The Climate Debate Gets a Shock Doctrine

I’m not sure whether Naomi Klein’s big cover story in The Nation qualifies as a stink bomb or as the kind of straight talk that will help cut through all the posturing and subtext in the climate debate.

But I do know that its thesis will be devilishly seized on by one of the camps. I discuss the likely reverbations to Klein’s piece at the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media.

42 Responses to “The Climate Debate Gets a Shock Doctrine”

  1. huxley says:

    I think Klein’s right. Her anti-capitalist, authoritarian vision is the only way to accomplish the radical climate agenda. Full marks for honesty.

    I breathlessly await the response from the rest of the orthodox who either have not thought this through or hoped to manage Klein’s program by stealth.

  2. Alexander Harvey says:

    Where are her divisions?
    I went to “The Nation” in vain hope of the moment of irony, of a drawing in of breath proceeding a revelation that she were having a laugh at the expense of all.
    But No!
    She seems to be making an incredible threat.
    Where are her divisions?
    Of those that are in that number, will not some leave the ranks? Disassociate?
    Perhaps I be wrong about this, perhaps like old contemptables the numbers of the Libertarian Left but one have all passed on and vacated their coil.

  3. EdG says:

    Here’s a rather deadly critique:

    This is so deadly that I will post it at your Yale site too.

    Good luck to anyone who chooses to defend her ‘facts.’

  4. Nullius in Verba says:

    Have you really only just noticed?
    I was amused by a similar glimpse of the moment when Chris Mooney first found out – “wow. are you guys trying to prove Horner right?” – that some of his fellow greens were indeed motivated by less-than-fully-supportive views on capitalist growth, and it’s fascinating to see it repeated again here. TTT’s “own goal” summary of the situation was masterful – you might find it interesting. The reaction here is similar: pleased to note that climate change is just perfect for pushing through a left-wing political agenda, but worried about the effect of right-wingers pointing it out.
    Don’t worry, we’ve been pointing it out for years, just as a small subset of lefties have been pushing it (and much worse) for years. Naomi’s manifesto is not news. The only news here is that it’s news to you.

  5. hunter says:

    Naomi seems to think that claiming that somehow only conservatives or capitalists stand in the way of the AGW community victory and salvation of Earth.
    Poor Naomi.
    If her ilk wins, poor everyone.

  6. Dave H says:

    Just based on the initial reaction I applaud this. Anti-AGW campaigners have for too long been able to manipulate public perception into believing that the IPCC assessments represent some sort of extremist viewpoint.
    The world needs to be reminded that the spectrum is far broader than that, and stop the middle from being relentlessly dragged to the right.
    And even then, I read the article and I find it to be well-reasoned and, frankly, mild.
    On her actual points:
    1. Privatisation of basic services is, pretty much universally, a failure – unless your definition of success is to generate profits at the expense of providing a decent service. The US healthcare system is the laughing stock of the world, and still reform is a controversial topic. Amazing how the people can, time and again, be convinced to act against their own best interests.
    2. The trouble with longer-term planning is the way that the political system in the US and other Western nations has become fixated on pandering to the base and frivolous desires of the electorate, rather than providing any kind of serious leadership. We need vision, and we need politicians and electoral systems capable of setting out and enacting that vision – but we are crippled by a reflexive, fascile, poll-driven, fruitless political wasteland.
    3. Is anyone really going to argue *against* greater corporate regulation? In this day and age? Because deregulation’s been working so well?
    4. Localising production. Not always practical, but it is absurd that eg. stone quarried and delivered from within my own country is more expensive than identical stone quarried and shipped from India. Where externalities exist, they should be recognised, because at the moment western comfort is bought by offshoring discomfort not any true efficiency, and that has a finite lifespan.
    5. Overconsumption is a deep and serious issue, and one that we absolutely must address. Imports and consumption are just as pressing as direct emissions with an expanding and developing population, and no amount of windfarms and carbon offsets will solve that.
    6. Tax those who have benefitted most from the current system, who can afford to pay, and those that contribute more to the problem. Nothing terribly controversial there either.
    The points she makes aren’t exteme, and you’re deluding yourself if you think that they are. This whole piece is pretty much the rational middle in this supposed “debate” on policy solutions.
    The depressing part: Naomi Klein lays out several things that absolutely need to be addressed in some form, yet we can’t even get agreement on the basic fact that we need to cut emissions in the first place. You know – the part that is actually science based and not tainted by ideology. God help us having an actual debate on pure policy and ideology when we can’t even have a sane one in response to a clear scientific message.

