Monday, August 21, 2006

Tobacco industry racketeering case: Interesting reading

The decision in the Justice Department's tobacco industry racketeering case can be downloaded here. Starting on page 219, the report discusses how tobacco companies engaged in systematic distortion of the science to continue selling cigarettes. Here are a few headings from the table of contents:

DEFENDANTS DEVISED AND EXECUTED A SCHEME TO
DEFRAUD CONSUMERS AND POTENTIAL CONSUMERS
OF CIGARETTES ...

A. Defendants Have Falsely Denied, Distorted and Minimized the
Significant Adverse Health Consequences of Smoking for Decades

...

b. By 1953, Defendants Recognized the Need for
Concerted Action to Confront Accumulating
Evidence of the Serious Consequences of Smoking

3. Developments Between 1953 and 1964
a. Between 1953 and 1964, the Evidence Demonstrating
that Smoking Causes Significant Adverse Health
Effects Grew Although No Consensus Had Yet
Been Reached

b. Before 1964, Defendants Internally Recognized
the Growing Evidence Demonstrating that Smoking
Causes Significant Adverse Health Effects

c. In the 1950s, Defendants Began Their Joint
Campaign to Falsely Deny and Distort the
Existence of a Link Between Cigarette Smoking and
Disease, Even Though Their Internal Documents
Recognized Its Existence

As I read this, I cannot help but get the feeling that this tried-and-true strategy is presently being applied to the global warming debate.

[sorry for the crappy formatting]

51 comments:

George Landis said...

Yes, of course Al Gore compared skeptics to the tobacoo scientists too in this infamous docu-drama. And he went even further in his town hall rollout of the film in NYC. Gore compared global warming skeptics to conspiracy theorists who believe the U.S. faked the moon landing in 1969.

And at the panel discussion at the town hall another panelist appearing with Gore compared the effort to combat "global warming" to the 19th century movement to end slavery in the U.S.

There is no limit, it seems, to the political demogaugery, demonization, and exaggeration the pro-AGW forces will go to to get their agenda across.

Andrew Dessler said...

Yes, and Bill Gray called Gore a nazi. This should not be unexpected ... one of the tried-and-true tactics in any advocacy battle is to paint your opponent as biased or corrupt.

However, from a purely factual point of view, the tactics used by the tobacco companies are similar to those who oppose AGW. I don't think anyone can really argue that point.

Dano said...

There is no limit, it seems, to the political demogaugery, demonization, and exaggeration the pro-AGW forces will go to to get their agenda across.

George, perhaps you can spend your seemingly considerable cognitive abilities on deconstructing the tactics of those who demonize others with terms like 'alarmist', 'doomsday scenarios', 'doomsayers', 'scare science', 'liberals believe in global warming (because they want it to exist)', etc. to get their agenda across.

Or not, since the words used, it seems, look to be real purty to some.

Best,

D

George Landis said...

Well Dr. Dessler and dano, I recognize that the anti-AGW forces have also used the same tactics, but my point is that whenever one of one side or the other uses them (Dr. Dessler this time, the "facts may be clear to you, but the emotive implication is also there in glaring lights)then it dooms any debate or conversation to slip into the slimy cesspool of partisan, polarized politics. Is that where you want it to be? I think, as a scientist (but not the climate variety), I would rather see this public debate and conversation stay on an intellectual plane, not a political one. So I have to react strongly when I see such blatant attacks on skeptics, many of which are sincere, thoughtful, and respected scientists. Until we are able to discuss this issue as rational persons, not as politicians or those with self-serving policy agendas, will anything happen? On GW, I am an agnostic, I think that the pro-AGW forces exaggerate the peril, and I think the anti forces downplay it. The truth is somewhere in between these polarized positions, but how do we get there screaming, demonizing, and calling the other side names?

Dano said...

I would rather see this public debate and conversation stay on an intellectual plane, not a political one.

So would everyone else on the planet. Would that the world ran that way.

So I have to react strongly when I see such blatant attacks on skeptics, many of which are sincere, thoughtful, and respected scientists.

Nah.

Presumably you mean 'climate scientists'.

The same 5-6 dozen usual suspects have perhaps 25 published climate papers (mostly by 3-4 people).

I think that the pro-AGW forces exaggerate the peril, and I think the anti forces downplay it.

As long as we don't conflate 'scientists' with, say, media folk.

The truth is somewhere in between these polarized positions, but how do we get there screaming, demonizing, and calling the other side names?

Aye, there's the rub - the intractable human condition.

Best,

D

Jim Clarke said...

