The blame game

Reposted from Climate Etc.

Posted on December 7, 2020 by curryja 

by Judith Curry

How the ‘blame game’ gets in the way of solving complex societal problems.

An essay on how attempting to identify  blame for complex societal problems can get in the way of finding solutions to these problems.  What the climate ‘blame game’ can learn  from the Covid-19 ‘blame game.’

The blame for climate change

Manmade climate change is an emergent problem caused mainly by the abundance and usefulness of fossil fuels in providing cheap, reliable energy. In his book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, energy theorist Alex Epstein outlines the benefits that the development of coal, oil, and natural gas have had on mankind, including improved health, increased lifespan, and expansion of material welfare. Economist Richard Tol evaluated the private benefit of carbon, which is the value of energy services produced by fossil fuels. He finds that the private benefit of carbon is much greater than the social cost of carbon that causes damage via climate change; these benefits are related to the benefits of abundant and reliable energy.

So, who is to blame for fossil fuel emissions and manmade climate change?

  • consumers and industries who demand electric power, transportation, and steel, which are produced using fossil fuels; or
  • electric utilities providers and manufacturers of the internal combustion and jet engines that use fossil fuels; or
  • oil/gas and coal companies that produce fossil fuels; or
  • governments who have the authority to regulate fossil fuel emissions.

The blame for manmade climate change is occasionally placed on national governments. The Urgenda ruling ordered the Dutch government to step up its climate actions in reducing emissions. In the Juliana civil lawsuit, the U.S. federal government was blamed for declining to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, pass a carbon tax and trade bill and withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. However, most often in civil litigation, the blame is placed on oil/gas and coal companies that produce the fuels.

The role of climate science in the carbon blame game is an interesting one. As a basis of responsibility, a key element is the causal link between the actor and the harm. Responsibility is also based on the ability to foresee the harm, in terms of scientific understanding. And finally, responsibility relates to the ability to prevent the harm. Recent developments in attribution science are seeking to identify the culpability of individual or groups of oil/gas and coal companies as related to local sea level rise, ocean acidification and extreme weather events.

Carbon Majors

A new wave of private climate litigation has been motivated by publication of the Carbon Majors study by Richard Heede. Heede’s research shows that nearly two-thirds of anthropogenic carbon emissions originated from just 90 companies and government-run industries. Among them, the top eight companies account for 20 percent of world carbon emissions from fossil fuels and cement production since the Industrial Revolution. Four of the eight companies are owned by national governments, whereas the other four are multinational corporations.

Heede’s research was a turning point in the debate about apportioning responsibility for climate change. While Heede’s work helped identify individual defendants or groups of defendants related to climate change, it did not resolve the question of whether these emitters are responsible for specific climate change-related impacts and events.

Arriving at a dangerous climate outcome includes a causal chain based on increasing atmospheric COand global mean surface temperature. By tracing company emissions over time, Ekwurzel et al. (2017) attribute fractions of the accumulation of COin the atmosphere, increases in atmospheric temperature and elevation of the sea level to the Carbon Major companies. Ekwurzeil et al. mentioned in the conclusions the idea of extending this attribution logic to extreme weather events.   A recent paper by Lickey et al. (2019) attempts to attribute ocean acidification to Carbon Majors.

The science of attribution, or causality, is not at all straightforward. There are two specific issues here: whether climate models are valid sources of legal evidence for climate change attribution/cause; and also the importance of determining partial causation in the context of natural climate variability.

Blame sharing

Attribution of harm associated with the weather, climate change or sea level rise is complicated by the existence of multiple causes. Assuming that some percentage of the harm can be justifiably attributed to fossil fuel emissions, does it make sense to attribute this harm in a legal sense to the producers of fossil fuels, e.g. coal and oil/gas companies?

David Victor is a global thought leader on climate change policy and the energy-systems transformation that is required for a low-carbon future. Victor dismissed Heede’s work on the Carbon Majors as part of a “larger narrative of trying to create villains,” seeking to distinguish between producers as being responsible for the problem and everyone else as victims.  Victor stated: “Frankly we’re all the users and therefore we’re all guilty.” [link]

In the same article, Richard Heede (author of the Carbon Majors report) concedes that the responsibility is shared. He stated: “I as a consumer bear some responsibility for my own car, et cetera. But we’re living an illusion if we think we’re making choices, because the infrastructure pretty much makes those choices for us.”

Heede makes a key point by saying that the infrastructure pretty much makes the choices for us. The demand for fossil fuels is driven by electric utility and transportation infrastructures. Individual consumers and companies are faced with a limited number of other options, unless they forego grid electricity and do not avail themselves of transportation systems that run on fossil fuels. Individual consumers and companies are responsible for the demand for electric utilities and transportation, but are arguably indifferent to the source of electric power or transportation, provided that it is abundant, reliable, safe and economical.

If there were no demand for fossil fuels, then there would be nothing to blame on the Carbon Majors. The fact that there is continued and growing demand for fossil fuels indicates that the issue of blame is not straightforward. A change from fossil fuels to cleaner fuels is not simple or cheap, owing to infrastructure. For electric power, this includes generation and transmission infrastructure. For transportation, this includes vehicle engines and their manufacture plus refueling infrastructure.

