The Reported Death of AGW

I don’t know if you have heard. It is all over the internets. Climate change is dead. Over. Kaput. Finito. History.

Some may suggest, in contrast to the Twain quote, that reports of the death of Anthropogenic Global Warming may be greatly exaggerated, but it seems pretty official this time, as it is being reported by no greater authority than Rex Murphy.

This is really no surprise. Since Rex returned to serious drinking a few years ago, he has been leading the charge of climate change deniers in the mainstream Canadian Media. We all expect knee-biters like Ezra Levant to be in the denier camp, but when Rex the Verbose declares climate change a hoax, there must be something to it.

However, if one reads his piece beyond the headline and first paragraph, and delves into the content (admittedly not the strength of the National Post on-line audience) you notice he doesn’t make a single point about AGW or about the science of the climate, doesn’t mention the ever-expanding pile of scientific data measuring the direct and indirect impacts of human-caused warming of the planet. Instead, the article is yet another silly attack on Al Gore, who according to the Right End of the Internets, has recently come publicly “unhinged” and become a raving lunatic.

All because of this recording.

Maybe I am unhinged, because when I hear this recording, it sounds completely rational to me. He sounds significantly more hinged than pretty much any other politician in the United States on this issue; Democrat, Republican, or otherwise.

Yes, he uses the word bullshit repeatedly, but he uses it completely in context. When someone says volcanoes put out more CO2 than humans, that is bullshit. Demonstrated bullshit that was proven to be false decades ago, as any intelligent person can prove to themselves with a little math in few minutes. When deniers say it is sunspots causing the recently observed changes, that is demonstrably, clearly, and unambiguously bullshit. Same with saying CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, or that climate it isn’t warming, or whatever old debunked bullshit they are recycling this week. Al Gore is not a scientist, is not a climate expert, but he is an accomplished politician, and politicians do recognize one thing better than most: Bullshit. This guy worked with Bill Clinton and lost an election to Carl Rove, I would say he is a world expert on the topic of political bullshit.

What I hear here is not a person “unhinged”, I hear a guy speaking truthfully, and somewhat exasperated that seemingly intelligent people like Rex Murphy fail to acknowledge the emperor’s nudity.

Much like Al, I just don’t see where Rex is on this issue. I am a firm believer in Hanlon’s Razor, but the other side of that razor says if you cannot find the incompetence, your only resort is to assume malice. I don’t think Rex is incompetent. But I also don’t believe that he can write a 900-word piece declaring the death of AGW without once mentioning that the planet isn’t warming or that the scientists were wrong. Instead, he writes a lot of vague phrases about how the public relations battle has been lost. Or, alternately, Rex and the people on his side of this issue have won the PR battle. They successfully piled on the bullshit so high that they won a PR battle over the truth.

And this is why Al and I are using words like Bullshit in otherwise polite company. What else can we do, when reality has lost a public relations battle?

Who really wins when reality loses a popularity contest?

I can’t help but feel Many years from now we will look back at this moment and wonder what the hell we were thinking. Only 35 years after the world agreed to end of all atmospheric nuclear testing, only 25 years after the Montreal Protocol saved the ozone layer, how can a small number of PR hacks funded by a few of the largest corporations on earth, publicly deny reality, and get the majority of people to agree?

This may be all fine and dandy for Rex. The worst impacts of climate change, the negative feedback of the stupid decisions we make now, will only be felt after Rex’s cirrhotic liver has failed and his pickled corpse is stinking up the churchyard on Carbonear.

But wasn’t journalism supposed to be about facts?

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