Midweek Wonk: Kerry on Climate Change

February 19, 2014

As seen above, John Kerry’s recent speech on climate change in Indonesia has touched a nerve among the climate denial chorus.
Why Indonesia? Made up of tens of thousands of islands, the rapidly emerging economy is one of the most vulnerable countries on earth.

29 Responses to “Midweek Wonk: Kerry on Climate Change”

  1. omnologos Says:

    It’s just another case of preaching to the converted – for some reason Peter you’re unable to see how wrong (useless, baseless) this is.

    For example the apple and stove examples are silly. The apple falls and the stove burns the hand, not because science says so. There is no need of any scientific background or experience to know the apple falls and the stove burns the hand.

    Then he moves to “thousands of scientists” and “more than 90% consensus”. Not sure how many times both claims need be debunked before it is understood that they don’t even make a good argument. All it takes is one scientist to get the science right, and the absolute or percentage size of the consensus become irrelevant.

    Then he says they all agree things will turn to the worse. He even pretends there is no uncertainty. He says “this is simple”, and that’s the most cretin thing anybody can say about the climate. Then we get the Flat Earth Society argument – idiotic in the extreme.

    And so on and so forth. The only thing he gets right is that the worst of climate change isn’t expected for many years.

    All in all, who cares, anybody can show videos by proponents of whatever religion explaining how they are absolutely right. Alas, only their followers will believe that.


    Going back now to McCain and the other, the issue is one of priority, not “denial” – Syria of 2014, or climate change of 2080? It is understandable that the foreign policy disasters of the Obama administration will push it into trying to make a stand on some future event nobody will live long enough to witness.


    Has Kerry come out against Keystone XL as yet? Cynics might think he’s talking up climate change in order to be able to approve the pipeline….

    • rayduray Says:

      You wrote: Has Kerry come out against Keystone XL as yet? Cynics might think he’s talking up climate change in order to be able to approve the pipeline….

      OK, I’m a cynic. My prediction a year ago on the Keystone XL pipeline was that it was a done deal. Then Obama allowed the southern portion from Cushing to the Gulf to be constructed. Oil is flowing in that pipeline today. Then I found out that the day that Bill McKibben and James Hansen among others were arrested at the White House protesting Keystone XL that Obama was on a golf course in Florida with a party of oil & gas executives. Undoubtedly discussing strategies to get the PR right for the completion of the pipeline.

      After reviewing the recent State Department environmental review on Keystone XL, it’s obvious to me that the pipeline will be approved. We’re simply waiting on auspicious timing of the announcement. Currently my bet is on 4:45 PM ET on Good Friday just before the Easter Weekend. That way David Gregory can spend the hour on Meet The Press on Easter covering the politics of Gethsemane and not have to be bothered with the dirty, yucky, unworthy tar sands issue.

      “Commerce Uber Alles, Meine Kinder!” A trademark of Kinder-Morgan LLC… http://www.kindermorgan.com/

    • “All it takes is one scientist to get the science right”

      Yup all it would take is one scientist getting the science right to prove gravity is a repulsive force and not an attractive force

      ” and the absolute or percentage size of the consensus become irrelevant.”

      and your inane point was?

      • omnologos Says:

        There is always some angry lost soul in these comments.

        To recap: Kerry is doing these speeches to increase political consensus about action on climate change (mitigation). To increase political consensus he should reach out outside of theexisting group of already-convinced people.

        Kerry is instead preaching to the converted. Worse, some of the converted realize that he is oversimplifying the issue and trying to dress it up in untrue ways, that will come back to bite hard when and if legislation will be readied to be passed.

        Therefore all these speeches will fail in increasing political consensus about mitigation, and will just be good in delaying any action even further.

        It is then left to speculation on why he would go through all this effort. Window dressing? Scoring brownie points with the green constituency, to use later for approving Keystone XL? A way to talk up a relatively cheap political item, where ‘success’ is ensured and can counterbalance the innumerable foreign policy failures?

        • dumboldguy Says:

          “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”

          • omnologos Says:

            Luckily, in your case it got recycled, went on to nourish untold numbers of flowers

          • dumboldguy Says:


            Actually, I do get Omknownothing’s meaning and will take the time to point out that he is again WRONG. I know he likes the attention.

            “….nourish untold numbers of flowers”? First, I said “mind”, which has no actual substance and can only “nourish” something in the metaphorical sense—perhaps other minds? Just as we all attempt to nourish O-log’s in our dialogue with him on Crock? He was thinking of “brain”, of course, when he made yet another idiotic comment here.

