MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Preaches to the Choir on Climate Change

MSNBC "The Politics of Power" with

Documentary 'The Politics of Power' has no room for dissenting voices

MSNBC will air “The Politics of Power” on Aug. 16, a documentary devoted to the subject of climate change. Yet the editorial approach of this Chris Hayes-hosted hour continues an all-too-common trend of cable news preaching to the choir, where not a single dissenting voice is incorporated in any serious way.

Now, one can argue there is no such thing, scientifically speaking, as a credible “dissenting voice” on the subject of climate change — an assertion, just to set my cards on the table, on which I would agree.

Nevertheless, the whole point of the documentary is to identify how political pushback and a well-funded fossil-fuel industry are thwarting efforts to accomplish anything productive in addressing the issue. And while the program does feature clips of the usual suspects saying goofy-sounding things — like Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe reiterating that climate science is a “hoax,” or a Republican congressman citing the biblical flood — none of them are interviewed specifically for “The Politics of Power.”

Did MSNBC ask such officials, and nobody would participate? That’s certainly possible, given the way politicians now gravitate toward friendly media venues where they know they’ll be served up softball questions. But there’s no mention of anybody declining such a request, so the clear inference is the producers confined their contacts to those sharing Hayes’ view — people who believe “The clock is ticking,” as he says, and that it’s difficult to motivate voters around such a hard-to-grasp threat when they’re being buffeted by misinformation. (Hayes draws a direct comparison to the days when the tobacco lobby insisted nicotine is not addictive.)

Again, the points registered here are legitimate ones. But “Politics of Power” would be more provocative — and potentially more persuasive — if it included people who insist global warming is all a myth concocted by tree-huggers. It’s worth noting, too, that conservatives are not monolithic on the subject, even if they generally still dislike Al Gore.

Besides, speaking of ticking clocks, “60 Minutes” didn’t make a name for itself simply by doing happy-talk pieces, but rather by confronting subjects with hard evidence and tough questions, then watching them squirm in the hot seat.

Granted, MSNBC is hardly alone in producing one-sided documentaries. But when you’re specifically dealing with the politics surrounding a hot-button issue, shying away from genuine debate doesn’t do much to strengthen the argument.

There should be a lesson here for others determined to sound the alarm regarding climate change as well, including an upcoming Showtime project, “Years of Living Dangerously,” which will enlist celebrities to help press its case. Although Hollywood stars are always seen as helpful in drawing casual viewers into a topic, the deep-seated conservative antipathy toward the messenger is certain to antagonize the right just as “An Inconvenient Truth” did.

For those willing to hear it, “The Politics of Power” does deliver a sobering warning that the clock is ticking regarding the danger of a warming planet. Still, as outfitted to suit the insulated environs of MSNBC, there are no hot seats anywhere to be found.

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  1. Dead In Hell says:

    This sounds an awful lot like the “teach the controversy!” nonsense you hear from creationists.

    The people who deny global warming are either brainwashed or fraudulent. They don’t need to be given even more credence than they already have. They have nothing legitimate to contribute, just misinformation and smug tirades. Science is not about giving everyone a chance to say their piece. If you have something real to contribute, go through the proper channels. Evolution, global warming, these are things that have been endlessly studied and peer-reviewed. They weren’t just cooked up in a backroom by some wingnut and then sent directly to print.

    Anti-science conservatives appeal to things like school boards and use their money to push insane “documentaries” on americans because they have nothing legitimate to add to the science. They just push misinformation and manipulate the system to force their unfounded nonsense directly on the people, hoping desperately that the people won’t know any better. And with people like you to lead them, Brian, they won’t.

  2. Sparafucile says:

    I watched Hayes’s so-called documentary.

    I do love when any purported expose’ on the dangers of “climate change” (or “climate disruption” or “ocean acidification” or “anthropogenic global warming” or whatever other veil you wish to use for a neo-communist wealth-minimization/redistribution scheme) is presented with overtones of abject scientific illiteracy.

    When you try to convey facts, Chris, it might help to get the simplest ones right, first. Then, maybe you might have some credibility established for the discussion of more complex issues.

