The Economist on "climate cranks"

I watched some of this yesterday, noting that Mr. Hertsgaard seems to simply be making a ruckus to promote his new book. There doesn’t appear to be any depth beyond that. The Economist seems to agree. – Anthony

Who are you calling a climate crank, nut job?


HOW do you describe a phenomenon that is global in its impacts, yet must be addressed locally? A phenomenon that is difficult, if not impossible, to detect clearly at a single place in time? That’s the linguistic challenge that has confronted climate activists for decades. Forget the science and geopolitics of the issue. What name can communicators use to communicate the scope and severity of the challenge at hand?

The public is now aware of the issue. But the record global temperatures set last year make clear that naming a problem is quite different from solving it. The remaining challenge for “climate hawks”, as some environmentalists have taken to calling themselves, is to convince or confront politicians and businessmen, who still question whether the world has a climate problem. In that pursuit, the Guardian’s Leo Hickman worries that environmental activists have again gotten side-tracked in linguistic debates.

Just what the climate debate doesn’t need: a new moniker for those who do not accept the mainstream scientific view of anthropogenic climate change. According to environmental activists planning a day of protests across the US [on February 15th], “climate crank” is set to be the latest name added to the growing list – self-appointed, or otherwise – which already includes sceptic, denier, contrarian, realist, dissenter, flat-earther, misinformer, and confusionist….I’m left wondering whether this new exercise in name-calling will only serve to distract from the important task at hand.

Environmentalists efforts to fight spin with spin seem to have spun out of control. The Twitter hashtag created to publicize Tuesday’s event, #climatecranks, was used in nearly equal measure by both Mark Hertsgaard, the environmental correspondent for the Nation who coined the phrase and led the action, and an opponent of greenhouse-gas regulations, who co-opted it to heckle him. And America’s “fair and balanced” network was also quick to belittle the activists’ efforts. “Global Warming Nuts Try to Ambush Sen. Inhofe…Fail”, jeered the Fox News headline.

Climate activists have the science on their side, but American conservatives are winning the war of words. And as the rhetoric heats up, so too does the planet.


read the whole article here

96 thoughts on “The Economist on "climate cranks"

  1. I take it C.W.H. has not actually looked at the global temperatures for the past 10 or 20 years.

  2. If you don’t like that label I’m sure their “quiver of useful arguments” only has more names to choose from.

  3. “Climate activists have the science on their side.” Actually, The Economist, like the BBC, NYT, NPR, etc. do not recognize anything other than the alarmist interpretation of AGW.

  4. I read The Economist every week. There is virtually no topic that it does not link to Global Warming in a most disastrous way. None. There are at least 6 references per issue, many in the most unlikely articles. Clearly the references are added by an editor after the subject article was drafted in some instances. I do not think The Economist realizes how ludicrous this has become. The editors are besmirching an excellent publication with their irrational fear of warming, particularly given the scant evidence of any serious trend of the same in spite of their apparent ability to detect it everywhere.

  5. One can see that jumping the gun a few months in declaring the hotest year works if the Ec now states it as a fact. Why are reporters so ready to accept this kind of shoddy information.

  6. One of the first and most common signs that someone is not presenting a scholarly or logically solid position is that the individual resorts to name calling. When your argument is so clear and convincing, you don’t need name calling.

  7. Forget the science and geopolitics of the issue. What name can communicators use to communicate the scope and severity of the challenge at hand?

    I have a hint for them: It rhymes with “Fullship”.

  8. That “ambush” of Inhofe was sad. They could only resort to “consensus exists, you and your ilk are not on-message,” and, “Wont you please think of the children?”
    That’s activism for you. In steps, here is how you become an activist:
    1) Suspend critical thinking.
    2) Accept same perspective as consensus, conform!
    3) When in doubt, see #1.

  9. funny how this has gotten so much publicity when it’s really just one guy calling people names in an attempt to sell a book.
    And yet THIS is the best the warmistas can come up with?
    prediction – 2 day flash in the pan.

  10. I am nonplussed by the statement that the warmists have the science on their side. Quite the contrary. They have a set of computer programs that cannot back-predict our current climate and has failed in every attempt to forward predict climate variability. Vide the MET Office and snowstorms. If Al Gore and Jim Hansen had been correct in their predictions, we would be roasting today.
    Rather than a new name for those who do not swallow the CAGW story line, how about a new name for the true believers: climaPopes.

  11. Well, The Economist magazine has swallowed CAGW hook, line, and sinker. As far as the editors are concerned, the science is 100% settled.

