Tag Archives: AEI

Making an honest hack out of Fred Pearce in five easy steps

Image courtesy of Flickr user “bLOGOS/HA HA”, used under Creative Commons

Attempting to convince those in the grip of denialism is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. Take the case of the DDT-holocaust lie. No sooner has one false claim been thrown out (e.g. DDT ban in Malaysia in 1999 resulted in an increase in malaria) and shown to be nonsense than a new claim bearing no particular relation to its predecessor is deployed. Rather than chase down every single mutually contradictory claim made by those perpetuating the lie, I invite them to put themselves on record in a manner that makes their claims easily assessable.

In order to claim, as rubbish journalist Fred Pearce has, that anti-science environmentalism is responsible for “blanket opposition” to DDT use in fighting malaria resulting in a “virtual ban” for “more than three decades” and “millions of deaths”, one only has to satisfy a handful of conditions:

  1. Quantify how many, from where, and over what time interval the “millions of deaths” are supposed to have occurred.
  2. Demonstrate that there was a ban (actual or “virtual”), restriction, or other meaningful impediment to using DDT for malaria control (vs. for example agricultural spraying) in place for all deaths claimed in the above.
  3. Demonstrate that had DDT been implemented, all deaths claimed in the above would have been prevented (taking into consideration obvious confounding factors like the increase in resistance to DDT).
  4. Demonstrate that had DDT been implemented, the overall net result including health, economic, and environmental problems would have been positive- in other words, that using DDT would have resulted in more good than harm.
  5. Demonstrate that the cause of DDT not being implemented in all of the above cases was specifically attributable to “blanket” anti-science environmentalist opposition, rather than science-, economics-, efficacy-, and logistics-based reasons from professional science and health organizations like the World Health Organization, or implementation problems that had nothing to do with Silent Spring (such as replastering and bedbug concerns raised in places like South Africa).

Pretty simple. If you can’t satisfy the conditions, you don’t get to toss corpses at the feet of supposed anti-science environmentalist opposition arising from Silent Spring. Just how serious a case do people like Fred Pearce and Roy Spencer really believe they have?

My guess? Most won’t even  get past the first question or two.

Moving the Overton Window

Is global warming a real but over-hyped inconvenience that should under no circumstances be tackled by aggressive emissions pricing, or merely a vast left wing conspiracy in imminent danger of collapse that should under no circumstances be tackled by aggressive emissions pricing?

Two Serious Minds will answer this burning question once and for all.

AEI on geo-engineering: A badly broken record

Although I don’t have much to add to the Alan Robock guest RealClimate post on Lomborg/AEI’s profoundly misleading cost-benefit “analysis” on geo-engineering, I will shamelessly point back to a post I wrote over a year ago on AEI and geo-engineering that covered much of the same ground in terms of ignored negative consequences.

Former(?) ExxonMobil front group acknowledges need for climate action- sort of.

Lee Raymond, former Chairman and CEO of Exxon and Vice Chair of AEI’s board of trustees.

For those even remotely in touch with climate issues, ExxonMobil’s funding of Market Fundamentalist think tanks to spread FUD about climate change is no secret (see Put A Tiger In Your Think Tank I and II, or here, here, here, etc.), and in an alternately amusing and sickening way it has become more newsworthy when Exxon claims (falsely, I might add- e.g. here and here) to have stopped this practice than reporting on instances where it obviously had. Among the think tanks used by ExxonMobil, notables include CEI, the George C. Marshall Institute, and AEI- the last perhaps being more infamous for its role in drumming up support for the US invasion of Iraq than its anti-regulation propaganda efforts on behalf of the oil industry.

Today AEI released (via the LA Times) a “short publication” fully embracing the reality of anthropogenic climate change- but did so in service of (surprise!) anti-regulation messaging. No need to regulate any time soon, the implicit argument is made, because of the Magical Geo-Engineering Solution That Doesn’t Yet Exist But Surely Will:

In fact, geo-engineering could be surprisingly simple.

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