    Allow me to offer a couple examples that clearly show Chris Hayes’ failure to get his facts or basic scientific understanding right:

    Example #1: when you present a diagram of the US electricity grid, and it includes power plants inside and outside of Texas transmitting power across state lines to and from Texas, you show yourself to be utterly ignorant. Texas has its own independent electric generation and transmission system. It neither transmits power to other states, nor relies on others for its own needs.

    Example #2:In his program, Hayes states that photovoltaic solar technology adheres to Moore’s Law. Presumably because PV solar generation and integrated circuits are both based on silicon semiconductor technology, Hayes draws a conclusion that only the abjectly ignorant would reach: that price/performance for PV solar should come down just like it does for integrated circuits. However, Hayes (due to utter scientific illiteracy) doesn’t realize that the reason IC performance keeps getting cheaper (Moore’s Law) is that continual advances in lithographic technology allow twice as many transistors to be packed into the same surface area of a silicon crystal every 18 months. However, for PV solar, there is NOTHING that increases the amount of energy that falls on each square centimeter of silicon. This is a long-winded way of saying that “Moore’s Law does not apply to PV solar.” But don’t tell Hayes that — facts are too inconvenient to his agenda.

    • Ed Norris says:

      So you are trolling all these pages? I’ve seen this comment in two places tonight. Interesting, but how on earth is it relevant to the thrust of the show? Is climate change real? Yes. Is it largely man made. Yes. Do we need to look at it more seriously and consider what we are doing so we may make smarter decisions? Yes. So while you add some interesting points, your long post really does nothing to advance the discussion, but serves only to distract from the key issues Hayes has been doing a yeoman’s job of highlighting.

      But keep at it, as awareness rises with the increasingly severe effects of burning gigatons of fossil fuels, eventually you will be a small meaningless voice lost in a sea, as it were, of rising concern. I hope you are getting well paid by the petroleum industry to troll these sites, and that your conscience does not bother you too much while you exploit unwitting folks suffering for your own gain.

      • Sparafucile says:

        Thanks for the ad homina. What of “my own gain” do you surmise I receive, since you presume to know so much about me?

        Hayes is just trying to continue to beat a drum — playing a cliche tune most people are no longer interested in hearing.

        The day AGW acolytes embrace nuclear power as the only cost-effective large-scale CO2-free energy replacement for industrialized nations (and their neighbors) is the day I’ll believe the “Climate Crisis” isn’t just a means to enact a firmly-held neo-communist de-industrialist wealth redistribution scheme.

    • Loraxe says:

      Spara — Check your facts before you opine. Texas has HUGE areas–bigger than several Eastern states– that are served by power grids outside the state. Texas is served by FOUR power grids and only one of those is the inferior, antiquated, state grid. Energy flows into and out of Texas from three (3) other grids.

      We must conclude that you are a clueless troll and ignore all the rest of the drivel you espoused above.


      • Sparafucile, when you say crap like “climate change is a conspiracy (oh wait you didn’t say conspiracy, specifically, so I’m sure you’ll get defensive about that, but you sure as hell implied it) by neo-communists and blah blah blah wealth distribution blah blah blah”…Kinda surprised you didn’t throw Obama’s name into the hat there. As 44% of Louisiana GOP members “aren’t sure if it’s Bush’s or Obama’s fault” about how Hurricane Katrina was handled I’m not surprised that the misinformation house of cards continues to get stacked higher and higher.

        “Texas has its own independent electric generation and transmission system. It neither transmits power to other states, nor relies on others for its own needs.”

        Not true, since you didn’t provide a citation I imagine you’ll ask me to provide one, more double-standard nonsense.

        On top of the FACT that you cannot prove that this is some neo-communist conspiracy to “steal” all those poor rich people’s money.

        I don’t know what it is about the idea of operating with less pollution that bothers people like you so much, or the idea of wealth caps (yes, the idea that someone can own a quarter-trillion dollars is ridiculous and it HURTS OUR ECONOMY) is oh-so-evil…because, well, because…uhhh….FREEDOM!

