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(More) Klaus and (Anti-) Global Warming Talking Points

by NordicStorm Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:41:24 AM EST

This morning I was reading my newspaper, the Swedish-language Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet, when I noticed an interesting letter to the editor on global warming, written by Folke Stenman, a Professor Emeritus of Physics at Helsinki University and apparent global warming denier. The letter to the editor in question is critical of Oras Tynkkynen, the recently appointed expert on climate issues to the Finnish government. Stenman's letter to the editor is interesting primarily for the following passage:

From the diaries (with title edit) ~ whataboutbob


Tillsätt ett neutralt organ

...
Han påstår att klimatförändringen inte längre kan stoppas och att det handlar om att bromsa den, förebygga katastrofer och försöka hålla skadorna på sådan nivå att vi kan leva med dem.
Påståendet är typiskt för klimathysterin, felaktigt och baserat antingen på okunskap eller på medvetet förvrängande av fakta. Ärliga forskare världen över avslöjar fortlöpande fundamentala fel i de dokument våra makthavande använder som stöd för sina domedagsprofetior, i första hand IPCC:s rapporter, den odugliga Stern-rapporten samt Al Gores "dokumentärfilm". Hos oss fortsätter man bara att gå på i samma spår och hotar med inbillade katastrofer.
Appoint a neutral body

...
[Tynkkynen] claims that climate change can no longer be stopped and we should concern ourselves with slowing it down, preventing disasters and trying to keep the destruction at a level we can live with.
The statement is typical of climate hysteria, erroneous and based either on ignorance or deliberate distortion of facts. Honest scientists the world over continuously reveal fundamental flaws in the documents our people in power use as basis for their doomsday prophecies, primarily the IPCC's reports, the useless Stern report and Al Gore's "documentary". We continue to walk the same path and threaten with imaginary catastrophies.
(From Hufvudstadbladet, June 27 2007. Registration required to access article)

The passage in question is interesting primarily for the second-to-last sentence (bolded above). Why is that particular sentence so interesting? Because as I read it, it seemed oddly familiar. I could have sworn I had read something similar not too long ago. And sure enough, the European Tribune's favourite President of the Czech republic, Václav Klaus, had written something eerily similar in a June 13 op-ed in the Financial Times:

Freedom, not climate, is at risk

...
In the past year, Al Gore's so-called "documentary" film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britain's - more or less Tony Blair's - Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather.
(See also Jérôme ā Paris' Unbelievable, nanne's Václav & Me and kcurie's Science and Klaus)

Stenman's wording wasn't verbatim what Klaus wrote (for one thing, it was in Swedish), but it's pretty close. Both even managed to include the quotation marks around "documentary". Klaus and Stenman attack global warming from somewhat different angles (Klaus argues that global warming doesn't exist, and if it does, doing anything about it is Communism, while Stenman argues that global warming might exist, but any reports purporting to demonstrate the existence of it is hysteria and doomsday prophecies), but both start off with similar wordings. Neither of the two ever gets around to telling us what exactly is so horrible about the referenced works, other than that they're wrong in some unspecified manner.
Granted, of course, that the mentioned reports and Gore's movie are frequently mentioned and cited works when discussing global warming. Still, I'm curious whether the particular one-sentence dismissal both men employ is some sort of standard catch phrase in the global warming denial community, or if Stenman just happens to read the Financial Times. At any rate, the similarity between the two phrases struck me as more than mere coincidence.

Display:
So...what's REALLY behind this warming denial craze, anyway??

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 07:35:07 AM EST
Higher temperatures impairing their judgments?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 08:22:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm surprised the SFP hasn't taken up these issues. It would be a vote-winner. I know Mr Torvalds Snr. and his acolytes in the party organization are very interested in them.

But it also must be said there are a good few of the old guard Swedish speaking elite with patrician tendencies. And they control all the billions in bequeathed capital tied up in funds and property.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 10:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention, Enestam was Minister of the Environment in the previous Finnish government (as was Wallin briefly earlier this year)...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 11:12:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least Yle is doing something about it:

http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/ymparisto/vasen/id63471.html

This is the impetus that we need to ride on with the entertainment series we have been discussing here...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 02:58:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was beginning to wonder what sort of programming they were planning on airing on Yle Extra. So far I've only seen strange loops of videos of cute animals...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 03:55:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First they ignore you
Then they laugh at you
Then they fight you
Then the West Antarctic Ice Shelf melts
Then you win

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 08:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I've been seeing advertising for a comedy called "Evan Almighty," about some guy (with the great Steve Carell in the role of "some guy") building an Ark in anticipation of a flood. I'm beginning to think Hollywood is trying to tell us something...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 08:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about Bruce Almighty?

