Hot or Not?

This week on the world famous Ricochet Podcast, our own Bethany Mandel sits in for Peter Robinson as we parse Amazon’s departure from NYC, discuss the climate with noted expert Bjorn Lomborg, and talk politics with the WSJ (and Manhattan Institute’s) Jason Riley. Also, is CPAC now just a grifter’s convention? We discuss, you opine.

Music from this week’s show: Heatwave by Ella Fitzgerald

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There are 57 comments.

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  1. Taras Coolidge

     On the subject of global warming, and what we should do about it, Bjorn Lomborg is always worth listening to. 

    • #1
    • February 15, 2019, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. DonG Coolidge

    Why does Bjorn assert that AGW will cost exactly 2-4% GDP? Why is this not challenged? Impossible economic predictions based on impossible climate predictions based on unsettled science. How do you economists have a sense of humor? They use decimal points. 

    Cheap electricity is prosperity.

    • #2
    • February 15, 2019, at 9:07 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. RufusRJones Member

    If you have the time and inclination, I thought this was good coverage of the green new deal

    http://upandatemshow.com/podcasts/upandatem/620/

    It’s about the last half of it.

    • #3
    • February 15, 2019, at 9:33 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Full Size Tabby Member

    My problem with spending even $120 per year on “preventing global warming” is that I have very little to no confidence that whomever is deciding where to apply that money will apply it to something that will actually matter, particularly if that “whomever” is a government person.

    To the extent someone is proposing a big US government action such as the Green New Deal, that deals only with activity in the US. As has been pointed out by many (including Mr. Lomborg), if you want to impact “global” climate, you need to deal with China, India, and (I would add) Africa. And those places will take care of things themselves as they get richer (once people stop having to worry about imminent starvation they start to care about the cleanliness of their surroundings). So, to me the best program to take care of the environment is to allow other people to become wealthier than they are.

     

    • #4
    • February 15, 2019, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Henry Castaigne Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    My problem with spending even $120 per year on “preventing global warming” is that I have very little to no confidence that whomever is deciding where to apply that money will apply it to something that will actually matter, particularly if that “whomever” is a government person.

    To the extent someone is proposing a big US government action such as the Green New Deal, that deals only with activity in the US. As has been pointed out by many (including Mr. Lomborg), if you want to impact “global” climate, you need to deal with China, India, and (I would add) Africa. And those places will take care of things themselves as they get richer (once people stop having to worry about imminent starvation they start to care about the cleanliness of their surroundings). So, to me the best program to take care of the environment is to allow other people to become wealthier than they are.

    Much of China and India’s pollutions comes from their dumb state control. Mao really hurt the country’s environment with his communism which created all the pollution of early industrial capitalism and non of the wealth. India’s socialism has prevented the country from prospering for decades. 

     

    • #5
    • February 15, 2019, at 11:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Icarus213 Thatcher

    So this is my problem with the “Lukewarmer” arguments that people like Bjorn give: I feel like they are still bowing to the hysteria in order to have enough credibility to even speak (because if you get labeled a “denier,” you aren’t even allowed a voice). So he starts the conversation saying “yes, of course global warming is a problem,” but then goes on to give all the reasons why it isn’t really a problem. I don’t see how this is too much different than a straight up denial argument.

    I’m pretty much a climate change denier in that I don’t believe the predictions that we are hearing are happening now, or are going to happen, and each passing decade gives us more dire predictions that don’t pan out, and they are all wrong in the same direction: in the alarmist direction. I am not sure how you can see this happening and still concede that “of course it’s a problem.” This isn’t how science works, it’s how activism works.

    And if you are truly doing science objectively on this subject, shouldn’t we be taking into account all the benefits of a slightly warmer globe? How about agriculture, which almost universally benefits from warmer weather and longer growing seasons? If the earth was getting colder, we would be freaking out even more, and everyone would be talking about the human race facing starvation. Why is all change bad, regardless of what direction it’s in? Every article I read about climate change seems to have this agenda, which tells me that’s sort of the point of all analysis on this.

    To be honest, it bothers me how the political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue, and we are almost all now saying “yes, of course climate change is happening, and it’s a problem, but…” and then we go on to talk about China and India and fracking as if we really care about this. But do we really care about this? Or are these arguments just placeholders because deep down, we suspect this is all pretty much hysteria that will eventually pass? That’s pretty much where I’m at, and it’s kind of disturbing to see how we’ve been robbed of any authority or ability to actually say it. We have basically let dogma take the “science” mantle and keep it.

