Naaaah.


I’ve been amazed that on Facebook there are actual, real-life, global warming deniers.

I mean, I knew they were out there somewhere but it’s surprisingly easy to get them to rise to the bait.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … it’s surprisingly easy to get them to rise to the bait.

    Once they’re hooked & reeled in, remember each must be thoroughly gutted before tossing them in the ice bucket.

  2. kestrel says

    Just ran into a commenter on a forum who said, “I believe in climate change, but I don’t believe in global warming.” This was in reference to all the hurricanes. Reminded me of a creation denier.

  3. blf says

    “I believe in climate change, but I don’t believe in global warming.”

    My wingnut-to-English dictionary says this probably means they accept natural variations in climate, but not forcing by people. An alternative is they don’t like what they perceive as the “solutions” (e.g., “festooning your house with windmills”) and hence the problem doesn’t exist.

  4. Raucous Indignation says

    I would gladly festoon my house with a windmill or two. The best are on 150 foot towers. My neighbors have not warmed to that idea yet. Also our grid is still old and can’t handle whatever excess I produce.

  5. bmiller says

    I believe in climate change. I believe in anthropogenic global warming. I do not believe that all of these studies and treaties and compacts and Prius driving will do a single thing to overcome the reality of 7 billion consuming, driving, meat eating (cow flatulence is a major source of GHG) human beings.

    At least the “efforts” will make work for various consultants and contractors and lobbyists!

  6. robert79 says

    @5 bmiller

    You’re not a climate sceptic, I’d call you a climate cynic. To be honest, on my more pessimistic days I’d completely agree with you (especially considering the US attitude the last year) and claim we’re better off raising the dikes and letting the rest of the world drown (at least in Holland, where I live, we know how to do this…) The attitude of sticking your head in the sand and claiming everything is going to be all right, however, is absolutely idiotic.

    On my more optimistic days I do think that reducing carbon output is realistic, especially if you consider that fossil fuels are going to run out at some point, and wind/water/solar is getting cheaper and cheaper. Right now green energy sources are starting to be competitive with coal.

    As for the cows… they already have half a dozen tubes stuck into them for various purposes… adding another and storing their farts underground (perhaps after burning them for energy!) may raise the price a little. Don’t like it? Perhaps it will discourage people from eating so much steaks!

  7. says

    bmiller@#5:
    I believe in climate change. I believe in anthropogenic global warming. I do not believe that all of these studies and treaties and compacts and Prius driving will do a single thing to overcome the reality of 7 billion consuming, driving, meat eating (cow flatulence is a major source of GHG) human beings.

    I mostly agree with you; I’m quite comfortable with the science and the arguments about AGW, and it’s a conclusive case, to me. I forget who did the cartoon that says, basically, “what if we reduced emissions and made the world less expensive and a better place to live, and we were wrong?” There are plenty of reasonable benefits from reducing all this stuff. But “sustainability” is a myth as long as we keep using every resource saving to increase the population. I know that “the population growth-rate is slowing” and that’s a good thing, but I wonder whether a truly “sustainable” carrying capacity wasn’t blown past around 100AD; we’ve been adjusting the carrying capacity by using technology, which is fine, but the whole thing seems to be premised on this weird idea that we should pack as many humans onto the planet as we possibly can, and not a jot more. Put differently, I think Malthus may have been right, we just keep re-writing the rules so that he’s not right – yet. I guess the question is whether sustainability is sustainable in the face of indefinite population-growth.

    Usually someone says something sensible about that humans are eventually going to reduce the birth/death rate to stasis, and then everything can be paradise, which is true, as far as it goes. But if we could do that why not voluntarily allow the population to drop to something even more sustainable than that? I’m afraid that the reason we won’t do that is because we can’t which means that humans’ presumed ability to manage our populations may be largely aspirational. It’s always seemed to me that if we were a really rational species we could do something like allow our population to naturally drop to a fraction of what it is, now, move to a few mega-cities, and let large parts of the planet go fallow for a few centuries. That idea immediately comes off, even to me, as ridiculous – why? I am afraid that part of what is subliminally driving the population increase is the desire to build bigger, more integrated economies. But once you’ve provided for a pleasant life for your population, and everyone has an iPhone 8, do we really need to all have iPhone 10s? I think the underlying driver for all this is nationalism and war: civilizations need bigger, more integrated economies because that’s what allows military dominance.

    That’s a depressing thought but I can’t shake it. The most depressing part is that the end-game sustainable civilization could be that everyone’s a subsistence-level servant to a global oligarchy and the oligarchs control the economy and the population. Hey, it’s sustainable. That’s why I look askance at the “longevity prolongation” guys; it seems to me they want to gift the world with oligarchs that are near-immortal but still greedy.

