Global Warming Deniers Want Freedom to “Dump Sewage on Their Neighbors’ Lawns”

Economist Dean Baker uses a clever metaphor to explain the position of global warming deniers (who oppose the settled science of global climate change):

Restrictions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are intended to limit global warming have nothing to do with restricting the market. These restrictions are about enforcing the rule of law and preventing some people from harming others with their actions.

In this way, restrictions on GHG are similar to the laws that prohibit me from dumping my sewage on my neighbor’s lawn. The opponents of these restrictions don’t give a damn about free markets. Opponents of restrictions on GHG emissions are arguing for the right to dump sewage on their neighbors’ lawn. Their argument is that the United States is a big powerful country so we can do whatever we want to the rest of the world and no one can stop us.

That may or may not prove true in the decades ahead as China surpasses the United States as an economic power and other countries continue to gain on us. But no one should mistake the position that we are strong enough to do whatever we want in the world, without regard to the consequences, for a principled commitment to a free market. The global warming deniers are committed to free dumping, not free markets.

See full article here: “The D.C. Blackouts and Global Warming

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39 Responses to “Global Warming Deniers Want Freedom to “Dump Sewage on Their Neighbors’ Lawns””
  1. gregoryzaller says:

    I don’t see this line of reasoning as helpful and it is probably counter productive to the intention of lowering CO2 emissions.

    First, there is too much ambiguity and denial for an ‘in your face” GHG confrontation to anything more than embed protective beliefs. Second, there are other avenues or reasoning that are not inflammatory and less disputable. All of the below are associated with fossil fuel energy:

    Energy dependence
    Protection against cost increases
    Ocean Acidification and collapse
    Global political stability
    Trade imbalance
    Job creation and economic improvement through developing renewable energy
    Agricultural soil loss from fossil fuel fertilizers
    Species loss
    Pollution in addition to atmospheric CO2
    Diseases associated with pollution

    Theset immediately come to mind but there are more.

    The question I have is what is wrong with the left that it so relentlessly and counter productively promotes GHG as a justification to reduce fossil fuel consumption when it isn’t working for a majority of voters. Why not build bridges and get moving on this?

  2. depelton says:

    Settled science is not ambiguous. It’s settled science.

    And getting in the face of deniers is only a negative if the solution somehow depends on convincing the deniers that climate change is real and human-caused.

    If the solution depends on believers changing the views of those who are obstinately and relentlessly anti-science, then we are all surely doomed.

    Greg, what fundamentally bothers me most about your statement is that you seem to be saying that people on the left (by whom I assume you are referring to the majority of citizens and scientists worldwide who accept settled science) … are the chief obstacle to getting on with a solution!

    Whether we agree or disagree will turn out to be colossally irrelevant.

    As always in human affairs — both personal and social — the most effective changer-of-minds is crisis.

    And what could be clearer than the record-shattering crises of the last few months? Colorado on fire. The East Coast in the grip of record-shattering heat waves. Tens of thousands of records broken in a few months.

    As more and more people are willing to say, “This is what global warming looks like.”

    All the pleadings of believers on the “left” and all the arguments of deniers on the right will mean nothing in the end.

    The Earth is speaking so loudly that soon no one will be able to hide from its message.

  3. depelton says:

    And by the way, the Earth is also saying …

    Here’s what the crisis looks like with “merely” a one degree increase in average global temperature over the last century. Imagine what it will look like after an eight to ten degree increase in the coming century?

  4. gregoryzaller says:

    I don’t think my point is being understood.

    No one denies that the earth is warming or that CO2 is going into the atmosphere. To many people, though, the case is not being made that there is a connection between the two. Why is the focus on this disputed connection while generally ignoring numerous other compelling reasons to break the oil addiction?

    It appears that arguing is more important than saving the planet. Who is it really that “Want Freedom to “Dump Sewage on Their Neighbors’ Lawns”. We all drive cars and use fossil fuel so why blame and taunt the right as if they are the culprit?

    New approaches are needed to build a consensus and the will to solve this problem. I am frustrated with all of the squabbling which has only served to exacerbate the polarization.

  5. depelton says:

    Thanks, Greg.

    I’ll try a little harder here to really listen to you and understand what you are saying.

    Dean Baker’s point was specifically about regulating/restricting GHG emissions, and calling out those who oppose such regulations/restrictions.

    Nowhere did he even mention the right-wing, or even use the word “right.” But when he complained about the opponents of regulation, you yourself correctly surmised — as any of us would — that he was talking about the right.

