Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Levitt, Dubner and concern troll denialism

Well, it looks like Levitt and Dubner are going to accrue the denialist constituency, but - to their horror - the cocktail liberal circuit has finally found them not cute. This happens. Slate was swimming along being the cute contrarian who you know is liberal in its heart even if it was a warmongering place with Steve Landsburg as its economics troll on call, when they hit the wall floating the Blacks are stupider than whites - its genetic! idea. Saletan, of course, still works there, but it does seem that even in the crazy world of today, KKKontrarianism is a hard sell.

Similarly, coming up with a very bogus geo-engineering scheme and dismissing CO2 as "not the villain" in global warming (which is like saying, Simon Legree was really an abolitionist!) has had the effect that the kewl kids, like at Crooked Timber, are not going to be having a symposium on this exciting book.

But - I do want a cut of the take, here! I predicted this. Back in 2006, on Limited Inc. I'm reprinting that post. Damn, they are stealing from me.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

From parody to policy -- Li pats itself on the back.

There are those who think that reading, as well as writing, Limited Inc is a less valuable use of time than, say, cutting holes in the pockets of your pants so you can play pocket pool.

But LI says, au contraire!

Proof exists right around the corner of your NYT -- go to the science section today. The global warming story. The geo-engineering story:

"Worried about a potential planetary crisis, these leaders are calling on governments and scientific groups to study exotic ways to reduce global warming, seeing them as possible fallback positions if the planet eventually needs a dose of emergency cooling.


Dr. Cicerone [President of the National Academy of Sciences] recently joined a bitter dispute over whether a Nobel laureate's geoengineering ideas should be aired, and he helped get them accepted for publication. The laureate, Paul J. Crutzen of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany, is a star of atmospheric science who won his Nobel in 1995 for showing how industrial gases damage the earth's ozone shield. His paper newly examines the risks and benefits of trying to cool the planet by injecting sulfur into the stratosphere.

The paper "should not be taken as a license to go out and pollute," Dr. Cicerone said in an interview, emphasizing that most scientists thought curbing greenhouse gases should be the top priority. But he added, "In my opinion, he's written a brilliant paper."

Geoengineering is no magic bullet, Dr. Cicerone said. But done correctly, he added, it will act like an insurance policy if the world one day faces a crisis of overheating, with repercussions like melting icecaps, droughts, famines, rising sea levels and coastal flooding."

For faithful readers, this should ring a bell. It doesn't? Mein Gott, Vhat am I doing dis fuer? I've instructed Igor to go back in the files. This is LI for February 19 2006. Hey, I wonder if I should hit this Cicerone cat up for consulting duties?

"money makin' ideas for the AEI to consider

Being broke at the moment, LI has been in search of a surefire source of revenue. And then it occurred to us: what kind of pro-active, pro-business response to global warming would warm the hearts of rightwing moneybags and bring in the checks?

Surely the thing to do is controlled volcanic management! We keep our cars, SUVs and coal generated plants going along at full carbon tilt, toss in a few atom bombs into the crater of some isolated volcano every year or so, and get the wonderfully cooling effect of pumping “sufficient amounts of ash into the air.” This package has everything: major manipulation of nature, atom bomb use, and a pro-carbon agenda. We are writing to the Scaife foundation for a grant right away! Happy days are here again!

From the Washington Post Q and A with Eugene Linden, author of Winds of Change:

Q: “As I've followed the global warming/climate change discussion, three historically based questions have always interested me. First, the drop in temperatures from the 1940s to the 1970s seems to contradict the correlation between human generated greenhouse gases and warming. Has this been adequately explained? Second, there was a significant warming period during the middle ages during which an agricultural colony was established in Greenland, but there was little or no human generated greenhouse gases at the time. Does this indicate that other factors besides human activity are the predominant causes of warming? Finally, proxies for temperature measures (i.e. ice cores, tree rings) have indicated that current temperatures are below long-term millennial temperature averages, and these long term trends track very closely to trends in solar activity. Does this indicate that current levels of solar activity are a more likely cause of current warming than greenhouse gases? Thank you for your consideration of my questions.

Eugene Linden: Since human greenhouse gas emissions only truly ramped up in the last century or so, it should be obvious that past warmings were the result of natural cycles (although one scholar argues that humans have had an impact through deforestation and agricultural going back thousands of years). Moreover, periodic coolings don't contradict the connection between GHG emissions and warming. For instance, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the early 90s put sufficient amounts of ash into the air to cool the planet the following year. Climate is one of the most complex systems on the planet, responding at any given time to countless pushes and pulls, but, on relatively short time frames, CO2 has tracked temperature as far back as we can reliably measure. It's one big variable that we can affect, and since we've upped it by 50%, temperatures have responded much the way climate scientists have expected. There will never be 100% certainty that the recent warming represents a response to human inputs, but the consensus is strikingly strong that it does. Moreover, it's the one thing we can do something about.

Finally, even if the current warming was entirely natural, it would still represent something that we should take very seriously. Natural climate change did in past civilizations, and we've seen the destructive potential of extreme weather just recently on the Gulf Coast.”


Ah, fuck the think tank peanuts. LI is now thinking of the plot for the latest Michael Crichton novel – you know, our Rebel in Chief’s favorite expert on so called climate change. In this plot, St. Exxon (the first corporation ever to be beatified by the Vatican), trying, as usual, to save humanity, comes up with the volcano management idea. Evil environmentalists – the Osama bin Laden league for Deep Ecology – try, of course, to stop them. In the exciting last scene, Jesus Christ, played by Mel Gibson, machine guns the Laden-ites just as they are about to mess up St. Exxon’s scheme. Beautiful fadeout as Jesus turns to the CEO of Exxon – played by St. Peter – and says, in a choked up voice, “I just want my country… to love me… like I love it,” copping the finale to Rambo II – but also a wink and a nod to the idea, gaining increasing currency in the Red States, that Sly’s movie now has official gospel status.

A subplot involving St. Exxon falling deeply in M & A love with Chevron (who is pursued by a lustful, deceptive Chinee company, backed by some evil liability chasin’ lawyers) is, of course, de rigeur, since we need some nude accounting scenes – or at least nude flowsheet scenes. Hey, and to be all comme il faut and shit, how about a stand-in for you know who, toting a pellet gun loaded for bear, who tattoes cartoon images of the prophet on the buttocks of the aforementioned liability lawyers? We gotta think outside the box here, boys. Outside of the Hollywood mindset. Family values and like that. I’m going to pitch this plot to Seth."

Well, looking at our proposal, now, with an eagle eye, I can see a major flaw in it. It does have explosions. It would please the ever apoplectic male population, all pumped up on their Limbaugh brand Viagra and shit. But... it really needs to pump federal money into the South. This is, after all, pretty much the reason the U.S. exists any more -- find some reason to send another couple billion to a Peckerhead War Industry firm. I concede that, feeding the Dixie monkey wise, my simple proposal might not go over. But wait! What if we chose to explode volcanos in countries that aren't free? Couldn't we liberate them first? Which is invasion, which is moola-moola for those greasy kentucky fried fingers. And a lot of brown bodies, all torn to bits, ocassionally flashed on the tv screen. Wow. A lyncherooni of an idea.

I'm seeing if Tom Delay is available for board membership of this thing.

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