  12. The Inofe video is pretty good. It’s amazing how patient he was with the activists. The other amazing thing is that a group of people apparently can sneak up on Senators and get within feet of them with no security in evidence.
    Would of been interesting if he’d asked the girls if they:
    Liked to be warm
    Like to eat foods from outside the local area
    Had to travel to see him
    Like to have nice clothing
    Liked to use electronic items that have to be shipped into the country

  13. Actually, I like the term “climate hawk.” It is easier to say than what I have been using for a couple of years (AGW pessimist), and I think more people will understand the meaning and implications of “climate hawk.”

  14. Yes, because just like that PPACA health-care bill, it encouters resistance because of the messaging and communication – not the substance. As angst about PPACA has kept its voter-approval below 50% for some time, all we hear about is that if the president could just communicate it better to the people the approval could significantly increase. It’s just those uneducated, non-critical thinking people that are hard to reach without the exact right message that don’t like it.

  15. The media are going full out today on studies claiming to link precipitation and flooding with increased co2. As an example,
    Flooding linked to global warming: studies
    Studies weaken argument that climate change is a ‘victimless crime’: researche
    Read more:
    The same stories are appearing on Reuters, etc., and the origin seems to be articles in Nature magazine.
    These results are produced by computer models which include the theory that increased warming will increase precipitation. In the real world, there are many factors in play, and from year to year precipitation varies by only a percent or two. Many studies of real world weather confirm this. For example, see:

  16. Winning the war of words? Not so fast.
    “Warming linked to extreme weather” reads the Toronto Star.
    Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger…with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming.
    Two studies in Wednesday’s issue of Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases…
    Global warming more than doubled the likelihood of flooding in England and Wales in 2000.
    Studies are now underway to examine whether last years’s deadly Russian heat wave and Pakistan floods can be scientifically attributed to global warming.
    So don’t leave the gates unguarded for too long. The regrouping has begun.

  17. “read the whole article here”
    Thank you, but no. I can still remember a time when I thought that The Economist was a somewhat decent publication. Then it embraced Marxist theory and anti-Americanism as fully as a college kid in a coffee shop. Sad. At least they can still recognize name-calling as counter productive, if not morally wrong and intellectually bankrupt.

  18. “Climate activists have the science on their side, but American conservatives are winning the war of words. And as the rhetoric heats up, so too does the planet.”
    Yet another example bearing evidence of the decay of journalistic performance.

  19. . . . “a day of protests across the US [on February 15th], . . .”
    Really? Who knew?
    “. . . The Twitter hashtag, . . .”
    I don’t know anyone over the age of 14 that would know what this means. Can these people vote, do arithmetic, write a coherent paragraph . . .?

  20. I have subscribed to the Economist since the early 70’s. It has always been a newspaper that has held sensible positions on whatever it feels competent to comment on and to me has seem centrist and sensible. Many people regard it as right wing because of it’s pro market pro business stance which has resonated more with Conservatives than Labour.
    For most of my time with it the Economist has reported on science in a totally neutral fashion even though there have been a number of science writers over the decades. It was always about “just the facts ma’am” even when the facts may have been anathema in an ideological sense. This last two years or so have been different. It has been warmist in leaning presenting AGW as a fact and leading from there. Phrases like “because of global warming . . . ” or ” if global warming continues at it’s current rate . . . ” would appear in the science pages and elsewhere in the newspaper which was very discouraging for me and many others I think.
    It seemed very much as if this group of rigorous thinkers had been fooled by pseudo-science in this one area. That lead , naturally, to questioning their views on economics, trade, aid, the city, the market and most of all free trade. Fortunately for me I felt that their core values had not been weakened and they still were good at identifying and describing soggy thinking when it appeared on the left or the right. They had opinions that they were proud of and they largely right , in both senses of the word.
    I always felt that with regards to climate science they would, collectively, see the total humbug at the centre of the AGW intent. No science just emotion, and a talent for promoting and marketing it’s ideas. The Warmista’s collectively are good at social science , they employ good visuals including many personalities from the entertainment industry and remember we will live in a very visual age and brand recognition is important. Their “meat and potatoes” is lacking though. They dodge confrontation with informed skeptics , their projections are further away than most attention spans and the changes they speak of are imperceptible by the human body relying on very expensive equipment and especially software run on giant computers.
    This article in the Economist is evidence that those very bright folk have seen through the nonsense. Expect them to behave like rock solid skeptics from here on out. They will demand proof and they will slash away any undergrowth that prevents clarity and understanding. This will not change according to the current science editor whoever that may be at the time , they as a group “get it”.