In the book, Angela's Ashes, talking place in the 1930-depression era Ireland, cigarettes are referred to as 'coffin nails'. When I was a little boy in the 1960s, the man across the street died of lung disease and everyone understood it was because he was a lifetime smoker.

The science proving a medical link between cigarettes and lung disease was way behind the conventional wisdom. The correlating evidence was overwhelming, but the actual physical mechanism was not defined until later.

Defining the physical mechanism whereby constant smoke inhalation results in damage to lung tissue and can eventually trigger lung cancer, is relatively simple compared to predicting the climate effects of the doubling of CO2. Also, since there is currently no place on Earth were the local climate has exceeded the known limits of natural fluctuations, there is no simple correlation of cause and effect that could be observed by anyone.

Also, there are no 'internal memos' were AGW crisis skeptics discuss how to ignore or twist the evidence. Crisis skeptics are diverse, most becoming skeptical (in one way or another) on their own analysis, and having no ties to any industry that would profit from the skeptical point of view. The few that have been compensated by the energy industry were approached by that industry after their skeptical views were well known. They have not augmented those views or censored their comments to placate the industry.

AGW crisis skeptics use sound scientific principles to argue their case; pointing to observations that do not support the theory and revealing errors in the methodologies used by AGW crisis advocates. AGW crisis skeptics do not deny any actual data.

Finally, most AGW crisis skeptics do not have any financial stake in being right or wrong, and have based their views on their own scientific understandings.

The validity of the theory of a man-made global warming crisis exists only in computer models, while the validity in the theory cigarettes being a health hazard exits in the premature deaths of millions of people. There is hardly a scientific equivalent there.

I don't see any comparison between the defense of cigarette companies and those skeptical of an AGW crisis, other than in the broadest sense that both are minorties. Then it is equally acceptable to compare the AGW crisis skeptics to those who did not believe in an Earth-centered universe pre-Galileo.

Andrew Dessler said...

George Landis-

I think you're reading too much into my post. I'm not making a value judgment here about who's good or bad. I'm simply pointing out that those policy advocates opposed to regulation of greenhouse gas emissions are using tactics similar to those used by advocates opposed to regulation of smoking. I agree with you that this obfuscation of the science is not healthy for the debate.

Jim Clarke-

I think you're reading too much into my post. I am not saying anything about the strength of the case for AGW compared to the strength of the case for the health impacts of smoking. I'm simply pointing out that those policy advocates opposed to regulation of greenhouse gas emissions are using tactics similar to those used by advocates opposed to regulation of smoking.

Regards.

Andrew Dessler said...

Jim Clarke-

One more thing. You said that "the theory of a man-made global warming crisis exists only in computer models". This is a puzzling statement and I wonder why you think that. You certainly don't get that from reading the scientific literature. I suggest you re-read this post which explains that our understanding of AGW rests on a scientifically diverse foundation.

Regards

Ian Forrester said...

The reason that there are so many similarities in the methods used by the tobacco industry and AGW deniers is that the same key people are involved in both cases. Fred Seitz, Fred Singer, Bonner Cohen et al. all started their obfuscation and misinformation campaigns working for the tobacco industry. They found that the delaying tactics worked so well for their tobacco industry sugar daddies that they used the same techniques with the fossil fuel industry sugar daddies.

Ian Forrester

Andrew Dessler said...

Ian Forrester-

Thanks for your comments. That reminds me that many climate "skeptics" were also ozone "skeptics". I think I'll put up a post on that tomorrow.

Regards.

EliRabett said...

Yes, not only are the denialists all arounders, they are funded through the same organizations. Here are a couple of case studies on Singer and Seitz. Be sure to follow the link in the last one to this which shows the respect these guys get from their funders.

Jim Clarke said...

When you wrote:

"...the report discusses how tobacco companies engaged in systematic distortion of the science to continue selling cigarettes. Here are a few headings from the table of contents:"

I thought you were implying that AGW crisis skeptics were distorting science! If that is not your contention, then please identify these folks who you accuse of behaving like tobacco executives in distorting scientific data. Are you talking about Al Gore (a known tobacco farmer from way back)?

My point here is that politics is spin. We have it on both sides and always will. Don't tar one side with these accusations and ignore the sins of the other side, just because you like what 'your side' is saying. It is bad form for a scientist.

I stand by my statement that the only place an AGW crisis exists is in the climate models.

As you know, civilizations since the beginning of recorded history have faced climate crisis from time to time. I don't see why today should be any different. By this I mean that climate changes. It always has and it always will. Climate change is the norm and it is a dangerous notion to have people thinking that climate would otherwise be stable. If you somehow managed (not that you want to) get everyone to stop using fossil fuels today, suffering the consequences, and then had climate change in some unpleasant way (which it will), then it will be 'off with your heads'.