  7. I like how she documents the classic diversionary/reframing tactics emitted from the mouthholes of Heartland drones, right up front in that article. 
    They know Americans are ignorant enough to believe it all, too.

  8. Dave H says:

    That JoNova critique is abysmal, even by her standards. Straw men, evasion of major points, *again* attacking the science to avoid engaging with it, attacking polls etc.
    I read it, and all I can think is that JoNova just had some stock paragraphs and threw them together without actually paying attention to what she was supposedly responding to.
    I can see why reiterating exactly what you want to hear plays well in some quarters but really, this is no substitute for intelligent comment.

  9. Anteros says:

    Dave H @8
    I usually avoid JoNova’s site because I am a sceptic. I really do know the reasons to be sceptical, and I don’t want to be painfully embarrassed by pathetic, overblown, false or ‘clutching-at-straws’ arguments. However on this occasion I thought her piece on Klein was pretty good – she certainly picked up on some angles that I hadn’t noticed, but maybe that says something about me.
    I did wonder if hers (Nova’s) was a productive approach, though. I’m repeatedly baffled by how politicised the climate debate is in America [like no-where else on earth, believe me] but surely the sensible thing to do is to applaud Klein’s analysis and say indeed – the only way to make a difference to climate change is to change the American way of life completely and forever. You’ll soon find out what proportion of Americans are keen on that vision.
    I think any realist  has to accept that the chances of a Marxist state appearing on the North American continent are about the same as human beings choosing to leave cheap fossil fuels in the ground, unburnt. Seriously, it ain’t gonna happen. And I agree that if you think either are absolutely essential, it is a depressing prospect.
    Luckily for me I think humanity will be just fine.
    Enjoy the interglacial 🙂

  10. Anteros says:

    Keith –
    I just re-read your piece again and think you sum up the issue well – who is Klein helping here, exactly?
    Your mentioning of Delingpole reminds me of what it is to be embarrassed by people who seem to be saying something similar to oneself but are clearly mendacious and insincere – pernicious ideologues.
    Here is what Delingpole says in his bio’ at Jeff Id’s blog
    “I’m sure most of you would agree that AGW is the greatest lie ever told. You guys are more than capable of explaining why it’s a lie………….. As a polemicist, though, I hope I do my bit. This is war, perhaps the most important war our generation will fight, and we’re in this one together.”
    To me that’s akin to saying “I’m in this for the prejudice”
    Perhaps it might be healthy if we took it in turns to find the most painfully fraudulent or idealogical biased  idiot on our own ‘side’.
    I don’t want to put ideas into anyones heads (much..) but if I was someone who genuinely believed climate change was going to cause humanity some real problems I would be embarrassed to be lining up alongside someone who says this [Barton Paul Levenson, at Tamino’s]
    “Some deniers are motivated by”¦
    This will sound so archaic and simplistic”¦
    Although I’d still prefer that (‘cos it’s just nutty) than Delingpole’s hypocrisy.
    Still, Dellers is thankfully a rarity in England and has an equal counterpart in George Monbiot (whose website has the motto ‘afflict the comfortable’)
    Tribalism – doesn’t it make you glad to be a human being?

  11. huxley says:

    Dave H @6: From the Left your points may seem “mild”; from the Right, not so much.

    Remember that the US remains a center-right country, like it or not, and unless you can persuade the center and some of the right, the climate change agenda is dead in the water in America. You are deluding yourself if you believe otherwise.

