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Campaign is support Democrats in battleground senate and gubernatorial races; eyes alternative energy payouts

This one is bound to get controversial: hedge fund billionaire Thomas Fahr "Tom" Steyer revealed this week that his "Super PAC", (PAC = political action committee) NextGen Climate, will spend $100M USD in federal election contributions in 2014 alone to try to boost politicians who consider increasing federal spending and regulatory commitments to "fight" climate change a top priority.
I. The Rise of the "Global Warming Billionaire Lobbyist"
Before digging into the comments of Mr. Steyer and his PAC organizers, it's both interesting and important to examine his wealth and what impact federal regulations might have on it.
After received his masters of business administration (MBA) from Stanford University's Business School, Mr. Steyer began his career at Morgan Stanley (MS) in 1979.  In 1983 as a rising star, he jumped to The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS).  Three years later in 1986, Mr. Steyer cast out on his own, securing $15M USD in seed capital.

Tom Steyer
Hedge-fund-manager-turned-lobbyist Tom Steyer. [Image Source: The Washington Post]
The result was the birth of Farallon Capital Management LLC.
Based in San Francisco, Calif., the firm slowly grew based on the success of Mr. Steyer's seemingly simple philosophy of "absolute returns" -- a strategy of aiming to provide a positive return on investment no matter what the market conditions.  To do that Farallon used historical factors and calculated risk to treat every investment like a bond with an implied rate of return.  In 1998 it opened its first overseas office in London.
Today, Farallon Capital has eight global offices including additional outposts in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and São Paulo.  The twelfth largest hedge fund in the world in 2011, Farallon managed $21.5B USD in assets.
In 2010, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) cofounder William Henry "Bill" Gates III announced a bold giving initiative.  A decade after his retirement from the CEO spot at Microsoft, he and his wife publicly pledged to give away virtually all of their massive fortune to charitable causes.  Perhaps America's most successful hedge fund manager, William Edward Buffett (known as "The Oracle of Omaha"), joined the effort pledging to give 99 percent of his fortune by the time he died.
Inspired by Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett, Mr. Steyer and his wife -- Kathryn Ann Taylor -- were among the next 38 billionaires to commit in 2010 to giving away half of their wealth before they died.  The effort was dubbed "The Giving Pledge".  Since then dozens more billionaires also joined the pledge, swelling its ranks to 122 total billionaires or billionaire couples.  Those ranks today include Virgin Group CEO Sir Richard Branson, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Oracle Corp. (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison, Star Wars film director George Lucas, Facebook, Inc. (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk.
The pledge only requires the billionaires to give away half their wealth -- it doesn't tell them what to give to.  Mr. Steyer's giving plan is likely one of the most controversial, as he hopes to spend half his current $1.4B USD fortune lobbying to prod government actions on climate change.
II. A Hobby to Lobby; Supreme Court Paves Way for Billionaire "Charity Lobbyists"
It turns out that Mr. Steyer had long enjoyed playing the political field, donating to at least 40 political candidates on the federal, state, and local level since 1992.  Much of his political activism focused on "greening" the state of California.  Coincidentally his portfolio was greening as well.  To some extent these efforts allowed him to turn a profit on Farallon's alternative energy investments in California an elsewhere.  With California taxpayers footing the bill, success was virtually guaranteed, even as similar projects in other parts of the country posted losses and/or collapsed.
To Mr. Steyer there was no harm in that -- in his eyes (or so he clamed) he was just putting his money where his mouth (or more aptly his lobbying money) was, forcing the public to help itself.
But his lobbying efforts remained a side project until he saw the opportunity with the giving pledge to dive full on into them.  That decision was also enabled by the U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (Case No. 08-205), which was ruled on in 2010, opening the floodgates up to relatively large donations.
The majority ruled 5-4 that outside of "clear" quid-pro-quo ("this, for that"), money was "free speech" and lobbying shouldn't be limited.  In early arguments then-Chief Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia (nominated by President Ronald Wilson Reagan (R) in 1986) argued that removing restrictions to paying off politicians was necessary to prevent Congress from developing too much of a "self-interest", a remark that some have interpreted as a thinly veiled attack on collectivism.  
In his remarks, he stated:
Congress has a self-interest.  We are suspicious of congressional action in the First Amendment area precisely because we – at least I – I doubt that one can expect a body of incumbents to draw election restrictions that do not favor incumbents. Now is that excessively cynical of me? I don’t think so.
Justice John Paul Stevens (now retired, nominated by President Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. (R)) authored an impassioned and eloquent defense against that argument, writing:
All of the majority’s theoretical arguments turn on a proposition with undeniable surface appeal but little grounding in evidence or experience, “that there is no such thing as too much speech.”
If individuals in our society had infinite free time to listen to and contemplate every last bit of speech uttered by anyone, anywhere; and if broadcast advertisements had no special ability to influence elections apart from the merits of their arguments (to the extent they make any); and if legislators always operated with nothing less than perfect virtue; then I suppose the majority’s premise would be sound.
In the real world, we have seen, corporate domination of the airwaves prior to an election may decrease the average listener’s exposure to relevant viewpoints, and it may diminish citizens’ willingness and capacity to participate in the democratic process.
Indeed, what made the majority's argument rather baffling and specious was he also did little to set forth a clear standard of when a candidate deciding months or years later on decisions that financially benefited their lobbyist backers would count as quid quo pro.  His argument was essentially that as long as donations were made public, the public could sufficiently hold accountable any sort of clear bribery.  What made this argument laughable was that private limited liability entitles in the U.S. (corporations, LLCs, etc.) are not legally required to disclose their financial transactions.  So barring some kind of internal leak, the public can see who paid what candidate, but they can't see what the company got in return in the form of sealed contracts or subcontracts.  
By the same note, the decision stopped short of saying it would be wrong to give a contract to a company or investor who lobbied a politician and "coincidentally" turned out to be the only bidder on an almost unpublicized contract.  As the SpaceX case against top defense lobbying company Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) proves, such non-competitive contracts are not only common, they grossly inflate the state and federal budgets, wasting trillions in taxpayer money while increasing the national debt.
III. "Beta" Run of $100M USD Push, Brought Tom Steyer Key Wins in 2013
The situation further loosened this year with the Supreme Court ruling in the case McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (Case No. 12-536), which was ruled on in April.  In a 5-4 decision, the court decided to prohibit caps on individual donors' lobbyist spending.  Chief Justice John Glover Roberts, Jr., writing the majority opinion, made a perhaps ironic comparison between individual lobbying and lobbying by for-profit, corporate-owned media, writing:
The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.
In the dissent, Justice, wrote [PDF]:
[The majority's ruling] creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign. Taken together with Citizens United v. FEC (2010), today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.
But like it or not, Americans now have to deal with the fact that campaign limits -- previously capped at around $110,000 USD -- have been thrown out by the nation's highest court.  To address one obvious item, before the ruling special interests like Mr. Steyer may have donated more than the aggregate limit, but they were forced to do so via proxy, which led to the so-called "campaign donation bundling" business.
By Jan. 1, 2013 Mr. Steyer had already stepped down from his day-to-day role as co-manager of Farallon to focus full-time on his new hobby -- lobbying.
To divvy out the dough, Mr. Steyer has hired veteran Democratic strategist Chris Lehane.  The spending began last year, with Mr. Steyer's NextGen PAC contributing large sums to three candidates in tight races.  Among those was Terence Richard "Terry" McAuliffe (D), whom was given $11M USD to counter Kenneth Thomas "Ken" Cuccinelli II, a Republican who was known for criticizing gaps or errors in climate science.
The boost seemed to achieve its intended result.  Govenor McAuliffe obtained 56,435 more votes that Mr. Cuccinelli -- a razor thin margins of less than 3% of the total votes cast -- thanks in part to a massive advertising campaign.
Likewise he backed Rep. Edward John "Ed" Markey (D-Mass.) in a contentious race against primary challenger Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.) in a special Senate election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, paying for campaign workers to knock on 300,000 doors.  He even bought a banner to fly over Fennway Park decrying Rep. Lynch as a supporter of the "oil evil empire".  Rep. Markey won -- and is now Sen. Markey.
IV. Mr. Steyer's Battle Plan
The net impact of the McCutcheon v. FEC ruling was to grossly streamline the process of paying off politicians, allowing situations like we're now seeing with Mr. Steyer's "charitable efforts".  Mr. Steyer's lieutenant, Mr. Lehane promises giddily that we haven't seen anything like what he's about to unleash.  He comments to The New York Times:
The [win in the] race in 2013 in Virginia was a beta test for 2014.  It provided us the political paradigm to model our other races off of.  We want 2014 to be a pivot year for climate — the year we can demonstrate that you can use climate change as a wedge issue to win in political races.
This year alone Mr. Steyer is pouring $50M USD towards candidates, including large donations amounting to several million dollars in key races.  He's also pledging to use part of his "charitable gift" to raise $50M USD more in "charity" from like minded candidates -- who like him are likely invested in the alternative energy and carbon credits business.
Edward Maibach, the director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, suggests that the approach will work, as independents tend to be highly susceptible to large swings of opinion on the issue of federal legislation dealing with climate change.  He remarks:
Independent voters, with regard to the issue of climate change, track much more closely with Democrats than Republican.  Painting candidates as climate deniers stands a good chance of working in districts where the vote turns on independents.
The Steyer/NextGen Climate Super-PAC has already laid out its battle plan for 2014, for the most part:
  • Senate races
    • Iowa
      • Supports Rep. Bruce Lowell Braley (D-Iowa)
      • Is running for the seat of retiring Sen. Thomas Richard "Tom" Harkin (D-Iowa).
      • Will likely face either state Sen. Joni Ernst, a National Guard lieutenant colonel, or retired energy company executive Mark Jacobs -- both in close running in the Republican primary.
      • Polling indicates Rep. Braley enjoying a relatively healthy lead over the both rivals -- 6 percent in each case. [1][2]
      • However, Iowa could become a battleground once Republican support circles around a single challenger in the primary's aftermath.
      • Rep. Braley is already on the attack about the climate issue, airing ads attacking both Republican hopefuls' comments in opposition of climate change spending.
    • New Hampshire
      • Supports incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D).
      • Was first woman to be elected to either U.S. Senate or as Governor in the State of New Hampshire.
      • Is facing political commentator Scott Philip Brown, who previous served in the U.S. Senate in his old home state of Mass.
      • A late comer in the race, Mr. Brown dominates his party rivals in polls, but trails Sen. Shaheen by a few percentage points.  That said the race is expected to be very tight once Republican voters fully circle around their candidate post-primary.
    • Colorado
      • Supports incumbent Senator Mark Emery Udall (D-Colo.)
      • Sen. Udall is facing a tough challenge from U.S. Rep. Cory Scott Gardner (R-Colo.) who won his party's primary in a landslide.
      • Rep. Gardner has criticized climate change initiatives while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.
      • Polls show the incumbent Sen. Udall clinging to a 1.7 percent lead.
    • Michigan
      • Supports Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
      • Running for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Carl Milton Levin (D-Mich.)
      • Faces Terri Lynn Land (R), currently Michigan's Secretary of State
      • Tight race; two polls put Secretary Land up, four put Rep. Peters up.
      • Current estimates indicate Rep. Peters is clinging to a 1.6 percent lead.
      • Claims government should spend and regulate aggressively to prevent global warming's "threat" to Michigan's Great Lakes and Agriculture business:

        "It's important to frame the issue in terms of potential threats to our state."
  • Governors’ races.
    • Pennsylvania
      • Supporting Thomas W. "Tom" Wolf owner of a housing good corporation, which specialized in cabinetry
      • Mr. Wolf run by a landslide in the primary defeating his closet competitor by more than 40 percent.
      • Is facing incumbent Gov. Thomas W. "Tom" Corbett (R).
      • Polling is highly inconsistent, but suggests a tight race.  Polls in November and February suggested a double digit lead for Mr. Wolf.  A poll in Dec., though, suggested a double digit lead for Gov. Corbett.  A poll in March suggested a perfect tie.
      • Gov. Corbett drew Mr. Steyer's ire after refusing to back climate initiatives such as spending on solar tax credits.  He and other critics blasted Gov. Corbett's statements in a recent interview in which the Governor stated that climate change was a "a subject of debate."
    • Florida
      • Supporting challenger Charles Joseph "Charlie" Crist, Jr. (D)
      • Faces incumbent Gov. Richard Lynn "Rick" Scott (R)
      • Mr. Crist ran as a Republican for Senate in Florida in 2009, but lost to Tea Party Republican Sen. Marco Antonio Rubio (R).
      • In 2010 Mr. Crist became an "independent".
      • In 2012 Mr. Crist announced his conversion to the Democratic National Party, citing climate skepticism with the RNP as a reason for his defection.
      • Three polls put Mr. Crist ahead, one suggests a tie, a fifth puts Gov. Scott ahead.
      • Mr. Crist has a narrow 3.4 percent composite lead in the polls.
      • Sen. Rubio has been critical about alleged manipulations, exagerration, or politicization of climate science reports; Mr. Crist could be the anti-Rubio, so to speak.
    • Maine
      • Supports Rep. Michael Herman "Mike" Michaud (D-Maine), leading Democrat in the primary.
      • Faces incumbent Gov. Paul Richard LePage (R)
      • Latest poll places Rep. Michaud and Gov. LePage in a virtual dead heat with 1 percent advantage going to the challenger.
      • Mr. Steyer may also opt to support Eliot Cutler (I) to try to pull votes away from the Republicans.  Mr. Cutler was a founding partner of Cutler & Stanfield LLP, which became the nation's second largest environmental law firm.
      • Mr. Cutler ran in 2010, losing by less than 2 percent to Gov. LePage.
      • Gov. LePage appears to believe in global warming, but suggested climate change would be "good for" Maine's economy, opening shipping routes blocked by ice in the winter.
One thing is clear from the battle plan, at least.  Mr. Steyer is treating his lobbying much like his investing, approaching it in a very strategic way, targeting battleground states.

IV. Hypocrite? Idealist? Shrewd Opportunist?  All of the Above? You Pick

So far Mr. Steyer's critics have largely blasted the fact that he had gained much of his wealth by investing in fossil fuels and was continuing to profit off them.  Indeed, as of 2013, roughly at Farallon Capital $440M USD -- or roughly 10 percent of the total portfolio -- was placed in fossil fuel investments.  The National Review writes:

Tom Steyer, a billionaire investor and creator of the environmentalist super PAC NextGen Climate Action, is planning to spend $100 million in the 2014 election in order to topple elected officials who do not agree with his climate agenda... Ironically, Steyer has made millions off of the very industries he claims are destroying the environment.

One of the reasons Steyer reportedly left Farallon was because he had been uncomfortable with the company’s investment in fossil fuels; but he is comfortable using the money from fossil fuel investments to campaign against oil... If Steyer is truly divesting from fossil fuels, critics may largely suspend claims that Steyer continues to be hypocritical in his environmental activism.

