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Goodnight, Fenty?

By Tom Toles



Friday rant: Bjorn too late edition

"Oh!" he exclaimed, climate change is "undoubtedly one of the chief concerns of the world today." Well thanks for that, Mr. Sensible Environmentalist Climate Change Is No Big Worry Bjorn Lomborg! Thanks for all those years of lending a hand to fossil-fuel interests in delaying action on this until the absolute crisis point. The only upside here is that climate deniers who choose to pose as thoughtful chin-pullers will stop e-mailing me the toxic garbage that Lomborg has churned out on this subject in the past. Apparently he has a new book to sell and has calculated a new strategy for marketing himself.

One would hope, if one had no eyes to see or ears to hear, that Lomborg's changed position would sway even ONE denier towards a saner position on this issue, but deniers are not in the business of evaluating evidence or argument. They are in the business of looking for and piling up only one kind of self-confirming evidence, and not recognizing this pattern as the sign of REALLY BAD THINKING. But am I not ALSO guilty of considering only one side of this issue? Short answer: no. The evidence on this one is, again, short answer: overwhelming.

Lomborg has been either a cynical opportunist on this or a fool. Either way, he has done enormous damage, and I hope I never type his name again. --Tom Toles




By Tom Toles  | September 3, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Mayor Adrian Fenty  
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It's not a coincidence that the vast majority of AGW deniers are reactionaries in every sense of the word. They want nothing to change, even though we all are powerless to prevent change. I use the word denier because us AGW proponents have done a great deal to accommodate the spurious objections of deniers with absolutely no success. So I'll pull a Laura Schlessinger and say it: "Denier! Denier! Denier!..." Now deniers, play the wounded/injured party in all this. The fact is, in any debate that I've had with AGW deniers, they resort to calling Al Gore and me every obscene name in the book. Regarding spamsux1 who posted here, does anybody believe that he needed any encouragement at all to mud wrestle? Please....!

I'll not even bother responding to spamsux1. What's the point? I will refer him to , a Web site that addresses all the arguments that skeptics have. It's moderating, and skeptics can post their arguments against AGW. But AGW skeptics should be prepared to defend their will not be personally attacked.. No point in spending time there if you don't have an open mind.

Posted by: ptgrunner | September 7, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

The only good measure of how good a job any DC mayor does is how well his budget clears the congress. And personality aside, Fenty (as well as Barry) seems to have done pretty well. Of course, you have to make your constituents think you are on their side and not kick out teachers while school is in session, for example.

But how well a Mayor Gray would do convincing a conservative republican-controlled congress that he needs money to reduce unemployment in a couple of wards remains to be seen.

Posted by: estein1 | September 7, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The Lomborg admirers feel there's no point in spending money trying to allieviate a problem if there's no proof you caused it in the first place. And just sitting around complaining about global warming lets off steam which is probably beneficial to your health.

Of course, the Native Americans (who were into environmental conservation) talked about planning seven generations ahead, but since they let themselves be kicked around by European invaders, their thinking is obviously wrong.

True, we won't be alive when Miami goes underwater but our grandkids will be. Maybe we could do something now that will delay the demise of our coastal cities until our great-grandchildren grow up....

But real Americans don't plan ahead more than two years at most, so we'll have to leave it to our Oriental successors to deal with the problem.

Posted by: estein1 | September 7, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, Mr. Toles, you take the low road in the whole AGW debate.

You attack skeptics using the pejorative "deniers", you attack by insinuating all skeptics are financed by "fossil-fuel" interests and you attack by calling skeptics purveyors of "toxic garbage".

Let me get get down in the mud and wrestle a little bit ;)

Alarmists are financed by untold billions from various governments and government-funded international agencies looking to expand control over and income from the citizens of the developed world. The proceeds will go to undeveloped or underdeveloped countries in the guise of some twisted "reparations" scheme. The very same countries whose populations have already benefited immensely for decades from the charity of those developed countries.