David Victor states: “To create a narrative that involves corporate guilt as opposed to problem-solving is not going solve anything.” A problem-solving focus on infrastructure is needed for progress, but exactly what the infrastructure should look like depends on available and planned technologies, economics and public policy.

Covid-19 analogy

Covid-19 provides an interesting case study regarding ‘blame.’ The origin of the virus is generally regarded to have occurred in Wuhan, China. However, it is difficult to blame the worldwide spread of the virus on Wuhan. While Covid-19 statistics coming from China are incomplete and have been judged to be not trustworthy, China appears to have done a better job at containing the internal spread of the virus  than many other countries. Currently, the ‘blame’ is focused on transmitters who are not adhering to lockdown and mask wearing requirements plus the politicians who aren’t requiring them to do so.

With the advent of Covid-19 vaccines, the Covid-19 discussion is now dominated by the vaccine, with the origin of the disease receiving little attention. The cure to the pandemic is technological, in the form of vaccines; not worldwide behavioral change (although behavioral change has worked in some smaller regions/countries). In many countries, behavioral modifications to limit transmission that were associated with mandatory lockdowns simply didn’t work, for reasons of economic infeasibility, concerns about psychological well being associated with isolation, and general political non-viability.

Conclusion

In context of the climate debate, the lesson from Covid-19 is this. A technological solution (analogous to development of the vaccine) in terms of better electricity generation and transmission would quickly silence the climate ‘blame game’ by solving the problems to the environment caused by burning fossil fuels. Suffering from insufficient electric power or electric power that is too expensive or unreliable (analogous to the Covid lockdowns) is economically damaging and politically unviable.

Again, the solution is problem solving and new technologies, not blame. While isolation and austerity can be invoked for short time periods, they are not solutions.

The Covid-19 blame game didn’t get in the way of finding a solution (i.e. vaccine).  However, the rush to blame the fossil fuel companies and punish them is getting in the way of a sensible transition away from the worst impacts of fossil fuels on the environment.

A sensible transition involves continued use of relatively clean and dispatchable natural gas, avoids massive infrastructure investments in wind energy  that have dubious net benefits over the life cycle of the wind turbines, and developing an improved energy infrastructure for the 21st century.  Abundant, secure, reliable, economical, and clean.  How do we prioritize among these, and to what extent should ‘clean’ trump the others?  Do we define ‘clean’ only in terms of emissions, or do we also include mining/exploration, land use, life cycle issues, etc.?

I am still waiting for a moral argument that justifies, in the name of the ‘climate crisis’,  preventing the development of grid electricity in the poorest regions of Africa that can support development of an advanced economy.  I suspect that I will be waiting a long time for such a justification, because there isn’t one.

Playing the carbon ‘blame game’ is an excuse for punishing certain companies without actually solving societal problems. The net effect is continued suffering in developing countries, failure to make much headway on reducing emissions and certainly a failure to ‘improve’ the climate in any way.

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Nick Schroeder
December 8, 2020 6:09 am

85.6% of C-19 CASES are among those UNDER 65 years of age.
80.1% of C-19 DEATHS are among those OVER 65 years of age.
24% of C-19 deaths occurred in nursing homes and hospice care.

Japan has the highest global percentage of 65+, 27%, yet just over 2,000 deaths.
What do they know/do the rest of the world does not?

Covid-19 is not a problem for the young and healthy herd.
Mother Nature and her buddy Grim Reaper are just doing their jobs, culling the herd of the too many, too old, too sick warehoused too close together as Medicare/Medicaid cash cows in poorly run contagious lethal elder care facilities.

The US, Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK together have more C-19 deaths than the ENTIRE rest of the world combined.
The top ten countries account for more than 65% of the global deaths.
Covid-19 is NOT a wide-spread, contagious, lethal pandemic.

NYC and six states together account for more C-19 deaths than the ENTIRE rest of the country combined.
The top fourteen states plus NYC account for over 70% of the C-19 deaths.
Covid-19 is NOT a national problem.

Denver, Arapahoe, Jefferson and Adams counties together have more C-19 deaths than the ENTIRE rest of Colorado.
The top ten Colorado counties account for 87% of the C-19 deaths.
Covid-19 is NOT a state-wide problem.

There are about 2.8 MILLION deaths every year in the US.
That’s about 233,000 PER MONTH
53,800 PER WEEK
7,700 PER DAY
320 PER HOUR!!!!!!!!!!!
Nationwide Covid-19 deaths are about 9% of all deaths, but each state is a different story.
Leading the pack NYC Covid-19 represents almost 30% of ALL deaths.

Good job, Cuomo!!

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
December 8, 2020 7:52 am

These counties have 43% of the Colorado population, but over 50% of deaths. How horrible!

Meab
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
December 8, 2020 9:38 am

“The top fourteen states plus NYC account for over 70% of the C-19 deaths”.

The top 14 states have 63% of the population. 63% of the population but over 70% of the C-19 deaths? And you conclude that COVID isn’t a national problem? That’s nuts.

