The Spectacle Blog

How Not To Win Friends and Influence “Deniers”

By on 11.15.10 | 1:53PM

I have seen at least five separate efforts in the past two weeks by various constituent parts of the global warming industry making the argument that, now with the election results, they've got Republicans right where they want them. It's time to surrender now that you've won-sort of argumentation.

Yesterday's came from the Washington Post, a we can all work together piece, with what was therefore the strange olive branch of a headline: "A plan for climate change deniers" (gosh, just how have these people managed to lose despite billions of dollars and years to try and make their case...?).

It nonetheless raises legitimate points for consideration, including a reminder that our side has been offering (real) 'no regrets' policies for a decade, with no takers. 'No regrets' or 'let's do what we all agree on' isn't what these people are about. They are about a particular agenda. One that would not, in practice reduce global emissions (so it isn't about emissions) and would of course not detectably impact the climate, according to anyone (so it isn't about the climate). Continually reinventing the elements of the agenda doesn't get around these facts.

And of course we have long argued that wealthier is not just healthier but cleaner, so the key to a better global environment is to bring that which drives wealth to the world's poor. That means abundant, reliable and (in practice) centrally generated electricity. Which raises the important aspects, for broader digestion, of the WaPo item:

First, note how it flatly conflates replacing indoor stoves in poor countries with cleaner energy sources, there, with ...a national windmill mandate here. (wha?) This telegraphs the effort's larger logical woes.

We can all agree that replacing those dirty stoves is a good thing, bringing real, undeniable health and environmental benefits.

Among those benefits of this energy proposal is reducing 'black soot', which is also a global warming argument.

A windmill mandate is an energy proposal offered in the name of 'global warming'.

Therefore we all agree on a national windmill mandate.

Again, with syllogistic powers such as that, how they ever lost the science and policy battles is tough to comprehend...

Second, insist the public supports all sorts of binge debt spending (when not told of the increased energy and other transport costs, reduced safety, and so on. Salvation or catastrophe...which'll it be?). They support "requiring utilities to produce..." without translating that into the reality of "requiring that you pay more for..." It is amazing the impact on public responses one can obtain simply by explaining how the cost of that activity you say you support requiring is borne by you, not by those who you support bearing the requirement.

These slightly (but not very) different overtures all reaffirm that, when facing this particular, adaptable if epically inept opponent, which shows no signs of giving up the ghost of promoting an energy scarcity agenda, now of all times there is no need to deviate from the tried, true and demonstrable realities so fatal to this agenda that terrific effort is underway to obscure their relevance:

it's the spending, stupid, and it's the debt, stupid.

The two not only go hand in hand, but are inherent in climatically meaningless temporary job schemes politically directing borrowed and private capital, which harm the individual and the economy in several and in some cases lasting ways.

There are reasons these stunts fail when they are tried through the front door. The same reasons apply when they are disguised. They're not free ice cream, they are all pain no gain. Which explains the sleights of hand required.

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