The question has never been about whether or not humans have an impact on climate. Of course they do. The question has never been about whether or not increasing CO2 will tend to warm the atmosphere. Of course it will! The question has always been about how much, and what will be the consequences (good and bad).

In order for there to be a crisis, the amount of warming has to be significantly large and the bad effects must far outweigh the good. That is the debate.

It is considered politically incorrect to talk about the positive aspects of global warming, so that side of the debate is simply off limits. This alone suggests that decisions will be made that are far from optimal.

So the only thing we can discuss is 'how much'. We generally agree that the total forcing from a doubling of CO2, all else being equal, is something less than 1 degree centigrade. The only way to make a crisis is to calculate positive feedbacks that multiply this warming many times over! While there is some evidence that some of these feedbacks exist for at least some of the time and in some areas of the globe, there is still tremendous uncertainty about the 'size' of both positive and negative feedbacks.

In the link you provided, you list 5 natural climate forcers, with the 5th really being a composite of many complex forcings that we know very little about. Number 3 (the sun) also contains tremendous uncertainty. AGW scientists continue to equate the total solar effect on climate with the minute changes in the solar constant, despite increasing evidence it is not nearly so simple.

It is very possible that there are additional external forces that have not as yet been recognized and there are certainly internal variables that are unknown, particularly in dealing with the oceans. So out of your 'known' natural forcers, about half of them have serious uncertainties and most of the other half (not volcanoes) are virtually static for the time intervals in question.

So most of the natural cycles that are in play for this debate are still uncertain and there are undoubtedly others that are just unknown. Aside from the forcing effect of increasing CO2, all the other feedbacks are still in question. When you combine the two (natural and human) into the complete chaotic mix, uncertainty multiplies.

Now consider what we have actually observed: a warming of about 0.6 degrees plus or minus 0.2 degrees, while CO2 is now more than a third higher than it was 150 years ago. More than two thirds of the warming that has been observed has been accounted for by forcers other than CO2, leaving barely enough room for the known forcing of CO2, much less the multiple positive feedbacks that the models indicate.

To get around this obvious shortcoming, the AGW community has rallied behind the ‘deus ex machina-like’ sulfur emissions. While there is very little data about global atmospheric concentrations of this compound over the decades, it is estimated that there was just enough, and in the just the right place, to generate the exact observed temperature trend in a world that, according to the theory, should have been warming consistently through the decades. How convenient!

There are also obvious problems with the distributional aspects of the sulfur aerosols. Areas with the most sulfur pollution had some of the most noticeable warming, while the Southern Hemisphere, virtually free of the ‘cooling’ aerosols had noticeably less warming. Yet, additional theories explaining why none of this matters have been expressed and largely accepted with little question because, I guess, the AGW theory is assumed to be correct.

None of this changes the fact that a warming of 0.6 degrees does not a crisis make, particularly as we rebound from the unusually cold period of the little ice age. Of that warming, much of it is likely natural. Because of the diminishing effects of increasing CO2 on the climate, it is becoming more and more unlikely that we will realize even the minimal forcing effect from CO2 that is advertised by the models, based on the world as it is today.

In the real world, there is ample evidence of warming, even some evidence that a fraction of that warming is caused by humans, but there is no evidence of a climate crisis, unless you consider any climate change a crisis. Therefore, the AGW crisis only exists in the models.

Jim Clarke said...

Ian and Eli,

Your particular form of attack has been defined in the latest BAMS by Webster, Curry and Holland as a 'logical fallacy: appeal to motive' and deemed in consequential and unworthy of comment.

see: http://ams.allenpress.com/pdfserv/10.1175%2FBAMS-87-8-1025

If we can not question the motives of those scientists who have received billions of Federal dollars to conduct AGW research, then it is only fair that we treat the AGW crisis skeptics the same way, and only address the scientific arguments.

Okay?

EliRabett said...

No Jim, it is not a logical fallacy, I have provided factual statements backed by documents in the files of the tobacco companies. In particular the quid pro quo for Singer was 20K$/report. I am sure his fees have increased.

Moreover, a deciding issue is that what the Freds wrote was wrong, false, dare I even say on this family blog, crap.

Can you provide equivalent documentation for your claims?

Some people can be bought.

George Landis said...

Again, most of the AGW believer scientists have strong financial and political ties and a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and policy actions. They are no purer than the Singers and Seitzs of the world. This is a paid liars match in many ways, that's what is wrong with the whole discussion, and why it needs to change.

Dan Hughes said...