    You do seem to reserve special opprobrium not for those who obstruct such regulations, but for those who complain about the obstructionists.

    Greg, I appreciate the spirit of your call for us all to just get along, and stop squabbling so we can solve the problem. But I’m very confused about how that would work in practice..

    So, pretending for the moment that we’re not squabbling, it’d be great to hear your specific policy suggestions that would (1) solve global warming and (2) be supported by everyone regardless of political affiliation or, say, oil company affiliation?

    How would you go about stopping the squabbling? And how would that lead to solving the problem of a disastrously warming planet?

    It sounds like you are saying that the solution is entirely a matter of implementing policies that everyone would agree with. I’d really like to understand precisely what those policies are?

    Or are you suggesting something more general … such as the idea that the cessation of squabbling in and of itself would promote an atmosphere (pardon the pun) in which these problems could be more successfully addressed?

    If the latter, I’d have to say that’s probably naive.

  6. gregoryzaller says:

    Hi Don,

    I want to still try and make my point. The tactics of the left to shame the right into realizing that their beliefs are incorrect is counterproductive. This is basic communication.

    There is a compounding problem that the left is essentially just as culpable as the right in contributing to GHG emissions. No one has the moral high ground yet the left is inappropriately taking it , alienating the right and diverting energy into argument instead of discussion.

    Below is a link to a related editorial in the NYTimes about how there is no hope for corral reef survival and the focus of resources for saving them is diverting from researching what we need to do next. The global ecosystem is in crisis and if the left would just stop the name calling and condemnation we could move beyond polarized fighting and get real about it.

  7. depelton says:

    Thanks, Greg, for your patience and persistence in making your point.

    I’ve been thinking about how much I sympathize and share your frustration with the squabbling.

    And I say that while being mindful of my own sometimes significant contribution to that squabbling!

  8. Ed Peritz says:

    First time visitor and admit to not having in depth knowledge of all facets of this debate. And consider myself fairly moderate, except see the hard right as very dangerous, as I think you both know from JP’s blog.

    But Greg–the only guy I’ve met on these blogs–I have to disagree somewhat with the notion that the right, as a whole, is not more culpable and more of an obstacle in efforts to “save the planet.” Even if the steps are small, taken by those left of center, such as types of cars driven–hybrids vs Hummers–I just never hear anything but ridicule about man made contribution to climate change coming from the right, nor do I see any changes in lifestyle by those on the right, including my own friends. It may be as P.J. O’Rourke said on Maher’s show, paraphrasing, “They know it’s coming–the end–but we can’t do anything about it.”

    As Gore said, it is inconvenient to make changes; that of course hits the solar plexus of capitalism’s attraction–continual growth.

    I’ve always felt the right is quicker on the draw when attacking, and on this issue–I won’t say controversy because it shouldn’t be one–they mounted full scale warfare against science that threatened corporate profits and luxurious lifestyles. To me, that’s typical short term, quarterly thinking, strategically suitable for the indefensible lowground of a army of trolls and orcs.

  9. depelton says:

    Ed, thanks for your good comments, well expressed.

    I agree with you that the solution to the problem is not as simple as the left simply stopping its criticism of the right.

    Greg, you say ” … if the left would just stop the name calling and condemnation we could move beyond polarized fighting and get real about it.”

    That’s it? The entire responsibility for the bad dialog is on the left? The right does not engage in name calling?

    That doesn’t accord with reality as I perceive it.

    I just spent the last few minutes doing an Internet search for information about name-calling from the right. It isn’t hard to find, lot’s of it coming from various Fox News personalities.

    The right — from Senator Inhofe in his new book (“The Greatest Hoax”) to Glenn Beck calling global warming “the greatest scam in human history”) — is bubbling like a cauldron full of hot rhetoric essentially accusing anyone engaged in the study of climate science of bad faith (both “hoax” and “scam” imply deliberate and willful deception … what could be more insulting than those words coming from the right?).

    So, are you saying that if the left stops complaining about these lies and falsehoods and insulting accusations, that the right will then stop perpetrating these lies, falsehoods and insulting accusations and we’ll all start solving our climate problems together and at long last live happily ever after?

    It seems that you are blind to the egregious rhetoric from the right, but keenly sensitive to it when it comes from the left. I hear both.

    My sympathies are mostly left/liberal/progressive, but I do not defend everyone on the left in a knee-jerk fashion. My basic critique of our current dysfunctional political system is that both right and left have sold out to the money interests. Lobbyists constitute the most enduring part of the infrastructure in Washington, while elected representatives come and go.