Indeed letters made public Mr. Steyer has urged several college endowments who are clients of Farallon Capital to reconsider the fossil fuel stakes, which he must get permission to sell.  While the criticism that Mr. Steyer "made millions" off fossil fuels is absolutely technically accurate, the rush to label him a hypocrite based on historical record has led to a far more interesting possibility being overlooked.

Mr. Steyer actually has ever reason to follow through on his promise to divest.  If he can shift key battleground states toward his camp on the climate change issue, he could stand to make a large profit.
The truth could be that Mr. Steyer truly believes in what he is doing and any profit he makes is only accident.  But his history and late turn towards environmentalism suggests its very possible that the entire charitable giving is a ploy being used to gain the upper hand, securing state and federal incentives for his hedge fund's growing capital investments.
Spending $50M USD on lobbying sounds risky, but the federal government in recent years has regularly handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, grants, and other incentives to alternative energy firms.  In that light it would not be surprising if Mr. Steyer's "investment" yields "absolute gains".
Even just keeping the issue in the media can be a ticket to profits.  Just ask former Vice President-turned-media mogul Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. who leveraged a variety of government-subsidized green investments to multiply the money he had made off global warming speaking tours, books, and the movie An Inconvenient Truth.  Currently Mr. Gore is worth over $300M USD, more than fifty times his wealth when he became Vice President in the 1990s.  Mr. Gore has also made millions on the side off carbon credits and alternative energy investments.
V. Fossil Fuel's Special Interest Defenders -- the Koch Brothers
Of course Mr. Steyer's push to regulate fossil fuels to extinction and boost alternative energy with special interest payouts is not going unopposed.  While some hedge fund managers -- like Mr. Steyer -- have seized on either public sentiment or the slowly improving economics of solar and wind energy as an opportunity to distance themselves from the pack -- which once almost wholesale embraced fossil fuels -- many traditionalists are still solidly opposed to that rebellion.
On the opposing side perhaps the biggest power player are the Koch brothers -- industrialists Charles de Ganahl Koch ($40.6B USD) and David Hamilton Koch ($40.6B USD).  The brothers co-own Koch Industries, Inc. a massive industrial corporation that is America's second largest privately owned company.  (David Koch is EVP; Charles Koch is head of the company.)

Koch Brothers
Koch Industries executive VP David Koch, left and Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries, right [Image Source: AP/Getty Images]

The Koch brothers eclipse Mr. Steyer's substantial fortune by almost two orders of magnitude, but have fumbled at times during the past decade in terms of securing payouts for their interests.  Still they have managed to get substantial tax breaks and incentives in place for the oil industry, a crucial pillar of their business.
In that regard the battle between Mr. Steyer and the Koch Brothers is not so much as whose proposed technology is the fitter competitor on the free market (a topic which would provoke a lively, but valid debate).  Rather the debate appears largely oriented around in which money the federal and state governments should spend the trillions they collect from taxpayers, and which corporate special interests should get tax breaks.
From a neutral perspective, Mr. Steyer is in the weaker position financially, but is perhaps the shrewder strategist.  He's gotten a jump on the Koch brothers in pouring obscene amounts of cash into key battleground states.  While in the 80s and 90s such efforts often failed -- largely because cash was less of a factor back then -- today Mr. Steyer stands a good chance of successfully breaking the back of the Republican party in key battleground states.
But expect the Koch brothers to bring their full resources to bear as the fight heats up.
In layman's terms you can think of this political war over American's energy future, special interests, and global warming somewhat as Aliens vs. Predators' slogan -- "Whoever wins we [in this case, the taxpayer] lose" -- from a financial perspective, at least.
In other words, as the old adage goes it takes money to make money.  And today in America's new gilded age of limit-free legal lobbying; America's wealthiest elite are willing to spend a fortune in order to get an even bigger fortune back, on the backs of taxpayers.

Sources: The New York Times, The National Review, The Washington Post

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Anthropomorphic Warming is the tip of the iceberg.
By ptmmac on 5/25/2014 2:22:33 PM , Rating: 4
One of the reasons I hate Climate change debates or even editorials is the lack of any evidence that anyone ever really listens. The climate is changing. That is a fact, whether or not anthropomorphic causes are at the root of this change is really not something simple to explain from a science perspective if you are already convinced of your own infallibility. The silly attempt to make a connection between eugenics and anthropomorphic climate change is flat out false. Evolution, the age of the earth, the age of the universe, the fact that the sun is at the center of the solar system and many other long time scientific debates are all much more real examples of scientific consensus. In each of these cases, science got the answer right.

Take a simple minute to think about it. 10,000 years ago the human population was 5 million. The effect this 5 million humans had on their environment was already probably very notable, at least compared to the other species that had a similar biomass. We were at that time a top predator and we were at the dawn of farming. Zoom forward to today and our 7 billion strong human population.

No other species has ever had an impact like we have over the next 10,000 years. When sailors started covering the globe the diversity and ubiquity of marine life was something we can't even imagine. In the 1600's, the cod fishery off of Newfoundland was so dense it was hard to move a boat through a shoal of fish. Today the remnant of this fishery is being protected because there are no longer any shoals of fish left. When civilization was founded in Mesopotamia, it was among the richest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Today it is a desert wasteland. North Africa is the same story. Europe has stagnated economically compared to the United States because of the long term effects of human habitation, and that is just from 1000 years of post aboriginal usage.

At the current moment in history the scientific consensus is that we will destroy well over 50% of the remaining species in the next 50 years unless we change our behavior (This does not even include global warming). Please read E O Wilson's writing on this topic. The goal that is being passed around in the scientific community is just that: lets keep 50% of the current diversity, and the cost is peanuts. Some where around 20-30 Billion per year to create high diversity reserves on 4% of our planets surface. Yes, that it is the good news. Life is truly amazing in it's ability to adapt and survive. All we need is 4% of our planet with key locations set aside to keep the heritage we have received.

So is the extreme idea of cutting off all use of fossil fuels going to work? No way. Not until we have working replacements. So are the few millions being spent to support develop those replacements a waste of money as posited in this "editorial"? No it is not a waste. It is chicken feed and will not do enough. Luckily there are financial incentives from the free market to keep this going.

No one is listening, but the problems are real, and the solutions are not simple. Get your head out of your what ever and start working towards a better future for us all. Lead, follow or get out of the way. Paranoid, and delusional individuals not welcome.

By PaFromFL on 5/25/2014 3:35:55 PM , Rating: 5
People have good reasons to be skeptical of AGW. The motives of AGW proponents are suspect, and AGW claims are based on unproven science.
1. The track record of meteorologists and climatologists in predicting the future beyond a few days is only a little better than astrologists.
2. Climatology funding has greatly increased only since politicians jumped on the AGW bandwagon.
3. A select group of rich schemers will become obscenely richer if energy/pollution trading exchanges are mandated around the world.
4. It is not obvious that the earth would on average be hurt by more warming. The imminent ice age threat that the climatologists raised during the previous century was scarier.

By Strunf on 5/26/2014 7:41:31 AM , Rating: 4
"Scientist are just trying to get rich!!!"
There's no such thing as a rich scientists... if you take into account how much they need to study, the personal investment and the salary they have you'll notice that it's all that great to be a scientist specially not money wise.

By Arsynic on 5/27/2014 12:42:06 PM , Rating: 4
Scientists aren't trying to get rich. They're just trying to survive. Their entire existence is dependent on government grants.

