Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
iNow

The Global Warming Consensus and "The Tobacco Strategy"

Recommended Posts

Some of you have seen this link with the history of climate science:

 

 

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/summary.htm

It is an epic story: the struggle of thousands of men and women over the course of a century for very high stakes. For some, the work required actual physical courage, a risk to life and limb in icy wastes or on the high seas. The rest needed more subtle forms of courage. They gambled decades of arduous effort on the chance of a useful discovery, and staked their reputations on what they claimed to have found. Even as they stretched their minds to the limit on intellectual problems that often proved insoluble, their attention was diverted into grueling administrative struggles to win minimal support for the great work. A few took the battle into the public arena, often getting more blame than praise; most labored to the end of their lives in obscurity. In the end they did win their goal, which was simply knowledge.

 

 

Or this link here, with the timeline of global warming:

 

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm

Here are gathered in chronological sequence the most important events in the history of climate change science.

 

 

And, of course wiki also has a well referenced page supporting all of the above.

 

 

However, this thread is intended to share with you a talk by a historian well versed in the science of climate change, and that talk is available below.

 

Enjoy, and discuss.

 

 

 

XXyTpY0NCp0

 

A presentation based off of her recent book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscure the Truth about Climate Change. Naomi Oreskes, author and professor of history and science studies, University of California, San Diego.

 

From the University of Rhode Island's Spring 2010 Vetlesen Lecture Series, People and Planet Global Environmental Change. March 2, 2010.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think there was an enormous tobacco-related cancer denialist movement the way there is with climate change. True, corporate interests do work against the science in both cases, but opposition to climate science is far more grassroots than it ever was with tobacco-related cancers.

 

I also think in the case of climate science there's a bit more to the opponents claims than there ever was with tobacco and cancer. That said, the opinions of a handfull of scientists do get hugely amplified through a cacophony of corporate interests and layman's blogs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think there was an enormous tobacco-related cancer denialist movement the way there is with climate change. True, corporate interests do work against the science in both cases, but opposition to climate science is far more grassroots than it ever was with tobacco-related cancers.

 

The internet didn't exist back then, and cable hadn't expanded anywhere near its current extent. I have no trouble believing that it would be similar under identical communication conditions.

 

On a related note, there was a good post describing the OJ moment of climate change that's worth a read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On a related note, there was a good post describing the OJ moment of climate change that's worth a read.

 

It's definitely true that fear, uncertainty, and doubt are the weapons of the climate science denial movement. The mountains of evidence in support of anthropogenically forced climate change are nothing when there are a few things wrong here and there! A few mistakes cast everything into doubt.

 

As Al Gore put it in his most recent op ed:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28gore.html

 

...the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Edited by bascule

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be fair, the pro global warming has been using plenty of FUD as well, and this goes triple for the non-scientific folks like journalists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a non argument as the money argument cuts both ways... and more heavily to the pro-AGW argument, for that matter.

 

Here is just one contributor to pro-AGW studies and legislation.

 

There are hundreds of groups like this

 

As I pointed out elsewhere, Greenpeace has invested far more than Exxon.

 

How do these groups have a vested interest in the outcome of research?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The internet didn't exist back then, and cable hadn't expanded anywhere near its current extent. I have no trouble believing that it would be similar under identical communication conditions.

 

Neither did Fox news or conservative talk radio (at least not in the same way). I wonder what kind of impact this has had.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a non argument as the money argument cuts both ways... and more heavily to the pro-AGW argument, for that matter.

I assume you've responded without actually viewing the video the OP was created to discuss. If you do decide to watch it, you will realize that it's about much more than just who spends money and who is watching their own bottom line. Much more interesting to me was how closely this ties back to political ideology, and with people's concerns about size of government.

 

Again, I only ask that respondents view the video before attacking or dismissing it's contents. Thanks.

 

 

BTW, Swansont - Thanks for the link. That was a good read (but I actually saw it on your blog before here IINM).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To satisfy the scientific method, there are certain burdens of proof. Some types of proof take a lot of resources. If we had studies A and B, and A gets more resources, the odds are A would be proven first (all else being equal). That does not mean that A is the only correct answer and B is false. But it does mean, by shifting resources toward A, we can prevent B from doing the same thing or doing it as fast. This can be used to stack science.

 

PC also plays a role, bringing to the table a second aspect of this science special effect. In the case of tobacco, one can restrict publication and therefore stack the literature one way. To the easily duped, we can then say the consensus of the literature says this. We won't be technically lying as long as you don't mention the censor. When there is only one show in town, without full competition, one aspect can then form a subjective monopoly for the resources. This allow one to feed the special effect discussed in the first paragraph.