        Give me a break. Now go ahead and get super defensive, throw around terms like “Ad homina/hominem/strawman” and continue to make claims that you cannot back up while expecting others who don’t believe you to operate to a higher standard than you do.

      • Sparafucile says:

        At the periphery (panhandle, and near Arkansas). But thanks for backing up the fact the Hayes’ grid map was woefully inaccurate, as you (laughably) tried to criticize my assessment.

        Do tell us about Moore’s Law, now, please.

  3. D G says:

    The real debate ought to be what to do about it. Adaptation vs. mitigation, EPA regulations vs. carbon tax, nuclear vs. renewables, etc., if you wish to set up polar arguments. Most knowledgeable people would say that none of those are either/or. The effects are already severe enough to warrant an “all of the above” strategy.

    Many individuals, cities, states, and countries have taken strong action to limit emissions and adapt to changes that are happening now, or impending. There is only one impediment, a fossil-fueled US Congress. We need transparency about the fossil fueled denial industry. Donors Trust is funneling billions of dollars into the same individuals and organizations that funded the tobacco denial industry.

    Nothing has changed…

    • Mike Nelson says:

      First, Moores “law” is not a law of physics, nor of the legal system. “Law” in this case is being used as a metaphor to describe an objerved economic trend and applied to the chip industry. Hayes is using the metaphor to describe a parrallel price decreas in solar. in 1980 pv sold for about 12 dollars a watt. today the cost is 60 cents and expected to go to 30 cents by 2015.

      • Sparafucile says:

        You are as wrong as wrong can be, apart from the non-literal use of the word “law”.

        Moore’s Law has absolutely nothing, whatsoever, to do with economic trends, market forces, volume/demand/price relationships, or anything of the kind.

        Moore’s Law describes, exclusively, the continual scientific and engineering advancements in transistor (and interconnect) lithography, as it pertains to integrated circuits (though originally, it was stated in the context of DRAM). These continual advancements have allowed the density of transistors (# transistors per unit area of silicon) to increase geometrically over the past 50 years, doubling every 18 months, and consequently, performance to double every 12 months or so.

        Moore’s Law describes the price/performance of patterning on silicon — not the cost of silicon wafers, or the efficiency of photovoltaic conversion — and is entirely dependent on advancements in science & engineering, not production volume or demand.

        Even with your (unsubstantiated) predictions about the cost of PV solar, it is still an order of magnitude higher than the cost of properly-accounted modern nuclear.

  4. Boyce Booth says:

    Comments have been made about collecting enough solar energy to power up the country from a single array of solar panels and then distributing that energy all over the country. FALSE ! In Germany each house and building has its own panel or set of panels to supply that particular building. Listen to the words written in the wonderful book ” Small is Beautiful “. Germany is already 60% away from fossil fuels.

    • Mike Nelson says:

      The fact that PV has decreased from 12 dollar a watt to 60 cents between 1980 and 2012 is a well document fact. PV is currently cometitive with diesel power in markets around the world, Spain, Japan, Hawaii, parts of California, to name a few. By the time your “new” nukes are built, they will be obsolete.

      • Sparafucile says:

        By the way….do you know WHY nuclear plants cost so much, or take so long to build? Explore the reasons for that (it’s actually one interconnected cause), and you’ll have a better handle on why PV solar is the wrong approach for baseline power generation.

      • Sparafucile says:

        You need to check your arithmetic. You cannot include government subsidy in the “cost” per watt figure’s you’re quoting. Or I could proclaim that electric golf carts are free (because there’s a gov’t credit to the purchaser), and try to deceive the reader that it is all due to price erosion & production efficiency (as you’re trying to do).

  5. Mike Nelson says:

    Why on earth is Variety printing a pre-production critique of somthing the comentor has not seen? This smells of a pre-emptive attempt to discredit the effort. When Did Variety become a shill for fossil fuels. There is no “reasonable” debate left on the fossil fuel industries side.

    • Mike Nelson says:

      The prices I am quoting are the manufacturing costs: hence pre-market intervention costs. The subsidies are calculated into the end users cost. If you include subsidies such as German feed-in tarrifs, the cost of solar PV goes negative. Your being paid to use it!

