Joe Bast: Smooth Reasoning

December 5, 2012


Smooth character, smooth reasoning.

Climate Denier, Tobacco tool, and President of the Heartland Institute, Joe Bast, wrote a daffily miffed, sniffy letter of complaint to the Washington Post, about perceived bias in a recent Post article.

Washington Post:

The article also misrepresented our work. The Heartland Institute is not “skeptical of climate change science.” We are one of its leading supporters, having hosted seven international conferences (with an eighth one taking place in Munich this week) and published a comprehensive survey of the scientific literature in two volumes, with a third volume on its way. We spend more supporting climate science than all but a handful of public policy think tanks.

Finally, The Post reported that we ran a billboard “comparing those who believe in global warming to domestic terrorist Theodore J. Kaczynski.” Also untrue. The billboard simply reported the fact that the infamous Unabomber still believes in man-made global warming, despite the mounting scientific case against it, and asked viewers if they do, too.

I just can’t add anything to that.  Kurt Vonnegut comes to mind.

36 Responses to “Joe Bast: Smooth Reasoning”

  1. […] Climatecrocks segnala un altro autogol di Joe “fuma le Camel che ti fan bene” Bast, presidente dello Heartland Institute che questa settimana tenta di dimenticare a Monaco di Baviera che Peter Gleick, la sua nemesi, è diventato un climate heroe . […]

  2. rayduray Says:

    New from The Other 98%:

    Exxon Hates Your

  3. andrewfez Says:

    I signed some petition, back before the presidential debates, that was for including a climate question in such. Now those guys send me email from time to time to get me to sign other petitions.

    The link above goes to another one about wind tax credits. I have no idea if it’s a fair and square deal, but they have something like 180,000 signatures so far. Thought i’d pass it on.

    ‘Dear andrew,

    It couldn’t be clearer that we need more jobs and sources of energy that don’t bring doom and gloom to the planet.

    Yet we are we are weeks away from losing one of the most successful programs to promote wind energy in the U.S., and tens of thousands of the jobs that have come with it.

    The Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which expires at the end of the year, has been an unequivocal success since it was enacted in 1992. In addition to helping lower the cost of wind energy by 90% and power the equivalent of 12 million homes, the PTC supports 75,000 wind jobs and helps raise $20 billion in private investment in wind energy each year.

    The PTC is a bipartisan policy originally authored by Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Even the rabidly anti-climate U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers support the program because it has been and continues to be a terrific investment. So any elected leader who votes against the PTC is doing so for one reason only: to protect polluters, even at the expense of American jobs.

    The potential for wind energy in this country is massive – 20% of all our energy could come from wind by 2030, supporting half a million jobs. But the industry can’t grow without predictable policies. The PTC has been allowed to expire three times since 2000, and each time, new installed wind capacity, and jobs in the wind industry, have plummeted.

    It should come as no surprise that it is extremely difficult for emerging sources of energy to compete, as the oil, gas and coal industries continue to benefit from nearly a century of government investment, subsidies, giveaways, tax breaks and now even a political system that has been shaped by their influence and money.

    But for the sake of our future, clean sources of energy must not just compete, they must surpass fossil fuels. The PTC keeps us moving in the right direction and Congress should renew it right away.’

  4. rayduray Says:

    The annual AGU Fall Meeting has just wrapped up. Here’s the first of the video-on-demand from the event:

    And here is the climate specific session:

    Mirrored here:

  5. rayduray Says:

    New PV solar plant proposed for Ghana by UK based developer:

    The plant is estimated to be capable of producing 6% of Ghana’s electricity.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      Interesting. It seems this is very nearly a go and could be online, if all hurdles are cleared, by 2015.

      With Ghana’s rapid growth, it’ll need quite a bit of new power generation.

      I’d love to see the Desertec project take off – whoever thought that up isn’t afraid of thinking big but it’s tough to get someone to part with $12 billion unless you’re starting a war, of course.

  6. rayduray Says:

    Guy MacPherson offers a plausible prediction that “the end is near©”.

    According to MacPherson, we are so doomed!