Will someone explain to me exactly what 'the fossil fuel industry' has to 'fear' from CO2 emissions regulations?

Thanks

George Landis said...

Good question Dan, in my opinion very little. They stand to make good profits for decades. First of all, the world can't get by without large quantities of fossil fuels for a long time (15-20 years in my opinion) even with drastic policy actions by ALL the world's governments. That will not happen, since the massive amounts of taxes, draconian measures to replace fossil fuels and other expenditures would be a huge financial and lifestyle shock to the world no politician could ever do for long without being booted out. Small steps will be the order of the day for some time to come, like Kyoto or the agreement between Arnold and Tony Blair, etc. Even Kyoto is really nothing, and it will be years before that is strengthened. The fossil fuels industries are really not spending very much to stop CO2 emissions regs anyway, I would bet the environmental, left wing, and Democrat pressure lobby groups spend much more, that would be an interesting comparison actually. I know places like Pew, UCS, Sierra Club, etc. spend many millions every year on their lobbying and pressure tactics. Auto companies, well that's another story.

Dano said...

George Landis tried:

Again, most of the AGW believer scientists have strong financial and political ties and a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and policy actions.

Evidence plz.

Thank you in advance.

Best,

D

Dano said...

Will someone explain to me exactly what 'the fossil fuel industry' has to 'fear' from CO2 emissions regulations?

Having to pay to clean up their externalities, and big tobacco-like lawsuits.

Best,

D

Andrew Dessler said...

All-

In response to George Landis' comment:

Again, most of the AGW believer scientists have strong financial and political ties and a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and policy actions.

I would just repeat: one of the tried-and-true tactics in any advocacy battle is to paint your opponent as biased or corrupt. The reason this approach is so common is because it's effective. Claiming someone is corrupt is easy to do and impossible for them to disprove. If they try, then the debate has successfully been shifted away from the scientific/policy issues --- exactly what the person making the claim wants.

Regards.

Dan Hughes said...

George, I think 15-20 years is a major underestimate. It took 40 years to bring electricity to the country-side in the US. And that was for the situation in which a product or service was being replaced by a vastly superior product or service, and no major infrastructure needed to be upgraded/replaced. And I have seen other estimates of market saturations following the S-curve of about 50 years.

For the present situation of fossil fuels, whatever is developed to replace them is faced with the fact that what we have is already well-accepted and the replacements will very likely not offer any costs or convenience advantages. Customers are not exactly going to be beating down the doors to sign up.

I think high-efficiency home appliances, including for examples space heating and cooling, might be a good analog. These devices are seldom the first choice when someone needs to replace an exisitng unit; the pay-back periods are simply too long.

In the case of transportation, significant replacement of fossil-fueled vehicles seems to be a pipe dream. The schemes for alternative-fueled electricity production so far presented do not even pass the smell test. Wind and solar both will require such enormous quantities of base-loaded generation that displacement of fossil-fueled generation is very unlikely. Fission-fueled electricity generation would provide a positive means of reducing CO2 emissions, however it appears that fission is opposed too.

All these very long time scales start counting after decisions have been made and laws passed and implemented. The take-off point is thus extremely uncertain and may in fact require more elasped time than implementing the changes.

I would like to see papers and reports in which the time scales for replacing/displacing fossil-fuels are realistically estimated.

Finally, why is there an always unstated hypothesis that a CO2 emissions tax will automatically (1) reduce demand and consumption and also at the same time (2) cut the profit margins of the fossil-fuel industry. All industries have businesses large and small. Small businesses can and do also make a profit just as large businesses do. Why is always assumed that when the fossil-fuel industry is concerned that lower demand will always lead automatically to lower profits?

Dan Hughes said...

dano ...

Firstly, the fossil fuel industry is not a major emitter of CO2. The demand for and consumption of its products and services produces very significantly more CO2 than the the industry itself. Over 13 times as much the last time I looked at the numbers.

Secondly, no industry exists in a vacuum. Any and all CO2 emission taxes will be paid by the consumers. You cannot possibly think an industry can produce unlimited amounts of money to pay all imposed taxes in the absence of customers.

Thirdly, what other products and services are taxed at the production end in contrast to the consumption end? Unfortunately, if the production end is taxed, the burden of the proposed taxes will be carried by those who can least afford them.

George Landis said...

