anyway, the basic point is that the US adopts the European model as the answer to the questionable problem of AGW at its peril.

    If you want to ensure that China does outpace the US in the not too distant future, why don’t you import a few of our energy ministers, past and present? They’ll show you a few tricks on how to make your economy less competitive you haven’t even dreamed of.

  10. I may have left the impression, by omission, in an earlier comment, that liberals must be better at explaining the “science” of CAGW than conservatives are at refuting it. That would be patently foolish, and I apologize if anyone took such as my intention.

    For reasons I’ll never fathom, the far left has hijacked the left with religious radical “environmentalism” in parallel to how (as I perceive it) the far right has hijacked the right on other issues. Reasonable liberals and conservatives abound in this country, but they don’t get much say in the political “debate”. (Yes, I’m heavily invested in scare quotes, my current favorite punctuation.)

  11. So first they are right because there is “consensus”, and now that it’s becomming obvious there isn’t “consensus” they are still right, but blame the conservatives?

    Hmm. Next.

  12. Didnt the times report that the average ‘Denialist’ is an educated conservative? The times, being an educated liberal (ie, a true denier of facts), is ignoring the obvious truth: educated, intelligent people have identified CAGW for what it is, a superstition unsupported by facts.

  13. The New York Times article would take days to reply to. Most of it is junk. I will leave just one example to examine. Look at the carbon dioxide emmissions from China the past ten years and watch it in the future. They will have real growth. The country is putting a new large coal-fired power plant on line every two weeks.

    China makes wind turbines and solar panels to sell to suckers in the U. S. and EU. I suspect solar and wind plants built and operated in China are paid for with carbon credits from the U. S. and EU.

    James Rust

  14. I think that a more likely scenario may involve contrariness. When was the last time you heard a self-identified Tea Partier express (on TV, for instance) in a cogent way any kind of scientific justification for calling CAGW a “hoax,” with any argument deeper than “The science is not settled?” I happen to be a left-of-center Democrat and also abhor junk science, whether applied to prise dollars from an unwary public for worthless “miracle cures”, or to prise billions from taxpayers for worthless solutions to non-existent problems. Being a thinking person does not demand any particular flavor of political allegiance. For all I know, the majority of posters here may be conservative politically, but I enjoy the blog on the whole for junk-science bashing, rather than liberal bashing.

  15. It appears to simply be a fact that Conservatives have chosen to educate themselves about the truth of the Global Warming Hoax more so than the liberals who have chosen ignorance.

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