    • #6
    • February 15, 2019, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • 16 likes
  7. rgbact Member

    Icarus213 (View Comment):

    So this is my problem with the “Lukewarmer” arguments that people like Bjorn give: I feel like they are still bowing to the hysteria in order to have enough credibility to even speak (

    Most well known skeptics are actually “lukewarmers”, but they know not to talk about it much, since their audiences are primarily right wingers. Lomborg caters more to the true middle, which some righties might take as “bowing to the hysteria”. He’s the kind of guy that ends up getting trashed by both sides.

    He straightened out the “12 years” hysteria a bit. It was a goal-setting exercise for 2030 emissions….and the Left completely turned it into a doomsday watch. But they pay no price with the MSM, so they do it.

    • #7
    • February 15, 2019, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Full Size Tabby Member

    Like @icarus213 I would probably be classified a “climate change denier,” but yes I do rhetorically go along with the nonsense so that the fascists in control of most discussions don’t completely prevent me from speaking. 

    I have a series of concerns, each with a greater degree of doubt than the previous:

    Is the “climate” really changing, as you claim? I am old enough to remember the predictions in the 1960’s of an ice age and also global famine due to the inability to grow enough food for an exploding population, so your predictive models don’t hold a lot of sway with me.

    If the climate really is changing as you claim, is that really a bad thing? See @icarus213 comment and others about longer growing seasons.

    If the climate really is changing as you claim, how are you so certain that the feedback loops built into all systems won’t ameliorate the effects?

    If the climate really is changing as you claim, how much is human activity really contributing to it (as opposed to sun activity and other solar system events)?

    If human activity is really contributing to a change in climate, how much effect will changes to human activity really have? If “climate change” really is on such a horrible trajectory and that change has built up such momentum, will even radical changes to human activity really be able to alter the trajectory?

    How certain can we really be that radical changes to human activity will actually produce the counter-changes desired? The Earth is a very complex system, and complex systems react in ways that are always hard to predict. 

     

     

    • #8
    • February 15, 2019, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Texmoor Coolidge

    What I think Bethany was trying to get into and what I find fascinating will be the political repercussions of scuttling the Amazon HQ2 in NYC. We all know that D’s run NY, but the infighting this will lead to is going to be awesome.

    For example, AOC knocked off a powerful incumbent Democrat to win her seat. That guy has every reason to run again after her behavior so far. She hasn’t ingratiated herself to Speaker Pelosi and left other national Dems out to dry after the GND debacle. The cherry on top is how she sabotaged the top two politicians in her own state (Cuomo & De Blasio) by running Amazon out of town.

    Will her Bernie supporters and media sycophants be enough to keep her in office? I don’t know but I definitely want a front row seat to that primary fight.

    See the source image

    • #9
    • February 15, 2019, at 1:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Icarus213 Thatcher

    rgbact (View Comment):

    He straightened out the “12 years” hysteria a bit. It was a goal-setting exercise for 2030 emissions….and the Left completely turned it into a doomsday watch. But they pay no price with the MSM, so they do it.

    I am usually glad when I see predictions like this that put actual numbers and timelines on things, because they expose the hysteria: 12 years will come and go, and we’ll be able to say “I remember back in 2019, they were saying…”

    If I was a climate change activist, I would be cautioning against this kind of bright lining, because it casts doubt on the science-y feel to the consensus. As I said, it feels too much like activism, which is what it is.

    • #10
    • February 15, 2019, at 1:21 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Full Size Tabby Member

    I understand the insistence by @roblong that Amazon HQ2 would be a good thing for the area, but @roblong didn’t seem prepared to recognize that Cuomo and deBlasio screwed up (in the eyes of at least some of the public) by doing the whole deal in secret. Though deBlasio’s subsequent comments trashing Amazon give a hint that maybe Amazon realized that at some point deBlasio was going to become the real obstacle to a viable operation. 

     

    • #11
    • February 15, 2019, at 1:26 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. rgbact Member

    Icarus213 (View Comment):

    rgbact (View Comment):

    He straightened out the “12 years” hysteria a bit. It was a goal-setting exercise for 2030 emissions….and the Left completely turned it into a doomsday watch.

    I am usually glad when I see predictions like this that put actual numbers and timelines on things, because they expose the hysteria:

    I like it even more, because anyone that doesn’t push back on it, you know is never to be taken seriously. There were a few “scientists” that pushed back on Cortez’s lunacy. Still nothing compared to the instant trashing a Trump tweet on global warming will get.

    Yeah, AOC’s gotta learn about making those doomsday predictions that come true in your own lifetime. Ask David Viner of “snow is a thing of the past” infamy.