 

With global warming, there was another tactic added. Tactic three had to do with the subjective discreditation of validated science. The pro-global warming side had the resource stacking, and the literature stacking. These two special effects were enough to fool most of the scientists. But some scientists continued to voice their opposing views, even with the two pronged illusion set up and running strong. The third tactic tried to quiet the remaining opposition with threats and bribes. This added more people to the consensus.

 

This was actually good, since it allowed all of us to see how the special effect works, with an real time example. Those who were not fooled by the special effects, demonstrated a talent for reality above the consensus. If I was in charge, I would change the guard and place those fooled into remedial positions, since they might be fooled again. One can be an expert in one thing, but still not be to aware when it comes to special effects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was very interesting, and I feel that I'd like to research some of that independently to check it out.

 

sadly, her effort to make us want to read her book worked, I kinda wanna read the book now

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This was very interesting, and I feel that I'd like to research some of that independently to check it out.

 

sadly, her effort to make us want to read her book worked, I kinda wanna read the book now

 

Thanks, Dudde. If you liked it, you might also wish to check out two of her previous talks which relate to the same content. Those are available below.

 

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/02/oreskes_on_the_american_denial.php

http://smartenergyshow.com/node/67

 

 

 

Pioneer - This is not a thread to discuss your denial of global warming and why. This is a thread to discuss the video in the OP and the content contained therein. Thanks in advance for your compliance with this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How do these groups have a vested interest in the outcome of research?

 

In the Rockefeller Brothers Fund example they are not just a philanthropic organization but an actual investment firm to fund the philanthropic goals. As such they invest heavily in the same green technology that they endorse through their fund.

 

Also heavy hitters in the green promotion arena like Geroge Soros invest in green technology as well.

 

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this, nor am I saying that the oil investments are wrong either. I am simply pointing out that when it comes to global warming it is hard to find anyone one either side that doesn't have skin in the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Investors can always find investments. They don't produce a product where their business will suffer if the research turns out a particular way. If AGW were wrong, there would still be plenty of environmental issues to pursue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, but return on investment is not always measured in money.

 

Greenpeace et al stand to gain a significant dividend in terms of political power.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
True, but return on investment is not always measured in money.

 

Greenpeace et al stand to gain a significant dividend in terms of political power.

 

 

What does greenpeace holding political power mean to you? There is also the green party, and that also has variation in terms of what can suck in votes.

 

Also the Democrats in America and various other political parties around the globe make various environmental issues part of their plateforms to some extent.

 

Also greenpeace is not the only environmental agency really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Investors can always find investments. They don't produce a product where their business will suffer if the research turns out a particular way. If AGW were wrong, there would still be plenty of environmental issues to pursue.

 

Indeed, and as I have said before, I am an environmentalist, I just think that focusing so much effort on carbon dioxide is counterproductive to the environmental issues as a whole. I am also more moderate than, say, Greenpeace when it comes to actual environmentalism -- as an example, I disagree with the idea of "geographical extinction" that is so prevalent in environmentalism today. Too often it ends up overriding the natural process of selection in the environment in favor of an untenable status quo.

 

But that is for another thread.

 

In the case of The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, their investments directly affect their ability to carry out their philanthropic work as they are the source of the funds income (they simply channel investment profit into philanthropy to maintain the tax exempt status). So channeling money into AGW research has a direct return on investment, and a direct impact on their philanthropic endeavors.

 

In a way it could be argued that a philanthropic organization that invests solely in anti-AGW industry and spends money solely on anti-AGW programs is not in a conflict of interest since if AGW is shown to be false then the loss of money would not impact the philanthropy since the target of the philanthropic endeavors would also vanish in the ether.

 

But that isn't the case with RBF or Greenpeace of he Sierra club etc. etc. .. hence they have a vested interest in AGW being true as their investment helps fund all of their other projects.

 

In a way I should be heavily invested in AGW as well because I think that if this theory falls apart it will set back ALL environmentalism in the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

foodchain, I said Greepeace et al to include the other groups.

 

If they wish to stand for election, then I have no problem with them. I also have no problem with them being lobbyists. I do have a problem with any advocacy group gaining too much power as advisors though.

 

That would mean no accountability and would be dangerous to a democratic society. Any group that is certain that they know what is best for everybody else is a danger in that situation.

 

However, this would be a better discussion in another thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
However, this would be a better discussion in another thread.

Thanks for that, John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the case of The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, their investments directly affect their ability to carry out their philanthropic work as they are the source of the funds income (they simply channel investment profit into philanthropy to maintain the tax exempt status). So channeling money into AGW research has a direct return on investment, and a direct impact on their philanthropic endeavors.

 

In a way it could be argued that a philanthropic organization that invests solely in anti-AGW industry and spends money solely on anti-AGW programs is not in a conflict of interest since if AGW is shown to be false then the loss of money would not impact the philanthropy since the target of the philanthropic endeavors would also vanish in the ether.

