Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 9, 2009

GORE DOESN'T SUFFER FOOLS GLADLY.... John Dickerson chatted with Al Gore this week. The Nobel laureate and former vice president was apparently not in the mood to tolerate stupidity.

"[W]e're putting 90 million tons of it into the air today and we'll put a little more of that up there tomorrow. The physical relationship between CO2 molecules and the atmosphere and the trapping of heat is as well-established as gravity, for God's sakes. It's not some mystery. One hundred and fifty years ago this year, John Tyndall discovered CO2 traps heat, and that was the same year the first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania. The oil industry has outpaced the building of a public consensus of the implications of climate science.

"But the basic facts are incontrovertible. What do they [global warming deniers] think happens when we put 90 million tons up there every day? Is there some magic wand they can wave on it and presto! -- physics is overturned and carbon dioxide doesn't trap heat anymore? And when we see all these things happening on the Earth itself, what in the hell do they think is causing it? The scientists have long held that the evidence in their considered word is 'unequivocal,' which has been endorsed by every national academy of science in every major country in the entire world.

"If the people that believed the moon landing was staged on a movie lot had access to unlimited money from large carbon polluters or some other special interest who wanted to confuse people into thinking that the moon landing didn't take place, I'm sure we'd have a robust debate about it right now."

This morning, Gore appeared on MSNBC, where Andrea Mitchell read from Sarah Palin's Facebook page to ask the former vice president questions about climate change.

"Well, you know, the global warming deniers persist in this air of unreality," Gore explained. "After all, the entire north polar icecap, which has been there for most of the last 3 million years, is disappearing before our eyes. Forty percent is already gone. The rest is expected to go completely within the next decade. What do they think is causing this?

Steve Benen 3:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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The rest is expected to go completely within the next decade. What do they think is causing this?

ACORN?

Taxes?

Government regulations?

The homosexual agenda?

The erosion of family values?

I guess it doesn't map onto any of their traditional bogeymen.

Posted by: JM on December 9, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Al Gore should challenge Palin to a debate on The Discovery Channel (or wherever) so that we can see who has ideas, arguments backed up with data, and so on, and who is shilling for big energy or just plain stupid. I'd pay to see that.

Posted by: BGinCHI on December 9, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

tax cuts would solve the problem.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on December 9, 2009 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I've actually read some deniers claim that all the warming is caused by the sun, trees, and cow dung.

This ignorance and stupidity makes me wonder how humankind ever progressed.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 9, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, let's say for a minute that the skeptics are right and global warming has nothing to do with carbon emissions. Shouldn't we be doing something to protect ourselves from the effects anyway? It's not like telling a category 5 hurricane that it developed from purely natural effects is going to make it not destroy our cities.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 9, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Allan Snyder, maybe we only think we've progressed. Maybe that's because we have such a short sighted point of view. I heard somewhere that the ancient Chinese would wait five generations before deciding whether some change in their lives was good or not good.

Posted by: anomaly on December 9, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, I read that. Andrea Mitchell is a real tool (fool?).

Posted by: David in NY on December 9, 2009 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

The global warming deniers are today's Flat Earthers. Unfortunately, their willful ignorance has much more dire consequences for the rest of us.

Posted by: Missouri Mule on December 9, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

"...Is there some magic wand they can wave on it and presto! -- physics is overturned and carbon dioxide doesn't trap heat anymore? ..."

Yes, that is precisely what they think. The name of the "magic wand" is God. And they would literally rather die -- and take all of the rest of us with them -- than relinquish their beliefs.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on December 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

[...] Gore appeared on MSNBC, where Andrea Mitchell read from Sarah Palin's Facebook page [...]

Two Vice-Presidential opinions, equal at last? Facebook's limit on an entry is 3 times that of a Twitter entry. If only Gore had smarts enough to be as concise as Sarah... And when is Sarah going to get her, well-earned, Nobel Prize? I'm sure she could use the money.

Posted by: exlibra on December 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

I heart Al Gore.

Except for the Lieberman issue, but hey, there's always something.