     

    • #12
    • February 15, 2019, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. David Bryan Member

    Icarus213 (View Comment):

    So this is my problem with the “Lukewarmer” arguments that people like Bjorn give: I feel like they are still bowing to the hysteria in order to have enough credibility to even speak (because if you get labeled a “denier,” you aren’t even allowed a voice). So he starts the conversation saying “yes, of course global warming is a problem,” but then goes on to give all the reasons why it isn’t really a problem. I don’t see how this is too much different than a straight up denial argument.

    I’m pretty much a climate change denier in that I don’t believe the predictions that we are hearing are happening now, or are going to happen, and each passing decade gives us more dire predictions that don’t pan out, and they are all wrong in the same direction: in the alarmist direction. I am not sure how you can see this happening and still concede that “of course it’s a problem.” This isn’t how science works, it’s how activism works.

    And if you are truly doing science objectively on this subject, shouldn’t we be taking into account all the benefits of a slightly warmer globe? How about agriculture, which almost universally benefits from warmer weather and longer growing seasons? If the earth was getting colder, we would be freaking out even more, and everyone would be talking about the human race facing starvation. Why is all change bad, regardless of what direction it’s in? Every article I read about climate change seems to have this agenda, which tells me that’s sort of the point of all analysis on this.

    To be honest, it bothers me how the political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue, and we are almost all now saying “yes, of course climate change is happening, and it’s a problem, but…” and then we go on to talk about China and India and fracking as if we really care about this. But do we really care about this? Or are these arguments just placeholders because deep down, we suspect this is all pretty much hysteria that will eventually pass? That’s pretty much where I’m at, and it’s kind of disturbing to see how we’ve been robbed of any authority or ability to actually say it. We have basically let dogma take the “science” mantle and keep it.

    Very well said

    • #13
    • February 15, 2019, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Boney Cole Member

    Agree very closely with Icarus213. That comment would be a good post

    • #14
    • February 15, 2019, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Barry Jones Thatcher

    Not terribly devastated with the Amazon thing…it was a bad deal for the taxpayers. Tax breaks and subsidies to draw companies to an area are not a good way to do business. And I have been saying for years that Standard Oil and Rockefeller did more to save the whales than all the Green Peace types added together. I am also waiting to see what the experimental evidence that proves the man caused global warming hypothesis. Haven’t seen anything that looks like experimental evidence.

    • #15
    • February 15, 2019, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. kedavis Member

    The promo code for robinhood.com is still wrong.

    And I don’t want to ever hear anyone but Linda Ronstadt singing to me about a Heatwave.

    • #16
    • February 15, 2019, at 7:50 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. J Ro Member

    Now that we have acquired complete knowledge of economics, i.e. of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services by the global human population, it is time we harness that mastery and use it to fine tune our almost complete knowledge of the global climate in order to manipulate it and achieve that precise and perfect global temperature we designate as “0” on all our charts and graphs of past, present, and future global temperature. #MakeItZero

    • #17
    • February 15, 2019, at 8:56 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Samuel Block Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t want to ever hear anyone but Linda Ronstadt singing to me about a Heatwave.

    What about:

    • #18
    • February 15, 2019, at 9:22 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. James Lileks Contributor

    Icarus213 (View Comment):
    To be honest, it bothers me how the political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue, and we are almost all now saying “yes, of course climate change is happening, and it’s a problem, but…” and then we go on to talk about China and India and fracking as if we really care about this. But do we really care about this? Or are these arguments just placeholders because deep down, we suspect this is all pretty much hysteria that will eventually pass? That’s pretty much where I’m at

    Me too. You didn’t hear me saying “it’s happening and it’s a problem” because it’s a few notches down the “existential threat” level below “Iranian EMP.” I grew up in the age of the imminent Ice Age, was terribly worried during the Ozone Hole Era, and eventually learned to stop worrying and love the Maunder Mininum, as a Kubrick movie might have put it. 

     

    • #19
    • February 15, 2019, at 10:27 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. John Russell Thatcher

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Icarus213 (View Comment):
    To be honest, it bothers me how the political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue, and we are almost all now saying “yes, of course climate change is happening, and it’s a problem, but…” and then we go on to talk about China and India and fracking as if we really care about this. But do we really care about this? Or are these arguments just placeholders because deep down, we suspect this is all pretty much hysteria that will eventually pass? That’s pretty much where I’m at

    Me too. You didn’t hear me saying “it’s happening and it’s a problem” because it’s a few notches down the “existential threat” level below “Iranian EMP.” I grew up in the age of the imminent Ice Age, was terribly worried during the Ozone Hole Era, and eventually learned to stop worrying and love the Maunder Mininum, as a Kubrick movie might have put it.

