Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Earn Money as a Climate Change Skeptic

An evangelical friend of mine thinks Global Warming is a conspiracy of scientists to make a few bucks and control our lives. There may be some truth to that. Some people are angling to make money on carbon credits. Some bureaucrats like to use the power of government to act like a mini dictator.

But the flip side is that there's also money in global warming denial. Want to make a quick $10,000? Write articles undermining the IPCC report on global warming. Become a lobbyist for the fossil fuel industry.

Noam Chomsky claims in this speech (linked at the time stamp for those that don't want to watch it all) that the American Petroleum Institute has openly expressed that they are impressed with the health insurance lobbying efforts to screw over the American people and the success they had with that. They state openly that they plan to use the same model to undermine public opinion on global warming. These plans are being propagated by CEO's that know what scientifically minded people know. Global warming is occurring, it is likely the result of human activity, and there is significant risk that it could lead to massive death. But we have systemic constraints. They are obliged in the economic system we are in to maximize profits and this is how you go about doing it, even though that means potential catastrophe for our grandchildren.


Darf Ferrara said...

there is significant risk that it could lead to massive death

What peer reviewed journal is that from?

Jon said...

IPCC's 2007 assessment, which is a report on the scientific conclusions to this point. It's perhaps the most massive evaluation of scientific opinion on a view ever undertaken. It predicts medium risk that 20-30% of species evaluated are at increased risk of extinction. That's at the 2°C change level, increasing to between 40 and 70% at the 3.5°C level. See here for additional predictions.

ufactor said...


I'm just curious your take on the accuracy and bias (if any) in the IPCC 2007 report. Would you say there were any errors of any significance in the report, and/or any attempt to present information in a misleading way in the report, or would you say it was pretty much straight cold (or warm!) scientific fact?

Jon said...

No firm opinions in that I haven't read the report or much by way of criticism. So my feeling is nothing but a general feeling I would have towards any scientific assessment undertaken by a major body. Mistakes happen, but the scientific method is pretty good.

ufactor said...

So in your opinion, there might be some truth to a global warming conspiracy because of the potential monetary windfall, but claims by those asserting problems of substance, or intentional deception in the creation of IPCC 2007 probably are without merit, or at least not worth the time for you to look into them because the document in question is a scientific document undertaken by a major body?

Jon said...

I think since there is a fair amount of dispute about the IPCC claims it's worth looking in to the criticisms. I haven't seen criticisms of the report itself, but I have seen general criticisms of the scientific global warming consensus. See for instance the post I had on the hacked emails and the youtube clip I posted. In every case I've found that the global warming deniers entirely lacked substance. I found striking parallels between global warming denial and young earth creationism. Also evolution denial. My conclusion based upon this limited investigation is that global warming denial is similarly baseless.

I'm always open to anybody that wants to make an argument, whether they're arguing for a worldwide flood or a 6000 year old earth. Especially when I'm speaking with someone. As far as going out of my way to investigate these thing though, no, that's not where I'd spend my time.