    If you keep insisting that the left bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for the bad dialog, I’ll continue to disagree with you.

    Maybe we should just agree to disagree on this point, and give up trying to convince each other.

  10. gregoryzaller says:

    The idea that the “left bears the lions share of responsibility” did not cross my mind. I am saying two things. One: if the left is genuinely concerned about destruction of the global ecosystem then it should stop the name calling and find a way to reach the right and build a consensus. I cited earlier a number of bridge issues that aren’t as ambiguous and polarizing as GHG has become. Second: the left should show some humility. Buying a Prius etc. are not even in the ballpark for what would be required of us to solve this problem.

    All of us need to get out of the box.

  11. Ed Peritz says:

    Thinking about this exchange while lying in bed yesterday, a perfect example supporting your less confrontational approach, Greg, popped back into my mind. As my neighbor was driving me to the Maher VA hospital–he’s a rancher type, right wing, they keep some corrals on the south part of my property–we were chatting and climate change came up. He didn’t feel that man had anything to do with it, but it was cyclical. What I call the dangerous, thin ice argument; appears safe, but can’t bear the weight of scrutiny and thus if relied on, you’ll drown.

    The discussion was calm, between friends. (I posted some of this on JP’s blog.) I posed the question I always ask to deniers to which I never get a satisfactory answer. How can a once pristine, in balance ecosystem, existing prior to the Industrial Revolution, not be affected by 250 years or so of a steady infusion of various gases/molecular combinations which change that pristine balance. Isn’t it like an aquarium; if the proper balance of ph/chemicals isn’t maintaned, the fish die.

    His response was, “Yeah, I never looked at it that way.” Then we went onto another topic, but that was a possible beginning of a dialogue. Just the same, and he is a dependable friend and neighbor-coming in my bedroom door the other day right behind the E.M.T.s, he’ll vote Republican the rest of his life.

    And of course I wasn’t just talking about Prius cars. Included are the monster yachts, extravagant-after-me-the-deluge lifestyles, endless accumulation of gas guzzling, ATVs with the concommitant seeming entitlement to chew up every bit of terrain in sight.

    I remember when I lived in Oceanside, a few blocks east of PCH. It was a day honoring something–just before Veterans Day–in late Oct. and the entire 1st Marine Division, my old division, was to parade down PCH, mustering at 100 yds. from my house. (A couple days latter I was leaving to return to Nam and Cambodia, Thailand, too.) I put a Vietnam 1st Div. 3rd Battalion, Lima Co. Reunion T-Shirt on and walked down to watch. I got sick to my stomach; on the other side of the street leading to PCH, were countless private Hummers. It’s ego, a state of mind that can’t be reasoned with.
    I was totally disgusted and still am because a statement is being made. At any rate, I was pulled into the parade, behind the Commanding General of Camp Pendleton, with about two dozen other Vietnam vets, to march in the parade. Even then I had to drop out after a couple of blocks.

    Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent so much time with people who are now hard right and I’m the Apostate that I know what’s under their skin and that they’ll sucker punch an opponent in a heartbeat, because that’s how most fights are won–the first shot to the head. Mao, Ho Chi Minh knew it and so do political strategists and plotters like Rove
    I never had any use for the hard left and still don’t–SDS and even not so hard–but among the deniers are the christian evangelicals, and there is absolutely no reasoning with them.
    Idiot America and other books like it, help me understand why the right doesn’t even want a dialogue.
    Just my experiences and opinions, of course. But the divisions I see in society are ugly and vast.

  12. depelton says:


    I really appreciate your long, thoughtful statement (you should start a blog!).

    I agree that — with a few intelligent exceptions (I’m thinking of conservatives like Bruce Fein, the most passionate defender of the Constitution I’ve ever read) — the right doesn’t want a dialog.

    Your reference to the sucker punch reminds me of the old mock adage: “He who turns the other cheek gets hit with the other fist.”

    By the way, Charley Pierce’s “Idiot America” is a terrific book. I’m still reading it.

    Greg, it’s good we’re still talking, because I’m still learning — with only partial success so far — how to read what you say without misunderstanding it.

    For instance, when you say that all that is required for the dialog to go forward constructively is for the left to do something different (in this case, stop the name-calling) with no mention from you of any requirement for the right to do anything different … then I can surely be forgiven for construing your statement to at least imply that in your view the left has the lion’s share of the responsibility for the unproductive dialog.