What you’re seeing here is a population density effect. The top 14 states by population also have a greater percentage of people living in large cities. The more people jammed into the same area, the more people in crowded buses and subways, the more people in high density apartments taking the same elevators and sharing the same air, the more people shopping in the same crowded stores, the faster the virus will spread. As bad as Cuomo did handling the pandemic, NYC, because of it’s high population density, is expected to have a high rate of virus transmission. That does NOT mean that Covid-19 is not a national problem. As people have to travel between the states with lower rates of virus spread and the states with higher rates of virus spread to maintain the supply chain of essential goods (like food) and thus can’t avoid spreading the virus that makes it a national problem.

beng135
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
December 8, 2020 10:09 am

But you seem to be assuming the death-count is accurate. Plenty of evidence of mis-attribution to covid are present.

Scissor
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
December 8, 2020 10:34 am

Cases = Positive Tests = Real Positives + False Positives

Those living in Asia have more exposures to corona viruses, which means they have acquired immunity not generally found elsewhere.

Bill T
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
December 9, 2020 3:47 am

-Japan has the highest global percentage of 65+, 27%, yet just over 2,000 deaths.
What do they know/do the rest of the world does not?

My guess is in how they count. In the US we now count deaths from other causes a CV-19 death. The John Hopkins study showed that. Plus it is required by our CDC guidelines. So an honest count would probably show the same as Japan.

In Maine, with the current death count, nearly all the increase is in the 80+ group. Even the 70+ group lags far behind. Any below that are usually those with “complications”.

Robert Arvanitis
December 8, 2020 6:14 am

Disagree – it’s much more than mere blame.
Yes, there is short term profit in claiming damage, especially in a litigious society.
But the far greater risk is from those who want power, not money.
The political claim is that “Only we can avoid apocalypse, so give us the reins.”
For such people, Doomsday is always, always just five years from NOW, with no expiration date.
C.S. Lewis said it best:
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/19967-of-all-tyrannies-a-tyranny-sincerely-exercised-for-the-good

Bruce Cobb
December 8, 2020 6:45 am

“Manmade climate change is an emergent problem caused mainly by the abundance and usefulness of fossil fuels in providing cheap, reliable energy.”
Wrong. In fact, not even wrong. It is a complete lie. The good doctor has been misled, and I am frankly surprised that she continues to spin the tale of “manmade climate change”. But I guess once you drink the Koolade, you are hooked. Perhaps she needs an intervention.

mcswell
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 8, 2020 8:48 am

I’m so glad you’re smarter than she is.

Bryan A
Reply to  mcswell
December 8, 2020 9:57 am

Guns do not kill people … though the bullets fired through them can.
Bullets do not kill people … unless they’re fired from a gun in the direction of a vital organ or major vessel.
People kill people.
Oil and it’s refined derivatives don’t increase CO2 levels … burning them does.
Refining oil does produce some greenhouse gasses but little by comparison to burning it.
People produce CO2 and other greenhouse gases from using oil and refined derivatives.
Guns don’t kill people and oil and coal do not increase GHG levels.
People using them do.
Woke people, stop using oil and it’s refined derivatives and quit blaming others.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
December 8, 2020 10:03 am

For that matter, knives kill people, rocks kill people, sticks kill people, falling kills people, living kills people.
People create GHGs by exhaling, animals produce GHGs by exhaling, plants produce GHGs by exhaling. People, Animals and Plants also produce GHGs by decomposition. Carbon is the basis of ALL lifeforms on earth and is required for aerobic life to exist

leowaj
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 8, 2020 9:52 am

Bruce, I didn’t see your counter argument. What is your counter-argument? (Aspersions are not counter-arguments.)

2hotel9
Reply to  leowaj
December 9, 2020 7:00 am

Let me help you out. Climate changes constantly, humans can not stop it and are not causing it. CO2 is plant food, more CO2 means more plants which means more oxygen and more food for every living thing on the planet. You’re welcome.

DonM
Reply to  leowaj
December 9, 2020 4:52 pm

“man-made climate change” is undefined, so cannot be addressed with counter-arguments.

Calling something that is undefined an “emergent problem” is a meaningless endevour. It is the same as saying that “big luteen festivals” are an emergent problem, or “human induced gravitational anomalies” are an emergent problem.

There is no way to make a counter-argument against a statement includes an ephemeral or nonsensical premise. Utilizing such a premise is analogous to (knowingly or unknowingly) utilizing a lie to make a point.

fred250
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 8, 2020 10:19 am

Bruce is correct,

There is no scientific evidence that humans have caused any so-called “global climate change”.

The degree or so of highly beneficial warming since the LIA is purely natural, and a big plus for all life on Earth, as is the increase in atmospheric CO2.

There is no” climate crisis”.

It does not exist except in erroneous unvalidated models and the weak minded anti-science of the MSM.

The real crisis is one of science, bending over to facilitate a fake media construct.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  fred250
December 8, 2020 1:36 pm

Bruce and Fred are correct. There is no evidence that human-derived CO2, or CO2 in general, is causing the Earth’s climate to do anything it wouldn’t otherwise do.

The burden of proof is on those who claim CO2 has effects on the Earth’s atmosphere and weather. Just saying it is so, doesn’t make it so. Evidence is what is missing from all this endless speculation about CO2 and the Earth’s climate.

fred250
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 8, 2020 8:40 pm

And not one of the alarmista trolls is capable of producing any actual scientific evidence.

