Pushing Buttons

The British video that explodes people (including kids) for not agreeing to reduce their carbon footprint is triggering outrage from all sides of the climate spectrum. (See, for example the threads at WUWT and Climate Progress.)

At first blush, I can understand why many are offended by the video. And I can see why climate change advocates like Bill McKibben find it counterproductive. Personally, I don’t think the gag works as satire, for the reasons laid out by Steve Mosher here.

But it seems to me that the umbrage to the video stems less from the violence than the content it is associated with. After all, entertainment in western culture has been saturated with garish violence for decades. I watched Bugs Bunny as a child (while eating my Lucky Charms). As a teenager, I found Monthy Python hilarious. Kids today are growing up with Phineas and Ferb, which features an evil scientist and lots of destructive mayhem.

And let’s not forget that for a while the creators of South Park “killed” off Kenny at the end of every episode.

So why all the fuss over the British video? I’m interested in hearing why it’s pushing your buttons or why you think it’s causing an uproar.

UPDATE (10/2): I Surveyed the landscape for some varied response. RPJ calls it “the worst climate PR stunt ever.” Tim Lambert found the video to be “funny.”  Joe Romm calls it “offensive, idiotic” and “disgusting.” Tom Fuller, in a guest post at WUWT, is equally disgusted, but he sees the video as a logical extension of Romm’s rhetoric. The Guardian, in a follow-up, reports:

The charities that backed a Richard Curtis film for the 10:10 environmental campaign said today that they were “absolutely appalled” when they saw the director’s four-minute short, which was withdrawn from circulation amid a storm of protest.

The Guardian also has this quote from the film’s creative team:

At 10:10 we’re all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.

90 Responses to “Pushing Buttons”

  1. Gene says:

    Context is everything.  Consider the scene in the movie Yellowbeard where the ship’s captain asks the latest group of press gang victims “Is there anyone here who does not wish to be a part of Her Majesty’s Navy?”  One steps forward and is promptly shot.  The question “Is there anyone else who does not wish to be a part of Her Majesty’s Navy?” gets no more takers.  Hilarious as comedy, it would be wholly inappropriate as a commercial supporting resumption of the draft.

  2. Barry Woods says:

    They are trying to spin it as a joke, that people did not get British humour”¦..
    No”¦ I still laugh at Mr Creosote (monty Python ““ Meaning of LIfe, or the black night, inceasingly limbless, due to his irrational zeal)

    This was different, ignore the blood and gore, it was characterisisng those who disagree, or even not that bothered, as lazy, misfits, stupid looking, outsiders, etc”¦.

    In a school, the voice of authority, has a casual indifference, even those children not blown up look shocked.. Same in the office, people who don’t fit in with the crowd, the boss, YOU, Choose, No pressure message. (the footballers are too dim, to see what they are involved in, but afgain, the manager coach are the authority here)
    With Gillian anderson, you have to FULLY agree, not just do a little bit, or RED BUTTON.

    I imagine, they thought it was funny, and at a level, one RED button might be.. BUT four times”¦ You Choose, No pressure (4 times)

    They (creative, rich elite media types, no doubt very inteligent, but no science qualification, I have 2 degrees, hard science)feel superior to those who disagree, they are the elite, we the uneducated masses to be looked down upon.
    It shows there feeling for people that do not agree”¦ misfits, stupid, lazy, ugly, scruffy, outsiders, the bullied, that don’t fit in”¦ and they take it to an extreme (blow them up). But in reality, it is about bullying, excluding anyone who does not agree, labbeling, calling them an outsider”¦.

    Where have we seen that before in history (cockroaches , in rwanda, the 1930’s) jokes, not a parallel people will say”¦ don’t go over the top they say, ONLY a JOKE, don’t you have a sense of Humour”¦..

    But how many people became desensized to “˜DENIAR’ in the last few years (casual use by some). Powerful message in the film, don’t satnd out, don’t disagree, don’t even be indifferent”¦ You are with us or against us”¦”¦ so it is BULLYING, controlling, with only the extreme over the top violence, allowing them to say it is a joke.

    This type of humour is usually anti-authority, making you feel for the underdog”¦ Comeuppance for being mistreated, etc..

    NOT here, merely not being that bothered, brings down a casual violence, by this evangelical zeal.
    For the people in authority DO know where you live ““ “˜We Know Where You Live’ (extreme greenpeace thinking/mentality).

  3. Alex Harvey says:

    Hi Keith,
    I think this is just a great example of an advertisement that was in poor taste. Sure, if you’ve gone to the movies to watch Freddie Krueger, then you’ll expect a little bit of gore. This ad tries to be funny, and fails terribly. After failing to be funny, there’s nothing left but the unwanted gore. And we haven’t even started on the nature of the message being communicated, i.e. ‘all those people out there who disagree with us are bad people’.
    Best, Alex

  4. David44 says:

    It’s not entertainment, Kieth.  It’s propaganda, and it’s not funny.  It could be mistaken as self-parody, but clearly isn’t.
    It reminds me of the kind of anti-human crap Ingrid Newkirk puts out at PETA. “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”  In an apparent attempt to be edgy, they have revealed the heart of darkness at the core of RADICAL environmentalism.

  5. Lazar says:

    this one’s easy…
    the video is disgusting
    the creators are idiots
    the denialists making hay out of it are also idiots

  6. Keith Kloor says:

    FYI: I’m heading out for the day, and won’t be able to respond until tonight. But please do keep the reactions coming. Also, don’t include links if you want to avoid being stuck in moderation until tonight.

  7. RickA says:

    It is pushing people’s buttons because the underlying message is that global warming is a life and death issue.
    If you are not with us (agree to reduce your carbon footprint – no pressure) you are against us.
    My read is that because the author’s believe this is a life and death issue, if you are not with them you should die, because if you are with them, then they believe you are killing them by causing global warming.
    The subtext of this message is that the ends justifies the means.
    Of course, to most people the subtext is all out of proportion to the issue and fundamentally wrong and immoral.
    Not only that, but a  large number of people do not believe that the Earth warming another degree by 2100 is going to have the large negative effects portrayed.
    I do think there is a strain of eco-terrorism out there and I expect the people who produced this are very very sympathetic to that point of view.
    Those are my thoughts anyway.

  8. Barry Woods says:

    As you can imagine, the Guardain comments are usually ALL things AGW….  Don’t need my comments… jts environmentalists, response..

    What were they thinking.. Must be a classic example of groupthink (in the production of this)

    I thought this one said a lot..

    1 October 2010 11:26PM

    What struck me were the faces of the children after their friends had been blown to pulp, astonishment. As if understanding had suddenly registered to their young brains what “no pressure” really means when it comes from the mouth of an ecowarrior. If it were supposed to be light hearted and funny they would not have included those images of fear on the faces of the children who had complied to their green carbon message. This tells me this was never meant to be humour, it was a deadly serious attempt to intill a climate of fear. And then the final sequence when the girl has given her time for free, she is a supporter, but it is not enough, she must also be disposed of.
    In Cambodia they executed people for owning glasses. I think this come close to that mindset.
    This really is about inciting hatred and violence against anyone who is outside the paranoid world of extreme green politics. I hope it really causes a storm in the media, but I am not holding my breath. The Guardian actually seem to be proud of their association with the film!
    The comments in the Comment are Free section are interesting, it starts with all the greenies saying how funny it all is before a deluge of hostile comments arrives. The hostile comments have approval ratings of up to 500, the people who find it funny are left languishing with very few approval ratings. This has been a big mistake.