      Nukes make good baseload, but cannot load follow. Big Problem! nor can PV or wind. But in the NW we are rich in hydro which is one of the best of all peaking or load following resources. Solar and wind allow water to be banked on a daily or even seasonal basis. Nukes are a “must run” resource, yet they need to be shut down if river temperatures rise too high. Restarts take weeks to accomplish.

      • Sparafucile says:

        Then they’re the incomplete cost. given that the lowest price for PV silicon itself has been $0.62/watt, then you’re clearly not describing the system cost, if you’re not including gov’t subsidies.

        Regarding nuclear power, you are make a critically incorrect assumption that you need to shut down a reactor in order to scale down its output, and another critically flawed assumption that reactors would EVER be located where there isn’t a plentiful oversupply of cool water (or other sustainable cooling resource). I don’t think you can point to a single baseline reactor in the world that has been shut down or had its operation scaled back, due to a lack of cooling water.

        Worse, you base the consideration of solar or wind as a good supplementary power source on a bizarre premise — that you can bank their output, but not any excess output from an atomic reactor (at even lower cost, since the generation is centralized)? Besides, using solar or wind as that last-kilowatt just makes them even more cost-prohibitive, given their initial expense, plus the unpredictability of their output.

  6. Janet Smith says:

    While interested in the Chris Hayes program last night in which he suggested that he was going to explain the power vs problem we have with carbon based fuels, I was surprised and disappointed that he did not touch upon the downside of natural gas as an alternative to coal and oil. while he said natural gas produced less CO2, and featured a small clip of the highly regarded Cornell Professor Dr. Anthony Ingraffea discussing that point from the “bridge” fuel which, the NG community likes to claim, to a safer climate apparently Dr. Ingraffeas well known, and key point, was not included. Dr. Ingraffea makes it clear in every discussion that natural gas produces many times more methane pollutant that CO2 and the methane is more destructive to the climate. I wonder why that point of his comment was not shown?

    • Mike Nelson says:

      During the European heat wave of 2003, 17 reactors in France had to reduce output or were shut down. In Germany, the Obrigheim nuclear power plant was shut down, and two other reactors were decreased to 80% capacity, due to high river temperatures.6 (So recant on the no one would EVER)

      Yes I used the manufacturing cost, not the installed cost Price of PV fully loaded ( inverters, racking, installation, permitting, O&M) in Germany is $2.50 per watt. or 2500 dollars installed. This is a non subsidy price.

      In the grey climate of germany, you can expect an annual average output (lets not factor in any climate change) over 25 years of warrenteed life of about 800 kwh per year. at $0.36 cents per kWh (average current rate in Germany, that is right at 288 dollars per year of income per installed kW. 288 goes into 2500 right at 8.7 years simple payback. for the remaining 16 years of warranteed performance, its making the owner money.

      These cost are without subsidy. The German’s just give you as a producer a contract that allows you a return on investment, like they do with any utility. They have been lowering these payments as system costs decline.

      Because solar is a wise investment in Germany, rule of thumb is install all that you can so you can make the most money.

      Nukes are baseload and ramp up and down very slowly. They have fuel costs and capital costs. They are not good peaking plants. Nor is wind or solar good for peaking, they are intermittent, However, they have no fuel costs. Energy systems are usually a complex mix of resources. monolythic solutions are brittle. We need a flexible energy future. For the Pacific Northwest, that looks like a Renewable mix of wind, solar, and hydro. We will not be needing nukes or coal, and can wean ourselves off of natural gas. In the last 12 years we have seen an actual DECLINE in electric use in the PNW. Conservation works

      • Sparafucile says:

        Yes, you are correct about the French reactors. But all that does is dispel any notion about building multi-reactor sites away from the coasts, big lakes, and major rivers.

        However, the only reason nuclear is not used for that last needed megawatt, is that there is nowhere that nuclear accounts for 100% of the average baseline power needs. Therefore, by definition, they cannot be used for peak power generation.