  21. “Climate activists have the science on their side.”
    Now we are getting somewhere. They are activists, practicing advocacy, and funded by the same politicians they are advising.
    “Climate hawks” could work with some adjustments, as it is a foul science on eggshells with the public at the moment. Perhaps Climate Quacks vs. Climate Cranks is going to be this year’s round.

  22. @Pat: same reason I cancelled my subscription to the National Geographic magazine – ending a membership begun in 1971.
    Whern I feel like reading the prattlings of a shill for green NGOs, I can find a lot of free online sources. BTW, they still destroy a lot of trees sending me unwanted adverts and catalogs etc.

  23. I love it! I missed the moniker of “realist” used on skeptics. Oh, the horror! If being labeled a “realist” is what it takes, sign me up.
    Since when is being realistic bad? What are we supposed to be? Delusionists like them?

  24. JimBrock says:
    I am nonplussed by the statement that the warmists have the science on their side. Quite the contrary. They have a set of computer programs that cannot back-predict our current climate . . .”
    Their other pieces of SOLID science is the temperature-cherry-picked tree-ring hockeystick graph and their ice core-Mauna Loa CO2 hockeystick (which pretends that CO2 was historically low until 1950, ignoring all direct chemical CO2 data that shows otherwise).
    With this arsenal of non-science computer programs and fraud science graphs, who wouldn’t say that science is on their side?

  25. If Hertsgaard copied my “carbon cranks” comment from a year or two ago, it’s nice to know he reads WUWT.

  26. Many months ago I got fed up with the Economist and its blithe disregard for anything rational when talking about this issue. Yes, it pops up in the oddest places in their articles and you get a cringing feeling that you know it is coming in that last paragraph. To be fair though their political reporting has gone down hill a long way recently as well and I really can’t be bothered with their actual economics any more since they will excuse almost any craziness if it suits some political line. I have not the faintest idea why they even have a science section, most of the articles are aged and warmed up pseudo-social-science crap (maybe a PhD in physics biases me, but what they hey) with no real value and so heavily distorted if you know the backstories that they are not worth reading. So, the subscription is going to lapse and when they bug me for a renewal they’ll find out why.

  27. I used to buy and read the Economist as a source of objective and well researched/thought out articles and commentaries. Not any longer. Would’nt spend a dime on the magasine. Tragic to see how they have lost their sense of insight and objectivity.

  28. I have cancelled my subscriptions to Scientific American, The Economist, and National Geographic over the last few years because of their biased and uncritical acceptance of AGW’ism. I wonder if others have done the same and whether their subsciber base has been affected.

  29. When it comes to Twitter posts, is it really possible to present a global changing argument to the masses when you are limited to 140 charac

  30. New (model) study in Nature from Oxford university shows the UK floods were most likely caused by climate change driven by enhanced levels of CO2.
    It appears that the Australian floods were just weather, seems CO2 driven climate change only effects the UK.

  31. There’s quite a good article in RealPolitics today about Hertsgaard and his use of Galileo:
    Galileo and the Scientific Pose of the Left
    By Robert Tracinski
    “…Hertsgaard acknowledges that “skepticism is invaluable to the scientific method”-but then calls for the skeptics to be “called to account” for their “sabotage.” Cardinal Bellarmine, call your office.
    Hertsgaard’s article is partly a cautionary tale about one of the occupational vices of the political polemicist: using historical examples and symbols to score rhetorical points, without really understanding them. Perhaps Godwin’s Law should be extended to cover Galileo and the Inquisition.
    But it is also an example of the way the left uses science, not as a vital thinking method, but as a political pose. They drag out science as a prop, without understanding the basic method and attitude of science.
    Part of the reason why Galileo is remembered as one of the fathers of modern science is his thoroughgoing rejection of this subordination to authority. His achievement is reflected in the motto of Britain’s Royal Society: nullius in verba, “on no one’s word.” The idea is that even if a Galileo or a Newton were to present a new theory, his prestige should count for nothing. He still has to show his data and prove it.
    The same goes for climate scientists, environmentalist activists, and hack political writers.
    *Correction: the original text misidentified Michael Mann as author of the email.
    Robert Tracinski writes daily commentary at He is the editor of The Intellectual Activist and….”

  32. Keith Battye says:
    February 17, 2011 at 9:18 am
    “I have subscribed to the Economist since the early 70′s. It has always been a newspaper that has held sensible positions on whatever it feels competent to comment on and to me has seem centrist and sensible. Many people regard it as right wing because of it’s pro market pro business stance which has resonated more with Conservatives than Labour. ”
    Keith, maybe in Europe it is viewed as “centrist” and ‘pro market pro business”, but I too have read the magazine for over 30 years and have witnessed a drift toward socialism/marxism for over 2 decades now. “Pro market and Pro business’, not in my lifetime. Interesting take from a European on what is “right wing”!