Sorry dano, I read the attacks you made on Dr. J when he documented some of the political and financial ties some "believer" scientists had, I shall not play that game, but it is well documented, perhaps you are in denial about it? If you truly think all those scientists who promote and spend much of their time flogging the pro-AGW issue are totally without motives other than to promote science, you are living in a dream world. And Dr. Dessler, I was not the first to use the tactics you speak of, I was responding in kind, motives are questioned all the time on this issue, but it isn't just some skeptics that have skeletons in their closet. Do you disagree? I am not wanting to continue this line of discussion, it cheapens science, but please don't think one sided misinformation and half truths will survive without challenge.

Anonymous said...

I would just repeat: one of the tried-and-true tactics in any advocacy battle is to paint your opponent as biased or corrupt. The reason this approach is so common is because it's effective. Claiming someone is corrupt is easy to do and impossible for them to disprove. If they try, then the debate has successfully been shifted away from the scientific/policy issues --- exactly what the person making the claim wants.

Dr. Dessler,

Isn't this exactly what your original post is doing?

BKC

Dano said...

George Landis tried:

I shall not play that game, but it is well documented, perhaps you are in denial about it?

So you have no evidence.

Just wanted to point that out.

Thanks!

Best,

D

George Landis said...

dano, grow up.

Dano said...

Dan H:

I appreciate the effort you put into this comment sir. I ask:

If CO2 emissions do not come from fossil fuels, where do they come from?

And, of course costs will be passed on to the consumer. What's your point here?

lastly,

Thirdly, what other products and services are taxed at the production end in contrast to the consumption end?

Industries/services that have to clean their pollution.

I guess you can call this a 'tax', but I think it's considered a 'cost' on the ledger.

Best,

D

Dano said...

It's immature to point out you have no evidence, George?

Or is that just a tactic you are trying on me to see if it works? You'll have to do better than that, sorry. Step it up.

To repeat: I'm stating you have no evidence for your assertion. It's your claim, it's your burden to provide evidence. I'm asking for some.

(BTW the only thing Dr J had was a NewsMax story that I pointed out relied on shills and proven liars. Hardly evidence.

HTH,

D

Andrew Dessler said...

BKC-

I see your point. However, I would respond that I'm not really claiming anyone is corrupt, just pointing out a similarity in tactics. You and I might conclude that because the tactics are similar, that says something about whether they are corrupt, etc., but that was not my point.

Do you disagree that the tactics of the anti-AGW crowd and the anti-smoking-regulation crowd are similar?

Regards.

Dan Hughes said...

dano ..

The industries that recover and process fossil fuels do not themselves emit significant amounts of CO2. 'Big Oil' and 'Big Coal' do not emit significant amounts of CO2.

The significant emissions occur when the products and services of the fossil fuel industries are utilized. All of us who create demand and thus consume are the root cause of the emissions.

So, why tax the industries that produce the fuels and not the emissions, and not tax the industries/consumers that produce the emissions?

The tax, or costs, will nonetheless be a significant burden for those who can least afford it.

ps,

It is very difficult to attempt to carry on a productive discussion whenever statements such as this, "If CO2 emissions do not come from fossil fuels, where do they come from?" appear. No one here said, and especially I did not say, that CO2 emissions do not come from hydrocarbon fuels.

Dan Hughes said...

dano ..

The industries that recover and process fossil fuels do not themselves emit significant amounts of CO2. 'Big Oil' and 'Big Coal' do not emit significant amounts of CO2.

The significant emissions occur when the products and services of the fossil fuel industries are utilized. All of us who create demand and thus consume are the root cause of the emissions.

So, why tax the industries that produce the fuels and not the emissions, and not tax the industries/consumers that produce the emissions?

The tax, or costs, will nonetheless be a significant burden for those who can least afford it.

ps,

It is very difficult to attempt to carry on a productive dission whenever statements such as this, "If CO2 emissions do not come from fossil fuels, where do they come from?" appear. No one here said, and especially I did not say, that CO2 emissions do not come from hydrocarbon fuels.

George Landis said...

OK, dano, I will try once and see if you engage in the same ad hominem attacks you did against Dr. J and his source, which of course got it from this source. So, if you attack the messenger here, we will know where you are coming from.

http://tinyurl.com/fqc3r

This was a $250,000 award from a foundation controlled by a political candidate's wife (fact), the recipient subsequently endorsed the political candidate for president (fact), and served as a scientific advisor to Al Gore for his movie and PowerPoint slide show (fact). The recipient also said in a speech at the New School in New York City recently of the Bush administration: "It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States"(fact). He also was a keynote speaker in April at a teleconference The National Environmental Trust held with top Democrat legislators and staff (fact). Tell me all this doesn't add up to a biased scientist who is the same as the few skeptics being attacked here (apologies to Dr. Dessler, but dano asked for this, I would rather not engage in it).

