From the latest EconTalki comes an enlightening and inspiring interview with Matt Ridley, hereditary peer in the UK House of Lordsii and a self-proclaimed “lukewarmer,” who has a better head on his shoulders than all the fecally consensused scientards suckling from the government-funded teet of stupidity and perverse incentives… combined. But before we make our way to some of his stronger and more damning arguments against the highly coordinated charade that is climate “science,” what the fuck’s a lukewarmer anyways ?
Matt: A lukewarmer is somebody who is not challenging the idea that carbon dioxide levels are increasing or that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas or that we have seen warming in recent years or are likely to see warming to continue. But is challenging the idea that there is a strong likelihood that this will turn dangerous at some point in the future.
Sounds pretty reasonable, y’know ? Sure, Ridley grants that temperatures are increasing, despite the presence of measurement errors from a data set that’s entirely insignificant on a geological scale and therefore ripe for the compost heap, not to mention the data being fudged six ways to Sunday in order to maintain the illusion of theoretical proof in the face of no shortage of skepticism and even outright disproof, and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but that this perspective doesn’t necessitate a logical leap to fearing the four horseman of the apocalypse riding down on some invisible tidal wave composed of Carl Sagan’s angelic spirit, from which the only mortal salvation is to install solar panels on your home and drive a Prius to pick up the kids is, well, downright refreshing. Who knew that you could give a shit about the planet and question the dubiousness of climate “science” without also being a Holocaust denier ?iii
While EconTalk isn’t exactly mainstream, after almost a decade on the air, it’s hardly fringe. Hearing propositions such as Ridley’s opening remarks would’ve been witch-burning blasphemy not five years ago, and yet here they are, very much in the open. But if you think that’s gasoline on The People’s Fire, Ridley continues :
Matt: In fact, I would often go further and say, actually, there’s pretty good evidence that the carbon dioxide emissions we are putting into the atmosphere as fossil fuels are in many ways improving the environment. By that I mean we’ve seen a 14% increase in the amount of green vegetation in the planet in the last 30 years. Almost certainly largely because of the extra CO2, which is enabling plants in all ecosystems to grow more vigorously. And that has slightly improved the greenery of the planet, particularly in arid areas like the Sahel and Western Australia. And I haven’t even begun to mention the effect of slightly more rainfall on crops, and so on. Drought on the whole has been decreasing over the last 30 years. So, there are all sorts of reasons for thinking that for the planet as well as for mankind, carbon dioxide emissions are a good thing. A far bigger example of course is that if we burn coal oil and gas, we don’t burn wood. And so we don’t chop down forests. There is no doubt that switching to fossil fuels enabled us to stop destroying forests on a massive scale. Particularly in the Western World, where forests are recovering a lot of land very rapidly.
This is just so on the money. Fossil fuels, like every other resource revolution in human history – like the horse-drawn plow, the steam engine, and Bitcoin – are here to stay for the simple reason that they’re better than the alternative. No, they’re not perfect, but in the real world, when we’re constrained by real resources and real markets, we’re not competing with your perfect imaginations of perpetuum mobile in a 99c can. As such, fossil fuels are not to be brushed aside just for the saying so of some nobodies in Washington or Berlin. The supposed alternatives to fossil fuels are so riddled with technical problems, to say nothing of their economic uncompetitiveness, and this is so well known by this point, that I needn’t dig deeper into it here.
So not only are fossil fuels just fine and dandy thank you very much, the data supporting the theory that they’re having appreciable environmental impacts, much less extremely! direly! dangerously! apocalyptically! adverse impacts, are dubious at best :
Matt: If you go back and look at what the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) climate models have predicted, we have seen much less warming over the last 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years, than those models have predicted. We’ve seen a little more than 0.1 degree per decade. The IPCC, remember in 2013, came out and said that it is very confident that more than half of the warming since 1950 is man-made. Now, we’ve have 0.8 of a degree since 1880. About 0.5 of a degree since 1950. More than half of that is 0.25 of a degree. So they are saying that something like a third of a degree of warming is man-made over 50 years. Now that’s extremely hard to measure. And we’ve got no really good evidence that we are measuring it accurately. In fact, the surface temperatures tend to find a slightly faster rate than the satellites. Which implies that we are contaminating the record with urban heat island effects and things like that. Local warming, in other words, not global warming.