        If you build nuclear out to the point that it ALWAYS supplies an overabundance of (cheap!) power, then you enable rapid displacement of methane for home & industrial heating, and allow cheap electrolysis, finally enabling the potential of fuel-cell-powered transportation.

        If you do the math, you’d readily see that nuclear is SO INCREDIBLY CHEAP compared to all the alternatives, if you make just a scant few improvements to a deployment strategy: 1) Short-circuit eco-wacko & nimby lawsuits, which create decade-long-delays & giant cost uncertainties & overruns; 2) Standardize on 1-2 common, modern, reactor designs; 3) Allow & encourage fuel reprocessing, to the max extent possible; and 4) Provide reinsurance for operation.

        For a cost per KWh, I suggest you look into the two reactors Canada is refurbishing — essentially rebuilding from scratch to start a new 40-year operating cycle. The capital cost per KWh pencils out at $0.0003. Nothing, including the dirtiest coal, comes close.

    • Methane seems at first to be a more serious GHG than CO2 since its heat-trapping property is 100 times stronger than CO2’s but the thing is, it doesn’t stay in the atmosphere nearly as long. What this means is that CO2 emissions lead to a permanent increase in the long-term average atmospheric tempurature,even if we succeed in eliminating all CO2 emissions in the future while methane levels will subside in a few decades if we tackle methane emissions later. For this reason, some people have criticized the focus on GHG levels instead of Carbon since substituting methane or Nitrous Oxide for CO2 is counterproductive to our main goal which should be eliminating Carbon emissions.

  7. Jerry Nolan says:

    We can thank the NRC and the anti-nuke political pressure from fossil fuel companies for exorbitant licensing fees, licensing delays, and unnecessary over building of reactors. Interesting that we could afford to build reactors years ago, but not today. Other enterprising countries are moving ahead with building reactors. Russia, China, and Canada are building reactors for other countries and making money at it. Solar power simply cannot meet baseload need, especially at night. According to Scientific American’s Solar Grand Plant it would take 46,000 square miles of solar arrays in the southwest with continental high voltage transmission lines to supply 69% of US electricity during daylight. A $460 billion dollar subsidy would be required. Solar voltaic on roof tops doesn’t come close to meeting industry’s need for electricity. Homes are a small part of an industrial nation’s need for electricity.

  8. Did you take money from the oil industry to write this?

    • Mike Nelson says:

      Funny, isn’t it that only socialist economies like Russia, China, and (yes) Canada can make money on reactors. Who provides the insurance on those reactors? Oh they are socialist and don’t need insurance?

      The logic of demanding that solar, or wind, or any fuel type meet all our needs in the immediate time frame is silly. But assume we met ALL US energy needs from solar. The area would be actually about 1/3 larger than Mr. Nolan suggests. Clearly storage and transmission issues would have to be addressed no small problem, however the land area needed is about 1.7% of the US land mass. or equal to the land covered by our highway system. Or an area 250 miles by 250 miles. We could build an array of that scale along side the existing highway system and it would provide power to every community without the Super grid that is assumed is needed.

      Check out the number of flat roofs in any industrial park and do the math, add in their parking areas, then throw conservation into the equation. Land area is NOT a problem. Storage is….but one that can be addressed with pumped hydro, compressed air, batteries. A lot of people are gonna get rich on this……..too bad it looks like it’s gonna be the commies and socialists. The free market has no courage or vision. When did we give up on the American Dream.

    • Mike Nelson says:

      As soon as the nuke industry starts carrying insurance, I will support it. As long as the public will be stuck with clean up and decommisioning, and waste storage, the nuke industry is not carrying its own weight.

      • Sparafucile says:

        Not trying to be condescending here, but you need to learn a great deal more about the present state of nuclear power generation and waste reprocessing.

        Otherwise, you are merely bleating the same grossly ignorant (or intentionally deceitful) talking points from the Sierra Club, whose chief goal is to discourage “energy over-use”. (Don’t believe me? Read their charter!)

