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March 24, 2007

Dumber Than a Sixth Grader

Al Gore is not advised to try his luck on the new Fox show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? He doesn't seem to be nearly as smart as the 6th graders at Trail Ridge Middle School in Longmont, Colorado, who put global warming on trial and found it guilty of fraud.

Instead of presenting the kids with Gore's surreal horror film An Inconvenient Truth as if it were factual, paleontology teacher Ken Poppe allowed students to present both sides of the debate while acting as prosecution and defense. By a vote of 7 to 4 the jury confirmed that global warming is part of a natural cycle that is not caused by human activity.

Unfortunately Prince Albert wasn't in attendance. He might have learned something.

gore_big_mouth.jpg
First in demogoguery, last in smarts.

On a tip from V the K.

Posted by Van Helsing at March 24, 2007 12:08 PM

Comments

When reading the article, I was amused to see that a mother expected the teacher to show Algore's movie as an undisputed truth, but "allowed" her child to participate in the exercise when she was told that a variety of sources would be used. I'd be interested to know if her son was on the jury...

Posted by: Pam at March 24, 2007 3:27 PM

So let me get this straight: we're supposed to believe that an international coalition of scientists, who compiled and debated decades of research spanning hundreds of millenia of Earth's history, are less credible than a group of grade-schoolers who did no original research and had one day to gather research online.

Oh, and you didn't mention that the students knew where the teacher stands on the issue, or that the lead prosecutor was the teacher's son. Yeah, that seems fair and impartial.

Posted by: Aaron A. at March 24, 2007 4:09 PM

So, let me get this straight... we're supposed to believe a group of socialist control freaks when they tell us the Earth is DOOMED unless we let government bureaucrats micromanage every aspect of our lives.

Let me also get this straight... the Earth is DOOMED unless I give up incandescent light bulbs and driving my SUV... but Al Gore gets to consume 20X as much electricity as I do, and fly everywhere in private jets.

Let me also get this straight... Al Gore clams we all have to buy carbon off-sets, and he runs a business that sells carbon offsets, but his motives are entirely altruistic?

Let me also get this straight... Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto are also showing signs of warming, but all warming on Earth is the result of human activity.

Let me also get this straight... the mighty Al Gore's conclusions on Global Warming are irrefutable... but he refuses to debate with skeptics, and indeed demands that all skeptics be silenced.

And let me finally get this straight... the same international scientists who were wrong about running out of oil by 1997, wrong about global famine taking place in the 1980s, wrong about nuclear winter, and wrong when they predicted a new ice age in the 1970's are suddenly absolutely infallible when it comes to predicting catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming?

Yeah, that's about as straight as Andrew Sullivan wearing lace panties in a port-a-potty at an 'n'Synch concert.

Posted by: V the K at March 24, 2007 8:30 PM

VtheK,

The Sullivan-in-lace image you've inflicted on us here is nearly as disturbing as the one of Gore posted above. My only question - was that expression on his face the result of his explanation of what he would do if he encountered Sullivan at the 'n'Synch concert or was he merely just blowing "carbon credit" bubbles like the one suspended in front of his face?

Posted by: tfhr at March 24, 2007 10:06 PM

I wonder what bill oriely has to say about climate change..? Ohh, the republicans have dropped the ball, climate change is real...damn. (see my link)

Posted by: Calvin Jones at March 25, 2007 3:13 AM

tthr, I apologize for the imagery. But I'm glad I didn't use the one where I describe Al Gore as being like a Catholic Priest lecturing on the evils of sexual immorality while simultaneously enjoying lap dances from twenty naked whores.

Oops.

Also, isn't it funny how only American carbon contributes to global warming? Al Gore and his merry band of hypocrites don't bother to include major polluters like China, India, Brazil, or Mexico in their little Kyoto carbon capping scheme.

Posted by: V the K at March 25, 2007 4:25 AM

>>>So let me get this straight: we're supposed to believe that an international coalition of scientists, who compiled and debated decades of research spanning hundreds of millenia of Earth's history,...

First, they were NOT "a coalition", that suggests that they worked together and shared notes.
Second, they DID NOT "debate" the topic. Debate is something that leftists will not alow.
Third, some scientists have revieled that they were COERCED into supporting "global warming" by loss of status, grants, position and credibility. Some have reported THREATS of censure and even BODILY HARM.
Finaly, some of "your" scientists have either changed their minds or say that their findings were corrupted, or that conclusions that say that "global warming" was real BUT was caused by factors OTHER than human activity were ignored.

Posted by: KHarn at March 25, 2007 4:59 AM

First, they were NOT "a coalition"... Second, they DID NOT "debate" the topic... Third, some scientists have revieled that they were COERCED into supporting "global warming"... Finaly, some of "your" scientists have either changed their minds...