    Or, if I’m still misunderstanding you, perhaps you can tell me what you feel the right could do differently to improve the dialog?


  13. Anna Haynes says:

    Late to the party, sorry.

    Ed –
    > he’ll vote Republican the rest of his life.
    Please send him to the Energy and Enterprise Initiative (Laffer and Inglis) –

    Greg said:
    > To many people, though, the case is not being made that there is a connection between the two. Why is the focus on this disputed connection while generally ignoring numerous other compelling reasons to break the oil addiction?

    2 things:
    1. In my experience, those who don’t think humans are changing the climate also don’t think humans can stop (as in, cut) near-future climate change – i.e. they don’t accept the science of either. Do you have ANY evidence that people who reject (or are unaware of) the scientific consensus in either realm will be interested in effective actions to cut emissions?

    2. With fracking etc, “peak oil” won’t be an issue for a much longer time to come – time&emissions enough to get our home in really lousy shape, climatewise. (link)
    So, do you have ANY evidence that a “we’re running out of oil” argument will carry weight with people to spur action, given the newly abundant natural gas etc?

    Supporting evidence please; everyone’s got an opinion.

    Here’s the argtree so far; would anyone care to incorporate DP’s and EP’s comments’ points into it?

    Global warming deniers are using “freedom” as a reason to infringe on the rights of others. (DP)
    – There’s not enough evidence that the infringement (climate change) is substantial (GZ)
    – – Climate science says risks ARE substantial, definitely enough for action. (AH)
    – Arguing for action to avert GW can better be done gently, without confronting inactivists’ convictions that GW’s not human caused (GZ)
    – – This is an opinion for which there’s no evidence that it’s effective, IMO; (AH)
    – – The “peak oil” argument no longer holds water & thus can’t effectively be used (AH)

  14. Anna Haynes says:

    > the right doesn’t even want a dialogue

    Some do. The trick is to find them & then have it in good faith, and in pencil.

  15. Ed Peritz says:

    Thanks Don for the encouraging words. Fact is, I’m really stupid with computers, can’t even put a workable link into a blog comment box such as this. Much rather read my histories of all kinds than computer manuals. And with my leukemia, my 4th cancer, I start falling asleep soon after I start to read, thus need prescribe amphetimines to stay awake/alert til the afternoon, but now they’re not even working, thus reducing my days to just a few hours. I do enjoy the debates, but generally leave the climate debate to those with a deeper science back ground. I just ask my question that no one can answer. But when Todd J tells me how dumb I am–in different words–I understand just how impervious the right is to fact, knowledge, reason and everything Idiot America talks about. And reading the comments supporting the right wing bloggers up here only re-enforces the truth of Pearce’s contentions. It really is a waste of time to engage them. I have a saying, “Everybody thinks they are smart.” It just ain’t so, and even Rebane and Steele, when they venture into disiplines outside their specilties, to me, sound pretty stupid, despite their pomposity. But I have had articles published and a novel and have lots to say, so I’d probably enjoy doing a blog–but then when I’m talking I’m not learning something new and my bookshelves are filled with an eclectic bunch of unread volumns.

  16. depelton says:


    Your candor and willingness to be your complete self here are remarkable and rare, and I honor that. I hope everyone who drops by here honors that (but don’t count on it … as I’m sure you don’t).

    In fact, your remarks here reflect the kind of blog I had originally intended to build here myself, with some candid personal reflections, mixed with whatever bits caught my fancy from day-to-day, but somewhere along the line since our retirement to Nevada County five years ago (and our encounter with local politics) I got wary of revealing too much about our personal life.

    So be it. We’ll do what we can.

    A member of our family recently remarked on how the partisan rancor that pervades our national dialog has seeped into their family dialog! She noticed recently that comments from her son — while discussing a political topic at the dinner table — sounded very much like the sort of trash the talking heads throw at each other.

    This seems weirdly unsurprising, but it took her to point it out to me.

    I’ve experienced something like that too with a formerly close family member, and I find it very painful. It makes me want to retreat into writing poetry, or go back to my youthful passion for music … and hang all the politics. At least my family would still be intact.

    In any case, Ed, your responses here are so rich that it’s hard to know what to pick out to respond to first, and I like that.

    I hope you keep coming back.

    By the way, here’s one of probably many things we have in common: my bookshelves too (and many a pile of books sitting on the floor because there’s no room left on my bookshelves) are “filled with an eclectic bunch of unread volumes.”