  9. Stu says:

    Hi Barry- yeah I’ve quoted this one a couple of times as well. And I’ve been quoted myself on another blog, here
    Sorry Keith, but I need to post another link, which I think is extremely relevant in this circumstance. It’s a short clip-
    Doctor Bronowski Defends Science
    Please watch. The messages embedded in this latest ‘ad’ are too close to the issues raised by Dr Bronowski in this clip. If this is what passes for mainstream environmentalism these days (mainstream support by the Guardian) then I’m very concerned.

  10. Shub says:

    “the video is disgusting”
    Eh, Is that all?
    As in all the blood splattered all over is really making a mess of things, right? All the sticky, gooey stuff is disgusting?
    Or disgusting for giving ‘denialists’ an opportunity to ‘make hay’?
    Disgusting why, Lazar?

  11. Lazar says:

    “As in”
    wrong again
    Why don’t you just ask, instead of playing loaded guessing games…
    “Disgusting why, Lazar?”
    Morally disgusting for depicting violence and the threat of violence as acceptable methods of achieving their ends. Morally disgusting for depicting human life as worthless. Morally disgusting for projecting images of extreme violence into the homes of the young and impressionable. Okay?

  12. Ed Forbes says:

    I personally love the fact that 10:10 brought this vid out.

    It will do almost as much to turn off the undecided voter as did Climategate.

    The fight over CO2 is with the undecided voter, not the committed activists that come to sites such as this one.

    Great “own goal” guys…keep them coming!!

  13. kdk33 says:

    “So why all the fuss over the British video? ”

    It’s like pornography.  People know it when they see it.  Most, anyway.

  14. Shub says:

    Eh again Lazar.
    You are saying this:
    “Why don’t you just ask, instead of playing loaded guessing games”¦”
    Answer: So that you know it is, for those trying to communicate with you. 😉 This stuff is what you do all the time
    Anyway, have fun man.

  15. Lazar says:

    “So that you know it is”
    know what is?
    “This stuff”
    what stuff?

  16. Zajko says:

    I just saw it for the first time this morning, and I laughed, though I think it was largely at the naivete of the people who made it. It’s a bad video in the sense that it can easily be interpreted in ways that its producers did not intend (and I agree – four times?), but to toss it into the global warming debate specifically… sigh.
    The feeding frenzy and “victory” which followed should have been totally predictable.

  17. Shub says:

    ‘playing loaded guessing games’ is what you have done.
    I found it funny that you used this video as an opportunity to take a dig at the ‘denialists’.

  18. Vinny Burgoo says:

    The main problem with the 10:10 film is that it doesn’t make sense. If, when the button-pushers said ‘No pressure, it’s up to you whether you do anything, it’s your choice, don’t worry’ before pushing the death-button, they had used heavy sarcasm,  that would have made a kind of sense. Ditto if button-wielding eco-fascist maniacs had shoved the emollient teacher, manager, coach and producer aside and said that things were too urgent for such pussyfooting. But, as it is, the only explanation for such placid, reassuring, dissociative slaughter is that the button-pushers are psychotic.
    Mmmmm, yeah! Woohoo! A film about schizoid eco-fascists! Hey, that’ll be a rib-tickler that’ll help to mitigate climate change and no mistake, guv’nor! Go for it, Fran!
    It’s natural – sustainable, even – to suspect that a lesser level of psychosis allowed such a film to get made. What were they all thinking of?
    (21st Century Schizoid Fran? Maybe not, but I bet it’s The Court of the Crimson Queen at Spanner Films and other parts of the 10:10 empire.)

  19. Lazar says:

    “is what you have done”
    where did I do that, Shub?
    “an opportunity to take a dig”
    Giggle… it’s not enough that I criticize ‘my’ ‘alarmist’ ‘side’, I must ignore that ‘your’ ‘side’ are also being idiots... the wonderful workings of the mind of a soccer fan.

  20. Sashka says:

    I can’t say this video pushed my buttons. I am really not that impressionable. Definitely it is in a very bad taste and counterproductive.
    I am of very low opinion of intellectual ability of both extreme warmers and denialists. What was shocking to me in this video is that the creators are much dumber than even I, with all my contempt, could ever imagine.  Anyone who thought this was a good idea (in any sense of the word) is a retard.
    If I were a serious warmer I would reconsider my views just because I don’t want to be associated with these idiots in any way possible. I don’t want to support the same cause as them, I don’t want to be in the same room with them and I don’t want to take **** on the same acre.

  21. Brendan H says:

    “I’m interested in hearing why it’s pushing your buttons or why you think it’s causing an uproar.”

    The message of the video is simple: agree with us or we will eliminate you.

    I assume the intention of the video is to subvert climate sceptics’ paranoia about warmers’ intentions. But it goes horribly wrong because the message is utterly confused.

    The unpleasant authority figures are presumably supposed to be the butt of the joke. But they are the ones pushing the actual message of the video (that global warming is a problem). This serves to undermine that message, because the viewer identifies with the victims, the non-conformists.

    Given that confusion, most people will pick up on the overt meaning (kill the non-conformists) because that’s the one that is consistent with the narrative.

    What I find the most astonishing is that the creators of the video never foresaw the reaction. How could they be so clunky? One suspects that they are living in an echo chamber.

    I’m beginning to see the sceptics’ point of view in regard to at least some of the ravings coming from people who support my position. (And yes, there are plenty of nutters on the sceptic side, but they are not my responsibility.)

    And if I’m beginning to see the sceptics’ point of view, you can bet there are plenty of others in the middle ground who are thinking along similar lines. Could be time for warmers to start cleaning house.

  22. Shub says:

    It took some Socratic midwifery to pull out a simple expression of condemnation from you. This was even as you tried to underpin that teensy bit of something that was only vaguely critical of the video (‘digusting’) you offered, joined with another swipe at your skeptical peers.
    Now, you think you’ve said enough to condemn your side, that in all resurgent righteousness, you want to resume calling the skeptical gang idiots?

  23. laursaurus says:

    The most deeply disturbing aspect of this “mini film” is the level of depravity required to possibly find the grotesque murder of children humorous.  Apparently environmentalism needs to resort to terrorism in our post 9/11 world.
    How can you possibly excuse this as a mere difference of culture? Dismissing the public reaction as merely “offended” or even “shocked” completely misses the mark.  Traumatized, disturbed, or terrorized comes much closer to describing the public outrage.  We are now living in a world where suicide bombers are no joke.
    So would they care to expand that message to homosexuals? Unless you march in lock-step with the politically correct mandate, your existence will be non-chalantly and systematically obliterated. No pressure really means  dissenters are unworthy of our efforts. We are not to bother to convince or persuade these non-human beings.  Environmentalism shameless promotes it’s totalitarian ideology. Imagine the Tea Party or the NewYork City residents who object to the Ground Zero Mosque (or basically substitute any other movement) for environmentalism.

  24. Lazar says:

    “It took some Socratic midwifery to pull out a simple expression of condemnation from you.”
    Two lies in one sentence…
    a) your claim that calling the behaviour ‘disgusting’ is not a condemnation (google “condemned as disgusting”)
    b)  your claim that receiving a straight response to a straight question, at the first time of asking, shows a requirement of “Socratic midwifery” to elicit a straight response
    Anyone can look up the thread and see that you are lying. You are a known liar. Why do you bother?

    P.S. Shub. I know that when ‘alarmists’ make strong public condemnations of the video it ruins its usefulness as propaganda for ‘your’ ‘side’ (see the glee expressed by Ed Forbes in #12). Get over it.