I'm tired of the American obsession with religion in popular culture, to be honest.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 08:47:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite right. Although when a movie consisting primarily of scenes of brutal torture can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, that tells us quite a bit about the disturbing lack of outrage over torture as a governmental practice.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Jun 27th, 2007 at 09:06:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a semi-sequel of that film. Morgan Freeman is God in both (as well as real life).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 07:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I really thought God looked and spoke like Morgan Freeman I might just become a believer :-)  seldom has there been a mainstream actor with such an endearing screen presence.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 02:02:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First they ignore you
Then they laugh at you
Then they fight you
Then the West Antarctic Ice Shelf melts
Then you win

correction? seems to me more like

Then the West Antarctic Ice Shelf melts
Then we all lose

and the melt rate is, so I hear, astonishing and frightening the folks who monitor it.  yet another case of "our previous predictions were clearly far too optimistic and we never thought we'd see this amount of damage in our lifetimes, blah blah."  (I am getting almost inured to reading this kind of report summary, which is in itself a very bad sign.)

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 03:18:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose what people like Klaus and Stenman are doing would most accurately be described as "whistling past the graveyard".

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 04:53:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, we all lose, but hopefully after a big disaster happens because of global warming we'll be able to run all the deniers out of town.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 05:55:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hurricane Katrina? (Granted it wasn't caused by global warming, but it took us all of five minutes to forget it ever happened)

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:00:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That't why the phrase "until New York and London have new coastlines" keeps being thrown around these parts (by Helen, I believe).

But yes, it's quite possible the capitalist media noise machine will be able to prevent the right conclusions from being reached even in that case.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:33:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't recall whether it was here or at Dailykos, but I saw a mention of some right-wing blogs explaining the benefits of transport routes opening up over the North Pole as the ice melts....

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:42:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's going to be war over the Northwest Passage. allegedly, US nuclear submarines already regularly patrol what Canada would consider its waters.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:48:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those few still left alive.

Presuming there's still a town to run them out of.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 08:23:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure they will be busily explaining to us that disasters open up new opportunities for Business and Growth (business booms in the aftermath of a disaster, since (a) it provides the "game over, reset" moment that capitalism desperately needs every few decades to get out of the compound interest trap and (b) a lot of people get killed and their property becomes new feedstock for speculation and accumulation).  NOLA has become quite a profit centre for carpetbaggers and a hotbed of real estate speculation;  as one of Bush's cronies freely admitted, getting rid of all the Black and poor people was something the old whiteboys' club had wanted to do all along.

others among their camp will be explaining that the disaster had nothing to do with CO2 or any of those "ivory tower academic theories", but was actually God's punishment on us for permitting gay marriage and extramarital sex and teaching Darwin's theory in the schools.

in more fortunate locations inland, others of the breed will be busy explaining to their faithful that the coastal floods never happened at all but are an elaborate hoax perpetrated by The Librul Media in collusion with red/greenies who hate science and technology and want to take your SUV away.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 01:59:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...red/greenies who hate science and technology...

... when in fact it is our trust in science that leads us to mistrust technology.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 03:41:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Big Tobacco, the lobby and astroturf tricksters they spawned, Big Oil and the Republican Party.

(You can practically see the execs going to Nick Naylor and ask "what do we say? what do we say?")

They're all reading off a script.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 05:32:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To track where the script comes from: My Swedish is nonexistent, but it seems from this page that Folke Stenman has written a commentary or something and linked to junkscience.com. A wiki search for junkscience.com yields its author, who runs and is linked to a number of foundations supported by Big Oil and Big Tobacco.

Don't know if Folke Stenman himself is getting money for his denialism, but that's where he gets his talking points from. Klaus will quite likely read the same site, or get his feed from some other source reading off the same script.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 06:07:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and/or, the same tobacco and oil funding sources...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 09:30:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it just my impression or are physicists common among climate change opponents?