    I don’t know precisely when the downward curve of my actuarially-predicted mortality intersected the upward curve of my passionate book-buying habit, but — at age 70 — I’m sure it’s been many decades since I had few enough books to complete reading in the nominal time left to me (of course, no one knows whether that will be counted in minutes, days or years).

    So I sometimes stare at them and wish I had been a faster reader, or better disciplined, and feel a bit melancholy for my family who will have to box them up and give them to the Friends of the Library after I’m gone.

    Jane finally bought me a Kindle, so now they pile up digitally, which at least gives me hope of keeping them off the floor … thus allowing me to keep my promise to her that I will keep them off the floor!

  17. depelton says:


    Glad to see you here! I felt your absence from this discussion keenly.

    You said:

    “The “peak oil” argument no longer holds water & thus can’t effectively be used (AH)”

    IMHO … it may well be that the peak oil argument can’t be used in connection with the climate debate, but if that’s so it would have to be for reasons other than it has lost all its water, so to speak.

    As I understand it (and I’m far from alone in this), fracking and other extreme and dangerous forms of energy mining (think: ultra-deep drilling in the Gulf and elsewhere, tar sands in Canada, etc.) strongly support the notion that we have already arrived at peak oil and are — in fact — lumbering along the rough terrain of its predicted plateau before we go into the more obvious long decline.

    As our friend Tom Grundy recently told me, “there’s no such thing as a peak in supply. It’s all about extraction rate. It’s a peak in extraction rate. Supply, except for additions via new finds etc, is monotonically decreasing … ”

    We have certainly reached a peak in extraction rate globally. Putting it in more understandable terms, “we have already picked all the low-hanging fruit, and we now are picking the more expensive hard-to-reach dangerous-to-get … fruit.”

    So, as I see it, peak oil is abundantly proven by the extreme and often dangerous way energy is being sought world-wide. And it’s probably worth noting, by the way, that there is still probably about half the “original” world supply still out there to be — with extreme difficulty — found.

    One consequence of reaching and surpassing the peak in extraction rate is that it’s becoming increasingly expensive, which accounts for most of the scenarios of civilizational disruption.

    How all this is relevant to the climate debate is another question worth exploring.

    IMHO …

  18. Ed Peritz says:


    I’ve already put your blog on my favorites list, so I’ll be checking in daily. I know I can learn here and you have clearly expressed you value my contributions. I appreciate the vote of confidence and recognition of my rather off center style and perspective, a product of a collage of life experience’s of radical opposites and probably vastly dissimilar to most Blog owners and contributers in this area. Perhaps that is why when I ask questions on JP’s blog, almost always they are ignored. Since I retired to G.V. in 2005–an early retirement package offered while I was on medical leave with cancer #3, then had a near fatal reaction to the chemotherapy, followed by another cancer diagnosis, which after multiple tests and biopsies of tongue and throat, finally proved negative. With the housing market at its peak, and the disgusting bungalow near the beach I had bought and beautified, I cashed out and moved here.

    It has been a hard nut to crack, Nevada Co., and as you remark, I don’t count on anything, honor, respect of the most basic kind from suppossedly like-minded souls, and many times have decided my time is better spent reading than even posting on progressive blogs, much less the rightwing tripe typers.

    I just speak my mind and if personal experience helps prove or illustrate a point, I don’t hesitate to enrich the post with the purity of a primary source. Many friends, when living back in Port Chester, N.Y., a suburb of NYC, encouraged me to write a book. I did and started a second while undergoing chemo for Cancer #3, half memoir, half adventure, but finally hit a wall due to the effects of the chemo, and the project went dormant.

    I buy most of my books from a clearing house in CT. (Edward R. Hamilton Book Seller; also on the web, but forget exact address.) The prices are, for most books, much cheaper than anywhere else–except Amazon–but I can buy 10 books at a time and only pay $3.50 for shipping. Plus, the catalogs are a different experience; I like looking through them and I buy books for so little, even if I never get to them, I haven’t lost much. I have about a dozen books I double ordered, so am always looking to give away. I think Idiot America cost $4.95 or so. My interests range from the Zulus and Islandwhana to the Warring States period in Japanese history ending in the victory of Tokogowa Ieyasu and the 250 years of relative peace; from 20thC Russian history to Rome, Hannibal, China, Buddha, our founding. Civil War, Watergate, the myth of Reagan winning the Cold war, etc. So I’m always jumping around in my reading. When I finish a book and go to the shelves, sofa or floor to pick another, it’s like browsing at Barnes and Nobel.

