Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Contrarian for a living

I've been looking around at some Lomborg stuff, given the continued complaints by the Australian that the University of WA decided it didn't really want to host a contrarian after all.

Media Watch noted that Lomborg very recently came out complaining about international subsidies for fossil fuels - a very Green Party position it would seem.  Yet his views about the poorest of the poor needing to burn coal to lift them out of poverty have been on high rotation for the last couple of years too.  [Oddly, a short video shows him talking about the - very real - problem of bad health caused by indoor fires for cooking:  yet his segue from that is not the simplest one (make sure they have cheap ovens that use chimneys - I saw something about this on TV or the net  recently) but the big one about them needing fossil fuels.]

And I don't think he has ever changed his position that climate change needs a lot of research money put into clean energy.  (Although I think he is now leaning to promoting carbon capture after burning fossil fuel  - which has been proving to be as impractical as skeptics always thought it would.)   Somehow, I can't quite see how this is a natural match to his "the poor need coal" line - or at least, does he mean they need more expensive and innovative coal power stations in Africa than even the American's can get to be cost effective?

As Desmog blog notes, Lomborg has been personally doing OK out of his "consensus" pet projects, and there is no doubt he is favoured by the rich, libertarian leaning Right regardless of things he sometimes says that are Green tinged.

Which leads me back to a comment made by someone in Media Watch, which I think likely summarises him accurately:
Bjorn Borg's talent is game theory. He will play the two sides of the narrative to create confusion. Once you understand his end game, you are trapped neither by your own narrative of climate change being a left right issue, nor by Lomborg's manipulation of the narrative. He is a double dog whistler that sets both sides barking at each other
This is what is important:

1. He is selling to Abbott and co. the promise of confusion around climate policy through the emphasis on other areas.

2. He is selling the opposite to the media so that he can present a misinterpretation of his stance and extend the attention he receives.
3. Everything he has contributed and continues to contribute is of a lower quality than the research and academic standards that are on offer. The government can find better people to ask better questions and get better answers with less money. But it chooses confusion.

Once you understand Game theory, his trickery becomes transparent, and even slightly hamfisted application of it to create the simple goal of confusion and inaction.


Not Trampis said...

the UWA decision has nought to do with Climate Science and everything to do with academic standards ( and snobbery).
Lomborg simply does not have the academic record to be the figure hood of a centre of excellence.

and yes he does know how to make money

Anonymous said...

This a very gay post, Stevie.