Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bret Stephens - Conservo Climate Skeptic - Gets 'Spanked' on 'REAL TIME'

Image result for bret stephens
Conservo author and WSJ columnist-nitwit, Bret Stephens, was throttled so comprehensively on Bill Maher's 'Real Time' last night, it was almost like seeing a whelp eaten by wolves. From income inequality, to taxes, to the Obama State of the Union and the environment, this turkey displayed being lost at sea as Howard Dean then Maher took turns skewering his foolishness.

There isn't the space or time to deal with everything so I will just focus on Stephens' evident idiocy to do with global warming and climate science. In the opening part of the segment Maher noted the recent  NY Times headlines (in the past 5 days)  to the effect that  'Ocean life faces mass extinction'    whereupon Stephens butted in,  saying:  "But also from 1975". As Maher pressed him, he babbled "and in 1935 and onwards".

 Maher pressed him some more, asking:  'So you're saying the oceans are not dying?':

And the twit twittered:

"I am saying we've been hearing predictions of imminent environmental destruction for a very long time."

Bill then put him on the spot, asking: "So you're saying there was a prediction in the New York Times from 1935 that 'ocean life faces extinction'?"

Whereupon Stephens replies:

"What I'm saying is if you look at a Newsweek from 1975 you will see it"

And  Maher moaned, 'Oh no, not the cooling thing!'

To which Stephens responded: "Yes, the cooling thing!"

For those who may not know, global cooling was once all the rage--  briefly! Some popular  'zines picked it up in the mid to late 70s but it was soon left in the scientific dustbin. This was after it was discovered a decade or so later, that it had been incepted by particulates and aerosols in the atmosphere.  After the Clean Air Act and similar bills were passed overseas (e.g. in the UK), those particulates disappeared and the cooling was no longer evident. (Aerosols remained and gave way to the global dimming phenomenon which also concealed the worst of global warming - but when aerosols were also controlled - after similar legislation, global dimming also receded and warming assumed dominance.)

So what Stephens ought to have read was the more recent Newsweek piece on the global warming disinformation industry (Aug. 13, 2007, ‘The Truth About Denial’, p. 21) noting the corporate media has been especially guilty in its misplaced notions of objectivity and fairness since they:

qualified every mention of human influence on climate change with ‘some scientists believe’ when the reality is that the vast preponderance of scientific opinion accepts that human-induced greenhouse emissions are contributing to warming”.

Maher then noted 2014 as the hottest year ever and hence asked whether the talking point that warming has halted since 1998 "shouldn't die" - since 1998 was an El Nino year so was an aberration. To which Stephens replied:

"No because it was the hottest year ever by a hundredth of a degree so what the people are pointing out is we've had the same high temperatures for the past fifteen years."

Which is bollocks. First, because the temperature actually rose as a global mean by 1.24F not  "one hundredth of a degree"

Also the deniers never claimed the past 15 years were all high temperature years, they claimed warming had ceased from 1998, which is not the same thing.  The fact that 14 of the past 15 years have all been progressively  hotter puts the kibosh on this flatulence. See also:

When Maher cited work detailing 10,855 peer-reviewed climate papers of which only two rejected the notion of man-made climate change-  2 out of 10,855 - and asked: 'Doesn't that persuade you?' and adding "Don't you think scientists know more about science then we do?', Stephens blurted:

"What doesn't persuade me is that scientists ought to know more about public policy  than we do and ought to dictate what public policy is."

He then cited the example of Bjorn Lomborg "bringing together some of the greatest scientists alive" and  Lomborg had asked them: "What are your priorities?" Stephens testily claimed this lot agreed that the "least amount of resources should be devoted to climate change."

Maher laughed and joked that: "Maybe these were different scientists from the 10,855 I mentioned". He also admitted he was not familiar with "the study"  - but let's provide some contextual  background, in particular first noting it was not a "study" but a contrarian climate convocation and also these were not scientists but economists. According to Wikipedia:

"In 2002, Lomborg and the Environmental Assessment Institute founded the Copenhagen Consensus, a project-based conference where prominent economists sought to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methods based on the theory of welfare economics.   Lomborg campaigned against the Kyoto Protocol and other measures to cut carbon emissions in the short-term, and argued for adaptation to short-term temperature rises as they are inevitable, and for spending money on research and development for longer-term environmental solutions, and on other important world problems such as AIDS, malaria and malnutrition. In his critique of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Lomborg stated: "Global warming is by no means our main environmental threat"

In April, 2008, a fellow Mensan - Marty Nemko - also brought this up in a Mensa Bulletin piece and asked:

Why did the Copenhagen Consensus, a group of 36 experts including four Nobel Prize winners, conclude that, among 17 challenges facing the world, efforts to stop global warming should receive the lowest priority?

To which I replied in an April 10, 2008 blog post:

"The Copenhagen Consensus – organized by longtime skeptic Bjorn Lomborg, and composed entirely of economists- would naturally have rated global warming lowest in its priorities for challenges facing the world. They are not climate scientists, after all! They’ll be vastly more concerned with economic blowback!"

I also showed how these dopes were only able to pursue their economics by discounting the resources of the natural world as irrelevant "externalities". For more on this and economics' other failures as a real science, see:

In the end, the fact that Stephens confuses scientists with economists in the "Copenhagen Consensus"  discloses he's not even remotely qualified to be involved in any climate change-global warming discussion. Hell, he wasn't even aware that global dimming (google!) was responsible for the aberration of cooling in the 70s and the fact that "theory" has long since bit the dust.

But maybe if "Bozo the Clown" ever returns there will be a place for Stephens there! Especially when he claimed at the end of the relevant segment that Galileo was engendering a paradigmatic revolt with  his "heliocentric theory" - "given the consensus of science at the time held the geocentric as true". But Maher had to correct him again noting that Galileo was on the side of real science (known since the time of Copernicus) and was actually inveighing against the religious orthodoxy of the time. (The Pope at the time, Paul V, actually confided to Galileo that he supported the heliocentric theory but was unable to do so because the geocentric view was dogma. Get it? Dogma - i.e. religious belief).

See also:


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for countering those Republican talking points. It was frustrating seeing Maher repeatedly switch topics and leave Stephens with the last word. It would be nice if he (or someone else) had a segment that refuted all of the talking points on his show, or all shows really.