Tuesday, 31 January 2012

"Retreat To The Upper Levels!"

There's a lot to enrage about this Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that CO2's role in global warming - and specifically our own output - is in fact exaggerated, but it's all stuff we've seen before.  Deliberate misrepresentation and misinterpretation?  Check.  Accusations by oil company executives that those arguing for global warming have too much money at stake to be trustworthy?  Uh huh.  The conflation of uncertainty in predicting values with uncertainty in predicting trends?  Naturally. Using a piece in a newspaper with a circulation of two point fucking one million to compare themselves to Soviet researchers who were "disappeared" to prevent their research being promulgated?  Yep, that's in there too. [1]

I must confess, however, that I'm grimly amused by the balls on these people.  First we got "There's no evidence the world is warming, and everyone claiming otherwise is lying to you!".  Then it became "It's just possible the Earth is warming, but there's no evidence human activity is contributing to the trend, and everyone claiming otherwise is shilling for money!".

Now, apparently, we've reached a new stage: "It seems the Earth is warming - though everyone else lied about how fast it would warm up - and it seems humanity's actions might be part of the reason why.  But there's no evidence that our contribution is anything like as big as all that, and everyone claiming otherwise is involved in a vast international conspiracy to increase taxes for some reason!"

Lesser minds might have flagged at this point, and wearily admitted that it's just about possible that the accumulation of ever more evidence might once again force them to silently move the goalposts to ensure their lies continue to have the veneer of plausibility conclude they're wrong on this occasion as well, or at least that those on the other side of the issue might at least be arguing in good faith, rather than reading Solzhenitsyn and jotting down ideas.

But, heh: that's exactly the sort of thinking that doesn't get you thrown in a Siberian gulag, and that's not the sort of concession to the enemy those with a selfless dedication to revealing the truth in exchange for money are prepared to make!

[1] Interestingly, Think Progress notes that the WSJ was sent a letter by proponents of the other side of this little fracas, and the paper didn't think it was worth printing.  Now, I don't get to decide what does and doesn't deserve to be printed in the Wall Street Journal - though, really, it's hard to see how I, or a concussed dugong, could do worse than its own staff these days - but one might have hoped that someone involved in this piece at some point might have wanted to reconsider their Soviet gulag analogy.  Whatever one's personal feelings about the USSR in general, I'd think we can all agree that had a scientist received a letter from Director Lysenko saying "knock this shit off", they were unlikely to have gotten away with burning the pages in public and releasing a press release calling him a prick.

"Maybe I'll run another piece on how the phone-hacking scandal
has turned Rupert Murdoch into a helpless victim..."

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