  33. “Andrew says:
    February 17, 2011 at 9:04 am
    The Economist is owned by the Rothschilds, who have been trying for a global carbon tax for 15 years.”
    It appears that the Rothchilds, George Soros, and Maurice Strong are part of the international cabal that seeks to control energy production and consumption globally. The UN and other NGOs are willing participants or have been corrupted to front for the cabal.
    It amazes me that so few have been able to thwart the massive efforts and overcome the wealth of the cabal to date. We might be winning.

  34. An Inquirer says:
    February 17, 2011 at 8:50 am
    Actually, I like the term “climate hawk.” It is easier to say than what I have been using for a couple of years (AGW pessimist), and I think more people will understand the meaning and implications of “climate hawk.”

    So this would make skeptics “climate doves”?

  35. I have another name they can call us: climate racists. I’m not really sure how they would connect our hesitance about accepting CAGW with racism. But why not? After all, it certainly has a more pejorative ring to it.

  36. I used to subscribe to the Economist as it was often up front on issue and well researched. It is sad that its writers have joined the AWG fan club who believe it is their moral duty to push that agenda, such as subsiding wind generation that does not make economic sense.
    As noted in the Economist’s article the general circulation climate models (GCM) have different climate sensitivities and oddly they all can accurately model the recent past. When a model is sufficiently complicate it is possible to adjust assumed and free parameters to curve fit. What answer do you want?
    The Economist article did not discuss changes to planetary cloud cover which resist warming, negative feedback rather than positive. The Economist article did not discuss modulation of planetary cloud cover by GCR and by solar wind bursts. (Electrosavenging) which correlates with the period of warming in the 20th century. (There was a reduction in planetary cloud cover as measured by satellites.)
    If one looks at the discrepancy between the US GISS global temperature and the satellite global temperature it is obvious the GISS data and algorithms have been adjusted to increase (make it appear there is an increase which is significantly greater than true observed) the global temperature. The root of the problem is James Hanson and those who he has hired. The fact the Real Climate is run by a James Hanson employee using company time is an indication of the depth of the problem.
    The planet is not going to warm significantly. Trillions of dollars are not going to be spend to reduce CO2. Plants eat CO2. The biosphere benefits from increased CO2 and a slightly warmer average temperature. The name calling of skeptics who note the science does not support the extreme global warming paradigm will eventually end.

  37. You have to realize that these folks are like Freddy Kreuger, Michael Myers and JasonVoorhees all wrapped in one. You might think you’re defeating them, but as long as there is money to made, there will always be another sequel. At this point the “science” is mostly irrelevant, if it ever really was relevant.
    The big problem is that the financial incentives pushing this mess have become so deeply imbedded and the financial beneficiaries have become so numerous that extricating the world from the grip of this scheme will be a massively daunting task. The notion that reducing our CO2 emissions is an unquestionable good has thoroughly permeated most of the world. Even within the skeptical community, those that may disagree with the science or the proposed solutions, often exhibit a tacit acceptance of the goal. As I’ve pointed out a number of times, the people pushing this are in it for the long haul. For well over a century, they and their cohorts have had a plan and they have pursued it relentlessly. They see the climate crisis as the key to finally achieving their utopian fantasy. It’s the big running back that has gotten them to a first and goal inside the ten and they’re going to keep pounding him up the middle until they make the end zone. They know they have the refs on their side to penalize the defense whenever they need a fresh set of downs. Their only problem is the fans in the stands are beginning to smell a rat, even many of those who at the start of the game were rooting for the CAGW side.
    Unfortunately, while everyone has been focussed on the game on the field, the GAGW team owners have had their fleet of tow trucks busy out in the parking lot hauling away everybody’s ride. If they do manage to finally push the ball over the goal line, the folks in the cheap seats will be startled to find that they all have to walk home.

    [so the solution is to just accept AGW ?]

  38. BBC radio 4’s Material World program today covered the two Nature articles:
    Scientists have discovered that green house gases have significantly increased the risk of extreme rainfall. One research group used real-world data and computer models to prove the link between greenhouse emissions and the increase in extreme rains in the Northern Hemisphere. Another research group showed that greenhouse warming made the UK floods of 2000 more likely. Dr Richard Allan and Professor Mark Maslin join Quentin to explain more. ( has a listen again link).
    One of the final comments was that this shows global warming is affecting climate now so there is no point burying your head in the sand and waiting before taking action.
    When I hear scientists parroting “the verwhelming scientific evidence” I find myself wondering just how closely or critically they have looked at the evidence, or are they simply accepting the “scientific consensus”.