    Likewise, if you believe that ridiculing these Americans that their convictions are “extreme” and that dealing with them is “pandering to [their] base and frivolous desires” will be effective, and that what is really needed is resolute leadership that will just steamroller over their concerns.

    Good luck with that approach.

    Where do you stand on democracy, Dave H? If Americans reject Klein’s “mild” points, where do you stand?

  12. Dave H says:

    > Remember that the US remains a center-right country
    Not only is that a debatable and contentious point itself (and one I disagree with), coupled with your “Where do you stand on democracy” line, one then has to wonder if the role of government is merely to reflect the numbers, or to try and change them. The US system of government is profoundly in favour of the status quo, which generally makes progressive policies hard to achieve – hence the misperception about it being a centre-right nation.
    You seem misrepresent my point about pandering, seemingly believing I’m just dismissing the opinions of the electorate. Actually I’m referring quite specifically to the post-Freudian methodology of polling and focus groups that have led to the current system of being brutally effective at winning elections (by discovering what people want and promising it to them) and little else aside from that. The electorate, by and large, has quite malleable opinions.
    Any problem with effective measures on climate change in the US is a reflection of the paralysed and ineffective system of government, far more than some underlying truth about the serious need for action.

  13. huxley says:

    Dave H: So where do you stand on democracy? Didn’t quite catch your answer.

    You seem to be doing what the Left usually does when it doesn’t get its way — complaining Americans are too easily misled and  that the government is paralyzed and ineffective. Is that you how saw things in November, 2008?

  14. Anteros says:

    Dave H @12
    I may very well be mistaken here, but from a Eurocentic POV America appears to be the most right wing country it is possible for us to imagine…but of course everything is relative. The fact that in Britain we tend to argue about whether we should give 42% or 44% of our income to the state seems pretty right wing to the Scandinavians and the French.
    With this politicisation thing – are there many American socialists who are properly sceptical about AGW? And are there many Tea Partiers who genuinely worry about the future of the climate? If not, doesn’t that say something a bit depressing about our ability to be even a tiny bit objective?

  15. Tom C says:

    Dave H –

    My sympathies on getting kicked out of Zucotti Park.

  16. EdG says:

    Re #8 Dave H

    The irony in your comment is spectacular.

  17. huxley says:

    Dave H: Regarding the political makeup of America, here’s Gallup as of August, 2011:

    Americans’ political ideology at the midyear point of 2011 looks similar to 2009 and 2010, with 41% self-identifying as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.

    If that’s not center-right, what is? I know that liberals have weaselly ways of working the polls so that it looks like America is more liberal, but really it is not.

    The other liberal response is “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” that these foolish red-staters don’t know their own self-interest should be to vote Democratic.

    Well, they don’t see it that way. Enough of them in 2008 were so disillusioned with Republicans and frightened by the global financial meltdown that they went with Obama’s empty hope and change rhetoric, but with the rise of the unemployment numbers, the Tea Party and disappointment with Obama, that won’t happen again any time soon.

  18. Dean says:

    True, Americans self-describe themselves as conservative much more than liberal. At the same time, Americans
    want to tax the rich
    like minimum wages by a huge majority (and to increase it)
    support gun control
    seem to be coming around to gay marriage
    So some Americans who call themselves conservative apparently support quite a few liberal things. Not all liberal things of course. Americans support the death penalty.
    I’m not going to try to do any amateur psycho-analysis about this. Just pointing out a paradox, one that lefties like to point out. I also think that what constitutes the center or right-wing are moving targets. Mostly I think that Americans are not very ideological and are pragmatic. They want things to work.