  25. Shub says:

    Back to the name-calling are we, Lazar?
    It took a bit of taking your own words and showing them for what they are, to elicit a proper clear response from you. If not for that, you’d probably be calling skeptics more names without making clear what your ‘disgusting’ meant. And now, you say that I asked a ‘straight question’?
    Let me see here…would my straight question look …maybe like this:
    “What did you mean by disgusting?”
    And yes, the video is disgusting at many levels. I wouldn’t trust a warmist, seeing as the kind of thoughts that seem to run in their heads, for which of those reasons  a full blooded warmist would think it to be disgusting.
    Of course, such videos are useful. There will be strong condemnations from all round today. But it will be those skeptical, who will remind you, over and over again, what the AGW movement has wrought and crystallized into.

  26. laursaurus says:

    Wow! Thanks for the link to CiF on the Guardian website, Barry.
    Can someone explain who or what ” luvvies” are?
    I guessing it’s Brit slang for what we Yanks refer to as “Limousine liberals”. Am I close?
    It was interesting to see so many people having the same reaction I did and all the other good points. I’m relieved to know the whole country has gone mad.
    Here in US, we all have met devoted anglophiles who find Brittish comedy more high brow compared to the stuff made in Hollywood. Montey Python movies are so much more intellectually humorous than we quaint American can’t appreciate. Sorry but instantly slaughtering innocent children splattering blood, chunks of flesh, and bit of bone that covered the other screaming. The “good” little greeny kids don’t deserve  to have that emotional trauma inflicted on them either

  27. Keith Kloor says:

    I have an update at the end of my post that surveys responses from varied parties. I’ll continue to update over the next couple of days.

  28. Rui Sousa says:

    The message of the video was very simple.
    There are people who feel no pressure to change their habits to save the planet from global warming. Characters with authority (teacher, coach) ironically agree with them, but them give them a clash with reality by blowing them up.
    Blowing up is just an exaggeration of a smack  in the face or shake up. I love Brit humour, so I have no quarrel with the gore, violence, irony or hyperbole on the video.
    I do take issue with the message, the notion that those who choose not to act in a certain way need a clash with reality. That is one basis of authoritarian and totalitarian thought, a real, very evident and gory threat to democracy and freedom.

    I didn’t saw my son being blown up, I saw democracy being blown up.

  29. Lazar says:

    “It took a bit of taking your own words and showing them for what they are, to elicit a proper clear response from you.”
    ROTFL… you mean when you asked “Disgusting why, Lazar?” and I replied explaining exactly what I meant? So… Is the statement “taking your own words and showing them for what they are” another lie, or are you just being a drama queen?
    “you’d probably be calling”
    No matter how many times you try, you can’t mind read.
    “And now, you say that I asked a ‘straight question’? Let me see here”¦would my straight question look “¦maybe like this: “What did you mean by disgusting?””
    Surely you mean… “Disgusting why, Lazar?”

    “I wouldn’t trust a warmist”

    … false generalization.
    “would think it to be”
    … you still can’t mind read.
    “what the AGW movement has wrought and crystallized into.”
    … and another false generalization. Precisely what I had in mind when I wrote; “the denialists making hay out of it are also idiots”.

  30. Lazar says:

    James Annan: “crass” […] “totally, horribly, astoundingly ill-judged”

  31. Shub says:

    The thing that you do here,…calling people names
    ‘drama queen’
    with a callous disregard for anything other than your own viewpoint in the global warming debate- this is just the flip side of what the video shows.
    If you do not understand this, – if you do not see the connection, then what I said may appear as false generalizations to you.
    You equated the people who made the video and those who are outraged by it. Why did you do that?
    The world is full of idiots. Are they all the same as these particular vide0-making idiots?
    The video was thought through, scripted and directed, shot by film, edited and then released. Not a single person felt even a single bit sqeamish at the potrayal? Or that it may damage their own cause? What failed here?

  32. Lazar says:

    “The thing that you do here,”¦calling people names
    “˜drama queen’

    The answer is simple, Shub… don’t pretend that I’m reluctant to “condemn” ‘my’ ‘side’ for the video when I’m not, don’t lie about my and other people’s words and motives, and don’t make idiotic generalizations about people whom you don’t know.

    “a callous disregard for anything other than your own viewpoint”
    Wrong again… I greatly respect Keith’s views with whom I disagree quite frequently. I would respect yours if you didn’t engage in the above.
    “You equated the people”
    No I didn’t. Both ‘sides’ are/were being idiots, but not in ‘the same’ way. Equality is empirically unsound.

  33. SimonH says:

    Laursaurus #26: “Can someone explain who or what “ luvvies” are?
    I guessing it’s Brit slang for what we Yanks refer to as “Limousine liberals”. Am I close?”
    (Not sure where this question comes from.. just got here.. but..) The coinage of “luvvies” is attributed to Stephen Fry, a British comic actor. It’s refers to “affected”, mutually adoring actors and actresses, perhaps rather effeminate in disposition.
    I suspect Fry used the term originally to refer to the very group of such actors and actresses that are directly linked with the director of the 10:10 film, at least by only 1 or 2 degrees of separation. That’s my guess, and completely aside.

  34. SimonH says:

    Ooops.. I should explain why.. Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Hugh Laurie (“House”!!), Kenneth Branagh.. all close “luvvies”, much networking between them.

  35. Keith Kloor says:

    Shub, in this feud between you and Lazar (in this thread, anyway), it was you who launched the first volley, when you snorted at his his characterization of the video as “disgusting.” It appears to me that you’ve been unnecessarily antagonistic in the ensuing exchanges.

    Lazar, you’ve been baited, it seems and now you’re responding in kind.

    Both of you need to let it go. Stop personalizing this.


  36. Keith Kloor says:

    I just came across this gem from Jeff Id, who on any given day can hyperventilate as well as any of his opponents (when he’s talking about Democrats, Obama, or “envirowhackos”):

    It is more than a bit reckless too. There are literally tens of thousands of absolutely viral environmentalists who would like nothing better than to cull the population according to their preference. That is exactly the fantasy this represents, the culling of the skeptical.

    Tens of thousands? Where did that number come from?

    So far, this video is like chum for skeptics.

  37. Shub says:

    KK, I’m going to let this go. But let me defend myself briefly.
    Look at post #14. I’d asked a question and gotten a very good answer. I tried to signal that by saying “Anyway, have fun”. The ‘snorting’  to begin with, was at Lazar’s joining together of his opinion of the skeptics (‘idiots’) with his opinion of the video – it was not directed at him. I explained that in #17 as well.
    On a more reflective note: I don’t think it is correct to ask ‘warmists’ to prove their humanitarian credentials or anything like that. But that is a position they drive themselves into, of their own accord. You can read Romm, Realclimate, Deltoid etc etc, day after day – they vilify skeptics everyday. It is therefore difficult to take a simple condemnation of violence directed at skeptics at face value because of this. I only wanted to make this point.
    Anyway, why do we need to discuss the idiocy of the skeptics now? They are always and forever idiotic. It is only when the special geniuses with their communication and mass media degrees, government funding, expensive cameras and friends in high places make these brilliant videos do we get to talk about them at all.

  38. Shub says:

    I am sorry, buddy. I don’t want to gain any mileage on you by picking on your words. (I am picking your ideas though, no backing off from that ;))
    <b>In #14:</b>
    “Why don’t you just ask, instead of playing loaded guessing games”¦”

    Answer: So that you know it is, for those trying to communicate with you.”
    The answer should have read:
    So that you know how it is, for those trying to communicate with you.
    Over and out.

  39. Jack Hughes says:

    It’s a spectacular own-goal.
    We get a lot of green propaganda here in the UK – and we have to pay for it.
    Earlier waves have used more subtle messages: “doing your bit”, “doing it for the children”, “doing something for Bangladesh” etc.
    In this video they’ve lifted the lid and shown us the real message  – one of pure hatred.
    Hatred – not aimed at the problem – but aimed at people wh disagree.

