Sunday, March 06, 2011

Nordhaus, Shellenberger: long death of environmentalism

Two founders of the Breakthrough Institute, a fearmongering lobby group, namely Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus are giving lectures about the long death of environmentalism.

I don't know which one is which but I hope it's OK I am not familiar with every green man in the world...

The new lecture updates their previous 2005 analysis called "The Death of Environmentalism" that didn't contain the word "long":
The Long Death of Environmentalism (BI blog, 2011)
Their viewpoint seems to be relatively honest.

They acknowledge that the global warming skepticism began to rise when An Inconvenient Truth was first aired, and it is continuing to increase. They acknowledge that the green groups are really demanding that the media should completely deny the existence of skeptics: that's what the calls to liquidate the "false balance" are all about.

These paragraphs contain the main punch line of their analysis:
The truth is that the disparate crew of academics and bloggers who make up the skeptic community have toiled in relative obscurity and have been largely ignored by the mainstream media. That skeptics have nonetheless succeeded in raising substantial doubt among many Americans about the reality of global warming suggests, at the very least, that the environmental community has profoundly misframed the issue.

The propensity to blame skeptics and fossil fuel companies for the serial political failures of the environmental movement should be understood as a tribal defense of the collective green ego, not the logical conclusion of a dispassionate analysis.

What Went Wrong? ...
You can see, the climate realist bloggers and scholars have "toiled in relative obscurity". I think it is a very accurate description what has been going on. Many of us are hard-working people and we've been getting almost no credit for that. The criticism that it's our fault that the green religion hasn't spread more universally is a tribal defense of the green ego. Finally, the authors also perform a one-sentence autopsy of the environmental movement:
What killed it was neither our essay, nor fossil-funded skeptics, nor this or that tactical failing by green leaders or Democratic politicians. Rather, environmentalism died of old age.
As you may see, even alarmists are capable of making meaningful contributions to the climate debate.



  1. It's particularly shabby for these AGW alarmists to bang on about the death of environmentalism when their own parasitization of it has contributed so richly to its demise. Their phrase "serial political failures of the environmental movement" already manages two lies in seven words. First, that AGW crackpottery is synonymous with environmentalism, which is like saying the tumor is synonymous with the patient. Second, their claim that the discrediting of climate hysteria is a political failure rather than the unmasking of an intellectual fraud contrived to raid the public purse.

  2. Regarding Shellenberger and Nordhaus, those two co-founded the Apollo Alliance, a nefarious US organization. Pages of analysis could be written about their problems.

    Regarding their claim about what's killing the environmental movement - or more specifically AGW - it could be said that the fossil fuel money corruption accusation against skeptic scientists is what kept the movement alive a lot longer than it would have otherwise lasted. I believe all the plunging AGW poll numbers are due to the public becoming more informed about the endless problems with its underlying science, and this will only worsen when more people hear about how all the long-term efforts to marginalize skeptic scientists appear to be based on groundless accusations.

    Al Gore's own narrative about the corruption of skeptic scientists is now open to question, since there is an enormous unexplained contradiction within it about what he said around 2004-07 and what is in his 1992 book - please see this article at ClimateDepot, which has a subheadline titled "Mainstream Media Marginalization of Skeptic Scientists: Was Al Gore just a handy speaker in it, or was he the major driver behind it?"