    • pendantry Says:

      I’m just reading Guy’s book ‘Walking away from Empire’. It’s far more believable than the wishful thinking expressed in the other book I’m reading (‘The Great Disruption’ by Paul Gilding).

      • rayduray Says:

        Much in keeping with the thinking of Guy MacPherson, Democracy NOW! is today reporting on the results from COP-18 in Doha. In a word, disappointment. In five words “we’re still so doomed”.

        Amy Goodman interviews a WWF campaigner who summarizes Obama, the great hope of naive enviros in the U.S., as having utterly betrayed any rhetoric which may have misled the naive into thinking that Obama is anything less than a complete tool for the fossil fuel industry. Let’s put that pipe dream to rest once and for all and get down to business.

        The fact is that that the U.S. government is owned by the bad guys and it needs to be resisted. Obama is not going to be the Lone Ranger. He’s going to be looking out for his future in corporate America for the next four years. Get used to it.

        George Monbiot suggests means of resistance pertaining to the UK, but which hold equal applicability here in the U.S.A. We’re #1 at making excuses for ourselves, eh?

      • otter17 Says:

        Gilding does a pretty good job of keeping it real as far as the expected human response to the problem. Still, I can’t shake one of his foundational arguments of the book that humanity will wait until a disaster occurs before banding together with great strength to solve the problem hastily. He never provided any explanation for that faith, other than past efforts like World War II. The default position is that there are no guarantees. I suppose all that can be said for sure is that there are shades of gray and varying degrees of messiness bound up in the timing and type of response to climate change.

        There is a documentary movie (I think still on Youtube) called “Life at the End of Empire”. That is pretty interesting, if a bit disjointed in shooting style.

  7. This is the second fellow I have seen who seems to think the answer to our dilemma somehow lies in reducing consumption and/or that destroying our economy is needed to reduce carbon output. This is nuts.

    We don’t need to destroy our economy, or reduce our consumption, or go without. What we need to do is start generating all our energy as electricity that comes only from renewable resources.

    There are two ways to accomplish that. One way is to let the free market come up with a solution, perhaps guided by government subsidies. We have tried that for thirty years, and it has been nearly totally unsuccessful.

    The other way is to have a massive Federal initiative to use our tax dollars to construct massive centralized renewable energy installations, like giant wind farms or, my favorite, covering the Mojave Desert with PV panels. We could generate all the electricity we could possibly need as a nation by doing this. It would be possible to do this in time to avert catastrophe. We could afford to give the electricity away for free, inductively electrify our highways so we could have a 100% electric fleet in a decade.

    But NOBODY is discussing this, except, it seems, for me. Why the frack are we not discussing – that means why are you not blogging about – this approach???

    Prove to me that my bootstrap math is incorrect. Show me how it would be impossible for this to work.

    Why not stop talking about the same old shit which isn’t working. Or just give up and get ready to die..

    • rayduray Says:

      Hi Roger,

      Re:”We could afford to give the electricity away for free, inductively electrify our highways”

      As someone who has estimated costs both as an electrical and general contractor, I feel compelled to ask you how in the world you can see this electricity being so plentiful as to be free? It will cost a fortune to create the infrastructure to provide your “free electricity”. Do you intent to NOT pay for the infrastructure? There are sensible lien laws against that approach.

      I recall the publicity pitch for atomic power in its infancy. It was said that atomic power would be “too cheap to meter”. It was a delusion. Just like I’m inclined to think your dream of free electricity from renewable sources is closer to being a cornucopian fairy tale than to being a workable solution. Let’s see your cost estimate sheets, please.

      • jimbills Says:

        Ray – one of the comments made at ASPO was that there is $60 trillion invested in our fossil fuel infrastructure (I didn’t hear if that was the world or national). It’s likely that a renewables infrastructure would cost more than that – as the cost for renewables is upfront. BTW, I have extensive notes from the conference – if you or anyone else wants a copy, please leave your email address as a comment on my “blog” (click my name and leave it on my “Hello world!” post – I’ll delete your comment shortly after that).

