Monthly Archives: April 2011

Power Shift participant: Join our fad because it is AWESOME!

Yesterday there was a guest post in The Wonk Room, a product of Think Progress. The guest author was Bonnie Frye Hemphill, who runs her own climate nonprofit. The article was based on Power Shift 2011, and Bonnie’s excitement at how awesome the movement is.

Here’s the gist of the article, from the opening statement:

Hey climate movement, you know what I missed about us that Power Shift pumped right back into me last week?

The awesome.

Yeah, flashmobs, pranks, swiftly organized warroom tweetups, late-night dance parties of 15,000. Remember that rebellious side of us, that “we won’t take the past for an answer” side of us? Remember that “join us because this is awesome and you’re invited” side of us?

I’ve often felt that “being green” was a fad. I’m going to take this article as evidence to support that belief.

Bonnie believes that flashmobs are awesome. She provides a link, so let’s look.

Wow, they shut down a BP gas station. Don’t they know that those are franchises, locally owned? They have nothing to do with the BP oil spill. Hmm…..shutting down a local business because of their logo? Not awesome.

Warrooms, tweeting, dancing….these are awesome? You certainly don’t need to be in a climate movement to tweet or dance. I’ve never created a “swiftly organized warroom” so I wouldn’t know how awesome that it.

Pranks are awesome? I’d say normally they are pretty stupid. So far this all seems like a typical college campus on the weekend. Is there anything else in her article to make this look like anything more than a college-aged fad?

We’re also proud to define ourselves as what we’re not: we are cooler than the fossil forces of the past. They rail on chalkboards; we rally with giant puppets in the streets. They are talking heads for septuagenarians; we are sneaking into shareholder meetings and embarrassing giant fossil fuel companies. They are snarking about crosshairs on Facebook from defensive compounds in Wasilla. We are 10,000 lithe young people fighting for our future while a crotchety old pitbull like Tom Donohue screams to get off of his front yard at the US Chamber of Commerce. We are in the West Wing interrupting the President of the United States of America to remind him that energy shouldn’t kill.

Wow. If this isn’t disdain for older folks I don’t know what it.

Giant puppets? Man, is there any reason to take these sophomoric activists seriously?

Other American generations have staked their identities on propositions equally grand – rebelling from tyranny, beating back fascism, defending the world from communism. Our generation is staking its identity as the people responsible enough to face climate science for what it means, and political corruption for what it is. To build a cleaner, leaner, more durable and more prosperous way of life on our full tide of vibrant energy. The people smart enough to put our moral muscle to work.

I wonder what Bonnie thinks “rebelling from tyranny” means. Our nation fought against the British because of taxation. What is Bonnie fighting for? I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but my guess is she supports something that rhymes with tarbon caxes.

Her generation is staking its identity as people responsible for dealing with climate change? But wait….I’m a part of her generation! So are some of my friends and family. They don’t get their identity from fighting climate change. They do things like, work, or raise their children.

We mustn’t abandon tried-and-true organizing tactics, nor our hard-earned insider game. And if we do rebel our way into a better world, we do so on the shoulders of giants: after all, we’re now defending the Clean Air Act that our foremothers first passed, celebrating Earth Day last week because our forefathers founded the first four decades ago. And we need the scientific white papers still, because after all, we’re fighting for a political reality that keeps pace with the chemical reality of the atmosphere. This is a movement of the young and young at heart – if you are awesome, you are in.

Not surprisingly, those scientific white papers are a link to the IPCC.

A movement for the young and young at heart. Oh, and the awesome. Well sign me up! I’m awesome and young!

But I can’t sign up. Why not? Bonnie didn’t mention it, but there is one more requirement. A disregard for reason and critical thinking. That’s what she really means when she admires pranks, puppets, and youth. I actually employ critical thinking when considering the issues I consider worth fighting for, and that automatically disqualifies me from being a part of this lithe, young, and awesome group.



Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


A tour of Grist's Earth Confessions website

The Reference Frame had an interesting post today. In it, he received a link to a enviro-prank website which urges visitors to confess their sins against the earth.

To summarize a funny blog post, it turns out the site isn’t a joke at all. It’s a serious site run by Grist. This blew Lubos’ mind, how could they be so idiotic? I decided to visit to see just how ridiculous the site was. I thought perhaps it was a bit of tongue in cheek.