    Anyhow, I’m not trying to convince any of you of that. It’s my nightmare and it doesn’t really matter since none of us will ever be able to confirm or deny it. Since I chose early on not to have kids, I have no skin in the game (or selfish genes in the pool, more like) and have adopted an agenda of leaving the world a slightly better place where it’s within my reach, which means not making anything worse, at least. If everyone tried to not make things worse, then we’d find out whether it was possible to make the world better.

  8. says

    Raucous Indignation@#4:
    I would gladly festoon my house with a windmill or two. The best are on 150 foot towers. My neighbors have not warmed to that idea yet. Also our grid is still old and can’t handle whatever excess I produce.

    Same here. I got a neat letter in the mail the other day from a company that is trying to rent acreage to build solar farms. Since I have acreage that’s currently fallow, it occurred to me that that would be a good thing to do (and I’d possibly be able to retire off the rent) – except that the nearest high lines are 1/2 mile away, and they are looking to farm places that are right under the high lines, which makes sense. The grid is indeed old; and it’s run by organizations that are not interested in fixing it unless it enhances their ability to not only move, but control, energy production.

    This year I stopped letting the farmer grow corn on my fields, because that corn was being used for biofuel; it’s not making things better, it’s making things worse.

  9. says

    kestrel@#2:
    Just ran into a commenter on a forum who said, “I believe in climate change, but I don’t believe in global warming.” This was in reference to all the hurricanes. Reminded me of a creation denier.

    Yeah, it’s the “cherry pick your reality” approach. Sure, I believe in “micro-evolution” and I can see the reality of controlled breeding, but no way “macro-evolution” can explain large-scale change and speciation, because, I dunno. There’s a reason creationists like the 6,000 year figure – because when you really understand how much change can happen in 100 million years, it’s “game over, man.”

  10. says

    One of the guys on facebook offered up the observation that there are “solar and planetary cycles” that also affect warming, yadda-yadda. Some of you have probably heard that, too.

    OK, so if you’re a frog, and you’re in a pan of water that historically has ranged in temperature from frozen solid, to boiling hot, you still don’t just sit there when it starts going into a warming cycle.

  11. Dunc says

    I know that “the population growth-rate is slowing” and that’s a good thing, but I wonder whether a truly “sustainable” carrying capacity wasn’t blown past around 100AD

    For most standard definitions of carrying capacity, we blew past it when we started modifying our environment on a large scale, back in the Mesolithic. Certainly, we were in deep shit as soon as we started practising forms of agriculture that result in soil erosion. In many places, we’ve now worked our way through most of the topsoil that took hundreds of millions of years to accumulate, and we’ve done it in under ten millennia. That’s not sustainable.

    As for the population growth rate, it’s an open question as to whether the rate at which the growth rate is slowing (that’s what, third derivative?) will be maintained… It’s starting to look like it might not be, but even if it is, that’s still not the same as stopping growth altogether.

    I think Malthus may have been right

    I tend to think of everybody who claims that Malthus was wrong because we haven’t hit a hard limit yet as being like someone falling from the top of a tall building proclaiming that everything’s going to be fine because they haven’t hit the ground yet, and therefore we can safely conclude that “the ground” probably doesn’t exist, and even if it does, they’ll learn to fly if it gets close enough.

    If we can come up with a form of agriculture that doesn’t erode topsoil, doesn’t rely on inputs of non-renewable resources, and doesn’t rely on inputs of renewable resources at rates greater than their renewal rates, then we’re in with a chance. To date, I see absolutely no prospect of this actually being achieved.

    Still, it doesn’t take much of an increase in mortality rates to turn population growth into shrinkage, and antibiotic resistance is spreading like wildfire…

  12. jrkrideau says

    11 Dunc

    If we can come up with a form of agriculture that doesn’t erode topsoil, doesn’t rely on inputs of non-renewable resources, and doesn’t rely on inputs of renewable resources at rates greater than their renewal rates, then we,re in with a chance

    I am not an agronomist nor a farmer (escaped!) but there probably are several ways that we can do this from the technical standpoint. It would likely mean some rather drastic changes in how we raise foods, in what we raise, and how we process and consomme the food.

    It would almost certainly mean some considerable changes in Western diets, in particular much less conventional animal proteins, I hope you like insects and potatoes, but it is almost certainly possible even for our current population.

    This assumes that climate change does not have a massive and very sudden effect on overall world food production before we could start adapting.

    Most of the other difficulties are generally cultural, and political/economic, and those are going to be hard to deal with.

  13. bmiller says

    The drive to reproduce is strong. As illustrated by the charming pop-up ad on this very post! Older men can just take one pill and f all day. Illustrated with a lovely little pornographic GIF to boot!

    I know freethoughtblogs needs ad revenue and I hate to be prudish, but geezow, they could have some minimal standards, no?