        Last month I was at the Denver airport. I hate to fly, and I feel like a hyprocrite when I do, but it was only my second flight in 10 years and I had to do so for work. Anyway, I passed by a very impressive solar array in the airport. It was quite large. When I got back home, I looked it up. Apparently, it’s just 1 of 3 such arrays at the airport. The total electricity it provides to the airport (its only recipient) is 6% of total electrical consumption. It was a pretty big eye opener as to the scale of the problem:

        • rayduray Says:

          I excited to read about ASPO’s latest developments. I’ve been following their peregrinations since about 2004.

          FWIW, I read “Twilight In The Desert” by Matt Simmons when it first came out in 2005. What has impressed me since then is that humanity has really stepped up to the plate since conventional oil (& gas) has peaked as of 2005. We’re investing trillions in some of the dirtiest, most dangerous energy developments ever conceived. I have to agree with ex-President George Bush’s observation that we are “addicted to oil”. We’ll do anything, including killing the planet, in order to keep getting the stuff. The way that humanity is approaching our energy future reminds me of the heroin addict who can no longer see that his emaciated frame no longer fills out the filthy rags he wears in his opiated haze of the twilight of civilized life.

          But we’ll always have enough gas for our recreational sand buggies, snow mobiles and surveillance/attack drones. It’s time to attack nature full-throttle!

          • jimbills Says:

            One of the very best commentors on the issue, imo, is Nate Hagens:

            It’s clear to me that we will pull out every stop to just keep things going even one more day. It’s over, we just don’t want to admit it. We all want our iPads, and jet skis, and trips to the mall too much. We aren’t “addicted to oil”. We’re addicted to the lifestyle that oil allows us to have. And as much as I hate the stuff, there is NOTHING even close to being as energy dense or as portable as oil.

  8. rayduray:

    …I feel compelled to ask you how in the world you can see this electricity being so plentiful as to be free? It will cost a fortune to create the infrastructure to provide your “free electricity”.”

    A fortune? How much is that, rayduray? Please cite sources – I can’t find any. Which is kinda my point.

    What I HAVE seen are estimates extrapolated from charts. Here are two numbers we need to keep in mind when we say this will “cost a fortune”, which is like saying “This will cost too much”.

    1) Cost to go 100% renewable – as low as $2 trillion dollars This does not include grid improvement, electrifying highways, retrofitting homes and businesses to 100% electricity.

    2) Cost of a world hotter than + 2C from what is is now: $1204 trillion dollars

    The experts say we need to get to zero CO2 emissions in 5 to 10 years, or we will see that +2C world. In fact, they say we may see a +6C world. Which is not compatible with human civilization. Others say that if we tip past +4C, we don’t know where it will wind up – +10C ? +12C? These results will make spending $1204 trillion dollars in adaptation costs look like the greatest bargain ever seen.

    We HAVE to go 100% renewable. Is that really in question?

    We HAVE to get this done in 5 to 10 years. Opinions vary – but I think this is becoming consensus?

    We NEED to get this done as cheaply as possible. The way to do that, is not to pay to put PV panels on homeowners roofs, put to put a huge installation where the sun is always shining intensely. Hence – the Mojave Desert. Economy of scale savings vs rooftop installs would be huge.

    Remember, the cost of PV panels continues to go down. In a few months, it is expected that the cost of manufacturing 1 PV panel will be one dollar. How many panels will we need? Supposedly, we would need to cover an about 428,000 square kilometers or 428 billion square meters. A typical panel is 2 square meters. So we would need 214 billion panels to cover the Mojave. At current prices, that is 0.214 trillion dollars in materials. Nine times more for an install, where labor and production would be standardized and hence a lot less expensive than what is costs to put up panels on rooftops. A lot less expensive. A trillion dollars buys a lot of stuff.

    This is peanuts compared to 1204 trillion in belated and fruitless adaptation costs.

    But we need to spend more. We need to completely upgrade our grid to smart grid status. Add some transmission lines. Retrofit all our homes and business to 100% electricity. Add inductive charging to our highways. I don’t know how much this will cost. I’m guessing another eight trillion dollars. (We should KNOW what this costs, but people would rather talk about carbon taxes for some reason.)