There aren't many government grants (if any) for studying the sun's effect on Earth's climate.

By PaFromFL on 5/26/2014 9:55:13 AM , Rating: 5
Your eagerness to dismiss AGW critics as lunatics says more about you and your cause than about the critics. I am a scientist who, while earning my Ph.D. in Physics and M.S.E.E, had enough contact with meteorology and ocean engineering graduate students to appreciate the difficulties involved in modeling climate and weather. I stand by my claim that current climatology models are unproven science. They are certainly not solid enough to merit disruption of the global economy.

I'm old enough to remember that climatologists previously warned that we were entering a new ice age. I remember how it was "discovered" that Freon was harming the ozone layer, right after DuPont patented new "ozone-friendly" refrigerants. I remember the law that mandated "clean" catalytic converters, making a few companies rich at the expense of asthmatics. I remember laws that "cleaned" the soot from smokestacks and led to acid rain. I'm even suspicious (but not totally convinced) of the correlation between epidemic of obesity and diabetes and the widespread use of corn-derived sugars in the food supply. When humans claim they are trying to save the earth, your freedom, or your soul, you can't just assume they have no other agendas.

By PaFromFL on 5/26/2014 10:43:56 AM , Rating: 5
My background makes it less likely for me to automatically drink the KoolAid. I appreciate the complexity and unpredictability of the physical processes affecting climate and realize that current climate models cannot be trusted enough to disrupt the global economy.

Acid rain was reduced when the "experts" realized that just removing soot was causing the problem. They added a step to remove the smokestack gases that turned into acid.

The ozone layer problem was "discovered" when instruments became sensitive enough to notice the ozone depletion that occurred when atmospheric temperatures were abnormally low. While Freon does somewhat deplete ozone, it was not the main the cause of the ozone holes. Furthermore, the ozone layer is a robust feedback system. Too little ozone lets ultraviolet through that in turn converts oxygen into more ozone.

If you live long enough, is hard not to be a skeptic. Some humans have a bad habit of taking advantage of (or inventing) threats to become rich and powerful (e.g. Iraq war). Other humans have the best of intentions, but have the equally bad habit of giving the exploiters unquestioning support.

By JediJeb on 5/26/2014 9:50:39 PM , Rating: 5
I happen to be a chemist but also know somewhat about physics and agree with your point of view. What I really hate is when someone claims to be a climate specialist but puts forth theories that go against the very laws of physics. If their theories are correct, then climate is a exception to physics, which can't happen.

One classic example was even put into a show on Discovery Channel once, where the climatologist puts up a set of graphs showing the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere along with the rise of temperatures. His claim from the graph presented was that increasing CO2 levels caused increasing temperatures, but on the graph the temperatures began to rise years before the CO2 levels did. From that is seems in the realm of climate science effect precedes cause. Makes me question most of the things I read on climate if some of the most visible examples are so incorrectly presented.

By Arsynic on 5/27/2014 12:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of people who watch that channel are clueless though, so mission accomplished. The average idiot would say, "Well these people have degrees in science and I don't so what they say is gospel."

You weren't the target audience of that program. The media industrial complex needs the average Joe to believe that his freedoms are destroying the Earth and so he needs to give up those freedoms.

By Spuke on 5/29/2014 3:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yes! FINALLY some educated discussion about this subject instead of the rantings of some "religious" nutjobs. And we get a real scientist (although not a climatologist) commenting to boot. Best Goddamned thread about GW yet!

By Arsynic on 5/27/2014 12:46:40 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry, but that's actually laughable. Your a scientist who's claiming to know more about a field he doesn't specialize in than scientists who do based on some contact you had in school with other students. I think this says more about your cause than about the critics.

Wait a damn minute here. How many of the scientists supporting AGW are actual climate scientists? Because these are the same folks that you and your ilk like to claim support your flat-earth like theory.

RE: Anthropomorphic Warming is the tip of the iceberg.
By Da W on 5/26/14, Rating: -1
By PaFromFL on 5/26/2014 10:22:58 AM , Rating: 4
It got much warmer than today around 1000 A.D. and after that came the Little Ice Age. It had nothing to do with humans and there were no other obvious sources of carbon dioxide then. We do not yet understand many significant fluctuations in the past climate so there is no reason to put much faith in current climate predictions.

Climatological feedback mechanisms are tricky. Do warmer temperatures produce more atmospheric carbon dioxide or are the warmer temperatures the result of atmospheric carbon dioxide? The greenhouse effect is probably the correct explanation, but CO2 dissolves in the ocean, gets buried in carbonate rock and peat bogs and vegetation. Higher temperatures might burp million of tons of methane out of the ocean, or not. Even the solar constant isn't really constant. There are far too many mechanisms and too few accurate models. All we know for sure is that the climate has been steadily warming since the last ice age.

Disrupting the global economy based on unproven scientific models is like risking your life in the Crusades to earn a mansion in heaven (while your fearless leader earns mansions on earth). By trying to prevent global warming, we might make it worse or invite some other catastrophe. I'd rather not take a real risk for a nebulous reward.

By web2dot0 on 5/27/2014 6:47:01 PM , Rating: 2
So you are advocating the "Do Nothing" approach huh?

Wow, that's new.

So pouring industrial waste into the river is only a recent thing (last 200 years) and has not proven to causing world to collapse (might not be good, but might not be catastrophic), hence let's not stop it all since it will cost alot of money to stop "progress".

Yeah, that's your logic.

Let's not do anything until we have 100% prove and certainty of anything.

Yeah, that's how we got to the moon, discovered the Americas .... because it's all about absolute certainty and proven science.

OK, I get where you are going with this.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 8:03:51 PM , Rating: 3
We're not "doing nothing". We're getting "greener" every goddamn day.

Some of us just don't think utterly destroying all private wealth (aside from a few "Green" cronies of course and campaign contributors selling carbon credits) in the world just to lower temperatures by a TENTH of a degree is worth it.

By wookie1 on 5/26/2014 2:43:40 PM , Rating: 5
Also, the temperature record is very suspect. Many of the weather stations are very poorly sited (parking lots, rooftops, airport tarmacs), and the measurements get "adjusted" after that with some unknown algorithm.

Did you know that temperatures in the the past are not stable? Every month the entire GISS history gets adjusted based on the latest measurements. If you said, "what was the temperature on May 26th 1940?", the answer would depend in if you asked it a year ago or today.

By LRonaldHubbs on 5/27/2014 8:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
Bullet point 1 soundly demonstrates your ignorance of this subject. Please brush up on the facts before sharing your opinions.

By slickr on 5/26/2014 9:00:35 AM , Rating: 4
First of all the "climate change" was previously called global cooling and when it was clear after 30 years that it wasn't cooling they decided to call it global warming, after another 20 years of actual temperatures showed that it wasn't getting warmer they decided to change the name again and name it "climate change".

This name change would allow the fraudsters, the scammers to lump every change, no matter how minor, how big, no matter what, if it rains, if it snows, if it doesn't snow, if it cold, if it warm, whatever and call it "climate change" and blame humans and demand that we all give up our rights and pay Al-Gore and his buddies in the industry carbon taxes so we can keep our small businesses running.

The biggest supporters of "climate change" are the oil companies and they are the second major ones pushing this fraud because coal and nuclear is their competition, and supposedly CO2 is evil and pollutant, even though its part of the life cycle, its photosynthesis, and nuclear is just going to get lumped together with it because it sounds scary, everybody knows Chernobyl and so they can shut down nuclear power as well through this "climate change".