Its quite bizarre the way they continually run away and distract.

Its almost as though THEY KNOW that there isn’t any. 🙂

Tom Abbott
Reply to  fred250
December 9, 2020 6:02 am

If the alarmists had any evidence, you can bet they would be laying it on us. That they don’t, says all that needs to be said.

I’m still waiting, Fred. 🙂 I’ve been waiting about 45 years for evidence that humans are causing the Earth’s climate to change. I haven’t seen any yet.

It’s amazing the lengths some people will go to regarding Human-caused Climate Change issue, based on nothing. There must be a “stupid” virus circulating in the human population.

DonM
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 10, 2020 10:31 am

Bruce and Fred and Tom are correct.

Steve Case
December 8, 2020 6:51 am

David Victor is a global thought leader on climate change policy and the energy-systems transformation that is required for a low-carbon future. Victor dismissed Heede’s work on the Carbon Majors as part of a “larger narrative of trying to create villains,” seeking to distinguish between producers as being responsible for the problem and everyone else as victims. Victor stated: “Frankly we’re all the users and therefore we’re all guilty.”

We’re not guilty of anything! CO2 and fossil fuels aren’t a problem.

Again, the solution is problem solving and new technologies, not blame. While isolation and austerity can be invoked for short time periods, they are not solutions.

There isn’t a problem

A sensible transition involves continued use of relatively clean and dispatchable natural gas,

Cities in California and elsewhere are already banning natural gas. Solutions to non-problems that cripple the economy and deny freedom of choice to consumers is insane. It’s driven by politics, and one has to wonder exactly what the goals of those politics are? It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with climate.

Playing the carbon ‘blame game’ is an excuse for punishing certain companies without actually solving societal problems. The net effect is continued suffering in developing countries, failure to make much headway on reducing emissions and certainly a failure to ‘improve’ the climate in any way.

The climate doesn’t need to be improved!

December 8, 2020 6:53 am

Ms. Curry is an example of a person who was smart enough to earn a Ph.D. but not smart enough to see that the mild , intermittent global warming in the past 325 years, or past 20,000 years if you prefer, has not caused any damage at all.

There is no evidence that warming was a problem, not even a minor problem.

There is no evidence that continued mild warming will ever become a problem, especially knowing the logarithmic effect of CO2.

So talking about a “blame game” is meaningless, because there is no man made climate problem to blame on anyone. Except … for the false man made claim of a coming climate crisis, being claimed for over 50 years so far, used to promote anti-economic growth policies.

Replacing cheap, reliable sources of electricity with expensive, unreliable, intermittent sources of energy, for one example.

That is a problem.

And someone should be blamed.

Ms. Curry gets some of the blame … by blaming CO2 for a climate problem that doesn’t exist. And no one on this planet has the ability to predict the climate 100 years in the future. Not even whether the temperature in 100 years will be warmer or colder than today.

Meanwhile, our planet is greening, crops are growing better than ever, and the temperature is more moderate than a few hundred years ago.

The mild warming since the 1970s is mainly in colder areas of the Northern Hemisphere, mainly during the six colder months of the year, and mainly at night.

That means adding CO2 to the atmosphere, when using modern pollution controls, is the best thing humans have ever done for their planet’s climate, not the worst.

More CO2 = more life on our planet.

A Ph.D. does not make you smart.

Ms. Curry is exhibit A.

Ron Long
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 7:05 am

Excuse me, Richard Greene, but I think you are too harsh on Judith Curry. It appears to me that she is writing a generalized essay on how blame gets politicized and produces dysfunctional solutions, and uses Covid Pandemic to illustrate something similar with CAGW.

Reply to  Ron Long
December 8, 2020 7:31 am

I base my comments on all of Curry’s prior articles on her website too. She should be smart enough to know the future climate is unknown, but accepts the unproven assertion that rising CO2 is a climate crisis. The more college degrees a person earns, it seems, the more they are unwilling to say “I don’t know” or “We don’t know”, even when that is the right answer.

Ron Long
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 12:00 pm

I am in agreement with this comment of yours, Richard, and your other below. My comment is that Judith Curry herein has written about the corruption of a process that should function but does not. My established position “no signal detectable against the noise of natural variation” is shirley in agreement with yours.

Reply to  Ron Long
December 8, 2020 12:36 pm

Ron Long
Don’t call me “shirley”
And agreement is not allowed on the internet.
Judith Curry is part of the corruption — accepting that there is a climate crisis of some sort, while we live in the best climate for humans, animals and plants in hundreds of years … and the climate is getting better, not worse !

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Ron Long
December 8, 2020 8:29 am

Yes, i think she believes human co2 does cause some heating but from my reading she does not think its an emergency, and not really a problem requiring massive costly interventions

Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 8, 2020 9:19 am

Real science requires proof, not beliefs.

What CO2 does in a closed system lab experiment with artificially dried air can can NOT prove what really happens in the troposphere. The lab experiments only suggest mild, harmless global warming.

So the right answer about CO2 is we don’t know exactly what it does on the atmosphere.