I appreciate that your post actually argued the merits of the IPCC report, rather than engaging in pointless namecalling. Rather than arguing semantics of a panel vs. a coalition, here's the BBC's rundown of the IPCC and their report; call it what you will. Such accusations of coercion and suppression are certainly new to me; I'd be interested in seeing your sources. We must not tolerate censorship of scientific findings for political ends.

V the K says:
Also, isn't it funny how only American carbon contributes to global warming?

Of course other countries contribute too, but: (a) it's easier for an American politician-turned-lecturer to influence Americans' behavior than, say, Brazilians' behavior. We tend to trust people familiar to us, people who speak our language, both literally and figuratively.
(b) although the U.S. only constitutes 5% of the world population, we're responsible for 25% of its pollution, greenhouse and otherwise. We're the ones who can make the biggest difference. That said, there are offset companies who carry out efficiency projects in places like India and Honduras, where residents still rely on inefficient, dirty, sometimes physically hazardous technology.

Posted by: Aaron A. at March 25, 2007 11:26 AM

The fact that the US may only be 5% of the population generating 25% of the CO2 is no more relevant than saying Vermonth emits x% of the world CO2 or the EU emits y% of the worlds CO2.

What matters is that the rest of the world is generating 75% of it and emits 3 times as much CO2 as the US - doing 3 times the alleged damage. And in the future it will probably climb to 80% then 85% as countries like China (who builds 3 new coal fired power plants per day) continue to belch out the evil politically incorrect gas.

Then there is the whole issue of rising temperatures on planets like Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and moons like Titan and Triton. Of course since Al Gore the master gasbag cant claim to be able to do anything about that he ignores it.

Posted by: General Jack D. Ripper at March 25, 2007 5:05 PM

Maybe the Catholic church should start selling "Chastity Offsets," so every time you cheat on your wife, a nun gets fifty bucks.

It would be about the same as Al Gore's carbon offset scam.

Posted by: V the K at March 25, 2007 6:48 PM

Speaking of retards. I'm sorry, I meant, "special people."

Posted by: V the K at March 26, 2007 4:53 AM

"Chastity Offsets"...man that's some funny stuff.

I can see the ad now: "For a mere $100 per offset, you can be excused from three 'alter-boy-indescrepancies'. For $200, we throw in an extra alter-boy. See a representative about our annual savings plan."

Society never seems to learn. I remember being amazed when I first studied medieval history and the causes of the Protestant reformation. Actually selling indulgences... They didn't do a lick of good, other than to assuage consciences while making other rich. And here we have the same thing with carbon offsets. People would absolutely never take this seriously if they really took global warming seriously.

Posted by: NudeGayWhalesForJesus at March 26, 2007 7:59 AM

And as for all the comments by our pro-global warming friend(s)...

I believe that anyone who genuinely thought global warming was real and was actually interested in the truth would certainly not throw off any debate, and would investigate opposing ideas. They would want to KNOW. But for the most part, "true believers" are no more interested in the truth about global warming than they are about 9/11.

What they want is a good old fashioned conspiracy theory - one where the villian is 1) republican, 2) white, 3) capitalist, 4) conservative, 5) secretly harboring a deep-seated hatred towards the oppressed peoples of the earth, as well as a desire to kill kittens. If they're in the oil industry or Haliburton, even better!

Just another "blame the wasp" propoganda campaign.

I would take them more seriously if they would:

1) include EVERYONE in Kyoto,
2) stop buying carbon offsets while driving SUV's,
3) explore ALL the scientific theories and be open to debate, instead of claiming a 'consensus',
4) stop saying any particular government or government agency "endorses" one side or the other, but instead "endorses" open debate (this is science, not politics, remember?),
5) stop silencing the opposition (what are they afraid of?).

Posted by: NudeGayWhalesForJesus at March 26, 2007 8:18 AM

Maybe the Catholic church should start selling "Chastity Offsets," so every time you cheat on your wife, a nun gets fifty bucks.

This one doesn't have nuns, but the concept is similar. As for the "indulgences" argument, the key difference here is that the preists were selling some ethereal "surplus" of good deeds; they were being paid for something they already had to do. Carbon offsets (at least those purchased from reputable providers) can be traced to either new or expanded operations of clean energy projects. Example?

On the macro level, any shift in the demand curve causes a shift in supply. Because consumers are willing to pay extra for wind energy (for instance, by purchasing REC's from one's power company), wind becomes more profitable than other sources of energy. Energy providers will take note of the higher profit margins, and will enter the wind business to take advantage.