They take a name that is so integral, its like saying oxygen is causing the earth to die and calling it earth rotation around the sun and if you disagree with it, you are obviously disagreeing that the earth is rotating around the sun, even though you are arguing that oxygen is not killing the earth.

So that is climate change for you. Its a fraudulent word, its a major scam, while MAN MADE CATASTROPHIC GLOBAL WARMING isn't happening.

So the climate is changing and its natural and its always changed and will keep changing probably forever or until the universe exists, its not related to "global warming" its 100% different.

Man made catastrophic global warming is actually false, there is VERY TINY temperature increase over the past 100 years of 0.6 degrees Celsius that is 100% normal and natural and has NOTHING to do with CO2 and everything to do cosmic rays, suns activity and the earth's natural tendencies to get warmer and cooler over certain periods.

By Silvergoat on 5/27/2014 12:16:04 PM , Rating: 3
It's interesting that now where is it noted that Mr. Steyer made his money in coal investments. Nor is it mentioned that Mr. Steyer is aggressively against the Keystone Pipeline-or that he has a financial interest in a competing oil pipeline that would spectacularly enrich him should the Keystone Pipeline fail. This does separate him from the Kochs, who have no financial interest in either pipeline.
Harry Reid and the left have excoriated the Kochs because they own land, beneath which might be some very valuable hydrocarbons. They link the Keystone pipeline to the "villainous" Kochs to destroy that pipeline, conveniently ignoring that the Kochs would still be able to put hydrocarbons though the other pipeline. Net effect zero to the Kochs.
However, Steyer would make a mint. Oops, did they mean to miss that fact?

By Dorkyman on 5/27/2014 1:14:49 PM , Rating: 4
As a guy with a decent engineering education (MIT BSEE '77), I am astonished at how politicized this whole thing has gotten. It's now a "religion" to one side, and thus no longer open to debate.

(1) First off, it's not called "anthropomorphic" it's "anthropogenic." The former means attributing human characteristics to non-human creatures, like what Disney did to Bambi.

(2) Surely everyone realizes by now that what we do will have a vanishingly trivial effect on warming. THE USA could shrink its CO2 output to ZERO tomorrow and the temperature increase will be reduced by something like 0.0013 degrees. In other words, no effect at all.

(3) There are many experts who say that a warming earth, regardless of whether our CO2 output is a contributory factor, will be a great benefit to homo sapiens.

So the skeptic that's been bred into me by my background has to suspect that folks like Steyer have an ulterior motive. For example, we now know that Warren Buffet just happens to own one of the railroads that is transporting Canadian tar sands out into the USA. No wonder he was opposed to Keystone, and urged Messiah to reject it.


By NellyFromMA on 5/27/2014 2:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution, the age of the earth, the age of the universe, the fact that the sun is at the center of the solar system and many other long time scientific debates are all much more real examples of scientific consensus. In each of these cases, science got the answer right.

Eventually. At first the Earth was flat, then it was the center of the now-solar-system. Before that, the whole world was just the eastern side of the globe.

It was only because of dissenting opinion that we pushed forward to get to these answers.

Challenge all thoughts, sometimes especially the "givens".

Good read.

New Religion
By EricMartello on 5/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: New Religion
By cactusdog on 5/25/2014 8:58:20 AM , Rating: 5
You are an idiot....and you're dishonest.

Its always funny when some "internet expert" thinks he has some special knowledge that isn't available to 99% of scientists all around the world, working in many different disciplines of science, who all come to the same conclusion.

Your assertions are just wrong, and they have already been debunked over and over. At least Liberals believe in facts, poof and the truth. If you want to live in fantasy land where god will wave his magic wand and everything will be fine that's up to you.

On topic, I don't like any corporate influence in politics but this guy's money might offer some balance to the millions and years of dishonesty by the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel interests.

Liberals will still want to get money out of politics, that's not going to change because some guy is putting money in that supports their arguments.

I always picture the pro fossil fuel climate change doubters as the same people who said the economy would suffer when steam power ended.....and horse and cart power before that.

RE: New Religion
By purerice on 5/25/2014 12:26:38 PM , Rating: 1
You are an idiot

Really? Is that the best way you can think of to counter an argument? To stoop to insults?

RE: New Religion
By EricMartello on 5/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: New Religion
By sgw2n5 on 5/26/2014 1:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
Turn off the fox news and open a book every once in a while. Might do you some good.

RE: New Religion
By EricMartello on 5/26/14, Rating: 0
RE: New Religion
By Dorkyman on 5/27/2014 1:26:03 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, brother. Here we go again. Those mean ol' "Faux News" people.

Must really burn you that surveys consistently show that Fox dominates in market share because they present BOTH SIDES of the issues, unlike apparently your sources. Bet you think Sharpton is an intelligent man.

RE: New Religion
By LRonaldHubbs on 5/27/2014 8:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
Fox News' greatest achievement was convincing people they are "fair and balanced" and that they "present both sides"*. And wtf does Al Sharpton's worthless racist ass have to do with anything?

*the very notion of any issue having just 2 sides is stupid and inconsistent with reality, but actually very fitting for someone who believes Fox News is a respectable news source...

RE: New Religion
By tonyswash on 5/25/2014 3:12:15 PM , Rating: 5
99% of scientists all around the world, working in many different disciplines of science, who all come to the same conclusion.

That's not true by the way.

The oft quoted figure of 95% support for the theory of dangerous human caused global warming started with the paper by Doran/Zimmerman which was based on a survey of 77 top earth scientists.The raw data from the survey was only published long after the headline impacting results were announced. In that data it is clear that the way the survey questions were constructed was carefully and cleverly designed to constrain the participating earth scientists into giving yes/no answers to just two questions whose answers could be packaged in to a neat 95% consensus result.

But the participating earth scientists were allowed to make free comments about the topic of climate change attribution and the appendices of the paper includes all these free comments and they reveal anything but certainty and consensus. There are many, many comments from the climatologists (hundreds) in the appendices and I strongly suggest you have a look yourself because what is clearly revealed are the profound uncertainties about the impact of CO2, about how the climate system works and what is driving it. Nobody reading the comments of the scientists could think for one moment that the science is settled.

The full paper, which includes the raw comments of the scientists, is available here, because it is an academic paper you have to pay for it but it's only a couple of bucks.

Here are a sample of just some of the pages and pages of comments by the scientists. Some scientists express certainty about a major human contribution to warming but most don’t, there is a very widespread range of different opinions, which one would expect on a complex topic like this. And yet this paper is a major plank used to prop up the delusional notion that there is 95% certainty amongst scientists.

Let the scientists talk and here is what they say……….

? “ “I assume you mean ‘substantial’ rather than statistically ‘significant’… It is possible that we have provided 5-10% of the change, but I am not sure if that is what you would define as ‘substantial.’ “I believe human activity is a contributing factor, it’s the term ‘significant’ I’m unsure about.”

? “I do not know what you mean by significant. I believe humans are affecting the climate, I am not sure how and to what level.”

? “I don’ know how to distinguish the effect of human activity from other controls, and I don’t know how you define ‘significant’.”