Our planet had 4.5 billion years of natural climate change — yet the modern claim is that natural causes of climate change since the mid-20th century now are just “noise” — with no proof of that ever provided — and only greenhouse gasses matter, which is junk science.

The debate should not be over how much warming CO2 causes — the TCS and ECS are unknown, and may be unknown for the rest of our lives. The debate should be over why some people want to waste so much money to create a less reliable electric grid.

The “lukewarmers”, like Curry, are the worst — they seem smart enough to know the effect of CO2 is assumed, not known. But they want people to like them, so they compromise — CO2 is baaaaaaaaad, but not as baaaaaaaaaad as many people claim.

That’s anti-science “compromise”.

CO2 is the staff of almost all life on our planet.

Our plants would prefer two or three times more CO2 in the air — ask any intelligent greenhouse owner who owns CO2 enrichment systems.

If Ms. Curry wants to talk about real pollution from burning fossil fuels without modern pollution controls, then she has a real problem to talk about. Many Asian cities are far too polluted.

But claiming that adding a few ppm of CO2 in the air is a “complex societal problem”, which is the subject of this article, is not a problem at all when modern pollution controls are used.

The real “complex societal problem” is why so many people are over-reacting to 50 years of scary predictions of a coming climate and/or environmental crisies — that never happen !

A coming climate crisis fantasy, or some other “coming” catastrophe. is a psychological tool used by leaders, both secular and religious, to control people. So we will most likely be hearing about some coming crisis every year of our lives.

fred250
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 10:05 am

👍👍👍👍

fred250
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 10:25 am
DMA
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 11:13 am

“But claiming that adding a few ppm of CO2 in the air is a “complex societal problem”, which is the subject of this article, is not a problem at all when modern pollution controls are used.”
I fully agree and would add that humans have added only “a few PPM” not the entire increase since the industrial revolution. Read “Climate Miracle” to understand how little humans have added, that nature controls CO2 content in the atmosphere and the utter futility of trying to control atmospheric CO2 by reducing our emissions.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 9, 2020 2:10 am

RG,
Please stop showing how shallow shallow your understanding and reading are.
Dr Curry has written several times that she agrees that there is a physical effect of IR on CO2 in the lab, but that if it exists in the artmosphere, the size of the effect is under debate.
She did her contribution to the science, with Nic Lewis, to produce on of the most referenced papers on climate sensitivity. You must note their caveat, that they adopted data and methods from the IPCC and reworked it to give an ECS that is low enough to be not a problem, in terms of problems discussed by the IPCC.In her introduction to this blame game post, she makes it clear that she is expressing views that are not necessarily those of her as author. She is giving views of Alex Epstein, Heede and Victor, mainly.
So your main points are questionable, for I have answered them, as could anyone who has followed Climate Etc over the years.
Judith’s own identified comments come near the end of the post, with “I am still waiting for a moral argument that justifies, in the name of the ‘climate crisis’, preventing the development of grid electricity in the poorest regions of Africa that can support development of an advanced economy. ” Who would disagree?
Be more kind and gentle to a scientist who has made a large difference to objective discourse and continues to provide science through consulting. That also answers another questionable comment that “she prb’ly fears losing her retirement.”

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 7:37 am

It’s a conundrum. I suspect, in her case, that it is just easier to go along with the “consensus” (which is itself a myth), because she has surely seen what can happen to those who dare go against it. It could also be a case of intellectual sloth, combined with not wanting to know, although how a so-called scientist can take that stance is beyond me.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 8, 2020 9:22 am

Bruce Cobb:
I saw an “intellectual sloth” in a zoo last year.
They don’t move much because they are busy thinking.

Mr.
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 11:06 am

Richard, and I saw a critter of very high intellect and astonishing good looks in my bathroom this morning.
Oh wait, that was my mirror . . .

beng135
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 8, 2020 11:02 am

Yeah, I’d agree w/that. If she went any further w/her skepticism, she prb’ly fears losing her retirement.

Eric Vieira
December 8, 2020 7:30 am

The blame game: one could then include producers of steel, cement and concrete, and their users (which is all of us and every Government). The manufacturers of PV cells and wind turbines also rely on fossil fuels…, so where does one stop? First of all, they have to prove with real scientific data (based on measurements, not models) that there is indeed a man-made climate crisis, and that CO2 is a problem. This will be very difficult since it’s an essential component of life on Earth, and has done more good to humanity than anything else. If (some) warming is one of those effect, it’s been a good thing all through Earth’s history.

Doonman
December 8, 2020 8:00 am

One thing that I have found to be a constant throughout my life is that the blame game always needs a boogeyman. It doesn’t matter what the subject is. Something or someone needs to be bad so goodness can rise and rally against it. Whenever I see this pattern emerge, I already know that its a scam.

Mr.
Reply to  Doonman
December 8, 2020 11:10 am

Same here.
My earliest battle-scarred mentor in my corporate career advised me that the first thing a manager must do when a problem arises is to decide who is going to be blamed for said problem.
(obviously not ones-self)

John Tillman
December 8, 2020 8:02 am

For the third time, a comment by me critical of the CCP has failed to post. If WordPress be censoring anti-Communist comments, then why did the recent post on leaked CCP documents pass muster? Granted, it dealt with material already published by CNN, and was not as harsh as it should have been.