  19. Eric Adler says:

    DaveH @6,
    Your analysis is on target.
    The question of whether DaveH believes in democracy is irrelevant to his analysis of the problem.  You seem to be  making an argumentum ad populum against Dave’s points, which relate to facts and policy options.  It is sad that you would use such a fallacy.
    The point that Naomi Klein makes successfully is that the Denialists are opposed to the science behind AGW because of  ideology. The Democratic party is pretty much leaving the issue of global warming to the greens, and are more worried about fixing the economy. They don’t see the issue of global warming as a path to power. Klein  wishes  this were not true, and that the Democrats  would try to make Climate change part of the reason that the public should adopt the ideology and program of the left, because it addresses the problem. It probably will not happen, because the public is more concerned about the economy. The Democratic answer is green jobs. The Republican answer to that is Solyndra.
    The Republicans seem to be  giving Obama the gift of a second term, judging by the quality of their candidates  for the nomination. If the Republicans retain control of the House, and capture the Senate, Obama will have to use his veto power a lot. We will have governmental paralysis.
    It doesn’t make sense to blame Obama for the rise in unemployment. It happened in the first 5 months of his presidency, before the stimulus bill he put through Congress took effect. Subsequently the job losses were stopped, and unemployment dropped slightly. The stimulus was not large enough, and as it petered out and public sector job losses increased, the economy stalled.
    I don’t like hypothetical arguments, but I believe that if, or rather when  the Euro melts down, and the global economy tanks, you will blame that on Obama also.

  20. Dave H says:

    @Huxley #13
    In 2008, yes, that is how I saw things. That the popular vote was anywhere near close is a shocking indictment of the political process in the US. It was also clear from the outset that Obama was going to be hamstrung upon reaching office and unable to act upon the enormous promises that were made.
    Your comment at 17 is precisely indicative of the problem with public awareness of and understanding of politics in the US.
    This tedious diversion aside – what was your point about Naomi Klein again?

  21. Mike Mangan says:

    @Eric Adler #19

    Exactly the opposite.  Alarmists embrace the science precisely because it fits their ideology so well.  They’ve been taught from birth that capitalism and free trade and free markets and consumption and uncontrolled breeding are the sources of all evil in the world so, of course, they will embrace a system that puts an end to it.  All the more reason why climate Alarmists should be opposed with extreme prejudice.


  22. Dave H says:

    @Mike Mangan # 21
    Yours is a breathtakingly paranoid and destructive worldview.

  23. Eric Adler says:

    Mike Mangan @21,
    There is no real evidence for this.  Mostly, the alarm is sounded by people with  backgrounds in Climate Science – Joe Romm, Kevin Trenberth, James Hansen etc. They are looking at it from a scientific perspective, right or wrong.
    At one point,  what were previously centrist Republicans  believed  that Global Warming is a problem. This includes, McCain, Romney, Gingrich, Christie, Huntsman, Pawlenty and others. Since the emergence of the Tea Party funded by Koch and other hard right wingers, many have been forced to reverse their positions to stay in the good standing with those in control of the party.
    The Republican party invented the idea of cap and trade for the purpose of reducing sulfate pollution in the late 80’s, and now refuses to adopt it for reducing CO2 emissions.
    Of course facts are irrelevant to right wing ideologs. It is, as Dave H says, a breathtakingly paranoid and destructive view that you expressed. There is no semblance of reality to support it.

  24. Matt B says:

    @ 23 Eric,

    OK, I’ll conceed that Trenberth & Hansen approach the issue from a scientific basis. But, Romm’s immediate search for the connection between global warming =>  Minnesota heat wave => interstate bridge collapse in Minneapolis shows he can veer more towards advocacy than science:

    I’m not saying he’s not a smart guy (PhD’s in Physics from MIT demand respect) but that doesn’t means he’s practicing this training 24/7.

  25. Dave H says:

    @Matt B
    What? Its a perfectly valid line of questioning.
    Did the Minnesota heat wave constitute the sort of exceptional event we can expect to see more of in future? Yes.
    Did it have a direct impact in this case? The conclusion was no.
    Is it plausible it could do elsewhere in similar circumstances in the future? Yes.
    Is it worth highlighting that this is the sort of infrastructural concern that needs to be accounted for when considering the cost/benefit of adaptation? Absolutely.
    I fail to see the problem.