Now you can attack, but the message please, tell me all the ways that $250,000 had no bearing on anything and how this 18 year pattern is not one of political bias towards a vested outcome of the debate on AGW.

Mr. Hughes, I agree with most of what you say here, it is clear and logical and backed up by my experience, including the fact about not being able to have a rational conversation with dano because of his attacks and poor reading abilities, it has already driven serveral posters away.

Dano said...

Thank you Dan H,

The industries that recover and process fossil fuels do not themselves emit significant amounts of CO2. 'Big Oil' and 'Big Coal' do not emit significant amounts of CO2.

Yes, but their products do, as you state in your reply.

Hg emissions and SOx etc could be further scrubbed in the legacy coalstacks, and there is discussion of making CO2 a pollutant. Plus, their products are an issue, just as tobacco producers' factories or fields didn't emit tobacco smoke yet they were sued because they knew the public health effects yet did nothing.

why tax the industries that produce the fuels and not the emissions, and not tax the industries/consumers that produce the emissions

Indeed. Why not?

But, I haven't argued for either way, just to clarify.

I merely answered your 'fear' question without solutioning (meaning: I'm not sure why this is in here and I'm answering as a courtesy).

[etc] No one here said, and especially I did not say, that CO2 emissions do not come from hydrocarbon fuels.

Yes. I merely clarified that fossil fuels create emissions, in response to your 'firstly' statement.

Productive discussions depend upon context and clarity, and it is important to ensure that we are clear in discussing the fact that fossil fuels create emissions.

Emissions which can be connected to the producers of fossil fuels, who then may fear a big tobacco-like lawsuit as a result of production.

This clarity is essential when answering your orignial question about 'fear'.

Best,

D

Dano said...

Thank you for your intersting reply George.

Definition of ad hom. Showing how a story's source is highly suspect is not ad hom.

Also, an ad hom agaisnt Dr J would be something like: 'Dr J, your assertion is wrong because you are an idiot'. As I clearly did not engage in that tactic, ad hom is an incorrect characterization.

Hope that helps save a little typing time for you.

Now,

Please show how your link shows that most of the AGW believer scientists have strong financial and political ties and a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and policy actions

It doesn't.

Your evidence would include, but not be limited to:

o showing how most of the AGW believer scientists have strong financial and political ties

That is: you want to show _most_.

You said most.

I asked for evidence for your assertion that most of the AGW believer scientists have strong financial and political ties and a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and policy actions

You haven't shown most. You've shown one.

You haven't backed your claim.

Please provide evidence that most of the AGW believer scientists have strong financial and political ties and a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and policy actions

To help you in your quest, typical, expected evidence may include (but not be limited to):

o A list of 'most' [most being, say, more than 55% of IPCC scientists],

o evidence that their conclusions were driven by strong financial and political ties and a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and policy actions (showing how results were doctored or changed would help),

o Evidence that scientists (plural) have financial ties to...to...hmmm...

o List showing most scientists' (plural) direct participation in a political campaign (preferably pre-2000, as the anti-virnmint Rs are in power).

You get my drift, George, on what kind of evidence would help you back your claim?

While you are at it, perhaps you can gather information that may show where my reading comprehension is poor or (now that you have the definition of ad hom) where an attack of mine might be (presuming you mean personal attack), because I'm going to call you on that next (it's the evidenceless assertions, see...).

Best,

D

Ian Forrester said...

There is a vast difference between what an honest climate scientist does with the money he receives and a dishonest AGW denier. The honest scientists take the money (they usually never see it since it will be deposited in a trust account at their institution), hire research assistants and work in the field for long stretches of time. They pay overhead to their institutions, pay for computer time etc. etc. They take considerable efforts to make the resulting paper as accurate as possible through many drafts, send if off for publication, probably have to make one more draft then finally have it published in a reputable journal.

The dishonest scientist puts the money in his pocket spends a few hours writing rubbish about a paper he happens to disagree with and sends it off to a friendly media outlet who publishes it because it reinforces their political view point.

There is no way that you can compare the two groups.

George Landis said...

dano, I knew I would regret dealing with you. You know full well how many NSF, NASA, NOAA, etc. (I bet many of your university buds have them)grants are set up for pro-AGW applicants, and how many book sales are done by the pro-AGW forces engaging scientists, and the number of liberal political and environmental lobbyists that engage people like Dr. Webster from Ga. Tech. to endorse ideas about recent hurricanes being caused by AGW. There are so many I would clog this blog with tinyurls, and that would serve no purpose since you have your mind made up and would deny them and ask for more and then we would get into splitting hairs over how many pro-AGW scientists there are and what "most" means and I have no time or interest in that.

