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More Buffoonery from Joseph Romm


Yesterday I took a look at a piece of hysterical, near-religious environmental rhetoric from Joseph Romm, writing in Salon. He has responded, in his lame, ALL-CAPS FASHION, here. Characteristic sample: “… it is time for everybody to WAKE UP FOR GOD’S SAKE!” (No, I’m not making that up; read it yourself, if you can.)

The main part of my criticism of Romm’s earlier piece was the hectoring, overheated style of the piece. (I don’t have any strong opinions on global warming as such and make no pretense of evaluating scientific disputes.) Romm’s response was that I should quit my job and join his church.

Indeed, if KDW fully understood the science he claims to find no fault with, he’d pretty much have to give up his NRO position and focus his media criticism at Planet Gore and other deniers.

I’m holding out for a pair of really good sandals and a robe before I join any cults. (Even a stelliform real estate cult.)

I could go through line by line, but I don’t hate myself (or you, readers!) enough to do that right now. Those who are interested can read both and come to the obvious conclusion.

A few things that did stick out, though, including this risible base-stealing attempt:

Let’s be clear : If you have no bone to pick with the climate science (i.e. the regular reviews and synthesis of the scientific literature by the IPCC), then you presumably must endorse the IPCC’s target of 450 ppm, which means some $40 trillion in cleantech investment is needed by mid-century.

This is a classic fallacy. If you accept that scientists know about science, then you also have to spend $40 trillion in the way the scientists tell you to. But governing and investing isn’t science. It’s governing and investing. $40 trillion is a pretty fanciful thing to be writing about. That’s a couple of times the GDP of the United States — this is a spending proposal that’s been carefully thought through? With scientific rigor? Doubtful. I think Henry Paulson knows more about finance than I do, but that doesn’t mean he gets a blank check for … oh, never mind. You know what I mean.

Romm also writes “Duh” a lot. This is displeasing.

Also, Romm pretends to correct my usage of “Kyoto Treaty” for “Kyoto Protocol” (yes, really), but so far as I can tell I never wrote “Kyoto Treaty,” capital-T, proper-noun style. I make lots of errors and don’t mind being corrected for them, but I don’t like being corrected for errors I didn’t make. Small thing, sure, especially when we’re so obviously faced with the END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT, or possibly with the loss of 0.08 percent of global GDP decades from now. Same thing, right?

In a sense, though, Romm and his kind are doing a public service. If anybody is one the fence about how much political power we should give to the environmentalists, or whether we should give them $40 trillion to spend as they wish, I’d encourage them to read Romm’s response to my post and then decide for themselves whether they believe that they can trust Romm and those associated with him to produce honest, reliable, reasonable guidance on climate issues. I think the answer is clearly no, or, as Romm might put it, CLEARLY NO AND OH MY GOD OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!

Finially, Romm writes that my criticism of him is “libelous.” It’s not libelous to write that somebody is an unconvincing writer with a vulgar style and poor taste. And even if it were, truth is an absolute defense.


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