Government data being fudged ? How ? But how ??! And why, oh why ?!!! Sure, Stalin said he made 600,000 pairs of shoes in 1950 and so what if they all turned out to be size 6 women’s, we’re all human, we all make mistakes. And so Obama said that inflation was only 1% and unemployment was only 7%, they were both closer to 25%. What of it ? Math is hard, haven’t you heard ?
Of course there are policy agendas at work when you read Official Reports and of course The Data will come out however it needs to come out in order to support the narrative that benefits those intellectually impoverished fools and their TBTF butt buddies currently pretending to matter while in point of fact accomplishing little more than keeping the seats warm until The Most Serene Republic comes riding in from the North on its glorious steeds of digital destiny.iv Numbers are just numbers, after all ; like Bicycle Seat Betty, the town slut, everyone gets a ride.v
And while the Lysenkoistsvi are riding along, they’re stringing along behind them the religiously-programmed and faith-inclined masses who defected from Jesus or Joe Smith or whoever without having their wetware upgraded to accommodate for the frighteningly complex world that is, so they’ve merely shifted their belief systems from their left pocket to their right pocket, from the Church to the State. All because some mouth-breathing Francophiles thought that separating the two was rational, which is was, and therefore smart, which it evidently wasn’t. Not my some measure.
Ok so maybe the data on climate change is carefully crafted nonsense, but what if it were actually true ! I mean, what IF ! Shouldn’t we collectively intervene at great expense to both present and future generations… y’know just in case ? Hm, sounds suspiciously like Pascal’s wager…
Matt: To the main point about Martin Weitzman’s fat tails: You describe his point very accurately. And it is a well-known argument that a small possibility of a very large disaster needs to be taken seriously. It’s in a sense the same idea of the Black Swan argument, that Nassim Taleb puts forth–
Russ: And he says the same. Taleb has made the same point about climate change.
Matt: He has indeed. And I would argue that it’s a new version of Pascal’s Wager–if you remember, Blaise Pascal said, ‘I don’t think God exists, but if he does, I’m in much deeper trouble for not believing in him. Whereas if he doesn’t it doesn’t matter. Therefore, it pays to believe in him rather than take a chance.
Russ: Eternal damnation is a big negative, so a few years of religious observance is a good investment. That’s the argument.
Matt: Correct. Exactly. And I think that’s a slightly closer analogy than other people would think. In other words, I think there’s an element of sort of religiousness in all of this.
So instead of fearing the wrath as God as a method of constricting your behavioural freedoms into a narrow mould of conformity like the Church did once upon a time, now you’re fearing the wrath of Climate as a method of restricting your behavioural freedoms into a narrow mould of conformity at the hands of the State. Bravo. Such progress, you guise.
And if you’re still doing the Church thing, there’s no difference at all because now even Pope Boludo,vii the guy with the crazy tall kippa and the sweetest pad I’ve ever seen, is all over this climate shit too ! Really and truly, this is how you know it’s come full circle – when the Johnny come lately niggarsviii show up and try to hop on the bandwagon after it’s already got two flat tires, a mangled front bumper, and a cracked windshield.
As such, NOW, not later, is the time for any self-respecting, scientifically-minded, intellectually-inclined person who ever made the well-intentioned mistake of strapping themselves to that weighty green anchor, to bolt full-speed for the exits.ix
You think it’s a coincidence that Rick Fedrizzi just stepped down from the US Green Building Council, the regulatory body behind the LEED building standardx and the organisation he founded in 1993 ? Nuh-uh. He’s no dummy. Rick knows that the show’s all over, the curtains have fallen, and everyone’s going home. Time to take a bow while you still can because the window within which to save your skin is closing rapidly and will very shortly cerrado como culo de muñeca, as they say in Da Pope’s home country.xi
Before long, “sticks in the mud” like Canadian PM Stephen Harper who “dragged their heels” on the Kyoto Protocol and similar UN fuddy-duddery will rightly claim victory instead of looking like Confederate flag-waving hillbillies the way they once did. (At least on this score.) If anything, Harper can point to how much less of a frozen wasteland Canada has become since he took office a decade ago, including how much more arable land has been created of late. Or something. Not like anyone actually listens to him.
