Continuing from part 1

1) Do not mention that pollution can cause problems, so we do not have this drawn to our attention. Particularly don’t mention that if pollution cannot be processed by ecologies, or disrupts or poisons ecologies then we are playing a losing game. You certainly don’t want people to think that modern economies seem to function through pollution and destruction. If things are not mentioned, and people want to believe the economic/survival system is ok, then they will forget them, at least for a while.

2) Do not mention that some forms of pollution (carbon emissions) cause global warming, so we do not have to think about this.

3) Do not mention that emissions have been increasing steadily over the last 20 years so the problem is becoming more intense.

4) Do not mention that rapid climate change (which is caused by emissions) will have severely costly and disruptive effects on society, so we do not have to think about the consequences of continuing to emit, and only think of the costs of acting.

5) Have a dramatic headline, so that the article implies an attack on all green actions, while in the article suggest that the most practical policy… “is… investment in low and zero-carbon energy innovation.” That way you can satisfy the hard core ‘let’s do nothing brigade’, and should anyone object to your support for inaction, say that you are clearly arguing for sensible research.

6) Refer to sources, but do not identify them, and imply the results are uniform and everyone agrees on them.

7) Mix up basic issues like intensity of fires with areas of fire, so that the problem can seem to be diminishing and it appears that worrying about fire is bad.

8) State as fact something which is a matter of interpretation, or dispute, such as renewables cannot replace fossil fuels because they are too expensive.

9) Do not mention the subsidies that fossil fuels do receive and have received in handouts, tax breaks, or State funded building.

10) Make token suggestions for nuclear and CCS research, but do not mention that they are costly and difficult, and therefore, by the argument being followed, not worth pursuing. Also mention batteries, but forget to mention that the reason for being interested in batteries is renewable energy.

11) Suggest that if this research does not eventuate, it is because climate action people are afraid of innovation or have agendas, rather than because the fields are costly, and uncertain, and less commercially attractive than renewables, or because the right is apparently not interested in anything that does not support fossil fuels.

12) Suggest that the fires have been exaggerated by those with a “specific agenda”. Do not mention that the seriousness of the fires has likely been downplayed by those with a specific agenda, and that the downplayers only solution to the problem is to keep on with what we are doing, have more fires, and get used to it.

13) Be certain about the figures you use, but imply other figures are not calculable.

14) Extract Australian actions from world actions, when both climate change and Australia actions are world phenomena.

15) Extract the effect of actions taken now, from the history. If we had acted earlier then this would not be as much a problem as it is now, but we did not act earlier because of similar arguments. If we don’t act now, then we are ignoring the increasing consequences.

16) Use spurious accuracy in the figures, to imply scientific veracity

17) Suggest some remedies to lower fire spread. Forgetting to mention that we already do controlled burns but it is getting harder to do enough because of lack of rain and changing climate. Forget to mention that fire proof houses have burnt down, or that the temperatures were so great that apparently aluminium vaporised. Don’t mention that grasses and crops burnt fiercely.

18) In summary we can say the technique involves asserting certainty and reassurance where there is none (the fire was not that bad, renewables are too expensive, nuclear and carbon capture are useful, we cannot proceed with the technologies we have, any bad effects will be in the distant future, climate action will not help, action is too expensive, and we can just manage as we are), and uncertainty where there is little (assertions, or implied assertions, that climate change is not getting worse, climate change does not make intense fires in Australia more likely, emissions do not matter, continued growth is not harmful, nuclear and CCS are cheap and sensible, and fossil fuels are neither harmful nor expensive to taxpayers). He may also hope that his readers are so longing for his answers, that they do not notice the reverse plausibility of his claims – or maybe he is primarily engaged in persuading himself.

19) Basically he provides a screen for avoiding the issues, or the changes we are experiencing, and while we cannot be sure, that seems to be his purpose.

There is a third article on a rather silly editorial which uses Lomborg as an excuse.