            Actually, anyone with a little science and math knowledge could estimate the “nourishment” my brain might provide to flowers and make a better estimate of what their numbers might be than “uncounted”. You know, what does it weigh, how much N, P, and K does it contain, how much would be available to plants after breakdown, etc?. No harder than calculating the effects of a future El Nino.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            PS I do want to thank O-log for the child-like and “Ferdinand-like” reference to “flowers”—-he is so kind and innocent.

            If the tables had been turned, I would have unkindly used “mushrooms”.

          • omnologos Says:

            our words are full of what goes on in our brains

          • dumboldguy Says:

            You have mushrooms for brains? That explains all.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Since O-Log has gone on at such length here, I will forego my usual “WHAT?”.

    I will instead match him by saying this is one of the least coherent (and wrong, useless, baseless) things O-log has ever posted on Crock.

  3. redskylite Says:

    Brilliant speech – at last somebody with a high public profile is daring to speak out clearly, strongly and globally, none other than the Secretary of State of the USA. If only other world leaders would listen and follow suit.

    I’m so used to elected officials being to afraid to talk about the matter openly that this seems strangely surrealistic and other-worldly.

  4. Sandy Porter Says:

    So omnologos, if you don’t accept the climate science of the vast majority of climate scientists building on not less than five decades of modern research methods, from countries all around the world, using laser-precise instrumentation of climate indicators and supercomputers to analyze countless scenarios to evaluate what percentage of visible climate change is part of any natural cycles and how much is attributable to human activity, then whose position do you accept. Keep in mind that when the consensus of climate scientists’ findings are being discussed, these are not just any old scientists. We are talking about scientific literature published in the most highly-regarded scientific journals where every article is subject to stringent peer review before publishing. It would seem very odd that these journals would publish the latest research on astronomy, cancer, quantum computing, ground-breaking technology and all of the most significant areas of scientific study, but just go ahead and allow sloppy science on JUST ONE SUBJECT, i.e., climate, to be published.

    If you don’t accept the climate science of the vast majority of climate scientists, who would you trust? Because I can provide links to an enormous number of U.S. military sources (Pentagon, Navy, etc.) and private sector sources who accept and agree with how humans are changing our planet in dangerous – and expensive – ways, and are making business and investment decisions based on these. Risk Analysis companies, an increasing number of U.S. insurance companies, the three biggest Re-Insurance companies in the world by far (Lloyd’s of London, Swiss Re and Munich Re). Plus 700 companies that have recently come out in favor of strong climate action, INCLUDING the major fossil fuel companies.

    Would that be enough?

    • omnologos Says:

      Sandy – my opinions aren’t relevant. The point here is that Kerry is allegedly doing these speeches to inspire and gather support for climate change action but between the false analogies and the empty rhetoric he’ll only reach out to those already convinced.

      So it’s all useless, unless the actual aim is to appear cleaner than clean on climate, so that the Administration can approve Keystone XL.

      If you really want to know I’m surprised after all these years the presentation of climate change still pivots around blatant idiocies such as “it’s simple”. It isn’t.

      If I were a warmist I’d be worried by that – the political supporters don’t understand the problem or don’t believe in presenting it as it is.

      • jimbills Says:

        “If you really want to know I’m surprised after all these years the presentation of climate change still pivots around blatant idiocies such as “it’s simple”. It isn’t.

        If I were a warmist I’d be worried by that – the political supporters don’t understand the problem or don’t believe in presenting it as it is.”

        Finally – a comment from you that I agree with 100%.

        The “simple” approach is to have a few minor regulations and to incentivize a few renewable companies – which is what the United States is doing. Easy peasy. The only problem is that it won’t have the necessary impact.

        The politicians are completely lying, or else they’re in their own form of denial if they think the problem can be addressed adequately with a few minor tweaks. I sometimes think the conservatives actually have a better handle on the issue than the liberals. They know that to really address carbon emissions would require some serious sacrifices. The conservative form of denial is to then say the problem doesn’t exist, or is minor, or will solve itself. The liberal form of denial is to say the problem can be handled with a few rules and economic incentives – or if they can just get the ‘good’ politicians in office the problem will get sorted out.

        They’re both wrong in their own ways.

  5. Judging from omno’s response I would say Peters comment hit the nail perfectly: “As seen above, John Kerry’s recent speech on climate change in Indonesia has touched a nerve among the climate denial chorus.”

    It doesn’t matter who he “preaches to”, he is a public figure and his words are backed up by scientific knowledge (no matter if its from one 100% correct scientist or thousands in a consensus). Whether he has any influence or is even willing to stop the KXL is another question which quite possibly makes his speech of less value to some. But it doesn’t make the speech any less significant considering its publicity. The same way that no matter how many beach properties Al Gore owns, “an insignificant truth” was a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of the state of our planet (besides the “beach property” was up close to the hills and nowhere near the actual beach).

