Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Great Green Debate

I like Alex Epstien.  He thinks the same way that I do and he's working hard to change the way other people think.

This time he's gone up against Bill McKibben, a leading warmist though not a scientist.  He's got the entire debate on YouTube and I'm happy to post it here.  Its about 1.5hrs in its entirety.

Having watched the whole thing, I have to be fair and say that Alex lost this one.  I agree with Epstien 100% on the substance of his argument, but McKibben appeared to own the subject while Epstien was visibly nervous and compensated by measuring his speaking cadence.  The overall effect is to undermine the power of his message: that fossil fuels are essential to our way of life. 

When I judge a debate, I try to imagine how a complete stranger to the subject would be swayed by the dialog.  The average person isn't expecting isn't expecting spin and obfuscation so merely the appearance of confidence will give this debate to McKibben.

He did really well in his first debate with Greenpeace so I'm not sure what happened.  Pressure can do that and McKibben is a much bigger fish than the Greenpeace guy was.  I'm sure Alex will grow into it and be a regular Ezra Levant in no time.

McKibben's ideas are nonsense of course.  Its simply impossible to implement what these eco-nuts talk about: a forced abandonment of civilization for the sake of some mollusks breeding in the dark. 

The most the eco-nuts will ever accomplish is to seize control of our industrial society.  Even the stupidest mis-educated liberal blogger would tie the noose themselves when you turned off the power for a month.  The eco-nuts will be able to give the stamp of approval to those who pay tribute to them and accede to their demands.  They would be become a ruling class by their power to bless one "polluter" and condemn another. 

I know people get turned off by "conspiracy theories" but I'm a systems guy and this is how I see this system coalescing from the different players involved.  It doesn't require a Central organizer to emerge.  The various players, the activists, the politicians, even the scientists, recognize their own role and self coordinate to their own benefit.  The system emerges. 

Its happened before.  Call them Bishops or Commissars or Lords.  The environmental consultants of the future will have the same power over society as the former ruling classes.

This is why I believe Alex Epstien and the Center for Industrial Progress among others are doing important work to keep us all free.  Remember that the concept of individual liberty is an aberration in Human history.  Powerful natural human tendencies are at work to stratify society into distinct impermeable classes once again.


Anon1152 said...

Thank you for posting this. Regarding this debate... I think we watched two different debates. For example, you say:

"McKibben's ideas are nonsense of course. Its simply impossible to implement what these eco-nuts talk about: a forced abandonment of civilization for the sake of some mollusks breeding in the dark."

First: Mollusks? McKibben seemed to be concerned about human civilization. Mollusks weren't mentioned. He didn't even talk about the "intrinsic worth" of the environment (as some environmentalists do). His main concern seemed to be *us*.

Second: Where does he talk about abandoning civilization? From what I understand, he thinks that civilization needs to change it's main source of energy. We've done it before. McKibben thinks we can do it again. And so do I. We have the technology and ingenuity to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels. The question is about where our energy comes from and how efficiently we use it... it's not about abandoning civilization.

There is an interesting ambiguity in Epstien's (and others's) argument. On the one hand, it's about freedom. I like freedom too. On the other hand, it's about the validity of the science of global warming. It seems like the concern with freedom (a concern that McKibben expressed) is colouring the evaluation of the science. And I think that's dangerous.

Thank you again for posting this. I enjoyed it, and probably wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't come here.


Alex said...

We may not agree but you prove my point that Mckibben won the debate.

McKibben wasn't pushed on this ridiculous solutions to an uncontrollable phenomenon: Climate Change. Epstein did fight back against them but he did so in a way that would cause someone who isn't familiar the argument to miss it.

My general comments refer to McKibben's outlandish ideas. He is the guy behind 350 an impossible goal without dilithium crystals or energon cubes. Further he wants to force us off coal, gas, oil, even nuclear in favor of wind and solar. This would be an unmitigated catastrophe. It's like plunging society into a contrived disaster to avoid a potential localized disaster like Sandy that is bound to happen sooner or later anyway. Nonsense!

Epstein alludes to this but the point isn't made strong enough. There was one good graph showing climate deaths against CO2. That was great but not enough by itself.

Also about molluscs, I was speaking in general about the green movement. McKibben spoke about ocean acidification. Save the mollusks. They live don't they? They have survived naturally high CO2 of eons past. Why should people starve for a mollusks shell? They'll adapt and they won't even be mad about it.

It drives me bonkers when Eco-nuts come out against everything. Even when it turns out global warming is such a big deal it becomes about fracking or oil spills or ocean acidification. As you heard they protest windmills an hydro dams like its icing on the cake.

At least you seem reasonable. I am pro human. I want as many Humans alive as the planet can carry for as long as it can carry us. Maybe one of them will unlock the power to unlimited free energy and unlimited human expansion with it. That chance is decreased if we force a new dark age on account of a silly philosophy. The entire planet is dead in time. Lets not waste the time have worrying about mollusk civilization eh?

Anon1152 said...

Oh my, I forgot. He did mention mollusks. Though in fairness, I think it would be a bad thing to endanger everything at the bottom of a food chain. That would have effects for creatures at the top (like us). So I still think you can have an anthropocentric concern about ocean acidification. As for those ocean creatures surviving just fine in the past: they haven't. There have been several mass extinctions in the past. Which is where a lot of the fossil fuels came from in the first place.

As for wanting to "force us off coal, gas, oil and even nuclear in favour of wind and solar", I don't think he's advocating getting rid of fossil fuels before there's an alternative. I don't know of anyone who wants to transition away from fossil fuels without wanting to transition to something else. (Though I'm sure you can find examples, I don't think they'd be mainstream).

Nuclear is interesting. It's scares many people. And it should. Disasters like Fukushima should worry us. But there's so much low emission power there, I think it's silly not to use it. I've heard that liquid fluoride thorium reactors are WAY safer than reactors we have now. I think that's something to try here on Earth (if it's done safely, and transparently). But I'm really in favour of nuclear because I think it's necessary for meaningful space exploration. In all honesty, since we were on the moon by the late sixties, we should be ashamed that we don't have colonies on Mars right now.

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