  39. “Climate activists have the science on their side, but American conservatives are winning the war of words. And as the rhetoric heats up, so too does the planet.”
    Well they have “science” on thier side until someone comes along with “science” and disproves thier claims. Once that occurs, the “activists” launch disinformation campaigns, take part in ad hominem attacks, and act like spoiled children.
    And speaking of the last sentence, the author appears confused. According to the Alarmists, the earth is not warming; but its climate is being disrupted.

  40. @ Mike 86
    This video of Inhofe appears to be taken outside his office in one of the Senate office buildings. Within the Senate and House offices and the Capitol itself, visitors are welcome. They have to pass through airport-style security to get into the buildings, but representatives are quite accessible in the hallways, offices and other common areas. There are also public galleries over the floors of the House and Senate–these have a bit more security. It’s refreshing, actually.

  41. “Climatecrank” implies, to me, someone who believes in catastrophic climate change at the hands of man. It doesn’t have connotations of a laid-back conservative who thinks it’s all over hyped and there’s nothing to worry about.
    And that’s all down to the way the term crank has been used in the past. It’s a label thats been applied to someone who tends to be obsessive or paranoid over something that appears imaginary or at best trivial to most people, and who believes that some terrible event will unfold as a consequence.
    This will definately backfire.

  42. These lunatics refuse to submit to the facts. They continue to lie and name call because their phony science has been unmasked as the fraud it always has been and continues to be.
    Monty Python’s dead bird skit was at least humorous. These environmental green nazis are not funny and never were. Their lies have proven over and over as contemptible con jobs to enrich themselves with government grants. Their continued lies after being caught red handed over and over again is sickening. Micheal Mann comes to mind.
    Anyone taking taxpayer money for this scam should be prosecuted. Anyone aiding and and conspiring to maintain this criminal con job should be dragged into court and face a jury.
    Belief in AGW is not just a global IQ test for stupid anymore. AGW has become a perfect litmus test for the truth. These people are liars and need to be exposed as liars every time they open their pie holes.
    The hoax is over and the joke’s on the losers who pushed this con job of globalony.

  43. I posted my comment on ‘the economist’ website, called the article rubbish, and appears to have hit a common cord, as it is the most recommended comment so far.
    Sloppy journalism from a new generation that had bad schooling, forgive them, as we were too busy putting bread on the table whilst their teachers were stuffing AGW propaganda down their throats in ‘science’ classes.

  44. I have read the Economist on an occasional basis for 35 years or so. I have always found it to be (very) long-winded, politically biased (to the left), full of bombast, and plain wrong. I can’t find the link, but someone once did a serious analysis of the main predictions made by the Economist. They were 80% wrong. Still, I suppose that’s a much better track record than the current Governor of the Bank of England.

  45. Like many others commenting here, I used to be a regular reader, occasional subscriber and always an admirer of The Economist for decades. This started changing around 2006, when not only their reporting on climate change startet assuming that the alarmist interpretation was “the truth”, but also most of their other writings decayed as well. They used to be proudly independent in their thinking (they defended Lomborg’s first book when it came out, when the MSM was demonising him). Now they seem to aim at fitting in with whatever is fashionable among the City of London’s banking crowd. I barely read The Economist anymore, as it has become trivial.
    I think this change can be directly associated to when it ceased to be run by Bill Emmott and Clive Crook, and John Micklewaith became the editor. His stated goal at the time was to make The Economist more “mainstream”.
    The absurdity is that they still pay lip service to free markets, free trade, and low government intervention as their values. Yet they see no contradiction in supporting carbon policies which, to be successfully implemented, would require global economic intervention, the kind of which was never seen before.

  46. I do wish, now that Phil Jones has admitted there’s no warming, what exactly is causing this alleged climate change! Anyone know the alarmist spin on that and can clue me in?

  47. I used to read the Economist maybe 20 years ago. It always seemed informative, willing to take on controversial subjects, at least somewhat balanced. But now they just go on and on and on and on about AGW. It’s just boring now, and rather sad.
    So I started reading Foreign Affairs instead, but more and more AGW articles and references are sneaking in there too. There clearly is a difference though, it’s just one person’s viewpoint, or one small point in an otherwise sound article. Hopefully it doesn’t go the way the Economist did. It has turned into a zombie version of it’s old self, lurching around moaning about AGW. The change has meant the loss of a very sound, well-regarded journal.