  14. says

    Usually someone says something sensible about that humans are eventually going to reduce the birth/death rate to stasis, and then everything can be paradise, which is true, as far as it goes. But if we could do that why not voluntarily allow the population to drop to something even more sustainable than that? I’m afraid that the reason we won’t do that is because we can’t which means that humans’ presumed ability to manage our populations may be largely aspirational.

    I live in a country with sub-replacement fertility (significantly less than two children born per woman). Latvians are literally dying out and refusing to breed. Our politicians call this a demographic crisis and have tried everything imaginable to increase the birth rate. When a baby is born, mother gets an 18 month vacation from work (paid by the state, employer is legally forbidden to fire her), parents are directly given money by the state and that’s on top of significant tax breaks. Oh, and did I mention cheap kindergartens (subsidized by the state)? Pretty much everything childcare related is subsidized by the state. And none of that is working — people simply refuse to make babies. By the way, I’m the only child in my family. Just like many other people my age I know.

    And that’s happening not just in my country. According to Wikipedia, as of 2010, about 48% (3.3 billion people) of the world population lives in nations with sub-replacement fertility. Once you have education for women, access to contraceptives and decreased religiosity, people simply refuse to breed, you naturally get a population decline.

    If the rest of human population currently living in misery got better living conditions, overall human population on this planet wouldn’t just stabilize, it would decline.

    Unfortunately, despite knowing this, I’m still skeptical. To stop the climate change, we must significantly reduce carbon emissions now. We cannot afford to wait a century (or two) for human population to naturally decline.

    The most depressing part is that the end-game sustainable civilization could be that everyone’s a subsistence-level servant to a global oligarchy and the oligarchs control the economy and the population.

    Nah, I doubt that. When people live in misery, they breed. A lot. Unless the oligarchs forcibly sterilize them that is. And that’s not so simple. Moreover, oppressed people tend to get pissed off and start revolutions in an attempt to overthrow the oligarchs.

    My prediction is that we will fail to reduce carbon emissions. Climate change will go on. A bunch of poorest people will die as a result of famines and natural disasters. Survivors will probably start wars to compete for what natural resources remain once the climate gets bad. A lot of people will die.

    I hope nothing bad happens during my lifetime. I don’t intend to have any children, so I try not to think about gloomy future scenarios.

    If everyone tried to not make things worse, then we’d find out whether it was possible to make the world better.

    When it comes to the climate change, it won’t happen. Reducing carbon emissions (not making things worse) means reducing life quality. Stop using cars and planes and walk/use a bicycle/use public transportation instead. Live in a tiny house. Reduce heating and air conditioning. Buy and consume less stuff. Eat less meat. That doesn’t sound enticing for most people.

    A green and comfortable lifestyle is something only the rich can have. Electricity produced from clean and renewable sources is more expensive than burning coal/oil. Electric cars are expensive, poorer people cannot afford one. Passive houses are cool, but expensive to build. In Latvia there are only a couple of such houses in the entire country. Yes, having an ultra-low energy building that requires little energy for space heating or cooling is great, but most people cannot even dream about living in one. What about living in a small space? I have seen a lot of cool collapsible/multi-purpose furniture in webpages devoted to interior design. Some of it was really cool, but the prices were prohibitive. A poor person who gets her furniture in a yard sale won’t be buying those.

    If you are a rich person attempting to reduce your carbon footprint, you will be living in a passive house with solar panels. If you are a poor person attempting to do the same, your only option is to live in a cramped space without sufficient heating (and cold showers on top of that). Incidentally, as somebody who has been forced to take cold showers while living in an unheated space during winter, I can tell you that there’s no way I’m doing that willingly.

    The grid is indeed old; and it’s run by organizations that are not interested in fixing it unless it enhances their ability to not only move, but control, energy production.

    This is why the grid should be state owned.

  15. says

    Agriculture is fairly heavily dependent on nitrogen fertilizers. If it wasn’t for the Haber/Bosch process in the 20’s we’d have already hit the wall in the 1930s. Nitrogen-fixing is still very energy-expensive – it’s getting better but basically our fields are fertilized with oil.

    I am unconvinced that we can have a sustainable high tech civilization, which means either we rein in population or the eventual future is always worse. We just keep pushing back the Malthusian collapse and it’s worse when it happens.

  16. anat says

    The only way to keep global temperatures within reason is if we develop and implement carbon capture technologies. Otherwise we are headed towards CO2 levels that will inevitably result on out-of-control warming very fast. To stop this by reducing emissions alone we must leave fossil fuels in the ground NOW.

  17. Dunc says

    jrkrideau @#14 / Marcus @#17: Nitrogen isn’t too bad – there’s plenty of it around, it’s simply a question of finding the energy to fix it, and if we’re going to come up with a truly sustainable agricultural system, then we’re going to need huge amounts of energy anyway. So that’s “just” a problem of coming up with very large amounts of cheap, clean energy…

    No, the real problem (from a macronutrient standpoint, anyway) is phosphorus.

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