Ultimately, the world is most certainly NOT going to hell in a hand basket just because the large, federated nation state is, though it’s certainly the job of the etatist to persuade you that his survival, that of the planet, and yours are inextricably intertwined. They’re not. We’ll all be more than fine, and undoubtedly a hell of a lot better off in pretty much every conceivable way, without him.
So relax, go for a drive. Hell, take my 5.6L Merc.
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- /me waves to decimation. [↩]
- The 5th Viscount Ridley, a PhD zoologist in his own right, is therefore one of those privileged unicorns known as old money politicians that enjoy a vantage point and perspective inaccessible to the retired teachers and failed shoe salesmen that make up the ranks of elected officials in the colonies. Le sigh… [↩]
- Isn’t it funny that the climate mafia took the “denier” branding and threw it back in the fire so that it’d be ready to scald an entire generation of skeptical and free-thinking (and therefore anti-socialist) people as heretics ? You gotta laugh at the creativity of those guys sometimes. Dignity, progress, you name it and they’ve probably twisted it around for their own impossible ends.
Really, it makes no fucking sense that wanting clean water to drink and clean air to breath should also mean that you want windmills in your fields that chop up birds like a Cuisinart. But whatevs. [↩]
- There’s your four horsemen for you, except we’re more like 40 going on 400. Oh dear! [↩]
- This is doubly true in fiat. How many dollars or euros are there out there ? Who the fuck knows and who the fuck cares as long as you can get your hands on some from your employer in time to make it to the grocery store before they’ve lost too too much value, right ? What does it matter if you have no idea where you stand in this world ? Maybe if you just keeping telling yourself that you’re at The Tippity Top, your dream will come true ! [↩]
On the basis of rather crude and unsubstantiated experiments, Lysenko promised greater, more rapid, and less costly increases in crop yields than other biologists believed possible. Under Stalin, Lysenko became director of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. (1940–65) and president of the then powerful V.I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences. By 1948, when education and research in standard genetics were virtually outlawed, some geneticists had suffered secret arrest and death of undisclosed causes.
Lysenko’s doctrines and claims varied with the amount of power that he held. Between 1948 and 1953, when he was the total autocrat of Soviet biology, he claimed that wheat plants raised in the appropriate environment produce seeds of rye, which is equivalent to saying that dogs living in the wild give birth to foxes. His fundamental, continuing argument was that theoretical biology must be fused with Soviet agricultural practice. After Stalin’s death, this principle caused Lysenko some embarrassment, for efforts to improve Soviet agriculture brought the abandonment of measures to which his name and fame were tied.
- “Boludo” is an Argentinianism akin to calling someone a “dink” or “punk” in English. It’s not nice to call someone this, but not overly offensive either. It’s really pretty mild if you’re on friendly terms, which Franky and I clearly are. [↩]
- Term of art here, people, do your reading before you get all offended. “Niggars” have nothing to do with skin colour – don’t be all racialist now – it’s just someone who’s primitive, a bit slow, always late to the party, and fundamentally contemptible. Frankly, redditards, who are largely pimply-faced white kids who smoke a lot of weed in their mother’s suburban basements and will never amount to anything, fit this description a hell of a lot better than the hard hustlin’ black dudes I know and have met irl. See ? Nothing to do with race, ya fuckin’ racist. [↩]
- It’s worth noting that you don’t have to start dumping toxic and nuclear waste into your municipal water supply just because there’s no climatepocalypse coming to eat your babies. The environment is still a scarce resource. Use it wisely.
It’s also worth noting that I have no expectation that large swathes of American politicians, USG crown corporations, and smarmy libertards will drop this religion in time to save their already tattered reputations. They didn’t humbly submit to their masters in 2013, so why should they swallow their pride now ? [↩]
- I’m personally a fan of LEED buildings, at least as far as post-post-modern architecture goes, for the better-than-average quality of design and construction that always seems to go hand-in-hand with that USGBC seal o’ approval.
My intuition is that building owners who can afford the $10 – 50k to have their buildings LEED certified can also afford to invest in better architects, contractors, materials, and sites. But that’s just a hunch. Hey, for all I know some magic Green Building Fairy Godmother sprinkles positively charged karmic ions on certified(tm) buildings to give them that extra special glow. [↩]
- See ? I told you we were close, he lets me call him “Da.” [↩]