  48. Think of the children.
    Henry Ergas and economist in Australia analysed the economic case put forward by the warmists. You know their slogan, the cost of action now will outweigh the cost of inaction.
    In pure economic terms, he proved it is rubbish. The cost of action now will so impoverish the future adults that will not be able to act because they will not have enough money, so floods and cyclones etc will mean people will literally have to walk away. No rebuilding.

  49. So the AGW cranks are now the “Climate Quacks” and I am no longer a denier but instead a “Climate Dove”? I kind of like that tag. I’ll keep it.
    It’s OK with me if they prefer “Climate Duck” instead of “Climate Quack” for the MSM.

  50. For over ten years I have read the Economist every week, cover to cover. At one point it began to dawn on me that this newspaper was all style and no content. To be popular and talked about the Economist will go with what they consider the mainstream. The final straw came during the now infamous Internet Bubble period when the newspaper hyped how the Internet technology was going to change the way the world works and the 22 year old geniuses will rule it all.
    This hyping went on months after month shamelessly. When the bubble burst the Economist just stopped hyping and seamlessly went on to other things and I have cancelled my subscription.
    And so it is now with AGW. It is a current hot topic and the newspaper hypes the current orthodoxy. But with what style. I hold that there isn’t an other paper in the English language with style to rival the Economist. But their content is more than feeble it is largely without substance.

  51. I propose rebranding ourselves as “scorcher scoffers” or “scorcher-scam scoffers.”
    “Scorcher” usefully distinguishes between possible harmless “warming” and a catastrophic (scorching) temperature rise;
    “Scam” (optional) captures (tho imperfectly) the focus of our critique: the insane costliness and ineffectiveness of the proposed mitigation methods.
    “Scoffers” has both negative and positive connotations, so both sides can accept it;

  52. I don’t quite get these new names. They seem to have been accidentally switched.
    Climatecrank = skeptic? Climatehawk = AGWer? Huh?
    That’s like saying:
    Hippie = industrialist
    Square = longhaired pothead
    Alcoholic = tea drinker
    Teetotaller = beer guzzeler
    Machinist mate = gays in the military
    Gays = Marvin’s fanclub member nickname

  53. a good lesson on how not to persuade people: call them flat earthers, cranks, or deniers. the catholic church has tried this numerous times over the years, even backing it up with old fashioned burning at the stake, and look how that turned out.
    Calling someone a name illustrates – obviates – that you have nothing sensible to say or a sensible response to criticisms and flaws.

  54. Dave Wendt says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:34 am
    [so the solution is to just accept AGW ?]
    No indeed! That was not at all what I was trying to indicate. Rather I meant another cautionary warning that, though the CAGW program may seem to be faltering, these folks will never quit. Unless we are willing to accept that we and all our descendants deserve to be the dependent lackeys of a horde of global bureaucrats, we all have to be willing to match their tenacity and to commit to holding the feet of the political class to the fire continuously, not just in occasional spurts. Right now the politicians are all seeing this faux crisis as the golden goose with little downside threat attached. They need to be reminded each and every day that the elections of 2010 were not a one time thing and if they feel that they can sell out the public trust again and count on their incumbency to preserve them in their comfortable power, that they are sorely mistaken. We can’t rely on the relatively small community of the skeptosphere, but must convince as many fence sitters as we can of the need to fight this with equal dedication.
    To accomplish this we have to be willing to be seen as a bit of anal orifice to friends and acquaintances by applying immediate smackdown whenever the topic rears its ugly head. Since even the scientists most intimately involved with the topic don’t really seem to have much mastery of it, and the vast majority of the population has no capability of understanding the dialogue, arguing the scientific minutia is not a productive approach.
    The real weakness of CAGW is the abysmal economics of all the proposed solutions and even complete scientific illiterates tend to grasp the concept of a really bad deal. The most fundamental analysis of the opportunity costs and cost-benefit ratios shows that, whatever one choses to believe about the future climate, none of the presently offered plans make any kind of economic sense. Indur Goklany and to some extent Lomberg have done valuable work in this area. If you aren’t familiar with the economic concepts. I recommend Thomas Sowell’s new “Basic Economics”.
    For the real hardcore believers no amount of rational discourse is likely to be effective, for those my recommended strategy would be a good dose of ROTFLYAO. The true believers are willing to say incredibly stupid stuff all the time, but they don’t deal well when they are greeted by the raucous laughter their statements have always merited.
    But in the end the tactics of the moment are much less important than the commitment to push back with a Sisyphean dedication for the duration and beyond.