? “I think human activity is a significant component, but I do not know if it is 10%, 25%, 50% or more.“

? “The way that you phrased the question implies that human activity has to be a significant contributor. I think that the data indicates we are contributors but I’m not sure that we understand the background cycles/changes well enough to know how small or how huge our impacts are.“

? “I just did your survey on global warming and I just wanted to make a couple of comments as follows:
1. I believe in global warming, both short term (my lifetime) and long term (10,000 years). I also believe in cycles and that someday we will see cooling.
2. I believe that global warming is caused, to at least some degree, by human activity.
3. I am not absolutely convinced, however, that carbon dioxide is the culprit. I think that remains to be proved. Carbon dioxide is complicated, and I believe that there could be other both human induced and natural causes for global warming.“

? “natural factors are still dominant.“

? “measured changes don't agree with models, much carbon dioxide is missing from inventory, our understanding of other factors is so poor that it's hard to estimate relevance of human activity

Many factors are in play and it is a statistical thing. I think it is 'likely' that anthropogenic CO2 has contributed to warming, but is it the only contributor, or even a principal contributor? I'm not sure“

? “It is not certain that all factors controlling climate are well known and understood. And, the models that have implicated human activity as a factor in climate change have many assumptions that may be found later to be incorrect or over simplified.“

? “I think human activity is a factor, I'm just not sure if it is a 'significant' factor. I think global warming would have occurred with or without human influence so I'm not sure if we can be considered 'significant'.

? “I'm not sure that the temperature change over about the last 100 years isn't part of a natural cycle. Some paleoclimate data indicate similarly warm temperatures about 1000 years ago.“

RE: New Religion
By EricMartello on 5/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: New Religion
By roykahn on 5/26/2014 11:17:09 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry if I seem silly, but they don't look like the comments of scientists. "I'm not sure..." and "I don't believe..." and "I don't know..." aren't very scientific. These seem be to personal beliefs rather than scientific findings. Sure, they have some value given the status of the commentators, but come on! Maybe they're just the scientists who haven't put enough hours in the lab :-P Maybe they're not even climatologists. They could be "earth scientists" that don't have significant knowledge about climate change. Seriously! Maybe their areas of expertise are volcanoes, geology, biology, or something slightly related to the climate. Doesn't this seem a bit fishy to you?

I do, however, agree with you about questioning this "99% of scientists" claim. Not only is this probably false, but it's also meaningless. Not all scientists are qualified to comment on climate-related science.

RE: New Religion
By tonyswash on 5/27/2014 1:18:04 PM , Rating: 4
Sorry if I seem silly, but they don't look like the comments of scientists. "I'm not sure..." and "I don't believe..." and "I don't know..." aren't very scientific. These seem be to personal beliefs rather than scientific findings. Sure, they have some value given the status of the commentators, but come on! Maybe they're just the scientists who haven't put enough hours in the lab :-P Maybe they're not even climatologists. They could be "earth scientists" that don't have significant knowledge about climate change. Seriously! Maybe their areas of expertise are volcanoes, geology, biology, or something slightly related to the climate. Doesn't this seem a bit fishy to you?

I do, however, agree with you about questioning this "99% of scientists" claim. Not only is this probably false, but it's also meaningless. Not all scientists are qualified to comment on climate-related science.

All that may be true but the point was that the study in question was used to kick off the claim of a 95% consensus and the comments reveals that no such consensus exists.

RE: New Religion
By rsmech on 5/25/2014 4:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
So you believe there is no history of a changing climate in earth's history or is history only as long as you can remember? Before you call me an idiot please enlighten me as to how this is the only time in earths history the temperature has ever changed (which you cannot).

Am I saying conservation is bad, of course not. I just don't jump off bridges when someone says jump.

RE: New Religion
By EricMartello on 5/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: New Religion
By Dorkyman on 5/27/2014 1:34:37 PM , Rating: 2
BTW just to put things into perspective:

Imagine a basketball arena filled with 10,000 people. Put 4 people in red t-shirts. Those four (out of 10,000) represent the percentage of CO2 in the total atmosphere. There once were three t-shirts, but now there are four.

--The old climate models grossly overstated the amplification effect of CO2, regardless of the source of the CO2.

--A radical change in lifetsyle will have no effect on the CO2 percentage. No effect. Repeat: No effect.

--If the climate IS going to change, it is better for civilization for it to get warmer than colder. It will not stay static. It never has.

Whatever they call it this week
By coburn_c on 5/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: Whatever they call it this week
By deltaend on 5/24/2014 7:46:01 PM , Rating: 2
by coburn_c on May 24, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Climate change is just an excuse to create self imposed austerity among the weak willed. There is no evidence that even extreme climate change will harm the human race, and it sure as hell won't harm the earth. The earth has been here a long time, and humans will adapt and overcome. Now it might cost some rich white people a lot of money.. but I'm OK with that. I'm surely more OK with that than telling people to self-impose rationing to save poor poor mother earth.

You are an idiot. Assuming that climate change IS actually being mostly caused by humans you expect everything to just pan out for the poor and hungry nations that already don't have water or enough of a growing season due to heat?

I can't say that we know if climate change is being mostly caused by humans or not, or even if the change will be substantial or not. All I can say is that if climate change is substantial, it will vastly affect the majority of the world in a negative way (at least initially). Drought, starvation, flooding, death, etc... survivors will likely have to migrate away from their homes to survive.

RE: Whatever they call it this week
By coburn_c on 5/24/14, Rating: -1
RE: Whatever they call it this week
By tonyswash on 5/25/2014 5:50:20 AM , Rating: 5
You are an idiot. Assuming that climate change IS actually being mostly caused by humans you expect everything to just pan out for the poor and hungry nations that already don't have water or enough of a growing season due to heat?

Even if humans are the main cause of the recent warming phase and even if that human caused warming continues into the future we can say fairly confidently at this point that climate sensitivity to CO2 is not as strong as was feared. We have after all just emitted in the last 20 years 25% of all the CO2 ever emitted since the industrial revolution and global temperatures have flat lined.

The focus should be on adaption to any future climate change. Poor people, such as most who live in Africa, find adaption impossible and higher income people, such as live in the US, Europe and the newly developed nations, find it easy.

Poverty makes people more vulnerable to everything including shifting patterns of weather. Economic development makes adapting to everything much easier.

If one looks at the infographics on this page:

you can see, for example, that currently the 65 million people living in the Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan only have combined the same electricity supply capacity as the state of Delaware, population 0.93 million people. The people of Africa need a massive increase in electricity capacity in the next few decades in order to claw their way out of murderous poverty.

Africa needs, as an urgent human right, massively increased supplies of cheap reliable electricity. How are they to get it? Any discussion about energy that does not address that issue is unethical and uncaring. And any response to that pressing problem that pitches renewables as a solution is even more unethical and uncaring. Africa needs electricity not lectures.

RE: Whatever they call it this week
By bug77 on 5/25/2014 8:09:20 AM , Rating: 1
Even if humans are the main cause of the recent warming phase and even if that human caused warming continues into the future we can say fairly confidently at this point that climate sensitivity to CO2 is not as strong as was feared. We have after all just emitted in the last 20 years 25% of all the CO2 ever emitted since the industrial revolution and global temperatures have flat lined.

We can say that, but a scientist can always be paid so claim otherwise.
Anyone remembers this?

By Dorkyman on 5/27/2014 1:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well said, Tony.

Stupid me
By bug77 on 5/25/2014 8:04:34 AM , Rating: 3
There I was, reading, waiting for an announcement that finally someone is concentrating on explaining the science behind the doomsday scenario.

RE: Stupid me
By Mitch101 on 5/26/2014 1:16:29 PM , Rating: 5
Dinosaurs once ruled the planet but they went away.

Continents drift. If 20ft of shoreline disappears its probably normal.