Posted by: latts on December 9, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

This ignorance and stupidity makes me wonder how humankind ever progressed.

Have we?

The fact that humanity is now in the possession of the tools necessary to completely destroy itself, while at the same time not ridding itself of its irrational intolerances, primitive thinking and outright stupidity suggests to me that we haven't.

Posted by: DH Walker on December 9, 2009 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Unfortunately, their willful ignorance has much more dire consequences for the rest of us."

Even worse, the people who will really get screwed by global warming aren't the ones causing it and have almost no political power to stop it. No country will face more problems than Bangladesh, but they have almost no voice. To put in perspective, the entire GDP of Bangladesh is about twice Exxon-Mobil's profits and about a sixth of Exxon-Mobil's revenues. Bangladesh is a pretty small player in the debate compared to Exxon-Mobil. But hey, Bangladesh is only 150 million people. Who'd care about them?

Posted by: fostert on December 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

""After all, the entire north polar icecap, which has been there for most of the last 3 million years, is disappearing before our eyes. Forty percent is already gone. The rest is expected to go completely within the next decade. What do they think is causing this?"

Don't take Al's word for it or the rest of the scientific world. Just take a look at the brand new shipping lanes we now have.

Posted by: Marko on December 9, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Palin is a disgrace. Anybody considering ever voting for her for anything ought to realize that she would happily see millions die if it mean she gets attention and power. She is a fake christian.

Posted by: Patrick on December 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

this global warming thing, if it really and truly is happening will just weed out the riff-raff.

all the really important people -- and their paid private protectors will do very nicely for the next decade while the ice cap disappears -- and better and better as more riff-raff gets eliminated by "acts of god."

"you'll wear a japanese kimono, baby, there'll be italian shoes for me..." (only, you know, without the nuclear radiation...)

Posted by: neill on December 9, 2009 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

This morning, Gore appeared on MSNBC, where Andrea Mitchell read from Sarah Palin's Facebook page to ask the former vice president questions about climate change.

you're kidding me, right?

Posted by: g on December 9, 2009 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

I've tried the following on a few wingnuts (YMMV):

Say we make some drastic changes in numerous areas. We have cars that run on solar-power-generated electricity, trucks that run on natural gas, homes powered by wind and solar, carbon emissions are cut by 80%, industrial waste by more than 90%, turn agriculturally-produced methane into electricity, change the way we grow food, etc. etc. etc.

We do all that and climate change winds up being just a cycle.

SO WHAT?!

Literally millions of people worldwide would have jobs producing new products related to the above ... our air and water would be cleaner ... we wouldn't be dependent upon oil or OPEC or the Middle East in general ... and our children would have a planet worth having.

Why in the holy hell would you oppose that? Doesn't that benefit everyone? And how is that some liberal plot? Are you really so worried about some company's profits? Are you so blinded by ideology that anything the left likes you oppose?

Or are you really just that frickin' stupid?

I usually don't hear back after that.

And I like Gore's better. :-)

Posted by: Mark D on December 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I WOULD say that we have to hit back against the end all argument for the climate change deniers, which is the recent warming spell is simply a natural cycle of the Earth's atmosphere.

I WOULD debunk that claim with scientific evidence, but then we'd be back to square one.

50 years of the boob tube people, this is what we get.

It's the inevitable result of the dumbing down of America. Or rather, the Palinization of America.

We are REGRESSING from the age of reason.

Posted by: citizen_pain on December 9, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

brand new shipping lanes we now have
Sweet.

It's really not about these people being stupid or "flat-earthers". It's flatout dishonesty. How could anyone be against curbing pollutants regardless of climate data? How could anyone oppose healthcare reform? Healthcare Reform, War, Climate Change - it's just all about the money.

Posted by: Bobo Teh Clown on December 9, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Of course ice will melt. Since polar caps are made of ice, it follows that sooner later they will diminish in size.