I have a theory about that. I would today consider physics to be the science with the highest prestige among sciences. I think it is that way because of physics big funding, stemming from a close relationsship with big government and big industry. Physics gives guns and toys. The problem with climate change (from a physicist perspective) is the lack of solutions involving big piles of money to physics reserach. Hence the denial.

The alternative solution is to claim that it is an astronomical effect, where the sun is causing increased heat (nevermind that pouring out ghg should have some effect), because that would get astrophysics institutions more money.

Now, I am not saying that individual physicists are trying to shut down a theory that would hurt them. It is probably not that easy. It is more that a theory that hurt physics (as an institution) gets disliked among physicists and therefore a greater number of physicists then people in general becomes climate change deniers. Add the credibility of physics in general and you get prominent climate change deniers.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 10:11:44 AM EST
It would be interesting to measure to what extent high-energy physicists and astrophysicsts (big-science physicist par excellence) are overrepresented among climate-change deniers, as opposed to "hard" condensed matter physicists.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 10:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ermm, got cut short.

I'm assuming geophysicists and atmospheric physicists are on the climate change bandwagon. This leaves the "soft" condensed-matter physicists and statistical physicists, who should have more of a systems-thinking mindset.

Among astrophysicists, those working on [magneto]hydrodynamics probably have the skill set and the tools to switch fields to atmospheric dynamics if money becomes available.

Ah, the sociology of science...

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 10:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm-mmm, I haven't encountered any climate cange deniers in academia, so I can't tell.

The two typical relationships to climate change I have encountered:

  1. This is a boon for us! Nuclear energy solves everything!
  2. Nuclear & Big Oil conspired to prevent free energy from the Casimir effect! (You won't believe how popular conspiracy theories are among some physics students.)

The astronomers, and to a lesser part the astrophysicists, treated geoscientists as close cousins. In fact on my university, the geoscientists had to do one or two astronomy courses, and we of course had to learn about the atmosphere.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 11:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You won't believe how popular conspiracy theories are among some physics students.

Oh, yes, I will.

I think askod's theory is testable. All we need is a list of global warming deniers that are physicists, and check their published papers for the Physics Subject Classification numbers.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 11:09:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, that was a general "you", not you Migeru!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 11:43:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not have a list of those that I have encountered (IRL or in written text), but we can start one:

  1. Folke Stenman
  2. ...


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 08:26:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is apparently a series of articles by a certain Lawrence Solomon in the "Financial Post", called "The Deniers":
After writing 10 columns on the subject, one for each "denier" and his theories, one fact is undeniable: The science is not settled. Not on man's role in causing the warming we've seen this century. Not on the consequences of this warming. Certainly not on the extent of warming -- or cooling-- to come.

The deniers I have written about are not just credible; they have reached the pinnacle of the scientific establishment, with credentials to rival those of any of scientists representing the IPCC position. Here's Russia's Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the space research laboratory of the country's renowned Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, a member of Russia's Academy of Science. Or Henk Tennekes, former director of research at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Or Henrik Svensmark, director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute. Or Edward Wegman, chair of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics.

Or, for a more direct comparison of scientists in the denier and the "science is settled" camps, consider Richard S. J. Tol, director of the Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Science at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit, or Christopher Landsea of the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory, or Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. These three -- among the most cited scientists in the world in the field of climate change-- were universally acclaimed IPCC scientists until they disagreed with the positions espoused by the IPCC leadership. These deniers may no longer have an unqualified IPCC stamp of approval, but their academic credentials, record of scientific discoveries, and scientific prizes remain for all to see.



Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 05:16:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(You won't believe how popular conspiracy theories are among some physics students.)

Makes sense. Both physics and conspiracy theories are about finding solutions with as few variables as possible. One force to rule it all...

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 08:28:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm also rather irked by Nikola Tesla worshippers (they thrive on wikipedia) who tend to be Physics or Electrical Engineering students, and often claim that his discoveries have been suppressed by a conspiracy.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2007 at 05:16:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eeer... When did climate modeling cease being physics?

The physicists among the AGW denialists probably have higher profiles than the rank-and-file (for much the same reasons that creationist engineers and doctors get more press than creationist pastors), but I very much doubt that scientists of any stripe are over-represented in the denialist community.

There does seem to be a small number of astrophysicists who are sufficiently enamored of the solar-forcing theory that they seem like AGW denialists, but I would not be surprised to find out that the newsies and politicians who reference them exaggerate their claims.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jul 1st, 2007 at 12:28:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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