  55. I read The Economist for over 30 years. Their bias in the past decade became unbearable and I dropped my subscription last year. It was not without a point of view prior to that, but it was reasoned and open about it. Their current management has done an extreme disservice to their readership, predecessors, and journalists. Sadly, it is no longer a pleasure to read.

  56. We also dumped the Economist and National Geographic in the past few years. They used to be great magazines–not so since they decided to drop their (decidedly different) core constituencies. Sorry–I won’t fund what they are now.

  57. Daily Kos, Puffington Host, Mother Jones, Grist, Nature & The Economist, what is the difference?
    About 180° of the political spectrum. Just because some people share some features does not make them similar. Angelina Jolie and Margaret Thatcher were both women, ergo, what’s the difference?
    I note many other commentators are subscribing to the silliness that because the Economist is not economically dry enough for them, it is “Marxist”. What crap! The Economist has been for many years politically liberal (in the British sense). It is also economically “dry”.
    The conservatives like the dry, but don’t like the liberal. The more idiotic then label the Economist as “Socialist”. The left likes the liberal, but doesn’t like the “dry”, so will often label it “right wing”. They can’t both be true, and in fact neither description is appropriate. It is liberal and dry.
    You might not like that, but to call it “Socialist” is plain stupid. It has never advocated Socialist economic policies. It sometimes advocates the same policies as Socialist parties on non-economic matters, but for entirely different philisophical reasons.

  58. You got it Pamela, what AGWers are saying is anything now goes!
    (careful of my talons please)
    — Climate Dove ☺

  59. The only warming currently going on (that is truly global) has nothing to do with temperature.
    It has everything to do with masses of people tearing away at corrupt and/or despotic governments.
    Egypt just lost it’s constitution, President and Parliament.
    The country is now firmly in the Egyptian Military’s hands, which may turn out to be an unintended consequence.

  60. I used to subscribe to the Economist for years. Grounded and rational, it was always a breath of fresh air. Lately, this is not the case. Today, it harps and preaches. Now, it is void of ideas. The thinkers have moved on.
    I don’t buy The Economist anymore.

  61. It’s absolutely galling! A scientific education and years of rigorous evaluation of scientific data renders one to despise the CAGW propaganda and then you have to read that garbage regurgitated in a supposedly prestigious news periodical like The Economist. I hope that their science writers are truly suffering from the current winter in the northern hemisphere.

  62. pat says:
    February 17, 2011 at 8:29 am

    I read The Economist every week. There is virtually no topic that it does not link to Global Warming in a most disastrous way.

    Unfortunately I’ve had to put the Economist in the same category as Time, Scientific (Politically Correct) American, NYT, etc. Every time these publications talk about something I know a little about, they get it wrong. I’ve come to the conclusion this is intentional with the intent of forcing opinions in one direction.
    Perhaps this is why print media is losing its fight to stay economically alive? A lot of people have just quit supporting them financially.

  63. I read The Economist from 1976 until 2003 when I cancelled my subscription in protest against their support for the Iraq invasion. This magazine had always celebrated the rational and measurable. How wierd that it gets taken in by Global Warming, this fad for over-interpreting a chaotic data series; finding patterns where there is none!
    In searching for a Montaigne quotation – something about the unprovable attracting the strongest belief – I came across this nugget of his: “I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly”. Yep. The AGW religion does seem to afflict the well-educated, well-heeled, sophisticated chattering classes. Give ’em jobs as farm labourers over the winter, I say! That’d soon cure ’em!

  64. I just sent the following tweet saying
    The biggest #climatecranks I know are James Hansen, Michael Mann, Al Gore and Joe Romm. No one who seriously studies AGW believes the scam.
    I don’t know why I bothered. I expect more people will see it here. There are fewer that 50 #climatecranks tweets since Feb 13. I am now beginning to believe that the scam is dying from lack of interest. Why does the Economist, much MSM and so many politicians keep on peddling the message?

  65. Ended my subscription long ago,because they are morally obtuse. They see markets as something to be exploited by gov’t, not as something empowering people to live their lives to suit themselves. The obtuseness shows itself in many ways,but I would say endorsing Obama was the ultimate in cretinism.
    The most important thing,it seems is to be fashionable.

  66. Since the Economist has taken up the AGW mantra I stopped subscribing years ago. Adhering to the status quo without even a limp attempt to look into dissenting views shows a certain laziness in journalistic effort I thought was beyond a publication with the Economist’s pedigree. I’m disappointed but it’s completely in keeping with the stumbling descent of all mainstream media.