  40. Stuart Lynne says:

    As a Saturday Night Live skit the 10:10 commercials would have been absolutely great satire. As an intentional real life ad they are simply pathetic and disgusting.

  41. Barry Woods says:

    The Guardian comments section:

    Might show Keith some opinion in the UK  (ie a very pro AGW paper, the comments /recommends are largely against)

    even, though there is a bit of slash and burn going on by the MODs….
    (some saying deleted, some removed as if they were never there, )

    I showed this to a physicist friend, whose immediate reaction of the shock of the blood and gore, was the underlying message, identifying sceptics, those not interested, or not following the group, as scruffy, lazy, stupid, unitellegent, antissocial people, for not going along with the group, by people in authrity, and a casual indifferen to these people, (taking it to the extreme, allows it to be a JOKE), but the thought process’ are there, what to do with these annoying people, how to make them go away… 

    She also immediately mentioned some historical 20th century parallels, with respect of this use of the media/PR (this reaction, echoed,  I think, from a couple of the comments in the Guardian below.)

    A quote from the FOUNDER of 10:10, in the original Guardian article:

    “What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet? Clearly we don’t really think they should be blown up, that’s just a joke for the mini-movie, but maybe a little amputating would be a good place to start?” jokes 10:10 founder and Age of Stupid film maker Franny Armstrong.”

    “What do to with people…..”  (parallels ?)

    The Guardian have written a follow up article… (Comment is Free)

    Guardian:  Backlash over ‘Richard Curtis’ 10:10 Climate film

    But, they are NOT ALLOWING Comments on this one….
    I wonder why.  (…….. make you free)

    The Guardian, were pleased/exicted to get the ‘scoop’ of the release of this short film… by one of their media partners…

    So hundreds of people, so wrapped up in their eco bubble, had no clue how it might be perceived…. is that not the real story here…

    Someone who identified themseleves as a Board level member of Friends of this had this to say….. (my **** to get past any swear filters

    JohnHalladay (Friends of the Earth – Board Member)
    1 October 2010 1:27AM
    “God knows I’m on your side but this just panders to the morons who think we’re ‘Eco-fascists’ – own goal, guys.
    Kill it and do something better.

    He came back for some more. 2nd coment.. (still in the Guardian)

    1 October 2010 1:33AM
    Actually, I have to say something stronger,
    this film is ****ing ridiculous.
    I am a local Greenpeace coordinator, and a Board member of Friends of the Earth and I just can’t believe that you have produced a film that is so ****ing stupid.
    There, I’ve sworn on the Guardian.
    *****, where is your common sense. We’re trying to win hearts and minds.  This is just ludicrous.

    Presumably this is John”¦..


    John Halladay
    Friends of the Earth Trust and Limited
    Elected Board member for South Central

  42. Stu says:

    I’ve been trying to say on a number of threads, that there is a very disturbing middleground interpretation of this ad, in between the paranoid skeptics who think this is the final proof that the plot of AGW is to put them in shallow graves, and the brush it all off it’s funny alarmists.
    The idea that this is the literal blueprint for what’s to be done with skeptics is a red herring (one would bloody well hope! ;)) The real issue here is that this is coercive propaganda designed to make people (especially children) feel insecure about holding an opinion which might differ from the consensus or authoritative “˜right’ opinion.  I had a post deleted at CP for saying that this is coercive propaganda. Romm said this was only ‘black humour’, but I’m finding it very difficult to see it that way. There is no indication at all that this is just a ‘funny’ clip. Remember, this was going to be shown in cinemas (exploding children on the silver screen, Yukk!) and the producers intention was that this would all go viral- as it has. The clearest message one can take away from this is one of shuffling people into line and excluding those who disagree. Exploding bodies is just a metaphor for social ostracisation, social contempt, etc.
    I was over at Tim Lambert’s blog, saying that this ad looks horrible from this point of view of coercion. I got shouted down as a ‘concern troll’. I thought to myself- that I must really represent someone about one level down from the CAGW extreme position, and there was just no desire or interest there at all to communicate with me, or even to persuade me of anything. These people are simply ‘right’, and anyone with caveats or questions is seen as irrelevant. This is the mindset that made this video, of that I have no doubt. It’s easy to see how this video came to be when you put it together. This video was inevitable.
    So… another apocalyptic cult, convinced of their beliefs with no room for movement. This is more along the lines of Fred Phelps  environmentalism- they do not want to ‘engage’ the public in a debate. It’s not about winning hearts and minds. They want to hammer the public over the head with their message because it is righteous. This is holy work.  They don’t care whether you agree or not. They’re simply want obedience and if you agree, fine, and if you don’t agree, then you’re irrelevant, you’re invisible. You are entrails on a school desk.
    These people have serious problems.

  43. allenm says:

    The film is  a PR disaster nothing more, nothing less and after a few days of saber rattling the  more extreme protagonists on either side of the AGW debate will find  a new issue to promote their agendas and malign opponents.
    I find news  footage from the various war zones and disaster areas far more disturbing despite the fact that the victims are not middle class Caucasians.

  44. Stu says:

    Maybe I’ll just add, the creator of this film said that we have only 4 years in order to stabalise the climate? I wonder where in AR4 it says that?
    Here’s my other post, also deleted at CP. I’ve begun by quoting someone who’s giving their opinion on why skeptics hate the film.

    “They’ve reacted so strongly to this video because it neatly short-circuits that faux-certainty; it drives to the truth”¦ of their personal guilt.”

    You know, when the originator of this video says we have only “˜4 years’ to stabalise the climate system’, I would call that faux certainty. Let’s see her science on that. This is personal guilt driving someone to make a very public video designed to present the dominance of a belief system over human life. This is basic terrorism.

    The exploded kids in that ad weren’t “˜deniers’. They weren’t republicans and they weren’t climate criminals. They simply looked doubtful. The teacher blew them to smithereens to the absolute shock and horror of the rest of the students.”

  45. Barry Woods says:

    Make it short”¦
    The words of the founder of 10:10 campiagn
    The activists have a problem, people are sceptical”¦

    They see it as an affliction

    Doing nothing about climate change is still a fairly common affliction, even in this day and age“ Franny ““ The Founder of 10:10
    They think we have 4 years to stabilise the world”¦.

    Because we have got about four years to stabilise global emissions and we are not anywhere near doing that. All our lives are at threat and if that’s not worth jumping up and down about, I don’t know what is.” ““ Franny ““ The founder of 10:10

    What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet? “

    I guess that means me”¦
    So what is Franny to do with those people“¦”¦”¦”¦”¦
    So what is Franny to DO, with Barry Woods, Shub, Stu, SimonH, Jo Nova, Christopher Booker, James Delingpole, Lindzen, Plimer, Senator Inholfe, Lord Lawson, even the great showman Monckton, etc (insert your own mane here)
    peer pressure, label, characterise, as stupid, lazy, indifferent, outsiders, unintillegent, scruffy, get them fired, etc,etc,etc

    What if that does not work, what next?

    What if these ‘afflicted’ people keep talking to other people, spreading the sceptical message, these people are very clever, they tell ‘convincing stories, that might ‘confuse people’

    What to do then?

    Democarcy, I have seen written, is to slow, getting in the way of this issue”¦Bypass congress, suspend democracy, for a planetary emergency?
    Of course she, and the entire group of people behind that production AND the Guardain, whioow ere exicted by there scoop’, just do not comprehend anyone having a different view than theirs, as rational intellgent people”¦
    A political analogy”¦.
    Tony Blair (in his bio) Understood why people might vote, conservative, liberal, green.
    Gordon Brown, Millibands, give the impression that if you don’t vote labour, it must be for some awful reason, you choose not to, how could you, right thinking people vote labour”¦ etc

  46. Barry Woods says:

    Anyone reading this article, might think to look at the first page of comments in the Guardian..