Between 52 and 57 million years ago, the Earth was relatively warm. Tropical conditions actually extended all the way into the mid-latitudes (around northern Spain or the central United States for example), polar regions experienced temperate climates, and the difference in temperature between the equator and pole was much smaller than it is today. Indeed it was so warm that trees grew in both the Arctic and Antarctic , and alligators lived in Ellesmere Island at 78 degrees North.

During the present ice age, glaciers have advanced and retreated over 20 times, often blanketing North America with ice. Our climate today is actually a warm interval between these many periods of glaciation. The most recent period of glaciation, which many people think of as the "Ice Age," was at its height approximately 20,000 years ago .

Were actually in a warming phase still or maybe we just call it global warming. Sure there is a possibility that man is doing something that accelerates the cycle.

Heck they still cant tell you were a hurricane will travel with any accuracy and even what intensity what makes anyone think they can predict world change?

For every story of Drought there is a story of flooding some choose to hear the one that supports their cause.

150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago. Or its very similar to when the dinosaurs disappeared we don't have 65 millions years of accurate species data to know for sure. Also there had to be new species created to have 150-200 die off maybe new species are appearing because of the climate change that couldn't exist without it.

With such a range of a near frozen planet to a near tropical planet occurring over millions of years and were still coming out of an ice age there is simply not enough information to know what the normal state of the planet is. Whats myopic is assuming it will never change and that humanity is the most important species on the planet that earth was made for us to survive without issue. Who knows maybe we reach a temp and the super caldera at Yosemite no longer remains in check and bam new ice age from volcanic ash that covers the planet.

At some point Humans make the list of species that cant live on the planet and judging from 65 million years of information warming and cooling of the planet is natural. Im much more concerned with sustaining drinkable water than global climate change in the near future.

Government Contracts are Open
By DougF on 5/26/2014 12:21:31 AM , Rating: 3
So barring some kind of internal leak, the public can see who paid what candidate, but they can't see what the company got in return in the form of sealed contracts or subcontracts.

Not true, unless the contract was from the "black" budget. Any federal contract in the regular budget is put on the fedbiz website for review by anyone/everyone.

RE: Government Contracts are Open
By JasonMick on 5/26/2014 1:07:03 PM , Rating: 2
Not true, unless the contract was from the "black" budget. Any federal contract in the regular budget is put on the fedbiz website for review by anyone/everyone.
Subcontracts aren't held to the same standards, afaik, so there's a lot of ways around current restrictions.

And "open" just means they post notice somewhere. As the SpaceX lawsuit shows, often contracts are purposefully awarded in surreptitious fashion, with little disclosure until after the award, to prevent bids from non-special interest parties.

And "sealed contract" absolutely means the black budget, which includes billions in special interest payouts to companies like Amazon and Oracle who provide spying-related cloud infrastructure.

I think we're mostly on the same page and that your comment is correct.

People forget
By davem287 on 5/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: People forget
By Nexos on 5/25/2014 12:14:17 PM , Rating: 3
Wow. so much wrong with this I don't know where to start.

Not only are eugenics not the "last time that consesus science prevailed", its not even in the domain of any branch of science. Eugenics are a concept of social philosophy/sociology and are not based on scientific research. Even contemporary critics were quick to point out issues of gene pool depletion, inbreeding, random mutations and most importantly ETHICS.

Climate science is not a moral/ethical agenda, it is the representation of our understanding of our planets weather both present and past, and is based on evidence and the scientific method. Because climate has the potential to adversely affect human beings, there is an inherent ethical ramification in climate science, but this is not what drives the findings of the science itself.

If you disagree with the methods used by climatologists, thats fine, and you are free to put forward any explanation for the facts at hand, but be aware that it will be subject to the same scientific standards as the explanations before it. This is the point where climate change critics usually fail, and why the consensus on climate change stays such as it is.

By TheEinstein on 5/25/14, Rating: 0
By DocScience on 5/24/14, Rating: -1
RE: silence
By Shig on 5/24/2014 3:49:47 PM , Rating: 5
A progressive would tell you that we live in a systemically broken system. Democracy cannot work when Citizens United allows money to be turned directly into free speech / voting power. Unless you are directly giving politicians money, they simply have no reason to represent you anymore. All of the 'moral' politicians that are in it for the little guy, aka the guy who cannot afford to directly give you money, do not win anymore.

There is just as much money in investing in technology and systems that can prosper without fossil fuels.

RE: silence
By Cypherdude1 on 5/25/2014 3:33:08 PM , Rating: 5
The Battle of the Rich 2013-... Regular citizens don't matter anymore. Not only did Obama use the FBI to help clear out the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but Obama never prosecuted any of his rich Wall Street friends, not even one. DailyTech does not allow URL's in their posts. Google the following:
1) "Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy"
2) "FBI Documents Reveal Secret Nationwide Occupy Monitoring"
3) "fbi-spy-files-on-the-occupy-movement.pdf"

We need to reform the election process by having a constitutional amendment limiting the amount of money anyone can contribute to $5,000 + adjustments for inflation. Corporations are not people and should not contribute. Furthermore, the government owns the airways. Therefore, during the election season, candidates should have free airtime. Unfortunately, a constitutional amendment is virtually impossible. You see, for the federal representatives, there's no percentage to representing regular citizens. That's why the middle class has virtually disappeared, you see so many billionaires, there have been no reforms, and no one was prosecuted for the crash of October 2008.

Have a nice day.


RE: silence
By bug77 on 5/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: silence
By Azethoth on 5/25/14, Rating: -1
RE: silence
By roykahn on 5/25/2014 9:00:39 PM , Rating: 5
So far every Corporation I have worked for has included not only myself, a person, but also many other people in addition.

My glass of milk contains milk, therefore my glass is milk. Makes sense.

RE: silence
By Wazza1234 on 5/26/2014 7:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
Really poor analogy.

In your analogy, a corporation would be the 'glass of milk' which does contain both milk and glass and therefore the milk portion IS part of it. In other words, a 'glass of milk' IS quite clearly made up of both glass AND milk.

You're mistakenly trying to claim that the corporation is only the 'glass'.

You should correct your sentence as follows:

My glass of milk contains milk, therefore my glass of milk is milk. Makes sense.

And you'll find that it actually does make sense, at least partially.

RE: silence
By roykahn on 5/26/2014 10:33:40 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, analogy police! If you want me to be more accurate, then I'll rephrase it to "My glass contains milk, therefore my glass is milk."

On a more serious note, when there are separate laws and rights governing individuals and corporations, it is simply impossible to equate one to the other. It is actually interesting to see how corporations have increased their power over the decades, but then we're getting further off-topic.

RE: silence
By Wazza1234 on 5/27/2014 5:40:06 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, analogy police! If you want me to be more accurate, then I'll rephrase it to "My glass contains milk, therefore my glass is milk."

This would be wrong too. A corporation DOES include its employees. A 'glass' doesn't include milk. A 'glass of milk' does. Which is why you have to use the sentence I previously provided.

On a more serious note, when there are separate laws and rights governing individuals and corporations, it is simply impossible to equate one to the other

The laws don't define what something actually is. Everything ever done by any corporation is a choice by a person or people. It's misleading to try and separate them in such a black and white way.

RE: silence
By roykahn on 5/27/2014 10:05:53 AM , Rating: 2
Henceforth, I shall endeavor to comply by the strict guidelines of the Glass of Milk Analogy Act 2014.

A corporation DOES include its employees.

This is false. For example, have you ever heard of shell corporations?