If not for trillions of dollars in money, food, technology, education, medicine, etc. given freely to otherwise unsustainable populations, those populations would be MUCH smaller.

Now, the developed countries are commanded to severely throttle their economies while still providing all and more of the previous benefits AND providing many, many billions more for penance of their sin of being developed.

The current warming event began about 1850 (about the time accurate thermometers were widely available and the end of the "Little Ice Age") and could in no way be blamed on the tiny increase in CO2 production at the time.

I'm a firm believer in scientific theory but not a blind acolyte especially when the prediction of that science is largely based on severely data-starved computer models (water vapor, clouds, solar activity, etc.

Finally, the globe has been substantially warming for about 12,000 years. It has been a huge boon for humans. It has been warmer before and life went on apace.

Hysteria and alarmism and ad hominem attacks and a certain amount of obfuscation from the AGW crowd engenders suspicion from other quarters.

Thanks for your kind attention and I hope you have a lovely Labor Day weekend.

I'm off to shower ;)


Posted by: spamsux1 | September 4, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I've read Lomborg's two previous books, "The Skeptical Environmentalist" and "Cool It". Based on that experience, I think I'll pass on his third one. The first two books are wonderful examples of how to misapply statistical analysis (yes, I know he's a statistician). He cherry-picks examples, and especially in his second book, talks about mitigation strategies that deal with a specific problem but fail to consider their effect in other areas. Since I apply statistical analysis to my own area of research, software reliability assessment, and several dozen of my papers have been published in refereed proceedings, I don't think my opinion of Mr. Lomborg's analyses is without justification.

I rely on articles and papers in "Nature" and "Science" for information on global warming. According to those papers over at least the past 10 years, the evidence that human activity is involved in global warming is overwhelming. The papers may contain technical detail not accessible to readers without appropriate background in mathematics, chemistry, or physics, but the articles summarizing the papers are written for the general public.

Posted by: apn3206 | September 3, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Here's an analogy:
Our planet has a limited atmosphere... think of it as an 7,913 mile diameter (3956 mile radius) spherical spaceship with all the doors and windows closed. Instead of an outer skin, spaceship earth has (effectively) a forcefield called gravity with a radius of 3963 miles that encloses about 3/4 of the atmosphere. So, yes, most of earth's atmoshpere is about 7 miles thick. MILES. Sounds like a HUGE distance, right?

Put another way, earth's atmosphere is almost 0.0018 times the radius of earth, or not quite 18/100 of 1% of the distance from the surface of earth to the center.

Put still another way, if earth was scaled to a ball 660 feet in diameter, or about 66 stories high if resting on the ground, the atmosphere would be seven (7) INCHES thick.

Feel better now?

It would be nice to think that all the bad stuff like smoke and all just floats to the top and into space like smoke does going out a a smokestack when it's hot (hot air rises), that's not what happens.

Gravity keeps it ALL inside the atmosphere.

In other words, boys and girls, spaceship earth is getting filled up with smoke.

Posted by: jonroesler | September 3, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Antibogotes ... you have looked at the poll numbers lately havent you? The democrat party is about as popular with voters as a case of active herpes.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | September 3, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

No, I see by these comments that they won't stop e-mailing you garbage.

The good news is that the Right is shedding thousands of members a day, millions each year.

The bad news is that it will take several years more at that rate for them to lose that 41-vote stranglehold on the Senate.

The good news is that once that's gone, it's over. The Republican party is well on its way to the oblivion of the Federalists, the original Party of No in the Thomas Jefferson administration, or the pre-Civil War Whigs. The Who? you might ask. Exactly.

The tipping point will probably not be 2012. Maybe 2016. Hey, President Hillary can preside over the split between the Democrats and the Progressives so that we still have two parties.

Posted by: Antibogotes | September 3, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Toles....better late than never.
At least he has the balls to admit he was wrong.

Posted by: bertzel | September 3, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Evidence. Of course there is plenty of evidence. But think about another situation. You live in a home with a thermostat. You want to know what to set it on. Should the system heat or cool?