    Look at the recommends in the comments!! (in the hundreds against, a dozen or 2 agreeing)

  47. Stu says:

    The thing that really struck me over at CP, is that it seems as if it’s not really ones actions that ultimately matter, but ones beliefs. I qualified myself as a skeptic of ‘some’ of the lines of evidence for AGW, but mentioned that I have been involved in environmental work for years, don’t have a car, no licence, vegetarian, etc. You know.. the kinds of things that the film is supposedly trying to sway you towards.
    But my professed skepticism became the only thing people were interested in- a few posts down from mine, I was called an ‘inactivist sock puppet’. How does refusing to drive, working in environmental restoration and having a low carbon footprint translate into inactivist sock puppet? This seems fairly instructive for me… Actions are excusable (look at Franny Strongarm flying all over the world in order to promote her film). Deviance from official beliefs on the other hand are inexcusable.
    Let’s compare Franny’s carbon footprint to mine, or Barry’s, or probably anyone else here.
    Look at the ad again, and the second sequence where the ‘boss’ character says ‘good, well you should all probably get onto it then’, meaning- doing the things to cut down on personal carbon emissions. He comes across as though he couldn’t care less about what anyone did. His main enthusiasm is in simply blowing up unbelievers.
    It’s hate.

  48. Jack Hughes says:

    Just noticed – if I drive 3,000 miles this week I can get my mileometer up to a symbolic 101010 this week in time for the rapture…

  49. kdk33 says:

    “So far, this video is like chum for skeptics.”

    Gee, Keith, for a guy who has no problem (perhaps even an obsession) recognizing bad behavior on the part of certain other bloggers, you seem suddenly remarkably tone deaf.

  50. Michael Larkin says:

    I’m a Brit and would describe myself as an AGW agnostic with strong sceptical leanings.
    IMO, the reaction to the 10:10 video on the sceptical side has been mainly one of outrage, with a few dissenting voices like mine expressing delicious schadenfreude, because it was such an utterly brilliant own goal.
    On the AGW side, there has also been outrage, but probably primarily for a different motive: not so much because the thing was in execrable taste, but because it was a disastrous PR job.
    I’ve been thinking quite a lot about what it all means, and I’d put it in these terms: I suspect all but the most innocent souls have occasional primitive urges to do deeply nasty things to others (e.g. feeling that one would like “to strangle” a spouse/acquaintance/politician, or whatever).
    However, what makes most of us decent human beings is that we have the capacity to override those urges and modify our response. On good days, we may succeed in reacting as if nothing had touched us. On bad days, we may engage in retaliation ““ not so as to physically harm others, but to do psychic damage to their egos, or at least express satisfaction (bolstering our own egos) when they drop a clanger.
    For years, AGW proponents have been dishing out the psychic damage to those who have the temerity to disagree. They long had it pretty much their own way, but then Climategate and all the other ““gates came along, and they began to experience some of their own medicine. This has shaken a number of them into paroxysms of primitive rage, expressions of which have become more marked, culminating in the 10:10 video, which gets about as near as one can to causing physical damage without actually doing so.
    This has given an opportunity for sceptics to retaliate with their own salvo ““ be that outrage or schadenfreude, coupled with trying to make it go viral. It’s more of the same that has been going on for quite some time, but at an intensified level.
    I think it’s all understandably human, but you know what? I personally don’t think it has anything to do with seeking after the truth about AGW. I’d say a majority of comments on numerous blogs on either side have always been about causing, or repairing, bruised egos. And yes, at times, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve been in there with the best of them, in my case on the sceptic side.
    Recently, something has tended to change this for me: finding out new ideas in brain science relating to the feeling of being right even if one is wrong. I can’t twist anyone’s arm, but if you have time to spare, please consider listening to this at the brain science podcast site:
    If you’d prefer to read a transcript, you’ll find it here:
    There is only one place I can think of that is consciously trying to provide an environment for dialogue to occur, and that’s Judith Curry’s new blog. I’m not yet sure whether it will achieve what it sets out to, or in the end, turn out to be a naïve hope. The jury’s still out, I guess.

  51. John Whitman says:

    Hi Keith, haven’t been this way for a while.

    Old Eugenie, Franny, Daniel, Lizzie and the whole 10:10 team are going to need to find new sponsors now.
    I reacted to the “No Pressure” video first emotionally, since I am human and humans do naturally have immediate initial emotional responses to phenomena in their lives.  The emotion was negative.  On an emotional scale of 1 to 100 where 100 is a max positive emotion and 1 is a max negative emotion, to me the 10:10 ideological environmentalist’s video was about 20.

    Intellectually, it was a tipping point for me to finally do some research on the 10:10 environmentalist group’s fundamental ideas and values.  I am already seeing most of the independent thinkers on the climate blogs do the same.   The info found about them will find its way to the general population without the MSM, especially because it will not involve the MSM . . . . the MSM is strangely being low key or silent.
    So, I thank old Eugenie, Franny, Daniel, Lizzie and the whole 10:10 team for providing the precious gift of an energizing reason for focused critical evaluation on the 10:10 team.
    I agree with Tom Fuller that the video will have most impact on children. To me it does not now matter whether it was intended to do so or not, it does.  But, if I find during my researches on 10:10 that it was explicitly intended by them to target children then I think we have a different discourse on our hands.

  52. Michael Larkin says:

    By the way, “Luvvies” is a fondly sarcastic term for members of the acting fraternity. They sometimes (I’ve actually seen it happening) call eachother “darling” and “love” regardless of sex or sexual preference. Richard Attenborough does it rather a lot.
    It’s a British thing… it has neither rhyme nor reason 🙂

  53. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    Blog reaction I’m waiting for is DeSmog’s, Hoggan being a PR man by trade. Other pro-AGW groups and bloggers have already panned it and called it counterproductive though.
    I like this video because it’s a spectacular own goal. Many pro-AGW people in the Guardian’s comments have said the same thing.
    I dislike this video because it’s counterproductive. Just as people have been trying to build bridges and depolarise the debate, along comes 10:10 with their blood & gore*. Their message is simple, if you’re not with them, you’re against them and they’ll summarily execute you for not joining their campaign. No room for debate or evidence any more, just authoritarians with their fingers on the button.
    This comes after Hansen’s calls for coal execs to be tried for crimes against humanity (executed), Gore’s calls for civil disobedience and more direct action, Schneider’s blacklist, Greenpeace telling us they know where we live and their ‘angry kid’ in training to deal with us. Oh, and James Lee, who already took the direct action route against the Discovery Channel. It’s a dangerous message to give out.
    The video is also predicated on a belief that 300,000 people die each year due to global warming. 10:10 can’t prove this, but their belief is strong enough to push the button on those who don’t. They also believe there’s only 4 years left. I don’t recall seeing that in AR4, but no matter, believe it or die.
    *no evidence that the other blood & gore, ie big Al’s GIM financed this disaster movie.

  54. Lazar says:

    “What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet?”
    … same thing we did to people who voted to appease Hitler. Nothing. It’s a democracy, thought is not a crime. She’s a totalitarian with disturbed thoughts. What should we do with her? Nothing. Certainly not…
    “a little amputating would be a good place to start?” jokes 10:10 founder and Age of Stupid film maker Franny Armstrong.”
    … I believe this is ‘joking on the square’. The excuse wears after a while.