    My big regret now is I can’t travel anymore. It was kidda fun being hauled in by the KGB while in the USSR in 1972, but that’s a story for another day.

  19. Anna Haynes says:

    > … hauled in by the KGB while in the USSR in 1972

    Ed, that’s a story for Sierra Voices. Please contribute it.

    And Don asked Greg Z –
    “it’d be great to hear your specific policy suggestions that would (1) solve global warming and (2) be supported by everyone regardless of political affiliation or, say, oil company affiliation?”

    I’d like to hear too.

    (Would it be the revenue-neutral carbon “fee and dividend” policy advocated by Citizens Climate Lobby and others, where the biggest polluters pay the rest of us?)

  20. gregoryzaller says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I sympathize with all of the comments here. I recently had the experience of tenants falling into a destructive spiral tearing apart my house and their lives and children’s lives, terrorizing the neighborhood and blaming it on their circumstances (this reminds me of the Right!). I managed to make it through without loosing my compassion for them, including in the end when they began vandalizing and stealing from the house in retaliation for me evicting them. They are now homeless and I am restoring it. It was a home for folks in recovery loosely modeled after except for some mistakes I wish I hadn’t made. I’m going to try again, somewhat the wiser. The problem of drug addiction and mental illness need to be addressed and if not me, then who will do it?

    It is also the same with the GHG denialists. They have an untenable and wacky position but I believe there is a way to reach them and gain their commitment to change and we need to try as hard as it takes (name calling is counterproductive). The left also needs to change, almost as much as the right.

    We could talk about plans but even the most radical would too little given the gravity of the problem. The first step is to build the will to do something about it. This means the left and the right need to talk and come to grips with the seriousness of what humans are doing to the planet ASAP. It is a waste of time to talk about what to do when there iinsufficient will to do it at this point.

  21. Ed Peritz says:

    Greg, even though our meeting was brief, the clarity of your being a compassionate and dedicated man, working toward selfless goals, was unmistakable. I’m familiar with how problematic being a landlord can be, and have also–when living in a room of a much older, female friend of my deceased step-mother–nearly came to blows with a homless, mentally ill and a hell-of-a-lot-bigger-than-me-guy, whom she allowed to use the loft in the garage as “home.” That particular situation was triggered when he began a tirade full of screaming and threatening profanity at this extremely disabled women. I came running from my room as I knew he was totally unpredictable. Her compassion for all living souls, regardless of species is why she offered him shelter in the first place.

    Unfortunately, despite our empathy for others’ plight, we learn, as she did eventually, that sometimes dialog and good works are unproductive. I was no longer living there when this dishonorably discharged, ex-Marine knocked my 70 year old disabled friend down onto the cement pad of her garage. I agree that the problems you mention need more attention; all I am illustrating with this story is some problems may not be solvable.

    Hopefully the truth of climate change, GHG and other human contributions to this looming planet Krypton fate with take root in the vast pool of moderate independents, creating the ever expanding ripple of acceptance, demonstrated not by argumentation, but by observable climatic events that can not be denied or explained away with unreadable charts or ALEC sponsered disinformation.

    As a late 19th century English statesman opined: “There are three kinds of lies: lies; damn lies; and statistics.” Maybe the scorched fields of the midwest will make some stongholds of doubters rethink their positions. Let’s hope so.

    And, BTW, even if not due to man, changes are happening that still threaten millions. Why the obstinacy of forseeing proplems and providing preventive, protective measures?

  22. Ed Peritz says:

    Oh, and Anna, the KGB story, do you really think people would be interested in my encounter with those chumps so long ago? And where would be the correct place to post such old news? That particular incident occured in the Georgian SSR. Lots of stories from that summer.

  23. RL Crabb says:

    Perhaps the left would have fewer problems with the right in the climate change debate if they would take a more pragmatic approach to the solutions. As I see it, the biggest hurdle is convincing the electorate that they need to endure widespread suffering and expensive lifestyle changes to achieve the goal. If it becomes a question of saving the planet or feeding your family, people will naturally take the path that will affect them closer to home and their wallets. If the solutions become too much to endure, there will be a backlash at the ballot box.
    One way to avoid this (and I grid myself for the collective hiss that will no doubt follow) is to endorse the gradual change from oil and coal to natural gas, which will drastically reduce greenhouse flatulence. Yes, that would involve fracking, which is not a new technology but has become the latest boogieman for the left. Is there risk? Of course, but there is risk in every solution. Energy providers need to be held to the strictest standards in the process, but to take it off the table as a transitional solution while cleaner technologies are being developed and deployed is just as dangerous. We are being asked to endure higher and higher taxes and fees at every level of government and at some point people will say ‘enough!’ There are serious concerns about how CARB will use the money it receives from cap and trade, as well as their avoiding public scrutiny and the Brown Act.