The laws don't define what something actually is. Everything ever done by any corporation is a choice by a person or people.

What on Earth are you on about?! I seriously have no idea how someone can come up with such a line of argument. Corporations are not a product of nature. They are defined by law and their activities and rights are governed by law. And if those laws are created by people, then so what? Does that somehow mean if X created Y then X equals Y? You have excelled at creating confusion. You are confusion :-P

RE: silence
By Solandri on 5/26/2014 4:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
My glass of milk contains milk, therefore my glass is milk. Makes sense.

Just curious. How do you people who feel corporations aren't proxies of the people who work for them justify these two statements:

- No taxation without representation.
- Corporations should be taxed.

Seems to me either you tax corporation and give them representation in government. Or you argue that corporations are proxies for the people who work at them, and since the people have representation it is ok to tax the corporation.

You cannot simultaneously argue for taxing corporations, while arging that corporations aren't proxies of their employees. That is, unless you believe in taxation without representation.

RE: silence
By roykahn on 5/26/2014 5:15:50 PM , Rating: 1
In practice, the leaders of large corporations certainly do get a lot of representation by threatening to move jobs off-shore or to another state and via government lobbying and election donations.

corporations are proxies for the people who work at them

That's precisely where we disagree. You're probably thinking of a union, unless you replace the word "work" with "run". It makes more sense for a union to have some government representation, but they don't pay taxes. What a conundrum!

RE: silence
By Arsynic on 5/27/2014 1:04:38 PM , Rating: 1
If corporations are not people then the government should not tax them. As long as they are taxed they should have an influence on the political process.

RE: silence
By inperfectdarkness on 5/26/2014 6:30:15 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like the best reason ever for term limits. Just imagine if everyone was limited to 1 term of 6 years. Period. No lifetime benefits. It would be pretty easy to see who was getting kickbacks--since there would be no re-elections. And being a "turncoat" against corporations who fund the initial campain--well that would be fine because there's no threat of reprisal in the coming elections.

RE: silence
By slickr on 5/26/2014 9:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
The thing is "man made catastrophic global warming" is basically oil and few other ultra rich trying to shut down their main competitors which are coal and nuclear.

I won't call it climate change, because its not what it is. It would be if I claimed that oxygen is causing the earth to get hot and killing earth and called it "earth revolves around the sun". Like its 100% different, the one and the other are completely different. So when someone argues that "Earth revolving around the sun" is not happening, he is not saying the earth is not rotating around the sun, he is saying oxygen isn't boiling the planet to death.

So lets get that out of the way. "climate change" is NOT "man made catastrophic global warming".

What is being foisted upon us, force few is that human released CO2 is warming the planet and that is just not true and even if it was true for the sake of argument, the solution is free markets and choice, rather than a one size fits all top down government solution.

RE: silence
By roykahn on 5/26/2014 10:52:31 AM , Rating: 3
You must delight in confusing people for your second paragraph would have an English teacher clutching at the red marker.

Just to comment on your last paragraph, you seem to be saying that if man-made climate change WERE real then the solution would be MORE "free" markets? I think you've got things topsy-turvy. There's no such thing as free markets, while almost all respected climatologists believe in man-made climate change and the science is out there if you care to investigate.

I'm still scratching my head at how a "free" market would help the planet. Please explain.

RE: silence
By Fleeb on 5/24/2014 4:11:40 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, those who favor money = free speech should be fine with this guy getting his way because he has more money and more freely to say whatever he wants.

RE: silence
By purerice on 5/25/2014 12:35:45 PM , Rating: 3
If the public is too blinded to see the point where he funded investments, then funded campaigns to provide his investments with an artificial market to make them profitable, thus his motive is primarily to make himself rich at their expense, then they deserve whatever candidates, bills, measures, propositions, and other laws that they vote for.

This applies to any fake businessman whether he supports oil or eagle-killing wind turbines, or methane-producing hydroelectric power, or CO2-burning coal.

RE: silence
By FITCamaro on 5/25/2014 6:29:19 PM , Rating: 2
His point is that liberals are the ones who decry money in politics. But because this guy is for liberal causes it's ok that he does it. It's only evil if its the Koch Brothers or anyone else who's not campaigning for liberal causes.

RE: silence
By kickoff on 5/25/2014 7:46:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, we all get his point. And he'll get first prize at the high school, smart ass debate club.

Meanwhile, in the real world: Both sides either stop spending the money buying elections or both sides get to keep doing it.

RE: silence
By Mint on 5/24/14, Rating: 0
RE: silence
By BZDTemp on 5/25/14, Rating: 0
RE: silence
By dgingerich on 5/24/2014 10:33:33 PM , Rating: 4
If he's going to spend the money, let him spend it installing charger outlets in my apartment complex and buying me an electric car, or at the very least subsidize an electric car for me without using government money. Then I'll quit using gas. I have no problem with that.

The problem here isn't climate change, or global warming, or whatever they want to call it next week. The problem here is that those seeking to push this want power. They don't care about our future or life on this planet, they just want their power, and they'll use whatever cause they can to get it.

RE: silence
By tayb on 5/25/2014 12:16:23 PM , Rating: 3
Progressives would push for a reversal of Citizens United and for publicly funded campaigns. Removing the money from political campaigns removes an enormous amount of corruption.

This guy is no better or worse than the Koch brothers. They are both abusing a system that was never intended to work this way.

RE: silence
By bug77 on 5/25/2014 2:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
The thing is, banning lobby will not make lobby go away. It will just force it underground, because people/companies with agendas will still find a way to pursue it. All things being equal, I'd rather they be upfront about it.

RE: silence
By tayb on 5/25/2014 3:43:33 PM , Rating: 3
Reversing Citizens United and reforming campaign financing doesn't ban lobbying. Lobbying has and does serve a useful purpose in our government.

Right now lobbying doesn't exist. We have bribery in the form of campaign contributions that has been made legal by Citizens United. I am not naive enough to believe we can eradicate corruption but forcing it underground is a huge step. You can't easily move billions of dollars into the pockets of members of Congress.

RE: silence
By bug77 on 5/25/2014 4:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, I thought you hinted at banning lobby. I need to read up on Citizens United, I've never heard of them before.

RE: silence
By tayb on 5/25/2014 5:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Citizens United v Federal Election Commission was a Supreme Court ruling in 2010. This is one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in United States history. You should read up on it and join the fight to overturn this ruling.

RE: silence
By bug77 on 5/25/2014 6:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
I've never heard of them because I'm from (and in) Eastern Europe. I couldn't help if I wanted to ;-)

RE: silence
By Nutzo on 5/26/2014 6:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
All it did was level the playing field with the unions, and that is why the left hates the decision so much.

How about a law that limits contributions to registered voters, and only allows people to contribute to politicians that they can actually vote for?
Then we don't have to worry about people like this guy throwing millions into races in other states.

RE: silence
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2014 10:47:38 AM , Rating: 1
Upholding the Constitution is the job of the Supreme Court. Like it or not, Citizen United was an obvious and fair ruling.

Denying Corporations their Constitutionally guaranteed right to political speech was an affront to the First Amendment. The Supreme Court, rightly, recognized this as a no brainer and ruled accordingly.

Even if you overturn Citizens United, there is STILL over 100 years of Federal court rulings on upholding Corporate Person-hood (please look it up) you would have to overturn. As well as changing the First Amendment itself.

Good luck.

RE: silence
By geddarkstorm on 5/25/2014 7:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
Be careful, the truth about that is rather depressing. On so many levels.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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