While the website is intended to be humorous, the concept of eco-guilt is not pretend. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


Epic Romm Romp

On April fools I posted an article entitled “Joe Romm posts accurate article; makes reasonable claims about climate change“.

It was a spoof on Romm’s vitriolic blog Climate Progress. I introduced a new term in that post: The Romm Romp.

This term is loosely based on the Gish Gallop, which climate skeptics are often accused of employing. The Gish Gallop is a rhetorical technique where you spout off so many “facts” about an issue that your opponent simply cannot respond to all of them.

The Romm Romp is different. It consists of citing yourself repeatedly within the same publication. An unwitting observer might look at all the links within a post and assume that the author has multiple sources for his claims, but in reality he is only citing himself multiple times.

I gave a few examples in my April fools post, but I have the ultimate example of the Romm Romp today. It comes in an April 23’rd post on Climate Progress entitled “What mistakes did the environmental community and progressive politicians make in the climate bill fight: And how do you apportion blame among all parties?

In this relatively short post, Romm manages to include nine links to his own site. He links to no other site at all. Take a look:

Impressive! All in all, the post is 474 words, 104 of which were links. That’s more than 1/5.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that someone who is as prolific as Romm would choose to highlight his own work. People can’t sit at their computers all day long, and since Romm posts about 7 articles every day it only makes sense that he would need to link back to some past articles, just to make sure people have a chance to read them all.

I’ll say this about Romm. Few people have such belief in their own work that their sole source of information is themselves. That’s confidence!

1 Comment

Posted by on April 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


Climate Scientists Answer Question: Should climate sensitivity be measured by global average surface temperature anomaly?

Note: I wrote this post many weeks ago and never posted it because I was waiting for some more feedback. However, Pielke Sr. has posted specifically on this issue recently and Watts ran it also, so I feel now is a good time to post it.

This post deals with the the question of whether or not climate sensitivity should be measured by global average surface temperature anomaly. I asked multiple climate scientists their opinion, and their responses are below. First, some background. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


A quick note on "International Mother Earth Day"

On April 22, 2009, the UN General Assembly voted unanimously on a resolution designating the 22’nd of April each year as International Mother Earth Day. That’s right, it’s Mother Earth day, not just Earth day.

What’s the difference? Well, Earth Day is an attempt to raise awareness about our natural environment. It is mis-guided and anti-human. However, Mother Earth Day is far worse. It is an attempt to humanize the entire planet, in order to give it rights.

The planet has no consciousness and therefore cannot have rights. The application of the term “Mother” is absurd. My Mother cared for me and sacrificed her time and energy for my life. The planet cannot care for us, it cannot sacrifice, it has no time to spend nor energy to devote.

Yes, without the planet we wouldn’t exist. Does this fact alone make the earth a Mother? No. The sun is the reason the earth exists. Well, perhaps we can call him “Father Sun”? No, because he only exists because of fundamental laws of physics. Should we designate next week “International Parental Physics Week”?

Mothers are not uncaring pieces of rock. They are not emotionless expanses of water. They are far more than even the most beautiful meadows or awe-inspiring mountain landscapes: They are human.

I propose a new name for today, the “International Pretending Rocks Have Rights Day”

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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


Muller answers a couple questions

As I recently mentioned, Richard Muller has been fairly unpopular of late. I don’t think it’s quite fair to him or the BEST project. One particular injustice was an LA Times article written just before Muller gave his testimony. It reads like an attack on the objectivity and motivation of Muller and the entire BEST project. Interestingly, several prominent climate scientists (Trenberth, Santer, and Thorne) were quoted in the article, and they also seemed to question Muller’s motives: Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Uncategorized


Pity for David Suzuki

I enjoy sarcastic and cynical humor. I often engage in writing it. However, this post is not sarcasm.

We should pity David Suzuki. In a recent interview, he made a comment that is worth noting:

TckTckTck: Like so many of us, you express huge frustrations that we are not where we need to be to save this planet from dangerous climate change. Yet you have this indomitable spirit and refuse to get lost in cynicism or despair.

Dr. David Suzuki: I do despair. My wife and I huddle at night and weep for our helplessness. We are losing big-time and I’m enough of a scientist to see we are heading right down the tube. Judging by the past twenty years, we are going backward.

Despair? Huddling at night and weeping? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Uncategorized