Bill Powers
Reply to  John Tillman
December 9, 2020 10:43 am

John your name carries a high level of expertise and notoriety. When these two attributes are combined on the web, the message needs to be in lock step with the cultural elites, read Propaganda Press, or it must be censored. To do otherwise would allow the 1st Amendment to breathe freely and debate might break out. An exercise in which, the aforementioned, Central Authoritarians do not wish to participate.

2hotel9
December 8, 2020 8:22 am

“the blame game” Funny, that is what leftists trot out after they have committed crimes. In the real world you first ascertain who did what(affix blame), then you prosecute them, convict them and punish they living shyte out of them. In Leftardia the sequence is A. blame everyone else for the crimes you commit, 2.flood media(of all types) with as many contradictory and convoluted lies you can dream up, and lastly accuse everyone who wants to hold you legally accountable for your crimes of being racist/fascist/misogynistic a$$holes. All while refusing to acknowledge all the crimes you committed and continue to commit.

There is no such thing as “the blame game”. If we refuse to hold the guilty to account they simply continue to commit crimes against us, re: BLM/antifa.

Kevin kilty
December 8, 2020 8:50 am

This “blame game” is a function of human behavior, and how we have come to live. At one time we were satisfied with blaming actual calamities on the whims of gods, or on demons or witches, or the devil. Now we can no longer invoke such simple-minded stuff so we have to blame bad humans, those who don’t share our world view, instead.

And this world view is becoming purely political. It took less than a month for mask wearing to become “essential, moral and political”, and fell almost exactly on political allegiance. This was total hogwash, of course.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Kevin kilty
December 8, 2020 11:05 am

“At one time we were satisfied with blaming actual calamities on the whims of gods”

Careful, Kevin. There are some who comment here regularly who still believe that.

John Balsevich
December 8, 2020 9:14 am

“A recent paper by Lickey et al attempts to blame ocean acidification to …”

Ocean acidification??? Oceans are are carbonate buffered solutions, unless carbonate minerals and pulverized sea shells get all used up, the pH of around 8.2 due mainly to the presence of bicarbonate will not change.

PS: the citation is misspelt — should be Licker et al.

fred250
Reply to  John Balsevich
December 8, 2020 10:07 am

👍👍👍👍

Clyde Spencer
December 8, 2020 9:19 am

It seems to me that there is a parallel between the problems of anthropogenic CO2 and illicit drugs. In the absence of consumer demand, there would be no profit motive to induce the establishment of the infrastructure to produce, process, transport, and sell drugs. The atrocities committed by cartels and urban gangs to control supply and turf would not occur. While the cartels get the high-profile publicity, it is politically incorrect to remind the public that the recreational end-user has the major culpability for financing the illicit drug infrastructure. Contrary to the oft made claim, recreational drug use is not a victimless crime. Its just that the users in high-end clubs can ignore the bodies buried in fields in Mexico and Central America.

Now, while there is merit in the observation that the consumers of fossil fuels have limited options because energy is more of a necessity than recreational drugs, if one feels strongly enough that fossil fuels are a threat to world survival of such importance that it warrants destroying the corporate supply side of fossil fuels, then one should also be willing to take extraordinary steps to de-couple from the existing situation — Walk the Talk! After all, if they are successful in their demands to place the blame on corporations, the end result will force consumers to change anyway. However, it seems to me that there are two over-riding concerns. One is the ‘Deep Pockets’ legal approach of going after the richest members of the infrastructure as some sort of moral punishment. The other is an unwillingness to take personal responsibility for culpability and, therefore, to blame a faceless entity for a problem they have helped create. Human psychology wins the day.

D. J. Hawkins
December 8, 2020 9:40 am

I think it’s charming how Dr. Curry believes that the Greens are actually interested in ensuring that people get cheap, reliable power under the banner of renewable CO2-free generation. Bless her heart.

Scissor
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
December 8, 2020 10:39 am

Yes, they want something like 95% of everyone, besides themselves, dead.

ThinkingScientist
December 8, 2020 9:56 am

You would be a pretty useless oil and gas company if you actually emitted all that CO2 as opposed to selling oil and gas to others.

The entire tenet of Heede’s argument is false. Manufacturers of knives are not responsible for murderers, any more than manufacturers of boxes of matches are responsible for arsonists.

Without oil and gas companies all our lives would be short, brutal and dark.

Gyan1
December 8, 2020 10:21 am

Personal responsibility is a dying concept today. The culture of victimization being promoted by the left is the “complex societal problem” happening.

Ideology has replaced reason. False narratives are blindly accepted in order to be a member of the “good tribe”. Straying even slightly from the narrative gets you banished from the tribe.

Impossible for people who consume mainstream media to not be brainwashed by the incessant propaganda.

December 8, 2020 12:13 pm
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Krishna Gans
December 8, 2020 1:46 pm

Yes, and when one State sues another State, the U.S. Supreme Court has to take it up because the U.S. Supreme Court is the only entity who can decide matters between the States..

Red States are not going quietly into the socialist night. Thanks, Texas! Hold those Blue State’s feet to the Constitutional Fire!