Look who is ignorant about high school physics! It's as if Mr. Gore was sleeping when they taught about latent heat in the seventh grade. All ice has latent heat and is therefore the dictates of the second law of thermodynamics demand that it melt. No need to invoke God or some supernatural power here, so even the Godless Gore should be able to comprehend that.

Posted by: gregor on December 9, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

All ice has latent heat and is therefore the dictates of the second law of thermodynamics demand that it melt.

Don't understand that whole "acceleration" concept, do you?

Posted by: DH Walker on December 9, 2009 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's the sun, stoopid!

Posted by: Dumb and Dumber on December 9, 2009 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Of course ice will melt. Since polar caps are made of ice, it follows that sooner later they will diminish in size.

You're joking right? Right?

Posted by: Bobo Teh Clown on December 9, 2009 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's really not about these people being stupid or "flat-earthers". It's flatout dishonesty.

It really is both. There are a number of people at the top (ie, scientists who work for the oil industry) who lie their asses off in ways that would make Aaron Eckhart's character from "Thank You For Smoking" puke. Then there are more professional bullshit artists (like Limbaugh) who repeat their crap for blatantly partisan reasons.

And at the bottom, are the blithering idiot millions who would believe Limbaugh if he said that the sky was orange and shit tastes like ice cream. Some of them hear these arguments, and fancy terms like "latent heat", and repeat them on liberal blogs like they're some kind of magical incantation without having the slightest idea what they're talking about.

So, it's both things. A flood of deliberate, motivated lying leading to an ocean of rank stupidity.

Posted by: DH Walker on December 9, 2009 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

News flash, the prople who did not believe the moon landing happened, did have access to tons of cash. The Bush/Cheney Presidency was the result. (My dad would say I'm being unfair, and drawing a too broad a picture of the Bush Presidency. And he would be right...

So let me correct this. I pretty sure Cheney knows we landed on the moon. I have my doubts about Bush's beliefs though.)

Posted by: Kurt on December 9, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

This morning, Gore appeared on MSNBC, where Andrea Mitchell read from Sarah Palin's Facebook page to ask the former vice president questions about climate change.

Auntie Andrea needs to go back to cleaning up after Little Luke. Al Gore must have the patience of Job because if it had been me, and someone used that twit Palin's Facebook page as a point of discussion, I'd have gotten up and walked out of the studio and told the producers the whole thing was just beyond insulting. I don't know how Al's head didn't just explode right there.

This isn't just suffering fools. This is suffering complete brain-dead morons who's presence on the air as "journalists" is a daily insult to the American public.

Posted by: electrolite on December 9, 2009 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Brian Williams NBC Nightly news is presenting this as "he said, she said," gotta love it.

Posted by: Marianne19 on December 9, 2009 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Is Mrs. Greenspan really that lame?? She sure talks a good story and then falls flat on her sword when she has to actually face FACTS and REALITY...Reading to Al Gore from sister's facebook page is a NASTY insult...TO HER LACK OF INTELLIGENCE!!

Posted by: Winski on December 9, 2009 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6554023/Giant-iceberg-spotted-off-Australia.html

While I can't claim to be an expert on global climate models, I do know that something's going on.

When you look at the Keeling curve (record since 1959) it's clear that CO2 in the atmosphere is spiking ever upward. Yes, there are dips, but these are seasonal fluctuations as the earth's forests sequester CO2 on an annual basis.

Ocean temperatures are rising. The jelly-fish know this.

The glaciers are melting. Check out the Alps.

The permafrost is melting. And even Sarah admits this. Heck, she had to deal with it before she bailed out as governor.

Sarah believes in seances, not science.

To be a true Christian requires far more humility than her Facebook pontificates.

Al Gore was visited by aliens from the future who convinced him that we have to stop burning fossil fuels because in the future (where they're from) a huge asteroid knocks out the earth's atmosphere. Hence the fossil fuels are needed to rebuild the earth's protective blanket. bljhhgf5y!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 9, 2009 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Remember Reagan's "killer trees" ? No movement in GOP intelligence.
Exlibra "Two Vice-Presidential opinions, equal at last? ". Don't confuse a 2 term Vice President - with what's her name. You actually have to be/have been a Vice president to have a Vice Presidential opinion-got it?