     

    @jameslileks What happened to the Ready Kilowatt avatar?

    • #20
    • February 16, 2019, at 12:30 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. kedavis Member

    John Russell (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Icarus213 (View Comment):
    To be honest, it bothers me how the political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue, and we are almost all now saying “yes, of course climate change is happening, and it’s a problem, but…” and then we go on to talk about China and India and fracking as if we really care about this. But do we really care about this? Or are these arguments just placeholders because deep down, we suspect this is all pretty much hysteria that will eventually pass? That’s pretty much where I’m at

    Me too. You didn’t hear me saying “it’s happening and it’s a problem” because it’s a few notches down the “existential threat” level below “Iranian EMP.” I grew up in the age of the imminent Ice Age, was terribly worried during the Ozone Hole Era, and eventually learned to stop worrying and love the Maunder Mininum, as a Kubrick movie might have put it.

     

    @jameslileks What happened to the Ready Kilowatt avatar?

    I liked it better too, but the world moves on…

    • #21
    • February 16, 2019, at 12:41 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. La Tapada Member

    Barry Jones (View Comment):

    Not terribly devastated with the Amazon thing…it was a bad deal for the taxpayers. Tax breaks and subsidies to draw companies to an area are not a good way to do business…

    I agree with you, Barry. But I am beginning to see that there are various aspects to the Amazon-in-NYC issue. There is the overall economic aspect (a bad deal for taxpayers) and there is the political aspect (a lot of people might be angry that they’ve lost a potential job).

    • #22
    • February 16, 2019, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. Blue Yeti Admin

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t want to ever hear anyone but Linda Ronstadt singing to me about a Heatwave.

    What about

    I’ve love both the Ronstadt and Vandellas versions and have used them multiple times in the past. Wanted to try something different for this show. Also thought about using Born Free or Born To Run. 

    • #23
    • February 16, 2019, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. James Lileks Contributor

    John Russell (View Comment):
    @jameslileks What happened to the Ready Kilowatt avatar?

    I needed a change last year. Clean break with the old roles. I bade Reddy a sad farewell and went with the Owl, which was the trademark for a somewhat beloved local chain of grocery stores. When I wear a T-shirt with the logo i get stopped constantly by people who remember it. 

    • #24
    • February 16, 2019, at 10:36 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Leslie Watkins Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Icarus213 (View Comment):
    To be honest, it bothers me how the political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue, and we are almost all now saying “yes, of course climate change is happening, and it’s a problem, but…” and then we go on to talk about China and India and fracking as if we really care about this. But do we really care about this? Or are these arguments just placeholders because deep down, we suspect this is all pretty much hysteria that will eventually pass? That’s pretty much where I’m at

    Me too. You didn’t hear me saying “it’s happening and it’s a problem” because it’s a few notches down the “existential threat” level below “Iranian EMP.” I grew up in the age of the imminent Ice Age, was terribly worried during the Ozone Hole Era, and eventually learned to stop worrying and love the Maunder Mininum, as a Kubrick movie might have put it.

    I’m with you @jameslileks. I’d love to ask Lomborg what he thinks of the meme getting started about solar minimum/maximum issues leading to a new ice age. I also wish someone had asked him what exactly will cause the loss of 2 to 4 percent (if I remember correctly) of GDP. Shouldn’t we simply try to offset those issues? I want to know because I have friends here in the Research Triangle of North Carolina who fear their homes are going to be underwater in two decades; mind you, their homes are nowhere near the ocean and aren’t that close to the causes of local flooding. No one questions this idiocy. I would, but my sister would only say, “That’s enough, Leslie.”

    • #25
    • February 16, 2019, at 11:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Leslie Watkins Member

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Icarus213 (View Comment):
    To be honest, it bothers me how the political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue, and we are almost all now saying “yes, of course climate change is happening, and it’s a problem, but…” and then we go on to talk about China and India and fracking as if we really care about this. But do we really care about this? Or are these arguments just placeholders because deep down, we suspect this is all pretty much hysteria that will eventually pass? That’s pretty much where I’m at

    Me too. You didn’t hear me saying “it’s happening and it’s a problem” because it’s a few notches down the “existential threat” level below “Iranian EMP.” I grew up in the age of the imminent Ice Age, was terribly worried during the Ozone Hole Era, and eventually learned to stop worrying and love the Maunder Mininum, as a Kubrick movie might have put it.