    And Ed, as for navigating and maintaining a blog, if a screwball who calls himself the Village Idiot can do it, ANYONE can. The hardest part is getting it set up. So far I’ve managed to keep the namecalling at a minimum while accomodating comments from both ends of the spectrum. (Yes, there are exceptions, but we’re dealing with human beings. Nobody’s perfect.)

  24. Anna Haynes says:

    RL, please read Bill McKibben’s piece Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math (“Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is”)

    Take a look at the math.

    (The crap is already hitting the fan, and the longer we – through our government – wait to act, the more wrenching the transition will need to be, to have any hope of success. And there’s stuff we could be doing now that would actually make money for most of us – see “fee and dividend” at )

  25. RL Crabb says:

    In all probability, it will be the Republican Congress you’ll need to convince unless Obama and the Dems can pull a gold-plated rabbit out of their hat in September. It’s the economy, Anna.

  26. Ed Peritz says:

    RL, if I may address you such w/o knowing you, I apologize for my belated response to the last few lines of your 7/18 post. I always try to respond to comments or questions directed to me, but circumstances of late have delayed this reply.

    BTW, have saved the article you posted by link from NYT, a habit of mine whereby I have so many newspaper OPEDs I’ve cut out and dated and now files on my computers to be referenced when needed.

    I don’t even know if this is the proper place for this reply, but this is where it will be. Don said “my candor and willingness to be my complete self were remarakable and rare,” which, I suppose, is nothing more than a function of learning from experience that being evasive or incomplete with answers tends to create false impressions or incorrect conclusions to those listening. And in some regards it is just short of lying. The truth is, there is no way I could operate a blog. I haven’t the energy to answer, contribute, run, write consistently, etc. Nearly bit the dust on 7/2/12, collapsing again sometime in the night when using the facilities, legs not working, in and out of consciousness, until finally able too pull myself to my knees and use my cane as a crutch and struggle back to bed. Called 911; blood pressure was 70/50 and off to E.R., once again, I went.

    Multi Health problems–a extremely complicated case I’m called–with S.N. Cancer Center never even have heard of the leukemia I now have, diagnosed at about the five year remission period of being cancer free from cancer #3, B-Cell lymphoma, which precipitated my early retirement and move to G.V. in 2005. This leukemia, while not in the fatal stage at this point, is certainly kicking my butt and shortening my days, requiring prescribed amphetimines just to stay awake w/o falling asleep as soon as I start to read. Still, much of the time, I’m back in bed by noon; often before that. Not complaining, just those are the facts. Was given only a couple months to live after finally be correctly diagnosed with my first cancer after returning from Vietnam in 1969. Was refused, incorrectly, health care by the VA, but accepted on welfare by Greenwich, CT hospital–I had no money, no insurance, no family to help. Finally a doctor called a doctor he knew at the West Haven VA, CT Hospital, partnered with Yale-New Haven and I was admitted, in critical condition, operated on, given a prognosis of “I’m sorry,” but beat all the odds. Now, I’ve slowed down considerably with cancer #4, and I haven’t even discussed the four, non-related operations, I’ve had since my retirement.

    Besides all that, I am a co-owner of a List serve regarding a world wide, major health issue, now being recognized as the finest of its kind on the entire web. I spend much time there answering questions and helping people from all over the world.

    But I sure wish I had more pep. RL, I don’t really know where you stand politically, but I’ve commented on other blogs I was raised in a very conservative, Republican, well-to-do in my earliest years family, but once free to study and express my conclusions w/o igniting a conflagration, realized all the “stuff” jammed down by brain was not supportable. And when I returned to finish my degree while stll undergoing chemo, graduating in history with high honors, then debate some of the right wing bloggers up here, I’m just appauled at their sense of their own importance and irrefutable knowledge, despite a demostrable lack of any experience with historiography methodology.

    I recently wrote my de facto broters, millionaires, in Texas, about what the heck is the TX Board of Ed doing. I’ve rec’d no reply and today, Leonard Pitts, delves even farther into the travesty of Texas, in their elimination of the requirement for development of critical thinking skills. I lived there before moving on to CA, so am all to familiar with the ruling mentality.