Posted by: Ann on December 9, 2009 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Overheard this morning: "It's cold this December. If there was global warming it wouldn't be cold."

Don't attack, I know the difference between weather and climate. Apparently a lot of other folks don't.

A political party that exploits ignorance doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. What the hell ever happened the Republican party of Barry Goldwater and Teddy Roosevelt?

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 9, 2009 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Ron, they withered away and now nut cases have the reigns. BTW, there's a good enough editorial by Tom Friedman about "Going Cheney on Climate" (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/opinion/09friedman.html
.) Too bad he has to use Cheney as a foil to perhaps expiate Iraq guilt (as a commenter noted), but he does use the One Percent Doctrine as a challenge to confront conservatives with the irony, they like everyone else should support trying to head off a possible bad consequence with possibly horrible repercussions. I know, it's not the best analogy but it makes a good argument in the vein of "even if it's low probability, we should prevent it anyway .,." etc.

Posted by: neil b on December 9, 2009 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK
The glaciers are melting. Check out the Alps
I agree, but would add -- check out the Rockies, the Andes, Mount Kilimanjaro, Alaska, Scandinavia and just about everywhere else that has lots of glaciers. It wouldn't necesarily be significant if it was just one or even two or three of those, but it is when glaciers are retreating everywhere except East Antarctica and maybe the Himalayas. Glaciers may be retreating in the Himalays too, but I haven't specifically seen reports and comparison pictures for them as I for all the other areas I mentioned. Posted by: tanstaafl on December 9, 2009 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

I pretty sure Cheney knows we landed on the moon. I have my doubts about Bush's beliefs though. - Kurt @ 17:45

If there were brown people on the moon, I _know_ Cheney would have an opinion about that. I think Bush just wants to head back in the direction of the moon just to check his suspicions. If either of them pointed a telescope into the heavens they'd drop a load.

Posted by: Kevin on December 9, 2009 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

This morning, Gore appeared on MSNBC, where Andrea Mitchell read from Sarah Palin's Facebook page to ask the former vice president questions about climate change.

you're kidding me, right?
----------------

For Mitchell, this represents a bold journey beyond mere subject-matter expertise deep into original research.

I really have come to loathe our nation's fine journalists.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on December 9, 2009 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Glaciers may be retreating in the Himalays too, but I haven't specifically seen reports and comparison pictures for them as I for all the other areas I mentioned."

Oh don't worry, the Himalayan glaciers are melting too. But who cares? It's only a billion or so people that will be affected.

http://www.france24.com/en/node/4941764

There is some controversy about this because the region is so inaccessible, but I can tell you that the Mekong's annual rise is consistently much larger now than it historically has been. Look for news about flooding in Laos in March. Pakxe is now flooding every other year.

Posted by: fostert on December 9, 2009 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Exlibra "Two Vice-Presidential opinions, equal at last? ". Don't confuse a 2 term Vice President - with what's her name. You actually have to be/have been a Vice president to have a Vice Presidential opinion-got it?
Posted by: Ann on December 9, 2009 at 7:22

I encourage you to visit PA -- and read the comments here -- more often; a single-time parachute-in isn't likely to tell you who's who and what's what... Got it?

Posted by: exlibra on December 9, 2009 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Exlibra "Two Vice-Presidential opinions, equal at last? ". Don't confuse a 2 term Vice President - with what's her name. You actually have to be/have been a Vice president to have a Vice Presidential opinion-got it?

Sorry to be impertinent Ann, but just who the hell are you? exlibra is well established and one of the most respected regulars on these threads. You kinda stepped on your own genitals with this one, toots. Before you jump in you might read more than one comment and form an opinion, since snark doesn't come across in text as well as sanctimony. Got it?

Posted by: Blue Girl on December 9, 2009 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

D'oh! Had I read on, I would have seen that exlibra already dispensed with Ann herself and didn't need my help.

Posted by: Blue Girl on December 9, 2009 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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