    I’m with you, James. I’d love to ask Lomborg what he thinks of the meme getting started about solar minimum/maximum issues leading to a new ice age. I also wish someone had asked him what exactly will cause the loss of 2 to 4 percent (if I remember correctly) of GDP. Shouldn’t we simply try to offset those issues? I want to know because I have friends here in the Research Triangle of North Carolina who fear their homes are going to be underwater in two decades; mind you, their homes are nowhere near the ocean and aren’t that close to the causes of local flooding. No one questions this idiocy. I would, but my sister would only say, “That’s enough, Leslie.

    SORRY FOR THE DOUBLE POST. I’m a klutz at formatting.

    • #26
    • February 16, 2019, at 11:15 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Leslie Watkins Member

    I agree with Jason Riley that the Democrats may well be overplaying their hand. I say this for two reasons:

    (1) I don’t think the congressional losses had as much to do with Trump as with the vote on Obamacare, which left Republicans vulnerable to the claim that they do not want to cover preexisting conditions. There were no rabid Trump ads where I am, in North Carolina, where the Republican governor killed his own reelection bid (though it required a recount) by allowing the silly bathroom issue to wreck his administration (deservedly, in my opinion; compare Nikki Haley’s response and you can see how he just caved). But it was night and day ads about health care.

    And (2) Both I and a good friend of mine had occasion to need a plumber (me) and a cable guy (my friend). Both men were black and in their forties, and both engaged in a conversation with us, both of which led to impromptu assertions of “Hey, I love Trump.” This was before the tax cut and the great unemployment numbers.

    I’m not a cheerleader for the president, and I know that statistically his success isn’t great, but the mood on the ground is soooooo different from what we hear in the press that I won’t be surprised if he wins reelection, especially if the Democrats pick one of their so-called progressive candidates. If they do, I will vote for him, which I did not do in 2016.

    • #27
    • February 16, 2019, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. RufusRJones Member

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):
    (1) I don’t think the congressional losses had as much to do with Trump as with the vote on Obamacare, which left Republicans vulnerable to the claim that they do not want to cover preexisting conditions.

    John McCain spoke frankly about needing to wipeout employment based health insurance. Then Obama attacked him for it. The ACA wipes it out with lies. Obama lied.

    The ACA is the perfect Cloward and Piven maneuver and the GOP fell for it. They had eight years to get ready for the moment to wipe it out. They had three months after they knew Trump was elected. Three senators and 100 House members lied about wanting to wipe it out.

    There was no strategy. Effectively the GOP doesn’t care. They just wanted to take the easy path for the next election.

    This was all so unnecessary. If they weren’t ready right away, they should have done one year of education and town halls so they could come up with a strategy later. Nothing is going to stop the march to socialism. We are ruled by idiots.

    • #28
    • February 16, 2019, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  29. Taras Coolidge

    La Tapada (View Comment):

    Barry Jones (View Comment):

    Not terribly devastated with the Amazon thing…it was a bad deal for the taxpayers. Tax breaks and subsidies to draw companies to an area are not a good way to do business…

    I agree with you, Barry. But I am beginning to see that there are various aspects to the Amazon-in-NYC issue. There is the overall economic aspect (a bad deal for taxpayers) and there is the political aspect (a lot of people might be angry that they’ve lost a potential job).

    There’s likely to be a multiplier effect. Other businesses that were thinking of following suit and moving to (or staying in) New York will now conclude it’s too risky.

    • #29
    • February 16, 2019, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • Like
  30. Taras Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Icarus213 (View Comment):
    To be honest, it bothers me how the political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue, and we are almost all now saying “yes, of course climate change is happening, and it’s a problem, but…” and then we go on to talk about China and India and fracking as if we really care about this. But do we really care about this? Or are these arguments just placeholders because deep down, we suspect this is all pretty much hysteria that will eventually pass? That’s pretty much where I’m at

    Me too. You didn’t hear me saying “it’s happening and it’s a problem” because it’s a few notches down the “existential threat” level below “Iranian EMP.” I grew up in the age of the imminent Ice Age, was terribly worried during the Ozone Hole Era, and eventually learned to stop worrying and love the Maunder Mininum, as a Kubrick movie might have put it.

    “The political Right has essentially ceded the high ground on this issue”? Make that, most issues. Conservatives usually accept their opponents’ assumptions — or are afraid to challenge those assumptions — and then quibble with the conclusions. There’s a lot of “running with the hounds” in this.

    Consider how many “conservatives” joined the lynch mob baying for the blood of the Covington kids, or are still treating seriously Jussie Smollett’s preposterous MAGA attack story.

    • #30
    • February 16, 2019, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • Like
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