Or maybe you're looking for specific examples. You may have seen this already, given your recent assault on TerraPass, but they're revisiting one of their projects after BusinessWeek ran an article suggesting that offsets were simply funding a methane-flaring project that was required by law anyway. Their findings so far indicate that (a) their initial analysis was correct, (b) the project was done on a much bigger scale than the law would have required, and (c) that they did so solely for offset revenue (offsets provide the only revenue stream from methane flaring). Thus, offsets are funding real and calculable reductions in greenhouse gasses.

Personally, I believe that a voluntary system, once the shady players shake out of the system, could be just the thing to prevent government interference, such as the emissions taxes that Gore proposed.

Posted by: Aaron A. at March 26, 2007 11:22 AM

hmm

Posted by: Anonymous at March 26, 2007 11:46 AM

In practice, the purchase of off-sets leads to a society of energy haves and have-nots. With, of course, Al Gore with his private jets and his three massive houses on the have side.

There is no such thing as an honest carbon trading scheme because there is no natural market for carbon off-sets. They are an artificial, political scheme based on the dubious supposition that human activity is the sole or primary source of climate change.

Posted by: V the K at March 26, 2007 12:43 PM

But, the voluntary taxation idea has some merit. They should put a box on every tax return that asks "Do you believe that human activity is leading to catastrophic Global Warming and do you want Government to do something about it?" Everybody who checks "Yes" is taxed an extra $600, which the Government can say they'll spend to fight Manbearpig, although it will probably really go to More things for Robert Byrd to Name After Himself.

Posted by: V the K at March 26, 2007 12:57 PM

V the K, now really. Lets get the socialist mantra down pat shall we? :)

If you select "Yes" to contribute to the government fight against 'Climate change' then the formulation for the tax must be progressive. The more income a person has, the higher the tax. Though I am sure AlGore will ensure carbon offets can be used to reduce the tax.

Posted by: Anna puna at March 26, 2007 4:44 PM

V the K:
There is no such thing as an honest carbon trading scheme because there is no natural market for carbon off-sets. They are an artificial, political scheme based on the dubious supposition that human activity is the sole or primary source of climate change.

How is this different from paying somebody to take your trash every week, or hiring a maid to clean the house? We're paying for somebody to clean up the mess that we make. Whether you believe in global warming or not, we (humanity in general, and the US in particular) produce a lot of waste; that's pretty hard to deny. Our cars and power plants expel CO2 and sulfuric compounds, our garbage rots and generates methane, pesticides leach into our rivers, and so much more. Traditionally, we haven't cared, because we don't incur any direct cost. Carbon offsets are a means of internalizing this cost, and paying for somebody to clean up the mess that we make. Offsets are not the solution in and of themselves, and the folks at TerraPass and NativeEnergy* are quick to point that out. but it's a way of slowing the damage and inspiring technological advancement to make clean energy widely available and affordable.

Anna:
If you select "Yes" to contribute to the government fight against 'Climate change' then the formulation for the tax must be progressive.

That's the "ability to pay" principle; it's been a lynchpin of our tax code since there was a tax code. But you're right insofar as income is not the most accurate measure of consumption. There's a positive correlation, but it's certainly not 1:1.

Despite all the chatter in the news, I highly doubt that such a tax would ever go through. Politicians wouldn't support it because they'd get the boot, and ensuring compliance would be too cumbersome. Either we'd have to attach the tax to income (which again, isn't the best way to do it), attach the tax to industrial production (which tends to be regressive, as low-income consumers spend more of their income on consumables), or conduct "emissions audits," which would involve a whole new bunch of feds snooping through our business. That's why I like the voluntary system; it allows consumers to voice their demand for clean energy, which creates incentive for technological advancement, without the government stepping in to "help."

* What's with the no-spacing thing? Is there suddenly some taboo on businesses having a space in their names?

Posted by: Aaron A. at March 28, 2007 10:22 AM

The fact that the US may only be 5% of the population generating 25% of the CO2 is no more relevant than saying Vermonth emits x% of the world CO2 or the EU emits y% of the worlds CO2.

People other than Al Gore emit 99.9999% of America's CO2, so why do people rag on him? That's right, because he's producing more than his per-capita share of waste. Which is exactly what we as a country are doing. It is relevant, because we're creating more waste than anybody else. Even factoring in China's population, they're still producing less than half what we are.

However, you are quite correct in saying that if China and India wish to achieve a European standard of living (which is still pretty frugal compared to ours), their massive populations will make them far worse offenders than we ever were. Since pollution affects global resources, we do need to include them in any sensible plan to reduce pollution.

As for the accusations of interplanetary warming, there's not enough data to suggest a long-term trend, which is exactly what climate change is about. Also, while some planets and moons are warming up, others are cooling; there are over 100 planets and moons in our solar system; you can't just cherry-pick certain ones and call it data.

Posted by: Aaron A. at March 28, 2007 10:46 AM