Although I’ve read much of what has been written on Climate Progress lately (and I’m an economist!), I’ve started to get sceptic. One of the favorite pastimes of Joe Romm, the main contributer, is to bash climate change deniers. They may deserve bashing and it is often entertaining to read, but I’m not sure name calling and half-truths is as efficient as Mr. Romm seem to believe. Descending to such ‘debates’ is not exactly progressive.
Up until now, I’ve found Climate Progress to be rather well informed when it comes to science in general, and climate science in particular. One would, however, be illadvised if one tried to learn about geo-engineering from Climate Progress:
If you are not yet familiar with geo-engineering, I will attempt to define it in non-technical terms before offering a few observations on the new research:
- Geo-engineering is the practice of messing around with global life-support systems we don’t understand. If we did understand them, we might not be in the pickle we’re in today. Or at least it would be a greener pickle.
- Geo-engineering is a relatively new field based on the outdated and repeatedly discredited assumption that we humans are smart enough and wise enough to rule over the rest of the biosphere. Rather than applied engineering, we might call it “applied conceit”.
- Contrariwise and at the same time, geo-engineering is a symptom of our growing skepticism that we are able to stop climate change with rational solutions such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon pricing and behavioral changes. In other words, interest in geo-engineering is rooted in the idea that although we’re too stupid to do the simple things that would slow climate change, we’re smart enough to do the improbable things.
- Geo-engineering is one outgrowth of our apparent learning disability about the law of unintended consequences. That law would be unleashed full-force once we started manipulating the oceans and atmosphere to create what one environmentalist calls “the Frankenplanet”. Geo-engineering is like a grownup version of whack-a-mole, where hammering down one problem causes others to pop up, to our great surprise.
Define it in non-technical terms! Jeez. I’m sure most readers would discard such writing as garbage. First of all, that list is not even slightly informative when it comes to geo-engineering if you take all the distractive bashing into account. Furthermore, the first point made applies to all climate and energy science, stuff that Climate Progress believes in and promotes every single day. Being sceptic about geo-engineering is of course fine, but such posts are just counter-productive!
In the same post, Climate Progress writes that if we, that is, the human race, don’t understand and act on climate change before it is too late,
we will have demonstrated for all time that 1) we are the ultimate invasive species, and 2) we are not the most intelligent species, and 3) when it comes to our own survival, we have no more willpower than lemmings.
Of course humans are invasive! What is intelligence? (Is it something that pertains to humans? What does the average dolphin score on its IQ test?) Willpower? (Incentives matter!)
I’m not sure how long I’ll keep reading Climate Progress: They are full of prejudice, they hate economists, they are rude, and they start to become boring. (Willpower? What willpower?)