  55. Tom Gray says:

    The difference between Money Python and the10:10 video is that Monty Python sketches are funny. The 10:10 video  consists of long stretches of tedious lecturing that are punctuated by a failed attempt at humour. it is not imaginative. it is not creative. And it is not funny.

  56. Marlowe Johnson says:

    As I’ve said  over at RPjr’s IMO this the entire point of the skit is satirical in nature (i.e. eco-fascists will blow you up if you don’t tow the party line).  Nobody actually agrees with this.  Isn’t this fairly obvious?
    Put another way, the point of the skit was to show how ridiculously tribal (yes I know) the whole discussion around climate policy has become.  If you are pro mitigation,  then of course anyone who disagrees with you thinks that *you* think they’re subhuman and should be blown up…
    Personally when I first saw the skit i kept thinking of my favorite SNL faux-commercial skit about wilson-trap doors…

  57. Marlowe Johnson says:

    OTOH if their point is more literal then of course they’re idiots and should be drawn and quartered…

  58. Barry Woods says:

    This skit’s point was not a parody of how tribal it is..

    That is just the spin they are now trying to put on it…

    Just read the original Guardian – launch article…. It just reveals a certain mindset, frustration. 
    What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet?

    I just looked on the 10:10 website, and my 5 year olds, infant school is fully signed up..  My daughterwas voted (1 of 2 per year) to be part of the schools eco team, reuse, recycle, pick up litter, save energy.. she was very proud as was I…

    The head teacher was oblivious to this video… she is probably watching this as we speak.

    the mindest worries me, especially the classroom setting.

  59. Yarmy says:

    I dunno, Richard Curtis has performed far worse crimes against cinema than this.

  60. Keith Kloor says:

    At Tom Yulsman’s blog, here’s an interesting comment from Steve Bloom on the video. Steve is familiar to most in the climate blogosphere:

    Tom, I do wonder what our descendants of a few centuries from now or perhaps sooner would think of this. I suspect their main reaction would be sorrow that it didn’t work.

    Given the consequences of inaction, in what way are people in the present who refuse to do anything morally different from mass murderers? It’s considered socailly acceptable for people watching movies about terrorism to cheer when the terrorists get their comeuppance, right?

  61. Stu says:

    What would you think of this comment, Keith?

  62. Stu says:

    PS, some discussion on ‘authority vs nurturing/care’ in relation to this film, and my comment…

  63. Keith Kloor says:

    Stu (61):

    I think of Bloom’s comment along the same lines of this March 2009 comment by Michael Tobis, of which I excerpt below and which resulted in our first dust-up:

    “As for the scope of the ethical risk, let us consider the possibility that the behavior of the Times and the Post this year increases the chance of an extreme event with a premature mortality of a billion people by a mere part per million, a per cent of a per cent of a per cent. The expected mortality from this is a thousand people. Is that morally equivalent to actually killing a thousand people? It’s not all that obvious to me that it isn’t.”

  64. Stu says:

    Keith, thanks.
    Yep, science comes first.

  65. BenSix says:

    Bloom is darn wrong. First, to murder is to kill deliberately. Clearly, “sceptics” think they’re doing us all a favour (or, at worst, think driving their VW’s harmless). It could still be unethical to adopt a false view, however: if you’ve taken a position without sufficient thought you could be charged with negligence if you’ve got it arse-to-front. Say that, for example, you assure a fireman no one’s left inside a burning house (reasoning, innocently, that if they were you’d hear the screams). If, in fact, a man, a woman and an adorable puppy were still there and being charred your best intentions wouldn’t stop you from being held accountable.

  66. Fat Bastard says:

    Can you clarify?  Climate ethics is an interesting topic area that doesn’t get much explicit consideration in blogs (with the exception of MT’s  place).

  67. Stu says:

    PS, interesting how this ties into arguments for/against situational ethics, which was really the first articulation of ‘the ends justify the means’ idea, as far as I know. I get a lot out of looking at some of these climate science issues through this lens, because I think that what we’re seeing sometimes is a kind of revival of that, through the application of post-normal science. They seem very closely related, and probably they’re really the same thing. The Archbishop John Robinson started off as an advocate for SE, but realised down the road that ‘It will all descend into moral chaos’. The problem being that it was a very individualistic kind of ethics, and people would bend the rules to suit themselves. If they wanted to do something badly enough, they were likely to be able to justify it to themselves.

  68. Keith Kloor says:

    Fat Bastard (love that moniker!), what’s to clarify? I said that Michael’s comment was in line with (as in similar) to Bloom’s comment over at Yulsman’s.

    The 2009 post I wrote about Michael’s exchange with RPJ is pretty clear where I stand:

    “It’s worth reading the exchange in its entirety to see the debased logic now being employed by some climate advocates.”

  69. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    Dear $deity, won’t someone think of the children?
    Climate PR people use this line, and variations on the theme (like Bloom) to tug heart strings. Kids are used and abused a lot in climate propaganda. Problem with 10:10 is still the authoritarian approach. If you aren’t with 10:10’s programme, your right to life is revoked. Kill the unbelievers because they aren’t taking the threat seriously enough. James Lee thought that when he attacked the Discovery Channel.

    Alternatively Curtis could’ve used his more traditional approach. He plays the anguished dad deciding which two of his own four kids he’ll sacrifice to reduce his carbon footprint. He’d be left with 1 more kid than the Chinese ration, but hey, we’re civilised. Heroic personal sacrifice to help save the world, sure to be more appealing to audiences than executing strangers. But this one’s also been done, for real-
    “A seven-month-old baby survived for three days with a bullet in her chest after her parents killed themselves and her toddler brother over global warming fears, reports say.”
    Were those 3 deaths part of the 300,000 10:10 think (but can’t prove) die each year due to global warming?
    For an alternative future, I can imagine kids coming back from a field trip to look at the concrete blocks buried in fields. Or asking if it was true grandad used to be able to get light at the push of a button, and didn’t have to wait for a ration or a lottery win. Or if it’s true we used to burn food for fuel, when far more than 300k people a year were dieing of starvation.
    I’ve also never really understood why pro-AGW people are worried about their kids. Haven’t they heard of contraception? Why bring kids into the world if they’re that concerned, and increase resource demands, carbon footprints etc. Presumably they’re optimists, selfish, or assume other people can be sacrificed to provide for theirs as 10:10 seem to think.

  70. Fat Bastard says:

    Interesting parallels here and with the ethical questions that MT raises in the post that you linked and your most recent post on the anti-vaccine movement.  In both cases you have a situation where MSM is likely making the problem worse by reflexively promoting controversial views.
    Having reread the entire MT thread and comments what ‘debased logic’ are you referring to?  Sorry if I’m coming across as obtuse, but I found MT’s musing on the subject to be eminently reasonable and worthy of discussion not ridicule…
    p.s. I called out Romm for truncating your WUWT comment to make your position appear to support Watts but apparently he hasn’t seen fit to post it.  Just so you know that I’m not one of those blind fanboys of my ‘tribe’.
    now time for me to get in the sauna so I can fit in my pants again…

  71. Keith Kloor says:

    FB (70), I’m not really interested in rehashing that old post. Suffice to say I disagree with Tobis on this matter and we went back and forth.

    I also don’t see the parallel between this story and the anti-vaccine one. (But they’re often grouped together and I’d like to do a post on this soon.) One of the things that was discussed in that NYU event is how the vaccine/autism is a “slam-dunk” story, in the sense that there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever (after multiple studies) that autism is caused by childhood vaccines.

    The climate change story is not so clear cut–in terms of future impacts and attribution of present day disasters to greenhouse gases. I don’t question the science itself, but I think there’s a lot of legitimate debate about impacts. (This does not mean I believe no future threat exists.)