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 9, 2020 7:33 am

Here in PA unelected members of the judiciary changed election laws in violation of Commonwealth laws and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They made these changes at the direct request of Governor Tom Wolf, another violation of Commonwealth law. They are now fighting tooth&nail to block State Legislature from addressing these crimes, all the while county level government is pushing for reversals of these changes and for those responsible to be held accountable in the courts of the Commonwealth. Going to get interesting here.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  2hotel9
December 10, 2020 8:26 am

Pennsylvania has one of the oldest State constitutions in the nation.

In order to change election laws, the Penneylvania constitution has to be changed, which is a lenghty, drawn out process, purposely so. The Democrats in Pennsylvania did not change the constitution, they arbitrarily changed the rules without authority, and the U.S. Supreme Court should say so.

The U.S. Supreme Court does not have to decide the winner of the presidential election. All they have to do is enforce the U.S. Constitution, which will invalidate the contested State’s elections, and then throw the issue back to the State Legislatures to deal with the invalid election in the way they see fit.

The issues concerning the U.S. Constituion and the election laws are very clear. And they make it very clear that the contested State’s broke the law with the way they handled the elections in their States.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 11, 2020 7:45 am

Best part is Wolf and Shapiro have both admitted what was done is against the law, when Shapiro said it he added”and I don’t care”. Why? Because covid. All this crap is being justified because of the flu.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 11, 2020 7:47 am

And we have been trying to download the video of these press conferences, youtube is scrubbing them. Only ones available are short segments about the flu. Funny how that works.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 8, 2020 1:12 pm

“attribution science”?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 9, 2020 2:34 am

Yeah, “attribution science”. You know, like “gender fluid” and “corporate socialism”? Attribution science.
I have one: “politurd”, a contraction of “polished literary turd”.

Chris Hanley
December 8, 2020 1:16 pm

The use of the word ‘blame’, just as the use of ‘commend’ instead would, begs the question: ‘smuggles into the the premise the conclusion’.
It is unfortunate as it biases the reader, ‘if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought’ (Orwell).

Tom Abbott
December 8, 2020 1:26 pm

From the article: “As a basis of responsibility, a key element is the causal link between the actor and the harm.”

I think a causal link between carbon dioxide and Human-caused Climate Change is *the* key element.

This link has *never* been established. That’s the problem with Climate Science. The basic premise has not been establised, yet people act as though it has. They are delusional, and they make delusional predictions based on pure speculation, not based on any established fact.

There is no evidence that CO2 has a measureable effect on the Earth’s atmosphere, and there is no evidence that the Earth is experiencing unprecedented warmth today, or will do so in the future, yet these delusional people assume both.

The basis of CO2 climate science has never been established yet people go merrily along pretending/believing it has been. It’s pretty psychotic really. We have a lot of people living in the same delusion. Of course, it can be profitable, so there is plenty of incentive to stay living in the delusion. The “Madness of Crowds” on display.

Not all of us are caught up in it, though. We require more than speculation.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 9, 2020 2:15 am

RG,
Please stop showing how shallow shallow your understanding and reading are.
Dr Curry has written several times that she agrees that there is a physical effect of IR on CO2 in the lab, but that if it exists in the artmosphere, the size of the effect is under debate.
She did her contribution to the science, with Nic Lewis, to produce on of the most referenced papers on climate sensitivity. You must note their caveat, that they adopted data and methods from the IPCC and reworked it to give an ECS that is low enough to be not a problem, in terms of problems discussed by the IPCC.In her introduction to this blame game post, she makes it clear that she is expressing views that are not necessarily those of her as author. She is giving views of Alex Epstein, Heede and Victor, mainly.
So your main points are questionable, for I have answered them, as could anyone who has followed Climate Etc over the years.
Judith’s own identified comments come near the end of the post, with “I am still waiting for a moral argument that justifies, in the name of the ‘climate crisis’, preventing the development of grid electricity in the poorest regions of Africa that can support development of an advanced economy. ” Who would disagree?
Be more kind and gentle to a scientist who has made a large difference to objective discourse and continues to provide science through consulting. That also answers another questionable comment that “she prb’ly fears losing her retirement.”

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 9, 2020 2:20 am

Tom,
You mean that CO2 is treated like something it is not?
Like a title of “President Elect”?
We have a new class of gas, a “Bidengas”.
It sits alogside that new word for hair appreciation, “Bidensniffen”.

December 8, 2020 1:48 pm

The Covid-19 pandemic was greatly worsened by the banning or ignoring of many available, long-tested therapeutic treatments like Hydroxy-chloroquine, zinc, vitamin D, etc which has been shown to save lives and reduce suffering. Instead, the ‘vaccines’ were elevated to saviour status as people died and Big Pharma awaited great profits. As for ‘Climate Change’, we are still waiting for proof that recent mild temperature increases were caused by man-made CO2 and that they aren’t wholly beneficial. The delusions are wide-spreads.

Waza
December 8, 2020 1:56 pm

Finding a common enemy is very important for the fight.
A theme of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is to get the community to unite against a common enemy..BIG OIL ( big pharma also).
You can get mums and dads on your side if you can blame the Oil companies and car companies.
But your fight will die if you go after the mums and dads for putting gas in their cars.