    Anyway, bluntness always trumps evasiveness, so there it is.
    Ed P

  27. RL Crabb says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Ed. Sorry to hear about your ongoing difficulties. As for my political leanings, I mostly find myself in the middle of the road, dodging traffic from both directions. I’m a firm believer in the fine art of compromise, a disappearing trait in our hyper-partisan nation.

  28. depelton says:

    Much of what is valuable in this discussion goes beyond the subject of climate change, so if any of you would like to continue that portion of the discussion in a more open-ended way, feel free to contribute to a new blog entry I have created for that purpose (I’ve copied over portions of this discussion to that thread, so it could continue there if you choose).

    Ed, you may want to use that space — to post on the KGB incident or whatever you like — in lieu of grappling with all the technical obstacles of your own blog. Feel free.

    It’s here:

    Sierra Voices Open Dialog

  29. depelton says:

    See my own further comments on general matters (not related to the Dean Baker article above) … here:

    Sierra Voices Open Dialog

  30. depelton says:

    RL, thanks for the pointer to the Leonhardt article in the NY Times. It’s interesting how extremely tentative and conditional his “optimism” appears to be:

    “Most scientists and economists, to be sure, think the best chance for success involves both strategies: if dirty energy remains as cheap as it is today, clean energy will have a much longer road to travel.”

    He seems to be suggesting that we continue to push for more expensive dirty energy while pouring more research money/effort into clean alternatives.

    It’d be a shame if our choice as a society turns out to be: (1) flammable tap water on the one hand, or (2) an increasingly sizzling planet on the other.

    Since we’ve waited so long to get serious about climate change, it’s beginning to look like we may end up with both.

  31. Ed Peritz says:

    Thanks Don for the heads up and invite to use your blog should I be inspired to write somemore and RL, like I said, no sad story, just no energy. The real sad stories are ones like I related on my health list to a discourged fellow concerning my personal guide in Cambodia, visiting Angkor Wat. Briefly, his nine siblings perished in the Killing Fields and both parents–his father was in Lon Nol’s gov’t were both beheaded, but my guide Saul survived. Once prosperous, he scraped out a living being a guide. So many poor souls around the world like that. They have it hard.

  32. depelton says:

    Speaking of pragmatism — or non-pragmatism in this case — here a reader of Yves Smith’s “Naked Capitalism” blog checks the math on some of the claims about water use in fracking:

    Doing Some Math on Fracking Propaganda

    Excerpt (describing a scenario that is obviously unsustainable):

    “Of the 4.2 billion gallons (10.1 million barrels times 10 times 42 gallons per barrel) of clean water that was turned into waste water in the last half of 2011 by the fracking industry in PA, less than 462 million gallons was handled in any way after it was polluted. Of that 462 million gallons of waste water that was handled after drilling, most was simply put down another well without any treatment. A very small portion of that 462 million gallons was treated or recycled.

    The current state of the art in treatment and recycling, a plant in Carrollton, OH, can handle 73 million gallons of fracking water a year at full capacity. This is less than 2% of the 4.2 billion gallons of water used by the fracking industry during the last half of 2011 in PA. At 73 million gallons of “recycling” capacity a year, only 8% of the waste water that is discharged from the wells, “flowback”, could be treated at 2011 levels of drilling production. Production is roughly doubling in PA YoY. The water that is treated could then only be used as part of the water required to frack a new well. It is still not clean enough for the industry to use.”

  33. RL Crabb says:

    Keep in mind that the materials needed to built electric car batteries will have to come from somewhere, as in mining, an energy-consuming industry with its own set of problems. Mass transit may be part of the answer, but as spread out as the west is there will always be a need for personal transportation. Natural gas could help in the trucking industry by replacing diesel over time as newer engines come online.
    As I opined, there is no one magic bullet, but progress can be made. As for the flaming faucet issue, I would suggest concentrating fracking efforts in sparcely populated areas, and holding the extraction companies feet to the fire to contain leakage and waste.
    As for your open dialog, Don, I applaud your effortt although I know from experience how difficult it can be monitoring opinionated polar opposites. Go for it.

  34. Don Pelton says:

    Thanks, RL.

    You said. ” … holding the extraction companies feet to the fire to contain leakage and waste.”

    Hell, let’s scare the bejeezus out of them and threaten to hold their feet to the faucet!

    About the open dialog, it’s no different than any comment thread. I’ll shut it down if it goes uncivil.

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