  9. I have yet to see the documentary but I have issue with your complaining of lack of “dissenting voices.” Including deniers on the documentary gives them a legitimacy that they do not deserve by giving people the false sense that they have some sort of expertise. The purpose of a good documentary is also to inform the public. Deniers seek to confuse and misdirect. It’s true that we could have a documentary that exhaustively rebuts talking points but that leads one to discuss global warming on the deniers’ terms. Just about every piece on AGW gets lost in the denier vs scientist debate when there are far more debates within the topic that are currently being neglected. In the scientific community, for example, the real debate is not whether or not global warming exists but whether current models are too optimistic. Then there are the agonizing debates about whether or not to push for nuclear power, whether scientists should be political advocates, whether geo-engineering solutions should be explored and on and on. All these debates get crowded out by a constant demand to come back to the answer the same talking points that have been around and debunked for decades. How much good would come from allocating precious documentary time to the “but no year has been hotter than 1998” quote? Plus a constant discussion and rediscussion of the Hockey Stick means that people can frequently read about AGW without getting below the surface. How often do we get discussion of cars and fossil fuels and talk about energy efficiency, better building standards, and agriculture?

    • Mike Nelson says:

      I live near Hanford Wa, and have for the last 68 years. I have watched the cost overruns, the spilled waste, the leaking tanks, the local cancer rates, and the joke they call “vitrification”. I hae seen the pits where the dump submarine reactors. It is not pretty, and the bills pile up. we are talking in the billions here. Billions of good money thrown after bad. No solution in site. Trituium is now leaking into the Columbia. The tank farms are unstable

      • Sparafucile says:

        And yet, you probably oppose the building of nuclear reactor and safety systems that are modern, as opposed to the 50-year-old designs we’re stuck with because of people like you?

        You’re getting precisely what you’ve requested — no NEW nuclear technology.

  10. Pierce says:

    Climate change deniers are nothing but hecklers and ignoramuses. There are no credible scientists who openly deny man-made climate change; that is the height of foolishness. In the 21st Century when the Arctic Ocean ice cover melted free of Canada and Russia, It had been 125,000 years since anything like that had happened.
    The global depletion of petroleum and the threat of global warming to the food supply are the two most serious problems facing the USA. How our nation fairs from now until 2025, when fossil fuels become too scarce and costly, and beyond, will depend on how thoroughly we have converted to solar power and other renewables energy sources.

  11. Boyce Booth says:

    Good Job Mr. Hayes

  12. MarvLS1 says:

    To say there’s no credible scientific dissent from the Global Warming dogma is laughable! The reason Hayes and his ilk will not invite “deniers” on for a fair debate is because they are afraid that they will be the ones “squirming like a 60 minutes patsy.”

    The views of the Left can only be sustained by closing down debate. One of the tactics they use for doing this is the ad hominem attack. “You’re a ‘denier’! A fool!” etc. ad infinitum…

    More and more scientists are become APGW skeptics as more data comes in, and as it becomes more and more obvious that Al Gore and his entourage of Globalarmists are simply demagogues using junk science to push global socialism.

    • Boyce Booth says:

      In a philosophical debate there are two sides to an issue. In a scientific debate I guess one hears and sees what one wants to hear or see. There are established facts that weigh on one side or the other. Logic weighs most heavily in a philosophical discussion and an arguement can be decided on it`s logical consistancy. Proven fact is most weighty in a scientific debate. Being neither a philosopher nor a scientist, I have to rely on what I see, hear and read to establish for me what has been proven and then apply some logic to the issue. Therefore: I can logically say; there is no ozone hole, the temperature is not rising, and therefore there is no global warming. Two false statements do imply whatever else one wants to say, it`s called an absurdity.

  13. Steven Scott says:

    Inclusion of climate deniers in any media outlet’s new climate change documentary instantly renders the message stale. There is only so much time allotted in a broadcast documentary, and any time devoted to the familiar (and boring) “other side” of the “debate” simply takes away from the time needed for the documentarian to make his or her FRESH new point. In Mr. Hayes’ work here, instead of the hackneyed, “provocative” debate format he shoots way past the average hack journalist by actually putting forth his own useful thought process.

