Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Answering a critic

On Monday I received an e-mail from a gentleman in California (I'll call him "Mr. S") with some comments about this blog and its author. I'd like to remark on his remarks.
As a preliminary, I believe that there is is a preponderance of evidence that the earth's temperature is increasing, less convincing evidence that humans are causing much of it, and even if we are, little that we can do anything to change it.
For the most part, I agree with what Mr. S wrote in his opening paragraph. However, I would note that evidence is mounting that the recent temperature increase has plateaued over the last nine years, with no clear indication that it's ready to resume its upward trend.
My problem with the the anti-global warming crowd, you included, is that I just don't get why those who accept it (a group which, I admit, includes alarmists, bandwagon joiners who don't care about logic, and some just plain loonies) would want to "destroy the world's economy".
Mr. S is referring to the subtitle of this blog: News and commentary on recent advances in the quest by the environmental left to destroy the world's economy through the politicization of global warming (climate change) and the suppression of those who dissent from the "consensus". I'd like to note a couple of things about this subtitle.

First, I don't apply this description to everyone who believes mankind is substantially to blame for recent temperature increases. The key words here are "environmental left". In various posts I have expressed the opinion that the policy prescriptions of those driving the AGW agenda coincide quite nicely with the long-held goals of various leftist environmental organizations. They appear to have the most to gain from public acceptance of so much of the misinformation out there masquerading as science. Other websites have done a much better job than I have exposing this misinformation and giving the lie to the assertion of scientific consensus.

I believe that the vast majority of "those who accept it" do so not because they've carefully considered the scientific evidence, but simply because they've been told over and over that it is so, and because for the most part the media have denied them access to dissenting opinions. Granted, the Internet is out there, and anybody who wishes to do so can bypass the media blockade this way, but Joe Citizen isn't going to do that until he suspects that he's not getting the whole story.

Second, the subtitle suggests the environmental left is engaged in a quest "to destroy the world's economy". This both is and is not hyperbole. On the one hand, I suspect that few environmental leftists wake up on a typical morning thinking, "What can I do today to destroy the world's economy?" On the other hand, when presented with evidence that many of the policy prescriptions will do significant economic harm in exchange for minuscule environmental benefits, a lot of these environmentalists will shrug and say, "Whatever it takes."

In other words, the policy agenda being pushed by many environmental organizations seems indistinguishable from the strategy of an organization whose intent was to destroy the world's economy. IMO, of course.
You have a quote from Mencken that indicates they have a desire to rule the world, but I doubt most of those in the "they" group believe that they will ever rule the world - including Al Gore.
I suppose that none of them - including Al Gore - actually wants to be King of the World. They don't need to, as long as they can persuade the majority of the world's governments to enact their agenda and criminalize opposition to it. Same result. All for your good and for the good of the planet, so why would anyone object?
By the way, it is interesting that you choose a Mencken quote. Here's another:

"The Christian church, in its attitude toward science, shows the mind of a more or less enlightened man of the Thirteenth Century. It no longer believes that the earth is flat, but it is still convinced that prayer can cure after medicine fails."

He might not have liked do-gooders, but he wasn't big on religious believers, either.
Ouch! True, Mencken was an equal-opportunity cynic, but this is quite tangential to the topic at hand. I hope you're not saying that I should agree with everything Mencken said in order to quote (well, sort of quote) one thing he said.

Thanks, Mr. S, for expressing your objections in a civil manner. While I doubt that I've brought you around to my point of view, I hope I've been able to do a better job of expressing my point of view.