I am glad you chose not to make another ad hom attack, but it does mean to attack the messenger, not the message, (a logical fallacy) so if you attack sources of a story you are doing that to obfuscate the discussion. A good tactic on this issue, but it doesn't work.

Ian Forrester said...

"Also, there are no 'internal memos' were AGW crisis skeptics discuss how to ignore or twist the evidence".

Perhaps you should do a google search for "Global Climate Science Communications Plan" written by Joe Walker of API and sent to a number of Oil Companies. It describes very accurately the propaganda techniques adopted by the AGW deniers.

Dan Hughes said...

I originally said; "Will someone explain to me exactly what 'the fossil fuel industry' has to 'fear' from CO2 emissions regulations?"

You replied; "Having to pay to clean up their externalities, and big tobacco-like lawsuits."

I then said; " Firstly, the fossil fuel industry is not a major emitter of CO2. The demand for and consumption of its products and services produces very significantly more CO2 than the industry itself. Over 13 times as much the last time I looked at the numbers."

And you said; " If CO2 emissions do not come from fossil fuels, where do they come from?"

I then said; " The industries that recover and process fossil fuels do not themselves emit significant amounts of CO2. 'Big Oil' and 'Big Coal' do not emit significant amounts of CO2. The significant emissions occur when the products and services of the fossil fuel industries are utilized. All of us who create demand and thus consume are the root cause of the emissions."

And ultimately you said; "Yes. I merely clarified that fossil fuels create emissions, in response to your 'firstly' statement."

Thus you (1) 'clarified' something that was never in question, and more importantly (2) never, not one word, addressed the issues. Not the first question that I asked and not the more detailed issues that came up in the discussions. Actually, you 'clarified' something that you alone stated.

You have a way with avoiding the issues under discussion. That's why I will from now on not be sucked into meaningless discussions with you.

Advocacy based on instilling fear into those who produce fossil fuels is a very disgusting approach. Misguided advocacy itself is disgusting enough, but advocacy based on instilling fear will only make those being threatened dig in their heels even deeper. It is also an approach that is doomed to failure.

A more equitable approach would be to tax the consumption of energy and all other products that are responsible for CO2 emissions. As we already do in the cases of automobile tires and batteries, for examples, consumers pay for proper disposal of the products after their useful life; the tire and battery manufactures do not pay for disposal. All other products are taxed at the point of consumption. A consumption tax would also be less regressive than taxes levied against fossil-fuel producers. Automobile makers are not levied a CO2 tax, personal computer makers are not, so far as I am aware, none of the products and services that we consume are levied a CO2 tax. Yet they are all responsible for CO2 emissions and we are responsible for the demand and consumption of the products and services. I will pay for my part and I will resist all attempts to make others pay for my share.

BKC said...

Dr. Dessler,

You didn't claim anyone was corrupt, but I certainly got that implication.

I'm not sure which tactics you're referring to (or which part of the "anti-AGW crowd" - all of them?).

Do I think the fossil fuel inustry is conspiring to falsely deny, distort and minimize evidence for AGW? No.

Do I think some people in the "anti-AGW crowd" deny, distort and minimize evidence for AGW? Yes.

Do I think some people in "pro-AGW crowd" deny, distort and minimize evidence against AGW? Yes.

I am just a layperson who has been following the debate for the last few years. Personally, I tend to be swayed more by logical (and understandble) scientific arguments than attacks on credibility, motivations, qualifications, etc. If the science is good, I think it should be able to stand up to criticism, regardless of the motivation of the critic.


By the way, the "tried and true strategy" ultimately failed.

Regards

BKC ('83)

Dano said...

Thank you Dan H.

Thus you (1) 'clarified' something that was never in question, and more importantly (2) never, not one word, addressed the issues.

The topic of this post is big tobacco-like tactics and further refined in comments to possible lawsuits. Thus, the issues are similiarities to big tobacco and big oil.

The (1) 'clarified' was to link processes in tobacco legislation to possible fear of future CO2 legislation, which you apparently 'misunderstood', as you narrowly defined production emissions rather than product emissions [big tobacco was not sued over their emissions but harm to consumers from product - big oil has same risk].

The (2) issues, as defined in the post, are about defrauding potential consumers regarding harm of products. Further refined in my comment about Emissions which can be connected to the producers of fossil fuels, who then may fear a big tobacco-like lawsuit as a result of production.

That is my answer. You may choose to disagree with it.

And you may choose to categorize me as an advocate, but there is no evidence in my comments for such.

Best,

D

Dano said...

Thank you George for the lengthy reply, not one word containing the evidence I asked for.