    • Methuselah says:

      Steven Scott, you are either willfully ignorant or a liar. The vast majority of climate scientists agree with the consensus that humans are the primary drivers of the observed increase in global temperature. The undisputed fact is that every major scientific research organization in the world supports the global scientific consensus on the human causes of climate change.

      There is no justification for including climate science deniers in discussions of climate change anymore. Discussions of scientific evidence should include those who do not accept basic physics and basic chemistry. That would be equivalent to giving equal time to Holocaust deniers in a documentary about the Holocaust.

    • G. Jardoness says:

      But not even four wrongs make a right.

      MSNBC and Mr. Hayes have the right to present what they like. And given the constraints of time or format, they can shape it as they choose. They can even call it news or truth or even a documentary.

      I personally enjoy the exchange of ideas, and believe truth, our best understanding of anything, is best served by it. I choose not to accept everything anyone has to offer, wholesale and without challenge, or the freedom and duty to question and explore.

      The point of the article is valid, in that, MSNBC is preaching to the choir. And regardless of what degree their competitors do the same, their own choir is small, and getting smaller and smaller by the day… yet another inconvenient truth.

      MSNBC has been desperately groping for an identity, any distinction in the industry…

      Perhaps MSNBC could redefine themselves as the network of debate, as apart from news or opinion? They could host strict, constructive forums, (more quiz-show-like than argumentative) on topics moderated with precise and simple questions, which each side, all sides can offer their best response — without all the histrionics! And allow the viewers to process all the information, rather than succumb to the loudest voice or be discouraged by the entire debate?

      I wish Mr. Scott could be a part of all that. But having heeded the dire warnings he’s taken to heart and unequivocally professes to hold dear, he’s undoubtedly unplugged his computer, turned in his car, and switched off the power in his house — as he suggests everyone else should.

      • Sparafucile says:

        That’s hard to do, Sebastien, given that several decades into the research, there still isn’t a credible climate model to use. It’s really hard to lowball numbers when you have no accurate predictive tool.

      • The point is also that “the other side” of the debate isn’t the deniers. It’s those who think scientists are dangerously low-balling temperature forecasts.

  14. Jimmy Crickit says:

    MSNBC, slanted as usual

  15. Boyce Booth says:

    A super big thanks for your courage to have this subject spoken about on your show. I once heard you say that global warming was the most important issue of our time. Since 1968 I`ve felt this way. Please consider Thorium, it is safe, can use spent Plutonium as a source for causing the Thorium molecule to divide, it can inexpensively be put into the present Plutonium plants and would immediately plug into the present power grid; I could go on with its benefits, but anyone can see them by looking it up on the computer. Why are there so few Thorium reactors and so little research on this ?

    • Jerry Nolan says:

      When I first heard about Thorium I got excited and researched it. Looks like Thorium and molten salt reactors have great potential. China is putting a lot of resources into their development and so it seems likely we will be buying MSR’s from China. But I also learned that our present day reactors work great and are far and away the safest way to produce electricity. The big fossil fuel companies love the left’s anti-nuke dogma, because nuclear is the only credible replacement of fossil fuel for baseload power. Chris Hayes never mentions that solar and wind are intermittent sources of power that turn beautiful landscapes into industrial blight. Nor does he mention that Germany is building coal burning power plants to replace its nuclear plants to meet its baseload power needs.

      • The most compelling arguments against nuclear, Thorium or otherwise, are economic, and not environmental. First of all, the returns on nuclear power have not historically been very good and there doesn’t seem to be a way to bring costs down significantly. Plus, nuclear plants are incredibly expensive, requiring massive capital costs and decades-long commitments to an old business model at a time when all other forms of power generation are in a state of flux. The drop in the cost of photovoltaic cells has been astounding, and there is enormous potential for it to become the cheapest form of power out there. There is a huge amount of research still to be done in PV, and with less than 1% of electricity being generated by the sun, economics of scale have yet to be exploited. If states or cities are locked into nuclear power, then that will suck up a lot of the possible demand for solar that could really get that industry going. It’s very possible nukes will be obsolete by the time they are built, but the taxpayers paying for them will be stuck paying off their construction costs for a generation.