  67. For years when one teacher or another was cranking out biased politics in the class room, it was the Economist that I reached for first to confront their abuse of the facts to support their politics. My kids are no longer in school and so I don’t have need of it from that perspective anymore. Good thing, because the last 5 years in particular it has slid so rapidly from carefully and fairly presented facts to random unssuported opinion with no facts at all. I first noticed the degradation in quality analysis on climate issues, but the cancer has spread.

  68. I do think also that the warmists need a mascot. A gift from the skeptics. If, as the Economist presumes its all about name calling while the earth warms, then I would like to propose an honorary mascot to represent the warming side.
    Chicken Warm Little
    I’m not certain what the characture would look like, but for debate purposes the mascot name allows for a variety of important points. In brief they are all Chicken Warming Littles, but:
    Scientist who won’t debate the science – Chickens
    Alarmists who scream slogans but have no facts – Chicken Littles
    Lukewarmists – Warm Littles
    Activists with their hand in the tax payer’s pocket (mutation) – Chicken Fingers
    Politicians with their hand in the tax payer’s pocket (mutation) – Sticky Chicken Fingers
    Jones re statistical warming of last 15 years – Chicken Warming Little
    What starving nations want – Little Chickens Warming
    What wealthy nations want – Big Chickens Warming
    What tax payers want – Chickens with no Fingers
    If we could just figure out how to breed activists and politicians with no fingers, it would save us trillions. And with all the extra fingers lying around, next time there’s a debate with globalcoolawarmalarmists we could just give them the fingers. But alas, I doubt they would see the irony of giving a Chicken Warming Little the Chicken Finger.

  69. Another former Economist reader here. Sad to see a once great journal slide into mediocrity and partisanship.

  70. Although I have to agree that The Economist has drifted sharply leftwards over the last 10 years or so, it must be noted that the piece of MBO (male bovine excrement) in question is published in their ‘blogs’ section, not in The Economist itself. In Europe, these sections often host a swarm of people holding opposite views. For example, The Telegraph has Delingpole and Booker, but they also have Geoffrey Lean. Also, The Economist has some even worse MBO than this in their blogs section.

  71. Brent Hargreaves says:
    February 18, 2011 at 4:09 am
    “In searching for a Montaigne quotation – something about the unprovable attracting the strongest belief – I came across this nugget of his: “I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly”. Yep. The AGW religion does seem to afflict the well-educated, well-heeled, sophisticated chattering classes. Give ‘em jobs as farm labourers over the winter, I say! That’d soon cure ‘em!”
    activists behave like witch hunters, such as like in this article from the economist. However, I thought this quote from Russell might be applicable.
    “The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic.”
    — Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays, “An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish” (1950)
    “The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed, the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction.”
    — Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays “On the Value of Skepticism” (1950)

  72. “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.”

  73. DMC says:
    February 17, 2011 at 9:43 am
    Many months ago I got fed up with the Economist and its blithe disregard for anything rational when talking about this issue. Yes, it pops up in the oddest places in their articles and you get a cringing feeling that you know it is coming in that last paragraph.
    Yes, it has become the rule to append a green tail to their articles, just as it used to be “highly advisable” in the communist times to explain in a closing passage of any scientific publication how the findings proved the validity of Marxism-Leninism or how their roots could be traced back to the works of Engels. (That passage was known as the ‘red tail’.)
    I would like think it’s the work of a zealous editor, and it doesn’t reflect the opinion of all the correspondents whose article sports a green tail. BTW, the fingerprints of his heavy hand can be seen in other, more subtle ways, too. In many issues, you find a fancy, rarely used word that somehow pops up in 3 or 4 articles on completely different topics. Afterwards, this word of the week may not be printed for years. (Or maybe it’s not the editor but one particularly prolific and polyhistoric correspondent? Or so many of them just happen to hit upon the same mot juste?)

  74. What record might that be? That’s right a “record” anomaly based on a 30 year period from the 20th century being the criterion. Given that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old I don’t think much of your so called “record.”

  75. Is it just coincidence that economists’ (and The Economist’s) predictions fail almost as routinely as Climate Scientists’?
    The only economists currently writing I have much respect for are Sowell, and perhaps John Tamny (RealClearMarkets). But I think Thomas would have been a standout in any field; he’s virtually a polymath anyway.

  76. Maybe greenies have been spoiled with the always on hydro and carbon based energy. They have mistakenly thought that all energy is always on. Think what would happen if Hoover froze up. Regularly. On…off…..on…off. And then someone came up with the idea of using wind power. My hunch is that greenies would be as skeptical as the rest of us are regarding the reliability of wind.

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