    I am not sure where Obama is taking KXL and perhaps he believes the path to less carbon still has the KXL pipeline in full operation. If he taxes the bejesus out of carbon after he has opened it I guess he will achieve lower carbon emissions and create a shift to renewable energy sources even with the pipeline in operation. That remains to be seen though.

    The one thing I do agree with you omno is that “it isn’t easy” – it isn’t going to be easy to move away from abundant and cheap fossil fuel. Which is why we need other parts of the brain to work as well and not the “immediate reward” part that we like to stimulate constantly. A bit of lateral thinking with long term goals towards all living things on the planet, including inhabitants on islands in Indonesia. So while our actions currently has failed to achieve serious carbon emissions, the message lingers, and as the evidence piles up, consciously and unconsciously we can change the path to a better future (even though it might not mean a more weathier one).

    • “..failed to achieve serious carbon emission cuts..” – typo… 🙂

    • it isn’t going to be easy to move away from abundant and cheap fossil fuel.

      A key caveat here:  if you have non-fossil energy, it is going to be far easier to get people to switch if it is abundant and cheap than if it is the opposite.  Otherwise they’ll keep burning coal (or even switch to deforesting their hillsides) because they cannot afford the alternatives.

      In a democracy, you cannot ask people to freeze for a better tomorrow.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        I agree completely with that.

        Which is why I believe Americans would be very happy indeed to vote to have their Federal government build them a new Renewable Energy Utility which would supply them all the electricity they need for next to or actually nothing. Because they know it would put more than $3000.00 in cash in their pockets every year for every person in their household.

        • You are assuming that “renewables” can supply the power that Americans expect to be there whenever they flick the switch.  Currently there is no way to supply this using only renewables and storage even if you billed them an extra $3000 per year, let alone tried to pay them that much.

  6. I wish Americans wanted deep thinkers as their leaders. He should have won when he ran for President, but he’s too ‘cerebral’.

    Omno said climate science is not simple. True, if you want to get into the technicalities, but the basic issue is simple to understand. Greenhouse gases are what allows our planet to be warm enough to sustain life. More greenhouse gases means more warmth. Adding more warmth has a direct effect on every living thing on Earth. That’s simple, and obvious.

    The uncertainties, instead of making people complacent, should make people worried. Because we ARE changing the climate, and we don’t know what the full effects of that will be. It’s already having effects, more negative than positive, so why would we think the balance of that equation would somehow switch to positive in the future?

    He did say something that’s deceptive… which is that we have time to stop the negative effects. It’s not a line we cross. It’s a slope. And once we’ve let the cat out of the bag (400ppm atmospheric CO2), it’s not going back in any time soon. The effects are here to stay, for what we’ve already done. Which is NOT to say we are doomed and should do nothing except wait to die. Every ppm added, adds negative effects. So we MUST stop this madness to prevent FURTHER damage.

    • Too cerebal?  Kerry was a key player in the destruction of what could have been a key component in the elimination of fossil-fired electricity and slashing carbon emissions (1994).  He’s just another pol, playing to his major campaign supporters.

  7. omnologos Says:

    Kerry has inspired Indonesia to donate to the Global Climate Fund.


    At $250,000, this is 0.0000284738% of Indonesia’s GDP and I for one would see no problem if similar relative contributions would be made the world over.

    ps will it cover for Kerry’s trip? Not sure

    • dumboldguy Says:

      What I’m not sure of is why you thought this was significant and carried out your calculation to 10 decimal places. Using .00003% would actually have been more impressive (for reasons I won’t bother to explain because you wouldn’t comprehend them).

      While we’re asking questions, why do you bring Kerry into it, since it appears he had nothing to do with inspiring Indonesia’s actions, and the U.S. is paying for Kerry’s trip and not the GCF. And why do you feel the need to waste our time with inanities rather than talk of substantive things? Finally, at what age did your mother drop you on your head and thereby cause the brain damage you display so often?

      • omnologos Says:

        I am not sure you can even spell ‘scarcasm’ but anyway…

        1. I just copy-pasted from the Google online calculator – the figure is so small, any digits would do. If you ask me, it’s zero anyway (3 parts in 10 million, IIANM – 1.6 pints out of an Olympic size swimming pool – check the change in water levels after you take that amount out)

        2. Kerry has just been to Indonesia to talk climate change, not just for “At America” – would be peculiar if nobody had mentioned this initiative to him, if only to stop his constant lecturing

        3. Of course Kerry (the USA) is paying its trip – it was a joke – just imagine if we discovered the GCF were a travel fund for the Great and the Good

        4. It is substantive to see that all Indonesia has to give to the GCF is an amount that is equivalent to zero. Figueres just tweeted enthusiastic about it. Lucky her.

        As for my brain damage, since you’re no psych expert you are just the usual hypocrite. Go ahead.

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