    Whereas, there’s mounting evidence that public health is at risk right now because of the anti-vaccination fears that run though pockets of society.

  72. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    There may be some slight connections. Both global warming and anti-vaccine campaigns play on fear. Both exploit children. Both can overlook contradictory evidence, like the work Johns Hopkins and Yale are doing into CNTNAP2 and genetic links to autism.
    Then there’s cure vs disease. 10:10 says we should build windmills, not nuclear and if I don’t support them they’ll kill me. Windmills may not be the most appropriate solution. Vaccinating against rotavirus may also not be the most appropriate solution, spending money on improving education and sanitation may be preferrable. But that doesn’t help sell millions of doses of vaccine at $5 a pop.

  73. JonMChe says:

    What makes the film such a travesty is how easily a little editing could have made it effective.  Start the film with the businessman asking who would participate in 10:10.  He says no pressure and DIALS the vote  20 participants 3 decline into a dial on the button.  He presses the button and everyone including himself explodes (burned up would have been better).  The scenario is repeated for the soccer players. When it comes to the school children the teacher could explain how EVERYONE needs to work together or EVERYONE is in danger.  All the students vote to participate, the teacher Dials the 30 participate 0 decline into the button and presses it.  Nothing happens and she dismisses class.  The Gillian Anderson bit at the end could have been left as it was for “humor”. It would still be heavy handed propaganda, but it would have been hardhitting, hopeful and positive.  As it was, I have to agree that the only message a rational person can take out of the film is conform or we will kill you!

  74. Stu says:

    10:10 have issued a more detailed apology.
    I found this comment at WUWT to be kind of witty:
    “It appears that the 10:10 organisation has acquired 20:20 hindsight…”

  75. Vinny Burgoo says:

    OT (unless the Guardian’s trumpeting of the 10:10 film makes all comments on its competence on-topic). That’s an interesting photo at the Guardian page linked by Simon Hopkinson. Its caption: ‘Tree roots in India exposed due to rising sea levels.’ In fact, the trees are on a sand bar in the Hooghly River (Ghoramara Island) . Sand bars shift and have always shifted. That’s what sand bars do. This one is shrinking. One on the other wide of the river is growing. Nothing to do with rising sea levels.

  76. Barry Woods says:

    Sony have Bailed on 10:10

    As has my 6 year old daughter’s infant school…..
    Took the head 1 minute 11 seconds of the video to decide.

  77. Stu says:

    I have no sympathy for this group.
    PS, I enjoyed the comment below as humour (shadenfreude) but it also brings up fairly logical concerns (to me anyway) over the possible intended effects that this video was maybe meant to deliver.

    Here’s the viral profile for what the 10:10 grant-hippies and Three-Home Curtis thought would happen with their oh-so postmodern effort:
    Shown in schools and cinemas, the kids would pick up first on the Big Red Button device, going on to use a mimed BRB in a similar way to a “talk to the hand” gesture against anyone telling them something they don’t like. Meanwhile, the stinking “message” floats into their uncritical minds as a Fact of Life, i.e. “Deniers are too lazy or selfish to act for the benefit of the Many, so we would all be better-off without them”.
    How clever they thought they were.
    And how richly deserved the outcome for them now.”
    I’ve no proof that this was meant to be shown in schools. I can think back to when I was at school- showing a video like this would have been unthinkable. I wonder, is it unthinkable now?
    What are you thinking, Franny?

  78. Barry Woods says:

    The groups give schools materail which is suitablele for schools..

    Kids go home and look on the internet, youtube, facebook, twitter…. All geared up for that.. Kids are allowed to,because it is SAFE, or doing an eco projetc (ie they have come into the school, wwf, greenpeace, 10:10)

    Mydaughter is on the school eco-team.

    so they happily find the stuff that would never get past any advertising standards…

    The video was to be shown in cinemas. and had an official 10:10 youtube group…

  79. Fat Bastard says:

    I didn’t say that they were exactly the same, just that there were some interesting parallels.  Don’t you agree?  As for your past discussion with MT, fair enough if you don’t want to rehash it.
    But again here there are some interesting parallels to the anti-vaccine situation.  In both cases you have some public figures questioning the mainstream science and this is likely leading to increased mortality and economic damages in the future (e.g. increased health care costs).
    And I emphatically reject your assertion that the case for future damages from climate change isn’t as much of a slam dunk, at least in a qualitiative sense.  There simply isn’t any credible evidence or study that suggests that our current emissions trajectory won’t result in net costs to society over the medium and especially long-term.  Put another way, there is disagreement over the magnitude of the effect but not the sign.
    @Atomic Hairdryer
    Every time I see the argument that AGW is somehow a sinister plot by companies to ‘sell’ us wind turbines (the dutch are the ones with windmills),  I reflect on the market capitalization of the industries that stand to benefit from mitigation vs the industries that stand to lose.
    If money in this world is indeed power, where do you think the balance currently lies?  What do you think the ratio of ‘renewables’ to ‘fossil’ is?

  80. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    I call them windmills. We could call them aerogenerators if you want to be pedantic though. I call them windmills because they’re a modern version of an old problem. The UK used to have windmills, and some still exist converted into quaint homes. Few, if any actually do any work. They were superceded by more reliable, efficient and cheaper power generation. That’s still true with modern windmills vs modern alternatives.
    One of 10:10’s supporters, Pete Postlethwaite threated to hand back his OBE if our new Kingsnorth coal power station was built. The propsed new station would have replaced 2 older ones on the same site, providing continuing employment to station workers, economic benefits to that area, and stable supply. Oh, and being a more modern, efficient design, a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions over the plants it replaced, even without carbon capture.
    But it’s still coal, and thus evil, and thus must be blocked at any cost. Campaigners even flew James Hansen over to help. Presumably he offset, so that’s ok.
    The balance of power has become distorted. ‘Renewables’ are busily sucking up subsidies despite being fundamentally flawed, inefficient, and expensive. I don’t need to think for the UK, I can look at the contributions-
    where wind is currently providing 3.7%, coal 36.3%, gas 42.4% and nuclear 15.6%. But no matter, if we throw more money at windmills, the wind will blow. Or not, which leaves the intermittency problem, so we’ll still need non-remewables as back-up supply. Oh, and infrastructure upgrades and ‘smart meters’ to manage intermittent, unreliable supplies.
    In the renewables game, power is money though, so the lobbying for inefficient energy is working. Our energy ‘regulator’ Ofgem has just announced this-
    which is the UK’s new way to transfer more wealth from consumers to energy companies and boost their profits. This phase of the investment is forecast to cost consumers an additional £700 on top of an average electricity bill of around £1200 a year. This is ‘just’ £90bn or so of a £200bn investment project. Naturally there’s a lot of lobbying from the ‘renewables’ sector to grab the biggest slice of that and avoid paying their own costs.
    It’s not a ‘no pressure’ choice for consumers, it’s no choice. There’s more choice for businesses though, especially energy intensive ones. They’ll just relocate outside the UK.

  81. Fat Bastard says:

    you haven’t anwsered either my questions.
    “Naturally there’s a lot of lobbying from the “˜renewables’ sector to grab the biggest slice of that and avoid paying their own costs.”
    I can’t resist.  Look up ‘externality’ and then tell me who exactly you think is trying ‘avoid paying their own costs’.  and heck lets pretend that AGW is a hoax and only focus on conventional air pollutants….
    “There’s more choice for businesses though, especially energy intensive ones. They’ll just relocate outside the UK.”
    Classic race to the bottom logic here.  and while there is some validity to these kinds of concerns — which why most C&T schemes have FREE PERMIT ALLOCATIONS for energy intensive industries.
    On the off chance that you’re interested in learning more about how kleptocrats are considering these issues in the UK see here:

  82. Keith Kloor says:

    Via Andrew Sullivan, I see that Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic is calling the video short “a complete catastrophe for environmentalism,” and that Alex Massie at The Spectator writes:

    Watch it and see if you don’t feel like starting your own oil company or burning anything you can just because you can..”