Mr.
Reply to  Waza
December 8, 2020 3:28 pm

Trump united a majority of the community against a common enemy – big media – in his 2016 campaign.
He has again achieved a similar level of animosity towards big media this time around.
While he hasn’t been delivered of the Oval Office again, he now knows he can successfully and sustainably engender ongoing derision of big media by the majority of US voters.
And big media keeps on playing right into his hands, and fertilizing the internet-scape for sowing of Trump Media Inc in the not too distant future.
I reckon he could even convince Elon to join him in such a venture.
Elon sure knows how to beat establishment players at their own game, after all.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mr.
December 9, 2020 6:12 am

Elon just moved his residence to Texas! He said California’s politicians felt “entitlted”.

Good for Elon. He will save himself a lot of money living in Texas.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 9, 2020 7:40 am

No, that is a problem, he and all the other leftards are bringing their ‘tardism to Texas and every other state they move to. They have totally f***ked CA, OR, NY, MA, CT, WA etc etc, so now they are going to do same to everywhere else.

December 8, 2020 1:59 pm

If someone says that complex problem can be distilled down to one thing, either they are stupid or they think you are.

Waza
December 8, 2020 2:03 pm

The Paris agreement requires developed nations to fund developing nations.
How is the required payments divided?
Is it based on:-
annual emissions
Cumulative emissions
Carbon resources used
Carbon resources exported
Benefits gained
Damages incurred
Future damages

Please use Australia and Canada as examples.

Carl Friis-Hansen
December 8, 2020 2:06 pm

George Carlin explains all of this in 45 seconds.

Bill Parsons
December 8, 2020 2:31 pm

Like most people who try to straddle the middle ground, Dr. Curry gets it from both sides. While I agree with her dislike of blame insofar as “the game” keeps otherwise intelligent people from finding solutions.

There’s ample reason to fault Curry for ignoring the view that CO2 actually benefits us. She goes right to the “middle ground” of: “C’mon guys, let’s solve the problem of too much CO2 .”

But to give equal time to her corollary we should also question her assumtion that we’ve solved the Covid-19 problem. “The Covid-19 blame game didn’t get in the way of finding a solution (i.e. vaccine).”

The vaccines have been a long time coming (long enough for billions in shut-down and stay-at-home money to be paid out); and also, what is “Plan B” if the jabs aren’t the panacea that everybody says they are?

Looks to me like the wagons are still parked in a big fat “OH” with quite a few “unfriendlies” still circling – along with not a few buzzards.

Daniel Henninger, in his Dec 2 WSJ commentary has this to say about our “rescue” by the pharmaceuticals and their epidemiologist:

This is the moment to put into nomination the obvious recipient for 2021’s Nobel Peace Prize: the scientists at the pharmaceutical companies whose vaccines are about to rescue the world from the catastrophe of SARS-CoV-2.

Who else was going to save us from Covid-19? The answer, we’ve learned across nine long months, is no one.

He goes on to say,

When the virus threat became clear last March, the political authorities naturally turned for guidance to specialists in the discipline known as public health, and specifically to professional epidemiologists who had worked with previous viruses, such as AIDS or Ebola. In a fortnight, epidemiology was effectively given unprecedented authority over the daily lives of the world’s citizens.

In turn, these specialists took as guidance the global pandemic their profession understood—the Spanish flu outbreak from 1918 to 1920. Based on the evidence from this 100-year-old pandemic, their advice to the world’s political leadership was: Send your national populations home, and keep them there. And so they did.

Neither the “science” nor the “scientists” saved us. “Plan A” is unproven. And there never was a “Plan B” unless you count “(You shouldn’t need to) Wear a mask.” Sometimes it’s necessary to find blame: Fauci, Hahn and Redfield were effectively non-entities in America’s epidemic. They certainly are not leaders.

My takeaway: Be careful whom you wish for for your leaders; and reserve plenty of skepticism for the experts they appoint. Oh, and keep your powder dry.

Reply to  Bill Parsons
December 9, 2020 2:46 am

…but, but, but…they wore masks in 1919 and it worked against the Spanish Flu…
which was actually bacterial pneumonia /tuberculosis. You know, bacterial, as in, something big enough to be caught by woven cloth? But that would spoil the “official narrative” a bit, no?
Oh, and it is also good to know how to make your own powder.

Bill Parsons
Reply to  paranoid goy
December 9, 2020 7:20 am

The “Spanish Flu” was flu – influenza. But it was only “Spanish” after it arrived there from America. Likely from Kansas.

bonbon
December 9, 2020 5:20 am

A typical modern liberal article.
Unbelievable that such a piece appears here. Based on a BBC One TV Show?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006p76t

There is plenty of blame to go around.

J’accuse :

1)Fusion has been sabotaged, defunded for 40 years. Imagine a Warp-Speed fusion program – THAT is the parallel to draw.
2)There is no CO2 AGW.
3)Covid was “judged” by the British Henry Jackson Society to be as Pompeo, end even Trump now call a China Virus.
4)For someone to be so utterly clueless what the green Great Reset means – it means population reduction to 1 billion, in otherwise good ol’ eugenics blamed on CO2.
5)This is not a game!

Too much for “even-handed” liberal thought-vacuum to handle?

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