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The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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08 August 2008 Blog Home : August 2008 : Permalink

Illogical Nonpartisan Greenshirts

The Center for American Progress Action Fund describes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. I'm curious if "nonpartisan" has a different meaning on the West of the Atlantic. Over on the British side, nonpartisan would mean something that was not aligned with one political party. Mind you, as far as I can tell from this online definition check, it seems our N American colleagues would agree.

Oddly enough though our nonpartisan organization seems particularly prone to criticise politicians and policies from one party, and oddly enough the party isn't the Libertarion party or the Green party or the Democratic party. Funny that.

This nonpartisan organization has a environmental blog called climate progress which is an excellent example of the Greenshirt censor issue that has been discussed around the blogosphere. These greenshirts make it very clear that anyone who does not confess to the creed that "Global Warming is to blame" are heretics and infidels. The fun is they have a problem with logic as in this bit where one of their contributors criticises an utterly reasonable article by Joel Achebach:

Achenbach writes:

Weather alarmism” gives ammunition to global-warming deniers. They’re happy to fight on that turf, since they can say that a year with relatively few hurricanes (or a cold snap when you don’t expect it) proves that global warming is a myth. As science writer John Tierney put it in the New York Times earlier this year, weather alarmism “leaves climate politics at the mercy of the weather.”

You cannot be serious. The best you can do is quoting Tierney, a well-known climate doubter/denier/delayer? And deniers don’t need to look for any ammunition — they just make up stuff. You could waste a lot of time trying to figure out what you should or shouldn’t say based on a fear of how deniers might twist it or take it out of context.

This is simple stuff. As the climate changes because of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, the weather becomes more extreme. That’s what climate change is. I understand why deniers don’t want the rest of us talking about the connection between global warming and the surge in extreme weather events that has been documented statistically by scientists — including NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center (NCDC). That would shut down most discussion of current climate impacts. But I don’t understand why Achenbach falls for that spin.

There are two errors in this piece. Firstly even granted that the average global temperature has risen in the 20th century and that the NCDC's extreme weather survey is correctly controlled for greater population more observers etc etc and that therefore a reasonable correlation between temperature rise and extreme events is plausible, the statement "the climate changes because of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions" has two unproven assumptions in it:
  1. Greenhouse gases are the cause of the global warmig
  2. Humans are the emitter of GHGs
Now I know that this mantra is the credo of modern day environmentalism but it isn't clearly backed up by science.

If that weren't enough there is this. Here is the NCDC graph showing events increasing during the 20th century
Here is a plot of the GISS anomaly data for the 48 contiguous US states:
GISS 48 state US data
You are invited to use the mk 1 eyeball to note the clear 1930s hump in the GISS data and its absence in the NCDC graph.

However that, while fun, is merely illogical. How about something that is both self contradictory AND non-nonpartisan. Take this critique of McCain's energy policy. Firstly you note that we are told that McCain's policies will raise energy prices while this fawning review of his opponent's policies doesn't mention the price tag. Secondly there is this lovely contradiction (exceprts of three ranty bullets):
  1. First, McCain supports a cap-and-trade system. That raises coal prices significantly, and coal generates 50% of US electricity.
  2. McCain’s energy and climate plans include no substantial energy efficiency efforts
  3. McCain, like virtually all conservatives, has consistently voted against efforts to advance renewable electricity ... McCain in fact has been a strong opponent of renewable energy.
You see there is this thing call "market forces". Obviously the folks at climate progress aren't clear on the concept of markets and basic economics like supply and demand but I look at point 1 and see immediately that if correct it will immediately inspire points 2 and the renewable energy that point 3 thinks he doesn't like  with no need for the government to throw money at it. It must be noted that we KNOW that market forces work in the energy sector. Just ask the CEO of BP:

Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, said last week that the oil company had detected a drop in demand of up to 10 per cent in countries that are members of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

I personally don't think McCain's energy policies are the best but at least he's identified the basic one - get some nuclear ebergy going. Even if it takes 12 years to come on stream in 12 years the US is going to need it. In fact is a certain W Clinton or his predecessor had pushed nuclear ebergy when they were presidents the US would have some nice nuclear energy plants coming on stream about now - only they wouldn't because "Climate Progress" and its allies would have spread the usual myths about radiation to scare the world into no nukes.