 

But that isn't the case with RBF or Greenpeace of he Sierra club etc. etc. .. hence they have a vested interest in AGW being true as their investment helps fund all of their other projects.

 

In a way I should be heavily invested in AGW as well because I think that if this theory falls apart it will set back ALL environmentalism in the process.

 

I didn't see a list of investments in the Rockefeller fund link, just a blanket diversification strategy statement, and a summary from an annual statement which states

 

The plan assets are currently invested in mutual funds with an

allocation of 70 percent equity and 30 percent debt securities

 

Debt securities. Doesn't look to me like they are investing in companies benefitting from AGW. But you've stated in no uncertain terms that they invest in these companies to fund their research grants, so I'd like to know where you have gotten that information and share it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Empirical studies, although useful, open the door for the lunatic fringe to create alternate realities. They often consciously or unconsciously confuse empirical with rational, and use empirical relationships as the premises for their logic.

 

In logic, one's premises need to be 100% certain for the conclusions to follow with 100% certainty. With empirical premises, these are always less than 100%. This uncertainty has an impact on what follows logically. We can lose track of reality, even while using valid logic, if we use premises, which by their very definition, have built in uncertainty. One can not draw a 100% conclusion with a bunch of 50% premises, even if the logic flow is perfect from premies to conclusions.

 

Let me show an example of this effect. If we throw a ball in the air, in any direction, gravity will pull the ball downward with 100% certainty. I can reason using this premise, to get a 100% predictable result, that is real, all the time. If I throw the ball toward that tree over there, it will land on the ground near that pretty girl. I can then ask her if she saw the ball and we will have a chance to meet.

 

Say instead of the logical physics of projectile motion; ball, I have a kite which has been going left or right depending on the wind. During the past hour, the wind is still shifting, but it has pushed the kite to left 67% of the time.

 

I will use this as a premise. That same cute girl is standing on the left. If I let go of my kite, it will drift toward the cute girl and we will meet. This is not a sure thing, since one can't draw a 100% conclusion using 67% certainty within one of my main premises. This second scenario can bring us to an alternate conclusion I may not want that is not possible with the first scenario. If we let the kite go and it drifts right, I might say the universe is ruled by chaos, since cause and effect broke down. But the entire special effect is due to using empirical premises with less than 100% certainty blended with sound logic; thinking this is all logical.

 

A correlation is like a partial truth. It is not a full truth, if we still have exceptions to the rule. Say someone gave you information that was only partially true. You may be reluctant to use this to reason. For example, salt causes high blood pressure. This is partially true but one can find examples of people who can eat salt without high blood pressure. But the statement sounds like it is entirely true while being a partial lie. The mayor of NYC concluded if we forbid salt in restaurants, we can lower high blood pressure in New York.

 

This empirical premise, because it is a partial lie, also says not all people will benefit, by the restaurant prohibition, since salt is not a problem to these people. The mayor will be punishing people with a law, so he can pretend to do something, since he can't do the hard things. This empirical premise is also a half lie and does not follow a straight line in reality, since some people will benefit by this. Science should be looking to create premises for logic so we don't have this problem. Science could step in an say, this is a correlation and should not be confused for a certainty premise that one should use with their logic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I didn't see a list of investments in the Rockefeller fund link, just a blanket diversification strategy statement, and a summary from an annual statement which states

 

The plan assets are currently invested in mutual funds with an

allocation of 70 percent equity and 30 percent debt securities

 

Debt securities. Doesn't look to me like they are investing in companies benefitting from AGW. But you've stated in no uncertain terms that they invest in these companies to fund their research grants, so I'd like to know where you have gotten that information and share it.

 

 

Here is an RBF paper from 15 years ago that sums up one aspect of their interdependence nicely: Selling Solar

 

In this document they detail their various cooperative investment efforts with the solar industry to bring solar energy to the third world. In this case, RBF's stated goal is to bring renewable energy to 3rd world people, but it is dependent of the success on the solar companies involved and continued investment of capital in the program.

 

As such, RBF has a vested interest in both the solar industry, and the carbon reduction schemes as a whole as they feed the solar energy market in large amounts now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here is an RBF paper from 15 years ago that sums up one aspect of their interdependence nicely: Selling Solar

 

In this document they detail their various cooperative investment efforts with the solar industry to bring solar energy to the third world. In this case, RBF's stated goal is to bring renewable energy to 3rd world people, but it is dependent of the success on the solar companies involved and continued investment of capital in the program.

 

As such, RBF has a vested interest in both the solar industry, and the carbon reduction schemes as a whole as they feed the solar energy market in large amounts now.

 

You implied that their investment portfolio was in AGW-related businesses. Don't shift the goalposts. Provide evidence or retract the assertion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.