    So, I am guessing ten trillion dollars spread over a decade – a trillion a year. At the end of which we would have brand spanking new infrastructure, enough electricity to power our civilization for the next thousand years (with upkeep costs, of course). Since the American taxpayer footed the bill, and sunlight is free – that is what we should charge for electricity and the retrofitting of our homes – zero!!! We need to get out of a carbon fuel mindset, where you keep paying and paying and paying for energy.

    ‘And this is the best way to sell this program to the public. Save the planet AND put $3800 per person in your household in your pocket year after year after year. $3800.00 per person per year is what we <i.currently pay for our fossil fuels.


    “…Do you intent to NOT pay for the infrastructure? There are sensible lien laws against that approach. …”

    Of course we pay for the infrastructure. It becomes part of our national debt. But remember, we are saving the government a ton of money in the process. And this whole project is not so huge in comparison to what we just squandered in Iraq etc, or compared to what we pay every year for fossil fuels. And the government is not subject to lien laws. It prints its own money, you know.

    IN SUMMARY: It looks to me that we can solve the AGW problem, but we have to make the Federal government our electric utility. I’m all for it. And I bet Isaac Asimov would be too, if he was still here. In any case, can we PLEASE start talking and blogging about this?

    • rayduray Says:


      I find myself in general agreement regarding the notion of turning the electrical system into a public utility. It worked brilliantly for LADWP when Enron and their criminal brethren attempted and did swindle California rate payers out of billions of dollars a decade ago.

      That said, I find the devil in the details. For example, the reason that the Mojave has not been developing into an industrial park as you suggest is complex. But two ideas come to the fore. First of all, the Mojave is a long way from the population centers of the Southwest. Thus transmission lines need to be erected and nobody wants to pay for them or have them in their backyards.

      Secondly, there’s the environmental angle. While the desert tortoise is not all that common, your scheme pretty much condemns that animal plus a few dozen or hundred other species to extinction. This is kind of a show stopper for some of us who find the arrogance of greedy energy-crazed humans to be something tamed rather than promoted.

      Just sayin’….

      • Nobody wants to pay for transmission lines? That is your reply????? That’s it????!?

        And, btw, no need to worry about the desert tortoise. Because if we don’t embrace a new paradigm about how to actually solve AGW instead of just talking in circles with no real result – which is exactly what we have been doing for the past thirty years – most of central USA will become actual desert. We will be overrun with your precious desert tortoises.

        Assuming, of course, that the desert tortoise would actually decline with more shade present, cooling the ground perhaps even increasing the amount of low shrubs and plants.

        For fucks sake, am I the only person with a memory that works for more than a few hours?

        How many presentations does one need to see by climate experts – who are telling us that we are *actually facing extinction* in less than two hundred years if we don’t take care of this crisis NOW rather than later – before we can remember that message?

        And you talk of desert tortoises and the cost of transmission lines!

        • The video YOU attached here, rayduray by Guy Pearson is actually recommending that we somehow cause a global economic collapse, so dire is our need to stop more CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

          And you are worried about desert tortoises.

          Nobody in this world appears to have the faintest clue how to achieve what we need to achieve in time to save the human race using any sort of free market solution.

          And nobody appears to be even discussing the non free market solution – a Federal electric utility – besides me, I guess.

          I have laid out some back-of-envelop calculations that show that a Federal renewable electric utility might actually be affordable and might work. That, at least… is *something*.

          Will you join me in asking that we get some real blogging about this idea?

        • rayduray Says:


          I appreciate your enthusiasm.

          My mention of the desert tortoise and the lack of transmission out of the Mojave are not my ideas. I was attempting to briefly state the historical impediments to the sort of development you champion.

          As far as I’m concerned, if the solar PV arrays can replace the sand buggie recreationists, I’m all in favor of the swap. 🙂


  9. Roger, my email is :

    You and I share the same page. Time running out and nobody making a move either for the door or a solution.

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