  26. Tom Scharf says:

    For all the liberals gnashing teeth out there, did you not think we saw through this all along?  You aren’t really smarter than everyone else.

    As I mentioned on the previous thread, I give her respect for being honest about exactly what she wants.  IMO there are way too many activists who have co-opted climate change for their pet agendas.  This has diluted the message and weakened the argument.

    However, there is a universal belief in this day and age that honesty is poor politics.  I don’t want to accept this, maybe I am naive.  Hope and Change that honesty will win out?  

    Nuclear energy is one litmus test that can separate the co-opters from the true believers.  If you can’t accept nuclear energy as an answer to “save the world”, then it is likely you have an alternate agenda.  Hansen and a few others are in the true believer category, most are not from what I can see.

    Her worldview is not mine, but I’m not going to throw spears at her for this.  One could interpret this move as becoming so desperate as to resort to actual honesty.


  27. Evil Denier says:

    I vote for ‘stink bomb’.
    True warmista motives – revealed (but we saw through the hand-waving [& the ‘science’] years ago).
    Follow the comments on the Mooney thread.  Depressing for any True Believer (in the Cult of Climate Change).

  28. Tom Scharf says:

    If you need more evidence as to how weak the global warming message has become, here is the result of a recent poll of people asked why the US is on the wrong track.

    Global warming is not even on the radar.

  29. grypo says:

    “My sympathies on getting kicked out of Zucotti Park.”

    I’m curious to get Keith’s reaction, as a press member, to the events at Zuccotti regarding the treatment of the press, and Bloomberg’s lame excuse as to why several press members were arrested, manhandled, and denied access to the eviction.  Aside from the fact that this eviction will only further radicalize the movement, the way in which it was done should scare the shit out of people.   Unfortunatley, brcause so many people see the movement as inconvenient, they won’t speak up.  We need to press to go nuts over this obvious nonsense stopping the freedom of the press, at least.

    Interestingly, someone from the DHS said that mayors were advised to do evictions as far from the press’ eye as possible.

    “In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.” 

  30. Keith Kloor says:


    I think this NY Daily News piece nails it. 

  31. harrywr2 says:

    The Republican party invented the idea of cap and trade for the purpose of reducing sulfate pollution in the late 80″²s, and now refuses to adopt it for reducing CO2 emissions.
    Cap and trade was effective in reducing sulfer because of the abundant availability of low sulfur coal and the technical availability of scrubbers.
    The price difference between low sulfur Central Appalachian coal and high sulfur Northern Appalachian coal is $4/ton. Western Coal is all low sulfur. Illnois Basin coal is high sulfur and if you live in Illinois you would probably import Western coal or put on scrubbers.
    The end result was that at worst the sulfur regulations would add  at most 1/4 cent/KWh to the price of electricity. No one except an Aluminum Smelter would even notice the change.
    You could probably get a ‘cap and trade’ program for CO2 passed if you limited the price of the permits to less then $5/ton.
    You would be correct to point out that a $5/ton coal tax isn’t going to change how much coal is burned in the US.
    To make western US coal less then competitive in the US West you need a $80/ton carbon tax or a $40/ton CO2 tax. Adding about 4 cents/Kwh to the price of electricity.
    The US is not Europe.  Europe doesn’t have any ‘cheap coal’ or ‘cheap gas’. A ‘modest tax’ doesn’t change the economics of various generating technologies in the US.
    If you would like to propose something where Republicans might  ‘acquiesce’ then you might want to consider a Renewable Portfolio Standard that includes nuclear power.
    One of the big 3 financial risks in Nuclear Power development is ‘demand risk’. I.E. If you can’t sell 100% of the power then the price per KWh becomes onerous because all the costs are fixed, which means you can’t sell any of it. Which means you go bankrupt. Which means the interest rate financiers will demand is onerous. Which makes the cost of nuclear power even more expensive.
    With an RPS that includes nuclear power on a level playing field with wind and solar then 100% of the nuclear power becomes sell-able, which means financiers will demand a lower interest rate, which makes nuclear power even cheaper.
    But alas, cheap clean power doesn’t force lifestyle changes that some in the ‘climate community’ think we should all make. So Cap and Trade with an onoerous tax that will force ‘wasteful’ people to modify their lifestyles is the only proposal that is on the table.
    Yes, the Tea Party sees Cap and Trade for what it is, a plan to force them to modify their lifestyles.