I take it you have nothing.

Thank you for showing you cannot provide evidence to back your assertion that most of the AGW believer scientists have strong financial and political ties and a vested interest in the outcome of the debate and policy actions.

Lastly,

so if you attack sources of a story you are doing that to obfuscate the discussion. A good tactic on this issue, but it doesn't work.

I guess, then, for this issue nothing that is written can be examined for accuracy.

And that for this issue we can't question an article that sources proven liars - we must accept it without question or our motives are questioned.

That's an interesting worldview, George.

There is no limit, it seems, to the political demogaugery, demonization, and exaggeration the [contrascience] forces will go to to get their agenda across.

Best regards,

D

Jim Clarke said...

There is an illogical assumption going on here that it is the supplier of funds that determines whether or not the reciever is corrupted by those funds. This irrationality allows people to argue that a scientist getting a paycheck from a private company is 'tainted' by definition, while a scientist getting a paycheck from a government or foundation grant is still pure.

Are you folks arguing that governments and foundations have no agendas? (Talk about denialists!)

Either money 'corrupts' or it doesn't. If it does, then let us compare the amount of money currently fueling the AGW climate change agenda and compare it to the amount of money that AGW crisis skeptics have recieved for arguing their case. It appears that the AGW crisis folks are several orders of magnitude MORE corrupt than the skeptics!

AGW crisis proponents can either drop this argument and stick to the science or continue to behave irrationally.

(I look forward toward your irrational responses.)

Ian Forrester said...

You have obviously very little knowledge of the scientific method. The reason that a certain scientists" are disparaged is not because of the source of their funding but by their lack of original papers, lack of logical thinking skills, lack of honesty etc. That is what sets those denialists apart from the good and honest scientists. If you study the scientific literature you will be able to follow this reasoning. It just happens that most of the poor "scientists" described above happen to get their funding from big business with a very anti AGW bias.

Any reasonable scientists can see through the puffery of those denialists, whether they are climate scientists or are from an other scientific discipline. Good science is good science and can be recognized as such by other competent scientists.

C.A. Evezich said...

Power and money corrupt, who gives it makes no difference, the receivers are corrupted and biased and are not to be trusted, those scientists who take money to spew pseudo-science and half truths (on both sides there are many) are not to be trusted. Book deals, "environmental" awards, TV and consulting contracts, the right parties in Hollywood and NYC with Laurie David on your arm are all suspect. They have sold their scientific souls for a few pieces of gold. There should be a search for an honest scientist, the pro-AGW side seems to have none, they are morally and scientifically bankrupt.

Dano said...

There should be a search for an honest scientist, the pro-AGW side seems to have none, they are morally and scientifically bankrupt.

Evidence, plz, that the science has been corrupted.

Evidence would include results that have changed, firings, proof of dishonesty, proof of moral bankruptcy.

Best,

D

C.A. Evezich said...

Evidence pleez that it hasn't. Thanking you in advance.

Best......................

Dano said...

C.A. Evezich said:

Evidence pleez that it hasn't. Thanking you in advance.

No, that is not how things work in civil societies with Enlightenment principles underpinning rational debate.

You made the claim that There should be a search for an honest scientist, the pro-AGW side seems to have none, they are morally and scientifically bankrupt.

It's your claim, back it up with evidence please. I provided examples of what you could provide me.

Thank you in advance,

D

C.A. Evezich said...

Dano, no citations?

So you have no evidence.

Just wanted to point that out.

Thanks!

Best,
CA

Dano said...

Thank you CA, for not being able to back your claim with evidence.

We can see that your assertion is baseless.

Best,

D

EliRabett said...

Apologies for being late to this. Fossil fuel companies are major sources of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. A great deal of CO2 is emitted in the refining process which is very energy intensive. Flaring of natural gas, separation of CO2 from natural gas and similar issues release considerable CO2 to the atmosphere (methane will degrade to CO2 in ~5 years.)



Besides CO2, refining is a major source of VOCs and

ankh said...

Tobacco doesn't kill people, inhaling the smoke from it kills people.

Guns don't kill people, people shooting bullets kill people.

Mercury doesn't kill people, eating fish with high levels of mercury too often kills people.

Lead used in gasoline doesn't spread, almost all of it stays on the pavement or within a few feet of the road where people don't go -- from the ads the lead industry ran in Scientific American in the 1950s.

Commonality? Argue against limiting problems at the sources, where it's easy, and argue that the effort should be made to educate people instead.
Then argue that any attempt to limit the production rather than the distribution is an argument against freedom.

Caution, do not mention motherhood in these arguments, mothers' interests cut the wrong way.