If it is July or August - the evidence is overwhelming. Cool. Keep the system cooling.

But if you wait until December, the evidence changes. You want to heat.

So I say do pay attention to the overwhelming evidence. But be aware that there is more in the world than one season. We have to be ready for December just as much as for August. Do not limit your thoughts to one season only.

'We had the last ice age just 10,000 years ago.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 3, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Tom, I'll read Bjorn's material and see if I agree with your assessment (don't hold your breath).

The real issue is you never point us to (read: committment) any climate change manifesto/author that you believe in for us to challenge. You just kind of tell us climate change is a fact and then never support your argument.

I've been listening to lecturers over here in London on both sides of the issue for some time. There are some great points on both sides - but my assessment is that the side that believes in climate change doesn't have infallible proof; and the side that is against the climate change theory doesn't have enough proof to dispute it. Makes for a good debate if you are actually willing to put your stones on the line for a change.

Posted by: pararanger22 | September 3, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse


You will be long dead before the seas rise due to global warming. Your Estate taxes will rise much sooner (next year).

Have fun while you are still here. Try to give us some better cartoon art in the meantime.


Posted by: dewbob | September 3, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Tom, you will be dead long after the seas rise, along with the taxes on your estate.

The Earth will survive, we will not.

Have some fun while you are still alive. Draw some good cartoon art, OK?


Posted by: dewbob | September 3, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

“We Believe in Mayor Fenty” – Please check out the videos that we have created in support of the Mayor. It shows a Ward 6 mother supporting Mayor Fenty, a Ward 3 mother, and a small Latino business, La Morenita, expressing their strong support.

We also created a poster for each Ward, where you can print, post and show your friends that the Mayor Believes in the District.

Vote FENTY – September 14, 2010!

Posted by: davidgdo | September 2, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post is so much in the tank for Fenty they even have the leftist editorial cartoonist spinning propaganda against the next Mayor... Mr. Vincent Gray! Congrats Vincent!!

Posted by: jornolibist | September 2, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles comments on the weather, 1 Sept. 2010. "My view is that these are a lot like the weather in that rapidly multiplying variables render calculation meaningless a few weeks out." Dear Mr. Mann and his "hockey stick" made his chart meaningful by removing the medievel warming period from the chart which in turn made the warming recently even more prominent. Now Mr. Mann distances himself from his own chart by saying that he never thought that the chart should be so important in the debate. The Left has taken global warming and politicized it to further their agenda. Our economy, our way of life, all are to be fundamentaly changed if you let the Left have their way. United Nations spokesmen want to do away with Democratic government by ballot box to achieve their wealth distribution and of course to "save the planet". President Obama has overreached in his agenda. That is why the Democrats are in big trouble. Just let me know Mr. Toles if your next step in convincing people of your position is to stand outside the Washington Post building and throw money in the air. I will be there with a basket in my hand. As far as the cartoon? The District of Columbia has such a proud record of voting for Mayor. I do notice though that they have resisted, in this city of statues, to erect one to their favorite, Marion Barry.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 2, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Tommy ol’ boy Lomborg hasn’t changed his tune on climate change, he always thought anthropogenic global warming was real and would have an adverse effect on humanity. Where he differed from the rest of the masseuse rapers was his belief that it would be more cost effective to mitigate its results rather than stop it.

You should learn to actually READ people you don’t like and don’t agree with instead of mindlessly lapping up the hit pieces their critics write. Tommy ol boy says baaaaa, baaaaa, four legs good, two legs better.

And why would anyone expect anything better out of Adrian Fenty? He’s just the latest in a series rotten democrat mayors in the bluest of blue cities. You see Tommy ol boy the state that DC finds itself in is the logical conclusion of one party democrat rule.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | September 2, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Again!
Mr. Toles' comments are RIGHT TO THE POINT, and accurate.
Just as the ONLY current reliable TV News source is Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show".

Thanks to you both for reliable information!

Posted by: lufrank1 | September 2, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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