        If every rooftop in the country were entirely covered in high-efficiency solar panels, then we’d go a long way to meeting our energy needs. Plus, generating power through solar panels would allow for the creation of a distributed energy system. Not only would such networks be robust, so a problem at one plant won’t wipe out a whole city’s power, but everyone will be in control of their own electricity generation and won’t be at the mercy of utilities controlling the entire power supply.

  16. Roop S Bhakuni says:

    I am a Scientist ( Ph.D., Chemistry )and have used statistical analysis to predict trends for more than 50 yrs. The prediction is only valid if all the variables are known. In case of climate change we do NOT know all the variables. So when we use “climate ” to force non carbon fuels lots of us get “blocked ” out and think it is a a scam to get rich like Al Gore. Regardless, the conversation should focus on pollution. No doubt the cumbustion products of hydrocarbon are harmful. Then we also should keep time and current priorities. We can not shut down all Coal powered plant for the sake of this ambigous climate. We needs JOBS. We need Electricity NOW. Incremental changes to Natural gas, bio fuels , Nuclear, Solar, wind will be more pragmatic.. But Climatists do not want this ..thus nothing gets done
    Dr Roop S Bhakuni

    • travc says:

      On a rather poor scientist believes: “The prediction is only valid if all the variables are known.” In fact, chemistry is all about simplified models glossing over unknown variables. Just try predicting a reaction product based on the dynamics of each individual atom involved (and even that is an approximation.) Unless quantum mechanics is fundamentally disproven, we can’t even theoretically “know all the variables” for anything.

      Climate science is not fundamentally different than any other type of science. It gets really complicated since the climate is a complex system, but who would claim that we can’t predict things in biology (which is really very complicated too) because we don’t know all the variables. We know that Newtonian physics leaves out lots of things, but it still very useful for making predictions.

      Science is all about creating models which have predictive power. If two models do equally well predictive power wise, the simpler one is more likely better. The models aren’t Truth (with a capital T), and all models are subject to being disproven if new data doesn’t fit them. All models also have a limited range of input variables where they work.

      BTW: We can (and do) create ‘predictive’ models using only past data… very basically, you build the model ignoring some already known data and see how well the model does ‘predicting’ that data.

      • Pierce says:

        Roop S Bhakuni,
        Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), is a U.S. Supreme Court case in which twelve states and several cities of the United States brought suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force that federal agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) as pollutants. The Court held that greenhouse gases are pollutants and required the EPA to regulate them under the Clean Air Act.

  17. G. Jardoness says:

    To say the networks have become advocacy forums — isn’t news-worthy.

    The rub is not in the validity of the science — in spite of the fact it has yet to assure us, with any certitude, whether or not it’ll rain on Saturday. Or how our influence, from the beginning of the industrial revolution on, compares to the amount an average volcanic eruption throws into the atmosphere in a weekend, let alone on how the glaciers in the southern hemisphere are growing, while those in the artic are receding, throws an inconvenient monkey-wrench into the theory…

    The real point of contention is, most people ‘are’ living within their means, whether they want to or not. And those who most fervently advocate ‘change’ are those who seemingly live most-extravagantly… And unless they want to identify the two-thirds of humanity they’re willing to do away with in order to satisfy their notions of utopia, this contentiousness will persist, as we all seek to thrive and survive.

    • Volcanic eruptions produce about 110 million tons of CO2 each year, whereas human activities contribute almost 10,000 times that quantity. The world’s poor are the ones most affected by global warming since they will suffer more in floods and droughts. They also live in more tropical latitudes where they are more vulnerable to storms and extreme weather events and they have less resources to protect themselves. A flood in Manhattan or Rotterdam is incredibly expensive, but imagine how much more destructive a flood in Bangladesh is? So if you really are concerned about the global poor, then you should be in favour of combating climate change. But a switch to renewable energy would improve lives even now. If mass-produced solar panels were widely available, peasants in poor countries could generate their own power without waiting for their communities to muster the resources to develop massive power plants and grids. They also would not need to be dependent on multi-national oil companies for their energy needs.

    • Pierce says:

      I have some filing error and don’t know how to correct it.

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