  32. Evil Denier says:

    #30 Keith Kloor
    We’ll see how Middle America (‘flyover country’, rednecks, right-wingers &c; independents?) react to OWS.  At the ballot box.
    Your NY Daily News piece doesn’t consider that.

  33. David Palmer says:

    Just read Klein’s article – what a hoot, what a rant!
    Nothing really to do with the whys and wherefores of climate change, just a peg for an alternative utopian mishmash of ill considered twoddle.
    Mind you, great fun to read.

  34. Menth says:

    Like others I admire Naomi’s frankness and straightforwardness while finding it simultaneously frightening and stupid.

    Here’s a delightful little sample:

    “As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed. And it will only get colder, as theories of racial superiority, barely under the surface in parts of the denial movement, make a raging comeback. These theories are not optional: they are necessary to justify the hardening of hearts to the largely blameless victims of climate change in the global South, and in predominately African-American cities like New Orleans.”

    Hmm, fascinating. Who needs any kind of citation when it just feels like anyone who questions climate science or policy is also racist and probably a burgeoning grand wizard of the kkk under the surface.

    Under the heading “Remembering How to Plan” Naomi regales on the need and benefits of centrally planned “perrenial crop” agriculture:

    ” Another bonus: this type of farming is much more labor intensive than industrial agriculture, which means that farming can once again be a substantial source of employment.”

    LOL, that sounds AWESOME. All those unemployed people right now can get work on farms! Just like in Alabama right now where they banned illegals from farm work and everyone else just swooped in looking to pick beets for a living. Plus, since it’s “much more labor intensive” it’ll be more expensive which will encourage people to eat less! So long obesity problem!  It’s just win win win across the board.

    I encourage all concerned climate change activists to adopt Naomi’s vision, I really do. It will work out very well for you.

    Lastly, Naomi says it best herself:

    “When powerful ideologies are challenged by hard evidence from the real world, they rarely die off completely. Rather, they become cultlike and marginal. A few true believers always remain to tell one another that the problem wasn’t with the ideology; it was the weakness of leaders who did not apply the rules with sufficient rigor.”

    Says the nice marxist lady.

  35. EdG says:

    #34 Menth

    In the “Shock Doctrine” thread I had written:

    “Looking at the current propaganda wars in the US, I’m just surprised that nobody has figured out a way to inject the race card into the AGW debate. Or did I miss that?”

    Now I see that, by not grinding through Klein’s ideological rant, that I did indeed miss it.

  36. hunter says:

    Perhaps Naomi and Klein were working up a Daily Onion parody on how to sound stupid about climate, but it was rejected as too over the top so they just dumped it out on internet to see what would happen?
    either they way, the succeeded extraordinarily well in sounding stupid about the climate, history, politics, science and themselves all in one essay. That is memorable.

  37. Eric Adler says:

    Tom Scharf @ 26,
    The current  2nd generation design of nuclear power generators are getting more expensive rather than cheaper with time, and installation is a slow process. That is the reason for Joe Romm’s skepticism.
    This is why James Hansen says we need to get to work on 4th generation nuclear power, which does not involve any nuclear waste.
    Why America Needs Nuclear Energy
    The head of NASA’s Goddard Institute explains fourth generation nuclear power, and harnessing this technology will be pivotal for America’s future.
    James Hansen

  38. Matt B says:

    @ 25 Dave H;
    Its a perfectly valid line of questioning. Really? That’s the best defense of Romm’s position you have? Isn’t the anti-vax position “perfectly valid”? With that worldview it’s hard to imagine the level of inane commenting it takes to make someone look scientifically dopey.
    Look, there was zero material engineering theory to suspect the heatwave taking down the bridge; it was either crappy quality components or, as it turned out, a crappy design. Romm’s “theory” was as likely as troll damage to be the cause of the collapse.
    You seem bright enough; why defend Romm on this?