    Massie also made this observation on the larger global warming debate:

    “It is the Iran-Iraq War of policy debates in which one wishes that the most passionate advocates on either side could, well, just shut up.”

    He might be on to something there.

  83. Look, Keith, bringing me into this is almost defamatory.
    I agree with most everyone else on the basic point that the video was tasteless and stupid in the extreme.
    I do think there is an ethical question at stake here. I fail to see the analogy between raising the question of how to weigh a small risk of a huge consequence and some sort of misfired joke about blowing people up in cold blood.
    Steve’s question,  “Given the consequences of inaction, in what way are people in the present who refuse to do anything morally different from mass murderers?”, like my own “Is that morally equivalent to actually killing a thousand people?” is explicitly phrased as a question.
    Neither Steve (to my knowledge; I haven’t followed the link) nor I made an explicit claim. We merely raised questions for ethical consideration. Sustainability (given imperfect information about the future) is inextricably bound with ethical issues. Mocking the question is ducking the question.
    Those who chose make a failed joke of blowing up people who disagree are not doing anything in any way comparable. I don’t think Keith’s raising Steve’s point or his re-raising his continued failure to understand mine of last year is fair in this context.
    We can discuss it or not discuss it; I am fine either way.  I will even put up with mentioning it and saying you don’t want to discuss it if you don’t make too much of a habit out of it.
    But putting it in context with the grotesque 10:10 video is offensive to me. I have and want no association with that sort of gratuitously violent imagery, whatever its intended or perceived meaning, neither of which I understand at all. The video deeply upset me in the first place, and any effort to associate my opinions with it are offensive to me.

  84. Keith Kloor says:

    Oh, please, Michael, you’re being waaaaay too senstive. I compared your comment to Bloom’s, not the video.  Sorry, but I see both comments as similar. And suddenly saying that you (and Steve) raised these questions as some sort of thought experiments is disingenuous. You’re telling me that you said that as some larger ethical question to consider, not as something you were making an argument for?
    You want to revisit that conversation, I’m game.

  85. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    The ‘Carbon Trust’ is one of the fattest quangos the UK has, funded from the ROC’s that are the artifical tax on the market. It’s a turkey that isn’t going to vote for xmas.
    As for your ‘race to the bottom’, the UK used to have a Vestas plant in the Isle of Man. It closed and moved to China to save money. The Grauniad also recently ran an article sponsored by our wind industry telling us windmills could be 25% cheaper, but only if we gave them more money. I thought that’s what the subsidies were supposed to cover. A 25% cheaper chocolate fireguard is still as useful as a chocolate fireguard.
    And on externalities, yes, I’ve read those. Anti-nuclear lobbying groups inflate nuclear costs and reduce ‘renewable’ costs. They don’t answer the question as to how ‘renewables’ solve energy security problems when we have no domestic industry, and won’t when we can’t compete, or how they can create power when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun doesn’t shine.

  86. @75 Stu Says:
    “1010 have issued a more detailed apology”

    That was “Take 1” of “Second Sorry”.  They subsequently issued “Second Sorry – Take 2”.  See:

  87. Tom Yulsman says:

    Michael: Please, get real. Go read the full exchange between myself, Steve Bloom and John Zulauf at http://www.cejournal.net/?p=4044  and then tell us with a straight face that Bloom is just raising some sort of hypothetical question that’s merely worth discussing.

    It’s plainly obvious from the exchange what Steve Bloom thinks: That John, my friend, a thoughtful climate skeptic who believes investing in malaria prevention and development in the Third World would give a much bigger bang for the buck than rapid decarbonization, is the moral equivalent of a mass murderer.

    He’s bloody wrong, but he is a highly ethical and moral man.

    At one point, John asks Steve, “if you had the chance, would you push that button?” John is referring here, of course, to the red button in the “No Pressure” video, the one that causes the children in the video to explode, splattering everyone else with blood and guts.

    Steve’s response:
    “The question, John, is whether your descendants would feel like pushing that button.”
    A reasonable human being, one with compassion and understanding, would say, “Of course I wouldn’t, John. That really would be murder.”

    Let’s face it, some portion of people in the environmental community probably feels that the video was spot on. But to my way of thinking, what the filmmakers did “” namely, blow up children who showed the least bit of dissent “” smacks of fascism. (In the sense of rabid belief in a supreme ideology, and violent enforcement of obedience to power.)

    Lastly, Michael, we shouldn’t forget that you once accused Andy Revkin of being “evil” for writing about Al Gore and George Will in the same news analysis. Not mistaken. Not misguided. Evil. In fact, you used that word twice to describe Andy, once in this original post and again in a response within the comments section.

    If you still feel that way, what are you willing to do to prevent “evil”?
    Michael: No pressure…

  88. I make it a policy to criticize behavior rather than personalities. I believe that Andy knew better than to draw a parallel between Will and Gore.
    I think this particular lazy split-the-difference pattern in journalism (and I admit, I used it quite cynically as an undergrad in my essays in nontechnical courses) is tedious and uninformative at best. Life is not usually all that symmetrical.
    But in the present case, where the stakes are so much higher than the public understands, it is the responsibility of the journalist to convey the real risk spectrum. To be aware of how differently Will and Gore approach science (indifference in the one case, active engagement in the other) and yet to report them as in any sense comparable reinforces the public confusion. I am convinced that Andy Revkin knew better at the time. Consequently his behavior at the time was unethical.
    I think Andy has admitted that it was a misstep, and I like some of the stuff he’s been doing of late. So I don’t want to dwell on that.
    Still, I insist that this is all a matter of good and evil if there is such a thing. It is not evil to have mistaken beliefs. It is actively evil to speak and write as if one’s beliefs were different than they in fact are, and it is negligently evil to speak and write on matters of great consequence as if one had a deeper understanding than one has.

  89. JohnB says:

    The comments by Steve Bloom and MT are similar, but they are also diametrically opposed.

    They are similar in that they both ask a question, but the fundamental assumptions underlying the questions are very different.

    SB asked “Given the consequences of inaction, in what way are people in the present who refuse to do anything morally different from mass murderers?”. 

    This questions opens with the premise that  those opposed to SB and his agenda are mass murderers and the answerer must provide proof of their innocence. Notice the reversal of “Assumption of Innocence” here, you are to be assumed guilty until you prove your innocence. Nice, real nice.

    MTs question “Is that morally equivalent to actually killing a thousand people?” OTOH has no underlying assumption. The question itself can be answered either Yes or No, and the answerer can then provide proof for their answer.

    This difference leads to a fundamentally different follow on.

    MT might think us sceptics silly, misinformed, or many other things and he might wish to thor that we would shut up, but I doubt he believes that we are inherently evil and deserve punishment.

    SBs comment though, by working from the premise that these theoretical, maybe, might happen things are so certain that they can be treated as having already happened is inherently dangerous.

    By treating the future as a past reality then all sceptics are therefore in fact mass murderers. (Note his question was for proof that we are not) Given that any reasonable person would agree that any mass murderers should be prosecuted and punished whenever and wherever they are found it is a small step to prosecuting sceptics and other unbelievers.

    Since there are no laws to prosecute sceptics under, then those who believe that we sceptics are in fact mass murderers will believe that we are “getting away with it” and it becomes far more likely that one of the more unbalanced ones will decide to take the law into their own hands.

    But that’s happened already, hasn’t it?

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