  39. huxley says:

    David H: From what I read, I gather that you disdain American voters, particularly conservative ones whose positions you characterize as “extremist.”

    You explain that you are simply objective: Americans are easily manipulated by post-Freudian marketing techniques and so forth. I don’t buy this, it sounds like the usual condescension liberals have for the rest of America, but leave that aside.

    Nor do I buy your take that Americans really aren’t center-right because in polls they favor taxing the rich, gun control and are coming around on gay marriage. Of course, it doesn’t matter much to you how they self-identify, because once again you know these Americans better than they know themselves. But leave that aside as well.

    However, my point is that Naomi Klein’s climate agenda is radical and flat unacceptable to these center-right Americans, whatever their stance on gun control or gay marriage may be. This is why Waxman-Markey went nowhere even when the Obama administration was riding high.

    My question about democracy is actually several that I have for all the orthodox looking to implement a climate change agenda:

    (1) Do you realize that the majority of Americans reject the climate agenda?
    (2) Have you noticed that your current efforts to persuade Americans are not working?
    (3) Do you realize how condescending and off-putting your stance is towards non-liberal Americans?
    (3) Do you accept the democratic, Constitutional principles of the United States?

    It may be obnoxious to ask the last, but Klein’s agenda is indeed anti-capitalist and far out of the American mainstream. The only way it can happen — barring a massive shift in public opinion — is for it to be imposed from above, i.e. not democratically.

    If you have to choose between climate change and democracy, what do you choose?

  40. Mike Mangan says:

    No reason to bring the Republicans into this at all.  There was a global warming hearing in DC this week an the all the Democrats could scrape up for representation was two unpleasant far lefties in the form of Henry Waxman and Ed Markey.  If Democrats don’t take the issue seriously, don’t expect the rest of America to do otherwise.  Oh, and Democratic politicians don’t bark louder because they know that campaigning for “climate change” legislation is political suicide right now.  They poll constantly, so they understand what skeptics are more than happy to point out:  normal people don’t believe this rubbish.    

  41. harrywr2 says:

    Eric Adler Says:
    The current  2nd generation design of nuclear power generators are getting more expensive rather than cheaper with time, and installation is a slow process. That is the reason for Joe Romm’s skepticism.
    The reasons GenII reactors got more expensive was that  the US NRC was changing the safety requirements in mid-construction. Retrofitting is extremely expensive.
    There is nothing wrong with changing the safety requirements as knowledge gained from operational experience and improved analysis techniques become available.

    Joe Romm is a bright guy and should know this. He should also know that no-one except the Russia’s and Chinese are peddling GenII reactors. The Chinese  are having a ‘rethink’ on GenII reactors. 
    Here is reasonable presentation of the evolution of reactor designs at the US NRC site put together by GE.
    GE is on it’s 7th generation containment structure and reactor vessel design.
    Fukishima #1 – Unit 1 was a GE Mark I containment…which was GE’s second containment structure design.
    In a Mark I containment the reactor sat high in the containment building with the bulk of the containment building volume below the core, making ‘flooding the containment building’ up to the level of the core as a last resort in a Loss of Coolant or extended station blackout problematic.
    In the GE ESBWR and Westinghouse AP1000 Gen III designs the reactor sits low in the containment building…making flooding the containment building up to the level of the core a matter that gravity can take care of.

  42. Bill says:

    If you had wanted to see what the world would be like if Naomi ran it, all you had to do was take a walk to Zucotti Park.

    Sadly that opportunity seems to have passed.

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